The fine-scale genetic structure of the French population

The fine-scale genetic structure of the French population (preprint):

The existence of population stratification is a major problem in case-control association studies and there is a need for a better assessment of allele frequency variation within populations at all geographic scales. Such efforts have been conducted in different European countries where strong patterns of geographic variations were found. The genome-wide extent of variations in allele frequencies of common variants has however never been documented at the scale of France. In this study, we describe these patterns of variation using genome-wide SNP chip data from 4,433 individuals, recruited as part of the Three-City study and whose places of birth in France were available. We show that there is a strong correlation between the top three principal components extracted from the genetic data and the latitude and longitude of birth places. Using multiple linear regression models, we were able to determine the birth places within less than 197 km of the reported origin for 50% of the individuals. Using model-based clustering with seven main geographic regions, we found that individuals were assigned in majority to their true region of origin. However, we found that information on ancestry could not be retrieved by using a small panel of Ancestry-Informative Markers (AIMs).

Ethnic origins of the Washington Post's top 28 American Communists of all time

In 2013, the Washington Post decided to come up with a list of "America’s top communists of all time". Unsatisfied, Washington Post blogger Dylan Matthews came up with his own list of America's "top Communists" (which he then promoted on twitter, spawning the comment thread that featured Ross Douthat's exaggeration of Maoism at Harvard). I've combined (and somewhat arbitrarily sorted) the lists below (the italicized text comes from the original lists; most of the quoted, bracketed text comes from wikipedia).

Summary: 9/28 who made the list are Jewish (including two who are half-Jewish); 5/28 are black; 4/28 potentially have half or more New England ancestry (and no one else on the list appears to have 1/4 or more New England ancestry); 3/28 have half or more Irish ancestry (and 6/28 are at least a quarter Irish); 3/28 are at least half Southern (and 4/28 likely a quarter or more Southern); 2/28 are half-Scandinavian; 1/28 is Finnish.

This fairly arbitrary list of prominent Communists is of course not representative of CPUSA membership as a whole, which was even more heavily Jewish and foreign (and even lighter on New England-descended children of rich families, notwithstanding moldbug's attempts to hold up John Reed -- the only person on this list who falls into that category -- as in any way representative of US Communists.)

At least 4/9 Jews on the list (White, the Rosenbergs, and Dohrn) are known to have spied for the Soviets or been involved in terrorist activity, along with 2/3 Southerners (Browder and Hiss). As far as I know this can be said of only 1/4 of those of early New England-stock on the list (Bentley, who also happens to be the one who ended up turning on her handlers and exposing Soviet intelligence operations in the US). More representative samples are even more extreme:

Jews were also vastly overrepresented in high-profile cases among those invoking the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself, so that public hearings like McCarthy's inevitably highlighted the Jewish role in communism. For example, in 1952, of 124 people questioned by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Weingarten identifies 79 Jews, 32 non-Jews and 13 with unknown ethnicity. All invoked the Fifth.

Even more remarkably, of the 42 people who were dismissed from their positions at the Fort Monmouth Laboratories in New Jersey on suspicion of constituting a spy ring (the same one that Julius Rosenberg belonged to), 39 were Jews and one other was married to a Jewish woman.

Also see:

Party leaders / labor leaders

Earl Browder

Leader of the U.S. Communist Party from the early 1930s until his expulsion in 1945. Under his guidance, the party reached its peak membership of nearly 100,000 and developed influence in key sectors of American life. Collaborated with Soviet intelligence agencies; expelled after Soviet criticism for minimizing the role of the party.

["Earl Browder was born in Wichita, Kansas on May 20, 1891, the eighth child of an American-born father sympathetic to populism.[1] He joined the Socialist Party of America in Wichita in 1907 at the age of 16 and remained in that organization until the party split of 1912". Southern (Tennessee and Virginia) ancestry.]

William Foster

Foster, a trade union militant, secretly joined the party in the early 1920s and ran for U.S. president in 1928 and 1932. He died in Moscow.

[From Beyond the American Pale: The Irish in the West, 1845-1910:

William Z. Foster was one of America's most militant Communists. That much is well known. Less so is that Foster's working-class parents were born in Ireland and that his christening as William Edward took place in a Catholic church in New Jersey. He grew up in one of Philadelphia's toughest Irish neighborhoods, the aptly named Skittereen. By any accounting, William Z. Foster (the "Z." was given to him by the Communist Party) was a part of the Irish strain in American labor.

But Foster was also part of labor's western heartland. He spent most of his working life in the West and learned his hardest lessons there.


Jay Lovestone

Lovestone was the party's leader in the 1920s but was expelled by Stalin in 1929. He became a key figure in the American Federation of Labor and worked with the CIA to combat communism in unions overseas.

["Lovestone was born Jacob Liebstein into a Litvak [Jewish] family in a shtetl called Moǔchadz in Grodno Governorate (then part of the Russian Empire, now in Grodno Region, Belarus)."]

Eugene Dennis

Two longtime party leaders. Dennis fled to Moscow in the 1920s to escape criminal prosecution for communist organizing, later became U.S. party leader. Dennis was the lead defendant in the trial of party leadership in 1949 on charges of conspiring to teach and organize the overthrow of the U.S. government. Jailed in the early 1950s, he resumed leadership role after leaving prison, swung support to hard-liners and died of cancer in 1961.

["He began life as Francis Xavier Waldron Jr. on August 10, 1905, in Seattle, Washington. His father was Irish American, and his mother, Nora Vieg, of Norwegian descent."]

Gus Hall

Hall became the leader of the declining party in the early 1960s. Opposed Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika, later promoted North Korea as a communist model. Died in 2000.

["Hall was born Arvo Kustaa Halberg in 1910 to Matt (Matti) and Susan (Susanna) Halberg in Cherry, a rural community on Northern Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range.[2] Hall's parents were Finnish immigrants from the Lapua region, and were politically radical: they were involved in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and were early members of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) in 1919.[3] The Mesabi Range was one of the most important immigration settlements for Finns, who were often active in labor militancy and political activism.[4][5] Hall's home language was Finnish, and he conversed with his nine siblings in that language for the rest of his life.[2] He did not know political terminology in Finnish and used mostly English when meeting with visiting Finnish Communists.[2]"]

James P. Cannon

I mean, c'mon, dudes. You can't do a list of American Communists and just include folks who sided with Stalin against Trotsky. Cannon was converted to the cause on a trip to Russia in 1928, during which he read one of Trotsky's critiques of the Third International (better known as Comintern), the Soviet Union's international coalition of Communist Parties, and was persuaded. [. . .] The move got him and his co-conspirators expelled. No matter; they formed the Communist League of America (Opposition), which in 1934 merged with the trade unionist American Workers Party, run by the noted Marxist Christian pacifist A.J. Muste, to form the Workers Party.

[From James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928:

A Midwestern, native-born Bolshevik whose parents were Irish immigrants, Cannon shared much with other centrally important individuals in the communist milieu of the 1920s and beyond, among them William Z. Foster, Earl Browder, and Jay Lovestone.

Cannon's benefactors were not his Rosedale chums, the old-style Irish patriots. "I was sick and fed up with the Irish by then. . . . [W]hen I looked around and saw all the god-damned Irishmen were either cops or politicians or grafters and contractors and prosecuting attorneys, I said to hell with it. I disaffiliated." Rescuing him from jail were Kansas City's "radical socialistic Jews," one component of the mass base of the foreign-language federation's left wing.

Released from his cell, Cannon surveyed the revolutionary Left and saw the carnage of the state's campaign of terror and suppression. Alexander Bittelman later characterized 1920 as "the worst year in the history of our movement." As he brooded in the office one day, his clothes a seedy match for his mood, Cannon was suddenly and unexpectedly confronted by three determined Jewish comrades. They hustled him down to a Jewish merchant's clothing store, where he was introduced as a distinguished revolutionary. "The Irish community had thought that I was a damn ne'er-do-well," Cannon recalled, "[b]ut there it was a great honor--editor of the paper and a speaker for socialism." Outfitted with a new suit of clothes, the socialists demanded that the merchant cut the price down to wholesale, and kick in an extra five-dollar reduction as his own contribution. It was all for "Comrade Cannon," and it slashed $30 worth of apparel to a mere $15, which the hard-bargaining radicals handed over to the haberdasher. "I walked out of the store with a brand new suit of clothes and an uplifted spirit that kept me going for a long time," Cannon remembered with fondness. "Now, how could I quit on people like that?" A revolutionary native son thus sealed a pact with immigrant left-wingers.


Max Shachtman

While Cannon stayed true to the Marxist flame, his ally Max Shachtman had a more interesting trajectory. While he followed Cannon to the Communist League of America, and then to the Workers Party, and then to the Socialist Workers Party, in 1940 he clashed with Cannon and Trotsky over World War II. The latter wanted to maintain a position of unconditional defense of the Soviet Union, which would entail honoring the Molotov-Ribentropp Agreement between the Soviets and Nazi Germany, supporting the Soviet "Winter War" against Finland, and backing of the Soviet/Nazi divvying up of Poland. [. . .] Where Shachtman went next was pretty surprising. He started a new party, the Workers Party (a call-back to the Trotskyist party he and Cannon had formed in 1936), which advocated for a so-called "Third Camp" that rejected the two imperialist camps of a) the then-allied Soviets and Nazis and b) the U.S. and British opposing them. [. . .] By the time of his death in 1972, Shachtman was arguing against unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam and refused to endorse George McGovern because of his support for it. [. . .] By that point, he had totally broken with the Trotskyist movement and had become a godfather of sorts to the neoconservative one. As Jeet Heer has noted, Shachtman's follower Albert Wohlstetter was a mentor to Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, and Shachtman was close to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Wash.), who was infamously hawkish on defense and whose office employed Perle, Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, and Douglas Feith at various points. After the 1972 split in the Socialist Party, Shachtman's followers started the Social Democrats USA, whose members, including Abrams and UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, featured prominently in the Reagan administration.

["Shachtman was born to a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire. He emigrated with his family to New York City in 1905."]

Harry Haywood

Harry Haywood is probably the most important theoretician the Communist Party in the U.S. produced. He served on the Central Committee of the party from 1927-1938, including a 1931-1938 stint on the Politburo. he also lived for four and a half years in the Soviet Union, where he was an active member of the Soviet Communist Party. His chief idea was that African-Americans living in the "black belt" in the South have a right to national self-determination, same as any other national group under Stalin's theories of nationalism. They should secede and form a Marxist workers' state, he argued. The area in question looks like this: In the 1950s, he judged that the Communist Party had fallen down on its commitment to black Americans, and realigned himself with Mao Zedong, who at the time was feuding with Soviet leadership. Eventually he and other Maoists started the "New Communist Movement" of the 1970s and 1980s, which sought to capitalize on revolutionary energy generated by opposition to the war in Vietnam and had some success in organizing black auto workers in Detroit.



John Reed

Harvard grad, prominent journalist, Greenwich Village bohemian and radical enthusiast, who was portrayed by Warren Beatty in his 1981 film “Reds.’’ In Moscow during the Russian Revolution, he wrote the widely praised book “Ten Days That Shook the World.” After helping found the U.S. party, returned to Moscow to fight for recognition from the Comintern against rival American sects. He died of cholera in 1920 at age 32 and was buried in the Kremlin Wall. File photo

["John Reed was born on October 22, 1887, in his maternal grandmother's mansion in Portland, Oregon, with Chinese servants[1] in today's Goose Hollow neighborhood. He wrote of paying a nickel to a "Goose Hollowite" (young toughs in a gang in the working-class neighborhood below King's Hill) to keep from being beaten up. A memorial bench overlooks the site of Reed's birthplace in Washington Park [2] His mother, Margaret Green Reed, was the daughter of a leading Portland citizen who had made a fortune through three enterprises: as owner of the first gas works in Oregon, owner of the first pig iron smelter on the west coast, and as second owner of the Portland water works.[3] John's father, Charles Jerome Reed, was the representative of an agricultural machinery manufacturer who had come to town from the East. With his ready wit, he quickly won acceptance in Portland’s business community.[4] The family's wealth came from the Green side, not the Eastern-transplanted Reed side." No doubt had significant New England ancestry via upstate New York, but also had some Welsh and German Pennsylvania and New York ancestry.]

Bayard Rustin

In his youth, he was a member of the Young Communist League — the youth branch of the Communist Party USA — owing to the fact that the Communists were just about the only political party in the 1930s to be fully opposed to segregation. "Living in Harlem, he saw that whenever blacks got into trouble, it was invariably the Communists who were willing to defend them," his biographer, John D'Emilio, writes. "Other radical groups, like the Socialist Party or assorted Trotskyist organizations, promised gains only after the revolution." His ties to the party would get him investigated by the FBI once he became a well-known leader of the civil rights movement.


Hilary Putnam

He also used to be a Maoist. In the late 1960s, he was a member of the Progressive Labor Party, a still in existence group that rejected the Soviet Union of the time as a perversion of true Marxism-Leninism and embraced developing world regimes like those in China and Vietnam instead. Putnam was targeted by the Harvard administration in the late 1960s for his views, despite being a tenured professor, and in turn was intensely critical of more conservative faculty who he thought were collaborating with the Vietnam war or promoted scientific racism.

In 1973, Putnam quit the party and has said he regrets his membership.

[1/2 Jewish and 1/2 Southern/mid-Atlantic.]

Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers

The Progressive Labor Party, of which Putnam was a member, was the chief rival of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), a group, also Maoist in orientation, within the anti-war Students for a Democratic Society group. RYM later renamed itself the Weathermen, and then the Weather Underground, and began a campaign of bombings meant to defeat the U.S. government, end the war in Vietnam, and create a socialist workers' state in America.

Among its most prominent leaders were the married couple of Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. The latter came from a prominent Chicago family, and his father ran the biggest electrical utility in Illinois. That connection got Dohrn hired by the Chicago firm Sidley Austin, despite her inability to join the Illinois bar. She's currently a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern.

[Dohrn: half-Jewish, half-Swedish. "While in high school, Dohrn's father changed the family name from Ohrnstein to Dohrn because he wanted to avoid being accused by his customers of "Jewing" them out of their money. Dohrn attended Miami University of Ohio, where she tried to get into one of the most exclusive sororities but was rejected because of her father's Jewish background. She then transferred to the University of Chicago in her junior year. This change of academic location sharpened her social awareness of inequality and racial discrimination." [Klaus P. Fischer. America in White, Black, and Gray: A History of the Stormy 1960s]

Ayers: "Ayers grew up in Glen Ellyn, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. His parents are Mary (née Andrew) and Thomas G. Ayers, who was later chairman and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Edison (1973 to 1980),[4] and for whom Northwestern's Thomas G. Ayers College of Commerce and Industry was named.[5][6] He attended public schools until his second year in high school, when he transferred to Lake Forest Academy, a small prep school.[7] Ayers earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from the University of Michigan in 1968. (His father, mother and older brother had preceded him there.)[7]"

Ayers's father is 1/2 Scottish, 1/4 post-1790 German, and 1/4 Southern and Mid-Atlantic via the Midwest. His mother is 1/2 (Scottish-surnamed) Canadian and at least 1/4 (probably 1/2) post-1790 German.]

Angela Davis

Davis, a philosopher and protege of the critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, was a longtime member of CPUSA. That membership, indeed, got her fired from UCLA's philosophy faculty, at the direction of then-California governor Ronald Reagan. Shortly thereafter, she was tried for her alleged involvement in a hostage-taking incident at a courthouse in Marin County, California. She owned the guns used in the event but was found not guilty.


Entertainers / "intellectuals"

Woody Guthrie

Oklahoma-born singer and songwriter joined the party in California. Major figure in evolving folk-song movement, singer for party benefits and, eventually, famous for "This Land Is Your Land" and other songs. Inspired several generations of folk singers, including Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. Hear Woody Guthrie.

["Guthrie was born in Okemah, a small town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, the son of Nora Belle (née Sherman) and Charles Edward Guthrie.[4] His parents named him after Woodrow Wilson, then Governor of New Jersey and the Democratic candidate soon to be elected President of the United States." 3/4 Southern, 1/8 Irish, 1/8 New England.]

W.E.B. DuBois

African American intellectual, author of “The Souls of Black Folks,” founder of the NAACP. Moved close to the party in 1930s and 1940s, moved to Ghana in 1961 and joined the U.S. party that year.


Paul Robeson

Talented African American athlete, actor and singer who secretly joined the party. Robeson was identified with communist causes for years. Despite knowledge of Soviet persecution of Jews, he refused to publicly criticize the Soviet Union. He charged the United States with committing genocide against blacks and praised Stalin. Blacklisted and in declining health, his career never recovered.


Howard Fast

Best-selling novelist, author of books such as "Spartacus" and "Freedom Road." Fast was a prominent communist activist in 1940s and 1950s, left the party in 1956 and published a scathing attack on it called "The Naked God." Worked as Hollywood screenwriter and published a popular book series, "The Immigrants." Before his death in 2003, he repudiated his anti-communism, writing another autobiography that praised the party.


James Burnham

Burnham, an ally of Shachtman's in the Socialist Workers Party, resigned in 1940 after the latter was purged. However, unlike Shachtman, he combined his resignation with a wholesale rejection of Marxism, which became clear in his 1941 book, The Managerial Revolution. He argued that Nazism, Italian fascism, Bolshevik Communism, and New Deal liberalism all moved in the direction of societies governed by a special class of "managers" that controlled the means of production. He was clear that the New Deal was the mildest form of this, but argued it undermined support for capitalism all the same. He predicted that this sort of managerial system would eventually replace capitalism altogether.

Burnham moved even further to the right in the 1940s and 1950s, becoming an ardent Cold War hawk and helping William F. Buckley found the National Review. In 1983, Ronald Reagan gave him a Presidential Medal of Freedom, as seen in the above photo.

[Zero grandparents born in America. Father born in England. Maternal grandmother born in Ireland. Of Highland Scottish ancestry via Prince Edward Island on maternal grandfather's side. Raised Catholic.]

Max Eastman

Eastman, like Burnham and, to a lesser extent, Shachtman, was a Trotskyist who became a true right-winger by the end of his life. He was the one who raised the funds so that John Reed (the Warren Beatty character in Reds; Eastman was played by Edward Herrmann) could go observe the October Revolution in Russia. He performed a true service to Trotsky by making Lenin's Testament — a document that, while also critical of Trotsky, made it clear the Soviet leader did not want Joseph Stalin to succeed him — widely known in the West, and was friends with Trotsky until his assassination in 1940.

But by then Eastman was distancing himself from Marxism and becoming enamored of free market economists like Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. In his role as an editor at Reader's Digest, Eastman serialized the latter's The Road to Serfdom, which includes an account of Eastman's alienation from socialism. Eastman joined the free market Mount Pelerin Society, as well as the anti-Communist American Committee for Cultural Freedom, and was briefly a fan of Joseph McCarthy's (though he later labeled him a "reactionary"). He was one of the initial editors of National Review, whose board he left when he felt it had become too explicitly Christian.

He's also responsible for one of my all-time favorite quotes about Marxist philosophy: "Hegelism is like a mental disease; you can't know what it is until you get it, and then you can't know because you have got it."

[Eastman's father was a Congregational minister, likely of predominantly New England stock. However, his mother was of Pennsylvania ancestry, including German, and evidently Eastman and his sister "attributed their progressive ideas to their mother’s influence."]

Pete Seeger

The original Post list had Woody Guthrie, but his friend and fellow folk singer Seeger was a card-carrying CPUSA member for many decades. He joined the Young Communist League in 1936 and the actual party in 1932, and, along with Guthrie and the Almanac Singers, wrote anti-war songs in 1941 until the Soviet Union was invaded, at which point he switched to supporting intervention.

[Roughly 3/4 New England, 1/8 mid-Atlantic, 1/8 French]

Miscellaneous communists

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Prominent physicist and secret U.S. party member in the late 1930s. Dropped out of party activities after being selected to head the Manhattan Project. Despite numerous efforts by Soviet intelligence to contact him, steadily moved away from the party as he played major role in postwar U.S. atomic policy. Lost his security clearance in 1954 amid charges of communism and lying to U.S. security. Directed the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., from 1947 to 1966, a year before his death.

["Oppenheimer was born in New York City on April 22, 1904,[7] the son of Julius Oppenheimer, a wealthy Jewish textile importer who had immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1888, and Ella Friedman, a painter."]

Alger Hiss

Hiss and Whittaker Chambers were protagonists in a spy case that helped establish anti-communism as major factor in American political life and that boosted the career of Richard M. Nixon.

[One grandparent born in Ireland, other three in Maryland.]

Whitaker Chambers

Chambers was the star government witness in the spy case. Hiss, a high-ranking State Department official, was convicted of perjury for lying about Chambers's charge that Hiss had provided him with secret government documents in the 1930s. The case riveted the nation and remains controversial today, despite overwhelming evidence that Chambers told the truth.

["Whittaker Chambers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[. . .] His family moved to Lynbrook, Long Island, New York, in 1904, where he grew up and attended school. His parents were Jay Chambers and Laha (Whittaker). Chambers described his childhood as troubled because of his parents separation and caring for their mentally ill grandmother. Chambers' brother committed suicide shortly after withdrawing from his first year of college. Chambers would cite his brother's troubled life and eventual suicide as one of many reasons that he was drawn to communism as a young man.[4]

After graduating from South Side High School in neighboring Rockville Centre in 1919, Chambers worked at a variety of jobs before attending Williams College in 1920. He later enrolled as a day student at Columbia University.[4] At Columbia his fellow students included Meyer Schapiro, Louis Zukofsky, Clifton Fadiman, John Gassner, Lionel Trilling [. . .]

In 1930 or 1931,[8] Chambers married the young artist Esther Shemitz (1900–1986).[4] [9] Shemitz, who had studied at the Art Students League and integrated herself into New York City's intellectual circles, met Chambers at the 1926 textile strike at Passaic, New Jersey."

Appears to be 9/16 (post-1790) Irish and Scottish; on the predominantly colonial American half of his ancestry, it looks like three great-grandparents were born in Pennsylvania, and one in New Hampshire (but with a father who was born in England).]

Elizabeth Bentley

A Vassar grad dubbed ''the blond spy queen,'' Bentley joined the party, worked for and eventually became the lover of Jacob Golos, the U.S. party's contact with Soviet intelligence. After Golos's death in 1943, she took over supervision of his espionage rings, most of them composed of government employees in Washington. Unstable and depressed by Soviet efforts to push her aside, Bentley went to the FBI in 1945, setting off a major investigation of Soviet espionage. Although unable to prosecute anyone because of a lack of hard evidence, the government confirmed her charges through decrypting of Soviet messages. Bentley helped stoke the anti-communist fervor of the 1940s and 1950s.

["Elizabeth Terrill[4] Bentley was born in New Milford, Connecticut to Charles Prentiss Bentley, a dry-goods merchant, and May Charlotte Turrill, a schoolteacher.[5] In 1915 her parents had moved to Ithaca, New York, and by 1920 the family had moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania and then to Rochester, New York.[6] Her parents were described as strait-laced old family Episcopalian New Englanders." She does appear to be predominantly of early New England ancestry. Golos was Jewish.]

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

The Rosenbergs were low-level communists. Julius, an engineer, volunteered to assist Soviet espionage and developed a highly effective ring of former college classmates working in the defense industry during World War II. Turned over vital information on jet propulsion, radar, sonar and the proximity fuse, as well as atomic bomb information provided by Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, a machinist at Los Alamos, N.M. Convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, the Rosenbergs went to the electric chair rather than reveal members of their ring, becoming martyrs to the pro-Soviet left. A campaign to clear their names continues today, despite abundant evidence that they were guilty.

["Julius Rosenberg was born to a family of Jewish immigrants in New York City on May 12, 1918. . . . Ethel Greenglass was born on September 28, 1915, to a Jewish family in New York City."]

Harry Dexter White

As Neil's interview with Benn Steil explains, Harry Dexter White was a senior FDR-era Treasury department official, who eventually was tasked with negotiating the Bretton Woods agreement, which would establish the World Bank, IMF, and General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, now the WTO). White was not an official member of the Communist Party, but he did pass state secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II. Steil notes in his book that White's actual economic views didn't appear all too Marxist, but it seems clear that at least at some moments in time, White sympathized with the Soviet economic model. "Russia is the first instance of a socialist economy in action," he wrote in a 1944 manuscript. "And it works!"

["Harry Dexter White was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the seventh and youngest child of Jewish Lithuanian[3] immigrants, Joseph Weit and Sarah Magilewski, who had settled in America in 1885."]

If Harvard picked the president we wouldn't have had FDR

The leftism that dominated Harvard from the 1960s onward did not originate with the people who founded Harvard.

If Harvard Picked The President:

If Harvard picked the president, half the men who have occupied the Oval Office in the past 128 years never would have made it to the White House.

According to records of Harvard straw polls over The Crimson’s 139-year history, the winner of the poll at Harvard—this year, Barack Obama by a wide margin—has won the real thing only 50 percent of the time. [. . .]

Over that time, the political views of the student body have shifted along with—and sometimes against—the tides of history. Harvard picked Republicans—the party of Calvin Coolidge and Theodore Roosevelt, Class of 1880, but also of losing contenders like Charles Evan Hughes—in every contest from 1884 to World War II, save 1912. In that year, as the Republican Party split its vote between incumbent President William Howard Taft and Roosevelt, who decided four years after his term ended that he had not had enough of the presidency, Democrat Woodrow Wilson managed to take the most Crimson votes. The same phenomenon occurred on a national level.

Even the Harvard pedigree of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Class of 1904 and a president of The Harvard Crimson, was insufficient to take the top of The Crimson’s poll. As the rest of the country voted overwhelmingly for Roosevelt, the student body picked Herbert Hoover—the man hated nationwide for supposedly bringing on the scourge of the Great Depression—then Alfred M. Landon and Wendell Willkie, all by significant margins. Clearly, economic woes dogged the Harvard voter far less than the ordinary election-goer. [. . .]

In 1960, a Democrat won the poll by an absolute majority for the first time: Harvard alumnus and youth favorite John F. Kennedy ’40.

The post-WWII Harvard student body was very disproportionately Jewish: "At least 19 percent of Harvard freshmen enrolling in the class of 1946 were Jewish. Between 1950 and 1970 the percentage of Jewish students at Harvard and Columbia would be well in the 20 percent bracket, averaging 25 percent during the two decades." The shift left at Harvard also followed an increased emphasis on "meritocracy" that led to fewer students from the old Protestant upper class:
Harvard was not, the Rollo Book insisted, "a rich-man's college": "More than half of the students earn a significant part of their college expenses and about thirty per cent receive financial aid from the College in the form of scholarships, beneficiary aid, or loans." [. . .]

Despite the shift in rhetoric, change in Harvard's actual practices came only gradually. Nevertheless, Bender's accession to the chairmanship of the Committee on Admission and on Scholarships and Financial Aids did produce some identifiable shifts in the character of the student body. In his first year in office, Bender raised incoming freshman median scores on the SAT from 583 to 609 on the verbal section and 598 to 625 on the mathematical section. At the same time, the percentage of entering freshmen from private schools declined from 52 percent in 1952 to 47 percent in 1953. This was the first time in Harvard's peacetime history that public school graduates outnumbered private school graduates. [. . .]

By 1957, faculty power had been rising for over a decade, and faculty members everywhere sought to apply more meritocratic standards in selecting undergraduates. That fall, their efforts received a powerful boost from an unexpected source when, on Octorber 4, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world's first satellite. [. . .]

Harvard's scientists seized the opportunity to increase pressure on the Admission Office. [. . .]

As the Admission and Scholarship Committee convened in the spring of 1958 to conduct the annual business of selection, it faced heavy pressure -- from an increasingly assertive faculty, from applicants empowered by knowing their SAT scores, and from the growing national obsession with scientific brilliance -- to give greater weight to scholastic talent than ever before. The freshmen who enrolled that fall showed every sign of being the strongest class academically in Harvard's history. In one year, median combined SATs had risen by 50 points, from 1285 to 1335 -- the second-largest increase ever recorded at Harvard. [. . .] In a related trend, the number of students from public schools reached an all-time high of 54 percent [. . .] -- a development that could only be welcomed by faculty calling for more meritocracy. [. . .]

Bender had hit on a central dilemma: in a changing society, would Harvard be best served by continuing to favor the children of the upper class or should it attach itself to a potentially rising class of academically talented boys from the nation's public schools? "Are we interested in keeping Harard an institution which will be socially acceptable for young gentlemen to attend?" he asked. "Or are young gentlemen a vanishing rose and would we be better off without them?" How the Special Committee answered these questions would reveal a great deal about Harvard's strategy for maintaining its preeminence in a world in which the Protestant upper class was already losing its hegemony.

[Jerome Karabel. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale . . .]

The New Deal coalition:
The New Deal coalition [. . .] united the many enemies of the old Puritan ethic: Catholic immigrants, Jewish intellectuals, southern gentlemen, black sharecroppers, Appalachian mountain folk, Texas stockmen and California hedonists.

The various groups who supported Roosevelt all believed that the national government should play a larger economic role.

More on student radicalism at Harvard (including catching Digby Baltzell in some misleading omissions)

We were previously shocked to discover that the general tenor of the 1970s pro-Khmer Rouge Harvard Crimson was Jewish.

You will be further surprised to learn that 1960s student radicalism didn't start at Harvard, and 1960s student radicalism at Harvard didn't start with "WASPs".

The excerpts below come from The Protestant Establishment Revisited (along with other sources, where noted, to correct Baltzell).

Note that Baltzell is pushing a ridiculous narrative of his own (namely, that "WASPs" doomed themselves by being too exclusionary), is eager to maximize the role of his subjects (elite "WASPs"), and leans heavily on a slanted source (a Jewish radical who in ranting about inter-leftist squabbles was evidently more interested in airing his hostility toward "WASPs" than in historical accuracy); yet he still acknowledges the primacy of Jews in 1960s student radicalism:

While the main reasons for the turmoil on the best campuses in America during the 1960s were the black revolution and the war in Vietnam, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the turmoil was also closely related to the decline of the WASP establishment and the rise of other groups, especially the affluent and newly suburbanized Jews, to elite status. Nevertheless, in viewing the generation gap within the old-stock upper class that resulted in its children's radical behavior, let us bear in mind that throughout the 1960s only a small minority of students were, as the saying went, "radicalized." Although in stable times students have always held more or less the same political opinions as their parents, those of the 1960s moved steadily away from the values of the Republican WASP establishment. For instance, in a 1960 presidential straw poll taken at Harvard, John F. Kennedy received 60 percent of the vote--more than Franklin Roosevelt or any other Democratic candidate had ever mustered on that campus since the Civil War. [. . .]

In the late 1960s, the student meritocracy at Harvard was very much like Princeton's--the ratio of students from private and public schools being a similar 40 and 60 percent. Harvard had, of course, been heterogeneous and meritocratic for a longer time, with its proportion of Jewish students higher than at Princeton and far higher than in President Lowell's day. In this connection, it is important to stress one factor in the generation gap within the upper class: the brighter young people were far more opposed to a general, blanket anti-Semitism than were their parents. [. . .] But for a clue to the values and attitudes of the brightest sons of the fourth-generation WASP establishment, let us look at the behavior of private school graduates at Harvard in the late 1960s.

The Berkeley campus revolution came in 1964, Columbia's in 1968, and Harvard's in the spring of 1969. The book on Harvard by S.M. Lipset and David Riesman includes a study of all the student revolts on that campus since the "Great Rebellion" of 1823, when John Quincy Adams's son John was expelled. "Harvard's year of the 'bust,' 1968-69," write these two authors, "was the most momentous year in the University's history in the century since Eliot took office." The history of that second Great Rebellion in 1969 has been thoroughly documented and need not be gone into here. But one thing is worth stressing: it was the sons of the WASP establishment who finally occupied the central administration building--an act that led to President Pusey's disastrous summoning of the local police.

This assertion ("it was the sons of the WASP establishment who finally occupied the central administration building") is, to say the least, questionable, as we'll see below.

Student radicalism at Harvard, as on most other campuses, was led by members of the SDS. Students for a Democratic Society was founded at Port Huron, Michigan, in 1962, and its Harvard chapter was by 1966 the largest in the nation. One of its founders at Harvard (his father was an ADA Democrat and a member of the Kennedy administration) was a great-grandson of James Stillman, John D. Rockefeller's banker.

Baltzell is referring here to Nat Stillman (Whit Stillman's brother), who was at one point "a vice-president of Harvard-Radcliffe Students for a Democratic Society". A fact not reported by Baltzell: "According to Nat Stillman, an early Harvard SDS leader who joined and later left the group, well over half of the Harvard SDS executive committee in its early days was made up of people who identified with or were members of the old-line Communist party, U. S. A."

Also not reported by Baltzell: Harvard SDS was "organized in 1964 by Carl Offner '64 and Michael Ansara". These appear to be the actual founders of the Harvard SDS chapter, and the surnames do not strike me as "WASP". Michael Ansara was also the leader of the University Hall occupation, and Offner, as a graduate student, was still involved at that time as well.

Lastly, it's interesting to note that Stillman too turns out to have apparent Jewish ancestry. While Nat Stillman's father was a grandson of Rockefeller's banker, not mentioned by Baltzell (and something I was not previously aware of) is that his (Deputy to the Under Secretary of Commerce in the Kennedy administration, John Sterling Stillman's) maternal grandmother was Jewish (or probably half-Jewish), a daughter of one Marcus Derckheim Boruck (who was apparently a newspaper editor and politician in mid/late 19th-century San Francisco). While this inheritance may be of little significance genetically, to the extent Nat and his father were aware of this minority ancestry it would not surprise me if it exerted some influence on their identity / politics.

By the time of the rebellion, the Harvard SDS had broken into two opposing factions, as left-wing movements often do: the more conservative SDS caucus and the more radical PL group, linked to the Maoist Progressive Labor party. From our point of view, the most useful description of the contrasting roles of these two wings in the 1969 "bust" is found in the book Push Comes to Shove: The Escalation of Student Protests by Steven Kelman, a student at Harvard between 1966 and 1970. Kelman came to Harvard as a convinced socialist and was the leader of the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) on the campus. From his first day there, he strongly disapproved of, indeed despised, the "pallid preppies." "On the second day," he wrote in his diary," I saw a tall, bond, not-quite-fat kid around the dorm. . . . One time he was gazing down at the rest of the world from his pedestal on the ledge of the staircase one floor up, and once against, later in the afternoon, downstairs. His eyes eyed me in a superciliousness so classic that I felt like photographing it. The lips seemed delicately positioned so that he could voice his contempt without saying one audible word . . . Disgusting prep school kid!" This reversal of the kike-on-sight syndrome held by private school boys in the 1930s prevails throughout the Kelman book. Young Kelman somehow never seemed to apply the "preppie" epithet, however, to preppies of Jewish background, some of whom were his friends.
But . . . I though moldbug explained Jewish radicals were driven only by an unexceptionable desire to assimilate with elite "WASPs".

"Who's in Harvard SDS?" Kelman asks, and immediately discards the Freudian approach in the Yale psychologist Kenneth Kenisston's "sycophantic accoun in The Young Radicals."

As more of a follower of Marx [Kelman writes], I think it would be useful to apply a class analysis to the sole phenomenon to which SDS refuses to apply this method: themselves, of course. Family income: average for U.S., $8,000 a year; average for Harvard, $17,000 a year; average for SDS, $23,000 a year (Source: poll of family incomes taken in Soc. Sci. 125, an SDS-run course taken almost entirely by New Leftists.) Secondary school education: of the 150-odd Harvard students arrested after the occupation of University Hall, approximately 50 percent attended prep school, with the largest representation from the most exclusive ones like St. Paul's. Just over 40 percent of the Harvard student body as a whole comes from prep schools.

Kelman divides the affluent SDS membership into the "hereditary left," which dominated the SDS caucus, and the Maoist PL group, made up of preppies whom he calls "WASP" rebels." The SDS at Harvard, according to Kelman, "never could have gotten started without the initial services of the hereditary radicals." This group became radical in the same way a Boston Irishman's son becomes a Democrat--by instinct. Their fathers had come of age in the 1930s and were now members of the increasingly affluent American intelligentsia. According to Kelman:

Irving Howe estimates that during the thirties and forties a million Americans may have passed through membership in the Communist party. Many are still radicals, if only under the table--or, to put it more accurately, at the dinner table--today. Around these talkative dinner tables the hereditary radicals absorbed from early childhood certain notions about who the bad guys and who the good guys are. . . . The hereditary radicals came to Harvard with their political commitments already well established.

Although the hereditary radicals founded and kept SDS going at Harvard in the 1960s, they lost out tot he Maoist PL leaders in the April 1969 rebellion--the taking over of University Hall and the calling of the police by President Pusey. Thus, according to Kelman, "almost none of the leaders of the New Left caucus, up to and including SDS co-chairman Kazin, were arrested. . . . The hereditary radicals tried to conceal their fears in a hocus-pocus of SDS rhetoric, . . . but the real source of their hesitancy was easier to understand . . . they might get jail and expulsion. That was more than Mom and Dad had led them to bargain for."

The hereditary radicals "combined the confidence and optimism of members of a rising social group," says Kelman--and, one might add, the sophisticated caution born of the experience of their fathers. The WASP rebels, on the other hand, seemed to have many of the characteristics (perhaps in the extreme) of most of their declining class. Kelman reflects on his WASP rebel classmates as follows:

The sight of an aristocrat who has lost the will to live is aesthetically degrading. These declining members of the American aristocracy are not at all similar to the standard aristocratic stereotypes. They are neither self-confident men at the top, uncaring of those below, nor the humane, social-service oriented democratic aristocrats.

The left should normally expect [Kelman continues] good strong hostility and opposition from the upper class--the enemy is nothing if not powerful. If some aristocrats want to rebel, though, that's their right. But the pale, delicate face of the used-up aristocrat who goes into SDS reminds one of nothing so much as Spengler's Decline of the West. The American upper class has been an aristocracy produced by primitive dog-eat-dog competition, and it is only now that enough generations have passed for it to begin to produce soft, declining offspring who are not "up" to its standards. . . . It is in the guilty aristocrat that we see clearly politics not for politics' sake, but for self-expression, the possibility of recapturing a lost vitality that one feels to weak to create for oneself.

I'm not inclined to take Kelman as credible even on this point, but I have no trouble believing that those scions of elite "WASPs" who did become radicals were on the whole lacking in confidence and poor specimens of their class, typically resentful of their peers and easily manipulable by foreign cultural streams.

The "declining aristocrats," as Kelman calls them, were all members of PL, not a "single one of them in the New Left caucus." But it was the PL preppies who carried their convictions--shallow and temporary as they were, and born of their declining self-confidence and frustration--to the ultimate conclusion in taking over University Hall, and being brutalized and arrested in doing so. The occupation of University Hall by the "pallid preppies" was a vital, symbolic event in the history of class relations in this country. Nothing since The Protestant Establishment was written, I should imagine, better illustrates what was happening to the WASP upper class, especially in its fourth generation. Imagine the reactions of the Harvard clubmen in their fathers' and grandfathers' generation had they witnessed "virtually everyone around the exclusive clubs wearing red armbands," as preppie David Bruce, Kelman's roommate in his sophomore year, reported to him during the bust. Kelman's views of his despised preppie classmates may seem to say more about his own relations with his ideological peers than about them. But perhaps his views were not so far off base.

From what I can tell, Kelman appears to have been almost entirely off base. Here's another radical chiding Seymour Martin Lipset for relying on Kelman:

You devote a page and a half of your conclusion (p. 250-251) to a discussion of the militant "worker-student alliance" (WSA) faction of SDS, which was led by the Maoist group "Progressive Labor Party" (PLP). You repeatedly state as fact, quoting Kelman, that the most militant student leaders during the turbulent spring of 1969 were "the scions of well-to-do WASP elite" (p. 250), "scions of privileged WASP America" (p. 251), "the children of the true blue, of the WASP elite, linked by social origins to the classes which had manned the clubs" (p. 251). You devote a half-page of sociological theorizing to conjectures aimed at explaining this fascinating phenomenon.

However, anyone who sat through a few SDS meetings during that period (as I did) knows differently. There was no mystery about who the PLP-ers were. Leading the most important caucus in SDS, they were vocal participants in every debate, and were always proud to identify themselves as "party members". It is a fact taht, at the time of the takeover of University Hall, there were precisely five PLP-ers at Harvard. Of them, three(3) were ethnically Jewish. "WASP elite"??

In the same part of the conclusion you refer to "the students arrested in University Hall, almost all of whom were WSA" (p. 250). At that time, the entire WSA caucus consisted of no more than 40-50 people. (By the summer it had increased to almost a hundred.) Over 170 students were arrested at University Hall. So no more than one fourth "were WSA"! The majority of SDS members were unaffiliated with any caucus, and many of the participants in SDS-led demonstrations (including the building seizure) were not even SDS members. The group of students arrested was not nearly so monolithic as your faith in Kelman's reporting leads you to believe. In fact, the WSA caucus was out-voted on some key points. (For example, the majority of arrested students chose a popular "movement lawyer" by the name of Flynn who was intensely disliked by the WSA people for ideological reasons.)

[Serge Lang. The File (1977-1979): Case Study in Correction.]

Ansara was anti-PL/WSA, while Offner was a member of the WSA. Jared Israel and Norm Daniels are the strikingly WASP names Google turns up as founders / leaders of the Harvard PL faction. (Hilary Putnam, another person mentioned as having been a member of PL at Harvard, was half Jewish; and his father was a scion not of elite northeastern "WASPs", but of small-town Midwestern farmers who look to have been ultimately of Southern and Mid-Atlantic ancestry.) The Progressive Labor party itself was "Created in 1962 by Milton Rosen". Back to Baltzell:
Four days after the occupation, the executive editor of the Crimson "Bared his soul, in the proud Crimson tell-it-like-it-is tradition, with a piece entitled 'Non-Politics on the Battlefront.'" The following excerpts cannot be faulted as coming from an anti-prep-school point of view:

What was most euphoric was us and what we were to each other. We were brothers and sisters. We did reach out and hold onto each other . . . we were very human and very together.

None of the above is very political stuff. But there was a group of us in University Hall who were not very political people. It was a strange group, not well-defined at all, that included some girls, some people from the Loeb (Drama Center), a couple of guys from the Fly Club, at least one from the Lampoon, and one in a tuxedo who had just come from a party and was drunk. There were others. Some of us didn't even know what the six demands were.

The executive editor of the Crimson, a graduate of Saint Paul's, as was his father before him, had everything that meritocratic Harvard now looks for. He was a good athlete, very popular, and a top scholar. Not long after Kelman's book was written, this wealthy and gifted preppie took his own life. One wonders what will happen to the rest of the gilded-Harvard youth who led the rebellion that spring.

What will happen to freedom in the fourth generation from the robber barons, which dropped out and rebelled in its youth during the late 1960s? Their problem partly reflected a severe crisis of class authority in America, highlighted in a series of tragic events from the assassination of President Kennedy to the Watergate affair. It would be too facile to blame the current decline of authority in America, or the tragic fate of the editor of the Harvard Crimson in 1969, entirely on the suicidal, exclusionary values of the WASP establishment. Perhaps the very strengths of an establishment in one generation preclude its functioning successfully in another. At any rate, when I wrote The Protestant Establishment during the administration of President Kennedy, I still had faith in the ability of the WASP establishment assimilate talented men and women of other ethnic and religious origins into its ranks. I have no such faith today. I remain convinced, though, that modern republican, political institutions, in both England and America, have traditionally been based on hierarchical social systems where class authority and the threat of class ostracism have been major agents of social control. A free press is a vital virtue in any democracy; like all virtues, however, it becomes a vice when carried too far and the fear of media exposure becomes the major sanction of a normative system. An authoritative establishment, in the long run, is far more important to the protection of freedom and democracy.

But perhaps it is best to forget about the WASP establishment, and instead cultivate an open but hierarchical society where all men aspire to be like Washington or Jefferson, rather than one in which all men must overtly ape the values of Everyman, all the while covertly coveting the shallow comforts of affluence and power. Not long after the decline of the Federalist establishment (of which the "Rebellion of 1823" at Harvard was a sympton) and the rise of Jacksonian democracy, Tocqueville pointed out the affinities between materialism and egalitarianism, from which the following lines are taken:

There is in fact a manly and lawful passion for equality which incites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to raise the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level.
The name of the implied "WASP" Crimson executive editor who killed himself, which Baltzell fails to provide: Nicholas Gagarin. The father who also attended St. Paul's was not a "WASP" but a Russian prince (Andre Sergeievich Gagarin, born 1914 in St. Petersburg). And his mother certainly seems to have been rich, but also appears to have been part Irish. In omitting these facts while expounding on the "the suicidal, exclusionary values" of "WASPs" Baltzell goes well beyond discretion into deception. Nor does Baltzell mention that Nick Gagarin was evidently homosexual:
"I lived in Winthrop House from 1966 to 1969," he recalls. "In those days only Tom Hopkins '69"--the guy I was homophobic toward--"was flamboyantly 'out.' He was a magnet for a dozen embryonic gay Winthrop men. Our homoerotic world was very like the Oxford of Brideshead Revisited, with Tom as Anthony Blanche constantly egging us on. I was a cautious Charles Ryder; my Sebastian Flyte was Nick Gagarin '70--beautiful, aristocratic, charming, and responsive. It was a time of intense romantic friendships, resonant with youthful laughter and daring and rebellion. These friendships reached sexual consummation only rarely and hesitantly--for me, just four or five times. Late-night knocks on my door, awkward passionate embraces, long intense confessions..."

The transition from 1966 (when Newmeyer got to Winthrop House and the Ivy League was still pretty much a tweedy, traditional place) to 1969 (the year of the Strike, when he left) was extraordinary. Vietnam was the catalyst, but everything changed.

"The year 1969 marked the end of an era in sexual politics at Harvard," says Newmeyer. "Dress codes, parietal rules, same-sex Houses were on the way out. The civil-rights movement, the antiwar movement, the exploration of marijuana, the Strike--for us wannabe gays it all culminated in Stonewall. That was all we needed: we leapt out of the closet, became gay activists, and hesitated no longer about our sexuality. Actually, we pretty much concluded that it was a damn lucky thing to be gay in that blissful dawn."

Not for me. Not quite yet. And not for Nick Gagarin, ever. He committed suicide in 1971.

While that particular confirmation was published well after The Protestant Establishment Revisited, Baltzell undoubtedly read the following histrionic obituary from another Gagarin "friend" in the St. Paul's alumni magazine before he decided to pass off this half-Russian, part-Irish, mentally-unstable homosexual as an exemplary "WASP" doomed to tragedy by exclusive "WASP" values.
'66 - Nicholas Gagarin died at his home in Litchfield, Connecticut. November 25, 1971. He leaves his parents. Andrew S. Gagarin, '33, and Jamie Porter Gagarin: a sister, Mrs. Raoul Pujol, and two brothers, Michael, '59. and Peter Gagarin, '63.

The absurdity of it outweighs the tragedy. The brilliant young man with everything in the world shoots himself to death, in the middle of a blizzard early on Thanksgiving morning. The family grieves, friends are rounded up for a funeral, his ashes are scattered over the fields and hills that he loved. And here I sit, the old school chum, the roommate of so many academic years, the "closest friend," stuck with the problem of making a dead man live, when I still can't believe that he's dead.

Nick Gagarin was the most talented, intelligent, and enigmatic person I've ever met. Those of you who knew him at St. Paul's did not know him at all. He changed a great deal over the past five years and became, as I hope most of us have, something far removed from the captain of this and the president of that, a spoiled and arrogant product of a classy school. His warmth and humor increased as his shyness vanished. His interest in other people was immense. He physicalized everything he felt, and was at his best hugging and holding the people he loved.

His career at Harvard was the expected success: he wrote and published a novel, he was big cheese on the Crimson, and he spent time at Esalen in California where he broadened and tested himself. By the time he graduated in 1970, Nick Gagarin had become someone quite special.

Nick always talked about being "up" - he tried desperately to be high on life all the time, and was badly let down when he failed or others failed him. The dreams got bigger the more he questioned his ability to make them come true. The strange, remote, frightening, and rather wild side of him flourished.

And so with exquisite logic Nick took his own life. It's appalling and incredible and a waste and such a shame, blah blah blah, but that's the way he wanted it and one must respect that.

A horrible thing, I find, is how quickly the image fades. There's not much left except things he said that you remember and the letters he wrote that you kept.

I wish I could could end this without being corny and obvious but I can't, so you must each supply your own endings and learn from your own conclusions.

Andre Bishop, '66

Place your bets: Maoist-period Harvard Crimson staff was dominated by New England Puritans or Jews?

The moldbug-owned autistic nydwracu compiles "every article that the Harvard Crimson ran between 1973 and 1976 that mentions the Khmer Rouge", inspired by an assertion from Ross Douthat that:
@yeselson @jneeley78 @dylanmatt There was a period in the late '60s/early '70s when pretty much everyone at Harvard was a Maoist.

— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) September 26, 2013

I think Douthat may be engaging in slight hyperbole as concerns the Harvard student body as a whole. But the comment appears to fairly characterize the Harvard Crimson staff of the era.

Presumably nydwracu thinks he's piling up evidence in favor of moldbuggism.

But it takes effort not to notice that the more egregious pro-Khmer Rouge articles are signed by and/or published during the leadership of Daniel Swanson or Nicholas Lemann. Lemann is confirmed Jewish and Swanson is almost certainly Jewish.

Lemann helpfully recounts the ethnic tenor of the Swanson and Lemann-era Crimson in a 1998 article:

Minority Voices

In 1973, The Crimson was supporting demonstrations against Harvard's investment in African colonies and fighting internally over whether to capitalize the words "black" and "Chicano" in stories.

At the same time, the staff was, by its own estimation, woefully lacking in minority voices.

"We were disturbed by the under representation of blacks and Latinos on staff," says Daniel A. Swanson '74, Crimson president in 1973.

The homogeneity of the staff would continue to be addressed by Crimson presidents throughout the seventies and eighties and is still one of the challenges facing today's Crimson executives.

Nicholas B. Lemann '76, Crimson president two years after Swanson, says a reporter once came to him with a list of campus ethnic organizations, having listed The Crimson as a group for Jewish students.

"The tenor of The Crimson was suburban, upper-middle-class northeastern Jewish," Lemann says. "There was a little bit of everybody, but that was the dominant group."

Executives from the '70s say this stereo-type of a predominantly white and Jewish Crimson continued to be fairly accurate, despite minority recruitment efforts.

nydwracu is also the character who attempted to chasten to one of the Jewish radicals who purged moldbug from Strangeloop that moldbuggists are the true ideological heirs of Jewish radicals like Emma Goldman, while today's no platform communist Jews are engaged in "crypto-calvinist" "Comstockery".

Collective violence in Early Neolithic Central Europe

The massacre mass grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten reveals new insights into collective violence in Early Neolithic Central Europe

With the recently examined LBK mass grave site of Schöneck-Kilianstädten, Germany, we present new conclusive and indisputable evidence for another massacre, adding new data to the discussion of LBK violence patterns. At least 26 individuals were violently killed by blunt force and arrow injuries before being deposited in a commingled mass grave. Although the absence and possible abduction of younger females has been suggested for other sites previously, a new violence-related pattern was identified here: the intentional and systematic breaking of lower limbs. The abundance of the identified perimortem fractures clearly indicates torture and/or mutilation of the victims. The new evidence presented here for unequivocal lethal violence on a large scale is put into perspective for the Early Neolithic of Central Europe and, in conjunction with previous results, indicates that massacres of entire communities were not isolated occurrences but rather were frequent features of the last phases of the LBK.
Ancient mass grave reveals evidence of brutal massacre among Europe's prehistoric farmers
Archaeologists who painstakingly examined the bones of some 26 men, women and children buried in the Stone Age grave site at Schoeneck-Kilianstaedten, near Frankfurt, say they found blunt force marks to the head, arrow wounds and deliberate efforts to smash at least half of the victims' shins — either to stop them from running away or as a grim message to survivors. [. . .]

"What is particularly interesting is the level of violence. Not just the suppression of a rival community — if that is what it was — but the egregious and systematic breaking of the lower legs," said Scarre. "It suggests the use of terror tactics as part of this inter-community violence." [. . .]

"The LBK population had expanded considerably, and this increases the potential for conflict," said Meyer. "Also, the LBK were farmers, they settled. So unlike hunter gatherers, who could move away to avoid conflict, these people couldn't just escape. Add to this the fact that there may have been a period of drought that constrained resources, causing conflicts to erupt."

Meyer said the theory of conflict between different groups within the LBK is supported by the existence of an apparent ancient border near the Schoeneck-Kilianstaedten site. Archaeologists have found that flint was traded on either side of the divide but not necessarily across it — suggesting the two groups did not see each other as kin, he said.

The attackers, however, spared some members of the group, with victims skewed toward young children, adult men and older women.

"It's likely that the young women, who are missing in the grave, were kidnapped by the attackers," said Meyer.


The Boston upper class circa 1950: "a Republican-Episcopalian group"

Moldbug infamously attempted to blame Jewish political radicalism on a desire to assimilate with "Boston Brahmins". I'm not making this up:
to succeed [Jews] assimilated the cultural tropes of America's highest status caste - the Boston Brahmins, basically.

In reality, of course, the Boston upper class was never politically radical as a group relative to other Americans -- much less in comparison to frequently socialist or communist Jewish immigrants. Not when it was predominantly Unitarian in the middle of the nineteenth century. And not in the mid-20th century, when the Boston upper class had shifted Episcopalian and remained relatively conservative:

Clearly Boston was in a state of change following World War II, undergoing alterations in outlook and values that perhaps would not be clarified for another generation. In spite of the changes, however, there was evidence that the stereotypical Boston lifestyle still existed. In maintaining this way of life in the face of strong challenges, the influence of the past on Boston and its social leaders cannot be overlooked. To appraise more scientifically the mid-century Boston Brahmin, a survey was conducted by the writer in April, 1949, when a questionnaire was mailed to a sample of women from the year's Boston Social Register. Many of the questions included sough to determine the truth of previously discussed generalities, and although it has become increasingly clear that many important points for research were not included in the questionnaire, nevertheless, a definite effort was made to test several of the previously noted characteristics of Boston Brahmins.

[. . .] The religious preference of our sample was clear; indeed, the previously quoted statement beginning "I come from Boston, I am Unitarian, I wear . . ." might more realistically be changed to "I am Episcopalian or Unitarian, with an emphasis on the former." For even though 77 percent of the women attended one or the other, more than twice as many were Episcopalian. The eloquence of Phillips Brooks and the English tradition seem to have eclipsed the more intellectual approach to religion exemplified by Emerson.

Certain data from this sample, if not startlingly new, clearly validated previously mentioned statements from the literature. Not only was this class Episcopalian, but it was Republican in politics. Eighty-one percent of the respondents were Republican--this in 1949, while located in Democratic Boston, and after living seventeen years under Democratic presidents.

The questionnaire's answers showed, as illustrated in literary sources, that Boston Brahmins emphasized education as a broad cultural goal, but they have been quite conservative in the amount of education given their daughters compared with that provided to sons. Of the sample, only 11 percent of the husbands did not attend college, and of the college-trained group, 71 percent attended Harvard. Of the women, only 13 percent completed college, while the largest group (39 percent), completed secondary private school only. The pattern of private schooling before college--with almost no trend toward either a more-democratic or more-aristocratic type of education--was suggested by the fact that no one in the sample attended only a secondary public school, and just 3 percent indicated they had been taught solely by private tutors.

Regarding the group's marital status, 76 percent were married, 15 percent widowed, 2 percent divorced, and 5 percent were single. Of those married, 51 percent had three or more children and only 7 percent were childless.

[. . .] The single home and its location have remained very important criteria to determine class status; however, upper-class idiosyncracies became manifest in the type of home owned and the conveniences it had. Homeowners comprised 77 percent of the sample, but not all houses were equipped with what are generally thought to be basic essentials, such as electric refrigerators or central heating. Only 2 percent had televisions. An odd item was that a few more families had fireplaces than central heating. The actual differential, while not significant in absolute figures, had some symbolic import--illustrating a way of life hardly typical of the "Great Middle Class."

The lifestyle of Boston's social leaders has alternately stimulated admiration or amusement in the minds of outsiders. The excessive frugality and the tendency not to change butchers, grocers, or candlestick makers generation after generation are well known. To a large extent, such generalities are overdrawn but not incorrect or entirely fanciful. The sample did tend to shop at R. H. Stearns and S. S. Pierce. Forty-three percent named Stearns as their favorite department store [. . .]

The Boston Brahmin woman is reputedly a busy one; thus, how she spends her time should be informative. Only 12 percent of the sample worked outside the home, with teaching, business, editing, and secretarial work being listed. Thirty-five percent stated they were employed before marriage, and the premarital occupation was similar to that followed afterward. [. . .] The more than 70 percent of the "unemployed" busied themselves with all types of activities, the most popular being care of families, cultural pursuites, and church and charitable work. [. . .]

The purpose of this chapter was to draw a composite picture of the Boston upper class and, in particular, its upper-class women. Generalities made speculatively about the Boston upper-class woman were supported by evidence from literary, manuscript, and questionnaire sources. First of all, a strong awareness of an upper class existed in this community which was felt to a large extent by the members themselves as well as by others. Many names of families and individuals were easily identified as being members of this group. One reason for the perpetuation of this class is that conscientious effort has been made by its members to remain ingrown and to foster habits, customs, and values identified with them and their ancestors. The family played the key role in maintaining the proper lineages and instituting the right values. All other significant values appeared secondary to it: individual happiness, the importance of husband's occupation, and many other factors served only to strengthen the importance of family as an institution. Although divorce occurred, it was definitely not sanctioned. So family-oriented was this group that the trend toward smaller families, characteristic of the rest of the country, was reversed here. This was a Republican-Episcopalian group where the men attended Groton and Harvard and the women the Winsor School. The importance of ancestors and their role in the history of community and country continued to vie with the values of money and education as legitimate claims for upper-class position. Even though the women did not work, they wished to be active--in the home and in the family charities, large or small. In many areas, their horizons seemed limited and their concern for larger issues undeveloped. On particular issues, they were conservative, though in the matters of morals, the question of a single--albeit strict--standard was the major preference. Certain institutions patronized by this group either were unique as to type, for instance, "The Morning of Diversion," the sewing circle, or women's clubs with specific forms and roles; or, if generally familiar, were so influenced by the local culture as to seem unusual and at times unique, such as the dancing school or the debut. In all, the picture of the Boston Brahmin, while not drawn by social scientists, was nevertheless delineated and reminiscent of W. H. Warner's portrayal of the upper-upper class in nearby Newburyport ("Yankee City"). [. . .]

Twice as many non-Brahmins as Brahmins lacked a special interest in the history of their families, but when it was expressed, that interest was according to the prevailing community pattern of genealogy: English background and Revolutionary War experiences, for example.

[Source: The Other Brahmins, Boston's Black Upper Class (c). By Adelaide M. Cromwell.]

Also see Jewish Liberalism: the Allinsmith Study:
The 1944 presidential vote also revealed this marked difference between Jewish and Gentile political behavior. The upper-class and upper-middle-class Christian denominations voted heavily against Roosevelt and in favor of Republican standard-bearer Thomas Dewey. Only 31.4% of the Congregationalists, 39.9% of the Presbyterians and 44.6% of the Episcopalians backed Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The more working-class denominations, however, voted heavily for him, particularly the Catholics who were 72.8% in his favor. In terms of their combined educational, occupational and status rank in the Allinsmith survey-that of second place-the Jews might well have been expected to vote Republican. Actually, they were 92.1% for Roosevelt. This overwhelming support was greater than that of any of the Christian denominations. [. . .]

However, in the 1952 elections, despite the fact that the Republican presidential candidate, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had led the Western coalition to victory over the Nazis, 75% of the Jewish voters supported Adlai E. Stevenson, a man who had played no role of any importance in World War II. There was no difference in the attitude of the candidates toward Jewry or the state of Israel. The issue was clearly one of moderation vs. liberalism. In a situation where American voters as a whole gave decisive support to Eisenhower, three-fourths of the Jews backed his Democratic opponent. Moreover, interviews in depth of Boston voters showed that only 30% of the Gentiles with high socioeconomic status, as against 60% of those with low socioeconomic status, backed Stevenson. Among Boston Jews, 72% of those with high status voted for Stevenson.

The myth of the radically leftist Boston Unitarian

Mid-nineteenth-century upper class Boston Unitarians were not on the whole the proto-SJWs moldbug would have his readers believe, but relatively conservative as a group.

From an editorial at a UU website:

Yet, most Boston Unitarian ministers supported the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which set up federal commissioners to catch and return escaped slaves. And many of the Boston Brahmins at the core of Unitarian membership were, in fact, industrialists who profited enormously from slavery: New England textile mills used slave-grown cotton from Southern plantations. As abolition gained ground among Unitarians, many industrialists left the denomination. Many Southern Unitarians—who owned slaves—also withdrew.

A faith for the few?

Unitarian Universalists are torn between pride in our elite history and aspirations to be a religion for all. It’s a tension with deep roots. [. . .]

Does a liberal faith only appeal to a narrow segment of the population—a liberal, economically comfortable, well-educated elite—or is that simply a self-fulfilling prophecy? Many Unitarian Universalists believe the stereotype that we are only educated suburbanites, but it is clearly not true. My wife grew up as one of six children in a family that struggled to survive economically, yet she is a born UU—and so is her mother. Many Unitarian Universalists live in marginal economic circumstances or do not have college educations. Yet looking back at the Unitarian and Universalist past, we see that the stereotype has old and very real roots. Fortunately, our history also shows us that liberal religion can reach beyond the elite.

Casual students of Unitarian history might look back with pride on the period when Unitarians controlled all the educational, social, economic, and political power in Boston. They might take for granted that Unitarianism has always been liberal—not only theologically, but in literature, politics, and social action as well. On closer inspection, however, Unitarian dominance of mid-nineteenth-century Boston is harder to celebrate wholeheartedly.

Jane and William Pease, who analyzed the demographics of nineteenth-century Boston, report that of the three major sects—Episcopal, Congregational, and Unitarian—the Unitarians were most likely to enjoy political or economic power. (See “Whose Right Hand of Fellowship? Pew and Pulpit in Shaping Church Practice,” in American Unitarianism, 1805–1865, ed. by Conrad E. Wright, Northeastern Univ. Press, 1989.) In the first generation after the Revolutionary War, Unitarian churches included a large membership of farmers, but this changed rapidly with the economy. By the 1830s Unitarians made the decisions that shaped the city’s economy. Compared to other denominations, Unitarians had twenty-two times more lawyers, twenty times the number of bankers, twice as many merchants, and twenty-eight times the number of manufacturers. But they had almost no farmers, craftsmen, or industrial proletariats. In 1850 two-thirds of the wealthiest Bostonians were Unitarians. By 1870, the average Unitarian was thirteen times richer than the average member of any other denomination. By 1870 Boston Unitarians were almost entirely upper-middle and upper class.

What did they do with their power? Ronald Story writes that “middle-period” Unitarians (around 1850) dominated Boston’s intellectual and philanthropic organizations and shaped them not to “melioristic liberalism but to their own exclusive, conservative, and business-oriented values.”

The Unitarians were responsible for the establishment of a number of cultural institutions, but they often kept them private. The Boston Athenaeum, for instance, an independent library and museum, was controlled by proprietors who opposed its public use. They did not want to throw open its doors to the “many-headed” rabble. And, historian Anne Rose argues, the upper classes practiced defensive self-containment in these institutions, excluding those who stepped beyond permissible boundaries as well. After Lydia Maria Child published An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans, the Athenaeum revoked her reading privileges. Bronson Alcott later lost his reading privileges, too. Rose says the culture became increasingly insular as the number of immigrants increased.

The expansion of Harvard College best exemplifies this growth of private institutions. The university’s expansion was built upon wealthy, enterprising, politically conservative but theologically liberal families. From 1805 to 1860, thirty-six members were elected to the Harvard Corporation. Thirty-three were Unitarian. Eighty percent of the faculty were Unitarian. By the mid-1850s the student body was three-quarters Unitarian. Elite progeny commonly chose to matriculate there, but a poor person could not afford it. It was the seminary and academy for the inner circle of Bostonians. Harvard students trained to achieve a class status that would keep them from mixing with the rabble. Harvard established its own church after Cambridge acquired its first lower class congregations, including Universalist. The church leaders strove for gentlemanly qualities and regularly denounced the vulgar, the tawdry, and the disorderly—characterized first by rural people and later immigrants.

"The Unitarian Controversy and Its Puritan Roots"

See if you're able to contort your mind such as to be able to perceive this reasonably standard history of early New England religion (proffered by ashv) as supportive of moldbuggism -- or if you see aspects of human nature that might conceivably generalize beyond New England Puritans (along with important divergences of interest and opinion among early New Englanders and free transit of ideas from Europe).

Meanwhile, the growing mercantile economy of New England also exerted a moderating influence on New England religious life. Merchants belonged not only to a Puritan congregation but to the international trading community as well. They felt that in markets abroad they labored at a disadvantage, in that a certain stigma of intolerance attached to anyone from New England. One businessman complained that public punishment for heretical belief was bad for business because it "makes us stinke every wheare." The interest of the merchants in promoting free movement of people and goods conflicted with the desire of the Puritan leaders to keep New England isolated and free from foreign influence.

Moreover many merchants chafed under regulations imposed upon them by Puritan authorities. [. . .]

A number of early New England businessmen, finding they could not operate under the Puritan regime, returned to England. Some of these were replaced in the middle of the seventeenth century by Anglican entrepeneurs from England whose latitudinarian views put them in immediate opposition to the local parish churches. By the end of the century Puritan authority had lost its power to do more than utter ineffective admonitions against uncontrolled capitalist behavior. [. . .]

Chauncy and the other 18th century Congregationalist liberals held that the use of reason was a better means of religious growth. While this attitude had evolved from the old Puritan confidence in the exercise of conscience, especially in church members’ corporate discussions of issues of right and wrong, it was bolstered by new ideas in science and philosophy, in particular the writings of Isaac Newton and John Locke. The Arminian Congregationalists-and many others-saw in Newton’s orderly universe evidence of the work of God. From Locke they learned that human beings are not born with a set of innate ideas, but that all ideas come from experience. Chauncy wrote, "I am not convinced that we have any ideas, but what take rise from sensation and reflection, or that we can have any, upon the present establishment of nature, any other way."

On this basis, Arminians could envision the potential for continuous development in the human mind, including the refinement of morality and other aspects of religious character. From the perspective of the Lockean model of the evolution of reason and also from the orderliness of Newtonian creation, the irrationality of revivalism and the sudden emotional swing of instant conversion had no place.

Remedial history for people who take moldbug seriously

At Nick Land's, self-described "actual Calvinist" ashv explains that he's fully on board with moldbuggism, as long as the scapegoating of Calvinists is restricted to New England Puritans:
Regarding the the Moldbuggian ultracalvinism thesis — it’s entirely correct, but its wider reception has ignored several details. It wasn’t the Calvinism per se that launched progressivism, it was Calvinism plus emphasis on emotional conversion experience plus Puritan character. English Puritanism was Calvinist, but so were Scottish Presbyterians and French Huguenots, neither of which contributed significantly to the development of progressivism (the former gave us Carlyle, of course). In America, the Half-way Covenant created Unitarians, the source of Abolition, Prohibition, Women’s Suffrage, and so forth. (The Unitarian Universalist history on this is largely accurate: )

America has had its share of rightist/reactionary Calvinists too, as seen in the Southern Presbyterians such as Dabney and Thornwell.

I point out, among other things:
  • Unitarianism "began almost simultaneously in Poland-Lithuania and Transylvania in the mid-16th century. Among the adherents were a significant number of Italians."
  • "In England, the first Unitarian Church was established in 1774 on Essex Street, London", a decade before the first congregation in New England accepted Unitarianism.
  • Abolitionism did not originate with and was never the exclusive province of Unitarians or others of New England Puritan stock.
  • The same for "Prohibition, Women’s Suffrage, and so forth".

Relationships between wealth or social class and prosocial behavior

In recent years, some no doubt totally impartial academic psychologists discovered that the welfare class have hearts of gold and a deep focus on philanthropy, while it's the rich (or upper middle income) who are in fact more likely to lie, cheat, and steal. Surprisingly, it now turns out reality may not have been designed specifically to line up with leftist narratives.

A Large Scale Test of the Effect of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior

Does being from a higher social class lead a person to engage in more or less prosocial behavior? Psychological research has recently provided support for a negative effect of social class on prosocial behavior. However, research outside the field of psychology has mainly found evidence for positive or u-shaped relations. In the present research, we therefore thoroughly examined the effect of social class on prosocial behavior. Moreover, we analyzed whether this effect was moderated by the kind of observed prosocial behavior, the observed country, and the measure of social class. Across eight studies with large and representative international samples, we predominantly found positive effects of social class on prosociality: Higher class individuals were more likely to make a charitable donation and contribute a higher percentage of their family income to charity (32,090 ≥ N ≥ 3,957; Studies 1–3), were more likely to volunteer (37,136 ≥N ≥ 3,964; Studies 4–6), were more helpful (N = 3,902; Study 7), and were more trusting and trustworthy in an economic game when interacting with a stranger (N = 1,421; Study 8) than lower social class individuals. Although the effects of social class varied somewhat across the kinds of prosocial behavior, countries, and measures of social class, under no condition did we find the negative effect that would have been expected on the basis of previous results reported in the psychological literature. Possible explanations for this divergence and implications are discussed.

Giving behavior of millionaires


Wealthy individuals play an important role in charitable giving. We present evidence that millionaires give more than any other group studied in the literature. This holds particularly in a clear giving situation. In our study, millionaires either participated in a dictator game or an ultimatum game and they either interacted with another millionaire or with a low-income individual. In the dictator game, the millionaire decides how to split an amount between herself and a recipient who has no power. In the ultimatum game, the receiver needs to approve the proposer’s proposal; otherwise, both players are paid zero. Millionaires give more to a low-income participant in the dictator game than in the more strategic ultimatum game.


This paper studies conditions influencing the generosity of wealthy people. We conduct incentivized experiments with individuals who have at least €1 million in their bank account. The results show that millionaires are more generous toward low-income individuals in a giving situation when the other participant has no power, than in a strategic setting, where the other participant can punish unfair behavior. Moreover, the level of giving by millionaires is higher than in any other previous study. Our findings have important implications for charities and financial institutions that deal with wealthy individuals.