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by Jason Bayz

As we all know, Japan is an economic black hole with a stagnant, aging, unvibrant population. Except as various graphs by Jason Bayz suggest, Japan has been doing a pretty good job keeping the Japanese at work.


Excerpts from a long article in New York about the high homicide rate in Baltimore after the riots.

A Most Violent Year

by Benjamin Wallace-Wells

… Each of the American cities where high-profile police killings have inspired demonstrations these past three years has had a different experience of violence, of political protest, of social change — each is part of a composite. Baltimore’s has been the most prolonged: After Gray’s killing, and then after the protests, there was a third phase, more devastating than anywhere else, in which the police seemed to retreat and then the largest wave of homicides in a quarter-century overwhelmed the city. That wave has still not fully subsided; the disturbance that became visible with Gray’s death continues.

I’m not a big opponent of the passive voice in writing, but the tendency of journalists to lapse into the passive voice when describing black violence is not a coincidence.

… There was something else unique to Baltimore’s experience that deepened its tragedy and mystery. Baltimore’s political leadership is composed almost entirely of progressive African-Americans, many of whom had marched in Black Lives Matter protests.

Is it really that mysterious or unique?

So why has the homicide rate been so high ever since the riots?

… In the first four months of the year, Baltimore’s police had arrested a monthly average of 2,630 people. In May, that number dropped almost in half, to 1,557. The uniformed police, Commissioner Batts would later say, had “taken a knee.”

The shape of public order changed. Russell met a man who ran a West Baltimore halfway house for recovering addicts, most of them heroin abusers, and the counselor called him one day with a comically outsize problem. Streetside dealing had so flourished, the man said, that his residents had to walk past 17 separate locations where dealers were actively selling heroin just to get to the methadone clinic.

Eventually, the cops got back to work, but the killings went on.

… Baltimore, in its poverty and violence, is a laboratory city, its poorest neighborhoods subject to constant social-science observation and experiment; there are data sets reaching back years that detail the number of chicken bones left discarded on select city blocks (as a measure of social disorder) and the number of men clustering outside liquor stores on weekend nights.

The South Side of Chicago is another closely studied city, with the U. of Chicago sociology department having been a world leader since the 1920s or so. I don’t see much correlation between intensive social science attention, such as in Baltimore and Chicago, and good outcomes such as a low homicide rate. It would make an interesting social science study to correlate the depth of social science research in a city and the murder rate. My vague impression is that homicide rates tend to be lower in lower brow cities like San Antonio than in cities with elite research universities like U of C and Johns Hopkins.

Many of these records are maintained by a professor at Johns Hopkins named Debra Furr-Holden, and she could see the data change almost immediately. With so many stores burned or closed, simply conducting your daily business — commuting, shopping — meant you had to travel farther, often outside your neighborhood, sometimes into places you would not have considered safe. The people who had come out of their houses during the protests did not go back inside; for the first part of the summer, something like double the ordinary number of people were outside in the evenings.

Maybe the government should distribute free video games to get people back on their couches? Playing Grand Theft Auto is better than committing Grand Theft Auto.

More headscratching:

All of the public talk in the city was about unity. The pleas to end the violence were by that point ubiquitous. But just as all of Baltimore pondered the mystery of how a progressive city could produce such a despotic police force, a second mystery had presented itself: If everyone was organized to prevent violence, why did it continue to happen? The cops were back at their posts. The whole city had been politicized. The poorest streets were filled with activist group meetings and sermons. The gangs were professing nonviolence. Still, the murders continued.

This sounds very much like Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers from 1970 about the San Francisco ghetto:

Whites were still in the dark about the ghettos. They had been studying the “urban Negro” in every way they could think of for fifteen years, but they found out they didn’t know any more about the ghettos than when they started. Every time there was a riot, whites would call on “Negro leaders” to try to cool it, only to find out that the Negro leaders didn’t have any followers. They sent Martin Luther King into Chicago and the people ignored him. They sent Dick Gregory into Watts and the people hooted at him and threw beer cans. During the riot in Hunters Point, the mayor of San Francsco, John Shelley, went into Hunters Point with the only black member of the Board of Supervisors, and the brothers threw rocks at both of them. They sent in the middle-class black members of the Human Rights Commission, and the brothers laughed at them and called them Toms. Then they figured the leadership of the riot was “the gangs,” so they went in the “ex-gang leaders” from groups like Youth for Service to make a “liaison with the key gang leaders.” What they didn’t know was that Hunters Point and a lot of ghettos were so disorganized, there weren’t even any “key gangs,” much less “key gang leaders,” in there. That riot finally just burnt itself out after five days, that was all.

Here’s one interesting point from Wallace-Wells’ article about an occasional effect of Ending the Era of Mass Incarceration. All respectable opinion is agreed that we must let older cons out of prison. Except, sometimes when they hit the streets, that just sets off new rounds of vengeance violence:

Barksdale mentioned one source of tension the interrupters were working to defuse. A man had just been released from prison, where he had served more than a decade for murder, and had returned to his old neighborhood. The victim’s son, now in his early teens, had become aware that his father’s murderer was in the neighborhood and had mentioned the fact to some friends of his. One of the friends had a family connection to the paroled murderer, and so the murderer knew that the son knew that he was around.

The interrupters had met both the man and the boy. Barksdale believed that the man wanted to go straight, and the boy was a good kid, by nature given to following rules and heeding advice. Never­theless, it had become a situation. The expectation that the boy might try to avenge his father’s death meant that both the man and the boy had reason to believe the other might try to kill him.


Last week’s Racist Hate Crime Crisis of the Century — some of the tape black protestors put over the Harvard Law School seal was also found over portraits of black professors — always sounded like an exceptionally lazy hoax. Couldn’t the black activists have bothered to bring a second, different roll of tape for the hoax part of their vandalism protest?

Some other HLS students have posted an analysis of the incident:

5. Statements by campus security officer. A main reason we created this blog, convinced that the incident was a hoax, not a “hate crime,” was that one of our friends was in the crowd of students in the hallway about an hour after the black tape was discovered, and overheard a campus security officer reassuring a Harvard employee, who was visibly alarmed at the incident, that this wasn’t a racist incident.

It was black students who had put black tape over the faces of black professors, the security official explained, “to mark them as traitors,” because they “won’t stand with them in protests” — exactly what the black students did last year, during the Ferguson protests.

The contemporaneous conclusion of campus security officials that this was an obvious hoax, and not any sort of “hate crime,” has not yet been reported in the media.

6. Statement by Professor Randall Kennedy. Our confidence that this was, in fact, a hoax was strengthened later that day when we learned of the reaction of Prof. Randall Kennedy (one of the black professors whose portrait was covered with black tape). In a class a few hours after the incident, Prof. Kennedy reportedly said he didn’t know what the black tape meant. He reportedly speculated that the black tape could have been placed by someone seeking to “chastise” black professors for not being outspoken enough on racial issues on campus.

Crediting this report (of which we have only third-hand knowledge), why would this possibility immediately come to mind for Prof. Kennedy? Presumably because, as the security official stated, black students tried this stunt last year, in a selective protest against only certain black professors — but last year, unlike on November 19, the tape was discovered and removed before any students saw it, so that only the professors and administrators (and the hoaxers, who could hardly complain about their hoax being foiled) ever learned about the incident.

Obviously the idea that this incident is a second try by black protesters who failed last year is much more plausible than the idea that a white racist, unaware of what had been tried last year, independently came up with the idea of doing exactly the same thing (to the point of leaving unscathed the portrait of the black professor [Lani Guinier] who has been most outspoken in favor of the black protesters, which one would expect only black protesters to do).

Sure, slack planning of hoaxes is to be expected at, say, Oberlin, but this is Harvard Law School. The public expects scams perpetrated by people associated with HLS to show attention to detail. This example undermines public confidence that an HLS diploma guarantees at least a minimum level of cunning. Are you going to trust HLS alumni to plot, say, your $160 billion tax inversion merger grift if HLS students can’t pull off a simple hate hoax?

But, paradoxically, the incompetence of the incident only motivates Harvard authorities to treat it more seriously. From the Harvard Crimson today:

Harvard Law School Will Reconsider Its Controversial Seal
Law School Dean Martha Minow appoints a committee to research “whether to continue” the Royall family crest

On the heels of an incident of racially-charged vandalism on campus, Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow has appointed a committee to reconsider the school’s controversial seal—the crest of the former slaveholding Royall family that endowed Harvard’s first law professorship in the 19th century.

Think about it from the perspective of Dean Minow. What’s the alternative? To not take it seriously would to to imply that Harvard Law School blacks tend to be transparent screw-ups who can’t carry out a simple racial hate hoax without embarrassing themselves.


As I mentioned last week in my Taki’s column “Strong Mutually Antagonistic Governments Everywhere,” Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey have a lot in common, so it will be illuminating to see whether they can work out their clash without a disastrous war. Here’s an NYT article expanding upon that theme:

Discord Between Turkey and Russia Is Fueled by Leaders’ Similarities


It’s not well-known, but on 9/11 the death toll included 343 firemen and zero firewomen (who are known to firemen as “firewatchers”).

To rectify that, Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder was hired by the FDNY. But, sensibly enough, she probably won’t stick around long enough to get killed on the job. From the New York Post:

Firefighter who flunked physical injured 10 days into job

By Susan Edelman November 22, 2015 | 4:12am

Modal Trigger Firefighter who flunked physical injured 10 days into job

A firefighter who was allowed to graduate the Fire Academy despite failing physical tests has already gone out on medical leave — just 10 days into the job, The Post has learned.

Probationary firefighter Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder injured herself Monday while conducting a routine check of equipment at Queens’ Engine 308 in South Richmond Hill. Getting off the truck, Doirin-Holder missed a step and landed on her left foot, suffering a fracture, sources said. …

“If you’re going to get hurt in the firehouse checking a rig, what would happen at a fire?” an insider asked.

On Nov. 6, Doirin-Holder celebrated her FDNY graduation as one of four new female Bravest, bringing the number of women to 49 — an all-time high in the FDNY’s 150-year history. …

Doirin-Holder, who turns 40 this month, is one of 282 “priority hires” passed over in 1999 and 2000. Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered they must get preference as victims of past discrimination against minorities.

It was Doirin-Holder’s third attempt to pass the academy. …

Doirin-Holder started another class in early 2014 but dropped out because of an injury. The FDNY then gave her a desk job and kept her on the payroll at top firefighter salary, $76,488…

Since she was injured on duty, she is eligible for a disability pension that would pay three-quarters of her annual salary, tax-free, if deemed unfit to return.


From the Wall Street Journal, one of those articles where the reporter starts out with the current party line, then undermines it with an abundance of distressing facts.


For a Growing Africa, Hope Mingles With Fear of the Future

Will a baby boom pull the world’s poorest continent into the center of global affairs?

By Drew Hinshaw

… The biggest human increase in modern history is under way in Africa. On every other continent, growth rates are slowing toward a standstill for the first time in centuries, and the day is in sight when the world’s human population levels out.

But not here—not yet.

Some 2.5 billion people will be African by 2050, the U.N. projects. That would be double the current number and 25% of the world’s total. There will be 399 million Nigerians then, more than Americans. When the century closes, if projections hold, four out of 10 people will be African.

My graph

The article has a perhaps overly sophisticated graph of birth rates using that 2015 U.N. Population Prospects data that I’ve been emphasizing so much in recent months. The problem is that you have to scroll down through it to make it go through its animation and you can get the incorrect impression that your computer is hung up.

Billions of them will be living in cities that are today small towns. The land of open spaces that was Africa will have blended into one big megalopolitan web.

Whether that makes Africa the next emerging giant, or giant emergency, one thing is certain: At 93, Mr. Musa has something to do with all this. In his seven decades as the reigning nut trader in town, he has had 21 children by five wives, and 118 grandchildren.

… One of the great questions of the 21st century is unfolding outside his window: How will the world look with vastly more Africans in it?

Better, by some measures. Humanity is aging. By 2050, nearly a fourth of the people on earth will have passed their 60th birthday, compared with just one-eighth now. A swelling portion of the global economy will be spent hospitalizing or retiring old people.

By comparison, the average African will be 28. Some 1.3 billion people here will be both young and old enough to start a business, educate themselves, build new homes, embark on a career—and give the world’s farms and factories a reason to grow.

Simply put: A baby boom will lift the poorest continent on Earth into the center of global affairs. Africa will soon become the world’s most reliable source of new life: of college graduates, young workers and budding consumers.

The big question looming over all of this: Will Africa figure out a way to tap this fountain of youth? Will the world?

So far, the prospects seem mixed at best. The developed world faces a coming shortage of workers—but a disinterest in taking more immigrants, especially Africans. Europe would be a natural destination for young Africans, most of whom speak a European language. But the continent is currently dialing back its intake of Africans to clear room for Middle Eastern refugees and to reassure voters worried about terrorists.

Africa isn’t finding much use for its young, either. In Nigeria, just 9% of adults are employed full time by someone else, according to a 2012 Gallup poll. It is a number typical for the continent.

There is no clarity on where the next batch of jobs will come from. Africans have watched car dealerships and shopping malls land in their biggest cities after a decade of economic growth. But that is slowing, and what hasn’t followed are factory jobs or modern farm work. If Africa is to follow East Asia’s example and become a manufacturing base for the global economy, evidence is thin.

I’ve been intermittently following the “Made in …” labels on my shirts for the last 35 years, because making cotton shirts has been pretty much the first phase of the industrial revolution in a country since Britain in the 18th Century. In this century it’s not unkown to see labels from African countries, which you never saw in the 1980s.

In the meantime, this continent is losing one of the great races of the century. Africa’s population has been growing faster than governments can lay down the basics of a modern economy: power plants, roads and schools.

In Nigeria, electricity cuts out daily. The public schools are packed, their textbooks few, and teachers regularly strike. …

Banks barely lend. Nigeria has just 20,000 mortgages open for a country of 182 million. Ports are congested and mainly ship out oil—and there isn’t enough of that to support a population that grows by 13,000 people daily.

Hundreds of day laborers sit on a single strip in downtown Lokoja and periodically fistfight over gigs. “We are too many here,” said Sani Mohammad, a 33-year-old watching cars drive past. Another day laborer, Jamidu Mohammad, leaned on his shovel and agreed. “But if there’s no work, what can we do?” he said.

Demographic dividend

… It is here in the cities where the next and paradoxical second chapter in Africa’s demographic story is unfolding. The larger Africa’s cities grow, the more families inside them shrink.

Africans in town are having fewer children these days than their village compatriots. Many have broken away from extended families, into nuclear abodes. A new African suburbia is branching out, as young parents try to buy distance from their elders and siblings….

This shift is what economists call the demographic dividend. It is the moment when big families become small. Parents find themselves with fewer mouths to feed, and more money on hand at the end of the month.

Invariably, many spend it educating their children, creating a workforce that will earn higher wages—and one day pay for their retirement. It is a phenomenon that has already helped push Latin America and East Asia up from poverty.

The next candidate for that economic miracle is Africa. And yet the continent is still a ways off.

In every African country, women are averaging fewer children now than their mothers had in 1990. But not by much: In Nigeria, it has taken 25 years for the birthrate to fall from 6.8 children per woman to six. Meanwhile, millions of mothers are giving birth in a delivery room for the first time in their family’s history. So their children are surviving more often, and growing up to have more children.

Birth control has been slow to catch on. Women in Nigeria who choose it are typically waiting until their 30s. Mariam Audu, a walk-in to Lokoja’s state family planning clinic, waited until she was 34, when she finally convinced her husband.

A few weeks after he agreed, he announced he was marrying a second wife—a teenager—so he could keep bringing children into the world.

“It’s our culture,” said the mother of five. “I didn’t want it, but as God brings it, I accept it.”

Family planning remains a delicate subject in this conservative country, which is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians. Women need permission slips from their husbands to take birth control in the city of Kano, whose metropolitan population nears 10 million. All of the files from all the women who went on birth control last year in the largest hospital in the state don’t fill a single filing cabinet drawer.

Still, the idea is spreading, slowly, privately. In Lokoja, nurses at the state hospital have helped women hatch elaborate plans to covertly begin contraceptives. On a recent day, a new mother purposefully left her purse in the office—then ran back, without her husband, for a quick and surreptitious birth-control shot.

“Some people are with seven children, and their husband still wants more, but the strength of the woman, they can’t take it,” said Esther Akubo, the head nurse here. “So they come in secretly.”

If there’s a preview into how the world will be remade by Africa’s baby boom, it is to be had in Lokoja.

Much of the economy here revolves around petty trade—outdoor markets, or salesman stepping through traffic. What’s for sale is largely for children.

The article ends with a 91-year-old patriarch with 5 wives telling one of his 118 grandchildren that it’s time to cut back on having so many kids.


From CNN:

Who will you blame once Obama’s gone?
By John Blake, CNN
Updated 9:33 AM ET, Fri November 27, 2015

… Consider the question of whether racial strife is now the norm.

“I don’t see that stopping when Obama is no longer president,” says Steve Sailer, who writes for Unz Review and Taki’s Magazine, both started by alumni of The American Conservative. “I can imagine a white president like Hillary [Clinton] upping the ante because she doesn’t have the benefit of being black.”

Sailer says Clinton will need to talk more about racial grievances to attract minority voters because she can’t count on the strong black support that Obama enjoyed.

Democrats, he says, have decided to build a coalition of “fringe” groups by demonizing people who “have rightful reasons for representing the core of Middle America.”

That decision, however, is sparking a white backlash, Sailer warns. More whites are starting to see the need to unite like other ethnic groups.

“It’s become more acceptable for people to insult whites, especially white men,” he says. “You’re seeing more and more whites starting to develop a certain amount of white identity.”

A modest degree of racial tension is pretty much inevitable, since you are talking about different people with different interests and different sets of relatives. Obama cynically relaunching the Battle of the Sexes during his re-election campaign, however, is more culpable since men and women have the same relatives on average. And it’s not as if Obama has any personal belief in the dogmas of feminism whatsoever.


Affirmative action in college admissions based on race/ethnicity has been common since the end of the 1960s. It rather quickly was discovered to benefit primarily blacks and Latinos from above average homes.

So, slowly, the rationalization for affirmative action was rewritten by the Supreme Court from original assertions of fairness, anti-discrimination, and reparations for slavery and other past sins, which, presumably, diminish over time, to “diversity,” which we never ever can get enough of. Sure, the Rwandan U.N. ambassador’s granddaughter, whose white mother graduated from Wellesley, doesn’t really have any moral claim for special privileges in the United States, but that’s not the point, the point is that it’s good for the white kids in class to enjoy the fruits of diversity, such as the current Black Autumn on campus.

But let’s try putting together a new argument for a new kind of affirmative action in college admissions targeting the previously untargeted; kids who are a lot smarter than their parents. I have a theory that our society tends to under-invest in the smart kids of not so smart parents. If you are looking for a group for colleges to recruit more intensively among, this would likely have a higher payoff than more traditional affirmative action categories.

The basics of The Bell Curve suggest that tens or hundreds of thousands of children born each year will be significantly smarter than the average of their parents. But because they show up fairly randomly in the population, they have been ignored (in Sapir-Whorf terms, we barely even have a name for them) because they don’t fit into the usual identity politics categories. They are a little like lefthanders, a common minority but too randomly distributed a group to develop political mojo. (For example, major league baseball discriminates 100% against lefthanded catchers, but even in a world obsessed with teasing out instances of discrimination, nobody cares).

One thing that has been widely remarked is that applying to college has gotten more complicated in terms of competitive strategizing. This may well be overblown, but it’s a widespread social stereotype beloved by Tiger Parents and feared by Sloth Parents that getting into a “good” college is immensely complicated.

This tends to become self-fulfilling.

Research by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford has discovered that the biggest concentration of overlooked smart kids that colleges should recruit harder are, unsurprisingly, exactly whom the conventional wisdom doesn’t expect them to be: male, white, flyover states, maybe from broken homes.

Why is the conventional wisdom’s expectation wrong that the real most overlooked demographic shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of White Male Privilege but should be the gay black Latinas from East Coast? Because it’s the conventional wisdom, obviously. The universities have been tilling those more ideologically congenial fields intensively for 40 or 50 years now, so they long ago hit diminishing marginal returns in Closing The Gap. But they can’t admit that, so they are constantly trumpeting: the theory can’t be wrong, comrades, so we must redouble our efforts!

Obviously, nobody respectable is going to invest in explicit special preferences for white boys from Flyover Country. But perhaps we can operationalize the Hoxby-Avery findings as calling for special investment in children who are smarter than their parents.

But is my theory correct that those are the kids most likely to be underinvested in relative to their potential? We should test it to find out.

Here’s a new research agenda: We probably now have multiple ways for social scientists to track two generations of achievement relative to test scores. For example, the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth, from which much of The Bell Curve, was derived, is following thousands of children of female members of the original sample. This public database available to legit professional social scientists has cognitive test data for two mother and child, along with life events such as type of college they attend. If the average NLSY panelist was 18 in 1979, she’d be 54 today in 2015, with a majority of her children already having reached the age to apply to college.

So my theory that our society is underinvesting in the smart children of less smart parents could be tested thoroughly over the next few years using NLSY data.

I throw a lot of research ideas out there in the hopes that academics will pick them up and carry them out. So don’t feel any need to credit me for the idea if you want to go ahead and study this. I just like knowledge.

• Tags: Hox


Commenter Hail notes that white women who identify more or less as Republicans have 18% more children than white women who identity more or less as Democrats:

According to GSS: White women born 1944-1974 (sample size=5,343) who were between ages of 40-50 at the time of data collection (in 1994-2014, i.e., having reached their final lifetime completed fertilities) had the following fertility rates by political orientation:

[Political Identification] (% of Pop.): Final Lifetime TFR (Whites age 40+) (GSS variables: childs, age, race, 1994-2014)

I think this is actually Completed Fertility, which is not exactly the same as Total Fertility Rate, but pretty close. Also, if you are looking at women 40 to 50, a few will have more children, so these numbers are slight understatements.

1. [Strong Democrat] (10%): 1.61 Final TFR
2. [Not Strong Democrat] (16%): 1.83
3. [Independent, Near Democrat] (11%): 1.79
4. [Independent] (18%): 2.00
5. [Independent, Near Republican] (10%): 1.86
6. [Not Strong Republican] (19%): 2.12
7. [Strong Republican] (13%): 2.14
8. [Other Party] (2%): 1.89

The difference in final fertility (acc. to GSS) between White Democrats (categories 1,2,3 above) and White Republicans (5,6,7) is 2.07 : 1.76, or given equal starting numbers, a Republican child generation 118% as large as a Democrat child generation.

Another way of looking at it (given replacement fertility = 2.1) is that both groups are shrinking, but White Democrats are shrinking somewhat faster.

White Republicans, base population 100, at 2.07 TFR
First child generation: 98
Second child generation: 96
Third child generation: 94 (Starting today as Year Zero, this will be past year 2100)

White Democrats, base population 100, at 1.76 TFR
First child generation: 84
Second child generation: 70
Third child generation: 59

New ratio, given equal starting numbers, in third child generation: 94 : 59, or 160 White Republicans for 100 White Democrats (assuming that political ideology is perfectly inherited).

Since it’s not 100% perfectly inherited, the changes in number are likely to be slower due to random remixing. But I may be getting the logic wrong, so your comments are, as usual, welcome.

It would be interesting to know if this gap is growing and how far back into the past it’s discernible. If you go back a half century into the past, the stereotype was that Irish Catholic Democrats had the biggest families.


An NYT editorial:

False Alarms About a National Crime Wave

The headlines are alarming: Murder is up around the country, caused by anything from more guns to a heroin epidemic to the so-called “Ferguson Effect” — the disputed idea that police officers have become less aggressive out of fear that their actions will be recorded by civilians and criticized after the fact.

Or it could be that the celebration of Black Lives Matters encourages blacks to murder other blacks. We don’t really know what’s going on, so we shouldn’t yet rule out potential causes.

As with so many debates about crime in America, it helps to examine the actual numbers.

It is true that in many cities, murders in 2015 are on pace to surpass 2014 totals. In a new analysis of murder and crime rates in the country’s 30 largest cities, the Brennan Center for Justice projected that the average murder rate will be 11 percent higher this year than last. New York City, which had 333 murders in 2014, is predicted to have 357 murders by the end of 2015.

While that is troubling, it is not evidence that America has fallen back into a lawless pit of chaos and death. A more meaningful way of looking at data is comparing it with unmistakable longer-term trends: the rate of violent crime, including murder, has been going down for a quarter century, and is at its lowest in decades.

If the goal is to assess the responsibility of the Obama Administration, the national media, and Soros-style NGOs for their current influence, why is it more meaningful to look at last quarter century rather than to compare 2015 to pre-Ferguson 2014 as Carl Bialik did in FiveThirtyEight?

For the 60 biggest cities (he initially found data for only 59 of the 60 but added Anaheim later), he compared 2014 through the first week of August as his pre-Ferguson base to the same period in 2015 as his post-Ferguson treatment era.Bialik found a 16% increase in homicides in the 60 biggest cities.

In contrast, the Brennan Center report only examined 25 of the 30 biggest cities.

This long-term decline has been well reported, but increasingly, it is getting overlooked in the rush to identify a new crime wave.

What the NYT is doing here is as if George W. Bush had said, “Well, sure, a few thousand American soldiers have gotten killed since I started my war in Iraq, but if you compare that to the long term going back to say, December 7, 1941, the trend of Americans getting killed in combat is down. And that’s what really matters!”

As the Brennan Center analysis shows, overall violent crime — which includes not just murder, but robbery, larceny, assault and burglary — is projected to be 1.5 percent lower in 2015 than 2014. For understandable reasons, murders get the most attention, but they accounted for only 1.2 percent of all violent crime in 2014.

Homicides get counted pretty accurately because there is a dead body to be dealt with. It’s not clear that other crimes are counted precisely. Over time, victims tend to change their habits about whether it’s worth reporting crimes to the police:

Two lessons emerge from this data. One is that when crime rates are so low, even small changes can appear large. The other is that small sample sizes based on arbitrary time frames are nearly always nonrepresentative.

I did the math on the FiveThirtyEight data:

… the total number of homicides in 2014 through approximately August 8, 2014 was 2,955. Through the same period this year, the total number of homicides has been 3,437 for an increase of 482 more dead human beings.

That’s not a small sample size.

It helps Bialik’s numbers that he has 60 cities rather than the Brennan report’s 25.

Actually, homicide rates don’t jump around all that much from year to year. The biggest one-year increase in national homicides over the last 30 years was 12% in 1990 at the peak of the spread of crack, so 2015 is shaping up to be comparably disastrous.

The report does, however, single out five cities — Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and St. Louis — where murder rates remain far higher than the national average and have reached levels not seen since the 1990s.

Note that three of the five cities with the biggest increase in homicides aren’t in the Brennan 25 cities.

In particular, the two cities with the biggest absolute increase in dead bodies — Baltimore and St. Louis — are the two cities where the Black Lives Matter Eye of Soros has focused with the most malevolent intensity.

The murder spikes in these cities do not represent a sprawling national epidemic of violence. Instead, they appear rooted in what the report calls “profound economic decline” and, as elsewhere, the violence in those places falls most heavily on communities of color.

In particular, the cities with the big increases in murders in the post-Ferguson era tend to be heavily black.

Misunderstanding crime rates — or worse, using them for political purposes — makes it hard to have an informed debate about which policies will be most likely to keep violence down.



From the NYT:

New Women’s Political Party in Britain Demands Faster Equality

LONDON — It may seem an inopportune time to start a new party, given Britain’s crowded political scene, but Sandi Toksvig says she is tired of waiting.

Waiting for what? For women to be treated the same as men, to have the same opportunities, the same representation in the top ranks of business and government and the same salaries, and for Britain’s major political parties to take the issues seriously.

“We have to stop being told to wait for equality,” Ms. Toksvig, 57, a British-Danish writer and comedian, said in an interview. “I’m done waiting.”

Many others are apparently tired of waiting, too. Since Ms. Toksvig and two journalists — Sophie Walker, 44, and Catherine Mayer, 54 — officially introduced the Women’s Equality Party, known here as WE, last month it has set up more than 65 branches and says it has drawn over 45,000 members and supporters.

“It’s incredible the wave of enthusiasm we’re currently riding on,” said Ms. Toksvig, who will soon present a popular television quiz show called “QI” and plans a comedy tour next year to raise money for the new party.

Doing a search on the article for the text string “Thatcher” of course comes up empty.

But how can anybody be expected to remember the sex of the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990?

We know from first principles that sexist discrimination is rampant in 2015, and that it was worse in the past, and that it is worse on the right. So the fact that the Tory Party made a woman their leader over 40 years ago in February 1975 is too triggering to be brought up in polite society. It disturbs and confuses nice people. Fortunately, we control the Megaphone, so nobody need be annoyed by hatefacts.


Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whose 2012 book The Righteous Mind I reviewed in Taki’s, writes:

The Yale Problem Begins in High School

by Jonathan Haidt | Nov 24, 2015 | campus turmoil, free speech | 182 comments

A month before the Yale Halloween meltdown, I had a bizarre and illuminating experience at an elite private high school on the West Coast. I’ll call it Centerville High.

One possibility for the school Haidt is talking about is Lakeside School in Seattle, which Bill Gates and Paul Allen attended. Haidt gave a talk there on October 21.

I gave a version of a talk that you can see here, on Coddle U. vs. Strengthen U. …

But then the discussion began, and it was the most unremittingly hostile questioning I’ve ever had. I don’t mind when people ask hard or critical questions, but I was surprised that I had misread the audience so thoroughly. My talk had little to do with gender, but the second question was “So you think rape is OK?” Like most of the questions, it was backed up by a sea of finger snaps — the sort you can hear in the infamous Yale video, where a student screams at Prof. Christakis to “be quiet” and tells him that he is “disgusting.” I had never heard the snapping before. When it happens in a large auditorium it is disconcerting. It makes you feel that you are facing an angry and unified mob — a feeling I have never had in 25 years of teaching and public speaking.

After the first dozen questions I noticed that not a single questioner was male. I began to search the sea of hands asking to be called on and I did find one boy, who asked a question that indicated that he too was critical of my talk. But other than him, the 200 or so boys in the audience sat silently.

After the Q&A, I got a half-standing ovation: almost all of the boys in the room stood up to cheer. And after the crowd broke up, a line of boys came up to me to thank me and shake my hand. Not a single girl came up to me afterward.

After my main lecture, the next session involved 60 students who had signed up for further discussion with me. We moved to a large classroom. The last thing I wanted to do was to continue the same fruitless arguing for another 75 minutes, so I decided to take control of the session and reframe the discussion. Here is what happened next:

One of Haidt’s most illuminating techniques is simply to ask his audience to answer his questions by raising their hands. [Update: working link.]

Me: What kind of intellectual climate do you want here at Centerville? Would you rather have option A: a school where people with views you find offensive keep their mouths shut, or B: a school where everyone feels that they can speak up in class discussions?

Audience: All hands go up for B.

Me: OK, let’s see if you have that. When there is a class discussion about gender issues, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking? Or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the girls in the class, raise your hand if you feel you can speak up? [about 70% said they feel free, vs about 10% who said eggshells ]. Now just the boys? [about 80% said eggshells, nobody said they feel free].

Me: Now let’s try it for race. When a topic related to race comes up in class, do you feel free to speak up and say what you are thinking, or do you feel that you are walking on eggshells and you must heavily censor yourself? Just the non-white students? [the group was around 30% non-white, mostly South and East Asians, and some African Americans. A majority said they felt free to speak, although a large minority said eggshells] Now just the white students? [A large majority said eggshells]

Me: Now lets try it for politics. How many of you would say you are on the right politically, or that you are conservative or Republican? [6 hands went up, out of 60 students]. Just you folks, when politically charged topics come up, can you speak freely? [Only one hand went up, but that student clarified that everyone gets mad at him when he speaks up, but he does it anyway. The other 5 said eggshells.] How many of you are on the left, liberal, or democrat? [Most hands go up] Can you speak freely, or is it eggshells? [Almost all said they can speak freely.]

Me: So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don’t have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of “tolerance” that Herbert Marcuse advocated [which I had discussed in my lecture, and which you can read about here]. You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid.

What are you going to do about this? Let’s talk.

After that, the conversation was extremely civil and constructive. The boys took part just as much as the girls. We talked about what Centerville could do to improve its climate, and I said that the most important single step would be to make viewpoint diversity a priority.

On the entire faculty, there was not a single teacher that was known to be conservative or Republican. So if these teenagers are coming into political consciousness inside of a “moral matrix” that is uniformly leftist, there will always be anger directed at those who disrupt that consensus.

That night, after I gave a different talk to an adult audience, there was a reception at which I spoke with some of the parents. Several came up to me to tell me that their sons had told them about the day’s events. The boys finally had a way to express and explain their feelings of discouragement. Their parents were angry to learn about how their sons were being treated and… there’s no other word for it, bullied into submission by the girls.*

Tina Fey’s movie Mean Girls with Lindsey Lohan makes the point that girls have always been extremely adept on average at nonviolent bullying: girls tend to be quick and sharp at interpersonal thinking with a talent for knowing precisely where to slip in the psychological stiletto.

Of course, most of that talent has been deployed over the millennia against their rivals in the sexual marketplace, other females (although little brothers and henpecked husbands have been victims too). But now our society encourages girls, at the point where their social skills are most advanced relative to boys of the same age, to use their Mean Girls techniques to bully and silence boys in the name of Fighting Patriarchy.

It would be interesting to study how big a price females pay down the road in lack of romantic satisfaction due to being encouraged to psychologically emasculate the boys around them. Like I’ve been saying for a long time, there’ll be no final victor in the War Between the Sexes.

Obviously, this strategy likely pays off for the handful of lesbians looking for more feminine girls.

But does it really make the female majority happier in the long run?

It seems like today’s reigning mindset is fundamentally confused about who you primarily compete with and who you primarily cooperate with in a sexually reproductive species.


Screenshot 2015-11-26 02.13.08Last night, I watched the 2010 documentary Restrepo by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington about a U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan, and some of the Afghan village elders had dyed their beards orange.

At the gas station in North Hollywood tonight, a young clerk was training a new hire, a 60ish South Asian man with a beard dyed bright orange, presumably with henna.

From “Restrepo”

So, apparently, that’s a thing over much of the Muslim world.

According to CNN in 2015 in an article on the henna craze in Bangladesh:

Some Muslim men told Coppejans their decision was in reference to the Prophet Muhammad, who is believed to have dyed his hair as well. Some men had just returned from Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

We’re supposed to not stereotype Muslims, but Razib Khan long ago pointed out that jet travel has reduced cultural diversity among Muslims. People with a bit of money make the pilgrimage to Mecca, and when they return they make sure to constantly lord it over their poorer neighbors with references to Meccan ways: Well, when I was in Mecca, we did it this way.

The problem is that the pilgrimage spreads retrograde Saudi ideas all over the Muslim world, some of them even worse than dying your white beard orange.


Syria was basically ruled by a Coalition of the Minority Fringes (Alawite on top, Shiite, Christian, Yezidi, Kurd, etc.) over the Core (the Sunni majority). That’s not very democratic in the old-fashioned Andrew Jackson sense of the Democratic Party that emphasized majority rule. But it’s rather like the new-fangled Barack Obama sense of the Democratic Party that emphasizes minority rights.

The happy ending would have been if the majority Sunnis had matured into a well-educated, reasonable, pragmatic people ready for the responsibilities of self-rule.

That actually has happened a few times in history. To take a local example, my very vague impression is that the Kurds have been maturing politically and have been acting in this century with restraint and intelligent purpose in a neighborhood where those commodities have been unfortunately rare. (Warning: Optimism about any aspect of the Middle East usually turns out to be unwarranted.)

Unfortunately, judging by the rise of ISIS there’s not much evidence that the Sunnis are on a similar trajectory. And that’s what has made disastrous Obama’s call for the overthrow of the internationally recognized Syrian government and its replacement by Moderate Islam, an outdated delusion of the Obama-Dunham-Soetoro clan.

It’s an ironic tragedy: no President before Obama has had so much familiarity with Islam via family, in-laws, residence, vacations, friends (e.g., his “Pakistani mafia” buddies on the fringes of the Bhutto family), and academic study. As he told his biographer David Maraniss in 2011, until he rebelled and moved to Chicago to be a race activist in 1985, he was on a predictable career path toward being employed as a specialist in international relations.

Obama was educated expensively by his family to be a “Muslimist” working for the State Department, a soft power NGO like the Ford Foundation, or a university (such as the U. of Hawaii’s East-West Center) as a diplomat or other go-between between America and Muslim-intensive regions like Indonesia, Pakistan, or East Africa.

On the other hand, Obama is by background a Muslimist rather than an Arabist, with most of his overseas familiarity with Islamic but non-Arab regions. I coined the term “Muslimist” in 2012 as an extension of the term “Arabist,” which has long referred to the small caste of elite Americans who have made it family business to serve as diplomats, missionaries, and educators in the Arab world (e.g., Steve Kerr, coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, is the first Kerr in generations not to make the Middle Eash his career). Muslimist refers to Americans who specialize in relations with non-Arab Muslim countries around the Indian Ocean.

So no President was better familiarized with the Islamic world, but few have made worse calls than the one Obama made over Syria.

Update: I should add: “relative to Obama’s lack of bloodthirstiness and reasonableness on foreign policy compared to, say, John McCain.”


Screenshot 2015-11-25 14.43.02

Ever since the Paris Massacres, the establishment has mounted a campaign to convince Americans who follow the news that our memories of terrorist incidents are all wrong. One ploy is to emphasize a technical distinction between refugee and asylee. But the funnier one is their assurance that: “You don’t have to worry about this new generation of Muslims; if history is any guide, it’s their sons who will be much more likely to try to kill us!”

Evidently, the Magic of Assimilation doesn’t work as well as has been promised in other contexts …

Instead of looking at this graphic skeptically, we are suppose to swell up with patriotic pride that Joker Tsarnaev deigned to become a naturalized citizen. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Screenshot 2015-11-25 15.11.37 By the way, I see that Tamerlan Tsarnaev (lower right corner) had a Green Card to permit him to get a job in the U.S. But did he ever have a job? Aspiring MMA fighter, weed dealer, and sponger off your American wife’s affluent family aren’t official jobs, are they?

One root of this mental blindness is that the establishment sees the Terrorism Issue and the Immigration Issue as wholly separate categories.

If there’s a terrorism incident, you should, of course, Invade the World; how could terrorism raise questions about Invite the World? What do Invade the World and Invite the World have to do with each other?

But voters are starting to grasp the connection. Thus the latest Reuters poll has Trump in first at 38.0% followed by the cunning Cruz, who has positioned himself to not get into much conflict with Trump over immigration, in second at 11.6%.


From my new Taki’s Magazine column:

“Strong Mutually Antagonistic Governments Everywhere”
by Steve Sailer
November 25, 2015

In the spirit of Aristotelian moderation, allow me to suggest that an emerging danger of the 21st century is that the non-Western world could get overly right-wing. Ironically, a major cause would be that white Western liberals are focusing all of their firepower—using as cat’s paws flagrantly illiberal nonwhites such as Muslim immigrants—upon the second-most progressive group on earth, white Western conservatives.

In a world where Western whites are an increasingly tiny minority, falling from roughly 19 percent of the world’s population in 1950 to perhaps 9 percent today, this divide is dangerous. The internecine status war among the people who built the modern world looks increasingly likely to embolden the rest of the human race to regress into bad old habits, such as racist hatred, religious fanaticism, and bellicose tribalism.

Read the whole thing there.


From today’s Guardian:

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum

David Crouch in Gothenburg
Tuesday 24 November 2015 13.17 EST

Sweden needs “respite” from the tens of thousands of refugees knocking at its door, the government has said, announcing tough measures to deter asylum seekers in a sharp reversal of its open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution.

The country’s generous asylum regime would revert to the “EU minimum”, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said on Tuesday, revealing that most refugees would receive only temporary residence permits from April.

Identity checks would be imposed on all modes of transport, and the right to bring families to Sweden would be severely restricted, he said. …

“It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more.”

The reversal in refugee policy, which follows the imposition of border controls two weeks ago, marks a policy choice the ruling red-green coalition would have considered unthinkable until asylum seekers began arriving this autumn at a rate of 10,000 a week. …

In other words, the government of Sweden didn’t have a clue how many poor people there are in the world who’d like to move to Sweden and collect welfare. But you can’t blame Sweden’s leaders for their ignorance. How could the government of Sweden possibly have known that many poor foreign countries have large populations? Those are HateStats!

The changes announced on Tuesday were particularly difficult for the Social Democrats’ junior coalition partner, the Green party, seen as the most refugee-friendly of Sweden’s main political parties. The Greens’ deputy prime minister, Åsa Romson, broke into tears as she announced the measures. …

Here’s video. It’s pretty funny (unless you are a Swede and she’s your deputy prime minister).

Sweden’s new asylum regime will apply for three years.


On 9/11 there were numerous reports of celebrating Middle Easterners in New Jersey, but this is the one that appears to have been most carefully documented. From ABC News on an incident that has since been pretty much memory-holed:

Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies?

Millions saw the horrific images of the World Trade Center attacks, and those who saw them won’t forget them. But a New Jersey homemaker saw something that morning that prompted an investigation into five young Israelis and their possible connection to Israeli intelligence.

Maria, who asked us not to use her last name, had a view of the World Trade Center from her New Jersey apartment building. She remembers a neighbor calling her shortly after the first plane hit the towers.

She grabbed her binoculars and watched the destruction unfolding in lower Manhattan. But as she watched the disaster, something else caught her eye.

Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. “They seemed to be taking a movie,” Maria said.

The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men’s faces. “They were like happy, you know … They didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,” she said.

She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.

The plate number was traced to a van owned by a company called Urban Moving. Around 4 p.m. on Sept. 11, the van was spotted on a service road off Route 3, near New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. A police officer pulled the van over, finding five men, between 22 and 27 years old, in the vehicle. The men were taken out of the van at gunpoint and handcuffed by police.

The arresting officers said they saw a lot that aroused their suspicion about the men. One of the passengers had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock. Another was carrying two foreign passports. A box cutter was found in the van. But perhaps the biggest surprise for the officers came when the five men identified themselves as Israeli citizens.

According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan “during the incident” — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.

When the men were transferred to jail, the case was transferred out of the FBI’s Criminal Division, and into the bureau’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which is responsible for espionage cases, ABCNEWS has learned.

One reason for the shift, sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation. …

Steven Gordon, the attorney for the five Israeli detainees, acknowledged that his clients’ actions on Sept. 11 would easily have aroused suspicions. “You got a group of guys that are taking pictures, on top of a roof, of the World Trade Center. They’re speaking in a foreign language. They got two passports on ‘em. One’s got a wad of cash on him, and they got box cutters. Now that’s a scary situation.”

But Gordon insisted that his clients were just five young men who had come to America for a vacation, ended up working for a moving company, and were taking pictures of the event.

The five Israelis were held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, ostensibly for overstaying their tourist visas and working in the United States illegally. Two weeks after their arrest, an immigration judge ordered them to be deported. But sources told ABCNEWS that FBI and CIA officials in Washington put a hold on the case.

The five men were held in detention for more than two months. Some of them were placed in solitary confinement for 40 days, and some of them were given as many as seven lie-detector tests.

Since their arrest, plenty of speculation has swirled about the case, and what the five men were doing that morning. Eventually, The Forward, a respected Jewish newspaper in New York, reported the FBI concluded that two of the men were Israeli intelligence operatives.

Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of operations for counterterrorism with the CIA who is now a consultant for ABCNEWS, said federal authorities’ interest in the case was heightened when some of the men’s names were found in a search of a national intelligence database.

According to Cannistraro, many people in the U.S. intelligence community believed that some of the men arrested were working for Israeli intelligence. Cannistraro said there was speculation as to whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists in the area, particularly in the New Jersey-New York area.”

Under this scenario, the alleged spying operation was not aimed against the United States, but at penetrating or monitoring radical fund-raising and support networks in Muslim communities like Paterson, N.J., which was one of the places where several of the hijackers lived in the months prior to Sept. 11.

For the FBI, deciphering the truth from the five Israelis proved to be difficult. One of them, Paul Kurzberg, refused to take a lie-detector test for 10 weeks — then failed it, according to his lawyer. Another of his lawyers told us Kurzberg had been reluctant to take the test because he had once worked for Israeli intelligence in another country.

Sources say the Israelis were targeting these fund-raising networks because they were thought to be channeling money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, groups that are responsible for most of the suicide bombings in Israel. …

Despite the denials, sources tell ABCNEWS there is still debate within the FBI over whether or not the young men were spies.

I doubt if this was terribly important incident, although I have to say I was surprised to see how seriously the FBI took it.

My guess is that there are many casual ties between Israeli intelligence, Israeli business interests (e.g., telecom software), organized crime (e.g., the Ecstasy pill trade), and Israeli illegal immigrants in the U.S.

For example, I can vaguely recall decades ago the marketing research firm I worked for being subjected to intrusive “Israeli art students.” Were they selling bad paintings? Were they trying to spy on us? Both? It didn’t seem like any kind of sophisticated effort. What in the world kind of info could you steal by barging around the hallways of a consumer packaged goods research firm with the office manager trying to throw you out? It was more like just something that random aggressive Israeli young people might think might turn out to be a good idea. Or maybe they could sell some crummy paintings. Or maybe it would just be a fun adventure.

But that’s how good intelligence systems work: you can’t afford to pay for full timers to cover everything, so you exchange gossip with merchants and journalists on your side and encourage them to be pushy about finding out stuff.

For example, the Tom Hanks character in Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” is portrayed as a humble insurance lawyer who just happens to get picked by the local bar association to defend the arrested Soviet spymaster Rudolf Abel. But in reality, the man Hanks portrays had been the head lawyer for the CIA’s predecessor, the OSS, in WWII. After the war he went into commercial law because it pays better than being a government lawyer. But the American government continued to trust him to handle delicate deals, just as the remarkably prosperous East German lawyer he negotiated the Francis Gary Powers swap with had been vetted by his side.

As far as I can tell, U.S. intelligence is fairly hamstrung by fear of leaks and traitors. For example, a friend applied for a job as a CIA analyst, but it took forever for the security checks so he took a job in private industry instead. My impression is that Israeli intelligence is more free-wheeling because it trusts Israeli Jews (with the exception of that technician who spilled the beans that, yes, Israel has nukes). But I’m speculating because what do I know?



To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, let’s ponder the fact that the young Barack Obama really did help Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe write this embarrassingly sophomoric-sounding article. Here’s the abstract that reads like a Sokal Hoax:

The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn From Modern Physics

Laurence H. Tribe
Harvard Law Review (Impact Factor: 3.95). 11/1989; 103(1):1. DOI: 10.2307/1341407

Twentieth-century physics revolutionized our understanding of the physical world. Relativity theory replaced a view of the universe as made up of isolated objects acting upon one another at a distance with a model in which space itself was curved and changed by the presence and movement of objects. Quantum physics undermined the confidence of scientists in their ability to observe and understand a phenomenon without fundamentally altering it in the process. Professor Tribe uses these paradigm shifts in physics to illustrate the need for a revised constitutional jurisprudence. He argues that judges and lawyers need to recognize the profound impact that the law has in shaping the social background. This background is too often taken as given. Judges, in particular, cannot simply reach in and resolve disputes between individuals without permanently altering the legal and social space. The very act of judging alters the context and relationships being judged. Professor Tribe concludes that, while perspectives resembling those of modern physics have been integrated into some of the most important constitutional cases decided during the twentieth century, the current Supreme Court shows an unfortunate tendency toward relying too often on visions of society and knowledge that have long been rejected as overly formal and sterile.

According to Tribe, Obama did the physics parts for him, so you know it’s legit.

Is this where Obama got that “arc of history bends toward” whatever he feels like trope? Is the full article available online anywhere?

Update: Thanks to commenter Handle, here’s the full paper, which indeed thanks Barack Obama. Here’s the official “Summary:”

… Early in our nation’s history it was commonplace, for example, to say that the 1787 Constitution was Newtonian in design, with its carefully counterpoised forces and counterforces, its checks and balances, structured like a “machine that would go of itself” to meet the crises of the future. … The dissenters, in what I would praise as an admirably post-Newtonian insight, concluded that it belied reality to contend that the state had done nothing with respect to Joshua. … From a post-Newtonian perspective, Boddie is the more dramatic case and provides the stronger parallel to DeShaney. … B. The Tentative Emergence of a Post-Newtonian Paradigm … This school board focus creates the perception that white flight is an insoluble problem. … The constitutional violation Kennedy identifies is all but invisible unless one takes a post-Newtonian perspective. … The first is empirical — which paradigm best explains the available “data”? Although the mathematics needed to work it all out is complex, Einstein’s theory is not only simpler in basic conception and more elegant in design than Newton’s; it makes better predictions about a number of real-world phenomena — including the degree to which a star’s light ray that passes in the sun’s vicinity appears to be deflected by the sun’s mass when visible during a solar eclipse. … The Einsteinian paradigm is, in this way, more progressive than the Newtonian paradigm. … In this way, the post Newtonian legal paradigm is more progressive than the Newtonian
paradigm. …

Here’s never-before-seen video of Tribe and Obama writing “The Curvature of Constitutional Space” together:

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
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The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?