2014 December 31 Wednesday
Iraqi Christians Were Better Off Under Saddam Hussein

This is something our elites do not care about: The US invasion of Iraq shafted the Iraqi Christians. The Iraqi Christian population is less than a third the pre-invasion number in part due to deaths and in part due to flight from persecution.

For the Christians, times were undeniably better under Saddam Hussein, who, they say, at least kept them safe from sectarian violence. It is the same reason that many Christians, and other religious minorities, in Syria tolerate the police state of Bashar al-Assad.

What is amazing about this: George W. Bush professes to be a devout Christian. But he shafted Christians big time.

I look at the Middle East and think the minorities (e.g. Maronites, Copts, Yezidis) deserve their own mini-states. The Sunni Arab populations will totally screw over the unbelievers. So how about a big carve-out to create pure ethnic states where each ethnicity can be safe from Salafists and other oppressors?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 31 04:45 PM 
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2014 December 30 Tuesday
Heartiste On The Decline Of The Beta Male

Heartiste on The Era of the Apex Alpha.

Mid-century America — circa 1940-1970 — was the time of the “Great Compression”. Economic and social equality were high among whites; the American Beta Male was in the primacy of his rule. All that equality is a turn-off for women; it’s bad business for female desire. There must have been a craving among young women during that time period for a big cheese, a kingpin, an aristocrat, a head honcho, a cult leader, a proto-Obama… a man who stood shoulders above other men. A…. rock star.

I think the growth of mass media played a large role in the decline of marriage. Women can see much higher status males on TV (including the "Mr. President" which Marilyn Monroe sang to). Greater physical mobility has had the same effect. This made them much less satisfied with the guys nearby.

Next came the decline of unionized well paying manual labor jobs while women went into more occupations which were previously male-only. So in the middle and lower classes many men experienced declining salaries while their potential mates experienced rising career opportunities. The men can't offer as much to a prospective bride. An increasing fraction of men have given up trying and withdrawn from the labor force.

At the same time, some women have higher paying careers. The highest status women have a hard time finding a man with higher status who will marry them. The lowest status women find the welfare state a more appealing mate. Welfare programs serve as replacements for the male bread winner. The impact has been most heavily felt in black families where illegitimacy rates have skyrocketed.

The numbers are very close to last year’s: 72.3 percent of non-Hispanic blacks are now born out-of-wedlock; 66.2 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives; 53.3 percent of Hispanics; 29.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites; and 17.2 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders. That’s 40.7 percent overall: a disaster.

Kids growing up without dad grow up at greater risk of abuse from mom's boyfriends (genetic dads are far less likely to abuse their kids than stepfathers or boyfriends). The kids lack the dad role model. The neighborhood lacks the fathers who could keep the young males in line.

A vicious cycle has set in. The male chidren of single moms are much less likely to work.

To this long and growing list Autor and Wasserman add another intriguing possibility: Absentee dads.

Sifting through Census data, they find a significant share of this shift in employment outcomes is largely occurring in one group: men born into single-parent households, most of which are headed by women. As a group, these boys are significantly less likely to graduate from high school or go to college than other children, they found.

Boys are harder hit from being raised by single moms.

More men are giving up.

Automation and immigration are both contributing to this state of affairs. So is computer technology via the allure of video games and an internet social life.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 30 10:08 PM 
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2014 December 27 Saturday
Less Than Half Of Kids Live In Traditional Family

How tragic for the kids.

Less than half (46%) of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. This is a marked change from 1960, when 73% of children fit this description, and 1980, when 61% did, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently-released American Community Survey (ACS) and Decennial Census data.

5% (1 in 20 kids) are not living with either parent. Most are living with grandparent(s). But the older, still married, and more responsible older generations are dying off. What happens then? More wards of the state. Orphanages. Foster homes, perhaps with just a woman making money taking care of kids for the state.

I meet these living-with-granny kids. Some of the stories about their moms are pretty bad. Imagine a 12 year old boy whose mom is on drugs, hasn't contacted him for months or years, and whose dad has been gone even longer. I met the grandmother (who doesn't seem that old) and she seems normal and sensible enough. Was her daughter always irresponsible or only after using too much coke and speed?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 27 09:57 PM 
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Bride Shortage In China Leaves Low Earning Males Single

Adam Minter has an interesting article about the high male-female ratio as a result of use of ultrasound to do selective abortion of female fetuses.

They are also, in all likelihood, poor and uneducated. According to a 2006 study, 97 percent of Chinese bachelors between 28 and 49 haven’t completed high school.

An obvious result: the average guy getting married and making babies is smarter than the average guy who leaves no offspring. Hard on the guys. But the selective pressure is good news for the next generation.

Bride prices are up in rural areas of China. Will the bride prices create significant incentives to have more girl babies?

Suppose you are a Chinese policy maker. You do not need legislative approval or much popular support. What do you do about this situation? Keep a One Child policy? Modify the One Child policy to allow a second baby if the first one is a girl? Or only allow 2 children if both are girls?

I think it is great that some industrializing countries differ so much from the West in terms of attitudes about family, the sexes, and reproduction. We get to see how these policies, so unacceptable to liberals and conservatives in the West, play out on a large scale.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 27 07:51 PM 
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2014 December 25 Thursday
Hysterias: Getting More Frequent And Intense?

Promoters of The Narrative hit a lot of problems in 2014. The hysterias they flamed ended up being very poorly chosen. In the LA Times Charlotte Allen lists the "Top 10 feminist fiascoes of 2014:. I can't imagine the New York Times ever publishing an Op/Ed like that one. The other big city newspapers seem to not toe the MSM liberal media party line quite as rigorously. They even do more serious reporting that is off-narrative.

A great example of excellent off-narrative reporting in 2014: Washington Post coverage of the UVA gang rape flap. Check out Key elements of Rolling Stone’s U-Va. gang rape allegations in doubt, U-Va. students challenge Rolling Stone account of alleged sexual assault, and The full demise of Rolling Stone’s rape story. These stories were done while most of the MSM was accepting the Rolling Stone story uncritically and any doubters were getting attacked for daring to question.

A lot of ground work is done to create widespread false beliefs that make hysterias easier to engineer. For example, the campus rape hysteria was built up by first propagating the false claim that one in five women in college are sexually assaulted. (more here) If you can spot a false claim getting heavily promoted you can possibly forecast years in advance that a hysteria will happen.

Has the internet intensified hysterias and made them more frequent? Or is the rise of the internet coincidental with the rise of so many hysterias? Take the anti-cop hysteria as an example. Old media fan the flames of anti-cop sentiment and try to brand police as extremely racist. The old MSM organizations did not need the internet to do this. Parenthetically, old media managed to create an environment that got cops killed and likely still more cops will die as a result. They steadfastly ignore counter-narrative info such as figures 2.13, 2.14, 2.15, and 2.16 in the NYPD 2012 Annual Firearms Discharge Report. Have a look.

I suspect that there is a pattern to the hysterias that suggests a deeper motive. What's the motive? Break down bonds of groups. Cops are a distinct group, well trusted by most people. The cops have emotional bonds to each other and to the larger public. Those bonds are inconvenient to our elites. Our elites are certainly trying to reduce the legitimacy of cops in the eyes of the public. Will our elites succeed? They are relentless and have a track record of many successes. I would not discount their chances.

My advice to you: disconnect from TV and deprogram from all the propaganda you've received. Listen for propaganda. TV news and entertainment shows as well as movies are full of it. You are being conditioned. Think your way out of the conditioning.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 25 09:42 AM 
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2014 December 24 Wednesday
Household Net Worth Gaps Widen By Race

A report from the Pew Research Center finds the two racial and ethnic groups which together will some day make up the majority of the US population have very low net worths.

The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010.

The marketplace is putting a bigger premium on skills, especially on skills that do not get used to do routine tasks. The test score gap between blacks, hispanics, and whites is quite persistent after years of educational policy changes aimed at closing the gap including assorted requirements placed on schools for testing, reporting, and teaching. That gap and the wealth gap aren't going away in the foreseeable future. So will American become poorer as a result of demographic trends?

The Fed survey used by Pew does not include data on south or east Asians. So Asians are invisible once again. Their exclusion paints a misleading picture (which might have been the point). South and east Asian economic success does not fit with The Narrative. Why aren't they victims of microaggression racism that SJWs would have us believe is ubiquitious and deeply stifling to blacks and Hispanics? Well just don't mention that.

Net worth averaged over all races has been stagnant for a few years running.

Leaving aside race and ethnicity, the net worth of American families overall — the difference between the values of their assets and liabilities — held steady during the economic recovery. The typical household had a net worth of $81,400 in 2013, according to the Fed’s survey — almost the same as what it was in 2010, when the median net worth of U.S. households was $82,300 (values expressed in 2013 dollars).

The stability in household wealth follows a dramatic drop during the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2010, the median net worth of American families decreased by 39.4%, from $135,700 to $82,300. Rapidly plunging house prices and a stock market crash were the immediate contributors to this shellacking.

This stagnation should be seen in the context of a longer running decline in median household income. We are in an era when median household incomes are no longer rising. "Median household income peaked at least 15 years ago in 81 percent of U.S. counties. " The problem was clearly visible before the 2008-2009 deep recession. In fact in 2012 we were partying like it was 1995.

Cheryl Russell takes an interesting look at what year did income peak for each age bracket. For younger people (age 25 to 34) income peaked in 1973. But for ages 55 to 64 the income peak did not come until 2003. I think this shows how much skills accumulation and delays due to longer time in training have shifted career income peak to a later point in a person's career. Also, among younger people the incomes of blue collar workers started dropping in the early 1970s. So even though more educated 25 to 34 year olds were experiencing rising incomes a larger number of less educated people were experiencing declining incomes.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 24 05:29 PM 
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2014 December 20 Saturday
Pedagogical Value Of Communist Countries

Cuba and North Korea serve as useful reminders of just how incredibly badly communism works in practice. Living museums of really bad and disastrous ideology in a much purer form than what gets peddled in support of the modern welfare state.Since Cuba isn't building ICBMS or nuclear weapons I think we get a lot of pedagogical value with little downside cost for Americans and residents of other countries. Cuba provides this value in a dysfunctional system very close to American shores. But we only get a benefit from the horror which is communism if we pay attention to the state of decay in Cuba and the plight of its people. With that thought in mind read Michael J. Totten's full article: The Last Communist City: A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see. Cuba is down and still decaying.

Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it—and the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite. “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution,” wrote Alfred Cuzan, a professor of political science at the University of West Florida, “Cuba’s wealth before 1959 was not the purview of a privileged few. . . . Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. “More Americans lived in Cuba prior to Castro than Cubans lived in the United States,” Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, author of a series of books about Castro and Guevara, tells me. “This was at a time when Cubans were perfectly free to leave the country with all their property. In the 1940s and 1950s, my parents could get a visa for the United States just by asking. They visited the United States and voluntarily returned to Cuba. More Cubans vacationed in the U.S. in 1955 than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Americans considered Cuba a tourist playground, but even more Cubans considered the U.S. a tourist playground.” Havana was home to a lot of that prosperity, as is evident in the extraordinary classical European architecture that still fills the city. Poor nations do not—cannot—build such grand or elegant cities.

But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”

For foreign tourists who want cheap prostitutes Havana is a great deal. So it is understandable that some Canadians are upset that America is (probably) going to normalize relations with Cuba.

Havana sounds like the abandoned sections of Detroit except Havana hasn't been abandoned.

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

Hey, readers from Mexico who are fans of Cuba and Venezuela: What have you to say about Cuba's decay?

Update: Cuba desperately needs better relations with Washington DC because the collapse of oil prices is going to prevent Venezuela from giving billions of dollars of aid per year to Cuba. That money props up the failed communist regime. This is ironic in light of the fact that price controls and nationalizations in Venezuela are creating huge scarcities and collapsing living standards. Venezuela's socialists are propping up the Cubans who need help because they are further along the economic road that Venezuela's government is traveling.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 20 10:30 AM 
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2014 December 09 Tuesday
The American Left Decided To Stop Making Sense

No need to write parody stories about the decay in the American intelligentsia and courts. They are eager to do their own parodies in real life. Not enough whites live near Hartford Connecticut to enable schools to assure some non-whites sufficient exposure to whites. Really, this is the sort of thing that the ACLU fights for today.

The issue of changing demographics has come up before. In 2013, the parties redefined the standard for diversity, allowing Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders to count toward the 25 percent "white enrollment" threshold. Further changes could be among the proposals in this round of negotiations.

So APAC folks get to count as whites in Hartford. Not really buying them anything except perhaps a precedent to use where it matters. They should fight for the same consideration when they apply to the Ivy League.

I have to say: this is all crazy. Nuts. Bonkers. What gets treated as credible positions to take in court cases about racial composition of schools is just absurd. Perhaps the liberal left took to heart an artistic message and decided to stop making sense.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 09 10:08 PM 
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2014 December 08 Monday
British Secular Schools Going Islamic

Muslims are taking over public schools in Britain and turning them from secular to Islamic, forcing out anyone who opposes them.

But in January, Mr. Bains stepped down as the principal of the Saltley School and Specialist Science College, saying he could no longer do the job in the face of relentless criticism from the Muslim-dominated school board. It had pressed him, unsuccessfully, to replace some courses with Islamic and Arabic studies, segregate girls and boys and drop a citizenship class on tolerance and democracy in Britain.

This could be stopped and reversed if our leaders weren't such fools.

This brings to mind the increased polarization in American politics. Supposedly each party is moving away from the middle and taking more severe positions. Unfortunately, the leading figures on the Right take incredibly wimpy positions even when they oppose some of the foolish policies of the Left. Britain is the same way. Look at the British taxpayer-funded schools that are teaching messages that make the Muslims of Britain view non-Muslims as inferiors who should be ruled and dominated. What went so wrong in Western thought over the last century that makes this sort of thing be tolerated for even one second?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 08 09:00 PM 
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2014 December 07 Sunday
Moderate Opposition Collapsing In Syria

Obama wants to prop up the moderate (at least by Middle Eastern measures) opposition in Syria to create an alternative to Assad and the Jihadists. But the moderate opposition continues to lose territory and the moderate opposition in Syria is collapsing. The Al Nusra Front is taking their territory.

The Middle East is one of the regions of the world that challenge the conventional wisdom that the whole world is going to embrace Liberal Manifest Destiny. Some parts of the world seem highly resistant to liberalization. Will this continue to the be case?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 07 11:52 PM 
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Gigamansions: Billionaires Squeezing Out Millionaires

A lot of it is flight capital.

“Twenty-thousand-square-foot homes have become teardowns for people who want to build 70-, 80-, and 90,000-square-foot homes,” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz said. So long, megamansion. Say hello to the gigamansion./p>

The neighbors with 30k square foot houses are fighting 60k-90k square foot houses.. In some cases the neighbors do not want Gulf oil Arabs moving in. But in other cases they do not want people also do not want the trucks, construction noise, and taller buildings that can spy down into neighboring yards.

Laura Tyson says rising inequality is bad. When her article here showed up on Twitter I responded asking her if this means immigration is bad. No response so far. After all, immigration is bringing in the rich and poor and not so much the people in between.

Such a high level of inequality is not only incompatible with widely held norms of social justice and equality of opportunity; it poses a serious threat to America’s economy and democracy.

The middle class is shrinking. The bottom and top are growing. The nation is also splitting more deeply between the Republican and Democratic Parties with deepening regional and racial splits. People are moving away from those who differ in values, allegiances, and interests. Apply a strong stressor to this system (say an economic depression) and then what happens?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 07 10:53 PM 
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2014 December 04 Thursday
How To Make Jihad Work For Western Countries

It is time to work on real solutions. I'm still a child of the Enlightenment who believes we can solve problems with reason.

Western countries should pass laws that state that anyone who goes to the Middle East to fight for IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh or al Nusra front or al Qaeda loses the right to return to the Western country they left. Then Western countries should offer free airplane tickets to anyone who wants to go fight for those same groups. Claiming the free airplane tickets makes it easy to identify some of those who go off to fight.

Any group in a Western country that recruits Jihadists could even get rewarded by their host country for doing this. Register a Jihadist for departure, assure they make it to the airport, get a few thousand quid. What say you?

I would go further: If Kabul falls then offer money to buy out Western country citizenship to anyone who wants to move to Afghanistan. Make it a destination for Jihadists living in the West who want to live under strict fundamentalist Islamic rule.

I think people who share common values should live together in a society that fully embodies their preferences.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 04 11:45 AM 
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2014 December 01 Monday
Vietnamization Not Working In Afghanistan

Will Kabul fall like Saigon?

Afghan security forces say that if they kept getting as much air power they'd be able to keep down the Taliban. That's after about 13 years of trying to win and build a nation-state that can defend itself against the Taliban. Still hasn't worked.

US policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is a failure. It isn't going to start becoming a success.

By Randall Parker 2014 December 01 10:08 PM 
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Federal National Security Workers Think Elected Officials Clueless

What do workers in the US national security state think of our democratically elected leaders? Defense One lets you know: They think their elected masters lack the skills necessary to supervise them.

The Obama administration has no strategy for ISIS, the Pentagon is not leaving enough troops to protect Afghanistan and Congress isn’t qualified to keep watch over the military and intelligence services, according to survey of federal workers and troops at the Pentagon, and other national security agencies.

How fun is that? Great fun.

Our elected leaders point to elections as the source of their legitimacy. But suppose the Deep State is right about who gets elected. Then what? Well, it follows that the voters then are not up to the task of choosing who to put on the levers of power. Okay, I agree with that. But where to go with it? The voters and the elected officials aren't competent to govern such a powerful country.

Seems to me this problem is only going to grow as our unelected elites keep pushing to elect a new people with massive immigration. The new people do not show signs of being able make better decisions in the electoral process. Will the Deep State eventually rebel or will it just ramp up propaganda to get the masses to go along with the Deep State's wishes?

By Randall Parker 2014 December 01 08:37 PM 
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