Randoms of the day

May 31, 2011

Devin (do read the whole thing and comment there):

I would not consider this essay realistic. But when you have eliminated the impossible, all that’s left is the highly improbable. If the results of the Reagan Revolution, Contract with America, or “Yes we can!” movement prove anything, it’s that the American political system is unreformable. The political system has a terminal case of entropy decay. When termites have bored through the structural beams on your house, incremental improvements are impossible. When real change comes it will be sudden, discontinuous, and system-wide. This is not a vision for incremental improvement, but rather a vision for a brand new, brick house that we can all move to once we wake up and realize that our house is rotting.

Harvey Mansfield:

Others try to imitate the sciences and call themselves “social scientists.” The best imitators of scientists are the economists. Among social scientists they rank highest in rigor, which means in mathematics. They also rank highest in boastful pretension, and you can lose more money listening to them than by trying to read books in sociology. Just as Gender Studies taints the whole university with its sexless fantasies, so economists infect their neighbors with the imitation science they peddle. (Game theorists, I’m talking about you.)

You can now read Nock’s Theory of Education in the United States in epub. He was writing about the education bubble 90 years ago.

Jim:

So, the monetary base has tripled.

According to Milton Friedman, the price level will therefore triple “after large and variable delay”

It’s weird that most economists would still argue that we aren’t experiencing inflation and simultaneously claim to agree that Milton Friedman’s research was correct. Obviously they’d argue the “large and variable delay” is the cause. But they should still be 100% certain that inflation is coming.

Bryan Caplan should read his own book. Today he says: “Imagine – there was a time when elite opinion and public policy took free immigration seriously.” This is pretty easy to imagine, since, in his own book, he documents that “elite opinion” is much more favorable to free immigration than mass opinion. Also, many opponents of free immigration would be fine with high levels of immigration if the US had no welfare state like it did in the ’20s. Facts have changed since the ’20s – so should a libertarian’s opinion of open borders. Also on the subject of Caplan, Dennis Mangan also thinks the “idea production” concept is lame.

A while back, Steve Sailer asked what sorts of tactics white people will resort to to improve public schools in their area. This tactic (put in use in Portland – where else?) would work wonders in my neighborhood.

Drudge has a series of articles on black violence across America on Memorial Day – Auster rounds up the links. In the nation’s capitol, there was nothing quite so organized


Dad days

May 29, 2011

I took Friday off and spent the day with the boy. My wife had to work for much of the day on Saturday, so I spent most of the day with the boy again.

For two days, I got virtually nothing done. We spent the days walking around the neighborhood, learning to eat solid foods, laughing and enjoying all sorts of aimless activity.

I’ve never been very good with babies or very patient with unproductive days, but I had two very good days.


Genetic determinism and time travel

May 29, 2011

Everyone who’s watched a movie knows that if you travel back in time, you can’t interfere with what’s happening or you’ll totally screw up the future.

For some reason, I was thinking about the movie-physics of time travel while I was reading this post from Bryan Caplan on his disagreement with Charles Murray.

The basic question is: does divorce have a negative impact on kids?

Murray says ‘yes.’ Caplan says ‘no’ because because genetics for divorce are already baked into the kid.

In general, Caplan seems to take the line that: genetics explain a lot of our behavior, so we shouldn’t worry too much about stuff. For example, you should have more kids and worry less about them.

But if we take this approach and modify our behavior since we know everything is determined by genetics anyway, are we undermining genetics?

The mind boggles.


Randoms of the past few days

May 29, 2011

Pax Dickinson: "Voting to fix what’s wrong with America is like drinking whiskey in an attempt to cure your alcoholism." I’d argue that voting is worse. If you’re drinking whiskey, you at least get the benefit of drinking whiskey.

I’ll be impressed when crime hits a 120 year low. If it doesn’t outperform the 1890s, I’m not impressed. For some reason, I suspect that all discussion of crime rates will, forevermore, start in the ’60s. Any time before that "won’t count."

This chart on school performance in New Orleans has been making the rounds on the progressive blogs. However, as all good progressives know, New Orleans isn’t the same since Katrina because many of the black people have been removed from the city. I’m still waiting for someone to tie these two pieces of information together . . . Matthew Yglesias alludes at it, but doesn’t say it. (This is the second HBD-sympathetic post from Matt in last two weeks, what’s going on?)

Ever since bin Laden was killed in Pakistan and everyone was talking about Pakistan’s "deep state," I’ve been wondering how long it would be before people started talking about America’s deep state. This is the first example I’ve seen (though I don’t think they really understand how America’s deep state works).

"The trend is clear and consistent–atheists make the best Gaiaists. As belief in God goes up, adherence to the beliefs of the Gaia Cult go down, with the only real aberration being agnostics’ assigning relatively low priority to protecting the environment."

Ulysses on morality.

Apparently Americans think a lot of people are gay. I’m not so sure this finding is an example of Americans being dumb. I went to a top 15 university and, during our freshman orientation, we were told that 12% of people were gay (it’s necessary to explain this sort of information to freshman at top universities because otherwise these institutions might become hot-beds of anti-homo sentiment). I remember saying that there was no way the number was that high. I was told to be quiet (not for last time during the ensuing four years). I therefore conclude that overestimating the percentage of the population that’s gay is a way of status-signaling. In the future, everyone will believe that everyone is gay.

Is this progress by any standard?

California and Rhodesia (h/t Mangan).

Rapes in Oslo (h/t Ilkka).

GLP was the first place I saw any significant discussion of the lead/crime issue.

WWII revisionism.

Children are really weak.

Lots of game bloggers like to criticize Laura Wood, but if they can’t find room to agree with someone who writes stuff like this, then they’re writing only for themselves: "ALL of civilization depends on the father. As goes the father, so goes society. When fatherhood as an institution is strong, when a man governs his commonwealth in obedience and submission to God, order radiates throughout society."

Winterspeak: "The Government doesn’t ‘have’ or ‘not have’ money. It prints money when it spends. It unprints when it taxes. Its goal is to have printed as much as the non-govt sector wants to save." In other words, money is equity to USG.


More on redistricting

May 29, 2011

Enjoy the video: "The less immediate point of contention is race, class, geography, and urban identity."

Related to redistricting . . . here are five ways to be a good gentrifier. The comments are great: "any tips on what I should do after I’ve not crossed the street to avoid the black kids, have said hello to them, and then have "boo!" yelled at me ever since I asked them not to smoke dope and piss in the alley?" And: "The neighborly thing to do is to wave, say ‘Hi’, then turn your head ever so slightly as you pass, so when they punch you in the back of the head and steal your iPhone, they won’t overextend their shoulder."


Paul Ryan is a retard

May 29, 2011

There, I said it. Someone had to.

Actually, I’m sure Mr Ryan is a smart guy with smart staffers (I’ve never worked with them, but most staffers are smart). I’d be happy if his budget plan, or whatever it’s called, was adopted. Even if it was adopted, USG would still spend too much money. It will eventually fall because it spends too much money – this is what democracies do.

Admittedly, Britain seems to be pursuing a different path. Instead of failing for financial reasons it’s failing for moral ones, though such failures are surely related. As Theodore Dalrymple recently put it: "The conclusion is clear: the British are now a nation of trailer-trash Americans. They have the vices of the Americans, but none of their virtues." Pippa Middleton does have a nice ass though.

That’s basically why Mr Ryan is a retard. He doesn’t seem to understand that we live in a democracy. Programs like Medicare are the cornerstones of the Democratic Party’s strategy.

Of course, I’ve just re-discovered the Old Right’s criticism of the New Deal. They claimed it was perfectly designed to: 1) elect Democrats; 2) destroy the financial solvency of USG; and 3) undermine American morals.

They succeeded. Mr Ryan should get with the picture – every politician who doesn’t accept the New Deal gets crushed. It has always been so and it will always be so.


Randoms of the past couple days

May 26, 2011

Best wishes to EKL.

Sometimes, it’s surprising how little things change:

The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. — Cicero , 55 B.C.

Jim: "we have now reached Stalinist levels of censorship." It’s not really censorship though. It’s more like thought control.

Crime isn’t falling everywhere.

Deconstructing leftism: "America consists mainly of white people who drive Subarus trying to control the behavior of white people who drive El Caminos."

Chuck: "Of everything that Arnold did wrong in this situation, allowing a man to think that he was the father of a child that wasn’t actually his is the most heinous."

Simon Grey: "The role of politicians in a democracy is to serve the interests of the voters, and the voters appear to be interested in a state that more closely resembles the WWE than a boardroom."


Redistricting

May 26, 2011

This link will take you to a map of DC with dots indicating various races. Red dots are for white people and blue dots are for black people.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that there’s an area in the middle with no dots. The eastern edge of that area is the Capitol. In a small semi circle to the east of the Capitol, there is a dense red area. Then, further east, there’s a semi-circular area that’s densely blue. Then there’s another gap – this gap is the Anacostia River. The other side of the river (the east side) is densely blue.

DC is divided into eight wards, which must be close to equal in population. Following a census, if they’re not close enough in population, the ward boundaries must be re-drawn.

That process just happened.

Here is a map of the old and proposed-new ward boundaries. On this map, the Capitol is at the eastern-most point of ward 2.

Since the last census, ward 2 has gotten too big – on the first map, ward 2 is the super-densely-red part. Ward 8 the bottom-half of the portion that is east of the Anacostia River has gotten too small.

Ward 8 is represented by mayor-for-life-until-he’s-ousted-in-a-coup-by-the-federal-government Marion Barry.

Ward 6, home of your humble blogger, is stuck between ward 2 and ward 8. Ward 6 is also split between white people and black people, as we’ve discussed.

The second map I linked to shows the new boundaries. There’s a lot going on.

Marion Barry’s territory did not expand across the river, but some people in my ward will now be part of ward 7. They’re not particularly happy about this. Race is, of course, the reason, but they’re not allowed to discuss it. Reading the press reports is therefore entertaining, if you’re entertained by tortured, politically-correct speak.

Basically, the white people on west side of the river that are now part of ward 7 are worried the area along the riverfront on the west side of the river will become a dumping ground for ward 7 and ward 8 problems. The area has been slated for development for a long time and development would seriously boost my property values. Now, there’s concern that it will turn into the future site of drug re-hab facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, etc. Plus, this guy is ward 6’s representative and now they’re stuck with this woman, who will represent an area that is almost entirely on the east side of the river. In some sense, the new boundary lines could be an attempt to halt gentrification before it gets all the way to the river.

As the second article I linked to notes, ward 6 managed to get a carve out for the middle school and the high school in the neighborhood, so that people can keep pushing for an IB program – suffice it to say that such a program is not a priority for people in ward 7.


Academic race-baiting?

May 25, 2011

Here’s Bryan Caplan:

More populous countries today produce many more scientific, technological, and cultural innovations that less populous countries. There’s even a +.46 correlation between population and gold medals in the 2004 Olympics—India notwithstanding. Here’s a challenge for you: Name the most credible measure of idea production that isn’t at least moderately positively correlated with population.

I’ve got one: IQ! But I blog anonymously.

He’s trying to get Greg Clark to bite.

Is this the academic version of playing the race card? We all know what the truth is, but we can’t really admit it. Caplan wins the argument because we’re not allowed to answer the question. Congrats.

Caplan’s argument – that more population is correlated with “idea production” – is obviously false. Has Haiti’s idea production increased a lot in the last 50 years? Has Nigeria’s? Is Nigeria’s this much better than Iceland’s?

(Note: I’m reading “idea production” to mean “economic growth”, because the idea that merely producing ideas – any ideas! – is good is too retarded for me to contemplate).

A world filled with people whose IQs are below 70 is not going to produce more ideas than a world than consists of a handful of people with 210 IQs. Unless fart jokes count as ideas.


I was so right

May 23, 2011

Yesterday, I argued that in the 1960s, the Supreme Court effectively made good police work impossible. I went on to argue that the war on drugs was the (unfortunate but) necessary response to the (obvious) consequence of a massive increase in crime. The war on drugs has put lots of people behind bars for long periods of time. Crime rates have consequently fallen dramatically.

Surely, the progressives won’t stand for this.

As if on cue, today’s Court continues the work of the ’60s Court by ordering California to release more than 40,000 criminals because their feelings might conceivably be hurt in prison.

What’s really happening here is that the Courts are saying that California must provide nice facilities for prisoners. If there are too many prisoners for the existing facilities, the prisoners must be released. It doesn’t matter if someone breaks the law. If their prison cell isn’t nice enough, they must be let go.

This ruling effectively ends the drug war.

Looks like we may get a chance to test the libertarian thesis vs my thesis. Are the libertarians right? Will California turn into a bastion of liberty? Can we expect a surge in the economic output of California as these productive citizens are freed from the restrictions of over-bearing drug laws? Or am I right? Will the state turn into (more of) a burned-out wasteland? Anyone care to place bets, perhaps related to whether violent crime rates in California will increase?