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 TeasersJohn Derbyshire Blogview

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I got a bit carried away with congressional maneuvering over immigration issues last week, leaving myself no time for other topics in the news. Here’s one of those topics: the assault on meritocracy.

Now, the whole issue of meritocracy is problematic. It needs some serious thought and public discussion, but isn’t getting much of either.

I’ve spoken and written about this at length. Here quote from myself I was, for example, in my February Diary at VDARE.com this year, commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of Michael Young’s book The Rise of the Meritocracy:

I think most Americans, if put to the question, would say that meritocracy—rewards proportional to one’s ability and effort—is an ideal; much more desirable, at least, than an aristocracy of birth. The notion that a meritocracy may not be stable, may in fact produce an aristocracy of birth, is not welcome to us. It may none the less be true.[PDF]

And here I was on Radio Derb, October 2015, longish quote:

This is in my opinion the number one social-science issue of our time. How do we avoid the trap Michael Young described in 1958, the meritocracy trap, of asociety stratified by ability, especially now we know that ability is largely inherited, and so presumably stamped in the genome?

And how shall we cope when the geneticists have located the genes that contribute to intelligence and personality? They are well under way—you’d be surprised …

So here’s how it’ll be fifteen or twenty years from now.You want to have a baby. Using your sperm, some number of your wife’s eggs are fertilized in a lab. The genomes of the embryos are scrutinized to see which one has the best genes for intelligence and personality. That one is implanted and taken to term; the others are destroyed.

This is not even genetic engineering, although we may have that too. It’s just picking the best of many children you might have, if you had many children—a hundred, perhaps.

Who gets to do it, though? Just the rich and the powerful? Or everybody? What are the social consequences?

This is a great looming social issue of our time, and even more of our children’s time.

OK, so here’s a new item concerning New York City’s specialized high schools. There are nine of these very selective schools. One specializes in the arts and performing arts, though, and is generally left out of news items like this one. The others admit students via a rigorous written examination, the Specialized High School Admissions Test, SHSAT for short.

The news: New York City’s communist mayor Bill de Blasio wants to scrap the SHSAT. Why does he want to do that? Why do you think?

Let His Honor explain. Here’s Comrade Bill, in a June 2nd op-ed:

Right now, we are living with monumental injustice. The prestigious high schools make 5,000 admissions offers to incoming ninth-graders. Yet, this year just 172 black students and 298 Latino students received offers. This happened in a city where two out of every three eighth-graders in our public schools are Latino or black …

Can anyone defend this? Can anyone look the parent of a Latino or black child in the eye and tell them their precious daughter or son has an equal chance to get into one of their city’s best high schools? Can anyone say this is the America we signed up for?

[Our specialized schools have a diversity problem. Let's fix it by Bill de Blasio; Chalkbeat.org, June 2, 2018]

I did a Ctrl-F for the word “Asians” in de Blasio’s op-ed: no hit. That, to borrow a culinary simile from French politics, is like writing a 944-word article about jugged hare in redcurrant jelly without mentioning the jugged hare.

Asians, East and South Asians, comprise about twenty percent of New York City high-school freshmen. Whites are around ten percent. Sun People—blacks and Hispanics—are seventy percent.

At the elite high schools admitting via the SHSAT exam Asians are 62 percent overall. Once again: They are twenty percent of the relevant population, 62 percent of those passing the SHSAT.

At Stuyvesant, the most popular of the specialized high schools, Asians are 73 percent (whites twenty percent, Sun People seven percent). Brooklyn Tech—which, by the way, Mayor de Blasio’s son attended, is a mere 61 percent Asian(and again twenty percent white). Queens High School for the Sciences is seventy-six percent Asian.

Staten Island Tech bucks the trend somewhat. It’s only 41 percent Asian, 52 percent white, seven percent Sun People. Yet more diverse is the High School of Math, Science, and Engineering up in Harlem: a paltry 37 percent Asian, 25 percent white, 38 percent Sun People.

They spoil the effect somewhat though by having a larger-than-average sex imbalance: seventy percent guys, thirty percent gals. The average for the specialized high schools is more like sixty-forty. Obviously some really flagrant discrimination going on there.

 
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As promised last week on Radio Derb, the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives has brought forth proposals for legislation, and those proposals are just as bad as I told you they would be.

Chris Chmielenski over at NumbersUSA has all the grisly details. As Chris says, it’s basically the good old Gang of Eight bill from five years ago. Don’t be looking for any originality from the Stupid Party, not even originality in folly. Paul Ryan and his stooges think they can pull the same stupid stunt all over again.

So what exactly is in the draft legislation? Mainly of course a huge amnesty: officially 1.8 million new legal residents, but for all anyone knows it could be twice that number.

Border security? Well, there is $25 billion for that, but no guarantee it will actually be spent, certainly not all of it on a physical wall.

The diversity visa lottery? Eliminated … but the annual 55,000 permanent residency cards will be re-assigned to more deserving cases, e.g. cheap computer programmers from India.

Chain migration? Some tinkering round the edges; but again, no reduction in numbers. The green cards not now issued to your fourth cousin’s first wife’s third cousin’s step-brother’s niece will now just go to yet more cheap programmers for Disney and Con Ed.

Compulsory E-Verify? Entry-exit visa tracking? Cutbacks on H-1B and other guest-worker visas? Not a hope.

Strict low limits on student visas? Cancellation of the investor visa scam? In your dreams, pal.

A legislative challenge to birthright citizenship? An end to the refugee resettlement rackets? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR TINY MIND?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who feels about immigration legislation the way vampires feel about garlic, mumbled that if Ryan’s bill passed the House he would, quote, “take a look at it.” Be careful that look doesn’t last more than a millisecond, Mitch; you might be turned into stone … not that anyone would notice.

So here goes the GOP, once again strolling nonchalantly past that hundred-dollar bill lying there on the sidewalk:genuflecting to their donors while blowing raspberries at their voters. Way to look strong for the midterms, guys.

In a TV interview Friday morning, the President said he would not support the Ryan bill.

Then we hear from the Guardian that the “White House” (deputy press secretary Raj Shah) says he will.

And the New York Times, in a story posted yesterday, asks Will He or Won’t He? Conflicting Trump Messages Sow Immigration Confusion.

That’s what people who voted for Trump would like to know. Peter Brimelow emails that “it all hangs on Mount Trump eruption, as usual.”

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration, Republican Party 
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The congressional GOP leas by House Speaker Paul Ryan has been meeting this week to try to get Republican immigration legislation through the House. There is a deadline looming: next Tuesday, June 12th. Twenty-three of the most RINO-ish Republican representatives have been pushing for a discharge petition. [House Republican factions hunt for immigration deal, By Alan Fram And Lisa Mascaro, AP, June 7, 2018]

The House rules—I tell ya, I’ve been reading up this stuff, and God! do I need a drink—the House rules say that a discharge petition can only be brought up on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

Hence the deadline. If the 23 RINOs can get a majority of House members to sign on to it by next Tuesday, on June 25 the House will have to consider—to actually vote on—four proposals for immigration legislation that have been stuck in committee. By House rules one of those proposals—the one that gets most votes—will pass and go to the Senate.

As Radio Derb goes to tape, the RINOs are three votes short. [Discharged? House Republicans Inch Closer to an Immigration Showdown, by Haley Byrd, Weekly Standard, June 8, 2018]

Supposing this discharge petition is voted up next week, what would that mean for immigration?

A clue: which House members have actually signed the petition. There are of course the 23 RINOs who’ve been pushing the thing. Who else? All but one of the House Democrats—192 of the blighters. [Who has signed the DACA discharge petition, CNN, June 6, 2018]So if the discharge petition goes through, the House will end up passing Democrat-approved legislation, which of course means a huge mass Amnesty in return for nothing at all.

And this is in fact what a great many other House Republicans want—including Paul Ryan. So why aren’t they all signing the discharge petition?

Because House Republicans are pulled two ways. Pulling them to the Left are their big-money donors, who want cheap labor. Pulling them to their Right are their voters, who want restrictions on immigration.

For a GOP congresscritter to sign that discharge petition would be to stick a big fat finger in the eye of his voter base. Few of them—23 is the actual number—are shameless enough to do that.

Speaker Ryan, who is of course a Republican, is looking at the prospect of the House passing Democrat legislation on a key issue five months before midterm elections. Eeeek! So he called the meeting to assure the House GOP that their leadership will have an immigration bill of their own any day now—so don’t sign that petition! Please!

What will Ryan’s legislation look like? With a Republican President in the White House, congressional Republicans feel they have to make a show of deferring to the President’s proposals when cooking up legislation.

In the case of immigration, our President’s proposals were spelled out for the nation back in late January. We here at VDARE.com of course passed comments on them at the time.

The President’s proposals have, for purposes of reference, been collapsed down Chinese-style into a handy numerical slogan: the Four Pillars of Immigration Reform:

  • Mass amnesty for two million illegal aliens who came here as minors, or can produce fake documentation to that effect
  • Twenty-five billion dollars for border security, explicitly including a proper wall along our southern border.
  • Severe reductions in the scope of chain migration.
  • An end to the diversity-visa lottery.

Those are Trump’s Four Pillars. From our point of view—the point of view of patriotic conservatives who want sane, rational policies on settlement and citizenship to the benefit of current U.S. citizens—they fall considerably short. They don’t, for example, mention birthright citizenship, or compulsory E-Verify, or the Refugee Resettlement rackets, or the rain forest of guest-worker programs keeping American wages down.

But the President’s proposals, if implemented in law and properly enforced, would be a huge improvement.

What is the chance we shall actually get them? Not good.

A major problem: Paul Ryan himself. In the psychic tug-of-war for the Republican soul between wealthy donors and Republican voters, Ryan has been clearly and consistently on the side of the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson etc. That’s not mere empty abuse on my part, either. There’s a long paper trail in evidence here: VDARE.com has been tracking Ryan for years.

In fairness to the House Speaker, I think some application of the Napoleon Principle is appropriate here (It’s not clear that the Napoleon Principle actually was stated by Napoleon but it’s an important rule):

Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

So how much of Speaker Ryan’s cucky RINOtude is cynical calculation for his own advancement, and how much is just native stupidity?

Given that Ryan has announced he will not be running for re-election, with the corresponding assumption that he will, after leaving the House, sink into an extravagantly-remunerated career as a congressional lobbyist; and that, aged only 48, his career will last at least a couple of decades, bringing him in many tens of millions—quite possibly hundreds of millions—of dollars, you have to suspect an element of careerist ambition.

On the other hand, my impression has always been that, on the subject of immigration, the stupidity factor in Ryan’s case is at least as important as the careerist one. His recorded statements on immigration issues reflect the stalest, corniest tropes of immigration sentimentality: Nation of immigrants! Who we are! Ellis Island! Famine ships! Statue of Liberty!

My best guess on the careerism-stupidity ratio in Ryan’s motivations is that for most of his career it hovered around one part careerism to three parts stupidity. Now, with retirement from the House coming up, and the lobbying firms hammering on his door, it’s probably swung round to something like the reverse: three parts careerism to one part stupidity.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: DACA, Immigration, Paul Ryan, Republican Party 
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White privilege, black privilege, you can argue those terms back and forth all day long. I’ll give you my take on those precise terms some other time. What, it seems plain to me, exists in plain sight beyond any trace of doubt, is mulatto privilege.

If you’re just a little bit black — I think one-eighth is about the sweet spot — and your family is upper-middle-class or better, you’ve got it made. You get a good start in good schools (which is to say, schools with lots of upper-middle-class white, Jewish, and Asian students), then you get to float effortlessly upwards on the warm drafts of liberal guilt and affirmative action.

Hence the phenomenon of the Mulatto Mafia that was so prominent in the Obama administration. There was Obama himself, of course, and Eric Holder, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, … you know the cast list. The Mulatto Mafia.

Our own Steve Sailer has written very perceptively about this —see here. Quote from Steve, writing at Taki’s Magazine a year ago:

As Hillary’s failure to motivate blacks in key Electoral College states to turn out suggests, the future increasingly belongs to the small number of individuals who can, Obama-like, scrape together some biological claim to blackness without being weighed down by African-American cultural traits. [Living Large No Longer, Takimag, April 5, 2017]

(This, of course, is why Steve titled his 2008 study of Obama America’s Half Blood Prince.)

These exotic part-blacks are awful prickly, though. You really don’t want to offend them. They’d like you to know how oppressed they feel, what with having spent their childhoods picking cotton and being abused by overseers.

In point of actual fact they spent their childhoods attending tony private schools and expensive summer camps; but don’t you dare say that.

That is one aspect of the fuss over Roseanne Barr this week. [Roseanne Attacks Ex-Obama Aide Valerie Jarrett: ‘Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes Had a Child’ | Comedian uses racially charged joke about African American Obama adviser, by Jon Levine, The Wrap, May 29, 2018] I say one aspect: there are plenty of angles you can come at this story from. This aspect — the class aspect — is under-reported, though, so it’s my duty to bring it to you.

What Roseanne did, as I’m sure you know, is, she tweeted a rude comment about Valerie Jarrett, a quintessential member of the Mulatto Mafia. The actual tweet went, quote: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”.

That’s kind of dumb and not very funny; but, as plenty of commentators from our side have been pointing out, Leftist comedians and commentators say worse things about our elected President every day of the week, and get applause for it.

Rosie got fired. Her show was dropped by ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey.

I’d never heard of this person Channing Dungey, so I googled her. Guess what: a mulatto.[ Who is Channing Dungey? Groundbreaking ABC exec pulls plug on "Roseanne", CBS News, May 29, 2018]

Upper-middle-class family? Can’t find details, but the lady did attend Rio Americano High School in a very nice area of Sacramento. I see neighboring residential properties for sale at 3½ million, 725 thousand, 1.1 million.

I don’t know how things were when Ms. Dungey graduated in 1986, but the current student body at Rio Americano is 66 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic, seven percent Asian, and five percent black, which no doubt includes part-black, slightly-black, and just-barely-black.

060613.jarrett So with Ms. Jarrett (pictured right in 2006) as the offended party here, backed up by Ms. Dungey, I’m going to call mulatto privilege on this one.

In fact, coming like Roseanne out of the white working class, my position in this silly business is one of class solidarity. The Jarretts and Dungeys, the Rices and Holders, beneficiaries of comfortable upbringings and liberal white guilt favoritism, were twice privileged over grubby white proles like me and Roseanne.

And sure, I know: Roseanne is not any kind of beacon of hope for the Dissident Right. She’s a showbiz airhead, with political opinions all over the place. I don’t mind that. I actually prefer it to the lockstep ideological rigidity of university Cultural Marxists. For all her fog of political confusion, Roseanne has more of a clue than they do, as witness the success of the show that just got canceled.

So: Roseanne, honey, any time you’re in Long Island, drop by and we’ll have a drink. On me.

The machinations of the Mulatto Mafia — try saying that five times fast — offer an answer to the question Pat Buchanan posed as the title of his column last week: “Is America’s Racial Divide Permanent?

Pat wonders aloud why there is more “noise” about race nowadays — more news and commentary over petty things like the Roseanne story, the Starbucks story, the NFL players kneeling, and so on — why there is more of this nowadays than there was fifty years ago, when there was real, legalized racial injustice, and many thousands of Americans were alive whose parents had been slaves.

 
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Remembering the fallen

This month of course ended with Memorial Day, when we remember those who died serving in our country’s armed forces. The Derbs got a more forceful reminder at the very beginning of the month.

Around noon on Tuesday, May 1st my son Danny came into the study to tell me a soldier from his former unit had been killed in Afghanistan the previous day.

The fatality was Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, killed April 30th by small-arms fire in a district northeast of Kabul “while providing security for a U.S. Special Operations unit.” A second U.S. soldier was wounded in the same operation.

Spc. Conde was serving with the 3rd Battalion of the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. That was Danny’s unit too, until his four-year term ended last year. They were actually in the same company (though different platoons). Danny knew Spc. Conde quite well. The unit has since been deployed in Afghanistan.

Spc. Conde came from Loveland, Colorado. He was the second U.S. combat fatality in Afghanistan this year, the first having been Sgt. Mihail Golin of Fort Lee, NJ, killed on New Year’s Day while on patrol near Jalalabad in the far east of Afghanistan.

If military schedules had been different by a few months, that could have been Derb, Jr. under fire April 30th. As parents we have the obvious parental feelings about this. What his feelings are, I don’t know. He has maintained a proper soldierly reserve. In any case he mainly keeps his feelings to himself, like his Dad.

What Spc. Conde’s parents are feeling, I think I can imagine. Our heartfelt condolences to them in their grief, and to all who mourn loved ones on Memorial Day.

The Forever War (1): Light at the end of the tunnel

It’s hard to read of Spc. Conde’s death without feeling anger at our damn fool stupid brainless politicians.

Military.com ran a headline that tells it all: Gabriel Conde Was 5 When the War That Took His Life Began. It Shows No Signs of Ending. [By Richard Sisk, May 3, 2018] From the article:

Army Spc. Gabriel D. Conde’s short life spanned the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, from the euphoria over the fleeting early successes to the current doubts about the new strategy to break what U.S. commanders routinely call a “stalemate.”

When Conde was six years old, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the Taliban had been defeated and the Afghan people were now free “to create a better future.”

[There follow eight more paragraphs of cheery uplifting talk about light at the end of the tunnel from Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.]

Last week, the Taliban announced the start of its 16th annual spring offensive.

Politicians are of course necessary to the functioning of an orderly nation. No doubt most of them are decent enough in their private lives. Some appear to be quite intelligent. Plenty of them are clearly trying to do the best for the country, each by his own lights.

There are times, though, there are times when the only thing you want to say about politicians is: God damn them all to Hell.

The Forever War (2): Is there a case for it?

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” I’m always ready, in a spirit of proper epistemic humility, to yield to Oliver Cromwell’s beseechment. So in that spirit I ask: Is it possible that I am wrong, that the war in Afghanistan is not a futile waste of American lives and money?

One approach here is to seek out commentators whose opinions you generally respect, to see if any of them makes a plausible case for the opposite of what you believe.

OK: here was Daniel Greenfield, who I agree with much more often than not, posting at FrontPageMag.com on Memorial Day. Title of the post: “How Can We Honor the Soldiers of an Endless War?.”

The era of wars that began and concluded neatly, with declarations, speeches, rules, objectives, deciding battles and signed peace accords, ended before the oldest active duty soldier serving today was born.

The men and women who fight and die, leaving their families never knowing if they will return, and in what form, serve not in wars, but endless police actions, peacekeeping missions, terrorist pursuits and nation building exercises …

The Islamic resurgence has placed us in a state of permanent war. We may debate over which fronts that war should be fought on, but only the left can deny that the conflict itself is inescapable. We may fight it in Iraq or in New York, in Syria or in Sweden, the front lines may shift, but the war won’t go away.

And yet, paradoxically, this form of fighting takes us back to the origins of our military.

The heritage of the US Army goes back to the provincial regiments that fought in colonial territorial disputes with the French and defended the colonies against Indian raids … If you think the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are endless, the Indian wars arguably went on for 300 years …

That’s not much of an argument. Those wars that “concluded neatly” did so because we applied massive and relentless force, to the point where the enemy knew they were thoroughly beaten. We don’t do that any more. Rubble doesn’t make trouble.

I’m obliged to Greenfield for permission to “debate over which fronts that war should be fought on.” Here’s my contribution to that debate.

Let’s stop all Muslim immigration and require all resident Muslim non-citizens to leave. We may still have issues with our own Muslim citizens, but I see no reason those issues couldn’t be handled by ordinary law-enforcement procedures under our Constitution.

 
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The midterm elections this coming Fall are shaping up to be really interesting, culturally as well as politically.

The political question is of course whether the Republican Party will lose control of the House and/or the Senate.

Current pollster wisdom is: Yes, the GOP will likely lose the House, but probably not the Senate. There are plausible alternative scenarios, though, that have Republicans holding on to both chambers, although with a reduced majority in the House. [What Happens If Republicans Keep Control Of The House And Senate?, By Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight, May 22, 2018]

That would be interesting. As you’ve heard if you pay attention to party politics at all, the first midterms generally go badly for the party of a new President. For Republicans to maintain control of Congress would be a surprise.

The political rules are not what they once were though: “once” there meaning prior to … oh, let’s say, November 8th, 2016. Donald Trump’s victory rewrote the rule book. Surprises are no longer as surprising as they used to be.

The issue raised by a Republican victory in the midterms would be: Is the Sailer Strategy now seriously in play?

The Sailer Strategy is the one proposed by our own Steve Sailer back in November of 2000. That year’s presidential election, George W. Bush v. Al Gore, had culminated in a very narrow win for Bush in the Electoral College, followed by a messy squabble over vote recounts in Florida.

Dubya’s main problem, Steve argued after crunching the numbers, was that he had only won 54 percent of the white vote. If he had got just three percent more, 57 percent, he would have won in an electoral college landslide, even allowing for some alienation of the non-white vote.

Money quote from Steve:

The GOP could win more elections by raising its fraction of the white vote minimally than by somehow grabbing vastly higher fractions of the minority vote.

GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote, November 28, 2000

Of course, that is only true while whites are a big majority of the electorate, as they still were in the year 2000. They are still a majority, although less of one than eighteen years ago. The Sailer Strategy is still viable; and with sensible patriotic immigration reform it will continue to be so.

The underlying cultural question here is: Is the worm turning?

Are an electorally significant number of white Americans fed up with the anti-white propaganda, the appeals to white guilt, that have dominated public discourse for the past generation? If so, are they sufficiently fed up to swing an election? The 2016 result suggests that they may be.

Back of that is a larger question. One of the most under-appreciated books of the past twenty years has been Eric Kaufmann’s The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, published in 2004. Kaufmann argues that there has been a tension in the collective American psyche between, on the one hand, the universalist ideals implicit in the founding documents, and on the other, the ethnic self-awareness of the WASP ascendancy. That tension was resolved, he says, in the middle twentieth century by a decisive rejection of white-European ethnonationalism in favor of cosmopolitan universalism.

Nothing lasts for ever in human affairs. Hence the larger question: Is white America, or some politically consequential portion of it, now alienated from that universalism? If so, what will they turn to?

The Social Justice Warriors of course have a ready answer for that. Unmoored from cosmopolitan universalism, they tell us, white Americans will revert to being cross-burning, hood-wearing, neo-Nazi yahoos.

All that illustrates is the utter poverty of imagination on the political Left. In their minds, the only possible future is a reprise of the past.

A revival of the WASP ascendancy is likewise out of the question. That ascendancy was anyway undermined from the middle nineteenth century on by the great waves of non-Anglo-Saxon, non-Protestant Europeans settling in the USA.

But perhaps a more generalized white-identity consciousness will take hold. That would be better than the white ethnomasochism we are currently awash in, but not something I personally would welcome whole-heartedly. A nation of endlessly-squabbling identity groups would, it seems to me, be a dismal thing.

My own ideal: a racial and ethnic super-majority, tolerant and hospitable to small minorities of others: what I call “salt-in-the-stew diversity.” A little salt in the stew improves it; too much spoils it. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

Here’s a commentator who agrees with me: the guy—we know it’s a guy—who dwells anonymously in Château Heartiste.

Now, Heartiste isn’t to everyone’s taste. His language is rococo, often crude, sometimes anti-Semitic. If you are not too repelled, though, and persevere with him, there are pearls of wisdom in there.

Here was Heartiste in recent post:

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Republican Party, Sailer Strategy 
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“Hatched, matched, and dispatched”—my mother’s term for the births, marriages, and deaths columns in our local paper.

Let’s visit the hatcheries.

What’s mainly happening in the hatcheries: a slowdown of business. Americans are not making as many babies as we used to: Births plunge to record lows in United States, MSN, May 17, 2018. The report is about the latest numbers on fertility from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control

The key number here: Total Fertility Rate, or TFR. That’s the average number of children a woman will have in her reproductive lifetime at present rates. So we assume that when she’s twenty-five, she’ll reproduce at the rate twenty-five-year-olds are reproducing at today; when she’s thirty, she’ll reproduce at the rate thirty-year-olds are reproducing at today; and so on. That’s the TFR.

For a stable population, one that’s neither increasing nor decreasing, you need a TFR a tad higher than two per woman, to allow for people who don’t reproduce.

Last year the overall rate for the U.S.A. was 1.76. That’s down from 1.82 the year before, a three percent drop in just one year.

I should say the math here is not straightforward. From the definition of TFR that I gave, you can figure, if you think about it, that TFR as calculated might be misleading if, for example, women switch from mostly giving birth in their twenties to mostly giving birth in their thirties.

This actually seems to be happening. From the MSN report:

The only group that saw an increase in births were women aged 40-44, said the report. Whether they can’t afford children, or they have access to contraception and simply prefer to wait, women in their 20s and 30s continue to put off having children in America. This is a general trend that has been visible in the data—with a few ups and downs—since the 1970s.

What’s that? You want to know the breakdowns by race? Shame on you!

Since you ask, though, here’s a different summary of the CDC figures at the Institute for Family Studies website: Baby Bust: Fertility is Declining the Most Among Minority Women, by Lyman Stone, May 16, 2018.

That’s right. Where the Baby Bust is concerned, you can bring out the old New York Times cliché: “minorities hardest hit.” The biggest decline across the last decade has been among Hispanics, who went from 2.85 to 2.1, a drop of 36 percent.

Hispanics started high, though. Aborigines—American Indians and Alaska natives—started lower, with a TFR of 1.62, and dropped to 1.23 across the decade. Nobody’s sure why.

Black fertility dropped from 2.15 births per woman to 1.89. Non-Hispanic whites went from 1.95 to 1.72, a comparable drop from a somewhat lower start point.

fertilitydeclinesrace-w640

As you can tell, the CDC report is a treasure trove for us math geeks. You could get a couple of Ph.D. theses out of these numbers.

There’s a political angle, for example. As that second study, the IFS study, reports, the TFR has fallen in every state, except, mysteriously, North Dakota.

However, it’s fallen more in states Hillary won in 2016 than in Trump states. The old conservative jeer against liberals, that we’ll just out-breed them at last, may actually be coming true.

The general decline of interest in sexual intercourse must also be playing in to these numbers somehow.

I have often reflected on how odd it has been, across my own lifetime, to see the general decline in libido all over the Western world. Fifty years ago—I was there, reader, I was there—when not one citizen in a hundred had a gym membership, and halitosis and body odor were common, and the male-female imbalance in workplaces, clubs, sports, schools was way more marked than it is today, making it harder to get to know the opposite sex; back in those benighted days—with all those disadvantages and deterrents, the people of the West were going at it like rabbits.

The young adults of today, contrariwise, with their buff bodies, perfect dentition, and daily showers, with sex segregation actually outlawed almost everywhere—heck, we even have women on submarines today—they can’t be bothered. From a report in Maxim magazine last July, based on a different set of numbers from the CDC.

Between the ages of 15 and 19, 42 percent of women and 44 percent of men reported having sex, relative to … 51 percent of women and 60 percent of men in 1988.

The CDC report is called Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015, June 22, 2017 [PDF], but the Maxim column is called Here’s Why Millennials Are Having Way Less Sex Than Generation X The reason is actually pretty shocking…, Zeynep Yenisey, Jul 7, 2017.

Maxim is a “lads” magazine, filled with pictures of women that young men would be having sex with…if they could be bothered.

This image is the one use to illustrate the ladies of the former age—Sophia Loren in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

It’s fascinating to watch these strange currents in human tastes and behavior. What do they tell us? What, if anything, should we do about them?

This is an area where any thoughtful person can develop opinions and arguments.

One thing is clear, though: triumphalist Democratic predictions about the imminent Election of a New People through immigration policy may be, er, exaggerated.

Fascinating. If I could have my time over again, I’d become a demographer.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Demographics, Fertility Rates, Hispanics 
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I share the general sadness—which I think is particularly felt among us of the stone-kicking community—at the passing of the writer Tom Wolfe. Reviewing his novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, I prefaced my review with some general expressions of admiration, thus:

How does this conservative look forward to a new Tom Wolfe novel? Let me count the ways.

The political incorrectness. Well, not exactly that. Tom Wolfe takes no point of view, has no bill of goods to sell. He just calmly, coolly records the way things are, the way people look and talk, the commonplace, mostly harmless, prejudices and solidarities that have survived 30 years of relentless media and educational indoctrination against them. Among the characters in I Am Charlotte Simmons are basketball players named Treyshawn, Dashorn, Cantrell, Vernon, and André. Would you care to hazard a guess as to what color they are? A Jewish student, trying to get out of trouble with a Jewish professor, makes sure “to let it be known that his family was Jewish, by packing his great-grandparents, pogroms in Eastern Europe, fear of being forcibly dragooned into military service in Poland, Ellis Island, the Lower East Side, and sweatshops into a single sentence, without losing track of the syntax …” For goodness’ sake, Tom, don’t you know you’re not supposed to notice this stuff?

The class angle. Modern U.S. society is addled with class snobbery. Poor and rural Americans are coarse-looking, ill-dressed, speak in dialect, and have lousy dietary habits. Rich suburban and high-urban Americans would much rather have nothing to do with them. When confrontations do occur, the rustics are insecure but defensive, the rich patronizing but impatient, with a frisson of guilt. Again, these are things known to everyone, but we are not supposed to notice them. Wolfe does notice them, and draws them to a “t.”

The cold eye. I don’t know how the future will rank Tom Wolfe as a novelist, but he is a simply terrific journalist. Oh, sure, he exaggerates some when writing fiction to get the effects he wants; but you could put a Wolfe novel under a steel-mill press and not squeeze a single drop of sentimentality out of it. Wolfe’s authorial tone to the reader is: You don’t have to like this, and I’m not too crazy about it myself, but this is the way it is, and we both know it. Our society is awash with the grossest kind of sentimentality — in movies and TV, saturating the sappy nostrums of the Sunday magazine-supplements and corporate mission statements, pouring in from self-help cranks, victim-industry moaners and weepers, love-the-world useful-idiot politicians and Oprah-fied pain-feelers. Wolfe is the antidote to all this sugary glop. There isn’t enough of him to have much effect, unfortunately; but when you’re drowning in treacle, the merest squirt of lemon juice is refreshing. Wolfe worships the God Kipling worshipped, The God of Things As They Are.

Gray’s Anatomy. This fine old classic must never be far from Wolfe’s working area. He is exquisitely precise about the naming of body parts. Who can forget the young attorney’s sternocleidomastoid muscles in Bonfire of the Vanities? In this new book there is an iliac crest or two, but the main concentration of anatomical attention is on the absurdly pumped-up — jacked! ripped! — upper bodies of the athletes and frat boys. Lats, traps, delts, abdominals — here we are in all the sweaty narcissism of modern gym culture.

Typographical vitality. A copy editor once sent back a manuscript of mine with all the italics, semicolons, dashes, parentheses, and exclamation marks stripped out. She was, I learned later, a disciple of some dogmatic imbecile — was it Strunk? — who had pronounced that the barest text was the best text. Well, the hell with her, and him. Our Tom shares my opinion that every key on the keyboard is there to be used, including the shift key. In I Am Charlotte Simmons he has even ventured a typographic innovation (I think — it is new to me, at any rate): using strings of colons for ellipses in interrupted or disconnected thought. Like this:

::::::trying not to look at him::::::the condom, the ball-peen hammer::::::the undertow again::::::the Doubts::::::more time::::::can’t think spinning like this!::::::Look, Hoyt::::::just wait a second, okay?::::::

Neat plotting. Wolfe isn’t one of the great plotters — not a Wodehouse, not even a Trollope — but he understands the principles of moral balance and equity that make a novel satisfying to the reader. Virtue need not triumph, but ought at least survive; evil need not be routed, but ought at least be chastened; and there must be a sufficient number of secondary characters we are sufficiently interested in that the author’s giving us some hint of their subsequent fate at the book’s end adds minor satisfactions to the major ones.

Dramatic variations of depth. Here a 500-word description of a seedy disco, all the details colored in: there a discussion of sociobiology. Here a blow-by-blow account of a college basketball game: there a rumination on neuroscience. Wolfe manages not to be show-offy with the intellectual stuff he puts into the novel. It’s pretty basic anyway, and mainly there just to moor his characters’ pleasures and sorrows to big old eternal truths. No harm in that, if deftly done.

["Man is Wolfe to Man," National Review Online; December 3rd, 2004.]

The title on that review reminds me that Tom inspired one of the regrettably tiny number of genuine witticisms I have ever uttered in a life of slow thinking and staircase wit.

This was at a private dinner some years ago. There were fifteen or twenty of us around the table, including Tom Wolfe and TV producer Perry Wolff.

Now, Tom could be a little prickly—testy in disagreement. He was gifted with self-awareness, though; so no sooner had the testiness come out than he regretted it, and tried to make amends.

That’s what happened on this occasion. He had a mild disagreement with Perry Wolff over something, I forget what. (Probably the social value of TV. Perry is a great believer in TV as a force for good. Tom was more skeptical.)

Tom said something sharp in response to Perry, and there was a little tension in the air. Realizing this, Tom did the gentlemanly thing, walking back his remark and adding some soothing words. Perry took it in the right spirit, there was relieved laughter around the table (there might even have been applause, I don’t recall), and the two men shook hands collegially, smiling.

“Ah,” I said, “Wolfe is man to Wolff.”

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Tom Wolfe 
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It’s been a depressing few days on the immigration front. Not least depressing has been the collapse of the lawsuits against Disney World.

Just to remind you: Disney was in the news three years ago for laying off American IT workers and replacing them with cheaper workers from India on H-1B visas. The American workers even had to train their replacements, at peril of losing their severance pay [ Last Task After Layoff at Disney: Train Foreign Replacements, By Julia Preston, New York Times, June 3, 2015]

Well, the laid-off American workers got lawsuits going against Disney, suing on both the state—that’s the state of Florida—and the federal levels. Michelle Malkin covered the lawsuit, and its lead attorney Sara Blackwell (right) here in A Day Without American Tech Workers, March 7, 2017.

The last of those lawsuits collapsed this week. It turns out that Disney had gamed the system to get their cheaper workers.

Here’s how it worked.

Things move fast in the IT world. In any big corporation at pretty much any time there are what we call “legacy systems,” written a few years previously and running on older-generation hardware; and then there are spiffy new systems being developed and installed on shiny new hardware.

What Disney did in 2014, the year before the layoffs, was contract out the legacy support work to third-party vendors while shifting their younger, more adaptable employees to develop the newer stuff. The third-party vendors were under no legal obligation to employ older Disney workers who knew the legacy systems … so they didn’t. Since Disney had no use for these employees whose jobs had been contracted out, they let them go.

It stinks, but it’s legal, and the H-1B guest worker program makes it profitable.

Solution, for anyone who thinks that American politicians should put American workers first: Dump the guest-worker programs.

Where is our President on this? As noted last week, he said this in Michigan:

Clip: We’re gonna let them in because you need them … Guestworkers, don’t we agree? We have to have them. [Ag employers like Trump’s guestworker comments, Dan Wheat, Capital Press, May 1, 2018]

So I guess the Trump administration’s approach to those laid-off Disney employees is, they can go pound sand.

Quote from WFTV Orlando, May 9th:

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged multiple times to stop American companies from replacing qualified American workers with high-skilled foreign workers. [Sara] Blackwell [lead attorney for the Disney workers] says she … and many others lent their voices and support to his campaign on the basis that he would help them …

So far, Blackwell says Trump has done little to make his promises a reality.

“We endorsed him,” Blackwell said. “We voted for him because of his promises. Then he dumped us for the people he said he would stop.”

[Lawyer for Disney IT workers gives up legal fight, By Deanna Allbrittin, May 9, 2018]

More bad news: Headline from the Washington Times, May 3rd: Illegal Immigration Surges 230 Percent In April On Southwest Border. That’s 230 percent over April last year.

catchThere was a big lull in border-jumpers after Trump’s inauguration. Illegal aliens assumed that the new U.S. administration would clamp down firmly on illegal crossings.

Nobody assumes that now. The southern border is as wide-open as ever. The Border Patrol says it nabbed 38,234 border jumpers in April. The Washington Times says 75 percent of them were given “catch and release,” which means they’re here, in your town and mine. Seventy-five percent of 38,234 is 28,675.

That annualizes to 344,000—more than a million every three years, and that’s just counting the ones caught and released by the Border Patrol (which of course does not have the space to hold them all because space was cut back in the Omnibungle). Welcome to America!

The immigration news isn’t all bad. Texas and six other states are suing to get Obama’s DACA program declared unconstitutional. [A Texas lawsuit killed one Obama immigration policy. Can the same strategy defeat DACA?, by Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune, May 7, 2018]The case has to crawl up through the judicial hierarchy, probably all the way to the Supreme Court, but at least they’re trying.

Even more encouraging, the President seems to be having occasional episodes of clear thinking on immigration. The New York Times reported that at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday this week, Trump lost it with Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, telling her she wasn’t doing enough to secure the border.

Talking with reporters before that meeting, the President said, according to the Times, that, quote: “We’ve very much toughened up the border, but the laws are horrible. The laws in this country for immigration and illegal immigration are absolutely horrible.” [Kirstjen Nielsen, Chief of Homeland Security, Almost Resigned After Trump Tirade, By Michael D. Shear and Nicole Perlroth, May 10, 2018]

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, H1-B Visas, Immigration 
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I’m having a fire sale on education stories this week. Also a parallel fire sale on quotes from my 2009 book We Are Doomed, because the education chapter of that book was the most fun to write and it’s pertinent to this week’s stories. Here’s a sort of keynote quote from that chapter:

The whole topic of education is a glorious feast for pessimists of all kinds.

51UKyuxepkLEducation story #1: PS , an elementary school, kindergarten through fifth grade, on West 70th Street in Manhattan. That’s a tony neighborhood. A two-bedroom apartment on West 70th will currently cost you around two million dollars.

I wrote about PS 199 in the education chapter of We Are Doomed. A kerfuffle had broken broke out in November 2008, when an apartment up there only cost one million dollars:

New York City’s education department wanted to make some adjustments to school district boundaries in Manhattan. You see, a lot of these people bought those million-dollar condos so that their kids could attend PS 199 on West 70th street. It’s a really good elementary school with great test results. If the proposed rezoning were to go through, though, their kids would have had to attend PS 191 at West 61st and Amsterdam Avenue. That’s a lousy school with dismal test results.

Naturally these liberal, progressive, Obama-voting parents were furious. But what exactly was it about P.S. 191 that made it compare so poorly with P.S. 199 in these parents’ eyes? Why did they think it’s a bad school? Why didn’t they want their kids to go there? What, actually, is the definition of the term “bad school”? What makes a bad school bad?

Not to keep you in suspense, gentle reader, but I looked up the student stats for the two schools on the GreatSchools.net website at the time. For PS 199, the good school those parents shelled out a million bucks for: Ice People [i.e. white and Asian students] 80 percent, Sun People [blacks and Hispanics] 19 percent. For the school our progressive post-racial liberal citizens angrily did not want their kids to go to: Ice People 12 percent, Sun People 88 percent.

Forward ten years to this last week. New York City has a new Schools Chancellor, Richard Carranza, appointed last month by the city’s communist Mayor Bill de Blasio. Carranza is of Mexican parentage. He started his education career as a bilingual teacher in Tucson. And he is, of course, fiercely anti-white.

So the city Department of Education has cooked up a scheme to diversify city middle schools by reserving places in the best ones—25 percent of places—for kids with the lowest test scores in state exams. That means of course that a corresponding number of kids who scored high on the exams will be placed in crappy middle schools.

Just as in 2008, the Upper West Side Ice People are furious about this. It’s their kids that do well on exams, so it’s their kids that will be assigned to sinkhole middle schools while the most dimwitted and misbehaving Sun People kids will be bused into their schools.

You can actually see their fury on YouTube below. You’ll see a video of a meeting of parents held at, yes, PS 199. There are thirty or forty parents in that room screeching angrily at Department of Education honchos. You can’t help but notice there are not many raisins in that bun—none at all that I could see.

That video upset Schools Chancellor Carranza. He tweeted it under the headline “Watch wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools.”

See, Chancellor Carranza didn’t get the memo that while it is of course fine to be anti-white, the proper targets of one’s anti-whiteness are middle- and working-class white Americans. You are not supposed to direct your anti-white wrath against rich and gentry whites. That is, as the kids say, “not OK.”

199The political line-up in the U.S.A. today is top and bottom versus the middle. Rich whites and aggrieved Mexican-Americans are supposed to be on the same side against deplorable Trump voters—of whom, I venture to speculate, there are very, very few living in two-million-dollar apartments on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

How did that last effort to diversify West Side schools work out? I just looked up today’s student stats for those two schools I wrote about in We Are Doomed. In 2008 PS 199 was 80 percent Ice People; today it’s 79 percent. The other school, PS 191 was only 12 percent Ice People back then; today it’s 20 percent, reflecting ongoing gentrification.

Upper West Side Ice People have held their own this past ten years and even made some advances. My bet would be on them having their way over the Schools Chancellor on this latest scheme.

I shall report back again on efforts to diversify Upper West Side schools in the year 2028.

Education Story #2: Another brief quote from We Are Doomed:

The recent history of modern public-education reform in this country is very nearly a history of the determination on the part of white and East Asian parents that their children not attend schools with too many black and Hispanic students.

Here’s the latest illustration, from the Associated Press, District Move To Keep White Students Cites “Racial Balance”, by Kantele Franko, April 27th, 2018.

The district is Liberty School District, north of Youngstown, Ohio. The nub of the story is that white students, which I assume means whites plus East Asians—Ice People— who live in the Liberty district are enrolling in schools outside the district, because the Liberty district is getting too minority.

The authorities in Liberty want to stop this happening, and they’re invoking a state law from the year 2000 that lets them. If you’re an Ice Person and you live in the Liberty district, the law says you can be barred from sending your kids tuition-free to a public school outside the district.

 
John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.