Fam­ily fac­tor

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“In Jan­uary 2003, dur­ing the buildup to the war in Iraq, the jour­nal­ist and blog­ger Steven Sailer pub­lished an ar­ti­cle in the Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tive in which he warned read­ers about a fea­ture of that coun­try that had been ig­nored in the on­go­ing de­bate.

“As in many tra­di­tional Mid­dle East­ern so­ci­eties, Iraqis tend to marry their cousins. About half of all mar­riages are con­san­guineous (in­clud­ing that of Sad­dam Hus­sein, who filled many gov­ern­ment po­si­tions with his rel­a­tives from Tikrit). The con­nec­tion be­tween Iraqis’ strong fam­ily ties and their trib­al­ism, cor­rup­tion, and lack of com­mit­ment to an over­ar­ch­ing na­tion had long been noted by those familiar with the coun­try. [. . .] Sailer pre­sciently sug­gested that Iraqi fam­ily struc­ture and its mis­match with the sen­si­bil­i­ties of civil so­ci­ety would frus­trate any at­tempt at demo­cratic na­tion-build­ing.”

— Steven Pinker, writ­ing on “Stran­gled by Roots,” in the Aug. 6 is­sue of the New Repub­lic

What a real star looks like. Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe

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