Assorted links

by on June 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Bjartur June 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

The “(the piece is kind of a mess, but worth a ponder anyway)” caveat applies to #3 as well.

2 nl7 June 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Borderline stream of consciousness. It was not well thought out and reads like he was bored with it before it started.

3 Steve Sailer June 10, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Off-topic: Will wonders never cease? An economics professor who understands that the concept of supply and demand applies to wages, Dave Brat of Randolph-Macon, has defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the primary. Brat told voters:

Mickey Kaus cites Professor Brat’s final pitch to voters:

“The entire amnesty and low-wage agenda collapses if Cantor loses — all the billions of special interests dollars, all the favors, all the insider dealing — all of it is stopped in its tracks tomorrow if the patriotic working families of Virginia send Eric Cantor back home tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the middle class has its chance to fight back.

Tomorrow, the people of Virginia can show up to the polls and defeat the entire crony corporate lobby.

Tomorrow, we can restore our borders, rebuild our communities, and revitalize our middle class.”

4 Zephyrus June 10, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Truly stunning. I’m not sure, though, that this is good for immigration reform opponents (or amnesty opponents, if you must) in the long term.

Republicans are now never going to support immigration reform in the next couple Congresses. It wasn’t looking likely they would this time, but who could really say after 2014. So at least for the next two or so years, it certainly hurts immigration reform’s chances.

But this deepens Republican issues with Hispanic voters and Hispanic non-citizens, who aren’t going to go away. And it makes immigration reform–of the type that the median Democrat would support, instead of something a right-leaning Democrat would support–an even sweeter pie for Democrats to exploit. Expect it to become *the* top priority, for Democratic political survival, around 2016.

5 Steve Sailer June 10, 2014 at 10:33 pm

If the Democrats decide to fight 2016 out on the issue of amnesty, they just might lose.

6 Alexei June 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

You really think that hispanic voters would embrace Republicans if they passed immigration reform?

7 Steve Sailer June 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Democratic politicians keep telling Republican politicians that they need to pass amnesty for their own good. If Republicans can’t trust Democrats for advice on how Republicans can win elections, who can they trust?

8 Cliff June 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

The last amnesty lost the Republican party the last two presidential elections. Another amnesty would destroy the Republican party entirely. Maybe a good strategy would be to pretend they were in favor of some form of amnesty, but somehow whatever amnesty is proposed is not sufficient for whatever reason.

9 Zephyrus June 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Alexei, although 70% versus 80% margins might be emotionally the same, it’s still as big a difference as a swing from a tie to a 10% margin. That’s the stuff that wins elections.

Steve, I never took you for naive. It would be fought on whatever issues are most politically palatable for Democrats. But actual legislative priorities have a way of escaping campaign slogans.

10 ThomasH June 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

Interesting. Will he support EITC over minimum wage? Will he support removing tax preferences for employer “provided” health insurance? Will he try to remove the ethanol mandate in gasoline? Will he vote against farm crop “insurance” subsidies? Will he try to reduce the corporate income tax in favor of a consumption tax? Will he try to replace CO2 emission regulations and subsidies for hybrids and set asides for renewable, etc. with a carbon tax? Or has he just learned to sing “Anti-Washington” better than Cantor.

11 foobarista June 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Brooks really, really doesn’t like stuff that doesn’t feature leading roles for national elites (such as presumably himself).

So, even though he’s forced to admit that conservative intellectuals are now considering new approaches, the new approaches themselves are somewhat annoying to him.

12 bjk June 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Brooks is really out of his depth when he gets into “whither conservatism” territory. He should stick to comic sociology. The young Brooks would make merciless fun of David Brooks, Republican wise man.

13 bjk June 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Wise man Brooks: “We need an elite led populist decentralized federal responsibility welfare program movement.” He’s all over the place.

14 Philo June 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I wonder why Brooks imagines that he, or people like him, will be in control of the “energetic national policies” that he calls for, rather than people like Barrack Obama (Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, etc.).

15 stanley June 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I wonder if our robot-worker ration is so far “behind” Japan, Germany, etc., is because of our mass immigration from the South. I suppose if you can pay people next to nothing for labor rising labor costs don’t force your hand to invest in that type of infrastructure. It would be interesting to see the relationship between robot-worker ratio and low-skill immigration rate.

16 Hadur June 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm


Germany has loads of low-skill immigration from Turkey and Eastern Europe

17 Finch June 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm

This was surprisingly difficult to find in common terms, but if I read Wikipedia correctly, the net migration rate into the US is something like four times that into Germany per capita.

But I really might be reading it wrong, so I defer to people with better information. For example, I’m not sure if the numbers given include illegal immigration.

18 Z June 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

The Germans have also quietly put the brakes on Turkish immigration. Look at the numbers since the crash. The German labor market has not grown much at all.

19 GW June 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

There was some indeed relaxation in Turkish immigration to Germany, but this was as much due to the Turkish economic boom, as due to German policy or economy. At present, with Turkish politics and economics in some uncertainty, Turkish immigration to Germany has been increasing again as part of a very strong increase in immigration to Germany in general over the past year or two.

20 Casey June 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Not to mention that in the US there are probably a far larer number of people who both are planning to stay for the rest of their lives as well as finding employers looking for employees with that attitude due to our ability to assimilate new immigrants. So there’s a sharp difference in quality as well as quantity.

21 Steve Sailer June 10, 2014 at 10:34 pm

The Germans cracked down on economic immigration starting in 1973. They’ve tightened up on arranged marriage family reunification immigration in recent years. They don’t like to talk about it, but Germans aren’t stupid.

22 Axa June 11, 2014 at 8:07 am

There are not toilet-washing, tomato picking or fast food making robots yet. Not even in Germany or Korea. The average Mexican is not a competition for robots and does not take investment incentives away from industrial development.

Robots are used for things humans can not do because of the small components (electronics) or risky environments (nuclear facilities). 10K mexicans can not assemble a single CPU for a smartphone and 1 million mexicans can not solve the simplest issue inside a nuclear reactor. Robots take to a whole new level of productivity process than only a highly trained human can do……..even cow milking robots do things a mexican can not do 😉

23 TA June 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Re 5, it was kind of a mess by 4 paragraphs in. I gave up.

24 Joe June 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm


25 Andrew' June 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Give yourself 1 extroversion point.

26 nl7 June 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Oof, quite a mess. What was the thesis of the introvert article? Chaotic. If there’s no settled definition of introvert, how can we trust opinion surveys on it?

27 Z June 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm

#1: The best part of the Brooks column is the comments. Some unintentionally funny stuff therein. The “reform conservatives” should be forced to read those comments out loud to one another. They would drop the whole project.

28 Art Deco June 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

And your alternative is what?

29 Z June 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I see. If I don’t come up with an alternative to this claptrap, it is magically transformed from nonsense into clever policy.

Very weak thinking there Art Deco. Very weak.

30 Art Deco June 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Presumably, you have objections to specific points they have made which add up to something. If you’re thinking is not weak.

31 Nedkom June 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I stopped reading after the intro:

“We regard European integration as largely beneficial but recognise that in many respects the Union does not work well. We also think that the EU should take on more responsibilities globally, on issues ranging from climate change to security.”

Uhm, yeah. I’m some with that piece of “research”.

32 Gabe June 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

no time to read the article…but I assume the reform conservatives are going to help get the CIA out of the drug trafficking business?

33 Art Deco June 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

No, because they don’t care about what’s in your imagination.

34 rayward June 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

3. “These clusters — Wall Street, Washington, big agriculture, big energy, big universities — are dominated by interlocking elites who create self-serving arrangements for themselves.” Who knew that Cowen was part of the self-serving “clusters”.

35 richard pryor_approval June 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm


36 Rich Berger June 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm


37 Mike W June 10, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Who didn’t?

38 Doug June 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Interlocking clusters who create self-serving arrangements. Pretty sure that’s just a base description of civilization.

39 AIG June 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

#4: That all depends on what you call a “robot”. A CNC machine is a “robot”, for example. Or isn’t it? Depends what they counted as “robots”

Also, that is a ration to total employment? Most employment in the US is in the service industry, jobs which are much more difficult to “automate”. Plus, even within manufacturing it depends on the industry. Automotive is highly automated, but aerospace, for example is not because it is not economical to replace assemblers with “robots” which cost tens of millions of dollars (to rivet aircraft fuselages, for example)

40 Radford Neal June 10, 2014 at 9:44 pm

OK, I can’t stand it any more…

Could you please tell me why your post uses the word “ration” where “ratio” is obviously what is needed?

This is a serious question. I’ve seen this mis-usage numerous times lately, and am baffled. One of my theories is that there is an automatic spelling correction program out there that doesn’t know about the word “ratio”.

41 Whatever June 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Thank god, I’m not the only one noticing.

42 Cliff June 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm

For whatever reason, I frequently misspell ratio as “ration” and have no idea why

43 AIG June 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I noticed I misspelled it too, but there’s no edit button on here. It’s not auto-correct. It’s just a slip of the finger.

44 Radford Neal June 11, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Hmm… With no evidence for my spelling correction theory, I’m now inclined to the “plot by malign alien invaders with mind-control powers” theory…

45 dearieme June 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Someone might say that I’ve become more introverted as I’ve aged, but I think it’s mainly that I enjoy company less because brouhaha has become painful.

I still enjoy the company of small numbers of people who have the good manners not to shriek.

46 Art Deco June 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

A group of experts finds that, after leaving the EU, the UK would face an invidious choice: sign up to the single market’s rules, or suffer economic damage.

File that with Bryan Caplan’s bushwah about immigration having ‘massive benefits’. These sorts of things are bruises and abrasions. They’re not things you seek out. The thing is, you do not seek out to liquidate your society as a bearer of culture or to ruin democratic procedures for an extra 0.8% of domestic product. Or, you do not do that if you’re a normal human being and not one of the krill suspended in the foetid waters of one of our arts and sciences faculties.

47 Andrew' June 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

5. I have wondered if extroverts are unable to generate internal rewards like introverts. Perhaps introverts learned to generate internal rewards because of disappointment with external stimuli in childhood (or genetics of course).

48 jason y June 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm

extraversion versus introversion is often framed in such a way that the introvert can conclude, “..and therefore I am better!” introverts like to tell themselves they think more deeply or that they can generate internal rewards. from experience as an introvert, those explanations are nonsense. the simplest explanation is the following: introverts haven’t committed to a content-generation strategy. that’s it. they pause before they speak because they haven’t chosen a template to filter and present their thoughts. the hesitation and fatigure are from continually having to solve, or having failed to previously solve, the various problems that could loosely be described as ‘choosing a personality’.

this thread is dead and no one actually wants an answer to this question, so i am not overly keen to explain this in depth, but the easiest way to cure introversion is to just give the introvert a few simple ‘content generation heuristics’, like the popular one in improvisational theatre known as ‘yes and..’ or ‘agree and amplify’ or ‘disagree and cite an example’ or ‘agree and cite an example’ or ‘agree and tell a personal story.’ there are many, many tropes you can just steal from other people once you realize what’s up. see Impro by Keith Johnstone for a brief and suggestive description of how he cured his introversion/inability to spontaneously generate content.

49 lemmycaution June 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm

This is a good insight that I have not seen before. I am pretty introverted, but I took a few improv classes and actually did well even though I was dreading it. Maybe due to the structure that you mentioned. Agree that Impro is a very good book.

50 Joshua Lyle June 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

That doesn’t bear out my experience at all. I can easily generate content, and yet I still get fatigued when doing so, or even when spending time with other people in which I don’t have have to.

51 KC June 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Did Charles Murray steal David Brooks’ column space today?

52 JWatts June 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm

If he had, it would have been a much more well written piece.

53 Jan June 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

No, because Brooks is saying that completely ditching the welfare state isn’t going to actually help unwed, high school dropout mothers (apparently a controversial position).

54 M June 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

5. It’s not that introverts think more deeply before they speak, it’s simply that they need more time to think before they speak…
IQ is not associated with introversion.

I’m not an introversion booster, however if processing speed is exactly the same between extraverts and introverts (no IQ association) and introverts think for longer before they speak, it’s hard to see how this is not thinking more deeply or thoroughly before they speak.

If you take more time to think before you speak, and think at the same rate, you are by definition thinking more (deeply or broadly) before you speak.

If you think at the same rate and have a lot of quick responses due to reward sensitivity and excitability, then a lot of your responses may lack quality.

Re: the association of Extraversion and higher positive emotion, that’s interesting, yet remember that the HEXACO model tends to find Extraversion as unassociated with positive emotionality related to interpersonal bonds. So positive emotion related to extraversion is certainly positive emotion “of a sort” (certainly whatever extraverts feel more of is not “love” as such).

55 andrew' June 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Perhaps introverts think more about avoiding punishments for speaking while extroverts worry more about losing out on rewards to first moving extroverts or more insightful introverts.

56 Finch June 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm

They could be doing less thinking per unit time. Perhaps the introvert “thinking about what to say” functional unit is smaller? With that additional degree of freedom we’re back to the answer being indeterminate.

57 Someone from the other side June 11, 2014 at 2:27 am

Then why would IQ be identical?

58 Finch June 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

What’s IQ measuring? Is it really measuring the amount of thought you put into each few seconds of speech?

Presumably it’s measuring other parts of the brain as well. Also, perhaps the time component of IQ tests is not constrained enough for this functional unit to be limiting.

I’m perfectly willing to concede that IQ is measuring something real about your brain, but the idea that two people with identical IQs must have identical brain functionality in all respects just seems wrong. It’s pretty clearly a composite measure.

I didn’t mean to conjecture that introverts are dumber in some broad sense – the IQ evidence seems to rule that out. I meant to conjecture that the part of their brain that composes sentences is slower.

59 Matt June 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Could be. Just the null hypothesis is that processing speed on brutally simple tasks (so raw neurological efficiency and speed of thought) is highly correlated with IQ, so if two group have the same IQ they’d average out at the same processing speed.

For all the author talking about introverts not being deeper thinkers, I would note that for the same SAT achievement level, we find more self rated introverts (low extraversion) in research. So while this may be reflective of a simple tendency to be calm, composed, unexcitable and unemotional, it does seem to support “deeper thinking” of a sort.

60 Finch June 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

> Just the null hypothesis is that processing speed on brutally simple tasks (so raw neurological efficiency and
> speed of thought) is highly correlated with IQ, so if two group have the same IQ they’d average out at the
> same processing speed.

Is it? I don’t think that’s the null hypothesis at all, if I remember my brain and cog sci or linguistics classes correctly. Speech is like vision or muscular coordination. There are parts of your brain devoted to it, and they aren’t the same parts of your brain that do all your other thinking. It’s easy to imagine underdevelopment or impairment of part of the brain causing introversion without noticeably affecting higher-level thought.

61 Matt June 13, 2014 at 7:20 am

I didn’t mean to conjecture that introverts are dumber in some broad sense – the IQ evidence seems to rule that out. I meant to conjecture that the part of their brain that composes sentences is slower.

That wouldn’t explain why trait introversion is linked to an array of muted responses to reward, not general communication delay.

They could investigate the areas we know of as associated with sentence composition using fMRI. I doubt it’ll find anything at all.

It’s easy to imagine underdevelopment or impairment of part of the brain causing introversion without noticeably affecting higher-level thought.

It’s also easy to imagine impairment of executive function causing extroversion. There just isn’t particularly anything to speak for it.

62 Finch June 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

> That wouldn’t explain why trait introversion is linked to an array of muted responses to reward, not general communication delay.

Sure it would. There’s a clear path to learning this when every time you try to have a social interaction, you’re less successful at it than the unimpaired.

> It’s also easy to imagine impairment of executive function causing extroversion. There just isn’t particularly anything to speak for it.

Maybe at the extreme, yes. Pronounced extroversion is something you often see in the mentally ill or handicapped. Agreed that “normal” extroversion seems like the base case and doesn’t seem like an impairment.

I also wouldn’t expect you’d find anything in an MRI, because the technology is crude and our understanding of how the brain processes language is primitive. Obviously I’m not expecting all introverts to have tumors or massive lesions or something.

63 Matt June 11, 2014 at 3:39 am

One more comment about this article:

It seems like a lot more of a good argument for rebranding the E factor from the Extraversion factor to the Excitability / Enthusiasm / Energy factor, as opposed to calmness, composure and detachment.

Rather than an argument to prescriptively shift the natural language use of the word introversion, which pretty much descends from Jung and has a specific (if psychologically shaky) descriptive meaning.

64 dead serious June 10, 2014 at 5:20 pm

“If you take more time to think before you speak, and think at the same rate, you are by definition thinking more (deeply or broadly) before you speak.”

Not necessarily. It could be that what’s contributing to the pause are unrelated thoughts or distractions.

That, and I think that andrew’ is correct.

65 Floccina June 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm

3. David Brooks on The New Right.

Nah, as a compromise with the left, the right should try to end the stupid fraudulent stuff that government does. For example do not be against all regulation just the clearly stupid regulations like CAFE, it costs 6x more than a Carbon tax per gallon saved so opt for the Carbon tax as a compromise with the left, and kill the stupid ethanol mandates. Not deregulation better regulation.

Also do not push to privatize SS just try to strip away the fraud by showing the full 15% on payroll stubs and make it a safety net i.e. making the payout the same for all regardless of how much people earned in the working years.

Instead of school vouchers push for lower cost of school administration.

Instead of long prison terms that are high cost per crime prevented put more and better police on the streets. (End the stupid war on drugs).

Rather than end Medicare push for it to stop paying for care that does not show string evidence of net benefit. Support the PPACA but push to never enact the employer mandates, push to end coverage mandates for cheap stuff like birth control and push to allow for much higher deductibles.

People love the ideas of the left wing programs I listed so you cannot win being against them but they are open to reform.

Brooks is pretty much a Democrat.

66 Jan June 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

No he’s just Canadian.

67 JWatts June 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm

So, he’s an honest Democrat.

68 Jan June 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm

You’re right about honest. Here is why he said he planned to vote for Romney.

The bottom line is this: If Obama wins, we’ll probably get small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform,” Brooks writes. “Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done.

69 andrew' June 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm

We could kill the NSA. Or a couple more things. But almost nothing they want to get done should get done.

70 The Kaigat of Wands June 10, 2014 at 7:57 pm

#1 “Not so good”

Since the CER, by its own definition, is “devoted to making the European Union work better and strengthening its role in the world” and sees “European integration as largely beneficial” what did you expect it to say?

71 Jamie_NYC June 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

#3: “He grapples with the fact, uncomfortable for conservatives, that the odds of escaping poverty are about half as high in the US as in more mobile countries like Denmark.”
Like Denmark! Seriously, they deserve the moniker “The New Stupid Party”. If a personal trait is partly heritable, and if it is significantly correlated with income, which society would you expect to have higher mobility: one with standard deviation of that trait of 10 IQ points, or one with 20?
Oops, I spilled the beans… ; -)

72 Axa June 11, 2014 at 11:57 am

# 1: on the UK exit, Edward Hugh has something interesting to say. What if the UK exit is the catalyst for a quick immigration reversal?

“At the moment national insurance data indicate that roughly 600,000 economic migrants are arriving in the UK annually. Because the immigration is mainly focused on London, it is leading to large distortions which affect the whole economy.The new arrivals need homes, but naturally they start without work and are not looking to buy. They end up renting – in maybe groups of 3 or 4 – and are thus able to collectively pay rental prices which a normal family cannot afford. Hence the buy to rent business become interesting. Sadly many of the young Spaniards arriving (maybe 60,000 a year) are fleeing the consequences of one bubble only to inadvertently fuel another.”

73 Wimivo June 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm

#5. It’s pretty easy to show why everyone misunderstands the nature of introversion if you begin with a definition of introversion that almost no one uses. What a weird article.

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