New TV Show ‘American Sloth’   Leave a comment

There’s a popular TV show out, “American Greed”, usually about people who commit crimes to make a lot of money, and all the harm they do.

I propose a new show “American Sloth”, about the millions of lazy Americans who are dragging society down.  Featuring:

  • The teenager who has to repeat 10th grade because she’s on Facebook on her phone for 60 hours a week and completely neglects the rest of her life.
  • The 35 year old man who lives in the attic over his mother’s garage.  He can’t afford to move out, because he’s working part time at a crummy minimum-wage job.  He never gets around to looking for  a better job because he’s watching ESPN for 10 hours a day.
  • The 55 year old man who told his doctor he has “back pain”.  The doctor can’t prove whether he does or doesn’t, but it’s enough to qualify for social security disability insurance and food stamps.  It pays much less than honest work, but it’s enough to survive on and buy weed.  And internet porn is free.
  • The mom who lives with the father of her child and deliberately doesn’t marry him so that she’s technically a “single mom” and, as such, qualifies for welfare.  She works a little, but makes sure she keeps her working hours low enough that it doesn’t jeopardize her benefits.
  • The 27 year old man who’s living in his parent’s basement where he’s been since graduating from college in the liberal arts 5 years ago.  He feels he’s qualified to be a philosopher king, but unfortunately for him, there are very few job openings for philosopher kings in constitutional democracies.  And to tell the truth, with the grades he got, especially in economics, he would suck at it.  He’s achieved the highest rating at World of Warcraft.
  • The wife of a middle class working husband who means to get around to looking for a job someday, once she’s figured out what she wants to do and has caught up on binge-watching all the awesome TV shows on HBO, Netflix, and Showtime.

Posted March 20, 2018 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

The Internet is not the Problem   Leave a comment

There is a narrative, particularly among Democrats, that much of American society has been driven insane by the Internet and social media, and particularly, base instincts have been unleashed by the Trump campaign. I think this narrative misses out on how the rise of the alt-right and Trump’s victory represents a backlash against injustices that were previously being perpetrated in the marketplace of ideas.

Prior to the 2016 election, there was a consensus within the more liberal media about what could be said and what could not. This had been worked out over a long time. An ethic had emerged where violating the rules laid down was a sign of low origins and lack of education. So most educated people adhered to these rules, in order to avoid compromising their social standing.

The consensus was designed by leaders in the mainstream media, otherwise known as journalists, who lean left, and academics, who lean strongly left. As a result, the bounds of acceptable discourse favored the left.

Since the early 1990’s, to an ever-increasing extent, the far left has embraced identity politics, a world view where the central core of a person’s being is defined by their group membership by birth, their actual deeds and accomplishments coming second to that. Groups were on a spectrum ranging from “victim” to “privileged”.

“Victim” groups were generally above criticism. This suited the left, because the left wants to see poverty and indeed any indignity to be the consequence of luck, rather than being caused by anything under the control of the individual. So dysfunctional behavior of “victims” could not be discussed. Furthermore, not even dysfunctional behavior of the “privileged” could be discussed, because the speaker would then be accused of “coded racism” or “dog whistle politics”, and really talking about “victims” while only claiming to be talking about the “privileged”.

While “victim” groups were thus above criticism, “privileged” groups were beneath self-defense. Any attempt by a member of a “privileged” group to defend their identity against slander was deemed “white supremacy” or “sexism”, terrible sins. This made it open season for all the “victim” groups to blame all their problems on discrimination by the “privileged”, without any fear of cross-examination.

In the meantime, dysfunction was rampant. The social revolution of the 1960’s/1970’s tore down a lot of social structures that had had positive effects on society. The sexual revolution resulted in widespread incurable STD’s and a rash of out-of-wedlock births. Widespread marijuana use resulted in many people lacking ambition and performing far below their potential, if not leaving the workforce altogether. A lot of lower class people looked to movie actors and rock stars for leadership, those groups often making an art form out of setting the worst possible example.

Thus public debate within the bounds of acceptable discourse, including all debate in the mainstream media and in the academy, strayed further and further from reality, and became more and more abusive to those deemed “privileged”. People were hearing things from the mainstream media and from the academic elites that insulted their intelligence, not to mention that insulted them personally if they were among the “privileged”. Eventually the mainstream media and the universities lost credibility with American whites from the lower classes, who gravitated to the newer right-wing media on cable TV and the Internet.

The biggest miscalculation the left made was that they thought they had the “privileged” outnumbered, so that the “privileged” could be safely outvoted in elections. But it turned out that more white women identified more strongly with “white”, and therefore “privileged”, than as “women”, and therefore “victim”. As one female white Trump voter told me “I don’t think I’ve suffered for being female. I think I’ve gained more than lost from being a woman. And there were other things at stake in 2016.”. So the left had deliberately abused the crap out of the biggest voting block in the country. Not a smart campaign strategy.

The American right is in a mess. The right-wing media they have created are generally very new, and have yet to mature and develop high journalistic standards. The right is following Trump, but he lies so frequently that he’s hard to keep up with. Many right-wing intellectuals went on record as being vehemently opposed to Trump during the primaries and therefore can’t work in his administration.

The left is in worse shape. Prone to interpret anything that violates their cherished and skewed bounds of acceptable discourse as “bigotry”, they seem to feel that the solution to the problem is to somehow re-enforce those bounds, by physical violence in the streets if need be. Most of them have not even accepted that they rightfully lost the election in 2016 or that a very large fraction of the population has legitimate grounds to disagree with them. They jealously guard their space, vigorously censoring debate everywhere within their reach, keeping out the new ideas that they so desperately need if they are to regain touch with reality.

Posted February 19, 2018 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

Can we Restore the Pre-Trump Boundaries of Discourse?   Leave a comment

The consensus on the left is that Trump got himself elected by appealing to the basest instincts of white people. He totally violated what had previously been the boundaries of acceptable discourse, and the left argues that the fact that he was elected by majorities of every white sub-demographic shows that American whites are much more bigoted than had been previously believed.

The solution to this, according to the left, is to somehow re-establish the pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse, to put a lid on all of that seething racism. Some on the very far left feel that the solution is to “punch Nazis”, that is, re-establish and enforce the pre-Trump boundaries by rioting any time someone violates them. One problem with “punching Nazis” is that the people who want to do it are so far left that they can’t tell a ‘Nazi’ from the average Romney voter.

The NRA is ready for leftist rioting:

If the left wants violence in the streets, the right is ready for them. The right has more guns, and they know how to use them. “Punching Nazis” is a fast track to fascist Christian theocracy.

A lot of attention was given to a video that went viral a couple of months ago of 100 men marching with tiki torches and chanting Nazi slogans.  This, the left said, was proof the time for free speech was over, and we need to somehow clamp down on all this “rampant white bigotry”.  Bear in mind that 100 men is one out of every 3.3 million Americans.  A phenomenon of the internet is that pretty much any kind of nut cases can find each other, organize, form societies, and demonstrate, as evidenced by the fact that the flat earth society is alive and well when everyone has been seeing photos of the earth from space for 50 years.  Naziism is an utterly discredited philosophy that should not be taken seriously.

What the left completely fails to understand is how unreasonable the pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse were.  The way it was run, the far left had monopoly power to designate any group it desired to be “victim” or “privileged”.  All groups were placed on a spectrum ranging from “victim” to “privileged”, and your place on that spectrum determined your speech rights.  In any conversation about identity politics (and the left dragged identity politics into every imaginable topic), the “victim” was entitled to say anything they wanted, however insulting to the “privileged”, and the “privileged” was allowed to say nothing other than how sorry they were.

“Victim” groups were all to be seen as innocent little angels, no matter  what they did, and none of their problems were to be seen as there own fault — as a matter of fact, all of their problems were to be blamed on the “privileged”.

While all “victim” groups were encouraged to wallow in ethnic pride, the “privileged” were strictly forbidden to like their own ethnicity in any way.  Any attempt by the “privileged” to refute the wanton slander their ethnicity was receiving from the “victims” was interpreted as “white supremacy” and a severe crime.

And our immigration policy was disastrous for low-skilled citizens.  The intellectual elite told them “Unskilled immigrants take only jobs like picking fruit that you don’t want, and anyone who says or thinks otherwise is a stupid ‘bigot'”.  And poorly educated citizens looked around them and saw jobs in construction, landscaping, cooking, waiting tables, and delivering food, jobs those citizens wanted, being filled by Hispanics who were obviously foreign born.  “Don’t believe your lying eyes” the intellectual elite were telling them “and if you do believe your lying eyes, you’re a terrible person“.

Webster’s defines “stereotype” as basically a false rule of thumb about human beings based upon group identity.  So it is impossible for a “stereotype” to be true.  Let’s redefine “stereotype”, for a minute, as something that might or might not be true. Research shows that, for the most part, stereotypes don’t persist unless there is some truth to them. The validity of most stereotypes is in fact upheld by census data, crime statistics, and the like.  But the intellectual elite, through great effort, managed to make themselves vehemently believe that stereotypes were all false, leading to a really, really distorted view of reality.

It got to the point where really intelligent, highly educated people were saying incredibly stupid things whenever they talked about identity politics.  And they linked identity politics to everything, so they were constantly saying incredibly stupid things, about everything.

The intellectual elite thus basically forfeited credibility with about half the US population.  Because of the internet, that half of the US population were able to form a myriad variety of their own news sources, most of them pretty unreliable, but not crazy the same obvious way that those outlets controlled by the intellectual elite were (those outlets being the traditional mainstream non-Fox news media, the entertainment industry, and most of the teaching profession).

Because the left controls so much of the flow of information, everyone, to the left or right, has heard the left’s take on identity politics, over and over and over again.  Everyone understands it.  But half the population rejects it.  The left interprets this, as it interprets all criticism of its view of identity politics, as “bigotry”, which just reinforces the vehemence with which they cling to their paranoid fantasy view of reality.

The pre-Trump boundaries of acceptable discourse were not working for about 100 million voters.  It will be completely politically infeasible, not to mention unconstitutional, to re-impose them.

For the left to regain their credibility, they have to do a combination of two things:

  • Not be so obsessed about identity politics.
  • Allow a 2-sided debate about identity politics, questioning cherished dogmas, and with speech rights based upon two assumptions: firstly, no one should be above criticism, and secondly (and especially) no one should be  beneath self-defense.  That means a sentence that begins with “Excuse me, I’d like to say a few words in defense of the white race …” should be allowed to be completed.

The left is currently in such a state of hysteria about a supposed “wave of hate” sweeping the country, that they are extremely unlikely to consider either of these recommendations.

I am very concerned about global warming.  I think the intellectual elite is right about global warming, but they lack the credibility needed to get the whole population signed up for the needed sacrifices.

The right is in a mess.  Their consensus hasn’t matured, they haven’t really figured out who among them are the smart and reliable people to listen to.  There are some pretty intelligent right-wing news sources, like National Review magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and some right-wing think tanks, but most of the right isn’t tuned in to those sources.

Trump was elected on the basis of a very large set of promises that he has no hope of delivering.  He might not even get the border wall, his number one promise, completed.  He takes dishonesty to a level that is unprecedented in the oval office in living memory.  He is intellectually and temperamentally unfit for the office, and especially unfit to be in charge of nukes.  If we make it to January 2021 without any major cities on the globe being nuked, I’ll be relieved.

Posted December 3, 2017 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

Should All Beliefs be the Basis of Protected Classes?   Leave a comment

In 2016, a tow truck driver in South Carolina refused to do business with a stranded customer who had waited an hour for him to show up. Why? Because there was a Bernie Sanders sticker on her car, causing him to believe that she was a “socialist”. He also said he had experience with Bernie fans stiffing him on their bills, and he just didn’t want to do business with any more of them.

“Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave,” he said, “and when I got in my truck, you know, I was so proud, because I felt like I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for what I believed.”

The day after Trump was elected, Matt Maloney, CEO of Grubhub / Seamless, sent an angry, ranting email to his employees:

“While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that his behavior – and these views, have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.” he said. “If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.”.

This was met by an instant Twitter campaign / boycott of Grubhub / Seamless, and Maloney backtracked and claimed his statement had been “misconstrued”. Yeah, right.

We have the secret ballot in this country, and it’s important we maintain that. So Maloney had no way of knowing how his employees voted so long as they had the good sense to keep their mouths shut. But your party registration is a matter of public record — it would be very easy for Maloney to determine which of his employees were registered Republicans and start firing them.

In 2008, Brendan Eich, the inventor of Javascript and the founder of Mozilla, donated $1000 (which would have been a very small amount of money to him) to the campaign of California proposition 8, an anti-gay marriage initiative. At that time, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed with his position.

In 2014, Eich became CEO of Mozilla, and news of the donation surfaced. A massive boycott of Mozilla ensued, forcing Eich to resign.

One wonders, suppose Eich had defended himself by announcing that he had converted to Islam in 2006, and his opposition to gay marriage was based on the Islamic religious doctrine that gay sex among men prior to the afterlife was a sin punishable by death? Then the pressure to force him to lose his job would have been religious persecution, wouldn’t it?

Let’s modify that, and suppose that Eich were a Fundamentalist Christian, and that he announced that his opposition to gay marriage was based on Christian scripture. Would this still put him in a protected class? With most liberals nowadays, Muslims are a protected class, but Evangelicals aren’t somehow.

Let’s modify that again, and suppose that Eich had just said he didn’t like gays marrying because of some non-religious, but very sophisticated, scientific theory of his. Legally, that wouldn’t put him in a protected class at all. So it seems your beliefs are only protected if your reasons for harboring them are stupid enough.

The lesson of the Mozilla boycott is “if you want to get ahead, you best say nothing about any controversial political issue, which could affect your career, whether now or years from now in a changed political environment.”.

This article lists 10 Right Wing Companies That Every Progressive Should Boycott. Liberals are very fond lately of boycotting companies they disagree with. Isn’t trying to drive a company bankrupt by refusing to do business with it the same as firing someone because you disagree with their opinions?

We can’t make any opinion the source of being in a protected class. If you express stupid opinions on a job interview, you won’t be hired, and rightly so. Similarly, saying stupid things on the job can cost you your livelihood, as it should be. But it gets gray. Biologists have been fired for expressing Creationist views, because their managers honestly believed that they were either stupid or intellectually dishonest, but then they sue for religious discrimination and sometimes win. Similarly, I would never hire a Marxist to teach economics, in light of the fact that countries run by them usually have extremely poorly performing economies and Marxist doctrine shows ignorance of even the most fundamental economic realities. To be considered a member of a protected class, a Marxist who had been fired as such would have to make the case that communism is a religious belief system, actually a pretty defensible claim, but not one they would enjoy making.

We seem to live in a world where you’re either in a protected class, in which case your protection from discrimination is formidable, or you’re not, in which case you have no protection from discrimination at all. Wouldn’t it be better for us to have an ethic that we should tolerate our differences of opinion and not make economic decisions based upon people’s beliefs unless those beliefs are relevant to the task at hand?

Posted May 13, 2017 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

How Can Identity Politics Be Safely De-Emphasized?   2 comments

The Democrats received a real drubbing this last election.  They lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, a majority of governorships and a majority of state legislatures.  29% of Hispanics voted for Trump, as did a strong majority of white women.

One idea that has been floated a lot is that liberals should tone down the identity politics.  This has met with fierce objections that this would be tantamount to complete surrender to “white supremacy” and homophobia.  In this article I will address how we can tone down the excesses of the social justice movement with the least compromise to the interests of minorities and unpopular groups.

Central to this essay is the “social justice” world view.  It is a world view in which individuals don’t have rights except through membership in groups, and groups have rights in proportion to which they are classified as having been somehow “victimized” in some way.  The opposite of a group being in a “victim” class is a group being in a “privileged” class.  Not only does being in a “privileged” group bring no rights with it at all, “privileged” groups are to be downright vilified and blamed for all of everyone else’s problems.

Identity Politics Provoke, Rather Than Prevent, Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are a law enforcement problem.  The perpetrators are idiots and criminals who are immensely unpopular, and the laws on the books carry extremely severe penalties.  We have police to deal with these acts if they extend beyond expressing opinions.  It is extremely unlikely that anyone will move to strike down hate crime laws and if anybody tries we just have to vigorously resist that.  This essay is assuming that hate crimes are not going to amount to more than a few anecdotal violent incidents, a few philistines shouting slurs, and a few naughty kids spray painting swastikas here and there, and not enough of any of these things to affect the average person’s daily life, although on the rare occasions when such things do occur they will get a huge amount of press attention by liberals eager to cast the election of Donald Trump as the end of the world.

An important thing to remember is that when some juvenile idiot spray paints an anonymous swastika somewhere, the motivation is probably a desire to push back against the excesses of identity politics.

Prioritize Which Rights Protected Classes Need Most to Keep

We should try to maintain, and continue to advance, protections against job discrimination.  That is one of the most important things that a minority or group needs in order to get by.

As I understand it, gays and transsexuals may still lose their jobs in many states.  During the election, Trump said he was pro-LGTB rights.  Whether he will consider that binding is anybody’s guess, but the chances are fairly good that if federal congress tries to undermine LGTB rights, he will veto it.

Free Speech: No One Should Be Above Criticism, No One Should Be Beneath Defense

An important part of how a democracy conducts itself is that there must be open public debate. Statements should be evaluated strictly according to two criteria — whether they are true, and whether they are relevant and constructive.

Identity politics conflicts with this. To a social justice warrior, far more central is whether a statement is “punching up” or “punching down”. Any statement criticizing a “victim” party that is made by a relatively “privileged” party is “punching down” and therefore automatically wrong, regardless of whether it is true, relevant, and constructive. The opposite, “punching up” is always to be commended, and any attempt by a member of a “privileged” group to defend themselves against such atacks, however unfounded they were, is promoting “white supremacy”, or “sexism”, and therefore automatically wrong.

Thus, according to the SJW’s, to be in a “victim” class is to be above criticism, and to be in a “privileged” class is to be beneath self-defense.

The “privileged” are not completely lacking in virtue, and the “victims” are not completely without fault. It is in the public interest for debate to be able to reflect reality, so these restrictions on speech are intolerable.

Rights Should be Based on Individuals, Not Groups

In Martin Luther King’s famous speech, he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.“.

The current SJW movement has been pushing us in exactly the opposite direction — we have been arriving in a world where the central core of everyone’s identity is their group membership, with what they’ve actually achieved in their lives being a distant, secondary consideration.

Promoting the SJW world view that rights, especially the right to free speech, were not inalienable rights of all individuals, but rather, belonged to groups, and only certain groups, where specifically the group representing the largest voting block in the country had no rights at all, was not a politically stable situation.  It was inevitable that eventually someone would run against this world view and win.

Burden of Proof, Part I: “He’s a Bigot”

One tactic that the SJW’s have pursued is making the accusation of “bigotry” very frequently, usually on the basis of unbelievably flimsy evidence.  Once any “privileged” person has been accused of “bigotry”, the only way to make a denial that is taken seriously at all is to have extensive credentials as having been a SJW themselves.

These accusations flew so far and wide, with so little justification, that basically every white Republican in the country, if not every non-SJW, had been tarred with the brush, especially when Hillary was quoted as dismissing most Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables”.  When you call someone a “bigot” and they don’t think it’s true, they’re not going to listen to you when you make the charge against others.  The SJW’s had been calling “wolf” so often, and for so long, that they had completely lost credibility with a very, very large share of the voters.

Burden of Proof, Part II: “Dog Whistles” and “Coded Racism”

If someone expresses alarm about too many people abusing the social safety net, they are not necessarily talking about blacks.  There are more whites on welfare than blacks.  But any discussion of abuse of the social safety gets met with immediate accusations of “dog whistle politics” or “coded racism” from the SJW’s, so that the issue, and many others like it, cannot be discussed with the SJW’s present, which means it cannot get discussed in the public media.  This does not mean these problems don’t exist, and don’t warrant being discussed.

Any time any form of dysfunctional behavior is brought up, the SJW’s shut down the debate with gratuitous accusation of “coded racism”.  And dysfunctional behavior is rampant.  40% of the children being born in the country today, of all races averaged together, are out of wedlock.  Raising a child properly is a daunting task for two people with two incomes, it’s drastically harder for one person alone.  This is an epidemic and a recipe for disaster, and thanks to the SJW’s, it’s hardly discussed.

It’s overwhelmingly in the interest of society that we be able to talk about our problems, and what we can do to address them.

Burden of Proof, Part III: Discrimination is not the Only Possible Cause of Differences in Outcomes Between Groups

There are many differences between different groups.  Ethnic groups all have cultural differences.  Men & women have different instincts.  A difference in outcomes between two groups may or may not reflect discrimination.

Elementary school teachers are overwhelmingly female.  This doesn’t prove that elementary school principals are sexist against hiring males.  It may just reflect an intrinsic difference between men and women, where women are more likely to want to spend all day surrounded by little kids.

Men and women have different arrest rates for violent crime.  This doesn’t prove unwarranted bias against males by cops.  While cops are probably more suspicious of males than females, the difference in conviction rates probably just reflects the fact that men are more violent than women.

Younger men are convicted of street crime at a higher rate than older men.  This doesn’t prove unwarranted bias against the young by cops.  While cops are probably more suspicious of young men than old, the difference in conviction rates may well reflect maturation of the brain, which continues into the late twenties, and the fact that older men have had more time to learn that street crime doesn’t pay.

These suggestions aren’t going to make life intolerable for anybody, would result in fewer voters being alienated from the Democratic Party, public debate that is able to face our problems squarely and realisticaly, and as a result, a healthier society.

Posted December 11, 2016 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

Foreign ETF’s List   Leave a comment

If you want to sell all your US equities before Trump destroys the US economy, here is a list of non-US ETF’s you can move your money to. All are traded on American stock exchanges.  The first ones listed are in the developed world, the last 3 are emerging markets.

DXJ WisdomTree Japan Hedge EQ     link Japan: 100%
EWJ iShares MSCI Japan ETF     link Japan: 100%
HEDJ WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity    link Fr: 27% Ger: 26% Spa: 18% Neth: 13% Belg:7% Finland: 5%
EZU iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF    link Fr: 32% Ger: 30% Neth: 10% Spa: 10% It: 6% Belg: 5% Finland 3%
DBEF Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF    link Jap: 24% UK: 19% Fr: 10% Ger: 9% Switz: 9% Australia: 7% HK 3%
SCZ iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF    link Jap: 31% UK: 18% Australia: 7% Ger: 6% Sweden: 5% Switz: 5%
EFA iShares MSCI EAFE ETF    link Jap: 24% UK: 19% Fr: 10% Ger: 9% Switz: 9% Australia: 7% HK: 3%
IEFA iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF link Jap: 25% UK: 19% Fr: 9% Ger: 9% Switzh: 9% Australia: 7% HK: 3%
SCHF Schwab International Equity ETF    link Jap: 22% UK: 17% Fr: 8% Ger: 8% Switz: 8% Can: 7% Australia: 6% SKor: 4%
VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets
ETF    link
Jap: 22% UK 17% Fr: 8% Ger: 8% Switz: 8% Australia: 6% Can: 6% Skor: 4%
VEU Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Fund    link Jap: 18%  UK: 14% Fr: 7% Ger: 6% Switz:
6% Australia: 5% Can: 5% China: 4% HK: 4% SKor: 3%
VGK Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF    link Jap: 31% Fr: 14% Ger: 14% Switz: 14% Swe: 5% Spa: 5% Neth: 4% It: 3% Den: 3%
VXUS Vanguard Total International Stock ETF    link(ex-US) Jap: 18% UK 14% Fr: 6% Ger: 6% Switz: 6% Australia: 5% Can: 5% China: 4% HK: 4% SKor: 4%
EFAV iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol EAFE ETC    link Jap: 29% UK: 23% Switz: 12% HK: 9% Australia: 6% Fr: 5% Ger: 4% Sing: 4% Israel: 2%
VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF    link Chi: 23% Taiw: 15% India: 12% Brazil: 9%
SAfr: 7% HK: 6% Mexico: 4% Malay: 4% Russ: 4% Thai: 3%
IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF    link Chi: 21% SKor: 15% Taiw: 13% India: 9% Braz: 7% SAfr: 6% HK: 5% Mexico: 4% Russ: 3% Malay: 3%
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF    link Chi: 21% SKor: 15% Taiw: 12% India: 9% Braz: 8% SAfr: 6% HK: 5% Mexico: 4% Russ: 4% Malay: 3%

Posted November 9, 2016 by xyquarx in Uncategorized

Police, Race, and Instinct   2 comments

Police officers do a lot of their work based on instinct.  When they encounter a person, they have to very quickly make an estimation of whether the person warrants further attention as a potential criminal, and, more importantly, whether the person presents a threat to the officer.

If a cop has been working for decades, they have encountered thousands of people, and developed instincts about which ones, based on their appearance, stance, manner of expressing themselves, and facial expression, are likely to be a problem.  Cops don’t have time to fill out a written checklist, assign points to certain traits, and add up an impartial, objective score.  They must use their instincts to size someone up in seconds.

And it is not humanly possible, the way American society is today, for someone’s instincts to be race-blind.  The law even provides much harsher penalties, under some circumstances, for crimes against a different race than for crimes against one’s own.  We have deliberately made our country into a place where being race-blind is a very dangerous proposition.  And for a cop, dealing with the subject of crime — there are huge differences in crime rates between different races.  To ask a cop to somehow develop instincts that are race-blind in a context where they observe radically different crime rates for different races is not reasonable.  And it’s not reasonable to expect a cop to ignore their instincts.

  • Perpetrators of Violent Crime by Race (In cases where the race of the perpetrators is known, White and Black only): White: 66%, Black: 34% (source: US Department of Justice)
  • Population by Race (White and Black only): White: 85.2%, Black: 14.8% (source: Wikipedia)
  • Score in Proportion to Likelihood of One Person Being a Perpetrator, by Race: White: 66/85.2 = 0.77, Black: 34/14.8 = 2.31

So a black person that a cop encounters on the street is 3 times more likely than a white person to be a violent perpetrator.  Is it realistic to expect a cop to work for years and not notice that?  Even subconsciously?

Do I believe the Black Lives Matter protestors when they claim that cops are treating blacks worse than whites? Absolutely. It makes perfect sense. What can we do about it? I’m not sure.

Posted July 16, 2016 by xyquarx in Uncategorized