Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buy and sell that happy ass

In 2002 and 2012 the GSS queried married respondents on their incomes relative to that of their spouse's incomes. Cross-referencing it with a self-report on personal happiness doesn't quite shake out the way I guessed it would have. Due to a modest total sample size (n = 691) across six categories, I didn't attempt to control for any variables. It's an as is picture.

To compute a simple happiness index, the percentage of respondents in each category who self-describe as "not too happy" is subtracted from the percentage who say they are "very happy", with the "pretty happy" middling option ignored. Happiness scores among men by whether they make more, the same, or less than their wives:

Men earning...Happy
More32.1
Same26.7
Less27.0

The differences are pretty modest. I suspected the gap between men keeping pace with their wives and those unable to do so would be larger than the one between men who earn more than their wives and those who make the same as their wives do, but that's not the case.

Women earning...Happy
More34.7
Same20.2
Less31.7

This result is more surprising. More domineering manjaws and a corresponding increase in the number of manboobs today relative to the past? Some of the putative subjective benefits of female empowerment? A meaningless result based on an arbitrary self-description that might vary from day to day depending on the mood the participant was in when she completed the survey?

It is interesting that for both men and women, income on par with one's spouse is not an obvious positive psychological feature, as the lowest scores for both involve income parity among couples. It seems plausible that this sort of arrangement could cause tension at home, since the presumption on both sides is that since both are contributing equally economically, both should contribute equally on the home front, with any deviation from that arrangement making it seem as though the slacker is shirking his duty. I bring home the bacon, my wife keeps up the house and does the lioness' share of work raising our son. That's the societal ideal.

GSS variables used: EARNSHH(1-3)(4)(5-7), SEX(1)(2), HAPPY

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Holding the line and even turning the tide against The Idiocracy?

A few months ago, Jayman put up a post entitled Idiocracy Can Wait?. He found what I'd found, and with a lot more evidence marshaled in the affirmative than I had assembled. Namely, past performance does not necessarily predict future results.

We reactionary curmudgeons often presume that things are deteriorating. The rot in our popular culture and our purpose (or lack thereof) for existing bleed through to saturate every organ of society. In short, we are doomed.

But when it comes to procreation, dysgenic trends look as though they may be a thing of the past, concerns for the 20th century, not this one. In the 21st, the story has become--among whites at least--more, ahem, nuanced, especially when it comes to men.

The following graphs show the average (mean) number of children among white, native-born adults aged 40-65 by sex who were surveyed in the 1980s, the 1990s, and the 2000s into the early 2010s.

Firstly, the 1980s:


Pronounced dysgenic trend among women; gentle dysgenic tilt among men. We appeared to be on the road to idiocracy.

Next, the 1990s:


Continued dysgenic trend among women, though the drop in fertility among those of the most modest intelligence to those of the most acute has become less precipitous. There now exists only a very slight dysgenic pattern among men.

Finally, the turn of the millennium through to the present:

Two decades prior the gap between the dullest wenches and the smartest shrews was 1.5 children. Over the last decade, it's narrowed to just half a kid between the top and the bottom. The dysgenic trend among women in the 2000s is similar to the dysgenic trend among men in the 1980s. Among men, the term "dysgenic"--if not retired altogether--can at least be sidelined for the time being. There now appears to be a modest eugenic trend occurring among men.

Immigration is a wild card here, of course. As non-Hispanic whites drop as a fraction of the US population (in rough tandem with their rate of decline among the globe's total human contingent), this moderately encouraging phenomenon could and probably will become negated by a corresponding increase in the size and proportion of the NAM population.

Tangentially, wise men say only fools rush in... to wordsum. They suggest educational attainment as a superior substitute for a 10-item vocabulary test as a means of assessing intelligence. Who am I to disagree? (Okay, I'll stop). Perhaps that is so, but educational attainment--independent of intelligence, or at least independent of wordsum scores--is far more vigorously inversely correlated with fertility than intelligence or wordsum scores are. Similarly, this is considerably more pronounced among women than it is among men, if it even characterizes men at all.

It's not at all difficult to comprehend why. Women spending their most reproductively viable years in school and then their increasingly marginally reproductive years establishing themselves in their careers leaves precious little time for making babies as their biological clocks approach midnight. It applies to unintelligent and intelligent women alike forsake the maternal imperative to pursue higher education.

From a tangent to a digression and back to the tangent again, the correlation between wordsum scores and educational attainment by decade of birth among all native-born Americans who have participated in the GSS:

Born prior to 1950: .536
Born in the 1950s: .507
Born in the 1960s: .469
Born in the 1970s: .419
Born in the 1980s: .373

Educational romanticism encourages everyone to seek formalized higher education, whatever the costs--economic, emotional, opportunity, and otherwise--irrespective of their stations and objectives in life. As more and more people do just that, educational attainment tells us less and less about a person's cognitive capacities.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), RACE(1), SEX(1)(2), YEAR(1980-1989)(1990-1999)(2000-2012), BORN(1), AGE(40-65), COHORT(1900-1949)(1950-1959)(1960-1969)(1970-1979)(1980-1989)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Open marriages? Bugger that!

Heartiste on same-sex marriage:
Every gay marriage that was talked about was an open relationship.

Not a one of these gays who were married, or planned to get married, held any pretense of practicing monogamy. When the topic of promiscuous married gays came up, the only surprise was the blas├ę avowal of the fact.
Because the question of sexual orientation has only been asked in the last three survey years and homosexuals comprise a couple percentage points of the total population, sample sizes are way too small to jump to empirically founded conclusions. That said, the share of married respondents, by sexual orientation, who have "had sex with someone other than your husband or wife while you were married" shake out as follows:

Homosexuals (n = 15) -- 46.7%
Bisexuals (n = 37) -- 37.8%
Heterosexuals (n = 3,724) -- 18.0%

GSS variables used: SEXORNT, EVSTRAY(1-2)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

aka Aussie Rules or Footy

Steve Sailer has recently been mulling over the idea that bringing in former Australian Rules football players to become NFL punters could shake up the game by giving teams that employ them a competitive advantage and making 4th downs more exciting in the process.

Steve suspects that punts often referred to by commentators unfamiliar with either of the big field games down under as "rugby style" kicks are actually footy style kicks. He's correct. To understand why, it helps to delve into an important difference between rugby and footy, the mark.

In both sports, when a mark is awarded, the player making the mark gets a free kick, which is just what it sounds like and is quite advantageous.

In footy, as long as the ball has traveled at least 10 meters in the air off the sending player's foot and hasn't touched any other players, a player who catches it is awarded a free kick. In rugby, only defenders are able to mark the ball. Unlike rugby, when a footy player is kicking down field to a teammate, if that teammate is able to catch it he will be awarded a free kick. Consequently, the footy player kicking down field has an incentive to make the ball easy to catch. The rugby player, in contrast, doesn't want to make the ball all that easy to catch since the opposing team's defender might be able to get a mark out of it. Better to have it crumb in rugby than in footy (from an offensive perspective).

Consequently, footy players learn to kick the ball so that it back spins. Rugby players, in contrast, kick it so it spins forward. A side effect of the footy backspin is that the ball tends to lose its forward 'momentum' when it hits the ground (sort of like a basketball does when you spin it backwards as you throw it forward, but less predictably of course due to the differences in shape) while a ruby kick tends to bounce forward. Increasing the likelihood that the ball will die near the spot that it first lands has obvious implications for precision in placing the ball inside the opponent's 20 on a punt without having it go into the end zone.

For distance, spinning the ball end over end, either backwards or forwards, isn't as effect as torpedoing it. Thus rugby-style kicks don't really carry any inherent advantages over footy-style or torpedo kicks and aren't utilized much in football.

Tangentially, while Steve's ideas are intriguing, I'm not sure how realistic an NFL punter running to the right or left as a footy player does before kicking the ball down field is. Punters taking snaps straight back and immediately kicking the ball behind an offensive line formation designed to maximize said punter's protection still only gives punter's fractions of a second to get the ball off before getting tackled or having his kick blocked. The NFL is a much faster game than college football is.

On a self-indulgent note, two weekends ago I played my last amateur footy game. I was able to score three goals against a great Denver team, thus ending a fun six year career on a high note. The jersey had to be retired for the predictable reasons. I'm in my thirties now, have suffered three broken ribs (each one on a separate occasion), sustained a concussion this season, and have received the countless bloody noses, bruises, and scrapes that are part of the game. Add to that a wife who worries and two kids (and counting) who shouldn't have to, and I guess I have to conclude now's the right time.

AE goes up for a hospital ball and gets laid out as a consequence


Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Cognitive destratification?

Heartiste does a little shadowboxing in the cognitive stratification ring:
So there will be no genetic ├╝berwench class. This isn’t to say an evolved cognitive elite is impossible; rather, what appears to be happening is less IQ stratification than a perverse reiteration of the patented CH BOSSS (Boss-Secretary Sexual Strategy) sexual market mechanism to reduce wealth and class inequality. The high school grad secretary of yore has been replaced by the college grad secretary of today. And as long as she stays thin and pretty, she’ll catch the eye of that high status man, and GSS data will erroneously pick this up as mate sorting primarily based on college experience or IQ.
As he correctly asserts, it's likely not as dire a situation as many on the dissident right who haven't looked at the relevant data assume.

Rather than accentuating the putative dysgenic problem, as he insinuates the GSS does, though, survey data actually attenuate it. The GSS shows that among men there is simply no dysgenic trend to speak of. There is, however, such a trend among women. The simultaneous existence of the two diverging trends suggests that assortative mating assumptions are exaggerated (don't just take it from this amateur's reading of the numbers; Henry Harpending found the same). The silver tongue's descriptive phrase "boss-secretary sexual strategy" is an empirically valid one.

Heartiste's recognition of the relevance of credentialism is similarly perspicacious:
Conflating runaway credentialism with IQ misses the fact that today’s paper pushing woman with a communications degree was yesterday’s equally competent secretary with a high school degree, and perhaps even yesteryear’s farmhand mother with sharp instincts for survival.
Indeed, even many wise men fail to grasp this. Education is a far stronger predictor of female fertility than IQ is. Intelligence and educational attainment are correlated, of course, but once educational attainment is controlled for, there's very little difference in fertility across the intelligence spectrum. This isn't just the case at the national level; it's descriptive power is global in scope.

Another way to gauge whether or not cognitive stratification is occurring is to look at the standard deviation values in wordsum scores over time. A flattening out of the bell curve distribution--more low- and high-end scores and fewer middling scores--would suggest an increase in cognitive stratification over time while a spike in the distribution's hump--more middling scores, fewer extreme scores--would indicate a decrease in stratification.

The following graph shows standard deviation values in wordsum scores among native-born whites aged 30-50 by year of participation extending back to the earliest years of the GSS:


There is no evidence for cognitive stratification here. On the contrary, there appears to have been a gentle converging in intelligence the last several decades (at least as measured by vocabulary among whites, anyway). In 1978, 7.9% of respondents scored a 3 or lower (out of 10) and 20.0% scored a 9 or 10, with the remaining 72.1% falling in between. In 2012, the latest year for which data are available, 4.1% scored a 3 or lower and 12.2% a 9 or 10, with 83.7% falling in between. A substantially higher percentage of whites fall somewhere in the middle today than did a generation ago.

GSS variables used: YEAR, WORDSUM, RACE(1), BORN(1), AGE(30-50)

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Stoopid Party, New Jersey edition

John Derbyshire got his hands on a campaign support email for and from Jeff Bell. Bell is the Republican challenger for the New Jersey Senate seat currently held by Democrat Cory Booker. Some snippets from the Derb's excerpts:
Dear friend,

I want to wish you a Happy Hispanic Heritage month.

Ronald Reagan once said, "Latinos are Republicans, they just don't know it yet." Maybe that's politically incorrect to repeat in 2014. But I do agree with the premise behind his assertion: if the Republican Party makes the case to them, Hispanics will vote GOP.

But they do have a problem now. Our party has been unwelcoming. Republican members in Congress have refused to consider a path to legalization for those who came here illegally over the years, or an expanded guest worker program that is open to low-skilled workers, not just Ph.D.'s.
Mitt Romney is too much of a restrictionist for Bell's tastes.
I have to say that I fundamentally disagree with [Rush Limbaugh's] assertion that those who immigrate here from Mexico are registered Democrats in waiting. Hispanics in the U.S. have the highest rate of business creation among all ethnic groups — and more than double the national rate. Moreover, they tend to share conservatives' beliefs that life begins at conception and marriage is composed of a husband and a wife.
The Derb has a devastating take down of this naked cheap labor rah-rahing. Now allow me to do my part by throwing my slippers at the beast.

The claim about business creation is bunk. Here's a graphic from a detailed CIS report on the characteristics of immigrants in the US by their countries of origin:


This report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics similarly gives lie to the assertion that Hispanics are business creators. The rates of business creation by race as of 2009, from highest to lowest, runs from whites, to Asians, to Hispanics, and finally to blacks:


Parenthetically, both measures are of self-employment rates, but the difference between someone in charge of an unincorporated business and someone who is self-employed is merely semantic. This is, for all intents and purposes, the most reliable measure of business 'creation' available, even though it actually inflates the Hispanic figures since the rate of business incorporation among non-Hispanic whites is more than double the rate among Hispanics.
Moreover, they tend to share conservatives' beliefs that life begins at conception and marriage is composed of a husband and a wife.
The latter is blatantly false. The GSS shows that the percentage of Hispanics who disagree/strongly disagree with the assertion that "homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another" is 38.6%. In contrast, the percentage of non-Hispanic conservatives who disagree/strongly disagree is 62.8%.

Bell does correctly point out the pro-life overlap, with 73.6% of Hispanics expressing the belief that women should not be able to get an abortion for any reason compared to 70.6% of non-Hispanic conservatives. But blacks are more pro-life than the nation at large is, too, so... I suppose they're natural Republicans as well!

Perhaps the most risible trope Bell employs is this one:
I do agree with the premise behind his assertion: if the Republican Party makes the case to them, Hispanics will vote GOP.
The argument is that if not for it's hesitancy to go all-in for open borders, the GOP would own the Hispanic vote because Hispanics are natural Republicans.

Fortunately for those of us with empirical inclinations, the 2008 presidential election gave that theory a superb real-world test. John McCain was then and still remains today the single most recognized champion of 'comprehensive immigration reform' on the Republican side. Hispanics merely had to vote for him and, as the leader of not only the Republican party but of the entire country, he would've been able to lead his party away from restrictionism and towards open borders. On all the other conventional issues of the day, McCain was clearly more conservative than Obama, so it should've been a no-brainer for all those naturally Republican Hispanic masses.

The result, of course, was that McCain got walloped among Hispanics, 31%-67%. Mitt Romney--who, while an eager supporter of increasing immigration among the highly skilled, who was endorsed by illegal immigration pugilist Kris Kobach, actually took the toughest line on illegal immigration among the Republican field in 2012--lost Hispanics by a similar margin of 27%-71%.

Contrary to Bell's blathering, this is because Hispanics--with high family dissolution and out-of-wedlock birthrates, low educational attainment, high poverty and welfare usage rates, affirmative action eligibility, etc--are not natural Republicans at all. They're natural Democrats.

Jeff, there's a reason all of your political and ideological opponents are so eagerly urging you to take exactly the position on immigration that you've taken, and it's not because they have your political well-being at heart. If you're not smart enough to understand that, you shouldn't be legislating on our behalf.

GSS variables used: YEAR(2008-2012), MARHOMO(1-3)(4-5), ABANY, RACECEN1(1-14)(15-16), POLVIEWS(6-7)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Twenty years and so tired of life


Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of my favorite album of all time. There are objective measures of things like rhythm, harmony, and melody, but much of what constitutes musical preference is subjective, and much of it is a consequence of time and place. People tend to most favor music corresponding to their own early adolescence, for instance. And so it is with UTTAD. It's difficult to try and articulate how much this piece of art has helped me psychologically, emotionally, and philosophically over the years, but here we go.

I think there's a convincing case to be made that UTTAD has a timelessness that protects it against being immediately identifiable as an undistinguished piece of early-nineties rock fusion. The band outlasted most of its cohorts, and of those still around like Radiohead, Phish, and Pearl Jam, DMB is today the biggest in terms of album (an almost anachronistic measure) and ticket sales (which they've dominated for the past decade and a half). A lot of the sound from that period has more-or-less been replicated. For better or worse--and we know where I stand--DMB has not.

The following is to serve as a personal time capsule with very limited general appeal, so if the subject matter is off your radar, please do save your time.

---

The Best of What's Around -- When life provides lemons, make lemonade. Events beyond your control shouldn't hijack your mood. Things won't always go as planned, and that's for the better as often as not ("if you hold on tight to what you think is your thing you may find you're missing all the rest"). In any case, counterfactuals are by their very nature inevitably hazy and speculative, so why fret? The quality of your experiences are determined more by the way you approach them and the people you approach them with than are the things that physically transpire at the time said experiences occur.

Asked to offer the best non-verbal description of audible joy in a single minute, I could offer nothing other than the last 60 seconds of this song. I am simply incapable of listening to it without uplift.

What Would You Say -- Two themes. Firstly, we want to feel as though we comprehend the world around us. In some sense we do, and now more than ever before, although we've had an inkling for a long time ("because of original sin"). But in the details, we can't even come remotely close. It's as overwhelming as seeing our place in the universe is ("in the morning's rise a lifetime's passed me by").

Secondly, the unexamined life isn't worth living ("there's nobody in here; look in the mirror my friend"). Ask the titular question. Work on informing the answer by examining every source you're able to; personal, professional, scholarly, existential, empirical or otherwise.

The two strands seem contradictory at first blush. They're not. Realize, instead, that you're not going to get everything right, not by a long shot. But embarking on that journey is the very essence of the human experience. It's ultimately tragic ("everyone goes in the end"), sure. Again, though, look at yourself in relation to the universe. C'est la vie.

Satellite -- Because of After Her, it's tempting for the lyrics to come as a mere afterthought. That's a mistake. The Satellite lyrics are far better than After Her's are. Experience is fleeting and the irresistible, incorrigible passage of time renders every moment simultaneously both unique in the specifics and trivial in the grander scheme.

How to reconcile yourself to this? Don't lose your playfulness. If you expect to find happiness in technological novelty ("like a diamond in the sky"), you're bound to be disappointed ("as I spend these hours five senses reeling, I laugh about this weatherman's satellite eyes"). If the contentment you're aspiring for exists in an end game you hope to arrive at sometime in the indefinite future, spoiler alert--you'll never get there. Like a good video game or movie, the magic is in the journey. It's not in the ending, which is often accompanied by feelings of melancholy at it all being over.

Rhyme and Reason -- Sister to Digging a Ditch and cousin of Too Much, we are confronting the fact that desires always outpace our abilities to fulfill them. It's as relevant to immediate desires for things like a drug-induced high as it is for loftier ambitions like self actualization. It is part of the human condition ("Until I'm six feet underground"). Like a dog racing greyhound chasing an electronic bunny, there are times when you'll feel relatively closer to the ultimate prize; other times everything will seem impossibly far away. Whatever the distance, you'll never close it entirely. As soon as you think you have, new desires start cropping up. If I get that job, that girl, that gadget, I'll finally have everything I've ever wanted, won't I? No, you won't, not even if you're a rock star like Dave Matthews.

Typical Situation -- Probably the band's most direct engagement with the problem of modernity. You are able to maintain meaningful social bonds with roughly 150 people. When the number of people you interact with exceeds that, relationships become thin, fragmented, and shallow. Contemporary Westerners deal with far, far greater numbers of people than that on a regular basis.

There is presumably a similar dynamic at work when it comes to things. That blanket you've had since you were a baby means something to you. The attachment is deep and visceral. That comforter you got from Target last week doesn't remotely compare even though it's objectively newer, warmer, and more fashionable. To the contrary, it has a negative value attached to it ("too many choices") because it takes nothing to obtain, fosters no significant attachment or connection, and will get thrown out as unceremoniously as it came in.

The door leads to the Nothing ("it all comes down to nothing"--heh, not quite literally, though it works well enough here), but look around and you'll quickly notice everyone is traipsing towards it ("keep the big door open, everyone will come around"), lemming-like, nonetheless. What's your alternative, Jack Donovan?

Dancing Nancies -- No, you could not have been anyone other than who you are. Dwelling on the question is only tempting regret and insecurity (and dizziness!). Stress leads to cortisol production. Cortisol leads to inflammation. And, quite rarely for a topic as disputed and controversial as human health, inflammation is almost universally agreed to be a bad thing. You are who you are. There is no going back in time. There is no hacking your genetic code (at least not yet). Own it. It's the only option open to you save becoming a paralyzed human vegetable ("shoes untied, tongue-gaping stare"), and you don't want that.

Ants Marching -- Routine is comfort. Comfort is, well, comforting. It's difficult to do things that make you uncomfortable. Specifically at issue is approach anxiety ("we look at each other, wondering what the other is thinking, but we never say a thing, and these crimes between us grow deeper"), but it speaks to a lot more than just that. Hope isn't lost, though. Let that urge, that attraction, to whatever it is you want to go after, compel and then propel you into pursuing it. The first step is always the hardest one to take. Once it's been taken, though, you'll find walking is easy, natural, and a lot of fun ("lights down, you up and die").

Lover Lay Down -- The album's only love song is also it's most straightforward. I lost my virginity to it (or to Jimi Thing, depending on what specific point in the act it is considered to have gone away).

Jimi Thing -- Dave's Jimi Thing might be your Dave Thing. It certainly is mine. Know thyself. The Delphic maxim echoes through eternity, as sagacious as ever. Figure out what works for you. What motivates, inspires, invigorates, and comforts you. The ritual of morning coffee, the good feeling and self confidence exercise brings, the pleasure that figuring out puzzling details of a game elicits, whatever. Look to others for suggestions, but not for rote answers. Don't be afraid to explain why the things that work for you work for you. If others don't understand it, it's no sweat of your back.

Warehouse -- This is an epic undertaking. Like a Shakespearean play (I'm told), it's better the tenth time you read it than the first time through. It took me years to crack the code. When I finally had the epiphany, it almost brought me to tears.

The warehouse is a metaphor for the body. The song is written from the perspective of a man on his deathbed. The passion intro sets the scene. As his consciousness begins to slip away and the violin picks up, we enter a sort of extended flashback as he recalls what he's gleaned about living the good life from having now reached the conclusion of his own.

Stay curious, stay playful. Have fun with convention and superstition, but don't take life too seriously. It's short on the metaphysical speculation ("bags packed on a plane, hopefully to heaven"). And for the better--this is advice for those who are in the midst of living, not for those who have already lived. Curiously, just as you start to come into your own as an adult, you'll start to realize how ordinarily human you are ("Becoming one in a million, slip into the crowd, this question I found a gap in the sidewalk"). It's a kind of Socratic Paradox. You're going to think you have things figured out and then something new will come and threaten the integrity of the equation you spent so much sweat and tears figuring out ("I had a clue, now it's gone forever"). The song is a gold mine. It's probably the one that resonates with me at the deepest level.

Pay for What You Get  -- A clever inversion of getting what you pay for, this is a mature--dare I say more nuanced--understanding of the way the real world works than the get-what-you-pay-for aphorism suggests. Another cliche, that having involuntarily lost merely frees up room for other things, ("have you heard a bird in hand is much better than any number free to wander") is discarded for the saccharine pseudo succor that it is.

On more than one occasion in the aftermath of a breakup, I recall going from here to Nancies to Satellite and finally to Best of What's Around, which I'd then play on repeat 5-10 times through.

#34 -- The iteration of the song I latched onto was devoid of lyrics. Yet the ambiance it creates is a fitting tribute to what DMB's music in general and UTTAD in particular has meant to me from my earliest pubescence all the way through to the present. It's my sanctuary, an always welcoming, refreshing refuge for a wary wayfarer muddling through life the best he can.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

From watchdogs to lapdogs

The Mexican gun-running program, proleishly labelled "Fast and Furious"; the murderous, mendacious Benghazi cover-up; the IRS thuggery, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice--all three of these scandals strike me as more corrupt and, in the case of the first two, deadly--literally, deadly--than the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon was. Yet even in contemporary America, late September 2014, I'd bet more people are familiar with the abuse of executive power that was Watergate than with the other three more recent and more serious abuses of executive power combined.

I'm not doing anything original by pointing out how the major media have become house organs of the Cathedral (or Establishment, or whatever moniker you prefer to use to describe the military-entertainment-religious-media-educational-corporate-industrial complex), but thinking about it in these terms is still enough to give pause to someone as cynical and jaded as I've become.

The watchdogs have become lapdogs. The pillars of the fourth estate crumbled long ago. The last remnants have escaped to the virtual world, where they exist precariously as disparate pieces of rubble... for now, anyway.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The sniffling SWPL

Tangential to Steve Sailer's recent post on the acid test for climate change activists being their positions on immigration is a table showing the percentages of GSS respondents, by ethnicity*, who often/always "make a special effort to sort glass or cans or plastic or papers and so on for recycling". The impetus is a remark by one of Steve's commenters that:
If a study came out revealing that Hispanics in the U.S on average recycle less than White people, it would be labeled as a “Hate Fact” by so-called “environmentalists” who are pro open borders/amnesty.
Those for whom recycling is not an option where they live are excluded, as are ethnic categories for which sample sizes were smaller than 80:

Ethnicity%recycle
1. Italian81.2
2. Polish79.3
3. Asian72.1
4. Irish66.9
5. German66.6
6. Norwegian66.6
7. Scottish64.6
8. English/Welsh63.8
9. Dutch60.3
10. French59.7
11. Mexican55.6
12. Native American50.8
13. "American" only48.2
14. African45.2

To some extent this could be a measure of the percentage of people clever and socially aware enough to give the 'correct' answer. That said, this suggests, unsurprisingly, that Sun people care less about environmental stewardship than Ice people do. Taking a look at the curb lines in a black neighborhood or seeing the kinds of vehicles first-generation Mexican immigrants buy when they make it in the US (they aren't purchasing Priuses) renders this result pretty predictable. Feather Indians, despite their one-with-nature stereotype, don't care much either. Lump all these NAMs in with the wrongest kind of white people.

Environmentalists who do not take a restrictionist line on immigration are unserious at best. Not only do immigrants and their descendants from the third-world emit a lot more carbon and consume a lot more stuff in the developed world than they would otherwise do so back in their ancestral homelands, they don't care about environmental concerns as much as their new neighbors of European descent tend to. Open borders not only leads to more environmental degradation, but also to less political concern about said environmental degradation.

GSS variables used: RECYCLE(1-2)(3-4), ETHNIC(N)(5,16,20,31,40)

* "Asian" is an amalgamation of five categories: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indian (dot), and "other Asian"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eviction notice


It's not the condom commercial all the time, though.

That is, fortunately, a relatively infrequent occurrence from what I've gathered. To finally get the picture above, dinner had to be pushed back half an hour.

All we could get out of the first take was this:



Friday, September 19, 2014

Time machine in a bottle

Randall Parker has a fun post on hypothetical* time machine travel and what he fantasizes about being able to accomplish if given access to the requisite technology. In that spirit, the first three things that came to this rank amateur's mind:

- 326, modern-day Serbia. Locate the place Constantine's (probably) illegitimate but competent son Crispus was being held and hold off the assassin the irascible emperor dispatched to off him. Next, make Constantine and his court aware that Fausta framed Crispus and allow the emperor to gas her as he did.

The intent of this bit of social engineering being to avoid the in-fighting between Constantine's three succeeding sons and prevent the breakup of the empire and the eventual collapse of its western half. A contiguous empire is maintained through the time of Justinian (or whoever wore the purple as a consequence of my meddling) and the wealth secured by Anastasius isn't squandered on a quixotic and crippling quest to make the thing whole again.

Parenthetically, in a sort of wish-for-more-wishes move, I'd go back past Seneca all the way to Aristotle to inform tutors that their most important function was to instill a sense of just how damned important succession planning is. It should be the first order of business! In WEIRD societies we take the smooth transfer of power for granted in our own countries, but that's not even the contemporary global norm, and it certainly hasn't been the historical one. Staying with Rome, it barely made it 60 years after Augustus before a lack of prudent succession planning threatened imperial collapse.

- Circa 1190, England. Prince John would be informed in no uncertain terms that he was not to repeat the treachery he'd taken part, in league with his older brother Richard, against his father by doing the same to said older brother while the latter was on crusade. So doing would result in him becoming a unwilling teetotaler. Not because there wouldn't be anymore alcohol in England, but because he'd be dead (a threat I'd rather not have to make good on, because as a good little-R republican, I wouldn't want to indirectly keep the Magna Carta from coming into existence!). Instead, he would loyally and dutifully work to maintain his brother's holdings in England and Normandy until Richard had completed the third crusade's stated objective of retaking Jerusalem.

Staying in Acre for a few months longer than he actually did, Richard joyfully receives the news of Saladin's death. Taking advantage of the internecine fighting between Saladin's sons and their uncle for control of the Ayyubid dynasty, Richard reestablishes the Kingdom of Jerusalem to something like it's borders after the first crusade. If things shake out right, maybe he eventually even takes Egypt.

Perhaps this just pushes the ultimate collapse of the crusader states back a few decades, but alternatively maybe it leads to substantial amounts of Islamic territory reverting to Christianity. The fourth crusade doesn't happen--or if it does, it gets to Egypt--so Byzantium doesn't fall to the Latins. Instead, it becomes more than a moribund shell of its former self for the next three centuries before ultimately falling to the Ottomans. Obscenely optimistically, this gets us to a 21st century in which Antioch Christians in Syria and Coptics in Egypt constitute majorities of their respective countries' populations.

Less sexily, I could shoot for pretty much the same thing by pulling Frederick Barbarossa out of the Saleph river before he drowned.

- 1600, modern-day Gifo Prefecture. Prior to the decisive battle of Sekigahara, I'd appear--attempting to replicate something similar to Constantine's putative Milvian Bridge conversion experience--to both Ieyasu and Mitsunari, explaining to both in turn that promising to open Japan up to European influence would guarantee each one of them the ability to consolidate the country under his family's rule. If that results in the Tokugawa shogunate settling in as it did or if it leads to an Ishida shogunate filling the void isn't important, so long as the winning side welcomes the Dutch and Portuguese with open arms instead of keeping them at arm's length for decades and decades. Commodore Perry can force his way into somewhere in Southeast Asia instead.

Let's give Japan a two centuries' head start on what history gave her. It'll trickle down to Korea and China. We might be opening a Pandora's box, but maybe a more serious East keeps Europe from ripping itself apart in WWI.

These necessarily presume a Great Man approach to history. While I personally lean a little more in the direction of Herbert Spencer, it doesn't matter much in this context since it's presumably beyond the scope of a single time traveler to engineer meaningful changes of entire social environments. If a single man is going to change history, it's going to have to be by changing the outcomes of the great men of history.

* The specific word choice here is deliberate, since it strikes me as blatantly obvious that travelling backwards in time is impossible. If it were possible, we'd see evidence of it all the time. Yes, in the future it is conceivable that for understandable reasons there would be lots of restrictions on journeying into the past like not allowing anyone or anything to realize you were there, but that's an impossibly high standard to maintain--unless, I suppose, humanity (or whatever would travel backwards in time) had been so completely altered from humans today so as to be characterized by a nature unrecognizable to us in the early 21st Century. They'd all have to be members of the hivemind or surely somewhere some teenager would go out on a time travel joyride without his parents' permission.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gibson the Bruce

Two-dimensional political orientations (right-left, conservative-liberal, etc) don't tend to map well onto one country from another, even when the populations of the countries under consideration share large swaths of identity in terms of language, history, religion, and culture. Corresponding party affiliations map even more poorly still from country to country. In the US, secession is generally regarded as a goal of a subset of those on the right, in large part due to the history of the American South. That is far from a universal pattern, however.

With polls showing a statistical dead heat in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence, it's perhaps interesting to note that the quite leftist country of Scotland--whose possible withdrawal from the UK seriously threatens Labor's national presence--doesn't have particularly leftist cousins across the pond.

In fact, of the 42 different ethnic categories listed in the GSS, those of self-identified Scottish descent (n = 1,308) are members of the single most conservative ethnicity in America, with 43.4% placing themselves somewhere in the "slightly conservative/conservative/extremely conservative" nexus, compared to 34.5% of the US as a whole. They are more conservative than those of English or Welsh or German descent, and even more conservative than those who identify as "American only". Scottish-Americans are even redder than the McCain belt is.

GSS variables used: ETHNIC, POLVIEWS(1-4)(5-7)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adrian Peterson

Tapping the GSS from 2000 onward for contemporary relevance, the percentage of black men who agree/strongly agree that there are times when it is necessary to discipline a child with a "good, hard spanking": 86.4%. The percentage of white liberals who concur is 52.3%, and among liberal white women is just 47.4%. Among conservative whites, the figure is 80.9%.

Like Michael Vick and dog fighting, this is another pop culture illustration of the Black Rednecks and White Liberals phenomenon in action.

I was listening to a podcast the other day where Jack Donovan remarked in passing that so much of the airtime surrounding the NFL doesn't have anything to do with the game of football. Instead, it is devoted to a set of mixed gender 'analysts' gossiping about the personal lives of players. Women buy Tostitos, too, after all!

Parenthetically, here's some deeper delving into attitudes on spanking from a few years ago.

GSS variables used: RACECEN1(1)(2), POLVIEWS(1-2)(6-7), SEX, YEAR(2000-2012)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Prophetic prestidigitation

This clip from a speech by former president Bush has been making the rounds over the last couple of weeks following Megyn (sp?) Kelly bringing attention to it on Fox News:



Yeah, he's correct. The problem is, he could have been giving that speech in 2017 or 2027 and, assuming we'd maintained a continual presence in Iraq from the 2003 invasion onward and were finally contemplating a withdrawal from the tribalistic, medieval place, it would sound just as prophetic then as it putatively does today. Having knocked out repressive but stable autocracies in Iraq (directly) and Libya, Egypt, and possibly Syria (indirectly), we've created a lot more space in the Islamic world for potential future threats to America to fester and grow.

With apologies to Homer, it might be quipped that military intervention for the purpose of WEIRD nation-building is the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems!

That said, putting a moratorium on immigration from Islamic countries would do more for Western security than we can ever hope any amount of foreign policy meddling in MENA will achieve. There are thousands of underclass white girls in England who might not have had their childhoods and early adolescences destroyed if we weren't so civilizationally self-destructive.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

So much you have given love that I would give you back again and again

Here's a crass comic that captures what I had assumed to be a fairly widely held sentiment. What is in it for a member of the Selfie generation to inflict upon himself a life-changing imposition like becoming responsible for another well-being of another human being? It's such a drag:



There is a silent majority here, however, similar to the one that exists when it comes to sex roles in a nuclear family (even liberal women find the male breadwinner-female caregiver arrangement preferable to any other). Extending back to 1988, the GSS has periodically queried participants on whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement "watching children grow up is life's greatest joy". A staggering 85.9% agree/strongly agree, 10.5% are neutral, and 3.6% disagree/strongly disagree.

Human biology is a difficult thing to overcome. We're a pair-bonding species, distinct from our closest living ancestors by, among other things, our extraordinarily high level of paternal investment.

Parenthetically, this apparent overwhelming majority isn't just an artifice of the question, either. The module also asked about marriage. The same set of respondents were asked whether married people are generally happier than unmarried people are. Though self-assessment surveys consistently show that they are, it's not obvious to the general population. Only 45.3% agreed/strongly agreed, 32.1% were neutral, and 20.6% disagreed/strongly disagreed. There is far less consensus on this other conventional part of middle class American life than there is when it comes to the joy derived from raising children.

Back to said putative joy children bring, there are slight racial differences that generally parallel real world fertility patterns (if not actual parental behaviors). The percentages of respondents, by race, who agree/strongly agree with the statement:

RaceJoy%
Hispanics93.6
Blacks92.4
Asians88.8
Whites85.2

Not surprisingly, women experience a bit more pleasure from nurturing and its consequences than men do:

SexJoy%
Women88.2
Men83.9

Maybe it's Idiocracy unfolding, maybe it's that agile minds just have more routes open to them in their quests for personal joy, or maybe it's a little of both--those of more modest intelligence* say they derive more pleasure for child-rearing than sharper folks do:

RaceJoy%
Real Dumbs93.1
Pretty Dumbs91.8
Normals88.9
Pretty Smarts81.4
Really Smarts72.0

Finally, as the termagant in the aforementioned cartoon illustrates, those who have children of their own experience the joy firsthand and are thus more impressed by it, or, alternatively, are more likely to morally self-justify previously made decisions by claiming as much:

KidsJoy%
Yes90.1
No72.4

Finally, to elicit emotions other than joy in feminists, a little empirical reality--garlic to those soul-sucking vampire fuglies. The percentages of women by survey year who agree/strongly agree with the statement that "being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay":


Instead of feeling increasingly liberated, American women, if anything, appear to be exhibiting progressively (regressively?) more affinity for domestic bondage as time goes on.

GSS variables used: KIDJOY(1-2)(3)(4-5), RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), HOUSEWRK, SEX(1)(2), CHILDS(0)(1-8), WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), YEAR

* Respondents are broken up into five categories that roughly approximate a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%)