Hodgepodge

« One Stanley Fish, a NYT blogger, presents a leftist apology of identity politics. He sums up with “what I have said here […] implies finally that might makes right. I can live with that.” Well, yeah. At least he’s frank about it.

« One Will Meyerhofer presents a “scrupulously non-partisan” report (HT: Steve Sailer) on “the frightful wasteland situated between the civilized portions of our nation”, the “wackadoodles”, the “flyover country” — in short, the “‘real’ America”. The guy sure uses a very formal definition of non-partisan, quite appropriate for a lawyer, but he’s realistic and not afraid to say it out loud:

Americans aren’t supposed to admit this – at least white Americans – but despite what Justice Scalia says (with his astonishing legal acumen), it’s possible the issue of race hasn’t entirely melted into insignificance in this great land of ours.

# Great trip report by two intrepid Belgians crossing the DRC on a 4×4. Had me glued to my seat for 4 hours straight. They sure had an eye-opener. Don’t miss Frederik’s thorough discussion of aid at the end, which might be summarized in his own words as

There is SO much that can go wrong with providing aid. That is ofcourse no reason not to provide aid, but at least we should appreciate the fact that it is a bit more complicated then we would like to think.

HT: Unamused, bonus points for primary source.

# Nothing new here but well and concisely put by GJDailleult:

Just because the older generation always complains that the younger generation is dumb and clueless doesn’t mean the older generation is always wrong with their complaint. A dead clock is right twice a day.

Two theories on why the oldies might be right this time. First when I was a kid, cartoons were something you watched on Saturday mornings, with maybe Bugs Bunny on Saturday afternoon before the hockey game, and a half hour of The Flintstones one night in the week. A diversion. Kids today have 24 hour a day Cartoon Network, Disney Channel etc. (if the parent is stupid enough to have cable, and yes, I am). Also 24 hour a day access to their Nintendo/Sony/Xbox and when they get older their cell phone. They also have no comprehension that there was ever a world without those things. My son’s jaw almost fell off when I said there was no internet when I was a kid. What my generation sees as diversions for when you have free time, they see as what you do with your time. And if you are doing those things, then you obviously are not doing other things, ie. things that make you smarter.

Second, each generation grows up in a world that is much more technologically and socially complicated than the generation before. But the brain gets no bigger. At some point there must be a tipping point where it all becomes too much to process, maybe we are there. Put it this way, 1000 or so years ago when my likely Viking ancestor jumped onto the boat in Denmark or Norway to head off to England, his total sum of knowledge was a fraction of what I know today. But his relative knowledge and understanding of the world he lived in and the available information and technology he had would have been many, many times greater than the percent of available knowledge that I understand in my world today. Maybe the kids aren’t really getting dumber in an IQ sense, but they are getting dumber relative to the world around them.

» We have had cargo cult science for 50 years, give or take, to the great detriment of science and society in general. Now we also have cargo cult creativity. I would also argue that we have had for some time a cargo cult of intelligence. Having a high IQ is not by itself sufficient to be an intelligent person, just like having good eyesight is not sufficient to be a marksman, but measuring IQ is a procedure (even if its results may be controversial) whereas saying “this person is smart but not intelligent” is a judgement.

» Ace of Spades on the advance of socialism through insurance (fascinating that the intersection of his blogroll and, say, Mangan’s is empty. ∅. There are more of of us out there!)

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