Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,097 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. My apologies if you don’t want these links here. You can remove them if you like. I was just wanting to use them as a demonstration as to whether if these actors / actresses were speak GA or not:

    Nightmare on Elm Street:
    Friday the 13th Part 1:
    Friday the 13th Part 2:

    These are just a few movies from the 80s that I linked to. Do you think the actors /actresses speak GA? To me they don’t sound GA. Where do you think that is from? Did they have standardized accents for movies back then? I think I remember you saying somewhere you just turned 40s, meaning you were born in 76. So I’m sure you grew up with these type of movies possibly (or maybe not?). Obviously we know for a certain era they did use mid-atlantic. But the 80s was post mid-atlantic.

    Again, you can remove these if you want. You can skim those movies anywhere during the movie to fastforward or rewind.

    • The links are fine. That is what the open thread is for.

      The actors/actresses have a mix of accents, some more GA and some not.. GA first became dominant in news and sports broadcasting. In movies and tv shows, it’s always been more diverse, although less diverse than it was in the past. But even those actors/actresses from the 80s have less strong accents than was heard in the decades before that.

      Mid-Atlantic was only dominant in the earliest sound media, when so many actors/actresses were trained for the stage. By the 80s, few people in entertainment media probably started their careers in the theater. So, the accents at that point were more random.

      Nightmare on Elm Street is supposed to be in Ohio. But some of those accents aren’t from Ohio. That didn’t seem too concerned back then about ensuring accents fit the supposed location of the movie or tv show.

      • Yeah, but Johnny Depp sounds nowhere near GA or even southern. He’s from Kentucky. Too me he sounds absolutely nothing like that in Nightmare On Elm Street. There must of been some modification. I tried emailing some of the actors / actresses back then if they had to modify their voice in any way, but i’ve never gottena reply back.

        I don’t think Michael J Fox speaks GA, but he said he had to modify his voice to sound less canadian. I’ve never been able to pinpoint the accent MJFox uses in the BTTF movies.

        • Depp lived in many places. He was born in Kentucky and lived in more than 20 places growing up, but maybe spent most of his early life in Florida. Depending on the area of Florida, this might explain his hard to discern accent.

          I’m not sure about Fox. After Canada, he moved to Los Angeles. I have no idea what he might have done to change his accent and in what way. It might interesting to listen to what he sounded when he first became an actor in Canada:

          • So you think back then they didn’t really have people change their accents? They by and large just let people speak as they were? Would you say that’s very different today? Do you think it has to do with TV and Movie’s being more big budgeted today?

          • There wasn’t as much money in entertainment media back then. Maybe most actors/actresses couldn’t afford speech moderation. Or maybe it simply was less available. Certainly, professional training in the entertainment media has become more common.

            Then again, there simply were more diversity of accents back then and that was just normal. My mother says one of her professors could tell where people lived simply by their accents, not just which state but which part of a state. That would be harder to do today, as people move and travel around so much.

            Accents are no longer as distinct these days. We’ve grown so used to there being fewer accents and the accents that exist being less strong. The move toward a General American accent has been a slow process over generations. And it’s still changing. General American isn’t a static accent, no more than any other accent.

  2. Just wondering, what do you think Hillary Clinton could do to win against Trump in the upcoming Presidetial election? Do you think having her meet with Bernie and discussing certain policies that she would need to incorporate to get Sanders fans to vote for her? Perhaps maybe budge on 25 percent of what he wants/bernie sanders fans demand? You know, make some concessions? I always thought that she would possibly go to the left on certain issues, like single payer healthcare or marijuana legalization. She trying to court republicans, but I think that’s not going to help at all.

    • I haven’t a clue what is her brilliant grand strategy. If she is able to eliminate Sanders and get the nomination, I’m not sure she’ll even bother shifting left. Trump has shown it simply doesn’t matter what a candidate says. I wonder if Clinton is banking on enough Americans being so desperate and scared that they’ll vote for her no matter what. She might go further right in order to portray herself as the real conservative compared to Trump, bringing the fight to him. She is a weak candidate in many ways, but she is vicious and she has well-paid strategists on her side.

  3. It looks like Trump wasn’t so against the Iraq war after all:

    Sept. 11, 2002: Howard Stern asks Trump if he supports invading Iraq. Trump answers hesitantly. “Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

    Jan. 28, 2003: Trump appears on Fox Business’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” on the night of President Bush’s State of the Union address. Trump says he expects to hear “a lot of talk about Iraq and the problems,” and the economy. He urges Bush to make a decision on Iraq. “Either you attack or you don’t attack,” he says. But he offers no opinion on what Bush should do.

    What a fraud. My guess is he’ll pretty much by and large lie if he becomes president. I asked Noam Chomsky his opinion on Trump’s anti TTIP and he said in and email: “Hard to know what he thinks about such things. My guess is that he’d turn out to support TTIP (pretending that he negotiated a better deal) and that he’d be more likely to get us into a war.”

    Trump is in no way a good alternative to Hillary Clinton.

    • I’m not surprised. I never thought Trump was exactly consistent across the board. No intelligent and informed person would assume he is principled. It’s true that he has always had a kind of economic populism in what he talks about, however superficial and deceptive it is. But I’m sure his foreign policies would be particularly crappy. He is a businessman and he would do anything that is profitable, to himself and his cronies.

      What differentiates him from someone like Clinton is that he isn’t a professional politician and so doesn’t care about politics on its own terms. He isn’t seeking power for the sake of power, but for the sake of profit. Even though Clinton has made a ton of money, I don’t see that as being her primary motivation. She enjoys the political game itself, the machinations of power along with the authority and respect that comes with being part of the ruling elite.

      Trump would literally run the country like a business, if it was up to him. Of course, the establishment bureaucracy (or call it shadow government, deep state, or whatever) probably has different plans. There is a battle for power in the government between those who want big biz to serve big gov and those who want big gov to serve big biz. A Trump presidency would bring that battle to a new level.

      Anyway, Trump is in no way a good alternative to Hillary Clinton. Just as Clinton is in no way a good alternative to Trump. It would be a choice between two greater evils and so trying to determine which is the greatest evil, a probably impossible task.

      • I guess my main problem with all of this is that I still see a lot of liberal websites like counterpunch and various others, not to mention voters that are liberal, view Trump as the lesser evil. I just don’t see this at all. He’s already flip flopped and lied throughout his campaign. And he most certainly wasn’t against the Iraq war at the start of it like he has repeatedly claimed. This is another lie of his that in my view isn’t being called out for some reason.

        My guess is he’ll also end up doing just what Chomsky mentioned in that email in regards to TPP. At least by and large Hillary doesn’t hide what she is. Not that she’s any better. But Trump to me represents that absolute worst in US politics. I absolutely can’t stand the guy.

        • It’s not a difference between lesser evil and greater evil. They are both evil, just in different ways. Clinton is a certain evil. And Trump is an uncertain evil.

          I understand that some people find comfort in a certain evil because at least you know what it is. But I find no comfort in it, anymore than I’d be comforted by someone telling me the certain way I was going to die in the near future. Not that uncertainty is better.

          It’s fucking pointless trying to rationally analyze the incomprehensible. What is clear is that we are likely heading toward a very bad set of choices, that no matter what is chosen won’t lead to optimal results, to say the least.

          • My anger over this comes from the fact that so many are still voting for the lesser evil. I know you are not part of this, but it just frustrates me.

            If you agree with this petition to not vote for Clinton or Trump, please pass it along.

          • I added my name to the petition. Then I posted it to Facebook and Twitter. I doubt it will change anyone’s opinion. I think people have already decided who they are and aren’t going to vote for. The Sanders supporters who would never vote for either Clinton or Trump are the independents who never cared much for either party in the first place.

  4. I think it’s in the nature of any empire to fall. Whether from overextending itself, complacency, internal division, or just the ever-changing nature of the world and the unavoidable shifts in power.

    I think the stability of any empire is like a dream, and while we’ve had the American one for a while now, I think we’re beginning to wake up. And while I’m afraid of the suffering that will result, I don’t mind the waking itself. A lot of people were already suffering outside the dream (inside it too), and we need to face that.

    • It’s just that some dreams last longer than others. The US is a young country compared to many previous empires. I have doubts that the US will manage to keep the empire going for much longer. Running an empire was probably easier in the past.

      I don’t feel sad about the American Empire ending. I’m fine with it. I’d like to see something new emerge in my lifetime, no matter how much it might suck to live through the ending of the present system. As you say, it already sucks for so many. So, let’s get on with it already. The sooner it ends the sooner something else can begin.

  5. I honestly don’t know who you might contact. It sounds more like something an investigative reporter would be interested in. Unless you had some official documents proving something, I doubt an organization like wikileaks would get involved.

      • Big media like Hollywood have a long history of working closely with the government. Many early war movies were essentially government propaganda. That is still true to some extent even today. If you are making a movie that requires military scenes, a patriotic script will guarantee that the Pentagon will allow you free access to military equipment. There are such things as Operation Mockingbird as well. Private interests are also seeking to manipulate media in various ways. I don’t know much about video games, though. The military has made video games as part of encouraging recruitment, and as such it’s propaganda.

  6. Just wondering, and maybe their really isn’t a reason for this, but why are there so many ethnic russians? There’s about 140 million worldwide, making them by far the biggest ethnic group in europe. Does this in your view have anything to do with them being a poor appeasement society up until 1917?

    • What do you mean by Russia “being a poor appeasement society up until 1917”? I’d assume that there are so many ethnic Russians in Europe for the simple reason there are so many Russian ethnics in Russia. There are just simply more ethnic Russians in general. It’s a vast population. I guess the reason for that is that the Russian Empire itself was vast and so was the Soviet Union. Other than that, I don’t know.

        • More land doesn’t necessarily mean more people. More good farm land with more sources of water and other natural resources (lumber, minerals, etc) means more ability to employ, feed, and sustain more people. Russia has much natural wealth. China has the problem right now that they’re having to buy farmland in other countries to feed their own people, a situation not likely sustainable in the long term. Being able to feed one’s own people would be central if a world war began or other forms of conflict closed down trade routes.

          • China has the problem right now that they’re having to buy farmland in other countries to feed their own people,

            In a few years China will start facing an aging population as well as population decline. It’s the aging population and taking care of the old people that preesnts a challenge for many countries.

          • Being able to grow one’s own food would remain important even for the aging problem. Populations can have baby booms that or immigration waves that suddenly increase the younger demographic in the population. But a country needs to have steady and reliable access to food to handle such potential booms.

            Consider the comparison of the United States and Canada. Both began around the same population size. Yet it was the United States farmland that allowed sustainable population growth at a rapid pace, both from birth and immigration. Even though Canada has immense amounts of land and resources, it doesn’t have the right kinds of conditions for that same population growth.

            China, of course, is a different kind of country. If China wanted to have a population boom, they could encourage all the single men to seek foreign-born wives, a selective form of immigration that would lead to a baby boom. I doubt the Chinese government would seek such a policy.

            I’m not sure population growth is a good thing, anyhow. That is an old way of thinking about national prosperity and power. The future of society might not be in the direction of ever larger populations.

  7. Hey Ben, what do you think of this whole brexit thing? Did you ever follow it or care? If so, what are you thoughts?

    • I haven’t been following it closely. Nor have I researched the issues. I don’t know enough to have much of an opinion. But it does give me a sense of how things are shifting. Governments and citizens in many countries are showing signs of stress and restlessness. It worries me a bit. The EU had an original purpose that people forget, to prevent another world war among European powers.


        Man, I knew about this shit since middle school. At the time it was “fringe.” I guess it still kind of is, but still, I never thought it would rise out so soon. I had a neutral idea of whether it would poke its head into the mainstream, but it’s happened so fast, my friend. Even in 2013 and 2014 no one knew what TRP or the manosphere or the dork endarkenment was, now the alt-right is mainstream.

        • It shouldn’t be surprising. Various strains of politics and social movements come to the forefront when major changes are afoot in particular societies and the larger world. This includes such things as authoritarianism, nativism, isolationism, populism, reactionaryism, etc. And they take both right-wing and left-wing forms.

          History is filled with such examples. There is nothing new about this. I’m not sure why anyone would think that we are fundamentally different than people in the past. On average people are more educated with higher average IQ, but basic human nature remains the same.

  8. You know, I did an internship in a small town on the Canadian border, and upon reflection…

    We’ve talked about a lot of stuff here. NR, politics, gifted, philosophical attitudes towards life, ability, etc…

    And it make me realize. It’s all connected. Dosen’t it seem so? The gifted mania, the NR, political and civil turmoil at the moment, even the rat race that is causing in increase in stress and depression among young people, it just… seems connected, somehow

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you. What you express here is what drives my desire to understand. It all seems connected. It’s not just one thing. It’s not just politics, economics, or whatever. There is something deeper that brings it together or a larger view that shows the web of links. I’d take it a step further. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Focusing on one single issue misses the point, keeps thought at a superficial level.

      • My own impression is that this stuff seems to share of commonality of being caught up in a materialistic and elitist view of the world. Both traits.

        I got to experience a much more laid back albeit impoverished type of area during the summer so I guess I have some comparison. But I’ve since become more disillusioned with the hierarchical, elitist, materialism world exemplified by Charles Murray types or even just the middle and upper middle class in the northeast and upper south corridor in general. In my view they are all connected despite superficial political attitudes. Elitist in the rat race of materialism and in the mind.

        • There is that. Then there are all the factors and conditions that have helped to create that “hierarchical, elitist, materialism world”. Along with all the parallel or related issues and the complex web of results that in turn are causes of other things, such that it isn’t always clear which direction is the line of causation.

          There are problems of inequality and poverty. And with the class divides, there are the divides of race, ethnicity, religion, culture, etc with their deep roots in American history. That brings to mind that particular American WASP worldview that has dominated for centuries across regions, as the early ruling elites in all the colonies and later states were (and still are) mostly WASPs.

          While we’re at it, much else could be mentioned. There are such things as hyper-individualism, the bootstrap theory, racial and class privilege, weak culture of trust, eroding social capital, stress-inducing and despair causing neoliberalism, disconnected elite (with a middle class that is only slightly less disconnected), scapegoating of the underprivileged, and on and on. A lot of that is wrapped up in a history of imperialism, colonialism, globalization, and capitalism (specifically capitalist realism)—plus, manifest destiny and white man’s burden, in how they relate to the notion of Protestant work ethic, a tireless arrogant acting on the world and enforcing of one’s will, both in economics and politics.

          That relates, I’d argue, to the entire political charade and snafu: the duopoly of the fake two party system with its pseudo-competition and bipartisan establishment, (neo-)reactionary politics, the strange mirroring of the political left and right, pointless and distracting culture wars, and the distortions of identity politics. Also, as Trump’s campaign demonstrates, elitism breeds weird forms of pseudo-populism that attracts racist/racialist middle class whites. While Clinton simply personifies elitism in its purist, most blatant form.

          All the type of things I suspect are seen less in entirely different kinds of societies or, if not less, at least expressed in other forms. American society is a witch’s brew of dysfunctional attitudes, unrepentant malbehavior, and a general systemic and institutionalized fuckedupness. And as I see it, this is all of a single fabric. I don’t see how to separate out a single strand.

          • There seems to be something about American culture that makes Americans especially vulnerable to Social Darwinism. Anglo Americans literally invented eugenics, scientific racism, and other pseudoscience. Other cultures have ethnocentrism but they never developed, well, this kind of shit. Even the Japanese learned their WW2 shit from the Anglos, as did the nazis

            Which… relates back to a conversation about our culture’s seeming love of the “natural,” the “talented,” the “gifted.” On a comment section about that NY times article on tensions in an overachieving school district, someone said that Americans appreciate natural achievement, people who succeed without trying too hard. Well, in that case, no wonder the US is declining! There is no such thing as doing something well without trying hard; no one is talented enough for that. In many fields, from drawing to sport, we’ve created a culture where only those with some natural talent can even get results; everyone else is screwed due to inferior teaching methods and philosophies, mainly ones that establish no technical foundation. It is a system that has people run when they can’t even walk yet.

            I wonder if it comes down to the culture of calvinist predestination that everyone was put on earth to do something by a higher power. Only today the worship has shifted from religion to scientism (I don’t have the math gene etc.).

  9. Replying since the Thread got too long.

    Well there are already many chinese men marrying foreign women since women are in short supply there. Also, the gov did relax the one child policy, but it’s not doing much to increase the birthrate in urban areas. I think the gov is more concerned about the aging population rather than the number of people in of itself. Funnily, China’s population doubled post communist takeover because people were encouraged to have as many kids as possible. Glory. But later on the government implemented the one child policy, almost as an “oh shit we got too many people” moment. Though the policy did/does not apply to ethnic minorities and was always more relaxed with rural farm workers because labor

    • Japan apparently plans on dealing with its own aging population by developing better technology and systems for geriatric caretaking. But they are a smaller country, both in land and population, with less rural poverty and with a highly developed infrastructure. China is unlikely to mimic that kind of strategy. The Chinese government does seem to be innovative when they need to be and, unlike the US, they don’t tend to wait for problems to develop before reacting to them.

      I’ve always thought, since it’s old people always starting and supporting wars. we should send the excess old population to fight on the frontline of every war. If every country did that, we would quickly solve the aging population dilemma. Or failing that, we’d prevent a lot of unecessary wars. Old people might decide that war isn’t always the answer, especially if the first people to be sent to the frontline were old politicians.

    • Articles like that always depress me. The analysis is painfully constrained to a particular ideology. I have to wonder how much of this is unintentional versus willful ignorance. I could list all the other info not mentioned in the article, but there is no point.

    • No doubt there is misinterpretation. It shows a lack of complex critical thinking skills. There is all kinds of data. Research shows that people who grow up in diverse communities become more socially liberal as adults. And other research shows that people who grow up homogeneous communities are more prejudiced.

      To take all the data together, there is no simple conclusion. A diverse community often would mean much recent immigration and so not socially stable. But there are also diverse communities that have existed that way for centuries and are socially stable. In either case, the diversity isn’t the cause. Anyway, there are also homogeneous communities that aren’t stable.

      We often don’t know the full reasons for why communities are the way they are. There are places that have been diverse throughout their entire history. They can be perfectly fine places, until some conditions change that create conflict and that conflict will get expressed through the most obvious differences: ethnicity, race, religion, or whatever. If the diversity was the cause, there would have been conflict long before. Since that isn’t the case, we must look for other reasons.

      I swear. The idiocy I see in articles like that. People latch onto a single piece of info and spin it whatever way fits what they already believe. I’d be embarrassed to have my name on such a piece of crap.

  10. Yes! All culture have their weird aspects, but this thing about Anglo American culture that stuck out to me was the savior complex, that’s something that’s weird about them. There seems to be this need to “save” people for some reason.

    “Western / European-derived cultures definitely have a missionary zeal, particularly in the English-speaking world. This means that Westerners believe that everywhere else in the world should think, feel and behave like the West, aside from superficial differences (clothes, food etc…).

    Historically, they’ve tried to do this everywhere, and succeeded in most places, but by degrees, the rest of the world is bouncing back. The first culture to “recover”, is China, which was only minimally colonised, and is very confusing and scary to the Western mind, as it’s becoming successful, but at it’s core, non-Western, which is supposed to be impossible.

    Anyway, long story short, there’s plenty of incentive to change the rules or exclude Asian men (in particular) from the Western pop-culture party, as they represent something very terrifying for white people, which is non-White people who can beat them at their own game, without having to be white inside.

    Not sure if that totally answers your “question”, but I think it powers a lot of what goes on in the Western world.”

    This reminds me of the conventional liberals who bashed the liberals that were against the Iraq, Libya, etc interventions as “not caring about the people in those places” “not caring about human rights” etc etc. There is a real divide between conventional, democratic party lbierals and Jill Stein/Chomsky type liberals if u get my gist.

    • Yet they are from the same society. It’s two dots that need to be connected by a line.

      This points to something few understand. In a high inequality society, the inevitable social problems harm everyone across the socioeconomic class spectrum. It isn’t simply stress or poverty that kills these people, rather the entire culture.

      Stress and poverty are found in many societies, not all having high suicide rates. Like blaming diversity, it’s yet another non-explanation.

  11. These are good comments. Is a lot of the scuttle and presure in society just a symptom of widening inequality,

    The middle and upper middle class drive for their kids to achieve and hyper-competitiveness, is because these parents sense the door to the middle class is rapidly closing and want their kids to get through that door before it closes even more. In a sense, the rat race can feel like rushing towards the lowering door, like in the titanic scene where the coal workers were rushing away from the flooded room and into the dry area as the door rapidly closes to prevent the flood from spilling into more rooms.

    “Of course the pressures to achieve the pinnacles of education are paramount; especially in the parent’s eyes. They are the ones who fully appreciate the measured differences that unfortunately and too often in our society spell either great or average long term success for the child. The pressures start quite early too; particularly for those children identified as “gifted.”

    And there is truth to this galling situation. By now we all know that in our economic system the middle class does not hold; it’s ether great financial or artistic or athletic success for the few, or, as succinctly offered, quiet lives of desperation for the rest. What’s described in this article are merely symptoms; there are many others you can identify which strongly and uncomfortably hint at fundamental disconnect in our system between dreams and reality.”

    “”Our world has become nakedly brutal. Let me rephrase that – it’s always been brutal but Americans are feeling it now, as we’re forced to compete with workers all over the world and our wages and security fall accordingly. Note this affects all of us and not just the elite. If we want to do something serious about the toll this takes on people we need to deal with this underlying problem. Stronger social safety nets, trade agreements protecting workers, and a serious discussion about technology and capitalism are all vital components if we’re really serious about helping each other.””

  12. It’s possible I am genetically predisposed to depression and anxiety, or not that per se, but more genetically sensitive, which makes me more prone to becoming depressed and anxious at negative stimuli.
    But because of my own experiences, I suppose I am not so eager to join the rat race because I’ve seen that it dosen’t make me happy once I “make it” even if being in poverty sucks too. I wish there was another path.
    The impoverished life experienced there is sad and depressing, but is the solution for people to join the rat race to materialistic prestige on the other side? Not necessarily.
    Because because I’ve been on the other side (I’m not rich but I was part of the middle class race) and that dosen’t create happiness either.
    Having enough money to live is essential, but beyond that, more wealth dosen’t seem to create more happiness. I think wealth probably has a threshhold where you are are increasingly happy before that threshhold then past that threshhold, meh.

    • It isn’t really about wealth. In our society, wealth as money is symbolic of many things: power, influence, connections, opportunity, freedom, privilege, comfort, security, pleasure, housing, healthcare, education, retirement, etc. But in other societies, most people have happy and contented lives no matter their socioeconomic status.

      Obviously, wealth does no good for the Americans who commit suicide, have unhealthy behaviors, or get stress-related diseases because of the rat race. It’s not wealth that anyone actually cares about. The difference that makes a difference is the kind of society one is born into.

  13. From the comments section on dying poor whites:

    “How can we help those that sabotage themselves? Even those on the right like Kevin Williamson & JD Vance say it is a crisis of culture.

    I on the other hand just shake my head and say – well this county certainly wasn’t supporting mcgovern or bernie. They cheered on the very economically destructive policies the R’s put in place just because they felt they were better than ‘the browns and blacks’.

    Sorry – I have no sympathy for this lot.”

    • The problem here isn’t sympathy. It’s ignorance, as always. But it’s ignorance of the commenter.

      First, it would take a complete fool to believe that all our problems could be blamed on Republicans alone. All of the harmful neoliberal policies were either promoted or supported by Democrats, including recent Democratic majority Congress and Democratic administrations. The Clintons played one of the largest roles in this, accomplishing more than most Republican politicians.

      Second, the majority of poor whites who bother to vote still support the Democratic Party. The only place where poor whites are more divided is in the South, but even there it isn’t a Solid South. The majority of Southerners actually are either registered Democrats or lean toward the Democrats. The fact of the matter is that, like poor blacks, poor whites don’t vote in large numbers. This is an intentional result of voter purges, closing down polling stations, ex-con disenfranchisement, etc.

      It’s commenters like this who are the problem. Instead of shaking his head, he should simply pull his head out of his ass.

  14. This heart-wrenching set of stories seems ready made for a Ken Burns mini-series on what ails America. The parallels shared by both Appalachian whites and inner city blacks that both locations are food deserts devoid of healthy choices, lack of good educations, few decent jobs, obesity, diabetes, smoking, heart disease, hypertension, hopelessness and the despair that so often leads to the self-destruction via alcohol and a cornucopia of drugs. If only Shelby Foote were alive to narrate what is becoming our “Disaster of the Individual.”

    • I’d watch that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a documentary that dealt with both poor white communities and poor black communities, showing how the same kinds of problems are effecting them. People forget that most poor people are whites, most welfare recipients are white, most prisoners are white, and probably most people being abused by police are white. That doesn’t change the fact that racism makes poverty even worse, but the problems of poverty are basically the same for most.

  15. “They don’t think that smoking really will kill you,” a nurse, Desiree Middleton, 32, now said to Ridener. “It’s one of those teenage mind-sets.”
    I grew up near places like this. These are the Scots-Irish Appalacian people described in “Albion’s Seed,” “American Nations” and other cultural histories of the US. They resent government or any other “outsiders” telling them what to do and they are quick to pick fights. As a group (according to the authors), historically they are not especially hard working and they don’t place a lot of value on education. The rest of the country owes it to them to help with their addictions and lack of skills a lot more than it has, but overcoming the self-destructive nature of the local culture itself poses huge challenges. These are the people who have stayed in place while others, like the young woman studying Japanese, have moved on.

    • When people lose all hope, they tend to stop caring. People need a reason to live. The poorest of the poor in America, however, don’t have much reason to go on living. To feel desperation at that level on a daily basis is more than most people can handle, without self-medicating or killing themselves.

      It’s not as if these people have anywhere to go. The problems of poverty and desperation are found all across the country. There are few good jobs for these people, no matter where they live. Even college grads these days find themselves massively in debt and still not able to find work.

      The fact is there are more people who need jobs that their are jobs available. A large workforce is no longer needed in the modern economy, and this is going to get worse. It takes an ignoramus to not understand this simple fact.

    • What pisses me off is that we know this education system is a failure. Yet both Republican and Democratic politicians support it. And the partisans go on rationalizing. The failed education system is inseparable from the failed political system.

  16. I’m not sure this guy is fit to be a teacher

    • I’m not sure he is fit to be a citizen of civil society. If we lived in a just world, someone like that would know poverty, suffering and despair. Everyone who supports policies that harm others should be forced to personally experience that harm, just as everyone who supports a war should have to fight in it. Such people would suddenly feel genuine concern and maybe even compassion.

      • From his stories, it seems the low-achieving kids didn’t have any issue learning the material, but had trouble remembering it long-term

        That’s interesting. But for a lot of those kids, life is stressful and a decently orderly classroom may be their only sanctuary during the day

  17. Most of the current research into intelligence genes seems so speculative at this point. There is nothing “confident” much less substantial found, at least at this point in time. What I mean is that candidate genes, thee dosent seem to be a lot of confidence in them

    X-inactivation is interesting, certainly genes or even chromosomes are can be turned off or on, even happens on nature. If I take their hypothesis at face value, that girls are less smart/dumb because two X chromosomes moderate each other (or a girl may have a smart/dumb gene but got canceled out) then theoretically, inactivating one should make their stupid/genius/whatever show

    A lot of stuff we thought was more common on boys though, is actually more common on girls than previously thought

    • It is going to require a lot more research before we know much for certain. Research will also have to be improved. We are only beginning to grasp how powerful are environmental factors, including in laboratories. I discussed this in a post earlier this year and a recent WSJ article covers similar territory:

      “Genes like our fictional Gene Z, with “neurogenetic” effects on behavior, are often sensitive to small differences in the environment. Gene Z’s effects on anxiety might differ between two labs because the mice in the two are fed different kinds of food; nutrition influences brain chemistry and thus potentially Gene Z’s effects on the brain. Or maybe one of the labs uses a caustic disinfectant, or its doors bang loudly, and the mice there secrete more stress hormones, which alter the brain. Likewise with different temperatures, producing different levels of thyroid hormone.

      “People are often impressed with the deterministic power of genes, believing they explain everything about our biology and behavior. Many genes do indeed have consistent, powerful effects, but far more of them show a marked environmental dependency than most scientists had previously anticipated. Thus, what Dr. Crabbe and others show is that in many cases, you can’t really say what a gene generically “does”—so perhaps be a bit skeptical about such pronouncements. Instead, you can only safely say what a gene does in the environment(s) in which it has been studied.

      “This is pertinent to mice living in different laboratories. But just imagine how much that would apply to a species that can live in dramatically different environments—in deserts, tundra and rain forests, in hunter-gatherer bands and in dense cities, in close-knit communities or as hermits. There is no species that matches humans in the range of ecosystems, habitats and social system in which it lives. And that suggests there is no species freer from the power of genes than humans.”

  18. LMAO aren’t Irish white?

    They were never laws passed against them. Then again many f the laws that fucked over non-whites (not just blacks) were written later. Heck, restrictive immigration that banned any non-white (aka asian) immigrants and outlawed interracial marriage (with all non-whites counted) were passed later. The chinese exclusion act passed after many west coast areas were already a significant percentage chinese men. Of course the white (men especially) got pissy and even passed laws not allowing them to marry, making it so that most of the men dying bachelors instead of leaving a stronger genetic imprint.

    The Irish got accepted though and got to blend in and marry into wasp land. Probably because they look less different so that you can’t just look at them and know “Irish” and a half Irish and half wasp looks like a regular white dude. Same with half italian/polish/etc

    “I think it cannot be maintained by any candid person that the African race have ever occupied or do promise ever to occupy any very high place in the human family. Their present condition is the strongest proof that they cannot. The Irish cannot; the American Indian cannot; the Chinese cannot. Before the energy of the Caucasian race all the other races have quailed and done obeisance.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    circa early 1830s
    Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks
    Volume 12

    • Environmentalism was originally focused on the idea of ‘conservation’. The question is what is supposed to be conserved, for who and from who, and to what end. Early on, there was a push to conserve whiteness and a white America, but it also related to conserving manhood from the effeminizing effect of city life. How could white men remain in power if they lost their own source of power, their potent white masculinity? This was a major motivation for creating the federal park system and boy scouts.

      • Reminds me of this ”

        “America long had a history of hyping up masculinity to the extreme compared to other countries. What I mean by this is that it’s completely acceptable in European, Middle Eastern and Asian countries for men who are friends with one another to hug each other when greeting or taking photos or even have each other’s arms across their shoulders while going out. In America, if they so much as touch each other, they’re automatically seen as gay. In Europe and Asia, certain clothes such as beach shorts a little above the knees on men are completely fine but in America, shorts MUST be at the knees or lower otherwise, you’re gay. In Europe, Asia, and Latin America, soccer is still seen as a masculine sport but in America, soccer is a “sissy” game encouraged by blonde soccer moms and their daughters.”

        Yeah, but why America? What is it about the us? Hyper-capitalism or individualism or something?

        • I wonder what is the experience of most Americans. The reason I wonder that is because I know my experience isn’t perfectly typical.

          I grew up in a touchy-feely church where there was much hugging. I have a good friend who I hug without embarrassment. But I can’t say I walk around holding my friend’s hand.

          I also grew up playing soccer and I don’t recall ever thinking it gay. I thought it was a fairly popular sport and the coaches were always men, not soccer moms. Back when I was younger, almost everyone wore shorter shorts, especially in the 1980s. Longer shorts were beginning to catch on in the 1990s. But even then shorter shorts were regularly worn by men, including among manly athletes.

          Has something changed recently? It’s not as if masculine anxiety was non-existent decades ago. Calling someone gay was a normal taunt from my childhood. But I don’t think there was an obsession about it, not that I noticed. What I did notice growing up is the hyper-masculine portrayals in movies and such (e.g. Rambo).

    • The key point is the last fact listed in the post. They are in areas where mortality rates are going up. This is not normal. There is something going on and this population is reacting to it. They might not understand why their lives are suddenly worsening, but obviously they understand that life is not improving or even remaining stable. I wrote two or three posts about demographic issues during this campaign season.

  19. The studies don’t really confirm what’s he’s saying, though. All they say is possible influences on prostate faced and hairiness, and the testes thing dosent suggest less virility when size is controlled for, as it suggests smaller testes has less total sperm, but had more per gram.

    It’s not appropriate to use the studies to extrapolate it to “less manly.”

    Blacks are also lower in body hair, and some studies actually shows blacks having less body hair than east Asians.

    • You could put that article in a different context. Partanen, in The Nordic Theory of Everything, notes how extremely complex and stressful is American society. It isn’t about people being stupid or smart. It simply isn’t a healthy, normal way to operate a society. The author of the above article, however, might be mixing up American society with all of society, not realizing how bizarrely unusual is this country.

  20. On lack of teaching critical thinking being why educated liberals are often elitist and out-of-touch and “blind”

    I’m not sure if it’s a critical thinking issue, but a product of being “insulated” and in terms of thinking, a rigid versus a less-rigid thinking style. Very educated and smart people can have a rigid personality all the same.

    For me, creativity is openness and willingness to look at differences and to try differences and be open to it, not much really. But a smart, educated person is not necessarily that.

    We may have mentioned that. but one of the bad aspects of “merit” and well, elitism, and the habit of (Obama included) the elite politicians and supreme court justices coming from the same ivy schools, is orthodoxy. You are less likely to get a “different” thinker as much as competent, but “orthodox” people.

    • The liberal class are mostly professionals and highly educated at that. The system that produces them demands rigid thought and the careers they work in also mostly demand rigid thought. Radically creative freethinkers aren’t going to last long in academia, politics, judiciary, news media, corporate management, etc—no matter how smart, well qualified, and hard working they are.

      In academia in particular, challenging or tinkering with old theories is safer than doing innovative research. Anyone with a new idea will be a target for near endless criticism. It’s not really any different than doing research in a corporate lab. Original thought isn’t a good career move.

        • You can always use that as a rationalization for why your pet theory isn’t more respectable in academia. But it always remains for those who defend a theory to prove it. Even a crazy theorist like Julian Jaynes made a career in academia, not that he was ever popular or respectable. Over time, though, other academics have furthered his research so that it is now more respectable. Still, it didn’t do Jaynes career much good during his lifetime.

  21. You like Psychology? Cause I was just thinking about how sketchy the field’s history is and how amount of sketchy as fuck people it attracts and even reach eminence :/

    Because I’m starting to lose faith in it. It’s the weirdest field ever. It should also get an award for “discipline most likely to overstep its bounds”


    Lol, well, on this hbd, alt right charles Murray shit, remember the (ongoing I guess) hbd IQ Shitshow? This one prof once wrote this letter and it was signed by “all experts in intelligence” and they were ALL psychologists. Most shit done on ever complex subjects like that are all… Psychologists. Even the guy that literally invented the small asian dick stereotype was a psychologist. Iq testing, all psychology.

    I dunno, I just think psychology seems to like pretending it knows more than it does. Suffering this more than other fields

    I mean fuck me, but what does psychology know about, well, anything? Especially anything as complex as the stuff they study.

    I mean I guess it has a place, it just tries to take a bigger piece of the pie than it deserves


    Btw, iq tests are originally made to identity who might need extra help in school, not to become this total Shitshow synonym for intelligence with hierarchies and everything, used to test everything. And then this weird “g” thing, it’s weird man

    Anyway, I think my increasingly clear disillusionment with my environment (middle class academic) stems from
    1: my shitty experience in a competitive high school environment (pressure not in school but also, well, everything.)
    2: the Shitshow that academia can be, it seems
    Paired with a naturally type B personality .

    • “You like Psychology? Cause I was just thinking about how sketchy the field’s history is and how amount of sketchy as fuck people it attracts and even reach eminence”

      Psychology, like similar fields (e.g., anthropology), is large and diverse. It also has a fairly long history and so has changed much over time. Consensus opinion, to the extent it exists at all within psychology, is far different from one generation to the next.

      The study of psychology includes many interesting thinkers: Carl Jung, James Hillman, Julian Jaynes, Richard Nisbett, Katharine Cook Briggs, Ernest Hartmann, Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Kegan, Jane Loevinger, Clare W. Graves, Judith Rich Harris, etc. In the related field of psychiatry, there are other interesting thinkers, such as Iain McGilchrst, Donald Winnicot, and James Gilligan.

      Those are just the names that quickly come to mind. But I’m sure I could list many more. The topics of focus, the approaches of study, and the theories presented sometimes have little in common, besides psychology itself.

      As for Charles Murray, he is a political scientist, not a psychologist. Some don’t consider political science to be much of a science. Then again, James R. Flynn is in political studies and, unlike Murray, has done quality scientific research.

      • Most of the signatories in the link are psychologists as are most “intelligence experts”

        Plenty don’t think psychology is a real science either. Nor anthropology.

        Well both fields can be broad. Personally I only think physical anthropology and archaeology are more science, and in psychology, neuroscience. The rest, including “psychometrics” and other psychology? Fuck it 10000 years

        Plenty also think education academia (education majors, education professors) are jokes. Whether main education, special ed, gifted ed, etc.

        Dunno, I just know I despise most of it.

        • Some psychologists are more interested in the physical sciences (psychiatry, physical anthropology, archaeology, etc) than others. Julian Jaynes was one of those wide-ranging psychologists looked for the best evidence available to support his theory. Other psychological theorists are much more comfortable limiting themselves to merely psychology by itself. But psychology has broadened much over time such that it increasingly includes physical study..

          Psychology does involve serious study that impacts the real world, including in less than nice ways: advertising, public relations, propaganda, military applications, torture methods, etc. It leads to real world results, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. There is power and profit, as there is public good, that is regularly sought through psychological research. Corporations that hire psychologists to manipulate consumers don’t waste their money on what isn’t proven to work. On the positive side, developmental psychology has been a major force for improving education. Serious research has been done on neurocogntive development and how it can be improved.

          Much psychological research these days involves physical study of the brain, nervous system, hormones, nutrition, eye gaze, stress indicators, etc. Psychologists are no longer limited to older form of research that required indirect measurements such as tests. It’s not mere speculation, as it was early on. When psychological research first began in the 1800s, there was almost no way to directly study any aspect of the mind. There are a lot more tools and techniques available now.

          • What I am saying is that I am put off by the attitudes of that letter writer and I am put off by many in psychology’s history, and the proclaimed “intelligence experts” hdd’ers. I do not really respect “experts” like Rob Plomin, Rushton, not even the twin studies authors, etc. I do not like Psychology when it tries to act like it knows more than it does

          • I understand what you’re saying. Psychology is one of the hardest fields to study. There is no direct way to observe and measure consciousness, interiority, individuality, cognition, perception, etc. These aren’t physical things, even though they have physical correlates.

            So much of psychology is about correlation and using various statistical methods to try to determine causal links. Then again, the same problem is found with many physical sciences, such as genetics. We haven’t yet figured out a direct method to clearly and thoroughly study genetic causes, as separate from all other causal, contributing and confounding factors. Most genetic research has so far depended on correlations, which doesn’t prove anything with much certainty.

            Many people, including those who should know better, still confuse heritability with genetic causation. The reality is that heritability includes environmental factors as well, along with the effect of environment and epigenetics on the expression of genetics. Intelligent debate on such things is nearly impossible, because our thinking is still so limited.

            Julian Jaynes, as I said, was a psychologist. He began his career doing animal research. But it quickly became apparent that he couldn’t learn anything directly about the mind, much less consciousness, through such research. It was high quality physical research on animal behavior. The question is how does one get at the most important factors of what it means to be human.

            Our present scientific abilities are severely limited, not just in psychology. Future scientists will likely look back on the scientific research and theories of our era as naive and simpleminded. I see that all the time in discussions of genetics, even when involving genetic researchers. Our knowledge of genetics is so lacking at present as to almost be a joke. Based on our vast ignorance, some people want to offer over-generalized conclusions.

            It’s the problem of being trapped in the dominant paradigm of one’s society. We can look at earlier generations and see how wrong they were in what they thought was true. But it’s hard for us to have that kind of objectivity toward ourselves. Most of what we think we know will likely be proven false, in part or whole, by future researchers. We can’t see outside of our own ignorance and biases.

            The soft sciences make obvious what is true for the entire field of science. IQ testing make it more obvious still, as it is IQ testing that researchers are forced to use in order to try to validate IQ testing. Intelligence is about as ephemeral as consciousness. Studying it will require a lot more rigor than science is at present capable of. Many of the pathetic attempts at studying IQ would be humorous, if they weren’t so sad.

            Some articles maybe of interest:


  22. Probably wrote about this before, after living in the impoverished Adirondacks a summer…

    In my final semester of college, I find that while I’ve probably had a distaste and anti-elitism you know well by this point, it’s only intensified. My friend dying in February also brought back a flood of memories I had forgotten, but a lot of it is driven by the same resentment of, something, that I think I can pinpoint slightly better. But perhaps it is an increasing recognition that I’m not temperamentally suited to the culture I grew up in, the status seeking, increasingly “cocooned” middle class, materalistic bubble I was in, but also, that I’ve never been an academic person and getting caught up in a rat-race was. But as I return to college, I realize that I fucking HATE school, academics, books. Was I anti-intellectual? I’m not even sure. There’s just something about academia that throws me off, I am not sure anymore. But my biggest resolve is that I don’t want much to do with academia and it has been the case for a while. Forever really.

    Which is funny because I suppose I could be a straight A student if I actually tried. throughout middle and high school, my learning strategy was always “sleep or daydream or doodle in class, then crash learn the material before tests” which was good enough for a A and B mix, but whenever I actually put in the minimal effort, mainly, paying attention in class and learning the material as it was presented, I often was one of the best students in the class grade wise. But I was just never motivated enough to sustain that more than a semester.

    During HS Biology I even had my parents telling me to consider going into a Bio-related field because I was one of the best students in the class even though other kids were much more stressed (and usually high achieving kids) about the class and the tests. But towards around thanksgiving I started getting seriously depressed and started cutting myself and stopped doing my homework a lot of the times, so I ended with an A- in the class.

    • I understand your response. But my life has been different.

      I love reading, including academic books, for the very reason I hate school. It was in 7th grade that I almost flunked out and would have been held back, if we hadn’t moved to a new state. I almost never did homework or studied in 7th grade, but I discovered the school library and that is when my love affair with books began. Books were my escape from school and the rest of crappy life.

      I carried the habit of reading my own books into high school and my brief time in college. I only spent a semester at a university and another semester at a community college, that period of my life having involved spending lots of time in the library. The university library in particular was a holy place to me, even as I was once again flunking out. I’m sure I’d hate being an academic, but I absolutely love academic books. It’s probably because I’ve avoided academia that I have this deep appreciation.

      The US education system, sadly, destroys in many the natural love of learning. It nearly did this to me. If I hadn’t independently discovered books as separate from education, I likely could have become an anti-intellectual. There is nothing more important, in my mind, than the love of learning. Don’t let formal education get in the way of that and don’t let careerism determine your life. It would be better to be poor and do what you love than to be wealthy and hate what it took to get there.

      I’m a part time parking ramp cashier. I have a ton of time on my hands, both at work and when at home. I probably read more academic books than the average academic. I’ve created a life for myself that revolves around what I love. I work to live, not live to work. My job pays the bills and lets me buy books. That is all that matters. No one gives a shit about what career they had and how much money they made, when they find themselves on their deathbed.

  23. “Intellectually lazy?”

    I dunno, I’ve always been massively curious and open to learning, I still probably unintentionally learn every day. I’m just not into academic, or nytimes reader culture, that’s all.

  24. “I grew up as a poor white trash and I think there’s a few things we should stop doing. Like blaming minorities in the same boat as us. Supporting pointless wars where we kill and are killed so rich people can get richer. Oh and thinking activists and advocates for other races are supposed to acknowledge our problems while we refuse to acknowledge theirs. Just little things.”

  25. Man, you know what is weird to me? So I’m facebook friends with some former teachers, and one of my teachers is divorcing. She did the whole cliche “life isn’t always what you planned for, yadayadayada.” Also, she has two daughters (different ages) and my facebook feed is spammed with their photos, but here;s the thing, they’re ALWAYS wearing the same outfit! And no they aren’t twins. I mean, I guess that can be cute sometimes ,but honestly in context it seems weird.

    But i remember her being one of those teachers that picked favorites, and she was a pretty status-obsessed type of person in hindsight. She’s the one going on about how high school would be this hard place and we needed to work to become successful and was a coach for a national quiz bowl type team, etc. Very achievement, competitive, status-oriented. Organic food, self-conscious fitness obsession, etc.

    But I guess I’m remembering stuff in hindsight that I wasn’t wise enough back then to really “pin down.” I remember being fucking miserable that year in school and something about her rubbing me the wrong way, now I know why. But From that time, I suppose I suffered resentment because I never seemed to be a “favorite” of the teachers. I was not the straight-A kid, the achievement kid, or the non-achievment kid who was charismatic. I kind of blended in, I guess. But I remember then, I could sense the favortism and unfairness and it definately rubbed me the wrong way.

    Dunno, I jsut remembered it. I think grade school is so clear in my memory too because I go swimming a few times a week these days, and the pool is right by my old high school, so grade school memories flood back :/

    • What if we find through improved health and environmental conditions or new gene therapy that any kid can be made into a genius? I suspect that is the case. In the coming generations, even the kids on the low end will likely be smarter than kids are now on the high end. What if so-called ‘gifted’ kids at the moment will be considered akin to retarded by future generations in how little of human potential they expressed and developed?

  26. I do still beat myself up for not being an overachiever sometimes. But it’s funny because the average students at my high school are doing pretty well right now, though less are going straight to grad school. Most are working in normal type jobs. The overachievers are mostly going to grad and law school, or wall street.
    I beat myself up, but what is the purpose of this life? I beat myself up because I was taught that being a B student or satisfied with non-prestige was lazy and bad and “too forgiving on yourself.” But I see the purpose of being a good student, and see the life result isn’t much happier for me.

    • I have different kinds of parents than you do. They always taught me to do my best, but also to do what I want to do with my life. There was never any judgment from them in my dropping out of college, even though both of them were college grads with good careers. My mother grew up working class and I inherited the attitude that there is nothing wrong with being working class. I think it’s a healthy attitude.

  27. You know what’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen lately? Preschool graduation ceremonies, with cap+gown and diplomas!

    • I thought graduation ceremonies for elementary school were pointless enough. Maybe they should give special cognitive tests to fetuses that determine which college they will go to. That would simplify everything.

    • Have you considered being a super wealthy millennial? If you’re independently wealthy, you don’t have to worry about competition or hopelessness. Just a suggestion. Maybe something to look into. You might want to suggest to your parents that they earn millions of dollars and then give it to you as an inheritance.

  28. Holy shit Ben, you’re right on the NR rhetoric! I mean, Ayn Rand, holy fuck

    My reply:

    “As a high iq scorer…

    LMAO Ayn Rand. No wonder many think the Blessed scene is almost parallel to neo reactionary and alt-right scene in attitude.

    The elitism part on have vs have nots is true though, even if you don’t like it. We live in a Darwinist society and a high iq is a superior draw than a retarded one in our society, that’s how it is

    “These kids are the kids that will be able to cure your cancers or heart diseases, or create the latest greatest technology that everybody wants, or the song that everyone is humming – someday –”

    Well as a “gifted” person that’s quite a lot of pressure on a kid, and as someone who grew up under that kind of pressure, I certainly resent it. So, friend, is the purpose of an specific education for a “gifted” kid to make him happier and well-adjusted (and perhaps he may choose a ‘successful’ path as a result, but also may not), or to make him a the future scientific leader/elite? Because if it’s the latter, then no wonder people hate y’all and call you elitist. “

    • That is a massive amount of pressure to put on a kid. The parents’ might as well tell their kids that it is their Social Darwinian duty to paternalistically carry the White Man’s Burden of Manifest Destiny in civilizing the inferior people, leading the unruly ignorant masses, and saving the world. And that if they fail as the new generation of ruling elite, all of Western Civilization will collapse and the dirty hordes will take over leading to a Social Darwininan devolution and degeneracy or possibly extinction of the human race. That should inspire the gifted kids to get straight As, right?

      • I found it interesting that the kids missed their best, close (white) friends. Possibly suggesting the white kids themselves are more comfortable wit the Asians than their own parents and it’s primarily the parents that are uncomfortable

        Those white Parents are competitive (look good for college!) as well as you noticed from article, they just don’t want to compete with Asians.

        • I don’t have any doubt that it will change with the generations. The parents probably grew up in nearly all white communities or neighborhoods. They think it’s a horrible fate for their kids growing up around non-whites, but likely the kids are just fine with it. Give it a generation or two and it will mostly be a non-issue.

  29. No offense but helicopter and tiger parenting seem to be an American phonemena more than anything. Even “asian” tiger parent is a middle and upper middle class asian-AMERICAN thing and not representative of parenting in actual Asia.

    America is a land of parents getting arrested for “free range parenting” for fucks sake. That’s absolutely insane.

    In actual Asia these is academic pressure to perform well on the tests but kids are way more independent, riding buses and subways alone at young ages, knowing how to cook and spend money, hanging out and shooting the shit when not studying, throwing rocks at each other without getting in trouble…

    And since East Asian school systems are based on passing a test instead of “selling yourself” and “extracurriculars” and “being well rounded” ts common for kids to normally goof around with friends, going out, hanging out at Internet cafes, then cramming for tests, since your personal life dosent matter in school admission the way it does if you’re middle class in the USA.

    Parents micromanaging their kids lives seems so middle class American, no offense…

    • It’s such a recent phenomenon as well. It wasn’t true to much great extent for any generation of American kids before the present generation in school. This is something that took hold within the last couple of decades. I graduated high school in 1994 and it was fairly laidback in those days, although a change had begun. In my senior year, students had less freedom than before. Something happened in the mid-1990s when the culture wars heated up and a new kind of obsession developed in relation to family values, parenting, education, etc. Still, there was no helicopter parenting that I ever heard about, even in the late 1990s. For one thing, the 9/11 terrorist attack created a national attitude of fear and protection, and it really messed up the American psyche.

    • It’s kind of strange hearing stories like that. I spent much of my childhood alone. I went to and from school by myself starting in elementary. I biked around the neighborhood by myself, played in the creek by myself, went to soccer practice by myself, etc. Or else I was out playing with friends. My parents rarely knew exactly where I was. Both of them worked and so I was a latchkey kid. Most of my peers had similar experiences. Parents’ and other authority figures never worried about kids being by themselves. It was considered normal and it was expected that kids weren’t irresponsible retards who were incapable of taking care of themselves. Despite all that freedom, I never knew any kid who got hurt, kidnapped, or met any other horrible fate—even though it was a much more dangerous world back then with far higher violent crime rates than now.

  30. “In China you have to attend mandatory study sessions at night in high school. Some even have to attend cram school. There isn’t enough time to get tiger parented because the national education system will do it for you. 1/3 of Chinese high schoolers literally live at school – high schools in China build dorms for any student that wants to live there.
    You might think this system is pretty harsh but it’s actually pretty cool, since you hang out with people your age without parental interference. It makes you grow up fast. I didn’t experience it since I left before high school but my cousins were all part of it. Back then they complained that high school sucked, but now that we are adults, they look back on it and realize it was filled with great memories – playing basketball after study session, going to the internet cafe, etc.
    Tiger parenting also doesn’t exist because the only thing that matters is the college entrance exam. You don’t get bonus points for sports, being well rounded, or even your GPA – so some people just live in the internet cafe after school and then cram in the final year. Almost all Chinese families are double income – parents themselves don’t have time to tiger parent. Tiger parenting is very very specific to Asian Americans, with incentives and an environment that allow tiger parenting.”

    • That is interesting. I suspect that is true of the difference of many populations, between those who emigrate and those who don’t. I’ve heard similar stories involving other immigrants to the US, how much the conditions alter attitudes and behaviors.

    • Maybe I’m just “wiser” but it seems like formerly “genteel” white nationalists have gotten more and more overtly hateful. Almost as of shedding their genteel skin to reveal the straight-up stormfront underneath :p

      • The Tea Party and the likes of Glenn Beck gave them a voice. Many reactionaries feel validated and so are being more open about what they’ve always believed. Plus, social and economic problems have a way of exacerbating issues. Many people spouting alt-right positions really are responding to other things. It’s just the only way they know how to express what their experiencing, as they have no other frame of understanding.

  31. As a millennial, middle and upper middle classes are In competitive desperation, working class are in hopeless despair, and the truly rich fuck around cause life will still be good no matter how retarded they are. This is what sets them apart from the upper middle class. The merely upper middle class is materially comfortable in present, but lacks the assurance that this will be maintained unless they fight for it via competitiveness with ever-decreasing opportunities.

    • It’s the middle class in general that is feeling uncertain about their position and their future. That is why reactionary views have become so loud, even among the liberal class. It’s also why Trump draws his greatest support from middle class whites, not poor whites.

    • I liked Afrofem’s comment. Here is the part about Clinton:

      “With Clinton, we have a criminal organization in the White House, a woman trying to prove her testicles are larger than Putin’s and more dog whistle (“the police are the law!”), corporatist politics.”

      Sounds about right to me.

    • “sometimes change comes only after a major national disaster, like an addict who has finally hit bottom.”

      That right there expresses my own sense of things. This system will only change when it is forced to change. Such a prospect likely means destruction, collapse, conflict, or at the very least major instability of the likes not seen in a while. It might require something far worse than the American Civil War. We are talking about problems that are more systemic and institutionalized, established and entrenched than maybe even slavery.

  32. Well, trump’s south Slav wife melania definately does not pass for wasp. If you see photos of the two, she is clearly of different stock than donald. Her complexion is completely different, and like many Slavs she looks a bit Asian (cheeks and eyes especially.) she has a pretty “south Slav” look with the Mediterranean complexion many south Slavs have.

    There’s also no way italian American abbey d’agostino passes for wasp. Look at her. No way

    • The Cold War was partly based on a belief, based on perception, that Eastern Europeans were fundamentally different from Western Europeans. Documents show that Stalin was interested in building a relationship with Western countries. But the major Western countries weren’t willing to cooperate and did everything in their power to create a Cold War that Stalin didn’t want. That sense of a perceived difference between East and West goes far back in history, whether East is perceived as the Slavs, Middle Easterners, or Asians. It’s a deep sense of distrust with both cultural and racial implications.

    • Many Southern Italians can look Middle Eastern. All of the populations directly around the Mediterranean share many features. Many Sicilians look more like North African Berbers than they do Germans or Scandinavians. All those populations are Caucasian by definition, but few Anglo-Americans would categorize such people as white. Anglo-American whiteness is a very specific subset of Caucasians.

  33. I think regardless of election outcome, neoconservatism is on it’s way out. Future right will trend more secular, isolationist, and socially libertarian. The religious right is on it’s way out.

    The 90’s “culture wars” are increasingly outdated and as millennials, a different language. Future battles will not be based on religion, abortion, gay marriage…

    • I’m not sure exactly what will replace present politics. But I’m sure that what obsessed mid-to-late 20th century Americans won’t be what will obsess mid-to-late 21st century Americans. Too much is changing in the world, both within the American population and around the world.

  34. I think overall recent American food, millennial generation too, has gotten better due to influences from more cultures. In contrast to “traditional mainstream American” cuisine that is, no offense, rather bland and derived from mostly NW Anglo European bland cuisines

    And i say this as someone who happens to like a lot of that “bland” food like mashed potatoes, cheese sandwich, lol

    • American cuisine in the past used to include a vast variety of traditional European ethnic foods. Industrialization helped destroy that.

      There was also the extreme pressure to assimilate, often with violence in relation to such ethnic groups as German-Americans. One way assimilation happened was by people giving up their ethnic foods. If you were Italian and smelled like garlic, you would experience prejudice that would limit your opportunities and prevent you from getting certain kinds of jobs.

      Even Europeans previously used a wider variety of seasonings in their food. But seasonings came to be associated with low class because they were used to cover up rotten food. Lack of seasoning was proof that food was fresh and hence that you were wealthy enough to afford fresh food.

      About the article, I don’t know what is true for most kids these days. The article does describe my nieces and nephew. The kids of my second oldest brother are the pickiest eaters I’ve ever come across in my life. They refuse to eat normal adult food and only like what is simple and bland.

      I find it strange, as my mother never gave me a choice. She cooked the same food for everyone and we rarely went out for fast food. Junk food was also limited in the house. My brothers and I either ate the food that was offered or we went hungry. I did have a paper route and could buy my own food, but I rarely did. It never occurred to me to not eat the food my mother cooked for me.

      My mother did make some foods that might be considered bland. But she wasn’t afraid of trying new recipes. She’d make such things as quiche. She’d try out new recipes sometimes, although most of our meals were standard American fare.

  35. You know what makes me lol? The whites who complain about feeling the classic “minority” feelings like feeling out of place, feeling judged as a group, not fitting in, friendly but exclusionary people, yet never make the leap to emphathiZing with non-whites who might feel that way :p

    • It is one of the sadder things about humans in general. It is easier for most people to empathize with those who are perceived as most like themselves. This is most frustrating when it involves those who are in some position of privilege, expecting others to empathize with them. There are lot of silly people in the world. I wish something could force them to see themselves in the way others see them for then they might feel some shame and contrition.

    • My parents tended to leave me alone. There is good and bad aspects to that. At times, it might have been nice if they had been more involved. When I was in college and first experienced severe depression, I felt isolated and my parents had no clue what was going on with me. They tried to be helpful to some extent, I suppose. But for the most part they expected me to solve my own problems, something I wasn’t capable of in that period of my life.

    • I’d generalize it more. It seems to me that throughout history the wealthy have more often than not been successful in manipulating or otherwise keeping in line the poor. This is true of nearly every racial population in nearly every society in nearly every historical period.

      It is rare when the poor find a way to free themselves from oppressive doctrines, propaganda, hierarchical power systems, social control, or whatever. Humans are sadly easily controlled, especially when in position of poverty with little sense of control over one’s own life.

      It’s not that poor people don’t sometimes try to gain control of their own lives, but it’s extremely difficult when the entire society is designed to keep you in your place. It’s easier to just go along to get along because, for those who don’t play by the rules, life doesn’t always end well. There are plenty of poor white people who are homeless, in prison, or generally living in desperation who are used as examples to show what happens.

      It’s easy for those who aren’t poor to suggest to the poor should fight back against the rich, instead of being used as pawns. Tell it to the poor whites who in unionizing lost their jobs, who in striking were brutally put down, or in protesting faced violence. Look what happened to the Bonus Army and what good being white did them when the powers that be decided they were a potential threat.

      There is a long history of oppression in this country, against poor people of all races. Class conflict is a very real thing with very real consequences.

        • It is easier to punch down. If you’re poor, punching up rarely achieves anything other than increasing your misery and antagonizing those who can do you harm. Punching down at least gives you a sense of power and there is little fear of reprisal. So, there is that. But it isn’t just that. Even if you don’t want to punch down, it doesn’t follow that you feel much capacity or motivation to do anything more than what is of concern to yourself. I doubt the average poor white is punching down, but neither are they looking down for solidarity. Poverty tends to put people in a weak and defensive position.

  36. I’m somewhat miffed with abagond’s posters lately. Many, despite being very minority justice, are the typical “dismissive” of people who express non-traditional white liberal views. I’m personally staying out of the fight, but there are some asian regulars there that are literally getting ganged up on for expressing the types of views more likely found in Hapas and AI (anti affirmative action, pro peter Liang, etc.) How these posters always have their points dismissed and not acknowledged so they can have a “wannabe white person anti black” label thrown on them without ever acknowledging their points. It is unfair.

    I’ve stayed out of the fight, but it’s disillutioignv to see these supposedly pro-justice people once again, trivialize the views of Asians who may not think like them.

    • I’ve found most people, even relatively more informed leftists, tend to have simplistic views. I got involved in social justice activism a couple years back. I finally got frustrated. Too many were stuck in one view or another and couldn’t see outside of it. I’ve rarely met people who have much depth of insight about much of anything. The main problem is how we too often talk about these issues and they get narrowly framed and oversimplified.


    I have no doubts that many asian American anti black but even I sometimes resent the simplistic assertions seen here. That Asians are in two simple camps and to be pro-black you need “these views” and other perspective is automatically “anti-black.”
    I think my evaluation of the “fight” In comment section is more accurate than the over simplistic and frankly insulting evaluation of OP
    I don’t doubt that some anti-affirmative action asian Americans might throw their frustrations on other minorities rather than the rightful target of white establishment administrators who quota and demean Asians for example. I myself have a more “neutral” view of affirmative action, I only have misgivings for the way Asians are treated by mostly white college administrators who tiptoe around ther minorities yet don’t blink an we at casually demeaning and shitting on and quota-ing Asians. But in liberal world asian misgivings is dismissed as “privileged over represented asian whiner.”

      • You know what gets me? Conventional liberals (think well off, nyt reader, Clinton voter) who can’t seem to think beyond red team/blue team in this election. Also, really classist. No awareness of class, really.

        • Yeah. It’s lots of things. Simplistic identity politics. Simplistic partisanship. Simplistic class (un-)awareness. It’s superficial knowledge and shallow thinking. I don’t think most people in our society, conventional liberals and otherwise, have the cognitive capacity and conceptual framework to deal with the problems and challenges we face. What seems worst of all is how oblivious are so many Americans. If there was at least a realization of these issues, we could attempt to do something about it.

  38. I’m not sure poor whites are racist as much as their racism is more direct. For my background, middle and upper middle class white can be very racist, but it just tends to be more subtle and passive aggressive

    This is not about voting for Hillary. Policy is an ancillary issue. In fact, I am not overly concerned about Trump; but rather Trumpism – that the Pat Buchannan wing in the GOP is outmuscling the other factions and polluting the minds of tens of millions of Americans. As for much of your other commentary, we really have to guard against two views here, one which is viewing things in a left-right dichotomy – which is a false division, and second- which is the stale cynical notion that race “has always been a problem” and race is a problem today. My guess is I’ve seen more elections than most have here, and am more familiar with the actual reality of the GOP as opposed to the skewed stereotype that PAA’s have of it. If you listen to the brainwashed left-wing partisans, nothing about the GOP has changed. Far too much has been written about this for the usual suspects to play dumb about the shifting ground between social conservatives, economic conservatives, and racialists within the GOP to ignore. The GOP has always been a coalition – and a certain group within it has gained more influence than they’ve had in the past over social and economic conservatives. If you look over the 10 years, there has been greater schism between the base and its leadership in the GOP than the Democratic party- it’s a question of who has exploited that void. Finally, it is not about buying guns or learning how to fight; it is a social conflict largely; physical violence and even political policy are the least of our worries. It will largely be about improving our ability to navigate subtle and often subconscious bias in social and business life; it will be about mental/emotional toughness, race realism about whites, and conversational/behavioral skill in this environment where whites will be more brazen about acting on their racial resentments

    I’ll deviate for a second to talk about the US (as the migrant and Muslim issues intersect; much of alt-right hysteria here is based on observation of what’s happening in Europe). And talk about how the response to this migration (and similar equivalents here in the US) affects us.
    What this is largely about is the bottom 50% of whites require a scapegoat for their lives being what they are. As a primer, bitterness sets in, in one’s late 30s, and certainly by one’s 40s about the delta between one’s goals and one’s actual standing in life. With American whites, it’s even worse because there is a cultural void which is filled by materialistic competition. I heard an investor talk about how it’s not that people can’t stand not getting rich; it’s seeing their neighbor get rich that drives them crazy. If you’ve dealt with whites, you know unsubstantiated pride is part of their makeup; at some point, life contradicts their self-image.
    All politicians have known how to steer the rage of for lack of a phrase, bitter pigs. Key among these strategies is class warfare, that is to gain their loyalty by telling them their enemies are actually well-off white billionaires who are exploiting the system. Trump turned this formula on his head by saying, “Yes, I exploited you. But now I’m helping you against the REAL cause of your woes- Mexicans who take your jobs and Muslims who threaten your family”. Of course everyone knows “Mexicans” is just a stand-in for minorities in general causing them economic problems- whether Indians in India or Chinese in China taking their jobs, or Asian-Americans here taking their jobs and taking college admissions over their sons/daughters. Propaganda and demogougery should never be taken ‘literally’ – it functions on a general fear; it means “THEY are threats”. ‘They’ being anyone who doesn’t look like you. “Muslims” is just a way of saying minorities resent you and will harm you; they can’t say it about blacks due to enough sympathy with them, so he’s masterfully picked a defenseless target. (That is until the Left figured out how to blur the difference with Khizr Khan, who exemplified patriotism and sacrifice…and happened to be Muslim).
    The bottom 50% of whites need something to rage against. What is emerging now is not cookie-cutter intolerance from the right, but represents an inflection point of attitudes among the broad masses of whites here (and Europe) that will pollute interactions between all minorities, us included, and whites. There is a very dangerous trend happening now in the West, one that cannot be blandly characterized by standard leftist partisans as “more of the same”.
    You can draw a straight line from the migrants situation in Europe to “mexicans stealing across the border” and “bringing drugs”. Or hysterical rants of “ISIS is in our backyard!!!” because of “political correctness”. It’s hysteria. This hasn’t harmed America in any meaningful way; far more people get killed from accidental discharges of firearms than ISIS-inspired killers. Far as jobs, economy and we have done well; only un-competitive whites are disadvantaged by undocumented workers.
    The West won’t implode; it will simply feature a newly radicalized white population that no longer fights rich whites or communists or gays (social conservativism) but has picked as its target the rest of us. Far from celebrating, there’s no denying there’s a racewar that’s emerging on a broader scale in the West. It used to involve the fringes and the rest of us stayed quiet. Not any more. In actuality, it will result in social tension on a day-to-day basis, increased micro-aggressions to all minorities, more unapologetic double standards of whites towards us. It threatens our quality of life. AltRight are not old-school conservatives; they do not regard us as “model minorities”; we are problematic in our own right according to them, and if they have not succeeded in popularizing their hatred towards us (which is visible on sites like MPC – where we are likened to ants) across the population through vessels like Trump, they will.
    We face very uncertain times ahead. No matter how the migrant situation ultimately resolves or what happens this November. It has been exploited in a truly disturbing way by a veritable army-in-waiting of closet bigots.

    • I have two responses. It is both simpler and more complex.

      The simpler interpretation is that most of what is going on is economics and all that is related to it. None of this is new, as it was seen earlier last century. But there was a prosperous era mid-20th century that dampened reactionary politics and allowed more moderation and compromise for a generation or so. Many people came to see that as normal and have been shocked with the return of reactionary politics, as if the US has never seen this before.

      Then there is the complex interpretation. There is much that has changed. The dynamic has shifted because of what is going on in the larger world. Anything that happens today is going to be far worse in its consequences because of the impact modern civilization is having, because of the advance of technology, because of the growth of global population, and because of how interconnected the global world has become. Anything that happens now will be far more devastating: revolutions, civil wars, world war, climate change, refugee crises, plagues, etc.

      We could see reactionary politics go to extremes never before seen. Yet, on a basic level, reactionary politics remains the same. Human nature is what it is.

  39. The funny thing about global terrorism is that carpet bombing in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East would only encourage and promote more Islamic extremism worldwide. As we have personally witnessed over the last decades, aggressive interventionist policies have only led to more instability in the Middle East and throughout the world. Worse yet, the West is still adopting and considering the same outdated policies that gave rise to terrorist groups, such as ISIS and Taliban. The West has broken a lot of potteries all the over the Middle East, but now they are trying to glue all the pieces together by smashing them with a jackhammer. LOL, it absolutely makes no sense.
    permalinkembedsavereportgive goldreply
    [–]PoliticianToBe 2 points 4 days ago*
    The West still wants to control the oil fields in the Middle East so they support cooperative regimes, but then Russia/China wants a piece of it too, while the Arabs either pick a side or are against every foreign power trying to control their people/land….So it does makes sense, since peace is not what the West really wants.
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    [–]hangryforpeace 2 points 4 days ago*
    The West still wants to control the oil fields in Middle East so they do have to support cooperative regimes, but then Russia/China wants a piece of it too
    Right. I feel like this is one of the main reasons why the US will not and cannot leave the Middle East alone by itself. As you have mentioned, the Middle East is a strategic supplier of oil and an important trade link that geographically connects Europe and Asia together. So leaving it to its own destiny is clearly not in the interests of Western imperalists.
    Having said that, I think the furtherance of Western imperialist policies in Middle East will continue to further foster terrorist groups, some of which will undoubtedly manage to launch a successful attack against the United States and Europe in the near future. I don’t think the West truly understands the threat that their own interventionist polices can impose to their homeland because their meddling in the foreign affairs of Middle East nations will only exacerbate the current crisis and inspire otherwise moderate Muslims to become extremists. Only after these terrorist groups successfully launch an attack of the same magnitude as the 9/11 attack, will Americans fully realize the true costs of their imperialist policies.
    permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]Leetenghui 3 points 3 days ago
    will Americans fully realize the true costs of their imperialist policies.
    The problem is they keep promoting the we din do nuffin mentality. For example post 911 they hate us for our freedom! The day America lost its innocence shit.
    Innocence? What innocence? The chemical weapons used against Vietnamese civilians? The massive amount of murder around the world? The toppling of democracies to install dictators? The experimenting on humans (they said the nazis and Japanese were bad for doing this they do it A-OK).
    Shit over the past few days there somebody kept arguing the Japanese attacked Pearl Habor for no reason. We din do nuffin to them. As per usual in schools they were taught the dem sneaky bastards version of history. There is no mention of the 8 provocations or the trade embargo which was itself a declaration of war.

    • There is a self-destructive tendency that comes from wielding so much power. This comes from how disconnected the ruling elite become from the people their policies harm. They can’t understand what is happening in the real world or how it will ever come back to haunt them. They either think people like them are untouchable or that it will be the problem of future generations. The only other explanation is that they have a suicidal death urge, self-sabotaging the very social order they are dependent on. Maybe even the powerful after a while get tired of the status quo and unconsciously want to see it ended.

  40. I don’t like that many Americans seem to lack sense of cause and effect, nor any awareness or care for USA in context of wider world (rather than isolated center.)

    For example in refugee arguing, no one talks about how the regfugees might have been created in first place, origins of Syrian instability, etc.

    In a sense American very solipsistic

    • That is always my complaint. The lack of larger context and deeper understanding. I can’t speak for other countries. All I know is that the US is endlessly reactionary, based on un-/misinformed simplistic thinking. The solipsism exacerbates this, but I suspect that is the fate of the citizen-subjects of any global superpower or major empire. Power and privilege creates an insular mindset, even for the underprivileged within that society, as everyone in that society will experience the same mainstream media and propaganda.

  41. The one thing I see forcing Americans to actually give a damn about context and what the USA does abroad is a draft

    • I’ve said pretty much the same thing. I was discussing the draft with my dad the other day. It would make the political elite suddenly care as well, if there own children could get drafted. Back when we had drafts, many politicians were veterans and a fair number had even seen fighting and seen people they knew die in battle. That would create a different kind of politician who understood what it meant to send people off to war.

  42. I’m not sure average American really likes interventionism as much as neocons when they really think it through as opposed to reacting to spmethikg (percieved threats, patriotism/exceptional ism)

    Average American only thinking of his day to say life and geopolitically tends to be solipsistic. This is natural when you’re part of the “alpha” empire that calls the shots. But I don’t think average American is so pro-interventionist when they actually take the time to acknowledge and ponder it, or when faced with it

    • Surveys show that lower class Americans are less supportive of wars than the upper class. Part of that might be, since we don’t have a draft, those who join the military are the poor who have few other opportunities. The poor join the military not because they love war but because they’re trying to escape poverty. If there was a draft that forced many upper class people into the military, the upper classes would probably also be less supportive of war.

  43. In its classic forms, American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty. Sometimes this special character is inferred from the nature of American political institutions founded in the 1776-89 period–the declaration of independence (1776), revolution (1776-83), constitution (1787) etc. Thus the “revolution” and its aftermath freeing the US from British control are important in ideas of American exceptionalism. But often the political differences are said to be underpinned by material differences brought about by the wealth/resources of the United States, sometimes seen as a direct product of the freedom of the American people, but by others as the product of the inheritance of the North American continent’s abundant resources. This is the frontier version of the theory, and this and the ideas of social mobility and immigrant assimilation are closely tied to this set of ideas of American material prosperity. Many aspects of American history may be left out or distorted in the traditional narratives–particularly the histories of Amerindian peoples and the contribution of other ethnic groups that preceded the Anglo-Americans, e.g. Hispanics. Race and slavery are seen as tragic exceptions, and the abolition of the latter was viewed as a partial resolution, encompassed in Lincoln’s idea of a “new birth of freedom” in the Gettysburg Address.

    It is also important to realise that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasising unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?

    • I’ve noted that before. Americans like to think of the US as exceptional. If not exceptionally great, then exceptionally bad. But the reality is that the US isn’t among the best or worse on quite a few measures and issues, depending on the countries used as a comparison.

      The US looks great compared to the worst off countries in the world while looking not so great compared to the best countries. Among highly developed wealthier countries, the US is just average. The US is pretty good in many ways and yet, for some Americans, simply being pretty good is almost an insult.

      I don’t think the US is unique in and of itself, although it came to power during a unique period of global history. The US inherited its culture(s), economic system, and political traditions from other countries. If there is anything unique, it’s simply how it all gets mixed together in a particular way, specifically in how quickly the US was built on mass waves of immigration from diverse countries.

      Still, the US has fallen into many predictable patterns. We aren’t fundamentally different than various empires that have come before.

    • I understand why people turn to identity politics. It’s a powerful and quick way to organize people. And it has much potential to be used for beneficial purposes.

      There isn’t anything inherently wrong with identity politics. But the way it so often gets used is less than inspiring. It can just as easily or maybe even more easily used to harm than to help. It’s such a blunt tool, easy to wield and so can be wielded by anyone—just as a loaded gun can be taken hold of by a police officer or a criminal, a person trained in weaponry or a child.

      It’s a rare person who will have the capacity and responsibility to use identity politics well. I’m thinking it is a tool that should be used more carefully, maybe only after all else has failed. Then again, group identity is such an inbuilt tendency that I’m not sure many could resist its power.

      In that case, we need to find better group identities around which to organize. Our present standard group identities haven’t been working well toward actual progress, social justice, and democratic action. Using the same old group identities will lead to the same old results. New outcomes will require new identities. Few seem to understand that basic truth.

    • After listening to a bit of it, I kept wondering if it was some strange form of humor. It seemed so juvenile and silly, but the person sounded so serious. I couldn’t get past a couple of minutes of it before turning it off. I’m not sure what the point of it was, other than someone with major issues that they need to talk to a psychotherapist about.

      • I’ve mostly given up on discussions like that. People rarely change their minds or gain new insight. There is no point trying to communicate to others. People either understand or not. Arguing serves little purpose, other than causing frustration.

    • An elite like Hillary Clinton will never get thrown in jail without due process that way average joes increasingly are, will she?

      • Not unless she finds her in a situation where she is more of a liability than a benefit to the ruling elite establishment, the shadow government, the deep state, or whatever one wishes to call it. Professional politicians like Hillary Clinton have power because of a web of connections that maintain her power. But any particular plutocrat or oligarch isn’t relevant to the system and will be cut out like a cancer when that is what is required for continued power. So what would finally push Hillary into that position of no longer being useful to those who rule?

  44. People have different priorities his elections perhaps, not everyone is focused only on economy or social issues. Some a baffled as to why some bernie supproters like Gary Johnson for example…

    But the answer is, what they care about.

    For example., these days, I care about surveillence, patriot act, and foreign policy.

    Wanna hear something? Remember me linking to you the chinese American scientists that got screwed over? Xiaoxing Xi, Sherry Chen, Yujie Ding etc?

    Well, while I was gone, investigators showed up my parents a few times, and no, not with any notification beforehand.

    They didn’t arrest my parents, but they won’t stop harassing them, Nd it’s several different investigation places. And they wouldn’t tell my folks why. A few other chinese American (and one chinese/russian couple) had the same shit happen to them. Investigation/authorities breaking into their house and labs.

    They finally “stopped” after my folks got a lawyer. Lawyer said that from now on if they did to again, they would need to inform lawyer and get his approval first.

    That is some fucked up patriot act bullshit right?

    Also, my dad now has a special “tab” looking physical thingy to even access his work email! SOmething to confirm it’s him I dunno. I know that Xiaoxing Xi got fucked over because uncle sam thought his emails were fishy (they weren’t) so much taht they broke into his house, pointed their guns at him and his familys back to the wall, and dragged him to jail before aquitted of all charges. Which reminds, and pisses me off. Uncle Sam thought average joe scientist Xi was suspicious (no proof yet) so they dragged him to jail with no due process, yet Hillary Clinton can do what she did and nothing happens? What?

    It makes me think Benjamin, that if you or I or average joe next door did what Hillary Clinton did we’d already be in jail for life (at best.) Makes me think, yeah, laws don’t apply to the elite, but moreso, the increasing police state dosen’t apply to the elite, does it?

    • My brother and I are socially and politically liberal in many ways. But we also both have a libertarian strain. If the right libertarian came along, there are many like us who would vote libertarian.

      The mainstream media, including mainstream libertarians, ignore the larger and ever growing number of liberals and leftists who are libertarian or lean libertarian. It’s just a different kind of libertarianism. Chomsky, after all, is a libertarian. And the protest movement against the Iraq War, the largest protest in world history at that point, included people on the political left and right with a common concern about civil libertarianism.

      The divide in society isn’t now nor has it ever really been about the left vs right. It’s always been a class war. It just takes different forms at times. Part of what determines what form it takes is how large is the middle class and which side the middle class takes, defending the rich or joining their voices with the lower classes. As Trump supporters are on average middle class, this shows a shifting attitude in the middle class. They may be confused in other ways, but they understand that the plutocrats aren’t their friends.

  45. I’m frustrated with conventional liberals because they are so blind to the two-party smokescreen and distracted by what they want you to be distracted by, no?

    Look Benjamin, I really doubt GOP republicans actually hate the Clintons. It’s all a show for us plebians. They are so remarkably alike and total pals under the bickering shown to us proles. Their policies are nearly identical besides social issues and surface economic and other lip services. Both parties will give us increased police state, enemy imaging of other nations and reckless foreign policy, American ExceptionalismTM, neoliberal economics, etc

    Honestly Clinton is the pro-choice George Bush and it baffles me that her supporters can’t see that.

    • Most Republicans don’t hate most Democrats. And the feeling is mutual. The two parties cooperate more than not about issues important to the plutocracy.

      It’s not even social issues such as abortion that divide them. In the end, social issues are irrelevant to what truly drives politics. If pro-choice was inconvenient to the plutocracy, she’d back away from it. And the same thing about pro-life and those like George W. Bush. The rich don’t give a shit what the poor do.

      Even if abortions were outlawed, the rich would simply go to other countries for abortions. And if one of Bush’s daughters had an unwanted pregnancy, she’d get an abortion and Bush wouldn’t care.

      The only reason social issues matter at all to the rich is to the degree it is personal and to the degree the culture wars can be used for social control of the masses.


    You know, back on Derbyshire, it is interesting, because I’ve peeked around his writings, and the way he describes his son, he makes it sound like his son, is also quite emotinoally troubled, at least to an onlooker like me, yet Derb dosen’t seem to recognize it when he’s describing pretty disturbing behavioural traits in his son. His teenage son being always angry and loving to smash and break things, for one. Teens are weird and angsty, but that is still not normal. There was also one part where his son joined the army, and he told his son that he could die. His son’s reply was “so?” Derbyshire dosen’t make anything of it at all, but to a unrelated reader like me, it does suggest issues in his son that go beyond normal teen angst.

  47. I remember I wanted to be a baker/pastry chef in high school, especially early high school. I used to bake all the time. I constantly brought pastries to class early high school. One time I brought cupcakes to class and no one would eat them because “they were so pretty it was like eating them was destroying them.” :/ But I never took any baking classes even though my high school had one since I got caught up in the college rat race. My dad when finding out I was looking into culinary arts said “no prestige, you can do better, LOWEST PAID JOBSSS kids need to be better than their parents!!!(and dad is a phD professor, quite the benchmark) And yet, in hindsight, I would, and still think, I’d be perfectly content with a more “bleu collar” job like that if it paid a living wage. But that’s the catch isn’t it? “Living wage”

    We had a fairly smart girl in my grade who was good at school yet went to technical school and became a pastry chef. At the time I also judged her because, you know, you gotta aim high aka go to ivy league and get white collar prestigious work.

    I am still unlearning many things, actually. Snobbishness being one of them. In my heart that was never me, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in things, you know?Let’s talk about stress and competition.

    You know, as a teen, competition in Asian schools blow ass and is stressful, but at least there, the competition is straightforward and you know exactly what you have to do. Here? subjective “Holistic Admissions” basically creates an atmosphere of secrecy, prone to abuse (due to lack of objective standards) and for these liberal hypocrites

    In Asia wanna go to this college? Just hit this cutoff score on the test. Here? Yeah score high, but you have to be what we’re looking for, the kind of person we want. Of course we won’t really tell you what we want. How to you make us like you? Well, if you’re even asking that, you’re a tryhard. Just asking us what we want means you’re being a tryhard. We want a kid who has “depth not breadth.” You can’t explore stuff to figure out what to pour your passion into though, cause if you do that at 14-18, it makes you look like you don’t have depth but breadth. We like kids who’ve struggled, but we never accept kids who’ve gotten C’s unless daddy donated a building or they can throw a football really, really, well. Do you work hard and your hard work and sweat really shows? Sorry, but being hard-working shows us that you aren’t intelligent and just work hard which suggests you’re a boring robot. So if you’re hardworking, better hide it. Are you “well-rounded?” Again, depth not breadth, you prole. Also, if you’re stressed all the time, you’re a fragile teacup sweetie, what is wrong with you, don’t you have a soul? (even though it’s our muddled, subjective, secretive standards that are stressing you to the brink because we demand you be so amazing while concealing all the blood, sweat, and tears it takes for you to be amazing. We want to see that you can also be fun and relax, but if you actually hang out and shoot the shit you’re a dumb underachieving slacker.

    I grew up in a pretty rural area, but my immediate bubble was one of many relatively comfortable, middle and upper middle class white liberals with working class whites thrown in, along with a few Asian Americans and Asian immigrants and sprinkles of blacks and latinos. But during my teen years especially, i think culture of status-oriented white liberalism hurt me and I think it hurt the other Asian Americans I knew as well.

    By now you know how hard I am on conventional liberals. But there are reasons for it and I’m not ashamed of it.

    Yeah I hate elitism, unfairness, and such. But more than that, is I hate hypocrisy, double standards, and two-faced-ness. Which exemplifies the affluent white liberal.

    Don’t underestimate kids. They often have some of the best BS detectors around. They also have quite nimble hypocrisy and double-standard detectors

    Like most teens I had a BS detector and I know it went off there. But I guess, I compare it to a fire triggering the fire alarm. My alarm was subconsciously triggered, but I could not figure out the fire. So all I could do was get stressed because the alarm was ringing.

    In hindsight, on white liberal prestige obsessed culture, I think in high school when dealing with the game, I could sense everything I articulate now about latent anti-asianness and hypocrisy, but I could not articulate it so the only response I knew was to become a depressed, angry person who blamed myself for being able to read between the lines on the anti-asianness yet could not consciously articulate it. What I mean is, I think subconsciously, I sensed the anti-asianness of this rhetoric and culture that gave it no thought, but because it was only subconscious, it manifested consciously in self-hate, self-blame, depression, anxiety, and anger.–

    • The problem is few people ever think about any of this. It’s hard to develop enough awareness to see it clearly. And few people will be motivated enough to do so. It usually requires some kind of difficulty and struggle, often with depression or something similar. That is what it takes before most people will start to question. But even once they begin questioning, there is no easy way for them to grasp what is wrong, unless they happen on some writings that give them some insight.

  48. “any discussion on the phenomenon of high Asian representation in the tech industry – and STEM fields in general – is meaningless without mentioning the prejudices and racism that motivates Asian families to push their kids to pursue these careers in the first place. One reason that Asians are encouraged to enter STEM careers – as opposed to the arts, for example – is because of the belief that the greater subjectivity in assessing capabilities in many non-STEM fields leaves Asians more vulnerable to prejudices and disadvantage than in STEM where capabilities can be more objectively assessed. The experiences of aspiring Asian actors and the hostility directed at Jeremy Lin lend credence to this belief.

    To me, this is a significant aspect of the phenomenon of the high representation of Asians in STEM. Just as in the past, sport – particularly boxing – was seen as a way for young black men to circumnavigate racism and achieve social mobility, STEM has come to serve that same purpose for the Asian-American community that faces a subtle, poorly defined, and easily denied prejudice in industries where success and ability are measured more subjectively.”

  49. “My point is that people in general are pretty clannish and like to stick around others who are like them. When there is a diverse population, most people are going to stick with the people who they are most like because it is more comfortable for them that way. Most people like diversity in theory, but tend to avoid it in practice. Self segregation is a natural human instinct because people are wired to like familiarity and their clan. Suburbs provide people the opportunity to use race and politics as their clans. It’s a major reason why ethnoburbs and ethnic neighborhoods exist even when successful minorities have the financial means to move to white neighborhoods. For example, African American families living around Cascade Road mostly can afford to move to Sandy Springs or Dunwoody, but prefer to live in an upscale black neighborhood instead. What’s ironic is that it’s only considered a problem when “whites” (this gets tricky because of “white ethnics” like Jews and Italians) decide to self segregate into their own communities.

    • The people one grows up with will be the people one identifies with. If a person grows up in a diverse community and so they had diverse peers, friends and neighbors, that person will identify with and feel comfortable around diversity. But if such a person suddenly found themselves in a homogeneous community of people who looked like them, they’d probably hate it.

      About ethnic whites self-segregating, that is the other side of the story. What many don’t understand is ethnic whites weren’t ever given a choice to assimilate. They were forced, sometimes with the threat of violence, to assimilate or suffer the consequences. White privilege for most Americans came at a high cost of having their autonomous group identity destroyed.

  50. I was thinking about that study that suggested that the iq variation gap of more male geniuses/idiots was actually slightly reversed in asian Americans.

    I think stem is actually more common in asian, Slavic, Iranian, women. The gender ratios are more even in these cultures.

    Asian immigrants also seem to push girls as hard as boys academically

    One thing, is that Asia immigrants I notice do not seem to be as obsessed with innate giftedness as white bread Americans. They seem to believe hard work is more important to success and think anyone who isn’t completely retarded/intellectually disabled can do a subject well if pushed. Asians in Asia also seem to he less obsessed with innate ability than Americans are. Also, Americans tend to dislike showing hard work and more giving off the image of someone who is good without trying, the natural. But asian culture have no problem acknowledging and displaying blood, swear,cans tears and seem to focus more on how they worked hard to get there, while Americans seem more into “talent” and “natural ability”

    Lol, my mom loves complaining about Americans making the “my genes” “god didn’t bless me” for when they don’t do something well or are bad at something. Her reaction is “no, you just lazy. Don’t work as hard as the one more successful.” She often thinks Americans use “much genes” as a copout too much.

    “Another interesting thing about having Asian kids in a school is that Asians don’t buy into the myth that girls can’t do math and science. Asian girls often excel in these subjects, and they don’t consider it unusual at all. I hope that attitude rubs off on the other kids.”

    • Part of this could relate to immigration. Asian-Americans include high rates of immigrants and children of immigrants. To be an immigrant in the first place necessitates immense motivation. Asian-Americans don’t represent the average Asian who doesn’t immigrate. The willingness to work hard is common to many immigrant groups and has been for a long time.

  51. Good comment

    I think language and culture trumps race honestly. That’s not to deny the impact of race

    Immigrants in general will self segregate since, well, they’re immigrate in a new alien world. Ethnic enclaves are basically immigrant support groups. Second generation kids born in country usually move out.

    It was true of the countless German enclaves here, little Italy, greek town, little Poland, little Canada, etc and it continues to be true for asian, Latin, russian, enclaves

    “Middle class American born Asians have parents who have mostly come here for higher education. They have on the whole assimilated well into American society at large, having interacted with the (white ) majority at the collegiate as well as professional levels. Most of them have Asian and non-Asian friends. Their kids will be raised in a more mainstream way, with less self-segregation.

    However, first generation Asian kids don’t have the advantage of having their parents well assimilated into society at large before they were born. Their parents have more difficulty mixing with non-Asians because of language and cultural issues. I would venture to say most white Americans (how many of you) would not go out of their way to befriend them. They themselves feel isolated and turn to others in similar situations,their countrymen. Their children in turn made this observation and self-congregation occurs because they fear rejection from others. They would even isolate themselves from other Asians not from the same country of origin.”

    • Among immigrants, class plays an immense role. Wealthier immigrants will likely be better educated and already more familiar with Western culture and languages. Wealthier immigrants will feel less need and desire to self-segregate into an ethnic enclave. If anything, they will tend to avoid ethnic enclaves when possible. I doubt most African immigrants to the US these days, who usually are above average in wealth and education, would seek out black neighborhoods to live in.

  52. Also I think often the stress of being immigrant, culture shock, completely new environment, makes some immigrants almost overcompensate in making them more “clannish” than they otherwise would be in different environment

    • Being an immigrant is a not a normal situation and doesn’t lead to normal behavior. There is a lot of pressure and stress involved. This can lead to overcompensation in many ways: clannishness and self-segregation, uber-patriotism and becoming a model citizen (or model minority), working extremely hard (e.g., fulfilling the American Dream), etc.

  53. Lmao

    “Socializing: Surely it isn’t monolithic. My son goes to a multi-enthnic high school where many of the parents are suspicious of kids from other ethnic groups and attempt to keep their kids away. They fail, most of the time. There is a hilarious amount of sneaking-around-behind-parents’-backs. “

    • That is how assimilation occurs. Kids will to some extent mirror their parents’ behavior, depending on the kind of society. But kids have a tendency also to be greatly influenced by their peers, often in spite of their parent’s attitudes.

    • From the first link:

      “I then show, consistent with these patterns, that diversity is detrimental to intergroup trust only in the presence of ethnic group segregation.”

      There was a book I was reading. The author was discussing research, either that the author had done or by others. A similar point was made. It showed that some of our assumptions about diversity and trust don’t quite operate in the way that many have assumed. But I don’t recall the author’s analysis and conclusion.

      On a related note, I’ve seen a discussion about immigration and residency. In Europe, immigrants tend to be segregated into neighborhoods and it seems to be problematic, probably most specifically when it concentrates poverty and other disadvantages (including consequences of prejudice). The US, for all its faults, has experienced less segregation in terms of immigrants. This is partly to do with the kind of society but also the kind of policies.

      This is a great topic. It should get more attention than it does. Unfortunately, even when it does get attention, it gets simplified to the point of idiocy and the most interesting data gets ignored.

    • Stuff like that reinforces my judgment that the ‘gifted’ label is meaningless and needs to be abandoned. I say that as someone who probably would have been labeled as such, if it had been a focus when I was a kid.

      Labels do matter. Obviously, who wouldn’t rather be labeled ‘gifted’ than ‘learning disabled’, the latter being the label I was given. My response, though, would be to move away from all labels in being placed on children.

      Labels, at best, should only be used on official documents for official purposes but otherwise used sparingly. This is even more true for vague labels like ‘gifted’, which probably shouldn’t be used at all, officially or unofficially.

  54. I was thinking about my own school experience and my dad’s actually, and thinking about how, perhaps, modern American schooling, especially in the elementary years, is particularly hard on boys. As a generalization, boys tend to be more rambunctious, hyperactive, and competitive, for example, while girls are more likely to conform to the ideal student image of sitting still, pleasing the teacher and others, working well with other kids/social adeptness/cooperation, etc.
    When I was a ski instructor, on Saturday mornings I had to teach a kids program for 3 year olds to introduce them to skiing. I had two boys and a girl once, and the two boys took to snowball fighting, wrestling each other, fort building, and one even tried to hit me with a ski pole baiting me to hit him back. The girl came over and told us she wanted to sit together in a circle and talk and be friends, LOL.
    Which brings me to this. What do you think of the concept of school choice? In USA right now it is a huge fight. Many are anti-charter schools, for many reasons. Many see school choice as leaving behind neighborhood public schools to rot. Etc.
    The issue underlying the fighting is inequality in school quality. But from my own point of view, I think there can be more brought into this. In many cities, people resent charter schools because they are only seen as better schools for parents avoiding the falling-apart, rotting neighbourhood school, leaving that school to rot further. But I think charter schools and such do not have to be “merely” better. Sometimes, alternative schools can serve the purpose not as being the “better” option, but as the alternative option. These schools are not merely better test scores versus the rotting public school, but for example, they may be fundamentally structured differently, have different types of classes, taught with a different style, than traditional schools.
    In my town, we had a single public high school that is decent, above-average for the state. But many purposely choose to go to other schools. The alternative program, or local private Christian schools, not because the public school is bad, but becasue they are happier at the other schools, they are happier in the environments.

    • Schools were different when I was a kid. I was a fairly energetic and fidgety boy. But we had recess and gym class. There was plenty of time to run off some of that energy.

      Plus, physical activity was considered a norm when I was a kid. Nearly every kid in my class walked or biked to school. And most of them were on the same school soccer team. We didn’t lack outlets for our energy back then. No one used to expect young children, boys or girls, to sit around endlessly all day. Quite the opposite.

      I’m not against school choice on principle. But I think school choice in the US would almost inevitably lead to bad results. That is until we change how we educate children.

      At present, all the best kids go to private schools and charter schools who by law, unlike public schools, don’t have to take the worst off kids. A charter school might have looked at a problem kid like I was and refused me as a student (and it would have been perfectly legal). All the costs and difficulties are unfairly forced onto public schools.

      Even so, charter schools on average do no better than public schools. That isn’t to say there aren’t some really great non-public schools, but most of them aren’t all that good. School choice in a class-obsessed society like the US simply exacerbates class divides and the problems that go with it, furthering various inequalities.

      That said, I favor having many options. But I’d want the options available to all students, not just the best and wealthiest students. Also, more options may not be helpful until the education system itself is reformed, as the options will be forced to conform to the present laws and official standards. Let’s first improve basic education to the level of other developed countries and then consider the possibilities beyond that.

      • I think some of it is not necessarily school quality but social quality. For example a kid who dosen’t feel like he fits in and struggles or is bullied may prefer a different school.

        I’m also trying to come to terms with the fact that a lot of the ways I was treated by other kids, my peers, was bullying.
        In terms of relating to my peers and connecting with them, the class where I connected most with my peers was in a Creative Writing elective my sophomore year of HS. I was the youngest kid in the class and most of the kids were rather alternative junior and senior kids. They were accepting of me.

        I once wrote an angry and hurt rant in that class which was, in hindsight, about bullying and mean girls behavior towards me, but at that time I’m not sure why I wasn’t able to label it what it was. I guess I felt like that was normal. But the other kids in class were very nice about it. Didn’t pity me, but they were very diligent and considerate in “critiquing” it, LOL. Since it was an assignment.

        But you know, in grade school there is also this tacit social hierarchy that most people can detect. I don’t think I’m free of guilt myself. I often connected very well with kids, but when I realized these kids were low on the social hierarchy, bullied by other kids, I tended to avoid them to save my own place on the hierarchy

      • I think one thing is that I’ve always been a very sensitive person, and I don’t mean in the crying at movies way. So coercing me to be more like my peers never helped me actually perform. I always languished unlike my immediate bubble within a bubble…

        I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that in my life, the adults actually perhaps unintentionally belittled and tore down a lot of traits I naturally have, like sensitivity. Seriousness. Hyper-awareness. Shit, my mom even forced me to write with my right hand as a young kid. So I’ve always been really tough on my self and hating myself because I got the message that myself wasn’t okay.

      • Having alternatives is good, for students such as yourself or how I was when younger. But I’d like to see the entire education system transformed. Not just alternatives to the dysfunction.

        There should be alternatives for all kids within all schools, for rich and poor kids, for gifted and learning disabled, and for the average kids as well. Education should offer many options and the entire education system should be set up to offer those options. Every school should have various proven effective ways of dealing with bullying, differences in learning style, social development issues, and whatever else. This would require greater funding for schools, better training for teachers, more resources made available to students, and less wasteful bureaucratic overhead; along with increased emphasis on teacher freedom, local experimentation, and scientific research.

        This could involve charter and private schools. But considering the problems exist within the entire education system, the emphasis would need to be on the public schools that most kids attend. Charter and private schools can’t solve the problem when the problem is systemic to the society. Our collective attitude needs to change about education. First and foremost, we need to prioritize it as if it really did matter.

        That in turn would mean we’d have to deal with issues of class, inequality, poverty, environmental problems (e.g., lead toxicity), structural racism, school-to-prison pipeline, etc — all the issues we seem incapable of facing. Education is one of those areas where overlaps every problem in our society and hence where everything that is wrong gets perpetuated or even further entrenched. This is why we’re incapable of real change that would improve education. All we’ve done is mostly tinkering that won’t threaten the status quo.

    • There are many reasons I wouldn’t want to live in NYC. I’m simply not a big city kinda guy. There is a certain kind of stress and pressure that seems common to big cities. The class divide is exacerbated in such environments. People become geographically divided into neighborhoods with ghettoization, gentrification, and suburbanization. Economic inequality is typically extreme in the biggest cities. I’m sure this promotes an attitude of hyper-competition and Social Darwinism. In smaller towns, the poor and wealthy live closer together and interact on a more regular basis. In general, people know their neighbors and other local residents better. I like being able to say ‘hi’ to a random stranger and their saying ‘hi’ back. Even the homeless people in smaller towns are friendlier and nicer.

  55. “People say the gifted label can cause underachievement, but I actually think not getting the label when a student could have it (such as the posters above) is more likely to cause underachievement. I was actually ‘kicked out’ of a gifted program because of one test score and to the other students’ surprise and even that of my teachers I was never admitted back in. So like JollyGG I eventually lost interest in excelling. Over the years teachers would announce that I made the best grade in the class or that I made the best grade on a math final out of all the classes and I was always so indifferent. I was told by my elementary school counselor that I didn’t have a gifted IQ, but if I did well in school it was because I was a good hard worker. I knew that I really wasn’t working very hard at all, but it was assumed that I was because nothing else could explain why I regularly beat out the ‘gifted kids’. For some years I did put in some effort to at least finish my classwork well and get in my homework, I think in an effort to prove to myself that I was actually smart. But eventually I lost interest in a lot of that routine work that was only challenging because it required endless repetition. In high school, teachers would tell me to take the advanced version, but I had zero self-esteem by that time. I got back some motivation in college, but I never seemed to get ‘on track’. I know my kids have high IQs and both my parents, but I only have a bright IQ with a bunch of gifted traits (sensitivities, curiosity, strong drive for self study)?

    I did have a best friend in early elementary school whose IQ was around mine and who also just missed the cut-off. I grew up in one of the most educated areas in the country so there was a lot of genetic competition I guess. Well in fourth grade she moved to Florida and the school there immediately put her in a gifted school where she remained until graduation. She ended up much more successful academically than me and just a lot more confident in general.”

    • I don’t know how having gotten the ‘gifted’ label was necessarily going to help me as a kid. I did get help when I went to a wealthier school in a Chicago suburb. But when we moved to a less wealthy but not poor town, I no longer got the help I needed because the services weren’t available. The difference between those schools was wealth and hence how well the schools were funded. Also, education policies were different back then. Giving some kids special labels isn’t going to improve the education system which is the source of the problem.

  56. And yeah, you’re totally right- people with very low IQs do stand out a lot more than “equally” gifted kids. Low IQ isn’t just impacting their ability to learn, but physiological stuff, too. As a species, we have a preference for intelligence as well, so while a super-genius may be off-putting, we still have admiration for someone who is profoundly gifted, whereas many people have almost a repulsion for those with serious disabilities. I guess I just mean that the gap is just as wide, and imagining what it’s like in the middle is going to be harder and harder the farther you are from average.

    Height might be a better analogy. Someone who is 7′ tall will stick out just as someone who is 4′, but the shorter person will have a harder go of life, from struggling to get around to being patronized or mocked. We value height, so we may stare at the tall person, we don’t have the same reaction when we see a very short person. (“We” is used generally, of course.)

    • I’d point out that such things as IQ and height are directly and causally related to health and hence wealth. Hispanics on average are shorter than whites, even though genetically they have the same height potential. The same goes for an IQ comparison. The main difference is that Hispanics on average are less wealthy than whites, less access to the most nutritious foods, the best healthcare, parks and sports, camps and programs. private/charter schools and tutoring (and hence such things ‘gifted’ programs), etc. Wealth, through health, is physically and cognitively observable by other people. But if all kids were offered the exact same quality and level of services and such, they too would be healthier and show it.

  57. I think he is projecting his bitterness onto Jane Smith

    Personally I’d be shit pissed if a teacher spoke to me like this.

    Jane Smith on February 25, 2015 at 2:51 am Who do you think you are? Have you ever been a student at an ‘elite’ school? Have you ever experienced the type of pressure students like me are under? Have you ever pulled an all nighter just to finish studying for the three tests you have all in one day? Have you ever taken an SAT cram class and memorized two hundred SAT words in a period of one week? How on earth do you have the nerve to accuse us of cheating, you have no idea how hard we work to maintain our 4.0s and our perfect SAT scores. I know a student who had to be hospitalized from exhaustion during AP season because he would rather not sleep than cheat. I guess by your logic non Asian’s don’t understand hard work because that is the only ‘gaming’ the majority of us have ever done. Also how do you explain how many Intel winners are Asian, or how only 1 single USA IBO team member was white? The list goes on. I’m pretty sure there’s no way to cheat your way out of presenting projects and answering questions IN FRONT OF THE JUDGES. If you want to talk statistics Asian Americans earn on average 16k more than the average US population. I don’t know if you’ve tried but it’s hard to cheat at your job, especially since the majority of us Bay Area Asians are computer programmers. My parents worked hard to move to this country. They worked hard to get jobs here without even speaking English in the first few years. They worked hard just like the millions of other parents out there who just want their kids to have a good education. My parents aren’t ‘tiger parents’, all they want is for me to be happy, just like the millions of other parents out there. Did you know that at the very Asian Gunn High School there were 5 suicides in 2011 alone because of the pressure the students put themselves under? Do you think if cheating were that easy and common they would have made that choice? Did you know that even though my parents, and the millions of other parents worked their asses off for their kids educations Asian Americans are heavily discriminated against in college admissions at elite universities? Sure some of us cheat, but have you checked that stats on white/black/hispanic people and steroids? Have you checked the stats on lipsyching? All races cheat. Asians just care more about success in their future careers. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, in fact it’s a really bad thing. But it’s true that it’s part of our culture to always do well in school and some people unfortunately resort to desperate measures to achieve that means. I’m sorry that you don’t understand how hard the majority of us Asians can work, but there are many white students and teachers at my school who do. I thank god that I’m not as racist as you because I’d probably hate your entire race if I was. I myself have never cheated and I know that the majority of my peers have not either. I know this post was from a long time ago but if you still check this I’d love to hear your response.

    educationrealist on February 25, 2015 at 4:27 am Um, the whole point of this post is that Asian immigrants are discriminated against. So yeah. I know it.
    Knew everything else, too. Lots of posts on this blog about all the pressure. Yeah, yeah, Intel. I got it. I wrote a story about an Indian kid who won a science contest, but he was only interested in putting it on his resume. He didn’t even really like science. He just wanted to make his dad happy. Know about the suicides, the pressure, all the reasons to cheat.
    You know what you are doing right now, with your writing? You are proving the stereotype, completely. You didn’t post an original thought, you didn’t read the essay very closely, didn’t understand it, and expect an A anyway.
    Try and be a little different. It’s not impressive when you do everything to make your parents happy. And it’s definitely whining when you put yourself under that pressure and then brag about the suicides you know of.

    Jane Smith on February 25, 2015 at 5:07 am Um no, the point of this post is that Asian’s cheat. You said it, loud and clear. ‘Less delicately put: They cheat. And when they don’t cheat, they game tests in a way utterly incomprehensible to the Western mind, leading to test scores with absolutely zero link to underlying ability. Or both. Or maybe it’s all cheating, and we just don’t know it. Either way, the resumes are functional fraud.’ First of all I wasn’t trying to be original. I was just stating what all of us Asian Americans students are thinking. And I am not trying to be impressive, the way that you are, I am simply stating the facts. I am also totally proving the stereotype, I admit that. I am an Asian overachiever who wants to make my parents happy. Great, thanks for the update. And you know what? I’m proud of it. As far as stereotypes go, it could be worse. So what if I whine? I think we’re all justified in whining a little, life is hard, no one gets through it without a little complaining. I did read the article actually. And according to you, Asians are not only overachievers who want to make their parents happy, they also CHEAT. THAT IS YOUR POINT. You can’t justify your bias just by adding a note at the end explaining how you agree discrimination is bad. Everyone says discrimination is bad! But you just did it. My point is that we don’t cheat, not all of us anyways. And it’s unfair for you, or college admissions officers, or anyone, to generalize that from just a few examples. Please address that point rather than attacking me personally. About your Intel student: so what if he only did it to make his dad happy? We all want to make our parents happy. Don’t you want to make your parents happy? His dad may have different expectations than yours, but that’s not his fault. At least he accomplished something. And he did better than all those kids who were doing it because they were ‘passionate’ about it. Oh and by the way knowing about suicides is nothing to brag about. I’m sorry that you think that was my intention.

    educationrealist on February 25, 2015 at 5:22 am
    “Um no, the point of this post is that Asian’s cheat.”
    Wrong. Misquote. Go back and read again. No A for effort. And it’s not “Asian’s” but “Asians”. Again, live the stereotype. Quick, what’s the basis for the quadratic formula?

    “So what if I whine? I think we’re all justified in whining a little, life is hard, no one gets through it without a little complaining.”

    No, you’re not. You’re deliberately bragging about how hard you work, acknowledging that you don’t do it out of desire for knowledge or intellectual curiosity, but merely to keep your parents happy. You’re not justified. You’re more than a little bit pathetic. More impressive are the kids who succeed because they want to, at what they want to, rather than turn themselves into tedious grinds.

    “Oh and by the way knowing about suicides is nothing to brag about. I’m sorry that you think that was my intention.”

    It was your intention.

    Jane Smith on February 25, 2015 at 5:57 am Oh I’m sorry. Have I upset you with a grammar mistake? Who’s living the stereotype now? I am not bragging about how hard I work. In fact I’m not bragging at all. I think the system sucks. And it sucks that so many of my peers work so hard with no pay off. And if you’re going to keep attacking my character and my race rather than actually addressing your point then you are really quite petty and are embarrassing yourself. By avoiding the truth and nitpicking you are the one embodying the stereotype and being ‘tedious’ as you call it. And by spending so much of your time focused on high school students and college admissions that you have no respect for, you are the pathetic one. I was mistaken, this is really not worth my time. I could have an argument like this with any fourth grader on the street.

    educationrealist on February 25, 2015 at 6:21 am “Have I upset you with a grammar mistake? ”
    No. And again, I did not say what you attributed to me. So if you can’t read properly, this conversation is not worth your time. Or mine.

    • That is true. Depending on the cutoff dates for the Boomer Generation, they aren’t the first two Boomer presidential candidates to face off each other within the two party system. George W. Bush and Al Gore are both on the oldest end of the Boomers, according to 1946 being the beginning point of the generation. Those latter two didn’t offer much of a good choice, but they were better than our present choice. Anyway, this new century has been defined by Boomers becoming the majority of politicians in Washington.

  58. From what I see, middle class black immigrants tend to settle in middle class or affluent (Asian) immigrant areas. But they tend not to settle in poorer Black American areas, and seem to settle less in middle class Black American areas and prefer other middle class immigrant enclaves even if these enclaves are not very black. There seem to be some cuktural overlaps in terms of pushing their kids.

    • With immigrants, class trumps race and ethnicity. Wealthier non-white immigrants would move into a wealthier white community before they’d move into a poor non-white community. Plus, ethnicity trumps race. Most African immigrants probably wouldn’t identify with most black Americans any more than most Spanish immigrants (i.e., from Spain) would identify with most Hispanic Americans, because of a vast difference in culture and social background. Skin color or ancestry isn’t the same thing as ethnicity in terms of culture. Also, most immigrants are above average in wealth and education to the average American, whether comparing within a race/ethnicity or across the total population. Immigrants in a country like the US often represent the far above average because, besides Hispanics, few below poor, less educated people manage to immigrate to the US.

    • Articles like that irritate me. It’s both the subject matter and how it is discussed. It’s the whole premise that an intellectual elite will save us that is so horrific, with its implications of Social Darwinism and the whiff of eugenics. Instead of create a super race, it’s the ideal of creating a super class — but in practice it’s the same aspiration.

      Besides, it’s based on a false premise. Garett Jones, in Hive Mind, discusses that lower IQ people do better in higher average IQ societies than higher average IQ people do in lower average IQ societies. Intelligence ultimately is social capital, a collective investment and product. It requires a well functioning society to make possible high IQ people. Increasing the IQ of many people is more important for social success than increasing the IQ of an intellectual elite.

      I briefly mention Hive Mind a couple of times in a post from last year:

    • Since the beginning of the campaigns, I’ve remained undecided about almost everything. But I’m coming to the conclusion that the problem isn’t in the choices given but in the entire system that determines the choices and whose choice matters, i.e., who gets to choose what. Most importantly, this isn’t a new problem. In fact, it’s as old as the country (older even).

      In nearly two and half centuries, as far as I know, there has never been a US president that didn’t support, didn’t passively accept, or refused to fight against some combination of the following status quo positions: classism, plutocracy, oligarchy, corporatism, capitalism, etc; imperial expansionism, military adventurism, uber-patriotic nationalism, police state, etc; manifest destiny, white supremacy, nativism, Social Darwinism, paternalism, etc; and much else that is similar.

      The 43 US presidents have represented variations on a theme or set of themes, not one of them being unique in challenging the status quo and offering something genuinely new, not even presidents like Lincoln and FDR. The best a US president has ever offered is partial and often temporary reforms that maintains most of the power structure and social hierarchy, although sometimes in altered form.

      What if this system is incapable by design to allow anyone different to be elected? What if Clinton vs Trump represents the system itself, rather than a deviation and exception? What if we are dealing with what is inevitable from within the status quo? What if even the third party candidates will never offer a radical alternative to effectively challenge the powers that be?

      These are the questions that can’t be asked within the mainstream. Fewer still are willing to try to offer an answer, even outside of the mainstream.

    • That is the kind of problem I see in identity politics. Human reality is always messier and muddier than any group label could include and explain. Identity politics at best is used to organize people for practical ends and not to force reality to fit an ideal, but at worse it can get quite ugly or simply be severely unhelpful and misleading.

    • I’ve seen that kind of commentary before. It does get me wondering. If we look at it more carefully with a probing mind, what might we discover about our society and how it relates to our humanity? I’ve never been one to deny differences or that they matter. I just don’t think they matter in the way most people think they matter. Their real significance gets obscured by cultural biases and ideological worldviews, the myths we invent and stories we tell.

  59. “One probably more relevant example because it’s from the US and virtually free of other possible economic causes for the difference in perceived worth is computer programming. It’s also especially interesting as it illustrates the same process, but in the reverse direction.

    In the 1940s and 50s, implementing theoretical mathematical problem solutions into concrete computer algorithms was perceived beneath electrical engineers and (male) mathematicians. So they hired mathematically educated women for that. These women were paid and treated along the lines of secretaries.

    As computer science emerged from mathematics and electrical engineering as a separate field, more men became programmers from the mid 1950s onwards, and wages skyrocketed. Nowadays, coding is considered one of the most inherently male intellectual exercises there are, with the believe that women just aren’t cut out for it still rampant among the ranks of neckbeard coders.

    Coincidentally, as more women are again allowed to enter the field, wages are on the decline.”

    • We can talk about the socially constructed nature of reality. I find this a helpful frame sometimes. It relates to thinking about gender, race, etc in terms of systems, structures, institutions, cultures, ideologies, and paradigms. But it seems like language fails us here.

      These biases are so deeply rooted and took hold so long ago that we have no vantage point to see them clearly. It’s obvious they are there, whatever they exactly represent. If we could follow the roots, we might be surprised where the roots go. And if we could pull those roots up, we might be equally surprised by what we find clinging to them. It’s terra incognita of the human psyche.

      Mere brute oppression couldn’t maintain such biases over such vast stretches of history, not just the modern West but going back into the civilizations of the ancient world. That is why anthropology becomes necessary, in order to catch glimpses of entirely different societies that point to alternative pathways social development could take.

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