Charles Murray's Review of Steve Sailer's NOTICING
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Here are excerpts from Charles Murray’s review of my anthology Noticing in the Claremont Review of Books:

Plain Speaking

Book Review by Charles Murray

Noticing: An Essential Reader, 1973–2023, by Steve Sailer.

Passage Publishing, 468 pages, $29.95

No mainstream outlet publishes Steve Sailer. He writes for Taki’s Magazine, VDARE, and the Unz Review, all of which are exclusively online and controversial. If you want to read Steve Sailer, you have to seek him out, but it’s worth the effort. Unlike many more famous columnists at prestigious publications, Sailer consistently tells you things you didn’t know and prompts you to rethink your positions.

Noticing: An Essential Reader, 1973–2023 finally makes it easy to read an assortment of his greatest hits. It too comes not from a mainstream outlet but from a quirky online publishing platform, Passage Publishing, but at least Sailer’s work is now easily available to a wider audience.

Sailer’s main offense in the eyes of the Left clerisy is the same one that I committed 30 years ago in The Bell Curve (1994) and more recently in Facing Reality (2021): we have both written about the statistical relationships between race and I.Q., and between race and crime. We both remain unrepentant. These are realities that need head-on analysis if they are to be dealt with sensibly. The mean difference in black and white I.Q. carries with it many important implications for education and the labor market. Crime rates among blacks are multiples of the white rate. Latinos also have significantly lower mean I.Q. and higher crime rates than whites. These are not racist slanders. They are statements of exhaustively documented fact. Talking about them, however, has gotten Sailer labeled as an out-and-out racist—not only by the Left (see the Southern Poverty Law Center website) but by some neoconservatives.

Yet anyone who actually reads Noticing will have a hard time documenting that assessment of Sailer. I checked all the 600-plus occurrences of “black” or “African American” in the book. I did come up with several wisecracks about whites pandering to blacks. He mocks The New York Times for its obsession with the 1955 murder of Emmett Till (55 mentions in 2018 alone). He refers to numerous hate-crime hoaxes, from Tawana Brawley’s 1987 rape allegations (hyped by Reverend Al Sharpton), to the staged 2019 “attack” on Jussie Smollett. He calls Sharpton a “race-racket activist” and Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett an “empty pantsuit,” characterizations that I find hard to fault. But there’s no evidence of animus toward African Americans or Latinos as groups. There is nothing in Noticing that even approaches a racial slur.

Sailer does lack some filters that sterilize the prose of others who write about race (I include myself in the indictment). The title of his one other book, an assessment of Barack Obama’s character and career written shortly before he took office, was America’s Half-Blood Prince (published by VDARE in 2009). An example of Sailer’s blurt-it-out style can also be found in “How to Help the Left Half of the Bell Curve,” a discussion of crime and illegal immigration from 2000: “[B]y by the end of the century, Hispanics may be three times as numerous as blacks. We’ll enjoy equally large groups of black and Hispanic jailbirds.” The use of “jailbirds” is jarring. But here’s the next paragraph: “The essential fact about African Americans is that they are Americans. They did not ask to come here. At minimum, our nation’s obligation to them is to not worsen their plight by importing competitors that are slightly more competent.”

That juxtaposition of a jarring word with a substantially humane position is typical. Sailer has more than a little H.L. Mencken in him. He enjoys skewering pious hypocrites and he uses punchy language to do it. But when it comes to talking about everyday life, the right way to describe Sailer’s approach to race is “matter-of-fact.” Whether he is discussing the increase in black traffic fatalities following George Floyd’s death, Jackie Robinson’s impact on desegregation, or black excellence in professional sports, he has the same neutrally observant style. More than any other columnist I can think of, Sailer discusses minorities as if they were just like anybody else. …[Links added]

Read the whole thing there.

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