Wednesday, August 30, 2006

When I grow up I wanna be a Jihadist

Why I have little faith in the future of the Middle East:

On Sheikh Ajlin Beach, dozens of Palestinian children are shouting and playing and splashing each other, like children anywhere. They are at summer camp. ...

All the Palestinian factions have been talking about social welfare in the past several weeks, including Islamic Jihad. Hisham, one of the camp directors, volunteers to discuss the children's schedule. ...

When asked about this "truth," Hisham launches into a monologue on history from his perspective: "We teach the children the truth. How the Jews persecuted the prophets and tortured them. We stress that the Jews killed and slaughtered Arabs and Palestinians every chance they got. Most important, the children understand that the conflict with the Jews is not over land, but rather over religion. As long as Jews remain here, between the [Jordan] river and the sea, they will be our enemy and we will continue to pursue and kill them. When they leave we won't hurt them."

Concisely put. This is indoctrination of Palestinian children at summer camp. In my drear memories of vacation bible school, I cannot for the life of me recall the condoning of violence in any form, ever. Presumably, residents in Haifa cannot either.

I hope, probably fancifully, that young Iraqi children form lasting impressions of coalition forces handing out candy and stuffed animals to them and contrast these with horrific images of rag-headed miscreants mowing down their peers and blowing up the guys giving out the treats, and that these early memories coalesce into a moderate amicability toward the West decades down the road.

Israel is in a perpetually precarious political position. Every military or police action undertaken by the IDF will be portrayed as an act of oppression by a Western media that once adored the seminal, vulnerable home for European refugees. Israel's response was disproportionate (please do not give me a general who factors in 'proportionality' when devising a military strategy during wartime). Israel's overreliance on military might is proving futile. Israel wouldn't come to the ceasefire table early enough. Israel's still blocking Lebanese ports. And Hezbollah? The few insignificant kidnapped soldiers--the ones Nasrallah said he'd never have snatched had he known it would lead to war--are still being held captive, hoping not to become the next Nick Bergs. I wish Taki Theodoracopulos and commentators like him would consider this and the paragraph following in their pieces on how existential Israel threatens world peace (a view that most Europeans hold, incidentally). Since I'm a blithering novice when it comes to everything involving the Middle East, I'd be able to spare more credulity if such commentators didn't appear so hostile to the only country in the region capable of adding anything of value to human civilization.

Pundits will continue to clamor for various comprises and negotiations, without factoring in the intractable underlying fuel of Islamic hatred of Israel--Israelis (Ashkenazi and pseudo-Ashkenazi European) are considerably more intelligent than Arabs, Persians, or central Asians. So Israel's standard of living is always going to be higher and its economy more versatile than that of its neighbors (especially if and when oil is obselesced), and Israelis are always going to lead happier, healthier (Israel's life expectancy at birth is 79.5 years; Iraq's is 69, Iran's is 70, Lebanon's is 73, Syria's is 70) lives than their Middle Eastern counterparts. So guys like Hisham and Nasrallah will always be able to rabble-rouse relatively destitute, disaffected Muslims in the Middle Eastern countries within close proximity to Israel.

(Terrorism)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Iraqi groups refuse to serve broader Iraq

Brigadier General Dana Pittard, the coalition head delegating the mammoth task of training the Iraqi security forces, has confirmed that a group of Shia soldiers has refused to deploy north to Baghdad to help try and root out militias there:

A group of Iraqi soldiers recently refused to go to Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, to help restore order there, a senior American military officer said Monday.
I can imagine Pittard's irritation as he's forced to disingeniously claim that the Shia soldiers felt they could better serve Iraq by staying home:
“The majority of this particular unit was Shia, and they felt — the leadership of that unit and their soldiers — like they were needed down there in Maysan,’’ General Pittard told reporters in a videoconference from Iraq. “Now, that will be worked out by the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Defense, and we’ll be in support of that.”
The band is quite small, numbering around 100 of the 5,000 Iraqi troops the US wants to bring to Baghdad for operation 'Together Forward'. But it might portend the future. Newly minted Sunni soldiers reacted savagely to the news that they would be required to serve outside their own neighborhoods:
The graduation of nearly 1,000 new Iraqi army soldiers in restive Anbar province took a disorderly turn Sunday when dozens of the men declared that they would refuse to serve outside their home areas, according to U.S. and Iraqi military authorities. ...

The protest was triggered by an announcement that the new soldiers, all residents of Anbar province -- widely considered the heartland of Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgent movement -- would be required to serve outside their home towns and outside the province as well.

A separate refusal previously occured among soldiers in the Kurdish north:
A large number of soldiers from a predominantly Kurdish unit in northern Iraq, the Second Battalion, Third Brigade of the Second Iraqi Division, refused to go to Ramadi, where American Army troops have been involved in a tough fight to take the city back from insurgents, General Pittard noted.
Back in April 2004, when US marines went in to clean up Fallujah in retaliation for the brutal deaths of four contractors there, some 15,000 Iraqi troops simply deserted. There are several other more minor instances of desertions, as well as more sinister reports of Shia militias dawning military uniforms (or simply Shia soldiers acting on their own volition) and decimating Sunni civilians and property.

We are spending American blood (2,636 plus almost ten times that amount wounded as of today) and treasure ($3oo billion thus far with another $200-$400 billion estimated to be spent over the next decade) to arm and train disparate Iraqi groups to more effectively massacre one another when support for the unpopular war finally becomes politically untenable and the US begins to pull out (hopefully not far beyond November of this year).

Kurds do not want to participate in Iraqi security outside of Kurdistan. Why would they want to risk their lives to alleviate the intensity of the back-and-forth milita killings between Sunnis and Shia? The Sunnis oppressed them for decades in the past, and a Shia-dominated, Iranian-friendly 'democratic' Iraq might very well do the same in the coming decades, especially given Iran's budding Kurdish problem. Sunnis don't want to go into places like Fallujah and clash with the very groups that are most likely to align with them against the increasing pugnacity of Shia militias like the Mahdi Army. The Shia, happily discovering that democracy in the Arab world means majority-takes-all, have all but forgotten Sistani's pleas for restraint against Sunni atrocities, past and present.

I'm grossly oversimplifying in breaking Iraq down into three factions of roughly 17.5 million Shia, 5.5 million Kurds, and 4 million Sunnis. Middle Eastern tribalism is such that loyalties usually do not extend beyond specific neighborhoods of a single city, let alone beyond ethnic groups or on a national level. I do it mostly because such a breakdown is as convoluted as I can understand. The reality is orders of magnitude more complicated (hopeless).

When I hear the Bush mantra "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," I wonder who exactly is going to stand up and what they are going to stand up against. One another? To stop the civil war crescendo, the US would conceivably have to pick sides. But doing that in the past led to the growth of Shia militias and the persecution of the Sunni minority so that now the US is leading a combined US-Iraqi force into Baghdad to try and put down Shia militia there.

There aren't many viable options. Staying put promises continued attrition without any prospects for the future. Pulling out turns the civil war sparks into a full-blown conflagration with all the ensuing instability that entails (oil over $100 a barrel?). In my mind the best option is to have the US facilitate ethnic separation by neighborhood, then by city, and finally to partition Iraq. That is what's likely to occur anyway, but hopefully there'll be less entropy and bloodshed if big American guns are behind it (ew, re-reading that sentences has me straining to remember when big American guns did anything beneficial in the Middle East).

Also, the coalition should explicitly focus on keeping Iraqi oil pumping, as the country struggles to maintain pre-war production levels, and al-Maliki should demand a petroleum dividend for all Iraqis similar to that enjoyed by Alaskans. If ten dollars per barrel were distributed this way, it would amount to a little more than $270 annually per Iraqi, or about an 8% increase in real purchasing power. This might help ameliorate the stultifying infrastructure problems Iraq faces by boosting local economic activity across the country, especially in central Iraq.

(International)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Gladwell on dependency

Malcolm Gladwell has an article in the New Yorker that already caught Steve Sailer's debunking eye. He discusses private pensions in the US, and rightly points out how inherently underfunded they are.

Less solidly, Gladwell's long piece also suggests that the key to economic productivity is a favorable (low) dependency ratio (the number of the young and old compared to those of working age). He specifically singles out Ireland, the Celtic Tiger which restricted contraception up until 1979 (he fails to mention how Ireland has altered its tax structure to allow huge technology companies to set up financial shop there for tax purposes, from which Microsoft dropped its global tax rate from 33% to 26% in large part by leaving profits in Ireland):
This relation between the number of people who aren’t of working age and the number of people who are is captured in the dependency ratio. In Ireland during the sixties, when contraception was illegal, there were ten people who were too old or too young to work for every fourteen people in a position to earn a paycheck. That meant that the country was spending a large percentage of its resources on caring for the young and the old. Last year, Ireland’s dependency ratio hit an all-time low: for every ten dependents, it had twenty-two people of working age. That change coincides precisely with the country’s extraordinary economic surge.
Gladwell should refine the dependency ratio explanation to an urchin ratio explanation. Why? Because there exists a strong, stastically significant relationship (r = .71) between the percentage of a nation's population over the age of 65 and its purchasing power parity. That is, the more old age dependents a nation has, the wealthier it is.

Oops. So instead of all this doom and gloom about the coming entitlement crisis when the baby boomers retire, we should be celebrating the coming economic boom! Well, all those ancients I served at my part-time job in junior high and high school sure didn't seem to be contributing to the late nineties economic miracle by playing bingo and whining about the menu choices, but it looks they were. It provides a stronger explanation than does Gladwell's thesis (the percentage of a country's population between the ages of 15-65 correlates with ppp at a more modest .59).

The theory Gladwell puts forth with the Irish case study does hold when quantified, but it's likely a consequence of other more powerful indicators of economic prosperity. It really runs into trouble when the ex-Soviet states are considered. Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic all have a more favorable dependency ratio than anywhere in Western Europe or North America, but they're hardly economically more fearsome.

Since it is actually the burden of children that Gladwell really suggests to be economically detrimental, that's what has to be considered. And developed countries, which offer an array of opportunities for women other than spending time barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen making dinner, have longer educational tracks, and enjoy ubiquitous birth control methods, create disincentives to having children. Further, the less developed a country is, the less costly a child becomes (helping on the farm or doing chores instead of running up costly sports fees and school tuitions, therefore calling into question the assumption that children are necessarily dependents). Also, developed countries have better medical and health care. Not surprisingly, the correlation between ppp and the median age (fewer children and longer lifespans) is .71. Causation seems to mostly run the other way around.

Tautologically, though, Gladwell isn't wrong, at least in the short-run. When an infant is born, he obviously costs more than he produces. And he diverts attention and resources away from other tasks (doctors, latex gloves). But that cost is relatively minor in comparison to his father's productivity. In Indonesia, he'll only be producing an eleventh of what he will be if he's an American. Of course, a contemporary birth dearth means less dependents now and a lot more a couple of decades down the road.

I thought the kids getting knocked up freshman year were shortsighted and condemning themselves to a life of poverty. Little did I know that having lots of kids was an astute way to delay gratification and gain a big payoff in the future. Speaking of children, if you care about your grandkids you'll pull that money out of the 529s and put it into Niger--at 7.46 kids per woman, in twenty years the country's enormous workforce is sure to turn it into the next Hong Kong!

I suspect the reason Gladwell was hosted by the New Yorker for such an article is that he implies that birth control makes people better off and it vindicates the choices of so many of the magazine's single-child and childless readers. Like the abortion cut-crime theory, leftists will dig it because it purports benefits to lots of abortion. But like Steven Levitt's theory on crime, Gladwell's position begs for social engineering. Abort babies, euthanize old fogies, and knock out anyone else who is an economic dependent. Phrased in that way, would the New Yorker still dig it?

While I'm not at all convinced that having fewer scamps is what makes a country wealthy, I'll be happy to repackage his idea and take it to the UN. Kofi, African countries, especially the sub-Saharan ones, need to have much fewer children. Ditto the Arab world. Indeed, let's not let Muslims reproduce at all, since poverty causes terrorism and all. East Asia needs to have whelps, and so does the West. This'll make the third-world wealthier and the developed world poorer. International wealth transfer, Kofi. That is the UN's raison d'etre isn't it?

If we somehow instituted Gladwell's logic on a global scale, I'd feel infinitely better about the future. It'd be the realization of SENS for the moribund West!

(Economy)

British see threat in Islam

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."

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."
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.

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.

(Clash of civilizations)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Global cooling?

Would be a lot more devastating than global warming. The indefatigable Al Fin, who has multiple blogs and apparently has overcome the soporific mortal's daily need for sleep, points to a report out of the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory that predicts global cooling by mid-century:
Global cooling could develop on Earth in 50 years and have serious consequences before it is replaced by a period of warming in the early 22nd century, a Russian Academy of Sciences’ astronomical observatory’s report says, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Friday. Environmentalists and scientists warn not about the dangers of global warming provoked by man’s detrimental effect on the planet’s climate, but global cooling. Though never widely supported, it is a theory postulating an overwhelming cooling of the Earth which could involve glaciation.
The most recent ice age came near the end of the Pleistocene around 11,000 years ago. The last Wurm glaciation was the grand finale in a turbulent period of harsh cold spells that covered most of Europe and Asia in glaciers, pushing homo sapiens along with several other large mammalian species into southern of Europe and back toward the Meditteranean area. It is possible, however, that our current interglacial period could come to an end, or that we might enter a relatively short period of cooling, as the Russian Academy predicts.

There's a lot of smoke being blown up around climatic change, and I'm certainly not erudite enough to cut through it. Interglacial periods historically have lasted longer than 10,000 years. Nonetheless, global cooling appears exponentially more threatening to humanity than global warming does.

I see plenty of potential upsides to warming. One-fourth of the world's oil reserves are believed to be in the Arctic, and the melting of the Arctic ice sheets will make them (and largescale commercial fishing) more accessible. Northern Canada and the enormous land expanse east of the Ural mountains in Russia that is home to somewhere around 8 million people (an area roughly twice the size of the continental US, if memory serves) is brimming with stuff like timber, oil, natural gas, ore, and other natural resources. Further, much of it isn't far above sea level, so it's potentially inhabitable. The moderation of extreme climates in areas like the upper midwest would plausibly lead to more family formation in these areas, and, coupled with the corresponding harshening of conditions in places nearer the equator, might have a globalized eugenic effect. Some places would become less suitable for agriculture while others would become more so (with temperate areas benefitting and tropical areas suffering), but the time between sowing and harvesting would decrease worldwide, and increased carbon dioxide would stimulate faster crop growth. Moreover, moderate winters lead to more economic activity.

Cooling, on the other hand, would be certifiably disastrous, especially for the developed world (as more advanced societies tend to be further from the equator, in cooler regions). Imagine the chaos if the upper half of the US was covered in a perennial snow sheet. What of Scandanavia, Britain, Japan? Natural gas prices would skyrocket. Good for Russia (frozen though its inhabitants might be), not so good for Ukraine, or Europe for that matter. Food production would suffer. Natural resources would become harder to come by in temperate regions. Where's the upside? Lower sea levels perhaps would open up more land for settlement in coastal regions.
The head of the observatory's space research sector feels that the Kyoto protocols, will be especially damaging to northern countries:
Khabibullo Abdusamatov said he and his colleagues had concluded that a period of global cooling similar to one seen in the late 17th century — when canals froze in the Netherlands and people had to leave their dwellings in Greenland — could start in 2012-2015 and reach its peak in 2055-2060. He said he believed the future climate change would have very serious consequences and that authorities should start preparing for them today because “climate cooling is connected with changing temperatures, especially for northern countries.”

“The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times,” he said, referring to an international treaty on climate change targeting greenhouse gas emissions.
I don't profess to know enough to speculate one way or another on what will happen with regard to global climatic shifts in the future, but the putatively 'consensus' view that anthropogenic global warming is occuring and that humanity must do whatever it takes to stop it from occuring is anything but.

(Future)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rationality gap

Without realizing it, Paul Gigot let Arthur Brooks, writing in the open-borders, pro-Republican Wall Street Journal, put forth a devastating case against unfettered immigration from the perspective of the rational Republican pol. Quite simply, the birth trends of US natives, and by extension the demographic trends of US natives, heavily favor the GOP:

According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated, politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given the fact that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20% -- explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.
Leftist professors and MTV still can't keep kids from finding sagacity in mom and dad (sorry Carson, but Pop's genes mean more to Johnny than your blathering does). The diverging birth rate of liberals and conservatives was borne out of the sixties, with the ubiquitous availability of birth control and the hysterical backlash against the bare-footed, pregnant housewife preparing dinner for the breadwinning troglodyte of the house. When the South defected to the GOP in the eighties, the prospects of Republican replenishment and then some stretching far into the future looked impervious.

That was before the US began taking in the Mexican population at such a voracious rate that the Mexican-American population would double every decade. If the current growth rate was to continue for the next twenty years, the size of the Mexican-born population in America would total around 80 million by 2026 (in what year, I wonder, will the Mexican-American population exceed the population of Mexico?)!

The importation of unskilled Hispanics further hurts the Republican Party by accentuating the wealth gap, decreasing housing affordability (which in turn decreases fecundity, further neutering the Republican advantage), depressing the wages of natives (thereby making wealth transfers more favorable in their eyes), increasing the number of people employed in governmental positions to run and maintain prisons (Hispanics are about three times as criminally prone as whites), gather and disperse entitlements (a staggering 31% of third-generation Hispanics use welfare), patrol US entry points and remove intruders (governmental employees don't exactly represent a bastion of Republican support), and so on. That's just the indirect stuff. As Hispanics voted for Kerry at a rate a bit greater than three-to-two, more Hispanic immigration means more voting Hispanics (Democrats) in the future. Apparently, the GOP's self-immolation is a small price to pay in return for whatever it is that Latin America or her interests grant the Bush family.

An update to a well-known political adage: Legalize same-sex marriage, abortion-on-demand, euthanasia, [and restrict third-world immigration,] and in a generation Republicans will rule everything.

(Politics and Religion)

Women's rights in Pakistan

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.

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.
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.

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?

(Clash of civilizations)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Diversity is more better

While the US may represent the educational doldroms of the developed world, at least our textbooks are the most ethnically and culturally progressive:

To facilitate state approval and school-district purchasing of their texts, publishers set numerical targets for showing minorities and the disabled. In recent years, the quest to meet these targets has ratcheted to a higher level as technological improvements enable publishers to customize books for individual states, and as photos and illustrations take up more textbook space.

Although publishers describe these numbers as guidelines, many people familiar with educational publishing say they are strict quotas that must be adhered to. Moreover, in filling these quotas, publishers screen out a wide range of images they deem stereotypical, from Asian math students to barefoot African children.
So progressive, in fact, that we leave reality in the dust. Let the scamps in India and China waste their time studying the real world with all its inegalitarian nonsense. We'll convey to our children a world that transcends such ugliness. Nevermind the fact that Asian American students average the highest score of any racial group on the NAEP math tests, a few points higher even than their white neighbors, who are too busy keeping down the brown and black man to subjugate the Oriental effectively. Nevermind that the African poverty rate, at 44%, is significantly higher than that of any other continent in the world. The most important thing we can impute to our children is a vision of the world as it should be, irrespective of reality.

Urban giants largely set the standards for the rest of the country, as they have the greatest bulk buying power. Textbook publishers set quotas to insure sales to these school districts:
Under McGraw-Hill Co. guidelines for elementary and high school texts, 40% of people depicted should be white, 30% Hispanic, 20% African-American, 7% Asian and 3% Native American, says Thomas Stanton, a spokesman for the publisher. Of the total, 5% should be disabled, and 5% over the age of 55. Elementary texts from the Harcourt Education unit of Reed Elsevier PLC should show about 50% whites, 22% African-Americans, 20% Hispanics, 5% Asians and 5% Native Americans.
So McGraw represents blacks at 155% of reality, Hispanics at 243%, Native Americans at 341%, and Asians at about 150%. All this made possible by the shafting of non-Hispanic whites, who are shown at a rate of 59% of reality. Although no official religious quotas exist, textbook companies strive to represent all faiths as equally as possible. That is, numerical parity, not proportional representation mirroring reality. Your kids' textbooks are showing them as many Buddhists (about one-third of one percent of Americans) as Christians (about 85% of Americans). Still, it is clear that Mahayana believers are being maliciously underserved. You can bet McGraw will be hearing from me.

Of course, the same argument can be made for McGraw that is made for the megabanks, megaretailers, and politicians that increasingly cater to Hispanics--they are anticipating the future demographic composition of America. Nationally, the average citizen suffers from increased crime and disease, lower educational attainment, greater wealth disparities, more tax revenue diverted to providing goods and services to the destitute, higher poverty rates, cultural balkinzation, and so on, but for the individual entities the benefit is in tapping into this market. McGraw's textbooks are provided for school kids, where whites represent less than 60% of the population. For children under five, they represent about half. McGraw is positioning itself for the future.

So much for assimilation:
"It's a real benefit for minority children to be able to see their own ethnicity in a position of responsibility or in a historical perspective," says Cheryl McConaughey, assistant superintendent for Lamont school district in California, which is 92% Hispanic. "I remember the delight with which my seventh-grade students encountered pictures of Roberto Clemente and César Chávez in their textbooks." Ms. McConaughey says percentage targets for minority images "are needed to assure diversity. If we don't quantify them, they get lost."
I suspect her memories are bunk, as my recollection of my junior high days is fresh enough to inform me that seventh graders rarely experience delight from pictures in textbooks. Poor Hispanic students (96% of Lamont students are at or below the poverty line) are even less likely to become elated by classroom material. But I do remember my excitement when I learned that Nathaneal Greene and Henry Knox were both autodidacts and that this played a major part in forming their strong friendship. Problem is, I learned that this week while reading on my own. Nevermind the daring Knox displayed that allowed for the colonists to take the Dorchester Heights. In thirteen years of k-12 public education I never studied a single US military battle. How sick is it that I know more about Harriet Tubman and Dred Scott than John Adams or John Jay?

Graphics that might actually pull students away from their IPods for a moment are deemed too 'offensive' to print:
In its 2005 adoption of history and social science texts, for instance, California required compact disc publisher Decision Development Corp. to revise or delete "stereotypical and demeaning" caricatures in magazines submitted as supplementary material. One drawing it found offensive illustrated the 18th century European rivalry for the Indian subcontinent by depicting an Indian in a loincloth and turban tugged in opposite directions by arms wearing the English and French flags.
I'm reminded of my favorite Simpsons episode where Principal Skinners orders Groundskeeper Willie to remove all colored chalk from the classrooms in response to two separate independent thoughts by students on the same day that gave the teachers great alarm. The words of Soren Kierkegaard also come to mind: "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

Note the consequences multiculturalism wreaks on those who exercise free thought. Theo Van Gogh was murdered for it. Denmark was boycotted and European embassies in the Middle East were burned for it. Professor Andrew Fraser was suspended for it. George Allen's presidential aspirations have been seriously damaged because of it. Paul Brelien, editor of the courageous Brussels Journal, was forced to remove an op/ed because the piece called for the legalization of self-defense items after a Belgian teenager was murdered by two central Asians. Lawrence Summers was excoriated and eventually fled from Harvard because of it. Perspicacious geniuses must produce anonymously in fear of it. Arthur Brooks gets global recognition for an idea that was filched from Steve Sailer (Brooks called it the "Fertility Gap", Steve called it the "Baby Gap") because of it. Brooks made the WSJ op/ed pages because he left immigration and race out of the equation, even though by doing so he diluted the explanatory power of fertility and inanely predicted that California will swing to the right in the coming years. The list goes on and on.

McGraw, in the business of making money, not of deciphering reality, has taken measures to prevent itself from falling into the bottomless pit that is free thought:
To forestall such trouble, McGraw-Hill's 2004 guidelines for artwork and photos say Asians should not be portrayed "with glasses, bowl-shaped haircuts, or as intellectuals"; African-Americans should be shown "in positions of power, not just in service industries"; elderly people should be "active members of society," not "infirm"; and disabled people should be shown as independent rather than receiving help.
Orwellian. Because Asians are smart, they must not be portrayed as intelligent. Because blacks have little power in the corporate world, they must be portrayed as having lots of it. I'll add a few more: Because interracial crime in the US overwhelmingly involves a black perpetrator and a white victim, whites must be portrayed as perpetrators and blacks as victims. Because Hispanic immigrants are overrepresented in certain service industries like landscaping and meat packing, they mustn't be portrayed as landscapers or meat packers. Because African Americans dominate the sports world, they must be portrayed as unathletic dweebs.

Further, it is not who people are that matters, but who they appear to be in the eyes of others:
Marjorie Cotera, studio manager for Texas photographer Robert Daemmrich, who takes photos for textbooks, says "facial features" of some Asians resemble Native Indian [with epicanthic eyefolds and other similar features from a shared lineage] tribes from Mexico. "There are some times where you can flip-flop." On the other hand, Ms. Cotera says, blond and blue-eyed Hispanics "might not work" toward that group's quota because their background would not be apparent to readers.
What messages does this send to American children? Why do we subject our future to this garbage?

Historian David McCullough describes an obscure eighteenth century British rebel thus: "Seeing things as they were, and not as he would wish them to be, was one of [Washington's] greatest strengths."

Who was this George Washington? Didn't he work for Bessie Coleman?

(Culture)

Friday, August 18, 2006

British support profiling 2-to-1

The overly-hospitable British may have finally been pushed over the edge:
A majority of voters support moves by the Government to introduce security screening at airports that focuses on the passengers who pose the greatest risk.

A poll in today’s Spectator shows that 55 per cent backed the idea of passenger profiling and only 29 per cent opposed it.
The support for DfT's push to profile is symbolic. In practicality, it is unlikely that serious terrorists will attempt to conceal detectable weaponry on their persons as they board, although the expanding list of potential weapons may prove me wrong. Might the DfT go so far as to allow a separate list of approvable carry-on items for Middle Easterners, North Africans, and Central Asians, a list that is markedly shorter than what is allowed for white Europeans?

The proposed profiling, on which the poll was conducted, would less controversially be triggered by suspicious behavior or eccentric travelling patterns.

In apparent contrast to the naivete found by Pew Research in July, Britons are largely aware of how intractable the clash of peoples is:
The poll suggests that Britain is increasingly preparing for a long, bitter and potentially bloody struggle, with 60 per cent of respondents saying that they expected the threat from terrorist groups to worsen and 79 per cent arguing that the Government was not winning the war against terrorism.

A large majority, 86 per cent, predicted a terrorist attack within the next 12 months.
Then again, the Pew study revealed that while most respondents in Europe were concerned about the Islamic communities in their respective countries as well as Islamic extremism, with the exception of the Germans a majority of Europeans felt continued immigration from the Islamic world was a good thing. Perhaps the Brits are resigned to such a fate.

But why should they be? Why not stop the Islamic incursion into Europe? There is plenty of reason to put a halt to it. Muslims aren't assimilating, they are an economic drag on generous welfare states, they overwhelmingly consider themselves Muslims before denizens of their various European homes (see the fifth graphic in the Pew survey), and they've hit Spain and Britain, rioted in France, and murdered in response to free speech in the Netherlands.

The Muslim world presents a more prodigious threat to the West from within than from without. Europe is aging. The median age for selected European countries:

UK -- 39.3
Germany -- 42.6
Spain -- 39.9
France -- 39.1
Switzerland -- 40.1

The striplings that are replacing the old fogies are increasingly from the Islamic world, where there are plenty of young bloods (median ages follow) to fool ignorant European business and governmental elites into believing that they are the solution to a shrinking working population to cover the entitlement obligations to the continent's senescent (sound familiar?):

Iraq -- 19.7
Iran -- 24.8
Saudi Arabia -- 21.4
Egypt -- 24
Pakistan -- 19.8

But the young Muslims, unaccultured, uneducated, and less intelligent, feel disenfranchised. They see Europeans as oppressors, and Western culture as decadent. As the Islamic enclaves grow numerically larger, their political clout will grow correspondingly. Again, why? I favor a stronger emphasis on policies that entice native Europeans to have more children instead of the importation of third-worlders.

The poll results should be viewed with caution, as it was conducted over the internet. Though internet usage generally correlates with financial well-being, and I suspect the blue-blooded British are less inclined to express fear or resentment of Muslims than are the working class Laddist types.

(Terrorism)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Before the Dawn

Is a fascinating and informative book that brings together NYT science reporter Nick Wade's vast work on human history, focusing most intensely on the human story from 50,000 to 5,000 years ago. If it's not on your reading list, at least let me pass on a few of the most salient points (and my thoughts on and additions to them) that stick in my mind without need for reference:

- Neanderthals, who developed dinstinctly from their African cousins 127,000 years ago, likely did not interbreed with the homo sapiens as the latter pushed them into extinction over a nearly 20,000 year long encroachment into Europe. Given the small size and bellicosity of human groups at the time, if minimal interbreeding did occur, it was probably in the form of female Neanderthal captives.

- Neanderthals, physically stronger and enjoying equivalent and in some cases higher encephalization quotients than homo sapiens, are posited to have lost out due to a lack of syntax development in language (if they could speak at all). Complex communication was our ancestors weapon of mass destruction (and a crucially important part of human evolution).

- Modern humans are all descended from a single Adam and a single Eve (although the two come from different time periods; Adam estimated to have lived 59,000 years ago, Eve 150,000 years ago).

- Hobbes knew a lot more about human nature than Rousseau. The annual mortality rate suffered in war for our nomadic ancestors was in some cases as high as 30%--contemporarily, it is around .5%. In concert with our budding pacificism, our skulls have undergone gracilization and become more delicate. We're just not as pugnacious as we used to be.

- First-degree murder is not a uniquely human activity. Chimps do it all the time, preferring at least a three-to-one advantage, so that two of the assaulters can restrain the victim while the third pummels him to death.

- Human populations continue to evolve disparately from one another. Wade points out that it is conceivable that sometime in the future the divergence will be so substantial that various human groups will be unable to mate with one another and the homo sapien community will split into different species.

Microcephalin, which appeared for the first time around 37,000 years ago, is now carried by over two-thirds of Europe and East Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, from 0% to 25% of members of various populations carry it. ASPM, another brain gene, popped up in either the Middle East or Europe only 6,000 years ago, with about half of the population in these regions carrying it. It's less common in East Asians and virtually non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus far, the genes are known to determine brain size.

Given the increased need for long-term planning through gathering food for the winter, the increased stress of having to deal with rougher climates, and having to battle perpetually with Neanderthals in Europe and homo erectus in East Asia, it is not surprising that higher IQs and EQs are generally found in human populations that had to deal with these novel challenges that weren't faced in Africa.

- Babies look non-descript as a defense mechanism against potentially angry fathers who might refuse to care for the child or even kill it if it appeared to be the handiwork of zoot suiter. Further, I would speculate, the generic appearance of human infants made non-parental females (and do a lesser extent males) more likely to provide care and refrain from overly preferential treatment of some youngsters in the absence of the biological parent.

- Genghis Khan probably has more living descendants than anyone else in recorded history. Days after finishing Wade's book, I read a biography on Khan and it comes as no surprise that this illiterate nomad of the Central Asian steppes has inherited 8% of the former Mongolian empire (the largest the world has ever known). While Khan was generous in allowing his top generals to have women and treasure from the plundered communities that the Mongols devastated (customarily they slaughtered or enslaved all men as well as the elderly, often times after agreeing to accept a peaceful surrender), Khan got first dibs. His sons, including his inebriated successor, Ogodei, carried on the tradition.

- Geographical determinism inevitably leads to biological determinism, as evolutionary pressures begin acting upon disparate groups as soon as they separate, although the sequence may largely work the other way around. That is, settled communities that had abandoned nomadic existence predate agriculture by as much as 8,000 years. Sedentary life, seemingly so superior now, required substantial adaptations; namely living in large groups and having to trust strangers, as well as the development of a sense of trust and reciprocity. Agriculture was a chance discovery following the existence of human settlements.

Generally, humans have probably still not developed sufficiently to an urban existence, and this ability likely varies genetically.

The last 50,000 years of human existence has been characterized by disparate human populations interbreeding almost exclusively. Add in genetic drift and founder effects, and we have a very diverse human community. This suggests genetic diversity is undoubtedly a factor in the different behaviors, physiologies, temperaments, cognitive abilities, ad infinitum that we see displayed in various human populations today.

Much more in the book. It's worth the time if you can spare it.

(Human biodiversity2)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Anecdote from the airport

Recently (the day after the British plot made headlines) I flew from KCI into Midway. While the wait was reasonable in both directions (virtually no delay at all in KCI, about fifteen minutes extra coming back home), I carried on a 1.5 liter bottle of Listerine both ways without detection. At Midway a TSA even inspected my bag with gloves but either missed the mouthwash or didn't realize how easily it could have been filled with nitroglycerine. So it was hard to see the value in the extra quarter hour spent (with over 40,000 passengers per day, and using the economist's favorite tool, opportunity costs, if each of our travelers is a minimum wage earner, that fifteen minutes is costing over $50,000 in economic activity each day it is occurs--nearby O'Hare does over four times the daily traffic of Midway).

Incidentally, I didn't intentionally take the Listerine on the first flight to see if it'd be detected, risking greater delay for those unlucky enough to be behind me. I only realized it afterwards.

Steve Sailer calls for disconnect

Steve Sailer, using the term 'disconnect', sensibly suggests that we stop living with the people we obviously cannot live with:
First, do no more harm. North American and, especially, European countries should stop making their problem worse. It's time to cut off immigration from Muslim countries, with the possible exception of a few more rational places like Turkey and Malaysia.
It wouldn't be a perfect filter. Europeans of Middle Eastern descent would still be able to apply for residency in other Western nations. We'd lose a small source of generally productive people. But the Islamic enclaves that have spawned the French riots and British terror plots wouldn't be further augmented by people who overwhelmingly do not think of themselves as citizens of the various European countries they occupy but instead as pious Muslims living amongst infidels. Simultaneously, we should pour the $200 to $4o0 billion the CBO estimates will be spent in Iraq in the next decade into making alternative forms of energy economically viable so that the Occident can pull out of Islamic lands and remove the impetus for terrorism that such occupation helps create.

The failure of Muslims to function indistinguishably alongside Europeans in the Old Country has shown the fatal flaws inherent in the doctrine of multiculturalism. Whether the blame rests on the hosts or the guests doesn't really matter. If it is the inexorable intolerance of ethnocentric whites at fault, why subject more Muslims to such bile? If it is the tribalistic culture of close-knit, absolutist Muslims with an average IQ of about one standard deviation below that of their European counterparts, why subject Europeans to such hostility? In the words of Professor Philippe Rushton, "Likeness leads to liking. People have a need to identify and be with others like themselves. It is a powerful force in human affairs."

Yet advocacy groups call for more mixing even as they condemn the problems that very mixing creates. Stateside, the ACLU opposes racial profiling but insists on having open borders that make such profiling increasingly necessary.

However, one major American media outlet, the Wall Street Journal, does favor profiling (as does Steve):
Another issue that should be front and center again is ethnic profiling. We'd be shocked if such profiling wasn't a factor in the selection of surveillance targets that resulted in yesterday's arrests. Here in the U.S., the arrests should be a reminder of the dangers posed by a politically correct system of searching 80-year-old airplane passengers with the same vigor as screeners search young men of Muslim origin. There is no civil right to board an airplane without extra hassle, any more than drivers in high-risk demographics have a right to the same insurance rates as a soccer mom.
Why not apply statistical information to our advantage, as Britain's Department for Transport is currently considering? Why, with so much putative celebration of diversity, would we refuse to let such diversity affect our decisions on a whole host of issues? It's culturally insensitive, isn't it, to pretend that all people are essentially the same as you or I? TSAs need to protect me from aggression (and my recent trip to Chicago doesn't instill confidence as I'll explain soon) or I'll be forced to do it myself. I'm not getting on a plane with eight other twenty-something males of Middle Eastern descent, especially if they haven't been thoroughly inspected. My concern does not rest with quixotic notions of indiscrimination. It rests with security in travel and the efficient movement of travelers.

There are plenty of people who fatuously proclaim a love for diversity in general but who then hastily deny it exists when questions of specification about such diversity are brought up. Recoiling from any characterization that differentiates homosexual men in northern California from Shia men in southern Iraq, the explanation is that individuals are so diverse that no generalizations can be made about any of them or any group they may belong to. In short, people are so different that they are exactly the same, and only a miscreant would try to understand the points of similarity and contrast between them.

By sufficiently making all of the US look like America, and each place on the globe look like the world, the multiculturalists are trying to chip away at the diversity that makes the Bronx distinct from Boise and Dublin different from Sarajevo. With so much entropy at the local level and uniformity at the global level, largescale private organization becomes difficult to sustain, creating an ideal circumstance for the imposition of a global governing body does not have to concern itself with illiciting united opposition.

(Terrorism)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nation of foreign settlers

Even if the markets have been flat, at least one area of the American landscape is booming:
The number of immigrants living in American households rose 16 percent over the last five years, fueled largely by recent arrivals from Mexico, according to fresh data
released
by the Census Bureau.
Sixteen percent in half a decade, not even taking into account the children of immigrants who were born stateside.

Most are from Mexico:
More of America’s immigrants, legal or not, come from Mexico than any other country, an estimated 11 million in 2005, compared with nearly 1.8 million Chinese and 1.4 million Indians.
Indians in the US brought enjoyed a median income of $43,539 in 2004. The Chinese within the US trailed closely at $39,850. Mexicans, on the other hand--$20,814 for males in 2000 (for Chinese men the same year it was $40,423). Our Asian pals are also around 5 times as likely to obtain at least a bachelor's degree, and only one-twelfth as likely to be involved in criminal activity. Glad to see where filching the cream of the crop.

They are fanning out across the country:
And increasingly, immigrants are bypassing the traditional gateway states like California and New York and settling directly in parts of the country that until recently saw little immigrant activity — regions like the Upper Midwest, New England and the Rocky Mountain States. ...

But it is in the less-expected immigrant destinations that demographers find the most of interest in the new data.

Indiana saw a 34 percent increase in the number of immigrants; South Dakota saw a 44 percent rise [I'll have to find another state to use in my talking point about Americans doing jobs Americans won't do--eventually, the myth will become a self-fulfilling prophecy with labor rates of destitution]; Delaware 32 percent; Missouri 31 percent; Colorado 28 percent; and New Hampshire 26 percent.

“It’s the continuation of a pattern that we first began to see 10 or 15 years ago,” said Jeff Passel, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, who has examined the new census data. “But instead of being confined to areas like the Southeast, it’s beginning to spill over into some Midwestern states, like Indiana and Ohio. It’s even moving up into New England.”

The economic opportunities have begun to outweigh the cultural and social familiarity Hispanic immigrants enjoy in cities like Los Angeles, where over 40% of the population is now foreign-born. Unskilled immigrants that journey into uncharted territory find the same luscious pastures in the Midwest, South, and Northeast, that their forebearers found in the gateway states of California, New York, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida.

But now those states are coming to resemble the very Mexican miasmas immigrants were hoping to escape. Sam Quinones recently reported on a migrant family, the Magdalenos, some of whom had found enormous prosperity in Lexington, a city that does a treacherous job of 'looking like America':
Today, the Magdalenos in Lexington earn more than they did in Los Angeles, in a city where the cost of living is lower. Kentucky is now their promised land, and they talk about California the way they used to talk about Mexico.

"What we weren't able to do in many years in California," Alejandra said, "we've done quickly here."We're in a state where there's nothing but Americans. The police
control the streets. It's clean, no gangs. California now resembles Mexico — everyone thinks like in Mexico. California's broken."
I'd like to avoid using insectile analagoies, so I won't draw a comparison between locusts devouring every bit of vegetation the wind blows them over before moving on to somewhere less desolate and mostly Hispanic laborers moving northward, establishing ethnic enclaves before heading to less developed areas up north. But as Latin America moves northward, the number of places that aren't broken like Mexico are going to be reduced in number.

Inundated with cheap labor, the previously mentioned gateway states are among the least attractive in the country by several measures. Where they rank in terms of monetary standard of living (out of only 49 states plus DC):

25) Texas
29) Florida
34) Arizona
37) New York
46) New Mexico
47) California

Wealth disparity as measured by the state gini coefficients (the better the ranking, the more equitable the state's wealth distribution):

28) Arizona
37) New Mexico
43) Florida
44) Texas
46) California
50) New York

And Estimated average IQ (determined by NAEP results):

30) New York
35) Texas
42) Florida
43) Arizona
46) California
47) New Mexico

None of these places have proportionally enormous black populations, either. So it's reasonable (but wrong) to expect them to perform moderately well on a host of quality-of-life measures.

There are better places to go, where brighter, more cohesive communities with a relatively limited labor supply provide higher paying jobs, better education, and a generally propitious environment to settle your life into. But that, like the natural ambience of a newly constructed home in a booming subdivision on the outskirts of town, fades as more people get in on the good stuff.

We need a wall, tough punitions for employers who exploit subsidized labor, and the deportation of net liabilities who have their illegality revealed in the course of daily life within the US.

(Immigration2)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Gov't to release more accurate numbers

It's about time:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is contemplating a change in the idely followed consumer-price index that could have a big impact on how markets and policy makers interpret the latest inflation data.

The agency, part of the Department of Labor, is considering publishing the index and its subindexes to three decimal places instead of one, an agency official said. Doing so would greatly reduce the frequency with which rounding produces a misleading inflation rate.
Wall Street and the Fed both attentively follow the core inflation index (which excludes food and energy in addition to having other shortcomings) put out by the Bureau each month. The markets hit a springboard or a precipice depending on the number. Currently, the inflation rate is given as a percentage to the first decimal place. The change reported can be figured by looking at the actual index by month. The problem is, this number is rounded as well. So conceivably a change of .25% is reported as .3%, while a nearly equivalent shift of .249% is reported as .2%, a 50% difference in the magnitude of reported inflation.

Fortuitously, we live in the 21st Century, at a time when extending a number derived from the prices of over 80,000 items (before rounding its decimal extension competes with pi) is easily doable. It's inexplicable that the Bureau wouldn't make this painless and informative change that first-semester business school students would know to institute ASAP.

(Economy)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

South Korea weans itself from US military support

The process of ending US operational control of South Korean military operations if the south faces a wartime situation continues, and has led to a thousands-strong protest in Seoul:

Senior military and security experts were joined by thousands of conservative activist groups on Friday in a rally against Korea’s efforts to take over sole wartime operational control of its forces. Participants said President Roh Moo-hyun and his administration were destroying the Korea-U.S. alliance with efforts to take wartime control out of U.S. hands and called for Roh’s resignation if they persist. Some slogans called for the president to be impeached.
The Korean divide breaks down sharply by age, with older generations (especially military veterans) favoring a continued US presence and younger ones wanting more self-determination. President Roh Moo-hyun is a left-liberal (by Korean standards--notice, incidentally, how confusing the terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' can be, as it is the liberals in Korea who favor more national control while the conservatives want more of an international presence in deciding South Korean actions). So time is on Roh's side. For now, the plan is for parallel commands to be run in the event of hostilities with North Korea or some other cause for military action, presumably China.

Further, the US plans on continuing to draw down its commitments on the peninsula:
The U.S. has proposed returning the wartime operational control of troops to South Korea by 2009, citing the latter's improved defense capabilities, while South Korea hopes to take over the wartime command after 2011. ...

Currently, about 30,000 U.S. troops [in comparison to South Korea's total military personnel of 680,000] are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War. The U.S. plans to cut the number to 25,000 by 2008.
Retaining sedentary forces in South Korea is antithetical to Rumsfeld's plan to make the US military leaner, more reliant on precision and satellite-guided firepower, and numerically smaller. Also, the presence of troops feeds public hostility to the US when accidents like the death of two Korean girls who were run over by a tank a few years back occur. It lessens the incentive for Japan and Taiwan--both of whom are threatened by North Korea's unpredictability immediately and China in the future--to do the heavy lifting in counter-balancing the PRC's influence in Asia. South Korea is also threatened by the North, but it's more complicated in that the collapse of Kim Jung Il's regime presents a massive refugee problem for the South to deal with.

Seems to me that we benefit from gradually removing ourselves militarily from South Korea. As the US faces external challenges from the continued quagmire in Iraq and wider Middle East and internal challenges from an incoming wave of entitlement obligations, an aging society, and global competition, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are going to have to assume greater responsibility as the power balancers in Asia (currently the combined military spending of the three countries comes to $73 billion, about $8 billion short of China but dwarfing the paltry $5 billion spent by the North). The acquisition of nuclear weapons by at least one of these three (in addition to those possessed by India) would be enough to substantially check Chinese military expansionism if that ever arises. By conceding this right to South Korea, the US will be able to win a few PR points in overturning the restriction it put on Seoul when it wanted to go nuclear over thirty years ago.

On the other hand, continued cooperation between the North and South will have a better chance of succeeding without US interference. Some progress has been made:
In terms of inter-Korean relations, considerable accomplishments were made in the first half of 2004: inter-Korean cooperative projects were smoothly carried out; military cooperation was realized; and an atmosphere conducive to resolving the nuclear issue was created, etc. Up until late July, nine occasions of political/military talks, 13 occasions of economic talks, and three occasions of Red Cross/sports-related talks were held (total of 25 meetings).
Busting the North out of Kim Sung Il's terrible centrally-controlled disaster is a long time coming. Despite having an estimated IQ of 106 (although severe malnutrition that has left younger North Koreans several inches shorter than their southern siblings has likely had a deleterious effect on the North's average IQ), the average North Korean suffers a standard of living as measured by purchasing power parity equivalent to that of the average Haitian.

(International)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Human biodiversity2

NYT's Nick Wade excerpt on race (November 16, 2006)

Re-reading NYT's science reporter Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn, the following excerpt (p194) struck me as both profound and obvious:
But the existence of considerable variation between races should not be any surprise either, given that the human family has long been split into separate branches, each of which has evolved independently for up to 50,000 years or more, buffeted in different directions by the random forces of genetic drift and the selective pressures of different climates, diseases, and societies.
Humans, of course, are not exempt from evolutionary forces. Drift, mutation, and selection continue to apply to us. Ignoring this has disastrous consequences, from hampering efforts to get medicines to people who stand to benefit from them (BiDil, for example) to immigration policies, from affirmative action quotas to interventionist wars like Iraq. We reject human biodiversity at our own peril.


Hispanic IQ estimates by state (November 6, 2006)

Same methodology used for previous estimates to estimate average Hispanic IQ by state:

1. Missouri -- 100.0
2. Wyoming -- 95.9
3. Virginia -- 95.7
4. Alaska -- 95.1
5. Ohio -- 94.8
6. Nebraska -- 94.8
7. Delaware -- 94.6
8. Arkansas -- 94.4
9. Pennsylvania -- 94.2
10. Kansas -- 94.0
11. Texas -- 94.0
12. Wisconsin -- 93.7
12. Massachusetts -- 93.7
14. New Jersey -- 93.6
15. Iowa -- 93.6
16. South Carolina -- 93.6
17. North Carolina -- 93.6
17. Michigan -- 93.6
19. Minnesota -- 93.5
20. Colorado -- 93.4
21. Florida -- 93.4
22. Maryland -- 93.3
23. New York -- 93.2
24. Illinois -- 93.2
25. Indiana -- 93.0
25. Idaho -- 93.0
27. Oklahoma -- 92.8
28. Hawaii -- 92.6
29. Washington -- 92.5
30. Oregon -- 92.2
31. Utah -- 92.2
32. New Mexico -- 92.0
33. Geogria -- 92.0
34. Arizona -- 91.4
35. DC -- 91.3
36. Nevada -- 90.8
37. Conneticut -- 90.8
38. California -- 90.7
39. Rhode Island -- 88.4

Yes, according to the NAEP's published results, that Missouri score is correct. It may be a statistical fluke or the result of a relatively high number of less endowed Hispanics being exempt from testing for whatever reason--made plausible as explanations by the fact that less than 3% of the state's student body is Hispanic.

I colored the states to correspond with the 2004 Presidential election to illustrate a curiosity--red state Hispanics do noticeably better than Hispanics from blue states. Indeed, Hispanic scores in Bush states are a little more than 1.1 IQ points higher than Hispanic scores in Kerry states. For whites, blacks, and Asians, the average Kerry state score bests the average Bush state score by 1.1, .4, and .2 IQ points, respectively.

It may also be that the Show Me state's diminutive Hispanic population is relatively talented. The size of a state's test-taking Hispanic population inversely correlates, at a statistically significant .41, pretty well with its estimated average IQ. A good thing for our Hispanics is for them to be removed from lots of other Hispanics. This further evinces the Latin world's low intellectual curiosity even relative to its IQ, and reinforces the need for at least a hiatus in immigration to assimilate those already here, as well as suggesting that the children of Hispanic parents in the US stand to suffer from continued underclass immigration from Latin America.

I suspect to some extent the least skilled Hispanics are more likely to flock to high cost-of-living centers where there are plenty of menial servant jobs to be performed and lots of other Hispanics to work, live, and collect benefits with, while more industrious Hispanics go it alone (or have lived for some time) in the belly of the white middle class beast.

Too bad Hispanics aren't broken up into sub-categories. The Hispanic state spread is nearly 12 points (almost a full standard deviation) compared to just over a six point spread between the highest and lowest scoring states for blacks and whites (excluding the DC 'anomaly' for whites). So the average Hispanic from Missouri is at the 55th percentile nationally, while the average Rhode Island Hispanic is at only the 18th percentile (a 37 point spread). Comparatively, the white spread ranges from the 64th percentile in Massachusetts to the 47th percentile in West Virginia (17 point spread), and the black spread ranges from the 41st percentile in Washington to the 25th percentile in Alabama (16 percentile spread) (see and improve upon my speculating as to why black scores are higher relative to white scores than has historically been the case).


White IQ estimates by state (November 3, 2006)

Using the same methodology and NAEP data previously described, estimates for non-Hispanic whites by state follow (with non-public school adjustment first, and then without at the end of the post):

1. DC -- 107.4
2. Massachusetts -- 103.4
3. Minnesota -- 102.9
4. New Jersey -- 102.7
5. Colorado -- 102.6
6. Virginia -- 102.5
7. New York -- 102.3
8. Wisconsin -- 102.3
9. North Dakota -- 102.3
10. South Dakota -- 102.2
11. Conneticut -- 102.1
12. Montana -- 102.1
13. Kansas -- 102.1
14. Nebraska -- 102.1
15. Alaska -- 101.9
16. Delaware -- 101.9
17. Texas -- 101.9
18. Pennsylvania -- 101.7
19. South Carolina -- 101.6
20. Maryland -- 101.5
21. Ohio -- 101.5
22. Iowa -- 101.5
23. Illinois -- 101.4
24. Michigan -- 101.3
25. Vermont -- 101.3
26. New Hampshire -- 101.3
27. Washington -- 101.0
28. Missouri -- 100.8
29. Idaho -- 100.8
30. Wyoming -- 100.8
31. Oregon -- 100.7
32. North Carolina -- 100.6
33. Georgia -- 100.6
34. Arizona -- 100.5
35. Florida -- 100.1
36. Utah -- 100.1
37. Indiana -- 100.1
38. Maine -- 99.9
39. New Mexico -- 99.7
40. Rhode Island -- 99.7
41. California -- 99.7
42. Arkansas -- 99.5
43. Louisiana -- 99.3
44. Oklahoma -- 99.3
45. Kentucky -- 98.9
46. Tennessee -- 98.8
47. Mississippi -- 98.5
48. Alabama -- 98.5
49. Nevada -- 98.5
50. Hawaii -- 98.5
51. West Virginia -- 97.1

When discussing Tickle's state IQ averages, Steve wrote:

[DC's] small white ultra-yuppie population in the Northwest of DC is, I would guess, in a class by itself in average IQ compared to any full state.
I've been unable to find the percentage of DC's white population that attends non-public schooling, so the estimate above errantly assumes all of the District's white urchins go to public schools. In reality DC's white IQ might be as high as 108.

Unsuprising, for the most part. Very generally, white's do more stellar in the northeast and performance slides modestly as you head south and west. Chilly weather 'helps' as well. Why do Rhode Island, and more curiously Maine, perform poorly relative to states in close proximity? Texas and South Carolina, interestingly, both do well for southern states, and Colorado kicks butt for being so far west. Why do whites in Hawaii do almost as poorly as whites in the impoverished Appalachian state of West Virginia?

The blue/higher IQ relationship is more meaningful when only whites are considered, which is what many stuffy white leftists are actually trying to get at when they fallaciously clamor about things like the infamous IQ hoax. Of course when Hispanics and blacks are considered, it's certain that Republican voters have, on average, higher IQs than Democratic voters. But when whites are exclusively considered, that may not be the case, although presumably the affluent in both blue and red states tend toward voting Republican in greater proportions than denizens of the state do on the whole.

Without the non-public school adjustment:

1. DC -- 107.4
2. Massachusetts -- 103.3
3. Minnesota -- 102.8
4. New Jersey -- 102.5
5. Colorado -- 102.4
6. Virginia -- 102.3
7. North Dakota -- 102.2
8. New York -- 102.2
9. Wisconsin -- 102.1
9. South Dakota -- 102.1
11. Montana -- 102.1
12. Kansas -- 102.0
12. Nebraska -- 102.0
14. Conneticut -- 102.0
15. Alaska -- 101.8
16. Texas -- 101.6
17. Delaware -- 101.6
18. Pennsylvania -- 101.6
19. Ohio -- 101.4
20. Iowa -- 101.4
21. South Carolina -- 101.3
22. Maryland -- 101.3
23. Vermont -- 101.3
24. New Hampshire -- 101.3
25. Illinois -- 101.2
26. Michigan -- 101.2
27. Washington -- 101.0
28. Missouri -- 100.7
28. Idaho -- 100.7
28. Wyoming -- 100.7
31. Oregon -- 100.7
32. North Carolina -- 100.4
33. Georgia -- 100.4
34. Arizona -- 100.2
35. Utah -- 100.1
36. Indiana -- 100.0
37. Maine -- 99.9
38. Florida -- 99.8
39. Rhode Island -- 99.5
40. New Mexico -- 99.5
41. California -- 99.4
42. Arkansas -- 99.3
43. Oklahoma -- 99.0
44. Louisiana -- 99.0
45. Kentucky -- 98.9
46. Tennessee -- 98.7
47. Hawaii -- 98.4
48. Nevada -- 98.3
49. Alabama -- 98.3
50. Mississippi -- 98.2
51. West Virginia -- 97.0


Military men, women really not dunces (November 3, 2006)

I cringe whenever someone is raked over the coals for saying something provocative. It's nearly impossible to offend me, but tight lips owing to concerns over the reaction of the thought/expression police comes closest. So the predictable reaction to John Kerry's latest gaffe has been disappointing. I wish his words would be used as a starting point for widespread discussion of the intelligence of our military personnel. But as Steve Sailer points out, that'd inevitably lead us down the road to the DoD categorical system based on batteries that are basically IQ tests (which is exactly why we need the discussion).

Instead, Republican partisans will blather on about how this illustrates the Dems' innate disdain for the military, erstwhile Democratic cheerleaders expediently called for an apology and can now smugly and quietly have reinforced the view that the military is comprised of dunces due to the lack of solid argument refuting the assumption.

But the data does not support the stereotypical ignorant, destitute military person. If the DoDEA schools were aggregated and counted as an individual state, they'd have the eighth highest estimated average IQ (100.6) in the country, just behind Minnesota and ahead of Wisconsin.

More impressive still is that the DoDEA manages to get said results from a demographic pool that is only 58.1% white, 22% black, and 9.9% Hispanic, and 9.0% Asian. If estimates are broken up by race and by state, the DoDEA schools fare astoundingly well. For Hispanics, as its own state the DoDEA would rank first, with an estimated IQ of 100.2. Ditto for blacks, at 95.8. For whites, it'd come in third, at 102.8. For Asians, it'd be a middling 11th of 23, at 101.3 (hardly a score to be ashamed of).

Far from being the last resort for desperate minorities, the US military is a bastion of our intellectually above-average compatriots of all races. Let's stop sacrificing them for the putative benefit of Iraqis who are glad to see them die.

Also see Steve's post on estimated military IQ from the late nineties. Those in uniform look even better. Keep in mind the children of military personnel will experience some regression to the mean and that DoDEA schools are for servicemen mostly stationed outside the US whereas enlistment scores are taken from all military personnel (the finance branch and other professional tasks done disproportionately in-country?).


More musings on state IQ (November 2, 2006)

Adjusting for the percentage of white children attending non-public schooling altered my IQ estimates modestly (they follow at the end of this post--the original estimates are here). The adjustment bumped up the correlation between McDaniel's estimates and my own from .962 to .964 and edged up the correlation between my estimates and that of the Vietnam Veterans from .52 to .53, as well as a miniscule increase in the relationship to Tickle's scores and the results from Project Talent (less than one one-hundreth in both cases).

But John S Bolton commented on something that had also given me pause--McDaniel gleaned his estimates from NAEP data on fourth graders from 1992 to 2005, and on eighth graders from 1990 to 2005. This might be inflating the scores of states that have experienced the greatest amount of demographic shifting over the last decade and a half. Presumably the Vietnam Vet and Project Talent scores would be similarly affected. Specifically, states that have seen the greatest influx of underachieving Hispanic immigrants should perform more poorly in my estimates made solely on 2005 data.

It's hard to discern much. Florida, New Mexico, and Texas fare better by McDaniel, but California, Arizona, Illinois, and Colorado do worse.

John also brought up the question of putative white racism. The relationship between one racial group's performance by state and the proportion of various racial groups in the state doesn't appear to be very robust across the board. But blacks in a state perform more poorly as the percentage of the state's population that is black increases (a state's black average score and the percentage of its population that is black are inversely correlated at a moderate .29). Is it irrational racism that is hindering blacks or is it that black underclass pathologies undercut already disadvantaged blacks even further?

Also of interest, black and white scores within a state trend in the same direction. The correlation between the average white and black score in a state is a firm .50 (excluding the aberration of DC, where stuffy whites do tremendously well). Better teaching methods increasing scholastic performance to the extent that's possible? The result of affluent, more gifted English lineage and blacks with a greater percentage of European ancestry concentrated in the Northeast?

1. Massachusetts -- 101.7
2. North Dakota -- 101.5
3. Vermont -- 101.5
4. South Dakota -- 101.3
5. Montana -- 101.3
6. New Hampshire -- 101.2
7. Minnesota -- 100.9
8. Wisconsin -- 100.6
9. Wyoming -- 100.5
10. Iowa -- 100.2
11. Maine -- 99.9
12. Idaho -- 99.9
13. Washington -- 99.9
14. Nebraska -- 99.8
15. Virginia -- 99.7
16. Kansas -- 99.7
17. Ohio -- 99.6
18. Colorado -- 99.4
19. New Jersey -- 99.4
20. Oregon -- 99.3
21. Delaware -- 99.1
22. Michigan -- 99.1
23. Utah -- 99.0
24. Conneticut -- 98.9
25. Pennsylvania -- 98.9
26. Missouri -- 98.7
27. Indiana -- 98.7
28. Alaska -- 98.7
29. Kentucky -- 98.3
30. New York -- 98.0
31. Illinois -- 97.9
32. South Carolina -- 97.7
33. North Carolina -- 97.6
34. Maryland -- 97.3
35. Texas -- 97.2
36. Rhode Island -- 97.0
37. Oklahoma -- 97.0
38. West Virginia -- 96.8
39. Tennessee -- 97.7
40. Arkansas -- 96.7
41. Georgia -- 96.5
42. Florida -- 96.2
43. Arizona -- 96.1
44. Nevada -- 95.1
45. Louisiana -- 94.9
46. California -- 94.8
47. New Mexico -- 94.6
48. Alabama -- 94.5
49. Hawaii -- 94.4
50. Mississippi -- 93.3
51. DC -- 87.9


State IQ estimates from McDaniel of Virginia Commonwealth University

What makes being audacious enjoyable can also make it turbulent. Saying or posting something novel runs the risk of overlooking something critical that renders all you've said meaningless and leaves you looking like an idiot (see three-fourths the way down in the comments section). So when a big-league player comes out and mirrors almost exactly what you've come up with, it's quite a relief.

Professor Michael McDaniel of VCU recently had a paper published in Intelligence estimating average IQ by state based on NAEP testing results (easily accessible viewing of the estimates via Dienekes). You may recall that I attempted the same back in July. Well, we were after the same thing. Our results correlate almost perfectly at over .96. Doubtful a distinguished professor gets a confidence boost from the supportive results of some livingroom puke, but the puke sure does!

We did differ in some ways, however. McDaniel set the mean IQ at 100 with a standard deviation of 15 and averaged the mean results from NAEP reading and math scores by state for both the fourth and eighth grades. He also adjusted for the percentage of white children in each state attending non-public schools.

I took the regression equations produced by running the numbers in the data table put together by Richard Lynn in Race Differences in Intelligence where he correlates IQ scores with international math and science test scores (pp 173-175) and then adjusted the nominal test score values (by running an IQ of 98 through the regression equation produced by Lynn's numbers) on the international tests to the NAEP math and science tests in the US, applying an equal weight to eighth grade math and science NAEP scores.

I opted for science scores over reading scores for a few reasons: Lynn used math and science, scholastic science questions are more g-loaded than reading ones are (reading skills are more problematic at younger ages), and reading comprehension questions are more biased against newly-arrived immigrants than either science or math questions are. A minor drawback is that Kansas and Pennsylvania lack NAEP science results so I had to estimate using only the math results for these two states.

Whether math, science, or reading results are used is of mostly academic importance: math and science results correlate at .90, math and reading at .91, and (somewhat surprisingly) science and reading at .95 (all for eighth graders).

McDaniel probably improves on my estimates by taking non-public school attendance into account. He argues that private- and homeschooled children tend to be cognitively above average. Generally that makes sense, although about 7% of private schools in the US are devoted to special education, and with over three-fourths are religiously affiliated, questions of values and morality rather than just academic attributes have to be considered. The NCES estimates that privately-schooled eighth graders score the equivalent of 12.3 points better on NAEP math tests (not in terms of IQ--the max is 500). I'll adjust for the proportion of private school attendees accordingly in the near future to see if it might improve the estimates.

In his VDare column on McDaniel's work, Steve Sailer compares the professor's estimates with those of previous good-faith attempts at ascertaining average state IQs. I correlated mine with the same attempts. With McDaniel's in green and mine in blue, estimates correlate with the 1960 Project Talent at .60 and .60, a mid-eighties study of Vietnam Vets' IQ at .63 and .61, with a combined ACT/SAT estimate at .71 and .71, and with Tickle's averages at .53 and .52. Quite similar, although McDaniel's are a bit more vigorous. I suspect that is due to the non-public schooling adjustment.

McDaniel's work is long overdue, as it dispels the spurious estimates of state IQ that have bubbled up in the past. And his academic courage is admirable. For example, in the discussion following his results, he writes:

IQ at the individual level has strong correlates with race. There are large and intractable mean racial differences in IQ at the person level... Because racial composition of the state is a large magnitude correlate of state IQ, one cannot expect meaningful changes in estimated state IQ as long as the state racial composition is relatively stable.
Plenty of sharp Americans, as well as myself, have long advocated the institution of a merit immigration system to allow the US to glean the global cream of the crop (to increase the national IQ and standard of living, shrink the wealth gap, etc) rather than absorbing millions of destitute third-world liabilities as our current immigration policy does. McDaniel logically takes this same argument to the state level:

States might structure incentives to encourage those with high IQs to remain in the state. Likewise, a state may encourage high IQ individuals to have children. Over time, these policies should raise the average IQ of state residents.
Without apology, he suggests different eugenic techniques, entertaining the 2,500 year old Platonic idea of state-permitted birthing. No less unapologetically, he points out that states might consider becoming "Jewish-friendly" to pull in buckets of Ashkenazi.

Business schools harp relentlessly on the idea of human capital, and yet the full scope of what this means is so rarely bantered about. Instead, education and training proxy loosely for IQ, but at great deadweight loss (a concept B-schools are also familiar with). I wish I could take a few classes with McDaniel--undoubtedly the lectures and conversations would be more fruitful than the typical blather that ignores human biodiversity.


More on black IQ estimates (October 22, 2006)

That the black/white IQ gap may be narrowing is good news so long as it continues to be the result of increased black IQ. At the same time it illustrates the disastrous toll the sixties cultural revolution has taken on the African American community. In spite of better nutrition, access to better education and healthcare, possible cognitive gains, and the near eradication of irrational racism (directed at blacks), the black illegitimacy rate hovers around 70%, up from 9% in 1950, blacks are incarcerated at a rate over eight times that of whites (pre-sixties they were imprisoned at four times the white rate), and white households now have on average over fourteen times the wealth of black households.

Irrational racism hasn't been eradicated completely, of course. Besides the Orwellian logic of discriminating to end discrimination, providing equal opportunity by explicitly creating unequal opportunity, etc, of affirmative action, irrational racism is constantly reinforced by black leaders and black entertainment. One only needs to listen to the local hip-hop station to get a flavor. The local station in my city uses the acronym "LSB" (light-skinned brother) to refer to whites that are approved of, while news segments focus almost exclusively on blacks in the local community (the black community places a much greater emphasis on current events relative to national or international ones than do mainstream sources of news, due in part to the tight geographical proximity that exists in the inner city). A 'legacy of slavery' pervades, putatively implicating all whites for an intractable disdain for blacks, a supposition that is in itself deeply and irrationally racist. This defeatism, constantly reinforced, makes it all the more difficult for an already disadvantaged group to progress socially and economically. So in spite of so many material improvements, in many ways the black community is in worse shape than it was in the early sixties.

Nonetheless, I'm encouraged by the potential black improvement.

Also, more to repudiate the myth that the US military is the hesistant refuge of the hopeless, especially among blacks. While the military is often derided as an institution that disproportionately risks the lives of young black men (even though blacks suffer casualties at rates lower than their numbers would suggest) with no where else to turn, black children in the Department of Defense Education Activity (the school system for servicepeople overseas) score higher than the black population of any of the fifty states plus DC (enjoying an estimated IQ of 95.8), placing them at the 44th percentile nationally (compared to the historical average at the 16th percentile for African Americans) just an arm's length behind New York's remaining white population.


Black IQ estimates by state (October 21, 2006)

Employing the same methodology used to estimate state average IQs, I've been breaking the results down by race. Black estimates by state follow (those not listed had too small an NAEP test-taking contingent to use with any statistical certainty):

1) Washington -- 94.5
2) Delaware -- 93.9
3) Massachusetts -- 93.6
3) Virginia -- 93.6
5) Alaska -- 93.5
6) New Jersey -- 92.9
7) Colorado -- 92.9
8) South Carolina -- 92.5
9) New Mexico -- 92.3
10) Kentucky -- 92.2
11) Texas -- 92.2
12) New York -- 92.1
13) Oregon -- 92.0
14) Arizona -- 91.9
15) North Carolina -- 91.5
16) West Virginia -- 91.5
17) Georgia -- 91.3
18) Iowa -- 91.3
18) Kansas -- 91.3
20) Maryland -- 91.2
21) Ohio -- 91.1
22) Michigan -- 91.1
23) Conneticut -- 90.6
24) Indiana -- 90.4
25) Pennsylvania -- 90.4
26) Missouri -- 90.4
27) Rhode Island -- 90.2
28) Louisiana -- 90.1
29) Minnesota -- 90.0
30) Illinois -- 89.8
30) Oklahoma -- 89.8
32) California -- 89.7
33) Florida -- 89.6
34) Wisconsin -- 89.5
35) Tennessee -- 89.3
36) Nebraska -- 89.0
37) Nevada -- 88.7
38) DC -- 88.6
39) Mississippi -- 88.5
40) Arkansas -- 88.0
41) Alabama -- 87.8

The relatively high scores jump out immediately to those who are familiar with the historical results of IQ testing by race. Adjusted for population, the average IQ estimate for black Americans comes to just under 91. Traditionally, African Americans have consistently scored around 85, and the gap between whites and blacks has held tenaciously at one standard deviation. So these estimates appear rather high. A few possibilities as to why:

- The black/white IQ gap may be narrowing. Flynn and Dickens argue that blacks have gained five or six points on whites over the last three decades, presumably spurred in part by better access to nutrition and healthcare. If accurate, that would put contemporary average African American IQ at 90 or 91, just as my estimates did.

- The rate of interracial marriage and procreation has increased over time. Lynn marshalls lots of evidence showing that racial 'hybrids' tend toward IQs that are an average of the two groups their parents represent. The offspring of one black and one white parent represent almost 3% of American births today, compared to about 2.3% in 1995 and around 1.3% in 1980. This should work to attenuate the gap by slightly lowering average white IQ and raising average black IQ a bit (the latter should rise more than the former falls due to sheer size). But taking a net 1.7% 'blending' and assuming a 15 point gap would only be expected to narrow the gap by a quarter of one point.

Relatedly, states with lighter skinned blacks (those with more white ancestry in the northern states especially) tend to achieve higher test score results, although the results aren't that pronounced. Deep-south South Carolina certainly bucks the trend, probably due to the number of black military families at Fort Jackson, where most army personnel are initially trained.

- I built the formula for the estimates using Lynn's data on international academic and IQ test results, so my equation is linear. Although Lynn believes that adjusting for attenuation yields a correlation between test scores and IQ of 1 (a perfect relationship), I'm inclined to assume that the correlations for IQ and math (.87) and IQ and science (.81), even adjusted for attenuation, are still not perfect. And because my formula is linear, moving further out from the averages if anything underestimates the magnitude of the true deviation. So depending on the true strength of the relationship, the estimates might be inflated by a couple of points (although I think this would only be on the order of a point or two).

- Differing rates of truancy by race may be artificially giving blacks a boost relative to whites. Assuming that children frequently absent from school generally come from more chaotic, less endowed households, it follows that students who are the least likely to show up on test day are among the poorest performers. And the absentee rate for black children (24%), defined as missing an average of three or more days per month, is greater than the rate for white striplings (19%).

- According to Rushton, black adolescents develop faster than white adolescents (who in turn develop faster than Asians). Consequently, young blacks achieve greater parity with their white counterparts than they do as both groups age. Indeed, very early on black children may be more intelligent than whites and Asians due to relatively accelerated physical development. This meshes with the Steve Sailer's tentative assertion and the GNXP graph supporting it that the gap may have narrowed among children but doesn't appear to be shrinking among adults. To the extent that differing development levels affect average scores by race, IQ tests based on an average white IQ of 100 given to children will tend to underestimate the eventual cognitive capacity of Asians and overestimate it for blacks.


Quick reflection on Stossel's stereotyping (September 15, 2006)

Stossel didn't disappoint. Sure, watching Race and Sex: What you think but don't say was akin to the introductory first day of class in Steve Sailer 101, and even the most casual Sailer reader probably didn't learn anything new, Stossel is a media insider who has the ability to override the omerta on honest discussion on the various topics of human biodiversity that permeates so many aspects of every person's daily existence. While he threw in a bone for leftists to knaw on at the end by solely focusing on the evil of white hate groups (and completely ignoring black hate crimes that occur at 225% the rate of white hate crimes), his special will still deservingly get him branded an iconoclast by the high priests of the ZGD myth.

He briefly covered a host of interesting topics (although his methodology was by no means perfect and the sample sizes probably always too small to be considered reliable):

- American children appeared to find a Muslim man wearing a headscarf more menacing than an East Asian guy (but while he suggested this was a racial stereotype, it was more likely due to the headscarf (both shots were from the neck up)--people find items that hide the person of an individual to be suspicious. From an evolutionary and social standpoint this makes sense--a threat might be lurking behind obfuscatory item. For example, we shake hands to show we're unarmed, and people in supervisory roles often pace with their hands linked behind their lower backs to project a higher status than those they are supervising).

- Across the generational spectrum, people had more negative impressions of the senescent (even old fogies held this view) than of the young. Well, most people don't like to die. It's scary, and it means you can't reproduce anymore. Plus old people are less likely to provide you with useful services (although they might leave you a nice chunk of change--all the more reason to drive them to an early grave by despising them!)

- People of all races were more likely to shoot blacks in simulation games than people of other races. Blacks also followed this pattern. Well, blacks commit murder at seven times the rate of non-blacks and they have more athletic prowess (they'll be able to shoot you quickly, so better get them first). So it's foolish (even if you're black), not to be initially more weary of unknown blacks than unknown members of other groups.

- The supposed tests regarding the power of stereotypes that accidently proves how fickle stereotypes (or self-images, more accurately) are at the individual level did not deviate from what I'd predicted. The supposed stereotypes that reticently permeated all things in a way seemingly intractable in evil white society were quickly dispelled by things as innocuous as thirty second tv commercials. Tell a woman she's dirt before she performs, and she won't perform as well as if you tell her she's Athena. It doesn't matter what you told her yesterday. So Stossel (his admittedly unscientific study used a whopping four women--sample size problems indeed!) and the studies he referenced strongly suggest that people are anchored at some innate level on a host of attributes from athletic ability to aptitude, and that the level of personal self-confidence and motivation can alter performance a bit in either direction for as long as it is effectively kept up. Again, stuff we've known for a long time.

- He brought in John Entine, author of the book Taboo, to discuss West African dominance in sprinting, and Kenyan dominance in distance running.

- He dismissed the charge that slavery played some part in African American physical dominance by pointing out that slave breeding was never a real phenomenon. But mortality rates on the Transatlantic voyage, apparently running around 10%, probably moderately selected for stronger blacks.

- The biggest disappointment was that only negative stereotypes were commented on in detail. And when it was reported that blacks presented with favorable messages prior to taking tests scored higher than those who received negative messages, it didn't compare these higher scores with those of other races (as they surely do not come close to closing the racial gap).


Stossel on stereotyping (September 15, 2006)

John Stossel will be hosting a 20/20 special putatively about stereotypes (although the content strikes me as more accurately being about self-image rather than the perceptions one has of others) this evening. I happened to catch the GMA's promotional interview with him this morning, and immediately became credulous about his claim that 30%+ swings in test scores were attributable to the test-taker's self image. He made this claim based on the results of two groups of girls, one which saw a commercial featuring a ditsy Malibu Stacy before taking the test.

There's a plethora of potential failings in the methodology used to reach the conclusions, which I hope will be fully explained in the one hour segment airing at 10pm Eastern time tonight.

For one, it appeared that there were around ten or so testers per group. So sample size could be an enormous issue. Also, what did the control group do prior to the test? Witnessing dopey vacuity before doing something mentally rigorous is probably detrimental irrespective of the content. Did/would girls perform better if they saw feminist propaganda before taking a test?

Assuming this is all answered satisfactorily, I suspect 'propaganda' does have a palatable effect on performance, cognitive, physical, or otherwise. If it doesn't, high school coaches across the land are wasting their breathe on inspirational pre-game pep talks. I used to watch segments of One on One before basketball games, and the opening battle scene of Gladiator before Warcraft II tournaments. It certainly seemed to help.

The adherents of the ZGD (zero group differences) orthodoxy will undoubtedly use Stossel's report to bolster the view that blacks score a standard deviation lower on IQ tests than whites due to a low self-image propagated by a bigoted white-dominated society. (Of course they won't ask why the gap has remained so tenaciously even as white America's view of blacks has clearly improved over the last eighty years, or why white society apparently paints Asians in a better light than it paints itself, or why racial supremacists don't perform astronomically on aptitude tests, or why an American educational system that makes ubiquitous the idea that all students have the potential to be astronauts, scientists, or Congressmen, has been unable to keep pace with the rest of the developed world, particularly in Asia where students are put on various academic paths very early on based on their abilities).

But the question of duration is critical. Stossel's girls apparently saw the commercial right before taking the test. If they saw it a week prior, would it have any effect? Maybe I'd be able to recall Crowe's powerful words ("What we do in life men, echoes in eternity") from memory, but any effect would likely be greatly attenuated. And if I saw a CareBear episode right before the tournament, Gladiator from last week would be pushed out of my mind for sure.

Is the phenomenon one of 'institutionalized' stereotyping, or merely a question of personal motivation? If the former, then Stossel's results don't make sense. If a thirty second commercial can drop a person's performance by more than 30%, then the ubiquity of subtle societal stereotyping is easily remedied by a quick inspirational blurb. Educators across the country, NCLB requirements just became a lot easier to meet, and without any number fudging. Just tell the kids they're great (or mediocre this year, good next year, great the year after that, etc).

Yet I suspect that the program will be presented as if to show how damaging an 'instituitionalized', all-permeating stereotypical society is to all but heterosexual male WASPs who are supposed to enjoy a society that works for their benefit and presents them as infallible (of course contemporary American media does anything but that). If this were the case, it would be nearly impossible to prove (and in this way is quite religious in nature, whereas propaganda verfiably mutating performance back and forth makes cross-group comparisons easy). If it can be escaped from with a silly video clip lasting a few moments, then it really isn't much of a problem.

Some other tidbits Stossel lays out:


We'll show you tests that demonstrate the power of believing in stereotypes — how they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. For instance, women who watch commercials showing dumb women go on to do worse on intelligence tests. Blacks who are told a golf game is a test of athleticism score higher than blacks who are told the test is an intelligence test. Asian women score higher on IQ tests when reminded that they're Asian and lower when reminded they're women.
Again, if these results are valid (and to the extent they are, they are likely to have a greater effect on people who have little invested in the activities/tests they are performing--I doubt telling Tiger Woods that hybrids are better or worse than 'purebreds' at golf will have much effect on his performance), we've been wrong about stereotyping for a long time. Conventional wisdom said it was hard to undue. Self-proclaimed realists claimed it was largely based on statistical tendencies, and though not specifically true, still generally correct. But it would turn out to be incredibly fickle, as mutable as a cheesy tv spot.

Too bad Nixon's dead--he'd have been able to resurrect his image as a foreign policy expert by suggesting the US buy television and radio spots in hostile countries that subtely denegrated the ethnic majority there.

More seriously, group differences are very real and mostly intractable. Mood swings and motivational shifts can alter a person's performance to a degree, but sustainability and permanence are as elusive as they've ever been.

I'm looking forward to Stossel's special because for a mainstream journalists he's as close to a truth detective as one can find. If anyone will touch a taboo and spark a national conversation about it, it's him. And the preamble sounds promising:

And are some stereotypes true? Are blacks better athletes because they are physically different? Are gay men more effeminate [can even the most blithely quixotic leftist really dispute that?] and more likely to become dancers? We search for answers in "Race and Sex: What You Think, but Can't Say" this Friday, Sept. 15, at 10 p.m. ET.
Interesting, this comes on the heels of the release of Rushton's findings that males average a little over three points higher than females on IQ tests:


A study published in the September 2006 issue of the journal "Intelligence" analyzed 145 items from the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) in 100,000 17- to 18-year-olds and found a male IQ advantage of 3.63 points. It also found that the g factor--the general factor of mental ability underlay both the SAT Verbal (SAT-V) and the SAT Mathematics (SAT-M) scales with the congruence between these components greater than 0.90, and that it was the g factor that predicted student grades better than the traditionally used SAT-V and SAT-M scales.
Makes sense. For most of human history, mating was not a mutually decided upon act. Dominant men chose the women they wanted to mate with. Smart men had to figure out how to form alliances with other men, navigate traps set by rivals, and manipulate political and social arrangements to gain positions of dominance to procreate with the best women. This pressure wouldn't have existed as strongly in females. The healthy, pretty ones would be the most likely to be chosen.


Diversity training programs a failure (September 8, 2006)

The research of three pedants is the Dead White Male Society's way of telling us that wishful thinking doesn't change reality:


A study shows U.S. diversity training programs have failed to eliminate bias and increase the number of minorities in management.

The study concluded that, even though corporations have spent increasing amounts of money on such programs since the 1990s, the programs have not been effective.
These professors conclude that the training programs have failed. But they're wrong. Maybe the programs have failed to realize the results the anti-white crowd had hoped for, but they certainly haven't failed the businesses using them.

The market worked without the diversity mandates, and continues to work in spite of them. The American business world is fiercely competitive and, despite this sort of drivel, quite meritocratic. The minorities that these programs, borne out of the absurd money being made in the nineties, target are less capable than the whites (and likely the invisible Asian minority--the story doesn't specify) filling these managerial positions. An HR stooge can spend eight hours preaching to you about how great all belief systems other than yours are, and how the purveyors of said systems make fabulous employees deserved of a promotion, but if your own empirical analysis and lying eyes reveal that they aren't managerial material, it won't make a lick of difference. Sensitivity training doesn't alter the underlying truths of human biodiversity.

How do our professors deal with the results? Reevaluate their underlying assumptions about why swarthy people are underrepresented and white and yellow people are overrepresented in high-earner positions? Nope:


"The only truly effective way to increase the presence of minorities and women in managerial positions is through programs that create organizational responsibility," [Professor Frank Dobin of Harvard] added. "If no one is specifically charged with the task of increasing diversity, then the buck inevitably gets passed ad infinitum."
First we suggested to them indirectly through the cultural revolution that equal representation was more important than merit. Then through mandatory indoctrination, er, diversity training, we suggested to them explicitly that equal representation was more important than merit. Now we've no choice but to specifically put agents in place who are compensated based on their ability to stock our various companies with a 'diverse' workforce irrespective of merit. It's the only right thing to do!

Notice how Dobin assumes that the "only truly effective way" to kick out white (and Asian, shh) men and bring in women and browns is hire quota enforcers to ensure that promotional decisions first consider gender and ethnicity before looking at other secondary qualifications like past performance, education, sociability, or intelligence. Either he assumes that women and browns are outgunned by white (and Asian, quiet!) men (women because of other innate desires in life like childrearing and to a lesser extent intelligence; browns chiefly because of lower intelligence) or he assumes that white (and Asian (!)) men are hopeless bigots (okay, he almost certainly assumes, at least ostensibly, the second explanation). In either case, his position relies upon a breaching of the Dogma of Zero Group Differences; the former being obvious, the latter in that he assumes that white and Asian men are inherently bigoted while browns are helpless victims of their hate, an explanation that identifies clear racial differences in disposition.

Notice also how it is assumed that diversity is inherently a good to be strived for. No discussion of the possibility that the market might be working without spurious mandates from academia, and that demographic diversity might not be good for most businesses. That isn't intellectual diversity, which is contingent upon high IQs, but 'demographic diversity', which is Orwellian left-speak for 'fewer whities'. Perhaps businesses are passing the buck because they have an obligation to their shareholders and their customers to maximize returns and utility, respectively--not to share in the US' degredation of human capital.

We get to look forward to more of this garbage. Our porous borders and idiotic lack of immigration enforcement and failure to enact a merit immigration system are bringing in millions of less capable browns that are going to represent a boom for diversity task forces but a bust for human progress.


Military men and women aren't dunces (September 5, 2006)

The leftist media likes to portray American soldiers as either unsophisticated brutes looking to smash some ethnic community, or the hopelessly downtrodden indented into the service due to an utter lack of viable alternatives. What they don't like to convey, and indeed what most self-desribed patriotic Americans don't realize, is that the military classifies potential recruits into five categories based on AQFT scores (basically intelligence tests). Up until last year, category V's (IQ of about 80 or below) weren't allowed in at all, and category IV's (IQs between 80-92) comprised no more than 2% of the new recruits each year (although that number has shot up drastically to accomodate shortages, especially in the army).

Not surprisingly, military brats aren't stupid. Employing the same methodology used to estimate average IQs by state, that is, taking the regression equations produced by running the numbers in the data table put together by Richard Lynn in Race Differences in Intelligence where he correlates IQ scores with international math and science test scores (pp 173-175) and then adjusting the nominal test score values (by running an IQ of 98 through the regression equation produced by Lynn's numbers) on the international tests to the NAEP math and science tests in the US, I come up with the following. From the process described above and by applying equal weight to the science and math test scores by state, the list of states can be found here.

How do the DoDEA schools rank in comparison? With an estimated IQ of 100.6, the DoD's offspring perform at a level suggesting that if considered as an independent state, the DoD ranks eighth in the country, ahead of Wisconsin and just behind Minnesota. Not too shabby, especially when 38% of military enlistees are minorities, and 21% of the total force is black. All the more reason to despair the 2,651 and counting lost in Iraq (in addition to the 20,000 or more wounded there).

These people are, on average, smarter than the run-of-the-mill American. They're also healthier and more energetic. They don't need to join up to put food on the table. Their sense of duty is something we may need in the future, yet we are squandering it today by putting our boys in an exceedingly difficult situation, fighting human nature (Iraq's underwhelming IQ of 87, widespread consanguinety, and Islamic hostility toward Westerners on the home turf) and human garbage, hanging even the death penalty over their heads for untward conduct while on duty.

Also, the estimated IQs of other US territories:

Virgin Islands -- 88.0
Guam -- 87.2
American Samoa -- 75.8 (perhaps due in part to over 90% of the population speaking Samoan; on the NAEP science test, the adolescent population scored the equivalent of a 68.8. On the math test, hinging less on language fluency, the estimated IQ comes to 82.7, about on par with how non-Maori Pacific Islanders usually fare on aptitude tests. It might also have something to do with having the highest emigration rate in the world, with the better equipped moving out.)


Before the Dawn (August 17, 2006)

Is a fascinating and informative book that brings together NYT science reporter Nick Wade's vast work on human history, focusing most intensely on the human story from 50,000 to 5,000 years ago. If it's not on your reading list, at least let me pass on a few of the most salient points (and my thoughts on and additions to them) that stick in my mind without need for reference:

- Neanderthals, who developed dinstinctly from their African cousins 127,000 years ago, likely did not interbreed with the homo sapiens as the latter pushed them into extinction over a nearly 20,000 year long encroachment into Europe. Given the small size and bellicosity of human groups at the time, if minimal interbreeding did occur, it was probably in the form of female Neanderthal captives.

- Neanderthals, physically stronger and enjoying equivalent and in some cases higher encephalization quotients than homo sapiens, are posited to have lost out due to a lack of syntax development in language (if they could speak at all). Complex communication was our ancestors weapon of mass destruction (and a crucially important part of human evolution).

- Modern humans are all descended from a single Adam and a single Eve (although the two come from different time periods; Adam estimated to have lived 59,000 years ago, Eve 150,000 years ago).

- Hobbes knew a lot more about human nature than Rousseau. The annual mortality rate suffered in war for our nomadic ancestors was in some cases as high as 30%--contemporarily, it is around .5%. In concert with our budding pacificism, our skulls have undergone gracilization and become more delicate. We're just not as pugnacious as we used to be.

- First-degree murder is not a uniquely human activity. Chimps do it all the time, preferring at least a three-to-one advantage, so that two of the assaulters can restrain the victim while the third pummels him to death.

- Human populations continue to evolve disparately from one another. Wade points out that it is conceivable that sometime in the future the divergence will be so substantial that various human groups will be unable to mate with one another and the homo sapien community will split into different species.

Microcephalin, which appeared for the first time around 37,000 years ago, is now carried by over two-thirds of Europe and East Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, from 0% to 25% of members of various populations carry it. ASPM, another brain gene, popped up in either the Middle East or Europe only 6,000 years ago, with about half of the population in these regions carrying it. It's less common in East Asians and virtually non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus far, the genes are known to determine brain size.

Given the increased need for long-term planning through gathering food for the winter, the increased stress of having to deal with rougher climates, and having to battle perpetually with Neanderthals in Europe and homo erectus in East Asia, it is not surprising that higher IQs and EQs are generally found in human populations that had to deal with these novel challenges that weren't faced in Africa.

- Babies look non-descript as a defense mechanism against potentially angry fathers who might refuse to care for the child or even kill it if it appeared to be the handiwork of zoot suiter. Further, I would speculate, the generic appearance of human infants made non-parental females (and do a lesser extent males) more likely to provide care and refrain from overly preferential treatment of some youngsters in the absence of the biological parent.

- Genghis Khan probably has more living descendants than anyone else in recorded history. Days after finishing Wade's book, I read a biography on Khan and it comes as no surprise that this illiterate nomad of the Central Asian steppes has inherited 8% of the former Mongolian empire (the largest the world has ever known). While Khan was generous in allowing his top generals to have women and treasure from the plundered communities that the Mongols devastated (customarily they slaughtered or enslaved all men as well as the elderly, often times after agreeing to accept a peaceful surrender), Khan got first dibs. His sons, including his inebriated successor, Ogodei, carried on the tradition.

- Geographical determinism inevitably leads to biological determinism, as evolutionary pressures begin acting upon disparate groups as soon as they separate, although the sequence may largely work the other way around. That is, settled communities that had abandoned nomadic existence predate agriculture by as much as 8,000 years. Sedentary life, seemingly so superior now, required substantial adaptations; namely living in large groups and having to trust strangers, as well as the development of a sense of trust and reciprocity. Agriculture was a chance discovery following the existence of human settlements.

Generally, humans have probably still not developed sufficiently to an urban existence, and this ability likely varies genetically.

The last 50,000 years of human existence has been characterized by disparate human populations interbreeding almost exclusively. Add in genetic drift and founder effects, and we have a very diverse human community. This suggests genetic diversity is undoubtedly a factor in the different behaviors, physiologies, temperaments, cognitive abilities, ad infinitum that we see displayed in various human populations today.

Much more in the book. It's worth the time if you can spare it.