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The latest parenting advice: “It makes no difference how you treat your kids”

She is of course right.  Many well balanced adults emerge from difficult childhoods and many disastrous kids emerge from good families.  She appears not to know why, however.

There is now an extensive genetics literature that tells us most traits are inherited. If you have the genes for emotional stability, for instance, you will mostly be stable even while in the care of a ratty mother.  And if you are lucky enough to be born with a high IQ, that will solve most of your problems.  Such people can come from very humble backgrounds and reach rare heights with little effort.

You actually have very little control over how your kids turn out.  The genetics literature is replete with research reports that show family background to be a totally trivial influence compared to the genetic given.  Your kids will turn out how their genetics dictate regardless of what you do.  So perhaps the best advice is simply to be kind to them.  You can at least make their childhood more or less happy

But while there is little you can do to help your kids psychologically, there are some social advantages you can give them:  A good accent, manners, proficiency in social sports (tennis, golf, cricket) etc.  But the chief good thing you can do to benefit your kid is undoubtedly to send him/her to a private school.  In Britain that opens all doors.  One young woman whom her middle-class parents sent to a private school is now set to be Queen of England.  Beat that!


Modern parenting literature portrays raising a child as difficult business. Make your own baby food or you risk raising a sugar addict. Letting a bored child play with your phone rather than sustainably sourced wooden blocks is an invitation to delinquency. Such advice is often premised on helping parents raise children “naturally,” perhaps as children were parented at some ideal time in the past. But, notes Jennifer Traig—a book author, humorist and mother of two—in “Act Natural,” the word “parenting” itself “only came into common usage about forty years ago, which I guess means parenting was invented after I was.”

As a frazzled new mother dealing with such deep questions as “Why is there yogurt on the TV?,” Ms. Traig decided to investigate the history of child-rearing practices and advice from around the globe. She discovered that “people have done crazy, crazy things to their children throughout history.” They have convinced themselves that vegetables are dangerous but beer is great. They have let children play with knives or sleep out in the cold, or told fairy tales involving dismemberment.

Her key takeaway is this: “Why do we think any of this matters? The best research indicates that little of it actually does. Above a certain threshold, it makes no difference how you treat your kids.”

In “Act Natural,” Ms. Traig mocks contemporary and historical parenting advice with usually spot-on dark humor. For starters, much of this advice has been written by people—such as monks and clergymen—who weren’t parents (or at least weren’t supposed to be). “It’s easy to think you know what to do when you’ve never actually spent any time with a toddler,” Ms. Traig observes.

Other “experts” had offspring but were terrible parents; Jean- Jacques Rousseau’s romantic conceptions of childhood have garnered fans for centuries despite the fact that he abandoned his own children to a foundling hospital.

Much has been based on pure speculation rather than research. We can laugh about this in historical writings, such as this early-1800s nonsense that Ms. Traig digs up: “In all cases of dwarfishness or deformity, ninety-nine out of a hundred are owing to the folly, misconduct or neglect of mothers.” But we somehow take it seriously when modern writers suggest that day care will ruin a child for life.

Ideally, modern parents surveying history with Ms. Traig will reach this conclusion: You should just relax. Feeling guilty because you only pumped breast milk twice a day at work, instead of three times, seems silly in light of a finding that “out of the 21,000 infants born in Paris in 1780, a full 17,000 were put out to country wet nurses.”

Ms. Traig wagers that modern parental neuroses have created problems where they did not exist before. “A lot of parenting’s thorniest issues—sleep resistance, picky eating—began when we started trying to fix something that wasn’t particularly broken in the first place.” When there’s one pot of gruel, you all eat it, or don’t, but there’s little point in feeling angsty about it. When there’s one bed for the whole family, you sleep when you sleep. The virtues of a strict 7:30 p.m. bedtime are less clear when the clock in the next town says something entirely different from your own. Somehow, the species survived.

How should you raise your children? Long ago, experts offered falsehood, myth and speculation. Modern parenting advice isn’t much better.

Ms. Traig, thank goodness, takes pains not to portray herself as an expert anyone should emulate. She confesses to handling one particular dilemma—that of needing to work but being unable to afford full-time child care—with the time-honored solution of turning on the television. “In our home we do not emphasize attachment parenting but connection of another kind: the entertaining tether of premium cable.”

It is expensive, Ms. Traig notes, “but given how much our children watch, it’s far less than the hourly rate we would pay a human to keep them occupied.” She notes that her children sleep terrifically, but rather than tout her own sleep methods she writes that in parenting “you win some, you lose some.” Her son survives on pizza and revolting sweets. Parenting philosophies probably matter less than genetics and the luck of the draw.

The one flaw of “Act Natural” is that Ms. Traig is so taken with the silliness of her historical material that she starts to repeat herself. The practice of swaddling babies for up to 24 hours at a time, partly so they don’t go anywhere— and perhaps partly to limit the frequency of pre-Pampers diapering to once a day—comes up a lot. Almost every other page has a footnote taking the reader off on a tangent that doesn’t quite fit in the narrative. (A paragraph on how famous teachers disciplined students leads to this: “Still, they got off easier than Beethoven’s cook, at whom he threw eggs,” followed by a discussion of adults biting children in the hopes of teaching them not to.) This can make for a disjointed reading experience. Her dark comedy is occasionally very dark, such as this observation on obstetric innovation: “The invention of the Chamberlens’ forceps meant that a stuck child could be guided out gently, with spoons, rather than piecemeal, with knives.”

The upside of reading “Act Natural” is that you feel better about whatever nonsense your children have committed, which is the point. “That is what the good advice books do,” Ms. Traig writes. “They make you feel like you’re doing a good job, even if it’s simply by reassuring you that someone else is doing a worse one.” So your kid ate Cheez-Its for breakfast. Most of us, at least, do change diapers more frequently than once every 24 hours.

SOURCE

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Michael Moore: 'Americans Have Always Supported ‘Socialist’ Ideas'

There is an element of truth in what Moore says. Libertarians too think modern-day America is thoroughly Fascist.  And the founding fathers were such devout Communists that a third of them had to die before they went back to private property.  I will not revisit it here but I did put up a few years ago a discussion of the Leftist influence in American history.  See here, here and here.

And Trump is almost single-handedly waging a war on the Leftism that has become deeply embedded in American life.  Even SCOTUS and the Republican Senate obstruct him at times.  And the two years of Republican dominance of both houses gave him precisely nothing towards his chief goal of immigration reform.  He seems to be the last barrier against a wave of Leftism that has been sweeping across America for a long time now.  When he goes will the Leftist creep resume?  One hopes not but it is only a hope. The Donks have swung so far Left that the prospect of them replacing Trump is very disquieting indeed.

But Moore does the typical Leftist trick of speaking in all or none terms.  Like lots else, Leftism can come in various strengths. And America is not as heavily regulated as the EU, though Obama was working on that.  And America's health care system has much more scope for private medicine than Britain does.

So, taking Trump in context, what he was saying is that America will resist any further encroachment of socialism.  One hopes he is right


“Ha!,” activist filmmaker Michael Moore reacted after President Donald Trump promised in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that the U.S. will never become a socialist nation.

On Wednesday, Moore tweeted that it was a “great victory” that a “scared Trump” made the claim, given that Americans always favored socialist principles:

“A great victory for the majority of Americans when a scared Trump declared: "America will never be a socialist country!” Ha! The last gasp of The Greed Class! The truth: from social security to Medicare to libraries & pub schools, Americans have always supported "socialist" ideas”

In his tweet, Moore posted a video arguing that America is already a socialist country that supports things like abortion, homosexuality, drug use, universal health care and “free” goods and services:

In his State of the Union address, Trump said, "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country" - which drew cheers of "U.S.A!" from the audience.

A transcript of Moore's video appears below:

“Let me share with you a fact that has never been stated in the press, or reported on the nightly news, or even spoken amongst ourselves: the United States of America is a leftist country.

“That’s right: we are one rocking, sh*t-kicking, gay-loving, gun-rejecting, race-mixing, pot-smoking, tree-hugging, hip-hopping, anywhere breast-feeding, quinoa-cooking, left-leaning liberal nation.

“Here are the facts: the vast majority of Americans are pro-choice. They want equal pay for women, stronger environmental laws, legalized marijuana, a raise in the minimum wage, Medicare for all, tuition-free college, free child care, support for labor unions, a cut in the military budget, breakup of big banks. Most Americans don’t even own a gun. And, seventy-five percent believe immigration is good for the U.S. And, on and on and on.

“Heck, Texas isn’t even white, anymore. Houston had a lesbian mayor. When you think Texas, you need to think lesbian.

“The values they stood for in the 60’s and 70’s are now the beliefs of this great land.

“Those crazy mother-f**kers have won. And, I love the smell of essential oils in the morning.”

SOURCE 

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Education is NOT the great leveller

This is a fairly iconoclastic article.  That the author is of Hungarian origin may explain that. She is able to take an outside view.

But she is of course right -- though she doesn't really spell out why.  Social class continua are heavily correlated with IQ -- which is genetically inherited -- and education can do nothing to increase IQ.  Rich people are mostly smarter and have mostly smarter kids.  So their kids inherit their class position both socially and genetically. There are of course exceptions but most people end up in a social position matched to their IQ. Smart kids do at times emerge from poor backgrounds and provision to advance them is well warranted.  Grammar schools do that.

The push for more and more education for everyone, however,  is fundamentally misguided.  The years out of the workforce impoverish the country, if anything

Britain is unusual in having what could be seen as two status hierarchies -- a wealth hierarchy and a nobility hierarchy. Some members of the nobility (titled hereditary aristocracy) can even be poor.  But the two have a long history of melding into one another.  Poor aristocratic males -- and some not so poor -- have a historic habit of marrying rich American heiresses, for instance.  Winston Churchill was one of the results of such a union.  The American family buys prestige and the British family has its fortunes refreshed.  And as the progeny of often self-made men, the ladies concerned will be bright.

More broadly, noble titles are still much valued and respected in Britain so an aristocratic male will have a wide choice of potential partners.  He is able in fact to get a woman with it all -- brains and beauty.  And so it often happens.  So there has long been a steady influx of brains into the nobility -- so even in Britain, prestigious persons generally tend to be bright


For two decades, social mobility has been a central concern in British politics. Increasing equality of opportunity, in the context of rising inequalities between people’s lives, has been a shared goal across the party political spectrum. Politicians have also agreed that educational policy is crucial to achieving this goal. This has made the thrust of speeches on social mobility given over the years by politicians including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Theresa May interchangeable.

Yet, new research I’ve published with my colleague John Goldthorpe, which brings together results from extensive British birth cohort studies, points to a serious disconnect between the discussion of social mobility in political and policy circles and the findings of sociological research.

In our analysis, we treat social mobility in terms of social class, and make a clear distinction between absolute and relative mobility rates. Absolute rates simply refer to the proportions of individuals who have moved to different class positions to those of their parents, whether in an upward or downward direction. Relative rates compare the chances of individuals from different class origins ending up in a different class “destination”.

Contrary to what has become widely claimed in the media, mainly as a result of – often misunderstood – research by economists, social mobility in Britain is not in decline.

Absolute rates of class mobility between generations have been stable at least over the period since World War II. Men and women today are just as likely to be found in different class positions to those of their parents as they were in the 1950s.

The important change is, however, that rates of upward mobility are falling and rates of downward mobility are rising, as our research and the graph above shows. In this sense, young people now face less favourable mobility prospects than their parents or grandparents did. This is the result of the slowdown in the steady growth of managerial and professional employment that drove increasing upward mobility in the “golden age” from the 1950s up to the 1980s.

Relative rates of social mobility are also essentially stable: the inherent “stickiness” between the class positions of parents and children has altered little over at least the last half century. And in the case of “long-range” mobility – between, say, the lower stratum of the working class and those in managerial and professional jobs – quite extreme inequalities in relative chances exist.

Our findings show that the children of parents in higher managerial and professional positions are 20 times more likely to end up in such positions, rather than in working class positions, than children of working class parents are.

Not a low mobility society

Education plays an important role in determining whether a person is class mobile or immobile. But it does not follow that more education means more mobility at a societal level. For education to promote mobility at a societal level, the association between a person’s class origins and their educational attainment must weaken, while the association between their educational attainment and their class destinations must strengthen. But as our research shows, neither of these changes is in fact apparent. And that’s especially the case if education is considered in relative terms: for example if account is taken of the fact that a degree is worth far more in the labour market if only 10% of a birth cohort have one than if 40% do.

Again, contrary to what is widely claimed in the reports such as those by the Social Mobility Commission, Britain is not a distinctively low mobility society. Across European countries, rates of absolute class mobility are very similar. And as regards relative rates, Britain is one of a group of West-Nordic countries that show – comparatively – high fluidity within their class structures.

One reason for this is that, in Britain, education is not class destiny to the same extent as it is in a country such as Germany. In Germany, and several other Western-Central European countries, the educational system is highly stratified, with early selection for different types of school. Because there is then a tight link between formal educational qualifications and employment opportunities, educational inequalities are rather systematically translated into labour market inequalities. Where such “credentialism” prevails, education can in fact prove a barrier to, as much as a source of, social mobility.

No great leveller
Education is not “the great leveller” that can break the link between inequality in the conditions under which people live and inequality of opportunity. Parents with superior resources – economic, as well as social and cultural ones – will use their resources as necessary to give their children a competitive edge. Those wealthy enough can resort to the private sector, but for others the “commercialisation of opportunity” occurs by buying houses in the catchment areas of high-performing state schools, engaging private tutors for their children, and providing them with extensive out-of-school activities and experiences designed to improve their academic performance.

In addition, further education, or lifelong learning, turns out to promote immobility rather than mobility. As my research shows, it mainly gives “second chances” to those from more advantaged backgrounds whose performance in mainstream education gave them insufficient assurance that they would be able to maintain their parents’ position. It primarily serves to prevent downward mobility.

So far as absolute mobility is concerned, the most effective way of increasing upward mobility would be through economic and social policies that could renew the expansion of managerial and professional employment, so as to bring back the conditions of the golden age. One way of equalising relative rates of social mobility would be for employers to develop internal promotion and training policies to take full advantage of the educationally “wasted talent” that exists among their workforces and to remove requirements for formal qualifications of an irrelevant kind.

But in all societies with a capitalist market economy, a conjugal family system and liberal-democratic policies, a limit may exist on the extent that mobility chances can be equalised. As this limit is approached, policies aimed at further equalisation will become increasingly contested, and social mobility will cease to be a matter on which political consensus prevails.

SOURCE

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UK: Denying loans to students with weaker A-levels will ‘penalise poor families’

More likely to help poor families by protecting them from spending that is unlikely to benefit them.  As is acknowledged below, children from poor families tend to do badly throughout the educational system.  They should be encouraged to find work that suits them, not pushed into likely failure. Besides, Britain is in more need of tradesmen than possessors of useless degrees in any of the Mickey Mouse courses that abound these days.

As one person below says: "More support for FE would be a good thing because it has been “neglected and underfunded for years”. FE is is Further Education -- education typically leading to trades qualifications and technical certificates.

The whole article below is founded on the typical Leftist refusal to acknowledge individual differences.  Most of my academic career was devoted to studying individual differences.  But what is good for one -- or even the majority -- is NOT good for all.  Not even a university education is good for all.  There is more money in the trades for many people

I am not disrespecting Northerners in any way.  At the risk of being laughed at, I can even say that some of my best friends are Northerners.  But the reality in Britain is that the North is poor and smart people tend to move South to where the money is.  Some move as far South as Australia.  I have met many of them. 

But the upshot of that is that the North is these days a lot like Ireland:  Enough of the smart people have left to leave the average IQ there depressed.  As it says below:  "There is an attainment gap of more than four months between disadvantaged children and their classmates when they first start school".  And IQ is by far the biggest predictor of educational success. Nothing else comes close.  So the article below is by and large wailing at the inevitable


Plans to deny student loans to those with lower A-level grades would hit poor families in regions where social mobility is already stalling, data obtained by Education Guardian shows. In the north-east a third of students who would be denied a university education come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Four months ago, the education secretary, Damian Hinds, launched Opportunity North East, a £24m campaign to raise aspirations and stop children in the region feeling they’ve been “left behind”.

But the prime minister’s review of post-18 education is, according to leaks, proposing that young people with less than 3Ds at A-level should not be allowed a loan.

Data from Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ umbrella body, shows the change would hit the north-east – where 33% of students with lower than 3Ds are from the most disadvantaged families – much harder than any other region.

A prominent Conservative MP, who asked not to be named, told Education Guardian: “Are we seriously saying young people in the north-east are thicker than those in the south-east so they don’t deserve to go to university? This is penalising young people for failures in the school system.”

The north-east has the worst youth unemployment rates in the country, and although it has some of the best-performing primary schools, poorer children are much less likely than in other regions to have access to a good secondary school, according to the Social Mobility Commission.

The MP adds that the policy wouldn’t stop students from wealthier backgrounds who perform badly at A-level from going to university, because their parents could pay for them to do retakes or simply bypass the loans restriction by pay their fees.

“Tarquin still gets into university. But you create a secondary modern/grammar school situation where some people are just written off,” the MP says.

The second-hardest-hit region in terms of social mobility would be Yorkshire and the Humber, where UUK’s data shows that 22% of those no longer entitled to a loan would be the most disadvantaged students.

Vice-chancellors have branded the idea hugely regressive. They say poorer students are more likely to have low attainment, but this doesn’t mean they can’t succeed at university – and that universities, not the government, should make judgments about who has potential.

Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of UUK, says: “If the government is looking for a policy that keeps large numbers of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds out of university, it would be hard to come up with anything more exclusionary than setting a flat minimum entry tariff.”

He points out that there is an attainment gap of more than four months between disadvantaged children and their classmates when they first start school, and this rises to more than 19 months by the end of secondary school.

But he says students can overcome this disadvantage and thrive at university, with 73% of students from the poorest areas [who get in] netting a first or 2:1 degree.

Anand Shukla, the chief executive of social mobility charity Brightside, says: “Attainment at the age of 18 is not a measure of potential at all. It is typically a measure of the amount of resource you’ve been able to benefit from at school.”

The PM’s review, which is being chaired by former equities broker Philip Augar, is also widely expected to recommend cutting £9,250 university fees to £6,500.

Sources close to the Department for Education say that No 10 is keen to go public with the review’s recommendations as soon as possible, to demonstrate that “domestic policy is back on track” despite the chaos surrounding Brexit. But they say the Treasury wants to delay publication until the next spending review.

Vice-chancellors fear the review is being used as a means of pushing more students who would have gone to newer university into further education instead. One leak said Augar’s team was considering offering loans to college as well as university students.

Shukla says more support for FE would be a good thing because it has been “neglected and underfunded for years”. But he warns: “We need to be very careful about creating a segregated system in which richer students go to university and poor students are hived off down a different route.”

He adds: “Britain is a very class-ridden country. If students with lower grades are funnelled in one direction and students with higher grades in another direction, I think we all know how that story ends.”

Claire Callender, professor of higher education policy at UCL’s Institute of Education and Birkbeck, University of London, says: “You could argue that we need more vocational training, but if we push more people into the FE sector are we really sure they will get jobs? We know employers really value degrees.”

She says that if employers want graduates and there is a shortage of them, graduate salaries will rise. “That means there will be an even greater divide between those who have been to university and those who haven’t.”

According to the CBI, 79% of employers expect to need more staff with higher skills in the future, with two-thirds saying they aren’t confident there will be enough people to fill highly skilled jobs.

One source close to Westminster says: “Augar is doing the easy part because he will say fees must be cut but the funding per student should stay the same. But the DfE knows the Treasury can’t do that. Even if they put in a bit of funding in the first year, within three years it will be gone.”

University heads say that if they have to shoulder a loss of £3,000 per student, spending on trying to encourage more disadvantaged young people to come to university will be one of the things they will have to cut.

The VC of one Russell Group university says: “I don’t think they are thinking through the consequences of all this. If we face cuts of this size, some of the investment we would immediately have to cut would be on outreach.”

Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, says he has heard other universities saying they will have to cut widening participation budgets, but that this is a grave error. “If we threaten to cut the widening participation budget we threaten our students, our raison d’etre and our institutions.”

At present universities are required to invest 30% of all fee income over £6,000 to widening participation programmes.

SOURCE   

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Does the "Far Right" exist?

The so-called "Far Right" have Leftist beliefs

A video has just gone up in which I talk about the nature of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism was my major topic of study during my academic career.  I was at one stage in the video asked about the extreme Right and The answer that I gave is that it doesn't exist.  I thought I should explain that surprising statement more.

The Left are certain sure that the extreme Right exists.  If you listen to them, you would conclude that the Left is surrounded by Far Rightists. Just about everyone who disgrees with them is either of the "Far Right" or is a "White supremacist".

When I was first called a white supremacist many years ago, I was simply puzzled by that.  I had said nothing that expressed any belief in white supremacy so why was I being called that? I eventually realized, however, that it was simply a form of abuse with no real meaning -- a bit like SoB.

I in fact am and have long been a Northeast Asian supremacist.  I am a psychometrician so know the evidence that the people of N.E. Asia (China, Korea, Japan) are on average about half a standard deviation (which is a lot) smarter than people of European ancestry.  And given the very wide range of effects that IQ has, the N.E. Asians will by the end of this century be supreme in lots of ways.  China is within sight of that already.

But Leftism comes in various flavours with some being clearly more extreme than others so why is that not also true of conservatives? But can you be extreme about not doing things? How can not doing things be extreme? That seems almost self-contradictory. But there is one way conservatives can be and are extreme. You can be extreme about governments not doing things. And that is libertarianism -- rejection of just about everything that governments do. They think that all governments should do only a tiny fraction of what they currently do. So insofar as conservatives are ever extreme they are libertarians, which is the diametric opposite of authoritarianism.

The most loved and most influential conservative leader of the 20th century knew what conservatism was about, of course. He said: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism..... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom". And if Ronald Reagan did not know what conservatism was all about, who would?

When the Left use the term "Far Right", they are implicitly accepting the great lie that Nazism was in some sense Rightist, despite the fact that the Nazis called themselves socialists.  That big lie has in fact been the most durable bit of disinformation to come out of Sovetskaya Rossiya.  And is has been durable because postwar Leftists worldwide seized on it with gladsome hearts. So, to Leftists, "Far Right" means Nazi-like or at least racist.  And almost any mention of race or a natural community will get you called "Far Right".

So the 2017 events in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave a lot of Leftists erections:  There at last were some self-declared Rightists displaying KKK and Nazi symbols. But the KKK and the Nazis of history were Leftists so the extremists among the Charlotteville demonstrators were Leftists!  They were not Leftists in the modern sense but their views had their origin on the Left.

Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  As Mr Obama said to great cheers from his supporters, Leftists aim to "fundamentally transform" the society they live in.  But the rationales Leftists  use to justify their authoritarianism change over time. So the authoritarian nature of the KKK and the Nazis was part and parcel of their Leftism.  And the authoritarianism of all forms of Leftism is what conservatives oppose.

So why was the Charlottesville rally arranged under the banner of "Unite the Right"?  Before I address that, howeever, I think we initially need to make clear who was at that rally.

The great majority were Southerners who objected to the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the great Southern hero who did NOT own slaves.  The Southerners were there in memory of their struggle for independence against Yankee Fascism. And they could have remembered with some bitterness the treatment the South got even after the war during "Reconstruction" -- which was very authoritarian and corrupt. There were however a quite small number of KKK and neo-Nazi supporters also among the Southerners  and the media did their best to keep their cameras focused on them. So why did those few old fashioned Leftists regard themselves as Rightists?

I will now make a small detour to explain that.  I am an instinctive libertarian so in the 60s I was already interested in what later became the main focus of my psychological research:  Authoritarianism.  So I made a point of getting to know actual Communists and Nazis.  My findings about Nazism were sufficiently interesting to gain publication in Jewish journals.  See here  and here.  So I actually know both sides of the Charlottesville confrontation rather well.  The guys I got to know were from a different time and place but the events of Charlottesville seemed very familiar to me.  And the neo-Nazi guys I knew called themselves "The Right" too.

So why did they do that?  Modern-day Leftists oppose all forms of racial and group discussion but "The Right" did NOT see any discussions about groups or races as impermissible. They in fact thought it was obvious that there are important racial differences. They were antisemitic but that also put them at odds with today's official Leftism. So they concluded that they, as opponents of Leftism, must be Rightists.

But they were not.  I pointed out to them on a few occasions that Hitler described himself as a socialist so what did they make of that?  They said that he was saying we should all pull together to get things done -- which is indeed what Leftists from Hitler and Mussolini to Hillary Clinton have also said.  Clinton ran for President in the last election under the slogan "Stronger Together".  She even wrote a book under that title. Leftists want everyone to jump when they say jump.  And the whole point of the Roman Fasces was again strength in unity.  So the neo-Nazis really were Leftists but didn't know it.

That may seem absurd but the entire American Left seems absurd at the moment so there is ample room for confusion about what Leftists stand for.  What they stand for can change very rapidly.  Senator Obama opposed homosexual marriage rather eloquently but President Obama endorsed it.  Was he any less Leftist for that? Leftism can be very changeable.  What it is today can be very different tomorrow.  They all want to change the society they live in but that is the only uniformity.

And Hitler's form of Leftism -- eugenics etc -- was widely shared by Leftists throughout the world in the 1930s -- and by the American Left in particular.  Hitler in fact got some of his ideas from American eugenicists.  See here and here and here

And the Nazi belief that there are were some significant racial differences has once again emerged among modern Leftists.  The Nazis and their ilk were heavily focused on whites and so are modern Leftists.  There is much talk of white evil and white privilege -- and dead white males have to be erased from memory of course. It's as racist as can be but the modern Left has become totally suffused with hate so as long as you are doing a good job of hating you are pretty much OK.  Conservatives are generally not interested in race.  They just wish the Left would shut up talking about it.  Leftists are obsessed with group identity.  Conservatives are not.

And antisemitism is once again rife on the Left -- usually under the shallow pretence of Anti-Zionism but sometimes rather openly among the British Left. Leftists have been antisemitic ever since Karl Marx, who despised Jews even though he was one. Being antisemitic is no bar to "The Right" being in fact Leftist.

So the neo-Nazis are just behind the times.  They are old-fashioned Leftists, not modern Leftists.  "The Right" or "Far Right" as Leftists conceive it does not exist. All conservatives and all extreme conservatives are diametrically opposed to authoritarianism/Leftism both old and new.

I say more about neo-Nazis here and here -- JR


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'It's way too soft': Father-of-five who lost the family farm to the bank after drought slams royal commission report and demands the banks pay compensation to victims

I have experienced my share of idiocy from banks in my time so I am not the obvious person to defend banks but I do think there is a lack of perspective here.

When a bank makes a home loan it has to prophecy what your finances will be in 15 or 20 years.  That's rather heroic.  I would not lend anyone money under those circumstances.  So banks have to be very self-protective to stay in business at all.  With Australian farmers it is even worse.  Banks have to predict the WEATHER many years in advance.  Nobody can do that, not even the Greenies with their global warming religion.  It would be a reasonable view to say that banks should not lend to out-West farmers at all.  But they do.

The only protection they have for their funds is the value of the farm concerned.   So if the farmer has stopped making his payments it is normal commercial practice to seize the asset and sell it off.  But farmers feel mightily aggrieved when banks do that.  They seem to want the banks to be fairy godmothers who just keep on shelling out indefinitely regardless of whether the  bank has any prospect of getting its money back.

The real fault lies with the farmers -- with rural gamblers.  They know they are gambling on when rain will fall and want the banks to finance their gamble.

What the farmer should do after a bad year or two is to lock the farm gates and go and get a job.  No historic family farm would be "lost" if they did that.  The  farmer can come back when the rain falls again and plant a crop, make hay or agist his pastures.

In some cases he might be able to leave family on the property with a shotgun or two and just come home on the weekends.  There are a lot of workers who don't get to come home every night.  Members of the armed services may not see their families for months

There would be a case to protect farmers from themselves by banning farm lending altogether -- or at least make loan conditions a lot tougher and loans a lot less frequent.  As it is, all the recent bank bashing may achieve that anyway.  Why would a banker want to risk his reputation by lending to fools who will  turn on him when the rain stops?


A farmer who lost it all to the National Australia Bank after a drought has slammed the royal commission report as 'way too soft' and its proposals as 'twenty years too late'.

Father-of-five Bill Mott and his family lost their $22 million estate in Meanderra, in Queensland's Western Downs region, to the bank in 2014, following several poor seasons.

The crop and cattle farmer attended all but one of royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne's hearings and this week scoured the report in detail to see what Mr Hayne had to offer farmers. He walked away disappointed.

'It was way too soft and no where near deep enough so I'm very disappointed with the outcome,' Mr Mott said. 'I think I'm going to be even more disappointed with the way the government's going to deal with it.'

Criminal charges should have been laid and 'examples made', he said, calling for a 'wow, bang' approach rather than just 'bashing (bank executives) about the ears'.

He argued the commissioner, a former High Court justice, was 'not the right man for the job', as his appointment gave the inquiry too much of a legal focus.

Most importantly, he said the report was missing redress for victims of the financial services industry.

In his report, Mr Hayne made criminal and civil referrals for some financial entities, but they were not named, and no charges have been laid against executives.

Mr Hayne recommended three major measures to help farmers:

* the banking code should change so banks do not charge default interest on agricultural land loans during droughts or national disasters

* that banks only call in receivers or administrators for a distressed loan for a last resort, and

* the establishment of a national farm debt mediation scheme

WHAT IS DEFAULT INTEREST?

Default interest is the interest payable on amounts which are not paid when they are due. Mr Mott said he was 'buggered' by default interest after poor seasons on his farm, prior to losing the farm to the National Australia Bank.

Mr Mott said while the measures were no doubt a 'good thing', they were a 'no brainer' and twenty years too late.

The measures came after the commission was told stories of farmers who were hit with penalty interest for defaulting on their loans.

Mr Mott was himself 'buggered up' by default interest, paying a total of $1.5 million to the bank during his ordeal. 'It should be a no brainer (not to charge default interest during drought),' he said. 'When somebody gets into trouble how the hell are they going to get out of trouble if they keep flogging them?

'With farming, almost every case of default is when there is a natural disaster of some kind.

'Farmers are quite conservative people. They don't put themselves out there, but when things get really bad, you've got to spend money to make it.

He said the problem was, simply: 'Our banking system in this country does not adequately provide a service for rural farmers'.

Mr Mott's biggest disappointments were that there was 'nothing' to protect victims from the bank, and there was 'no redress', or compensation, for victims. 'There's nothing there to protect the victims against the bank,' Mr Mott said.

The National Australia Bank came in for particular criticism in Kenneth Hayne's royal commission report

'When you ultimately take out a bank loan, all the paperwork you sign, you sign away all your rights to that bank,' he said.

When somebody gets in to trouble, how are they going to go out if they keep getting flogged?

'If you default, whether the bank has done the wrong thing or you have done the wrong thing, if that goes to court you've already signed away all your rights before you even go to court.

Mr Mott said Mr Hayne did a good job, but the commission should have been run by a panel of eminent Australians, rather than just a former High Court judge

The government has supported the commission's recommendation to scrap default interest charges for farmers.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said this week: 'It's time that despicable practice ended full stop because I don't believe the rate the banks charge reflects the actual cost to them'.

The government has also pledged to set up a national scheme to help farmers seek mediation to work out a way for them to repay their loans where possible.

As for Mr Mott, he and his son live next to the farm they used to own. Perversely, it has thrived under new ownership, thanks to a few strong seasons, he said.

SOURCE

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There are none so blind as those who will not see: Amid fracking, Warmists are still running out of oil

The whole basis of the article below is that we are about to run out of oil. The Muslim Warmist below seems quite unabashed that that century-old prophecy never comes true and he has apparently not heard of the great boom in oil availability unleashed by fracking.  

And as for economic growth collapsing, has he not heard of America's great Trump-led economic boom?  The man is a moron. He is living in a little self-congratulatory world of his own. It is another article from the far-Left "Medium" site, which appears to specialize in reality-deprived prophecies of doom 

Although most of their articles are just Leftist boilerplate, an  amusing thing about the site is that many of their articles display a great sense of self-satisfaction -- as if they are revealing profound truths not generally known.  See below:




I have not reproduced the first half of the article below but if you read it you will find an epic sense of self-satisfaction


Nafeez Ahmed

The energy turning point is unequivocal. In the years preceding the historic Brexit referendum, and the marked resurgence of nationalist, populist and far-right movements across Europe, the entire continent has faced a quietly brewing energy crisis.

Europe is now a ‘post-peak oil’ continent. Currently, every single major oil producer in Western Europe is in decline. According to data from BP’s 2018 Statistical Review of Energy, Western European oil production peaked between 1996 and 2002. Since then, production had declined while net imports have gradually increased.

In a two-part study published in 2016 and 2017 in the Springer journal, BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality, Michael Dittmar, Senior Scientist at the ETH Zurich Institute for Particle Physics and CERN, developed a new empirical model of oil production and consumption.

The study provides perhaps one of the most empirically-robust models of oil production and consumption to date, but its forecast was sobering.

Noting that oil exports from Russia and former Soviet Union countries are set to decline, Dittmar found that Western Europe will find it difficult to replace these lost exports. As a result, “total consumption in Western Europe is predicted to be about 20 percent lower in 2020 than it was in 2015.”

The only region of the world where production will be stable for the next 15 to 20 years is the OPEC Middle East. Everywhere else, concludes Dittmar, production will decline by around 3 to 5 percent a year after 2020. And in some regions, this decline has already started.

Not everyone agrees that a steep decline in Russia’s oil production is imminent. Last year, the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies argued that Russian production could probably continue to grow out to at least 2020. How long it would last thereafter was unclear.

On the other hand, the Russian government’s own energy experts are worried. In September 2018, Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak warned that Russia’s oil production might peak within three years due to mounting production costs and taxes. In the ensuing two decades, Russia could lose almost half its current capacity. This sobering assessment is still broadly consistent with the Oxford study.

The following month, Dr Kent Moor of the Energy Capital Research Group, who has advised 27 governments around the world including the US and Russia, argued that Russia is scraping the bottom of the barrel in its prize Western Siberia basin.

Moor cited internal Russian Ministry of Energy reports from 2016 warning of a “Western Siberia rapid decline curve amounting to a loss of some 8.5 percent in volume by 2022. Some of this is already underway.” Although Russia is actively pursuing alternative strategies, wrote Moor, these are all “inordinately expensive”, and might produce only temporary results.

It’s not that the oil is running out. The oil is there in abundance — more than enough to fry the planet several times over. The challenge is that we are relying less on cheap crude oil and more on expensive, dirtier and unconventional fossil fuels. Energetically, this stuff is more challenging to get out and less potent after extraction than crude.

The bottom line is that as Europe’s domestic oil supplies slowly dwindle, there is no meaningful strategy to wean ourselves off abject dependence on Russia; the post-carbon transition is consistently too little, too late; and the impact on Europe’s economies — if business-as-usual continues — will continue to unravel the politics of the union.

While very few are talking about Europe’s slow-burn energy crisis, the reality is that as Europe’s own fossil fuel resources are inexorably declining, and as producers continue to face oil price volatility amidst persistently higher costs of production, Europe’s economy will suffer.

In September, I reported exclusively on the findings of an expert report commissioned by the scientific group working on the forthcoming UN’s Sustainability Report.

The report underscored that cheap energy flows are the lifeblood of economic growth: and that as we shift into an era of declining resource quality, we are likely to continue seeing slow, weak if not declining economic growth.

This is happening at a global scale. EROI is already beginning to approach levels seen in the nineteenth century — demonstrating how constrained global economic growth might be due to declining net energy returns to society.

SOURCE


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Green policies are wrecking Australia

Viv Forbes, writing below, is a farmer and a geologist.  He seems a bit weak on economics however.  Most of what he says below is well said but he should have been more circumspect about the prospect of recycling abundant coastal water into the dry interior.  It is a proposal that seems commonsense and so has been rumbling on for decades but all the studies tell us it would be a big boondoggle.

The cost of doing it would be large and the benefit small.  It would allow the growing of more crops and the raising of more cattle but most primary products have long been in worldwide glut.  As a farmer Viv should know that. Only the most efficient producers can make a buck selling primary products --- and even efficient farmers can go broke if they are not close to their markets. Transport is a large component of costs.

It was all shown unambiguously in the Ord experiment. They could grow anything there and did but they could not sell it. The Ord was reasonably close to the huge markets of Asia but Asians wanted to grow their own rice and other food, thank you very much. And they're pretty good at growing their own food. Because of its near equatorial position, nearby Java grows two crops of rice every year. All that the Ord grows now for export is sandalwood -- no food

There is an existing market for products from inland Australia -- when drought allows -- but increasing the volume produced would undoubtedly decrease prices, which would be pretty self-defeating  and could send ALL the inland farmers broke.  A good use of taxpayer funds?  Australia certainly needs more dams for both flood control and water supply -- but only to serve nearby big cities

There is even a lot of scope for barrages.  They are simple and cheap and should not arouse much in the way of Greenie objections.  The barrage on the Fitzroy does a good job of providing the city of Rockhamption with potable water.  A barrage on the Brisbane river just upstream of the port could be very useful.

It would be a better alternative to Brisbane's absurd and costly desalination plant.  From a Greenie viewpoint a desalination plant is part of the problem.  It uses heaps of electricity every time it is switched on.  A barrage just sits there


Water conservation peaked in Australia in 1972 – our last big dam was Wivenhoe in Queensland, built 35 years ago.

Elsewhere in Australia, water conservation virtually stopped when Don Dunstan halted the building of Chowilla Dam on the Murray in 1970 and Bob Brown's Greens halted the Franklin Dam in 1983 (and almost every other dam proposal since then).

The Darling River water management disaster shows that we now risk desperate water shortages because our population and water needs have more than doubled, and much of our stored water has been sold off or released to "the environment."

However, we regularly see floods of water being shed by the Great Dividing Range, most of it ending up in the Pacific Ocean, while to the west of that watershed there is severe drought.

Our ancestors had the prudence and the will to build great assets like the Tasmanian and Snowy hydro schemes, Lake Argyle, Fairbairn Dam, and the Perth to Kalgoorlie water pipeline.  What are we building for our children?

Politicians can pass laws or find money for games, stadiums, climate jamborees, study tours, gifts to foreigners, green energy toys, and useless giant batteries.  Canberra alone spends a billion dollars every day.

Our engineers know how to lay large pipelines over hundreds of miles to export natural gas and bore road and rail tunnels through mountains and under cities and harbors.

But we cannot find the funds or the courage to build a couple of dams on the rainy side of the Great Divide somewhere between the Ross River at Townsville and the Clarence River at Grafton and some pumps, tunnels and pipes to use and release it into the thirsty Darling River basin.

Someone is always cursing either droughts or floods.

We need to curse less and dam more.

SOURCE

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Children raised by same-sex couples do better in school, new study finds

Here we go again! Same old, same old crap. We read below:  "The researchers found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older, and more educated than the typical different-sex couple."  

So better educated children have better educated parents.  So what else is new?  We have known that for a long time. The finding says NOTHING about the family type

I would like to have had a closer look at the original study but it is so far only a conference poster so a lot of detail is missing.  They presented their data in correlational form and appeared to have removed some confounding variables by partial correlation.  They did not apparently  do a full set of partial correlations, it seems.  Since a modern partial correlation program does that systematically, the omission looks suspicious. If they had done a stepwise removal of ALL confounding variables, I am pretty sure that there would have been no main effect left.  Family type would NOT have predicted educational attainment.

The statistics they do provide do however have one very odd feature.  The income of same sex families with children was more than twice as high as the income of same sex couples without children!  That is weird.  What is going on there?  What is behind that difference? Why do Dutch homosexuals fall into such starkly different groups?  Are children a trophy for Dutch homosexuals?  If so, that could greatly influence their treatment and make generalizations to countries outside Nederland very shaky

So the most authoritative finding in the area remains the well-known paper by Doug Allen, who DID control for parental education and found a greatly reduced High School graduation rate among the children of homosexual families.  Allen's data came from the Canadian census


Children of same-sex couples perform better in school than youngsters raised by a mother and a father, according to new research from several European economists.

The researchers found that children raised by same-sex couples had higher test scores in elementary and secondary school and were about 7 percent more likely to graduate from high school than children raised by different-sex couples.

The study by economists Deni Mazrekaj, Kristof de Witte, and Sofie Cabus of Belgian university KU Leuven used government data tracking all children born in the Netherlands since 1995. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and has generally been one of the most supportive nations for same-sex couples.

"The results indicate that children from same-sex couples outperform children from different-sex couples on standardized test scores at the end of primary education by 0.18 standard deviations," the researchers wrote in their paper. "Our results suggest that children from same-sex couples are 6.7 percent more likely to graduate than children from different-sex couples."

What’s unique about this latest research is that it follows all children born in the Netherlands from 1995 to 2005. The data includes information about the child’s educational performance as well as data on the child’s parents and family income. Prior studies of the children of gay and lesbian parents have often had a small sample size of only a few dozen youngsters or have used US Census Bureau data, which is only a one-time snapshot.

In total, this latest study tracked 1,200 children raised by same-sex couples and more than 1 million children raised by different-sex couples.

The researchers found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older, and more educated than the typical different-sex couple. Same-sex couples often have to use expensive fertility treatments to have a child, meaning they are very motivated to become parents and tend to have a high level of wealth. This is likely to be a key reason their children perform well in school, the economists found.

"It is difficult for same-sex couples to obtain children, so they have to have a high socioeconomic status," said Mazrekaj, who presented the research at the American Economic Association conference in Atlanta in January. "Research shows that socio-economic status positively influences the school outcome of children."

When the economists controlled for income and wealth [not education??] , there were a much smaller gap between the test scores of children of same-sex parents and children of different-sex parents, although children of homosexual couples still had slightly higher scores.

Many prior studies have found no statistical difference in the educational performance or well-being of children from gay or lesbian couples, but this latest research was also able to control for the effects of divorce, which often has a negative impact on school performance and can skew results.

"Many children come into a same-sex family through divorce of a homosexual parent with a heterosexual partner and therefore did not grow up in a same-sex family," the economists wrote. "Divorce may exert an independent negative effect on school outcomes."

When the researchers looked specifically at children born and raised by same-sex couples, they saw the higher educational performance vs. heterosexual couples. The data from the Netherlands echo an [equally crappy] 2014 study from Australia that found children of same-sex couples are generally happier and healthier than their peers, possibly because gay and lesbian couples share parenting and home work more equally.

What a joke!  You just have to see the title of the 2014 study to see what a crock it is:

Crouch S, Waters E, McNair R, Power J, and Davis E (2014) Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health 14:635

The data was PARENT REPORTED.  In other words homosexuals SAID their kids were better off.  But they would, wouldn't they?  One wonders why anyone would bother to do such inconclusive research.  They obviously have a great need for affirmation

SOURCE



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PR boss says parents are lazy and don't teach children respect or discipline

She is obviously right that parents are confused about what values to teach their children -- now that the Leftist dogma "there is no such thing as Right and Wrong" prevails. But the Left do not at all apply that dogma to their own beliefs.  They just use it to discredit non-Leftist values. And they go on to teach their values in the schools.

But the transfer of value education to the schools is fundamentally wrong. Take the trendy belief that physical punishment such as spanking is wrong and harmful. The evidence for that is very poor -- with only extremes of it being demonstrably harmful.

And the prevalence of that false belief has had a huge impact. Discipline in many school classrooms has collapsed, with unruly children ruining the education of  their classmates.  When the Biblical injunction "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) was the prevaling influence, classes were much more orderly and most kids actually learned something.  In some places these days you have High School graduates who can barely read and write

So schools cannot at all be entrusted with values education and should not be entrusted with it.  They should confine themselves to teaching academic subjects -- literacy, numeracy, history, geography, sciences, languages etc.

And under those circumstances many parents would step up to give their children moral and ethical guidance


Controversial commentator Prue MacSween has labelled the young student who was dragged along the concrete by his principal on the first day of school 'a little smart a** kid'.

Footage quickly went viral on Thursday of Steve Warner, principal of Manor Lakes school in Wyndham Vale, Melbourne, pulling the boy, 9, by one arm.

MacSween took to Channel Nine's Today Show on Saturday to defend the 'poor principal' as she highlighted the so-called problem of 'lazy parenting' across Australia.

MacSween quickly got fired up when discussing the idea that schools could introduce courses for parents to boost their skills in order to help children.

'Our biggest problem is that there is an erosion in our society of people who have respect and who have discipline, and we have these cotton-wool kids,' the PR boss said.

'We have a situation where we have parents who are totally inept, they're lazy.'

MacSween said parents don't have any idea what their responsibilities are, and instead lean on their children's teachers.

'We have bred a generation of people who just want it all, who don't want to work hard for it - pay their dues,' MacSween said.

The outspoken commentator said the younger generation had been failed by poor parenting, with 'yummy mummies' who care more about making it to Pilates rather than how their children behave at school'.

'We saw that yesterday with that poor principal having to drag that little smart a** kid and had to contend with the parents to explain himself,' she said.

'Why are people having children who shouldn't be bloody parenting? Buy a cat, buy a dog, don't have bloody kids!'

False rumours from students and parents at the P-12 school have circulated on social media, claiming the boy kicked a pregnant teacher in the stomach.

However, the boy's sister Bianca Moore rubbished such claims, saying he kicked a trolley during a 'tantrum' on his first day at his new school.

'He suffers from ADHD and anxiety and obviously starting at a new school has upset him, he was having a tantrum,' she said.

SOURCE


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American Academy of Pediatrics Says No More Spanking or Harsh Verbal Discipline

Many of the major medical journals have come to resemble the global warming literature, with its low level of scholarship and determination to push an ideological agenda.  It is quite depressing.  Anyway, the latest heap of crap is below.  I follow the official pronunciamento with the abstract of the only study they refer to in support of their claims. So I will confine my comments to that study.

The study is a typical Leftist bit of over-simplification that totally ignores individual differences.  All men are equal so everybody must have the same disciplinary regime, apparently.  The idea that what works for one kid may not work for another cannot be entertained. My father never laid a hand on me and I never laid a hand on my son but that doesn't persuade me into thinking that you can bring up all kids that way.  Some kids really "try it on" and need some sort of physical discipline to enforce guidelines. I remember a dear little boy who was a real horror in his very permissive home but who was always an angel at my place because I once twisted his ear.

Just talking to defiant kids they despise. They think you are weak.   Without discipline they will almost certainly go into some sort of crime later on in life.  The little boy I mentioned above had a very rough teenagerhood but he eventually learned to follow the rules and is now doing very well. Luckily he was quite bright.

So the averages may be as reported below but what was behind the averages is far more important.  Clearly, some kids received discipline but still came out OK but we are told nothing about them.

Moreover, it was only the father’s high-frequency spanking at age 5 that was associated with less desirable outcomes.  What about lower frequency spanking?  That was apparently OK.  So, if you read the details in the article, spanking seems to be no problem.  It is only "high frequency" spanking that should be deplored.  What a laugh!  As is so often the case in science, the authors concluded what they wanted to conclude -- rather than what their results show.  I saw that frequently in my research career.


The largest professional organization for US pediatricians is taking a strict stance against parents, caregivers, and other adults using spanking, hitting, or slapping to discipline children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released an updated policy statement on corporal punishment—the first major revise since 1998—based on accumulating evidence that physical punishments don’t work in the long-term and could even cause unintended harms. The policy also recommends against verbal discipline that causes shame or humiliation.

Robert Sege, MD, PhD, the policy’s coauthor and a pediatrician at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, recently spoke with JAMA about the AAP’s position on corporal punishment and how physicians can help parents discipline more safely and effectively. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

JAMA:What’s the AAP’s new policy on corporal punishment?

Dr Sege:First, parents should not use corporal punishment, including hitting and spanking, either in anger or as punishment. And, also, they shouldn’t use verbal punishment that causes shame or humiliation.

JAMA:What’s different about this policy statement?

Dr Sege:The 1998 statement discouraged parents from spanking their children and suggested that pediatricians help parents not to spank their children, but it was a little wishy-washy. What’s happened in the 20 years since then is that the data has really been overwhelming about how corporal punishment is ineffective and how it’s potentially risky. Parenting is a very personal thing and, of course, parents make their own decisions about how they want to raise their children. Our feeling at the American Academy of Pediatrics is that the role of doctors is to give parents the best evidence-informed guidance that we possibly can with which to make their decisions. And all of what we know says parents should never hit their children.

JAMA:What do recent studies tell us about the effectiveness of spanking and other physical discipline?

Dr Sege:A meta-analysis of a large number of studies showed that corporal punishment doesn’t work. It doesn’t cause children to change their own behavior, certainly not in the medium- or long-term. There were small studies that had mediocre study quality that showed that there’s a temporary change in a child’s behavior. But, of course, what parents want is to change the children’s behavior over the longer-term.

JAMA:What do we know about the consequences of corporal punishment on children?

Dr Sege:There are 3 main kinds of consequences. The first is that it increases their aggressive behavior and causes them more problems in school and with their parents. In the largest study of its kind—a longitudinal study that followed children over several years—children who were spanked had more problematic and aggressive behavior [later]. Corporal punishment often led to a vicious cycle, where the children became more oppositional as they experienced corporal punishment, causing their behavior to get worse. [The association between spanking and higher levels of aggression and rule-breaking remained after child and family characteristics were controlled for, including earlier behavior problems and mother’s parenting stress.]


Spanking and Child Development Across the First Decade of Life

Michael J. MacKenzie et al.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of maternal and paternal spanking of children at 3 and 5 years of age and the associations between spanking and children’s externalizing behavior and receptive vocabulary through age 9.

METHODS: The Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study of children in 20 medium to large US cities, was used. Parental reports of spanking were assessed at age 3 and 5, along with child externalizing behavior and receptive vocabulary at age 9 (N = 1933). The data set also included an extensive set of child and family controls (including earlier measures of the child outcomes).

RESULTS: Overall, 57% of mothers and 40% of fathers engaged in spanking when children were age 3, and 52% of mothers and 33% of fathers engaged in spanking at age 5. Maternal spanking at age 5, even at low levels, was associated with higher levels of child externalizing behavior at age 9, even after an array of risks and earlier child behavior were controlled for. Father’s high-frequency spanking at age 5 was associated with lower child receptive vocabulary scores at age 9.

CONCLUSIONS: Spanking remains a typical rearing experience for American children. These results demonstrate negative effects of spanking on child behavioral and cognitive development in a longitudinal sample from birth through 9 years of age.




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Slimy Labor Party claim

The stuff below sounds half reasonable until you realize it is founded on a lie.  Truth and the Left always have a very strained relationship.  The lie is: 

"Why are we the only country in the world who will let people claim an income tax refund when they've paid no income tax in that year?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

But the people concerned HAVE paid tax in the year concerned.  The companies they are invested in have paid tax on their behalf. But they were not liable for tax so the money should be refunded.  The money concerned is a REFUND, not a gift.

And the Labor policy will hit mainly the little guy.  I have a substantial share portfolio so I WILL get the refund.  I will get it as a credit against tax otherwise owed, not in cash.  It is only cash refunds to smaller investors that will be hit.

So why is Labor hitting the little guy whom they allegedly defend?

It's because being a share investor is a pretty strong indicator of not voting Labor.  They are happy to hurt a lot of little guys if it will punish some people who don't vote for them.  Nasty!


Australia will no longer be the only country in the world to give cash handouts to share investors who don't pay tax if Labor wins the next federal election.

Bill Shorten is sticking with his promise to end the lucrative dividend imputation scheme, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison ramping up his public attacks.

The scheme transfers tax revenue from regular taxpayers and gives it to share investors who have not paid any tax. Australia is the only country in the world to do it.

"Don't believe the lies that say pensioners are immune from it. Pensioners are hit by this as well. Small business owners are hit by this pernicious attack as well," Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday. "It's not reform, it's a raid."

Labor has already promised to exempt pensioners from the scheme, but Mr Shorten isn't backing away from the change, which will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.

"Why are we the only country in the world who will let people claim an income tax refund when they've paid no income tax in that year?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

"Why do we want to be a country who will spend more on tax concessions and tax subsidies to some people who are already quite comfortable and well off ... than we will on higher education or childcare?"

The scheme cost $550 million in 2001 but is soon to rise to $8 billion a year. Labor is counting on the change to help pay for its election promises.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton called the dividend imputation change a "retiree tax" in an appeal to older voters, but Mr Shorten said older voters didn't just care about share investing.

SOURCE

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As MLK foresaw, racism in America has been largely overcome

I think Jeff Jacoby is a bit optimistic below.  It is undoubted that whites have been persuaded that they should treat blacks as equals -- or at least say they do -- but America's major racial problems -- stratospheric black crimes of violence and heavy black welfare dependence -- remain.  No American can be unaware of that but they can be persuaded not to mention it.

Jeff is mainly going by what people say but psychologists have long been aware that what people say is a poor guide to action -- particularly in racial matters.  So white flight goes on.  A few brave whites are enticed by low prices to move into the margins of black ghettoes but the ghettoes remain. Racial segregation is not much less than it was in the old South

I note that claims of interracial marriage tend to be overstated.  The high rate of intermarriage between whites and Asians tends to get lumped into that.  And gold-digging white women who partner with rich black men are not much of an examplar for anyone

I am aware that my occasional mention of racial issues puts this blog at some risk of being cancelled by Google -- who host it.  The fact that I have extensive academic publications on such matters, combined with the fact that even here I tend to write in a scholarly way, seems so far to have protected me.  Leftist censorship of all conservative writing has however been ratcheting up lately so this blog is clearly not safe

If POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH is wiped out, however, I will simply host it elsewhere -- probably here -- and my various home pages will also tell you where the new blog is located


"I HAVE NO DESPAIR about the future," wrote the Rev. Martin Luther King in his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in April 1963. "I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham.... We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom."

He was right.

It is a commonplace that racism is America's original sin. Hardly a day goes by without attention being focused on instances of the racial injustice, friction, and double standards that can still be found in this nation. Open the morning paper or watch cable news, and there will be something to remind you of the country's racial tensions — from controversy over flying the Confederate flag to NFL players protesting police brutality, from anti-black taunts at high school football games to the anti-white tweets of a New York Times editorialist, from accusations of voter suppression in Georgia to an Iowa congressman defending "white nationalism." It isn't surprising that when Americans are asked in opinion polls whether race relations are getting better, many of them — sometimes most of them — gloomily reply that racism is still a major problem.

But it isn't. It is only a minor problem now, one that has grown steadily less toxic and less entrenched. King predicted confidently that America would surmount its benighted racial past and his confidence was not misplaced. Though his own life was cut short by a racist assassin, he foresaw that racism would lose its grip on American life.

"We've got some difficult days ahead, but ... I've been to the mountaintop," King said in his final speech. "I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land." He knew that American racism would wither away. Fifty-one years later, it mostly has.

Consider some of the data on changing American values.

In 1958, 48 percent of white Americans polled by Gallup said that "if colored people came to live next door," they would be likely to move. By 1978, only 13 percent still said that; by 1997, the proportion had fallen to 1 percent.

That dramatic metamorphosis in American attitudes shows up as well in the World Values Survey. When researchers in 59 countries asked residents how they would feel about having neighbors of a different race, Americans turned out to be among the least racist people in the world. The United States ranked 47th out of 59 countries surveyed, making it more racially accepting than Japan, Mexico, Germany, South Korea, and the Netherlands, among others.

That's only one measure of racism's profound decline. Friendship is another.

In 1964, a mere 18 percent of white Americans claimed to have a friend who was black. Four decades later, Gallup found that the proportion of interracial friendships had more than quadrupled: 82 percent of whites said they had close nonwhite friends (and 88 percent of blacks reported having close friends who were not black). Perhaps some white respondents were fibbing to appear more enlightened. But as commentator Jonah Goldberg observes, "the mere fact that they wanted others to believe they had a black friend is a kind of progress."

It isn't only American friendships that straddle the color line. American families do too.

In King's day, the vast majority of Americans disapproved of marriages between whites and nonwhites. Today the opposite is true: Nearly 90 percent of the public approves of interracial marriage. In 1967, just 3 percent of couples tying the knot were of different races, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2015, 17 percent of all US newlyweds — one of every six — had married someone of another color. Naturally, the number of multiracial American children has soared in recent years as well.

When King was assassinated, tens of millions of Americans would have put the prospect of a black US president in the realm of sheer fantasy. In fact, the election of the first black president was just a few decades away. And when Barack Obama in 2008 won the White House, it was with a greater share of the white vote than six of the previous seven Democratic nominees. White racism, once such a powerful force in US electoral politics, had shrunk to puny insignificance.

In December 2014 — in the aftermath of the Ferguson riots, the killing of Trayvon Martin, and other racial flashpoints — an interviewer asked Obama if the United States was growing more racially divided. The president rejected the premise of the question. "No, I actually think that it's probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided," Obama said. A few disturbing events had "gotten a lot of attention," he acknowledged, but "I think that's good. I think it ... points to our ability to solve these problems."

None of this is to claim that racial ugliness has vanished outright, or that racial concerns can be safely ignored. It is to claim that despite the occasional eruption of racist hatred or cruelty, and despite the coarse racial crudeness of the incumbent president, the American people are far removed from the bigots of yesteryear. In less than two generations, the United States transformed itself from a largely racist society to a largely non-racist one. "We shall overcome," King and the civil rights heroes vowed. Inspired by their courage, uplifted by their moral leadership, Americans did just that.

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Children raised by same-sex couples do better in school, new study finds

Here we go again! Same old, same old crap. We read below:  "The researchers found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older, and more educated than the typical different-sex couple."  

So better educated children have better educated parents.  So what else is new?  We have known that for a long time. The finding says NOTHING about the family type

I would like to have had a closer look at the original study but it is so far only a conference poster so a lot of detail is missing.  They presented their data in correlational form and appeared to have removed some confounding variables by partial correlation.  They did not apparently  do a full set of partial correlations, it seems.  Since a modern partial correlation program does that systematically, the omission looks suspicious. If they had done a stepwise removal of ALL confounding variables, I am pretty sure that there would have been no main effect left.  Family type would NOT have predicted educational attainment.

The statistics they do provide do however have one very odd feature.  The income of same sex families with children was more than twice as high as the income of same sex couples without children!  That is weird.  What is going on there?  What is behind that difference? Why do Dutch homosexuals fall into such starkly different groups?  Are children a trophy for Dutch homosexuals?  If so, that could greatly influence their treatment and make generalizations to countries outside Nederland very shaky

So the most authoritative finding in the area remains the well-known paper by Doug Allen, who DID control for parental education and found a greatly reduced High School graduation rate among the children of homosexual families. Allen's data came from the Canadian census



Children of same-sex couples perform better in school than youngsters raised by a mother and a father, according to new research from several European economists.

The researchers found that children raised by same-sex couples had higher test scores in elementary and secondary school and were about 7 percent more likely to graduate from high school than children raised by different-sex couples.

The study by economists Deni Mazrekaj, Kristof de Witte, and Sofie Cabus of Belgian university KU Leuven used government data tracking all children born in the Netherlands since 1995. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and has generally been one of the most supportive nations for same-sex couples.

‘‘The results indicate that children from same-sex couples outperform children from different-sex couples on standardized test scores at the end of primary education by 0.18 standard deviations,’’ the researchers wrote in their paper. ‘‘Our results suggest that children from same-sex couples are 6.7 percent more likely to graduate than children from different-sex couples.’’

What’s unique about this latest research is that it follows all children born in the Netherlands from 1995 to 2005. The data includes information about the child’s educational performance as well as data on the child’s parents and family income. Prior studies of the children of gay and lesbian parents have often had a small sample size of only a few dozen youngsters or have used US Census Bureau data, which is only a one-time snapshot.

In total, this latest study tracked 1,200 children raised by same-sex couples and more than 1 million children raised by different-sex couples.

The researchers found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older, and more educated than the typical different-sex couple. Same-sex couples often have to use expensive fertility treatments to have a child, meaning they are very motivated to become parents and tend to have a high level of wealth. This is likely to be a key reason their children perform well in school, the economists found.

‘‘It is difficult for same-sex couples to obtain children, so they have to have a high socioeconomic status,’’ said Mazrekaj, who presented the research at the American Economic Association conference in Atlanta in January. ‘‘Research shows that socio-economic status positively influences the school outcome of children.’’

When the economists controlled for income and wealth [not education??] , there were a much smaller gap between the test scores of children of same-sex parents and children of different-sex parents, although children of homosexual couples still had slightly higher scores.

Many prior studies have found no statistical difference in the educational performance or well-being of children from gay or lesbian couples, but this latest research was also able to control for the effects of divorce, which often has a negative impact on school performance and can skew results.

‘‘Many children come into a same-sex family through divorce of a homosexual parent with a heterosexual partner and therefore did not grow up in a same-sex family,’’ the economists wrote. ‘‘Divorce may exert an independent negative effect on school outcomes.’’

When the researchers looked specifically at children born and raised by same-sex couples, they saw the higher educational performance vs. heterosexual couples. The data from the Netherlands echo an [equally crappy] 2014 study from Australia that found children of same-sex couples are generally happier and healthier than their peers, possibly because gay and lesbian couples share parenting and home work more equally.

What a joke!  You just have to see the title of the 2014 study to see what a crock it is:

Crouch S, Waters E, McNair R, Power J, and Davis E (2014) Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health 14:635

The data was PARENT REPORTED.  In other words homosexuals SAID their kids were better off.  But they would, wouldn't they?  One wonders why anyone would bother to do such inconclusive research.  They obviously have a great need for affirmation
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Who has more compassion, Democrats or Republicans?



Meri T. Long is a junior academic at the University of Pittsburgh whose research interest is compassion --  so her conclusions are of more than usual interest.  Her conclusion that liberals and conservatives are equally compassionate in their personal values is certainly not what you would expect from Democrat rhetoric.

She notes however that voters react to the rhetoric of their party leaders. A lot of talk about compassion leads followers to express more support for policies their party leaders say is compassionate.  So that does rather explain why Republicans are sometimes seen as less compassionate. They are not in fact less compassionate in themselves but are seen as that by supporting rhetoric from conservative leaders which rejects claims that Leftist policies (such as the very problematical Obamacare) have compassionate outcomes

A major caveat to her findings, however is that she seems to study attitudes only.  That is easy to do but there is a long-known and wide gap between attitudes and behavior.  And on the behavioral front it is always found that conservatives are the big charitable donors.  If deeds count, it is conservatives who are most compassionate


It’s a common refrain of American voters: How can your party be so heartless?

Democrats want to know how Republicans can support President Donald Trump’s policy of separating babies from refugee families. Republicans want to know how Democrats can sanction abortion. But does either party really care more about compassion?

In my research into the public’s support for a variety of government policies, I ask questions about how compassionate someone is, such as how concerned he or she is about others in need.

These questions are integral to understanding how people feel about who in America deserves government support.

Some people are more compassionate than others. But that doesn’t break simply along party lines.

I find that Democratic and Republican Party voters are similar, on average, thus busting up the cliche of bleeding-heart liberals and uncaring conservatives.

Then there are Trump voters.

Compassion is defined by many psychology researchers as concern for others in need and a desire to see others’ welfare improved.

The similarity in compassion among voters of both parties contrasts with other measures of personality and worldview that increasingly divide Republicans and Democrats, such as values about race and morality.

Republicans are not less compassionate than Democrats, but my research also shows that there is a stark divide between parties in how relevant an individual’s compassion is to his or her politics.

Public opinion surveys show that you can predict what kind of policies a more compassionate person would like, such as more government assistance for the poor or opposition to the death penalty.

But for most political issues, the conclusion for Republicans is that their compassion does not predict what policies they favor. Support for more government assistance to the poor or sick, or opinions about the death penalty, for example, are unrelated to how compassionate a Republican voter is.

In my work, I find that the primary policy area where compassion is consistently correlated to specific policies for conservatives is abortion, where more compassionate conservatives are more likely to say they are pro-life.

When Democratic voters say they are compassionate, you can predict their views on policies.

They’re more supportive of immigration, in favor of social services to the poor and opposed to capital punishment.

Yet, while Democrats may be more likely to vote with their heart, there isn’t evidence that they’re more compassionate than Republicans in their daily lives.

When it comes to volunteering or donating money, for example, compassion works the same way for Republicans and Democrats: More compassionate voters of either party donate and volunteer more.

My research suggests that voter attitudes about the role of compassion in politics are shaped not only by personal philosophy, but by party leaders.

Political speeches by Republican and Democratic leaders vary in the amount of compassionate language they use.

For instance, political leaders can draw attention to the needs of others in their campaign speeches and speeches on the House or Senate floor. They may talk about the need to care for certain people in need or implore people to “have a heart” for the plight of others. Often, leaders allude to the deserving nature of the recipients of government help, outlining how circumstances are beyond their control.

Democratic politicians use compassionate rhetoric much more often than their Republican counterparts and for many more groups in American society than Republican leaders do.

Do citizens respond to such rhetoric differently depending on what party they affiliate with?

When their leaders use compassionate political language, such as drawing attention to other people’s suffering and unmet needs as well as the worthiness of the groups in need, Republicans in experiments are actually moved to be more welcoming to immigrants and to support state help for the disabled.

This explains how Republican voters responded positively to Republican Sen. Robert Dole’s campaign for the rights of the disabled in 1989. It also explains the success of presidential candidate George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” in 2000, which one Washington Post columnist wrote “won George W. Bush the White House in 2000.”

It also suggests that it’s not necessarily the public, but the party leaders, who differ so significantly in how relevant they believe compassion should be to politics.

Despite political rhetoric that places them at opposite ends of the spectrum, Republican and Democratic voters appear to be similarly compassionate.

Democrats view compassion as a political value while Republicans will integrate compassion into their politics when their leaders make it part of an explicit message.

There is a caveat to this: I asked these survey questions about personal feelings of compassion in a 2016 online survey that also asked about choice of president.

The survey was conducted a few days after Republican presidential primary candidates Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio had dropped out of the race, making Donald Trump the only viable Republican candidate for the nomination.

In their responses to the survey, a large percentage of Republican voters said they would rather vote for someone other than Trump, even though he was the unofficial nominee at that point.

The Republican voters who didn’t support Trump were similar to Democrats on the survey with respect to their answers about compassion. Their average scores on the compassion items were the same. This is in line with the other survey data showing that liberals and conservatives, and Republicans and Democrats, are largely similar in these personality measures of compassion.

But Trump supporters’ answers were not in line with these findings.

Instead, their average responses to the broad compassion questions were significantly lower. These answers showed that Trump supporters were lower in personal compassion.

While a lot of the Republican voters in the sample may well have gone on to support Trump in the general election, the survey respondents who were early adopters of candidate Trump might continue to be his most steadfast supporters today.

We know that public officials’ rhetoric can influence public opinion on political issues. This leads to another important question: Can political messages influence how much people value compassion more generally? Or even how compassionate people consider themselves to be?

The research indicates that appeals to compassion — if made by trusted leaders — should work for voters of both parties.

But it also indicates that if such messages are absent, compassion is less likely to be seen as important in politics and the positions people and parties take.

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