Meanderings II

Nicholas Strakon’s The Last Ditch continues to serve up its strange and sporadically stimulating mix of radical libertarianism and racialist provocation.  A recent article has Douglas Olson musing impolitic on post-Katrina Houston’s unjust rewards:

Houston, Texas, the city with such a big heart that it took in the lion’s share of New
Orleans’ "refugees" from Hurricane Katrina, has been suitably rewarded for that
humanitarian effort.

In the first 51 weeks of 2005, the city saw 324 homicides — an increase of
24 percent over the same period in 2004. More specifically, the "refugees"
began arriving in late September and October. Fifty-one of the killings occurred in
November and the first three weeks of December, representing a fantastic
70 percent jump over the same period in the previous year — making it
impossible to believe that the massive influx of New Orleans Negroes was not a
primary contributing factor.

Houston Mayor Bill White is demanding that the feds fund a $6.5 million
task force to fight the rise in crime, which he attributes to increased gang activity and
"population growth" from Katrina. "We had criminals here before the evacuation,
and we had some more criminals here after the evacuation," he stated obliquely.

"Some people who preyed on the vulnerable and broke the rules in Louisiana have
gravitated to certain apartment complexes which already had a high concentration
of crime," noted police chief Harold Hurtt, who came closest to admitting the truth
of the situation.   

But before you dial up the Morris Dees hotline, consider that Senior Strakon also makes approving reference to  Yumi Kim’s contrarian essay on the state of stateless Somalia.  Citing the late Michael van Notten, "a Dutch lawyer who married into the [Somali] Samaron Clan and lived the last dozen years of his life with them," Kim argues that UN-enforced efforts to impose statecraft on the war- and famine-ravaged region are doomed to clash with customary legal practices that provide the best hope for eventual order and stability:

The traditional Somali system of law and politics, he contends, is
capable of maintaining a peaceful society and guiding the Somalis to
prosperity. Moreover, efforts to re-establish a central government or
impose democracy on the people are incompatible with the customary law.

Van Notten distinguishes between the four meanings of the word "law"
— statutory, contractual, customary, and natural law. The common
misunderstanding is that legitimate rules only come from formally
established entities and that therefore a country without a legislature
is lawless. Refuting that misunderstanding, van Notten explains that a
perfectly orderly and peaceful country can exist when people respect
property rights and honor their contracts. While natural laws denote
peace, liberty, and friendly relations, statutory laws represent
commands. Statutory laws reflect the preferences of legislators, who
impose "morality" on those they govern and regulate their ability to
voluntarily enter into contracts. This, according to van Notten, is
wrong from the standpoint of both morality and law.

Customary laws develop in a country like Somalia in the absence of a
central legislating body. Rules "emerge spontaneously as people go
about their daily business and try to solve the problems that
occasionally arise in it without upsetting the patterns of cooperation
on which they so heavily depend" (Van Notten, 15: 2005). Van Notten
contends that the Somali customary law closely follows the natural law
and therefore should be preserved.

The Hayekian hope is, I think, laudable and plausible, even if patterns of Somali-style spontaneous legal order seem, as Kim concedes, a bit "unsophisticated  or odd."  To wit:

The extended family is the core of Somali society. Families descended from common great grandparent form a jilib,
the basic independent jural unit, and a number of jilibs in turn form a
clan. Each family, jilib, and clan has its own judge, whose role is to
facilitate the handling of disputes by deciding where the liability
lies and what compensation should be paid. For example if a man is
murdered, the murderer’s clan gives the victim’s clan one hundred
camels (the blood price). Verdicts are widely discussed, and a judge
who does not base his decision on norms prevailing in the community is
unlikely to be asked to settle further disputes. Thus while a judge may
form his own principles, his customers will decide his competence as a

The family of the successful plaintiff can resort to self-help to
enforce a payment, or the court can order the men of the community to
do so. Every clansman is insured by his jilib. For instance, if A
violates B’s right and it is held that A should pay compensation to B,
A’s jilib will provide the compensation. Hence the jilib functions as
"a safety net, venture capital, protection, and insurance" (Van Notten,
74: 2005).

If a clan member constantly violates others’ rights and his jilib
repeatedly pays compensation, the jilib can expel him. On the other
hand, there is nothing to stop someone from leaving his jilib and
joining another, if it will have him, or setting up his own. A person
without a jilib is unthinkable, an outlaw, because he is not insured
against liabilities he might incur toward others. Hence he loses all
protection of the law.

Decisions are enforced and oaths taken in ways that may seem
unsophisticated or odd, yet they are the custom and must be respected.
If, for instance, the defendant refuses to comply with the verdict
without appealing his case to a higher court, he can be tied to a tree
covered with black ants until he agrees. When evidence is sketchy or
lacking, several types of oaths are available. A strong oath is one
that is repeated fifty times. Another type is a divorce oath. If a man
testifies under divorce oath and it is later found that his testimony
was false, his marriage becomes null and void.

In other news, the earnest comic-geek-cum-paleocon blogger known as Glaivester, refers us unrepentant glass teat devotees to this enjoyable waste of time supplementing  The Hoover Hog’s favorite popcorn teledrama, House.

But if fan fiction creeps you out as much as it does me, you can always seek cerebral refuge in the latest additions to the Nine-banded Bookcase. 

The one I’m most looking forward to is Fair Women, Dark Men: The Forgotten Roots of Racial Prejudice, by Universite’ Laval anthropologist, Peter Frost. In a nutshell, Frost’s thesis is that color prejudice arose from naturally and sexually selected aesthetic preference for fair skinned women, with Western colonialism providing the social pretext for this innate chromocentric bias to secure a cultural trench in the structure of Foucaudian hegemony with which we are all too familiar. Frost is one of those rare birds who seems equally at home with the vicissitudes of evolutionary biology and cultural semiotics, and if you’re not inclined to buy the book his seldom-addressed "chicken or the egg" problem is well summarized in the essay, "Unraveling the Origins of Color Prejudice." I’d love to hear this guy’s take on King Kong.

Chalk it up to cheap nostalgia, but I can’t wait to get my mits on Art That Kills, which is George Petros’ forthcoming anthology of "aesthetic terrorism" culled from the halcyon days of mail order samizdata, when gestures of transgressive whateverthefuck still had the power to trip the synapses. If you belong to that special class of geek who discovered The Fountainhead around the same time you picked up Apocalypse Culture, I imagine you’ll know the whole sordid scene.  The bottom line, however, is that GG died like any other confused rock star, and it’s hard to play up the old rationalizations about thanatoxic expiation when those Islamist goons keep sawing off heads. Just wallow, and tell it to the judge.

Then there’s Mr. Evolutionary Psychology, David Buss, whose latest pop-packaged sociobiological investigation, The Murderer Next Door, promises to do for homicide what E.O. Wilson did for entymology.  I’ve only just dipped in, but I’m looking forward to some good excuses.

What else?  Well, I would be remiss not to mention "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of ‘Race Does Not Exist,’" a rare essay by the great positivist sociologist, Steven Goldberg.

We don’t hear much from Goldberg these days, but as the author of The Inevitability of Patriarchy, When Wish Replaces Thought, and Why Men Rule, he’s been kicking at the pricks of political correctness since the first (dubiously supported) wave of post-war Boasian relativism was firming up the academic strictures that still make life difficult for crimethinkers like Michael Bailey, Larry Summers, and Phil Rushton.

Anyway, it’s good to see Goldberg’s trademark logical-empirical rigor is still in form as he takes the race deniers to task:

With reference to any specific characteristic, the
characteristics of a race are, of course,
statistical, not absolute. They permit many
(though far fewer exceptions than would be required
to cast doubt on the statistical regularity). Thus
the existence of tall women and short men does not
cast doubt on the accuracy of the statistical
observation that
"men are taller than women."

Those who deny the reality of race will often invoke
the fact that, whatever the characteristic in
question, the range is greater within race
than between races. This is true of nearly
any variable for which two groups are compared. But
to deny a statistical group difference on this basis
would force one to claim that it is meaningless to
speak of

"men" and

or statistical differences between them, because the
height difference between the shortest man and the
tallest man, or between the shortest woman and
tallest woman, is far greater than the few-percent
difference between the mean heights of men and

This example makes clear the key fact that a small
difference in means often complements a huge
difference at the extremes; how many seven-foot tall
women does one see? The difference in running speed
between the average white and average black male is
only a few percent, but virtually all of the two
hundred fastest men in the world are black. And it
is on the upper tail of the curve—the extreme—that
public perceptions—stereotypes—are based. That this
argument is so often made is a measure of the
desperation of those who wish to deny that which is

Maybe it all seems obvious at this point, but Goldberg’s insights were a refreshing jolt when I first encountered them as an intellectually frustrated undergrad steeped in the glossily packaged illiberal orthodoxies of race and gender curricula. And as long as those PBS martyrs keep chiming on the same wishful fallacies, I suppose the coldly reasoned statistical correctives still demand an audience. Alas.

Scratch and sniff, punk rockers.  It’s a pirate’s life for me.

David Irving and the Cartoonists

I understand that you noble bloggers are steeped in the throes of occidental despair over those Muslim-baiting cartoons, but if you can take a moment’s pause from your deep thoughts on the crisis of Western Civilization, it may interest you to know that the European Democratic State of Austria has seen fit to hand down a three year prison sentence to a 67 year old historian for publicly questioning the existence of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Or something like that

But I’ve said enough about Mr. Irving’s travails.  While his eleventh hour gesture of contrition may have a disingenuous odor, it doesn’t really interest me any more.  The simple, shameful reality is that the brash British provocateur of heterodox Hitlerology is far from alone in bearing the burden of the most sustained and under-reported Western assault on free inquiry since the Inquisition. 

Don’t believe me?  Why not ask Siegfried Verbeke. Or Ernst Zundel. Or Robert Faurisson.  Or  David Cole. Or Germar Rudolf, who, lest we forget, was denied political asylum in the freedom-loving U.S.A. to be extradited to Germany where he now sits in solitary confinement awaiting trial for the "crime" of writing and publishing excruciatingly boring books.

The parade of victims  goes on like a Greek buffet, but why should you care about the plight of kooks and cranks who trade in thinly veiled anti-Semitism and historical pornography?  They’re wrong, wrong, wrong. And they should have known better.  Right?

But those cartoonists, they’re the true exemplars of free expression.

Keep masturbating, hypocrites.  While the free speech story of the century remains untold. 

At this point, I see no need to rehash the principles at stake. Instead, I will take the occasion to present the unedited text of Bradley Smith and Christopher Cole’s important article,  "The Campaign to Decriminalize World War II History."

So go ahead and take a dip with the serpents. You can always hit the showers if things get too unseemly.

Then decide for yourself where the crisis remains.



The Campaign to
Decriminalize World War II History

By Bradley Smith and
Christopher Cole

Copyright © 2004

the Western world people are being prosecuted for writing about World
War II and the Holocaust. Historians, researchers, authors, and
publishers are being fined, imprisoned, placed under gag orders,
expelled from their native countries, and denied entry into others.
Those who are prosecuted are routinely prevented from mounting an
effective defense, because witnesses who testify on their behalf often
find themselves arrested. In some cases, even the defense lawyers are

that have laws that limit the scope and substance of World War II and
Holocaust research include France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada,
Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Poland,
and Spain.1 These laws make it a crime for anyone, regardless of their
credentials or the factual basis of their views, to question or revise
any aspect of the history of World War II or the Holocaust in a manner
that goes beyond the somewhat arbitrary standards established by the
governments of those countries.2               

Although there are no laws in the United States that criminalize
Holocaust and World War II history, some of our nation’s most
prestigious legal minds have backed a proposed law intended to do just

Why should you, why should any of us, be concerned that certain areas of historical research have been criminalized?             


Free speech is very much on the minds of young people today. Many who
oppose the Bush Administration’s actions since 9/11 claim that there is
now an oppressive “chill” on free speech in America. Is this “chill”
something new? Or has an ill wind that’s been blowing for quite some
time finally caught up with people who never expected to feel it?             

people on our college campuses today grew up during the Clinton years.
Clinton appealed to young people and reflected many of their values.
These days, however, the same people who grew up feeling empowered
during the Clinton years are now feeling like dissidents, as they
protest post 9/11 U.S. policies of an administration that many see as
hostile to civil liberties, and a news media dominated by conservative
talk radio shows, and networks like Fox.               

Suddenly, a lot of people who used to feel empowered are now feeling marginalized.               

problem is, many of those who are complaining the loudest right now
about the “chill” on free speech are the very people who laid the
groundwork for speech restrictions and muted public debate. This
includes the college professors and administrators who, throughout the
1990s, championed campus “speech codes” that restricted the expression
of views they deemed “insensitive.”               

subject has been more vilified on college campuses over the past decade
than historical research that questions various aspects of Holocaust
history. Throughout the 1990s, as dissident Holocaust historians (often
called “revisionists”) were being prosecuted and imprisoned in Europe,
Canada, and Australia, college campuses throughout the United States
were practicing their own brand of censorship.               

speakers were banned from campuses. Regardless of the factual basis for
their views, they were derided as insensitive “hate mongers.” Ads for
revisionist books or videos were banned from school newspapers. If,
occasionally, a revisionist ad or op ed was published in a campus
paper, the resulting outcry from students and faculty alike brought
waves of condemnation and apologies from administrators and newspaper

of the people who express outrage at the “silencing” of today’s war
critics are the same people who championed the silencing of dissident
Holocaust historians in the 1990s – just as many of those who are
screaming the loudest about the evils of the Patriot Act are the same
folks who supported the Clinton administration’s Omnibus Antiterrorism
Bill of 1995.4               

just as you can’t understand the Patriot Act without understanding the
way in which the Clinton Omnibus Antiterrorism Bill paved the way for
it, you can’t really understand the post9/11 free speech “chill”
without understanding the way in which the rationalizations for
silencing dissent (especially on campus) were developed during the past
decade in the campaign to silence revisionist historians.               

this op ed from the Cornell University Daily Sun, November 22, 1991.
The author, Doreen Lee, explains why there should be no free speech
allowed for Holocaust revisionists: “Some issues are not meant to be
challenged, provoked, or critically debated. True, political
correctness can limit the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is a great
and fundamental right, but it’s also a political construct that should
be ultimately subject to the limits of humanity, sensitivity, and

familiar? Ms. Lee might as well be a Bush Administration official
warning protesters not to “challenge, provoke, or critically debate”
U.S. policy during times of war. After all, we must show “sensitivity”
and “respect” to the victims of terrorism, and to people in the
military and their families. Ms. Lee’s op ed is one of thousands of
similar op eds and editorials that appeared in college (and off campus)
newspapers throughout the ’90s, arguing that dissident Holocaust
historians have no right to speak. Those who allowed this cancer of
censorship to grow and flourish during the past decade should not be
surprised to now find themselves the victims of it.             

who protest the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism” policies want
the right to freely voice their opinions without being censored or
dismissed as “unpatriotic” or “pro terrorist.” However, to paraphrase
the Beatles,      

… in the end, the free speech you get will be equal to the free speech you give.

you start censoring and slandering others who are trying to have their
say, you’ve created exactly the kind of “chilled” atmosphere that will,
inevitably, end up affecting your right to speak as well.               

simple as this notion is, it’s amazing how many people just don’t seem
to get it. Take Robert Berdahl, Chancellor of the University of
California at Berkeley. Back in 1993, when Berdahl was President of the
University of Texas at Austin, he led the charge to ban revisionist
Holocaust views from campus. When the Daily Texan, the UT Austin campus
newspaper, accepted an advertisement for a documentary film in which
the Director of the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland admitted that the
building displayed in the camp as a “gas chamber” is not genuine,
Berdahl angrily argued in an op ed that revisionist Holocaust views are
“patently unsuitable” for the paper.               

though the ad said nothing about Jews or any other racial or religious
group, and even though the ad’s author made it clear that he was not
denying the Holocaust, Berdahl maintained that the ad had no place on
campus because the university newspaper is “obligated to protect its
readers” from anything that might be “a source of great pain and
anguish,” or anything that “insults a community’s standards of

forward seven years, to the UC Berkeley class of 2000 Commencement
ceremony. Berdahl (now Chancellor of Berkeley) became furious when a
group of students angrily protested the convocation address given by
Berkeley senior Fadia Rafeedia, a Palestinian who, at that time, was an
editor for a web site called the Free Arab Voice, a site that not only
claims that the Holocaust is a “Jewish lie” but also advocates the
outright murder of Jews. Berdahl denounced the protesters, calling Ms.
Rafeedie “insightful,” and claiming that “her strong will and strong
opinions make her . . . the essence, the spirit, and the promise of
this institution.”7               

more recently, in March 2003, Berdahl, appearing on a Berkeley radio
show, decried those who would silence campus antiwar protesters,
worrying that “a climate of fear” might create “a lack of dissent.”8               

Chancellor Berdahl doesn’t’t seem able or willing to acknowledge is
that he bears some responsibility for creating the very climate he is
now denouncing. In advocating the banning of dissident Holocaust
history, he made it clear that, in his view, universities are obligated
to “protect” students from unpleasant or offensive views. Why should it
now surprise him when students who find other things offensive – like
the Free Arab Voice Web site – use the same rationalizations to try and
ban what they find to be “a source of great pain and anguish”?               

1993, when Chancellor Berdahl argued in favor of banning revisionist
Holocaust history from the campus paper, at least one local commentator
saw the potential ramifications of his views. Dallas Morning News
columnist Joe Patrick Bean predicted that Berdahl’s actions “may have
set a potentially harmful precedent that will limit discussion of
legitimate but highly controversial or sensitive views.”9               

fact, a plan that would indeed “limit discussion of highly
controversial or sensitive views” in the name of keeping the American
public safe from dissident World War II and Holocaust history had
already been cooked up only five years earlier at one of America’s most
prestigious universities.               

April 1988, Hofstra University in New York sponsored a three day
conference, at which dozens of the most prestigious and respected legal
minds from the worlds of academia, government, and the justice system
gathered with one goal – to find a way to copy the laws by which Canada
and Europe have criminalized Holocaust and World War II history. A
nationwide contest was held, in which law students were asked to draft
a model law that would limit the free speech of Americans in a way that
might not be ruled unconstitutional.10             
outlined by conference director Monroe H. Freedman, Professor of Legal
Ethics at Hofstra, and Executive Director of the United States
Holocaust Memorial Council (which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Washington, DC), the winning law would have to be “a statute
that would permit prior restraint by public officials.” First prize
would go to the law that was “as broad as constitutionally permissible,
or, at least, arguably permissible.”11               

speakers at the closed door conference made no attempt to hide their
hostility to free speech. A professor from the University of Western
Ontario expressed displeasure with “the absolutist approach that
characterizes American thinking about freedom of speech.” The solution,
he said, was to abandon “abstract notions of individualism.”12 A
professor from the University of Baltimore argued that the U.S. needs
to restrict certain “fervently held beliefs and political thoughts,
none of which,” he added, “the First Amendment was ever intended to
At the end of the
conference, the participants chose what they considered to be the best
anti–free speech law, and two runner sup, from among the hundreds of
entries submitted by law students from across the country. The judges
who chose the winners included Abner Mikva, Chief Judge of the U.S.
Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, and Amalya Kearse, of the U.S.
Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The conference attendees agreed that
the law would have to be kept under wraps until a time when the Supreme
Court consists of a majority of justices who are sympathetic to its
aims.14 The conference concluded with a mock trial in which a Holocaust
revisionist was convicted and sentenced to prison under the proposed

what does the Hofstra Law say? The Hofstra Law would criminalize “any
oral, written, or symbolic speech” that “debases, degrades, or calls
into question the loyalties, abilities, or integrity of members of an
aggregation of people identified by a common race, religion, national
origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference.” The law also states
that “An agency shall be established that will review all films and
movies,” as well as all published or broadcast speech. Anyone who
publishes or broadcasts any type of material before it has been
submitted to, and reviewed by, this agency, “shall have committed a

this law might sound tantalizing to those who crusade against “hate
speech” and other forms of bigotry, the devil, as they say, is in the
details. In order for this law to pass muster with the Supreme Court,
the law states that “all speech that defames a group will be equally
restricted, regardless of the group that is being defamed.” In other
words, this law does not just protect minorities or groups with a
history of being oppressed. Under the definitions established by this
law, “Americans” count as a protected group, as do “white people.”
Recently, the man who authored the runner up Hofstra Law admitted in an
interview that under the provisions of his law, a group like the Ku
Klux Klan could successfully take legal action against author and
filmmaker Michael Moore for comments he made in his book, Stupid White

Hofstra Law was endorsed by some of America’s most respected legal
minds, who expressed their desire to one day see it enacted into law.
The participants in the Hofstra conference celebrated their proposed
law’s ability to criminalize dissident Holocaust and World War II
history, and this is most likely how the law would be sold to the
public.17 But the truth is, the Hofstra Law would outlaw a whole lot
more than dissident history. By its very wording, it would leave no
controversial point of view safe from prosecution.               

the threat posed by the Hofstra Law illustrates the truth of the notion
that it’s either free speech for all, or free speech for none.               


course, it’s possible to agree that revisionist Holocaust and World War
II historians should not be censored or imprisoned, while still
dismissing their views as irrelevant or unimportant. After all, why
should anyone care what revisionist historians have to say about an
event that took place over a half century ago? The answer to that
question probably helps to explain why so many people want to suppress
or outlaw this kind of research.             
War II and the Holocaust have taken on an iconic status that people of
all political creeds and ideologies exploit for their own benefit. The
repressive laws against Holocaust and World War II research target
historians whose work challenges the myths and misconceptions
surrounding these events, myths that have the ability, even today, to
influence political events. The war in Iraq is a case in point. Both
the pro war right and the antiwar left exploit these myths in order to
justify their positions.               

sides in the Iraq war debate make use of the perception that World War
II was a “necessary” and “good” war, in which the Allies acted
ethically and with a supreme concern for human life, a war in which our
government didn’t lie or manipulate public opinion in order to create
popular support for the war, a war in which there was clear evidence of
crimes against humanity being committed by our enemies, and a war that
concluded with evenhanded and compassionate justice meted out to our
vanquished foes.               

pro war right uses these myths in order to lull the public into
thinking that there can actually be such a thing as a good, clean,
“painless” war. “Iraq will be a ‘good’ war, like WWII. There will be no
unnecessary deaths, no phony war propaganda. After the war we’ll easily
create a democracy in Iraq, just as we did in Germany, using kindness
and positive reinforcement. And you can trust our President’s reasons
for going to war. Our government would never knowingly use false
information to entice Americans into supporting a war.” Many Americans
backed the war in Iraq because they believed that there was historical
precedent for the right’s fanciful vision of how the Iraq war would be
fought and won.               

antiwar left also uses the mythical model of World War II in order to
create a phony standard of what constitutes a “good” war. A “good” war,
like WWII, is one in which no enemy civilians are intentionally
targeted or needlessly killed, no phony propaganda is used to justify
the war, and vanquished foes are treated in a fair and decent manner.
During the Afghan war, once Afghani civilians started dying in U.S. air
raids, the left declared that it was no longer a “good” war – like

Americans have protested the treatment of captured Taliban and Al Qaeda
prisoners on the grounds that these prisoners deserved a fair and
constitutionally sound hearing, “just like at Nuremberg.” Since no real
war can ever measure up to the phony standard of a “good war” generated
by the mythical version of World War II, the left can conveniently
oppose any and all military operations on the grounds that they are not
“good wars” like World War II was.               

the years, dissident historians have accumulated an impressive array of
facts that challenge the myths of World War II. Documents and
testimonies have been found that show that the Allies purposely
targeted German civilians during air attacks,18 that the Allies were
ready and willing to use poison gas against Germany and Japan,19 that
England and France were as responsible as Germany for the initiation of
the war,20 that the postwar period between the end of hostilities in
Europe in 1945 and the initiation of the progressive Marshall Plan in
1947 was marked by the organized murder, rape, and starvation of German
civilians,21 and that the postwar trials of captured Germans were
tainted by phony evidence and the systematic torture of the

a bid to silence war dissenters, President Roosevelt imprisoned
American antiwar authors and activists23 (ironically, many of the books
written by these imprisoned authors in the 1940s are now banned again
under the current laws that criminalize World War II and Holocaust
history24). In England, Prime Minister Churchill had antiwar authors,
activists, and even members of Parliament imprisoned in a concentration
camp on a British island.25               

are volumes of evidence suggesting that the Allies engaged in a massive
disinformation campaign after the war in order to convince the public
that the war, and its mind numbing body count of 50,000,000 people, had
been necessary and worthwhile. After all, the initial reason for the
war – to keep Poland free – was no longer usable after Roosevelt “gave”
Poland to Stalin at the close of the war. Therefore, finding and
publicizing evidence of Nazi crimes against humanity became necessary
in order to create a new justification for the war (ironically, most
mainstream historians now believe that Hitler came up with the idea of
murdering the Jews sometime in the summer or autumn of 1941, two years
after the war began, making World War II a war with an ex post facto
reason for being26).               

is no doubt that the Nazis committed many inexcusable crimes during the
war, but the question facing modern historians is this: did the Allies,
in their postwar haste to find evidence of Nazi “crimes against
humanity,” take major liberties with the truth? Even the most respected
figures in Holocaust history have admitted the vast extent of the
postwar disinformation campaign conducted by the Allied governments.
The Director of the Auschwitz State Museum admitted in a 1992
documentary that the building displayed at the camp as a “gas chamber”
is actually a postwar fabrication created by the Soviets and Poles.27
Similar admissions have been made about the gas chamber on display at
Dachau, which was apparently created by the U.S. Army after the war for
propaganda purposes.28 The Dachau Museum in Munich admits that the
claims made by the U.S. Army about people being gassed at Dachau were
Officials of the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, admit that the
Soviet Union went to great extremes in order create false war crimes
evidence, even to the extent of staging phony footage of “Nazis”
gassing children. According to the Director of the Department of Film
and Video at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Soviet soldiers wearing German
uniforms posed as Nazis, and pretended to gas children while the
cameras rolled. This phony “gassing” film was created for use against
the Germans at the Nuremberg Trial.30       

Hilberg, perhaps the most respected Holocaust author in the world,
admitted that the Nazi commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp
had been tortured by the British into signing a confession that was
totally false.31 Yehuda Bauer, Chair of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew
University, disclosed in 1989 that, after the war, Polish Communists
and nationalists, “for political purposes,” grossly inflated the number
of dead at Auschwitz, yet “sheer repetition led many Jews to accept the
numbers. It’s the historian’s task to examine myths,” Bauer said, “and,
if necessary, explode them.”32               

Heiden, a refugee from Nazi Germany and perhaps the most important anti
Nazi author of the war years, published a detailed article in Life
magazine immediately after the war, providing step-by-step details of
how the Nuremberg defendants were being tortured by the Allies into
confessing, and contrasting the Soviet methods of torture
(psychological) with the U.S. methods (physical brutality).33               

Campaign to Decriminalize World War II History has collected over 100
quotes from the world’s most respected mainstream Holocaust historians
attesting to just how little is actually known about the central
features of the Holocaust (the gas chambers, the number of Jews killed,
and the existence of a genocide plan).34               

fact, it wasn’t until 1989 that anyone even attempted to scientifically
prove the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz – in a book titled
Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, published by
the world renowned Holocaust education organization, the Klarsfeld
Foundation. Before publication, the book was hailed in the New York
Times as a major breakthrough in Holocaust history.35 Unfortunately,
the book’s author, Jean Claude Pressac, concluded that there is “an
absence of any ‘direct,’ i.e. palpable, indisputable, and evident proof
of homicidal gas chambers” at Auschwitz.36 The book was immediately
withdrawn from circulation.             
light of the paucity of reliable evidence for certain aspects of
Holocaust history, some of our nation’s leading Holocaust institutions
have turned to using less-than-credible evidence. The United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum displays a cast of the door to a “gas
chamber” from the Majdanek camp in Poland. The problem is, Jean Claude
Pressac (see above) wrote in his book that this room at Majdanek was
simply a chamber for delousing clothes.37               

Dr. Michael Shermer, who has penned several books aimed at countering
the claims of revisionist Holocaust historians, has said that he agrees
with revisionists that this room was not a gas chamber used for killing
people.38 Amazingly, when Shermer questioned Michael Berenbaum,
Director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum,39 about the authenticity of
the Majdanek “gas chamber” door, Berenbaum replied that he had never
actually examined the door, even though it’s a central exhibit in his
own museum!40 (According to Shermer, both Berenbaum and world renowned
Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg are "remarkably ignorant" of the
"anomalous data" that might prove revisionists right.41)               

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles offers its
visitors “documentary footage” of the Nazis gassing children in a “gas
van” that the Nazis had deceitfully disguised as an ambulance. In
reality, this footage is actually a scene from a 1962 Polish
black-and-white fictional film, The Ambulance, directed by Janusz
Morgenstern. The Wiesenthal Center has removed the opening and closing
credits from the movie, exhibiting the altered film as authentic
“documentary” footage.42               

in 1993, in honor of the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum,
the U.S. National Archives reedited a piece of 1945 U.S. Army Signal
Corps footage of a Paris rifle range, removing the soundtrack and
changing the description in the National Archives catalog from
“Parisian firing range” to “Nazi gas chamber.” This altered footage is
prominently featured in a guide to National Archives “Holocaust
footage” that is sold in the Holocaust Museum gift shop.43               

warning to the reader: being in possession of the information contained
in the preceding nine paragraphs could well get you arrested or
expelled from most European countries and Canada – so be careful where
you take this information!)

laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history have the net
effect of providing legal cover for the myths that are exploited by
people of all political persuasions and ideologies during times of war
and national crisis. By suppressing research that questions these
myths, we deprive ourselves of the information we need in order to ask
our leaders, and ourselves, the kinds of hard questions that are
particularly relevant right now:               

there be such a thing as a “good” war? Can a “preemptive” war ever be
necessary? If it was right to declare war against one brutal dictator
(Hitler) before he committed the crimes that would later be used as the
very reason for that war, is it right to preemptively strike other
brutal dictators before they become greater menaces?   

a war, and can a postwar occupation, be conducted successfully without
resorting to brutality? Is brutality ever warranted? If it was
justifiable to torture captured Nazis after the war in order to obtain
evidence of Nazi war crimes, is it okay to use torture to gain
information from captured Al Qaeda fighters? If it was acceptable to
try Nazis in front of military tribunals in which they had limited
rights of defense, and in which false evidence was used to convict, is
it okay to do the same to Muslim extremists – who have, after all,
murdered more U.S. civilians than the Nazis did?               

it ever permissible for our government to use deception in order
popularize a war? If it turns out that some of the war crimes
accusations made against the Nazis were unfounded, should we correct
the historical record? Or is it better to keep quiet, lest we risk
making the Nazis appear less evil to future generations? And if it’s
okay to continue using falsehoods against the Nazis, is it okay to use
falsehoods against Al Qaeda, or Saddam Hussein?               

who advocate an open and unrestrained debate over our government’s case
for going to war in Iraq say that allowing such a debate strengthens
our democracy. If that’s true, then why shouldn’t we allow an equally
open and unrestrained debate over our government’s case for going to
war against Germany and Japan?

if it’s okay to suppress “revisionist” Holocaust views because some
people claim that they are insensitive to Holocaust survivors, should
it be okay to suppress views critical of the war on terrorism, because
they’re insensitive to the victims of terrorism and their families?               

questions may not have easy “yes” or “no” answers, but it is simply
wrong to criminalize and suppress the historical research that prompts
us to face these necessary questions. We don’t have to agree with
dissident World War II and Holocaust researchers in order to recognize
the value and relevance of the questions their research raises. When we
deprive them of the ability do their work, we are depriving ourselves
of something valuable, as well.               

we should not just be asking ourselves these “hard questions.” Laws
that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history have turned many of
our European “allies” into hypocrites.               

Germany, it is legal for Germans and foreign nationals to belong to Al
Qaeda and publicly talk about murdering Americans and Jews, but German
citizens and foreign nationals who violate the German laws that
criminalize Holocaust and World War II history are immediately charged
and prosecuted.44               

France, books claiming that 9/11 was a hoax perpetrated by the U.S. and
Israel have become bestsellers carried by almost every major French
bookstore.45 At the same time, however, authors who write critically
about World War II or Holocaust history are thrown in prison or fined
(France has Europe’s most severe anti revisionist law, prohibiting
people from questioning the version of World War II history that was
laid out immediately after the war by the Allies at the Nuremberg Trial
in 1946).               

French government has no problem with wild conspiracy theories about
9/11, or the American war on terrorism, but it won’t allow its own
citizens to critically examine the history of France’s last war – a war
through which, it should be noted, France acquired quite a lot of
territory. The French have condemned Israel for, among other things,
acquiring territory through war, but there are no laws in Israel
prohibiting the critical examination of Israel’s past wars.46 Why won’t
the French government allow its citizens the same right?               

2002, when the U.S. decided to conduct tighter screening procedures for
foreign visitors from countries that sponsor terrorism, the Canadian
government reacted in horror to this “human rights violation,” even
going so far as instructing its residents of Middle Eastern descent not
to visit the U.S. Yet the Canadian government supplies its own customs
agency with a veritable laundry list of World War II and Holocaust
history books that are illegal in Canada. These books cannot be
imported into Canada or possessed by Canadians. The Canadian government
thinks that the U.S. should not screen visitors from “high risk”
nations who seek to enter our country, yet the Canadians rigorously
screen every book that is brought into their country.47               

is the Canadian government afraid to allow its citizens to read
dissident views of World War II and the Holocaust? The criminalization
of Holocaust and World War II history is taken to such extremes in
Canada that, in 1997, a well known columnist for one of Vancouver’s
largest newspapers was prosecuted for writing a negative review of the
movie Schindler’s List!48 According to the logic of the Canadian
government, it is a “human rights violation” for the U.S. to require
foreign visitors from high risk nations traveling on guest visas to
report changes of address during their stay, but it’s not a human
rights violation to prosecute a man for writing a movie review!               

OPEN DEBATE               

though there are not yet any laws in the United States that criminalize
Holocaust and World War II research, that doesn’t mean that there is a
free and open exchange of ideas regarding these subjects. There are
plenty of ways to suppress free speech in a free country. Apart from
the banning of dissident Holocaust views on college campuses (discussed
earlier), there is also that most reliable method of stifling free
speech – outright intimidation and threats of violence.               

Rubin ran a Los Angeles–based organization called the Jewish Defense
League (JDL), a militant, paramilitary style activist group. If Mr.
Rubin’s name sounds familiar, it’s because in December 2001, three
months after 9/11, Rubin and his JDL second in command, Earl Krugel,
made headlines when they were arrested by the FBI for plotting to blow
up Muslim and Arab targets in L.A. The targets included a West L.A.
mosque, and the offices of Lebanese American congressman Darrel Issa.
The day of destruction was apparently planned for December 13, 2001,
but fortunately the FBI was able to intercept the plot before the bombs
could be planted.49 Had Rubin’s plan been carried out, hundreds,
possibly thousands, of innocent people would have been killed. Rubin
committed suicide on November 4, 2002, while in prison awaiting trial.
Soon afterwards, Krugel pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and hate
crime charges.               

no one in the press or in law enforcement seemed eager to discuss in
the wake of Rubin’s arrest was that, for the past twenty years, Rubin
and the JDL had routinely terrorized dissident Holocaust and World War
II scholars and researchers, and the authorities did nothing about it.
In May 1982, the JDL firebombed the Los Angeles home of history teacher
Dr. George Ashley.50 In December of that year, Dr. Ashley’s home was
ransacked, and a note left behind by the JDL warned Ashley to stop
espousing revisionist Holocaust views.51 Finally, in May 1985, Dr.
Ashley’s home was firebombed and burned to the ground.52               

1982 and 1983, the JDL physically assaulted Cal State Long Beach
professor Reinhard Buchner, who served on the editorial board of a
publishing house that published revisionist books.53 In September 1982,
the offices of that publishing house were riddled with bullets and
burned by an arson device.54 On July 4, 1984, that same publishing
house was completely burned to the ground by the JDL, causing over
$400,000 in damage and destroying over 10,000 books.55               

June 1985 the JDL firebombed the offices of a Santa Monica, CA, German
American organization that had published revisionist Holocaust views in
its newsletter.56 And in April 1985, the JDL trashed the car of
University of Tulsa professor Charles Weber because of his Holocaust
research. A note left on Dr. Weber’s windshield brazenly identified the
attack as the work of the JDL, and threatened Dr. Weber with further
violence should he continue writing about the Holocaust.57               

February 1989, the JDL threatened the Red Lion hotel chain with
violence unless it cancelled a conference of Holocaust and World War II
revisionists that was scheduled to take place at one of the chain’s
Orange County, CA, locations. Red Lion cancelled the event, which was
moved to a nearby Holiday Inn. When the Holiday Inn received similar
threats from the JDL, it, too, cancelled the event.58               

JDL’s attacks on dissident Holocaust researchers reached its peak in
1994, when Irv Rubin, now making use of the information superhighway,
posted a notice in the Internet calling for the murder of documentary
filmmaker and Holocaust researcher David Cole, who had produced the
film in which the Director of the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland
admitted that the “gas chamber” there was a postwar fake. Rubin had
previously assaulted Cole (who, it should be noted, is a Jew) in 1991,
when Cole was invited to speak at UCLA, beating Cole on stage, in front
of hundreds of people, and as cameras for the CBS news program 48 Hours
were rolling.59 The notice that Rubin circulated on the Internet in
1994 was titled Who Is David Cole and Why Must He Die? It referred to
Cole as a “Jewish traitor” who had to be “taken out,” and it featured a
photo of Cole.60       

November 1994, three months after Rubin’s “death warrant” for Cole was
put on the Internet, Cole was beaten by unknown assailants in his
Culver City, CA, neighborhood.61 Several months before that attack,
Rubin and Earl Krugel – Rubin’s coconspirator in the thwarted 2001
bombings – were interviewed by a freelance journalist in L.A. During
the videotaped interview, Krugel unambiguously expressed his desire to
see Cole dead.62 After 1994, Cole went into hiding, prompting Rubin to
offer a “large monetary reward” to anyone who could divulge Cole’s
location, adding that he was now ready to take “immediate action” to
“eliminate” Cole.63             
December 1997, Irv Rubin and David Cole reached an agreement, in which
Cole publicly recanted his Holocaust views, and Rubin removed the death
warrant and the “reward” from the JDL web site. After receiving Cole’s
recantation, Rubin bragged on his web site that this is “evidence of
the power of the Jewish Defense League.”64 Cole has not spoken a word
publicly since then.               

no time during this twenty year history of threats and attacks against
revisionist researchers and historians did the local police, the FBI,
or the press express any real interest in the JDL’s terrorist
activities. As long as the targets of Mr. Rubin’s wrath were dissident
historians and filmmakers, no one seemed to care. It was only when
Rubin tried to mount an attack against other targets that the
authorities started paying attention.               

Fortunately, the FBI was able to prevent a massacre in 2001, but it’s
not unreasonable to suggest that if the JDL’s earlier attacks against
dissident historians had been taken seriously, if people had cared that
these beatings, bombings, and threats were taking place, Rubin might
not have been in a position to mount the December 2001 attacks, and
hundreds of innocent Arab and Muslim Americans wouldn’t have come so
close to meeting a violent death.               

course, it doesn’t always take something as extreme as a firebomb or a
death warrant to intimidate people. Across the U.S., dozens of
teachers, at the grade school, high school, and college level, have
been fired, suspended, or reprimanded for voicing alternative
viewpoints regarding the Holocaust and World War II.65 Dissident
historians have been unable to find publishers for their books, or have
been unceremoniously dropped by their publishers.66 Even without formal
laws criminalizing Holocaust and World War II history, the private
sector has, in its own way, been able to stifle free speech through job
reprisals. Reprisals such as these can be just as effective as state
sponsored censorship.               

case in point: In Japan, as in the U.S., there are not as of yet any
laws that criminalize Holocaust and World War II history. In 1995, the
Japanese magazine Marco Polo (a Vanity Fair–type mixture of pop culture
and politics) published an article by a Tokyo neurosurgeon detailing
his trip to Auschwitz, and the questions he came away with concerning
the accuracy of some of the exhibits. Immediately, there was an
international outcry, and Marco Polo’s publisher, Japan’s powerful
Bungei Shunju publishing house, responded by completely dissolving the
magazine and firing its entire staff, from the editors right down to
the receptionists.67 This sent a message that was just as powerful as
any governmental law. In the nine years since the Marco Polo incident,
no other Japanese publication has dared to revisit the subject.               

The fear of losing one’s job can be just as strong as the fear of going to jail, or the fear of violence.               

there are other ways of stifling open debate in a free country. If the
mass media decide not to play fair, and if journalists abandon all
basic standards of journalistic ethics, the public can be kept in the
dark about a controversial issue just as surely as if there were laws
prohibiting discussion of that subject.               

course, media bias can be a difficult thing to prove. Advocates for
every political and ideological cause claim that some segment of the
media is biased against them, and it’s the standard response of every
media outlet, from CNN to Fox, to deny that their coverage is slanted
or biased.               

difficult as it may be to pin down exactly what constitutes bias, most
in the media would certainly agree that it is unethical for a reporter
to invent a quote and falsely attribute it to an interview subject.               

that, let’s revisit the case of Jewish documentary filmmaker and
Holocaust researcher David Cole (mentioned above). Mr. Cole’s
experiences with the media provide an excellent example of the manner
in which dissident Holocaust and World War II researchers are treated
by the press. Whenever he was interviewed, Cole always went to great
lengths to say that he did not deny the Holocaust. Let’s take a look at
a few examples of the media’s accuracy when reporting about Cole:               

March 1993, when the Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin
campus newspaper, decided to ban an advertisement for one of David
Cole’s documentaries (this is the incident mentioned earlier in which
UT Austin Chancellor Robert Berdahl argued in favor of the banning),
Cole wrote an op ed in defense of his film, which the Daily Texan
printed. This caused a major controversy that was covered by the
Associated Press (the world’s largest news organization). The March 9
AP dispatch, written by AP Southwest Bureau writer Pauline Arrillaga,
quoted Cole’s oped as stating that “The Holocaust was a hoax,
fabricated to drum up support for Jewish causes.”68               

problem was, that quote didn’t appear in Cole’s oped (or in anything
else Cole had ever written), and the sentiments expressed in the phony
quote were actually the complete opposite of Cole’s position, that it
was primarily the Allied governments, not Jewish organizations, that
exaggerated war crimes evidence for military and political reasons. As
Cole pointed out, if the Allies had cared about “Jewish causes,” they
would have expressed more concern about the plight of the Jews during
the war.               

sent a letter to Ms. Arrillaga asking about the origin of the phony
quote. Ms. Arrillaga replied with this response: “Yes, the ‘hoax’ line
did not actually appear in your oped [emphasis ours]. We mistakenly
attributed it to you due to faulty background information.”69 Ms.
Arrillaga, who did not explain what she meant by “faulty background
information,” went on to say that if Cole wanted the false quote
corrected, it would be up to him to contact each one of the hundreds of
newspapers that carried the AP story!               

Cole was interviewed for the Jerusalem Report, Israel’s leading English
language newsmagazine, Cole made certain that the interview was audio
taped, to ensure accuracy. When the interview was published in October
1993, Cole was quoted as saying that the Holocaust was a “fantasy.”70
Once again, this was the exact opposite of Cole’s position. Cole
contacted Sheldon Teitelbaum, the Jerusalem Report senior reporter who
had interviewed him, and demanded to know where the “fantasy” quote
came from, as Cole had never said it, and it was not on the audiotape
of the interview.               

Mr. Teitelbaum was brazen enough to send Cole a faxed response with the following admission:               

The word “fantasy,” I suspect, may have been chosen by a copy editor who interpreted reality in this fashion. The quotation marks were not intended to signify a quote from you
[emphasis ours]. This offending phrase works as a transgression against
Strunk & White, who warn against using quotation marks to signify
sardonic word usage

other words, this quote did not represent something that Cole had
actually said, but instead represented a copy editor’s “interpretation
of reality.” This copy editor used the phony quote in a “sardonic”
(defined by Webster’s as “a disdainfully or derisively mocking”) way
against Cole. When Cole asked the editors of the Jerusalem Report to
print a clarification to let their readers know that he never said that
the Holocaust was a “fantasy,” they refused. Reporter Teitelbaum
cynically told Cole that the editors don’t have to worry about libel or
slander laws because “they are not in U.S. jurisdiction anyway.”72               

July 1994, Cole was interviewed by Dr. Michael Shermer, a leading
critic of Holocaust revisionism. Shermer has penned several books
attacking revisionists, including Denying History and Why People
Believe Weird Things. Shermer’s interview with Cole was part of an
article about revisionism that appeared in Shermer’s magazine
Skeptic,73 and later, in expanded form, in Why People Believe Weird
Things. In the article, Shermer included Cole’s name in a list of
revisionist “racists,” right alongside the names of neo Nazis and
skinheads. Shermer provided no evidence to back up this very serious
charge, and when Cole, who strenuously denied that he was in any way
racist, asked Shermer to issue a retraction, Shermer flat out refused.               

in February 1995, Shermer was interviewed by Daniel Berman, a graduate
student researching Holocaust revisionism. The interview was not
intended for public distribution, but Shermer allowed it to be
recorded. The following has been transcribed directly from the tape of
the interview:74               

BERMAN: “Well, David Cole is not racist, is he?”               

SHERMER: “No. And I didn’t say that about David. He’s not the least bit racist….”               

BERMAN: “But in your article you listed a bunch of….”               

“Yeah, I’d already listed a bunch of racists, a bunch of them together,
and I threw Cole into that bunch because I was listing everybody I had
interviewed, and that was probably the biggest, uh, misleading, the
most misleading thing I said in my article. I should have left Cole out
of that.”               

Shermer admitted that he “misled” his readers regarding Cole being a
racist. Nevertheless, to this day, he refuses to print a retraction in
his magazine.               

Shermer also made a few candid admissions about Cole’s work:               

“Maybe Cole’s right. I think the whole gas chamber story is probably,
in terms of physical evidence, the weakest link in the whole story. To
me, it doesn’t matter whether the gas chamber story is completely true
or not. Maybe it could be modified, for all I know.”               

January 1994, Cole was asked by veteran CBS newsman Mike Wallace to be
interviewed for 60 Minutes. Cole refused, citing concerns about how his
comments might be reedited in post production to change their meaning.
60 Minutes went ahead and profiled Cole anyway. For footage of Cole, 60
Minutes relied on using clips from other talk shows he had done,
including a clip from Cole’s 1992 appearance on The Montel Williams
Show. In the clip of The Montel Williams Show that was used in the 60
Minutes profile of Cole, Montel looks at the camera and asks if the
Holocaust is “a myth.” The camera then immediately cuts to Cole nodding
in agreement. To the millions of 60 Minutes viewers, it clearly looked
as though Cole nodded in agreement after Montel asked if the Holocaust
was a myth. The clip had been altered.               

April 1992 episode of The Montel Williams Show in which Cole appeared,
and the March 1994 episode of 60 Minutes in which Cole was profiled,
are both available from Burrelle’s Transcripts. A comparison of the two
tapes shows that the producers of 60 Minutes took a “nod” that David
Cole gave at the very beginning of the show, as Montel was reading a
list of his credits, and reedited the nod so that it followed Montel’s
question about the Holocaust being a “myth.”               

a real time counter, the “nod” appears at exactly 0:00:56 (fifty six
seconds) into the show. Nearly eleven minutes later, at 0:11:36 into
the show, Montel looks at the camera and asks if the Holocaust is a
myth “or is it truth? We’ll find out when we come back.” The camera
then pans the audience as the show breaks for a commercial; Cole is not
shown nodding or doing anything else. When the show returns from the
break, Montel starts taking questions from the studio audience; the
“myth” question is not put to Cole, or to anyone else on the panel.               

producers of 60 Minutes took Cole’s “nod” from the beginning of the
show and placed it after Montel’s “myth” question, which was truncated
to remove the rest of the sentence, in which Montel throws to
commercial break. To 60 Minutes viewers, it appeared as though Montel
asked the “myth” question to Cole, who then nodded in agreement. A
total fabrication, courtesy of America’s number one prime time news

six years of public appearances and lectures, David Cole, a self
described political liberal, never once denied the Holocaust or the
mass killing of Jews, but that didn’t stop major media outlets from
inventing quotes and fabricating footage in order to completely
misrepresent his views. And these are not isolated incidents. Most
revisionists have similar stories to tell.               

problem of media bias regarding dissident Holocaust and World War II
historians has become even harder to deny in the past few years. The
New York Times has, since 2000, sponsored yearly seminars at the Times
building in New York City with the express purpose of convincing
journalists and journalism students to censor revisionist Holocaust and
World War II views.75 At the February 2003 seminar, New York Times
publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. argued against allowing any
“intellectual exchange” with revisionist Holocaust historians, and
Emory University journalism professor (and former NYT reporter)
Catherine Manegold said that bias in this area is not only acceptable
but desirable.76               

Sometimes it can be difficult to prove media bias. Sometimes it can be surprisingly easy.               

The Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History tracked down David
Cole, who has refused to make any public comment since 1997, when Irv
Rubin removed the “death warrant” from Cole’s head. With Rubin dead,
Cole felt comfortable enough to provide us with a statement about the
net effects of violence, intimidation, and media bias on Holocaust

Rubin put the “hit” on me, I realized I had to get out. In the end,
regardless of my love of history, I didn’t want to die. It was just
that simple. And that’s what happens when violence and intimidation, or
the threat of prosecution, like in Europe and Canada, are introduced
into a debate. Anyone who has anything to lose shuts the hell up, or
gets the hell out.               

Holocaust history hasn’t made the field safe from the lunatic fringe –
the anti Semites, the “Holocaust deniers,” the people who have nothing
to lose anyway. All it’s done is make serious researchers too
frightened to say anything that might get them in trouble. And frankly,
it’s irrelevant to me whether the historians who’ve been fined or
thrown in prison are right or wrong in their theories and conclusions.
Historians should have the right to be wrong. To me, this is a
fundamental right that applies to people in every discipline.               

needed now is what I call a “post hysteria cleanup.” Whenever society
has one of its episodes of mass hysteria, like the “Communist menace”
scare of the ’50s, or the “satanic child molestation” hysteria of the
’80s, the media and the politicians jump on the bandwagon and people’s
rights get trampled. But after the hysteria inevitably comes the
“cleanup,” when we have to clean up the mess we made when we thought
the sky was falling.               

the 1990s, there was a hysteria, especially in Europe and Canada, about
“Holocaust denial,” and one country after another passed laws aimed at
punishing historians, writers, and publishers who step out of line.
Well, the hysteria’s over now. It’s time for a cleanup; time to repeal
those laws. There are a lot of good reasons to do so, but for me, the
number one reason comes down to a basic, simple principle: no one
should be thrown in prison for writing a book."               


there is a common thread running through each section of this booklet,
it is that there is an inextricable connection between our own freedoms
and the freedoms we allow to others. When we allow views we disagree
with to be suppressed, we are, in the end, laying the groundwork for
those who disagree with us to suppress our views. When we allow people
we disagree with to be beaten and threatened with death for speaking
out, eventually we will encounter the same threats when we try to speak
out. And if we allow the press to lower its standards of fairness and
accuracy when dealing with “unpopular” views, we may one day find
ourselves the target of media bias for expressing views that others
find “unpopular.”               

is also a connection between the laws that criminalize Holocaust and
World War II history abroad, and the quality of Holocaust and World War
II history in this country. With so many of the world’s major Holocaust
research institutions and archives located in Europe, the laws that
restrict Holocaust and World War II research in Europe significantly
affect the quality of Holocaust historiography in America and the rest
of the world.               

as important as it is to protect free speech and open debate, a
somewhat more provocative, but no less important, assertion is that
dissident views deserve to be heard; that we profit from being exposed
to them, whether we agree with them or not. We need to challenge our
beliefs by listening to those who believe differently. When we expose
ourselves to views that challenge our preconceived notions, we will
either become more secure in the correctness of our own beliefs, or we
will learn something new and revise our beliefs accordingly. Either
way, we will have profited from the experience.               

point was never better made than during the criminal trial of Ernst
Zundel, a publisher who was tried and convicted by the Canadian
government twice, in 1985 and 1988, for publishing revisionist books
about the Holocaust. Both convictions were overturned by the Canadian
courts, and Zundel fled to the U.S. with his American wife to escape a
third trial in Canada. After 9/11, the U.S. shipped Zundel back to
Canada, where the Canadian government, using its new post9/11
“security” laws, decided to skip the inconvenience of having another
trial, and simply threw Zundel in prison without trial. Zundel has been
held in solitary confinement, in a small, bare, concrete “isolation
cell,” since February 2003, even though he’s been convicted of no
crime, and even though the only “crime” the Canadian government has
ever charged him with was publishing a book.77             
for the prosecution at Zundel’s 1985 trial was Raul Hilberg (the man
who is considered the father of Holocaust history). During cross
examination, Hilberg was asked by Zundel’s attorney, Doug Christie,
whether people like Zundel actually perform a service by questioning
the views of mainstream Holocaust historians. The resulting exchange is
taken directly from the trial transcript:78               

“Holocaust revisionists, without having wanted to do so in the first
place, have rendered us a good service. They have come up with
questions which have the effect of engaging the historians in fresh
research work. The historians are obliged to come forward with more
information, to scrutinize the documents once again, and to go much
further in the understanding of what really happened.”               

“So in fact people questioning these types of situations can be of use
to you and to others in stimulating further research.”               

HILBERG: “Obviously.”               

1995, Hilberg reiterated those views in an interview in Vanity Fair, in
which he expressed his disdain for laws that punish revisionist
historians: “If these people want to speak, let them. It only leads
those of us who do research to reexamine what we might have considered
as obvious. And that’s useful to us. I am not for taboos, and I am not
for repression.”79               

Hilberg, the world’s most respected Holocaust author, freely admits
that revisionists perform a valuable service by challenging the views
of mainstream historians.               

that’s what dissent does. It challenges the status quo. Permitting
dissent keeps things open and honest. Banning dissent encourages deceit
and intellectual laziness. World War II and Holocaust history do not
need to be “protected” by laws. No science or discipline has ever been
improved by government imposed limits on research and debate. Only
those “experts” who don’t have the factual ammunition to defend their
theories are served by laws that shield them from criticism.               

President John F. Kennedy said, “We are not afraid to entrust the
American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien
philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to
let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a
nation that is afraid of its people.”80               

Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History is fighting to overturn the
laws that criminalize historical research into the Holocaust and World
War II, and to obtain freedom for anyone who has been imprisoned under
those laws. We also seek to prevent similar laws from being passed in
the United States. We feel that an organization such as ours is
necessary because other, more traditional “free speech” organizations
have steadfastly refused to protest the prosecution and imprisonment of
revisionist historians. In the face of this silence, we feel that a
new, focused effort is needed to fight the criminalization of Holocaust
and World War II history.               


Technically, the laws that criminalize Holocaust and WWII history apply
to all 25 European Union nations, because EU regulations allow cross
border prosecutions. Citizens of any EU nation can be held accountable
for breaking the laws of any other EU nation. Before Belgium outlawed
dissident Holocaust and World War II history, dissident Belgian
publishers and historians would be prosecuted under the laws of
Belgium’s neighbor, the Netherlands (Jewish Press, October 30, 1992).

To see the exact wording of the laws that criminalize Holocaust and
WWII history in each of the above nations, see links on this site.

3 For more details regarding revisionists and college campuses, see               

The similarities between the Clinton Omnibus Antiterrorism Act and the
Patriot Act are spelled out in detail in a Center for National Security
Studies report available on the Web site of the Center for Democracy
and Technology, The Clinton law expanded the government’s wiretapping powers and
allowed for the use of secret and illegally obtained evidence to deport
aliens and for the permanent detention of aliens. As long as these
provisions were promoted by a liberal Democratic president for use
against right wing, antigovernment militias made up of “angry white
men,” most “civil rights” and “human rights” advocates were willing to
remain silent, not realizing that one day those same provisions might
be used by a different administration against different targets.

5 “Respecting History,” Cornell Daily Sun, November 22, 1991.               

6 Robert Berdahl, “Holocaust Ad Violates TSP’s Own Standard,” Daily Texan, February 22, 1993.               

7 Transcription from videotape of 2000 Berkeley Commencement Ceremony.               

8 Bear in Mind (radio program), March 18, 2003.               

9 “Expose Holocaust Revisionism to Rebuttal,” Dallas Morning News, January 4, 1992.               

The conference was detailed in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech,
ed. Monroe H. Freedman and Eric M. Freedman (Westport, CT: Greenwood
Press, 1995).

11 Letter from Professor Monroe H. Freedman to contest entrants. Original copy in author’s possession.               

12 Professor Robert Martin, quoted in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 213.               

13 Professor Kenneth Lasson, quoted in Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 287.               

14 Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, p. 286               

15 Ibid., p. 323               

Interview with Devin House from the January 2004 issue of Mission to
Remember, the bimonthly newsletter of The Tinbergen Archives, a Beverly
Hills–based Holocaust education institute.

Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech, pp. 198, 279; keynote address
delivered at Hofstra Conference by Elie Wiesel (unpublished).

18 Caleb Tinbergen, “The Rarely Told Story of World War Two,” Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2001.               

On Prime Minister Churchill’s desire to “drench Germany with poison
gas,” see Professor Barton J. Bernstein, “Why We Didn’t Use Gas in
WWII,” American Heritage, August September 1985. On the U.S. plan to
initiate poison gas attack against Japan, see “Poisonous Invasion
Prelude,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 4, 1995; Thomas B. Allen and
Norman Polmar, Code Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan and
Why Truman Dropped the Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995).

F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton, WI: C.C. Nelson, 1953);
A.J.P. Taylor, Origins of the Second World War (New York: Atheneum,
1961); David Irving, Churchill’s War (Bullsbrook, Western Australia:
Veritas, 1987).

James Bacque, Crimes and Mercies (Toronto: Little, Brown, 1997);
Franklin Keeling, Gruesome Harvest (Chicago: Institute of American
Economics, 1947); Dr. Atina Grossman, Columbia University, “Liberation
and Mass Rape,” unpublished 2001 essay (Grossman cites estimates that
put the number of German women raped by Allied soldiers at war’s end at
1.9 million; Grossman estimates that at least one out of three women in
Berlin was raped by the liberating Allies).

Konrad Heiden, “Why They Confess,” Life, June 20, 1949; “Nazi Trial
Judge Rips ‘Injustice,’” Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1948; Carlos
Porter, Made in Russia: The Holocaust (n.p.: Historical Review Press,
1988); “The Use of Torture and Coercive Interrogation in World War II,”
Mission to Remember {yellow highlighted citation needs clarification
and/or expansion}.

Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St. George, A Trial on Trial: The Great
Sedition Trial of 1944 (Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review,

24 John Bennett, “Was Orwell Right?,” paper presented at the Sixth International Revisionist Conference.               

25 Ray Bearse and Anthony Read, Conspirator: The Untold Story of Tyler Kent (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1991).               

Christopher Browning, The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the
Final Solution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995);
Christopher Browning, Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the
Final Solution (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1985).

27 “David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper.” Available at               

28 Die Zeit, August 12, 1960.               

The official United States Government–filmed record of Nazi camps, Nazi
Concentration Camps (1945; directed by George Stevens), claimed that
inmates were gassed at Dachau. The same claim was made in the official
British–filmed record of Nazi camps, Memory of the Camps (1945;
directed by Alfred Hitchcock). A plaque currently on display at the
Dachau camp states plainly that no inmates were gassed at Dachau.

Letters from Raye Farr, Director, Department of Film and Video, United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum, to Holocaust survivor Josef Klein,
April 29, 1996, and August 30, 1996. From the private collection of the
late Josef Klein.

“Beyond Doubt: Understanding the Holocaust: An Interview with Raul
Hilberg,” by Dr. Michael Shermer, April 10, 1994; {Where does this
article/interview appear?} for confirmation that Rudolf Hoess,
commandant of Auschwitz, was tortured by the British, see the testimony
of Hoess’ captors in Rupert Butler, Legions of Death (Feltham, Eng.:
Hamlyn, 1983).

32 “Auschwitz Revisionism: An Israeli Scholar’s Case,” New York Times, November 12, 1989.               

33 Heiden, “Why They Confess” (above, note 22).               

34 “100 Reasons to Decriminalize Holocaust History,” 2004, published by The Campaign to Decriminalize Holocaust History.               

Richard Bernstein, “A New Book Is Said to Refute Revisionist View of
the Holocaust,” New York Times, December 18, 1989; Richard Bernstein,
“Verifying the Horror,” Los Angeles Jewish Journal, December 22, 1989.

Jean Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas
Chambers (New York: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989), p. 429.

37 Ibid., p. 555.               

The Holocaust Story in the Crossfire: The Weber Shermer Debate, VHS
(Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1995). This
videotape of a July 22, 1995, debate between Dr. Shermer and Institute
for Historical Review director Mark Weber, Shermer states that he is
“certain” that the room displayed as a gas chamber at the Majdanek camp
in Poland is “not a homicidal gas chamber.”

39 Dr. Michael Shermer interview of Michael Berenbaum, April 13, 1994.               

In 1997 Berenbaum left the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to
serve as director of Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah

Dr. Michael Shermer, interview by Daniel Berman, February 23, 1995.
{Transcript available?} In the interview, Shermer goes so far as to
suggest that the revisionists might have created a “paradigm shift” in
Holocaust history by asking questions that no one has ever thought to

The Ambulance (1962; directed by Janusz Morgenstern), is distributed in
the U.S. by The National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University,
Waltham, MA. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance allows
no photographic reproduction of any of its exhibits, and visitors are
searched for cameras upon entering. However, footage taken by
revisionist activists inside the Museum of Tolerance with a hidden
camera in 2002 shows the museum’s interactive video monitors playing
what is described as “documentary footage” of Jewish children being
killed in a “gas van” disguised as an ambulance. A comparison of this
“documentary footage” with a scene from The Ambulance shows that the
Museum of Tolerance footage has been lifted directly from the 1962
fictional film.

The Holocaust, Israel, and the Jews: Motion Pictures in the National
Archives, comp. Charles Lawrence Gellert (Washington, DC: National
Archives and Records Administration, 1989). Page 34 lists a reel of
film described only as “Army Signal Corps Stock Film, 9.6 minutes,
silent, b&w, Interior of a gas chamber, including hand prints dug
into the cement wall by the victims.” This “silent” footage of a “gas
chamber” is actually taken from a narrated U.S. Army Signal Corps film,
National Archives catalog number 111 M 1190, 48 minutes, sound,
b&w. This film establishes that the footage described in The
Holocaust, Israel, and the Jews as showing a “German gas chamber” is
actually footage of a Parisian rifle range.

On December 11, 2003, a judge in Hamburg, Germany, freed Moroccan Al
Qaeda member Aldelghani Mzoudi from custody, on the grounds that he was
not a member of the specific Al Qaeda cell that plotted the 9/11
attacks. The judge ruled that Mzoudi could not be held in custody
simply for being a member of Al Qaeda. In Germany, being a member of Al
Qaeda is legal, even though the organization’s stated aim is the murder
of Americans and Jews.

A good overview of the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy books in France
(and elsewhere in Europe) can be found in John A. McCurdy, “Making a
Case for 9/11 Skepticism,” Global Research, November 20, 2003.

The best, most brutally critical revisionist history regarding Israeli
wars comes from Israeli scholars. The French government should take a
page out of Israel’s book and allow its own scholars the right to
brutally examine and, if necessary, revise, the history of World War II.

Canadian Customs’ list of banned history books is provided in “20 Years
of Revisionist Oppression,” available at For a fascinating
article detailing the ease with which private organizations can lobby
the Canadian government to ban a particular book from the entire
country of Canada, see “Wiesenthal Center Wants Book Banned,” Canadian
Jewish News, January 14, 1988.

48 Noel Wright, “Battling the Tyrants of the Mind,” North Shore News, May 12, 1997.               

49 Greg Krikorian and Richard Winton, “JDL Leader Accused in Mosque Bomb Plot,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2001.            

50 Los Angeles Daily News, December 9, 1982, p. 10.               

Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), September 1, 1984; R. Varenchik, “Man Who
Calls Holocaust a Lie Reports Threat; JDL Figure Held,” Los Angeles
Daily News, August 21, 1984, pp. 1, 8.

52 A. Jalon, “Bomb Hits Home of Holocaust Doubter,” Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1985.

53 IHR Newsletter, June 1981, p. 4; IHR Newsletter, May 1983, p. 6.

54 “Arsonists Hit Institute for Historical Review Office,” Daily Breeze
(Torrance, CA), July 5, 1984, p. A3; “Nazi Holocaust Doubters Target of
Jewish Group,” Los Angeles Times, August 1, 1985, p. B1.

55 “Arsonists Hit Institute for Historical Review Office,” Daily Breeze
(Torrance, CA), July 5, 1984, p. A3; “JDL Applauds Blaze at Torrance
Institute,” Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA), July 7, 1984, pp. Al, A6.

56 Bruce Hoffman, Terrorism in the United States and the Potential
Threat to Nuclear Facilities, prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Energy,
R?3351?DOE, January 1986 (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 1986),
pp. 1–16.

57 Tulsa Tribune, April 12, 1985.               

58 “Truth, Democracy Lose as JDL Bullies Revisionists,” Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA), February 21, 1989.               

Daily Bruin, January 23, 1992. Along with the crew from CBS News’ 48
Hours, the lecture/assault was also covered by the local Fox affiliate,
KTTV Channel 11.

60 “Who Is David Cole and Why Must He Die?” Copy in author’s possession.               

Cole was assaulted by three men who followed him as he walked home from
his neighborhood supermarket on the night of November 22, 1994, at
approximately 11:40 PM. Cole suffered a broken nose and cut eye. Cole
did not recognize the men, and police made no arrests. The interview
has not been broadcast.

From an interview with Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel, September 1994,
conducted and videotaped by Adam Parfrey, owner of Feral House
Publishing and, at that time, a columnist for the San Diego Weekly.

63 Anti Defamation League Web site, “David Cole and Roger Garaudy,” 2001.               

64 Jewish Defense League Web site, “Jewish Holocaust Denier Asks for Forgiveness,” 1998.               

65 “20 Years of Revisionist Oppression” (above, note 47).               

Christopher Hitchens, “Hitler’s Ghosts,” Vanity Fair, June 1996;
Christopher Hitchens, “Where Historical Revisionism Is Concerned,
Nothing’s Sacred, and That’s Not a Bad Thing,” Vanity Fair, December
1993; Richard Cohen, “Controversial Goebbels Bio Deserves to Be Read,”
New York Post, June 5, 1996.

Teresa Watanabe, “Japanese Firm Offers Class on Holocaust,” Los Angeles
Times, May 27, 1995. The article in the Times applauded Bungei Shunju
for closing down the “offending publication” (Marco Polo) and firing
its staff, and for forcing all other employees to attend a Simon
Wiesenthal Center–sponsored seminar on anti Semitism, “in contrition
for the (revisionist) article.”

Pauline Arrillaga, “Ad Denying Holocaust Sparks Protest at UT,”
Associated Press, March 9, 1993. Arrillaga’s false quote was widely
quoted in the weeks following her AP story. For one example, see Debbie
M. Price, “Ignorance Is Soil for Insidiously Sown Lies about
Holocaust,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, April 25, 1993. Believing the
phony quote to be real, columnist Price denounced Cole as “a voice of
pure evil.”

69 Audiotape of conversation between David Cole and Pauline Arrillaga, March 12, 1993.               

70 Sheldon Teitelbaum, “Who Needs Enemies?,” Jerusalem Report, October 21, 1993.               

71 Fax from Sheldon Teitelbaum to David Cole, October 8, 1993.               

72 Ibid.               

73 Dr. Michael Shermer, “Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened?,” Skeptic, vol. 2, no. 4 (1994).               

Transcribed directly from audiotape of interview with Dr. Michael
Shermer, conducted by graduate student Daniel Berman on February 23,

Anti Defamation League, “Interpreting the First Amendment on Campus:
ADL and the New York Times Address Newspaper Acceptability Policies,
New York, N.Y.,” press release, December 1, 2000; Lewis Bauer, “NY
Times Colloquium Chips Away at Poignant Questions,” BICO News
(Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges).

76 The BICO News story mentioned in note 75.               

James S. McCarten, “Judge Ponders Zundel Detention,” London Free Press
News, November 20, 2003; “Judge Rules in Zundel Case,” Canadian Press
(CP) wire service dispatch, November 26, 2003: “Zundel, who has no
criminal record in Canada and is not facing any charges, has been in
solitary confinement since February after being deported to Canada for
overstaying a visitor’s visa in the United States.”

78 Taken directly from court transcript of Raul Hilberg’s cross examination during the trial of Ernst Zundel, January 16, 1985.            

79 Hitchens, “Hitler’s Ghosts” (above, note 66).               

80 From a tribute to poet Robert Frost, delivered at Amherst College in Massachusetts, October 27, 1963.            



Christopher Cole               

Christopher Cole was a fixture in leftist and progressive politics in
Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s. In 1988 he founded the
first Los Angeles chapter of the influential leftist organization
Refuse and Resist. As head of the L.A. chapter of R&R, Cole
organized benefit concerts and promotional gigs with artists such as
Sinead O’Connor, Michelle Shocked, and Fishbone. Cole was also
instrumental in organizing the network of politically and socially
conscious organizations that toured with the Lollapalooza festival.

was a founding member of the Ad Hoc Coalition for Freedom of
Expression, which was formed in 1989 to protest the Bush
Administration’s denial of NEA grant money to controversial artists.
Other members of the Coalition included officials of L.A.’s Museum of
Contemporary Art, and the legendary L.A. performance art space,
Highways. From 1989 through 1992, the Coalition organized art shows
across Southern California, showcasing the works of censored artists.

member of the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Writers
Union, and the National Abortion Rights Action League, Cole helped
organize a pro choice concert for L.A. talk radio station KFI in 1990,
featuring Sinead O’Connor and Susan Sarandon. That same year, Cole
helped organize a concert at L.A.’s Wilshire Ebell Theatre to raise
funds for the new democratic government of Czechoslovakia.

served as head of the L.A. chapter of Refuse and Resist until 1991,
when he became troubled by what he saw as a growing desire among some
on the left to censor views they didn’t agree with, as evidenced by the
clamor for campus “speech codes” in the early ‘90s. Cole left the ACLU
in 1992 in protest of what he saw as that organization’s reluctance to
take a clear and unambiguous stand against censorship in all its forms.
Since the mid‘90s, Cole has been an occasional oped contributor to the
Los Angeles Times, writing on free speech issues.

co founded the Campaign to Decriminalize World War II History because,
as he puts it, “This issue is the test of one’s commitment to free
speech. Liberals cried ‘censorship’ when CBS moved the Ronald Reagan TV
movie to the Show time cable network, and when an appearance by Tim
Robbins at the Baseball Hall of Fame was cancelled because of the
actor’s views on the Iraq war. None of these examples of so called
censorship compare to the draconian measures being carried out by the
nations of the West against Holocaust revisionists. Yet who has the
courage to stand up for the rights of these people? Anyone who is truly
against censorship should feel impelled to speak out on this issue. So
called‘anti censorship’ activists who confine their righteous
indignation to safe and comfortable controversies are cowards, pure and

Bradley R. Smith               

R. Smith is an author, playwright, and free speech activist. He has
been interviewed by hundreds of time by the print press, radio, and
television where he argues, simply, that the Holocaust question should
be examined in the routine manner that all other historical questions
are examined. He asks: “Why should it not be?

is a combat veteran (Korea, 7th Cavalry), has been a deputy sheriff
(Los Angeles County), a merchant seaman, a bookseller on Hollywood
Boulevard, a freelance writer in Vietnam (1968), and a longtime
activist for free speech. As a bookseller in the 1960s he refused to
stop selling a book that was banned by the U.S. Government—Henry
Miller’s Tropic of Cancer—and was prosecuted for breaking the law.

the 1990s Smith ran essay advertisements in student newspapers at
colleges and universities around the country calling for intellectual
freedom with regard to the Holocaust question. One result was that he
became the most widely recognized revisionist activist in America.
Pursuing this American ideal of free inquiry and open debate has earned
him the enmity of those who represent what Norman Finkelstein has so
aptly termed, the "Holocaust Industry."      

Rabbi Carlos C. Huerta has written:                               

Smith is doing the community a service. He is beginning to make many
Americans, both Jewish and non Jewish, realize that the traditional
method of dealing with Holocaust revisionism by ignoring it will no
longer suffice."
          Carlos C. Huerta, Midstream: A Monthly Jewish Review.
          [Major Huerta is a military chaplain serving (March 2004) in Iraq.]

Huerta was prescient, if not clairvoyant, with his suggestion that
“ignoring” revisionism would not suffice for those who want it to go
away. Those who own and administer the Holocaust Industry have been
able to make the expression of doubt about the “gas chambers” a
criminal offense in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and
Austria, (up to 20 years (!) in prison for saying what we say here),
and of course, in Israel. At this writing Holocaust revisionist Ernst
Zundel has been in a Canadian prison since February 2003, in solitary
confinement, for reprinting a booklet that questions the gas-chamber
stories. That is not only unjust, but morally wrong.

asks: If it is right to imprison you for writing a book, right to
imprison you for printing a book, right to imprison you for selling a
book, would it not be right to imprison you for reading a forbidden
book? Isn’t that the logic of the matter when you follow it out? It’s
really too stupid (as Proust would have it), but there it is. The
author, the printer, the seller, the reader. Will we play the role of
mere bystanders? Will we do nothing?

A Natural History of the Fag Hag?

Irresponsible Thoughts on Genes, Germs, and the Science of Homosexuality

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  I say a little
evolutionary psychology is the fucking devil. 

As sentient critters, we are at once blessed and cursed with a natural cognitive predisposition to recognize and seek out patterns, to discern order in virtually every detail of the complex and noisy social matrix in which we are contained. Of course, pattern recognition can be a good thing when it helps us detect cheating or predict crop cycles or figure out who wrote the Unabomber Manifesto. But the same neuro-mechanical biases that help us make sense of the world also help us make sense of nonsense. This is why people waste time obsessing over Virgin Mary Pop-Tarts or plotting out signs of Masonic cryptocracy in every frame and grain of the Zapruder assassination footage. 

Once you tune in
to the Darwinian gestalt, the pattern-decoding program has a way of kicking into a kind of quasi-paranoid overdrive. Like an aging hippie
who sees bong potential in fire hydrants, you begin to sniff around for the adaptive
significance of damn near everything. Even if you can shake off Desmond
salacious riffs on tits and ass, the cues still lurk in every tick and quirk, begging for some retrofitted just-so EP narrative to satisfy that hard-wired itch for tidy explanation.

Why do people yawn?

What’s with the

How did people get to be so smart? Or so stupid?

And why are all the chicks in the office ragging at the same time?

The questions are endless.  And some of them invite trouble.  If you’re not careful, you may find yourself on the trail of aquatic
. Or, if you really want to stir at the sociopolitical fringe, you can study up on those incendiary  narratives about "hostile ethnic nepotism" as expressed as the “culture of critique.”  Some of you will know what I’m talking about.

It’s probably better, however, to play it safe and bide your time mulling over mystery of the female orgasm. At
least the research can be interesting.

But if you’re looking for a special kind of trouble, you
can apply your imaginative skills toward solving one of the more elusive and intriguing puzzles in the scrapheap,
which concerns how to cook up a plausible evolutionary account of male

Lesbianism is easy enough
since the iron law of patriarchy pretty much guarantees that women are going to
be fucked – literally and figuratively – across time and cultures, regardless of their penchant for rug munching and dog shows.  But the gay
thing is different. Buggery and blow
jobs may make for good church camp recreation, but an exclusive male preference for bungholes and boyflesh is maddeningly difficult to reconcile with the rudiments of genetic
math. If a behavioral trait has a genetic basis, Darwinian logic tells us it
must have conferred some adaptive advantage. But the only way to get from there
to here is through natural selection, which for our species, usually requires
sex. Procreative sex.  From an evolutionary perspective, men fucking men would seem
to make about as much sense as tree humping.

Not that there’s anything wrong
with that.

Apart from the tendrils of scientific contention, to which we will turn, your initial foray into this very special
controversy is sure to expose you to a curious — if superficial — inversion of the politics of nature and
nurture. While speculation about genetic origins remains anathematized with respect to matters of race and sex differences,  you will discover that once the
topic turns to sexual orientation, the strictures of PC decorum about face to favor
the default position that we are indeed “born that way.” The double standard is, of course, entirely political; if gayness is an
inborn trait, then the arguments marshaled by those who would frame and stigmatize it is a
moral choice are pretty much dead on arrival. The
seldom mentioned irony is that while the evidence is pretty robust with respect to the biology
of sex and even race differences, the evidence for genetic gayness remains much more speculative, and the bio-etiological conjectures that have been floated thus far are exceedingly more
difficult to assess and explain.

more puzzling is that while the goodly majority of ostensibly open minded people seem
perfectly at ease with the idea of innate homosexuality, the same people tend to
show an insipid lack of curiosity as to how such a genetically peculiar predisposition could evolve and survive in the soup of civilization. Yet if
gayness is in the genes – and I think there’s a decent chance it is – it
must have somehow provided a fitness advantage. The question few people care or dare ask, is how?

As it turns out, there are all kinds of ideas.  Some of them are plausible enough,
others are highly improbable. And others are downright silly.

The one you hear the most about was hatched by
the preeminent sociobiologist, E.O. Wilson, who speculated that gay genes might
have provided a group-adaptive advantage manifest in extended families where
gay uncles, by dint of their presumably extra-avuncular social skills, were imagined to have
groomed their siblings to produce more nieces and nephews, thus ensuring a
side-door method for gay genes to descend. Wilson’s theory is propped up by an adaptationist model known as
inclusive fitness,” whereby extended kin selection provides the mechanism for
genetic dynasties to pass down without direct appeal to the messy business of sexual reproduction. Inclusive fitness models have proven valuable in explaining a number of once-puzzling altruistic behaviors in bugs and other non-human animals, and they probably go a long way toward making sense of nepotism and even ethic nationalism among us sapient bi-peds. But while the “good uncle” nostrum remains a fun
subject for parlor chat and idle speculation, it is pretty well
demolished by a cursory review of the genetic math.

Writing for The Atlantic in 1999, science
journalist Judith Hooper dispatched Wilson’s theory with a clear-cut empirical
reality check:

To counteract a whopping fitness cost of around 80
percent, gay men would have to be very, very good uncles indeed — especially
given that they share with nephews and nieces only 25 percent of their genes.
Simple calculations show us that in order to compensate for not reproducing, a
gay uncle’s investment in a sibling’s children would have to be twice as strong
as a parent’s. If this were the case, it could not have escaped our

In the wake of Wilson’s interesting false start,
most thinking has eschewed kin selection in favor of various theories of
frequency-dependent balance polymorphism where the evolutionary scenarios are less difficult
to reconcile with stability differentials.  Some such ideas
are well-summarized in Jim McKnight’s invaluable book, Straight
, which is still worth reading. 

McKnight’s own theory is one of my favorites. He argues that male homosexuality is a
heterozygously regulated phenomenon, with the gay genes being carried by
straight and gay men in dose-dependent frequencies.  Assuming the primary role of female-driven sexual selection in human affairs, McKnight imagines a marginal group of females rejecting classically defined optimal mate-types, i.e, those brutish, boorish, athletic fuckers who are a head taller than The Hog, in favor of gents who exhibit traits
such as charm, intelligence, and empathy, which may signify good breeding and
nurturing potential, at least at the peripheral bounds of the dating game. “Homosexually-enabled
heterosexuals,” in McKnight’s parlance, might thus be attractive enough mates
to sustain the genetic lineage for men carrying the stronger, i.e.
determinative, dose of the gay heterotic constitution to tag along.

idea — which, I should mention, parallels in many respects with economist Edward Miller’s work on "portfolio diversity" in evolutionary sex economy —  has a goldilocks quality in that the operative sexual selection exercised
by females in their mate choice would have diminishing returns in proportion to
the infusion of homosexual genetic loading in a population:

Women are attracted to men who carry gay genes because
they admire the benefits these men gain from carrying them. Even so, they are suspicious of, and will
reject, any man who has homosexual tendencies as this may reduce the genetic
fitness of their potential offspring

“Men who have a ‘measure of gayness,’” according to
McKnight, will thus “enjoy a reproductive advantage relative to their
homozygous [i.e., exclusively homosexual] peers.” By exhibiting a behavioral portfolio that
features attractive signals, homosexually enabled straight men may be the
porridge that goldilocks chose: “just right” to ensure the penetrance of
otherwise reproductively deleterious gay genes over time, but only at a marginal equilibrium.

The elegant thing
about McKnight’s theory is that explains why expressed homosexuality would only
be found at certain marginal levels in a population; a “frequency-dependent
balance” guarantees that too much genetic homosexuality will be selected
against, while the heterozygous carriers will carry the torch, so to speak, insofar as they
remain conspicuous as charming, and perhaps caddish, mate choices.

The problem with McKnight’s theory, and with other notions centered around models of balance-polymorphism,  is that while they do a pretty good job of explaining how homosexual genes might be sustained in a population, they fail to adequately account for how exclusive gayness got started in the first place.  Even if dandies and cads can secure a marginal sexually-selected niche with their epicurean charm and seductive wiles, why would the tail end of this strategy come to be expressed as a positive preference for cocksucking? 

Again, there are theories. Some speculate that it may have initially resulted as an offshoot of enhanced sex drive. Or it could be under social conditions that prevailed in the past, preferential homosexuality was sufficiently stigmatized (or bisexually expressed) so that the fitness costs didn’t matter so much.  Even Oscar Wilde had a litter

And I have my own little idea, which is so crazy it’s almost certain to
be wrong. Let me bore you with it anyway.

I am wondering if male
homosexuality could have evolved as an adaptive strategy whereby some
members of preliterate hunter-gatherer societies secured personal
protection by acting as female sexual surrogates. This might have been particularly useful on
long hunts, expeditions, or military adventures during which an
all male band of brothers would be cut off from sexual
opportunities involving village-bound females.  Assuming it
doesn’t collide with some well established anthropological truism
or some fundamental principle of population genetics of which I remain
blissfully ignorant, I think such a hypothesis (which we might call
“adaptive female surrogacy”) would have the advantage
of being individual-adaptive – with a group-adaptive benefits – and it would fit nicely with a whole slew of gay

The basic idea is that in addition
to safeguarding their own survival (and long term reproductive
opportunities) through risk avoidance (the indi-adaptive
hook), a “tribal female sex surrogate” would also serve a social
utilitarian function (the group-adaptive corollary) inasmuch as his sexual
availability could mitigate against the sort of internal
conflict and infighting that would be exacerbated
by pent-up sexual aggression. This would mean
that tribes securing such a role among their ranks would gain
greater group cohesion and consequently have an adaptive advantage over other
male-composed expeditions lacking the same
outlet for reckoning group conflict and managing the psychological
detriments arising from long term abstinence.   

To present a presumptive scenario as a crude EP
narrative, we might imagine a clan of cave-guys leaving
the kidlings and womenfolk to tend the home turf while they venture abroad
in quest of big game or fire or vengeance or whatever.   Our
roving cro-mags, it seems safe to assume, would
be destined to encounter all manner of dangerous contingencies
in their journeys, and bragging rights (as well as procreative opportunities)
would naturally belong to the guys who take greater risks in the face
of such peril.  But bravery is costly business,
and many of our most intrepid tribesmen will surely meet
their fates while attempting to spear saber-tooths or test the
quicksand or whatever.  Such are the breaks.

But let’s imagine that among the group there’s
one young, low-ranking cave guy who’s smart enough to know he doesn’t
stand a chance of making it in the hierarchical scheme of
things.  We’ll call him "Andrew."  Now let’s
say the day comes when it’s Andrew’s turn to prove his mettle
by leading the group in some potentially deadly situation or
another, only instead of accepting his assigned risk-taking duty,
Andrew decides he’ll have a go at bargaining his way out of the
situation.  Having long observed the other guys to
grumble over how they long for the sexual favors of the fair
cro-magnonettes back home, Andrew decides to play his best hand.

"Listen guys," he ventures, "as much as I want to help
out, I’d really rather not be the first one to taste these
mushrooms. But if anyone wants to indulge in my place, I suppose I could
offer, maybe, um…a blowjob?"   

Andrew’s gambit might turn out a number of ways, but
assuming just one of his high-ranking fellows is horny and good-humored enough
to take him up on his proposal, well, our guy just may have secured
himself a new and novel sinecure within the group. Andrew, we
might then appoint as the first "tribal female sex surrogate".  Sure, he’s not like
the cave-chicks back home, but the guys generally agree that
he provides a nice diversion when you’re bound-up and bored with
self abuse.  Besides, with Andrew around to relieve the
tension, it seems things aren’t so tense on the road anymore. The
guys are more focused on the hunt and less prone to club each other to
death.  Come to think of it, four out of five tribe guys agree, the
expeditions aren’t nearly so dreadful these days, what with the new
kid on BJ detail.  He’s a good mascot, that Andrew. Maybe we’ll keep
him around.

With Andrew’s newfound role
proving advantageous for the group as well as for his own immediate
survival interests, it seems it would stand a chance of becoming a
secured — if unofficial — status within the social order.  Natural
selection would then do its thing, ensuring that future "hunting
mascots" would be ever more fit to the task.  This would seem
sufficient to make a homosexual evolutionary strategy plausible, if not a
matter of practical inevitability.

That increasingly homosexually
oriented group members gravitating to the surrogate role might be
less likely to reproduce than other group members may not be as
problematic as it first seems if the genetic math based on present trends did
not apply under past conditions. Moreover, considering the long term survival
advantage conferred by their risk-evasive social status (in a
risk-pervasive environment where longevity is rare), the reproductive
success scales might have once been tipped in the sex
surrogate’s favor by virtue of his having a greater lifetime of reproductive
sexual opportunities, to say nothing of the greater proximity to females he
might come to enjoy given his uniquely trusted status as “one of the

Such an angle might be especially plausible under polygamous social structures, where most men are cut off from reproductive opportunities altogether. By securing feminine social roles, the inconspicuous — if infrequent — sexual access to the harem enjoyed by effeminate males might suffice to tip the evolutionary scales.  Just enough.   

Even if sex surrogates only rarely had reproductive
intercourse, maybe it could still have once been sufficient to
guarantee enough of a genetic dynasty to kick things off. On this point it’s worth noting
that even today most gay men have sex with women at some point in
their lives, and many of them have kids. The question is how much more frequent would gay male procreative
success have had to have been in the past (and how distant that past) to
provide a basis for  gay genes to enter the

Under a social order where sex
surrogates are ascribed a valued status, it would also make sense that
effeminate traits would be selected for, since such traits
would stand in rough mimicry of the absent female and signify the
sexual surrogate’s role within the group.  The most remarkable mimicking
abound in nature, so why not in a novel cultural mode?

Again, having not thought rigorously about this
and readily admitting my ignorance regarding the relevant
anthropology, sociology, sexology, and genetics, it does seem
that many of the most salient contemporary observations (and
stereotypes) about male homosexuality fit rather well with a socio-cultural-evolutionary
scenario thus imagined.  Here follow a few:

  • Female surrogacy would help to explain
    why the majority of gays  (and for the sake of argument
    we might speculate the vast majority of "genetic" gays) are
    self-described "bottoms,"
    since the classically
    submissive/female sexual temperament would make for a more
    popular female-surrogate.
  • Female surrogacy would shed light
    on the strong aesthetic preference for hyper-masculine traits
    with military and athletic fetishism being ever prominent in the
    relevant iconography — that prevails in gay culture.  If the selective
    advantage of being gay in a preliterate hunter-gatherer society is to
    afford the female-surrogate protection from physical danger then it
    makes sense that his selective preference would favor the most able
    warriors, since currying sexual favor among the Alpha would be the best
    possible survival strategy.
  • Female surrogacy would  comport
    with gay mate selection, such as it is, being less
    status-oriented when compared with that of women. Females have a
    sociobiological interest in securing a mate who will be a
    long-term provider with a vested interest in his genetic
    offspring (thus social status cues assume greater importance, and
    sexual selectivity is favored over promiscuity); gays-as-female-surrogates,
    on the other hand, would have a survival (and indirectly
    sociobiological) interest in securing short term protection
    from the entire male out-group, and would stand to benefit most by
    winning favor among the most physically able men (thus
    his preferential emphasis would tend to favor physical prowess
    over other status cues, and the sexual strategy would emphasize
    promiscuity over selectivity).
  • Female surrogacy would be consistent with the
    stereotype that gays are smart, since the success of a novel within-group
    evolutionary strategy is perforce evidence of adaptive ingenuity.
  • Female surrogacy would be consistent with the
    stereotype that gays display superior interpersonal skills or social
    . In addition to making for a more convincing (and hence
    adaptive) proxy for female traits, the ability to interpret psychosocial cues
    would be crucial to the success of any survival strategy where
    the management of sexual politics is at issue.
  • Female surrogacy would be consistent with the
    stereotype that gays are averse to participation in sports
    and military affairs.  If the evolutionary strategy was to
    preserve a genetic legacy by avoiding the front lines, then it would
    follow that genetic descendents would show less inclination
    to participate in contemporary events that emulate or entail
    aggressive conflict.
  • Female surrogates might have been the more easily groomed for "intercrural" sexual favors notoriously enjoyed by those pederasts of Greek antiquity, among others
  • Female surrogacy would be consistent with the relative
    lack of sexual jealousy
    expressed by gay men in comparison with
    heterosexuals.  If jealousy is linked to a broader sociobiological drive
    to preserve one’s genetic legacy
    , then it wouldn’t really fit with the sex
    surrogate’s particular in-group strategy.   

But like I said, it’s easy to get carried away with this shit.

Besides, at this point, I imagine you’ve probably  thought of any number of problems  with such a scenario.  I’ve thought of a few myself.  For one thing, there appears to be scant evidence that homosexuality even exists in most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies. As Gregory Cochran has pointed out, modern primitive cultures typically express incredulity when they are informed of the existence of man-on-man action.  "If
you look out in the real sticks," he notes, "say among the Kalahari Bushmen,
there doesn’t seem to be any [preferential homosexuality] at all.   Typically,   hunter-gatherers
have trouble believing that homosexuality actually exists." 
And as  Steve Sailer patiently pointed out when I suggested this idea for his consideration, "if male homosexuals were physically more feminine than male heterosexuals, I might buy this proposed evolutionary mechanism, but they’re not."

Still, there are some curious strands that might invite deeper consideration of my probably wrong pet theory.  For example, University of Delaware psychologist Linda Gottfredson has emphasized the role of accidental death in directing brain evolution with special reference to general intelligence. In her monograph, "Innovation, Fatal Accidents, and the Evolution of General Intelligence," she draws insight from the emergent field of cognitive epidemiology to make her case. "The prevalence, etiology, and demographic patterning of accidental deaths in both mordern and hunter-gatherer societies," she argues, "provide clues as to how these could have winnowed away a group’s less intelligent members through human evolution"

…fatal accidents kill a disproportionate number of reproductive age males, their accidents are generally associated with provisioning activities, and preventing these is a cognitively demanding process. 

So maybe it’s not too much of a stretch to speculate about the longevity gains that might confer from a truly novel strategy for risk avoision.  And there is some evidence that gay men have pronounced mental abilities, with a cognitive structure favoring verbal over visual-spatial skills. Which would fit, as far as it goes.

The thing is, it only had to happen once. And it didn’t have to happen the way I imagine it. If a gay gene could gain admission to the stakes through such or similar means, it seems reasonable to imagine that in the slow process of being admixed out of the broader equation, the heterosexually modified constellation of temperamental traits that might remain among the carriers of residual female-surrogate genes could present in just the sort of personality that would find female favor in McKnight’s balance-dependent scenario.

But I fear I’ve gotten a bit derailed with all this far-flung speculation.  So before waxing Kiplingesque about the evolutionary  basis for male homosexuality, it might be a good idea to firm up the evidence that there really is a genetic explanandum to beg such an overarching theory. 

I mean, they have discovered a "gay gene," haven’t  they?

The short answer, as it turns out, is: maybe.  The long answer is: probably not.  The qualified long answer: not yet, anyway.

A few years ago, you will recall there being a lot of fast and loose media chatter about the the whole business.  The
most vocal and prolific proponent of the purported discovery was a geneticist named Dean Hamer, a solid guy who still plugs away for the National Institute of Health and who happens to be gay. In several papers and in his book, The
Science of Desire
, Hamer professed to have identified "a correlation between homosexual orientation and the
inheritance of polymorphic markers on the X chromosome."  Perhaps more intriguing was the fact that Hamer’s purported discovery centered on the female sex chromosome, which came as a surprise to researchers who had long assumed that  male homosexuality — being, after all,  a male orientation — would trace through patrilineal genealogy.   

Hamer’s announced discovery was received with predictably fawning and credulous attention, but as often happens when the big dogs serve up science in a soundbyte, the ballyhoo turned out to be premature. The evidence for Hamer’s preliminary conclusion was statistically weak from the start, and
with one controversial exception, the statistically suspect gene site has thus far eluded
subsequent detection.

Still and again, it’s a
maybe. And in fairness to Hamer, he
never really claimed to have identified a “gay gene” as pop-media accounts
invariably put it. Not exactly anyway; he merely claimed to have located a genetic frequency that was
statistically correlated with a certain type of familially conspicuous

But the genetic hypothesis is the one that interests The
Hog at present, so before writing off Hamer’s research as a dead letter, it is well that we should mention a
couple of more recent lines of inquiry that have added fuel to the idea that
homosexuality is indeed heritable, maternally descended, and potentially adaptive.

The latest and most promising research comes from geneticists with
the National Cancer Institute (with Hamer’s involvement), who recently published “A Genomewide Scan of Male
Sexual Orientation
” in the journal, Human Genetics. By looking at 146 families
with two or more gay brothers, the research team reported on three loci that
showed some indication of influencing homosexual orientation. In two of the
three regions, the predisposition seemed to flow from either of the gay
brothers’ parents, while the third seemed to be tied to an exclusively maternal
lineage. Although this study was “the
first genome scan for loci involved in the complex phenotype of male sexual
orientation,” the findings remain very preliminary and have yet to be
replicated.  But still.

A tangentially related study, published in 2004 in the Royal Society
Journal: Biological Sciences, looked at the family structure of 100
heterosexual and 98 homosexual men and found that maternally linked female
relatives of homosexual men had significantly more children than women in the
maternal line of heterosexuals. The authors speculated that a gene for male
homosexuality may paradoxically have survived by promoting greater “female
fecundity,” with its homosexual expression being but a noisy and genetically innocuous dead-end.

Such an idea is consistent with the working hypothesis championed by the self-same "gay gene" gadfly, Dean Hamer, known as
selective maternal choice,” which holds that a maternally descended
predisposition for heterosexual “overloving” among women might occasionally be expressed in
male children who inherit their mother’s genetically advantageous sexual
orientation.  By most accounts, Hamer fashioned his idea as a post-hoc addendum to his initially promising genetic investigations, but by shifting the focus from patrilineal models of inheritance — where stability problems loom largest — Hamer’s idea represents an innovative departure in evolutionary speculation that may be revisited if  the ongoing genetic studies reveal a genetic link in female chromosome.   

So the jury is still out.  But the treasure hunt for a gay polygene continues. I don’t know if Lloyds has laid odds, but researchers lead by Northwestern University’s beleaguered but stalwart sex researcher, J. Michael Bailey, have undertaken a major study to determine whether the loci identified in Hamer’s prematurely celebrated findings can be vindicated.  It will be a few years before the results are in, but the verdict — at least with respect to chromosome Xq28 — should be dispositive.  Wait and see.    

Even if the gay gene business doesn’t pan out, the
evidence that gayness has a biological component is difficult to deny. The
cumulative weight of twin studies suggests that anywhere from 30% to 50% of
male sexual orientation is rooted somewhere in the biological mix, and as Salk University geneticist Simon LeVay has demonstrated, there are a host of anatomical and neuro-physical correlates to differentiate gay
bodies and brains from those of the breeding herd. Most notably, there is a marked difference between gay and straight men in the size and structure of the hypothalamus.  Which is more than significant, since hypothalamic functioning is known to play a major role in the regulation of sexual desire. 

Still, a strictly genetic interpretation of the twin data is confounded by the fact that
monozygotic twins share the same intrauterine environment where extra-genetic
causes may lurk, and the fact that gay men tend to have smaller hypothalami  neither obviates nor predicts a genetic origin. It could still turn out that gayness is triggered by a
hormonal imbalance as proponents of  certain theories of prenatal “inversion” have long speculated. 

Or — and this is where things get really interesting — homosexuality could be germ-borne.


In one of the more
provocative theories to set off alarms, it is posited that homosexuality may result from some unknown form of pathogenic
transmission. The idea has been prominently advanced by the Amherst College biologist Paul Ewald and maverick physicist-biologist Gregory Cochran, who set off the initial depth charge when their heterodox musings were prominently featured in Judith Hooper’s 1999 Atlantic Monthly article, "A New Germ Theory."

While Cochran has remained the most tenacious (and charmingly impolitic) bully for the "gay germ" idea, Ewald, who literally wrote the book — a  book, anyway — on the Evolution of Infectious Disease, has taken the more diplomatic tack. "It’s a very sensitive subject," he volunteered in Hooper’s article,

and I don’t want to be
accused of gay-bashing. But I think the idea is viable. What scientists are
supposed to do is evaluate an idea on the soundness of the logic and the
testing of the predictions it can generate.

There are a couple of ways it might have happened.

In one
version, a genetic predisposition for homosexuality might have been selected
because it provided resistance against some harmful strain of infectious
disease, much the way the sickle cell gene – potentially deleterious in itself
– provides resistance to malaria.

In the
another scenario (favored by Cochran), homosexuality would itself be caused by a brain infection of some
kind, probably in-utero or during infancy.  Steve Sailer’s VDARE article, "Gay Gene or Gay Germ?," summarizes:

It’s probably not a venereal germ, but maybe an intestinal or respiratory germ. If it spreads like the flu, and if it needs to strike at a particular stage of development before or shortly after birth, then more male homosexuals might be born in one season than another, just as more schizophrenics are born in late winter and in early spring, especially in cities with cold winters.

So far, the speculation about seasonality hasn’t panned out, but before writing off the germ theorists, it is well to consider one of the more curious exhibits in the annals of unconventional zoology: the gay sheep"Preferential homosexuality," as Cochran emphasizes, "is very rare. The only two species known to exhibit this behavior, at the-few-percent level, are men and sheep. It may be worth noting that men and sheep have often been found in close association." (Insert Brokeback Mountain joke here).

This isn’t another case study of biological exuberance being expressed in promiscuity with an occassional misfire. No, these rams are  full-on homos.  Line up a row of estrous ewe poon, throw a ram’s rear end somewhere in the queue, and the gay sheep will mount the ram nearly every time.  It drives farmers crazy.

As it turns out, and as Cochran is quick to emphasize, studies of  gay sheep brains point up a number of similarities with homosexuality in humans.   Gay sheep brains reveal reduced testosterone levels, when compared with their ewe-humping brethren, and there is a consistent and substantial difference in the structure of the hypothalamus, which is consistent with  Simon LeVay’s aforementioned research documenting brain dimorphism in straight and gay men.

The pathological structure of such observed brain irregularities is of special interest to the gay germ guys because the affected brain regions are especially susceptible to infection.  As Agnostic points out in his recent cerebrations on the related – and equally speculative – subject of  "Genius Germs," the "blood brain barrier," which generally protects our grey matter from harmful pathogens offers no such armor for the hypothalamus, making it a fertile ground for germs to work their peculiar magic. 

More fundamentally, the germ theorists play up the ostensible fitness costs associated with preferential homosexuality to argue that infection is simply more parsimonious as a default hypothesis.  Cochran puts the matter bluntly

There are plenty of syndromes with comparable evolutionary
cost, but almost every one is caused by an infectious organism, a parasite.
Most are somatic, but some involve behavioral change. Tertiary syphilis made
lots of people act odd, act in ways that detracted from fitness. If lots of
people are sterile, it’s infection. If lots of people go blind ( in
old-fashioned surroundings), it’s infection ( river blindness or trachoma) . If
lots of people are deaf, it’s infection ( rubella, mainly) . If lots of people
have liver failure, it’s infection (hepatitis B or C) (or something fairly new
like distilled alcohol). if lots of people have crappy lungs, it’s tuberculosis
( or a new agent like cigarettes). That’s the way things work. The big syndromes
that reduce fitness are caused by infection or new environmental insults – but
the greatest of these is infection. 

The power of natural selection decreases with age,
especially after the reproductive years, so bad stuff happening to 80 year olds is no anomaly. If
homosexuality hit at 85, like Alzheimer’s, it wouldn’t be anomalous. But of course that is
not the case. It’s an evolutionary anomaly. Almost all evolutionary anomalies
of comparable size are caused by infection. It’s the way to bet.

Of course, the
notion that gayness could have a pathogenic rather than genetic-adaptive origin
is about as gauche as it gets, but it’s not as preposterous as you might wish. Keep in mind that until a few years ago, the idea that peptic ulcers were infectious was roundly
dismissed as rank heresy, but then a couple of tenacious scientists came along to claim a Nobel Prize for proving
just that.  And homosexuality isn’t the only neuro-behavioral condition to be considered within such a paradigm; pathogenic factors are widely suspected to be involved in the etiology of such conditions as schizophrenia and narcolepsy

I don’t know.  Cochran is one cocksure motherfucker, but there’s no question he has the brains to back it up.  I’d think ten times before betting against him, even if he were alone in speculating about the link between pathogens and sexual orientation. Which he isn’t.  But nor would I bet against complexity. The big picture reductionism, which is generally laudable, always seems a bit pat when applied to human psychosexual proclivities. And I suppose I might find the germ noodlings more compelling if gayness
was expressed as more of a specific or narrowly-fixated neurological
quirk — like narcolepsy — without all the temperamentally distinctive
baggage.  But what do I know?  Neurological damage can manifest in some remarkable ways.

Further complicating matters is the fact that
homosexuality is far from a monomorphic predisposition. Sex researchers argue over the finer
distinctions, but the most conservative nosology tells us there are at least
five distinctive types of male homosexual orientation, all or some of which may
yield to different etiological explanations. Independent researcher Louis Berman claims to have classified more than 30 discretely characterized "homosexualities," which seems nuts until you read his compiled case studies.

So, it could be that your stereotypical flaming community theater habitué is
a hormonally inverted case, while your typical truckstop bear owes his sexual
pedigree to some confluence of genetic factors; and those Project Runway finalists, maybe they’ll turn out to be the pathogenic cases.  What’s more, while Freud and Foucault have fared none
too well under the onus of behavior genetics, there may yet be a few
typological crumbs for the psychoanalytic or social constructivist crowd to
fight over. And lets not forget the economists

I’m just saying, this is complicated business.

And I don’t pretend to have the answers.  Nor do I apologize for asking the questions, and entertaining the possibilities.  Science will continue to prod at the hard sociobiological questions, and the truth that ultimately emerges may prove to be just as complex, with something to disappoint everyone. Which would be just fine with me. It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up, world, abounding with genuine mysteries, and surprises, and gay sheep. That’s what keeps things interesting.

Next question, please.


Posting will be light for the next few days as The Hog hits the books in preparation for the next long round of heretical hemorrhaging. There should be some good stuff in the offing, but I’m a slow reader with a day job. So have patience, and keep tuning in.

In the meantime, check out this back flip.

Penguins Good, Skuas Evil

As quoted by Randall Parker, here is Gregory Cochran’s novel perspective on the  Iraq War:

If the President had decided (because of a stroke with truly
interesting side effects) that we could no longer stand idly by in the
eternal conflict between penguins and skuas
(penguins = Good, skuas = Evil) and sent an expedtionary force to
Antarctica, an expedition in which a thousand soldiers froze to death
and ten thousand others lost limbs to frostbite – an expedition that
cost one hundred billion dollars, a conflict in which the skuas and
blizzards left the issue in doubt, one in which we discovered that
penguins are thoroughly unlikeable when you get to know them better –
if he had done this instead of invading Iraq the country would be
substantially better off than it is today.

I know, we don’t want to give them any ideas.

The Fateful Hoaxing of Dennis Cooper

The thing that irks me about the cult of Dennis Cooper is that for
all his self-professed and critically-hyped attentiveness to language
and dictional rhythm, the dialogue in his novels is typically about as
convincing as what might be expected from a rejected Degrassi High

Here, picked more or less at random, is an exchange from Cooper’s well-reviewed Klebold & Harris-inspired threnody, My Loose Thread:

‘Fuck,’ Gilman says.  He looks at me, and I can tell he’s upset
that I know.  Then there’s nothing to say, or it’s too complicated for

‘He’s gay’.

‘Oh,’ he says. ‘I hate gay people.’


‘I could go off on the whole thing with the Nazis,’ he says.  They did some really sick things.’

‘They weren’t gay.’

‘Well, that isn’t why they did it,’ he says.  ‘Or those Matthew Shepard guys.  They had girlfriends.’

‘See, this is why I wanted you to come.’

Now I am well aware of the shit excuses that are reflexively
seized upon by Cooper’s critic-apologists. They will sell off such lazily
contrived passages as "minimalist" prose, meant to convey the banality
or "moral vacuity" of anomie-afflicted angst-addled adolescent
inner lives. And they will hasten to insist that Cooper is Gertrude-Steining us
with an "ear for cadence" so finely tuned as to jar against our
complacent, novelistic expectations.

But peel back the palaver, and
any honest reader is left to struggle over a stilted mess of words
that no boy would utter, but which trace neatly back to the politically
sifted, culture-bound prejudices of a middle-aged, American, homosexual
writer.  Who never thought twice about his motives.   

Now that the remaining embers of mystery surrounding the identity of JT LeRoy have been extinguished (short version: it was this chick), it seems that Dennis Cooper has broken his "short lived, self-imposed moratorium on the subject" long enough to comment.  His spin is cheeky and fatuous, which might be expected when you consider that even a modicum of introspective effort would have cut sharp into the cultivated narcissism upon which Cooper’s over-hyped writerly career is predicated.

"It’s pretty bizarre to me," tells Dennis, "to have it confirmed that the JT Leroy character/persona was directly lifted from my work."

I don’t know what to feel about that. I think it’s going to take me a
long time to decide what I feel. At the moment I feel sort of like
Gepetto in some alternate universe Pinocchio story where the ending is
anything but warm and tidy. It’s interesting to wonder who JT Leroy
would have been had Laura phoned, say, Mary Gaitskil or Michael Chabon

He goes on with a few gossipy snits, yet for all his puffed-up, coyly parsed harrumphing, Cooper never disdains to consider the none-too-subtle point of L’affair LeRoy.  He seems oblivious to the design which, once considered, would have snuffed those what-if vagaries about Gaitskil and Chabon before they piffled off his fingertips into the ether of the blogosphere.

To put it more bluntly, as seems to be necessary, Dennis Cooper fails to see that he set himself up as an easy mark, that the joke – and it was a joke – was on him. Was calculated at his expense. Was played directly upon his obtuse, twink-obsessed, self-important, aesthetically-stunted, and ultimately quotidian pederastic fantasies.

Here is a writer who stacks up these unconvincing narratives, always centered around the precocious melodrama of abused and abandoned boyflesh; a writer whose preferred portraiture draws upon a molester’s misapprehended reserve of hopefully-imagined, narrowly eroticised, fag-idealized wish and whim; a writer who packages the whole shebang with a telling lack of empathic depth or human verisimilitude. And when this perfectly typecast literary dynamo comes knocking with a custom-crafted manuscript in tow, here is a writer who can’t even figure out the punch line. 

At least those chumps in Stone Phillips’ parade of predators know when they’ve been caught.

“A city should be like itself.”

Culture maven Michael Blowhard has crafted an eloquent introduction to the life and work of urban studies iconoclast, Jane Jacobs, whom he aptly hails as "one of the most remarkable of the
go-it-her-own-way critic-intellectuals of the past century, a proud
amateur and generalist from an era that was moving ever more in the
direction of professionalism and specialization.

It’s really a gem of a tribute, worth bookmarking for the references alone. I especially like Michael’s note-perfect dithyramb on the "Le Corbusier-besotted/big-project/top-down years" of post-war urban renewal fever that wrought irrevocable harm upon the very fabric and meaning of American life:

Planners and bureaucrats were determined to
"rationalize" everything they could get their hands on. Where cities
were concerned, this meant separating functions out from one another.
Places where people lived were to be made distinct from the places
where they worked. "Open space" — open space in the abstract — was
considered to be everywhere and always a good thing. After all:
sunlight, fresh air, etc. In practice many of the new "open
space"-style parks simply didn’t work. Not a surprise: After all, parks
need to be crafted as carefully and respectfully as buildings do. Many
of these new-style empty-space parks quickly turned into windswept
blights: garbage-dumps and crime-nests.

These sad and horrifying developments brought out the best in Jane
Jacobs. While the experts (and their propagandists) grew ever more
drunk on their do-gooding, egomanical, sci-fi visions, Jacobs went out
and looked at what was actually happening. The new towers, the
freeways, and the slum-clearances were pitched as efficient and
hygienic solutions to the chaos of urban life. But where clarity,
order, and ease were promised, Jacobs saw monocultures going quickly to
seed. Where new blocks of apartments were announcing that "we got it
under control," Jacobs saw over-regimented, inhuman nightmares. The
slums that were being plowed under for redevelopment struck her as
anything as hopeless. They struck her, in fact, as functioning
neighborhoods, even if poor ones. Where the planners saw mess and
disorganization, Jane Jacobs saw life and vitality.

I happen to live in one of the few American cities that never got the memo.  We still have an Urban Renewal Authority, and decades after declaring war on the rhythms of real life, the blight-fighting busybodies still nurse the same asinine cart-before-the-horse creative-classist fantasies.  Every time I read with clenched teeth about the latest proposal to condemn something useful or build
something pointless or re-zone another barber-shop out of
existence; every time I hear about another consulting firm
commissioned to conduct another high-dollar study to reach some forgone
eminent-domain-abetting conclusion, my thoughts turn to the gentle, bespectacled countenance of Jane Jacobs, who visited the bars and slums and, most importantly, the people that — who — these technocratic tyrants would sweep out of sight and mind.

The lust for "renewal" is always polished and sold with sugar-coated nostrums about remolding our 
stagnant cityscape into some kind of vibrant
metropolitan hub of commerce and culture, but the paternalistic intentions cannot mask the deeper conceit, the arrogance, the contempt. Until the damage is done.

Asked what a city should be like, Jane Jacobs once replied, "A city should be like itself." Unfortunately, this simple, timeless insight continues to elude the planners and urban authoritarians who know better, and won’t let us forget.

Jane Jacobs’ classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, can be ordered here.  Send a copy to your city council.


Slowly emerging from the slog of a lazy weekend, I find myself catching up on some reading at the margins while putting off the assigned material.

Over at New Perspectives Quarterly, the great Milton Friedman articulates a cautious perspective on the Swedish temptation.  Here is a nugget:

NPQ | Perhaps the Scandinavian countries are a model to look at. They are high-tax but also high-employment societies. And they have freed up their labor markets much more than in Italy, France or Germany.

Friedman | Though it is not as true now as it used to be with the influx of immigration, the Scandinavian countries have a very small, homogeneous population. That enables them to get away with a good deal they couldn’t otherwise get away with.

What works for Sweden wouldn’t work for France or Germany or Italy. In a small state, you can reach outside for many of your activities. In a homogeneous culture, they are willing to pay higher taxes in order to achieve commonly held goals. But “common goals” are much harder to come by in larger, more heterogeneous populations.

The great virtue of a free market is that it enables people who hate each other, or who are from vastly different religious or ethnic backgrounds, to cooperate economically. Government intervention can’t do that. Politics exacerbates and magnifies differences.

Over at Slate, Bryan Curtis tries to make sense of the rational-skeptical-anarcho-capitalist-atheist-existentialist-deconstructionist philosophy of self-styled anti-magician, Penn Jillette. Here is a slice:

In our conversation, Jillette felt moved to declare that he had devised a method by which to place every artist in human history into a matrix: separating those who had genuine skill, those who had genuine passion, and those rarefied geniuses who had both. In the latter category, he explained, he would place Johann Sebastian Bach, Pablo Picasso, and the comedian Gilbert Gottfried. 

Over at Jim Goad’s place, Hank Williams III sits down for a freewheeling Q&A that touches upon porn addiction, snake-handling, and the ever-so-delicate terrain of racial politics. Here is a big ole hunk:

Hank Williams III:  I’ve done my time because of being around skinheads. Even though I’ve never officially had a shaved  head, but bein’ around ‘em, I got classified real quick. And I like that style of music, man. If it’s SHARP skins or racial skins, they have an energy in their music that is somethin’ that I feel. And, you know—am I racist? I would have to say yes, I am.

Jim Goad: [laughs] You’re the only person in the world I’ve ever heard say that. Everybody else is, “Well, no, not really, it depends on how you define it.” The way I look at it, it’s like, yeah, I’m not ashamed of who I am. Am I a white supremacist? No. In my experience, Asians and Jews are more intelligent. Where does that fit me in? I don’t believe in equality, but I don’t believe in white supremacy, and I don’t hate who I am.

Hank Williams III: Right, and that’s where sittin’. Yes, I am racist, but yes, I do support this camp, and this camp, and this camp that’s all fightin’ for where they’re from. And that’s it, man. And it doesn’t matter to me what it is….You know, I have a black guy out on this tour, I have a guy from Vancouver whose skin isn’t white, but I don’t look at it like that. I’m just lookin’ at the whole picture, you know? And the band that I listen to that throw the race issues—KILL WHITE BOYS, and stuff like that—well, I take my hat off to them for havin’ that much balls and goin’ for it and doin’ that thing, man. Today it’s cool to hate the white man finally, you know it’s come up to fuck whitey, his time has come to beat that motherfucker down in the ground, you know? And here soon, the Mexicans are gonna be beatin’ everybody in the fuckin’ ground, dude. You know, it’s all where you come from, you know?

Over at the the New York Times Magazine, Jeffrey Rosen catches up on those baby-dick-slurping mohels and ponders the uncertain future of circumcision (a subject about which The Hoover Hog will have more to say in the near future).  Here is a snip:

The ritual is called oral suction, or metzitzah b’peh. After removing the foreskin, the mohel, who conducts the circumcision, cleans the wound by sucking blood from it. According to city health officials, the ritual may have caused three infants circumcised by the same mohel in 2003 and 2004 to contract neonatal herpes (one of the infants subsequently died). New York’s city health commissioner recently issued a warning about the dangers of oral suction, leading some Orthodox Jewish leaders to complain that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had reneged on promises to let religious authorities handle the issue. Meanwhile, secularists like the writer Christopher Hitchens have attacked the mayor for banning smoking in restaurants while failing to protect helpless children from diseases transmitted by "religious fanatics."      

And finally, over at Dusk in Autumn, the enigmatic web-host known as "Agnostic" has just put the finishing touches on his ambitious and possibly brilliant multi-part disquisition on "Politically Incorrect Fashion." So far, the most scintillating strands of sartorial speculation have centered on  the cognitive science and bio-social semiotics of Bravo’s Project Runway, but in the latest and final installment, we are treated to a crash course in the show-stoppingly provocative postulates of "gay germ" theory.  Here is the money shot:

…just what makes a guy gay in the first place? Any discussion of patterns among gays must take this into account. While the answer is not known, available evidence suggests Paul Ewald & Gregory Cochran’s hypothesis that it is caused by a microorganism ("gay germ"). The basic logic is simple: homosexuality causes a huge fitness cost (gays have ~80% fewer kids than straights), has been around for at least several hundred years, and shows up in ~3% of all men. If it were caused by genes, they would be rapidly selected out so that it only showed up on the order of 1 per 10,000 (the highest random mutation rate in humans) unless 1) homosexuality compelled gay men to raise at least twice as many nieces & nephews as a straight man raises children (thus ensuring that copies of their genes make it into the future), or 2) it protected single carriers from some nasty infection.

As for 1), there is no evidence empirical or anecdotal for this view; if anything, gay men appear less eager to raise a family than straight men. As for 2), the infection protected against would have to be on the same order of nastiness as falciparum malaria, yet it would have to strike large swaths of Europe & North America. There is currently no evidence that single carriers of the purported gay gene(s) are protected from this purported disease. That leaves environmental causes, and since homosexuality predates exposure to modern toxins like tobacco, a microorganism is the most likely source. Also, more often than not, when one identical twin is gay, the other is not. Another popular environmental biological hypothesis, relating to sex hormones in utero, may account for some but far from all cases of male homosexuality. See more detail from Cochran here and here (pdf), as well as this summary by Steve Sailer. There is no direct evidence of infection (largely because such research would never be funded), but there is plenty of indirect evidence, something lacking in alternative theories. One need not have to have isolated the precise gene that causes Sickle Cell to recognize the pattern of how it shows up in families, pointing to a genetic cause.

As it happens, I am in the process of fleshing out a long post in which I will do my best to raise a few questions about Agnostic’s assertions on matters of evolution and homosexuality, but for now I will simply raise my morning mug in salute to the frank and fearless spirit with which he approaches a subject others would just as soon avoid.

Tomorrow is a day away.

You, Me, and The Bell Curve — Part Four: Eschatological Hopes and Obdurate Realities

Editors note: this is the final installment in my four part series of the Bell Curve controversy. Here are links to the preceeding posts: Part One; Part Two; Part Three


At this point we appear to have left gruff old Naureckaus and comrades to their Manichean fantasyland where racist pseudo-scientists, abetted by those unwitting shills in the mainstream media, churn out reams of dubious research in furtherance of their nefarious social agenda.  It’s been good nostalgic fun, but a lot has happened since 1995.

Time to survey the damage.

Remember Arthur Jensen? It was his seminal article, “How Much Can We Boost Scholastic IQ?” that ignited the first wave of public furor over these matters way back in 1969, right around the time when Charles Manson was Helter Skeltering the Decade of Love down the shitter. Because his analysis broke with academic decorum in considering the possibility that genes contribute to black-white differences in educational achievement, Jensen was pilloried by public intellectuals and campus radicals. His article became a lightning rod, attracting public denunciations far worse than the fulmination later visited upon The Bell Curve.

But rather than abscond into less distasteful academic territory, the Berkley psychologist weathered the calumnies and death threats and quietly pressed on with his meticulous research. His name remains a watchword in public discourse, but Arthur Jensen now ranks among the most prolific – and respected – scholars in the behavioral sciences. Just type his name into Google Scholar and follow the cites. You’ll see.

In 1998, just as the Bell Curve backlash was beginning to ebb, Jensen published his magnum opus, The g Factor. Although mainstream critics took little notice of the technically dense graph-laden treatise, scholars knew it was a bombshell. In addition to providing a comprehensive account of the accumulated evidence for the resilience of racial differences in cognitive ability, Jensen’s book brought to bear the weight of a century of research establishing that intelligence tests really do signal the empirical reality of a “general factor” that transcends the statistical bounds of standardized psychometric models.

On this pivotal point, Jensen’s précis for the American Psychological Association is worth quoting at length:

The g factor arises from the empirical fact that scores on a large variety of independently designed tests of extremely diverse cognitive abilities all turn out to be positively correlated with one another. The g factor appears to be a biological property of the brain, highly correlated with measures of information-processing efficiency, such as working memory capacity, choice and discrimination reaction times, and perceptual speed. It is highly heritable and has many biological correlates, including brain size, evoked potentials, nerve conduction velocity, and cerebral glucose metabolic rate during cognitive activity. It remains to investigate and explain its neurobiological basis.

Throughout this article, I have made fast and loose reference to “IQ” and “intelligence.” I offer no apology, as such terms have the merit of providing a fairly reliable shorthand. Nevertheless, standardized IQ scores must ultimately be understood as but a useful proxy, and “intelligence” as merely a powerful heuristic cue. Jensen’s g is the genuine article.  The mathematical models may be daunting, but there is converging agreement among scholars that g makes intelligence more intelligible.

Once cognitive measures are understood in terms of their relation to a general factor, it becomes possible to escape the limits of statistical constructs and get closer to the man behind the curtain. Tests with higher “g loadings” are better at predicting academic and vocational performance. Tests of g also turn out to reveal the strongest and most resilient racial differences. g provides an empirical means of testing fashionable theories of “multiple intelligence,” “practical intelligence,” and “emotional intelligence.” And only by examining the independent weight of g have psychometricians been able to establish that men and women really are endowed with roughly equal – if differently flavored – average brainpower. There’s still some controversy, but Jensen’s research in particular suggests that rather than being an artifact of standardization, sexual equality, to paraphrase Gould, really is a "contingent fact of history." Which is good news, to be sure. Finally, while there continues to be fascinating debate as to the nature of the mysterious and much publicized "secular increase" in IQ scores over the past century (usually referred to as the "Flynn effect"), the observed increase appears to be of diminishing value as the general factor is brought into the picture.

With the cultural clutter and statistical artifice pushed away, g is what remains. And g is what explains. 

Whether out of nescience or negligence, some scholars from competing disciplines continue to misapprehend the importance of Jensen’s work. I think this will change as the biological correlates keep on filing in. Just as lithium did more to alleviate the suffering of the psychotically afflicted than all of Freud’s horses, pharmaceutical or even genetic therapies may one day offer a practical means of assisting the cognitively disadvantaged. I’m not banking on a panacea. The point is that only by understanding the biogenetic infrastructure of intelligence can we hope to prod at the possibilities. If hope is to spring, we will be indebted to the dispassionate investigations pioneered by men like Arthur Jensen. And we will be indebted, as ever, to science. The sociological gymnastics and intellectually couched denials have gotten us nowhere.

Could be there was just too much psychic baggage attached to his name, or perhaps his arguments were too technically abstruse for public consumption. But for whatever reason, Jensen’s groundbreaking book never really registered on the public radar. “The recent efflorescence of the sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution.” would find a less divisive messenger in Harvard’s shaggily coiffed PR-savvy neuropsychologist cum polymath, Steven Pinker.

With envy-inducing erudition and surefooted authority, Pinker’s magisterial synthesis, The Blank Slate, brought the emerging Darwinian zeitgeist – and our collective apprehension – into sober perspective. With reams of evidence in tow, Pinker’s book argued that much of the received wisdom about human nature is founded upon ideological premises that are demonstrably false. The titular “blank slate” refers to the belief that the human mind is shaped primarily by experience and nurture – a belief that is demolished by behavior genetics alone.

Although The Blank Slate carefully sidestepped explicit discussion of the racial implications of The Bell Curve, Pinker did stick up for the science underlying Murray and Herrnstein’s central arguments. Rather than providing fodder for conservative notions of class and meritocracy, Pinker points out that Murray and Herrnstein’s claims might just as easily serve to revitalize Rawlesian theories of social justice. “If social justice consists of seeing to the well-being of the worst off,” Pinker notes, “then recognizing genetic differences calls for an active redistribution of wealth.”

Interesting as it may be, Pinker’s speculation about the prospect of “Bell Curve liberals,” is of tangential relevance. The point I want to emphasize is that despite his tacit endorsement of hereditarian ideas in general and Murray and Herrnstein in particular, Pinker’s book was widely received as an important, even seminal, contribution to the popular understanding of human nature. Rather than being stigmatized and marginalized according to the approved script, Pinker was praised for his courage and erudition.

The times, they were a-changing.

The lines had to be redrawn because science wasn’t waiting around. When they cracked the human genome years ahead of schedule on the cusp of the over-hyped millennium, the know-nothing rhetoric was already wearing thin. Blank slate parlor chat might have gone down in simpler times, but shifting paradigms have a way of reshuffling our sensibilities. To paraphrase biologist Gregory Cochran, believing in the blank slate in the post-genomic era is like believing in a flat earth after seeing pictures from outer space. 

The view remains foggy from down here among the algebraically-challenged rabble, but a few points of  show-stopping significance scream out. First, the genome turned out to be much smaller than expected. While scientists had long estimated our genetic architecture to consist of around 100,000 genes, the initial ego-deflating HGP verdict put the figure at no more than 30,000, and the number has since been lowered, making our genetic constitution only marginally more complex than that of a fucking flatworm. What’s worse, as science correspondent Nicholas Wade noted in the New York Times, a substantial number of our genes may have been “acquired directly from bacteria.”

And as if that weren’t enough to raise the usual anthropocentric hackles, no sooner had the human genome been sequenced and published than researchers racing to identify disease-causing genes began running into the problem of race. Er, I mean “population structure” – or is it “self-reported population ancestry”? Whatever. The point is that however politely it might be euphemized, the “specter of difference” loomed over the hopes of science. In sniffing out the genetic roots of disease, the fact that sickle cell anemia and lactose intolerance refused to evolve in deference to our ideological sensibilities suggested that ethnic variables might be ignored only at the expense of biomedical progress.

A spate of scientific articles begin sniffing around the edges of the racial-genetic architecture. Then, in late 2002 the journal Science published a major study that looked at DNA markers from 52 human groups throughout the world. As summarized in one popular account, the researchers reported that “people belong to five principal groups corresponding to the major geographical regions of the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, Melanesia and the Americas.”

This may have spelled bad news for “race is a social construct” crowd, but it was good news for people suffering from “racist” diseases. “Self reported population ancestry,” the Science article concluded, “likely provides a suitable proxy for genetic ancestry.”

Similar concerns provided the impetus for the development of a corollary genetic investigation known as the Human Haplotype Map, which was completed in October of 2005. The “HapMap” was based on the observation that much of the human genome was passed on in "unshuffled" blocks known as haplotypes. By analyzing the variance of such blocks in different ethnic groups, researchers have been able to accelerate the identification of genetically-based diseases.

But the HapMap also provides a unique opportunity to chart the dynamics of recent human evolution, which will inevitably beg the questions at the core of our discomfiture. Aware of such potential, the HapMap consortium framed their research with an oddly cautionary note: “We urge conservatism and restraint in the public dissemination of and interpretation of such studies,” they advised, “especially if nonmedical phenotypes are explored.”

Nonmedical phenotypes? What do you suppose they mean by that?

With the genome and HapMap providing the necessary backdrop, the shibboleth shattering discoveries have continued apace. A few recent snapshots will suffice:

  • The FDA approves BiDil, a drug shown to be dramatically effective in the treatment of heart failure for “self-identified black” patients while being of little benefit to other races. Meanwhile, scientists in Iceland detect genes that more than double the risk of heart attack for African-Americans. The working theory is that the same gene in white and Asian carriers is less of a risk factor because other genes have had time to evolve to keep it in check. Clinical trials are underway to measure the efficacy of a new drug designed to inhibit the gene’s deleterious effects for blacks.

  • The Journal of BioSocial Science publishes “The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence,” a cross-disciplinary examination of the theory that markedly high average IQ among Jews of Ashkenazi descent resulted from recent natural selection favoring cognitive ability for European Jews who gravitated to mentally demanding occupations after being excluded from traditional agrarian trades. The researchers argue that the disproportionately high  incidence of a cluster of genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs within the Jewish population may be understood as having resulted from a fitness trade-off for the adaptive enhancements conferred by high intelligence.

  • In December of 2005, researchers at the University of California unveil a detailed analysis of Human Haplotype data showing that more than 1,800 genes have been under strong selective pressure over the past 50,000 years. The paper, "Global landscape of   recent inferred Darwinian selection for Homo sapiens, concludes by stating that “such recently selected alleles may provide useful ‘markers’      for investigating the evolutionary migrations of our species, as an adjunct to studies using neutral markers. We also propose that many of these alleles, because of their high prevalence and recent selection,      should be considered likely ‘functional candidates’ for association with human variability and the common disorders afflicting humankind.”

What’s the common them here? Anyone?

It’s evolution, baby. And not some safely warmed-over textbook version where the action stalled along at a glacial pace over millions of years before conveniently stagnating into innocuous drift with the emergence of human culture. No, we’re talking real-time Darwinian razzmatazz – running right through the biosocial matrix of modern times, with brains and genes and germs adapting under intense selective pressure in crazy dynamic confluence with ever-fluctuating cultural and ecological forces. This is the universal acid nipping at the hems of our epoch-centric identity complex.

And you don’t need a calculator to do the math. Just keep in mind that our neural machinery is still evolving. Add to that the fact that these big partially-inbred families we call races have been doing their thing in relative isolation for the better part of eons. Then drop by the dog park and reflect on that Border Collie – the one sniffing that Great Dane’s ass.

Woof, woof. It’s no surprise the egalitarians are getting nervous.

For his part, Steven Pinker seems to have thrown caution to the wind, lending his endorsement to the Ashkenazi study, then throwing down the gauntlet in a recent Edge symposium, where he spells out the challenge in no uncertain terms:

Advances in genetics and genomics will soon provide the ability to test hypotheses about group differences rigorously. Perhaps geneticists will forbear performing these tests, but one shouldn’t count on it. The tests could very well emerge as by-products of research in biomedicine, genealogy, and deep history which no one wants to stop.

The human genomic revolution has spawned an enormous amount of commentary about the possible perils of cloning and human genetic enhancement. I suspect that these are red herrings. When people realize that cloning is just forgoing a genetically mixed child for a twin of one parent, and is not the resurrection of the soul or a source of replacement organs, no one will want to do it. Likewise, when they realize that most genes have costs as well as benefits (they may raise a child’s IQ but also predispose him to genetic disease), "designer babies" will lose whatever appeal they have. But the prospect of genetic tests of group differences in psychological traits is both more likely and more incendiary, and is one that the current  intellectual community is ill-equipped to deal with.

Fasten you’re seatbelts, because the fun is just getting started.

In responding to the initial Bell Curve backlash — a voluminous literature to which poor Naureckas, now fading in our rearview mirror, contributed but a feisty footnote — surviving author Charles Murray made a bold prediction. In his 1995 essay “The Bell Curve and Its Critics” he outlined a three stage process. “In the first stage” he wrote, “a critic approaches The Bell Curve absolutely certain that it is wrong. He feels no need to be judicious or to explore our evidence in good faith. He seizes upon the arguments that come to hand to make his point and publishes them, with the invective and dismissiveness that seem to be obligatory for a Bell Curve critic.”

But Murray foresaw unintended consequences:

In the second stage, the attack draws other scholars to look at the issue. Many of them share the critic’s initial assumption that The Bell Curve is wrong. But they nonetheless start to look at evidence they would not have looked at otherwise. They discover that the data are interesting. Some of them back off nervously, but others are curious. They look farther. And it turns out that there is much more out there than Herrnstein and I try to claim.

In stage three, these scholars start to produce new material on the topics that had come under attack in the first place. I doubt that many will choose to defend The Bell Curve, but they will build on its foundation and ultimately do far more damage to the critics’ "eschatological hope" than The Bell Curve itself did.

Q.E.D?  Yes, I’m afraid so.  Are you looking forward to the third act?


More than almost anything, I wish I were smarter. I don’t know my IQ.  Don’t want to. But I’m not being humble or self-effacing when I tell you mine isn’t the brightest bulb in the marquee. I may put on a decent bluff, but the truth is a source of constant doubt and anxiety.  I’m always missing the point, botching the directions, getting the measurements wrong. I barely got through high school algebra, and loath as I am to admit it, I’m easily confused by a task as simple as counting change.  Crossword puzzles puzzle me.  And when things get technical, well, I tend to get sleepy.

No sir, I don’t expect I’ll be sticking around for Final Jeopardy, if you know what I mean.

I mention my own lingering unease only because I believe the misapprehension and discomfiture many of us experience on a personal level has a  great deal to do with  the penumbral agitations surrounding the IQ debate in the broader scheme of human affairs. I’ve always been acutely aware of my cognitive limitations, thus for the longest time I was an easy mark for just about any palliative pop-psych fad that seemed suited to quell the self doubt.  I remember experiencing a quick rush of excitement when I first read about "multiple intelligences" in some 101 text I’ve since forgotten. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy and hopeful.

Here is a tip: be very, very wary of "facts" that evoke feelings of warmth and fuzziness.

Do you believe Thomas Edison struggled with differential equations?  Did you hear the one about that Nobel Laureate who "flunked" an IQ test? Do you find that intellectuals lack common sense?

Do you believe oatmeal can cure rabies?

While they may serve to allay your troubled mind, the nostrums and myths and pop-palliatives will never obviate the unchanging realities that we are stuck with. Namely, that intelligence is real; that it is largely fixed, and that Mother Nature is a fascist cunt who doesn’t give a fuck what you or I think.

Despite populist and humanist cant to the contrary, all societies place a premium on brain power for the same reason I covet it — because it is a scarce commodity of immeasurable value.  Virtually every amenity, every modern luxury, and every trivial new-fangled device or gadget or software application we take for granted in our all-too-comfortable existence can be traced in origin to the ever-churning mechanics of superior human brainwork.

Next time you flip on your TV or queue up another porn download, take a moment to reflect on the caliber of gray matter capable conceiving (not merely comprehending) the electro-mechanical complexities that sustain your hedonistic complacency.  Choose any prop of civilization — fuel combustion, pasteurization, vaccination, refrigeration, constitutional republicanism; whatever — and I defy you, lowly beneficiary that you are, not to marvel over the synaptic superiority to which its actuality is owed.  Think about the individuals who draw paradigm-shifting conclusions; who connect the cosmic dots and make possible the changes that change the world. The great architects and chemists and philosophers and neurosurgeons, and that small panthoen of true artists

Think about them.

Then think about that retarded kid who sat in the back of class.

Sorry to disappoint you, Virginia, but there is no Santa Claus.  And all things being equal, people aren’t even close.  May as well get used to it.  And enjoy those parting gifts, because they’re all you’re gonna get.

The temptation is probably hard-wired, this all-too-human predisposition to turn the grand narrative inward; to believe we are the center of creation. The Apple in God’s Eye.  It provides a sense of hope, of purpose and essential meaning. For most people, the notion that God might not share in our collective conceit; or worse, that  the very idea of God may add up to nothing more than a grandiose psychological projection adapted to quell our innate fear of death and take the edge of a hard day’s work, is about as easy to take as a sandpaper catheter.

Take it away, my horse-hugging hero:

Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead.

Yet the disappointments — the dethronements, as the John Derbyshire aptly puts it — keep filing in.  And every time the ethereal promise of transcendence is undermined by the cold, disinterested eye of science, people tend to get squeamish.  And, as ever, the bearers of unwelcome news bear the burden of our unease.  Galileo is persecuted for questioning our place in the universe.  And Darwin is abominated for questioning our place in nature. These are tough breaks for a species with a fragile ego; being evicted from the center of the cosmos and pronounced the kin of common beasts. Gotta blame someone.

Of course, most thinking people have resigned to swallow the bitter pills of heliocentrism, and Galileo has been excused from the Papal shitlist. And while there is continuing debate over the tethers of Darwinian theory, evolution is no longer a subject of serious controversy.

Yet we still nurse and cherish our conceits.  And we continue to punish heretics.  The names may have changed, but the narrative is all-too-familiar. For centuries, the tension has been most acute where Judeo-Christian dogmas are confronted with the light of reason. Now it is the secular egalitarian dogmatist whose ox is being gored.  You will excuse me if I admit to being amused by the plot twist.

The idea of human biodiversity, of empirically grounded racial taxonomy, of innate — or intractable — inequality between individuals and groups, reverberates with the same ominous force that once weighed upon guardians of monotheistic dogma.  Liberal humanists are the new creationists, only they’re too smug to see the connection.

It’s only as bad as you want it to be, kids.  Once you shake off the pacifying buzz of those moralistic fallacies and noble lies, you may look up to find that the world hasn’t changed at all.  And by confronting the hobgoblin of human difference, you may find that the the unspeakable can be spoken quite easily. Perhaps you will be liberated to think more clearly, and with the requisite imagination to make sense of the problems that remain.  Even the end of the world can be reduced it to a manageable curiosity.   

Nature has had her say, but there’s no reason she should get the final word. Got a cigarette?  I’ll pick up the tab for the next round.  We can work this out.


Charles Manson isn’t doing interviews, but the expat scene in the Czech Republic is worth watching. Having put the Prague Literary Review to rest, editors Travis Jeppesen and Joshua Cohen recently announced the launch of BLATT, a bi-annual journal that will explore the dark and dodgy permutations of contemporary arts and letters. 

Their press release throws the gauntlet down:

We hope to be an engine for those interested in challenging dominant modes of perception, be it in the realm of letters or in visual mediums, or some cross-over between the two. We’re interested in artists, writers, thinkers, madmen, skeptics, and skydivers who are creating their own languages, carving out their own systematic approaches to the world that have nothing to do with anything else going on today. We want to be a forum for the voiceless, those who, by dint of artificial barriers such as language or purity of vision, don’t fit in with any current trends or cultural definitions. We’re into challenging preconceived notions of good and evil. We’re young, angry, horny, and persistent. We’re fighting a war against the mediocrity that surrounds us. We’re here to fuck shit up.

I’m not sure where I fit in the mix, but my review-essay on the work of cult author Peter Sotos is slated to appear in the premiere issue. Keep checking the BLATT website for updates.