Friday, June 30, 2006
An odd 'discovery', though, is how strong the correlation between the percentage of a state with a bachelor's degree and the state's standard of living is. For both red and blue states, it's statistically significant. But the trends are in opposite directions. Bush states show a correlation of .61. Kerry states are -.50. Even without DC in the mix, the trend is still downward. Nationally, of course, there exists no statistically reliable relationship between education and the standard of living (as the two camps cancel one another out). Coincidence? Geography? Or is there some reason that red states benefit materially from an educated population while blue states just don't seem to?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Republican leaders in the House have convinced themselves that a tough anti-immigration stance is key to holding on to their majority in November. And they cite GOP Representative Brian Bilbray's special election victory earlier this month in California as evidence that demonizing illegal aliens is a political winner. But Mr. Bilbray didn't even capture 50% of the vote in a safe GOP district against a Democrat, while Mr. Cannon has now survived a single-issue immigration assault from a well-financed fellow Republican. GOP voters are smarter than GOP Members think they are.Bilbray only failed to get 50% of the vote (he received 49.57%) because Independent William Griffith, who was endorsed by the MinuteMen and was on Bilbray's right on immigration, picked up 3.81%. Given the public's overwhelming support for tougher border enforcement and lower total immigration, both legal and illegal, the House's roadshow is politically prudent. Would the members be wiser to instead latch onto the reckless spending of the current GOP leadership and the Iraq miasma the neocons got us into? Is the WSJ's op/ed crew unaware of how Tom Delay upped GOP Congressional representation from an unfavorable 17-15 in 2000 to a favorable 21-11 majority in Texas with the 2003 redistricting in part by breaking up Hispanic havens in the southwest part of the state, with a results like the state's 23rd district?
The sovereignty crowd shouldn't lose heart over Jacob's defeat in Utah. Only a month ago, Jacob was down 48%-28%. Incumbents are virtually impervious in primaries--since the 1950s the rate of defeat has been around 1%--and Cannon's been in the seat for a decade. Jacob, a political newcomer, still managed to garner more than 44% of the vote. Further, he prodded Cannon into putting up a tough veneer when the two jousted:
Cannon said he wants immigration reform to look like some combination of the best parts of the U.S. House and Senate plans. Cannon says he opposes amnesty, and he has said undocumented workers could pay fines and return to their home country to apply for re-entry into the United States.Compare that to what Cannon said in 2002:
"We love immigrants in Utah. And we don't make the distinction very often between legal and illegal. In fact, I think Utah was the first state in the country to legislate the ability to get a driver's license based on the matricula consular [a Mexican government ID], and of that I'm proud."Utah's third district is considered one of the most conservative in the country, and Cannon has received a top rating of 100 on the American Conservative Union's legislator's scorecard. President Bush endorsed him as well. Those are quite a few obstacles for an unknown and politically inexperienced newcomer like Jacob to overcome. And he still managed to make the race close and bring it to the nation's attention.
++Addition++The WSJ's op/ed tendentiously insinuates that Jacob spent an extraordinary amount in his attempt to bump Cannon:
Mr. Cannon defeated millionaire real-estate developer John Jacob, who spent more than $400,000 in the race, much of it assailing Mr. Cannon's support for President Bush's comprehensive immigration reform. Mr. Jacob was also adopted by Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo's political action committee, Team America, which wants to make the GOP an anti-immigration party. Mr. Tancredo's PAC spent $40,000 on radio ads attacking the incumbent, and its Web site even posted a picture of Mr. Cannon with a red target around his head.Nothing in there about how much Cannon's campaign threw into the primary. Thankfully, the Daily Herald is more honest:
U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, has a more than 2-to-1 fundraising advantage over challenger John Jacob in the race for the Republican nomination in Utah's Third Congressional District. ...
Reports filed through Monday show that Cannon had raised $815,687 from donors, PACs and loans. Jacob's total was $383,860, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. ...
Reports show that Jacob spent $346,000 through the beginning of June, compared to Cannon's $612,000 outlay.
The open border ideologues justify the means by looking at what they consider desirable ends. Veracity and perspective have no place in the WSJ op/ed's arsenal.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick.This sounds plausible. It's basically the same concept we use for most shots--take small injections of the disease now so the body will build an immunity to more threatening levels in the future.
The studies give more weight to a 17-year-old theory that the sanitized Western world may be partly to blame for soaring rates of human allergy and asthma cases and some autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, figures that people's immune systems aren't being challenged by disease and dirt early in life, so the body's natural defenses overreact to small irritants such as pollen.
The new studies, one of which was published Friday in the peer reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, found significant differences in the immune systems between euthanized wild and lab rodents.
But I'm not yet convinced. I wonder about the relationship between these diseases and a population's median age. This study found the average age of incidence for rheumatoid arthritis to be 58 (and a decreasing trend in disease rate). The Western world is old and getting older. In addition to becoming top-heavy with entitlement obligations that will smother a shrinking youthful base, the West is collectively going to witness a steady increase in medical costs and a general decrease in the average health of its citizenry as it ages.
A bigger question mark exists in the actual subjects of the study:
Parker said his study has drawbacks because he can't be sure that the age of the wild and lab rodents are equivalent, although he estimates the ages based on weight. He also could not control what happened in the past to the wild rats to see if they had unusual diseases before being captured and killed.The survival rate of lab rats compared to feral sewer rats strikes me as being of larger concern. If the average age of both cohorts was two, what proportion of lab rats make it to the age of two? What's the survival rate to the age of two for sewer rates? Lower than that of lab rats, presumably. What if in the wild, generally less healthy rats die off earlier, while in the lab all are preserved (outside of experimentation)? It seems to me that causation can only be, at best, speculated about. Immune strength might be coming from natural selection, not a Lamarckian enhancement of general immune system functionality.
A rough analogy: A la Battle Royale, 100 children are thrown into the tundra with the simultaneous release of rabid pit bulls in the area. Twenty children make it out alive, the rest are ripped to shreds. Those twenty are then put into an experiment testing athleticism along with twenty other randomly selected children from the area. Not surprisingly, the twenty children who managed to avoid rabid pit bulls in the tundra are in better shape than the twenty average kids.
This hardly suggests that being exposed to rabid pit bulls makes one more athletic. But over successive generations, if one line was constantly chased by pit bulls and another lived softly, the former would become more athletic. This might be a silly microcosm for the world today, where countries with higher mortality rates selecte for stronger immune systems among their populations. That takes us to the epigonic discussion of college kids after a night of Halo--are humans destroying themselves with medicine like an overgrown forest that's not allowed to burn from time to time?
To know for sure, Parker should separate lab rats into two cohorts at birth, with one being exposed to various diseases comparable to what would be experienced in the sewer, while the other is kept immaculate, and then at some point in the future compare the immune system functionality (and mortality rate) of the two groups.
++Addition++Parker already plans on doing just that:
Parker said he hopes to build a 50-foot artificial sewer for his next step, so that he could introduce the clean lab rats to an artificial dirty environment and see how and when the immunity was activated.The data that this elicits will be more conclusive.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Supporters of the American Civil Liberties Union who have become disillusioned with the group's governance are gathering the support of former officials, donors, and other ACLU members to challenge the organization's leadership, according to people involved in the discussions.Anthony Romero has aggressively brought the ACLU to the forefront of politics by taking the organization in a direction decidedly antipodal to the Bush foreign policy doctrine (he took over just days before 9/11). Unfortunately, it appears the noble cause of ending America's interventionist policy in Iraq has been tainted by perceived deplorable tactics employed by the ACLU (Abu Ghraib trumpeting, refusal to accept grant money that stipulates none of it be given to state-listed terrorists, demands that Guantanamo Bay detainees be released, etc) that strike me as not opposed to nation-building for the sake of the well-being of the US, but in spite of it.
The target of the nascent campaign is the ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, 40, who took over day-to-day operation of the group in 2001.
While Romero has been attacking the autocracy of the White House, his organization has similarly become increasingly dictatorial. The Bush team is notorious for squelching criticism and demanding allegiance. It appears the former head of the ACLU fears that the putative defenders of free expression are doing the same within their own organization:
One troubling sign for Mr. Romero is the emergence in the opposition camp of his predecessor, Ira Glasser. Since his retirement in 2001 after 23 years at the helm of the ACLU, Mr. Glasser has had little involvement in the civil liberties group's affairs.
However, he appeared at a board meeting earlier this month where proposals to limit speech by board members were debated.
One catalyst for the reform drive was the report from an ACLU committee urging constraints on speech by board members at odds with the organization. One provision said, "A director may publicly disagree with an ACLU policy position, but may not criticize the ACLU board and staff."
Another said board members "should refrain from publicly highlighting" any disagreement with the organization's policies, in part because public dissent could hurt the ACLU's "public support and fund-raising."
The ACLU continues to move away from libertarian ideals (reclinating back to where it began as an apologist for communism and defender of illegal aliens) based on individual freedom of action and toward a position of partisan advocacy for far left causes. The organization's leadership will inevitably have to force consensus as it's positions become less universal in nature.
Contradictions with its mission statement, which reads "To defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States," are going to lead to internal dissent. As an empirical rightist, I sympathize with Mr. Glasser (longtime head of the ACLU) and crew--as I feel Republican leadership has turned its back on Burkean values, so do ACLU atomists feel the organization has become the backer of various special interests rather than of individual freedom.
A non-comprehensive list of positions the ACLU has taken in recent years that are not in line with their raison d'etre (in addition to pushing out free expression within the organization's own ranks):
- Opposition to the MinuteMen. The Arizona chapter of the organization has tried unsuccessfully to catch the citizen's group misbehaving. It has also worked with illegal crossers to help them avoid detection by the MinuteMen. One should expect the ACLU to take up the cause of a citizen's group protesting the conduct of the federal government.
- While defending the hateful speech of men like Al-Arian, things change when the target isn't middle class America:
Mr. Romero said it was not unusual for the A.C.L.U. to grapple with conflicting issues involving civil liberties. "Take hate speech," he said. "While believing in free speech, we do not believe in or condone speech that attacks minorities."All speech is equal, but some speech is more equal than other speech.
- Opposition to the free action of employers to make business decisions as they see fit. The ACLU wishes to restrict the rights of private entities to conduct standard business operations (background checks, citizenship status, etc). That is, the organization favors governmental interence in the rights of private entities.
- Very narrow interpretation of the second amendment, foregoing ambiguity in favor of governmental regulation over the possession of firearms among the private citizenry.
- Opposition to the publication of information by school boards that is unfavorable or ambivalent toward a position favoring contraceptives over abstinence.
- Opposition to private charities offering cash for voluntary sterilization of drug-addicted women (I am a supporter of Project Prevention). Such a transaction is more certainly the result of two individual entities coming to a mutally agreeable decision than say, the right to privacy when the father objects to the mother's choice.
- Refusing the right to parental notification while defending the activities of NAMBLA. That is, in some cases the right of the child trumps the right of an adult (abortion decisions), while in others the right of the adult trumps the right of the child (the forcible rape of children).
Zimbabwe's white farmers' union has given warning of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe" after the government reneged on a promise to pay evicted white farmers the full value of the buildings and equipment seized along with their farms, leaving many of them destitute. ...
"They are waiting until people are desperate and then offering them between two and 10 per cent of what it would fetch at auction," said Mr Gifford.
It's a wonder that any whites remain in the country at all. Zimbabwe's unemployment rate is 80%, a quarter of the population has AIDS, and GDP is contracting at 7% a year. Even though two-thirds of the country's workforce is involved in agriculture, Zimbabwe is now a net food importer. After losing white farmers and seeing production drop drastically (tobacco, the biggest export earner, has seen production fall to less than one-third of what it was in 2000), it appeared Mugabe might be trying to entice the white farmers back in. But more reneging on promises that were already unfavorable for whites is showing Mugabe to be completely untrustworthy.
The compensation scheme put forth by the government is extortion. Zimbabwe's inflation rate has topped 1000% per year. Basic goods and services nominally cost ten times more than they did a year ago. The best protection against inflation is owning real assets. The grossly reduced payouts by the government are even more worthless than they seem. They're staggered, and as time passes the buying power they represent declines dramatically:
Ken Fraser, 59, said he was called to a "compensation hearing" on Thursday at which he was offered Zim$14.7 billion (£25,000) for one of the five farms he once owned. "What they were offering me was quite ridiculous," said Mr Fraser, who was almost beaten to death by "war veterans" two years ago.Of course the real loser here is going to be Zimbabwe. The disempowering of whites in Africa has been terrible for Africans. When a place falls into the clutches of groups antagonistic to the productive classes, an exodus of human capital ensues. We've witnessed it firsthand in Cuba, it's going on in Zimbabwe, and it's taking place in Iraq.
"We had a shed put up there about five years ago that was worth Zim$13.9 billion
(£23,000), but that's what they are offering me now for the entire farm." He lives on savings and some income from contract work and has refused to leave his last house.
There are alarming anecdotal tales of the same thing beginning to happen in the US, although I've not seen them quantified. There's no reason for the US to take such a risk. Although there are pockets in the urban core and increasingly in the Southwest, we do not have huge numbers of relatively destitute groups pushing for robin hood-style plundering. But we are sliding in that direction. We need to completely halt the importation of net-liability immigration and set up an enforceable merit immigration system that brings in only those that are going to increase the standard of living and contribute to US productivity gains. Further, we should consider the implementation of a national sales tax and a scrapping of or reduction in income taxes to make the US a more attractive place for research and production investment and make our economy less reliant on the perpetually increasing consumption of cheap consumables.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I'm hesitant to after religion without knowing whether or not it's, if indpendent of other factors, is a net benefit. Not that the thoughts of Half Sigma or the brains and Gene Expression are at all analagous to the garbage put forth by Gregory Paul last year, but the media reveal themselves to be irresponsibly credulous whenever papers like Paul's are released.
So how does religion relate to other factors once IQ is removed from the equation? It has no effect on wealth (as measured by PPP), but when only nations with per capita GDP of $10,000-plus are taken into account, every percentage point increase in religiosity leads to a boost in PPP of just over $210, although it only holds at about a 90% confidence (with 95% generally being the standard to consider a relationship statistically significant).
The biggest thing religion has going for it and secularists have going against them is fecundity. Atheists and agnostics don't have children. They've only biology to drive them, and contraceptives allow them to circumvent it. But does religion have any effect on fecundity independent of IQ? Not in a way that approaches statistical significance (p-value of .40), although the relationship is positive. When only well-to-do countries are considered, however, the p-value falls to under .13, suggesting a meaningful link between piety and procreation, all other things being equal.
When it comes to corruption, again the results are murky. The relationship with religiosity is slightly negative on the whole, but trends positively when only $10,000-plus countries are considered. Both do not enjoy statistical significance.
What to make of this? My guess is that IQ is crucial and religiosity is mostly predetermined by it, with the remaining portion freely determinable being marginally beneficial to enjoy (in the developed world).
I don't see a reason to be hostile toward religion per se. I see divine law as being a generally positive force in the lives of the less endowed (for example, blacks in the notoriously religious South are among the best behaved in the country while acting up the most in the irreligious West) without having much effect on the intellectually rigorous, who largely ignore it. Admittedly Muslim extremists are a significant exception.
Religion provides the answers to questions individuals are unable to determine themselves (even when the information is observable to many others). Pushing religion in a direction that conforms to values that are secularly desirable seems prudent.
(Politics and Religion)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Order. The opening vignette is almost a tribute to Confucious. All creatures converge to give reverence, arriving and lining up in specific and complementary places. An acceptance of each one's proper place that evinces social harmony. The film concludes in the same way. It is the deviations from this understanding of social nature that cause all the trouble.
Disaster looms as it is revealed that Scar wishes to challenge the status quo. First, he rejects his obligations to the family by not attending Simba's birth. He, concerned with his own desires, has not elected to start a family of his own. Later, he wishes to create a new utopia that will incorporate pan-culturalism, including the hyenas. Ammoral through and through, Scar isn't convinced that the hyenas are incorrigibly bad news (though they are). Ultimately, Scar will be, like Judas, killed by the very devils he tried to court.
Mufasa sets absolute standards for his son, but the existential tempter Scar convinces Simba to break the rules (analogous to the second creation story). On his way to the forbidden graveyard, Simba laments having to work hard to become the next king. He likes the idea of living for himself ("No one saying do this/no one saying be there... I'm gonna do it all my way") without all the responsibility being a person of power demands. Giving credence to his own volition instead of adhering to the advice of those who have come before, Simba has his first multicultural experience in the hood. It would've gotten him killed if not for the intervention of the ultimate police enforcer, the patriarchal Mufasa.
Instead of gushing over Simba's safety, Mufasa takes a hardline parental stance. He rips into Simba's reckless experiantialism, pointing out the impact his personal decisions have on the well being of others, including those who were not physically threatened but cared about him and were troubled in that way. By accepting responsibilty and expressing remorse for his misdeeds (or sins), he is forgiven.
When the stampede occurs, Mufasa disregards his own safety to save his son. After Scar commits fratricide, the hyenas go after Simba but get tired of their work and return to merrymaking. This impulsivity will come back to bite them in the future.
After being taken in by Timon and Pumba, Simba lives an Epicureal dream. But his atomist lifestyle has dire consequences. When Nala finds him, he becomes cognizant of the terrible effects on society his dereliction of duty have had. It's not explicitly recognized, but we can infer that the pacifistic insouciance of "hakuna matata" would have led to, without Simba's chance appearance, Timon and Pumba being gobbled up by a ferocious outsider. With the aid of the priestal Rafiki, Simba decides to face his demons rather than rationalizing or embracing them.
Scar's centrally-controlled kingdom is collapsing. After Simba realizes it was Scar who killed Mufasa, he demands a confession of the truth. Scar tries a go at relativism ("Truth is in the eye of the beholder..."), but Simba demands veracity. As the battle ensues, Simba and Scar meet. Simba quixotically attempts to let Scar off the hook for murder. In return, Scar nearly kills him. It is finally capital punishment, at the hands of the evil ones Scar embraced, that finishes off the usurper. With order restored, the kingdom once again prospers.
I don't care about the party, I'm only going as far as my DVD rack tonight!
Friday, June 23, 2006
Even if all of this somehow works this election year, the long term damage to the GOP could be considerable. Pete Wilson demonized illegal aliens to win re-election as California Governor in 1994, but at the price of alienating Latino voters for a decade. The smarter Republicans--President Bush, Karl Rove, Senator John McCain, Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Florida Governor Jeb Bush--understand that the GOP can't sustain its majority without a larger share of the Hispanic vote. Making Mr. Tancredo the spokesman on this issue is a surefire way to make Hispanics into permanent Democrats.Apparently not wanting to provide entitlements for law-breaking liabilities is tantamount to demonization. Wilson turned a struggling campaign into a solid victory by taking up a populist cause that finds support across the political spectrum. He, like the GOP, didn't alienate Hispanics--he never had them to begin with. Even with Bush's massive hispandering, he couldn't reach 40% of the Latino electorate. House members know the sovereignty position is a winning one with voters.
As for the smart guys, I'd gladly make a wager with Paul Gigot that ten years from now Arizona, Colorado, and Florida will all be blue states, in spite of said Republicans' attempts to throw political conservatism under the bus in an effort to bribe Hispanics into casting red ballots. Guys like Pete Wilson and Tom Tancredo see the onslaught coming and realize that it's bad news for Republicans because--and this concept's too mundane to earn these toughs a 'smart' label--Hispanics vote Democrat. They make less money, are more heavily concentrated in urban areas, have lower education levels, and use welfare at higher rates than the average American. They benefit from affirmative action policies. They are not going to become Republicans.
Continuing with a blatant lie:
Every poll we've seen says that the public favors an immigration reform of the kind that President Bush does.Unless the only poll you've seen is your own poll that trumpeted the Senate's proposal as being focused on strengthening security at the borders, building a fence, and instituting a guest worker program for illegals who have been here for more than two years. The open border crowd supports none of these things. The token Border Patrol additions and a partial fence were forced in from the sovereignty minority in the Senate. The so-called guest worker program is a misnomer. It puts illegals on the path to permanent residency. Did the pollsters make people aware of the fact that the 'guests' would stay indefinitely? Theoretically distinguishing between illegals who have been in the country for some time without causing trouble and holding a cutting edge job and those who just arrived seems reasonable. But how, when we know nothing about the shadow dwellers now, we are going to determine who has been here for more than two years isn't considered.
Steve Sailer rips into the poll:
-Despite the poll’s implication, the new immigrant guest workers won't even beThe poll the op/ed board is basing all of its conclusions on mentioned none of these things. The poll did, however, find that voters are concerned about immigration (and that Republicans think the GOP isn't doing enough to tighten up) second only to the war in Iraq, and it also found that support for a wall trumps support for amnesty by a two-to-one margin among voters casting ballots based on immigration concerns. The poll also found a slightly higher percentage of Americans believe immigration (not just illegal immigration) hurts the country more than it helps it. Funny that these things were omitted from the excerpted piece above.
from Latin America. The program is likely to import large numbers of Asians, who (employers tell us) have a "lower runaway rate". Mexicans will be encouraged to continue to immigrate illegally, in the way that has proved so convenient to America’s elites over the last thirty years.
-Of course, as VDARE.com readers but few others know, language in the Senate bill assures that the "guest" workers wouldn't be guests because they could easily become legal permanent residents.
-And, funny thing, the WSJ poll doesn't mention that guest workers would be allowed to bring in their dependents—spouses and children.
-And it forgets to point out how the American public would pay to heal and educate the guest workers and/or their families.
-Nor does it point out that any children born to guest workers while in the U.S. will be American citizens because of the current "citizen child" misinterpretation of
the Fourteenth Amendment.
-Nor is there any mention of the huge increases in legal immigration wedged into the Senate Christmas tree.
The WSJ is putatively opposed to entitlements, special treatment, and subsidization. Yet the op/ed board expects those who butter the GOP's bread to swallow their expansive list of reasons to oppose the open border madness, it favors pandering to a special interest minority, and clamors for the importation of subsidized labor. How the country's second most circulated newspaper can be so contradictory is puzzling. But then again, it supports Israel's successful barrier fence that's kept out well-financed Palestinian terrorists while claiming that the most advanced nation in the world cannot possibly manage to keep out destitute third worlders with a similar structure. It beat the Iraq war drum, and tells us we should be happy about $3 gallon gas. So I shouldn't be so surprised.
While the board is revisiting the poll its paper conducted, I suggest a little extra reading. This Rasmussen report shows support and opposition to massive deportation locked in a statistical deadheat--while the Journal baselessly asserts that no one seriously backs deportation (of course, for every one forced deportation seven or eight voluntary deportations would likely occur), three-to-one belief that immigration can be reduced and a similar ratio in favor of stringent enforcement of current laws before pushing through more legislation. A Zogby poll, worded more veraciously than the WSJ's, asked "Do you support or oppose the Bush administration's proposal to give millions of illegal aliens guest worker status and the opportunity to become citizens?" Fifty-six percent said no. Only 35% gave support. A CBS poll found that 56% of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of immigration. Only 33% think he's on the right track.
No wonder circulation is declining.
Steve Sailer recently posted Tickle's state results, remarking that they appeared reasonable. Running a few correlations and incorporating anecdotal evidence, I'm inclined to agree. The Tickle scores correlate with GSP per capita at .53, white NAEP science scores at .63, Project Talent scores at .70, and my 'education index' (state's percentage of bachelor's degree and beyond minus state's percentage of less than high school diploma or equivalent) at a very high .86 (all statistically significant).
I took the Tickle test today and the result was two points higher than my last actual IQ test and three points higher than my ACT-to-SAT-to-IQ conversion predicts. From what I've heard from others, that's not an aberration. The Tickle test seems to be a decent measure of IQ, especially given that it's online and free.
If you're aware of other attempts at IQ estimates by state, please let me know. I'd like to run correlates on them as well. I found a couple and they didn't correlate as high with any of the aforementioned measures as the Tickle scores did. Tickle might be the best out there for now, after adjusting the scores around a mean of 98 or 100.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Why don't we want it? Soccer is simply too drab for 21st Century America.
The game doesn't lend itself to copious stat keeping. Games played? Goals? Assists? What else is there to keep track of? When goals are all you have to go on, and the top scorer in MLS puts in a whopping 17 goals for the entire season, the idea of a Fantasy Soccer League seems pretty lame. Player comparisons are grossly qualitative, so the market for analysis is much less dynamic and sophisticated than for MLB or the NFL.
SportsCenter highlights include the two goals Ghana scores and the single goal the US put in. That's about it. The other eighty-nine minutes and thirty seconds are soporific. Leave the tube for half an hour and most of the time you've missed absolutely nothing. The ball's still rolling around somewhere near midfield, and the score's still knotted at goose eggs.
Climatic momentum shifts are only perceivable when goals are scored. There are no big turnovers or fourth down conversions. Possession switches constantly, but unlike basketball, nothing ever comes of it. And the endless stretches of Kent Brockman moaning "Halfback passes to the center. Back to the wing. Back to the center. Center holds it. Holds it (rolls eyes). Holds it ..." are, on average, interrupted by goals less than three times per game.
If you're a checkered-ball booster, however, be patient. The winds are blowing in your direction. The 2006 World Cup will help prolong soccer's diminutive status in the US, although immigration trends continue to steadily bolster its prescence here:
The US focuses on advertising globally since the World Cup typically evokes little excitement domestically, according to ICOM. Only one market segment in the United States veers drastically from that trend—the Hispanic community.I'll have to start including the dilution of good sport in my litany of complaints against our immigration inanity.
Six Latin American teams have spots in the tournament this year (Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Mexico), as does Spain. The World Cup brings out an intense following and huge fan base among 42 million Hispanics in the United States. Ironically, four out of the six Spanish-speaking World Cup countries have fewer people than that.
Monday, June 19, 2006
U.S. authorities said Monday that detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border have decreased by 21 percent, to 26,994, in the first 10 days of June, compared with 34,077 for the same period a year ago.That's incredibly encouraging. Arizona's border, the busiest of the four border states, has seen crossings drop 23%. Even though only a token number of National Guard troops have been dispatched to assist the Border Patrol, they appear to be having a substantial effect:
The 55 soldiers who arrived June 3 are the first of some 6,000 troops to be gradually dispatched all along the border as part of President Bush's plan to stem illegal immigration to the United States.There are lots of reasons this could be working. The Mexican Army, like the country it serves (the average family in Mexico spends $166 in US real terms on bribes each year in a country with a PPP less than a fourth that of the US) is notoriously corrupt and morally unscrupulous. The challenges facing a Guatemalan trying to make it over Mexico's militarized border--robbery, rape, dismemberment, and even death--are rough. Migrants, given slanted reports in Mexico, probably fear that the US-Mexico border is moving in the same direction.
The soldiers aren't allowed to detain migrants and have been limited to projects like extending border fences and repairing roads, but the military's presence are keeping would-be crossers away from the area, migrant rights activists said.
Further, Mexican media and the 2006 Presidential candidates, especially Obrador, have aggrandized Bush's tawdry call for the a few thousand guardsmen into a full-fledged border lockdown in the eyes of many Mexicans. This has helped Obrador. But maybe what helps him is good for us:
"The border issue could give Lopez Obrador election victory," said Jorge Capetillo, a Latin America expert and professor at the University of Massachusetts. "It has definitely helped him." ...The prospect of another ten million of these people coming to the US to be subsidized and taken care of while decreasing the US quality of life in a host of ways when so many of them despise the US isn't at all appealing. Let Obrador scare-monger if it helps affect a precipitous year-over-year drop of 21% in border crossings.
But anti-Americanism remains an integral part of Mexican nationalism. In poll after poll in the region, Mexico is consistently at the top of list of countries that most disapprove of U.S. policy. "There has always been a strong anti-American sentiment in Mexican popular culture," said Pablo Cabañas, a political science professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. "This sentiment is especially strong among the lower classes."
Maybe other bad news has a silver lining in the form of border flow reductions:
"Some migrants have told me they heard about the troops on television and, because the U.S. Army doesn't have a very good reputation, they prefer not to cross," Loureiro said, referring to reports of abuse in Iraq.Dogs and swarthy men in hoods are scarier than smiling soldiers passing out candy to children. If only the MSM knew the unintentional effect it is having!
Also, the smugglers have priced in what is perceived to be a more difficult task (or predicted to soon become a much more difficult task) than before. Coyote fees are now reported to run at over $3,000 a person.
Notice how the OBC has shifted polemically from emphasizing the downright lie that the border is simply unenforceable to now either putting up strawmen about mass round-ups and deportations (history suggests that for every one apprehended, seven or eight would leave voluntarily) or simply coming out explicitly in favor of open borders. They know they're on the defensive. Bush miscalculated, thinking authorization of National Guard troops for the border would be nothing more than an empty PR gesture to placate his pro-sovereignty constituency. Instead, it's doing what it's putatively supposed to do:
Miranda said he made it into the United States on the first try last year, but he expected a more difficult journey this time.We're making progress. The Senate's amnesty isn't going to pass again, and even if it does the House isn't going to cave. Immigration is just behind Iraq as one of the most important issues voters are going to take with them to the polls in November.
"We've heard that there are soldiers and armed 'migrant hunters' but we have to try," Miranda said. "If we don't make it in three tries, then we'll go back home."
I pity those trying to slip into the US from the corrupt miasmas they live in, but if Mexico and other Central American countries send able-bodied workers here while relying on the US as a safety valve and scapegoat for the problems their elites won't fix, the situation is going to continue in perpetuity until finally the US is no longer an attractive place for poor Hispanics to come to, and life in Latin America won't improve.
That the Los Angeles Unified School District, the country's second-largest after New York, faces a crisis is hard to dispute. Some 81% of the district's middle school kids attend failing schools, which might be one reason that one in three eventually drops out. L.A. schools superintendent (and former Democratic Colorado Governor) Roy Romer dutifully notes that elementary math and reading scores have risen in recent years. But the fact remains that only 13% of students are reading at grade level, and 11% are at grade level in math. The only word for such results is horrifying.The WSJ goes on to predictably blame the bloated and ineffective school district. The teachers' unions aren't doing much good, but that's obviously not a complete explanation.
Among minority students in the district, who comprise the vast majority, the situation is even worse. Last year, nine out of 10 black and Latino fourth-graders scored below proficiency in reading and math. Eighth-graders fared worse. Just 8% of black eighth-graders are proficient readers, and 7% are proficient at math. For eighth-grade Latinos, the numbers are 9% and 6%, respectively.
Don't expect publications like the WSJ to explicitly tell you that the rapidly growing Hispanic underclass is coming to resemble the African American underclass. Look forward to more ethnic partisanship in politics, a continuing drop in the US student population's abilities as compared to other developed countries, and open border apologists blaming everything under the sun except the realities of human biodiversity.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Fuss in Washington notwithstanding, there's an easy way to reduce illegal immigration. It doesn't involve building fences or spending hundreds of billions to create an intrusive bureaucracy to hunt down illegals one by one and deport them. Just introduce a fraud-proof national ID card with biometric information; make it illegal, with real penalties, for employers to hire anyone, citizen or immigrant, who doesn't have one.There are three major pieces required for effective immigration control: 1) Physical barriers to entry, including walls, BP agents, surveillance, sensors, etc, 2) Stringent punitions--strictly enforced--for being in the US illegally (making it felonious), and 3) Workplace enforcement through the use of a tamper-proof identification card (Jenkins' suggestion) or employer access to a Social Security number database in which the prospective employee's number must match up (this can easily be done--try applying for a home loan with a credit score in the 400s or requesting a low-rate MasterCard after declaring Chapter 13). Taken alone, any of the three would have an enormous effect. Enacted together, the US would become virtually impervious to unwanted immigration. Jenkins makes sense thus far.
But then he becomes blithely sloppy:
With 12 million illegals in the country, whole sectors of our economy exist only because of immigrant labor. Farms would shut down along with jobs for suppliers of seeds, packaging and ancillary services.Illegals comprise 5% of the US workforce. They are most heavily represented in agricultural (one in four), and also make up relatively significant portion of cleaning services (one in six) and construction (one in seven). No sector is primarily dependent on subsidized foreign labor. The agricultural industry certiainly enjoys the dual subsidization it receives in the form of obsequious serfs that are a net liability on the US taxpayer as a complement to the $25 billion or so it gets in handouts from the government, but in an industry that made an estimated profit of $64.4 billion in 2005, a net loss from illegal immigration of $5 billion would hardly force all of our seed planters onto the streets.
The idea that jobs requiring the least amount of skill will ever go unfilled in a free economy is ridiculous. As the need for workers increases, the price paid to workers must also increase to the point where demand for the work by the workers matches the needs employers have for workers. The potential supply of warm bodies is enormous, as nearly everyone in the US workforce at large can do the jobs that illegals are over-representatively doing. Will teenagers and unskilled natives (both of whom have suffered from cheap immigrant labor) clean houses for $5 an hour? Many probably will not. For $7 an hour? $10? Many will. At some price, these positions will be filled. If that price is too steep for employers, then incentives exists to develop more efficient ways of getting the work done. The lawns get cut in Minnesota. Houses are built in Wisconsin. In fact, weather aside, those are two of the nicest places in the country to live--strong test scores, little crime, and a nice standard of living both. Innovation, not cost-cutting, of course, is what propels long-term economic growth.
The only stop on the supply of workers stems from the wages offered. That is, at current prices an adequate supply of workers depends on the use of illegals. For the WSJ, of all sources, to make such an absurd argument that omits this and in doing so disregards basic supply and demand is startling.
Jenkins engages in what might be seen as self-projection:
Armchair wonks say, "[Do not?] Enforce the law and damn the consequences." Every time the government does, however, a few of those couch warriors suddenly become vocal activists on the other side. It's their employer, their brother-in-law, their neighbor who finds himself facing criminal charges. It's their house that doesn't get finished. Don't be surprised if some of the latest politically inspired crackdowns end the same way.The sovereignty crowd puts no thought into the consequences?! Senator Jeff Sessions was personally impugned for actually reading the recent Senate immigraton bill before voting on it and raising questions over what its effects would be on the country. The CIS conducts meticulous analyses on the economics of immigration. VDare and a host of other analysts, pundits, and amateurs cover the whole gamut of effects current immigration trends are having on the US--depressed wages, higher crime, the return of atavistic disease, lower IQs, higher welfare use, greater income disparity, decreasing affordability of housing, cultural balkanization, an increase in anti-Semitic sentiment, pollution, national security concerns, increased population density, ad infinitum.
The burden of proof should be on those supporting open borders, not those opposed to it, yet Randall Parker, who has a day profession unrelated to the immigration debate and doesn't get compensation for his copious writing, has spent more time looking at the consequences of immigration than the entire WSJ op/ed staff. Jenkins' haughty assertion that the pro-sovereignty crowd is comprised of a bunch of hypocrites who don't know what they're advocating is insulting and shameful, but most of all it is hypocritical.
Jenkins' defines those who are concerned about the well-being of less endowed American citizens as "liberals":
In search of a respectable argument, liberal enthusiasts for a border clampdown have lately adopted the obnoxious and condescending reification of "unskilled labor" popularized by some economists. It may be true in some sense that illegals hold down the wages of low-wage workers, but it tells you nothing useful. It tells you only that the supply of immigrant workers has an impact on the wages of mostly immigrant workers for jobs that mostly would not exist if immigrant workers weren't available to fill them.It may be true? On the very same pages economist George Borjas showed that it was true. Jenkins again posits that there are segments of the economy almost wholly dependent on illegal labor that would disappear with the illegals. On the day of the immigration protest strike last month, the jobs that would need filling if immigration laws were enforced were revealed:
Our economic dynamism is hardly being fueled by this:Jenkins continues:Of the hotel industry's 1.5 million employees, 150,000 aren't supposed to be here, according to statistics gathered by the Pew Hispanic Center. In food manufacturing, also with 1.5 million, 210,000 have no right to work. Landscaping, Mr. Penry's line, has 1.2 million workers, 300,000 of them illegally in the country.Virtually every third-world country has these industries. They do not add to America's global competitiveness. The less endowed natives our elites are spitting on can do all of these jobs. We have youths to do them as well.
In turn, a decently functioning job market rewards people for acquiring skills, not for remaining unskilled -- perverse is the idea of wanting to reduce labor competition for unskilled jobs in order to make unskilled jobs more desirable.Except that such a statement applies only to those already in the economy. Acquiring skills and using them in Mexico is less lucrative than coming to the US and working as an unskilled laborer. Minimum wage work alone in the US provides more buying power than the average Mexican citizen enjoys (including aid, remittances, and other income that is not the result of the recipient's labor). And as every good practitioner of the PC religion feigns to believe, Jenkins assumes that the ability to acquire skills that the market puts a premium on are equally achievable for all people. Nevermind that four generations in Mexicans are nowhere near the rest of the American population in educational achievement (twice as likely not to have graduated from high school and only one-fifth as likely to have a post-high school degree). Nevermind that Mexicans in the US have a high school graduation rate falling under 30%. Nevermind that America's working poor have double-digit IQs that make it nearly impossible for them to acquire professional skills or manage complex businesses.
Jenkins explicitly advocates an open border:
So how about just open the door to anyone willing to put down a refundable entry deposit (say, $2,000) in return for a biometric work card? At a stroke, this would take the profit out of a vast underground industry. Chinese "snakeheads" cadge upwards of $40,000 per illegal immigrant. Latin "coyotes" get $2,000 or more. Not to mention the sizeable business done by document forgers and traffickers in stolen Social Security numbers.How about we legalize all drug use? It'll take the profit out of a vast underground industry. Remove laws on child sex exploitation and pornography? It'll do the same. Inanity. If they get a biometric card but refuse to work, will we absorb them anyway? If as many as 1.5 billion people worldwide would potentially come to the US if doing so were so simple (and that number would drop off drastically as the US precipitously plunged to third world status), an end to immigration will be realized when equilibrium is reached--that is, when the US comes to resemble the world at large. Do we want this kind of equity? An average IQ of 90? A life expectancy of 64 years? A literacy rate of 82%? A per capita purchasing power of under $10,000? And he doesn't even consider the qualitative factors like cultural and linguistic unity.
Jenkins closes by opining that the Senate knows better than the American public, that the future of the US is in its Spanish speakers, and, because it wouldn't be an open border op/ed without reference to Hitler, that the only way for the US to remain a nation is for it to do everything that the anti-nationalists favor:
Polls say Americans want immigration cut down and they don't want amnesty for illegals, yet the Senate just passed an immigration reform that would increase immigration and proffer amnesty. The system works! -- at least it works better than it did when Congress jumped off a cliff with the Volstead Act, knowing that though Americans liked the idea of liquor prohibition, they'd end up hating the consequences.Guys like Jenkins are not on your side. They do not care how you suffer, so long as they feel morally superior in giving didactic lectures based on one falsity after another while the big MNCs they back enjoy the slave labor you pay for.
This doesn't please the border warriors, but they're spitting into the wind. In his table talk, a certain German dictator observed that religions have far more stability than states, which tend to come and go, swept away by the tides of history. The U.S., a young nation but already one of the world's longest-lived political states, has a chance to beat the odds thanks to our freedom from any of the usual fatal exclusivisms. But it will have to accept that it exists on a continent whose fastest-growing cultural force is Spanish speakers.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Media coverage of the French riots that 'erupted' last November dissipated as the number of vehicles set on fire fell from upwards of 1,400 per night. Prior to this conflagration, dozens of cars were being set ablaze on a nightly basis, and French police faced daily assault from Muslims in-country. So after the spike almost a year ago, the level of chaos fell back to the forty or so burning cars, right? Hardly:
The figures are stark. An average of 112 cars a day have been torched across France so far this year and there have been 15 attacks a day on police and emergency services. Nearly 3,000 police officers have been injured in clashes this year. Officers have been badly injured in four ambushes in the Paris outskirts since September. Some police talk of open war with youths who are bent on more than vandalism.A little over a year ago, a level of destruction only a third of what occurs today was considered normalcy. Then the deaths of a couple of thugs sparked a powder keg, and anarchy spilled out of France's immigrant enclaves. After the riots burned themselves out (!), we assumed a return to that putative normalcy. But said normalcy is actually much worse, yet little attention is given to it because it's not sensational enough relative to what transpired before.
We're boiling slowly, unaware of slight but continual temperature increases. The most egregious Islamic activities, like the death of Theo Van Gogh, the cartoon madness, the various train and subway bombings, and the French riots work against the Islamization of Europe because they make salient the problems Muslims create. Similarly, the Hispanic immigrant protests in March of this year created a backlash. Better for La Raza to tell the migrants to lay low while the group throws relentless charges of racism at any person advocating immigration reform. It's the subtle changes that are the hardest to counter.
Attacks against French police continue their steady rise:
National police reported 2,458 cases of violence against officers in the first six months of the year, on pace to top the 4,246 cases recorded for all of 2005 and the 3,842 in 2004. Firefighters and rescue workers have also been targeted — and some now receive police escorts in such areas.Western media sources are good at sensationalizing 'freak' occurences but not so good at putting less sensational happenings into proper perspective. Though last year's riots got the headlines, this year is on pace to be 16% more destructive than last, in spite of the high-profile chaos that transpired last year. But since there hasn't been an abrupt, sensational surge this year, a more violent year is getting less coverage regarding violence than a less violent year did.
Adding to the frustration, muddled birthing trends may be creating a positive veneer to mask an ominous reality:
While falling birthrates threaten to undermine economies and social stability across much of an aging Europe, French fertility rates are increasing. France now has the second-highest fertility rate in Europe -- 1.94 children born per woman, exceeded slightly by Ireland's rate of 1.99. The U.S. fertility rate is 2.01 children.Randall at Parapundit then asks:
What I'd like to know: what is the native French fertility rate and what is the Muslim fertility rate?Great question. Unfortunately the French government doesn't keep statistical information by race or ethnicity. The comments section is rich with speculation and other commentary that's worth the read nonetheless. Common sense and compassion dictate that if it is the French that are causing the 'youths' to riot, more innocent Muslim children should not be brought into the oppression and poverty faced by the nation's Muslim minority. And if the Muslim enclaves are responsible, the same dictate that French citizenry not be subjected to such aggression. France needs to know where the ferility rates are coming from to gauge whether or not the incentives have been successful.
However, the growth might not be overwhelmingly attributable to Muslims. With nearly 10% of the country now comprised of Muslims, primarily from Algeria and Morocco, an increasing number of births are not to children of European descent. Still, fertility in those countries, at 1.89 and 2.68 births per woman, respectively, doesn't make it obvious that French Muslim fecundity is significantly greater than that of the European French. It'll be interesting to watch how incentives and subsidies offered to Japanese parents turn out (Japan, like Russia, is suffering an absolute population decline and is interested in the French model).
Sweden shifts right, but is it too late? (September 18, 2006)
One of the world's most salient leftist countries has scooted a bit to the right:
A center-right opposition vowing to streamline Sweden's famed welfare state ousted the Social Democratic government in a close parliamentary election Sunday, ending 12 years of leftist rule in the Nordic nation.Sweden's Social Democrats, who have led the majority for 65 of the last 74 years, fell to modest tax reduction policies, opposition to a six hour workday, and the advocating of reforms aimed at streamlining business operations. With the exception of a brief stint in the early nineties, the ruling leftist Social Democrats have seen Sweden plummet from the world's fourth wealthiest industrialized country in 1970 to sixteenth at the end of the millenium (and currently 19th in terms of purchasing power parity for nations with at least one million people).
Prime Minister Goran Persson, who had governed for 10 years, conceded defeat and said his Cabinet would resign after the Social Democratic Party's worst election result in decades.
With 99.7 percent of districts counted, the four-party opposition alliance led by Fredrik Reinfeldt had 48.1 percent of the votes, compared with 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats and their two supporting parties.
Quasi-socialism (30% of Swedish workers are employed in the public sector) and generous welfare benefits (unemployment runs at 80% of salary as well as 18 months paid maternity or paternity leave) simply cannot hold a candle to capitalism, ceteris paribus, when it comes to sustainable economic and productivity growth.
But so what if production efficiency and effectiveness are not maximized when less than 2% of your GDP comes from agriculture, half of your industrial output comes from the engineering sector, you have abundant natural resources, almost a fifth of your population has a college degree, and you enjoy an average IQ of 101 (about as sharp as Massachusetts but with 50% more people)? With all of that going for you, you can afford to dole out generously to the less fortunate, do not have to be confined to the cubicle for 50 hours a week, and can live with a sense of financial security due to a buoyant social safety net.
That is, until you open up the floodgates to immigration and stop having children:
It touches the topic everyone knows is an issue but nobody will argue about: immigration. Sweden was one of only three European Union countries along with the UK and Ireland to open its doors fully to eastern Europeans last year and continues to accept large numbers of asylum seekers almost without question.
There is a general feeling that being Swedish is more about a set of values than racial attributes, but clashes of culture in a society once Europe’s most homogenous are easy to see.
In the busy city centre, blond teenagers play “chicken” in early evening sunshine, stripping to their underwear to dash through traffic and plunge into a fountain. A group of Arab boys stare on with mixed expressions of lust and disapproval, literal victims of shock and awe.
Sweden's total fertility rate is 1.66 children per woman, well below replenishment level. And its population, with a median age of 40.9 years old, puts it in a tie for the sixth most ancient among countries with populations larger than a few thousand. As the erudite, middle-aged Swedes approach retirement, the immigrants that are supposed to provide for them are instead living destitutely in ghettoes with both a sense of entitlement and a visceral dislike of the Swedish society that surrounds them (Sweden's Muslims, at 3.9% of the total population as of 2003, appears to be Europe's third highest, next to France and Holland).
The economic and social strains of rampant third-world immigration combined with an aging workforce and enormous governmental spending (78% of GDP in terms of purchasing power parity) are a recipe for disaster.
Although Sweden's problems are severe, they are similar to those faced by much of the rest of the Old Continent. And as if that weren't enough, Al Fin reports on an exodus of Europe's middle class to places like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada (come here, damnit, and then vociferously support a merit immigration system and an absolute halting to net liability immigrantion so the US doesn't end up like moribund Europe!):
Escaping the stress of clogged roads, street violence and loss of faith in Holland's once celebrated way of life, the Dutch middle classes are leaving the country in droves for the first time in living memory. The new wave of educated migrants are quietly voting with their feet against a multicultural experiment long touted as a model for the world, but increasingly a warning of how good intentions can go wrong. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the pin-up countries for those craving the great outdoors and old-fashioned civility. ...Even as Israel reels over its war with Hezbollah, instability in Iraq, and growing Iranian influence in the Middle East, scores of European Jews want to move to Israel to avoid anti-Semitism:
More people left the Netherlands in 2003 than arrived, ending a half-century cycle of surging immigration that has turned a tight-knit Nordic tribe into a multi-ethnic mosaic with three million people of foreign roots out of 16 million. ...
Unlike most earlier waves of migration to the new world, this one is not driven by penury. The Netherlands has a per capita income higher than Germany or Britain, and 4.7 per cent unemployment. "None of my clients is leaving for economic reasons. You can't get a visa anyway if you haven't got a work record," said Frans Buysse[, the head of a private immigration consultancy]. Europe's leader for much of the last century in social experiments, Holland may now be pointing to the next cultural revolution: bourgeois exodus. ...
According to Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, Belgium's Flemish anti-immigrant party, about 4,000 to 5,000 Flemish residents are leaving Antwerp every year, even as 5,000 to 6,000 non-European immigrants arrive in the city each year. ...
These are not just any emigrants but, as the director of a migration consultancy bureau in Amsterdam, Grant King, notes, "Most of our applicants are in high-paying, good, solid positions here - they are not the unemployed. They are mostly middle-class Dutch people with college or university degrees. … The problem for the Netherlands is that the ones that they don't want to lose are the ones that are leaving."
Ha'aretz reports today on a survey that finds "60,000 French Jews want to moveIt's time to halt all immigration from the Muslim world. Europe has mostly been moving to the right, with a rightist victory in Poland and narrowly in Germany, as well as a strong showing in the UK, the results from Sweden, and the likely victory of Sarkozy in France. I expect continued Islamic immigration and the strain both that and an increasingly archaic population put on social welfare systems will continue that trend. Hopefully this will induce more of what the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany have been doing in essentially filtering out hardline Islamic immigrants.
to Israel." Arik Cohen of Bar-Ilan University reached this conclusion by giving
questionnaires to the 125,000 French Jewish tourists who visited Israel in the summer of 2004. Of this huge sample, 52 percent said they see their future in Israel. Half of those aged 15-18 said they had personally experienced instances of anti-Semitism in the past four years. A third of the youth said they are considering immigration to Israel in the near future.
There is a glaring lesson here for leftists: Uskilled, uneducated third-world hordes work against much of what you support. They strain the welfare system and fail to contribute as much as they consume, rendering it untenable in the long run. They increase criminality so markedly that liberal policies on crime also become untenable. Vermont can afford to elect a Socialist to the Senate and let the occasional child rapist run free because it has an intelligent, prosperous population and relatively few criminals. But California certainly doesn't have these luxuries.
These liabilities also increase pollution, the population density, and breed like rabits. The Sierra Club is opposed to all of this, yet while putatively supporting population reduction, the organization is nowhere to be found on what is causing over half of America's current population growth:
Sierra Club takes no position on United States immigration levels and policies. The Club's membership voted on April 25, 1998 to remain committed to environmental rights and protection for all within our borders, without discrimination basedThis even though Hispanic immigrants in the US appear to be more fecund when they come here than when they stay in Mexico!
on immigration status.
Muslims in Europe are virulently intolerant of Western liberalism. Hispanic immigrants are the most anti-Semitic ethnic group in the US. Both groups are as or more religious than the natives in their host countries. These are all things leftists tend to oppose. Why, then, the strange alliance with these groups? Is it to morally posture into a position superior to that of 'bigoted' rightists (which assumes that little legitimate threat is seen in these immigrants)? Is it to accrete the leftist voting bloc, even as the haughty intellectual liberalism camp and proletariat racialist redistributionist camp diverge?
Liberalism is Western. When the Europeans that sustain it dwindle, so does it.
Dutch PM on democracy and Sharia law (September 14, 2006)
The Netherlands' PM illustrates why the now widely debunked myth that democracy inherently leads to liberalism is so dangerous:
Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has provoked an angry response by stating it has to be possible for Sharia Law to be introduced in the Netherlands via democratic means. ...Maybe Jefferson really should have said, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%," instead of being faithful enough to "subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law."
Muslims, he said, just like Protestants and Roman Catholics, have a right to the perceptions of their religion, even if that included dissenting rules of behaviour such as imams refusing to shake hands with women.
Then again, Donner doesn't realize how his argument justifies deportation and internment of Muslims in Holland and an absolute ending of all immigration from the Islamic world, should that become the Dutch predilection. The Netherlands is still quite white (somewhere between 83%-90%). So this (mostly nominal) Catholics and Protestants combined majority could repel the Islamic incursion if they wanted to. Indeed, if the Dutch want to avoid Van Gogh repeats and the miasmic influence of Sharia law, now is the time to get behind Geert Wilders (here's Wikipedia's entry on this refreshing politician), who supported the Dutch cartoonists, is behind new immigration queries designed to filter out potential Muslim immigrants, and has been long opposed to extending EU membership to Turkey.
Donner continued thus:
He went on to say: "It must be possible for Muslim groups to come to power [in the Netherlands] via democratic means. Every citizen may argue why the law should be changed, as long as he sticks to the law.Mob rule. We're a nation of vicissitudes, Joseph K.
Democracy is a means to some end. That end might be personal freedoms, free markets, and empirical institutions. Or it might be 7th Century law, monopolistic control of natural resources, and fanatical religious institutions. Donner appears to believe, however, that the means justify the ends, however distasteful those ends may be. It's not the results of the decision that matter, it's how those decisions were decided upon.
If this is truly the mindset of an open-bordered Occident, Western liberalism is doomed. An aging population and birthrates well below replenishment (the only two developed countries with fecundity enough to keep up with the rate of death over the long-term are the US and Israel, the former's position being due to unskilled third-world immigration).
An Iraqi majority becomes an Iranian ally. The US is now caught in an about-face as it beefs up forces in Baghdad to quell the surging Shia militias that are now massacring minority Sunnis (the Baathists who used to be our unequivocal enemies). The Kurds want to redefine the geography so they become the majority. Majority voting in the Palestinian territories leads to an 'unacceptable' Hamas' victory that finds both the US (and Israel) in an act of blatant hypocrisy. Yet still President Bush drones on about freedom in the Middle East. While the House of Saad is corrupt and coercive, we could do a lot worse. Is anyone foolish enough to argue that the Saudi majority would retain King Abdullah? That we woud be so lucky. 'Moderate' Jordan would choose bin Laden over Abdullah, and the Saudis would probably do the same.
"It is a sure certainty for me: if two thirds of all Netherlanders tomorrow would want to introduce Sharia, then this possibility must exist. Could you block this legally? It would also be a scandal to say 'this isn't allowed!'
"The majority counts. That is the essence of democracy."
The Islamic majority doesn't want liberalism. They want to be able to murder homosexuals with impunity and disallow women to accuse those who rape them. They want to burn American effigies and torch embassies and kill one another over cartoons and rumors about books being defiled. Why actively aid this turpitude at great cost in American blood and treasure? Keep the Muslim world out of the West, and let guys like Qaddafi know that if international terrorism threatening the US is allowed to flourish in their respective countries, the lives of their family members and the minarets of their palaces have a very tenuous future. No occupation. Just the promise that the wrath of God awaits them should they fail to keep the lid on the pot. America's third generation warfare doesn't fare well against Al Qaeda types. But it does work wonders against people with identifiable return addresses. Let Mubarak do the dirty work, however it has to be done. Let his life and generally amicable relations with the US be the incentives that insure that the job gets done.
After coming under fire for his remarks, now claims he was attempting to rhetorically present the danger Sharia law posed to Dutch freedoms. Let's hope he demonstrates there's truth to that.
British see threat in Islam (August 27, 2006)
British attitudes toward Muslims are moving in the direction of German attitudes. A majority of the English see a civilizational clash taking place on their own soil, and increasingly feel that it is not driven by fringe Islamic extremists, but instead by mainstream Islam:
A growing number of people fear that the country faces "a Muslim problem" and more than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey said that Islam posed a threat to Western liberal democracy. That compares with less than a third after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America five years ago. ...
The proportion of those who believe that "a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism" has nearly doubled from 10 per cent a year ago to 18 per cent now.
The number who believe that "practically all British Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who deplore terrorist acts as much as any- one else" has fallen from 23 per cent in July last year to 16 per cent. ...
A higher proportion than last year now feels that the police and MI5 should focus their counter-terrorism efforts on Muslims and far fewer people are worried that such an approach risks dividing the country or offending law-abiding Muslims.
Most strikingly, there has been a substantial increase over the past five years in the numbers who appear to subscribe to a belief in a clash of civilisations. When YouGov asked in 2001 whether people felt threatened by Islam, as distinct from fundamentalist Islamists, only 32 per cent said they did. That figure has risen to 53 per cent.
Five years ago, a majority of two to one thought that Islam posed no threat, or only a negligible one, to democracy. Now, by a similar ratio, people think it is a serious threat.
Better to realize this late than never. The creation of a "cohesion and integration commission" hardly inspires confidence in the government's response (the idea for the commission came out of the train bombings on July 7, 2005), but Communities' Secretary Ruth Kelly recently showed some spine:
Miss Kelly said: "We must not be censored by political correctness and we cannot tiptoe around the issues."These comments were interspersed with the obligatory (and baseless) assertion that diversity has been a "huge asset", revealing that the supine still outweigh the spine.
She said: "Our ideas and policies should not be based on special treatment for minority ethnic faith communities. That would only exacerbate division rather than help build cohesion."
Why should white Westerners buy into the putative benefits of diversity when they cannot see or feel them, and are excoriated for even questioning them? Muslims have put a strain on the generous welfare policies of western Europe. They are less economically and more criminally productive than are their European counterparts. They cluster in distinct enclaves and overwhelmingly consider themselves Muslims before citizens of the various countries they live in. They kill people for free expression, and riot over minor things like cartoons. Occasionally they blow up trains, buses, or (at least attempt to blow up) planes. They come from countries where the average IQ tends to be around 85, a standard deviation below that of most of Europe.
The average European's lying eyes inform him of all this. But he doesn't see the "huge asset" they provide. He can't put his finger on the benefits they bestow upon him, and the more he gets to thinking about it, the more skeptical he becomes of the existence of such benefits at all. It is his leadership that is responsible for the benefits and liabilities that the importation of Muslims provide (which now represents more than half of the UK's population growth). It is their job to convince him that the benefits outweigh the costs. The British appear to be coming to grips with how poorly a job their leaders have done at making this case.
Western civilization is the most amazing civilization on the planet. It has produced virtually all the theoretical, technological, artistic, and philosophic advancements of the last half-millenia. It is time that so incredible a culture, and its population representing one-sixth of the world's, set strict standards on who can be a part of it. The Netherlands, Germany, and France, have all created immigration applicant surveys aimed at filtering out people with hardline Islamic beliefs that are incompatible with Occidental liberalism.
Why not greatly expand upon this start? Institute a merit immigration system that takes into account health, age, education, intelligence, occupation, cultural and social beliefs, and means. Europe's high standard of living allows it to do this. Certainly the US, with the widest immigrant-to-emigrant margin in the world, can afford to take the pick of the litter while spending a couple of months worth of the Iraq miasma to build a wall along the southern border and stop the unskilled Hispanic influx.
Our way of life is worth preserving, our civilization worth saving.
Women's rights in Pakistan (August 25, 2006)
Women's groups in the West, especially in Europe, should take the lead in opposing continued immigration from the Islamic world:
President Pervez Musharraf has opened a new and especially bitter confrontation with radical Islam by trying to rewrite Pakistan's controversial rape laws.Further growth in Britain's Pakistani population, numbering almost 750,000 according to the UK's 2001 Census, isn't good for gender equality. Immigration restriction will do far more for women's rights than countless domestic abuse awareness campaigns will do.
These place an almost impossible burden of proof on women by compelling them to produce four "pious" male witnesses to prove rape or risk being convicted of adultery and face 100 lashes or death by stoning.
This law, known as the Hudood Ordinance, has been regarded as untouchable since its passage 27 years ago.
Musharraf's coalition holds a majority in Parliament, but not all of its members support Hudood (which translates as "punishments") reform:
Lawmakers nursing serious reservations against President Pervez Musharraf's efforts to ease discrimination against women absented themselves in Pakistan's National Assembly Friday to thwart the introduction of a bill to amend the controversial Hudood laws.
Only 30-40 members of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid) were present. The opposition parties, bent on a no-confidence move against the government of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, walked out.
Islamic fundamentalists have led rallies throughout Pakistan in opposition to the law, vowing in some cases even to defend Hudood to the death. However, the crowds such displays have drawn are paltry:
Mairaj-ul-Huda Siddiqui, a leader of an opposition alliance of six religious parties, told a crowd of about 200 in the city of Karachi after Friday prayers: "We will even sacrifice our lives for this and will not allow these amendments to take place,"
"This is part of a US and Jewish conspiracy and we will resist it forcefully," Siddiqui said.
Similar small protests were held in Lahore, Peshawar and the capital, Islamabad.
Certainly doesn't compare to the rabble roused in response to the NewsWeek report on Koran desecration. On the other hand, the push for reform doesn't have a populist vein either (think estate taxation in the US). Musharraf favors it, but elections are coming up and he's justifiably concerned about how his perception as a Western stooge might play into a fourth assassination attempt.
That there are several political parties with representation in Pakistan that vow to fight to the death to defend laws that severly punish victims of rape if they cannot produce four male witnesses and allow men to marry girls should tell us that Pakistani culture is not compatible with the Occident. In the words of Thomas Jefferson:
Immigrants will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, or if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbridled licentiousness, passing, as usual, from one extreme to the other. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty.Why rely on a miracle when rejected visa applications will do?
Iraqi liberation brings misery to gays (August 7, 2006)
This is more saddening than surprising:
Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.It's not only flamboyant gays that are being killed. Innocent children, abducted into the sex trade and prostituted out to homosexual men, are getting bullets through the eyes. And it's legal:
Eleven-year-old Ameer Hasoon al-Hasani was kidnapped by policemen from the front of his house last month. He was known in his district to have been forced into prostitution. His father Hassan told me he searched for his son for three days after his abduction, then found him, shot in the head. A copy of the death certificate confirms the cause of death.I think of my thirteen year-old brother and get sick to the stomach.
Homosexuality is seen as so immoral that it qualifies as an 'honour killing' to murder someone who is gay - and the perpetrator can escape punishment. Section 111 of Iraq's penal code lays out protections for murder when people are acting against Islam.
Iraq is a disaster. Bush's quixotic goal of bringing a Jeffersonian democracy, along with the peace and prosperity that putatively come with it, has crashed tragically on rocks of reality. Almost 2,600 of our most patriotic have been sacrificed, $300 billion has been poured down the drain, and we've unnecessarily alienated our natural allies. For it we have growing Iranian influence in the region, liberated Iraqis chanting "Death to America" and burning American and Israeli flags in the streets of Baghdad, and theocratically-determined sharia law budding up across the ummah.
It's time to realize that liberal democracy is a privilege, not a natural right. We don't give driver's licenses to blind people because giving them freedom on the road has catastrophic implications. Lots of people--lots of societies--cannot handle democracy either. Iraq has an esimated average IQ of 87, a PPP of $3,400 (due mostly to oil production), an extensively inbred population, a tribalistic social structure, and an uncompromising and intolerant religious belief system. This is a recipe for disaster. Better to have such a population under an authoritative regime that has the iron-fisted will to keep the society from unravelling into chaotic anarchy on the national level and ugly populism on the local level, especially for 'protected' groups like women, gays, and minorities.
Gay leader Ali Hili says life was better under Saddam:
We were very modern. We were very, very Western culturalized — Iraq — comparing to the rest of the Middle East. Why it's been shifted to this Islamic dark ages country? We were much better off in the Saddam time, although he's a tyrant.Because our leftist neocon leaders are incapable of realizing that unelected tyrants in the Middle East bring the backwards Islamic world much closer to modernity than does giving the people a right to control their own destiny.
Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani appears to condone the violence against homosexuals (although not specifically against children):
Islam considers homosexuality sinful. A website published in the Iranian city of Qom in the name of Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, says: "Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way". ...
The BBC asked Mr Sistani's representative, Seyed Kashmiri, to explain the ruling.
"Homosexuals and lesbians are not killed for practising their inclinations for the first time," Mr Kashmiri said in a response sent via email. "There are certain conditions drawn out by jurists before this punishment can be implemented, which is perhaps similar to the punishment meted out by other heavenly religions."
Hmm, obscure passage in Romans that I've never heard mentioned even in passing at church versus international proclamation by renowned Shiite spiritual leader. Unless Kashmiri meant to add "centuries ago" after "...other heavenly religions."
The Islamic world is managing to show us how inherently flawed nation building and multiculturalism both are. Yet as the Occident continues on into senescence, the war drums beating for Iran and the West's self-immolating refusal to halt immigration from third-world sinkholes doesn't inspire confidence in our ability to learn from our mistakes.
Pew on views concerning Muslims (August 3, 2006)
The West's opinions on Muslims are tough to make sense of. A Pew Global Attitudes Survey recently probed the feelings of Muslims living both in the West and in the Middle East, as well as those of non-Muslim Westerners. Occidental liberalism seems to dictate an accomodating, welcoming view of Islamic immigrants, even as concerns about local Islamic communities is strong and growing. Germany, where a substantial Turkish population has existed for several decades, is the least amiable toward the Islamic Middle East.
A couple of the findings are bemusing. The percentage of people in the following countries who think continued immigration from the Middle East and North Africa is a good thing: Spain - 62%, France - 58%, Great Britain - 57%, Germany - 34%. This even though an overwhelming majority of people in each country are concerned about rising Islamic extremism. And more people in each of these countries believe an Islamic identity distinct from a national identity is growing: Spain - 46% (compared to 36% holding a contrary view), France - 68%, Britain - 69%, Germany - 72%. The public in these places that feel a Muslim identity is growing firmly believe that this trend is a bad thing: Spain - 82%, France - 87%, Britain - 59%, Germany - 83%.
So at least 38% of the Spanish, 59% of the French, 41% of the British, and 60% of the Germans feel that what is happening in the Muslim community in their home countries is a bad thing (assuming, likely in error, that all respondents ambivalent toward or disagreeing with the assertion that Islamic identity is growing at home approve of the way the Muslim community conducts itself in their home countries). Why the French anomaly? A majority feels continued Islamic immigration is good but a similar majority believes what is happening in the French Islamic community is bad.
Curiously, the Spanish and French publics had the least sympathy for the Islamic rioters in France last year (37% and 46% sympathized, respectively, compared to 62% in Britain and 64% in Germany) even as these countries are quite enthusiastic for more Islamic immigration. Is it national rivalry that causes two-thirds of Germans to feel for the Muslim rioters because they have to live in France even as most Germans don't want anymore immigration from the Muslim world?
While Westerners continue to think of themselves in terms of their national identity (an average of 62% of Christian Europeans and Americans think of themselves in this way), Muslims see themselves as Muslims first (an average of 65.5% among Muslims in Europe and 60% among Muslims in Islamic lands) and denizens of their various countries second.
Also of interest, the Muslim world clearly favors Iran over the US (in all places both in the Middle East and Europe that were surveyed felt this way with the exception of German Muslims, who slightly favored the US with 44% supporting the US and 40% supporting Iran), has an unfavorable opinion of Americans (in every place the question was asked), and by an even greater magnitude despises the war on terror instead of supporting it at a rate of 6-to-1 for Muslims in Britain, almost 4-to-1 for Muslims in France, 2-to-1 for Muslims in Germany, 7-to-1 for Muslims in Spain, 8-to-1 in Egypt, 5.5-to-1 in Turkey, 3-to-2 in Indonesia, 2-to-1 in Pakistan, and 4.5-to-1 in Jordan.
The campaign to win the hearts and minds isn't going well. It's time we stopped spilling blood and treaure trying to make it work, and instead divert that money into making alternative energy sources economically viable so Islamic opinion of the US becomes about as important as what Nairobians think of America.
Canine-anmen square massacre (August 2, 2006)
I struggle daily with the depression that comes from being so unacculturated. The more I see of other cultures, the less tolerant of them I become. In Mouding county, in the province of Yunnan in southwestern China, the local government has responded to the death of three citizens from rabies by indiscriminately massacring over 50,000 dogs:
Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten on the spot, the newspaper said. Other killing teams entered villages at night, creating noise to get dogs barking, then honing in and beating them to death.Receive two-thirds of a dollar and you can murder your pet in a way you're comfortable with. To be fair, given the per capita wealth gap between the US and China, that's roughly equivalent to receiving $3.87 stateside, and dogs are an acceptable food source in China, so it might be better to imagine your local police force culling the city's pet rabits for comparison, although in Mouding county there are a lot of dogs--roughly one dog for every four people. Brutal pictures are here and here. Individual tales of the slaughter speak volumes about the lack of individual rights in the PRC:
Owners were offered 63 cents per animal to kill their dogs before the teams were sent in, the report said.
On Saturday, a woman was walking her dog - a small white animal she'd had for a long time - in a Yunnan Province alley. Several men approached, talked her into handing them the leash and then beat the dog to death as the owner looked on in horror.Impetus for the campaign stems from a relatively high incidence of dog attacks on Mouding's population of 200,000, with one in 556 residents having been bitten in the last year. Initially the government's reaction was to vaccinate the county's 55,000 or so dogs, but the apparently high-profile case of a 4 year-old girl who was mauled to death sparked the cleansing. Although at least 4,000 of the county's dogs had previously received vaccination, all dogs found were dispatched irrespectively:
On Saturday, officials said that 90 percent of the dogs had been killed, and they expected to finish their work on Sunday.Military and police dogs were spared.
Rabies vaccinations cost around $10, so the Mouding campaign saved half a million minus the wages paid to task force officers involved in the midnight raids. Would you shell out ten bucks to prevent your dog from being gang-beaten by guys with wooden sticks?
Most of Mouding's residents agreed with the government's response. The Han have few qualms with eradicating all dogs because a few have caused problems. This highlights a major fault line between the West and places in the East, not only in China but also in the Islamic world: The Occident focuses on the individual, not the group. Our response would be to immunize the canine population and destroy individual rabid dogs, just as a crime commited by a thug demands punishment for that particular thug, but not for his entire extended family (or ethnicity or religion or whatever). That perspective is not ecumenical, however, and extended close contact with disparate cultures is forcing the West to face difficult questions about how far to extend individual protections to groups that violate and refuse to respect them.
The best response I see is to come up with ways to help insure that people in nations with a Western individualistic ethical worldview agree principally with the basic tenets of that worldview (which is what countries in Europe have already begun doing in asking questions of prospective immigrants that are anathema to many Muslims). Include this as part of a merit immigration system that selects only immigrants who are likely to increase the quality of life for natives by requiring a certain level of education, skills, health, IQ, etc corresponding to the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, the deportation of illegals who reveal that illegal status in public (through transactions, arrests, etc), and the enforcement of pungent punitions for businesses that hire illegals.