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Monday, September 22, 2014

Men's Health: Guys Need to Cultivate Relationships

Back in March 2014, S1 and S2's grandmother passed unexpectedly of heart failure during surgery for an unrelated malady.  In fact, she "coded" as S2 was just entering the hospital to visit her in recovery.  S2 took her loss especially hard, as he was close to her, but the person who took it the hardest, as one would expect, was my former father in law. He (f. FIL) always thought it would be him that checked out first, given his slowly deteriorating health--a function of  being a few years older than his wife, being very very very overweight, eating poorly, and having lived a physically rougher, harder, more challenging life.  He was ready for him to die first, had life insurance policies all set, paid off the house, etc. As a result, f FIL thought f MIL, with her network of close friends and stable financial position, was comparably "set", and didn't worry much about what would happen to him if the inverse occurred.  Thus he wasn't psychologically ready for her to precede him and, while not challenged for money, he found himself without his only real friend. Suddenly alone, with few relationships to aid his resiliency, he reportedly found solace in casinos and other dissolutive activities and places which helped him pass the time and distract him from loss.

This reaction is in line with previous research that finds men take the loss of their wife harder than wives take the loss of a husband--suffering a 30% higher mortality rate. (For their part, according to the article, women grieve the loss of a child far more than they do the loss of a husband). Indeed, this description of widowers' experience seems to fit f.FIL's  reaction quite well (bolded emphases mine):
While women who lose their husbands often speak of feeling abandoned or deserted, widowers tend to express the loss as one of "dismemberment," as if they had lost something that kept them organized and whole. The Harvard Bereavement Study, a landmark investigation of spousal loss that took place in the Boston area during the late 1960s, reported that widowers often equated the death of their wives with the loss of their primary source of protection, support, and comfort. This went to the very core of their overall sense of wellbeing. It has been described as "being lost without a compass," usually due to their profound loneliness but also because widowers often depended on their wives for many things like managing the household, caring for their children, and being their only true confidant. This sense of being lost is more profound when widowers need help but have difficulty obtaining or even asking for it. They also can experience ambiguity about the emotions they are feeling and the uncertainty of how to express them.
Reading the passage above, it appears that widowers and widows experience their loss differently. She loses covering, protection, partnership. He loses his helpmeet, his sole confidante, his primary and often only significant relationship. And it is the context of this loss of relationship, and the importance of them, that the following excerpts of a post over at Art of Manliness, summarizing the findings of the Grant study, got my attention as a "life hack" for men.  Fellas, the takeway is this: you gotta cultivate relationships and be relate-able for your own good.
When Vaillant crunched the numbers, he discovered no significant relationship between a man’s level of flourishing and his IQ, his body type (mesomorph, ectomorph, endomorph), or the income and education level of his parents. The factors that did loom large, and collectively predicted all ten Decathlon events [career success, professional prominence, mental health, physical health, a good marriage, supportive friendships, closeness to one’s children, the ability to enjoy work, love, and play, and subjective happiness], had one thing in common: relationships. This rubric included:
  • A warm, supportive childhood
  • A mature “coping style” (being able to roll with the punches, be patient with others, keep a sense of humor in the face of setbacks, delay gratification, etc.)
  • Overall “soundness” as evaluated during college years (resilient, warm personality, social, not overly sensitive)
  • Warm adult relationships between the ages of 37-47 (having close friends, maintaining contact with family, being active in social organizations)
  • Vaillant found that the men who had the best scores in these areas during their youth and mid-life, were the happiest, most successful, and best adjusted in their latter years. This is the finding of the Grant Study that has emerged most prominently: “It was the capacity for intimate relationships that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives.”
The powerful effect of intimate relationships can be seen in a variety of factors in a man’s life, including their income levels:
  • Men with at least one good relationship with a sibling growing up made $51,000 more per year than men who had poor relationships with their siblings, or no siblings at all
  • Men who grew up in cohesive homes made $66,000 more per year than men from unstable ones
  • Men with warm mothers took home $87,000 more than those men whose mothers were uncaring
  • The 58 men with the best scores for warm relationships made almost $150,000 more per year than the 31 men with the worst scores
  • Remember that these men all entered the workforce with a Harvard education. Also remember that their parents’ socioeconomic status turned out not to be a significant factor in their own future income.
But for those of us with children, it's not just our own relationships that matter, but the investment we make in our own sons that echoes into the future. To this end, the Grant study also found, unsurprisingly to this author, that the environment fathers and mothers make for their children in the home significantly impacted their sons' material success and ability to secure and sustain relationships later in life:
In addition to finding that warm relationships in general had a positive impact on the men’s lives, Vaillant uncovered specific effects that stemmed from a man’s childhood, and from the respective influence of his mother and father...[T]he Grant Study found that abundant familial love, when coupled with an emphasis on autonomy and initiative, actually produced the most stoical (able to keep a stiff upper lip) and independent men. Such men, Vaillant explains, had learned to be comfortable with their feelings, and “that they could put their trust in life, which gave them courage to go out and face it.”

[A] mother who could enjoy her son’s initiative and autonomy was a tremendous boon to his future...mothers who celebrated their boys’ boyishness bolstered their chances of achieving a successful, mature manhood...the Grant Study found that a warm relationship with his mother was significantly associated with a man’s:, effectiveness at work, maximum late-life income, military rank at the end of WWII, inclusion in Who’s Who, IQ in college, verbal test scores, class rank in college, [and] mental competence at age 80.

The Grant Study also found influences that were associated exclusively with dads. Loving fathers imparted to their sons [an] enhanced capacity to play, more enjoyment of vacations, greater likelihood of being able to use humor as a healthy coping mechanism, better adjustment to, and contentment with, life after retirement, less anxiety and fewer physical and mental symptoms under stress in young adulthood.

In the negative column, it “was not the men with poor mothering but the ones with poor fathering who were significantly more likely to have poor marriages over their lifetimes.” Men who lacked a positive relationship with their fathers were also “much more likely to call themselves pessimists and to report having trouble letting others get close.”

If there was ever any doubt, fathers matter, a lot: When all is said and done, a man’s relationship with his father very significantly predicted his overall life satisfaction at age 75 — “a variable not even suggestively associated with the maternal relationship.”
This last passage about the impact of fathers is significant, for it tells us that men who themselves cultivate relationships and teach their sons to do the same grant substantial advantage to their children that echoes for generations.

But there is another relationship that hasn't been mentioned yet: That of marriage. Marriage has long been known to benefit men, extend their lives, encourage them to be more productive, and to be the most ideal relationship within which to prepare their sons for a happy and successful life of his own.  Conversely, the lack of it is associated with poor outcomes not only for men in the present, but for themselves in the future, many years down the road:
Vaillant evaluated the men according to “Adult Adjustment Outcome determinations” (a kind of earlier version of the Decathlon of Flourishing, from what I gather), he found that: “all of the fifty-five Best Outcomes had gotten married relatively early and stayed married for most of their adult lives. (And by the time those men were eighty-five, we learned later, only one marriage had ended in divorce.) In contrast, among the seventy-eight Worst Outcomes, five had never married, and by seventy-five years of age, thirty-five (45 percent) of the marriages had ended in divorce. Proportionately three times as many of the Best Adjusted men enjoyed lifelong happy marriages as the Worst.”

The effect of marriage was even starker for the inner-city men of the Glueck Study: “two-thirds of the never-married were in the bottom fifth in overall social relations, 57 percent were in the bottom fifth in income, and 71 percent were classified by the Study raters as mentally ill.”
Thus while lifelong marriage is a key predictor for a man's long-term happiness, the lack of marriage, or having been divorced but not re-married, foretells poor social relationships overall and lower overall happiness and life satisfaction.  Moreover, as marriage is the primary vehicle through which fathers invest in their children, being and staying married to the mother of one's children provides a man's children with greater opportunity for the sorts of warm father-son relationships that boys so desperately need to prepare them to be good husbands and fathers in their own right--and to enjoy a satisfying and successful life once they leave the house.

This is both hopeful and sobering news--hopeful in that this body of data clearly tells men that yes, they are important to their families, more than they probably realize, and sobering that a great many men are unable, for whatever reason, to invest in their children, and so many boys are raised in fatherless homes.

I'll close this post by quoting a final line from Vaillant's manuscript: “We don’t breed good officers; we don’t even build them on the playing fields of Eton; we raise them in loving homes.”  Men would be well advised to not give short shrift to relationships but should instead make a point of liberally investing in them...with their wives, with their male friends, and with their sons.

Friday, September 19, 2014

So Stupid to Push Women Into STEM

It will do nothing but further depress wages in an already overcrowded field:
All credible research finds the same evidence about the STEM workforce: ample supply, stagnant wages and, by industry accounts, thousands of applicants for any advertised job. The real concern should be about the dim employment prospects for our best STEM graduates: The National Institutes of Health, for example, has developed a program to help new biomedical Ph.D.s find alternative careers in the face of “unattractive” job prospects in the field. Opportunities for engineers vary by the field and economic cycle – as oil exploration has increased, so has demand (and salaries) for petroleum engineers, resulting in a near tripling of petroleum engineering graduates. In contrast, average wages in the IT industry are the same as those that prevailed when Bill Clinton was president despite industry cries of a “shortage.” Overall, U.S. colleges produce twice the number of STEM graduates annually as find jobs in those fields.

Cries that “the STEM sky is falling” are just the latest in a cyclical pattern of shortage predictions over the past half-century, none of which were even remotely accurate. In a desert of evidence, the growth of STEM shortage claims is driven by heavy industry funding for lobbyists and think tanks. Their goal is government intervention in the market under the guise of solving national economic problems. The highly profitable IT industry, for example, is devoting millions to convince Congress and the White House to provide its employers with more low-cost, foreign guestworkers instead of trying to attract and retain employees from an ample domestic labor pool of native and immigrant citizens and permanent residents. Guestworkers currently make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, but employers are demanding further increases. If such lobbying efforts succeed, firms will have enough guestworkers for at least 100 percent of their new hiring and can continue to legally substitute these younger workers for current employees, holding down wages for both them and new hires.
Source: FiveThirtyEight.com
So our society's policy makers are demonstrating both their economic ignorance and political shrewdness in pushing women into STEM.  If successful, it's a win on so many levels...you get more women into the workforce, you get more women out of the pink service ghettoes (never mind that the entry of significant numbers of women into a career field pushes men out, all while lowering pay scales...so the pink ghetto metastasizes) and into more male-dominated fields, you buy the loyalty of the women's lobby, and the lowered men's wages means higher demand for social entitlement spending.  Even if not successful, the women's lobby would still be grateful to the pandering classes.  It's a no-lose quad-fecta.

On the upside, however, outside of some attention-getting cheerleaders, the more-women-in-stem-propagandeering appears to be falling on deaf ears:

Source: NPR
While this is not broken down by sex, this is evidence that the bulk of men and women correctly survey the employment landscape and choose differently. Note the narrowing share over time for chemistry, comp sci, and math and statistics, while the health / helping occupations have gained.  They choose non-STEM fields, possibly because of a lack of interest in STEM and / or mental chops to hack the coursework, but also because STEM is where the jobs aren't.  They thus go where the jobs are, or where one needs the certificate to get hired (as in the case of business majors), or what tickles their fancy.  The latter being a horrible reason to drop $50K+, but there you are.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: The Betrayal of American Prosperity

The book: The Betrayal of American Prosperity, by Clyde Prestowitz, published in 2010.

Mr. Prestowitz begins his book with a powerful image that stage-sets his argument: The road into the port of Ostia in the latter days of the Roman empire. Clogged with timber, silk, spices, and grains--imports from Asia and Egypt--the Ostia road was one of the main routes through which Rome imported all of the goods she desired. And on this road was carried the only good she had of value to her trading partners...horsecarts full of dung.  He compares this scene with that of the American port of Long Beach, one of the gateways to the American market.  As with Ostia two thousand years prior, through Long Beach are imported shoes, photovoltaic panels and other goods from Asia. Loaded onto the container ships for the trip back across the Pacific are scrap metal, scrap electronics, and waste paper...the "dung" of the twenty-first century, more more money than the next three categories of exports combined.  Through this image, Mr. Prestowitz argues that we Americans, like the Romans before us, now make scant few finished goods, and export little more than waste and raw materials.

With such an opening, Mr. Prestowitz, a former trade negotiator under the Reagan administration and current president of the Economic Strategy Institute, argues that American prosperity has been neglected, even subverted, by national and corporate leaders. He asserts that these leaders, our best and brightest, have been subscribing to six false doctrines, doctrines that have resulted in an overall decline in American prosperity and a reduction in the standard of living of the American worker.

The high costs of empire.  The first false doctrine Mr. Prestowitz cites is the prioritization of geopolitical interests at the expense of our economic interests. In Mr. Prestowitz' telling, we have evolved from a country that heavily subsidized industry, frequently engaged in public-private partnerships, funded the government through tariffs, wanted no foreign entanglements, and saw the business of America as business, to trading away the American productive and technological base for short-term geopolitical advantage. Starting in the aftermath of World War II, the United States regularly subordinated American prosperity to the demands of geopolitics and spent (and spends) inordinate amounts of money to maintain a far-flung quasi-empire, money that could be better used to invest in American industries or upgrade US infrastructure. Mr. Prestowitz rattles off the examples to support this point: the United States spent roughly $1M per year to per soldier in Afghanistan, buys billions of gallons of oil from Middle Eastern regimes linked to terrorists, aiding China's in the development of commuter aircraft as an offset arrangement to get them to agree to let us sell arms to Taiwan, inking "mutual defense" pacts with other counties in exchange for their purchasing US aircraft and systems, transferring technology to countries like Japan and Korea in exchange for their political cooperation, and tolerating currency warfare from the "Asian Tigers", again because the US desires their geopolitical support for various foreign-policy goals. In short, Mr. Prestowitz argues that the Pax Americana has cost Americans dearly.

A thirst for cheap energy. The author also contends the American addiction to cheap energy has led it to eschew reliable, renewable, and cleaner US-based energy--and contributing to the perverse situation where the USA finances its "bitterest enemies, while also increasing the US national debt, fouling the environment, exacerbating global warming, and ultimately diminishing US welfare"...[a]ll this we do in the name of cheap energy, but...how expensive can cheap be?"  To ensure the free flow of this cheap energy, we have extended our (very expensive) defense umbrella over key oil producing regions of the world and--in a manner consistent with former Western great global powers such as Rome, Spain and Britain (and we know what happened to those guys)--bringing us to the odd position of paying our clients for the privilege of defending them.  Or in some cases, even borrowing from them to pay for that defense. In doing so, the borrower becomes servant to the lender, few argue with their banker, and we lose freedom of action and, to a certain extent, even sovereignty.  Luckily for the USA, oil is denominated in dollars, and a great many countries have pegged their currencies to the dollar, which partially insulates the American government from the monetary consequences of continually devaluing its currency. However, we cannot expect this situation to last forever; in fact, at the time of this writing, Russia has been busily inking pacts with the BRICs and other countries like Switzerland, and Turkey to directly trade in yuans and rubles--"de-dollarizing"--to protect themselves from American indirect taxation via currency devaluation.  What's more, other countries, according to the author, are increasingly calling for creation of global reserve currency alternative to the dollar.

High-tech follows low-tech and a culture of consumerism.  Mr. Prestowitz lists a cultural shift toward consumerism as his second false doctrine, a change driven in part by the mass elite adoption of Keynesian notions that consumption drives economic growth rather than savings or investment. As a result, the national debt exploded, and monetary policy depressed personal savings, due to the primacy placed on spending to keep the economy going. In turn, Mr. Prestowitz argues, this outward appearance of prosperity drove a sort of financial hubris, the assumption that foreign investors will continue to invest in the USA in spite of increased indebtedness and steadily weakening dollar due to inflation. Furthermore, the United States barely blinked as America allowed its high-paying manufacturing base to offshore, with those jobs, if they were replaced, being backfilled mostly by lower-paying service sector jobs and a few knowledge and financial sector jobs. Precious few goods are presently made in the USA, instead, no/low-value-added consumer services predominate.  In addition, with these manufacturing jobs went most of the supporting research and development--the US is dead last in innovation capacity--and Mr. Prestowitz predicts that the bulk of higher education will soon follow these activities overseas, as companies and countries seek to achieve the synergy that comes with co-located research, development, design, manufacturing, and educational infrastructure.  In other words, the graduate level education center of gravity will soon shift out of the United States. Further cementing this shift toward consumerism is that, according to Mr. Prestowitz, US students do not major in STEM, not because they aren't capable, but because service sector jobs predominate in the USA and employment in STEM means either competing with H-1B visa holders or relocating overseas, likely to Asia, to find work.  Foreign students, for their part, return home to work, creating a "brain drain" effect that makes more intractable the problem of American non-competitiveness.

"Cheap is expensive" free market fundamentalism.  For his third false doctrine, Mr. Prestowitz deplores the rise of what leftist billionaire George Soros calls "market fundamentalism".  Roughly, he defines "market fundamentalism" as the belief in the efficiency and rationality of markets, that markets contain the best information about pricing within the market, that markets can never be wrong over the long run, that government intervention distorts the pricing mechanism and smooth operation of markets, and for that reason regulation does more harm than good. This fundamentalism, roughly analogous to Austrian economic theory, gave rise to a mild taboo of government management of business and public-private partnerships, as well as the concept of self-regulation through market forces.  Mr. Prestowitz blames the financial sector bubble and collapse of 2008 on free-market fundamentalism, and the failure of the theory that deregulation and economic self-interest would lead financial institutions to police themselves (and not make risky bets).

Simplistic free trade.  Related to free-market fundamentalism, Mr. Prestowitz's fourth false doctrine is the economic orthodoxy of so-called "fundamentalist" pure free trade, the notion that what was best for the rest of the world was also best for the American people.  He contends that "win-win" specialization--the theory that peoples or counties make what they're good at, and trade for what they're not--doesn't necessarily preclude that someone, somewhere, loses out, and that American workers have indeed been losing out, as well-paying, high-benefits manufacturing jobs, which have a "job multiplier" or 4-5x (meaning that each manufacturing job drives four to five more in the economy) have been disappearing, only to be partially replaced by services jobs that have a multiplier of 1-1.5x.  Furthermore, Mr. Prestowitz asserts that the USA refuses to recognize that the world as it is today is half free-trade, half neo-mercantilist/protectionist, and as a result leaves US markets open to foreign goods and investment, while other markets, such as China and Japan, least heavily restrict and / or tax US goods, if not completely closed to US products.  As a result of this refusal to recognize the world as it is, the US lost global market share and production off-shored to other countries, with the secondary effect that US-based companies with significant foreign subsidiaries felt less and less responsible to America and American workers who bore the brunt of these policies.

Psychological globalization of American corporate and academic leaders. Fifth on Mr. Prestowitz' "hit parade" of false doctrines is the change in psychological orientation of business, academic, and political elites away from loyalty to America, American interests, and American workers and toward shareholders qua shareholders. In the author's characterization, the fate of US companies and the fate of the United States were seen as intertwined, companies felt an obligation to the welfare of the entire community and country as a whole, patriotism was high, and government was viewed as a partner, and not an adversary. In contrast, today, a corporate executive's sole mission is to increase the value of company shares, and while they may perceive an obligation to society as individuals, they perceive little to no collective or institutional obligation to the wider society, nor are there any substantive ties to the countries in which they are located.  As an example of this shift, Mr. Prestowitz juxtaposes the words of two American CEOs, Charles Wilson, former CEO of GM from 1941 to 1953, and Craig Barrett, former CEO of Intel from 1998 - 2009. Whereas the former reportedly said "what is good for the country is good for GM" and vice versa, the author quotes the latter as claiming that "Intel can move where it needs to thrive"...only to later "wonder how my grandchildren will earn a living".  Furthermore, as multinationals focused only on the bottom line of increasing shareholder value, the reality is that they must curry favor with the leaders of other countries, some of whom are US competitors, most/some of whom have markets far more closed than that of US markets, and some of whom have authoritarian political systems.  In these less-open, more corrupt environments, corporations have very little political clout and therefore must be more directly deferential and responsive to the needs and wants of authoritarian / less open counties than that of more democratic countries where the rule of law is prevalent. As these companies fear trade retaliation that further closes markets and hurts their market share in non-US countries, they lobby in their own interest against US trade measures that may harm the countries in which they do business.  This sometimes creates the perverse situation where these companies are acting as surrogates on behalf of other countries and / or authoritarian regimes. Thus when "American" CEOs lobby congress, we must be alert to the fact that they may be acting as unwitting emissaries of foreign governments; we can not assume they are arguing on behalf of American prosperity. For their part, universities are also similarly globalized.  University presidents consider themselves "citizens of the world", and their fiduciary interest is to their global partners, even if those partners are authoritarian governments. Foreign students are the university's best source of revenue, as the students' home governments pay them to attend, to include full fare, room and board, and travel and living expenses. Native American students, for whom tuition, fees, room and board are discounted?  Not so much.  Added to this the preference of American students to eschew STEM in favor of service-sector degrees (reflecting the realities of the American job market--after all, education alone isn't sufficient to make them productive or keep jobs in place, and there is most definitely not a shortage of workers in STEM), it is little wonder then that universities assist in the "downscaling" of American students and look abroad for populations to serve?

Commentary: The timing of Mr. Prestowitz' book was and is quite apt.  The fiscal and military overextension of America, the mental and physical globalization of her economic and political elites, and her continued economic decline has become only more and more pronounced since his book was published four years ago. Clearly, something is amiss with the prescriptions of American policy makers...the implementation of the theory of comparative advantage and unilateral free trade, loose monetary policy, interventionism, and the free movement of capital and labor across borders, while making the monied elites very well off, have not improved the condition of the average American, whose standard of living has plateaued since the 1970s. However, while Mr. Prestowitz so clearly diagnoses the sickness, some of his prescribed cures are suspect. For example, he argues that the American government should return to 18th-century mercantilist policies as part of our national economic strategy, with the government forming public-private partnerships with companies in various economic sectors. While some aspects of this advice is appealing, notably the suggestion that the government erect strong tariffs to protect American industry and level the playing field with other national competitors, others are less so, particularly the notion of the US government picking "winners" and losers".  So-called "public-private partnerships" present some troubling challenges aspect vis-a-vis freedom, liberty, corruption, and ethics/morality, no to mention the government's less than stellar track record at actually successfully picking "winners" to fund with confiscated taxpayer monies is suspect.  Mr. Prestowitz' advice amounts to more of the same "crony capitalism" that has contributed to the present state of the American economy.

Another curative prescribed by Mr. Prestowitz is immigration reform, namely, more H-1B visas to permit more foreign talent to come to the United States, ostensibly to help America compete better in the global marketplace. Yet the last thing American workers need is more labor in the work force, further depressing wages and limiting opportunities for upward mobility.  Moreover, in doing so, Mr. Prestowitz is advocating for some of that "free market fundamentalism" himself, by advocating for the semi-free movement of labor across borders (a necessary, if unspoken component of free trade, as the movement of capital alone creates labor imbalances), instead of applying some of that protectionism for which he so passionately advocates to the American worker him/herself.

In the end, Mr. Prestowtiz offers fantastic advice for American policy makers: They, and we, must acknowledge the delta between the American economy's tatamae and honne, Japanese terms that refer to how we think things are, and how they really are in reality. We "need to take stock of our honne", and consider whether our economic ideology and subsequent policies are bringing more prosperity to American and Americans, or less.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Wonder How Long MLK's Dream Will Last

The uniformed and civilian leadership of the country is publicly fretting about the tension created when unlike creatures are given equality of opportunity, yet achieve unequally:
The Army reports that only 10 percent of its active-duty officers are black, which has contributed to its dearth of black officers leading soldiers with occupational specialties in infantry, armor and artillery.

"It certainly is a problem for several reasons," Col. Irving Smith, director of sociology at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, told USA Today. "First we are a public institution. And as a public institution we certainly have more of a responsibility to our nation than a private company to reflect it. In order to maintain their trust and confidence, the people of America need to know that the Army is not only effective but representative
of them."

USA Today's research found that 25 relevant brigades it looked at did not have a single black commander in 2014. For 2015, the paper reported that there will be two black commanders of combat brigades.

Capt. Grancis Santana, 33, spoke to the paper and asserted that it wasn't discrimination that was causing a lack of minority officers in key posts - the supply of desired soldiers in his military occupational specialty simply
wasn't there. "There was no discrimination; there are just not a lot of people like you."

The paper also noted that of the 238 West Point graduates commissioned to be infantry officers in 2012, only seven were black. One of the Army's plans for addressing the issue will be to put more emphasis on recruiting and
mentoring minority officers.
This tension is the inevitable result of post-Enlightenment "blank slate" theory running smack into reality, a reality formed when genetically diverse creatures, raised in culturally diverse environments, achieve in a divergent manner. The pleasant fiction of strict equality between the various human races has been shown to be just that, and the challenge now will be to determine how diverse groups can coexist peacefully in "togetherheid" in light of the resultant diversity of outcomes and distribution of goods.

There are certain pressure groups for whom MLK's dream is dead.  Like all good Marxists, these groups feel free to judge not by the content of one's character but instead by the pallor (or not) of their skin or the equipment between someone's legs--all while blaming the designated Oppressor Class for the numerous inequalities that inevitably result when unequal beings apply their various talents in the real world. These pressure groups want equality of outcome (or better), and call for race- (or sex-) based head counting as the corrective. Competency, performance, or in this case, combat effectiveness, is no longer the relevant metric for them. Troublingly, the national leadership appears to be slowly bowing to this pressure, and increasingly demonstrates ever more willingness to trade battlefield effectiveness in exchange for domestic social peace.

This is a a dubious strategy at best, given the many historical lessons that teach that appeasing an aggressor only invites more belligerence, not less.

PS - this is also an example of the apex fallacy, as applied to race and ethnicity.  Among the many reasons why there are so many whites in leadership positions is that there are more whites in the Combat Arms in general.  Trigger pullers are overwhelmingly white--and also suffer disproportionately more casualties.  So just as the Glass Ceiling comes with a Glass Floor, command and leadership carries with it flag-draped coffins.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why Should We Care If They Don't?

"Arabs Give Tepid Support to US Fight Against ISIS":
Many Arab governments grumbled quietly in 2011 as the United States left Iraq, fearful it might fall deeper into chaos or Iranian influence. Now, the United States is back and getting a less than enthusiastic welcome, with leading allies like Egypt, Jordan and Turkey all finding ways on Thursday to avoid specific commitments to President Obama’s expanded military campaign against Sunni extremists.

As the prospect of the first American strikes inside Syria crackled through the region, the mixed reactions underscored the challenges of a new military intervention in the Middle East, where 13 years of chaos, from Sept. 11 through the Arab Spring revolts, have deepened political and sectarian divisions and increased mistrust of the United States on all sides.

The tepid support could further complicate the already complex task Mr. Obama has laid out for himself in fighting the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: He must try to confront the group without aiding Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, or appearing to side with Mr. Assad’s Shiite allies, Iran and the militant group Hezbollah, against discontented Sunnis across the Arab world. While Arab nations allied with the United States vowed on Thursday to “do their share” to fight ISIS and issued a joint communiqué supporting a broad strategy, the underlying tone was one of reluctance.

Ryan C. Crocker, a former United States ambassador to Syria and Iraq, said that with “no good options,” hitting ISIS in Syria was essential to American security.
As PH over at Rebellion University observed the other day, we have little to no dog in this fight and lack the money to fund it anyway. The Arab states know this, and also have witnessed our track record in the region--that we will not follow-through, will not be a permanent presence. The American people have demanded as much, balking at doing anything more than pinprick remote drone strikes. Thus the nations in the region see little reason to join the fight against a well-equipped regionally powerful Islamist regime which has, if nothing else, a compellingly enthusiastic approach to governing. This makes ISIS the strong horse, and America the weak horse, to use UBL's formulation.

The nations in the area see this as America's fight, not their own. But why should we care to spend blood and a not insignificant amount of treasure, when the locals themselves seem to be keen on accommodation and coexistence with this new political entity. It is, after all, the sort of democracy we sought to impose by force back in 2003, at the end of history.  Right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Notorious Jaffe Memo and Sub-Replacement Fertility

The indefatigable Hawaiiann Libertarian Keoni Galt transcribed what has become known as the Jaffe Memo in a recent post over at his site, available here.  It makes for unbelievable reading. Seems the Left dreamt up their Malthusian "baby bust" some 50 years ago.  Below is the text from Table 9, the most infamous portion of the Jaffe Memo:

As HL did the spadework in hunting down the entirety of the memo, I'll repost snippets of his commentary here:
Consider the opening paragraph of the memo: "This memorandum is responsive to your letter of January 24, seeking ideas on necessary and useful activities relevant to formation of population policy, defined as "legislative measures, administrative programs, and other governmental actions (a) that are designed to alter population trends... or (b) that actually do alter them."

Forty-five years later, we can see just how effective the Population Control Industrial Complex has been in shaping our present society, when you see just how much of this original brain storming exercise by this award winning eugenicist has come to pass...

The memo in it's entirety represents one of the primary eugenicists of his time weighing the pros and cons of various Population Control measures, and compares and contrasts voluntary versus mandatory measures under consideration by the social engineers of that era. These ideas are considered in the context of American society in the 60's, and how such measures would play out amongst different stratus of socio-economic classes of that era. Jaffe essentially points out that the welfare dependent underclass and the middle/upper-middle classes would require different methods to achieve the Population Control goals of the elitists.

Given the clarity of hindsight by those of us opposed to the agenda of the Population Control Industrial Complex, it is easily discerned that the multivariate approach has succeeded beyond these social engineers wildest dreams. In fact, some of it's "mere listings of current proposals" are currently being promulgated today...
Let's take stock of what has come to pass:

- Restructure family, by postponing or avoid marriage, and/or altering the image of ideal family size? Check.

- Compulsory education of children? Check.

- Encourage increased homosexuality? Check

- Educate for family limitation? Check

- Encourage women to work, nay, require women to work and provide few child care facilities? Check, via depressing men's wages to the point that most women have to work to maintain the standard of living of their parents, and sky-high demand for childcare that makes childcare very expensive and therefore practically limits child care availability.

- Abortion and sterilization on demand? Check.

- Allow harmless contraceptives to be distributed nonmedically? Check.

- Improve contraceptive technology? Check.

- Make contraception truly available and accessible? Check. It's a mandatory coverage item under ObamaCare.

- Improve maternal health care with family planning as a core element? Check.

As for me, while I won't go as far as to say that the Left implemented the baby bust deliberately so that they could turn around and "import a new electorate" from Third World countries where big government and corruption are seen as normal and right, it sure is convenient.

On a ht from Eric.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NBA Owner Pre-Emptively Sells Interest In Team After Anti-White Racist Email

Wait, what?
Levenson said he regrets the email sent to the team's co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry in 2012 as 'inappropriate and offensive.' In a statement released by the team, Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites. He says he later realized the email made it seem white fans were more important. He voluntarily reported the email to the NBA. 'I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true,' Levenson said in the statement. 'That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate email to the NBA.

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said the comments in Levenson's email were 'reprehensible and offensive. The statements do not represent the city of Atlanta's history of diversity and inclusion, and we will be clear and deliberate in denouncing and repudiating them,' Reed said. 'I applaud the NBA's efforts to enforce a no-tolerance policy of discrimination. As a city, we will continue to stand behind the Atlanta Hawks organization as they work to find new ownership that reflects the values and ideals of a city that is too busy to hate.'

The Rev. Al Sharpton released a statement encouraging Silver 'to continue vetting all owners. 'The announcement by Bruce Levenson is welcomed and appropriate by those of us in the civil rights community, that raised the issue of Donald Sterling's need to be removed, and that other owners must be held accountable,' Sharpton said.

Though the NBA investigation of the email was ongoing, Levenson apparently concluded he couldn't continue in his ownership role. 'If you're angry about what I wrote, you should be,' Levenson said in Sunday's statement. 'I'm angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.'
What were the allegedly racist words that Mr. Levenson wrote, words so evil and discriminatory that Mr. Levenson elected to extirpate his sins by voluntarily relieving himself of his controlling share?
My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don't care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black. Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.
Well...an NBA owner writes a contemptuous email blasting middle-aged "southern whites"--itself a dog-whistle epithet meant to conjure up images of segregation and Klan rallies--for their barely concealed bigotry, all while coveting the revenue they bring in. Isn't that special.  But that's not the outrageous part of this entire story. Instead, the outrageous part is not that Mr. Levenson's guilt over his racist anti-white screed (against the very hands he wishes were feeding him) led him to surrender his ownership, but somehow that his sober yet muted assessments of the relatively lower affluence of his overwhelmingly black fan base were "inflammatory nonsense".  Moreover, the safety concerns of "Southern whites" this limousine liberal so flagrantly dismissed and disrespected aren't entirely groundless, if the Atlanta crime maps are to be believed:

Source: Neighborhood Scout.com
The map above is of the area around the Georgia Dome, where the Hawks play.  The dome is highlighted in yellow, and darker colors represent safer neighborhoods.  The reader may note the dark peninsula of relative safety, surrounded on two to three sides by less safe, light-colored neighborhoods.

But the map that really adds nuance to this discussion is the crime heat map for the entire Atlanta metro area shown below.  On this map, the reader is invited to contrast the very unsafe downtown area and west side with the very safe northern suburbs:

Source: Neighborhood Scout.com
Compared to the peaceful state of the northern suburban bubbles from which Mr. Levenson's more desireable and more wealthy white fans would likely be commuting, the neighborhoods around the Georgia Dome probably felt very sketchy indeed. This isn't racism, this is survival instinct leveraging "cheap information".  This not unreasonable discomfort, given the data, is supposedly "racist garbage" of the sort about which limousine liberals like Mr. Levenson must haughtily berate less well-off whites...but it is not the sin for which Mr. Levinson must atone and liquidate his controlling interest in the team. Nope, he is "pulling a Sterling" for stating a couple of obvious and context-free (yet racially tinged) financial facts--facts that happened to be embedded in an email largely consumed with anti-white racism and channelling clumsy Yankee stereotypes of Southron whites.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Catcalling, Womansplained

On one hand, National Review columnist Christine Sisto is absolutely correct. There isn't much "conservative" in arguing that catcalling is no big deal, because "boys will be boys", "men can't help it", etc:
My Twitter inbox is still being flooded with messages from women saying that they share my experiences and agree with my assessment that catcalling is street harassment. Two National Review colleagues of mine penned responses to the article in NRO’s The Corner blog. The arguments against my article represent two fatal flaws of the conservative mindset toward this issue.

Nicholas Frankovich writes in his post, “Male brains and female brains are different. I say this not to justify the behavior, but to try to explain it.”

This argument is essentially, “Men can’t help themselves,” and it comes up often under the issue of catcalling, but is at odds with most conservative thinking. Liberals may believe people are incapable of controlling themselves, but it is unbecoming of the Right to use this excuse, even on something as miniscule as catcalling. About a year ago, Kathryn Jean Lopez, another NRO colleague, interviewed Charlotte Hays about her book When Did White Trash Become the New Normal? in which she suggests that by our accepting the antics of the Left, we are allowing American society to become, well . . . trashy.

“Whereas we once had chivalry, at least as an ideal, we now have the Violence Against Women Act, which is based on the supposition that men are brutes,” Hays says. “Instead of decency, we are told to rely on restraining orders that don’t work. The act comes from a mindset that says men can’t be tamed.”

Is this not the same reasoning a girl uses when she rolls her eyes and thinks to herself, “Men are animals,” after a man tells her to “shake it” while she walks down the street? The subtext of that eye roll is, “Men can’t help it,” but they can help it, because they are not animals. And this suggestion that men will continue to harass women on the street because their brains tell them to is, frankly, offensive to men. If men want to change their behavior, they will. But they won’t change it unless it is made clear that their current behavior is unacceptable, which brings me to my other point.

Another National Review–er, Molly Powell, wrote in another Corner post that she shared many of the experiences I outlined in the original article. A derelict man once pleasured himself in front of her on public transportation. “Most women who are young or halfway attractive will at some point experience rude and occasionally frightening behavior from men,” Powell writes. “So what?”

Why do we expect so little from men? With all due respect to my colleague, is it acceptable that so many women have been forced to watch men pleasuring themselves in public? Is it acceptable that many women, and if I may remind you, so many young girls, experience “occasionally frightening behavior from men?” Men are supposed to be our equals, not our bogeymen. Like Charlotte Hays, conservatives are always going on and on about chivalry, chivalry, chivalry. So why do we not expect it in everyday life?
Yes, Ms. Sisto is right. Catcalling is obnoxious behavior, and so-called "conservatives" who rationalize this sort of conduct in a way are guilty of the same "soft misandry of low expectations" as feminists and other liberalist reprobates.  Both, the former for reasons of Victorianism, the latter for reasons of Marxist ideology, bin men as evil animals, slaves to their hormones.

On the other hand, however, Ms. Sisto's gynocentric missives (here's her other article about catcalling that started the whole conversation in the first place) contra catcalling are too facile times two, and her analysis needs some additional nuance as well as a fair bit of introspection. Which of course, I'm only happy to offer.

First, like any sort of "harassment", catcalling may or may not be welcome depending on how the target receives it. As such, whether catcalling is appreciated as a compliment or condemned as street harassment is a function of a great many things, such as context, non-verbal cues (to include gestures), and the rank and / or social status of the man in question.  Ms. Sisto's own anecdote in the source article shows just how slippery and ill-defined an issue like this is:
I was home in New York over Labor Day Weekend. On Saturday morning, I bought a few bagels from the local bagel store. The owner was behind the counter that day and he was very cheery for someone who had to work on a holiday weekend. After I ordered my bagels and my coffee, he smiled and said, “Anything else, beautiful?” I paid my tab and walked out of the store, walking about halfway down the block before I even realized that he had called me “beautiful.” I wasn’t offended in the least.
No, I'm not arguing that the conduct in this example is "street harassment". But I am asserting that this example is cousin to "street harassment", in that it was an unsolicited appreciation of a woman's attractiveness by an unrelated male in the public square. The difference is merely in degree. Had Ms. Sisto been predisposed to take offense at having her beauty noticed and evaluated by a man--oh my, how terribly objectifying--this deed could have instantly transmogrified from endearing male merchant-female customer social lubricant into "sexual harassment" worthy of the attention of men with guns and the black-robed clerisy.  Conduct that no woman should have to put up with. Or so we're told.  And the metric that distinguishes harassment from compliment, from term of endearment to offensive conduct is how the woman in question receives it...an operative definition of weaponized solipsism as one is ever going to read.

Second, women regularly street-harass men with sexual signals each and every day. Yet, in our world of the feminine imperative, men's conduct is the only one that is condemned as inappropriate.  I speak, of course, of immodest dress that floods the public square with female sexual spam signals sometimes so loud they could arouse the dead.

Take the photo that adorns Ms. Sisto's own LinkedIn profile, at right, and screen captured here, in case it is ever taken down or deleted. Or the photo that leads her Facebook profile, which, while much more conventional, still features some healthy cleavage. Harmless fun, right, all that decollage? Perhaps not...maybe some of the men in her (or any other less-than-considerate woman's) midst don't appreciate being sexually trolled by women who are not their wives.  Does she think so little of those mens' wives (if married) or future wives (if single) that she sees no issue with women exposing themselves in such a manner? Furthermore, adapting some of the comments to her NR article that Ms. Sisto approvingly cut-and-pasted to her Twitter feed, perhaps she thinks men want it, that men crave the amygdala tweak that comes with spying exposed breasts, thighs, or buttocks, that men suck and are the source of all evil so teasing them is okay, that everyone condones it so its not a problem, that men can and should ignore it so it's not a problem, that immodest women are being beaten somewhere in the world, or not allowed to drive somewhere else in the world, so it's not a problem, that girls like to look attractive...so again, it's not a problem, right?  Do we have such a low opinion of women as a society that we cannot expect them to dress considerately?  Is it offensive to women to suggest that they cannot help but harass men on the street because their gonads tell them to? Apparently so, for immodest, inconsiderate, harassing and offensive dress is ubiquitous.

As Ms. Sisto wrote previously in NR, reference catcalling,
“It’s constant, it’s inescapable, it’s hard to get away from.” “Inescapable” is the perfect word to describe street harassment. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter what a woman wears or how she walks or what she’s doing — she will still be singled out in public as a sex object.
Inescapable is a perfect word to describe it. No matter what a guy wears, what he's doing, or whether he wants to be sexually tweaked, chances are that by merely walking down the street, minding his own business, he'll be coyly solicited by women who think nothing of teasing the men in their midst with their bankrupt sexuality.  Ms. Sisto complains about having been singled out as a sex object at the tender young age of 13; perhaps she can empathize with what it is like to be the subject of a relentless sex-signal carpet-bombing campaign by her success-objectifying sisters since puberty, as men are today.    

Ms. Sisto, her fellow femservatives, and not a few of the men in the conservative commentariat like to bang on about the decline in chivalry and the coarsening of male-female social intercourse.  Fine, just so, and I agree. I'll take some exhortations for ladylike behavior to go with the calls for gentlemanly behavior too.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Four Horsemen of the Long March-ocalypse

Mallory Millett, in a fantastic article over at FrontPageMag, recounts a quasi-religous chant employed at a 1969 women's consciousness-raising meeting in the run-up to the formation of NOW:
“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”

Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears. Was I on planet earth? Who were these people?

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.
Promiscuity. Eroticism. Homosexuality. Prostitution. By these four vectors, the women of NOW averred to destroy monogamy in their striving for their shiny, happy, Marxist utopia. The first three of these diseases are straightforward, but the reader may be doing some head-scratching as to why the Founding Mothers of NOW were promoting prostitution. Along comes Ms. Millet with an explaination:
“All women are prostitutes,” [a young woman] will be told. You’re either really smart and use sex by being promiscuous for your own pleasures and development as a full free human being “just like men” or you can be a professional prostitute, a viable business for women, which is “empowering” or you can be duped like your mother and prostitute yourself to one man exclusively whereby you fall under the heavy thumb of “the oppressor.” All wives are just “one-man whores.”
Ms. Millett also goes on to echo something else I've written here at EW before...that women are a civilization's center of gravity.  While men may shape, direct, guard, and provide, where a society's women go, men follow.
She’ll be telling you, “I’m probably never getting married and if I do it will be after I’ve established my career,” which nowadays often means never. “I’ll keep my own name and I don’t really want kids. They’re such a bother and only get in the way.” They’ll tell her, “Don’t let any guy degrade you by allowing him to open doors for you. To be called ‘a lady’ is an insult. Chivalry is a means of ownership.”  Thus, the females, who are fundamentally the arbiters of society go on to harden their young men with such pillow-talk in the same way they’ve been hardened because, “Wow, man, I’ve gotta get laid and she won’t do it if I don’t agree to let her kill the kid if she gets knocked-up!” Oppressed? Woman has always had power. Consider the eternal paradigm: only after Eve convinced Adam to eat the fruit did mankind fall. I.e., man does anything to make woman happy, even if it’s in defiance of God. There’s power for ya! Without a decent womankind, mankind is lost. As Mae West said, “When women go wrong men go right after them!”
To those of us who wonder what happened to marriage, we can see that its present state was and is no accident.  Furthermore, in knowing that the degradation of marriage and family--and thus society--pivoted around warping human sexuality via promoting promiscuity, omnipresent eroticism, homosexuality, and the view of sex as prostitution, we see a path toward restoration.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ferguson Rorshach Test

For my readers, what do you see when you look at this demographic map of Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding greater Saint Louis area?  (Ferguson is the black dot in the middle)
Source: Al Jazeera America
As for me, small wonder that Ferguson blew up as it did.

And as a side note, if people were worried that Al Jazeera would bring Wahhabist jihadism to America, five minutes reading that publication would convince you otherwise.  The articles and agenda pushed at that outlet are as conventional as any other MSM source, which is to say decidedly liberalist.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Smelling the New Demographic Transition Coffee

While the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, are certainly distracting, and in some ways an anachronistic throwback to the civil rights heyday of 1960s-vintage race-conscious protests and demonstrations, they don't take away from the fact that conditions for black folks haven't really improved all that much since Detroit or Watts. Furthermore, I don't see them improving anytime soon. And while some are inclined to externalize the reasons for the lack of real progress for the black community, perhaps some other reasons are at play. I posit three below: Sex, ideology, and mathematics.

Hobbled by Acceptance of Fornication, Illegitimacy, and Choice Mommyhood
One reason for this stagnation is self-inflicted--widespread rejection of marriage in the black community. In 1960, 24% of black babies were born out of wedlock. However terrible an indicator of social decay this one-quarter number was in 1960, in 2013 that figure had skyrocketed to a staggering 72%.  This climb has nothing to do with the dearth of employment for black men, as liberals are wont to suggest.  Nor can illegitimacy be attributable to a legacy of slavery, as author Herbert Gutman found in his 1977 book The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 "five in six [black] children under the age of six lived with both parents".  And while liberals are quick to discredit Charles Murray's claim that welfare led to the decay in the black legitimacy rate, they also admit that it wasn't due to economic factors such as a lack of available jobs for black men.  No, this article from the liberalist Brookings Institution claims that illegitimacy was instead the result of the advent of contraception and legalization of abortion--the "technology shock" theory--coupled with changes in social mores that removed the stigma of single motherhood--"no more shotgun weddings"--to become the main drivers of the (black, white, and Hispanic) illegitimacy rate .

Limited by Marxist Thought
Another reason for the seeming lack of appreciable improvement in the socio-economic condition of the black community is ideology. Among other things, Marxism features a binary system of class oppression in which a victim class is depredated upon by an Other.  For decades in America, the "white establishment" and "white privilege", and "racism" served well as a too-convenient boogeyman, upon whose shoulders was placed blame for the ills of an entire population. Indeed, why "play by the rules" when the rules were written by a "class oppressor" dominant group, especially when this group could be effectively convinced that their collective guilt could be extirpated through transferring the wealth of its less-powerful contitutents to various "oppressed" classes?  Pretty good racket, if one could keep it going forever. So effective was this technique at delivering power, privilege and resources that it spawned all manner of copycats eager for their slice of the victimhood pie.  Thus I suppose it comes as a surprise by some that the entry of another, more numerous, more favored demographic threatens to depose the black community as the recipient of automatic "guilt legitimacy". Some are sensing a change in the wind, and sense in this breeze the loss of relative political power to another group (ht: Moonbattery).

The first video is from 2012:


This second video from about a month prior to the Ferguson riots:


The Cold Demographic Equations
While it's always dangerous to extrapolate forward into the future based on trends today, the math here is pretty simple...blacks are not the demographic into which a sane political party would stake its future. The data:

x Blacks lead all other racial / ethnic groups when it comes to murdering their unborn, responsible for obtaining 37% of abortions when they comprise a mere 13% of the population. This is far above that of whites (34%/62%) and even so-called "family values" Hispanics (22%/17%). In fact, a black woman is 500% more likely to abort her child than a white woman.  From the data collection arm of the infanticide  industry, the Guttmacher Institute:
Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women have higher rates of abortion (40 and 29 per 1,000 women aged 15–44, respectively) than non-Hispanic white women do (12 per 1,000).[32] The higher rates reflect the fact that black and Hispanic women have high unintended pregnancy rates (91 and 82 per 1,000 women, respectively), compared with non-Hispanic white women (36 per 1,000 women)
x The fertility rate for blacks is 2.1, compared to Hispanics (2.4), whites (1.8), and Asians (also 1.8). The future belongs to those who show up for it--and while blacks are "showing up for it" in numbers equal to their share of the population today, thus far the most fecund demographic group is Hispanics

x By 2050, while America will be "majority minority"*, the share of the American population that is white, black, Hispanic, and Asian is projected to be 47%, 13%, 29%, and 9%, respectively, from 63%, 17%, 12%, and 5%.  Again, Hispanics are the largest-growing group.

x In 2012, immigrants already made up 12% of the US population.  Where do the legal ones come from?  Mexico.  Where do the illegal ones come from? 87% from Mexico, Central, and South America.

For the Democrat party, instead of investing in a portion of their constituency with comparatively diminishing influence (but legendary loyalty, even in the face of Democrat policies that make--and have made--blacks objectively worse off), they would do well to continue to solidify their popularity with Hispanics.  Even if this means abandoning blacks, whose wages have suffered in direct proportion to Hispanic immigration, to curry favor with illegal alien Hispanics, as labor unions (key Democrat component group) have decided.

As the demographic transition continues, how will blacks react as they are supplanted as the designated victim group in the left's Marxist calculus? Were they a means to an end, the accrual of power for left-wing elites, and now that they have served their purpose, are being set aside in favor of a culturally alien group with racial / ethnic interests of at odds with that of blacks?

* One wonders how long a viable resource-extraction strategy racial Marxism will remain in an environment where the demon white is no longer the numerically dominant group?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Considering Contempt for the Police

Note 1: This post, published at Return of Kings on August 21, 2014, is in response to the article "Why Americans Should Reconsider Their Contempt for Today’s Police", previously published at Return of Kings on July 3d, 2014.

Note 2: The image at right was taken by Jeff Robertson in Ferguson, Missouri, site of several days of rioting and protests over a fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer on August 9, 2014.

Recently, a guest blogger at RoK opined that Americans should reconsider their contempt for the police, arguing that

(a) LEOs aren't trained to be bullies, that most are good guys doing a difficult job, bad apples give the profession a bad name and, besides, citizens just don't understand what it's like to be on the other end of a citizen-LEO encounter,

(b) Shielding from liability for mistakes, such as kicking in the wrong door or shooting an unarmed man reaching for a cell phone, is necessary to get anyone to sign up to be LEOs in the first place,

(c) The recent trend of shaming, challenging, or embarassing LEOs and posting the videos on the internet only serves to make LEOs more cautious, less aggressive, and less likely to intervene in gray-area situations. The author cites another LEO third-hand, who reportedly said: "If life and death situations could land me in a coffin or prison, I will avoid life and death situations".  The result is more crime, not less,

(d) Higher-quality LEOs are leaving the force due to the rise in street violence and lack of public support for LEOs, leaving lower-quality officers behind. Moreover, the aforementioned working conditions will likely attract a different sort of LEO candidate, one better adapted to higher levels of violence and less concerned with the lack of public rapport, support, or appreciation for their work.

Not a bad start as an apologia for the police, as apologias go. I can empathize with the author's sense of bewilderment as he observes a low level of support for law enforcement amongst the citizenry:
We used to enjoy the support of the educated, hard-working people of the community, but not so much anymore. The bad guys used to know that the cops were the extension of the values of the community and if you violated those values, you were on your own—and good luck with that. But those communities that upheld the values of the Ten Commandments for everyone now seem to only uphold the values of the Ten Amendments, and only selectively when it protects them or their group’s politics.
I myself wrestle with the tension created by my own natural empathies for police officers and my discomfort with media reports of LEO misbehavior and my own (mixed, some good, some bad) observations of LEOs in action. Thus, while I have been at times been both critical and supportive of police over the last few years, I do so out of a sense of love of country, of patriotism, and a hope that the citizenry will help the system right itself. As I wrote a couple of years ago, the American justice system
has gradually morphed over time from one that protected liberty to one that erodes it. Indeed, as individual LEOs became "professionalized", American law enforcement ceased being a system in which citizens secured justice for themselves, on a level playing field, facilitated by law enforcement and the courts, to a literal "us" versus "them" arrangement on a steeply tilted playing field where the massive resources of government are brought to bear against presumably innocent individual citizens. In other words, ownership of the laws and the law enforcement process shifted from individual citizens to an amorphous "the people", thus divesting individual citizens from the justice process except as a collective (when enforcing the law), or as an isolated defendant (when targeted by law enforcement). This divestiture is so complete that jury nullification, that foundational right whose pedigree extends back as far as the Magna Carta, is viewed with contempt and hostility by those in the justice system and those who publicly profess this right are persecuted, pilloried, and/or proscribed from jury service. It is in this context which LEOs, people just like any of us, find themselves at odds with the interests of their neighbors while simultaneously being exposed to the worst pathologies of their neighbors.
Clearly, few are happy with the present system, except perhaps the criminal class which happily exploits the widening gulf between police and the citizenry to its advantage. With that in mind, the remainder of this post will explore some proposals intended to restore some of the lost liberties of the American people, narrow the gap between the interests of the LEO with the citizen, and maybe do away with some of that contempt for police that Anonymous Cop complains about.

New York Times

First up is decriminalization / re-legalization.  Too many things are illegal, making full compliance with the law difficult or impossible.  Mayhaps this is by design.  Ayn Rand once wrote:
The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
While liberty is secured by a little bit of law, too much law threatens liberty. Of course, those who fancy themselves our masters, those who seek to grow government (and thus erode liberty), know this and write laws with the express purpose of controlling the lives of others (for example, Federal crimes are up nearly 1,500% since our nation's founding) and increasing their power and influence. If one is successful at reducing the quantity of laws, at making fewer things illegal, it follows that not only will there be more freedom and more responsibility but there will also be fewer criminals...and fewer opportunities for adverse interactions between LEOs and citizens.

Second, we should reduce the number of full-time LEOs, particularly at the local level where the bulk of law enforcement activities occur, and increase the quantities of part-timers, reserve deputies, and volunteers. The aim here is to shorten the psychological distance between citizen and LEO in a way analogous to the "citizen soldier" model of the National Guard, with an eye toward stemming a budding "us vs them" culture and mindset by making "them" more like "us".

Similarly, police should be hired from, and serve in, the communities in which they live. This may better invest the citizenry in the security of their neighborhoods, and transform their views of law enforcement away from alienated enforcers to neighbors assisting in maintaining law and order. Additionally, this would have the added benefit of reducing inter-cultural conflict (of the sort that the liberalist Left thrives upon and uses as a pretext to enact more "helpful" laws) and therefore increases the sort of interpersonal trust needed to effectively enforce laws.

Fourth, jury nullification needs to be re-legitimized as a check on government power and the arbitrary application of law by LEOs and attorneys general. It is right and proper for the citizens of the community to decide for themselves whether or not a particular law should apply to an accused offender, or even if a law is valid at all--not a judge or LEO or any other officer of the Court. Assuming a citizen is literate, they can judge the law for themselves, as well they should: After all, it is they who suffer the depredations of offenders, and not well-paid government officials safely ensconced in gated communities.

Fifth, the police need to resist the temptation toward militarization. They are not "blue infantry", they are not in a combat zone, should be discouraged from thinking that they are in a combat zone, should not dress as if they were in a combat zone, need not possess equipment meant for a combat zone, and should not frequently employ small-unit tactics as if they were in a combat zone. They are not, and more importantly should not think themselves as, to use Radley Balko's characterization, warrior cops. Moreover, the Founders considered a large standing army to be hazardous to liberty; I submit that LEAs would do well to avoid becoming what our Founders feared, if for no other reason than self-interest: Not only was Tsarnayev, the Boston Bomber, located by a citizen and not LEOs after the city-wide security lockdown was lifted, but life is very dangerous indeed for government forces of dubious legitimacy working in/around a disaffected populace.  Just as the US military about their experiences in Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc.

These are but a few modest proposals. Perhaps it is too late to reverse the decades-long trend of alienation between the citizen and LEO. It is possible forced diversity and cultural Marxism has degraded the culture so much that rebuilding the trust necessary for citizenry-based policing will be impossible. Maybe Americans have become so infantilized, so comfortable in the outsourcing of law enforcement to paid professionals, that taking ownership for the enforcement of their own laws is fantasy.  I hope not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From Patriarchy to Matrilinearity

A recent post by Bill Price shows how the taking class has been financially incentivized to trade patriarchy--leadership by fathers, in other words, civilization--into a culture which at the very least is matrilinear, if not outright matriarchal:
Instead of some natural matriarchal love-fest, it is more properly termed “multi-generational female dependency.” It’s an insidious kind of charity, because it renders men socially superfluous even as it encourages women to depend on the state for support, which creates an entire community that is a net drain on the surrounding society. Of course, there are incentives built in all along the way.

For example, if a woman gets section 8 housing after having a daughter, then raises her to adulthood on public assistance, when her daughter has a child she can stay with her mother (who will provide daycare) and collect welfare while she waits to get her own section 8 voucher. The daughter then gets her section 8 apartment, and the cycle repeats itself. I’m sure there are many families today entering their fourth generation of this lifestyle. For the men, the choices are significantly more limited. A lucky few may hit it big somehow, a large fraction will be arrested and incarcerated for something or other, and a minority will finally escape through the military or a reasonable job. Many will be reduced to the humiliating, demoralizing state of “mooching” off women who are state-supported. Naturally, this has incentivized favoritism toward female over male children amongst the underclass. Poor urban women invest more time and money in their daughters than their sons. This is sad but rational, because state assistance flows toward the female of the species — not the male.

When I see writers for Salon or some similar publication declaring that working class women are better off going it alone, I don’t think they quite understand what’s happening here. Instead of taking a hard look at the incentives, they tend to focus on the alleged shortcomings of the male, and rarely bother to get his side of the story (a glaring omission considering that the women in question deliberately chose to be impregnated by a particular man). They assume that it’s a matter of working class women earning more money and being better providers than the males. Perhaps most stupidly, they assume that a working class woman can be a single, go-it-alone mother of an infant and a productive worker.

Back in the bad old days, women had two realistic choices when they got pregnant out of wedlock: marriage or adoption. The alternative – becoming a “single mom” – was not generally supported by parents, and for good reason — they usually ended up paying for it. But there has been a new development since then: a huge, comprehensive welfare state. Instead of having to buy groceries for the child grandma can now be added to WIC checks, use the EBT and sign up for a childcare voucher. Yes, states will actually pay grandmothers, if they take a couple remedial classes, to watch their daughters’ kids. With a little planning, mother, daughter and grandmother can all get a piece of the pie. Carl, for his part, is eligible for nothing, although as non-custodial father he may well be forced to reimburse the state for paying his child’s grandmother…

This puts the women’s willingness to eject Carl from the situation in some perspective. Why share with him if they don’t have to, and especially when on top of that he can be forced to pay them? Lily has zero financial incentive to create a traditional family, and her mother – a so-called Christian – has an incentive to discourage her from doing so. It all sounds very trashy, and unfortunately it is, but before we lay all the blame on Lily and her mother, we must remember that highly-educated people from “good families” came up with the legislation that created these incentives.

Instead of using welfare as a relief measure to help families through rough times, our brilliant leaders created a self-perpetuating single motherhood mill. Now, women have no incentive to become partners in productive nuclear families, and men have no incentive to be husbands and fathers.
Mr. Price's post lays blame for this situation at the feet of supposedly smart and well-intended social engineers who brought us welfare and related social spending in the first place.  And there is a lot to answer for, given the social pathologies subsequent to such redistributive interventions.  However, perhaps some larger entropic forces are at play here that push society toward grass-hut matriarchy than merely the unintended consequences of ideology run amok.

For instance, there is biology itself: Lactating cows evidently produce higher calorie, more nourishing milk for female calves than male ones. In addition, and for their part, human mothers under economic duress behave similarly to bovine ones, delivering fattier, higher calorie, and more nourishing milk when breastfeeding their daughters than with their sons--and this is before they then go on to feed them more frequently than their sons.

Furthermore, biology, at least in the West, seems to be supplemented by gynocentric social behaviors, which show a marked preference for girls over boys as suggested by the use of selection techniques such as Microsort to convceive girls, as well as the well-established preference for girls in adoption.  This girl preference is buttressed by studies such as the one Mr. Price cited that found lower investment in sons in single-mother families, as well as numerous articles such as this that suggest middle and upper-class families having girls will "pay off" more than having boys in the short, medium, and long-term.  And all this occurs inside a heavily fem-favored environment where a panoply of government spending and legal advantages--over and above the entitlement spending that Mr. Price addresses above--that accrue to girls and young women, yet are not available (or severely restricted) to boys and young men.

It has been said that fatherhood is a social construction, while motherhood is a biological reality. Thus if patriarchy really is the basis for a complex, functioning civilization, then civilization itself is both delicate and the result of deliberate choices made to redirect nature--and in some cases, directly against it--and our natural inclinations away from the Hobbesian and toward something a bit more comfortable.