Evergreen State and why Whites Can’t be Allies

Evergreen State is the sort of small-potatoes college that I don’t normally focus on in my regular Cathedral Round-Ups. It accepts 98% of applicants— 1,707 out of 1,744 in a recent year–with an average SAT score of 1084. According to Pumpkin Person’s conversion table, this works out to an average student IQ of about 112, too low to benefit from college instruction.

You have probably already heard about the recent protests at Evergreen State, in which students have gone completely insane in response to a professor objecting to segregation. Here is a decent article, though by the time this posts there will probably be a variety of new developments.

The students themselves are morally repugnant, but it is unsurprising that sometimes people say and do stupid things. Like terrorist “incidents,” leftist students turning on their professors and trying to destroy their lives is now routine, surprising to no one but the professors themselves, who until the attack descended saw themselves as good leftists.

The left’s power to destroy their own depends on their cultish claim to a monopoly on morality. To be liberal is to be a “good person,” an identity people cling to even as they are attacked and their lives destroyed by “their own side.” The entire construct is built on the desire to not be racist, America’s “Original Sin,” and thus attacks hinge on claims that the professor actually is racist.

All of these attacks would stop, of course, if universities simply declared that they don’t care if professors are racist or not. After all, students regularly protest over matters like cafeteria meal plans or housing, but universities ignore these protests and they die quickly. Universities don’t care if you like their food, but they are deeply invested in leftist ideology and its promotion.

These protests aren’t motivated by anything a normal person would call “racism”–leftist professors are pretty good at avoiding anything that looks like conventional racism–but bad allyship.

An Ally, in SJW-speak, is a “privileged” person who has dedicated themselves to helping the “unprivileged.” For example, a straight person might be an LGBT ally or a white person might be a black ally.

In politics, allies work together for their mutual benefit, typically against a common enemy. An alliance between the US and Britain or Germany and Japan is supposed to help both countries. An alliance between whites and blacks would therefore be to the mutual benefit of both parties. Whites would defend blacks from harm, and blacks would defend whites from harm. Neither group would attack each other.

But “white allies” are not working for the benefit of white people. They’re working against their own self-interest. This is where the whole matter breaks down, because privilege theory teaches that whites, as a whole, have benefited from the oppression of black (and brown) people. The promotion of white interests is therefore in direct opposition to the promotion of black interests.

The “rules for allies” are pretty simple:

  1. Shut up and listen to the black people
  2. Do what the black people tell you to do
  3. Don’t protest that you know more about racism or fighting racism than they do
  4. Leave black people alone and don’t take over their events and spaces

This is all perfectly sensible if you are a black person trying to promote black interests, but not particularly in the interests of anyone who isn’t black.

Professor Weinstein objected to a “Day of Absence” in which SJWs wanted all white people to stay off campus for the day, leaving the space solely for POC enjoyment. (As though universities were some kind of social hall and not money-making businesses.) Weinstein saw this as forced segregation aimed at himself at a place where he is, after all, not merely socializing but trying to earn a living. Of course the “Day of Absence” is being portrayed as “entirely voluntary,” but somehow refusal to take part is being met with screaming protests, violence, and general campus shutdown.

Weinstein’s version of fighting racism involves treating all people equally, not harming people like himself. The protesters’ version requires whites to give up their own self-interest in order to benefit others–indeed, anti-racists call for the abolition of “whiteness” entirely. But of course this is not an alliance, and is why “allies” are never treated as such, but with barely concealed hatred and disdain. Weinstein’s desire to not be segregated solely because of his race is so shocking to these people that they have actually responded by violently hunting him down and driving him off campus.

 

Edited to avoid confusion–did not mean to imply that 112 IQ is stupid, though many Evergreen students clearly are.

Guest Post: A Quick History of the Russia Conspiracy Hysteria

EvX: Today we have an Anonymous Guest Post on the History of the Russia Conspiracy Hysteria. (Your normally scheduled anthropology will resume next Friday):

2011: Liberals get excited about Arab Spring. They love the idea of overthrowing dictators and replacing governments across the Middle East with democracies. They largely don’t realize that these democracies will be fundamentalist Islamic states.

Official US government policy supports and assists rebels in Syria against Assad. Leaked emails show how the US supported al Qaeda forces. See Step by Step: How Hillary and Obama Incubated ISIS.

Note that ISIS is also fighting against Assad, putting the US effectively on the ISIS side here. US support flowed to Syrian rebel forces, which may have included ISIS. ISIS is on the side of democracy and multiculturalism, after all.

Russia, meanwhile, is becoming more of a problem for the US Middle East agenda because of its support for Assad. In 2013, this comes to a head with the alleged Assad chemical weapons attack. Everyone gets very upset about chemical weapons and mad at the Russians for supporting Assad. Many calls for regime change in Syria were made. ISIS is also gaining power, and Russia is intervening directly against them. We can’t have Russia bombing ISIS, can we?

As a result, around 2013 Russia started to gain much more prominence as “our” enemy. This is about when I started to see the “Wikileaks is a Russian operation” and “ZeroHedge is Russian propaganda” memes, although there are archives of this theory from as early as 2011–Streetwise Professor: Peas in a PoD: Occupy, RT, and Zero Hedge.

There is, of course, negligible evidence for either of these theories, but that didn’t stop them from spreading. Many hackers have come from Russia over the years, and Russia was surely happy about many of Wikileaks’ releases, but that does not mean that they’re receiving money or orders from Russia.

In 2014, Russia held the Olympics, and around that time there was a lot of publicity about how Russia does not allow gay marriage. Surely only an evil country could prohibit it. Needless to say, I saw little said about Saudi Arabia’s position on gay marriage.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and sanctions were introduced against Russia. Most likely the annexation was opposed because this would mean that Crimean gays would not be able to get married any time soon.

[EvX: I think Anon is being sarcastic here and does actually understand geostrategy.]

The combination of Russian interference in opposition to ISIS plus the annexation of Crimea was just too much for liberals and cuckservatives still opposed to “Soviet” influence, and various aggressive statements toward Russia began to come from Hillary and members of Congress.

Trump enters the presidential race in 2015, and he wonders why we’re opposing Russian actions against ISIS. Why are we taking agressive stands that could lead to war with Russia? What’s in it for Americans?

Obviously could only mean that Trump was a Russian agent. And who would a Russian agent work with but Russian hackers and the Russian Wikileaks agency?

Wikileaks released the DNC emails in July 2016, and they released the Podesta emails shortly before the election. Since Americans were known to not have any access to any of the leaked information, it could only have come from Russian government hackers.

Liberals have assumed that any contacts between the Trump team and Russian diplomats prior to the election were related to illegal coordination to influence or “hack” the election. Never mind that communication between presidential campaigns and foreign diplomats is not uncommon–CNN Politics: Obama Takes Campaign Trail Overseas.

Following the election, Trump associate Flynn might have said to the Russians that the sanctions could possibly be reexamined at some point, thus obviously severely interfering with US diplomatic relations. Of course this statement has been worthy of an extensive FBI investigation.

Most recently we have the “leak” of classified information from Trump to Russia, in which Trump told the Russians to be on the lookout for ISIS bombs smuggled onto planes in laptops. Apparently this is very bad because it’s important for ISIS to successfully bomb Russian civilian planes if they feel like it.

 

Let’s sum up this logic:
Russia is bad because they oppose US efforts to install Islamic fundamentalist governments in the Middle East, because they oppose gay marriage, and because taking Crimea is basically the same as Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

Russia is full of hackers. Assange is a Russian agent since he publishes information leaked from the US. Trump is a Russian agent since he opposes war with Russia.

Russians hacked the DNC and Podesta at Trump’s request and gave the information to Wikileaks. Flynn interfered with US diplomacy. Trump is giving US secrets to Russia.

 

Note the strength of this narrative despite its very flimsy evidence. Investigations into Trump’s “Russian connections” can continue endlessly so long as people believe in them.

What if Dems actually know they’re lying? Then what?

I am still trying to process the election, so thinking out loud. I wrote some stuff last night, then deleted it on the grounds that my 3 AM ramblings maybe aren’t the best. So trying again…

Most of the liberals I know fall into one of two categories: The SJW True Believers, and the Principled Pragmatists.

The SJWs are basically everything you expect out of SJWs–annying, self-righteous, and they blame everything on the cis-heter0-white-patriarchy. They call everything “problematic” or “racist” and basically sound like Tim Wise all the time. Most of them strike me as aggressive assholes who’ve found a new way to show their superiority, but a few are quite sincere and really do make sacrifices to help others.

The Principled Pragmatists are more like your old school liberals from 1995. They hold to values like freedom of speech and equality of opportunity, favored free trade, and if they thought about Muslims, their primary concern wasn’t Islamaphobia but female oppression. Most of the PPs share the SJWs’ concern for helping others, but are a lot less annoying about it (and thus come across as more sincere.) Many admit that the SJWs are unpleasant, if not actually nuts, but they also recite a lot of SJW talking points, because these days, SJWs dominate the left’s memetic constructions (and I’m not talking about funny pictures people share on the internet.)

Slate Star Codex is a good example of a Principled Pragmatist. He is pro-trans, pro-gay, polyamorous, votes Democrat, and as far as I can tell, donates lots of money to African charities, but he gets a lot of flak for saying that he thinks SJWs are mean to people. (Somehow people mistake “Please be nicer to people” for “Right-wing zealot!”)

Just as the @Wikileaks “Podesta Emails” show that at least one person in regular communication with Hillary’s campaign knows exactly what everyone in the orthosphere has been denigrated for saying:

“What makes for successful immigration?

It’s no brain surgery, but the media have long failed to provide a clear credible answer. They are unable to come up with an answer or don’t like the answer that’s staring them in the face. The main reason behind successful immigration should be painfully obvious to even the most dimwitted of observers: Some groups of people are almost always highly successful given only half a chance (Jews*, Hindus/Sikhs and Chinese people, for example), while others (Muslims, blacks** and Roma***, for instance) fare badly almost irrespective of circumstances.”

The “Multikultistan” email is also interesting; I urge you to read it if you haven’t yet.

Many of the Principled Pragmatists I know personally admit, at least in private, to agreeing with much of this. Unlike the SJWs, they have no illusions that Muslims are pro-gay or pro-feminist. They are aware that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime and that Affirmative Action exists because they don’t score very well on SATs. (SJWs, by contrast, will threaten to send you to the gulag for suggesting that blacks and whites score differently.) They also know that Jews and Asians regularly out perform whites on various tests and make more money.

There’s a rather similar situation in religion (and, yes, I know liberalism functions like religious belief,) as I touched on way back in A Complicating Wrinkle of Uncomplicating Insight. Mainline and moderate Protestants tend to regard Christianity as largely metaphorical, but containing some sort of important truth. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, by contrast, tend to be very literal. They believe in a literal Hell, a literal Devil, that Jesus is actually God-son-of-God made flesh, that God took 6 days to make the world, etc. The Evangelicals are more fervent in their belief than the moderates, and the moderates think the Evangelicals are a little nuts, but they’re still both Christians, and push come to shove, they tend to support each other. (Moderates who have actually become SJWs don’t count.)

Hillary Clinton likes to talk about SJW-buzzwords like “intersectionality,” “structural racism” and the importance of “implicit bias training” for police officers. But Hillary doesn’t need to invoke pseudo-scientific balderdash to explain why so many black men are in prison: her husband put them there, a move she supported them with her famous “superpredators” speech back in 1994.

In 1994, Hillary knew that inner-city ghettos were full of drugs, crime, and violence, and supported white police officers doing something about it, but when Donald Trump said the same thing, she called him “ignorant.”

Any rational person can evaluate the data on police shootings and conclude that high rates of interaction between blacks and the police probably have more to do with high black crime rates than implicit police bias. Hillary certainly knows this, which is why she doesn’t live in a poor, black neighborhood, even though she could save a bundle on housing cost that way.

So if they don’t believe it, what is, really, all the fuss about? The biggest thing motivating Trump’s voters are 1. Opposition to mass immigration, (especially Muslim) and 2. the conviction that libs don’t like them. On point 1, I’m pretty sure libs can at least understand the argument that increasing the labor pool lowers wages. Even if they think the argument is wrong, it’s hard to fault someone for believing it. (And they know that Muslims tend to be pretty socially conservative.) On point 2., well, it’s really hard to miss the disdain Hillary shows toward her “basket of deplorables.” Conservatives are fairly regularly told that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic, irredeemable, “not even American,” or otherwise downright evil. It gets a little old.

Obviously democracy itself (and our specific variety of it) is to blame for the left-right split into two different tribes duking it out and trying to obliterate each other at the ballot box, but still… what’s the point of it all?

I’ll have probably sorted some of this out by the time this posts.

Chimps, Dominance, and the Irony of Riots

protester beaten with hammer by Black Lives Matter protesters
Remember this guy, with his “Stop killing black people” shirt, who was beaten with a hammer by other Black Lives Matter protesters?

The anti-Trump riots/protests going on right now seem at first glance, to be highly counter-productive: most of the rioters live in highly liberal areas, so the majority of people they intimidate, assault, or rob are not Trump supporters, but actually on their own side.

Remember when a black cop shot a black criminal and blacks rioted, looting their own stores, and the criminal’s sister scolded them, telling them to “take that shit to the suburbs” because “we need our weaves!”?

Or when the citizens of Detroit rioted, burning down 2,000 buildings, thus driving out small businesses and the entire middle class base and sending the city into an economic death spiral?

Just as when watching small children run and scream on the playground, I am reminded here of Jane Goodall’s descriptions of chimpanzees, especially their dominance displays. Here is an account of one that went awry:

Just then Flint, six months older than Goblin, came bouncing up and the two children began to play, both showing their lower teeth in the chimpanzee’s playful smile. Flo was reclining nearby grooming Figan; Goblin’s mother, Melissa, was a little farther away, also grooming. It was so peaceful…. All at once a series of pant-hoots announced the arrival of more chimpanzees, and there was instant commotion in the group. Flint pulled away from the game and hurried to jump onto Flo’s back as she moved for safety halfway up a palm tree. I saw Mike with his hair on end beginning to hoot; I knew he was about to display. So did the other chimpanzees of his group–all were alert, prepared to dash out of the way or to join in the displaying. All, that is, save Goblin. He seemed totally unconcerned and, incredibly, began to totter toward Mike. Melissa, squeaking with fear, was hurrying toward her son, but she was too late. Mike began his charge, and as he passed Goblin seized him up as though he were a branch and dragged him along the ground.

picture-32Since you don’t have the benefit of having the entire book in front of you, I’ll explain what’s going on, just in case you’re confused: when two groups of chimps meet, or a male chimp enters a group of other chimps, it’s very normal for the males to engage in dominance displays (or just “display,” as Jane puts it.) These displays are aggressive and involve a lot of running around, waving and shaking branches at each other, and making noise, but don’t generally involve actual violence. By making it clear which chimp is the strongest, weaker chimps simply back down without getting into an actual fight.

When the males are about to display, all of the females, being smaller and weaker, grab their kids and get out of the way. Chimpanzee aggression is not normally aimed at chimpanzee children, who of course are helpless against a full-grown male. However, in this case, little Goblin didn’t realize what was going on, and Mike, in his all-consuming rage at the newcomers, didn’t realize that he had grabbed Goblin instead of a tree branch.

An then the normally fearful, cautious Melissa, frantic for her child, hurled herself at Mike. It was unprecedented behavior, and she got severely beaten up for her interference, but she did succeed in rescuing Goblin–the infant lay, pressed close to the ground and screaming, where the dominant male had dropped him. Even before Mike had ceased his attack on Melissa the old male Huxley had seized Goblin from the ground. I felt sure he too was going to display with the infant, but he remained quite still, holding the child and staring down at him almost, it seemed in bewilderment. Then as Melissa, screaming and bleeding, escaped from Mike, Huxley set the infant on the ground. As his mother hurried up to him Goblin leaped into her arms…

Normally, small infants are shown almost unlimited tolerance from all other members of the community; it almost seem as though the adult male may lose many of his social inhibitions during his charging display.”

Note that Mike is not normally aggressive toward infants–at another time, when Goblin got lost, Mike actually rescued him and stayed with him until Melissa returned for him. Chimps don’t really pair bond and so they don’t have “fathers” who care for their young the way their mothers do, devotedly, for years, but all of the males in a troop are likely to be related to the young in the troop in some manner, either as brothers or uncles or cousins or fathers, and so quite sensibly they do not generally try to kill their own relatives.

Mike’s urge to display in front of these newcomers was so strong that it completely overwhelmed his normal senses. The aggressive instinct is no mere luxury–showing that he is stronger than the other chimps is how Mike keeps his own troop safe.

picture-26There is a saying that “Democracy is war by other means.” The two sides line up, count their troops, and declares the side with more soldiers the winner.

Well, Hillary Clinton’s soldiers have refused to accept the headcount. They refuse to accept their new alpha chimp, and they are out there, rioting, protesting, displaying their strength. It doesn’t matter whether they display by grabbing a branch, an infant, or a smashed window. It doesn’t matter if they loot their own neighborhoods and light their own cars on fire. The message is still the same: We are Strong. We are violent. Don’t fuck with us.

As I noted before, when the chimps Jane was studying in the Gombe split into two groups, the chimpanzees of the Kahama region of the Gombe Stream went to war against the chimps of Kasakala in 1974:

The two [groups] had previously been a single, unified community, but by 1974 researcher Jane Goodall, who was observing the community, first noticed the chimps dividing themselves into northern and southern sub-groups.[2]

The Kahama group, in the south, consisted of six adult males (among them the chimpanzees known to Goodall as “Hugh”, “Charlie”, and “Goliath”), three adult females and their young, and an adolescent male (known as “Sniff”).[2] The larger Kasakela group, meanwhile, consisted of twelve adult females and their young, and eight adult males.[2] …

The first outbreak of violence occurred on January 7, 1974,[4] when a party of six adult Kasakela males attacked and killed “Godi”, a young Kahama male …

Over the next four years, all six of the adult male members of the Kahama were killed by the Kasakela males.[5] Of the females from Kahama, one was killed, two went missing, and three were beaten and kidnapped by the Kasakela males.[5] The Kasakela then succeeded in taking over the Kahama’s former territory.[5]

I have the luxury of reading this account after already hearing, at least vaguely, that chimps wage war on each other. To Jane–despite having observed chimpanzee belligerence for years–it came as a surprise:

The outbreak of the war came as a disturbing shock to Goodall, who had previously considered chimpanzees to be, although similar to human beings, “rather ‘nicer’” in their behavior.[7] Coupled with the observation in 1975 of cannibalistic infanticide by a high-ranking female in the community, the violence of the Gombe war first revealed to Goodall the “dark side” of chimpanzee behavior.[7] She was profoundly disturbed by this revelation; in her memoir Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe, she wrote:

“For several years I struggled to come to terms with this new knowledge. Often when I woke in the night, horrific pictures sprang unbidden to my mind—Satan [one of the apes], cupping his hand below Sniff’s chin to drink the blood that welled from a great wound on his face; old Rodolf, usually so benign, standing upright to hurl a four-pound rock at Godi’s prostrate body; Jomeo tearing a strip of skin from Dé’s thigh; Figan, charging and hitting, again and again, the stricken, quivering body of Goliath, one of his childhood heroes. [8]”

For all our talk of anti-racism, we are still just shit-flinging monkeys.

War.

It is worrying indeed that we have drifted so far apart that liberals are violently displaying against conservatives, treating them like an entirely separate tribe to be beaten, dismembered, and destroyed.

And especially foolish since conservatives have the vast majority of guns and ammunition.

For all our talk of anti-racism, we are still just shit-flinging monkeys.
For all our talk of anti-racism, we are still just shit-flinging monkeys.

The first rule of liberal club: Don’t insult the outgroup.

The rules of Liberal Club:

  1. Don’t say negative things about the outgroups
  2. Don’t say positive things about the ingroup that make the outgroups look bad by comparison
  3. “Conservatives”–mostly white males–are the “ingroup”

(I am aware that “outgroup” and “ingroup” are not necessarily the best words here, because liberals use a funny definition of “ingroup” that is more “ingroup to America” than “ingroup to themselves.” We could also phrase this as “dominant majority” vs. “less-powerful minority,” or just “cis-het WASP males,” but there are issues with this phrasing, as well.)

I’m not sure what the rules of Conservative Club are, as it is much harder to inspire an angry conservative Twitter mob than a liberal one. Likewise, liberals (or at least Democrats) are the folk who’ve been violently attacking people at political rallies, not conservatives:

So the best I’ve come up with so far is that outgroups don’t get to criticize the ingroup, as exemplified in the re-branding of “french fries” as “freedom fries” following French criticism of the US plan to bomb Iraq. In general, conservatives believe that it is acceptable to say negative things about others so long as they are true, and it often doesn’t occur to them that others might think elsewise. (This leads to the perception that conservatives are rude.)

(Hrm. I think in general, conservatives respond more strongly to [perceived] physical threats, eg, Bush launching the War on Terror following the 9-11 attack vs. Bill Clinton not bombing anything after the first Al Qaeda bombing of the WTC, or the recent hoopla over Target letting trans people use the bathroom they self-identify with.)

The liberal demand that you never, ever say anything bad about the outgroups explains some otherwise inexplicable results, like Scott Alexander–an LGBT friendly, polyamorous, asexual, atheist Jew who basically agrees with basic SJW theses that blacks and women are oppressed in various ways–getting called “right wing” just because he is willing to say that sometimes SJWs are really mean to people who probably don’t deserve it and critically examine the data on black crime rates. Since “SJW mobs are sometimes mean” and “blacks commit disproportionate quantities of crime” are both statements that reflect negatively on these groups, they are forbidden under #1.

See also the liberals’ response that Donald Trump is “racist” for saying negative things about illegal aliens, like that they have broken the law. To say anything negative about outgroups is “victim blaming.”

This argument does not work with liberals.
This argument does not work with liberals.

This also explains why attempting to be a “moderate” doesn’t work with liberals–if you say something like, “I think both sides have their good and bad points,” then you have again violated rule #1. Conservatives, however, tend to be okay with such statements.

Conservatives tend to disagree with the liberal belief that there exists an “outgroup”–they believe that whites and blacks, men and women, etc., are basically treated equally in modern America. Some of them think that liberals are unfair to conservatives, eg, people who sue bakers for declining to bake gay marriage cakes.

Scotts argument against SJWs is simply that they are not nice to other marginalized groups, like autistic shut-ins or lower-class whites. (Actually, I don’t remember if Scott has specifically argued that SJWs are against low-class whites, but the argument has been made rather abundantly in various places.) This argument works if one is truly committed to helping all outgroups, but fails if the outgroup is specifically defined as “not whites/men” (see rule #3.)

Rule #2 is a more recent innovation, but follows obviously from #1. It explains, for example, why liberals have become reluctant to say anything positive about whites, especially historical ones, unless they can simultaneously also say something positive about women and/or minorities.

For example, any book of notable scientists/inventors/innovators must now include Ada Lovelace, who single-handedly built the first iMac; Jane Goodall, who discovered gorillas; and Amelia Earheart, airplane-crashing pioneer; but you are unlikely to find the names of Niels Bohr, the nobel prize winning father of quantum physics who helped 7,000 people escape from the Nazis and helped build the first atomic bombs; Ignaz Semmelweis, who saved the lives of millions of women by discovering that doctors were infecting by examining them with dirty hands after dissecting corpses; or even Jonas Salk, the guy who cured polio.

On a recent family trip, discovered that slavery, rather than historical contributions, has become the dominant tour-guide narrative at landmarks like Monticello, Montpelier, and Colonial Williamsburg:

While waiting outside of the Peyton Randolph House, we were informed that the tour would cover the home itself, its rooms, architecture, and a brief description of the family who lived there. After that, the tour would concentrate on the many slaves who served the Randolph family, what life was like for them, and the hardships they were forced to endure.

When I inquired if the tour guide would inform us of the philosophical and numerous political contributions the Randolph family made in Colonial Virginia and in the founding of the American republic, the guide shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, indicating he would not. One of the other guides, a man portraying a slave, admonished me, “We’re not gonna sugarcoat anything.”

Peyton Randolph … presided over the first Continental Congress, was a leading figure opposing the Stamp Act and was the first American to be called “Father of his Country.” …

Edmund Randolph … became the aide-de-camp for General Washington, served in the Continental Congress, and was the Governor of Virginia during the Philadelphia Convention. He was one of the drafters of the Virginia Plan, served as attorney general under President Washington, and was secretary of state after Jefferson resigned. I find it incredible that this family was not worthy of discussion.

Similarly, last fall, the Freshman class at Yale was greeted by Dean Holloway and President Salovey, with tales of the sinfulness of Elihu Yale, without whose money Yale might not exist, and John C. Calhoun:

In all of the paintings Elihu Yale is wearing and surrounded by sumptuous fabrics. … In the second and third paintings we see an unidentified attendant. Much like the wearing of exquisite clothes suggested, placing a servant in a portrait was an articulation of standing and wealth. But when we look more carefully at these two paintings we notice that in addition to the fine clothes the servant and page are wearing they also happen to have metal collars and clasps around their necks. What we are seeing in each painting, then, isn’t a servant or a page, but a slave.

We are fairly certain that Elihu Yale did not own any slaves himself, but there’s no doubting the fact that he participated in the slave trade, profiting from the sale of humans just as he profited from the sale of so many actual objects that were part of the East India trade empire. … In fact, when we look at the paintings it is safe to assume that Elihu Yale was a willing participant in that economy. Since he could have selected anything to represent him in these paintings we can conclude that he chose to be depicted with enslaved people because he believed this narrative would best signify his wealth, power, and worldliness. …

Good morning and welcome, Class of 2019, family members, and colleagues sharing the stage with me.

About one in twelve of you has been assigned to Calhoun College, named, when the college system was instituted in the 1930s, for John C. Calhoun—a graduate of the Yale College Class of 1804 who achieved extremely high prominence in the early nineteenth century as a notable political theorist, a vice president to two different US presidents, a secretary of war and of state, and a congressman and senator representing South Carolina. …

Calhoun mounted the most powerful and influential defense of his day for slavery.

From Pew Research Center, Muslim Views on Morality
From Pew Research Center, Muslim Views on Morality

Yale has no heroes to be proud of or to inspire its students to emulate, only bad people whose portraits must be hidden away and whose names must be publicly excoriated.

The demand that you never say anything bad about the outgoup leads to some odd responses, especially when two outgroups are in conflict. “Muslims” and “gay people” are both outgroups, and Muslims tend not to approve of gay marriage (by a tremendous margin,) but to say so is considered saying something negative about Muslims (even though Muslims themselves probably don’t think so.)

In response to the recent murder of 49 gay people by a Muslim, a liberal friend brought up Christians who kill people or commit terrorism (eg, the IRA,) and stated that we can’t judge an entire religion based on the actions of a few. The idea that, as a practical matter, these two groups might not get along very well simply isn’t considered.

The push to not say negative things about the outgroup probably increases in direct response to outgroup members doing something worth condemning, which may explain why both ends of the American political spectrum reported more favorable views toward Muslims after 9-11 than before it:

From Pew Research Center, "Ratings of Muslims rise in France..."
From Pew Research Center, “Ratings of Muslims rise in France…”

Since we happen to live in a democracy, if your first priority is gay rights, then you should logically be opposed to the immigration of future voters who are strongly opposed to gay rights. (Fred Phelps, on the other hand, ought to be thrilled.) But the LGBT coalition has hardly cast its lot in with Trump’s, eg, Donald Trump’s post-Olando appeal to LGBT voters roundly rejected:

Donald Trump’s appeal for support from LBGT voters after the Orlando terrorist attack fell flat with gay rights activists, who said his vows to protect them from homophobic Islamic terrorists were just more of the divisive and bigoted rhetoric they have come to expect from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. …

Mr. Brown and other gay rights activists said all minority groups have to stick together in opposition to Mr. Trump.

Michael Farmer, deputy development director of the LBGT advocacy group Equality Florida, said gay voters can’t trust Mr. Trump.

“If you’re somebody who holds bigoted views about one minority, who’s to say that you won’t hold them about another minority?” he said. “Folks who deal with these issues, people in minority communities, have got to stand together. Muslims, gay people, African-Americans have got to stand against the disgusting views that Donald Trump holds.”

As a practical matter, Trump might think gays are AIDS-infected perverts, but I highly doubt he plans on rounding them up ISIS-style and executing them. At most, he might allow bakeries to turn down gay cake orders, a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

Newton’s Third Law of Politics

“To every action, there is always opposed an equal reaction” –Newton’s Third Law of Physics.

Ever since the Paris attacks, the usually illogical and ill-informed status-signalling that passes for political discussion in this country has gotten even worse.

This is partly because people are afraid, and partly because they are not familiar yet with the other sides arguments, and so constructing and attacking particularly bad straw men.

I recently watched a speech in which President Obama claimed that his opponents were afraid of “three year old orphan refugees.”

-_-

Then we had this going on over on Twitter:

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According to Wikipedia, this is at least the story that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is circulating about himself. I don’t know if anyone has actually checked the graduation records at U of B, though contemporaries describe him as a “religious scholar,” and he used to live in a small room attached to a mosque.

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I screencapped this from a guy who posted it in response to The Economist’s statement, but forgot to write down his name so I could properly credit him. I am sorry, whoever you were. If you see this, let me know and I’ll credit you properly.

Okay. Let’s start with Obama. No, no one is afraid of three year olds. I know that lying about your opponents and posturing for your base is a big part of politics, but this seems particularly blatant.

People are afraid of ISIS. They are afraid of grown-up terrorists with guns and bombs pretending to be refugees and sneaking into the country.

ISIS puts out a lot of extremely graphic videos of itself beheading people, blowing them up, drowning them in cages, etc., with very clear statements about their intention to come after the West and do the same thing to all of us. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been paying attention.

The Novermber 13 terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead were not committed by 3 year olds wandering around the streets of Paris with guns and explosives.

According to Wikipedia, “On 14 November, ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks.[87][88][89][90]

What we know about the attackers:

“By 16 November, the focus of the French and Belgian investigation turned to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the radical jihadist they believed was the leader of the plot.[97] Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin, had escaped to Syria[98][99] after having been suspected in other plots in Belgium and France, including the thwarted 2015 Thalys train attack.[100] Abaaoud had recruited an extensive network of accomplices, including two brothers, Brahim Abdeslam and Salah Abdeslam, to execute terrorist attacks.[101]

  • Bilal Hadfi, a 20-year-old French citizen who had been living in Belgium.[110] … He fought with ISIL in Syria for more than a year and was a supporter of the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram.[111] …Belgian prosecutors knew Hadfi had gone to fight in Syria but did not know of his return to the EU.[110]
  • M. al-Mahmod, who had entered the EU with Syrian refugees via the Greek island of Leros on 3 October.[113]
  • The final bomber carried a passport belonging to a 25-year-old Syrian named Ahmad al-Mohammad.[110][111] A passport-holder claiming to be a Syrian refugee with that name was registered on Leros in October upon his arrival from Turkey.[114] The dead attacker’s fingerprints matched those taken at the registration on Leros.[110][115][116][117][118]
  • Brahim Abdeslam, a 31-year-old French member of the Molenbeek terror cell living in Belgium, carried out shootings in the 10th and 11th arrondissements. Shortly afterwards, he blew himself up at the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant on the boulevard Voltaire.[12][110][111][121][122]
  • An attacker suspected to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud.[110]
  • Samy Amimour, a 28-year-old from Paris who fought in Yemen and was known to the intelligence services,[110][123] had reportedly been on the run from police since 2012 due to being wanted over terrorism related charges.[124]
  • Omar Ismail Mostefai, a 29-year-old from the Paris suburb of Courcouronnes,[110] travelled to Syria in 2013 and may have spent time in Algeria.[125] In 2010, the French authorities put Mostefai on a database of suspected Islamic radicals.[110] He was identified by a severed finger found inside the Bataclan.[111][126]

And two unidentified suspects.

To sum: At least two of these guys got into Europe by posing as refugees. The rest were “French” and “EU” citizens, which means they either immigrated and then were granted citizenship or their parents were immigrants, much like the Tsarnaev brothers, discussed above.

The left seems unable to understand that the right does not particularly care whether the terrorists were “refugees”, “immigrants,” “asylees,” or the children of refugees/immigrants/asylees. The right’s opinion toward all of these groups is exactly the same, though if you want to make a critique, you might note that the right has indeed been rhetorically emphasizing “refugees” when what they really mean is “all Muslims.”

Of course, if you’re the sort to critique the right, then you probably don’t want it to broaden its language.

Why is the right specifically emphasizing refugees, instead of all the folks it really means?

Honestly, it’s because people tend to get mentally stuck on ideas or things that are prominent in their environment. The massive European refugee crisis was (and still is) in the news when November 13 happened, and two of the terrorists appear to have used the crisis to get into France. To be fair, 130 French people would probably still be dead even if it Merkel hadn’t thrown open the EU’s borders–the majority of the terrorists (or their parents) got in under earlier immigration laws–but the refugee crisis itself is connected to these earlier laws.

The Republicans are offering over-simplified talking points, but the general point they are trying to make–that the government should try to figure out ways to protect its citizens from attacks like the one in France and make sure that the immigrants we do get are folks who will be compatible with the local society–is reasonable. And I don’t hear anyone on the left proposing anything useful on those points.

The immigration situations in Europe and the US are very different, but we may still find the European example instructive. America’s immigrants come primarily from Mexico; Europe’s come primarily from Africa (though each individual European country receives a lot of immigrants from other European countries.) The African migrants are predominantly Muslim, but I suspect that African Christians, African Vodun practitioners, etc., are pretty similar.

The exact criminality of America’s Hispanic population is unknown (due to the FBI historically not keeping track of it,) but informed estimates place it somewhere between the white rate (low) and the black rate (high.) This creates an unfortunate dynamic as employers would generally rather import and hire Mexicans (friendly, less aggressive) than the blacks who already live here.

In Europe, we have a decent idea of how much crime the newcomers are committing–and it’s a lot:

According to a 2011 report by Statistics Norway, in 2009 first,-generation immigrants from Africa were three times more likely than ethnic Norwegians (or rather individuals who are neither first- nor second-generation immigrants) to be convicted of a felony while Somali immigrants in particular being 4.4 times more likely to be convicted of a felony than an ethnic Norwegian was.

Note that Somalis are one of the groups the US makes a special point of accepting as “refugees.”

Similarly, Iraqis and Pakistanis were found to have rates of conviction for felonies greater than ethnic Norwegians by a factor of 3 and 2.6 respectively. Another finding was that second-generation African and Asian immigrants had a higher rate of convictions for felonies than first-generation immigrants….

of 131 individuals charged with the 152 rapes in which the perpetrator could be identified, 45.8% were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin while 54.2% were of Norwegian, other European or American origin.

… Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) published a study that analyzes records in the Register of Convicted in 2008. The data show that immigrants are overrepresented in the crime statistics: 70% of all crimes were committed by Spaniards and 30% by foreigners.[28] Foreigners make up 15% of the population.[28]

And don’t forget the predominantly Moroccan perpetrators of the 2004 Madrid Train Bombing, which killed 191 people (and injured over 1,800.)

In Switzerland, 69.7% of prison population did not have Swiss citizenship, compared to 22.1% of total resident population (as of 2008). …  a special report was compiled by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (published in 2001) which for the year 1998 found an arrest rate per 1000 adult population of 2.3 for Swiss citizens, 4.2 for legally resident aliens and 32 for asylum seekers. … [bold mine]

In 2010, a statistic was published which listed delinquency by nationality (based on 2009 data). To avoid distortions due to demographic structure, only the male population aged between 18 and 34 was considered for each group. …  immigrants from Germany, France and Austria had a significantly lower crime rate than Swiss citizens (60% to 80%), while immigrants from Angola, Nigeria and Algeria had a crime rate of above 600% of that of Swiss population. …

A report studying 4.4 million Swedes between the ages of 15 and 51 during the period 1997-2001 found that 25% of crimes were committed by foreign-born individuals while and additional 20% were committed by individuals born to foreign-born parents. … Findings from a previous study published by the Swedish government in 1996 determined that between 1985 and 1989 individuals born in Iraq, North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia), and Africa (excluding Uganda and the North African countries) were convicted of rape at rates 20, 23, and 17 greater than individuals born in Sweden respectively.[12]

According to a report on prison population statistics published by the [UK] Ministry of Justice, in 2013 blacks made up 13.2% of the prison population and 2.8% of the general population. Given that whites make up 88.3% of the total population but only 73.8% of the prison population, it follows that blacks are 5.6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Similarly, in 2013 Muslims made up 13.1% of the prison population but just 4% of the general population meaning that they are 3.3 times more likely to be incarcerated than a member of the general population.[36]

In other words, African immigrants to Europe commit crimes at rates similar to our own African population.

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But our African population was forcefully imported against its will–Europe let its in because it asked nicely. Or not so nicely, as the case may be.

Who are the refugees? According to the Dept. of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration website:

Under United States law, a refugee is someone who:

  • Is located outside of the United States
  • Is of special humanitarian concern to the United States
  • Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
    Is not firmly resettled in another country
  • Is admissible to the United States

Points two and three could apply to virtually anyone throughout the third world. How many countries have civil wars, gangs, terrorist groups, government repression, or violence against women, gays, or other minorities?

There isn’t a lot of data either way about whether refugees–or asylees–in the US are particularly criminal. Compared to the 320 million or so of us already here, these groups are pretty small (unless you happen to live near them.) I have been hearing a fair amount of chatter, though, about crime among the Somali population.

The Somalis are, indeed, a good example of exactly how the US refugee process can go wrong.

Why are there so many Somalis, in particular, when so many other countries have similar rates of violence? Somalia got special concern status after–as far as I can tell–the US noticed that it was unable to master the basics of state formation and so was embroiled in savage anarchy and civil war. The US decided to invade and “restore order,” and promptly got its butt kicked by a bunch of Somalis who didn’t appreciate getting invaded. Since the US can’t fix Somalia’s problems over in Somalia, I guess we decided to bring them over here and try again.

There are wars that come and go, and wars that do not. Sometimes countries invade or disintegrate. These are temporary states of affairs, and it is reasonable for the international community to find ways to get the innocent out of harm’s way until the violence subsides and they can go home. Other places, however, are simply constant war zones. The violence will, for the foreseeable future, always be high, and since aggression has a large genetic component, moving people away from the conflict just leads to violence in a new location.

There are a billion or two more people in the world who would like to move to the West than the West can possibly hold, and most of them come, indeed, from countries with high levels of violence and poverty. (After all, who wants to leave rich, peaceful countries?) But societies are, on the whole, the products of the people who make them. Europeans do not have magical pixie dust that makes their countries peaceful and prosperous; they’re peaceful and prosperous mostly because Europeans don’t kill each other very often, don’t commit a lot of fraud or nepotism, and do well at academics. Same for a variety of other countries, like Japan and Taiwan.

Violent, low-trust societies that people find unpleasant to live in and want to leave are violent and low-trust because they are full of people who are violent and low-trust. High-trust societies like Sweden function because everyone involved is a default-cooperator who wouldn’t even think of cheating others. Hell, when they translate articles about government corruption and nepotism into Swedish, they have to explain the concepts because the Swedish language doesn’t have words for such practices. In other countries, helping out your family over the interests of strangers is seen as moral; nepotism and “corruption” are the default, and this strange, immoral practice of treating strangers like family members has to be explained.

People can only handle so much complexity. You, me, everyone. The society a group of people creates depends on their collective ability to handle complexity. If you can handle a lot of complexity, default cooperate with strangers, and can repress the urge to stab your cubicle mate when he starts humming off-key again, you can create a society with a big economy and a lot of working infrastructure. If you can’t handle complexity, defect on strangers, and get aggressive with people, your economy will be small and your infrastructure will be crap.

This does not mean that immigrants will automatically set up a miniature version of their home society–most immigrants are not representative of their home population, as migration takes a lot of guts and know-how. It does mean that different groups of people will set up different societies, and if you do not select your immigrants carefully, you could end up with folks who think things should be run very differently than you do.

Somalia falls into the category of “War for the foreseeable future,” not “temporary violence.” Somalia is not a regular country having temporary difficulties; it is a country-shaped hole in the map where no state exists. If we are going to take Somalis, we might as well take the entire population of Africa and much of Latin America. It’s not like Zimbabwe’s violence rates and civil organization are much better, and the murder rate in Honduras is sky-high. Pretty much anyone in Honduras could make a good case that they’re likely to get murdered.

Of course, moving all of the Hondurans to the US just means they’re likely to murder each other over here.

To be fair, though, the process of becoming a refugee and eventually getting settled in the US is long and a pain in the butt–it apparently takes a good two years. This does actually sort out a lot of the undesirables. Your average Al Qaeda operative would have an easier time just walking across the Mexican border.

What about the refugees in Europe?

As usual, things are rather different over there, especially since they decided to abandon the whole “try to select good migrants” policy in favor of “take everyone who shows up.” A lot of the refugees are, in fact, Syrians, who are fleeing a legitimately terrifying enemy (and to everyone fleeing ISIS, I wish you the best of luck,) but a rather large percent are opportunistic economic migrants from elsewhere in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East:

Moroccan Merouance Missaoua lives and works in Vienna. In his free time, he interprets for refugees at the Westbahnhof [train station].  … “In all honesty — I believe, it is my personal estimate, because I have been here day in and day out, that a quarter of the people I have met are not refugees.

“I have met people from Morocco and from Algeria. I can discover that, because I speak their dialect too and I recognize the accent immediately. Yesterday, for example, two Egyptians came to me. I said to them: ‘You are not Syrian; what are you doing?’ — [They replied] ‘Yes, it’s now or never, get into Europe free. It’s now or never.‘”

What, someone would cheat? Who could have ever predicted that?

Probably not the Swedes.

And very, very few of them are toddler orphans. Rather:

  • Nearly 500,000 people have reached Europe illegally by sea in 2015 (as of Sept.)
  • 34% of the boat people claim to be from Syria
  • 20% of new asylum applicants claim to be from Syria
  • 8000 asylum seekers per day are currently entering the continent.
  • Between 270,000 and 280,000 migrants have entered Germany just in the month of September 2015. (This is the equivalent of a city the size of Münster– or of Newcastle, Venice, or Newark, NJ).
  • Germany is expecting up to 1.5 million entries this year alone.
  • Oddly for refugees, 75% are men.
  • Of those ‘Syrians’ entering Germany, an estimated one in three is lying about his national origins, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister. (From “Crashing the Gates: A Crash Course“)

Sweden has finally–tearfully–rescinded its open borders policy. Not because of the terrorist attacks in France, but because they ran out of money for refugees.

Apparently no one in the Swedish government realized just how many people there are in the rest of the world, but suddenly receiving 10,000 migrants a week gave them a clue.

Of course, it would have been far more economical and practical to build nice refugee camps in Turkey and Saudi Arabia (which is super rich and doesn’t even need any help international help building refugee camps, they could just put all of the refugees in the temporary housing they have set up for the Hajj.) There are a lot of refugees already in Turkey, but none in Saudi Arabia. These camps would be easy to reach and be able to serve far more people than expensive housing in Berlin.

Unsurprisingly, the sudden influx of refugees has brought a lot of crime with it. (See the “Crashing the Gates” link for a litany.)

On Wednesday night and early Thursday, violence broke out at two refugee centers in the northern city of Hamburg, including one incident involving 100 migrants wielding wooden planks as weapons, according to Hamburg police. …

Some in Germany also worry that they are importing ethnic and religious tensions from the refugees’ homelands. German police unions, for instance, are calling for separate housing for asylum seekers along religious or ethnic lines after what officials described as an “attempted lynching” of a 25-year-old Afghan Christian in the central city of Suhl in August. A group of Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian men, officials say, chased the Christian man after he tried to flush pages of the Koran down the toilet at a refugee center. Six police officers were wounded trying to stop the mob.

“This has been a big shock,” said Fred Jaeger, the Suhl police spokesman. “Never before have our police been physically attacked like this.” [source]

Back in the mid-1800s, Mikhail Bakunin observed that there would never be an anarchist revolution in Germany because the Germans are the “statiest of people.” Hey, Germans: other people don’t respect the police as much as you guys do.

ETA: Started getting a lot of reports dribbling out of Germany about violent sexual assaults, robberies, and attempted kidnappings on New Year’s Eve. The first reports said “40 men” in the Cologne station had assaulted at least 30 women; now the news is reporting “1,000 men.” From the BBC, “Germany shocked by Cologne New Year gang assaults on women” (h/t With the thoughts you’d be thinkin):

“The scale of the attacks on women at the city’s central railway station has shocked Germany. About 1,000 drunk and aggressive young men were involved.

City police chief Wolfgang Albers called it “a completely new dimension of crime”. The men were of Arab or North African appearance, he said. …

What is particularly disturbing is that the attacks appear to have been organised. Around 1,000 young men arrived in large groups, seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women.

Police in Hamburg are now reporting similar incidents on New Year’s Eve in the party area of St Pauli. …

A British woman visiting Cologne said fireworks had been thrown at her group by men who spoke neither German nor English. “They were trying to hug us, kiss us. One man stole my friend’s bag,” she told the BBC. “Another tried to get us into his ‘private taxi’. I’ve been in scary and even life-threatening situations and I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Of course, “The justice minister warned against linking the crimes to the issue of migrants and refugees.” (See the comments at the end of the post for more sources on this story.)

Reaction

In the aftermath of November 13, liberals have doubled-down on their anti-racist, open borders philosophy.

One of the weirdest things about this whole business is that a lot of the people advocating most strongly for open borders are the folks who have the most to lose from it. A coalition of gays, atheists, Jews, Puritans, feminists, and blacks has very little to gain from immigration. Blacks get economically displaced by Mexican workers. Muslims are not generally pro-gay rights, pro-abortion, or pro-feminism. Most Mexicans aren’t, either.

The right, while it may thrash around like a wounded turkey that cannot articulate itself, has at least some idea of where its self-interests lie. (Unfortunately, Republican politicians see their interests in importing more cheap labor so they can destroy unions, make more money, and avoid hiring blacks. Hey liberals, it’s a win-win for you!)

Additionally, if you genuinely think America is a seething hotbed of racism and discrimination, why would you encourage people who are going to get discriminated against to move here? Wouldn’t they they be better off almost anywhere else on Earth? If you are simultaneously posting about how much you hate Donald Trump and about why you want Syrian refugees to move to the US, aren’t you concerned that all of those people who love Donald Trump will mistreat the refugees you invited in?

You can’t just tell the Trump supporters to leave. They’re already here, and whether you like them or not, they have as much right to vote for their interests and to make communities they like as you do. And making up a bunch of straw men about how they’re afraid of three year old orphans is not helping matters.

If you really care about Syrian refugees, then support measures that will find them safe homes without risking your neighbor’s lives in the process. If you don’t care, then by all means, continue politically posturing on Facebook about how everyone else is politically inferior to you because they’re afraid of toddlers.

(Oh, and don’t give me that, “If you’re so concerned about homeless veterans, why don’t you volunteer with the homeless?” crap. I do volunteer with the homeless. Every day, in fact.) There may not actually be anything that I or anyone else can do about the number of homeless veterans (some people are going to be homeless, and some of those are going to be veterans,) but I understand the broader point: there are a lot of truly, desperately poor people who are already in the US, and they would like government money to go to them before it goes to foreigners.

Tell a poor person who is already not scraping by on minimum wage that you want to increase the pool of low-wage workers. Explain how the laws of supply and demand mean that the expanding supply of labor will push down its value, so the poor person will be making even less money than before, but that some economists have figured out that if we just let in a billion or two people, it will all work out in the end. Then tell me if you get punched.

Thing is, no one polite is talking about any of this. Oh, sure, you might get entertaining statements out of Trump, but Trump is not polite. The only reason Trump has any chance at winning the presidency is because we let low-class people vote in this country. No one polite is keeping records on Somali crime, or the immigrant crisis in Europe, or the impact of immigration on everyone who isn’t rich. In fact, merely being in the class of people who are negatively impacted by job competition from Mexico automatically makes you, by definition, one of the low-class, impolite people.

Garden variety reaction is growing. Donald Trump’s candidacy–and popularity–is one reaction. People burning down refugee centers or creating White Student Unions on Facebook are another. The increasing percentage of Americans ready to outright abandon democracy in favor of autocracy or military dictatorship is a third.

Reaction only makes the news when it does something ugly, because no one listens when poor people try to point out that they are already hurting economically and can’t afford more labor competition.

Listen to each other while you still have the chance.

 

Pre-Civil War Election Results by State

Picture 11
Simplified version
Picture 10
Detailed version

I wanted to see if I could find any evidence in support of the theory I discussed the other day that emigration of more “conservative” folks from the Northern East Coast toward the American West left behind an increasingly liberal population that became increasingly concerned about slavery.

I decided to use election results as the easiest way to gauge relative “liberal”ness over time. If the theory is correct, we ought to see an increase in the % of the vote going to “liberal” candidates over time on the Northern East Coast, and a lower % of the vote going to “liberal” candidates in the western areas settled by former East-Coasters.

Since the theory does not concern itself with the behavior of Southern voters, I ignored them completely and only looked at election results for states north of the Mason-Dixon.

Ideally, I’d also look at Congressional elections, but I decided that focusing on Presidential elections would let me quickly get a general idea of whether or not I had a potentially viable idea.

Some notes:

The first difficulty in compiling this data was deciding who the “liberal” candidates were. I eventually decided to dispense with the notion entirely (see Friday’s grumbling on the subject of whether the Puritans or Jamestown settlers were more “liberal.”) Rather, there is a very clear pattern in the data of Massachusetts and Virginia voting for different parties; MA and the other Puritan states tend to vote together, while VA and the rest of the South tend to vote together. Taken over the long haul, the voting pattern looks more like two ethnically-based parties than two ideologically based parties. Since I am not interested here in some Platonic ideal of “liberalness”, but merely the ideas that prompted the Northern attitudes toward the Civil War, I decided to regard whichever party was dominant in MA (the most consistently anti-whoever-won-VA state) as the “liberals.”

I’ve ordered the states by year of settlement for the original colonies and year of entry to the US for the rest.

There’s no data on popular votes for most states prior to 1824, mostly because most states didn’t have popular voting back then. These elections I have marked merely “Yes” or “No” for “voted for the Puritan candidate” or “voted against the Puritan candidate.”

There’s a period of mass agreement that affected most–but not quite all–of the states until about 1832. The election of 1820, for example, was nearly unanimous–only one elector chose to vote against James Monroe. This I suspect has more to do with the whole country being relatively novel (and early elections lacking popular voting,) rather than mass Puritan or anti-Puritan sentiment.

Starting in 1840, third parties with anti-slavery platforms appeared on the scene and quickly grew in significance. These parties polled pretty much zero outside of the North. The “detailed” dataset gives both the main party’s total and the third party’s totals; the “simplified” set only shows the composite total. (Since it I’ve been working on this very late at night, I hope the math is all correct, but if you find an error, I’d appreciate knowing about it.) I regard the emergence of these third parties as evidence of further leftward movement of the voting public.

The third party polled particularly well in 1848 due to having a very popular candidate; this should not be seen as evidence that the party itself was as popular as it looks in ’48. Likewise, 1836 had a very unpopular candidate.

Interestingly, this period also saw the emergence of a very small fourth party in the North devoted to opposing immigration. I regard these as local “conservative” parties and so didn’t include them in the graph.

Several states are “border states” that received significant migration from both the North and the South; they should be considered accordingly.

Conclusions:

The data looks tentatively favorable to the theory.

If we ignore the period of mass agreement, MA’s support of the Puritan candidate goes from 47% to 62% between 1832 and 1860.

NY holds fairly steady (perhaps because NY is a large enough state that many of its migrants stayed within the state,) but increases from 48% to 54%.

RI: 50% to 61%

Conn holds mostly steady, but increases a bit, from 55% to 58%.

NH: 43% to 57%

New Jersey, a border state, went from 49% to 48%. (Though it was 42% in 1824.)

Pennsylvania, interestingly, did not vote with MA at the beginning, but consistently voted against it. In 1832, it appears that the Puritan candidate wasn’t even on the Pennsylvania ballot. Generously ignoring 1832, Penn makes a remarkable rise from 12% in 1824 to 56% in 1860.

VT: 35% to 76%

Ohio did not originally vote with the North; it went from 25% in 1824 to 52% in 1860.

Indi: 19% in 1824 to 51% in 1860.

Il: 32% in 1824 to 51% in 1860.

ME, formerly part of MA, follows the general coastal New England pattern of mass agreement in the early yeas, then goes from 44% in 1832 to 62% in 1860.

Missouri also seems to have not run the Puritan candidate in 1832, but otherwise went from 4% in 1824 to 44% in 1852, then dropped down to 0% and 10% in the final two elections–most likely due to confusion and campaign difficulties after the Whig party dissolved and the Republicans took their place, rather than a sudden massive shift in attitudes.

Michigan went from 46% in 1836 to 57% in 1860.

Iowa: 50% in 1848 to 54% in 1860.

Wisconsin: 62% in 1848, then down to 57% in 1860.

CA: 47% in 1852, then down to 42 % in 1860.

Minn: 63%

OR: 36%

In the 1860 election, the Puritan candidate polled above 60% in MA, RI, VT, ME, and Minn. Four of those are old Puritan states, and I think Minn is full of Scandinavians.

Puritans polled below 55% in NY (those Dutch!) Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa (all Midwest states,) below 50% in NJ (border state,) and Missouri (both a border state and probably a fluke,) and below 40% in the most Western states, CA and OR.

Thus I conclude that we see a general trend in most of the Eastern states toward increasing support for the Puritan candidate, while the more Western states, despite their Puritan transplants, showed much less (sometimes decreasing) support.

 

Clarifications about “As the Peacock Struts”

A few weeks ago,  wrote a post, “As the Peacock Struts: Are Liberals more competent than conservatives?” which a reader has pointed out to me has some poor phrasing and is generally not very well written.

I am therefore going to attempt a clarification.

The point of the post was that the morals people advocate have a lot to do with whatever happens to be a problem in their personal lives or the personal lives of the people around them.

Let’s run through a quick hypothetical. Suppose you grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of gang violence. You are not in a gang; in fact, you think gang violence is really bad. So you, like many people in your community, have joined many “anti-violence” organizations, go to anti-violence rallies, describe yourself as an Anti-Violence Crusader, etc.

Now let’s suppose you met someone from a far away community who was not an AVC. After staring at him in shock and horror for a moment, you burst out, “What do you mean you aren’t anti-violence? What are you, some kind of gang lover?”

Your new acquaintance scratches his head for a moment, then says, “Actually, I’m more of an anti-police brutality advocate, because the police in my community keep assaulting innocent people.”

You are now thoroughly horrified; the last thing you think any community needs is a more restrained police presence.

But your acquaintance is not actually an evil gang-violence advocate; gang violence just isn’t a problem in his community. Likewise, you are not actually advocating police brutality against innocent people; police brutality just isn’t a problem where you live.

Most people are not advocating universal moral principles that will work for everyone in the world, but instead are trying to help the people they know and address the problems they see in everyday life (or the media they consume).

If you know people whose lives were destroyed by divorce, then chances are you will have a rather dim view of divorce and will advocate against it. If divorce is a thing that doesn’t happen very often in your community, then chances are you won’t give it much thought. Within that context, people’s morals are probably basically functional, at least in the short-term.

This leads us to an obvious danger: advocating one particular situational morality to people in a different situation. This is generally called being a busy-body. A morality that has been transplanted out of the area it belongs in is likely to be highly damaging to the people it is inflicted upon.

The point was not “Oooh, Liberals are better than Conservatives; everyone should convert to atheism and go attend the nearest LGBTQ meeting.” I have no particular reason to believe that either of these behaviors leads to better life outcomes, much less that they would work for you. If anything, I suspect that conservative Christianity (of any stripe) is of great comfort and help to people enduring personal hardship. The idea that Evangelical Protestantism is uniquely causing high divorce rates in Appalachia is silly.

Long term, of course, what happens to be working now may not keep working; I think this is more or less what is happening in America (and much of the world) today. Changing conditions require changing priorities. Technology is changing incredibly quickly, and conditions in America (and the world) today are not what they were even a decade ago. An instinct for altruism that was functional in the conditions of 1800s Sweden, where the priority for survival was probably group cooperation to survive the winters, may be directly detrimental to Swedes in today’s world of smartphones and mass transportation, where non-Swedes can easily move to Sweden and take advantage of the Swedes’ generosity.

Comment on Left-Right Polarization

This is just something I wrote in response to Free Northerner’s response to Slate Star Codex‘s claims of increasing left-right political polarization:
I think there’s an issue here where Left and Right don’t always take stands on the same issues. Liberals can care about Issue A that conservatives don’t give a fig about, while conservatives care about B that liberals aren’t even aware of. So, for example, my conservative uncle might rant endlessly about Benghazi, while my liberal uncle keeps rambling on about White Privilege.

In many ways, the right and left have become more polarized from each other, but the right has been generally unsuccessful in the long term on most of their issues. They have not repealed Roe V. Wade; they have not eliminated Welfare or gotten deficit spending under control. They have not reinstated prayer in school. Hypothetically, they might have “moved right” in some opinion poll of what they profess to believe, or they might have simply felt more to the right as the country shifted suddenly leftward, but they haven’t accomplished their agendas.

I was subjected to a portion of [the most recent] Republican debate, and just disgusted at the sheer amount of verbal garbage the candidates spouted that was nothing more than a re-iteration of Republican talking points for the past thirty years. They have failed to overturn Roe V. Wade for the past 40 years, but they are still up there promising that this time, they’re really going to do it! They promise to cut the budget, eliminate the deficit, and increase military spending! Where, exactly, do they think the money for the military comes from? These people don’t achieve their objectives or else their objective is simply “no change at all,” rather than rightward movement.

By contrast, liberals have actually been achieving their goals. Whether or not they’ve personally become more liberal relative to the rest of the population, or relative to the past, they’ve had a lot of successes and convinced a lot of the country to agree with them.

So we could get both increasing polarization of people and a general leftward trend on actual policies.

People are probably more likely to spout liberal positions when they involve far away people or moral posturing that they suspect will incur no material cost to themselves, and more conservative positions when they bear the potential cost. That is, it’s easy to sit in the US and say, “Oh, yes, Germany should take as many refugees as physically possible,” while at the same time saying, “No, I don’t want to give one of the spare rooms in my house to a refugee.” Or “Ferguson police must stop shooting black people!” while demanding lower crime rates in one’s own city.

But there are far more people in the world who don’t live in Ferguson (or Germany) than who do, and so the collective pressure of people making small, low-cost to them decisions about far away people can overwhelm the local pressure of people making great-cost to them decisions. So general consensus moves leftward.

A complicating wrinkle of uncomplicating insight via two images:

So I happened to be browsing Stanford Magazine, and happened across two articles immediately in a row on religious issues. Each had a picture:

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The contrast between the level of respect for the religion/religious believers in question really couldn’t be starker.

The respectable lady is Jane Shaw, Stanford’s new Dean of Religious life, notable for being both the first woman to hold the position and the first gay person. A few quotes from her article:

“Q. At Grace Cathedral and at Oxford, you led programs far afield from what might be considered religious: Hosting forums with politicians, activists and authors; bringing in atheists and believers; and commissioning artists-in-residence to create plays and installations. What’s your guiding light?

A. I don’t think I am a very churchy person, if that makes sense. I have always been interested in how you engage people in discussing questions of ultimate meaning, really—values, ethics, spirituality, all that stuff.

Q. But do you also value the “churchy” side of faith?

A. Ritual and liturgy? I love it.

Q. What new directions will you bring to Stanford?

A. …It is certainly my desire to make sure that Memorial Church is a place for extremely lively intellectual engagement, a place where possibly difficult issues can be discussed, a place where ethical and spiritual issues can be discussed. I am hoping we’ll have different sorts of people preaching here as guest preachers, not just clergy.”

The second photo is most likely a van owned by an unmedicated schizophrenic. You’d be forgiven if you therefore assumed the second article had something to do with mental illness.

It’s actually an interview with Stanford alum Kathryn Gin Lum about her new book, “Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction.”

Right. So whoever put the picture on this article equates the faith of the Founding Fathers (and many Americans today) with literal mental illness.

To be clear, Lum herself does not appear to be condescending toward the people/beliefs she studied, but her interview reveals that respect for the views of 60% of Americans is not common in our nation’s most respected centers of academic thought:

“Separate from any personal considerations, hell seemed to offer the best intellectual grist. ‘People in the academy,’ says Lum, tend to dismiss the notion that any consideration of hell could drive ‘how rational people think.'”

“Does hell have contemporary relevance, despite its lousy reputation in higher education?

“Strongly, thinks Lum. Much of her analysis highlights the connection between ‘people who believe in hell’ and their impulse ‘to damn other people to it.’ It’s that sensibility about calling out the world’s evils, says Lum, that suffuses today’s hot-button issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage.”

(Note that whatever insights she may have about rational people who believe in hell, or any potential good sides to the belief, the article does not mention them. It only mentions the ways in which people who believe in hell are problematic for the rest of the country. Those darn hell-believers, mucking things up for everyone else.)

“Writing about hell’s pertinence, Lum notes in her epilogue, ‘is to invite raised eyebrows.’ Her interest in the subject, she adds, has stirred reactions like ‘But you look so well-adjusted!'”

All right, so let’s review:

According to Stanford, a gay woman who isn’t very “churchy” but likes discussing ethics is one of the country’s best religious leaders, and the 60% of Americans who believe in Hell are literally insane and make trouble for everyone else.

One set of religious views is respected. The other is not.

Now, let’s try to imagine a contemporary article from any sort of respectable college or university (not one of the ones that make you mutter and stare at your feet while admitting that one of your relations was interested in the school,) that conveys the inverse: respect for people who believe in hell; disrespect for gays, women, and people whose faith isn’t based on Biblical inerrancy.

Can you? Maybe Harvard? Yale? Oberlin? CalTech? Reed? Fine, how about BYU? No, probably not even them.

I can’t imagine it. A hundred years ago, maybe. Today, no. Such notions are completely incompatible with the beliefs of modern, upper-class people.

I know many perfectly decent folks who believe in hell, and think they should be respected, but “be decent to people who hold denigrated religious beliefs” is not actually my point. My point is that the American upper class, academia, and the people with a great deal of power and influence over the beliefs of others clearly agrees with Pastor Shaw’s religious beliefs (when it is not outright atheist). Upper-class liberals in America are their own ethnic group with their own religion, culture, morality, and endogamous breeding habits. Conservatives are the out-group, their religious views openly mocked by the upper class and banned from the halls of academic thought.

Thing is, we happen to live, more or less, in a democracy.

One of the intended effects of democracy is that even groups with no real power can still express themselves via voting. If you have the numbers and bother to go to the polls, you can get someone in who more or less kinda sorta might represent your views.

As a result, even though conservatives are low-class and not cultural or intellectual movers and shakers, they can still influence who gets to be president or in Congress, and thus pass laws on things like abortion and stem cell research.

As a result, a group that has very little power in real life may end up with a fair amount via elections.

Think of it as a for of political power redistribution.