Open Thread, 07/31/2017

Read a bit of The Unholy Consult. People who say George R R Martin’s work is too dark? They need to really read a bit of R. Scott Bakker, and Martin will seem to like someone who sees the world through rose-colored glasses.

I’m thinking of reading The Witchwood Crown later because I might need a pick-me-up after The Unholy Consult. I’ve also had The Wise Man’s Fear in my Kindle stack for over five years now, but I plan on reading it when Patrick Rothfuss finishes the series with book 3.

Speaking of fantasy, there is a lot of commentary on Game of Thrones. Always. Some of it is quite dumb. For instance, Game of Thrones and race: who are the non-white characters and where are they from in the books and show? To make a sound argument you actually need to know something about the books. The writer does not. For example, “The Targaryen monarchs, who ruled Westeros for hundreds of years but, thanks to their thing for incest, never really bred all that much with the locals.” This is false. Daenerys is only 1/8th Valyrian (at most). Half her recent ancestry is from a First Men house, the Blackwoods (though it surely has much Andal blood too). About 3/8th of her recent ancestry is Dornish, so a mix of Andal, First Men, and Rhoynish.

Second, George R. R. Martin published the first book in the series in 1996. It was on his mind for years before that. Obviously if he was writing these books today he’d tune them so they were more in sync with the cultural politics of the contemporary Left (since that is where his own personal sympathies lie). But it isn’t as if he can go back and rewrite the major characters and add some diversity which some of his fans might now want. The 1990s were a different time. I recall back on some message boards that Renly’s sexual orientation was an issue for some readers. Martin was arguably ahead of the times on that score.

There are fantasy works where the central characters are nonwhite. Both Judith Tarr’s Avaryan series and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series have been around for a while. And both these worlds have the added benefit of not being standard Tolkienesque medieval settings.

Inside Facebook’s Rapid Growth in Austin. Their presence is felt.

Kimura & Crow: Infinite alleles. Really great piece on the working relationship between Motoo Kimura and James F. Crow. About 11 years I emailed Crow 10 questions on a lark. He responded in less than a day. Also, Kimura and Crow’s An Introduction to Population Genetics Theory is worth getting (it’s cheap).

Divorce and Occupation. No surprise that there’s a correlation between income and divorce rate (negative). But some professions are outliers. Bartender and nurse anesthetists are above the trend line (more divorce than their income predicts). Clerics and actuaries are well below it.

Postdoctoral positions in human population genomics, nutrigenomics, & association studies at Cornell in Alon Keinan’s lab.

How evolution draws trade-offs.

The TakingHayekSeriously Twitter account has been passing along pieces and posts around the controversy surrounding Nancy Maclean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. The book is ridiculous. So ridiculous that Vox published a piece Even the intellectual left is drawn to conspiracy theories about the right. Resist them.

I’ve been very loosely associated with libertarians because of my political sympathies for a long time. Years ago I actually visited The Center for Study of Public Choice where James Buchanan had his office because my friend Garett Jones had his office there. There’s no conspiracy here, or secret cabals under the radar. Libertarians are by and large a nerdy group of radicals fixated on stuff like the nonaggression principle. Just like you see on the internet. Kooky. Yes. But a cabal? Have you met libertarians? They don’t have the aptitude for that sort of coordination (Radicals for Capitalism is really the book to understand libertarianism, in particular because Buchanan and public choice theory have a minor role at best to play in libertarianism).

But that doesn’t matter. Democracy in Chains will validate the suspicions and beliefs of many people. And it’s a footnoted academic work. Unless it’s obvious fraud it’s going to be a success in influencing people.

Remember that Arming America won the Bancroft Prize for outstanding work of American history in 2000. Arming America was likely a work of fraud in large part. But its thesis, that America’s gun culture did not date to the colonial era, was congenial to the political ideology of many historians. Therefore even though it did not pass the smell test they gave the book rave reviews. I’d be surprised if  Democracy in Chains is a work of fraud. The author just doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but she is telling a story her audience wants to hear, with some academic credibility to boot (and so far historians have supposedly supported her).

The population genomics of archaeological transition in west Iberia: Investigation of ancient substructure using imputation and haplotype-based methods. I think these dynamics are going to be relatively common.

I must say, I don’t recommend All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy. The title suggests a broader work than it is. Far too much space is given to the English Reformation. Just thought I’d mention that.

Reading some of Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict. Broadly agree with the thesis I think…but wondering about the replication of some of the experiments cited.

Also in my stack, The Red Flag: A History of Communism.

Andrew Sullivan notices in this week’s column that Islam seems to now be untouchable on the Left. This is going to too far, but liberals who express anti-Islamic sentiments are getting rather rare, and though privately many on the Left have serious issues with Islam (I know, because they tell me privately) they’re careful not to say it out loud lest they be attacked as racist. My own view is that there are 1.6 billion Muslims, so it makes sense for the Left to align with them. Isn’t world domination worth a hijab?

Don’t blame the Empire. Alex Tabarrok takes some deserved shots at Shashi Tharoor’s An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. The anti-colonialism tick often gets out of control among Indians, to the point where all evils are heaped upon the British. This is a major aspect of post-colonialism, which “erases” all identity-forming events before the arrival of Europeans.

Twitter lost 2 million users in the U.S. last quarter. Shit’s getting real Jack. If you use RSS, subscribe to my feed! I also have a mailing list, where I’ve sent out exactly one email so far. But if Twitter goes down….

Can 23andMe Tell Us If Jews Are A Race — And Is That A Good Thing? The author interviews scientists who know the science, but he still manages to garble and confuse everything. First, Ashkenazi Jews descend from a endogamous community which flourished in Central Europe probably no earlier than ~1000 AD. That is why a Ashkenazi Jewish cluster emerges naturally out of the population genetic data; there’s a real coherent demographic history being reflected. Whether that’s a “race” or not I’ll leave to the reader.

Second, the story states that “Sephardic Jews are not considered a distinct population by either company, or by researchers — their genetic make-up is not sufficiently different from surrounding North African, Iberian and Greek populations.” This very misleading. To a great extent Sephardic Jews are rather distinct from the surrounding populations. There is some evidence of shared ancestry in Moroccan Jews with Moroccan Berbers (I know because I’ve looked at a lot of this data), but it’s a small proportion. Similar things can be said about most Sephardic communities. But, they are not nearly as coherent a genetic cluster as Ashkenazi Jews. There has been some gene flow and assimilation with many local Jewish populations (e.g., the Syrian Sephardic Jews absorbed a local Levantine Jewish community, which had its own liturgy until the 19th century).

Neanderthal-Derived Genetic Variation Shapes Modern Human Cranium and Brain. Many people skeptical of the robustness of this result.

40 thoughts on “Open Thread, 07/31/2017

  1. 1. The divorce rates. From a crude glance it appears like people from many “liberal jobs” such as science/math/computers/social “science” seem to involve fewer divorces. Given the correlation with income it seems likely that liberals have lower divorce rates (at least, blue states seem to have lower divorce rates than red states).

    2. “The anti-colonialism tick often gets out of control among Indians, to the point where all evils are heaped upon the British.”

    This is true, but in different ways among the left and the right. e.g., someone who exaggerates the British role in deepening caste divisions is likely to be RW. OTOH the specific objection about Hindu-Muslim divisions being a British creation is mostly a fabrication by the left, because that helps them portray the Mughals and other Muslim rulers as “secular” (whereas in practice there were many communal riots in India before the British, and Vijayanagar Kings, Shivaji, many Sikh groups etc. took on themselves the title of being the protector of Hindus (from Muslim atrocities)).

  2. “divorce rates” – Hard to infer too much from that I think, e.g. engineers are notably (notoriously?) majority conservative, certainly in America and also by my subjective observation in other countries, and they also look to have lower divorce rates, similar to scientists, who are notable for being majority liberals. The correlation might more likely be with something that professional engineers and scientists have in common – I can think of a couple.

  3. Have you met libertarians? They don’t have the aptitude for that sort of coordination

    I usually find many opinions and positions of libertarians appealing, but I don’t see how libertarianism can have a political translation to the socio-economic problems that we face today. It seems like it would work great if society consisted mostly of libertarians who had more or less independently arrived at that opinion, but how does it deal politically with the remaining, what, 90%?

  4. “Bronze Age DNA helps unravel true fate of biblical Canaanites” 27 July 2017, updated 28 July 2017
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2142028-bronze-age-dna-helps-unravel-true-fate-of-biblical-canaanites/

    “The new account of the Canaanites comes from an impartial source: the ancient DNA from five skeletons unearthed from a Canaanite burial site in the Lebanese city of Sidon. The two males and three females date from the Bronze Age, 3700 years ago.

    “After comparing the Canaanite DNA with that from 99 living Lebanese volunteers, the team found that almost 90 per cent of present day Lebanese DNA is shared with the Canaanites … ‘There’s evidence for substantial continuity in the region from the Bronze Age to today,’ says Tyler-Smith.

    “Much later, distant invaders from the Asian steppes swept into the area. But their DNA accounts for only about 10 per cent of the DNA in the modern inhabitants of Lebanon.

    “It also seems likely that the Canaanites became known to the Greeks as the Phoenicians later in the Bronze Age …”

    Journal reference: The American Journal of Human Genetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.06.013

    “Canaanite DNA and a Failure to Read” by Jonathan Bernier on July 30, 2017
    http://criticalrealismandthenewtestament.blogspot.com/2017/07/canaanite-dna-and-failure-to-read.html

    “A recent article in the Telegraph, entitled “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out,” … the article reports that a comparison of ancient DNA with that of modern populations demonstrates that modern Syrian and Lebanon populations are descended from Bronze Age Canaanites. It then asserts that this contests the biblical claim that Israel exterminated all the ancient Canaanites. The difficulty is that the biblical text never really makes this claim, and moreover is really quite explicit in stating that the ancient Canaanites were not all exterminated. … throughout the subsequent historical writings we again and again see “indigenous” Canaanite populations and persons playing a significant role in Israelite history (the Phoenicians, for instance, are to a large extent just Canaanites in first-millennium drag).

    “… the ancient material used to produce the DNA profile came from Sidon. Now, that’s really quite significant, as Joshua never reports that Sidon was destroyed, while Judges 1:31 lists it explicitly as a city that was never conquered by Israel. Moreover, Sidon appears repeatedly as a non-Israelite city throughout the balance of the Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] … Far from contesting the biblical claims on the matter, the DNA confirms them.”

  5. There are actually other Jewish communities where Sephardi Jews (exiles from Spain / Portugal) ended up outnumbering and at least partially subsuming older Jewish communities. Greece is a case in point.

    My impression (based on my reading here) was that Sephardi Jews cluster reasonably tightly in genomic analysis, and that “their” cluster is not too far from the Ashkenazim.

  6. There are actually other Jewish communities where Sephardi Jews (exiles from Spain / Portugal) ended up outnumbering and at least partially subsuming older Jewish communities. Greece is a case in point.

    no, the greek case is one where subsuming DID NOT happen. the romaniotes remain distinct. in contrast in syria there was total absorption. also turkey too. in morocco i don’t know the history, but the berber-shift in moroccan jews is almost certainly due to assimilation of pre-expulsion native jews who had local ancestry.

    My impression (based on my reading here) was that Sephardi Jews cluster reasonably tightly in genomic analysis, and that “their” cluster is not too far from the Ashkenazim.

    they are near(ish) to the ashkenazim. one reason that they often come out as partly ashkenazim. i have a full moroccan jewish friend. depending on method u use he’s between 5 and 20% ashkenazim. but 23andMe says he is 30% north african (and 5% ashkenazim).

    also, they’re not that tight compared to ashkenazim. the local admixture shifts them into different localities. and the sephardim population bottleneck was not as clear as the ashkenazim one i think. the jewish communities date back really far and probably had a reasonable size the whole stretch.

  7. A thing I wonder a lot about:

    Say that large numbers of people on the left are very publicly pro-Islam, but in private raise concerns to you (you=Razib). They tell you that they don’t raise these concerns publicly because they are afraid of being called racist.

    Why do they think that everybody else says this?

    I assume that they do not believe that everyone else thinks the same as them, or else they would be able to speak publicly, address this directly, and not get attacked for it.

    How do they square “I don’t think this is racist” with “everyone else thinks this is racist” and “I respect everyone elses’ opinions”?

    To be honest, the only way I can understand their positions as rational is if I posit that:
    a) They believe everyone else, on some level, feels the same way
    b) They believe everyone else will nonetheless leap on them publicly
    c) Which implies they believe that pretty much everyone who they respect and admire are acting in extremely bad faith, and have zero qualms about throwing the speaker under the bus in order to forward their own social standing.

    Why would anyone want to associate with sociopathic power-hungry fiends like that

  8. Say that large numbers of people on the left are very publicly pro-Islam, but in private raise concerns to you (you=Razib). They tell you that they don’t raise these concerns publicly because they are afraid of being called racist.

    the people who think islam is a ‘fucked up religion’ (generally the type of thing they believe) are generally not pro-islam, though they probably will oppose anti-muslim bigotry but never highlight anything that’s negative about islam. to a great extent this is preference falsification. there are two groups pushing this

    1) some people are genuinely worried that radical muslims will attack them (physically). tbh my wife is worried about this and i have taken precautions.

    2) more commonly, some people are worried that sociopathic wokies will attack them for being racist in status games. the problem with the racism accusation is that it’s a really costless false accusation to make, but the person being accused gets smeared no matter one defending themselves.

  9. Why would anyone want to associate with sociopathic power-hungry fiends like that

    it’s a dangerous game. but ppl can be sociopathic longer than u can be solvent 🙂 some people make the calculation to fall in line and keep their heads down. in most contexts this seems pretty typical. the issue isn’t individuals, who are conformists without much courage, but social systems which reward sociopathy.

  10. Re: Ashkenazi-Sephardi proximity, it seems from GEDmatch results and Behar et al 2013 that on a finer scale, Western Ashkenazim basically overlap with Turkish, Bulgarian, and Italian Jews — the Jewish groups that can be strictly modeled as Levantine + Euro-Mediterranean. Next out, in each direction, are Eastern Ashkenazim (pulled north by *variable* Central/Eastern European ancestry) and Moroccan Jews (pulled south by *variable* Berber influence).

  11. Re Lack of Asian American lawyers in the top ranks. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-liu-asian-american-lawyers-20170723-story.html

    Basically, it says fewer Asian Americans work as prosecutors, judges or in government. But, very few people in the profession would consider prosecutors part of the profession’s “top ranks”. In general, all aspects of criminal law (prosecution, public defendant, private criminal defense lawyer – even state and local district attorneys) are near the bottom of the legal profession’s pecking order. And, most government lawyers are prosecutors or do very routine, low level contract work. The main reason for an ambitious young lawyer to become a prosecutor is to get trial experience which could lead to a judgeship or to a lateral hire as a BigLaw trial lawyer, down the line. A state or local DA, in contrast, is someone who didn’t make the transition to these higher prestige positions and locked into an entire career in a lower prestige subfield of law.

    Certainly there are criminal lawyers and government lawyers who handle very important matters, but the prestige spot in law is in BigLaw and to a lesser extent with ambitious and successful trial lawyers who take on mass tort cases.

    On that front they aren’t doing badly: “Asian Americans are the largest minority group in big firms, they have the highest attrition rate and rank lowest in the ratio of partners to associates.” Also, some of the most prestigious big law firms have some of the highest attrition rates and some of the lowest partner to associate rates – washing out in a firm like that still portends a successful career in one’s own firm or another firm further down the pecking order in much the same way that failure to earn tenure at Harvard after being a tenure track assistant professor there is not a career ender.

    Also, the commentary about “hard” v. “soft” skills mentioning a lack of “empathy”, “aggressiveness” or “creativity” somewhat misses the point. The way you get to be a partner in a law firm have very little to do with legal aptitude and everything to do with rain making (i.e. bringing in legal work). In BigLaw this means having social connections in the executive suites of big businesses. Being entrenched in upper class social networks, however, is an entirely different ability set than being a good lawyer, so it isn’t too surprising that progress in making partner can be slow. Historically, Jews made their way into legal elites from which they were socially shut out in a fairly explicit fashion, by building networks with Jewish manufacturing and commercial chiefs and riding their economic gains. My guess is that the rising stars in Asian American law are mostly in the tech and medical sectors where there are Asian Americans in boardrooms.

    Even among judges, while some judges clearly are leaders of the profession, the American judiciary is bottom heavy, with lots of judges in limited jurisdiction courts that handle misdemeanors and smaller civil claims normally not considered to be at the top of the legal profession’s hierarchy (although certainly not at the bottom of it either). Appellate judges and federal trial judges are at the top of the judiciary hierarchy, with general jurisdiction state trial court judges in the middle, and general jurisdiction state trial court judges at hubs of commerce and industry and government having more informal power than those on the economic fringes of American society.

    The numbers of Asian Americans in top judicial positions and in top government law jobs also has to be compared to Asian American law graduates several decades ago as these posts are normally attained late in a career, and by that measure they are doing quite well in the judiciary and federal government.

  12. @froginthewell

    “The divorce rates. From a crude glance it appears like people from many “liberal jobs” such as science/math/computers/social “science” seem to involve fewer divorces. Given the correlation with income it seems likely that liberals have lower divorce rates (at least, blue states seem to have lower divorce rates than red states).”

    The first order predictor of divorce is a husband who is unemployed more than briefly or has less earned income than his wife. This largely works out to be a class divide.

    College educated men have higher earnings and lower unemployment on average, and the earnings penalty for a college educated woman who takes time out of the work force to raise young children or reduces hours to be family friendly (e.g. among lawyers and business managers), is huge.

    Working class men have seen income stagnate and unemployment rates remain consistently high since the 1970s, while job opportunities for working class women have surged since then – and working class jobs have a much lower penalty for taking time off for a few years or reducing your hours. Even red state men who are economically successful in terms of income tend to have jobs/businesses that don’t require college educations and are less steady, so a marital split is often one poorly navigated economic downturn away.

    As a result, college educated women are much more economically dependent upon their husbands than working class women, and therefore divorce – jettisoning an economic drag on the household. There are lower order effects that tweak this (bartenders often have drinking problems themselves and gaming industry workers often have gambling problems), but this is really the force that is driving the trends.

  13. Thanks for warning me away from R. Scott Bakker. Currently reading Ice and Fire, about 2/3rds of the way through the third book, and I don’t find the series to be terribly fun to read. It may be that my expectations were that the story would be more in the nature of Tolkien and Howard, when it turns out to have more politics than I was looking for in an ugly election year. I don’t know that I mind “dark” subject matter (is Lovecraft “dark”?), but I do read fiction to be entertained. As it sometimes feels like I’m reading what might be a snuff-film in which the author is killing admirable characters for shock-value, I am not entertained.

    I personally find the sexual content to be mild compared to a lot of 60s/70s fair, but I suspect HBO spends much more time on this than it takes to read it. I wouldn’t describe it as gratuitous in the book; it seems well-wedded to character development.

    Martin is obviously writing fiction with the benefit of a background or interest in European history. I find it odd that people assume that world-building fantasy doesn’t have massive cheats.

  14. 1. I finished it a few days ago. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, because I was spoiled on lots of the details before getting the book, but wow.

    15. I think American left folk just don’t see Islam or muslims as a serious threat. There’s only 3.3 million of them, most of the immigrants skew to the upper-middle-class, and so forth. It’s not like Europe, where there are more serious concerns about the number and ideology of muslim immigrants. Plus, as long as they’re not really evangelistic, America often tolerates highly conservative religious enclaves (see orthodox Jewish communities in NYC, the Amish, and the Mennonites).

  15. also, if anyone has trouble keeping up on their internet article reading, the Pocket app will read the articles to you so you can listen while you are doing chores, etc. You can choose your own speed too. Combine that with Audible and I’ve achieved my life’s goal of figuring out how to get paid to read books and internet articles! 10,000 word essay? no prob., i’ll be done before you have your coffee:)

  16. ohwilleke,

    You made some excellent observations.

    My guess is that the rising stars in Asian American law are mostly in the tech and medical sectors where there are Asian Americans in boardrooms.

    One of my town neighbors is an ethnically Korean patent attorney. He worked at a big firm and then left with a (white) friend, and they started their own firm together. He indeed works with tech companies and does very well.

    Brett,

    “I think American left folk just don’t see Islam or muslims as a serious threat.”

    Or maybe the hard Left sees serious Christians (esp. white Christians) as a bigger threat to it in the United States and sees Muslims as yet another group of potential “The Others” allies it can marshal against its true foe.

    Everyone else,

    About the varying divorce rates across professions, I think income and relative husband/wife incomes, etc. are all excellent and important variables to consider. But what about the peculiarities of certain jobs? For example, flight attendants are notoriously promiscuous. It’s not a field conducive stable marriage and child rearing. Also certain types of jobs (e.g. bartending and some types of nursing) require working at odd hours and are difficult on stable family-formation. Males working odd hours aren’t all that unusual, but females working night shifts and being otherwise unavailable to husbands and children during “normal” hours doesn’t work well.

  17. @Brett “But what about the peculiarities of certain jobs?” There is no doubt that there are these kinds of effects.

    For example, the incomes and unemployment rates for actuaries isn’t that different from other kinds of scientists, engineers and IT professionals with similar skill sets. But, actuaries have far and away the lowest divorce rates, probably because their jobs are so reliably 9 to 5, because they can honor commitments to go on vacations and ignore work while on vacation, and because they are almost never exposed to an on the job crisis that impacts their schedule. Almost all other highly paid managerial/professional positions require you to be constantly on call to respond to emergencies and to work long hours at least periodically (not always with a lot of advanced warning). Actuaries also very rarely travel to anything other than annual conferences, and since most of the actuaries in the nation live in Connecticut, these conferences are usually quite conveniently located. (The Connecticut geography may also be itself a factor in the marital stability of actuaries. There is strong peer pressure in Connecticut to stay married that isn’t present in much of the rest of the U.S. and isn’t universally shared by more geographically diverse professions.)

  18. I have seen this idea of the left and their embrace of Islam as a contradiction being brought up more and more lately, and while not incorrect, I have not yet seen what I believe is a precedent for this mentioned along side it, which I believe leads to a misunderstanding of the left. I am referring to the left’s embrace of blacks, a group which would be most likely to oppose the left on their gay and trans social projects, which seem to be their most pressing concerns at the moment. And by embrace, I do not mean an ally, I mean an embrace spiritually, one that I doubt is reciprocated by blacks to their urban liberal champions. While the straight white male is indeed the always and everywhere pernicious villain of the liberal mind (basically the role the Jew plays in the white nationalist mind) this has little to do with ideology, and in turn his victims are not ideological ones. It is rather about the stark, brazen, unavoidable and (to the active left at least) insufferable reality that some, by their very nature, are better than others. This is the crushing fear that lurks in the soul of the modern leftist, and anyone who has been touched by this fear and is motivated by it is a spiritual brother or sister, one of the Army of the Wounded. It doesn’t matter that black people will stand up and announce “I ain’t watchin no gay shit” and leave the theater during Moonlight (I witnessed this), they have been hurt, just as the liberal has been hurt, and so they are members of the congregation, any other sins can be forgiven. It is not ideology, it is emotion. So become an apologist for Islam, OF COURSE, for they have suffered at the hands of the competitive, the enterprising, the selfish, those who hurt. Or perhaps leftists are just afraid of being called racists, who knows.

  19. @Walter Sobchak

    Media coverage of that Haber et al study has been appallingly ignorant. I assume that fits a somewhat consistent pattern which I only happen to notice when I know a fair bit about the particular topic being covered.

    For example:

    It also seems likely that the Canaanites became known to the Greeks as the Phoenicians later in the Bronze Age…

    …and known to themselves as Canaanites, kanāᶜanīm in their own language. Which is not surprisingly identical to the term in Biblical Hebrew, a mutually intelligible language which evolved from the local Canaanite dialect spoken in the Judean Highlands. Even the Carthaginians referred to themselves as Canaanites.

  20. Andrew: “Almost all other highly paid managerial/professional positions require you to be constantly on call to respond to emergencies and to work long hours at least periodically (not always with a lot of advanced warning).”

    That is so true it hurts, particularly as I was in a line of work (still am, to an extent) where real physical emergencies that could happen any time 24/7 were quite frequent. I was fortunate enough (or maybe smart enough, because she was a deliberate and carefully considered choice on my part) to get a wife with a set of immutable Rules which I was required to agree to before she would agree to marry me, No. 1 of which was “Work always comes first, no matter what. Go and do whatever you need to do, I’ll be here waiting for you when you get back.” Of course, the same applied to her work commitment, and I needed to follow the Rule too.

    And her extended family went by the same rule, so my absence or sudden departure from culturally important family gatherings was tolerated without question. My daughter also got it, except when she was very young, like 4 years old and younger. After that, she just came to regard it as normal, and even heroic of me once she was old enough to figure out the physical hazards I was exposing myself to – she trusted my judgement.

    If I had married an Anglo-Celtic Australian wife, she would probably never have stood for it. I saw this happen to a lot of Anglo guys with Anglo wives that I worked with (English, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand), whose marriages just fell apart. Work was not the only explanatory factor (having a lot of attractive single Chinese girls around was another one), but it was a pretty big one.

    Marrying a traditional, old fashioned, conscientious Chinese girl was the smartest thing I ever did, once we got done with resolving the trivial cultural clashes early on, and her Rules have a lot of explanatory power for why we are still together after a long time, and will remain so until death takes one of us out. That was her Rule No. 2 – “No divorce – you marry me, it’s for life. You don’t agree, get lost right now and don’t come back.” I see that divorces among ‘Asians’ are a lot more rare, and understand why.

  21. ohwilleke: “As a result, college educated women are much more economically dependent upon their husbands than working class women, and therefore divorce – jettisoning an economic drag on the household.”

    I am talking from a Portuguese point of view (things could be very different in USA), but my impression is that, if anything, the male-female wage gap is higher in the working class, because many (most? almost all?) high-paying working-class jobs (for example, in construction) are in professions that are overwhelming male (specially by a question of required physical force).

    I even have the theory that the reason because more women follow higher education than men is exactly because the monetary prize of going to college is higher for women (because female working-class jobs – like hypermarket cashier – earn much less than male working-class jobs – like construction worker or mechanic).

  22. David: “I have seen this idea of the left and their embrace of Islam as a contradiction being brought up more and more lately, and while not incorrect, I have not yet seen what I believe is a precedent for this mentioned along side it, which I believe leads to a misunderstanding of the left. I am referring to the left’s embrace of blacks, a group which would be most likely to oppose the left on their gay and trans social projects, which seem to be their most pressing concerns at the moment.”

    An even more strong example is the identification (or spiritually embracing) of the left with the blue-collar working class, a group usually more conservative in social issues than the supposedly reactionary upper classes. (An interesting article about this is “Working Class Authoritarianism”, from Seymour M. Lipset – https://ia600503.us.archive.org/25/items/politicalmansoci00inlips/politicalmansoci00inlips.pdf#page=101).

    And this identification is, I think, even more strong than with the blacks – in spite of all, you don’t find organizations of white leftists claiming to be the “Black Liberation Front”, but you will find many organization of middle-class leftist college kids claiming to be the “Socialist Workers Party” or the “Workers Revolutionary League”.

    Or perhaps an older examples could be the British alliance of the secularist and/or utilitarian intellectuals and the fundamentalist, “Non-Conformist”, protestants in the Liberal Party against the Tory/Anglican establishment.

    And, in general way, probably the subaltern groups (blacks, women, immigrants, gays, blue-collar workers, etc.) are more despised by the other subaltern groups than by the elite, meaning that the left-wing idea of the “alliance of the oppressed against the oppressors” will have always these contradictions.

  23. you don’t find organizations of white leftists claiming to be the “Black Liberation Front”

    Wasn’t the NAACP founded by white socialists?

  24. the left-muslim alliance has unique properties.

    1) in the USA left has had a checkered relationship with working class since 60s. also, as ww 1 showed us *class solidarity* is not always (usually?) strongest identity markers around which group cohesion operates

    2) there was nothing necessary in a deep way for black americans in regards to social conservatism. the black american leadership switched on social issues easy enuf; jesse jackson is an example, who was pretty skeptical of gay rights when first exposed to it, but no prob now. finally, i know this will annoy any frog-nazi readers but race is in big picture less powerful than even religion in binding ppl together ideologically.

    3) the issue with islam is that there are 1.6 billion people who have a deep set of values which *on the whole* are at variance with left commitments to things like reimagining gender. american muslims according to pew now are getting almost liberal on gay rights, but they are also only a tiny minority among all muslims. so a genuine global alliance is going to cause problems.

    finally, i’m talking about something that happens in europe. muslims are now a major vote-bank for the left, and a few years ago the left pub *the guardian* published something negative about a liberal muslims (who is anti-islamist) the same week it published something fawning about a british islamist. they’ve clearly prioritized the battle against ‘islamophobia’.

    will be interesting to watch.

  25. Can you be more specific about what you mean about a global alliance between the left and Muslims? In the US a local alliance between the left and Muslims seems to be in effect and it doesn’t seem to cause huge problems for either side

  26. Can you be more specific about what you mean about a global alliance between the left and Muslims?

    in the film about the baider-meinhoff gang the naked german female terrorists were causing disturbances when the PLO gave them shelter. they were told to cover up because when in rome (the nudity was a german thing, not even a lefty thing).

    american muslims

    1) are not self-segregated so internalize lots of american values/outlooks
    2) are converging on median american views on social issues

    the differences are going to be minimal.

    it’s more of a problem when you get alliances between european muslim groups like british pakistanis, who are very insulated, and left-wingers. and when you go to the international scale, there will be major issues because the alliances and interests can get at cross-purposes. the muslim world in particular is particularly resistant to changes in gender-relations in the revolutionary manner which some on the cultural left envision.

    also, though american muslims are domestically liberal, like many american hindus, they have international associations with groups which are not progressive at all. an ‘international’ of resistance will expose these tensions.

  27. but race is in big picture less powerful than even religion in binding ppl together ideologically

    I work with many working class and lower middle class blacks, most of whom are very religious, and almost none of them are on board with the black elite’s pushing of LGBT(x) issues.

  28. I read Radicals for Capitalism last year and found it very helpful in getting a feel for the libertarian landscape. I identify with libertarianism quite strongly, but I recognize why outsiders would largely see them as kooks. Nevertheless, I remain committed since, for whatever reason, libertarianism just seems fundamentally correct in a way that other ideologies do not. The non-aggression principle may seem simplistic, but I think it’s intuitive correctness is hard to dismiss. Who honestly is in favor of aggression? I actually think practically everybody accepts the NAP, since everybody seems to agree that “aggression” is bad; they simply define aggression in whatever way allows them to stay liberal or conservative or whatever.

    My own opinion is that libertarianism works best as critique. E.g. where does political authority come from exactly? Where does government get the right to command your obedience on penalty of prison or death? Why do we let government agents get away with things we would not tolerate from private actors, e.g. taking money by force, even for the sake of “public goods”? How do we know that government makes better use of the resources it takes by force than the original owners would?

  29. This quote has stuck with me, as it illustrates how the left situates Islam in their worldview:

    “To put the matter as starkly as possible: from the standpoint of Marxism and international socialism an illiterate conservative superstitious Muslim Palestinian peasant who supports Hamas is more progressive than an educated liberal atheist Israeli who supports Zionism (even critically).”

    Via http://isj.org.uk/more-than-opium-marxism-and-religion/

    Note this comes from International Socialism, a Marxist journal, nine years ago. But the Islamophilia has gone mainstream.

  30. “I am talking from a Portuguese point of view (things could be very different in USA), but my impression is that, if anything, the male-female wage gap is higher in the working class, because many (most? almost all?) high-paying working-class jobs (for example, in construction) are in professions that are overwhelming male (specially by a question of required physical force).”

    This is a natural intuition but it is absolutely not true in the U.S. even though a lot of people think that it is. Pay for historically male good paying blue collar jobs, for example, in construction, has grown no faster than inflation for more than 50 years in the U.S. Lots of factory jobs of been automated or gone offshore and those that remain require associates degrees or higher levels of education. Cheap imports has taken the profit margin out of being able to fix things. Farms need fewer workers with innovations like my cousin’s tractor which needs to be trained once to traverse a field and then can run itself on GPS all day long, while my cousin trains another tractor in another field – almost all of the young people have left the rural communities where they were born because the economy doesn’t need more highly skilled moderately highly paid farmers. Mines are shuttered from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the mountains of West Virginia to the Rocky Mountains.

    Meanwhile, fifty years ago working class women were mostly barefoot and pregnant and had very few career paths available to them. Now, working class women are slightly more educated than their male peers and have profoundly more job options and more reliable ways to postpone having children. Their earnings have surged steadily for the last 50 years while their male peers have seen their earnings stay completely flat.

    You’d think that upper middle class women were making huge gains, and some of them have, but upper middle class women who have children have made only a fraction of the economic gains that men in the top 5% have experienced.

    It is entirely possible the Portugal’s social class structure is very different from the U.S., but relative male-female earnings is one of the most effective global predictors of marital stability across all sorts of cultural lines.

  31. no, the greek case is one where subsuming DID NOT happen. the romaniotes remain distinct.

    Partially subsumed, as I mentioned. My understanding of the history is that Romaniote communities that saw big Sephardic immigration became quite thoroughly “Sephardicized”. The Sephardim were more sophisticated in their traditional learning and within a couple of generations brought their newly published (Sephardi normative) law codes into the mix. So they became a new elite in those places.

    In places where the Romaniotes were more isolated, they remained distinct and their traditions were preserved.

    To some extent the patterns have repeated themselves in the New World, where small Sephardi communities can be subsumed into larger or wealthier Ashkenazi ones.

  32. Two links of interest:

    1. A recent study found the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet is entirely dependent on SES.

    2. Apropos of the earlier discussion on Catholicism, Pope Francis is apparently trying to “mainstream” the American Catholic Church by moving it away from an alliance with the political right, much to the dismay of the American clerical leadership. It will be interesting to see what happens if Francis lives long enough to replace a sufficient number of American bishops and cardinals, or if his successor is similar ideologically.

  33. It will be interesting to see what happens if Francis lives long enough to replace a sufficient number of American bishops and cardinals, or if his successor is similar ideologically.

    The Church has survived many popes.

  34. about 5-10% of the ancestral in turkey is east asian. assuming that the turkic tribes were about 50/50 east asian/non-east asian, then 10-20% of the ancestral of turks is from people who were speaking turkic 1,000 years ago.

  35. For any Game of Thrones TV fans out there: do NOT miss Sunday night’s episode. Dragons in ground attack strafing mode against enemy supply trains much in the manner of P-47s versus Lannister anti-air ballista replete with sights a la Bofors quad 40mms.

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