Yearning for distinction. In September the Mrs and I shall be spending three weeks in China, visiting with her relatives and old college classmates. I haven't been in the mainland since 2001, so I'm expecting a lot of changes.
To enter China we of course need visas. This has meant me riding the train into New York City, then taking long treks to the far West Side. The ChiCom consulate is on 12th Avenue, as far (I think) from a subway stop as it's possible to be in Manhattan, and I'm too cheap to take taxis.
There were three of those treks: two in heat waves, one in a thunderstorm (for which I had of course not thought to bring an umbrella). The first trek was futile: we'd omitted some key supporting document the control-freak visa officer insisted on. On the second our applications were accepted. On the third I picked up the visas, which I now feel I have earned with the sweat of my brow, literally.
I'd been thinking they might deny me a visa. I've been publishing unfriendly things about the ChiComs for nearly forty years. We read so much about their social controls: the vast databases they have on all their citizens, complete with facial recognition, "social credit" scores, and so on. Why wouldn't they include foreigners, at least foreigners they find obnoxious?
Apparently they don't. I got my visa.
Then, thinking about it on the ride home, I got a perverse twinge of disappointment. To be banned from a country, especially a country as big and important as China, would, after all, be a distinction. It would be kind of cool, a conversation piece. It would tell me, albeit in a negative way, that I'm important. Heck, Jared Taylor's been banned from the entire Schengen Area — twenty-six European countries! What am I, chopped liver?
By the time I got back home I had actually, absurdly, managed to work up a kind of resentment over this. I voiced my feelings to Junior.
He: "Look on the bright side, Dad. Perhaps they're waiting until you're in-country before they arrest you."
Me, with fist pump: "Yessss!"
Virtual muster. It was six years ago this month that Junior joined the Army. They sent a minivan round to pick him up. I shook his hand, wished him well, watched them drive off, then went back inside and started emailing — more like e-wailing — to all my friends that, "They've taken my boy!"
He's been out of the service nearly two years now, a member of the IRR.
Members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) are trained Soldiers who may be called upon, if needed, to replace Soldiers in active duty and Army Reserve units.
One responsibility of an IRR soldier that makes me smile every time I see the words in print is the Virtual Muster, notice of which Junior received the other day.
A VM is an electronic muster that allows you to update your personnel data as well as certify your medical readiness without having to report to a reserve center. You can complete the VM from your computer in about 15 minutes.
It's all commendably efficient, I'm sure. There's just something about the phrase that tickles my fancy. Virtual Muster.
Hey, maybe we could have a virtual war!
China sources. Because I've written a lot about China, I sometimes get asked about the best sources for keeping up with issues relating to that country.
I feel a bit impertinent offering advice. I'm not a trained sinologist, don't read the language well, and don't spend much time thinking about China topics.
I'll generally stop and read articles in general-issue outlets that catch my interest, like this one from last year in qz.com that I only just spotted in my daily browse of the web: One of the most sought after jobs for rural Chinese women is to become a mistress.
Those random encounters aside, the only outlets I like enough to subscribe money to are the twice-yearly China Journal out of Australian National University, and Chris Chappell's China Uncensored vlog.
China Journal is dry and academic, but there are generally a couple of gold nuggets in any particular issue. China Uncensored is witty, well-informed, professionally produced, and totally unillusioned about the communists and their methods.
No doubt I'll have some fresh opinions of my own to air after the September trip … assuming, at that point, I'm not assembling iPhones in a labor camp on the Qinghai Plateau.
The World's Most Important Map. Regular readers of VDARE will be familiar with what Steve Sailer calls The World's Most Important Graph. That's the one that shows the U.N. population projections, by region, through the end of this century.
If that's The World's Most Important Graph, I hereby nominate David Becker's "Global distribution of national IQs from psychometric measurements and international school assessment studies, supplemented by geographical averages" as The World's Most Important Map.
The 21st century, like any other century, will deliver many surprises. I feel pretty sure, though, that if you want to keep the number of surprises to a minimum, a good strategy would be to put the two Most Importants together, TWMIG with TWMIM, and stare hard at them for a minute or so before breakfast every day.
The blessings of numeracy. Relevant to the previous: When I was dropped by National Review in April 2012, Mark Steyn was one of those who defended me. He expressed his support here. I am for ever grateful to Mark for that, and will buy him dinner any time he's in town.
Mark's defense came with qualifications, though. Precisely:
I didn't agree with Derb on many things, from Ron Paul and talk radio to God and science. For his part, he reckoned I was a bit of a wimp on what he called "the Great Unmentionables." He thought that neuroscientists and geneticists' understanding of race trumped my touching belief in "culture." I'm not so sure: Why is Haiti Haiti and Barbados Barbados? Why is India India and Pakistan Pakistan? Skin color and biological determinism don't get you very far on that.
A friend emailed in the other day asking whether I had ever answered Mark's challenge. Why is Haiti Haiti, Barbados Barbados, etc.? Isn't it just … culture?
I summon once again my geneticist friend who, when someone comes at him with this kind of argument, jeers back: "Culture? Culture? What are the upstream variables?"
The upstream variables — the determinants of culture — are history, geography, and population genetics. The three are engaged in a complex dance down through the generations and the centuries, this one influencing that one, that one this one, back and forth, do-si-do.
Obviously history contributes to culture. Language is one aspect of culture: a lot of Europeans speak languages derived from Latin because their territory was part of the Roman Empire.
Obviously geography contributes to culture. Customary dress styles are an aspect of culture: the customary dress styles of Polynesia would not work well in Siberia.
Obviously pop-gen contributes to culture. A society is shaped by customary social behaviors: behavior is determined in part by genetics.
If you ignore pop-gen you are ignoring a key participant in the dance. List N countries with majority population sub-Saharan African: 0.9N of them will be poor, corrupt, crime-addled s***holes. Now list N countries with majority population northwest European — above the Hajnal Line: 0.9N of them will be stable, prosperous, low-crime, low-corruption social democracies.
(I actually think the proportion in both cases is greater than 0.9. I'm trying to be nice.)
Sure there are anomalies. In the human world, there always are. Why is North Korea North Korea and South Korea South Korea? Occasionally history and geography kick in big-time. Pop-gen is the way to bet, though.
Again: I love Mark Steyn as a man and a brother. I'll buy him a dinner any time; and if he ever needs to crash in Long Island, though I don't know why he would, the door is open.
However, there is a great black yawning crevasse between people who know science, math, and statistics and people who don't. You simply can't talk across that gap — I know, I've spent decades trying.
The unfortunate thing is that many of the great, important truths about the world — including the human world — are on the sci-math-stats side of the crevasse.
Strip-mining the smart fraction. Professor Amy Wax's July 15th address at the National Conservatism conference, which I covered at length in my July 26th Radio Derb podcast, touched on a point I have been making for at least thirteen years, a point that gets too little attention in the immigration debates.
Here's what the lady said.
Lately, there has been talk of reforming the law to favor skilled immigrants, as do countries like Canada and Australia. Although unskilled immigration should be reduced, I believe, replacing the less educated with higher-skilled foreigners is not the answer either. By draining talent and energy from places that desperately need them, and especially people who are educated at public expense abroad, an overly generous immigration policy will inevitably damage the countries left behind.
Once again, I would ask, what important conservative voices are emphasizing this point? Who is willing to fault the short-term thinking and moral preening behind our immigration regime, which however generous, cannot lift up the Third World, but only a fraction of the people from it? Who will emphasize that failed countries must, they have no choice but to, improve themselves by reforming cultural practices that impede progress, that instead of moving here, their citizens should concentrate on emulating what makes us great?
What we are doing when we take in skilled immigrants is, we are strip-mining other countries of their smart fraction.
A country's smart fraction is defined at that link as the proportion of the country's population with an IQ 108 or more. Plainly countries with a higher mean IQ will have a bigger smart fraction. A nation with mean IQ 108 would have a smart fraction of precisely one-half, i.e. fifty percent. On the latest numbers I can find (David Becker's table at the end of this post), Japan at 107, Taiwan and Singapore at 106, Hong Kong at 105, and China at 104 are pretty close.
The U.S.A., with a mean IQ 97, has a smart fraction around 23 percent. A nation at the world overall average IQ, which is 82 (U.A.E., Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Macedonia, Albania, Lebanon, Philippines), would have a smart fraction of four percent. Nations with mean IQ 60 (Mali, South Sudan, Ghana, Nicaragua, Djibouti, Gambia, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Nepal) have a smart fraction of 0.07 percent.
Even if you don't take those numbers in perfectly precise literalness, there's massive variation there. Immigration boosters love to pose as the moral superiors of us heartless restrictionists; but how is it moral to deprive a poor, struggling nation of its small quota of smart people?
In the case of nations at the top end there, like Taiwan, there may not be much harm done; but what about, say, Nigeria?
The boosters tell us that Nigerian immigrants to the U.S.A. are among the most successful and prosperous. If that's true, we're taking in a lot of smart Nigerians. But how many smart Nigerians are there? What's the smart fraction?
The table I've been using, David Becker's table, gives a mean IQ of 68 for Nigeria. That means a smart fraction of 0.4 percent, or one in 250.
I guess it's great for us to be taking in these smart people from Nigeria — although it would be a whole lot greater if our lunatic system of chain migration didn't encourage them to bring in their less-smart brothers, uncles, nephews and cousins for settlement — but … what's it doing to Nigeria?
The case against any immigration. A Radio Derb listener takes the matter to its logical conclusion. He emailed me thus (slightly edited):
Dear Mr Derbyshire,
My view on international migration is very simple: there shouldn't be any. People should grow up and die in the country in which they are born. If they live in an unattractive country and want to live in a better one, then they should improve the one in which they live. Nothing should give someone a greater incentive to improve his country than the awareness that he won't be able to improve his position by emigrating.
The problem with international migration is always that it is an attempt to use foreigners to solve problems. Unlike international trade, international migration is usually asymmetric.
In trade there is exchange. For example, if Canada exports grain to Central America and imports tropical fruits and coffee from them, then there is exchange. On the other hand, if a large number of Central Americans come to Canada, but no Canadians go to Central America, then there clearly is an asymmetry and no exchange.
International migration creates demographic open systems. Open systems have the advantage that they allow the import of solutions, but they also have the disadvantage that they make the export of problems possible. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan solved its shortage of doctors by importing a large number of South African doctors. Obviously, thereby they only exported their doctor shortage to SA.
Among Chinese under forty the ratio of males to females is 116/100. Let's assume that many Chinese men, unable to find a bride in China, will go to the Philippines and Indonesia to find a spouse. What they'll then be doing is to export their gender imbalance to those poorer countries.
However, there are always exceptions. If a German and a Frenchwoman want to get married, they should be able to reside in the same country. So, either the German emigrates to France or the Frenchwoman emigrates to Germany.
Needless to say, in a world without international migration, there still could be international travel and temporary residence abroad. If an American professor is allowed to stay five years in, say, Thailand to help the Thais to set a certain university department and to train Thais in his field, that is not immigration. He will return to the U.S.
What, exactly is wrong with any of that? [Hand goes up at the back of the classroom.] Yes, Suzy?
Suzy: "Because that's not Who We Are!"
Oh right, I forgot. Thank you, Suzy.
The case for a demographic supermajority. Yoram Hazony, in his address to the National Conservatism conference, said the following thing:
We Jews are a nation, not a race. Anyone who is loyal to the Jewish people, its God and tradition, can go to a rabbinic court and become a Jew. That offer is open, and has been open to people of different races, since biblical times.
I'm sorry, but that's disingenuous. Yes, I could become a Jew. It's difficult, though. (I actually made inquiries once. I learned inter alia that although I was circumcised right after birth, I'd have to be circumcised again to become a Jew. The process was explained to me, but mercifully I have forgotten the details.)
Few Gentiles convert, and few ever have. That's why Jews are genetically distinct; they have a mostly-common deep ancestry. Put it another way: They are a race. Hazony's claim that Jews are a kind of "proposition nation" is nonsense.
As with the rest of Creation, numbers are of the essence. If ten million — heck, make it just one million (0.1 percent of the supply) sub-Saharan Africans applied for conversion and Israeli citizenship tomorrow, rabbinical doctrine and Israeli law would both change faster than you can say "olim."
"Supermajority" is, or ought to be, a key word in any discussion of nationalism. For a stable, easygoing, open society under rational non-corrupt government you want a racial, and probably also ethnic, supermajority — ninety percent or more is the ideal, with no more heterogeneity in the supermajority than Switzerland's. Even then, while supermajority is a necessary condition, it's not a sufficient one: monoethnic societies can be fractious, civil wars can happen.
The supermajority is also a necessary condition — though again, not a sufficient one — for easygoing tolerance of racial minorities. (A friend of mine, telling me about the year he'd just spent in Japan, burbled that: "They actually like foreigners!")
Mid-20th-century England, where I grew up, was blessed with a racial and ethnic supermajority. There had been no major demographic change since the Anglo-Saxon settlements of the fifth century. (You could count the 9th-century Viking settlements, I guess; but the Vikings were genetic cousins to the Anglo-Saxons.) The destruction of that supermajority by decades of mass immigration has been an act of colossal folly.
Social harmony and national solidarity are never easily won, but with an ethnic supermajority they can be won. With a demography that is twenty percent this, thirty percent that, ten percent this, fifteen percent that, … they can't. All that gets won is endless tribal bickering.
The myth of black poverty. Another email from a listener/reader:
Dear Mr Derbyshire,
I note with indignation that Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris would raid the taxpayer to support minority home ownership.
This $100 billion assault upon the public fisc would narrow the white/black wealth gap and address historical discrimination against blacks seeking homeownership, she says.
But I can demonstrate beyond all cavil, beyond all peradventure, that no such wealth gap has existence. I can further demonstrate that blacks face no discrimination whatsoever in the housing market. Quite the opposite, in fact. Blacks are clearly the most affluent demographic in America.
How do I know this? Because I have a television and a set of functioning eyes. Nearly every single advertisement — I exaggerate only slightly and perhaps maybe not at all — features blacks luxuriating in upper-middle class dwellings far beyond the means of most whites. A supermajority of blacks, it is obvious, reside within mansions.
And yet — and yet — we are told blacks are in a bad way.
How can anyone scream racism when blacks obviously command such a disproportionate slice of the nation's premier housing?
I hope you join me in denouncing the obvious fiction that blacks are being discriminated against in the housing market. My goodness! Don't these people watch television?
Math Corner. Time for the annual glimpse into that corner where math meets Diversity.
Yes, results are out from the 2019 International Math Olympiad for high school students, held July 10th-22nd in Bath, England.
Ranking for the six-member national teams began, from the top: China and U.S.A. tied 1st, South Korea, North Korea, Thailand, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, …
Surnames for the U.S. team: Zhu, Tang, Huang, Wang, Robitaille, Wan.
Headcounts by sex in the top twenty national teams: Male 118, Female 2. (The IMO organizers cling stubbornly to the absurd, archaic, socially-constructed "two-sexes" paradigm.)
In the individual results, six participants got perfect scores. By surname: Xie and Yuan (China), Tang and Zhu (U.S.A.), Cho (South Korea), Fornal (Poland).
The highest-scoring female was Jelena Ivančić of Serbia, who missed a perfect score by just one point.
To judge by results, the hardest of the six problems posed was Problem 6:
Let I be the incentre of acute triangle ABC with AB ≠ AC. The incircle ω of ABC is tangent to sides BC, CA, and AB at D, E, and F, respectively. The line through D perpendicular to EF meets ω again at R. Line AR meets ω again at P. The circumcircles of triangles PCE and PBF meet again at Q. Prove that lines DI and PQ meet on the line through A perpendicular to AI.
There is a worked solution here.