I am also working on a couple of books:
- Dark Lord of the Kremlin: Exposing Western media myths about Russia.
- Apollo’s Ascent: The role of literacy and high IQ “smart fractions” in global economic and intellectual history (see below for more details).
The more pecuniary help I get from my readers, the more time I can devote to my blogging and original research.
That said, please don’t feel under any pressure to contribute. Although I highly appreciate your donations, my longterm financial plans revolve around paid writing and books. So please only give if you can afford to and if you can’t think of a more deserving charity.
My blogging career began in 2008, when I perceived an awning discrepancy between Western media rhetoric about Russia, swinging between portraying it as a “weak,” “dying,” and “finished” country and doom-mongering about the Dark Lord Putin’s plans to subjugate Middle-Earth, oops, I mean Europe, and its rather mundane and mediocre reality.
As Will Rogers once said, “Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it’s true.” Today, this is truer than ever, a state of affairs enabled by an uninformed public, lazy journalistic cliques, and agenda-driven neocons. I decided to tackle the problem at its root, demolishing Western myths about Russia through a focus on translations of Russian language sources, verifiable statistics and opinion polls, and the application of a judicious comparative perspective (otherwise maligned as “whataboutism”).
One of my greatest successes was modeling and correctly predicting Russia’s demographic turnaround as early as 2008, when holding such a position made one a prime candidate for psychiatric institutionalization. I likewise presented a more realistic – or at the very least, data-informed – perspective on Russia’s comparative performance on human rights, corruption, and the economy.
But for all the epithets hurled at me as a “Russophile cretin,” “neo-Soviet reptile,” “and my personal favorite, “ein strammer Putinsoldat,” in those (majority of) cases where the data tended to portray Russia in a better than expected light, the fact of the matter is that I have never shied from posting material that didn’t work out in Russia’s favor. For instance, I wrote what remains probably the the most comprehensive roundup of statistical evidence of electoral fraud in the 2011 Russian elections in the English language. That post was later cited by that famous Chekist front organization Freedom House.
The Russia hysteria didn’t save the Establishment from a series of crushing defeats this years, most notably with the election of Donald Trump. It is therefore perhaps high time for them to stop and ponder, as the shelf life of every new Russophobe meme seems to decrease month by month. Arguably, there has been no greater need for the sort of detailed, data-centered Russia analysis that I offer since the 1980s. This year, I will focus on writing Dark Lord of the Kremlin, which seeks to analyze and deconstruct the most common Western media myths about Russia.
You can browse through a curated list of all my better blog posts on Russia from 2008-2014 here: http://akarlin.com/russophile/.
Though I began as a Russia blogger, my interests soon extended well beyond the Eurasian carapace, into topics such as geopolitics, human biodiversity (HBD), psychometrics, and futurism/transhumanism. As early as 2008 I emphasized the importance of human capital towards economic growth, and “came out” as a liberal race realist in 2012 well years before the Alt Right took the memesphere by storm. Since then, the exponentially growing body of evidence for those positions, including the publication of high profile books by “respectable” authors such as Nicholas Wade and Garett Jones, has vindicated my arguments.
Since then I have made several significant contributions to the debate, including uncovering the (remarkably good) scores for mainland China in PISA 2009 and detailed regional data for Russia. In a 2013 survey of professional psychometricists (Heiner Rindermann et al.), my blog was acknowledged as one of the world’s best three sources for accurate IQ reporting.
Uncomfortable as these insights of the “Dark Enlightenment” might be, nothing else seems to explain so many puzzles of global economic and intellectual history as well as they do – though they do open up almost as many additional puzzles as they close.
I am tackling one of them, the question of why Europe beat China to the Industrial Revolution despite higher East Asian IQs, in my forthcoming book, “Apollo’s Ascent.” My basic thesis is that the rate of technological growth can be approximated by the numbers of literate, smart people who can work on solving problems. Or to put it another way, this project will fuse Charles Murray’s insights on the centrality of IQ to social and economic success within the US, and Garrett Jones’ analogous observations as concerns international development, and extend it into the deep past as well as the 21st century.
Here are two articles from the past year I which I outline the main ideas of the book:
This is a very largescale and ambitious overtaking, but understanding the role intelligence plays in economic and technological progress – and stagnation – has never been more vital in light of current developments in CRISPR and the genetics of IQ that will make “test tube” eugenics feasible in as little as a decade, as well as mounting concerns over the prospect of AI “superintelligence.”