Tuesday assorted links


4 (Oberlin): "In the immediate term, she hoped to join AmeriCorps and build her résumé. She thought she might end up being a class-action or impact-litigation lawyer. Then she wanted to get as far away from the United States as she could. “Working my piece of land somewhere and living autonomously—that’s the dream,” she said. “Just getting the eff out of America. It’s a sinking ship.”"

It's a sinking ship because of people like you. Get the fuck out.

..both the activists and their opponents were multicultural, educated, and true of heart.

Eosphoros is a shy guy with a lambent confidence.... His hair was done in the manner of Beaver Cleaver’s, with a cool blue streak across the top. Eosphoros is a trans man. He was educated in Mexico, walks with crutches, and suffers from A.D.H.D. and bipolar disorder. (He’d lately been on suicide watch.)

You can be "true of heart" and suffer from mental and emotional health problems, I suppose, but people should probably still be a tad wary of taking what you say at face value.

The Oberlin article is a parody right? Weaving some real life events and people with made up characters.

The "students" cannot possibly be real. No group of people could be so ignorant and afraid of their own shadows.

[At least I learned what "lambent" means]

He sounds like a modern analog to Pan. "Comparatively, Eosphoros of the American pantheon is most closely associated with the Greek god Pan, though of course stripped of all sexuality and eroticism. Hindered by crutches instead of goat legs, he retained his flighty, erratic, and manic-depressive temperament, but lost his flute. Phallic imagery, having survived the transition from Greek to Roman traditions, was no match for American prudery."

Oberlin College...how to signal to any prospective employers, that you are unemployable.

People like this must be radioactive. I can't imagine hiring people like this for any reason as they're a lawsuit just waiting to happen. I'm sure they'll make a living doing freelance work as they're intelligent but they'd be insufferable as employees

Sounds like someone who wanted to make things right and got discouraged.

Perhaps the realities that discouraged her are the problem? We should be encouraging such types to want to make things right. A trophy maybe? God knows, there isn't a lot of money being paid out for making things right.


“Part of me feels that my leftist students are doing the right wing’s job for it.”

Did it occur to him that maybe his priors on what is "left" and "right" might be wrong? If he assumes that only right wingers want to restrict free thought, he's an idiot.

Maybe I was projecting, but I read it as "they are being exactly the cartoon version of the left that the right imagines in their heads."

If I read all these quotes at National Review I would assume they were made up.

Well, obviously, Dave Smith, there is no standard accepted definition of what is on the "left" and what is on the "right" politically speaking. The guy you criticize does not disagree with you, he just has a different definition. I tend to agree with him: a student who wants privileges and "safe space" for her race, and punishment for people who says things that she doesn't like is, by definition, a racist and fascist, hence, by definition, on the "right". You may disagree, but remember that this is just a matter of terminology, not a substantive one.

You might find some racists in that group, but wanting a safe space for your group probably means there's an underlying issue that is not being resolved.

Perhaps the problem is racism, not the people who experience it negatively (some whom also respond negatively to it, surprise surprise)?

How do Asian SATs and GPAs predict college and life success? No one doubts that race-blind admission would let in far more Asians, but the incredible hard work Asians put in in HS might mean they are closer to their ceiling, on average, than other students. Of course, if you adjust for predicted success you will recruit even fewer latino and black applicants.

I think you also have to take cheating seriously as well and move to tests that allow less cheating, we know their is widespread fraud in the SAT, concentrated among asians, but we don't know if its big enough to actually push those numbers around.

White guy who has spent most of my time in heavily Asian fields here,

It's important to note that there is also bias against 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant children with Asian surnames who are thoroughly Americanized.

Also, I believe it is the duty of those who argue that these numerical measures are not predictive to demonstrate that, rather than to create justifications. If these arguments are true and scores do not predict student outcomes you should be able to back them up with more than something "we know".

As someone who tries to hire the best and spends a lot of time interviewing and trying to identify the best, I do not find it useful to discount achievements because of a surname. Just my experience.

Oh, for sure, responsibility is on the analyst and I wouldn't want any race-conscious admissions. But if we are going to go purely on tests, those tests should be pretty good predictors. SAT is just too easy to game and cheat. GPAs from different schools are world's apart. We need something that reflects knowledge learned in school and where the controls against cheating are much higher than in the present SAT. I guarantee you college admissions will discriminate if there is any soft criteria-look at UCLA. So we need a test, but a good one. If you want to know more about the Asian/SAT cheating link then read this: http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/college-sat-two/

I've spent a lot of time in fields dominated by Asians too. Really good at maths and stuff. But want to dissect the issue, do something new with it? Not likely. They do well on tests. There's a reason you don't find a lot of them in upper management. They are good work horses, and very competent after 20 years of work horse study.

I agree 100%. It's the same thing with females. You don't see them in upper management because they just aren't capable of leading. In fact, I'd argue that we need to reduce the ratio that we let into our schools - 50% is way too high, given that the proportion of senior management isn't even close to that.

I dunno. The women I've known who climbed half way up the ladder complain that their male counterparts expect people earning six figures to take minutes 100% of the time if they are women, and they are viewed as total bitches when they're like "HA HA HA HA HA!!!! That's funny. I think my turn comes back around in about six months. Hey Joe, can you run and get me a coffee please, dearie?".

There's also the deterrent aspect wherein men who do a certain thing are viewed as "strong leaders" whereas women who do basically the same things are consider "controlling bitches". Certainly not everywhere, but this is still at play.

So your argument is that yellow people deserve to be kept down because they are more dilligent than white people?

I dilligence somehow a thing that is useful for 16 year olds but not for 36 year olds?

Grinding is a lot more useful for gaming academic evaluations than for accomplishing anything meaningful.

As I've always said, it's 99% inspiration; 1% perspiration.

Wow, really digging around for those justifications.

So people who work harder in high school are simply "closer to their ceilings"? Logically, if that were the case, shouldn't we punish all people who get high SAT scores, not just Asian people with high SAT scores?

I'm finding it hard to follow your reasoning, but, I'm also Asian, so maybe I just peaked too early.

I don't think there are any studies that show lower job performance relative to SAT for Asian Americans.

On this topic of # 4. Anti-Asian bias, it's important to note that, even if the Asians are every bit the equal of the Whites that apply to elite colleges, they apply at higher rates, so there is probably more of a hidden White talent pool out there.

"Apply Yourself: Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Application" - http://ftp.iza.org/dp9169.pdf - "For four-year public universities in Texas, black and white application rates were similar at 35 percent for blacks and 36 percent for whites, and the Asian application rate was substantially higher at 52 percent. Hispanic students, who make up the second largest group of graduates, have a much lower application rate at only 27 percent.


When we look at applications to elite state flagship universities in row 3, black and Hispanic application rates fall to only 5 percent, compared to 14 percent for white and nearly 30 percent for Asian students.


However, these application differences could be due to differences in college preparation or ability. Column 2 adds controls for observable college readiness including the total number of AP semesters taken, indicators for whether the student took AP English, AP mathematics, and AP science courses, the total number of failing grades received on semester report cards, and performance on the state exit exam (standardized composite of English and math scores).

All of these additional variables are significant predictors of college application behavior in the expected direction, and the estimated racial and ethnic differences change in distinct ways. The positive black coefficient becomes even more positive, the positive Asian coefficient becomes smaller in magnitude, and the negative significant Hispanic coefficient becomes insignificant and smaller in magnitude. Thus, difference in individual college readiness variables appear to explain much of the difference between white and Hispanic and white and Asian application rates, but not the differences between blacks and whites.


In our final specification, we include high school fixed effects, thereby controlling for any school characteristics that are constant across this two-year time period (column 4). Here, we are comparing students with equal college preparedness who graduated from the same high school to see if there are racial and ethnic disparities in application behavior within high schools.

We estimate that within high schools, a black student is 13.8 percentage points more likely to apply to college than a similar white student, while a Hispanic student is 6.1 percentage points less likely to apply than a similar white student. For Asians, unlike prior specifications, the within school difference in application behavior is significant and negative, suggesting that Asians are less likely to apply than white peers from the same high school by approximately 2 percentage points."

On top of SAT scores, Asian folk apply to elite universities at huge rates (note Table 6 from the above link, shows that even though a higher the application rate to ordinary schools fades for Asians when compared to Whites, once educational measures are included, rates of application rates to elite schools remain higher!).

It seems more likely to apply than a White with similar ability, but more similar to a White with similar ability from the same school background. Probably because this is a proxy for determined parents, canceling out an "Asian striver" effect.

So a question is, should this be something that elite schools should "balance out"?

Arguably the Asians are making the smart response to the de facto status of elite universities as finishing schools for power, and the Whites who believe in opportunity outside the university system are wrong.

But what will happen, long term, if ethnic minorities of 5% the population hold 60% of elite positions? Despite not actually being that much smarter, due to the differences in striving and application rates. Will people stand for it, or will they react?

It seems likely to me that if Asians do succeed in gaining lots more elite school positions, the system will react by routing around that, making it less of a guaranteed pathway to an elite job.

(Also, college enrollment rates for different US ethnicity cataegories: http://www.pewresearch.org/files/2014/01/collegeStudents_race2.png . Those differences in application rates make a difference.)


I saw this last week at one of my favorite blogs. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/05/new-york-city-fact-of-the-day-3.html

Tyler, your automated blog entry algorithm is off!

Replace 'automated' with the appropriate human, and you might just be right. Just a hint.

#3 confers mediocre enlightenment (I complain not: attaining mediocrity, as Dostoevsky suggested, consists largely of merely surviving into middle age and perhaps remains preferable to untethered idealisms): while the contemporary philosophy practiced by the cheeseburger ethicist shows how readily philosophy dissolves into the slime of sophistry, ethical reflection shows itself highly capable not of directing action but of counseling standing still.

On another hand I've all but persuaded myself that we have no working ethics or morality today: our shoulds, musts, and oughts have no power to compel action and have all been displaced by the relative successes of our sciences and applied technologies, which in deference to Davy Hume have dispensed with traditional ethics and morality and substituted mere ability as the valorized description of human action, in which case avoiding apprehension and responsibility has become a distinguishing virtue.

1. 12% of US millionaires are teachers:


I'm sure that's incorrect. It just suits your and the WSJ's priors.

Why is that hard to believe, they are college grads and are often married to college grad who make more money that they do and there a lot of them?

Need more information to assess the relevance of the data point. Are college administrators "educators?" How about college football coaches?

The average Chicago public school teacher retires with a pension worth almost three million dollars. The big lie from Democrats and teachers unions is just that.

I make 56k in Fairfax county with 8 years experience and a masters. No idea what my pension is worth, but it ain't much.

The fact that you have no idea how much its worth...is the issue. You're clearly not that bright, even for $58k

Nah, I'm pretty bright, but I couldn't even begin to give you the details of the pension I may be receiving in 30 years.

The original poster might have said, "12% of millionaires are married to teachers." But the fact that many millionaires wives are teachers somehow failed to make it into his comment. Are they millionaires too? Of course (in most states) but that wouldn't have allowed the OP to make his point.

His point, and yours, that teachers are "millionaires" is absurd in the normal context of what we call "millionaires."

The value of a pension is also not included in the normal course of determining one's net worth. If the average Chicago teacher is used as an example, then the average cop or firefighter is worth much, much more and the ranks of millionaires should swell considerably. And let's include college professors and administrators, politicians, municipal executives, etc. while we're at it. In fact, let's include everybody who receives or will receive Social Security. And so on...

And I meant to link to this:


"Who is the prototypical American millionaire? About half of our wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher."

"The original poster might have said, “12% of millionaires are married to teachers.”

In the majority of cases, married couples assets are held jointly. So, teachers married to millionaires are indeed millionaires.

You are right, public employees are very well off.

They go 30+ years with payouts of >$100,000 per year? Quite the pension, but I'd be willing to bet very few have drawn that much.

Based on most reasonable definitions of 'very few', that's a losing bet, Jan. I mean, Illinois alone:


Where do you get that number from?

What the report actually says is that 12% of the millionaires they surveyed are, or were when they retired, "educators." It is not clear how they define "educator" but it seems reasonable to think that category includes current or former professors and perhaps administrators as well as primary school teachers.

I guess it turns out teachers are obviously responsible people. They sure don't rake in the cash, so they must be good with their money. Precisely the kind of leaders-by-example we need in society, no?

Also, it completely ignores that most people who teach, due to stable salary, are able to buy a house. And housing prices have skyrocketed in the last couple decades. I bet you'd cut that number in half if you checked out how much of that is locked up in housing and corrected for housing prices rising at the inflation rate.

Also, there are a LOT of educators. The more relevant figure would be the percentage of people in different professions who are millionaires, and even that would ignore a lot of points.

I guess you can chalk this one up to another case of statistical abuse. Teaching is not uncomfortable, but it is not lucrative.

4. I loved the story at the beginning of the Oberlin piece where the college administrators are trying to figure out who to side with, the black community or the jewish community. I was in New York City recently and saw a giant poster on the side of the building that looked a little bit like this: ( http://i.imgur.com/BYe50W6.jpg ) It was a poster for Fact Check Armenia, which, a quick visit revealed, was a Turkish website focused on denying the Armenian Genocide. So I guess a bunch of Turkish immigrants in New York City decided to put up that poster to spite a bunch of Armenian immigrants in New York City. These situations feel like the endgame of postmodern identity politics. And they scare me. I don't want to live in a society full of people who retain their old tribal identities and hate their historical enemies.

The old model of American immigration was the melting pot. Everybody let go of their old historical tensions and became American. And that worked! What I fear now is a multicultural "salad". Where all the different parts of the salad get mixed into each other, but each retains their old identities and hatreds. The croutons hate the spinach leaves. And whoever is in authority, be it college administrators or the American Government are forced to resolve a millennia of historical conflicts and rivalries.

The problem with multiculturalism is that Western culture is empirically better then other cultures. It should not come as a surprise that there is a superior culture, given the math of a million different metrics for each of hundred of different cultures, having a likelihood of all being equal of approximately 0%.

It's ironic that the black reparations activist ultimately wants some private land not subject to political demands. Here she is, in America, demanding that the government enforce her will on conservative white people also ultimately want private land to do their own thing on. This black reparations activist who statistically wouldn't even be at Oberlin without affirmative action and the abrogation of free association wants to control what white people do, while leaving black people like Joy Karega to Lobby for the recreation of the Holocaust.

"The problem with multiculturalism is that Western culture is empirically better then other cultures"

A self-evident statement...

Someone switched the meaning of "multiculturalism" on us in the last 10 years. It used to be the "union" Venn diagram, now it is "disjoint sets."

I am for whatever we call the union thing now.

We call that...cultural appropriation...you vile se*ist white-supremacist homophobic transphobic male-patriarchal privileged hegemonic hegemon!

They never really just melted. People maintained their ethnic identities until they were more or less forced to give them up. This is the untold story of us domestic policy in the 20th century.

One thing to remember is that liberal arts colleges like Oberlin work to bill themselves as the happiest places ever and sell the students on that. But these are 18-22 year olds just coming into themselves and lots of them will not be happy, especially if there is some culture shocks. Liberal arts colleges are responsible for creating false expectations, especially among blacks and latinos. They would be much better off saying- this is going to be tough, the culture will be hard to get used to, but here is why our education is worth it....

Turkey doesn't deny that an extremely large number of people died. They deny that it should be called a genocide. I do not agree with their position, but even with all the facts on the table there is a legitimate argument to be made. They should not be forced to not represent their position, so long as they are not denying the basic facts of what happened, some of which "facts" themselves are even open to some historical debate.

The sheer number of deaths and the forced march aspect of the situation, where it was patently obvious that many would die, very much legitimizes the view that it was genocide. However, historically "genocide" was viewed as an intent to eradicate an entire group, whereas the Armenian genocide seems rather to have been motivated by strategic reasons due to them being considered as a likely locus of anti-Ottoman revolution. Which ... it was, wasn't it?

If looking for excuses to complain about multiculturalism, I think you've got the wrong issue.

#4: some of these students were probably admitted via various ethnic preferences in the admissions process, didn't really have the academic chops to hack it at a selective institution, and so decided to blame discrimination in the institution itself in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own shortcomings and failures. Witness this one guy quoted in the New Yorker:

"Because I’m dealing with having been arrested on campus, or having to deal with the things that my family are going through because of larger systems—having to deal with all of that, I can’t produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways. There’s professors who have openly been, like, ‘Yeah, instead of, you know, writing out this midterm, come in to my office hours, and you can just speak it,’ right? But that’s not institutionalized. I have to find that professor.”

I read that as 'I'm not doing well in school because I don't do my work and I'm not very good at writing papers. Here are some identity-based excuses for why that's not my fault. Some professors have let me slide and I wish they all would.'

You are absolutely right. What I learned from being on the job market is that no one cares about your individual circumstances and there is no way to force them to, so you have to make yourself attractive through knowing how to do useful things. Once you are hired, you can have the "I prefer to work this way and not that" conversation with your boss, assuming that both ways are equally valuable to your organization, and if you do good work your boss would be stupid not to be flexible on how you do it, but you can't go in making demands for individual treatment.

The above does not address concerns regarding discrimination in hiring, etc, which absolutely does exist and is a problem. But the quote under discussion doesn't either. Special snowflakes come in all skin colors.

Dafudge? That's basically saying, "It's hard to figure out which professors I can just sweet-talk into a good grade, and that's just as good as passing any other way."

Maybe. But some people know that they can prove deep knowledge in a probing conversation but aren't good at writing. Personally, I'm a little bit the other way around. More to do with better writing than poor speaking. And mostly because in speaking, I'm inclined to get caught up in 10 caveats and not come across clearly, whereas in writing you can plan out how you're going to do so more carefully.

Having said that, the way she puts it seems sort of BS. I had to work X number of hours to pay the bills that classmates didn't, made choices to do various extracurriculars that ate up lots of time, and faced some other disadvantages compared to a lot of students.

But I only asked for special treatment twice. Once for a family member being in the hospital, and once because my first exam ever in my second language, the instructions about the time included a word that could mean either "postphoned until Monday" or "I'll report back to you on Monday about when the exam it". Well, I skipped class on Monday thinking I'd check the website for when the exam was, only to find I'd missed the exam. SOME francophones are really protective of their language and love to stick it to people who might make that kind of mistake, and she REALLY wanted to deny me, but it would have been so ridiculously unfair that when I arrived at her 1 hour a week office hour, she was kind enough to offer a "now-or-never" option to write the exam on the spot. Hey, I knew my stuff. No problem. But I would have great difficulty saying anything good about her work even if it were Nobel quality.

Teachers SHOULD be willing to account for circumstance. But everyone's got their shit. If someone ain't dying or something, just forget about the excuses. If you suck at tests and excel at speaking, go volunteer, make connections, and you'll be fine.

Like, I remember my first econ course, it was a summer course. I was working 9-5 in demanding physical labour in the hot summer sun. Competing with people who could review the material 12 hours a day if they wanted. How much special treatment did i want? Maybe a half sympathetic shrug from a classmate when mentioning the challenge - that'd about do me. I mean, what the hell are they going to do about it? Study for me? Well, my study partner did make sure to take a little time to iron out a few parts I'd struggled with ... I'm just it benefitted him at least as much as me.

The Oberlin story was mostly interesting (though too long) but what really drives me nuts with pieces like this is (I mean magazine pieces like this - not the topic) is the discussion of what people (including the author) are eating when they meet, and what they are wearing, what their hair is like, etc. What's the point? On occasion it might be relevant, but mostly it's just weird filler, repeated over and over again. Please, magazine writing people, cut it out!

Normally it's cliche. But I think that for this article the author really illustrated the insufferableness of the people being interviewed.

Economics of Magazine writing -- They get paid by the word.

I don't think that's the issue. Usually anything worth reading starting out at 10,000 words and lands up at 1500. If you get 1500 words the first shot, it should have been a 200 word note. Of course, there are lots of exceptions once you get to experienced writers.

I blame America. Though I admit that The New Yorker is special; it seems to have a style guide that explicitly orders writers to add irrelevant drivel about clothing.

Nonetheless, that style guid is just a natural progression on general fluffiness of American magazine writing. The Economist is much thicker than Time, and yet each paragraph contains more communication.

This I put down to founding egalitariansm: British writers are taught first to thunder down from upon high, and later (perhaps) to do it charmingly. American writers seem like they want first to soothe the readers with sweet nothings lest they notice they are being talked down to. That Amerian style can work well; but in magazines, it has metastasised into something awful.

I don't read anything that doesn't get to the point in the first couple sentences. Unless something brilliant is at the same time instructing me that it's going somewhere. Actually, I think a few writers at The Economist manage to pull that off from time to time.

Some readers relate more to a setting description than others. While you or I might find it superfluous, there are probably other readers that latch onto those type of sentences.

Agreed -- it's a pain to have to wade through all that to get to the important stuff.

lease note I do not usually recommend pieces on this topic.

Your only reference in an aeon to the systemic (and malignant) corruption in higher education is an article which frames that as some sort of bon bon for white people.

Tyler is lucky to work in a university that is considered one of the most conservative in the US. From this position it is easier to play the role of the wise man who analyzes
with objectivity and without passion the utter folly that has taken many campuses. I am not jealous: I am happy for him, sincerely. Actually, I might leave my university and apply to GMU soon.

5. I believe Peter Thiel gets it right when he says that there needs to be more focus on the world of atoms and less focus on the world of bits, but he's likely right for the wrong reason. The reason: it's possible that the investment in self-driving cars and spaceships to Mars might produce a spike in productivity, but I suspect not, and while the investment in advertising platforms certainly has made shopping more convenient (including shopping for a ride), it hasn't produced much in terms of productivity. In time, people will look back on this era, the Silicon Valley Era, and shake their heads in amazement, and conclude that it would be more accurately called the Silly Con Era.

The amount of time people spend on their smart phones these days tells me value is being created somewhere.

Maybe. But would you apply the same logic to an alcoholic? I had to make a rule for my TA that she's not even allowed to look at her phone in class. Because if she looks at it once, she's immediately checking it 50 times, sending texts, etc. After a number of mild reminders, I really had to put my foot down. And this is famously a problem in a great many workplaces.

Most people are not creating value when on their phones. They would be equally happy spending 20% as much time on their phones, except not, because ... addiction.

Personally I find arranging bits, programming and designing thing really enjoyable. Just like making art. I'm not talking about productivity here.

On the margin, probably a lot less productivity gains but IT as a whole has been MASSIVE productivity gain. But on the margin, it's probably very dimnishing returns anymore. If you just look pat 10 years etc. it looks silly but past 50 years is different story. Lots of productivity gains have probably come from labor replacement.

There's still lots of bad software out there though.

But yeah more focus on world of atoms, thats where the next productivity inventions will come from. Just personally don't find that equally inspiring.

In the potential future of makerbots, robots, etc, the creators of atoms and electrons merge.

There is still a lot of bad software, and inefficient code, out there. But since a lot of the building blocks are open source, the improvements should continue for quite some time.

Soon, programming skills will be like learning to read and write. I'm not sure if that's good for "the human experience", but I think it will go that way. Since the building blocks will be improvement for a long time yet, so will productivity.

When the general population doesn't require a maximally user friendly interface to get computers (and/or robots) to do stuff, it will become quite easy for people to tailor things to the needs of their tasks. From easy stuff like tailored digital assistants, to more advanced stuff like being better at organizing data systems in a way that is conducive to easy programming for analytics and decision making support.

What stuns me is that there still isn't a particularly good open source word processor out there. Wouldn't it be of societal benefit for the government to pony up a few million a year for rewards or grants for people to do these kinds of things? Shouldn't Microsoft have to innovate instead of extracting rents from software that's only had minor tweaks in the last 15 years?

At least with the Bolsheviks you could begin to untangle the mess and understand where things were going wrong or maybe even right in their argument. However, with this millennial-gender-race-id-new left group, I can not converse with them because I can not speak a language that they can understand and they can not speak a language that I can understand. Maybe this is ultimate high point in Hegelian dialectic, but I couldn't even begin to understand what informs their grammars, syntax and overall logic of their speech.

It is almost like you are a group of kids with an IQ of 80 and you have never been able to connect with the speech and logic of the smarter kids. Therefore, the teachers devised a new language that only the kids with the lesser IQ's will learn so they can feel comfortable, safe, and most importantly special by learning. Subsequently, when outsiders like myself hear this language, I literally can not understand what they are saying. However, to them, it makes perfect sense and it allows them to feel confident, intelligent and informed. In this sense, I support the work of comparative American studies and the students in that article.

It's clear that you are approaching this space with a sense of privilege. You'll never know what it feels like to be a Afro-latinx, disabled queen trans-woman. For the sake of equality please shut up, and pray that if we get enough political power we wont kill you.


Finally, we can debate the finer points of life without resorting to the language of white-privileged patriarchal hegemonic hegemony.

These are a tiny but loud minority. 90% of millennials continue to share your language. I was in college at the beginning of the PC revolution, and these people were privately laughed at by the majority of students who were just trying to learn (but no one dared say anything to their faces). The only difference is they have become even louder and more brazen in attacking those who disagree with them.

I used to think that. I suspect the vast majority are still that way. But I don't think it's 90% anymore. I think a good 20-30% of college-aged kids are all bought into this brain-fart...and 20% is all it takes for the patients to be running an asylum. It seems to me at least 20% have fully adopted this language where every other word is "privilege" and "patriarchy" and "hegemony" and overt anti-white racism and anti-American rhetoric.

Of course, it varies by school and by department. It's probably closer to 80% in the humanities, and closer to 1% in engineering.

The fact that the rest keep quiet precisely because these SJW are such vile and violent people, is why they keep multiplying.

Our resident accounting TA said SJW, drink!

Jan made an inane comment! Drink!

Having been out of college for a while now, I'll give you that I couldn't tell if 1 or 2 out of 10 students believe this bullshit. But it's not 5 or 6 or even 4.

However, even when it was 1 they were shutting people up. And yet, as soon as I left for the real world, literally nobody cared about identity politics.

Why would anyone want to increase productivity growth when so much excess labor is available, and more important, workers-consumers have such a low share of the revenue from selling gdp that they can't afford to buy everything the economy is capable of producing.

Higher productivity will either further cut utilization, further cut intrinsic capital, or force prices down destroying the high profits that create the inflated capital asset prices, aka wealth.

Given returns on savings, the reward for not consuming immediately but instead to invest in productive assets, is near zero, the return on productive capital should be only slightly higher. We know that savings of all sort have been increasing rapidly for years, and generally for several decades trending up, because of the monetary velocity data. Yet, the rate of return on invested capital has not tracked down with the increased savings.

Increasing productivity requires investing in capital but investing in capital will increase supply of invested capital driving down the price of all invested capital, driving down returns on capital, thus "destroying wealth".

Increasing Apple's productivity does not mean increasing it's output of rent seeking, but increasing it's production rate of iPhones. But production of iPhones exceeded demand at the rent seeking price Apple sets, but if Apple cuts it's rents half way to the non-rent seeking prices of Apple's competitors, Apple's price for its invested capital would fall far further than it fell recently at the news of falling sales.

If productivity increased generally, the wealth destruction would be a blood bath for the top 10%. My guess is they would respond by slashing the incomes of consumers as they cut supply to restore their monopoly rents on monetary velocity.

1) Where is this excess labor hiding?

2) Can't afford to buy everything? You don't seem to understand what the words coming out of your mouth, actually mean.

4: What fraction of white high schoolers concentrate Literature or
History compared to Asians? And what are the needs of the Literature or History departments? What are the relative percentages of whites who get involved in student government vs orchestra compared to Asians? How big an orchestra can a college support? There's plenty of ways that Asians might be corralling themselves into a small set of 'types' compared to what many colleges actually need. And there is at least lots of anecdotes that they are doing so.
I see no evidence that any study controlled for all the things that colleges obviously care about.

Exactly. All people look at are SAT and GPA scores. Clearly, colleges look at other things, and clearly, they recruit for different departments and majors. It's a very flawed argument to use SAT and GPA scores as an argument for discrimination against Asians. Especially since all this data is averaged out over the entire student body.

Totally meaningless numbers, from people who claim to be better at math ;)

If you were hiring someone, would you rather 1 numerical datapoint or 1 numerical datapoint with 10 other pieces of contextual information?

I don't see why colleges should see things differently. When I hire people for parts of projects, I want SAMPLES SAMPLES SAMPLES. I don't care about their SAT, their GPA, or the sports clubs, music clubs, or any of that, although community engagement or working experience gives me information about their depth of knowledge that will improve quality, in a way that is not necessarily clear from the samples. Having winnowed down to a few people, I find myself (almost) always choosing women or minorities because I can get better quality for a lower price.

The evidence of discrimination against Asians in college admissions is strong. And it is important to understanding that AA is PC racism, no more and no less. Certainly Latinos have not faced more historical discrimination than Asians

You're failing Occam's Razor, here.

Allow me to flip your argument:

"What fraction of white high schoolers concentrate [though, which high schoolers really 'concentrate' anything..?] African American studies? And what are the needs of the African American Studies Departments? What are the relative percentages of Whites who get involved in swimming vs drum-lines and basketball compared to Blacks? How big of a student government can a college support? There are plenty of ways that whites are corralling themselves into a small set of 'types' compared to what colleges actually need. There is at least anecdotal evidence they are doing so. I see no evidence that colleges actively prefer black students over white ones."

There's about...zero...logic in your supposed "flip" of the argument. It is no secret, and it is a stated aim of most universities, that blacks are given preferential treatment.

At my university, pretty much all the black students we have are here on a football or basketball scholarship, or doing some area study major.

The flip side of the argument is to try and "prove" discrimination, when you can't actually observe matching at all. All these anti-Asian biased arguments are based on population averages on SAT and GPA grades, without information on all the other criteria that schools are looking at. This isn't evidence of discrimination, but may be evidence of poor matching.

Ignoring your pedantic overemphasis on the word 'flip', which you clearly misunderstood... And which, granted, I didn't knock out of the park.

Just look at your words. 'may be evidence' of poor matching. Occam's Razor argues for the simplest argument being correct. You are concocting a workaround which, yeah, I have no way of disproving because I don't have access to secret admissions data. But I (and you) do know that schools take race into account in admissions. You know that they prefer certain races over others, in the name of diversity. Why go and find the less likely explanation when the obvious one is staring you in the face?

It's also obvious that colleges need students for their various departments. Don't use Occam's razor to ignore a basic common-sense argument.

AIG, without compromising your anonymity, since you said "at my university" I would be interested to know what you teach there (or study?).

Since when are football and basketball scholarships handed out as "preferential treatment"? It would be equally logical to claim that GPAs are handed out as "preferential treatment".

In both cases, we can look to the complexity of history and present society, some will wonder if genes are involved in average differences (a small minority will jump from wondering that to concluding it's 99% of the story), and work from there.

You're taking outcomes as evidence of preferential treatment. A method of thinking that you hate, right?

Reading the Oberlin profile to its bitter end qualifies as my May effort in modeling patience, after (and/or in addition to) subjecting myself to the piece on cheeseburger ethics.

One conclusion to be drawn from the Oberlin profile is that something besides the late Confederate States of America will have "died of a theory", if in fact second-wave Millennials are not strangling themselves and each other on a multitude of theories: so much theoretical buzz in this piece, it's hard to discern without re-reading whether the numerous theoretical fashions are competitive or mutually exclusive (if not, probably, both). Sounds, too, as if the class of Oberlin administrative philanthropists could use a reliable exposition of the advertised "intersectional" theory and a survey of any able exponents thereof: maybe the Oberlin department of thought-leadership could prepare a guide, with mandated student assistance.

No one offered this formally, but should we unenlightened take the Oberlin campus as a fair representation of the crowd(s) that the Sanders campaign has appealed to?

No. Private colleges with a certain amount of cachet enroll about 3-4% of students studying for baccalaureate degrees, and almost no graduate students. About 70% of the young study at state schools. About 60% of the young are following vocational courses which schools like Oberlin do not offer. The Oberlin graduate in my circle of friends (who attended there ca. 1988) said the place was amusingly PC at that time. (She was an English major who took up lesbianism in the latter part of her young adult years). The thing to do is to stop subsidizing private colleges. Not all of them will get serious or die, but enough of them will to clear some of the stink from the air. Let the dead bury the dead.

We need these colleges, they serve the useful social function of imparting downward social mobility to unserious people who grew up middle and upper class, so they can be replaced by poor kids who study practical majors at state schools.

The fact that some poor kids also go to these schools and have bad outcomes is collateral damage. There are so few ways you can grow up rich and end up poor in this country, we need to preserve every one we've got.

I agree with Art Deco's answer. I would add that from the anecdotical evidence I have, activist students like the one described in the New Yorker paper tend to support Clinton, not Sanders.

#1 shout this from the house tops so people stop at least pretending that they are buying that house for the good school district.

BTW my theory is that the biggest reason that want our children to do well in school is so that we get to brag about it.

#2 Let them build up. It is promising to me that the Democrats seem to be learning that their push for slow growth was a mistake.
#4 AA got absurd when they extended it beyond blacks and Native Americans.

Push for slow growth? Might there be difference of opinion on how to achieve long-term growth?

@Troll Me
I meant the slow population growth policies common in many counties. You know restricting building to some number of units "to maintain the character" of the county. Not slow economic growth.

OK. Gotcha. I'm not sure if that's a necessarily Democrat thing though. Politics are really different at the local level. Then again, I come from a place where there's basically no party affiliation in municipal politics and municipal politicians almost never fit into the same boxes/labels that apply at other levels of government. It's not clear to me how different this might be in the US.

If you are a woman in Brazil and would like to get pregnant would your best approach be to make sure you are not pregnant and then contract Zeka and then try to get pregnant when you no longer have the virus?

4. TL;DR. How will those coddled little darlings possibly compete with the Chinese and/or fight off ISIS?

3a. We have to make the jump to non-racial college admission someday, so why not now? This is not to say a college cannot try for a "diverse" student body, but they should use other means, parental income, or geographical distribution.

We should probably admit that much is chance, and use lotteries more, rather than the presumption that selection committees are magically achieving diversity and meritocracy at the same time.

Shortlisting the top 2000 candidates and then picking 500 by lottery would probably save a lot of effort. Maybe save another 200 spaces for the obviously superior candidates.

I agree about preferring income, region, etc. as compared to race. Partly on purely abstract grounds, and partly because affirmative action in university admissions gives every white guy who never made it an excuse to blame all his failures on affirmative action. (However, I think there should still be a place for it in some areas of government hiring well into the future.)

#4 - omg. Somewhere somebody is spending over 40 grand a year on that education.


I tend to assume that accounts like this are somewhat exaggerated, but this one doesn't seem to be.

The sad part of this is that these kids are not getting an education at all, but are just being encouraged in their self-pity, and in the foolish tendency to see everyone, including themselves, as members of some group or other, rather than as individuals.

The really sad (and contemptible) part is that Tyler and Alex and their professor friends encourage this behavior, and pocket the kids' tuition without teaching them anything, harming both the children and our country while enriching themselves.

More precisely, the faculty and the trustees lack the cojones to shut this down. Only a modest minority are actually implicated in this sort of mess. The loci tend to be victimology faculties, the dean of students &c.

I don't agree. Tyler has made it clear that he affirmatively supports political correctness, trigger warnings, denial of tenure to those who are insensitive to the transgendered, and doesn't care much about freedom of expression or due process on campus. He isn't a fellow traveler, he's a true believer, and so are the majority of his colleagues.

What gives you that idea? I've never seen him as being the sort of person who feels the need to be an ass to anyone, and does not approve of other people doing that. But to the point of denying tenure, subverting due process, or attacks on freedom of speech?

I mean, on just about any remotely related article, there are realms of anti-PC positions on these boards, the writers of which broadly attack anyone who is PC or offers arguments against those who are not. But you think he doesn't care about free speech?

I agree with you that the 'libertarianism' trafficked in by Mercatus is largely a pose. TC, AT, and Sumner are careerist academics who do not contend with the prevailing kultursmog. That describes the vast majority of professors.

None of this would matter if the administrative state hadn't grown so large and meddlesome. In another time, such reckless and nonsensical behaviour would rain on stony ground.

Today, massive student loans for unqualified students, Title X and DOJ involvement in things like local policing and school bathrooms are creating absurd distortions in the culture, not unlike a government subsidy distorts a market for stuff like sugar.

The weird Oberlin students are no less crazy than a guy like Ben Rhodes running foreign policy - the metastasising state is fueling and rewarding absurdity. Trim the state and the culture will revert to running on the millions of small cost-benefit decisions that make most of us productive.

I don't think "the state", whatever that means to you, has much to do with it. These are private colleges that have very little funding from any level of government, especially compared to the amount of tuition they charge. Compare this nonsense to what happens at The Ohio State University for example to see why public universities can be more egalitarian than private colleges.

#4 Gas these millennials.

Beyond that, I think these people are actually pretty consistent. If liberals believed their own first premises, being an SJW is the only logical course.

Most don't know actually believe their own bullshit though, its a tangled mess of unprincipled exceptions and logical inconsistencies. An improvement over true belief in such a demented faith to be sure, but what they fail to realize is their kids are actually buying this nonsense hook, line, and sinker. They aren't in on the joke.

There are plenty of "true believers" out there in both old and millenial liberalism. It isn't all nonsense, but like conservative ideas, it can still be taken too far and cause problems.

Identity politics derives directly from the need to believe in your own quality. If you don't have personal achievements you can be proud of, you resort to believing that your group is all that, and any threat to your group is a threat to your self-image.

These kids have already had their ability to be proud of themselves destroyed as kids by the self-esteem movement, so as soon as they grow out of that they need something else to cling to.

Conversely, white identity politics is becoming popular among middle-aged losers who haven't accomplished anything of value.

People who actually have done something useful with their lives shape their political beliefs out of some combination of self-interest and inability to suffer fools, the combination of which can reasonably lead to supporting either political wing.

Identity politics is natural. We form groups to achieve social and political ends. If you refuse to play the game under any circumstances you are simply fodder for a group that will show solidarity.

None of us are an island. Trying to get ahead by cynically selling out everyone around you isn't the mark of a winner, but of a desperate man.

"People who actually have done something useful with their lives shape their political beliefs out of some combination of self-interest and inability to suffer fools, the combination of which can reasonably lead to supporting either political wing."

Translation: Take what you can, when you can, however you can, from whoever you can, under any justification you can. We are all equal opportunity strivers here.

"Identity politics" doesn't mean forming groups to achieve social and political ends, it means political jockeying for a group you happen to belong to on the grounds of superior quality/special victimhood or something.

Your first paragraph describes the reasons for the formation of political parties in general. I'm talking about the thought process of the SJW trigger-warning manufactured-grievance Left on the one hand, and the lower sort of Trump supporter on the other.

Sometimes. But sometimes when people think other people are being illogical, it's just because they don't understand the reasons for which they hold those positions (for example, I've never once seen you demonstrate understanding of any positions held by liberals, but group them all together on the basis of the most irrational and extreme position available).

Which is not to say that I agree with this specific case.

You don't know what my "first premises" are.

Just to help you out, I'll tell you one: The world is a complicated place, and anyone who thinks they can understand it by reasoning from a small set of first premises is wrong.

1) "value of good teachers"? Nonsense. Everyone knows that teachers only want money money money, and that's why the settle for 30, 50 or maybe 70 grand a year, because they're completely incompetent and they could never possibly make more than that. (This is orthodoxy in certain right wing circles, no?)

To be clear on the meaning of how much variance is explained by teachers ... variance means variances. In the absence of teachers, or a really horrible or amazing teacher, it can explain a lot more. Not sure? Try giving them a monkey as a teacher for a year and see how much of variance is explained by that.

He mentions 40% genetic effects. The issue might be this. Is the genetic association that the kid is lazy and stupid, or that they give "crazy and creative answer" instead of just regurgitating whatever they're told? In a standardized testing environment, a 100% score tells you the student is good at regurgitation, but perhaps nothing about whether they can ever do anything novel on their own. And, for that matter, such types are presumably useless, due to excessive conformity, in the eventuality that a revolution or social movement might be needed.

I think the main reason for rapid decay is that learning is additive. So ... you mastered grade 3 math like there's no tomorrow. What good is that for doing better in grade 5 math? You still need another good teacher. I bet the effect is worse in the other direction though. If you cannot master grade 3 math, then grade 4 math might be tough no matter what, and you might prefer to spend math class watching the lights flicker.

Finally, there is no consideration of the dangers of "teaching to the test". So ... teachers who want bonuses need perfect recall on curriculum. So they take short cuts that will achieve good results THIS YEAR at a cost to more general abilities to think. I'm lucky. I teach in China, where standardized tests are one of the main ways to evaluate teachers. But foreign teachers aren't subject to this. So I'm probably the only teacher any of the students has who can disregard half of the learning objectives of the year to focus on things like good study habits, finding personalized ways to learning, general motivational stuff, etc. Is it my right to do so? I guess someone will make some noise if it bothers them.

Next year I'm changing subjects and standardized test performance will be key. I'm not looking forward to the change. I will have to focus 100% on passing THAT ONE TEST, no matter the cost for longer-term learning or cognitive abilities. Fuck it. I'll try to do both and tell the students exactly why and how I will try.

Can your model of the work really allow for the possibility that kids who do poorly in school have just as much grit as anyone else but are too creative?

100%. But that's not the mark I give them.

Especially about the grit part. Anyone who thinks creative jobs are easy doesn't have a clue.

5) I most strongly agree with Mark Thoma. Antitrust enforcement and ensuring the potential of all are almost certain to give an important boost to productivity. As always, opportunity costs must be considered ...

Public support for basic research that the market is unlikely to undertake, and helping entrepreneurial firms (in addition to not getting too much in their way) to expand are sure to deliver good dividends if implemented effectively.

A lot of the debate these days seems to be "throw money into this" or "get the government out of entire areas of activity". I don't think that's a very smart way to debate these issues.

Re: 4, that entire article makes me very happy that I chose to attend a state research Uni instead of any of those liberal arts colleges. The teaching may have been more hands-off, but I don't think I could have stood for four years of that nonsense. I guess that puts me in the "builder" half of the millenials, whatever that means.
It used to be that Liberals disliked and distrusted capitalism, and Conservatives disliked and distrusted Liberals. Now, IDK even know what the younger lefties are about. I guess I'll find out in 5-10 years.

Asians have a soft quota of sorts because its in the best interests of the institutions implementing the quota. That's the Occam's Razor view of it, and it matches what I've observed in life.

Instead of coming up with a complicated theory, why not just ask, "Cui Bono?" The answer to that would be more illuminating, and probably of more interest to a young Asian person trying to navigate the admissions process.

#1 I wrote about the idiocy of pretending value-added models has any real validity. The alchemy of tomorrow: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/random-thoughts-on-the-idiocy-of-vam/

Scott's writeup is fine, mind you. It's just...pointless.

#4 On Asians (read some combination of Chinese, Korean, and Indian): I write about this a lot, but here's the main piece: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/asian-immigrants-and-what-no-one-mentions-aloud/

Colleges are trying to balance several things:

1) many, many recent Asian immigrants and nationals cheat---not just on the SAT, but in college and in high school. Chinese nationals' resumes are basically fraud.

2) Cheating or not, the SAT/GPA scores look really good for college rankings, so they want some of that.

3) Recent Asian immigrants and nationals are death to college academics. In addition to the cheating, they have absolutely no interest in the subject matter. They are all about the grade. And for many of these students, there's no recollection at all. Socially, recent Asian immigrants and nationals are death to a college's social life and classroom congeniality.

5) All of this goes back 20 years or more. There are tons of internal reports and news reports out on the web documenting college professors' concern about the impact of Asians on classroom--the cheating, the obsession with grades, the deathly silence, the total lack of academic curiosity, etc.

6) Public universities are going in the opposite direction--hovering in as many full-freight Asians as possible, without regard to qualifications.

So elite schools are both discriminating against Asians and using their least attractive qualities, academically (blindly achieving high test scores w/out underlying depth) to boost their profiles.

None of this makes the discrimination right. None of these patterns are true for all Asians. And yes, discrimination that is logical (if wrong) for colleges is particularly damaging to 3rd or 4th generation Asian Americans.

Chinese are famous for cheating. Which is why Western universities only accept criteria which cannot be gamed (easily). I agree with you about the lack of academic curiosity though.

The Oberlin piece would be better if the author would entertain, even for a little bit, the idea that the students might be going too far. Because then he'd have to entertain the companion thought that maybe Oberlin is taking advantage of these students by pushing radical politics at them without considering any practical limitations to radicalism.

What I see in the article is a bunch of students who are way beyond the fringe. And yet they have no awareness that they are on the fringe, and no tolerance for anyone that doesn't want to join them. Which is a recipe for intense unhappiness.

Seen from outside, intersectional politics is almost a perfect recipe for nurturing narcissistic personality disorders.

1) Treating every intersection of grievances separately means that no one is in a place to contradict you.

2) It's ultimately all about the self. You are finding the unique intersection of oppressions that defines yourself.

3) It confuses study with identity and activism. In a perfect world, a white person should be able to study black culture or a black person white culture. You could study a culture without taking part, or even without agreeing with shared goals. That might even be better, since there's an outside perspective and less pressure for conformity. But in the intersectional world, that's cultural appropriation.

If you take a normal self obsessed 18 year old, tell him or her that they have a special category all to themselves that no outsider can judge and goad them with the idea that they've been systematically oppressed, of course they're going to lap it up. You're taking normal teenage insecurities and relabeling them as political activism. And the people with the biggest insecurities are going to buy into it the hardest.

#6 - I think I'm the first one to weigh in on this one. I took some coursework in Rutgers Newark when I was in high school in the 1970s. The academic level was very respectable although the walk from the train station was rather frightening. As I recall the student body was mostly white but certainly it was better integrated than most universities. My lab partner was an immigrant from the Ukraine which was a very big demographic in New Jersey in those days (cf. Greg Mankiw).

Unless we're supposed to take a Straussian reading of #4b (ie that these students are delusional and shouldn't be taken seriously), I'm disappointed that Tyler seems to consider it recommendable.

On #1: It is a long post, perhaps only the last two lines are worth reading. " ...I don’t understand this field very well and place low confidence in anything I have to say about it."

If anyone read the whole thing and found anything important, perhaps they can provide something brief.

Well, mine's shorter. https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/random-thoughts-on-the-idiocy-of-vam/

Good teachers are more than good teachers. They are smart, intelligent, passionate people who know what they are talking about. They open minds through their insight and communication of honest, helpful ideas.

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