Friday links

by on January 15, 2016 at 10:43 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. “So when she was working on her dissertation at Waterloo in 2014, Colleen Merrifield decided to make a video that would bore most people to tears.

2. Ross Douthat summary post on immigration, very good arguments though I favor considerably more immigration than he does.

3. Demand for El Chapo shirts is high and rising:

Asked about the risks of his advertising – that people might associate Barabas clothing with the brutal murders, cartel wars and legacy of corruption and addiction that Guzmán’s name suggests – Esteghbal paused to think. “No no, we’re just making clothes.

“I cannot say anything right now on that. They can think however they want to think, but reality is reality.”

For now, he said he’s content to sell the shirt, $128 a pop. “And sales are skyrocketing.”

4. Do you have a legal right to stop a drone from hovering over your yardWould it be easy to hack the Fed? (speculative)

5. A mega-meta-list for classical music.

6. Christopher Balding update on China and the loss of confidence: “Fear seems to be gaining a foothold.”

1 Flannery Bro'Connor January 15, 2016 at 10:56 am

Wow that study of boredom and its neurological component was so much more enlightening and real than The Pale King.

2 Mark Thorson January 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

If these people are right — that boredom is a specific mental state like depression — there should be drugs that can cause it and that can relieve it. In fact, I think many recreational drugs may have relief of boredom as part of their mechanism of action.

Now, what if you had a drug that could cause boredom, profound boredom? I can think of some uses for a drug like that. Humane enhanced interrogation of CIA prisoners, for one thing. Humane in the sense we don’t leave a mark on them, don’t make them feel like they’re about to suffocate to death, don’t inflict painful electrical shocks or temperature extremes, etc. Humane in every sense of the word except one.

3 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

2 is good, but i think reasonably diverse cultures can share the core values necessary for a civil society. California is not as uniform as Nebraska, but works fine.

Perhaps Jeb Bush’s experience in Florida also leads him to accept greater diversity.

4 Keith January 15, 2016 at 11:16 am

I think I remember reading that the more diverse a place is the worse the finances of the city/county!state are. If I remember right the idea is that the politicians have so many groups to please that they spend into oblivion.

5 chuck martel January 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

“leads him to accept greater diversity.”

The greater diversity that’s acceptable by Americans is ethnic food, interesting folk dances, unusual dress, some movies and the odd translated novel. More diverse diversity is not only frowned upon but generally illegal, cock fights, khat, marrying 13 year-old girls, female circumcision, and so on, even though such things are a normal part of the alien culture.

6 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 11:48 am

People like to make a game of “it’s just food,” but is it? Patterns around food, religion, family gathering are really much more than that. They link people. In a diverse culture they cross-link.

7 Harun January 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

IMHO, food is pretty universal, thus boring and non-controversial.

Cousin marriage among Pakistanis…that was eye-opening.

8 jim jones January 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Cousin marriage leads to dysgenics:

9 Jan January 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Hate to bring it up, but there are clear benefits to cousin marriage. It wasn’t a common practice for centuries, including the US and Europe, and in many places still today, for nothing.

10 The Original D January 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Einstein married his cousin. Not out of convenience: she was his second wife. Her maiden name was Einstein too.

11 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Same with FDR, his cousin Eleanor’s maiden name was Roosevelt

12 So Much For Subtlety January 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Jan January 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

It wasn’t a common practice in Europe for generations. It was actually specifically banned by the Catholic Church – which means most Europeans for most of the last 2000 years – until recently.

But it does have benefits. If you live in a tribal society that practices polygamy and where everyone else outside your tribe is your enemy.

The Original D January 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Einstein married his cousin. Not out of convenience: she was his second wife. Her maiden name was Einstein too.

msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Same with FDR, his cousin Eleanor’s maiden name was Roosevelt

Sure, but what have their children been doing lately? Einstein produced world-changing science. His children, having got two sets of good genes, should be geniuses. What have they been up to lately?

(In other news, 42 other Presidents did not marry their cousins.)

13 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm

His children, having got two sets of good genes, should be geniuses.

Maybe your understanding of these things is somewhat…reductionist.

Actually, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were exceedingly distant cousins. As for their children, most offspring of Presidents are quite ordinary when they’re not embarrassing. Messrs. Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, Carter, and Bush produced several children who were capable in business and the professions, as was at least one Roosevelt. That’s about the upper limit of accomplishment you see there. Jack Ford has been involved in some successful business ventures. Chelsea Clinton has a mess of advanced degrees – and is also a dillettente who has allowed herself to be conscripted into her parents’ money laundering operation. Margaret Truman had a tour as a stage performer and made some good coin as a journeyman writer (though some people maintain that the detective fiction was all ghosted). Pretty much downhill from there: society wives, sinecure holders, and people of no known occupation.

14 Jan January 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

The bennies go far beyond that SMFS. Do your research.

15 dan January 15, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Einstein’s second marriage had no issue.

16 Ed January 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

>people of no known occupation

Just like “Art Deco”.

17 y81 January 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

Food is mostly just food. We eat brunekager at Christmas, but we aren’t socialists.

18 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

My mother volunteers ethnic food at the Orange Street Fair It links the community.

19 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Seems to me that Bryan Caplan and Tyler Cowen share a religion, share a immediate-family oriented conception of family, and share the same nerd-bourgeois way of looking at the world. And occasionally I imagine they share or pretend to share a meal at the new Papua New Guinean restaurant or Micronesian restaurant. If it’s not just food where else does the influence show up.

20 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

and share the same nerd-bourgeois way of looking at the world

Up to a point. Caplan says things which suggest that he really has no conception of what ordinary people value and that his wife has not been able to teach him. It’s really surprising that he is married.

21 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Hey it worked for the Balkans.

You can seperate cultures with invisible lines or they can seperate each other with visible machettes. You’d think leftists would prefer the invisible lines option, but they never do.

22 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Obviously cultures can miss that common core you need for a safe civil society.

But none of these counterexamples erase the examples. Texas? Rodeo is not an English word.

23 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Cultures can exchange practices without exchanging people. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo (nation’s largest rodeo and the rodeo only gets second billing) is so Anglo they needed to add a Hispanice Heritage day in to keep Hispanics interested. There was no need for mass immigration to promote the Rodeo anymore than it was necessary to import a ton of Swedes into Houston in order for IKEA to make it here. In an age of globalization there is even lees justification for insisting on mass inundations of people as the vehicle of cultural exchange. I can get on the Internet and in 15 minutes know which cultural practices the people in Sierra Leone value most and decide if any would enhance my culture and adopt them. I can even find recipes so I don’t need to import 50000 Sierra Leonians to support a Sierra Leonian restaurant that Tyler can find a one every four years and blog about to pad his status points.

24 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

You think Rodeo is white, but the tight jeans, colorful shirts, hats, fiesta atmosphere are not exactly New England. What you have is a merged culture that is now perceived as native, even though it is very Hispanic.

25 chuck martel January 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Mexicans have their own version of rodeo, somewhat different than the Anglo one.

It’s nice to know that an in depth knowledge of Sierra Leone is easily available from an internet search and with the old standbys of books and maybe movies there’s no real reason to visit uncomfortable, probably noisy and smelly places like that in person.

26 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Other than cowboy hats and nrg stadium in the background you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the Livestock Show and the Iowa State Fair. It’s unlikely you’ve been to either or you’d know this so I’m curious what exactly the basis for your string of comments is.

27 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

You are taking refuge in the weeds, rather than denying the basic truth that Texan culture is a merge of (predominantly) English and Hispanic.

28 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

The culture of Texas can at face value be described as a melting pot of “Southern” and “Southwestern” features, with pockets of ethnic group town and settlements in many locations …

What I’m saying is, relative to the top comment, we are a diverse immigrant culture, and appeals to a nativist homogeneity are nothing more than myth-building.

29 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 1:14 pm

No I’m forcing you to prove that claim rather than hide behind etymology. If the Livestock Show resembles the kind of thing they have in Iowa with no Mexican influence just sputtering out rodeo is a Spanish word isn’t very compelling. I’ve heard a Flammond tell me he was going to take a siesta and he’d never even been to Spain much less had Spanish neighbors. Practices diffuse without migration. Those that insist on migration are simply importing outsiders to settle their internal rivalries. Marco Polo didn’t bring back 1000000 Chinese people he just brought back the pasta.

30 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm

“Rodeo (/ˈroʊdiːoʊ/ or /roʊˈdeɪ.oʊ/) is a competitive sport that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States”

“A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of special significance and legend.”

31 revver January 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm


32 Jan January 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm


33 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Seriously? I admitted rodeo was a Spanish word I denied that its provenance was indicative of anything. The reading comprehension on this site is terrible.

34 Plucky January 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm


You’re the one hiding in the weeds. You are trying to make some tendentious Larger Truth and ignoring that it conflicts with actual, on-the-ground everyday truth. You’re like one of those trolls who thinks that Odin is cackling somewhere because those silly Christians are inadvertantly worshiping him by putting up Christmas trees (pagan antecedents, dontchaknow…).

If you don’t think the HLSR is much more close to stereotypically “white” than it is to anything else, please explain why it has 108 committees (, why getting onto the “right” ones is a never-ending social competition, and why thousands of elementary school kids spend January learning how to square dance in order to put on a show for the parents on Go Texan Day. Those institutional features are much more defining of its nature than is the etymology of the name for the event. Half to 2/3 of English words are loan words from non-germanic languages. That “mutton” happens to be one of them doesn’t mean Mutton Bustin’ ( somehow intrinsically half French.

There is indeed quite a bit of Hispanic influence in what is stereotypically “Texan” culture, but it is usually vastly overstated (especially in the chronological sense- “Tex-Mex” as a food genre is commonly assumed to be ancient but it really only dates from the mid/late 70s. If you want a long-dated traditional Texan dish you’re talking about Chicken-Fried Steak) because of present day demographics and because of the number of Spanish-language place names. Large-scale Hispanic immigration only started in the early 1980s. The English influence is much more of the US Southern and Scots-Irish type in the earliest settlers (lots of Kentucky- Sam Houston, e.g.) than the New England type, and there is also a some German & Czech influence as central Texas absorbed many immigrants from there beginning in the 1840s ( If you wanted to actually do an ethno-weighting of Texas Culture, it’d probably be somewhere around 45 Anglo / 25 Scots-Irish / 20 Mexican / 10 German. In 20 years or so you’ll probably want to find a way to wedge 5 Vietnamese in there as well

35 So Much For Subtlety January 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Plucky January 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

You’re like one of those trolls who thinks that Odin is cackling somewhere because those silly Christians are inadvertantly worshiping him by putting up Christmas trees (pagan antecedents, dontchaknow…).

I almost never agree with Go on any subject whatsoever, but he does have a point. The Germans may have moved to Texas but they have had no recognizable influence on it. The Mexicans on the other hand where there when the Anglo-Texans turned up. There was some degree of intermarriage between the two communities. And the entire “Western” cattle industry is borrowed from Hispanic (and presumably originally Arab) models. The language related to cattle raising in the West is almost entirely Hispanic in origin. The food is Hispanic. The musical instruments are Hispanic.

And as Go said – the clothing and the exaggerated machismo are not exactly New England.

36 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

The German influx into Texas had a huge influence. It’s not an accident that Texas is a locus of craft breweries (not my thing admittedly). The Texas Hill Country is a subculture all to itself and very German influenced.

Of course Texans aren’t going to seem like New Englanders because it wasn’t New Englanders who settled Texas. It was Scots-Irish and Southern Anglos. But that still doesn’t demonstrate any Hispanic influence on Texas culture. Parts of Texas are very Hispanic because a ton of Hispanics moved there, but there really isn’t anything Hispanic about the mainstream cultures in Houston or Dallas. Houston is far more like Atlanta than it is Laredo and Dallas is very much like Charleston or Birmingham.

37 M January 16, 2016 at 4:36 am

@ G : What’s with the idea that “tight jeans” and “colourful shirts” come from anywhere Hispanic? As a non-American, I always thought the progression of jeans was jean overalls > jean trousers pretty much through an USA route. Then people at rodeos (for show) are going to adopt more ostentatious versions of the basic dress, flavoured by American country-rock.

What does this have to do with the Hispanics, exactly? Or Hispanic cowboys, of white shirts, chinos and rather sombrero-ish hat fame? Other than the basic idea of “Dry places with scrubby land are OK for ranches” and “These are good livestock there” and “You should probably wear a hat in the hot sun”.

38 Urso January 16, 2016 at 7:54 am

I have many German Texas relatives who would have a WHOLE LOT to say about this subthread.

39 peri January 16, 2016 at 9:13 pm

The Spanish never colonized Texas in numbers beyond the borderland. That’s why they invited Stephen F. Austin to settle it. Ranching in Texas has Spanish roots, of course, but also owes something to Scotland.
East Texas enjoys a strong African-American culture. Scott Joplin was from deep East Texas. A lot of blues artists hail from Texas:
You’ll know German towns, and German farms, in Texas because they’re tidier than their Scots-Irish counterparts.
Swedes and Danes, Italians, Lebanese all come to mind as well, immigrants who made their mark here.

In short, Texas will be a much less diverse place, in fifty years.

40 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

If diversity worked so well, it wouldn’t need national security/surveillance, civil rights laws, transfer payments, an army of bureaucrats, and cradle-to-grave, top-down conditioning to enforce.

Diversity requires a wealthy, all-powerful central state. Once the central state loses its grip, the diversity flies apart faster than you can say “blood is thicker than water.”

41 Bob January 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Civilization requires those things as well. Civilization can be defined in terms of societies characterized by those sorts of things you enumerate.

42 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

It is a matter of degree. When you invite the world, you’ve got a lot more screening, surveillance, social work, even pre-emptive warfare to do.

43 Bob January 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Sure, but today you don’t need hundreds of thousands to fight and die in brutal hand to hand combat and you don’t need to invade, occupy, and burn down the South. Technology makes things easier.

44 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm

I disagree with this. Because we invite Middle Easterners, we have to go to the Middle East and kill ISIS over there so we’re not fighting them over here.

45 Bob January 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm

What do you disagree with? The Federal Government conscripted millions and sacrificed hundreds of thousands in brutal close combat, killed hundreds of thousands of Southerners, and burned the South down. All in its own backyard.

46 derek January 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Really? Maybe you should get out a little more. Those things exist in more places than civilisation does.

47 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Why get out when I can just order in Southern Sudanese food? Wait a second the president of Southern Sudan wears a cowboy hate does that mean there are a ton of Mexicans in Southern Sudan? I think I have the next hip fusionist cuisine New York Times if you need some place to put those two stars you took away from Per Se.

48 Bob January 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

There are millions of people today that think that “civilization” only exists where, say, homosexual and transgender rights are sanctified. I’m talking about traditional conceptions of civilization.

49 Thomas January 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm

“There are millions of people today that think that “civilization” only exists where, say, homosexual and transgender rights are sanctified. I’m talking about traditional conceptions of civilization.”

Like the kind of civilization Saddam enforced. Recently, the left has been rather open about their admiration for his iron fisted central leadership.

50 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Tallahassee and Miami may as well be different countries. Eventually, South Florida will become part of an Iberian-dominated Caribbean nation-state.

51 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Actually eventually S. Florida will be part of the Caribbean itself. And not necessarily because of AGW, just plain old GW.

52 Plucky January 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm

in many ways it’s already there:

“Miami’s Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, is the third-highest among U.S. cities after Atlanta and New Orleans. It’s higher than in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and mirrors Mexico City’s level. The city is also the toughest for low-wage workers to rise, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the upward mobility of fast-food employees.”

53 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Where do you think diversity comes from? I ask because the Open Borders crew seems to think a ‘nation of immigrants’ must never be allowed to become a nation of natives, so we have to endlessly scour the globe for ever more exotic and disparate groups to make sure an ethnic nation never coheres in the US. I’m curious as to where you think the process should end. Should Israel, for example, aspire to lose its Jewishness? Japan? Armenia? What’s the justification for Tibetans and Mongolians to maintain separate states?

54 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm

What’s the endgame of your world view? Should every nationality have a state? What about subgroups? Is a ‘white’ nation enough, or does it need to be further subdivided into Mormon, Jewish, and Christian (and then again into Catholic/Protestant?). India I presume should be about 20 states, as should China. The US, maybe 10?

55 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 5:54 pm

I don’t see a problem with the world having more nation-states. Blacks and whites, for example, have very different tolerances for certain behaviors, which is why black suspects get shot (nay, murdered!) by white cops. Relatively homogenous communities among people of shared culture and values strikes me as diversity rather than a secular country which is just a particular geographic market. Under the latter view, diversity actually disappears.

56 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm

I know you think there should be more nation-states, just curious how many you think makes sense? How granular do they need to be? Should each subgroup in Africa have one? Hutus, Tutsis, Yoruba, Igbo, etc? Should northern blacks and southern blacks in the US be in one state or two (or more? east and west too?)

57 The Anti-Gnostic January 16, 2016 at 10:22 am

Definitely more granular than Syria and Iraq, where four countries are trying to be born. US and Europe are being more genteel about the process in their own house, for now.

58 chuck martel January 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

6. “Doing time series research on Chinese data using public sources is simply pointless. One of the many problems China doesn’t even disclose unless you know, and believe me most people don’t know, is that they have regularly “updated” major data points.”

Same thing in the US.

59 Yancey Ward January 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm

He who controls the past……….

60 stan January 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

Why do economists have such difficulty understanding the problems that cultures clashing can cause? Is it that economists are so comfortable making assumptions or that they just blithely ignore everything that doesn’t have an input in their algorithms and models?

61 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Because nerds are alienated from mainstream culture basically from the time of puberty and self-select into extremely homogenous subcultures characterized by divisions over super-trivial things like whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better. From this warped perspective they just assume that all cultural disagreements are equally trivial. Ironically, their ability to inflate trivial differences into vehement sources of argument reinforces their myopia because they assume most cultural disagreements likewise emanate from social awkwardness like most nerd fights do.

62 chuck January 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Please explain to us how life works o wise one eyed king.

63 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

You got me. You’ve got three eyes more than me poindexter.

64 chuck January 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Do your bros know you post here? Shouldn’t you be off browsing ESPN or pornhub? Wouldn’t want to get a bad rap.

65 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Intellectual curiousity needn’t come packaged with Coke bottle glasses, an inhaler, and a comically underdeveloped since of coordination. I’m sorry those were the cards you were dealt but you needn’t take it out on me. If it’s any consolation to you I don’t even know what pornhub is-so if that’s something the kids that picked on you in high school enjoyed just know I wasn’t one of them.

66 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm


67 Bob January 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

That sort of goes for lots of ordinary folk as well though, not just nerds.

68 Todd Kreider January 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm


But not just for this subject. The same is true for projecting health care costs out to 2030 or 2080 assuming no change in having technology lower costs. But as long as almost all economists in the subfield (a.k.a. the club) are making the same glaring errors, the ridiculous projections aren’t challenged.

69 Gochujang January 15, 2016 at 11:22 am

I expected bitcoin to fail, in the sense of not lifting off, but I did not expect it to implode

70 Regular Guy January 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

RE #2: “very good arguments though I favor considerably more immigration than he does.”
Talk is cheap. Would you also be in favor of an abolition of tenure and the creation of an academic visa that is handed out in high frequency? Why are you so special that you deserve protection? If you were suggesting job protections for everyone it would be less hypocritical, but that is not your position it all. It’s sink or swim… for others. Perhaps academics should lead the way?

( I don’t want to sound like I’m insulting Tyler. I enjoy Tyler sharing his thoughts with us and am grateful there is a chance to reply. But most of academia is pretty hypocritical on this issue.)

RE #4: am I the only one who thinks this drone madness is being over played? They are mostly toys today, they may acquire some non entertainment uses but the core market will remain a novelty for some time.

71 JWatts January 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

“RE #4: am I the only one who thinks this drone madness is being over played?”

To some degree yes. I imagine drone’s will be required fly between 300 – 500 feet in the future and land or take off vertically. Since the capabilities to do this are already there and since such a decision will allay most of the privacy and trespass concerns, it’s really a trivial issue.

“They are mostly toys today, they may acquire some non entertainment uses but the core market will remain a novelty for some time. ”

Smart phones became a large market with in 10 years. I suspect drones have the same potential, assuming economic efficiencies.

72 Anon January 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

To be fair, academia (including grad school) is hugely exposed to foreign competition; moreso than most industries/sectors. Not uncommon for a majority of a top schools’ faculty to be foreign-born. I don’t think its hypocritical for an academic to speak about immigration.

73 Regular Guy January 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

“moreso than most industries/sectors”

And I didn’t mean to imply that academics never competed, but that a tenured academic does not have the same risks that others do.

74 Fan of Steve January 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

2. I always wonder if Tyler is just trying to get his libertarian readers to become anti immigration/sailerites, but in a nice, indirect way, by linking to posts he supposedly doesn’t agree with it. Tyler the Straussian luring the masses through his Times column and blog to the alt-right.

75 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Just so I’m clear, the alt-right is basically racist libertarians, right?

76 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Just so I’m clear does David Brock sign your paychecks or is this more like a fill the time between data entry jobs kind of thing?

77 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm

LOL, nothing more amusing than a guy who thinks he’s devastatingly witty.

78 Regular guy January 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm

I hope you other commenters aren’t calling me anti immigration or a fascist.
I don’t know how much immigration we should have but I’m certainly not against it in principle. I am skeptical high levels of immigration will make most people better off, and I have asked questions here before about that line of thinking.

What I wrote today was essentially “you first”, it would be gloomy if your response to that was ” fascist “.

79 Edward Burke January 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm

#3. –and sales of Sean Penn shirts? Rolling Stone shirts?

80 Urstoff January 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Why is 80% of that classical music list interpretations of the works of others rather than original work? That is, why is the demand for interpretations of older works much higher than that for original work?

81 Faze January 15, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Because original (by which I assume you mean contemporary) work usually is not as pleasurable to listen to as classical music written between 1740-1928. Around the turn of the 20th century, the genius of melody abandoned the concert hall and gravitated toward the beer hall, stage and recording studio. Where it flourished. Especially in New York. We suffer dutifully through contemporary music when it appears on concert programs, but don’t listen to it in our cars.

82 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 10:11 pm

You mean Edgard Varese and Milton Babbitt aren’t the last word in the sublime?

83 Peter M. January 16, 2016 at 12:01 am

It’s a good question, and I agree with Faze. I’ll give a few examples. I think some of the music of James Horner, Hans Zimmer, and a few other soundtrack writers is perfect for that form. The Great American Songbook is extraordinary. Of course there is some post 1928 “classical” music that is very good and is withstanding the test of time so far. But there is something else. A standard guide is that 1% of any music in a current period is worth rehearing and saving. Perhaps one-tenth of one percent is truly lasting. The older music has pleased many generations, so there is a certain marker for excellence there. (Not all of the old stuff is great, I think you’ll agree. But much of it is.) So we are filtering modern music for future generations.

We have some recommended albums for the year. I thought the Nordic Effect music was boring, and there is some minimalist music I very much like. The music sounded like it was written by a computer with a limited algorithm. The old instruments did not seem to be in the hands of very skilled players. Note that this is based on two tracks, one of which was their choice for a promotional track.

There were two recordings of Rzewski’s The People United variations. I have listened to it a handful of times, and it is a mediocre piece overall with some good bits. He chose a nice folk tune as the theme, but many of the variations lack any real reason for being there. They do not show off mastery of the instrument. Nor are they lyrical. There are precisely nine minutes that I do like — so I edited a digital recording and eliminated the boring variations.

I refuse to listen to any more John Adams. Blah.

There are modern writers I like. Part and Gorecki. I listen to lots of Part. Marjan Mozetich, though his output is limited. Pavel Karmanov is little known outside of Russia but his lyrical minimalism is very good. He’s just been given a generous commission to write a new work. Georg Pelecis has some good things, as does Martynov. Karl Jenkins has some interesting stuff (don’t hold the awful Diamond music against him). John Barry, James Newton Howard, Abel Korzeniowski, Alex Desplat are film writers but they write some gems. Don’t overlook the creative genius of jazz artists like Keith Jarrett. I also like the quirky, tuneful stuff of Iiro Rantala.

I’ll try the Varese and Babbitt.

84 JWatts January 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

“4. Do you have a legal right to stop a drone from hovering over your yard? ”

Yes. You’ll note that the drone owner lost the case and is now appealling the decision.

85 Richard January 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Regarding the immigration piece, I think that this is an under acknowledged but important point: “8. Native backlash against perceived cultural transformation is very powerful, and any politics that refuses to take account of it will fail.”

With non-stop immigration, the elites are basically always at war with their people. Either last generation’s immigrants assimilate, or they don’t.

If they don’t, you have obvious problems.

If they do in fact assimilate, they’re not going to like the changes that are being brought about by the next group of people.

No country has been able to manage demographic transformation in a democracy well. At the very least you get growing incivility, less public trust, and Balkanized voting. At worse, you get civil war.

86 collateral January 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I say the US managed several demographic transformations quite well.

87 Richard January 15, 2016 at 3:06 pm

They managed going from a certain kind of white Christian to another kind of white Christian pretty well, after immigration was cut off for 40 years between 1925 and 1965.

The jury is still out on the current project.

88 collateral January 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Only white Christian in retrospect. At the time they were swarthy papists.

89 cheesetrader January 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Took quite a while for the Catholics to become “accepted” – and in some parts of the country, they’re still looked on with skepticism – and they’re white Christians….

90 msgkings January 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Are they really? Or are you down with Latinos being white, which they technically are?

91 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 6:10 pm

At the time they were swarthy papists.

About 11% of the white population claims Italian, Greek, Portuguese, or Spanish ancestry. Northern Italians aren’t swarthy and Greeks aren’t papists.

Took quite a while for the Catholics to become “accepted” – and in some parts of the country, they’re still looked on with skepticism – and they’re white Christians…

No, they’re harassed by the gay lobby and the har-de-har public interest bar, with the assistance of their friends in the judiciary. The man in the street is not a problem.

And, no, it did not take that long. My great-great grandfather was memorialized with a newspaper article and profiles in local history monographs less than fifty years after he had arrived from County Cork. At least three of his sons received newspaper obituaries as well and one was profiled in local history volumes. Ethnic Italians began appearing in group portraits of the Bar Association in the same town around about 1925.

92 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Are they really? Or are you down with Latinos being white, which they technically are?

Puerto Ricans and Cubans are modally caucasian. Dominicans sometimes are. Mexicans and Central Americans seldom are. Only about 2% of American hispanics are Castillan Spanish.

93 Donald Pretari January 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm
94 Nick January 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm

#2 – Assimilation: Psychologists state that peers have a greater influence on the nurture portion how children turn out than parents do. Given this, maybe the route to pursue is to avoid enclaves. If the children grow up surrounded by natives, they would be more likely to assimilate into the culture in which they grew up. For example, in the USA, the federal government could charge employers a per employee/week fee for hiring noncitizens that entered after the next immigration bill’s effective date. The fee can be lower if the employee works in a county where a very low percentage of the population is foreign-born & higher in counties with a higher percent of the population foreign-born.

95 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Assimilation means out-marriage. If the group is not competitive on the marriage-market, then they will not assimilate. Most Anglo’s and Europeans, for example, don’t want to marry Africans or Arab Muslims.

96 Nick January 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Yes, but for example, my county is under 2% foreign-born. Even if most don’t want to marry a foreign-national, some don’t mind or are even attracted to someone different. It does not take much when few are outsiders.

97 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm

At 2% foreign-born, assimilation doesn’t even come up. Immigrants are obviously avoiding your county for whatever reason.

I’m reminded again that immigration is a local phenomenon which is administered nationally.

98 Moo cow January 15, 2016 at 1:01 pm

#1 5/28.

When I was a kid that was totally not the case.

99 Dave Smith January 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

I wonder how boredom is related to ADHD?

100 rayward January 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

2. Douthat was raised a fundamentalist Christian, and on cultural issues he almost always goes home to mama. Fundamentalist converts to Catholicism aren’t really Catholics. Sure, they adopt the rituals, but they are no more Catholic than a Catholic who converts to Judaism is a Jew. We made the mistake of welcoming fundamentalists in my church (Episcopal), who admired the stained glass windows and architecture of our buildings, only to have them attempt to steal both the stained glass windows and the buildings after they decided they didn’t care for our articles of religion (or our tolerance). The Pope is Catholic; Douthat is not. That’s why Douthat cannot accept Francis as the real Pope any more than he can accept Obama as the real President. Catholics, unlike us unsuspecting (naive) Episcopaleans, aren’t going to make the same foolish mistake. Douthat preaches to the choir in his column, but the choir is not Catholic.

101 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm

This may be the most hateful comment I’ve ever read on the Internet. Nothing but profound pity for rayward, condescending, borderline disgusted pity yes but pity all the same.

102 collateral January 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Pot. Kettle. Black.

103 The Anti-Gnostic January 15, 2016 at 2:29 pm

And completely ahistorical.

104 Thor January 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm

That rant by reward was just weird. Douthat raises good points. It’s one of the things he does well, along with being pretty meticulous. I am not a nerd, but I would rather debate Star Wars vs Star Trek than “how Catholic is Ross Douthat”….

105 Jan January 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm

No, he speaks the truth about Douthat. Those who agree with the columnist do so out of convenience. He no more represents mainstream Catholic views than do I. An interloper. Make no mistake, Douthat is smart and as good with the pen as any proselytizing evangelical on a mission to convert us sinners, but he is convincing nobody. The converted southern preachers would even listen, but they unfortunately don’t read the Times. Wouldn’t even know where to buy a copy.

106 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm

If it’s any consolation to you Jan I can guarantee Ross has no interest in converting you to Catholicism. Please harden up that heart- you are a one man inadvertent fifth column for the side you support.

107 Jan January 16, 2016 at 6:11 am

Sam, I don’t care. He’s not converting anyone and he convinces nobody.

108 Thomas January 17, 2016 at 3:46 am

Jan, the progressives don’t need convincing. Islamists could elect a Muslim Donald Trump who instituted legal honor killings, mandatory burkas, and gang-rape (by volunteers) as a death sentence and the progressive left wouldn’t bat an eye. Punching up is always right, and the west is on top.

109 Nathan W January 18, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Thomas – na, just not convinced by your fearmongering.

Hope you don’t slip in the bathtub tonight. It’s really dangerous.

110 Massimo January 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Pope Francis is at deep odds with classic Christian morality and the teachings of Jesus. This offends many deep Catholics, even career clergy. Jesus never preached material “equality”, opposed capitalism, or supported erasing the class system of his day in Roman society. He never told his followers to “not be judgmental”, but to judge others by the standards of God. Jesus also taught wrath and hatred of sin in addition to love and and forgiveness, which has been erased from the Pope Francis telling.

111 Ed January 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Wow. This comment is deeply ahistorical. I don’t usually use the internet meme “not even wrong”, but it applies here.

112 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Usually this is the point where you’d demonstrate what was wrong about it. I think you are not even trying.

113 Hoosier January 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Something about camels and needles…

114 Sam Haysom January 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm

Something about expensive oils and the poor will alsways be with us. When did left wingers become some enamored with proof texting.

115 Nathan W January 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Forgot the part about love your nieghbour, love your enemy, and all the rest?

I guess Massimo belongs to an angry church. Probably everyone there fears hell a lot.

116 Art Deco January 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm

2. Douthat was raised a fundamentalist Christian,

No, he was a baptized Anglican. His mother and father took a tour through charismatic congregations between 1987 and 1996; serious fundamentalists are no more than cordial to charismatics.

117 Soho January 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm

I still have yet to see a reasonable framework for estimating how many immigrants a country can manage. Let’s do a thought experiment about Finland (population ~5 million) and Syria (pre-war population ~23 million). If a single Syrian emigrates to Finland, Finland is basically unchanged by any measure. The immigrant clearly benefits, Finland probably benefits, and the immigrant’s descendants eventually assimilate at some point because they’re such a tiny cultural minority. This seems so beneficial that we have a moral obligation to allow that one person to move.

Now assume that the entire population of Syria moves into Finland. You probably just moved the Syrian civil war to Finland and destroyed a second nation for no gain. If a war is prevented, it’s probably because draconian measures were taken. Either way, the things that make Finland great today are gone. This is such a total disaster that we have a moral obligation to prevent it from happening.

Does social science not offer some way of thinking numerically about the intermediate possibilities?

118 chuck martel January 15, 2016 at 11:07 pm

“This is such a total disaster that we have a moral obligation to prevent it from happening.”

Why? Nobody reading this at this moment is going to be around for the next culture conversion. We don’t rue the fact that the Romans let their empire self-destruct, we don’t greet each new day with thanks that the Ottomans were stopped at the gates of Vienna, we’re not sad that the Mongols took over much of Asia for 450 years and we’re not unhappy that they’re gone. We can’t do anything about the past and the future’s not ours to see. Open another brewski and check if the ribs are done.

119 anon January 16, 2016 at 2:00 am

You don’t have children, I take it?

120 chuck martel January 16, 2016 at 9:36 am

The old “for the children” shibboleth. The present generation doesn’t do what its forefathers wanted and the next won’t pay any attention to what our plans were. For instance, same sex marriage was so preposterous a concept just a couple of decades ago that it wasn’t even a matter of discussion, much less legislation and judicial activity. My children will have to deal with life on their own terms, as, in fact, they do today.

121 yo January 15, 2016 at 5:03 pm

What Americans musing on the refugee crisis in Germany never seem to get, is that there are no qualms in Germany about sending these people all back once the war is over. That was the case with the Yugos two decades ago, and it will be the case with the Syrians now. Refugees are seen as a security threat right now, but not one that will stay in Germany forever unless the individual is sufficiently assimilated. Residency (or “toleratedness”) status in Germany is contingent on there being danger to life and limb in your country of origin.

122 So Much For Subtlety January 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm

There are almost three million Turks in German. Somewhere between 4 and 700,000 Serbs. Austria has another 250,000 Serbs.

Not a single one of those Syrians is leaving. They will all stay, on welfare, forever. Or until the extinction of the last German tax payer.

123 Thomas January 17, 2016 at 3:50 am

Asking that the refugees leave after the completion of the war, or even verifying that the ambiguously ethnic immigrants are refugees is racist.

124 Nathan W January 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

No, but probably you are (racist).

125 Stephan January 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

#2 Muslim immigration in Germany is creating a big problem for German women. I hope they vote Merkel out for putting them in this situation

126 LR January 15, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Ross Douthat is an idiot:

“The Scots-Irish migration to Appalachia and its environs is still heavily responsible for America’s sky-high-by-Western-standards murder rate.”

The article he links to provides no support for this, of course because it is moronic. I guess he didn’t have the balls to say “Blacks in the US kill each other a lot.”


127 carlolspln January 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Maybe Douthat is an idiot.

But not for making that assertion.

Read this:

128 LR January 16, 2016 at 3:27 am

There is plenty of data on murder rate committed by race being way higher than average in the US – look them up. That’s the main driver. I am not aware of any data about Scotch/Irish white murder commission rates being higher than even white averages in the US – are you?

129 Ed January 16, 2016 at 10:54 am

Sam Haysom – 17
The Anti-Gnostic -10
Gochujang – 9
Art Deco – 7
msgkings – 7

“Tyler Cowen
December 17, 2015 at 12:31 pm
Just an observation. I can think of one or maybe two exceptions in the comments section on this site, namely people who are exceptionally bright and also talented assemblers of information. But for most of you, if you are leaving more than two or three comments on a blog post — you probably don’t have that much to say.”

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