Deplorable has already been used up

The New York Times spent two years collaborating with the Democrats in trying to convince everyone that Donald Trump conspired with Russia. What can they do now, noses still raw from rubbing in the abject failure of their attempted coup? Take direction from the drove of Democrat presidential candidates; who are moving directly to a different way of trashing America to get at Trump: Fanning racial division.

Assisting in that effort, the Pink Lady is embarking on a project to convince Americans that the United States was founded on slavery, with side shots at capitalism. The Time’s effort is called the 1619 project, after the 400th anniversary of the first slave imported to the US. Which they will refer to as The Founding.
JOHN KASS: Robert Mueller crushed their dreams, so Democrats pivot to race.

After withering Twitter criticism over a headline above a story on Trump’s remarks after the recent back-to-back mass shootings, the Times changed the headline from ‘Trump urges unity vs racism’ to ‘Assailing Hate But Not Guns.’ This sent the newsroom into a navel gazing downward morale spiral. Not because of the change, but because someone could have lacked sufficient wokeness to sully the Times propaganda goals by posting the first headline at all. They had a staff meeting to discuss it.

The truly amazing leaked transcript of that meeting is up at Slate. Should you wish to give them a click, remove the ‘x’ at the end of that otherwise broken link. I include just one example of the discussion about the NYT pre-election plans.

Baquet is executive editor Dean Baquet. The exchange is prompted by an earlier question/answer (I paraphrase), “Why don’t we call Trump a racist more often?” The answer was, “There are more subtle and powerful ways to call him a racist.”

Staffer: Hello, I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country. And I think particularly as we are launching a 1619 Project, I feel like that’s going to open us up to even more criticism from people who are like, “OK, well you’re saying this, and you’re producing this big project about this. But are you guys actually considering this in your daily reporting?”

Baquet: You know, it’s interesting, the argument you just made, to go back to the use of the word racist. I didn’t agree with all of this from [NPR’s] Keith Woods, [but] …his argument, which is pretty provocative, boils down to this: Pretty much everything is racist. His view is that a huge percentage of American conversation is racist, so why isolate this one comment from Donald Trump? His argument is that he could cite things that people say in their everyday lives that we don’t characterize that way, which is always interesting. You know, I don’t know how to answer that, other than I do think that that race has always played a huge part in the American story.

And I do think that race and understanding of race should be a part of how we cover the American story. Sometimes news organizations sort of forget that in the moment. But of course it should be. I mean, one reason we all signed off on the 1619 Project and made it so ambitious and expansive was to teach our readers to think a little bit more like that. Race in the next year—and I think this is, to be frank, what I would hope you come away from this discussion with—race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration.”

So, a staffer asks if the NYT marching orders are, “When writing a story about anything, first and foremost consider how you can include racism as a fundamental characteristic of the United States.” And Baquet says, yes, but don’t be too obvious about it.

They act like this is a new idea, but I’m so old I can remember when they told us the words “Chicago,” and “golf” were racist.

Anyway, you will be hearing this a lot in the next year(s). So, here are two articles debunking the 1619 project that may assist you in refuting the histrionic flurry of statism and race baiting sure to come from Progressives with whom you may be trapped in an elevator.

Slavery Did Not Make America Rich
The Anti-Capitalist Ideology of Slavery

Immodest proposals

Freedom distributes everything unevenly (diversely). Obviously, Statism does too. The difference is that when the state decrees who should be favored it relies on the opinion of the currently fashionable gang of ‘intellectual’ nannies. They know how we should conduct ourselves. Where we should live; what we can say; how we should eat; the conditions of employment we should desire.

Too many female doctors go part-time or stop working — why that’s a big problem

“Female doctors are more likely than their male peers to shift to part-time work or stop working a few years after completing their medical training, according to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open. Women, moreover, are more likely than men to cite family as a consideration in determining their work status…

“It’s very common for people to see this and say some women are just choosing to put family first — which is wonderful and a great choice for anyone who wants to make that. But in reality, what we’re seeing is that often there isn’t choice,” lead study author Elena Frank, the director of the University of Michigan’s Intern Health Study, said in a statement.

“Medicine has a big opportunity and, really, an obligation to set an example for how to support women and families,” she added.

I think this is confusing “medicine’s responsibility” (whatever that is) with feminist politics. That doesn’t mean women’s preferences don’t present a problem, though:

The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians in both primary care and specialty care by the year 2032…”

Research shows that hospital patients treated by female doctors are less likely than those treated by male doctors to die or be readmitted within a month of being discharged…

You can project a decline in the quality and quantity of available health care, exacerbated by female M.D.s leaving the work force.

How can “medicine” seize this opportunity? The suggested solution is “[W]ork flexibility, paid parental leave and on-site day care” for female doctors. We’re being told that government has to seize the opportunity on behalf of “medicine:” That these policies would keep female M.D.s on the job, though there’s no evidence presented for that, and there is evidence that women might still respond to motherhood the same way they do now.

It’s not just medicine, either: Why Are Seemingly Satisfied Female Lawyers Running For The Exits?.
Law is mentioned at about 2:23, but watch the whole 13 minutes.
This is really salient:

Even if we apply more resources to support female careers in medicine, work remains attention to other things even while someone else is bonding with/watching your child.

Nonetheless, I’d support Dr. Frank’s options for any woman for whom it would solve the problem. All they have to do is negotiate for it: “Look, I want part-time work where I have significant influence on the specific hours I work. No ‘on-call.’ I want a parental leave savings account matching contribution. And I want you to pay for day care at a nearby provider. I’ll take a salary reduction in order to get that.” That is a choice, but it isn’t the “government as caretaker” idea being promoted. Leadership diversity would not be served.

So, are you surprised women are more likely to cite family? Well, men are more likely to internalize their responsibility – to economically support their family. How, for example, are these female doctors able to quit a lucrative profession they worked hard to get into? Did they marry into the patriarchy?

Even worse, according to Elena Frank, director of the University of Michigan’s Intern Health Study the problems are (emphasis mine) “not just because of the blow to leadership diversity in health care.”

That made me laugh. Sexual-apparatus-based diversity as a leadership credential is more important than health care quality and quantity.

There’s more angst along the same lines. The author proceeds from an assumption that while it may be fine for women doctors to choose family over work, the real problem is that they don’t have a choice because they are forced want to spend time with their children. They are hostages to housewifery and motherhood, lost to the leadership diversity project.

There are some questions we might ask about this. First, “Did Dr. Frank think to search for any female doctors who labor under her recommended conditions?” It’s likely there are some, and would nicely test her hypothesis.

Second, “Assuming approximately the same resources are required to educate each medical student, does that mean women are, on average, a non-optimal use of those investments?” Much of the investment is made by the female medical students, of course, but one can rationally argue that society is worse off because these women later abandon their profession – having occupied a scarce seat in med school.

What to do? Provide “free” female medical school education on the stipulation they must work until they’re at least 60? Somehow I think quality of care might suffer. And why wouldn’t that option be open to males, too?

That’s rhetorical. It wouldn’t promote chromosomal ‘diversity.’ Though now I’m wondering about trans people… First, for which side are they counted, diversity-wise? Anyway…

First, let’s stipulate that women do make different choices than men, including working conditions. See here and here for rigorous proof. In one case there’s a free wheeling entrepreneurial startup from the “woke” era. In the other case there’s a extensive, hidebound rule-set.

It is not arguable that males and females are not treated equally in either case. And they make the same choices.

I know the counter argument will be that the system was set up by males, and so favors a male view of working conditions. But, if you look at the reasons there is a “wage gap” you’ll see it’s just reality that’s in the way, and accommodating women’s choices would require… well, you think about what could be done without dedicating even greater resources exclusively to women.

But, back to female M.D.’s plight. Let’s look at some other possible fixes in order to grant women (for whom a medical career is only temporarily most important) Dr. Frank’s prescription. Can we give them incentives to consider that initial choice more carefully? Or, can we establish disincentives to following their own later anti-leadership diversity choices?

1- We could have the government insist female M.D.s must never marry, or must promise only to become married to a lower earning spouse. This might lock them into their chosen profession, making it sort of equal to most men, who are typically willing to work longer hours in more dangerous and uncomfortable occupations. Choice. For family.

2- Alternatively, I suppose, we could psychologically screen female Med school applicants. We could reject those most likely to care about children (though feminine empathy and compassion probably get lost, too), or we could find those women who will insist their husband be the primary caregiver, or women who agree to sterilization. This isn’t optimal, but it’s surely cheaper than mandating paid leave, on-site daycare, and employee selected work hours. In total, it’s no more or less coercive than making everyone, including the childless, pay for female M.D.s post-partum guilt.

After all, whoever is a stay at home parent gets continual compensated leave, intimately directed day-care, and work hours only constrained by the children’s needs – which seems to cover the whole objective.

3- Or, maybe these potential leadership diversity exemplars could work part time, and/or save up so they can take leave, and/or get together and fund their own day care close by their workplace. Doctors can afford these perks without outside support. Giving female doctors extra money to accomplish this is like requiring taxpayers to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control pills.

Taking leave and working part time don’t help so much with the doctor shortage, of course, and I have a suspicion that what’s meant by “work flexibility” (since part time work is readily available already) is fewer hours for the same salary.

None of these remedies solve the economic problem: female doctors not only are a riskier initial investment than male doctors, but would end up costing more for maintenance. If I were a feminist, I wouldn’t be advertising it.

As a species, we might prefer a biological imperative which didn’t require trade offs based on sex. One where men didn’t die from work-related accidents 10 times as often as women, for example, though I’m sure we’d just be exchanging the current trade-offs for other (maybe worse) inequities.

But leadership diversity must be served.

Network effect feudalism

This is the most important article I’ve read in 2019. Kudos to Allen Farrington.

I have struggled to make these points to others for a long time, and am generally viewed as a curmudgeon (charitably), or a paranoid fanatic (more typical) for my efforts. There is a bias toward the fallacious “I’ve got nothing to hide,” response, because the harm is unseen. People don’t yet grasp that they are not the ones to decide if they have something to hide*.

Farrington delineates the harm brilliantly.

Given that our rulers feel compelled to ‘do something’ about social media’s disdain for its peons, among whom they number, we can be sure government will make it worse and further entrench the incumbents.

Farrington’s comments on blockchains, free speech, Gab (of which I’m a long time member), Ethereum (which George Gilder referenced in a recent, related interview), and anti-trust are enlightening. The economic analysis is thought provoking. The political implications are consequential. A slice:

“It is not actually free,” [Facebook co-founder Chris] Hughes tells us, “and it certainly isn’t harmless.” But both [Hughes and Senator Elizabeth Warren] seem to believe that Facebook, Google and others succumb to the temptation to inflict such harm solely because they are big. Hence, the solution is to make them smaller. It doesn’t appear to have occurred to either of them that they are big because they inflict such harm.

Facebook and Google are not Standard Oil and AT&T. They operate business models whose network effects tend towards monopoly, due to continuous redeployment of increasing returns to scale. Users pay not with money but with data, which Facebook and Google then turn into productive capital that creates products for another group entirely. The quality of the service to the users—the unknowing and hence unrewarded capital providers—scales quadratically with the size of the network and, since they are free in monetary terms, any serious attempt to compete would require monumentally more capital than could ever generate a worthwhile return. The proper regulatory approach is not to cut off the heads of these hydras one at a time, but to acknowledge that these are fundamentally new economic entities.

Artificial intelligence makes this all the more imperative. By AI, I mean the honing of proprietary algorithms on enormous complexes of unwittingly generated data to identify patterns no human could—identifications that will be re-applied to dynamic pricing decisions and content filtering in order to make what will surely be called efficiency gains and improvements to the user experience. This would all be fine and dandy—as opposed to highly ethically suspect—if the contributors of the data had any idea of their own involvement, either in the contribution itself or in the eventual gain in efficiency. What is really happening here is that information that previously only existed transiently and socially will soon be turned into a kind of productive capital that will only have value in massive aggregations. This is why those who generate the data are happy to do so for free, for it is of no monetary value to them, and it is why the only people who will derive any productive value from it will be the already very well capitalized.

This is an unflattering, but perfectly accurate, description of the business models of Facebook and Google, who stalk you wherever you go on the web, wherever you bring your smartphone, and wherever you interact in any way with one of their trusted partners, all in an effort to manipulate your sensory environment and slip in as many ads as possible. This is so effective that they buy data from outside their platforms to supplement the potency of their manipulations…

[I]f something is free, it is difficult if not impossible to discern the kind of meaningful information that one might from a price in a market. The willingness to pay a price indicates a sincere belief and an honest commitment. There are costs to insincere or dishonest behaviour that will simply be dispersed throughout the network, rather than borne by the perpetrator.

It is not about the value of an individual’s data, “it is of no monetary value to them.

You are not just the product Google and Facebook sell; you are the enabling capital in a vast pyramid scheme.

How can we preserve our identity capital? How can we price our data? By making identity data scarce:

“Participants in the [redesigned] network are discouraged from being dishonest or insincere by the price and permanence of their scarce identity…

Several clearly desirable features immediately present themselves. For example, the issue of gatekeepers who exist for technical reasons assigning themselves political authority would evaporate…

So here’s my plea: stop using big tech and venture into the wild.”

Yes. The network effect can only be blunted if individuals stop enhancing it. Call it utopian, but boycotting Google and Facebook is something you control, and doesn’t depend on Senator Warren’s tender, collectivist mercies. Or, Facebook’s Social Justice agenda of the day.

“If a critical mass of users switches away from Google or Facebook, their collapse will be surprisingly quick. This is a very dramatic potential outcome, and I suspect it is more likely that, at a certain rate of user emigration, these companies, and others, will adapt their policies to be more free and open, so as to better compete in this new environment.”

The article is not a long read, but if you want to know what I’m talking about when I mention George Gilder, you’ll want to watch this 45 minute interview regarding Gilder’s book Life After Google. I wished for more Gilder and less interviewer at times, and more depth on some ideas, but for a general audience it’s not a bad look at Google, AI, blockchain, and other things related to Farrington’s post. A few gems from Gilder.

*

“The old cliché is often mocked though basically true: there’s no reason to worry about surveillance if you have nothing to hide. That mindset creates the incentive to be as compliant and inconspicuous as possible: those who think that way decide it’s in their best interests to provide authorities with as little reason as possible to care about them. That’s accomplished by never stepping out of line. Those willing to live their lives that way will be indifferent to the loss of privacy because they feel that they lose nothing from it. Above all else, that’s what a Surveillance State does: it breeds fear of doing anything out of the ordinary by creating a class of meek citizens who know they are being constantly watched.”

~ Glenn Greenwald

The “Equality Act”

In May, 236 Democrats and 8 Republicans in the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, updating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to Title II and Title VII.

Among other consequences, should this Bill ever pass the Senate and somehow survive a veto, it’s likely to require females who practice Brazilian Bikini waxing (removal of all pubic hair from the pelvic region, vulva, labia, perineum, and anus) to apply their skills to persons possessing a scrotum and a penis. I.e., trans-women. And, for that matter, cis-males.

See Consequences: logically absurd conclusions where it is noted that the British Columbia Human Rights Commission is already taking similar demands seriously.

As to other consequences, it seems to me that if this had been law a few years ago Dr. Larry Nassar could have avoided a 175 year prison sentence for sexually assaulting hundreds of young female gymnasts simply by identifying as a ‘woman.’

Would have saved Michigan State University half a billion dollars, too.

Bene Gesserit wannabe?

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) exhorts Netroots Nation on Saturday:

“[W]e don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice. If you’re worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don’t even show up because we need you to represent that voice.”

In a phrase, “Stay where your ‘voice’ came from. Don’t bother those of us who are anointed.”

So, what is that stereotyped brown/black/Muslim/queer ‘voice’ of which she’s so proud?

It certainly isn’t Ted Cruz, Thomas Sowell, Ayan Hirsi Ali, or Milo Yiannopoulos. And she left out yellow people (just like Harvard does), and red people (like Elizabeth Warren me – at 25%). Which is exclusionary racism. Right?

Pressley is the black spokesdrone for the “The Squad” (Herself, Ilhan Omar, AOC and Rashida Tlaib). When her definitions of your opinions do not match her estimate of the intrinsic value of your melanin content/religion/sexual preference you aren’t allowed a ‘voice’.

She and her fellow Squadders insist any criticism of their opinions can only be based on ideas so deplorable as to justify erasing your right to freedom of conscience.

Explaining cognitive dissonance to these people would be an interesting exercise.

The Punish Oppressive Ancestry Act

My Testimony on Reparations
-Coleman Hughes

Well, if we’re gonna do this, I like the idea that Democrats and descendants of Democrats disproportionately pay more for it. I mean who attempted secession, filled the ranks of the KKK, kicked blacks out of US civil service jobs, passed Jim Crow laws, blocked schoolhouse doors, and set the dogs on black protesters?

Call it the Woodrow Wilson, ‘Bull’ Conner, Robert Byrd, George Wallace Apology Tour, and make all the Dem Presidential candidates refer to it in every campaign speech.

And… And, let’s add some money for the descendants of Union soldiers killed in the Civil War.

John Frémont is weeping

Democratic Socialists need not point to Sweden for an example. Open Borders advocates need not look as far as Germany. Both policies are being tried right here in the United States. And failing.

Here’s a textbook lesson in squandering huge economic, geographic, and entrepreneurial advantages:
America’s First Third-World State.
-Victor Davis Hanson

Sad.

Update 3:44PM. Marrying the neo-feudalist pretensions of the Silicon Valley Tech Titans to the authoritarian bent of California politicians, Joel Kotkin at Quillette has a compelling analysis.

Complementary to Hanson, but maybe even more devastating to California.
What Do the Oligarchs Have in Mind for Us?

Little did I know…

…when I wrote Victimhood competence hierarchies that the College Board would so quickly compound the difficulty of picking the most oppressed group by applying “adversity scoring” modifiers to Scholastic Aptitude Test results.

The College Board’s adversity score will give students a boost for coming from a high-crime, high-poverty school and neighborhood, according to the Wall Street Journal. Being raised by a single parent will also be a plus factor. Such a scheme penalizes the bourgeois values that make for individual and community success.

In my defense, the Board’s attempt isn’t nearly as comprehensive as my proposal, though it suffers the same difficulties even for the subset of the victim/oppressor ratio it purports to capture by shifting racial preferences to a large set of highly correlated demographic, economic, and other cherry-picked factors that retain the ‘advantage’ of disadvantaging East Asians:

Adversity Index

College Board’s new tool seeks to provide environmental context behind students’ test scores by measuring adversity in their neighborhoods, families and schools.

Neighborhood environment
Crime rate
Poverty rate
Housing values
Vacancy rate

Family environment
Median income
Single parent
Adversity score
Education level
ESL

High school environment
Undermatching
Curricular rigor
Free lunch rate
AP opportunity
Source: College Board.

I do wonder about the inclusion of “Adversity score” in the calculation of Adversity score. If it’s the same thing both cases it’s a formula Excel would refuse to calculate as a ‘circular reference.’ Using the result of your calculation as input to your calculation is… well, interesting. It does give the College Board a chance to to iterate the calculation until a specific numeric condition is met.

“Adversity scoring” is a good example of a problem I pointed out in my victims’ hierarchy post: Just as a prejudicial firmament gets well established – race based preferences for college admissions, for example – someone comes along and adds more grievance factors you neglected to consider. That’s a feature to the SocJus folks, not a bug. It lets them make up rules to fit the currently fashionable oppression narrative.

I think Heather Mac Donald’s phrase “Grievance Proxies” is catchier than my “Victim competence hierarchies,” though it does not capture the amusing proliferation of victim-group supremacy competitions.

A bridge too close

Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
-John Locke

And nobody has to accept his claim his rights supercede their rights.

Trans ‘rights’ advocates are pushing past a once distant bridge.  They have the same rights as the rest of us.  Not among those rights is immunity to charges of indecent exposure because of their self-perception.

“[W]hat threat could possibly unite radical feminists and Christian women conservatives?

This: Feminists, Conservatives Join Forces to Oppose ‘Equality Act’

We should tolerate everyone’s perceived personhood. So long as it’s merely psychological, and not infringing.

We can be civil, nothing more is required, without having to agree with their opinion. Or being forced to use their pronouns, share bathrooms with them, or date them.

We should not let a tiny, arguably delusional, minority define personhood as “whatever I think I am at the moment.”

We should not legislate such transitory, whimsical definitions.

Skills gap 2

Quillette is a gem.

I find this, A Victory for Female Athletes Everywhere, a compelling, thoughtful (fairly long) article from a person highly qualified to comment (emphasis mine):

“As an academic, I appreciate the value of intellectual inquiry that challenges our socially constructed defaults. As someone born into a mixed-race family steeped in the civil rights movement—my father was black and my mother was white—I was nurtured to recognize the harm that social constructions about race and sex can do to subordinated individuals, groups and societies. As the wife of a black man and the mother of two black sons, my radar for both explicit and implied racism is finely tuned. As a woman, a feminist and a lawyer, I have an abiding commitment to anti-discrimination norms, and to race and sex discrimination laws in particular. As a humanist, I believe that each one of us has the right to self-identify.”

She doesn’t even mention her pioneering, elite athletic background. She is highly likely to vote Progressive (‘socially constructed’, ‘implied racism’, ‘subordinated individuals’), so the usual SJW ad hominem counter arguments are blunted – and she deals with them, IAC.

I am struck by the implications for the core political debate about what the word “equality” implies. There’s a faction insisting it means equality of opportunity and a faction insisting it means equality of outcome. Gender feminists have been in the latter group, claiming different outcomes ipso facto prove discrimination based on sex. However, there is some tension (you might say cognitive dissonance) for that subset of those gender feminists (the so-called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) who want to preserve a traditional definition of the word “female” in the face of trans-sexual attack. And attack is the right word… If anyone can decide, moment to moment, that they are female without reference to biology – what’s the point of “Women’s Studies.”

It turns out, in the case of female athletics (a proxy for the ‘real world’), that you can’t even approach equality of outcome without equality of opportunity. No XX has the opportunity if XY is allowed to directly compete, so the outcome is no females on the podium for one definition of “female.”

It’s delicious watching them hoist by their own petard. If they stumble upon a bit of introspection, maybe they’ll apply the lesson to their prattle about the “wage gap.”

James Damore is laughing.