He Fights – Evan Sayet

Source: He Fights – Evan Sayet

 

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum.  They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”  Here’s my answer:

We Right-thinking people have tried dignity.  There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.  We tried statesmanship.  Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?  We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?  And the results were always the same.

This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.  I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks.  I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent.  Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished” but in no way was he in the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”

….

Trump is fighting.  And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!”  That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics.

That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.   It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do.

First, instead of going after “the fake media” – and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what reallyhappened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri – Trump isolatedCNN.  He made it personal.  Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all.”

Everyone gets that it’s not just CNN – in fact, in a world where Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof are people of influence and whose “reporting” is in no way significantly different than CNN’s – CNN is just a piker.

Most importantly, Trump’s tweets have put CNNin an untenable and unwinnable position.  With Trump’s ability to go around them, they cannot simply stand pat.  They need to respond.  This leaves them with only two choices.

They can either “go high” (as Hillary would disingenuously declare of herself and the fake news would disingenuously report as the truth) and begin to honestly and accurately report the news or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery.

The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve.  It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive.

Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama’s close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers), the mafia (Tony Rezko) or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright’s, church.

Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration’s weaponizing of the IRS to be used against their political opponents or his running of guns to the Mexican cartels or the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration’s cover-up.

This makes “going high” a non-starter for CNN.  This leaves them no other option but to ratchet up the fake news, conjuring up the next “nothing burger” and devoting 24 hours a day to hysterical rants about how it’s “worse than Nixon.”

This, obviously, is what CNN has chosen to do.  The problem is that, as they become more and more hysterical, they become more and more obvious.  Each new effort at even faker news than before and faker “outrage” only makes that much more clear to any objective observer that Trump is and always has been right about the fake news media.

And, by causing their hysteria, Trump has forced them into numerous, highly embarrassing and discrediting mistakes.   Thus, in their desperation, they have lowered their standards even further and run with articles so clearly fake that, even with the liberal (lower case “l”) libel laws protecting the media, they’ve had to wholly retract and erase their stories repeatedly.

Their flailing at Trump has even seen them cross the line into criminality, with CNN using their vast corporate fortune to hunt down a private citizen for having made fun of them in an Internet meme.  This threat to “dox” – release of personal information to encourage co-ideologists to visit violence upon him and his family — a political satirist was chilling in that it clearly wasn’t meant just for him.  If it were, there would have been no reason for CNN to have made their “deal” with him public.

Instead, CNN – playing by “Chicago Rules” – was sending a message to any and all: dissent will not be tolerated.

This heavy-handed and hysterical response to a joke on the Internet has backfired on CNN, giving rise to only more righteous ridicule.

So, to my friends on the Left – and the #NeverTrumpers as well — do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”?  Of course I do.   These aren’t those times.  This is war.  And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting  without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president – I get it, he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times.  I don’t care.  I can’t spare this man.  He fights.

 

On the Origins and Goals of Public Choice: The Independent Institute

Source: On the Origins and Goals of Public Choice: The Independent Institute

 

This essay is a response to the recent book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by my Duke University colleague, Nancy MacLean, a professor in our distinguished Department of History.

It is, let me say at the outset, a remarkable book.

At first I misunderstood its method. MacLean has argued persuasively throughout her career for the historical method. For example, in Debating the American Conservative Movement: 1945 to the Present (with Donald T. Critchlow), she writes: “We hope this book will help students learn that the strongest, most tenable positions are arrived at through careful sifting of evidence and respectful encounters with opposing points of view” (2009, viii).

So perhaps I can be forgiven for my misunderstanding of her method in this book. Early in Democracy in Chains, in a preface entitled “A Quiet Deal in Dixie,” MacLean recounts an exchange, a conversation really, between two conservatives. One is the president of a major southern university, the other is an academic worker intent on reverse-engineering a repressive sociopolitical order in America, working from the ground up, using shadowy methods and discredited theories.

The academic writes a proposal for a research center where these ideas can be given a pestilential foothold, a source of viral infection hidden in a legitimate academic setting. The goal, as MacLean tells it, was to begin a Fabian war to re-establish a repressive, plutocratic society ruled by oligarchs. MacLean has actually examined the founding documents, the letters in this exchange, and cites the shadowy academic as saying: “I can fight this [democracy] . . . I want to fight this.” (xv, emphasis in original reference).

Are the aliens merely sleeping? – Marginal REVOLUTION

Some time ago, I realized that the cosmic microwave background at 2.7K meant the universe was too warm to allow superfluid helium to form “in the wild”. Superfluid helium shows up at temperatures below 2.17K, so the universe needs to expand and cool of a bit more before the science fiction stories involving superfluid helium life forms become even theoretically possible. Maybe alien civilizations have decided to wait until superfluidity and superconductivity are common outside of cryogenics labs?

“While it is possible for a civilization to cool down parts of itself to any low temperature,” the authors write, that, too, requires work. So it wouldn’t make sense for a civilization looking to maximize its computational capacity to waste energy on the process. As Sandberg and Cirkovic elaborate in a blog post, it’s more likely that such artificial life would be in a protected sleep mode today, ready to wake up in colder futures.

If such aliens exist, they’re in luck. The universe appears to be cooling down on its own. Over the next trillions of years, as it continues to expand and the formation of new stars slows, the background radiation will reduce to practically zero. Under those conditions, Sandberg and Cirkovic explain, this kind of artificial life would get “tremendously more done.” Tremendous isn’t an understatement, either. The researchers calculate that by employing such a strategy, they could achieve up to 1030 times more than if done today.

Source: Are the aliens merely sleeping? – Marginal REVOLUTION

 

There’s a national debate about left-wing violence taking place…in Germany

Source: There’s a national debate about left-wing violence taking place…in Germany – Hot Air

There seems to be resistance to discussing this topic, from the left obviously, but also from the national media which is mostly made up of people on the left. In addition, the left has the extremely well-funded SPLC which routinely provides information and quotes to reporters about the threat of right-wing violence. But the right lacks a group dedicated to highlighting the threat of left-wing violence. The result is that you have a few articles about the growing trend of left-wing political violence, but nothing compared to the outpouring of newsprint we saw after the Tucson shooting (which it turned out had nothing to do with the political right).

The trend won’t go away simply because the media refuses to connect the dots. On the contrary, lack of attention guarantees this problem will continue to grow. We will eventually have a national discussion about this but, as in Germany, I suspect it won’t happen until something even more horrible than the Alexandria shooting takes place.

Sultan Knish: Anger Privilege

Source: Sultan Knish: Anger Privilege

 

If you want to know who has privilege in a society and who doesn’t, follow the anger.

There are people in this country who can safely express their anger. And those who can’t. If you’re
angry that Trump won, your anger is socially acceptable. If you were angry that Obama won, it wasn’t.

James Hodgkinson’s rage was socially acceptable. It continued to be socially acceptable until he crossed the line into murder. And he’s not alone. There’s Micah Xavier Johnson, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Dallas, and Gavin Long, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Baton Rouge. If you’re black and angry about the police, your anger is celebrated. If you’re white and angry about the Terror travel ban, the Paris Climate treaty, ObamaCare repeal or any leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels.

There’s a Talmudic saying (which may turn out to be in Tractate Tevye) to the effect that you can tell a great deal about a person by his pocket (how and where he spends money), his cup (how he behaves when drunk), and his anger (what he considers worth getting angry over)*.

One form of privilege is having a full purse; the wherewithal to buy what you need and want. Now we have the ability to express your anger as another form of privilege. Perhaps there is a third privilege associated with getting drunk?

Pretense, they explained, will disappear in situations involving money matters, in moments of anger, or by the way a man takes his liquor. As R. Ilai tersely phrased it: “You can recognize a person’s real character by his wine cup (koso), his purse (kiso) and his anger (kaaso).”

Race & IQ: Don’t Suppress Public Discussion of the Issue | National Review

I took the Introduction to Psychology class in college as part of my General Education requirement. While taking it, and for some time afterward, I hung around in the Psych Student Lounge and read some of the material on hand there. One item I found, in the late 1970s, was a brief article on taboo subjects in psychological research. One of those topics was “Race and IQ”. Not much has changed.

Source: Race & IQ: Don’t Suppress Public Discussion of the Issue | National Review

In the latest issue of National Review, John McWhorter has a challenging and thought-provoking essay about the topic of race and IQ — specifically, about whether that topic should even be up for discussion in liberal-arts classrooms and in the media, as opposed to in scientific journals. He suggests not, as there is nothing to gain from discussing it.

I read McWhorter’s essay with special interest because I have violated the norm he proposes. I have written about race and IQ on numerous occasions — and for a general audience, as I am not even a specialist myself. See, for example, my 2013 essay in this space about Jason Richwine’s departure from the Heritage Foundation, as well as my RealClear reviews of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance and Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve (on its 20th anniversary).

In light of McWhorter’s essay, I thought it would be worth explaining how I became interested in this topic and why I participate in public discussions of it. Here goes.

I suppose I can blame this on my wife. Back when we were dating in college — and she was a self-described socialist, and I thought democratizing Iraq sounded like a fantastic idea — she insisted I take a class offered by the sociology department called “Social Inequality.” It would open my mind. I don’t even remember what led up to it, but at one point the professor informed us that some amorphous “they” had proven that “race isn’t genetic.” Murmurs of amazement spread among my classmates. “That sounds like bullsh**,” I thought.

Back at my dorm I turned to Google and quickly sussed out one of the basic truths McWhorter mentions: Categorical claims that “race isn’t genetic” amount to either bad science or word games. One of my most amusing discoveries that day was the argument that when forensic anthropologists identify someone’s race from nothing but a skeleton, all they’re really identifying is the region the person’s ancestors came from, which is totally different. I later learned that, if given a collection of DNA samples, scientists can predict the racial self-identifications of the people the samples come from with nearly 100 percent accuracy.

Are the precise boundaries we draw between racial categories subjective? Of course. But even our casual classifications strongly reflect ancestry, and people with different ancestries have recognizably different genetic profiles. To insist otherwise is ridiculous.
….

At any rate, one year around 2005 or so I pulled out all the stops. I read The Bell Curve, including all the technical appendices. I read not one but two essay collections responding to The Bell Curve. I read a bunch of other stuff online. And on the underlying scientific issue here, I came to the same conclusion McWhorter does: The evidence doesn’t justify a verdict one way or the other. Genes do differ among racial groups, measured IQs differ on average as well, and some of the genes that differ might affect IQ. There’s no reason this can’t be the case. We just don’t know whether it is yet.

My experience provides a window into (a) how it is that people become interested in this topic and (b) what material is available to those who do. Regarding (a), it’s certainly true that if three different people had taken McWhorter’s advice and simply steered clear of the issue — my sociology professor, Eric Alterman, and my classmate — I might never have become so intrigued.

But I rather doubt that an effort to further stigmatize the discussion of race and IQ could have more than a minor effect on how often people actually discuss it. And even if people did stop discussing it openly, I suspect many would still become curious about the topic and research it online, where people feel considerably freer to explore the taboo. This subject sits at the nexus of numerous others that are inherently interesting, for perfectly legitimate reasons. How did evolution shape humanity as a whole, and to what extent did it shape different populations differently? Why do we have such stark inequality among different groups of people, and not just blacks and whites in the U.S.?

So regarding (b) above, the big question is: When people start hunting around for information online, what do you want them to find? If mainstream outlets decline to cover the subject, all that will be left are what McWhorter calls “dense, obscure academic journals” — and fringe websites whose proprietors don’t feel bound by society’s norms. Do you think the typical Googler is going to wade through the technical pros and cons of the “method of correlated vectors” (a heavily criticized technique suggesting that the best measures of “general intelligence” also have the biggest black–white gaps), or do you think he’ll turn to the more accessible option, especially if it’s at least presented in a reasoned tone?

….

There’s another reason too: Whether we like it or not, scientists are going to answer these questions sooner or later. They are already in the process of figuring out exactly what genes shape our brains and how they differ among individuals and groups; even McWhorter would not stop this research, and it will be carried out in other countries if American scientists keep away from it. I think we should be intellectually prepared for the possibility that this line of work won’t turn out the way we want.

….

In A Dream Deferred, Shelby Steele wrote that it would have “far-right and, I have to say, even fascistic ideological implications” if genes contributed to the black–white IQ gap. Responding to my above-mentioned piece about Jason Richwine, Will Wilkinson of The Economist wrote that if genetic, group-level IQ differences exist, it forces us to “acknowledge that the racists were right all along — that racism has, to some extent, a valid scientific basis.”

I submit that it’s better to establish why these conclusions are wrong before scientists uncover any bombshells about IQ or other sensitive traits. They are wrong because population-level averages cannot justify discrimination against individuals, and because genetic abilities and propensities — measured at the group or individual level — cannot justify inhumane treatment. After all, we stopped sterilizing low-IQ individuals long ago, despite a wealth of research showing that individual-level differences in IQ are roughly half genetic. The immorality of fascism and racism stems from the moral equality of all human beings; it cannot rest on an assumption that all human beings or groups of them are exactly the same.

If we achieve that, though, what we should aspire to is not a “brutally open, race-based meritocratic consensus” but an end to racial bean-counting. If Americans of all races have the opportunity to achieve what their natural talents make possible, any remaining statistical gaps among races should become a non-issue. In other words, it’s at that point we should stop talking about all this, and I think we very well might.

Thomas Sowell has written a great deal about race and culture, and about the statistical disparities in which populations are represented in which areas of life. Like it or not, bean counter or not, the fact is that different demographic groups have different levels of interest in different things. Not every race evince the same proportion of people interested in archery. Certain jobs will attract more of this ethnicity than that ethnicity. These are cultural patterns that prove to be very resistant to change, and to follow populations as they migrate around the planet.

I doubt there’s a genetic reason why Germans have more brewers of beer than other nationalities. In fact, there’s probably no good reason for it at all. It just is.

We’ve made something of a peace with physical differences, but psychological difference are proving a lot harder to swallow.

Raita

Not all Indian food will sear your mouth. Raita is a cooling accompaniment based on yogurt. I first encountered yogurt/cucumber raita, with and without mint, but here’s a page describing 26 different types of raita, sweet, salty, and savory. Each description links to the recipe.