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From Vox:

Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it.

Updated by Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett May 18, 2017, 9:50am EDT

Eric Turkheimer is the Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Twitter: @ent3c. Kathryn Paige Harden (@kph3k) is associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Richard E. Nisbett is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan.

Charles Murray, the conservative scholar who co-authored The Bell Curve with the late Richard Herrnstein, was recently denied a platform at Middlebury College. Students shouted him down, and one of his hosts was hurt in a scuffle. But Murray recently gained a much larger audience: an extensive interview with best-selling author Sam Harris on his popular Waking Up podcast. That is hardly a niche forum: Waking Up is the fifth-most-downloaded podcast in iTunes’s Science and Medicine category.

Getting worked up over Charles Murray being allowed on a podcast seems a little bizarre. (Here’s the podcast.)

Under the faux indignation and clickbait headline, however, this is about as good an attempt as any to shore up the Conventional Wisdom that the racial differences in average intelligence can’t be influenced by genetics at all. So I’ll go through a chunk of it, adding comments.

Interestingly, the article, when read carefully, is also about how Charles Murray is mostly so much more right than the Conventional Wisdom about IQ. But he’s still a Witch! The article is another one of these attempts to fight back against today’s rampant Science Denialism while not being accused of witchcraft yourself.

Here’s an important question: Do these triple bankshot approaches ever work?

They’re kind of like some prisoner of war being put on TV to denounce the Great Satan while blinking T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse Code? But what if nobody back home knows Morse Code anymore?

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is continually dumbing down. We don’t worry about how to apply objective principles anymore to real world examples of human behavior, we just look for who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys. And how can we tell? Just look at them: the cishet white males are the Bad Guys. What’s so complicated about that?

In this kind of mental atmosphere, will more than three Vox readers come to the end of this carefully coded article and say to themselves: “You know, Charles Murray is still as evil and stupid as I thought, but now I realize that most of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”?

In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.

The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics. …

(In the interview, Murray says he has modified none of his views since the publication of the book, in 1994; if anything, he says, the evidence for his claims has grown stronger. In fact, the field of intelligence has moved far beyond what Murray has been saying for the past 23 years.)

Eh … As I pointed out on the 20th anniversary of The Bell Curve, the world today looks even more like the world Herrnstein and Murray described.

The reality is that there haven’t been all that many revolutionary discoveries since then. The genomic research up through 2016 largely has panned out in the direction Herrnstein and Murray expected, although I’ve been told that a new preprint raises questions about Murray’s guess that the gene variants driving differences between the races are similar to the variants driving differences between individuals. If true, that would suggest that racial differences are in some ways more profound than Murray assumed, which would be ironic.

Turkheimer has gotten a lot of attention for a 2003 paper arguing that in one sample of poor people with lowish IQs, the heritability of IQ was lower than in better off populations, which is interesting but not hugely galvanizing. Emil Kirkegaard in 2016 asked “Did Turkheimer el al (2003) replicate?” I won’t try to adjudicate a question over my head.

But, anyway, the last big scientific finding to raise major questions about the Jensenist view was the Flynn Effect in the 1970s-1980s, which Herrnstein and Murray didn’t exactly ignore: they named it in The Bell Curve.

Murray’s premises, which proceed in declining order of actual broad acceptance by the scientific community, go like this:

1) Intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, is a meaningful construct that describes differences in cognitive ability among humans.

2) Individual differences in intelligence are moderately heritable.

3) Racial groups differ in their mean scores on IQ tests.

4) Discoveries about genetic ancestry have validated commonly used racial groupings.

5) On the basis of points 1 through 4, it is natural to assume that the reasons for racial differences in IQ scores are themselves at least partly genetic.

Until you get to 5, none of the premises is completely incorrect. However, for each of them Murray’s characterization of the evidence is slanted in a direction that leads first to the social policies he endorses, and ultimately to his conclusions about race and IQ. We, and many other scientific psychologists, believe the evidence supports a different view of intelligence, heritability, and race.

We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours. …

Let’s take Murray’s principles one at a time.

Intelligence is meaningful. This principle comes closest to being universally accepted by scientific psychologists. …

But observing that some people have greater cognitive ability than others is one thing; assuming that this is because of some biologically based, essential inner quality called g that causes them to be smarter, as Murray claims, is another. There is a vibrant ongoing debate about the biological reality of g, but intelligence tests can be meaningful and useful even if an essential inner g doesn’t exist at all.

Indeed. So what is the relevance of g to this debate?

The question of g is fascinating and also quite difficult. But it’s not absolutely relevant to this debate other than that poor Stephen Jay Gould got all hung up on g, fulminating: “The chimerical nature of g is the rotten core of Jensen’s edifice …”

As I’ve pointed out before, for example, Harvard requires applicants to take the SAT or ACT, both of which correlate considerably with IQ. The goal is to supplement the GPA with a measure that gives additional insight into brainpower. Say the g factor doesn’t exist and that there is zero correlation between an SAT math score and an SAT verbal score. Harvard would still favor students who score well on both measures over those who score well on only math or verbal. In the real world, there is a lot of correlation between SAT Math and SAT Verbal scores, just like the g factor theory implies. But, I suspect, we would still be having this IQ and Race debate if there weren’t.

Intelligence is heritable. To say that intelligence is heritable means that, in general, people who are more similar genetically are also more similar in their IQ. Identical twins, who share all their DNA, have more similar IQs than fraternal twins or siblings, who only share half. Half-siblings’ IQs are even less similar than that; cousins, still less.

Heritability is not unique to IQ; in fact, virtually all differences among individual human beings are somewhat heritable. … Heritability is not a special property of certain traits that have turned out to be genetic; it is a description of the human condition, according to which we are born with certain biological realities that play out in complex ways in concert with environmental factors, and are affected by chance events throughout our lives.

Okay!

This is a pretty funny example of the rhetorical strategy of much of this article. It’s designed to get readers to say to themselves: “That nasty moron Murray thinks the heritability of intelligence is partly genetic, when smart people know it’s really a … description of the human condition!”

An awful lot of this article consists of the three professors agreeing with Murray, but phrasing their endorsement of various Bell Curve assertions in such a way that Vox readers will think it’s actually a crushing takedown of Murray. The whole thing is full of these kind of trick maneuvers.

Do these kind of Secret Decoder Ring articles ever work? Does anybody ever finish the article and say to themselves, “Yes, Charlie Murray is just as evil and stupid as I previously believed, but now I’m aware that 80% of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”

I dunno …

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is just getting dumber and dumber as the dominant way of thinking gets more childish: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. (And you determine who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys not by something complicated like what they do, but by something simple: who they are.) So the likelihood of this kind of devious triple bankshot approach actually smartening people up doesn’t seem all that likely. But what do I know?

Today we can also study genes and behavior more directly by analyzing people’s DNA. These methods have given scientists a new way to compute heritability: Studies that measure DNA sequence variation directly have shown that pairs of people who are not relatives, but who are slightly more similar genetically

Such as members of the same race?

Much of the brain fog that besets Vox-level discussions of this question is due to Americans forgetting that race is deeply related to the question of who your relatives are. American intellectuals seldom think in terms of family trees, even though biological genealogy is just about the most absolutely real thing there is in the social realm. The simple reality is that people of one race tend to be more closely related in their family trees to people of the same race than they are to people of other races. But almost nobody notices the relations between race and genealogy in modern American thinking.

, also have more similar IQs than other pairs of people who happen to be more different genetically. These “DNA-based” heritability studies don’t tell you much more than the classical twin studies did, but they put to bed many of the lingering suspicions that twin studies were fundamentally flawed in some way. Like the validity of intelligence testing, the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.

In other words, “the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.” Nor is “the validity of intelligence testing.”

The new DNA-based science has also led to an ironic discovery: Virtually none of the complex human qualities that have been shown to be heritable are associated with a single determinative gene!

It’s almost as if the genetics behind the most complex object in the known universe, the human brain, are also complex.

There are no “genes for” IQ in any but the very weakest sense. Murray’s assertion in the podcast that we are only a few years away from a thorough understanding of IQ at the level of individual genes is scientifically unserious. Modern DNA science has found hundreds of genetic variants that each have a very, very tiny association with intelligence, but even if you add them all together they predict only a small fraction of someone’s IQ score.

And that fraction goes up year by year as larger and larger sample sizes are assembled.

The ability to add together genetic variants to predict an IQ score is a useful tool in the social sciences, but it has not produced a purely biological understanding of why some people have more cognitive ability than others.

Indeed, “it has not produced a purely biological understanding.” But the biological understanding is improving annually.

This is the usual debate over whether a glass is part full or part empty. What we can say is that each year, the glass gets fuller.

Most crucially, heritability, whether low or high, implies nothing about modifiability. The classic example is height, which is strongly heritable (80 to 90 percent), yet the average height of 11-year-old boys in Japan has increased by more than 5 inches in the past 50 years.

True. I write about height a fair amount in part because the effects of nurture on height are so clear. Thus, it’s plausible that the effects of nurture on intelligence probably exist too, even though they are hard to document.

As a non-scientist, I’m more of a nurturist when it comes to IQ than most actual scientists in the field. The scientists emphasize that that the half or so of the influences on IQ that aren’t nature aren’t what we normally think of as nurture, such as having a lot of books in the house growing up. Instead, what gets lumped under nurture appears to be mostly random bad luck that we don’t really understand.

But I’m more cautious on this than most researchers. I’m not convinced that they’ve figured out what drives the Flynn Effect over time, so I’ll hold open the possibility that more traditional nurture may play a considerable role.

But, please note, the Japanese remain one of the shorter nationalities despite a couple of generations of first world living standards. They’ve been surpassed in average height by the South Koreans, for example. The tallest Europeans on average include the wealthy Dutch and the much less wealthy Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians. So, height differences among ancestral groups appear to be part nature, part nurture.

A similar historical change is occurring for intelligence: Average IQ scores are increasing across birth cohorts, such that Americans experienced an 18-point gain in average IQ from 1948 to 2002.

Indeed, the Flynn Effect is extremely interesting, as I’ve often pointed out.

And the most decisive and permanent environmental intervention that an individual can experience, adoption from a poor family into a better-off one, is associated with IQ gains of 12 to 18 points. …

There was a small French study of cross-class adoption with a sample size of 38. Despite the tiny sample, I find its finding that nature and nurture are about roughly equally influential (with nature a little stronger) quite plausible. (My general presumption before studying any interesting question is that we’ll end up around fifty-fifty.)

Race differences in average IQ score. People who identify as black or Hispanic in the US and elsewhere on average obtain lower IQ scores than people who identify as white or Asian. That is simply a fact, and stating it plainly offers no support in itself for a biological interpretation of the difference. To what extent is the observed difference in cognitive function a reflection of the myriad ways black people in the US experience historical, social, and economic disadvantage — earning less money, suffering more from chronic disease, dying younger, living in more dangerous and chaotic neighborhoods, attending inferior schools?

Okay, but let’s think about African-American height for a moment, since we were just talking about Japanese height. There’s this guy you may have heard of named LeBron James.

He’s really tall.

In fact, there are a lot of tall, healthy African-Americans currently dominating the NBA playoffs. In terms of height, African-Americans don’t appear to be a malnourished, beaten down population like, say, Guatemalan Indians.

Similarly, the last 72 men to qualify for the finals of the Olympic 100 meter dash, from 1984 through 2016, have been at least half black.

Now you could say, like James Flynn, that contemporary African-American culture is detrimental to the full development of African-American cognitive functioning, that black Americans focus too much on basketball and gangsta rap.

I think that’s highly possible.

But, who exactly is responsible for that? Charles Murray?

This is another triple bankshot approach: if we can just punch Charles Murray enough (metaphorically or literally), then inner city blacks will realize they should stop listening to gangsta rap and instead become patent attorneys. Or something.

… Race and genetic ancestry. First, a too-brief interlude about the biological status of race and genetic ancestry. The topic of whether race is a social or biological construct has been as hotly debated as any topic in the human sciences. The answer, by our lights, isn’t that hard: Human evolutionary history is real; the more recent sorting of people into nations and social groups with some degree of ethnic similarity is real; individual and familial ancestry is real. All of these things are correlated with genetics, but they are also all continuous and dynamic, both geographically and historically.

Our lay concept of race is a social construct that has been laid on top of these vastly more complex biological realities. That is not to say that socially defined race is meaningless or useless. (Modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided.)

And since “modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided,” they can, of course, also do the easier job of determining whether the bulk of your relatives were from Europe or sub-Saharan Africa.

However, a willingness to speak casually about modern racial groupings as simplifications of the ancient and turbulent history of human ancestry should not deceive us into conjuring back into existence 19th-century notions of race — Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, and all that.

Funny how the Obama Administration spent 8 years heartily enforcing policies based on categories called whites (i.e., Caucasoid), blacks (Negroid), and Asians (Mongoloid) and all that. It’s almost as if the Obama Administration believed that such categories are good enough for government work.

Murray talks about advances in population genetics as if they have validated modern racial groups. In reality, the racial groups used in the US — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — are such a poor proxy for underlying genetic ancestry that no self-respecting statistical geneticist would undertake a study based only on self-identified racial category as a proxy for genetic ancestry measured from DNA.

Okay, but the implication of that argument is 180 degrees backward from what Turkheimer et al are rhetorically implying. Isn’t it obvious that IQ studies that use self-identified race, as most do, are going to find a slightly lower correlation between race and IQ than ideal studies that use actual genetic ancestry?

For example, both Barack and Michelle Obama self-identified on the 2010 Census solely as black, but Barack clearly has a higher IQ than Michelle. The Vox authors in effect complain that studies based on self-identification would lump both together as purely black, ignoring Barack’s substantial white ancestry. That’s a reasonable methodological complaint, but its implications are the reverse of what they imply.

Similarly, there is an obvious correlation in the U.S. among Hispanics between white ancestry and educational attainment that gets blurred if you rely purely on self-identification.

Black Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier complained in 2004 that a very large fraction of Harvard’s affirmative action spots for blacks go to applicants, like Barack, with a white parent and/or foreign elite ancestry instead of toward genuine descendants of American slaves, like Michelle. (They sort of dropped the topic after the rise of Barack later that year).

Finally, the relationship between self-identification and racial ancestry has been investigated via DNA a lot recently, and the results are pretty much that, for whites and blacks, the government’s categories for self-identification are good enough for government work. In 23andMe studies, people who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites are overwhelmingly over 90% white by ancestry. People who identify as non-Hispanic African-Americans are largely at least 50% black.

23andme found among their clients, by my calculations:

If the average self-identified black is 73.2% black and the average self-identified white is 0.19% black, then the average black in America is 385 times blacker than the average white. That doesn’t seem very murky to me.

This was all predictable from the workings of the One Drop System.

Some of this will change in newer generations raised under somewhat different rules, but the basic reality discovered by genome studies is that in America, individuals who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites or as non-Hispanic blacks tend to be quite different by ancestry.

Genetic group differences in IQ. On the basis of the above premises, Murray casually concludes that group differences in IQ are genetically based. But what of the actual evidence on the question? Murray makes a rhetorical move that is commonly deployed by people supporting his point of view: They stake out the claim that at least some of the difference between racial groups is genetic, and challenge us to defend the claim that none, absolutely zero, of it is. They know that science is not designed for proving absolute negatives, but we will go this far: There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin.

“No reason at all” is pretty silly. A much more reasonable suggestion would be that Occam’s Razor currently favors the hypothesis that some of the IQ gap is genetic in origin, but the subject is extremely complicated and it could turn out to be different.

It’s also possible that there is something we don’t understand at present about this dauntingly complex subject that makes a reasonably final answer not possible, a little bit like how Gödel’s incompleteness theorems came as a big surprise to mathematicians and philosophers such as Bertrand Russell.

In any case, we’ll learn a lot more about this subject over the next couple of decades due to the ongoing advances in genomics.

I had dinner last year with a geneticist who informed me that in his laptop in his backpack under the table was data documenting some gene variants that contribute a part of the racial IQ gap. He asked me if I thought he should publish it.

I asked him how close he was to tenure.

Now, if this scientist chooses to publish, Turkheimer et al could still argue that his results aren’t a “significant portion” of The Gap. This question is very, very complex technically, and giant sample sizes are needed. But those will be eventually forthcoming and we will (probably) eventually see.

But, right now, it sure seems like the wind has mostly been blowing for a long, long time in Murray’s direction and there’s not much reason to expect it to suddenly reverse in the future.

Toward the end of the Vox article:

Liberals need not deny that intelligence is a real thing or that IQ tests measure something real about intelligence, that individuals and groups differ in measured IQ, or that individual differences are heritable in complex ways.

But liberals must deny that racial differences in IQ could possibly be heritable in complex ways.

But isn’t the upshot of this article that Charles Murray is more correct than the Conventional Wisdom about 80% of what’s at issue?

Why isn’t this article entitled, for example: “Charles Murray is mostly right and Stephen Jay Gould was mostly wrong”?

And that leads to a meta-point: Instead of liberals attempting to imply, using all their rhetorical skills, that only horrible people like Charles Murray think there is any evidence at all for a genetic influence on differences in average IQs among races, shouldn’t they be spending more time explaining why, if Murray turns out to be right, that wouldn’t be The End of the World? Right now, we get told over and over about how unthinkable and outrageous this quite plausible scientific finding would be and how only bad people, practically Hitlerites, think there is any evidence for it at all.

This conventional wisdom strikes me as imprudent.

Personally, I think, this seemingly horrifying potential scientific discovery ought to be easily endurable, just as the NBA has survived the rise of the popular suspicion that the reasons LeBron James and other blacks make up most of the best basketball players include genetic differences.

I’ve long argued that The Worst that liberals can imagine about the scientific reality isn’t actually so bad. Murray’s world looks an awful lot like the world we live in, which we manage to live in. But I don’t have the rhetorical chops to reassure liberals that life will go on. I’m an official Horrible Extremist.

But that raises the question: Who does have the rhetorical skills to undermine the increasingly hysterical conventional wisdom and package the mature point of view about genetic diversity in the old soft soap that will go over well with Nice People?

Clearly, even Charles Murray doesn’t have the eloquence to reassure liberals.

Fortunately, there is this guy who is obsessed with genetic diversity in sports, having read David Epstein’s HBD-aware The Sports Gene, And he is really good at public speaking to liberals. And he doesn’t have that much else on his plate at the moment: Barack Obama.

So if Mr. Obama ever reads this, let me ask him to think about taking on the public service of deflating the Science Denialist hysteria over race and genetic diversity.

P.S. This article’s junior co-author, Paige Harden, had some more respectful things to say about Murray back in March.

 
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One trend we’ve been tracking at iSteve recently is Tiger Children taking over the social justice jihadi racket. You might think that just because you are poor and black that you’d get a leg up in the struggle for, say, a leftist NGO job, but … look out! The hardest-charging immigrants are coming from 10,000 miles away to outhustle you for your black privilege. These well-fed scions of Asia’s upper classes just want it all more than some poor African-American kid from the slums and they’re willing to be the most insufferable brown-nosers ever to get their hands on some juicy black privilege.

They.Have.No.Shame.

From The Root:

Muslim Teen Writes #BlackLivesMatter 100 Times for His Stanford Application Statement, Gets Accepted

Monique Judge
Yesterday 8:10pm

Out by the pool

Is your activism performative or substantive? One New Jersey teen knew exactly how to show his answer to that question when filling out his application to Stanford University. Asked “What matters to you, and why?” the teen could think of only one thing: #BlackLivesMatter.

Ziad Ahmed wrote the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 100 times, and that one act of activism paid off. According to a Mic profile of Ahmed, he received his letter of acceptance from Stanford on Friday.

Ahmed, who is a senior at Princeton (N.J.) Day School, said in an email to Mic: “I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted. I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability.” …

Ahmed told Mic that his “unapologetic progressivism” is a central part of his identity, and he wanted that represented in his application.

He said that his Islamic faith and his commitment to justice are intertwined, and he would not be a good Muslim if he turned a blind eye to the injustices the black community faces on a daily basis. …

Stanford will be lucky to get Ahmed, who has already built a reputation in the activist community. The 18-year-old has been invited to the White House Iftar dinner, led Martin O’Malley’s youth presidential campaign, and interned and worked for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

He’s also founded two youth organizations and delivered a TEDxTalk about the dangers and impact of stereotypes from his perspective as a Muslim teen.

In addition to Stanford, Ahmed was admitted to Princeton and Yale.

From his Huffington Post bio last year:

Ziad Ahmed

Teen Activist, Founder of Redefy, CVO of JÜV Consulting, TEDx Speaker, Kid Tryna Change the World

Ziad Ahmed is a 18-year-old senior at Princeton Day School.

Tuition $34,600.

He is an American-Muslim, Bangladeshi, and passionate social justice activist. Ziad founded a teen organization, redefy (www.redefy.org), committed to furthering equality. Redefy has grown immensely with over 250 students internationally on the team, over 3,000 likes on facebook, and over 60,000 hits on redefy.org.

His work has been commended by President Barack Obama personally, PBS, CCTV, and other notable sources.

Screenshot 2017-04-05 00.29.58 Ziad has also worked for the Martin O’Malley 2016 Presidential Campaign, holding the role of Co-Head of YouthForOMalley. As he hopes to further his political engagement, he has also interned with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in her district office. He has also interned for the US State Department as a VSFS intern. Furthermore, he also volunteered for the Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential Campaign, focusing on Muslim Outreach efforts.

As an aspiring entrepeneuer, Ziad has co-founded JÜV Consulting Inc. (www.juvconsulting.com), which is a youth consulting confirm.

Slogan: “Current, Curated, Creative: Meet Generation Z, the generation after Millennials, the seemingly unidentifiable generation of current teenagers: sought after as customers and misunderstood as people. Understanding teens is posing a growing challenge to companies, non-profits, and brands everywhere.

“JÜV Consulting provides current, curated, and creative solutions to that challenge.”

He serves as the CVO of the company,

What’s a CVO?

Oh, no, just as I feared: “Chief Visionary Officer.”

Screenshot 2017-04-04 19.52.35

and is excited to further the platform that seeks to empower teens with the opportunity to communicate directly with businesses about what exactly appeals to youth. Additionally, he was invited to give a TEDxTalk in Panama City, Panama that can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3c66GFN6qA.

Overwhelmingly though, Ziad is just your average teenager trying grappling with identity, struggling to balance it all, and pursuing his passions.

Maybe, hopefully, this kid isn’t for real and he’s just a Clickhole parody?

Probably not, though. He, his parents, and (presumably) their consultants have built quite a paper trail promoting their little darling. From Princeton Magazine:

A Local Activist Fighting Racism Has Dinner With President Obama

By Anne Levin

When Ziad Ahmed founded the organization Redefy to help teenagers recognize and remove cultural stereotypes, he never imagined that just two years later he would be dining with President Obama at the White House. But on June 22, that is exactly where the 16-year-old Princeton Day School (PDS) student found himself — and not just at any table. At the annual White House Iftar, which marks the traditional breaking of the fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan, the president chose to sit with Ziad and seven other young people and engage them in conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Obama singled Ziad out in his speech.

“They’re Muslim Americans like Ziad Ahmed,” he said. “As a Bangladeshi-American growing up in New Jersey, he saw early on that there was not enough understanding in the world. So two years ago, he founded Redefy, a website to push back against harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him — he’s only 16; I think our youngest guest tonight — to share their stories. Because, in Ziad’s words, ‘ignorance can be defeated through education.’ He wants to do his part to make sure that ‘Muslims can be equal members of society and still hold onto their faith and identity.’ So we’re very proud of you, Ziad.”

“The whole thing was just mind-blowing,” Ziad said this week. “It’s the most prestigious event Muslim Americans get invited to. I just thought I’d be at some table, but Obama sat with us for an hour.”

The invitation to the White House came after MTV News profiled Ziad’s work with Redefy, as well as later efforts to inspire teen forums on racial profiling. Last April, the organization launched #PrincetonAgainstRacism, a social media campaign in which 125 portraits of people were taken at PDS and the Communiversity street fair, asking them to finish the prompt “I stand against racism because …” …

The son of a hedge fund manager

Indeed.

I’m guessing Ziad Ahmed’s dad is Shakil Ahmed. Here’s a 2011 profile of this “secret genius” during his days at Citi before he started his own hedge fund.

and a stay-at-home mom who does property management, Ziad was first inspired to take action the summer before ninth grade. “That summer, when I was 14, I noticed that in the community, people needed a platform by which they could be educated about minority experience,” he said. “I found a lot of ignorance — not malicious hate, just innocent ignorance. I wanted to initiate positive change at school, so I decided to create Redefy.”

The organization was officially launched that September. Today the leadership team has six people and representatives as far as Brazil and Pakistan, whom Ziad met through summer programs he has attended. …

The idea is to produce “measurable change,” Ziad said. “Our mission in 2014 was to promote integration. For this year, it is to reduce racial prejudice and hate.” … “It’s hard to hate somebody you know.”

But I could imagine making an exception in Ziad’s case.

Key to Redefy’s mission is equality for everyone. “All any of us want is a world that’s safe and accepting for our children,” Ziad said. …

Ziad and his team do workshops at local schools and hold bi-monthly conversations about current events. Media coverage led to the story by MTV News, “the most exciting thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “To get that coverage on national news was mind-blowing.” …

Among Ziad’s table-mates were Samantha Elauf, who won a Supreme Court case against the Abercrombie company after she was denied employment because she wore a traditional head scarf; Munir Khalif, the child of Somali immigrants who was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and created an organization to help children in East Africa get an education; …

“[Obama] had read about me, and he told me to keep doing the work I’m doing. I was thrilled. A lot of people wanted to speak with him about different things, and he was so articulate, kind, and witty.”

Not surprisingly, the experience was an inspiration for Ziad to expand his work with Redefy….

“I was up till 4 a.m. thinking about this,” he said. “I want all kids in Princeton to get involved. Because one of my biggest obstacles has been trying to engage kids who aren’t particularly passionate about social justice. …”

And here are excerpts from the collected poems of Ziad Ahmed:

Blinds

… a sliver of white light beamed through the purgatory
I winced not thinking anything of it …

My parents told me later
that they too were once blinded
by that same intense pasty flash .

My baby brother cried for the warmth of the sun
but we gave him the warmth of white milk
to drown out his sobs.

It took me a lifetime to realize that
that light was the whitewashing of our reality
and even in that word
we claim that oppression
is somehow clean.

So now
I pull back the blinds
but I see nothing
in a world
that doesn’t see me.

Okay, I get it, you don’t like white people.

The Mythology of Reality

We dare not question the legitimacy of fact,
the thought of rebellion far too abstract.

The earth is flat.
Pluto is a planet.
Guns make us safer.
English is the official language of this great nation.
Women are more emotional.
Black people are more dangerous.
Muslims are terrorists.
The axis of evil is our greatest threat.
Homosexuality is a sin.
Native-American genocide did not occur.
Andrew Jackson is a hero.
Blame the victim.
#AllLivesMatter.

The lies are everywhere,
so much so that I begin to question if I am aware.

From Bloomberg:

The Generation Z Consultants
They’re not just teen experts. They’re actual teens. And they’re for hire.

by Ian Frisch

November 30, 2016, 7:55 AM PST

In the summer of 2015, at a Cornell University camp for high school students, a teenager from California named Melinda Guo met a boy from New Jersey named Ziad Ahmed. They shared an interest in business, marketing, and philanthropy. “You’re probably going to be the only person I keep in touch with after this,” Ahmed told Guo.

… Ahmed was devoted to a diversity nonprofit he’d started, which had gotten him invited to the White House’s annual iftar dinner—held after sundown during Ramadan—the previous June. Guo and Ahmed hoped to work on something together, and that October, Ahmed called Guo with a pitch. He wanted to create a consulting firm focused on people like themselves: members of Generation Z. Those born after 1996 make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population and wield $44 billion in buying power.

… “One day I was like, ‘Wait, what about Jüv,’ ” Guo says. It brought to mind juvenile or rejuvenate. Plus, the umlaut looked cool.

Commenter Sid observes

This is a key reason why I find myself more and more opposed to legal immigration altogether each year.

His dad worked at Citi and has his own hedgefund… Great, model immigrant, right? His son is still stealing slots from our “top” schools and Affirmative Action rights from blacks, all the while bashing the United States, our history, and our culture.

The boy has no original thoughts, has done nothing but pad his resume, but is still showered with praise and support from Hillary, Obama, and the other loser. Oh, dear, and he’s still oppressed!

It’s also sickening how our culture actively pushes ethnic minorities to despise the US. It’s just madness. Many immigrants come relieved and grateful to be in America, but then their children find new ways to feel oppressed, largely because they’re urged to in school.

In summary, I don’t see the benefit in accepting immigrants if their children will take our spots and hate us while doing it. If you’re able to work on STEM projects, maybe, but if you’re just here to enrich yourself in fields like finance or law, then stay home and fix your own country.

You can read more hilarious Ziad-generated content in my subsequent post:

I, for one, welcome our new shamelessly black-exploiting, white-hating Tiger Child overlords

 
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I don’t know for sure that Palo Alto, CA, the home of the venture capital industry and next door to Stanford U., is really the highest IQ town in America. The highest test score public schools in America are in Lexington, MA, a suburb preferred by Boston area college professors. And I imagine tiny, rich municipalities like Atherton, CA might have higher average IQ residents than sprawling Palo Alto with its pretty middle class housing stock.

But still … the average home price in Palo Alto is $2.5 million, which is kind of a lot considering the average home is a nothing special ranch style house. Palo Alto houses average $1,471 per square foot, so a 3,000 square foot house would cost $4.4 million.

So if you took the average IQ of the people who live in Palo Alto and the people who work in Palo Alto, it would be awfully high.

Historically, that’s not a coincidence. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine in 2012, Palo Alto has been as central to the story of IQ science in America as it has been to the story of electronics in America. Just before WWI, Lee de Forrest invented an important version of the vacuum tube in Palo Alto, while Stanford professor Lewis Terman published America’s first major IQ test, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales in 1916.

As I wrote in my history of Silicon Valley’s ongoing obsession with intelligence:

In 1921, Terman began his landmark study of gifted children with IQs of 135 and above, which continues even today to track its dwindling band of aged subjects. (Ironically, the young William Shockley was nominated for inclusion in Lewis Terman’s study, but his test score fell just short of the cutoff.) To the public’s surprise, “Terman’s Termites” showed that highly intelligent children were not particularly likely to grow up to be misfits like the much publicized prodigy/bad example William James Sidis. Indeed, the higher the IQ, the better the outcome. Terman’s study was an early landmark in Nerd Liberation, one of the 20th century’s most important social developments.

Hewlett, Packard, F. Terman

Lewis’s son Fred Terman, dean of engineering at Stanford, pretty much invented the distinctive aspects of the Silicon Valley educational-industrial complex, such as by encouraging his students Hewlett & Packard to go into business for themselves.

The other main candidate for Father of Silicon Valley, William Shockley, was a good friend of Terman’s. During WWII, they’d been in charge of mirror image R&D projects for the military in terms of electronic warfare over Germany. Stanford missed out on the federal lucre during WWII, and Terman resolved for Stanford to be ready when the Cold War cranked up. (See Steve Blank’s lecture Hidden in Plain Sight: The Secret History of Silicon Valley for the fascinating back story.)

But Palo Alto wants to stay at the forefront of the growing fad for damnatio memoriae, by rewriting its history to eliminate the names of its now politically inappropriate founding fathers.

From Palo Alto Online:

School board majority supports renaming schools

One trustee worries renaming will distract from deeper issues

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 9:15 am

A majority of the school board agreed on Tuesday that two of the school district’s middle schools should be renamed in light of their namesakes’ leadership roles in the eugenics movement.

Recognizing an opposing view in the community — that to rename these schools would be to sever generations of alumni’s ties to tradition and history — most board members said that in a public school district in 2017, however, schools cannot carry the names of men who actively advocated for policies grounded in a belief that people of certain races and disabilities were inferior to others.

All five trustees said they support a majority recommendation from a district committee, convened last year to study and make recommendations on the renaming issue, to give David Starr Jordan Middle School a new name, and a majority said they also believe Terman Middle School should be renamed.

David Starr Jordan was the first president of Stanford U. He was an anti-imperialist who wrote a famous anti-war treatise pointing out that war was dysgenic: the morally best young men would get gunned down in vast numbers, while the sleazier would be more likely to avoid such a fate.

Terman’s fate is slightly more complicated given its naming history, trustees said Tuesday. Terman was first named after Lewis Terman, a prominent Stanford University psychologist, when the school opened in 1958. When the school later closed and then reopened in 2001, it was named to honor both Lewis and his son, Frederick, an accomplished Stanford electrical engineer. There is no clear evidence, committee members said Tuesday, that Frederick played an active role in or supported the eugenics movement, as Lewis did.

Eh … As I wrote in 2012 about Fred:

His son inherited Lewis’s biases: Fred Terman’s wife of 47 years, who had been one of his father’s grad students, said he only became serious about courting her after he went to the Psych Department and looked up her IQ score.

Back to the Palo Alto Weekly:

One committee member recommended retaining the Terman name, but making clear that it honors the son, not the father. A majority of the committee recommended against this, arguing that “retaining the surname will not effectively disconnect the school from Lewis and does not effectively disavow his eugenics legacy,” committee member and parent Sara Armstrong said Tuesday.

It’s almost as if the anti-eugenics witch-hunters believe that Fred Terman, the primary founder of Silicon Valley, inherited the sins of the father, IQ scientist Lewis Terman, via ideological Corruption of Blood.

Ofelia Prado said as a Mexican mother of a Jordan seventh-grader, it was “negative and shameful and degrading” to hear that her child’s school was named after a eugenicist. (In Jordan’s writings, he called Mexicans “ignorant, superstitious, with little self control and no conception of industry or thrift” and also wrote that “to say that one race is superior to another is merely to confirm the common observation of every intelligent citizen.”)

They should rename Jordan the Angelo Mozilo School, because at least Angelo didn’t believe the wrong things. Angelo put your money where his mouth was when it came to believing that Mexican were good bets to pay back their mortgages.

… Some board members said the estimated cost of renaming — about $200,000 to cover both schools — is a secondary consideration that would not stop them from voting in support. …

The board will vote on the renaming proposals at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 14. …

Many parents urged the board Tuesday night to seize the opportunity to take a visible stand for the values it so often cites: equality, diversity and inclusion.

After all, there’s nothing that screams equality, diversity, and inclusion than Palo Alto’s NIMBY policies that keep the average house selling for $2.5 million.

By the way, Stanford is running a project to make school district average test scores comparable across the country. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine last spring, the worst white-black test score gap in the country was found in violently liberal Berkeley, CA. The next four least equal school districts were Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC; Shaker Heights, OH; Asheville, NC; and Evanston, IL.

Other liberal college towns with massive white-black gaps include Madison (U. of Wisconsin), Iowa City (U. of Iowa), Charlottesville (U. of Virginia), Austin (U. of Texas), Bernie Sanders’ Burlington (U. of Vermont), Durham (Duke U.), and Ann Arbor (U. of Michigan). Palo Alto, next door to Stanford U., the sponsor of this research project, also has an intense white-black gap, but not enough blacks can afford to live in Palo Alto for it to make my sample-size cutoff for reliability.

Now that’s what I call equality, diversity and inclusion!

By the way, I’m reminded of this conversation between Russ Roberts and Yale psychologist Paul Bloom:

Screenshot 2017-03-09 03.00.02

I’ve met Pinker and Murray, and they really are noticeably smarter than I am.

Back in 2010 it occurred to me that I ought to write about a book explaining why it isn’t the end of the world that some people are smarter than other people. That would be my great contribution if I could explain why, just as it’s not a global crisis that all the medalists in the next Olympic men’s 100m dash will be black, the fact that some races tend to be smarter than others doesn’t mean we should dig up Hitler’s DNA and elect him President.

But, you’ll notice, I haven’t written that book yet.

 
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The NYT and FiveThirtyEight forecasts have split, with NYT thinking a Trump victory is highly likely, but 538 has gone back to giving Hillary a small lead in the chances of winning. But in case the NYT model turns out to be right …

From iSteve back in February:

Harry Baldwin has put together a Trumpified version of the headlines that supposedly appeared in the French government’s official newspaper Le Moniteur in March 1815 when Napoleon Bonaparte escaped Elba and astonished Europe by retaking the throne via courage and charisma, setting off his 100 Days that ended with his own personal Waterloo:

March 9, 1815 : The Monster has escaped from his place of banishment.

March 10: The Corsican Ogre has landed at Cape Juan

March 11: The Tiger has shown himself at Gap. The Troops are advancing on all sides to arrest his progress. He will conclude his miserable adventure by becoming a wanderer among the mountains.

March 12: The Monster has actually advanced as far as Grenoble

March 13: The Tyrant is now at Lyon. Fear and Terror seized all at his appearance.

March 18: The Usurper has ventured to approach to within 60 hours’ march of the capital.

March 19: Bonaparte is advancing by forced marches, but it is impossible he can reach Paris.

March 20: Napoleon will arrive under the walls of Paris tomorrow.

March 21: The Emperor Napoleon is at Fountainbleu

March 22: Yesterday evening His Majesty the Emperor made his public entry and arrived at the Tuileries. Nothing can exceed the universal joy.

Note: I’ve read these a million times, but I can’t vouch they’re really real.

Commenter Harry Baldwin writes:

February 24, 2016 at 3:06 am GMT • 300 Words (Edit-1334638)

If been thinking about a “Trump Marches on Washington” version of the “Napoleon Marches on Paris” piece Steve runs occasionally. Insulting names for Trump courtesy of Karl Rove, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Jonah Goldberg, Steve Hayes, John Sununu, Rich Lowry, and Fred Barnes.

April 2015: The Complete Idiot announces he’s seriously considering running for the Republican presidential nomination. On Fox News, George Will looked forward to watching him crash and burn.

June 2015: The Al Sharpton of the Republican Party declared his candidacy in a rambling speech full of racist attacks on Mexican immigrants intended to rile up the teabaggers.

June 2015: The Bloviating Ignoramus has taken a lead in the polls, but it’s still the silly season. Voters haven’t yet taken a look at the more plausible candidates.

July 2015: The Bane of Humanity has insulted the war hero John McCain. He’s gotten away with his gaffes, insults and vulgarity so far, but this time he’s gone too far.

August 2015: The Clown described our champion as “a low-energy person.” Rather than join Trump in the gutter, Jeb understands voters will quickly tire of Trump’s childish banter.

August 2015: The Dancing Bear draws a crowd of 30,000 in Alabama.

September 2015: The Most Fabulous Whiner in All of American Politics continues to hold his lead in the polls. Fox New analysts are confident that Republican voters will soon get serious.

February 2016: The One-Man Wedge Issue said that George W. Bush lied to get us into Iraq. He’s done it now. Veterans, who revere the former president, are a major bloc in South Carolina.

February 2016: Trump wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, but if all candidates but Rubio drop out and he gets their votes, Trump can be stopped.

November 2016: Donald J. Trump has won the election. National Review publishes a special issues congratulating President Trump, featuring highlights of brilliant campaign. Fox All Stars offer him their counsel and assistance in instituting a true conservative agenda.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, American Media, Donald Trump 
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Here’s my presentation at the early 2013 VDARE.com symposium, transcribed and then translated from spoken Sailerese into actual written English.

Hi, I’m Steve Sailer, and it’s a real pleasure to address our symposium. I’m going to talk about some overlooked aspects of the 2012 election.

As we get to the data, we’re going to focus on voting by state because that is, more or less, how Electoral Votes are counted. For Republicans to ever take back the White House, they will have to figure out more states they can win.

In the interest of simplicity, all the percentages are going to be for Romney’s share of the two-party vote. I’m leaving out Libertarian voters, write-ins, and so forth. I apologize for ignoring non-two party voters (I saw recently that Tom Wolfe wrote in Ron Paul’s name in 2012), but this expedient will allow us to think about just one number at a time: Romney’s share. Thus, if you want to know what Obama got, just subtract Romney’s percentage from 100.

I’m working with a huge poll that almost nobody’s talked about. It was conducted online by Reuters-Ipsos throughout the election year. This particular edition features a sample size of 40,000 two-party voters who responded immediately after voting.

Now, the Reuters-Ipsos panel has advantages and disadvantages versus the better-known Edison exit poll, which had a sample size of only about 25,000. I haven’t noticed any systematic differences in results reported by the two polls, but Reuters-Ipsos has a number of strengths for the serious analyst.

For example, the more celebrated exit poll wasn’t even conducted in 20 states, including Texas. If you want to know something about the future of American politics, you better know something about Texas. The Reuters-Ipsos poll had a sample size of 2,403 respondents in Texas. In summary, we’ve got a decent sample size on almost every state, not just 30 favored states.

Most importantly, Reuters lets anybody make any crosstabs they want of their results, while the Edison exit poll only lets subscribers who pay tens of thousands of dollars get their hands dirty with the data. So, the quality of discussion of the exit poll numbers has been constrained.

Below is something nobody has seen before, a table of Romney’s share of the vote by race in each of the 50 states.

The first column of percentages is Romney’s final share of the actual two-party vote. Nationally, Romney only got 48.0 percent to Obama’s 52.0 percent. (After all the votes were counted, Obama’s victory margin turned out wider than almost all polls had predicted. The Reuters’ poll has Romney at 48.5 percent, so it was a half-point too high.)

National, Romney won 58.1 percent of the white vote which, unsurprisingly, was not enough. He lost 97-3 among blacks and 72-28 among Hispanics.

Actual Reuters Whites Blacks Hispanics Other
National 48.0 48.5 58.1 3.0 28.3 39.0 17.7
Alabama 61 61 82 7 na 38 10
Alaska 57 60 72 na na na na
Arizona 55 56 66 na 26 31 26
Arkansas 62 62 69 6 na na 22
California 38 39 49 5 25 38 25
Colorado 47 48 52 na 27 26 22
Connecticut 41 42 45 6 na na 20
Delaware 41 41 52 na na na 8
D.C. 7 0 8 0 na na 0
Florida 50 50 61 4 35 38 22
Georgia 54 54 79 3 25 43 7
Hawaii 28 20 56 na na 0 15
Idaho 66 67 67 na na na na
Illinois 41 42 51 1 30 34 12
Indiana 55 55 60 2 na 38 13
Iowa 47 47 48 na na 31 21
Kansas 61 61 64 na na na 31
Kentucky 62 62 66 3 na na 17
Louisiana 59 60 84 0 na na 0
Maine 42 42 42 na na na na
Maryland 37 38 56 1 na 32 4
Massachusetts 38 37 40 4 27 23 19
Michigan 45 46 53 2 32 35 13
Minnesota 46 46 47 na na 18 25
Mississippi 56 56 88 0 na na 0
Missouri 55 55 62 8 na 34 17
Montana 57 56 55 na na na na
Nebraska 61 62 65 na na na na
Nevada 47 47 57 1 na 46 17
New Hampshire 47 48 48 na na na na
New Jersey 41 41 52 0 24 36 15
New Mexico 45 45 52 na 27 na 41
New York 36 36 46 2 18 24 10
North Carolina 51 51 67 2 22 38 9
North Dakota 60 55 57 na na na na
Ohio 48 49 54 13 25 33 18
Oklahoma 67 67 74 na na 71 41
Oregon 44 46 48 na 22 33 23
Pennsylvania 47 47 54 0 13 31 5
Rhode Island 36 36 39 na na na na
South Carolina 55 56 78 0 na na 0
South Dakota 59 59 58 na na na na
Tennessee 60 60 71 1 na 33 10
Texas 58 58 76 2 37 41 25
Utah 75 75 75 na 31 33 30
Vermont 32 32 34 na na na na
Virginia 48 48 60 3 26 38 13
Washington 42 44 46 3 29 30 29
West Virginia 64 64 66 na na na na
Wisconsin 47 47 49 7 na 31 21
Wyoming 71 67 74 na na na na

Unfortunately, Reuters just lumps together American Indians with Asians and whoever else feels like calling themselves “Other.” Romney garnered only 39 percent of the Other, although that’s better than what the exit poll reported for Romney among Asians (26 percent, down a purported 9 points from 2008), and 38 percent among “Other” mostly American Indians (up 7 points from 2008). There was a fair amount of theorizing based upon the exit poll about why Romney did so much worse than McCain among Asians (although none about why he did so much better among American Indians).

The Reuters poll, however, suggests these sharp swings didn’t actually happen.

Which poll is right about the Other? Beats me. Mostly, the exit poll and Reuters are pretty similar, so when they disagree, I’d just recommend taking the average of the two surveys.

The Reuters-Ipsos Polling Explorer interface won’t display any breakdowns where the sample size is less than 100. But I managed to get around that cautious limitation by lumping together in huge California with each small state’s sample, then doing the math. That worked out fairly well. Rather than a minimum sample size of 100, I chose an aggressive minimum of merely 15. That’s quite small, so don’t trust each number above too much. Since it’s so hard to get these numbers, I felt it better to err on the side of giving my readers more rather than less information.

We’ll start our analysis with minority electorates, then give the white vote the careful inspection it requires. Yes, I know that white voters are out fashion, but they are still numerous and much more of a swing vote from state to state than are the trendier minorities.

The black share of the vote is routine almost all the way through. Traditionally, California blacks vote a little more Republican than the national blacks, and, sure enough, Romney hauled in a full 5 percent of California blacks versus 3 percent nationwide.

The one black figure that’s unexpected is Ohio, where Reuters reports that Romney get 13 percent of the black vote. That’s from a moderate sample size of 92 black panelists. A vast amount of money was spent on advertising in the battleground state of Ohio, so maybe Romney’s strategists can pat themselves on the back for buying a few extra black votes. Or maybe this 13 percent figure is just a fluke due to limited sample size.

A few anomalies like this are actually reassuring about the authenticity of the Reuters poll. The results fit my model of how the world works, of how various factors interact so well that occasionally I break into a cold sweat over the thought that maybe Reuters just made up the results! I mean, if you hired me to create a model of how demographic and regional factors work together, it would spit out numbers very much like these. But, the occasional unpredictable result, like Romney supposedly getting 13 percent of the black vote in crucial Ohio, is, in a way, confidence-inducing.

With Hispanics, you can see that Puerto Rican Hispanic states like New York (Romney got 18 percent of New York’s Hispanic vote) and Pennsylvania (13 percent) are a little bit further to the left than Mexican Hispanic states such as California (25 percent). But, most of the Hispanic vote falls within a relatively narrow band. Rather than swing voters, these look like solid Democrats who drift a little right if their white neighbors are conservative..

Ever since the election, we’ve been told constantly that the main thing Hispanic voters care about is amnesty for illegal aliens, and the only way for Republicans to ever win the White House again is to grant amnesty (and, while you’re at it, throw in “a path to citizenship”). If you doubt this is the right course for the GOP, just ask any Democrat and they’ll tell you.

If there is any state where this logic shouldn’t apply, it ought to be Florida, which Obama won by a hair. The two main groups of Hispanic voters in Florida are Cubans and Puerto Ricans, neither of whom care about “immigration reform.” The Puerto Ricans are born citizens, and yet they still vote overwhelmingly Democratic. You might almost think Democrats are pulling Republicans’ legs over amnesty …

The Cubans, as described in Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood, have their own special immigration law that applies to any Cuban who can set foot on American soil. The Cubans used to vote heavily Republican, but Florida Hispanics now went overall 65-35 for Obama, suggesting younger Cubans are trending Democratic. In Wolfe’s novel, even the conservative cops among the Miami Cubans resent the Anglos as competitors who get on their nerves by thinking of Florida as part of America. And the Democrats are the natural home for the resentful.

There is a small difference between the Mexican American voters in California (25 percent for Romney) and Texas Hispanics (37 percent). That 37 percent sounds pretty good – it must be the pro-amnesty role models of the Bush family, while, as we all know, California Latinos were alienated by Proposition 187 — until you notice that Romney got an astonishing 76 percent of the white vote in Texas versus only 49 percent in California. So, relative to whites, Romney may have performed better with Hispanics in California where there is only a 24-point gap, not the 39-point gap in Texas. Or if you look at it proportionally, California’s 25/49 is almost identical to Texas’s 37/76. So maybe the Bushes and Prop. 187 don’t really matter, and what really matters is that Mexican Americans mostly vote Democratic because they find it to be in their self-interest for old-fashioned tax-and-spend reasons?

What about the white vote?

This graph below shows Romney’s share of both the total vote (in dark) and white vote (in red). The states are sorted in order of how well Romney did overall, with Utah at the top and Hawaii at the bottom.

It started out as a bar graph, but I had 100 bars (50 states times two), which seemed excessive, so I made the bars invisible and just left the values of the bars. If you look at Utah, you can see that Romney got 75 percent of the total vote and 75 percent of the white vote in the state. In Wyoming, 71 percent of the total vote and 74 percent of the white vote.

Seminar1

So, for Romney to do really well, he needed two things: states that are almost all white and whites that are almost all Republican.

Now, as you get further down, you see outliers where the GOP’s share of the white vote is far higher than the GOP’s overall performance, such as Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. These are states typically in the deep south with large black populations where there’s a strong degree of white solidarity to keep blacks from taking over the state. For example, the state of Mississippi went for Romney 56-44, and the way he won was by getting 88 percent of the white vote. Why did he get 88 percent of the white vote? Well, Mississippi has the largest black population of any state and according to this Reuters-Ipsos poll, blacks in Mississippi voted 100 percent for Obama (sample size = 38)

So that’s kind of what diversity gets you in the long run. As Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore says, in a multicultural democracy, everybody ends up voting on race.

Probably the two most interesting states that Romney won are not in the deep south: Texas (76 percent of white vote) and Arizona (66 percent).

Texas is not really an old deep south state by any means. It has had a huge influx of Americans since oil was first discovered in 1901, and it has its own culture. It shows the possibilities of what a state could do in terms of going heavily toward Republicans as a bloc vote: 76 percent is a pretty amazing number, but that’s what it took to keep rapidly-Hispanicizing Texas handily Republican. If whites in Texas don’t vote consistently Republican, then the state, with its 38 Electoral Votes, will go Democratic in some future presidential election. And that would end the chances of the Republican Party as we know it ever regaining the White House. So, GOP, you better hurry up and put all those illegal aliens in Texas on the path to citizenship!

One thing to keep in mind about Texas is that its formidable degree of white solidarity is the result of generations of white Texans indoctrinating each other in the superiority of Texas over the rest of the country (as I noticed while a student at Rice U. in Houston). This solidarity has some real payoffs. For example, back in the 1980s Texas had a hugely successful anti-littering campaign featuring the slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas.” Politically, it turns out that Texas pride among whites keeps Mexicans discouraged. (Mexicans are not terribly hard to discourage.) On the other hand, the braggadocio of Texans has not necessarily endeared themselves to the rest of the country.

As you may have observed, the demonization of Arizona in the national press over the last few years has been virulent. The front page of the New York Times routinely featured articles about horribleness of white people in Arizona and how something needs to be done about them.

That’s because by the standards of Western states without many blacks, there was strong solidarity among Arizona whites, with 66 percent voting Republican. That frustrated Democratic efforts to register and turnout as many Mexican Americans as possible.

The most interesting states on the graph are the ones where Romney came close to 50 percent. These are the states future Republican candidates must improve in to have a shot at the White House.

The message you’ve heard ever since the election is that the Republicans lost because of the amnesty issue and therefore they must agree to amnesty and a path to citizenship. You know, the New York Times and the POTUS have all been explaining to the Republican Party how they need to pass amnesty right now for their own good. And if Republicans can’t trust the leadership of the Democratic Party to look out for their partisan interests, who can they trust?

Yet, the states in which Romney came close to winning are typically ones where he just did not get enough of the white vote. Consider Ohio, where Romney lost 52-48 overall by only getting a grand total of 54 percent of the white vote. Almost anywhere in modern American, Republicans have to win more than 54 percent of whites to win.

Here are some other north central states where Romney came fairly close:

Pennsylvania: 54 percent of the white vote

Iowa: 48 percent

WI 49 percent

Minnesota 47 percent

Michigan 53 percent

Romney couldn’t get the job done in these northern states not because of the tidal wave of Hispanics, but because he just didn’t get enough whites to show up and vote for him.

Let’s see where we could make the amnesty argument. Florida was close. And, as we know ever since the infamous 2000 election, Florida has been ripe for people with an ax to grind to claim that their particular panacea would have determined who won the Presidency. For example, I got a press release during the 2000 vote counting in Florida from a Sikh lobby. The Sikhs hate laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets because they muss up their turbans. Traditionally, helmet laws are the Sikhs’ hot-button issue. The press release announced that if Al Gore had come out against helmet laws, the Sikhs of Florida would have made him President. I checked their math, and, yeah, they had a point.

But the larger point is that this logic is mostly nuts.

But the Republicans don’t get it. At the moment, they think that all they have to do to get back to the White House is turn the party over completely to Marco Rubio. Let him negotiate amnesty with the Democrats. (What could possibly go wrong?) Mexicans must love the guy, right? After all, both his name ends in vowels.

Yet, do Mexican Americans even like Cubans, such as Sen. Rubio? (One of the hidden messages of Back to Blood is that Cubans don’t care at all about Mexicans.) Nobody seems to have checked.

Virginia is another interesting state. It’s an example of how the Republicans are beginning to shoot themselves in the foot with legal immigration. The Washington DC suburbs are home a large number of well-educated legal immigrants, and, it turns out, they like to vote Democratic. Even if they’re making a lot of money and it’s going to cost them in taxes, these legal immigrants just find the Democrats more to their taste.

Then there are what I call the Clean Green states such as Colorado (where Romney won 52 percent of whites), New Hampshire (48 percent), Oregon (48 percent), and Washington (46 percent). Amnesty isn’t going to win them those states.

There’s New Mexico, with its large Hispanic population, but once again the GOP lost there because they only won 52 percent of the white vote. New Mexico is interesting as a view into the future of Hispanicized America. Hispanics have been in the Upper Rio Grande Valley for 400 years, yet the state that does not attract many illegal immigrants. How come? Because there aren’t many jobs in New Mexico. Why not? Because it has been filled up with Hispanics for its entire history, and they don’t create a lot of jobs.

What about California? Surely, that’s a state where whites have been crushed under the rising tide of Hispanics? Actually, Romney only won 49 percent of the white vote there. Kind of hard for a Republican to win that way.

As we all know from having heard it over and over that Republicans were doing fine in California until they shot themselves in the foot with Proposition 187 in 1994. What they don’t tell you is that George H.W. Bush won less than 33 percent of the total vote in California in 1992, two years before Proposition 187. But who has time to fact-check The Narrative?

Nevada might be the closest thing to an example supporting the amnesty-uber-alles narrative. Romney won a mediocre but not terrible 57 percent of white votes there, but lost due to Hispanics (and Filipinos) voting heavily Democratic. Unfortunately, the Reuters-Ipsos poll only has a Nevada sample of 14 Hispanics, so we’re flying kind of blind here.

My impression of Nevada Hispanic voters is that the big issue for them is not amnesty, it’s that they were just hammered by the mortgage meltdown of 2007-2008. Nevada long led the country in foreclosures. Nevada Latinos were flying high during the Bush Bubble, but haven’t forgiven Republicans since for their defaulting. How amnesty will cure that for Republicans is a mystery.

Let’s briefly look at the national level. A one-word characterization of Mitt Romney’s campaign would be bloodless. He stressed serious, respectable issues involving entitlements and taxes. He avoided any mention of anything ungentlemanly. Unfortunately for Romney, he’s living in a time that our leading man of letters calls the age of Back to Blood.

In contrast, coming out of the 2010-midterm elections, Obama saw he had a real problem. The Obamamania of 2008 had carried him to a large victory over a wounded and already flawed Republican candidate. But how was he going to re-mobilize his base, which largely consists of the margins of American society, without the Hope and Change piffle of 2008?

The Obama base is, to be blunt, the fringes. The epitome of Romney’s base is the married white father, while the essence of Obama’s base is the single black mother. Obama’s base hadn’t bothered to show up to vote in 2010, so how was he going to motivate them in 2012? The former are a lot more likely to vote out of a sense of civic duty, while the latter need some emotional motivation.

Here’s a table of data I published on VDARE.com just after the election that clearly shows the Core v. Fringe distinction:

Reuters-Ipsos Exit Poll Romney’s Share Sample Size
Mormons 86 percent 766
Married white Prot. 74 percent 11,761
White Protestants 70 percent 15,732
Married white men 65 percent 7,001
Married whites 63 percent 24,176
Married white women 62 percent 17,175
White Catholics 57 percent 8,173
Whites 58 percent 34,446
Married men 58 percent 7,910
Marrieds 57 percent 27,106
Homeowners 55 percent 31,163
Married women 55 percent 19,196
Single white men 51 percent 3,383
Married other races 48 percent 958
Men 51 percent 12,002
All Voters (2 candidate) 48 percent 40,000
Single whites 48 percent 10,270
Women 47 percent 27,997
Single white women 44 percent 6,886
Other races 39 percent 1,642
Married Hispanics 35 percent 928
Single men 39 percent 4,092
Married Jewish men 40 percent 419
Hispanics 28 percent 1,584
Singles 35 percent 12,894
Renters 33 percent 8,835
Single Jewish men 30 percent 163
Married Jewish women 34 percent 652
Bisexuals 25 percent 616
“Other orientations” 31 percent 229
Single other races 28 percent 684
Single women 31 percent 8,801
Single Hispanics 21 percent 656
Hindus 23 percent 101
Single Jewish women 23 percent 328
Gays/lesbians 16 percent 976
Blacks 3 percent 2,087
Black single women 2 percent 925

At the top are Mormons at 86 percent for Romney. Now, obviously, Mormons are a minority, but they’re increasingly the only minority group in modern American that still tries to act like they’re part of the core.

Then come married white Protestants (74 percent), then white Protestants, married white men, married whites, married white women, white Catholics, whites, married men, marrieds of both sexes, homeowners, married women, single white men, married other races and men in general.

At the bottom are black single women at 2 percent for Romney. Then blacks, gays and lesbians, single Jewish women, Hindus, single Hispanics, single women, single other races, other orientations. I’m going to stop there. “Other orientations” comes from the sexual orientation question. They gave you four choices: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual; and for those who didn’t find those adequate, “other” was a choice. The Other Orientation folks went strongly for Obama.

Obviously, this turned into an election based on identity, on whether people felt themselves in the core of America or in the fringe of America. The core versus fringe can be defined in a couple of ways. For example, over multi-generational periods, do you come from people who settled this country a long time ago, or are you, say, an immigrant from Somalia who is now going to gift us with all the lessons that Somalis have developed over the eons on how to run a successful country?

Or, on a personal level, are you somebody who is married, has stayed married, has children, owns a home, and is employed? Or are you somebody who’s single, renting, who basically doesn’t find your life satisfactory and is looking for somebody to blame?

The way the Obama campaign turned out their base was to whip up feelings of resentment toward core Americans, toward those people whose ancestors had built the country, who largely keep it running today and who in their personal lives have done a pretty good job of keeping their act together.

Obama did a spectacular job of taking those two kinds of people from the fringe, and telling them that they should resent the white married people of America, the ones who own their homes, the ones whose grandparents helped make this country, and that there’s something shameful, unfair, or at least uncool, about coming from the core of America.

It was a brilliant strategy. Obama ran a really ugly, nasty campaign full of subliminal hatred. The Obama campaign did a good job keeping the stew of ill will they were brewing somewhat under wraps until after the votes were counted. But in the days following the election, out came pouring the chest-beating Suck-It-White-Boy exultation, the mindless fury at the losing white male bogeyman for being old and white, but, mostly, for losing.

The Republican Brain Trust now assumes that the way to solve this problem is via amnesty, just like their good friends the Democrats keep telling them. Amnesty, however, will be seen as white America’s surrender declaration, as an official invitation to kick the former top dogs while they’re down. And who can be expected to resist that?

 
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Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.16.12

If you go to Google and type in American inventors you get back from Google pictures of the top American inventors of all time.

The #1 American inventor of all time is Lewis Howard Latimer, who, I just learned, worked with both Edison and Bell.

Thomas Edison is in 6th place and a well-tanned Alexander Graham Bell in 9th place, with ten black inventors rounding out the top dozen.

In the second dozen, Samuel Morse is 19th, Eli Whitney 20th, and Ben Franklin 23rd. Everybody else is black.

The Wright Brothers don’t make the top 50 American inventors, according to Google.

Thanks to John Rivers’ Twitter account for this.

In contrast, if I Google Scottish inventors, I get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.32.09

If I type in French inventors, I get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.35.24

Presumably, Google must get a lot of requests for “African American inventors” and assumes that’s what you really meant when you ask for “American inventors.” After all, what kind of sick Nazi do you have to be to be interested in your fellow Americans irrespective of race? That’s racist!

This phenomenon appears to be tied into propagandizing schoolchildren in K-12. For example, if I Google American psychologists, a subject only of interest to college and above, I get a pretty reasonable list with William James at #1:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.47.05

On the other hand, American mathematicians, which is more of a K-12 school report topic than psychologists, is pretty silly:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.49.36

(On the other hand, #10 David Blackwell, a Berkeley statistician, is fairly legit.)

One interesting thing is that Hispanics and Asians are completely shut out of this phenomenon.

Microsoft’s Bing is similar but slightly less absurd with Edison edging out George Washington Carver for the top spot, and Latimer coming behind Franklin and Bell, with Tesla making the top dozen.

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.16.10

On Bing, Bill Gates is #22, behind Steve Jobs at #19 (Woz doesn’t make the top 50). Hedy Lamarr is #28. Bing’s list is more fun than Google’s, which is mostly just depressing.

Similarly, here’s Google’s American scientists:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.25.55

And here’s Bing’s American scientists:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.27.16

So, Bing’s list is once again less dismal. I don’t mind a sprinkling of Diversity Tokens, but when there’s no room for Oppenheimer or Feynman on Google’s Top Fifty (#8 and #17, respectively, on Bing’s list) because of all the black obscurities, well, that’s just stupid and boring.

If you type black inventors into Google, you get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.42.44

If you type white inventors into Google, you get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.44.48

If you type inventors into Google, you don’t get any pictures, you just get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.46.48

On the other hand, Google’s Mexican outlet, Google.mx gives you a much more plausible list of “inventor americano:”

Screenshot 2016-09-20 05.24.07

The Mexican Top 50 American inventors includes 46 white men, two blacks, and two white women.

The 18th Century inventor John Fitch who is #12 on the Mexican list is an ancestor of 20th Century inventor John Fitch, inventor of those garbage cans filled with increasing amounts of sand that keep you from crashing into bridge abutments, who I’ve written about before. He was motivated to come up with his innovation when competing in the 1955 24 Hours at Le Mans auto race when his partner’s Mercedes sports car flew off the track at 150 mph and into the stands killing 83 spectators.

Fitch tested his invention by repeatedly crashing into his trash cans at speeds up to 70 mph.

But perhaps an even more awesome safety inventor than Fitch was Col. Dr. John Paul Stapp, the rocket sled guy who made himself into a human crash test dummy to discover how pilots could survive partial crashes and bailing out.

He decelerated from 632 mph to 0 mph in about a second, proving to aircraft designers that humans, if properly secured, could withstand much rougher landing than had been assumed.

After he retired from the military, Colonel Stapp campaigned to get American motorists to wear seatbelts.

Seatbelts were considered unmanly. My father, for example, didn’t start wearing a seatbelt until his 80s. There was a widespread belief that your best bet was to be “thrown clear” of the crash. (Indeed, Fitch’s partner was thrown clear at Le Mans, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t survive the landing.)

Colonel Doctor Stapp, however, who had volunteered for his own craziest tests, couldn’t be accused of unmanliness, so his campaign was influential.

It took human beings a long time to figure out it was a good idea to invent safety devices. Perhaps school children in the future will be taught the extraordinary stories of Fitch and Stapp.

But probably not, because who has room for remembering heroes like Fitch and Stapp who have saved maybe 100,000+ lives between them by risking their own lives to survive high speed crashes? Who has time, when there there is diversity to celebrate?

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Google, Political Correctness 
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Screenshot 2016-09-16 01.45.01

Hillary Clinton and her affiliated media, such as The Economist (whose board includes Hillary’s great friend Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild), have gone to war against Pepe the Frog.

To be fair, the frog started it.

Still, why is the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party doing this?

Is it because during Hillary’s bizarre “alt-right” speech, some guy in the crowd shouted out “Pepe?”

I dunno.

One possibility is that Hillary remains locked into an obsession with fundraising, even though she probably has vastly more money than she could need compared to Trump.

Last Friday, for example, even after Hillary was supposedly diagnosed with pneumonia, she harangued an LGBT fundraiser at 55 Wall Street in the grandiose former home of the New York Stock Exchange about how a quarter of American voters belong in a “basket of deplorables.” This followed Barbra Streisand singing a funny update of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns” about Trump’s dubious net worth:

Is he that rich?
Maybe he’s poor?
‘Til he reveals his returns
Who can be sure?

Tickets for this fundraiser ranged from $1,200 to $250,000, with the $1,200 ducats immediately selling out a month ahead of time. The well-heeled audience found Streisand’s lyrics about Trump’s doubtful wealth to be hilarious.

After physically collapsing 36 hours later on 9/11/16, Hillary had to beg off flying to Hollywood for two more fundraisers:

2nd UPDATE, 7:19 PM: Suffering from pneumonia, Hillary Clinton will not be coming to Hollywood for fundraisers at Seth MacFarlane and Barry Diller’s homes, her campaign said tonight. No word on when or if the deep-pocket September 13 events will be rescheduled.

Why was Hillary ruining her health still pursuing rich gay donors, when she had a huge fundraising lead stockpiled (e.g., Goldman Sachs banned employees from donating to Trump) when she could be appealing to ordinary voters?

A few reasons seem apparent:

- First, Hillary really, really likes money. She is pretty obsessive about it. Back in the 1980s when she was First Lady of Arkansas, she used to declare on her and Bill’s joint tax returns that they had donated all of Bill’s used underwear to charity, itemizing Bill’s briefs at $1 or $2 each. When I read this in The American Spectator decades ago, I tried to be scandalized, but I ended up thinking, “Wow, Hillary’s really thorough. I bet Chelsea will appreciate the ample size of the estate she is left. I hope our kids forgive their parents for not being so diligent.”

Smug Pepe

- Second, Trump’s strategy is to use Free Media, despite its fervent hostility to him, to get his message out to the nation. Hillary’s natural strategy would be to spend heavily on advertising and get-out-the-vote drives in crucial Electoral College states such as Pennsylvania to thwart Trump’s appeal to the nation.

- Third, Hillary is the rare candidate who draws bigger crowds at four figure fundraisers than at free rallies. She seems to give ordinary Americans the creeps. So it’s more fun for Hillary to preen before a packed house of rich gay Wall Streeters than in some half-full depressing high school gym somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Moreover, Hillary’s message is more fine-tuned to appeal to rich gay Wall Streeters than to average voters:

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

So, then, what is the Democratic nominee’s jihad against the cartoon frog about?

President Harambe

(And will Hillary turn next against the dead gorilla?)

The Economist’s article “Pepe and the Stormtroopers” offers some clues:

That is why the term Alt (short for “alternative”) Right is misleading. Mr [Jared] Taylor—whom Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a watchdog, describes as the movement’s “intellectual leader”—says it represents an alternative to “egalitarian orthodoxy and to neutered ‘conservatives’.” That characterisation elevates a racist fixation into a coherent platform. And, if the Alt-Right is not a viable political right, nor, in the scope of American history, is it really an alternative. Rather it is the latest iteration in an old, poisonous strain of American thought, albeit with new enemies, such as Muslims, enlisted alongside the old ones.

“Fifty years ago these people were burning crosses,” says Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, a venerable anti-racist group. “Today they’re burning up Twitter.”

The SPLC and the ADL, of course, are world class fundraisers.

Their specialty is terrifying affluent elderly Jews into fearing that, unless they write big checks, the New Czar’s Cossacks will be riding again.

Perhaps Hillary figures that Pepe the Frog, in all his baffling inscrutability, can horrify semi-senile rich people in Shaker Heights into a final paroxysm of donating to the Clinton campaign to stop the new pogroms?

Smug Harambe

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Alt Right, Hillary Clinton 
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From Talking Points Memo:

Trump’s Blood Libel & Press Failure

By JOSH MARSHALL

Published SEPTEMBER 2, 2016, 12:07 AM EDT

Even now, after all that’s happened, most political reporters find themselves either unwilling or unable to identify Donald Trump’s tirades as hate speech. … This is hate speech.

We tend to think in over-literal or clumsy ways about ‘hate speech’. Most often we assume that it’s a matter of using particular words … Hate speech is rants meant to inflame, inspire fear or rage or violence against a particular class of people. The precise vocabulary is not the heart of the matter. There’s no question that what Trump’s Wednesday night speech was was hate speech, a tirade filled with yelling, a snarling voice, air chopped to bits with slashing hands and through it all a story of American victims helpless before a looming threat from dangerous, predatory outsiders.

I’ve discussed the matter a few times in these pages. But I’m stunned at how little reaction or discussion we see of how sick and dangerous it is to parade these victimized families around like props.

It’s striking how blatant double-standards are.

Mothers of the Movement at the DNC

It doesn’t seem to occur to Josh Marshall that Hillary trots out her black “Mothers of the Movement” all the time, putting nine on stage at the Democratic convention, even after the Black Lives Matter-inspired murders of eight cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. And Hillary doesn’t seem to show much judgment in whom she selects to feature, such as the mother of attempted cop killer Michael Brown of Ferguson. From STLToday.com:

Michael Brown’s mother appears at Democratic National Convention, prompting police ire

By Chuck Raasch and Christine Byers St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jul 27, 2016 (775)

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown, appeared at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday as part of the group “Mothers of the Movement” — women who have lost their children in encounters with police or to gun violence.

On the other hand, the concept of putting the loved ones of victims of public policy onstage makes sense. The mother of Eric Garner, the fat guy who died of a heart attack after a jerk NYPD cop choked him, for example, is a pretty articulate individual and it’s worthwhile to hear her perspective on an unfortunate incident.

Similarly, it’s useful to put a human face on the toll from immigration policy.

Back to Josh Marshall:

These families have suffered horribly but no more than the families of victims of American murderers and Americans who committed DUI fatalities.

Okay, but with all the world to choose from, why is it acceptable that we get so many low quality immigrants? Shouldn’t our goal be zero defective immigrants? We can’t get all the way to our goal, but we can do a lot better than we’re doing now.

If we went out and found victims who’d suffered grievously at the hands of Jews or blacks and paraded them around the country before angry crowds the wrongness and danger of doing so would be obvious.

In contrast, Hillary puts black victims of whites on stage at her convention, even after eight cops died because of this kind of agitation. But seven of the eight dead cops were white, so that’s okay.

Now, you might say, that’s not fair. American Jews and African-Americans are citizens, with as much right to be here as anyone else. But that’s just a dodge. There’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than documented or naturalized immigrants.

Actually there is. Legal immigrants who got in because they married a GI or have a graduate degree or whatever don’t commit a lot of homicides and rapes. As they should. Why let in drunk drivers? Does Harvard let in a lot of criminals? Why not have high standards for immigrants?

Indeed, there is solid evidence that immigrants commit fewer crimes than the native born. Simple logic tells us that undocumented immigrants face greater consequences for being apprehended by police and thus likely are more careful to avoid it. They’re likely more apt to avoid contact with authorities than the rest of us.

What drives American crime rates so high is having 40 million African-Americans, who are world famous for their tendencies toward gangsta behavior. According to the Obama Administration, a majority of the homicides in America are committed by the 13% of the population that is black. We could let in just about anybody in the world and do better than that.

Marshall puts up this graph to prove his point:

Swell.

The first generation of immigrants is somewhat intimidated and/or disappears over the border when wanted for arrest, but the second generation is much worse. And there are more and more of them. Why does anyone think this is a good thing?

Okay, let me explain why some think this is a great idea. If you live in New York City or Washington DC or a similar supercity, letting in a bunch of Hondurans who will grow up to have homicide rate X, but who will push out African-Americans with homicide rate 3X, is good for property values.

On the other hand, if you live in one of the loser cities where the African-Americans will move to, too bad. Moreover, people in the media will call you a racist for not wanting to take their surplus African-Americans off their hands. You do not get a say in this matter. Your betters have decided that you deserve some Diversity, good and hard. They’ve had enough Diversity, so they’ve decided to share the Diversity with you, you racists.

… This is simply a way of whipping up irrational fear and hatred. …It is simply blood libel and incitement.

Indeed, my hypothetical about Jews and African-Americans is no hypothetical. Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Jim Crow South or 1930s Germany and the centuries of anti-Semitism that preceded it will tell you that the celebration and valorization of victims was always a central part of sustaining bigotry, fear and oppression. … The valorization of victims was and is a way of provoking vicarious horror, rage, hate and finally violence whether specific individuals were guilty or not.

You know, “the celebration and valorization of victims” is not wholly a sin of Republicans …

… But there’s no excuse for those who have themselves suffered nothing but exploit this suffering to propagate hate. That fact that we’ve become inured to this, that we now find it normal to see these cattle calls of grief and incitement as part of a political campaign is shocking and sickening. There’s no other word for this but incitement and blood libel.

Another term for it is “Who? Whom?”

Watch Trump’s speeches, with the yelling, the reddened face, the demand for vengeance and you see there’s little to distinguish them from what we see at Aryan Nations or other white hate rallies that we all immediately recognize as reprehensible, wrong and frankly terrifying. This isn’t ‘rough’ language or ‘hard edged’ rhetoric. It’s hate speech. Precisely what policy solution Trump is calling for is almost beside the point. Indeed, it wouldn’t be hate speech any less if Trump specified no policy solution at all.

This isn’t normal. It was normal in the Jim Crow South, as it was in Eastern Europe for centuries.

Nothing has gotten me in more trouble over the years than pointing out that many Jews in the media are not very self-aware of their own prejudices. Josh Marshall, for example, is a 47 year old with a Ph.D. in history who simply doesn’t notice his own bigotry and ethnic animus.

Because we’re the world’s greatest victims, we can denounce anybody else for appealing to victimist thinking with a straight face.

And why should Marshall self-aware? Who would dare point it out to him?

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration 
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From PBS:

Why the ‘alt-right’ is coming out of online chat rooms to support Trump
August 25, 2016 at 6:30 PM EDT

Donald Trump is appealing to voters who reject mainstream conservative ideals. These members of the so-called “alt-right” have typically taken their frustrations to the internet, rather than to the polls.

John Yang interviews the Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti and The Washington Post’s David Weigel about the alt-right’s “hierarchical” tendencies and potential impact on conservatism.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, both presidential candidates were in full attack mode today. At issue, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s alleged connections to a fringe conservative philosophy.

John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG: Today, Hillary Clinton debuted a fresh line of attack against Donald Trump.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: That is what I want to make clear today. A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JOHN YANG: This comes a little more than a week after Trump made Steve Bannon his campaign’s CEO.

Bannon is on leave from his job as executive chairman of Breitbart News, a Web site Bannon has called a platform for something called the alt- right. It’s a movement that lives largely online, rejects mainstream conservative politics, and is linked to nationalist and white supremacist sentiments.

Clinton said Trump has echoed alt-right rhetoric.

HILLARY CLINTON: All of this adds up to something we have never seen before. Now, of course, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of arising from racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone, until now.

JOHN YANG: Clinton’s campaign backed up their candidate’s message online with this new video that includes a Ku Klux Klan member expressing support for Trump.

MAN: Donald Trump would be best for the job.

QUESTION: For president?

MAN: Yes.

Screenshot 2016-08-25 23.12.18

Hillary’s new ad

MAN: I am a farmer and white nationalist. Support Donald Trump.

This farmer isn’t some obscurity who is only tangentially tied to a candidate, like, say, Rev. Jeremiah Wright happened to be Obama’s “spiritual adviser” for two decades. Nobody dared run ads in 2008 mentioning that Rev. Wright was the hero of a glowing chapter in Obama’s autobiography because that would have been McCarthyite guilt by association.

But this isn’t Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser, this is a farmer. How can we not take seriously the menace posed by Trump in league with his natural henchmen, the farmers? They have pitchforks!

Only Hillary can smash the Farmer-Trump Axis of Evil before it’s too late.

JOHN YANG: Even before Clinton spoke, Trump hit back.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. They keep saying it. You’re racist.

It’s a tired, disgusting argument. The people of this country who want their laws enforced and respected, and respected by all, and who want their border secured, are not racists.

If you want to have strong borders, so that people come into our country, but they come in legally through a legal process, that doesn’t make you a racist. It makes you smart. It makes you an American.

JOHN YANG: Today’s exchange between the candidates shining a spotlight on a little-known movement.

So, what is the alt-right? And how it is influencing this year’s presidential race?

For that, we are joined by Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news Web site, and from Manchester, New Hampshire, David Weigel, who covers national politics for The Washington Post.

Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us.

Dave, let me start with you and ask you that question. What is alt-right, who’s behind it, where did it come from?

DAVID WEIGEL, The Washington Post: Well, it’s a fairly young movement with fairly old ideas.

I would say what they’re against, which is easier to define, is a philosophy of invite the world, invade the world.

Wow, just wow. I’d never heard before that there were any radical extremists who question the philosophy of “invite the world, invade the world.”

Who are these nuts and why haven’t they been dealt with already?

They are generally anti-intervention and anti-multiculturalism.

And they started to grow in 2007, as the Bush administration was falling to below 30 percent, was seen as discredited, was obviously going to help Democrats win the next election. Ron Paul’s campaign seeded some of this, but it really grew under the presidency of Barack Obama.

And they’re fairly young people. This is, I think, what’s worrying for a lot of progressives and a lot of people on the right, fairly young people, under 25, under 30, who have only known the Republican Party as a disappointment. And they have gravitated to these ideas which are very anti-immigrant, very anti-intervention.

JOHN YANG: And they’re getting a lot of attention, Dave, because of the anti-Semitic and anti-white — or — and white supremacist rhetoric. How central is that to their message and to what they believe in?

DAVID WEIGEL: It’s enabled in a lot of their messaging.

Not every alt-right thinker or activist is a white nationalist, by far, but there’s a sense that political correctness is a bigger problem than racism, and that racism is used as a cudgel for silencing what they want to say, what they want to argue about.

That’s, again, an older idea. Before the alt-right, there were paleoconservatives, like Sam Francis, like Pat Buchanan, who argued this and said, look, what the left wants to do to America, how it wants to import lots of immigrants, decrease the number of traditional white Americans, what they want to do is not popular, and they have to kind of Trojan a horse through culturally, and we’re against that.

JOHN YANG: Matthew, what is your take on this? What would you add to that, to what Dave said?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI, Washington Free Beacon: I think I have a slightly narrower definition of the alt-right than Dave does.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: It’s true, there has always been this kind of critique of conservatism from the non-interventionist, the non-multicultural view.

I think the alt-right takes it a degree further. And so what you have that unifies a lot of these alt-righters on the Internet is really a disgust at the idea of egalitarianism.

They do believe in hierarchies.

In contrast, Continetti, like all respectable conservatives, hates the very idea of hierarchies. Look at how Continetti’s father-in-law, William Kristol, came up the hard way from the ground up without a privilege in the world, what with being the son of Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb, getting hired by Dan Quayle, and having Rupert Murdoch give him millions to start a magazine.

Some of them are racial. They also believe in sexual hierarchies. So, a lot of them kind of wave the banner of the men’s rights movement.

The next thing these pathetic freaks will be telling you is that men and women should ease off waging the War of the Genders against each other because they are happier when they are fraternizing with the enemy.

But that’s just sick.

And so you start off from that political conclusion. And very quickly, when you read the rhetoric, it devolves into just outright racism, outright misogyny. So part of it starts with these ideas of Sam Francis, Joe Sobran, Pat Buchanan, that have been around since the end of the Cold War, really.’

It’s almost as if 25 years ago Sam Francis, Joe Sobran, and Pat Buchanan noticed the Cold War had ended and therefore it was time for some new ideas.

But real Americans know that the eternal enemy is the Czar.

But a lot now of it is now much more visceral, hatred of the mainstream cultural movement for embracing some version of egalitarianism, civil rights, equality of the sexes.

JOHN YANG: And, David, what is the link, or is there a link or is there a connection between the Trump campaign and the alt-right?

DAVID WEIGEL: Well, there always has been. There been alt-right support for Trump mostly manifested online or even sometimes the T-shirts and signs you see at rallies.

There is a big alt-right presence on sites like 4chan and Reddit. And it was good that Matt mentioned the men’s rights movement. You could mention Gamergate. That was kind of a gateway for a lot of activists who consider themselves alt-right.

So, they supported Trump in the first place. The more direction came when Steve Bannon, the CEO of Breitbart, became the CEO of Trump’s campaign. Breitbart, very, I think, in a calculated and then also in a natural way became a forum for alt-right thinking and alt-right coverage, coverage of politics the way that those 4chan and Reddit people wanted it covered.

And that’s when this connection became harder to deny and when I think the Clinton campaign thought it was something to exploit.

JOHN YANG: And, Matthew, what does this mean for the future of the conservative movement?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I think it’s one more sign that conservatism as we understand it is coming under great strain during the era of Trump.

And so you have all of these criticisms of the mainstream conservatism represented by William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. All these critics now feel empowered with the rise of Donald Trump.

Why don’t Americans just shut up and do as they are told? What’s with all this critical thinking lately?

Anyone who had a bone to pick with the George W. Bush administration, with the Republicans in Congress, with the editors of National Review, of The Weekly Standard now says, Trump is our guy. Trump is going to be the agent of change that legitimates our somewhat fringe, marginal ideas.

The little people in the conservative ranks must drop all this fringe, marginal nonsense about “hierarchies” and go back to obeying their betters, like in the good old days when Bill Buckley and Bill Kristol told them what they could think and who they could read, and they didn’t have the impudence to give the Bills any lip.

When the Bills said M.J. Sobran was banned, conservatives let Joe go off and die in poverty.

Now that was respect!

What’s wrong with this country today? Why don’t commoners listen to their natural superiors anymore?

Now, is there a large constituency for these ideas? No. I mean, you can find it on the Internet, but the danger for the conservative mainstream is to say, oh, all of a sudden, since it’s on the Internet, maybe we need to incorporate it into our thinking.

As soon as that happens, I think you’re going to find conservatism itself illegitimated.

Those bastards. Why isn’t there deference anymore toward the legitimate dynasties of Conservatism Inc., the Kristol-Continettis, the Podhoretzes? Why have people stopped reading Commentary? Just because the editor is an ill-tempered idiot shouldn’t stop conservatives from doing their duty and reading his bad magazine. Look, JPod is the editor of Commentary because he’s Norman Podhoretz’s son. Doesn’t that mean anything to you people anymore?

Not letting yourself be bullied by John Podhoretz is like voting for George Washington instead of submitting to King George III.

It’s un-American.

JOHN YANG: You talk about the days of William F. Buckley, when he was sort of the one who said who was a conservative.

A.K.A., the Good Old Days, before all these revolutionaries believed in hierarchies.

Does the conservative movement, do you think, bear any responsibility for the emergence of this sentiment, the alt-right?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I think it’s bottom-up, really. So, I don’t think you had the same gatekeepers that you did in the earlier media age, when there were one or two conservative magazines that published biweekly or monthly.

Now we live in the Internet, and it’s the Wild West. Anyone with an opinion, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel, they can express themselves. They can put these opinions into the public sphere. And what we have found, much to the surprise of conservatives like myself, is, there is a large audience for this type of rhetoric, these types of ideas.

Who could have guessed that Republicans might find “the philosophy of invite the world, invade the world” to be imprudent?

Doesn’t anybody believe in Propositions anymore?

I don’t know, I guess this just isn’t the Extended Stay Globomerica that at least some of us grew up in …

And also one thing that needs to be mentioned with the alt-right, they’re kind of cyber-bullies.

When Bill Buckley purged Pat Buchanan, he didn’t do it through cyber-space: instead, he published thousands of words in his magazine about how Pat was a Right-Deviationist Wrecker.

And we saw, with the rise of Trump in 2015, groups of these advocates and activists on Twitter going after in many cases Jewish conservatives and calling them anti-Semitic tropes.

This is something that I think is very ugly. And I worry for the future of conservatism, that it may displace the more traditional mainstream conservatism that most Americans think of when they think conservatism for the last 30 years.

JOHN YANG: We should point out that one of the targets of Breitbart was your father-in-law, William Kristol, who they went after right — in a very…

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: I wouldn’t like them anyway, though.

My father-in-law has a proven record as a forecaster. He said I was going to do well in the pundit business and here I am, on TV, just like he said.

That’s science.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHN YANG: OK.

Dave, what’s the future of this movement? You say that they feel like this is their moment, with Donald Trump as the nominee. Regardless of what happens to Donald Trump in November, what’s going to happen to this movement?

DAVID WEIGEL: Well, the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of Republicans is, they don’t think they’re going to win the election. They think Trump will lose.

And there will be an effort — I don’t think a cynical effort, I think in part a sincere effort — to say the reason he lost is because he embraced a lot of radical ideas that can’t win in America anymore, we need to get rid of those elements.

To key off what Matt was saying, it wasn’t like they were part of the conservative conversation, the mainstream conversation anyway. They weren’t writing for National Review. They weren’t writing for The Weekly Standard.

They were always on the outs, but I think they will be actively ostracized after the election.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Alt Right, American Media, Neocons 
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Honorary Nonwhite

Back in February, some readers of my Taki’s Magazine column “Alexander Hamilton, Honorary Nonwhite” were baffled by why I was devoting so much attention to a Broadway musical about a rapping version of the apostle of Wall Street and limits on democracy. But time is validating my concern.

From The Atlantic, a deeply self-serious article by a white liberal law professor about how Hamilton the Broadway musical can be exploited to change the Supreme Court forever:

Will Lin-Manuel Miranda Transform the Supreme Court?

With the success of the Broadway hit Hamilton, Americans have been given a new version of the Founding Fathers—one that could open the door to a more liberal interpretation of constitutional originalism.

RICHARD PRIMUS JUN 4, 2016 POLITICS

It is hard to know which was less foreseeable: that a reality-TV star with no government experience would be the Republican nominee for president or that the smash hit of Broadway would be a rap opera about the man behind the Federalist Papers. But there is a reason why the two phenomena arise at the same time, and there is a reason why that time coincides with the end of America’s first nonwhite presidency. The birther-in-chief’s campaign for high office and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical speak to the same deep issues about American identity at a time when the nation’s demography increasingly resembles that of the larger world. They just approach the subject from different perspectives. One seeks to protect an America that is still mostly white and Christian against Mexicans, Muslims, and other outsiders deemed dangerous. The other is so confident in the multiracial future that it rewrites the American past in its image. …

By the way, the cheapest pair of tickets for Hamilton available via TicketMaster are priced at $2,793.96.

Update: Stubhub as pairs of tickets starting at $1,640.50 (plus fees).

As I wrote in February:

A simple model that helps make much about the modern world easier to comprehend is that of a high-low tag team against the middle. As part of a time-tested strategy of divide and rule, the rich tend to push for policies and attitudes that increase identity-politics divisiveness—more immigration, more Black Lives Matter rioting, more transgender agitation, and so forth—which makes it harder for the nonrich to team up politically to promote their mutual economic interests.

You could call it: “Diverse and Conquer.”

A striking example of how identity politics turn in practice into the Zillionaire Liberation Front has emerged in the war over which Dead White Male to kick off the currency to make room for a woman: the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton or the $20’s Andrew Jackson. Bizarrely, the reactionary genius Hamilton, apostle of rule by the rich, is rapidly morphing in the conventional wisdom’s imagination into an Honorary Nonwhite.

As Hillary Clinton said shortly after my “Alexander Hamilton, Honorary Nonwhite” column:

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

At each question, the crowd called back with a resounding no.

Back to The Atlantic:

The result of this contest will shape the future of constitutional law. If Donald Trump is elected, the Republican Party may extend its hold on the Supreme Court into the indefinite future. If he loses, the Court will have a majority of Democratic appointees for the first time since 1970. But that prospect, momentous enough on its own, understates the transformation that may be coming. To see the larger possibility, one must imagine not just a majority-Democratic Supreme Court but a majority-Democratic Supreme Court in a world after Miranda’s Hamilton.

What Does It Mean to Be a Republican?

The writing of the Constitution is part of America’s origin story. Not coincidentally, judges as well as other Americans commonly read the Constitution through their assumptions about the Founding generation. … What shapes constitutional law, however, is not the actual original meaning of the Constitution. It is the original meaning of the Constitution as imagined by judges and other officials at any given time. And how judges imagine the original meaning of the Constitution depends on their intuitions—half historical, half mythical—about the Founding narrative. If you can change the myth, you can change the Constitution.

Hamilton is changing the myth. For decades, originalism in constitutional law has had a generally conservative valence. Now, week by week, the thousands of patrons who pack the Richard Rodgers Theater and the hundreds of thousands more who listen obsessively to Hamilton’s cast album or download the viral videos are absorbing a new vision of the American Founding. And so the balance shifts. With the Supreme Court on the brink of moving leftward and Hamilton electrifying audiences from the Grammys to the White House, the lawyering class’s intuitions about the Founding are poised to change. The blockbuster narrative of this election year retells the nation’s origin story as the tale of a heroic immigrant with passionately progressive politics on issues of race and on issues of federal power. The audience is on its feet. So to all those Americans who expect original meanings in constitutional law to support mostly conservative outcomes, here is your Miranda warning: Within the foreseeable future, a jurisprudence of original meanings may fuel the most progressive constitutional decision making since the days of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Just you wait.

Just you wait, indeed.

From the late 1930s until the early 1970s, the Supreme Court was an agent of progressive social change. The justices issued landmark decisions on racial desegregation, voting rights, free speech, criminal procedure, and sex equality. The Court also authorized active federal management of the national economy, ambitious social-welfare programs like Medicare and old-age pensions, and a host of other new departures that would earlier have been thought to lie beyond the federal government’s jurisdiction. Millions of Americans saw the Court as a heroic vanguard, a symbol of American ideals on the march.

By the way, remember how the Times Square theater district flourished in the 1970s from the Miranda ruling and other liberal Warren Court decisions? Remember how 42nd Street was the happiest place on earth after liberalism got done with it? Here’s Times Square ten years after the Warren Court’s Miranda v. Arizona decision:

And here’s what Times Square looks like recently after 20 years of law-and-order mayors of New York City:

Somehow, I suspect the upcoming Hamiltonized Supreme Court will find some Constitutional penumbra exception to keep Times Square looking like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s in 2016 rather than Travis Bickle’s in 1976. After all, it would be a betrayal of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy for rich New Yorkers to be inconvenienced. But for you flyover folks in Ferguson and Dubuque, just you wait …

… But the complete explanation for the difference in liberal and conservative attitudes toward originalism is broader, and one big part of that broader framework has to do with race. The Founders were a cohort of wealthy white men, many of them slave owners. …

But this liberal take on original meanings was never able to tap into the full power of old-time originalism, because the greatest cache in American constitutional culture lies, for all its faults, in the generation of 1787. …

One cannot know in advance how deeply a Broadway musical will change American intuitions about historical narrative. But it is hard to overstate the preliminary indications. Hamilton is a Pulitzer-Prize winning production whose cast album has gone platinum faster than any album in the history of Broadway. The music is blow-the-roof-off amazing, with both the musical-theater crowd and the leading lights of hip-hop exclaiming hosannas. The audience is not just listening; it is rapt. In cooperation with the Rockefeller Foundation, Hamilton’s production company has staged special performances for tens of thousands of students in New York City’s public schools. Soon, a collection of touring companies will bring the show to audiences across the country. If art can change ideas—and of course it can—then it does look like a new vision of the Founding is ready to rise up.

As a weapon of social change, Hamilton is trained directly on the intuitions that previously made the Founding the differential property of conservatives. In part, this is a matter of the substantive political values that Miranda’s protagonist represents, both on the structural issue of federal power and on currently salient social issues like immigration. But Hamilton’s larger enterprise is exploding the politics of racial memory that have, in recent decades, made liberals queasy about embracing the Founding too closely. On that score, Hamilton attempts nothing less than regime change. Not in the sense of replacing the president with a different president, but in altering the way that Americans—of all races—think about the identity of the republic.

The show takes barely 30 seconds to establish its perspective on this issue. In the opening sequence, half a dozen nonwhite rappers take turns contributing verses to an introduction of the title character. … Hamilton does something new. The same African-American actor who announces, in the play’s first minute, that this story will neither hide slavery nor deny its brutality also refers immediately to the white-man title character as a “brother.” Hamilton, announces the nonwhite cast communicating in a paradigmatically nonwhite genre, was one of us. Not because of some bizarre claim that the first treasury secretary was actually not a white man. But because we see him as ours. (The next rapper calls Hamilton “our man.”) …

The audience sees a company of modern Americans—mostly African-American, and entirely nonwhite—rapping out an origin myth for the $10 Founding Father, who is their brother, even as they invoke the horror of slavery.

My impression is that genuine rappers, as opposed to Broadway chorus boys, are more into the $100 Founding Father, because he’s on the Benjamins.

… It aims to give nonwhite Americans today access to the cultural power of the Founding by showing that black people can own the characters of men who owned black people—and that they can do so without either muting their own blackness or overlooking the evils of the past. … It aims to let nonwhites feel ownership of the Founding, not by offering nonwhite historical figures with whom to identify but by creating conditions in which a black American today, as a black American today, can identify with Washington, or Hamilton, or even perhaps with Jefferson, villain though he be.

When it comes to the less-famous characters, the play may even succeed in the remarkable feat of getting the audience to imagine 18th-century white men as black men, perhaps without realizing that they are doing so. …

And who is to say whether what the show does for less-famous characters today is a harbinger of what it, or its successors, will do for Washington and Jefferson in the future? The leading Founders are already figures of myth. That’s precisely what makes them potent in the rhetoric of law and politics. How people imagine mythical historical figures is at least as much a function of their own mental maps as it is a function of dispassionate history. As long as the mental maps of Americans feature deep social cleavages on the basis of race, the historical fact that the Founders were white will figure in citizens’ images of Washington and Jefferson. But in a future America, one that was thoroughly multiracial and egalitarian, a nonwhite image of Washington might be no more jarring than dark-skinned images of Jesus have been among nonwhite Christian populations around the world. At that future juncture, the argument that Hamilton misrepresents the 18th century would be like the argument that originalism is a bad way to make most constitutional decisions. As a matter of intellectual analysis, it’s a pretty good point. But it’s a complex and inconvenient point, and it is unlikely to withstand the power of a good story. Hamilton tells a pretty good story, with thumping good music to help it along. By the time you leave the theater, maybe even Washington is a little bit brown. Or at least, maybe one of the images of Washington residing in your brain is a little bit that way.

… The question is then not whether Hamilton does justice to the past by depicting it accurately but whether Hamilton builds justice in the present by reallocating the ownership of the republic.

To put the point more cogently: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

Broad public absorption of Hamilton’s vision would not replace a false picture of the past with a true picture. It would replace one false picture with a different false picture. In scholarship, that substitution would not be an appropriate aspiration. But in the politics of national identity, the practical alternative to the reigning myth is never a careful historical understanding. It is always some other myth.

The success of Hamilton’s project would mark an inflection point in the politics of American memory. … But if Miranda’s frame replaces Marshall’s, or even just competes with it, then white liberals can be less ambivalent. Surely white liberals can lay as much claim to the Founders as their nonwhite allies do. … And when liberals appropriate the Founding, they will emphasize both consciously and subconsciously those sources that can be made to do work for liberal causes in modern constitutional law. Some of those causes will coincide with the politics of Hamilton, or those of Hamilton, or both. Others may not. But we can be confident that the meanings that liberals give to the Founding, once they are inclined to play the game of originalism, will be liberal-leaning meanings. What matters is who tells the story.

As Lenin liked to say, the central questions in politics are always “Who? Whom?”

 
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The first 2016 general election poll of September is also the first poll to show Trump beating Hillary. From May through July, Hillary was up by anywhere from 12 to 24 points over Trump. He’s now up by five points, continuing a trend in Trump’s direction in August:

Poll Date Sample MoE Clinton (D) Trump (R) Spread
RCP Average 8/11 – 9/3 45.8 43.4 Clinton +2.4
SurveyUSA 9/2 – 9/3 900 RV 3.3 40 45 Trump +5
PPP (D) 8/28 – 8/30 1254 RV 2.8 46 44 Clinton +2
Quinnipiac 8/20 – 8/25 1563 RV 2.5 45 41 Clinton +4
CNN/ORC 8/13 – 8/16 897 RV 3.5 51 45 Clinton +6
FOX News 8/11 – 8/13 1008 RV 3.0 47 42 Clinton +5

The demographics in this new SurveyUSA poll are interesting, although the sample sizes are small.

They are pretty much the opposite of the conventional wisdom. Relative to traditional Republican candidates, Trump is doing very well among blacks (down only 25-59) and Asians (leading 41-39) and doing reasonably well among Hispanics (down 31-50). Among whites, however, Trump is leading Hillary only 51-34, which might be a little under what would be expected for a Republican up 5 points.

Trump is winning heavily (54-36) among those who say they pay a lot of attention to politics, and is winning 48-40 among college graduates.

Trump’s strongest region is the Midwest, where he is up 49-31.

The news that Trump, who tends to strike hip-hop fans as having the kind of style that they’d want to have if they were a rich old white guy and whose positions on immigration and trade sound more likely to help black Americans earn a living than just about anybody else’s, is on track to win, say, 30% of the black vote will likely start to panic Democratic strategists, especially if it holds up in additional polls.

Expect to see a concerted effort to demonize Trump among blacks. Obama carried the Great Lakes Rust Belt (outside of Indiana) in 2012 by running up huge margins among blacks while the Romney-Ryan ticket kept whites in the region depressed and divided. A Republican who is strong in the upper Midwest is an Electoral College nightmare for the Democrats.

One thing that’s going on is that Trump is benefiting from the Revolt of the Comedians. Awhile ago, beloved elder statesman Jerry Seinfeld spoke up against comedy-killing campus conformity, citing his friend Chris Rock as support. Some people wondered why I wrote a Taki column recently quoting at length the somewhat obscure comedian Colin Quinn. But he’s an old friend of Seinfeld, Rock, and some other well-known comedy names, and I suspect Quinn articulates in public how a lot of comedians feel in private.

Trump is not himself hugely funny (except in a meta sense, in which he’s hilarious), but he exemplifies an American value that we feel slipping away: liberty. Americans used to say, “Well, it’s a free country.” They don’t anymore. The Statue of Liberty once stood for an American’s right to say what he felt was true. Now the Statue of Liberty has been repurposed as an icon of how Americans had better shut up about immigration and diversity.

Donald J. Trump is the living embodiment of the First Amendment.

On the other hand, there are a lot of foreign policy issues on which the President really shouldn’t mouth off. For example, the official stance of the United States government since February 1972 has been that China and Taiwan are one country that should be under one government; we just won’t say which one.

Granted, that’s ridiculous, but, at least so far it has worked. And therefore the President shouldn’t say it’s ridiculous even though everybody knows it is.

A low energy guy like Obama, who more or less was raised to be some kind of Foreign Service diplomat, is probably not going to tell an interviewer that of course China and Taiwan are separate countries: everybody knows that. But a President Trump might.

In contrast, domestic policy (e.g., immigration policy) should be far more of a free for all than it is under the current rules of what’s respectable. Obama’s diplomatic Blank Screen approach where nobody is supposed to get the joke about why we elected this guy President has been a slow-moving disaster. I suspect that deep down Obama feels bad about how his Administration has, in effect, agitated blacks to murder each other, all in the name of #BlackLivesMatter. But “personnel is policy” and a lot of Obama’s appointees, such as Eric Holder, have been too dim to figure out what they are doing to America.

When it comes to domestic policy, Congress and the courts have huge says, so the President using his bully pulpit is a good thing: the embodiment of democracy.

But much of foreign policy, perhaps too much, is handed over to the President under the guise of the National Security state. So the President has less freedom to spout off his opinion about whatever comes to his attention, such as, say, the division of Cyprus into Greek and Turkish spheres. Trump the Dealmaker might just be able to spitball aloud some wacky Cyprus innovation he dreamed up that actually improves that less-than-optimal but 4-decade long stable situation. But Trump the President could also destabilize it by sounding off about how everybody on the island would be better off if only they’d work out a deal and the U.S. wants change.

Did, say, Obama blow up the Arab world (with the present dire consequences) by going to Cairo in 2009 and making an ambiguous speech? Perhaps.

Trump has a little under a year and a half to grow into the job. It’s a challenge, but not impossible. Mostly, he needs to get across that he’s not going to upset settled foreign policy just for fun.

There are two sides to Trump:

- The no-publicity-is-bad-publicity-as-long-as-they-spell-”Trump”-right TV time hound

- The expert negotiator who plays his cards close to the vest

The good news is that Trump likely doesn’t care much about foreign policy, especially areas like Taiwan and Cyprus where sleeping dogs can probably be let lie a few years longer. Moreover as President, Trump would hardly be in pressing need of more publicity by stirring up unneeded foreign policy controversies beyond the ones in which he has a carefully decided upon strategy for making a deal on his terms.

 
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From the NYT Op-Ed Page:

The Opinion Pages | CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER

The Virginia Shooter Wanted Fame. Let’s Not Give It to Him.

Zeynep Tufekci

A BRUTAL attack takes place on live television; the on-air reporter and cameraman are fatally shot while at work on an early morning story.

The resulting footage — essentially a stomach-churning snuff film — aired on cable news, and was embedded in online news reports.

In a further grotesque twist, the killer filmed the episode and posted his first-person shooter video on social media. “See Facebook,” he tweeted, directing readers to the video that he also posted on Twitter, and which auto-played on many streams as people shared the posts.

This is probably exactly what the shooter, who took two lives and then his own on Wednesday in Virginia, was hoping for in his engineering of mass media and viral infamy. And he is not the only one. Studies show a rise in public mass shootings in the years since the 1999 killings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

These incidents are often followed by discussions of the availability of guns, and about mental health support. Those are crucial issues. But there is something else going on, too: Many of these shooters are seeking a twisted form of notoriety. The killers’ success in obtaining the distorted fame they seek is helping inspire the next troubled person.

We need to understand the copycat aspect of these killings so that we can start dampening this effect.

I am sympathetic to this line of argument in general. I reported upon a post-Columbine copycat school shooting in 2001 and felt like my presence (and the presence of 31 different media outlets’ satellite camera trucks) was just encouraging the next little creep. (Oddly enough, however, classic school shootings largely halted after the one I covered.)

Of course, the media didn’t seem to have any qualms about rewarding with fame the white South Carolina shooter who murdered those black churchgoers. Indeed, that little bastard’s crime seems almost perfectly calibrated to get his name repeated in the prestige press in endless thinkpieces about how the terrible racial injustices of the past are still rampant in the Evil South. The most plausible explanation for his choice of victims was to ensure his notoriety.

Now, a black gay Virginia shooter all hyped up by mainstream media’s constant identity politics hatemongering, a mediacrity himself, murders two straight white people. So now it’s time to hush up about the killer’s amply documented motivations …

 
• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Crime 
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Do you ever get the feeling that journalists are starting to feel so constrained by the ruling ideology that they are self-sabotaging their articles, turning them into deadpan send-ups by choosing the dumbest examples in support of the conventional wisdom? For example, from the New York Times:

The Film Fatales Collective Trains a Lens on Gender Inequality
By JOHN ANDERSON AUG. 21, 2015

So, which examples of Hollywood’s unfairness to women directors does Mr. Anderson highlight? The surly Josh Trank flopping with The Fantastic Four after just one previous feature (granted, it was the profitable Chronicle), when a woman director easily could have done a no worse job?

Nah …

Hollywood’s prehistoric attitude toward female directors, the filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff said, was epitomized by the recent “Jurassic World.”

“That guy had directed one half-million-dollar feature,” she said, referring to Colin Trevorrow and “Safety Not Guaranteed” (2012).

Whoever heard of Spielberg knowing anything about summer blockbusters?

A good little movie.

“And Steven Spielberg said he took a chance on him because he reminded him of himself when he was young.”

If that’s the DNA of decision-making, she said, can the film industry evolve?

From BoxOfficeMojo.com, the top 3 movies of all time in worldwide box office:

Screenshot 2015-08-23 00.42.26

You know, it’s almost as if Steven Spielberg has learned a thing or two about how to sell movie tickets.

Seriously, did bored Pravda writers during the Brezhnev years ever sit around at a bar dreaming up a covert contest to see whose editor was dumb enough to fall for the most self-defeating article upholding the Party line?

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Jurassic World, Movies 
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From the Wall Street Journal, an article that doesn’t have too much new news, but gives me an excuse to offer some perspective on the Bush Dynasty’s self-image of their role in New World history:

How Jeb Bush Spent His Years on Wall Street
Former governor’s time at Lehman and Barclays sets him apart from other presidential hopefuls

By JUSTIN BAER
Aug. 4, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET

Ten weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a financial disaster that ushered in the global economic crisis in September 2008, Jeb Bush was in Mexico City to seek help from billionaire Carlos Slim.

Mr. Bush signed on with Lehman after leaving the Florida governor’s mansion, making it clear he wanted work as a hands-on investment banker rather than hold a ceremonial role typically given ex-politicians. Now was his chance.

Mr. Bush was a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Slim, at the time ranked as the world’s second wealthiest individual and one of several deep-pocketed investors on Lehman’s radar. “Project Verde” was supposed to bring home badly needed cash and confidence. Mr. Slim, however, was more interested in talking baseball than investing in the troubled firm.

More doors closed that summer before Lehman shut its own, but Mr. Bush, following in the footsteps of a grandfather and great-grandfather, latched onto investment banking through the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

For more than seven years, nearly the length of his two gubernatorial terms, Mr. Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, spent as much as half of his working hours advising Lehman and later Barclays, which bought the collapsed investment bank’s U.S. business. He wasn’t an employee of the firms, said people familiar with the matter, but was paid to attend meetings, dinners and conferences where he spoke to clients and bank executives on such subjects as health care, education, immigration and energy—matters he has started taking up this year with voters.

Mr. Bush earned about $1.3 million a year at Lehman and some $2 million from Barclays, his campaign said. …

Mr. Bush received a warm welcome on Wall Street, where financial firms often seek former political figures to help open doors. At least six firms offered Mr. Bush a position when he finished his second term as governor in January 2007, according to people familiar with the matter.

When he joined Lehman in June that year, Mr. Bush was the brother of a sitting U.S. president, George W. Bush, and already had ties with the investment bank, known for its scrappy culture and aggressive management team led by chief executive Richard Fuld, a longtime Democrat.

In other words, the President’s brother took several months to decide which Wall Street firm to cast his lot with and picked the one that blew up the world less than a year and a half later.

Unlike most former politicians in finance, Mr. Bush was seen as “commercial,” almost a term of endearment on Wall Street meaning he understood how bankers prepared for meetings, advised clients and made money.

Jeb strikes me as an amiable second rater relative to his older brother, a hostile third rater.

… Finance, however, is part of the Bush family history. Jeb’s great-grandfather, George Herbert Walker, and grandfather, Prescott Bush, both worked at the firm that became investment bank Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

“I’d say for the Kennedys, politics was in their DNA,” Ms. Perry said. “In the case of the Bushes, it’s both politics and high finance.” …

Mr. Bush’s fluency in Spanish and extensive experience in Latin America made him a good choice for the July 2, 2008, trip to Mexico City. He also knew Mr. Slim well: the Mexican billionaire had lent a collection of small-scale Rodin sculptures for the Florida governor’s mansion when Mr. Bush lived there. …

Mr. Bush and a handful of Lehman advisers also met with Mr. Slim in his office that day to propose a number of deals, including an investment in Lehman. The answer, the Lehman team soon learned, was no.

“Project verde was unsuccessful,” Mr. Bush wrote to a colleague after the meeting in a July 5, 2008 email made public during Lehman’s bankruptcy proceedings. “He did not express interest in jv or stock purchase.”

While refusing to pour his money down the Lehman rathole, Slim went on to bail out the New York Times. It’s almost as if Slim understands America better than the Bushes do …

The background on all this is that the Bush family has been interested in reversing Mexican economic nationalism / protectionism — highlighted by the 1938 kicking out of American and British oil companies (recently reversed) — for a very long time. There’s a lot of money to be made grinding down the border between America and Mexico, and it’s by no means impossible to persuade yourself you are doing it for the good of your country.

George H.W. Bush named the oil firm he cofounded in Texas in 1953 Zapata (similarly, George W. Bush named his oil firm Arbusto). By 1960 the elder Bush had hired a Mexican front man, Jorge Diaz Serrano, to allow Zapata to operate in Mexican waters. Diaz Serrano later went on to be head of Mexico’s Pemex monopoly and to steal so flagrantly during the late 1970s boom that he was one of the three government officials symbolically imprisoned for corruption by the new PRI president elected in 1982.

GHW Bush & Carlos Salinas

Much of the elder Bush’s presidency consisted of reacting to various unexpected developments, such as the decline of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Kuwait, the recession, the Los Angeles riots, and so forth. But one exception to this “in-box Presidency” where Bush was more proactive was NAFTA, helping get Mexico to join the trade agreement long underway between the U.S. and Canada.

The elder Bush used his Spanish-speaking son Jeb and Mexican daughter-in-law Columba Bush in a diplomatic role of building ties with the Salinas clan ruling Mexico.

Dolia Estevez wrote in Forbes on April 7:

In 1988, as a special gesture to Salinas, Bush sent his daughter-in-law Columba to his inauguration. …

The vast bulk of Carlos Slim’s fortune derives from President Salinas selling him the Mexican government’s telecom monopoly, so the Bushes and Slim are linked at least through their mutual friendship with the Salinases.

Similarly, GWB came to office in 2001 with as a very high priority negotiating an immigration deal with the new PAN government of Mexico. Why? Why not? Doing deals with Mexico is what Bushes do.

The Bushes’ ties to Mexico, however, have not been free from controversy. During the first Bush Administration, Jeb and Columba became close to Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the then President’s powerful and controversial older brother.

Raul Salinas

After Salinas left office in 1994, the Salinas family fell from grace in a swirl of drug-related corruption and crime scandals. Raúl was jailed and convicted on charges of money laundering and of masterminding the assassination of his brother-in-law; after spending 10 years in jail, Raúl was acquitted of both crimes.

Another Salinas brother, Enrique, was found dead in a car in 2004, apparently murdered.

With the scandal unraveling, Jeb’s friendship with Raúl did not go unnoticed. “There has been a great deal of speculation in Mexico about the exact nature of Raúl Salinas’ close friendship with former President George Bush’s son, Jeb. It is well known here [Mexico] that for many years the two families spent vacations together–the Salinases at Jeb Bush’s home in Miami, the Bushes at Raul’s ranch, Las Mendocinas, under the volcano in Puebla. There are many in Mexico who believe that the relationship became a back channel for delicate and crucial negotiations between the two governments, leading up to President Bush’s sponsorship of NAFTA,” wrote Mexican intellectual Jorge G. Castañeda, in a 1995 op-ed in The Los Angles Times. Castañeda later became Mexico’s Foreign Minister.

Jeb has never denied his friendship with Raúl, who keeps a low profile in Mexico. Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for Bush, did not respond a request for comment. …

After leaving the Governor’s mansion in 2007, Jeb continued to cultivate his connections to Mexico’s powerful elite. … Later McCain and Bush dined at the U.S. Embassy with some of Mexico’s most powerful businessmen, including Carlos Slim Domit, telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú’s older son.

So, much of the background of the immigration issue is tied into a Game of Thrones played by clans like the Bushes, Salinases, Slims, etc. But we’re not supposed to notice that. We’re supposed to believe that it’s all about fighting the good fight against white racism, so therefore you are a racist if you are skeptical about what the Bushes are up to.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Carlos Slim, Jeb Bush, Mexico 
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Matthew Weiner really, truly, deeply wants you to know that his cable show Mad Men was motivated by all the anti-Semitism he endured in Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s. From the Washington Post:

Q&A: ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner talks ‘other-ness’ and Jewish identity on eve of finale

By Lisa Lednicer May 14

This weekend, America will say goodbye to the cultural phenomenon that is “Mad Men.” Over seven seasons, the series — which airs its last episode Sunday on AMC — traces the United States’ transition from the staid, tradition-bound Eisenhower years to the freewheeling exuberance and social upheaval of the 1960s. It’s about the rise of meritocracy in the workplace and the decline of the WASP establishment. It’s about outsiders seeking a way in, grasping for a gauzy version of the American Dream while blotting out their grimy pasts.

In other words, it’s a story about the Jewish American experience, even though creator Matthew Weiner insists that it has never been a Jewish show.

That may be true, but there are too many writerly winks and nudges, too many frissons of recognition, for the inclusion of Jews to be an afterthought. …

For Jewish Americans who struggle with their identity — the viewers whose grandparents spoke Yiddish, whose parents lit candles on Shabbat but never joined a synagogue, who married non-Jewish spouses and haven’t been to Israel but send their kids to Hebrew school — the series spoke to them in a way that other TV programs haven’t.

Finally, a TV show that expresses Jewish American sensibilities!

But that does explain a lot about why Mad Men was such a media phenomenon without ever developing much of a mass audience: amusingly, its finale on Sunday was beaten almost two to one in the Nielsen ratings by two colorized I Love Lucy reruns from over 60 years ago.

As it turns out, that was a deliberate choice on Weiner’s part. Weiner, who was raised in Los Angeles, wanted to tell a story about other-ness. “Getting to say that about Jews was fresh — to me,” he says. “And it’s a part of my life. Having grown up in a community with restricted country clubs and a lot of sophisticated anti-Semitism, I felt proud that I got to actually say that. And a little bit defiant.”

It’s natural to assume that I must be making up all this stuff about country clubs because it sounds so nuts, but there it is, over and over again.

In Weiner’s defense, Hancock Park, where Weiner (b. 1965) grew up, was likely the WASPiest enclave west of Pasadena. And the Harvard-Westlake prep school he attended in the Hollywood Hills had some vague Episcopalian connection. But still …

You have to admire the tenacity with which Weiner seizes upon scraps of evidence to suggest that Jews in Los Angeles during during his youth were victimized outsiders rather than the top dogs in the most glamorous industry in the world. It’s like how Michael Jordan, the most popular athlete in the world, used to psyche himself up before big games in the 1990s by obsessing over one sentence somebody somewhere had said about him that wasn’t wholly fawning.

Whatever works.

Last week, Weiner talked about how he chose to portray New York Jewish life in the 1960s. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

In other words, Weiner likes giving interviews. He’s not a particularly coherent speaker, but he definitely has a lot to get off his chest.

Q. What were you trying to say about Jewish identity and how it changed?

A. Well, there is a fluidity to it. On the one hand, I’m saying it’s inescapable, you should be who you are. I’m saying that about Don, I’m saying that about everybody. On the other hand, I’m saying Roger’s wife, Jane Siegel, is Jewish, and it’s really inconsequential. And this is the guy who clearly has biases and belongs to restricted country clubs.

Like I said …

But I love the idea that for her, it’s not a big deal. And for Rachel, it’s completely defining. It’s the separateness of how you see yourself, whether it’s inside you or you’re being reminded of it every day. And I think that there are moments of tolerance. I think that despite anti-Semitism, that the Israeli victories in the late Sixties were very inspiring to the American public. And those characters like Moshe Dayan were completely heroic. For being outnumbered, for being smarter, for winning against all odds.

The more time goes by, the more the Israeli victory in the Six-Days-War of 1967 seems like a key historical event in world culture because of the confidence-building impact it had on Jews, especially on the more naturally conservative and ethnocentric Jews like Weiner.

It’s healthy human nature for a teenage male to want to be a Defender of the Clan, to go and do battle with the Tribe’s enemies. High school football is one well-known outlet for this primordial instinct.

Of course, to have a Clan to defend, you also have to have a Not-Clan that you feel resentment against. But grown-ups keep telling you that you can’t be at war all the time, that there are rules of truce. But, if you are a high testosterone male, like Moshe Dayan or Matthew Weiner, you can’t help but keep noticing how the Not-Clan is always violating the rules of fairness, how the Not-Tribe is always getting ready to attack.

A. … I was always interested in having Jews be part of the fabric of New York City, but they definitely were not part of the fabric of that ad agency. That was a conscious decision as we showed in the show, to bring Jews in. And that was also part of the story of advertising. That subversive attitude, humorous attitude — you are living in someone else’s world. Certainly the creative revolution had to do with what I would call a Jewish sense of humor being introduced into advertising that America already loved.

One way to discourage members of a Clan from getting worked up all the time over the horridness of the Not-Clan is to make fun of them for it. But if one Tribe’s aversion toward its Not-Tribe neighbors is ruled to be Not a Joking Matter, well, people like Matthew Weiner never quite get the joke.

After all, what reason do they have to need a sense of humor about their own prejudices? Weiner has been making a fool of himself in interviews for some time now about all the anti-Semitism he endured in Coldwater Canyon, but almost nobody has noticed that it’s funny. It sure hasn’t hurt his career.

Q. Was advertising truly an all-WASP bastion? And if it was all WASP, what made it start to change? Was there a tipping point?

A. I am not enough of an expert on this to really be specific, but it was segregated for a long time.

There is is a key bit of sleight-of-hand that goes by almost without noticing: in response to “Was advertising truly an all-WASP bastion?” Weiner replies, “It was segregated.” In other words, just as with investment banks and country clubs, advertising firms tended to lean Jewish or gentile, but the industry was hardly an all-WASP bastion. But that’s a more complicated reality than what the Post interviewer asked. But you can hardly expect Weiner to delve into minor bits of trivia like this, when he only has had 92 hours of Mad Men and 10 million words of interviews to clear things up.

But there’s a lot of quintessential ad campaigns early on, where Jewish sensibility and Jewish writers, some of them female, started having an impact. And I think that by 1969, people are looking for Jewish creatives.

I think boutique agencies breaking off also started to bring Jews into the picture. These these were white agencies, populated by white people, using all of the typical philosophies that are used to exclude people.

It’s interesting that Weiner, who has become so immensely influential by ret-conning the past to suit current prejudices, uses “white” as meaning “gentile.”

The Flight from White is one of the important stories of our time.

Which is, “I’m not comfortable around them; they’re selling to a minority,” and the irony being, of course, that a lot of the entertainment that the ads are sitting in is being written by Jewish comedy writers.

At the beginning of the 1960s, you have someone having to go to the mailroom to find a Jewish employee and then all of a sudden, it’s okay, we want Jews. We want Jews in our ad agency.

I certainly don’t know more about the history of American advertising than Matthew Weiner does, but I do know the dominant ad man of the first half of the century: Albert Lasker. Wikipedia writes:

Albert Davis Lasker (May 1, 1880 – May 30, 1952) was an American businessman who is often considered to be the founder of modern advertising. … Chicago, along with New York, was the center of the nation’s advertising industry. Lasker, known as the “father of modern advertising,” made Chicago his base 1898–1942. As head of the Lord and Thomas agency, Lasker devised a copywriting technique that appealed directly to the psychology of the consumer.

Women seldom smoked cigarettes; he told them if they smoked Lucky Strikes they could stay slender. Lasker’s use of radio, particularly with his campaigns for Palmolive soap, Pepsodent toothpaste, Kotex products, and Lucky Strike cigarettes, not only revolutionized the advertising industry but also significantly changed popular culture.[2]

The Jewish Virtual Library writes:

Lasker Family
Modern History: Table of Contents | Jews in America | Advertising

LASKER, family of prominence in the 19th–20th centuries in the U.S.

MORRIS LASKER (1840–1916), who was born in Prussia, immigrated to the U.S. in 1856. After settling in Texas in 1860, he participated in a number of Indian campaigns and fought in the Civil War with the Confederacy. After the war Lasker moved to Galveston, where he became a prominent merchant, real estate and livestock dealer, and banker. He was elected to the Texas state senate in 1895. His brother Eduard *Lasker (1829–1884) was a prominent German politician and author.

ALBERT DAVIS LASKER (1880–1952), an advertising pioneer, public servant, and communal leader, was brought up in Galveston. Lasker worked as a reporter for the Dallas News before joining the Chicago advertising agency of Lord & Thomas in 1898. He subsequently bought the agency (1910), and when he dissolved the firm and retired in 1942, the agency was the largest of its kind in the world. Lasker’s inventiveness, particularly his use of what he called “salesmanship-in-print,” sparked a tremendous growth in the advertising business. His public and political posts included aide to President Wilson’s secretary of the Department of Agriculture; head of the Republican National Committee’s publicity department (1918); and chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board (1921–23). Before resigning from the last, Lasker oversaw the extensive reorganization of the U.S. merchant marine and the disposal of $3 billion worth of the board’s assets. In 1940 he was a delegate from Illinois to the Republican National Convention. Active in Jewish affairs, Lasker contributed to the Hebrew Union College, was a trustee of the Associated Jewish Charities of Chicago, and was a member of the American Jewish Committee’s executive committee. He also founded and endowed the Lasker Foundation for medical research in 1928.

And various sisters of Albert Lasker were prominent in Zionism, immigration issues, and the ACLU.

Of course Weiner knows all about Lasker. That’s obvious because the very first episode of Mad Men ever ends with Don Draper plagiarizing Lasker’s Lucky Strike slogan. As I wrote six years ago in Taki’s Magazine:

In the pilot episode set in 1960, for instance, Don Draper is proclaimed a genius by his clients and colleagues for dreaming up a new slogan for Lucky Strike cigarettes: “It’s Toasted.” In reality, a lame phrase like that would have been laughed at in 1960. Lucky Strike’s “It’s Toasted” slogan actually dates to 1917.

Lasker played a key role in liberating women from society’s prejudice. From T he Man Who Sold America:

But women were beginning to smoke in the home, and Lasker realized that a vast new market was ready to open up. This was brought home to him one afternoon at the Tip Top Inn, a restaurant near his Chicago home, where he was lunching with his wife. Flora tended toward obesity, and her doctor had suggested that she take up smoking to curb her appetite. But on this particular day, when she attempted to light up after lunch, the restaurant’s proprietor rushed over and said that he could not permit a woman to smoke in the main dining room. If Flora wished to smoke, he continued, the Laskers would have to retire to a private room.

“It filled me with indignation,” Lasker recalled, “that I had to do surreptitiously something which was perfectly normal in a place where I had gone so much. That determined me to break down the prejudice against women smoking.”

Interestingly, I haven’t been able to find anything on whether Lord & Thomas, which Lasker went to work for in 1898, had much of an ethnic identity. I haven’t found any references to whether the people who hired Lasker were Jewish or not, and Lasker’s two most famous hires, former Canadian Mountie John E. Kennedy (who gave Lasker his creative philosophy that advertising was “salesmanship in print) and efficiency expert Claude C. Hopkins, don’t sound all that Jewish.

In general, the fabulously successful German Jewish-Americans like Lasker didn’t seem to trigger much resistance among gentiles, at least not until huge numbers of less suave Russian Jews showed up in America.

Indeed, a key point for understanding the past is that many Jewish families’ stories of how great-grandpa was discriminated against by American gentiles are actually stories of how he was discriminated against by German Jewish employers or country clubs that have been ret-conned over the generations to extrude awkward bits.

Lasker owned the most admired personal golf course in America during the Depression, which was ranked #23 in the country by a golf magazine in 1939. The Chicago Tribune reported in 2009:

The course was the brainchild of Albert Lasker, head of Lord & Thomas, a now-defunct Chicago ad agency that was among the largest in the U.S. Lasker rubbed elbows with celebrities, helped launch commercial radio and bought a stake in the Chicago Cubs, according to the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society, which is hosting the tour Saturday as part of an exhibit on local golf history.

Despite his success, Lasker, who was Jewish, couldn’t wrangle an invitation to the exclusive Lake Forest golf clubs where he longed to play. In 1921 he bought 480 acres of farmland north of Half Day Road on the western fringes of the town and set up an even more exclusive club — in his own backyard.

“He wasn’t invited to play at some of the other courses, so he built his own,” said Laurie Stein, curator of the historical society. …

The William Flynn-designed course was built at a cost of about $1 million and was immaculately maintained. A who’s who of golf made the rounds with Lasker, including Gene Sarazen, Johnny Farrell and Bobby Jones, who reportedly called the course one of the three best in the country.

Back to the Washington Post interview of Weiner:

Q. Of all the Jewish characters in “Mad Men,” who’s your favorite?

A. I was very, very attached to Rachel. I was very proud of having a character on TV who is Jewish, and who says they’re Jewish, and not just has a Jewish last name and comes out in, like, Season 7 or something. …

A. … Because I think sometimes it’s forgotten. You know, for any of us who had to stand up and explain to our elementary school class what Hanukkah was in the late ‘70s. And, you know, that’s the story of the show for everybody. For all the characters.

Americans love a winner. And the way you win is by firing yourself up with anger at the perfidiousness of your opponents and how they forced you into defending yourself (hey, it worked for Genghis Khan), and by delegitimizing and demoralizing potential rivals.

A good way to do this is by ret-conning history, such as with a TV show that’s watched by all the other writers. He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

 
• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Mad Men, Matthew Weiner 
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From the NYT Magazine:

The Great Democratic Crack-Up of 2016

They may have a strong presidential candidate, but at every other level, the party’s politicians and activists are fighting to survive — and fighting with one another.

By ROBERT DRAPER MAY 12, 2015

Maryland might seem a peculiar venue for a blood feud over the future of the Democratic Party. It is the second-bluest state in the United States, after Massachusetts, according to Gallup; its registered Democrats, more than 30 percent of whom are black, outnumber registered Republicans two to one. Maryland is home to an immense federal work force and is one of the states most economically dependent on the federal government. Its gun-control laws are among the strictest in the nation. In 2012, Maryland and Maine became the first states to ratify same-sex marriage by popular vote. Barack Obama’s statewide margin of victory was roughly 26 points in 2008 and 2012, the fifth highest in the United States. The last time the G.O.P. won control of the Maryland State Legislature was in 1897. So reliable is its party affiliation that, as a Democratic senator’s chief of staff puts it, “If Maryland ever becomes a jeopardy state, then the whole thing is gone.”

This past March, when Barbara Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in United States Senate history, unexpectedly announced that she would not be seeking a sixth term in 2016, national progressive groups quickly threw their weight behind their dream candidate: Donna Edwards. A pugnacious former community organizer, Edwards is a four-term African-American congresswoman from Prince George’s County, one of the most affluent majority-black counties in the United States.

But she wasn’t the favorite of establishment Democrats. For them, the obvious choice to replace Mikulski was the seven-term congressman Chris Van Hollen, who is considered a progressive like Edwards, but has a reputation for coolheaded practicality and for working well with Republicans. Of the bills sponsored by Van Hollen in the previous session of Congress, 37 percent included at least one Republican co-sponsor. For Edwards, the corresponding figure was 0 percent. Where she is viewed as a warrior for liberal causes, he is seen as a conciliator, one whose let’s-sit-down-and-talk-this-over geniality led to his tenure as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2007 to 2011 and, thereafter, to his designation as the House Democrats’ point man on bipartisan budget discussions. As their lead negotiator, Van Hollen has immersed himself in the sort of legislative sausage-making that typically entails compromise, like his expressed willingness, in 2012, to consider restructuring Social Security as part of an overall deficit-reduction agreement. To progressives, this was nothing less than apostasy.

Also, Chris Van Hollen, who represents rich Montgomery County in Congress, happens to be just about the whitest man in America, Deep State Division. Van Hollen’s father was an aide to Secretary of State Dean Acheson and then American ambassador to Sri Lanka. His mother was the top Afghan analyst for the State Department. Van Hollen’s like the Matt Damon character in The Good Shepherd who gets questioned by mobster Joe Pesci over what his Old American people own: “The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.”

My guess would be that the Democrats benefit from still having as a public face of the party some number of this kind of old-fashioned hereditary princeling with direct family ties to the Truman Administration’s waging of the Cold War. Just as the Republicans celebrate any GOP politician they can find who is from somewhat outside the Core (e.g., Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Mr. Columba Bush, etc.), logic suggests the Democrats should conversely find it tactically prudent to look favorably upon a good-looking representative like Van Hollen of the East Coast’s ancient Dutch/WASP elite that produced the Roosevelts.

But symmetrical logic is distasteful to Democrats. Moral asymmetry is their engine. Holding together the Democrats’ Coalition of the Fringes by demonizing Privileged Straight White Males like Van Hollen is too much fun and to necessary to turn off just for tactical reasons.

Progressives, of course, love that Edwards is not a backslapping insider. She has vigorously advocated for many of their pet causes — minimum-wage increases, college-tuition debt relief, overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United verdict so as to regulate corporate expenditures on political activity — that they maintain are popular with the public despite having failed to pass in Congress.

They also see her as a model progressive in another sense: Edwards is not a white male. …

Shortly after Freddie Gray died after being injured while in police custody in Baltimore, Edwards told me: “I reacted to what happened from my perspective raising a young black son in an environment that’s complicated. And one of the voices that’s so important but that’s been missing are black moms who are raising their children and worrying about what’s happened to our communities.” …

Van Hollen nonetheless enters the race as the front-runner, owing to his legislative accomplishments and to his extensive fund-raising connections as the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But Thomas Schaller, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County, political-science professor, says: “Any financial advantage by him will probably be evened out by the sweat equity of progressive grass-roots volunteers. So resourcewise, this is a draw. The differentiator will be policy stuff. Her people are probably going to be poring over every committee vote and every statement to see where he was siding with Wall Street. The Van Hollen people will be doing the same thing. And sure, race is always a factor” — a factor, Schaller said, that would help Edwards in black-dominated counties but hurt her in the rural stretches of western Maryland and along the Chesapeake Bay, with emerging neighborhoods of Asian and Latino voters potentially proving decisive.

As I’ve been saying, a major political question is whether Asians and Latinos will view the GOP more as the resented White Party or the Democrats more as the worrisome Black Party?

 
• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Democratic Party 
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Charles Murray writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Why the SAT Isn’t a ‘Student Affluence Test’
A lot of the apparent income effect on standardized tests is owed to parental IQ—a fact that needs addressing.

By CHARLES MURRAY
March 24, 2015 7:11 p.m. ET

… The results are always the same: The richer the parents, the higher the children’s SAT scores. This has led some to view the SAT as merely another weapon in the inequality wars, and to suggest that SAT should actually stand for “Student Affluence Test.”

It’s a bum rap. All high-quality academic tests look as if they’re affluence tests. It’s inevitable. Parental IQ is correlated with children’s IQ everywhere. In all advanced societies, income is correlated with IQ. Scores on academic achievement tests are always correlated with the test-takers’ IQ. Those three correlations guarantee that every standardized academic-achievement test shows higher average test scores as parental income increases.

But those correlations also mean that a lot of the apparent income effect is actually owed to parental IQ. The SAT doesn’t have IQ information on the parents. But the widely used National Longitudinal Survey of Youth contains thousands of cases with data on family income, the mother’s IQ, and her children’s performance on the math and reading tests of the Peabody Individual Achievement Test battery, which test the same skills as the math and reading tests of the SAT.

For the SAT, shifting to more than $200,000 of family income from less than $20,000 moved the average score on the combined math and reading tests to the 74th percentile from the 31st—a jump of 43 percentiles. The same income shift moved the average PIAT score to the 82nd percentile from the 30th—a jump of 52 percentiles.

Now let’s look at the income effect in the PIAT when the mother’s IQ is statistically held constant at the national average of 100. Going to a $200,000 family income from a $1,000 family income raises the score only to the 76th percentile from the 50th—an increase of 26 percentiles. More important, almost all of the effect occurs for people making less than $125,000. Going to $200,000 from $125,000 moves the PIAT score only to the 76th percentile from the 73rd—a trivial change. Beyond $200,000, PIAT scores go down as income increases.

In assessing the meaning of this, it is important to be realistic about the financial position of families making $125,000 who are also raising children. They were in the top quartile of income distribution in 2013, but they probably live in an unremarkable home in a middle-class neighborhood and send their children to public schools. And yet, given mothers with equal IQs, the child whose parents make $125,000 has only a trivial disadvantage, if any, when competing with children from families who are far more wealthy.

Why should almost all of the income effect be concentrated in the first hundred thousand dollars or so? The money itself may help, but another plausible explanation is that the parents making, say, $60,000 are likely to be regularly employed, with all the things that regular employment says about a family. The parents are likely to be conveying advantages other than IQ such as self-discipline, determination and resilience—“grit,” as this cluster of hard-to-measure qualities is starting to be called in the technical literature.

Families with an income of, say, $15,000 are much more likely to be irregularly employed or subsisting on welfare, with negative implications for that same bundle of attributes. Somewhere near $100,000 the marginal increments in grit associated with greater income taper off, and further increases in income make little difference.

Let’s throw parental education into the analysis so that we can examine the classic indictment of the SAT: the advantage a child of a well-educated and wealthy family (Sebastian, I will call him) has over the child of a modestly educated working-class family (Jane). Sebastian’s parents are part of the fabled 1%, with $400,000 in income, and his mother has a college degree. But her IQ is only average. Jane’s family has an income of just $40,000 and mom has only a high-school diploma. But mom’s IQ is 135, putting her in the top 1% of the IQ distribution.

Which child is likely to test higher? Sebastian is predicted to be at the 68th percentile on the PIAT. Jane is predicted to be at the 78th percentile. If you want high test scores, “choose” a smart but poor mother over a rich but dumb one—or over a rich and merely ungifted one.

One way of analyzing the effect of “privilege” — wealth and parental investment — on test scores and outcomes as adults would be to check how much an only child is advantaged relative to a child in a larger family.

For example, consider my wife v. myself. Harvard social scientist Robert D. Putnam’s new book Our Kids uses a super-simplified definition of class based solely on parents’ educational levels. By Putnam’s standards, my wife, whose mother and father both had masters degrees, would have grown up upper middle class. In contrast, my father had a junior college 2-year diploma and my mother had only a high school diploma, so I’d be lower middle class, I guess.

On the other hand, I was an only child, while my wife has three siblings. So, growing up, I never felt terribly strapped for money nor, especially, for parental time and energy, while my wife’s upbringing was more exigent.

Although you don’t hear about it much now that small families are the norm, back in my Baby Boom childhood, the privileged nature of being an only child — only children were widely said to be spoiled — was a frequent subject of conversation. This was especially true since I went to Catholic schools for 12 years, where very large families were common. For example, one friend, the class clown and best singer (his rendition of “MacNamara’s Band” in 4th grade remains a vivid memory), had eight siblings in his Irish family.

How privileged was I by being one of a family of three rather than one of a family of eleven?

My friend from the huge family has had a long, successful career as a TV sportscaster, along with some TV and movie credits as a comic actor. If you live in L.A., you’ve seen him on TV dozens of times over the last 30 years. So, growing up in a huge family didn’t ruin his life.On the other hand, if he’d been an only child with a real stage mother for a mom, I could imagine somebody with that much presence (his affect is reminiscent of that of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman or of a straight Nathan Lane) becoming a semi-famous character actor with maybe one or two Best Supporting Actor nominations.

Back during my more egalitarian childhood, people didn’t think that much about tutoring and Tiger Mothering, but, to some extent it works.

For example, I have had a pleasant life, but looking back I can see wasted opportunities. After my freshman year at Rice I came home and got a summer job at Burger King. After my sophomore year, I repaired dental equipment. Finally, after my junior year I worked as the assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of a big weedwacker manufacturing company. But what did the Burger King and repair jobs do for me other than teach me not to be a fry cook or repairman? These days I would have plotted to get internships in Silicon Valley or D.C. or Wall Street and had my parents pay my rent.

So, yes, I do think I was privileged to have the extra resources I was afforded by being an only child, even if I didn’t exploit my privileges as cunningly as I could have.

Quantifying how big a privilege that was seems challenging but doable. In fact, I’m sure somebody has done it already, and I invite commenters to link to studies.

It seems to me that measuring the effects of being an only child ought to be the first thing we do when we decide to theorize about Privilege.

By the way, however, there are other factors that may matter more in determining how Privileged you are. For example, my parents happened to turn out to be winners in the Great American Random Lottery of choosing a neighborhood to buy a home in during the 1950s — the demographics of their neighborhood have barely changed since the 1950s.

In contrast, my in-laws had the bad luck to draw what nightmarishly turned out to be one of the shortest straws in America: the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. It was almost all white until Martin Luther King came to Chicago in 1966 to demand integration. Being good liberals, my in-laws joined a pro-integration group of neighbors who all swore to not engage in white flight. But after three years and three felonies against their small children, my in-laws were pretty much financially wiped out by trying to make integration work in Austin. And thus after they finally sold out at a massive loss, they wound up living in a farmhouse without running water for the next two years.

Bizarrely, while the once-pleasant street where my wife grew up in Austin looks nowadays like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a couple of miles to the west is Superior Street in Oak Park, IL where my father grew up in the 1920s. It looks like an outdoor Frank Lloyd Wright museum today. The Wright district was saved by Oak Park’s secret, illegal, and quite effective “black-a-block” racial quota system imposed on realtors to keep Oak Park mostly white (and, these days, heavily gay).

So a not insignificant fraction of White Privilege in 2015 actually consists of whether or not the Eye of Sauron turned upon your parents’ neighborhood or not.

 
• Category: Economics, Ideology • Tags: Charles Murray, College Admission, IQ, SAT 
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From Politico:

Eric Holder’s parting shot: It’s too hard to bring civil rights cases

In an exit interview, the attorney general says his critics may be partly driven by race.

By MIKE ALLEN 2/27/15 7:00 AM EST

Attorney General Eric Holder plans to push, during his final weeks in office, a new standard of proof for civil-rights offenses, saying in an exit interview with POLITICO that such a change would make the federal government “a better backstop” against discrimination in cases like Ferguson and Trayvon Martin.

Holder could look outside the mainstream of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence to more informal community-based systems of legal reasoning, such as lynch law.

Holder told POLITICO that between now and his departure, probably in early March when the Senate is expected to confirm Loretta Lynch as his successor

They could call it Lynch law.

he will call for a lower standard of proof for civil rights crimes.

For example, consider the old rationalization for punishing an innocent man: For Reason of State. Isn’t it about time that the Obama Administration becomes entitled to arbitrarily imprison cisgender straight white males For Reason of Narrative?

Such a change would make it easier for the federal government to bring charges in the case of a future Ferguson or Trayvon Martin.

Guilty by reason of uppitiness!

“I think some serious consideration needs to be given to the standard of proof that has to be met before federal involvement is appropriate, and that’s something that I am going to be talking about before I leave office,” Holder, 64, said.

If security camera footage shows the convenience store was looted by at least twelve good men and true, that should constitute a legal indictment of any white cop under federal civil rights laws.

The attorney general’s comments appeared to be aimed partly at preparing the country for the possibility that no federal charges would be brought in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Graffiti reading “Snitches get stitches” would be admissible as evidence that the shopkeeper had it coming.

Holder said the inquiry would be completed when he left office, expected around the second week of March.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that the Martin investigation had been closed, with “insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges” against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator who shot the unarmed black teenager to death back in 2012.

Asked if the bar for federal involvement in the civil rights offenses is too high for federal prosecutors to make cases in shootings like those of Martin and Brown, Holder suggested it was.

Trial by Twitter would be one reform that deserves serious consideration.

“I think that if we adjust those standards, we can make the federal government a better backstop — make us more a part of the process in an appropriate way to reassure the American people that decisions are made by people who are really disinterested,” he said.

You can’t get much more disinterested than the Obama Administration over Trayvon in the run-up to the 2012 Election: “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

“I think that if we make those adjustments, we will have that capacity.”

For example, if a random white person in the metropolitan area gets beaten to death with hammers within a few weeks of a white cop being let off by the judicial system, that show of community concern should legally override the white man’s outmoded Constitutional immunity from double jeopardy.

Lawyers in the Justice Department are looking into various possible reforms of civil rights law.

For example, the federal government could prosecute white people based on a sophisticated metric consisting of a case’s column inches of coverage in the New York Times multiplied by the number of miles from the New York Times Building on 8th Avenue.

Depending on their determination, it’s possible that Holder will simply argue about the need for a lower standard of proof rather than propose a specific legislative remedy.

For example, indicting people based on Facebook Likes and Dislikes would be a disruptive approach to the hidebound judicial system.

Possible changes include toughening hate-crimes laws, which were under consideration in the Martin case, and establishing a broader standard for what constitutes a “deprivation of rights under color of law,” the provision that could apply to the police shooting in Ferguson.

Another reform would be to remove pedantic pre-postmodern technicalities about the white malefactor needing to actually “exist,” thus allowing the Obama Administration the moral satisfaction of indicting Haven Monahan.

 
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As I’ve been pointing out for awhile, the weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis — that our vocabularies influence how hard or easy it is for us to recognize patterns of reality — offers an insight into a lot of recent feminist brouhahas, especially in Silicon Valley. Worldlier cultures than ours recognized that great concentrations of wealth and power, especially in the hands of more unworldly men, attract a certain type of woman formerly known as the adventuress.

In the New York Times Magazine, Emily Bazelon goes over the shocking charges made by a 21-year-old Stanford student and former professional model that she and a 29-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur had had sex in their luxury hotel room in Rome, and then in numerous other upscale locations before they broke up after many months. But looking back, she realizes now it was all rape Rape RAPE, and Stanford, pursuant to the Obama Administration’s 2011 Dear Colleague letter on lowering the standards in sexual assault charges, had better make her rich ex-boyfriend’s life hell for her.

While there’s no objective evidence that the bad guy in this story did anything very bad; at least, unlike Haven Monahan, ringmaster of the fraternity initiation gang rape on broken glass at UVA, he exists.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 15.37.25So, the never say the news media aren’t making progress!

Bazelon’s article slowly gets around to insinuating that the story told by ex-model Clougherty and her mother Anne was basically a scam. The key witness is Clougherty’s former friend Jane:

In the months after Jane [the friend] helped Clougherty [the ex-model] break up with Lonsdale [the rich sap], she says that she watched with increasing unease as Clougherty’s accusations mounted, from emotional abuse to rape. “In March 2014, she texted me that she considered herself a ‘sex slave’ during her relationship with Joe,” Jane wrote in her statement. “This is far, far beyond anything that she ever said about the relationship when it was happening or for a long time afterward. It also made no sense in light of her clear enthusiasm about the relationship.”

Jane told me by phone that the breaking point in her friendship with Clougherty came when Stanford began the second investigation of Lonsdale. Jane says she thought the investigation was not warranted and told Clougherty that she would not talk to Pope. Clougherty sent her three texts in April 2014: “Hey, all the investigators need to know is that you witnessed my escape from Joe and saw him pounding on the steering wheel.” “Did you really decline to speak with them?” “I don’t understand, I thought you’d support me.” On the night of the break up, Anne [Cloughtery's mother] and Jane [the friend] were sitting in the wine bar waiting for Clougherty. They saw Lonsdale drive up with Clougherty. In Anne’s account, she and Jane could see Lonsdale pounding on the steering wheel. Jane jumped up and went outside to knock on the window of the car and make sure Clougherty was O.K.

Jane, though, told me that “the conversation in the car looked completely normal.” She added: “I didn’t go outside. She came in, and I thought, Great! She’s fine, and it’s over.” She gave a short, bitter laugh. “They asked me to lie, and I said no. Ellie yelled at me over the phone.” She gave another short laugh. “She hung up on me after five years of helping her through all her life issues and crises, all the calls from Anne, ‘Will you look after Ellie?’ All of that, only to be put to the side when I won’t do what they want me to do.”

Bazelon adds an amusing coda:

Clougherty is currently a student at the University of Virginia… After Rolling Stone published its story of a lurid fraternity gang rape in November, Clougherty and Anne [her mother] arranged a meeting with the university president, Teresa Sullivan. On the day before Thanksgiving [November 26, 2014, the day after I began commenting on Richard Bradley's posting expressing skepticism about Rolling Stone's shattered glass story], they spent a couple of hours sitting in front of a fire at Sullivan’s home, drinking hot chocolate and talking about the effects of trauma. Clougherty gave Sullivan a beaded bracelet she had made and was thrilled when Sullivan mentioned the gift in a major speech on campus the following week, calling Clougherty the survivor of a “brutal assault inflicted on her at another university.”

Here’s the relevant paragraph from the speech UVA president Teresa Sullivan gave on December 1, 2014, the day the mainstream media started to pick up on my November 29, 2014 link to Richard Bradley’s blog:

On my wrist today I am wearing a bracelet that was given to me last week by a rape survivor. We talked for nearly two hours about a brutal assault inflicted on her at another university. I have three takeaways from that conversation. First, rape can destroy lives. She is strong and resilient and rebuilding her life, but it has taken her full-time effort, the constant effort of her family, and the support of therapists to put her life back together. Second, rape is not about sex. Her rape was about domination, anger, isolating your victim, and then making her believe that if she ever talks, something even worse will befall her. Third, rape is a national problem – it happened at this young woman’s college, but it also happens in the military, the workplace, and our high schools. Now our university has been placed at the center of this crisis. We will not shrink from it. We will lead. I will make periodic reports to the community on what we are doing, and you can hold me accountable for our efforts.

So not only was the primary subject of President Sullivan’s speech — Haven Monahan’s gang rape on broken glass — bogus, so was her spotlighted example: the Stanford coed being raped month after month by the zillionaire at five star hotels.

As I wrote back in December:

Attractive women tend to have fewer problems than unattractive ones, but when our society, starting with the White House, relentlessly encourages reasonably attractive women to proclaim themselves victims … watch out. People are hardwired to like and believe attractive young women, so it’s pretty easy to be an adventuress, and they can wreak a lot of havoc.

Chris Rock reflects in Top Five: anything you do with a woman that doesn’t end in you marrying her is, from her point of view, just wasting her time.

By the way, Emily Bazelon is, I would imagine, an old friend of Hanna Rosin from Slate, which Rosin’s husband David Plotz long edited. When Rosin’s old friend from The New Republic, Jonathan Chait, attacked political correctness a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that what we’re seeing is a split among the Former Friends of Stephen Glass.

Glass’s old college buddy Sabrina Rubin Erdely took away the lesson from the Stephen Glass scandal that it’s pretty easy to get away with stuff as long as you let a self-purported witness make stuff up for you rather than make it all up by yourself the way Glass did.

The UVA hoax, in contrast, seems to have gotten Glass’s old pals Rosin and Chait (and their friends like Emily Bazelon and Emily Yoffe) worried about the left of center’s re-descent back into mindless credulity.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Sapir-Whorf 
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After the 2012 election we heard a lot about how the Obama Coalition was a demographic juggernaut. To take a random example, from New York magazine on May 10, 2013:

How Jason Richwine Passed Immigration Reform
By Jonathan Chait

The fallout from the Heritage Foundation’s immigration reform study has developed into a watershed moment for the prospects of passing a bill. The release of the study prompted a fierce backlash from proponents of reform, which compounded when Dylan Matthews reported that Jason Richwine, a co-author of the study, wrote a dissertation arguing, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

Heritage has found itself in a public relations crisis, and announced Richwine was leaving the conservative think-tank. …

If the Gang of Eight bill fails, Richwine’s comments will continue to linger and recirculate in the Latino-American media until immigration reform finally passes. Republicans will never be able to convince Latinos they killed the bill for any reason other than racial animus. The need to put this behind them is growing desperate.

Of course, Richwine should be fired for having done his Harvard doctoral dissertation on a technical subject of massive importance to the long term future of the country. Nobody should be allowed to express or even have an informed opinion on the topic. Knowledge is bad.

But, as I’ve been pointing out for a long time, the Obama Coalition is mostly held together by its hatred for cisgendered straight white males like, oh, to pick another random example, Jonathan Chait.

Ever since the 2014 election, the progressive crack-up has been proceeding. Winning covers up a lot of fractures, but losing pulls the masking tape off.

So, in New York magazine this week, Jonathan Chait is firing back at all the Social Media Justice Warriors who denounce him and his friends, such as Hanna Rosin (basically, the Stephen Glass Support Network at The New Republic in the 1990s), for occasionally expressing a thought besides “CSWMs Are Evil:”

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — “Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’ ”

A behind-the-scenes angle to this involves a split among the Former Friends of Stephen Glass between Sabrina Rubin Erdely versus Chait and Rosin versus over the UVA Hoax.

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

It’s a free country, and if BuzzFeed can hustle a buck off putting dumb stuff out there, so what?

I care a lot more about when the SMJWs use their power and money to silence dissenters by getting scientists like Jason Richwine and James D. Watson fired.

Yet, I can’t find much evidence of Chait, who has had plenty of platforms in the press since he co-authored a story with Stephen Glass a couple of decades ago at The New Republic, protesting either Richwine or Watson losing their jobs.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw. …

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves. …

In a Coalition of the Fringes, there’s a lot of effort put in to be Fringier than Thou.

I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. … If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.

Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing.

I’m going to jump in here and point out that I don’t think that’s necessarily unreasonable. For example, consider the legal concept of Admission Against Interest. When somebody once said:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

It’s more interesting because it was Jesse Jackson who said it.

I’m going to go in the opposite direction from Chait. He seems to be implying that it should be considered in bad taste to point out how demographics bias viewpoints. Thus, it shouldn’t be respectable to scoff at what Chait says because he’s a man or at what Rosin says because she’s white.

I’m sympathetic, but my view is that we should go 180 degrees the opposite from Chait’s notion. Instead of everybody being sheltered from criticism over who they are, as Chait implies, we’d be better off if everybody was free game over everything. Anybody would be okay to criticize anybody, no matter how sacralized the designated victim group the offended party belongs to.

My vision of what American public discourse ought to be would basically be 300,000,000 Bill Burrs going at each other.

Obviously, I’m biased. I don’t have a lot of Victimization Pokemon Points that I would be sacrificing.

I’m also professionally biased in that I’m a critic, and I think criticism is, on the whole, good for people.

White guys get criticized a lot. And, guess what? We behave pretty well. Having your group criticized for your stereotypical bad behavior tends to make you want to avoid that kind of behavior.

In contrast, members of lots of other groups are largely off-limits for being criticized for behaving in stereotypical fashions. For example, everybody knows that poor young black men are more likely on average to, say, loot convenience stores and attack policemen. But you aren’t supposed to admit you know that. That’s a stereotype!

So when Michael Brown looted a convenience store and attacked a policeman, and the policeman didn’t get indicted, lots of poor young black men in Ferguson responded by … you guessed it: looting convenience stores. And then a poor young black man in Brooklyn attacked a couple of policemen and shot them dead.

Funny how that works.

Likewise, everybody knows that women tend to take things personally, get worked up, and then throw principled logic out the window. So, you aren’t supposed to mention it these days because it’s a stereotype (because it’s true).

Not surprisingly, therefore, lots of women these days go online, take things personally, get worked up, and throw principled logic out the window. What, is somebody going to dare laugh at them and point out they are behaving in a stereotypically female fashion? So, public discourse gets clogged up with women throwing hissy fits.

And Muslims are stereotypically chip-on-the-shoulder hot-heads. Fifty years ago in France, they used to feel a little embarrassed about behaving like Anthony Quinn’s character in Lawrence of Arabia because that so obviously confirmed the stereotype. But now their grandsons have been told endlessly that anybody who notices stereotypes is evil, so some of them get offended and go murder caricature cartoonists.

None of this is some weird accident. It’s the basic logic of human behavior: the more a group is above criticism, the worse they behave.

 
• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Political Correctness, Racism 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

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


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