Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Multiple Blood Children, The Hammer of Reality

One of the most interesting aspects of having multiple children shared with a single spouse is how it brings the hammer of reality down on your thinking.  The sort of thinking I'm discussing here is thinking on how all of your children are the same and how they are different.  When you only have one child, it's easy to pretend that things might be a fluke.  It's also easy to pretend nonsense like a child's gender being 'socially constructed' and not real at a gut level.

Looking at my two little ones would beat that out of me if I ever truly held it.  For instance, give the little boy a toy sword, and what does he do with it?  Why, he flourishes it with an excellent grip and proceeds to whack at the floating balloons nearby, or anything else identified by his parents as a legitimate target (he's been taught that he's not allowed to swing at anyone who isn't holding a similar weapon themselves).  Give the little girl a sword, and she too will flourish it with a remarkably effective grip for a one year old.  The difference is she uses it to get attention and to flirt with, flashing a huge grin and capturing the eyes of passers by, such as women of grandmotherly age.  She won't try to whack at anything with it, despite never having been discouraged from so doing.  One displays typical little boy behavior, and the other stereotypical little girl behavior, with no particular prodding required at all.

Another big thing one learns is that despite possessing very similar genetics and an extremely similar environment, each child really is significantly different.  All we can do in essence is determine what tables their attributes will be generated using, it is not to us to determine the exact fall of the dice.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lasik, an example of how medicine can work with rational incentives

A little more than a week ago, a friend of mine got LASIK done on both of his eyes.  His vision was extremely wretched with quite a bit of astigmatism as well.  For the price of around $2400, and what was almost literally an overnight recovery (by the morning he was up to 20/30), he now has 20/20 vision and the possibility of improving to 20/15 or so.  Apparently better than normal vision isn't an uncommon result from LASIK.

LASIK is almost universally NOT covered by health insurance (although you CAN often pay it with pretax dollars through an HSA or the like), and it is also one of the only medical procedures where the cost has fallen dramatically over time.  The cost collapse hasn't been quite like that of computers, but it has fallen around an order of magnitude in only 10-15 years.  Perhaps in anticipation of my questioning, my friend also talked to his provider about the business model being used as well.

Apparently in many LASIK shops, the manufacturer actually owns the equipment, and is paid a fixed fee every time the machine is used.  In addition, they receive the results and feedback to help them drive software and hardware improvements.  It's almost effectively a royalty model.  Pricing is very transparent---even ADVERTISED in many cases, a clear departure from the opaque norms of medicine.  Satisfaction with the procedure also is considerably higher than the norm and innovation in this space has been very strong (the procedures used now are a lot more reliable---thank you early adopters for beta testing for me in the future).

One wonders if there's any way we can move more of medicine onto this model (transparency, declining costs to customers over time, and strong technological innovation).  Perhaps we could get areas of medicine banned from health insurance coverage?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping up the US Senate, all the rest

Here we break down everybody else.

Akaka F-
Klobuchar C-
Shaheen F-
Webb F

Baucus B
Kirk B
This is something of a surprise, I expected much worse from the United Church of Christ
Brown B-
 Not that bad all things considered, probably the best we can hope for from Massachusetts honestly
Cornyn B-
Tester B
Perhaps this has something to do with how a Democrat can survive as a Senator in Montana?

Snowe C+
I have to confess I thought that the Republican women, often considered RINOs were worse than this. 
Thune B-
I was kind of hoping this guy would run.  He strikes me as solid and boring, just what I want in a president around this time.
Conrad D+
How is it that a Democrat survives as a Senator in North Dakota?  I suspect this guy is pretty vulnerable when his seat comes up for reelection.  His career rating is a C- though.

 Unspecified affiliation

Both F-, go figure.  The median political values of atheists and the non-religious are probably responsible for a good deal of the animus against them.  Depending on how things shake out if things fall apart, I could pretty easily see score-settling occurring against the vocal atheist segment of the population also.

Rounding out the large blocks in the Senate with Methodists, Baptists, and Lutherans

Bingamann F-
Burr B-
Inouye F-
Iskason B
Lugar D
Moran A
Nelson B+
Portman (no grade but career D+)
Roberts A-
Sessions B+
Stabenow D-
2 A's 4 B's 3D's 2 F's
Largely a Democrat (bad) Republican (less bad) split.  Amusingly Inouye is F- rated---being a native Hawaiian himself you think he'd know better!  How did unrestricted immigration work out for the Hawaiians?  This group is pretty much the median of America as a whole.

Blunt B+
Boozmann A+
Coburn B-
Cochran C+
Graham B+
Grassley B+
McCain B+
McConnell B+
Pryor B-
Wicker B+
1 A, 8 B's and a C.  This group frankly rocks.  Even the Democrat is a B-.  While their denominational leadership in many cases is flaky, their political elites are generally faithful to the demographic interests of their coreligionists.  There is definitely a strong Scots-Irish influence here as well.
Brown B-
Johnson (R-Wi) (No Grade)
Johnson (D-SD) F-
Merkley D-

Another median group like the Methodists.

For reference, it should be noted that in general, Presidential Candidates are worse than Senators (Bachmann has the best rating at a B-, Romney is a C-, and everyone else is worse, sometimes a lot worse).  In turn, Representatives tend to have better grades than do Senators (only 5% of the Senate is A rated, 21% of the House is).

Mormons, Presbyterians and Episcopalians in the Senate, Oh My

A basic search reveals that there are about 6M Mormons in the US.  This isn't terribly far from the number of Jews in the US, which would yield 2 senators with normal representation.  As it is, there are 6 Mormon Senators, so they're managing approximately a 3x overrepresentation.

Crapo B-
Hatch C+
Heller A+
Lee B
Reid F-
Udall F-

Definitely a decidedly mixed set of grades, everything from F- to A+.  Mormon republicans range from A+ to C+, Mormon democrats are uniformly F-.  But Mormons definitely have the best average thus far.  Too bad Reid wasn't knocked off in the last election in Nevada---the MSM really brought big guns to defend him against the upstart Sharon Angle.  Interestingly, Udall F- and Heller, A+ are from the same state (New Mexico).  Romney, with his C rating (sadly the 2nd best on the Republican candidates for President, only Bachmann has a better rating) is on the low end for Mormon Republicans but clearly better than Mormon Democrats.  Can't we do better than this guy?  Apparently not, he's better than Perry or Gingrich, and Paul, while not ideologically hostile to us, is opposed to the only mechanisms that would be proven to work.

Alexander B+
Barasso B-
Carper F-
Coats (No Grade but career D)
Coons F-
Corker B+
DeMint B+
Enzi B-
Hagan C-
Inhofe B+
Kyl B+
Paul (Rand)  B-
Rockefeller D+
Shelby B+
Warner F-

Another really mixed batch, 6 B+'s, which are among the best grades any presidential candidate has gotten recently, 3 B-,  a C- , 3 F- grades, a D, and a D+.
Hagan has the best grade for a Democrat here, at C-, Rockefeller the worst for a Republican at D+.  Overall this group has a considerably better immigration record than I'd expected to find for a fairly mainline denomination (9 B grades, 1 C, 2 D's and 3 Fs)

Chambliss B+
Hutchinson B+
Nelson D- (note that there is ANOTHER B. Nelson in the senate, from NE, who is also a Democrat who has a B+)
Whitehouse F-

2 B+ grades, a D-, and one F-.  This actually surprised me somewhat---I expected this group to have a much worse record considering how elite and SWPL mainline the Episcopalian denomination is on the whole.  But you've got the usual breakdown of Republicans in the B to A range and Democrats in the D to F range. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Inquisition Regarding the Catholic Senators

There are 24 Catholic Senators in the US Senate

Using the same methodology (, grades for 2009-present.  Where no grade is assigned I also checked if they had a career grade since Senator is usually not an entry level position.

Ayotte (No grade)
Begich F-
Cantwell F-
Casey F-
Collins C
Durbin F-
Gillibrand F-
Harken D-
Hoeven (No grade)
Johanns B
Kerry F-
Landrieu D
Leahy F-
Manchin (No grade)
McCaskill C
Menendez F-
Mikulski F-
Murkowski D+
Murray F-
Reed F-
Risch B+
Rubio B-
Vitter  A-
Toomey (No Grade, but career B-)

So here we have one A-, one B+, one B, one B-, 2 C's, one D+, one D, one D-, and  11 F- grades as well as 4 No grades
This is a pretty wretched average grade but nowhere near as bad as the average  grade for the 12 Jewish Senators.

I will admit that my affection for the Catholic church in general is greatly reduced by the stance of its elites on the immigration issue.  If the Catholic church were at least effectively neutral on this issue I'd seriously consider 'swimming the Tiber'.  The rank and file Catholic in the US has a fairly good view on the immigration issue.  Looking at the numbers, it'd also appear that Rubio might be a fairly decent vice-presidential candidate from our perspective.

Working Overtime to Manufacture Anti Semitism in the Supreme Court

Presently the Supreme Court consists of 6 Catholics and 3 Jews.  That's 1/3 of the SC with less than 2% of the population.  Catholics, for their part, are overrepresented by a factor of 2 or 3.
 Kagan, Breyer, and Ginsburg are Jewish, all of the rest of the Supreme Court Justices are Catholic.

The problem for the Jewish brand is that all 3 of the Jewish justices are hostile to White interests.  It is practically a certainty that all will vote against the Arizona law when the case comes up, with the possible exception of Kagan recusing herself due to conflict of interest, since she was the Solicitor General on the case in the first place.  If a 4-4 tie didn't have the same net effect as 5-4 against (since to overturn the previous court requires a majority), I doubt very seriously whether Kagan would recuse herself despite the blatancy of her conflict of interest.   Sotomayer will also almost certainly vote against the law.  In all likelihood, the decision will hinge on the vote of Kennedy.

Now, when things fall apart and the center does not hold, just WHO do you think is going to have absorbed the blame here?  It doesn't matter who writes the majority or prevailing opinion, or who concurs in part.  What matters is the end result and whether it tars the Jewish brand further.  Breyer and Ginsburg have long been hated by many.  Kagan creates the possibility of creating decisions that inspire vitriolic hatred on the back of a majority Jewish vote (3 Jews and 2 Catholics).  Who do you think will be blamed here?  Do you think this will inspire a pogrom against Catholics?  No, they'll be swept under the rug, and the fact that 4 Catholics voted on the side of 'righteousness' will be considered instead.  There are presently several really significant issues on the Supreme Court's docket, issues that I guarantee will create lots more anti semites if they go the wrong way and might even if they go the correct way.  The fact that all 3 votes can be predicted with a great deal of certainty in advance without even so much as a law degree by a layman is also very concerning.

Ginsburg and Breyer are both pretty old (born in 1933 and 1938 respectively).  I'd suggest that when the time comes to replace them, that Jewish folks back a Jewish justice somewhere to the right of Justice Thomas for one seat and a white Protestant for the other.  Holding a block of 3 seats in the SC is an extremely dangerous lightning rod.  It's not in your interest to have the average Joe in the US think of those 3 when he thinks 'Jew'.

Manufacturing Anti Semitism in the Senate

Jews in the US represent around 2% of the population, concentrated heavily in urban areas on the coasts, especially in the Northeast.  Therefore an awful lot of people don't know personally any significant number of ordinary Jews.  This makes the public perception of the Jew in America particularly heavily influenced by the famous or infamous.

Today, we'll consider Jews in the US Senate, taking stated religious affiliation rather than attempting to research ethnic background (Hillary Clinton, for instance made much of her 1/64th Jewish ethnicity when running for Senate in NY, but she's not considered Jewish for these purposes, nor would be a person of Jewish ancestry who professes to be a Christian).

From Wikipedia
So first off, we have about 12% of the Senate being Jews, which is a 6x factor of overrepresentation, comparable, but probably higher than the overrepresentation of elite Protestant denominations.

Next let's consider what these Senators are doing for the Jewish brand.  For this, we'll go to

We'll consider recent activity (2009-2011).

So we have 3 D's,  2 F's, and 7 F- 
This is pretty damned abysmal considering that the average grade in the Senate is a C.  These 12 Jews are doing an awful lot to manufacture anti-semitism among Americans who are against the loss of demographic hegemony.  Senators are pretty high profile figures, and there is NOT A SINGLE ONE on this list that possesses even a marginally passing grade.

Here's the huge disconnect:
Approximately 60% of Jews in America are perfectly acceptable on the immigration issue.  Granted, this is lower than the population at large, but the claim that Jews in general want to racially replace Whites as the demographic hegemon is difficult to support.  What is happening is a massive betrayal of non-elite interests by elites (you see this also among most of the mainline Christian denominations).

Here's my warning to Jews in America.  Unlike, say, Methodists, you are defined in the public eye by your leaders.  Almost everyone knows Methodists that they think are great folks, ditto Catholics---and frankly, even Mormons are more recognized by their rank and file than by their supposed leadership.  Whether this is fair or not is frankly irrelevant, suffice it to say this it is simply so.  As a group you desperately need to stop your leadership from destroying your brand.  In 2010, there was an opportunity to do just that (Kaus ran against Boxer in the Democratic primary for her CA seat in the US Senate), and unfortunately, you blew it.  Even one or two A or B rated Senators would go a long way towards improving your image among ordinary Americans.

Why is it important to avoid getting branded on this issue (and others, such as gun rights or abortion)?
Given the unfortunate history of the Jewish ethnicity do I really need to go there?  Suffice it to say, that if the center does not hold, and things fall apart, there will ALWAYS be a search for scapegoats.  It is human nature and can't be repealed by any act of Congress.  It is always more appealing to punish an 'Other' than members of one's own radically extended family.  I'd prefer that the next scapegoat not be 'the Jew', but your leaderships is making that difficult.  It is also manufacturing a lot of new 'anti semites' every time someone connects SOME of the dots.

Next time we'll consider the Supreme Court.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Evolution of Atonement

Back in Old Testament times, a follower of God who had sinned had a fairly organized rubric for what he needed to do in order to get 'back right with God'.  Basically he had to sacrifice an assortment of animals through approved clergy and make restitution to whoever besides God that he had injured through his actions.  Since there hasn't been a properly consecrated temple for a very very long time (AD 70ish), if you're still observing that covenant there exists a massive sin backlog.

If you're a Christian, you believe that God replaced that covenant with a new and improved version, where Jesus served as the sufficient and perfect sacrifice for all sins that were, are, or are yet to come.  God still commanded, though, that Christians were to make restitution to those besides Him that they had injured, and to confess their sins to one another and thereby take the social status hits associated with such confession.  A very very dim view of gossip was taken though, so in a functional Christian community this wouldn't have been quite as scary as it might sound to modern ears.  The Catholic church later formalized this into the sacrament of confession, appealing to Jesus' grant of power to forgive or retain sins to Peter, upon whom he would build His Church.  There, instead of confessing your sins in what might amount to a neighborhood prayer meeting, you instead confess to a priest who has lots of experience maintaining confidentiality and who has probably heard far worse than the tawdry sins you're confessing.  I find this far less intimidating, as do most people, which is probably why the practice caught on so strongly.

Sometime later on, some brilliant theologian got the idea that the Saints had built up SO much 'good works capital' that lots of it could be sold in the form of indulgences (the Catholic church still grants indulgences, they just don't sell them anymore).  Here, people with unresolved guilt could purchase indulgences, which would be used to fund the magnificent architectural and cultural contributions of the Church at the height of its temporal power.  Of course this didn't last, it lead fairly predictably to the Reformation, and few Protestants today have anything remotely like either the free for all confession of the Early Church or the organized confession sacrament of the Catholics.

Interestingly enough, few Catholics these days go to confession either---the matter is considered scandalous.  So there's all kinds of unresolved guilt that people have in modern America.  And how do they resolve it?
Well, there's a new step in the evolution of indulgences.  Instead of doing penance for one's sins, or paying for an indulgence for the same, we now, in our upper middle class SWPL segments, outsource the penance and payment for the indulgences instead to other groups that we don't like or who compete with us for status.
So, instead of giving to the poor, we lobby for income redistribution away from other groups.  Instead of living simply so others could simply live, we lobby to force other people to live more simply.  To expiate the perceived sins of racism, we lobby for Section 8 housing in OTHER people's neighborhoods, and for the discrimination in terms of allocation of society's goodies against OTHER people's children.

Frankly I think I prefer the medieval version---oh, how did it go?  When the coin in the bottom of the coffer rings, the soul, from Purgatory springs?  At least the sinners in question usually paid with their own money.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Visit to the Gun Show, Taking the Pulse of Folk Reactionaries

Gun shows have always been hotbeds of what I'll call 'Folk Reactionaries' in the US.  This morning, my wife, our kids, and I went to one of the larger gun shows around these parts to see what might be seen.  My wife has been expressing a desire to gain cultural familiarity with arms, and I was considering getting either a 38 special revolver, 9 mm automatic pistol or a 22 target pistol to serve that end.  Normally we go to a gun show every year or so, usually the same one down in the Expo Center.

Here are a few of the things I noticed:
The place was busy---really busy.  It felt much more crowded than in years past.  My wife says that this is partially explainable by the season.  Apparently a lot of people want a Luke 22:36 Christmas in Oregon.

The crowd was somewhat less male than normal.  Granted, my youngest draws women, especially of grandmotherly age, like a magnet, but there were a lot more women around than is usually the case.  I take this as an indication that gun purchasing demographics are broadening.  We even saw a couple of small groups (2 or 3) of just women to add to the usual leaven of wives and girlfriends.  In addition, we saw a reasonable number of booths selling hand-crafty things that is probably aimed at that demographic.

The explicitly political material on offer was substantially reduced from years past.  Sure there were the usual anti-gun control and generally wonderfully politically incorrect t-shirts and tracts, but much less so than is the norm.

Instead, much of the booth and floor space that such material generally occupies appears to have been converted instead to preparedness and survival material.  Some examples---When There is No Doctor (medical field manual), When There is No Dentist, Nuclear War Survival Skills, tons of water filtration and freeze dried/otherwise highly preserved rations, and the like.  This can be taken as a sign that this section of the population has raised its estimate of the probability of civil disorder.

On the guns and ammo, this year appeared to be more rifle than pistol centered, and a lot of the ammunition was being sold in larger lots than I recall the norm being.  I saw considerably fewer SKS rifles than I'm used to seeing, and quite a few more AR-15s.  Perhaps there's a desire to have ammunition compatibility with the NATO standard?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Without Illegal Immigrants to Pick the Crops, We'll All Starve, Right?!

Apparently, in the wake of all of these 'mean-spirited' state immigration laws (Arizona, Alabama, several other Southern States), crops must be rotting in the fields and farmers must be truly suffering, right?
Apparently not, farm profits are up about 28%.  Obviously those laws calling for the ejection of illegal immigrants aren't bringing about the Armageddon that the media breathlessly speaks of on every chance they get.

 I've seen numbers before indicating around 6% of the cost of produce in the US is from farm labor.  This means that if you doubled their total cost, you'd expect to see a @6% increase in the price of produce.  As of 2007, the average family spent about $1 per day on produce, so their yearly produce budget might be busted by around $20 or so if the labor shortage resulted in a doubling of farm labor wages (farm wages were @$9.06/hour, doubling them would push them to $18.12/hour, which would exceed nonfarm wages, which were $16.75/hour).  These numbers are pulled from the Center for Immigration Studies

Doing a little independent research of my own, I went to the US Department of Agriculture's site. CIS's numbers could plausibly be painted as biased, so here we go to the horse's mouth.

From this chart, we can see that total labor costs, both contract and hired labor, make up around 10% of the total production cost on farms.  Note also that this is only the farm's production cost---it doesn't get the produce to the shelves of your local Safeway or Costco.  So the estimate of 6% by the CIS is probably pretty accurate.  Looking, for instance, at the Tillamook milkshed, the farms seem to receive a little more than a dollar a gallon for their milk (according to their material posted around their Cheese Factory in Tillamook), and the lowest cost sellers of milk (i.e., Costco or Winco), sell it for about $2.50 a gallon in this area, so assuming that the later levels of distribution and sales add at least half of the cost also appears reasonable.

As expected, by everyone but mainstream economists, Alabama's law has resulted in significant decreases in unemployment, as documented by Le Cygne Gris.

It remains to the several states to continue calling the media's bluff on this matter, much as the 'blood running in the streets' predictions of the 1990s as the CCW movement gained steam.
It's in circumstances like this that I really envy the Old Testament Hebrews' convention for dealing with false prophets.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Supreme Court Plays into Our Hands Once More by Granting Cert on the Arizona Immigration Law

Once again the Supreme Court plays directly into our hands, this time by granting cert on the Arizona immigration law case.  They really have two options:
1)  Uphold the law in substantive terms.  If they do this, we win, as it will embolden more states to do likewise or
2) Strike down most of the law.  If they do this they will bleed TREMENDOUS amounts of prestige from their institution, especially if they do it by a narrow vote, like 5-4.   It is a terribly difficult thing to sell to ordinary people that no, YOU can't enforce one of our laws while WE refuse to enforce it ourselves.  That is, we refuse to do our job and we refuse to let you clean up the mess resulting from us failing to do our job as well.  That infuriates people.  Since as reactionaries, we are long both anger AND volatility, this might actually be the preferred outcome---if only we could get something that looked like 2 but effectively was 1.

It is getting easier and easier for me to convince ordinary people---not networked reactionaries---that the judicial and political system is rigged against them and that they are no longer required to play by the 'gentleman's rules of engagement' in said arenas.  This is all to the good, the existing order must collapse before Reaction can proceed, and we can't score all the goals needed ourselves.  The System must score lots of 'own goals', which fortunately it seems to be managing quite nicely.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Smart is a nice to have, but loyalty is of existential import in a leader

I see a terrific amount of ink spilled talking about how Newt is 'smart', or Romney is intelligent and highly competent in a managerial way.  These things are nice to have in a leader, but they are not the elephant in the room.

Before I can care about how much a prospective leader knows, I need to know WHO he actually cares about.  Are me and mine part of his who, are are we rather the WHOM?

In that regard I view neither Romney nor Newt as acceptable, although Romney is probably a little closer to tolerable than Newt.  If Palin was actually solid on demographic hegemony (which unfortunately, she is not), I'd happily support her despite the fact that she's likely on the very low end of the Second Sigma or near the high end of the middle of the First Sigma.  Intelligence is only a discriminating factor between candidates if they can pass the Who...Whom test.  If the candidate is your enemy at the existential bottom line, honestly, a reasonable man would prefer that they be stupid and of dubious competence.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Macy's and the Transgendered: Time to Heighten the Contradictions?

Just recently Macy's has fired one of its employees for refusing to allow a man dressed in women's clothing to use the women's dressing room.  Allowing anyone who says they're a woman, physical evidence not withstanding, to use the women's dressing room, is apparently a Macy's policy.
My wife of course points out that a crossdressed man would creep her out were she in such a dressing room.  In that feeling, she's hardly atypical, just perhaps a bit more honest about her opinions than most.  Judging from the comments on the story, her decision to avoid patronizing Macy's isn't abnormal either.

It occurs to me that perhaps the way to deal with this sort of thing is to deliberately heighten the contradictions. Hire some actors to be incredibly obnoxious, but legal crossdressers---think fat guys in floral dresses, and have them parade around through wherever such policies are in place, creeping out all of the customers with similar feelings to my wife.  After all, Macy's and similar establishments shouldn't want business from such wanton bigots as my wife, should they?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Generational Animus

No doubt our profoundly unnatural educational system with its extreme age segregation has aggravated the degree of generational animus in the US.
Let's enumerate, I'm sure many of my readers can help fill in the gaps...
Greatest Generation <-> Boomers
Boomers say their parent's generation was distant, materialistic and never paid enough attention to them
Greatest Generation says the Boomers are selfish, ungrateful, and narcissistic.  Generation X agrees with their grandparents' claim.
Boomers <-> Generation X
Boomers say that Generation X are cynical, lazy slackers.  Generation X strongly resents the Boomers for failing to stay married (about half of Gen X'rs have experienced the divorce of their parents, with a majority of such divorces NOT being for one of the 3 A's)
Millennials are viewed as being lazy and entitled by the older generations.  In turn, they greatly resent the bill of goods they've been sold as regards college degrees and employment (exceptionally high unemployment in this set right now)

The Greatest Generation by far has the best PR, escaping blame for many of the things that can rightfully be attributed to them.  Millennials have by far the worst PR---few taking their grievances seriously even when they are actually legitimate.  Boomers have by far the greatest political clout and control most of the engines of indoctrination.  X'rs will hopefully step up to the plate as they gain political ascendancy and stop enforcing edicts that they don't really believe in but go along with out of fear of sanction or ostracism.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't Check Asian: Who...Whom?

It's not a surprise to anyone who is paying attention that colleges and similar institutions discriminate against Asians, particularly those of Chinese or Japanese ancestry in admissions.  Likewise, they discriminate against whites (especially non-elite whites with non-elite activities like FFA, 4H, or JROTC).

But should we be against this practice as primarily white reactionaries?  Well, once again, I ask the question...who...whom?

White people would be stupid to end only this discriminatory practice because 'it is wrong' while leaving intact all of the discrimination against their own children.  This isn't to say that some sort of bargain couldn't be reached, but it is very difficult for the non-elite whites and non-elite Asians to reach a bargain that they can enforce, even through referendum or initiative.  Simply put, if a large amount of admissions are set aside for NAMs, legacies and the connected, those of us who are none of the above have to scrap for the scraps.

I know a lot of us in the HBD sphere have a dream world where, like many Euro elite universities, every applicant takes a totally transparent test and the top N scores get the N spots.  There's no way in hell that will fly in the US, even if we had no diversity.

There's nothing that is actually sacred about GPA and SAT scores.  Yes, they predict reasonably well, and, the SAT score at least is pretty hard to game by standards of the other sorts of things colleges and other institutions consider.  But relying on them is largely a value judgment---specifically, it's placing value on efficiency.  Society can choose whatever values it likes.  I'd just prefer that it stop pretending to attach moral significance to its more arbitrary decisions and do so more transparently.

Perhaps we're going about this the wrong way.  Perhaps we should DEMAND transparency and relative objectivity in our metrics for determining such goodies.  If we want to make elite college admissions based on military press, 40 yard dash, and test scores for men and attractiveness, overall fitness, and test scores for women, so be it.  I must say I'd be amused at the spectacle of something like an NFL combine being held each year for graduating high school seniors and homeschoolers.  The key for reining in the institutions here though in my opinion is starving them of any discretion.  Every last decision must be numerical and someone other than the institution in question must produce the numbers.  What should the numbers be about?  I don't know, and honestly I don't care all that much.  But they must be advertised and transparent and consistently measured.  I think young people would vastly prefer the externalities associated with college admission application padding under my system.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looking for information to update priors

I've a few questions that perhaps some of my readers could answer.

Question #1:  Are Denver/Colorado churches reporting significant upticks in attendance relative to the same time last year?
For which priors---I'm interested in whether there's a 'Tebow effect'.  My gut says there probably is due to a 2nd order memetic entanglement, i.e. I'm a Broncos fan, therefore I have to be a Tebow fan, therefore I ought to go to church more frequently.

Question #2:  Has recruitment in the upper levels of the various Norwegian Socialist Parties suffered now that Norway has had a chance to partially digest the impact of the Brevik slayings
For which priors---I'm interested if my estimation that the sort of people that inhabit the middle and upper levels of bureaucracies have fairly low morale and thus will be deterred from seeking positions by the possibility of retaliation against their teenage and young adult children is correct.  What probability of retaliation against my children would be sufficient to deter me from practicing engineering for a given company?  The probability wouldn't have to be very high.  My current take is that political candidates are likely to be relatively undeterred but bureaucrats and other 'lifers' are much more likely to be intimidated.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Mea Culpa from the Greatest Generation

Some time ago, I got to talking with my grandfather (WWII generation) about the Baby Boomers.  I was somewhat surprised by his generational admission---not so much by what he said, but by the fact that he essentially said mea culpa for the Greatest Generation as a whole.

He explained to me that growing up during the Depression was really hard.  City kids frequently had to keep cows and such (in the city no less) and really scrounge to make ends meet.  Because of this, they really really wanted to make sure that their own kids in the future would never have to do anything like that.  This of course led them to ask very little if anything of their own kids (the Baby Boomers), probably contributing heavily to that generation's narcissism.  I suppose it shouldn't be terribly surprising that the Great Depression had profound psychological effects on those who lived through it.  Perhaps that's the reason why most of us give the Greatest Generation a pass from the animus held against the Boomers, despite the fact that the Greatest Generation raised them.  Most likely my generation would have acted similarly, given similar conditions.  Depending on the current fiscal and monetary train wreck, we may well get a chance to see how other generations deal with similar circumstances.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Luke 22:36 Christmas?

Or, All I want for Christmas is an AR-15...

(For those unfamiliar with Luke 22:36, here's the King James)
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Apparently the population is continuing to arm itself at record rates, and taking Jesus' recommendation to his disciples at face value (two versus later, the disciples, demonstrating that they're a 'heavily armed cult', display 2 assault weapons, to which Jesus replies, it is enough).

I've written on the record sales of guns, and in particular, ammunition before, but this is fairly noteworthy.

From the article
"Gun dealers flooded the FBI with background check requests from shoppers,  smashing the single day record with a 32% increase from last year." USA Today has more: "Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to 129,166 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008."

That's pretty hardcore, and the article notes that's just the number of checks, not the number of firearms sold (buying 10 guns for instance still results in only one check).

This speaks to a population that at least in its gut knows that something is very wrong.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Governmental Involvement in Education: What Forms of Government is this Actually Appropriate For?

By now it should be fairly clear that education in practice is also indoctrination.  Even if you're not consciously trying, as an educator, you will wind up profoundly influencing the worldview of your students.  This is especially true if you're a member of a class that has a decisive advantage in terms of amount of access time, like, say, public school teachers.

But, back to the original question---for what sorts of government is it actually appropriate for the government to have a role in public education?

Certainly, in the case of a monarchy, theocracy, or dictatorship, it is consistent with the form of government for the government to control public education.
But it is quite obviously incorrect for a democracy to control the education of large numbers of its future electorate.  Controlling education is to a great extent battlespace control---it defines to a great extent the limits of acceptable discourse.  It is obviously inappropriate for a democracy to engage in propaganda about who should win elections.  It can be argued pretty strongly that it is inappropriate for a democracy to EVER tell its electorate what to think, since it is supposed to obey them in the classic 'voice of the people is the voice of God' sense.  I suppose if you had an actual republic, with limited franchise, it'd be acceptable for the State to educate those without possibility of gaining the franchise, but even there it is problematic.  For this reason I advocate the separation of School and State, at least as long as we insist on making the pretense of democracy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Can Society Do for the Neurotypical?

Commenter In asks whether it is possible for neurotypicals to transcend their state to become not neurotypical.  At first blush, this seems a strange question, as most people would prefer to be neurotypical---or at least to have available a very good emulation capacity.

But it is true that the garden variety neurotypical mind is vulnerable to a lot of exploits.  Game and salesmanship exemplify a lot of these, and value investing as a strategy relies on the fact that the neurotypical mind feels a loss of X approximately as negatively as it feels positively about a gain of 2X.  That 2:1 risk aversion isn't common to all primates btw, some species have nearly no statistical risk aversion.  Human beings have been coming up with these hacks for thousands of years, in some cases writing them down like Ben Franklin, Carnegie, or a myriad of other practical manuals for selling goods, services, and status.

But what can we, or society, do about this?

The Bible, in the Old Testament, is the long story of God attempting to get the Jews to love him---God is a lover who wants to be loved, reading the bible, particularly the accounts of the prophets like Hosea, and the cycle of degradation and partial redemption played out in Judges, Kings, and Chronicles should give you some empathy for His position.  God is essentially trying to teach the Jews to be grateful---to have gratitude for the many gifts he has given them.  But gratitude isn't in our neurotypical nature.  We don't like people better that do use favors, or who we owe a great deal to, we like the people WE have done favors for.  The stereotypical complaint of the neurotypical about the non-neurotypical is that they are selfish (and don't get it).  The stereotypical complaint of the non-neurotypical about the neurotypical is that they are ungrateful (and don't get it).  In my more lucid moments I realize both are correct.

Interestingly, when God brings the pain---shows the Jews His 'hand', in the Old Testament, they tend to fall back into line, repent, and beg Him to deliver them. He loves them, and it terribly pains Him to do so, but he does what is necessary.
In the New Testament, God seriously doubles down on His strategy to teach human beings gratitude, basically allowing a member of the Trinity to be dismembered on and after the Cross.  Pretty extreme stuff, when you think about it, but how many folks, even fairly devout Christians, act as if they are truly grateful?
Not many, which IMO is a big part of the reason why Tim Tebow makes many of us so uncomfortable.

So on the gratitude count of the indictment, even the Master of the Universe is having grave difficulties.  He says His is a work in progress though, and that he'll finish what he started.  I believe Him, but I recognize from the fact that He is having so much trouble that anything I, or a society, could do will have even less fruit.

On a lot of the other aspects of being neurotypical, most Western societies prior to around 1960 were considerably more functional.  Conservative sexual morality and the fairly harsh consequences for bearing children out of wedlock kept many of the worst problems associated with hypergamy largely in check.  Society collectively practiced what you'd call 'Game' on most of its immigrants---fairly mild hazing promoted far more actual assimilation and loyalty than the present coddling approach.  One of my great-grandfathers, for instance, immigrated from Sicily and lied about both his age and place of birth to get INTO WWI, and such behavior was more the norm than the exception.  Men were encouraged to be reasonably dominant, or at least not unreasonably timid or deferential in their romantic relationships, which counter to the the modern intuition, made women happier in general.  Divorces were very hard to obtain and required cause, which made them considerably more rare.  Obviously there were costs associated with all of this, any good reactionary recognizes that every system or decision will suck for somebody, but the overall effect was far more functional.  Back in the early 60s, less than 1 in 4 blacks were born out of wedlock, less than the rate for white people today.  Today, being born IN wedlock is unusual for black people, and the rate for white people is similar to that experienced by blacks in the 60s.