A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

(Don Boudreaux) Here’s a letter to a college student who tells me that she was “shocked,” when while doing research for a debate on welfare policy, she encountered my blog posts on minimum wages.

Ms. L___:

Thanks for your e-mail.

You allege that my and other “neoliberals’” opposition to minimum wages “shows” our racism. You reach this conclusion by asserting that, because blacks generally are paid less than whites, “raising the minimum wage to $15 will raise more black than white incomes.” Therefore, you reason, opposition to raising the minimum wage must be rooted in racism.

Are you aware that most research on the effects of minimum-wage hikes shows that, while some workers do get higher hourly pay, some other workers lose employment? Pushing up employers’ costs of labor makes labor less desirable to employ. And so especially if you’re correct that “America as a nation is inherently racist,” then do you not worry that blacks will bear a disproportionately large share of these job losses? Might it then be said that support for minimum-wage hikes is evidence of racism?

I happen now to be re-reading a book that I recommend to you; it’s my late colleague Walter Williams’s 2011 volume, Race & Economics. In this book Walter presents ample documentation of the racist consequences of minimum wages, as well as of other smiley-face-wearing government interventions, such as statutes mandating equal-pay-for-equal-work. Walter shows also that blacks would now bear a disproportionate share of the unemployment caused by minimum wages even in the absence today of racism.

Ms. L___, you might in good faith disagree with the arguments, and question the data, that are presented in Walter’s book, in the paper linked above (and in those linked below), and in the mountains of other research that reveal minimum wages to be an enemy of blacks and other minorities. I would welcome your reaction to this research after you study some of it.

But even if you have no wish to communicate further with me about minimum wages, it’s in your own interest to carefully study this research. If you’re genuinely convinced that minimum wages are “one of society’s best antipoverty and pro-equity tools,” then you owe it to the groups whose welfare you champion to make yourself as informed as possible in order to be as effective as possible an advocate for minimum wages. You’ll want to know your opponents’ strongest arguments so that you’ll be prepared to counter these with your strongest arguments.

To learn your opponents’ strongest arguments against minimum wages, consult the works of scholars such as – to name only a few – Walter WilliamsThomas SowellDavid Neumark and William WascherJeffrey ClemensJonathan Meer, and Richard Burkhauser.

You’ll greatly improve your prospects of swaying people to support minimum wages if, rather than accusing opponents of minimum wages of racism, you instead address the best arguments offered by these people and then do your best to explain why they are mistaken. If you’re correct about minimum wages, you should have no trouble doing so.

Source: A Serious Argument Contains Serious Argumentation

Getting Woke before Woke Was a Thing

Beginning in the 1960s, most Southerners walked away from racism and embraced true equality.

….

A lot of things changed for us in the coming years. All over the South, people were making the choices that my father and community had made. It was one person at a time, family by family and town by town. We realized that much of what we believed was simply wrong. It was not what God wanted and it was not reasonable.

The political realignment was only a small part of this. The South has not become solidly Republican because of race. The move to Republicanism in the South is more about liberty. The Southern people tend to be fiercely freedom-loving people who want all people to share in the dream of the Declaration of Independence: Life, liberty, and freedom from government oversight as we pursue happiness. The free market is an integral part of this liberty.

My memory throws up one final, defining moment in my becoming “woke” before there was such a thing. One day there was an African-American lady visiting my mother in our home. (I am not using her real name.) A news program on TV was discussing the preferred words for the people we now call “African American” or, if we’re really progressive, “BIPOC.”

Back then, the discussion was whether we should change from the technically correct “Negro” to the coming-into-vogue “Black.” I embarrassed my mother by asking our guest what she wanted to be called. With great wisdom and seriousness, she said, “You can call me Mary, but your parents would probably prefer that you call me Mrs. Smith.”

I understood perfectly.

Source: Getting Woke before Woke Was a Thing

A City Prepares for a Trial

(John Hinderaker) Derek Chauvin goes on trial for murder in the death of George Floyd on March 8. His trial has been separated from that of the other three officers who have been charged; theirs will begin in August. Chauvin is the principal defendant.

….

I believe it was the day after Floyd’s death when Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey publicly questioned the fact that the four police officers were still free men. Why weren’t they already in jail? And Governor Walz has publicly pronounced the officers guilty of “murder.” Meanwhile, though, it has come out that Floyd’s blood contained two or three times a lethal dose of fentanyl. He also showed the classic symptoms of a fentanyl overdose, complaining repeatedly of an inability to breathe and foaming at the mouth. His autopsy revealed that his lungs were heavier than normal, reflecting the accumulation of fluid that occurs with a fentanyl overdose. So it is far from clear that Derek Chauvin murdered anyone, or indeed that the four police officers had anything to do with Floyd’s death, which apparently, based on the evidence now available, was caused by a drug overdose.

But it is much too late for the authorities to acknowledge that their case against Chauvin et al. is far from airtight. They are committed. What we don’t know is whether an impartial jury can be empaneled, and whether any jury will have the courage to return a verdict of not guilty. Everyone in Minneapolis knows that the authorities were not able to defend even the Third Precinct Station House, which was taken over and burned by rioters. Nor were they able to defend a two-mile stretch of Lake Street, or other areas in Minneapolis and St. Paul that were destroyed by mobs. What juror will be willing to count on the authorities to protect his own house from being burned down, if he fails to return the verdict that is demanded by the mob?

Source: A City Prepares for a Trial

Are the Woke a False Flag Operation of White Supremacists

It is hard for me to imagine anything that white surpremacists could do to permanently impoverish African-Americans than some of the things the woke are supporting. Case in point is this story from Oregon :

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.

An ODE newsletter sent last week advertises a Feb. 21 “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course,” which is designed for middle school teachers to make use of a toolkit for “dismantling racism in mathematics.” The event website identifies the event as a partnership between California’s San Mateo County Office of Education, The Education Trust-West and others.

Part of the toolkit includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” allegedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” Those include “the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer,” students being “required to ‘show their work,'” and other alleged manifestations.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

And the link at the word “toolkit” leads to the document that describes the ways mathematics instruction is racist.

On page 7, we see:

DISMANTLING WHITE SUPREMACY IN MATH CLASSROOMS

We see white supremacy culture show up in the mathematics classroom even as we carry out our professional responsibilities outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP). Using CSTP as a framework, we see white supremacy culture in the mathematics classroom can show up when:

The focus is on getting the “right” answer.
Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration.
“Real-world math” is valued over math in the real world.
Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom).
Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being.

On page 66, we have:

White supremacy culture shows up in math classrooms when…

The focus is on getting the “right” answer.

The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.

Instead…

Choose problems that have complex, competing, or multiple answers.
Verbal Example: Come up with at least two answers that might solve this problem.
Classroom Activity: Challenge standardized test questions by getting the “right” answer, but justify other answers by unpacking the assumptions that are made in the problem.
Classroom Activity: Deconstructed Multiple Choice – given a set of multiple choice answers, students discuss why these answers may have been included (can also be used to highlight common mistakes).
Professional Development: Study the purpose of math education, and re-envision it. Schooling as we know it began during the industrial revolution, when precision and accuracy were highly valued. What are the myriad ways we can conceptualize mathematics in today’s world and beyond?

Engage with true problem solving.
Verbal Example: What are some strategies we can use to engage with this problem?
Classroom Activity: Using a set of data, analyze it in multiple ways to draw different conclusions.
Professional Development: Study the art of problem solving by engaging in rich, complex mathematical problems. Consider whether your own content knowledge is sufficient to allow you to problem solve through math without the strategies you typically use

Somehow, I can’t see this working when you’re running fourth-graders through a sheet of long division problems.

Source: Are the Woke a False Flag Operation of White Supremacists

Why Math Is Racist

(John Hinderaker) This is actually a claim that is being made often these days: the sciences in general, and math in particular, are racist. The latest comes from Oregon :

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.

….

Liberals believe that scientific and mathematical talent are distributed unequally among the races, with Asians being well-endowed in those areas, and blacks below average. Therefore, it is appropriate to discriminate against Asians and to lower standards for blacks–e.g., by pretending that it is unimportant to get the right answer to a math problem.

Source: Why Math Is Racist

Read the Column the New York Times Didn’t Want You To Read

Every serious moral philosophy, every decent legal system and every ethical organization cares deeply about intention.

It is the difference between murder and manslaughter. It is an aggravating or extenuating factor in judicial settings. It is a cardinal consideration in pardons (or at least it was until Donald Trump got in on the act). It’s an elementary aspect of parenting, friendship, courtship and marriage.

….

“Racist language” is not just about a single infamous word. It’s a broad, changing, contestable category. There are many people — I include myself among them — who think that hardcore anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. That’s also official policy at the State Department and the British Labour Party. If anti-Semitism is a form of racism, and racist language is intolerable at The Times, might we someday forbid not only advocacy of anti-Zionist ideas, but even refuse to allow them to be discussed?

The idea is absurd. But that’s the terrain we now risk entering.

We are living in a period of competing moral certitudes, of people who are awfully sure they’re right and fully prepared to be awful about it. Hence the culture of cancellations, firings, public humiliations and increasingly unforgiving judgments. The role of good journalism should be to lead us out of this dark defile. Last week, we went deeper into it.

Source: Read the Column the New York Times Didn’t Want You To Read

VIDEO: Watch this woman disembowel the pervasive brainwashing of Critical Race Theory in under 60 se…

VIDEO: Watch this woman disembowel the pervasive brainwashing of Critical Race Theory in under 60 seconds. “In exactly 59 seconds, TikTok user Half Black Conservative shows how popular Critical Race Theory has become in the last year and details the dangers of such Marxist groupthink.”

“So let me make this clear: you are being brainwashed and manipulated. I don’t care who you are. People of color, you are being brainwashed into think that you are a victim and you are hated, and being manipulated into using your voice, your vote and your time to support people who do not share your interests and frankly do not care about you.

White people, you are being brainwashed into feeling guilt you should not feel, manipulated into closing your mouths and blamed for an issue that has been exaggerated beyond belief. It is due time that we all wake up.”

Source: VIDEO: Watch this woman disembowel the pervasive brainwashing of Critical Race Theory in under 60 se…

The Rare Fighter Against Bigotry Who Actually Fights It Instead Of Spreading It

I encountered Chloe Valdary on Twitter maybe four years ago. Can’t recall how long I’ve been following her, but I have always been relieved and enlightened by her tweets.

At a time when so many are pushing a new kind of racism — damning white people — as a religion, she’s a lone voice of reason and balance in the story.

Conor Friedersdorf profiles her in The Atlantic

Source: The Rare Fighter Against Bigotry Who Actually Fights It Instead Of Spreading It

https://theoryofenchantment.com/

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 40 of my late, great colleague Walter Williams’s remarkable 1982 book, The State Against Blacks:

The racial effect of the minimum wage laws exist in the absence of racial preferences on behalf of employers. The minimum wage law gives firms effective economic incentive to seek to hire only the most productive employees, which means that firms are less willing to hire and/or train the least productive employee, which includes teenagers, particularly minority teenagers. But assuming away any productivity differences between black and white workers, minimum wage laws give firms incentive to racially discriminate in hiring. The reason is that the minimum wage law lowers the private cost of discriminating against the racially less preferred person.

Source: Quotation of the Day…