Wednesday assorted links


I see a China related link... Stranger danger! Fortunately, it takes one to ESPN/Disney site that has already been censored by CPC/PLA representatives. No risk to this site.

Yes, that article was conspicuously sterile. It danced around the issue so skittishly and totally omitted the players' grovelling responses to Chinese criticism, such that a reader new to the controversy would have no idea that the whole problem is that the NBA's pursuit of Chinese money has led it to positions that are grossly hypocritical as compared to the league's previous social justice stances and politically poisonous to many in the US.

Morey has maintained a low profile over the past few weeks.

There, I saved everyone from having to read the whole article.

The grievance China has about the NBA is actually race. The Chinese people cannot come to terms with the fact the NBA is solely an artifact in the US. Baseball remains American past time. And football is probably why the Chinese will never come to terms.

+1 and not one mention of the plight of the people of Hong Kong who are in a long spiral down into a totalitarian hell.

1984 has been here for a long time.

Americans have no conception of daily life in other countries. The vast majority of mainland Chinese are quite content. It's an entirely different culture, one they've been born into and lived their whole lives. Just because you don't want to live there doesn't make it a 'totalitarian hell'.

Hi, mouse!

Except the mainland Chinese who are stuck in rural locations with crappy schools and who are not allowed to move into cities, which are only for the really nice people. Or Tibetans who are now outnumbered in Tibet by Han Chinese relocated there over generations. Or the million+ Uighurs who now live in permanent re-education camps. Or Falun Gong adherents held in prisons until their organ profiles match the needs of sick CCP members and whose organs are harvested (and who die as a result) to provide transplants to important people. Or persons who, based on government data, lack enough social credit to be allowed on airplanes or, for all I know, public transit.

Everyone else is happy as a clam. It's only totalitarian hell for some people, so why should we care?

The United States was founded by a bunch of idealists who wouldn't have stood for any of this. Yes, it took too long to abolish slavery (not that China is even close) and way too long to deal with Jim Crow, but at least US citizens were able to achieve these by forcing the country to live up to its founding principles. My Chinese immigrant friends know the difference.

In a country of 1.4 billion, that's still a lot of people who probably aren't too thrilled with China.

How exactly do you expect us to effect change in China? Their founding principles are not ours, their history is millennia longer. One can decry the treatment of the Uighurs without calling the nation of China a totalitarian hell. It isn't, not even close.

There are pockets of sever deprivation and unfair racial treatment in the US too, doesn't make us an evil country either. I prefer the US to China, just like you do. But I'm American. They are Chinese, and I suspect over 1 billion of them prefer being Chinese to being American.

1. Is this a false flag piece? It seems a little too convenient that an anonymous conservative social scientist is essentially advocating cynically using xenophobia to get working-class people to go along with economic policies they would not otherwise support. That is something that liberals have accused elite conservatives of doing for many years (to be clear, I don’t think this accusation is true—the xenophobia seems genuine at all levels).

4. Why don’t they just look at reviews? It seems like the best measure would be the number of restaurants with at least a given review score per capita. To adjust for the fact that people in areas with bad restaurants might have lower expectations, you could probably look only at reviews from tourists or something similar.

"xenophobia" is the term our rotten intelligentsia uses to brand as vicious or pathological ordinary people's ordinary affinities. These are affinities our intelligentsia doesn't feel, because they identify with people like them abroad, not with the guy who fixes their car.

Just because something is ordinary doesn’t make it right. It is ordinary to prefer one’s own race over others, but we still call it racism and try to civilize people out of it. Nationality is an arbitrary characteristic assigned at birth just like race and so people should also be civilized not to discriminate based on nationality.

I just want to say I love everybody, especially today.

I love you, man.

Fear is stronger than love.

Just because something is ordinary doesn’t make it right. It is ordinary to prefer one’s own race over others, but we still call it racism and try to civilize people out of it.

You're not civilizing anybody and they do not need you to civilize them. You're simply acting to dilute their influence in their own homes, because you don't care about them, you care about someone else.

I am not diluting anyone’s influence in their own home. I believe people should be allowed to do whatever they want in their own home and homeowners should have absolute influence about what goes on in their own home. Of course, a home is literally that, a dwelling for one household. You can’t claim a whole country or continent is your home because you have no privacy interests that could possibly extend that wide, to places you’ve never even been. That would turn you into a feudal lord.

I care about all people equally.

And how do you feel about racism? Do you agree that the culture should socialize people to not be racist? Racism is also a natural human characteristic, even babies are shown to prefer same-race faces. If you agree that it is good for people to be socialized out of racism, why not xenophobia?

Then abolish the current States and see how quickly people form their own.

Try telling a Turk or Ukrainian or Japanese or Iranian they can't claim an ownership share in a country and let me know what they say.

In exchange for being able to live in whatever other country they want, I’d bet most Turks, Ukrainians, Japanese, and Iranians would take that deal.

What an appallingly arrogant, bigoted statement.

Okay, now do Israel. Or Bhutan.

How is that arrogant or bigoted? People in many European countries gave up having complete control over their national borders in exchange for the right to live elsewhere in Europe. Similarly, many countries allow visa-free travel with each other. Clearly many people value their own right to move more than their government’s power to deny others to move.

Israel is a bit of an outlier because most Jews don’t live in Israel, so it seems that most Jews do value freedom of movement more than having an ethnostate and the ones who moved to the ethnostate are a self-selecting bunch. In fact, Israel would probably not exist today if European countries had respected Jewish freedom of movement in modern times. And Bhutan is a tiny country that has no impact on the rest of the world so it doesn’t really matter what they do. In the US, the Civil Rights Act allows businesses smaller than a certain threshold to discriminate racially in hiring, but makes it illegal for large corporations to do so. That seems sensible because mom-and-pop shops have privacy interests and don’t affect the larger economy, while the opposite is true for giant corporations. So I really don’t have a problem with tiny countries being more ethnonationalist than big powerful ones.

The "Right to Free Movement" was really bundled with the basis of access to the EU's wider economic market, offered in a kind of all-or-nothing package deal, not offered as really a "Foreigners can come here, but you can also go there" swap. Which is an unattractive offer.

Essentially all rich countries in Europe would have rejected that kind of swap with poorer EU states. The EU's trick is that they never got faced with that choice and instead played to barter away intra-EU immigration controls with new accession states for a binary choice of either market membership or expulsion.

In a world where immigration was simply offered on a quid-pro-quid basis, and not bundled with exporting and importing freedoms, I'm not sure many rich European states would have taken it, certainly not the ones that have seen large scaled migration from Eastern Europe.

Also, Israel and Bhutan have both created refugee problems by kicking out members of other ethnic groups living in “their” land. So even if they like being ethnonationalist, that doesn’t make it right. Someone might enjoy the inheritance they got from their mobster granddad, but that doesn’t make the mafia good.

Your assumption that other ethnic groups all secretly despise their countries and want to leave is pure Occidental bigotry.

If you think national borders are immoral then abolish them, and see how quickly people draw their own.

And here I thought you were an intellimouse, yet you are tossing around words like "right" and "wrong" as if they were real and everybody agreed on their meaning. You have promoted yourself to the position of "final arbiter of truth and morality" the lefty equivalent of the overconfident Bible thumper calling out all the sinners while he cucks someone in the pews.

Time for you to read up on ole A.J. Ayer and "emotivism in ethics". You are nothing but pure unadulterated mode affiliation.,was%20stated%20vividly%20by%20A.%20J.

Bullshit. Make it broader and more accurate: “People prefer people similar to themselves”

There is nothing racist about it. Also, racism used to concern treating people differently because of their race. When racism become a matter of preference?

Likely Democrats want open borders because they prefer people that will vote Democrat.

If Democrats thought immigrants would vote Republican, there'd be 600 million land mines on the borders. r

The fact that the guy that fixes your car has never been abroad might indeed be related to why he feels no affinity for those other people that live in those other countries. Perhaps we should propose travel subsidies so that working-class Americans can see more of the world and therefore develop more cosmopolitain human sentiments.

Americans seem to vastly overestimate how expensive it is to travel abroad. With the strong dollar, competition on international flight routes, and existence of public transit in many other countries, traveling abroad is frequently cheaper than domestic vacations.

Or maybe Americans just undervalue how cool the Alps are when the Rockies are right here.

Da fuq. How come everyone wishes to “improve” me? Please read this carefully: I want the Bears to make the playoffs, I don’t wish to debate Kant and you won’t convince me that opera is anything other than 3 hours of shrieking. So go enjoy yourself and leave me be.

So you've got no desire to go on an African safari then?

Perhaps we should propose travel subsidies so that working-class Americans can see more of the world and therefore develop more cosmopolitain human sentiments.

Yeah, I'm sure shlepping around Lyons and Marseille for a week will do the trick.

Traveling around other countries is helpful. In addition to the cliched benefit of realizing everyone’s pretty similar, you realize how privileged you are as an American. Most people speak your language, you get lots of visa-free or expedited lines, your phone service works everywhere, and you even get the best currency conversion rates (the first time I was shocked by the extent of my American privilege was when I traveled to Europe for the first time many years ago when people still changed cash and saw an exchange rate board where the spread for the dollar was virtually non-existent but as much as 50% for some developing nation currencies). You also realize how much higher the US standard of living is (except for not having good public transit). This idea of foreigners, especially third-world ones, taking advantage of us just seems laughable.

I think you’d get the same benefits from being near immigrants and tourists in the US though—one reason the places with the highest foreign-born populations in the US also seem to be the most pro-immigration.

No, I think you have to actually go to another country to get the effect. Plenty of people experience immigrants and tourists in the US, but because they are not in the position of being an outsider they don't get the same shift in perspective. Lots of people experience that as an "invasion". Commonly, provincials dislike tourists - i.e. local residents dislike AirBnb rentals because they bring in tourists. When you go to another country, you are the tourist/immigrant and you get a different perspective - makes it easier to empathize with tourists and immigrants when they come to your country.

"to prefer one’s own race over others... we still call it racism"

Do we? Do you have a dictionary handy?

This is the crux of the matter. A lot of Republicans are trying real hard to convince themselves that it's totally ok to prefer white people, and not racist at all. The fact that immigrants can tell that Republicans prefer whites and dislike non-whites, and that immigrants might find that alienating, has never occurred to them.

Nationality is an arbitrary characteristic assigned at birth just like race and so people should also be civilized not to discriminate based on nationality.

So many people on the left argue. Of course they're wrong - people of course should have fellow feeling as members of a real community and population which works together and is bound together - whatever that guy that's a comedy neoliberal troll that crops up in comments seem to think. Societies are better places to live when they have that, and a strong identity of being part of something real that's larger than themselves, and that improvement is worth a lot of potential gains from trade.

But hey, at least those people have the virtue of trying to be semi-consistent, rather than popping and advocating for the rightness of a strong nationalistic sentiment towards the People's Republic by overseas Chinese communities in South East Asia, for example. As you have done.

China is several thousand years old. With its own written language, traditions, culture(s). There’s a cohesion there stretching back into ancient history.

The modern west is an open, materialist, (nihilistic?) postmodern culture. There’s no culture there to preserve. Germany can still have Oktoberfest with 50% non-Germans. France can still riot with 50% non-French. In the future they’ll probably just all speak English.

America is an even worse example. White isn’t a culture. That’s a meaningless statement. There’s no American culture to defend in the first place, outside of accepting waves of immigration and demographic replacement, aka accepting change. America accepts change and adapts. If it has a culture at all, it’s that.

There's very little in China's ancient culture that persists. Its a huge one party state bureaucracy founded on Western communist thought with very little of the Chinese imperial system culture left to it, where people wear Western dress and eat mostly homogenized "Chinese" fast food that is largely a creation of the 20th century, listen to Korean (or derived) music, etc.

To talk of materialist, commercialized, wealth cultures par excellence, with no ancient substance to them, one would of course have to talk of China.

To contrast explicitly Zaua's and your argument here, Zaua argued that "Nationality is an arbitrary characteristic assigned at birth just like race and so people should also be civilized not to discriminate based on nationality", essentially arguing people should not treat fellow nationals, or presumably states of their national origin, and differently.

Your argument instead seems to be that this is OK and that nations can discriminate and remain closed, but only if the nation is in some sense real, and that China is real while nations such as Germany are not.

This of course comes with the normal kind of rubbish of overstating that China is several thousand years old - it's perhaps 2000 years old in some sort of semi-recognizable form. And imagining that its traditions are deeply established across a very long time and were exempt from foreign influence - as if major cultural symbols such blue-and-white porcelain, the stir fry, Peking opera, Chinese martial arts were thousands of years old rather than hundreds and intimately connected to foreign influence.

Such an argument is of course silly, but I'm more interested to see if Zaua will respond.

You're either playing dumb or it's not an act.

Some points to hand out here. Zaua is killing it, +10 internet points. Hazel Meade and Skeptic each get 5.

+100. Zaua outsmarted The Anti-Gnostic, EdR, A Caning, and others with one brain tied behind his back. Not hard to do given the minute amounts of grey matter in the opposition but impressive to watch nonetheless.

My impression from the early days of Facebook when I got thousands of Ron Paul supporters as friends is that among non-intellectual Americans, a love of liberty is to a striking extent an ethnic pride marker that your ancestors were here in 1776.

Those folks think they are better than the rest of us. Which is stupid.

1. Of course, Caplan takes it for granted one should be 'pro-immigrant'.

#3. I didn't think I would EVER write this, but: read the first couple of dozen comments. I don't necessarily buy any of the arguments they make (and I would say the same about the author's), but I don't think I have seen more cogent, less troll-ish comments... in a long time.

Quillette is an excellent site.

Benitacanova's comment is great.

You should read Slate Star Codex if you like smart comments.

I just want to say good morning!

Have a beautiful, no "perfect," day everyone.

(#1 might have had some interesting questions, if several other things were not true at the same time. For instance, we asking why immigrants can't be Republicans the day after we learn White House policy advisor Steven Miller has been forwarding VDARE articles across Washington? It makes a rather droll question.)


Politeness is free

Nothing polite about trying to rewrite a language to suit your political preferences

Abi Kibar TRUMP Sarkar!

Compliance is not

7. The uniform deceptive trade practices act prohibits conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding. Does this product have a warning on the label? Is the manufacturer of this product equally guilty of a violation of the act along with the user? Does vaginoplasty violate the act? I mean, how is a guy to know just how often the thing has been used if it looks and feels like new?

1. I thought almost everyone was pro-immigrant. We bring in more than 1 million legal immigrants every year, more than ever. The foreign-born population percentage is higher than anytime since 1910.

So many questions...

Is status quo an anti-immigrant position? Is anyone calling for us to curtail legal immigration to the USA? Is open borders the only pro-immigration position?

Of course. Trump quietly cut legal immigration by up to 65%

"With one proclamation signed earlier this month, President Donald Trump made his adviser Stephen Miller’s dreams of restricting legal immigration a reality."

Wow is that true?

65% of legal immigrants use Medicaid? Seems high.

It’s not just Medicaid, it’s also Obamacare subsidies. Some households with even six figure incomes can qualify for Obamacare subsidies.

Tell me how! Please?

I think this headline "cut legal immigration by up to 65%" is slightly misleading. A perfectly reasonable position might be: "There ought to be legal immigration; the size of that legal immigration ought to be determined by legislation." Allowing unlimited chain migration eliminates any control over the size of the immigration numbers. I join Brian Donohue's comment in asking: Do people (such as commenter anonymous) believe that there are only two positions -- open borders and anti-immigration? So that anyone who opposes open borders must ipso facto be anti-immigration? That is an illogical position.

That seems like a non-position. That could mean anything from “we will allow 10 billion people per year with no requirements” to “we will only allow Melania Trump.”

One comes and within ten years the entire clan is here and on Medicaid, Social Security, welfare. Plus, they don't assimilate.

Not to worry. We deplorable, God/gun clingers meekly will bend over and righteously take up the arse.

I wonder when your family invaded this country, and how long it took before they were soaking up benefits.

"Do people (such as commenter anonymous) believe that there are only two positions -- open borders and anti-immigration?"

Huh? That seems totally unrelated to my observation.

My observation is that Republicans, particularly this administration, have become very unfriendly to immigrants.

That's easy to document, and I just picked one of the dozen links I could have dropped at random as reminder to Brian.

Now, the letter at #1 notes (as others have) that this has provoked an equal and opposite reaction on the left. They have new love for immigrants. That plays nicely into the love trumps hate theme.

This is all emotional and pre-policy.

Policy won't matter until people settle down (and fire Miller, and straighten up and fly right).

All immigrants still get vetted. No one is automatically allowed to immigrate, even if they have relatives who are US citizens.

That said "chain migration" is probably the best type of immigration one could have. It's a win-win for all parties. US citizens get to be reunited with their families. Immigrants who are unhappy in their home country get to, well, immigrate. And because they already have relatives here, they can integrate into the American society more quickly.

I’d say it depends on the first link in the chain...

Good old Vox math. "The move could bar roughly 375,000 immigrants annually, based on projections of data from fiscal year 2017, according to Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute."

375,000 is now 65% of the 1.18 million legal immigrants we let in. And this is a travesty because we ask them to be able to take care of themselves, like the millions of immigrants who've come to America in the past 100 years. My parents both immigrated here in the 50s and 60s. They needed a sponsor, or proof they could take care of themselves financially.

Vox is a nerdy Huffington Post.

Yes, Republican leaders have proposed multiple bills to restrict legal immigration over the last few years.

Pro- and anti-immigrant are relative; an extreme pro-immigrant position might be to let anyone immediately become a citizen and get full benefits. Even traditional open borders would be anti-immigrant compared to that.

I would generally use the terms relative to the status quo: someone is pro-immigrant if they support making immigration unambiguously easier than is the case in the status quo, and anti-immigrant if they support making immigration unambiguously harder than is the case in the status quo.

OK, it sounds like some people really are pushing for reduced legal immigration.

Here's Pew:

"Americans were divided on future levels of immigration. A quarter said immigration to the U.S. should be decreased (24%), while one-third (38%) said immigration should be kept at its present level and almost another third (32%) said immigration should be increased."

Fair enough, 24% of Americans want to reduce immigration. They're not going to get their way though.

Where does Vox come up with a 65% reduction? They do throw out a speculative number of 375,000, but, given more than 1 million legal immigrants per year, that's still not close to the lying headline.

And even the 375,000 won't come to pass. Come back next year and show me that America only allowed 625,000 legal immigrants this year and I'll believe you. It's a phony number.

And the whole push is not about reducing immigration per se, but being more selective in our immigration policy, like, you know, Canada, which brags about its cherry-picking immigration policy no end.

Maybe Trump and Miller really do want to reduce legal immigration. If so, that's dumb and it won't happen and an agenda-driven Vox article with made up numbers is no substitute for facts.

I generally want increased levels of legal immigration with a points system similar to Canada and Australia, and no illegal immigration. To leftists this makes me a xenophobe

No, I think it makes you a communist. Whenever people bring up something Australia has that I think is a good idea on the internet, such as public health, or gun control, or free markets it gets called communist and/or socialist. So if someone likes something we have in Australia, I just assume they must be a big commie, like all of us.

For all the peeps who hated on Vox, don't forget to add U. S. News and World Report to your naughty list.

(They are both actually referencing the Migration Policy Institute.)

That clears it up. Not sure if/when this takes effect.

Would you like to take a stab at the number of legal immigrants the US will allow in 2020?

I'm guessing it will be 1 million. Based on your sources, I suspect you'd guess it's half that, maybe less.

Go ahead, take a stab.

My focus wasn't on the numbers at all. It was a convenient link for another reason. Vox tied Miller to the effort. There are others, this one from Politico:

Emails show Stephen Miller pressed hard to limit green cards

Which highlights the Stephen (oops, not Steven) Miller problem.

If Trump doesn't drop him, what do Republicans say? Plausible deniability on the White Nationalist front takes a hit.

I actually expected moar links in lieu of an answer, and you did not disappoint.

I am here to tell you that legal immigration will never be substantially decreased from current levels.

Stephen Miller is a goof. Offhand, I don't know any White Nationalists but I don't think Miller is their cup of tea.

eh, you are worried about numbers?

I'm saying numbers won't matter like having a Steve Sailer, VDARE, "race realist" in the White House rolling into 2020.

Meh, I’m not worried.

Apprehensions are 50% of crossings, which means we’re already at 2 million undocumented migrants for the year.

Combined with legal immigration we’re still at over 3 million per annum, even under Trump.

Fortunately, Washington has basically zero impact on immigration numbers. Legal immigration is less than a third.

As someone who is strongly pro freedom of movement and dislikes Miller, I’m interested in your thoughts.

In your opinion, what part of Miller’s correspondence constitutes white nationalism? I don’t like the man, but he’s openly conservatively Jewish and I’m nervous about the connotations.

It reeks of anti-semitism to me. So please explain your views on Miller’s actual correspondence, not links.

Let’s hear your opinion on the facts.

Is it okay if I link?

Linking to Haaretz seems appropriate, given your concern:

Stephen Miller Promoted 'Extremist, White-nationalist' Materials to Breitbart Reporter

So what do *I* think?

That I can rely on the headline news at this point, and anyone trying to shave the story for a win on points is engaging in sophistry.

But don't worry, if the headline news has it wrong, and those 900 emails actually look good, that too will come out in the wash.

I guess I should reply to see what your next random comment is.

I presume you have now calmed down and understand that US immigration policy will continue to chug along at more or less its current levels, with or without the histrionics.

Brian, do you think you could back up and see that I posted a Miller link, which you interpreted as a numbers link?

4. Definitely a correlation between franchise restaurants and cuisine types (the higher the percentage of the former, the lower the percentage of the latter). This is striking but not surprising in the mid-west. Pennsylvania is the anomaly, with a low percentage of both franchise restaurants and cuisine types (same with neighboring New York state).

I am happy to live in a big blue dot.

My sense is the blue dots are spreading, and more places have culinary choices than ever before.

I am a big fan of Pennsylvania. Franchise restaurants are like coffee shops. The truth is, I also live in a big blue dot.

#1 - In case anybody still had any doubt, immigration is just political/electoral weaponry at this point.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think immigrants are people, and potentially even citizens.

The Welfare State calls them "constituents." The Democrats call them "voters." Big Tech calls them "eyeball counts" and the Chamber of Commerce calls them "cheap."

You answered a different question, by the way.

-Immigrants use less welfare than Natives.
-Immigrants have a lower unemployment rate than Natives.
-Immigrants start new businesses at a higher rate than Natives.
-55% of Billion Dollar startups have an immigrant founder
-43% of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant

Your talking points are all wrong. Immigrants provide immense economic value to this country.

LOL. The typical immigrant is a net tax consumer who will be disabled by age 50 if not 40 and whose job will be automated out of existence in 20 years.

That's cuz you a liberal. Yeah you a liberal because you've never been fucked up the ass before Mr. Anti-Gnostic!

"Immigrants use less welfare than Natives."

I thought I saw something quite recently that was the opposite?

They actually are citizens now. Of some other country.

In the sense that students at white and black schools during legally enforced segregation were both “students,” sure.

That makes no sense.


Yelp and TripAdvisor (and even maybe Google) reviews will give you an idea about the quality of a restaurant.

Perfect? No. But, better than nothing.

I thank the APB.

APB makes us stronger.

Every cell in my body shouts XY, XY, XY! I do wish they would shut up. Wretched little chromosomes. In some magical future I suppose we’ll be able to change XYs into XXs. But not now.

This is just a failure to deal with biological reality.

#4. I don't think "franchise" is definitely an indicator or quality, or the lack thereof. There are plenty of tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurants in rural areas that are actually very bad. In someplaces the franchise operations are where you go if you want to be assured of a meal that is at least palatable, if somewhat uninspired. Non-franchise operations can run the gamut from gourmet to inedible.

+1, a lot of hole in the wall places are terrible. Franchises generally have some minimal standards.

I did not pay for the article, but I imagine the argument is that the relative success of franchise restaurants in a given location suggests the non-franchise restaurants in the region are of relatively low quality. If you have access to a lot of excellent non-franchise restaurants, you will be less likely to frequent franchises (at the margin of course). The fact that franchises are of relatively uniform quality (maybe middling quality) is the feature that allows this conjecture.

Good point. I guess if there are a lot of franchise operations in an area it means that *average* restaurant quality is pretty low, because the franchises must be raising the standard.

Still, I'd bet there are some places that are too remote for franchise operations to bother with, and those places have even lower quality. Which is why you get that weird patchwork in the rockies where there are some places with high franchise concentration and others with low franchise concentration. Some places are just so far off the grid all you got is one shitty roadside diner.

When I checked out the article "Does Electricity Drive Structural Transformation? Evidence from the United States" where they make claims that the decrease in agricultural labor was connected to and driven by electrification, it became clear that social scientists (economists) don't understand real science and technological change. A statement like " electrification drove 15.7% of the decline in the share of agricultural employment " is pure nonsense.

The author's view of electricity and electrification demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the apparent relationship between rural electrification and agricultural productivity has less to do with wires to the farmhouse that mental concepts, more scientific culture, and knowledge that went with the wires. A central government and planners can dictate wires to a farm, but the farmer who understands what the wires represent can utilize electricity without the wires.

I'm not sure they are wrong if looked at indirectly. It's quite possible that high voltage expansion resulted in better paying jobs in the area that put wage pressure on farming and resulted in a lower worker count and more automation.

And it seems plausible that some electrification led to cheaper automation than running ICE engines alone would have allowed. The most obvious is Dairy Farms where electrification drastically lowered refrigeration costs and allowed them to scale up to much larger sizes.

@Dallas Weaver, Ph.D. - what you say may be true, but it's hard to prove and in no way contradicts anything the authors say, that electrification drives non-farming industrialization. The paper seems to contradict another paper from years ago that found cheap electricity in the TVA region (government subsidized rural south) actually retarded growth. The hypothesis being that cheap electricity encouraged waste and not efficient allocation of resources; I personally think the correlation is spurious).

Bonus trivia: the OP nym reminds me of this guy: chess grandmaster Arnold Denker related of Weaver that he was "a master who inherited a chicken farm and who was – so to speak – a White man clear through. He wrote a book, White to Play and Win, lived in a White house on White Street, chewed antacid pills that left the inside of his mouth perpetually White, and raised only white chickens that laid white eggs. Predictably, Adams' business was soon no more than a shell."[30] Harry Golombek wrote in 1977 that Adams, whom he described as "author of White to Play and Win and a sodium bicarbonate addict", was on Golombek's "reserves" list for "the ten most interesting personages" from the past 100 years.

Abikibar Trump Sarkar!

Abikibar Trump Sarkar! reminds me of GMs Sethuraman Panayappan Sethuraman, Baskaran Adhiban, and of course WGM Humpy Koneru ("my name is Humpty..." remember dat?!)


> It’s the same for a born female going the other way, to male—which by the way seems on recent evidence to be about as frequently desired as male to female.

I'd love a cite because all of the evidence I can find and know of points the other way. Paraphilia like crossdressing and abandoning your family to go live in a dress and then complaining about it are statistically more common among males, after all.

" frequently desired..."

So actually going through with it might be more common among males, but desire is another question. Data would help. And I know Deirdre believes in the Gospel of Data.

Also I'm pretty sure her kids were grown so I hope you're not insinuating something negative about her character.

> So actually going through with it might be more common among males, but desire is another question. Data would help

From wikipedia: Gender dysphoria occurs in one in 30,000 male-assigned births and one in 100,000 female-assigned births.

Although other research I've read on the subject suggests 3:2 not 3:1.

>> my grown son and my college-freshman daughter

Abi Kibar TRUMP Sarkar!!!

#3: McCloskey graciously doesn't name the colleague who, along with her sister, tried (and briefly succeeded) in getting her involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, but at the time that it happened it was reported to be David Galenson, more well-known these days for his work on the economics of art.

I do wonder about the interpersonal dynamics in Chicago's econ dept. It's not surprising that non-Chicago School types tend to not fit in. But McCloskey's ideology at the time was quite compatible with Chicago, but he (at the time, still he) was dissatisfied and departed even prior to the gender change, though perhaps the dissatisfaction was strictly professional (not being promoted to full professor).

But having someone sent to a mental hospital seems like ... unusually intrusive actions against a former colleague.

I took a class from each of them, somewhat paradoxically Galenson at least in class was easy-going and friendly, whereas McCloskey (still Donald, at the time) was more bombastic and suffered no fools gladly.

One thing about McCloskey that I haven't seen mentioned, except for the briefest of allusions in this essay: as Donald (and evidently still, as Deirdre), McCloskey had a stutter that was usually minimal but occasionally severe. But was nonetheless one of the best lecturers that I've taken a class from. My recollection is that the class gave McCloskey a standing ovation after the last lecture. Obviously this was decades ago and my memory might be faulty.

But having someone sent to a mental hospital seems like ... unusually intrusive actions against a former colleague.

Actually, what McCloskey proposed to do was insane, and how he's lived his life for 24 years has been insane. It's just an insanity that has the imprimatur of the clerisy. (I don't think he was actually committed. His sister's in the mental health trade and made some sort of attempt).

It would be nice if someday Dr. McCloskey apologized for teaming up with the Southern Poverty Law Center to try to cancel two scientists, Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey, for spilling the beans about the actual cau
se of the behavior of people like Dr. McCloskey:

I prefer Deirdre stuttering the truth once in a while, than Donald always speaking the Truth without a flaw.

You still owe me a beer, dear.

I'm so old I remember when that was a mental illness. Here are the propos those sickos merit.

My uncle was a surgeon that performed man-to-no man sex reassignment procedures. Three years ago after Thanksgiving dinner I was speaking with him. Of course, we both had a few Scotches. I asked, being a man. "What is the most difficult part?" He said, "Stuffing in the anchovies to get the small right."

En fin, that is better than the foul topic deserves.

#4: Nice idea, nice Tableau data viz, though it is slow and frequently freezes up when I try to use it.

It'd be nice if they explained what the white spaces are: too few observations to make a usable estimate? That's my guess but they should tell the reader.

The troubling part is that the zip code where I grew up, just outside the city limits of a major city, is missing! The place on the map where that zip code is, is given a neighboring zip code.

Maybe they aggregated the two neighboring zip codes into a single entity? Maybe even for valid reasons. But this is for sure the kind of thing you have to inform the reader about, otherwise it makes the whole set of calculations look fishy.

(I tried again, using the search box to search for my zip code; the data viz says it has found the zip code, but the map won't render -- maybe because the webserver is too slow? Or because the zip code has been nullified or merged with a neighboring zip?)

Some non-missing zip codes: 02138 (where MIT is located) has allegedly higher restaurant quality than 02139 (where Harvard is located).

I tried to look up some other zip codes that I'm familiar with, but the data viz just won't function. Maybe too many visitors are gumming up the server?

I generally appreciate Dr. McCloskey's academic work. As economics is thought to be the study of choice under conditions of limited supply, and human affection (or willingness to affiliate) can be limited under certain conditions, did Dr. McCloskey research the possible consequences of Dr. McCloskey's decision (choice) to take a step that Dr. McCloskey was in an advantageous position to anticipate? Is Dr. McCloskey seeking sympathy or rather celebrating Dr. McCloskey's willingness to fully accept the costs involving in defecting to the other side, as it were? Personally I believe that sex change surgery should be mandatory for everyone to enhance social justice and equality.

By a sort of personal Peter principle that often had me testing into, or out of, things I really wasn't any good at, I found myself as a college freshman in a proofs class that was quite difficult. I would have been better served just revisiting whatever math I'd last had in high school. The instructor was kind but distracted; I don't remember that she taught, per se. She was very subdued, didn't seem that interested in math herself, seemed content to trust that it was just as obvious and natural as breathing to us as it was to her. I didn't get the sense that anyone in the class was successfully completing any proofs. I had my own preoccupations just then and my attendance may have been episodic.

Still, exams must have been set, which she must have obligingly graded on a steep curve.

Early on we had arrived to find the door locked, she was late. As we waited, someone mentioned that our instructor was really a man. This was met without either titillation or derision. Score one for the kids of a red state thirty years ago. The concept was fairly new then, and this would almost certainly have been our first encounter with it.

McCloskey's evident eagerness to belong to a sorority recalled something to me. My instructor was sometimes wordless for long stretches, gazing out at us, and often smiled at me. She complimented my clothes a couple times. My fashion sense was fairly wrongheaded, but I was a gazelle and perhaps she wanted to be too. Either that or she wanted to be friends ... Anyway, at the end of term, I felt, I can use this. So finding that my grade stood at 89, I went to her office and pointed out how close I was to a 90, which unlike high school amounted to an A at this particular college, and if she would spot me that extra point - only imagine, I'd get an A! Which would be so great for me right now! She readily assented to this impeccable bimbo logic.

The sorority actually eluded me for the longest time ... until I consciously transitioned into a woman who makes friends with other women. I work at it; it is not effortless; it requires a certain mental adjustment from me. But it definitely sweetens life when you've passed over from being young to being extraneous.

At about the same time that Deirdre transitioned, I worked at a company where, one Monday, we were greeted with a stack of hand-outs explaining that 'Steve' would be gone for a few days and when he returned, he would come back as 'Lisa'. In those benighted days there was some dispute among about bathrooms (all of which were of the large, multi-stall variety). The women did not want Lisa in theirs, and Lisa did not want to be in with the men. The crisis was averted by installing a lock on the door of one of the two mens rooms, turning it into a one-at-a-time facility. Other than that, not much changed. Lisa put a notice on the bulletin board to sell the power tools she apparently wouldn't be needing in her new life and became fast friends with a rather militant feminist lesbian in the company. But her work continued and her 'marriage' family didn't disown her (she continued to bring her daughter to company picnics as before).

I find it a little hard to believe that a 90s tech company was a bastion of tolerance compared to a 90s university department. And as portrayed as McCloskey, her "marriage family" come across as so cold and unfeeling as to be not very convincing, three-dimensional characters (did her daughter actually write a letter than said only '“Thanks for the money. I still don’t want you in my life"?). Was McCloskey's only mistake to have their mother break the news to the kids (a mistake Dierdre now pawns off on that clueless 'Donald' guy and his hormone-addled maleness)? Does she ever think how all of this looks from her marriage family's viewpoint? How does it feel to be portrayed as heartless bigots in the press? It seems like a rather stunning lack of 'emotional intelligence' from somebody now playing for team-tea-and-sympathy to hope for an ultimate reconciliation with people you claim to love while portraying them so negatively.

I don't know. She seems unusually sincere, and comes across as someone who really would have acted as a good grandparent or fun aunt. She manages to deftly distance herself from the exhibitionists among her ranks with that simple statement that "she's bought few clothes since" her friend's wife graciously gave her a trunkful of things. I wonder if she might have retconned in her mind ... because surgery turned out to finish things for her, sexually, which seems itself to have been a relief ... whether there really was nothing sexual in her motivations for the change, which might have given her children the impression she did in fact sacrifice them all lightly, for personal gratification? Or maybe they grew up in the knowledge of her brilliance, and have a suspicion, even if unfairly, that the mind can supply smart people with any number of self-defenses: many things are easier for high-IQ people, but penitence may be harder, I think.

"I don't know. She seems unusually sincere"

Sincere, perhaps, but still self-involved, and self-justifying -- this for example:

My love for your mother over a third of a century had nothing false in it.

Sorry, that is self-excusing BS. The suppressed, hidden desire to be a woman rather than a man was an enormous false thing.

She also says:

Both my children seem, the Lord be praised, so far as one can judge without contact, to be happy and safe, successful in their professions and good as parents. So perhaps I should quit whining.

I'd say, yes, stop whining and better yet stop writing about them. Stop publishing your cris de coeur to them in national publications. Stop portraying them as unsympathetic supporting characters in your drama. Stop portraying them at all. It's one thing to have the shock of your father's transition in his 50s. It's quite another for him to be prominent and to write about the conflicts with you and your estrangement in a way where the fault is apparently all yours (and you, as a non-prominent person have no platform really to respond). And where if there if there were any steps toward reconciliation, that, too, would be fodder for more writing.

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