Monday, March 31, 2014

We get old and gray and doubled up, and troubled up

Pew recently released a report entitled "Attitudes about aging: A global perspective". The following table shows the percentage of survey respondents in each country who identified the graying of their countries as a "major problem":

East Asia is concerned because it needs to be--especially Japan--and also because it's East Asia.

Americans, in contrast, are blithely unconcerned because despite a CVS or Walgreen's going up on every street corner in anticipation of a senescent future, the mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce is still in its seminal stages and has been retarded by the economic turbulence of the last several years. Additionally, economists assure us that there is little reason to be worried so long as we throw open the borders since immigration will fix everything. Despite the fact that the average age of network television viewers continues to rise, popular entertainment is mostly devoid of programs focusing on elderly. Is there anything comparable to Golden Girls on TV today?

Curiously, the 65+ segments of the US and Russian populations constitute identical percentages of their respective total populations. Although there is more immigration into the US than into Russia (immigrants tending to be younger than the natives of the countries they're settling are) and that the US enjoys a higher birth rate than Russia, over the next four decades the US' share of the 65+ population is actually expected to grow slightly faster than Russia's is. Contra Billy Joel, it is the evil Russians who tend to die (relatively) young(ish). Problem averted?

How expressed worry translates into effective solutions to the putative problems caused by an inverting age pyramid remains murky. Immigration, unless it comes from other developed countries facing a similar predicament, is about as effective as the triumph mayor Quimby holds for Bart after his pet bird-eating lizards escaped:
Quimby: For decimating our pigeon population... I present you with this scented candle.

Skinner: Well, I was wrong. The lizards are a godsend.

Lisa: But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?

Skinner: No problem. We simply release wave after wave of Chinese needle-snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.

Lisa: But aren't the snakes even worse?

Skinner: Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

Lisa: But then we're stuck with gorillas!

Skinner: No, that's the beautiful part. With proper education, the gorillas do as well as wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
Will clinically-minded, collectivist East Asian nations begin encouraging euthanasia? The WVS asks a question about the justifiability of euthanasia. It's phrased around the issue of an incurable illness rather than merely old age, so it's not optimal. Still, it seems like a reasonable proxy. The question is on a 10-point scale. The higher the mean value, the more amenable the country's population is to the idea of elective euthanasia:

Great Britain6.1
United States4.9
South Korea4.7
South Africa3.2

Little evidence that East Asians are more comfortable with suicide than Westerners are. There is, however, a strong relationship (r = .77, p = .0003) between how gray a nation's population is and how supportive it is of euthanasia. As arthritis and senility set in, the march of progress continues on unabated.

With all due irreverence, it's notable that the religion that produces suicide bombers has little tolerance for self-inflicted deaths in the name of convenience. Or, to put it in another way, they'll die for things like God and country, but not because of the discomfort a bad back brings. We, on the other hand, will take a stand for little more than our own creature comforts. Who would you rather have fighting on your side? Yikes. At least we still have the gatling gun, I suppose.

WVS variable used: V206

Saturday, March 29, 2014

So gay

++Addition++Wm Jas notes that when it comes to "homosexuals" vs "gays", the latter has probably only just finally pulled ahead in the last couple of years. Also, "same-sex marriage" (yes, I know that's the proper way to write it, but I thought including the hyphen would cause "same sex marriage" to be missed since most punctuation isn't included unless specified) gets more searching than gay marriage does (though as far as I know "same-sex marriage" isn't offensive. Might be incorrect on that).


Via Steve Sailer, an article in the NYT illustrates depressingly well how the Cathedral's cultural marxism demands call for nothing less than total compliance in thought, word, and deed:
Consider the following phrases: homosexual community, homosexual activist, homosexual marriage. Substitute the word “gay” in any of those cases, and the terms suddenly become far less loaded, so that the ring of disapproval and judgment evaporates. 
Some gay rights advocates have declared the term off limits. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or Glaad, has put “homosexual” on its list of offensive terms and in 2006 persuaded The Associated Press, whose stylebook is the widely used by many news organizations, to restrict use of the word.
If one hailed from another planet, he might be forgiven for presuming from this that "homosexual" is not only a foundational part of the sociological and psychological nomenclature, but also the vernacular term that dominates everyday conversations among ordinary people discussing the subject.

First, let's look at the formalized end of the spectrum. To ensure an apples-to-apples comparison (ie, avoid capturing "gay" as Mr. Burns would employ it), the following graph from nGrams shows the percentages of books published by year in the US that contain the phrases "gay marriage", "homosexual marriage", and "same sex marriage" (the last because, descriptively-speaking, it is the most accurate--homosexuals/gays have always been allowed to marry just as heterosexuals have been able to; the former's issue is with the way marriage is defined, not with who is allowed to partake):

Okay, so that war was won two decades ago. But we've heard rumors that there are some Pompeians holed up somewhere out there in the mountains of Hispania, so now is not the time for complacence.

The elites' Newspeak has been correctly updated and internalized for decades now, but how about the proles? Google search volumes for the same three phrases (gay marriage, homosexual marriage, same sex marriage) over the ten years that the company has been tracking user searches:

Gay marriage is used 27 times as frequently as homosexual marriage is, and over four times as frequently as same sex marriage is. For those incorrigible few who use either of the latter two phrases, know that you and your disapproving, judgmental disapprovals and judgments place you firmly on the wrong side of history!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

God, king, and country

Ed West doesn't think many Europeans would, if the prospect of military action between Russia and the West was actualized, be willing to fight for the EU. I suspect it would be a moot point because the US would end up providing the lion's share of the 'Allied' forces, but his sentiment seems about right.

Like the Bolsheviks who found the proletariat unwilling to fight for the brotherhood of industrial workers but eager to take up arms on behalf of mother Russia, the Brussels bureaucrats, to the extent that they could convince anyone to go to war, would probably have to do so by way of encouraging individual member countries to sell the conflict as threatening to the well-being of each said individual nation itself rather than to the polyglot organization they're all members to.

Between 2005-2008, the WVS dichotomously queried respondents on whether or not they'd be willing to fight for their countries if, unfortunately, war became unavoidable. The percentages of participating EU countries (italicized) who said they would be, as well as the percentages for Russia and a few other select countries outside the Old Continent:

Fight for country%
United States63.1
Great Britain61.5

Three generations later, losing WWII still puts a damper on the warrior spirit.

The heart and soul of the European Union (figuratively, of course, as that particular body is soulless)--France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain--show relatively little enthusiasm for fighting for their own countries, let alone the EU.

They may not be militaristic, but the old vikings don't look like self-hating ethno-masochists.

Fewer than two-thirds of Americans say they'd answer the call of duty. I wonder if the Navy becoming a floating brothel and the elevation of diversity as the military's highest value have anything to do with that. Iraq and Afghanistan probably haven't helped much, either. What a pity.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How many lives did slavery save?

In the most recent episode of Radio Derb, the eponymous host comments:
The further we get away from the age of slavery, the more angry people seem to be getting about it.

Well, some people. You know … black people. Slavery was a nearly universal feature of human society until the early-modern period, and was no respecter of race or nationality. A few years ago I reviewed Robert Davis's fine book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters. Davis is a professor of history at Ohio State. In his book he tells the story of Muslim slave-raiding across the Mediterranean.
I wonder how many lives the "institution of slavery" (a phrase that is probably more obfuscating than it is clarifying, since the variables have, well, varied a lot across time and place) has saved throughout anatomically modern human history.

Lots of slaves became as much as a result of capture by an opposing military force engaged in campaigns in which human booty was not the official (or primary) objective. It's often safer and almost always easier for a fighter to kill his potential captive than it is to subdue him, keep him alive, and get him to a market or trade caravan--especially civilians inside a town that has been successfully sieged--but because that captive tended to be worth more alive than dead, there was a strong monetary incentive for the fighter not to kill or maim him. It's not as though slavery came without risks--volcanic ash wasn't the only thing to explode out of Mt. Vesuvius; Nat Turner's rebellion brought slave owners' worst nightmares to life; under the Yuan dynasty, Chinese slaves apparently often targeted their direct co-ethnic owners rather than their Mongol overlords during uprisings and rebellions.

Net-net, are there more people alive today than there would otherwise be had no person ever been held in involuntary bondage to another? Presumably it's an impossible question to answer and of course it's an evil one that only an evil person would even think to ask.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Support for affirmative action by race

At the battle of Pharsalus, with time on his side and fresh off a modest victory at Dyrracium, Pompey Magnus, under pressure from his confrontational supporters, took the fight to a Caesarian side that was battle-hardened but also weary, heavily outnumbered, and precariously low on provisions. The resulting victory Julius Caesar enjoyed was the turning point in the Roman civil war.

It would be outrageous to compare the sheathing of swords drawn to shred Proposition 209 with the battle that broke Pompey the Great (though one can still search through Pandora's stuff for a ray or two). It's a minor setback for affirmative action as well as evidence of budding discord in the ranks of the leftist coalition. However, it's confined to the most Asian state in the contiguous US and it was ceded on an issue--higher education--that rank-and-file NAMs don't care that much about.

Part of the reason for my pessimism comes from the realization that as the white population in the US declines proportionally, antagonism towards it is likely to increase rather than attenuate (see Latin America). It also comes from the fact that affirmative action is about as unpopular as having open borders is among the electorate, yet both are foisted upon a docile public by the savvy, engaged high priests of the Cathedral.

The GSS regularly asks respondents about affirmative with regards to two specific designated 'victim' classes; blacks and women. The first table shows support for preferential treatment for blacks, by race. Additionally, whites are further separated by political orientation. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2000 onward:

% support forblack AA
All whites11.6
Liberal whites23.3
Conservative whites6.5

Asian sentiment towards affirmative action is comparable to that of liberal whites. Well, when it comes to blacks, anyway. They're considerably more favorably disposed towards giving women preferential treatment than even SWPLs are:

% support forfemale AA
All whites24.5
Liberal whites29.1
Conservative whites18.2

Until affirmative action is seen as blatantly coming at the expense of Asians rather than only at the expense of heterosexual white gentiles, I wouldn't bet on it causing serious fracturing of the leftist coalition. As long as Democratic pols are astute enough to keep it from coming to that--as assembly speaker John Perez was in California last week--the tide isn't going to turn.

GSS variables used: AFFRMACT(1-2), FEJOBAFF(1-2), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), POLVIEWS(1-2)(6-7), YEAR(2000-2012)

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Heartiste's fascinated post about a bona fide psychopath got me wondering whether there is any evidence that psychopathy carries with it an identifiable evolutionary advantage in the contemporary western world. If it's genetically beneficial anywhere, the atomized, post-modern Occident is probably the place, since in other times and places it could get a practitioner ostracized or killed, whereas in the enlightened West, if anything, Good people just get worked up over those expressing disapproval of the psychopath's lifestyle. Live and let live, asshole.

Naturally, to attempt as much, let's tap the GSS. The survey doesn't deal with psychopathy and sociopathy explicitly, but a few variables feel like plausible proxies. First, a fertility comparison among men who both say there is nothing "seriously wrong" with cheating on taxes and who have also cheated on their spouses (psychos) and among men who find cheating on taxes to be morally objectionable and have not cheated on their spouses (suckers) (n = 223):


And, more explicitly, among men who say "a selfish person" is at least a "fair description" of themselves (psychos) compared to those who say it is an inaccurate self-description (martyrs) (n = 1085):


There is more fecundity in the first table because it only considers men who have been married at some point, while the latter catches all men (and also a wider range of years).

Hardly definitive, but at any rate the data doesn't provide any reason to think that psychopathic traits are evolutionarily advantageous any longer, if they ever were. That, of course, doesn't imply that they aren't sexually advantageous, especially among men sly enough to break the rules and avoid detection in so doing (purely speculative, but I'd guess high IQ psychopaths fair better relative to high IQ non-psychopaths than low IQ psychopaths fair relative to low IQ non-psychopaths).

For brevity, I'll subsequently refer to archetypal psychopaths and suckers. Clearly most men fall somewhere in between, some closer to one end, some closer to the other.

It's not difficult to conceive that, at some point in the fairly recent past, psychopaths may have successfully spread their seed more effectively than suckers did, perhaps after large scale movement into cities and out of the countryside but before the ubiquity of easily accessible birth control severely separated procreation from sexuality (so long as there is some amount of the latter existing, obviously--it may be the beta's time to be fruitful and multiply, but the omega never has and never will).

Similarly, it's not difficult to see why psychopaths would be 'hurt' (in terms of reproductive fitness) more from the widespread availability of contraception than suckers would be. Psychopaths are all about getting what they want. What they want is evaluated narrowly--as Heartiste puts it, the psychopath "is missing, or seductively convinces himself that he’s missing, a moral sense, save for that morality which accrues to the self". Suckers, stoics that they are, for various reasons (religious and otherwise) assign a lot of other duties to themselves, one of which is often raising a family. Psychopaths want sex but have no use for the attendant cramps that kids bring, especially the nearly unavoidable and legally sanctioned drain on their financial resources that come with. Suckers want sex, too, but they also want--or are at least willing to shoulder the responsibilities that come with--children.

Pat Buchanan famously called the pill the suicide tablet of the West, but it might be making us, ceteris paribus, more family-oriented people. When psychopaths see the following, it fills them with dread. When suckers see as much, they get an incomparably deep feeling of joy in the very marrow of their bones (yeah, I'm revealing myself to firmly be in the sucker camp, but go ahead and eat your hearts out):

Uh oh, there's more:

Hopelessly smitten orbiter at your service!

The big question is whether genetic selection for men with a nurturing instinct can outrun cultural solipsism and broader societal dissolution. Women who have children are, according to the GSS, modestly less likely to cheat than women who don't have any offspring are, so to the extent that women are hereditarily steering the ship one way or the other, it's gently in the direction of overriding the tingle/settling and away from harlots surrendering to their passions.

As Heartiste also points out, that female contribution is a feature rather than a bug. As an aside, the average number of children among SWPL women living in big cities is 1.40. Among conservative white women in small towns and out in the countryside, it's 2.05.

GSS variables used: EVSTRAY(1)(2), SEX, AGAPE(1)(2-5), SELFISH(1-3)(4-5), CHILDS

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Assortative mating declining?

++Addition++Henry Harpending reminds us that there weren't many changes in educational affinities from 1940 through 2000. Presumably, steady state continues to be the story into the early 21st century.


A recent Pew Research report contained the following graph:

At first blush it might appear as though, contra Charles Murray, assortative mating is actually declining, as more bosses marry their secretaries and more high-powered women pair up with charismatic stay-at-home dads. While the pair rates among dual grads has increased, so has the percentage of people who go to college. Among those in their twenties today, about half will end up in either the "college" (bachelor's or more) or "some college" categories. The percentages of those who attain a high school diploma or less has dropped in the last 50 years as well, but not nearly at the magnitude suggested by the graph.

We need clarifying data on the frequencies of educationally unalike marriages to similarly compare these with the provided figures over time. Irritatingly, Pew doesn't provide as much and delving into primary census data is too daunting a requirement on this amateur's time. As is, the only thing to glean with certainty is that educational increases have occurred. Nothing novel there.

In 1960, 79.6% of married couples involved two people with the same levels of broadly defined educational attainment (high school or less, some college, college graduate). By 2012, this fraction had declined to 59.4%. Again, at face value it appears as though assortative mating is more a thing of the past than of the future. However, If we break a population into three groups and then pair members randomly, we'd expect the lowest frequency of same-group pairings if the groups were split 33.3%-33.3%-33.3% (intragroup pairings an expected 33% of the time). Conversely, we'd expect the highest frequency of same-group pairings if the groups were split 100%-0%-0% (100% intragroup pairings). The past was closer to the latter; the present closer to the former. Consequently, it's difficult to disentangle the genuine changes in (dis)assortative mating and when they're occurring from what is simply an artifice of the measurement approach.

Parenthetically, in checking to see if anyone else had asked Pew about the missing data, I noticed the report's comment thread. I happened to do so not long after listening to the Derb discuss his hope, a la 1984, in the commentariat. The title of the report from which the graph comes is "Record share of wives are more educated than their husbands". The comments include snark along the lines of women needing to be careful what they wish for because unhappiness and underperforming husbands go together; the subjects women major in are not as academically rigorous as the fields men study; after a generation of tilting the scales in favor of women, women now achieve higher average levels of educational attainment than men do; and the like. Not a single comment echoes what is contained in the canon of the Cathedral. Refreshing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cloistered atheists

In commenting on CPAC's rescinding of a booth for a proselytizing atheist group, the Derb made the following observations:
I doubt there are "many closeted atheists in the church pews" nowadays. Churchgoing no longer has the social valence it once had. Hardly anyone feels socially obliged to go to church nowadays. If you're in those pews, it's because you want to be.


There have been atheists in the ranks of conservatives for ever, and they have never felt the need to "closet" themselves.
The GSS doesn't quite extend back to the beginning of forever, but on these particular questions it does reach back a quarter of a decade. On the first point, the percentages of those attending church at least once a month who are either atheist or agnostic by year (with the percentages of atheists/agnostics in the general population in parentheses):

1988 -- 1.1% (5.1%)
1991 -- 2.1% (6.2%)
1993 -- 2.0% (7.4%)
1994 -- 1.2% (5.4%)
1998 -- 2.7% (8.3%)
2000 -- 2.8% (7.2%)
2006 -- 2.0% (6.4%)
2008 -- 1.9% (8.0%)
2010 -- 1.8% (9.0%)
2012 -- 1.3% (8.7%)

Consistently bumping around at the bottom, in the 1-in-50 range. If you're a churchgoer, perhaps a handful of your regular congregants aren't believers, but, unsurprisingly, the vast majority are faithful. That has consistently been the case at least since the eighties. Most non-believers don't attend worship services.

Secondly, let's take a look at the percentages of self-identified political conservatives who identified as either atheist or agnostic by year. For comparative purposes, the percentages of political liberals who identify as atheist or agnostic are in parentheses:

1988 -- 3.6% (9.6%)
1991 -- 6.0% (8.8%)
1993 -- 5.3% (12.5%)
1994 -- 4.3% (8.7%)
1998 -- 4.2% (12.1%)
2000 -- 5.1% (13.8%)
2006 -- 3.5% (11.8%)
2008 -- 3.8% (15.5%)
2010 -- 5.6% (16.7%)
2012 -- 2.6% (17.5%)

Yes, there have always been non-believers in the so-called conservative coalition, but they are, and have been for some time, a minority, never having approached the double-digit percentage mark. The prevalence of secular rightists has remained steady over the last 25 years, even as the percentage of non-believers in the general population has increased. The same thing can't be said about the left, because that's where one will find the newly minted atheists and agnostics. Nearly 1-in-5 (and the fraction is even higher among white liberals) leftists are now atheist or agnostic, and that figure appears to be steadily rising.

While it's reasonable to assume that the irreligious present a growth opportunity for the GOP, this doesn't necessarily mean Republicans will benefit from dropping their mild religious overtones. As has been the case with Hispandering, the leftist-lite approach is hardly a proven winning strategy for the mainstream right.

GSS variables used: GOD(1-2), ATTEND(4-8), YEAR, POLVIEWS(1-3)(5-7)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mitch and Cam

Since 2008, the GSS has specifically and explicitly queried respondents on their sexual orientations. Among those who either were or had previously been married at the time of their participation in the survey, 22.6% of heterosexuals and 41.7% of bisexuals/homosexuals were either divorced or separated when the question was posed to them.

There are major extenuating factors to take note of here. The sample size for gays and bis is, through 2012, only 53. Gays and bis are combined to up the count (though it is also worth noting that gays are more likely to be to divorced/separated than bis are). Some of these bis and especially gays may have been married to members of the opposite sex for reasons other than romantic love and are only now jumping at the opportunity to marry their true bugger halves. 

That said, preliminary figures appear to suggest that same-sex marriages may well be less stable and less durable than traditional marriages are. It looks as though the GSS is going to routinely track sexual orientation going forward, so over time additional data will accumulate. 

Of course, even if same-sex marriages "weaken the institution of marriage"--whatever that is supposed to mean, exactly--by the time such an assertion has irrefutable empirical grounding, gay betrothals will have long become inalienable civil rights. Even if they end up being less sincere than straight betrothals, same-sex marriage won't be reneged upon. To even notice disparities in divorce rates will presumably serve only to out one as a homophobe.

GSS variables used: SEXORNT(1)(2-3), MARITAL(1-4), YEAR(2008-2012)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Imperviousness or inoculation?

Pondering anti-vaccination sentiment and political persuasions, among other things, Razib writes:
One issue that has come up on occasion is the political orientation of the anti-vaccination movement. Many have assumed that it has a Left-liberal bias. I’m actually moderately skeptical of a strong political association (e.g., Michele Bachmann). But the map above suggested to me that we should test the proposition that there’s at least a state level correlation between exemptions and vote for Obama in 2012. The data was easy to get.

The raw Obama vote % and vaccination exemptions correlated at 0.08 (p-value 0.59). Pretty much nothing. But, I thought it might be more interesting to look at Obama vote for whites. Here the correlation was 0.25 (p-value 0.09). This is still a modest correlation, but it does suggest a political tinge. But rather than a standard Left-Right axis, I think we’re seeing a “crunchy counter-culture” sentiment.
Possibly a more relevant and, as it turns out, stronger and more robust state-level correlation (r = .42, p-value = .004) exists between non-medical exemption rates and infant mortality rates. The relationship is, perhaps surprisingly, an inverse one. That is, the higher the infant mortality rate, the more likely kids in a state are to receive their vaccinations. The lower the infant mortality rate, the more likely parents are to forgo vaccinating their children.

We could start speculating about causation (ie, do vaccinations cause children to die, or does a relatively high proportion of dying children prod people into vaccinating more?), but that'd probably be futile. I'd peg this as a classic example of "correlation does not [necessarily] imply causation". To the extent that there is much to healthier states also being less inoculated states, it's presumably because of people's understandable reluctance to take medicine when not ill. I've never been sick enough to miss a day of work in my adult life. Not surprisingly, I've never elected to get a flu shot, either. I don't get sick, so no, I'm not going to go congregate around a bunch of people who do get sick so that I can have someone poke me with a sharp object to protect me from an ailment I'm not going to suffer from anyway.

It's excusable for a healthy, mature adult to pretend to be superman, but it's less forgivable when a vulnerable infant without any agency of his own is involved. Don't worry, my son has been getting and will continue to get all his recommended vaccinations, hard though it is for daddy not to rip the nurse's jugular out as she's making his boy scream bloody murder.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Geez Jay!

In a post lamenting the right-wing crazies and craziness of the HBD-sphere and without any apparent sense of irony, Jayman declares:
If the facts about heritable human differences are to be ever taken seriously, it needs to be extricated from such utter nonsense, as well as from the mean-spirited sentiment.
With all due respect (and I have a ton of it for the guy, who I've had the chance to get to know not just on an intellectual level but also on a personal one), Jayman is new kid on the block. He's an exception to the rule--a welcome one with great voice, subject matter, flow, and eloquence in his writing--among the first of hopefully many, but at this point in time still an exception all the same. He's an exception because people who share his cultural attitudes and political persuasions tend to find the mere thought of human biodiversity blasphemous; the sort of thing not merely entertained by a misguided mind, but by an evil one.

HBD and the Dark Enlightenment that has grown out of it has made tremendous strides forward over the last decade, from the unrecognizable to the unthinkably disreputable to the overly exaggerated and cherry-picked half-truth to, in some quarters, begrudging acceptance, or at least the initial stages of flirting with such acceptance. During this trial by fire, it was the disagreeable, unapologetic, uncouth, dissident right that indefatigably carried the banner forward, absorbing relentless projectiles fired its way, picking up adherents of lesser intestinal fortitude--if greater thoughtfulness--in the process.

Here's to hoping Jayman continues to successfully 'raise awareness' of HBD in the minds of those previously closed to the notion that rather than stopping 10,000 years ago, evolutionary pressures on humanity have actually accelerated greatly with the onset of agriculture. But it seems a bit supercilious and self-serving to simultaneously start sharing in the spoils and denigrating those who came before because of their unfavorable interpretations of the data you've recently discovered.

Parenthetically, Jayman quotes a commenter named misdreavus, who offers that :
Surely there was a time when people actually tried to research certain topics before launching a slurry of half-baked and inchoate opinions with an audacious (and entirely unwarranted) degree of self-confidence — not so much because people were any better informed in yesteryear than they are today, but because certain structural barriers posed an impediment to the crazy and incompetent expressing their ideas in lofty places.
When I started blogging back in 2005, intent on maintaining a tight empirical grounding in all that I wrote, I choose the moniker Audacious Epigone to mockingly preempt exactly those sorts of strawmen and attendant ad hominem attacks misdreavus levels above.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Harmful, toxic equalism

The first full sentence of the Amazon book review of Nicholas Wade's forthcoming book:
Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another.
One of those putatively few ideas that has been more toxic and harmful is the idea that there are no meaningful biological differences between different members of the human race. As Steve Sailer pointed out 15 years ago, Stalin and Mao killed tens of millions more people in the name of equality than Hitler did in the name of inequality.

While fatal consequences understandably garner the most attention, the toxicity and harmfulness of the ideology of equalism (or, as the silver fox calls it, equalist filth), which has enjoyed one-party rule for the better half of the last century, penetrates much more widely and deeply that mortality statistics alone are capable of capturing. Consider:

- The incalculable anguish felt by parents everywhere for the relative failures of some of their children in comparison to the relative successes of their other children. If it's not in the genes, it must be because we favored Hayden over Liam, or because we gave Sydney more opportunities than we gave Emma. Did we get tired or did we just get lazy?

The biological reality is that people, even full siblings, are genetically different from one another. As a parent, your most important duties are to make sure your children have the basic necessities of life (ie, food, shelter, a lack of excessive stressors, etc) provided for them, are exposed to positive peer groups, and, most importantly, to mate with best person you're able to mate with. The rest is pretty much beyond your control.

Thanks in large part to equalism, that's not the commonly held view, and it's certainly not the socially appropriate one to operate under. Early interventions, helicopter parenting, tiger mommying, all manner of behavioral modifications, No Child Left Behind--the toxic consequences of equalism are seemingly endless.

- The successful sexual escapades of some and the sexual frustrations of many others. There is so much more to romantic fulfillment than keeping a vigilant eye out for Mr. Right: High social status and low social status, physical frame and physical attractiveness, audacity and submissiveness, masculinity and femininity, wealth and parsimony, maturation and just barely post-pre-pubescence, firmness and softness, confidence and insecurity, toughness and tenderness, on and on and on. The formers are generally desirable in men and undesirable in women; vice-ver-sa for the latters. A person's sexual value is determined by all these characteristics and more, and, to varying degrees, they are all in turn determined by biology, both at the level of the individual and by sex. Chalking up every frustration and failure to him "not being the right one for you" isn't just harmless saccharine stuff; it's a recipe for forever forlorn fapping.

- Health and well-being are all about lifestyle choices. Setting aside the fact that the conventional wisdom is bad news for just about everybody, the entire exercise and nutrition industries exist atop very shaky foundations. As Jayman so concisely summarizes: It's "the bullshit machine in action".

- The 10,000 hour rule and its derivatives. Malcolm Gladwell has gotten rich off this notion, but the idea that a person is capable of doing anything he sets his mind to leaves a lot of people shooting for the stars when all they're flying a single-engine airplane. Instead of flying off happily into the sunset, they stall out before inevitably crashing and burning. Due to underlying biological realities, it actually doesn't take long to figure out whether or not you have a knack for something. If you don't get it on the first few tries, it's time to move on to something else. Don't waste time trying to be something that you're not.

- Educational romanticism. No, college is not for everyone. Optimistically, it might be beneficial for one-tenth of the US population. It's certainly not for half of the population, most of whom come out of their college experiences with loads of accumulated debt that can't be discharged, some of the most productive years of their lives squandered, unrealistically inflated expectations for their own futures, and no real world work experience to prepare them for life in the, well, real world.

- Messianic democracy and the attendant idea that people all over the world aspire to live in societies that Jonathan Haidt cleverly describes using the acronym WEIRD. Morality--largely an outgrowth of an underlying and biologically-based personality--varies widely across people and by extension across human populations. Inbreeding and outbreeding matter. They matter a lot. They matter a lot more, in fact, than access to "free and fair" elections do. Indeed, said free and fair elections, or the lack thereof, are determined by these underlying and biologically-based differences.

- Structural -isms. Saving the best for last, the ubiquitous working assumption that disparate impact indicates irrational discrimination is destructive beyond calculation. Biology explains why men dominate the upper echelons of technology, math, and the sciences. It explains disparities in incarceration rates, poverty rates, infant mortality rates, high school and college graduation rates, IQ differences, athleticism, income, affluence, etc. It explains all of these things much better than do any of the faux causes that equalism attributes them to, and acknowledging as much is the first step in ridding ourselves of all the nostrums equalism offers and the institutions, like the EEOC, that it builds up and maintains to enforce them.

Saturday, March 01, 2014