We have linked to Steve Sailer beause this blog links to everyone who speaks up about a subject. We don’t comment on who we think is right or wrong or acceptable or not.
Noah Millman does our job for us in this post, documenting an argument between Will Saletan and John McWhorter. About Sailer, Millman states:
“To be clear: whatever you think of the Ricci case, or affirmative action generally, I don’t see how you can make race go away as a political category (which seems to be what Saletan wants) if its salience as such hasn’t gone away. And if such categorization is to persist, how are we to have a dialogue that excludes neither uncomfortable data nor any member of the polity from the conversation?
The last relates to the Steve Sailer “problem.” I didn’t link in the above to Sailer’s contributions to the dialogue because, upon re-reading, his contributions were overwhelmingly focused on his own place in the dialogue, or lack thereof. (And they are easy enough for anyone to find who’s interested; just go to his site.) Sailer should recognize by now that, by writing for an implied reader who is already sympathetic to him and to his view of himself, and in particular by evidencing no concern for how an African-American reader might receive his writing, Sailer has effectively excluded himself from most conversations. Given that I still think he has interesting things to say, and is worth reading for those things, this poses a peculiar burden on me, and other readers (like Saletan) who apparently feel the same way, in how we treat him. The general approach (preferred by Saletan) is to telegraph repeatedly one’s basic distaste for disrespectable characters like Sailer, which gives Sailer the opportunity to wave his hands and say, “see: even when they agree with me they exclude me because they can’t handle the truth!” I’m unsatisfied with that approach myself, which is why I don’t follow it, but I don’t know what a better approach is given that Sailer himself is, plainly, not going to change on this score.”
“Now, I take it Saletan is still worried that just such people, such as [openly racist blogger] Steve Sailer, are still a force to be feared. Respectfully, however, I am still not sure why.
Think about it: our public discourse is at a point where when Saletan even entertains the data that makes us so uncomfortable he is excoriated endlessly. Where is the space in this discourse for people like Sailer to acquire any kind of meaningful influence? … What legislation would have Steve Sailer’s imprint? What steps can we imagine [where] we would get to a point where black people were routinely herded apart as mental deficients? Or whatever dystopian horror we are supposed to be worried about.”
Steve Sailer’s blog is here.
UPDATE: Saletan has his own post with the links and comments.