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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,09:11   

Paley's position:
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Yes, this is an excellent book that occupies a prominent place on my bookshelf. In fact, if you want to discuss it further, one of us can create a new thread. Three things to remember:
1) I am not a racist, so most of his arguments are irrelevant to my political philosophy.
2) Just like his namesake, Mr. Diamond is a racist. He clearly advocates black supremacy in the prologue. I'll be happy to quote the relevant bits if you'd like.
3) Unfortunately, parts of his argument actually strengthen the position of white supremacists.

Eric Murphy's reply:
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I do want to take issue with your claim that Dr. Diamond is a "racist." By any conventional use of the term, he most certainly is not a racist.

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Diamond himself is very aware of how his dicussion of race and culture can be misinterpreted by those with a desire to misinterpret, and he says so in the book. But the truth of the matter is that a dispassionate reading of "Guns, Germs, and Steel" will provide no comfort to those who think that any particular race has any intellectual advantage over any other race, nor to those who think that any particular civilization's successes are due to the inherent superiority of its members.

Here's the book we're discussing.

Opinions?

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,10:09   

Heh, I assume Mr. Murphy's working hard on his opening...............

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,10:45   

Quote
2) Just like his namesake, Mr. Diamond is a racist. He clearly advocates black supremacy in the prologue. I'll be happy to quote the relevant bits if you'd like.


From pages 20-1 of the book:
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It's easy to recognize two reasons why my impression that New Guineans are smarter than Westerners may be correct.....[he spends the next three paragraphs justifying this assertion, then concludes with]....That is, in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners, and they surely are superior in escaping the devastating developmental disadvantages under which most children in industrialized societies now grow up...Why is it that Europeans, despite their likely genetic disadvantage and (in modern times) their undoubted developmental disadvantage, ended up with much more of the cargo?"

Quote
3) Unfortunately, parts of his argument actually strengthen the position of white supremacists.

I'll support this later, but I want to give Eric a chance to respond.

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Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,11:20   

I'll let Eric respond to the bulk of this, if he's so inclined, but I just want to point out one glaring error in Ghost's invite. Whereas Diamond is writing about New Guineans, somehow Ghost has generalized this to "black". Here in the U.S., for instance, "black" most often translates to "people of (relatively recent) African ancestry". I'm pretty sure New Guineans are at least as genetically distant from Europeans and the major African groups as either of the latter are from one another.

(And, just by the by, I read Guns Germs & Steel years ago and certainly don't recall anything that would justify calling Diamond a "racist".)

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ericmurphy



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:08   

Okay, here's why Dr. Diamond is not a racist: regardless of whether he believes that New Guineans are genetically superior in some sense to other races, he is not advocating that New Guineans be given any extra privileges as a result of any purported superiority, nor that other races should be discriminated against based on even provable deficiencies, if any there are.

My observation that men are, in general, physically stronger than women does not make me think that women should be excluded from physically-demanding occupations. Any person's fitness for any occupation, whether it is physically, mentally, or emotionally demanding, should be based on his or her fitness for the job, not based on the statistically average fitness demonstrated by whatever race or culture he or she belongs to. Preferences based on race or cultural background are generally a short-cut, a lazy way of avoiding having to assess a person based on his or her own strengths and weaknesses.

That being said, an overwhelmingly strong case for affirmative action can be made based on exactly the kind of shortcut preferences I just criticized. Minorities here and abroad have consistently been short-changed based on their perceived shortcomings, and that is true to some extent even today. The whole purpose of affirmative action programs is to level a playing field that is still far from level. Anyone (like, say, Thomas Sowell) who claims that racism is dead in America really needs to get out more. Living in a city as multicultural as the one I live in, I don't need anything more that a walk down the street to see how institutionalized racism still is in America.

I'm assuming that since Bill says he's not a racist, he agrees with me at least on my first point, if not the second one.

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:15   

What is "afirmative action"?

Would I be right in guessing that it is similar to what is known as "positive discrimination" in the UK?

If so, then I  believe it is racist.

  
sir_toejam



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:21   

that sounds like a wiki question to me.

and, no, i don't believe affirmative action was ever meant to be racist (or reverse-racist), regardless of how the policy may have been abused in some circumstances.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action

  
ericmurphy



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:37   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Jan. 11 2006,18:15)
What is "afirmative action"?

Would I be right in guessing that it is similar to what is known as "positive discrimination" in the UK?

If so, then I  believe it is racist.

If you're calling "Affirmative Action" "racist," you're using the word in a way that may be technically correct, but nevertheless gives entirely the wrong idea. Here's why.

Americans of African descent ("Negroes," "Blacks," African-Americans," along with various less flattering epithets) have historically been discriminated against. For the first 70 or so years of this nation's history, human beings of African descent were considered property. Even today, all other things being equal, an African American is at a distinct disadvantage to Americans of European descent in the job market. Part of this disadvantage is due to institutionalized racism, and some of it is due to diminished opportunities due to previous racial discrimination. African Americans make up approximately 12% of the population here, but there are zero African American CEOs of Fortune 100 companies.

Given the imbalance in the opportunities afforded most African Americans in society, the intent of Affirmative Action is to offset some of that imbalance. It's difficult for me to sympathize with the occasional American of European descent who may have lost out in a bid for a well-paying job to an African American when I see the relative economic success of African Americans as compared to European Americans.

And if you think that African Americans have suffered in the marketplace because they are genetically less fit for the marketplace than European Americans, I'm afraid that makes you a racist by any rational meaning of the term.

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:44   

Stephen Elliott wrote:
Quote
What is "afirmative action"?
Would I be right in guessing that it is similar to what is known as "positive discrimination" in the UK?

Yes. Affirmative action is a nice word for quotas. I know the lawyers here will jump all over me for that, citing many cases that make subtle differences between the two, but as the great American writer Bill James said, "If you look at a woman that hard, she'll punch your lights out."

Sir Toejam wrote:
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and, no, i don't believe affirmative action was ever meant to be racist (or reverse-racist), regardless of how the policy may have been abused in some circumstances.

I have to disagree here. This timeline implies otherwise, despite Hubert Humphrey's empty promises.
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Senator Humphrey responded that if the Act sanctioned quotas, he would "start eating the pages one after the other...." "Nothing contained in [Title VII]," Humphrey continued, "shall be interpreted to require any employer to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of race...on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons employed...in comparison with the available work force."4

ericmurphy wrote:
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Given the imbalance in the opportunities afforded most African Americans in society, the intent of Affirmative Action is to offset some of that imbalance. It's difficult for me to sympathize with the occasional American of European descent who may have lost out in a bid for a well-paying job to an African American when I see the relative economic success of African Americans as compared to European Americans.

I suspect it's more than "occasional". And Asian-Americans are probably hurt even worse. Why should they suffer for something they weren't responsible for, even collectively?

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Dean Morrison



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:54   

Here we go -

Paley will now seek to justify that because 'affirmitive action' is 'racist' - then his brand of racism is okay. (Only he want call it that - he'll re-define the word race so you have to say 'ethnic-group'-ism or 'culture-that-is-unsuited-to-Western-society-ism)
I refer to my previous posts.

Paley is clearly a racist - yet seems embarrassed by the term.

As I said before - he does not consider the Jews to be a race - therefore the Germans were not 'racist' when they 'discriminated' against them.



:(

  
The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,12:58   

ericmurphy wrote:
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And if you think that African Americans have suffered in the marketplace because they are genetically less fit for the marketplace than European Americans, I'm afraid that makes you a racist by any rational meaning of the term.

Why should a lack of ethnic representation in a certain sector be interpreted as either "institutionalized racism" or "inferior" genes? Why couldn't culture play a role? And if a numerical discrepancy is evidence for racism, does that mean that whites are discriminated against in sports, heterosexuals in the fashion world, and Gentiles in just about any intellectual profession you could name? In fact, this is the real reason so many middle-class blacks are antisemitic: they take this type of logic to its natural conclusion. This is one of the ways in which liberal philosophy encourages hatred (in my opinion).

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,13:04   

Ignore Dean; he's a proven liar. See the first Jan. 9 post.

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Dean Morrison



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,13:31   

Larry - all you succeed in doing is pointing people back to your own posts- which are what I used in the first place to establish my point that you are a racist.

Call me a liar if you wish - I expect no more of you - but let people make up their own minds as to whether I am a 'proven' liar, and you are a racist.

One thing - why would I go to all this trouble to 'lie' about someone by calling them a racist if I thought they weren't?

I think that it's you that has a problem facing the truth Paley.

  
ericmurphy



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,13:55   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Jan. 11 2006,18:44)
I suspect it's more than "occasional". And Asian-Americans are probably hurt even worse. Why should they suffer for something they weren't responsible for, even collectively?

If it were more than "occasional," we'd see the proportion of African American management professionals approach their proportion of the population at large -- regardless of whether you think African Americans are as qualified for those positions as European Americans. Since that's hardly the case, I think we can rest assured that such cases are, indeed, "occasional."

Living in San Francisco, where Asian Americans make up almost half the population, I can assure you that Asian Americans are doing pretty well. The law firm I work for is almost 40% Asian American, our estate planning clients (who pretty much by definition are affluent) are way more than half Asian American, my last two dentists were both Asian American (half the dentists in their building are Asian American). The idea that African Americans are crowding Asian Americans out of the professions is, quite simply, absurd.

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,13:56   

ericmurphy wrote:
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Okay, here's why Dr. Diamond is not a racist: regardless of whether he believes that New Guineans are genetically superior in some sense to other races, he is not advocating that New Guineans be given any extra privileges as a result of any purported superiority, nor that other races should be discriminated against based on even provable deficiencies, if any there are.

I have to admit, he sounds like a racist in my book. But it's true that he doesn't advocate Jim Crow laws, so by your definiton he wouldn't be one. Of course, his political philosophy doesn't affect the strength of his argument, so his book must be judged on its own terms. I just think it's funny that he spends 400+ pages refuting one type of racism when he's so quick to embrace another (in my opinion). Unfortunately, racists are now using his argument to buttress their own beliefs: some now claim that the differences in climate, flora, and geography were the selective pressures that drove the selection for white people's "superior" intellect. And now, of course, they have studies to quote-mine for all they're worth. If Mr. Diamond complains, they can just quote his prologue. But all is not lost yet, there are plenty of genetic studies to come, and I think that the Flynn Effect will be writ in DNA. Not that it matters; Jim Crow is wrong no matter what.

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ericmurphy



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,14:04   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Jan. 11 2006,18:58)
ericmurphy wrote:
Quote
And if you think that African Americans have suffered in the marketplace because they are genetically less fit for the marketplace than European Americans, I'm afraid that makes you a racist by any rational meaning of the term.

Why should a lack of ethnic representation in a certain sector be interpreted as either "institutionalized racism" or "inferior" genes? Why couldn't culture play a role? And if a numerical discrepancy is evidence for racism, does that mean that whites are discriminated against in sports, heterosexuals in the fashion world, and Gentiles in just about any intellectual profession you could name? In fact, this is the real reason so many middle-class blacks are antisemitic: they take this type of logic to its natural conclusion. This is one of the ways in which liberal philosophy encourages hatred (in my opinion).

Bill, we don't need to look at the statistics for evidence of racism in American Culture. The evidence for past and present racism is utterly overwhelming (gay people have never enslaved straight people and black athletes have never enslaved white athletes). You don't need to look at the statistics to see that institutionalized racism is a fact of life in America; all you need to do is watch television or look at recent historical events such as the Matthew Sheppard case in Massachusetts in the late 1980s.

That said, it's definitely true that culture can play a role. But, at least in the case of African Americans, the cultural argument supports my case. What happened to African American culture? It was systematically eradicated in the 18th and 19th centuries. What kind of "culture" are African Americans heir to? They've been forced to come up with their own culture sua sponte in a matter of a few generations, rather than the millenia European Americans or Asian Americans can look to for cultural cues.

Should African Americans' lack of an authentic, indigenous, deeply-rooted culture be held against them? What do you think?

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,14:46   

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If it were more than "occasional," we'd see the proportion of African American management professionals approach their proportion of the population at large -- regardless of whether you think African Americans are as qualified for those positions as European Americans. Since that's hardly the case, I think we can rest assured that such cases are, indeed, "occasional."

I don't know about management professionals, but when the California University system banned Affirmative Action preferences, black and hispanic admissions declined dramatically. California's experience is pretty typical. I can't recommend Losing the Race highly enough; it's clear that many minority students had no business being in Berkeley. And graduating from top-flight schools is an important step for any management professional.
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You don't need to look at the statistics to see that institutionalized racism is a fact of life in America; all you need to do is watch television or look at recent historical events such as the Matthew Sheppard case in Massachusetts in the late 1980s.

I'm not trying to be snide (really), but we must have completely different cable packages. I don't watch much TV (and I'm sure you don't either), but what I do see shocks me in its antiwhite bias. I mean, every second commercial portrays white men as nitwits, and crime dramas are awash in white thuggery. Sorry, Eric, I'm trying to keep an open mind, but you really have to clarify this. And even though gay bashing still goes on, I've noticed that Hollywood and Madison Avenue are creating programs and commercials that target gay people. It sure seems like attitudes are quickly changing, and this is supported by the people I talk to. Isn't there a poster here who's openly gay? He might have some insights worth sharing.......
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That said, it's definitely true that culture can play a role. But, at least in the case of African Americans, the cultural argument supports my case. What happened to African American culture? It was systematically eradicated in the 18th and 19th centuries. What kind of "culture" are African Americans heir to? They've been forced to come up with their own culture sua sponte in a matter of a few generations, rather than the millenia European Americans or Asian Americans can look to for cultural cues.

You've got a point there, but is A.A. the best way to remedy this problem? I know it's been said many times, but I think A.A. devalues minority achievement. And wasn't all this supposed to be temporary?
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Should African Americans' lack of an authentic, indigenous, deeply-rooted culture be held against them? What do you think?

Not entirely, perhaps. But it's been about 40 years now under A.A. and in some ways Black culture is getting even more decadent. Single-parent households and out-of-wedlock birth have exploded since the mid-sixties, and a depressing amount of black youth in stable two-parent homes are embracing gangsta culture. Not that I'm letting white culture off the hook: we're experiencing the same &^%%ing trends. Look at the white youth in Great Britain - "lad" culture and hooliganism are taking over. School performance continues to decline, and for our schools - well, 'nuff said.

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,14:53   

Whoops - just caught an error. McWhorter's anecdotes involve Stanford students, not Berkeley ones. Which is even worse, in my opinion.

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Dean Morrison



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 11 2006,22:41   

Crikey Paley - it almost sounds like you're talking reasonably..

But I thought you were in favour of Affirmative Action - of the kind Steve Fuller said was required if the 'Intelligent Design Hoax' was ever to get off the ground?

  
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,01:11   

Was "affirmative action" really the target topic of a thread titled "Guns, Germs & Steel"? I guess we focus on different things in the books we read, but I have to admit that I can't remember anything about A.A. from my reading of GG&S, though it was some time ago.

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,03:08   

I really dislike the idea of affirmative action or positive discrimination.

Despite any lofty intentions I consider it a bad idea.

Positively discriminating in somebodies favour because of race absolutely demands someone is going to be discriminated againt for racial reasons.

That is racist. No ifs or buts. Sounds nice and friendly but will lead to righteous indignation. It will just give real nasty racists a recruiting slogan.

In the UK the Asian community is very well represented in the medical field. How would it sound if someone claimed, "Asians are over-represented in medicine. Positively discriminate for other races over Asians"?

That sounds racist because it is. You can't have it both ways.

  
Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,03:31   

Quote
I really dislike the idea of affirmative action or positive discrimination.  
I guess I'm going to have to get out my copy of "Guns, Germs and Steel" to figure out why affirmative action is central to the discussion of it.

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Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,04:00   

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I really dislike the idea of affirmative action or positive discrimination.

This has been a matter of some sensitivity, of course. Originally, the Official Explanation was that there was to be no discrimination either in favor of or against anyone. The (rather ludicrous) assumption was that there were plenty of *fully qualified* minority types out there to be hired, but they were all hiding somewhere, and could only be found by a directed effort to seek them out.

Meeting the resulting requirements led to some genuinely creative definitions of "qualified". But in reality, there were only two categories of alternatives - either define down the job requirements until nearly any warm body qualified, or jigger the procedures for assessing qualifications so as to (often massively) misrepresent the candidates' abilities.

In private industry, out of the desperation induced by legal pressures, companies tended to create "nonjobs" with suitable titles and compensation but without the sort of responsibility that would cripple actual operations. Universities created dual tracks, the original degree programs and the "affirmative action" programs, which were basically remedial training but which were awarded the same degree. The civil service meanwhile went to two tracks on their standardized tests, grading non-minorities according to how well they did relative to the entire test population, and minorities according to how they did relative to other minorities only.

These "dual track" efforts to basically DEFINE very different groups as being the same, have largely failed. But the civil service does not have the "nonjob" option; they are obligated by law to treat all "90%" candidates the same (within the larger restriction that minorities must end up constituting NO LESS a percentage of all employees than they represent in the population at large).

All in all, it's been a Through the Looking Glass experience, where "merit" has morphed from an ability to do a task, to an ability to meet political expediency.

  
The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,04:28   

Russell wrote:
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I guess I'm going to have to get out my copy of "Guns, Germs and Steel" to figure out why affirmative action is central to the discussion of it.

Don't bother - Diamond doesn't focus on it (or even bring it up I think). But this statement is highly relevant in my opinion:
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Unfortunately, racists are now using his argument to buttress their own beliefs: some now claim that the differences in climate, flora, and geography were the selective pressures that drove the selection for white people's "superior" intellect. And now, of course, they have studies to quote-mine for all they're worth. If Mr. Diamond complains, they can just quote his prologue.

Do you think that Diamond made a tactical blunder?

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,04:41   

Flint, you stated the central dilemma better than I ever could. I for one enjoy reading your posts. Like Eric, you must scribble for a living.

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Russell



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,05:02   

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Do you think that Diamond made a tactical blunder?
I guess that depends on what you assume is his strategic goal.  What do you assume that is?

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The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,05:57   

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I guess that depends on what you assume is his strategic goal.  What do you assume that is?

To refute biological arguments that try to account for civilisational differences between racial groups. An admirable goal, but Diamond's execution has problems.

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ericmurphy



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,07:43   

The problem as I see it:

The United States is bedevilled by extreme disparities in wealth and economic opportunity, disparities reminiscent more of Latin American banana republics than liberal democracies. Many of those disparities are the result of factors over which no one has any control. Let's face it, people are born with different capacities and needs, and no amount of legislation can correct for those differences (although I can probably give Bill an aneurysm by saying "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" might be a pretty good prescription for a just society).

However, some of these differences in opportunity are the result of historical events that are not very flattering to America's self-image as Land of the Free and Home of the Brave™. A history of institutionalized slavery is certainly one of these, as is its successor, institutionalized racism.

No one denies that these things happened. While some may deny that there are any lasting effects, that's almost as ridiculous as denying the Holocaust. The effects are plain to anyone who is willing to see. Regardless of whatever statistics Mr. Bill would like to wave about as to the causes of the relative poverty of, e.g., African Americans, it's impossible to deny that there is a systemic disparity in the relative economic opportunity of African Americans (and others) as compared to white Americans.

So, the question then becomes, what does a just society do to resolve these disparities? Well, one possibility is to just claim that African Americans are inferior to European Americans, Asian Americans, etc., and just ignore the problem, claiming it's either God's Will (if you're of that persuasion) or that it's Darwin's Will (if you're of the other).

Another possibility is to take as a given that many of the problems African Americans continue to suffer from are due to their treatment at the hands of their fellow humans, those European American guys, either in the past or currently.

If one makes that assumption (because, after all, there has to be some explanation for the lack of economic success of the majority of African Americans), then one is obliged to come up with some sort of remedy. A possible remedy is what became known as Affirmative Action.

It is not difficult to make the case that Affirmative Action has not been very successful. However, how long was affirmative action practiced as a matter of law in the United States? 40 years? That's hardly a generation and a half. How much success would one expect to see in a program over forty years that clearly would take generations to have a discernible effect on society? Would one expect to see parity between African Americans and European Americans on that sort of time scale?

(And in the meantime, I don't want to hear any whining about how Affirmative Action is "unfair" to white people. Take a look at the prison system and death row and then tell me you think American society as a whole is unfair to white people.)

This is what bugs me about conservatives. A program that conservatives don't like for ideological reasons (e.g., affirmative action, social security, medicare) had better work flawlessly or there's going to be constant pressure from the right to a) starve it of funds, and b) kill it once it's sufficiently weakened.

On the other hand, programs that are ideologically favored (SDI, Operation Iraqi Liberation -- oops, did I say that?) which clearly will never work, are funded to death, no matter what the results turn out to be.

I know you think Liberals have ruined the country, Bill. But there's a book I think you'd find pretty interesting. It was written by Kevin Phillips, an economist who worked for the Nixon administration. It's called "Wealth and Democracy: a Political History of the American Rich." He makes a pretty persuasive argument that the very programs conservatives decry are the ones which have done the most to better the lives of most Americans. Considering the subject matter, it's actually a pretty entertaining read.

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Flint



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,09:16   

ericmurphy:

Behind your reasonable paragraphs lies a nest of assumptions which, at least as far as I know, are neither established nor refuted. As such, they are statements of preference. I'd like to provide a slightly different viewpoint, just to see where our disagreements may truly lie.

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The United States is bedevilled by extreme disparities in wealth and economic opportunity, disparities reminiscent more of Latin American banana republics than liberal democracies.

In all accuracy, these disparities have existed in every society where wealth can be accumulated. As you go on to say:

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Many of those disparities are the result of factors over which no one has any control. Let's face it, people are born with different capacities and needs, and no amount of legislation can correct for those differences

But if differences in "capacities and needs" (not to mention kismet generally) always produce such a pattern, can we really denigrate it with words like "bedeviled"? The slings and arrows of the inevitable?

Quote
(although I can probably give Bill an aneurysm by saying "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" might be a pretty good prescription for a just society).

I suggest that such a philosophy is a matter of scale. It seems to be not only workable, but the ONLY workable approach, in very small communities (immediate families, very small and tightly coupled teams). It breaks down terminally where people begin to feel that the fruits of their labors aren't being directly reciprocated. YOU may be comfortable living in a society where productivity is penalized so as to provide rewards for being unproductive, but few people are, and by trial and error (or by anthropological observation) this point is reached somewhere in the 50-100 person community. Beyond this point, the temptation to consume more "justice" than one needs is beyond the ability of too high a proportion of the members to resist.

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However, some of these differences in opportunity are the result of historical events that are not very flattering to America's self-image as Land of the Free and Home of the Brave™. A history of institutionalized slavery is certainly one of these, as is its successor, institutionalized racism.

No one denies that these things happened. While some may deny that there are any lasting effects, that's almost as ridiculous as denying the Holocaust. The effects are plain to anyone who is willing to see. Regardless of whatever statistics Mr. Bill would like to wave about as to the causes of the relative poverty of, e.g., African Americans, it's impossible to deny that there is a systemic disparity in the relative economic opportunity of African Americans (and others) as compared to white Americans.

While this disparity is undeniable, the circumstances of the Asian-Americans should not be so carefully tuned out. In comparison to African-Americans, the Asians share a goodly number of characteristics: They are immediately, visibly different. Offspring of European-Asian breeding look like the non-European. Active discrimination has been waged against them. They were never slaves, but they were surely demonized in the last Great War. During which African-Americans were segregated into their own military units, while the Asians were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. So it's hard to argue that Asians have been welcomed with open arms, or that they integrate so quickly into a European-dominated economy (as did the Irish, the Italians, the Swedes, etc.) that they blend under the radar.

Yet the Asians excel in schools, on standardized tests, in business and in technology. Why? What truly major difference leads to this astounding disparity in social success between Asians and blacks?

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So, the question then becomes, what does a just society do to resolve these disparities? Well, one possibility is to just claim that African Americans are inferior to European Americans, Asian Americans, etc., and just ignore the problem, claiming it's either God's Will (if you're of that persuasion) or that it's Darwin's Will (if you're of the other).

And indeed, this claim is made. I don't buy it myself, but rejecting this claim entails drawing a distinction between inherent differences and *performance* differences across a wide spectrum of performance measurements. How can we measure inherent (biologically meaningful social) differences, without looking at performance against some measure? Not a simple task.

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Another possibility is to take as a given that many of the problems African Americans continue to suffer from are due to their treatment at the hands of their fellow humans, those European American guys, either in the past or currently.

I'm sure this is largely the case. The question remains, WHY such an immense difference between blacks and Asians?

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If one makes that assumption (because, after all, there has to be some explanation for the lack of economic success of the majority of African Americans), then one is obliged to come up with some sort of remedy. A possible remedy is what became known as Affirmative Action.

To the best of my knowledge, Asian-Americans have never been the target of Affirmative Action, because by all reasonable measures they haven't needed it. Yes, there have been articles (a recent major article in Science, for example, that in major research facilities, Asians make up over half the workers and only about 5% of the management. But this too is changing, without any targeted government program to force it to happen. All that was needed was to point it out. It's not like enough of the lower ranks lack the qualificatons for promotion, so in this case "Affirmative Action" met the original model - fully qualified candidates were in fact plentiful. And ironically, it's this fact that rendered any Affirmative Action program unnecessary.)

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It is not difficult to make the case that Affirmative Action has not been very successful. However, how long was affirmative action practiced as a matter of law in the United States? 40 years? That's hardly a generation and a half.

And still Affirmative Action to artificially boost Asian-Americans has been practiced, well, uh, it hasn't. Hasn't been necessary. Again, why not? Perhaps it's possible that the reason why not might give us a pretty good clue why Affirmative Action was started in the first place, as well as why it has had relatively little effect. Asians fresh off the boat, not even speaking the native language, have consistently outperformed African-Americans in schools and in business (even within the ranks of organized crime). No two generations (or more) required.

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How much success would one expect to see in a program over forty years that clearly would take generations to have a discernible effect on society? Would one expect to see parity between African Americans and European Americans on that sort of time scale?

Again (because you really DO need to address this), we see Asian success at truly spectacular levels *immediately*, much less after 40 years. We see Asians whose English is barely comprehensible dominating the graduate schools of our best universities. We see that they are financially doing very well indeed.

Perhaps we could argue that the previous immigration waves were mostly European enough to vanish in a generation of interbreeding, and that's why none of them ever required anything like Affirmative Action. But the Asians do not vanish by interbreeding.

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(And in the meantime, I don't want to hear any whining about how Affirmative Action is "unfair" to white people. Take a look at the prison system and death row and then tell me you think American society as a whole is unfair to white people.)

This argument is not honest. Even if we grant (and it would be hard not to) that blacks are WAY overrepresented in the prisons and death row, and that given essentially similar fact situations blacks are WAY more likely to be convicted, and to get far heavier sentences upon conviction, this says nothing about fairness of employment opportunities. If you run a footrace, finish first, and someone you handily defeated is given the trophy because "his ancestors were mistreated, and people of his description are overrepresented in prison", have YOU been treated unfairly? Absolutely. I'm sorry, but when the qualifications for a desirable job are made explicit, and you spend perhaps years polishing your abilities to meet them, it's simply not fair to give that job to someone substantially less qualified because *some else somewhere else, unrelated to either of you* was treated badly.

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This is what bugs me about conservatives. A program that conservatives don't like for ideological reasons (e.g., affirmative action, social security, medicare) had better work flawlessly or there's going to be constant pressure from the right to a) starve it of funds, and b) kill it once it's sufficiently weakened.

While I agree as far as you went here, I'm amused at where you stopped. It is true of people generally, of every description and ideology, that what they DO NOT agree with must clear a higher bar than what they like. As a subset of people generally, conservatives are orthogonal to this measure.

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On the other hand, programs that are ideologically favored (SDI, Operation Iraqi Liberation -- oops, did I say that?) which clearly will never work, are funded to death, no matter what the results turn out to be.

Which is simply the flip side of that same coin. We all filter the world through our ideology, giving every benefit of the doubt possible to what our personal values find "good", and demanding miracles (and not seeing them even if they happen) otherwise.

Affirmative Action addresses, however ineffectively, a very real disparity whose cause isn't at all obvious (because if our "explanations" are correct, the Asians would be impossible). Maybe a better-aimed program would work better. SDI was technically not feasible. Social security seems a reasonably good idea poorly maintained - when it was started, age 65 was the average lifespan (not counting infant mortality) - i.e. the median worker died at 65, so only half the workers who paid into the system survived to extract from it. Social security might still be a reasonably good idea, if the eligibility age had been pegged to the median age of death. Because this didn't happen, the burden of supporting an ever-increasing percentage of capable but nonproductive citizens is beginning to exceed national wealth creation.

But anyway, your point that "conservatives" (you imply they have an exclusive on this) are the only ones to prefer their preferences, is frankly silly. "Liberal" is also a label implying a constellation of preferences. Are these necessarily more rational? Are you kidding? Are you really that incapable of noticing that YOU have preferences, which you find more reasonable? NOTHING is more reasonable than a shared prejudice. I may share many of yours, but I know them for what they are.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,10:23   

"Affirmitive Action" could have long term results exactly the opposite of it's intention.

Should a hispanic medical student get to be qualified as a surgeon on easier terms than an Asian. Who would you demand operate on a loved one given the choice.

Over time the race that is favoured by "Affirmitive Action" would be viewed as less competant than someone without this benefit, when in comparable jobs.

This would give a racist measurable results to say such and such a race is inferior.

The long term effect could be dissastrous.

Surely it would be better to tackle the problem at it's root. Try to give every member of society an equal opportunity to compete.

School reforms would be a start. Have only public funded schools and atempt to ensure they all taught to an equal standard. This would be difficult, but surely worth more effort than a blatantly racist programme.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,11:27   

Wow! Does this thread have good writing or what? Sorta like a transcript of the Vidal/Buckley debate, without the physical threats of course.... :D
Just a few observations:
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Offspring of European-Asian breeding look like the non-European.

Not necessarily true.


The latter image in particular has undergone intense scientific scrutiny. :)
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But there's a book I think you'd find pretty interesting. It was written by Kevin Phillips, an economist who worked for the Nixon administration. It's called "Wealth and Democracy: a Political History of the American Rich." He makes a pretty persuasive argument that the very programs conservatives decry are the ones which have done the most to better the lives of most Americans.

I'll take a look, but to be honest, most of the research I've seen has indicated that A.A. and Great Society programs have been failures.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,11:41   

Mr P

You're not letting your "intense scientific scrutiny" distract you from adding the finishing touches to your "gut to gametes" paper, now, are you? One can only bate one's breath for so long, you know.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,11:46   

Well, the latter image is certainly worthy of intense scrutiny. Of any kind!

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,11:53   

Ghost:

I didn't want to write at length on a tangent. Yes, when caucasian and either negroid or oriental lineages interbreed, there is a blend which at the tip of the curve produces someone able to pass as straight caucasian. But this happens only in a very small minority of cases (and the non-caucasian half of the pair generally has multiple caucasians in their ancestry).

I do admire (in detail) your example, however.

I raised this point because, while earlier European immigration waves without exception met with social rejection, their differences weren't so visibly obvious. Their children typically mixed without the remaining (often still strong) hatreds, simply because they neither looked nor sounded "different." So the bigot-on-the-street simply *could not be sure* that these people should be hated, and guessing wrong has always been considered gauche in these cases.

And so in no more than two generations, the various waves of spics, dagos, wops, kikes, micks, krauts, frogs and their ilk were indistinguishable from, you know, actual real people. But this has never really been true of either the Africans nor the Asians. An accident of biology, despite the occasional (and often spectacularly attractive) exception. And I mention all of this to counter the fairly commonly proposed notion that biologically visible differentness explains rejection of African-Americans, which explains their social and economic difficulties, which explains their bottom-of-the-barrel status despite having been freed 150 years back.

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to be honest, most of the research I've seen has indicated that A.A. and Great Society programs have been failures.

Failures in the sense of not accomplishing their stated goals. Perhaps not failures generically. After all, *someone* benefits from every transaction. By now, 100 years after its creation, the Department of Mines does absolutely nothing except spend about $3 million a year supporting those who depend on the money. Is that department a failure? Depends where you sit.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,12:40   

Quote (Flint @ Jan. 12 2006,15:16)
ericmurphy:


In all accuracy, these disparities have existed in every society where wealth can be accumulated.

But if differences in "capacities and needs" (not to mention kismet generally) always produce such a pattern, can we really denigrate it with words like "bedeviled"? The slings and arrows of the inevitable?


My point is not that wealth disparities exist in America. My point is that those wealth disparities are unnecessarily extreme. The difference between the wealthy and the poor in, say, Sweden is much smaller than it is in the U.S. Is this a situation amenable to amelioration? I think it is. Is it just hopeless? Doubtful, since other developed nations seem to have dealt with it more effectively than the U.S. has.

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I suggest that such a philosophy is a matter of scale. It seems to be not only workable, but the ONLY workable approach, in very small communities (immediate families, very small and tightly coupled teams). It breaks down terminally where people begin to feel that the fruits of their labors aren't being directly reciprocated. YOU may be comfortable living in a society where productivity is penalized so as to provide rewards for being unproductive, but few people are, and by trial and error (or by anthropological observation) this point is reached somewhere in the 50-100 person community. Beyond this point, the temptation to consume more "justice" than one needs is beyond the ability of too high a proportion of the members to resist.


But most developed nations do in fact have just such redistributive schemes in place. What else is a graduated income tax? What, for that matter, is any kind of insurance scheme? Both are methods of distributing wealth from those who have more of what they need (money, healthcare) to those who don't have enough of what they need.

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While this disparity is undeniable, the circumstances of the Asian-Americans should not be so carefully tuned out. In comparison to African-Americans, the Asians share a goodly number of characteristics: They are immediately, visibly different. Offspring of European-Asian breeding look like the non-European. Active discrimination has been waged against them. They were never slaves, but they were surely demonized in the last Great War.


But you're overlooking one other major difference (and I think you're understating the significance of two centuries of slavery). Asian culture was never systematically eradicated the way Black culture was. While the first Asian immigrants to this country were transplanted to an alien culture, they were never prevented from preserving elements of their own culture. African slaves, aside from the obvious difficulties presented by becoming slaves, had the additional difficulties of having come from numerous disparate cultures all mixed together, and then suffering from having those cultures forcibly extirpated. Slaves were punished for speaking any language other than English, were prevented from becoming educated (with rare exceptions), and in general were treated more as livestock than as human beings.

Sure, Asian immigrants were mistreated, as were many European immigrants. But I think there are significant differences in the degree of discrimination which are largely responsible for the difference in economic progress Asian Americans have enjoyed by comparison to their African American brethren.

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Yet the Asians excel in schools, on standardized tests, in business and in technology. Why? What truly major difference leads to this astounding disparity in social success between Asians and blacks?


Well, for one thing, there has been a constant, steady influx of Asian Americans from their own cultures. Of the Asian Americans who work for my company, the majority were born overseas, in their own cultures. How many Americans of African descent were actually born in Africa? How many are not descended from slaves? My estimate is that number of Asian Americans alive today who are descended from imported laborers in the 19th century is a small minority of the total.

I believe this difference in the history of African Americans versus Asian Americans really is at the root of the current disparity in achievement. Asian American culture receives a steady influx of immigration from the home country, something African American culture does not. There is no "root stock," so to speak, of African culture which can inform African American culture. It is not uncommon for first-generation Asian immigrants to be from a wealthy background. First-generation African immigrants are almost unheard of, to say nothing of wealthy first-generation African immigrants.

Moreover, while there is a history of anti-Asian discrimination in the United States, it has simply never been as brutal, or as institutionalized, as anti-black discrimination. In short, the differences in the experiences of Asian Americans and African Americans are much more notable than the similarities.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,12:50   

Much as I hate to disagree a tad with my future drinking buddy , Steve, I think we need to look back and take a broader view of 'affirmative action' / 'positive discrimination' in the UK annd the USA.

For a start the level of racial predjudice and discrimination bears no resemblance in the two countries - honestly it doesn't. I've been to the USA and was truly shocked at the level of segregation and disadvantage 'Afro-Americans' suffer, and which is taken for granted by all -and this in 'the land of opportunity'. As a people they have been done a historic injustice - and this wasn't simply 'put right' by Martin Luther King in the sixties.
From Flint's perspective these peoples parents were part of other 'peoples wealth' to be treated as disposable assets just a few generations ago - and the economists of his sort treated this as a 'fact of life' - about which nothing could be done. Heck - they were doing the slaves a favour.
So denied resources, the vote (even in Florida in 2000), education - or even the help of emergency services during a major disaster - the offspring of slaves are supposed to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps whilst they are kept down by the offspring of others that made a pretty penny off their back.

Something should be done to heal that gaping wound that still haunts American society. Affirmative action was one way that was proposed - direct but clumsy - and a likley cause of new injustices. Economic 'restitution' is another that has been proposed - where there would be a literal 'cash transaction from whites to blacks - bonkers really - but in keeping with 'free-market' thinking.
A more obvious one would be massive investment in public services - especially education - for all - thus helping all poorer people, including poor whites and latinos of which there are also many in America. If only George W Bush's rhetoric lived up to reality 'No Child Left Behind' could mean something.
But what does he do? more tax cuts for the super-duper rich buddies of his - and massive public investment in a foreign adventure - where the lives that are given are those of the poor and black, and not those of the children of the rich and powerful.
Despite our similarities Britain is a different society - we are much more equal; and we have a government that is at least trying to advance poorer kids, regardless of race. We have never had an 'affirmative action' policy such as the Americans have - although we have had milder forms such as 'Women only shortlists' for women labour MP's - a policy that (although there were protests at the time) has seen to be hugely successful in addressing the gender imbalance in parliament - so successful in fact that the Tories are about to introduce their own version of it.

'Affirmative action' was one of the few actions that were taken by the American government to address the huge difference in opportunity experienced by Whites and other races in the USA. Probably because it was cheap, and the costs weren't borne by central government. Racists like Paley would deny them even that, and economic 'liberals' like Flint would deny them any other kind of help.

They'd be happy to come back in five hundred years and see no change. In fact 'Paley' would predict it as 'certain cultures aren't suited to 'Western society'.

I have something else to say about the Asian Doctor thing - but I'll save that for the pub Steve  
:D

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,13:03   

Okay - we know you dig Asian chicks Paley, but wouldn't you prefer a good old Americun' Christyun girl from Texas?



I would.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,13:12   

Oh and Flint ... by far the biggest landowners in the UK (who also have masses of dosh stacked up in the 'City';) are the 'Aristocracy'.
Who are the 'Aristocracy'? - the descendents of the 'Normans' and their allies that invaded this country 950 years ago and took the land and property from the Saxon and Celtic locals.
They even have their own chamber of governmernt 'The House of Lords'.

And you are dissapointed that the descendants of slaves haven't scrambled onto an equal footing with 'White America' in 150 years?

- don't make me laugh!

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,13:28   

Alan Fox wrote:
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You're not letting your "intense scientific scrutiny" distract you from adding the finishing touches to your "gut to gametes" paper, now, are you? One can only bate one's breath for so long, you know.

Let's see....first there's Cogzie, then there's Mr. "I ain't no doctor yet" Brazeau, so let's say......two weeks. If you've been waiting this long, you can wait a little longer. This way, you're learning the virtues of patience along with biology. I like to give full value.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,13:28   

Dean:

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And you are dissapointed that the descendants of slaves haven't scrambled onto an equal footing with 'White America' in 150 years?

Either you didn't read anything I wrote, or you didn't understand it, or (most likely) you didn't WISH to understand it. I won't repeat it. If you wish to laugh at something I didn't say, don't blame me while you do it.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,14:13   

ericmurphy:

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My point is not that wealth disparities exist in America. My point is that those wealth disparities are unnecessarily extreme.

No question about it, wealth disparities can be manipulated a great deal through national policies of various kinds. The real question isn't whether American disparities are unnecessarily extreme, but whether they are unnaturally extreme. Since the US has been engaged in a rather massive wealth-transfer program for some decades now, I suppose it's prima facie the case that these disparities are unnaturally small. I grant you that the Swedish (and similar) experiences demonstate by dint of truly extraordinary effort, these disparities can be reduced quite a bit more. So the question is whether these highly artificial wealth transfer programs are "good" national policy. And the answer to that question typically depends on whether you are an involuntary donor of the fruits of your effort to someone else, or the happy recipient of fruits someone else earned.

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But most developed nations do in fact have just such redistributive schemes in place.

You're right. Is your argument that if most do it, it becomes righter? I doubt you could find many people so heartless as to refuse to lend a hand where a hand is required. A kind of "when you have to go there, they have to let you in" sort of thing. But perhaps what you do NOT want is to purchase institutionalized disincentive to achieve personal potential.

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But I think there are significant differences in the degree of discrimination which are largely responsible for the difference in economic progress Asian Americans have enjoyed by comparison to their African American brethren.

With all due respect, I think your point about "systematically eradicated culture" is hogswallop. I admit I don't understand what the real reason is, but I notice that the other immigrant waves had essentially abandoned their cultures within two generations, voluntarily. They all became Americans. I grew up in an ethnic neighborhood where the grandparents (off the boat) spoke no English, the parents were bilingual, and the kids my age spoke ONLY English. We all ate the same food, dressed the same, etc. The melting pot, for these waves, was very real.

Now, what I'm trying to emphasize is that this basically total adoption of the new nation in language, dress, food, and values happened within the living observation of the immigrants. In other words, people are amazingly malleable, and these cultural adoptions happen FAST. Newborns brought to America from anywhere on earth and raised by Americans AS Americans, are as solidly American as anyone else. Indeed, enough such cases exist to indicate that there is nothing either historical or biological that can predict any such newborn's eventual social success. Instead, the best predictor is the social circumstances of the adoptive parents.

I certainly agree with you that there are "significant differences in the degree of discrimination" between African and Asian Americans. But why?

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Of the Asian Americans who work for my company, the majority were born overseas, in their own cultures. How many Americans of African descent were actually born in Africa?

And how many of the Irish-Americans were born in Ireland? How many of the Italian (or German, or Russian) Americans have ever been to their ancestral countries, or know anyone who lives there, or even speak the language anymore?

ericmurphy, if an interbreeding population remains unassimilated after 150 years of full citizenship, the problem isn't isolation from some ancestral culture. These (as I point out) ancestral cultures are readily discarded by most groups, and don't remain central to the lives of ANY groups for more than a few generations. Even a group as insular (and targeted by bigotry) as the Jews has no need of Affirmative Action. Indeed, the Jews have been resented for being so successful.

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I believe this difference in the history of African Americans versus Asian Americans really is at the root of the current disparity in achievement. Asian American culture receives a steady influx of immigration from the home country, something African American culture does not. There is no "root stock," so to speak, of African culture which can inform African American culture.

I admit I don't find this very plausible. Why is it that all those other immigrant groups have assimilated so successfully despite no greater "fatherland influx"? For that matter, Africa is a seething mass of microcultures, many of which are rapidly vanishing beneath the steamroller of Western language, dress, movies and TV, the internet...

(And it might, for all I know, be worth noting that Asians have been discouragingly successful managing their own nations, to the point where they present a genuine economic threat to US interests. By extreme contrast, Africans have systematically wrecked *every nation they have undertaken to govern* across all of Africa. And this despite massive injections of foreign aid (something the Asian nations have needed none of.) African nations are without question the most corrupt, brutal, vicious and racist governments anywhere on the planet. Several genocidal campaigns seem to be in process at any given time. Why?)

So something else is going on here. I don't know what it is.

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Moreover, while there is a history of anti-Asian discrimination in the United States, it has simply never been as brutal, or as institutionalized, as anti-black discrimination. In short, the differences in the experiences of Asian Americans and African Americans are much more notable than the similarities.

While you're entirely correct that anti-black discrimination has been notably more vigorous than anti-Asian discrimination, and that levels of discrimination matter, I still submit that you are basically kidding yourself. Why would discrimination, even of different LEVELS, cause one group to excel above and beyond the caucasian baseline, while causing the other group to fall well short? Why would a quantitative difference in the same direction result in a truly drastic qualitative difference in opposite directions?

I admit I find your rationalizations reek of special pleading - for every justification for African-American performance problems, you can find several analogous groups defying your proposed pattern. Indeed, the Africans are the exceptions in every case. Discrimination - yep, against every one. ONLY the Africans need Affirmative Action. Assimilation? Yep, in every case EXCEPT the Africans. Divorce from original homeland's history? Yep, but harmless in every case EXCEPT the Africans. Why? Why?

Look, I want everyone to succeed. I'm opposed to all discrimination. But I can see pretty easily that giving every single member of some identifiable subgroup a fish every single day isn't working. Even if we followed Dean's all-heart-no-brains preferences and gave each of them a DOZEN fish a day, I strongly suspect we would not drive much personal achievement. It's not that I don't wish to help, it's that I want help to WORK. Repeating (or doing more of) what manifestly doesn't work, in the hopes that pretty soon it will work because we so very much WANT it to work, is futile.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,15:58   

I give up. Although I guess if I could come up with an explanation that would satisfy everyone, I'd probably be in the running for a prize in Stockholm.

The only thing I can think of that is totally unique to the African American experience in this country is that, alone among all ethnic groups, African Americans were enslaved by white Americans. Obviously you do not agree with me that, 150 years later, that experience could have drastically affected the economic success of African Americans. Since it's difficult to constrain a curve through a single data point, it's possible we'll never know the answer for certain. But I think Dr. Diamond was onto something when he proposed that different degrees of socio-economic success are due to external factors, not genetic factors.

Let us imagine that, instead of simply exterminating the Jews, Nazi Germany enslaved them. Let's further imagine that the Thousand Year Reich actually lasted for 200 years. Let's imagine after 200 years of degeneracy, Germany once again became a liberal democracy. After 200 years of slavery, the Jews were freed through some sort of emancipation proclamation. How long would one suppose it would take these newly freed Jews to become the vibrant, successful members of society they currently are? Would we expect it to take less than four generations? Maybe so, maybe not.

Certainly a legacy of slavery is an external factor. It seems to me that it's a factor that dwarfs all others. And let's remember; the last generation of African Americans who had living relatives with experience in slavery only died out a generation ago. Surely it can be expected that a population descended from slaves will take more than a handful of generations to recover.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,16:43   

I know I'm gonna hate myself for doing this but...

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The only thing I can think of that is totally unique to the African American experience in this country is that, alone among all ethnic groups, African Americans were enslaved by white Americans.


that isn't technically nor historically accurate.  Native americans were also used as slave labor (mostly before the southern plantations became commonplace), as were chinese (railroads, shipping).  I'm leaving some out, to be sure, but there it is.

what you could say is that it is a rarity that "whites" in this country were ever used as slave labor, so in that sense "whites" cannot share that historical experience, or even really understand it from that particular perspective.

as far as the Jewish people are concerned, you don't need to imagine anything.

they were enslaved by the egyptians.  How long did it take them to recover from that?  several generations at least?

and yeah, if they had to STAY in egypt after they were "emancipated", one can only guess it would have taken even longer.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,16:54   

ericmurphy:

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I think Dr. Diamond was onto something when he proposed that different degrees of socio-economic success are due to external factors, not genetic factors.

While I agree, experience shows these factors are nearly impossible to disentangle.

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Obviously you do not agree with me that, 150 years later, that experience could have drastically affected the economic success of African Americans.

I think when the slaves were first freed, their economic circumstances were terrible. Leftover animosities certainly did not help, for generations. And institutionalized and habitual discrimination are certainly discouraging, for anyone. There is no question African-Americans have been dealt a lousy hand.

But strangely, ALL the immigrant waves have been dealt truly lousy hands. Maybe not quite as bad, but most of them were dirt poor, most of them didn't speak the language, most of them came from different religious traditions. Only the blacks have clung to the same lousy hand generation after generation after generation. The Asian experience shows that physically visible differences aren't the sole explanation either.

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After 200 years of slavery, the Jews were freed through some sort of emancipation proclamation. How long would one suppose it would take these newly freed Jews to become the vibrant, successful members of society they currently are?

My reading is that Jews have been treated poorly for millennia, everywhere they've gone. But you may be on to something here. The Jews, as I wrote, are insular. They maintain the best goold-old-boy network the world has ever seen, extending from their exclusive religion (converts NOT welcome) to their practice of marrying ONLY one another, to a strong preference to hiring Jews if at all possible, to their fairly continuous distinct cultural practices. They represent a separate ethnic group biologically even moreso than African-Americans. They are hated and resented. They succeed. Something about the culture...

And whatever we may think of the Asians, they are without question (as a group average) hard workers, willing to sacrifice for the future and for their children. Imagine (I'll fantasize for a moment) handing welfare payments to poor Jews, blacks, and Asians. Is there any question the Jews and Asians would promptly bank or invest the money and *continue* to work hard? While the blacks by observation spend the money *in lieu* of working? Those black children who try to learn their school lessons and do their homework are dissed within their culture for "acting white", while successful blacks (professionals and executives) are despised as "uncle toms". Another cultural thing...

Consider the reaction of African "leaders" to the American political experience. Repeatedly, they have expressed slack-jawed incomprehension at the American President's willingness to HOLD an election ("but he has the POWER. WHY would he risk it?"), and then not to RIG the election ("but he controls the results! WHY would he not cause himself to win?"), and even LOSE an election ("but...but...he controls the MILITARY. He has all the POWER. WHY doesn't he USE it? Why? It makes no SENSE). Again, this is a cultural thing.

When I was much younger, I worked in a machine shop that was a mix of Italians, blacks, and Jews. I watched the distinctly different reactions to management. When nobody was looking, the Jews continued to meet their quotas. The Italians slacked off some, but kept working. The blacks never worked unless a manager was looking over their shoulder. When Affirmative Action came in, the blacks stopped working altogether, knowing they couldn't be fired. Which didn't stop them from shouting racism (and names) when the Jews were promoted and given raises. Dirty Jew lovers, the blacks sneered. Another cultural thing.

Where I worked until a few years ago, payday for everyone used to be every other Friday. On the assembly line, which was minimum wage work, everyone was poor. But the whites and hispanics returned to the line on Monday; the blacks only when the money ran out and they HAD to return. It became necessary to pay daily, Another culture thing.

But these things add up after a while. I see all of these things as ways to gobble your seed corn while shooting yourself in the foot. Indeed, black community leaders (another anomaly. There don't seem to be "community leaders" of other groups) sometimes express frustration at the sheer wideband unwillingness to *make any effort* to learn, to work, to study, to save, etc. After a while, you can only wonder.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,17:03   

those are some amazing stories, flint.

just as a counter, growing up in CA and having lived here all my life, all i will say is that my experiences are quite a bit different from yours.

almost exactly the opposite, in fact.

My experiences of the African American acquaintances i have known is that they are almost overcompensatory in their work ethic, reacting to the exact views you just expressed.

Howver, that was mostly at the University level and in technology sector settings.

fascinating.

I guess we can only see from this that overgeneralizing an entire ethnic groups' behavioral patterns is unproductive, huh?

shall we move on to those lazy mexicans now?

oh, and for the record,

Quote
But I think Dr. Diamond was onto something when he proposed that different degrees of socio-economic success are due to external factors, not genetic factors


I would tend to agree that like in chaos theory, your starting conditions tend have an overwhelming effect on the endpoint, even out of all proportion to what the starting conditions might suggest.

That's as far as I'm going in this debate.

cheers

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 12 2006,23:07   

Assuming that both Flint and Sir_TJ are both accurate.
It is hardly surprising that Sir_TJ has that experience.

If mainstream African American culture is as described by Flint, then the only people from that background to be at university level, would be the most determined and talented of the ethnic group.

I believe that culture is far more important than race on how people perform. Obviously tempered by oportunity.

As a side note from personal experience. On my first extended visit to the USA. Driving from the southern outskirts into central Tucson. It was a saddening sight to regularly see a native American stood in the central gap of the road. Wearing a sign saying "will work for food".

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 13 2006,00:38   

Sorry Flint - I did misunderstand what you said -

The stuff about the British Aristocracy is true though :)

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 13 2006,02:56   

Sir Toejam:

Quote
I guess we can only see from this that overgeneralizing an entire ethnic groups' behavioral patterns is unproductive, huh?

If we are overgeneralizing, then of course we are missing something crucial. Like you, my experience in engineering is that the Aftican-Americans are at least as dedicated (and competent) as anyone, if not moreso. But Affirmative Action is not directed at an overgeneralization, but a statistical reality.

If we take as axiomatic that the connection between biology and culture is tenuous, then we are pretty much limited to seeking cultural explanations. As opposed to Jensen and others who point out that on the most predictive tests we can devise of mental capability, blacks consistently score one standand deviation below whites (and TWO standard deviations below Asians).

Of course Jensen, like you, is quick to point out that we're looking at largely overlapping bell curves, and we're saying nothing about any particular individual. But to the Jensenists, the social patterns we see in America (and across all Africa without exception) are unsurprising consequences of his measurements. Their (very) carefully worded conclusions say "What would you expect? These people lack the biological horsepower. We are describing test results accepted as valid and useful for everyone who scores average or above. Why do they become invalid for blacks?"

I reject Jensen's analysis basically for two reasons: first, I don't WANT him to be correct. And second, I think his measurement tools are problematic and indirect, and find Gould's The Mismeasure of Man persuasive.

Dean:

Yes, you make a good point about the aristocracy. As Gould wrote, class in Britain serves the psychological role race serves in America. I'm sure you would know far more than I do, but my limited reading of British sociology says that there are more class-based social stratifications than just peers and commons. In fact, that this stratification is maintained by a dual-track educational system.

The psychologists speculate that an underclass is a stable fixture of large societies because it serves self-image purposes. Sounds very wooly to me, but still, certain essentially class-based distinctions seem wired into societies in Britain, America, India, and elsewhere. And they resist eradication. But I admit this is something about which I'm totally ignorant.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 14 2006,08:28   

Flint wrote:
Quote
I reject Jensen's analysis basically for two reasons: first, I don't WANT him to be correct. And second, I think his measurement tools are problematic and indirect, and find Gould's The Mismeasure of Man persuasive.

While I agree that Jensen's hypothesis suffers from significant flaws, I'd be careful about giving too much credence to Mismeasure. Some psychologists argue that Gould's book shuns scientific analysis in favor of polemicism, and regard his book as the psychometric equivalent of Worlds in Collision. For a better discussion of these issues, try this APA report and Murray's latest, which include more recent studies, including many critical of the Bell Curve.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 14 2006,10:18   

Ghost:

The basic problem, as I see it, is that "intelligence" (whatever that means outside of any context) is a matter of such extreme sensitivity. Something I admit rubs me the wrong way about the idea that intelligence is a thing that we have, that some of us have more if it than others, that it reflects one of the most, if not the most important aspects of our individuality and capability, that it (at the very least) resists any effort to get more of it, and that it's so closely associated in our minds with personal merit.

As you might expect, I'm less than astonished that psychologists wouldn't cheerfully embrace a critique that dismisses both their assumptions and their tools. I'm also aware that Gould's own son had brain issues (clearly organic) resulting in abnormally wide variations in abilities. The single number being defended as the measure of the man not surprisingly ranked Gould's son solidly in the "worthless" category, a result sure to anger any father.

I think even valid arguments that Gould's skepticism about factor analysis are less than fully justified, miss Gould's point. Historical attempts to measure brainpower HAVE been used traditionally to buttress the status quo, and people in fact ARE capable of acquiring amazing levels of proficiency (or failing to do so) in ways that a single, set number implies are narrowly constrained. It just ain't so.

Mismeasure isn't even an attempt to be a scientific treatise. It's an attempt to show long-standing, systemic bias that has always managed to show that those doing the evaluation are "smarter" than those they *knew* were dumber before they began.

I ask you to imagine a psychologist devising any measure of brainpower, applying it reasonably broadly (including to themselves), and sincerely concluding "gee, I'm a lot stupider than I thought I was. My test must be accurate!"

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2006,11:30   

Quote
I think even valid arguments that Gould's skepticism about factor analysis are less than fully justified, miss Gould's point. Historical attempts to measure brainpower HAVE been used traditionally to buttress the status quo, and people in fact ARE capable of acquiring amazing levels of proficiency (or failing to do so) in ways that a single, set number implies are narrowly constrained. It just ain't so.

But this objection misses the point of modern research, which relies more on statistics and neurobiology than it does on conflating "g" with other variables. Surely there are many ways to measure human value and accomplishment; nobody claims otherwise. But if you want to quantify the level of an individual's "book" smarts, IQ is a good - if imperfect -  tool to use. The real question becomes, "Are group differences in these traits due in part to genes?" We both agree the answer eludes the experts, but that doesn't detract from what they have discovered. And ignoring the problem won't erase the consequences of policies predicated on egalitarian assumptions (which I share). Skepticism is appropriate for now; will it always be so?

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2006,12:32   

... depends what you want to believe Paley. In my opinion you've already made your mind up.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2006,12:41   

Ghost:

Quote
The real question becomes, "Are group differences in these traits due in part to genes?" We both agree the answer eludes the experts, but that doesn't detract from what they have discovered. And ignoring the problem won't erase the consequences of policies predicated on egalitarian assumptions (which I share). Skepticism is appropriate for now; will it always be so?

I think skepticism will always be appropriate. And I should point out that even Gould didn't take a position of "total nurture" - he readily admitted that the brain, like any other part of the body, was variable over (almost surely) some bell curve. He concedes in Mismeasure that differences in mental capability are surely (if only partially) biological. His focus was on the tendency of such a wooly measure to be self-fulfilling. The psychologists are contending that their measurement techniques are NOT wooly. They may be relying heavily on statistics and almost none on direct neurological examination (which, on humans, violates ethics). But their statistical rigor is as soundly based as they can make it.

And my own preference is to insist that someone's value (or even their mental muscle) can't be usefully described by a single number. That number encompasses and cancels out very real and meaningful distinct capabilities, and the number itself is subject to some considerable change with simple practice.

My concern has been that since I'm not a biologist, I don't understand how something as broad-spectrum as "intelligence" can have failed to regress toward the mean after a couple of centuries of fairly common interbreeding. Blue eyes, OK, maybe that's more of a on/off switch. But "intelligence" (whatever that means, since the meaning depends *entirely* on whatever (if anything) a specific suite of tests might be measuring)? The notion of an "intelligence gene" is absurd.

(Back a couple of decades, Charley Finley signed an Olympic sprint champion to use up a spot on the A's roster as a dedicated baserunner. The idea was, as one of the fastest people alive, this guy could steal bases at will. Finley kept the experiment going long enough (several seasons, and several hundred attempts to steal bases) to show that this sprinter's stealing record was distinctly below the major league average. Seems there's a lot more involved here than just speed. I read Gould as saying a lot of what we regard as intelligence, is a measure of what is kinetic, not just potential.)

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 15 2006,18:02   

Flint,

"Intelligence" is almost certainly genetically determined, at least in part. But, like many human characteristics (including our susceptibility to all sorts of subclinical diseases/disorders), it is likely a complex trait.

This means that it is influenced by many loci (or genes, if you will), each of which has several alleles (or possibilities). And these alleles are likely to be finely tuned to developmental/environmental signals, so that any disruptions during critical stages of development will have a profound on the capabilities of the individual.

Comprehensive genetic studies of people of different nationalities have shown that the majority (~90%) of genetic variation in humans is within populations, with a much lower amount of variation (~5-10%, IIRC) occurring between populations. However, these studies suggest that although most human populations possess most of the possible alleles at most loci, the frequencies of the alleles differ between populations. I would not be surprised if this is also the case for "intelligence" genes.

The scale of genotyping that's going to happen over the next decade or two will surely lead to major advances in our knowledge about this, and other genetic phenomena. So hold the phone.

As for Affirmative Action, I'm with ericmurphy - you can't expect a group of people that has been oppressed for a dozen generations to bounce back in 2 generations. Especially when the oppression has still been largely present for those 2 generations. The playing field is clearly not even level yet.

Some people might be happy to wait for a dozen generations for the playing field to get level again, but I'd rather hurry the process up a little.

And regarding the comment that started this thread, I think it's farcical that the GoP would deny being a racist and simultaneously label Jared Diamond as one.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,04:12   

gregonomic:

Quote
As for Affirmative Action, I'm with ericmurphy - you can't expect a group of people that has been oppressed for a dozen generations to bounce back in 2 generations. Especially when the oppression has still been largely present for those 2 generations. The playing field is clearly not even level yet.

What bothers me is, IF you are right that it takes more than 2 generations to bounce back from adversity, why have all of the other immigration waves done so as easily as they have? ALL of them faced severe discrimination, most of them didn't speak the language, most of them were dirt poor, few of them had any formal education, and at least in the case of the Jews, discrimination remains virulent.

So as I tried to argue with ericmurphy, it's not sufficient to simply opine that 2 generations aren't enough for blacks, blithely ignoring the fact that it HAS been enough for *every other group*, despite explicit social handicaps. And this despite the fact that blacks have been the recipients of a long and growing history of targeted social handouts the other groups never enjoyed (including welfare, affirmative action, various child care programs, and so on. While these programs have failed to have the desired effect, they DID transfer a whole lot of wealth).

So even granting that this unique and vast discrepancy with respect to *every comparable group* is cultural, we still haven't identified what there is about the culture that causes identifiable and frequently-resented out-groups like Jews and Asians to excel, but causes blacks to lag behind. The best we can do is exercise special pleading on a case-by-case basis. So I still think something systemic is going on here that we haven't extracted from the overall pattern.

Maybe you're right and "major advances in our knowledge" of the genotype will explain a lot. But if it does explain a lot, then by implication the explanation of this unique display of social incompetence is biological. And if it IS biological, if Jensen is correct, then attempts at social remediation are misdirected. I personally don't want to believe that.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,04:47   

Quote
What bothers me is, IF you are right that it takes more than 2 generations to bounce back from adversity, why have all of the other immigration waves done so as easily as they have? ALL of them faced severe discrimination, most of them didn't speak the language, most of them were dirt poor, few of them had any formal education, and at least in the case of the Jews, discrimination remains virulent.


Since when was slavery an 'immigration wave'?

.. and the idea that they were all dirt poor and uneducated deserves some investigation - My fathers ancestors were Irish - they got as far as Liverpool and stayed - not everyone could afford the boat to the USA. Immigrants at least had the wealth to do that. Many headed for the thriving industrial economies of the North - or to steal land from native Americans in the West. The Slaves were stuck in the Southern states, where the only economy to speak of had been built on their slavery - and where shortly after the civil war new legislation was put in by the States to specifically discrimnate against them.
I can recall the battle for civil rights in my lifetime.

"Two generations to bounce back from adversity?"

Don't make me laugh Flint - there hasn't been a generation of Black people in the States that have lived without institutional adversity directed squarely at them. After Katrina I don't see that much has changed today - and it's clear that you and Paley are happy to keep things that way.

I'm sorry to say you have gone down in my estimation Flint - you should be worried that you are so happy to be on Paley's side of the argument.

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,04:56   

I have lived decades in both UK and USA, and a few years in Africa, and know many people of African descent.  And racism exists in all those places, but there do seem to be differences between the UK and the US, and I do think much of it comes from the history of slavery in the States versus immigration in the UK.  Lets face it, in the states the Civil War is not yet over, and there are places where the confederate flag is still revered.

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,05:44   

Dean,

Quote
Since when was slavery an 'immigration wave'?

In a sense, it was. The slaves were not voluntary immigrants, but (not too arbitrarily) we can say that ALL people not Native Americans are immigrants.

Quote
and the idea that they were all dirt poor and uneducated deserves some investigation

You are certainly welcome to perform this investigation. Check out Ellis Island.

Quote
Many headed for the thriving industrial economies of the North - or to steal land from native Americans in the West.

Agreed. In fact, when the slaves were freed, many of them headed for the industrial north.

Quote
The Slaves were stuck in the Southern states, where the only economy to speak of had been built on their slavery

Only until after the American Civil War. After that, they were free to migrate around, and many if not most did exactly that.

Quote
where shortly after the civil war new legislation was put in by the States to specifically discrimnate against them.

Here, you make your first valid point. For nearly 100 years following emancipation, there were discriminatory "Jim Crow" laws on the books no other group of immigrants faced. Attemtps to integrate blacks into American society and guarantee first-class citizenship are only about 50 years old. And by the time those Jim Crow laws were repealed and efforts begun to correct the damage, a great deal of socialization had come to pass.

So here, I think you have raised a valid and excellent point. Other groups may have faced serious barriers on arrival, but those barriers had not become institutionalized - these groups could find their new identities, so to speak. But the blacks, for historical reasons, HAD an identify pretty well set in place by legal practices. MUCH harder to break out of.

Quote
there hasn't been a generation of Black people in the States that have lived without institutional adversity directed squarely at them. After Katrina I don't see that much has changed today - and it's clear that you and Paley are happy to keep things that way.

After many efforts, I must conclude that you are so convinced that I hold opinions I have never expressed, that there are no possible words I could write that would disabuse you of this delusion.

I agree with everything you say. What I have been asking is, WHY are things this way? Until we understand what causes this, our efforts to correct it miss the target. You seem absolutely convinced, for reasons I couldn't even guess, that even *recognition* of the problem must imply approval.

I am personally angry at the way things are, I think they are unnecessary, short-sighted, damaging, and in general a situation where *everyone* loses. Why else would I be trying to understand how to change it effectively? And you say I'm happy to keep things as they are?

Quote
I'm sorry to say you have gone down in my estimation Flint

If I were guilty of what you keep saying, your attitude would be justified. But here I find you doing the same thing you did on the economics thread: assuming that *noticing* an inequity constitutes approval of that inequity, and that any attempt to understand what CAUSES that inequity constitutes some sort of callous bigotry. Is it any wonder you seem to understand nothing, and all you say about me is not only wrong but outright stupid? After all, you've made it clear that your opinion of yourself would go down if you made the effort to figure anything out. You wouldn't want to get your mind dirty actually *looking at* the world's problems, when you could be preaching instead, and lying about the motivations of those with more immediate knowledge.

So let's just say that we disagree. If I'm trying to understand why blacks are at the bottom of the social rank, this doesn't mean I approve. If I'm trying to understand how supply and demand contribute to WalMart screwing up a community, this doesn't mean I approve. If I'm trying to understand what leads companies to pollute, this doesn't mean I approve of pollution. Except in your mind.

MidnightVoice:

Quote
I do think much of it comes from the history of slavery in the States versus immigration in the UK.  Lets face it, in the states the Civil War is not yet over, and there are places where the confederate flag is still revered.

I agree the reasons for the social stratification we see are surely historical. I live in Alabama but came from the North, so it's a bit jarring for me to see these flags and hear the frequently expressed desire to restore the status quo ante.

My view is that our incentive system is somehow backwards. There is little incentive to achieve if the achievements are disregarded or seriously under-rewarded. There is little incentive to reward achievement if there are no visible economic rewards for doing so. And this system is hard to change when it has been in place long enough for everyone involved to take it as a given, as the way things are supposed to be.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,06:00   

Quote (Flint @ Jan. 16 2006,10:12)
What bothers me is, IF you are right that it takes more than 2 generations to bounce back from adversity, why have all of the other immigration waves done so as easily as they have?


Because they didn't arrive here as slaves, they didn't arrive here to have their own culture systematically eradicated, and they simply did not suffer the level of racism and discrimination that African Americans have.

Quote
ALL of them faced severe discrimination, most of them didn't speak the language, most of them were dirt poor, few of them had any formal education, and at least in the case of the Jews, discrimination remains virulent.


No. For one thing, all the other immigrant populations (with insignificant exceptions) came voluntarily. How many African Americans today are descended from voluntary immigrants? And the level of discrimination is simply much higher for African Americans. Caucasians do not cross the street to avoid passing Jews or Asians on American Streets. To say that discrimination against Jews is as virulent as discrimination against African Americans is (sorry) preposterous. What proportion of the professions is Jewish, and what proportion is African American?

Quote
So as I tried to argue with ericmurphy, it's not sufficient to simply opine that 2 generations aren't enough for blacks, blithely ignoring the fact that it HAS been enough for *every other group*, despite explicit social handicaps.


To describe a legacy of slavery as a "social handicap" is kind of comical, don't you think?

Quote
And this despite the fact that blacks have been the recipients of a long and growing history of targeted social handouts the other groups never enjoyed (including welfare, affirmative action, various child care programs, and so on. While these programs have failed to have the desired effect, they DID transfer a whole lot of wealth).


With the exception of affirmative action, all of these other programs are equally available to all groups. And as for transferring a lot of wealth, the wealth transferred is dwarfed by wealth transferred in the other direction. Look at the defense budget and compare it to the budget for AFDC, if you want an example. Look at the Bush tax cuts, for another example. Look at the decline in corporate income taxes over the last 50 years for a third example.

Quote
So even granting that this unique and vast discrepancy with respect to *every comparable group* is cultural, we still haven't identified what there is about the culture that causes identifiable and frequently-resented out-groups like Jews and Asians to excel, but causes blacks to lag behind. The best we can do is exercise special pleading on a case-by-case basis. So I still think something systemic is going on here that we haven't extracted from the overall pattern.


I think we have identified the culprit. Of all ethnic groups in the U.S., African Americans have lagged furthest behind. Of all ethnic groups in the U.S., one has been enslaved for generations. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but I think in this case there probably is a connection between the two.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,06:01   

I believe directed welfare and affirmative action can be counter-productive.

You are basically saying "these people can't compete".

Equal access to education for all citizens would be a beginning. Changing cultural atitudes is also very important.

For a short while I lived on a council estate in the UK (Ince in Wigan, Lancashire). This was almost entirely white. The culture there was to leave school and spend the rest of their life on welfare.
Not everybody of course, but it was the mainstream.

As far as I can tell the only thing causing these people to underperform was the way they CHOSE to live life.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,06:17   

Stephen Elliott:

Quote
As far as I can tell the only thing causing these people to underperform was the way they CHOSE to live life.

But life choices arise from socialization. I think you are saying that misguided efforts to lend aid both constituted an incentive not to achieve (paying people not to work, regardless of motive, produces less work. I confidently expect that this economic truism will convinced Dean that I'm a bigot!;)), and underscored the "you can't make it on your own" orientation increasingly taken as "truth" by everyone.

I had a pretty good friend at one time who was unemployed and collecting welfare. At the time, welfare was paying him about 80% of what a minimum-wage job would pay. His question was, "Why should I spend 40 hours a week making a net 50 cents a hour?" I argued that if he worked hard and did well, he'd be given merit raises, perhaps promotions, and work his way into some real money. He pointed out that for blacks, this *does not happen*, except infrequently and under duress. And he was quite right.

You can choose to take welfare or work for minimum wage. You can choose to be dedicated, work hard, and buy into the system. You can NOT choose to be rewarded appropriately by those in a position to do so, if THEY do not choose to cooperate. And here Dean is right: unless some bureaucrat (at considerable public expense) MAKES them cooperate, they don't do it. There is no reward for doing it, and there are dangers involved.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,06:47   

Flint - either you are quite inscrutable to me, or I have real big problems understanding you.

Or you want to waste time speculating on why African Americans don't (on the whole) seem to benefit from your 'free market thinking' to the same extent as other groups in the US.

Persisting in calling Black entry into your country 'immigration' on a par with voluntary immigration by Europeans overlooks the one huge fact that ought to be staring you in the face.
Pretending that discrimination against Black people ended with the abolition of slavery misses another fact.

A lot of Black Americans did escape the South - but it seems that a lot are still there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....lations

Why do you think that is?

Even debating the possiblity with Paley that differences in economic performance could be due to 'IQ' is the beginning of a slippery slope for you my friend.

Your society needs to address this festering wound at its heart and do something about it. If you don't like 'Affirmative Action' and can't make it work - then what are you going to do?
How about proposing massive investment in the education and welfare of all the citizens of your country?

Of course you won't do that because it might interfere with the blessed 'free market'. Tax cuts for the mega rich are a much more pressing priority for Mr Bush.

Incidentally Steve - I'm not a fan of 'Affirmative 'Action myself - it can create other injustices; and is a solution 'on the cheap'. But I don't think you can compare the situation with the UK. The rigorous application of 'Equal opportunities' (despite the bleatings of the right wing press) seems to have the support of most people here on the grounds of simple 'fairness'. It doesn't seek to ignore racial differences, and in fact British citizens are asked to identify their racial origins at every turn of life so that institutional racism can be identified.
There may be instances where stronger action needs to be taken to ensure 'fair play' - such as challenging the admission policies of Oxbridge - or the gender imbalance in the House of Commons for example. These could be described as 'positive action for fairness' but we generally tend to steer clear of 'quota -driven' and simplistic policies such as 'Affirmative action' as practised in the States.
However despite our previous involvement in starting the whole evil trade - we were the first country to fight against the slave trade, and we don't have the same history of slavery in this country (although I won't deny we were responsible for introducing it to the Caribbean, and presumbably the 'Colonies' in the first place).
We're far from perfect - but the general consensus here is that everyone deserves a fair chance to get the most out of life.
Paley can happily rationalise why certain 'ethnic groups' should be treated differently.

I'll accept Flint's assurance that he believes no such thing - but I would point out that 'economic liberalism' and academic discussion that the 'subject needs further investigation'; is simply a recipe for inaction.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,06:47   

Quote
He pointed out that for blacks, this *does not happen*, except infrequently and under duress. And he was quite right.


How did you both come to that conclusion?

Not to denigrate your friend but as a generalisation, people who say such things tend to not work hard anyway.

Sir_T.J. has experience of working with blacks at the University level. So they are obviously succeeding.

I have worked very closely with the US military in the past and they have blacks of all ranks.

I seriously doubt any biological differences between races play the most significant part in individual performance levels.

Back to the estate I mentioned in Wigan. Parents there tended to be on welfare and have low expectations for their children. They tended to take little interest in their young ones education. The children would tend to have low aspiration.

The estate had higher instances of vandalism and other anti-social behaviour than other areas around them.

Yet people on that estate had the same access to education and other services as anyone in Wigan. Discrimination on racial grounds is not an issue here.

Somehow a culture had developed that hindered them.

I am generalising, a few rose above it.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,08:11   

Dean:

OK, I'll start with you.

Quote
you want to waste time speculating on why African Americans don't (on the whole) seem to benefit from your 'free market thinking' to the same extent as other groups in the US.

No. I'm trying to understand (1) Why blacks have not rebounded from the very real discriminatory laws they suffered under for so long; and (2) Why very sincere, very expensive good-faith efforts to effect such a rebound have had such a lousy record of success.

Quote
Persisting in calling Black entry into your country 'immigration' on a par with voluntary immigration by Europeans overlooks the one huge fact that ought to be staring you in the face.

Again, you misunderstand. These other groups, different as they may be for any number of reasons, are nonetheless the only basis we have for comparison. I presume you are arguing that their various circumstances have simply been too dissimilar to tell us anything useful. You may be right. I may be searching for patterns where there are none.

Quote
Pretending that discrimination against Black people ended with the abolition of slavery misses another fact.

Since I have never said such a thing, and in fact said *repeatedly* that very real discrimination continues in force, I don't know how you find any "pretense." This statement is either dishonest or stupid. You can pick either one. AND you can apologize.

Quote
Even debating the possiblity with Paley that differences in economic performance could be due to 'IQ' is the beginning of a slippery slope for you my friend.

Slippery slope to what? My goal here is to examine *every possible reason* for this difference. Apparently you have roped off one particular difference, despite a century of indirect evidence in strong support, as simply not to be considered. Your "let's not look at what we don't wish to notice" attitude is good hearted, I'm sure, but brainless. You just can't seem to see a difference between pretending something doesn't exist, and studying it to determine how much (if any) a contribution it may be.

My own conclusion, tentative and subject to change, is that there ARE some biological differences, but they are WAY lost in the noise of socialization factors.

Quote
Of course you won't do that because it might interfere with the blessed 'free market'. Tax cuts for the mega rich are a much more pressing priority for Mr Bush.

How is this even remotely on topic? I spend post after post after post talking about the nature-nurture debate, about IQ testing, about history, and suddenly you start talking about Bush and taxes. Please, take irrelevancies to another thread.

Quote
We're far from perfect - but the general consensus here is that everyone deserves a fair chance to get the most out of life. Paley can happily rationalise why certain 'ethnic groups' should be treated differently.

Your platitudes are wonderful, but the practice is unfortunately a lot harder. Yes, we want no unfairness, we want everyone to maximize their personal potential, we want no racial discrimination per se, we want everyone to have an equal chance to run the race. The problem is, what should we do when we discover that one group of people invariably finishes well behind everyone else?

Sure, we can take your attitude (indeed, we HAVE taken that attitude) that this difference in performance must be due to circumstances beyond their control. They don't CHOOSE to be descendents of slaves, or to be discriminated against in law and practice. It's not (at least proximately) their doing that the society they live in provides strong disincentives to achieve anything. How much blame should we attach if the disincentives of discrimination have a social effect?

And so we can attempt to change circumstances so they don't present any barriers or handicaps. But we also need to monitor our efforts closely, because we know what the road to, uh, heck is paved with. If our efforts are counterproductive, we need to recognize this and stop doing it. I'm certainly not recommending inaction. I DO reject the idea that we should make circumstances even worse on the grounds that we need to DO something, and we WANT our actions to work. Wanting, even wanting real real hard, so far hasn't worked very well.

Stephen Elliott:

Quote
How did you both come to that conclusion?

Personal observation. It's not just that the executives are all white and the peons are all black. The unskilled laborers are all black *except* the foreman, who is white. ALL the janitors are black except the head janitor, who is white. Surely you are familiar with "tokenism"? Blacks face the same sort of ceiling as women - only the truly outstanding individuals get the recognition granted to *adequate* white males.

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Not to denigrate your friend but as a generalisation, people who say such things tend to not work hard anyway.

Permit me to laugh. People who work very hard, follow all the procedures, cut no corners, and STILL get no rewards, eventually don't work so hard. "Well, he's doing pretty well for a black, he's certainly risen above his station, no need to promote him any further, it will cause our deserving (read: white) employees to think we are discriminating!

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Sir_T.J. has experience of working with blacks at the University level. So they are obviously succeeding.

Chuckle. First, you complain about generalization. The very next sentence, you refer to "they", which just happens to refer to one in a thousand. Hello? I work with a black engineer, and he is excellent. Of course, I live in Alabama, the local college turns out hundreds of black engineers a year, my division employs 50 engineers, and one of them is black. He's very good. He also manages people and projects pretty well, and has expressed a desire to become a manager. After 18 years, he's still waiting.

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I have worked very closely with the US military in the past and they have blacks of all ranks.

This is a good point. In the military, color-blindness is rigidly enforced, everyone starts at the bottom (of their enlisted or officer tracks), merit is assessed as objectively as you'll find anywhere. And you're right: blacks and whites compete on equal terms; there are no visible inherent differences at all. As far as I'm concerned, the military experience shows as well as anything could that we're not talking about heriditary stupidity here. Which implies that whatever IQ tests are truly measuring, little if any of it is biological.

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Back to the estate I mentioned in Wigan. Parents there tended to be on welfare and have low expectations for their children. They tended to take little interest in their young ones education. The children would tend to have low aspiration.

Understood. And I should point out that within Asian and Jewish families, expectations tend to be high and parental oversight of education tends to be close and responsible. So culture matters a great deal. The question remains: what is the most effective way to alter a toxic culture?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,08:28   

I know i said I wasn't going to participate further, but when I see something i said being used for such gross overgeneralizations, i must protest.  Not ignoring Flint already addressed this, since i posted it, I feel the need to respond as well.

Quote
Sir_T.J. has experience of working with blacks at the University level. So they are obviously succeeding.


now, now, Stephen.  didn't I say in the same post it isn't productive to overgeneralize?

don't you think making pronouncements about the success/failure of an entire socio-economic group based on the personal experiences of 1 or even dare I say 2, people is a bit of an overgeneralization?

It's like saying because you found someone from Afghanistan who was the CEO of a successful american company, there is nothing wrong with the economic situation in Afghanistan.

If you want to overgeneralize, at least use some statistics to back you up.

I'm sure they're out there.

Please don't miss the forest for the trees, here.  My point was about making gross generalizations based on personal experience, not just that my personal experiences conflicted with those stated by Flint.

thanks

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,08:37   

Flint,
The reason I used the word "they" is because the discussion was specifically about the problems the black community as a whole seem to suffer from.

Reading back on my post it does sound hostile. It is not the way it was intended. I should have proof read it.

My life experiences are probably very different to yours. I have never been in an environment that you describe. ie. All the workers are black except the foreman.

That is, apart from Arizona border country. Where all the menial jobs seemed to get done by Mexican day-pass (?) workers. They would cross over the border in the morning, work all day, then back home to Mexico in the evening.

Anyway, in my experience of working with people. All races seem to provide a similar spectrum of ability.

I have an idea that if someones expectations are low, that is how things will generally turn out.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,08:43   

S_TJ,

That was badly written on my part. I wasn't overgeneralising.

Remove "they" and insert "those individuals" and it resembles what I intended better.

I was specifically refering to only those people you are working with as being successfull.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,08:46   

Stephen Elliott:

Quote
Anyway, in my experience of working with people. All races seem to provide a similar spectrum of ability.

That's what so exasperating here. My experience is much the same. As ST and I have pointed out, those blacks doing any particular job, seem as qualified as anyone else doing that job, whether it be soldiering, engineering, university student, whatever. Yet blacks are WAY underrepresented in the better paying jobs, and OVER represented in the menial labor jobs. What is causing this?

Quote
I have an idea that if someones expectations are low, that is how things will generally turn out.

This is doubly true. If you have low expectations of yourself, this is how you turn out. If everyone you work for, everywhere you work, has low expectations of you, this is ALSO how you turn out. Even if you are self-employed (and the US has a program to promote and give special compensations to minority-owned small businesses), you struggle if your potential customers have low expectations of you. This tends to limit black-owned businesses (there are exceptions) to serving the black community. Where there is very little money (except for drug dealers).

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,09:44   

Quote
That was badly written on my part. I wasn't overgeneralising.


fair enough.  I think i may have overreacted.  Hence why i don't like getting involved in these kinds of discussions in the first place.

;)

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,10:57   

Flint.

Obviously you're asking the wrong people for the answers to your questions. Perhaps you should be asking African Americans for their views?

One possibility that hasn't been proposed yet (and again, I'm only theorising) is that the failure of African Americans to rise out of poverty is that they are protesting against the system. For many, the only career path is to spend their whole life in a minimum-wage, service-industry job, helping to grease the wheels of progress, without actually reaping many of the rewards. How much different is that from actual slavery? Who could blame anyone for not wanting to play that game?

I've only lived in the USA for a few months, but two of the saddest aspects of African American culture for me are:

1. The fact that African Americans should be immensely proud of the contributions they have made to American/global culture - they basically invented most of the major musical styles to arise this century (blues, jazz, soul, r&b, rap/hip-hop), they've made some of the most powerful movies, and they dominate professional and amateur sports - and yet there doesn't seem to be much celebration of those achievements.

2. The degree to which Christianity has pervaded African American culture. After all the crap white America has flung at African Americans, why is it that stuff that has stuck?

Anyways, now I'm over-generalising.

Happy Martin Luther King Day, everyone.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,11:12   

gregonomic:

Quote
For many, the only career path is to spend their whole life in a minimum-wage, service-industry job, helping to grease the wheels of progress, without actually reaping many of the rewards.

If this is really the case, I'd probably give up also. But the sheer number of exceptions to this pattern indicates that more opportunities are out there. My outsider's gut feeling is genuine merit is recognized, although for blacks perhaps it takes more merit per unit of reward.

Quote
and yet there doesn't seem to be much celebration of those achievements.

Celebration is perhaps hard to quantify. Just how much does my own standard of living improve knowing that people who resemble me have done great things?

As for achievement in sports, my reading is that this HAS had a profound effect in the inner city, where taking education seriously is frowned upon by the community, but being able to sink 25-foot jump shots commands real respect. Problem is, nearly anyone who gets a decent education can make a decent living, but only one in a thousand (or less) can make it as a professional athlete.

I think you're right, the questions I have need input from someone with direct life experiences I could never have. Perhaps I should quit my day job and become a sociologist?

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,12:24   

Hi Flint -

I don't for one minute think that you're a racist - and I apologise if I have been stupid enough to taint you with that offensive label.

I do think that 'economic liberals' like yourself seem anxious to put the blame for poverty on the poor. There is a racial and historical element in your history that compounds  the inequalities between rich and poor - yet rather than address this you'd rather go and look for other explanations and make irrelevant comparisons to other groups:


Quote
Persisting in calling Black entry into your country 'immigration' on a par with voluntary immigration by Europeans overlooks the one huge fact that ought to be staring you in the face.


“Again, you misunderstand. These other groups, different as they may be for any number of reasons, are nonetheless the only basis we have for comparison. I presume you are arguing that their various circumstances have simply been too dissimilar to tell us anything useful. You may be right. I may be searching for patterns where there are none.”

Later you go on to say:

“Your "let's not look at what we don't wish to notice" attitude is good hearted, I'm sure, but brainless.”

I think that you can be accused of the same thing.

I have not said that there are self-destructive tendancies in any group that is at the bottom of the pile - we call it the 'cycle of deprivation' here - as Steve pointed out the phenomenom is well-known in the UK. These need to be addressed at the same time  positive action is taken to help this group.
(In case Paley is getting too smug at our disagreements I'd like to point out that: the widespread acceptance of the fatalistic Christian religion amongst Afro-Americans, which promises it's rewards in the next life; should bear some of the blame).

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,12:43   

Quote
Pretending that discrimination against Black people ended with the abolition of slavery misses another fact.


“Since I have never said such a thing, and in fact said *repeatedly* that very real discrimination continues in force, I don't know how you find any "pretense." This statement is either dishonest or stupid. You can pick either one. AND you can apologize.”

“And so in no more than two generations, the various waves of spics, dagos, wops, kikes, micks, krauts, frogs and their ilk were indistinguishable from, you know, actual real people. But this has never really been true of either the Africans nor the Asians. An accident of biology, despite the occasional (and often spectacularly attractive) exception. And I mention all of this to counter the fairly commonly proposed notion that biologically visible differentness explains rejection of African-Americans, which explains their social and economic difficulties, which explains their bottom-of-the-barrel status despite having been freed 150 years back.”

- It is this latter statement that had me confused Flint? Three statements in one. You say that you are 'countering the notion' - but which notion? Just 'biological visible difference' perhaps? In which case what else explains 'their social and economic difficulties, which explains their bottom-of-the-barrel status despite having been freed 150 years back.

Perhaps I was unfair and misinterpreted you - and to be fair to you are having to reply to a number of others at the same time. I don't think I was either dishonest or stupid.
If you really think that the history of slavery and continuing discrimination to the present day are major factors in limiting the social advancement of black people in your country - then I have misunderstood you and apologise.
If so I can agree with you that this history has helped the development of  a self-destructive culture which only compounds the misery - I'd consider this to be an effect rather than a primary cause though.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,12:54   

“What bothers me is, IF you are right that it takes more than 2 generations to bounce back from adversity, why have all of the other immigration waves done so as easily as they have? ALL of them faced severe discrimination, most of them didn't speak the language, most of them were dirt poor, few of them had any formal education, and at least in the case of the Jews, discrimination remains virulent.

So as I tried to argue with ericmurphy, it's not sufficient to simply opine that 2 generations aren't enough for blacks, blithely ignoring the fact that it HAS been enough for *every other group*, despite explicit social handicaps. And this despite the fact that blacks have been the recipients of a long and growing history of targeted social handouts the other groups never enjoyed (including welfare, affirmative action, various child care programs, and so on. While these programs have failed to have the desired effect, they DID transfer a whole lot of wealth).”



Quote
Of course you won't do that because it might interfere with the blessed 'free market'. Tax cuts for the mega rich are a much more pressing priority for Mr Bush.


How is this even remotely on topic? I spend post after post after post talking about the nature-nurture debate, about IQ testing, about history, and suddenly you start talking about Bush and taxes. Please, take irrelevancies to another thread.

I think although economic liberals don't care for racism - they don't want to spend any money on claearing up the mess. People should 'pull themselves up by their own bootstraps'.

I'm interested to know how much this 'whole lot of wealth' was that was transferred? and how it stacks up in comparison to say, Gearge Bush's recent tax cuts. How is this 'off-topic'?

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,12:59   

Flint wrote:

Quote
Just how much does my own standard of living improve knowing that people who resemble me have done great things?


Point taken.

Quote
As for achievement in sports, my reading is that this HAS had a profound effect in the inner city, where taking education seriously is frowned upon by the community, but being able to sink 25-foot jump shots commands real respect.


Maybe for the reasons you've already discussed. If it's hard for African Americans to "make it" by conventional means, sports provide very visible examples of African Americans who have done so. Maybe the probability is lower of actually succeeding via this route, but the dream is alluring, no matter what your skin colour is.

Quote
Perhaps I should quit my day job and become a sociologist?


Well, you certainly seem sufficiently interested in, and concerned about, the issue. But I can't help thinking that someone somewhere has already ask the relevant people the relevant questions?

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,13:03   

“My outsider's gut feeling is genuine merit is recognized, although for blacks perhaps it takes more merit per unit of reward.”

“Problem is, nearly anyone who gets a decent education can make a decent living, but only one in a thousand (or less) can make it as a professional athlete.”

“Sure, we can take your attitude (indeed, we HAVE taken that attitude) that this difference in performance must be due to circumstances beyond their control. They don't CHOOSE to be descendents of slaves, or to be discriminated against in law and practice. It's not (at least proximately) their doing that the society they live in provides strong disincentives to achieve anything. How much blame should we attach if the disincentives of discrimination have a social effect?”

“And so we can attempt to change circumstances so they don't present any barriers or handicaps. But we also need to monitor our efforts closely, because we know what the road to, uh, heck is paved with. If our efforts are counterproductive, we need to recognize this and stop doing it. I'm certainly not recommending inaction. I DO reject the idea that we should make circumstances even worse on the grounds that we need to DO something, and we WANT our actions to work. Wanting, even wanting real real hard, so far hasn't worked very well.”


- Finally some statements we both agree on (although even  someone with a 'decent education' can face barriers not faced by someone whose 'face fits' - even here)

So supposing we agree there is a problem:

What do you propose Flint?

- scrapping Affirmative Action?

- ending welfare and  the other programs you mentioned?

Okay what next?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,13:29   

Dean,

I think we're mostly on the same wavelength here. There are a lot of variables.

Quote
I do think that 'economic liberals' like yourself seem anxious to put the blame for poverty on the poor.

I respectfully suggest you have tagged me with a label which means something to you, which you then assume is true of me because of your label. But the fact is that 90% of the individuals comprising the poorest 20% of the US population ARE different after 5 years. So while "the poor" always exist, the particular individuals who make up "the poor" have a surprisingly rapid turnover. And to me, this implies that poverty is something suffered by an individual and not generically by a group. Rising out of poverty just isn't that hard, it just takes determination. Have you ever been among the poor? I certainly have. I've spent time homeless, living on the street. I got through that, so I know it can be done.

(And I much fear that if Big Brother had given me just enough money to get by and get nowhere, I'd have gratefully accepted the money and gone nowhere.)

Quote
I think that you can be accused of the same thing.

Perhaps you're right. I don't know. Maybe we are making the error of lumping together into (by implication) homogeneous groups, disparate collections of people not particularly similar in the respects we're addressing. As expressed by the observation that within-group differences way exceed between-group differences. It may be that poor blacks have a good deal more in common sociologically with poor Jews, than they do with rich blacks.

Quote
If you really think that the history of slavery and continuing discrimination to the present day are major factors in limiting the social advancement of black people in your country

Yes, I do really think that. But I also tried to point out that other identifiable cultural groups (immigrant waves) have faced at least somewhat analogous circumstances yet escaped them with relative ease. In any case, I think you hit on the key difference that I missed: that freed slaves were explicitly, legally declared inferior and their group sociology molded by this condition, for a century following emancipation. After that long a period of time, attitudes are pretty well ossified on the part of *everyone involved*, every American of any description. Very very hard to overcome that. And 100 years of legally enforced inferiority is something no other group had to face in any way.

Quote
What do you propose Flint?

Sigh. I wish I knew. My training tells me that a combination of incentives and disincentives should work, but my sense of fairness tells me these should be applied equally to everyone. I think we're looking at a community or cultural problem here. Failure to reward effort seems neither more nor less corrosive than rewards divorced from achievement. I was amused to learn that in the civil service, it's a standing joke that if you're a black WAC with an hispanic surname and a wooden leg, you can have any job in the entire bureaucracy just for the asking. You count toward FIVE quotas at once. No competence required at anything.

As always (and just as with creationism), I think the 'cycle of deprivation' starts at home. Asians and Jews (and others) overachieve mostly because high achievement is demanded and expected of them right from birth. In the American black community, social policies (all well-intentioned, of course) could hardly have been worse:
1) Effectively a bonus (bounty) was paid for each illegitimate child a woman could bear.
2) BUT, only to single parents, meaning marriage erased the money.
The result, surprise surprise, was a LOT of young, single mothers. Who had to work, so the children were raised by the street gangs.

Interestingly, quite a few rather cross-disciplinary studies have finally tracked down why violent crime fell by fully 50% in the US during the 1990s. It's because in the mid 1970s abortion was legalized! The gang-member cohort was aborted instead, a win-win for everyone. Even though our social policies were STILL purchasing unwanted single motherhood.

So there's an example of a disincentive. I think as a policy, we should provide free abortions in inner cities.

(And somewhat along all these lines: The immigrant waves, I have read, lived in conditions of TRIPLE the people/room density of todays black ghettos, and they got NO welfare, and those who starved (quite a few) were simply left in the street. The incentive to get out of those circumstances was extreme.)

gregonomic:

Quote
I can't help thinking that someone somewhere has already ask the relevant people the relevant questions?

Well, everyone grinds an axe. And it's true to some extent that what's happening to you is hard to see if your nose is pressed too close against it. And what it SEEMS like to you may be misleading. I wish I had the time to study everything I find interesting, though. So little time, so much to learn...

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,13:44   

Although I strongly believe in social security (hardly anyone does not in the UK). It can become a trap if it is not administered well.

Over here people can actually be worse off if they take a job. Now that is crazy.

Welfare should be a safety net, never a viable lifestyle choice.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,13:54   

Quote
Over here people can actually be worse off if they take a job. Now that is crazy.

Crazy perhaps, but essentially unavoidable. Let's say I pay you $X in social security. Now let's say you get bored and decide to return to work. Should I take the money away from you? Or perhaps should I subtract from what I was paying you, the amount your job brings in? Or perhaps I shouldn't reduce the amount at all, and allow you to supplement it as much as you can?

The same problems arise no matter what. If social security is paid to everyone, then a LOT of my tax dollars go to subsidize people who need the money FAR less than I do. But if we start means-testing for social security, the bureaucratic overhead becomes enormous. And the incentive structure changes a good bit too. I have the option of putting money into savings or spending it as fast as I get it. If the more I save, the more I will be penalized by "means testing" later, why should I try to save? I'll just lose the money.

Social security has also had profound effects on family structure. We need no longer care for our elderly parents; the State does that. Safety nets, like it or not, encourage people to take more risks than they should.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,13:58   

I don't think it unavoidable.

Why not let people only lose 50p/50c in benefit for every £1/$1 earned.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,14:25   

Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Jan. 16 2006,12<!--emo&:0)
I believe directed welfare and affirmative action can be counter-productive.


Yep. They sure can. But I believe they can also be helpful, and sometimes necessary. And I think it's disingenuous to bail on an experiment after 40 years that isn't likely to show results for at least several generations.

Quote
You are basically saying "these people can't compete".


I'm not saying these people can't compete. I'm saying they're still subjected to enormous levels of racial prejudice, far beyond anything Jews or Asians or even Hispanics are subject to, and you've got to level the playing field somehow.

Quote
For a short while I lived on a council estate in the UK (Ince in Wigan, Lancashire). This was almost entirely white. The culture there was to leave school and spend the rest of their life on welfare.
Not everybody of course, but it was the mainstream.

As far as I can tell the only thing causing these people to underperform was the way they CHOSE to live life.



Obviously just handing people a check every month is not going to persuade them of the need to get a job somewhere. But removing the incentive to work by penalizing welfare recipients when they actually do get jobs has got to be the worst of all possible worlds. Who came up with that idea. Was it someone who wanted the program to fail?

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,14:40   

ericmurphy:

Quote
Yep. They sure can. But I believe they can also be helpful

Now, stop and think about this for a moment. How can you be sure (which you say you are) that welfare and affirmative action can be counterproductive, unless they manifestly HAVE been counterproductive.

Which raises an uncomfortable question: Why do we need to wait more than 40 years to see the beneficial effects, of something even you can see the harmful effects from in far less time? Could it be that the harmful effects are a matter of evidence, and the "some day" beneficial effects are a matter of faith?

Quote
I'm saying they're still subjected to enormous levels of racial prejudice, far beyond anything Jews or Asians or even Hispanics are subject to

But why? Not many people are still alive today who even remember Brown v. Board, and none of those people are in power. You would think that given the intervening 50 years and the hugely expensive social programs, we'd see a LOT more improvement than we have. Something isn't working here...

Quote
Obviously just handing people a check every month is not going to persuade them of the need to get a job somewhere.

It persuads them that (1)they don't NEED to get a job somewhere; and (2) if they DO get a job, they'll lose the dole money, and (3) they are perhaps being paid to stay out of the workforce because they are not wanted.

Quote
But removing the incentive to work by penalizing welfare recipients when they actually do get jobs has got to be the worst of all possible worlds. Who came up with that idea. Was it someone who wanted the program to fail?

No, you have it backwards. IF you pay someone NOT to work, then you have two choices if they DO work anyway. First, you can continue the welfare payments, thus way overpaying them relative to standing-start competitors; or (2) you can stop paying them, which (as you say) penalizes them for working. But I can assure you, if the decision is made to pay certain people twice, once for NOT working and again FOR working, you aren't going to be very popular. Nobody pays ME not to work, over and above my wages for working.

Now, maybe we can have a sort of "weaning period" where we pay the ex-welfare recipient less and less, rather than yanking away all his dole at one time? This would provide at least a temporary very real bonus for going to work. And maybe we could freeze the dole wherever it is in the process of shrinking if the person should quit. This would provide an incentive to STAY employed.

But no matter how you cut it, paying someone not to work buys people not working. And once you've started down that path, you have very few good options for recovery. Perhaps the best option is to say "OK, now we are going to reduce your welfare income by $X per week until it reaches zero, *whether or not* you get a job. If you choose school instead, the payments will continue while you're in school."

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 16 2006,14:47   

I think you've hit on a key point Steve - marginal rates of taxation for people on welfare are often 95-100% -(sometimes  bizarrely even more -I'm in this postion now - I'm unemployed - my mortage is paid for by a policy I paid for to cover the eventuality of redundancy -if I took a low paid job then I'd lose these payment and my house.
I have to be patient until a well-enough paid job comes along in my specialised field).

I used to run compulsory employment and training schemes for unemployed people - they ranged from the truly feckless, and drug dealers with alternate income sources: to willing people that had been let down by the education system, and people that had just had bad luck in life and wanted to get back on their feet.

We helped a lot of people develop new skills and get jobs - develop self-esteem and motivation - I see many of these people everyday and they are grateful for the help we gave them.

But for this to work it costs money - and there have to be opportunities for people to go to. In a lot of cases if more attention had been paid to these people at school or even younger - we wouldn't have been left to pick up the pieces.

Carrot and stick is needed - pressure people to work by all means - but you are leading them up the garden path if you aren't going to try to make sure that doors are open and opportunities are there.

Affirmative action may have been a cack-handed atempt to do this - but I'm sure it has it's successes. Maybe it's time to modify it and move towards 'positive action' rather than 'positive discrimination'. Seriously investing in education in all 'deprived areas' and planning to increase University places for the high school graduates of the future would be a start.
I don't see Bush's 'no child left benind' slogan as being much more than empty rhetoric if he's not prepared to put the tax dollars in. A sound investment for your country I would have thought. Now what a bout reversing those tax cuts?

Having got to a position of relative harmony I shall gracefully withdraw to the 'English Garden Party' where you are most welcome to be my guest Flint. IYou'll have to show us how you whip up those newfangled cocktails of yours but I'm sure you'll be a hit with the ladies..

Toodle -pip old chap!! ;)

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,03:10   

I pretty much agree with DM here.  Much of the right wing rhetoric about lazy and useless welfare recipients presupposes a level playing field for everyone, and that as #### ain't so.

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If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,03:33   

MidnightVoice:

Quote
Much of the right wing rhetoric about lazy and useless welfare recipients presupposes a level playing field

Rather than level/not level, we might more profitably consider the gradient. After all, nearly ANY 'minority' individual faces an uphill battle. In much of the business world, blacks are doing better than women. To carry this more-or-less to the limit, study after study shows that all else being equal, taller men do better than shorter men and attractive people do better than plain people. Thinner people outperform heavier people. The playing field is never level.

So perhaps in implying that blacks are lazy and women lack the ability, what we're really saying is that the slope they must climb is simply too steep for the majority of these people to negotiate. Short/fat/ugly/non-Christian (and so on) people also face a climb, but not so steep.

What interests me is the feedback effect. Which groups, faced with nearly insurmountable obstacles, give up and (justifiably) claim discrimination, and which groups roll up their sleeves and redouble their efforts? In both cases, a feedback effect is clearly operating. Which means perhaps an assumption of a level playing field is not being made, but rather an observation of how different people respond to a field tilted against them.

A great many different, partially-independent factors are operating here, and something bothers me about pointing to a single villain and then complacently believing we've identifed "the problem".

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,03:54   

By the way, I apologize for the ####, it was meant to be "just" and I am not sure what I typed  :D

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,09:35   

Flint wrote:
Quote
Rather than level/not level, we might more profitably consider the gradient. After all, nearly ANY 'minority' individual faces an uphill battle. In much of the business world, blacks are doing better than women. To carry this more-or-less to the limit, study after study shows that all else being equal, taller men do better than shorter men and attractive people do better than plain people. Thinner people outperform heavier people. The playing field is never level.

True enough, and few reasonable people would deny that blacks still face discrimination. But the next part puzzles me:
Quote
What interests me is the feedback effect. Which groups, faced with nearly insurmountable obstacles, give up and (justifiably) claim discrimination, and which groups roll up their sleeves and redouble their efforts? In both cases, a feedback effect is clearly operating. Which means perhaps an assumption of a level playing field is not being made, but rather an observation of how different people respond to a field tilted against them.

Insurmountable obstacles? Care to back this up with noncircular reasoning (i.e. "Blacks underperform because they face severe roadblocks. How do discern these obstacles? By noting black underperformance!") And what power renders these obstacles inoperative in government, sports, and entertainment? "Why yes, I watch black actors, listen to black musicians, and pay good money to attend black-dominated sporting events! Heck, I'll even allow my children to date blacks. But I'll be $%#-%^$# if I let black-designed software enter this household! That, suh, is too much to bear! In order to prevent this from happening, in fact, I think I'll set up lots of minority colleges, scholarships, corporate recruitment programs, and even burden black folk with preferential access to America's top schools! And to really drive the point home, I'll give black-owned businesses first crack at guvment contracts! And set up taxpayer-funded watchdog agencies to monitor private companies! Now that oughtta show them people who's boss!"

The Yenta wrote:
Quote
A lot of Black Americans did escape the South - but it seems that a lot are still there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....lations

Why do you think that is?

Oh my goodness - now Whitey has created a sinister force field that prevents black-driven U-Hauls from traveling north! Mr. Klansman, tear down this wall!!

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,09:50   

I'd suggest poverty and safety in numbers old Ghostey.

If I thought there was a level playing field in your mind I'd think you were worth talking to.

As you know what your postion is on racial matters - I don't see the point.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,10:18   

Ghost:

Quote
Insurmountable obstacles? Care to back this up with noncircular reasoning

Are you serious here? The Jim Crow laws were very real, lasted for a century. Are you now going to argue that these had no effects on the community they were designed to keep as an underclass?

Alternatively, you just stated "few reasonable people would deny that blacks still face discrimination." So you recognize that discrimination is there. Are you attempting to quantify its intensity? I think a rough quantification could be determined from quite a wide variety of sources, in real life. How would this be circular?

Quote
And what power renders these obstacles inoperative in government, sports, and entertainment?

This is actually three separate questions, and their answers are informative. In government (and in the military), it's by administrative fiat. Quotas have been set up within the Federal bureaucracy requiring specified percentages of minority employees, of minority promotions, of minority managers, etc. The civil service mandates these *willy nilly* without regard to demonstrated competence. So that's one answer.

In sports, the goal is to win. Just win. But I hope you are aware that it wasn't always this way. Baseball had the Negro Leagues for decades, because a color barrier was enforced. And blacks have been allowed into other sports only with reluctance (there's a movie about this out right now). I believe that as the paying spectators became increasingly willing to pay to watch black athletes win in preference to white athletes losing, the emphasis shifted from color to performance. And in sports, performance is much easier to measure objectively.

Entertainment has been another area with very real barriers. Bill Cosby's show was a real breakthrough, and black actors and actresses are narrowly limited to the kinds of parts they play. Being black is still visible enough so that whereas a white actor plays a character, a black actor plays a black character.

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In order to prevent this from happening, in fact, I think I'll set up lots of minority colleges, scholarships, corporate recruitment programs, and even burden black folk with preferential access...

You are pointing out that sincere efforts are being made to correct real problems. (Once again, remember you yourself admitted there is very real discrimination). I think the problem has been that true color-blindness is impossible to enforce. Administratively, it's a lot easier to try to break the pattern with targeted programs. But these programs do little if anything to address the sort of habitual racism historical social stratification has generated.

For a snapshot of where blacks stood after legal segregation was abandoned, I suggest you read John Howard Griffin's book Black Like Me.

The playing field HAS been tilted up nearly vertical for both women and blacks, and gets pushed back down only slowly and with great effort, some of it counterproductive. I mentioned that I work with about 50 engineers, only one of whom is black. The number of women is, well, zero. This is almost surely not biological.

Anyway, the obstacles are not deduced from statistical performance measures, they are observed directly. You could as easily argue that we deduce gravity by circular reasoning: things fall because of gravity, and we know it's gravity because things fall.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,11:28   

Quote
In sports, the goal is to win. Just win. But I hope you are aware that it wasn't always this way. Baseball had the Negro Leagues for decades, because a color barrier was enforced. And blacks have been allowed into other sports only with reluctance (there's a movie about this out right now).

But that's precisely the point. Blacks were blatantly discriminated against in baseball, with strict Jim Crow laws put in place to well, "keep 'em in their place". And yet somehow they overcame this despite widespread prejudice. So apparently Jim Crow didn't present an "insurmountable" obstacle in the sporting world. So why does it do so in other fields? Don't engineering firms "want to win"? Aren't there economic costs associated with rejecting qualified blacks in favor of mediocre whites? In fact, wouldn't competition be even fiercer in an industry that doesn't have an antitrust exemption and isn't ruled by potbellied rednecks like baseball was (and to a certain extent, still is)? Curious minds want to know.....
Quote
Anyway, the obstacles are not deduced from statistical performance measures, they are observed directly.

John McWhorter and others would beg to differ from you, bro. He argues that discrimination is greatly diminished now, and that blacks can succeed with less than superhuman effort. More later.....

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,12:09   

Ghost:

Quote
And yet somehow they overcame this despite widespread prejudice. So apparently Jim Crow didn't present an "insurmountable" obstacle in the sporting world.

No, the point is that it DID present an insurmountable obstacle. And it wasn't the blacks who dismantled this obstacle either.

Quote
So why does it do so in other fields?

There is no more Jim Crow, not explicitly. The argument here is that a century of legal oppression led to deep-seated cultural practices and expectations, that don't just go away. The fact remains that until the Jim Crow laws were repealed, they worked. They worked for a century. Cultural norms and outlooks grow pretty deep roots in a century or two (counting the years of slavery).

Quote
Don't engineering firms "want to win"? Aren't there economic costs associated with rejecting qualified blacks in favor of mediocre whites?

Yes, and yes. My reading of this history is that there were also very real economic costs associated with hiring people the *other* engineers refused to tolerate. I've seen the sort of refusal I'm talking about (here in Alabama, it's all too common) and it's evidently not something that happens at an intellectual level. It's a visceral rejection, as involuntary as a belief in God, ingrained from the same infancy. Yes, people could make every effort to force themselves to work with blacks, but it took a social sea-change before this was effective.

Quote
In fact, wouldn't competition be even fiercer in an industry that doesn't have an antitrust exemption and isn't ruled by potbellied rednecks like baseball was (and to a certain extent, still is)? Curious minds want to know...

Once again, the kind of tolerance you're talking about isn't voluntary. It's a matter of upbringing. I knew a man (who recently died, at age 92) who played with Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. And he literally could not watch the Alabama football team play on TV, because they had black players and he became sick to his stomach. He couldn't help it! Watching this, I started to realize that racism is much like religious faith. It's not something you decide to do or not do because of a cost/benefit analysis. The only cure for either one is to raise the next generation with a healthier outlook. This takes time. It ALSO takes a willingness to consider that one's racism/religious faith is not so healthy, and maybe the world would be a better place if these pathologies were less virulent. Certainly Buck (the football player) raised HIS children to know the Negroes' proper place, and make sure they knew it too. For him, yet another article of faith. And this kind of attitude, again, isn't something easily set aside.

Quote
He argues that discrimination is greatly diminished now, and that blacks can succeed with less than superhuman effort.

I agree. As you said, there is still very real discrimination, and success in many areas (many more than there once were) is newly possible, or possible with MORE effort than whites require, but not superhuman.

So the question is, what has in fact caused discrimination to diminish so greatly? Could it be that programs and policies explicitly intended to neutralize, defeat, or otherwise circumvent discrimination are partly responsible? Discrimination being "greatly diminished now" implies that it was "greatly worse then". And "then" seems to have lasted from the importation of the very first slave, pretty much undiminished UNTIL these government efforts began. And while perhaps some of those efforts have been misdirected, they have changed the attitudes of most people over the course of a couple of generations.

And since I also have a curious mind, I'd like to ask you: what do YOU propose should be done to eliminate discrimination?

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,12:13   

don't bother Paley -

-and don't bother quoting your pin-up 'McWhorter' - one of the refererences you gave to him was of his opinion that the Brithish far right has renewed itself and the  BNP (British National Party) is 'sweeping the country led by their charismatic leader 'Nick Griffiths.

The BNP has less than 0.0- something % of the popular vote - and it's leader is up in court at the moment on a charge of 'inciting racial hatred', having been caught out on camera by a TV documentary.

He got that so wrong I wouldn't trust his opinion on anything else.

Black people are hanicapped by the predjudices of others whilst it's clear that you are handicapped by your own.

If you're so clever why don't you do something about it?

.. and if you're so busy working on your 'papers' (Guts to Gametes?) how come you've got all this time for Trolling?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,15:12   

Quote
and don't bother quoting your pin-up 'McWhorter' - one of the refererences you gave to him was of his opinion that the Brithish far right has renewed itself and the  BNP (British National Party) is 'sweeping the country led by their charismatic leader 'Nick Griffiths.

The BNP has less than 0.0- something % of the popular vote - and it's leader is up in court at the moment on a charge of 'inciting racial hatred', having been caught out on camera by a TV documentary.

He got that so wrong I wouldn't trust his opinion on anything else.

That was Derbyshire, not McWhorter, Yenta. McWhorter is an African-American linguist. And you misquoted Derbyshire anyway.
Quote
Black people are hanicapped by the predjudices of others whilst it's clear that you are handicapped by your own.

The only thing that's "clear" is that you clearly can't support your side of an argument. Hence, the need to resort to slander, wisecracks, and speechcodes.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,15:19   

Libel Paley ..Libel..

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,15:32   

Quote
Libel Paley ..Libel..

Yentas don't libel - they slander. Hence the choice of words.

Flint wrote:
Quote
And since I also have a curious mind, I'd like to ask you: what do YOU propose should be done to eliminate discrimination?

As you've already mentioned, discrimination can't be eliminated. All that a society can do is reduce it to manageable levels. This has been done. Now it's time to step back and stop rewarding dysfunctional cultures.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 17 2006,16:18   

Ghost:

Quote
All that a society can do is reduce it to manageable levels. This has been done. Now it's time to step back and stop rewarding dysfunctional cultures.

Is this really what you feel is being done? My reading is quite different. I read that welfare is no longer open-ended; that bonuses for illigitimate children aren't being paid (or have been reduced to the point where they aren't very enticing), that welfare payments have time-limits and job-search or educational requirements attached.

Most of the list you provided, of special college admissions and scholarships, government contracts, etc. only reward those who abandon a dysfunctional culture. They are exactly the sort of enticements you should be favoring: wallow in poverty and resentment, get nowhere while subsidies shrink. Get out of that cycle, go to college, go into business, get rewarded. And as I said, it seems to be working.

And I think it's not really a bad idea. The rewards accrue to those who *leave* that culture and get co-opted into the mainstream. But I think the real measure, across an entire population, is in the parenting practice. So long as the all-too-typical child is born to a single mother, dumped into a daycare institution, then attends a school whose primary function is extended daycare and whose administration is more interested in preventing shootings than teaching anything, while the parent pays no attention to the environment and provides no encouragement to learn, while the "community values" provide active DISincentives to learn anything, the task has a long way to go.

At times, I get the sense that if anything had been up to you, you'd have left the Jim Crow laws in place. But rather than assume, perhaps I should ask: do you think that a policy of benign neglect should have been adopted before now? And if so, when?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,05:01   

Flint wrote:
Quote
Most of the list you provided, of special college admissions and scholarships, government contracts, etc. only reward those who abandon a dysfunctional culture. They are exactly the sort of enticements you should be favoring: wallow in poverty and resentment, get nowhere while subsidies shrink. Get out of that cycle, go to college, go into business, get rewarded. And as I said, it seems to be working.

Actually, I do favor scholarships aimed at blacks, mestizos, and other at-risk minority groups. As well as corporate tax breaks for companies that aggressively target and train minorities. I think that A.A. policies have outlived their usefulness, and believe they should have been dropped around 1994. I also believe that America should buy out those crusty South African farmers and work with the World Bank to train replacement black farmers. The Mugabe policy that the South African government is currently pursuing will result in mass starvation and the entire destabilization of South Africa. And when that happens, the libs will wring their hands and blame Whitey. While black people starve.
Quote
So long as the all-too-typical child is born to a single mother, dumped into a daycare institution, then attends a school whose primary function is extended daycare and whose administration is more interested in preventing shootings than teaching anything, while the parent pays no attention to the environment and provides no encouragement to learn, while the "community values" provide active DISincentives to learn anything, the task has a long way to go.

So we agree that the status quo sucks. Problem is, why are the schools acting as prisons and caretakers. You're acting like there's some mysterious fog floating around black communities, turning morals inside out and converting "good" schools into "bad" schools. I've got news for you: bad schools become that way because of the students. If the students would behave, the problem would be solved. The students are actively choosing to turn their schools into war zones - not all of them, to be sure, but many of them. And many of the good students actively support the dysfunctional culture that produces the bad ones. I've talked to many teachers and read up on this. If the average Amurican only knew......
Quote
At times, I get the sense that if anything had been up to you, you'd have left the Jim Crow laws in place. But rather than assume, perhaps I should ask: do you think that a policy of benign neglect should have been adopted before now? And if so, when?

Hopefully your questions are answered now. If you have any more, I'm willing to help. Now let me ask you a question if I may:
What's so evil about restricting immigration to those nationalities that:
1) Have proven they can compete without Government arm-twisting
2) Don't look at Western Culture as a tumor that must be eradicated (and the people along with it?)

In other words, let's say France had been importing millions of N.E. Asians, Indians, and Jews instead of North Africans. Do you think that their economy, crime rates, and standard of living would be better or worse? I'm genuinely curious. Please support your answer to the best of your ability. Thanks. And Eric, I'm curious about your opinion too.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,06:13   

Ghost:

OK, fair enough.

Quote
I think that A.A. policies have outlived their usefulness, and believe they should have been dropped around 1994.

Personally, I find this a bit too broad. A.A. policies cover a fairly wide spectrum. But clearly there are bad as well as good aspects to policies that place individuals into positions whose duties they aren't competent either to perform, or to reasonably learn to perform. I followed (way back when) the experiences of a top graduate school which had established a strict quota of allowing 12 minority (black) students per year. However, they provided no dual track or remedial training. All the students were put into the same courses and given the same tests. Each year, all 12 black students flunked out after one semester. And this being a top school, they had their pick of the most qualified black applicants nationwide.

Now, let's consider this as a case study. Should this graduate school have accepted NO minority students? As I'm sure you realize, these 12 students displaced 12 qualified students, and the differences in qualifications were easily noticeable to the admissions committee. Or having accepted known-unqualified college graduates, should they have provided the remedial material necessary to come up to speed? But this is expensive in time and money, for everyone. Or (as other universities did), should they have established a dual-track system producing both real and "Kent Hovind" doctorates?

So we move back down the ladder to the secondary school system. In much of the country, these systems are still de facto segregated. And the minority-dominated school districts have a good deal less tax base to purchase a decent education. But the problem isn't exactly there either (many impoverished school systems produce outstanding college graduates). And maybe here is where we disagree:

Quote
I've got news for you: bad schools become that way because of the students. If the students would behave, the problem would be solved.

I would argue instead against the parents. If the parents are not around very much, and/or if they simply don't care, then you're going to have a preponderance of bad students in ANY school system. This is why cultural barriers are so hard to break. But show me any good student, and I'll show you parents who WANT their child to be a good student.

Quote
And many of the good students actively support the dysfunctional culture that produces the bad ones.

I have also read that the peer pressure is very powerful.

Quote
Now let me ask you a question if I may:
What's so evil about restricting immigration to those nationalities that:
1) Have proven they can compete without Government arm-twisting
2) Don't look at Western Culture as a tumor that must be eradicated (and the people along with it?)

In fact, this is how things stand today. Immigration limits on non-Northern European cultures are quite strict (and we all know that the only people worth associating with come from Northern European countries, right?). And those Northern European quotas go WAY underfilled decade after decade. Meanwhile, illegal immigration from Mexico and the Far East is rampant. Illegal immigration from Africa isn't something I've ever seen mentioned at all.

As I've said repeatedly on this thread, most members of most immigration waves have NOT arrived able to compete. They were poor, discriminated against, and didn't speak the language. So I think you're really asking to restrict immigration of those who won't BECOME competitive or will STILL be antagonistic a couple of generations down the road. Can you predict this? On what basis?

Let's say you're a Mexican or an Arab. You can't compete today. But does your nationality indicate that you personally can never compete, or that you personally think the nation you're adopting should be eradicated? Are these characteristics of nationalities, or of individuals?

Quote
In other words, let's say France had been importing millions of N.E. Asians, Indians, and Jews instead of North Africans. Do you think that their economy, crime rates, and standard of living would be better or worse?

I would hope it would depend on the experiences these people have in France. If they are restricted to ghettos, and systematically NOT hired into (or promoted into) decent jobs, and basically treated as worthless, I would imagine ANY of them would eventually protest. The key for me isn't nationality or geographic origin, it's *access to opportunity*. If that access is real and not a sham, then these problems can be avoided. But it has to be real access (not tokenism) and real opportunity (as level a playing field as we can engineer).

And a great deal of that hinges on the expectations of those in the predominant culture. Again, there's a real feedback effect going on here. People will hire any minority individual they expect to work hard and follow the rules. My experience is that the majority types in the US expect blacks to do neither one -- yet when obligated by "government arm-twisting" to hire one anyway, they find that, by golly, he DOES work hard and follow the rules most of the time.

And so I think the real goal here is to modify expectations, on the part of everyone. And maybe the front lines are the parents. That's why I suggested free abortions in inner cities. A way of emphasizing that you don't NEED to have any child you don't want. And if you WANT a child, then you're more likely to care about that child's education and his future. And while we're at it, do NOT pay a bonus for having unwanted children! And do NOT demand that the man of the house be driven away before any assistance is provided.

I think there are workable, effective sets of incentives and disincentives that can be put into place, that wouldn't cost a great deal.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,07:15   

I plan on responding at length a little later, but for now I'd like to make a couple of quick comments.
Flint wrote:
Quote
Immigration limits on non-Northern European cultures are quite strict (and we all know that the only people worth associating with come from Northern European countries, right?).

1) Could we cut out the snide insinuations in the future? The Yenta's ways are not for everyone, and you don't look very fetching in a girdle anyway.  :D
Quote
I would hope it would depend on the experiences these people have in France. If they are restricted to ghettos, and systematically NOT hired into (or promoted into) decent jobs, and basically treated as worthless, I would imagine ANY of them would eventually protest. The key for me isn't nationality or geographic origin, it's *access to opportunity*. If that access is real and not a sham, then these problems can be avoided. But it has to be real access (not tokenism) and real opportunity (as level a playing field as we can engineer).

2) Yes, yes, that's great, but taking all these considerations into account, could you please answer the question: In your opinion, based on what you know about N.E. Asian, Jewish, and Indian cultures, and how these cultures would tend to interact with French society, do you think that the results would be better or worse? In other words, would Jews, N.E. Asians, and Indians have wound up in the same position, given what we know about French society? Please answer with as much detail as possible, and once again, I realise that you don't have a crystal ball. Just do your best. Thanks.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,07:54   

Ghost:

Quote
Could we cut out the snide insinuations in the future?

No snide insinuation. The unreachably large quotes set for Northern Europeans and the very small quotas set by those least culturally similar TO those of Northern European extraction are NOT accidents. They were set that way very explicitly, and for the purpose I stated: We wish to encourage immigration of those like us, and discourage immigration of those different from us.

Quote
but taking all these considerations into account, could you please answer the question

Since I gave the best answer I could, I guess you want me to keep rewording it until it fits into the round hole you have prepared for it.

I grant that there are indeed cultural differences between Jews from (perhaps) Germany or Russia, Indians (but only the higher castes, remember), N.E.Asian (I guess you mean Japanese?), and Algerians. Take groups from different places around the world, and you'll find cultural differences.

I'll also agree that those cultural groups you identified have a history of being industrious and law-abiding. So AT FIRST, I would expect them to contribute a lot less to the crime rate. However, if opportunities are closed off, I wouldn't expect them to contribute much to the standard of living, this being prohibited. And given a few generations of being prohibited from rising socially, doing anything worthwhile, etc. I'd expect them to be much like the Algerians are today.

In other words, I think subcultures are indeed shaped by the vessel within which they are enclosed. The argument that they are biologally incapable of following the norms of the adopted culture seems highly unlikely to me. And if a group can be repressed and the culture suffer accordingly, then presumably changing the incentive structure will also change the culture for the better. Or do you disagree with this?

  
The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:15   

Quote
I'll also agree that those cultural groups you identified have a history of being industrious and law-abiding. So AT FIRST, I would expect them to contribute a lot less to the crime rate. However, if opportunities are closed off, I wouldn't expect them to contribute much to the standard of living, this being prohibited. And given a few generations of being prohibited from rising socially, doing anything worthwhile, etc. I'd expect them to be much like the Algerians are today.

O.K., so I take it that your answer is: ultimately there would be no difference. Thanks for giving me a straight answer. Now, here's where I'm puzzled, and perhaps you can help.
           Traditionally, Jewish people have been systematically excluded from industries, from owning property, from moving freely, and from enjoying religious liberties that Gentiles take for granted. Why, not too long ago a society even attempted to remove them from the face of the earth (I hope even Mr. Fafarman would agree here). And yet despite all these obstacles, they keep rising to the top. Restrict them to shtetls, and they use the segregation as a chance to deepen their communal ties. Force them into middleman occupations? They just shrug their shoulders and become an indispensable part of the economy, all while inventing, writing, and thinking so well that the host country is forced to ignore the Jim Crow laws already in place. Restrict their access to the top schools? They just go to second-rate schools, and transform them in the process. This,of course, is exactly why the Holocaust happened: no matter what, the Jews thrive. You can't make them expendable; the fanatical antisemite must use radical "remedies". So why would modern France be different? The modern Frenchman tends toward antisemitism, but it's nothing like what the Jews have faced historically. This analysis also applies to the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Indians, albeit with a little less force.
            Remember, the Algerians are not having their culture destroyed, nor has the current generation had to face the burden of colonialism. These are the children of people who have chosen to live in France, and are free to leave if they don't like it (harsh, but undeniably true). They receive extensive welfare and medical care that even many Amuricans can't afford. So yeah, I do beg to differ. Heck, I think that France would be a world power if they had done as I advise. I just can't picture Jews and Asians torching ghettoes. For one thing, their living areas would never have become ghettoes. For another, it's not in their culture. And I suspect history backs me up. Or do you disagree?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:46   

Ghost:

I actually agree with what you say, but I don't think you've addressed ericmurphy's point, which eventually I came to understand better.

I've never lived in a black community. I have lived at least fairly close to a Jewish community, enough to have close enough friends to understand their culture. And that culture has a good many mechanisms to defend itself. My observation is that the black subculture is nowhere near as coherent. There are Jewish criminals, but they don't prey on other Jews; blacks prey mostly on other blacks. So I know a great deal more is going on here than meets my eye.

Let me give you a hypothetical case in exchange: Let's say you were to take a few dozen black infants and have them raised AS JEWS in the Jewish community, complete with all the bells and whistles, and treated by other Jews as being no less Jewish in any way. Do you suppose this treatment would produce a group of black Jews more similar to the black community in the attitudes you desribe, or more similar to the Jewish community?

Along these lines, there have been numerous cases where subcultures within the black culture have bootstrapped themselves without being propped up artificially by outside assistance. Conversely, there are (albeit small) communities of Indians, Koreans etc. who have joined the "permanent underclass" poor.

So both bootstrapping and giving up are always options. I notice as you do that different cultures are more robust, more resistant to imposed difficulties. I don't know why. Maybe the Jews would never become like the Algerians, even after centuries of slavery. Not an experiment I think we should conduct, of course. But if a culture is described as a coherent, shared set of values, we simply have a different challenge; not so much how do we help the people live better or make more money, but how do we help instill cultural values of industry, education, and accomplishment? By giving up?

Quote
I just can't picture Jews and Asians torching ghettoes. For one thing, their living areas would never have become ghettoes.

I notice that the meaning of 'ghetto' is broad enough to describe ANY enclave where a minority lives, whether due to restrictions or voluntary. It's actually technically correct to refer to Beverly Hills as a rich-pig ghetto.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,09:59   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Jan. 18 2006,15:15)
Remember, the Algerians are not having their culture destroyed, nor has the current generation had to face the burden of colonialism. These are the children of people who have chosen to live in France, and are free to leave if they don't like it (harsh, but undeniably true). They receive extensive welfare and medical care that even many Amuricans can't afford. So yeah, I do beg to differ. Heck, I think that France would be a world power if they had done as I advise.

I'm kind of done with this discussion (I still say the key differences between African Americans and virtually every other ethnic group out there is a legacy of slavery and the deliberate destruction of their culture), but I did want to point one thing out to Bill. Given a choice between living in a country that takes care of its citizens and a country that's a world power, I'll take the former. What did being a world power ever do for the English?

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2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Stephen Elliott



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,10:04   

I am now of the opinion that this has very litle to do with race.

Rather it is culture that afects performance the most.

Yes there are other factors, but I consider them secondary.

Any race I have worked with tends to have the same spread of ability.

Just talking whites only. The council estate I mentioned earlier compared to an estate next to it comprising of privately owned houses.

Same race, same chances but very different average performance.

  
The Ghost of Paley



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,11:30   

ericmurphy wrote:
Quote
I'm kind of done with this discussion (I still say the key differences between African Americans and virtually every other ethnic group out there is a legacy of slavery and the deliberate destruction of their culture), but I did want to point one thing out to Bill. Given a choice between living in a country that takes care of its citizens and a country that's a world power, I'll take the former. What did being a world power ever do for the English?

I'm sorry to hear that you're leaving this thread. But one point I'd like you to think about: would you rather live in a country that can devote more resources to helping troubled nations because of its internal strength, or in a declining, debt-ridden has-been that has to struggle to stay strong? Because that's what happens to balkanized countries in my opinion. Look at the lack of help we're giving to South Africa. Part of it's due to our foolish foreign policies, but the truth is, we have too many internal problems, and this affects our capacity to help others.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,13:03   

Before you let some of 'Ghost of Paley's' assertions go unchallenged, and allow him to bloster his self-delusion that he actually knows what he's talking about - I'd like to throw some information into this debate - especially when it comes to France.
It's a wonderful country, one that I'm confident Paley has never visited.
I live on the English Channel so it's less than fifty miles away from me: I have many friends their from all sections of society : I have worked with groups there for many years; and I speak the language.

However I find I must 'do a Ghost of Paley' - and plead more pressing engagements (you'd have more credibility on other threads 'Ghost of  Paley' - if you actually came back with your 'paper' - pleading more pressing committments looks od when you find time to troll here).

I'll be back to challenge some assumptions:

In the meantime for your homework:

1. After hundreds of generations of fear and poverty why did the Jews find that the opportunity of escaping to "The land of the Free" was a good idea?
... and if they were so clever. why were they still so poor?

2. If the "Land of the Free" desperately needed hard workers to assist its colonisation efforts - why didn't it simply institute a "voluntary immigration" route from Africa???

3. Do all citizens of the "Land of the Free" enjoy the same freedoms in this world; and if not why not?


3. In what year did the expression "Land of the Free" live up to its meaning?

.. A special task for "Ghost of Paley:
- read up on some French constitutional (4th and 5th republics) - and colonial history........ there will be questions……

---------------------------------------------------------------

P.S ... you'll have notice I've not used the shorthand 'Paley' anymore - I think it's unfair on the original.


PPS...I do notice that there isn't a single working scientist at the Panda's Thumb that hides behind an 'Avatar'.

PPPS.... 'Ghost of Paley' is a strange pretension for someone who - claims to be 'working on a paper' - which will probably make him in his own words a "future Fields and Nobel Prize winner".

If that comes true "Ghost of Paley" - I'm happy to do the bit in your biopic where I say:

"I knew him when his was a pathetic Internet Troll - hardly indistinguisable from the "Larry" type"

…..just before the nice man in the White Jacket comes to take you and Larry off to the playroom….

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,15:22   

Poor little Yenta - doesn't know its own name yet is planning to lecture me on Jewish culture. Yeah, like that's gonna be a fruitful debate. Hey Yenta, if you really want to impress me, why don't you take a stab at answering most of my questions. OK, some of my questions. OK, one of my questions. In case you've forgotten, here they are:

Please explain how:
1) my citation of The Color of Crime proves that I agree with Jared Taylor's views, especially when I've made my own views perfectly clear on several occasions;
2) the citation is inappropriate, especially when it supports one of my main complaints against most cross-national studies, i.e. that they confound race and religion, driving the very conclusions that they're trying to prove;
3) Jared Taylor's political beliefs render him unable to multiply or divide government figures; and
4) if Jared's study is transparently worthless, nobody can refute it?
5)Why shouldn’t I be allowed to cite a person, even if I don’t agree with him? You still haven’t answered that.
6)Do you believe in Big Brother? And is John McWhorter a racist? Read his book Losing the Race; it takes contemporary black culture to task in very harsh terms.
7)Is Michelle Malkin a racist? She shares many of my immigration and cultural concerns. According to liberal philosophy, white people can’t question their views because they’re “people of color”. Or should they have more liberty to speak their mind?  
8)Simple question: Is affirmative action racist? Please give a straight answer. And if it isn't, why not? If it is, then why aren't you jumping on American liberals?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 18 2006,23:45   

I wasn't planning to lecture you on Jewish culture "Ghost of Paley". You seem to know a lot about it, including some Yiddish words.

Aren't you supposed to be 'working on a paper' or 'suffering from a blocked up nose' or something?

Do you really want to repeat my analysis of your approving citation of an 'unrefuted' paper written by a 'White Supremacist'? - (or was that 'White Nationalist'? - a distinction that seems to be important to you; in the way that Larry prefers the term "Holocaust revisionism" to  ''Holocaust denier" - perhaps one of them is nicer or something).

Remember the reason that this matter arose. You supported the contention that society needed religiously-imposed morality otherwise it would degenerate:

For anyone who is remotely interested in all this Paley kicked this one off here:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archive....t-62425

and I replied here:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archive....t-62446


Several people quoted well-reseached papers that supported my position.
"Ghost of Paley" quoted a paper by a "White whatever" that was written in response to the flak the far-right in America were getting after the racist murder of a black man (he was dragged behind a truck until he died).

Incidentally since you yourself have quoted papers that note stong  correlations between levels of religiosity  and crime, teenage pregnancy, abortion etc. within the US : as well showing that you were unable to challenge to paper noticing the same tendancies internationally; then I consider that there is sound evidence that societies can work perfectly well without religiously imposed morality: and if anything function rather better without it.

Even if you were to cite a paper from a respectable source that showed that blacks commit more crime; since they are the most religious section of society in the US, then all you've done is undermine your own point.

Now get back to work - those boys have been waiting patiently for your 'Guts to Gametes' paper; and further detail on your 'geocentric universe' - you can't keep stalling them forever - and your excuses lose credibility whilst you're busily posting on this thread....

  
The Ghost of Paley



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,04:46   

Look, Yenta, if you want to bring up French policy bring up French policy. If you want to answer questions, answer questions. But quit trying to change the subject - you're not fooling anyone.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,07:02   

Flint wrote:
Quote
As I've said repeatedly on this thread, most members of most immigration waves have NOT arrived able to compete. They were poor, discriminated against, and didn't speak the language. So I think you're really asking to restrict immigration of those who won't BECOME competitive or will STILL be antagonistic a couple of generations down the road. Can you predict this? On what basis?

Let's say you're a Mexican or an Arab. You can't compete today. But does your nationality indicate that you personally can never compete, or that you personally think the nation you're adopting should be eradicated? Are these characteristics of nationalities, or of individuals?

Can't we derive predictions from recent historical events? It seems the trend is pretty clear. I must admit that Mexicans are a tough case, but I've said this from the beginning. So the question becomes, "Why ignore the evidence of history in order to carry out a policy that will probably achieve less than a policy predicated on the evidence?" We know that certain groups will assimilate, so why not stick with proven groups? Why drain at-risk countries in order to squeeze blood from a turnip? To be honest, your proposed model seems to be a lot more work than it's worth, and it sucks resources that can be better spent elsewhere (foreign aid to nations, world bank, etc.). And ponder this: what is the worst case scenario of your immigration model vs. mine? My model clearly wins here.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,08:41   

Ghost:

Let me see if I'm following your argument. You seem to be saying that a truly heterogeneous population will stay essentially balkanized, and never fully integrate in those ways that are important to the coherent operation of a nation - i.e. in terms of goals and values and viewpoints.

And furthermore, that balkanization is by definition a bad thing, because it introduces too high a level of conflict impossible to resolve except partially and even then at great cost.

Except that some groups, while they seem to remain identifiable and distinct, nonetheless have value systems that are positive in the sense that they don't lead to too much conflict and, integrated or not, these groups are productive and valuable.

Finally, we can identify which groups end up being more trouble than they are worth, cost the nation too much money, effort, and conflict without anything close to compensatory contributions. And experience has taught us that even extraordinary targeted efforts at solving these issues have little overall effect, while exceptions are isolated and limited.

And THESE groups we should...well...I'm not sure. If they are NOT here, keep them out. If they ARE here, what? Exterminate them? Rope them onto reservations where our neglect makes them least threatening? Round them up and ship them back to wherever they originally came from?

Have I got this right?

  
The Ghost of Paley



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,09:15   

Yep, you pretty much got it correct, and the differences are due to (according to me, at least) hard-to-change cultures (not biology).
Quote
And THESE groups we should...well...I'm not sure. If they are NOT here, keep them out. If they ARE here, what? Exterminate them? Rope them onto reservations where our neglect makes them least threatening? Round them up and ship them back to wherever they originally came from?

If they're not here, keep them out but put more effort into aiding their native countries. This takes money and time, both of which will be more abundant with my plan.
If they're here, treat 'em like every other citizen, because that's what they are entitled to. Of course, charity and tax incentives would be used to address inequities. No race laws, however.
Please continue.....

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,09:48   

Ghost:

Quote
the differences are due to (according to me, at least) hard-to-change cultures (not biology).

My own reading is that biology is without question a contributing factor, in the sense that biology can contribute to enforcing the distinctness of a group, ensuring that a group stays more heterogeneous. But I don't think biology has anything to do with the nature of a culture, only to do with it staying distinct. To be blunt, I think that African-Americans will *always* have a distinct culture. But it need not be so dysfunctional.

Quote
but put more effort into aiding their native countries

Personally, I've never seen any evidence that this works. Hard enough to modify a culture of a minority within our own population.

Quote
If they're here, treat 'em like every other citizen, because that's what they are entitled to. Of course, charity and tax incentives would be used to address inequities. No race laws, however.

Is Affirmative Action a race law? It also applies to women. And tax incentives are just another form of payment. Economically speaking, there's no substantive difference between me giving you $10, and me NOT taking $10 away from you. But I think we agree that we can probably come up with some combination of carrots and sticks that can encourage cultural change in positive directions. After all, the presumption here is that such a combination screwed up a culture in the first place.

Now, just for grins, let's say this approach works, and values of industry, integrity, knowledge, etc. actually DO get injected into the culture. Should immigration then be permitted?

  
The Ghost of Paley



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:19   

Flint wrote:
Quote
To be blunt, I think that African-Americans will *always* have a distinct culture. But it need not be so dysfunctional.

Absolutely. Now you're starting to grasp my point. Culture can be improved in principle, but it can't be eliminated, nor is that a desirable goal.
Quote
Personally, I've never seen any evidence that [foreign aid to at-risk countries] works. Hard enough to modify a culture of a minority within our own population.

True, the evidence is slight, but I think current approaches can be improved. Earlier, I gave an example of what I considered an effective strategy for South Africa. And here's the main point: dollars spent on third-world countries go further than those spent in developed nations. This amplifies the effectiveness of sound remedies, promotes autonomy, and allows nations to pursue their own programs without fear of America stealing the harvest. Or why would Nigeria train doctors for the benefit of British patients? They wouldn't, leaving fewer doctors for Nigerians.
Quote
Is Affirmative Action a race law? It also applies to women.

And....?
Quote
And tax incentives are just another form of payment. Economically speaking, there's no substantive difference between me giving you $10, and me NOT taking $10 away from you.

Except I have free choice under the former.
Quote
Now, just for grins, let's say this approach works, and values of industry, integrity, knowledge, etc. actually DO get injected into the culture. Should immigration then be permitted?

Yes. Immigration policy should always reflect change. But it should not assume it.

Please continue....this is interesting.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:27   

Quote
Please continue....this is interesting.

I don't know what I can add at this point. We need a sociologist, and I don't think either of us qualifies. Of course, neither of us qualifies as a biologist, an economist, or anything else that would threaten to inform our speculations at all.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:32   

Paley you're racist.

You asked me to answer your questions - and when I answered them you accused me of changing the subject.

... and aren't you suposed to suffering from a 'stuffy nose', and don't you have a paper to work on?

I can tell that those guys on the other thread are getting tired of your excuses..

But then you'd probably prefer to avoid them now that you're out of your depth there and hang around here spouting off on your favourite subject.....

  
Stephen Elliott



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Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:34   

I can think of 1 case where social aid seemed to work.
The Marshal plan for European re-growth.

Not perfect granted, but it did seem to have a positive effect.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 19 2006,11:59   

Stephen Elliott:

Quote
I can think of 1 case where social aid seemed to work. The Marshal plan for European re-growth.

May I argue that the Marshall Plan really does not resemble what I think Ghost is talking about?

Granted, the Marshall Plan worked very well. What it did was permit the rebuilding of a damaged physical infrastructure and permit trade to operate on credit. What it did NOT do was change any cultures. The rebuilt governments were (with some corrective features) just like the old ones, the economies were like the pre-war economies, and most of all the people both before and after the war were the same dedicated, meticulous, hard-working people.

My position is that this sort of aid was entirely reasonable and in-scope for the task. Now the question is, what sort of assistance (that is, in what form and to whom) should we provide to get parents generally to place high value on education? What sort of aid reverses the cultural practice of denigrating diligence or achievement as "acting white"? How can we provide incentives that will lead to gang membership NOT being the thing to do? That will lead to the conviction that crime hurts everyone no matter who the proximate victim may be?

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2006,13:02   

Flint..

I think it's pointless talking to 'Gop' - someone who will work his peculiar, 'POV', into any topic.

There is a book called the 'Audit of war' which takes a pretty hard-edged view of the *Marshall Plan* and the relative position of the USA (and the UK)  and it's allies after the 2nd World war. I don't agree with it - but there's some interesting analysis there.

Sweden and the USA were economies that benefited enormously from 'war' at that time for example - without physical damage to their infrastructure.

The UK largely gave up all the capital (of any kind) it had for it's own survival.

When Paley recovers from his excuse of: a 'stuffy nose' that he uses to avoid difficult questions about his "future Fields and Nobel" prize-winning paper he's working on...
and when his 'too busy' or 'feeling  blah' excuses; which  he uses  at the :

"Ghost of Paley can back up his assertions thread"

and he can show that  he has ever had an original thought; or that he is anything else other that an attention seeker..

.. and express himself here without hiding behind some else's op-ed...

then I'd be interested in what he has to say....?




But I fully expect to be dissappointed.



Fire away the "Avatar which calls itself the Ghost of Paley"!

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 20 2006,14:26   

Dean:

Quote
I think it's pointless talking to 'Gop' - someone who will work his peculiar, 'POV', into any topic.

You are letting personalities override your judgment. Ghost has taken a coherent, and as far as I'm concerned entirely reasonable, position. He is advocating (if I understand him correctly) as level a playing field as it is possible to maintain, cultural differences being what they are. His position is that all men are created equal (sound familiar?), and SHOULD be equal in the eyes of the law. Absolutely no Official Favoritism Or Discrimination instituted in favor of or against anyone. That once it becomes government policy to show favoritism to preferred groups, *no matter how justified this preference seems to some people*, we are heading onto dangerously thin ice. Passing laws that make some people more equal than others is an EVIL precedent, now matter how big-hearted it seems at the time.

Quote
There is a book called the 'Audit of war' which takes a pretty hard-edged view of the *Marshall Plan* and the relative position of the USA (and the UK)  and it's allies after the 2nd World war. I don't agree with it - but there's some interesting analysis there.

Thanks, I'll see if I can find it. And parenthetically, please spell out your contractions for a while. "It's" expands to IT IS. Saying "and it is allies" would highlight your error immediately. But I've seem some pretty cogent analyses that the LACK of any such plan after the Great War (WWI) left Germany in really terrible straits economically, and that Hitler leveraged the Weimar experience. Historical analysis always illustrates that hindsight is never 20-20.

Quote
Sweden and the USA were economies that benefited enormously from 'war' at that time for example - without physical damage to their infrastructure.

I've read studies (no less biased, no more) that conclude that war is ALWAYS bad for EVERYONE, even the winners (but less so). Of course, this analysis tends to beg the question of whether the Great Depression would have ended otherwise. But the general gist is that destroying stuff is bad, and redirecting productivity into making stuff to destroy stuff is also bad, even if SOME people profit in the process.

Quote
The UK largely gave up all the capital (of any kind) it had for it's own survival.

No, the UK was still viable after the war (and again, spell it out! The UK gave up capital for IT IS own survival? See the problem?)

Quote
when Paley recovers...then I'd be interested in what he has to say....? But I fully expect to be dissappointed.

The problem with your full expectations are, they are self-fulfilling. I can't imagine anything Ghost could possibly say that you wouldn't take exception to, because you know that he's a horrible person and you know that you aren't!

I've found him on this thread to be taking politically conservative/libertarian positions that I find entirely rational. I'm much more confident that he and I could come to an agreement over optimal government policy toward "disadvantaged" cultural groups, than I could ever find with you. On the other hand, I've found his approach to evolution falls into the "roped-off area" I've mentioned elsewhere, where his religious faith simply disables his ability to SEE what doesn't fit his requirements. And I hope you can agree that in his reflexive and involuntary rejection of science, he's at least making an effort. He knows that evolution CANNOT be right, period, no remaining ability to even wonder about this.

And given this handicap, I personally have to admire his perseverence. Kind of like someone missing both legs and confined to a wheelchair, *refusing* to admit legs exist, and *desperate* to find some compatible explanation for how everyone else walks around. Clearly, he has studied legs in great detail in an effort to track down just what makes them impossible (since they can't be possible, and this is NOT subject to question). Some of his rationalizations and misdirections are surprisingly creative (if a bit, uh, precious). But (to paraphrase Conan Doyle) when the obvious cannot be countenanced, the circuitous, however gnarly, must be the case.

So what I'm trying to tell you is, religion does not cripple the mind in every area, and lack of religion does not bestow upon reality the requirement that it kowtow to emotional urges.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,00:46   

Flint - thanks for pointing out my horrible use of the contraction 'It's' - you are absolutely right of course.

However I think you are simply incorrect when you say that 'GOP' is arguing for a 'level playing field' and would not discriminate agains people on the grounds of race (or 'ethnic group' as he prefers to say).

A modest proposal


Quote
So here's the solution:
1) Restrict immigration to those nations who respect our culture.
2) Buy out those immigrants who don't, and send them back to their countries of origin (where they won't be held back by the BEDs who torment them so). Perhaps an average bribe of $5000/yr for every year spent in the host country (up to 10 years), plus all their liquified assets of course
3) Let freedom of commerce and association ring through the land. Abolish minimum wage, race laws, and any other useless, government-bloating, liberty-crushing machinations on the citizen. Let people pay what they want, live with whom they want, and say what they want.
What are the advantages of this model? I'll fill in the details later.
A modest proposal

Of course GOP like to dress up his racism in more palatable terms - but various contributors have managed to tease out the truth of his position.
Of course if he can succees in convincing you that he has a reasonable and respectable position - I'm sure he'll feel a sense of achievement. But I'd be sure to check out what you're buying from him - I think you might balk at some of his ideas if you dig a little deeper.

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,05:11   

Flint wrote:
Quote
Ghost has taken a coherent, and as far as I'm concerned entirely reasonable, position. He is advocating (if I understand him correctly) as level a playing field as it is possible to maintain, cultural differences being what they are. His position is that all men are created equal (sound familiar?), and SHOULD be equal in the eyes of the law. Absolutely no Official Favoritism Or Discrimination instituted in favor of or against anyone.


Which is all fine and dandy if the playing field is already level. However, it does nothing to promote the creation of a level playing field. All it does is promote the status quo. Which, I suspect, suits the GoP down to the ground.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,06:02   

Quote (gregonomic @ Jan. 21 2006,11:11)
Flint wrote:
Quote
Ghost has taken a coherent, and as far as I'm concerned entirely reasonable, position. He is advocating (if I understand him correctly) as level a playing field as it is possible to maintain, cultural differences being what they are. His position is that all men are created equal (sound familiar?), and SHOULD be equal in the eyes of the law. Absolutely no Official Favoritism Or Discrimination instituted in favor of or against anyone.


Which is all fine and dandy if the playing field is already level. However, it does nothing to promote the creation of a level playing field. All it does is promote the status quo. Which, I suspect, suits the GoP down to the ground.

So what would you do?

Implement laws that favour people on racial grounds?
I believe that would backfire at some point.

How about trying to change negative culture, along-side trying to level the opportunities for advancement?
By which I do not mean AA, rather try to get every citizen a reasonably equal opportunity for education while promoting self-reliance.

I do believe in a welfare state. However it should be a safety net, not a lifestyle choice.

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,06:39   

Quote
So what would you do?

Implement laws that favour people on racial grounds?


Yes. I thought I'd made that clear already. It wouldn't be a permanent situation, but some sort of affirmative action would help to accelerate progress towards equality, in my view. If the current forms of affirmative action aren't working, then perhaps a different approach is required. But I don't think abandoning affirmative action altogether makes sense.

Quote
How about trying to change negative culture,...


How, exactly?

Quote
...along-side trying to level the opportunities for advancement?
By which I do not mean AA, rather try to get every citizen a reasonably equal opportunity for education while promoting self-reliance.


And how do you level the opportunities for advancement without implementing some sort of affirmative action in favour of those who are currently disadvantaged or discriminated against?

How, exactly, do you "get every citizen a reasonably equal opportunity for education while promoting self-reliance" when some people are starting from a position which is clearly disadvantaged? I don't see how you can do it without consciously giving them a leg up.

Quote
I do believe in a welfare state. However it should be a safety net, not a lifestyle choice.


On that, I'm sure we all agree.

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,06:45   

I should amend my previous statement. I don't think affirmative action (or equal opportunity legislation, or whatever you want to call it), should be "race"-based. It should apply to everyone who gets dealt a crappy hand at birth, regardless of "race".

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,07:40   

I would propose far more spending on schools and extra curicula activity. Try to get pupils to engage in both intelectual and physical education. "Be all you can be" springs to mind.

Try to find a way to reward parents for taking a positive role in a childs upbringing/education and punishments for overly negligent parenting.

Rather than just give welfare indiscriminately, expect and demand a certain type of behaviour to qualify for benefits.

Admitedly I am firing from the hip here. Though I do not think people should be given cash just for being unemployed. Something should be required in exchange.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,08:21   

Maybe education is the key here. The cycle of blacks living in poor inner-city communities, going to schools that teach almost nothing, dropping out capable of very little useful knowledge or skill, needs to be broken somewhere. The problem may lie in the local funding of schools, which tends to be hard on poor communities.

Where I live in Alabama is kind of an enclave, a city of engineers. Engineers value education very highly, and voted themselves (relatively) high local taxes to fund a really excellent school system. But other localities chose not to fund their schools, and the courts found the difference between best and worst funded schools too broad. So naturally, the state legislature decided to take the funding voted locally AWAY from those localities to subsidize those who didn't feel like paying (most of whom could pay, but didn't want to). This of course made things difficult for our local schools, so the county tried to raise school taxes again to make up the shortfall.

And this time, the voters said "We're willing to fund excellent schools for our own children. If other communities want good schools, they can pay for it." So the local schools here are deteriorating. If we pay higher taxes, the state will take the money away anyway.

So there's a problem. Busing has been tried, the idea being that if children of wealthier people are obligated to attend inner-city schools, they'll be willing to fund those schools. At least here, busing was so unpopular that there are NO school buses in my community at all. Not for anybody.

What makes a tilted playing field, even now, is that those who go through the de facto segregated school systems, for the most part, simply can't compete. I think Ghost is correct, like it or not, that the way to make such systems competitive is for those effectively restricted to them to by golly FIX them. Ghost is correct: when the Jews have been sent to the second-class institutions, they haven't subsided into resentful indifference, they have transformed what they've been handed into something excellent. Every time.

I don't know the answer. It seems pretty clear that whenever anyone lends a helping hand, whoever they lend it to reorganizes their life so they can't live without it. Which means that helping hands need strings attached and time limits. Saying this hand should be a safety net and not a lifestyle sounds great, but in practice anything that provides real safety, provides enough to live on. So a safety net isn't an amount of help, it's got to be temporary and narrowly focused. Yeah, we'll help *provided* you use that help to get on you feet, get a job, get an education. It is NOT your money; you don't get to decide how to spend it.

  
Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,08:41   

Schools should be funded at the national level rather than local or state. National standards should be required.

  
The Ghost of Paley



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,11:03   

The Yenta wrote:
Quote
However I think you are simply incorrect when you say that 'GOP' is arguing for a 'level playing field' and would not discriminate agains people on the grounds of race (or 'ethnic group' as he prefers to say).

      Dean neglects to mention that the buyouts are voluntary: anyone who declines is free to remain in America. So why do it? For one reason, it forces the malcontents to "put up or shut up": after all, it's hard to argue that the Man has got you by the throat when you can't be bribed into returning to your ancestral paradise. (Note correct usage). Second, those with a greedy, short-term mentality are self-selected for emigration, and get the chance to remake their lives. Third, America frees up money for the long-term that may be applied to foreign aid, while cementing its first-world status in the bargain.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,11:57   

GOP

So you plan to offer 'malcontented immigrants' cash bribes to emigrate on a 'voluntary basis'?

Don't be suprised when GOP comes up with Plan 'B' when this fails to have the desired effect.

Perhaps a clearer example of the slippery GOP revealing his racism (remember the definition?) is here:

Quote
'Ghost of Paley' wrote:
In fact, a cursory inspection of modern immigration history quickly identifies the groups that blend most seamlessly into the Western fabric: Europeans, Northeast Asians, and Jews (No surprise, since these groups helped create the Western identity in the first place). Now, a lot of ink has been spilled trying to identify the precise cause of this; but for our purpose the reason is immaterial. I don't care why these groups are so beneficial to Western societies, I just know that they are, and as a pragmatist, I would like to use that fact.


How exactly does GOP plan to determine whether someone is 'European', 'Nort-East Asian' or 'Jewish'.

By country of origin?, if so why didn't he say Israelis for Jews? - or would he be prepared to take someones word for it? If an Ethiopean says he is a Jew is GOP going to welcome him with open arms?

In the UK we have had a large influx of Romanies, Kosovans and Albanians that many in this country would like to see return home. As they are Europeans and therefore alright by GOP then you could solve our 'problem' by giving them all American citizenship. I'm sure our right wing press would thank you you profusely.

It is clear that you wish to discriminate on the grounds of race - (or 'ethnic group' as you put it) - not nationality, or ability and skills.

This alone is enough to define you as a 'racist'.

And are you sure that your fellow citizens would welcome this new influx of immigrants? As I understand it you don't voluntarily let many people in at the moment. I don't know anyone from the UK who has emmigrated to the States - although there are many who have gone to Canada and Australia and other places. Apparantly you let 50,000 people in through a lottery system - a tiny number compared to your population and the size of your country.

http://www.usimmigrationsupport.org/

'Level playing field' my '****'......

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,12:39   

Quote
So you plan to offer 'malcontented immigrants' cash bribes to emigrate on a 'voluntary basis'?


hmm.  what about malcontent naturalized citizens?

i coud use a bribe right about now.

I once read an article in National Review Online (came out about a year ago, IIRC) where one of the contributors was suggesting a plan to offer cash bribes to ship US malcontents (read: all those who disagree with Bush) out of the US.  he suggested Canada, and even offered to contribute some of his own money to such a plan.

I actually wrote him and asked him to put his "money where his mouth is", and send me money for a plane ticket to New Zealand.

never got a reply.

go figure.

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,16:50   

sir_toejam.

You've mentioned New Zealand a few times. As a New Zealander, I think I should warn you that New Zealand may not be the idyllic paradise you imagine it to be.

We have problems with racism that are not very different from those in the USA. Our problems have been caused by a couple of centuries of oppression of the original pre-European occupants of New Zealand, the Maori, by the more recent (primarily British) colonists. Now, Maori form a large percentage of those who are impoverished, poorly-educated, welfare-dependent, and/or imprisoned. So we're desperately in need of solutions like the ones we're discussing here.

However, in our last general election (Sept 2005), the National Party (the centre-[verging-on-far-]right party) ran a campaign based largely on racial issues, and proposed policies similar to those of the Republican Party's (tax-cuts for the wealthy, increased privatisation of education and health, reduced social welfare). And they almost won. They got ~39% of the vote; only the Labour Party (centre-right) got more votes (~41%).

We have a proportional representation system in NZ, so Labour was able to form a (somewhat tenuous) coalition with several of the minor parties - we'll see how long it lasts.

My point is that a significant proportion of the New Zealand population is very socially and fiscally conservative and environmentally unfriendly; perhaps not quite as many evangelical Christians as in the USA, but still plenty of fundies.

I'm not trying to alarm you, or to discourage you from moving to New Zealand (you're exactly the kind of person we want to immigrate), but I wasn't sure how much time you've actually spent there, and I wanted you to be aware of what's going on.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 21 2006,20:02   

thanks for the alternative perspective.

I hear different things from different folks there of course, and have talked with friends who have spent a lot of time there off and on.  some stressed that there are far more there than here that actually care about controlled growth and protecting environmental resources.

I doubt you would find any government anywhere that isn't dealing with similar issues these days.

bottom line tho, the main difference to me is that NZ is, well, small.  

You guys aren't planning on invading any foreign countries in the near future are you?  

no plans to have your government become an empire?

while a "significant" portion of NZ might be contrary to my sense of taste, it isn't the larger majority, as it has become here in the US.

plus, there appears to be a rapidly increasing interest in Marine research there, and I'd love to get back into doing some research again, especially with a totally different ecosystem than the ones in CA and the tropics I'm familiar with.

I'd love to chat more with ya about it in private; shoot me an email:  fisheyephotos AT hotmail DOT com.

cheers

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2006,02:53   

For a look at New Zealand from a different perspective check out the film 'Once were Warriors'.

A very powerful film in its own right. I guess gregonomic could comment on how accurate it is.

The political situation in New Zealand sounds like that in Tasmania where my sister lives. Many communities of 'Greenies' and people seeking alternative lifestyles; and many other communities of  people who have traditionally depended on extracting their living from the environment in a more direct way.

No suprise that they have rather different views about logging primary forest, mining, dam-building and heavy industry; and that this seems connected to their social outlook.

No racial problems to speak of though - we wiped out all the Tasmanians and used convicts for cheap labour.

Australia is a thus a nation of 'malcontents' but they seem to have done rather well for themselves. Don't think many would want to come back to blighty for a few bucks. Their equivalents of the GOP aren't as keen as he is on 'North-East Asians' - and would happily 'send them all back'.

Perhaps they could establish some kind of trade in 'malcontents' - swap you some latinos for some Phillipinos sort of thing?

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2006,04:45   

Dean,

"Once Were Warriors" (the movie) is obviously a dramatised/Hollywood-ised account, but it's not totally divorced from reality. Many Maori are still caught in that cycle of poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence.

Interestingly, Alan Duff, the author of the book on which the movie was based, is very outspoken on what he thinks are the best ways for Maori to break this cycle. He thinks education is the key, and that Maori have to take it upon themselves to get themsleves, and their children, educated. So maybe you're onto something, Stephen.

He has started programs called "Books for Schools" and "Books in Homes", to encourage corporations to donate to schools in poor areas, to help improve literacy in young Maori.

There is also a lot of anti-Asian sentiment in New Zealand. Paradoxically, our Prime Minister, Helen Clark, who is a very intelligent and moderate leader, appointed the leader of the NZ First Party, Winston Peters, as Minister of Foreign Affairs when she formed the coalition in October. Peters has been one of the most vocal critics of our immigration policies, particularly with regards to Asian immigrants.

sir_toejam,

It's true, because of our size, New Zealand has to rely on diplomacy over force. But the leader of the National Party, Don Brash, has been equivocal over whether he would have joined the "coalition of the willing" had he been in power at the time. It seems clear that he probably would have. Which would have put New Zealand right up there with Australia as one of the prime terrorist targets.

You're right though, it's a good place for marine research, if you can find the money (funding for research in New Zealand is abysmal, hence why I live in the USA).

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,06:42   

Mr. Wiggles, you can run but you can't hide. George is gonna getcha!!!!   ;)   :p

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,09:25   

Hey pussy!  don't let uncle georgie do your work for you!

Anytime you want to get rid of me faster,all you have to do is send me a check.

I've made the same offer to dozens of "patriotic americans" who have suggested things similar to your own.

none of them seem to be able to put their money where their mouth is.

all of them, like yourself, full of sound and fury.

wrap yourself in the flag if you want.  it won't help you from being a pussy.

pussy :p

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,12:13   

Quote
Anytime you want to get rid of me faster,all you have to do is send me a check.

Not when you've got your own slushfund to draw on. Get a cheaper grade of blow, or coeds with with lower test scores. You ain't gettin a dime from me.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,12:29   

like i said....

pussy.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,13:09   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Jan. 23 2006,18:13)
Quote
Anytime you want to get rid of me faster,all you have to do is send me a check.

Not when you've got your own slushfund to draw on. Get a cheaper grade of blow, or coeds with with lower test scores. You ain't gettin a dime from me.

Holy shit, who'da thought GoP would have it in him to be this funny??

Getting funding to leave the country in proper style is all the more important now that Canada looks like it's on the verge of going all Republican on us...

So unless you want to move to Montreal and learn French after they split off, it looks like Australia is the best bet.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,13:19   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 23 2006,19<!--emo&:0)
...it looks like Australia is the best bet.

Are you joking??? They re-elected Bush's chum John Howard and the Liberals in the last election. Same sh*t, different pile, if you ask me.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 23 2006,19:12   

agreed.



Based on what I've seen, The land "down under" has gone bonzo conservative in the last decade or so. it might overall be even a bit to the right of the US.  

I tried to figure out what might be fueling this trend, but I came up empty.

btw, it's always been my impression that the Canadian goverment is pretty much only for those that live in Montreal; maybe has a bit of influence in Toronto, but that's about it.

has that changed?

seems like the time I spent in Vancouver, it was like they didn't even know they had a government!

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2006,01:14   

I seem to remember quite a lot of Ozzies would like to send you Kiwis back Gregonomic. :)

At this rate it's going to be quite busy in the garden of Eden.
Mind you - it would be cool to have a chat with that talking snake - I wonder if he knows anything about string theory?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2006,09:54   

Sir Wiggles wrote:
Quote
Based on what I've seen, The land "down under" has gone bonzo conservative in the last decade or so. it might overall be even a bit to the right of the US.  

You can always count on liberal programs and Muslim pogroms to deprogram the masses. Thanks, guys, for introducing the Land Down Under to reality therapy. Dipped into your slushfund yet?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2006,11:52   

Could you translate that into English please GOP.

... and do you multifarious talents actually extend to the 'abitity to  travel outside your own country'?

Travel does 'broaden the mind' you know.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,01:30   

Quote (Dean Morrison @ Jan. 24 2006,17:52)
Could you translate that into English please GOP.

I believe he is saying.

"Go too far against the majority wishes in any democratic country and the population will swing dramatically in the other direction."

At least I think that is what he means.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,03:07   

I think he's saying something much simpler:
liberal=evil
disagrees with me=evil
therefore, disagrees with me=liberal

Oh yes, I guess Muslims are also evil.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,04:46   

Quote
Oh yes, I guess Muslims are also evil.


Only when they harass others, as is often the case in Australia. Can't a whitebread have a swim when he wants? Or is this another freedom we must surrender?  :D

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,06:34   

Quote
Only when they harass others, as is often the case in Australia.


... so I take it you've been there then GOP?

  
gregonomic



Posts: 44
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,06:56   

Quote (Dean Morrison @ Jan. 24 2006,07:14)
I seem to remember quite a lot of Ozzies would like to send you Kiwis back Gregonomic.

Yeah, it's true, there are a lot of NZers (including some of my friends and family) making hay in Australia while the sun is shining. I've even considered moving there myself.

BTW, I worded my previous post a little harshly - I was referring mainly to the current government than Australian citizens. I love Australians, especially when they're beating us at cricket and rugby.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,07:18   

Quote
... so I take it you've been there then GOP?

If I was the liar people make me out to be, I could simply answer "yes" and watch the Yenta spin in circles. But I haven't been to Aussieland, so I'll just lead him to a magic information box! Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm available for further help if anyone needs me....

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,07:34   

Quote
Only when they harass others, as is often the case in Australia.


.. Oh I see, so this is another of your 'assertions'.
I've been there by the way - including to Sydney, and I don't recall this being one of their 'worries' mate.

So am I right in thinking that you have no need to travel the world to 'broaden your mind' GOP?

All you have to do is stay at home and 'trawl the magic box'.

So you can pretend to yourself that you are an expert on things - when the reality is that you a bizarre little disembodied entity.

Oh I forgot you live in 'Paley's world don't you.

Must be a sad place.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,08:21   

Quote
.. Oh I see, so this is another of your 'assertions'.
I've been there by the way - including to Sydney, and I don't recall this being one of their 'worries' mate.

That's not an M.P., that's a Y.P.
Quote
So you can pretend to yourself that you are an expert on things - when the reality is that you a bizarre little disembodied entity.

No pretend to it. Don't feel too bad, though - it's not easy information to obtain. The Marxist media prefers to cover certain things up, wait for the inevitable reaction, then report said reaction without the necessary context. Like in Cronulla beach, let's say. Oops sorry...we yanks aren't supposed to know the background behind that...<zombie>The riots were due entirely to racism and xenophobia. There was no cause for any anger. Less freedom is the answer. Less freedom is the answer. Less.....</zombie>

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,13:32   

GOP .. you have the freedom to travel the world - but am I right in thinking you've never actually been anywhere, and see no need to - because you can stay at home and Googletrawl? Even though you have to allow for the Marxist media - although something tells me 'Fox' would be your channel of choice - or are they 'Marxist' in your eyes?

Oh I heard about the trouble in Sydney too - but I was interested in your assertion that it is 'often the case' that 'Muslims harrass people in Australia'?

Googletrawl for some evidence for that if you want to.

I'll stick by my first hand experience if you don't mind...


I have also noticed that whenever a specialist starts talking about their field - then Wow! - what a co-incidence - half an hour later you are an expert too. But I'm afraid that people see though a 'Googletrawler' like yourself - I was suspicious when you started quoting a rather obscure paper about the 'White Gene' - I'm sure you were dissapointed when you found it, and the term wasn't quite used in the way that you had hoped. You were found out my friend.

I have to admire your balls for the way you pick fights with you intellectual superiors - although I'm afraid they lose respect for you when you run away as soon as things start to get a little hot for you and you are clearly out of your depth.

How long have you been keeping these guys waiting at 'Paley's Ghost can back up his assertions' for this 'paper' you are working on?

I'm afraid your hit and run tactics don't work any more.

Whoever you are, you are a fraud - and you scare no one.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2006,14:43   

Quote
GOP .. you have the freedom to travel the world - but am I right in thinking you've never actually been anywhere, and see no need to - because you can stay at home and Googletrawl?

As with so many other things, you are mistaken: I've been to several foreign countries - England included. But in addition to traveling, I rely on scientific research, news articles, and other people's experiences to shape my world view. And much of this evidence exists on the internet.
Quote
But I'm afraid that people see though a 'Googletrawler' like yourself - I was suspicious when you started quoting a rather obscure paper about the 'White Gene' - I'm sure you were dissapointed when you found it, and the term wasn't quite used in the way that you had hoped. You were found out my friend.

Your inability to absorb information is duly noted. This flaw is reflected in many ways: for example, I notice that you still can't spell "disappointed" despite being corrected on at least one occasion. You chose an apt avatar.
Quote
I have to admire your balls for the way you pick fights with you intellectual superiors - although I'm afraid they lose respect for you when you run away as soon as things start to get a little hot for you and you are clearly out of your depth.

Even if true, how does this make you look? In our only debate, you were clobbered so badly that you've resorted to following me around Panda's Thumb and lying about my politics, to the point where even your ideological allies beg you to quit. Pathetic.
Quote
I'm afraid your hit and run tactics don't work any more.
Whoever you are, you are a fraud - and you scare no one.

Then why are you the one that's sweating?

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,00:49   

... all that chasing you around you slippery thing.....

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,00:58   

As for the Avatar.. perhaps it didn't occur to you that a little

Socratic Irony

... might be involved?  I understand it's a concept many Americans are said to struggle with?

What were your impressions of England when you came here by the way? - Perhaps you'd like to give your answers over at that ever-popular thread, the: English Garden Party

  
tiredofthesos



Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,01:42   

GoP, if he isn't simply the greatest false troll of all-time, displays perhaps the most unpleasant, deceit-filled horsehokey still allowed to post at PT.

 Here, on this thread, we can see him at his nadir (a very, VERY low point indeed, declaring victory for a defeat, in a tone that leaks right through the screen like the girl from "Ringu" except that, instead of horror it provokes absolute disgust.

 How can a human be SO dishonest, so mean-spirited, and yet live?

 Better he were "a pair of claws, scuttling across..." :angry:

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,05:28   

Hey, leave Eliot out of this! When he's not writing about his %^$# cats, the lad shows ability.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,09:45   

GOP is actually a 'Lab Bench Experiment' of mine...

I am very cruel and unsophisticated - I find an anonymous life-form and then poke it to see what happpens???

apart from the predictable squirming - I don't see much.

Others have tried more respectable ways of getting information..

but they are very patient with him - he can always use the 'runny nose' excuse.

(As someone who has kept a responsible job together whilst suffering from debilitating and life-threatening asthma - I'll hope you forgive the 'cheap shot';).

Gop - you are obviously capable of critical thought, - and consider yourself to be quite clever.

Has it ever occurred to you to put your talents to the common good?

give something of your time for nothing perhaps?

in return you might learn from those less fortunate than yourself...

I'm an Atheist - I don't need a reason to do that kind of thing - I understand you are a Christian? - aren't you supposed to do that kind of thing automatically?

... just wondering????

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,10:07   

Quote
Has it ever occurred to you to put your talents to the common good?

give something of your time for nothing perhaps?

in return you might learn from those less fortunate than yourself...

How do you know that I don't help the less fortunate?
Quote
I'm an Atheist - I don't need a reason to do that kind of thing - I understand you are a Christian? - aren't you supposed to do that kind of thing automatically?

... just wondering?

I do because I want to, not because I have to.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,11:33   

Nothing about you can be kown all the time you hide behind an Avatar GOP...

So I'm free to work from the information I have from your posts....

I suppose that, if: someone wins a Nobel prize for something that helps the poor, or disadvantaged, in years to come and says: "  .. and I am the Nobel winning scientist formerly known as GOP!"
.. then I could be proved wrong...

hmmm....

do you mind if I stay with my view that you are are a; sad little racist fraud; until I get some empirical evidence to the contrary?

Is there anything you have ever done that you are proud enough to put your real name to for example?

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,11:41   

Hey Gop!..

let's choose a 'good cause'and see if we can 'do something' together..

I'll let you nominate  a cause that we both might agree on..

if I don't agree .. I have to get a turn ..

and so on until we can both agree on one 'common cause'

how about giving it a try?

wouldn't it be fun to put our 'brainpower'  together for the common good'?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 26 2006,15:50   

How about this cause?
Quote
I also believe that America should buy out those crusty South African farmers and work with the World Bank to train replacement black farmers. The Mugabe policy that the South African government is currently pursuing will result in mass starvation and the entire destabilization of South Africa. And when that happens, the libs will wring their hands and blame Whitey. While black people starve.


--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2006,00:49   

.. sounds fair enough on the surface..

... but by 'crusty' do you mean 'white'?
I understood that the ANC were fairly happy with their farmers and weren't proposing massive land reform?
...i'm all for spending a bit on training and education though...

I'm no fan of Mugabe by the way - although I happened to go to school with one of his nieces when she was a refugee - really sweet girl.

Is there a specific charity working in the area you are describing or is this just an idea?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2006,07:51   

Quote
... but by 'crusty' do you mean 'white'?

Of course the farmers are white; the effects of apartheid don't vanish at the pop of a champaign cork. The question is how to redress these inequities. Until recently, the ANC has let the better angels of its conscience guide its land reform policy, but sluggish economic growth and intransigent farmers have blocked progress. Most farmers will probably accept fair market value for their plots, but absent foreign aid, the money is lacking. A little carrot-and-sticking would work wonders here, and I suspect that Caporegime Bush can provide the <ahem> motivation. Our resources, alas, continue to be frittered away on Neocon opium visions.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2006,07:57   

Look you two, I'm sure the South African government and peoples are grateful for your advice, but does Mr P. really have time for this with his "guts to gametes" to prepare.

And what about Cogzoid and Ericmurphy!

  
Dean Morrison



Posts: 216
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 27 2006,12:40   

Sorry Mr Fox - I have tried to point out to 'Mr Ghost of Paley' that he should stop wittering on here and get on with his paper for you - but I didn't think my efforts were appreciated?

Mr Cogzoid does say very rude things about my 'content-free posts' and doesn't appreciate I'm trying to help..

Oh!well..

anyway not sure about 'Guts to Gametes' - but Mr Gop has had time to get himself a funky little avatar, so I suppose he's achieved something this week.

I am intrigued to see if he has a human side, and whether we might ever find it possible to find some common ground, and even provoke each other into doing something for the common good.

As long as he thinks about that in his spare time I suppose that would be okay wouldn't it?

  
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