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Race Science and the Pioneer Fund

Note: Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished as “The Fund­ing of the Sci­ence” in Search­light No 277 (Jul7 1998). This ver­sion is slight­ly revised and expand­ed.

This spe­cial issue of Search­light devot­ed to race sci­ence con­tains arti­cles on Amer­i­can Renais­sance mag­a­zine, Richard J. Her­rn­stein and Charles Mur­ray’s The Bell Curve, Right Now! mag­a­zine, and two back­ground arti­cles on the his­to­ry and mod­ern appli­ca­tions of race sci­ence. If one scratch­es the sur­face of any of these top­ics one finds that the Pio­neer Fund has played a sig­nif­i­cant role.

The Pio­neer Fund has been involved in the his­to­ry of race sci­ence since its estab­lish­ment in 1937. One of its founders, Har­ry Laugh­lin wrote a mod­el ster­il­iza­tion law wide­ly used in both the Unit­ed States and Europe. Many of the key aca­d­e­m­ic racists in both Right Now! and Amer­i­can Renais­sance have been fund­ed by the Pio­neer and the Pio­neer was direct­ly involved in fund­ing the par­ent orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, the New Cen­tu­ry Foun­da­tion. Indeed, most of the lead­ing Anglo-Amer­i­can aca­d­e­m­ic race-sci­en­tists of the last sev­er­al decades have been fund­ed by the Pio­neer, includ­ing William Shock­ley, Hans J. Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, Roger Pear­son, Richard Lynn, J. Philippe Rush­ton, R. Travis Osborne, Lin­da Got­tfred­son, Robert A. Gor­don, Daniel R. Vin­ing, Jr., Michael Levin, and Sey­mour Itzkoff — all cit­ed in The Bell Curve. (1)

The Pio­neer Fund’s orig­i­nal endow­ment came from Wick­liffe Drap­er, scion of old-stock Protes­tant gen­try. Drap­er grew up in Hope­dale, Mass­a­chu­setts — a com­pa­ny town built by his fam­i­ly. Liv­ing in what one his­to­ri­an has called a “a qua­si-feu­dal manor house.” The com­pa­ny main­tained almost total con­trol over the lives of com­pa­ny work­ers until 1912 when the IWW orga­nized the Drap­er Com­pa­ny at Hope­dale after a four month strike.(2)

Colonel Drap­er, as he was often called by his friends and admir­ers was a man search­ing for a way to restore an old­er order. Drap­er believed geneti­cists could sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly prove the infe­ri­or­i­ty of Negros. Accord­ing to Bruce Wal­lace, a geneti­cist who tutored Drap­er in the lat­er 1940s, Drap­er “was sure that we had all the answers and that we were just too fright­ened to say what they meant.”(3) Under his direc­tion, the Pio­neer Fund’s orig­i­nal char­ter out­lined a com­mit­ment to “improve the char­ac­ter of the Amer­i­can peo­ple” by encour­ag­ing the pro­cre­ation of descen­dants of the orig­i­nal white colo­nial stock.

Aban­doned by the polit­i­cal main­stream after World War II,(4) Drap­er turned more and more to aca­d­e­m­ic irre­den­tists still ded­i­cat­ed to white suprema­cy and eugen­ics. Most promi­nent among these ear­ly recruits was Hen­ry Gar­rett, Chair of Psy­chol­o­gy at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty from 1941–1955. A Vir­ginia born seg­re­ga­tion­ist, Gar­rett was a key wit­ness in defend­ing seg­re­ga­tion in Davis v. Coun­ty School Board (1952) one of the con­stituent cas­es in the land­mark Brown v. Board of Edu­ca­tion (1954).(5)

It is worth exam­in­ing the changes in Pio­neer grants over the past four decades. For those inter­est­ed we are pro­vid­ing a spread­sheet of all Pio­neer grants from 1971 to 1996. Dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s, Gar­rett helped to dis­trib­ute grants for Drap­er and was one of the founders of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Eugen­ics and Eth­nol­o­gy (IAAEE) in 1959. The IAAEE brought togeth­er aca­d­e­m­ic defend­ers of seg­re­ga­tion in the U.S. and apartheid in South Africa. The Pio­neer Fund sup­port­ed the IAAEE and oth­er insti­tu­tions work­ing to legit­imis­ing race sci­ence, includ­ing the IAAEE’s jour­nal, Mankind Quar­ter­ly. (6)

In the 1970s the chief ben­e­fi­cia­ries were the Foun­da­tion for Human Under­stand, an orga­ni­za­tion direct­ed by R. Travis Osborne; Arther Jensen’s Insti­tute for the Study of Edu­ca­tion­al Dif­fer­ences, Shock­ley’s Foun­da­tion for Research and Edu­ca­tion in Eugen­ics and Dys­gen­ics; and the IAAEE.

By the decade of the eight­ies, the largest Pio­neer grants went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta, Arthur Jensen’s Insti­tute for the Study of Edu­ca­tion­al Dif­fer­ences, the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Con­trol, Roger Pear­son­’s Insti­tute for the Study of Man, the Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Ontario, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don.

Dur­ing the 1990s, the major recip­i­ents of Fund grants have been the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta, the Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Ontario, the Ulster Insti­tute for Social Research, the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), the Insti­tute for the Study of Man, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware.

When Drap­er first found­ed the Fund in 1937, he was look­ing for “use­ful sci­ence.” He was con­vinced that sci­en­tists had the answers he was look­ing for, but were too timid to admit the truth of race dif­fer­ences, Negro infe­ri­or­i­ty and the val­ue of eugen­ics. From the 1960s to the 1990s the Fund has sin­gled out indi­vid­ual aca­d­e­mics whose work proved use­ful in the polit­i­cal strug­gles against inte­gra­tion, open immi­gra­tion and oth­er right wing caus­es. While orga­ni­za­tions such as FAIR have received sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing, pref­er­ence has always been giv­en to the more gen­er­al pur­pose (or mul­ti-pur­pose) schol­ar­ship sup­port­ing bio­log­i­cal deter­min­ism, genet­i­cal­ly based race dif­fer­ences, and eugen­ics. In the ear­ly years, Pio­neer funds were fun­neled through small orga­ni­za­tions such as the IAAEE and FHU which were set up by mar­gin­al­ized schol­ars to dis­sem­i­nate work for which there were few main­stream out­lets. By the 1990s, most of the funds were being dis­trib­uted direct­ly to uni­ver­si­ties for sup­port of Pio­neer affil­i­at­ed schol­ars.

Lead­ing Grant Recip­i­ents, 1994–1996

Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Ontario (J. Philippe Rush­ton) $334,405

Ulster Insti­tute for Social Research (Richard Lynn) $289,000

Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta (Thomas Bouchard) $218,967

Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware (Lin­da Got­tfred­son) $177,541

Insti­tute for the Study of Man (Roger Pear­son) $159,500

Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform $100,500

___________________________________

Com­pared to the largest Amer­i­can foun­da­tions, the Pio­neer Fund is very small. Its assets have nev­er exceed­ed $6.5 mil­lion (£4 mil­lion) and its total annu­al grants have nev­er exceed­ed $900,000. But the Pio­neer Fund’s impor­tance in the his­to­ry of post-war race sci­ence far exceeds its size or the size of its grants. With almost laser-like pre­ci­sion, the Pio­neer Fund has been at the cut­ting edge of almost every race con­flict in the Unit­ed States since its found­ing in 1937.

SHOCKLEY AND JENSEN

The Pio­neer Fund has changed lit­tle since its incep­tion. An arti­cle in the New York Times on Decem­ber 11, 1977 char­ac­ter­ized it as hav­ing “sup­port­ed high­ly con­tro­ver­sial research by a dozen sci­en­tists who believe that blacks are genet­i­cal­ly less intel­li­gent than whites.” In the 1960s Nobel Lau­re­ate William Shock­ley (1910–1989), a physi­cist at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty best known for his “vol­un­tary ster­il­iza­tion bonus plan” received an esti­mat­ed $188,710 from the Pio­neer Fund between 1971 and 1978. Arthur Jensen, an edu­ca­tion­al psy­chol­o­gist, gar­nered more than a mil­lion dol­lars in Pio­neer grants over the past three decades. Three years after being recruit­ed by Shock­e­ly, Jensen pub­lished his now famous attack on Head Start in the pres­ti­gious Har­vard Edu­ca­tion Review. Jensen claimed the prob­lem with black chil­dren was that they had an aver­age IQ of only 85 and that no amount of social engi­neer­ing would improve their per­for­mance. Jensen urged “eugenic fore­sight” as the only solu­tion. (7)

ROGER PEARSON

Roger Pear­son, whose Insti­tute for the Study of
Man has been one of the top Pio­neer ben­e­fi­cia­ries over the past twen­ty years ($870,000 from 1981–1996) is the clear­est exam­ple of the extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy of the Fund’s lead­er­ship. Pear­son came to the Unit­ed States in the mid-six­ties to join Willis Car­to and the group around Right mag­a­zine. In 1965 he became edi­tor of West­ern Des­tiny, a mag­a­zine estab­lished by Car­to and ded­i­cat­ed to spread­ing fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy. Using the pseu­do­nym of Stephan Lang­ton, Pear­son then became the edi­tor of The New Patri­ot, a short-lived mag­a­zine pub­lished in 1966–67 to con­duct “a respon­si­ble but pen­e­trat­ing inquiry into every aspect of the Jew­ish Ques­tion,” which includ­ed arti­cles such as “Zion­ists and the Plot Against South Africa,” “Ear­ly Jews and the Rise of Jew­ish Mon­ey Pow­er,” and “Swindlers of the Cre­ma­to­ria.” Tak­ing account of all groups linked to Pear­son, Pio­neer sup­port between 1975–1996 exceeds one mil­lion dol­lars — near­ly ten per­cent of the total Pio­neer grants for that peri­od.

J. PHILIPPE RUSHTON

For the past few years, Uni­ver­si­ty of West­ern Ontario psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor J. Philippe Rush­ton has replaced Jensen as the top indi­vid­ual ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Pio­neer largess. Since 1981 he has ben­e­fit­ed from more than a mil­lion dol­lars in Pio­neer grants. Rush­ton argues that behav­ioral dif­fer­ences among blacks, whites, and Asians are the result of evo­lu­tion­ary vari­a­tions in their repro­duc­tive strate­gies. Blacks are at one extreme, Rush­ton claims, because they pro­duce large num­bers of off­spring but offer them lit­tle care; at the oth­er extreme are Asians, who have few­er chil­dren but indulge them; whites lie some­where in between. Despite Rushton’s con­tro­ver­sial race the­o­ries, he has been embraced by the sci­en­tif­ic main­stream, hav­ing been elect­ed a fel­low of the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence, and the Amer­i­can, British, and Cana­di­an Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tions.

The Pio­neer Fund seved as a small part of “a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar polit­i­cal empire of cor­po­ra­tions, foun­da­tions, polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees and ad hoc groups” active in 1980s (Wash­ing­ton Post, March 31, 1985, p. 1; A16) devel­oped by Tom Ellis, Har­ry Wey­her, Mar­i­on Par­rott, R.E. Carter-Wrenn and Jesse Helms. The Fund has served as a nexus between aca­d­e­m­ic the­o­ry and prac­ti­cal polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy. It’s lead­er­ship, espe­cial­ly, Har­ry Wey­her, Thomas F. Ellis and Mar­i­on A. Par­rott are part of an inter­lock­ing set of direc­torates and asso­ciates link­ing the Pio­neer Fund to Jesse Helms’ high-tech polit­i­cal machine. Ellis, for exam­ple, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly served as Chair­man of the Nation­al Con­gres­sion­al Club and the Coali­tion for Free­dom, co-founder of Fair­ness in Media, a board mem­ber of the Edu­ca­tion­al Sup­port Foun­da­tion and Direc­tor of the Pio­neer Fund. Har­ry Wey­her, pres­i­dent of the Pio­neer Fund served as lead coun­sel for Fair­ness in Media.

AFTER THE PIONEER FUND?

The Pio­neer Fund has defined, in impor­tant ways, a dis­tinct era in the his­to­ry of con­tem­po­rary think­ing about race. This era began after World War II, when anti-egal­i­tar­i­an race sci­en­tists were sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly and polit­i­cal­ly mar­gin­al­ized and defeat­ed, and it con­tin­ued long enough to wit­ness their sub­se­quent vic­to­ry, with the Pio­neer Fund’s sup­port, in an aggres­sive cam­paign to reha­bil­i­tate the notion of incor­ri­gi­ble racial dif­fer­ences as a car­di­nal sci­en­tif­ic and civic fact. This era may now be com­ing to an end. Har­ry Wey­her and the oth­ers who have guid­ed the Fund’s activ­i­ties for sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions will prob­a­bly soon pass from the scene, and many of the grant recip­i­ents with whom it has been most close­ly iden­ti­fied also are approach­ing the end of their pro­duc­tive lives.

The envi­ron­ment with­in which the Fund oper­ates has also changed. Over the past decade the Fund has respond­ed to these cir­cum­stances, and to the win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty afford­ed it in recent years for advanc­ing its agen­da, by accel­er­at­ing its grant-mak­ing to a rate sus­tain­able only by spend­ing its cap­i­tal. Wey­her was quot­ed in GQ mag­a­zine after the pub­li­ca­tion of The Bell Curve as say­ing, “It seemed to make more sense to spend the mon­ey than to save it, so we spent it. Once it’s gone, we’ll just quit.”(8) As a result of this pol­i­cy, by the end of 1996 the Fund’s assets had declined in real terms to less than 40 per­cent of their 1986 lev­el. If this trend con­tin­ues, the Fund will not long out­last its cur­rent offi­cers. At the same time, the devel­op­ment of alter­na­tive sources of fund­ing is mak­ing work­ers in the fields that the Fund tra­di­tion­al­ly has sup­port­ed less depen­dent on it. These changes in fund­ing arrange­ments will change the char­ac­ter of dis­course on immi­gra­tion and indi­vid­ual and group dif­fer­ences in ways that can­not now be fore­seen.

For now, how­ev­er, it is a use­ful mea­sure of the Pio­neer Fund’s suc­cess that anti-egal­i­tar­i­an race sci­en­tists are more con­fi­dent and bet­ter orga­nized in the Unit­ed States than at any time since the 1920s, and pub­lic pol­i­cy inter­na­tion­al­ly has begun ineluctably to reflect their assump­tions and pref­er­ences.
Bar­ry Mehler, Direc­tor
Kei­th Hurt, Research Asso­ciate
•Insti­tute for the Study of Aca­d­e­m­ic Racism, 1998

FOOTNOTES:
1. Pio­neer Grants were made to the New Cen­tu­ry Foun­da­tion (NCF) in 1994, 1995, and 1996. 1997 and 1998 data is not yet avail­able (see our spread­sheet). The first Pio­neer grant to NCF was $12,000 approved as of Sept 21, 1994 “for pub­lish­ing & dis­sem­i­nat­ing writ­ings which enable the pub­lic to under­stand sci­en­tif­ic find­ings about the human race and which oth­er­wise might not be pub­lished.” A $500 grant was approved as of Dec 8, 1995 “for the dis­tri­b­u­tion of sci­en­tif­ic man­u­scripts.” And final­ly, a $4,990 grant was paid to NCF dur­ing 1996. It is prob­a­ble that the mate­r­i­al dis­trib­uted includ­ed work by such major Pio­neer grantees as J.P. Rush­ton and Michael Levin. They were among the speak­ers at the 1994 and 1996 AR con­fer­ences, and the mon­ey might have gone to sup­port­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion of the pro­ceed­ings of the con­fer­ences.

2. Mar­garet Craw­ford, Build­ing the Working­i­nan’s Par­adise: The Design of Amer­i­can Com­pa­ny Towns. Hay­mar­ket Series. Lon­don and New York: Ver­so, 1995.

3. Taped inter­view with Bruce Wal­lace 24 Jan­u­ary 1990. Between March and May 1960, Ronald W. May wrote a series of arti­cles on Drap­er’s rela­tion­ship to the House Un-amer­i­can Activ­i­ties Com­mit­tee. In prepa­ra­tion for these arti­cles he inter­viewed a num­ber of well-known geneti­cists, includ­ing Bruce Wal­lace. Wal­lace was quot­ed by May in “Genet­ics and Sub­ver­sion,” The Nation (May 14, 1960). Defend­ers of the Pio­neer Fund have raised ques­tions about the authen­tic­i­ty of these quotes, so in 1990, I called Dr. Wal­lace. Dr. Wal­lace did not remem­ber the inter­view with May, but after hear­ing the quotes attrib­uted to him said: “I can say this and that is that the tenor of quo­ta­tions you have cit­ed to me are prob­a­bly cor­rect.”

4. Fred­er­ick Osborn, for exam­ple, a founder of the Pio­neer Fund along with Har­ry Laugh­lin, dis­tanced him­self from the Pio­neer Fund. In a dra­mat­ic part­ing of ways in 1954, Drap­er offered Osborn full sup­port for the finan­cial­ly ail­ing Amer­i­can Eugen­ics Soci­ety if Osborn would sup­port “mea­sures for estab­lish­ing racial homoge­ni­ety in the Unit­ed States.” Osborn turned down Drap­er’s offer and resigned from the Pio­neer board.

5. New­by, I. (1969). Chal­lenge to the court: Social Sci­en­tists and the defense of seg­re­ga­tion, 1954–1996. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Uni­ver­si­ty Press; Kluger, R. Sim­ple Jus­tice: The his­to­ry of Brown v. Board of Edu­ca­tion and Black America’s strug­gle for equal­i­ty. (New York: Knopf, 1976).

6. Win­ston, A. S. (1998). “Sci­ence in the ser­vice of the far right: Hen­ry E. Gar­rett, the IAAEE, and the Lib­er­ty Lob­by.” Jour­nal of Social Issues, 54, no. 1, 179–209.

7. Hirsch, J. “To Unfrock the Char­la­tans,” Sage Race Rela­tions Abstracts 6 #2 (May 1981) pp. 1–68 and “Jensenism: The Bank­rup­cy of “Sci­ence” With­out Schol­ar­ship Edu­ca­tion­al The­o­ry 25 No 1 (Win­ter, 1975) pp. 3–27.

8. Sed­wick, John. “The Mena­tal­i­ty Bunker,” Gen­tle­men’s Quar­ter­ly (Novem­ber 1994).

Discussion

21 comments for “Race Science and the Pioneer Fund”

  1. Charles Mur­ray as a new op-ed in the Wall Street Jour­nal about grow­ing cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty between the upper and low­er class­es in the US. He has solu­tions too! Appar­ent­ly, fam­i­lies need to start act­ing in their self-inter­est, and the upper class need to move into poor­er neigh­bor­hoods, become open­ly judg­men­tal, and “preach what they prac­tice” towards the uncul­tured low­er class­es about their poor morals(which is why they are in the low­er class to being with, you see). Also, chang­ing mar­gin­al tax rates and more col­lege finan­cial aide is def­i­nite­ly not going to help:

    JANUARY 21, 2012

    The New Amer­i­can Divide
    The ide­al of an ‘Amer­i­can way of life’ is fad­ing as the work­ing class falls fur­ther away from insti­tu­tions like mar­riage and reli­gion and the upper class becomes more iso­lat­ed. Charles Mur­ray on what’s cleav­ing Amer­i­ca, and why.

    By CHARLES MURRAY

    Amer­i­ca is com­ing apart. For most of our nation’s his­to­ry, what­ev­er the inequal­i­ty in wealth between the rich­est and poor­est cit­i­zens, we main­tained a cul­tur­al equal­i­ty known nowhere else in the world—for whites, any­way. “The more opu­lent cit­i­zens take great care not to stand aloof from the peo­ple,” wrote Alex­is de Toc­queville, the great chron­i­cler of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy, in the 1830s. “On the con­trary, they con­stant­ly keep on easy terms with the low­er class­es: They lis­ten to them, they speak to them every day.”

    Amer­i­cans love to see them­selves this way. But there’s a prob­lem: It’s not true any­more, and it has been pro­gres­sive­ly less true since the 1960s.

    Peo­ple are start­ing to notice the great divide. The tea par­ty sees the aloof­ness in a polit­i­cal elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of Amer­i­ca to fall in line. The Occu­py move­ment sees it in an eco­nom­ic elite that lives in man­sions and flies on pri­vate jets. Each is right about an aspect of the prob­lem, but that prob­lem is more per­va­sive than either polit­i­cal or eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty. What we now face is a prob­lem of cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty.

    ...

    Why have these new low­er and upper class­es emerged? For explain­ing the for­ma­tion of the new low­er class, the easy expla­na­tions from the left don’t with­stand scruti­ny. It’s not that white work­ing class males can no longer make a “fam­i­ly wage” that enables them to mar­ry. The aver­age male employed in a work­ing-class occu­pa­tion earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960. It’s not that a bad job mar­ket led dis­cour­aged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast dur­ing the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did dur­ing bad years.

    As I’ve argued in much of my pre­vi­ous work, I think that the reforms of the 1960s jump-start­ed the dete­ri­o­ra­tion. Changes in social pol­i­cy dur­ing the 1960s made it eco­nom­i­cal­ly more fea­si­ble to have a child with­out hav­ing a hus­band if you were a woman or to get along with­out a job if you were a man; safer to com­mit crimes with­out suf­fer­ing con­se­quences; and eas­i­er to let the gov­ern­ment deal with prob­lems in your com­mu­ni­ty that you and your neigh­bors for­mer­ly had to take care of.

    But, for prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es, under­stand­ing why the new low­er class got start­ed isn’t espe­cial­ly impor­tant. Once the dete­ri­o­ra­tion was under way, a self-rein­forc­ing loop took hold as tra­di­tion­al­ly pow­er­ful social norms broke down. Because the process has become self-rein­forc­ing, repeal­ing the reforms of the 1960s (some­thing that’s not going to hap­pen) would change the trends slow­ly at best.

    Mean­while, the for­ma­tion of the new upper class has been dri­ven by forces that are nobody’s fault and resist manip­u­la­tion. The eco­nom­ic val­ue of brains in the mar­ket­place will con­tin­ue to increase no mat­ter what, and the most suc­cess­ful of each gen­er­a­tion will tend to mar­ry each oth­er no mat­ter what. As a result, the most suc­cess­ful Amer­i­cans will con­tin­ue to trend toward con­sol­i­da­tion and iso­la­tion as a class. Changes in mar­gin­al tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a dif­fer­ence. Increas­ing schol­ar­ships for work­ing-class chil­dren won’t make a dif­fer­ence.

    The only thing that can make a dif­fer­ence is the recog­ni­tion among Amer­i­cans of all class­es that a prob­lem of cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty exists and that some­thing has to be done about it. That “some­thing” has noth­ing to do with new gov­ern­ment pro­grams or reg­u­la­tions. Pub­lic pol­i­cy has cer­tain­ly affect­ed the cul­ture, unfor­tu­nate­ly, but unin­tend­ed con­se­quences have been as grim­ly inevitable for con­ser­v­a­tive social engi­neer­ing as for lib­er­al social engi­neer­ing.

    The “some­thing” that I have in mind has to be defined in terms of indi­vid­ual Amer­i­can fam­i­lies act­ing in their own inter­ests and the inter­ests of their chil­dren. Doing that in Fish­town requires sup­port from out­side. There remains a core of civic virtue and involve­ment in work­ing-class Amer­i­ca that could make head­way against its prob­lems if the peo­ple who are try­ing to do the right things get the rein­force­ment they need—not in the form of gov­ern­ment assis­tance, but in val­i­da­tion of the val­ues and stan­dards they con­tin­ue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to pro­vide that rein­force­ment is to drop its con­de­scend­ing “non­judg­men­tal­ism.” Mar­ried, edu­cat­ed peo­ple who work hard and con­sci­en­tious­ly raise their kids should­n’t hes­i­tate to voice their dis­ap­proval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to mar­riage and the work eth­ic, the new upper class must start preach­ing what it prac­tices.

    ...

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re sup­posed to trust that large num­bers of par­ents will spon­ta­neous­ly, vol­un­tar­i­ly make the right choice for the coun­try by mak­ing the right choice for them­selves and their chil­dren?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already wor­ry­ing a lot of peo­ple. If enough Amer­i­cans look unblink­ing­ly at the nature of the prob­lem, they’ll fix it. One fam­i­ly at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the Amer­i­can way.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2012, 8:56 pm
  2. Here’s a Krug­man piece about an argu­ment just put forth by Tyler Cow­an that maybe falling social mobil­i­ty isn’t such a bad thing. Some of the argu­ments were rem­i­nis­cent of the Charles Mur­ray WSJ arti­cle in the pre­vi­ous com­ment. It’s a nice pre­view of rehashed argu­ments of yes­ter­year for a Dick­en­sian tomor­row.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2012, 7:49 pm
  3. Oh my, it looks like Charles has a fan:

    Op-Ed Colum­nist
    The Great Divorce
    By DAVID BROOKS
    Pub­lished: Jan­u­ary 30, 2012

    I’ll be shocked if there’s anoth­er book this year as impor­tant as Charles Murray’s “Com­ing Apart.” I’ll be shocked if there’s anoth­er book that so com­pelling­ly describes the most impor­tant trends in Amer­i­can soci­ety.

    ...

    Murray’s sto­ry con­tra­dicts the ide­olo­gies of both par­ties. Repub­li­cans claim that Amer­i­ca is threat­ened by a deca­dent cul­tur­al elite that cor­rupts reg­u­lar Amer­i­cans, who love God, coun­try and tra­di­tion­al val­ues. That sto­ry is false. The cul­tur­al elites live more con­ser­v­a­tive, tra­di­tion­al­ist lives than the cul­tur­al mass­es.

    Democ­rats claim Amer­i­ca is threat­ened by the finan­cial elite, who hog society’s resources. But that’s a dis­trac­tion. The real social gap is between the top 20 per­cent and the low­er 30 per­cent. The lib­er­al mem­bers of the upper tribe latch onto this top 1 per­cent nar­ra­tive because it excus­es them from the cen­tral role they them­selves are play­ing in dri­ving inequal­i­ty and unfair­ness.

    It’s wrong to describe an Amer­i­ca in which the salt of the earth com­mon peo­ple are preyed upon by this or that nefar­i­ous elite. It’s wrong to tell the famil­iar under­dog moral­i­ty tale in which the prob­lems of the mass­es are caused by the elites.

    The truth is, mem­bers of the upper tribe have made them­selves phe­nom­e­nal­ly pro­duc­tive. They may mim­ic bohemi­an man­ners, but they have returned to 1950s tra­di­tion­al­ist val­ues and prac­tices. They have low divorce rates, ardu­ous work ethics and strict codes to reg­u­late their kids.

    Mem­bers of the low­er tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from tra­di­tion­al bour­geois norms. They live in dis­or­ga­nized, post­mod­ern neigh­bor­hoods in which it is much hard­er to be self-dis­ci­plined and pro­duc­tive.

    I doubt Mur­ray would agree, but we need a Nation­al Ser­vice Pro­gram. We need a pro­gram that would force mem­bers of the upper tribe and the low­er tribe to live togeth­er, if only for a few years. We need a pro­gram in which peo­ple from both tribes work togeth­er to spread out the val­ues, prac­tices and insti­tu­tions that lead to achieve­ment.

    If we could jam the tribes togeth­er, we’d have a bet­ter elite and a bet­ter mass.

    So after we move all the rich and poor folks into the same neigh­bor­hood, do the poor kids still get to work as the school jan­i­tor or will they have absorbed enough moral char­ac­ter from their neigh­bor­hood bet­ters?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 31, 2012, 3:22 pm
  4. I would call this an instance of Der­byshire ‘drop­ping the mask’ if he was still wear­ing it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 7, 2012, 5:32 pm
  5. Oh look, Der­byshire just found a new home...at VDARE. Now he can pon­tif­i­cate on the unfair neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions asso­ci­at­ed with the term ‘white-suprema­cy’ in peace.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2012, 1:44 pm
  6. Charles Mur­ray has a col­umn in the WSJ about why cap­i­tal­ism has been get­ting a bad wrap late­ly:

    Updat­ed July 30, 2012, 1:20 a.m. ET

    Why Cap­i­tal­ism Has an Image Prob­lem
    Charles Mur­ray exam­ines the cloud now hang­ing over Amer­i­can business—and what today’s cap­i­tal­ists can do about it.

    mBy CHARLES MURRAY

    Mitt Rom­ney’s résumé at Bain should be a slam dunk. He has been a suc­cess­ful cap­i­tal­ist, and cap­i­tal­ism is the best thing that has ever hap­pened to the mate­r­i­al con­di­tion of the human race. From the dawn of his­to­ry until the 18th cen­tu­ry, every soci­ety in the world was impov­er­ished, with only the thinnest film of wealth on top. Then came cap­i­tal­ism and the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion. Every­where that cap­i­tal­ism sub­se­quent­ly took hold, nation­al wealth began to increase and pover­ty began to fall. Every­where that cap­i­tal­ism did­n’t take hold, peo­ple remained impov­er­ished. Every­where that cap­i­tal­ism has been reject­ed since then, pover­ty has increased.

    Cap­i­tal­ism has lift­ed the world out of pover­ty because it gives peo­ple a chance to get rich by cre­at­ing val­ue and reap­ing the rewards. Who bet­ter to be pres­i­dent of the great­est of all cap­i­tal­ist nations than a man who got rich by being a bril­liant cap­i­tal­ist?

    ...

    But the prob­lem of crony cap­i­tal­ism is triv­ial com­pared with the col­lu­sion engen­dered by gov­ern­ment. In today’s world, every busi­ness’s oper­a­tions and bot­tom line are affect­ed by rules set by leg­is­la­tors and bureau­crats. The result has been cor­rup­tion on a mas­sive scale. Some­times the cor­rup­tion is retail, where­by a sin­gle cor­po­ra­tion cre­ates a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage through the coop­er­a­tion of reg­u­la­tors or politi­cians (search on “ear­marks”). Some­times the cor­rup­tion is whole­sale, cre­at­ing an indus­try­wide poten­tial for prof­it that would not exist in the absence of gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies or reg­u­la­tions (like ethanol used to fuel cars and low-inter­est mort­gages for peo­ple who are unlike­ly to pay them back). Col­lu­sive cap­i­tal­ism has become vis­i­ble to the pub­lic and increas­ing­ly defines cap­i­tal­ism in the pub­lic mind.

    Anoth­er change in objec­tive con­di­tions has been the emer­gence of great for­tunes made quick­ly in the finan­cial mar­kets. It has always been easy for Amer­i­cans to applaud peo­ple who get rich by cre­at­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices that peo­ple want to buy. That is why Thomas Edi­son and Hen­ry Ford were Amer­i­can heroes a cen­tu­ry ago, and Steve Jobs was one when he died last year.

    When great wealth is gen­er­at­ed instead by mak­ing smart buy and sell deci­sions in the mar­kets, it smacks of inside knowl­edge, arcane finan­cial instru­ments, oppor­tu­ni­ties that aren’t acces­si­ble to ordi­nary peo­ple, and hocus-pocus. The good that these rich peo­ple have done in the process of get­ting rich is obscure. The ben­e­fits of more effi­cient allo­ca­tion of cap­i­tal are huge, but they are real­ly, real­ly hard to explain sim­ply and per­sua­sive­ly. It looks to a large pro­por­tion of the pub­lic as if we’ve got some fab­u­lous­ly wealthy peo­ple who haven’t done any­thing to deserve their wealth.

    The objec­tive changes in cap­i­tal­ism as it is prac­ticed plau­si­bly account for much of the hos­til­i­ty toward cap­i­tal­ism. But they don’t account for the unwill­ing­ness of cap­i­tal­ists who are get­ting rich the old-fash­ioned way—earning it—to defend them­selves.

    ...

    And so cap­i­tal­is­m’s rep­u­ta­tion has fall­en on hard times and the prin­ci­pled case for cap­i­tal­ism must be made anew. That case has been made bril­liant­ly and often in the past, with Mil­ton Fried­man’s “Cap­i­tal­ism and Free­dom” being my own favorite. But in today’s polit­i­cal cli­mate, updat­ing the case for cap­i­tal­ism requires a restate­ment of old truths in ways that Amer­i­cans from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum can accept. Here is my best effort:

    The U.S. was cre­at­ed to fos­ter human flour­ish­ing. The means to that end was the exer­cise of lib­er­ty in the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness. Cap­i­tal­ism is the eco­nom­ic expres­sion of lib­er­ty. The pur­suit of hap­pi­ness, with hap­pi­ness defined in the clas­sic sense of jus­ti­fied and last­ing sat­is­fac­tion with life as a whole, depends on eco­nom­ic lib­er­ty every bit as much as it depends on oth­er kinds of free­dom.

    “Last­ing and jus­ti­fied sat­is­fac­tion with life as a whole” is pro­duced by a rel­a­tive­ly small set of impor­tant achieve­ments that we can right­ly attribute to our own actions. Arthur Brooks, my col­league at the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute, has use­ful­ly labeled such achieve­ments “earned suc­cess.” Earned suc­cess can arise from a suc­cess­ful mar­riage, chil­dren raised well, a val­ued place as a mem­ber of a com­mu­ni­ty, or devo­tion to a faith. Earned suc­cess also aris­es from achieve­ment in the eco­nom­ic realm, which is where cap­i­tal­ism comes in.

    Earn­ing a liv­ing for your­self and your fam­i­ly through your own efforts is the most ele­men­tal form of earned suc­cess. Suc­cess­ful­ly start­ing a busi­ness, no mat­ter how small, is an act of cre­at­ing some­thing out of noth­ing that car­ries sat­is­fac­tions far beyond those of the mon­ey it brings in. Find­ing work that not only pays the bills but that you enjoy is a cru­cial­ly impor­tant resource for earned suc­cess.

    Mak­ing a liv­ing, start­ing a busi­ness and find­ing work that you enjoy all depend on free­dom to act in the eco­nom­ic realm. What gov­ern­ment can do to help is estab­lish the rule of law so that informed and vol­un­tary trades can take place. More for­mal­ly, gov­ern­ment can vig­or­ous­ly enforce laws against the use of force, fraud and crim­i­nal col­lu­sion, and use tort law to hold peo­ple liable for harm they cause oth­ers.

    Every­thing else the gov­ern­ment does inher­ent­ly restricts eco­nom­ic free­dom to act in pur­suit of earned suc­cess. I am a lib­er­tar­i­an and think that almost none of those restric­tions are jus­ti­fied. But accept­ing the case for cap­i­tal­ism does­n’t require you to be a lib­er­tar­i­an. You are free to argue that cer­tain gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tions are jus­ti­fied. You just need to acknowl­edge this truth: Every inter­ven­tion that erects bar­ri­ers to start­ing a busi­ness, makes it expen­sive to hire or fire employ­ees, restricts entry into voca­tions, pre­scribes work con­di­tions and facil­i­ties, or con­fis­cates prof­its inter­feres with eco­nom­ic lib­er­ty and usu­al­ly makes it more dif­fi­cult for both employ­ers and employ­ees to earn suc­cess. You also don’t need to be a lib­er­tar­i­an to demand that any new inter­ven­tion meet this bur­den of proof: It will accom­plish some­thing that tort law and enforce­ment of basic laws against force, fraud and col­lu­sion do not accom­plish.

    Peo­ple with a wide range of polit­i­cal views can also acknowl­edge that these inter­ven­tions do the most harm to indi­vid­u­als and small enter­pris­es. Huge banks can, albeit at great expense, cope with the Dodd-Frank law’s absurd reg­u­la­to­ry bur­dens; many small banks can­not. Huge cor­po­ra­tions can cope with the myr­i­ad rules issued by the Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion, the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, the Equal Employ­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ty Com­mis­sion and their state-lev­el coun­ter­parts. The same rules can crush small busi­ness­es and indi­vid­u­als try­ing to start small busi­ness­es.

    ...

    I’d also add the end­less rehash­ing tired “all gov­ern­ment is inher­ent­ly bad and inef­fi­cient and free mar­kets are the default best mod­el for all cir­cum­stances” argu­ments we see in the above col­umn to the list of fac­tors con­tribut­ing to cap­i­tal­is­m’s cur­rent conun­drum.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 30, 2012, 1:28 pm
  7. Be it not­ed that this is the same Charles Mur­ray, co-author of the infa­mous racist tract “The Bell Curve”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murray_%28author%29

    As an apolo­getic for Cap­i­tal­ism it’s a real pot­boil­er. And it’s telling that such a noto­ri­ous char­la­tan is deployed to do so.

    It’s pri­ma­ry the­sis...

    “From the dawn of his­tory until the 18th cen­tury, every soci­ety in the world was impov­er­ished...”

    ...is bunk.

    If the bless­ings of Civ­i­liza­tion™ and Cap­i­tal­ism are so over­whelm­ing how come so much blood has been shed to resist it and mur­der­ous oppres­sion required to impose it glob­al­ly?

    From the enclo­sure move­ments in Britain to the dec­i­ma­tion of indige­nous peo­ples in the Amer­i­c­as, Cap­i­tal’s blood-drenched rise to glob­al hege­mo­ny has been fought back by mil­lions.

    Those poor benight­ed souls just could not grasp it’s many bless­ings I guess, eh Charles?

    Posted by ironcloudz | August 2, 2012, 8:17 am
  8. Whoops! The Her­itage Foun­da­tion just had to issue a “we’re not racists we mere­ly hire them!” state­ment in response to this uncom­fort­able lit­tle dis­cov­ery about the author a recent Her­itage Foun­da­tion study that made a big splash about the mas­sive pro­ject­ed costs of pro­posed immi­gra­tion reform. It tuns out the guy is ... wait for it ... kin­da racist:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    Her­itage study co-author opposed let­ting in immi­grants with low IQs

    Post­ed by Dylan Matthews on May 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

    The Her­itage Foun­da­tion made some­thing of a splash with its study sug­gest­ing that immi­gra­tion reform will cost the pub­lic tril­lions. Past work by one of its co-authors helps put that piece in con­text.

    Jason Rich­wine is rel­a­tive­ly new to the think tank world. He received his PhD in pub­lic pol­i­cy from Har­vard in 2009, and joined Her­itage after a brief stay at the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute. Richwine’s doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion is titled “IQ and Immi­gra­tion Pol­i­cy”; the con­tents are well sum­ma­rized in the dis­ser­ta­tion abstract:

    The sta­tis­ti­cal con­struct known as IQ can reli­ably esti­mate gen­er­al men­tal abil­i­ty, or intel­li­gence. The aver­age IQ of immi­grants in the Unit­ed States is sub­stan­tial­ly low­er than that of the white native pop­u­la­tion, and the dif­fer­ence is like­ly to per­sist over sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions. The con­se­quences are a lack of socioe­co­nom­ic assim­i­la­tion among low-IQ immi­grant groups, more under­class behav­ior, less social trust, and an increase in the pro­por­tion of unskilled work­ers in the Amer­i­can labor mar­ket. Select­ing high-IQ immi­grants would ame­lio­rate these prob­lems in the U.S., while at the same time ben­e­fit­ing smart poten­tial immi­grants who lack edu­ca­tion­al access in their home coun­tries.

    Richwine’s dis­ser­ta­tion asserts that there are deep-set dif­fer­en­tials in intel­li­gence between races. While it’s clear he thinks it is part­ly due to genet­ics — “the total­i­ty of the evi­dence sug­gests a genet­ic com­po­nent to group dif­fer­ences in IQ” — he argues the most impor­tant thing is that the dif­fer­ences in group IQs are per­sis­tent, for what­ev­er rea­son. He writes, “No one knows whether His­pan­ics will ever reach IQ par­i­ty with whites, but the pre­dic­tion that new His­pan­ic immi­grants will have low-IQ chil­dren and grand­chil­dren is dif­fi­cult to argue against.”

    Toward the end of the the­sis, Rich­wine writes that though he believes racial dif­fer­ences in IQ to be real and per­sis­tent, one need not agree with that to accept his case for bas­ing immi­gra­tion on IQ. Rather than exclud­ing what he judges to be low-IQ races, we can just test each individual’s IQ and exclude those with low scores. “I believe there is a strong case for IQ selec­tion,” he writes, “since it is the­o­ret­i­cal­ly a win-win for the U.S. and poten­tial immi­grants.” He does cau­tion against refer­ring to it as IQ-based selec­tion, say­ing that using the term “skill-based” would “blunt the neg­a­tive reac­tion.”

    ...

    Update: Mike Gon­za­lez, VP for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Her­itage, emails: “This is not a work prod­uct of The Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Its find­ings in no way reflect the posi­tions of The Her­itage Foun­da­tion. Nor do the find­ings affect the con­clu­sions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. tax­pay­er.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2013, 2:42 pm
  9. Odds are Charles Mur­ray isn’t much of a Front­line fan, but there’s a new episode that he real­ly needs to watch...not that watch­ing it will make a dent in his world­view...but still...

    The New York­er
    The Fall of the Amer­i­can Work­er
    Post­ed by George Pack­er
    July 2, 2013

    There’s a moment in Dale Maharidge and Michael S. Williamson’s “Some­place Like Amer­i­ca,” a doc­u­men­tary account of three decades of Amer­i­can down­ward mobil­i­ty, when Maharidge spon­ta­neous­ly decides to phone up Charles Mur­ray. It’s around the year 2000, wel­fare reform is on the books, and Maharidge wants to know what Mur­ray, the author of “Los­ing Ground” and the country’s harsh­est crit­ic of the wel­fare state, has to say about the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of the work­ing poor—Americans who have jobs but still can’t make ends meet.

    “Give me an exam­ple,” Mur­ray says. Maharidge begins to describe a woman named Mag­gie Segu­ra, employed by the state of Texas, whom Maharidge met, along with her daugh­ter, at a food bank. “Is she a sin­gle moth­er?” Mur­ray demands. Guilty as charged. Mag­gie Segu­ra shouldn’t have had a child with the wrong guy—point Mur­ray. He asks for anoth­er exam­ple, and Maharidge describes an intact fam­i­ly: three kids, mom, and dad, Obie, who works as a jan­i­tor but has to sell his blood plas­ma to make up for short­falls in the fam­i­ly bud­get. Mur­ray is unde­terred. “What is the appro­pri­ate suc­cess for work­ing fam­i­lies? The guy is mak­ing ten bucks an hour, the wife is work­ing part time. They’ve got three kids. Should we feel bad?” Mur­ray does some quick cal­cu­la­tions. “If I had to, I could fig­ure out ways to live on $550 a week with three kids. I prob­a­bly wouldn’t live in Austin. I’d go some­place else, where it was a lot cheap­er. I’d make choic­es.”

    Point Mur­ray again. What­ev­er sto­ries from around the coun­try Maharidge hits his way, Mur­ray kills with the return. You can win every point when your social the­o­ry tells you that the only poor peo­ple in Amer­i­ca—espe­cial­ly the Amer­i­ca of the nineties boom, when “the gen­er­al tra­jec­to­ry is up and away. You can make a decent liv­ing with­out the gov­ern­ment help­ing you”—are ones unde­serv­ing of help. Mag­gie Segu­ra had a child by the wrong man. Obie should have moved his fam­i­ly to Appalachia. Every­body screws up.

    I was remind­ed of this scene from “Some­place Like Amer­i­ca” while watch­ing a new doc­u­men­tary film, “Two Amer­i­can Fam­i­lies,” which will air next Tues­day night, July 9th, on the PBS series “Front­line.” The film, pro­duced by Tom Cas­ci­a­to and Kath­leen Hugh­es (friends of mine), and nar­rat­ed by Bill Moy­ers, fol­lows the lives of two fam­i­lies in Mil­wau­kee, the Stan­leys and the Neumanns—the for­mer black, the lat­ter white—over the past two decades, start­ing in 1991. Both come out of the sol­id work­ing class, and their fates are famil­iar ones. Jack­ie Stan­ley and Tony Neu­mann had fac­to­ry jobs at the huge engine mak­er Brig­gs & Strat­ton, while Claude Stan­ley worked for A. O. Smith, a lead­ing mak­er of chas­sis frames. All were union jobs, and all dis­ap­peared around 1990 as man­u­fac­tur­ing went over­seas. That’s when we meet the Stan­leys and the Neumanns—just as both fam­i­lies are begin­ning to sink. The only work the men can find pays half the fac­to­ry wage, with­out benefits—Claude water­proofs base­ments, Tony retrains and works the overnight shift doing light man­u­fac­tur­ing. Jack­ie Stan­ley tries to sell real estate; Ter­ry Neu­mann gets into a cos­met­ics-sell­ing scheme, works at a school cafe­te­ria, then dri­ves a fork­lift. With­out unions to sup­port them, they are all at the mer­cy of indif­fer­ent employ­ers and the harsh vagaries of the post-indus­tri­al econ­o­my.

    ...

    If you screened “Two Amer­i­can Fam­i­lies” for Charles Mur­ray and oth­er social crit­ics who believe that the decline of America’s work­ing class comes from a col­lapse of moral val­ues, social cap­i­tal, per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, and tra­di­tion­al author­i­ty, they would prob­a­bly be able to find the evi­dence they’d need to insu­late them­selves against the sor­row at the heart of the film. None of the four par­ents fin­ished col­lege. The Neu­manns’ divorce leaves Ter­ry and the chil­dren in worse straits than ever. The Stan­leys don’t move to rur­al Mis­sis­sip­pi, where life is cheap­er. The kids make plen­ty of their own mis­takes. None of them thinks of invent­ing Nap­ster. The Stan­leys and Neu­manns are pun­ished to the fullest extent of the eco­nom­ic law for every mis­take made, and for all the mis­takes they didn’t make.

    But the intel­lec­tu­al­ly hon­est response to this film is much less com­fort­ing, for the over­whelm­ing impres­sion in “Two Amer­i­can Fam­i­lies” is not of mis­takes but of fierce per­sis­tence: how hard the Stan­leys and Neu­manns work, how much they believe in play­ing by the rules, how remark­able the cohe­sion of the Stan­ley fam­i­ly is, how tough Ter­ry Neu­mann has to become. Both fam­i­lies devout­ly attend church. Gov­ern­ment assis­tance is alien and hate­ful to them. Kei­th Stan­ley says, “I don’t know what drugs or even alco­hol looks like.” In the words of Tam­my Thomas, whose sim­i­lar sto­ry is told in my new book, “The Unwind­ing: An Inner His­to­ry of the New Amer­i­ca,” these peo­ple do what they’re sup­posed to do. They have to nav­i­gate this heart­less econ­o­my by them­selves. And they keep sink­ing and sink­ing.

    On Sun­day, the Times report­ed that C.E.O. pay in 2012 increased by six­teen per cent over the pre­vi­ous year, with the medi­an com­pen­sa­tion pack­age now at $15.1 mil­lion. The bless­ings at the top grow more fruit­ful year by year, in good times and bad. There must be a social or eco­nom­ic the­o­ry some­where that explains why all this is nec­es­sary and just.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2013, 7:27 pm
  10. While not sur­pris­ing(*snick­er*), it’s worth not­ing that Charles Mur­ray has picked a side in the GOP’s civ­il war:

    The Dai­ly Caller
    Charles Mur­ray hits back against Krauthammer’s view on Rand Paul [VIDEO]

    By Jeff Poor 6:19 PM 07/29/2013

    On Andrea Tan­ta­ros syn­di­cat­ed radio show on Mon­day, Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute fel­low Charles Mur­ray react­ed to Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Charles Krautham­mer and Gov. Chris Christie’s crit­i­cism of Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul, defend­ing Paul and say­ing that he agrees with him.

    Late last week, Christie and Krautham­mer were crit­i­cal of Paul as he had drawn crit­i­cism from New Jer­sey Repub­li­can Gov. Chris Christie for his lib­er­tar­i­an posi­tion on many pol­i­cy issues.

    “It was an extreme­ly impor­tant moment,” Krautham­mer said of Christie’s crit­i­cism. “Rand Paul rep­re­sents the sort of iso­la­tion­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. By this direct, fear­less attack on him by Christie, I think he takes up the man­tle of the major­i­ty of the GOP, which is inter­ven­tion­ist. And that’s a real­ly impor­tant moment.”

    Mur­ray, author of “Amer­i­can Excep­tion­al­ism: An Exper­i­ment in His­to­ry (Val­ues and Cap­i­tal­ism),” advised the GOP to take a lib­er­tar­i­an-lean­ing stand on issues to achieve a com­mon goal.

    “My coun­sel is real­ly sim­ple,” Mur­ray said. “It is that ‘We the Repub­li­cans,’ I want them to say, ‘We the Repub­li­cans are in favor of peo­ple being free to live their lives as they see fit; we’re in favor of enter­prise where peo­ple can start busi­ness eas­i­ly, where they are not hound­ed by these vol­umes of reg­u­la­tions; we want oppor­tu­ni­ty; and we are also against this col­lu­sive cap­i­tal­ism where­by the gov­ern­ment and busi­ness sort of col­lab­o­rate with each oth­er, with sort of pat­ting each other’s back. I want a Repub­li­can Par­ty that is enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly, aggres­sive­ly in favor of lib­er­ty, oppor­tu­ni­ty and enter­prise.”

    Mur­ray then explained how he had been impressed with Paul when he heard him speak and found that he was in agree­ment with the junior sen­a­tor from Ken­tucky.

    “I was actu­al­ly around Rand Paul a few weeks ago and lis­tened to him,” he con­tin­ued. “I lis­tened to him talk for about 20, 25 min­utes and I said to myself, ‘You know, I can’t think of a sin­gle thing he has said that I don’t agree with.’ My views and Rand Paul’s are real, real close and much clos­er than my views are to Gov. Christie’s.”

    Tan­ta­ros ref­er­enced Krauthammer’s remarks, to which Mur­ray said this was one of the rare times he was in dis­agree­ment with Krautham­mer.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2013, 9:07 am
  11. Oooo...does this mean the greed-is-good men­tal­i­ty can final­ly go extinct?

    2 August 2013 Last updat­ed at 06:29 ET

    Self­ish traits not favoured by evo­lu­tion, study shows
    By Melis­sa Hogen­boom Sci­ence reporter, BBC News

    Evo­lu­tion does not favour self­ish peo­ple, accord­ing to new research.

    This chal­lenges a pre­vi­ous the­o­ry which sug­gest­ed it was prefer­able to put your­self first.

    Instead, it pays to be co-oper­a­tive, shown in a mod­el of “the pris­on­er’s dilem­ma”, a sce­nario of game the­o­ry — the study of strate­gic deci­sion-mak­ing.

    Pub­lished in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the team says their work shows that exhibit­ing only self­ish traits would have made us become extinct.

    Game the­o­ry involves devis­ing “games” to sim­u­late sit­u­a­tions of con­flict or co-oper­a­tion. It allows researchers to unrav­el com­plex deci­sion-mak­ing strate­gies and to estab­lish why cer­tain types of behav­iour among indi­vid­u­als emerge.

    ...

    Let’s hope so, because it’s at the point where it a choice between ditch­ing Social Dar­win­ism as our socioe­co­nom­ic par­a­digm or ditch­ing soci­ety.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 2, 2013, 9:08 am
  12. Recall the solu­tion to Amer­i­ca’s socioe­co­nom­ic woes as pre­scribed by Charles Mur­ray in his recent book “Com­ing Apart: The State of White Amer­i­ca, 1960–2010”. The long-term solu­tion is for the the rich to start “preach­ing what they prac­tice” and just tell the lazy poor peo­ple that the rea­son they’re poor is because they’re so lazy and undis­ci­plined. Here’s what that looks like in real life:

    US Repub­li­cans make the poor pay to bal­ance the bud­get
    The impe­tus to cut food stamps is ide­o­log­i­cal not fis­cal, and low-wages mean work pro­vides no guar­an­tee against hunger

    Gary Younge
    The Guardian, Sun­day 3 Novem­ber 2013

    Dur­ing a dis­cus­sion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan in 2010, the bil­lion­aire vice-chair­man of War­ren Buf­fet­t’s Berk­shire Hath­away firm, Charles Munger, was asked whether the gov­ern­ment should have bailed out home­own­ers rather than banks. “You’ve got it exact­ly wrong,” he said. “There’s dan­ger in just shov­el­ling out mon­ey to peo­ple who say, ‘My life is a lit­tle hard­er than it used to be.’ At a cer­tain place you’ve got to say to the peo­ple, ‘Suck it in and cope, bud­dy. Suck it in and cope.’ ”

    But banks, he insist­ed, need our help. It turns out that moral haz­ard – the notion that those who know the costs of their fail­ure will be borne by oth­ers will become increas­ing­ly reck­less – only real­ly applies to the work­ing poor.

    “You should thank God” for bank bailouts, Munger told his audi­ence. “Now, if you talk about bailouts for every­body else, there comes a place where if you just start bail­ing out all the indi­vid­u­als instead of telling them to adapt, the cul­ture dies.”

    ...

    Feel­ing moti­vat­ed yet, all you lazy, shift­less poor peo­ple? Good. The dawn of the new blue-col­lar Gold­en Age should be right around the cor­ner.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 7, 2013, 10:12 am
  13. Lon­don’s may­or, Boris John­son, just man­aged to chan­nel Charles Mur­ray, Gor­don Gekko, and John Calvin all in sin­gle speech. John­son must be feel­ing pret­ty con­fi­dent about his “spir­i­tu­al worth” these days:

    Lon­don may­or Boris John­son rais­es eye­brows with ode to the 1 per cent

    AFFAN CHOWDHRY

    The Globe and Mail

    Pub­lished Thurs­day, Nov. 28 2013, 12:08 PM EST
    Last updat­ed Thurs­day, Nov. 28 2013, 12:19 PM EST

    He is known for his tongue-in-cheek com­ments, shame­less pub­lic­i­ty and bound­less abil­i­ty to cause a stir on any giv­en day – whether it is being strand­ed 10 meters above ground dur­ing a botched zip wire stunt, liken­ing women beach vol­ley­ball play­ers to “wet otters,” or describ­ing his sup­port of fel­low Con­ser­v­a­tive David Cameron as “pure­ly out of cyn­i­cal self-inter­est.”

    Lon­don May­or Boris John­son has pre­vi­ous­ly sprung to the defence of the 1 per cent – or the super-wealthy, as he did in a news­pa­per col­umn ear­li­er this month.

    Last night, Mr. John­son went fur­ther – reflect­ing on greed, envy and inequal­i­ty in a speech to a Lon­don think-tank com­mem­o­rat­ing the lega­cy of for­mer British Prime Min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatch­er.

    While the “Gor­don Gekkos” of Lon­don – a ref­er­ence to the char­ac­ter played by Michael Dou­glas in the film Wall Street – should do more to help the under­priv­i­leged, greed is a “valid moti­va­tor,” he argued, adding that eco­nom­ic equal­i­ty was an impos­si­ble goal and that envy aris­ing from inequal­i­ty is a valu­able spur to eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty.

    His com­ments come as he report­ed­ly con­tem­plates becom­ing a mem­ber of par­lia­ment. Polit­i­cal observers believe he has ambi­tions to lead the Con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty and be prime min­is­ter one day. Elec­tions are to be held in about 18 months.

    But the cap­i­tal that Mr. John­son pre­sides over has also come under crit­i­cism for being a refuge for the glob­al super-rich. Lon­don house prices have seen dou­ble-dig­it growth recent­ly, with more than a third of new con­struc­tion being snapped up by for­eign buy­ers from Rus­sia, Chi­na and the Mid­dle East – and rais­ing fears of a hous­ing bub­ble.

    One Amer­i­can expat lament­ed the exo­dus of fam­i­lies unable to afford Lon­don life. “This is what hap­pens when prop­er­ty in your city becomes a glob­al reserve cur­ren­cy,” wrote Michael Gold­farb in the New York Times.

    May­or Boris John­son has said the cap­i­tal could see 4 per cent growth next year, out­strip­ping the OECD fore­cast of 2.4 per cent for the coun­try over­all. In his speech, he said hoped a boom in Lon­don would be accom­pa­nied by a “sense of com­mu­ni­ty and acts of prodi­gious phil­an­thropy.”

    But it was his com­ments on wealth and inequal­i­ty – and espe­cial­ly on IQs – that caused the biggest stir.

    Below is a selec­tion of his com­ments – via the BBC and Guardian news­pa­per – as well as reac­tion to last night’s speech. The full pre­pared text of his speech can be found on Cen­tre for Pol­i­cy Stud­ies web site and video excerpts can be found here.

    Indi­vid­ual IQs and equal­i­ty
    “What­ev­er you may think of the val­ue of IQ tests it is sure­ly rel­e­vant to a con­ver­sa­tion about equal­i­ty that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2 per cent ... 16 per cent, any­one of you want to put up your hands? [some laugh­ter in audi­ence] … 2 per cent have an IQ above 130.

    “And the hard­er you shake the pack the eas­i­er it will be for some corn­flakes to get to the top.”

    ‘Spir­it of envy’
    “I stress – I don’t believe that eco­nom­ic equal­i­ty is pos­si­ble; indeed some mea­sure of inequal­i­ty is essen­tial for the spir­it of envy and keep­ing up with the Jone­ses that is, like greed, a valu­able spur to eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty.”

    Greed is good
    “I hope there is no return to the spir­it of Load­sa­money heart­less­ness – fig­u­ra­tive­ly rif­fling ban­knotes under the noses of the home­less – and I hope that this time the Gor­don Gekkos of Lon­don are con­spic­u­ous not just for their greed, valid moti­va­tor though greed may be for eco­nom­ic progress, as for what they give and do for the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, many of whom have expe­ri­enced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”

    The “Load­sa­money” ref­er­ence is to a mon­ey-obsessed 1980s British TV char­ac­ter.

    Glob­al com­pe­ti­tion and inequal­i­ty
    “No one can ignore the harsh­ness of that com­pe­ti­tion, or the inequal­i­ty that it inevitably accen­tu­ates, and I am afraid that vio­lent eco­nom­ic cen­trifuge is oper­at­ing on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw abil­i­ty, if not spir­i­tu­al worth.

    The 1 per cent pay­ing 30 per cent of all income tax
    “That is an awful lot of schools and roads and hos­pi­tals that are being paid for by the super-rich. So why, I asked inno­cent­ly, are they so despi­ca­ble in the eyes of all decent British peo­ple? Sure­ly they should be hailed like the Stakhanovites of Stalin’s Rus­sia, who half-killed them­selves, in the name of the peo­ple, by min­ing record ton­nages of coal?”

    ...

    “So why, I asked inno­cent­ly, are they so despi­ca­ble in the eyes of all decent British peo­ple? Sure­ly they should be hailed like the Stakhanovites of Stalin’s Rus­sia, who half-killed them­selves, in the name of the peo­ple, by min­ing record ton­nages of coal?”

    Now you know what the poor, put-upon glob­al super-rich are all doing in Lon­don: min­ing coal. Record amounts of “coal”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 29, 2013, 8:35 am
  14. Look who “mod­er­ate con­ser­v­a­tive” Paul Ryan is cit­ing in the lat­est round of his “I care about poor peo­ple”-makeover.

    Think Progress
    Paul Ryan Blames Pover­ty On Lazy ‘Inner City’ Men

    By Igor Vol­sky on March 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

    House Bud­get Chair­man Paul Ryan (R‑WI) pre­viewed his upcom­ing leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als for reform­ing America’s pover­ty pro­grams dur­ing an appear­ance on Bill Bennett’s Morn­ing in Amer­i­ca Wednes­day, hint­ing that he would focus on cre­at­ing work require­ments for men “in our inner cities” and deal­ing with the “real cul­ture prob­lem” in these com­mu­ni­ties. “We have got this tail­spin of cul­ture, in our inner cities in par­tic­u­lar, of men not work­ing and just gen­er­a­tions of men not even think­ing about work­ing or learn­ing the val­ue and the cul­ture of work, and so there is a real cul­ture prob­lem here that has to be dealt with,” he said.

    Ryan also cit­ed Charles Mur­ray, a con­ser­v­a­tive social sci­en­tist who believes African-Amer­i­cans are, as a pop­u­la­tion, less intel­li­gent than whites due to genet­ic dif­fer­ences and that pover­ty remains a nation­al prob­lem because “a lot of poor peo­ple are born lazy.”

    Ryan’s com­ments come a week after he released a 204-page report ana­lyz­ing the effec­tive­ness of the nation’s anti-pover­ty pro­grams 50 years after Pres­i­dent Lyn­don John­son declared a nation­al War on Pover­ty. The for­mer GOP vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, who argues that fed­er­al anti-pover­ty pro­grams have con­tributed to the nation’s high pover­ty rate and “cre­at­ed what’s known as the pover­ty trap,” is expect­ed to offer reforms to the pro­grams in his upcom­ing FY 2015 bud­get.

    “[W]e want peo­ple to reach their poten­tial and so the dig­ni­ty of work is very valu­able and impor­tant and we have to re-empha­size work and reform our wel­fare pro­grams, like we did in 1996,” Ryan told Ben­nett. Lis­ten:

    Numer­ous anti-pover­ty ini­tia­tives already include work require­ments, par­tic­u­lar­ly long-term unem­ploy­ment insur­ance and the Earned Income Tax Cred­it. Oth­er pro­grams, such as Head Start, allow par­ents to go to work while their chil­dren attend edu­ca­tion pro­grams.

    Work require­ments have yet to sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce pover­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing a down­turn econ­o­my. While Ryan touts the suc­cess of low­er­ing the num­ber of peo­ple on wel­fare after 1996, pover­ty has actu­al­ly increased since the reces­sion and the num­ber of fam­i­lies whose incomes are below half the pover­ty line (less than $12,000 a year for a fam­i­ly of four) is actu­al­ly high­er now than it was when Con­gress and Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton enact­ed wel­fare reform. Welfare’s rigid work require­ments improved employ­ment among sin­gle moth­ers ini­tial­ly, but those rates start­ed to decline by 2001, once the econ­o­my went into reces­sion. The work pro­vi­sions also pres­sure some women to aban­don the high­er edu­ca­tion that could lead to upward mobil­i­ty in favor of low­er-pay­ing jobs that meet the law’s stan­dards.

    But Ryan is pre­pared to dou­ble down on the wel­fare reforms of the mid-90s. “When you ques­tion this war on pover­ty, you get all the crit­i­cisms from adher­ents to the sta­tus quo who just don’t want to see any­thing change,” Ryan said. “We got to have the courage to face that down, just as we did in the wel­fare reform of the late 1990s and if we suc­ceed­ed we can help resus­ci­tate this cul­ture and get peo­ple back to work.”

    Such courage...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 12, 2014, 12:41 pm
  15. Josh Mar­shall hits on a key insight in Paul Ryan’s recent Charles Mur­ray walk­back: There’s only so much of Mur­ray’s world­view one can deny embrac­ing before that world­view looks noth­ing like what Paul Ryan appears to believe even if you take him at his world and assume he’s com­plete­ly non-racist:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    More on Ryan and Mur­ray

    Josh Mar­shall – March 13, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

    At Slate Dave Weigel picks up and gen­tly cri­tiques my post below on Paul Ryan, being mis­un­der­stood on race and rely­ing on the work of Charles Mur­ray. The gist of my argu­ment was that it is easy to be ‘mis­un­der­stood’ when you use racial­ly loaded lan­guage to describe the ingrained, inter­gen­er­a­tional lazi­ness of men from the “inner city”, espe­cial­ly when you cite the work of Charles Mur­ray, a man best known for his 1994 book The Bell Curve, which argued that a key rea­son for per­sis­tent dis­par­i­ties between blacks and whites in Amer­i­ca (test scores, incomes, et al.) is the genet­i­cal­ly-based men­tal infe­ri­or­i­ty of black peo­ple.

    Weigel notes that it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly clear that Ryan was ref­er­enc­ing The Bell Curve. He might just as well have been talk­ing about Los­ing Ground, the cri­tique of lib­er­al social poli­cies, par­tic­u­lar­ly wel­fare, which put Mur­ray on the map in the 1980s or his more recent work on the ‘white under­class’.

    To which I would say, maybe? Who knows? And real­ly, who cares? At the risk of sound­ing wrench­ing­ly corny, The Bell Curve is a bell you sim­ply can­not un-ring.

    As Joan Walsh notes here, in the years since pub­lish­ing The Bell Curve, Mur­ray has slight­ly soft­ened his argu­ment. He now refers to IQ and what he believes is the men­tal infe­ri­or­i­ty of African-Amer­i­cans not as ‘genet­ic’ but rather as ‘intractable.’ By this Mur­ray seems to mean that there are too many fac­tors play­ing into intel­li­gence to defin­i­tive­ly say genet­ics are behind what he claims are the mental/intellectual short­com­ings of black peo­ple. The deficit is sim­ply ‘intractable’ — by which he means that what­ev­er mix of genet­ics, cul­ture and cir­cum­stance cre­ate it, noth­ing can be done to change it in any mean­ing­ful way.

    The Bell Curve isn’t some­thing you can write off as one might a bad nov­el from an oth­er­wise great writer. It is con­nect­ed to all his oth­er work on social pol­i­cy and goes to the heart what he believes about black Amer­i­ca. Indeed, it is prob­a­bly fair to say that The Bell Curve made uncom­fort­ably explic­it what was implic­it in Los­ing Ground.

    As I not­ed, you can set the issue of race aside entire­ly and sim­ply see Mur­ray as the chief expo­nent of neo-Social Dar­win­ism: that any efforts to ame­lio­rate soci­ety’s dis­par­i­ties and injus­tices only makes them worse. And we’re based leav­ing the mar­gin­al­ized to ditch their ghet­to ways if they can and if noth­ing else not sub­si­dize their hav­ing so many chil­dren.

    ...

    Yeah, un-ring­ing The Bell Curve and sep­a­rat­ing the eugen­ics argu­ments from the rest of the neo-Social Dar­win­ism can’t be easy when the neo-Social Dar­win­ism is clear­ly some­thing Ryan has a lot invest­ed in uphold­ing. After all, it’s not just about him. The idea that help­ing oth­er hurts us all is cen­tral to the GOP’s “we care about the poor that’s why we’re try­ing to starve them”-plat­form. Still, nev­er say nev­er, at least in terms of Ryan suc­cess­ful­ly shrug­ging off this lat­est bit of bad PR. The force is strong with this one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 14, 2014, 12:44 pm
  16. If you’ve ever won­dered “how can I be as com­pas­sion­ate as Paul Ryan”, the easy answer is “read lots of books by Charles Mur­ray and Ayn Rand”. But don’t stop there. Com­pas­sion has had many cham­pi­ons through­out his­to­ry. For exam­ple, just think about all the com­pas­sion that must have been flow­ing through Gild­ed Age poor­hous­es. Just think of it, espe­cial­ly if you want to be as com­pas­sion­ate as Paul:

    Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Paul Ryan’s Approach To Pover­ty Is Straight Out Of The 19th Cen­tu­ry
    Post­ed: 05/14/2014 7:30 am EDT

    Bob Wood­son recalled the day 11 years ago when two of his sons left the house to go buy some CDs at the now-defunct elec­tron­ics super­store Cir­cuit City.

    “Three min­utes lat­er I got a har­ried call from my [younger] son that they were turned over in their car on the high­way right out­side of my house,” Wood­son said. “And my wife and I came there and the ambu­lance and fire trucks had not arrived yet, and we were the first ones to hear my son scream and to watch the body of my old­er son pulled from the wreck­age.”

    “And at that moment I just screamed at the top of my lungs, ‘Jesus, save me! Help me, I’m drown­ing!’ ” he said. “I did­n’t think I was going to live. I said then, ‘If my son dies, I want to die.’ ”

    Wood­son told this sto­ry at the end of March to sev­en for­mer­ly down-and-out men and women who’d just com­plet­ed a six-month reg­i­men of sobri­ety, life skills and Bible study at the House of Help City of Hope shel­ter in Suit­land, Mary­land.

    His mes­sage to them was sim­ple: Even when things are bleak, do not suc­cumb to temp­ta­tion or self-pity. Instead, find strength in faith and draw sup­port from the com­mu­ni­ty. Fol­low­ing his son’s death, Wood­son was buoyed by the fact that more than 30 for­mer gang mem­bers he’d coun­seled in the past showed up at the funer­al to stand beside him. He could­n’t let them down by giv­ing up.

    Armed with this exhor­ta­tion to embrace dis­ci­pline and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, the pro­gram’s grad­u­ates crowd­ed togeth­er with their fam­i­lies and friends, clap­ping, hug­ging and cheer­ing, their arms raised in cel­e­bra­tion as Bish­op Shirley Hol­loway declared them grad­u­ates of her pro­gram.

    “Wher­ev­er you go with your fam­i­ly — when­ev­er you go to your parole offi­cer — just shine!” Hol­loway shout­ed. “Let him see Jesus in you!”

    Wood­son is a 77-year-old for­mer social work­er and civ­il rights activist who has advised con­ser­v­a­tives on pover­ty pol­i­cy for decades. He has spent much of his life work­ing with peo­ple like those at the House of Help. In 1981 he found­ed the Cen­ter for Neigh­bor­hood Enter­prise, a non­prof­it that gives man­age­r­i­al advice to com­mu­ni­ty and reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions around the coun­try that help the nation’s poor help them­selves.

    For the past year, Wood­son has also served as an advis­er to Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.), bring­ing him to places like the House of Help as the con­gress­man attempts to posi­tion him­self as the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s fore­most author­i­ty on the issue of pover­ty.

    As the GOP’s vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 2012, Ryan was mocked after he and his fam­i­ly donned aprons and washed pots and pans in an Ohio soup kitchen. Now, with Wood­son by his side, he is shun­ning such pho­to-ops in favor of an earnest lis­ten­ing tour to uncov­er what tru­ly ails the poor.

    “The rea­son that Paul Ryan is on this jour­ney is to gain some per­spec­tive,” Wood­son told The Huff­in­g­ton Post. “For the past 50 years, peo­ple both left and right of cen­ter have been para­chut­ing into low-income com­mu­ni­ties [with] reme­dies designed by peo­ple that have nev­er talked to peo­ple suf­fer­ing the prob­lem.”

    Fresh solu­tions are need­ed, Wood­son said last month to the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee, over which Ryan pre­sides. The wel­fare state is suf­fer­ing, he said, from “an absence of new and effec­tive ideas.” This sum­mer, Ryan plans to unveil a new blue­print for tack­ling pover­ty, the cul­mi­na­tion of his work with Wood­son and his trips to poor neigh­bor­hoods.

    Despite their calls for a new approach to pover­ty, how­ev­er, Ryan and Wood­son’s ideas are extreme­ly old-fash­ioned. Indeed, they echo con­ser­v­a­tive views about wel­fare going all the way back to the Eng­lish Poor Laws of the 17th cen­tu­ry, which cat­e­go­rized poor peo­ple accord­ing to their deserv­ing­ness of help. These ideas have gained pop­u­lar­i­ty at dif­fer­ent times since then in response to dif­fer­ent crises, like when “tramps” ter­ror­ized Amer­i­can towns in the 1870s, when “wel­fare queens” birthed crack babies in the 1990s, and when the so-called “food stamp surfer” delight­ed the Fox News crowd by refus­ing to get a job in 2013.

    Who­ev­er the bogey­man, the con­ser­v­a­tive response springs from the same core belief that too much gov­ern­ment assis­tance caus­es the prob­lem it’s sup­posed to solve, and that any decent per­son can make it in Amer­i­ca if he or she tries hard enough.

    It’s an ide­ol­o­gy that pre­dates eco­nom­ic sta­tis­tics, which don’t sup­port it very well. Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics,near­ly 10 mil­lion Amer­i­cans were unem­ployed in April, and 7 mil­lion more want­ed full-time work, yet there were only 4 mil­lion job open­ings.

    Con­front­ed with this data, how­ev­er, and the sug­ges­tion that dis­ci­pline and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty alone might not be enough to guar­an­tee suc­cess, Wood­son react­ed vis­cer­al­ly.

    “Bull­shit,” he told Huff­Post. “That’s just bull­shit.”

    In March, Ryan stepped in it when he spoke on a con­ser­v­a­tive radio show about what he saw as “this tail­spin of cul­ture, in our inner cities in par­tic­u­lar, of men not work­ing and just gen­er­a­tions of men not even think­ing about work­ing or learn­ing the val­ue and the cul­ture of work.”

    Ryan appar­ent­ly did­n’t real­ize “inner city” is a com­mon euphemism for “black.” Rep. Bar­bara Lee (D‑Calif.), a mem­ber of the Con­gres­sion­al Black Cau­cus, called his remarks “deeply offen­sive.” Ryan quick­ly back­tracked, say­ing he’d been “inar­tic­u­late,” and he attempt­ed to repair the dam­age by meet­ing with the cau­cus at the end of April.

    As he empha­sized dur­ing the dust­up, how­ev­er, Ryan had been attempt­ing to make a point about class, not race. His office cit­ed a 2012 Har­vard study which found that young peo­ple from low­er-class back­grounds tend­ed to be more iso­lat­ed from soci­ety and civ­il insti­tu­tions — a prob­lem Ryan felt need­ed to be cor­rect­ed.

    “If you’re dri­ving from the sub­urb to the sports are­na down­town by these blight­ed neigh­bor­hoods, you can’t just say, ‘I’m pay­ing my tax­es, gov­ern­men­t’s got to fix that.’ You need to get involved,” Ryan said on the radio show. “You need to get involved your­self, whether through a good men­tor pro­gram, or some reli­gious char­i­ty, what­ev­er it is to make a dif­fer­ence. And that’s how we help resus­ci­tate our cul­ture.”

    Ryan’s com­ment could have come straight from the late 1800s, an era of rapid indus­tri­al­iza­tion, rob­ber barons and unrest known as the Gild­ed Age.

    The finan­cial pan­ic of 1873 trig­gered a world­wide depres­sion. Bank fail­ures led to wide­spread lay­offs, and wel­fare his­to­ri­ans have doc­u­ment­ed increas­ing demands for pri­vate and pub­lic poor relief at the local lev­el. Con­cern rose about tramps roam­ing from city to city to soak up what­ev­er char­i­ty they could find. Wel­fare reform­ers at the time fought to stop the hand­outs, which they said only exac­er­bat­ed tramp­ing.

    “Next to alco­hol, and per­haps along­side it, the most per­ni­cious flu­id is indis­crim­i­nate soup,” one reformer said in the late 1870s, accord­ing to his­to­ri­an Wal­ter I. Trat­tner’s 1974 book, “From Poor Law to Wel­fare State.” Anoth­er said, “It is not bread the poor need, it is soul; it is not soup, it is spir­it.”

    Ryan chan­neled the spir­it and the lan­guage of these reform­ers he told the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence in March, “What the Left is offer­ing peo­ple is a full stom­ach and an emp­ty soul.”

    In the 19th cen­tu­ry, local gov­ern­ments worked along­side pri­vate char­i­ties to pro­vide an ad-hoc patch­work of poor relief. Poor­hous­es, or “indoor relief,” served as the main alter­na­tive to hand­outs. The insti­tu­tions var­ied great­ly over time, but in gen­er­al poor­house inmates received food and shel­ter in exchange for con­trol of their lives.

    As tramp fears esca­lat­ed, a “sci­en­tif­ic char­i­ty” move­ment arose to coor­di­nate and sti­fle “out­door relief,” the nick­name for assis­tance not giv­en with­in poor­house walls. Hun­dreds of char­i­ty orga­niz­ing soci­eties sprang up across the coun­try, and gov­ern­ment-fund­ed relief end­ed in more than a dozen cities.

    Instead of hand­ing out cash, mem­bers of these soci­eties, call­ing them­selves “friend­ly vis­i­tors,” would go into poor peo­ple’s hous­es and inves­ti­gate their claims of des­ti­tu­tion. Often the wives of wealthy busi­ness­men, they sought to help fill the souls of the poor.

    “The best means of doing the poor good is found in friend­ly inter­course and per­son­al influ­ence,” the Rev. R.E. Thomp­son explained in his 1879 Man­u­al for Vis­i­tors Among the Poor. “The want of mon­ey is not the worst evil with which the poor have to con­tend; it is in most cas­es itself but a symp­tom of oth­er more impor­tant wants.”

    Indis­crim­i­nate alms­giv­ing, explained char­i­ty reformer William Slocum in 1892, “destroys the best ele­ment of true soci­ety. It destroys cit­i­zen­ship and those active pow­ers of the human soul that put it in sym­pa­thy with the divine ide­al.”

    Wel­fare reform­ers want­ed to con­trol the poor, but they also sought to inspire them to lift them­selves up by dint of their own exam­ple — much as Wood­son sought to inspire the those at House of Help to embrace a bet­ter way of life, and as Ryan encour­aged sub­ur­ban­ites to vol­un­teer as men­tors.

    “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned hope­less­ness to a vir­tu­ous cycle of hope and flour­ish­ing is by embrac­ing the attrib­ut­es of friend­ship, account­abil­i­ty and love,” Ryan said this week at an event in New York.

    “That’s how you fight pover­ty.”

    Even among con­ser­v­a­tives, few deny that gov­ern­ment assis­tance has its place. Wel­fare reform­ers have always argued that prop­er poor relief is a mat­ter of know­ing which peo­ple need their stom­achs filled and which need soul food. In his House Bud­get Com­mit­tee tes­ti­mo­ny last month Bob Wood­son explained that the key to rethink­ing wel­fare is dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing between types of poor peo­ple.

    First, there are the vic­tims of bad luck, like a fac­to­ry clos­ing or an injury. “Assis­tance to them serves as a bridge back to eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty,” Wood­son said. Then there are peo­ple who are dis­abled, who will need and should receive help their whole lives.

    But oth­ers, Wood­son argued, have cal­cu­lat­ed that low-wage work will com­pen­sate bare­ly bet­ter than wel­fare. And then there are the peo­ple who con­stant­ly make ter­ri­ble life deci­sions.

    “Giv­ing no-strings assis­tance to this group enables them to con­tin­ue their self-destruc­tive lifestyles and injures with the help­ing hand,” Wood­son said. This cat­e­go­ry of poor peo­ple, he believes, needs a more pater­nal­is­tic type of inter­ven­tion.

    Gild­ed Age char­i­ty orga­niz­ers sim­i­lar­ly obsessed over the dichoto­my between the deserv­ing and the unde­serv­ing poor. Some kept metic­u­lous records of their find­ings, which were based on the field work of friend­ly vis­i­tors.

    In 1883 for instance, almost 900 vol­un­teers for Boston’s Asso­ci­at­ed Char­i­ties vis­it­ed 2,000 fam­i­lies, ulti­mate­ly find­ing 18 per­cent of all appli­cants “wor­thy of con­tin­u­ous relief” and 23 per­cent “wor­thy of tem­po­rary relief.” One third were referred to employ­ment bureaus, and the rest were deemed unwor­thy of aid, either because they had rel­a­tives who could help or because they were thought to be lazy. They might have refused the “work test” — chop­ping wood for men, sewing for women.

    ...

    Yes, Paul Ryan gets his ideas about pover­ty from the same place the the rest of the GOP appears to be get­ting its ideas about pover­ty: the Gild­ed Age.

    As such, Ryan knows that the war on pover­ty can nev­er be won with a gov­ern­ment-run safe­ty-net. That just leads to a cru­el star­va­tion of the soul for those in need of trick­le-down moral­i­ty.

    No, what is need­ed is an army of moral­ly supe­ri­or ‘Friend­ly Vis­i­tors’ that can vis­it all of the mil­lions of peo­ple in need of assis­tance and make on-the-ground snap-judge­ments about their wor­thi­ness as human beings. It’s what com­pas­sion­ate soci­eties do.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2014, 12:33 pm
  17. Rick San­to­rum still has­n’t decid­ed if he’s going to make anoth­er attempt to win the White House in 2016 but that has­n’t stopped him from win­ning hearts and minds. Specif­i­cal­ly the hearts and minds of peo­ple that already had their hearts and minds won by Jesse Helms:

    Right Wing Watch
    Rick San­to­rum Wish­es Oba­ma Would Be A Racial Uniter Like Seg­re­ga­tion­ists Jer­ry Fal­well and Jesse Helms
    Sub­mit­ted by Miran­da Blue on Mon­day, 11/17/2014 11:44 am

    Poten­tial Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Rick San­to­rum had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak at length to Iowa con­ser­v­a­tives last week, when he guest host­ed Steve Deace’s radio show on Vet­er­ans Day. The three-hour pro­gram gave San­to­rum plen­ty of time to muse on a vari­ety of top­ics, includ­ing his admi­ra­tion for seg­re­ga­tion pro­po­nents Jer­ry Fal­well and Jesse Helms and his belief that Pres­i­dent Obama’s “great­est fail­ing” has been his fail­ure to end racism in Amer­i­ca.

    San­to­rum men­tioned that he had recent­ly been invit­ed to speak at Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty, which led him into a tan­gent on how much he admires the school’s founder, the late Rev. Jer­ry Fal­well. Although “how the press treat­ed Rev. Fal­well was not nec­es­sar­i­ly pos­i­tive,” San­to­rum said, he found Fal­well to be “com­plete­ly gra­cious, warm [and] affirm­ing.”

    This made San­to­rum think of the late Sen. Jesse Helms of North Car­oli­na, who he said exhib­it­ed “prob­a­bly the stark­est con­trast of what the press used to por­tray and what the real­i­ty was.”

    “There was no one nicer than Jesse Helms,” San­to­rum said. “I mean, I don’t think a sin­gle Demo­c­rat would tell you that on a per­son­al lev­el, there was any­body that was more gen­tle­man­ly, more kind than Jesse.” (He might want to check with Car­ol Mose­ly-Braun on that.)

    He added that the “breakup of any kind of coop­er­a­tion” in gov­ern­ment is hap­pen­ing because peo­ple like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma are fail­ing to be gen­tle­men like Jesse Helms:

    [hear audio]

    ...

    Just imag­ine every­thing that could have been avoid­ed if only Oba­ma had been more like Jesse Helms way back in Jan­u­ary 2009. Or the stuff that would­n’t have been avoid­ed if we had a pres­i­dent Helms, espe­cial­ly in the realm of race rela­tions. Just imag­ine.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 19, 2014, 2:20 pm
  18. Imag­ine that: Far right ‘jour­nal­ist’ Charles C. John­son decid­ed to tweet about a the­o­ry he’s a fan of:

    It’s a bio­log­i­cal fact that there are innate dif­fer­ences in IQ among dif­fer­ent races. If you can’t deal with that, enjoy being a truther.— Charles C. John­son (@ChuckCJohnson) Jan­u­ary 30, 2015

    You can see where this is going...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 30, 2015, 10:59 am
  19. “I like Charles Mur­ray books to be hon­est with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess,” Bush said:

    TPM Livewire
    Can’t Unring That Bell: Jeb Bush Says He’s A Fan Of Charles Mur­ray’s Books

    By Daniel Strauss
    Pub­lished April 30, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    For­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush ® declared him­self to be a fan of con­tro­ver­sial social sci­en­tist Charles Mur­ray’s books at a forum Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton.

    Bush laud­ed Mur­ray’s books on two sep­a­rate occa­sions dur­ing an inter­view with Nation­al Review edi­tor Rich Lowry, at a forum spon­sored by the con­ser­v­a­tive mag­a­zine.

    Lowry asked Bush, “... is there any pol­i­cy or any­thing pub­lic offi­cials can do to help turn back what has been a ris­ing tide of fam­i­ly break­down cross­ing decades now?”

    “Absolute­ly, there is,” Bush, a like­ly 2016 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, said. “It’s not exact­ly the core. My views on this were shaped a lot on this by Charles Mur­ray’s book, except I was read­ing the book and I was wait­ing for the last chap­ter with the real­ly cool solu­tions — did­n’t quite get there.

    Lat­er in the inter­view, Lowry asked Bush what he likes to read. Again, he cit­ed Mur­ray.

    “I like Charles Mur­ray books to be hon­est with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess,” Bush said.

    Bush did­n’t say which of Mur­ray’s books he was refer­ring to. His polit­i­cal team did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to TPM.

    Mur­ray is the author of the high­ly influ­en­tial 1984 book Los­ing Ground: Amer­i­can Social Pol­i­cy, 1950–1980 which argued that social wel­fare pro­grams of the 1960s and 1970s actu­al­ly hurt the poor rather than helped. It was and remains a sem­i­nal work in the con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy canon.

    Ten years lat­er Mur­ray authored the high­ly con­tro­ver­sial The Bell Curve, which he co-authored with Richard Her­rn­stein. Crit­ics denounced it as racist, say­ing it essen­tial­ly argued that African-Amer­i­cans aren’t as intel­li­gent as white Amer­i­cans because of genet­ic dif­fer­ences. In 1994 Bob Her­bert, then a colum­nist at The New York Times, described the book as a “scabrous piece of racial pornog­ra­phy mas­querad­ing as seri­ous schol­ar­ship.”

    ...

    “My views on this were shaped a lot on this by Charles Mur­ray’s book, except I was read­ing the book and I was wait­ing for the last chap­ter with the real­ly cool solu­tions — did­n’t quite get there.”
    It’ll be inter­est­ing to hear Jeb’s view on Charles Mur­ray’s “real­ly cool solu­tions” if he ever gets around to read­ing them. Espe­cial­ly since Mur­ray is one of the chief con­ser­v­a­tive advo­cates of a uni­ver­sal basic income.

    Grant­ed, the right-wing uni­ver­sal basic income advo­cates tend to view it as an alter­na­tive approach to social wel­fare pro­grams so such a sys­tem would most like­ly be used a as Tro­jan horse to slash pub­lic spend­ing on the need­i­est Amer­i­cans, much like the GOP’s plans to gut pro­grams like Medicare and Med­ic­aid by turn­ing the pro­grams into state-based block grants, cut­ting per capi­ta spend­ing, and wav­ing the mag­ic “it’s decen­tral­ized so we’ll get more for less!” wand. So it’s not like Mur­ray’s pro­pos­al could­n’t achieve the GOP’s long-stand­ing dream of shrink­ing “Big Gov­ern­ment”...it would just replace all those maligned social pro­grams with a big check that every­one gets. Then that check slow­ly shrunk over time and, voila, no more wel­fare state! So if Jeb has­n’t got­ten around to read­ing about Mur­ray’s solu­tions to pover­ty he should prob­a­bly get on that.

    At the same time, a gen­er­ous and humane uni­ver­sal basic income with strong guar­an­tees that every­one will have enough to live com­fort­able is prob­a­bly one of the most grace­ful and effec­tive meth­ods soci­ety has in a future where advanced robotics/AI, over­pop­u­la­tion, and eco-col­lapse neces­si­tate rad­i­cal shifts in the social con­tracts that ensure every­one can live com­fort­ably with­out being sub­ject­ed to some sort of roboti­cized Rat Race of the Damn. So the incen­tives for the GOP to at least give lip ser­vice to the idea of a uni­ver­sal basic income is only going to increase going for­ward because the incen­tives for every polit­i­cal par­ty to jump on the uni­ver­sal basic income is only going to grow.

    And that’s all part of why it’ll be very inter­est­ing to hear Jeb’s com­ments on the top­ic should any­one ask him about the actu­al pol­i­cy solu­tions advo­cat­ed by one of his favorite authors. Not only is a uni­ver­sal basic income poten­tial­ly one of those key ingre­di­ents for a fab­u­lous future for almost every­one, but it also dou­bles as a pos­si­ble Repub­li­cans Tro­jan horse for those that want to destroy the wel­fare state! In oth­er words, the uni­ver­sal income is the future of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Or at least should be.

    So hope­ful­ly Jeb will get some ques­tions about the uni­ver­sal basic income now that he’s opened up the Charles Mur­ray can of worms. And maybe he could get some ques­tions about what else he found so appeal­ing in the can. It’s a big can with a lot of worms.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 30, 2015, 7:22 pm
  20. Is Jeb Bush ashamed of his his­to­ry of endors­ing shame as a key tool for pro­vid­ing birth con­trol to unwed women? No...maybe...no...maybe:

    MSNBC
    Jeb Bush says view on unwed births ‘hasn’t changed at all’

    06/11/15 11:15 AM—Updated 06/11/15 07:32 PM

    By Ben­jy Sar­lin

    WARSAW, Poland – Fac­ing scruti­ny over his rhetoric and record regard­ing sin­gle moth­ers, for­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters on Thurs­day that two-par­ent homes help chil­dren “live lives of pur­pose and mean­ing.”

    In a chap­ter of his 1995 book ”Pro­files of Char­ac­ter” enti­tled “The Restora­tion of Shame,” Bush, who is in Europe this week on an inter­na­tion­al tour, com­plained that hav­ing chil­dren out­side of mar­riage had become com­mon because there was “no longer a stig­ma attached to this behav­ior” and that “par­ents and neigh­bors have become inef­fec­tive at attach­ing some sense of ridicule to this behav­ior.”

    Asked by msnbc whether his views regard­ing the appli­ca­tion of shame had changed, Bush sug­gest­ed his book’s warn­ing had proved prophet­ic and stressed the impor­tance of encour­ag­ing young peo­ple to get mar­ried before hav­ing chil­dren.

    My views have evolved over time, but my views about the impor­tance of dads being involved in the lives of chil­dren hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “In fact, since 1995 … this book was a book about cul­tur­al indi­ca­tors [and] the coun­try has moved in the wrong direc­tion. We have a 40-plus per­cent out-of-wed­lock birth rate.”

    Bush has talked on the trail about research show­ing improved eco­nom­ic for­tunes for chil­dren who are raised with two par­ents and on Thurs­day reit­er­at­ed the impor­tance of fam­i­ly struc­ture.

    “It’s a huge chal­lenge for sin­gle moms to raise chil­dren in the world that we’re in today and it hurts the prospects, it lim­its the pos­si­bil­i­ties of young peo­ple being able to live lives of pur­pose and mean­ing,” he said.

    After a fol­low-up ques­tion on whether the chap­ter was meant to apply to pol­i­cy, Bush said that he was “speak­ing of [mar­riage] in the pol­i­cy con­text and the focus was on men.”

    In respond­ing to the sto­ry, Bush’s staff has point­ed reporters to a lat­er pas­sage in the book not­ing that rais­ing the issue “does not mean we should demean the hero­ic efforts of sin­gle par­ents who are try­ing to raise good, decent chil­dren.”

    A num­ber of news out­lets and com­men­ta­tors this week are also revis­it­ing a 2001 law Bush allowed to pass that includ­ed a so-called “Scar­let Let­ter” pro­vi­sion requir­ing moth­ers who give their chil­dren up for adop­tion to pub­licly post records of their sex­u­al his­to­ries that might alert poten­tial fathers about the birth. Bush raised con­cerns about that pro­vi­sion at the time but allowed the bill to pass into law with­out sign­ing it. He lat­er signed a repeal of the con­tro­ver­sial sec­tion in 2003 after it was struck down by a court.

    Asked by msnbc whether he had regrets about how the issue was han­dled, Bush said he could not recall the full details but that the broad­er law was intend­ed to sup­port sin­gle moth­ers by improv­ing col­lec­tion of child sup­port from fathers.

    “To assume you can cre­ate a father­less soci­ety and not have bad out­comes I think is the wrong approach,” he said. “I don’t remem­ber what the repeal was, I can remem­ber the pur­pose of the law was to enhance the abil­i­ty to col­lect child sup­port because men have the respon­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing care of their chil­dren.”

    ...

    Huh, so Jeb wrote a book back in 1995 tout­ing the val­ue of pub­licly sham­ing the poor into liv­ing ‘lives of pur­pose and mean­ing’ and then refused to veto a ‘Scar­let let­ter’ law while gov­er­nor. And today? He’s evolved. Sort of:

    ...

    “My views have evolved over time, but my views about the impor­tance of dads being involved in the lives of chil­dren hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “In fact, since 1995 … this book was a book about cul­tur­al indi­ca­tors [and] the coun­try has moved in the wrong direc­tion. We have a 40-plus per­cent out-of-wed­lock birth rate.”
    ...

    After a fol­low-up ques­tion on whether the chap­ter was meant to apply to pol­i­cy, Bush said that he was “speak­ing of [mar­riage] in the pol­i­cy con­text and the focus was on men.”

    ...

    That sure sounds like an “I’d like to shame sin­gle par­ents, but I’m too ashamed to ful­ly embrace it”-kind of answer. And that’s too bad con­sid­er­ing Jeb­bers wants to be the next nation­al night­mare. Hon­esty is noth­ing to be ashamed of, Jeb!

    So let’s hope Jeb finds his courage over this sham­ing issue. Bet­ter yet, lets encour­age Jeb’s bet­ters to shame Jeb into a more open pub­lic embrace of the the pow­er of sham­ing. After all, back in 2012, one of Jeb’s favorite authors, Charles Mur­ray, wrote an entire book about how con­vinc­ing rich peo­ple to move into poor­er neigh­bor­hoods so they can shame their way­ward neigh­bors into more finan­cial­ly secure lifestyles is the key to nation­al renew­al. If any­one can shame Jeb into shar­ing his thoughts on sham­ing more open­ly, it’s prob­a­bly some­one that’s had a pro­found influ­ence on Jeb’s think­ing. Some­one like Charles Mur­ray:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    The New Amer­i­can Divide
    The ide­al of an ‘Amer­i­can way of life’ is fad­ing as the work­ing class falls fur­ther away from insti­tu­tions like mar­riage and reli­gion and the upper class becomes more iso­lat­ed. Charles Mur­ray on what’s cleav­ing Amer­i­ca, and why.

    By Charles Mur­ray
    Jan­u­ary 21, 2012

    Amer­i­ca is com­ing apart. For most of our nation’s his­to­ry, what­ev­er the inequal­i­ty in wealth between the rich­est and poor­est cit­i­zens, we main­tained a cul­tur­al equal­i­ty known nowhere else in the world—for whites, any­way. “The more opu­lent cit­i­zens take great care not to stand aloof from the peo­ple,” wrote Alex­is de Toc­queville, the great chron­i­cler of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy, in the 1830s. “On the con­trary, they con­stant­ly keep on easy terms with the low­er class­es: They lis­ten to them, they speak to them every day.”

    Amer­i­cans love to see them­selves this way. But there’s a prob­lem: It’s not true any­more, and it has been pro­gres­sive­ly less true since the 1960s.

    Peo­ple are start­ing to notice the great divide. The tea par­ty sees the aloof­ness in a polit­i­cal elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of Amer­i­ca to fall in line. The Occu­py move­ment sees it in an eco­nom­ic elite that lives in man­sions and flies on pri­vate jets. Each is right about an aspect of the prob­lem, but that prob­lem is more per­va­sive than either polit­i­cal or eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty. What we now face is a prob­lem of cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty.

    When Amer­i­cans used to brag about “the Amer­i­can way of life”—a phrase still in com­mon use in 1960—they were talk­ing about a civic cul­ture that swept an extreme­ly large pro­por­tion of Amer­i­cans of all class­es into its embrace. It was a cul­ture encom­pass­ing shared expe­ri­ences of dai­ly life and shared assump­tions about cen­tral Amer­i­can val­ues involv­ing mar­riage, hon­esty, hard work and reli­gios­i­ty.

    Over the past 50 years, that com­mon civic cul­ture has unrav­eled. We have devel­oped a new upper class with advanced edu­ca­tions, often obtained at elite schools, shar­ing tastes and pref­er­ences that set them apart from main­stream Amer­i­ca. At the same time, we have devel­oped a new low­er class, char­ac­ter­ized not by pover­ty but by with­draw­al from Amer­i­ca’s core cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions.

    To illus­trate just how wide the gap has grown between the new upper class and the new low­er class, let me start with the broad­er upper-mid­dle and work­ing class­es from which they are drawn, using two fic­tion­al neigh­bor­hoods that I here­by label Bel­mont (after an arche­typ­al upper-mid­dle-class sub­urb near Boston) and Fish­town (after a neigh­bor­hood in Philadel­phia that has been home to the white work­ing class since the Rev­o­lu­tion).

    To be assigned to Bel­mont, the peo­ple in the sta­tis­ti­cal nation­wide data­bas­es on which I am draw­ing must have at least a bach­e­lor’s degree and work as a man­ag­er, physi­cian, attor­ney, engi­neer, archi­tect, sci­en­tist, col­lege pro­fes­sor or con­tent pro­duc­er in the media. To be assigned to Fish­town, they must have no aca­d­e­m­ic degree high­er than a high-school diplo­ma. If they work, it must be in a blue-col­lar job, a low-skill ser­vice job such as cashier, or a low-skill white-col­lar job such as mail clerk or recep­tion­ist.

    Peo­ple who qual­i­fy for my Bel­mont con­sti­tute about 20% of the white pop­u­la­tion of the U.S., ages 30 to 49. Peo­ple who qual­i­fy for my Fish­town con­sti­tute about 30% of the white pop­u­la­tion of the U.S., ages 30 to 49.

    I spec­i­fy white, mean­ing non-Lati­no white, as a way of clar­i­fy­ing how broad and deep the cul­tur­al divi­sions in the U.S. have become. Cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty is not ground­ed in race or eth­nic­i­ty. I spec­i­fy ages 30 to 49—what I call prime-age adults—to make it clear that these trends are not explained by changes in the ages of mar­riage or retire­ment.

    In Bel­mont and Fish­town, here’s what hap­pened to Amer­i­ca’s com­mon cul­ture between 1960 and 2010.

    Mar­riage: In 1960, extreme­ly high pro­por­tions of whites in both Bel­mont and Fish­town were married—94% in Bel­mont and 84% in Fish­town. In the 1970s, those per­cent­ages declined about equal­ly in both places. Then came the great diver­gence. In Bel­mont, mar­riage sta­bi­lized dur­ing the mid-1980s, stand­ing at 83% in 2010. In Fish­town, how­ev­er, mar­riage con­tin­ued to slide; as of 2010, a minor­i­ty (just 48%) were mar­ried. The gap in mar­riage between Bel­mont and Fish­town grew to 35 per­cent­age points, from just 10.

    Sin­gle par­ent­hood: Anoth­er aspect of marriage—the per­cent­age of chil­dren born to unmar­ried women—showed just as great a diver­gence. Though politi­cians and media emi­nences are too fright­ened to say so, non­mar­i­tal births are prob­lem­at­ic. On just about any mea­sure of devel­op­ment you can think of, chil­dren who are born to unmar­ried women fare worse than the chil­dren of divorce and far worse than chil­dren raised in intact fam­i­lies. This unwel­come real­i­ty per­sists even after con­trol­ling for the income and edu­ca­tion of the par­ents.

    In 1960, just 2% of all white births were non­mar­i­tal. When we first start­ed record­ing the edu­ca­tion lev­el of moth­ers in 1970, 6% of births to white women with no more than a high-school education—women, that is, with a Fish­town education—were out of wed­lock. By 2008, 44% were non­mar­i­tal. Among the col­lege-edu­cat­ed women of Bel­mont, less than 6% of all births were out of wed­lock as of 2008, up from 1% in 1970.

    Indus­tri­ous­ness: The norms for work and women were rev­o­lu­tion­ized after 1960, but the norm for men puta­tive­ly has remained the same: Healthy men are sup­posed to work. In prac­tice, though, that norm has erod­ed every­where. In Fish­town, the change has been dras­tic. (To avoid con­flat­ing this phe­nom­e­non with the lat­est reces­sion, I use data col­lect­ed in March 2008 as the end point for the trends.)

    The pri­ma­ry indi­ca­tor of the ero­sion of indus­tri­ous­ness in the work­ing class is the increase of prime-age males with no more than a high school edu­ca­tion who say they are not avail­able for work—they are “out of the labor force.” That per­cent­age went from a low of 3% in 1968 to 12% in 2008. Twelve per­cent may not sound like much until you think about the men we’re talk­ing about: in the prime of their work­ing lives, their 30s and 40s, when, accord­ing to hal­lowed Amer­i­can tra­di­tion, every Amer­i­can man is work­ing or look­ing for work. Almost one out of eight now aren’t. Mean­while, not much has changed among males with col­lege edu­ca­tions. Only 3% were out of the labor force in 2008.

    There’s also been a notable change in the rates of less-than-full-time work. Of the men in Fish­town who had jobs, 10% worked few­er than 40 hours a week in 1960, a fig­ure that grew to 20% by 2008. In Bel­mont, the num­ber rose from 9% in 1960 to 12% in 2008.

    Crime: The surge in crime that began in the mid-1960s and con­tin­ued through the 1980s left Bel­mont almost untouched and rav­aged Fish­town. From 1960 to 1995, the vio­lent crime rate in Fish­town more than sex­tu­pled while remain­ing near­ly flat in Bel­mont. The reduc­tions in crime since the mid-1990s that have ben­e­fit­ed the nation as a whole have been small­er in Fish­town, leav­ing it today with a vio­lent crime rate that is still 4.7 times the 1960 rate.

    Reli­gios­i­ty: What­ev­er your per­son­al reli­gious views, you need to real­ize that about half of Amer­i­can phil­an­thropy, vol­un­teer­ing and asso­ci­a­tion­al mem­ber­ships is direct­ly church-relat­ed, and that reli­gious Amer­i­cans also account for much more non­re­li­gious social cap­i­tal than their sec­u­lar neigh­bors. In that con­text, it is wor­ri­some for the cul­ture that the U.S. as a whole has become marked­ly more sec­u­lar since 1960, and espe­cial­ly wor­ri­some that Fish­town has become much more sec­u­lar than Bel­mont. It runs against the pre­vail­ing nar­ra­tive of sec­u­lar elites ver­sus a work­ing class still cling­ing to reli­gion, but the evi­dence from the Gen­er­al Social Sur­vey, the most wide­ly used data­base on Amer­i­can atti­tudes and val­ues, does not leave much room for argu­ment.

    For exam­ple, sup­pose we define “de fac­to sec­u­lar” as some­one who either pro­fess­es no reli­gion at all or who attends a wor­ship ser­vice no more than once a year. For the ear­ly GSS sur­veys con­duct­ed from 1972 to 1976, 29% of Bel­mont and 38% of Fish­town fell into that cat­e­go­ry. Over the next three decades, sec­u­lar­iza­tion did indeed grow in Bel­mont, from 29% in the 1970s to 40% in the GSS sur­veys tak­en from 2006 to 2010. But it grew even more in Fish­town, from 38% to 59%.
    ***

    It can be said with­out hyper­bole that these diver­gences put Bel­mont and Fish­town into dif­fer­ent cul­tures. But it’s not just the work­ing class that’s moved; the upper mid­dle class has pulled away in its own fash­ion, too.

    If you were an exec­u­tive liv­ing in Bel­mont in 1960, income inequal­i­ty would have sep­a­rat­ed you from the con­struc­tion work­er in Fish­town, but remark­ably lit­tle cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty. You lived a more expen­sive life, but not a much dif­fer­ent life. Your kitchen was big­ger, but you did­n’t use it to pre­pare yogurt and mues­li for break­fast. Your tele­vi­sion screen was big­ger, but you and the con­struc­tion work­er watched a lot of the same shows (you did­n’t have much choice). Your house might have had a den that the con­struc­tion work­er’s lacked, but it had no Stair­Mas­ter or lap pool, nor any gad­get to mon­i­tor your per­cent­age of body fat. You both drank Bud, Miller, Schlitz or Pab­st, and the phrase “bou­tique beer” nev­er crossed your lips. You prob­a­bly both smoked. If you did­n’t, you did not glare con­temp­tu­ous­ly at peo­ple who did.

    ...

    ***

    Why have these new low­er and upper class­es emerged? For explain­ing the for­ma­tion of the new low­er class, the easy expla­na­tions from the left don’t with­stand scruti­ny. It’s not that white work­ing class males can no longer make a “fam­i­ly wage” that enables them to mar­ry. The aver­age male employed in a work­ing-class occu­pa­tion earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960. It’s not that a bad job mar­ket led dis­cour­aged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast dur­ing the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did dur­ing bad years.

    As I’ve argued in much of my pre­vi­ous work, I think that the reforms of the 1960s jump-start­ed the dete­ri­o­ra­tion. Changes in social pol­i­cy dur­ing the 1960s made it eco­nom­i­cal­ly more fea­si­ble to have a child with­out hav­ing a hus­band if you were a woman or to get along with­out a job if you were a man; safer to com­mit crimes with­out suf­fer­ing con­se­quences; and eas­i­er to let the gov­ern­ment deal with prob­lems in your com­mu­ni­ty that you and your neigh­bors for­mer­ly had to take care of.

    But, for prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es, under­stand­ing why the new low­er class got start­ed isn’t espe­cial­ly impor­tant. Once the dete­ri­o­ra­tion was under way, a self-rein­forc­ing loop took hold as tra­di­tion­al­ly pow­er­ful social norms broke down. Because the process has become self-rein­forc­ing, repeal­ing the reforms of the 1960s (some­thing that’s not going to hap­pen) would change the trends slow­ly at best.

    Mean­while, the for­ma­tion of the new upper class has been dri­ven by forces that are nobody’s fault and resist manip­u­la­tion. The eco­nom­ic val­ue of brains in the mar­ket­place will con­tin­ue to increase no mat­ter what, and the most suc­cess­ful of each gen­er­a­tion will tend to mar­ry each oth­er no mat­ter what. As a result, the most suc­cess­ful Amer­i­cans will con­tin­ue to trend toward con­sol­i­da­tion and iso­la­tion as a class. Changes in mar­gin­al tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a dif­fer­ence. Increas­ing schol­ar­ships for work­ing-class chil­dren won’t make a dif­fer­ence.

    The only thing that can make a dif­fer­ence is the recog­ni­tion among Amer­i­cans of all class­es that a prob­lem of cul­tur­al inequal­i­ty exists and that some­thing has to be done about it. That “some­thing” has noth­ing to do with new gov­ern­ment pro­grams or reg­u­la­tions. Pub­lic pol­i­cy has cer­tain­ly affect­ed the cul­ture, unfor­tu­nate­ly, but unin­tend­ed con­se­quences have been as grim­ly inevitable for con­ser­v­a­tive social engi­neer­ing as for lib­er­al social engi­neer­ing.

    The “some­thing” that I have in mind has to be defined in terms of indi­vid­ual Amer­i­can fam­i­lies act­ing in their own inter­ests and the inter­ests of their chil­dren. Doing that in Fish­town requires sup­port from out­side. There remains a core of civic virtue and involve­ment in work­ing-class Amer­i­ca that could make head­way against its prob­lems if the peo­ple who are try­ing to do the right things get the rein­force­ment they need—not in the form of gov­ern­ment assis­tance, but in val­i­da­tion of the val­ues and stan­dards they con­tin­ue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to pro­vide that rein­force­ment is to drop its con­de­scend­ing “non­judg­men­tal­ism.” Mar­ried, edu­cat­ed peo­ple who work hard and con­sci­en­tious­ly raise their kids should­n’t hes­i­tate to voice their dis­ap­proval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to mar­riage and the work eth­ic, the new upper class must start preach­ing what it prac­tices.

    Chang­ing life in the SuperZIPs requires that mem­bers of the new upper class rethink their pri­or­i­ties. Here are some propo­si­tions that might guide them: Life sequestered from any­body not like your­self tends to be self-lim­it­ing. Places to live in which the peo­ple around you have no prob­lems that need coop­er­a­tive solu­tions tend to be ster­ile. Amer­i­ca out­side the enclaves of the new upper class is still a won­der­ful place, filled with smart, inter­est­ing, enter­tain­ing peo­ple. If you’re not part of that Amer­i­ca, you’ve stripped your­self of much of what makes being Amer­i­can spe­cial.

    Such pri­or­i­ties can be expressed in any num­ber of famil­iar deci­sions: the neigh­bor­hood where you buy your next home, the next school that you choose for your chil­dren, what you tell them about the val­ue and virtues of phys­i­cal labor and mil­i­tary ser­vice, whether you become an active mem­ber of a reli­gious con­gre­ga­tion (and what kind you choose) and whether you become involved in the life of your com­mu­ni­ty at a more mean­ing­ful lev­el than char­i­ty events.

    Every­one in the new upper class has the mon­e­tary resources to make a wide vari­ety of deci­sions that deter­mine whether they engage them­selves and their chil­dren in the rest of Amer­i­ca or whether they iso­late them­selves from it. The only ques­tion is which they pre­fer to do.

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re sup­posed to trust that large num­bers of par­ents will spon­ta­neous­ly, vol­un­tar­i­ly make the right choice for the coun­try by mak­ing the right choice for them­selves and their chil­dren?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already wor­ry­ing a lot of peo­ple. If enough Amer­i­cans look unblink­ing­ly at the nature of the prob­lem, they’ll fix it. One fam­i­ly at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the Amer­i­can way.

    Charles Mur­ray clear­ly is so unashamed to pro­mote the sham­ing of the poor that he wrote an entire book about it that makes the case that such sham­ing is the only thing that can solve the grow­ing class divide:

    ...Mar­ried, edu­cat­ed peo­ple who work hard and con­sci­en­tious­ly raise their kids should­n’t hes­i­tate to voice their dis­ap­proval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to mar­riage and the work eth­ic, the new upper class must start preach­ing what it prac­tices.

    ...

    Every­one in the new upper class has the mon­e­tary resources to make a wide vari­ety of deci­sions that deter­mine whether they engage them­selves and their chil­dren in the rest of Amer­i­ca or whether they iso­late them­selves from it. The only ques­tion is which they pre­fer to do.

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re sup­posed to trust that large num­bers of par­ents will spon­ta­neous­ly, vol­un­tar­i­ly make the right choice for the coun­try by mak­ing the right choice for them­selves and their chil­dren?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already wor­ry­ing a lot of peo­ple. If enough Amer­i­cans look unblink­ing­ly at the nature of the prob­lem, they’ll fix it. One fam­i­ly at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the Amer­i­can way.

    Now that’s some­one proud of their sham­ing agen­da. And since that same some­one is one of Jeb Bush’s favorite authors, who knows, maybe a reread­ing of Charles Mur­ray’s many clas­sics will give Jeb courage he needs to over­com­ing his sham­ing shame.

    Jeb had just bet­ter keep the sham­ing appro­pri­ate­ly tar­get­ed on the poor. He would­n’t want to say some­thing he might regret.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 11, 2015, 6:54 pm
  21. Here’s a reminder that, at the same time we have ‘Alt Right’ neo-Nazi fig­ures like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopou­los engag­ing in high-pro­file col­lege speak­ing tours seem­ing­ly designed to pro­voke a pub­lic back­lash and feed into their white suprema­cist vic­tim com­plex, the far-right does­n’t always intend for its cam­pus activ­i­ties to be in the pub­lic eye: Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don (UCL) appears to have just dis­cov­ered that there’s been a secret eugen­ics con­fer­ence host­ed in its cam­pus since 2014. Whoops.

    One promi­nent attendee to these con­fer­ences is Toby Young, the head of the New Schools Net­work — a net­work of “Free schools” in the UK that are non-prof­it inde­pen­dent schools fund­ed by the state. Anoth­er notable attendee is Richard Lynn, the ‘aca­d­e­m­ic’ who sits on the board of the Pio­neer Fund and who pro­vid­ed the bulk of the work in The Bell Curve pur­port­ing to show racial dif­fer­ence in intel­li­gence. Appar­ent­ly the atten­dees the invite-only con­fer­ence were told about the loca­tion at the last minute and asked not to men­tion it to any­one. So, while it would have been easy enough to just arrange for such a con­fer­ence out­side of a cam­pus set­ting, this group appears to real­ly want to dis­cuss their eugen­ics the­o­ries on a cam­pus. With­out any­one know­ing (until now):

    The Guardian

    UCL to inves­ti­gate eugen­ics con­fer­ence secret­ly held on cam­pus

    Toby Young was promi­nent attendee of last year’s con­fer­ence run by an hon­orary senior lec­tur­er at the Lon­don uni­ver­si­ty

    Kevin Rawl­in­son and Richard Adams
    Thu 11 Jan ‘18 04.15 EST

    Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don has launched an urgent inves­ti­ga­tion into how a senior aca­d­e­m­ic was able to secret­ly host con­fer­ences on eugen­ics and intel­li­gence with noto­ri­ous speak­ers includ­ing white suprema­cists.

    The Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence was said to have been run secret­ly for at least three years by James Thomp­son, an hon­orary senior lec­tur­er at the uni­ver­si­ty, includ­ing con­tri­bu­tions from a researcher who has pre­vi­ous­ly advo­cat­ed child rape.

    One promi­nent attendee at the con­fer­ence in May last year was Toby Young, the head of the gov­ern­ment-backed New Schools Net­work, who ran into con­tro­ver­sy over efforts to appoint him as a uni­ver­si­ty reg­u­la­tor.

    Young’s involve­ment in the con­fer­ence was revealed by the Lon­don Stu­dent news­pa­per on Mon­day. Young announced ear­ly on Tues­day that he was step­ping down as a direc­tor of the Office for Stu­dents.

    Young has also resigned from his post on the Ful­bright Com­mis­sion, which over­sees stu­dent schol­ar­ship pro­grammes between British and US uni­ver­si­ties.

    ...

    UCL said it had no knowl­edge of the con­fer­ence, an invi­ta­tion-only cir­cle of 24 atten­dees, which could have led to a breach of the government’s Pre­vent reg­u­la­tions on cam­pus extrem­ism.

    “UCL is inves­ti­gat­ing a poten­tial breach of its room book­ings process for events,” a spokesper­son said.

    “Our records indi­cate the uni­ver­si­ty was not informed in advance about the speak­ers and con­tent of the con­fer­ence series, as it should have been for the event to be allowed to go ahead.”

    UCL said it had con­tact­ed Thomp­son for an expla­na­tion. It has sus­pend­ed approval for his host­ing fur­ther con­fer­ences and speak­ers.

    Young, in a speech to a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence in Cana­da last year, described the extreme mea­sures that Thomp­son employed to keep the con­fer­ence a secret.

    “Atten­dees were only told the venue at the last minute, an anony­mous ante-cham­ber at the end of a long cor­ri­dor, called ‘lec­ture room 22’, and asked not to share this infor­ma­tion with any­one else.

    “One of the atten­dees, on dis­cov­er­ing I was a jour­nal­ist, plead­ed with me not to write about the fact that he was there – he didn’t want his col­leagues to find out,” Young said.

    “But these pre­cau­tions were not unrea­son­able, con­sid­er­ing the reac­tion that any ref­er­ences to between-group dif­fer­ences in IQ gen­er­al­ly pro­voke.”

    Pre­vi­ous atten­dees includ­ed Richard Lynn, whom the US-based research group South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter labelled an “unapolo­getic eugeni­cist”, and the blog­ger Emil Kirkegaard, who has writ­ten sup­por­t­ive­ly about pedophiles being allowed to have “sex with a sleep­ing child”.

    The sci­ence writer and broad­cast­er Adam Ruther­ford said the back­ground of the speak­ers sug­gest­ed that “some pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic non­sense was being dis­cussed”.

    “There are some peo­ple at these meet­ings with some deeply obnox­ious views that are also sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly invalid – notably Richard Lynn,” Ruther­ford said.

    Many of the ideas dis­cussed at the con­fer­ences, which have been run­ning since 2014, ran counter to the con­tem­po­rary sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus, accord­ing to Ruther­ford.

    “Human vari­a­tion is, of course, real. But the pro­por­tion of genet­ic dif­fer­ence that is reflect­ed in the char­ac­ter­is­tics that we can see is minus­cule.

    “What that means is that evo­lu­tion is decep­tive in this regard: we broad­ly use skin colour and hair tex­ture – visu­al cues to class peo­ple into races but they are ter­ri­ble reflec­tions of over­all genet­ic dif­fer­ence,” Ruther­ford said.

    “In fact, there is more genet­ic diver­si­ty with­in Africa than in the rest of the world. Two black Africans are more like­ly to be more dif­fer­ent to each oth­er than they are to a white per­son or even an east Asian.”

    Lynn told the Guardian: “I have writ­ten numer­ous papers on race dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence and their genet­ic basis. These have been pub­lished in aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nals.”

    Kirkegaard did not respond to requests for com­ment. But Thomp­son told the Dai­ly Tele­graph that the conference’s main sub­ject was how IQ was inher­it­ed between dif­fer­ent groups and races. “Eugen­ics is one top­ic, but many top­ics are dis­cussed,” he said.

    Young said he attend­ed last year’s Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence as research for the speech he lat­er gave in Cana­da, which was “about the his­to­ry of con­tro­ver­sies pro­voked by intel­li­gence researchers”. He said he “thought the con­fer­ence in Lon­don might pro­vide me with some mate­r­i­al – and it did”.

    ———-

    “UCL to inves­ti­gate eugen­ics con­fer­ence secret­ly held on cam­pus” by Kevin Rawl­in­son and Richard Adams; The Guardian; 01/11/2018

    “The Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence was said to have been run secret­ly for at least three years by James Thomp­son, an hon­orary senior lec­tur­er at the uni­ver­si­ty, includ­ing con­tri­bu­tions from a researcher who has pre­vi­ous­ly advo­cat­ed child rape.”

    Wow, that’s quite a few secret eugen­ics con­fer­ences to have on your cam­pus. But note the spin by James Thomp­son, the UCL pro­fes­sor who’s been host­ing the con­fer­enc: yeah, eugen­ics was a top­ic, but one of many. How reas­sur­ing:

    ...
    Kirkegaard did not respond to requests for com­ment. But Thomp­son told the Dai­ly Tele­graph that the conference’s main sub­ject was how IQ was inher­it­ed between dif­fer­ent groups and races. “Eugen­ics is one top­ic, but many top­ics are dis­cussed,” he said.
    ...

    And how reas­sur­ing it must be to the par­ents of chil­dren enrolled in any of the gov­ern­ment-back New Schools Net­work, to find out that Toby Young, the head of that net­work, was one of the atten­dees. Oh, and he’s also on the Ful­bright Com­mis­sion, which over­sees stu­dent schol­ar­ship pro­grams between British and US uni­ver­si­ties:

    ...
    One promi­nent attendee at the con­fer­ence in May last year was Toby Young, the head of the gov­ern­ment-backed New Schools Net­work, who ran into con­tro­ver­sy over efforts to appoint him as a uni­ver­si­ty reg­u­la­tor.

    Young’s involve­ment in the con­fer­ence was revealed by the Lon­don Stu­dent news­pa­per on Mon­day. Young announced ear­ly on Tues­day that he was step­ping down as a direc­tor of the Office for Stu­dents.

    Young has also resigned from his post on the Ful­bright Com­mis­sion, which over­sees stu­dent schol­ar­ship pro­grammes between British and US uni­ver­si­ties.

    Sir Nigel Shein­wald, chair of the US-UK Ful­bright Com­mis­sion, said: “I accept­ed his res­ig­na­tion, which I believe to be in the best inter­ests of the Ful­bright pro­gramme.”
    ...

    And you have to love Young’s expla­na­tion for his atten­dance at least year’s secret con­fer­ence: He was just attend­ing as research for a speech he lat­er gave in Cana­da “about the his­to­ry of con­tro­ver­sies pro­voked by intel­li­gence researchers.” And that speech in Cana­da was at a con­fer­ence described as “a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence”. So Young attend­ed last year’s sci­en­tif­ic racism con­fer­ence in Lon­don so he could give a speech at a sci­en­tif­ic racism con­fer­ence in Cana­da. How reas­sur­ing:

    ...
    Young, in a speech to a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence in Cana­da last year, described the extreme mea­sures that Thomp­son employed to keep the con­fer­ence a secret.

    “Atten­dees were only told the venue at the last minute, an anony­mous ante-cham­ber at the end of a long cor­ri­dor, called ‘lec­ture room 22’, and asked not to share this infor­ma­tion with any­one else.

    “One of the atten­dees, on dis­cov­er­ing I was a jour­nal­ist, plead­ed with me not to write about the fact that he was there – he didn’t want his col­leagues to find out,” Young said.

    “But these pre­cau­tions were not unrea­son­able, con­sid­er­ing the reac­tion that any ref­er­ences to between-group dif­fer­ences in IQ gen­er­al­ly pro­voke.”

    ...

    Young said he attend­ed last year’s Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence as research for the speech he lat­er gave in Cana­da, which was “about the his­to­ry of con­tro­ver­sies pro­voked by intel­li­gence researchers”. He said he “thought the con­fer­ence in Lon­don might pro­vide me with some mate­r­i­al – and it did”.
    ...

    And, of course, atten­dees to this con­fer­ence includ­ed one of the most promi­nent ‘sci­en­tif­ic’ racists alive; Richard Lynn. Along with Emil Kirkegaard, a ‘race real­ist’ who also appears to sup­port sex with sleep­ing chil­dren (Milo would pre­sum­ably approve):

    ...
    Pre­vi­ous atten­dees includ­ed Richard Lynn, whom the US-based research group South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter labelled an “unapolo­getic eugeni­cist”, and the blog­ger Emil Kirkegaard, who has writ­ten sup­por­t­ive­ly about pedophiles being allowed to have “sex with a sleep­ing child”.

    The sci­ence writer and broad­cast­er Adam Ruther­ford said the back­ground of the speak­ers sug­gest­ed that “some pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic non­sense was being dis­cussed”.

    “There are some peo­ple at these meet­ings with some deeply obnox­ious views that are also sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly invalid – notably Richard Lynn,” Ruther­ford said.
    ...

    And in case it was­n’t clear that James Thomp­son was ful­ly aware of the nature of the indi­vid­u­als he’s invit­ing to his invite-only annu­al secret con­fer­ences, here’s a close look at his long-stand­ing net­work­ing with this ‘race real­ist’ net­work:

    Lon­don Stu­dent

    Exposed: London’s eugen­ics con­fer­ence and its neo-Nazi links

    Ben Van Der Mer­we
    10th Jan­u­ary 2018

    A eugen­ics con­fer­ence held annu­al­ly at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don by an hon­orary pro­fes­sor, the Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence, is dom­i­nat­ed by a secre­tive group of white suprema­cists with neo-Nazi links, Lon­don Stu­dent can exclu­sive­ly reveal.

    Con­tent note: This arti­cle con­tains ref­er­ences to racism, anti-Semi­tism and child abuse.

    The con­fer­ence has tak­en place at UCL four times since its incep­tion in 2014, and now even boasts its own YouTube chan­nel bear­ing the UCL logo.

    UCL have told Lon­don Stu­dent that they are inves­ti­gat­ing the con­fer­ence. A spokesper­son said: “We are an insti­tu­tion that is com­mit­ted to free speech but also to com­bat­ting racism and sex­ism in all forms.”

    UCL pro­fes­sor David Colquhoun expressed dis­be­lief that the uni­ver­si­ty would host such “pseu­do­science” and stat­ed that the organ­is­er, Pro­fes­sor James Thomp­son, “clear­ly doesn’t under­stand genet­ics.”

    “The actu­al genet­ic dif­fer­ence between humans, with respect to race or sex, is absolute­ly minis­cule com­pared to what they have in com­mon,” he told Lon­don Stu­dent.

    Among the speak­ers and atten­dees over the last four years are a self-taught geneti­cist who argues in favour of child rape, mul­ti­ple white suprema­cists, and ex-board mem­ber of the Office for Stu­dents Toby Young.

    A cen­tral fig­ure in the Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence (LCI) is the white nation­al­ist, extrem­ist Richard Lynn, who has called for the “phas­ing out” of the “pop­u­la­tions of incom­pe­tent cul­tures.” Lynn, who is Pres­i­dent of the Ulster Insti­tute for Social Research (UISR), spoke at the con­fer­ence 2015 and 2016, along with four of the six mem­bers of the UISR’s Aca­d­e­m­ic Advi­so­ry Coun­cil.

    Lynn’s UISR runs the jour­nal Mankind Quar­ter­ly, whose founders include a lead­ing mem­ber of Mussolini’s eugen­ics task­force, and whose board once boast­ed Nazi Joseph Mengele’s per­son­al men­tor.

    Six mem­bers of the cur­rent board, includ­ing edi­tor-in-chief Ger­hard Meisen­berg, spoke at both the 2015 and 2016 con­fer­ences, while a fur­ther 16 LCI speak­ers have writ­ten for the jour­nal in recent years. In total, 82% of those who spoke at both 2015 and 2016 con­fer­ences are direct­ly asso­ci­at­ed with either UISR or Mankind Quar­ter­ly.

    The UISR is bankrolled by Lynn and Meisenberg’s Pio­neer Fund, a South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­tre-list­ed hate group found­ed by Nazi sym­pa­this­ers with the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing “racial bet­ter­ment”.

    Ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the fund include a mag­a­zine devot­ed to a “pen­e­trat­ing inquiry into every aspect of the Jew­ish Ques­tion,” and Jared Taylor’s Amer­i­can Renais­sance, whose con­fer­ences have host­ed promi­nent far-right fig­ures Richard Spencer (an white supre­man­cist who gained promi­nence after Trump’s elec­tion), Nick Grif­fin (ex-leader of the British Nation­al Par­ty), and David Duke (anoth­er white suprema­cist, and for­mer Grand Wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan).

    Hel­muth Nyborg, a mem­ber of the UISR Aca­d­e­m­ic Advi­so­ry Coun­cil, gave a lec­ture at last year’s Amer­i­can Renais­sance con­fer­ence which argued that Denmark’s gene pool would suf­fer from immi­gra­tion from the Mid­dle East. Nyborg spoke at the LCI in both 2015 and 2016. He has writ­ten numer­ous arti­cles for Mankind Quar­ter­ly as well as a book for the UISR memo­ri­al­iz­ing the for­mer head of the Pio­neer Fund, white nation­al­ist J. P. Rush­ton.

    James Thomp­son, the hon­orary UCL aca­d­e­m­ic who acts as the host of the con­fer­ence, is a mem­ber of the UISR Aca­d­e­m­ic Advi­so­ry Coun­cil. His polit­i­cal lean­ings are betrayed by his pub­lic Twit­ter accoun, where he fol­lows promi­nent white suprema­cists includ­ing Richard Spencer (who fol­lows him back), Vir­ginia Dare, Amer­i­can Renais­sance, Brett Stevens, the Tra­di­tion­al Britain Group, Charles Mur­ray and Jared Tay­lor.

    Thomp­son is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to the Unz Review, which has been described as “a mix of far-right and far-left anti-Semit­ic crack­pot­tery,” and fea­tures arti­cles such as ‘America’s Jews are Dri­ving America’s Wars’ and ‘What to do with Lati­nos?’. His own arti­cles include fre­quent defences of the idea that women are innate­ly less intel­li­gent than men (1, 2, 3, and 4), and an analy­sis of the racial wage gap which con­cludes that “some eth­nic­i­ties con­tribute rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle,” name­ly “blacks.”

    Writer and geneti­cist Adam Ruther­ford told Lon­don Stu­dent that, based on the titles and abstracts, some of the views pre­sent­ed were a “pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic front for bog-stan­dard, old-school racism”.

    “As soon as you begin to speak about black peo­ple and IQ you have a prob­lem, because genet­i­cal­ly-speak­ing ‘black peo­ple’ aren’t one homoge­nous group,” Ruther­ford said. “Any two peo­ple of recent African descent are like­ly to be more genet­i­cal­ly dis­tinct from each oth­er than either of them is to any­one else in the world.”

    Anoth­er major organ­is­er of the LCI is Emil Kirkegaard, who has attend­ed all four con­fer­ences and even designed the web­site. Although he refers to him­self as a “poly­math” and Thomp­son describes him as a “very bright young guy”, Kirkegaard is not an aca­d­e­m­ic. His high­est qual­i­fi­ca­tion is a Bachelor’s in lin­guis­tics.

    Hav­ing dropped out of his Mas­ters degree, instead pre­fer­ring to be “self-taught in var­i­ous sub­jects”, Kirkegaard now runs OpenPsych, a plat­form for non-peer reviewed psy­chol­o­gy papers, along with Davide Pif­fer of Mankind Quar­ter­ly. Pif­fer is a fel­low LCI-speak­er, and was praised by Richard Lynn as hav­ing done “bril­liant work iden­ti­fy­ing the genes respon­si­ble for race dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence.”

    Authors on OpenPsych include Kevin Mac­Don­ald, described by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­tre as “the neo-Nazi movement’s favourite aca­d­e­m­ic”, who praised Anders Breivik as a “seri­ous polit­i­cal thinker with a great many insights and some good prac­ti­cal ideas on strat­e­gy.”

    John Fuerst, a fel­low of the UISR, spoke at LCI 2015 and 2016, and fre­quent­ly col­lab­o­rates with Kirkegaard on OpenPsych. As well as writ­ing var­i­ous blogs, which he describes as “race real­ist”, , he also fre­quent­ly posts anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries on Face­book. When ques­tioned about his pop­u­lar­i­ty on the neo-Nazi forum Storm­front, he stat­ed that he had “no beef against…“Neo-Nazis”.”

    Kirkegaard’s own per­son­al blog is home to top­ics such as ‘Is mis­ce­gena­tion bad for your kids?’ and how one could empir­i­cal­ly ver­i­fy a Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy. His Face­book fea­tures alt-right ‘pro­mo­tion­al videos’ and once fea­tured a friend’s Nazi salute with the cap­tion ‘There will be an heir to the Führer.’

    [See image of post on Face­book fea­tur­ing a Nazi salute behind Kirkegaard along­side his ‘Führer’ com­ment]

    By far the most dis­turb­ing of part of Kirkegaard’s inter­net pres­ence, how­ev­er, is a blog-post in which he jus­ti­fies child rape. He states that a ‘com­pro­mise’ with pae­dophiles could be:

    “hav­ing sex with a sleep­ing child with­out them know­ing it (so, using sleep­ing med­i­cine. If they dont notice it is dif­fi­cult to see how they cud be harmed, even if it is rape. One must dis­tin­guish between rape becus the oth­er was dis­con­sent­ing (want­i­ng to not have sex), and rape becus the oth­er is not con­sent­ing, but not dis­con­sent­ing either.”

    He qual­i­fies this with a note that “bod­i­ly harm” would under­mine this jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and espe­cial­ly “with small chil­dren since their bod­i­ly open­ings are not large enuf [sic] for a reg­u­lar sized male penis. To avoid this one shud [sic] not pen­e­trate.”

    Kirkegaard’s rep­u­ta­tion as a sci­en­tif­ic advo­cate for neo-Nazism was increased last April when he appeared on Tara McCarthy’s ‘Real­i­ty Calls’ to dis­cuss “the future of eugen­ics.” McCarthy was banned from YouTube for alleg­ing a Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy to com­mit “white geno­cide”, sup­ports deport­ing nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zens and “killing them if they resist”, and said that she hopes “zero” migrants cross­ing the Mediter­ranean “make it alive”..

    Kirkegaard is not the only LCI speak­er to fea­ture on McCarthy’s show. Adam Perkins of King’s Col­lege Lon­don appeared on the show to dis­cuss his con­tro­ver­sial book, ‘The Wel­fare Trait’. He pro­voked uproar last year when he shared images of data from one of Kirkegaard’s papers on immi­grant crime rates, with the cap­tion “Trump’s Mus­lim ban makes sense in human cap­i­tal terms”..

    “This is so old-school as to be laugh­able,” Dr Ruther­ford said of the views dis­cussed at the LCI. While the views may sim­ply be “bad sci­ence”, accord­ing to Ruther­ford, they play into UCL’s “deep and rich his­to­ry of sci­en­tif­ic racism”.

    He explained: “Fran­cis Gal­ton, the bril­liant but overt­ly racist UCL aca­d­e­m­ic, may have giv­en the world many valu­able ideas, but also cre­at­ed eugen­ics as a pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic idea. UCL’s Gal­ton chair, named in his hon­our, was first occu­pied by Karl Pear­son, anoth­er overt racist.”

    ...

    ———-
    “Exposed: London’s eugen­ics con­fer­ence and its neo-Nazi links” by Ben Van Der Mer­we; Lon­don Stu­dent; 01/10/2018

    “James Thomp­son, the hon­orary UCL aca­d­e­m­ic who acts as the host of the con­fer­ence, is a mem­ber of the UISR Aca­d­e­m­ic Advi­so­ry Coun­cil. His polit­i­cal lean­ings are betrayed by his pub­lic Twit­ter accoun, where he fol­lows promi­nent white suprema­cists includ­ing Richard Spencer (who fol­lows him back), Vir­ginia Dare, Amer­i­can Renais­sance, Brett Stevens, the Tra­di­tion­al Britain Group, Charles Mur­ray and Jared Tay­lor.”

    Yep, James Thomp­son is a mem­ber of the Ulster Insti­tute for Social Research (UISR) Advi­so­ry Coun­cil. What’s that? It’s that Pio­neer Fund-financed orga­ni­za­tion run by Richard Lynn that pub­lish­es Mankind Quar­ter­ly:

    ...
    A cen­tral fig­ure in the Lon­don Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gence (LCI) is the white nation­al­ist, extrem­ist Richard Lynn, who has called for the “phas­ing out” of the “pop­u­la­tions of incom­pe­tent cul­tures.” Lynn, who is Pres­i­dent of the Ulster Insti­tute for Social Research (UISR), spoke at the con­fer­ence 2015 and 2016, along with four of the six mem­bers of the UISR’s Aca­d­e­m­ic Advi­so­ry Coun­cil.

    Lynn’s UISR runs the jour­nal Mankind Quar­ter­ly, whose founders include a lead­ing mem­ber of Mussolini’s eugen­ics task­force, and whose board once boast­ed Nazi Joseph Mengele’s per­son­al men­tor.

    Six mem­bers of the cur­rent board, includ­ing edi­tor-in-chief Ger­hard Meisen­berg, spoke at both the 2015 and 2016 con­fer­ences, while a fur­ther 16 LCI speak­ers have writ­ten for the jour­nal in recent years. In total, 82% of those who spoke at both 2015 and 2016 con­fer­ences are direct­ly asso­ci­at­ed with either UISR or Mankind Quar­ter­ly.

    The UISR is bankrolled by Lynn and Meisenberg’s Pio­neer Fund, a South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­tre-list­ed hate group found­ed by Nazi sym­pa­this­ers with the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing “racial bet­ter­ment”.
    ...

    In addi­tion, Thomp­son is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to the ‘race realist’-friendly Unz Review:

    ...
    Thomp­son is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to the Unz Review, which has been described as “a mix of far-right and far-left anti-Semit­ic crack­pot­tery,” and fea­tures arti­cles such as ‘America’s Jews are Dri­ving America’s Wars’ and ‘What to do with Lati­nos?’. His own arti­cles include fre­quent defences of the idea that women are innate­ly less intel­li­gent than men (1, 2, 3, and 4), and an analy­sis of the racial wage gap which con­cludes that “some eth­nic­i­ties con­tribute rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle,” name­ly “blacks.”
    ...

    And if that’s not an open­ly neo-Nazi-ish enough back­ground, there’s Emil Kirkegaard, the self-taught self-declared “poly­math” who Thomp­son describes as a “very bright young guy”. A very bright young guy who runs OpenPsych, a plat­form for non-peer reviewed psy­chol­o­gy papers, the kind of place that might pub­lish papers from peo­ple like Kevin Mac­Don­ald (the neo-Nazi acadaemic of choice):

    ...
    Anoth­er major organ­is­er of the LCI is Emil Kirkegaard, who has attend­ed all four con­fer­ences and even designed the web­site. Although he refers to him­self as a “poly­math” and Thomp­son describes him as a “very bright young guy”, Kirkegaard is not an aca­d­e­m­ic. His high­est qual­i­fi­ca­tion is a Bachelor’s in lin­guis­tics.

    Hav­ing dropped out of his Mas­ters degree, instead pre­fer­ring to be “self-taught in var­i­ous sub­jects”, Kirkegaard now runs OpenPsych, a plat­form for non-peer reviewed psy­chol­o­gy papers, along with Davide Pif­fer of Mankind Quar­ter­ly. Pif­fer is a fel­low LCI-speak­er, and was praised by Richard Lynn as hav­ing done “bril­liant work iden­ti­fy­ing the genes respon­si­ble for race dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence.”

    Authors on OpenPsych include Kevin Mac­Don­ald, described by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­tre as “the neo-Nazi movement’s favourite aca­d­e­m­ic”, who praised Anders Breivik as a “seri­ous polit­i­cal thinker with a great many insights and some good prac­ti­cal ideas on strat­e­gy.”

    John Fuerst, a fel­low of the UISR, spoke at LCI 2015 and 2016, and fre­quent­ly col­lab­o­rates with Kirkegaard on OpenPsych. As well as writ­ing var­i­ous blogs, which he describes as “race real­ist”, , he also fre­quent­ly posts anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries on Face­book. When ques­tioned about his pop­u­lar­i­ty on the neo-Nazi forum Storm­front, he stat­ed that he had “no beef against…“Neo-Nazis”.”

    Kirkegaard’s own per­son­al blog is home to top­ics such as ‘Is mis­ce­gena­tion bad for your kids?’ and how one could empir­i­cal­ly ver­i­fy a Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy. His Face­book fea­tures alt-right ‘pro­mo­tion­al videos’ and once fea­tured a friend’s Nazi salute with the cap­tion ‘There will be an heir to the Führer.’

    [See image of post on Face­book fea­tur­ing a Nazi salute behind Kirkegaard along­side his ‘Führer’ com­ment]
    ...

    And then there’s Kirkegaard’s advo­ca­cy of ‘com­pro­mis­ing’ with pedophiles by allow­ing them to molest chil­dren knocked uncon­scious. And show­ing up on pod­casts to talk about “the future of eugen­ics” with some­one banned from YouTube for being too much of a neo-Nazi. Kirkegaard is indeed quite the ‘poly­math’, at least when it comes to being a neo-Nazis:

    ...

    By far the most dis­turb­ing of part of Kirkegaard’s inter­net pres­ence, how­ev­er, is a blog-post in which he jus­ti­fies child rape. He states that a ‘com­pro­mise’ with pae­dophiles could be:

    “hav­ing sex with a sleep­ing child with­out them know­ing it (so, using sleep­ing med­i­cine. If they dont notice it is dif­fi­cult to see how they cud be harmed, even if it is rape. One must dis­tin­guish between rape becus the oth­er was dis­con­sent­ing (want­i­ng to not have sex), and rape becus the oth­er is not con­sent­ing, but not dis­con­sent­ing either.”

    He qual­i­fies this with a note that “bod­i­ly harm” would under­mine this jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and espe­cial­ly “with small chil­dren since their bod­i­ly open­ings are not large enuf [sic] for a reg­u­lar sized male penis. To avoid this one shud [sic] not pen­e­trate.”

    Kirkegaard’s rep­u­ta­tion as a sci­en­tif­ic advo­cate for neo-Nazism was increased last April when he appeared on Tara McCarthy’s ‘Real­i­ty Calls’ to dis­cuss “the future of eugen­ics.” McCarthy was banned from YouTube for alleg­ing a Jew­ish con­spir­a­cy to com­mit “white geno­cide”, sup­ports deport­ing nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zens and “killing them if they resist”, and said that she hopes “zero” migrants cross­ing the Mediter­ranean “make it alive”.
    ...

    That’s the kind of secret con­fer­ence the UCL has been host­ing since 2014. A con­fer­ence run by and for ‘aca­d­e­m­ic’ neo-Nazis (it’s hard to call them aca­d­e­mics when they ped­dle pseudoscience...hence the need for non-peer reviewed jour­nals).

    And the icing on the Nazi cake is that UCL isn’t just some ran­dom insti­tu­tion when it comes to eugen­ics: The “father of eugen­ics”, Fran­cis Gal­ton, was a UCL aca­d­e­m­ic:

    ...
    “This is so old-school as to be laugh­able,” Dr Ruther­ford said of the views dis­cussed at the LCI. While the views may sim­ply be “bad sci­ence”, accord­ing to Ruther­ford, they play into UCL’s “deep and rich his­to­ry of sci­en­tif­ic racism”.

    He explained: “Fran­cis Gal­ton, the bril­liant but overt­ly racist UCL aca­d­e­m­ic, may have giv­en the world many valu­able ideas, but also cre­at­ed eugen­ics as a pseu­do­sci­en­tif­ic idea. UCL’s Gal­ton chair, named in his hon­our, was first occu­pied by Karl Pear­son, anoth­er overt racist.”
    ...

    So that might give us a hint as to why these peo­ple were so keen on host­ing their con­fer­ence at UCL when they had to do so in secret. There’s a lot of eugen­ics his­to­ry there. Hor­ri­ble his­to­ry that these folks would clear­ly love to repeat.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 11, 2018, 4:58 pm

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