Friday, May 24, 2013

Not Shocked by Andrew Sullivan's Pedestrian Views on Race

Popular blogger Andrew Sullivan has weighed in on the Jason Richwine thoughtcrime affair,  tepidly taking the controversial position that there should be free debate on the subject of race and IQ while trying to minimize its importance.  He writes:

There’s a very solid case against race as anything meaningful in our culture... 

I respond: Yeah, the case is so very solid that it sinks like a rock the moment one endeavors to find actual evidence of race becoming meaningless in our culture.  Let’s see...racial disparities in crime, academic achievement, and incomes aren’t narrowing; the Diversity and Affirmative Action industries aren’t shrinking; and the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses haven’t yet announced any plans to close up shop.

...and an even stronger case that in the process of constant miscegenation, we are rendering the whole idea of race moot. I sure hope so.

You can hope for anything -- a winning lottery ticket, world peace, immortality...something grand.  You hope that one day after you’re long dead from complications related to HIV, we’ll all turn brown.  Do you also hope that all varieties of tigers and bears, that all subspecies of finches and sea turtles, get blended out, too?  Or is it just human biodiversity you fantasize about extinguishing?

Fortunately for those whites, blacks, American Indians, and others who value the continuation of their unique phenotypes, respectively, you've refrained from engaging in the kind of sexual behavior that could have resulted in a population's gene pool being polluted by your DNA.

There’s also a strong argument that IQ is of extremely limited use – and, in fact, misses a whole range of intelligences that are often more important to our lives and cultures as humans.

IQ is extremely (highly) correlated with performance on a whole range of standardized tests that elementary schools, high schools, colleges, employers, and the military use to gauge mental skills that are important to our lives and cultures as humans.

I just refuse to wish the data away. The data shocked me when I first read it, and shocks me still.

You’re shocked…still shocked...that IQ scores covary with race.  Yet the persistent academic achievement gaps that have been well documented for decades have been well known by you for years.  Racial variation in the distribution of cognitive traits should only be surprising (or alarming) to someone who is ignorant of (or ideologically averse to) the basic biological fact that evolution didn’t stop at the neck. 

I suspect you’re just feigning shock. You’re pretending to be shocked to have discovered that the races aren’t cognitively identical because you don’t want your politically correct readers to suspect you of having committed the thoughtcrime of assuming that not everyone and not every group are endowed equally by nature. You’re reassuring the enforcers of political correctness that the egalitarian fairy tale you grew up believing in was and still is your default assumption.  

Meanwhile, the realities of racial differences that won’t go away are causing you to suffer under the agony of cognitive dissonance.  You wish the realities would go away, but you know you can’t actually wish reality away.  All you can do is express a hope – a hope that one day racial distinctions will cease to be so that the egalitarian fairy tale can come true.

But why should we even hope for it to come true?  Equality seems like a rather uninteresting and uninspiring ideal to contemplate for humanity. Equality didn’t build Rome.  Equality didn’t send a man to the moon.  Equality didn’t give you the ability to make a living blogging over the Internet.  And equality-worship won’t save civilization from what now ails it.

An overriding intellectual deference to the strictures of political correctness is what ails civilization presently.  I am not optimistic about this dogmatic creed of unreason being overthrown anytime soon.  Few actual heretics exist. The masses of any civilization can be counted on to absorb and embody the civil religion of the times, however irrational it may be.  

That’s why I’m not shocked by your post.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Caplan: Open Debate on Open Borders Isn't "Just"

I referred to Bryan Caplan as a champion of open borders.  A champion of open debate he apparently is not.

I just came across this recent post of his: "In a just world, however, researchers would be fired for arguing that people with below-average IQs should be denied their basic human right to accept a job offer from any willing employer."

Fired for...arguing?

This display of Puritanism is rich, coming from a guy who collects a paycheck from a government-funded university -- meaning his real employer is unwilling taxpayers.

Given his willingness to engage with me, I'm disappointed that Caplan has resorted to dogmatizing his view that all Congolese are born (at a rate of 5.5 children per woman) with a right to live and work in Switzerland.  But perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

Left-libertarians (Murray Rothbard's term for globalist egalitarian, open-borders types) such as Caplan are indeed leftists at heart. Silencing opposition is straight out of the leftist playbook.  So are Caplan's appeals to global standards of value (e.g., "human rights" and "people") instead of Americans' rights, interests, and freedoms -- the proper primary concerns of an American government and an American libertarian.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Libertarian Realist vs. Bryan Caplan

Open borders champion Bryan Caplan responded via email to my response to his tweet.  In this post, I quote (with Caplan's permission) from his emails to me and include my responses back to him.

Suppose, however, that I was a freedom-loving PERSON, who cared about the freedom of Haitians as well as Americans.  Would advocacy of open borders be "crazy" then?

Would you similarly say that a "freedom-loving white American" would be "crazy" to oppose the exile of black Americans who share the same undesirable characteristics you attribute to Haitians?  Why or why not?

If you valued the freedom of Haitians and U.S. citizens equally, then I suppose open immigration for Haitians would be justified if Haitians gained more freedom than they subtracted from U.S. citizens.  To me, it's an irrelevant question.  It is not the purpose of a libertarian government to help redistribute freedom more equally around the world.  It is to secure the freedoms of the people under its jurisdiction.

Do you value the freedom of Islamists to impose sharia law wherever they want?  Presumably not, since it would be crazy to value a person's freedom to take another person's freedom away.  

Do you favor more Muslim immigration into Western Europe?  The Muslim influx is having disastrous consequences for freedom there, ranging from skyrocketing rates of rape in Scandinavian cities to sprawling polycentric Sharia zones in London, where drinking is banned, women must be covered, and gays can't exist openly. 

Would you similarly say that a "freedom-loving white American" would be "crazy" to oppose the exile of black Americans who share the same undesirable characteristics you attribute to Haitians?

No, but Thomas Jefferson was a freedom-loving white American who favored both the emancipation of black slaves and their deportation back to where they were illegitimately taken from.  That opportunity has passed.  I don't favor forcibly exiling people unless they've actually committed a crime.

But the granting of citizenship to the foreign born is the granting of positive rights and privileges (to vote, etc.), to which the entire world population isn't  automatically entitled.  Being highly selective as to who gets citizenship is an aspect of national security.  Citizenship selectivity would be especially important for a libertarian country that exists within an overwhelmingly non-libertarian world.

Indiscriminately open immigration can result in rapid political and economic deterioration if the immigrants are overwhelmingly low-IQ, crime prone, statist, and/or culturally hostile.  Imagine that Detroit circa 1955 -- which was majority white, relatively safe, prosperous, and widely considered to be one of the greatest cities in the U.S. -- became a sovereign city-state.  Should it have adopted a policy of open immigration?  We don't have to speculate about the consequences of such a policy.  It was in place by default.  And it was catastrophic.  

My informed speculation is that Detroit's death spiral of rising crime, declining property values, a collapsing economy, white flight, and depopulation would have been averted with immigration restrictions.  Detroit today might still be a jewel of a city.  I think you'd have to admit that it's hard to imagine a sovereign Detroit with selective citizenship being worse off than Detroit today actually is.  

I'm not saying that every city should be its own nation.  But if the people who reside in a given nation -- however delineated -- value their freedom, they should favor an immigration system that selects for a population with compatible characteristics.

If you're a libertarian, where does this "jurisdictions" stuff come from?   I'd think that the purpose of a libertarian government would be to respect *people's* freedom.  And even if you think freedom in a jurisdiction is a priority, that hardly means it's an absolute priority.  In the worst case scenario, full Haitian immigration make Americans mildly less free.  In the status quo, American immigration restrictions make Haitians vastly less free.

It seems pretty straightforward to me: A government exercises authority over a particular geographic area whose inhabitants pay it to provide certain services for them requiring the use of force.  The only type of government that would operate on a mandate as broad as securing freedom for all people in the world would be a global government. 

 Global government is the logical conclusion of the movement to break down all borders.  If you view any effort of any nation to resist migrant inflows as a human rights violation, then the purest manifestation of your one-world ideology would be a single world government to prevent all the other governments from defending their obsolete borders.  But a world without borders would mean there would be nowhere left for anyone to escape from a one-world, all-equal utopia turned into a one-world tyranny.

But keeping out all Muslims because a few of them are nutjobs is much crazier.

Taking into account statistical risk profiles in immigration policy is quite sane.  Insurers do it all the time.  They don't treat all people or all neighborhoods as equals.  40% of British Muslims want to impose Sharia law.  24% of of British Muslims and 35% of French Muslims believe suicide bombings are justified.  That's more than a few.  

A private company charged with providing border security and terrorism insurance for a libertarian nation whose people insisted on results -- insisted on an immigration policy that resulted in no increase in crime rates from its immigrant inflows, no increase in levels of economic parasitism, and certainly no growth in freedom-restricting Sharia zones... If a private company were to implement an immigration policy that best protected the freedoms of the people who paid for its services, and it were to choose between open immigration for Muslims and no immigration for Muslims, it wouldn't take a lot of sophisticated risk analysis for the Muslim immigration that's now being pushed by statistically averse governments to be halted.

If you think people aren't entitled to *more*, why not complain about the welfare state instead of immigrants?

I do complain about the welfare state.  I also complain about the efforts to grant voting privileges to millions of foreigners residing here who want to expand the welfare state.  67% of Hispanics want bigger government (Washington Post/Kaiser Poll).  Your complaints about the welfare state are not merely futile, but are undone many times over, by your support of immigration policies that result in more votes for the expansion of the welfare state.  You can try to separate immigration and citizenship conceptually, but in practice more immigration means more Democrat votes for generations to come.  You can't stop immigrants from having kids and you don't want to ever deport them anyway.  So, pretty soon, there will be no Congressional districts left in Texas where it is demographically feasible for a Ron Paul to get elected.  

What you call "catastrophe" is, by world and historic standards, a paradise.  Would saving Detroit have justified depriving blacks of the freedom to live and work where they like - and whites the right to trade with them?  No. 

You are helping to accelerate the demographic demise of libertarianism by supporting a globalist egalitarian immigration policy based on altruism.  You've admitted that you're willing to see negative consequences for freedom here due to Haitians...would have been willing to prevent Detroit from deporting violent populations in order to save itself from ruin...all for the sake of what you call freedom to migrate.  

Of course, all property rights restrict people's movements.  What you're demanding is a positive right to transcend property boundaries, which is alien to libertarian conceptions of rights.  It's no more restrictive of my freedom if the Singaporean government denies me entry into the country than if an owner of some private island denies me entry into his island.  I have no positive right to move anywhere I want to in the world.  If the whole country of Singapore was a privately owned community and it announced that it was no longer taking in new residents, would the rest of the world suddenly become less free?   

Not according to a libertarian conception of freedom.  To the contrary, any person who decided to break into Singapore without permission would be a transgressor of property rights.  Whether Singapore is a private community or a state that limits who can come in has no bearing on the freedom status of anyone outside of Singapore.  People can be forcibly denied entry  just the same.  There is no positive right possessed by everyone in the world to live within the particular area of land called Singapore.  

Turning away Haitians at the U.S. border does not violate any of their negative rights.  But any Haitians who come here to mooch, mug,  or murder violate U.S. citizens' rights.  The statistically greater likelihood of Haitians committing acts of aggression as compared to other potential sources of immigration is all the justification that is needed for disfavoring Haitian immigration.  

So the question is whether we as libertarians want libertarian results for ourselves.  Are we willing to be suicidal martyrs for a grand global idealization of liberty that never will be, anyway?  If not, then we must do what is necessary in order to maximize and sustain our freedoms in practice to the extent that we can while we still can.  Advancing immigration policies that demographically aid freedom's sworn enemies is libertarian suicide.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Reply to Bryan Caplan

No, Bryan, if you were a Haitian, it would be quite sane for you to advocate that the U.S. adopt an open borders regime.  If you were a Palestinian, you’d quite sensibly want Israel to cease enforcement of its borders.  And if you were unemployed, you’d quite rationally want to be hired by the employer of your choice.

But if you were an employer, it would be crazy for you to hire someone solely on the basis of their wanting to be hired.  If you were an Israeli Jew, it would be crazy for you to champion a demographically overwhelming migration of Arab Muslims, who are hostile to your values, into your country.  If you were a freedom-loving American, it would be crazy for you to advocate unlimited inflows of unskilled, crime-prone, Affirmative Action-eligible, future Democrat bloc-voting Haitians with average IQs of 80 into your country -- unless you had some strategic reason that you’re not telling us about for wanting to bring about an acceleration of the demographic and political degradation of the United States.