Steve Sailer writes, on the 20th anniversary of a somewhat unlikely bestseller — only “somewhat” because, however dry the book’s contents, liberals who don’t believe in “race” love to read and think about it almost as much as “Nazis”…
Diamond marketed Guns, Germs, and Steel as the definitive politically correct answer to the query that must trouble anyone with much awareness of the world: Why are some races of humans so much more economically and scientifically productive than other races? (…)
And, of course, Diamond’s readers assumed that the racial disparities in accomplishment couldn’t be because some races had been evolving under conditions that select more for, say, foresight or cooperation. In contrast, New Guineans, living on the equator, have less need to worry about how to prepare for onrushing winter than do, say, Swedes or Koreans.
No, that just couldn’t be true. (…)
After Diamond’s rather eye-rolling opening about high-IQ Papuans, his book settled down into a productive groove, working what has become the dominant trait of intellectual conventional wisdom in the 21st century: antiquarianism. (…)
When I met Diamond a few years later at financier Michael Milken’s annual confab in Beverly Hills, we were chatting amiably until I haltingly alluded to this fundamental paradox in his book. A worried look came over his face; he grabbed his lecture notes and took off out of the auditorium at about 5 mph.