A Ruling Elite of Well-Educated Sheep

Here is an interesting dialogue of articles about higher education. It is from The New Republic magazine.

The initial article is by William Deresiewicz. It is based on his book, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. There were two critical responses I came across, one by Steven Pinker and another by J.D. Chapman. The last article is Deresiewicz’s response to his critics.

I didn’t care too much about the issue in and of itself. I don’t know enough about higher education to have an informed opinion, and so I won’t claim to know whether or not Deresiewicz makes sense about that issue. What interested me was the conclusion Deresiewicz offered, the opposition between a false meritocracy and a functioning democracy. That central point goes way beyond any aspect of education. It touches upon the root of nearly every problem in our society.

On this issue of democracy, Deresiewicz hit a raw nerve. I didn’t get the sense that Pinker grasped this aspect of the argument, as is indicated by his own conclusion where he seems to praise meritocracy in place of democracy. Pinker seems to genuinely believe in meritocracy, not just in theory but as it functions in our society. I get a bit of a reactionary vibe from Pinker (see this post by Kenan Malik, Human Conditions, and also notice how much attention Pinker gets by a popular neoreactionary like hbdchick).

Chapman disagreed with much of what Deresiewicz wrote. However, in his own conclusion, he supported the severe doubts about meritocratic claims.

In his final comments, Deresiewicz restates his basic case for an education based on an egalitarian vision. The only thing I wish is that he had grounded this into the larger problems we face with growing inequality, unemployment/underemployment, mass incarceration, structural racism, and a permanent underclass. What is at stake is far more than access to quality education for all citizens.

He does point in that direction, and so he is far from ignoring the implications. I understand he was purposely keeping his focus more narrow in order to deal with a single issue. His personal bias is from working in higher education and so that is where he naturally focuses his attention. That is fine, as long as the larger context is kept in mind.

 * * * *

Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League
The nation’s top colleges are turning our kids into zombies
By William Deresiewicz

“Not being an entitled little shit is an admirable goal. But in the end, the deeper issue is the situation that makes it so hard to be anything else. The time has come, not simply to reform that system top to bottom, but to plot our exit to another kind of society altogether.

“The education system has to act to mitigate the class system, not reproduce it. Affirmative action should be based on class instead of race, a change that many have been advocating for years. Preferences for legacies and athletes ought to be discarded. SAT scores should be weighted to account for socioeconomic factors. Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications. They ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do. They should refuse to be impressed by any opportunity that was enabled by parental wealth. Of course, they have to stop cooperating with U.S. News.

“More broadly, they need to rethink their conception of merit. If schools are going to train a better class of leaders than the ones we have today, they’re going to have to ask themselves what kinds of qualities they need to promote. Selecting students by GPA or the number of extracurriculars more often benefits the faithful drudge than the original mind.

“The changes must go deeper, though, than reforming the admissions process. That might address the problem of mediocrity, but it won’t address the greater one of inequality. The problem is the Ivy League itself. We have contracted the training of our leadership class to a set of private institutions. However much they claim to act for the common good, they will always place their interests first. The arrangement is great for the schools, but is Harvard’s desire for alumni donations a sufficient reason to perpetuate the class system?

“I used to think that we needed to create a world where every child had an equal chance to get to the Ivy League. I’ve come to see that what we really need is to create one where you don’t have to go to the Ivy League, or any private college, to get a first-rate education.

“High-quality public education, financed with public money, for the benefit of all: the exact commitment that drove the growth of public higher education in the postwar years. Everybody gets an equal chance to go as far as their hard work and talent will take them—you know, the American dream. Everyone who wants it gets to have the kind of mind-expanding, soul-enriching experience that a liberal arts education provides. We recognize that free, quality K–12 education is a right of citizenship. We also need to recognize—as we once did and as many countries still do—that the same is true of higher education. We have tried aristocracy. We have tried meritocracy. Now it’s time to try democracy.”

The Trouble With Harvard
The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it
By Steven Pinker

“So why aren’t creative alternatives like this even on the table? A major reason is that popular writers like Stephen Jay Gould and Malcolm Gladwell, pushing a leftist or heart-above-head egalitarianism, have poisoned their readers against aptitude testing. They have insisted that the tests don’t predict anything, or that they do but only up to a limited point on the scale, or that they do but only because affluent parents can goose their children’s scores by buying them test-prep courses.

“But all of these hypotheses have been empirically refuted. We have already seen that test scores, as far up the upper tail as you can go, predict a vast range of intellectual, practical, and artistic accomplishments. They’re not perfect, but intuitive judgments based on interviews and other subjective impressions have been shown to be far worse. Test preparation courses, notwithstanding their hard-sell ads, increase scores by a trifling seventh of a standard deviation (with most of the gains in the math component). As for Deresiewicz’s pronouncement that “SAT is supposed to measure aptitude, but what it actually measures is parental income, which it tracks quite closely,” this is bad social science. SAT correlates with parental income (more relevantly, socioeconomic status or SES), but that doesn’t mean it measures it; the correlation could simply mean that smarter parents have smarter kids who get higher SAT scores, and that smarter parents have more intellectually demanding and thus higher-paying jobs. Fortunately, SAT doesn’t track SES all that closely (only about 0.25 on a scale from -1 to 1), and this opens the statistical door to see what it really does measure. The answer is: aptitude. Paul Sackett and his collaborators have shown that SAT scores predict future university grades, holding all else constant, whereas parental SES does not. Matt McGue has shown, moreover, that adolescents’ test scores track the SES only of their biological parents, not (for adopted kids) of their adoptive parents, suggesting that the tracking reflects shared genes, not economic privilege.

“Regardless of the role that you think aptitude testing should play in the admissions process, any discussion of meritocracy that pretends that aptitude does not exist or cannot be measured is not playing with a full deck. Deresiewicz writes as if any correlation between affluence and Ivy admissions is proof that we don’t have a true meritocracy. But that only follows if the more affluent students are without merit, and without a measure of aptitude that is independent of affluence, how could you ever tell? For the same reason, his conspiracy theory of the historical trend in which Ivy students have been coming from wealthier families—namely that the Ivies deliberately impose expensive requirements to weed out poorer families—is glib. Hoxby has shown that the historical trend was propelled by students’ no longer applying to the closest regional colleges but to the ones with the most similar student bodies anywhere in the country. The law of supply and demand pushed the top schools to raise their academic admissions standards; the correlation with parental income may just be a by-product.

“After first denying that we have ever tried meritocracy, Deresiewicz concludes by saying that we have tried it, and now should try “democracy” instead, by which he seems to mean a world in which the distribution of incomes of Ivy League families would be identical to that of the country as a whole. But as long as the correlation between wealth and aptitude is not zero, that goal is neither possible nor desirable.

“Still, he’s right that the current system is harmful and unfair. What he could have said is that elite universities are nothing close to being meritocracies. We know that because they don’t admit most of their students on the basis of academic aptitude. And perhaps that’s what we should try next.”

Send Your Kid to the Ivy League!
The New Republic’s article against elite education is destructive to my students
By J.D. Chapman

“I agree with Deresiewicz that liberal arts colleges like Sarah Lawrence and Reed are uniquely positioned to nurture and challenge students, and I champion them when I can. I don’t believe the Ivies are for every bright kid, and I have occasionally counseled students capable of admission to them to favor other options. And I agree that class lines are hardening in dangerous ways; the Ivies have too much money and power; and meritocracy is a delusion. That does not mean that an Ivy League diploma isn’t valuable, especially for someone whose family has no history of access to elite careers like teaching at Yale or writing for The New Republic. It means that it is valuable. Whether it should be is another discussion altogether.”

Your Criticism of My Ivy League Takedown Further Proves My Point
By William Deresiewicz

“Nor was it—or is it—an either/or situation: Either a general, liberal arts education or a specialized, vocational one; either building a soul or laying the foundation for a career. American higher education, uniquely among the world’s systems, makes room for both. You major in one thing, but you get to take courses in others. The issue now is not that kids don’t or at least wouldn’t want to get a liberal education as well as a practical one (you’d be surprised what kids are interested in doing, if you give them a chance). The issue is that the rest of us don’t want to pay for it.

“That is finally what’s at stake here. Are we going to reserve the benefits of a liberal education for the privileged few, or are we going to restore the promise of college as we once conceived it? When I say, at the end of my book, that the time has come to try democracy, that is what I am talking about.”

113 thoughts on “A Ruling Elite of Well-Educated Sheep

  1. Pinker is a liberal, but he represents a retrograde turn in liberalism that sees the current as not only the good, but the best ever. I often accuse him of Pangloss + Hobbes, as he also thinks the states capacity for violence is why there is less of it.

    It shows up in his fundamental inability to read other texts fairly. For example, his book on the blank slate attributed arguments about historical and social developments happening outside of a context around genetics in a way that over-read their arguments and essentially set-up a straw-man to build “human nature’ around.

    • Yes, Pinker is a liberal. I’m not even sure how reactionary he is. I’m not overly familiar with his views. I’ve come across his writings before, but I haven’t read much by him. I was more going by that one article that felt reactionary in relation to the original Deresiewicz piece. It was a debate between two expressions of liberalism.

      I wasn’t sure that he was saying that higher education is the best ever, but he seemed more content with the status quo… along with a hint of meritocratic realism. His view seemed be that we don’t need fundamental change to something new, just more of the same, if I was understanding him correctly.

      • “His view seemed be that we don’t need fundamental change to something new, just more of the same, if I was understanding him correctly”

        That’s pretty spot-on, I think. And I think a bit naive, maybe even a fairly privileged perspective.

  2. It is not so much about the quality of education that the Ivy League provide as much as it is about the networking opportunities more than anything else. Those can lead to an outstanding career prospect afterwards.

    That is not to say that Ivy League is not necessarily inferior (I think that due to their wealth they probably can attract the best researchers), but the focus is different. Research in particular is very strongly emphasised. The pressure to publish for professors is immense.

  3. It was probably inevitable in many ways that this would happen.

    Unlike in nations like Finland where efforts are made to level the socioeconomic playing field, it does not happen in the US. Plus there is the fact that low level students of elite can also rely on their parents to give a generous endowment donation.

    Compounding the problem substantially there are pretty big barriers for those of the lower or even middle class to advance into the Ivy-level schools.

    • Yep, another good read. I always appreciate when a topic is put into a larger historical context. The author points out how unstable the US economy was for the first century and a half. Without understanding what preceded it, there is no way to understand what the New Deal was really about and what it was responding to.

  4. It’s cool that you read the articles! Benjamin you have a real talent for articulating your sentiments. I’m jealous!

    Ahhh, I feel like a fool for not registering the wider implications of these articles first. I guess we all interpret things according to our own experiences; in this case I probably tunnel-visioned since I am a college student my self. However, the college-issue is, I think, very relevant, and representative, of societal issues at large, like you said. The fucked-up college and education system says much about how our society is fucked-up in many ways…

    Actually, your insight makes me think of this. You know how I keep expressing my conflicting and often rather negative sentiments towards the academic? Your post makes me wonder if it is because I interpret, well, a lot of hypocrisy and blindness on his part. For all his views, I see him as someone ultimately very complicit in a system that he supposedly does not like. I see him as egocentric and self-serving.

    He is a fairly liberal guy who thinks the Bell Curve is eye-rolling, yet himself benefits deeply from the system, someone who despite this, is himself on the elite end and had his own son given the ‘gifted’ label. He dosen’t believe in that stuff, supposedly, yet he does. He knows he’s smart, he’s flattered that people tell him his son’s so smart cause his parents are. His disability advocacy I see as subconsciously self-rationalizing and trying to validate his own situation. He loves his disabled son, I know that. But then he’s not confortable with the idea that his son can be ‘cured.’ It sounds selfish to me. I see his po-mo stuff as eye-rolling at some level. At some level, I am disgusted with people like him, ‘humanists’ like him who apply po-mo mumbo jumbo instead of trying to do, what I see as, what should be done. I see people like him as people who, in a roundabout way, indulge in the woes they supposedly decry. These people who can write thousands of articles and wax poetic at a better world, but lose their shit if that their wax poetics actually shows signs of coming true. They’re terrible. He’s terrible.

    Some of our correspondance:
    ” Oy. When Pinker debates Deresiewicz, I leave the room, pronto. That said, this critique is pretty good until it gets to the bit about “objective” testing. That’s why Pinker has to take a pot shot at Gould– because Gould just happens to be right that SAT scores track pretty closely to family income. Replacing “holistic” admissions with test-driven admissions would simply tilt the playing field more emphatically toward the wealthy.

    Pinker stays in the spotlight because he is hailed as a “scientific” debunker of liberal platitudes. Why, he is willing to suggest that women are innately less talented at science! How bold and original! Like Herrnstein and Murray, he gives the fringe-nuts a lot of cover, without being a fringe-nut himself….”

    And here is an article he gave me in response to Deresicwicz: http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2014/08/01/william-deresiewiczs-weird-anti-ivy-elitism/

    I do like Kenan Malik, I think he’s a far superior thinker to my academic sort-of correspondent. The funniest irony is that academic is an ivy-leager himself, and I don’t think he grew up rich. He went to a FREE, elite NYC high school without the rich parents. Many kids slip through the cracks. He didn’t. Yet he has the audacity to talk of the toughness of being awkward growing up.

    But that is the issue. I am not a great thinker. I am downright nasty and simple. I am a simple-minded person. I am a sort of transhumanist whose idea towards ‘disability’ is like the movie Limitless; I want to change people’s limits, make them limitless. His son wanted to be a marine biologist. I want to make him capable of it. He pulls shit like this: http://crookedtimber.org/2010/01/14/mighty-moloch-cure-me-of-my-severe-allergy-to-the-discourse-of-the-cure/

    See, I’m an asshole 😛

    • “Actually, your insight makes me think of this. You know how I keep expressing my conflicting and often rather negative sentiments towards the academic? Your post makes me wonder if it is because I interpret, well, a lot of hypocrisy and blindness on his part. For all his views, I see him as someone ultimately very complicit in a system that he supposedly does not like. I see him as egocentric and self-serving.”

      I get what your saying. You might be right. He has lived a life of privilege, which started out with some good fortune. Of course, that has had an impact on his experience and identity, on his beliefs and views. How could it not? Privilege could be seen as one of the worst fates to happen to someone because few can escape from it without falling into hypocrisy and blindness. It goes with the territory.

      “But that is the issue. I am not a great thinker. I am downright nasty and simple. I am a simple-minded person. I am a sort of transhumanist whose idea towards ‘disability’ is like the movie Limitless; I want to change people’s limits, make them limitless. His son wanted to be a marine biologist. I want to make him capable of it.”

      Well, if you’re simple, maybe I am as well. If I could ‘cure’ some of my learning disability, I’d do so in a heartbeat. My memory is imperfect and that has been frustrating throughout my life. I’d love to have a better functioning memory. I have no proud attachment to my ‘disability’. I do like aspects of how I think differently, but I think my mind has some room for improvement. It would piss me off, if I were to discover that my parents could have genetically cured my memory problems but chose not to do so. The same goes for depression.

      • Ahhhh. I meant that I can be a real shithead. I’m no thinker, really. I can be incredibly cruel and scathing, like I am being with this academic right now. Anyway, ahhh, privilege. Well to be honest I am privileged too. I haven’t yet felt much of the millennial woes. I grew up middle class, I’ve been able to find minimum wage jobs as a teen and student (you’d be surprised at how hard even these types of jobs are to find) and I have no student debt due to being in-state at a pretty cheap school with parents who can afford it. Literally, I don’t actually need the jobs I’ve had to pay tuition the way some people did. And such. Still. But so is he, maybe more than me in some ways, less than others. He was in one of the best positions to have a disabled kid, as a flexible job in a town with ample resources and safety nets. He was given flattering labels as a kid and received a fucking free education at one of NYC’s most prestigious high schools and shooed into an Ivy League. Though he did have a kid in grad school with three jobs barely out of poverty, but there’s worse out there. Yet everything worked out for him.

        On the school thing though, I suppose I should share this… I have asian parents and culturally asian parents tend to want to do the best they can to give their kids a good education. From an American point of view, this seems like coddling. But my parents had saved since I was a baby for college, though they lost a lot of it in the recession. Luckily I ended up at an affordable school, but yes. But while many American parents kick their kids out and tend to stress independence and the kid paying for their own tuition, my parents wanted to do the best they can to pay for my education so I could study without worrying about money, they emphasize closeness to family and family interdependence more than independence, etc. so in some ways I have prolonged dependence. My parents have another asian friend. The friend has two sons attending expensive schools, one at Harvard even. The kids got no financial aid, but the father wanted to give them a chance at what he thinks is the best education. So he has two kids that probably cost 400000 total to put through school. The guy is literally busting his ass for pay for it. But he thinks it’s what’s to be done. :/

        • On the crooked timber post, disability and such…

          I can understand his argument, and it seems you do, as well judging by previous links. Eg: the conflating of disability and disease, etc. at the same time I see people like him as ultimately self limiting. This could be a generation gap as well. Baby boomers are notorious technophobes, and he is a boomer. Not that all boomers are alike. But there are likely different attitudes towards tech. What annoys me his is seeming ability to imagine technology achieving what he automatically dismisses as impossibly, ex: “curing” Down syndrome. He dismisses it partly because he does not think it’s possible, so he starts his argument on this premise to knock down a few quasi-straw men current “cure” ideas. Ex: stop calling current treatments cures because they aren’t they’re just mitigating treatments shut up DS can’t be cured. His argument is understandable but ultimately uncompelling because it starts with a flawed assumption. Just because it is impossible now does not mean it will be tomorrow. He does grasp possibilities and his actual views towards technology and disability are more nuanced and conflicted than I give credit for here, yet they are ultimately short circuited, so to speak. One of this academics weaknesses is really a lack of a clear argument, actually. He is prone to often self-conscious pondering that fails to lead to a clear point. He is bad at tying things up. There is a difference between nuance and inability to make a coherent point.

          In some ways, he reminds me of the Luddites. Ironically, in a way, he falls into the same genetic determinist trap he fears. Maybe a product of his time, he has an inability to see technological possibilities beyond Gattaca. He fails to see possibilities besides the sensrio of tech solidifying a genetic world, à la Gattaca. Gattaca technologically is rather primitive, as well. It is still a primitive place where genes are a stamp.

          I’ll put it this way. Academic laments that his son would like more independence, that he wanted to be a marine biologist, etc. Well, what if I could make that happen? Technology stands that chance. His musings and work in the humanities and disability studies don’t give him that possibility. He is thinking in an Luddite sense where the world must adapt to people’s disabilities through accomadatiom, but shits his pants at the thought of the disabled people maybe no longer needing those services thanks to tech? His ethical misgivings all rest on the assumption that tech will be like Gattaca, rather than tech being beyond Gattaca. That tech can change people already living. How, instead of aborting blind babies, tech can cure the blindness of already existing babies. How genes don’t have to be a big deal, because they can be changed in already living people. In short, Limitless not Gattaca.

          • Final rant for tonight, back to crooked timber post. On the disability and the choice to be legless…

            Yes, but not all have choices. So the bioethicist chooses to be legless. But for many, they don’t have that choice. The Down syndrome people have to choice to be the way they are. Academic’s son has no choice to be clinically disabled or not. His disability prevents him from fulfilling many of his dreams, even. We can accomadatiom, say, blind people these days. We can accomadatiom bioethicist’s lack of legs. But DS son can’t be accommodated in his dreams to be a marine biologist. Maybe one day we can, with technology. But we cCurrent technology is just starting to open up choices. as of present? It’s pretty much in its infancy.

  5. “Ahhhh. I meant that I can be a real shithead. I’m no thinker, really. I can be incredibly cruel and scathing, like I am being with this academic right now.”

    I don’t doubt that you can be a real shithead. Aren’t we all shitheads from time to time? When in the right mood, I’m a complete asshole. I’m understanding up to a point and then after that I often don’t even try to be understanding. Even if you aren’t being entirely fair to the academic, it doesn’t mean what you are saying isn’t true.

    “Well to be honest I am privileged too.”

    My point is that none of us is unaffected. It’s just that we affected differently. We live in a privilege-based society, both nationally and globally. There is no escaping that. Most everyone has some kind of privilege relative to someone else.

    “From an American point of view, this seems like coddling. But my parents had saved since I was a baby for college, though they lost a lot of it in the recession. Luckily I ended up at an affordable school, but yes. But while many American parents kick their kids out and tend to stress independence and the kid paying for their own tuition, my parents wanted to do the best they can to pay for my education so I could study without worrying about money, they emphasize closeness to family and family interdependence more than independence, etc. so in some ways I have prolonged dependence.”

    I like that attitude much better. My own parents were more concerned about ensuring that I was independent than that I was successful or happy. They would even admit that this was the case. It seems strange to me to prioritize independence over all else. Considering the kind of society that is based on it, I’d say it is a bit on the dysfunctional side.

    It isn’t just an Asian thing, though. Southern Europeans are more family-focused than Northern Europeans. When people speak of the West, they are really meaning Northern European culture that with the spread of the Germanic tribes came to include countries like England and France.

    “His argument is understandable but ultimately uncompelling because it starts with a flawed assumption. Just because it is impossible now does not mean it will be tomorrow. He does grasp possibilities and his actual views towards technology and disability are more nuanced and conflicted than I give credit for here, yet they are ultimately short circuited, so to speak. One of this academics weaknesses is really a lack of a clear argument, actually. He is prone to often self-conscious pondering that fails to lead to a clear point. He is bad at tying things up. There is a difference between nuance and inability to make a coherent point.”

    Everyone’s thinking is constrained in various ways. It appears this is a particular constraint for him. It causes him to be unable to imagine some possibilities or to resist considering their full potential. Some of it could be personality and thinking style.

    “Yes, but not all have choices. So the bioethicist chooses to be legless. But for many, they don’t have that choice.”

    That is the point. Also, a fetus or a child doesn’t have a choice. Even if a child can speak, she can’t understand what the choice means. No matter what a parent or other authority does, it is a choice being made. Not making a choice is still making a choice by default. If it is chosen to not cure some problem, that is a choice made that the person will have to live with for the rest of their life. Making a choice by not making a choice is no more morally superior than making a conscious and intentional choice.

    “Also, the argument of mentally disabled kids as enriching others is somewhat objectifying. It is also a rather privileged view, you know what I mean?”

    It is also condescending. It reminded me of what I read the other day in a New Republic article:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120884/new-republics-legacy-race

    ““Niggers can be admired artists without any gift more singular than high spirits: so why drag in the intellect?” Clive Bell, the Bloomsbury critic (and brother-in-law to Virginia Woolf) argued in 1921.”

    Maybe the mentally disabled kid doesn’t want to enrich others, any more than the black wants to play a racialized role in a racist society.

    “I agree with Salehi.”

    Agree about what?

    • This part. I find it sensible.

      “There are many aspects of people with Down syndrome that we should consider a blessing. Their positive interactions with others, their cheerfulness and affection, and their nonjudgmental attitude are just a few examples. The question whether all people with Down syndrome need some kind of treatment is entirely personal and completely depends on the individual situation. Nevertheless, not every child with Down syndrome is as lucky as Jenn’s children. There are many places in the world that may not look at Down syndrome the way that Jenn does. For these children, finding a way to even partially restore cognition or preventing further deterioration in their learning and memory would be extremely important and helpful in their very competitive societies.

      On the one hand, parents of children with disabilities are emotionally well served to find a silver lining in that disability. It makes it easier to get through the day if you focus on what life has given TO your child, rather than what has been taken away. On the other hand, optimism is not merely denial. It is based on an intimate familiarity with a condition and a firsthand knowledge of what life looks like from inside the disability, looking out.”

      • So how are you liking the crooked timber post, and the comments section?

        This guy did get backlash, but I somewhat think like him. Maybe that is my issue. But I think there is some unfair attacks to people like this commenter . Attacks is a hyperbole, though. http://i.imgur.com/2LSGVks.png

        We are also falling into the “better” trap. Just like you said that the “gifted is just different” slogan is disingenuous, because it implies a difference we value, us two could be doing that from his perspective. AT the same time I find him highly hypocritical and selfish, drive by a need to validate his experiences. He loves his child, and he and his other kid are “gifted.” I don’t get why he would want to deny slmething that he and his other kid have to his child. I say so since he and his other kid DO get to chase their dreams, become independent, etc. his disabled son dosent. His son wants independence get can’t get it. He wanted to be many things that he just can’t become, like a biologist. He is limited by something out of his control, while academic an his other kid’s “gifted” label opened up doors of opportunity to them unavailable to even the kids labeled “normal.”

        • In many ways, people like him are (unintentionally?) complicit and promoting a brave new world type caste system. They don’t want everyone to have the chance to be alpha. They just want a society were each caste has a place. This is disgusting on his part since he, his other son, and perhaps wife as well, would be “alphas.” Yet they will rationalize away why his son should stay epsilon, just have society make him a comfy epsilon.

          To be honest I don’t respect many humanities people intellectually, like him. I see them as people who, perhaps unconsciously, indulge in their pondering while being very complicit in the system they whine about. They can talk all day about the system but f there is actually any real change they go apeshit and write out straw man screeds like Harrison Bergeron. Thy buy into the brave new world system of unequal castes with their own place creating a whole society. Upon the idea of everyone being “alpha” or being a similar caste they cook up shit like Harrison Bergeron.

        • There are some good comments.

          gontumono:
          “It seems to me that the distinction would have more to do with when the disability began- before or during identity formation, or after identity is more settled- than whether the disability is caused by a virus, accident, genes, toxin, or is idiopathic.
          “But that’s just a musing. My point is that some disabilities are experienced as disease, though I recognize that they aren’t all.”

          yeem:
          “in fact, down’s syndrome is a bit of an outlier in spectrum disorders, because its effects do not tend to have the same relationships to diet and environment that other spectrum disorders increasingly seem to.
          “in fact, discussion about ‘cures’ leaves no room for this sort of interrelationship between diet, environment, and presumed-negative human variances resulting partly or fully from those factors.”

          One comment by Berube stood out to me:

          “To make matters worse, these people often proceed to ask, “look, if we can cure X, why shouldn’t we cure Y?” — even if X is caused by a simple bacterial infection and Y is something diffuse and nebulous like autism, with a dizzying array of “expressions.” It’s weird.”

          Why is it weird? Reality is complex. Therefore, speaking about it is weird. Why? It might turn out there are environmental factors to down syndrome that could totally alter the expression of symptoms. What if there were environmental factors involved, would he be against acknowledging and dealing with these factors just because complex reality is weird. Would he ratther have simplistic categories for black and white thinking?

          Science is going to catch up with very quickly. Yet he wants to dismiss much of it as science fiction. That isn’t a worthy response, so it seems to me.

          • Yes. Look at the second to last comments. Toto specifically.

            Okay, so here’s the thing. I looked through all the comments, I understand them all. I get all the points many are making. I understand where they, including academic, are coming from. But I still stand by my previous comments. Not sure that makes me an asshole, evil person, or what.

            Of course he’s not against cures. He can say that because he’s already relegated any idea of them to the science fiction realm. Can’t argue against something already impossible.

            This may habe a personality factor like you said. I thin it’s definitely a personal stake, and maybe a generational gap, versus gen x-ers and millenials like you and I. When I followed his blog while he had one he identified as an -NFJ, rather borderline I or E. I don know him well but in my interactions with him what is gleam from his writings and mannerisms on video and time time I met him, I’d peg him a slight I.

            This: http://imgur.com/SSH2Gt9

            Short story. So I volunteer with special ed teens and young adults. I’m very supportive of disability accomadatiom and seeing disabled people thrive, seeing them happy and loved and de-stigmatized, rather than rotting in institutions and stigmized like in the old days and in many countries to this day. They are as deserving of dignity as anyone. On the other hand, I have no problem saying that I’d love if these kids COULD live independently someday, if they could no longer be clinically retarded. (I use retarded descriptively, not derisively.) I don’t see the as assholey on my part, but as wanting to open doors even further for them.

          • Sorry, yoyo. Phone autocorrect.

            Anyway I get the skepticism of “cures” on the explanation that they arent “magic pills” and there’s trade offs for all. That dosent mean that I take Bérubé’s stance. Perhaps cause I am an asshole who dosent understand as a non-disabled parent and not close to many disabled people, like many there accused others of. But nkt all disabled parents or friends think the same way. There are many parents who love their kid unconditionally but openly admit they wish their kid wasn’t disabled. People have different opinions.

            Decent point on his part about people focusing on the mental retardation aspect so much. Well, tbh, I think physical and intellectual disability should be considered seperate, if connected. They aren’t apples to apples.

            Also, he could subconsciously feel that a “cure” would invalidate him, in some ways. It would, in some ways, invalidate him, his effort, his intellectual labor, his blood sweat and tears, his activism…

            On why we obsess with intelligence. Well, perhaps it is because intelligence is what sets is apart from other animals? It certainly isn’t strength, coordination, or anything. Humans are a pretty physically weak species as a whole. While bipedalism also sets is apart, we’d have gone extinct if it wasn’t for our intelligence. Cause our physical abilities sure wouldn’t ward off predators or the elements.

          • All the speculation seems pointless. We know how most people would act. If there were a proven ‘cure’ with no side effects that could make less smart people or even normally smart people smarter, it would be so popular that nearly everyone would be taking it and giving it to their children. Some can be self-righteous that they would just accept their low IQ child as everyone else in the world got smarter, but that is bullshit. Only a few fringe people would refuse it.

            It seems strange that a person might make an argument that their child shouldn’t be allowed to become smarter because their low IQ was genetically-caused. Genetics is just another aspect of environment. Why do people simplistically divide genetics and environment? There is this weird belief that somehow genetics alone represents our true nature, as if that is where our soul is located.

          • I found this very problematic: http://imgur.com/xVlL3Dh

            Also, I’m a bit insulted that mental retardation was compared to being female or black or gay in the comments. What I mean is, disability was compared to being the three in that it was relative. It wasn’t the person was disabled but society made them disabled through discrimatiom. They compared the idea of curing a disability to a black person getting surgery to turning white. The problem wasn’t disability but society.

            Well fuck that. Being retarded and the subsequent child-like treatment for their whole lives isn’t something you can po-mo away. I don’t even think mental retardation should be compared to physical disabilities, even of the two can intertwine, like in Down syndrome. Yes, i do think being mentally retarded is less desirable than being non-retarded but blind or deaf. Shoot me. At least the only physically disabled can really be an “adult” and all the rights it entails.

          • Anti-intellectualism expresses itself in many ways in our society. Many can’t even acknowledge that intelligence is a shared value that our society holds and aspires to. They think that it is oppressive and cruel to suggest that low IQ people should be given the opportunity develop greater cognitive capacity.

            Will changing their mental condition change their personality? Most definitely. Lots of things change personality. If my memory was improved and my depression eliminated, I promise you my personality would be profoundly different. Would it have meant that my parents hated me if they had cured me of these disabilities? No.

          • So you believe anti-intellectualism is running in these intellectuals, including this professional intellectual…

            Benjamin you have a great talent for verbalizing thoughts.

            The hypocrisy and disgustingness of this intellectual withholding it from his own child disgusts me. The fact that he and his other kid fall on the “other end” as people labeled gifted just makes me want to vomit even further. It’s like he has a deep investment in denying his own intellectual traits, the result neons that he only serves to perpetuate anti-intellectualism further. He is a bit like the “gifted” people in this case in ultimately propagating anti intellectualism. Except this is with his own fucking child.

            I’m nkt sure this makes me an ass or what. But the comparison of curing disabilities to a black person getting surgery to become white pissed me off. Like I wanted to slap that commenter.

          • I am not being entirely fair. He, they, do want, at least in theory, ways to help kids improve cognitive capacity. It’s just that they actually… Reject conceivable ways to make this happen. For them “improve cognitive capacity” only really amounts to babysitting and a comfortable life. They are terrified of anything that may actually change their kid in a substantial way.

            Yep. I’m sure if I was raised wit different parents and my high-strung, anxiety and depression prone self was changed I’d be a different person. I’ve changed profoundly through the past few years as my thinking styles and environment have changed. A counselor literally thought I had Aspergers when I was really just purposely acting socially weird to compensate for my deep depression and anxiety with the world. I have trouble looking others in the eye due to shyness from childhood, where I began the habit because I didn’t want people reading me. I was embarrassed about myself and didn’t want others to see it. When my dons changed, my behavior changed. I am now largely perceived as a nice, friendly chick. Funnily enough, my eye-looking ability changes a lot when I’m on eye level with others. I’m shorter than most people and if have a much easier time looking people in the eye when we’re sitting down because we’re at eye level.

          • “So you believe anti-intellectualism is running in these intellectuals, including this professional intellectual…”

            I don’t know. It was just a thought.

            There is a lot of anti-intellectualism. Many kinds and to various degrees. Much of it is subtle and not always obviously negative.

            I grew up in uber-liberal new agey religion and still know many people like that. They are as positive as can be, but there is also a strain of anti-intellectualism that is as found most anywhere on the most reactionary right-wing.

            “The hypocrisy and disgustingness of this intellectual withholding it from his own child disgusts me.”

            I’m not exactly sure what it is or what motivates it. But I do sense some kind of inconsistency or disconnection in this kind of attitude. Something is not being clearly stated or is being entirely left unsaid.

            It seems more like trying to find the politically correct position and then reason back from there, instead of starting with first principles. The academic began with a child he didn’t expect to have and then had to make sense of the issues of his child after falling in love as a parent.

            “But the comparison of curing disabilities to a black person getting surgery to become white pissed me off.”

            Well, yeah.

            “I am not being entirely fair. He, they, do want, at least in theory, ways to help kids improve cognitive capacity. It’s just that they actually… Reject conceivable ways to make this happen. For them “improve cognitive capacity” only really amounts to babysitting and a comfortable life. They are terrified of anything that may actually change their kid in a substantial way.”

            It does seem rather inconsistent… or something.

            What horrible thing do they think would follow if, for example, a kid with down syndrome was ‘cured’ of all limits to cognitive development? How would that be a horrible fate for the kid or the parents or society? Whose rights would be infringed any more than by any other decision parents make, either proactively or by default?

          • I think they don’t want their kid to lose their identity. In his case, his son, if we had tech that could take out his extra chromosome that caused DS, would change profoundly, no doubt.

            Also we are talking in abstracts. Obviously, the type of cure we speak of is years away. They don’t believe that it is possible. And of possible, will be imperfect and full of side effects that means a gray area for them I them of choice. For us, it’s opened doors. For them, it’s “my kid has improved brain but 99 more problems from the cure.” But kids like this have 99 problems to begin with. They were born medicalized and special needs infants.

          • Still, I don’t get why he freaks out about cures with the saying that he dosen’t want his kid to lose his amazing memory, which is better than many “normal” peoples. Like he’s saying that a cure would make him lose this or something. It dosen’t make much sense to me. Memory may be his strong point but he’s still clinically retarded. He is, of course, fully human, since the academic loves screaming that. But I think it should be a human right to have a chance at cognitive development beyond a child level.

            I love my friends in special ed. It dosent mean I don’t wish they could function on an adult level that matches their age. That they could live independently instead of havin to live in group homes or with their folks for the rest of their lives.

          • The thing that sticks with me from the reddit tjread is just how privileged academic is… Like, it really nails it home.

            You are right that activists are usually the privileged of the group. Racial activists are more often the middle not working class. The people who churn out books about their DS kids are the privileged, comfy, tenured academics.

          • That Reddit thread really does hit it home. That shows the vast difference between privilege and lack of privilege. And by lack of privilege that can simply mean someone who is middle class. Unless you are wealthy enough to afford to pay for all kinds of extra care, life for parents of these kids can be not so nice. It can take over their life and leave time for nothing else. I’m sure the academic has access to all kinds of services through his university that most people don’t have access to. I suspect he has no idea how difficult life is for most people.

          • Yes. Well, the parents of the reddit thread don’t get nyt articles as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t met one of those parents of family members. His, their activism is much more an advocacy for accomadatiom. They do a lot of po-mo mumbo jumbo on disability that is almost self-righteous. Academic will talk to death about disability rights, jobs, accomadatiom a, etc. which I agree with. But thoughts of cures? Damn….

            He can advocate for wheelchair ramps and Braille and therapies to make his sons life easier. Destigmitizing of disability. But “cures” that restore Vision, or mobility, or a “normal” brain? science fiction! And he’s not against cures. But to be fair, his writing and articulation really isn’t that strong. He clearly thinks a lot, but he’s pretty bad at actually articulating his point. He’s prone to rambling. You, Malik, pinker even, write a lot but ultimately make a coherent essays. He writes on and on and the point is often unclear. Also, he’s too prone to snark when people question things, as well as evading things.

            I believe I’m the destigmotizkmg of mental illness like my depression. I believe in acceptance. I also believe in funding for treatment so many one day we can eradicate it. Does that make me a shithead and discriminating of mentally ill people? I am not sure. To be fair to academic though, our support of cures and choice may cause a stigmatization towards those who choose against cures. So is it a choice then?

            I’m trying to articulate my issue with the part of his book, I think u articulate it well. I am no iq fetishist but his denial of it while benefiting from it while his child dosent I dunno sorry benjamin I am bad at articulating. He’s not just denying his privilege, he’s twisting it into a dis privilege instead of acknowledging it. He’s taking his privilege for granted and trivializing it.

            “Anti-intellectualism expresses itself in many ways in our society. Many can’t even acknowledge that intelligence is a shared value that our society holds and aspires to. They think that it is oppressive and cruel to suggest that low IQ people should be given the opportunity develop greater cognitive capacity.”

          • The reddit people are quite different from the crooked timber commenters. And most of the CT aren’t parents or siblings of disabled people.

            I’m no anti-PC reactiomary but the reddit plsters are also not those privileged enough or PC enough to have a real platform like the academic or the nyt columnist does. The parents there who admitted to wishing their kid didn’t exist, that would not go well in a public or “disability studies” platform. that mom whispered to the firefighter leave her adult Down syndrome son in the burning building… Yeah, that’s not something you admit really.

            Academics argument is that cures are suspicious for disabilities that do not inherently make for a painful life. That’s why he’s unclmfortable with cures for things like Down syndrome, because DS dosent necessarily mean the afflicted can’t have a good life. He’s an advocate for better support and intervention, which I agree with. But I am not squeamish of cures either.

            thought working with special ed teens would make me more like academic in his ideas. I find that it’s instead made me a bigger supporter for medical funding into treating these disabilities. Not just advocacy for disability rights and accomadation.

          • My opinion? He’s like the guy with a lot of food in a group of starving, but happy in many ways (close family, friends, perhaps) people. And be dosent just hold out on them, he denies that his food is a big deal, that food is overrated, that his food isn’t really food, that food made him thirsty, etc. then will advocate that starvation is socially constructed and starvation wasn’t the problem it’s that society stigmatizes starvation.

          • When I read the comments on the Reddit thread, it was a breath of fresh air. It was genuine, heartfelt honesty. The people weren’t being reactionary a-holes. They were just speaking truthfully from their experience of having struggled without privilege or assistance. I always appreciate honesty, especially when it comes from a deep sense of authentic feeling. Most people don’t express that kind of honesty easily. They have to be pushed quite far.

          • I know they are not being reactionary assholes. Heck, it’s clear they’ve gone out of their way for their kids. But you can only go so far before you’re “gas tank” is depleted.

            I am sure these reddit parents would jump at the idea of a cure.

            One thing on the academic and nyt writer, in addition to provlege, is that their kids are relatively high functioning. Academic’s kid seems like a likeable kid who in many ways seems “normal” and does normal things, for example.

            How do you feel about my analogy above of him being the guy with food next to starving people?

          • “How do you feel about my analogy above of him being the guy with food next to starving people?”

            It is apt in some ways. Not exactly the same, but it makes a point. The point is that a problem can’t be experienced as compellingly real and heart-despairingly difficult when it doesn’t personally threaten one’s well-being and sanity, even while others all around struggle with it. Despite his personal connection to the issue, it is still largely academic to him for a certain kind of privilege gives him emotional and practical distance from the worst of it.

          • So now I’m wondering if I’m a bad person. But the more I look at this stuff, the more I realize that I don’t want a kid like that. That I don’t want to emotional and financial strain. It’s not even a question if I could have the appropriate services and privileges to handle it, I just plain don’t want to raise a kid like that. The kids I volunteer with are mostly all pretty high functioning as well. I love them. But I don’t want a kid like that, you know? It’s not even about how I can ‘handle’ it and whether I could deal with it. I just don’t want it. Even if I was rich and could afford all the privileges in the world.

            In terms of kids, I guess I am an asshole. But having a mentally retarded kid is my second biggest fear after having a psychopath/sociopath kid.

            This, of course, can change if cures developed within my lifetime. Then we can talk.

          • If there was a technological way to fix genetics before a child was even was born or something like that, I doubt many parents would choose a child with genetic-caused mental and/or physical disabilities. It is one thing to choose to accept your child after it is born because you had no way to improve that child’s life, but that is merely a choice of not giving it up for adoption. That isn’t much of a choice. I suspect the vast majority of parents would do as you say you would do. So, to the degree that makes you a bad person, it would make most people bad. No one wants make their own life or their child’s life harder than it has to be.

          • How to do feel about the argument academic puts outthat there is no guarantee you won’t have a disabled kid? Ex: normal kid gets in accider. If u abort no guarantee your later pregnancies wont be disabled . He is pro choice btw

          • I mean of there was tech to change genetics and expression. For anyway. Make genetics moot.

            Or at least, make expression different. A drug that mutes the extra chromosome for DS for example.

      • There is a lot of murkiness. This is because we don’t have a good language to talk about it. Individualism, in particular, doesn’t seem to mean what people think it means.

        Individualism and collectivism seem to be closely linked, at least in certain societies. That is how Germany could go from a democratic society to an authoritarian society in a short period of time.

        Kinship socities are different. They don’t tend toward large-scale collectivism or at least they don’t do it as well. Instead, kinship naturally inclines them to either clannishness or tribalism, which is far different than the kind of ethnocentrism where nation trumps family.

        I would clarify that it isn’t that individualist/collectivist societies don’t value family, just a different form of family structure. In place of extended kin groups, they have more atomic families. Each atomic family, like each individual, is treated as (semi-)autonomous. It is a social order of individual units within family units and on and on.

        HBDers see the cause of these differences as having to do with feudalism and the hajnal line. They take this as evidence that manorial lords were effectively, even if not intentionally, operating a eugenics program that bred a new Western European race, which primarily means a North Atlantic sub-species of the European white.

        As I see it, invoking genetics adds no insight. I see no reason not to take the environmental factors at face value. Maybe environment just means environment and doesn’t imply anything else. Why assume genetic causes with so little evidence of genetic differences and so little understanding of population genetics? The most parsimonious explanation is that that there are numerous contributing social, cultural, and geographic factors.

        The US is just a crazy mix of factors. It doesn’t easily fit into this framework.

        Besides the Native Americans already here, the US includes influences of Anglo-Saxon Puritans with a Dutch connection, Romanized French Norman Cavaliers, Scandinavian-English North Midland Quakers, the unique Welsh, the Scottish who stayed free of the Romans, the Scots-Irish mutts, Basque-originated Celtic Irish, Spanish Basque, wide variety of other Latinos who are a mix of Spanish and native, French Accadians, French-German borderlanders, Germans from a wide variety of areas, Scandinavians, a diversity of Jews, Chinese, Japanese, etc. Most of these influences go back to early America.

        There never has been a single dominant ethnic culture in this country. But if I had to pick which has had the most influence, I might go with the Germanic. That is the influence that helped Americans to distinguish themselves from the English and, as so many colonists were Germans, it was a central argument that Thomas Paine made to justify revolution.

        But those early Germans were mostly the borderlanders, who were probably opposite in mentality to Germans today. The Scots-Irish is another borderlander group, as were the Basque. Maybe the US is defined by a borderlander mentality, which tends toward the violent and reactionary. For example, American cowboy culture comes from the Spanish Basque. Borderlanders are a different kind of people, even more of the clannishness but also a kind of hyper-individualism.

        The later waves of German immigrants, though, were less of the border landers. Also, even with the German borderlanders, there was a clear difference to the Scots-Irish. It is hard to disentangle these differences and what they have meant for American society.

        BTW Northern European ancestry (German most of all but Scandinavian as well) is the largest percentage of ancestry among Americans. This influence is so large that has been submerged into the overall American identity. It is from the Northern European majority Midwest that we get Standard American English, which is basically British English with centuries of mixing in Northern European accents.

    • Ahhh, well too bad for them.

      Sorry, I’m an ass. And I reserve the above for American boomers only. Chinese boomers and gen x-ers like my parents were reeling from the cultural revolution and were much worse off than china of today.

      • Yeah, I was amused by the comments. Some of them were like, “But I’m a good liberal Boomer! It’s not my fault!!!”

        I understand the reaction, sort of. You can’t just be blamed for your entire generation. Still, you can’t just dismiss responsibility.

        I accept that I’m part of a generation with some problems. I accept that and I hope my generation doesn’t try to shift the responsibility to yet another generation. The buck has to stop somewhere.

        If my generation fails and makes the problems even worse, the generations following should blame us. Every generation has a period in history where they can wield great influence. That can be used or abused, taken advantage of or squandered. It’s a choice, a collective choice built on individual chocies.

        Simply stating that one is a good libreral is not a worthy excuse. That said, I suppose it is better to be a good liberal than a good Nazi.

  6. I suspect that Generally speaking, generation X is likely to have more in common with my generation, Y.

    It is because they were also screwed over by the economy and will be by the problems of the future. The question becomes can they learn from the mistakes of the past?

    I agree that it is not fair to blame everyone within a generation. But most of the boomers did indeed play a role in the decline of the US. I think that the problem is severe in the US. In Europe, I have noticed that people recognised that they are living in a relatively prosperous period. They are not perfect either, but there is a level of thinking you do not see as often in the US.

    • I like Strauss and Howe’s generation theory. It does make sense in some ways. But it is hard to know how the past may or may not apply to the future.

      In that theory, Generation X plays a role in the same part of the cycle as the Lost Generation. Both generations have been known for being critical of the past and cynical about the present. Maybe that allows for a certain kind of hopefulness or at least a future-oriented pragmatism.

      The Lost Generation didn’t have an easy life (neither in childhood nor in old age) and mainstream society never praised them. Their lives began in a society with high rates of violence, mass poverty, and rampant corruption. All of this hit their generation hard (e.g., extremely high rates of child homicide and suicide, yes suicide). They were not born into good times. They were not a spoiled and coddled generation. Most of them didn’t experience privilege and unearned benefits (cheap college, cheap housing, high paying jobs, good pensions, social security, etc).

      Nonetheless, they made great sacrifices for future generations because they didn’t want to happen to others what happened to them (e.g., they were the first and last American generation of mass child labor in the factories and mines). They inherited many problems and then set about solving them. When they left this world, there was universal public education, the New Deal programs, national infrastructure, large-scale unionization, strong regulations, progressive taxation, growing middle class, etc.

      Many of them lived long enough to see a country aspiring to greatness. The economy was booming. Americans were being sent to space. The sense of progress was palpable.

      Of course, they can’t take credit for all of that. The world war era transformed the entire world, not just the US. But still that was a generation that faced the challenges before them and took hold of the opportunities available. They left the world a better place than they found it. Based on their early life experience, they could have turned to cynicism and apathy, but instead they became a generation that included a disproportionate number of artists, radicals, and visionaries.

      I don’t know if that feat will likely be repeated. It’s something for GenX to keep in mind. There is nothing inevitable about society becoming increasingly worse. If an uneducated and low IQ generation like the Lost Generation could accomplish what they did, imagine what is possible for the generations now coming into power. We live in uncertain times right now, but that was even more the case earlier last century. Uncertainty is no excuse for failure and decline.

    • I find it hard to judge the merit of the argument.

      It is a subjective assessment about a psychological state motivating nearly all of American politics and society. It is a broad generalization that is ambitious in what it seeks to explain. If one intuits that there is some truth to this perspective, it probabaly would be more fruitful to go in the direction of Hofstadter’s theory of the paranoid style, which this essay likely is being influenced by (either directly or indirectly).

      I’m more circumspect about this kind of analysis. It takes too much at face value. It uses mainstream media and partisan politics as its frame. The author doesn’t dig into the diverse polling data, social science research, or the history behind it all.

      Liberalism isn’t all of the left and most in the Democratic Party aren’t even liberals. Also, most Tea Partiers are actually middle class and moderately well educated, not disgruntled losers and the scum of society, not representative of some fearful vision of the ignorant masses. But you wouldn’t know that from writings like this. The framing plays right into mainstream rhetoric which is disempowering.

      I know how difficult it is to speak clearly and insightfully when there is so much confusion of terms. For that reason, the confusion needs to be taken head-on. Even though it can get tiresome always defining one’s terms, we who wish to challenge the status quo don’t have the luxury of not doing so.

      This is why it is important to really dig into all the avialable info. We need to become clear in our own thinking We have to be certain we know what we are talking about, that we’ve grasped reality itself, not just tossing around truisms.

      In this discussion, why is so much getting left out?

      What about working class liberals and left-wingers? Heck, what about the entire spectrum left of the Democratic Party? What about the growing liberal majority?

      What about the majority of Southerners who identify as Democrat?What about the majority of Americans who don’t watch Fox News and who don’t vote Republican? What about the majority of Americans who don’t vote for most elections, national and local?

      What about the disenfranchised permanent underclass? What about mass incarceration and the loss of voting rights that would sway many elections? What about the emerging minority-majority?

      What about the lack of a functioning democracy? What about corporatism, inverted totalitarianism, the military-industrial complex, the police state, neo-colonial imperialism, etc? What about the corporate-oligopoly mainstream media propaganda model?

      To answer those questions would be a necessary step in interpreting what any of it means. Without a fuller understanding, I’m not sure how to make sense of the spitefulness hypothesis.

      My guess is that the spiteful are a minority. At least, I know of no evidence that they are the majority. Most Americans are probably too disconnected and apathetic to be genuinely spiteful.

      Why focus on this minority as if it can centrally explain so much? Anyway, what is this spitefulness? What is it an expression of or what does it represent? What is supposed to make it so significant and powerful?

      I’m not doubting that there is plenty of spitefulness in this country and around the world. It is part of human nature. But I’m wondering what we might find if we dug a little deeper.

      Spite isn’t all that different than righteous anger. The main difference I see is that in spite there is a sense of disempowerment and no clear way directly express the frustration that follows from this. If this is the case, spite can be thought of as thwarted righteous anger.

      My mind isn’t perfectly clear on this matter. I have more questions than possible answers. I just have a nagging doubt that there is more going on here.

      The essay wasn’t about the spiteful in an overall sense. It was specifically focused on the spiteful who vote. Who controls the spiteful voters will control the country, so seems to be the thesis.

      This maybe just leaves the spiteful voters as a key swing vote demographic, which would still leave them as a minority. They are likely a much smaller percentage of the population than those who don’t or rarely vote. Obama’s message of hope and change, bullshit as it was, won for the simple reason that the non-voters voting for him were more key than the spiteful voters voting against him.

      I don’t know. I’m not quite convinced these spiteful voters play that big of a role in and of themselves. I think they are more symbolic than anything. They are a tool of propaganda, so it seems to me. They are there to create an image of populist outrage, but it is a false image that corresponds to no larger reality. They are fodder for the mainstream media, both left and right, giving them something to obsess over while ignoring the majority of Americans.

      There is something important here that needs to be understood. But the question is whether we are up to the task of understanding it. There are many explanations available. There is nothing necessarily in contradiction between various theories: spiteful voters. paranoid style populists, reactionary conservatives, etc. There is a real problem we are facing.

      Still, in considering the problem, we shouldn’t forget the larger picture. Focusing solely on problems narrows the mind and destroys the capacity of imagination. It draws us into the state of fear where right-wingers dominate and always will. When the historical tide has shifted toward progress, it has always been when fear loses its power. There might be certain kinds of problems that can’t be solved by obsessing over the problems themselves, at the same level thinking that created the problem.

    • Wondering about the relationship most Americans have to their government is not dissimilar to wondering about the relationship most slaves have to their slavemasters. For long periods of time in the Deep South, blacks were the majority. Why didn’t they revolt? Why were there even blacks who were complicit, even owning slaves themselves?

      • There are many examples. Majority groups can be victims of a social system. I would argue even elite groups can be victims. A social order has a way of blinding people to anything outside of it. For example, wealthy people in low economic inequality societies experience fewer problems than wealthy people in high economic inequality societies. Promoting inequality isn’t even in the self-interest of wealthy people.

  7. The problem I see is that it’s a large enough demographic to make a huge difference, particularly in the South, but even in the Midwest.

    I notice that you have said the Western half of the Midwest is different. Perhaps, but there’s enough of what might be described as spite voters to keep people like Joni Ernst, Michele Bachmann, and Scott Walker in power.

    I fear that the spite voting demographic might be larger than you anticipate.

    • The key part does seem to be how big is the spite voting demographic. I must admit that I don’t know. They could be much larger than I suspect.

      It would also be interesting to know where they are concentrated. I would guess that political spitefulness, if there was a way to measure it, would be strongest in the South. But maybe it is also more evenly spread across the country than I suspect.

      There are too many unknowns. I do acknowledge that spitefulness plays role. I’m just not certain of its centrality. I still wonder about the non-voters, especially as the minority-majority takes form. The non-voters are the real wild cards because sometimes conditions cause them to become voters.

      I’d like to know if anyone has ever tried to analyze this type of thing by looking at polling data or other data.

    • The other is that they vote much more aggressively.

      One could argue that in some cases, the non-voters are themselves guilty – guilty of being apathetic and indifferent. Some I excuse due to the GOP’s efforts to deny them the vote or because their lives make it not possible to show up.

      But there’s a lot of non-voters who are well, non-engaged.

      • But who are non-voters supposed to vote for that will make a difference? The very political system that seeks to disenfranchise their vote also seeks to limit any real choice. Nearly the entire political process is controlled by the parties, including the debates and the mainstream media. Most Americans never even hear of alternative choices. Or the alternative choices they do hear about (e.g., the Libertarian Party) are also controlled by the economic and political elite.

  8. Even among the Democrats and Republicans, it still makes a difference. Democrats mean at the very least that the decline is somewhat slower, that somewhat centrist things will occur. The Republicans want Atlas Shrugged.

    Even more so if there’s a third candidate like Nader. I view it as a failing that people have not looked at people like Nader as a serious alternative.

    • Yeah, I understand. I’ve made that point myself before. Less worse is relatively better than more worse. But it is far from optimal.

      I sense that the media has a lot to do with our problems. I mean media in general, not to just blame the MSM. Not only is there far fewer corporations who own all of the MSM. This includes local news media largely dying out or coming under ownershiship of non-local corporations. But at the same time there are other factors.

      The internet has had a splintering effect of the alternative media. There are lots of small audiences that just create a different variety of media bubble. Yet most people still only ever see what comes out of the MSM, never even knowing that these alternatives exist.

      Before the American Revolution, there was a strong local media. There were many printing presses in the colonies. This created a strong local dialogue about larger issues. Some of that kind of local media was able to survive until the mid-20th century. We haven’t found a replacement for that loss.

      I wouldn’t give up on the internet yet. It still is early in the game. It can take generations for a society to fundamentally integrate a new technology. We won’t likely see the full impact of the internet for a while. It took the printing press a number of centuries to really show its potential as an agent of change and even revolution.

      But we are impatient and frustrated. It is hard for us to imagine anything will make a difference. We feel stuck. Then again, so did people in the past, right before massive changed happened. We never know what is right around the corner. We never know what finally pushes it all rolling along… or else over a cliff.

  9. That thread is getting way too long and narrow. I probably should change the settings on that.

    “How to do feel about the argument academic puts outthat there is no guarantee you won’t have a disabled kid? Ex: normal kid gets in accider. If u abort no guarantee your later pregnancies wont be disabled. He is pro choice btw”

    There is no guarantee about anything in life. It is about probabilities. We can alter probabilities (increase or decrease them) or seek to maintain the status quo. That is a choice we are forced to make. That doesn’t free us from responsibility, acknowledging that we don’t have absolute perfect control.

    “I mean of there was tech to change genetics and expression. For anyway. Make genetics moot.
    “Or at least, make expression different. A drug that mutes the extra chromosome for DS for example.”

    That would be the types of choices that alter probabilities of results. That is what science does.

    • I’ve seen people being up the comparison of brig gay to being disabled for cures. Ugh.

      I differ from the abortion-eugenics people, aka a lot of people. I am a limitless over Gattaca person. I believe in technology changing probabilities over Gattaca selecting embryos. So I believe in curing blindness over aborting blind babies. I envision a time when we render genetics and sexual reproduction moot even. Where evolutionary psychology and mate attraction theory is moot.

    • The more I look into this, the more I actually don’t think like academic. In fact in many ways I’m pretty disgusted by him, actually.

      I’m actually with some disabled kids. They are great people. They are getting great accomadatiom and certainly thriving in being well accomadated. But I’d jump at the chance to give them adult functioning and the ability to live independently. They are high functioning but will never be able to live independently. Most go home to their parents at the ed of the day.

  10. So this may make me a judge mental asshole. But a my school there’s a now retired education professor, and his wife is still a prof. But he raised three kids in the 60s and 70s who are now middle aged adults. He divorced his wife and remarried in his 70’s, and had another kid in the 2000s with his wife in his 70’s. The kid is a non-verbal autistic with other issues. Which isn’t surprising, as Asshole as it sounds.

    And my reaction, is, “…………” “Wtf” and “Wut.”

  11. I guess I’m not particularly feminine because immoral overtly nurturing, and I don’t have a “kiddie voice” if you know what I mean. Just thought of if because I find that everyone talks to the disabled young adults I kiddie voices and basically treats them like children. I know they’re mentally disabled but still. Makes me feel like a hard asshole because I don’t talk to them, or kids, any differently than I usually do except I leave out adult content and language.

    Child pedastalizatiom and child worship weird me out. Plus as soon as they hit adulthood we just say “screw you” anyway.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h6wOt2iXdc4

    • George Carlin is always great. I hadn’t heard that particular clip before. He is right, of course. I don’t have children, but my brothers do. I’ve seen firsthand the new parenting culture that has become dominant. What Carlin said back then is a hundred times more true today.

    • There is nothing wrong having privilege. Most of us never choose our position in life. No one gets to choose which race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc they are born as. Most of the wealth in the world is inherited as well. I just wish more people of privilege, even just moderate privilege, would recognize and acknowldge the immense good fortune that they have and so many others lack. Sadly, the greater the privilege seems to go with the greatest of unawareness, ignorance, and cluelessness (also, indifference and arrogance).

      • The level of functioning affects thr experiences it seems as well. The families of people with high fnctioning Down syndrome with likeable personalities tend to have different, more positive views, for example. People with more privilege (money, social support network, strong social services) also have more… ‘Positive’ things. Some have fe same regret sentiment but the sense of agony is lighter than someone with less resources.

        So people, I, generally like people with lovable personalities. It seems that is a big thing with people who are sentimental, or who highly value the disabled person (because face it most people sit value lives equally.) Id love to give them increased cognitive ability so they can live independently yet I’d love for the no keep those nice personality traits. Most of is could really use some increased kindness traits.

      • I don’t see any obvious reason why improving cognitive and social development would change personality traits. Maybe there are some genetic connections there that I don’t know about. It seems worth researching in order to find out.

        That leads to other issues.

        Sure, if you like your kids personality, you don’t want to change it. But what if a kids personality is mean and dangerous? What about a kid who lacks empathy, maybe to the point of sadism or even sociopathy? Do we have no right to attempt to change the kids personality?

        Consider other psychiatric issues that tie directly in to personality, from schizophrenia to depression. Many people with psychiatric conditions don’t like taking medications because it can change one’s personality, and people do become attached to their personalities even when dysfunctional. If someone’s personality leads to major problems and risks, to the person and to those around them, do we have a right or even a responsibility to use whatever means are available to alter that personality?

        How is this any different than giving drugs to a pedophile that takes away sexual desire? Many people support doing that, including many liberals.

        Does society have a moral obligation to demand and ensure that individuals are able to participate in society in a way that is self-sufficient, healthy, and safe, or even in a way that contributes to the common good? Do individual rights always trump collective rights? When do they not?

        On a related note, when do parents rights trump a child’s rights? If someone with cognitive and social underdevelopment dreams of having a normal career in a field demanding high cognitive and social development, does a parent or other caretaker have the right to deny that option?

        These are the tough questions few ever ask, much less try to answer.

      • Anecdote, but in my experience, the best teachers I’ve had, did not major in education undergrad. But more importantly the best teachers I’ve had, the memorable ones, are all intelligent people. I say this since there’s an argument from some teachers on the “education majors have low test scores and are dumb” that intelligence is not necessary for good teaching it’s how you connect. I call BS. In that intelligent people are not necessarily good teachers, but it seems that teaching and being a truly memorable (rather than forgettable) teacher requires intelligence and insight. I’m not sure if it’s even iq. It’s just… You know when you see it. You know what I mean? You just can tell they are intelligent and thoughtful.

        Also a thing. Many teachers online again arguing against critics say that good teaching is not about deep content knowledge. It’s about communicating and relationships and such. But my most memorable teachers had deep knowledge of their subjects. While knowledgable people are not necessarily good teachers, I do believe that truly being a good teacher requires a deep knowledge and even more importantly, passion, of what is taught.

        Education majors at my school have concentrations but they are extremely shallow depth relative to majoring in the real thing. My school also offers several “for teachers” versions of class “astronomy for teachers” “physics for teachers” and honestly it’s just a dumbed down version. I’ve seen the homework. All I can say is, just take the actual class damnit.

        Most of my teachers were fine. They were nice people, they weren’t shitheads by any means and we learned things. But I mean, the truly remarkable teachers. The ones that really make a difference, really take home what it means to educate and be in school. Those are too rare. They should be far more common. Most teachers I’ve had in my decent school district had pleasant enough classes, a part of the daily grind. But too few that really took home the meaning of “education.”

        • I’ve told you before about the best teacher I ever had. He was my high school art teacher. I don’t how intelligent he was in terms of IQ, but he definitely was smart in some sense. Intelligence in art may or may not get measured in standard intelligence tests.

          He was an artist himself. So, he had real life experience. But he also had massive amounts of knowledge and applied skills. What he taught in that class wasn’t just art. More importantly, he taught his students how to think. He was always challenging us to try new things and take new perspectives. Isn’t it odd that my art teacher was the only teacher I ever had that taught me how to think?

    • I can’t help wondering what the world would be like if every kid got the best education possible. We could do it. It would cost a lot of money, but the return on that investment would be immense.

      I’m willing to bet there are hundreds of millions of people out there with the potential of brilliance, giftedness, and genius who never get the chance to develop their talents and abilities, never get the opportunities to show the world what they could do. Consider all the great things never discovered, all the cures never made, and all the inventions that never happen because of our collective cynicism, fatalism, and apathy.

      Instead, we invest most of our money in military equipment and cheap consumerist crap, because it would be wrong to increase the taxes on lazy rich people who inherit their vast wealth and massively powerful transnational corporations that buy our politicians. It’s a good thing we have our priorities straight.

  12. Okay, I am a huge supporter of disability rights, accomadations, and social services. I think the relatively recent shift to the de-stigmatization of disability, and well, basically everything non-able bodied well off wasp, is a fantastic thing.

    But I have nothing against cures and technology. If I had money I’d fund research into treating disaolities. In addition, I don’t like that disabilities are put under one umbrella. A learning disability is not the same as deafness is not the same as mental retardation is not the same is being paralyzed. Even if these can occur simultaneously. But the able-minded paraplegic is not the same as the mentally retarded but relatively able bodies from therapy young adult. For one, the former is considered to have far greater agency and potential agency in this society. We cannot use that legless bioethicists personal choice to stay disabled to make an argument leery of curing retardation. For one, the latter won’t we making that choice in our society; his parents will be. The “choice” to accept a cure also Brits into the debate of agency. Just as we assume children cannot make choices/consent and must have parental consent, we do the same for the mentally retarded. So in terms of choices, whose making the choice for the retarded person? He or his folks/caretakers? The able minded physically disabled person has a much more straightforward type of agency.

    • Even though I’m critical of genetic determinism, I do support genetic research. I don’t deny genetics have real influences. But I still suspect that most mental disabilities aren’t entirely or primarily caused by genetics. We shouldn’t only be doing genetic research. We are likely to get far more bang for our buck by doing research on environmental factors, partly because improving environments are more likely to help all children, not just those with particular rare genetics. Many people have a negative reaction to genetics research, since it has become symbolic of cynical reactionary right-wing determinism. It would be better to frame the issue as scientific research in general.

      Poor kids are smarter on average than rich kids were a few generations ago. Black kids today are smarter on average than white kids were a few generations ago. This has nothing to do with their genetics, for we are talking about normal kids, neither poverty nor blackness being a genetic defect. What happened was that the environmental conditions were improved that allowed them (and their brains) to cognitively develop further.

      Still, some of the new knowledge we gain might apply to those with genetic issues as well. I’m willing to bet that down syndrome kids are smarter today than down syndrome kids were a few generations ago. Environmental conditions such as lower pollution and better nutrition have been improving for everyone, including those with genetic issues. Let’s take it a step further. If simple environmental changes allowed Down Syndrome kids to cognitively develop further than normal kids of a few generations ago, who would be against that? Helping people cognitively develop further will have impact on all aspects of their psychological and personal development, including their personalities. They wouldn’t be the same people if these changes hadn’t happened.

      What is the real fear? Is it just the standard fear of the unkown, of uncertainty and change?

      • Sure.

        In a way these early intervention programs could be a form of environmental intervention. Hence, we see quote high functioning kids like the ones I volunteer with who likely would not be so high finctionjng/would’ve rotted in institutions in earlier times. But there are still low functioning kids. A lot. And there isn’t really anything we can do now. Even the hohfinctionin kids can’t function “fully”

        America has a lot of problems. Relative to other developed countries we have a lot of prett disgraceful problems.

        • As generally liberal leaning those academics are big proponents of intervention programs and more universal social services. These do make a difference. Im sure these academics sympathize with the reddit parents and believe the answer is to give them the services that the academics get due to their privilege. The support networks, the services. The redditors in agony also have one thing, though. Their kids are much lower functioning. Is this due to less privilege, or are their disabilities much more severe? Which I think is the case even if intervention matters. Also, rhe best intervention and services we have now can’t un-disable their kid.

          Sure, cures could be medical or environmental. We don’t have either right now.

          That said. I have compassion for the reddit parents. But I am a bit startled at the pretty much eugenic fervor of many redditors. ANd the calling of disabled people “it.”

      • “In a way these early intervention programs could be a form of environmental intervention. Hence, we see quote high functioning kids like the ones I volunteer with who likely would not be so high finctionjng/would’ve rotted in institutions in earlier times. But there are still low functioning kids. A lot. And there isn’t really anything we can do now. Even the hohfinctionin kids can’t function “fully””

        That is partly my point.

        Kids that used to be low functioning may be essentially the same kids who are now higher functioning. Improved environmental conditions shifts everyone up a level.

        This could mean kids that many of the previously higher functioning kids with various cognitive issues are now further higher functioning. Maybe just better nutrition and less pollution in the general population has shifted a certain percentage of even normal kids into high IQ range and shifted many high IQ kids into what some think of as gifted.

        Environmental conditions have vastly improved over this past century. They will continue to vastly improve. There is no end in sight.

        “As generally liberal leaning those academics are big proponents of intervention programs and more universal social services. These do make a difference. Im sure these academics sympathize with the reddit parents and believe the answer is to give them the services that the academics get due to their privilege. The support networks, the services.”

        I have my doubts that most upper middle class liberals understand how hard life really is for most people. I also have my doubts that they have the compassion and determiniation to make the sacrifices it would take to entirely reform our society to ensure every kid gets the best possible education, resources, opportunities, etc.

        Are these upper middle class liberals willing to raise taxes on themselves? Are they willing to cut funding to all the other areas of wasteful government spending, including areas that primarily benefit the upper classes? If the ruling elite is too well entrenched, are they willing to riot in the streets to demand change or even threaten revolution? Are they willing to refuse to be complicit with the status quo of the system and the injustice of the social order until change is implemented? Are they willing to give up some of their personal comfort?

        “The redditors in agony also have one thing, though. Their kids are much lower functioning. Is this due to less privilege, or are their disabilities much more severe? Which I think is the case even if intervention matters.”

        That could relate to environmental conditions. The kids might be lower functioning because of less quality nutrition, living in more polluted poor areas, living in old houses with lead paint and other toxins, fewer social services available, underfunded schools, higher rates of social stress, etc (all the things that research has proven correlates to impaired cognitive development). I’d be surprised if environmental factors were not contributing.

        “Also, rhe best intervention and services we have now can’t un-disable their kid.”

        The kids can’t be un-disabled, but the disabilities could be made less extreme, at least when intervention happens early enough. There are plenty of cognitiviely impaired people who are able to reasonably function in society, sometimes even hold down simple jobs like bagging groceries or janitorial work.

        “Sure, cures could be medical or environmental. We don’t have either right now.”

        I’m not even talking about cures. I just mean improvement, potentially to a high degree. I go back to how the average American of a few generations ago had an IQ so low that, by today’s standards, they’d be functionally retarded. Maybe people who are considered functionally retarded right now will see equally great advances in the coming generations. No cures were needed. All that happened were basic improvements in environmental conditions.

        “That said. I have compassion for the reddit parents. But I am a bit startled at the pretty much eugenic fervor of many redditors. ANd the calling of disabled people “it.””

        Eugenics is an American ideology. The Nazis learned of it from Americans. It is an inherent part of American thought, sadly. It is usually below the surface these days, but it pops up in various ways.

        It is easy for Americans to turn to these native eugenic tendencies. It is far easier for most Americans to imagine eugenics solutions than to imagine a better society where eugenics are made moot and intolerable.

        These parents are desperate. The idea that they have a right not to be desperate never occurs to them. They should blame society, not their children, but that is the kind of messed up society we live in. It is social darwinism brought to its inevitable conclusion.

        • Yeah America has a social darwinist streak. A ereminist and fatalist one as well. Wonder why that is. Calvinist roots?

          “” I go back to how the average American of a few generations ago had an IQ so low that, by today’s standards, they’d be functionally retarded. “”

          Yes, but I am not sure whether they were actually dumber or just worse at IQ tests. I don’t think the average human back then was retarded.

        • “Yeah America has a social darwinist streak. A ereminist and fatalist one as well. Wonder why that is. Calvinist roots?”

          Calvinism is the most obvious culprit. I’m not sure what else might contribute.

          “Yes, but I am not sure whether they were actually dumber or just worse at IQ tests. I don’t think the average human back then was retarded.”

          But what does “retarded” actually mean? Isn’t it fundamentally a social construction, a value judgment, a relative comparison?

          To retard means to slow down the development. Cognitive development in the past was slowed down relative to the cognitive development of the present. And our present cognitive development might be seen as slower and hence retarded from the perspective of future generations.

          Retardation isn’t an inherent condition. It is largely the result of environmental influences. Cognitive development is highly malleable.

          Intelligence isn’t an individual trait so much as it is a social trait. We are only intelligent as social animals, as existing in a social environment. People are only as smart or dumb as their environment allows. We genuinely don’t know the actual limits and potential of human intelligence, even in the severely cognitively impaired.

          IQ tests don’t measure anything objective. That is why IQ tests have to be designed differently for different societies and different languages. And that is why IQ tests have to be constantly normed for each generation.

  13. Baby boomer dad: when tuition was cheap

    I had a friend in the private liberal arts college I went to who, when he turned 20, was cut off suddenly because his father felt that since he had worked his way through college thirty years earlier, his son should do the same.
    The problem was that my friend was still listed as a dependent under his parents (so they could get the tax write off), and therefore didn’t qualify for the financial aid he might have received. He got a job. He worked. He went to school. Lasted about half that semester before he dropped out. Too bad, though, because he was a nice guy and a really good student.
    Work shouldn’t have to take priority in our lives when we can afford to educate people – I mean, we’ve established that kids can’t go to work in the coal mines just because they’re old enough to swing a pick ax

    • That anecdote perfectly explains why Boomers are so hated. They are the most clueless and coddled generation in living memory. They just don’t realize how good they had it. Generations before them and after them never had it so easy. They were born in a brief lucky moment of great prosperity and privilege, and they just don’t get why the younger generations struggle and complain so much.

    • I immediately looked up spermbanks. I don’t want to follow the “have fun and establish yourself in twenties then have kids at 35 or 40.” Unless we can re-engineer humans to extend biological clocks, develop artifical wombs, or increase the rate of child development so we are funny mature at 5 and not 25, fuck waiting. It’s pretty dumb since I’m selfish and I just want to fulfill y bio imperative to reproduce. I’m not very sexual and don’t care to do the dating stuff, even though I’ve dated casually.

      Do spermbanks seem Gattaca like? Eh, too bad. It’s not like the “natural” way is all that different. People are subconsciously driven to seek good partners anyway. It’s why we like and prefer physically attractive partners all else equal, while dudes like twentyslmething women, why we like good looking people of both genders (good genes) etc. we’re subconsciously screenin people for reproduction when we “date and marry” so I don’t see how spermbanks are much different.

      • Yep. The classic “having it all” conundrum only women are burdened with even though it takes two to tango. I also wonder if the American system makes thislre difficult than in other first world places….

        Before you say I’m young…don’t

      • I have no particular opinion about spermbanks. I’ve never given it much thought.

        I can’t see any reason to care one way or another where the sperm came from or whether it was stored before insemination. There are many things I care about in life, but I can’t make myself care about that issue. I’m not sure why it should matter.

        It didn’t even occur to me to think that you’re being young was relevant.

        As a person who has chosen not to pass on his genetics, I don’t take a strong position on those who do. Each to their own. It’s not my problem. I won’t be having any offspring to inherit this messed up world and to curse me for having been born. Everyone else’s kids will have to deal with it.

  14. Well speaking of elites… Hmmm… Maybe I should avoid European airspace in the next few months

    Вы должны поддерживать Россию без Путина. А я хочу, что русские люди одвактывеют демократию, но эта ситуация приводит к разочарованию.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120739/russian-jets-flying-under-radar-are-endangering-civilian-airplanes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s