Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is Black a Culture?

From where does culture come? Culture is an expression of some aspects of the nature of the people who create it. Do black cultural expressions such as mob attacks have at least some genetic precursors? I think so.

Do males exhibit more aggression than females because male behavior is cultural or innate? The options aren't mutually exclusive. What about teenagers? Are they impulsive and rebellious because of culture or something inherent in being a teenager? The law (rightly) presumes that 18-year old men can choose not to engage in crime just as absolutely as 40-year old women can. But that doesn't entail any belief that the crime rates in those groups will ever be equal. Choice is exercised within an individual's own context, and that context includes innate and environmental inputs.

Blacks everywhere, from South Africa to Britain to Brazil to the U.S., exhibit high rates of violent crime relative to other races in those same countries. Different cultures around the world don't seem to produce different results -- at least not different enough to make racial crime disparities go away.

But the strongest evidence for black crime being partly explainable by genetics are actual physiological characteristics associated with blacks. They include differences in skull shape and size which correspond to differences in brain structure, which help explain why blacks have an average IQ of about 80, compared to 100 for whites and 105 for East Asians. (Black IQs are closer to 70 in most sub-Saharan African countries, where negroid genetics are purer than in blacks in the U.S., who average around 25% white/other admixture.) Lower IQ is correlated with less rational, more impulsive behavior. Also, blacks tend to have higher testosterone levels, which correlates positively with aggressiveness.

Variation exists in the distribution of the hormones, brain size and shape, and other factors that correlate with statistical variation in crime rates among races. As Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute reports: "The face of violent crime in New York, in other words, like in every other large American city, is almost exclusively black and brown... Blacks committed 80 percent of all shootings in the first half of 2009. Together, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings. Blacks committed nearly 70 percent of all robberies. Whites, by contrast, committed 5 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009."

The premise of innate racial differences predicts the persistency and consistency of racial crime disparities across time, culture, politics, geography. The premise of innate racial equality has zero predictive value and no scientific basis. It is a pre-Darwinian notion that supposes human traits appeared suddenly from some source other than the adaptive process which gave different human populations in different parts of the world different traits, some of which pertain to cognitive abilities and behavioral tendencies. Variation in the distribution of hormones, brain size and shape, and other factors correlate with observable variation in crime rates among races and help explain incorrigibly high rates of black crime in particular.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweeping Statements about Race

The principle of individual rights does not mean that a nation at war can't drop a bomb on an enemy nation's city unless it first judges all persons to be killed by the bomb as individually guilty. Individual rights pertain to citizens under the jurisdiction of a government. Foreign policy has to relate to nations and populations as collective entities.

Collective judgments in immigration policy are also necessary, but they are far more benign than war judgments. I don't advocate war on any Muslim countries at this time, but I do advocate restricting the flow of immigration from Muslim countries into secular countries. A nation has a legitimate interest in conducting risk assessments on sources of immigration. Nationality is a useful indicator. Race is also a useful indicator. Those nations and those populations that tend to bring terrorism, gang rape, property crime, disease, or other threats to a country ought to be given less consideration than those that tend to be healthy, peaceful, and productive.

The introduction of Somalis tends to bring down a nation's standard of living. Japanese tend to lift it up. Call this observation "racist" if you want, but the alternatives to "racism" are either: a) willful ignorance (evasion) of the very predictable adverse effects Africans and their offspring will have on a society; or b) an acceptance of moral altruism in service of the desires of any and all foreigners no matter what the costs. U.S. immigration policy is overtly altruistic, most blatantly so in the form of its refugee resettlement program specifically for Somali Muslims on the basis not of their value, but of their troubles.

At the time Ayn Rand came to the U.S., it was the nation's policy (and had been since its inception) to favor immigration from white European countries. The U.S. (and much of Europe for the matter) is too firmly in the suicidal grip of altruism to assert any such policy of unashamed self-interest today. Sweden of all places is being introduced to rampant urban hooliganism and to such horrors as assault rape (the perpetrators of which are almost exclusively non-European) courtesy of third world immigration that the Swedes feel a moral duty to accept under the reigning ideology of political correctness.

Perhaps Japan won't succumb to this evil ideology. I have been to Japan, and the thought of it being flooded with Africans frankly horrifies me. Take a good look at what happened to Detroit after it went from 90% white to 90% black. In spite of Japan's economic woes over the past two decades, there are no Detroits anywhere in Japan, no race riots, no violent flash mobs of the sort that now plague Sweden, France, Britain, Canada, and the U.S., whose African populations are on the rise.

So in sum, sweeping statements about race are very useful in judging foreign populations from the standpoint of immigration policy and in predicting the effects of immigration on nations based on the populations from which they draw.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deconstructing "Social Constructs"

Race refers to phenotypically distinct branches of the human species. The concept has sociological implications, but the concept itself refers to human biology, which is constructed genetically, not socially. It is possible for an individual to grasp the concept of race by way of his own observation of groups of individuals who possess visibly distinctive traits, so the existence of race does not require social validation, let alone social construction.

Common observable phenotypes among populations are explained by genetics, not society. But the concept of race has meaning because of the observable manifestations of genetic variations, not the percentage of genetic dissimilarity. Aren't humans 98% chimpanzee genetically? You could break down a human being to all his chemical components that might exist in a laboratory, but those chemicals wouldn't constitute a human, wouldn't distinguish a human conceptually from other existents. The chemistry of humans underlies but does not define humans.

The essence of race is phenotypical variation, not the genotypical variation that underlies it. Phenotypes per se logically can't be sociological. If you are going to call common observable phenotypes among populations such as skin color "social constructions," even though it is possible to observe them outside of a social context because they exist biologically, then you have rendered the term "social construct" meaningless insofar as all concepts would be "social constructs," including the universe itself.

So to be consistent, if I were an astronomer attempting to describe Uranus, you would have to try to undermine the information I'm giving you by telling me that Uranus and all planets are just social constructs. There is some disagreement among astronomers on whether Pluto qualifies as a planet, but there is no disagreement on whether "planet" is a valid concept that describes actual objects in space and differentiates them from other objects, such as comets and stars.

Concepts that reference existents can't be referring to things that are socially constructed. Social constructs could only refer to such things as laws, mores, customs, etc. -- things that don't actually exist in reality, only as concepts derived from social interactions. Anti-discrimination laws are social constructs, but in order for any laws against racial discrimination to be enforceable, races must be presumed to exist. Otherwise, one accused of discrimination could prove his innocence by demonstrating that: He couldn't have possibly discriminated based on race since races don't exist; and social constructs don't have any legal rights or standing to claim discrimination anyway (no "black person" or "white person" who might claim discrimination actually exists except as a social construct, he could argue).

Do you see why the distinction between purely social concepts and actual existents in reality is useful? It's a distinction the Orwellian abusers of language want to obliterate in the name of prescribing an egalitarianism for the human species that nature failed to produce.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Structural Marxism of Anarcho-Austrians

Some self-described free-market economists of the Austrian school explicitly credit Karl Marx for the analytical framework they employ. A few years ago I attended a seminar put on by the Institute for Humane Studies in which an Austrian economist openly stated that his analytical method was Marxist in nature. He substituted “state” for “bourgeoisie” and saw freedom as an institutional class struggle against the state.

Among those who profess the anarchist strain of Austrian economic thought, structural Marxism is implicit, is not inherent, in their conception of government. They anthropormorphize the abstract concept of government and attribute to government desires and motives that couldn’t actually exist apart from the individuals who make it up.

One cannot understand a particular state simply by referring to one’s own abstract definition of a state and deducing its characteristics. A state could be China or it could be Sealand. A politician could be Robert Mugabe or Ron Paul. Ideas matter. A lot of things matter.

But anarchists have no need for context. They want to smash the state – not particular states for particular reasons, but their reified concept of the state. For anarchists, particular countries or politicians or cultures or populations need not be considered. All they have to do is deduce from their definition of the state. They deduce that it is necessarily preferable for Somalia to be stateless – preferable not merely in comparison to a socialist dictatorship, but preferable in comparison to any conceivable state, including colonial states that have a better track record of producing freedom, prosperity, and order in Africa than does anarchy.

With regard to statelessness in brutish Somalia, Mises Institute scholar Robert P. Murphy writes that "however prosperous and law-abiding a society is, adding an institution of organized violence and theft [his definition of government] will only make things worse." How does he know? Because of his definition of government!

Ludwig Von mises said that economics was “the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything.” This all-encompassing conception of economics is, I think, the source of some of the dogmatism the Austrian school emanates. The idea that everything, including morality and politics, is subsumed by economics conflates economics with philosophy. Of course, values often aren’t expressed in economic terms, but in religious terms or in terms of a secular morality that may eschew the assumptions economist make about individuals being rational, utility-seeking actors.

And politics, or law, doesn’t arise through economic transactions. Law represents coercion or the threat thereof. Law is necessary to some extent to secure property rights, which in turn are a prerequisite for a free-market economy through which individuals’ preferences can manifest peacefully. Anarcho-Austrians disregard this context.

If eliminating all government, as some Austrians prescribe, could be demonstrated to be the most expeditious way of actualizing my political values in a particular country given the totality of the circumstances, then I would support anarchism – but then, only in the particular context so identified, and only as a strategy, as a mechanism for achieving what I value. I value liberty and I value its consequences. That is my ideology. I would never describe my ideology as narrowly as being anti-state, even if for strategic reasons I favored the elimination of a particular state.

Being against states or against statism doesn’t automatically make one a proponent of liberty in the same way that being against religion doesn’t automatically make one a proponent of reason.

An advocate of liberty defines the liberties he values, then seeks a means of implementing them in context. An anarchist takes the obliteration of the state as an absolute principle and leaves liberties undefined and up for grabs in what he terms a market for law.

The basic principles of liberty – which include freedom of speech and association, private property rights, etc. – are based on abstractions from human nature. Human nature does not change meaningfully from one generation to the next. So it gives us a solid foundation for making moral political claims, which is to say defining individual rights.

Implementing the morality of liberty requires taking into account context. One cannot deduce from morality or human nature or definitions or economic theory what type of political system is best suited for a particular society. To attempt to arrive at mechanisms for producing laws through simple deduction would be a dogmatic approach. Dogmatism is characteristic of all strains of structural Marxism, which substitutes a priori political and economic premises for inductive analysis of human beings and human societies.

There are contexts in which constitutional republics are relatively effective in securing liberty and contexts in which non-democratic structures are better equipped to protect property rights against an aggressive majority. There’s no one single answer for every country, every culture, every population in the world. Anarchists suppose there is. Their answer, their only answer, is to smash the state.