Tuesday, November 25, 2014

President Ferguson's Opus

Named after film director Ernst Lubitsch, a "Lubitsch moment" is when a film encapsulates its entire story or theme in a moment that can be as brief as a single line or pratfall. Hope and Change just had its Lubitsch moment:



With his own complicity in the crisis and commitment to the myth of white racism from which it springs, has a president ever been less suited to his moment than this one now? Not since George W Bush fumbled through his first public remarks on 9/11 have I seen a leader with less moral authority. W's sin was his callow ineptitude, stunningly revealed in crisis. He had no business being president. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has been thinking long and hard about just this, America's race problem. And there he is, at once complicit in and impotent before violence he will not condemn without qualification. His sin is duplicitous, and also revealed in crisis. He too has no business being president.

Hard to recall, but the initial appeal of Barack Obama to whites was largely as someone who would, with "soaring oratory" and personal example, reconcile blacks, finally, to America. It wasn't spoken outright, but the feeling wasn't that whites had to brought to the table, but blacks. He was supposed to be ideally suited to the purpose, as first black president. Nixon went to China; Barack would go to black America. Obama's enthusiastic white supporters should feel betrayed. It's obvious now he never intended to move black America one stubborn inch toward reconciliation.

But even if Barack Obama were capable of a road-to-Ferguson conversion to the truth--the persistence of white racism is not the problem; the persistence of black dysfunction is--he would still make a lousy witness.
Just as the content of his speeches and writing have gone largely unexamined by his celebrants, so too has his style. His recurring habit of juxtaposing his opponents' views with his own to lend the appearance of reasonable compromise renders his speeches flabby and even more platitudinous than they already are. Hardly what the country needs when coming to the realization that long-held convention is dead wrong.

What's called for is probably impossible--telling the truth. How do you tell a people they are poorer because they are less industrious, they are jailed more because they are more criminal, they fail at school because they are less intelligent? How does one broach that subject? What you saw tonight was a president lamely trying to walk back his demagogy of the past months and re-set the expectations of all those whose wrath he's done so much to encourage--what is needed is a leader who might, somehow, begin the process of walking back the narrative and expectations of past decades, regarding black achievement and racial equality.

But the spectacle of watching the president resort to his hoary "on this hand then the other" water-treading bunkum: "...there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and channeling your concerns destructively..."
alongside a shot of an intersection under siege a la Florence and Normandy; it's hard not to feel contempt.

Hell of a night for insomnia

Via Reddit, the Ferguson police scanner live feed is chilling. Fires, shooting at police. One of the first things I heard was a cop calling for EMS for a "...twenty four year old white male with lacerations to the head related to 'shots fired' call...."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cuando los cerdos vuelan...

The New York Times discovers, like hipsters discovering something that's always been there, a non-kitsch, adult approach to understanding the immigration question (kind of hard to keep up the act when gang-bangers are popping caps offstage):
It would seem to be a worst case that opponents of the Obama administration on immigration had long forecast: An illegal immigrant — one who had been deported twice, yet returned to the country each time — is accused of killing two Northern California sheriff’s officers in a six-hour shooting rampage Friday. 
The suspect led the authorities on a manhunt through two counties. After he was booked into the Sacramento County jail, federal immigration authorities used his fingerprints to identify the man, who gave his name as Marcelo Marquez: They said he was Luis Enrique Monroy Bracamonte, a Mexican who lived without papers in this country for more than a decade after he was deported in 1997 and again in 2001 because of drug- and weapon-related arrests. 
“This case shows that our laws are not being enforced, and there are tragic consequences to not enforcing them,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, a group that advocates tougher immigration controls.

I was surprised to find this prominent on the website. Less surprising is the appendage:

 A version of this article appears in print on October 29, 2014, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Immigration Laws Facing New Scrutiny After Killings. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thanks for Everything, F--- You

The Nazis and the old Soviet Union assigned political officers to military units to enforce ideological conformity. The Stasi was legendary for getting civilians to inform on each other for the slightest breaches of ideology--what we would call political correctness.

Needless to say, we would never do any such thing. We don't need commissars to keep us in line. The elite polices itself and us, without prompting, and their purview, as they would have it, extends to everything. There's a whole genre now in journalism dedicated to denouncing any found "lack of diversity"; not just in a given field or organization, but in our hobbies and associations (even bird-watching is under watch).
 Of course it isn't homogeneity but whiteness that bothers them. Spike Lee once said America is so racist we think three black guys standing on a corner constitutes a riot. That was a long time ago. Now we're so anti-racist we think three white guys working in the same room constitutes a hate crime in progress (but not everything is changed: the brothers are still on the corner and white guys still do the bulk of the work).
A related sub-genre was created by an enterprising writer in analyzing the effectiveness and aesthetics of that now familiar entertainment, the public apology. He should have quite a career ahead of him.

So it's unsurprising that an Intercept scribe interrupted his anecdote about how the late Washington Post editor Bill Bradlee gave him a break when he was a young ambitious reporter to question the man's integrity in doing it and genuflect to diversity from graveside:

 I am sure my cause was helped by the fact that I was young and white and male, the kind of object that older editors who are white and male tend to have a biased soft spot for. This is why it’s good we don’t have as many Ben Bradlees these days; the mirroring and replication of a dominant culture is weaker now. Which doesn’t mean we’re in a universally better place; we have a lot of editors who are more cautious than they should be (patriarchy replaced by management culture), and a large number of top slots are still filled with guys (yes, including at The Intercept). It’s hard to believe that gender played no role in the firing of Jill Abramson at The New York Times.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Now I get it

The persistence of Ferguson protesters despite total narrative collapse, explained.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back, Bury that Lede! Push 'em Back, Push 'em Back, Bury that Lede...!"

Oh America. You are inferior to at least two African countries in how far you will go to protect citizens from potential global pandemics:
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Health officials battling the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa have managed to limit its spread on the continent to five countries - and two of them appear to have snuffed out the disease.
The developments constitute a modest success in an otherwise bleak situation.
Officials credit tighter border controls, good patient-tracking and other medical practices, and just plain luck with keeping Ebola confined mostly to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since the outbreak was first identified nearly seven months ago.
Senegal did so well in finding and isolating a man with Ebola who had slipped across the border from Guinea in August that the World Health Organization on Friday will declare the end of the disease in Senegal if no new cases surface.
Nigeria is another success story. It had 20 cases and eight deaths after the virus was brought by a Liberian-American who flew from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital of 21 million people, in July. Nearly 900 people were potentially exposed to the virus by the traveler, who died, and the disease could have wreaked havoc in Africa's most populous nation.
Instead, Ebola appears to have been beaten, in large part through aggressive tracking of Ebola contacts, with no new cases since Aug. 31.
WHO, the U.N. health agency, called it "a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work." The organization is set to declare an end to the outbreak in Nigeria on Monday.
Nigeria had a head start compared with other West African countries: Officials were able to use an emergency command center that had been built by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat polio.
Border closings may also be helping halt the spread of Ebola.
Eight paragraphs in, a double (...may...be helping...) bank-shot obscuring of arguably the article's most salient fact: border controls work.
You can't fault the authors for not knowing their story would be titled "AFRICA STEMS EBOLA VIA BORDER CROSSINGS, LUCK", but they should at least read their own copy. They've cited "officials" as crediting border controls first (at least in their listing) above this same sentence. Well, which is it: are said officials full of shit, or is the efficacy of border closures a mystery yet to be solved?
Worth noting how the success of "patient tracking" doesn't seem to give the authors similar pause, implying as it does the creation and maintenance of government databases and rounding people up--something necessitated in the first place by the introduction of the disease through the border. All in keeping with anarcho-tyranny.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fire Bells in the Blight

"This is a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast System..."

Paul Nachmann of Vdare last week:

Every Friday, a friend of the PowerLine blog whose screen name is “Ammo Grrrll” gets to weigh in there with comments (Thoughts From the Ammo Line) on the passing scene. This week, her entry seems well tuned toVdare's readership, so here's the relevant excerpt.
The last private gig of my standup career before retirement was in front of teachers at their late August in-service before the start of school. I was the final speaker of the day. I had listened to many administrators and the Keynoter who was a Diversity Drone from the state. She seemed a nice, sincere person, even though she arrived forty minutes late for her speech, keeping hundreds of people waiting. There was probably a diversity emergency somewhere...  
“diversity emergency”!  If you can work it in, that’s a concept worth mentioning when some politically-correct nimrod starts babbling about the urgency of “diversity.”
Think twice before you do that. The term "micro-aggression" is no less absurd. I can easily imagine it originating as a satirical taunt leveled at an overly sensitive college roommate. Say "diversity emergency" with or without a straight face to a True Believer and he just might ask himself why he hadn't thought of it. 

For instance. A year ago this month Hillsboro School District near Portland declared an "equity emergency" after its two most Hispanic elementary schools were rated in the fifth percentile statewide by the Oregon Department of Education in its annual "report card" for schools
:
In the Oregon Department of Education’s view, none of the schools in the Hillsboro School District rank among the state’s top 10 percent. And two of them – Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry elementary schools – are among the bottom 5 percent.
The rankings emphasize the growth and graduation rates of “subgroup students” – English language learners and low-income, minority and special education students.
So, the "emergency" isn't one of insufficient diversity (whew!), but of insufficient "equity" for the "diverse"-- not the crisis of human capital it appears, but the failure of racial justice political correctness demands. We can't blame the kids for their mediocre intelligence (agreed; can't we just politely ignore it?); so we must blame ourselves. With such parameters it's no wonder the board napalmed its own position. It had to be done: we are failing diversity! 
One principal lamented in a letter to the Oregonian:
Our report card does not reflect the whole picture of who our students are, of their diverse talents and backgrounds, their ability to speak two or more languages, their musical talents, their ability to dance and connect with rich cultural traditions from around the world. 
In the near future this sort of condescension will get the average white guy sacked for insensitivity (not the "rich cultural traditions" hooey, which shall be with us forever, but the "ability to dance" bumptiousness) as demands mature from money for failing students to teaching and diversicrat jobs for adults; when it does happen our dance enthusiast can take solace in the fact that his early retirement/firing will result in greater diversity for his profession.

The school district swung into action, 
transferring an extra quarter million dollars from its year-end balance to bring to the diversity disaster more diversity ("Unofficially, the money will pay for additional training and preparation time for teachers and additional staff such as Hispanic outreach workers, among other things..."). 

The board gave fair warning of more non-white squalls on the horizon:
But even if Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry do improve, the board might be confronted with a more difficult conversation surrounding the funding of schools district-wide. Right now, the district funds schools on a per-pupil basis regardless of the impact of poverty, English-language learning and race on the schools.So Jackson Elementary School, where 16 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, receives the same per-pupil funding from the district’s general fund as Lincoln Street and W.L. Henry, where over 95 percent of the student body comes from poverty.High-poverty elementary schools do split a $3 million pot of federal Title I money, Larson said, but the district can’t use those dollars to do anything it is already doing, “so you can’t reduce class size.” The Title I money helps, but it often only puts a small dent in a larger problem, he added.“Is equal equitable?” Larson asked rhetorically.
Indeed.
Scott said that if the district continues funding all the schools equally, it is probably likely that another high-poverty school will fall to Level 1 in the future. He indicated that the board might have to confront a difficult political decision to distribute funds unequally throughout the district based on demographic challenges.
Board member Wayne Clift said such a decision would be unpopular with high-achieving schools with lesser rates of poverty, where parents and teachers might see a reduction in funding as “being punished for doing good things and doing the right thing.”
“It’s going to be controversial,” Scott said of the possible unequal funding model.
Emergencies do clarify things. Here we see how, when "equity" is the highest goal, good schools (quality) are sacrificed to bad schools (diversity).

The inequity-battered schools are sixty-six and eighty-one percent Hispanic, and participate in Oregon's bi-lingual "dual language immersion" programs; in the latter school all kids through fourth grade are in the program.
Despite the costs nearby Portland Public Schools wants money to expand its three bi-lingual programs, as a "high leverage educational program model" to, finally, Close the Achievement Gap.
Which makes inclusion of a Mandarin bilingual program (along with Spanish and Vietnamese) curious; I was further surprised to learn Portland Public Schools takes money from the Chinese government for its Mandarin immersion program:
Currently the district receives federal grant funding (both U.S. and Chinese Governments) specifically to support the planning, implementation and refinement of Mandarin immersion programs in PPS. This grant funding provides a Mandarin immersion instructional specialist to train and support teachers
The Chinese are getting in on the diversity rackets despite being on the good side of the Gap and wealth indicators. The same document (a draft recommendation by Portland Public Schools to the Superintendent for rapid expansion of the program) shows the Chinese community's enthusiasm for establishing Mandarin in public schools, in its FAQ: 
Why are we rushing to make these changes?  
PPS is not rushing to make changes. The Board has been directing expansion in Dual Language Immersion programs. The DLI Department has been working on expansion for two years. A timeline of this process is attached below. Additionally, when we consider our Racial Equity Policy and the persistent achievement gap for our historically underserved students including those with limited English proficiency and students of color, we are compelled to expand these programs for the next school year. Indeed what we have heard from our native Chinese speaking communities is that we are expanding too slowly.
Restless Chinese and dull Mexicans, growing in number. There's your diversity emergency.

I thought I'd find the origins of "equity emergency" in the depressing halls of scholastic Theory, but as far as I can tell this is the first and only use of the term "equity emergency" (here at the blog of a school board member he takes proud credit for introducing the phrase). Have we seen the last "equity emergency"? Only time will tell.


Marin County


About the same time the good people of the Hillsboro School Board bravely named their shame, something called "Grassroots Marin" sounded an even more dire alarm, hinting at hoods and torches in the night. The group held a press conference to declare they were writing (or soliciting signatures for a letter; it isn't quite clear) to Governor Jerry Brown requesting he sound a "Civil Rights State of Emergency in Marin”.

Residents, you see, are resisting the rapid urbanization and integration plans of HUD, developers and, of course, Grassroots Marin. They were showing up at public hearings and raising their voices, which to Grassroots is the equivalent of firehoses and police dogs. The ensuing environment became one, according to Grassroots, where fear reigned. The group issued a press release rich with irony to declare their
...growing concern about the silencing of certain voices in Marin County. John Young, Executive Director of Marin Grassroots started the discussion presenting a need for a community effort to push Governor Jerry Brown to enact a Civil Right State of Emergency in Marin County. This effort is based on the countless negative interactions with community members who are motivated by race, socioeconomic status, or dissenting opinion [imagine: someone motivated by dissenting opinion!] according to Young. Young also spoke to the “toxic” environment that has been created in many community meetings and government based public meetings. Participants advocating for fair housing in Marin described being booed, hissed at, yelled at, and losing their sense of safety in their own communities.  
Kiki La Porta of Sustainable Marin and a 50 year resident of Marin County spoke about being, “verbally and energetically assaulted,” when voicing a non-popular opinion. She continued to explain that, “This subject is a very slippery slope and we must realize what a big issue it is.” The group recognizes the many barriers to participation in these meetings and negative attitudes present arguably the largest barrier to participation for already marginalized populations. 
Ericka Erickson, Associate Director of Marin Grassroots, a County Planning Commissioner and a long term resident of Marinwood stated about a recent Community Meeting held in her neighborhood with County Supervisor Susan Adams: “I was so disgusted by the level of disrespect demonstrated by some of my neighbors towards a public official and other community members that I had to leave that meeting in the middle of it”. Many community members voiced similar experiences in different areas of Marin County. Erickson closed her argument, “We all benefit from diversity in voices in Marin County.” Piggybacking on that commentary, San Rafael City Council candidate Greg Brockbank wrapped up the session by powerfully speaking to the damage that has been done to democracy and, “wanting the Marin County we deserve.”
 How grassroots little Grassroots Marin actually is, is another question of course:
Opponents of Plan Bay Area are upset after learning that the Association of Bay Area Governments this summer awarded a $56,750 grant to Marin Grassroots, a San Rafael nonprofit that works to boost the voice of underrepresented communities. Randy Warren, who was motivated to run for San Rafael City Council due to his opposition to Plan Bay Area, has been circulating ABAG memos that discuss the grant. Warren says it was wrong for Marin Grassroots to receive a grant because it is advocating for the plan. "The issue is that taxpayers have a right to know when their money is being used by the government to have third parties speak up in support of the government's own policies," Warren said.
John Young, executive director of Marin Grassroots, said his organization has not taken an official position on Plan Bay Area and added that the grant money, which came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was not to advocate for Plan Bay Area.
 Marin Grassroots are being paid by the plan's backers to act as street-level shlock troops, in other words. Marin County's troubles started predictably when it took federal money, and later failed a
HUD grant compliance review:
As the result of a 2009 compliance review of Marin County’s Community Development Block Grant program initiated by HUD, preliminary findings of non-compliance by Marin County were reported in several areas, including the duty to AFFH [Affirmatively Further Fair Housing]. The compliance review found that in a county that is majority white, African-American and Latino populations were concentrated in two areas. Additionally, the county had failed to update its AIs ["Analysis of Impediments"--impediments to integration] since 1994.
This led to a December 2010 Voluntary Compliance Agreement that required the County to take several steps designed to affirmatively further fair housing, AFFH*, which, among other provisions required a study to identify and overcome fair housing barriers, such as community resistance to fair housing choice in neighborhoods and the continued development of low-income affordable housing in neighborhoods with high minority concentrations. The county also agreed to update its AIs with the help of “racial and ethnic minority citizens and persons with disabilities.” Furthermore, the county agreed to identify and analyze the causes of “lower racial and ethnic minority residency in the County relative to the adjacent counties.” As part of Marin County’s AFFH obligation, they agreed to undertake eight steps identified by HUD to meet the AFFH goal.
*The provision of the Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) requiring "HUD and its grantees to avoid the perpetuation of segregation, and to take affirmative steps to promote racial integration."

"This has been a test of the Diversity Emergency Broadcast system. In the event of a real Diversity Emergency..."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Case for Refutations

Respect, just a little bit...

Two recent publications from last month, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Atlantic article arguing for slavery reparations, and former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade's book asserting the reality of racial differences, A Troublesome Inheritance, met with very different receptions from what is regarded as respectable opinion. The timing is coincidental, but I believe they represent two contradictory answers to the bedeviling problem of black inequality that are on a collision course, one coming from a conventional point of view and the other, if the mixture of silence and outrage with which conventional thinkers have received it are any indication, from the bowels of hell.

Mainstream political discourse is limited to two purely environmental explanations for black inequality. The right blames some combination of the welfare state and declining morals for inculcating a culture of illegitimacy, criminality and idleness; the left blames ongoing white racism and the legacy of slavery and segregation.

However these terms of engagement were arrived at they've served as a sort of gentleman's agreement that seems to suit mainstream actors just fine: the right gets to condemn the welfare state and the left gets to condemn white racism. As for the individual wishing to participate in public life, he may place himself anywhere along a continuum between racism on one hand and culture on the other as the ultimate cause, assigning some proximate value to the other effect, but he cannot stray from the dichotomy.

In asserting the reality of race and the heritability of behavior, Wade has strayed. Despite refusing to draw it himself his argument leaves to unavoidable implication the probability inequality is more a failure of black ability than of white justice. It's likely no accident he published his book after retiring from his regular post at the Times (we've become so used to purges for dissent the Daily Caller attributed his status as former science editor to the book's publication--without taking the time to verify). Meanwhile Coates' career is taking off as a result of his essay.

Wade is the first respectable mainstream figure to leave the reservation in a long, long time and he is riding roughshod over sacred ground. What's lost in the mainstream controversy surrounding this popular science book is how little real controversy exists among geneticists.
In his 1975 book, Race, biologist John Baker cites a work from 1928 by Russian-born University of Minnesota professor of sociology Pitirim Sorokin, Contemporary Social Theories, which included a chapter on the debate about genetic racial differences (while taking neither side), as marking, in Baker's view:

"...the close of the period in which both sides in the ethnic controversy were free to put forward their views, and authors who wished to do so could give objective accounts of the evidence pointing in each direction. From the beginning of the thirties onwards scarcely anyone outside Germany and its allies dared to suggest that any race might be in any respect or in any sense superior to any other, lest it should appear that the author was supporting or excusing the Nazi cause. Those who believed in the equality of all races were free to write what they liked, without fear of contradiction...Sorokin's chapter is well worth reading today, as a reminder of what was still possible before the curtain came down. In recent years a corner of it has already been lifted."

Baker was writing nearly forty years after Sorokin and it's been almost another forty since the optimistic note he struck with that last sentence. Meanwhile, despite the failures of such alternatives as Freudian theory and radical behaviorism, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and America's ongoing failure to eliminate racial disparities--what might be called behaviorism's two biggest failed experiments--and regardless of the recent revolution in genomics, Baker's "curtain" not only has not lifted it has become iron, descended firmly between the mass of accumulated knowledge and respectable opinion.

Those failures, and the reemergence of hereditarianism within the study of genetics in recent years (if not outside of it), have prompted numerous false land-sightings by hereditarians so long at sea. Some see in the period between 1994 (when the Bell Curve was published) and 2005 a time of relative perestroika (Peter Brimelow's "interglacial") when it might have been reasonably assumed the tide was finally turning, at least in favor of an open debate. That thawing was cataloged by John Derbyshire in 2009 for National Review Online; as if to demonstrate how little permanent effect it had the same magazine would purge him exactly two years later for his (in)famous "Talk" post. Each year new studies come in, fallacies are debunked, frauds are exposed; and the prevailing narrative grows stronger, as if inversely proportionate to any empirical or objective success. Whether or not the existence of racial differences has been proven over the last generation, the durability of denial has proven stronger.

Perhaps the proponents of the culture-only explanations believe any inherent disparities are small enough to be made insignificant or ignored with some combination of policy, education and, on the conservative side, bourgeois values. Needless to say, such hopes would have to be fading by now from long exposure to failure. As for the prospects for the restoration of the old virtues, it's hard to see that happening for any of us. The sexual revolution is here to stay. Progressive ideology, defined by its opposition to bourgeois values, needs no excuse for further hostility to them, but it finds one in black inequality--in that sense black inequality, specifically our obsession with it, has become just one more corrosive eating away at those values. But in the present milieu we have to either presume no difference between white and black norms despite all evidence to the contrary, or we have to dismiss their significance altogether.

Thus Coates, having already sought to tie present black dysfunction to historical racism by way of a lengthy account of housing discrimination in Chicago, sets out to deny both the importance of fatherhood and civility or the reality of blacks' vastly different concepts of them:

One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, responding to violence among young black males, put the blame on the family: “Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children.” Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: “Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.

Coates obscures the true context of Nutter's remarks: an outbreak in Philadelphia of violent black "flash-mobs"--impromptu recreational race riots organized via social media--in the summer of 2011. This was not merely the depressing and familiar routine of "violence among black males". In fact it wasn't limited to males and included children barely in their teens. That Coates sees in paternal responsibility and refraining from violence "individual grit and exceptionally good behavior" demonstrates the bizarre contortions necessary to explain black behavior if heredity is disallowed--and the behavior he excuses demonstrates the disastrous effect of that denial. Elsewhere in his essay he continues:

From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. [victim of street crime] had a father. Trayvon Martin had a father...Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder..."

The "plunder" theme holds throughout his essay, which aims to construct a narrative of black industriousness thwarted up to the present by white malice. Needless to say he has to ignore the vast sums spent and massive federal effort of the last half century to encourage greater black participation in the economy--among other things he dismisses affirmative action out of hand because despite its practical effect in transferring wealth to blacks, affirmative action's

...precise aims, for instance, have always proved elusive. Is it meant to make amends for the crimes heaped upon black people? Not according to the Supreme Court. In its 1978 ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Court rejected “societal discrimination” as “an amorphous concept of injury that may be ageless in its reach into the past.” Is affirmative action meant to increase “diversity”? If so, it only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people—the problem of what America has taken from them over several centuries.

This confusion about affirmative action’s aims, along with our inability to face up to the particular history of white-imposed black disadvantage, dates back to the policy’s origins. “There is no fixed and firm definition of affirmative action,” an appointee in Johnson’s Department of Labor declared. “Affirmative action is anything that you have to do to get results. But this does not necessarily include preferential treatment.”

Where does one begin? The Bakke ruling introducing "diversity" was an attempt to rationalize a manifestly unconstitutional practice specifically to continue the project of elevating blacks economically, socially and politically. Yet for Coates, the very real transfer of wealth that has represented and the degradation of the constitution that is the "diversity" ruse (now its own monstrous sham) employed to continue it, mean nothing because it all somehow "only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people." What are the "specific problems of black people"? Apparently just the grim facts we already know, that their poverty is deeper, their neighborhoods more blighted, their behavior more violent, combined with the historical humiliation of slavery and, if Coates is right, the continuing reality of segregation.

But those same pathologies, combined with the intense bigotry of blacks, is the motive force behind white flight and segregation. The segregation of the past is invoked to explain, among other things, the violence and chaos of the present; what we don't allow is the possibility the violence and chaos of the present explain the segregation of the past (and present, for that matter; the same white liberals who encourage Coates' emotional musings are almost entirely ensconced in their own highly segregated neighborhoods). That very repression itself is evidence against the assumption.
White flight anticipated quite accurately the the degradation that followed the black takeover of urban America. To assume it's nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy because whites took their money and civility with them is to assume a complete lack of black agency, much less responsibility. Just who are the racists here?

Coates isn't about to suggest limiting affirmative action to blacks or replacing it with reparations, heaven forbid, and he has no new ideas for how the money will be directed beyond more efforts at desegrgation--because there are none. He's arguing that reparations will transcend the long cycle of failure merely by being directed specifically at the problem of black inequality.

But one can sense Coates' real issue is with the broadening of affirmative action and victim status to other groups, who are now successfully copying black grievance as political strategy. That strategy has proven quite effective in turning black failure into political power and government subsidy. Without the assumption that disparate impact is always proof of of discrimination, where would black political power be? What would it have to trade on? Indeed, where would Ta-Nehisi Coates be without it? It's the alchemy of demagogy, turning the lead of failure into the gold of patronage.

But the sudden haste of this renewed push for reparations, and the suspiciously coordinated appearance of the reception of Coates' essay, complete with helpful suggestions as to how reparations might be raised (such as simply printing a trillion or so dollars a la quantitative easing) suggest a recognition on the left that time and the patience of non-black America are running out; further, with Barack Obama still in office the time may never be better (the author will neither confirm nor deny having met privately with the president shortly before he would have begun writing the essay).

As America becomes more racially diverse the old black/white dynamic is threatened--recall Eric Holder's "nation of cowards" speech", what Steve Sailer described as a signal to other  grievance groups to move to the "back of the bus" and recognize black primacy of place atop the hierarchy of grievance. Others are adapting the black model of turning grievance into power and cash. Coates, in decrying "diversity" wants to make that successful model somewhat proprietary. But the question as to the cause of black inequality--white injustice or black inadequacy--becomes more troublesome still. Because one of these is a corrosive destroying the fabric of the republic and society.

But to return to the question of values, despite Coates' cavalier dismissal of them, might a return to traditional family values help? One of the assumptions of desegregation is that pathologies will no longer be concentrated, and presumably blacks, freed of concentrations of other blacks, will be able or willing to adopt whiter norms. One of Wade's troublesome heresies is to suggest Western institutions can't be adopted by most non-Western societies because

If institutions were purely cultural, it should be easy to transfer an institution from one society to another.

Wade limits himself to societal-level comparisons. But he accepts the Cochran-Harpending thesis of continuing, accelerated evolution to the present day--contradicting the old convention holding evolution to have stopped about forty thousand years ago that, as if by design, left room for egalitarian assumptions that no meaningful evolution transpired after humans began splitting off into separate geographical populations after the migration out of Africa. Wade repeatedly describes evolution as "recent, regional and copious", and again presents us with an unavoidable implication: that an individual's genetic legacy must leave him more suited for that type of society in which his genetic makeup was forged and less suited, to the extent it differs, for one to which he has been "transferred" by the migration, forced or voluntary, of recent ancestors.

If this is true it explains black inequality and further means it's no more fair to declare it America's collective moral failure than to declare it blacks' individual moral failure. It's a problem without a solution and one--perhaps not by coincidence--we will not allow ourselves to identify. So we are condemned to a history of failed attempts to square this circle; a history that may eventually include reparations.

But is the characterization that blacks "suffer" from being Americans, from living in a modern economy and a liberal society, simply because these disparities outrage blacks and progressives, accurate? If we are different, what does equality even mean? Do blacks live in misery, or is the perception a projection of white values? Are we merely obsessing over the wrong metrics? If it can be shown blacks are happier on average than whites, does that make a difference?

A little over a year after having the temerity to suggest black teenagers pull up their pants, that same Mayor Nutter denounced Philadelphia Magazine for publishing an article about, among other things, the violent harassment of whites in the city. That article's author pointed out the remarkable reversal that has taken place in American cities with large black populations: it is whites who now "know their place" in regard to blacks. That knowledge has been arrived at by intimidation and violence--a reality that has long been taken for granted and is somehow both a running joke and a grim, humiliating reality. The essence of black and white relations now is indeed "disrespect", as Coates asserts--but of demoralized whites by confident blacks. White adaptations to this relatively new reality include submissiveness and copying--generally to the individual's detriment--of black cultural norms seen as more genuine. An ongoing, broad kulturkampf  has made "white" derogatory in not one but two ways: culturally synonymous with weak, effeminate and awkward, and politically synonymous with oppressive or illegitimate.

So it's no surprise blacks consistently demonstrate higher levels of self-esteem than other groups and--unique among racial groups--their self-esteem isn't dependent on any sense of accomplishment as these researchers were surprised to find:

...given that personal efficacy and self-esteem are positively correlated, and given that blacks have relatively high self-esteem, the fact that blacks have relatively low personal efficacy is something of an anomaly.

Coates and company argue, among other things, there is a psychological mechanism tying past discrimination to present dysfunction--the logic of the "legacy" of slavery/segregation argument. Study after study fails to find proof of the wounded individual psyches posited by these just-so surmises. Inequality is taken as a priori evidence of repression. But these studies tend more often to reinforce stubborn, long-held folk impressions ("racist stereotyping") of racial differences in psychology and intelligence reflected in behavior.

The alternative to the present order, defining justice as equality of opportunity and accepting the resulting inequality of results, does not appear politically or socially tenable--if our elites will not allow it, blacks, and now our growing Hispanic population, will not accept it. If we differ in abilities, then the enforced measure of fairness--disparate impact--ensures no end to our strife, no end to the demagogy of such as Coates, and no end to the escalating repression and, yes, plunder of such as reparations. Slavery then is indeed America's "original sin", and one for which we cannot and will not atone. Dark days are ahead.

Lions and Tigers and Goyim, oh my!

The "nobody-I-know-voted-for-Nixon" head scratching continues over at the New York Times. Anything to avoid the obvious question with the more obvious answer--absent the perception of Cantor as a high-profile champion of a deeply unpopular Amnesty, would Professor Brat have had a snowball's chance of unseating the powerful incumbent? There, mystery solved in one question. But as we're not going there, we might as well trot out some favorite who, whom hobby-horses:
Voters Saw Cantor as Out of Touch, but Not Because of His Jewish Faith, Analysts Say 
 
As the lone Jewish Republican in Congress, representing a deeply conservative, overwhelmingly Christian district in Virginia while dreaming of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, Representatives Eric Cantor always had a delicate task.
“He’s a public official in an overtly non-Jewish world,” said Rabbi Gary S. Creditor of Temple Beth El in Richmond, which Mr. Cantor attended as a boy. “He didn’t flaunt being a Jew, and he did not highlight it, but he did not deny it, either.”
Not that Brat should be entirely above suspicion:
Mr. Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, speaks often about a return to “Judeo-Christian values” and cites his “belief in God.” In an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity after his surprise victory, he said he felt that “God acted through the people on my behalf.”
Funny how it's the guy who talks about Judeo-Christian values is automatically suspected of being anti-Semitic, but I get it.
Mr. Cantor’s district was redrawn in 2010 to make it tilt even more to the right — a factor that some analysts say may have in the end helped Mr. Brat. Roughly one-quarter of 1 percent of the district’s population is Jewish, according to the Berman Jewish Databank, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Which is vastly different from the, say, one or two percent Jews likely represented in his previous boundaries. The proportion of the Jewish vote hasn't been putting him over the top since he first ran in 2000. And as Stolberg notes, he's benefited from the pro-Israel sentiment of his conservative Christian constituents for a long time, while recently--if this article is to be believed--alienating Jewish supporters for not getting Amnesty passed:
In the House, Mr. Cantor has been a steadfast supporter of Israel, an issue important to Jews and Christian conservatives alike. But Jews in the Richmond area appear divided on him. Jewish Democrats are angry because he has stood in the way of a comprehensive immigration overhaul — an issue that, paradoxically, helped cost him his job, when Mr. Brat attacked him for supporting legal residency for young people brought here illegally.
And that's as close as Stolberg gets to Cantor's Amnesty problem; it "helped cost him his job." Yeah, and I also understand a collision with an iceberg factored into the sinking of the Titanic.

Update: Stolberg's article has already been re-(excuse the phrase)christened:
Opponent Resonated With Christian Conservatives in a Way Cantor Could Not

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A matter of power and death

John Boehner's choice of phrase in lamenting last night's upset of Eric Cantor was a clumsy but no doubt sincere moment of pathos, unintentionally revealing the love of prestige and influence that fills the heart, such as it is, of the typical politician:

"My thoughts are with Diana and their kids tonight."

 

Did somebody die, John? 
Shudder to think of those poor kids* having to grow up in the household of a mere lobbyist. All of our thoughts and prayers are with them. Word that John was later seen in his office weeping to the strains of Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All could not be confirmed.

*maybe he's referring to Cantor's other "kids". 

Sunday, June 08, 2014



Odd Nosdam, Fat Hooks

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Real Horror Show

Mickey Kaus today:

Still, you’d think the embarrassment of this latest surge – with thousands of recently arrived illegals being shipped all over the country, obviously never to leave –would be enough to kill amnesty, at least for this year. But you’d have thought the slack job market would be enough to kill amnesty, and you’d have thought Obama’s troubles (and the chance for GOPs to retake the Senate) would be enough to kill amnesty. You’d have thought Marco Rubio’s precipitous drop in the polls, after he championed the “Gang of 8″ bill, would be enough to kill amnesty. And you’d have thought the administration’s release of illegal immigrant criminals back into the population would be enough to kill amnesty.

But amnesty is hard to kill.

 

Indeed. Riddle it with bullets. Run it over. Set it on fire. Nothing seems to work. Amnesty has become like bad horror film that nobody pays to see, yet returns every year in various sequels, prequels and re-boots, along with hectoring ad campaigns denouncing us for not, finally, going to see the latest version. Of course this would never happen to a real Hollywood production, because of money. Likewise, Amnesty doesn't have to prove its popular appeal, because of money.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Can the Washington Post be trusted?

The Washington Post has an article up about declining levels of trust among Americans:
 Data from the DDB Life Style Survey indicates that trust began to increase throughout the country after World War II, and rose steadily through the 1960s. According to the data, trust peaked in 1967–1968, when roughly 56% of survey respondents agreed that “most people can be trusted.” From there, trust began to decline, and the trend has continued ever since. 
Gee, I don't know, did anything happen, say around 1965, that might have contributed to this trend? Then there's this: 
Robert Putnam attributed it to the influences of television, the Internet, and other, socially isolating inventions, though not everyone has agreed with him. Dietland Stolle and Laura Nishikawa say that the media has influenced some parents to instill distrust in their children, despite how the parents themselves may have felt about trust. As with the other factors in this analysis, it is safe to assume that many influences converged on this relationship. 
No mention at all of Putnam's recent findings about the predictable erosion of trust in a multicultural society. I mean, that surely qualifies as a candidate for one of "many influences", no? Who ya gonna trust?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Words

It is not "race" that has lost its usefulness as a word or concept, but "racism".

Of course this all depends on who defines "usefulness". Who, whom, always.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens...

Good news everywhere. Incredible, really. The "War on Terror" is over--we won. To celebrate, the NSA is holding an open house.
The economy is no longer in danger of slipping back into recession. Full employment has become a reality; not a single able-bodied American is out of work. The Fed has figured out how to unwind quantitative easing with zero risk. The budget is balanced and the current account deficit is projected to remain in surplus for eternity.
Racial strife ended abruptly last night. Urban crime is a thing of the past.  Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Wright held a joint news conference this morning to reveal their respective careers have in fact been elaborate hoaxes.
"We were just fucking with you this whole time. I mean, come on, you guys are too easy. What do we look like, buffoonish demagogues?" Sharpton said, shaking his head amiably.
Teenagers are pulling up their pants.
The Chinese have apologized for spying on us and are opening up their former cyber-espionage operations for full inspection. To make amends they've cancelled our debt. Vladimir Putin issued a tearful apology last night regarding the ongoing unpleasantness in Ukraine, saying "whatever you guys decide, I'm cool with it". Iran has followed suit regarding their nuclear program.
The Palestinians have renounced all claims to the West Bank and Gaza; the rest of the Arab nations are jockeying--good-naturedly, of course--for the right to settle them within their borders.
The last of the major diseases was cured this afternoon.
Jonah Hill has promised to never step in front of a camera again.

Looks like "it's all good" is no longer an insipid saying, but literal reality.

How can it be? Well, what else could explain having time for this?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some people have personalities, others have tattoos.