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Frankly, as annoying (and apparently misguided) as Steven Sailor is, he's certainly got you thinking. And being someone who enjoys reading your thoughts, I'd vote to keep him around.


Yes - and he should also stop stalking on Marginal Revolution, Freakonomics, and the hundred of other economic and social commentary blogs he stalks with his racist rants. I find most of his comments incredibly insulting and patronizing.


He crazy and insulting and patronizing - but would it be right to blankly knock him out. I think it is fine to erase any comments you find racist - bc you are hosting them - or vulgar, but perhaps not censor intirely.


I don't see how you can't understand Steve Sailer's innate brilliance. You must have inherited poorer native judgement from somewhere, Malcolm. ;)

Now, let me tell you about this watch I have here. Normally, it'd cost $100, but for you...

/please note, i am KIDDING.
//oh, and ban him! Although I love to see my RSS reader ping up with a hit from gladwell.com, he's abusing your hospitality.


OUT. Steve Sailer should take an introductory social psychology and psychometrics course before he is allowed to speak and "represent" social scientists. He has no idea what he is talking about and frankly it's insulting that he speaks so authoritatively about a subject he is obviously quite ignorant about. Psychometrically, most "intelligence" tests such as the Wechsler are fair. However, research has shown that stereotype threat, White privilege and a host of other factors contribute to real differences in IQ scores. But that does NOT mean, as Sailer implies, that the difference in IQ scores between Blacks and Whites are due to biological differences. It actually means that some groups have had better access to resources and opportunities than other groups, and this difference is revealed on IQ tests.

Jim V.

There's thousands of Sailors out there dressing up racism in intellectual clothes. It is tremendously satisfying to see Gladwell smack the parasite down.


OUT with Sailor.


I am conflicted. Generally speaking, I am against banning. It seems like censorship to me. I've also seen it turn other blogs into places where people only talk to people who agree with them, which doesn't seem to make for productive discussions/thinking.

At the same time, I don't think Steve Sailer's comments have been productive. His desire to talk about what he wants doesn't further discussion either.

So, I guess I vote for "in", but it's not a strong vote.

Gunnlaugur Þór Briem

Content and conviction: definitely.

But intent to wound? Maybe you can justifiably draw that conclusion from your prior knowledge of Sailer, but by themselves, the words you quoted could more parsimoniously be attributed simply to their author's, well, “poorer native judgment.”


I'd say keep him, but only because it's so gratifying to see that sort of sentiment publicly addressed. Of course, if he's poisoning the discussion rather than just providing fodder for it, I'd say ban him. Only you can determine if that is happening.

Jeff Werner

In. I don't agree with Sailers comments, but I feel we're not doing this conversation a proper service by banning someone. Ignore him, yes; remove him, no.

Peter Davis

I think you need to take personal responsibility whether this man, or any other racist for that matter, is allowed to comment on your blog. Making it into a "throw him off the island" thing just trivializes the whole issue. Ban him, or don't ban him.


Kick him out. Having a blog means maintaining an editorial standard. You have as much right to say who can post on this blog as the Times has to dictate who writes for their paper.


Your first criterion is simply mistaken. Cars and food are different status signalling mechanisms, and do not carry the same significance in different subcultures. You can not draw conclusions about one given another. There is no doubt that the mostly white diners at Per Se are signalling their wealth, but I highly doubt that any of them arrived at the restaurant in a vehicle with spinning gold wheels. Absence of signal on one cultural bandwidth does not indicate absence of signal on another.

Whether you agree with Sailer or not, he makes a point about a confounding factor that has yet to be addressed: are black men more or less likely to be willing to use vehicles as status indicators? And is it racist for auto sellers to take that into account?

By the way, the low price of the vehicle in the example is no disproof. I know plenty of white kids who buy cheap Honda Civics and "rice" them up with so many accessories that they could have purchased a real sports car for the total price. Low initial price does not eliminate it from being used to signal status within the their subculture.

Car buying is not an entirely rational process for anyone. They're probably one of the most emotion-laden products on the market. Consider the number of songs written about cars. The entire auto industry takes advantage of that, from initial conception and design, to advertising, to the dealer.

The study would have been better off using a product that has no signalling value for any of the included groups, or that is universally recognized as a signal. (Say, Rolex watches.)


I'll ditto Jeff Werner; and say that Sailers comments should be allowed, and at this point, largely ignored.

There is a great value in listening to the dissenting opinion. In the end it helps shape your own ideas, and make them stronger.


I agree with other posters. This site is gladwell.com and the responsibility for its contents lies with you. I am usually and fan of your forum but am disappointed that you would stoop to a 'survivor' solution.



Being a bi-racial Black woman, I am glad I negotiated a price $1,000 below invoice for my new car. I might even say I'm proud!

Will Wilkinson

In. Sailer is a smart, challenging thinker, and I find I benefit from reading him, especially when I don't agree with him, which is often. I think Sailer is right that many psychometric studies are simply ignored when the results are politically inconvenient, or can be interpreted hurtfully. If he's wrong on methodology, or in the inferences he draws from studies, then I think that's worth arguing about. Now, I also think Sailer understands the high sensitivity of questions of race, and I think the enterprise of seeking truth through discussion would be better served with less iconoclastic posturing from him, which is what I think many find aggravating. But he's worth taking seriously and seriously engaging. Of course, it's your blog, and completely up to you.


In. I think the way he thinks is the way many people think. If you want to get a handle on racism "in the real world", it would be foolish to ban him -- he provides some valuable insight, albeit unintentionally, into the problem.

And, it's "weird" in the first sentence, not "wierd". :)


OUT: This is your place. If you don't want someone here you shouldn't have to have him here. It's not like he doesn't have a platform for his ridiculous views elsewhere.



"The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas." --Carl Sagan


I agree with Peter Davis... this Weblog is not a democracy.

But, since you ARE asking for my opinion, i think that Sailer should find a less obnoxious hobby. If he were acting on my journal like he has here, i would have e-mailed him and asked him directly to be less obnoxious; if that failed, i would ban him.


And it's not the tenor of his comments or the sophistic verbiage that he spews. He's essentially done his best to hijack the Weblogs that he's stalking with his logorrhea, and THAT is the antisocial behavior to which i strenously object.


I always thought the objection to your discussion of black/white difference in car offers was the assumption that it was unconscious racism, rather than a conscious decision by car salesmen to offer a higher price, because experience shows they can get away with it.

It's your blog, and you should decide what you want here. I think Steve has interesting things to say, though I probably disagree with about half of what he says. If it were me, I'd let him keep posting.


One of the reasons I enjoy this blog so enormously, aside from the fact that my favorite non -fiction writer writes it, is that I like the people who comment. I can almost always count on an interesting conversation. The many different views and voices are often beautiful, provocative and moving.
I think there is tremendous value in the oppositional opinion that makes your thinking sharper and clearer. I do NOT think that Steve Sailer is that voice.
While I would never discount someone for a difference of opinion, his opinions are thinly veiled attacks on Malcolm. Some, not seen here, have been directly hostile and ugly. I see the merit in his writing, but not when its used to venomously harm another person.
I've wanted to say this for a long time.
You have my vote for "out", Malcolm, but I don't think you need to ask.

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