Brexit’s aura of inevitability is vanishing

Brexit’s aura of inevitability is vanishing, by Anatole Kaletsky. He is a reliably PC mainstream commentator, so this might be describing the hopes of the Remainers.

Next month … Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to lose the decisive parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal.

If and when this defeat happens, May will face two unpalatable options. She could preside over a “No Deal” rupture with Europe — tantamount to a declaration of economic war against the EU — and risk a 2008-level economic crisis accompanied by a border upheaval in Ireland that could reignite the “Troubles.” Or she could break her extravagant promises to honor the “people’s instruction” from the 2016 referendum and allow a new popular vote that might cancel Brexit. …

With the options thus narrowed, the risks and sacrifices of the “horror,” as Britain’s main business lobbies now publicly describe No Deal, will quickly come into focus, and a bipartisan parliamentary majority will surely converge to block this outcome. …

Soon the sense of inevitability may swing in favor of a new referendum. This shift has already started in the British media. Having spent the past two years denouncing anyone who challenged Brexit as “enemies of the people” and a traitor to democracy, the BBC, The Times and other influential media organs have suddenly remembered that an essential principle of democracy is that voters have the right to change their minds. …

In the first detailed poll of all three Brexit options, conducted by YouGov in early December, a standard first-past-the-post vote would result in Remain winning a huge 54% absolute majority, against 28% support for No Deal and 18% for May’s Deal. In a simple choice against May’s deal, the majority for Remain would be even bigger, at 62%. And in a preferential vote count that redistributed the second preferences of May’s supporters, Remain would still win by a decisive margin of 57% to 43%.

With the mainstream propaganda machine constantly playing up the vague but wildly exaggerated horror of a no-deal exit, presumably the public is being set up to choose anything except that. The power to choose Britain’s course therefore goes to whoever chooses the alternative to a no-deal exit.

A bit like global warming. We have been inundated for two decades with vague but exaggerated horror stories to condition us to accept whatever alternative is offered, no matter how preposterous and expensive (go back to windmills for power) or politically revolutionary (massive transfers of wealth to the third world, world government). Criticism of the carbon dioxide theory of global warming — there is no empirical evidence for it, it is just a theory based on models extrapolated from laboratory physics, observed warming is much less than the warming predicted by the models, the theory is wrong (yes we’ve found the error, book soon) — is suppressed.

An IQ FAQ

An IQ FAQ, by Steve Sailer, from 2007.

Q. Is IQ really all that important in understanding how the world works?

A. In an absolute sense, no. Human behavior is incredibly complicated, and no single factor explains more than a small fraction of it.

In a relative sense, yes. Compared to all the countless other factors that influence the human world, IQ ranks up near the top of the list. …

Q. So, if IQ isn’t all that accurate for making predictions about an individual, why even think of using it to compare groups, which are much more complicated?

A. That sounds sensible, but it’s exactly backwards. The larger the sample size, the more the statistical noise washes out. …

Q. So, you’re saying that IQ testing can tell us more about group differences than about individual differences?

A. If the sample sizes are big enough and all else is equal, a higher IQ group will virtually always outperform a lower IQ group on any behavioral metric.

One of the very few positive traits not correlated with IQ is musical rhythm — which is a reason high IQ rock stars like Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and David Bowie tell Drummer Jokes.

Of course, everything else is seldom equal. A more conscientious group may well outperform a higher IQ group. On the other hand, conscientiousness, like many virtues, is positively correlated with IQ, so IQ tests work surprisingly well.

Q. Can one number adequately describe a person’s intelligence?

A. Sort of.

Q. “Sort of”?!? What the heck kind of answer is that?

A. A realistic one.

Q. How can something be true and not true at the same time?

A. How can the glass be half-full and half-empty at the same time? Most things about IQ testing are partly true and partly false at the same time. That’s the nature of anything inherently statistical, which is most of reality.

Humans are used to legalistic reasoning that attempts to draw bright lines between exclusive categories. For example, you are either old enough to vote or you aren’t. There’s no gray area. But the law is artificial and unlike most of reality. Many people have a hard time dealing with that fact, especially when it comes to thinking about IQ. …

Q. Are there differences in average SAT scores among racial groups?

A. Yes. Ashkenazi (European) Jews appear to average the highest—maybe around 110-112—followed by Northeast Asians (105), and then by gentile white Europeans and North Americans (100). The world mean is around 90, Hispanic-Americans are at 89. African-Americans traditionally average around 85 and Africans in Sub-Saharan Africa around 70.

Q. Aren’t all IQ researchers white supremacists who just want to show their race has the highest IQ?

A. If they are, they’re doing an awfully lousy job of it. (See above.)

Q. How can anybody talk about race and IQ when race doesn’t exist?

A. It’s funny how these objections don’t come up in regard to affirmative action. Scientists gather race-related data the same way colleges and bureaucrats hand out affirmative action goodies. They let people self-identify. …

Q. Why is all this important? Shouldn’t we just think of people as individuals?

A. That sounds good to me, but we don’t. We’re social and political animals, and many of our government policies are based on group membership: not just explicit affirmative action programs, but most anti-discrimination cases as well are based not on evidence of actual discrimination but on disparate impact,” a legal theory that’s built on the big assumption that different groups are identical in IQ and other traits.

People often ask whether IQ is due to nature or nurture, genes or environment. The question is ill-formed, because it does not specify which environments are involved.

Suppose all children were brought up in a binary world, where half were kept in cupboards and given no mental stimulation but only food and water, while the other half were given the best possible education and were brilliantly fed. Then the environment — whether cupboard or paradise — would correlate very highly with adult IQ: it would be the governing factor. Environment would rule.

Now suppose all kids were brought up in an identical environment of good nutrition and the best possible school. There being no significant environmental differences, differences in adult IQs would be almost solely due to genes.

In our current western world, all kids are well fed (at least in terms of calories) and get at least a well-resourced education at government schools (though not necessarily a good education, because of the other students). The environments are roughly leveled out, so most of the difference in adult IQs in today’s world is from genes.

US Stock Indices Miraculously Lift, in Biggest Gain in History: No Mention of the Plunge Protection Team in the Media

US Stock Indices Miraculously Lift, in Biggest Gain in History: No Mention of the Plunge Protection Team in the Media. By Bill Murphy.

Huge buy orders, the biggest ever, came in from US pension funds at almost exactly the same time, reversing a down day into and up day and creating the biggest up days ever (5%). How did that happen?

On Monday we noted that Top Trump official calls bankers, will convene ‘Plunge Protection Team’. That’s the unofficial name for the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, set up in 1987 by Reagan after the big market crash of 1987 (25% in a day). Then miracles occurred.

As was advertised everywhere, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin tells the investment world he is going to call on the Plunge Protection Team. Miraculously, two days later, the DOW posts its biggest gain in history. And then the next day, the DOW pulls about as big a late dramatic reversal as any in history … the sort of late reversals (same time) we used to see when our stock market was recovering from the financial crisis.

So here are two days following the PPT doing exactly what Mnuchin said they were going to do, and nary a word is mentioned of the Plunge Protection Team. It as if what he declared has vanished into thin air.

The mainstream reporting is determinedly clueless, for example:

The week’s sharp moves were attributed mostly to light holiday trading volume and computer-driven trading. But the ups and downs during a usually calm period are no doubt stoking investor anxiety about what’s to come.

What sort of world do we live in that the media will not report the obvious, or at least talk abut it? Something is deeply wrong.

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey, by Angelo Codevilla.

Erdogan is America’ s enemy. As far back as 2003, he forbade use of Turkish ground and airspace for U.S. operations in Iraq, including the U.S. Air Force base at Incirlik. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he has turned Turkey from a NATO ally into an Islamist dictatorship.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

Neither wise nor competent, he aims to resurrect something like the Caliphate, with Ottoman Turkey its seat and himself as the Sultan in all but name. To this end, he supported the Brotherhood’s attempted takeover of Egypt, supports Hamas in Gaza, and a host of Sunni terrorist groups, in Syria as well. Only with Turkey’s active help was ISIS able to market the oil it got from Iraqi and Syrian fields, buy arms, receive recruits from abroad, etc. ISIS became more than a minor nuisance only because Erdogan provided it with a hinterland.

Erdogan meant to use ISIS as the head of the Sunni spear to overthrow Syria’s Alawite (a version of Shia) regime. However, Erdogan also opposes Sunni Saudi Arabia, mainly because he is financed largely by Qatar, which is in a very bitter quarrel with Saudi Arabia. In part because of Qatar, he believes he has some kind of understanding with Iran, though it is on the opposite side of the great Sunni-Shia war. He welcomed Russia’s intervention in Syria, though it brought Iranian influence to his southern as well as to his eastern border. Passionately anti-American and in disregard of Turkey’s secular geopolitical adversary relationship with Russia, he seems to be satisfied with Vladimir Putin’s de facto overlordship of the Middle East.

Making war on the Kurds at home and abroad, however, seems to be Erdogan’s consuming passion. He revived restrictions on the Kurdish language, and renewed military raids on majority Kurdish areas. This runs against demography: Kurds are some 20 percent of Turkey’s population, concentrated in the Southeast. While ethnic Turks are declining in number, the Kurds are prolific. Twenty years hence, the majority of Turkey’s military-age men will be Kurds. All around Turkey’s southern and Eastern borders, in Syria, Iraq, and Iran are some 15 million Kurds who feel kinship with their Turkish brethren. …

Putin’s Russia does not share Erdogan’s animus against the Kurds. One may safely suppose that Russia’s Putin would prefer to see Turkey’s borders continue to be occupied by forces that make Turkey uncomfortable. Moreover, Russia now being in charge of the Middle East’s zoo, Putin’s interest lies in opposing any party therein getting any bigger in its britches, and in the continuation of as much balance as possible. In short, no one would have to encourage Putin to warn Erdogan not to strike the Syrian Kurds.

America is moving toward an oligarchical socialism

America is moving toward an oligarchical socialism, by Joel Kotkin.

Before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.

Conventional wisdom implies an endless battle between pragmatic, corporate Clintonites on one side, and Democratic socialists of the Bernie brand. Yet this conflict could resolve itself in a new, innovative approach that could be best described as oligarchal socialism.

Big government and big tech in partnership, elite feudal lords over a tribal landscape of identity groups. Can’t wait.

Oligarchal socialism allows for the current, ever-growing concentration of wealth and power in a few hands — notably tech and financial moguls — while seeking ways to ameliorate the reality of growing poverty, slowing social mobility and indebtedness. This will be achieved not by breaking up or targeting the oligarchs, which they would fight to the bitter end, but through the massive increase in state taxpayer support. …

Greg Fehrenstein, who interviewed 147 digital company founders, says most believe that “an increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will increasingly subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial ’gig work‘ and government aid.”

Numerous oligarchs — Mark Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, Elon Musk and Sam Altman, founder of the Y Combinator — have embraced this vision including a “guaranteed wage,” usually $500 or a $1,000 monthly. Our new economic overlords are not typical anti-tax billionaires in the traditional mode; they see government spending as a means of keeping the populist pitchforks away. This may be the only politically sustainable way to expand “the gig economy,” which grew to 7 million workers this year, 26 percent above the year before.

Handouts, including housing subsidies, could guarantee for the next generation a future not of owned houses, but rented small, modest apartments. Unable to grow into property-owning adults, they will subsist while playing with their phones, video games and virtual reality in what Google calls “immersive computing.”

Particularly since Donald Trump’s election, the leaders of corporate America — especially in tech and finance — have merged with the Democrats. They appeal to progressives by advocating politically correct views on immigration, gender rights and climate change, while muzzling conservatives both inside and outside their companies. …

There’s surely a compelling logic for oligarchic socialism. The tech moguls get to remain wealthy beyond the most extreme dreams of avarice, while their allies in progressive circles and the media, which they increasingly own, continue to hector everyone else about giving up their own aspirations. All the middle and upwardly mobile working class gets is the right to pay ever more taxes, while they watch many of their children devolve into serfs, dependent on alms and subsidies for their survival.

Scary stuff, but it is the direction we are currently heading in.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

China To Take Over Kenya’s Largest Port Over Unpaid Chinese Loan

China To Take Over Kenya’s Largest Port Over Unpaid Chinese Loan, by Tyler Durden.

After years of “benevolent” handouts to various African countries by Beijing, all of which however came in the form of loans, of which few have led to viable, long-term projects and cash-flow generating assets, and led to accusations that China is pursuing a “new colonialism” of the African continent (and more recently, nations along the One Belt, One Road corridor), China is demonstrating to the world what happens when its debtors refuse to pay up. …

China is likely to take over Kenya’s lucrative Mombassa port if Kenya Railways Corporation defaults on its loan from the Exim Bank of China. …

Implications would be grave, including the thousands of port workers who would be forced to work under the Chinese lenders. … A Chinese-funded project in Africa is about to be confiscated by China, which will appoint Chinese management, upstream all revenues to China (and, eventually, profits after enough fat is trimmed), and provide China with its own strategist port in east Africa. …

A brilliant “investment” scheme? Why yes, and it won’t be the first time China has used it: in December 2017, the Sri Lankan government lost its Hambantota port to China for a lease period of 99 years after failing to show commitment in the payment of billions of dollars in loans. The transfer, according to the New York Times, gave China control of the territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of rival India.

Reader Bob:

The big question is whether they will follow up militarily if they are not allowed to take control of the pledged assets. Well worth watching, including their copper and railroad assets in the DRC.

Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty

Falling IQ scores may explain why politics has turned so nasty, by Daniel Hannan.

The fall in IQ scores in the West is perhaps the most under-reported story of our era. For most of the twentieth century, IQ rose by around three points per decade globally, probably because of better nutrition. But that trend has recently gone into reverse in developed countries.

You hadn’t heard? I’m not surprised. Journalists and politicians won’t go near the subject and you can see why. Consider the theories offered by neuroscientists for the decline. Some argued it had to do with the rising age of motherhood, because the children of older mothers tend to have lower IQs, other things being equal. No one likes to say this, because it can come across as “older moms have dumb kids,” which is not true. …

Other theories were even more explosive. For example, that unintelligent people were having more kids, or that the fall in average scores reflected immigration from places with lower IQs.

Nice to see that message getting about. It is extremely un-PC to mention IQs. First, it would call into question our current social policies of encouraging smarter women to have careers rather than kids, and subsidizing dumber women to have more kids. The result is inevitable and obvious to most everyone (for now, anyway).

Second, IQs also undermine globalist replacement and electoral supremacy policies: third world immigrants come from societies with substantially lower average IQs.

Third, IQ potentially explains “white privilege” and discrepancies in high-end male versus female achievement. If large groups of people can have different statistical characteristics, then disparities do not necessarily imply that discrimination is the cause. Oh dear, identity politics just took a big hit.

Some truths are just too un-PC to be allowed to surface. Better suppress them, lefties.

But a new study from Norway, which examines IQ scores from 730,000 men (standardized tests are part of military service there) disproves all these ideas, because it shows IQ dropping within the same families. Men born in 1991 score, on average, five points lower than men born in 1975. There must, in other words, be an environmental explanation, and the chronology throws up a clear suspect: the rise in screen-time.

Kids brought up with Facebook and Instagram are more politically bigoted, not because they don’t hear alternative opinions, but because they don’t learn the concentration necessary to listen to opponents — a difficult and unnatural skill.

To put it another way, today’s American elections are mild compared to those of, say, 1800 or 1860. The relative tolerance that characterized the twentieth-century reflected rising education and rising intelligence, which made voters more capable of empathy with opponents. Reverse that rise and people will revert to the more primitive but easier rule-of-thumb: my tribe good, your tribe bad.

So much for smartphones.

How America Grew Bored With Love

How America Grew Bored With Love, by David Masciotra.

In 2014, the Journal of Advertising Research published a study documenting an odd decline in references to love throughout popular music. … The only four letter word impermissible in hip-hop is “love.” Sexuality is primarily a means of misogynistic conquest; committed bonds of affection are not worthy of pursuit. …

Film is equally sterile and chaste. … Esquire recently reported that “moviegoers are tired of romance on the silver screen.” A writer for The Washington Post declares that “the rom-com is dead. Good.” Both articles attribute the lack of interest in love among the moviegoing public to shifting social mores that now render the “clichés” of the boy-meets-girl movie “offensive.” …

As an instructor at a small university, I am continually shocked by the languid sterility of the contemporary college classroom. Most of the young men and women wear sweat pants and moccasins, rarely speak, and spend more time looking at their phones than each other. …

My observations might seem contradictory, but they actually complement studies of how college students who are sexually active are increasingly dissatisfied, claiming that they do not enjoy sex because it is the province of an increasingly vulgar and transactional “hookup culture.” Rather than a stage in courtship, sex is now something that transpires between two drunken strangers at the end of a long party.

Sociologist Lisa Wade spent five years studying “hookup culture,” and her conclusions are as weird as they are disturbing.

“There’s a dichotomy between meaningless and meaningful sex, and students have to go out of their way to ‘perform meaninglessness,’” according to an NPR summary of Wade’s findings. “They have to prove that they’re not emotionally attached to their sex partners, and in fact that they care less than the other person.”

An airport kiss between two reunited lovers, or the cries of passion from Marvin Gaye or Etta James, must seem like the unintelligible language of aliens to a generation who, according to Wade, “only have sex with partners they’re not interested in” because they consider genuine feeling the most obscene offense against their idea of “cool.”

transgender is now cool

Modern leftist culture is inhospitable to love:

Fromm’s four factors essential for the cultivation and maintenance of love — discipline, concentration, patience, and supreme concern — suffer assault in such a culture. Love is also “dependent on the relative absence of narcissism,” and therefore “requires the development of humility, objectivity, and reason.”

Where exactly in America do children and adolescents witness examples of patience, humility, and the rejection of narcissism? When will they observe a celebration of those qualities, considering that the dominant culture not only denies Fromm’s virtues, but reward egoism, selfishness, and crudity of expression and attitude?

That’s not how comrades do it anymore.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump calls Muslim migration “the all-time biggest Trojan Horse”

Trump calls Muslim migration “the all-time biggest Trojan Horse”, by Ted Belman.

Ever wonder why there are so many Muslims and Muslim countries in the world? Over the millennia many countries were conquered, but didn’t remain Persian or Greek or Roman as the case may be. But, the countries conquered in the name of Islam, became and remained, Islamic. For example Pakistan, part of India, and Malaysia were Hindu; Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and N. Africa were Christian; Afghanistan was Buddhist. They are all Islamic now.

This transformation was not by chance but by design. All these countries were conquered by force then shorn of their wealth and many of their women. Then the Muslim conquerors introduced Sharia and continued fighting the local inhabitants. The inhabitants were either forced to convert or accorded Dhimmi status. As time went on all cultures submitted and eventually became Islamic.

Early Islam was nice but unsuccessful. Later Islam was very different.

There are two different Korans combined into one, the Mecca Koran and the Medina Koran. Dr. Moorthy Muthuswamy writes,

About sixty-one percent of the contents of the Koran are found to speak ill of the unbelievers or call for their violent conquest; at best only 2.6 percent of the verses of the Koran are noted to show goodwill toward humanity. About seventy-five percent of Muhammad’s biography (Sira) consists of jihad waged on unbelievers.”

Mohammed started as a religious preacher in Mecca. It was during this period that the Koran 2:256 stipulated. “There is no compulsion in religion” and 109:1 stipulated “You have your religion I have mine.” Ultimately he was chased out of Mecca and migrated with his followers to Medina.

Then began the Jihad period.  From then on people were forced to convert under pain of death or were forced to live as Dhimmis (second class citizens) and pay (Jizya) for the privilege of living there. This Jihad continued until there was no more discord.

Koran 2:193. “Fight them (Kafirs) until there is no more discord and the religion of Allah reigns absolute but if they submit, then only fight those who do wrong.”

Thus it continues until everyone in the territory has submitted to Islam, accepts Dhimmi status and pays Jizya. …

Trump:

In June of this year Donald Trump recognized the danger of Muslim migration and said, “This could be the all-time great Trojan horse.” And so it is but the US elites refuse to recognize it. …

This is not racism. It is common sense and self defense.

Don’t say you didn’t know.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Boston Christmas tree adds Islamic. How Trendy!

Boston Christmas tree adds Islamic. How Trendy! By Philip Greenspun.

If you prefer Islam to Christianity you’ll be pleased to know that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has added Islamic verses and symbols to their Christmas Tree:

(“There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God” from the Saudi flag, which also features a sword in case there is a need for beheading. I think the green crescent and star is for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but the white stripe doesn’t belong. The red flag is for Turkey.)

Whose birthday are we celebrating at Christmas?

hat-tip Matthew

American Cicero

American Cicero, by the Z-Blog.

Every society has an elite and that elite uses its influence and connections to perpetuate itself. The daughters of rich guys marry the sons of influential guys. Their children are groomed to take up positions in the elite, mostly due to their family connections in the elite. Just as important, a floor is placed under members of the elite, protecting them from reversion to the mean. It’s how the Kennedy family has been in politics for four generations, despite their deficiencies.

What used to be unique about the American elite is they had a strong connection to the rest of America. This is a big, continent sized country … Regional diversity, which is driven by biological diversity, made for a national elite that was really just a collection of local elites. This greatly reduced the distance between the elites and those over whom they ruled. Therefore, the American elite tended to be less elite, relative the Europe, and much more connected to the people.

Cicero was a Roman politician and great orator, around Julius Caesar’s time. He championed a return to traditional republican government. Executed by Mark Antony in 43 BC.

Tucker Carlson … makes the point that he and his neighbors don’t know things like how much gasoline costs. The reason is, they have lots of money and the price of staples is simply unimportant. …

It’s probably too late for small reforms. What comes next will probably be bigger:

The Trump phenomenon is showing that the time for reform has passed and whatever comes next is unavoidable. That’s a truth about all reform efforts. Once a reform effort gets going, it is almost always too late for reform to work. The entrenched interests are too strong to overcome. Democracy moves quickly from a point where corruption is too minor to be of any concern to a place where corruption is too rampant for the system to confront it. Systemic failure is the core code of democracy.

You see this in late empire America. The ruling elite is composed of many parts, none of which has a reason to care about public welfare. The so-called deep-state is thoroughly beholden to global interests, many of whom are foreign. The semi-permanent administrative state is composed of people who hold the rest of us in contempt and people happy to not be subjected to the vagaries of the dreaded private sector. The mass media is a collection of propagandists and court jesters, mostly stupid rich kids.