Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hunting for institutional racism

M.G., author of Those Who Can See, has yet another tremendously data-packed post, this time on institutional racism (including a fun yeti metaphor). Like the terrifying shambling strider, it wreaks havoc and destruction wherever it treads, yet no one is ever able to pinpoint any hard evidence of its actual existence.

That doesn't stop us from writing about it, though. Using Ngram viewer, the percentage of published books in the US containing the phrase, from the sixties--1962 being the year of its inception--through 2008:

During the high crime crack war years, we began to forget about the renegade ronso, as making excuses for dangerous behavior that was suddenly hitting too close to home presumably fell out of favor. But once that straightened itself out, we set our sights back on the sasquatch, and we haven't taken them off him since.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Education, IQ, and fertility

Reading some of Inductivist's work on fertility and political orientation among wealthy white women, I was struck by the following:
Education's effect is not the influence of IQ. Among this demographic, IQ is unrelated to fertility. The correlation between IQ and number of kids is .02--basically zero. Education's influence appears to be cultural.
I previously did my best to portray the strong, inverse relationship between educational attainment and fecundity in the US. The correlation is indisputable, but that, of course, does not necessarily inform us about causation. The fear of dysgenic dystopia in the future is usually premised on the notion that IQ, not schooling, and fertility run in opposite directions.

Inductivist's statement made me wonder how much IQ matters once education is taken into account. It's easy to conceptualize why contemporary education and procreation don't mesh well. Young men and women spend their most fertile years accumulating debt and squandering assets (if they have any to begin with). By the time they've graduated, established themselves in their careers, and fixed their personal balance sheets (if they ever manage to do these things, and increasing numbers of them do not), their biological clocks, especially women's, are past noon.

It's more difficult to do the same with intelligence. Popular culture does not particularly celebrate childbearing, but procreation isn't public enemy number one, either. The world-shrinking consequences of technological progress means there are more things than ever for intelligent people to pursue, of which having and raising kids is just one of an ineluctably growing many, and not a seemingly attractive or intellectually 'actualizing' one at that. But total fertility rates in the West were well above replacement for several decades after children had clearly become economic, time-consuming 'burdens' rather than an extra pair of hands to help on the farm. Intelligence and education are linked, often confusedly, in the public mind, but a plausible explanation is that more intelligent people tend to pursue more education, and end up having fewer children as a result.

Using the GSS, let's consider just that. In the following graphs, respondents are categorized into five groups* based on educational attainment and into five groups based on IQ as measured by wordsum scores. For contemporary relevance, only data from the last two decades are considered, and all respondents included are at least 35 years age to allow time for family formation to have occurred.

In the first graph, we see how educational attainment and fecundity relate among those of similar IQ:

So, among those who scored in the 0-3 range on the wordsum test (the real dumbs), those with less than a high school education (black bar), average just over three kids. Those real dumbs who graduated high school (brown bar) and those who spent some time in college without graduating (white bar), average about 2.5 each, the real dumbs with a bachelor's (yellow bar) about 1.75 kids, and those with post-graduate degrees (baby blue bar) 1.5.

For all IQ groupings, education is a strong predictor of fecundity. Even among the really smarts, obtaining a college degree reduces total fertility by 0.5. Among those of modest intelligence, staying in school means staying out of the delivery room. I'm sure there's a cute phrase like "Yale or jail" applicable here, but it's not coming to me at the moment (soliciting suggestions in the comments).

In the second graph, we see how IQ and fecundity relate among those of similar educational attainment:

The relationship here is considerably weaker. The effect of education on average total fertility rates among those of similar IQ is five times as large^ as the effect of IQ on average TFRs is among those of similar educational attainment. This is detectable in the latter graph by noticing how there is a clear decline in fecundity as we move up from one level of educational attainment to the next, but there is not much difference across the IQ spectrum among those of similar educational attainment.

While aware that it is an erroneous oversimplification to argue that the demographic transition in the West has been driven primarily by the increasing duration of formal educational attainment, the latter is strongly associated with the former. The more I look into it, the more difficult it becomes to think about the developed world's inverting age pyramid without considering educational romanticism.

We need methods to speed up the educational process, like self-paced coursework and subject-specific standardized testing (think AP tests for those in college) that allows autodidacts to receive credit as soon as they've demonstrated proficiency in a subject rather than after four inefficient months of spending three hours per week having it delivered to them at varying levels of effectiveness. Ideally, passing the bar would be the only requirement for practicing law and passing the CPA exam the only requirement for becoming a CPA. If this results in a perceived glut of lawyers and accountants, the respective tests can simply be made more difficult. While the relative value of high parental socioeconomic status will decrease and higher conscientiousness might as well, higher intelligence would be rewarded with more precision and young professionals would be able to get to work years earlier and with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars less debt on their shoulders.

Necessity being the mother of innovation, here's to hoping the impending popping of the education bubble ushers in changes along these lines.

GSS variables used: AGE(35-89), BORN(1), EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), YEAR(1990-2010), CHILDS

* Groups are mutually exclusive, so those who are listed as having graduated high school went exactly that far but no further. Obviously, those who have doctorate degrees also graduated from high school, but they are only represented in the "post-graduate" grouping here.

For IQ, respondents are broken up into five categories that come to roughly resemble a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%).

^ Ordinary least squares standardized regression coefficients are (.16) for educational attainment and (.03) for intelligence as measured by wordsum score. My thanks to Inductivist for walking me through the process of how to determine these.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Real life imitates Springfield

Ray Sawhill of 2Blowhards fame points out one man's lonely quest to fight Big Food on behalf of "consumers":
One angry (and hungry) man is picketing a family-run restaurant for what he calls false advertising. Bill Wisth, who weight 350lbs and stands at a towering 6ft6in, went to the Thiensville, Wisconsin restaurant last Friday for their all-you-can-eat fish fry. However, he said that after 12 pieces, Chuck’s Place cut him off. 
The restaurant staff said they were running out of fish, but sent Mr. Wisth on his way with eight more pieces.
Mr. Wisth called the police. He told TMJ 4 that people ‘have to stand up for consumers.’ Two days later, Mr. Wisth returned to Chuck’s Place, but this time he also brought a picket sign which read: ‘False advertising.’
From season four, episode eight, "New Kid on the Block":
Lionel Hutz: Now, Mrs. Simpson, tell the court in your own words what happened after you and your husband were ejected out of the restaurant.
Marge: [eyes downcast] Well, we pretty much went straight home.
Lionel Hutz: Mrs. Simpson, remember that you are under oath.
Marge: We drove around until three in the morning looking for another open all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant.
Lionel Hutz: And when you couldn't find one?
Marge: [crying] We... went... fishing.
Lionel Hutz: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat? [the jury is made up of obese people]
Jury: No, no.
Jury Man: No, that could've been me.
Not quite Tom Wolfe-caliber presaging, but still pretty damned good.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jews and abortion

As has been reported here (and iterated elsewhere), Jews in the US--including Orthodox--are, on the whole, further to the left politically than white Democrats are. There are lots of varying explanations for this--Jews being yoked to the American left wing because "it represented the closest American counterpart to the forces on the left that had favored Jewish emancipation in Europe", a consequence of several centuries of urban concentration, as a vehicle for successfully pursuing a "group evolutionary strategy", and a long history of working with and for the state, just to run through a few.

Despite at least being aware of all of this, I was surprised to find how hostile Jews are towards restrictions on abortion. A recent Pew report headlined for cataloging increasing support for gun rights and same-sex marriage contains a seemingly orthogonal table at the end that tracks percentages of people who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases and those who think it should be illegal in all or most cases. Splitting 86%-11% in favor of legality, Jews are the most pro-choice of the 33 groups Pew breaks out; more so than those who have no religious affiliation, than liberal Democrats, and than those who seldom or never attend religious services.

Why? Perhaps it's as difficult for a gentile to understand this particular aspect of Jewish liberalism as it is for him to truly comprehend why the Jewish affinity for leftism generally is so strong, but the possibilities that crop up in my mind--that setting parameters on reproductive rights smacks of 'Nazism' (notwithstanding how odd a way this would be to express that), that Jewish fertility is in the toilet even though Jewish abortions are rare means that more abortions leads to a larger Jewish population share, or that the pro-life movement is preponderantly a white southern evangelical one and therefore something Jews instinctively oppose--feel kind of kooky.

Friday, May 18, 2012

North Carolina Amendment 1 exit polling?

++Addition++Inductivist looks at predictors of support for and opposition to same-sex marriage.


I didn't get around to looking at the exit polling on North Carolina's recently passed Amendment 1 defining marriage as exclusively existing between one man and one woman last week after the vote had taken place. Finally getting around to doing so now, I'm taken aback in finding out that apparently no exit polling was conducted (although multiple articles written on the day of the vote reference what early exit poll results are showing). This led to a bit of controversy when Politico writer Joseph Williams erroneously asserted that:
African-Americans voted 2-1 in favor of the North Carolina amendment banning gay marriage Tuesday, but the White House is betting that black voters there and beyond will stick with the president, despite broad resistance to legalization.
Opinion polling conducted ahead of the vote found that 60%-65% of black North Carolinians planned to back the amendment, which is presumably how Williams (who is black) came up with the 2-to-1 margin. Black electoral behavior on California's Proposition 8 created a bit of embarrassment for the Establishment and its SWPL sympathizers, so we really shouldn't be too surprised that the data weren't collected this time around.

Opposition to same-sex marriage, a concept that wasn't even in the public's consciousness a decade ago (the GSS queried respondents about it in 1988 and found 12% of the population in support), has been steadily and rapidly eroding since it became a 'hot button' issue several years ago to such an extent that it is difficult to see its eventual widespread adoption as anything but inevitable.

In line with public awareness, the GSS resurrected the question on same-sex marriage in 2004 and has posed it every time the survey has been conducted since then. The proceeding graph shows support by race over that period of time, with those expressing no opinion one way or the other excluded (ie, 40% support, 40% opposition, 20% neutral is expressed as 50% support).

Even the 2010 data are becoming dated, though, as a recent Pew poll finds that opposition among both blacks and whites has dropped substantially in the last four years. However, the Pew graphs and tables show support and opposition separately, without accounting for those who are on the fence, insinuating that opposition and support (alternatively and respectively) are higher than they actually are (ie, showing black opposition at 49% in 2012 creates the perception that black support runs at 51%, when in actuality it is probably in the upper thirties). Hence the total exclusion of fence sitters in the graph below:

The annual Asian sample floats around 50 for each year so should be seen only as suggestive.

Getting overly editorial, I'm tired of hearing about gay marriage, which is probably what the LGBTSDFLSDFKLJSDGH activist movement is banking on, even though my opposition is of the anti-anti-gay more than it's of the pro-sanctity of marriage variety. If the mainstream right wants to try and create a wedge between blacks and Obama on it, which is an effort as doomed to failure as all the other attempts to get NAMs to side with the GOP on account of social issues are, if it has enough of a short-term, on-the-margins impact to tilt the general election against Obama, more power to it, I guess.

GSS variables used: MARHOMO(1-2)(4-5), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), YEAR

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feds attacked in border states, Montana and South Dakota

Looking through FBI statistics, I came upon a table showing the number of federal law enforcement agents who had been assaulted by state in 2010. The top four, unsurprisingly, are Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico--the border states. Trying to stop unwanted people and paraphernalia from coming into the country is dangerous work.

What does puzzle me are the next two, Montana and South Dakota, respectively. I thought maybe it had something to do with Native Americans, but Oklahoma and North Carolina, which both have larger indigenous populations than Montana or South Dakota do, are way down at the bottom of the list. Indeed, outside the border states plus Montana and South Dakota, assaults are negligible. Those six states constituted 72% of all assaults on federal agents throughout the entire country. Any ideas?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fewer marriages, fewer children

++Addition++I'd cued this up but not yet published it ahead of a similar post by Inductivist. So this is complementary to and somewhat overlaps that.


posts on fecundity and marital status among women in the US got me wondering if and how this has changed over time. Citing Roger Scruton's argument that the societal movement away from marriage leads to declining fertility rates that eventually drop society below replacement level, Inductivist turns to the GSS to see whether or not Scruton's assertion that marriage and children travel together is accurate. Not surprisingly, it is.

The question this raises in my mind is to what extent is the drop in US fertility is attributable to a decline in marriage rates? If fertility holds pretty steadily over time among those who are married and the overall decrease comes not from married couples having fewer children but from fewer people getting married, it certainly becomes plausible that protecting the institution of marriage is critical if the US is going to perpetuate itself.

The following graph shows the mean number of children for women aged 30-45 by marital status over the last four decades. To avoid racial confounding a la Charles Murray, only whites are considered:

The percentage of married women dropped continuously over the four decades, while the percentage of divorced and never married women increased, so the decline in marriage is, as Scruton claims, associated with a decline in fertility rates. It's not the entire story, though. Married women have become less fecund over the last couple of generations while never married women have become more so. The gap is still far from closed, but it's narrowing.

With illegitimacy rates around 70% among blacks and 50% among Hispanics, there is ample evidence that in 21st century America, procreation doesn't need marriage. Whether or not the US is able to retain a semblance of its former self if the two become decoupled, however, is another question entirely.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let's be butt buddies until we get to know each other better

Roissy calls me out, and because I'm always game, I'll pick the gauntlet up and gently tap him with it. In a post where he ruminates on the reasons why educated women are far more likely to remain virgins than uneducated women are, he writes:
How do girls rationalize their lying about their sex lives? By inventing false truths. Anal and oral sex among young women are way up, but hey, it’s not the vagina, so STILL A VIRGIN. The hamster is happy. Perhaps this explains better why educated women have higher “virginity” rates — they are using a very loose definition of virginity. And wouldn’t it be just like a smartie to wordplay her way out of an uncomfortable self-assessment? I suspect the Audacious One would be interested in GSSing his way through this byline to the sexual behavior annals. Annals. Heh.
The GSS doesn't penetrate the subject deeply enough to address the issue at hand, though in newer questions regarding sexual activity, it does specify "by 'sex' we mean vaginal, oral, or anal sex". The variable I've previously employed (and see Jason Malloy presaging Charles Murray's Coming Apart a couple of years before it was written in the comments) extends back into the late eighties, however, and the GSS has left the question unaltered since it's introduction, which is good for consistency but bad for satisfying our chateau owner.

In the link offered, Roissy provides a hypothetical example:
Well, there was Tommy, but he only did me in the ass, so that doesn’t count. Then there was Trent, but I only gave him blowjobs. I told him that I wanted to save myself for marriage. Then the asshole left me! And there was Brian, but except for a few BJs and a tug job behind the 7-11, I never gave it up to him. And…. let’s see, who else… oh yeah, Joe, Chris, some guy who called himself the Dude, Adam, Hoight, Anfernee… mostly anal, some mouth love. But I didn’t give my virginity to any of them. Yay me! So… I didn’t have sex with any men.
This appears to be the exception, not the rule. Roissy will recall excerpting William Saletan later on at said link:
Only 6 percent of women who had anal sex in their last encounter did so in isolation. Eighty-six percent also had vaginal sex. Seventy-two percent also received oral sex. Thirty-one percent also had partnered masturbation.
I'm stringing together different chains of Roissy's thought here and presenting them as if they're meant to be sequiturs, which, if my purpose was polemical (it's not), would be unfair.

Anyway, a handy table from a comprehensive sexual survey out of the Indiana University shows that past the age of 15, vaginal intercourse is the most commonly engaged in sexual activity (besides solo masturbation) for men and women of all subsequent age groups, ahead of oral and anal. So, at least according to self-reported survey data, there aren't many women out there giving head and being buggered who aren't also having their villages pillaged (and thus presumably not being counted as virgins).

More of the 'experimental' stuff, but mostly confined to the people who are already doing the traditional stuff, too. It's complementary more than it's substitutional. As social stigmas on various forms of foreplay crumble away--and this seems particularly descriptive in the case of anal sex (if this can be considered foreplay), which until as recently as 2003 was illegal in fourteen states--it's not surprising that "front or back?" is joining "missionary or rider?" in the list of questions lovers pose to one another ahead of getting busy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Unsustainable sustainability?

In a post contemplating the dynamics of a paradigmatic political shift from contemporary left vs. right to localist vs. globalist, Steve Sailer remarks that the buzz phrase "sustainable", while favored by crunchy hipsters more than those identifying as politically conservative, reflects a deeply conservative impulse. An article in Slate illustrates awareness of this shifting, and it's probably less inchoate than it feels:
As I look across Europe I don't know what to call the wave of discontent, as most of the parties on the outlying right or left have more in common with one another right now than they do with anyone in the center. Generally speaking they are anti-European, anti-globalization, and anti-immigration. Their leaders, in the words of a French friend, want to "withdraw from the world." They don't like their multiethnic capital cities or their open borders, and they don't care for multinational companies or multilateral institutions.
I won't try to add anything more to that other than to say that I've bounced between labeling myself as an "empirical paleoconservative" and a "localist" for several years now, and that it is the federalist aspects of libertarianism that appeal most to me.

The primary reason I bring this all up, though, is because of a perceived drop off in the use of terms like "sustainable". I remember hearing it and other phrases like it, such as "green policies" and "environmentalism", more when I was in high school and in college than I do now. Maybe it's a shift in personal environment (heh), and the economic malaise probably has something to do with it as well, as it's no secret that relatively abstract concerns like those dealing with the state of the physical environment are the first ones pushed to the back burner when money starts getting tight.

Using Google's Ngram viewer, the frequency of "sustainable", "green policies", and "environmentalism", respectively, in English language books published from 1950 through 2008:

The last few recessional years aren't included as 2008 is the most recent year for which there are data, so the decline happened before we collectively realized that we were considerably poorer than we thought we were. The dips aren't quite nosedives and might just be decadal blips in what turns out to be a long-run cycle towards growing environmental emphasis at the societal level. The previous focus on global warming (red) that has since morphed into the more all encompassing climate change (blue) hasn't abated, for instance:

 Over the long-long run, demographics may relegate such faggy concerns to history's dustbin.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Religious conservatives in the US more liberal than the Muslim masses are

Addressing the oft made assertion (or at least insinuation) "that conservative American Protestants are roughly equivalent with conservative Muslims", Razib tapped the World Values Survey to compare the positions of conservative Protestants in the US with those of Muslims in predominately Islamic countries on some representative social issues. He presents a table that shows all scaled response distributions for each group on each question.

Below, I essentially replicate his results with the purpose of trying to reproduce them in a way that is a little easier for mere mortals like myself to digest. Instead of showing the entire distribution, I use mean values for each group. Razib concludes:
The general qualitative result: American conservative Protestants are in the main to the center or social liberal end of Muslim public opinion. They are not comparable at all to Muslim reactionaries.
As the averages make clearer, conservative Protestants (defined here as those who expressed a preference for the Republican party) are in fact more liberal on each of these issues than Muslims in any of the countries included are. Keep in mind, the comparison here is between conservative Protestants and all Muslims, not just between evangelicals and reactionary Islamists. The latter comparison would show conservative Protestants to be even more liberal relative to Muslims than this comparison does.

Finally, using standard deviation values reported in the WVS, each of the tables also shows where the average conservative Protestant fits into the Muslim distribution*. So, on the question of the justifiability of homosexuality, the average conservative American Protestant is at 71st percentile of the Muslim population. Because the wife-beating question is inverted, the figure shows where the average conservative Protestant falls on the another-black-eye-to-explain-to-the-neighbors-is-unjustifiable distribution. The higher the value (on a 1-10 scale), the more justifiable the act or behavior in question is viewed as being:

Conservative Protestants (US)3.2
Malaysia (Muslim)2.9
Jordan (Muslim)1.0
Iran (Shia)1.5
Turkey (Muslim)1.7
Conservative Protestant percentile among Muslims71st percentile

Conservative Protestants (US)3.5
Malaysia (Muslim)2.8
Iraq (Shia)1.2
Iraq (Sunni)2.4
Jordan (Muslim)1.2
Iran (Shia)2.3
Morocco (Muslim)1.8
Turkey (Muslim)2.3
Conservative Protestant percentile among Muslims73rd percentile

Man to beat his wifeScore
Conservative Protestants (US)1.3
Malaysia (Muslim)3.1
Jordan (Muslim)1.5
Iran (Shia)1.8
Morocco (Muslim)2.3
Turkey (Muslim)1.5
Conservative Protestant percentile among Muslims63rd percentile

WVS variables used: V185, V231(Republican), V202, V204, V208

* Arrived at by simply averaging the averages of each of the Muslim groups on each question. This skews Muslim opinion towards that of the Middle East and North Africa and away from South Asia, which, in terms of sheer numbers, is unrepresentative of the world's roughly 1.6 billion Muslims. Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh all have far more Muslims than any of the MENA countries do, but with the exception of Pakistan, when Americans think of Muslims, they primarily have Arabs and Persians in mind.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Ranking Seinfield seasons

At the prompting of some of Steve Sailer's commenters, I've calculated average season ratings for Seinfield by recording IMBD user ratings for each of the show's 172 episodes:


I've never seen a full episode of the show, so I'm commenting out of ignorance here, but the conventional opinion seems to be that the show went out on top, just as the eponymous creator intended it to in declining a $110 million from NBC to produce a tenth season. It's difficult to say definitively based on viewer ratings whether the show had peaked in the fourth season and had been churning water for a few years with an impending dip in the near future or if it could have maintained the same quality for several more seasons. It's said by some that Larry David's departure at the end of the seventh season marked a change in the show for the worse, but that's not detectable here.

Whatever the case may be, if I were a fan, I doubt I would've been too happy about the desire to nobly call it quits at the zenith. A good portion of the ride down from that high point to the nadir some number of years in the future is still going to be thrilling, and I won't cherish my favorite episode in season six less because season fifteen sucks so much. As Ed succinctly put it:
People keep confusing "past its peak" with "bad". There are usually separate moments when a series begins its downhill slide, and when it actually becomes bad.
I suppose if I was more SWPL and actually cared about how shows I enjoy influence my pop culture status, though, I guess I'd have to be grateful for Jerry's decision.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Blacks more likely to commit hate crimes than whites are

++Addition++As B.B. points out in the comments and Inductivist reported several years ago, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) shows that the majority of offenders perceived to be motivated in their criminal activity by racial animus are black. That there are 2.5 times as many black perp haters as there are white haters, and that there are nearly six times as many whites (Hispanics included) in the US as there are blacks means that blacks are over 14 times as likely to engage in a hate crime as whites are from the perspetive of the nation's crime victims. That's not the story we get though, of course, because some victims are more equal than others.


Digging through some more 2010 FBI data, let's take a look at hate crimes, specifically rates of offence by race. As before, the following table shows hate crime offence rates by race relative to the white (including Hispanic) rate, so that 100% indicates a rate exactly the same as that of whites, less than 100% a rate lower than that of whites, and greater than 100% a rate higher than the white rate:

American Indian132%

When most people hear the phrase "hate crime", they probably think of something along the lines of a hooded white guy burning down a black family's house, but even when it comes to a criminal categorization inherently designed to nail whites for acting upon a personal animus against blacks, NAMs are actually more frequent offenders than ice people are.

Parenthetically, I've looked at this before, but those data were half a decade older than these are. The racial gap actually narrowed a little from 2005 to 2010!