IQ: A Skeptic’s View

Intelligence is worth talking about because both the reality of intelligence and perceptions regarding intelligence set limits on the possible and influence policy. For example, if the population of India on average really is below borderline retardation, the country can never amount to anything. If Latino immigrants really are as stupid as white nationalists hope, then they will always inhabit an underclass and, through intermarriage, enstupidate the American population. IQists–those who believe that IQ  is a reliable measure of intelligence–insist that intelligence is largely genetic, which it obviously is, and that IQ tests reliably measure it. The latter is doubtful.

A bit of history: For years I was on Steve Sailer’s Human-Biodiversity List, now defunct. It focused on IQ and on natural selection with the fervor of snake-handlers in the backwoods of North Carolina. Contradictions in their views were stark in regard to intelligence, which was assumed identical to IQ.  In communities of like-thinking enthusiasts, contradictions go unnoticed.

For example, American blacks, the Irish, and Mexicans had IQs accepted by the list as being 85, 86, and 87 respectively—almost identical. It seemed odd to me that identical IQs had produced (a) the on-going academic disaster of American blacks (b) an upper Third World country running the usual infrastructure of telecommunications, medicine, airlines, and so on, and (c) a First World European country. This, though  IQist doctrine argued vociferously that IQ correlates closely with achievement. Well, it didn’t.

I was struck by the perfect acceptance of these numbers even though they made no sense. IQists simply do not question IQ. I pointed out the obvious conclusion, that if Mexicans could run the infrastructure of modern nations, decent if not spectacular universities, and so on, then so, on the basis of IQ, could blacks—none of which they in fact do, or have done.

When I pointed this out, there came the IQist shuck-and-jive: Well, black IQ you see was actually a bit lower, 83 or maybe even 81, and maybe the Mexicans were as much as 89 or even 90, etc. That is, IQ varies with the argument being made. (For the record, Mexicans have been promoted from 87 to 90, IQ being remarkably fluid.)

Colombia-city

Photo: Cartagena, Colombia.  Do you really believe that this city was designed and built by people with a mean IQ of 84? That is six points below Mexicans, and below American blacks? As a matter of  logic, it follows that if people of IQ 84 can design, build, and operate a city with all the credentials of modernity, so can a population of IQ 85. It’s either both can, or neither can, or something is wrong with the purported IQs. For what it’s worth, my wife and I recently spent a month traveling widely in the country. No sign of stupidity. 

Meanwhile, it turns out that, heh, the Irish IQ has risen 13 points to 100, exactly what one would expect of a white European nation.  (It is sometimes put at 93, arrived at by averaging the 86 and the 100, horrible methodology since if two tests differed so much, then one or both must be nonsense.) For that matter,  one reads that Argentine scores rose 22 points between 1964 and 1998. Meanwhile Jewish scores and academic achievement in America, astonishingly high a couple of generations back, have fallen precipitately. Since genetics cannot explain rapid changes in IQ, we conclude that a thirteen-point (or 22 point) change can be entirely due to non-genetic effects—diet, culture, ineffective tests, what have you.

This is furiously denied in IQist circles. The reason, in my judgement, is that thirteen points is exactly the purported gap between Mexicans and US whites insisted upon by IQists. These, often rabidly anti-immigration, do not want to admit any possibility that the immigrants might not be suitably stupid. Why they want immigrants to their country to be moronic is not clear.

Maya city

Photo: Uxmal, Yucatan, built by baffled Maya Indians with a mean IQ of 83. This is two points below borderline retarded. They also also invented writing, done perhaps three times on the planet, and had a fully functional, positional, base-20 number system complete with zero. The borderline retarded characteristically invent number systems. It’s how you know they are retarded.

The IQ edifice is often chaotic and contradictory. For example,  Science: “A new study the journal Intelligence from researchers in Europe claims that the average IQ in Western nations dropped by a staggering 13 points over the past century.” The suggested explanation is that smart women have fewer children, de-braining the gene pool.

So IQ is down by about a standard deviation. On the other hand, it is up a standard deviation. There is the Flynn effect in which IQ scores have risen three points per decade for a long time. (Because IQ is normalized to 100, the rise isn’t obvious.) This means that in the fifty years since I graduated from high school in 1964, IQ has risen fifteen points, a standard deviation and exactly the amount said to separate blacks and whites. This is a huge difference. If IQ measured intelligence, we would be in the midst of an intellectual explosion. We are not. If the Flynn effect applies to blacks, they should now be as smart as whites were in 1964. You know, when the Saturn V was being designed.

The question of variation in intelligence over historical time, usually attributed to some evolutionary process, is murky. Everything is posited, little demonstrated. However, I suggest that anyone reading the Greeks of 2500 years ago–Plato, Xenophon come to mind–or the Romans–Juvenal, Ovid, Ulpian and Papinian–will recognize minds as good as any deployed today.

MexFacts2

Mexico, God knows when but maybe in 1900. It is the Mexico of IQist fantasy.

DavyCrockett

Fifteen-year-olds, a few years ago, probably genetically indistinguishable from the foregoing. First-generation middle-class. One a Mensa shoe-in if she applied. None of them white, not from rich families. Do you really, really think that perfect health, eleven years of schooling, and exposure to the internet do not give them an advantage in IQ over illiterate unhealthy peasants?

Then in the IQ brew there is the occasional intrusion of common sense. (Not much of it, I grant.) A country whose purported IQ seems to me to fail the test of common sense is India, mean IQ 81. Here we have a billion people averaging well below borderline-retarded. Say again? Anyone even vaguely familiar with the intellectual, artistic, and musical history of India is going to think, “What are you guys smoking?”

There immediately springs to everyone’s mind that Indian kids dominate the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The IQist response is that only the smartest Indian kids come to the US. Perhaps, but the smartest American kids are already here, aren’t they? And since the kids got their visas based on the brains of their parents, shouldn’t they be regressing to the (dismal) mean?

IQNew--Spelling

Photo: 2015 co-champions.

I would have to believe real hard to believe that the large number of incandescently smart Indians who litter Silicon Valley, who in my tech-reporting days I found all over engineering departments and Bell Labs and the like, spring from sub-retarded stock. Yes, I know the IQist explanation, that they are genetically-selected Brahmans, said to have a mean IQ of 96, the rest of the country being wretchedly stupid. Well, maybe. Like so much in IQist thought, it relies on genes posited but not identified, acted upon by selective pressures assumed but not quantifiable, to produce assumed effects that cannot be correlated with the pressures. If that isn’t rock-solid, I can’t imagine what could be.
Having spent twelve years in Mexico, I can see no difference in intelligence between Mexicans and Americans. Nor when I lived in Taiwan, Vietnam, or Thailand. This raises the question: How great would the difference have to be to be noticeable? Clearly, greater than thirteen points (OK, now reduced, sometimes, to ten points), since that is the Mexi-American gap measured by IQists. The response will be that I am reasonably intelligent and so spend my time with the reasonably intelligent, but that is equally true in the US, and of course I am in frequent contact with ordinary citizens.

As a sort of by-guess-and-by-God way of getting around this, I have compared Americans and Mexicans in trades I know well in the US–medicine, journalism, etc–and still can see no difference.

A final question, and I will go for breakfast. What mean IQ is thought necessary to run the infrastructure of modernity? I don’t know, but I would like to. A modern country requires a lot of intelligence—different degrees of it, but nonetheless a lot. Stupid bank clerks can’t handle currency transactions internationally (SWIFT codes, intermediary banks, exchange rates, and complex regulations). The stupid cannot repair ATMs or avionics or run computerized auto-repair or internet services. At what mean IQ, going down the scale, does a country simply become incapable of producing enough smart people to keep functioning? In a country with a mean IQ of 84, fewer than one in six have an IQ of 100 or better. Is that enough? You tell me.

Eggs over, bacon on the side…

 

Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters pdq somewhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion.


 

Trump to Build Death Camps for Trans-gendered People of Color: Will Deport All Women

I love it. Of all the things about Trump that our silly-ass Aunt Polly media might have considered–policy toward China, relations with Iran, reform of taxes–they seemed most agitated about…his sex life. Yes. Sure, he is  a misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe, fascist, Nazi, anti-Semite, and probably kicks his dog. Maybe a cannibal. But the truly horrid discovery was…that he thinks dirty thoughts about girls (as we all do–unless we are girls, and think dirty thoughts about boys) Shocking. Shocking. Clearly he hates women.

The famous dirty-talk tape is my favorite example of high-school outrage coupled with horrified old-maid moralism. It reveals what any sensible person would have assumed– egotism (a rare thing among the rich and famous), and a sexual interest in women.  How is this misogyny? If there is one thing normal women don’t like, it is men without sexual interest in themselves. And who can blame  them? Who wants an asexual boyfriend?

What seems most to have set people off is the “grab em by the pussy” remark. Crude language, of the sort normally used by men and women among themselves, where it is appropriate. It is where Trump used it. For the record, the idea that women are not human, don’t talk dirty, do not have rude sexual thoughts like everybody else, do not  have the same kinky fantasies that men  have, is twaddle. We are a sexual species. We think about those things. Deal with it.

Actually, most women seem to have dealt with it quite well. Some fifty-three percent of white women and forty-three percent of black women voted for him. Apparently they did not react with the required prissy horror. 

Trump said something like, “When you are a star, you can do anything with women.” A statement of fact. Men are drawn to youth and beauty, women to money and power. A masculine man, which Trump is, known to be a billionaire and interested in sex, will attract many women in favor of providing it. For that matter, a gorgeous young honey might say, “When you are a gorgeous young honey, you can do anything with men.” That too might, or might not, be arrogant. It would certainly be a statement of fact.

One thing that infuriates older women is that men prefer younger ones. Sorry. I can’t fix that.

In the music business the attracted honeys are called “groupies.” How many young women, of their own volition, would have tumbled instantly into the rack with Ringo Starr? Are such groupies not “objectifying” their targeted rock star–that is, regarding him as (Eeeeeeeeeeek!) a “sex object”?  You bet. Or are we to think that groupies took a virginal interest in sounding the depths of Ringo’s soul in search of a lasting meaningful relationship? Do you suppose that Ringo objected to objectification?

Why might this make culpable either the groupies or Ringo? Or Trump? Why is it anybody else’s business?

Feminists complain–I could stop the sentence there- that men regard women as sex objects. I see. And what, prithee, are we supposed to regard as sex objects? Doorknobs? Porpoises? Doughnuts? Vacuum cleaner attachments? We are men, for God’s sake. Cocker spaniels just don’t do it for us.

The truth is that women want to be regarded as sex objects. Not only as sex objects usually, but certainly as sex objects. Maybe some man, somewhere, lost a girlfriend by regarding her as a sex object. A far surer way to lose her is not to so regard her. Why do you think women buy push-up bras, boob jobs, makeup, slinky dresses? Why do grocery-rack tabloids always carry three miracle diets guaranteed to have the guys drooling?

Perhaps it is to repel men, and women just haven’t figured things out yet.

Why do men go to gyms, and sweat and grunt and smell bad? Is it only to piss off feminists by being macho–that is, masculine? This would be sufficient justification, but in fact they want to look good for women. Have you seen those nature shows on TV with male swamp birds puffing up their feathers, flapping their wings, and jerking their heads wildly about while making horrible noises? It’s so the girl swamp birds will love them. Thank God that girl swamp birds, and women, don’t have the sense God gave a crab apple, or men would have to date possums.

Gold’s Gym is just a charm school for male swamp birds. Any fool knows that.

The Trumpian question becomes, how many of the women grabbed by Trump, if in fact any were, objected to it? If the grabbed women were raising hell, which apparently they are not, things would be different. Grabbing the unwilling is major social faux pas. If women were appearing who were forcibly raped by Trump, as so many women were by Clinton and Cosby, it would be a very different thing, and Trump would belong in jail. Are such abused women coming forth? Are Clinton and Cosby in  jail?

A little realism, please. The age-old rule is that women trade sex for whatever they want, and men trade whatever they have for sex. It is how things are. If a pretty young woman likes the thought of going to a high-rollers’ night spot on the arm of a rich and famous man, and if the man likes the idea of having her do so–so what? Is it your business? Mine?

Finally, though feminists everywhere will  hate it, there are a great many women who actually like sexually assertive actual men, instead of the docile manageables favored by Salon. The saying that “good girls like bad boys” is not without steam. Who do you think is going to get laid most–Marlon Brando or or some squeally darling of a gender-fluid girly-boy who can be lead around on a leash by a disagreeable Swarthmore co-ed?

One reason why Trump is so hated–and why he is President–is that he is an actual men–you know, like Killer Kowalski, Clint Eastwood, Marlboro Man, or Humphrey Bogart. This simply is not done among the house-broken nominal men of the media and the “elite,” and they don’t know how to handle it. Presidents? There was Bush II, asexual, a man without vibes. Obama, a pretty race hustler. Willy Bill Clinton, a slick Bubba with the I-feel-your-pain mixture of Oprah and Karo syrup that got him a lot of nookie–nothing wrong with that–but not masculine. All of the candidates except Trump were poll-sniffing remotely programmed ciphers.

Except Trump. He told all the pretty boys and mannish girls of the media, “Bite me.”  This didn’t play well with plasticized viragos like Megyn Kelly–who, if she weren’t conventionally beautiful, would not have a job. Ever notice how many female anchors are at least pretty, and how few male reporters are handsome? There are plenty of first-rate female reporters, but they don’t get in front of cameras. This is reserved for bubble-headed babble blondes. Sex sells.

OK, OK, I’m stirring up trouble for the fun of it. I am a bad person. Thank God.


Fred can be reached at jetpossumreaders@yahoo.com. Put the letters “pdq” without the quotes in the subject line to avoid being heartlessly autodeleted.

The Sisterhood and a Profound Weariness: Unbiased Analysis

Having for decades been exposed to the hostility of radical feminists, to the enormous harm they have done the schools and universities and the military, to relations between men and women, to their ashen tediousness and endless fury, their  victimhood,  I finally began to yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” At least, not quietly. Some thoughts, expressed with the gentility characteristic of this worthy column:

To begin with, there is  problem of forged credentials. Radical feminists do not represent women. They represent radical feminists. Other women typically say that they are feminists, meaning in favor or equality of pay and opportunity, but explicitly reject the ideological baggage of the radicals.

Nor do feminists bear demographic resemblance to other women. For example, it is a good bet that no feminist voted for Trump, but CNN’s exit polls have 42% of women, and 53% of white women, voting for him. Further, few feminists seem to be married with children, and comparatively few are heterosexual. None of these conditions is morally wrong, but suggest not much commonality with most of humanity.

The ideological baggage is great. Radical feminism is  not just about women, or perhaps even mostly about women, but rather a package of far-left causes, usually including open borders, Islamophilia, affirmative action, gun control, socialism, unisex bathrooms, environmentalism, compulsory diversity, opposition to abortion,  opposition to free speech (“hate speech”), hostility for white men, support for bigger government, intense focus on nonstandard sexuality, and using the schools as indoctrination centers.

Some of these things may be reasonable or even desirable, but how such a porridge can be called feminism is hard to imagine. It certainly is not the feminism of the suffragettes, of people who campaigned for various forms of equality. It has given way to neurotic anger looking for targets. It combines the vitriol associated with antisemitism with the intolerance of Scientology.

Sometimes feminism borders on psychosis, though on which side of the border is not always clear. “Psychosis” means “detachment from reality.” For example, years ago one radical feminist told me, “three-quarters of men want to hurt women.” She meant it, cold sober and not in the heat of argument. Another told me, “Sixty percent of men are misogynists.” This is loopy, around the bend, Haldol time. Among themselves men say with wry resignation that women are mildly crazy and have PMS, and women complain  about the position of the toilet seat and why don’t men ever pick up after themselves. All true, but doesn’t approach hatred.

Note that feminists tend strongly to be of the middle or upper middle class and well educated, much like members of the Red Army Faction and other virulently bored revolutionaries.

Typical exudate, from something,called Femsplain.“Dear dumb, entitled, insecure, angry men of the world: I am tired of you.”  Ain’t no misandry here, and no sexism. Not a trace. thank god. 

Invariably they describe as “women’s issues” things that are not. Abortion is a prime example. Check photos of any rally against abortion and you will see that a high proportion of the participants are women. An issue is not a women’s issue merely because some women favor it. Some women will favor socialism or compulsory military service, or longer hours for the library, but these are not women’s issues. They affect all.

Much of radical feminism evinces a profound dishonesty–though sometimes it may be simple confusion. Feminists paint opposition to abortion as hostility to women. Of course nobody opposes abortion for this reason. They oppose it because they think it morally wrong. Sane people may disagree on the notion, it isn’t misogyny.
People-Belly

Pregnancy simulator, forced on the military by feminists supposedly so that soldiers will understand the difficulties of pregnancy. (The military exists to understand the difficulties of pregnancy.) Can anyone believe that the purpose was other than to humiliate the hated macho male?

The dishonesty appears again in their attitude toward rape. Rape is packaged as a women’s issue, the implication being that men are unconcerned about sexual attacks on their mothers, wives, daughters, friends, and for that matter women in general. Oh sure. The fact is that a man’s usual response to hearing of rapes involves either rude surgery or a rope–but what do radical feminists know about men?

Lena Dunham Posts Video Celebrating the ‘Extinction of White Men’ on Twitter”

Ain’t no misandry here neither. Imagine the hooha if a man celebrated, or hoped for, the extinction of white women. (Let’s see, I have a wife, an ex, two daughters, a granddaughter, and a stepdaughter, all of whom I care greatly for, not to mention a conviction that without women, white or otherwise, the world would be unutterably boring. So I want extinguish women, right?)

When there is conflict between concern for women and allegiance to leftist causes, the causes win. Feminists disapprove of rape, real or imagined, only when committed by groups they don’t like, such as white men. It has been infinitely documented that black and Muslim men are far more given to rape than white men, but they are “people of color,” and part of the coalition against white men, so they get a pass.

Honor Killing: Two Men In Pakistan Rip Sister’s Eyes Out, Cut Her Feet Off

If Donald Trump did this, he would get unfavorable press. Not Pakistani men, though. Have you seen radical feminists screaming to keep these animals out of the US, in which they would be utterly justified? Nope. Muslims are People of Color. Even when they are not.

It is telling that feminists do not criticize women who lie about being raped. Such prevarication puts innocent men in danger of having their lives ruined, being expelled from work or school, and jailed.  Why no outrage from feminists? Would it not be moral to prosecute real rapists, and also prosecute the liars?

Apparently not. Why?

Well, Tawana was a black. The Duke-Lacrosse liar was black. Lena Dunham was a Democrat and feminist. All were women. Identity trumps gender. This behavior supports the view that radical feminism is just misandry wrapped in shiny cloth. I.e., a hate group like any other.

From the Rolling Stone piece, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely about an alleged rape of one Jackie Coakeley by fraternity members at the University of Virginia :

Seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement. She remembers how the spectators swigged beers, and how they called each other nicknames like Armpit and Blanket. She remembers the men’s heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on.

Almost  predictably, she turned out to be lying. A jury found the author and Rolling Stone guilty of defamation and awarded damages of $3 million. Why did this happen? Because of rape hysteria created entirely by feminists, a population accustomed to routine attacks on men, a female writer, a co-ed trained by the zeitgeist to think rape fantasies carried no consequences,  and a lefty (usually good) magazine eager to make a splash.

When a black rapper called on other blacks to gang-rape Sarah Palin, feminists  did not rise in rage that I saw. Why? Because they don’t like Palin, and because blacks are People of Color. This is racism.  Bill Clinton, a serial forcible rapist, gets a pass, as does Bill Cosby, while Donald Trump, accused of groping, is a monster. Identity politics. Misandry. Sexism.

One sees the same thing in their criticism of “Islamophobia.” Islam probably the most misogynist philosophy on earth. Islamic societies genitally mutilate young girls, kill them if they are caught kissing a boyfriend, forbid them schooling, and have far and away the worst track record for sexual assault. Not a peep from feminists.

Identity, identity, identity.

For the record, female genital mutilation consists in a group of women holding a young girl down, forcibly spreading her legs, and cutting out her clitoris with a razor blade and no anesthetic. Speaking as a man, I believe that everyone involved in this, specifically including the father who allowed it, should be killed in some exceedingly unpleasant manner. Feminists are OK with it. Mustn’t criticize People of Color. If strong of stomach, click here.

fmgmap

Do you notice a correlation between genital sadism and Groups Whom We Must Not Criticize?

Invariably feminists portray themselves as victims, when the American variety are the most privileged of their sex in the world. This desperate victimhood is the bedrock of radical feminism, without which it would have nothing to complain of. When your sense of self depends on being oppressed, you cannot afford to run out of oppression. Yet for all their obsession with imaginary misogyny, they practice a robust misandry. (A cynic might ask, can anyone be more sexist than a feminist, or more racist than a black? But I am not a cynic.)

The enmity to men, sometimes disguised, never called sexism, sometimes open, runs through the culture today. This is hardly a secret. There is for example the endless portrayal on television of men as milquetoasts and buffoons in need of instruction by women, the now normal beating up by women of  a hundred pounds of men of one-eighty.  Misandry.

Men seldom challenge feminists on this free flowing snot and bile because normal men like normal women. Again, they are our wives, daughters, dentists, and neighbors. It is easy to hit back at the bad temper and ill breeding (“Name one thing, with a moving part, that was invented by a radical feminist.”) but hard to do so without offending normal women, whom we do not want to offend. Further, men have a sufficient track record of achievement in the arts and sciences as not to feel greatly threatened by the calling of names. So we roll our eyes and think, “Yeah, yeah, Rachel. Yeah, Yeah. Oh god, I need a drink.”

download-2

The above, currently lurching around the internet to much complacent clucking, encapsulates the curiously delusional thinking of the tribe. It is insulting to men, and intended to be.  Misandry. Men are dangerously violent, killers even; you have to watch them every moment.  Simultaneously men are strutting foolish little things, their delicate vanity always vulnerable to a witty sally from Sally. All of this  is of course pure misandry–that is, sexism. 

Are they wacky enough to believe this? If so, they are, again,  psychotic. If not, dishonest. Normal women are not afraid of being killed by men. (“Ah, but Fred, you can see it in their eyes as they creep through the streets, staying behind cover, glancing furtively about, frightened, ever expecting the knife….”) If anybody is more blisterishly sensitive even to disagreement, much less to ridicule, than a radical feminist, I haven’t encountered him. Or her. Or it.

Yes, the cheerleader can devastate the class dweeb by saying that she wouldn’t date him on a bet, or the quarterback crush the not-so-pretty girl by saying that she looks like a box car with warts. But few normal people, either cheerleaders or quarterbacks, are so cruel. And men in general do not speak of women with the venom of feminists speaking of men. Most of us date women, even marry them, regard them as the most attractive part of the social landscape.

Though, of course, at any moment we may kill them.

 

Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put “pdq” in the subject line, without the quotes, to avoid autodeletion.

Notes from a Lost America: Chuckie Manson, Thor, and the Ark. Average Day in California

This is a reprint of a column from long, long ago. I do it not from laziness, though I am fond of laziness, but because it may provide a window into a happier America that we will not see again. These days, we need any cheer we can get.

In the year of the Great Radioactive Goat-Curd Craze and Flood-that-Wasn’t, Matamoscas was just another sleepy California town in the high desert near Barstow. The only geographical feature of note anywhere near was a low mesa called Las Pulgas, about three miles out of town where the Ark was.

About a year before, a peyote-enhanced guru named Mahmud al Gravid, who looked like Charles Manson but probably wasn’t, had descended on the town with his followers. Gravid had the deeply spiritual look that comes of minor brain damage and exposure to Los Angeles. His followers were scrofulous late-adolescents with love beads. Being teenagers, they thought the world had been invented yesterday and they were the only ones who knew anything about it, especially as regarded matters spiritual. They said they were in Matamoscas to find themselves. It was a good place to look, because that was where they were.

Anyway, Gravid had received from on high a notification that a Great Flood would soon wash away the world, beginning for reasons not immediately obvious with Matamoscas. Gravid and his lemmings were to prepare by building an Ark on Las Pulgas, made of cubits. They weren’t sure what cubits were, but figured they would find them in the desert. It didn’t hold together Biblically. They didn’t know it, so it didn’t matter.

Anyway, they built an Ark that would have foundered in a heavy dew and awaited the flood.

For California the idea wasn’t peculiar enough to stand out from the background, so the locals mostly drove around in pickups and drank beer in the town’s only bar and ignored the seers out on the mountain. Given the way the Coast was pulling down the aquifers, they weren’t really worried about a flood. They would have started one if they had known how.

Then Otto Swedenborg, a huge square-shouldered Scowegian meatball out of Minnesota, had roared in on a Harley hog with a little trailer in tow. He looked like Thor and had eyes the color of swimming pools. The trailer contained pickle jars of Radioactive Goat-Curd, he said, which would cure anything, and make one’s aura resonate with the inner force of being. He had discovered it while raising goats in land containing uranium ore. Ten bucks.

The locals needed radioactive goat curd like they needed a third elbow, so they sent him to the mountain. They figured nuts rolled uphill, and there was no other hill around.

Gravid apparently saw Swedenborg as a threat to his position as alpha-guru. In the ensuing tension one of the followers said the hell with it and went back to L.A., where her father was big with CBS. A camera truck duly showed up at Las Pulgas. The whole kit and caboodle were on national television that night, auras resonating. Swedenborg got thirty seconds to expound the virtues of his goatish pudding.

The results were astonishing and unexpected. Goat curd took hold of the Californian imagination. First a trickle and then a flood of seekers of enlightenment began to show up in Matamoscas. They were a cross-section of the state: vegetarians, Hare Krishnas, sun-worshipers, fruit-juice drinkers, Ethical Culturists, and a residue of the Orgone Box movement. There were coked-up aspiring movie stars who had believed the desert was a large beach, and Valley Girls who thought the whole idea was groovy to the max. Matamoscas was overrun.

Having manufactured the event, television also covered it. A reporter asked a slack-jawed blonde beachboy, who seemed to have the IQ of a shinplaster, how he felt about the new spiritual order.

“Well, I, like, you know, I think it’s really true.”

“What’s true?”

“I’m not sure.”

Swedenborg did land-office business in radioactive goat-curd. In fact, he ran out the first day, and resorted to selling jars of mayonnaise from the local grocery, after taking the labels off. The price went up like taxes in a Democratic administration. When asked how to use the curd to greatest inner advantage, he said to let it age for a week, and then rub it liberally over the entire body. The customer presumably ended up looking like a frankfurter in search of a roll.

There was talk of building a theme park in Matamoscas based on goat curd, as well as a hotel with a golf course, and a factory to turn out soy-based curd-substitute. Several hotel chains expressed interest. Investors were sought to buy a reactor. Swedenborg was offered a high position that didn’t require that he be able to do anything. Matamoscas was On Its Way.

Then ABC, concerned about its slide in the ratings, reported that in the cliffs along Route 101-A, out of San Francisco, a rock formation had been found that was an unmistakable likeness of Che Guevara. It glowed in the dark and wept tears of proletarian solidarity, said a professor of psychiatry from Berkeley. He had discovered the likeness while processing his issues among the rocks with the help of some really dynamite mescaline. You could just feel the essence of Che trying to communicate some message of importance to all mankind.

Next morning, Matamoscas was empty. The spiritual freight train had moved on. Swedenborg left with his remaining jars of mayonnaise. Gravid and his followers vanished. The locals went back to driving around in pickups and drinking beer at the bar. The Ark is still there.

None of this happened. But it’s all true.

John Derbyshire for Secretary of Education!: Extreme Times Call for Extreme Measures

In looking for a piece I seemed to remember  in which John, a prolific internet presence,  advocates abolishing public education, I came across his overall diagnosis of schooling in America, well worth reading and a marvel of concision and accuracy. On its strength I hereby nominate him as SecEd, as one says in the as-yet undrained swamp on the Potomac. I nominate myself as Asst. SecEd, with the title of Lord High Executioner and a government-supplied guillotine. Schooling will never be the same. Heh heh.

Having thus arranged the Republic to my satisfaction, I will now address myself to deeper matters.

A question John raises in the piece I was looking for, and answers in the negative, is whether any reason exists for public schooling beyond perhaps fifth grade. It does seem reasonable that the population not actually moronic should be able read menus and street signs. It also seems possible.

But beyond fifth grade?

In the column racket one is required to say that our children are the future–may God have mercy–and that democracy requires an educated electorate knowing history, geography, languages and such so as to have a grasp of the issues of the day, etc, and so on, and on, to the last syllable of recorded tedium. Questions seldom asked: Does American schooling produce such an electorate? Can it? Could it? Does anyone really want it? Or does it simply keep children out of their parents hair, and off the job market?

For that matter, does college–”college”–do any better? For  a few, yes. For most, no. (From this I omit things like the sciences and engineering, which are trade-school subjects.)

I submit that these are practical questions, not just the self-congratulatory horror of the aging.

We have all seen the surveys showing that “college” graduates do not know when the Civil War  took place, where Afghanistan might be, and cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map of the Hawaiian Islands. For most students, most education is a farce, a waste of time and money. 

So why do it?

The failure to learn is not, or not uniquely, a problem of intelligence. Obviously the actually stupid will not learn anything. But neither do the intelligent. John points out that his own children, presumably bright, took four years of high-school Spanish yet cannot speak a sentence.

Do you know anybody who learned any language in high school? Or in “college”? Languages can be taught, and are in countries such as Finland and Denmark, but American schools are hopeless, and Americans uninterested.

Somewhat parenthetically, for the bright student, public schooling is both an obstacle and a torment. He, or most assuredly she, is quickly reading five grades ahead of class. Such students prop open the tops of their desks to sneak-read  books about dinosaurs or astronomy, or Jane Eyre. They do not give a wan, etiolated damn about how Mommy Beaver had three sticks, and Little Baby Beaver had two, and how many in all did the wretched animals have?

Wait. A moment of madness is coming over me. Ha! I am going to make Milo Yiannopoulos Press Secretary. Heheeheeheee!

Back to ponderous wisdom. Bright kids learn to read by reading, by going to the library and coming back with ten books, by reading voraciously, indiscriminately, clandestinely reading under the covers at night with flashlights. You don’t teach them to read. You get out of their way. In fact, you don’t teach them much of anything. They do it.

Coming back to the plight of John’s kids and Spanish, I ask myself what I actually learned in high school. Almost nothing. I took required courses in economics, geography, Latin, Spanish, English, some kind of history (that I cannot remember what sort of history suggests that it did not add materially to my store of knowledge), government–and and came as blank as I had begun. While I wasn’t bright enough to attract tour buses, I was some above average–and yet, apart from math, learned no more than the dumbest kids. If Tommy (name redacted) hadn’t stolen the senior-civics exam, I would still be in high school.

I did profit from two years of algebra, one of plane geometry, and typing. Why? Because I was interested. I can still do long division of polynomials. What I really most learned in school (my high school transcript may not fascinate you. Patience. I am coming to a point) was physiology. For some reason it interested me and I inhaled textbooks, to lasting effect (eosinophils, neutrophils, basophils, large and small monocytes…see?)

From which we conclude: Kids will learn what interests them. They won’t learn anything else. This is why hackers of fifteen years break into secured networks but do  not know whether Columbus discovered America or the other way around.

So what is the point of school?

Far better would be perhaps junior high followed by vocational training in a field of interest to the student. In four years currently wasted on learning nothing, a kid could get a monumental head start on being an auto mechanic (look under the hood of your car and tell me it’s a job for dummies), electrician, paramedic, computer tech, accountant, dental technician, and so on. Or be phenomenally ready for med school. Such training of the very young would not in all fields amount to professional competence, but  would produce dynamite candidates for further study.

This would serve the primary purpose of keeping them off the streets. Kids would be no less  prepared to make momentous decisions of state–heaven help us–than current ones. They would also end up as adults, not Snowflakes

Why is American schooling a disaster? Because it rests on the bedrock of  envy, the grinding resentment of the superior. “You ain’t no gooder’n me” might be the national slogan, embodying both the attitude and its dire grammatical consequences. Envy explains the emphasis on the mentally halt and lame, on disguising the inability of the dull. Everyone must go to “college” to hide the incandescently obvious, that most are not bright enough. Kids who cannot count their fingers, much less on them, must be put in AP classes. And so on. 

Feminized schools are run by women of low cerebral voltage who have no intellectual interests and probably resent the bright. A kid of IQ 140 will regard his ed-major teacher, at 95, as a form of tuber and she will guess as much. The emphasis in this Slough of Despond falls on making sure that No Kid Gets Ahead. It works. The whole charade needs to be abolished.

To digress,  perchance to dream: While I am reorganizing the government, I will appoint Eric Margolis as Secretary of State, and put Patrick Cockbern or Robert Fisk on the Middle East desk. A journalist who has spent a lifetime covering foreign affairs on the ground may know more about it than some damn Coca-Cola executive. But my mind wanders.

Yet many who are bright enough for university simply have no interest. To many, a commercial-diving ticket appeals more than a degree in The Sociology of Breathing. What earthly point is there in subjecting him to the high-school equivalent of those miserable beavers? 

How important is a fifth-rate unremembered education to the betterment of society? John makes the point that the English empire was administered entirely by men who learned nothing  in school but Latin classics. (Stalky&Co. is canonical.) Of course they had a sense of noblesse oblige as a matter of caste and, I think, a comparative immunity to corruption–”it isn’t done, you know”–which we do not. A society founded on class has advantages.

When Mr. Derbyshire finds that he has been dragooned into the federal government, he will probably go into hiding. I will have him hunted down by muscular skip-tracers with large butterfly nets. And oil my guillotine for the coming years. There are callings that transcend personal preference. 

 

Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoolcom. Due to volume, not bad manners, replies often impossible but all are read.

Health Care Hither and Yon:An Invitation to Scream about Socialism

Almost all advanced countries, if not all, have national medical care. It is telling that in the debate over Obamacare, few looked at systems in other countries to see how well what worked. The reason seems to have been a mixture of the classic American  arrogance and lack of interest in anything beyond the borders. Characteristically, discussion usually turned on the evils of socialism–for some reason, Europe is thought to be socialist–and who was going to make money.

The results are what one would expect. Study after study has shown that American health care is of poor quality compared with that of other First World nations, and way more expensive.

Recently I encountered a casual friend–he was dancing in a local club–whom I had not seen for a while. Where ya been, I asked? In Guadalajara for cardiac surgery, he said, double bypass and valve replacement. The replacement valve was from a pig so we made the mandatory jokes about did he say oink-oink, and parted.

Later, for the hell of it, I asked by email what it had cost. His response, verbatim, except for my conversions to dollars at 17 pesos to the dollar:

“The costs of my surgery were as follows:

330,000 pesos to the surgeon and his surgical team. $19,411

122,000 pesos to the hospital for eight days $7176

15,000 to the blood bank. $882

————-

467,000 total  $27,470

The time frame was March 13 to March 21.  The exchange rate around this time period was about 17.5 which would make the USD cost app. $27.000.”

Wondering what this would cost in the US, I googled around and found things like this:

“For patients not covered by health insurance, valve replacement surgery typically costs from about $80,000-$200,000 or more with an average, according to an American Heart Association report[1] , of $164,238, not including the doctor fee. A surgeon fee can add $5,000 or more to the final bill.”

This was only for the valve replacement. The price for a simple bypass in the US runs to $50,000 to $70,000 at the lower end. What the bypasses would add to the replacement, I don’t know, and shudder to think.

The huge difference in price between American and other care occurs in almost everything. For example, corneal transplant in the US:

 “For patients who are not covered by health insurance, the average cost of surgery can range from $13,000 to $27,000 or more. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality[2] , a corneal transplant typically costs $13,119 when done as an ambulatory procedure and $27,705 when performed as an inpatient surgery.”

In Mexico, about $3000, according to my ophthalmologist, who does them constantly.

Why the prices? Several reasons offer themselves. Advanced countries–Mexico is not one–have less corruption than does the US, and a greater concern for the well-being of their people. In Europe, for example, this is obvious not just in medical care but in unemployment insurance, length of vacations, and public amenities. In Seville, among my favorite cities, sidewalks are very wide, bicycle lanes are actually usable, in intercity buses are clean and comfortable. In the US all of this would be regarded as hippy dippy or socialism or the malevolent workings of the nanny state.  

I tell you, boys and girls, America is a collection of self-interested interests concerned with maximizing profits and nothing else. Hospitals are run for profit, with the result–surprise, surprise–that they charge what they can get away with. Compare Japan:

“Hospitals, by law, must be run as non-profit and be managed by physicians. For-profit corporations are not allowed to own or operate hospitals. Clinics must be owned and operated by physicians.”

Anybody want to take bets who gets better care at lower prices?

When national medical care is considered in America, nobody–so far as I am aware, anyway–thinks to look at other countries, see what they are doing, and ask, “Does it work?” To do so would make sense, and so is rejected out of hand, and anyway Americans  apparently cannot conceive that other countries might do things well. Instead we hear about this that economic theory, and freedom, and what Adam Smith said about bypass surgery, and tyranny.

Invariably you hear of the pregnant woman in London who couldn’t see a doctor under national health care and had to giver herself a Caesarian with a chainsaw. These nightmares are offered as proof that national care doesn’t work. In fact the medical business lobbies to underfund national care, ensuring that it won’t work well. Then they talk about the evils of socialism.

Suppose we did make comparisons?

Military medical care is the obvious, available, and easily studied alternative to Obamacare. So far as I know, nobody thought of this. In the military you go to the hospital or clinic, show your ID card, get done whatever you need, and leave. Thank you, good day.  No paperwork. No paperwork. No insurance forms, deductibles. receipts. No insurance companies trying to pay as little as possible, since that’s how they make money. The doctor doesn’t order a PET scan, three MRIs, and a DNA analysis of your grandmother’s dog to run up the bill.

Canada:

Canadians strongly support the health system’s public rather than for-profit private basis, and a 2009 poll by Nanos Research found 86.2% of Canadians surveyed supported or strongly supported “public solutions to make our public health care stronger.”[18][19] A Strategic Counsel survey found 91% of Canadians prefer their health care system instead of a U.S. style system.[20][21]

From the taxpayer’s point of view, real national care involves no insurance companies. For this reason Congress, for sale to the highest bidder,  will never consider such a system.

The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the “close to best overall health care” in the world.[1] In 2011, France spent 11.6% of GDP on health care, or US $4,086 per capita,[2] a figure much higher than the average spent by countries in Europe but less than in the US.”

People who have used it–well, the three I know–love it.

The foregoing paragraphs by themselves do not justify a sweeping change of policy–but might they not suggest to our rulers the wisdom of at least looking at what other countries have done?

No.

——————————————————————————————-Note: In last week’s column I made disparaging remarks about the accuracy of the AR15, and was taken to task by many readers. I should have said what I meant by accuracy, and I guess it isn’t what most people mean. In my days at Soldier of Fortune, we got into exotic stuff, such as sniper rifles, and it probably distorted my ideas of things. Google on “sniper rifles,” and you will find virtually nothing in .223. At Parris Island we fired .762 at 500 meters. And I don’t pretend to understand the photo with the “smoke disk,” which I can’t figure out.

Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters “pdq,” quotes not needed, somewhere in the subject line or a filter  will heartlessly delete your email.

Gun Control: Hawglegs and Hawgwash

 

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On the range. Interesting photo: The flash of a cheap camera caught the slide back, and what appears to be a smoke disk.

Since Hillary has presumably gone to a home for used basilisks, we will  perhaps hear less about gun control for a bit. As in, maybe, eight years.

The unending drive to outlaw firearms remains  fascinating in various ways, first in that  it represents a desire for conclusive abandonment of constitutional government. This is far along in other spheres–jury trial, speedy trial, jury of peers, declaration of war, warrantless search. Recently we have had a clear intention by a major party simply to ignore such constitutional provisions as it finds inconvenient.  

Of course many of their voters couldn’t name two rights guaranteed by the First Amendment–surreys show that white college graduates cannot–and a substantial portion can’t read. Constitutional government requires an informed public. America doesn’t have one.

The orators profess to believe that banning guns will end murder. The actual effects of gun control are very different. This is a matter of observation, and thus has no place in political discussion. Just for the hell of it–it will make no difference–let’s actually look at the question.

The two most heavily armed countries in the world are (still, I think) Israel and Switzerland. In Switzerland, men of military age are (still, I think) required to keep an assault rifle and ammunition in their homes, and Israelis are similarly armed because, having enemies on their borders, they need to be able to mobilize rapidly. 

In both countries murders by armed citizens are essentially nonexistent. By contrast, Mexico has strict gun control. Does anyone get shot in Mexico?

Yes, actually. Some 164,000 thousand shot dead between 2007 and 2014 (Figures vary. The foregoing are typical.) Pretty effective, gun control is.

Why do murders occur so exuberantly in a country with gun control? Because making guns illegal doesn’t make guns go away. In Mexico gun control means that criminals can have, and assuredly do have, high-powered military weapons, usually AKs–cuernos de chiva. Thus a dozen narcos can enter a large town and terrorize it. If a hundred men in the town had AR-15s, the dozen narcos would enter the town in pickups and forthwith leave in boxes. Gun control leaves the town disarmed and helpless.

Which has occurred to Mexicans:

Mexico considers new gun laws to arm its citizens against violent crime”

In a country in which the government cannot or will not enforce the laws and protect citizens–the United States comes to mind–said citizens will want to protect themselves. This is happening in Mexico. In a recent example  in Mexico City (this from newspaper accounts) four robbers, armed, boarded a public bus and collected wallets and cell phones from the passengers. One passenger drew a pistol and shot all four, killing one. The other three, badly wounded, got off the bus. The passenger followed, finished them off, gave the loot back to the other passengers, and disappeared into the city. Curiously, not one of the passengers was able to describe him. Maybe they were not paying attention.

Perhaps not optimal, but in a country plagued by looting, arson, racial attacks, and destructive brawls by vandals, people are going to want to protect themselves. Surprise, surprise.

If guns were made illegal in the US, not a single villain would turn his gun in. The bumper sticker, “When guns are criminal, only criminals will have guns,” is exactly right.Guns, usually small and easily smuggled, are immensely valuable to criminals. Why would they turn them in? Criminals do not obey laws. It’s how you know  they are criminals.

Curiously, the fewer guns in the hands of the law-abiding, the more valuable they are to criminals. When citizens may be armed, crawling in a window at night becomes much less attractive. And of course gun control would mean disarming white people, who tend to obey laws. Having witnessed Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlotte, many whites are not enthusiastic about being left helpless.

One must never say this.

Gun-controllers, unless they are greater fools than seems humanly possible–they may well be–know  that criminals are not going to turn their guns in, and there is no way to confiscate them. They also know, unless actually mad, that criminals are overwhelmingly black. Do the controllers propose to send the army through black regions of Chicago, searching houses room by room to find hidden guns? Hardly. 

When of a hundred murders in Chicago, almost all are committed by an  underclass, do we have a gun problem, or an underclass problem? Do blacks have a white problem, a gun problem, or a themselves problem?

Obama of course blamed guns for the shooting deaths in Chicago. Can he really believe this? It is like the obese blaming spoons.

It is verboten to notice that crime with guns is heavily concentrated in particular groups. I grew up in rural Virginia where all the boys and Becky had guns, chiefly shotguns for hunting deer and rifles for killing varmints. Nobody shot anybody, either deliberately or otherwise. Murder wasn’t in the culture. We couldn’t understand why our guns should be taken away because criminals in the cities wanted to kill each other.

I once spent a week with the US Army in the slums of Port au Prince in Haiti, where guns were illegal. Nobody was shot. Instead brains were laid open and arms severed by machete. It was in the culture.

But of course gun control is only tangentially about gun control. The controllers detest gun owners viscerally as they imagine them, aging white Southern yahoos or Western cowboys with potbellies and third-grade educations who are probably werewolves, Republicans or even conservatives. Deplorables. Note that they never criticize the killers, the Islamoterrorists, the blacks in the cities massacring each other with abandon, or the Hispanic narcos engaged in auto-extermination. The controllers simply dislike white conservatives or, more profoundly, those who are emotionally independent and not of the mentality of the hive. Guns are innocent bystanders.

If a woman tells me that she favors gun control, I can with confidence predict that she favors unchecked immigration, sanctuary cities, affirmative action, banning the Confederate flag, suppressing Christianity, homosexual marriage, abortion, feminism, and the dumbing down–she will call it something else–of schools to avoid wounding the self-esteem of the usual suspects.

The question of guns demarcates a sharp dividing line between who read the New York Times and those for whom it is the house organ of a class of people they detest. This is the Trumpo-Hillarian Chasm. New York, which controls the country with Washington as its action arm, is not particularly cognizant of what goes on in the rest of the US. The imposition of  political correctness prevents New York from hearing anything it doesn’t like, but also prevents it from knowing the extent to which people believe things New York doesn’t want to hear. Thus their surprise at the rise of Trump, which anyone could have suspected after an hour in Joe’s Bar in Chicago.

Here we reach the great divide. I read gun dealers saying that, after the murders in Orlando, post murdered cop after murdered cop, burning mall after looted store, AR-15s were “flying off the shelves.” Why? The gun is not accurate enough for serious marksmen, illegal I think in most places for hunting, and not well suited for killing intruders in the home, being long enough to be awkward in a confined space.

An AR is however well suited for defense of one’s home or business against rampaging mobs. It is long enough to be accurate at urban ranges, suited to rapid single-shot firing, has a large magazine, and fires military .223 ammo. You don’t suppose…?

A great many people, including me, think that “civil unrest” may be in America’s future as the economy declines, the middle class sinks, and racial hostility deepens. As the pie shrinks, someone has to get less pie. If welfare is cut, whether directly or by inflation, riots will come. Riots will occur in any event, since they already do. Blacks are dangerously angry, and are ready to rock and roll. Think Ferguson, Baltimore, LA, Milwaukee. It may not happen. But it may, looks increasingly probable, and people who would lose their jobs for saying so are preparing.

Thus the desire to get an AR or two and a thousand rounds before the government–which much of the country regards as an enemy--can shut down sales and leave them helpless, a la Mexico. In private conversation the question is explicitly racial–though one must never, ever, point out the obvious. These are people who–choose you verb, “know” or “believe”–that a Ferguson mob can come to their neighborhood and–here no choice of verbs is needed–that the recent President, Attorney General, the government, the blacks, New York, the RNC and DNC, and the media, are against them.

In Washington and New York, the Virulently Good who live in high-rises with security desks will react with horror at the thought of buying a rifle for self-defense. “How could the….?” “Why would anyone…?” “What is wrong with these…?” Their outlook rests on the belief that nothing really bad can happen. Which means that if it does, they will be toast. And that, in a morbid way, will be amusing.

 

Fred can be reached at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put the letters pdq in the subject line anywhere to avoid being autofeleted.

Uniquely Talented: Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump

A great uproar goes forth from the enemies of the Trump Beast, with much gnashing of hair and pulling of teeth. He will be a terrible President, they say, and they may well be right. There are ominous signs, particularly as regards foreign policy, and he seems radically incoherent and contradictory. Interestingly, his critics have no slight idea why he won.  The reason is obvious: He won because everybody was campaigning for him, in particular the media, Hillary, Black Lives Matter, Obama, Democrats, and far leftists. Everybody worked for Trump. He couldn’t lose.

The election was a referendum on Marie Antoinette’s court. It was the revolt of the unnoticed downtrodden, the financially sinking, the working classes rising against  privileged snots–but it was engineered by the elites. The glittering elect of course did not say “working class,” this being a  loaded phrase redolent of Marxism and of the Democratic Party of five decades back before it became a royal court. They spoke instead of disgruntled white men, racists, homophobes, sexists, and the Islamonauseated–phobic, I meant.

The rich and powerful are on display in Washington, white, well paid, secure, above average in intelligence, often from Oberlin, Amherst, Swarthmore, Yale. The better sorts of schools, you know. They cluster in Washington’s  posh barrios of Bethesda, Upper Connecticut, Cap Hill, and Great Falls. They drink together and talk to each other and believe that they must be right because everyone they know agrees with them.

Theirs is not a personal arrogance–they are nice people and you would like them–but an arrogance of class. Since nobody tells them they they are either arrogant or a class, they do not know. Since everybody around them lives at a high standard, it does not occur to them that they they live at a high standard. They exist in a small mental box.

They do not know that that in the bleak down-scale strip development of Jeff Davis Highway, a half-hour away, reeking of exhaust and blowing with trash, an aged veteran on crutches lives in a dismal residential motel. Every mourning  he hobbles to Dixie Lee’s Diner–I forget its actual name–for a cheap breakfast because it is all he has. Or ever will. He is waiting to die. The elite don’t know, and wouldn’t care.

The upper crust are also moral frauds, though they do not know this either. Nice liberals to the roots of their teeth, in principle they believe that we should all love each other, and they hate anyone who doesn’t. In practice they approximate George Wallace. Ask when they last went to the ghetto for dinner, whether they have ever been in a restaurant with a majority black clientele, whether they would send their precious children to the public schools of New York. Ask whether they have a blue-collar friend.

The privileged worked hard for Trump. Every time they described his people as uneducated white males, implicit dregs, they drove votes to Donald. And they so described the working class unceasingly.

It made him President. Good, bad, or indifferent, it is how he got in.

The privileged denigrated all whites unlike themselves. Then Hillary made her “deplorables” speech, confirming her contempt for half of America–those uneducated, shapeless, dull-witted proles in Flyover Land, obese, farting and belching, swilling Bud, watching NASCAR for god’s sake  in awful trailers. And why not not sneer at them? Why did Hillary need their votes? Did not Rachel Maddow love her?

For Trump it was gold, pure gold. If he had written her speech, he could not have come up with a better line to destroy her. It was the purest product of the establishment’s hubris. She did it to herself. Sweet.

It made him President.

Black Lives Matter also did yeoman work for the Donald. As they and snowflake Brown Shirts and excited millennials blocked highways and beat Trump’s supporters and shut down rallies, and vandalized cars, and of course looted, they presumably thought they were working against the Trump Monster. Not a chance. Out there in the uncharted barbarian lands between Manhattan and Hollywood, in dark primeval forests where Cro-Magnons are still a rarity, people were sick of lawlessness, and of an establishment that tolerated it. It produced more votes, perhaps not for Trump or even against Hillary but against the class that she represented.

Immigration. Here Hillary and Obama did great work for Donald. As Obama frantically brought in as many “refugees” as possible from everywhere, anywhere that might not be compatible with the people upon whom he would force them, Hillary promised to import huge numbers of Muslims. It was luminously stupid politics, but politically she was luminously stupid, so it fit.

It is why she is not President.

She knew that the backward peoples of Flyover Land ought to want hundreds of thousands of Somalis and Pakistanis and who-knew-what to live with, and if they didn’t, she would force them and it didn’t matter because she had big donors and everybody in the media loved her.

However incoherent and ignorant Trump was, the Establishment was determined to elect him. Elect him it did.

Then there is the insularity of the privileged. Its extent is hard to grasp. It worked mightily for the new President. Hillary has probably never been in a Legion hall with, god, that kind of people; if she had, she might be President. Instead she set a trotline for big donors and hung with the rich. They told her, didn’t they, that she couldn’t lose.

These, like her, knew nothing of the lives of most Americans. Has Bill Kristol hitchhiked in the chill of three a.m. on a secondary road in Appalachia, total wealth twenty-five dollars, hoping sparse traffic would get him to Roanoke? I am accepting bets. I doubt that Katie Couric, or any of the babbling bubble heads, has ever worked in a truck stop or gas station for minimum wage, if that. How many have ever baited a hook, had a paper route, or had to decide between a warm coat with winter coming on or paying the cable?

This is why Trump took them by such surprise. They were dealing with a country they had never seen. And didn’t like. Lord only knows what kind of President Trump will make (unless God also is wondering, which I find plausible) but he had the country figured out. Which is positively weird, given that he is a filthy rich New Yorker.

And the media. These too did great work for our new President. All the corporate outlets were furiously against him, apparently assuming that their opprobrium would crush the upstart. Were they not CBS and NBC and the Washington Post, respected news outlets that people would believe and trust?

Well, no, actually.

And so the talking heads chuckled and sneered and utterly underestimated and got handed their ass. They should have registered as lobbyists for the Donald.

The newsies did not understand that they were widely hated. Their obvious slant, often approaching verticality, looked like (and was) hostility to anyone who was willing to consider Trump. The common sentiment in Flyover Land became, “If these bastards don’t like Donald, he must be OK.”

They made him President.

It reminds me of when Bob Brown started Soldier of Fortune magazine, purporting to be a rag for, oh horror, squeak, mercenary soldiers. The media fell into convulsions denouncing him, cough, splutter, how could…. And with every denunciation, circulation went up. Ol’ Bob, he just smile.

But the talking heads couldn’t figure it out. Did they not all agree with each other? Did not all of America hate what they hated?

Well, ah…heh. Urg.

So when he slapped down Megyn Kelly of Fox News, the talking heads exploded with delighted horror. Trump had just screwed himself with women, who would vote en bloc for Hillary. Whatever minute chance he might have had was now dead. Chortle, chortle.

Actual results: 42% of women, and 53% of white women, voted for…oops,  ah…Trump.

Why? An obvious hypothesis is that women think for themselves, and did. Perhaps they thought Megyn, an abrasive plastic Barbie who probably gets more daily maintenance than a 747, was…an abrasive Baribie….

Trump could say to them, to Hillary, the media, the Insular Good, to BLM and the Snowflakes, “Thank you, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Fred is reachable at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put “pdq” in the subject line of your email will be heartlessly autodeleted. Lack of response usually due to volume, not bad manners.

Irreplexible Conducity: Thoughts for a Dyslexic Evolutionist

In the ever-entertaining dispute over Darwinian evolution, “irreducible complexity”–IC–has  provided a serviceable bone on which intellectual rodents, such as myself, can gnaw. Briefly, for those who have had better sense than to entangle themselves in such brambles, irreducible complexity is the observation–if it is an observation–that many things in biology consist of many parts such that if any one part is missing, the whole shebang fails to function. All the parts would therefore have to evolve–appear–simultaneously. This runs against orthodox Darwinery in which, to get from A to B, everything in between has to evolve bit by bit and has to produce a viable organism every step of the way.

Although much of what Darwin said has little to do with the modern theory of evolution, it is interesting and much to his credit that he foresaw the problem of irreducible complexity:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

–Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

Just so. But modern carriers of the evolutionary flame insist that irreducible complexity doesn’t exist.

If it is true that IC does not exist, then in principle it should be possible to simplify organisms backward step by step, running the evolutionary movie reel in reverse, to the level of chemical elements in the ancient oceans, with each stage of simplification producing a living organism. Undertaking this with a large animal, as for example a giraffe, would obviously be impossible. With a simpler entity, it might not be.

We might start instead with a cell. Even this would be difficult to the point, I suspect, of choking in variables. Let us ignore such complexities as cell membranes, vacuoles, endoplasmic reticula, and so on, and deal only with the mechanism of protein synthesis–DNA, RNA, mRNA, tRNA, nuclear bases, transcription, and translation. These are well understood and not impossibly complex. It should not be difficult to simplify the ensemble stepwise back to the level of elements–if protein synthesis is not irreducibly complex.

The advantage of looking for IC in a system using comparatively few components, all of whose structures are  understood, is that one avoids being caught in the endlessly arguable confusions of clotting cascades, flagella, metamorphosis in insects, and retinal chemistry. It is probably true that if irreducible complexity exists in protein synthesis, it can’t be hidden and that, if it doesn’t exist, its absence should be unmistakable.  The latter result would not rule out IC in other things but, given the fundamentality of protein synthesis, ti would be a large step in that direction.

Note that working backward from an existing mechanism (e.g., protein synthesis) to nonlife is far easier than working forward from nonlife to an existing mechanism. To work forward one must begin with an ocean whose constituents and concentrations one does not know and invent each step. In working backward one already has the mechanism and does not have to invent it, only simplify a tiny bit at a time.

By establishing a path backward to the simple inorganic chemicals of the primeval seas, unevolving backward so to speak, we would also establish a path forward from nonliving to living. Thus we would demonstrate unequivocally a pathway from nonlife to life, though the probability would remain uncertain.  

How might we simplify protein synthesis while retaining a viable organism?

We might begin by reducing the number of nucleotides per codon from three to two. This would allow coding for sixteen amino acids, fewer if some combinations were required for other things. Can it be demonstrated in the laboratory, or shown on paper, that this arrangement would give a functioning, reproducing organism? If not, the three-nucleotide codon, and thus presumably the genetic code, would seem to be irreducibly complex.

Now let us consider DNA itself. It is a fairly complex molecule, yet its structure and function are very well known. Surely it must be possible to simplify it to the previous form it had as it evolved toward its present complexity, while still providing a viable organism. This would be impossible only if it were irreducibly complex. What changes might we make as we try to find the compound from which our familiar DNA evolved?

Can the phosphate be removed, and perhaps be replaced by something simpler? Or be done without? The pentose? Purines and pyrimidines replaced by–what? This is beyond me. Doubtless a molecular biologist can light the way–unless it can’t be done at all.

By obvious extension, it should be possible to simplify or eliminate enzymes–RNA polymerase, that sort of thing–to find the viable configuration immediately preceding the current one in evolution. Can protein synthesis be accomplished without enzymes? Surely  this can be done, as otherwise one would have to believe that the present system of synthesis sprang whole into being–i.e., is irreducibly complex.

Is tRNA not really necessary? Perhaps it is not, as otherwise it too would seem to be part of an irreducibly complex system. One might even ask how much DNA with with how many codons coding for how many proteins of what lengths would be necessary to keep each earlier evolutionary step viable. But this gets into the generation of information which is another can of worms.

I do not pretend to know the answers. I am just some guy  in Mexico with no formal training in biochemistry. Surely those wiser than I can answer these minor questions. Protein synthesis is comprehensible enough that working backwards shouldn’t be difficult.  If some biochemist would only take the time to do this, it would do wonders to end the hitherto endless debate about irreducible complexity and intelligent design.

Fred is reachable at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put “pdq” in the subject line of your email will be heartlessly autodeleted. Lack of response usually due to volume, not bad manners.

Nordic Genius and the Central Heat Theorem: Adventures in Genetics

Today I will explain how civilization happened, to the extent that there has been any civilization  to happen, or that it can be explained, and where stuff comes from, and who done what, and why. Afterward there will be no more to say on the subject. You will hear doors slamming across the nation as university departments shut down.

Now, history is littered knee-deep with literature, and art, and inventions, like gum on the underside of a theater seat. Inventions are pretty important for civilization. Where did these inventions come from? Well, there’s a group of people who clutter up the web and  say that it was North Europeans. Yes. See, it’s genetic. These pale people invented everything. Nobody else did, especially Latins. It’s because northerners have creativity,  and nobody else else can. The Chinese copy stuff pretty fair, and make little paper umbrellas for expensive drinks, but can’t invent. Latins can’t either. Only North Europeans.

This seemed a bit smug since, curiously, most who believed this seemed to be North Europeans. A coincidence, doubtless. Anyway, being as I am a self-appointed defender of things Latin and tired of unending nonsense on the matter, I set out to investigate. Has anybody else, I asked, ever contributed to the dim world of the mind? Even, perish forbid, Latins?

No.

After many months of arduous research, I had to concede: Damn! It was true! North Europeans really did own intellectual history. Nobody had ever approached their creativity. It was undeniable. The pattern went back a long, long way. To wit:

In the mid-Fourth Millennium BC, North Europeans in Sumeria–widely believed to be Finns, but the evidence is inconclusive–invented writing. Yes. It was later invented independently by other North Europeans, notably the Chinese and Mesoamerican Indians.

Latin peoples in particular have no creativity. The evidence supports this: Four thousand years after the Finns in Sumeria, the Latin peoples of Denmark finally succeeded, sort of 750 AD, in writing down Beowulf (real name: Beowulf Gonzalez) though in crude language and using a script stolen from North European Phoenicians. Such are Latins.

Northern Europeans of the Fifth Century BC in Athens produced Archimedes Jones and Aristotle Schwartz. This Nordic flowering continued. North Europeans of the Roman Empire invented engineering, or at least greatly improved on what the Finns of Sumeria had done. After this, Northern European Italians produced the Renaissance. Latin peoples could not have done it, because they lack creativity.  

There is no need here to recapitulate the intellectual achievements of Michelangelo Hofstedter, Da Vinci Frankfurter, or  Benvenuto Cellini Thor.

perseusPerseus, by Cellini Thor, a Florentine North European born 1500 and apparent misogynist. The Nordic genius is evident in the…in the…the derivation is left as an exercise for the reader.

Now we ask, why did North Europe produce Teutonic geniuses  like Galileo Schwartz? What makes one civilization flourish while another remains covered in snow? After profound thought I concluded that to have a civilization one chiefly needs heat and moisture. This is true also of the more interesting tropical plants, such as orchids.

Consider: The Sumerians got a head start on everybody because they lived in a tremendously hot climate with two big two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates. They didn’t have to spend all their time looking for firewood and shoveling snow. Compare this with, say, Norway. While the North Europeans of sweltering, rainy India were writing the Gita, the Norwegians huddled around fires and shivered.

It can be shown that as you go north in Europe, the rise of intellectual achievement closely tracks the spread of central heating. This is the Central Heat Theorem. (Not to be confused with the Central Limit Theorem, which I thought says that if you throw enough coins enough times, the bar graph converges to a Gaussian. But it may say something else.)

An article of faith among the North European claque is that peoples in colder climes are smarter than sun dwellers because. See, they had to evolve enough intelligence to remember that it got cold in the winter and they should put food somewhere. (I suspect that a cocker spaniel could do this, but never mind.) Anyway, the dumb ones froze because they couldn’t remember to come in where the fire was and it was warm. The rest bred hard because there was nothing else to do and evolved to be smart.

Another way of looking at the question:  anyone witless enough to live where it snows would start with a large IQ deficit to evolve against.

In reality we see that human advance follows the Central Heat Theorem. The Esquimaux, good Asians all, have water, when they can melt it, but not heat, so they never contrived a civilization. Amerindians in places like Montana had water and some heat in the summers, but they froze in winter which discouraged them–it would me. Indians of the southern deserts had heat, heaven knows, but no water. No civilization to speak of.

But the Indians of Mesoamerica, both warm and moist, built elaborate civilizations, invented writing, and number systems. See? It’s like orchid botany.

After the Nordic Renaissance in Italy, civilization of the European variety moved to France. (You can tell that France is a Northern European culture, not an inferior Latin one, because the French speak German.)

At this point the North Europe of today, for practical purposes meaning Germany and England, kicked in. These two counties and the United States finally did produce a tremendous amount of civilization, including most math and literature and the singing commercial, though they can’t dance, and pretty much run the show today. Better late than never.  Much is owed to such northern mathematicians as Fibonacci, Galois, Laplace, Lagrange, and Fermat.

I know that if I suggested that Latins had contributed anything to the arts and sciences, I would be called wrong-headed, racist, or a reverse-racist, or didn’t understand genetics, or something.  Perish forbid. (From the Merriam-Fredster Dictionary: “racist”: observant, truthful, characterized by reason.) Yet, even though the evidence is against me–such monumental Germanic writers as Virgil, Dante, Machiavelli, Juvenal, and Cellini Thor himself cannot be denied–I stubbornly insist that Latins must have contributed something to civilization. The ablative absolute maybe, or tomato paste.

Fred is reachable at jetpossum-readers@yahoo.com. Put “pdq” in the subject line of your email will be heartlessly autodeleted. Lack of response usually due to volume, not bad manners.