Monday, July 28, 2014

Gender bender

From Google's Ngram viewer, the percentage of books published in the US, by year, that contain the term "sexes" and that contain the term "genders". Both terms are plural to facilitate the making of an apples-to-apples comparison (the verb form of "sex" thus being excluded).

If sex/gender is more than just a social construction, perhaps it can still be reduced to little more than a surgical construction? Just don't look at brain scans, musculature, waist-to-hip ratio, height, vocal inflection...

Oh yeah, you're a woman trapped in a man's body, are you? Prove it!:


As the concerns of gays and especially lesbians get trounced by trannies, one wonders what even more marginal, less consequential group's hyperbolic concerns will displace those of the gender benders.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Everybody loves Jews, Jews most especially

Some findings from a recent Pew Research report entitled "How Americans Feel About Religious Groups" follow.

Allow a few technical considerations to be run through beforehand. The (ir)religious groups under consideration are not defined in the questions Pew posed to survey participants, so the somewhat nebulous terms "Jew" (is it an ethnicity, religious persuasion, either/or?) and "Evangelical" remain open to interpretation by survey participants. The groups Pew inquired about include Evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists. 

There is a glaring hole in the lack of a category for non-Evangelical Protestants who are often referred to in surveys like these as "mainline" Protestants. However, the questions don't imply that the groups are either mutually exclusive or exhaustive, so this is an issue of missing data points, not overall data corruption. The results that are gleaned come primarily from the data on page 14, which reports self-described feelings on a scale from 0-100 (higher = better) towards the various religious groups with the responses from those being asked about their own group backed out.

- Jews receive the most positive overall ratings among the eight groups. This holds for white and Hispanic men and women of all ages, though blacks put Jews in second behind Evangelicals. Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals is validated once again. Nice to see Hispanics assimilating to some American norms, anyway!

- Whites put Muslims at the bottom of the pile. Blacks and Hispanics place atheists there.

- Despite being--or perhaps because they are--the living embodiment of the 1950s middle class America ideal, Mormons aren't rated very favorably by anyone. Among whites and Hispanics they come in ahead of only atheists and Muslims. And among blacks, in front of just atheists.

- Understanding that SWPLs like religions they weren't born into, it should come as no surprise that Democrats put Jews in the #1 spot with Buddhists trailing just behind in second place. Given the tepid response from blacks towards aspiring bodhisattvas, Buddhists might even beat out Jews among white liberals, though it's difficult to say for sure because the data aren't broken out by both race and partisan affiliation. 

- The differences between men and women are marginal. Women are slightly more amenable to the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam--and a bit less friendly towards the polytheistic and irreligious stuff--Buddhism, Hinduism, and atheism--than men are.

- Atheists give as good as they get. While Evangelicals only give atheists a 25, atheists give Evangelicals a similar 28. In contrast, there's a lot of love (and overlap?) between Jews and atheists, with Jews giving atheists a 55 and atheists returning the favor with a 61 score for Jews.

- There's a clear trend for relatively greater affection to be expressed for Muslims and atheists among younger cohorts than among older cohorts. As America becomes more multicultural, non-American traditions are increasingly embraced. Notably, Mormons buck the trend--older cohorts are more accepting of Mormons than younger cohorts are. White America, won't you die already?! Relax, Tim, much of white America is slashing at its own wrists, though Mormon stock is going up, up, up. Ethnomasochism isn't an affliction Mormons suffer from.

- Because everyone loves a Jew sandwich, we'll finish by focusing on the chosen people again. Jews think Jews are the bee's knees. They give themselves an 89, the single highest rating recorded in the entire survey. They despise Evangelicals, however, reserving their lowest score of 34 for those atonement-obsessive gospel goons. Yep, Jews expressed slightly more positive feelings towards Muslims than they did towards Evangelicals, the same Evangelicals who salute the white, stripe, and baby blue. Evangelicals duly turn the other cheek, rating Jews more highly than any other group save for other Evangelicals. Parenthetically, the lowest score was the aforementioned 25 given to atheists by Evangelicals. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hey Andy, two-point conversions all season

Steve Sailer recently pondered over ways the NFL might make the point after touchdown (PAT, or "extra point" in the vernacular) attempt a little more exciting by making it's outcome less predictable. Over the last five regular seasons, PAT attempts were successful 99.20% of the time. For people other than Americans or Canadians being introduced to the game, it must seem like a bizarre waste of time. The long break in meaningful action following a touchdown can easily last six or seven minutes: Touchdown; PAT attempt; commercial break; kickoff (often resulting in a touchback); commercial break; action finally resumes from the 20. A feature if you're a spectator who needs a poop break but a bug for everyone else.

The league toyed with and ultimately rejected--at least for the time being--the idea of moving the PAT back significantly, all the way to 25-yard line. For the first two weeks of the preseason, however, PAT attempts will be spotted at the 20-yard line, instead of at the usual 2. The mean success rates for equivalent field goal attempts at the two increased yard line spots, 25 and 20, are about 78% and 83%, respectively. From the 20, that means nearly 1-in-5 PAT attempts will fail. Hypothetically, a game in which a PAT attempt is missed will presumably become rather commonplace, even expected, occurring at some point in two-thirds of games played assuming six touchdowns scored per game on average.

If real PAT success rates fell to around 80%, the productive approach for a team to take over the long term would simply be to nix the extra point try and make a habit of attempting two-point conversions instead. Over the last five regular seasons, the two-point conversion success rate has been a rather impressive 47.87% (135 conversions out of 282 tries).

That is higher than I would've guessed. The expected return on extra point kicks and two-point conversion attempts are almost identical as is .992 and .957, respectively*.

Many high-powered offensive teams could presumably see their own two-point conversion rate crest over the 50% mark if they employed it regularly throughout the course of a season. A team that made two-point conversions standard operating procedure would force the opposing defense to be on the field an average of an additional three or four plays during the course of a game--an additional, if marginal, benefit. Like the paucity of 4th down conversion attempts being made, it's probably a combination of convention and the desire to avoid the flak that inevitably comes from gambling unsuccessfully that keeps from NFL coaches from trying this approach.

Moving the kick back 18 or 23 yards, though, will render the expected return from extra point kicks lower than that of two-point conversion attempts. Well, of two-point conversion attempts from the 2-yard line, anyway. A CBS sportswriter insinuates that the preseason shakeup will increase the incentive to attempt a two-point conversion, but that only makes sense if the nature of the post-touchdown attempt has to be decided prior to the ball being spotted. Obviously a two-point conversion attempt from the 20 is unthinkable unless the team attempting it is down by 2 with very little time left in regulation. An NFL.com write up says the same as the CBS guy, so maybe the nature of the post-touchdown attempt will have to be announced beforehand (ie, no lining up for a fake PAT attempt as can be done in the case of a field goal or punt).

Here's to hoping that the PAT kick attempt eventually gets spotted farther back than is currently the case (and/or that the goal posts are narrowed, an upper crossbar is added to make kicks more blockable as Steve suggests, etc) so that extra points become rarer and two-point conversion attempts correspondingly become more common. Having realistic 3-, 6-, 7-, 8- and the occasional 2-point scoring increments would be an improvement in the dynamism department over the current 3- and 7-, and in rare instances 2-, 6-, or 8-point sequences. As anyone familiar with the game will attest, two-point conversion attempts are exciting in and of themselves on top of the fact that they expand the number of potential scoring outcomes in a game.

The importance of special teams is regularly overblown by sports media mooks. This third facet of the game is not of equal importance to offense or defense. The latter and especially the former have greater influences on the outcomes of games than special teams typically do.

* To make expected average returns the same for two-point conversions (from the 2-yard line) and extra points, the ball would need to be spotted on the 10-yard line for PAT kick attempts.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Donovan and Carter don't know jack about Jace

In his third Start the World podcast, Jack Donovan and Paul Carter discuss a whole range of topics loosely tied to the concept(s) of masculinity in the contemporary Western world*. Summarizing very generally, the conclusions are mostly of the variety the manosphere is known for arriving at--the modern world, especially WEIRD societies, are not conducive to the mental (or physical) health of men. The more masculine the man, the worse the situation. Donovan's message resonates with me, though when I detect an eagerness for the shit to hit the fan, as the expression goes, I immediately hear Hobbes whispering in my other ear and begin thinking one should be careful what he wishes for.

Anyway, my point isn't to offer novel insight into the ongoing debate since I have none to offer. Instead, it is to lay a couple of critiques on Carter.

First, on the question of living an adventurous life, Carter points to Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) as a self-evident illustration of modern men wasting away, vicariously trying to do what they should be doing in first person. The intention is to call to mind something akin to this--nerds spending a Friday night giggling and snorting as they move little pieces around a board while imagining they're partaking in a life-or-death adventure. As a polemical device, that's fine. But then, apparently to make his argument more contemporarily relevant since D&D hearkens back a generation or two, Carter then swaps Magic: The Gathering (MTG) as a stand-in for D&D and proceeds to refer to it for the duration of the conversation (the two talk about it enough to merit the inclusion of "magic the gathering" as one of the six tags to a nearly 90-minute podcast).

It's clear that neither guy is anything more than superficially aware of at least MTG. The point is to allude to an archetype of an under-achieving, aspergery, high IQ waste-away. I get that. But Donovan is too serious a thinker to be so intellectually lazy (in fairness to him, Carter is the one who drives the discussion towards the games and their presumed connotations). D&D is low-tech fantasy role-playing. The reason it dates Carter and Donovan is because it has largely been supplanted by MMOs like World of Warcraft, which meet the same demands, albeit on a much larger, more aesthetically-engrossing scale.

MTG is a conducted exclusively through the use of playing cards^. It is a rigidly structured, competitive game, no more or less arbitrary than any iteration of poker. In fact, a useful analogy for understanding what MTG is: Chess is to checkers as MTG is to poker. Jon Finkel and David Williams aren't aberrations--a large contingent of top flight poker players are also professional MTG players. Playing both makes it obvious why this is the case. There is no dungeon master coming up with obstacles and interpreting how those are dealt with in MTG. The Tolkienesque themes (or, in the most recent set, Greco-Roman themes) in MTG are entirely flavorful; they have no bearing on actual game play.

That something like MTG attracts competitive people who are both good at and enjoy thinking statistically--like poker, at its most essential, MTG is about managing probabilities--means it is going to disproportionately bring in Ice men who tend to lack a similar comparative advantage in more physically-oriented activities (though there are plenty who enjoy both), but that's a process of identifying a demographic profile, not creating one.

What makes Carter's pummeling of MTG the more grating is that he launches into it right after talking about his time in the IT field. In summary: "IT guys are existential wastrels. They're the same guys who play MTG, and MTG players are wastrels." However, Carter was in IT but he isn't a wastrel today, nor was he a wastrel when he worked in IT. But if you play MTG, well, he doesn't need to hear anything from the likes of you, wastrel! Uh huh.

Parenthetically, players of the relatively new EDH-variant of MTG probably better approximate the D&D stereotype of thirty years ago.

The other critique of Carter (and Donovan) comes in their prescribing that men find something they enjoy doing and make a living out of doing it. They proffer this relatively conventional advice through the prism of masculinity, and as such, it's unobjectionable as an aspiration--getting paid to do something you'd gladly do for free is a heck of a gig. The problem comes in the insinuation that this is an experience that has somehow been lost over time, and that in modern society men are forced to spend all their time running on the consumerist treadmill unlike our ancestors did.

This might be conceivable if the putative golden age occurred prior to the onset of agriculture, but over the last 10,000 years or so, there is probably no time like the present--or at least no time like the last half-century, though it may have peaked a couple of decades ago--in which people are able to (and are doing) just that. For the vast majority of human history, most men barely had the capacity to travel to the next town over or ever do much of anything beyond attaining mere subsistence provisions and mundane household upkeep. Over the course of history, very few men have had the possibility of living the life of a Henry Bolingbroke. Today, if they so choose to do so, all people in the developed world who aren't stuck in underclass can craft such an existence for themselves. Most elect not to (although some do)--and that's really what Donovan and Carter are getting at.

* Donovan distills the definition down to four essential qualities: Strength, courage, honor, and competency (or skill, as in maintaining and developing one's own skill set). When I first heard him speak, I instantly became better able to articulate why Gladiator is my favorite movie. Strength and honor, strength and honor.

^ With the exception of the use of a random number generator to determine who goes first, and, very rarely, in certain game state conditions.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Exodus, er, Parenting 3:14

In another virtual context, Jayman posed the following question:
Is it possible to believe that parenting (beyond the primary functions of keeping your kids healthy and safe) has no long-term impact on children's intelligence, personalities, values, or life outcomes - which it in fact has none - and still engage in most parental activities for fact that they bring joy to all involved and no other reason (or, at least, for the reason that they give your children fond memories of childhood)?
The answer seems self-evidently to be an emphatic "yes". I say "self-evidently" because the same set of questions, only slightly altered, could be posed to one's self, and the answer for virtually everyone will be the same "yes". There are a countless number of ways I can spend my leisure time, none of which are going to have much impact on how I influence the social statistics on income or heart disease rates or how my data point figures into a certain population's average IQ or personality trait profile. Yet how I spend that leisure time is not meaningless from my own subjective perspective. To the contrary, it is the essence of my existentialism.

We live our lives quite subjectively, even those of us who make a concerted effort to look at the world around us as objectively as we are able to.

My response to a question like this dovetails well with my response to the question of free will because, if one takes a moment to dwell on them simultaneously, it becomes apparent that there is a lot of overlap. We may not believe that we have free will, but we all act as though we believe that we do. Subjectively we have it, even if objectively we do not. Existentially, it doesn't matter much one way or the other, especially when it comes to the day-to-day activities that, collectively, constitute life as each one of us experiences it.

We may not think what we do to our children or to ourselves has much--if any--long-term impact on the way their or our lives turn out, but we all act as though our behaviors and decisions do. Paradoxically, knowing that the parental approaches game is one with pretty low-stakes allows a person to engage the parental role with enjoyment--memory-making and the like--as the goal, rather than anxiously agonizing over every deceptively malleable moment of it.

The die is cast. Cross the Rubicon without regret!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Muddy snowflakes

In response to a study showing that phrases like "hive mind" quite aptly describe the political left generally and SWPLs in particular, Jokah commented:
The only problem is that "liberals" does not just refer to white liberals, right? Does this then undercut the hypothesis that the coalition of the diverse will eventually fracture due to, er, divergent interests?
First, the percentage breakdowns of self-described political orientation by race in the US. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2000 onward:

RaceLibModCon
White24.837.637.6
All non-White31.941.626.5
Black31.443.724.9
Hispanic32.037.930.0
Asian32.341.925.7

Even though among Democrats non-whites tend to be less liberal than whites, on net non-whites are more likely to describe themselves as liberal than whites are. When I last watched tv news a decade or so ago, I recall that it was common among mainstream right pundits (Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly) to describe the US as a "center-right" country. More accurately, white America is a center-right country. Non-white America, not so much.

Unlike the racial and ethnic confounds that render useless a Swedish study on the connection between fertility and incarceration, the opposite is the case here. The racial angle accentuates the broader pattern. For all the racial, ethnic, and sexual diversity the Left boasts, its members quite reliably tow the ideological line.

Those on the alternative right often point to the potential fissures in the leftist coalition that seem likely to occur along those same aforementioned racial, ethnic, and sexual fault lines, yet there is broad overall agreement on major political, cultural, and economic issues among the demographically diverse Left. That suggests that ideological conformity among Leftist sub-groups--white liberals, gay liberals, black liberals, etc--is even stronger still.

SWPLs = lockstep; Liberals as a whole = mostly lockstep; Conservatives = relatively ideologically diverse; Alternative right = herd of cats.

GSS variables used: YEAR(2000-2012), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16)(2-16), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stuff White People Like

Via Steve Sailer, from Medical Press:
Liberals tend to underestimate the amount of actual agreement among those who share their ideology, while conservatives tend to overestimate intra-group agreement, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Christian Lander nailed that several years ago. "The definitive guide to the unique taste of millions":


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You dropped your glove, my liege

As a prerequisite, please see Heartiste's post on a study positing criminal behavior as an alternative mating strategy that potentially increases evolutionary fitness.

It's paygated, so we're just working with the abstract here. Perhaps it is correctly identifying a meaningful phenomenon. Since the magnate threw down the gauntlet, though, there are reasons we might be wise to temper our enthusiasm.

Race and ethnicity do not appear to have been controlled for. The data comes from Sweden. Oops.

As Steve Sailer showed in one of his classic articles "Mapping the Unmentionable", black-white incarceration ratios tend to be highest in non-vibrant, middle American mostly white states with low overall crime rates and relatively permissive policing. Iowa's blacks are, relative to Iowa's whites, more likely than those in other state to be imprisoned, with Wisconsin as runner-up.

The explanation for why there is so much racial/ethnic disparity in incarceration rates in places like Sweden and Wisconsin is that population differences are most notable at the extremes of the respective distributions. If asked to bet on the outcome of a race between a random kid of European ancestry and another of West African ancestry, the smart money would be on the latter, but not at much more than 50:50 odds. Betting on a sprinter of West African ancestry taking the gold in the 100m dash at the 2016 Olympics over any potential European competition, however, should feel about as risky as depositing money in a certificate of deposit at a member FDIC bank.

Anyway, if we were going to offer a US state most resembling Sweden, well, we'd be hard-pressed to do much better than Wisconsin or Iowa. Not surprisingly, Sweden, despite still being overwhelmingly native Swede (though getting more Middle Eastern by the day), has a lot of *ahem* diversity in its prisons:
During the period 1997–2001, 25% of the almost 1,520,000 offences for which a perpetrator was convicted were committed by people born in the Middle East or Eastern Europe, while almost 20% were committed by people with a foreign background who were born in Sweden. Those from North Africa and the Middle East were also overrepresented.
That was over a decade ago. The foreign-born (read Muslim) contribution to Swedish crime has almost certainly increased further still since then.

Not only are these un-Swedish Swedes heavily overrepresented among Sweden's prison population, they're also more fecund than are the Swedish Swedes (currently breeding at rates well below replacement level). Here's a graph from a Princeton paper on the total fertility rates of Sweden's foreign-born population by the amalgamated human development indices of the immigrants' sending countries:


Basically, Low-HDI = Middle Eastern and North African; Middle-HDI = Eastern Europe; High-HDI = Finland. If a native Swedish rate were included, it would run parallel to the x-axis below the 2.

Europe's MENA underclass isn't completely analagous to the US' black underclass, but there are similarities. The excerpt Heartiste parades in illustration of the sex advantage criminals in Sweden (largely MENA in ancestry) enjoy could easily be confused with the sex 'advantage' underclass black men in the US enjoy over their fellow middle-class white men:
Criminal offenders also had more reproductive partners, were less often married, more likely to get remarried if ever married, and had more often contracted a sexually transmitted disease than non-offenders.
Replace "Criminal offenders" with "blacks" and this accurately characterizes patterns of behavior in the US (or don't even explicitly make the swap--it's implicitly stated in its current form). There is nothing here that contradicts Heartiste's larger Game narrative--blacks are clearly more 'alpha' than whites are (see here for a propitiously good measure of the alpha/beta dichotomy and the resulting demographic differences between them as captured by the GSS).

Speaking in terms of r/K selection (to the extent that it is a useful framework through which to view human behavior), r-selection more accurately describes the procreation patterns of the underclass--a sector of society that churns out a disproportionately high percentage of society's criminals, both in Sweden and in the US--while K-selection more aptly characterizes the serially monogamous behavior of the middle and upper classes.

Parenthetically, when the trope about love for convicted killers who've become death row inmates is employed, it should be kept in mind that the subjects of admiration are famous criminals, not just run-of-the-mill ne'er-do-wells. Famous rock stars, Hollywood actors, politicians, and even computer nerds are regularly the objects of copious quantities of female affection as well. When it comes to creating tingles, famous celebrity beats random inmate no one has ever heard of in the penitentiary just about every time.

As for the idea that Idiocracy is coming soon to a Western nation near you, I've actually become guardedly optimistic--or cautiously less pessimistic, anyhow--that our future will be one in which handjobs are on offer at the local Starbucks. There is little evidence for dysgenic male fertility in the US. To the contrary, there is a slightly positive correlation between educational attainment and fertility among American white men. Heartiste has himself approvingly noted as much.

Shifting gears to full speculation mode, we could conceivably be in the midst of the -genic pendulum swinging away from the dys- and back towards the eu-.

A la Gregory Clark, in medieval England prior to the onset of the industrial revolution, probity and affluence were rewarded by successful fertility. High time preference and poverty, in contrast, tended to result in fewer surviving offspring. The industrious were better equipped to avoid becoming casualties of the Malthusian trap than were the hapless menial masses. The prosperity explosion of the late 18th and early 19th centuries pushed large parts of humanity--first Northwestern Europe and its diaspora before radiating out through other parts of Europe and into parts of East Asia--past the hand-to-mouth precariousness that characterized life for so many before the dawn of the industrial age.

This period, from the early 1800s through the mid-1900s, is when dysgenic trends in reproduction became a salient phenomenon. Not surprisingly, all the conventionally ugly things associated with eugenics were in full bloom in the early 20th century, as the consequences of unlimited reproductive potential for all classes in society became increasingly obvious for all to see. World War II cast this sort of thinking in a darker light, although progressive eugenics policies and ideas existed in the developed world decades after the war's conclusion. The real answer to the dysgenic problem came in the form of the pill.

Just as the explosion in wealth realized by the industrial revolution, by divorcing affluence from fertility, was a game changer in the game of human reproductive fitness, so was the introduction of modern contraceptives, which divorced sex from reproduction. Fornication and procreation haven't been synonyms in the West for over half a century now. Indeed, the GSS shows that (beyond total celibacy, of course), the correlation between number of sexual partners and total fertility is an inverse one. That is, women who ride the cock carousel (and the men who provide the ride) reproduce less than men and women who stick to the same partner for an extended period of time do.

Today, excepting elements of the underclasses where fertility is still largely the result of biological desires being acted upon without regard to future consequences, the primary determinant of realized fertility is the desire to nurture and raise children. That sounds blatantly obvious, yet for the vast majority of human history it has not been the case. It's now a deliberate act that can be avoided at only the marginal cost of contemporary contraceptives (which are free to users through many healthcare plans anyway), and one that is heavily informed by religious conviction. Not surprisingly, the pious are seriously outbreeding the secular, both in the West and outside of it.

Enjoy being poolside my good man. For my part, I actually enjoy getting in the water:


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Your ball struck my foot

A concise, decidedly lowbrow summation of Jayman's well-marshaled post on the dynamic relationship between guns and violence:



In terms of electoral predictive power, the Gun Gap is right up there in Affordable Family Formation territory, alongside the Dirt and Baby Gaps and trailing just behind the Marriage Gap.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The centurion made me do it

From Jayman's post a few weeks ago chastising those who offer pet issue(s) psychoanalysis every time a tragedy with high visibility dominates a few days' worth of news cycles:
This should make clear the foolhardiness of trying to identify causal factors – especially those from life experience – that are responsible for any given individual’s behavior.
Jayman is a vociferous proponent of the importance of heredity and the correspondingly diminutive influence external environmental factors have on real world outcomes. That's what the data show, and that presumption wields Occam's Razor a lot more deftly than do all the modern epicycles that are applied (countless inconsistencies notwithstanding) in describing so many aspects of society.

It's important to keep in mind, though, that it isn't quite the whole story. There are threshold requirements--things that are necessary but not sufficient for realizing full potential--like nutritional sufficiencies, avoidance of severe physical injuries and avoidance of severely limited access to peers or exposure to language, etc.

Environmental factors need not only play a role by way of deprivation, either. After blazing a trail of destruction from modern Norfolk through to London, Boudica's bands upon bands of warriors, greatly outnumbering the Paulinus' single legion and its auxiliaries, were cut to pieces in the face of organized, disciplined Roman resistance. The ancient historian Cassius Dio:
Thereupon the armies approached each other, the barbarians with much shouting mingled with menacing battle-songs, but the Romans silently and in order until they came within a javelin's throw of the enemy. Then... they rushed forward and hit the enemy at full tilt so that at the clash they easily broke through the opposing line.
It's recorded that 80,000 Britons died in the battle; just 400 Romans did.

The legionaries' famous steely discipline might, I suppose, have a hereditary behavioral component, but the martial ethos and military culture of the Romans probably account for lion's share of their advantage at arms, and it wasn't as though Celts and Gauls adopted into the legions were markedly less efficient than their Roman counterparts--they just needed to be trained. Even if corporal punishment doesn't get results today, decimation did.

There is a point to harking back nearly two millenia, though, and it's this: The freer, more mobile a society is, the more intractable differences in behaviors and outcomes are going to be. Attempting to eradicate all the incorrigible Gaps by aspiring towards a level playing field (as the Establishment often does by word if not by deed) is a strategy doomed to failure. In fact it'll only accentuate those gaps, not reduce them. It's easier to find truly behavioralist explanations in the past (and outside the WEIRD world) than it is in the present, and it'll be even more so in the future. Liberty and equality* are not complementary; indeed, to a large extent they're mutually exclusive.

Though most HBDers have the knowledge at hand to understand this, it's not always at the surface of their minds (it wasn't at mine until rather recently). It should be.

* Beyond isonomy and the conception of the spiritual, anyway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Love is love

Saw this in the form of a facebook profile picture. You've probably seen some variation of it out there, as several iterations of the message exist (and no, I definitely couldn't resist):


Simple as that? Presumably, then, as simple as each of these?




Only two years until menarche!

Being the hidebound retrograde that I am, it's difficult to shake the sinking feeling that during our lifetimes, stick figure silhouette versions of all of these photos will end up alongside the four pairs shown on the bumper sticker above--without an ounce of satire intended.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jus nex to da licka stowe

Sober, meticulously-marshaled evidence and a quick turn of phrase are simultaneously on display at TWCS. Regarding the latter, M.G. describes the IMF as the "international equivalent of a payday loan place". (One quibble--the payday loan business is actually a fairly profitable one).

The meat of the post spurred me to run some numbers and discover a boringly predictable result. The inverse correlation between a nation's estimated average IQ and its commercial bank prime lending rate--described by the CIA World Factbook as "a simple average of annualized interest rates commercial banks charge on new loans, denominated in the national currency, to their most credit-worthy customers"--is a statistically significant, vigorous .69 (p-value = .0000000000004). Just as the more intelligent the person, the more likely he is to pay back what he owes, so the more intelligent the population, the more reliable they tend to be when it comes to making good on what they've borrowed. It's almost as though the characteristics of a nation have something to do with the characteristics of the people who populate it.

Better not go any further with that line of reasoning, though--the Cathedral and its inquisitors are surely on heightened alert after insurgents got their hands on one of the Cathedral's most prized 'opposition' marionettes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jutes' revenge

From Jayman's behemoth American Nations post, Gregory Cochran's comments on the problems with self-identified ancestry:
Fashions change. For example, the fraction of Americans who report English ancestry has dropped drastically since 1980 – so much that so that you would have to wonder about secret death camps if you took it seriously. But it’s fashion. ... This means that people in the US claiming a particular ethnicity can not only have limited ancestry from that group, but be oddly unrepresentative as well.
The GSS shows 15.2% and 9.0% of respondents identifying as English or Welsh in 1980 and 2012, respectively. The US Census shows 18.5% and 8.0% in 1980 and 2012, so the GSS parallels the census results pretty well.

I figured the boiling off that occurred over the last three decades would be perceptible by looking at the political orientation profiles of the two cohorts, but (excluding moderates to make the comparisons easier to digest) those of English/Welsh ancestry were 32% liberal, 68% conservative in 1980 and, similarly, 38% liberal, 62% conservative in 2012. To the extent any disproportional shifting did occur with the shaking off of English/Welsh affiliation, it was more among political conservatives than among liberals. I would've guessed the opposite to have been the case. The only ancestry less attractive to SWPLs than English is probably German. Okay, and "American", too, of course.

Greg Cochran gives a clue in the fashion bit, though--the English/Welsh affiliates of today are a noticeably older lot than were their counterparts 30 years ago. In 1980, the mean age of English/Welsh adults was 46.7. As of 2012 it was 53.2.

GSS variables used: YEAR(1980, 2012), POLVIEWS(1-2)(3-5)(6-7), ETHNIC(8), AGE

Monday, June 09, 2014

Merciless Japanese savages

I filched some data on the putative femininity of several countries from Staffan and correlated with hostility towards immigration from the World Values Survey, suspecting there might be a relationship between virility and skepticism of xenophilia. Alas, there is nothing approaching a statistically significant connection (r = .11, p-value = .53).

Looking more closely at the masculinity rankings from the Hofstede Centre (or, alternatively, Hofsteed Center), note the following progression from most masculine to most feminine: From Japan to New Zealand to Pakistan to Ghana to Russia.

Huh? That doesn't strike me as a recognizable pattern of any attribute or characteristic I can conjure up, not least of all a listing of the most manly firmness. It'd be more plausible if it ran in the opposite direction, but even then it would leave me a bit perplexed.

Men do a lot more killing than women. So is there a correlation between homicide rates and the Hofstede masculinity measures? Only a very weak and unreliable one, at r = .21 and p-value = .22. The masculinity measure is described as "society ... driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour. A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable."

Japan is the place among all others where standing out from the crowd is an admirable virtue?

The value of this measure appears to be quite suspect.

WVS variable used: V39

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Snow Queen vs George Cincinnatus Washington

Having heard just about every female I know under the age of 25 gush about the Disney movie Frozen, my wife included, I surely broke at least one of Heartiste's commandments in agreeing to watch it: Frozen with her if she'd watch Gladiator with me.

The contrasts could hardly have been starker*. Frozen is the animated embodiment of Millennial values. For the good of the nation, the young queen is initially forced to bottle up her feelings and emotions (the releasing of which, rather than just being imagined by the navel-gazing facebook generation to have significant real world consequences, actually has potentially mortal consequences in the movie). The queen doesn't appear to do any actual governing as she holds it all inside, but the cross she bears in having to suffer unexpressed feelings--the center of which the universe's core is located--is more than enough for the target audience to sympathize with!

If you don't have two hours to spend watching a movie produced for teenage girls, taking in the movie's hit song will be enough to give you the idea:



The Lion King-esque return to retake the kingdom conclusion feels tacked on at the end. It doesn't require any sort of painful trade off to be made by any of the protagonists. They all get to have their cake and eat it, too. Anyway, it's not what girls watching the movie are connecting to, I can promise you.

* Values of duty, devotion, and stoicism (and Stoicism) vs. those of self-discovery and emotional self-indulgence. Parenthetically, my wife agrees only somewhat begrudgingly. She's all right.