-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Alt-Right: Are Racists Mentally Ill? Some Psychiatrists Say Yes
The article below isn't too bad, considering that it is written from a Leftist perspective.
There was in the '50s a big push (mentioned below) among psychologists, led by the Marxist Theodor Adorno, to brand ALL conservatives and racists as mentally defective. That was very poorly founded so eventually ran its course and, by 1965, Roger Brown's textbook "Social psychology" declared ethnic favoritism to be universal and ineradicable. That view seems to be held by the majority of psychologists and psychiatrists to this day and that has obviously frustrated some of the Left-wing activists below.
The innovation in the article below is that not all conservatives and people with racial views are in the gun. It is only extremists who are mentally suspect. So it is interesting to read that the psychiatrists have knocked back that theory too.
The scores of people carrying flaming torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us” last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, bore the message of the “alt-right,” the name given to the white supremacist movement dedicated to eradicating religious and ethnic minorities from America. This racist uprising will be followed by at least nine rallies this weekend—ostensibly dedicated to free speech but sure to broadcast messages of hate—across the U.S., held by members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other groups.
Many find the sight of hundreds of racists chanting their intentions for a so-called "ethno-state" and the forceful removal from America of anyone who isn't white horrific. But others—namely, some psychiatrists—see these individuals as mentally ill. Which leads to a disturbing question: Are we seeing the emergence of a nationalist movement fueled by prejudice or a widespread personality disorder that requires psychiatric care? Answering that dredges up long-held notions about racism in America.
In the 1960s, Alvin Poussaint, now a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, was providing medical and psychological care to civil rights activists in Jackson, Mississippi. As a black psychiatrist in the South, he often feared for his life. He witnessed many acts of violence, cared for victims of racist acts and had frequent run-ins with state troopers. Once, when he told an aggressive police officer that he was a doctor, the officer continued to call him “boy” with a hand on the gun in his holster. “I saw the malignancy of the racism much more clearly, and the genocidal element of the extreme racism where they wanted to kill you,” Poussaint tells Newsweek.
He wondered if that hatred was an actual sickness that could be diagnosed and potentially treated. When he was in his early 30s, and a prominent psychiatrist at Tufts Medical School, Poussaint and several other black psychiatrists approached the American Psychiatric Association (APA) with the idea that extreme racism wasn’t just a social problem or a cultural issue. To these professionals, extreme racism—the kind that leads to violence—was a mental illness.
Poussaint and his colleagues wanted the APA to include extreme racism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a “delusional disorder.” The DSM is the definitive guideline used by mental health clinicians to diagnose patients.
The DSM is not infallible. Over the years, it has provided insights into the country’s ever-changing values and belief systems. Homosexuality, for example, wasn’t completely omitted from the DSM until the late 1980s. The APA now has a new system for continuous updates, but last time the APA revised the DSM (in 2013) they declined the request by a group of psychiatrists to add pornography and sex addiction to the index. For psychiatrists updating the guide—a process that in the past might take more than a decade—doing so means wrestling with the very nature of humanity, what is normal and abnormal when it comes to behavior and beliefs.
Poussaint wasn’t arguing about the relatively milder beliefs that cause a person to stereotype and classify groups of people negatively. Rather, he and the other psychiatrists were addressing the kind of racism that leads to violent behavior, like killing and injuring people by driving a car into a crowd, as happened in Charlottesville. That extreme form of racism, said Poussaint, could reasonably be classified as paranoid and delusional.
The APA was unreceptive. “There was a lot of resistance to the idea,” he says. The problem, Poussaint explains, was that those in charge saw racism as too ubiquitous to diagnose. “They felt racism was so embedded in culture, that it was almost normative, that you had to deal with all the cultural factors that lead to this behavior,”
Members of the APA also argued that the extreme racism is a mental illness claim lacked hard science. That objection was weak, says Poussaint, because many mental health diagnoses listed in the DSM don't have a solid scientific premise, including personality disorders. Some APA members said classifying extreme racism as an illness would excuse terrible beliefs and reprehensible behavior.
But Poussaint wasn’t interested in excusing or stigmatizing behavior; he wanted to help people he believed were sick. Inclusion in the DSM, he insisted, could allow individuals suffering from extreme racism to access services such as state-mandated psychiatric counseling, and therefore benefit society because, “it could protect people they might otherwise attack.”
Poussaint still believes extreme racism is a form of paranoia and should be treated that way. In therapy, a psychiatrist would help the patient understand the origins of their racism. “Like any psychotherapy or treatment you would try to tie it all together,” he says. “Other psychiatrists have testified and acknowledged such individuals may improve from treatment when they come to understand these beliefs and why they are projecting them onto other people and acting out.”
Racism as a Symptom
The question of whether extreme racism is a mental illness still haunts psychiatry. About 15 years ago, Carl Bell, a psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital Family Medicine Clinic and professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Medicine, resurrected Poussaint’s attempt to convince the APA to classify racism as a mental disorder. But Bell tried a different tack from Poussaint. He viewed extreme racism as a type of pathological bias that signaled an underlying personality disorder.
Bell proposed adding pathological bias to the DSM as a trait of personality disorder. With that addition, extreme bigotry would be a major criterion for the diagnosis. The broad term could also apply to individuals who direct violence and hatred toward other groups, such as gays or women.
But again, the APA said no. “When I raised this issue for the personality disorders working group they shut me down,” says Bell, “they were like, ‘Hell, no.’” As in decades past, the APA justified their objection on the grounds that racism is and always has been entrenched in society.
“The difficulty is that if you are in a racist society, how do you tease that out from biology or personality?” says Bell, who could not even convince the APA to study why racist thoughts and action manifest in some people during manic episodes.
The Association did finally issue a statement in 2006 acknowledging that some psychiatric factors cause a person to become racist, although “further research would be needed to explore this hypothesis.” The group also noted that racist beliefs and behavior often cause depression and psychiatric illness in people who are subject to them. In a statement provided to Newsweek about its approach to prejudice-based violence, Saul Levin, CEO and Medical Director of the APA, said, "The APA has a longstanding policy noting the negative impact of racism on mental health. APA policy supports public education efforts and research on racism and its adverse impact on mental health."
Bell and other experts continue to view some instances of racism as a symptom of other disorders. Racist thoughts and actions are often a manifestation of some other established and diagnosable mental disorder, says Bell. People with narcissistic personality disorder—a mental condition many experts have claimed Trump has —often have fixed values rooted in racism. Dylann Roof, the teen white supremacist convicted of killing nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, had been diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder. People with conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often experience extreme paranoia related to race or ethnicity, though not always violence.
There is also evidence that most of us harbor prejudices, leading some experts to believe we are hardwired to discriminate in some fashion (though not specifically against others). The Implicit Association test (IAT), a tool used to understand the roots and extent of bias, measures impulses of subconscious racism—for example, whether we associate certain types of people with negative or positive feelings. The test, which was developed by social psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington more than two decades ago, has been taken by more than 17 million people. The results show that at least 90 percent of Americans are at least slightly biased against people unlike themselves. Psychologists remain split on where to draw the line, though. Some say discrimination requires a diagnosis when thoughts become actions. But others doubt whether acting on racist beliefs warrants a label of its own.
This Is Not Normal
The fact that many people who act on extreme racist beliefs lead high-functioning lives may also stand in the way of labeling this demographic as mentally ill. In the early 1960s, Jewish author and journalist Hannah Arendt covered the trials of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker. She was shocked that “half a dozen psychiatrists had certified Eichmann as ‘normal,’” despite the fact that he orchestrated the mass murder of millions of Jews. One psychiatrist described his familial relationships as not just normal but desirable.
In the decades following the Holocaust, the idea that someone who commits crimes against racial and ethnic minorities could still be considered sane by psychiatrists was unsettling, says James M. Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi. “Many people turned to the explanation that there must be something wrong with the German psyche to have allowed this to happen.”
Social scientists knew that creating a clinical definition was critical. They understood that stigmatizing extreme racism could help society wake up to the abnormality of this pathology, and possibly prevent other genocidal acts. Three psychologists [There were actually four -- Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson & Sanford] devised the California F-scale —F stands for fascist—a test used to evaluate a person for “authoritarian personality type.” They thought understanding how people were seduced by Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric could help prevent future such movements. Although the F-scale fell out of favor, it enabled psychologists to identify common traits of people who cling to dangerous ideologies. They included an inflexible outlook, strong allegiance to leadership, a tendency to scapegoat others and a willingness to lash out in anger and violence.
Sander Gilman, who teaches psychiatry at Emory University, and co-authored with Thomas the book Are Racists Crazy?, agrees that dangerous racists leading seemingly normal lives are hard to identify. “Racists, sadly, cope quite well with daily life,” says Gilman. “They have a take on the way the world should be, and that take functions in the world they live.”
Gilman does not favor a standalone diagnosis of extreme racism, and believes that attempts to categorize such people as mentally ill masks the greater problem of society allowing them to commit vengeful acts. “Those people are evil. They’ve made bad choices, but they’re not choices you can then attribute to mental illness,” says Gilman. “The minute you do that you let people off the hook.”
Business management studies
There are legions of earnest young Chinese students all over the Western world enrolled in university business management degrees. The poor darlings evidently think that we have something useful to teach them on that subject. Or maybe they will be happy that other people will think they have learnt something useful by doing such courses.
I have been successful in business and I know others who have been. And none of us ever spent one minute in these vastly over-rated courses. I doubt in fact that any successful entrepreneur has ever done such courses before they became successful. It is only in the machinery of already successful big businesses that a holder of a business management degree finds employment, as far as I can tell.
So what is going on? What is in these courses? What do students there learn? They learn a fair bit about economics, a fair bit about accountancy, a fair bit about budgeting, a fair bit about industrial psychology and a fair bit about business law. But all these things are just bits grabbed from other disciplines. Is there anything unique to business studies?
There certainly seems to be. There are thousands of books out that purport to tell you how to succeed in business but they all have different ideas and there is very little in them that could be seen as laws of business success. People and circumstances differ too much for that. But there is one way that they are definitely useful. They almost all offer a heavy dose of business history.
And business history seems to me to be the one useful thing in a business degree. By reading umpteen histories of how others have succeeded there is a fair chance that in his subsequent life as a business manager the student may encounter challenges similar to the challenges overcome by a writer of one of the books he has read. But all businesses are different so for him to have any chance of having learned something useful for his business, the student will have to have read MANY books, perhaps all histories of successful businesses that there are.
But in the end all business management is man management (feminists shoot me) and being good at that is as much inborn as it is learned. I have a Ph.D. and many published academic papers in psychology and I can assure you that there is still not a huge lot that psychology can teach you about improving your social skills. What works for one person in one situation may not work for other people in other situations. And so much psychological research is bunkum (as the replication crisis has shown us) that professional advice from psychologists is probably pretty poorly founded anyway.
So what I want to do now is to reproduce the story of a very successful businessman and highlight something you can learn from it that is worth much more than any business degree. In case it is not obvious, I will add some further comments at the foot of the article excerpt. The article is from Australia so some of the allusions will not be understood elsewhere but the central message is, I hope, loud and clear:
Born with silver spoon but always unassuming: Maxwell George Rodd, Businessman
IF YOU were married in the 1960s you would almost certainly have received one or more boxes of Rodd Silverware's Jasmine sweet spoons or a canteen of Rodd silver cutlery as a wedding present.
Max Rodd, who built a family partnership into a metals conglomerate through various acquisitions and amalgamations, has died aged 91.
G&E Rodd Pty Ltd was founded in Melbourne in 1919 and by the late 1930s was the leading firm of manufacturing jewellers in Australia. During the 1930s, it diversified into silver tableware -- knives, forks and spoons, including souvenir spoons -- and during World War II, 200 employees were deployed to wartime production.
After his parents died unexpectedly, he took over G&E Rodd in 1948 and it became a public company. Although only 30, Rodd's business ideas and skills saw Rodd Silverware flourish.
It became a household name, its products offered as prizes on Bob Dyer's popular radio and TV game program Pick a Box. In 1961, a set of Rodd Australian gold Jasmine spoons and forks was commissioned as Australia's wedding present to the Duke and Duchess of York.
The year before the company amalgamated with Myttons Ltd, and in 1967 Rodd became chairman and managing director. A quiet achiever, his management skills would make good textbook copy for students of the field.
He embraced corporate requirements, but didn't become a corporate man. He would walk through the Rodd factory in St Kilda each morning and greet each employee by name. He encouraged young employees to progress and implemented superannuation before it became compulsory.
Even after he retired in the late '70s, he returned to attend reunions for employees.
So did you see the gold nugget in that story? Here it is again:
He would walk through the Rodd factory in St Kilda each morning and greet each employee by name
Can you imagine what that did for his more than 100 employees? It would have made them feel respected and appreciated. Would such employees ever go on strike? Unlikely. They would feel able to discuss any problem with the boss as soon as it arose.
It is such a powerful business management practice that you wonder why it is not universally practiced. That it is not shows that only a psychologically big man can do it. And Rodd was a big man.
Homelessness and the family
Conservatives usually style themselves as pro-family -- Primarily to distinguish themselves from those who don't form lasting partnerships and do not take part in the upbringing of a child. They say that an intact male/female family is the best environment in which to bring up a child. And such families have been the normal human arrangement for hundreds of thousands of generations, so that has got to be right. Intact families are how we have arrived at who we are today. We have evolved to live as part of a family and that has become genetically encoded
We can of course live in other ways but are much less likely to flourish in those other ways -- and any children are highly likely to be damaged by not being brought up in a traditional family. Any time researchers look at how well children function, the children of traditional families come out best. There are a number of research reports that purport to show that the children of Lesbian couples do well but those studies are all so hokey that that tells its own story. Some of them don't even interview the children concerned, rather incredibly. See here and here and here and here and here (scroll down) and here (scroll down)
Leftist don't like all that, of course. Ever since Karl Marx, they have seen families as an obstacle to their foolish dreams of reforming how people behave. People are very resistant to being reformed and the family is a sort of fortress in which people can be themselves.
But in various ways, the Left have seriously damaged the family. They have convinced many people that a traditional family is a silly old system for people who know no better. Sexual liberation is the chief weapon in their armoury of weapons against the family. Nonetheless, traditional urges do usually defeat ideas of sexual liberation and most people do enter into some form of marriage. Even Germaine Greer got married at one stage.
Many of the modern marriages do not last, however. The Leftist siren-song of sexual variety leads both men and women into "straying" from their marriages. And there is no doubt that marriages do place serious demands on the people involved. Men and women are very different so living together is always going to have its stresses. And not everyone is prepared to make the compromises required
So the end result is that in many jurisdictions something like 50% of marriages do not last. Satan has had his way.
And that leads to many of modern society's dysfunctions. Children are brought up with less guidance and less balanced guidance in particular. To take a small example, a girl who is brought up with only a mother in her life might not be bothered to see a little red light flashing on her car's dashboard. She may even think it is pretty and will continue to drive gaily along until she destroys her motor from lack of oil. Expensive! She has just never had a father to tell her anything about cars. So children get by in one way or another but will suffer various handicaps and losses that could have been avoided.
But disadvantaged children are far from the only losers in a normless society. When people are down on their luck and can no longer afford rent what do they do? Most of them go back to their parents' home and re-occupy their childhood bedroom. And they live a civilized life there which preserves their self-respect and helps them to get on their feet again.
But what if there is no family home to go back to? At best they sleep in their car and often they sleep in the streets. They become homeless. If one of their parents is doing well they may get taken in but often the parents will be struggling too so are not in much of a position to help.
So there is both the cause and the solution to homelessness: Families or the lack of them. Sexual liberation is fine and dandy but it can exact a heavy price down the track.
There are of course some older people who are homeless -- and for many of them there is simply no family home to go back to because their parents are deceased. But they should have other family members to turn to: brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. And if family connections have been fostered, there will often be someone who takes in a valued brother or sister. And children often see to the needs of their elderly.
But again, that situation is not likely to exist unless all the brothers and sisters have been brought up together and have been taught to value and support one-another. Where brothers and sisters have been scattered to the four winds, they may be essentially strangers to one another and hence be disinclined to help one another. And if you have grown children who help you it will be strongly influenced by how you have treated them. If they have hardly known you, they may see no obligation on themselves. But if you have been a hands-on parent who provided them with a loving environment that enabled them to blossom, you can probably expect at least some help from them.
The family is the ultimate welfare system and nothing comes near to replacing it.
Jon Burge, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Brazil
In my heading above I have lumped together some unlikely characters -- a corrupt police chief, a 17th century German philosopher and the modern-day state of Brazil. But as unlikely as it seems, they do have something in common. And police chief Burge has just recently passed away so perhaps it is time to take another look at his record
The lasting relevance of Leibnitz resides in his dictum that we live in the best of all possible worlds -- a notion that almost everyone dismisses without hesitation as absurd. But Leibnitz was a brilliant man. What did he mean by his strange dictum?
What he was doing was was in fact warning us about Leftist-type thinking. He was pointing to the fact that some good things are necessarily accompanied by bad things -- and that some bad things are a byproduct of some good things. So even a world that a lot of people disliked could in fact be the best possible. Attempts to improve it might in fact make it worse.
And Leftism is a perfect illustration of that. Leftist policies are often adopted in the belief that they will offer some improvement in the life of the people -- but all too often those same policies also have "unforeseen" bad effects. So Obamacare made health insurance more affordable for some but effectively cut millions of Americans off from health insurance altogether. If only Leftists adopted Leibnitzian thinking, they might be more hesitant to rush into their customary destructive legislation.
And that helps us to take a revised evaluation of Jon Burge. Who was Jon Burge? Jon Graham Burge (December 20, 1947 – September 19, 2018) was an American police detective and commander in the Chicago Police Department who was accused of torturing more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991 in order to force confessions.
And the perspective you need is to be aware of the rampant lawlessness of many blacks in Chicago to this day. In just one weekend you could have (say) a dozen black on black shootings that resulted in death or serious injury. And poor co-operation between blacks and the police meant that it was totally unrealistic to prosecute each shooting. So lots of violent people walked free.
And so began the nearly 20 years of the reign of Jon Burge. If Burge or his men thought that they had a perpetrator in their grasp, they weren't going to let him go for lack of evidence. "Evidence will be provided", they said. They simply railroaded whoever they thought was a bad guy. They fabricated any evidence needed.
And they justified that by saying that the bad guy might not have done what we set him up for but he would have done other stuff that we didn't know about. So justice was still done. And in the long haul they were proved largely right. When the wonderful law students got to work and showed that some man was innocent of what he was convicted for, it almost always emerged that he had committed other crimes.
Needless to say, Burge's success at getting convictions became well known in Chicago. He was greatly feared. And one result of that fear was a reluctance to tangle with the Chicago cops. Blacks knew that they could still get away with most shootings but they had better be very slow to shoot whites. They knew that Burge always pursued such shootings and that he always got his man, evidence regardless. So whites were fairly safe in lawless Chicago under the supervision of Jon Burge.
So Burge has been the only one to get some sort of a handle of the torrent of violent crime in Chicago. In a situation where normal law enforcement was impossible he did what many regarded as the next best thing
He was of course eventually caught out and spent a few years in prison but I think we should judge him not as a crooked cop but as a man at war -- an unscrupulous war he waged with some success. As Leibniz teaches us, his corruption of justice was bad but it also did some good.
And as far as we can tell, the Chicago cops these days are as rough as ever. The US Department of Justice conducted an investigation of the Chicago Police Department and released their report in January 2017. They strongly criticized the police for a culture of excessive violence, especially against minority suspects and the community, and said there was insufficient and poor training, and lack of true oversight. Chicago rules are still different, it seems
So am I condoning what Jon Burge did? I hope it is obvious that I am NOT condoning what he did. What he did was terrifyingly wrong. But it often happens in life that all our choices in a particular circumstance are bad and the most rational thing we can therefore do is to choose the lesser of two evils. And it is my disruptive submission that what Burge did was in fact the lesser of two evils. Burge got a couple of hundred really bad guys put out of the community for long periods. And just about none of them could have been put away by legitimate methods. So the alternative to what he did was to leave hundreds of murderous thugs free to roam through the black community. And I think that was a worse alternative.
It may help a little if I note that it is not unusual for lawbreaking to be publicly condoned. The Robin Hood story is probably the best known example of that. Hood was a highway robber but because he gave some of his loot to the poor he is fondly remembered. Will Burge ever be fondly remembered? It's unlikely. His crimes were undoubtedly more heinous. But he offered the same combination of service to the public through wrong deeds.
And Leibnitz next leads us to Brazil. Brazil is a heavily socialist state that is also corrupt so I will put what I want to say about Brazil into a more general rubric:
Corruption in a heavily regulated state can promote freedom.
If all of Brazil's Leftist regulations were energetically enforced, it would be very difficult for anyone to make a buck. Businesses would certainly be greatly hampered in what they did. Fortunately, however, there is very little energy anywhere in Brazil to enforce official regulations and what energy there is can usually be bought off by a small bribe to the relevant official. So in practice, Brazil is surprisingly like a free-market economy. And you can see that in some of the economic successes that Brazil has.
The most surprising is aircraft production. The Big Two of aircraft design and supply are Boeing and Airbus. Between them, they supply most of the world's civilian aircraft. But there are two minnows who also produce a significant volume of aircraft for international sale: Bombardier in Canada and Embraer in Brazil. And Embraer aircraft are of a high standard and sell well. So that is pretty remarkable: A Third World country that is a well established supplier of civilian aircraft to the international market. It's more than China, Japan and Russia can currently do, though they are trying.
And Brazil has shown how to power cars with "alternative" fuel. Brazil has vast acres of lushly growing sugarcane. So they can harvest that very efficiently and cheaply. And alcohol produced from cane is about half the price of American corn alcohol. So you can see where we are going here. Just by harvesting and producing alcohol by normal means would make Brazilian alcohol a competitive fuel for cars. But Brazil goes one better. They build distilleries right next to crushing mills. So the feed to the distillery is not sugar crystals but a product from fresh-crushed sugarcane juice, keeping production costs way down.
So Brazil has long run millions of cars on pure ethanol and has done so at little cost penalty. Brazil has in recent years discovered great oilfields off its coasts so much of the incentive to rely on ethanol has vanished. Petroleum products could undercut ethanol in price. But Brazil has certainly shown how to produce "alternative" fuel at a reasonable price. So even a free market enabled by corruption can be dynamic and efficient. Leibnitz would nod wisely to hear of freedom and prosperity produced by corruption and lawlessness.
A South African who styles himself as "Rational Thinker" is critical of many claims about IQ
He is not a scientific thinker however. He starts out by describing something as a lie without any prior presention of evidence to support that characterization.
He then describes a claim as "refuted" without giving any information about how, when, where and why this refutation took place.
He goes on to say that the clain of lower average IQ among blacks whern compared with whites is "discredited". Again: When and by whom?
The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede a big inborn gap in black vs. white average IQ. See here
By this stage I think it is obvious that the screed below is simply an abusive ramble by an egotist who "just knows" what the truth is without recourse to a proper consideration of the evidence. So much further consideration of his assertions is unlikely to shed any light on anything.
The thing that seems to be burning him up most is the claim that atheists are smarter than religious people, so I will close with a comment on that. I have looked at the survey evidence on that on a number of occasions so I will summarize by saying that atheists DO test out as slightly more intelligent on average but that difference is fairly clearly due to sociological factors rather than psychological ones. A university environment in particular tends to undermine religion. See here and here and here and here and here.
So it would really help our knowall writer if he were to acquire some Christian humility about the veracity of his beliefs. His existing beliefs certainly should go back into the hole where they belong
One of the major lies preached by atheists is that "atheists are more smarter" than theists. In support of this nonsense, they cite research from Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg which compares belief in God and average IQs in 137 countries.
The research has been heavily criticized as well as refuted since its publication by most scientists but this unfortunately doesn't stop atheists from still using it.
Firstly Helmuth Nyborg is not a good researcher. This is a researcher who attempted to say that women were less intelligent than men and that black people were less intelligent than white people. These sexist and racist "theories" having long been discredited in modern science.
His research on atheists being more intelligent was highly flawed in several areas in that it did not take into account the social, economical or financial factors with most of the countries with lower intelligence being less developed African countries.
Artificial Intelligence researcher Randy Olson concludes in his criticism of the research that both the religious and atheist in the well developed countries were all within the bounds of average intelligence (90-109) and from a practical point, none were well distinguishable from another.
When we examine the research we find that this is the case so all in all the paper failed to prove that atheists were more intelligent and only showed what was a well known fact for ages: that poorer countries have higher numbers of religious as religion serves as a source for comfort for those struggling.
The poor intelligence meanwhile in these countries is down to these countries not having education. So to rephrase this entire paragraph: when the religious in the same countries as the "smarter atheists" were compared, they were of the same intelligence as the atheists.
When examining the statistics, we find that atheists aren't more intelligent, in fact, according to The Psychology of Atheism, many atheists became atheist for motivational reasons rather than rational reasons during their adolescence suggesting a link between emotional thinking and atheism. (Source The Psychology of Atheism . Oxford Handbook of Atheism Page 470) This seems to be reinforced by the fact that many atheists use emotional arguments to support atheism (i.e "bad things happen in the world ergo god doesn't exist").
Finally, studies have shown that Christians in East Asia are smarter than non-Christians there. East Asian countries also have an higher IQ on average to western countries (where the majority of atheists in the first study came from). So if we go by the atheist reasoning we can now say that Christians are smarter. Either way the myth of the smarter atheist has been put back into the hole it belongs.
Michelle Obama A Fashion Icon? Thigh-High Sequin Streetwalker Boots? No… Just No
From the moment that Obama won the Presidency, the media gushed over the attire of Mrs Obama. I make no claim to be any sort of fashion guru but it seemed to me that her clothing was in fact marginal to then-current fashion. Silence about it would have been the safest course. But in their usual tribal way, the media treated her as a fashion icon. That did rather make me sick, I saw her as just a ..... The gracious Laura Bush would never have worn anything so ostentatious. As it happens, however, Mrs Obama has now excelled herself -- and the writer below has justifiably excoriated it. It would not be safe for me to say what I think of the latest effort. I am not putting up an image of it as it rather makes me puke
OMG! Former First Lady Michelle Obama wore $3,900 sequin Balenciaga over-the-knee boots Wednesday night on her book tour at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
The Gateway Pundit reports:
“Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker greeted Michelle Obama when she walked out on stage Wednesday evening.
Obama flashed her $4,000 boots and the crowd went wild.
Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Carrie Bradshaw in the highly popular TV series “Sex and the City,” had an obsession with high end shoes and boots, so the TV star gushed over Michelle Obama’s over-the-top thigh-high boots.
A Leftist admits Leftist hypocrisy but says it is justified
Writing on the Leftist "Medium" site, a Seattle graphic designer is full of rage. Excerpts below. His admission of the shallowness of Leftist claims is refreshing but he goes on to say that what really matters is that Leftists are fighting a huge fight against vast injustices. The vastness of the injustices in the world is apparently sufficient to justify almost any opposition to it.
So what are these vast injustices? He seems principally concerned about that old chestnut, black/white inequality. Somehow whites are responsible for black failure and, to correct that, great and coercive changes are needed.
The immutability of low black economic success does not seem to faze him. That it persists in the face of extensive affirmative action policies does not interest him. He shows no serious interest in the causes of the situation at all. It is all just WRONG and he and a heroic band of progressives must fight to overturn it. He has elected himself as a hero of rightness and justice.
Black disadvantage first prominently manifests itself in the schools. Blacks just find it very difficult to do the same work as their same-age white peers and about a third of of them drop out, never graduating from High School at all.
But teachers are overwhelmingly Left-leaning and have over the years turned themselves inside out in an attempt to bridge the black/white educational "gap". But nothing works. The gap barely changes regardless of what policies and ideas are thrown at it. So that shows with perfect clarity that the gap is rooted in something inside blacks themselves. Blacks are just not good at doing many important things. The problem is IN blacks, nobody else. So our Seattle graphic designer is tilting at windmills. Far from doing any good for anybody he is just banging his head on a brick wall -- but it appears to make him feel big. That he is in fact a great steaming nit he cannot acknowledge
I have some difficult news for everyone: Progressives aren’t interested in diversity. We aren’t interested in inclusion. We aren’t interested in tolerance. The progressives I know give exactly zero shits about those things.
We have no interest in everyone getting treated the same. We have no interest in giving all ideas equal airtime. We have no interest in “tolerating” all beliefs. I don’t know where this fairy tale comes from, but it’s completely disconnected from every experience I’ve had with progressive liberal folks in my lifetime.
When conservatives cross their arms and glare and shout “It’s not fair! You’re supposed to welcome everyone but you aren’t being nice to me!” it stings about as much as if they shouted, “It’s not fair, you’re supposed to be wearing tutus and juggling flaming donuts!”
The progressive liberal agenda isn’t about being nice. It’s about confronting evil, violence, trauma, and death. It’s about acknowledging the ways systemic power, systemic oppression, systemic evil, work in our world around us. I’m not fighting for diversity. I’m not fighting for tolerance. I’m fighting to overturn horrific systems of dehumanizing oppression.
What We’re Actually Confronting
Take a few facts on race. White America is exhausted of Blacks invoking 200-year-old history as an excuse for their problems. They’ve had it just like whites since the Emancipation Proclamation. Or since MLK. Or since Obama made it into office.
Let’s pause on this. I live in Seattle, Washington. A liberal city if there ever was one. Full of cheery whites with “Black Lives Matter” signs in their windows. But in Seattle, Washington, black residents make less money than white ones. 5% less, 10% less? No. The average black Seattlite’s income is less than half of the average white Seattleite’s income.
Less than half.
So, either there are unspoken forces at play that make it twice as hard for black people in Seattle to earn money, or black people are exactly half as intelligent and hard-working as white folks. Take your pick. But be honest about which one you’re choosing.
How’s the country as a whole? Well, on average, white families have more wealth than black families. How much more? Is it 200%, like Seattle’s income disparity? 500%. No. White families in the US, on average have 1700% the wealth of black families.
How much progress have we made on racial equality in America? Well, apparently we’re 1/17 of the way there. Only 16/17 more to go.
I have a four-year-old white son. A black boy his age, in the same income bracket, same level of education, will live, on-average, 5 years less than him. Half a decade. Mysteriously.
That same black boy has a higher chance of spending time in prison than my son. How much higher? 110% the rate? 150% the rate? Nope, 500% as likely to be imprisoned.
‘Minorities suffer the most from hate-speech laws’ -- says ACLU boss
An interview with Nadine Strossen on why we must be free to hate below. It is a big surprise that she wants to allow hate speech. The ACLU these days is mainly in the business of using any excuse to criticize and harass Christians. She relies on tales of what the ACLU did in the 20th century to make her points. But the days of Skokie are long gone. And the ACLU these days is a very different organization. See here for the facts on what the ACLU does these days. It has become a defender of identity groups even if that means abandoning free speech
So the interview below would seem to be just propaganda, unrelated to what the ACLU actually does these days. It is an attempt to revive fraudulently the good reputation the group once had
Another possibility is that Ms Strossen has finally seen what blind Freddy could see --- that the big fountain of hate these days is the Left. Just say "President Trump" to any Leftist and you will get a foaming torrent of hate from the Leftist concerned. So perhaps she sees a need to rehabilitate hate speech -- to legitimize what the Left already do
Today, feminism, anti-racism and LGBT advocacy have sadly become synonymous with demands for Safe Spaces and the censorship of so-called hate speech. Yet Nadine Strossen, who served as president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for 18 years, is a staunch defender of both minority rights and unfettered free speech. This is the starting point for her latest book, Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship.
spiked: Why is it so important to defend the right to use hate speech?
Nadine Strossen: Experience in the US and around the world throughout history shows that as well-intentioned as efforts to censor hateful speech might be, they are at best ineffective and, at worst, counterproductive. They certainly don’t stop hateful, discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. In many cases, they actually fuel the cause of the hatemongers.
From the Nazis in Weimar Germany up to the present day, the hatemongers have used the same strategy. The alt-right on college campuses, for example, deliberately seek to provoke attempts to censor them. This gets them media attention that they would not have had otherwise. They also gain sympathy because people see them as free-speech martyrs.
Throughout US history, warriors for racial justice and any other form of human rights have also been champions of free speech and have had to battle against censorship. That was true of the abolitionist movement, it was true of the civil-rights movement of the 1960s, it was true of the earlier movements for women’s rights and LGBT rights.
I think it is really tragic that, today, we actually have free speech equated with hate speech on a number of college campuses. At Harvard recently, a student group wanted to have a panel discussion on free speech, but had to take the words ‘free speech’ out of the event description. They knew that a certain administrator saw free-speech advocacy in itself as a form of hate speech. The panel wanted to explore how minority causes and rights are being undermined by censorship.
There is a predictable pattern now in which hate-speech codes and laws are introduced, purporting to protect minorities, but end up censoring them. In the US, campus hate-speech codes came into vogue in the late 1980s, early 1990s. The ACLU immediately challenged those codes in court. And in the process, we learned a lot about how they were enforced. Unsurprisingly there was a pattern of suppressing speech by minority student groups. At the University of Michigan, the first university we successfully challenged, a black student was punished for calling a white student ‘white trash’. Similarly, in the UK, after the introduction of the Race Relations Act in 1964, the first person to be punished for inciting racial hatred was black. He was accused of using hate speech against a police officer.
We see the same thing today on social media. Facebook, for example, has been the subject of complaints for years by a large coalition of civil-rights and civil-liberties organisations. Advocating Black Lives Matter or for Native Americans, who were protesting new pipelines through their reservations in the Dakotas, can be deemed hate speech.
spiked: One of the ACLU’s landmark free-speech cases was regarding Skokie, Illinois. Why was that case so important?
Strossen: Between 1972 and 1978 the ACLU came to the defence of free speech for a group of neo-Nazis, who wanted to protest in Skokie, Illinois. This was a town with a large population not only of Jewish people, but also Holocaust survivors.
The ACLU’s case was an easy win in the court of law, because there is such a time-honoured principle that government may never suppress speech simply because it deplores the viewpoints conveyed by it.
But it was a very challenging case in the court of public opinion. Even die-hard free-speech supporters asked, ‘How can the ACLU, which champions equality and opposes discrimination, do that?’. We even lost 15 per cent of our members as a result. This shows the disconnect between the First Amendment free-speech standard, that even abhorrent viewpoints have the right to be expressed, and the views of the wider public. Most people think ‘that’s a hateful idea and therefore you shouldn’t have the right to say it’.
But there is a real danger that we take for granted the free-speech protections that we have today. For most of US history, the First Amendment was largely unenforced. For example, the ACLU was founded in 1918 at a time when thousands of people were imprisoned for objecting to the US’s participation in the First World War.
It was only in the 1960s that the Supreme Court actually put teeth into the First Amendment. It was no coincidence that the greatest free-speech victories were fought and won in the context of the civil-rights movement. The strategy for conservatives at the time was censorship and the landmark victories for free speech were won on behalf of Martin Luther King and other civil-rights campaigners. At the time, their views were deemed to be hateful, dangerous and subversive.
It is really important to convey that even if the immediate beneficiaries of a free-speech principle happen to be against civil rights, you can’t take away their rights without taking them away from those arguing the opposite. It is no coincidence today that we have government officials saying that Black Lives Matter protests are ‘hate speech’. If you’re advocating on behalf of minority causes and law reform then it is especially important to defend free speech.
spiked: What about censorship that does not come from the government?
Strossen: The First Amendment, wonderful as it is, only protects against government censorship. It cannot protect against powerful forces in society or private companies. Peer pressure too can create a chilling effect on free speech.
We see examples all the time of a kind of ‘mobocracy’, where there is so much shaming and pressure against certain viewpoints that people feel unable to express themselves. According to surveys, a very large majority of students, faculty and administrators are walking on eggshells.
Sadly, the subjects people feel the most pressure to exercise self-censorship over are the very ones that require the most urgent discussion: race, gender or immigration, for instance. We are never going to advance toward understanding, diversity, inclusion or equality unless we can engage with each other over points of disagreement on these contentious issues.
Another attempt to kill the "Pause"
It is perfectly proper to re-analyse an existing body of data, though the analysis is likely to be of interrest only if all steps in the reanalysis are revealed. Revising the data itself, however, is an intrinsically dubious enterprise -- particularly if each revision to the data leads to a result more satisfactory to theory in circumstances where the original data were not in line with theory
But that is the situation with Warmism. The actual climate data conflict strongly with the global warming theory. Particularly pesky was the apparent stasis in temperature during the first 14 years of C21. CO2 levels rose but global temperatures did not. And that is a fatal flaw. CO2 molecules don't have a little timer in them that tells them when to reflect heat. They just start reflecting whatever heat they are going to heat immediately they arrive in the atmosphere. So C21 temperatures should have reflected rising CO2 levels but did not.
So the C21 pause is basically quite fatal to Warmism. But that doesn't dent the beliefs of Warmists of course. They set about finding a way around the problem. And data revision is one possibility. Reanalysing the existing data is harder but is also sometimes attempted.
The first such data revision was by Thomas Karl, the former head of a major NOAA technical center. He noted that the data on ocean temperature was pretty wobbly and applied "corrections" to it which tended to show that the "missing" C21 heat was still generated but had been swallowed up by the oceans. Why the oceans started doing that only at the turn of the century was unexplained.
There were however enough infelicities in Karl's work to disturb even a lot of Warmists. It was a too obvious "fix" with too little attention to all the data. The work was, in a word, too open to derision. So some prominent Warmists, including Michael Mann got together as co-authors of the Fyfe paper, which re-admitted a C21 temperature slowdown. The Fyfe paper was however a ramble rather than a proper scientific report and ended up admitting that they did not know why the slowdown occurred, though various theoretical explanations were suggested. They spoke of "the EMBRYONIC field of decadal climate prediction" in their conclusions.
But now a gaggle of the old hands have tried again in an article headed by Risbey and including in its co-authrs Stefan Rahmstorf, who believes that temperature changes of thousandths of one degree are significant. The paper claims that "pauses" in warming are common and the early C21 pause is therefore wrongly focused. They present analyses that give results very different from results presented in hundreds of other papers.
An obvious reason why they get different results is that they use data "through 2016", where 2016 was the height of the El Nino effect. So they include natural warming into CO2-based warming, a handy conflation but a completely illegitimate one
In a second article by Lewandowsky, Michael Mann and others, much the same gaggle of authors rely on a fresh lot of data from the Arctic. But that is very suspect. There is furious volcanic activity under the Arctic sea-ice, particularly along the Gakkel ridge -- so attributing warming there to atmospheric influences is very tendentious. The fact that the Arctic warms irregularly and is often out of sync with temperatures elsewhere is in fact pretty clear evidence that temperatures there are not part of anything global. Incorporating Arctic data into atmospheric climate models is therefore simply unscientific.
Below is a popular presentation of the latest shenanigans
The United Nations panel of climate science experts mentioned it in a 2013 report, scientists have published more than 200 papers analyzing it, and climate deniers said it was proof that climate change didn't exist, but in reality the global warming "pause" or "hiatus" never occurred.
That is the conclusion of a pair of studies, published Tuesday in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, based on statistical reassessments of a recent 10-year period that appeared at the time to evince a flattened warming curve.
These are the latest of several assessments to caution that the hiatus theory has no real significance either for climate science or for science-based policy. Even so, they seem unlikely to stamp out the discussion, which has become a deeply embedded meme in some circles.
"In hindsight, with current GMST [Global Mean Surface Temperature] datasets, there is no statistical evidence for a 'pause,'" concluded one of the two studies, which reassessed temperature monitoring from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The second study, which focused on what appeared to be a difference in observed temperatures and earlier projections from climate models, reached a similar conclusion.
"There was a natural slowdown in the rate of warming during roughly the decade of the 2000s due to a combination of volcanic influences and internal climate variability, but there was no actual 'hiatus' or 'pause' in warming," Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and an author of the climate modeling study, said.
A Lack of Arctic Data
The notion of a pause in warming from approximately 1998 to 2012, was fueled in part by incomplete data and erroneous projections that have since been corrected, the studies conclude.
It's long been obvious that if there had been any blip in the trends it was temporary. The years that followed have hit new temperature records. And new evidence has made clear why some were fooled.
Scientists know, for example, that the Arctic is warming at a faster rate than the planet as a whole, but there weren't enough temperature observations from the Arctic in the early 2000s to accurately measure the changes that were occurring there. As a result, data sets on global temperature tended to omit the Arctic until recently, when researchers came up with a better way to extrapolate data from the region.
"We simply didn't have all the information available at the time," Stephan Lewandowsky, a researcher at the University of Bristol and lead author of the climate modeling report said.
Natural phenomena, including increased volcanic activity and decreased solar activity, also masked human-caused warming during the late '90s and early 2000s, seemingly deviating from what climate models had projected, Lewandowsky said.
East Germany and the Menzies era
The Communist State of East Germany (the DDR or Deutsche Demokratische Republik) is now long gone. In the day, East Germans could receive West German TV programs so were acutely aware that the capitalistic West Germans were much richer than they were. So they envied that and wanted the opportunity to move to the West. But the famous wall between East and West prevented that. So when the Gorbachev reforms in Russia allowed it, thousands of them breached the wall, leading to the downfall of the East German regime and a peaceful takeover of the Eastern lands by the West Germans in 1990.
Easterners had not generally foreseen any negative consequences of reunion but some soon emerged. In particular, the businesses and industries of the East were not remotely competitive with their Western counterparts and rapidly went broke. This led to very high levels of unemployment and economic depression generally in the East and there very soon emerged among some people "Ostalgie" -- a longing for the old Communist regime, a longing that continues among some to this day
What Easterners miss from the old regime was stability, particularly stability of employment, but they also missed the orderly and predictable availability of goods and services as well. You didn't have to compete for anything. All was provided, albeit at a low level. So there was a brotherly feeling among Easterners and that is missed by some too.
Below is a DDR propaganda video set to the words of the old DDR national anthem. It gives you some impression of what the DDR was like at its best.
You may, incidentally get some impression of why some Germans from both East and West say that the old DDR anthem was much better than the current Federal anthem. The ideals expressed are certainly in general commendable.
So is there any chance of reviving at least some of that system? Almost certainly not. The system was kept calm and stable through coercion. Individualism was discouraged under what was to an extent a benign despotism. One of the State governments in the East might one day attempt some approximation to it but the federal government would not put up with too much of that. The German Basic Law (constitution) would also impose limits.
Nonetheless, it is clear that some of the aspects of extreme socialism were and are appreciated by some people. The entire developed world does have a degree of socialism (welfare measures etc.) so there is clearly something basic in the appeal of socialism.
And it is perfectly obvious where that appeal resides. It is encoded into us by our evolutionary past. As we see in primitive societies to this day, caveman life was heavily into sharing. If one member of the tribe had managed to catch a juicy animal, he would share it with the whole of the tribe. In the absence of refrigeration, it would not keep anyway and by sharing his kill he would be entitled to a share of all the kills made by all tribe members. And common defence was also practiced. If members of another tribe staged a raid to kidnap one of your women, the whole tribe would rise up to defend the desirable dame.
So there is a sense in which we are all born socialists, which accounts for the virtual ubiquity of some socialist practices in human societies. The great discovery of 18th and 19th century Britain, however, was that individualism was also beneficial -- particularly for generating wealth. Money talked and it talked loudly. Britain did have its socialist system (Workhouses, poorhouses, church schools etc) but they left plenty of room for individual enterprise. And the rest is history, as they say. In the developing, mostly European, world of the 19th century, Britain became the model and socialism took a back seat to individual enterprise because of its obvious advantages
But socialism is deep rooted and the 20th century saw it roar back -- with extreme socialism in Russia, Germany and China. And in the rest of the world there were all sorts of restrictions on business and welfare states also emerged. In Britain only Mrs Thatcher gave socialism a black eye and Mr Trump is working in that direction too.
So an obvious question is whether capitalism can deliver some of the things that socialists like. The extensive welfare provisions already in existence already go some way towards that but is there more that we can do without wrecking our successful economic model.
East Germany gives us the clue. The one thing that "Ossis" particularly liked was stability, the absence of change. In particular they liked economic stability -- confidence that you would have a job tomorrow and that the job is easy to do.
That is in fact a thoroughly conservative wish. Stability and an absence of change are good conservative values. So where have we gone wrong? Why did it take a Communist state to put conservative values into practice? The answer is that all of life is a tradeoff. Only feminists think you can have it all. And we have traded too much for economic liberty. East Germany was poorer but more secure and relaxed and that tradeoff suited many people.
And there is a robust Anglo-Saxon democracy with all the traditional liberties that did offer something like East German tradeoffs. That was Australia in the 1950s under the long running Prime Ministership of the very conservative R.G. ("Bob") Menzies. I was there. I remember Menzies well. Menzies resisted almost all proposals for change. People would ask him to "do something" about all sorts of problems but he would always be able to point out ways in which "doing something" could produce as many problems as it solved. There is a delightful story here about how Menzies defeated one group of "do something" advocates.
And Australia was very autarkic at that time. It made its own cars and kitchen appliances plus much else. Some goods were imported, chiefly from Britain, but Australian manufacturers were encouraged and were readily given tariff protection. If you made toasters in Australia you did not have to worry about overseas competition. A nice little tariff would protect you.
So businesses and their employees could relax. Their factory would just keep running year after year. The workers could plan their savings and their holidays with no fear that their job would suddenly vanish due to a new competitor entering the market and selling the product at a cheaper price.
And under that system there was very little unemployment. Anyone who wanted one could get a job. Unemployment was always under 2%. It was a crisis if it seemed likely to rise to 2%. There is nowhere like that in the world today.
So Australia at that time was a capitalistic economy with East German characteristics. Those who were there tend to remember it as a golden age. I do. We were much poorer and had worse dentistry but we ate well, took a train to visit relatives and friends on our holidays and could always enjoy a cold beer. What else is there?
But that is lost today. Australia is now a normal nation with few tariffs and unemployment around 5%. And you can buy things for pocket change that once would have been a serious hit on the budget.
But Mr Trump seems to be coming to the rescue. He has very similar priorities to Bob Menzies. He too thinks that a nice little tariff can hold back change and rescue jobs. He has an economics degree from the Wharton school so he knows the downside of that. He knows that tariffs are impoverishing but he also knows that stability is a neglected but important value. Money is not everything. It is unlikely that America will ever come near to East Germany in an offering of stability but Mr Trump is rebalancing American priorities in that direction, which should make America a better place overall.
Are American evangelicals fading away?
The text I reproduce below is only part of a very long-winded article in Newsweak (Yes. They still exist). I have reproduced what seems to me to be the central element of the article.
I read a lot of Leftist articles -- mainly for entertainment at their usually transparent duplicity. And many of those articles are very long winded. And the more longwinded they are the more they are covering up holes in their argument. So I soon became very suspicious of this one. And I was right to be so. Their basic claim is that many young evangelicals are leaving their church and will therefore stop voting GOP.
You see the first problem right there. It may be true that some young people will BOTH leave their church AND stop voting GOP but how many do both? We are not told. Many may leave their church but still vote GOP. To a Newsweak writer that is apparently an unthinkable thought.
Also unmentioned is that many evangelical churches have a strong outreach that brings many previously unbelieving or uncommitted people into the fold. Could outreach replace with older people the lost young people? We are not told.
I do not dispute that young people often abandon the religion of their parents. It is a familiar phenomenon. But WHICH young people fall away? In the year 2000, ten million evangelicals voted for Al Gore. Could those parents be the ones whose children fell away? Again, we are not told. It could be that the children of wishy washy evangelicals went on to a stricter sect as a revolt against their wobbly parents. I certainly don't claim that they all did that but it would nonetheless be interesting to know where the fallen-away youth went.
Clearly, however, we need some reliable statistics if we are to conclude what is going on. And the article has quite a few statistics obtained from Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, which he founded. Public opinion polls appear to be the principal output of the PRRI.
As soon as I saw the name "Public Religion Research Institute", I smelt a rat. I smelled a Leftist outfit aiming to "get" Christianity. And so it is. It has extensive Leftist affiliations. And we know how much care Leftists have about the truth. "All the news that is fit to slant" could well be their motto.
And the PRRI do slant it. Read here some details of their modus operandi in an article by Stanley Renshon, a distinguished and sophisticated social scientist. I could add to Renshon's criticisms but I don't have time to flog a dead horse.
Leftists really are amazing the way they live in an eternal present. As psychopaths do, if they can see some immediate advantage in being dishonest, they will engage in that dishonesty -- regardless of the fact that the dishonesty will eventually be detected and undermine their credibility forever.
One is reminded of Harry Reid abolishing the filibuster to get a few Obama appointees on to the lower courts -- enabling the appointment of two very conservative Justices to SCOTUS a couple of years later: A disaster for his party. No foresight whatever displayed.
So the whole article is a castle built on sand. PRRI polls just prop up Leftist beliefs and are of no interest to others. We have no reason to expect that evangelicals will fade away
Since the 1970s, white evangelicals have formed the backbone of the Republican base. But as younger members reject the vitriolic partisanship of the Trump era and leave the church, that base is getting smaller and older. The numbers are stark: Twenty years ago, just 46 percent of white evangelical Protestants were older than 50; now, 62 percent are above 50. The median age of white evangelicals is 55. Only 10 percent of Americans under 30 identify as white evangelicals. The exodus of youth is so swift that demographers now predict that evangelicals will likely cease being a major political force in presidential elections by 2024. And the cracks are already showing.
In the 2018 midterms, exit polls showed, white evangelicals backed Republicans by 75 to 22 percent, while the rest of the voting population favored Democrats 66 to 32 percent. But evangelicals were slightly less likely to support House Republicans in 2018 than they were to support Trump in 2016—which may have contributed to the Democrats’ pickup of House seats. Trump’s support actually declined more among white evangelical men than women. The 11-point gender gap between evangelical men and women from 2016 shrank to 6 in the midterms.
To be sure, evangelical Christians have been rewarded for their support of Trump after enduring eight years wandering in Barack Obama’s political desert. They have two new conservative Supreme Court justices, and there have been nine self-professed evangelical Cabinet members, plus a flurry of laws and executive orders clamping down on gender roles, abortion and LGBTQ rights. But experts say this may represent the last bounty for a waning political power. Unlike their parents, the younger generation is not animated by the culture wars; many are pushing for social justice for migrants and LGBTQ people and campaigning against mass incarceration—positions more in line with the Democratic Party.
The result is a shrinking conservative bloc, something that could weaken white Christian political power—and, consequently, a Republican Party that has staked its future on its alliance with the religious right. It’s a conundrum that the father of modern GOP conservatism, Barry Goldwater, predicted in 1994: “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem.”
The End of the Alliance?
The association of the religious right and the Republican Party has its roots in the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, after which white Southerners began to flee public schools following forced desegregation. They opened so-called segregation academies: religious schools that were tax-exempt. When the IRS came after evangelical colleges like Bob Jones University, which officially prohibited interracial dating, the schools were faced with losing their tax-exempt status.
That would have meant financial doom. But a Republican activist named Paul Weyrich—with patronage from Western segregationist beer billionaire Joseph Coors—forged alliances with Southern religious leaders like Jerry Falwell and successfully lobbied to soften IRS enforcement. The Moral Majority was born, and, in 1980, it announced itself as a political force by helping put Ronald Reagan in the White House. Republican strategists used the issues of abortion and gay marriage to cement the union and drive right-leaning Christians into the voting booth.
The relationship remained strong for decades, with evangelicals becoming a reliable bloc of GOP support. Since 2000, they have regularly made up about a quarter of voters—outperforming their much smaller percentage of the population. And, despite prognostications from political scientists about the imminent death of the evangelical-Republican partnership, they’ve kept casting ballots. In 2016, they were a key group for Trump; the thrice-married, foul-mouthed mogul with a history of sexual assault allegations won more than 80 percent of the evangelical vote— besting even George W. Bush, a born-again Christian who spoke openly about his faith.
But demographic trends are steadily diluting their outsize clout. Researcher Robert Jones, author of The End of White Christian America, has tracked what he calls a “stair-steps downward trajectory of white Christian presence in the electorate.” In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected, 73 percent of the electorate was white and Christian. By 2012, that number was 53 percent. “If current trends hold steady, 2024 will be a watershed year—the first American election in which white Christian voters do not constitute a majority of voters,” Jones, who heads the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), tells Newsweek.
Until a decade ago, white evangelicals were the exception, their numbers holding steady. But their ranks are now dwindling, driven largely by the youth exodus. According to Jones, white evangelicals constituted 21 percent of the U.S. population when Obama was elected in 2008. Eight years later, in 2016, that number dropped to 17 percent. Today, they make up 15 percent of Americans.
Concerned about the shrinking numbers and the prospect of a lackluster turnout in the midterms, Trump rallied about 100 evangelical supporters in the White House this past summer. If Republicans lose control of Congress, he told them, Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently.” He pushed pastors to use the power of their pulpits to get more people to the polls. “I hate to say it,” Trump said, “if you were a stock, you’d be, like, you’re very plateaued.”
White evangelical political organizers got the message. Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition pledged to spend $18 million to microtarget 125 million conservative voters before the midterms. Other faith groups engaged in a get-out-the-vote drive across the country. An organization associated with former Arkansas Governor (and Baptist pastor) Mike Huckabee, called My Faith Votes, spent $3.5 million aimed at getting evangelicals to the midterms polls and threw in a Facebook Live session with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for good measure. The Colorado-based Dr. James Dobson Family Institute ran a national “Pray. Engage. Vote.” initiative in the lead-up to the midterms.
The result: White evangelicals made up 26 percent of voters in the November elections, with three-quarters of them casting ballots for Republican House candidates. But that performance will be increasingly difficult to replicate, Jones says.
For an analogy, he uses Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s landmark “stages of grief” experienced by the dying and their loved ones to describe what’s happening to evangelicals and American politics. First comes denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression and acceptance.
“We are past denial. People see the writing on the wall in terms of demographic change. And that is also why we see immigration taking over and becoming the flagship issue. That and a wall symbolize the resistance to this demographic change,” Jones says. “I think we are somewhere between anger and bargaining. And in many ways, this shotgun marriage between Trump and white evangelicals happened under some duress and is a desperate bargain that you make at the end of life. That is what we’re really seeing here.”
To understand what’s happening among evangelicals, researchers study the results of PRRI’s annual, wide-ranging, 80,000-interview American Values Atlas poll. In the most recent survey, from 2017, 40 percent of individuals under 30 claim “no religious affiliation” (sometimes called “the nones” ). “White evangelicals are a big part of that decline,” Jones says.
Respondents cited not believing in the doctrines and, surprisingly, politics. “They cite partisanship,” Jones says. “That’s a big turnoff for young Americans. And so is negative treatment of gay and lesbian people.”
Polls find that upward of 80 percent of young people now support same-sex marriage. That number includes young Republicans and evangelicals under 30. “Even people like me, a white male with a lot of societal privilege, can see that evangelical leaders are completely happy to join forces with white nationalist politicians and leaders and to give them the benefit of the doubt while they are attacking marginalized communities,” says Chastain. “And that’s just blatantly hypocritical.”
He and other exvangelicals in his social networks are also turned off by the Trump alliance. “The fact is that leaders like [Dallas megachurch leader and Trump supporter] Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Jr. are blatantly power hungry and willing to make these alliances, providing a theology that supports white nationalism.”
Some major evangelical leaders and thinkers, not surprisingly, reject this assessment. Ed Stetzer, a political scientist and pastor based at Wheaton College, knows all about the predictions of researchers like Jones, and he is aware of the views of young people. But he sees evangelical youth attrition as a kind of demographic sowing of wild oats, in which the young are predictably disaffected—but only temporarily. He is sure they will return to the fold when they are a little older. His name for the phenomenon is “generational cohort replacement.”
Stetzer says the young who move away from the fold essentially replace themselves in the church as an older, and more likely to vote, category. “The 18 to 29-year-olds are really secular now,” he says. “But what we find is that people grow in their religiosity. So the 60-year-olds of today are kind of as religious as the 60-year-olds in the 1970s.”
Why are boys falling behind at school?
The long article below canvasses a number of explanations but they all seem to be at best partial truths. But there is a powerful biological explanation that they have not considered. I think the problem is mainly a maturation effect. Girls are about two years ahead of boys of their own age in maturity. That makes them more serious and balanced so does give them a big advantage at school in mixed-sex classes.
But boys do catch up in their late teens. By then however their adverse experiences at school may have discouraged them from further education. So the problem is how do you prevent that discouragement?
A pretty obvious solution is all-boys' schools. In such schools boys get to develop in a way that is right for them and come out of it without being constantly made to feel inferior. All-boys schools were long held to be best for boys and we may now be seeing that there is a lot in that old wisdom
It may be noted that a lot of Britain's most prestigious private schools -- such as Eton -- have never departed from that wisdom. They are still single-sex. And the success that old Etonians enjoy in later life is legendary
The debate over single-sex versus coed schools is an old and vexed one with findings and arguments on both sides of the debate. The 19th century model was overwhelmingly single-sex but that tended in the 20th century to be regarded as not "modern" so tended to be abandoned in government schools. The controversy did however, produce a slew of research on the matter. And the conclusions from that did not clearly go either way.
A big 2005 review under the title "Single-Sex Versus Coeducational Schooling: A Systematic Review" is therefore of some interest. It was done under the aegis of the U.S. Dept of Education and attempted an objective review of all the studies on the topic up to that time. What it concluded was that by most criteria there was evidence either way.
The one difference that they found to be fairly firm was the difference in locus of control. They found that boys' schools gave their graduates a greater sense of control over their environment, a greater sense of self-confidence and belief in their own powers make things happen.
That is of course what we traditionally see in the graduates of Britain's prestigious independent schools -- they usually seem to have an almost uncrushable self confidence and regard themselves as the natural leaders in their country, as the important people, in short. So it is interesting to see something like that come out of a U.S. study
And it is also what I have hypothesized above: That a same-sex education will promote self-confidence and deter discouragement.
In developed countries, on average, boys underperform girls at school. They are much worse at reading, less likely to go to university, and their lead in maths is shrinking (to nothingness, in countries such as China and Singapore). In Britain, white working-class boys perform especially badly.
Educationalists have only recently started focusing on the boy problem in earnest, though Smith says: “I don’t think there’s a school in the country that hasn’t thought about it.” So what can be done for boys?
Historically, sexism has protected boys. Into the 1970s, some British school systems deliberately upgraded boys’ results in the frequently life-determining 11+ exam, writes Wendy Webster of Huddersfield University. Girls were often ignored by teachers, sexually harassed and negatively stereotyped in textbooks, according to a report commissioned by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 1992.
But as sexism diminished in schools, girls began outperforming boys. In a reversal of history, in parts of the developed world some girls now have higher expectations than boys for their future education and careers. In 2000, there were still more males than females with tertiary education in OECD countries, yet by 2014, women led, 34 to 30 per cent, mainly because women are now more likely to apply for university than men. Meanwhile, the very worst pupils — children who don’t reach proficiency in any subject on the OECD’s Pisa tests — are overwhelmingly male.
We now have growing scientific evidence to replace old biological superstitions. Grey matter in female brains develops faster, says Jay Giedd, psychiatrist at the University of California San Diego. Because girls mature earlier, they are given more books sooner, and learn more. Sexism may encourage this: parents often stereotype girls as quiet readers, and boys as rambunctious adventurers.
Either way, boys fall behind in school and get discouraged. There is evidence that they lose motivation in class from age eight. Smith says that when 11-year-olds arrive at Huntington, “the vocabulary gap between boys and girls is striking”. Many boys enjoy reading for information but struggle with the fiction that is central to schoolwork. The literacy gap peaks at about 16, when boys are often at their most dysfunctional — just when decisions about post-school destinations are being taken.
And whereas most workplaces remain male-friendly environments, schools may be more girl-friendly. Girls tend to be more self-disciplined (perhaps because of how they are socialised), and good at sitting and listening, something many small boys find hard, says Francesca Borgonovi, senior analyst at the OECD. “Boys are too often seen as deficient girls,” says Gijsbert Stoet, a psychologist at Leeds Beckett University.
Most classrooms now are female-run. Two out of three teachers in the OECD were women in 2012, with the highest proportions in younger age groups: 97 per cent in early childhood education. In part, this reflects the traditional view that looking after small children is “women’s work”. On average, girls do more homework. Boys play more video games and generally spend more time online. That can give them practical skills, but it can also alienate them from real life.
Many boys think school is uncool. Borgonovi says: “In schools, learning is the incidental thing that happens while kids are socialising. There is a lot of, ‘How do I impress my peers?’” Boys often do that by misbehaving.
The OECD notes that boys are eight percentage points more likely than girls to say school is a “waste of time”. In the past, especially for the working classes, this made sense; boys typically had to leave school at 16 to work in factories and mines. Today, across the OECD, boys’ favourite response when asked for their future profession is “professional sportsman”.
Interestingly, the gender gap in school attainment is widest in the most gender-equal countries, such as the Nordics. In Finland and Sweden between 2003 and 2012, girls closed much of the gap with boys in maths and widened their lead in reading. The OECD asks: “Are gender gaps a ‘zero-sum game’, in which education systems, schools and families have to choose whether to create an environment that promotes either boys’ performance or girls’ performance?”
When Borgonovi is asked how to make classrooms more boy-friendly without disadvantaging girls, she replies: “It’s a tough question.” She pauses, then: “I’ll get back to you. Some of education requires the self-regulation and discipline that we value in girls.”
Boys who stay in education until age 18 or over tend to catch up with girls, or have achieved well already, so the most serious consequences are for those who leave school at 16 — typically those from poor backgrounds.
Huntington School, rated “outstanding” in every category in last year’s report by Ofsted, the UK’s schools inspectorate, thinks more about disadvantaged children in general than about gender in particular. But the school is still managing to lift struggling boys. Its Ofsted report opens with the lines: “The headteacher and senior leaders have established an impressive culture of high aspirations.”
Most classes at Huntington are mixed-attainment. Smith believes — and the OECD data backs him up — that weaker learners benefit from being around better ones. The aim, he says, is to treat every class “like a top set”.
Ofsted called Huntington pupils’ behaviour “excellent”. Even on the way out of school, children mostly walk rather than run, and don’t push, let alone fight. There are pictures on the walls of correctly knotted ties. That sounds strict. But clear rules and a serious atmosphere may actually soothe boys in particular. More than girls, boys respond to a school’s environment. “When they are in disruptive, chaotic and disorganised settings, their capacity for self-regulation suffers,” reports the OECD.
Sir John Holman — emeritus chemistry professor at York University, senior educationalist and former headteacher of Watford Grammar School for Boys — says boys enjoy organised, high-achieving environments. “They don’t like it when school feels like a waste of time. It’s about setting clear expectations: ‘What we come here for is to learn.’”
When children do misbehave, Huntington tries to correct the behaviour rather than punish it. Smith says: “There is a school of thought that bad behaviour is a form of communication. It could be learning difficulties, it could be problems at home.” Sometimes it’s a death in the family.
So when a child acts up, Huntington piles on the support. The school has a “learning support department” of about 15 people, and a large pastoral team. The staff hold meetings: does the child need a home visit? An educational psychologist? Help from a teaching assistant in class?
Smith tells the story of one boy with long-term behavioural problems: “We never wanted to exclude him. We worked with him, with his family.” Eventually, Huntington found him a day-a-week placement at a local automobile-sector company. He loved it. The company promised him an apprenticeship if he got a Grade 4 in maths GCSE. Instantly, says Smith, “his behaviour improved, his focus improved . . . The most lovely moment was when he attended Year 11 prom, suited and booted. And we helped him get the suit together.” The boy got the apprenticeship.
Holman says the UK is relatively weak at providing routes into technical education. Many practical, less academic boys drop out of the system. Nationwide, 11 per cent of British 16- to 24-year-olds are Neets: “not in education, employment or training”. Nobody who left Huntington’s Year 11 last July became a “Neet”.
Julie Watson, of Huntington’s Research School, says: “So much of this is about stopping doing ineffective practice.” She shows me a chart of common interventions, mapped according to their cost and apparent effectiveness. The worst — both expensive and pointless — is making a child repeat a year.
By contrast, Huntington has focused on two interventions that look cost-effective. Last year, it ran an initiative to increase children’s vocabulary. A question on the GCSE construction exam had started with the words, “Describe how builders liaise . . . ” Several boys didn’t know what “liaise” meant. That threw them.
The school realised that boys were forever stumbling over words, even in maths classes, let alone in books. Watson cites a finding that secure comprehension of a text is only likely if you know 95 per cent of the words. If you know 75 per cent, you will rarely understand a full sentence.
“When you hit an important word in a story that you don’t understand, boys sometimes feel, ‘I’m wasting my time here,’” says Smith. “If the behaviour of kids is not acceptable, it’s generally in subjects where they struggle. What are those subjects? Generally those with a large vocabulary.”
No school can teach children thousands of new words. So in six two-hour sessions last year, the Research School trained Huntington’s staff how to teach vocabulary. A subject teacher has to teach (and return to) words essential to the subject: “angle” in maths, say. Some other words crop up across subjects: “required”, say, or “beneficial”. And teachers teach children to break up words into common roots, prefixes or suffixes: if you know that “Thermos” means “hot”, you can work out “thermal” or “thermonuclear”.
This year, the Research School’s focus is metacognition. Broadly, that means the ability to learn how to learn. Instead of the teacher evaluating the child, the child can evaluate its own performance — and work out strategies to improve. For instance, when doing subtraction, the child knows to check the results by adding the numbers together: 5—3 = 2. Check: 2 + 3 = 5. A child who understands how to learn also knows that he shouldn’t do homework with a smartphone beside him, and that after 45 minutes he risks losing concentration and should take a break.
When schools have to cut spending — as British schools have since the economic crisis — they often start in the arts department. It’s easy to think that schools should focus on old-fashioned reading, writing and arithmetic. Huntington, however, has scrimped elsewhere. It spends little on buildings. “Occasionally a roof leaks and we have to put a bucket underneath,” says Smith.
Many schools have also cut careers departments. Not Huntington: Helen Nelson, full-time head of the “aspirations department”, works from a little hut of her own. This year she hosted a careers fair attended by 50 businesses, colleges and universities. Alumni come to school to describe their jobs. Glimpsing different careers can be transformative, especially for white working-class boys with no first-hand experience of jobs in the modern economy.
Nelson sees careers advice as a key to social mobility. One boy was offered a job interview in nearby Leeds. He’d never taken a train or an intercity bus before, and his mother told him he couldn’t go. Huntington arranged his train ticket. He got the apprenticeship. For another boy, who had scraped into sixth form, the school arranged work experience at a solicitor’s. He went to Crown Court and it changed him.
“He’s predicted now to get As in three of his subjects,” says Nelson. “He wants to study law at university. He’s quite moralistic, he only wants to be a prosecutor. If we’d got him a mediocre placement in an office doing filing, he would probably have stayed on that path through school.”
The boy problem has received relatively little attention. That’s partly because it doesn’t hold back elite boys, but also for an even more fundamental reason: men still fare better in the workplace. In the UK, full-time male employees earn 8.6 per cent more than women.
School is, in part, about guiding males through their most vulnerable phase of life. In adulthood, most catch up with females. The OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills finds “no significant gender differences in literacy proficiency among 16- to 29-year-olds”. Holman says: “I don’t see any evidence that girls are more intelligent than boys, or boys more intelligent than girls.”
And men can catch up at any age, if education systems allow it. The Dutch literacy teacher Anneke Catsburg tweeted last month: “My student W. (66, very low literacy, six years of lessons) put a book on the table: Bambi, a little Disney book. His big fists, broken down with work, stroked the cover: ‘Guys, I’ve done something. For the first time in my life I’ve read a book.’”
In the UK, young men and women now have almost equal levels of literacy and pay. That’s near miraculous. But that equality will be at risk unless we fix the boy problem.
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