Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A piffle on cultural Marxism and human biodiversity

The Two Ages excerpt referred to in this essay on cultural Marxism today as it relates to the issue of human biodiversity is here (password: PHIL350).

Soren Kierkegaard distinguished between three stages of existence.1 He referred to the base as the aesthetic stage, where man is committed solely to the fulfillment of his own personal desires, much in the mold of Machiavelli. The next step is the ethical stage, where man is drawn outside himself and sees obligations to others as superceding his own wants. Finally, the religious stage is the synergy of man with the Absolute. If we contemporize Absolute by defining it as empirically verifiable truth, we have a working system (albeit not one Kierkegaard would necessarily be fond of) with the third stage being the apex of an individual and by extension a society.

Why, then, does the information dissemination structure, comprised of the great triumvirate of news media, Hollywood, and academia, viciously fight to squelch the notion of human biodiversity by ignoring and marginalizing the deluge of research that suggests it is fundamental to the differences in human populations? Because there is a new secular religion borne out of the 1960s that has swept across the West that demands the equality of outcomes and the suspension of all judgment, moral or otherwise, by those non-member individuals or institutions in any position of authority. It started with Marx, but was reformed by men like Gramsci and Marcuse from being economically-based to being culturally-based. Realizing that capitalism would wipe communism every time the two came into conflict, they knew that the roots of capitalism had to first be eradicated. Christianity and the bourgeoisie class were the targets—the two stalwarts of a free market. Laying every evil of mankind on their shoulders was the way to destroy them.2

The egalitarianism myth is fundamental to this new religion—if it flounders the whole house comes down with it. A theory of massive blank-slates requires there be no fundamental differences in groups of people. This extends beyond equality under the law or spiritual equality in the eyes of God, both tremendous positives brought about by Christian Europe. They wish biological differences to be vanquished as well. Employing cultural Marxism, more benignly known as “political correctness,” the new religion’s adherents believe that the imbalance of power in societies and among people is artificial. All people and communities are said to equal at birth and differences only emerge due to societal (or “structural”) forces. The apostles work to enforce this belief by harshly punishing those who deviate from or even question it.3

Kierkegaard called this tactic “leveling,” and he would suffer dearly for coming up against the media establishment in his own time, where he was virulently scorned for his challenge to the conventional wisdom of the time.4 The faithfuls’ riposte to any contrasting viewpoint is a combination of blackballing, character assassination, and supercilious ridicule. Unfortunately, the apostates possess a deadly weapon to strike back with: empirical evidence.
In Two Ages, Kierkegaard criticized leveling, describing how “it lets everything remain but subtly drains the meaning out of it… [it] has transformed the whole of existence into an equivocation.”5 Frustrated by the age’s desire to overthrow everything without discrimination for the sake of destroying it, he attacked the philosophical weakness and inherent lack of conviction in the equivocation that leveling desired. Today, we need not be so esoteric. Let us look now at facts that fatally stultify the egalitarianism myth.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler rabidly laments that “the Jewish influence on economic affairs grows with terrifying speed.”6 He was not baseless in his assessment. Although Jews only represented 1% of Germany’s population, they comprised an astounding 75% of Berlin’s doctors, 80% of the country’s theater directors, and a disproportionately large number of German lawyers.7 Hitler was so irked by Jewish cognitive superiority that he banned IQ tests in Germany after Jews consistently outscored the Gentile population.8 Perhaps his one-thousand year Reich have survived more than twelve years if Hitler had utilized his human capital instead of obliterating it or sending it scurrying to the enemy.
Successful Jews were not unique to Germany. In fact, to this day Ashkenazi (European ancestry) Jews are enormously successful virtually everywhere they go. Although they comprise less than 3% of the US population, 27% of Nobel Prize winners are Ashkenazi. Over half the world’s chess champions are Jewish.9 A slew of intellectual titans also claim Ashkenazi ancestry, including Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Bobby Fisher, and Sigmund Freud. IQ tests consistently show them scoring an average of 112-115 compared to the white European mean of 100 and the world average of 90.10 Yet by appearance and lifestyle, Ashkenazis are today indistinguishable from others of European descent. They go to the same schools, live in the same culture, and have the same friends as the goys they live amongst. The crucial difference is innate, and it is in the history.

Ever since the close of the fourth Century following the excoriations of Judaism by Church fathers like Saint John of Chrysostom and Saint Augustine of Hippo, European Jewish life has been largely segregated from that of Christians. The Church abhorred usury, and consequently Jews were heavily overrepresented in the areas of finance and banking. Only five percent of Jews worked in agriculture at a time when most Europeans were farmers.11 Thus, Jews relied heavily on intelligence for success. Financing and banking were among the most cognitively demanding occupations at the time. As Jews lived almost exclusively in urban areas, children were an economic liability rather than an asset as they were for farmers and other craftsmen. Therefore, the most successful Jews could afford to have the most children while the dullards could not, whereas struggling rustic non-Jews had huge families to help make ends. In addition, entering the religious order was a desired achievement that required great intellectual ability to be able to read and write in multiple languages and become well versed in theological and philosophical history and discussion. Monks were celibate, while rabbis were encouraged to have many children, thereby spreading their intelligence while many monks became a genetic dead-end. Finally, there was little intermarrying—Jews and Gentiles came from distinct stocks from before the fifth century until the mid-twentieth century, with a different set of natural selection forces at work on them. Less than one percent were thought to have married outside the Jewish community.12 Given that IQ is agreed to be 40-80% hereditable (with 75% being the most agreed upon), the differences we witness today are not surprising.13

Terrified by Jews who threaten to shatter the appeal of their special interests—that they are victims of relentless white oppression—other minority group leaders attack this tremendously successful one. Radical Colorado University Professor and Native American activist Ward Churchill rages about the “clear, and often quite overtly expressed, desire among many Jews to claim an absolute monopoly in terms of genocidal suffering.”14 In the run up to the election of a new California Governor to replace ousted Gray Davis, an advocate of Aztlan’s creation (making the Southwestern US become an independent nation and home for displaced Aztecs) named Ernesto Cienfuegos wrote that criticism of Cruz Bustamante (who was seeking the Governorship) was an “attack by the Jews to keep in check the emerging Mexican-American community of Alta California and to continue perpetuating their power in Sacramento.”15 Black activist and former Presidential candidate Al Sharpton famously exclaimed after being heckled that “I am already in hell. I’m in Israel.”16

But wait! We are attempting to use Darwinian evolution to explain biological differences in human populations. Yet was not Social Darwinism merely a perverse rendering of Charles Darwin’s watershed discovery that was discredited after Hitler’s atrocious disaster? Further, is not race just a social construction rather than a biological one? So goes the criticisms of “the lightly equipped encyclopedists” Kierkegaard writes of, who believe that because they have heard a bit about everything they are infinitely erudite, when in actuality they are “overwhelmed by delusions.”17 That Richard Rorty proclaims it to be self-evident that classifications like “homosexual,” “negro,” and “female,” are “inventions that have done more harm than good,” does not make it a veritable truth.18

Curiously, Hitler’s systematic destruction of six million people in the name of inequality has made the discussion of human biological differences anathema, while Stalin’s 25 million dead and Mao’s 20 million dead—both in the name of equality—has not ended the ebullient enthusiasm for unfettered egalitarianism. Yet the facile proposition that differences are due to how groups are treated by hegemons is at best only partially true. Ashkenazis are particularly potent in refuting this assumption, as they are historically the most persecuted group in the world and yet have become the most fruitful today. Ashkenazis, Koreans, Africans, and indigenous South Americans have all been brutally oppressed by industrialized nations. This cruelty is to be lamented and disdained for sure. But what is interesting is the vast variance in how these populations have made it in the world, with the former two being extraordinarily successful while the latter have not been able to adapt as well to a technologically advanced world that has been thrust upon them.

The first step we can suggest to those who believe evolution abruptly shuts off at the human level—after autioning them that they may shortly feel the urge to rip the Darwin fish-creature off the back of their cars—is for said epigones to read the full title of Darwin’s work, rather than the politically-correct abridged version: The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It is difficult to imagine a phrase more inflammatory today than “favoured races,” and yet proponents for intelligent design fail to utilize the cultural Marxist’s own weapon against them. Darwin believed there to be differences between races, though it is crucial that he used “races” rather than the singular term “race.”19 Different races have been naturally selected for the environments they live in by a process taking place over tens of thousands of years since we first began breaking away from the simians. As Darwin writes, “Natural selection in each well-stocked country, must act chiefly through the competition of the inhabitants one with another, and consequently will produce perfection, or strength in the battle for life, only according to the standard of that country.”20 Clearly, Darwin understood that humans were not separated from the rest of life on earth, somehow immaculately free from the stains of diversity. In fact, humans are among the most physically diverse species on the planet, outdone only by domesticates that have been eugenically bred (like dogs).21 Different groups display different abilities and tendencies. Consequently, the desire to “level” the end result of groups or individuals is unnatural and a recipe for tension—or worse—between groups.

“If simultaneously we could spread the notion that it is all make-believe, we would approve and admire… but privately know that nothing decisive is supposed to be meant by it. And we will not be repentant, for after all we are not demolishing anything,” wrote Kierkegaard, mocking the established order of his day.22 And so goes the same today in regards to that elusive term “race.” There is no specific “white” or “black” gene. But that is due to the fact that race is a relative term to denote a basket of differences between human populations. It can be used to differentiate blacks from whites, Germans from British, or Irish Protestants from Irish Catholics. It is, in essence, an extended family from which there is some inbreeding present (if there were no such inbreeding we would each have billions of ancestors wandering the earth thousands of years ago, as our family pedigrees would expand indefinitely and exponentially as we moved up them.)23 A solid definition of “extended family” is equally elusive, yet no one would seriously deny the hereditary relationship between family members—if that is the case, we had all best call up our contingency lawyers to go after those swindling doctors who have been scamming us by proscribing routine check-ups based on our family history!

Geography provides a terse analogy that is initially less contentious: Are not geographical demarcations artificial? We do not see a black line in the sand separating Mexico from the US, Johnson County from Wyandotte County, or the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern Hemisphere. Yet these distinctions are of great utility as the environment in each generally varies from the other, with broader (or larger) groupings displaying more pronounced differences—as the contrasts of Canada and Mexico are more stark than those of Miami and Johnson counties. Similarly, both are going to share some traits, at least in some segments of their total area, but the tallest mountains are going to be found in Canada and the warmest weather will reside in Mexico. Likewise, race can be sliced up in countless ways, with individuals in the group differing from one another and sometimes being very similar to a member of another group, but on average there are valuable differences extant between the groups nonetheless.

Let us quickly take a few more of the most conspicuous examples of differences between populations (a term essentially interchangeable with race) before moving on. Running is a universal sport that nearly everyone can participate in and anyone can detect a natural talent for. Yet the 100 fastest sprinters in the world are all of West African descent, and not a single top runner is of Asian ancestry, even though the continent contains over half of the world’s population.24 Clearly running ability is orders of magnitude away from being random—it is genetic. White males are at six times greater risk for contracting melanoma than are males of other races.25 East Asians score nearly a standard deviation higher on visuo-spatial IQ tests than white Europeans, going a long way to explain their relative dominance in fields like engineering, chemistry, and mathematics yet they fall around four or five points below white Europeans in verbal-analytical scores, which suggests an explanation for lower numbers of East Asians in fields like law or the humanities.26

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger adroitly observed, “Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy.” That the relationship between males and females is portrayed as a competition, while seemingly jocular, is actually dangerously ignorant. Men are going to “win” in some arenas, and women will be victorious in others. It would be sagacious to, accepting that, look at the biological differences rooted in tens of thousands of years of human existence and base societal norms on each gender’s relative advantages. But the second wave of feminism, emerging in the 1960s, militantly attacked the perceived differences of men and women in society as being one in which “men raped women physically, economically and spiritually.”27 If everyone is truly the same, and it is exclusively the apocryphal nature of social constructions that make us think otherwise, then the only explanation is (non-genetic) male oppression! Of course, this begs the question of how men became dominant in the first place if no meaningful distinction can truly be made between the abilities of men and women, but we should not digress.

There is hardly any better demonstration of this fallacious thinking than the Harvard President Lawrence Summers fiasco in January 2005. In a meeting convened to discuss possible reasons that men so heavily dominate the top echelons of the hard-sciences (like mathematics, science, and engineering), Summers suggested among a host of other potential explanations that innate differences in intelligence distribution between men and women might account for the disparity. He was crucified for heresy by the cultural hegemons. The former Clinton official had to pony up $50 million in Harvard revenues and earmark them for “diversity efforts” including increased affirmative action hires and a “commitment to the advancement and support of women in academic life” at the school.28

Kierkegaard wrote that furtive envy “does not understand that it is itself a negative acknowledgment of excellence but wants to degrade it, minimize it, until it actually is no longer excellence, and envy takes as its object not only the excellence which is but that which is to come.”29 His criticism was directed at those who leveled attacks at others out of a covetous desire for the knowledge or possessions they held. He could have been writing last week. The evidence for differences between sexes is overwhelming. Women have more white matter in the brain while the brain of men contains more gray matter. Different areas of the brain are activated for reasoning, emotive response, memory formation, and decision-making. Men outperform women on visuo-spatial and quantitative tests while women clean up on vocabulary and reading comprehension.30 The distribution of IQ is wider for men than for women by about one point per standard deviation, although the mean value is the same for both sexes.31 This means that 99.7% of white women (average 100) are contained between IQs of 55 and 145, while for white men it must be expanded slightly to IQs of 52 and 148 to achieve 99.7% of the population. Thus, there are more men at the highest (and lowest) intellectual echelons in society—exactly what Summers suggested.

Why then, with science on his side, was Summers persecuted successfully, especially when the discussion revolved around scientific questions? “No particular individual will be able to halt the abstraction of leveling, for it is a negatively superior force,” wrote Kierkegaard about the culture in 1846.32 The stranglehold does not easily loosen. Charles Reich, a counterculture drone, enthusiastically wrote that cultural Marxism “is now spreading with amazing rapidity, and already our laws, institutions, and social structure are changing in consequence.”33 What he proclaimed in 1971 was firmly implanted in the minds of Ivy Leaguers in 2005 when Harvard’s faculty gave a vote of no-confidence to the institution’s president for his suggestions.
Even if true, the question is sometimes asked, what good does pointing out innate differences in individuals and by extension populations do? Conditioned by years of relentless “discrimination is evil” coupled with the “inequitable results must entail discrimination” bromides, it is an understandable concern. The largely unchallenged thinking goes as follows: “If non-Hispanic whites in the US earn more per year on average than blacks, white racism must be the culprit.” Kierkegaard abhors how “the drunken sailor has absolutely the same right to a public as the most distinguished of men.”34 Interestingly, Asian-Americans, who have crime rates half that of whites and who outperform whites educationally and economically, are almost always ignored in media reports on racial inequality.35 They too inconveniently throw a wrench into the “white oppression” model. Irrational discrimination is wrong, as the civil rights struggle in the United States has shown. But a capitalistic republic relies on the ability of individuals and institutions to make rational choices. Neo-Marxist socialism mandates a loss of that right at grave expense, and we will pay dearly for it. Let us look at a couple issues where acknowledging human biodiversity could be of great benefit.

Unfettered immigration has taken its toll on the Southwestern Border States. California has been especially hard hit. Only a decade ago, California was the US cognitive treasure chest enjoying some of the nation’s highest school test scores while being equipped with Silicon Valley and Hollywood. How the mighty have fallen. Saddled with almost $25 billion in debt with a infrastructure that is collapsing, the state was forced to close seven ERs in Los Angeles alone when they could not find their way out of the red as swarms of uninsured patients were continuously taken in.36 The state scored 44th in mathematics and 49th in reading in 2003 (out of fifty-one, including DC), among the very worst in the nation on the NAEP standardized test.37 Over one-quarter of its population is foreign-born, the highest percentage in the country, and one-third of its population is Hispanic.38 As far as even the fourth generation, Hispanics are only one-fifth as likely as the rest of the country to receive any education beyond high school.39 Leaving the discussion of why this is aside, such statistics clearly raise warning flags about the ability of the US to sustain a rapidly growing foreign-born population that tops 32 million, of which over half are from Latin America.40 Forty-one percent of foreign-born US residents from Latin America make less than $20,000 per year compared to only 16.5% of natives.41 The tax revenue derived from such an income ($5,000 as a liberal estimate) comes nowhere near covering the cost of education ($10,000 per child), road wear, police and medical services, jail facilities, and other infrastructure. With an $8 trillion national debt and unfunded liabilities of ten times that amount, the US can scarcely afford to be so profligate.42 Bring this into the debate, however, and at instant one becomes “racist” or “anti-Hispanic.” The policy suggestion borne out of such a fact, however, is not one of racial motivation. Instead, it calls for some measure of merit-based immigration that is controlled so that those entering the US are both accounted for and judged to be a net benefit to the sovereign nation.

A non-violent liberal democracy sweeping over the Middle East would be a dream come true. The US has spent nearly 2,000 American lives and $150 billion to help make it happen. But given even the best efforts of a noble and effective military, is this plausible? The average IQ of Iraq is estimated to be eighty-seven.43 Income and IQ are inexorably linked, and it has been found that countries with per capita incomes of under $3,000 per year historically do not ever become (or remain if installed externally) democracies.44 Iraq totters dangerously at $3,500 and Islamic culture does not mesh well with democratic ideals.45 Hopefully it will succeed nonetheless, but such concerns should be brought up. At a recent online discussion when I did just that, the one I was debating gave this stellar response: “I cannot believe you just wrote this. You should be ashamed of yourself.”46 It seems that Iraq’s intellectual capital could be increased if the damaging frequency of consanguineous marriage was reduced, and Western-style leaders may be able to help ameliorate that in time. Currently, half of all Iraq men are married to someone who is a second cousin or closer, a fact that is definitely contributing to lower intelligence and a host of other problems that are borne out of inbreeding at such close proximity.47

Finally, there is the incendiary issue of eugenics. The mere mention of the word makes people uncomfortable, and with good measure. The unintended consequences could be devastating as the science fiction industry can attest to. Unless it is situated next to the word “Nazi,” it is not to be found cultural Marxist media machine, as it is blasphemous. By equating eugenic practices with Nazism and “reminding people of the past it can discourage them from all else.”48 But a dearth of discussion on the subject is risky as well, for in a country of 1.3 billion people it has long been taking place.

Some 91% of Chinese scientists believe eugenic practices to be beneficial.49 The PRC has in place a law calling for the “sterilization of morons.”50 Of course, the Chinese hardly have a history of success in managing people, as Mao’s tragic Great Leap Forward demonstrates. The idea of forced sterilization is abhorrent to the West and to most of civilization in addition to being dangerous. Yet a more humane policy in the West could be of benefit if it was kept strictly voluntary. Sperm banks charge upwards of $5,000 for the sperm of high-IQ donors, and eggs from Ivy League graduates can fetch a price of $50,000 in some cases.51 Conversely, the non-profit CRACK (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity) pays drug-addicted women to become sterilized.52 These stories are buried in the news if mentioned at all yet they deserve attention as both are potentially quite beneficial. As the technology advances, affluent people are going to use positive eugenic services increasingly—by not making it a public issue, we may be dooming lower classes to an even more disadvantaged status.

To attack individuals for bringing to light contentious but important issues because the result might be damaging to an ideology or purpose is fascism. Quixotically trying to mold the world to fit a preconceived notion of how things ought to be has an ugly history: Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao just to name a few. Yet cultural Marxism seeks to do just that: “It now turns polemically against individuals—in order to save every single individual religiously.”53 Most who react so viscerally against the suggestion of human biodiversity as a potent factor in the makeup of our world do not have a clandestine motivation—they have simply been conditioned to believe that such a suggestion, irrespective of the evidence, must be inherently evil. If that does not demonstrate a “leveling” via secular dogmatism, it is unclear what does. I realize Kierkegaard would likely come down on the side of the illogical existentialist rather than the stoic empiricist, as the latter is the object of his criticism in Two Ages. Yet in his time it was the pseudo-scientist that was perceived to hold the monopoly. Today, the tables have turned, and people are artificially discouraged from being individualistic (that is, seeking verifiable truth) in the name of individualism. Hopefully Kierkegaard would have detested that. By keeping us locked in the aesthetic stage where we live for ourselves by the approval of others, we are barred from perceiving the truth that bubbles just below the surface. Confronting reality can be difficult and even painful at times, but ultimately the truth shall set us free.


Notes

1. Clark, Kelly James et al. 101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004. p 46-47.
2. Buchanan, Patrick J. The Death of the West. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002. p. 80-87.
3. Lind, Bill. “The Origins of Political Correctness.” Accuracy in Academia Address. Speech delivered in 2000 at American University, Washington DC.
4. Shepherd, Victor. “Soren Kierkegaard.” June 1999. 22 July 2005. <>
5. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 253
6. Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Mariner Books, 1997. Volume I, Chapter II.
7. “Arithmetic Questions in a German schoolbook.” (translated) Rachenbuch fur Volksschulen. Melle, 1941. (Provided me by Professor Frances G. Sternberg of The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education)
8. Sailer, Steve. “Jewish Telegraph Agency on Ashkenazi Intelligence by Cochran and Harpending.” Steve Sailer blog Archives. 8 June 2005. 23 July 2005. <>
9. Owen, James. “Did Discrimination Enhance Intelligence of Jews?” National Geographic News. 18 July 2005.
10. Dr. Cochran, Gregory et al. Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence. Department of Anthropology, University of Utah. May 2005.
11. ibid.
12. ibid.
13. Herrnstein and Murray. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. New York. Simon & Schuster, 1994. p. 23
14. Churchill, Ward. “Forbidding the ‘G-word’: Holocaust Denial as Judicial Doctrine in Canada.” Other Voices. Feb 2000. 21 June 2005.
15. Cienfuegos, Ernesto. “Jews are behind attacks on Cruz Bustamante and MEChA.” La Voz de Aztlan. 3 October 2003.
16. Newsmax News. “Sharpton Nixed Terror Victims for Arafat Lunch.” 30 October 2001. 26 July 2005.
17. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 253
18. Rorty, Richard. “Phony Science Wars.” Atlantic Monthly. November 1999.
19. Sailer, Steve. “The Genetic Revolution: From Marx to Darwin to Galton.” Speech delivered at Hudson Institute’s Thatcher Weekend. 11 December 1999.
20. Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 1859. Chapter Six.
21. Sailer, Steve. “The Genetic Revolution: From Marx to Darwin to Galton.” Speech delivered at Hudson Institute’s Thatcher Weekend. 11 December 1999.
22. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 257
23. Sailer, Steve. “Making Sense of the Concept of Race: A Race is an Extremely Extended Family.” Steve Sailer blog Archives. 1998. 24 July 2005. <>
24. Entine, John. Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk about it. Public Affairs, December 1999. BBC excerpt.
25. MMWR. “Deaths from Melanoma—United States, 1973-1992.” Center for Disease Control. 5 May 1995.
26. Various authors. “Smart Fraction Theory II: Why Asians Lag.” La Griffe du Lion. May 2004. Volume 6, Number 2.
27. “History of Women in the United States.” Wikipedia. 12 July 2005. 24 July 2005.
28. Mac Donald, Heather. “Harvard’s Diversity Grovel.” City Journal. Spring 2005. Volume 15, Number 2.
29. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 258
30. Kelly, Janis. “Men and Women Achieve Intelligence Differently.” NeuroPsychiatry Reviews. March 2005. Volume 6, Number 2.
31. Langdon, Kevin and Seaborg, David. “Sex Differences in the Distribution of Mental Ability.” Noesis. November 1999. Volume 144.
32. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 259
33. Reich, Charles A. The Greening of America. New York: Bantam Books, 1971. p. 2
34. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 263
35. Parker, Randall. “Wealth Gap Widening Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics.” Parapundit. 18 October 2004. 26 July 2005.
36. Andersen, Hil. “Los Angeles Votes to Close Inner-city Trauma Unit.” The Washington Post. 21 September 2004.
37. Parker, Randall. “Immigrants do not Improve Academically in Later Generations.” Parapundit. 13 May 2004. 26 July 2005.
38. US Census. California: 2000.
39. Parker, Randall. “Immigrants do not Improve Academically in Later Generations.” Parapundit. 13 May 2004. 26 July 2005.
40. *****. “Letter to Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R).” The Audacious Epigone. 14 July 2005. 26 July 2005.
41. US Census. Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2003.
42. *****. “Letter to Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R).” The Audacious Epigone. 14 July 2005. 26 July 2005.
43. Wikipedia. “IQ and the Wealth of Nations.” From Lynn, Richard and Praeger, Tatu Vanhanen. IQ and the Wealth of Nations. 2002.
44. Goldberg, Jonah. “Democracy in Iraq.” National Review. 31 March 2004.
45. Iraq, 2005. CIA World Factbook.
46. dmbmonkey. “Question for Conservatives.” Nancies.org Discussion Forum. 26 June 2005. 26 July 2005.
47. Tierney, John. “Iraqi Family Ties Complicate American Efforts for Change.” New York Times. 28 September 2003.
48. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 261
49. BBC News. “Asia-Pacific Chinese Scientists Back Eugenics.” 22 October 1998.
50. Sailer, Steve. “The Coming War over Genes: Darwin’s Enemies on the Left.” National Post. 1 December 1999.
51. Parker, Randall. “High Intelligence Sperm and Egg Donor Prices Rising.” Futurepundit. 25 February 2003. 26 July 2005.
52. Ripston, Ramona and Watt, Kathleen. “Challenging Payment-for-Sterilization.” ACLU of Southern California: News and Commentary. 12 November 1998.
53. Kierkegaard, Soren. “Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age.” A Literary Review. 30 March 1846. p. 268

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Letter to Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R)

Here is a letter I sent to Senator Brownback regarding his support for the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill. You can contact the Senator here to make your opinion heard as well (or simply cut and paste and then email this to Brownback using your name).

Dear Senator Brownback,

I urge you to drop your support of S. 1033. Please do not become a contemporary Charon, taking means from a burdensome man before dumping his hardship upon us. Your vote against the AGJobs amnesty earlier this year was admirable and encouraging, but this recent co-sponsoring comes as a disappointing shock.

As you know, over half of current immigration to the US comes from Latin America. Birth rates in these countries range from twice (Mexico) to three times (Paraguay) that of the US, yet Hispanic households bring in nearly $14,000 a year less than the average American household. Thus, they are paying less in taxes and costing more (at roughly $10,000 per student--more if ESL instruction is necessary, medical services, police, road wear, etc) than the average US resident. With an $8 trillion national debt and ten times as much in unfunded liabilities, this is not going to ameliorate our financial crisis, but will only serve to accentuate it.

Hispanics are underrepresented in secondary education and overrepresented in the prison system. According to Harvard economist George Borjas, the average immigrant from Mexico has the equivalent of an 8th education. There are five million able-bodied welfare recepients, two million incarcerated folk, and 7.5 million unemployed Americans looking for work who can be utilized to satisfy the need for unskilled labor. Creating a large underclass for the benefit of mega-corporations with the average American picking up the tab is deleterious to the American way and quality of life.

Please reconsider your support for S. 1033 and look instead towards some sort of merit-based immigration program that benefits the average US citizen and still allows for all the constructive aspects of fresh blood in America. If you do so, you will have a vociferous supporter for your 2008 Presidential run.

Thank you for your consideration,

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wall Street Journal misleading and wrong on immigration

The WSJ's Stephen Moore has an opinion piece (subscription required) singing peans over the recent influx of immigration. But if ever someone has played with some numbers and omitted others to push a position, this is it. Let's attempt a little debunking.

Moore points out that the current foreign-born population makes up 12% of the people on US soil. Yet his economic growth statistics are taken from 1980-2000. The portion of foreign-born residing in the US in at the end of 2000? Only 9.5% of the US population. In 2003, the most recent Census data I could obtain online, the foreign-born population was 11.7% of the entire population.

In 1980, the foreign-born population was slightly over 14 million, or 6.2% of the 227 million US residents. In 1990, the foreign-born population was 20 million strong, or 8% of the total US population of 250 million. From 1980 to 1990, the foreign-born proportion of the population grew 29% over the ten years (average increase of 2.5% per year). From 1990 to 2000, the foreign-born segment increased 57% to 31.1 million in 2000 over the ten years (average increase of 4.6% per year). That means in the three years beyond Moore's economic stats, the immigration rate increased 23% (over 7% per year)--considerably faster than any time during the two decades from 1980-2000 that Moore so ebulliently parades.

So how has the economy done in the last few years with this truly accelerated immigration growth? US GDP per capita (adjusted for inflation from 2000 using CPI): in 2000 was $33,599, in 2001 was $34,828, in 2002 was $35,115, and in 2003 was $35,230. That works out to a whopping 1.6% per year GDP per capita growth over this three year period. Of course the stock market bubble took its toll, but the go-go growth of the late nineties was fueled by a technological boom is not attributable to waves of immigration anymore than the bubble bursting can be pinned on the immigrant's shoulders.

Looking at macroeconomic growth does little to inform whether immigrants are net assets or net liabilities. We have to look at the immigrants themselves. Moore mentions three past waves of US immigration: the first from Western Europe in the late 18th century, the second in the mid-19th century, and the third at the beginning of the 20th century. This current wave is the fourth. A glaring difference between the first three and the fourth immediately becomes apparent: this most recent wave is not overwhelmingly European as the others have been. In fact, half of this new wave is Hispanic while less than 15% of it is European.

Unfortunately, not all immigrants are created equal. Hispanic median income in 2002 was $33,103 compared to the national average of $42,409. Hispanics are 3.7 times more likely than whites to land in jail, Hispanic students score considerably worse than whites or Asians on NAEP reading and math tests (they are in line with black test scores), and of foreign-born US residents who are college educated only 16% are Hispanic (while they comprise 50% of the total foreign-born pool). In contrast, 44% of these college educated foreign-borns are Asian, even though there are only half as many foreign-born Asians in the US as there are Hispanics.

There are heavy costs incurred from this influx of immigration that Moore does not take into consideration by only looking at income and GDP numbers. A study by Columbia University economists, however, estimate that immigrants are a $68 billion drag on the per capita economy. The "per capita" distinction from overall economic growth is a crucial one to make. If a family of four from Central America comes to the US and the breadwinner brings in $20,000 (and is therefore paying, as a very liberal estimate, $4,000 in taxes) while sending two children to school (at over $7,500 billed to the taxpayer a pop--and considerably more if either requires ESL services), the family is adding to the nation's GDP, but clearly the nation's standard of living is taking a hit as natives have to cough up more money for each of these families than the families contribute to them. They are also incurring other costs that the net taxpayer must pick up such as road wear, social services, police and fire services, medical costs (which have become catastrophic in places like Los Angeles), etc. And this is assuming the family is legal--if they are working under the table (and therefore not paying income taxes), the cost-benefit ratio is skewed further against natives.

Moore glibly points out that the immigrants who have lived in the US for the longest period of time fare better than those more newly arrived. That is certainly true, but further explanation suggests why that is the case (beyond simply earning more over time). Large-scale Latino immigration is a relatively new phenomenon: European and Canadian immigrants are twice as likely to have been in the US for 20 years or more than are Hispanic immigrants and are less likely than Hispanics to have come in just the last five years. Asians, however, have on average only been in the US slightly longer than Hispanics. Moore proclaims, "Immigrants are economic investments with increasing rates of return over time." But the immigrants he is drawing these conclusions from are not synonymous with the bulk of contemporary immigrantion. European immigrants perform similarly to native whites (not surprisingly), but there are striking differences between the performance of Hispanics and whites.

Those hurt the most by this myriad of immigrants are the native underclasses. During the current economic recovery, black unemployment has actually risen even though historically the trend has been for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum to be more elastic than those at the middle and top. In other words, black employment should be rising faster than that of whites, not dropping while white rates are increasing.

Hispanics have suffered a wage decrease over the last two years, although their employment rates have risen modestly. Moore champions the drop in unemployment, but does not mention the decrease in wages. Basic economics explains what he does not: As the labor supply increases, the wage rate will decrease. And the bulk of the new jobs are going to go to the immigrants willing to work for the least. That would be fine if we lived in a Libertarian paradise of no taxes, but removing ourselves from the quixotic, we realize that if company X can hire an immigrant for $5 an hour instead of paying a native $6 an hour, X is going to do it. The native has to go find another job likely paying less (say $5 an hour as well.) Now, we have X who has cut costs, but we also have two US residents making $5 an hour ($10,000 a year) that are costing the taxpayer at least $10,000 over that same time period (and each of these residents is at most contributing $2,000 to the tax pool). We do not benefit from an expanding lower class that undercuts itself for the sake of businesses that derive an enormous direct benefit and only a mild indirect detriment.

Moore nails one point: "One of the most obvious malfunctions of our current immigration policy is that we deny work visas to tens of thousands of highly trained and educated foreign graduate students who have enormous upside economic potential." The risible Visa Lottery system that lets potential immigrants into the US in a completely random way means thugs from Saudi Arabia have as much chance to be granted legality as does a chemical engineer from the Ukraine. Allowing current immigrants to pull family members in does not do the US any good either, as most of those relatives are likely to be economic burdens. A merit system of immigration setting standards in areas such as IQ, means, education, age, and civility would be prudent and would remove any potential for subjective racial or nationality bias.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

War of the Worlds has something pertinent to say to us

I watched Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds this afternoon. Snazzy special effects and plenty of excitement of course. But I've no desire to comment on any of that. Besides, I don't see near enough movies to attempt anything normative in respect to the visual pleasures and aesthetics. I went to the movie for my brother's birthday--the last movie I'd seen was a year before, for the same aforementioned occasion. And I'm not too familiar with Spielberg's worldview, though I did discover that he has generously sponsored and donated to Holocaust rememberance/study foundations, which may shed some light on his stance against Islamic terrorism, something very atypical for Hollywood.

That being said, the movie offered surprisingly spineful allegory to our contemporary struggle against the "religion of peace." Some allusions I've drawn with movie parts in italics and my take following (if you're planning to see the movie but have not yet, then you may not want to read on):

The consternated city dwellers are taken completely by surprise when the killer tripods bust out of the ground. No one saw it coming, yet it is revealed to us later in the movie that these vehicles of destruction have been in place for millions of years.

Well, Islam and Salafism are only a millenia-and-a-half old, but for practical purposes they've been around forever, sitting in the ground, awaiting a warm body to use them for the purposes of destruction. Wahhabism, the particularly dangerous element within Islam, has also existed for centuries. The recent history of terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists is not something that sprung out of the blue on 9-11. They date at least as far as the 1988 bombing of PanAm flight 103. Yet everyone was blithely unaware.

Some, like the auto mechanic who gets vaporized after fixing Cruise's getaway vehicle, remain oblivious even after the major attacks have started. He actually goes after Cruise for overreacting to the threat.

There exists plenty of people who downplay the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, some claiming the West deserves what it gets, and other quixotic dunderheads patently deny that any such threat exists at all. Private groups (ACLU, Amnesty International, etc), academia, and the media form the axis of such beliefs. Until a dirty bomb rips their homes apart, their opinions are not going to change.

Constant bickering between Cruise and his two kids threaten their collective survival on several occasions.

A house divided inevitably falls. Predictably, less than a day after the London bombings, partisans were making vicious attacks on Bush and Blair foreign policiy as these leaders were essentially blamed for the bombings. I, like most people, have plenty of concerns with our foreign and domestic policies. But family members screaming at one another while the reaper closes in does no one any good.

Cruise's son is the first character to become visibly angry at the alien destroyers. Surveying the damage around his father's house, his gritted teeth make clear that he doesn't want to run and hide; he wants to exact revenge. The terror-struck daughter is too shocked to display any emotion but fear. Cruise, the one putatively in charge, is notably the most ambiguous in his reaction.

Public sentiment on Islamo-fascist terrorism: Some people panic, some want to hide, some are indifferent, and some want to strike back. Meanwhile, the one's on top try to triangulate everything to please everyone, and consequently have little personal conviction. Bush takes a hard-line in Afghanistan and the Middle East, but leaves our borders ripe for breach. He talks about winning hearts and minds by understanding Middle Eastern culture, yet we bend-over backward to avoid offending rabid animals by treating them like royalty even while they're imprisoned, ignoring a fundamental aspect of Asia Minor's culture: never compromise.

While driving the acquired vehicle through a city on their way to Boston, Cruise and company are surrounded by the rabble wishing to hitch a ride. As they insult and attack Cruise for what he is doing, he tells his kids "they're only envious." Cruise's crew is ousted, and another driver takes over. He is subsequently attacked in a way like Cruise and then he is shot and killed.

Hard-liners are in the van, and the critics (read Western Europe) are mauling it as it drives along. Criticism of US policy's lack of concern for human rights, especially those regarding the treatment of detainees in places like Gitmo, comes from places that have policies that are often harsher than those in the US when it comes to dealing with potential enemies of the state. In France, for example, as many as 70% of the prison population is Muslim, even though Muslims make up around 10% of the French population (this is proportionately much more imbalanced than that of black vs white prison rates in the US--in other words, Muslims pose an order of magnitude more danger in France than blacks do here in the US). In the Netherlands, talk of ending Middle Eastern immigration altogether is in the air. Those who are in the position to respond to the threat Islam poses (ie countries that have militaries, like the US, GB, and Australia) are rabidly criticized by others who are similarly threatened but lack the means to do anything about it (western powers who have no military might or backbone, like France and Germany).

When Cruise and his daughter take shelter with the eccentric Tim Robbins character, Robbins notes that history tells us no occupying army can ever win.

US boots on the ground in the Middle East are not going to transform the place into a haven for the US. It's too costly to stay, the soldiers become easy targets for terrorists, and enemies of the West become galvanized by people on their home turf. Robbins believes that the aliens are making a fatal mistake if they try to hang around on earth with humans still living, because it will unite humanity in its will to resist, and it will drain resources from the aliens. Also, the aliens are essentially leveling the playing field when they should be utilizing an enormous technological advantage (why are we fighting street-to-street urban warfare when the air force could incinerate the insurgent hotbeds without losing a soldier?).

Robbins wants to go underground, to fight the aliens in secret.

I understand his sentiment. But I suppose Spielberg's message is that it is foolish for the US to alter its principles to combat terrorism. That is, no clandestine torturing, dealing with monsters (like most of the House of Sa'ud), or targeting civilians. I hope we don't have to resort to such extremes, but interestingly after Cruise takes Robbins out, he basically does exactly what Robbins was going to do: he attacks the unsuspecting alien probe. Personally, I thought the whole underground bunker scene was dopey.

After being imprisoned in the metal cages, the aliens come after Cruise to gobble him up and feed on his blood. As the first few victims are selected, people scramble vainly to avoid be taken just then, even though it is clear that they will eventually be destroyed as well. But by the time Cruise is nabbed, an American soldier leaps to try and pull him back while yelling for everyone else in the cage to do the same. The group does so, and, unified, they are able to free him from the alien ship's grasp (after he's cleverly hurled grenades into it). The cage contingent was conspicuously multi-cultural.

This is a conventionally straightforward measure of the need for unity despite differences when calamity strikes. When going their separate ways, they are easily picked off, but united they are able to obliterate their common foe. I'm not a fan of multiculturalism and wish we'd do more to promote cultural values that work rather than accepting everything, good or bad. But when it's something as clear-cut as the difference between life and death for all of civilization, it is definitely good to have everyone standing together.

Nature/God takes out the aliens in the end. History favors those that have survived and functioned increasingly well for eons.

Two points: One, God is on the side of civilization--the pseudo-deity of Islamic extremism is going to be trumped. Two, memes are subject to natural selection as well (in an artificial way). The nihilist aspirations of extremist fanatics will be beaten by the progressive culture of the West. It will be a bloody struggle, but civilization will eventually come out on top. Let's hope Spielberg's prescient on this one.



Sunday, July 03, 2005

Autobiography

It begins (Prior to birth)

The nine months spanning from my sloppy conception in early October of 1982, to my escape from what would fallaciously be seen as the “wretched womb” on July 1 of 1983, represents the insouciant prelapsarian days of fetal bliss. From a ball of twenty-three chromosomes in protoplasm to the development of all major organs a couple months later I hadn’t a care in the world. But as that miscreant devil attached to my abdomen grew, it began to whisper to me: “Ah, so you think you have everything you desire, eh?”

Being quite the precocious kid, I responded, “Indeed I do.”

“So you do not wish to know what lies beyond the cervix then?” my tempter persisted.

“It has been commanded that I shall not,” I shot back, curiosity beginning to itch at me.

“But the Realm of Forms lies just beyond that slimy gate,” sung back Beelzebub’s string. “You have been tricked so that you would be stuck forever in the cave, seeing only the shadows.”

The incessant creature got the best of me. Strong now, I swam upstream, out the orifice, and into the hands of a gargantuan in white. Instantly the light of the decrepit world blinded me as I writhed in the giant’s grasp, futilely attempting to cover my now-exposed and embarrassingly underdeveloped phallus. My only consolation was when the paladin who held me employed Hephaestus’ shears and separated the cursed serpent from me, tossing it harmlessly into a trash can. But my days of bliss were forever behind me. Two truths were forced into my young mind: That all of life was now suffering and that my insatiable desires would fuel this perpetual suffering.

The Inchoate Years
(0-5)

Gravity suppressed me for the first couple of years. Unable to do anything but wiggle helplessly in place, my fate was at the whim of Mother, Father, and the regrettable reprobate that would stop in from time to time and tickle the soft flesh of my unblemished feet. One particularly irksome harpy entertained herself by referring to my glorious toes as swine and then proceeding to try and rip them from their sockets, followed by a running of her hands up my side and into my face. If only my chompers would bust through these swollen gums, I’d clamp down so hard she’d go screaming all the way back to the husband she thrice tried to poison, that maniacal feminazi! I thought. Maybe if she didn’t prize her right to privacy so much she’d have had her own urchin to torment by now.

By the end of the second year the painfully slow process of becoming a peripatetic was final complete. With my new found mobility I roamed the modest two room house, occasionally engaging the felid foe that laid illegitimate claim to the same territory.

After many a pyrrhic victory against the cat that cost me countless epidermal, red, and white cells, a truce was reached. Now a full four years old, I had grown tired of the devastation and senseless carnage of low-level warfare. Besides, the family had moved to Chicago and into a domicile twice the size, so there was plenty of room for both of us.

Or was there? Mother, who traditionally kept a slim figure, had begun to distend from the middle. Father often placed a hand or even an ear to the midsection. “Superstitious man!” I yelled at him. “That will not fix her corpulence. Only an ascetic diet laced with laxatives will stop the exponential expansion of that belly!”

It was then that they broke the news to me. I was going to have a sister. My mind raced as I tried to make sense of it. Undoubtedly she would steal the adoration now showered upon me by my parents. On the other hand, that harassing jezebel would have a new victim to toy with instead of me. Would Sister try and stake out some of the house for herself? Or might she prove an ally in helping subjugate the cat? I was conflicted and overwhelmed.

Little Whelp in a Big World (6-10)

Sister came in my fifth year. Initially, the attention showered upon her annoyed me. It wasn’t so much that I desired the attention myself as it was the foot traffic from neighbors she brought in. For example, the Brahmin family across the street (this was Chicago, remember) had a lass my age who I do say had a bit of a crush on me. Truth be told, it was hardly unrequited. But I liked to show my affection by pulling her hair and ridiculing her menagerie of ten-armed animal deities. She wasn’t into that. Her thing was the kama sutra. I’d always had an affinity for the Stoics, having read Seneca in my earlier days, and just wasn’t interested. Besides, a delightful man down the road ran a mill using orphans from the Baltic States that I could turn to if my spirit ever fell to the flesh, and with a lot less baggage than Jasmine was sure to bring.

Sis was a disappointment for the next couple of years. Like a crack-addicted dropout from East St. Louis she spent her days rolling around on the floor giggling in a stupor and her nights sporadically crying in between spurts of restless sleep. I knew from my studies that Arab women had a paucity of personal freedom by our standards and consequently they couldn’t do much of anything interesting. No wonder their husbands beat them, I innocently thought. Have to make sure they’re still alive, after all, right? So the next time my sister started yapping, I slapped her. Abruptly, Mother’s omniscient hand slapped me on the posterior in return. “Don’t you ever hit your sister!” she screamed.

“Gee mom, stop being so ethnocentric. I’m only trying to broaden my horizons by experimenting with other cultural approaches to life. You’re so parochial.”

My retort fell on deaf ears, and I didn’t assault Sis again—I didn’t need to. She was walking! And she dug me. Suddenly I relished being a big brother. A tabula rasa that would serve as my own personal minion! Needless to say, the cat feared even the gloam now, and had become exclusively nocturnal. Having found a bigger stick, I no longer had any use for our ceasefire agreement.

Unfortunately, Galton knew a lot more about human nature than Locke did. After a couple of years, Sister’s hardwiring shook her free of my classical conditioning, and she wouldn’t have anymore of my domineering. Running an empire is expensive and exhaustive, and Sister was a relative dolt that was costing more than she was worth, so I granted her independence. I was nine at the time.

School was beginning to cramp my style. Being the quintessential male, math was a strong point. But most everything else smacked of Lake Woebegone-like praise, except no one was actually good at anything. The teachers just told the kids they were. The night soil draped on canvas that Jim made didn’t strike me as art. I didn’t see the other strengths Teacher kept telling the class Jose had even though he could barely string together a single coherent sentence. He seemed dumb as a rock to me.

I liked history. I felt an avuncular relationship with all the major players, although most had IQs an order of magnitude higher than anyone at the school. However, I didn’t like the alternative perspectives we covered. I didn’t appreciate Tenochtitlan complaining about the rough treatment he got from Cortes. His empire sacrificed people, enslaved members of other tribes, and went on conquest campaigns too. I would not have been able to shed a tear for him if it weren’t for his naivetĂ©. I didn’t like that. It was easier to think of him being lowered into the ground if I could picture him as an evil troglodyte that ate babies. So the winners write history, I thought. Let it be.

Staking out a Foundation (11-15)

Father was now a big shot at a Fortune 500 company. Charles Murray had raised serious questions about the benefits of affirmative action, so Father was able to rise up through the ranks based on his merits. And although we’re not Ashkenazi, you would hardly guess us goyim given his success. This allowed Mother to stay home and cull my crude premonitions with mothering effeteness. It also meant we had to move often. Being a romantic, each move tore me asunder. I couldn’t take the ephemeral nature of my friendships anymore, so I turned to epic video games. I could bring the systems with me wherever we moved and the characters with them. Thus my adolescent morality was shaped not by the pernicious influence of pimply-faced hellions, but by virtuous men and women battling indefatigably for peace and justice against fiends out to destroy the world. This was great for my spiritual development, though not so much for my physical development. While my peers chased balls outside, I ferociously worked my fingers on the control pad and consumed sugared treats. As my girth grew, so did my propensity to avoid strenuous activity. A vicious circle was spinning me down the road to perdition.

It would take my first job to force me off the loveseat. Eager for money to buy more games, I applied to the retirement home where Grandma lived. Realizing I was the grandson of one of her clients who was shelling out $2,500 a month, the boss welcomed me aboard.

No, I didn’t change bedpans. I worked in the kitchen, serving filth to the filth, as Mozart might say. Some of the old folks knew the Ripper was on their heels and that trying to hide from senescence was hopeless. These kindly creatures, courageously resigned in the face of eschatological answers, were laid back and generally pleasant. However, most of the moribund acted like the spoiled offspring of beatnik couples from Eugene (I had just moved from Seattle to Kansas City). The old adage that they’re “Born children and die children” rings true in my ears to this day. Previously I’d not cared for Peter Pan, devoting myself with full fidelity to The Lion King. Now I envied him, even if he had to put up with that shrew, Tinkerbelle. But the money was good so I bit my lip.

Existential Rollercoaster (16-20)

As was alluded to earlier, I’ve always been a dramatic person. While not generally capricious, my life has been marked by a couple of major shifts brought on by my own volition. As I dropped a good chunk of my savings on my first car and got my license, I elected to get in shape. Perhaps it was my affinity for my Occidental heritage that was subconsciously shaping my behavior. Now that I had a car, I started running everywhere. Shunning luxury for a healthier heart and a tranquil mind, I know I made Socrates smile.

And run I did. My lineage is traceable to northern Europe, and consequently there’s more alcoholism in the family line than I’d like to admit. I steered clear of that stuff, pledging myself a teetotaler for life without having ever touched the devil’s juice. Instead, I fed that putative addiction with endorphins by running. In two years, I’d gone from 220 pounds to one-hundred sixty. On Sundays, I lost myself on treks of fifteen miles and more. The Han better stay loyal in their seminal love affair with capitalism, because in my later years I’ll need them to have human organ and tissue farms up and running so that I can harvest a fresh pair of knees at an affordable price.

The running had unintended consequences. I was no longer aesthetically displeasing and with my charm, brilliance, perspicacity, and most of all, humility, I was able to land a gorgeous broad. My natural parsimony was neutralized by her consumerism. Instead of spending my nights in a solitary pursuit of personal edification, I was suddenly “going out” nearly every evening. The constant contact with the lumpenproletariat that attend teen soirees fostered a misanthropic streak in my psyche that burns vivaciously still today. She had me wrapped around her finger, but my heavens, was she a thrill.

All’s well that ends well. A year later, I wanted a change of name and address. The tech bubble had just burst, but I only had about half of what I would have had to throw into the market if I’d plugged my ears as soon as that Siren started her euphonious song. I’d met Aphrodite at the retirement home, and now that we’d hit the rocks I had to hightail it.

I’d burned the bridge. I made my way to what turned out to be a tremendous retail company. High school was drawing to a close. I’d met another sumptuous strumpet, and this time I went into it without any emotional investment. Using my gift of elocution, I wooed her with empty platitudes. That’s all I put in. The wallet stayed closed, with the exception of a movie or ice cream every couple of weeks. I ignored or otherwise neglected her on a regular basis, and stopped by her place only when I felt up to it. Instead of a lukewarm reception, however, I was revered. I learned something profound from this one: Women are like dogs—the worse you treat them, the more they love you.

Life was good. As I said, I was in my last semester of high school. Slated to run the school store during one of the lunch periods with another student, we alternated days and on the ones I had off I snuck off the campus, darting and dashing between and under cars to avoid detection by the brown shirts that had roamed the premise ever since the Columbine shooting, to catch an early afternoon run. Okay, maybe I didn’t act with such arĂȘte. The two security guards were jokes. One was a tubby septuagenarian easily tamed with a donut. The other was a former jockey, who, although host to several contagious zoogenic diseases, was held at bay by the gentle breeze that threatened to blow her off into the stratosphere the moment she stepped outside the safety of the building’s interior. There was no security. If I had wanted to, I could’ve single-handedly wrapped Kent State, the DC snipers, and Columbine into one and done a real number on my fellow degenerates.

I didn’t want to shoot anyone, but I did like the ROTC scholarship offer I’d managed to snag. It was off to the Douglas County cesspool for an education. The military wasn’t for me. Bailing by the end of the first year, I was free from any service obligation. While it would be interesting to fill eager ears with stories of hooded prisoners forced to listen to Eminem and other torturous tales that caused me to part from ROTC on some high-strung principle, it would be fallacious. The guys were great. The program was solid. While the thought of meeting exotic people and then killing them appealed to me, traveling was something I’d learned to despise. It just wouldn’t work.

The Future is Now (21-22 and counting)

ROTC wouldn’t work, but I continue to. Having landed a full-time position with the company I hope to make a career out of, college has become something I look forward to finishing. While I’ll miss stealing Hackee sacks from new age retro hippies, the blather of pedants, the insights of sharp pedagogues, the awful Lawrence roads, the mawkish Main Street shopping area so inefficiently designed, over-priced, and impossible to park in, the filthy homeless bums that should be exported to a blue state that wants them, and trying to hit the traffic ticket writers with my car, who knows how my plans for world domination will turn out once I’m free of this burden. If they fail, my plans for the future are modest. I hope to find a sharp woman—at least a 26 on the ACT or equivalent—and have a few kids to do my part in keeping the US birthrate tenuously at replenishment. Like the great Scipio, I will then retire to a quaint cottage in the countryside, spending my days engrossed in books and online discussions.