The way of things

I believe in empirical constructive dialectical materialism.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/07/31/nolte-trader-joes-politely-tells-cancel-culture-to-shove-it/
… Good
kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/when-the-going-gets-weird-the-weird-get-punked/
… Not good. Kunstler began as a mild Liberal. That changed
https://www.unz.com/freed/its-gonna-blow-be-a-miracle-if-it-dont/
… Not good at all.  Fred was a journalist and is a retired Marine.

youtu.be/ jrKhRDDDrIo
Pottymouth LANGUAGE.  Your philosophical mileage may vary. Be polite; aim before firing.
youtu.be/v=4V_3itpmB0c
… Redirected stupidity is not intelligence, whatever its talents for presentation.

youtu.be/ftrCtOyLrmU
… A 12 ga. lead slug hitting a slab of ballistic gel. It is instantly incapacitating.
youtu.be/7HuVkXLreWE
… 2 min, 10 sec Wound channel dimensioning.
youtu.be/imSK0Dj5wY0

Circuits have fuses. It isn’t paranoia if it happens.

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49 thoughts on “The way of things”

  1. Jojo:
    I don’t see the facts here supporting that individual differences and environmental influence are not far more significant than racial/genetic differences. “Significance” requires context.

    Well, “significance” is a term which has a precise meaning in statistical hypothesis testing, and when one has a large volume of data on a phenomenon, it is possible to compute, with high precision, the probability that a given result is due to chance as opposed to the hypothesis being tested.

    Instead of violence, which can be measured in various ways which can be disputed as over- or under-sampling certain populations, consider intelligence as measured by IQ tests.  Within a population, the distribution of results closely follows a Gaussian or normal distribution (“bell curve”), which can be characterised by just two parameters: mean and standard deviation.  As it happens, IQ is negatively correlated with crime, so a low IQ predicts a higher crime rate.

    The mean IQ of various populations is one of the most well-documented statistics in the human sciences, with sample sizes in the millions, and appears to be stable across many other variables.  The result, replicated innumerable times, is that the African American population in the U.S. has a mean IQ around 85, which is one standard deviation (15) below the population of European ancestry, with an IQ around 100.  This, from basic statistics, has the following two consequences which Steve Sailer points out are hard for many people to grasp:

    1. A black individual is moderately often (about 1/6th of the time) smarter than the average white individual.
    2. A black group is almost never smarter on average than a white group.

    This is why it is important to keep the distinction between individual characteristics and group averages in mind: membership in a group tells you nothing about an individual member of the group, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accurately predict the results for a sufficiently large ensemble of members of that group.

    This is the case not just for IQ, but for many metrics including violent crime and time preference, which is at the bottom of many of the behavioural traits measured by social scientists.

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  2. drlorentz:
    this paper in Nature Genetics is an example of recent genome-wide association studies

    I clicked on the link to read the abstract.  But the web page came up without a back button, so I had to re-launch Ratburger.org to return.  In order to save others the hassle, here is the abstract:

    Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals James J. Lee, Robbee Wedow, […] David Cesarini Nature Genetics  50, 1112–1121(2018)

    Abstract: Here we conducted a large-scale genetic association analysis of educational attainment in a sample of approximately 1.1 million individuals and identify 1,271 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs. For the SNPs taken together, we found evidence of heterogeneous effects across environments. The SNPs implicate genes involved in brain-development processes and neuron-to-neuron communication. In a separate analysis of the X chromosome, we identify 10 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs and estimate a SNP heritability of around 0.3% in both men and women, consistent with partial dosage compensation. A joint (multi-phenotype) analysis of educational attainment and three related cognitive phenotypes generates polygenic scores that explain 11–13% of the variance in educational attainment and 7–10% of the variance in cognitive performance. This prediction accuracy substantially increases the utility of polygenic scores as tools in research.

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  3. drlorentz:
    Next, consider Head Start. This is another bit of public policy that depends on the assumption there are no significant group differences among children.* After half a century of failure, it continues because of adherence to the belief in the Blank Slate.

    I think there are many other relevant reasons for the failures of Head Start.

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  4. John Walker:

    Jojo:
    I don’t see the facts here supporting that individual differences and environmental influence are not far more significant than racial/genetic differences. “Significance” requires context.

    Well, “significance” is a term which has a precise meaning in statistical hypothesis testing, and when one has a large volume of data on a phenomenon, it is possible to compute, with high precision, the probability that a given result is due to chance as opposed to the hypothesis being tested.

    Instead of violence, which can be measured in various ways which can be disputed as over- or under-sampling certain populations, consider intelligence as measured by IQ tests.  Within a population, the distribution of results closely follows a Gaussian or normal distribution (“bell curve”), which can be characterised by just two parameters: mean and standard deviation.  As it happens, IQ is negatively correlated with crime, so a low IQ predicts a higher crime rate.

    The mean IQ of various populations is one of the most well-documented statistics in the human sciences, with sample sizes in the millions, and appears to be stable across many other variables.  The result, replicated innumerable times, is that the African American population in the U.S. has a mean IQ around 85, which is one standard deviation (15) below the population of European ancestry, with an IQ around 100.  This, from basic statistics, has the following two consequences which Steve Sailer points out are hard for many people to grasp:

    1. A black individual is moderately often (about 1/6th of the time) smarter than the average white individual.
    2. A black group is almost never smarter on average than a white group.

    This is why it is important to keep the distinction between individual characteristics and group averages in mind: membership in a group tells you nothing about an individual member of the group, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accurately predict the results for a sufficiently large ensemble of members of that group.

    This is the case not just for IQ, but for many metrics including violent crime and time preference, which is at the bottom of many of the behavioural traits measured by social scientists.

    OK…but I defined the context for my use of “significant”.  It’s not the one you describe of statistically significant. It’s practically significant- relative to all the applicable variables- relative to the principle of individual responsibility- the appropriate sense to be using when considering whether and how to target public policy specifically toward racial groups.

    We could divide the population into all kinds of groups and find statistically significant differences between them. I have no doubt we could find statistically significant differences between Caribbean immigrant blacks living in the northeast and tenth generation black natives of Mississippi.  We could find statistically significant differences between churchgoing third generation Irish and atheist fourth generation Scottish in New Jersey. But we don’t treat people differently according to their subgroup (or shouldn’t) and we don’t assign the blame for social ills to a racial group. Our admirable Western tradition is to judge people as individuals, by their behavior.

    I have a sense or a hope that we are not talking about the same thing. If someone could tell me what possible policies should be implemented based on statistically significant say, IQ differences,  it might clarify. And if someone could clarify or defend Comment 6 which appeared to blame most social ills on black people, that would be enlightening. Endless repetition of assertions that group differences are real are beside the point.  I have heard and understood all that before. The point is exactly how do you think that should be addressed? My opinion is that it shouldn’t be.

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  5. Jojo:
    The point is exactly how do you think that should be addressed? My opinion is that it shouldn’t be.

    I agree with you if we are talking about domestic policy.

    I disagree that this should not be taken into account when forming immigration policy.

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  6. Jojo:
    I have read some of the threads on the subject in  Ratburger, I read James Damore’s sensible essay. I  never saw those facts there either, and I never saw the suggestion that blacks as a racial group were the essential problem needing to be solved, which strikes me as nuts.

    You never saw any facts in Damore’s essay? That is a remarkable statement. It is chock-full of facts with references to back them up. There must be a couple of dozen links in his piece. Read the whole thing again; you have appeared to have missed the point. He got fired from Google because there was no rational response to the factual case he presented; their only choice was to make him go away. The response was limited to cries of misogyny.

    Damore’s piece was about sex differences, not about race or other innate differences, so naturally there would not be anything about that. I have listed some facts in this thread and on others related to that topic, and more generally to human biodiversity. We learned from the reaction to Damore’s piece that people don’t really respond to facts but I guess we already knew that before.

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  7. MJBubba:

    drlorentz:
    Next, consider Head Start. This is another bit of public policy that depends on the assumption there are no significant group differences among children.* After half a century of failure, it continues because of adherence to the belief in the Blank Slate.

    I think there are many other relevant reasons for the failures of Head Start.

    Perhaps so. Care to name them?

    In any case, it was just one example – not necessarily the most potent one. Again, I’m not writing a scientific paper here, with references to the literature and a careful discussion of alternative hypotheses. Others have done that work for decades, as I’ve referenced in previous comments. My purpose in this discussion is to call attention to alternative ideas and the body of knowledge supporting them. If people are interested in learning about those ideas, great. If those ideas offend thee, pluck them out.

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  8. MJBubba:

    Jojo:
    The point is exactly how do you think that should be addressed? My opinion is that it shouldn’t be.

    I agree with you if we are talking about domestic policy.

    The problem with that prescription is that the Blank Slate is already a core feature of domestic policy, suffused throughout the entire legal and cultural environment. Specifically, all differences in outcomes are attributed to discrimination since innate differences can not exist. The entire Diversity Inclusion Equity (DIE) agenda is based on the Blank Slate. This is one of the key forces destroying Western civilization.

    Hence, failing to account for the facts as we best understand them is worthy of being addressed because it leads to bad policy. “It shouldn’t be” is a version of inserting one’s head in the sand. Ignoring the facts doesn’t make them go away.

    Sorry if this is repetitious: as I’ve mentioned numerous times, it’s not only about race. The original statement which got this discussion going was

    Jojo:
    Any racial/genetic differences recede into insignificance relative to other factors when comparing groups.

    Aside from arguing about the meaning of the word “insignificance,” it is practically significant inasmuch as it affects public policy, as has been amply demonstrated. The resistance to any discussion of group differences is frequently couched in these terms: “It’s insignificant so why are you even inquiring about it or raising the issue?” Well, it’s not insignificant in any sense of the term: statistical or practical.

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  9. MJBubba:

    Jojo:
    The point is exactly how do you think that should be addressed? My opinion is that it shouldn’t be.

    I agree with you if we are talking about domestic policy.

    It seems to me that there are numerous areas of domestic policy where realism about group differences should inform legislation and legal doctrine.  For example, consider the concept of “disparate impact”, where it is asserted that since (in fantasy) there are no differences between groups, then any observed over- or under-representation of a group in a selection must imply discrimination which must be remedied, in many cases through quotas or reverse discrimination against the over-represented group.

    Take an obvious case, where the group difference is not disputed by sane people (which, I believe, are fewer in number with every passing year): the difference in upper body strength between men and women.  Women, on average, have about 2/3 the upper body muscle mass as men, and are correspondingly weaker: this is simple bio-mechanics, and we understand almost completely how genetic and hormonal influences are responsible for this.  Now, this is a group difference (albeit a particularly large one), and as always, there are overlaps: some women are stronger than some men.  But if you have a modest-sized collection of randomly selected men and women, the average strength of the men will always be greater than that of the women, and if you rank everybody by strength, the strongest will be overwhelmingly men.

    (If people dispute this and claim it is factually false, I give up on them at this point.)

    Now consider the job qualifications for firefighters, which have traditionally involved both an examination and a physical test which demonstrates that the candidate can climb ladders wearing heavy breathing equipment and carrying tools, move obstacles to gain access to the fire and rescue trapped people, and carry incapacitated victims and colleagues to safety.  Any such test is going to have far more men than women pass it, simply because they’re different.  Some women will, of course, pass, and make fine firefighters, and some men will fail, but if you look at those who pass you’ll find, say, 80% of those who pass are men, when you consider that more men are attracted to the job in the first place, and more pass the physical.

    Now, if these results are taken as “disparate impact” which must be eliminated by either eliminating the physical test, reducing its difficulty so more women can pass, instituting different tests for men and women, or requiring a quota of women be allowed on the force without passing the test, that is going to get people killed: the women firefighters who can’t do the job, their male teammates who they can’t rescue, and victims who could have been saved by a male firefighter who passed the test.

    And this is one of least pernicious examples of disparate impact.  Trillions of dollars have been squandered on increasingly harebrained schemes to “close the racial achievement gap” in education.  Here’s the thing: the gap will never be closed, regardless of what you do, apart from eliminating the standardised tests which will always demonstrate the gap.  Isn’t it not only more sane, honest, and productive to improve education to raise the performance of all students, even recognising that as the general level increases for all groups, achievement gaps between groups will remain because they’re different?

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  10. drlorentz:

    MJBubba:

    drlorentz:
    Next, consider Head Start. This is another bit of public policy that depends on the assumption there are no significant group differences among children.* After half a century of failure, it continues because of adherence to the belief in the Blank Slate.

    I think there are many other relevant reasons for the failures of Head Start.

    Perhaps so. Care to name them?

    A lot of their funding got skimmed off for “administrative” functions.  They are starting with kids who are not prepared for school, and the intent is to get them up to a point of functioning well in school.  Head Start does nothing to address the reasons why these kids qualify.  But the reasons that a family ended up qualifying should be included in the evaluations because they are potentially very revealing.  These kids go through Head Start and then get dumped into their regular failing Government School.  After 3rd Grade they are compared to their peers who did not get Head Start, and they are not found to have any residual advantage.  But the evaluations leave out a lot of parameters related to family situation.  If the kids were broken down a little better it might be possible to identify parameters that lead to better performance as primary grades students.  However, the ideologies that rule Big Education prevent comprehensive evaluation.

    Kids are people, so there are a lot of variables at play.  I am not convinced that Head Start has zero value, but it is clear that it represents a poor return on the invested funds.  A massive overhaul should be undertaken.

    But instead of that, Democrats at municipal and state levels are expanding it.

    As far as differences between groups go, Head Start must comply with the background rules of Big Education which prevent sorting the kids into groups and tailoring program to their needs.  So whether differences exist among groups of Head Start kids is not knowable from the way they keep records.

     

    In any case, it was just one example – not necessarily the most potent one. Again, I’m not writing a scientific paper here, with references to the literature and a careful discussion of alternative hypotheses. Others have done that work for decades, as I’ve referenced in previous comments. My purpose in this discussion is to call attention to alternative ideas and the body of knowledge supporting them. If people are interested in learning about those ideas, great. If those ideas offend thee, pluck them out.

    I did not expect research paper rigor in a comment.  I just thought Head Start was probably not your best example.

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  11. MJBubba:
    They are starting with kids who are not prepared for school, and the intent is to get them up to a point of functioning well in school.

    But that is the stated purpose of Head Start.  If you assume the actual purpose (see Pournelle’s Iron Law) is to employ a vast army of semi-literate “teachers” unworthy of being entrusted to educate children entering the real school system, thereby swelling the ranks of the teachers’ unions, whose dues fund the Democrat party, it is a great success and has been for more than half a century.

    Mission accomplished!

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  12. It’s amazing how hard people can work to misread simple English, so they can say what they want to say, rather than respond to what the other person said. I could point out AGAIN how that was done to what I said but I give up.

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  13. The energy directed against the idea that people should be treated as individuals rather than members of a group is disturbing.

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  14. Jojo:
    The energy directed against the idea that people should be treated as individuals rather than members of a group is disturbing.

    Where is this energy coming from?  Where is it expressed?

    I have not read a single comment on this thread which suggests that people should not be treated as individuals, regardless of group membership or identification.  Indeed, it is usually the left who advocates using group identity to prioritise hiring, promotion, etc.  But you can believe that all individuals should be treated on a one-by-one basis and, entirely consistently, say that bringing in 100,000 Somali immigrants into a community will end badly, based upon abundant evidence of the group characteristics of Somalis in communities around the world into which they have immigrated.  There may be, of course, exceptional Somalis who will become physicians and professors, but they will be a tiny minority among those who cause chaos and mayhem.  On the balance, and since there is no obligation to admit them, it’s wiser not to do so.

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  15. Read comment 6, John.  It isn’t about immigration.  It’s all about classifying American citizen blacks as a problem group rather than individuals. When I voiced objection to that, it was “explained” to me ( repeatedly, with some energy) that  blacks are statistically less intelligent as a group and that should be the basis of public policy. Which is treating them as a group rather than individuals.

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  16. Jojo:
    Read comment 6, John.  It isn’t about immigration.  It’s all about classifying American citizen blacks as a problem group rather than individuals. When I voiced objection to that, it was “explained” to me ( repeatedly, with some energy) that  blacks are statistically less intelligent as a group and that should be the basis of public policy. Which is treating them as a group rather than individuals.

    If you’ll notice, the person who wrote comment #6 is no longer part of the discussion. You might further notice that I specifically quoted and disputed the reasoning of comment #6 in comment #8. Thus, if your quarrel is with comment #6, we are in perfect agreement. And yet you have repeatedly complained that I and others have provided no facts (manifestly false) and claimed, based on one comment made by a person who has long-since left the discussion, that…

    Jojo:
    The energy directed against the idea that people should be treated as individuals rather than members of a group is disturbing.

    On the contrary, I and others have specifically not been claiming that people should be only treated as members of groups rather than individuals, making a careful distinction between when and where each is appropriate.

    All this makes this other comment of yours rather poignant:

    Jojo:
    It’s amazing how hard people can work to misread simple English, so they can say what they want to say, rather than respond to what the other person said. I could point out AGAIN how that was done to what I said but I give up.

    I’m with you on this. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. I give up.

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  17. Thus, if your quarrel is with comment #6, we are in perfect agreement.

    That IS my quarrel, so I will accept that agreement on the central issue and bite my tongue on the rest. Good night!

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  18. It is not clear what the argument here is.  It seems that everyone here agrees that people are individuals and should be treated as individuals.  OK?

    An inescapable corollary of that is that “disparate impacts” will appear.  A classic example is your average sports team, where individuals with African heritage are grossly “over-represented”, to use the terminology favored by woke poseurs, while individuals of European or Asian heritage are grossly “under-represented”.  Choose the best individuals based on their individual capabilities, and we do not necessarily end up with a sports team (or anything else) that “looks like America”;  but we do end up with the highest=performing team — which is what we all want.

    However, the progenitors of today’s terminally-woke poseurs insist on classifying human beings as members of a group instead of as individuals.  Indeed, they made it the law — although the law is strangely flexible.  For some reason, it is OK for Harvard to discriminate against high-performing individual students of Oriental heritage.  It seems it would be more productive to take this argument (if that is what it is) to one of the many places where woke Lefties congregate and try to get them to explain why discrimination against individuals is OK.

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  19. Jojo:
    When I voiced objection to that, it was “explained” to me ( repeatedly, with some energy) that  blacks are statistically less intelligent as a group and that should be the basis of public policy. Which is treating them as a group rather than individuals.

    You don’t seem to dispute that these are, indeed, facts. Rather, the complaint appears to be that they are icky and we can’t take them into account for any purpose whatsoever.

    It is false to say that anyone is claiming “… that should be the basis of public policy” exclusively. It is merely suggested that these facts need to be taken into account, along with others, when making policy. As has been repeatedly explained (no scare quotes required) that the opposite of the truth (Blank Slate) is currently being used as a basis of public policy. Apparently, you would prefer that falsehoods should be used to inform policy instead of truth.

    This shows just how successful the Left has been in Blank Slate indoctrination. The sad outcome is that everyone, including the intended beneficiaries of the good intentions, are harmed. A good example of this harm is mismatch theory, which holds that by ignoring innate differences in ability the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action are harmed. Affirmative action, like disparate impact, is firmly grounded in the thesis that there are no innate differences and that any apparent differences are caused by racism.

    This is what happens when uncomfortable facts are swept under the rug. Reality bites.

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  20. Gavin Longmuir:
    It is not clear what the argument here is.  It seems that everyone here agrees that people are individuals and should be treated as individuals.  OK?

    The argument is that some claim that the innate differences are insignificant and we should pretend they do not exist. This, in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary. De facto, the axiom that there are no significant differences does inform public policy in profound and pervasive ways, as has been pointed out in excruciating detail.

    In no way does this imply  that individuals should not be treated as such. But, as you point out, the dominant ideology forces individuals to be herded into groups to make sure that each group has equal outcomes, which can only be done by harming individuals. The justification for this is the thesis that there are no innate group differences, which implies that any unequal outcomes are the consequence of bigotry. The logical conclusion is that measure must be taken to ameliorate this; affirmative action and disparate impact legal theory are the mechanism for accomplishing this task.

    If the axiomatic Blank Slate is toppled, the logic that underpins affirmative action and disparate impact is broken. This is precisely why the Left is unrelenting in defending the Blank Slate and why Steven Pinker got tons of crap for writing a book about it almost twenty years ago. Yet we see these innate differences still being called insignificant, even in these environs. The Left has succeeded spectacularly in the long march through the institutions.

    Gavin Longmuir:
    It seems it would be more productive to take this argument (if that is what it is) to one of the many places where woke Lefties congregate and try to get them to explain why discrimination against individuals is OK.

    No, because the Left takes Blank Slate ideology as gospel. Once that is accepted, all their policy prescriptions follow logically. The real task at hand is to undermine the axiom from which all else follows.

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  21. Reflecting on the discussion in this thread has made me more pessimistic about the future of the West, if that’s even possible. When facts and reason are put aside in favor of ideology, it is a sure sign that a civilization is in decline. In contrast, East Asians (Japan and China) have no such inclinations. Chinese laugh at the baizuo of the West.

    This brings to mind another instance when ideology supplanted biology: Lysenkoism, which led to mass starvation. The current denial of reality will have different, perhaps even more destructive consequences: the death of an entire civilization. Of course, there are other contributing factors, just as there were in the Soviet and Chinese famines. Trofim Lysenko’s pseudoscience wasn’t the only cause.

    When Stalin embraced Lysenkoism,

    …the V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced that from that point on Lysenkoism would be taught as “the only correct theory”. Soviet scientists were forced to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenko. Criticism of Lysenko was denounced as “bourgeois” or “fascist”

    This eerily parallels what’s happening in the West in the human sciences, where university professors are fired, and mobs scream “fascist” and “racist” at scholars like Charles Murray and prevent them from speaking on campus. At least we’ve not quite progressed to this level… yet:

    From 1934 to 1940, under Lysenko’s admonitions and with Stalin’s approval, many geneticists were executed (including Isaak Agol, Solomon Levit, Grigorii Levitskii, Georgii Karpechenko and Georgii Nadson) or sent to labor camps. The famous Soviet geneticist and president of the Agriculture Academy, Nikolai Vavilov, was arrested in 1940 and died in prison in 1943.

    I take small comfort from this:

    Perhaps the only opponents of Lysenkoism during Stalin’s lifetime to escape liquidation were from the small community of Soviet nuclear physicists: as Tony Judt has observed, “It is significant that Stalin left his nuclear physicists alone and never presumed to second guess their calculations. Stalin may well have been mad but he was not stupid.”

    On the other hand, our current crop of rulers are rather stupid, so maybe not.

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  22. drlorentz:

    Jojo:
    When I voiced objection to that, it was “explained” to me ( repeatedly, with some energy) that  blacks are statistically less intelligent as a group and that should be the basis of public policy. Which is treating them as a group rather than individuals.

    You don’t seem to dispute that these are, indeed, facts. Rather, the complaint appears to be that they are icky and we can’t take them into account for any purpose whatsoever.

    It is false to say that anyone is claiming “… that should be the basis of public policy” exclusively. It is merely suggested that these facts need to be taken into account, along with others, when making policy. As has been repeatedly explained (no scare quotes required) that the opposite of the truth (Blank Slate) is currently being used as a basis of public policy. Apparently, you would prefer that falsehoods should be used to inform policy instead of truth.

    This shows just how successful the Left has been in Blank Slate indoctrination.

    You are incorrectly reading extra meaning into what I said, so that you can make a point you want to make. It’s obnoxious to say idiotic things like I want falsehoods to inform public policy. Nothing I said supports that.

    You never rebutted or even addressed my original point that racial differences are only one kind of group difference, that people can be grouped in many different ways and they can always be shown to be unequal somehow, and therefore it would be foolish to act as if racial group differences were the only ones that mattered and use them – or any grouping- as a basis for singling the group out in public policy. To the extent we do this already, and we do, it’s foolish and counterproductive.

    Also, my original point in response to nutty comment 6 was that violence, dependency, etc. are not black people problems. We would still have plenty of that if all black people disappeared tomorrow. And that environment/culture do play a powerful role in how people develop. I believe Thomas Sowell has written of the similarity between white and black “rednecks.” I really don’t think that is a controversial observation   that makes me a dreaded blank slater.

    The funny thing is we probably are in general agreement, but you are too interested in using me as a straw man to concede it.

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  23. There are unavoidable and appropriate ways that people are grouped for public policy. People are grouped by age. People are grouped by gender. But it ought to be the minimum necessary, on principle.

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