Through a mirror, darkly

Today the New York Times is carrying a story on Chinese fears of “cultural encirclement”.

“We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration,” Mr. Hu said. “We should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle, always sound the alarms and remain vigilant and take forceful measures to be on guard and respond,” he added.

This quote reminds us of something too easily forgotten, which is that Communists have always taken ideological struggle seriously. Communist theory teaches them to believe that the most effective way to break the will of the opposition is to de-legitimize its ruling class, degrade its culture, destroy its confidence in its own institutions and its own way of life.

Hu Jintao believes that the West is waging a conscious memetic war against Communist China – because he knows that Communists including himself have been waging a conscious memetic war against Western civilization since the 1840s. Sadly, this is not yesterday’s news.

What Jintao can also see, and the reason he is actually right to fear memetic warfare, is that the West has been seriously damaged by Communist successes at memetic subversion. The damage didn’t end when the Soviet Empire collapsed, because too many people in the West internalized and naturalized Soviet attack propaganda. Many of its tropes have become tribal shibboleths of major Western political tendencies, despite being just as wrong and just as toxic as when they were first uttered.

Hu Jintao holds up a dark mirror to our own situation. What he fears happening to the world’s last major Communist state is exactly what he knows the Communists did – more successfully than is generally understood – to us.

Now go read my essays on Gramscian Damage and Suicidalism. And, if you’re tempted to dismiss me as a paranoid, ask yourself this: why does Hu Jintao believe the things he does about “ideological struggle”? If you were he, or his ideological predecessors, what would you have been trying to accomplish during the long nuclear standoff?

Next, look hard at the West’s politics. And if you are a “conservative”, resist the urge to gloat that your kind was right all along. Because your kind were useful idiots just as thoroughly as Western “liberals” have been. You were incompetent at propaganda, fixated on silly irrelevancies like who was putting tab A in sexual slot B, and addled by religious particularism. You destroyed your own credibility with Chicken-Little ranting over porn, rock music, and games. Thus, when the Gramscians did their long march through academia and the media and Hollywood, you saw the danger well enough but you failed to stop them.

You conservatives had just one duty that mattered: to conserve, to be Western civilization’s antibodies – and you blew it. The wages of that failure is that the U.S. has a sitting President who spews Marxist propaganda tropes as though they were the laws of nature, and neither he nor far too many Westerners can any longer tell the difference.

Hu Jintao reminds us that ideological struggle still matters. I hope it’s not too late for us to profit from the reminder.

306 thoughts on “Through a mirror, darkly

  1. I find it odd that an avowedly Communist state emits blanket condemnation of Western ideas.

    Hint: Communism itself — Marxism/Leninism — is a product of the West too.

    There is clearly some double-think going on among the Chinese leadership. I’ve often wondered why China offered so little resistance to the Communist memes, in spite of having several thousand years of culture to draw on. It’s especially true today, after China has cautiously, and largely successfully, introduced limited capitalism to revive its economy (which was flat on its back under Mao).

    I confess I thought that after Communism collapsed worldwide, we’d be looking at a new Chinese Emperor with a Chinese bureaucracy by now, instead of a leadership that remains self-identified as Communist.

  2. Serious question: what, exactly, were the conservatives supposed to do? Would they really have been more successful had they forgotten about public morals and religion? If they had been, essentially, libertarian rather than conservative? I agree that the conservative movement failed, but I don’t agree that being less conservative could have made it succeed.

    My take on history is that conservativism was ailing in the US since the mid-19th century, and its long-term defeat was basically assured by the election of FDR. Conservatives since then have been executing a semi-successful rearguard action which, in the best case, could only succeed in keeping the retreat from becoming a rout.

  3. Two questions:

    Is the current state of Western culture capable of performing such an attack on China?

    Is it possible that Chinese culture would be undermined without a concerted cultural attack, or is a concerted effort required?

  4. >Serious question: what, exactly, were the conservatives supposed to do?

    I don’t know. I know that the cost of their appalling stupidity and egregious failure has been vast, and I have to live with it every day, and that pisses me off.

  5. @esr, so basically you’re just mad that conservatives aren’t libertarians, and have decided that this makes them culpable for the victories of liberals? I reiterate my original question: what makes you think that being more libertarian and less conservative would have improved on the success rate of the conservative movement?

  6. >basically you’re just mad that conservatives aren’t libertarians,

    Fool, I’m pissed off with conservatives for failing to stop the Gramscians, as I said in the OP.

  7. Eric, I may be dense or ignorant, but your link to “Gramscian Damage” as an essay does not mention that term at all in the text.

    ESR says: Was missing a trailing digit due to paste error. Try again.

  8. This is not about communism, this is about Chinese culture, and it’s being “lost” at an astonishing pace. Well, you would expect that, because China’s development is at a rapid pace, and they take whatever they can to make that happen – and their culture traditionally has not much problems in assimilating other ideas (the whole idea about Han culture is to assimilate – they are the Borg, they assimilate everybody else, but while they are doing so, they incorporate the ideas of the assimilated into their own).

    Young people in China have no problems with this pace, but old people have it. They have it everywhere on the world, because everywhere the world is moving faster than old people can follow. But in China, it’s worse than usual. The generational conflict there is much worse than here. It’s that simple: Hu is an old man. He was young when Mao’s cultural revolution was ongoing. Hu’s an intelligent man, but he’s not prepared to the 21st century (this is the same problem conservatives have in the west). Forget about ideology, China today is communist only by name. They still have an autocratic one-party-system, yes; any die-hard conservative would love to have that, too. But please, tell me where there is Marxism-Leninism or even Maoism in their ideology. There is barely anything left of Maoism, and there was never that much of Marxism-Leninism in the Chinese communism.

    And what’s this “1840″? The opium war was something that put us in the west to shame, because what England wanted primarily was to sell drugs. They behaved like a Mexican cartel, and the only difference is that they were too armed and dangerous to be stopped by the weakened Chinese empire. Come on, the west as drug dealer, this is nothing that we can be proud of. From 1842 to 1911, China was an informal colony. Defending yourself against foreign invaders is perfectly legitimate, with whatever mean you have.

    I think most people in the west don’t understand China at all, and take many things wrong. E.g. take China’s internet censorship. What we get told here is that they censor Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s services to maintain control over their people. This, IMHO, is completely wrong. Their people have QQ, Weibo, 163.com, and Baidu, and therefore clones of all these services, and these clones are just as dangerous and uncontrollable for the party as any other really big internet service would be. The point is that by having all their own social networks (and QQ has more members than FB), they are still quite isolated from the rest of the world. Their language barrier contributes to that. This is going away in the next one or two generations, as the English teachers in China improve.

  9. > if you are a “conservative” … you were … addled by religious particularism. You destroyed your own credibility with Chicken-Little ranting over porn, rock music, and games.

    Good point. See also this book, in which the author argues that the religious right are not truly “conservative” in their political philosophy, but merely Liberal with a different agenda.

  10. China’s economy is modernizing rapidly and its people have had a small taste of freedom and prosperity. Consequently, they are naturally yearning for more freedom and prosperity. If you are the Communist Government of China, and you want to re-institute some very harsh repression in order to combat the freedom yearning, then the first step is to create a public excuse which legitimizes the repression. This is an old totalitarian tactic and has less to do with our failings than it does their level of angst over the burgeoning independent behavior of its citizens. Unrest is rife and growing in China, but our media does not cover it.

  11. What I find really interesting here is the uses of language – Commie China 2012 uses pretty much the same grammatical, semantic structures as Commie Hungary 1960 and actually way before that Orwell identified them in “Politics and the English Language”.

    This hints on surprisingly little change regarding the underlying thought patterns, even though China became outwardly a very “capitalistic”-looking country.

    One obvious example of it is intentional vagueness of a paranoid kind – “international hostile forces”. Back in 1960 it was called here “the international forces of reaction”.

  12. It’s a complete loss of ‘face’ for Mr. Hu and older Chinese. The Chinese attitude was, “We have the oldest and finest civilization in the world. What we have is superior to anything that anyone else has, and we neither seek nor need anything from other peoples.”

    For centuries, the statement about the finest civilization was actually true. Around 1400, Grand Admiral Imperial Eunuch Cheng Ho (sorry, I learned about him before Nixon went to China, and they changed the spelling) took his fleet of thousands of ships to the surrounding countries, distributing rich gifts to the people they visited, just to impress them with the greatness of China. (Contrast this with the actions of the Portuguese when they arrived, a century later.) Now, the world is smaller, and foreign ideas are flooding into China, bring the whole idea of Chinese civilization into question. The Chinese can build up their navy so that an insult like the Opium Wars can never happen again, but Mr. Hu suspects that this is the sort of invasion that he can’t stop. It’s not about communism, it’s about China and its place in the world.

  13. >It’s not about communism, it’s about China and its place in the world.

    You’re the second or third person to say this, and it just shows you missed the point.

    Forget whether Hu Jintao thinks it’s his job to defend Communism or Chinese culture. That’s barely even relevant. Listen instead to what he thinks the most dangerous form of purposive attack on either is, and think about why he believes that.

  14. @Bernd

    Subscribing to the delayed blowback theory – that generational tensions ended 1-2 decades ago because changes happened so fast that older folks didn’t even know what is going on, so now that they are beginning to figure it out they are cracking down with a fury unseen for 1-2 decades?

    Because if yes I think this is at least partially true. For example the whole SOPA thing is IMHO abotu 60-70 years old legislators really, really didn’t know what is really on the Internet, how it works, what is its content, how many music videos are up on YouTube, they found out recently only, and are cracking down and trying to make the Internet obey the same rules as the meatspace. They really didn’t know before the Internet is not obeying the same rules as the corner record store. Same thing for China. Hu found something out that is happening for decades but up to now it evaded him.

  15. Shenpen,

    Good artists copy, great artists steal. Shrewd artists say “It’s mine; I stole it fair and square!” and use the law to prevent the next great artists from stealing from them.

    That is what SOPA is about.

    It is as old as mass-market book publishing in the U.S., when Mark Twain, who plagiarized large sections of his novels, got before Congress and testified the need for strong copyright protection to protect the original work of authors like him.

  16. The link you provided to your ‘Gramscian Damage’ essay points incorrectly to ‘Elephant in the Bath-house’

  17. I think the central failing of esr’s rant here is that he is mixing up “conservatives” with “republicans.” The neocons in the GOP haven’t been conservatives since the 1980′s. These days the “conservative” mantle should be correctly affixed on the libertarians but in most people’s minds it isn’t.

  18. >Mark Twain, who plagiarized large sections of his novels

    This charge has been made, but never stuck. Nor should it have. Twain weathered accusations of plagiarism about one novel and one short story. I’ve examined the controversies around A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court and Tom Sawyer, Detective, and there isn’t any there there.

    Twain, like every English wordsmith back to Shakespeare, made creative use of the pop culture of his time. Sometimes this involved spotting a dramatic idea that someone else had underutilized and putting it to use at a level of virtuosity that no lesser author could match. But in the way “plagiarism” is normally understood – conscious theft of words in order to avoid the labor of originating one’s own – Twain never did that.

    It’s instructive to read Twain’s own account in his autobiography of how he “unconsciously plagiarized” Oliver Wendell Holmes. Twain was alive to these issues, called himself on it when he came close to the line, and behaved throughout his career with – as far as I can tell at a century’s remove – unblemished integrity.

  19. (Addendum to above: the fact that Mitt Hussein Romney’s poll numbers are in the double digits is a prime example of why the GOP no longer has any business calling itself a conservative party.)

  20. >fixated on silly irrelevancies like who was putting tab A in sexual slot B, and addled by religious particularism. You destroyed your own credibility with Chicken-Little ranting over porn, rock music, and games.

    >You conservatives had just one duty that mattered: to conserve, to be Western civilization’s antibodies

    I am half way between conservatism and libertarianism, and frequently conflicted about which instinct to follow. I am sometimes confused by the reasoning I use to arrive at my conclusion. Am I just picking and choosing randomly? I am open to the idea.

    But these antibodies you mention, conservatives never failed in keeping memes out. If anything, conservatives kept out too much. If anything, progress was retarded by the “keep everything out” function.

    So the question shifts to – how are we, as antibodies, to know what to keep in and keep out? And if we become gatekeepers, it’s perhaps just as dangerous.

    You state, without proof, that porn, music, and so forth are irrelevant. The lack of criteria for determining relevancy is palpable. Are you just picking and choosing randomly?

    The question remains unanswered. Are we sure that porn (say), isn’t a hostile meme? I believe that China has some sort of anti-porn antibodies. Maybe they believe it to be detrimental. Maybe they are delighted that conservatives lost that battle.

    For my part, I see the process as one of discovery. We don’t know, you and I, which is right. The universe is it’s own best simulation, and the results will be available…. eventually.

  21. @Jeff Read

    .. Mark Twain, who plagiarized large sections of his novels ..

    You’ve been infected with at least one of the lies the Soviets spread, that nothing good ever happened in the USA, that all the shining achievements we are so proud of are actually lies or stolen from others. That nobody gets unless someone else loses.

    Some people live in a zero-sum world. The rest of us know better.

  22. What about cheering for a second here?

    Capitalism and trade bring pop culture. Pop culture is, apparently, meaningful enough to worry China’s Communist leaders. That’s pretty much a point of evidence in a positive direction.

    Also, I don’t know whether in a broad sense you can say “the left won” or “the right won” in America, but if you read publications on the left, there’s a strong sense that the left has failed. I think most people with an interest in ideology have some interest in believing that they’ve “failed,” maybe because they compare reality to their own ideals and see how it falls short, and don’t notice that it also falls short of their opponents’ ideals.

  23. >Are we sure that porn (say), isn’t a hostile meme?

    Yes, actually, considering the apparent effect of rising availability of porn on rates of sex crime. Negative, that is.

    But even if porn were consequentially neutral or somewhat bad, every second conservatives spent inveighing against porn was a second they weren’t spending fighting much more serious threats: anti-capitalism, identity politics, and anti-Western nihilism masquerading as multiculturalism.

  24. the apparent effect of rising availability of porn on rates of sex crime. Negative, that is.

    Is that the only possible negative effect of porn? The other boogeyman that conservatives claimed was that porn was supposed to undermine marriage and thereby wreck society. And although I don’t know of any evidence that porn is responsible (nor would that be my first hypothesis), the statistics do suggest that marriage is being undermined and society is being thereby wrecked. That serious anti-capitalism threat, for instance, seems to be extremely high right now due to high left-wing protesters’ concern with “increasing household income inequality”, which if you look at the details (the protesters don’t) is actually “decreasing individual income inequality” overwhelmed by “increasingly fractured lower class households”.

  25. >Is that the only possible negative effect of porn?

    I think you misread me. Increasing use of porn is associated with decreasing sex crime. This has been known for nearly 40 years and was even admitted by ~that stalwart champion of civil liberties~, Ed Meese.

  26. ESR said: Fool, I’m pissed off with conservatives for failing to stop the Gramscians, as I said in the OP.

    Indeed you did – and I’m with you in so far as I’d love it if the Gramscians could have been stopped by them.

    But I think you don’t give Mr. Bangs’ point the attention it deserves (either because of a mismatch in terms between the two of you, or I-don’t-know-what).

    Being pissed off with conservatives for failing to stop the Gramscians, if it’s to be anything but an irrational tic, requires them to have had the ability to do so. (I might even argue that it requires them to have had significant awareness of both the threat and their ability, neither of which are entirely obvious to me, though I’m not a leading historian of American Conservatism.)

    Did they ever have a chance to do so? Were they even aware of the threat before it was too late?

    I can’t help but think, as I think Mr. Bangs might, that you’re pillorying them for not being Some Other Group Rather Than Conservatives; while it’s in their natural interest to want to oppose Gramscian theoretical underpinnings, it’s not clear that they ever had a chance to “stop” them.

    So, I suppose you can, in some way, semi-legitimately be pissed at them for not-being-some-other-group-with-other-interests-and-abilities, such that they would have known that the Gramscians and their ilk were the Real Threat, and fought them effectively. But that’s a rather, shall we say, rarified thing to be pissed off at a political/cultural “side” for, isn’t it?

    (For that matter, who knows how much of their influence in the middle of the century, for instance, was due to the “culture war” issues you [and I] disagree with them on? If they’d dumped that, they might have been… even less effective at opposing the Communists, by having less influence.

    A pure anti-Communist/anti-postmodernist/pro-capitalist think-tank would be awesome. But I’m not remotely sure that anyone who wasn’t already on that team would pay them the slightest attention, or how they’d get political or intellectual influence to any great degree – and I’m not sure that the list of oppositions there is sufficient to power anything bigger than a think-tank, let alone a Powerful Mainstream Political Movement.

    Thus it strikes me as at best a little odd to rail at the Conservatives in America for being what they were, not the anti-Gramsci dream team.

    I know I can’t think of what the hell they could have done better on that front – while I can think of plenty of things on other fronts I’d change. Can you? If nobody can, we might have to accept that maybe it’s not unreasonable that they didn’t either, especially without our benefit of hindsight.

    [I am also with Jay on that it's not so easy to decide what is and isn't relevant; why isn't music relevant? I tend to agree with your judgment there, but what if we're both wrong?

    Do we really know, in the philosophic or scientific senses, that we're right about that? Given that memetic warfare seems established as a powerful thing, why not porn and music and art and sexual identity?])

  27. Regarding conservatism vs. the Gramscians: you have forgotten the factor of time. The conservative movement as we know it today was born only in 1955 – what existed before then was no more than rubble of older schools of thought, brought down by the earthquake of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Conservatism’s growth into a major political force took place in the same period that the toxic influence of the Gramscians really kicked in – indeed, Gramscian damage was a major cause of that growth. If conservatives in 1955 had been what they were thirty years later, they might justly be held culpable for not fighting stealth Marxism better; as things actually stood, casting blame on them is rather like punishing a man for his father’s crime, committed while he was only a boy.

    As for the thesis that concern for public morals is a weakness in the conservative movement – piffle. Roe vs. Wade turned evangelical Protestants into conservative voters (before 1973 evangelicals paid little attention to politics) because of its effect on public morals; only after they entered politics did they discover that the manifest illogic of the legal arguments in that case were of a piece with Leftist polemic in general. Had the moral issue not arisen, that is, the specific libertarian arguments against the Gramscians would have had a much smaller audience, because the evangelical Protestants wouldn’t have seen any reason to listen to them. People pay attention to abstract theories only when they explain a concrete event; the progress of Gramscian damage went unnoticed, except to marginal intellectuals, until it undermined public belief in chastity.

  28. >Were they even aware of the threat before it was too late?

    Oh, yeah, certainly. Conservatives had the memetic threat from Communism correctly identified at least as far back as the 1930s. Possibly farther back; before then my knowledge of the historical sources is too incomplete to say. Their failure was not in identifying it, but in acting effectively against it. They were so ineffective that they even allowed the Left to equate anti-communism with “McCarthyism”; the history of that clusterfuck is an epic of conservative failure all by itself.

    >it’s not clear that they ever had a chance to “stop” them.

    You have no more foundation in knowledge for arguing that they couldn’t than anyone would have for arguing the opposite case. In the absence of such a foundation, this is just excuse-making. The brute fact is they didn’t do their self-appointed job of “conserving” competently, and we are living with the consequences.

    I’m 54. I’ve spent my whole life watching conservatives making unforced errors, blundering from one ill-chosen cause (abortion restrictions, prayer in public schools, opposition to gay marriage) to another. Why do you suppose I’ve never identified as one?

  29. This is more about our culture’s memes – I don’t really know, right now, how this fits into what China sees as western culture.

    Last night, I did read Gramscian and Suicidalism and I thought “Oh, FUCK, this is why I HATED University so much.

    In my first year of a sciences program, I had a Grade Point Average of 3.55 – 3.60 is considered an “A” average. But as I started my second year (and had problems with the math) I just couldn’t take it any more. Once I realized that Calgary was not a place where I could expect to do chemical research outside of the university, it was enough of an excuse that I withdrew early in my second year.

    I just hated the intellectual feel of the place. It blew my mind that, when the smartest people in school went to University to be taught by the people who are some of the smartest people in the city, I was completely surrounded by people who thought that all we needed was to become communist. Plus all the disgusting ideas that just seemed to grow there…. this was before the environment became more important than humans (as if humans aren’t part of the environment), but in the ’70s when any hint of doing anything for profit was automatically bad or dirty for that reason…

    You hear people talk of going to university as being such a wonderful opportunity to explore ideas and learn…. I felt like I had been dumped into a cesspool.

    The memes just made me sick. I have had a rather eclectic education, and I can’t personally judge the idea that these memes were the result of deliberate meme-warfare by the USSR. But I can certainly see the memes. They seem so embedded in our culture that… it seems as if it is already too late. What could get the culture back to the memes of Locke?

  30. Eric, I’m half your age. In the time I’ve been aware of politics, I’ve seen most of my cohort happily succumbing to political discourse by thought-terminating cliché, enabled by the educational system’s active discouragement of clear thought.

    Most of the leftist nonsense I come across is quite easy to demolish rationally, but the parrots either don’t or can’t apply sufficient reason to critique it. I’m stumped on how to fight back; your bleating tactic isn’t something I think I can apply personally, and it seems to be fairly special-purpose in any case. Where is a feasible place to start with people who have trouble holding a 2-premise syllogism in their attention?

  31. >As for the thesis that concern for public morals is a weakness in the conservative movement – piffle.

    You mistake me. I think concern for public morals should be part of conservatism. But one failure of conservatives is that they misidentified the problems. Too much worry about premarital sex, not enough about rising divorce rates. Too much worry about drugs, not enough about whether public figures and politicians were being decent role models for kids. How many examples do I need to multiply?

    Too many conservatives took the easy way out – they wallowed in pseudo-moralistic prurience while dodging harder and more important questions about the fraying of the social trust network and the “If it feels good, do it!” decline in personal self-control. They indulged in a disconnected series of panic episodes about the transgression of the week rather than upholding a public morality based on honesty, keeping your word, honoring your duties, and protecting the weak.

  32. >Where is a feasible place to start with people who have trouble holding a 2-premise syllogism in their attention?

    Find a place where the nonsense directly harms their interests, and rub their nose in it.

  33. esr Says:

    >It’s not about communism, it’s about China and its place in the world.

    You’re the second or third person to say this, and it just shows you missed the point.

    Forget whether Hu Jintao thinks it’s his job to defend Communism or Chinese culture. That’s barely even relevant. Listen instead to what he thinks the most dangerous form of purposive attack on either is, and think about why he believes that.

    I read the article. I am afraid I am also missing the point.

    I raised an issue, back in the SOPA blog, I think, that relates to how I see this. At least one aspect of Christianity in Europe may have had a positive effect on the development of western culture. During the dark ages, the Church offered an alternate power-structure, and, much more importantly, an approach to ethics that was basically totally separate from the existing feudal power-structure. This code of ethics gave a footing to judging that power structure. I am not saying it happened a lot, but a person could stand up and say “The way things work is wrong!”.

    I know very little about this, but it seems that in China, neither Confucianism or Buddhism provide an approach to ethics that stands apart from the existing power structure – more the reverse – the idea that society is good and any attack or criticism of the existing society and the existing power structure is wrong per se. There is no ethical tradition for judging the power-holders.

    Now, I realize that China has had uprisings. But it seems that Hu Jintao is doing what power-holders in china have done for many centuries. He is reacting to an outside influence on the existing culture in the way China always has – any change in Chinese culture from any source other than the existing power structure is evil by definition. In Chinese tradition, any movement to change the existing power arragnements is evil – in China, that is what “evil” means.

    ESR: Is the west engaging in meme-warfare with China? Either deliberately or in effect?

  34. @Jay: “But these antibodies you mention, conservatives never failed in keeping memes out. If anything, conservatives kept out too much. If anything, progress was retarded by the “keep everything out” function.”

    I’d say that the conservatives failed to keep out neo-clercism memes because they indulged in their own brand of neo-clercism. If they’d stuck to traditionalist anti-intelliectualism they’d have been both more effective and more honorable. Instead, however, they tried to push their own radical changes under the flag of “traditional values” and that forced them to accept too many of the poisonous memes from the left. As conservatives accepted those poisonous memes, they became part of the bipartisan consensus, part of the lethal center.

  35. My heart is in agreement with you that the conservatives “blew it” and failed to prevent the damage you described. My mind, however, asks if there is any proof that their misguided preoccupancy with sexual matters of various kinds, and video games, and so on actually mattered. I.e. that that it was what prevented them from achieving success in fighting the memetic damage. The argument of “every second conservatives spent inveighing against porn was a second they weren’t spending fighting much more serious threats” is very weak – you can build case against anything including eating, sleeping and reading books, arguing that whatever you do you could do something more important at that time and thus whatever you do is evil. This argument doesn’t appear to make much sense to me – it’s not a zero sum game (well, at least it’s not obviously so unless somebody demonstrates it to be), and even if it were, it is not proven that that effort would change anything – political success is not just arithmetical sum of time/effort spent on the topic.
    Even if the conservatives did not undertake their misguided efforts, their opponents still could deploy the same weapons and brand them neanderthals, idiots and evil monsters, with or without reason. Not having position on porn or anything else like that wouldn’t help them much since they still were ideological enemies and every weapon in the arsenal were to be deployed against them. Yes, they had tons of failures – but if they didn’t, what would change? There are people who did not – they are called libertarians. They are even less popular than conservatives. I personally identify with libertarians, but I can’t ignore the fact that politically they are even less successful in fighting the damage you described, since they have very little influence at all. So how would it help if the conservatives were more libertarian?

  36. “Too much worry about premarital sex, not enough about rising divorce rates. Too much worry about drugs, not enough about whether public figures and politicians were being decent role models for kids.”

    Is there a pattern here? Too much worry about the sins of youth, and not enough about the sins of somewhat older adults?

  37. @SM
    I think the issue is that Conservatives focused on conserving a puritanical system of ethics while ignoring attacks on fundamental freedom.

    They actually spent a great deal of political effort to decrease freedom for reasons to do with sex, drugs and rock and roll, while ignoring the principles of freedom on which the country was founded.

    The conservatives failed to conserve the meaning of the country as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Instead, they focused on all the things they wanted to make illegal.

  38. >I know very little about this, but it seems that in China, neither Confucianism or Buddhism provide an approach to ethics that stands apart from the existing power structure

    You’re half right. Confucian ethics made it relatively difficult to oppose established power. It could be done, by arguing that the establishment had failed in its own duties as Confucianists described them, but this was not an easy attack to sustain as long as public order was kept and the Middle Kingdom was at peace. Buddhism was a different story – more individualist, more skeptical, fulfiling something like the same role that Protestant Christianity did in the West. There were early attempts to suppress it on those grounds.

    >ESR: Is the west engaging in meme-warfare with China? Either deliberately or in effect?

    In effect, though not in intent. The Westerners who are conducting accidental memetic warfare mostly just want to sell stuff to make money.

    What is interesting about Hu Jintao’s remarks is that it shows how our accidental memetic campaign looks to a Communist. Because Communists have deliberate memetic warfare by conspiracy as part of their doctrine, he looks at Western commercialized pop culture and sees a subtly orchestrated conspiratorial attack on Chinese values.

  39. >So how would it help if the conservatives were more libertarian?

    I’m a libertarian, but I don’t think that’s the right question. I wasn’t arguing that conservatives should have been more libertarian as an ideological position. I was pointing out the dumb shit they pulled that libertarians wouldn’t have. This is not quite the same thing!

  40. >[Conservatives] actually spent a great deal of political effort to decrease freedom for reasons to do with sex, drugs and rock and roll

    Right. Otherwise known as: when you’ve just spent fifteen years trying to censor rap lyrics, you’ve pretty much squandered any chance of opposing PC campus speech codes.

  41. >Too much worry about the sins of youth, and not enough about the sins of somewhat older adults?

    Hah! Well spotted!

  42. I don’t agree with the conservative position on, say, porn, but I do understand it: They believe that porn contributes to divorce, and thereby to the Nu Clear Family™ falling apart. In their minds, this justifies the use of the power of the State to fight corrosive influences. As a libertarian, I prefer the non-coercive remedies of civil society, but will find common cause with the convervatives in resisting the uses of State power that erode the strength of the family, such as welfare policies that seem designed to produce prodigious numbers of fatherless children.

  43. esr said:

    Right. Otherwise known as: when you’ve just spent fifteen years trying to censor rap lyrics, you’ve pretty much squandered any chance of opposing PC campus speech codes.

    Two things….

    I assume PC stands for “Politically Correct” as in “It isn’t actually evil for you to call that guy fat, but it hurts his feelings, so it is, you know, not nice, not right”.

    I am trying to remember where “Politically Correct” came from. It is sort of a wishy-washy secondary code of ethics that, as it is becomes more accepted, can become the basis for more laws. It goes from it being “you know, wrong to call a person that” to “calling a person that is a violation of their rights”. Political Correctness is evil.

    The second thing is…. why does this shit seem to be strongest in places of higher learning? “PC campus speech codes”? Why are universities so disgusting? Or is that the first kind of anti-intellectualism from the last blog?

    I mean, I don’t object to professors and highly educated people being an interest group or social class, per se. It just seems that the obvious intellectuals that we have, the professors and art school kids, all have their heads up their asses.

  44. @esr
    > I was pointing out the dumb shit they pulled that libertarians wouldn’t have

    Are you sure this dumb shit is not (the big part of) the reason why they are more popular than libertarians? I don’t like this thought at all, but I can’t really find much evidence that contradicts it. Note that I’m not implying being popular means being better in anything (socialists enjoy significant popularity too), but in the democracy you can’t fight anything if you are not popular. And if this though is true, then not doing the dumb shit wouldn’t really helped anything (well, except for the direct harm done by the dumb shit itself, but that’s another matter).

  45. >It’s not about communism, it’s about China and its place in the world.

    “You’re the second or third person to say this, and it just shows you missed the point.

    @esr: No, we didn’t. You did. ‘Loss of face’ is very important to Mr.Hu; it’s not important to you so you ignore it. Leave your anti-communism out of it. Red China no longer exists. The sayings of Chairman Mao are ignored there now. The sayings of Confucius are being taught again in their universities, along with all of their other classics. Mao’s rule, the Cultural Revolution…these are mere eyeblink’s in China’s long history.

    Mr. Hu is not interested in spreading communist ideology. His greatest desire is to make China wealthy, powerful, and Chinese – especially that last one. His biggest problem is to keep the country together. China is so large that throughout its long history it has been broken up into sections ruled by warlords, various invaders, pretenders to the throne, etc. Too many democratic ideas would only make the problem worse in his eyes. HE IS AFRAID OF US because of that.

    I’ve argued with you about this before. People in different countries do not think the way you do. It doesn’t matter that you consider your way of thinking to be superior to all the others; that means nothing to them. There are over one billion Chinese, and you have to deal with the way they think, not the way *you* think that *they* should think.

    It’s very important to know that their ideology is for the Chinese alone. They have no desire to spread it. Remember this the next time another Chinese spy is discovered in our midst. He’s not spying for the commies – he’s spying for China.

  46. Where is a feasible place to start with people who have trouble holding a 2-premise syllogism in their attention?

    Short answer: Quote Kipling.

    Long answer: Live a life worthy of envy. Do your part to restore valuable, culturally reinforcing artwork to public places. If you cannot create it yourself, help fund it. Ignore the tired cries of the gray wastrels. Make it publicly viewable on private land if you have to. It need not be high art – but it needs to reinforce that, yes, the culture of Aristophanes and Zelazny, and everything in between, has produced more good for more people than any other meme generator in the history of our species.

    Create something. We win by making this a positive sum game. Gain the public stature that comes from running a small business in your community, and speak at high schools.

    Seek out the public conflicts with the gray wastrels, those who are ashamed of Western Civilization, who think Susan Sontag was right.

    Quote Kipling at them.

  47. >Mr. Hu is not interested in spreading communist ideology.

    At no point did I claim he was or is. Please try to keep up.

    The significance of Hu Jintao’s comments is not – as I’ve said several times – in what they reveal about his goals, but in what they reveal about the strategic thinking of a mind shaped by Communist ideology and the Communist theory of purposive memetic warfare.

  48. fixated on silly irrelevancies like who was putting tab A in sexual slot B

    This statement reveals that Gramsci won in your heart.

  49. Political Correctness is evil.

    It isn’t, really. It does get overdone sometimes.

    It’s mainly called PC by its opponents, who tend to caricature it as a form of thought control espoused by purse-lipped professors of Lesbian Studies at non-Ivy League universities. But the idea that there are categories of people who tend to be limited in what they can do relative to straight white able-bodied males, and that language use (and jokes) play a part in keeping them down – is that really so outrageous?

    Yes, they can be annoying.

  50. In effect, though not in intent. The Westerners who are conducting accidental memetic warfare mostly just want to sell stuff to make money.

    Er…there was a widespread belief that the “Color Revolutions” in the old Soviet republics and elsewhere were being exploited and encouraged by a whole bunch of folks like Soros, with a fair amount of State Department connivance if not involvement. I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d like to see something similar undermine the position of the Communist Party in China.

  51. >It’s mainly called PC by its opponents, who tend to caricature it as a form of thought control espoused by purse-lipped professors of Lesbian Studies at non-Ivy League universities.

    Wrong. Ivy League universities, too. ;-)

  52. Yeah, but they don’t *call* it Lesbian Studies there.

    Do they?

    [goes off to Google]

  53. But the idea that there are categories of people who tend to be limited in what they can do relative to straight white able-bodied males, and that language use (and jokes) play a part in keeping them down – is that really so outrageous?

    What’s outrageous is the idea that the only thing that causes inequality of outcome is the language, and that by changing the language, these downtrodden victims will be justified.

    The worst example of the Euphemism Treadmill is in the language we use to describe the non-able-bodied folks. Once upon a time, we called them “cripples”, but that was deemed too harsh, so we were told to call them “handicapped”. But people figured out that “handicapped” was just another name for the same set of people formerly known as “crippled”, and it was deemed too harsh. Lather, rinse, repeat, with “disabled” and “differently-abled”, “special”, “extraordinary”.

    None of it changes the fact that a paraplegic can’t fscking walk.

    A 5′ tall 110-pound woman is not going to be able to throw my 6’6″, over 300# unconscious body over her shoulder and haul it out of a burning building, so gender-norming the qualifications for firefighter (because calling them firemen makes girls think they can’t do it) doesn’t change a damned thing about whether she can do the job.

    How does changing the language and teaching Black Studies and/or Womyn’s Studies help that kid who is good enough to graduate in the top quintile of his class in the engineering program at Kansas State and go on to a productive career, but instead is pushed into MIT or CalTech due to affirmative action, and is crushed by the intense level of competition and drops out, saddled with crushing debt, convinced that The Man is keeping her down?

  54. Now, affirmative action, that’s a whole different thing from PC. But from what I hear, a lot of AA has been directed *towards* white folks/guys in recent times, as in preventing the California university population from turning 95% Asian-American. Or preserving some kind of gender balance in American universities in general.

    Perhaps you can refute these rumours for me.

  55. >How does changing the language and teaching Black Studies and/or Womyn’s Studies help that kid who is good enough to graduate in the top quintile of his class in the engineering program at Kansas State and go on to a productive career, but instead is pushed into MIT or CalTech due to affirmative action, and is crushed by the intense level of competition and drops out, saddled with crushing debt, convinced that The Man is keeping her down?

    I attended MIT as an undergraduate student — I can not say what you describe has never took place, but I think this it is ridiculous. If this scenario was even possible, simply for the possibility to network, exposure to great faculty, courses, and classmates, the good that affirmative action presents certainly outweighs the bad. And this neglects the effects of the majority students gaining exposure to other cultures, ways of thinking, that otherwise would not be present. At a school like MIT there are enough prospective students of all backgrounds that “affirmative action” is not necessary. An argument can be made that a young woman with a 2310 SAT score may be admitted over a young man with a 2400, but I’m not certain that MIT is better served if it only admits students with perfect SAT scores/pefect GPAs from Philips Andover, etc.

    I say this as someone that doesn’t strongly believe in affirmative action, but does believe that more can be done to enable greater economic diversity which I do think is valuable for improved social mobility.

    Sorry for unrelated affirmative action post.

  56. esr,

    I understand that you are unhappy with Conservatives for their failures to effectively fight memetic warfare. I would like to point out that getting rid of attractive but incorrect ideas is, umm, really, really hard. Except that I didn’t say really enough times. You practically cannot argue most people out of ideas that are attractive, especially when those ideas are also group signifiers for groups they are very loyal too. It seems that politically people divided nearly completely into partisans and people who don’t care much. Around here the partisans are Democrats and Republicans and the people who don’t care much are Independents and don’t vote. The partisans can’t be argued out of their attractive politically significant ideas. Everone else isn’t interested.

    The only sucessful anti-Gramscian movement I know of, period, is Christian evangelical home schooling. It seems to work, both for the children and the parents, oddly enough. Do you know how hard it is to get people to give up public schools in favor of home schooling?

    Yours,
    Tom

  57. I apologize for the high number of typos in my previous comment.

    Yours,
    Tom

  58. >Perhaps you can refute these rumours for me.

    They’re at least close to true. University AA in California does include artificially keeping the percentage of Asians down. But whites only benefit from this in a major way because the California system considers admitting underqualified blacks more important than admitting either qualified whites or overqualified Asians. In a pure merit system it seems probable that black admissions to the really sought-after campuses would drop to statistical noise and be replaced by marginally qualified whites, making the net loss of white students relatively small.

    Also note that in a pure merit system some groups that are considered “black” by race would almost certainly have “white” qualification statistics. Notably, West Indians other than Haitians and African immigrants (Ethiopians and Somalians, especially). Basically, anybody “black” who hasn’t been sucked into the dysfunctional trap that is American ghetto/gangsta/grievance culture – just in case anybody still thought this was about race.

  59. >Are you sure this dumb shit is not (the big part of) the reason why they are more popular than libertarians?

    Pretty sure. The broad pattern over the last forty years is that social-conservative issues don’t win elections. The Republicans are well aware of this, which is why the establishment-Republican candidate in the 2012 elections is a bland centrist who gives so-cons the galloping hives.

  60. Wait a moment … Collectivism had already become entrenched in the United States by the 1930s. The process had started with the “Progressive” era. (You can think of the “Progressive” era as a time when a self-styled elite tried to turn the United States into a fake European nation.) The standards of the 1930s said “the Marxists are the wave of the future” and that turned them from mere cranks into the shapers of young minds.

    The Cultural Marxists may have even been beneficial. They gave leftist ideas that were formerly acceptable to the American public a foreign taint. (The sort of voter who might be prejudiced against “the rich” was even more prejudiced against anything foreign.) They became loud enough to be heard by voters in the late 1960s, the time when increasing socialism started to slow. The tenured radicals achieved something resembling actual power in time to see Reagan halt their version of progress and Clinton to reverse parts of it.

  61. Green Monster Says:
    > I attended MIT as an undergraduate student — I can not say what you describe has never took place, but I think this it is ridiculous. If this scenario was even possible, simply for the possibility to network, exposure to great faculty, courses, and classmates, the good that affirmative action presents certainly outweighs the bad.

    In elite universities, everyone can see the difference between affirmative action students and regular students.

    If you take two people at random from general population, one black and one white, there is a significant chance that the black will be as good as or better than the white: Due, however, to hyperexponential decay of the normal survival function, if you take two people from the elite university population, one black and one white, there is very little chance, zero for most practical purposes, that the black will be as good as the white. But everyone is required to lie about what everyone can see.

    (Exceptions for immigrants, of course, in that some black races, such as tutsi and igbo, are markedly smarter than other black races)

    The bad effect of affirmative action is that everyone is required to lie and pretend. The blacks and the whites quietly segregate themselves because at the elite university, all the elite blacks, as near all as makes no difference, are inferior to all the elite whites, as near all as makes no difference. The quiet and voluntary segregation admits what everyone denies.

  62. >In elite universities, everyone can see the difference between affirmative action students and regular students.

    That’s often true, but not necessarily true. There will be cases in which an AA student is qualified to the standards of the university. The frequency of those cases fall as the standards rise, but there is no point at which you can predict a priori that no AA student will pass the filter. We have an eyewitness on this thread that this remains true even at a school as elite as MIT.

  63. Adrian Smith Says:
    > Now, affirmative action, that’s a whole different thing from PC. But from what I hear, a lot of AA has been directed *towards* white folks/guys in recent times,

    For a review of a study of who benefits from affirmative action, and who loses:

    What affirmative action means in practice is systematic discrimination against white middle America and white small town America:
    Participation in such Red State activities as high
    school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of
    America was found to reduce very substantially a
    student’s chances of gaining admission to the
    competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on
    an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions
    disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership
    positions in these activities or those winning honors
    and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for
    such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H,
    or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and
    Radford, “has a significantly negative association
    with admission outcomes at highly selective
    institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is
    associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of
    admission

  64. esr Says:
    > There will be cases in which an AA student is qualified to the standards of the university. The frequency of those cases fall as the standards rise, but there is no point at which you can predict a priori that no AA student will pass the filter. We have an eyewitness on this thread that this remains true even at a school as elite as MIT.

    And if he said otherwise, he would likely lose his job, and his degree might even be retroactively cancelled.

  65. > And if he said otherwise, he would likely lose his job, and his degree might even be retroactively cancelled.

    Nonsense.

    Yours,
    Tom

  66. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis.

    So those snobby Ivy League admissions officers are prejudiced against what could (I'm afraid) be characterised as "proud hick" activities?

    Well, I never.

  67. I feel obliged to say something in defense of actual smart black people at elite universities. I knew them. There was no way you could look them in the eye and say they didn’t deserve to be there. And I don’t believe their numbers were in the “statistical noise” range.

    The thing about affirmative action is that everybody in the appropriate category is a beneficiary, but not all beneficiaries are undeserving. I’m a female mathematician, so I’ve done my share of worrying about this. Yes, I probably got gender boosts along the way. But I could probably have made my way without them even if some details of my life would have looked worse on paper (as I’ve learned from experiences in the startup world, with companies that can’t afford affirmative action programs.) As usual, you still have to look at individuals.

  68. I particularly agree that propaganda works, in so many ways, shapes and forms, and that often what many consider to be deep seated values are actually the result of seeds planted deliberately (or accidentally) years ago.

    However, I’m not sure that it would be wise to emphasize the need for more propaganda to counter this. The primary reason being that it will then be a question of whose propaganda it’s going to be. That’s a really slippery slope, especially since the present elites are already engaged with the propaganda of their self-interest. Such propaganda may not have been targeted at the divide between communism and capitalism, but it certainly has been active and effective in terms of protecting the business interests of the ruling elites albeit at the cost of dividing society that bit more.

    I would prefer an emphasis less on projecting one’s propaganda and more on learning how to systematically question one’s internal set of beliefs and values and identify those that are in fact the result of someone else’s propaganda or hypnosis. Awareness of the source of these kinds of rigid beliefs would perhaps lead to less orthodoxy and fixedness in views and opinions, and reduce the societal fault lines that are growing ever wider.

  69. Sarah:

    There has been a LOT of research into this area over the last 5-8 years (IIRC) and the results are generally that minorities tend to get offered lots in schools about 1 step above what a similarly qualified non-minority would be. For example getting into Stanford as opposed to Berkeley, or Berkeley as opposed to Cal State Davis. This doesn’t mean they don’t “deserve” to be there (whatever that means), but it does mean that they *tend* to be slightly less prepared than the majority (meaning the non-minority students). It means that they have to work harder in an environment that is increasingly difficult to stay focused in.

    This *does* mean that a lot of them fail to keep up scholastically and wind up dropping out. Not all of them, but a significant fraction (I can’t be arsed to go dig up a study right now). This is very unfortunate because these kids would often have done quite well one tier down, would have graduated with “useful” degrees and the sense that delayed gratification is in fact useful. They would have raised their children to see that as well, and their kids (generally) would have been much better prepared at that level (modulo the increasingly poor output from the public school system).

    ESR:
    Wittgenstein’s poker. That’s where we lost.

    This

  70. Re: Porn: what effect does it have on birth rates? Will the spread of porn result in the least porn-y and most religiously fundamentalist in gaining in the demographic race?

  71. @ESR:
    ‘>>[Conservatives] actually spent a great deal of political effort to decrease freedom for reasons to do with sex, drugs and rock and roll’

    >Right. Otherwise known as: when you’ve just spent fifteen years trying to censor rap lyrics, you’ve pretty much squandered any chance of opposing PC campus speech codes.

    Um, the sex thing was mostly progressives in the early part of last century… the rap lyrics oddly enough were also the center-left. It was Tipper Gore’s big thing. The left has been very, very good at appropriating the right’s successes and the right has bought the left’s propaganda, hook, line and sinker.

    Others here are correct that the right has fought a delaying action but gradually accepts more and more of the left’s nonsense. Think of it this way, /the/ conservative pundit, Buckley, was in favor of complete drug legalization. Now, almost no conservatives are. The conservatives now are the loudest against drug legalization. I am reminded of the saying that “the job of liberals is to make mistakes and that of conservatives to keep them from getting fixed.”

  72. @ Tom DeGisi:
    “The only sucessful anti-Gramscian movement I know of, period, is Christian evangelical home schooling. It seems to work, both for the children and the parents, oddly enough. Do you know how hard it is to get people to give up public schools in favor of home schooling?”

    And, oddly enough this is where some of Ron Paul’s biggest supporters come from.

  73. And this neglects the effects of the majority students gaining exposure to other cultures, ways of thinking, that otherwise would not be present

    So a womyn or non-Asian, non-Ashkenazi ethnic minority student whose grades and test scores fall short of the standard imposed on White Heterosexual Anglophone Males must be pushed into an intellectually-demanding environment for which the high school has left her/him unprepared, and sacrifice what could have been a good living with a less-than-elite degree, in order that the WHAMs who do meet those standards can have their horizons broadened?

  74. Green Monster says:
    > I attended MIT as an undergraduate student — I can not say what you describe has never took place, but I think this it is ridiculous.

    I was at MIT as well (mid-1980s), and I saw plenty of people who were struggling academically (for part of the time I was one of them, until I figured out that I should be taking math courses from the physics department, not the math department), but as far as I can remember, they were pretty much evenly spread across all demographics, and they were not people who had been held to a lower standard of admission. *Everybody* I knew at MIT, across demographics, was at the top of their high school class, had very high SATs, had taken AP courses and scored high on AP exams, etc.

    However, I’m not sure I agree with this:

    > If this scenario was even possible, simply for the possibility to network, exposure to great faculty, courses, and classmates, the good that affirmative action presents certainly outweighs the bad.

    I’m not sure what the suicide rate (both attempts and successes) was at MIT when you were there, but when I was there it was high enough to get media attention, and the best predictor of a student attempting it was academic struggle. So *if* it were true that MIT admitted students below the normal academic standard in the hope that they would find “networking” opportunities, I would not say that was a good policy.

  75. Perhaps of interest vis a vis the original post: we’ve known for a while that the CIA funded modern art, in particular abstract expressionism. Also, of course, Voice of America was a non-covert mimetic operation. One might also consider the fact that USSR espionage operations belong to a defunct government, whereas US espionage ops are a) still guarded by the same establishment that undertook them and b) in some cases certainly still active.

    It is a bad habit to reach conclusions from publicly available information without considering asymmetry of available information.

  76. Hi everyone.

    While the affirmative action subtopic is informative for a non-american like me, I don’t have a lot to say on the subject, as my own country took the exact opposite path(i.e. it is forbidden to count the black people in France, everyone is french – or foreigner – and shall never be discrimined, even positively).

    I’d like be back to the original post. As it seems to me that in the modern world, most deciders are rather old – and deeply rooted in their own past. Hu is a man of the past(this has been explained better than I could do), but most other politicians also are; just each one has tis own past, far from the present. When I look at France’s main candidates for presidency, I’d say Sarkozy(conservative) is still in the 80s, Hollande(socialist) in the 70s and LePen even before her birth, in the late 30s(not Europe’s best time).

    That’s why none of them is able to understand what is really happening now(for example on internet, but there are plenty of other domains where they fail equally). More than before, the world completely changed the last 20 years, and even reflexes from the 80s are completely irrelevant. The whole ideologic bath in which the world leaders are bathing, may have been good or bad before, but is simply no more relevant today. Freedom of speech is today individual, not party-linked as before(even 10 years ago). Yet, all politicians still play the game as if only groups mattered. Al-Qaida is still fought as if it was a group – but they are just random people having a common enemy(us). Killing their leader has as much effect as killing a well-known blogger : others will follow.

    Then, I’m not sure, but it seems to me that ideological issues matter even more : the group/party/religion/country/whatever does not count anymore. You can’t anymore fight an idea but destroying its carrying group. You can’t destroy freedom by destroying the free countries, & you can’t destroy islamism by killing al-qaida’s leader – or even all members. You have to fight them on the ideological level. Which implies you have to be aware of ideological shifts, be they intentional or not. Hu is aware of a shift directly threatening its power(though he may be mistaken on its origin), and he will fight at this level. That is, IMHO, rather clever from him.

  77. I’m just making the trivial point that there are usually, in my experience, black students who could have gotten in on academic ability alone, without affirmative action; by definition that’s not everyone, of course. But I don’t like the kind of generalizations that sometimes get made in these discussions, as though in a fairer system elite schools would be lily-white.

  78. > So a womyn or non-Asian, non-Ashkenazi ethnic minority student whose grades and test scores fall short of the standard imposed on White Heterosexual Anglophone Males must be pushed into an intellectually-demanding environment for which the high school has left her/him unprepared, and sacrifice what could have been a good living with a less-than-elite degree, in order that the WHAMs who do meet those standards can have their horizons broadened?
     
    I probably should have been less ambiguous earlier — I don’t have a particular affinity for affirmative action as it is implemented as I don’t think people should be given aid with respect to their race/gender/orientation.  However I do not believe that attending any university, let alone an elite univeristy, should be limited to people from the upper middle class and wealthy — it would be easy to fill MIT with students from Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover, TJ, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Lexington HS ( these are just schools I recall off the top of my head that combined sent 125+ students in my class of ~1000). 
     
    As a white guy, I think that myth is overstated.  The students who attend MIT all have test scores in a similar band — basically near perfect to perfect — except in the case of a few legacies I had come across. An aside, college admissions is a difficult problem to solve, and in addition I’m not sure the standardized tests that are in place measure intelligence or the ability to do well on the exam.  MIT students are more often than not the valedictorian or salutorian of their graduating class.  The smartest students at MIT weren’t the white guys (or even traditional Americans) but first or zero generation students whose parents were from Russia, Ukraine, China, Turkey, Germany, Nigeria, etc.  At least 1/3 of my class (I’m a recent graduate) were first or zero generation.
     
    >Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis.
     
    I did notice this, but I think it’s partially because of the cost of elite universities.  Again, anecdotally, I knew a guy who chose Marquette over MIT because of the difference in financial aid, and another friend who committed to ROTC to pay for MIT instead of taking a (near) free ride to Virginia Tech.  Finally, I think there is some bias against those who take the ACT (pejoratively the farm boy test) in place of the SAT, as well as those who may be unable to take AP courses….
     
    >Also note that in a pure merit system some groups that are considered “black” by race would almost certainly have “white” qualification statistics. Notably, West Indians other than Haitians and African immigrants (Ethiopians and Somalians, especially). Basically, anybody “black” who hasn’t been sucked into the dysfunctional trap that is American ghetto/gangsta/grievance culture – just in case anybody still thought this was about race.
     
    I wouldn’t have used this language myself, but most minority students at MIT were 0th or 1st generation Americans.  Most of the minority black students did tend to be mixed race, or from West Indian or African backgrounds.  I also think this has nothing to do with race, but with the socio-economic background of the student …
     
    >I was at MIT as well (mid-1980s), and I saw plenty of people who were struggling academically (for part of the time I was one of them, until I figured out that I should be taking math courses from the physics department, not the math department), but as far as I can remember, they were pretty much evenly spread across all demographics, and they were not people who had been held to a lower standard of admission. *Everybody* I knew at MIT, across demographics, was at the top of their high school class, had very high SATs, had taken AP courses and scored high on AP exam
     
    I saw this as well — people from all demographics struggled equally initially.
     
    >I’m not sure what the suicide rate (both attempts and successes) was at MIT when you were there, but when I was there it was high enough to get media attention, and the best predictor of a student attempting it was academic struggle. So *if* it were true that MIT admitted students below the normal academic standard in the hope that they would find “networking” opportunities, I would not say that was a good policy.
     
    MIT has done a far better job of this of late.  During my time on campus there was only a single suicide.
     
    >The thing about affirmative action is that everybody in the appropriate category is a beneficiary, but not all beneficiaries are undeserving. I’m a female mathematician, so I’ve done my share of worrying about this. Yes, I probably got gender boosts along the way. But I could probably have made my way without them even if some details of my life would have looked worse on paper (as I’ve learned from experiences in the startup world, with companies that can’t afford affirmative action programs.) As usual, you still have to look at individuals.
     
    MIT (and other ‘elite’ engineering universities) do have to work harder at convincing women to apply — not that there is a shortage of qualified women — but there probably is a shortage of qualified women that are confident about their abilities in Math and Science. 
     
    Final points — I don’t believe that MIT takes the most intelligent class of incoming students possible.  To be perfectly honest, I think if that was the case I would not have been able to attend — it would be almost entirely composed of international students.  Given the subjectivity of admissions, and the HUGE number of prospective AMERICAN applicants, it is not at all difficult for MIT to have a diverse campus without pursing affirmative action.  I can agree that, on average, a random international student is more intelligent than an American student.  
     

  79. >But I don’t like the kind of generalizations that sometimes get made in these discussions, as though in a fairer system elite schools would be lily-white.

    One of our regulars – James A Donald – has a history of making ugly racist remarks about this and related topics. While I cherish free expression and debate too much to ban him, he is in a minority of one among my regulars.

    For my own views, see Racism and group differences. I follow the evidence: there are significant difference in IQ and other important traits among racial groups which have policy implications for AA and other issues, but none of that statistical evidence can be used to pre-judge the ability or character of any individual person.

    In a fairer system, elite schools would have overrepresentation relative to the general population of certain racial/ethnic groups with relatively high mean IQs, notably East Asians and Ashkenazic Jews. Other groups with relatively low mean IQs, notably Blacks, would be underrepresented. You get to decide whether you think that distribution would be “lily-white”; I’m not interested in applying such labels and don’t care.

  80. > every second conservatives spent inveighing against porn was a second they weren’t spending fighting much more serious threats: anti-capitalism, identity politics, and anti-Western nihilism masquerading as multiculturalism.

    Right. The real threat was never porn. The real threat was Hollywood, and the conservatives failed to stop it because they couldn’t produce a better product in the mass art market. Hollywood is and has long been stuffed full of wealthy, universalist producers with a feel for playing on fears and resentments and pretty, right-brained class-anxious children who pay lip service to Marxist crap because they’re afraid no one will like them anymore if they say otherwise (which results in net loss of status and income).

    Hollywood remains the biggest success of the global Left. Consider how many young minds a piece of pop-junk like “Avatar” touches? With few exceptions, it is a cradle-to-grave marketing engine for collectivists memes, but operating completely within the success-oriented system of capitalism. That contradiction helped it evolve ever more convincing and entertaining forms of propaganda over time, leading eventually to blue 3D Marxist Ewoks having sex with the crippled victims of the “evil white imperialists” and their military-industrial complex. The conservatives had no similar weapon in their arsenal, and they still don’t. They made a play for TV back in its infancy, but it was a half-hearted play and they lost that fight too due to the obsessions over sex and religion within their political tent. It drowned their better arguments about history and human nature, and sabotaged any possible relationship with the poets. Once you lose the poets, you are screwed.

  81. Esr: I came to the same conclusion as you a while back and I think it’s the only one that stands up to scrutiny.

  82. >> Hollywood remains the biggest success of the global Left. Consider how many young minds a piece of pop-junk like “Avatar” touches?

    Nonsense. The corporation is threatening your home and your people. So it’s natural that you fight against them. It would be the same thing if the native are the most sophisticated civilization in the universe.

    If you invaded somebody’s land, expects violence.

  83. What’s the answer, then? How does one win an ideological war? Is it really as straightforward as leading an enviable life and quoting Kipling?

  84. The Republicans are well aware of this, which is why the establishment-Republican candidate in the 2012 elections is a bland centrist who gives so-cons the galloping hives.

    It’s not just so-cons. It’s also fisc-cons who don’t like Romneycare or its relationship to Obamacare; gun rights activists who might be willing to forgive his past lapses if he’d acknowledge them; and, I’m sure, plenty others.

    Which brings me to a larger point: it isn’t just religious conservatives who are the problem in the GOP. A much bigger problem is the bland centrists who pass themselves off as libertarians. These faux libertarians are not noticeably libertarian on anything other than being slightly less socialist than the Democrats. Until recently, it was common to refer to Rudolph Giuliani as representing the GOP’s “libertarian wing”–even though the centerpiece of his two terms as NYC mayor was a heavy-handed crackdown on misdemeanor-level crimes! Furthermore, he was going balls-out trying to export NYC’s gun control laws to the rest of the nation. Libertarian, my ass.

    Now, I realize that libertarians can’t stop faux libertarians from lying about themselves. They can, however, repeatedly disavow them, and let everyone know that those people are not libertarians. Instead, for most of the Nineties, libertarians were bragging up all the famous people who were alleged libertarians–you know, like Bill Maher.

    Also, it seems to me a strategic mistake for the opponents of religious conservatives to always make sex the central point of their opposition. You can be thoroughly unconcerned with who is putting tab A into slot B, and still be aware that sexual intercourse–the individual act–is distinct from Sex! The Great Cultural Phenomenon!–which basically just uses the natural horniness of teenagers as a means of Gramscian indoctrination. When libertarians make sex the central point of their arguments, it makes it sound like they’re going after the hipster vote. And that just pisses off nerds like me.

  85. > Nonsense.

    What’s nonsense? “Avatar?” Yes I agree, it was nonsense. Gorgeous, glorious, expensive horseshit, intended to make dimwits feel smart for 2+ hours by showing them agitprop about wounded combat veterans “going native” with a bunch of 3D Eco-Smurfs. It’s possibly the most perfectly stupid idea committed to film since “Dances With Wolves” glamorized the suicidalism of Western academics.

    > If you invaded somebody’s land, expects violence.

    Oh, was that what that dumb film was about? Not exactly thematically rich. Memetically rich, though.

  86. Aptronym: it’s as straightforward as reviving Campbellian sf and distributing it widely.

  87. I follow the evidence: there are significant difference in IQ and other important traits among racial groups which have policy implications for AA and other issues, but none of that statistical evidence can be used to pre-judge the ability or character of any individual person.

    This is exactly my position (after s/among/between/), which makes us “raaaaacist” according to most people’s view of the word. It is not allowable to notice any statistically-significant differences between groups that might help to explain inequality of outcome. The only allowed explanation is blatant racial/gender discrimination. Teh Patriarchy.

  88. “it isn’t just religious conservatives who are the problem in the GOP. A much bigger problem is the bland centrists who pass themselves off as libertarians.”

    …or as just plain bland centrists. The US has a centrist-oriented electorate, and idealogues are always railing against that. Doesn’t matter, that’s the way we Americans are, and anyone that wants to get elected nationally has to play to the center. A politician’s first duty is to get elected. Aren’t a lot of people complaining that Obama campaigned as a centrist, then turned extreme liberal once in office? If you want a Republican president, you’ll need those centrist votes from both parties.

    delete *.ism #none of them work

  89. > MIT has done a far better job of this of late. During my time on campus there was only a single suicide.

    Good to hear that things are better. I know MIT took a hard look at this some time after I left.

    > I don’t believe that MIT takes the most intelligent class of incoming students possible.

    I agree; in fact their admissions policy when I was applying, IIRC, explicitly stated that this was an expected outcome. AFAIK that is still the case.

    > I can agree that, on average, a random international student is more intelligent than an American student.

    My experience at MIT was that the smartest international students and the smartest American students were about equally smart. The average international student had better academic numbers than the average American student, but the wider distribution among American students may have been an effect of wider variation in work ethic as much as in intelligence.

  90. The thing about ideological warfare is, anyone can wage it. Half the battle is the generation of an appealing idea. The word Suicidalism was a fine attempt at attacking a bad meme with a well-chosen label.

    Many of us here come from the software & scientific communities — we are the ultimate literalists or realists, we are uniquely suited for exploring memes based on truth rather than on agenda. What good memes do we want to replace evil ones? Although the once-useful word “hacker” is DOA due to it’s Hollywood meaning, we have the opportunity to leave a mark on society here.

  91. > The broad pattern over the last forty years is that social-conservative issues don’t win elections. The Republicans are well aware of this, which is why the establishment-Republican candidate in the 2012 elections is a bland centrist who gives so-cons the galloping hives.

    Was Reagan a social-conservative?

    Note that Romney also offends fiscal conservatives. He also offends liberty conservatives.

    I still don’t know who he appeals to.

  92. > Hollywood remains the biggest success of the global Left.

    And, it’s an own-goal by conservatives, who should be pushing for shorter copyright, less copyright protection, and so on if only to defund their opponents.

  93. I am stunned at how closely this OP mirrors my own reactions. I am very fond of religious programming, sermons, pseudo scientific misinformation and everything else churches produce that I can obtain for free. It must be free; I can’t stomach the idea of giving them money.
    During my time observing these productions, I can say that I agree with most of the economic and social positions that most religious leaders present. They routinely oppose reckless spending, unconstitutional legislation and are consistent supporters of gun ownership and states rights. Their insistence that men are too corrupt to handle enormous amounts of power also rings true.
    Then I feel like I’m taking fucking crazy pills when I’m nodding along and the pastor concludes that abortion, pornography and pagan cultural elements are the most pressing threats to our culture. “If only we would all accept Christ” he/she wails, “its not like medieval Europe ever abused human rights!”
    Is it that chanting “we have the absolute truth!” makes a person immune to post modernism and therefore able to reason effectively outside of their religious blind spot, or is it that religious nuts tend to shun Hollywood productions and therefore base less of their world view on hypnotic liberal tripe? How can it be that people who believe in magic and reject modern science are able to reason so clearly when most of the people who don’t do not?

  94. >My experience at MIT was that the smartest international students and the smartest American students were about equally smart. The average international student had better academic numbers than the average American student, but the wider distribution among American students may have been an effect of wider variation in work ethic as much as in intelligence.

    That matches my student experience at Penn, and what I’ve seen more recently during university speaking gigs.

  95. Also, not to spam, but speech codes definitely are thought control and social engineering. Most people don’t walk around screaming obscenities at strangers because they know how they will be perceived. People don’t need rules about what they can and can’t say, they just need to be aware of what makes them look good or look bad. Most people can learn that and those who don’t will reap their own rewards: being perceived as racist, crude, stupid or whatever.

  96. Straying off topic, but: I agree with most of Green Monster’s observations. I’ll add – and this is admittedly anecdotal, but I believe a count would back it up – that the (attempted or successful) suicides of students were rarely AA admissions. If anything, the typical case there was a student from a ‘model minority’ racial group of moderately-above-average intelligence who produced a stellar high-school record through a fanatical work ethic, and discovered that at MIT that combination was enough to collect a string of “B+”s…

  97. I’ll tell you who Romney appeals to: the GOP establishment. He won’t rock the boat, he’ll keep the graft flowing, he won’t seriously dismantle the government money and power train.

    Besides, it’s “his turn”.

    Pah. It’s sad that we’re going to get him whether we want him or not.

  98. ESR said: Oh, yeah, certainly. Conservatives had the memetic threat from Communism correctly identified at least as far back as the 1930s. Possibly farther back; before then my knowledge of the historical sources is too incomplete to say. Their failure was not in identifying it, but in acting effectively against it.

    Communism, yes. Gramscianism is not identical; to have identified Communists As The Enemy is not the same as to have identified Gramscian thinking in the Academy as the most dangerous form of Communist memetic threat.

    And (from further in your reply, which shouldn’t really need quoting here), I agree that I have no stronger case for “they couldn’t have stopped it” than you do for “they should [and implicitly thus could] have stopped it” – but I’m not the one pillorying them for not doing so, just leaving open the case that it’s possible that they never had a chance.

    (I also agree with Michael Brazier about the issue of the timeline; until Buckley essentially “[re]formed” the Conservative Movement, there wasn’t one that you could call “The Conservatives” or anything like it, to do the task of opposing the Gramscians; oh, there were some anti-Communists, but they weren’t all “Conservative”. After all, especially back then, one could proudly be a Leftist and oppose the Reds, at least in America.

    And by the time the Conservative Movement got any significant steam, the Gramscians had already done a lot of damage and gotten into a lot of institutions…)

  99. I still wish that the joke that Gingrich would name Colbert his running mate if he got the nomination wasn’t a joke…I think their respective types of crazy counterbalance each other.

  100. > And, it’s an own-goal by conservatives, who should be pushing for shorter copyright, less copyright protection, and so on if only to defund their opponents.

    I think copyright is a separate (but important) issue. The better goal for social conservatives would be to mend fences with artists by giving up their political obsession with sexual mores, which should be the default position for a true “conservative” anyway.

    For instance, the anti-gay-marriage plank is moronic. One of the few things that make government useful and desirable (even to minarchists) is the enforcement of contracts, and marriage is simply another contract that could be duplicated via other means. Frankly, the default conservative position on this should be “government should not have anything to do with marriage of any kind”, and that the particulars of it should be left to clergy and hired attorneys. But, of course, then the Republicans lose their prized “slack-jawed yokel” demographic, who enjoy hearing their own moral pronouncements shouted back at them from the soapbox, for whatever psychological reason. If I was looking to increase my political capital, I’d select the poets over the yokels, even thought there are fewer of them, because the poets are meme-machines who can help win the ideological war in between buggerings.

  101. ESR

    You should try reading the obnoxiously long-winded ‘Mencius Moldbug’ over at http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/
    Don’t have to agree with him obviously, but he shows how deep the rabbit hole of American sympathies with Communism lie.
    He believes that the Western left believed it was the PATRON of Soviet Communism and not the other way around (they were idiotic to think they controlled Stalin).
    He analogizes it to a thought experiment: Imagine, if you are a libertarian that there was a libertarian revolution in Russia, suddenly you (if not you, then many)
    would rush to defend ‘broken eggs’ etc. Same with the left.

    Also, if you look at the objective results of Roosevelt’s actions in WW2 and afterwards, its hard to deny that the USSR won, and received everything it got.
    And American weapons found their way to Chinese Communists when they were fighting the Nationalists, just when the US government cut off support for
    Chiang Kai Shek. etc etc. The rabbit hole is deeeep.

  102. Grantham, your post above showcases an ignorance of history which is breathtaking.

    Up until the 14th to 15th Century Europe, marriage (in terms of all legal obligations and issues of inheritance) followed Roman Law – which is that marriages are created by the court, weddings are administered by the church. It is a comparatively recent thing that marriages and weddings became conflated into one legal amorphous mush, and it was largely done as a way to rapidly discredit Protestantism.

    I will also point out that “slack-jawed yokel” demographic shows you still don’t understand why the Republicans can elect candidates.

    “Yeah if it weren’t for the Marching Morons, we’d have Canadian single payer health insurance by now…”

    is a common shibboleth. You can do better than that. :)

  103. > Grantham, your post above showcases an ignorance of history which is breathtaking.

    Breathtaking he says. Ha ha ha.

    I don’t know what your gripe is, in particular, but nowhere in my post did I mention anything about the legal precedents of marriage, or Roman Law, or any of that. I agree it was mushed together recently. So what? Your pointlessness is breathtaking.

    I only said that American conservatives’ default position should be to get government out of the business of recognizing marriages, except in the case of specific contract disputes (as was originally the case).

    > I will also point out that “slack-jawed yokel” demographic shows you still don’t understand why the Republicans can elect candidates.

    Your ignorance is >breathtaking here, Burnside. I understand the coalition, and how it was formed. They got the worse end of the deal, because the yokels aren’t in control of the big meme machines and never will be. Even if these were handed to them, they don’t have the imagination to keep them going.

  104. There was an amazingly successful Western subversion of China: the injection of Malthusian ideas. After a few centuries of one-child families, there won’t be much of a China left.

    It is a bit odd that Hu Jintao has been looking for rock musicians under the bed while his government is still under the influence of the far more dangerous Malthus meme bomb. That’s an instance of the fact that the most successful subversions are those that are not recognized as such.

  105. Eric, how were Conservatives supposed to refute the Gramscians without having a voice?

    Until the rise of the Internet we all got our news from Walter, Chet, Barbara, etc. and we thought they were reporting the news from close to the center, not from the far Left. I remember listening to the evening news without even considering that CBS/NBC/ABC could be slanting their reporting.

    A prime example: Every time a conservative would claim that the US Communist Party was a bought and paid for arm of the USSR they were shouted down. Now, go find a copy of “Operation Solo: The FBI’s Man in the Kremlin” and read how Morris Childs (the USCPA’s Treasurer) worked with the FBI to the point they knew to the penny how much money was coming in from Moscow. The FBI was even able to swap the KGB’s cach bill for bill with traceable money so they could PROVE Gus Hall was funded by the Kremlin. He was allowed to continue because the intelligence Morris was providing was far more valuable than arresting a few leaders.

    In summary, Conservatives couldn’t effectively fight the Gramscians because they had no mass media access. Now that we do we can start trying to undo the damage.

  106. Sarah Says:
    > I feel obliged to say something in defense of actual smart black people at elite universities. I knew them.

    Obama is a smart as they get – and he cannot read a long sentence from a teleprompter without frequently screwing up by pausing the sentence at inappropriate points. If there were actual smart blacks at elite universities at frequencies above statistical noise, the puppeteers would have someone smarter than Obama reading their teleprompter.

    Further, every prominent smart black (Barack Hussein Obama and Thomas Sowell), is an immigrant, reflecting the fact that some black races are smarter than other black races. Obama is not descended from the ancestors of American slaves. He is descended from those who sold the ancestors of American slaves.

    If you look at non immigrant blacks at elite universities, what you get is the likes of Michelle Obama, whose infamous essay would probably get OK marks in high school, and might perhaps get passing grade if issued by a white undergraduate in a non elite university, but does not qualify her as actually smart.

  107. > Obama is a smart as they get – and he cannot read a long sentence from a teleprompter without frequently screwing up by pausing the sentence at inappropriate points.

    This is a very interesting and revealing way for a moronic racist to make a dumb point. After all, the hyphen he uses in the above sentence is a great example of “pausing the sentence at inappropriate points.” Freud was a neurotic drug addict, but his theory of projection seems to have proved out. It is a good addition to our language.

  108. Grantham, it’s clear you don’t understand how the coalition was formed, or what it coalesced in reaction to.

    It plays on a variety of Jacksonian populism:

    “The bicoastal people don’t have any idea how WE live OUR lives, and they want to tell us what to do.”

    When you refer to people as a demographic of “slack-jawed yokels” – you are immediately painting yourself as the Hostile Other to them.

    Here’s a gedankenexperiment:

    Five sixths of the US population has an IQ of 114 or lower. While the demography of voter turnout is a black box, it’s probably a reasonable assumption to say that that skews to two thirds of people who get their asses out to polling places and vote are IQ 114 and lower.

    Can you win without making a message for those people, that they can believe will benefit them?

    Barring that message, can you win by making a message that says “The other side will do things you won’t like?”

    This is one of those places where reality intrudes on smart people in ways they dislike: You want to take out the Republican Party? Find a way to appeal to that “slack-jawed yokel” demographic.

    Note that calling them “slack-jawed yokels” – or even acting as though that’s your internal label for them – will not endear you to them or make them receptive to your pitch…

    I would rather make all legally binding contracts “civil unions” and let “marriage” be determined on a church by church basis. But, eh, I’m a crazy writer.

  109. Sarah Says:
    > actual smart black people at elite universities. I knew them.

    If there were actual smart black people at elite universities, what was Michelle Obama doing at an elite university, and where is a paper written by Barack Obama from his days at university?

  110. > Grantham, it’s clear you don’t understand how the coalition was formed, or what it coalesced in reaction to.

    Yes I do.

    > It plays on a variety of Jacksonian populism:

    I think that, too!

    > When you refer to people as a demographic of “slack-jawed yokels” – you are immediately painting yourself as the Hostile Other to them.

    No, I’m not painting myself as ‘anything’ to them. There aren’t any of them here, form what I can tell (except maybe “James A Donald”).

    As for your breathtaking demographic math, you are missing the big point: I don’t want to endear myself to them. I want the poets, the painters, the writers, the actors and the artists. They are better allies, even though their numbers are small, because they create popular crap like Avatar that serves as the big memetic artillery that the OP is actually about.

    > I would rather make all legally binding contracts “civil unions” and let “marriage” be determined on a church by church basis. But, eh, I’m a crazy writer.

    Me too, which is why I mentioned ‘hired attorneys’. Ah, but let’s not let our multiple agreements about things interrupt your incredibly vague taking-of-breaths about my opinions on piss-poor conservative growth strategies.

  111. This is a very interesting and revealing way for a moronic racist to make a dumb point. After all, the hyphen he uses in the above sentence is a great example of “pausing the sentence at inappropriate points.”

    ESR in the OP and a bunch of the commenters in the thread have done the same, if you look – it’s normally called a dash, and it’s more and more common as a comma-substitute, particularly on the interwebs. They even come in different sizes.

  112. By the way, just because of Ken Burnside’s rude and unsupported “breathtaking ignorance” comment, I thought I’d point out that the use of “gedankenexperiment” instead of the more direct “thought experiment” is exactly the kind of abuse Orwell was taking issue with in “Politics and the English Language.” Burnside even defeats his own point about “endearing” oneself to the yokels. Would Burnside really use “gedankenexperiment” in front of said, sub-114 IQ allies? Probably not, and they’d probably mistrust him as an alien if he did. Again, Freud’s projection wins out.

  113. > ESR in the OP and a bunch of the commenters in the thread have done the same, if you look – it’s normally called a dash…

    They haven’t done it as stupidly or needlessly as “James A Donald” did it. Yours above is the wrong usage too, but I wouldn’t have called attention to it, because it doesn’t perfectly frame stupidity the way Donald’s did. The way he used it was like a beacon of stupidity, because his entire point was about “screwing up by pausing the sentence at inappropriate points.” That’s exactly what he did. His is a beautiful ironic fuck-up.

  114. A dash is bigger than a comma – it represents an actual pause, as in “punchline coming up”. When used to signify punchline, is not strictly constrained by the rules of grammar, more the rules of comedy and contrast.

    If a pair of dashes is used as substitute for a comma in a parenthetical statement, the statement should significantly contrast with main body of the sentence.

  115. Further, every prominent smart black (Barack Hussein Obama and Thomas Sowell), is an immigrant, reflecting the fact that some black races are smarter than other black races.

    How is Thomas Sowell an immigrant? Wikipedlo says he was born in North Carolina.

  116. > A dash is bigger than a comma

    Hahahah. I guess that makes it better, then. Keep ‘em coming, James. This is comedy gold.

    @Adrian Smith
    > How is Thomas Sowell an immigrant? Wikipedlo says he was born in North Carolina.

    You have to understand the mind of the person who called him an “immigrant” (the grammar genius, “James A Donald”). He is a frustrated, angry subnormal who sometimes doesn’t know the meanings of the words he types, and who only has a casual relationship with reality.

  117. Yours above is the wrong usage too

    According to style guides, perhaps, but it’s what folks are actually doing out there.

    His is a beautiful ironic fuck-up.

    Only if you’re prepared to be considerably more anal about punctuation then most people can be bothered with, I think you’ll find. He does make an impressive number of grammar errors for someone trying to argue that black folks can’t write properly, I’ll admit.

  118. esr:
    > has a history of making ugly racist remarks about this and related topics

    There are some truths that are automatically denounced as ugly and racist. The world is what it is. Would you care to suggest a more pious way of expressing the same truths, without changing the meaning?

  119. > Only if you’re prepared to be considerably more anal about punctuation then most people can be bothered with, I think you’ll find

    No, I’m really not. I admittedly screw up a lot myself. Everyone screws up. But most people don’t do so while making dumb, racist comments about the misuse of language. That’s the point: he is so dim that he screwed up his own stupid point about Obama, as perfectly as anyone could ever screw anything up. It is meta-comedy.

  120. One of the few things that make government useful and desirable (even to minarchists) is the enforcement of contracts, and marriage is simply another contract that could be duplicated via other means.

    When The Bride of Monster and I were wed, the “contract” actually had four parties, two of whom were by definition below the age of majority and therefore unable to legally give their consent to any contract, because they were not yet conceived, much less born.

    The fundamental difference between marriage and every other kind of contract is that it establishes certain responsibilities for the care of those minor children that are born within the marriage. A union of two women or two men can only produce children with the outside assistance of at least one member of the other gender, requiring some kind of separate legal process to protect the rights of all the adults and the child. To put it bluntly, a faithful same-sex couple can’t have an unplanned pregnancy (although they could adopt the product of one).

    For millennia, the word “marriage” referred to a man and one or more women. Suddenly, we are told that refusing to redefine the word to include unions of two men or two women is the height of hateful homophobic bigotry.

    The excuses for needing “gay marriage” tend to be in the form of anectdotes such as someone dying alone in a hospital that doesn’t recognize visitation rights of an unrelated partner. But all that is needed to resolve that is for an attorney to create standard forms that would be valid and binding in all US jurisdictions, requiring only that each partner sign a (separate) consent form in the presence of a notary. With a copy of that form in their records to protect them against prosecution under HIPAA and other privacy laws, hospitals would recognize the visitation rights granted by the patient. There is no need for courts or legislatures to demand that same-sex couples have the same legal status as man-woman married couples. But if they had created those forms, and same-sex couples widely used them, that would deprive them of the victimhood they need to garner a legislative or activist-judicial remedy for their non-problem.

    Then we can argue whether a child is better being born and adopted by a same-sex couple, or aborted. That’s one that will make both sides’ heads explode.

  121. @Vaspasian

    How can it be that people who believe in magic and reject modern science are able to reason so clearly when most of the people who don’t do not?

    I don’t intend to assert that all of the ideas embraced by religious people (a broad group) are ancient in origin or beneficial. However, they are more able to receive the benefits of slow change than New Atheists and other rationalists. Religion has its own charlatans and know-it-alls, of course. I am embarrassed to have fallen into the rationalism trap many times in the past.

    For anyone who has access to a decent library, the writings of Sextus Empiricus contain an interesting skeptic philosophy (long-winded though). It makes an interesting contrast with the one-sided modernistic skepticism of people like Richard Dawkins (known more plainly as “disagreement”).

  122. > When The Bride of Monster and I were wed, the “contract” actually had four parties, two of whom were by definition below the age of majority and therefore unable to legally give their consent to any contract, because they were not yet conceived, much less born.

    Actually, this is a great illustration of my point. Marriages (like corporate mergers) are always slightly (and sometimes greatly) different. So, why the “one-size-fits-all” contract?

    > To put it bluntly, a faithful same-sex couple can’t have an unplanned pregnancy (although they could adopt the product of one).

    Sure. And an opposite-sex marriage can produce jack shit. But “marriage” is about inheritance, at it’s core. Whether there is one hundred products or no products, that the the core of the contract.

    >For millennia, the word “marriage” referred to a man and one or more women. Suddenly, we are told that refusing to redefine the word to include unions of two men or two women is the height of hateful homophobic bigotry.

    Yeah, that is more to the point. You are talking about the ownership of terms, and entering Orwell’s turf now. I somewhat agree with you, too; there is a certain lunacy to the way the pro gay marriage crowd talks about it, because they are more interested in capturing the memetic real estate of the word, “marriage”, then in achieving the contractual ends of marriage, which they can already do and have actually been able to do for a very long time via private agreement. The proponents of “gay marriage” are almost as stupid as the opponents of it. The one advantage that they have is that their notion of State-approved marriage isn’t any dumber than the one the opponents are so determined to protect.

  123. @James A Donald

    You should look up the term “iatrogenics”.

  124. Mike E. says;
    > I’ll add – and this is admittedly anecdotal, but I believe a count would back it up – that the (attempted or successful) suicides of students were rarely AA admissions. If anything, the typical case there was a student from a ‘model minority’ racial group of moderately-above-average intelligence who produced a stellar high-school record through a fanatical work ethic, and discovered that at MIT that combination was enough to collect a string of “B+”s…

    I think the stellar high-school record and work ethic not working the same at MIT as in high school part is correct. However, my observations were that no particular demographic group was significantly overrepresented or underrepresented in the “suicide” group (attempted or succeeded). AFAIK the numbers said much the same. From personal observation I only knew one, and he was white.

  125. @Vaspasian:
    “How can it be that people who believe in magic and reject modern science are able to reason so clearly when most of the people who don’t do not?”

    Simple; what they are relying on is not reason. It’s something that could variously be called “common sense” or ESR’s traditionalism (from the previous blog essay on anti-intellectualism). I think it’s very similar to what Ayn Rand called “a sense of life”. Essentially, it’s a deep emotional feeling based on past experience that says, “Based on my life to date, this just feels very wrong, even if I can’t articulate the reason why.”

    Here’s an interesting example from Classical Greece. In Aristophanes play “The Clouds”, the protagonist Strepsiades sends his son to Socrates’ school to learn sophistry. The son successfully convinces his father that if it is just for the father to beat the son, it must be just for the son to beat the father. But when the son crosses the line and says that he will also prove that it is just that he beat his mother, Strepsiades wakes up and realizes that all the sophistic arguments cannot be right, and he rebels against Socrates and burns down his school.

    The point here is that many people can accept a certain amount of logical challenge to their existing ideas, but past a certain point they just recognize there is something wrong and stop listening. And the traditionalists would argue that there are good evolutionary reasons for this behavior.

  126. >If there were actual smart black people at elite universities, what was Michelle Obama doing at an elite university, and where is a paper written by Barack Obama from his days at university?

    This is a non sequitur. You can list dimwitted black people who went to elite universities all day long and still not show that there are no actual smart blacks there.

    This sort of thing is why I think your claim to be a brave truth teller is a pose, a mask over emotional race hatred. You make elementary logical errors like this, you use insinuating language, and you wave around elaborate statistical tools which you have misapplied in fundamental ways. I’m not fooled.

  127. > Actually, James A Donald has a point there, though he’s expressing it badly.

    Ive heard the argument before – and I agree with it to a degree – but that wasn’t the point. The point was that he was making a statement about unnecessary pauses, and included a fairly specious pause while doing it. I am far from a punctuation Nazi, but it was too perfect of a contradiction to ignore considering his previous stupidity on this thread. When good people shoot themselves in the foot, sympathy is appropriate. When bad people stub their toes, laughter works.

  128. “Actually, James A Donald has a point there, though he’s expressing it badly.”

    If you think so, it must be by accident. 100 James A Donalds banging away at 100 laptops is bound to produce a coherent sentence by pure chance once a century or so. I made the mistake of actually reading his ‘Who rules the world?’ post. He owes Michelle Obama an apology.

  129. @Cathy, @Vaspasian

    >>“How can it be that people who believe in magic and reject modern science are able to reason so clearly when most of the people who don’t do not?”

    >Simple; what they are relying on is not reason. It’s something that could variously be >called “common sense” or ESR’s traditionalism (from the previous blog essay on anti->intellectualism).

    Farm kids had common sense by the age of 8 – or else some plenty interesting scars to show around. Most modern urban people (incl. me) gain common sense only after college, at work, when life begins to slap them around with a large trout. Academics _stay in college_ as teachers.

    So you should ask the other question, why intellectuals often have little common sense. The answer is the lack of input from living a “normal” life outside academia, also, disrespecting all kinds of authorities that try to teach us common sense (as in, from granparents to traditions) as they are normally not put in an intellectual enough language.

    The other side, the question asked, is no mystery, the everyday person generally lacks the input data to reason about science or religion, but has plenty of data from everyday life to reason about commonsensical things.

    (I would not be too hard on religious people. From the day of our birth we are used to live in a human society where everything is based on intent. It sort of comes natural to assume that every else works the same way too. It is intellectual laziness, but one must accept people have different interests. If by the age of 10 sci-fi and popular science didn’t fascinate you, you can still be an atheist, but will always have some vague quasi-religious feelings left of an intentional universe because most of your attention is focused on the human society, human products etc. etc. which are naturally intentional.)

  130. >So you should ask the other question, why intellectuals often have little common sense. The answer is the lack of input from living a “normal” life outside academia

    This was also Sowell’s point in *Intellectuals and Society* about excluding those who deal with reality, notably engineers and scientists, from his definition of intellectuals in the book. (He also excluded conservative and libertarian intellectuals, such as Buckley and Friedman, from his discussion, because as he pointed out, they are a small minority and he was discussing intellectuals in general and their influence on society, which depends in large part on numbers and impact.)

  131. Cathy Says: The point here is that many people can accept a certain amount of logical challenge to their existing
    ideas, but past a certain point they just recognize there is something wrong and stop listening.
    And the traditionalists would argue that there are good evolutionary reasons for this behavior.

    This is an interesting point. There is an anecdote that I have heard about thomas edison failing to make a light
    bulb X many hundreds of times. Someone brings this up to him, saying “thomas, you failed X many hundreds of times
    to make a light bulb.” to which thomas replys, “No, I discovered X many hundreds of ways to make a light bulb
    that doesnt work!”
    If a smart guy with a clear goal can fail that many times, it means that most new ideas are likely to be bad.
    Therefore you are more likely to be negatively effected in a case by case scenario by accepting ideas than by
    dismissing them out of hand. This is still the case today as it was in our technological infancy save that the
    surviving good ideas are now incredibly frequent.

    @ Roger phillips: I got gift cards for Xmas. If i can stomach any of sextus’ writings, I might buy one.

    @ shenpen: Most of that sounds about right. My own grand parents were and are extremely sharp folks. when your
    grand dad is always gloating about the BTU output of his latest and greatest home improvement, performing
    archaeological surveys or criticizing theoretical models, the first reaction is not to pardon dear old grand dad
    for not being as smart as you.
    Its definitely a sharp contrast to those unfortunate souls who need to monitor their elders for fear that they will
    lose all their money to con men or ladle soup into the silverware drawer. I can see why that would hurt someones
    esteem for the elderly and their traditions.
    religious thinking is not so neatly contained that its presence or absence can be predicted by a persons
    profession. How do we explain christian accountaints, engineers and scientists? Surly francis Collins is no farm
    hand. And if religion is associated with common sense, how do we account for Ted Haggard or the followers of Peter
    Popoff?

  132. @Grantham

    >there is a certain lunacy to the way the pro gay marriage crowd talks about it, because they are more interested in capturing the memetic real estate of the word, “marriage”, then in achieving the contractual ends of marriage, which they can already do and have actually been able to do for a very long time via private agreement. The proponents of “gay marriage” are almost as stupid as the opponents of it.

    You really don’t get it. A culture war is about culture, not contracts.

    The purpose of it all – several times openly admitted – is to raise the social standing, respect, status, acceptance, self-confidence, whatever, of gays. For this purpose capturing or losing the memetic terrain is a lot more important than the legal details regarding establishing a common estate etc. etc. One side is saying “you MUST see gay couples as normal / OK” and the other side is saying “no, we won’t”. Marriage comes into the question only because marriage is the _symbolic_ way of the state throwing their weight behind seeing it as normal / OK or not. It doesn’t even have much to do with the usual functions of the state, it is about borrowing a side feature of it, borrowing the authority and respect the state commands and making a thing more respected by the state endorsing it. Thus _of course_ it is about the term itself and not the contractual or details.

    Pretty much every culture-war issue has similar cultural subtexts and fights on memetic terrain. For example the abortion debate is rooted in viewing sex as something for reproduction or not and whole human-rights part is a huge red herring. The pro-lifer subtext is “fine, you can refuse to view it as something for reproduction, but often Nature has the last laugh”, making sexually liberated people look foolish when they accidentally get pregnant, while the pro-choicer subtext is “my sexuality is 100% autonomous, not even Nature can have a say in it”, refusing to accept natural limitations, because they could be seen as the basis of social ones.

    Or the guns. The memetic terrain on one side is “stop being a macho, it is so outdated, your kind is responsible for all the wars”, and the other side is a combination of “it is both the duty and the pride of a man to defend his wife and kids” and the cultural habits going back to at least the time of the migrating Germanic tribes around the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, where the best way you could tell a free man from slave is that the free man had a sword on his side. And crime-statistics and so on are similarly just red herrings.

    To sum it up, culture wars are about culture, no matter how deeply disguised they are in the misleading details of legislation, rights, practical outcomes and so on.

    (BTW getting the artists is pretty near impossible. A society where one’s respect, wealth and influence depends on how many people buy – as opposed to _who_ buys – that thing he produces will never get the support of artists who generally loathe the average consumer.)

  133. is bound to -> are bound to

    Sigh…what looks good late at night…in the morning after, not so good.

  134. @The Monster:

    Conservatives lost the right to whinge about Gay Marriage when they voted supported, voted for, and/or filed for no-fault divorce.

    You willing to go back to the days where you could only get a divorce if you could show cause, or if you had lots of money?

    ‘Cause I am.

  135. Shenpen:
    > there is a certain lunacy to the way the pro gay marriage crowd talks about it, because they are more interested in capturing the memetic real estate of the word, “marriage”…

    >> You really don’t get it. A culture war is about culture, not contracts.

    Actually, I really do get it. It is a culture war, and that is exactly where the lunacy comes into play. Even if they capture the legal language for “marriage” aren’t going to normalize their relationships for people who think homesexuality is fundamentally evil. If anything, capturing the word will have the opposite effect on that demographic, and add fuel to the “war” aspect of the culture war. This is why many American politicians (including some on the Right) have embrace “civil unions” as an olive branch that allows them to “borrow authority from the State” without adding fuel to the conflagration.

    > (BTW getting the artists is pretty near impossible. A society where one’s respect, wealth and influence depends on how many people buy – as opposed to _who_ buys – that thing he produces will never get the support of artists who generally loathe the average consumer.)

    No, this is false. Artists don’t “generally loathe the average consumer”, although some certainly do. Artists celebrate sales benchmarks all the time often with lavish red carpet affairs. They enjoy being popular, and many of them actually fancy themselves advocates of the average consumer (though whether they are or not is another story). The makers of the insipid film “Avatar” don’t care _who_ buys a ticket. They would prefer that _everyone_ buy a ticket, as well as a DVD and a Blu-Ray. Jeff Koons doesn’t care _who_ pays for his goofy, postmodern balloon animals. Salman Rushdie doesn’t care _who_ buys his books.

  136. The US has a centrist-oriented electorate, and idealogues are always railing against that. Doesn’t matter, that’s the way we Americans are, and anyone that wants to get elected nationally has to play to the center.

    They also need to know where the center lies, however. The GOP strategists usually assume that what’s centrist in DC is centrist everywhere. In fact, they often are unbending on unpopular GOP issues like war, while buckling and supporting the leftist positions on issues where the public is on the right, such as Obamacare and gun control.

    If the GOP were to beat Obama over the head with Obamacare, they could win this election. If they would always bring the Dems’ support for gun control up in every single conversation–if they would, quite frankly, demagogue the issue–they would win every single election. All of which causes me to suspect that many GOP strategists, such as David Frum, are in reality actively working for the other side.

  137. Monster:
    “‘Conservatives lost the right to whinge about Gay Marriage when they voted supported, voted for, and/or filed for no-fault divorce.’

    William O. B’Livion :
    “You willing to go back to the days where you could only get a divorce if you could show cause, or if you had lots of money?”

    Yes, if I thought it would work. But after reviewing the literature on the history of marriage and divorce, I’ve reluctantly concluded that the only way to get divorce back down to, or below, 1950′s rates is to limit the ability of women to divorce. Since we are unlikely to block divorce for those who are abused, those who want a mutually-agreed divorce can pretend that abuse occured and game the system. “Cause”is too flexible.

    And yes, most divorces are initiated by women. Lower divorce rates means stopping women from initiating divorces.

    The alternative would be the return of the strong *social*, rather than legal, disapproval of divorce. If divorcees are seen as lepers, divorce rates would drop. It’s hard for me to see how we could get there from here when even the social conservatives seen divorce as no big deal and not disqualifying for holding office or other leadership posts.

    Remember that in the early 1960′s, some astronauts who wanted a divorce waited until after their flights because there was a general belief in the astronaut corps that a divorced astronaut would not be permitted to fly.

  138. “If the GOP were to beat Obama over the head with Obamacare, they could win this election.”

    Maybe, if the nominee isn’t the person who created Romneycare…

  139. @William O. B’Livion

    Even a no-fault divorce leaves financial obligations (usually on the part of the ex-husband/father) to support the custodial spouse and children.

    The state interest in regulating marriage is precisely that it is the vehicle for forming the legal father-child relationship automatically as a result of birth to the wife of the married man. Yes, there are man-woman marriages that do not produce children, but the same laws apply to them under the assumption that they may produce children. A man who has had a vasectomy cannot legally marry his sister even if she’s had a tubal ligation.

  140. Maybe, if the nominee isn’t the person who created Romneycare…

    I still can’t understand why Romney, after taking this particular one on the nose for years, hasn’t pointed out that some things are properly state rather than federal issues.

  141. It’s too bad there isn’t a deep-thinking ‘gramscian’ campaign to get us to de-officialize the ideology that all races are of equal ability. I wonder, whether it’ll take a) centuries, to forget the holocaust (but probably new ones will happen) or b) technology, either genetic engineering or implantable computers, to make it a non-question.

  142. If the Conservative movement functions as antibodies to Gramscian thought, maybe they’ve started to act as an auto-immune disorder to freedom, attacking the symptoms and not the disease

  143. @jeremiah bullfrog

    What would be the benefits of delving into differences in racial ability? I can understand it’s useful to do racial breakdowns for medical treatment, since e.g. blacks and whites probably need different levels of exposure to the sun for health. Truth for the sake of truth can be harmful. I see this as a likely smokescreen for ulterior motives.

  144. As for marriage, the law permits two opposite-sex, permanently sterile, atheistic, serial adulterers to marry. I’ve yet to see how allowing them to marry advances any religious or moral cause

  145. >What would be the benefits of delving into differences in racial ability?

    It could be helpful in understanding why various kinds of educational methods or social policy interventions succeed or fail. However, I share your suspicion of people who raise the question in the way “jeremiah bullfrog” did.

  146. As for marriage, the law permits two opposite-sex, permanently sterile, atheistic, serial adulterers to marry

    Yes, and if it turns out somehow the woman gets pregnant, her husband is financially responsible for the child. That’s the state interest in marriage.

  147. “As for marriage, the law permits two opposite-sex, permanently sterile, atheistic, serial adulterers to marry…”

    “Yes, and if it turns out somehow the woman gets pregnant, her husband is financially responsible for the child. That’s the state interest in marriage.”

    So? If that husband gets *another*, *single* woman pregnant while married to the sterile woman, he’s financially responsible for that child as well. See “paternity suit”.

  148. “Yes, and if it turns out somehow the woman gets pregnant, her husband is financially responsible for the child. That’s the state interest in marriage.”

    So? If that husband gets *another*, *single* woman pregnant while married to the sterile woman, he’s financially responsible for that child as well. See “paternity suit”.

    Do note that I didn’t specify “if the man somehow gets his wife pregnant”. If she has a child during their marriage, he is financially responsible for it, even if a paternity test proves he’s not the father.

    The state doesn’t need a paternity test to make a man financially responsible for his wife’s children; the fact of the marriage is sufficient.

  149. So if we have a same-sex “marriage” between two women, and one of them gets knocked up, the “wife” (?) is on the hook for child support.

  150. > It (delving into differences in racial ability) could be helpful in understanding why various kinds of educational methods or social policy interventions succeed or fail.

    That seems unlikely. There are numerous cultural elements that would inhibit your ability to reliably delineate between genetic/epigenetic and environmental factors. In order to be conclusive such a study would be unbelievably expensive and require unethical levels of control on the part of researchers.
    The application of different educational practices to each established racial group would result in more pronounced and persistent differences in ability as well as an even more exagerated social difference between races.
    Additionally, human breeding populations are becoming less isolated and more cosmopolitan which means that even if you could delineate these factors, your data would not be useful for long.
    The more productive route seems to be genetic and epigenetic research which might tell us how to improve the lot of us through embryonic screening and transgenic manipulation. Specialization is for insects.

  151. > So if we have a same-sex “marriage” between two women, and one of them gets knocked up, the “wife” (?) is on the hook for child support.

    Why is this a problem? After all, it’s not functionally different from the example of the male cuckold you gave above. Neither the lesbian “wife” nor the male cuckold were involved in producing the child, so why should the State compel them to be responsible for the child’s welfare? While the default position should be “the spouses are responsible” if marriage in its current, State-sanctioned, cookie-cutter form is useful at all, the State (rightly) does not force proven cuckolds to provide for kids they didn’t sire. That is the right policy, because if cuckolds had to raise an adulterer’s children it would encourage the very ill that marriage is intended to discourage. In the case of male cuckolds in a heterosexual marriage, technology allows cuckolds to be identified and absolved. In the case of the lesbian “wife”, being a cuckold is even easier to identify… for obvious reasons.

    This is why the conservatives destroy themselves over this issue of “gay marriage.” What they really should (and probably do) care about are “weddings”, but they have been suckered into the game of giving a hot damn about what the State thinks about their private relationships and mutual contracts.

    Picking such battlefields is what loses the war, which is what I think the OP was about. ESR is mad because the conservatives knew who the bad guy was, loaded up his Colt, arrived for the big showdown at high noon, and then started blasting away at the whorehouses and saloons instead.

  152. Grantham Says:
    > the State (rightly) does not force proven cuckolds to provide for kids they didn’t sire.

    The state *does* force proven cuckolds to provide for kids they didn’t sire.

  153. > > It (delving into differences in racial ability) could be helpful in understanding why various kinds of educational methods or social policy interventions succeed or fail.

    Vaspasian Says:
    > That seems unlikely. There are numerous cultural elements that would inhibit your ability to reliably delineate between genetic/epigenetic and environmental factors.

    Look around the world. There are a thousand black cultures with a thousand different histories, languages, and institutions. The only policy that reduces median black criminality is harsh, firm, and just law enforcement, as in Saudi Arabia – something that usually has to be provided by people of a different race, and the only thing that improves median black academic performance is being descended from one of the better black races.

    One counterexample to my assertion is the Ashanti empire, which provided law enforcement that was excellent apart from its horrifying brutality, resulting in a level of criminality among its subjects indistinguishable from zero crime. It is clear, however, that the Royal families and high nobility of the Ashanti empire were generally the intellectual equals of British gentlemen – and equally clear that their subjects generally were not.

    Possibly the Ashanti empire originated from a superior black race conquering an inferior black race, or possibly the nobility bred themselves to be superior over time through some degree of social mobility. Either way, it is not a model that would appeal to those who say that there are lots and lots of possible explanations for black disfunction.

  154. > The state *does* force proven cuckolds to provide for kids they didn’t sire.

    No. This is yet another topic you are clueless about (in a long litany). If you prove that you are not the parent in a court of law, then you do not pay child support. Are you really such an ignoramus that you’ve never heard of a “paternity test” or a “paternity suit?” That’s a rhetorical question, by the way; it’s clear you are probably that ignorant.

  155. No. This is yet another topic you are clueless about (in a long litany). If you prove that you are not the parent in a court of law, then you do not pay child support. Are you really such an ignoramus that you’ve never heard of a “paternity test” or a “paternity suit?” That’s a rhetorical question, by the way; it’s clear you are probably that ignorant.

    I can only speak for Texas, but after 4 years, even a DNA test and a signed confession from the mother and the biological father won’t get the cuckold out of child support.

  156. > I can only speak for Texas, but after 4 years, even a DNA test and a signed confession from the mother and the biological father won’t get the cuckold out of child support.

    Failure to achieve a certain result in a certain case (or even several results in many cases) does not equal dearth of law. In Texas, as elsewhere, a cuckold has legal redress, and a victory in court absolves him. If Texas has judges who are misinterpreting their own laws, well… that’s Texas’ problem, and the problem of those judges’ constituents.

  157. In Texas, as elsewhere, a cuckold has legal redress, and a victory in court absolves him.

    I’m going to stop feeding you after this, but:

    Sec. 160.607. TIME LIMITATION: CHILD HAVING PRESUMED FATHER. (a) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (b), a proceeding brought by a presumed father, the mother, or another individual to adjudicate the parentage of a child having a presumed father shall be commenced not later than the fourth anniversary of the date of the birth of the child.

    (b) A proceeding seeking to disprove the father-child relationship between a child and the child’s presumed father may be maintained at any time if the court determines that:

    (1) the presumed father and the mother of the child did not live together or engage in sexual intercourse with each other during the probable time of conception; and

    (2) the presumed father never represented to others that the child was his own.

    So if the mother successfully dupes the father until the child’s four, game over.

  158. I agree with Contemplationist. Read Mencius Moldbug. Then read some of the historical books he references. My own research leads me to believe that the conservative esr was looking for was an endangered species before 1900.

  159. > I’m going to stop feeding you after this…

    Look, I apologize for “trolling”, on this article which is so obviously filled with honest customers. I accept that you and “James A Donald” have far more experience in being cuckolded by your wives than I do, and particularly in liberal strongholds like Texas where its well known that adultery is celebrated.

    Of course, you did ignore the entire point of the law you just cited that said it could be made “at any time” given the circumstances listed under b.1 and b.2. I’m not going to bother trying to guess why you copy b.1 and b.2 but don’t grapple with it – people do and say irrational things that defeat their own arguments all the time, and have done so a few times in this thread.

    But, if you – or the subnormal fool “James A Donald” – believe that a man who raises a child to an age where they can walk, speak, reason and form paternal bonds with him, and who has up until that point asserted himself to be their father should be given a streamlined way to “walk away” from the kid, it breaches a certain territory that underlies written law. That sort of thing can be argued, but not the way you are doing it.

  160. > Either way, it is not a model that would appeal to those who say that there are lots and lots of possible explanations for black disfunction.

    Look, I’m not arguing that there are no genetic differences between people who look and act differently. I don’t know what those differences might be other than the obvious differences in osteological structure and pigmentation. These differences are aptly explained by evolution and there is no reason to assume that it was ever reproductively advantageous to be stupid anywhere at anytime. What I am arguing is that the human race is favoring mutts. They look better and have fewer genetic diseases. I have cousins who are half white and half Indian and they are uncommonly handsome. One of them is an engineer so I’m certain that the squaw in him (or the cracker) is not harming his intellect.
    In a few hundred generations there will be no such thing as an isolated breeding population and therefore no such thing as a “race”. the blacks in America are not really genetically distinct from the whites in America other than those alleles that we can see. The rest is a crap shoot. The differences in performance are aptly explained by persistent poverty. trailer park honkies do not do so well ether, but i don’t see anyone claiming that this is the result of genetic inferiority.
    To address your objection more directly, you still do not have any evidence that the Ashanti were superior due to their culture or their genetic components. We know from modern genetic studies that the active or functional genes can vary radically even between identical twins.
    If we consider the phoneme as opposed to the genome, we discover that the functional physical structure of a person is more based on which genes are “on” than on which genes a person has tucked away in their chromosomes.
    As the dominant sect of society we should expect the Ashanti to have Superior access to education, better food and a more widely varied set of personal experiences than their conquered servants, as well as their pick of mates from their underlings. This bodes well for the conquerors who could develop their physical and mental faculties at their leisure while their subjects were not so lucky.
    In order to scientifically prove that their was an innate difference in potential we would need to raise thousands of the Ashanti and their subjects under identical conditions with thousands more as controls and then we would need to figure out exactly what these differences are. In the time it would take to do that, they will become different people and you will not have discovered anything that can help you predict the future.

  161. You should realize Grantham that it is noisy, nasty incompetents like you that make even out and out racists like William Pierce sound reasonable. You lie, attack people who make true claims, and generally act like an ass, then expect people who read your claims about race to believe you.

    And Maryland law is as bad about screwing over cuckolded men as Texas law. There is a case in the news here every few years about similar situations. I understand it is only a minority of states that still have laws like that, but they are not uncommon enough that Grantham wouldn’t have easily found out about them if he was at all honest.

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  163. I understand it is only a minority of states that still have laws like that

    That’s actually from one of the chapters that’s a Uniform act; most other states probably have similar or identical language.

  164. Grantham is incorrect.

    Paternity tests and paternity suits are only legally important to unmarried women. Or married women who wish to get money from their paramour.

  165. @Grantham:
    “Failure to achieve a certain result in a certain case (or even several results in many cases) does not equal dearth of law. In Texas, as elsewhere, a cuckold has legal redress, and a victory in court absolves him. If Texas has judges who are misinterpreting their own laws, well… that’s Texas’ problem, and the problem of those judges’ constituents.”

    No, the principal that family court is based on is “what is best for the child.” This means that normal common law and constitutional protections are typically and commonly thrown out. Also in child custody cases perjury prosecutions are unheard of even for obvious and legally provable lies.

  166. Eric, try this conspiracy theory on for size:
    /Communism was delivered as a memetic weapon payload by the west (primarily Germany) to Russia during the first world war./

  167. >Communism was delivered as a memetic weapon payload by the west (primarily Germany) to Russia during the first world war.

    Yes, it was. The Germans put Lenin on a train to Moscow to destabilize Tsarist Russia – a plan that went horribly right.

  168. @Cathy: ” Since we are unlikely to block divorce for those who are abused, those who want a mutually-agreed divorce can pretend that abuse occured and game the system. “Cause”is too flexible.”

    Not if we require evidence, and evidence of abuse is evidence of a crime.

    Unfortunately I just don’t think it’s possible to turn back that clock. I don’t think it’s possible to turn back *any* of the clocks that really matter at this point. I’m at the point where if I had to choose between my 401k and more ammunition and training I think the ammo will be more useful.

    The Monster:

    You fail. You don’t care any more for marriage as than the jackass than the homosexual activists who are more interested in headlines and desperately trying to get approval from society.

    And yes, while I think that homosexual couples should have access to all the legal shortcuts that my wife and I do, even in states where THAT IS ALREADY THE CASE, like in California where they had the domestic partner laws, you STILL had activists pushing for “full equality”. I’m sorry, but if A==B and B==A then either you’re arguing over labels, or you’re pushing another agenda. Homosexuals have had the right to be “married” since the 14th amendment was passed. No church can be legally prevented from performing a wedding between any two (or more) people as long as it’s a religious ceremony. No law can prevent to people from sharing a domicile and calling themselves “married”, so the who gay marriage things is either (a) about access to the legal shortcuts and tax advantages of marriage, or (b) Part of another agenda (this is a tautology, as it is either A or Not A, which is kinda dumb).

    But you know that one of the first couples to marry in Mass. tried to get divorced in after separating 3 years after they got married? Which more goes to show that Lesbians feel the same way about Marriage as The Monster.

    Marriage isn’t about making sure there’s enough money to put food in front of a kid who’s got clothes on their back and a roof over their head. It’s about a *family unit* that is self-sustaining, self-supporting and provides (should they have children) a (relatively) stable household that can ensure the education and moral upbringing of the children (where “moral upbrining” is more like “indoctrinated into the mores and practices of the society they live in”).

    In the 1950s you had to stop and think about getting married as you were expected to stay with that person until dead, or as a radio talk show host used to call it “The three As. Abuse, Adultery or Addiction”.

    Me, I’m a big fan of going back to that. And of making the person who committed the abuse or adultery pay the bill. There’s no point in going after an addict, they’ll never have the money.

  169. Homosexuals have had the right to be “married” since the 14th amendment was passed.

    There is no “right” to be married. A man cannot marry his (biological) sister. If it were a right, and both brother and sister consented, there could be no legal impediment to it.

    But the state interest in regulating marriage is based on the rights of the children that may be born from that marriage. The only justification for the state being involved in the relationship is to protect those potential children. In the incest situation, they’re protecting those children from being conceived with genetic deformities, hemophelia, and all kinds of other diseases.

    Yes, there are male-female unions recognized by the state as “marriage” that do not produce children. But when those unions are dissolved, it is a matter of two adults unraveling their joint finances; with no children affected, there is no need for the state to protect their interests. If the state recognizes same-sex unions and they adopt children, there will be complications in the case of a divorce. Who is treated as the “mother”, who automatically gets custody absent a mountain of evidence that she’s unfit?

    Even without kids, if the police have to respond to a same-sex domestic violence call, who do they haul off to jail in cuffs as the presumed aggressor without regard to whether he’s had the crap beaten out of him by his “victim”? With a heterosexual couple, they just grab up the man, take a perfunctory statement from the woman, and move along. With a same-sex couple, they might have to spend precious time and effort actually figuring out who the perpetrator is.

    When a same-sex couple breaks up, who gets to kick out whom?

    (BTW, a homosexual man has exactly the same legal opportunity to marry a consenting woman as a heterosexual man has.)

  170. Most “conservatives” are in fact “neoconservatives,” or those who have put a conservative spin on liberalism.

    The fundamental conservative idea is consequentalism, as distinguished from individualism and moral do-gooding.

    This is not to say that they are against charity, but that they oppose charity as the basis of policy.

  171. Doc Merlin Says:
    > Paternity tests and paternity suits are only legally important to unmarried women. Or married women who wish to get money from their paramour.

    This is an odd statement to make, I guess mostly because of the vague word “important.” So paternity tests are not important in paternity fraud cases? Or are you saying there is no such thing as a paternity fraud case? In either instance, you are wrong.

  172. Doc Merlin Says:
    > No, the principal that family court is based on is “what is best for the child.”

    Of course. That was thinking behind the “four years” Texas statute. In other words, Texas is saying that at some point you stop becoming the cuckold raising the bastard, and start becoming the father raising the child. They measure that line at four years. In any jurisdiction there is an assumption of paternity that goes along with being the husband. But if the husband suspects he’d been had, he has some degree of legal redress.

    Sometimes it’s not much. New York in particular is very draconian when it comes to proving paternity fraud. Texas, on the other hand, which Christopher Smith and William B Swift saw fit to use as examples, passed this bill last year which allows for the cuckold to deny paternity throughout the minor’s life (except in certain enumerated and sensible cases, such as adoptive fathers).

  173. If presumption of paternity cannot be rebutted by a DNA test, that is an injustice to the cocoons and an issue orthogonal to gay marriage. It’s also worth noting that the legal institution of marriage is more than about the children; there are other property and power-of-attorney rights that devolve upon the partner, some of which cannot be replicated by contract or are subject to having the contract challenged by the next of kin. There’s also the common law right of immunity to being forced to testify against spouse that can’t be contacted…

    Dragging a hypothetical child into my premise changes the rules: the woman in question is irreversibly and provably infertile (past menopause, had a hysterectomy, &c). Her fertility with anyone (spouse or interloper) is not tested by the state prior to issuance of a marriage license, making the entire “for the children” argument irrelevant. Likewise the male is provably infertile, he had a vasectomy or is missing the glands in question. You don’t get to change the grounds of the argument. They are provably infertile, historically unfaithful, and irredeemably irreligious. And they can get a marriage license. No argument I’ve seen or can think of covers both cases: that they can marry, but the homosexual couple cannot.

  174. @Vaspasian:

    There’s no use shooting facts to counteract the bullshit that James A Donald puts out. He’ll just make up some more to preserve his own squalid little world view. We already know that IQ (normal distribution) is symmetrical about the mean, with you and esr above it, and him below it. It all balances out.

    The continued existence of people like him does point up the urgency of my proposal that we stop the use of ‘white people’, and substitute ‘mainstream people’ for it. Your own relatives are proof that plenty of us are not ‘white’ any more, as if the election of Barack Obama wasn’t proof enough.

  175. Have you ever before heard of the Haqqanis? I didn’t think so. Like Al Qaeda, about which no one had ever heard prior to 9/11, the “Haqqani Network” has popped up in time of need to justify America’s next war—Pakistan.

    President Obama’s claim that he had Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden exterminated deflated the threat from that long-serving bogyman. A terror organization that left its leader, unarmed and undefended, a sitting duck for assassination no longer seemed formidable. Time for a new, more threatening, bogyman, the pursuit of which will keep the “war on terror” going.

    Now America’s “worst enemy” is the Haqqanis. Moreover, unlike Al Qaeda, which was never tied to a country, the Haqqani Network, according to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani government’s intelligence service, ISI. Washington claims that the ISI ordered its Haggani Network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 13 along with the US military base in Wadak province.

    Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Armed Services committee and one of the main Republican warmongers, declared that “all options are on the table” and gave the Pentagon his assurance that in Congress there was broad bipartisan support for a US military attack on Pakistan.

    As Washington has been killing large numbers of Pakistani civilians with drones and has forced the Pakistani army to hunt for Al Qaeda throughout most of Pakistan, producing tens of thousands or more of dislocated Pakistanis in the process, Sen. Graham must have something larger in mind.

    The Pakistani government thinks so, too. The Pakistani prime minister,Yousuf Raza Gilani, called his foreign minister home from talks in Washington and ordered an emergency meeting of the government to assess the prospect of an American invasion.

    Meanwhile, Washington is rounding up additional reasons to add to the new threat from the Haqqanis to justify making war on Pakistan: Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is unstable and the nukes could fall into the wrong hands; the US can’t win in Afghanistan until it has eliminated sanctuaries in Pakistan; blah-blah.

    Washington has been trying to bully Pakistan into launching a military operation against its own people in North Waziristan. Pakistan has good reasons for resisting this demand. Washington’s use of the new “Haqqani threat” as an invasion excuse could be Washington’s way of overcoming Pakistan’s resistance to attacking its North Waziristan provence, or it could be, as some Pakistani political leaders say, and the Pakistani government fears, a “drama” created by Washington to justify a military assault on yet another Muslim country.

    Over the years of its servitude as an American puppet, the Pakistan government has brought this on itself. Pakistanis let the US purchase the Pakistan government, train and equip its military, and establish CIA interface with Pakistani intelligence. A government so dependent on Washington could say little when Washington began violating its sovereignty, sending in drones and special forces teams to kill alleged Al Qaeda, but usually women, children, and farmers. Unable to subdue after a decade a small number of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, Washington has placed the blame for its military failure on Pakistan, just as Washington blamed the long drawn-out war on the Iraqi people on Iran’s alleged support for the Iraqi resistance to American occupation.

    Some knowledgeable analysts’ about whom you will never hear in the “mainstream media,” say that the US military/security complex and their neoconservative whores are orchestrating World War III before Russia and China can get prepared. As a result of the communist oppression, a signifiant percentage of the Russian population is in the American orbit. These Russians trust Washington more than they trust Putin. The Chinese are too occupied dealing with the perils of rapid economic growth to prepare for war and are far behind the threat.

    War, however, is the lifeblood of the profits of the military/security complex, and war is the chosen method of the neoconservatives for achieving their goal of American hegemony.

    Pakistan borders China and former constituent parts of the Soviet Union in which the US now has military bases on Russia’s borders. US war upon and occupation of Pakistan is likely to awaken the somnolent Russians and Chinese. As both possess nuclear ICBMs, the outcome of the military/security complex’s greed for profits and the neoconservatives’ greed for empire could be the extinction of life on earth.

    The patriots and super-patriots who fall in with the agendas of the military-security complex and the flag-waving neoconservatives are furthering the “end-times” outcome so fervently desired by the rapture evangelicals, who will waft up to heaven while the rest of us die on earth.

  176. @ LS:

    Thank you but I don’t think Donald is a dimwit. More likely he has I visceral unease with blacks either obtained from peers and authorities, a series of bad experiences or both.
    The media generally lies about almost everything that they possibly could lie about and most people still believe them. Add to this the fact that white people with deviant ideas about race are seen as almost sub human (not to mention that there is no equivalent taboo about being racist and not white) and you have a guy who is convinced that he is being lied to and belittled. Therefore he has formed a powerful resistance to anything that sounds too PC and a powerful need to justify his personal value and the value of his race.

    Sorry Donald, I’m obviously pulling this stuff out of my ass. I just don’t think everyone who is wrong is stupid.

  177. Civil unions seem like they might be a good answer. Acknowledge marriage as a legacy institution, restricting its definition to one man and one woman; set up civil unions as a legal equivalent, defined as broadly as necessary; and amend existing law to apply to both marriages and civil unions, with any additional caveats needed to handle the “bride” and the “groom” having the same sex. Marriage remains a distinct entity, and homosexual couples gain access to the legal shortcuts associated with starting a family. The subsection of people who either a) want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, but don’t care about the legal aspect of it, or b) want equivalent privileges under the law, but don’t care about the label, should be satisfied. The problem is that the culture warriors won’t be satisfied, and the culture war will continue.

  178. Aptronym: A “civil union” that carries all the legal usufructs of marriage will swiftly be recognized in law as a marriage; it is irrational to call things that are identical in substance by different names, and laws without a rational basis are void. I have heard of actual judicial opinions based on just that reasoning, though I don’t remember the case names. And as far as I can tell, the set of people who would be satisfied by your proposal is empty; everyone who has a position at all wants the name of marriage to follow the substance.

  179. Compromise on the cultural front is impossible by the nature of the conflict. That leaves legal compromise or all-out culture war as the only options. We’re working on the culture war now, and it’s messy. If the pro-gay-marriage crowd wins, the misconception spreads that marriage is a legal right rather than a set of privileges. If polygamy remains illegal, as seems likely, then the moral argument for gay marriage (pursuit of happiness, equality under the law, etc.) goes out the window. The leftist portion of the movement lingers on, fighting against perceived oppression no matter what the legal reality is, and we wind up with another interest group pushing for political favors beyond any sort of equality they actually deserve. If the anti-gay-marriage crowd wins, we still lose the distinction between a right and a privilege, only this time it becomes permissible to deny rights rather than hand out privileges. I would be more worried about this, except for the moment this outcome seems like a return to the status quo rather than a draconian swing in the other direction. As acceptance of gay marriage spreads, those who remain pushing against it will be pushing harder and more blindly, and that’s when the danger kicks in. But the result is that people potentially lose the tools (adoption mechanisms, etc.) to live their lives the way they want to.

    If either side wins the culture war, we’re stuck with the impression that either the government should grant more privileges or the government should take away more rights. Hence me looking for another option. If enough people crusading against gay marriage can be convinced that live and let live is an acceptable approach, and that their definition of marriage won’t be tampered with, maybe they can go away happy. And if enough people crusading for gay marriage can be convinced that gays will have the legal privileges they’re looking for and they’ll be left in peace, maybe they can go away happy too. I believe that a significant portion of the people with an opinion fall into these categories, or could at least be persuaded that way. We are not a country of extremists, despite the hype, and there remains a way out that doesn’t involve empowering the culture warriors.

    As for civil union and marriage being identical, there are enough assumptions baked into marriage law that civil unions would by their nature be very different, even if they were subject to the same (or a similar set of) privileges. Every question that The Monster asked would need an answer, and there would be no “the husband” or “the wife” to fall back on. Whether a marriage becomes a subset of civil unions with certain assumptions baked in, or whether the two remain similar but distinct doesn’t matter much. There are enough differences to legally justify their separation, which just leaves the question of political viability. Without strong advocates for the distinction and the approval of leaders on either side, it’s not going to happen. Chances are we’re stuck with a culture war, and all that’s left to do is clean up after the victor.

  180. Regarding the article (and not the post) I think Mr. Hu’s problem is that “The overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence IS commensurate with China’s international status”

    As in secondary to that of western culture, specifically the US. I can understand the concern. The one time I was in Asia for any significant time was in Taiwan in the late 80′s. Martial law was still in effect, the KMT was fully in charge but western culture (in the form of music, movies, TV, etc) was dominating. There was a large disparity in production values of Taiwanese and Hong Kong music, movies and TV and what was produced in the US. I could pretty much catch most of the major US TV shows I was used to watching in the states there (Dallas, etc).

    That may or may not have been a contributing factor to moving from a dictatorship to a democratic government in Taiwan.

    Culturally though, I’ve been told that Taiwan has held on to Chinese culture more strongly than mainland China. That taiwanese chinese are far more traditional than mainland ones…at least the ones in the US.

    I’ve always felt that Madison Avenue and Hollywood could attract and support talent far better most competitors, governmental or otherwise. Although I guess that you could assert that NK’s propaganda arm is currently the most successful in moulding public behaviors.

    But I think that the PRC have vastly improved it’s entertainment capability far more than Taiwan did (relative to the US in the 80s) and more so than any Communist government that I can imagine. One of the things that struck me is the production values of TV commercials. They’re pretty good in the few times I’ve seen CCTV. Given the Chinese population pool there’s a lot of potential talent to draw from. Still behind Hollywood in many ways but also getting much better. Not Transformers 3 or Avatar good though. There’s no James Cameron equivalent as far as I can tell.

  181. Regarding the “average international student” vs the “average american student” I would say that most international students I’ve met were on the upper end of the socio-economic scale for their respective countries. I would argue that the “average international student” typically comes from a more elite pool of students already more rigorously screened by the environment than the “average american student” in our universities.

    It’s pretty easy for their average to beat our average if their average is actually comes from an above average pool.

  182. Vaspasian Says:
    > More likely he has I visceral unease with blacks either obtained from peers and authorities, a series of bad experiences or both.

    When I say things that everyone knows perfectly well are true, you conclude I must have irrational reasons for saying them.

    The routine everyday behavior of progressives shows that they do not believe what they claim they believe, and perhaps think they believe. They have clever rationalizations for 101 everyday behaviors that reveal their true preferences, and true beliefs.

  183. Every progressive that got an orgasmic thrill watching Obama read someone else’s words from the teleprompter with only the occasional fuckup on the more complex sentences, reveals that he knows that blacks are genetically less capable of human speech.

    And is therefore twice as outraged when I say what he knows.

  184. “Every progressive that got an orgasmic thrill watching Obama read someone else’s words from the teleprompter with only the occasional fuckup on the more complex sentences, reveals that he knows that blacks are genetically less capable of human speech.”

    @Vaspasian: If you have ever heard any of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches, you’ll forgive me for saying, “No. I know you try to be charitable, but the above shows Mr. Donald to be dumber than a sewer pipe and nowhere near as useful.”

  185. >“No. I know you try to be charitable, but the above shows Mr. Donald to be dumber than a sewer pipe and nowhere near as useful.”

    I don’t think he’s actually stupid. The way he uses the statistics of Gaussian distributions is half-assed and misapplied, but genuinely stupid people can’t handle that much math.

  186. One of our regulars – James A Donald – has a history of making ugly racist remarks about this and related topics. While I cherish free expression and debate too much to ban him, he is in a minority of one among my regulars.

    This isn’t a matter of free expression but that he’s pooping on your lawn. He has his own blog on which to freely express his racist crap. But it seems quite reasonable to say that you’re welcome to walk on my lawn as long as you don’t poop on it such that I have to clean up after you. Which, in essence you are doing here to distance yourself from his racist views.

    It’s your lawn but I’d ask him to stop crapping on it. It smells up the place, folks step in it and shit flies around as a result. You can’t ignore it and dealing with it is an annoyance.

  187. >’fixated on silly irrelevancies like who was putting tab A in sexual slot B’

    You seem to assume that sexual ethics are irrelevant. You seem to be arguing that attention to sexual ethics was unproductive or counterproductive.

    You seem to be saying that conservatives could have regarded homosexuality as having equal dignity to heterosexuality, and with that equality, the Gramscian march could have been stopped.

    I do not agree with that notion. How could the Gramscian march have been stopped if homosexuality were defended as equal to heterosexuality?

    Thus I claim that conservative attention to sexual ethics was the correct tactic, not an irrelevant and unproductive tactic.

  188. Nigel, I’m no great fan of James Donald for various reasons. E.g., it seems
    to me that he too often picks a subconclusion (such as (elsewhere)
    Marie Curie not deserving a Nobel Prize) primarily because it
    supports his preferred conclusions, and proceeds to defend the subconclusion
    too strongly and too sloppily. However, compare how on this thread
    grantham several times self-righteously repeats a purely incorrect
    factual claim before finally conceding error by “accept[ing] that you
    [Christopher Smith, who knew the Texas law] and ‘James A Donald’ have
    far more experience in being cuckolded by your wives than I do.”
    That’s dysfunctionality beyond what I remember from James Donald.

    And besides the flakiness of some of James Donald’s subconclusions, my
    guesses about his preferred conclusions and the reasons he holds them
    seem to reflect badly on him. Unfortunately he’s not unique in that
    regard either. It looks to me as though grantham is shilling for some
    pretty ugly preferred conclusions. And to pick another example on this
    thread, it’s a pretty ugly conclusion that successful Asians but not
    successful Democratic ethnic groups like Jews should lose their US
    constitutional and legislative protection against racial
    discrimination. (It seems much less absurd to argue that Marie Curie
    didn’t deserve her prize than to argue that there’s some fundamental
    constitutional or empirical-benefits-of-diversity reason that Jews are
    lumped in a larger “white” group for AA while Asians are picked out as
    a specially-penalized group.) And here we have Adrian Smith flogging
    this PC subconclusion (“a lot of AA has been directed *towards* white
    folks/guys in recent times”) with a wild race baiting exaggeration
    (“preventing the California university population from turning 95%
    Asian-American”) that most junior high school graduates would probably
    be embarrassed to make. (“Dude you totally need to take those earbuds
    out I didn’t mean 95%.”) Again, I do wish James Donald’s standards
    were higher, but it doesn’t seem to me that they’re below ESR’s
    general ban threshold.

    In many ways ESR’s ban policy threshold seems almost as permissive as
    very-old-school Usenet, though I get the impression that there are a
    few reliably reachable limits like (not actually quoting ESR here,
    just guessing:) “grantham, if you keep doing that on my blog, I’ll ban
    you.” That’s permissive compared to various blogs like Climate Audit
    or Volokh Conspiracy that I think do a fairly good job managing many
    comments on controversial issues. I’m not sure whether I think ESR’s
    unusually permissive comment policy is better, but I do believe that
    it’s good to have some blogs with such a permissive comment policy. It
    does leave more crap for readers to cope with, but it makes it harder
    for a moderator to deniably pull some kinds of manipulative games, and
    I think that that “nothing up the moderator’s sleeve” property has
    significant value especially on highly polarizing topics.

    Also, regardless of whether I like this policy, I suspect this policy
    is a little easier for ESR to enforce (mechanically easier having to
    thoughtfully sift and carefully categorize less manure, and/or
    temperamentally easier e.g. by fitting his intuitions about what a
    healthy discussion is like). If so, then helpfully suggesting that ESR
    define and enforce stricter standards looks almost like helpfully
    suggesting that he do more work or make his work less rewarding so
    that he can present a more impressive lawn to the world. As an ex free
    software project manager myself, I expect that ESR is at least
    somewhat allergic to such helpfulness.

  189. >If so, then helpfully suggesting that ESR define and enforce stricter standards looks almost like helpfully suggesting that he do more work or make his work less rewarding so that he can present a more impressive lawn to the world.

    Well put. Not an investment I’m interested in making.

  190. William Newman Says:
    > grantham several times self-righteously repeats a purely incorrect
    > factual claim before finally conceding error by “accept[ing] that you
    > [Christopher Smith, who knew the Texas law] and ‘James A Donald’ have
    > far more experience in being cuckolded by your wives than I do.”

    Nah, I never conceded any such thing. That’s why I posted the link to the updated Texas law about for Christoper to read (and for you, of course, to ignore). As for my jest about cuckolds, and your current hysteria over it, it was meant to lighten the mood of the terse racist Donald who was claiming that imperfect redress for cuckolds was the same as “no redress” for them, which is a false blanket statement that has been repeated a couple of time now (most recently by Doc Merlin).

    Christopher Smith got closer to the truth when he mentioned Texas’ (old) law with the four-year limit. It’s interesting that the situation has changed in Texas even from the language he posted (now, there is no time limit to challenging paternity in Texas). So, maybe I’ve even helped whatever Texan cuckolds happen to read this blog, by giving them free legal advice.

    (Of course, I think that only a right bastard would challenge paternity for a child that had been calling him “dad” for ten years, but that’s a horse of a different color.)

    Anyway, I’m sorry if I accidentally “cuckolded” you on some other thread, causing your odd obsession with me. I don’t recall doing it, but perhaps you simply can’t take a joke?

  191. “I don’t think he’s actually stupid. The way he uses the statistics of Gaussian distributions is half-assed and misapplied, but genuinely stupid people can’t handle that much math.”

    @esr: I keep quoting Ponella’s Law: “People are smart and stupid at the same time.”

    You, yourself, have commented many times on the need to constantly evaluate your views in the light of new data, and change them if indicated. While Mr. Donald knows how to string words together, and to put a period at the end of a sentence, he continues to blather on, never considering negative evidence. This is the mark of an idiot, or more precisely, a fool.

    On his blog, he goes on about how dumb those genocidal Africans are, while ignoring Nazi Germany (white people), Stalinist Russia (white people), American slavery (white people again), etc. Those white people don’t seem so superior, but he won’t change his mind, will he?

    Then he proclaims the blacks can’t talk. I put up Dr. King as a counterexample, but of course, you and I both know that ‘speechifying’ is an old and honored tradition among American blacks. How come he never saw that? I guess he never heard any rap music, either.

    I suppose that, if we wait long enough, he’ll tell us that blacks can’t play basketball or jazz.

    As for the math, I don’t think he really understands any of it. I think someone else showed him that stuff, and he copied from him.

  192. grantham, I don’t know you from Adam, but I particularly dislike people belaboring incorrect claims instead of properly correcting them. It’s contemptible, and it’s also noise that can badly interfere with attempts to conduct a sensible discussion in the same forum. Adding sexual slurs to the mix is a novel twist, but it doesn’t reduce my dislike.

    In your first post I quoted, it looked to me as though you were conceding error about Texas law (and thus about the general non-state-specific statement that you attacked originally). Evidently you were not, and I was merely misled by how you toyed with your readers by pointing out that in the (old) law given, there is no time limit under some extreme cases (that look like they might date back to pre-DNA-test law). Given my misunderstanding, I disliked how you used your apparent concession as an opportunity to make sexual slurs at someone who had given a citation to the facts. Now that I understand what was going on, I instead dislike how you used the outdated citation as on opportunity both to toy with your readers by nitpicking its clauses and to make sexual slurs at someone who had given a citation to facts which were slightly out of date.

    When I later noticed your point about the amended law, I chased your link, found what seems to be a report that an amendment had made it out of committee, and didn’t go further. You are not the first person who links to something which doesn’t quite support their claim that I have ignored, and you will not be the last. Now that I’ve done the Google search, it seems clear you probably had no intent to obfuscate or mislead there, but that would have been clearer at the time with a link to e.g. http://tx.opengovernment.org/sessions/82/bills/sb-785 which made it clear that the bill passed and which connected the fact of passage to the final language of the passed bill.

    Note that your original claim “the State (rightly) does not force proven cuckolds to provide for kids they didn’t sire” seems slightly incorrect even for the new Texas law. More correct according to http://www.nacollawfirmblog.com/family-law/texas-sb785-termination-of-parent-child-relationship-due-to-mistaken-paternity would be to add “…as long as they jump through certain procedural hoops in order to be released from their default responsibility, in particular by initiating a formal legal challenge no more than one year after learning of the false paternity.” Especially in the next two years or so I expect a significant number of Texas men will miss this hoop before they have any idea that it exists.

    You wrote “(now, there is no time limit to challenging paternity in Texas). So, maybe I’ve even helped whatever Texan cuckolds happen to read this blog, by giving them free legal advice.” Perhaps it’s just as well that words fail me on that one, since this post is already awfully long.

    (PS. Compare a hypothetical online claim “the state requires a man to support his children” (or the same claim qualified by “…except in certain enumerated and sensible cases, such as giving up a child for adoption”) about a hypothetical state where if no paternity suit is formally filed within a year of the mother discovering who the father was, the father is automatically freed of all obligation forever.)

    (PPS. It occurs to me that unpleasant though this dispute has been, at least I can be grateful that this has been about paternity law and not miscegenation law. Received English usage seems to leave you stuck writing “cuckold cuckolded cuckoldry cuckold” to denigrate your opponents instead of being able to mine the extensive vocabulary and phraseology for denigrating the act of or willingness to engage in interracial sex.)

  193. Nigel Says:
    > Regarding the “average international student” vs the “average american student” I would say that most international students I’ve met were on the upper end of the socio-economic scale for their respective countries. I would argue that the “average international student” typically comes from a more elite pool of students already more rigorously screened by the environment than the “average american student” in our universities.

    At the risk of tooting my alma mater’s horn, I’m not sure this reasoning applies to MIT. (I’m not sure it applies to other “elite” universities in the US either, if that helps.)

  194. William Newman Says:
    > (PPS. It occurs to me that unpleasant though this dispute has been, at least I can be grateful that this has been about paternity law and not miscegenation law. Received English usage seems to leave you stuck writing “cuckold cuckolded cuckoldry cuckold” to denigrate your opponents instead of being able to mine the extensive vocabulary and phraseology for denigrating the act of or willingness to engage in interracial sex.)

    PPPS. I think this comment is a great example of what I meant when I suggested you simply do not know how to take a joke. It is brightly obvious now that you don’t. As far as criticizing me for “toying” with people (which I wasn’t), this seems at least to accept the real argument at hand. Grand Wizard Donald made an unqualified, blanket statement (his specialty) about paternity law, just like he’s been making similar claims about race and (apparently) Madam Curie. People like him make statements like that all the time, because they live in a Manichean world where there is only black and white, big and small, total justice or total injustice. It’s a kind of binary Hell of easy expectations; it undoubtedly fills him with rage to hold dear such black & white premises about the nature of reality, and then look around him and see only shades of gray. I think he would make a marvelous Marxist, actually, but he apparently jumped off a different cliff.

    PPPPS. I also do not care one lick whether or not you “like” me. I only thought it was weird you were so fixated on me for making an offhand joke and having the incorrect facts (even though I did have the correct facts, which you happily acknowledge). Now it’s all become tiresome. People with no sense of humor are a drag to talk to, even when the subject is serious and complex, because humorlessness isn’t very distant from narrow-mindedness, and it’s often how conversations turn into unproductive word wars.

  195. LS, I hope “[JD] says that blacks can’t talk” is a paraphrase of something other than “Obama is [as] smart as they get – and he cannot read a long sentence from a teleprompter without frequently screwing up by pausing the sentence at inappropriate points. If there were actual smart blacks at elite universities at frequencies above statistical noise, the puppeteers would have someone smarter than Obama reading their teleprompter.” That’d be ridiculously bad, Krugman-on-a-pretty-bad-day bad.

    Also, you’d probably be more convincing in preaching to any but the most tremblingly-eager-to-jump-your-bones members of the choir if you were clear enough in your paraphrases of what was said on his blog that people could determine whether a given passage is likely to be one you are criticizing.

    (I’m not defending JD’s quoted argument. In an election when Biden and Palin were chosen (!), immediately following an election where Bush and Kerry were chosen, we’re supposed to believe that choosing a candidate who’s convincingly very smart is an important priority? Obama was certainly puffed up by his supporters as being particularly smart, but so to a considerable extent was Kerry. It doesn’t follow that Kerry was selected for being particularly smart, or for being a particularly convincing imitation of smart.)

  196. William Newman Says:
    > E.g., it seems to me that he too often picks a subconclusion (such as (elsewhere) Marie Curie not deserving a Nobel Prize) primarily because it supports his preferred conclusions, and proceeds to defend the subconclusion too strongly and too sloppily

    Supposing that Marie Curie discovered radium (and she did not, she was on a team led by a great scientist, and that team discovered radium), but supposing she really did discover radium, why did no one else get one Nobel, let alone two, for discovering any of the other hundred elements?

  197. William Newman Says:
    > Obama was certainly puffed up by his supporters as being particularly smart, but so to a considerable extent was Kerry. It doesn’t follow that Kerry was selected for being particularly smart,

    Kerry was not selected for being smart, but Obama *was* selected for being counter stereotypical – and is in fact more counter stereotypical than the vast majority of Ivy League blacks. His wife, Michelle Obama, is pretty typical, indeed stereotypical, of Ivy League blacks.

    The difference being that the fact that she was affirmative actioned into the Ivy League is glaringly obvious, whereas with her husband it is reasonably subtle.

    From that he was selected for his counter stereotypical characteristics, we may conclude, that for the vast majority of Ivy League blacks, the difference is not subtle.

  198. I wrote:
    > Obama *was* selected for being counter stereotypical

    Compare and contrast Obama with Herman Cain, who was selected for charisma, not for being counter stereotypical, and who on the campaign trail and in prepared speeches, tended to use English that was markedly simpler and blacker than the complex and correct English which he spontaneously used ex tempore and when under stress – his campaign position being that he was all black and all american, while Obama was only half black and half american.

  199. And here we have Adrian Smith flogging this PC subconclusion (“a lot of AA has been directed *towards* white folks/guys in recent times”) with a wild race baiting exaggeration (“preventing the California university population from turning 95% Asian-American”) that most junior high school graduates would probably be embarrassed to make. (“Dude you totally need to take those earbuds out I didn’t mean 95%.”) Again, I do wish James Donald’s standards were higher, but it doesn’t seem to me that they’re below ESR’s general ban threshold.

    So *I* should be banned as well? Great. Eric’s asked me to lay off things before and I have, I’m sure he’ll ask me again if he feels it’s necessary.

  200. @Adrian Smith, criticizing something is not the same as calling for a ban. I wrote about how I generally approve of ESR’s permissive policy. I wasn’t calling for you to be banned, I was using your comment as an example of what is allowed under such a permissive policy.

  201. @James Donald

    Regarding Obama (and Cain), we’d probably just talk past each other. As I’ve remarked elsewhere in ESR’s comment section, I see a pattern in the left of becoming somewhat allergic to objective performance (in intelligence or even fox hunting and other things), or at least seriously conflicted about it. Given this, even if you can read the true thoughts of Democratic movers and shakers it’d be hard for you to convince me that any Democratic candidate was selected as the cleverest. In Obama’s case, my skepticism would be even higher given Obama’s odd personal connections and some aimless slacker aspects of his background. I’d find it naggingly peculiar if those showed up in somone that I believed was chosen first and foremost for being smart.

    As to Marie Curie, most physicists seem to get Nobel prizes for discovering or explaining phenomena, not isolating substances. But discovery and isolation of an intensely radioactive element (esp. at a time when the milder radioactivity of more stable elements is a major outstanding puzzle in physics) straddles the boundary between discovering phenomena and isolating substances.

    After radium, none of the elemental discoveries I can think of were strongly tied to novel interesting phenomena. (Perhaps one could argue the transuranics are, but they seem to me to be a special case of the general phenomenon that neutron bombardment can transmute elements.) For that matter most of the earlier elemental discoveries weren’t novel enough for Nobel prizes either. But if the Nobel prize had existed early enough, I think a number of elements — esp. oxygen and helium — would have been novel enough to get prizes (perhaps in chemistry instead of physics, to the extent that the distinction was clear at the time).

    Note that Chadwick got his Nobel prize for discovering the neutron, even though many particles discovered after didn’t generate Nobel prizes. Even the discovery of antimatter particles doesn’t seem to have been called out for its own Nobel prize, instead being swept into Dirac’s single prize for “new productive forms of atomic theory.” I don’t consider that pattern to be convincing evidence that Chadwick’s prize is unjustified.

    You have also remarked on the confounding factor that Marie Curie did her work with her husband. That doesn’t seem all that significant to me. Science of the type Curie did needs more resources than almost any woman alone could get at the time. If Barbara McClintock had been sent in a time machine to the 1880s and had gotten interested in radioactivity, her talents would probably have been well suited to isolating radium. However, I think she would have found it very hard to get the resources necessary without the help of a scientist husband or other relative.

    I’m naturally more impressed by the achievements of many less-popularized scientists than I am by Marie Curie. (Including, among the early femSTEM gang, Emmy Noether, who the feminists seem to mostly ignore, and Barbara McClintock, who the feminists do popularize but not as much as Curie.) And physics has an incredibly spiky distribution of individual accomplishment, where someone like Dirac or Fermi is necessarily no more than a second-class physicist because we have Newton and Einstein filling up first class. On that viciously spiky metric, MC like most reasonably solid Nobelists is down in fourth class or something, and it’s very irritating to see politicized insinuations or outright claims that she’s more special than that. But through the annoyance at how people try to puff her up too much, she still looks to me like a reasonably solid Nobelist, which is impressive in any case and particularly impressive given how many bullets a woman at the time had to dodge to get there.

  202. I wasn’t calling for you to be banned, I was using your comment as an example of what is allowed under such a permissive policy.

    Oh, that’s good. So which race was I so wildly baiting there? The non-Asian American one? According to this, Prop 209 banned AA in CA back in ’96 and the percentage of Asian Americans at UCB went from 37.3% in 1995 to 43.6% in 2000, so props for spotting my heinous exaggeration there, I am SO embarrassed to be caught doing something like that, on a numerate blog like this one and all.

    I’m actually more interested in the rumour that some colleges (presumably not in CA) are demanding higher standards from women students than from men, but I’ll get some numbers before I risk (not) being banned for any more sensational allegations likely to induce cringing in otherwise innocent junior high school graduates.

  203. @Adrian Smith
    > I’ll get some numbers before I risk (not) being banned for any more sensational allegations likely to induce cringing in otherwise innocent junior high school graduates.

    Don’t be angry. He wasn’t trying to “denigrate” or mock you by comparing you to an embarrassed junior high school graduate. He has stated many times that he is firmly against denigration and mockery in debate. He must have meant that as a sort of compliment.

  204. Being reasonably intelligent is a necessity for functioning as president but that definitely is not how they are selected. As far as I know the only president to ever earn a doctorate was Woodrow Wilson. Seeing how badly he messed everything up it does not seem necessary or even desirable that they be selected based on being “the smartest”. I shudder to think what the world would look like if our political parties chose their members from the ranks mensa.

  205. @ Donald
    Wow man. Just wow. I don’t think that personal experience or reference to another persons beliefs is an irrational basis for establishing a belief. Also, telling a person with whom you are conversing that they already agree with you is a conversation stopper. I hear this argument all the time from religious proselytizers. “Atheists KNOW that there is a God. They just want to keep sinning under the illusion that there will never be any consequences.” Sad to say it just aint so. When you tell me I already agree with you and that im beating off at Obama’s press coverage…
    I just don’t know what to say.

  206. Pingback: The end of liberalism « Locust blog

  207. William Newman Says:
    > Regarding Obama (and Cain), we’d probably just talk past each other. As I’ve remarked elsewhere in ESR’s comment section, I see a pattern in the left of becoming somewhat allergic to objective performance

    Because, on objective performance, the people they bring in to elite universities for political reasons are not performing too well.

    Herman Cain succeeded at a high IQ job before affirmative action ruled, and, unsurprising, when speaking under stress and ex tempore, uses English at the level of typical white people who do such jobs (and is thus noticeably less black than his campaign persona). Obama, when speaking under stress and ex tempore, is noticeably less competent with English than Herman Cain, as for example at Obama’s 2010 December tax cut press conference. (and is thus noticeably more black than his campaign persona)

    > As to Marie Curie, most physicists seem to get Nobel prizes for discovering or explaining phenomena, not isolating substances. But discovery and isolation of an intensely radioactive element (esp. at a time when the milder radioactivity of more stable elements is a major outstanding puzzle in physics) straddles the boundary between discovering phenomena and isolating substances.

    But radon, a more radioactive substance that revealed the transmutation of elements and the existence of isotopes, did not get a Nobel prize.

    And similarly, if we go back and read original sources of the time, we find a lots of material saying “Marie Curie discovered X”, when the specific events described was that she was on team led by her great scientist husband and supervisor, and it is evident that the team discovered X. Reading contemporary materials, it was evident that she was inducted into science as a mascot and poster girl from the beginning. It is not that in the 1950s they decided to have a science poster girl, so rewrote history accordingly. It rather evident that in the late 1890s, they decided they needed a science poster girl, and proceeded to manufacture one by giving the intended poster girl some of Pierre Curie’s discoveries – that she was intended as a poster girl when first brought into science – that she was going to made famous before she in fact did anything at all.

  208. Adrian Smith Says:
    > I’m actually more interested in the rumour that some colleges (presumably not in CA) are demanding higher standards from women students than from men, but I’ll get some numbers before I risk (not) being banned for any more sensational allegations likely to induce cringing in otherwise innocent junior high school graduates.

    I believe that this rumor is being manufactured to conceal the fact that the opposite is going on. Supposedly, according to the politically correct, girls rule, men drool)

    To determine which is the truth, need to compare the SAT score to admissions by gender. (SAT score being less subject to affirmative action adjustment than GPA)

  209. Vaspasian Says:
    > telling a person with whom you are conversing that they already agree with you is a conversation stopper. I hear this argument all the time from religious proselytizers. “Atheists KNOW that there is a God. They just want to keep sinning under the illusion that there will never be any consequences.”

    Observed elite behavior contradicts loudly proclaimed elite beliefs.

  210. To determine which is the truth, need to compare the SAT score to admissions by gender.

    The worship of tests and models is one step on the road to ruin. As is needless whining about disadvantage.

  211. >The worship of tests and models is one step on the road to ruin. As is needless whining about disadvantage.

    The latter even more surely than the former.

  212. He must have meant that as a sort of compliment.

    Hey, maybe where you come from having one’s contributions compared to those of James Donald as a way of illustrating what people might have to put up with when a permissive comments policy is in place is a compliment. I’m still waiting for feedback on the race-baiting accusation. Racist-baiting, I might have had to cop to. But maybe they’re the same thing.

  213. Supposedly, according to the politically correct, girls rule, men drool

    The politically correct would never dream of calling women girls.

  214. Adrian Smith Says:
    > Hey, maybe where you come from having one’s contributions compared to those of James Donald as a way of illustrating what people might have to put up with when a permissive comments policy is in place is a compliment.

    Sarcasm. Heck, William Newman said above that I was worse than James A Donald. So presumably, I do fall into a ban-worthy group.

  215. Sarcasm.

    Let’s not go giving all the rhetorical tricks away now.

  216. Grantham, the law Christopher quoted says a paternity test may be filed if:
    The child is under 4 OR
    The father can prove he didn’t have sexual relations near the time of conception OR
    The father never claimed the child was his to other people.

    Thus, if a mother successfully fools a father for 4 years, such that he thinks it is his and acts accordingly, he is in fact screwed and can’t dispute it from then on. B1 and B2 are incompatible with fooling the father, although they give an out in certain specific circumstances. When Christopher mentioned successfully fooling the father, B1 and B2 became irrelevant, and were effectively dealt with in his comment.

    As for later statements, my feeling about a father filing a paternity suit about a 10 year old child would depend a lot on circumstances. My default instinct would be to say that any harm to the child from said suit is the fault of the mother rather than the father though.

  217. @phlinn

    We’ve already determined that this is no longer the law in Texas. The law has now eliminated the 4-year ceiling (not that that is germane to the actual argument, which was about someone saying there was “no” redress at all). I posted the link to the language of the new law.

    > My default instinct would be to say that any harm to the child from said suit is the fault of the mother rather than the father though.

    Sure, but that doesn’t make the guy “Man of the Year.” To the kid, that’s his dad. In any case, I think it should be perfectly legal to dump both the ten-year-old kid and the lying wife, if that’s what the guy’s moral code is. Same goes for prostitution, drug use and many other types of “crimes” that the morality police have defined. A man should have the right to act like a shallow jerk if they want to, and to steer the ship of the ship of his own soul.

  218. @William Newman

    The results of that paper do not allow you to draw any such conclusion. I think you have missed my point my a mile. Papers like the one you link are harmful, because they give the illusion of knowledge by throwing around statistics. Unfortunately, for all their “education” few today understand (on a sufficiently deep level) that statistics is just the application of sophisticated counting techniques. It can no more give you the truth than a ruler can. The paper authors seem to think that results being “highly statistically significant” adds to their case. In fact, it simply confirms that the results of their counting exercise were probably not the result of randomness. The erasure of this distinction is real, _especially_ amongst people who use this stuff. I know, I talk to them every day, and they simply handwave away the problems. They also have nothing real to lose if they are wrong, because the standard of rigor outside the hardest traditional sciences is low.

  219. The idea that the Nobel prize is some sort of validation of the worth of science is pretty hilarious. The Nobel prize committees (the Swedish academies ones, not the comical Norwegian parliament …) isn’t the most imaginative bunch and is relatively risk adverse (e.g., take a look at what Albert Einstein’s Nobel prize was for).

  220. On the paternity issue: Say man A got a woman pregnant while that woman was married to man B. Then, the woman and man A decide that she should divorce man B and marry man A. Suppose man B decides he does not want to be cast as a cuckold and decides not to dispute paternity of the child. He doesn’t care about the support issue and just wants to be known as the child’s father. Could the mother insist on a paternity test and deprive her husband of his paternal rights, deriving in this case only from the fact of marriage? I don’t think so. His case would be supported by the presumption that any child born during a marriage belonged to the husband and wife. Man B may even retain custody.

    The state’s interest in this situation derives not just from the necessity for support of the child but in suppressing violence stemming from disputes between men about ownership of children and control of women. There’s a bit of historical rationality there. And these considerations are utterly inapplicable to “gay” “marriage”. That entire concept is nothing but an attack on social cohesion in capitalist societies. It’s all about destroying the average citizen’s certainties about his relationship to authority and his place in the social structure. The end is to make us all tremble in anticipation of what new inconceivable idiocy may insinuate itself into our schools and our businesses and our government. The best antidote? The horselaugh.

    As to the idea behind social breakdown, that predates Marxism. It’s called the Enlightenment, in typical Big Lie fashion. Voltaire and Rousseau lit the fire. Marx, Gramsci, Lenin and Alinsky were merely tacticians. I refer you to Rodney Stark’s works.

  221. >As to the idea behind social breakdown, that predates Marxism. It’s called the Enlightenment, in typical Big Lie fashion.

    OK, who let this nutter out of the asylum? Without the Enlightenment and its sequel, experimental science and the Industrial Revolution, 99% of humanity would still be subsistence farmers with an average lifespan less than 40. Un-broken-down “society” would consist largely of grand or petty despotism with a seasoning of theocracy; chattel slavery would be common, as would be plague and famine. And we certainly wouldn’t have an Internet for him to make a fool of himself on.

  222. @ Robert Speirs

    Lets imagine Alison and Brenda are “gay married”. Alison has sex with a man to get pregnant but instead of desisting when the pregnancy test comes back positive, she secretly carries on an affair for a few years afterward. When Brenda finds out about this infedelity she divorces Alison and sues for custody of her child. That seems like an almost perfect isomorphism to me.

  223. @ esr
    If we don’t assign a value to social breakdown he’s right, more so for the reasons that you just mentioned. The society of theocracy and feudal subsistence farming is dead and dieing. Undermined and eroded away…

  224. >You conservatives had just one duty that mattered: to conserve, to be Western civilization’s antibodies – and you blew it. The wages of that failure is that the U.S. has a sitting President who spews Marxist propaganda tropes as though they were the laws of nature, and neither he nor far too many Westerners can any longer tell the difference.

    This. Absolutely nailed it, Eric.

  225. @william I did not suggest that James Donald be banned but that he be requested to stop pooping on the lawn.

    Adrian stated: “Eric’s asked me to lay off things before and I have, I’m sure he’ll ask me again if he feels it’s necessary.”

    It should require no more work on Eric’s part than to tell James (like he did with Adrian) to stop saying racist crap on his blog and note at some later date that if he does so to either remind him or ban him.

    This isn’t at the same level as the usual, sometimes playful, sometimes heated, banter about Apple fanboys and Android zealotry. There’s stuff that just juvenile and not worth moderating and there’s stuff that more than just controversial but hateful.

    Equating Adrian’s comment regarding asians with the crap James writes is plain weird. Sure they may only differ in degree but that degree is huge.

    That you claim you don’t understand why caucasian/asheknazi jews are lumped in with other caucasians is amusing…I can assure you that most ethiopian jews would not. This would be like wondering why the hell caucasian hispanics might get lumped with other caucasians if they choose not to self-identify as hispanic (speaking only regarding those born in the US or have native level US english language fluency). Gee, would it be that they are racially white but culturally hispanic?

    You generally can’t not self-identify as asian if you show up in person. Which students are required to do even today. So there is a fundamental reason for such grouping which is obvious to all non-white minorities. Some minorities can pass. Others cannot. There’s a real world fundamental reason for differences between the two and their perceptions of AA.

    And it’s also odd for you to suggest that the *PC* conclusion is that AA has been directed toward whites. The *PC* conclusion is that AA helps improves racial diversity in our schools. The claim that AA has been directed toward whites is normally made by white males who claim reverse discrimination and generally not a *PC* argument.

    “Again, I do wish James Donald’s standards were higher,”

    If they were any lower he’d be calling our President racial slurs. I suppose at that point ESR might ban him. If ESR wants racist crap on his blog, that’s his prerogative but I think it’s dumb to tolerate that on a site associated with yourself if you think the statements are genuinely racist.

    That would be the first time I actually think ESR as being willfully stupid. It’s not for the sake of a “more impressive” lawn but a less toxic one. I said poop to be cute but really it’s toxic waste and not just shit.

    The contention that removing posts that claim that black people are stupid is for the sake of being “more impressive” is more than just asinine and indicates a significant lack of understanding regarding racism. Really? What an incredibly dumb thing to write and I don’t give a hoot if you were formerly Linus in a past life. That many FOSS proponents were quick to defend RMS’ idiotic virgin joke indicates that being a former FOSS project manager has negative correlation to having a clue regarding the impact of racist or sexist statements/jokes.

    I seriously wonder what the hell Adrian wrote to get an email from Eric if this doesn’t warrant one.

  226. >If they were any lower he’d be calling our President racial slurs.

    He did that, once, and I made my disapproval clear. I think Barack Obama is a colossal fool and as near to a Marxist memebot as makes no difference, but he does not deserve slurs implying that he is stupid or subhuman because he is black. That incident was when I was truly tempted to ban the creep.

    I do not want racist crap on my blog, but it is still against my principles to ban for it.

  227. I seriously wonder what the hell Adrian wrote to get an email from Eric if this doesn’t warrant one.

    It wasn’t an email, it was in the comments. I called someone a toady, which is not normally considered to be a racist slur. Eric said it wasn’t acceptable, and I stopped using it.

    Equating Adrian’s comment regarding asians with the crap James writes is plain weird. Sure they may only differ in degree but that degree is huge.

    Ah, now William seems disinclined to unpack this for me, perhaps you can help. Asian-Americans appear to make up a rather large share of the California university population, whether for reasons of nature or nurture, who can say. It looks like their numbers were actually kept down prior to Prop. 209, in what was effectively AA for whites as well as African-Americans. Perhaps talking about this in public at all is racist, as an outsider it’s difficult for me to really get a handle on American racial sensitivities. Bit of a minefield.

  228. @adrian I am afraid I was unable to fully decode William’s logic on that.

    Yes, it appears that Prop 209 may have increased their numbers at the expense of other minorities in the short term at UC because UC’s entrance criteria use grades and test scores as the initial filter. More asians students pass this criteria than for other races so they tend to end over represented. Frankly, it’s a rather crappy criteria to be using.

    Repealing Prop 209 doesn’t strike me as necessary and would only address the symptoms and not root cause of lower enrollment rates for non-asian minorities and lower student body diversity. Perhaps accepting the top 20% of any local high school in the first pass might address the issue without needing to worry about the race of the applicants.

  229. Perhaps accepting the top 20% of any local high school in the first pass might address the issue without needing to worry about the race of the applicants.

    I think that’s more or less what the “class rank” system, which is one of the methods California is supposed to be using now (according to the wikipedlo article here), is supposed to accomplish.

  230. Whoa there Nigel! Don’t have a coronary. Dealing with people who don’t agree with you is part of life, most especially when you participate in a blog.
    It can be an entertaining one too. I once had a conversation with a man about the “emission theory of light”. Its enough to say that he didn’t agree with it and was not persuaded by any of my arguments.
    It was frustrating. Sometimes people just don’t buy what you’re selling but your first reaction should not be to insist that they not be allowed to voice their ideas, at least if that’s all they’re doing. How else are we to know who is crazy?

  231. @ Nigel
    Actually, I would like to retract that for now. Censorship is an interesting subject that we might discuss later but this particular conversation feels like none of my business and not one that I really want any involvement in. Pardon me. Its late.

  232. Over the past century or so, neither Jews nor Asians have consistently
    been lumped together as “white.” Early progressives didn’t seem to see
    any great practical problem in calling for discrimination against Jews
    as a group. Over the years I’ve read a couple of sources about
    Harvard’s discrimination against Jews, and it didn’t sound as though
    it was a huge practical problem finding ways to discriminate against
    them.

    Now that our judicial system has discovered new diversity-based
    rationalizations for racial discrimination and our academic system
    pushes them very hard, it’s not easy to find a nonpartisan reason why
    “white” makes a natural diversity basket where Jews are white and
    Asians not. (And it’s grimly amusing that both commenters here and
    admissions officers at universities demonstrate the capability and
    motivation to pick and choose based on finer distinctions within the
    “white” basket (e.g., “proud hick”) when it suits them.)

    Imagine if the current apparatus of institutions and rationalizations
    for racially discriminatory government policy was reinvented a
    generation and a half from now by a new cynical racial political
    coalition largely dominated by ethnic groups from countries that have
    advanced economies today, except for whatever reason the Jews (despite
    Israel being an advanced economy) ended up solidly outside instead of
    solidly inside. Thus instead of having a small targeted Asian basket
    in which only a few qualified applicants are admitted, there would
    naturally be a small targeted Jewish basket. Baskets including
    overperforming groups which were loyal to the coalition would
    naturally be larger, e.g. “colored” (Asian, black, and misc. Amerind
    and Mediterranean background). People loyal to the coalition would
    somehow see only the statistics for the “colored” basket (except when
    they sometimes implicitly or explicitly recognizing finer distinctions
    like “proud ghetto” to single out ethnic groups outside their
    coalition for special discrimination). It would be very hard for them
    to conceive of distinctions being made within that basket, except of
    course when they were going on about how evil it had been to
    discriminate against Asians the last time discrimination in academic
    admissions was policy.

    In such an regime, responding to complaints of e.g. Amerinds by saying
    things like “from what I hear, a lot of AA has been directed *towards*
    colored folks/guys in recent times” would be creepy, and it would be
    extra creepy to add a wild claim that without it the university
    population would be 95% Jewish.

  233. @william a long post that missed the point that “creepy” isn’t the same thing as “toxic”.

    Did you really write “it’s not easy to find a nonpartisan reason why “white” makes a natural diversity basket where Jews are white and Asians not”? How about one group is actually genetically “white” (southern european ancestry, even if european jews are separate genetic cohort) and the other not?

    It wasn’t hard to discriminate against italian, Irish, Germans or catholics either.

  234. I think I get it – it’s creepy about Asian-Americans because it would be creepy if it was about Jews. Certainly, in a world where Asian-Americans faced pogroms and internment camps for being too good at the SAT, that would be an invidious thing to come out with.

    Over the past century or so, neither Jews nor Asians have consistently been lumped together as “white.”

    Don’t think Asians have ever been, have they?

    (And it’s grimly amusing that both commenters here and admissions officers at universities demonstrate the capability and motivation to pick and choose based on finer distinctions within the “white” basket (e.g., “proud hick”) when it suits them.)

    I was *pointing out* that admissions officers would be likely to do that. You’re sounding like you’re on a mission here, with this “when it suits them” and “grimly amusing”.

    I get the impression universities which are funded with public money sometimes feel a need to “look like” the communities which help fund them. Whole bunch of tradeoffs involved, I imagine.

  235. >Don’t think Asians have ever been, have they?

    That’s complicated. In the U.S., at least, “white” as a description for people who are not obviously black often unpacks as “assimilated to mainstream culture, bourgeois values, etc.” This is why “Hispanic” identity is more a matter of self-presentation and political choice than ethnicity. In another generation “Hispanic” identity may disappear the way Italian identity has since World War II, and through a very similar process. Indeed, I sometimes suspect that without the PC cult of ethnicity and affirmative action this might already have happened.

    In that sense, some ethnic-Asian Americans (especially in upper SES) have been “white” for generations. And it is worth remembering that at one time my Irish ancestors weren’t considered “white”.

  236. I can assure you that no asian americans have been considered white for “generations” regardless of SES.

    Some Asian-Americans that might have believed that were disabused of that notion during WWII by getting put in camps. Good luck getting a country club membership if you were asian in the 60s regardless of wealth. I suppose ambassadors and perhaps Madame Chiang might have been token exceptions that proved the the rule. I’m not even certain of that.

    Arguably no Asian Americans are considered white even today and it has zero to do with being PC.

  237. > Some Asian-Americans that might have believed that were disabused of that notion during WWII by getting put in camps.

    Some Italians were also put in camps. Are you suggesting that no one though Italians were white?

  238. >I can assure you that no asian americans have been considered white for “generations” regardless of SES.

    Your “assurance” is unfounded. I know American-born Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese who would agree with me.

  239. This is why “Hispanic” identity is more a matter of self-presentation and political choice than ethnicity. In another generation “Hispanic” identity may disappear the way Italian identity has since World War II, and through a very similar process.

    Probably not going to happen, barring obvious cases like Christina Aguilera.

    Central and South America have too many indigenous Indians who self-identify as at least one and very likely more distinct racial groups — and that’s not even getting into the raciality of the progeny of these indigenous folks with whites and blacks. There is also a strong undercurrent of blood and cultural Africanity in “Hispanic” locales, particularly in South America and Caribbean islands (Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, etc.). I’m pretty sure Hugo Chávez would sooner identify as black than white.

  240. >Central and South America

    Tell us nothing about the degree of assimilation of Hispanics in the U.S. and how that is changing.

    >I’m pretty sure Hugo Chávez would sooner identify as black than white.

    I lived in Venezuela for four years and have been back to visit. This assertion is pretty ludicrous. Chavez’s family is in part Afro-Venezuelan, but this is not an identity any caudillo is going to choose in Venezuela, where progress is still largely equated with “whitening”. Especially not when, as in Chavez’s case, his skin tone and features say to a Venezuelan “part black, but mostly indio”, which is a much better ethnic identity for a Venezuelan politician to wave around. Where the black and mostly black are despised, indio blood conveys a sort of rude authenticity and toughness.

  241. On the original topic of Chinese cultural etnocentrism. Eric shows he has no understanding of Chinese history. Chinese politics polemics are warning against foreigners at least since the Mongol rule. It was involved in the shutting down of ocean explorations (actually, they needed money to root out the nomads in the North).

    If you want to understand the current stand of the Chinese government, read the SF novel:
    “The Fat Years” by Chan Koonchung
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jul/24/fat-years-chan-koonchung

    The Fat Years remains valid because it is not simply a “what might happen” exercise in futurism. Its central conceit – that collective amnesia overtakes the entire country – is an all-encompassing metaphor for today’s looming superpower and the question that lies behind its material renaissance since the 1980s – namely, whether a booming economy and an increasingly free individual society can be contained within the political straitjacket of a one-party system that seeks to retain all the levers of power for itself.

    No need to blame Marx and Engels at all.

  242. >In the U.S., at least, “white” as a description for people who are not obviously black often unpacks as “assimilated to mainstream culture, bourgeois values, etc.”

    This reminds of something The Last Psychiatrist mentioned – hiw Chinese-Americans naming their daughters Emily and Sophia (not Sophie! Sophia is more aristocratic -> “whiter” ).

    There are probably lessons to be learned from how different minorities in different countries name their kids. It is interesting how Chinese-Americans go for not only very “white” but also in a bit old-fashionedly aristocratic names. Interesting how American Blacks went from the shorter, simpler “white” names to very African-sounding ones. Interesting how German and Swedish immigrants to the US 3-5 generations threw away their names very quickly. Interesting how even well-assimilated Berlin Turks never consider a very German name, something like Günther, but in Paris this seems to work better, maybe showing better assimilation – or just the language is sexier. And how mostly dirt-poor Eastern European Gypsies bought into the “upper-class Latino” meme in droves – naming their kids Dominique, Alessandro, Fernando, Paulito – maybe the influence of Latin American soap operas?

  243. @Shenpen

    Mmmh, I’m not sure Turkish people in Paris(where I work) are giving french names to their children. Blacks & Asians, yes. Arabs here usually make compromises with names acceptable by both muslims & westerners(especially Raïane, written Ryan when dealing with westerners, and Natacha/Natasha for girls). And turkish people, I think(I don’t know many of them, though), give turkish names to their children. Seems to me they are the less integrated in France.

    Integration is a complex story, & happens here in France mainly by cross-communities weddings. It happened to me to see, the same weekend, a black boy with an asian girl, an asian boy with an arab girl, an arab boy with a white girl, & a white boy with a black girl, all of them having babies.

  244. “Integration is a complex story, & happens here in France mainly by cross-communities weddings. It happened to me to see, the same weekend, a black boy with an asian girl, an asian boy with an arab girl, an arab boy with a white girl, & a white boy with a black girl, all of them having babies.”

    That’s happening here in the US, too. It’s why ethnicity is a long-term loser here. If you want to stay ethnic, you have to marry into the group. Maybe you mean to do it…but then you meet someone and all that stuff suddenly seems unimportant….

    It’s one of many reasons I tell people to ditch the notion of ‘white people’. The concept was only invented as a justification for slavery and abuse of the Indians. It has no good uses in modern life.

  245. Your “assurance” is unfounded. I know American-born Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese who would agree with me.

    Perhaps you should ask how many generations their families have actually been here. And then perhaps you should ask their grandparents or parents instead.

    Given that when I was born Jim Crow laws had only just been repealed and many of those applied to asians. Even then anti-miscegenation laws were still in effect for several more years. Folks a couple decades older than I fully lived through these times and are highly unlikely to think they were considered “white”.

    Perhaps in areas where no other asians existed (very common given the harsh anti-asian immigration laws) local mores prevailed and asians might be allowed to use white facilities. But marriage? Some hispanics in some parts of the country might have been considered white enough for that. Asians? Not.

    Please let your asian friends that believe that their families have been considered “white” for “generations” know that I think they are idiots with little understanding of what their parents or grandparents went through. Frankly, I doubt your asian friends would agree with you anyway and the facts (laws and historical record) indicate otherwise.

  246. >Please let your asian friends that believe that their families have been considered “white” for “generations” know that I think they are idiots with little understanding of what their parents or grandparents went through.

    Right. Your politically-correct preconceptions trump my Asian friends’ actual reality. I’ll be sure to let them know that, yes I will.

  247. Yes, I still remember a conversation on the local ham radio repeater (ca. 1980), where Doug (black man) was inviting Joe (Chinese ancestry) to join a group whose aim was to fight discrimination. Joe politely declined, saying, “Our problems are different than yours.”

  248. >[Chinese] Joe politely declined, saying, “Our problems are different than yours.”

    Quite right. Anti-Chinese racism used to exist in California and the mountain West, but seems to have vanished during the 1940s for reasons that remain rather mysterious to me. By 1980 there would still have been memories of it among older Chinese, but also a pretty keen awareness of how assimilated they had since become. During that same decade (1980-1990) I watched assimilation play out at warp speed among recent Vietnamese immigrants in my area – I think they had it easier because the Chinese were already established as a safe, “white” minority with food that round-eyes liked.

    Anti-Italian prejudice (and categorization of them as “nonwhite”) was also disappearing in the 1940s, which may be a clue that Asians then got the benefit of a wider sea-change in attitudes about non-Black immigrants.

  249. I find it interesting that Americans of German ancestry anglicized their names when the USA entered WWI, but the Italians did not do anything similar in WWII.

  250. “Anti-Italian prejudice (and categorization of them as “nonwhite”) was also disappearing in the 1940s, which may be a clue that Asians then got the benefit of a wider sea-change in attitudes about non-Black immigrants.”

    A lot of American attitudes changed at that time. The war probably accelerated it. One of my uncles was a young man at the time of Pearl Harbor. He went down and enlisted in the US Navy. When he told *his* uncles what he had done, they lit into him:

    “You damn fool! You’re Jewish and those crackers will never let you forget it! And you have an obviously Jewish name so you have no way to hide it. At least in the Army you’d have had some chance…”

    It was too late to back out, so my uncle boarded the bus to boot camp trembling….by the time he got his first leave and came home he wanted to kick his uncles around the block. He got along with EVERYBODY. For the rest of the war, except for the times that the Japanese were actually shooting at him, he had a wonderful time, and he looked back at his navy days fondly for the rest of his life.

    We know that the American armed forces stayed segregated during the war, but the experience also laid the foundation for the modern black civil rights movement, in that it prepared the military for desegregation in 1948. (Between the wars, the army was led by southern officers, or southern sympathizers. World War II swamped the old order with people drafted from outside the south. The whole attitude of the military shifted.)

    You’ve seen the old movies:
    “Sergeant! Call the roll!”
    “Grubowski!…Cohen!…O’Brian!…Jackson!…Mantelli!….Rodriguez!…”

  251. Americans of German ancestry anglicized their names when the USA entered WWI

    So did the artists formerly known as Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1917. Though I suppose going from that to “Windsor” is a bit more than “anglicisation”.

  252. @esr

    No, my family history trumps your perception of your asian friend’s reality. Is there a reason you’re doubling down on the arrogance of a white man telling a asian man that “oh nos, asians were treated as white for generations”? Because, really, you should think about that a moment or two. I haven’t made a point until now because I do like the fact that the internet is largely colorblind. You might like to think about that a moment or two as well why I like that fact.

    So, I won’t presume to teach you about irish american experiences and you can kindly refrain from trying to teach me asian american experiences.

    Because when I said I can assure you this was not true is because of both personal and family history as well educated, semi-affluent asians in the US for 2 generations. My father even served on presidential commissions in the 60s. I think I can safely say we were on the lower part of the upper end of the socio-economic scale.

    My 3rd gen kids might someday make such a dubious claim but I’d smack them in the head with a history book for being naive. But given what passes for civics these days it would be my fault for their ignorance.

    But yes, be sure to let your friends know. If they like, I’m sure I have a history tome somewhere around here to lend their parents. If nothing else you might hear some stories you might otherwise not.

  253. Yes, I still remember a conversation on the local ham radio repeater (ca. 1980), where Doug (black man) was inviting Joe (Chinese ancestry) to join a group whose aim was to fight discrimination. Joe politely declined, saying, “Our problems are different than yours.”

    JACL, OCA and the NAACP have worked closely in the past and will in the future. Joe could have declined for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is culturally Chinese then not to like being the nail that sticks up.

  254. >Is there a reason you’re doubling down on the arrogance of a white man telling a asian man that “oh nos, asians were treated as white for generations”?

    Um, because that’s what my Asian friends reveal in their behavior, their language, the stories they tell about their backgrounds?

    I’ve noted one example in a previous thread that wandered into “white privilege”: a Vietnamese statistician I game with regularly. This guy has the double whammy of Asian and being gay. Yet he has more “white” social power than half the round-eyes I know. Possibly this is a result of education; you can’t listen to him for three minutes without knowing he has to have some sort of graduate degree. I think he would laugh at you, and I think he’d be justified.

    I suppose I should add that my observations go back to college in the 1970s. The Asian kids I knew then were culturally “white”, accepted as such, and clearly expected to be accepted as such (and I’m not just speaking of Pacific-Rim Asians but Indians and Pakistanis). And it’s pushing 40 years later, now. I think that qualifies as “generations”.

  255. Quite right. Anti-Chinese racism used to exist in California and the mountain West, but seems to have vanished during the 1940s for reasons that remain rather mysterious to me.

    Anti-miscegenation laws were not repealed in California until 1948. There were very harsh Californian laws against land ownership, working in the public sector or testifying against whites in court. Yes, these laws were largely repealed in the 40s (the Alien Land Act not until 1952 in Fujii v. State of California) but racism against chinese persisted long after. My family (mother side) immigrated to San Francisco in the late 50s early 60s and any assertion that racism in California vanished in the 40s is laughable.

    Even more laughable is the wonder about WHY these LAWS disappeared in the mid 1940s as if it were some kind of mystery. China officially became a WWII ally of the United States in 1941. Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act was in exchange for allowing US troops to use China as a base against Japan. The fact is that Chinese were largely not even allowed to be naturalized citizens until its repeal. Even so the Magnuson Act only permitted an annual quota of 105 new chinese immigrants per year until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965.

    One hundred and five.

    As for the rest of the west, as a result of allowing Chinese immigration again Wyoming, Utah and Arkansas passed new alien land laws barring asians from property ownership between 1942 and 1945.

    Here’s an asian segregation map from Seattle in 1960:

    http://depts.washington.edu/civilr2/slides/segregation/segregation_files/frame.htm

    Realtors would simply not direct minorities into certain neighborhoods regardless of laws.

    It’s an interesting slide deck…works in webkit so ignore the IE requirement.

    I could go on but wont bore folks. It really wasn’t until the late 60s early 70s where you could say that acute racism ended with the repeal of the last racist laws and transitioned to mere prejudice. Still in 1992 the US Commission on Civil Rights concluded that asians still faced widespread discrimination in the workplace and were often victims of racially motivated harassment and violence.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/29/us/us-study-says-asian-americans-face-widespread-discrimination.html

    Most Chinese-Americans really won’t say anything out of the desire not to make waves and it’s someone else’s history to the current wave of Chinese-American immigrants (which outnumber the multi-generational Chinese-Americans quite a bit…in large part because Chinese immigration didn’t really start again until 1965). It took quite a bit of arrogant needling to get me to bother trying to correct you.

    Anti-chinese racism in California died out in the 40s. ROFL. News to my California relatives. I should call them and let them know as apparently they didn’t get the memo. Neither did their neighbors way back in the 60s. I am very glad to have been born later as my personal experiences are very mild in comparison, sometimes even humorous with the passage of time. My english is very good, is it not?

  256. >My english is very good, is it not?

    Nigel, I don’t expect even FOBs to have poor English, let alone ABCs. I’m a little surprised when an ABC has bad grammar.

    (For the rest of you: FOB = Fresh Off Boat, ABC = American Born Chinese. These terms are in common use among ethnic-Chinese immigrants.)

    You can recite facts about discriminatory laws in California all day long and it will still be the case that as early as the 1970s the Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis at the university I went to expected to be treated as socially “white” and were so treated. The contrast with Blacks, who were seriously pissed off and had reason to be, was pretty clear. I had a black roomate; we didn’t hit it off very well, but it wasn’t a racial issue.

    I wonder if the difference between your report and mine is an East-Coast/West-Coast split. The historical sources are pretty clear that anti-Chinese racism was virulent out West at at a time when Chinese in New York and Philadelphia had already made a place for themselves.

  257. I’ve noted one example in a previous thread that wandered into “white privilege”: a Vietnamese statistician I game with regularly. This guy has the double whammy of Asian and being gay. Yet he has more “white” social power than half the round-eyes I know. Possibly this is a result of education; you can’t listen to him for three minutes without knowing he has to have some sort of graduate degree. I think he would laugh at you, and I think he’d be justified.

    You have my email, feel free to have him read this thread and we can share a laugh either at me or with me via email. More likely, as a gaming buddy, he’ll look at you and tell you to stop being an ass. Asians typically don’t bitch about racism (except some exceptional activists and some incessant whiners). I’m fairly certain that racism has brushed him. I doubt he would ever “reveal” any of that to you. Why would he bother? In what context (other than something like this thread) would it ever be relevant?

    My gaming buddies, co-workers, casual friends or even most close friends have never heard anything about racism from me and I’m sure to them I’m “white”. I don’t act victimized, down trodden or anything because I’m not. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have stories or experiences with racism. It sure as hell doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very real thing for earlier generations of asians and continues for some today.

  258. The historical sources are pretty clear that anti-Chinese racism was virulent out West at at a time when Chinese in New York and Philadelphia had already made a place for themselves.

    Chinatowns are not much of a place to write home about. I would guess that it was in my childhood that we saw a large demographic shift from Chinatown chinese dominating to out of Chinatown chinese dominating. I’m a little younger than you but not by much.

    My family experiences will differ from many other Chinese given my parents immigrated before 1965. There’s a marked difference between those that came here as students in the 50s and 60s and those descendants of other chinese largely still stuck in Chinatowns (as in much better overall). Different regions of China, different socio-economic status, mandarin vs cantonese speakers, etc.

    The wave of immigrants after 1965 is more different still. Especially with the shift from largely Taiwanese immigrants to that of largely PRC immigrants since the 80s or so.

  259. It is strange to be old enough to remember when civil rights leaders were young men and women instead of dead or dying off from old age. I don’t feel old but times like this when I look back I remember that the world was a very different place when I was growing up and just how far we’ve come in many areas.

    I still feel like a kid and my wife would likely agree I’m still immature. :)

  260. >I’m sure to them I’m “white”.

    Then why are you arguing with me? You expect them to treat you as “white” in the same way my Asian friends in college did. They had that expectation 40 years ago. So, er, what part of “generations” is not justified? Am I supposed to reject the evidence of my own eyes, now and then, even when you confirm it yourself?

    Being normally treated as white isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never experience racism. I’ve had experiences with it, too. Many years ago I got a pretty good scare on a late train out of Trenton full of angry young black men; I was shoved around and threatened and may only have narrowly escaped being badly beaten.

  261. “Being normally treated as white isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never experience racism.”

    You’ll always meet up with cretins that have no other way to build themselves up except by tearing others down. I’ve experienced spot incidents of anti-Semitism throughout my life, but none of those people had any power to actually hurt me. You can’t get all uptight if a bum on the street yells, “Get lost, Chink!” at you. Only if the person yelling it is the head of HR where you’ve come in for an interview…then you need the EEOC people.

  262. Eric. my friends see me as a person they know and accept as me. Its not that I’m “white” but that color doesn’t matter. Geeks are mostly tolerant folks Eric. Your experiences are not the norm. You see little racism among gamers, scadians, con goers, etc. Your friends and my friends are much the same.

    Strangers, however don’t know me from adam and judge by appearances first. Many Japanese were defended by their white neighbors in WWII. I recall a statement from one JA at the time to another JA who felt white because he was treated as such by his neighbors: “I’m not afraid of MY neighbors. They know me. I’m afraid of YOUR neighbors.”

    A fully assimilated caucasian is white. A fully assimilated Asian is still asian looking. You can’t change skin color. While you may be subjected to racism by blacks Eric it is highly unlikely that you would be by the dominant racial group in the US for not being white.

    Don’t believe me. Go ask your buddy…who we hang out with, our profession, our education, etc largely insulates us considerably. But every so often there’s a reminder that we aren’t really white (or straight in his case). There are a lot of James Donalds and worse around.

    Some of these reminders can be small things. A buddy was commenting how much he’d like to retire to this small town in the south. I recall thinking “great option for you, not so much for me”. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Alabama. It was interesting. There are many cities I would live in the south. There are some not so much.

  263. @ls I wouldn’t likely get uptight if some idiot yelled chink at me. I would if he did at my kids. In what world would he not?

    The hr person would never yell chink at you today. Your resume simply gets lost. You’d never know to call the eeo. Calling them is a questionable tactic except when the offends is egregious

  264. >Strangers, however don’t know me from adam and judge by appearances first.

    Does that explain my college friends 40 years ago? Some of those Indians and Pakistanis, especially, were pretty dark-skinned. If “strangers judge by appearances” had put them in the racially-excluded bin, they were in a milieu that would have encouraged them to bitch pretty loudly about it. Yet they didn’t walk around in the defensive crouch blacks did, and by what they told me it was because they didn’t need to. Same goes for the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and one Laotian I know these days.

    Your narrative is plausible in theory but I cannot square it with the actual behavior of the Asians I knew then or know now. You seem to think this is “arrogant” somehow. I’m just paying attention to the reality around me and reporting what I see.

    Another example: Mike, the Laotian kid. Mom’s a political refugee. Not only is he Asian, but his features and skin tone don’t match anything Americans are used to seeing; I mean he really looks quite alien. And he’s got problems fitting in all right, but they have nothing to do with his race; he’s a high-functioning autist. He’s not wary and defensive around white people, he’s wary and defensive around people. It never occurs to him that “race” could be an issue, something I’m certain of because his autistic deficits would make it effectively impossible for him to conceal it if he did.

  265. A recent book points out some similarities between China and the US: the country is physically about the same size and the urbanized Chinese have numbers (population, income, economic opportunities) roughly matching our entire population. That is, urbanized China has about as many super-rich people as we do, and their cities have about as many very-poor people as we do.

    Now add a billion peasants. That’s what stands in the way of real democratic reform.

    Urban Chinese want the government to not interfere with people improving their lives, and above all, they want it to crack down on graft, bribery, and the like. Basically, to play by the rules. Things are a long way from where they should be in that regard. But from the public’s viewpoint, life is definitely better than it was when Hu Jintao was a Red Guard at Tsinghua University.

    Yet what would happen in China if they had universal adult suffrage? Political power would shift immediately and overwhelmingly to the Chinese Farm Belt, which outnumbers urban China 3:1. (And you thought our Farm Lobby was powerful…) If you’re an urban Chinese, clawing your way upward in a system that’s more open than it has been for generations, you’re not likely to view that kind of change and power shift very favorably. Rural China is conservative in a very peasanty way, and most state money and development would be redirected to favor the rural countryside at the expense of urban centers.

    This doesn’t mean urbanites support everything the government does, and they certainly want it to behave better. But it does mean they are not looking to rock the boat too much. Absorbing a billion peasants into an urbanized society and economy without the kind of chaos and upheaval that in China has always meant death and destruction — that’s a phenomenally difficult task. In fact, it’s unclear to me whether it’s actually feasable. Could be China is just too big and too lopsided to evolve as much as it needs to without chaos.

    So while I have contempt for the CPC and its crony connections, my real worries are for friends I have living in urbanized China. Hu Jintao and Gang can look after themselves quite well — but on the other hand I wouldn’t want to have to deal with his In Box.

  266. “The hr person would never yell chink at you today. Your resume simply gets lost.”

    That’s another thing. You wanted that job. You needed that job. They didn’t even consider you. Take a number and join the line. That happens to all of us. What esr, and I both know is that happens to everyone. We just don’t think ‘it’s got to be discrimination’. Most likely it’s a bullshit reason your resume got shitcanned, but anti-Asian prejudice isn’t it.

  267. My last comment brings up a point about discrimination in hiring. Often, there’s no real anti-whatever prejudice involved, but the effect is just the same.

    The television network that I worked for used to have a lot of great, high-paying union jobs in the technical end of it. They didn’t really require any great knowledge of electronics; there were ‘cable kickers’ (keeping camera cables from fouling), microphone boom operators and pushers, etc. The natural result of this is that fathers already working there would see that their sons would get the available openings. Outsiders didn’t have a chance. (There are still industries controlled by ‘father-son unions’ where the situation is the same.) Of course, if you start out all ‘white’, and only children of the favored get in, you’ll stay all ‘white’.

    Back in the 1970s, a group of women and minorities sued and won. The company was forced to open up its hiring process. This was a very good thing; the quality of the workforce actually improved. I would warn job hunters, though, that this sort of thing is very much alive in today’s world. If you don’t get that job, don’t automatically assume that it’s prejudice. You shouldn’t even automatically assume that an advertised job is even available. The HR department may simply be going through the motions before hiring the person that the job was promised to in the first place.

  268. Does that explain my college friends 40 years ago? Some of those Indians and Pakistanis, especially, were pretty dark-skinned. If “strangers judge by appearances” had put them in the racially-excluded bin, they were in a milieu that would have encouraged them to bitch pretty loudly about it. Yet they didn’t walk around in the defensive crouch blacks did, and by what they told me it was because they didn’t need to. Same goes for the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and one Laotian I know these days.

    My point is that just because your friends didn’t say anything or choose not to let it bother them does not mean that racism against asians did not exist in the 70s or that they didn’t not experience it.

    Like I said, don’t ask me. Ask your friends explicitly. Don’t assume based on their “behavior”. If you let racism affect your behavior then you let the racists win.

    I can’t speak to the black experience. I’m not one and can’t really walk a mile in their shoes.

    Your narrative is plausible in theory but I cannot square it with the actual behavior of the Asians I knew then or know now. You seem to think this is “arrogant” somehow. I’m just paying attention to the reality around me and reporting what I see.

    It is arrogant to assert that racism in California largely died out in the 40s and then when presented with actual laws enacted in the 40s against asians to claim it doesn’t matter. What you stated is factually incorrect.

    It is arrogant to assert that Asians have been treated as whites in the US for “generations” when an actual asian who’s family has been here during the 50′s and 60′s says nope, sorry not so much. Many Chinese academics with very good qualifications could only gain tenure at traditionally colored (black) schools during this period. Some of the notable exceptions like H.S. Tsien (one of the founders of JPL) were hounded out pretty much entirely due to race…hey, he’s Chinese, he must be a commie.

    You aren’t paying attention to the reality around you when someone with first hand experience says “no, that’s not really true”.

    Here, try this. Ask your wife if she believes that sexism still occurs and whether she has experienced sexism. (My guess is yes) Then ask her if she lets sexism actually affect her behavior. (My guess, the answer will be “Hell no”)

    If you simply observe her behavior in benign conditions you may never observe overt sexism against her (or fail to recognize it as such) and never see any behavioral changes you might associate with sexism. The assertion that sexism died in the 1940s because you know many strong women and never saw any such behavior even in the 70s would be the incorrect conclusion. You assumed. You didn’t confirm.

  269. @ls

    That’s another thing. You wanted that job. You needed that job. They didn’t even consider you. Take a number and join the line. That happens to all of us. What esr, and I both know is that happens to everyone. We just don’t think ‘it’s got to be discrimination’. Most likely it’s a bullshit reason your resume got shitcanned, but anti-Asian prejudice isn’t it.

    I have no idea what your point is. First, I’ve never complained I didn’t get a job because of a racist in HR. 99% of my jobs I got via networking and HR’s involvement is simply procedural. Friends get you jobs your resume never will. The HR bigot is YOUR example. I was merely pointing out that you’d never know. And complaining to the EEOC, even when racism actually occurs, is a tactic that you must carefully consider before doing so. There are significant career implications even if you win.

    Second, just because folks get turned down all the time does not mean that some people aren’t turned down purely because of race. We are at a point that hopefully this is in the noise. This certainly was NOT true in the 60s or earlier. Folks can make a good case that this is still actually occurring because of disparity in minorities and women in positions of high power (on average). My opinion is this will take more time to resolve and we’re in pretty good shape.

    Take a number and join the line? That’s your advice? Suck it up, racism happens? Well, no shit. I think asians have been sucking it up for so long and so well that ESR assumes that it hasn’t been happening since the 40s. It’s ingrained in the culture. Don’t make waves, just work harder. The tall nail gets the hammer, the tall stalk gets the sickle, yada yada yada.

    That some blacks are none too impressed with asians is understandable. On the other hand, asian numbers have been so low for so long that even during the height of the civil rights movement they could add little political strength to the cause. And it ignores the civil rights cases pursued by JACL, OCA and others in support of NAACP legal actions. It may not have been a lot but it was there.

  270. >It is arrogant to assert that racism in California largely died out in the 40s and then when presented with actual laws enacted in the 40s against asians to claim it doesn’t matter.

    Any universe in which I said “it doesn’t matter” isn’t this one. Please stop projecting all over me.

    I said that what seemed to be happening the 1940s was mysterious to me because from parallels elsewhere in the Chinese diaspora I would have expected anti-Chinese racism to die a much more stubborn and lingering death. Others have offered WWII as an explanation, but I don’t think that works very well – you don’t see Chinese in the squad of your archetypal period war movie.

    On the other hand, you must know as well as I do that discriminatory laws sometimes lag public opinion and that politicians making them are often responding to small but well-organized groups of xenophobes rather than general feeling – indeed, there’s a pattern in the U.S. of such laws being passed and then barely or not at all enforced. So tracking the decline of racism isn’t a simple process. And people inside the victim group aren’t necessarily the most reliable reporters, either, if they’ve become so conditioned that they tend to see racism even where it doesn’t exist.

    >Some of the notable exceptions like H.S. Tsien (one of the founders of JPL) were hounded out pretty much entirely due to race…hey, he’s Chinese, he must be a commie.

    And that sort of illustrates the point. You know that it was really his race at issue how? At the height of the Cold War trying to keep Communists out of our institutions was a serious issue. I wish we’d done a better job.

    >You aren’t paying attention to the reality around you when someone with first hand experience says “no, that’s not really true”.

    But I have lots of friends with first-hand experience, and their behavior tells me something different than your report does. You keep trying to make that go away, but it won’t.

    >Ask your wife if she believes that sexism still occurs and whether she has experienced sexism.

    Oh, we had that conversation years ago. She told me she thinks she’s observed it but not experienced it directly – or, if she was affected, it was at a low enough level that separating signal from noise isn’t easy. This is pretty much what I expect I’ll hear from the Vietnamese statistician at the next game night.

  271. I have it on anecdotal evidence that graduate programs in the US discriminate against East Asian applicants. I’ve heard comments by white American scientists to the effect that Asians are less original thinkers or make worse colleagues. It’s uncertain how much this happens, and also how much it can really be identified as racism per se [it might be a preference for students used to American culture over students from China, Korea, etc] but I think there really is an empirical disadvantage.

    Who is “white” is kind of a semantic difference, but I do think that “race” is a weird lens to view the Asian-American experience. I once saw a banner in a high school, made by the Asian Students Association, that said something like “Honor your race” or “Be true to your race.” And it struck me as weird because I’ve never, before or since, seen an Asian-American self-identify as being from the “Asian Race.” Country of ancestry, sure — lots of Chinese-Americans have a connection to Chinese culture — but rarely lumping all Asians together as one race, except in artificial situations like talking about census statistics.

  272. “Take a number and join the line? That’s your advice? Suck it up, racism happens?”

    Read what I said again. I specifically told you it *wasn’t* racism happening. There are a zillion bullshit reasons for rejecting an applicant ahead of that one.

  273. >I’ve heard comments by white American scientists to the effect that Asians are less original thinkers or make worse colleagues.

    So have I. In every such case I encountered it was clear that the speaker thinks that East Asian culture hammers original thinking flat and produces students (and adults) who are excessively deferential to authority and tradition. This isn’t racism, it’s diagnosis.

  274. Yes, that’s true (and I’ve engaged in that kind of “diagnosis” myself) but I have seen it taken too far. As when a department hasn’t admitted an Asian student or hired an Asian professor in several years, but does admit plenty of white students with relatively weak backgrounds. There really are a few cases where Asians are put at an unfair disadvantage because of their background.

    I actually think this is a subset of a different issue, which is that when school or work applications have some weight put on “having a life” or “being well-rounded” or “being a fun, interesting person” that produces a bias towards people who have some combination of money, free time, or experience in American extrovert culture. I admit to finding “fun”, “well-rounded” people more appealing, and depending on the situation they really can be more effective than the nose-to-grindstone types (versatility and social skills do matter), but I have to make allowances for the fact that not everyone has the resources or cultural background to look fun and well-rounded. This is precisely the kind of attitude that worked against Jews in the early 20th century. Immigrants from hardscrabble backgrounds can seem serious and boring compared to people from the classic prep-school background.

  275. >This is precisely the kind of attitude that worked against Jews in the early 20th century. Immigrants from hardscrabble backgrounds can seem serious and boring compared to people from the classic prep-school background.

    You have a point. I think it is unhelpful to everyone involved to confuse this with racism, though.

  276. >Ok, sorry for the derailment then.

    Don’t apologize too hard. You haven’t been around here long, but your “derailments” are higher-quality than a lot of other peoples’ on-topic posts. If you keep being as thoughtful and measured, I won’t complain.

  277. Re: Chinese (East Asian) academics being less original and individualistic.

    I have seen that. One day in a Chinese classroom tells you why. The competition is murderous. If you are not the best of your class/school/province, you failed.

    And in school, the best grades are for repilicating information.

  278. And it struck me as weird because I’ve never, before or since, seen an Asian-American self-identify as being from the “Asian Race.” Country of ancestry, sure — lots of Chinese-Americans have a connection to Chinese culture — but rarely lumping all Asians together as one race, except in artificial situations like talking about census statistics.

    The OCA is not longer the Organization of Chinese Americans but just an acronym. It’s now an organization that is “Embracing the Hopes and Aspirations of Asian Pacific Americans”. So there must be some chinese americans that self identify as APA.

    Folks tend to call things they don’t like PC but this change really does strike me as PC and IMHO rather stupid. I doubt there are any asians that belong that aren’t of chinese descent beyond a token or two.

  279. @ls

    Read what I said again. I specifically told you it *wasn’t* racism happening. There are a zillion bullshit reasons for rejecting an applicant ahead of that one.

    It isn’t racism happening except when it is. It may only be one of a zillion BS reasons for rejecting an applicant but it was a very very real one for a long time. Like I said, I don’t understand your point and still don’t. I agree that racism probably shouldn’t be your first thought for being turned down TODAY and probably fairly far down the list TODAY. Ah, okay so we agree.

    But what is your point? That racism no longer occurs or that it occurs so infrequently that it’s no longer wrong or harmful? I don’t think racism should be tolerated regardless of (in)frequency when you encounter it. It is simply fortunate it is no longer encountered as frequently (or as severely) today in the US. Which is how we got on this side topic in the first place.

  280. >It is simply fortunate it is no longer encountered as frequently (or as severely) today in the US.

    Speaking of which: Cathy has amplified her previous comments about (not having encountered) sexism. She reports that ageism is a much more obtrusive problem, at least in the legal profession.

  281. This isn’t racism, it’s diagnosis.

    Meh, this isn’t diagnosis as much as succumbing to stereotypes.

    I have it on anecdotal evidence that graduate programs in the US discriminate against East Asian applicants. I’ve heard comments by white American scientists to the effect that Asians are less original thinkers or make worse colleagues.

    I don’t believe that China’s rise to dominance is inevitable as many folks do. But a telling moment will be when papers are no longer predominantly written in english but in chinese. A far off date I would think…which is a good thing since I don’t know mandarin.

    Personally, I’d be inclined to think that these scientists are short sighted. First, because asian post-docs makes for a great pool of hard-working slave labor. Second, because a diverse faculty provides networking opportunities that a mono-culture does not.

    Then again, I have always been a proponent for collaborating on research. But even from a pragmatic perspective research budgets in the US are shrinking. If you are in any field being funded elsewhere (or worse, with unique facilities elsewhere) then collaboration can often be key to doing the research you want to do.

    This lady scientist seems to be having a fun time with some of her east asian colleagues.

    Bad Project (Zheng Lab):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl4L4M8m4d0

    As when a department hasn’t admitted an Asian student or hired an Asian professor in several years, but does admit plenty of white students with relatively weak backgrounds. There really are a few cases where Asians are put at an unfair disadvantage because of their background.

    If this is a science, engineering, medical or math department then I’m going be believe charges of racism. English lit? Maybe not so much. But that’s me succumbing to stereotyping.

  282. Speaking of which: Cathy has amplified her previous comments about (not having encountered) sexism. She reports that ageism is a much more obtrusive problem, at least in the legal profession.

    Interesting. I had heard that new grads were being turned away or being paid para-legal salaries for the first few years these days given the job market. Most clients seem to not want a 1st or 2nd year being foisted on them it’s hard to get a job out of school.

    No mommy penalty at her firm? She’s never been asked if she’s the court reporter when walking into a deposition? Never heard a female litigator being called a bitch for behavior in a man might be called tough or aggressive? Never heard of a female associate asked to fill in for a legal assistant to do stuff that male associates probably wouldn’t have (type, fetch coffee, etc)?

    /shrug

    I believe her that ageism is probably a bigger problem today (not just in the legal world). That I’m getting older probably means I’m a little biased. :)

    Given that in the past there simply weren’t many female lawyers at all the current conditions are a relative utopia. Same for racism for many. Continuing forward and not regressing seems to be good enough in my opinion. I guess others, more directly harmed by sexism or racism, would disagree.

  283. There are certain occurrences that are always or usually annoying, harmful or dangerous which cannot in essence be eliminated. Drunk driving, incest, the plague, drug abuse, garish styles, earthquakes, political corruption and many, many more. In our place as human beings it is really only possible to find a systemic approach which minimizes the occurrences of or damage caused by such an occurrence.
    Most people at most times in most places have probably been racist and if we are not careful to define our terms, we might find that the proportion of humanity that does not fall into this category is statistically insignificant. It is probably safe to say that racism is here to stay, until the races themselves loose their definition.
    However, today racism is widely viewed as a societal evil and or a waste of effort and human potential. Racism is now only institutionalized in relatively benign ways like AA and government funded racially based grant funds. This is still institutionally racist but it is drastically different in degree from such gems as racially segregated schools.
    I think Nigel is right. I reason that we wouldn’t have affirmative action if racism weren’t still prevalent in the United States because affirmative action is both the symptom and cause of significant racial tension.
    However, I see what esr is talking about. He’s talking about white in the pioneer sense, when the first European settlers struck out in the new world and boldly said, “lets forget about being French, German or whatever, because from now on were all Americans and we’re all white!
    This has been progressing over the years to include more and more people. Polacks became white, the Micks became white, the Waps became white and more and more people are tempted to or unconsciously grouping various Asian, Mexican and South American breeds as “white” which is becoming more and more overtly associated with culture.
    Hence arguments like the one I have had with my Hispanic sister in law about weather or not she was “white”. It did not at that time occur to me that it was possible that I could be white and still far darker than someone who was not.
    In fact I have needed to learn over time how to be appropriately racist. I was eleven before I learned that Asians were not white, two years after I learned that my Mexican neighbors were not white.
    I realize that I am no historian but when I was young, throughout the late eighties and early nineties, the general impression that I got from watching Life Time, Martin Luther king speeches and going about my business was that there were only two “races” of people and that only ass holes used membership in one of these races as merits or demerits of character. I had to be told by people of the respective races that we weren’t the same and that I was stupid to pretend otherwise.
    Kinda harsh when you realize that you are not allowed to be racist but you are required to be racist.

  284. >No mommy penalty at her firm? She’s never been asked if she’s the court reporter when walking into a deposition? Never heard a female litigator being called a bitch for behavior in a man might be called tough or aggressive? Never heard of a female associate asked to fill in for a legal assistant to do stuff that male associates probably wouldn’t have (type, fetch coffee, etc)?

    Apparently not. Or, at least, none of these things at a level that says to her “sexism” as opposed to “people randomly being jerks”.

    I will further note that Cathy is a martial artist, a pistol shooter, and no shrinking violet. If she had encountered sexism at above the level of statistical noise, the consequences would have been noisy and unpleasant for the perpetrator. And I’d have heard about it that night.

  285. @esr I really doubt she’d punch or shoot someone that asked if she was the court reporter. :) Boot to the head!

    Mild Racism/Sexism is people being jerks but it’s not exactly random.

  286. >I really doubt she’d punch or shoot someone that asked if she was the court reporter.

    So do I. But I meant that as a pointer to character – the kind of woman who goes into MMA class twice a week and cheefully grapples with guys twice her size is not going to passively accept sexist bullshit from anyone.

  287. Yes, a Frantics fan.

    I assumed that esr would already be one as well. :)

  288. “Ed Gruberman” is a name I use to describe those who are too eager to get into programming because they think it will make them rich or turn them into SV’s new startup king.

    A reference of course to the “Boot to he head” character who wants to skip past all the difficult and meaningful stuff in Tae Kwon Leep, right to the part that involves “trashing bozos”.

  289. >“Ed Gruberman” is a name I use to describe those who are too eager to get into programming because they think it will make them rich or turn them into SV’s new startup king.

    “I feel Ed Gruberman is not wholly wrong. I want to boot some OS too.”

  290. >Yes, a Frantics fan.

    >I assumed that esr would already be one as well. :)

    Isn’t that stuff nearly 25 years old by now? There was this guy in high school decades ago, who for months walked around saying pretty much nothing but “Boot to the head!” – it kind of put a bad odor on things.

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