Assorted links

by on March 12, 2015 at 11:52 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Birds that bring gifts.

2. High parental income means high patent rates (pdf).

3. Here is a weak Elizabeth Bruenig critique of David Brooks on culture and poverty.  She should try to make all of the same points, but using the ethnic Japanese in Brazil as her example.  Or Mormons, or Armenians and education, or…?  The history of Native Americans is also not without relevance here.  I am not impressed by her citation of the fact that “Poor people feel ashamed of the incarceration of relatives.”  There is plenty of social science literature about how much culture matters for outcomes and I don’t see her citing any of it; it is not a response but rather a diversion of attention to argue food stamp expenditures bring a positive rate of return.

4. Critique drift.

5. What do we actually know about Sappho?

1 S March 12, 2015 at 11:59 am

3 ) oh snap!

2 Thomas March 13, 2015 at 12:38 am

Out of curiosity – Are you the “S” from perspectives.com CA 2006?

3 The Devil's Dictionary March 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm

2)

Both patent activity and income is positively correlated with IQ. Surprising?

4 The Engineer March 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Meritocracy is a bitch.

5 prior_approval March 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Especially for those who inherit their wealth.

6 Mark Thorson March 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Or their IQ.

7 Thomas March 13, 2015 at 12:42 am

Unpossible. Evolution stopped miraculously at functions of abstract thought.

8 Ray Lopez March 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

My take on #2 is that people who have rich parents–like I–can afford to ‘experiment’ and do things like try and invent something rather than live hand to mouth like 99% of the population. The shame IMO is that the patent reward system is non-linear, meaning the true inventor will not get even 50% of their just reward (I saw a figure that said around 10% I believe), see also: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23179103 (“10 inventors who didn’t get mega-rich from their inventions”). So indeed inventing is an idle rich person’s plaything, as is science to a degree (Darwin, Wallace, come to mind; the Penrose family, etc etc). If you want to change that, you should agitate for greater patent rewards.

9 Alvin March 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Not sure where to begin with your statements of “true inventor” or “just reward”. Inventions are usually the product of joint inputs. In the case of individual inventors – not those who are employed by a company and have a duty to assign their inventors – there are the inventors themselves, business executives who manage the start-up, investors, manufacturers, debt lendors/banks, and so on, and the invention cannot be commercialized, sold, or licensed without the contributions of most of these other people.

10 Alvin March 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Sorry, I meant “…assign their inventions”

11 collin March 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Three holes with David Brooks:

1) Most social issues like teen pregnancy, drug use, crime and even abortion rates are substantially lower than they were 25 – 35 years ago. US culture is improving and not getting worse.

2) Economic mobility was big in the 1950s – 1970s because of the creative destruction and labor shortage after WW2. It was the post-WW2 is the historical outlier than the historical norm.

3) David Brooks forgets it was the college educated couples who had a higher divorce rate in the 1960s and 1970s that ‘had the culture problem.’ (I believe this turned around in the mid 1980s) Now we have seen the opposive in terms of divorce rate and I believe that is because college educated people wait until they are 30ish to get married. Putting off marriage until your career is settled and you mature at 30ish might be the keys to culture success.

12 Hadur March 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Getting married after 30 might be the key to culture success, but not to demographic success. Every developed country faces a birth rate crisis because of that kind of behavior.

13 collin March 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm

But that is not the solution the Murray/Brooks/Douthat/Caplan are identifying for the poor people. They say find religion (Ok not Caplan), get married/have children, and work hard for success. These are good recommendations but I would suggest even marrying too early may hinder your success when a person should focus on their career.

I think focusing on careers until somebody is 30 will lower poverty but it is following the Singapore/Japan Solution which create birth shortage.

That is so funny about reading Bryan Caplan which is like the Woody Allen relationship/chicken joke from Annie Hall. The poor people are immoral and lazy and deserve to be paid less but the economy needs the eggs of cheap labor.

14 The Engineer March 12, 2015 at 12:46 pm

The birth shortage in Japan and Italy (and perhaps Singapore) is due to the (perhaps) retrograde views of many in those societies to women working. Women in those countries spend all kinds of time and money getting education and employment credentials and experience (just like everywhere else), and then are expected to stop working when they have kids.

Not surprisingly, rather than do that, they just don’t have kids.

In some ways, perhaps David Brooks needs to be careful what he wishes for.

15 Lord Action March 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

The last time I brought this up around here, I was told that professionals are actually a pretty small part of the Japanese population, so they can’t be driving the birthrate problem. I didn’t have an effective rebuttal to that.

16 JWatts March 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Japan might well be a special case and not apply broadly. However, there’s still Italy. Or for that matter a good chunk of Eastern Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Austria, Germany, Greece, etc. All of those countries have a birth rate less than 1.5.

17 asdf March 12, 2015 at 10:45 pm

It’s more complicated then that. Germany gives very generous support for working women and has a very low birthrate. Singapore has the most aggressive pro-fertility policies in the world and is in last place.

Even in a place like Sweden which is cited as a pro-woman situation the benefits are structured so that women have a strong incentive to take an extended time away from work to have multiple children in quick succession, and they make sure its eugenic (you get more of a benefit the more you earned). Hardly the kind of social policy you’re average shitlib would support.

18 Chip March 12, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Singapore faces the additional problem that you can’t decide to have kids and move to a house and/or the suburbs.

It’s a crowded and hyper competitive place. And perhaps more than most places, kids need to be taken places to play, and a huge amount of parental involvement is required for school.

Considering it has one of the highest emigration rates in the world (5th I think) alongside mostly poor countries, I wonder how many of those emigrants are the family-centric Singaporeans seeking that family home abroad.

19 Lord Action March 13, 2015 at 9:19 am

If someone could figure out a way to make cities more attractive to people with kids, that would be a real accomplishment. As it is, cities seem caught in some vicious circle of making themselves more attractive to 26 year-old single people who don’t realize they’re going to be pretty different when they’re 34.

20 Joe In Morgantown March 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

To focus on the teen birthrate —- rather than out-of-wedlock birthrate— is a symptom of the attempt to avoid a “moral vocabulary”.

21 chuck martel March 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

You’re right, lots of unmarried post-teens are having babies. In fact, births to teens were quite common not so long ago, it’s just that the teens were generally married. Adolescence didn’t extend into an individual’s late twenties and early thirties. People were anxious to accept adulthood at an earlier age, having a family of one’s own was regarded as a positive, part of growing up, not a burdensome obligation. Times have changed.

22 mavery March 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

Not having been alive then, I tend to believe that folks in the 50s-70s matured just as fast as they do today. Except back then, they were pressed into military service or made poor decisions vis-a-vis procreation/marriage that they then encumbered with long term.

People weren’t any more mature or made decisions at a better rate then relative to now. They just had more responsibilities thrust on them, whether they were in any way prepared for them or not. In some cases, this meant the folks that were actually mature got started on their careers earlier, and those early marriages that were happy lasted half a century. But then there were the folks who weren’t prepared for adulthood/marriage at 18, and their outcomes were less rosy.

One of the most perverse things I see consistently is the notion that the additional options afforded people regarding marriage/family/occupation are somehow a negative. As if personal freedom was the root of our societies ills.

23 msgkings March 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

To paleo conservatives, personal freedom IS the root of most ills.

24 Mm March 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

No facts to offer, just an observation- avoiding responsibility & prolonging dependence isn’t likely to accelerate maturity (Aristotle- we become what we do). So it is likely that people matured earlier in the 40 & 50s. Remember, back then, many early 20 something’s where flying fighters & commanding tanks against the Werhmacht, that will sober you up quick- now many of the grandchildren of those combat junior officers take 5 years to finish college before their unpaid internship & a year to tour of the hostels of Europe/Asia. We have prolonged early adulthood/late teens- I know of no proof that is all to the good- hope it is as my progeny have not been drafted in to a horrible world war- thank the Lord.

25 Anon. March 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

#4

Bemoans the lack of criticism and critical discussion in the left, while not allowing any comments. I’m sure there’s some convoluted rationalization for that though, so it’s OK!

26 meets March 12, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Just go to his Twitter and you’ll see why

27 MOFO. March 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm

When he does allow comments, the discussion isnt terrible, at least from the month or so ive been following him. It might be that he only allows comments on posts that arent likely to generate a huge angry backlash and thats all im seeing.

28 J March 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I just did. Wow. I honestly don’t know how he deals with that crap all the time from within his own “tribe.”

Speaking for me, I’m vaguely sympathetic for a decent amount of the goals that exist on “the left” broadly defined, but I mentally run away in horror from the social justice left. Their never-ending witch hunt for somebody to two-minutes-hate over the most petty of grievances is disgusting and has on net pushed me in a rightward direction.

Oy, look at the feed now. The guy who is mad at Patton Oswalt for saying “the transgendered.” Jeez laweez.

29 MOFO. March 12, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Yea, i agree completely. If i was a more paranoid type id almost say that the SJW left is being taken down by some sort of Alinsky-esque “make them live by their own rules” attack. It would be trivial for a motivated group of people to flood twitter with phony grievance mongering “minorities” and complain about other lefties not being sensitive enough. The realist in me believes that there is no shortage of actual grievance mongers on the net, you dont really need a conspiracy to explain anything.

30 J March 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

It’s funny you say that, as I sometimes secretly suspect (not really but if I were conspiracy-minded) if some of the various _____-kin type movements are not just a giant transgender-trolling operation. “Well if you get to say that you’re a man born in a woman’s body, then who are you to question me when I say I’m a dragonfly born in a human’s body??” And so on until you get to mythical animals like unicorns, and mythical animals like a Harry Potter animal or whatever. There are also people who identify as transracial, and so on.

I realize we’re talking about a very fringe group of very one-day-to-be-embarrassed teenagers and 20-somethings, but I wonder if it occurs to them that they are probably hurting the cause of transgender recognition by leapfrogging directly into the average person’s slippery slope perception of these things.

31 Dain March 13, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Note he seems to be talking about the “online left.” I don’t doubt you’ll see the worst of this eagerness to condemn and to make everything “problematic” among that set. The face-to-face left is a little better in my experience.

32 JWatts March 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm

#4. He seems to have a weak argument.

“Very obvious examples of critique drift include the term “mansplaining,” “tone policing,” and “gaslighting.” Each highlights real phenomena: ….”

So, his critique is these are real phenomena, but in normal usage people abuse the terminology. I get his point but the population that is using the words are specifically using them in a censorious manner. They aren’t generally trying to convey a concept, but instead are trying to shut down debate. He even specifically mentions this with regard to “tone policing”. Personally, I’ve never seen any of these terms used in any other fashion.

33 Dain March 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

If you can get past the obstacle of arguing with a lefty about the tone and style of your argument, and still have the energy to debate the substance, you’re basically super-human.

34 Salem March 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Bruenig’s problem is that she doesn’t see the difference between a norm and an aspiration. Her saying that poor people “want to get married” is no response at all to the claim that we need to reintroduce proper marriage norms. At the level of costless declarations, everyone wants motherhood and apple pie, but when you actually have to make tradeoffs, that’s when the differences emerge and norms matter. I want to be thin, and I also want to eat the cake. If eating the cake is socially tolerated and even encouraged by a permissive society (lack of norms), I may well end up fat.

35 triclops March 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Very good point, but I’d add another problem,
It seems like a lot if these arguments are over simplifications analogous to nature vs nurture. We also ignore the difference between what matters on the margins, and what is the “root cause”.

36 Jeff R. March 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm

#4: Never heard the term “gaslighting” before, but “the tendency to try to make someone feel crazy as a way to win an argument” must be awfully tempting in the circles Freddie deBoer travels. in.

37 Kevin- March 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm

You probably already figured this out, but the term comes from this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036855/

38 ohwilleke March 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

The term “gaslighting” has an important resonance beyond its original source. It is a litmus test signature symptom used to diagnose the psychiatric conditions known as “borderline personality disorder” and the (not DSM-V endorsed) condition known as psychopathy.

When you say an opponent is using this tactic, you are indirectly diagnosing your opponent as a psychopath.

39 So Much for Subtlety March 12, 2015 at 6:10 pm

I am sorry but if I think that you are re-arranging the furniture in my house in order to drive me insane, it is *you* that has Borderline Personality Disorder?

40 rayward March 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm

3. and 4. At least today Cowen isn’t linking to another Mercatus affiliated economist arguing that poverty in the black community is the result of genetics, which is progress of sorts. It’s also an example of the drift described by deBoar (in 4.), although in the opposite direction. deBoar deplores the creeping generalization,”mansplaining” being one example given, where a phenomenon (a mn explaining to a woman something about which the woman has superior knowledge), although it certainly exists, is the exception, but, over time, the term is applied to an ever expanding set of circumstances until it becomes the rule. It’s like the explanation for poverty in the black community, in which culture no doubt plays some part but over time has become the explanation for black poverty among those of a particular political persuasion.

41 TMC March 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Grow up. I know the comments get a little dicey, but I’ve never seen Tyler link to something sympathetically that was actually racist.

Adults can discuss race.

42 JWatts March 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm

I second this. Also, it’s childish to complain on some one else’s blog about the topics they choose. If you want to choose the topics, start your own blog.

43 triclops March 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Rayward believes in “racism of the gaps”. Anything he doesn’t understand must be racism!

44 Alain March 14, 2015 at 12:04 pm

But this is just what progressives do. They must censor all thought which doesn’t conform to their ideals. The ideal case is where they can get the state to control speech, destroying anyone who disagrees. But, if they can’t get to that ideal goal they will slander and attempt to harm in any way that they can.

They are pure evil.

45 Millian March 12, 2015 at 7:16 pm

OK, so blaming black people’s poverty on the genetics of a subjectively-perceived skin colour community isn’t racist. What, then, is racist?

46 Thomas March 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm

If it were true, what value would racism have in describing it? Everyone is racist, and with a little willingness and honesty, we would find that you are a racist too – I guarantee it. The problem is that “racism” in this meaning is not true to its popular connotation. “Black people have black skin” – racism, and meaningless.

47 JThomas March 12, 2015 at 12:57 pm

#4, how prescient was Ray Bradbury? Beatty FTW!

48 MOFO. March 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Its been a while, what is the reference here?

49 MOFO. March 12, 2015 at 1:25 pm

#4 Reading his most current post is an interesting insight into the world view of the left:

http://fredrikdeboer.com/2015/03/11/the-rich-uncle-pennybags-test/

I wonder if given the choice would he choose something that helps the poor or hurts the rich.

50 Jeff R. March 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Wow. Unintentionally quite revealing.

51 Lord Action March 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Yeah, wow. That’s astounding.

Do I understand it correctly? That his policy litmus test, his figure-of-merit, is whether it hurts the privileged? “[A]sk if your next act will be of any threat to him.” And that whether it, say, “elevates minorities” is a secondary consideration?

52 MOFO. March 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Thats how i read it. Even weirder is his belief that affirmative action hurts the rich. Is his worldview a combo of zero-sum economic beliefs and good ol class warfare?

53 JWatts March 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Add a dash of trendy terminology and I think you’ve got it.

54 derek March 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Isn’t that the unstated policy of the US; encourage high tech and high education, collect enough taxes for a welfare state for the other 90%?

55 triclops March 12, 2015 at 6:44 pm

When progressives saw that the neoliberal system couldn’t bring them their utopia, they moved on to a purer form of class warfare.

56 Dan Weber March 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Supporting race-based affirmative action to hurt the affluent is silly. It transfers enrollment slots from Asian Americans to non-Asian minorities, leaving whites mostly alone. I guess he’s worried about affluent Asians.

57 Clover March 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Got any evidence for that assertion? Otherwise I call BS.

58 Anon. March 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm

There was a post on this blog a couple of years ago, search for affirmative action and you’ll find it.

59 triclops March 12, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Call it whatever you want. Then look at the average GPA and SATs of students of different melanin densities within competitive colleges.
It’s quite easy to find the evidence if you priors don’t refuse to accept them.

60 Throwaway March 12, 2015 at 7:02 pm

I could be wrong, but I don’t think this assertion is very controversial. From 2005:

“Princeton University researchers have found that ignoring race in elite college admissions would result in sharp declines in the numbers of African Americans and Hispanics accepted with little gain for white students. In a study published in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly, authors Thomas Espenshade and Chang Chung examined the controversial notion that eliminating affirmative action would lead to the admission of more white students to college and found it to be false….Removing consideration of race would have little effect on white students, the report concludes, as their acceptance rate would rise by merely 0.5 percentage points. Espen shade noted that when one group loses ground, another has to gain — in this case it would be Asian applicants. Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students, with an acceptance rate rising from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent.”

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S11/80/78Q19/index.xml?section=newsreleases

There’s probably more recent data out there.

61 chedolf March 12, 2015 at 10:35 pm

“When lower-class whites are matched with lower-class blacks and other non-whites the degree of the non-white advantage becomes astronomical: lower-class Asian applicants are seven times as likely to be accepted to the competitive private institutions as similarly qualified whites, lower-class Hispanic applicants eight times as likely, and lower-class blacks ten times as likely.”

SWPLs support affirmative action because they get to signal virtue while the wrong kind of white people pay the price.

62 Clover March 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Interesting. Maybe it’s true, though only with elite colleges.

63 Guest March 12, 2015 at 8:40 pm

If you were to accuse someone on the left of believing this nonsense they would say it was a strawman. If you look at his posts it seems the main problem he has with SJW types is that their obsession with identity politics detracts from the class struggle. The traditional socialist has always argued that the class revolutionary struggle must be first solved and only then can the more bourgeois concerns of identity politics be discussed.

64 mgd March 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm

No the point isn’t that a policy that hurts the rich is good, but that movements that look to upset the status quo, (eg. address wealth distribution) but don’t advocate policies harm those who benefit from the status quo, are suspect..

65 Alain March 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm

I really enjoyed reading that article. Seeing a liberal expose himself in that manner was tremendously pleasurable. If only all of the rest would be so forthcoming the world would be a better place.

66 Mark Thorson March 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Here’s a niche for a sustainable population of drones. I set up a USB charging port, and the drones bring me things. If we had standardized drone parts, I could even replace a worn-out motor or a damaged propeller. Poor little drone, I’ll help you. Of course, I’m not interested in shiny buttons or pieces of glass. U.S. currency and iPhones would be nice.

67 Zach March 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

#4 — many, many people are interested in politics as a way of venting poorly controlled emotions at people. They are attracted to political extremes, because that gives them more targets and more “justification.” They are not anyone’s allies, because they don’t care about the issues except as a reason to vent. There are just as many of these people on the right as on the left.

All of the examples deBoer cites are easily repurposed as insults and sneers. Despite his protestations, they might not ever have been anything more than an insult or a sneer. Was “mansplaining” ever a useful critique, or was it a sneer from day one?

deBoer seems sincere in wishing to help people. But if he’s spending a lot of time in circles where people are making emotional insults, he might reconsider whether he’s part of a movement, or whether people are just venting and calling it a movement.

68 triclops March 12, 2015 at 5:26 pm

How many big movements aren’t just mass emoting?

69 HL March 12, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Through observation of others and my own behavior I’ve theorized that much fringe behavior, both left and right like you said, is psychologically based. If someone’s an extremist, there is a good chance they are a bit wacko in more ways than one.

Not that this stops anybody, but good to know.

70 triclops March 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Even within the movements I might nominally agree with, or that I at least think are doing some good, the crazies are quite apparent. It’s almost like the good that movements do is mostly accidental.
It also makes demonizing the opposition so much easier.
Your crazies are a representative sample, mine are outliers!

71 Yancey Ward March 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

On #5:

Probably not much. I bet Sappho was actually a dude.

72 So Much for Subtlety March 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm

It was a nice review with some nice details – although a little too much sneering at the long departed scholars.

However shouldn’t he have considered the possibility that these fragments are actually fakes? After all, Sappho is thought to be a lesbian – a highly politically charged subject surrounded by (at least) some people of questionable mental stability. She would be a prime target for fakes. I would be only slightly more skeptical of the signature of Jesus on a receipt for some bagels.

So not only a guy, but a guy from Flatbush.

73 Zach March 12, 2015 at 7:34 pm

There actually was a faked papyrus not long ago where Jesus was talking about his wife, referring to women disciples, etc.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/update-the-reaction-to-karen-kings-gospel-discovery-84250942/?no-ist

Notable for the use of bold font where “Jesus said to them ‘My wife‘”, just in case you missed the point.

Faking a Sappho poem would be trickier. You would have to know Ionian Greek well enough to fit a strict meter, bearing in mind that any Ionian speaker who reads your fake speaks Ionian precisely because they are a Sappho expert. You would have to overlap an existing fragment in order to get authenticated, which means you’d have to fire up the ol’ poetry muscles well enough that there’s not a glaring break.

74 ttt March 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

“… I don’t see her citing any of it…”
i don’t understand, her post is full of links to supporting material.

75 Ray Lopez March 12, 2015 at 2:19 pm

@#5 – A Sappho poem, translated from the ancient Greek, which I can somewhat read:

The lullaby of waters cool,
Through apple boughs is softly blown,
And, shaken from the rippling leaves,
Sleep dropeth down.

Pretty modern sounding.

76 dearieme March 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm

“Modern” as in the Romantic era I suppose.

77 dearieme March 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

On the other hand, I hate false rhymes like blown/down. I imagine it’s better in Greek.

78 ohwilleke March 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

#2 which is boosted by other data on higher educational attainment makes clear that one of the easiest ways to improve our GDP is to lavish resources on developing human capital on low income kids with high academic ability.

79 So Much for Subtlety March 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm

And unicorns. Don’t forget unicorns. In fact we should move towards a unicorn driven economy.

By all means, let us lavish resources on low income children with high academic ability. How do we identify these children? Can’t give them an IQ test, as that has a disparate impact. Can move them to better schools. Can’t fire bad teachers. Some schools are finding they cannot even administer an open and objective exam.

Lee Kwan-yew used to claim that Singapore’s education reforms in the 60s and 70s identified all the children with any degree of academic talent and raised them to the middle class. So further education for the poor was not likely to be useful. I object to this claim but it seems a pretty accurate description. We do lavish resources on low income children. Apart from immigrants, it has little to no effect.

80 JWatts March 12, 2015 at 7:01 pm

“one of the easiest ways to improve our GDP is to lavish resources on developing human capital on low income kids with high academic ability.”

The US pretty much already does this. I’ll grant you that someone can always say we should double the amount we already spend, but I’m doubtful if adding more money onto what we already do is going to have a very large effect.

I suspect you could forcibly remove a lot of high IQ kids from low income dysfunctional families and send them to foster homes and see a pretty big jump in future performance, but I would personally find that objectionable.

81 Slocum March 12, 2015 at 3:05 pm

4. I think he’s missing the point. Wholeheartedly agreeing with extreme positions is how you demonstrate your commitment to the cause — not despite the fact that they strain credulity but because of it. So, you don’t get any credit for agreeing that 2+2=4; you only earn points for agreeing that 2+2=5. But you get even more ‘mood affiliation’ points for pushing the envelope farther and forcing other group members to demonstrate their loyalty by backing your even more radical claim. Overall, it seems more a case of inflation than drift.

82 triclops March 12, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Yes, and that signaling is based on relative positions, not absolute ones.

83 E. Harding March 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Yup, the Case of the Vanishing Asians (as Thomas Sowell put it in 1984) is definitely at work here.

84 E. Harding March 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm

“If the problems plaguing poor communities persist after poverty is drastically reduced, that would seem an appropriate time to pursue the matter of a better “moral vocabulary,””
-As in the period 1964-1973? Oh, right…

85 Chris R March 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm

You’ve misunderstood her point about food stamps. It isn’t a diversion; her argument isn’t just that they work in some economic way, but that poor people essentially make moral choices with those benefits as well as others they receive. That suggests morality may not explain as much as some would like it to.

86 Bob March 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm

I don’t have prior knowledge of the critique drift guy but it is a rather mild piece considering how egregious that sort of thing is right now. If he has the credibility to write that piece at all he should not have pulled punches.

87 Urstoff March 12, 2015 at 5:41 pm

He’s already on thin ice with the left for sort-of defending Chait (while simultaneously calling him an asshole to maintain Left Cred).

88 triclops March 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Wasn’t that a fascinating episode? Every response to Chait (someone I have little affection for) had to be prefaced with “Chait’s a scumbag but…”
I ended up going down the rabbit hole of SJW websites for several hours trying to understand their arguments. It was mind bending.

89 Mr MIT March 12, 2015 at 4:40 pm

The ideas in the Chetty et al analysis are surprisingly similar to those in work by a graduate student, Murat Celik, that I met in a recent visit to Upenn. They cite his work in their slides.

90 FromPrinceton March 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Big shots riding roughshod over a poor graduate student.

91 meets March 12, 2015 at 10:27 pm

#1 I really enjoyed that. We seem to not understand animals very well

92 P March 13, 2015 at 1:23 am

Re: #3, Bruenig is a dingbat.

93 Philo March 13, 2015 at 12:21 pm

A wonderful article on Sappho. Thanks for the link.

94 CMOT March 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm

4. Why pretend something is not what it is? What’s being described is bitching and nagging, the tools women use to exert control without accepting responsibility. The turbo-powered version on college campuses, which is an expression of elite-women’s bitching and nagging, is now called Social Justice. The thousands of words DeBoer uses to dance around the subject just shows how well socialized he is to this environment.

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