Randoms of the past week

This idea is un-American!

My bubble score is: 2. My bubble is very thick. I will endeavor to improve this score (lower is better, of course). My only failings are that I have friends with whom I have significant political disagreements (however, I feel that this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that I’m a monarchist and most of my friends are progressives) and that I was in marching band when I was in high school (so I was in a couple parades that did not involve homos or global warming (is that redundant)).

– In equally good news, Google thinks I’m 55-64, which is essentially twice my age.

– "Stalin was feeling extremely gay" – don’t miss a couple new posts at UR (you have no idea how happy I would have been to have discovered that particular quote). Also don’t miss a couple new posts from Devin.

– Putting people in jail is really effective at reducing crime. More from Isegoria. Ferd dissents, apparently.

Whiskey on Charles Murray . . . and Handle on Whiskey.

Rod Dreher on Charles Murray

– Bryan Caplan on the marriage premium . . . and a response from Heartiste.

– Apparently, it’s stunning that "The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda." I’m shocked, shocked.

– Olave d’Estienne on formalist political arrangements

– Polygamy is bad, unless you divorce early wives or never marry the women with whom you have children

Simon Grey: "politics is Jersey Shore for the middle class." I’d say the upper-middle class, but you get the point.

Chuck on Caplan on immigration.

Sailer: "This is ‘controversial,’ even insensitive, since everybody knows that the behavior of all minority groups is controlled wholly by their genes; nobody should be allowed to doubt genetic determinism like Nixon is doing, at least not in public." Heh – that’s funny.

In defense of introverts.

30 Responses to Randoms of the past week

  1. How did you get Google to spit an age at you?

  2. Simon says:

    Reading Moldbug these days, is like eating bread when you could be eating a t-bone. The reactionary Christians have it all over him.

    • They certainly post more often!

      I’m still haunted by that vision of Stalin’s kiss. Was there tongue, do you think? Or at least lip? I’m pretty sure Hitler was gay, too – in the modern sense of the word (see Lothar Machtan). Perhaps WWII comes down to a titanic global conflict of bi versus homo.

      Google has actually figured out that I’m in my late 160s, but prudently clips the century to avoid shocking the horses. There’s a lot the general public doesn’t know.

  3. […] version – is damn near a hick in his own right.  He probably eats ribs.  Foseti’s bubble is putting Jennifer Lopez’s to shame.  I scored a 70 which means that I am either first […]

  4. josh says:

    Google thinks I’m 65+.

  5. Alex J. says:

    Google thinks I’m 18-24, when double that is more like it.

  6. versaceactuary@yahoo.com says:

    2, that’s rediculous. I probably had 20 points racked up before I turned 18 according to this quiz.

  7. ve says:

    Relax. If USG implemented an “incentive pay” scheme, do you think the bureaucracy would ultimately end up being paid more or less? My money would be on no one taking a pay cut, while the favored sons take home bonuses during good times. And when a future regulatory failure happens, which it inevitably will, what’s the solution? Larger bonuses and higher pay to draw better talent, of course. That game plan has been working pretty well for public school teachers.

  8. Phlebas says:

    From the introvert piece:

    In the last few decades, this “Extrovert Ideal” has transformed workplaces, says Cain. Independent, autonomous work that favored employee privacy was eroded and practically replaced by what she calls “The New Groupthink,” which “elevates teamwork above all else.” […] Yet, according to Cain, it’s only worked to damage innovation and productivity […] open office plans are associated with reduced concentration and productivity, impaired memory, higher turnover and increased illness.

    It’s interesting to note that a lot of academic management theory is essentially the advocacy of leftist instead of rightist decision-making structures. For example, McGregor’s Theory Y idea:

    McGregor simply argues for managers to be open to a more positive view of workers and the possibilities that this creates […] This would include managers communicating openly with subordinates, minimizing the difference between superior-subordinate relationships […] This climate would include the sharing of decision making so that subordinates have say in decisions that influence them.

    Even an alleged quality standard like ISO 9000 serves the same purpose:

    A process approach is a powerful way of organizing and managing activities to create value for the customer and other interested parties.

    Organizations are often structured into a hierarchy of functional units. Organizations are usually managed vertically, with responsibility for the intended outputs being divided among functional units […]

    The process approach introduces horizontal management, crossing the barriers between different functional units and unifying their focus to the main goals of the organization.

    Note the painfully contorted language – always a good sign that a piece of writing contains a motive other than to communicate an idea efficiently. The “process approach to management” can be summed up as follows: blah blah make decisions by committee blah blah.

    The inappropriate use of open plan offices can be seen as another management style encouraged by leftists – breaking down “artificial” (but evidently useful) boundaries between individuals as is their inclination. Here is a high Universalist paper from Cornell University to illuminate this tactic:

    [F]or most employees the closed, cellular office is the preferred office type, for well‐known reasons [quotes software engineers on why they strongly prefer closed offices].

    Few would argue that most employees […] need time to think, concentrate, and reflect, as well as to communicate, share information, and interact socially. But as Kellner argues, the reasons for feeling more effective in a private, closed office reflect deeply held values as much as simple utility: ʺSeveral forces conspire to keep software work an individual activity, including; desire for autonomy; a culture that rewards individual efforts far more than team efforts; concentration of crucial application knowledge by a few individuals; desire for privacy regarding individual development efforts; the Not Invented Here syndrome and its more personal form (not invented by me); large productivity differences between individuals; political considerations of powerful individuals and of managers.ʺ The Holy Grail is finding the right balance.

    What is surprising about our data is that the more open type office environment, what we are calling team‐oriented bullpens and pods and shared closed offices, may come closer to achieving this balance than either closed offices or high‐paneled cubicles.

    On the other hand, Vinesh Oomenn (of the Queensland University of Technology – marketed as “a university for the real world” and having close ties with industry) has done a large-scale literature review of everything written and researched about open-plan offices and how they affect employees:

    “The evidence we found was absolutely shocking,” he said.

    “In 90 per cent of research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure, and a high staff turnover.”

    So the “data” spoken of in the Cornell paper doesn’t appear to be true to life. And just in case their “data” doesn’t do the job, the Cornell researchers also made clear that if workers do prefer closed offices, this is only because they haven’t been molded into good socialists yet. This kind of research can have an effect on management styles in industry despite the fact that it’s BS partly because of Dilbertization brought about by zombie money and red tape, and also simply because profit discipline takes time to do its work in eliminating bad ideas. And to the extent that industry ignores this stuff, something like ISO 9000 that is of no practical benefit (real quality management comes from the likes of W. E. Deming, who revolutionised Japanese industry and has a low opinion of ISO 9000) but which is demanded by the UK government – “You comply or we won’t buy” – is more difficult to escape and furthers similar objectives.

    • Phlebas says:

      >has a low opinion of ISO 9000

      Pardon me, had.

    • spandrell says:

      Japan is THE example of vertical organization, yet the trend towards extroversion also exists. Most companies state that the most coveted skill in a worker is “Communication ability”, not productive skills. Everything is done int teams, kids who don’t spend every night drinking with their teammates will never get a promotion, etc.

      I guess its also a product of committee decision, which in Asia co-exists with strict hierarchy.

      The only answer might be monarchism after all.

      • Phlebas says:

        I googled Japan and open plan office, and I found this thread in which someone claims that open plan is common in Japan. However from their description I gather that this is due to a rather different set of cultural circumstances:

        Here’s some data from Japan, where open office plan is quite common. The Japanese have a proverbial expression that translates as “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” In a typical large Japanese office, up to a hundred desks are place in an open floor area, facing the desk of a section leader, who faces them all. 1 hammer, so to speak, for every 100 nails.

        The Japanese section leader would not think of taking a private office if it were offered to him, as it is a measure of his authority that he can act with impunity in front of everyone who reports to him, and expect whatever communications privacy he needs for phone and verbal communication by merely nodding his head to clear the nearby area temporarily […]

        Every one knows his place in such an architectural plan. The hammer is always in his place, and no one wants to stick up, but that is not because of fear of displeasure from the hammer, as such. Instead, there is a certain pride in belonging to such a group, and contributing as others expect of you. The stern approval of the hammer is more paternal than disciplinary; his awareness of your presence, and 99 others, is your assurance that you are needed and wanted in the job you do. Calling attention to yourself by violating social norms is perhaps more embarrassing in such environments, and this may appeal, uniquely, to the Japanese preoccupation with “face.” Call it cultural reinforcement through architectural planning.

        On the other hand from a Western point of view, in the absence of any of these obscure cultural factors open office plans allegedly improve productivity due to ease of communication and so on – yet evidently they do not actually improve productivity over here.

        Above I provided a tentative explanation for the phenomenon of irrational overuse of open plan offices (and leftist management styles in general) in Western private industry, and I would suggest that this explanation is compatible with the fact that open plan is widespread in Japan, despite their management styles being generally hierarchical (i.e. rightist) and their being substantially less Universalist than Westerners. In other words, yours is a good objection but I suspect that basically different causes underlie Western and Japanese use of open plan office design.

      • spandrell says:

        Japan is hierarchical, but also committee-ruled. I wouldn’t call it rightist, it feels kinda sovietic.
        I agree in that the underlining cases are somewhat different, but my gut tells me there’s a sort of feminizing trend which makes getting along and talking a lot more a priority than pure performance. Performance based pay is routinely criticized as ‘polarizing’,etc. The feminizing trend is not at all dissimilar to that of Western countries.

  9. Samson J. says:

    My only failings are that I have friends with whom I have significant political disagreements

    That’s one of the only areas where I didn’t garner points. The question says, “close friend with whom you have strong and wide-ranging political disagreement”. I can’t really imagine having a *close* friend that I disagreed with this strongly.

  10. LMAO. David Brooks NYT answer to Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. White Forced Busing, from Rich White enclaves to poor White enclaves. Actually Forced National Service, but you get the idea. 😀 Please bus Harvard to Dorchester. PLEASE.


  11. asdf says:

    On the topic of govenment work this meshes with my impression. Low skilled workers are overpaid and high skilled workers are underpaid. Salary scalebacks tend to drive out the best government workers while the worst hang on for dear life.


    Differences in wages between federal employees and similar private-sector employees in the 2005-2010 period varied widely depending on the employees’ level of education.

    •Federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned about 21 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.
    •Workers whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree earned roughly the same hourly wages, on average, in both the federal government and the private sector.
    •Federal workers with a professional degree or doctorate earned about 23 percent less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts.

  12. Whoa, Mencius Moldbug posts here? I haven’t gotten a reply to anything (post or email) I’ve sent Moldbug’s way in like three years.

  13. Shawn says:


    I have a question for you. You are the only one I feel comfortable asking.

    If I work for a gov’t agency and have tenure there (if I worked there a little over a year or so) how hard is it to transfer to another agency, such as in a different state, AND if I transfer, does my tenure carry over?

    • Foseti says:

      It’s much easier to transfer agencies once you’ve been in the government for 3 years. At that point, you have “status” and are eligible to apply for all positions that are posted by an agency (some are only posted for internal and status candidates).

      Regardless of when you transfer, you keep your status – but what matters is being in for 3 years.

      Moving to a different state doesn’t create any problems.

      • Shawn says:

        Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated. 🙂 I am applying like a mad man for contract specialist positions.

        Just to clarify, once tenure has been obtained and they can’t fire you from you job, if you move to another agency this tenure carries over? And is the 3 year “status” mark the amount of time needed for tenure?

      • Foseti says:

        That’s all almost totally correct. Often there’s a one-year period after which it becomes difficult to fire you. The status – which makes it easier to change jobs across agencies – only kicks in at 3 years.

  14. Handle says:

    And now we have Cowen on Handle on Whiskey on Murray. Sexual Selection Social Analysis (S3A), here we come!

    But does he have the stones to write “A hypergamy theory of changing social indicators”?

    The liberation of American women also damaged the quality of public education, by removing the implicit subsidy of so many “captive” and smart female laborers. I would say that the non-wealthy did not have good norms to deal with women’s liberation and maybe they could not have had such norms. It’s time to come to terms with that history. I am willing to embrace it, though I am not sure Murray is.

  15. Doug1 says:

    Fosetti, a question for you about how the federal bureaucracy works.

    If he wanted to, would it be possible for Romney if elected POTUS, to order the EEOC to abolish it’s “disparate impact” test for job discrimination?

    How about order the Dept of Education’s Title IX folks to rescind the infamous April 4 “Dear Colleagues” letter, requiring all Universities getting any federal aid to adopt a 50.1% level of proof in disciplinary hearings involving charges of sexual assault and rape?

    • Foseti says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of disparate impact is that it’s law, as interpreted by the courts. I don’t think an executive order can over-ride judicial decisions. The Court, ultimately is sovereign.

      The latter issue, I believe, could be changed in the way you suggest.

      • Doug1 says:

        It has roots in Griggs versus Duke Power, which held that IQ tests which haven’t been shown to assess necessary minimum prerequisites for various blue collar jobs at the electric power utility, were discriminatory against blacks.

        However the fleshed out version with it’s 4/5ths standard and almost impossible to meet standards of proof any employment or promotion tests are sufficiently related to job performance, are administrative law and EEOC agency practice. In other words the EEOC took the Griggs kernal and built a mountain out of it, generally adding to it under Democrat administrations.

        For instance, we have the absurdity that in New Haven, CT, a firefighter’s promotion test, all about firefighting and fire prevention knowledge, was thrown out by the EEOC as discriminatory since more than 4/5ths as many blacks as whites who took the test failed it. The usual way the tests have to be adjusted to make them pass the 4/5ths muster is to make them so easy almost everyone passes, including the less smart blacks, and then have a random drawing among those that passed for promotion. That or just quotas.

        Pepsi recently had to agree to not consider whether job applicants had criminal records, since that had a “disparate impact” on black applicants!!!!

        I’m not asking if Romney could overturn Griggs, but rather tall this EEOC mountain build on the small kernal.

      • I’ve wondered the same thing as Doug1 about EEOC decisions. Some commissions are specifically structured to be beyond Presidential control. AFAIK the President couldn’t overturn a decision of the FEC or the Merit Systems Protection Board–wouldn’t make sense to give them fixed-term collegial management if they were subordinate like a line agency (EPA, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

        Only problem is, I’m a little troubled by the fuzziness of the line between them. People love describing agencies as “independent” so much that it causes a delicious sort of confusion. Lots of people think that the US Postal Service is “private” because of this confusion (in spite of its entire governing board being appointed by POTUS). I guess that, in general, EOs are legal unless the prescribe that has been banned by another law, which means it’s easy to understand the limits of EO if you happen to know what’s in all the Federal laws. Thus I regard the task as somewhat humbling.

        I’ll GUESS that EEOC is subject to executive order. I know that Federal contracts are subject to EO, since that is how Nixon first introduced the “quotas & timetables” that became the thin end of the affirmative action wedge.

        As you all have noted, other aspects of AA are judicial riffing on civil rights statutes. E.g. Bakke vs. University of California established that because (or in spite of) civil rights law against racial discrimination, race could be used as a plus factor (to create an unstated quota) but it could not be used to created a formal quota. A brilliant move by Justice Powell to force AA advocates to keep the discrimination secret. Frigging GENIUS.

        My (hopeful) feeling is that such decisions are not safe under the likes of John Roberts.

  16. […] subject’s souls. Lately many in the alt-right blogosphere have been turning to monarchy (see here or here), and Byzantium really strikes one as the total opposite of the modern democratic, […]

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