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My injury gap needs reparations

The  American Negro  writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a long article in the Atlantic magazine, argues that black Americans are owed reparations from the American federal government for the American black experience of slavery.

To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying. The lie ignores the fact that reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same. The lie ignores the fact that closing the “achievement gap” will do nothing to close the “injury gap,” in which black college graduates still suffer higher unemployment rates than white college graduates, and black job applicants without criminal records enjoy roughly the same chance of getting hired as white applicants with criminal records.

When you make an argument for special economic privileges on the basis of race, as Coates does, it is vital to brush aside all previous attempts to remedy the situation of American blacks, and to place the the issue in a territory of pure feeling. In effect, Coates argues that any measures that close the achievement gap will not resolve the injury gap, the felt sense of injury for which no economic or practical measure is or can be sufficient. My people are angry, my grievance is  permanent. Pay up.

The more the black intelligentsia insist on the existence of white supremacy, the more I am inclined to believe it myself.

Here is Jared Taylor’s eloquent dismissal of this tripe.

The idea of reparations has a hypnotic effect on blacks. Not only does it console them with the idea that black failure is someone else’s fault, it comes with the intoxicating fantasy that money will drop out of the sky.

Let me make something perfectly clear. American blacks are an ethnic group, not a race. Africans wherever they may be in the world are a race, a term we use for the fuzzy set of people more related to one another than to outer groups. Ghanaians, Nigerians, Barbadians, Ethiopians, and so forth, are some of the people whose ancestry is African. African-Americans, as they are now known, are an ethnic group, formed by the same processes of inbreeding by which every tribe and nation has ever been formed. Afrikaners, and  French-Canadians are tribes or nations that have come into existence in the course of colonization of new continents (for them). In the same way African Americans are quite distinct from more recent African immigrants to the United States, and if you ever want an interesting conversation, talk to an African or black Caribean immigrant taxi driver about their African-American fellow citizens. If you move gently and allow the conversation to open up, you may be astonished how much their views of African-Americans  resemble your own.

Cultures that invest time and effort into self-improvement do not have time for perpetual “injury gaps”.

 

 

Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” has been published

The most important book of social science since The Bell Curve has been published this week. It is called “A Troublesome Inheritance” by the science writer Nicholas Wade. You should read it.

Here is an excerpt from the review of Wade’s book by Charles Murray, co-author with Richard Hernnstein, of the Bell Curve.

 

Before they have even opened “A Troublesome Inheritance,” some reviewers will be determined not just to refute it but to discredit it utterly—to make people embarrassed to be seen purchasing it or reading it. These chapters will be their primary target because Mr. Wade chose to expose his readers to a broad range of speculative analyses, some of which are brilliant and some of which are weak. If I had been out to trash the book, I would have focused on the weak ones, associated their flaws with the book as a whole and dismissed “A Troublesome Inheritance” as sloppy and inaccurate. The orthodoxy’s clerisy will take that route, ransacking these chapters for material to accuse Mr. Wade of racism, pseudoscience, reliance on tainted sources, incompetence and evil intent. You can bet on it….

“A Troublesome Inheritance” poses a different order of threat to the orthodoxy. The evidence in “The Bell Curve,” “Male/Female” and “A Blank Slate” was confined to the phenotype—the observed characteristics of human beings—and was therefore vulnerable to attack or at least obfuscation. The discoveries Mr. Wade reports, that genetic variation clusters along racial and ethnic lines and that extensive evolution has continued ever since the exodus from Africa, are based on the genotype, and no one has any scientific reason to doubt their validity.

And yet, as of 2014, true believers in the orthodoxy still dominate the social science departments of the nation’s universities. I expect that their resistance to “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be fanatical, because accepting its account will be seen, correctly, as a cataclysmic surrender on some core premises of political correctness. There is no scientific reason for the orthodoxy to win. But it might nonetheless.

So one way or another, “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be historic. Its proper reception would mean enduring fame as the book that marked a turning point in social scientists’ willingness to explore the way the world really works. But there is a depressing alternative: that social scientists will continue to predict planetary movements using Ptolemaic equations, as it were, and that their refusal to come to grips with “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be seen a century from now as proof of this era’s intellectual corruption.

It is my conviction, based on observation, that the tenured university social scientist is one of the least curious, least fact-driven, least analytical of people. He and she is the hierophant of a dogmatic revelation that asserts that race is a social construct, that human evolution stopped 30,000 years ago and that man is inherently equal but for an evil existing “system” which promotes inequality. In all important respects humans are the same, except of course, as regards our position for or against “the system”, which position acts as the sole relevant criterion of moral worth. Their ability to internalize and spout the religion of social science got them their jobs. They are priests of an ideology, which has the force and status of an established church. Do not ask them to understand what they are paid not to understand.

 

Abortion and Race

Gleefully tossing a salad composed of the two most toxically loaded subjects ever, I came across this statistical analysis of pregnancies, abortions and births by race, based on national US figures :

 

In 2008, while 69% of white pregnancies resulted in a live birth, only 49% of black pregnancies led to live births. The abortion rate for white women was 12.4%, and the rate for black women was nearly three times higher, at 35.6%. Thus, despite a higher pregnancy rate than whites, black pregnancies are much less likely to result in a live birth, largely because of their dramatically higher abortion rate.

The article is found here.

I am having   very politically incorrect thoughts here, such as: is this the reason no one on the conservative side in the States, apart from genuine Christians, is much concerned by abortion anymore?

The most offensive idea yet

I came across this on Edge.org. Jonathan Haidt describes himself as a secular atheist Jewish leftie. That he may be, but he is also the most interesting social scientist writing today, exceeding Pinker, in my view. Haidt is one of the few lefties who understands what conservatives believe and why they believe it, and rather than being repelled, is genuinely sympathetic.

Haidt was among many scientists asked “what will change everything?”  Haidt’s answer attacks  the contention that “race is skin deep and does not really exist” a belief that dominates social discourse.

The answers by scientists to that question, found at the hyperlink above, ought to satisfy your appetite for important thoughts for many months to come.

Here is Haidt:

FASTER EVOLUTION MEANS MORE ETHNIC DIFFERENCES

The most offensive idea in all of science for the last 40 years is the possibility that behavioral differences between racial and ethnic groups have some genetic basis. Knowing nothing but the long-term offensiveness of this idea, a betting person would have to predict that as we decode the genomes of people around the world, we’re going to find deeper differences than most scientists now expect. Expectations, after all, are not based purely on current evidence; they are biased, even if only slightly, by the gut feelings of the researchers, and those gut feelings include disgust toward racism..

A wall has long protected respectable evolutionary inquiry from accusations of aiding and abetting racism. That wall is the belief that genetic change happens at such a glacial pace that there simply was not time, in the 50,000 years since humans spread out from Africa, for selection pressures to have altered the genome in anything but the most trivial way (e.g., changes in skin color and nose shape were adaptive responses to cold climates). Evolutionary psychology has therefore focused on the Pleistocene era – the period from about 1.8 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture — during which our common humanity was forged for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole “races” but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.

Recent “sweeps” of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. (See papers by Benjamin Voight, Scott Williamson, and Bruce Lahn). No new mental modules can be created from scratch in a few millennia, but slight tweaks to existing mechanisms can happen quickly, and small genetic changes can have big behavioral effects, as with those Russian foxes. We must therefore begin looking beyond the Pleistocene and turn our attention to the Holocene era as well – the last 10,000 years. This was the period after the spread of agriculture during which the pace of genetic change sped up in response to the enormous increase in the variety of ways that humans earned their living, formed larger coalitions, fought wars, and competed for resources and mates.

The protective “wall” is about to come crashing down, and all sorts of uncomfortable claims are going to pour in. Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a “game changing” scientific event. (By “ethnic” I mean any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others.)

I believe that the “Bell Curve” wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this “war” will break out between 2012 and 2017.

There are reasons to hope that we’ll ultimately reach a consensus that does not aid and abet racism. I expect that dozens or hundreds of ethnic differences will be found, so that any group — like any person — can be said to have many strengths and a few weaknesses, all of which are context-dependent. Furthermore, these cross-group differences are likely to be small when compared to the enormous variation within ethnic groups and the enormous and obvious effects of cultural learning. But whatever consensus we ultimately reach, the ways in which we now think about genes, groups, evolution and ethnicity will be radically changed by the unstoppable progress of the human genome project.

World’s happiest countries

just happen to be mostly white. I just cannot imagine why there is a relationship. Can you?

The happiest of countries — many of which are in Scandinavia according the latest World Happiness Report — have a robust combination of higher life expectancy, gross domestic product per capita, social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices and lower perceptions of corruption. By analyzing happiness data, officials hope to improve the world’s social, economic and environmental well-being.

World Happiness Report 2013 (PDF)

 

A target-rich environment (2): microaggressions

I wrote recently about how feminist discourse on the Internet was being poisoned by the impossibility of saying anything that did not offend someone well-versed (usually black and lesbian) in finding aggression, homophobia, gender-fixation, able-ism and other thought crimes in the writings of some other person  -preferably white and middle class. (Tone Policing, January 31st, 2014)

Now tone policing  has come to broader public attention through the antics of the McGill University students’ association. There is even a non-ironic site called McGill micro-aggressions (I am not making this up!) where everyone’s little senses of hurt can be set out for the cosmos to see and be concerned about.

Excellent coverage of the event is given at Legal Insurrection here.

The image in question was an extension of the cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of color—particularly young men—being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media. By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of SSMU’s communication to become the site of a microaggression; for this, I am deeply sorry.”

Of course, the last thing ever to be discussed is whether the portrayal of young black males, or African American males, as more aggressive than other races is true. That remains undiscussable. Or as Thomas Sowell said in Race and Culture (at p.227):

“History itself has become the target of a desperate attack by those for whom truth threatens devastating consequences to their visions, their egos, or their projects. A whole new class of intellectuals has arisen to supply history geared to what people currently wish to believe, rather than to record the past”.

But no one is fooled. To make an issue of the fake gif of President Obama kicking a door only shows the power of the stereotype. Yet the stereotype of the aggressive black male is founded on reality, not on someone’s unfounded racial prejudice.

The equity policy says that if someone is offended, that is the fact which has to be addressed. Reality has nothing to do with it, indeed, reality may have to be denied, because the fact of comparative differences constitutes the offence.

-I believe you are a witch. Therefore, according to the rules of the campus equity policy, you must defend yourself against the accusation of witchcraft. The burden of proof is on you.

-But there are no witches because witchcraft is scientifically impossible!

-Your assertion that witchcraft is impossible is part of the hetero-normatve, phallocentric, able-ist  white logical mindspace which is the offence!

Fortunately, the occasional eruption of this sort of shit provokes the necessary and beneficial social reaction against it.

Anyone for an explicit political purge of universities? Volunteers, anyone?

Dark Enlightenment

For those who are curious about the places where you really should not go on the Internet, to taste the dubious fruits of seriously reactionary thought – I do not mean conservative, I mean reactionary – you can start with this rather dispassionate survey here from Vocativ, which is an interesting site in its own right.

What is the Dark Enlightenment? As the term suggests, the Dark Enlightenment is an ideological analysis of modern democracy that harshly rejects the vision of the 18th century European Enlightenment—a period punctuated by the development of empirical science, the rise of humanist values and the first outburst of revolutionary democratic reform. In contrast, the Dark Enlightenment advocates an autocratic and neo-monarchical society. Its belief system is unapologetically reactionary, almost feudal.

Having braced yourself for your encounter with stuff so far from electoral politics that it has disappeared through the event horizon, the  definition of which is surprisingly apt:

a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer…

you may now safely observe the blogs I am about to direct you to. Start with Occam’s Razor, which is frankly anti-democratic and reactionary, and in particular to “The Dark Enlightenment/NeoReaction gets Mainstream Notice”.

There are enough links for and against for you to follow that you can waste your time productively in the murkier recesses of reaction, and hysteria about reaction.

The essential contention of the reactionaries is that there exists an established church of opinion, which is called the Cathedral, whose laws are to be obeyed.  The laws of the Cathedral are the summary of the generally anti-white, anti-Christian, and antinomian beliefs that animate contemporary political discourse. Whether you agree with the reactionaries or not, you will probably recognize that the Cathedral represents  the core beliefs of the far political Left.

I exclude from the category “far Left” people who might want more government spending, or higher taxes, or less social inequality. Many people to the left of me are in the zone of reasonable political disagreement. I am talking about the people whom I believe to be morally deranged by anti-white racism, anti-male sexism, and anti-Christianism, among other symptoms.

The Left is hysterical about the existence of political differences. It drives them bonkers that there can be difference of opinion on, say, anthropogenic global warming, and people writing in the obscure corners of the opinion environment who believe that liberal democracy is heading us all straight to hell, or keeping us locked up there, as the case may be.

I remain much more confident about the capacities of public discourse to hold back and eventually reverse the Leftist tide, than either the reactionaries doubt or the far Left fears. In this I may utterly mistaken. I am creature of the Enlightenment in many senses:  I have no use for atheism,  I remain confident that reason will prevail, and these two beliefs are not contradictory. I am also confident that representative democracy is the only one suitable for sustaining self-government. I am a conservative, rather than a leftist,  because I believe we must govern ourselves well or else we shall be governed by others, and that requires serious education of the soul. I am a liberal, rather than a reactionary, because I believe that, more often than not, we are able to govern ourselves.

 

Happy delving into the depths of genuine political debate. Do not forget to come up for air.

Links:

http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/12/the-dark-enlightenment-is-new-right-lite/

http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/08/its-not-racist-to-seek-an-exit/

http://davidbrin.blogspot.ca/2013/11/neo-reactionaries-drop-all-pretense-end.html

http://anarchopapist.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/the-rightist-singularity/

Liberalism and Hate -2

Talking with Duggan’s Dew this morning, I related my excellent annual lunch with an estimable friend of mine: Liberal, liberal, and a good man. We disagree on everything except good manners, paying one’s bills, avoiding vulgarity and the other fundamentals of civilized existence.

You name it, we disagree: Obama, the plight of males in a female-dominated world, anthropogenic global warming. The list could be longer but there were only so many subjects that could be discussed in the course of a quite pleasant lunch.

In reciting my discussion,  Duggan’s Dew pointed out that the one thing the liberals can agree on is a vehement dislike of conservatives. All the world’s problems could be solved, one is led to think by liberals, if only conservatives, especially those of their own race and social class, did not exist. Our habit of pointing out things we consider to be facts and implications of race, class, nature, tribe, sex, rank, age, intelligence and stupidity aggravates them. The only arguments they can muster, when reduced to facing these facts, is to accuse of the various forbidden “isms”. It prevents thinking, reduces debate to name-calling, and established to their satisfaction their moral self-congratulation on being so  superior. (My lunch companion is and was eminently free from such habits, which is why we still lunch together.)

As Thomas Sowell once called it in the subtitle to “The Vision of the Anointed”: “self-congratulation as a basis for social policy”.

I opened this book to a random page and read:

 Among the amazing rationales for compensatory preferences for selected minorities to be imposed by courts is that such preferences merely offset previous preferences for members of the majority population….

But this again raises the question which arises in so many other contexts: is the law to attempt intertemporal cosmic justice or simply apply the same rules  to all in the only temporal realm to which it has jurisdiction – the present and the future? Moreover is the decision to opt for intertemporal cosmic justice one for which judges have any authorization, either from the Constitution or from statutes passed by elected officials? Such straightforward questions are often evaded by being redefined as “simplistic”….

“As in so many other contexts, the word “simplistic” was not part of an argument but a substitute for an argument. (at pp233-234)

I think the facts of life are conservative, in the sense that there is much more limited scope for remaking ourselves than many imagine. The arguments which ignore the facts of life, and particularly human inequalities,  are wrong, however benignly intentioned. We have the better arguments, but we have a massive uphill battle to fight to create the conditions for being understood.

I like treating people as equals. I like being treated as an equal. I want to live in a society where we do so.  But to live in a society that denies the implications of all the differences among mankind, and treats those who point them out as thought-criminals, is to live in a totalitarianism. I will not have it. And  if this means not going along with contemporary follies, so be it.

America at a new low, says poll

Why are we, who thought Obama a nullity, not surprised?

A new Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of people believe that the U.S. is playing a less important role as a world leader than a decade ago, the highest figure since 1984.

Worse: 70 percent said that the U.S. is respected less than in the past, almost matching the high reached under former President George W. Bush, whose foreign policy Obama pledged to reverse.

Other key highlights from Pew’s release:

— By a 56 percent to 34 percent margin, more disapprove than approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy. The public also disapproves of his handling of Syria, Iran, China and Afghanistan by wide margins.

A friend of mine and a fan of Obama’s (yes, I have one) cited Bill Clinton on the subject of the mighty O. Clinton said that “Obama does the hard things well, but not the easy things”. That was a kind way of saying that he has disengaged American troops from Iraq, is doing the same in Afghanistan, and has arrived at a deal with Iran that fails to forbid it from enriching uranium to make nukes. On the other hand, with the basic business of politics, such as making allies, stroking your friends and intimidating or befriending your enemies, as may be needed,  Obama neither tries nor engages.

The unfailingly optimistic friend said he hoped that this would not be the last black American President. He said he looked forward to more being elected, and women too. The nagging feeling I have is that he does actually believe that there are objective criteria for the job, or that being black can get you, if not a free pass, then a benign once-over. If that were so, it would be a frivolous position.