Friday assorted links


6. Of course they aren't. (The urban core has always sucked.)
7. Of course he does. (similar)

#7: to be honest, I see more support for reparations in R leaning circles than D leaning. Many R's would be happy to approve $100 billion if it meant i) we can end all of the existing goofy programs and ii) never talk about the issue again.

The fact that it would tear the D coalition apart is just icing on the cake.

Yes, reparations would have to be a closed-end, finite deal, not open- ended blackmail where the bad guy still gets to keep the embarrassing photos.

In the meantime, Brooks is free to lead by example.

It would be the olympics of suffering with everyone competing with each other to demonstrate how bad they have it.

If reparations were taken as precedent, this would be a hilarious way for our civilization to end. It's really the least we could do for future history students.

The last chapter will be titled "How white progressive competition to out martyr each other inadvertenlty ended the republic."

1 pay the reparations from the billionaire ivy league university endowments?
2 so we still need a answer
don't we now have some data that suggests giving children hormones might not be a good idea?
don't make us get the whale!1


So who pays the reparations ? Cleary it will be people who never owned slaves or did anything wrong. Who gets the reparations? It will be people who were never slaves and don't deserve it. This makes no sense. Presumably if reparations are at some point distributed wouldn't every tax payer then deserve reparations for being taxed to pay for a wrong that they did not commit ?

A vernacular critic of TN Coates put it thus, "You mean I pay J'Shizzle for something that didn't happen to him that I didn't do?"

GOPers are more likely to what to pull that band-aid off quickly.

My ancestors banned slavery CENTURIES ago. Then they immigrated to the U.S. well after the Civil War. They settled in an area where they didn't even have any minorities to discriminate against. So why am I going to pay?

1. because that's how identity politics works
2. because it's a great way for Democrats to score an own goal, and they like scoring own goals

I am not convinced that reparations are a good idea.

However, if you immigrate to a country and become a citizen you are agreeing to take part in that countries culture, for better or for worse.

For this reason, I don't find "my ancestors weren't here when it happened" to be a compelling argument against reparations.

Honestly I lose a lot of respect for people that make this kind of argument. The argument for reparations is that American wealth was built on the back of slavery. Your ancestors wanted to stick their snout in that trough so you pay too.

Also southern slave owners paid their price for slavery namely with the complete destruction of their land and the largest single act of wealth destruction probably in world history. But the industrial barons of the north who grew fat on the spill over effects of slavery suffered nothing.

But of course American Wealth was NOT built on slavery. The South was a famously backward place. Gains in productivity which are the real source of wealth were almost all in the North.

And who dost thou think milled, traded in, and financed the fruits of slavery? Mexico?

But that’s the argument. I don’t agree with it either but that’s absolutely the basis of the argument.

+1. It's an argument that assumes its own conclusions. If you believe that the wealth of America was built through slavery, then you will necessarily believe that anyone who came here during or after slavery wanted, intentionally or not, to reap its rewards, so to speak. In fact, you probably believe that slavery was so crucial in creating American wealth *precisely because you want a reason to hold more people accountable*. It's an argument which there is no point arguing with, because it's close to a tautology since most people who believe one half of the argument almost certainly believe the other half of the argument.

The argument for reparations is that American wealth was built on the back of slavery.

Really? Was there any decline in domestic product after 1865 attributable to the switch from corvee labor to slave labor in the South?

Around about 1963, James Baldwin issued some blatherskite in a panel discussion which included the phrase "If I hadn't built the railroads for nothing". I found some data some years ago which had a breakdown of track milage in the country in 1920 and points earlier. Total track milage in the Southern United States in 1860 was 2% of the sum of track milage coast-to-coast in 1920, and, of course, not all of it had been laid down with slave labor.

Blacks in 1860 constituted about 13% of the population. It would be an involved argument to demonstrate that their share of the available human capital was larger than that.

from slave labor to wage labor

All of my ancestors came to the US after slavery ended, but I suppose they agreed to take part in the culture. I never made such an agreement, being born a few generations later.

Is that it looks backward and not forward. It claims to look forward but it doesn't.

Do you know how messed up history is? We evolved from single cell ogranisms into humans where for most of our history, rape and plunder were the norm.

We (as in we humans) use to sacrafice children.

Anyone can go back in history and claim to be owed something. It is all terrible.

If you want to fix the white-black acheivment gap what we need is more capitalism.

If you think the urban core has always sucked, you need to get out more. Trying visiting New York, Boston, Chicago, London, Paris, or any other place that isn't a total economic failure like Detroit.

Greater Detroit and Greater Philadelphia have had poorer performance economically than other top-tier metropoles. They haven't taken nearly the hit that some 2d and 3d tier cities in the Rust Belt have taken. The problems within the municipality of Detroit are a function of intrametropolitan migration patterns and the quality of Detroit's political class. The Detroit municipality captures about 18% of Detroit's metropolitan settlement. In an ordinary metropolis, the slums and sketchy neighborhoods adjacent with account for about 15% of the whole dense settlement. By contrast, New York City constitutes about 45% of the whole settlement and has the tax base to show for it. It built the apparat and made the policy choices which allowed it to suppress social pathology in the slums and turn slums into sketchy neighborhoods and sketchy neighborhoods into satisfactory neighborhoods. Chicago has the financial and human resources to do this, but not the sense and political will. DC and Prince George's County, Md. conjoin handsome neighborhoods to slums. They have the financial and human resources to do what New York has done, but insufficient will to carry it out so thoroughly. Detroit has nothing. In a sensible world, it would be placed under state trusteeship, and have no elected municipal government.

#3 the problem with flying cars and motorcycles is lift off. The noise wind and energy use at lift off are big problems, maybe an electric powered rising platform that gets the vehicle off the ground at home and work, then they can almost glide to home/work.

Boeing's GoFly Prize has been setup to work on a flying personal vehicle with VTOL capabilities. A number of teams have been working on designs.

Go Fly

CATO (catapult-assisted take off) as on a carrier. Fairly low-tech.

#1 Regulation and professional services. Not necessarily separately either.

#3 This IS the future I was promised as a child! At least until there are so many they begin to hit each other mid-air, then not so much....

#6 BS. Politically and regarding critical thinking skills they are noticeably dumber. That is not an overgeneralization.

#7 ...and with that the last infinitesimally small piece of respect I had for Brooks evaporates. Reparations is morally wrong, ethically wrong, economically wrong and will open the gates permanently on never-ending grievance seeking. His 'slow conversion' to stupidity is happening at top speed.

She probably was "shaking with rage" because Brooks is so dense

We can all relate to that one.

'Things' haven't gotten worse in the last 50 years. There has been deterioration in the quality of social relations. This is true in every social venue, not just the black population. You want more agreeable social relations, the sexual dimension of life has to be put back in its place and people have to learn that marriage isn't just another train-wreck 'relationship'. Fat chance of that happening.

"But I have had so many experiences over the past year — sitting, for example, with an elderly black woman in South Carolina shaking in rage because the kids in her neighborhood face greater challenges than she did growing up in 1953 — that suggest we are at another moment of make-or-break racial reckoning."

How can the above be correct? Thing have improved immensely for black USAers since 1953.

It is mostly the media drumming up antidotes and exaggerating how bad things are. Pinker talked about this. I don't think the media is the enemy but ginning up resentment is a good business model. Both Fox and the MSM do it.

That’s right, clearly. Drumming up antidotes.

Maybe things haven't immensely improved for black USA'ers since 1953. That is Thomas Sowell's point.

Link for that?

Love T. Sowell!

Things haven't improved very much because bad government policy (which took away one impediment, official segregation, but replaced it with another bad policy, the welfare state) and cultural degeneration.

Maybe David Brooks had this idea while dining at a Red Lobster? Oops, can that be said here?

Maybe Brooks and Friedman were sharing a cab and that black lady was the driver

Taking them to a bankrupt General Growth Properties mall in Franklin County, PA, presumably.

"Reparations would utterly destroy our social fabric."

Yup, the final nail in the coffin.

The black family was destroyed in the Johnson administration with the implementation of the modern USA version of the welfare state - it made black men irrelevant. Once you destroy the nuclear family, all subsequent generations are handicapped.

The family structure of white elites has remained relatively stable, with predictable results.

Now David Brooks wants to double down and make it worse, just because one day he left the ivory tower and actually met and talked to a black woman.

The unintended consequences of well meaning government policy destroyed the black family and put us in our current predicament, but David wants to double down.

When you are in a hole, stop digging.

The black family was destroyed in the Johnson administration with the implementation of the modern USA version of the welfare state -

Rubbish. A precisely parallel process occurred on either side of the color bar in this country and influenced the conduct of every stratum of society. The end state metrics look worse in the black population today, but the initial state metrics did as well. In 1960, the ratio of illegitimate to legitimate births in the general population was about 0.03. In the black population, that ratio stood at about 0.18. As we speak, the ratio for the general population is about 0.66, a 20-fold increase over what it was in 1960. The ratio for the black population is 2.6, a 14 fold increase over what it was in 1960. Right now, the majority of first-born children (and 40% of all children) in this country are born out of wedlock. The vast majority of people procreating this way are not and never have been in much danger of applying for AFDC / TANF. That aside, the share of the population collecting AFDC / TANF has fallen by 75% over the last quarter century and the effect on the share of children born to unmarried mothers hasn't declined at all.

Those aren't the only welfare programs that reward/mitigate single parenthood.

Since illegitimacy rates have gone up across the board, is your claim that the modern welfare states have destroyed *all* families instead of just black ones?

Those aren't the only welfare programs that reward/mitigate single parenthood.

Oh, yes they are. There was no other program of note where eligibility was predicated on bastardy.

Since illegitimacy rates have gone up across the board, is your claim that the modern welfare states have destroyed *all* families instead of just black ones?

That sharp noise you heard was my point whizzing over your head. My contention is that the subsidies provided by AFDC were a minor vector influencing family formation and family decay. Family relations broke down for other reasons.

What about housing? All kinds of housing programs indirectly reward single motherhood.

1. Seems to boil down to cars and buses are more valuable than trains in the U.S.

3. I'm not sure what the point would be.

6. It's almost as if labeling a large swath of people based on when they were born and generalizing attributes is a silly exercise promoted by marketing "experts."

Coates’s essay seems right now, especially this part: “And so we must imagine a new country. Reparations — by which I mean the full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences — is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely. … What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices — more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal.”

Great column from Brooks. The Bible and Lincoln are quite clear on the spiritually rejuvenating aspects of big government checks. What better way to bring this country together than to take a big chunk of money from one ethnic group and give it to another?

"a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal."

Yes, this sounds like something a self-described "conservative" would endorse: a huge transformation in national consciousness accompanied by a massive wealth transfer that, at its core, takes from one set of people and institutions and gives it to another specific class of people in a final, utopian settlement.

Does Brooks have any principles other than maintaining his "I am the moderate conservative who listens to liberals" image?

The government is the last institution to lead the charge in "spiritual renewal"

Trump came to power because most whites are just so tired of different standards of behavior being socially acceptable. The left liberal elites are hypocrites on nearly everything (climate change, me too, taxes), China doesn't engage in free trade, Europe free rides, hispanics illegally immigrat, etc......And he won before reperations. Imagine what would happen if someone like Harris or Warren actually enacted them?

"Imagine what would happen if someone like Harris or Warren actually enacted them"

Yes. Keep your powder dry.

"What better way to bring this country together than to take a big chunk of money from one ethnic group and give it to another?"

What could possibly go wrong?

#2. Fun fact: Ulster was historically composed of nine counties, but the overwhelmingly Catholic/nationalist counties got shoved into the Republic to ensure a Protestant majority in rump Ulster.

The Irish Republic was once poor and backward and fervently Catholic, which was why the Orangemen wanted nothing to do with them. No longer.

26 + 6 =1.

When it became part of the Irish free state Donegal was (and still is?) majority Protestant.

In any case, if "The EU could never agree to a deal – and would be signing its own death warrant if it did – in which the customs union and the single market have a large unguarded hole in their tariff and regulatory walls" why won't it be more the EU's - and Ireland's - problem to police the border, rather than Britain's?

You are wrong. Donegal is 80%+ Catholic, similar to 1925.

History is so much fun ...

7. It’s a shame that Brooks has to make his case in terms of spiritual and racial mumbo-jumbo.

It should be pretty straightforward. Slave state governments did a bad thing to a lot of people by enforcing slavery, and the federal government aided this by expanding into new territory for slavery and deporting fugitive slaves from free states back to slave states. Therefore, the responsible governments should pay financial compensation to the victims. It is no different from how Germany kept paying World War I reparations until 2010 even though everyone who started World War I was long dead by then. Or how Reagan paid reparations to the Japanese-Americans who were interned in World War II.

People who want reparations shoot themselves in the foot when they try to make this about race. That makes it sound like they are trying to hold all white people collectively guilty, which is absurd. On the other hand, it is well-accepted that institutions like governments, corporations, etc. should be on the hook for bad things they did in the past even if the particular individuals who did those bad things are now gone. People who want reparations should identify the specific governments and corporations that enforced slavery and come up with a realistic damages number (which probably wouldn’t even be that high given what wages were in the 1800s), and then they would probably get somewhere.

This is, shockingly based on the recent standards of comments on this website, a very interesting comment. One thing I would add though, what about the families who benefited via passed down estates? Obviously would be much harder to identify, but in theory at least, they should be added to the list of governments and corporations.

Second thing I would add, if you demand money from a government, ultimately its people are paying it anyway, so it's going to be about race because there will ultimately be a transfer from non-blacks to blacks.

was still legal.

You think it is morally defensible to punish the children of those who followed the law as it was written?

We could spend all day pointing out that David Brooks is an idiot -- after all, it is very easy, and fun too -- but I'd like to point out that this is a rare good point from an MR commenter (who isn't me).

We have laws against going back in time and saying a legal activity SHOULD have been illegal, and therefore damages are owed. This is a solid, separate argument from the 200 other solid, separate arguments about how stupid this entire concept is.

You're both right that it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to argue this from a legal perspective. I don't think anyone is trying to do that. From a purely moral perspective, it doesn't seem that crazy to me to "punish" the children of slaveholders, if it were possible somehow to calculate the amounts passed down through generations to those children directly from slavery as ill gotten gains.

I’d apply the normal standards of law that we apply to everything else.

It seems that if the descendant of someone who died of using tobacco in the 1950s sues the tobacco company for concealing risks, we still hold the tobacco company liable even though it has totally different shareholders from 1950 who will ultimately bear the cost, but we wouldn’t go after the personal assets of the 1950 shareholders’ descendants. I would treat slavery reparations the same way, you can go after legal entities (which are immortal) but not individual descendants.

Isn't it current smoker who bare the costs?

So how would you deal with a family who lost sons in the Civil War? Some family from Vermont who paid a very substantial cost to free the slaves?

Canada has done reparations for various things. They have done nothing. Except distribute a bit of cash mostly to people who didn't need it.

I would look at something like Yugoslavia in the 90's as an object lesson. Everyone involved there had good reasons from the past to hate each other. Very good reasons, and some in living memory. The people who fomented for political action based on past atrocities ended up being pure evil.

If it were my problem, this is what I would fix first. Reparations is easy; just a matter of writing a bunch of cheques. Fixing this requires an effort seemingly beyond what anyone is willing to do.

+1 on the reference to reparation to FN people in Canada. They weren't just enslaved, they were practically wiped out. The way reparations has been handled there is a lot like what many people have proposed for the reparations debate in the United States. It hasn't worked out at all, and Canada has historically had a much more communal, mutual support type of society than the US. Tackling reparations would be like dumping gasoline on the current bonfire of identity politics in the US: no one would be happy and hatred would increase a hundredfold as a result.

Well, Brooks is not just talking about the effect of reparations in terms of monetary compensation. He's talking about the symbolic effect it might have on American culture. Symbolic gestures aren't just meaningless mumbo jumbo.

And frankly, it is important to make it about race, because that's the primary goal of the symbolic gesture. The whole point of it is to send a deliberal formal signal that, no, racism against black people is really, really bad, especially given the historical context of slavery, and yes, black people ARE going to be treated like full equals. It directly addresses the racial divide by formally welcoming blacks and formally rejecting those who would exclude them.

the symbolic effect it might have on American culture.

Just how expensive a "might" are we talking about? If we're looking for symbolic effects, why does it need to be monetary? Affirmative action, black history month, Barack Obama's presidency...are these not also failed symbolic gestures? What makes you sure that cold hard cash will succeed where these other things have failed?

(Note: I was mostly kidding about Obama.)

Part of Brooks' point is that just having the discussion could be a symbolic enough gesture. I kind of doubt that slave reparations could pass or be implemented fairly, although I'm not opposed to them in principle. I could imagine having some sort of tax credit provided one could provide proof of descent from a slave. You could make it a pretty small credit, and still have it retain the symbolic significance.

Yeah, sure. Some more Twitter yapping and Facebook rants about Race In America will cure what ails us.

Every one look up, gaze straight up (with pleasant astonishment) at the broad white; Spinoza invented a new religion, you know, based entirely on the shape of a clock. Sin is the feeling of contradiction in a world where laws have no effect in life-reality, but the law is pervasive? Take a civil view, Nietzsche and Wagner distilled sin as the emotion of reason; they instilled fear, invaded, made unbelievably drastic conclusions. Indeed, genius itself has creativity, and it's driven by action.

Hazel Meade #Libertarians4Reparations

Libertarians usually are indeed in favor of monetary compensation for damages done to people. See Zaua's comment above. I see no reasons why black people should be an exception to that rule.

Because the people have to exist. "Black people" isn't a thing. There are only individuals. A black person who was a slave and a black person who is living now in 2017 cannot be the same person, even if they are genetically related. I spent the first 64 years of my life trying to learn that skin color is a superficial characteristic by which we shouldn't classify people, and that we should treat everybody the same. Now I'm being told that's wrong. It's not wrong.

West Indian and African blacks in America hoover up an outsized share of affirmative action goodies today. Barack Obama isn't descended from American slaves, but Michelle is.

If the goal is to assuage white people's guilt though, none of this matters.

It matters if it affects one's personal share of the reparation fund.

If the R's were clever, they'd cap the amount and let some commission decide how to hand it out.

"black people ARE going to be treated like full equals."

Not if we keep singling them out for special provisions they won't

Nothing will truly change until blacks just get treated just like everyone else. Reparations are just another stupid step in the wrong direction.

"It is no different from how Germany kept paying World War I reparations until 2010 even though everyone who started World War I was long dead by then. "

I'm sure there were still a few WWI victims alive in 2010; they could have been as young as 92.

And the reparations were one of the humiliations that the Nazis played upon to gain power.

There are lots of examples where attempts to right past wrongs have gone seriously awry.

Imagine if Trump read Brooks and implemented such a thing. Two weeks before the 2020 election all black people receive a check. Trump gets 30% of the black vote and wins the election. There would be a civil war.

7. A beautifully written piece. Never going to happen. Right in principle, but probably impossible to implement. Though I do share his sentiments regarding why this is an important discussion to have. I'm not sure reparations would end these stories of resentment, but it would be one way for white America to finally and formally smack down the last of the racist undercurrents in white society, and a step towards welcoming and accepting African Americans fully into a unified American culture.

What happens when all of these black people are paid all this money and the gaps don’t go away? Does Uncle Sam ante up again?

Reparations will not fix any problems; it will just create a new set of problems.

Neither will reparations.

Well, then black people would not be able to blame slavery for their economic condition, and white people can be satisfied that the wrong done by slavery has been compensated. And that might change how black people think about their own problems and how white people feel about them as well.

Ever had a problem where you were stupidly mad at someone because *you* did something bad to them and didn't want to acknowledge or admit it? That's how I think a lot of white people feel about blacks - they're racist not because of anything black people did to them, but because they're deeply ashamed about slavery and don't want acknowledge it. Especially when we are talking about the deep south, where people still know about ancestors that owned slaves or fought on the side of the confederacy.

"Well, then black people would not be able to blame slavery for their economic condition, and white people can be satisfied that the wrong done by slavery has been compensated. And that might change how black people think about their own problems and how white people feel about them as well."

Hahahahahahaha! Funny!

Massive transfer payments from sales and income taxes and government bonds, no problem in that free trader's world... ("This massive state project will easily solve that problem!"), but just you strengthen in the slightest any trade barriers to a Communist one party state whose ultimate self conception is the hegemon of a new international order where state and party under Marxist-Leninist ideology is the most powerful actor...

Such is mainstream Libertarian dialogue in the world of Marginal Revolution comments.

a Communist one party state whose ultimate self conception is the hegemon of a new international order where state and party under Marxist-Leninist ideology is the most powerful actor

Only in your fever dreams does this resemble the Chinese government.

injustice is goliath. is a small injustice the same as a large injustice? Of course not. but we focus on large injustice because we feel accomplishment. we undid slavery at a very high cost. we won the war in the Iraq at a very very high cost (because Iraq was not "considered" that important). how can you define these costs? That's the first cause of compromise.

Oh, read any China analyst who isn't bought and paid for and who thinks the Party wants to be anything other than *the* international hegemon.

Read any analyst who understands that they take seriously the ideology which their party professes, and that it has real effects on how their economy and society works. Hell even read the wikipedia page if you want a brutally simple starting point -

>"black people would not be able to blame slavery for their economic condition, and white people can be satisfied that the wrong done by slavery has been compensated."

Oh, sweetie....

then black people would not be able to blame slavery for their economic condition,

If they were bloody honest with themselves, they'd notice that personal income per capita among black Americans is 7x what it is among Nigerians.

But it’s less than Nigerian Americans, and thus your point is meaningless.

Mine isn't meaningless, but your's is fraudulent. Whatever the income levels of Nigerian-origin people living here, they're a small immigrant rivulet, not a whole society. (If I'm not mistaken, university students who stayed, so an exceedingly skewed sample).

More seriously-

Giving black people more money isn't going to close the gaps between blacks and the rest of America. Those gaps are influenced way too much by culture for some kind of lump sum payment to change it. Just look at the way in which Asian-Americans outperform white Americans- values, culture, community and beliefs matter.

Second, when those gaps don't go away, there will be a lot of political activists saying that the solution is just larger reparation payments.

Third, the narrative that the problems of blacks in the US are the result of racism will remain deeply compelling to a large number of black people. It seems a pretty universal human trait to find some comfort in blaming other people for your problems.

Fourth, what people nowadays call "structural racism" appears to mostly be based on statistical discrimination, not on taste based discrimination. That is, people use race as a heuristic for a lot of things that lead to segregated neighborhoods, schools, social and professional networks, etc., and those heuristics are based upon the actual differences between blacks as a population and other Americans as a population. Overcoming this kind of statistical discrimination is something that I have not yet come across a compelling solution, besides time and a whole lot of policy changes to close those gaps between blacks and everyone else. Also, this kind of discrimination isn't just a white thing, but something shared by Asians and Hispanics as well, indicated that it likely doesn't have much to do with guilt over slavery or Jim Crow. Why should Asian-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, or Mexican-Americans feel guilty about that stuff given that their ancestors didn't really play any role in it?

It's not the money, it's the symbolic gesture entailed by having formal governmental acknowledgement that slaves are full humans equal under the law, and thus must be legally compensated. brooks is argument is that the failure to ever pay this compensation weighs on the American consciousness and on that of African Americans. It's a wrong that has not been righted. thus righting the wrong will change how people *feel* which may do more than money (or affirmative action), to heal the racial divide. I don't think Brooks is even that interested in the economic effects of reparations. He's totally talking about cultural reconciliation.

So it's blood money to settle a blood feud. That always works out well.

That’s amazingly delusional.

“This was really, really bad. We’re officially really, really sorry. Here’s a symbolic dollar.”

“Thanks. I’m all better now. All is forgiven, let’s all just move on.”

Unicorn rides for all to follow.

You never apologize for anything, do you?

I mean, what's the point? Forgiveness and reconcilliation is impossible, so let's just keep grinding those axes, forever.

Sure, I apologize for things I was personally responsible for. For things that happened 150 years or more ago - no, I don't; that's just irrational.

This is divisive, politically and socially toxic, and has been and is now being intentionally exploited for short term political advantage.

I'm not the one grinding the ax.

Why is it toxic? What is toxic about offering compensation to the descendants of slaves? Why is that so offensive to some people? Should they be offended? If you don't feel personally responsible for slavery, then don't. We give tax credits for people who are blind, people who are disabled, people who have children. Does anyone feel that giving money to the blind is like holding them personally responsible for blinding them? Why is THIS concept so offensive? Why is the idea of blakc people who are descended from slaves getting a few extra bucks each year make your skin crawl worse than any of those other things?

Why is it toxic?

Because you're transferring assets from one party to another under a set of false premises. This would never be enacted by a popular ballot Hazel. You suffer racial neuroses, Hazel. They don't.

The effect of this is speculative, but the most plausible scenario is one delineated by Amy Wax. Assets are distributed, nothing much changes, and this leads to escalating demands. Because that's analogous to what's happened over the last 50-odd years. Our single best guess as to what blacks would do with the money is that they'd allocate it much as they do their income today.

It also takes attention away from doing things which would improve the quality of life in black neighborhoods. That's something racial neurotics such as yourself do not discuss and that's something poseurs like TN Coates will not discuss, because the acute problems to be addressed are generated by the lumpenproletarian element in the black population, and we cannot be holding people accountable, now can we?

What false premises? Whether someone has ancestors who were slaves is a factual matter that can be proven with documentation.

And what they do with the money is not anyone else's business, any more than compensation received in any lawsuit is. Black people can make their own damn decisions about what will improve the quality of life in their neighborhood, with a little bit of extra cash.

If it makes you feel better, consider it a big experiment in UBI.

What false premises? Whether someone has ancestors who were slaves is a factual matter that can be proven with documentation.

The false premises, Hazel, are (1) that liabilities are transmissible over five generations, (2) that distributing an asset bloc to black households addresses those household's salient problems, (3) that the income differential between black and white households is explicable with reference to hereditary subjection (you see similar differentials in ethnically fissured countries which have no history like our), and (4) that the standard of living that blacks enjoy in this country (when compared to West Africans) is irrelevant to the discussion.

I suspect reparations would cause considerable resentment in many non-African- American citizens. It would actually INCREASE interracial animosity. Therefore, it will not solve the problem you want to solve.

Elizabeth Stanton "declared it to be "a serious question whether we had better stand aside and see 'Sambo' walk into the kingdom [of civil rights] first." Believing that men should not be given the right to vote without women also being granted the franchise, Sojourner Truth, a former slave and feminist, affiliated herself with Stanton and Anthony's organization

Hazel, this is just bizarre. No one presses a tort claim after five generations.

And if you're going to be consistent, you'd have to deduct from the reparations bill the present value of the difference in income flows between West Africa and the black population in the United States, charge the current West African population some part of the bill as they sold our traders the slaves, apportion the economic burden between various shards of the white population according to the share of their pedigree which was present in the Southern United States in 1860 &c. It's hopeless.

Absolutely true. But what opportunity did the freed slaves have to sue for compensation THEN? The courts have never recognized a legal right to compensation for having been held as a slave, unjustly.

Anyway, I agree it is probably impossible to implement properly. That's why I think it should be mainly symbolic. As long as we're handing out tax deductions and carve outs for everyone else's favorite interest group, why the fuck not give black people descended from slaves a few extra bucks in their tax return?

Absolutely true. But what opportunity did the freed slaves have to sue for compensation THEN?

Hazel, I don't have an actionable claim because my great-great grandfather couldn't afford a lawyer for some object he had. And neither do you. I suggest you read Sowell's, "The Quest for Cosmic Justice"

That's why I think it should be mainly symbolic.

You mean 'empty', something done to please Hazel and TN Coates. Why should that interest anyone?

. it's the symbolic gesture

Make your own bloody 'symbolic gestures' on your own time and with your own dime.

>Second, when those gaps don't go away, there will be a lot of political activists saying that the solution is just larger reparation payments.

If so, they wouldn't be "reparation payments" anymore.

It would be Danegeld or tribute.

Yes, I have been mad at someone ultimately because of something that I did.

But that's part of why reparations are a terrible idea. We didn't do it. Our ancestors did (well, none of mine, but anyways...).

"didn't want to acknowledge or admit it"? Are you kidding me? We have done a whole lot of acknowledging and admitting. Pre-college history teaching in the U.S. has gotten ridiculous about spending most of their time on basically two topics- the American revolution and slavery. I would almost call it brainwashing at this point.

Would reparation cause 90% non-blacks to say sorry, you got your reparations, it is over you're full citizens and responsible for yourselves as individuals, no more AA?

I think over time, you would increasingly reach a point where non-blacks would say "look, we did everything we can do, you're full legal equals, you got your reparations", and blacks might actually start taking that seriously, provided it was combined with a continuing culture of social acceptance.

Above commentators laugh at the idea that black people might ever lose that sense of resentment, but I think over time, with a sustained effort to include blacks in mainstream US social and economic life (of which symbolic gestures like reparation could be a part), you might eventually see that resentment diminish and a reconciliation take place.

That's really the gist of what brooks is getting at - it's not about compensation per se, it's about having a true reconciliation on the issue of slavery. That this crime has to be acknowledged and compensated for in order to be expunged. And that will change how blacks feel about whites and vice versa.

Sure there will probably be some holdouts who will always harbor resentment, but they will be a diminishing minority.

Jesus, where to begin?

You're putting forth a very psychological worldview. What exactly do you call literacy? I'm going to tack that in sacrifice column. Besides, good luck getting to the psychology of a slave or a sixth generation slave. Are there limits to experiential transference? That's the first cause of marriage. You're better off focusing on an analysis of sex. You're better off doing ecstasy.

#2 If the point is to ensure British exclusion from the free trade zone, doesn't it fall on the EU to enforce the border? Perhaps the British should agree to a hard border and just not bother to enforce it.

'Perhaps the British should agree to a hard border and just not bother to enforce it.'

And May's government falls immediately afterwards, because if there is one thing the DUP is for, it is defending the Union.

After all, the EU suggestion was to put the border in the Irish Sea, so to speak, and that was rejected by the DUP as being a threat to the Union.

yeah, it's never been clear to me why the British need to put a border at either the land crossings with the Irish Republic or the Irish Sea, or, at the very least, why they need it more than the EU does. If the point is to protect the exclusion of the British from the EU's trade zone, then as JR remarks, isn't it the EU's problem and the EU's border bureaucracy. If a point of Brexit was to protect the Brits from impecunious immigrants, the ones who can afford to get there via Dublin aren't likely to be a huge part of the problem. To the extent the issue is the British losing customs duties on incoming goods, 1) hey isn't free trade a win for British consumers (OK, not if the EU is getting the customs duties)?; and 2) impose the duties at point of sale for big-ticket items like cars and let the rest slide. At least as a bargaining position to show a good faith willingness to keep the border open, I'm not sure I understand why that doesn't/wouldn't work for the Brits.

'and the EU's border bureaucracy'

There is no EU's border bureaucracy - there is the Irish border bureaucracy (in the sense of freight shipments from outside of the common market), the Dutch border bureaucracy, the French border bureaucracy, etc. - and just like they check goods coming from China, they will start checking goods coming from another non-member of the common market.

'if the EU is getting the customs duties'

No, it is the Irish, Dutch, French, etc. getting the duties.

A lot of the articles written on Brexit by various media types (like the one linked here) assume a conclusion (stupid english) and then try to show how this is true despite any logic. My favourite one is where food prices are going to both increase costing consumers and decrease (hurting farmers). Both cannot be true, but that doesn't bother the writers because the conclusion is emotionally correct for them - "Brexit is bad".

1. Winston Churchill once famously observed that Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else. And that includes development of infrastructure including modern transportation systems. America doesn't plan, America reacts. To crisis. I've made my home in a sunbelt city most of my adult life. It had no transit when I arrived, and it has no transit today. And it is approaching a crisis. Roads, roads, and more roads, roads on top of roads, roads to nowhere. All of them jam packed. When I arrived, it was feasible to build transit. Today, not so much. The cost of the land alone has become prohibitive. And public resistance to transit is almost as great today as it was when I arrived. No, America doesn't do planning. Not today anyway. Compare that to 100 years ago plus. My great uncle was a city planner. A planner! He helped design and construct many public facilities before they were needed. What an idea. Cowen keeps asking the same question about public facilities and goods: why does it cost so much? Well, when one waits until it's a crisis, what does one expect. Duh.

If you reflect on the lack of public transportation infrastructure in Canada, it may occur to you that this is a population density issue.

People don't travel daily across vast stretches of undeveloped land, they travel in high density areas, across town, across the region, or across the state. The excuse you suggest is a tired old nonsensical excuse, the excuse used by those who believe public goods are anathema to freedom, something the founders would have found ridiculous. The founders feared the anarchists as much as they feared the British. As they and we should.

I'm not talking about the wide open spaces, just the fact that any city that has grown up in the past century simply doesn't have the requisite population density to justify light rail, and that includes almost any North American city.

'hat any city that has grown up in the past century simply doesn't have the requisite population density to justify light rail'

I'm guessing, based on a bit of experience from a couple of decades ago, that most people in Vancouver would not actually agree with you. Not that SkyTrain is that great, precisely, but that it seems to be work fine to move people.

Vancouver, like SF, is hemmed in by its geography. Kind of a weird one-off. Densest city in Canada. Only others close are Montreal and Toronto, the only other cities in Canada with any kind of light rail to speak of.

Lots of old European cities are way more dense, and not just because of dense American ex-pats who move there.

So, you actually did know a city that has grown up in the past century that simply did have the requisite population density to justify light rail.

Lucky to see such light weight comments balancing out the density which may arise when looking at actual facts.

I award clockwork +1 for being pedantically correct and missing the point by a mile.

"Lots of old European cities are way more dense, and not just because of dense American ex-pats who move there."

I'm comparing Dresden to Sacramento and no, they're comparably sized and comparably dense.

Actually, Sacramento is denser.

If I'm not mistaken, the built-up area in and around Dresden has a population of about 600,000. That around Sacramento is about 1.4 million.

I haven't actually been to the suburbs of Dresden, but looking at a map I'd have to guess that Sacramento's settled area is 10 or 20 times larger, for double the population.

I think the Dresden municipality captures about 85% of the built up area and has a density of 4,300 persons per square mile. The Sacramento municipality captures about 35% of the whole built up area and has a density of 5,000 persons per square mile. So, we might guess the density of a tract at the 82d percentile of the tract set which makes up greater Sacramento is about 15% denser than a tract which stands at the 58th percentile of the tract set of greater Dresden. I'll wager greater Dresden is denser than greater Sacramento, but maybe by a factor of 2, not a factor of 7 or 8.

Well, I don't think reparations is going to sit too well with the growing Hispanic population, who have no 'white guilt'

But while we're on the topic of oppressed people ...Women were treated rather unjustly too. Shouldn't reparations be made to all women as well?

Let's not forget DECADES of Polish jokes.


I presume reparations for Japanese, Irish, Italians, Jewish, Portuguese, Slavic peoples, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, will be forthcoming as well?

Where do I line up to receive my reparations? Or do they cancel each other out?

You have to be a POC to be a member of the victim chic crowd. Only in rare circumstances do Asians qualify, but whites never do.

But what about triple-transgender whites ? Surely they deserve some payment ?

'I presume reparations for Japanese ...'

You missed the announcement three decades ago, it seems - 'The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Pub.L. 100–383, title I, August 10, 1988, 102 Stat. 904, 50a U.S.C. § 1989b et seq.) is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II. The act was sponsored by California's Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta, an internee as a child, and Wyoming's Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson, who first met Mineta while visiting an internment camp. The third co-sponsor was California Senator Pete Wilson. The bill was supported by the majority of Democrats in Congress, while the majority of Republicans voted against it. The act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.'

good catch, I did miss. Intriguing, the major difference here is its well-documented and clearly defined. Reparations here is fully based on skin color and perception.

#3 "The startup’s most pertinent problem is creating the autonomous stabilization technologies that will make flying the Speeder effortless and safe."

While that's important, what's equally important is eliminating (or at least minimizing) single-point failures that may kill the rider-pilot.

With a limited-production item like this (the intersection of those who could afford to buy one and those who would want to must be quite small, and that's before regulatory hurdles requiring certification of the vehicle and licensing of its pilot).

With just a few vehicles in service, design flaws may remain hidden for a long time- until one pops out and kills someone.

And, umm, no, you won't be allowed to fly one above Manhattan (or any other densely populated area).

And, yes, jetpacks may be amusing but they've never gotten anywhere close to practical transportation. They remain talking dogs. (The dog may not talk very well, but it doesn't matter because it's remarkable that a dog can talk at all.)

1. Misleading title. The "Construction" talked about is only urban mass transit, a very small portion of the total construction in the country. Which is not to say that construction is cheap in any other area. The reality is that what is being built is much more sophisticated, and expensive, than it was in the past. Buildings are now stuffed with advanced environmental systems that didn't even exist a short time ago. Sure, homes and businesses and hospitals could be built as they were 50 years ago but regulations and expectations wouldn't allow it.

7. The reparations nonsense never seems to go away. According to the line of thinking that advances it, it was more sinful to make an ethnic group pick cotton and grow tobacco for room and board than it was to exterminate a second ethnic group so the land would be available for the first ethnic group to labor on. A quote from Lincoln is particularly obscene, in as much as he personally figured in the conquest of the native Americans and later doomed 600,000 men, some as young as 14, to death in his crusade to "save the Union". It should be remembered that immediately after the conclusion of the War Between the States, now-citizen freed slaves were organized into military units, the famed "Buffalo Soldiers", with the duty to kill native Americans, in their homes, on the western US frontier. The native survivors of this travesty weren't made citizens until the late 1920s.

Even today, when Michigan State University floats a $500 million bond issue to compensate gymnasts for bogus medical treatments, there's no such talk about the molestation of scores of native American boys over decades by at least one employee of the federal Indian Health Service. The treatment of native Americans by the federal government is a scandal that's endured since the arrival of the Puritans.

I found each post interesting. The Irish Border is yet another example of the importance of focusing on borders.

Greece..."In a nutshell, not only does the EC report come down hard on the government’s incomplete reforms, it also seems to be largely at odds with Moody’s rationale for a credit upgrade, which was based largely on progress to date of ongoing reforms!"
I seem to remember the name "Moody's" coming up in recent history. If you kick the can forwards and backwards at the same time it doesn't move, but it does illustrate the contortions of policy advocated that leave the problem essentially unresolved. It's a version of the Israeli/ Palestinian dispute where someone once pointed out that three languages are spoken.. Arabic, Hebrew, and Bullshit.

'The Irish Border is yet another example of the importance of focusing on borders.'

Well, actually, removing them. Sort of like what happened to the Berlin Wall. As it is right now, the lack of a border in Ireland has brought peace and increased trade. Something that English voters apparently don't value at all when it comes to Northern Ireland and taking back control from Brussels (yes, the lack of any logic in that position is seemingly intentional, much like promising an extra 350 million pounds per week for the NHS after Brexit was intentional).

Strangely enough, there is actually another group of people at least as interested in taking back control in Northern Ireland as any Brexiter (a minority of voters in Northern Ireland, as properly noted in the article), though this group won't be directing its Eire ire at Brussels.

3. Speaking as someone who has ridden more than 300,000 miles on a motorcycle, that is about as much a flying motorcycle as a helicopter is a flying car.

That is isn't even a flying Can-Am Spyder -

And considering that seems to be pretty much vaporware, we will still be waiting for the future that some expect, even while cell networks continue to revolutionize the world.

7. What Brooks was expressing is his concern that America is coming unglued, and that racial tension is the main cause, racial tension that is the result of America's sin. Of course, the comments suggest that racial tension is greatest among whites not blacks, and that reparations will only make matters worse with whites. John Rawls might ask: if whites had been subjected to slavery in America, would whites be demanding reparations? You betcha. As for Brooks, he acknowledges at the end of the column that what he is trying to do is trigger a discussion, a discussion of the racial division in America, how slavery is the root of it, and what we can do going forward to rectify it. If we don't do something about it, America will come unglued.

Rawls is awful and his philosophy is a major reason modern-day liberalism has gone so far off the rails and degraded into intersectionality and a socialist revival: the original position and the veil of ignorance are impossible abstractions (which is the point of philosophy, to be sure), yet he seeks concrete political action that is fundamentally built on these principles.

And if blacks had enslaved people would they be screeching about having to pay repartitions. Hell yea playa.

There are people with downs that make better arguments. Not a bunch but enough that it stands out.

7. This is so clearly bogus and yet we keep trying to analyze it as it is not. If the main reason for his "change" was anecdotal evidence from his "conversations" why is this even published? We cannot decide on policy this way. This used to be common sense and nowadays it seems that we are sooo interested in everyone's feelings that it has been forgotten. I am disappointed that Tyler has not even hinted some sort of disapproval for this piece.

Would reparations count as income that would disqualify people from poverty programs, because that would be kind of funny.

#6. Americans should stop putting labels on huge groups of people. It is a collectivist habit that is damaging to individuals since we know that each individuals is a different person. Why dehumanize groups of several tens of millions of people by calling then "millenials"?

Despite claiming to be an individualistic culture, Americans love to segregate and dehumanize people into groups: "blacks","whites","baby boomers","millenials","LGBT+ people". Identity politics is going to be the nail in the coffin for America if things continue to progress in the way they are progressing.

Well, what you call identity politics is what marketers call something along the line of demographic groups, and the marketers have been working a lot longer on profiting from the divisions they create - or identify, as marketing is not a magic wand of course.

It is one of the more striking things you notice when outside of the U.S. - most places do not have such seemingly rigid distinctions in everything relating to being a member of a group that is separate from all other groups.

You can see it here with the endless categories various commenters like to assign to one another, for example.

+1 to both of these comments

Yes, prior's grown quite familiar with labels like "embittered" "loser," "deluded," etc being thrown in his direction on this site. Naturally, this is the sad byproduct of American culture, not any reflection on him, of course.

Well, considering that I am an embittered, deluded loser, who cares? It is not like it is going to weaken my brand. (Try to throw in pathetic religious bigot next time, it would likely make This Guy happy to see other people helping him out.)

However, notice the common fixation here on whether one is or is not suffering from whatever derangement syndrome is fashionable at the moment. Or the previous fixation on whether cared about a loser named Hillary or not. Or whether a former KGB agent would involve his government in manipulating American politics for Soviet - oops - Russian gain. The list is seeming endless, as new categories are spawned constantly.

This basic American framework was first noticeable in 1982, during my first visit to Germany, where people at a fest just seemed to enjoy what was going on, with little kids to grandparents finding Trio's Da Da Daa enjoyable, for example, without anyone caring about whether the song fit into the marketing segment they belonged to. Because honestly, music does not belong to any group but those listening to it.

"Brand." LOLers. You're not a breakfast cereal.

Try new and improved Bitter-Os! The hot new cereal from Germany....lots of sand, salt, and bile for your eating, uh, pleasure.

Well, time to repeat what This Guy wrote a few days ago, because I found it even more hilarious than you - 'Hateful religious bigot. This brand is not going to wash off of you for a long time buddy. Keep it up.'

What, you don't have a brand as a religious bigot? Clearly, this makes you part of the happy insightful winner circle.

(This Guy's comments remain wonderfully entertaining, and likely to remain so for even longer than I thought - and that you are mocking the idea of a 'brand' just adds to it.)

7. I've always been skeptical of repatriations, but I opened my mind to give Brooks a chance. I don't think he quite made it work. Not because a path to national healing would be bad, but because (1) this still seems an inefficient path and (2) immediate reaction, as on this page, shows that a lot of people are not on board for "one nation, one people" at the end of it.

Consider a much milder commitment to equality and a unified society: equal funding and equal quality for k-12 public schools across the nation.

Could we even do that?

I think not, we as a society are too afraid we can't afford good schools for poor children. They are a "good" which must be rationed to the "deserving."

As every parent knows, k-12 school “quality” is almost entirely determined by the incoming students.

Then you have no problem with national level funding (adjusted for costs)?

Why would you want such a thing?

If you really believe in equal opportunity, and it isn't just a canard you use to deflect inequalities in outcome, it's what you would do.

I'm sure this made some sort of sense in your mind when you uttered it.

Such empty responses most often serve as indirect confirmation.

Why not try showing your work before you show me you're a legend in your own mind?

How is someone's 'opportunity' impaired by county A allocating allocating educational budgets according to community preferences? How is it impaired in any significant way against the backdrop of variations from one household to another in the quality of family life? Why would anyone assert inter-local variation more of a problem given a premise that performance is insensitive to expenditure? (In case you hadn't noticed, that was the premise of his remark).

It would be entertaining to see school funding in The Bronx dropping 20%, after following your suggestion.

I have no idea if that is the case, but we would want the uniform level to be sufficient to produce a citizen.

Some citizens are more disruptive, and thus require more funding!

National funding is a very bad idea. Cost plus funding is an even worse idea.

First, education is not a Federal responsibility, neither funding nor management. The last thing we need is Federalization of K-12 education.

Second, it breaks both the funding (taxing) and accountability feedback loops, which are already too weak as it is. You want shorter, more visible feedback looks.

Third, funding is not really the problem, as is demonstrated by the high funding and low quality of, for example Washington DC schools, and the low funding and high quality of, for example, Utah schools.

A long-winded way to say you like separate and unequal?

I guess this makes sense if you think different states having different budgets is "separate and unequal". I know I do. Local government should be abolished because it fosters unequal outcomes and thereby deprives people of equal opportunity.

Anyway. Answers to my easier question confirm, we aren't that interested in equality in this country, even for little kids in public school.

Would be a worthwhile state initiative for a Democrat party run state. I support you in your endeavors.

I would welcome California, NY, or NJ instituting pooled funding (to include donations) for public schools across the board, on a cost adjusted basis. Moving funding from property taxes to state income taxes in a general fund has been a hobby horse for Liberal activists and teachers’ unions for a long time.

It would remove local control of schools immediately, of course. But that’s the point, remove local funding you remove local control. Eliminate school boards and replace with Governor appointed boards. Then the fun part:

To get real equality of opportunity though you need busing. Every kid gets a lottery number and that determines which school in a 15 mile radius he attends. That’s the end goal anyways.

A little background for anyone interested:

I would support a national voucher program with the same amount of money in vouchers for every child across the nation. Then people can choose what kind of education they would like their children to have.

People who miss "adjusted for costs" above, or who pretend that uniform spending means no local control, are not worth replies.

I mean how hard is it conceptually?

Once you get the kids delivered to a safe and healthy classroom, you spend the same on teachers and materials. Communities may choose teachers and materials.

Maybe someone has another desperate argument to insert to say we can't, just can't, give all kids a good start?

Probably. I'm cynical enough to believe there are an infinite array of such soft arguments supporting the status quo.

Why do this at the Federal level? You only need county wide school districts to really make this work, as shown in many parts of the South. Also, making anything the responsibility of the Feds in this day and age is just going to lead to stupid policy, because everything the Federal government does gets put through the wringer of party politics and identity based politics (on both the left and the right). There is way, way more space for pragmatic solutions if those identities aren’t activated by debates about various education policies. For example, where I live, the school system runs some schools year round to increase the effective capacity of school buildings, and saves a ton of money doing so. Some people like this, some don’t, but the vast majority of people don’t really have a strong opinion about it. Since it is local, disagreement about it doesn’t get coded neatly as a partisan debate. Compare that to the Common Core.

4: Did Tyler supply the correct link? I clicked and got sent to Bill Easterly's reply to an essay by Naidu, Rodrik, and Zucman which seemed to be about markets and inequality rather than heterodoxy (I didn't read their essay, just Easterly's but it doesn't seem to match Tyler's description).

The heterodoxy is Easterly being the only one out of 4-5 left leaning political scientists to defend a market position, in that particular forum.

Bill Easterly is not left leaning and he is an economist with an interest in policy, not a political scientist.

#5 - Greek reforms - this struck me as harsh: "One pivotally important reform relates to overhauling law 3869/2010, which relates to restructuring the debt of over-indebted individuals. Called Katseli’s law, it protects the mortgages of primary residences, which, if revised along the lines demanded by creditors, would likely lead to the release of a 970 million euro tranche later this month." - Texas has a similar law, that you cannot take away the primary residence of a bankrupt, and nobody complains much. Why should foreigners complain about a Greek law that's similar? Too harsh IMO. You can't just kick people to the curb in Greece, since they don't have a well-developed rental market (for one thing, under Greek law it's really hard to evict a tenant, one reason we and many others don't rent our vacant buildings, not to mention the rents are so cheap compared to the USA).

7. Shill embraces bad idea. He's doing his job, Tyler. At the Slimes and at PBS.

2. Journalist, whose entire skill set consists of getting in copy on time, calls policy-makers 'stupid'. Remember Michael Kinsley's remarks on British journalism: doing it according to spec means an affectation of self-confidence. Composing a phrase, "the following three steps must be taken immediately" is coined before you've decided what the steps are and commonly before you know what is the problem about what you're writing.

#2 is fairly accurate, especially the part about the DUP. There is an echo in this line: " EU could never agree to a deal – and would be signing its own death warrant if it did ": Michael Collins used the same phrase when he signed the treaty that first established the border in 1922, and he was shot dead by the people of the party who now support Varadkar's government. Exactly these same issues about the border have been under debate at least since the first Home Rule bill in 1886. For the Irish and Northern Irish it defines their entire history and party politics, for the British it is an afterthought that they have to re-learn every generation.

What to add?

Maybe that Ireland was divided for a reason. Near-term, a united Ireland may be as impossible to govern in 2019+ as it might have been in 1914.

Ulster Protestants who are left behind by post-Brexit Westminster in a united Ireland and (thanks to poverty and poor education) have nothing in Great Britain to flee to, will have very little left to lose if they resort to violent resistance against "Dublin," "Rome" and "Brussels."

England would have been happy to walk away from Ireland a century ago, but the Orangemen had an argument --"our only crime is loyalty to the Crown" -- and swing votes in Parliament. So England stayed.

The idea that the Republic of Ireland represents a threat to the way of life of Ulster Protestants today is pretty silly. And it sounds like a majority of the population wants to stay in the EU anyway.

I'm not arguing for a United Ireland. But for Northern Ireland to work, it has always needed these two things: i) a relatively invisible border with the south, and ii) representation for the nationalist community. With the DUP in government and the NI assembly defunct, both of those things are under threat. i) is necessary because the areas along the border are majority nationalist, even on the NI side.

I'm not arguing for a United Ireland. But for Northern Ireland to work, it has always needed these two things: i) a relatively invisible border with the south, and ii) representation for the nationalist community.

Ulster functioned passably for 46 years with a callous Unionist government and you have representation for nationalists in municipal councils and in the British parliament. If that's not enough, you could cede territory to the Republic with some courtesies for protestants established by treaty: about 1/2 of greater Belfast, all of Londonderry, the bulk of Fermanagh and Tyrone, and southerly parts of Down and Armagh, about 1/2 of rural Derry, and Ballycastle in Antrim.

WTF is a 'relatively invisible border' as opposed to an ordinary border? Is it really your contention that Ulster's going to die on the vine because they have to hire more customs inspectors and it's a longer wait at the border?

The surest way of elevating African American economic status would be to abolish the aid to dependent mothers program, (or tie payouts to the academic performance of the children) outlaw rap music, and demand that all sports programming provides disclaimers with the statistics showing how small a percentage of aspiring athletes achieve remunerative careers. But since I'm not a collectivist communitarian like D Brooks, I would just suggest breaking up the welfare state and government run school systems, while suggesting all people in all cultural groups ask themselves if they are adopting ideas, values, and customs that lead to happiness and success in their own lives.

About 20% of the black population was drawing income from AFDC 25 years ago. As we speak, about 4% draw income from the successor program, TANF.

About 14% of those currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions are black, almost precisely equal to their share of the late-adolescent population. Doubt many of them are working toward sports or entertainment careers. Black students tend to shy away from the most math-intensive degree programs, but otherwise their distribution among the various fields is roughly similar. About 20% who finish a BA garner business degrees, another 12% study for nursing degrees, &c; about 7% study psychology; about 6% criminal justice and allied &c.

If these data are accurate, this is really good news for black America.

Like most things, reality is generally better than how it's portrayed by the pouting pundits of pessimism, from all media (left, right, and center).

My third maxim was to endeavor always to conquer myself rather than fortune, and change my desires rather than the order of the world, and in general, accustom myself to the persuasion that, except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power;

The 2 claims are not speculative, but too true. The local population offers no consent for the border and civilians not dissident terrorists are the main security threat to any border infrastructure.

Reparations for having a higher mean standard of living than the counterfactual?

Getting paid?

No, average incomes for West Africa vs African Americans.

Average incomes for people who get paid for working versus people who don't? What's the counterfactual for Italians?

I'm talking about current incomes. You're better off as an African American than a West African. We can use expenditures if you wish.

Do you disagree?

You're better off if people pay you for your labour than if they don't?

You're being willfully obtuse.

I dunno man, this is a weird argument. If someone brought me to Rock Candy Mountain, against my will, and then beat me up and enslaved, I still feel like I'd want recompense for being beaten up and enslaved. And American society isn't even Rock Candy Mountain.

You may not have noticed this, but not a single person in this country has ever been beaten up or enslaved in the manner you imagine. The closest they get to that is about 7 generations back, and the people who captured and sold them were other Africans.

Yes, but that's not his argument, which seems to be that if you do ultimately welfare improving things to people, their descendants have no recourse if you also do any welfare decreasing things to those same people. Which is a very strange notion.

That's not his argument.

The improving and decreasing elements are part of the same package and are a consequence of historical events which cannot be undone.

They surely are (being integrated and time not reversible), but that doesn't mean that the decreasing elements were not involuntarily imposed and do not require recompense, because some other positive, unintended, consequence happened.

and do not require recompense,

The difference in real income flows between Chicago and Lagos is experienced right now. What you fancy requires 'recompense' would be something which occurred to ancestors of your posited beneficiaries and occurred more than 200 years ago. (And, btw, ancestors of those folks in Lagos made it happen as much as anyone).

The biggest welfare improving thing that happened for their descendants was to be shipped to the US.

7. In terms of DNA legacy, African American’s are orders of magnitude greater to be lineal descendant’s of Southern slave owners than other Americans. Like it or not, it is a significant part of who they are. Everybody is a descendent of a slave owner if you trace back far enough. Somewhere in hell Southern slave owners are smiling at the prospect of their evolutionary legacy being further advantaged by reparations.

7. Some conservative. The best thing to do at this point is for government just to sit there and do nothing. Every alleged problem doesn't have a solution, let alone a government solution.

7 - Why not just let them go home again? I think we can all agree that the initial monstrous wrong was to force them to come here in the first place. This is the fundamental, original injustice that needs to be rectified.

We should apologize and let the slaves finally go home to Africa again. They can live peacefully in their own home, among their own people, and we can live peacefully in our home, among our people.

If peaceful coexistence is so hard to accomplish, it's because the initial crime of forced migration has never been addressed. This is what needs to be rectified, this is the wrong that needs to be undone.

As for reparations, we've paid billions in development aid to their home countries. It didn't do much, but I think that's quite enough of that.

In New Zealand, the government provided reparation to the native Maori for the government's failure to honor historical contracts (perhaps more applicable to native Americans' situation).

3. Flying motorcycles already exist.

Re: construction article.

I realize this is a work in progress. However, they don't touch on labor costs, nor our reluctance for engaging in PPP (Public Private Partnerships) in the US. They are also not an objective writer, he/she clearly has an agenda not to mention a Patreon account.

It still blows my mind that Japan was able to build high-speed rail within 20 years of losing a world war. Plans were in place well before the war but still an amazing feat.

Labour costs seem to explain less that we once thought. The author does discuss the problems with some private contractors who would be seeking PPP. No writer is objective. Japan's HSR company went bust, the government took on the debt, and Japan's national debt is now nearly 250% of annual output, paid for with huge implicit taxes through JGB purchases.

Re #7 I suggest that the US government give every adult citizen a permanent stipend of around $1000 per annum as a UBI but couched in terms of a payment for ‘past injustices’. Just about every one can claim an injustice in their personal or ancestral past so this is fair.

The amount of $1000 should also increase at a steady rate of about 20% per year for the foreseeable future and as it grows it should gradually replace all other welfare payments. In this way the welfare state can be slowly dismantled leading to huge increases in all spheres of productivity. There should also be a long waiting period before new migrants are eligible - perhaps only their children, when they become adults.

This stipend should be paid for by just ‘printing’ the money, no debt. It won’t create any inflation because it is becoming pretty obvious that increasing automation is causing a technological deflation that requires a sort of permanent ‘QE for the people’.

As long as the stipend growth doesn’t outpace technological deflation we will be fine. Eventually income tax can also be reduced and finally eliminated as well, causing further increases in productivity.

Won't this balloon prices for assets like housing?

Best hurry: while David Brooks is in health and has some years left to feel all the feels this will give him, and before the window of opportunity closes - that is, before our transformation into a Latino propositional nation topped by an Asian entrepreneurial class.

The only problem I see with reparations is that it's an effort at redress that makes no distinction - on the surface it seems to enlist the guilt of both Northerners and Southerners, as though the North too benefited in some way from the planter economy, or has something to apologize for in connection with racial matters. No go. Let's not kid ourselves, this is about the South, and there's got to be a way to make that explicit. If only we could bring back the pellagra epidemic, cured too soon: that would get the point across so well, the checks could be nominal indeed.

If you really want to drill down to that fine level, though, you want to target a tax to fund reparations on a county-by-county basis.

Probably against something like this -,0.143,1.102,0.443,0.

It would be a farce to target the "Southern States" as a whole, when you've got lots of counties that benefited little from slavery, and really were functionally no more involved in maintaining it than the pre-ACW north.

Saying "Oh, A, you're in a slave state, but your county didn't have many slaves so you pay. While, B, you're in a free state, so despite your state being complicit in upholding slavery on a national level until 1863, you don't pay" would be ridiculous.

However, that kind of close targeting will probably hit regions that are heavily Black today.

See the overlap with -

As areas, also generally not economically thriving at all, so it's hard to see what good that would actually do, other than plundering the few remaining Whites in those areas. There aren't that many rich Whites in heavily slaving counties to squeeze (and if you tried, they'd move!), and if you extend the net beyond them to the South as whole, hard to argue against the United States as a whole.

Reparations for those 360,000 from the North who were killed? Or the 1.5 million who were maimed or disfigured?

On the reparations thing - with today's ability to determine genetic origins - could it be implemented on the basis of the exact fraction of slave DNA? Maybe there is enough genetic drift in people whose ancestors came to America 200 years ago to determine this? So if you have 10% say of this DNA you get 10% of the full amount?

On the construction costs issue for subway lines, I am surprised no-one has yet referenced Musk's ideas. He believes a lot of the cost is due to too large diameter tunnels as I understand. My approach to contracting of new subway infrastructure would be the same as for the Channel Tunnel - basically the winner gets to operate the system for perpetuity. Of course the costs of that system grew by quite a bit - but at no cost to the tax payer. They are many investors (pension funds etc) that would love to have a piece of such a long lived asset. If a subsidy is needed to get the project done (perhaps because the externality of the project is high) then provide this via subsidies to ticket costs agree ahead of time - for instance every ride, the operator will receive a certain payment, up to a maximum amount each year. If the project goes into receivership then the state has the right to buy the project for $1 - we saw in the Channel Tunnel that they were able to raise new finance diluting the existing shareholders when they needed it, so receivership is probably never going to happen anyway.

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