Our Way of Life

"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done." - Ronald Reagan

Monday, October 31, 2005

Guard the Borders Blogburst

I have not mentioned the Guard the Borders Blogburst lately, but I want to remind everyone to go check it out. Since blogger won't let me include javascript in a post, I have had to include the list of bloggers in GBB on the right side column. Just scroll down to see them.

I will have more on GBB & the border tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Transaction Costs, Social Norms, and Multi-culturalism

A while back, I was walking into a store when I witnessed a small (and these days, perhaps rare) instance of social norms being enforced. As a stressed mother and her probably 10 year old son were exiting the store, the boy did one of these hyperactive, thoughtless things that kids do at that age, when he purposely knocked over a trash can that was setting in front of the store. I don't think that the mother, who was ahead of him, even noticed; but a middle-aged white fellow right behind them did, and he did not hesitate to tell the kid to go set the can back up. Naturally the kid was shocked and did what he was told. The mother seemed happy with this as well. Of course, this is but one small, trivial incident, but it illustrates a practical instance of community members, strangers, expecting and demanding minimal standards of conduct from each other.

What struck me though, was the fact that I knew that this would have almost certainly never have happened had the mother and boy been black, or had they been Hispanic and the man Asian, etc, whatever combination one wishes to make up will work. After all, what would you do in that situation? Who wants to get into a confrontation because the mother feels you are picking on her son? If accused of racism, what can you do to prove your innocence?

Maintaining social norms and community standards though the decentralized mechanism of citizens putting pressure on others to conform to them is an important part of maintaining good order in a community. Naturally, citizens have an incentive to help enforce these rules, since they benefit from them; after all, what happens if the kid who knocked over the trash can today vandalizes your or my property when he is a few years older? However, the benefit any one person gets from helping to enforce these standards is quite small. The odds of this kid ever doing anything to anyone's property, much less yours or mine, is still small.

In theory, everyone will still help to support these social norms and community standards, since they benefit. The problem comes when you factor in transaction costs.The potential "transaction cost" which you might face if you do what the middle-aged man above did could range from the mother thanking you, to her pulling a gun from her purse and shooting you. More realistically, the question of transaction costs is one of what the mean or expected reaction or transaction cost will be. The more like us the mother is, the lower the transaction cost we can expect: normally it might range from positive to slight negative feedback. On the other hand, if the mother was black and you white, we all know that the transaction cost is likely to be much higher.

From basic economics, and really just common sense, we know that for someone to rationally take action, the expected benefit most be greater (or at least equal) than the expected cost (which is in this case is essentially just the transaction cost). Where that decision point will exist in practice is an open question, but with a sufficient large transaction cost, we can safely say that the individual benefit of standing up for social norms will be negative. This is of course what happens in practice, as communities blessed with too much diversity often lose their sense of cohesion and spiral towards the bottom, unconstrained and unchecked as people stop caring. This is one of the practical problems of any multi-cultural society, and one which conservatives who value social norms and community standards and involvement should be highly concerned about.

Also, this suggests that we may be facing a new wave of community destruction as a large, new minority group (Hispanics) further complicate communities in many cities, and a three-way split emerges between black, white and brown.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Food Storage and Thinking Ahead

I found this very interesting paper, which deals with the how the differences we see between northern populations and more southern people might have come about. One point particularly stuck out, regarding the need to developed long-term planning skills for the purpose of storing food to avoid starvation in the cold months:

Binford (1980) has documented two empirical regularities in the behavior of hunter- gathers which may be of evolutionary significance. One is that there is a systematic relationship between the extent to which societies store food and the effective temperatures where they live. Those in colder climates do more food storage, presumedly due to the problem of "over-wintering." in colder climates. He reports that food storage is practiced only (with exceptions) in societies whose growing seasons are less than about 200 days.

Although Binford didn't deal with the intelligence required for the different strategies, the intellectual requirements of strategies do appear to differ. High intelligence has a greater benefit in climates where food storage is useful. First of all, intelligence increases the likelihood that the required storage techniques, such as drying, will be discovered. Secondly, successful use of storage involves looking ahead to the period of shortage, and postponing some consumption in order to store the food. Success with a food storage strategy requires ability to delay the gratification of eating available food. The ability to delay gratification appears to increase with intelligence. In experiments where children were forced to choose between a small candy bar now or a larger one later, the ability to delay the gratification increased with chronological age (and presumably with intelligence as measured by mental age) and also with IQ (Mischel and Metzer 1962). With intelligence contributing to the ability to delay gratification, the genes for intelligence would be more strongly selected for in climates where survival of cold winters necessitated food storage.

Once scarcity starts, it is necessary to ration the stored food. Mastery of the arithmetic needed is facilitated by intelligence. More complex social rules, such as eating only food stored by your family, may be required to facilitate storage. Higher intelligence appears to be needed in a society storing food than in one where hunter-gathers find sufficient food for the day and eat it soon afterwards.

I found this interesting particularly because I have been thinking lately about the problem of planning horizons and Third World/underclass behavior.

Specifically, many of the types of things that are common among both Third World peoples and much of the underclass in the West is the tendency to have a very short planning horizon, if one at all. When we look at many of the poor decisions that these people make, they make much more sense when you consider only the cost/benefit analysis for the immediate future. Stealing cars, becoming a drug dealer, seizing properties from the rich, or electing a Marxist candidate all look like a good investment if one only considers the (claimed) benefits in the first few minutes, days, or weeks ahead. None of these types of things make any sense in the long term, of course. But if you can't see the long term, then how would you know?

If, as the paper suggests, long term thinking and planning is a genetic adaptation for cold climates, then it is not clear how we can expect to "assimilate" Third World people into planning farther ahead, especially in a materialistic, democratic country which promises everybody everything, right now. Nor does this bode well for the idea that the world can be converted to enlightened, Anglo-Saxon democracy. The problem with many places, such as South America, is not so much that the people are stupid or can't get the government they want, as that the government they want right now will be a disaster in a few months, at which point they will want another short term fix, etc. The "mañana complex" sums it up perfectly. Why worry about tomorrow? Enjoy today!

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Separate Peace

Via Fjordman, I found this excellent article which put into words what I have been feeling for some time now, in words far better than I could have. I was far more suppressed though, when I realized it was written by Peggy Noonan, and published in the Opinion Journal of all places. What she says is just so grim...and true I fear.

I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it's a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."

...

Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "

Mr. Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."

Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family--that it might "fall apart." But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.

...

If I am right that trolley thoughts are out there, and even prevalent, how are people dealing with it on a daily basis?

I think those who haven't noticed we're living in a troubling time continue to operate each day with classic and constitutional American optimism intact. I think some of those who have a sense we're in trouble are going through the motions, dealing with their own daily challenges.

And some--well, I will mention and end with America's elites. Our recent debate about elites has had to do with whether opposition to Harriet Miers is elitist, but I don't think that's our elites' problem.

This is. Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."

You're a lobbyist or a senator or a cabinet chief, you're an editor at a paper or a green-room schmoozer, you're a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief, and you're making your life a little fortress. That's what I think a lot of the elites are up to.

Not all of course. There are a lot of people--I know them and so do you--trying to do work that helps, that will turn it around, that can make it better, that can save lives. They're trying to keep the boat afloat. Or, I should say, get the trolley back on the tracks.

That's what I think is going on with our elites. There are two groups. One has made a separate peace, and one is trying to keep the boat afloat. I suspect those in the latter group privately, in a place so private they don't even express it to themselves, wonder if they'll go down with the ship. Or into bad territory with the trolley.

Changing Demographics

I have been rather busy lately, due to projects and other things. I noticed that the statistics for unwed births for 2004 are now out though, so I thought I would make a quick post.

In the statistics, available here, blacks are of course by far the most likely to have children out of wedlock. Hispanics, famed for having great traditional family values, are not doing much better though.

Percent of Illegitimacy By Group
White: 24.5%
Black: 69.2%
Hispanic: 46.4%

How can this be when there is a surplus of (illegal) Hispanic men in this country? Also, given the anchor baby loophole in the law, why would any unwed Hispanic women have a problem finding a husband (regardless of who the father was) given the incentive to exploit the loophole? If anything, my guess is that over the long term, Hispanic illegitimacy is only going to increase as they become even more "settled in".

Another interesting, and disturbing fact: births to white women are now accounting for only 55.9%, yes 55.9%, of total births, down from 56.8% in the previous year.

Look at the above graph from this previous post, to get an idea of what effect this change might have on the political leaning of the country. Note, 55.9% corresponds to about the 7th bar. (Refer back to the original post(s) for background on what the graph represents.)

UPDATE: Note, for what it is worth, 55.9% does not factor in the number of births in other countries of individuals who will move here in the future. Hence, the generation being born now will in 20 or 30 years probably actually be considerably less "white" than the raw birth rates would suggest.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cutting Dead Weight


I found this interesting plot of Bush's disapproval rating over at American Patrol and drew some lines on it which visually approximates the linear trends. It seems that after every major event, his disapproval rating increases about 2% per month. I have also added the main events that were happening when each major rebound happened. 9/11, the Iraq war, finding Saddam, and then the Iraq election seem to have been the only things which have won him any significant boost in popularity.

Broadly speaking though, I don't think the man is really advancing the conservative cause, even at best. At worst he is going to sink us all, and particularly Republican candidates in the 06 election. It is not hard to see why the administration is talking about Syria now that public approval is tanking.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Germanic-Sphere



I started looking at the transparency data that Steve Sailer pointed out a few days ago. One thing I could not help but notice though, was that almost all the top countries spoke some Germanic language. Among the top twenty, you will note that only two (Finland and France) speak non-Germanic languages, while two (Singapore and Hong King) have a major percentage of English speakers. (To be fair, Finland also has a Swedish speaking sub-population, but it is quite small.)

The major Anglo-Saxon countries all did quite well in the list. What is worth noting however, and one aspect which some might be inclined to gloss over because of the politically incorrectness of the fact, is that other Nordic nations also seemed to do about equally well. In fact what is so interesting is the diversity of the Germanic national/language groups which are included: from Iceland, who's language is essentially that of the Vikings, to Luxembourg, which speaks a high Germanic language know as Luxembourgish, to the UK and the whole Anglo-Sphere which speaks its language.

As Americans, I think it is important that we remember that our identity is like an onion in that it has many layers. We are of course Americans first; secondly, members of the Anglo-Saxon world; third, members what I will call the Germanic-Sphere. Then we are Europeans/Westerners. Finally, and only then, are we all members of some big global family/village/whatever.

UPDATE: Another point to note is that most of these countries are Protestant. I think though that Protestantism is rather more of an effect than a cause in this case, in that Protestantism is really a distinctly Germanic/Nordic religion. If you look at where the Protestant Reformation succeeded, you will see that it was essentially the Germanic-Sphere (obviously, not all the Germanic countries, or Germany for that matter, fully made the switch). Protestantism stopped rather solidly when it reached the French in the west, and Slavic Europe in the east. It was only the relatively protected pocket of Northern Europe that provided a safe haven for Protestantism.

UPDATE2: Here is the map with the rankings added. Note that Luxembourg was too small to mark. Also note that in the original data, three rankings were ties, so even though the UK shows up as 12 on the graph above, it is really a 11, etc.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ideology as a Ground for Nationhood?

Here is a very interesting article which relates the problems that Israel is having integrating Ethiopian Jews. For those who believe that shared ideas or ideology can form a sufficient ground for a stable nation, this should serve as a warning.


One agency official told the Forward that there are many signs pointing to the "sad reality" that Israel is failing to integrate many members of the 100,000-person Ethiopian community, including rising rates in poverty and in juvenile crime.

The alarming statistics and rash of political controversies stand in stark contrast to the euphoria that surrounded the airlifts in 1984 and 1985 — dubbed Operation Moses — which brought the first wave of 8,000 Ethiopians to Israel. Operation Solomon, which brought another 14,000 Ethiopians in May 1991, also was cheered. Israelis again celebrated the notion that Zionism was a color-blind ideology committed to bringing to Israel Jews of all races. But in the decade-and-a-half since, with the arrival of tens of thousands of more immigrants and the mounting evidence of absorption failures, the sense of universal support for Ethiopian immigration has been destroyed.

Increasingly, Ethiopian activists and their allies claim that they have been met with racism and discrimination.

"The problem is not only the public's image of Ethiopian immigrants but also the government's attitude toward them," one of the Ethiopian community's political leaders said last week. The leader, who asked not to be identified, told the Forward, "Right now, all we get is a very unpleasant experience of racism and discrimination by government and local officials."

...

The mounting problems drew national attention last month when Yitzhak Bokovza, mayor of the Israeli town Or Yehuda, refused to admit 42 Ethiopian children into class at the start of the school year.

The media also seized on an incident last month in which Ethiopian students in a Haifa high school were attacked by their fellow students — all veteran Russian immigrants — during recess. A similar incident took place in Arad last year. And in the beginning of 2005, two Ethiopian girls were attacked without provocation in a Tel Aviv dance club by other Israeli girls. Both of the Ethiopians ended up in the hospital with serious injuries.

This bit though has to make you laugh though:


Bokovza is highly critical of the Israeli government, which, he said, has failed to devise a plan for the "controlled absorption of immigrants." This had lead to the creation of "ghettos," as large numbers of Ethiopians settle in the same cities.

According to Bokovza, about 1.5% of Or Yehuda residents are Ethiopian — about the same as the percentage of Ethiopians in the entire Israeli population.

"If this situation continues, in two years they will be 4%" in Or Yehuda, he said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The White Man's Burden

A recent paper by Jonathan Huebner titled "A possible declining trend for worldwide innovation" and published this month in Technological Forecasting & Social Change, has been causing a stir among certain circles. Some love the prospects of gloom and doom, while others are offended that anyone would suggest that technology might not be carrying us forward to some kind of science fiction future. From the paper (sorry, no link):


For the purposes of this paper, the rate of innovation is defined as the number of important technological developments per year divided by the world population. This result represents the innovation of an average person in developing new technologies each year. In a simplified model of the history of technology, in which the population remains constant, the rate of innovation is nearly zero at the dawn of civilization and then gradually starts to accelerate. Halfway to the technological limit, the rate of innovation reaches a maximum value and then starts to decline. As the technological limit is approached, the rate of innovation approaches zero, but it never reaches zero, sothat the rate of innovation follows a bell curve.

...

The number of technology events per year comes from a list of 8583 important events in the history of science and technology compiled by Bunch and Hellemans...
An unexpected aspect of Fig. 1 is that the rate of innovation reached a peak in the 19th century and then declined throughout the 20th century even with
higher levels of education, major advances in science and the invention of the computer. This means that it was harder for the average person to develop a new technology in the 20th century than in the 19th century. There were more innovations during the 20th century than the 19th century, but the proportional
increase in world population was greater. One of the most famous and prolific inventors of all time was Thomas Edison, and he lived from 1847 to 1931 during the golden age of innovation.

Along with the paper was presented this graph which shows the rate of innovation by the author's estimation (I have no reason to believe that the data is incorrect, though some will probably try to quibble with it):



What really caught my attention though, and is a point which I believe is a major flaw, was that the rate of innovation was taken with respect to the global population. The problem however, is that this assumes that everyone is equally capable of making significant innovations. In reality, First World people are far more likely to be making these innovations, so we should really control for the size of First World countries. There has been a significant growth of the Third World over the course of the last few generations, which seems, and I believe the following graph will show, was responsible for at least part of the sudden drop in innovation in the last few decades.





First, let me explain how I came up with the above graph. The original data I got by simply copying/estimating the data points for the range from 1905-1999 off of the graph. Not exact, but it should be +/- 0.5 units. The second plot is controlled so that the ratio of the First World population versus Third World remains the same. I estimated this using this UN population data, where I assumed that North America and Europe represent the First World, and everything else is not. The third plot takes into account the fact that there has been considerable immigration into the West; I chose 15% as an arbitrary estimation of the average percentage of people living in the West which are of Third World origin and have arriving in the last century, and assumed that this immigrant population was exponentially increasing (in other words, 0% in 1905, 15% in 1999, with most of the increase in the last few decades). Now please note, these are essentially back-of-the-envelope style estimates; I am not a social scientists, nor am I interested in a few percent plus or minus. My main point for making the above estimates was to get a feel for what the data looked like.

The details out of the way now, it is very interesting to look at the graph and the rate of innovation for the last century. While the original data does tend to make it look like innovation has taken a nose-dive in the last couple decades, when adjusted to maintain the ratio of Western to Non-Western people, innovation seems to have remained quite stable during this period.

A couple points. First, I realize this does not "prove" that Westerners are responsible for all/much/or a disproportional amount of ground-breaking innovation. However I think that intuitively we find the argument that innovation per person (in the West) has significantly decreased recently as a somewhat improbable.

Secondly, the type of innovation that Huebner is trying to track is not necessarily innovation in the colloquial sense, but rather really outside the box type innovations. This is where it gets tricky, and some will object. The reason I did not, and don't believe that one should, account for Asian growth is that generally speaking, Asians do very poorly in this type of innovation. As someone who is in engineering at the graduate level, I see a lot of east Asians which are talented at math or detailed oriented technology. In my view, Asians are very good at working the bugs out of systems, fine tuning, and iteratively improving things which are already fairly well defined. In fact, a lot of good Asian engineering is famous for this, especially from Japan, where their quality control is excellent. That said, Asian culture is a Borrower Culture. True ground-breaking innovation is exceedingly rare (though it has happened, as in the case of gun power and the compass). One reason is probably the fact that Asia tends to be culturally conservative and risk adverse, so innovation is not tried as often.

Another reason, which is probably much closer to a compelling explanation, is that ground-breaking innovation is often a very "holistic" process where new ideas are synthesized, with ideas or information pulled from perhaps many different directions and domain areas. This is essentially the opposite of the incremental, iterative, highly technical approach where advancements are made by many small improvements, working bugs and kinks out of current ideas. The later approach prizes the specialized, technical mind because there is little disadvantage to missing the forest for the trees. This is where Asian brains do well. The former approach happens far less often however, but is where most of the big ideas come from in the first place. This approach favors the well rounded mind, because while looking at the trees it is also important to see the forest. This is were Asian brains suffer, because their mental abilities are not equally distributed among functional areas (as I recall their IQ tend to be highest in math-ish and spatial tasks, while being below whites in the other areas).

The main point of this post was not if Asians can innovate or not however, the above is just to justify why I don't find the population growth in Asia worth considering as a significant factor.

If we really want to look at who is doing the ground-breaking innovation today, there is no reason to take my word for it. Let's just look at the names of some of the people doing hard science who have won Nobel Prizes:

Physics

2005 Roy J. Glauber, John L. Hall, Theodor W. Hänsch

2004 David J. Gross, H. David Politzer, Frank Wilczek

2003 Alexei A. Abrikosov, Vitaly L. Ginzburg, Anthony J. Leggett

2002 Raymond Davis Jr., Masatoshi Koshiba, Riccardo Giacconi

2001 Eric A. Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle, Carl E. Wieman

2000 Zhores I. Alferov, Herbert Kroemer, Jack S. Kilby

1999 Gerardus 't Hooft, Martinus J.G. Veltman

1998 Robert B. Laughlin, Horst L. Störmer, Daniel C. Tsui

1997 Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, William D. Phillips

1996 David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff, Robert C. Richardson


Chemistry

2005 Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, Richard R. Schrock

2004 Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, Irwin Rose

2003 Peter Agre, Roderick MacKinnon

2002 John B. Fenn, Koichi Tanaka, Kurt Wüthrich

2001 William S. Knowles, Ryoji Noyori, K. Barry Sharpless

2000 Alan Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid, Hideki Shirakawa

1999 Ahmed Zewail

1998 Walter Kohn, John Pople

1997 Paul D. Boyer, John E. Walker, Jens C. Skou

1996 Robert F. Curl Jr., Sir Harold Kroto, Richard E. Smalley


Medicine

2005 Barry J. Marshall, J. Robin Warren

2004 Richard Axel, Linda B. Buck

2003 Paul C. Lauterbur, Sir Peter Mansfield

2002 Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, John E. Sulston

2001 Leland H. Hartwell, Tim Hunt, Sir Paul Nurse

2000 Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard, Eric R. Kandel

1999 Günter Blobel

1998 Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro, Ferid Murad

1997 Stanley B. Prusiner

1996 Peter C. Doherty, Rolf M. Zinkernagel


One thought worth thinking about is that while the world is becoming more filled with people, the percentage of innovators is decreasing, suggesting that we may be coming up with more problems and less people to fix them.

Since modern economic advancement is built on the back of innovation, this also suggests that global and utopianistic capitalism, where growth is maintained for everyone, is not just unrealistic, but quite naive. In fact, protecting the wealth we create from others may be a more pertinent priority.

This also may give some perspective into why most non-Western people tend away from Capitalism, believing instead in a zero-sum game of economics: because for them, it is. Cultures which lack innovation are cultures where the net wealth per person is essentially static, all else being equal. These people will not support capitalism over the long run because it is not in their interest to do so, and it is perhaps ethnocentric to believe otherwise.

Conservatism Lite

Via View from the Right, Robert Bork has an excellent essay in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal which chastises Bush for his failures to govern in a appreciably conservative sense:

...this nomination has split the fragile conservative coalition on social issues into those appalled by the administration's cynicism and those still anxious, for a variety of reasons, to support or at least placate the president. Anger is growing between the two groups. The supporters should rethink. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq aside, George W. Bush has not governed as a conservative (amnesty for illegal immigrants, reckless spending that will ultimately undo his tax cuts, signing a campaign finance bill even while maintaining its unconstitutionality). This George Bush, like his father, is showing himself to be indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values. He appears embittered by conservative opposition to his nomination, which raises the possibility that if Ms. Miers is not confirmed, the next nominee will be even less acceptable to those asking for a restrained court. That, ironically, is the best argument for her confirmation. But it is not good enough.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Crime and Immigration in Denmark

Mikkel from Enough! has produced this excellent graph which shows the crime stats from natives, immigrants, and immigrant descendants in Denmark, as reported by a recent government study. Particularly interesting are the charges per 1000 of Western versus non-Western immigrants. The rate of crime by the second generation of non-Westerners is especially interesting and disturbing, as they have by far the highest crime rate among those below about 30.

This brings up one of the biggest concerns I have with the idea that we can efficiently assimilate massive numbers of non-Westerns or nominal Westerners like those from south of the border. The question which I would like to see answered, is if we can assimilate a group of individuals, what prevents them from unassimilating?

In fact, unassimilating seems to be the best description of what is happening with many non-Westerns and especially Muslims in the West right now. The crime increase in the second generation from the study above is just one reflection of this. The problem is not limited to Muslims however, as many other ethnic groups can and do develop institutions, such as La Raza, which serve to separate them from the majority and create new cultural identities.

Is this to suggest that we should not encourage people to assimilate? Not really; assimilation seems to be the best thing going right now. However, we have to realize that assimilation acts on an individual or generation; it does not mean that future generations will choose to remain assimilated. Put another way, if we are going to have large non-Western populations among us, then we must accept the fact that "assimilation" is a continuous process, as each generation decides if to become or remain assimilated, or to seek some kind of "cultural identity".

Friday, October 14, 2005

Time Delayed Systems and Fear of Outsiders

I thought I might point out one additional point about the previous post, which some might not find immediately obvious, but which is quite interesting. As I noted before, I believe that we can reasonably estimate that the current population composition is moving about 1-2 (closer to 2) bars to the right every decade in the graph below. Also note that the difference between the current composition of the House (approximately 20% minority), and the national as a whole, is about two bars apart. In other words, the political response seems to be delayed by about a decade or slightly more. So we have the politics in 2005 of the ethnic composition of the nation in the early 1990's. Likewise, we probably won't feel the full effects of the currently much greater minority population until the late 2010's.

This may provide one clue as to why immigration control has been such a major problem. Typically, from an engineering perspective, controlling systems with some kind of a significant input-output time delay (perhaps milliseconds instead of years however), is problematic. From a political perspective, there is a weak correlation between allowing mass immigration (illegal or otherwise) and seeing political consequences in the near term. Not only is it difficult for average voters, who don't think about this topic too much, to see, but there is also little reason for politicians who are focused on the short term to worry about something that far into the future either.

From an evolutionary perspective, this might also explain why "us" versus "them" thinking, racism, fear of outsiders, etc, is so strongly engrained and biologically intrinsic. Like our fear of fire or heights, fear of mass population influxes are perhaps one of those things which can be very hard to learn about in an individual generation (given the high probability of death or ceasing to exist as a group involved in these types of "learning experiences"), hence the need for an intrinsic fear.

In other words, this fear of outsiders creates artificial and generally irrational, but instant, negative feedback and friction between groups, so that the situation is avoided where a transient influx of another population might end in a less favorable situation for the original population, once the new inter-group equilibrium is reached.

For example, consider a group of hunter-gatherers living in a large valley. Some climate change combined with regional advancements in farming in the rich valley soil triples the population the valley can provide for. Soon after this change, a highland tribe moves into the valley, perhaps even welcomed or recruited due to an agreement to pay some small tax to the original tribe. Since there are no shortages, both pre-adapted tribes ignore one another, despite the fact that one is living on the other's "territory". Over time however, the population of the valley again exceeds what it can support, and war between the tribes breaks out. Once this new stable population limit is reached, the original tribe is in a considerably less desirable position than before, having lost half the valley. Hence, the delay between a decision and the consequences happens too late to make the necessary changes.

The tribe in the other valley over however, which was less welcoming and did not share their valley, live (in greater numbers) to pass their genes on to future generations, hence creating this (again, often irrational, at least in the short term) fear of outsiders due to the evolutionary mechanism.

Guesstimating Changes in US Politics Based on Greater Immigration and Minority Governance


The previous two posts have provided some very interesting results for where minorities tend to rate on immigration and tax issues. Taking it a step farther however, what can we estimate the effects would be of greater immigration or minority governance?

I have prepared the following graph, which provides some interesting things to think about. The top portion represents the percentage of minorities in the house, while the lower portion represents the mean immigration rating of congress as a while, given the above composition. Note that increments of minority Representatives were made in terms of a 15% increase relative to the number of majority Representatives (and then normalized), so that if minorities in the House and the general population were to increase at the same rate, it would mean an influx of another 30 million minorities per increment; this corresponds essentially in my estimation to 6-8 years of combined US legal and illegal immigration at the current rate (estimates for illegal are difficult to know, and increasing, so this number will probably grow smaller over time). In other words, move the the left 1-2 bars each decade. When combined with the greater birth rates of minorities, this should be a safe estimation over the long term.

I estimated the mean immigration score of the House as a whole, based on the percentage of minorities (again, Asians were not included due to their small size). This estimation was linear, assuming that the minority mean would remain unchanged regardless of size. This assumption is almost undoubtedly false; the larger the minority participation (and thus the size of the far left), what is "acceptable" on the far-left is likely to change, thus many might move even farther to the left. This would primarily effect what the ratings in the rating system represent however, since it is a relative, not absolute, measurement of left/right. Those that represent the far left would still score a four, in other words, though a conservative with a score of 2 today might have a score of 1 instead, assuming he voted the same way. This would tend to move the "center" farther to the left, however it is possible that to compensate, whites might start voting even farther to the right, combined with a reduction of their standard deviation. In other words, it is very difficult to really project what would happen. The estimates above are still very interesting however.

One of the most interesting things to note about the graph above is that minorities are considerably under-represented in the House, meaning the House does not really represent the national mean. If percentages were closer to the national average, we would see a significant shift to the left. Also, even given the current percentage of minorities in congress, the combined mean is still moved to the left by about 25% relative to the majority population. If minorities reached equal participation in congress, the shift to the left relative to the majority population would approach 50%.

UPDATE: I made a small change to the rate of immigration increase, from 5-6 to 6-8 years, to be a bit more conservative. From The American Resistance, here is an illegal immigration counter and associated documentation on how they are arriving at their numbers, which provides for interesting reading and makes an excellent resource.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More on Voting Patterns of Representatives by Group

Here are a couple more charts which break down the composition of each rating tier by group. The only note that I would add is that "minority" used here consists only of blacks, Hispanics, and Jews; I did not bother to include the three or four Asians serving in the House.

Remember, the lower the rating, the more conservative the rating is. Four represents essentially far left Democrats and socialists.

Immigration rating breakdown.



Tax rating breakdown.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Voting Patterns of Representatives by Group

I have come upon some very interesting data which ranks Representatives in the House on immigration control and taxation, grouped by race and ethnicity. The data has been pulled and compiled by Geoff Beck, who has done some of his own analysis on it. The sources he used were the Americans for Better Immigration ratings for immigration, and the National Tax Payer's Union from 2003 for the tax ratings. In the rating system that I used, 0 is good from a conservative point of view, and 4 is the worst possible ranking. In cases where there were no results, I did not count them in the analysis.

Some basic statistical results are given below with a few comments. First however, the raw numbers are given:

Immigration, Mean
Euros 1.6450
Blacks 3.6154
Hispanics 3.5833
Jews 3.5385

Immigration, Standard Deviation
Euros 1.3579
Blacks 0.5436
Hispanics 0.8805
Jews 0.7060

Tax, Mean
Euros 2.1981
Blacks 3.7647
Hispanics 3.3333
Jews 3.7500

Tax, Standard Deviation
Euros 1.2200
Blacks 0.4960
Hispanics 1.1672
Jews 0.6757

Now for the graphs.

The most striking result was the mean immigration results of minorities versus Euros, which are given in the graph below:


We can see that the rating for minorities is right at about double that of Euros. Among the minority groups, there is almost no difference in mean rating.

Now given below are the mean and standard deviation for groups on both issues.




One thing that the standard deviation tells is the degree of variance or intellectual diversity within groups. Groups with higher standard deviation have a wider range of views, and those with less could be described as having more "groupthink". Another way of thinking about it is how tightly the data clusters around the mean.

On both issues, it is very clear that Euros are much more intellectually diverse. Surprisingly, Hispanics have the secondly highest standard deviation, which is probably at least partly explained by the differences within the Hispanic community, in terms of national origin, income, racial component, and length of time in the US. Another explanation is that Hispanics are a new and growing demographic which still have not "settled" into a stable voting pattern yet. As blacks and Jews show however, over time their standard deviation will be expected to drop. Also, one point which should be noted is that even though their standard deviation is higher than other minority groups, the mean is still very liberal, so even though they are more loosely clustered than other minorities, they are still at a very different place than Euros.

Below is a ranked graph of individuals by group and their immigration rating:

And for taxation rating:


In both of the above figures one interesting point to note is that most minorities are stuck to the absolutely most liberal rating like flies to a molasses jar. It is difficult to know where their "natural" position would be if they had not saturated out in the rating system and been more limited by the range of "acceptable" politics in America. One thing that can be comfortably said is that most minority Representatives don't feel comfortable in the mainstream of American politics, nor do "acceptable" politics appear to offer them the breadth of options for what they might otherwise advocate.

These results are very interesting, and I hope to have more comments soon when I have more time. There are plenty of caveats I could add, sample size, elected representatives possibly not reflecting the views of members of their own group, etc, however I assume that the intelligent reader is smart enough to know the drill. Also, if you have any other ideas for interesting statistical analysis on the data, drop me an email (the data I have only has group, state, and ratings attached however, so please don't expect me to collect party or male/female information).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

We're all Living in Amerika

There has been some back-and-forth lately between a few multi-cultural Republicans and some of us more traditionalists types. One thing which tends to come up is the definition of "America", what it is about, what is "patriotism", and who is "American". This is a sensitive topic, and I don't wish to call people "non-American" or whatever in the same way that some multi-cultural Republicans have called us traditionalist types unpatriotic.

However the version of America that some today hold is essentially a liberal construct that has been developed in the last 40 years; it is a make-believe place, plastic, certainly unnatural. This America has no memory, actually thinks pop culture is culture, and is incapable of valuing beauty or anything which is intangible, unless it can be put in terms of dollars and cents; a citizenry of mercenaries if you will. This is the world where diversity is strength, up is down, wrong is right, political correctness represents tolerance, and Islam is a religion of peace.

In this America, being American is defined in a minimalist fashion. Come over, buy some Nikes, watch some MTV, learn some English (maybe), show your love for the almighty Dollar, and you are basically in the club.

But if you think that much of what you see around you is really exclusive to America, and that anyone expressing affinity with Starbucks is authentically American, then you haven't been listening to your Rammstein:


Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen
Ich werde euch die Richtung zeigen
Nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus
Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus

We're all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
We're all living in Amerika
Amerika
Amerika

We're all living in Amerika
Coca-Cola, Wonderbra
We're all living in Amerika
Amerika
Amerika

If one wishes to define America in a minimal sense, then who in the world isn't American? Much of what we think of as being "American" culture is really just the product of transnational corporations. A huge number of young people in Europe today can speak decent English. Whatever differences we have with Europe, and whatever ignorance they have about traditional America, there is still a tremendous amount of similarities between us, in terms of history, culture, values, etc. When you contrast them with people who have lived here for years, even decades, and perhaps still have not learned English, who have very different outlooks, who are perhaps non-Western or Third-World and yet still cling to their enclave and either don't or can't assimilate, it becomes very difficult to know what, if anything, being "American" in this new sense really means.

This is not to say that Europeans or those who bother to learn English are necessarily "Americans waiting to happen" either. How to define the term or where to set the limit is difficult to say. But where do we set the absolute minimum limit? When do we admit that just tapping onto the global grid, just living within the boundaries of America, just enjoying prosperity and materialism, is not a sufficient basis if we are to have a stable nation?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gilchrist Goes to General Election

Jim Gilchrist, despite entering the race late, made a remarkable showing on election day for the vacated seat of Rep Cox in California. He did poorly in the absentee ballots, which were cast early:


Early/Absentee vote:

Campbell 52%
Brewer 15%
Young 10%
Gilchrist 6%

However, in the few weeks that Jim had to promote his message, he made stunning progress:


Election Day vote:

Campbell 37%
Gilchrist 27%
Brewer 19%
Young 7%

With about 10 weeks left to campaign, Jim has an excellent opportunity to get his message out this time for the general election.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Sovereign Nation?

Via American Patrol, from this article:


A recent Mexican Independence Day assembly at Larkin High may have taken cultural sensitivity one step too far, a Larkin parent said this week.

Robert Bedard said his son was reprimanded when he declined to stand for the Mexican National Anthem during a ceremony at the west Elgin school last month.

His 17-year-old son, a senior in the process of enlisting, feared honoring another nation’s anthem might jeopardize his military status. Sitting down cost him a trip to the office.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Gilchrist

The special election in California which Jim Gilchrist is running in is going to be starting here in a few hours. Lets hope for the best!

Not Too Far Off

Via View from the Right, this cartoon is not too far off the mark it seems.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How to Reverse Illegal Immigration: Trade Countries!

Seeing how Latino activists like Josue Sierra, who as I noted in the update to the post a few back seems to feel that his goal is to create a Latino majority in our country, how about we all just switch places? In this thought experiment, everything south of the border will be where us "Anglos" go, and the Latinos will in turn all come to North America, seeing as how much they love it (more than we do apparently).

What would we expect to see result? My guess is that in a generation there would be entrepreneurial software developers and engineers living in $3M houses in the Amazon rainforest, contrasting with North America becoming a huge (although Spanish/Portuguese speaking) innercity neighborhood. Us dull, work-alcoholic, uptight "Anglos" working our 50 hour weeks in lush little Caribbean islands and tropical costal cities. Them "just going with the flow" in Alaska, -50 F.

And of course, there would be the illegal aliens crossing "our northern border" by the millions. Still.

We Need a Fence

WeNeedAFence.com is a new group which is promoting the idea of building a state-of-the-art fence on our southern border. Go to their site, donate, watch the video, and spread the word.

Vie American Patrol, you can also watch a Lou Dobbs clip about them here.

Federal Hate Crimes Law?

The Republican-majority House has approved an amendment which would make "hate crimes" a federal offence. Vie Let Freedom Ring:


Rep. Conyers offered an amendment to H.R. 3132, The Children's Safety Act of 2005 that Federal Hate Crimes. If included in the final bill, this would create a Federal offense for violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim.

The final vote for adding the amendment was 223 to 199.

Looking Bad

The recent photo of Bush that the Drudge Report linked to this morning shows the President looking rather poor. He looks dull and attenuated, perhaps a sign of a lack of sleep, too much stress. I realize that the recent accusations that Bush has been hitting the bottle again are cheap shots, but judging from how he looks, its not quote so improbable (thought I still doubt it).

Bush is under a lot of pressure, a lot of stress, it goes without saying. Sadly, given how poorly Bush has served almost any and all conservative goals, it is difficult to say if the country is better served by an energized President, or a disfunctioning, burnt-out one who can't do as much damage.

Those of us real conservatives who wish to turn the ship around had better make hay while the sun shines. Let's hope that the political goals of the Minuteman Project are successful, and that Bush either caves in to their demands (unlikely), or does something stupid which sets up the stage for a back-lash.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Saying What Needs to be Said

Katie's Dad is on fire over at American Kernel, fisking a multi-cultural Republican. He says some things that need to be said, and then said again, and then yet again. Responding to Josue Sierra from the Latino Issue blog about his post titled "Compassion Regarding Immigrants Called Political Correctness" Katie's Dad says (ouch!):


...yes JMS, you are soft...just like so many of those who fled Cuba instead of fighting for freedom. I know that's going to seem harsh to you, but having lived as a derogatorilly-labeled "Anglo" in Miami, I can testify only to what I experienced first-hand to be fact. There's a lot of talk from you folks, but no action. The whining of those who spring from your easily corruptible culture now falls on increasingly irritated, deaf ears outside Miami-Dade. If one quarter of Miami's "refugees" had the cojones to stay and fight, you wouldn't have Castro to complain about today. That's not to say ya'll wouldn't be jawboning sorrowfully at El Centro Vasco about some other corrupt regime you let come in to replace Fidel's.

When Sierra brings out the "country of immigrants" line:


Dependence on this trite "nation of immigrants" fallacy is the hallmark of a either died-in-the-wool multiculturalist or someone who really doesn't understand American history. Clearly, your position is based on the silly idea that the people who founded this nation were "immigrants." They were colonists and settlers. The term "immigrant" was created by Americans to describe those who came to our nation after our freedom had been earned. Don't insult me with your misindoctrinated notions about "the American way."

Another point which I have not thought of, but which is very insightful, regarding "diversity" and social stability:


Until the ruinous policies foisted upon America's unsuspecting, long-term European-origin-majority in 1965, this nation's "diversity" was extremely narrow. It is reasonable to argue that from a macro-protestant-centric perspective, we were not diverse at all. Nearly all of us whose ancestors arrived prior to 1965 originated from places that today are trying to forge a European Union based upon its innate cultural similarities. It is questionable they can succeed. Heck, about a third of all American immigrants prior to the McCarran-Walter bill repatriated themselves to their European homelands - mostly because they could not really "become Americans." And you expect that "a more diverse people" is workable at a time when almost nobody leaves?

As a descendant of a long line of hardy pioneers myself, I especially agree with KD's final words:


Intentionally or not, you disrespect my colonist ancestors who suffered greatly to create this nation with your wishful, fallacious insistance that "immigrants" made this nation. I find your point of view to be incredibly insulting.

Go read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: Josue Sierra responds to KD's post over at his blog (to be fair, the comment system does not really have any login, so I am assuming in good faith that the commenter was really Sierra):


Wow! How sad. To each it's own. Your ignorance is evident, though perhaps you have your own following. Best of luck to you, when Latinos become a majority.

Hmm, yes amigo, keep rubbing it in everyone's face why don't you? At least he is honest about his intentions. This is the party of Lincoln and Regan, if you can believe it.

Help Jim Gilchrist Win!


There are now three days left to the primary where we all are hoping Jim Gilchrist will win a chance to go to the next round. If you have not donated, yet have thought about it, now is the time to do so. Jim Gilchrist has solid, conservative values, and deserves to go to Washington. See this post here (PDF) which gives a view of his versus some of his opponent's views on conservative issues.

Spread the word, post about it on your blog, etc, let's get this brave and deserving individual into congress!

JimgilGhrist.com

Listen to Congressman Tom Tancredo's endorsement here.