2005 September 29 Thursday
Charles Murray On Growing Underclass Criminality

Charles Murray argues that a great increase in incarceration rates has kept down the amount of crime committed while obscuring an increased willingness of America's underclass to commit crime.

The underclass has been growing. The crime rate has been dropping for 13 years. But the proportion of young men who grow up unsocialized and who, given the opportunity, commit crimes, has not.

A rough operational measure of criminality is the percentage of the population under correctional supervision. This is less sensitive to changes in correctional fashion than imprisonment rates, since people convicted of a crime get some sort of correctional supervision regardless of the political climate. When Ronald Reagan took office, 0.9% of the population was under correctional supervision. That figure has continued to rise. When crime began to fall in 1992, it stood at 1.9%. In 2003 it was 2.4%. Crime has dropped, but criminality has continued to rise.

This doesn't matter to the middle and upper classes, because we figured out how to deal with it. Partly we created enclaves where criminals have a harder time getting at us, and instead must be content with preying on their own neighbors. But mainly we locked 'em up, a radical change from the 1960s and 1970s. Consider this statistic: The ratio of prisoners to crimes that prevailed when Ronald Reagan took office, applied to the number of crimes reported in 2003, corresponds to a prison population of 490,000. The actual prison population in 2003 was 2,086,000, a difference of 1.6 million. If you doubt that criminality has increased, imagine the crime rate tomorrow if today we released 1.6 million people from our jails and prisons.

America is the incarceration nation. But what choice do we have? The crime rate would skyrocket if we weren't locking up so many young black men. We should at least stop adding to the problem by allowing the importation of an additional underclass from Mexico.

Murray points to a large decrease in young black male labor market participation rates even after adjusting for the increase in incarceration rate for black males.

Criminality is the most extreme manifestation of the unsocialized young male. Another is the proportion of young males who choose not to work. Among black males ages 20-24, for example, the percentage who were not working or looking for work when the first numbers were gathered in 1954 was 9%. That figure grew during the 1960s and 1970s, stabilizing at around 20% during the 1980s. The proportion rose again, reaching 30% in 1999, a year when employers were frantically seeking workers for every level of job. The dropout rate among young white males is lower, but has been increasing faster than among blacks.

That is a staggeringly high rate of drop-out from the labor market. Some of that dropping out is caused by immigration driving down wages at the bottom. Black males see easier money in crime and parasitism off of girlfriends. But some of the change is due to the breakdown of black families. Illegitimacy reduces the forces of socialization on black male boys and adolescents.

Murray makes a point you've heard here: The social program proposals in response to the looting and lawlessness in New Orleans are all ideas that have been tried before and failed.

The government hasn't a clue. Versions of every program being proposed in the aftermath of Katrina have been tried before and evaluated. We already know that the programs are mismatched with the characteristics of the underclass. Job training? Unemployment in the underclass is not caused by lack of jobs or of job skills, but by the inability to get up every morning and go to work. A homesteading act? The lack of home ownership is not caused by the inability to save money from meager earnings, but because the concept of thrift is alien. You name it, we've tried it. It doesn't work with the underclass.

He makes several other important points. It was hard to choose what to excerpt. Read the whole thing.

America is growing its underclass through immigration. But this gets little attention. Our liberal press and educational bureaucracy try to deceive us into believing that ways to close the inter-racial test score gaps exist. America's elites are lying about race. We live inside an elaborate mythology which needs constant defending to prevent us from publically uttering that which we see with our lying eyes. The need to lie about race ends up requiring lies about other subjects such as a recent lie about the effect of Christian religious beliefs on crime rates.

I see the news coverage of New Orleans as akin to that of workers on a Dutch dike running around patching leaks. Rather than plug up leaks in a physical wall reporters try to patch leaks in a mythology that walls us off from discussing taboo truths. The mythology patching has to ignore Indian response to Bombay/Mumbai flooding and somehow explain away the total absence of Japanese looting after the Kobe earthquake killed several thousand in 1995. An essential strategy for mythology leak patching is use of strawmen to build up and then knock down (no black crime problem to see here folks, just wild exaggerations).

Another essential element of mythology patching is to proclaim that something can be done about some problem with the underclass because, hey, it is all due to environment. Hence Bush's reaction to New Orleans turns into a mini-Great Society proposal for the Gulf Coast. The press's reaction includes underreporting, misleading reporting, and false proclamations that if we just pay attention to poverty and "feel their pain" we can solve it. The mythology dike can hold up even if some small media outlets and a very small minority of blogs point out the leaks. As long as most minds do not hear the discordant messages they will not try to flow through the holes and publically proclaim their loss of faith in the mythology. The latest flurry of patching is enough to ensure that the racial mythology dike can hold.

The mythology hole repair team faces two big problems in the medium to long run though. First of all, the underclass is growing mostly due to immigration but also because of the high rate of illegitimacy in the underclass. So many costs for management of the problems caused by the underclass are going to keep rising. The problems of the underclass could be managed more effectively with the truth. Therefore the costs of ignoring the truth are also rising. Secondly, science is not on the side of the defenders of the faith. DNA testing costs continue to fall and the evidence for substantial and differential rates of evolution of genes for cognition is becoming harder to ignore.

Update: Steve Sailer points out that lack of early employment opportunities for poor blacks sets up a vicious cycle.

Obviously, there's a chicken or egg issue involving the relationship between black fecklessness and illegal immigration. The more illegal immigrants pour in, the fewer people willing to hire poor blacks, so poor blacks don't get the discipline of holding a job, so they get even more feckless and unemployable.

Think about the numbers above folks. We have a huge problem that our elites are intent to either ignore or to spend money on in counterproductive ways in order to morally posture as caring.

Update II: Why is the volume of media lies about race currently running far above average? New Orleans created a huge need for mythological dike repair. All the "You Can't Talk About That" subjects intruded into the nation's collective consciousness as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The collective mind needs reminders both of what the official lies are and that the media, academic, and political elites stand ready to marginalize anyone who tries to deviate from the enforced mythology. This marginalization is an essential step in mythological dike repair. Plug those leaks in the collective public consciousness. Force forbidden thoughts back into the privacy of individual isolated minds rarely to be uttered out loud.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 September 29 03:40 PM  Human Nature


Comments
John S Bolton said at September 29, 2005 4:25 PM:

Not only do we have millions in prison, but we've had hundreds of thousands of expensive drug users die of AIDS, and permanently deported hundreds of thousands of foreign criminals out of the prisons. Disorganized black crimional networks have been displaced by more orderly immigrant ones. None of this means that the propensities for violent aggression have not been increasing along with the decline in the crime rates. It means that officials have a harder time getting away with allowing more freedom for aggression, than they did 20 or 30 years ago. What would people say if a candidate said that he wanted to rehabilitate criminals? Behind all this, the all important quality of population is steadily worsening, and there is an even more stringent news blackout on this.

Hugh Angell said at September 29, 2005 5:13 PM:

I'm kind of torn on this subject. Yes blacks have always had a higher rate of criminal
conduct amongst their population than others and there maybe a genetic component to this
but the deterioration in conduct over my lifetime in the black population cannot just be
attributed to genes though there could well be a dysgenic effect occuring amongst the
underclass. Still, some large portion has to be attributed to the breakdown of society
caused by liberalism.

Some would explain the rise in crime rates as a manifestation of the 'War on Drugs' yet
that cannot explain soaring murder rates for drug use and dealing goes on in white
communities without anything like the attendant murder rates that has rocked black
neighborhoods. Besides wouldn't one call an increase in cocaine, meth and heroin use just
another sympton of social breakdown.

Over in Britain they too have experienced a dramatic rise in hooliganism and street crime.
White youths known as 'hoodies' parade about in those hooded sweatshirts and have totally
changed the character of urban Britain. Home burglaries are far more common in Britain than
in the US as are street assaults. Police and judges have implemented the socalled ASBO
program ( Antisocial Behavior Order) in an attempt to get a handle on the problem but it
doesn't seem to have much effect. Of course Britain's incarceration rate while high in
comparison to European levels is far below the US rate.

What Britain has in common with the US is high immigration ( London now has more new
immigrants per year than New York City) and a generous welfare program directed at its
underclass. Britain also has an almost identical class of liberals with the US who infest
its media, academic, legal and political institutions and who make the same excuses,
propose the same 'remedies' and ignore the same realities as in America. So is it any
surprise that they are reaping the same whirlwind as we?

To my sorrow I think the real issue is not the underclass. It is the ruling class in both
countries. The underclass will always behave as badly as they are allowed to. What has
changed is that the elites now no longer have the spine to denounce such behavior and
penalize it. In fact, in both America and Britain we have elites who have positively
embraced the worst aspects of underclass ( and immigrant) culture and impose no sanction
on it. Thus we have gone from an era of black middleclass men and women leading a campaign
to end Jim Crow to a generation of snarling black 'leaders' for whom nothing is good
enough and who still cry racism even if the most endemic form of racism is to be found
today in black men who denounce all things white even as they abandon their own women in
pursuit of white females.

Randall Parker said at September 29, 2005 5:27 PM:

Hugh,

Do you have any source for your contention that Britain has a higher incarceration rate than the continental European countries?

I'd love to see a table comparing countries by incareration rates which also breaks out incarceration rate by race.

Ned said at September 30, 2005 6:30 AM:

Try this:
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r188.pdf

Matra said at September 30, 2005 9:23 AM:

Over in Britain they too have experienced a dramatic rise in hooliganism and street crime.
White youths known as 'hoodies' parade about in those hooded sweatshirts and have totally
changed the character of urban Britain.

They have these types of people in the working class areas of Belfast, Northern Ireland where I lived until a few years ago. They listen to American 'gangsta' rap and do a lot of binge drinking. However, the problem is far worse in England and Scotland than it is in Northern Ireland and I don't think Ulster's greater religiosity has much to do with it. In my view the reason these 'hoodies' don't cause as much trouble in Ulster is the existence of paramilitary organisations - the UVF and UDA in Protestant areas and the IRA for the Catholics.

These paramilitaries (ie terrorists and gangsters) need to ensure order on their turf (unless like the rioting a couple of weeks ago they are trying to make a political statement) and so anti-social elements are not allowed to get out of control. Beatings, kneecappings (often resulting in permanent disability), and even executions of local thugs are quite common. Even when the 'hoodies' (I don't think that actual term is used in Belfast) are members of the paramilitaries (usually on the Protestant side) they are usually low in the chain of command and a degree of discipline is enforced.

Obviously white neighbourhoods in England and black areas of the US don't have such organised paramilitary groups in their midst. The maintenance of order and punishment of criminals is either carried out by the state or not at all. It would seem in England especially that the state simply lacks the will to intervene. Vigilantism is rife with problems and some great injustices occur but I doubt there are many working class Ulstermen who would willingly change places with urban England or America.

Kurt said at September 30, 2005 12:31 PM:

Randall,

How do you think this underclass will behave during the H5N1 pandemic?

Randall Parker said at September 30, 2005 12:38 PM:

Kurt,

They'll violate quarantines at much higher rates. They'll fail to weark protective clothing and masks and other gear as much as the middle and upper classes. They'll engage in sex and other practices more with strangers. They'll get sick and die at much higher rates and blame it on racism. Liberals will agree with them to some extent.

What I wonder is whether they'll go on any rioting and looting sprees.

I'm also worried about the safety of police and prison guards in dealing with them. I do not expect governments to make sufficient preparations to deal with them. Unfortunately that'll cost some cops their lives.

Also, criminals raping, assaulting, mugging, and breaking into places will expose people to the influenza virus. So you will be better protected from the pandemic if you live in areas far from the underclass.

Greg said at September 30, 2005 2:12 PM:

What rock did this guy crawl out of?
With these racist, suppressive statements, who needs a countryman like him? The narrow-mindedness and subjective view through which he views all the world around him, does not make him a person worth listening to nor worth giving a soap box to.
There is one basic virtue I would like him to lay next to this statement he has made "Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you" and then have him say what he says here.Lay that virtue next to all his racist and bigoted views and see what worth his views have!
Greg

Randall Parker said at September 30, 2005 2:44 PM:

Greg,

So your response to a large number of facts is to morally posture and use Orwellian liberal code words. Let me translate:

"racist, suppressive statements": This is Orwellian liberal-speak for true facts cited by non-liberals about racial differenes in behavior.

"narrow-mindedness": This is Orwellian liberal-speak for referring to people who refuse to censor thought crimes and who break liberal taboos about racial differences.

"subjective view": This is Orwellian liberal-speak for a person who refuses to surrender control of their mind to the liberal Borg conscious. To have one's own view, even if founded by study of large amounts of statistical evidence, is considered "subjective" by the liberal Borg group mind.

"nor worth giving a soap box to": This is Orwellian liberal-speak for saying a person should be censored for his thought crimes.

Hugh Angell said at September 30, 2005 3:28 PM:

Greg,

To which 'enemy of the people' are you referring to? Clearly you have decided that some
people are 'not worth listening to'. Upon what is that based?

There are a million things in this world that I wish were not so but my dislike of them
doesn't alter reality. I am sickened by the thought that some would wish to make the
topic of reality off limits. If you can't even mention the problem how can one ever arise
at a 'solution'. If it turns out that some criminal behavior is genetically driven that
should be a happy day not a cause for alarm. If it turns out that well intentioned social
policies also give rise to unforeseen and deleterious consequences that too should be a
welcome discovery.

Who in the hell wants crime, poverty and disease? Well some must because, like you, they
make off limits any discussion of the 'root causes' that do not fit in with the dogma of
their religion. You need to pull your pants up from around your ankles, stand up and look
at the world from a new point of view. You'd be amazed how things look from a new angle.

Steve Sailer said at September 30, 2005 4:37 PM:

Dear Matra: Thanks for the fascinating peak into Northern Ireland.

seelow heights said at October 1, 2005 2:11 PM:

The relative order of Ulster as compared to England and Scotland fits the paradigm of Fourth Generation Wafare with its recognition of the decline of the state and the rising power of identity politics, criminal gangs and ethnic or religious guerillas.
http://www.antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=4393
(...)
As Martin van Creveld points out in his key book on Fourth Generation war, The Rise and Decline of the State, up until World War I the West believed in something, too. Its god was the state. But that god died in the mud of Flanders. After World War I, decent Western elites could no longer believe in anything: "the best lack all conviction." Fascism and Communism offered new faiths, but in the course of the 20th century, they too proved false gods (all ideologies are counterfeit religions). Now, all that the West's elites and the "globalist" elites elsewhere who mimic them can offer is "civil society." Unlike real belief, civil society is not worth fighting for, killing for, or dying for. It is far too weak a tea to serve in the global biker bar that is the Fourth Generation's world of cultures in conflict.
(...)

Martin Bauer said at October 1, 2005 3:32 PM:

Hugh Angell, I would promptly agree to your analysis if I had a glimmer of the impression that your realism (or that of "mainstream" ParaPundit posters) would actually pave the way to a "solution". It's just I don't see any. I tend to think that the turning away from the welfare state concept of capitalism since the 1980s (the replacing of social expenditure with fiscal orgies for weaponry and inflating rich incomes by exempting speculative gain from taxation) has done a lot to worsen every sore and rift in the social fabric, including the basic antagonism between the lower classes and "established" society. If question be to recognize facts for shaping our perception of social reality, I read in the first quote that the "criminality percentage" has more than doubled (from 0.9 %) since Ronald Reagan took office, - isn't this exactly what I'm saying?

I have seen very little clues in the body of the excerpts from Mr. Murray, or in the thoughts attached by Randall or the comments, that point to any deliberation about consequences. In this (thursday) entry they consist in exactly one: stop mass immigration! Well, I'd say, tell this the capitalists, who like to have huge supplies of cheap labour force; and then you will have a better standing to demand of progressives to withstand the liberal dogma of racial equality and the desirability of limitless racial intermixture.

I do not live under any illusion that multiculti-society will ever work frictionlessly. But I strongly doubt that an attitude that raises recognition of differences to some moral feat in itself will contribute much to seize those chances of mitigation as do exist. In Germany we have a similar discussion about how much muslim (Turkish) immigrants we can support. I know several (quite conservative) persons saying that most people who, in the last decades, came to Germany from muslim countries would never dream to go back, for they are socially integrated. Maybe, they are not yet integrated in cultural terms, I suspect so, but: so what? Most probably that just will have to wait for one or two more generations to pass. There are limits to blending cultures (as says the - in Germany - famous, if notorious concept of "Leitkultur" – Btw, I am strongly sceptical of the EU-accession of Turkey.), but there is also the need to greet those as actually are among us with genuine respect.

Therefore, I agree with Greg on one central point: Mutuality is the basic moral requirement. Of course some may say, like things should be treated equal, and unlikes unequal. Okay, but there are similarities they overlook (because they simply reckon with your intent of being truthful to warrant your honesty in an absolute sense). I mean the blind spots of rightist and leftist public perception, respectively. You fret about liberal PC, which spuriously subjects reality to morality; others, including me, rankle with the conservative PC of TINA ("there is no alternative", to casino capitalism), which mocks at any but a purely empirical conception of morality.

Yet, there can be no rigorous separation between (social) facts and morals. And you don't reckon with any such separation yourself, otherwise you would not blame liberal PC to be guilty of its own ignorance. If one does not like to learn, one will not see anything able to shake one's convictions; that applies everywhere, with you as well as with me. This being so, I prefer to rely on a sterling guideline of morality, demanding that each should "in humility value others above [himself]" (Philippians 2:3b), even when dealing with people of lower IQ than his own. And if he fails (as I frequently do) he should at least refrain from declaring that his acceptance of such failures as social norm would constitute just realism, i.e. superior conduct in terms of science-proof morality. For such an unprejudiced recognition of prejudice is exactly what leads to "TINA", which is the foil of that pathetic moral posturing which Randall rightfully deplores.

Greg, listening to Charles Murray is worthwhile. There was a blog entry on August 26th which gave us enough of his mind to show he is no racist. Nevertheless, I do have some difficulty with a statement like "Unemployment in the underclass is not caused by lack of jobs or of job skills, but by the inability to get up every morning and go to work." I cannot see how this observation flows from his scientific reasoning. In the second excerpt he is quoted with stating that earlier decades did actually do better in enlisting lower class working power: 1954 dispropensity being at 9% as compared to 1999 30 %, – a fact which does not primarily disprove the absurd assumption that liberal dogmata were more influential half a century ago, – but it does very well require us to contemplate the possibility that social habits of the lower classes may have deteriorated alongside with that sort of caring on the part of established society for its poors which is not reflected in the organization of sketchy and shortlived "social programs" but in a quality of public consciousness.

Randall Parker said at October 1, 2005 5:10 PM:

Martin,

Murray can not make every argument and sub-argument he has ever made in a single essay. You should click thru and read the full text of each of his articles I've linked to recently. Then read his book Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980 and then go read the book he co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, The Bell Curve. He also has written a book about libertarianism which I have not read and whose title I can not recall.

Turning away from the welfare state is a large part of the solution. The welfare state creates incentives for pathological behavior and crime. Take away the welfare state and people will behave more responsibly toward work, marriage, reproduction, and child-rearing.

Bob Badour said at October 2, 2005 6:14 AM:
Maybe, they are not yet integrated in cultural terms, I suspect so, but: so what? Most probably that just will have to wait for one or two more generations to pass.

Martin, tell that to the Croats and the Serbs and the Bosniaks. They had two or more generations to integrate and make peace. Did they?

Earl M. Evleth said at October 4, 2005 3:25 AM:


The crime-underclass problem in the USA is in large part a result of the need of the system to keep labor rates
low. This has been successful since we know that income stagnation has occurred in median hourly incomes
as wall as median individual incomes since 1970. In this regard Murray writes the same kind of nonsense
as he always has. This is alway why he is not a certified academic but resides with other marginals
in a think tank. He can't stand the heat of peer review.

The big push in incaraceration rates began with the Reagan administration, it was an event largely promoted
by jailing more and more on drug offenses. However, this went well with the goal of keepiing the black underclass
under social control. What is also true is that while black incaraceration rates were not particularly high until
the civil rights movement took off in the 1960s. The growth in the prison-industrial complex also has some
economic benefits for some, 600,000 prison personnel are employed in maintaining control of the now over
2 million prisoners. So there is some feeding on itself going on.

If drugs were legalized in some fashion, and one removed criminal motivation, a large portion of the prison population
could be released. But the Government has created a number of vested interests in promoting a police state.
The "war on drugs" has now been supplemented with the "war on terror", and the enforcement bureaucracy will
progressively increase.

Martin Bauer said at October 4, 2005 10:30 AM:

Bob, I don’t know what you mean. The Balkan setting, with its two leading ethnicities of vastly equal seize and power, does not tell us anything about integration. Who should have been integrated with whom? I talked about limits to blending cultures. Immigration should, if possible, not be allowed to reach proportions as could disrupt the continual character of the evolution of national identity. I strongly believe that there should be a broad, but normative concept of „Leitkultur“ (“guiding (stem of) culture“) that does not tolerate large parts of population to live in ghettoes or parallel societies over a long time. I only do not like there to be much talk about the need for patriotism and national identity, for you are neither inviting nor guiding, but just offputting, vain and deluded, when constantly praising or assessing your virtues in contrast to minorities.

All I wanted to say (about muslims in Germany) is that the most of Turkish (ex-)immigrants of subsequent generations are very well considering themselves as Germans (with Turkish roots) in the first place, and not as Turks living in Germany, - and, possibly, just waiting for some imam to issue a fatwa for them to set out on holy war against our people and authorities. I'm sick of all this seeing an enemy all around in anyone who doesn't swear oaths on our (sometimes narrow-minded) western understanding of true values of civilization.

Islam is intrinsically militant, so islamism is a powerful weapon of muslim nations because it is far easier derived from the (dormant) popular mindset formed by religion. But even with American neocon's hell-bentness (they are even planning an unprovoked nuclear attack on Iran), a weapon is not used just for the fun of using it. Islamism is in vogue on the sole and simple ground that it is the most effective tool to fight against what most of the less powerful nations, not all of them islamic, perceive as the huge injustice of an increasingly neo-colonial world order.

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As to Yugoslavia, Serbs, Croats et. al. didn't "integrate" simply because there is no "Yugoslavian" identity. Where should it have come from? The Yugoslavian state was a one-generational affair (1945-1992 roughly, maybe one and a half generations, not more). For the Kingdom (1918-41) was rocked by WW2 and the genocide, and nobody can expect such a disrupture to leave no marks. So I really don't see what you mean by saying they had their two or more generations.

There was a prosperous time for Yugoslavia after WW2, due to the "market socialism" under the "enlightened dictatorship" of Tito (which I do not idolize - no comparison to democratic Venezuela -, yet, was probably the only way to organize multi-ethnic co-existence after the fall of Habsburg and clear of Communism). But this was doomed to move to an end as soon as Tito was dead, and a lot of this deterioration has to do (though the globalsecurity article you gave me does not bother itself about such trivialities) with the attack of Reaganomic market fundamentalism on this unwelcome model of "communism light" and with the IMF once more pursuing its policy of offering salt water to a person dying of thirst. It worked out to bankrupt the entire industrial sector of Yugoslavian economy during the 80s and issued in the budgetary crisis of 1990, leading to unravel the delicate fiscal architecture that balanced the powers and interests in this multiethnic state. I really have to marvel at the temerity with which western nations busted the chief pillar of this frail structure of civilization, further instigated distrust by a policy of precipitate recognition of Croatia independence (here, most shamefully, Germany was the main culprit) and then wailed about the "reversion to barbarism" ensuing.
If you don't believe me that IMF policy makes for neo-colonialism, read Joseph Stiglitz (e.g. here) on the technicalities of its ideological, overbearing and insidious rule. And at the offchance you cannot distinguish such a charge (as suggests an earlier occasion where we argued about Indonesia) from the absurd claim (which I never uttered) that the IMF had all the guilt in causing economic disaster, ... well in that case, I cannot help.

Multiethnic structures have one really implacable enemy: exterior interference playing off one group against the other. I do not interpret this in simplistically moral terms. The "exterior interference" may well be a non-human factor (such as the lure of natural resources) combined with the absence of foreign moderation.
You remember, even in America there was a fierce war between northern and southern states, whose enmities might well be argued to linger and still show up e.g. in the current rift between red and blue states. Had there been any power strong and malevolant enough to embitter this antagonism in the last 130 years, and had it not been for the Western states to somewhat "dilute" it, I reckon we might well enjoy two or more political entities on American soil by now. But what is the safe course you propose in such a case: "Ethnic" separation along the lines of some newly to detect "Yankee gene"? Or scientific probing of conscience to finally make out the innate source of grandseigneurial propensities? You can't escape the fact that the most important (and sometimes excrutiating) task of social policy will always be that of preserving or restoring peace and understanding.

Martin Bauer said at October 4, 2005 3:02 PM:

Technical mistake by me:
.... If you don't believe me that IMF policy makes for neo-colonialism, read Joseph Stiglitz (e.g. here) on the technicalities of its ideological, ...

Bob Badour said at October 4, 2005 3:20 PM:

Martin,

vain and deluded, when constantly praising or assessing your virtues in contrast to minorities.

I am not sure which of us is deluded. I don't recall praising or assessing my virtues in contrast to minorities. Around here, I praise and assess my virtues in contrast to the overwhelming majority. (Mostly white european loyalists with a good solid mix of Acadians.)

Is it vain and deluded to praise one's culture to the immigrants one expects to assimilate into it?

I could not find anything substantive at the global research link. The second apparent link seems not to link to anything.

Islamism is in vogue on the sole and simple ground that it is the most effective tool to fight against what most of the less powerful nations, not all of them islamic, perceive as the huge injustice of an increasingly neo-colonial world order.

At least I see you recognize the risk that relatively stupid people of the world periodically rise up in wholesale slaughter of relatively smart people.

Martin Bauer said at October 4, 2005 4:57 PM:

I confess, I must be one of the stupids as I have no inkling of what (logically legitimate) inference may have brought you to your last sentence.
But if it's anything as what I perceive it to be, then there seems to be agreement on one point: Cheers to World War III!

Bob Badour said at October 5, 2005 12:47 PM:

Martin,

Newsflash! World War III is over -- the Soviets lost.

I suppose the Holocaust was part of World War II, but for the most part the wholesale slaughter of the smarter people has happened outside of the World War system: Cambodia, the Cultural Revolution, the Holocaust, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, much of the turmoil in South and Central America, the LA riots, the Balkans, the Intifada etc.

Martin Bauer said at October 5, 2005 2:29 PM:

Bob,
how many of these examples score on the tally of islam – or any other congenital "losers disposition"? Were do the natives of North America figure in your digest of human evil? Were they smarter then the Whites to whom they succumbed? What is the (significance of the) median IQ of those hosts of irrelevant persons (irrelevant of course, as President Bush understands this term, i.e. for the well-being of the "Politburo" of American-led global corporatism) who die on a daily basis in the wombs of their (desperate to irresponsible) mothers or in the slums and wastes of their (tyrannical to dysfunctional) homeland societies all round the world?

Slaughter is the product of cynicism and tragedy, not of mischief and resentment.

By the way, I wouldn’t be too sure about Russia (not to mention China) being tamed to stay Washington’s lapdog forever. Didn’t they only recently announce to modernize their arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons?

Last point: Wow, we really agree: The Huntingtonian war is the continuous war. You cannot come to grips with it by using such an archaic concept as giving numbers to discrete events of political accident. War is the essence of living – (uncle Adolf said it all along!). To keep track of its evolution, just chart the fever curve in the brains of the most bright and learned of individuals. They end up thinking they praise their culture by trading its charm and smile for the grim countenance of a bloodhound.

Bob Badour said at October 5, 2005 5:40 PM:

Martin,

Jihad does not discriminate on the basis of intelligence. It will take land from the stupid as well as the intelligent. However, I would point out that the relatively brief initial expansion of Islam generally fell into the category of stupid people killing smart people.

Slaughter can have many causes. While not every war or conflict stems from stupid people aggressing against smart people, many of the conflicts between First Nations and European settlers did. See below:
Shawnee
French and Iroquois Wars
Tecumseh's War
Creek War
Sioux Uprising
Red Cloud's War
Red River War

I could not discern anything intelligible in the remainder of your post.

Martin Bauer said at October 6, 2005 1:40 AM:

Bob,
the political religion of market fundamentalism does not go in for this discrimination either, unless it meets with a sort of intelligence it finds expedient to capitalize on. I do not hold a black-and-white model to judge of the near extermination of Indios, but I can see one basic tenet that seems to typecast everything in your worldview:

The smarts are always right, for 'smart' and 'wise' are essentially the same. This is a pathetic error (smartness is an aesthetic or rational, wisdom a moral or spiritual quality), which will cost a lot of souls. Unfortunately it is one you cannot prove false to anyone unless you can count on a genuine willingness to apply their respective endowments of smartness and conscience (oh, this prim and dull word again) on the same lines of thought in conjoint effort. (Yes, quite right, it’s prim and dull, - because there is a gaping and even growing lack of insight in our culture, painfully including me; and insight is wanting because their is a lack of practise, - to inquire which smartness is wise.)

Bob Badour said at October 6, 2005 5:11 AM:

Martin,

With all due respect, please stick to what I actually say. You are not very good at making accurate logical inferences.

Martin Bauer said at October 6, 2005 7:37 AM:

Bob, life is not about making accurate logic inferences, but, far humblier, logic is the means to detect what is accurate in life. Maybe, 'typecast' was too hard, say 'arrange and determine' instead. For it is fairly obvious that you proceed on the structurizing assumption that the sole and sufficient teacher of wisdom is acute intelligence, sworn in on a set of (Platonically conceived, i.e. presupposed to be fix and well-defined without reference to the contingent background of understanding) ideals, chiefly freedom. If I'm wrong, prove it to me. I'm not the person to grudge owning my errors. But unfortunately, every single answer I get from you is astute and experienced, but only further proves my point.

Dogmatic dissensions and ideologic factions arise exactly for that reason that there is no straighforward logic objectively governing life, but logic itself (even down to strictest mathematics) is marked by clashes due to the reciprocal interference of the two operations of deriving axioms from thinking on the one hand and deducing thoughts from axioms on the other.
Therefore, having found the true principles of life is at more than a mere – even prolonged – moral effort's distance from being found living true to them. I am myself living through a life span of sternly experiencing the truth of this observation. I would wish it were not true, but evidently, God likes to be found beyond any simple knowing what the truth is.

Robert Hume said at October 6, 2005 2:11 PM:

I think we place too much blame on the "capitalists" for the flood of low-skilled immigration. If there is some cheap low-skilled immigration, then some employer can use them and undercut his competitors. The competitors must either steal away his employees or find the equivalent. So they go looking for them. If the government does not mind the border the employees will be found. There are, of course, various liberal folk trying to aid the immigrants or eager for more to come for votes. Also there are ethnic lobbies.

The key is immigration control by the federal government. Without that there is a cascade of trouble.

Bob Badour said at October 8, 2005 2:44 AM:

Martin,

It would help immensely if you responded according to what people actually write and not according to your own prejudices of other people's thoughts, motives and ideologies.

For instance, while some libertarians show up in Randall's blog comments from time to time, I am not aware of any market fundamentalists posting in this comment thread per se. Neither do I see any relevance of market fundamentalism to the topic of growing criminality among the underclass driven as it is by a synergy of 1) intractible factors including genetics and culture, 2) collapse of the nuclear family with the subsequent explosion of illegitimacy and 3) social policies misguided by a denial of basic facts.

Off-topic Digression warning!

For it is fairly obvious that you proceed on the structurizing assumption that the sole and sufficient teacher of wisdom is acute intelligence, sworn in on a set of (Platonically conceived, i.e. presupposed to be fix and well-defined without reference to the contingent background of understanding) ideals, chiefly freedom.

Again, with all due respect, you need to stick to what I actually say regarding my axioms. You are not at all skilled at inferring them on your own.

I enjoy my own intelligence and the company of other intelligent people. One could say I value intelligence in the economic sense; although, I don't consider it one of my values. While acute intelligence certainly doesn't hurt for aquiring wisdom, it does not guarantee wisdom and is not the only way to acquire it. In fact, pavlovian conditioning suffices for some types of wisdom. I suspect some types of wisdom are innate genetic phenotypes acquired only at conception and perhaps in the future through somatic gene therapy. Impulsivity--or the lack thereof--seems to have a strong genetic component, for instance.

Whereas I value both freedom and empiricism, freedom is neither an epistemological axiom nor platonic. I neither expect nor demand everyone value freedom. Those who do not value freedom need not immigrate here where most people do value it.

Empirically, looking at the facts available to me, I see a world where hundreds of millions of people enjoy freedom--the fruits of western liberal values (ostensibly my values.) I also see a world where billions of people reject my values and have no interest in freedom per se. While neither valuing freedom nor embracing western liberal values, many of the latter group desire the material comforts that seem to accompany freedom and the rule of law. If we treat the material comforts of the western world as an unregulated Commons freely open to all, we can reasonably predict the outcome.

I do not consider freedom a self-evident truth. I consider it a human condition desired by hundreds of millions of people, finally won after centuries of bloodshed, and worth preserving in at least part of the world for those people (myself included) who value it.

I do assume as an epistemological axiom that one can only know reality empirically.

Martin Bauer said at October 10, 2005 5:05 PM:

Bob,
you accept innate factors as (co-)determining wisdom too, I never doubted this. The thing I wanted to question about your worldview was – and I tried to hint at this by choosing the word "teacher" (of wisdom) – whether you acknowledge the need for some other factor (other than intelligence) within the conscious process of growing experienced to be decisive for acquiring wisdom. You would have better done in baffling me if you had spoken out in favour of recognizing all that is related to 'discipline or supervision' (effected by society, teachers, friends etc.) in education. For then you would have required me to explain how this is included in "acute intelligence". Social conditioning does not imply conscience, telling you what is right but only "super-ego" telling you what is appropriate. It is, so to speak, the 'intelligence embodied in the community' which constrains personal intelligence by ruling out what may be shrewd but is not wise. Personal wisdom is distilled from this conditioning only inasfar as constraint is anticipated by restraint on the part of the learning individual. But as you see no difference between these words there will be no need to explain to you that such a 'super-ego' is collectively serf-serving (therefore unwise) to a considerable degree! Wisdom, as you see it, seems to go without any use of conscience whatsoever.

    "It would help immensely if you responded according to what people actually write and not according to your own prejudices of other people's thoughts, motives and ideologies."

I protest this notion: If someone were to talk to you of the purgative value of daily practicing the primal scream in the midst of night you might feel obliged to dismiss what he says about psychology in order to stress what he leaves out: that there are social considerations as well, that determine the proper way of behavior. In fact, this whole blog does exactly this (searching for other people's thoughts and ideologies) when it comes to criticizing egalitarian notions as being caused by lack of thought due to political correctness.

    "I do not consider freedom a self-evident truth."
What nonsense do you suspect me to believe? 'Valuing freedom is properly [finally: only] done by liberalism.' is your proposition as a self-evident truth. This axiom rests on a Platonic concept inasfar as it assumes that the social reality of freedom (or even of economic wealth, as I learnt in your latest post, no matter that China - and other Asian states - is momentarily the major motor of global economic growth as well as the main actor in reducing poverty) is the logic extension of the ideal of freedom which individuals derive (and may or may not value) in general terms from definitions of what makes for self-determination. Your axiom comes down to ruling out the (as I see it, well-established) fact that freedom may suffer as severely from its own misuse or corruption as it does from any extrinsic, overt or deliberate restriction.

The fallacy which I suppose your (partial) Platonism commits you to, is to infer from the (true) fact that our co-existence with other people, who do not value this (liberal) idea of freedom, is reciprocal in terms of pure logic ('if they don't value it, let them stay outside') the (bold) presumption that it is fair, i.e. morally reciprocal, by the same token. No need to worry about the claim of even were it the rest of world population that your (imperial, as I am sure many of them see it) use of language by engrossing ideals with ideas (Those outside do claim to value some sort of freedom as well, certainly in a collective sense, which is nonsense to you, though being in good accord with wikipedia's definition of "negative freedom", probably [I have not studied muslim teachings.] even including Islam.) leads to screen arrogance in political or economic relations with other cultures!

I suggest, Platonism is erroneous: Aristotle showed (as far as I can see, beyond any doubt, - and in keen accord with biblical warnings of 'idols' and 'ideas', e.g. 1.John 5,19) that it is not compatible with believing (as you and I do) that we "only know reality empirically."

    "Neither do I see any relevance of market fundamentalism to the topic of growing criminality among the underclass ..."
That's revealing – namely for that kind of rightist liberalism (libertarianism) that American terminology (equating "liberalism" with leftist positions) somewhat assumes does not exist. In my thinking it is fairly obvious that groups, classes or tiers of society (esp. if racially defined at that) who are denied access to a reasonably calm and ordered working life that sustains their family should be prone to waywardness and that waywardness in turn should make them (not automatically, but statistically) prone to criminality too.

You are fully right in deploring the impact of the destruction or devolution of the intact family model of social organization. You are also right that the left has blanched over the rise of the criminality problem, perhaps even continues to do so. I cannot discuss this at length and feel free to contribute about market fundamentalism while leaving the main line of commenting to others posters without, therefore, necessarily dissenting with what they say. But you are (in my eyes) completely wrong in assuming that criminality (the evil the underclass does to the upper classes, broadly speaking) can be separated from economic issues (which include some evils that are reciprocated to them by the portions holding economic power). When people are forced to have two, three or more mini-jobs at one time, restlessly hustling around to gain their living (or the giddy luxury of getting health care and education for their children!), I cannot see how this is compatible with family values. It will not help very much if Charles Murray defines the underclass by some (methinks rather dubious) quality of notorious self-mutilation (see article: "Despite the exceptions that get the newspaper ink ...), thus denying that working poors are exploited. I know this 'Michael Moore style propaganda' from people of my own (German) surroundings who visit(ed) America and report the common 'myths' even about white working poors. I remember Joseph Stiglitz citing low social mobility as an established fact too.

P.S. I recently came across an erratic idea of why this new underclass waywardness may have actually started during the predominance of American liberalism before the age of Reaganomics. Al Gore delivered a masterful speech about the destruction that (commercial) TV wreaked on the "marketplace of ideas", that was essential for the success of American democracy: I quote just two passages: "Americans now watch television an average of four hours and 28 minutes every day (...) that is almost three-quarters of all the discretionary time that the average American has." – "Television first overtook newsprint to become the dominant source of information in America in 1963." – and add: It probably not only became the dominant source of information but of lifestyle and education, especially for the underclass.


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