Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rage Against the Progress

The title of an op-ed piece in the Washington Post inadvertently nails it: Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.

This is the same progress we saw in Hispaniola as it its western half became Haiti and in southern Rhodesia as it became Zimbabwe--once sub-Saharan Africa's breadbasket and now a net importer of food despite well over half of its gainfully employed population working in agriculture (the regressive United States, in contrast, is a net exporter of food even though only 2% of its population works on the farm). It's the same progress we're now seeing in South Africa and have seen in the so many other American cities over the last several decades, none more saliently than Detroit. All across the globe the consequences of such venerable progress are as dreary as they are predictable.

A generation ago, Ferguson was a relatively affluent, safe, functional middle class American suburb. Naturally, it was then predominately white (85%). Over the last few decades it has progressed towards its ultimate future as a blighted, impoverished, dangerous, dysfunctional underclass welfare slum. Naturally, it is now predominately black (70% and growing).

Whites rage against this just as they've raged against slavery, animal cruelty, capital punishment, religious intolerance, ozone depletion, and all the other uniquely WEIRD societal concerns that non-European descended nations don't care much about. Fortunately, Euros--who constituted 25% of the world's population in 1950--are steadily shrinking as a percentage of the population. At the turn of the millennium, they had dropped to around 16% and by mid-century it is estimated will represent just 10% of the globe's human inhabitants. So cheers to the diminution of whites and all their rage--the future looks very vibrant indeed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Channeling Barabbas

The facebook status (with nearly 100 'likes' in less than a day) of a pretty well-adjusted, friendly black college girl I know, who has lived an unbroken affluent existence all her life:
I don't think I've ever posted about equality, but tonight I just have a lot on my mind. My heart is heavy for those of you who believe that this is an equal country. Of course, until you've had your rights stolen and felt absolutely insignificant because of the color of your skin, I wouldn't expect you to think any differently. My friends I leave you with this... "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Martin Luther King Jr
This was subsequent to the public release of all the evidence served to and then masticated and digested by the grand jury. That there is no evidence to justify indictment doesn't matter. Presumption of innocence does not register, either. A substantial part of the black population is simply unassimilable to the idea that the rule of law should be the state's paramount guiding principle. This alone renders the Propositional Nation as a thing that is inevitably destined for failure.

A guy I used to play basketball regularly with and who once helped extricate me from a very tenuous situation I'd put myself in as on overly competitive white guy in a pickup game in one of the crappiest places in the city illustrates a lower-brow iteration of the same sentiment displayed above:
I see you, i hear you! What's gonna change tomorrow, a week from now or months on in, years, decades? We gonna unify, we gonna fight, are you willing? When is enough, enough? When its you or a family member!? No Malcolm X, no Black Panthers, No Marcus Gravey! Leaders we need that. If it was a civil war divided by race we would be on the losing side right now. Black business, black owners, black environment, black economy. Weapons and a line of defense would only be a small factor. They cant live without us, hit they ass where it hurt. Unity is that first step. But im just talking cause niggas dont know how to unite and i bet they thinking the same. We have to prove them wrong!
Diversity has been a disaster, but there's no practical way to put the cat back in the bag. Secession and procreation strike me as the only two serious antidotes against the slow but steady death of the Western white middle class.

Kudos to Robert McCulloch and the grand jury for refusing to play the role of contemporary Pontius Pilates. Good to see that, at least in some fortuitous cases, a person still has to commit a crime or at the least be derelict in his duty to be indicted for wrongdoing. The miscreants with signs calling for life imprisonment or worse are really, really sick people.

Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter. Mixing metaphors horribly, this putative victory is a Pyrrhic one that changes nothing beyond possibly making a few more white American frogs aware of the boilers they're sitting in as a result of an abrupt increase in heat the conflagrations that took place in Ferguson last night caused.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Executive's executive order on immigration

A montage from a lot of disparate online discussions on the topic follow, with a little sensationalism to get the ball rolling in some places. Not a lot new here, but I devoted some time to this and if your predilections are similar to mine but you're busy with life at the moment, feel free to cut and paste as needed for use in battle on whatever turf you're fighting on. No need for attribution.

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The point isn't to ameliorate the suffering of the world's vast (and growing vaster) impoverished masses. There are over 5 billion people living in countries poorer than Mexico. We're looking at going from de facto amnesty to executively-sanctioned amnesty of mere millions here--much less than one-tenth of one percent of the international underclass. It's like trying to empty the ocean by filling up a plastic quart cup with salt water.

The point isn't to reunite families or whatever other lugubrious tripe is being spouted by special interests, either. Obviously that's an easy fix that involves a one-way trip back to the 'vibrant', 'enriching' countries these scofflaws came from in the first place. Based on how much we hear about the putative family values of our neighbors to the south, it's a real head-scratcher as to why it hasn't already occurred!

The point is to inundate the country with unskilled, uneducated, underachieving, civilly inept, criminally-prone, affirmative-action eligible, resentful welfare cases. In short, the point is to create more Democrats.

- "I don't know about all that, but I sure am happy to take their money everyday and let them beef up my bonus check."

I doubt you'd argue that your line of reasoning is universally applicable. You could, for example, use the same principle to argue in support of slavery (and the parallels between unskilled, third-world immigration into the West and slavery are not insignificant, especially those espoused by nation wreckers like the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce).

- "Overall Democrats are the more educated, skilled and progressive party."

Progressive, like any other political label, is a malleable term. The progressive movement in the West was the driving force behind the eugenics movements of the early 20th century. It has also been behind various socialist movements throughout the world going back to the late 19th century. The kibbutz is a natural outgrowth of this progressivism. Incidentally, it's empirically clear that diversity and sense of community mix about as well as oil and water. See Robert Putnam's work, for example. He's a good Harvard professor and intellectual and consequently sat on his findings for over five years because he was afraid of the conclusions but eventually he made them public and they contained what anyone who knows the emperor has no clothes figured they would. In diverse communities there is very little interracial social mixing and people even tend to withdraw from their own groups more than in more homogeneous settings. Famously, diversity causes people to socially and civically "hunker down".

My point isn't to pass normative judgment on your use of the term. Imprecise labels are still helpful, but caution is advisable when you show reverence for a term with such a storied history.

Regarding the statement about Democrats being the more educated, skilled, and progressive party, that's a tricky and generally incorrect assertion, at least without some major clarification.

From 2008 onward, the GSS shows the mean years of education for self-described Democrats as 13.57 and for self-described Republicans as 13.94 (aged 30+ to allow for school completion to have occurred). The median Republican is definitely wealthier than the median Democrat, as exit polling from 2012 and 2014 both show. That's accentuated further by the fact that exit polling data track income in nominal dollars, but $100k/year in Kansas goes a lot farther than $100k/year in California does, and red states are generally states with lower nominal incomes and correspondingly lower costs-of-living. That's not the only way to measure the nebulous word "skill", but it seems like a reasonable enough one.

Once educational attainment is controlled for, Republicans even more significantly out-earn Democrats. Post-graduates with low incomes are Democratic gold (think doctorate in sociology who does clinical evaluations at a halfway house). Conversely, modestly educated, self-made people with high incomes lean heavily Republican (think guy who went into construction right out of high school and started his own company in his twenties after gaining the requisite experience to do so).

Averages aren't the entire story, of course, and the dynamic that is increasingly coming to define the political landscape of the US is one of an alliance of the top and the bottom (Democratic) against the middle (Republican). It's difficult to get reliable data on the affiliations of the super rich, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that among those earning, say, over $10 million/year, the majority of those who are politically affiliated are Democrats.

Everything discussed above draws on the behaviors and outcomes of the entire population. Progressive SWPLs squirm at the thought, but those Democrat-vs-Republican comparisons that look favorable across the board for Republicans when everyone is taken into account look less impressive when only whites are considered. A table I put together was used in a book entitled Science Left Behind showing the former but not the latter, but it wasn't because I didn't alert the authors to as much. They understand well that when it comes to sizing up the life performances of the "average" Democrat and the "average" Republican, Republicans come out looking better on measures of income, criminality, marriage rates and fidelity, civil engagement, charitable giving, tax cheating, etc. If we're honest with ourselves, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise since 90%+ of blacks and 65%+ of Hispanics vote Democrat.

- "I must have missed the part where Obama granted suffrage to immigrants."

It's the political long game, obviously. Were it politically expedient in the short-term, the executive order would've come prior to the mid-term elections, not after them. Instead, it came immediately following the last election cycle that the current executive has any influence over or suffers any potentially negative consequences from. This strikes me as rather straightforward.

Politically, non-Asian minorities (NAMs) vote heavily Democrat. At first blush, demographic trends appear to overwhelmingly be in the left's favor. I think, overall, that is indeed very much the case, though it's often overstated. This is because, among whites, conservatives outbreed liberals and have been doing so for at least the last two generations (ie since the availability of modern contraception). Political orientation is significantly heritable, on the order of .45-.65. Basically, we have a situation in which whites are becoming more conservative but at the same time becoming an ever smaller proportion of the entire population. Restrict immigration, and conservatives have a chance. Open up the floodgates, and they're definitely toast.

That summation, of course, wasn't meant to be interpreted as the sole justification for the president's action. Things are, as they say, more nuanced than that. But there's huge long-term political upside for the left from anything that makes the country less non-Hispanic white and more black and Hispanic.

- "If you consider yourself HUMAN - you need to back the fuck up from opinions like this one and think about the other HUMANS that you're insisting on dehumanizing. You need to think about these - yes, admittedly, oftentimes poor and uneducated HUMANS who cross into America because they have no options in their native country."

The contradictory messages put out by the open borders crowd are staggeringly brazen. Illegal immigrants have no opportunities in their home countries on the one hand, but they're crucial to the US' high-tech, skill-based economy on the other. We shouldn't callously enforce our sovereign laws because it'll break up immigrant families, but these illegal immigrants are willing to send unaccompanied minors by the tends of thousands across the border through rugged and often dangerous terrain. The US is full of unwelcoming racists and bigots, yet millions upon millions of aspiring immigrants risk imprisonment (and hundreds of millions more would like to do so if they were able to) and even life and limb to come and live in this unwelcoming, racist land of ours. These illegal immigrants are hard-working, entrepreneurial types who create lots of value here in the US, but we need to act with magnanimity in our hearts as we offer charity to the desperately poor, huddled masses that seek refuge in America. The multicultural vibrancy that illegal immigrants bring is a welcome addition to the American cultural mosaic, yet the societies they come from are so dysfunctional that the only humane thing for us to do is allow them unadulterated access into the US.

GSS variables used: PARTYID(0-1)(5-6), AGE(30-89), EDUC, YEAR(2008-2012)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

T-t-t-today junior

I've been thinking about how awful the last two US presidents have been at speaking interactively in public. Given that it constitutes a not insignificant portion of what they do (and what they've done with some regularity prior to ascending to the highest political office in the country), I'd have trouble believing it if I hadn't witnessed it for the entirety of my adult life.

Obama has a good presentation when it comes to reading what the teleprompter tells him to say (Bush could hardly even manage that), but when it comes to giving interviews or pressers, they both consistently sound like stammering buffoons:



It doesn't feel like an exaggeration to presume that a significant portion of readers could give more polished, intelligible performances than the most recent putative leaders of the free world have been able to.

It might be that politicians on the national stage are so restricted in what they say that very little can ever really sound candid or coherent. More cynically, maybe they don't actually spend any time other than when they're actually in front of the public thinking in the sorts of generic platitudes they regularly feed us and so genuinely aren't familiar with the material.

In that same vein, Jokah Macpherson adds that "the most likely explanation is that public speaking doesn't have much payoff in politics. The most successful politicians are more likely the ones that can win over the right people (lobbyists, party leaders, etc) through charm one-on-one. There's a minimum level of competence necessary but few people change votes based on good speaking delivery."

More cynically still, perhaps it's that the most successful politicians can be won over and reliably used as marionettes by said lobbyists and party leaders.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Secession Strategy

Pat Buchanan riffing on the results of 2014 mid-term elections in the US:
As Jeremy Peters of the New York Times wrote in the paper’s lead story a week before the elections:
“Democrats in the closest Senate races in the South are turning to racially charged messages — invoking Trayvon Martin, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim-Crow era segregation. 
… 
“The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression.” 
The ads worked. But while Dixie Democrats rolled up landslides among black voters, Michelle Nunn, daughter of Sen. Sam Nunn, carried only 27 percent of the white vote in Georgia, and was wiped out. 
... 
As ethnonationalism pulls at the seams of many countries of Europe, it would appear it is also present here in the United States. When political appeals on the basis of race and ethnicity are being made openly by liberal Democrats, as in 2014, we are on a road that ends in a racial-ethnic spoils system — and national disintegration.
The way to get to national breakup from where we are now is to have non-Southern whites follow the political trail blazed by Southern whites over the last four decades. Over that period of time they've only tiptoed in that direction through the Reagan years and have more-or-less stayed put since then. It's an open question as to whether or not whites will continue to vote for a Democratic party in which they, and by extension their interests--both practical and ideological--have become a minority in the disaffected coalition.

The implementation of the "Southern Strategy" Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater first adopted in the late sixties meshes pretty well with the inception of the GSS, which began in 1972. The following graph shows mean partisan affiliation among whites in the South (West South Central, East South Central, and South Atlantic regions in Census terminology) and whites in the rest of the country over the last forty years. Affiliation is on a 0-6 scale with 0 being "strong Democrat" and 6 being "strong Republican":


This trend--most exemplified in the Deep South states of Alabama and Mississippi, where whites voted against Obama in 2008 by margins of 88%-10% and 88%-11%, respectively--coupled with the region's history, suggests that serious future attempts at secession will first spring to life in the South. Though it surely makes every good SWPL cringe to think that as goes the South, so might go the US, there it is.

Once politics has undeniably devolved into a naked spoils system where demographics is the primary driver of electoral behavior for whites (as it already is for blacks and to a lesser extent for Hispanics), secession will begin to seem less like a bitter, abstract overreaction akin to moving to Canada if George W. Bush is re-elected and more like something as conceivable and palpable as Scotland's narrowly defeated attempt to secede from Great Britain or Catalonia's overwhelming desire to separate from Spain.

GSS variables used: RACE(1), PARTYID, YEAR, REGION(1-4,8-9)(5-7)