Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Comments

Icepick

Rather than respond to Ruffini's piece (which misses the mark as far as I'm concerned) let me answer your question: Are Republicans gettting desparate?

Who cares? They don't matter any more. We have become a one party state and only the Democrats matter now. Once Rahm Emanuel gets done rigging the 2010 Census the Republicans will look back on their current numbers in Congress as the Good Old Days. They may as well be the Whig Party for all their future relevance. Welcome to the Third World.

amba

I can't believe that. If the Republicans have lost relevance it's their own doing, not the Democrats' brilliance. They're fighting with each other, they can't agree on what conservatism is. If only the Democrats matter, it's only by default. Therefore the Republicans, or their replacement, HAVE to get their act back together.

Sorry, I'm too sleepy to make much sense.

Icepick

Newt doesn't understand that the world has changed. Mostly he's fighting battles straight from out of the 1990s, and irrelevant battles at that.

English as the official language? That battle was lost in the mid-1960s when the Democrats pushed through immigration reforms designed to flood the country with Third World peasants. Perhaps that trend could have been stopped in the 1970s, but by the 1980s even Reagan got on-board for illegal alien amnesty.

"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Who cares, no one (other than Ruth Anne's children) ever says the Pledge any more anyway. You could drop the phrase "Under the Boojum Snark" in there and who would notice?

Illegal immigrants who commit felonies should be deported? If this matter actually requires discussion, much less action, then it's too late to do anything about it. Such a state indicates that the Powers That Be want such people in the country. (It's too late, in case you didn't know.)

And the tax system has been designed to intentionally screw people over. I'm an athiest, but the tax code is so intricate and complicated I can only assume the existence of the Devil - clearly dark supernatural forces were required to create such a beast. Clamoring for a simplified tax code in the face of such dark powers is futile. (Less exotic, but more sinister is the truth: The tax system has been designed to be this complicated because too many people have invested too much in the complexity. Everyone from lawyers to tax accountants to the K Street Suits who spend lots of money to keep the loop holes extant.)

But Newt is a politician, and politicians count votes. So he is gloaming onto the issues that look popular, instead of tackling the issues that actually matter. Not that those issues matter either, because the voters don't want to hear about anything that will require any pain.

Icepick

If the Republicans have lost relevance it's their own doing, not the Democrats' brilliance.

They completely screwed themselves. But the Dems have now come to power, and have no intention of letting anything like what happened in 1994 ever happen again. How else to explain Rahm Emanuel in charge of the Census? Or Obama putting Charlie Rangel in charge of tax reform? Barney Frank and Chrius Dodd in charge of the banking industry?

They will use the impetus of the current crisis to completely roll over every possible challenge to their authority. There will never be a meaningful national election in this country again. The next big political change will only happen after great amounts of blood have been spilled. And whichever faction wins those battles will be no better than the bastards they killed to sieze power. The American Experiment in self-governance is over. You just haven't realized it yet.

amba

agh.

All I can do is go to bed.

There will never be a meaningful national election in this country again.

That sounds too melodramatic to me, though. The electorate will be in another "throw the bums out" mood in no time. Not that that ever results in throwing very many of the bums out, but it does result in an alternation between the predominance of one set of bums and the other.

That said, Rahm Emanuel is a killer.

Icepick

Therefore the Republicans, or their replacement, HAVE to get their act back together.

No, Amba, they don't have to get their act together. Just because you want them to doesn't mean that they will.

The trend in the US for the last 80 or so years has been for ever more governmental control. A party that stands in opposition to that trend cannot long endure. A party that claims to stand in opposition to that while accelerating that process cannot shortly endure. And now that everyone (seemingly) wants the government to run every single aspect of American society, there is no reason for a second party to exist. Thus, Republicans are irrelevant, and the Dems will now run everything until someone siezes power from them violently. (It will probably be a separate power faction within the Democratic Party. The main issue of dispute will be exactly who gets to be in charge. Same shit, different country.)

Icepick

The electorate will be in another "throw the bums out" mood in no time. Not that that ever results in throwing very many of the bums out, but it does result in an alternation between the predominance of one set of bums and the other.

I don't buy it. We threw out the bums in 1994. In 2006 the same collection of bums got put right back in. Rangel, Murtha, Waxman, Frank, etc. Rostenkowski got pitched, but he was old and wouldn't have been around in 2006 regardless.

And I'd feel a lot better about the possibility except for this: More than half of Obama's voters thought Republicans controlled Congress last term. (I imagine the numbers on McCain voters were better, but not by lots.) In the face of that amount of ignorance what hope self-governance?

That sounds too melodramatic to me, though.

I'm not talking about melodrama - I'm talking about violence. Civil war, but this time only for kicks, not for noble cause. It's about 10 to 15 years away.*

Look at the trends. Our human capital is declining - a trend exacerbated by an influx of millions of Third World peasants. Our Demographics are atrocious - we're getting too old too fast. The only reason the demographic trends don't look worse is because of all those immigrants. We're getting old, and the younger segments of the population have decreasing potential in aggregate.

Add to that mounting financial woes. What's been happening the last year is only the start. Did you know that Medicare spent more than it took in as payroll reciepts in 2008? We've finally turned the corner on that front, and mounting unemployment coupled with an increasingly elderly population means things will only get worse. (And that's BEFORE we throw in mounting per cap medical costs!)

Local and State governments will begin to fail under mounting obligations to retired workers. The Federal government will step in to brach the gap, but that's only a temporary measure as they have their own problems with employee costs. (Not to mention Social Secuirty, Medicare, Medicaid, debt payments, etc.) In the face of the mounting bills, the government is taking on even more burdens. Yay!

Private debt is also at grotesque levels, so there's nowhere to turn in this country for money. That means more foreign obligations but only if foreigners will pay. A Chinese banking official recently said that they hate us because they have to buy our T-bills. What will happen when we start destroying the value of those T-bills?

One already hears more calls for protectionism. It's the wrong thing to do (at least on first order effects, and at the moment we don't have the time to look at higher order effects), and our leaders have so far resisted the call. They may actually have enough knowledge to do the right thing on this issue, but my guess is that they'll cave at some point. Once trade wars breakout then the economies of the world will really go into the crapper.

Once all of these waves have hit something will have given way. Once it does the current order will breakdown completely. The last time this happened was WWII. (I would assert that it last happened in WWI. WWII was just an after-shock.) I doubt that large land wars between major industrialized powers will happen again, but I do expect great violence within major powers. (I won't be shocked if the Russians start nuking themselves at some point. I expect a nuke to be used during at least one of the upcoming civil wars.)

One the one hand, this is all speculation. On the other, the large trends for our country absolutely suck. Few acknowledge these numbers, and fewer still have absorbed the frigtening nature of these trends. People assume that life will continue as it has. But sometimes reality kicks everyone in the head. Who knew what the future held on June 27, 1914? If you could warn someone on that day what the coming years would hold, would they believe a word you said?

* Take my 10 to 15 years with a grain of salt. I did expect a recession in 2008 but I didn't expect one of this magnitude. I didn't anticipate anything this bad until 2011 or 2012. My forecasts in recent years have been too optimistic.

Icepick

You keep adding to your post!

Americans are now organized by their ideas more than by their categories, which is hugely freeing from a major waste of energy.

There's only one problem with this: That major waste of energy, that friction, wasn't a bug of the old system - it was THE feature. Those frictions kept any one group from gaining too much power. Now all those sectional conflicts are gone. Without those frictions the government has intruded everywhere.

Thomas Jefferson: I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people'. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.

Congress stepped beyond those boundaries long ago. They've gone so far past them now that most don't know such boundaries ever existed.

And if you want a real first principle for the role of government, try this: The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

The Federal government is completely unchained these days. Who will restrain it now? Give me the old sectionalism, and most of the old divides. Such divisiveness stood between us and Leviathan.

(These days I'd rather deal with criminals than government. At least I can get insurance to mitigate some of the damage the criminals have done. Government sure as hell isn't going to do one goddamned thing about crime, and they expect to lord it over me in the meantime.)

Spud

Are Republicans Getting Desperate?

Until they can figure out why their party is shrinking, they will continue to be desperate.

amba

You keep adding to your post!

*Sorry.*

I don't deny you may be right. I don't think this "recession" is real to most people yet. I think many who have grown up sheltered are ill prepared for a breakdown of this top-heavy, precarious, unsustainable order. They may soon be shocked to find that the government can't protect them any more -- from crime, disorder, and death. A lot of the elderly of my generation are simply going to die in poverty. Preserving the incapacitated the way we do is a luxury we won't be able to afford. And there may well be a choice between anarchy and de facto tyranny. The best is definitely not yet to come, at least not in our lifetimes.

amba

However, remember that at least we are still divided by our ideas, more so than ever now that the old divisions are so much less.

wj

The difficulty of the Republicans, as I see it, is that they have become the party of fear. The Economist had a nice article, a couple of weeks back, on the middle class -- both in developed countries and now in the developing world. One point that they made concerned Maslow's "heirarchy of needs" -- that the defining characteristic of the "middle class" is that they had moved beyond the basics to having some discretionary income (whatever its absolute value) with which to address other things.

But one of the basic needs is security. So, by becoming a party based on people's fears, the Republicans are harking back to things that the middle class has, by definition, moved beyond. That is a formula for a shrinking population base in the long run -- and probably not much growth even in troubled times like now.

In short, they have abandon the middle that Ruffini speaks of as their true base. So the question becomes, can they get it back? Not while fear (fear of change, fear of immigrants, fear of gays, fear of Muslims, etc.) is their defining characteristic. And changing that will not be an easy task.

amba

The only problem with that analysis is that the middle class may soon by thrown back down that ladder of needs a level or two to a place where fear is quite rational. Then again, as Mark Twain (approximately) said, "I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." Things are never quite as anticipated, and fearful anticipation is, in certain respects, a weakening waste of time. Readiness for whatever may come serves better. (Said sternly to self.)

Janet

Icepick, you remind me of the market analysts who are always using words like "soaring" or "plunging" and when you look at long-term graphs, they were just minor blips.

Not that I'm saying the current crisis is a minor blip; it isn't. It might even live up to its billing as something to rival the Great Depression. I've got a lot of (American) online friends with lost jobs, houses at risk, and the like. This is not just abstract statistics. But I've also noticed that the louder the financial media screams, the closer a problem is to being over. They are the greatest counter-indicator that exists.

As for "the last meaningful election", yeah right. Monolithic parties with no effective opposition tend to call up opposition from within and destroy themselves. It's positively Hegelian. The Liberal Party did pretty much that here in Canada. All those trumpeting its demise are going to be proved wrong though. It's hanging on and starting to recover its strength.

PatHMV

I disagree with your suggestion that the GOP has become the "party of fear," WJ. I agree that the Democrats have worked awfully hard to paint us that way, but I just don't think it's true. If anything, I think the Democrats have engaged most heavily in the "politics of fear." They want us to fear ourselves, to fear the results of leaving the economy to its own devices, to fear the evil fat-cats of Wall Street, to fear the xenophobic Republicans.

There are many threats facing our country. Always have been, always will be. Democrats, on the whole, tend to focus on one set of threats, Republicans on a different set of threats. At the current historical moment, the GOP has been the party more focused on external threats. The Democrats, appropriately, focused on internal threats. The GOP, being in power for 6 of the last 8 years, was charged with defending against the external threats, with new policies, procedures, detention facilities. The Dems, as the opposition party, focused on the threats posed by the newly-authorized policies, procedures, and detention facilities.

So yes, the GOP said: fear the terrorists! But the Dems said: fear the Republican government taking away all your civil liberties!

The GOP said: fear Islamic radicals. But the Dems said: fear that we'll turn into a nation of lynch mobs if we say anything bad about any aspect of Islam!

There's nothing wrong with either position. That's why we have opposition parties. And when we become, as a nation, more worried about one set of threats than another, we switch places between the opposition party and the party in power.

What worries me most about our current political climate is that so many people seem to think that political differences, political fights, are somehow bad. They're not. Even when they seem to be over fairly inconsequential matters, if you dig deep enough you'll find that the inconsequential matter is really a symbolic stand-in for a larger, more important fight.

So today, the Democrats are in power, and they want you to fear excessive capitalism and the economy and the expensive costs of health care. And they will use that fear to try to enact their own policies, which they believe will protect against those threats.

What the GOP must do, to fight back (as is its proper role as an opposition party) is to propose alternative solutions which it believes will best address the threats which Americans as a whole are currently perceiving.

wj

Pat, I agree with you that a major step to getting away from being the "party of fear" (if that is, indeed, what we have become) will be to propose alternative solutions. But my impression (which I admit may be due to lousy marketing rather than non-existance) is that proposed alternate solutions are in seriously short supply at the moment. Lots of screaming NO! (sometimes perfectly justified, of course). But something new, which might actually have a chance of successfully addressing a real problem? Not so much.

Of course, if you've got a line on some, I'd be interested in hearing about them.

PatHMV

I agree that we appear to have a dearth of alternate solutions at the moment. I think there are some out there, but nothing's gained real steam within the party.

I do get frustrated, however, by the double-standard that is imposed, both by the media and by members of our own party. The Democrats did nothing for the past 8 years but complain. They never actually offered alternative solutions to Bush's approach to the war on terror. They never forcefully said: "we believe we should treat terrorism as a criminal problem, rather than a war problem." That is the policy they are pursuing now that they're in office, but they never actually proposed it or defended it. They did zip but scream about Gitmo or the Patriot Act or "Bush lied."

But nobody ever called them out for fear-mongering or for being the "party of no."

At any rate, Republican, market-oriented solutions will inevitably be harder sells than Democrat throw-government-money-at-the-problem solutions. It has always been thus.

What's missing, I think, from the GOP right now is somebody to simply forcefully make the free-market case in several areas (such as health care), while proposing specific ideas to take laws off the books which currently hinder the proper functioning of the market.

For example, I think that the GOP should be pushing hard to make health insurance fully tax deductible whether paid for by the employer or by the employee. If I want to buy my own plan, separate from my employer, why do I have to pay taxes on the income I use to do that? It's not defensible. That one little difference in tax treatment has led to a host of problems with health insurance: it's tied people to their jobs, it's gutted the market for individual health insurance, which makes it more costly for those who do have to buy it. The HMO system was created by federal preferential treatment. That should be undone, to give the market greater flexibility to address health care issues. Changing those 2 things would have a huge impact on health care but cost the government almost nothing. But we don't see anybody in the GOP calling for it, because after the 94 "revolution," we became what we had opposed, a party devoted to self-preservation and protecting entrenched power.

Spud

What the GOP must do, to fight back (as is its proper role as an opposition party) is to propose alternative solutions which it believes will best address the threats which Americans as a whole are currently perceiving.
PatHMV

I hope so. We need to have good honest debates. The problem I see with the republican party is the hard right. If republicans are going to follow Rush Limbaugh's lead, then I can't help but think it's going to be a long time before republicans get back in power. They're too many conservatives out there who act as if they're better Americans than liberals. You can't have Rush Limbaugh out there saying "abortion is the sacrament to the religion of liberalism" then expect to have an honest discussion.

PatHMV

Yes, Spud, and there's such a dearth of liberals who think THEY'RE better Americans than conservatives. Now that the Dems have retaken power, I've heard them use "patriotism" a whole lot. Why, Joe Biden even told us that it was unpatriotic not to want to pay taxes.

Abortion is indeed a sacrament to modern American liberalism. What you and other liberals want is for the right to give up the fight on those "divisive" issues, so that you guys can win.

And perhaps in time, that will happen. Or not, I don't claim to be able to predict the future. But these sorts of issues are important. The left (aided by the media, many times) want to minimize these major differences, to treat them as "unimportant"... so long as they come out on the winning side. Personally, I think that's because the left knows it will only win on many of these issues if they can avoid actually confronting them, fighting instead by denying that the issue is one legitimately for the public to decide.

So you DON'T in fact want good honest debate. You want the right to concede abortion, gay marriage, and all other social issues to the left, then squabble only over the "important" stuff. Well the social stuff is important too, but you have no interest in honest debate about it.

wj

Pat, agreed that the Democrats were no great shakes when it came to offering alternatives. But then, that's probably why it took them so long to recapture Congress (in spite of their huge advantage in the size of their base). But their years of failure are not a good reason not to do what should be done, now that we are the minority.

And I wonder if part of the reason for Obama's success wasn't simply the perception (whether correct or not) that he was actually offering a new alternative. Both to the dinosaurs in his own party and then to ours.

amba

Ice -- is this related to what you're talking about? This, in full, is a comment on a post by Seablogger:

Comment by John

Thursday, 26 Feb 09 @ 3:54 PM

While I’m totally in favor of what you are suggesting, I suspect things will have to get much worse. Unfortunately, I believe they will get much worse. My concern is not so much a taxpayer revolt, but a more general uprising. Shortly after Obama’s election, I went to my generally very quiet gun shop to pick up additional ammunition before it is taxed out of existence. Here in bluer than blue California, I had to take a number and wait over an hour to make my purchase. The store was a mob scene, people buying up guns and ammunition like a democrat congress on a spending spree. The comments I heard all echoed the same thought: “We’re gonna need these now.” I am hearing rumblings where ever I go; on line at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, people are very unhappy. And many are preparing to do something about it. There is a revolution coming, be it a tax revolution or something more violent. I’m just hoping that Obama and his party’s policies are so soundly trashed in the 2010 off year elections that it won’t be necessary.

Donna B.

Since I feel the need to make an enemy or two today (yeah, I'm cranky) I would like to point out that I think it is impossible for a Republican to win the presidency while espousing support of creationism or intelligent design.

For me, this is the Achille's Heel of the Republican party. I could never vote for, in good conscience, anyone who does not understand the basic elements of evolution, as it used today. They merely show their ignorance of both history and science when refuting Darwin's writings as if his were the last words on the subject.

One of my biggest worries about Obama was his apparently shallow knowledge of history, both U.S. and World.

I want religion out of politics.

Callimachus

Derbyshire, Andrew Sullivan's bete noir, is on about the same thing:


I enjoy these radio bloviators (and their TV equivalents) and hope they can survive the coming assault from Left triumphalists. If conservatism is to have a future, though, it will need to listen to more than the looped tape of lowbrow talk radio. We could even tackle the matter of tone, bringing a sportsman’s respect for his opponents to the debate.

Of course, he's British. And even he can't bring himself to call for a break from Rush. Just a little tempering and a little variety. They're more afraid of him than the Democrats are.

Icepick

Sorry, I haven't been around today. Kim told me I need to answer at least one question. I'll try to take things in order. First, WJ: The difficulty of the Republicans, as I see it, is that they have become the party of fear.

And Obama's "Do exactly as I say or there will be a catastrophe" DOESN'T play on fear? Exactly how much is the Democratic Party paying you to shill for them? LOL

From Janet: Icepick, you remind me of the market analysts who are always using words like "soaring" or "plunging" and when you look at long-term graphs, they were just minor blips.

Look at the graphs in this post. Or look at this chart. Those are long term charts. The first link indicates we're facing a situation analagous to the Great Depression. The fact that it has become the norm over the last 30 years just means the correction is going to be that much more painful. And the housing chart? That is far beyond anything ever seen, and we're still in the middle of the correction.

I saw another fun chart today showing that Obama’s projected 2010 deficit dwarfs any other deficit. And apparently his projections for other years include all kinds of crazy-assed projections for US economic growth. Does he really think the GDP will grow at five or six percent a year just because he commands it? Funny guy.

The problem, Janet, is that I’m not talking about short term stuff. I’m looking at trend lines that go back decades, and in a couple of cases trend lines that go back to the 19th century. Believe what you want, but the trends do NOT point to an inconsequential blip.

As for "the last meaningful election", yeah right. Monolithic parties with no effective opposition tend to call up opposition from within and destroy themselves.

Yes, I wish I had thought of that. Oh wait, I mentioned exactly that scenario. But just because there is internal opposition doesn’t mean there will be meaningful elections. How long did the Roman Emperors keep the Senate around just for show? Right up until the end. You are assuming that things will essentially always be the same. I am assuming that will NOT be the case.

Pat wrote: What worries me most about our current political climate is that so many people seem to think that political differences, political fights, are somehow bad. They're not.

Pat, don’t you understand that we’re all supposed to love each other now? Or at least all worship the same God? (Obama, of course.) What the Hell is wrong with you, you bastard?

Spud wrote: I hope so. We need to have good honest debates. The problem I see with the republican party is the hard right. If republicans are going to follow Rush Limbaugh's lead, then I can't help but think it's going to be a long time before republicans get back in power.

Please, spare me the crocodile tears. If the Republican Party isn’t going to represent conservative ideas, then there is no point in having a Republican party. You say you want an honest debate while saying that the only legitimate point of view is your own. What typical bullshit.

Pat again: Why, Joe Biden even told us that it was unpatriotic not to want to pay taxes.

Well, it’s unpatriotic for REPUBLICANS to not pay taxes. It’s expected of Democrats! (Rangel, Daschle, Geithner and probably every other elected Democrat in the country….)

Donna wrote: For me, this is the Achille's Heel of the Republican party. I could never vote for, in good conscience, anyone who does not understand the basic elements of evolution, as it used today.

Yeah, but I imagine you have no problem with Democratic denial of HBD, huh? To each their shibboleths….

I’ll answer Amba’s question separately.

Donna B.

HBD? I plead ignorance. I don't know what that is.

Icepick

Ice -- is this related to what you're talking about?

No, although I also have noticed that people are getting angrier after this election, which seems to run counter to what I remember in the past. Hell, even the winners seem more pissed off now.

But despite all the tea party rallies we're having right now I don't expect that kind of violence in the near future. That won't happen until the wheels come completely off, and that won't happen for another 8-10 years. And when the violence does start it will probably look more like what's happening in Mexico now rather than like a straight political revolution.

Anyway, if it WERE going to be a straight political revolution it wouldn't take long. The conservatives own all the guns!

No, Americans have been getting incrementally hosed since sometime after the New Deal. That intrusion was sudden and huge, but since then it's been a long slow grind as the federal government has ground everything under its heels. As I have mentioned before people will get used to anything if you do it to them slowly enough. And even the conservatives don’t realize how government constrains them these days. What’s happening now (and date this back to the beginning of the financial crisis last year, and all Bush’s actions) is merely the government consolidating its gains.

Let me clear up one thing: Obama is largely irrelevant to the process. If it hadn’t been him it would have been someone else. The American people have been settling on a new societal consensus for some time now, and Obama just represented that new consensus better than any other Dem last year. (Republicans were irrelevant for reasons mentioned earlier.) The new consensus is: The government should take care of us, and to do show it must tax too much, spend too much, borrow too much, and don’t dare tell us it isn’t possible. After all, anything is possible if we just believe!

(The perniciousness of statements like “Anything is possible if we just believe inourselves” should not be underestimated. They have dulled our reason more than reality TV has.)

Icepick

Human biodiversity. The belief that evolution continues in humans and that different populations have distinctive genetic mixes.

Icepick

Incidentally, I seem to recall an interview with Bush from several years back. He was asked what he hoped his biggest legacy would be. He said something about the his role in the expansion of executive authority in the federal government. It was a terrbily wonkish answer, and all the more frightening for it.

I noted yesterday that Robert Bird was complaining about Obama's executive power grabs. It's good to see that someone is paying attention, even if it is the Senate's resident Klansman.

No doubt those are just another couple of irrelevant blips though....

Icepick

Crap, I dropped a link in my 11:02 PM comment. The start of the fourth paragraph should read:

Look at the graphs in this post.

Icepick

Last VW: 4spder

They've definitely been more interesting recently....

amba

Maybe they're trying to compete with Blogger's, which now generates actual pronounceable (though imaginary) words every time.

And thanks for the missing link.

Donna B.

HBD = human biodiversity, the belief that evolution continues in humans and that different populations have distinctive genetic mixes.

OK, so to not believe in HBD, I'd have to believe that evolution stopped sometime? When would that be?

Is there any doubt that African-Americans suffer more from sickle-cell anemia than European-Americans do? Is there no evidence that Tay-Sachs is more prevalent in Ashkenasi Jews?

Is that what is meant by "believing in" human biodiversity? If so, why yes... I believe that.

amba

HBD, aka "racial realism," is apparently a kind of eugenics. It's about how the welfare state encourages genetically and I.Q.ishly inferior people to breed instead of dying.

The problem with that is that its promoters seem confident that they know who the inferior people are.

Spud

So you DON'T in fact want good honest debate. You want the right to concede abortion, gay marriage, and all other social issues to the left, then squabble only over the "important" stuff. Well the social stuff is important too, but you have no interest in honest debate about it.

You just proved why we can't have an honest debate, if you actually believe that "Abortion is indeed a sacrament to modern American liberalism". I'm amazed how intelligent people can say something as stupid as that. It's absurd. I know of know one who sees abortion as sacrament. In fact, I'll go further and say that conservatives do not care about life anymore than liberals do. It's a myth perpetuated by the likes of talking heads like Bill O'Reiilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who think they're better than those on the left side of the political spectrum. The abortion issue is a about how you deal with it, and not about whether abortion is a good thing or not.

Pat, what Joe Biden said was ridiculous, but it had nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism. There man be some liberals out there who think they are more patriotic and Christian than conservatives, I just don't know of any, as opposed to conservatives who think they are more patriotic and Christian than liberals.

Please, spare me the crocodile tears. If the Republican Party isn’t going to represent conservative ideas, then there is no point in having a Republican party. You say you want an honest debate while saying that the only legitimate point of view is your own. What typical bullshit.Icepick

Hey Icepick, what caused you to say "the only legitimate point of view is your own."? I never said, or implied that. I think conservative ideas are good. But Rush Limbaugh will not help the cause, because he's dishonest with his assessment of liberals, which is, liberals hate God and country. That to me, is what's really the "typical bullshit." here.

PatHMV

Well, Spud, all I can tell you is that I've seen PLENTY of self-important liberals who look down on me simply because I hold conservative viewpoints on many issues.

As for abortion, ever read what Amanda Marcotte writes (remember her? John Edwards hired her for his campaign because of the popularity of her foul-mouthed, anti-Christian, pro-abortion blog)? There is a significant segment of the Democratic Party which considers the protection of abortion rights as the single biggest issue facing the country. Yes, they usually put as their public face statements like Bill Clinton's "safe, legal, and rare," but in fact they fight viciously against any attempt to restrict access to abortions.

In Louisiana, we had a major fight simply to require abortion clinics to meet the same regulations as any other medical clinics. Were it not for some undercover reporting by the local TV station showing rusty instruments awaiting use in one facility, the "safe, legal, and rare" crowd would have succeeded at stopping them.

Liberals, on the whole, want taxpayer-funded abortions for poor people who want them. They oppose basic things like requiring parental notification before a minor gets an abortion.

So I'm quite happy to stand behind my statement that liberals consider protecting the right to an abortion from any regulation or limitation as a sacrament.

If liberals don't hate our country, why is Obama's foreign policy team running around the world apologizing for everything we've done, and seeking to kow-tow to foreign dictators and tyrants?

wj

Yes, Ice, Obama played the fear card over the stimulus package.

But the difference is that it's not the only card he's willing/able to play. He also has a bunch of plans which, whether you support or oppose them (and I do some of both, depending on the subject), are based on the premise that we can aspire to something better than what we've got. As opposed to being solely focused on what we have to fear from the present.

Which is why, as I said, I think he has been successful in getting elected: The perception is that, in general, he offers hope, rather than fear. And the perception, accurate or not, is that the Republicans offer only fear. Now that may be just bad marketing, rather than an accurate assessment. But either way, it's a problem.

Will Obama succeed in getting the optimistic plans he has enacted by Congress? Who knows. And will they work out as hoped? Again, maybe not. But he's going to get a couple of years of the American public cutting him some slack to try. And, if the Republicans do not manage to get some positive alternatives out there, he will have longer than that.

Icepick

Amba, some nasty racist-types have glommed onto HBD. But that is hardly the whole of it. (You've got Gene Expression linked so I imagine you know some of this.)

Some of the nasty types have also not noticed that their preferred race (speaking solely of white American racial supremacists here) doesn't come out on top of every, or even most, categories. East Asians tend to top Caucasians for median IQ, as do the Ashkenazim (Hitler's ashes would swirl in a vortex if they knew). I suspect that if the population of the Indian sub-continent were looked at by caste the Brahmins would also top Caucasians.

As for the eugenics angle, different populations breed for different circumstances. Thus traits like sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs, pale skin in higher latitudes and darker skin in lower latitudes, etc. Some differences don't mean much to society anymore (from an objective stand point) and some do.

Intelligence (commonly discussed in terms of IQ, in some circles discussed more in terms of g-loading and the like) DOES matter in modern economies. Intelligence is not equally distributed, and that matters. Donna, want to start a fight? Mention that IQ matters in the midst of a bunch of liberals and watch the sparks fly! Larry Summers is lucky he can still get a job after sticking his foot in it, and he was a liberal in good standing. (This is actually orthodox among many groups. You can start fights bringing up the same topic in front of many Republicans & independents as well. And then there’s Derbyshire, who believes in HBD but thinks it may well be best if the vast bulk of the population believes the opposite. Derb is a fun guy!)

Other traits also have separate distributions. Risk taking would be another trait unevenly distributed, and a trait that matters in EVERY society. Too little risk-taking and innovation might come to a standstill. Too much and you might have high levels of crime, violence and war. (If I had to choose a society at one extreme or another, I would choose too much risk-taking. The ultra-violence has a way of eliminating itself from the population. But this appears to be directly linked to high levels of testosterone and I would guess it is easier to moderate that long-term than it is to breed up higher levels from a population that has too little. One can easily argue that the other way however. It would take someone using a lot of population genetics & the related math to make valid claims one way or the other on that, and their projections would still be subject to both chance and unknown unknowns in making their predictions.)

Case in point, Europeans that settled the US most likely tended to being amongst those that took greater risks. Moving from ones homeland to someplace half-way around the world, a complete mystery and wilderness to the vast majority of those travelling, and with no safety line home or possible retreat, implies a high level of risk tolerance. We mostly likely benefitted from getting a high proportion of Europe’s gamblers! Europe still had enough such people to conquer most of the world. But between immigration to the colonies (not just here but all European colonies, especially for the colonists that stayed put in their new locals) and the bloodshed of WWI, Europe probably reduced its level of risk tolerance.

But back to the point: These things matter. If intelligence does matter, and isn’t equally distributed (forget racial groups for the moment and just consider a normal distribution) then a policy that states that everyone should go to college would be stupid. As would a policy that has everyone graduate from high schools dedicated primarily to college prep. Yet that’s what we’ve done. It’s wasteful or money, talent and lives. How many of our social welfare policies make incorrect implicit assumptions about the covered population that have negative consequences? A great many, it turns out. (Again, intelligence is only one variable to consider. Others also matter.)

But this can’t really be discussed. Beyond simple medical facts that are irrefutable (Sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs) or now trivial matters (like skin color) we are not permitted to discuss that such things exist. Donna asked for an example of such denial. Ask and Ye shall Receive! Brad Delong a few years back started a bit of a blog flame war when he asserted that http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/09/20050912_popula.html#comment-9503254”>human populations MUST be homogenous. (He was responding to a post of Andrew Sullivan, so perhaps he just caught The Stupid from Sullivan.) As mentioned, this garnered a lot of response, including lots of comments from various heavy-weights in Delong’s comment section – which http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/09/brad-delong-purifier-of-comments.html”>Delong deleted if they were too good at refuting his argument. The http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2006/04/in-search-of-good-metaphors.php”>Update to this Gene Expression post also makes some excellent points broadly related to this topic.

(More commonly, one hears the assertion that recent human evolution doesn’t exist, or that if it DOES exist it only effects “trivial” issues like skin color. Delong just dressed it up with mathematics and charts.)

I’ve gone ahead and posted this comment on http://theoreticalblingbling.blogspot.com/2009/02/fun-with-comment-sections.html”>my own blog, should anyone want to discuss it elsewhere and quit clogging Amba’s blog with my drivel.

Icepick

WJ, Obama apparently gets credit for being hopeful just because he used the word "hope" a lot. As for his positive policy assertions: Mostly they are of the "We must save you from your miserable lot in life and save you from evil capitalists & Republicans." The fact that he's perceived as hopeful for all this crap is just another sign of the success of marketing over substance.

Icepick

The links in my 11:17 AM comment got hosed. The extra coding isn't in the original document so I don't know what happened. (For a change I did the smart thing and composed my comment in Word.)

Here's the link to the Delong post.

Here's the link to the Steve Sailer post discussing the comments Delong deleted.

Here's the link to the Gene Expression post I mentioned.

And here's the link back to my blog.

wj

Ice, so you're saying that the Republicans have a marketing problem. And you may well be correct. But it would appear that they don't have a real good idea of how to address that. (Which I can understand. I've tried sales and marketing a time or two. I'm terrible at it!)

On a different topic, I can only wish that more people had the sense to see the arguments you make concerning human variation and its implications. But alas. And then there are the ideologues (in, as you say, many camps) who probably know it, but definitely cannot admit it because it would trash some of their favority hobby horses.

Icepick

WJ, I don't think the Republicans have a marketing problem. They have a credibility problem. They talk a good game NOW, but where was all this talk of fiscal responsibility from 2001 to 2006 when they actually held the reins of power? Sure, they had rail thin margins in both Houses of Congress, but they didn't even try. No one believes they'll do what they say IF they get back in power. At least the Dems are primarily doing what they claim they will do.

Also, even in the more reasoned HBD crowd there are shibboleths. The biggest one is that more intelligence is a good thing. Personally I think the question of whether or not intelligence is a genetic winner is still open. If there are no more highly intelligent tool users on this planet in (say) a million years....

Tom Strong

Newt's "Platform for American People" is dull, but the economic proposals he put forward at CPAC are not, and I could even see myself endorsing a few of the ideas in it. Kind of late to the game, though.

Also, Steve Verdon and Bernard Finel of Outside the Beltway have been having a good (if rancorous) argument about the growth in government spending. It's the relatively rare discussion of this sort that includes data-driven arguments from both sides. It's also a good example of how the two sides tend to talk past one another anyway.

amba

Ice: that's fascinating stuff, with a big BUT, and the BUT is that if you plot population bell curves and build policy on them you are in danger of screwing the individual, who may be a mild to extreme outlier. The point is to recognize capable individuals -- many, but not all will self-identify -- and put the basic resources within their reach to emerge. Besides the problem that most human groups are more genetically heterogenous than they visually appear to be, groupthink contradicts our "civic religion, individualism" (if I may quote myself!). It may discourage society from reaching out to exceptional individuals of any group and may discourage some of them from recognizing themselves as such. Mr. Bell Curve himself, Charles Murray, said that in response to the Larry Summers flap, as I linked here. Money quote: "put the individual's abilities, not group membership, at the center of our attention."

amba

WJ: before asking whether "intelligence is a good thing," define intelligence. I think the notion of "multiple intelligences" is pretty obviously true. There are people who are socially gifted, who are mechanically gifted, who are verbally or visually or mathematically gifted. What kind of fitness does IQ really measure? There are so many public and private examples of high-IQ types who are incredibly foolish, or so caught up in their abstract idea systems that they miss the obvious. I'll hold out for PQ, CSQ, and WQ (practicality quotient, common sense quotient, and wisdom quotient, respectively).

amba

Sorry, that comment was a response to Icepick, not WJ. Also, here's a link on multiple intelligences.

Icepick

Amba, I'm aware of the multiple intelli9gence arguments, and they have merit. But I am most interested in 'g'.

As for arguments about individuals versus groups: Outliers always get fucked in the ass by the group. Always have, always will.

Can you truly tell me that any social welfare program looks at anything other than groups of people? "Policy" is never that fine a tool, and the administrators wouldn't be capable enough to treat individuals as such even if allowed.

Dealing with individuals (as opposed to groups) is something that must of necessity be confined TO individuals. I can treat someone as an individual, or you can treat someone as an individual. The government (pick one) can't. The only time any government ever does that is when someone is buying special privileges. And most of us consider that a bad thing. (Those that don't are either buying privleges or hope to.)

amba

Tom -- at least one of Newt's economic proposals is out of date --

Reduce the Business Tax Rate. Match Ireland’s rate of 12.5%

-- now that Ireland's economy has collapsed.

Icepick

Also, I'm not interested in IQ except as a proxy for g.

Icepick

Amba, did Ireland's economy collapse because of the 12.5% tax rate? Did it SUCCEED because of the 12.5% tax rate? The fact that Ireland's economy has collapsed doesn't mean much for this issue UNLESS the tax rate did them in.

amba

Ice, it collapsed because of a housing bubble. I'm wondering whether a low business tax rate is something that is only possible in a boom economy, OR that even if it is one of the factors contributing to creating a boom economy, there are so many other destabilizing fudge factors involved that a boom economy is not the norm, is time-limited by nature, and is not a good baseline for planning. (Of course, always keep in mind that I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about.)

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