Wednesday, June 23, 2021

White Wokeness Patronizes People of Color

It feels charitable to call them the gang that couldn’t think straight. It seems more accurate to say that they are the gang that can’t think at all. Funnily enough, it does not seem to matter. In the world of condescension, it will certainly count as a seminal moment-- writers who can’t write and who can’t think are being showered with praise. They are effectively being lied to, the better to pay them off, often with cash and rewards. In time, things will return to normal and the rest of us will go back to ignoring them.

The point is clear enough. People like Ibram X. Kendi and Ta-Nehisi are being patronized. They are being lionized, not for having contributed anything significant to the national conversation, but for their race.

At the least, as John Murawski writes for RealClearInvestigations, the discourse of wokery is filled with thought that does not qualify as thought. (via Maggie’s Farm) It is crooked. It makes no sense. It is riddled with contradictions. Yet, to the woke white mind this seems to represent the best that blacks can do-- as I said, it is grossly patronizing and demeaning. 

Take this example, offered by Murawski:

In Ibram X. Kendi’s best-selling book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” the celebrity professor writes that cultural relativism is “the essence of cultural antiracism. To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals.”

Taken literally, Kendi’s dictum would mean that the antiracist culture he envisions is no better than the racist culture he blames for racial disparities in health, wealth, education and other measures. Yet it’s impossible to read Kendi’s work as anything but a critique of racist culture, and by extension, gun culture, rape culture and consumer culture.

Kendi is a great culture hero these days. His books sell in the millions. The United States Navy has recommended his book to sailors. And yet, the sentence quoted would not pass muster in a Freshman composition class. It is both illiterate and ignorant. Keep in mind, it was edited. Imagine what it was like before it was edited. The nightmares will keep you up at night.

And Murawski is quite right to point out that if all cultures are equal-- so much for the clash of civilizations; so much for competition between cultures and between political economic systems-- then a racist culture must be equal to a non-racist culture. 

Sadly for him, Kendi seems to believe that all people are equal in all ways. 

And that all cultures are equal in all ways. James Madison warned against such a misreading. Martin Luther King warned against it. Kendi does not care. Either his readers are so stupid that they believe whatever he says, or they are patronizing him, praising him for no good reason but to placate his fragile and frail ego.

That is, to avoid hurting his feelings. We would not want to trigger someone who is obviously very thin skinned, who lacks confidence, who probably suspects that he is conning us, even though he holds a chair at Boston University. 

And then there is also the much praised Ta-Nihisi Coates, another purveyor of what Shakespeare called-- sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Murawsky explains the Coates contradiction when it comes to gentrification:

The famed antiracist writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has described gentrification as a crime, and others have denounced whites moving into black neighborhoods as ethnic cleansing, colonization and genocide.

Yet the reverse of gentrification—white flight from increasingly black neighborhoods—is also deemed a racist reflex by some, Coates among them, because it abandons once thriving schools and communities to neglect and disrepair. Hence the paradox: Condemning gentrification and white flight seems to leave no room for movement in any direction, inducing a moral paralysis.

Gentrification is a crime. White flight is a crime. If you are white, whatever you do is a crime. Because Coates, who does not know how to think, is reduced to name-calling, slander and defamation. If you are white, you are a racist, no matter what you do. So, you should not do anything but should undergo some serious therapy to rid our minds of our sinful thoughts and feelings. Disengage from reality and get lost in your mind. In the meantime buy his books, lots of them.

The problem is more acute than we think. When companies make decisions about who to hire or fire; when people make decisions about who to invite to the dinner party, one’s ability to think straight and to speak clearly counts. When you tell people who are barely literate that they are great geniuses, you are telling them that they do not need to improve their thinking or their language. And then when they are not hired, are not respected or invited, they will feel that you have lied to them. Surely, they are not going to be happy.

Obviously, when black people are called out for logical inconsistencies, they insist that logic is a function of white privilege, or some such. Some thinkers have even decided that if blacks do poorly at math the only reason must be that math was invented by white people to oppress people of color.

No one really believes this. One would like to think that no one believes a word of it. And yet, in place of enhancing educational programs that allow children of color to excel, they would prefer to side with the illiberal forces that have dumbed down the educational system and that refuse to support the charter schools that offer these children a chance. 

As you know, American corporations are all-in with hiring new employees and brain-dead consultants to show the white staff how to understand black experience, or some such. They want everyone to hear from people who have diverse viewpoints. That this practice is completely flawed has not crossed anyone’s mind:

In the antiracist consulting world, it is a truth universally acknowledged that organizations should hire people of color to promote diverse viewpoints and insights from those employees.

But according to materials from The Walt Disney Co., recently leaked to City Journal, there is a limit on exploiting black wisdom. “Do not rely on your Black colleagues to educate you. This is emotionally taxing”; “Do not call on your Black colleagues to represent the voice of their community”; and “Be aware of tokenism, when Black professionals are expected to be representative for their entire race.”

Critical race theorist andrĂ© douglas pond cummings (who writes his name in lowercase letters), said this is actually sound advice for an organization that has hired one or two token black employees. The problem of tokenization disappears when organizations have true diversity with many black colleagues representing multiple black perspectives, said cummings, a business law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who has taught courses on corporate justice and “Hip-Hop & the American Constitution.”

What is the conundrum here? What about hiring people to do a job? Aren’t these corporations saying that they are hiring black staff that cannot do the job, that cannot contribute to the bottom line, but who can only amuse the rest of the team by recounting how badly they feel about being mistreated? At the very least, blacks who are hired to testify about black experience are being marginalized. They are being identified according to race. They are not being given the chance to earn their way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Cost of the Covid Lockdowns

The self-righteous prigs who proclaim their everlasting devotion to science have obviously missed the point. It is an old and hoary philosophical concept, one that we owe to David Hume, one that dates to the middle of the eighteenth century, that tells us that science and ethics diverge sharply. 

Science, Huma opined, tells us what is. Ethics, however, does not tell us what is. It tells us about “should.” Knowing what is does not necessarily tell us what we should do.

In slightly different terms, another philosopher, by name of Ludwig Wittgenstein, once explained that there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow. It is not a fact that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning. It is a hypothesis, to be proved or disproved tomorrow morning. As for the future of the climate, it is not even a hypothesis. It is a prophecy. Despite John Kerry's protestations, there is no scientific fact about what will happen to the planet if Kerry stops exhaling carbon dioxide. 

The same applies to those scientists-- we are thinking about Dr. Anthony Fauci-- who insisted that they held a monopoly on scientific truth. Fauci insisted that we all needed to obey his imperious edicts-- because if we did not, we would all die. Fauci told us what we “should” do, and he pretended that science was dictating his “truths.”

Anyway, the science led many states, many communities, even many countries to lock down. We should question the wisdom behind these policies, but we should understand that they were not cost-free. It’s one thing to ask whether the policies did or did not slow the transmission of the virus. It’s quite another to point out that the lockdowns produced other problems and other calamities. When dealing with real-life circumstances, we are obliged to measure risk versus reward. 

If life were one dimensional we could perhaps make decisions or formulate policy in win/lose terms. But life is multidimensional and we are sometimes, perhaps more often, obliged to make policy when the alternatives are-- bad or worse.

Consider this, from Brad Polumbo, of the Foundation for Economic Education:

Life under lockdown was hard for all of us. From economic destruction to social isolation, the costs of restrictive government policies intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have been steep. But now, yet another study suggests that the benefits wrought by our collective sacrifice were negligible at best—and that stay-at-home orders may even have increased overall mortality.  

Let’s admit that we cannot lock down these points with absolute certainty. At the least, they tell us to shed some serious doubt on the notion that the lockdowns slowed the transmission of the virus. Or that they were a net benefit to the nation.

Polumbo continues:

In a new paper, economists from the University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation examined the effectiveness of “shelter-in-place” (SIP) mandates, aka stay-at-home orders, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. The experts analyze not just deaths from COVID-19, but “excess deaths,” a measure that compares overall deaths from all causes to a historical baseline. 

The authors explain that lockdown orders may have had lethal unintended consequences in their own right, such as increased drug overdoses, worsened mental health problems, increased child abuse, deadly delays in non-COVID medical care, and more. So, to find out whether stay-at-home orders truly helped more than they hurt, examining excess deaths, not just pandemic outcomes, is key. 

The psychological side-effects of the lockdowns were often “lethal.” People died from being locked down, being forced to shelter in place, being subjected to quarantines.

And their finding is no outlier. A number of other credible studies have similarly concluded that lockdowns were ineffective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Plus, other research now shows that most COVID-19 spread occurred at home, not out in the world, making stay-at-home orders all the more absurd in hindsight.

Things are not as clear as they first appeared. Consider this Wall Street Journal article, about how the lockdown produced a proliferation of adolescent eating disorders. Sumathi Reddy documents the effect school closings and restricted outside activities had on children. She does not tell us what happened to children's minds when they were limited to Zoom learning, but most studies I have seen suggest that nothing good was going on. They were certainly not being educated.

Consider this case:

Before the pandemic, Basma O’Neill’s 15-year-old daughter was lean but healthy, with a robust appetite.

But after the coronavirus pandemic hit and schools closed in Graham, Wash., her daughter spent most of her time alone in her room. She wore pajamas and sweats, and ate at different times than her family.

She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in January; by February her weight was 86 pounds, down from around 118 pounds.

“I 100% believe the social isolation from the pandemic triggered the eating disorder,” Ms. O’Neill said.

Experts across the country who treat eating disorders in adolescents and young adults say they are seeing unprecedented demand for treatment that arose during the pandemic. Inpatient units have doubled or tripled capacity, wait lists for residential programs and outpatient services are months long, and the patients coming in are sicker than ever.

Experts say they have seen the biggest increase during the past year in anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder where people deprive themselves of food. Other disorders being seen include bulimia nervosa, where people binge on food and then try to get rid of it with laxatives or vomiting, and binge-eating disorder, where people consume excessive amounts of food in a short period.

I will raise the other important issue. Where were her parents during all this? How did they permit her to stay locked up in her room? Were they having family dinners or even outings with a few other families? It is fair to say that the lockdown was one contributing factor. Surely, parental neglect was another. 

Unfortunately, the case is not an outlier. Children across America developed eating disorders during the lockdowns. This would tend to suggest that the lockdowns and school shutdowns and the limits on socialization damaged children, but it also suggests that parents were not doing a very good job.

We will underscore that not all countries, not all cities, not all states, closed down their school systems. Not all of them were acting under the behest of the teachers’ unions, whose motives has nothing to do with science.

Tracy Richmond, director of the eating-disorder program at Boston Children’s Hospital, recently finished a study accepted for publication in the Journal of Adolescent Health showing hospitalization rates of eating-disorder patients at Boston Children’s more than tripled in the pandemic, with the inpatient numbers rising from three or four to more than 10 and as many as 16 at a time. Demand for outpatient treatment also has risen sharply, from an average of six case reviews a week to as many as 23.

So, therapeutically speaking, being alone with your thoughts is not such a good idea. Interacting with other children in social settings is a very good idea. When some therapist tells you to introspect and that exploring the workings of your mind and soul will cure what ails you, throw some skepticism back at him. 

Michaela Voss, the center’s medical director, said many of the adolescents they see had body-image issues or disordered eating before the pandemic. “And then lockdown happened, and they didn’t have anything else to do but to continue with those thoughts, and that’s when it got serious,” she said.

Other patients replaced social activities they had relied on for mental well-being with unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive exercising or restricted food intake.

Jason Nagata, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco who specializes in eating disorders, said the rise in Zoom calls and social-media usage has caused some young people to focus more on body image.

We should approach these studies with a healthy skepticism. At the very least, science is based on skepticism, not on certainties. If you want certainties, look to dogma.

Monday, June 21, 2021

The Queen Laughs

All things considered, it was a noteworthy smile. The Queen of England showed up at something called Ascot, with a smile on her face. The event elicited some reflections from Julie Burchill, a newbie at Substack, always worth reading.

Burchill's reflections concern our culture. In particular, they concern our therapy culture and the mewling masses who insist that we ought to express our emotions, openly, honestly and shamelessly.

Well Queen Elizabeth has never been one to wear her heart on her sleeve. As opposed to her late lamented daughter-in-law she has been loath to turn her life into a public spectacle. Has she thereby set an example for the rest of us? Or has she exhibited what is wrong with British culture, a culture that values a stiff upper lip?

Burchill is now going with the former-- stoic forbearance, setting an example of maturity and decorum-- these are good things, despite what therapy culture says.

Burchill explains that the Queen is so tough that she has processed her grief over her husband's death and has returned to her duties:

Which brings us back to the Grandmother Of The Nation. At the time of the funeral I wrote ‘We can only imagine how much sorrow she must now feel. But it will remain purely in our imaginations, because the queen will never complain, knowing as she does that if the under-examined life is not worth living, equally the over-examined life becomes half a life, once the world has finished picking the bones of it on primetime TV.’ We can imagine the depth of her grief - but we can see before us in the Ascot photographs the proof of how quickly and efficiently she has processed it. She really is hard as nails, and that's a compliment. 

Think about that. The Queen never complains. How many of us can say as much? How much of our national conversation is filled with non-stop complaining? Some people, if they did not have anything to complain about, would be struck dumb. Wouldn't that be a vast improvement?

Now the sexagenarian Burchill reflects that in her youth she believed that it was good to be more emotional. Now, she has understood that emotions are a side dish, not the main course. This should put quit to all the sanctimonious advice givers who tell us to get in touch with our feelings and to feel our feelings and to share them promiscuously with whomever:

When I was young I thought that the more emotional one was, the more one experienced life - but now I believe that life can never be fully enjoyed if we lead with our emotions. They should be a side dish or a starter - not the main course.

And she adds, in a perfectly unscientific survey, that her atheist friends are more unhappy than her religious friends. I will note, in passing, that some recent research has belied the assertion, but still, research studies on such matters have also been shown to be extremely dubious-- that is, they can often not be replicated:

It’s funny that many atheists believe they’ve thrown off inhibiting shackles and embraced life joyously by rejecting religion; the happiest people I know are Christians while some of the worst miseries I know are non-believers, especially when it comes to the business of turning up one’s toes.

So, Burchill opposes indefinite moping, even when faced with the death of one’s husband. And she compares the Queen’s quiet dignity with the appalling behavior of her grandson and his wife. For those who are not up on the most recent jargon, Burchill’s Gruesome Grabication Twosome refers to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Moping indefinitely is often an inappropriate response to death; when a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is gratitude. And considering the recent digs from the Gruesome Grabication Twosome about the bad mental health of the Windsors, I know who I think is the more mentally healthy; this old lady who has bottled up her feelings all her life, rather than her whinging, emoting, monstrously privileged grandson who really is neither use nor ornament. Lord bless you, ma'am! (Still a Republican though.)

Yes, indeed. Our culture is filled with stirring admonitions about the bad things that will happen to you if you bottle up your feelings. In truth, Burchill has learned, there is no special virtue to making a public spectacle of your whining, especially when you are monstrously privileged.

If Harry and Meghan imagined that their tell-all, rather pathetic interview was going to elicit gales of praise and love, they were seriously wrong. They mistook Hollywood for the world. It was a very large mistake. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Fighting Back against CRT, BLM and BLT

The nation is abuzz with talk about critical race theory. To be fair, it is Marxism for Dummies. It is not critical, because it never brooks any criticism of its own mindless musings. It makes race the only factor that has ever counted in America.  And it is not a theory, because it is too incoherent to have any theoretical heft.

Since it would never stand up to any scrutiny, it is imposed on children. In school they are being force fed CRT, because its practitioners cannot discuss or debate. Witness imbecile Ibram X. Kendi, whose works are now recommended for the United States Navy.

As for its provenance, a Marxist theory that divides the world into black and white-- easy to understand for the feeble minded-- and that sees blacks as the vanguard of a necessary revolution against the white capitalist order-- where have we heard that before?

In truth, it bears an uncanny resemblance to Black Liberation Theology, an offshoot of South American Liberation Theology, an unholy amalgam of Marxism and Catholicism, designed to overthrow the white Anglo-Saxon cultures that built North America and that made America and Canada far more prosperous than their Southern neighbors.

For the record, among America’s leading promoters of BLT is one Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Since America put Wright’s protege in the White House, BLT and BLM are basically the Obama legacy. 

BLM and BLT are the revolt of underachievers against overachievers. Where have we heard that before? Doesn't it bear an uncanny resemblance to the BHO notion that: you didn't build that.

These movements foment violence against whites, Asians and Jews-- and then blame it on white people. They happily excuse the underachievement of people of color and absolve them of all sins. For looting and pillaging through Manhattan, BLM supporters have been excused. That is, they will not be prosecuted.

Sadly, like the BLT promoted by Jeremiah Wright, these movements do not merely promote race hatred against America, against its symbols, against its founders, against its heroes. They tell the country that blacks are not loyal and patriotic, and thus are best not trusted. Obviously, this stokes antagonism and makes the goal of racial integration recede into the mist.

So, as Andrew Sullivan points out, (via Maggie's Farm) CRT is designed to brainwash children, to detach them from their roots in a great country and to infuse them with guilt. No one among the band of idiots promoting this theory has figured out that this will make children resentful and antagonistic:

The goal of education of children this young is to cement the notion at the most formative age that America is at its core an oppressive racist system uniquely designed to exploit, harm, abuse, and even kill the non-white. This can be conveyed in easy terms, by training kids to see themselves first and foremost as racial avatars, and by inculcating in them a sense of their destiny as members of the oppressed or oppressor classes in the zero-sum struggle for power that is American society in 2021.

Don’t work to achieve, because people of color have not gained as much success as Asians. Dare we say that the goal is therapeutic-- if you win others will feel bad about losing, so we must ban winning.

Worse yet, CRT proponents do not know how to think. They are trying to dumb the country down to their level:

For these reasons, CRT insists that what we have always understood as liberal education is, in fact, a lie, because liberalism assumes that we are all individuals, capable of reasoning with each other as equals, where, in fact, we are mere representatives of racial constructs which are part of a permanent struggle between the oppressors (white) and oppressed (non-white).

Sullivan identifies it as the liberal tradition, the tradition that fostered open debate and discussion. Since this tradition has now been identified as an instrument of white supremacy, it must also be overthrown. People who can’t think straight want to ban straight thought.

It is almost too stupid to consider, and would be ignored, were it not for the fact that it has invaded corporate America, the military and the school system.

The question is: what can a liberal society do when almost all of its educational, media, business and cultural elites have adopted an ideology that believes that liberal society needs to be dismantled? And the answer is: not much. Liberalism assumes that bad and noxious ideas will eventually be driven out by better ones. Banning illiberal ideologies like CRT makes us indistinguishable from the woke — who would ban any speech they didn’t like if they could get rid of the First Amendment (just look at what “liberals” are doing in Canada or Britain, for example, where they lock people up for resisting this ideology). Replacing CRT with crude, jingoistic versions of history or society is no answer either.

Sullivan believes that we should counter CRT with rational arguments. We are in sympathy with this approach. And yet, how do you argue rationally with people who disparage rational arguments. Better yet, who do not know how to argue rationally. And how do you present rational counterarguments when social media will ban you for disputing the current dogma?

It’s not just a culture war gambit. It’s a deep defense of our liberal inheritance. Once a generation grows up believing that there is no such thing as reason — just “white thinking” and “black thinking”; once it grows up believing that free speech is a device for oppression not liberation; once it sees our founding documents as cynical lies to perpetuate slavery and “white supremacy”; once it believes that no progress has ever been made in race relations, because the “systems” sustain unaltered “white supremacy” for ever, then we have detonated the foundations of a free society.

It is easy to give up. When all the major cultural powers in America — almost all media, every major corporation, every university, every industry, and, under Biden, the entire federal government — have succumbed to an ideology deeply hostile to Western civilization, and uses brutal tactics of smearing and firing and ostracizing to enforce its will, you can end up in despair.

But then, sad to have to say it, when your children are being brainwashed in school by people who are forcing them to think a certain way, you might also get angry. You might decide that you need to speak them in a language that the CRT crowd understands-- that being force.

Amazingly, the majority of the people in this country do not support CRT. And yet, the majority of people in this country did support BHO-- and most of them still love him. 

Sullivan seems overly optimistic if he thinks that America will overcome CRT with rational arguments. For the moment, we allow him his say:

But it’s important to remember: many of those people don’t really believe in this stuff; they’re just too frightened by a ruthless but tiny minority to do anything about it. And the American people as a whole do not buy this. A new YouGov poll found that Americans oppose CRT by a 58 - 38 percent margin, with a whopping 53 percent having a “very unfavorable” view of it. Yes, this is skewed because the subject has become ubiquitous on Fox News, and the MSM is doing all it can to downplay, dismiss or dissemble on the issue. But a full and wider campaign exposing it, protesting it, and defending liberal education will, I predict, win big majorities.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Clashing with China

Theodore Roosevelt once opined: Speak softly and carry a big stick. When you listen to our political leaders speaking about China these days, you get the impression that they have turned it around: They speak loudly and carry a twig.

Of late, the peanut gallery is cheering Joe Biden for his brilliant statesmanship. Apparently, he managed to align the G7 in a confrontation against China. And, keep in mind, we have more bureaucrats and regulators per capita than does China. There, that will show them.

Better yet, our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has taken some time off from anti-racist training and has  assured us that China is not about to invade Taiwan. There, you can relax. As for the possibility that China might not be planning to invade Taiwan, but more likely would like to enter into a series of diplomatic agreements that would achieve the same result, no one has anything to say.

Anyway, Biden’s theatrics are nice. But, we feel compelled to look at a couple of facts on the ground. Make of them what you will.

The first has come about through the Trump administration trade deal. We might call it constructive engagement. And surely it is important that the Chinese arm of the firm will be wholly owned by America. That represents a giant leap forward. Reuters has the story:

BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) has become the first global asset manager licensed to start a wholly owned onshore mutual fund business in China, as the government opens up the country's $3.5 trillion mutual fund industry.

BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager, on Friday said the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) had given its Chinese fund management unit approval to begin operations.

China scrapped foreign ownership caps in its mutual fund and securities sectors on April 1, 2020, under a Sino-U.S. trade deal.

"We are honored to be in a position in which we can support more Chinese investors access financial markets," BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said in a statement on Friday.

You know and I know, that a market that large is very enticing for American asset managers. Apparently, and strangely, they are not quaking in their boots about the Chinese Communist Party.

It's always interesting to follow the money...

Going down the list, we discover that Apple-- you know Apple-- is now doing most of its manufacturing in China. It has moved more operations from Taiwan. The Nikkei reports:

China now boasts more Apple suppliers than any other country, a sign that Washington's attempt to untangle U.S. and Chinese supply chains has had little impact on the world's most valuable tech company.

Of Apple's top 200 suppliers in 2020, 51 were based in China, including Hong Kong, according to a Nikkei Asia analysis of the Apple Supplier List released last week, up from 42 in 2018 and knocking Taiwan out of the top spot for the first time. Apple did not release data for 2019.

Chinese suppliers have also helped Apple build production capacity in other Asian countries as part of the company's strategy to diversify its supply chain.

The Apple Supplier List covers 98% of the company's spending on materials, manufacturing and assembly for the preceding fiscal year. Though it does not disclose procurement values for each company, the report serves as a barometer of Apple's reliance on suppliers from different parts of the world. The report has been released almost every year since 2013.

Apple is known for its rigorous quality standards, and the rise of Chinese suppliers speaks to the country's growing manufacturing and tech capabilities, as well as to its competitive prices.

It would be nice if China were producing junk products. But, apparently, that is not the case. It would certainly be nice if we had the capacity and the manpower to produce in America, but that is apparently not the case either.

And then Microsoft-- you know Microsoft-- is expanding its operations in China, rapidly.

Caixin reports:

Microsoft Corp. plans to add four new data centers within China by early 2022 in a wider effort to expand its service capacity across Asia, according to people familiar with its strategy who asked not to be named as its details are not public.

Microsoft’s expansion in China is among the fastest for the company on the continent and in March it announced plans to expand its data center network with a greater presence in the northern region around Beijing. 

The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant already has six data centers in the country, operated by local partner 21Vianet, and now seeks to capitalize on a global surge in demand for internet services during the pandemic.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

The rapid growth is driven by Chinese businesses, slow to digitize in years past, now migrating to the cloud. New regulations, including a sweeping set of data security edicts coming into effect in September, are also prompting domestic and foreign enterprises to shift to local data management and boosting IT spending. The cloud market in China is expected to grow to $46 billion in 2023, according to a government white paper cited by Microsoft.

Think about it this way. Our military is currently sharpening its critical skills by reading the stupidities of Ibram X. Kendi. And our schoolchildren are being indoctrinated in critical race theory. Meritocracy is being replaced by idiotocracy.

Rhetorical bluster aside, if we want to compete we need to bring more than social justice warriors to the arena. Most serious people understand that hostile rhetoric, speaking loudly, means that you are weak... and that you are losing.

The Current State of New York City

As New York City replaces the calamitous mayor, Bill de Blasio, the Wall Street Journal measures the current state of the city.

At a time when the lockdowns are ending and people seem more optimistic, the city is suffering a crime wave and rampant homelessness. So, consider the Journal editorial as an effort, not so much to rain on today’s parade, but to take a cold, hard look at what de Blasio hath wrought. Surely, Comrade Bill is about to go down as one of New York’s worst mayors, not only completely incompetent, but an idiot leftist, to boot.

The Journal editorializes:

Regulations have crushed small businesses. Bias against charter schools and substituting race for merit in admissions have reversed educational gains. A court ordered the city’s public housing authority put under control of a federal monitor. Wage and pension payoffs for public unions have left the city facing a fiscal crisis despite huge Covid cash infusions from Congress.

Above all, crime and disorder have returned amid progressive assaults on police and the anti-crime strategies that worked. Bail reform let repeat offenders free. The mentally ill homeless attack subway riders and pedestrians. The mayor had his police chief disband the anti-crime unit that searched for illegal guns, and shootings have soared. For New Yorkers of a certain age, the slide back to the 1970s is all too clear.

On top of it, the city’s tax base is being eroded by an exodus of high income New Yorkers. The fault for that lies in Albany, where moronic legislators have chosen to increase taxes on the wealthy, thus telling them that they are no longer welcome in the city:

Whoever wins faces a difficult task to rescue the city from the left, including the Legislature in Albany whose tax increases are driving New Yorkers out of the state. But restoring public order is the first duty of the next mayor…. 

Will New York City recover from this madness? It is certainly not a given.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Diversity Training Doesn't Work

This will not come as a surprise, but serious academic studies have shown that diversity training, the kind that has invaded corporate America like a pestilence, does not work.

Researchers Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev explain, via the Economist:

We have been speaking to employers about this research for more than a decade, with the message that diversity training is likely the most expensive, and least effective, diversity program around. But they persist, worried about the optics of getting rid of training, concerned about litigation, unwilling to take more difficult but consequential steps or simply in the thrall of glossy training materials and their purveyors. That colleges and universities in the United States persist in offering training to faculty and students, and even mandate it (29% of all schools require faculty to undergo training), is particularly surprising given that the research on the poor performance of training comes out of academia. Imagine university health centers continuing to prescribe vitamin C for the common cold…

By 2005, 65 percent of large firms offered diversity training. Consultants have heralded training as essential for increasing diversity, corporate counsel have advised that it is vital for fending of lawsuits and plaintiffs have asked for it in most discrimination settlements.

Yet two-thirds of human resources specialists report that diversity training does not have positive effects, and several field studies have found no effect of diversity training on women’s or minorities’ careers or on managerial diversity. These findings are not surprising. There is ample evidence that training alone does not change attitudes or behavior, or not by much and not for long.

In another context, it would be called, paying lip service. Note well, the goal has less to do with diversity and more to do with avoiding lawsuits. Diversity is big business for the legal profession.

The BBC reports (via Hot Air and Maggie’s Farm):

 In 2019, researchers examined various strategies to reduce implicit prejudice. They concluded that the kind of training which institutions tend to favour the most, such as “short, one-shot sessions that can be completed and the requisite diversity boxes ticked”, are unlikely to make a difference in the habits or long-term behaviour of participants.

Even larger efforts to reduce implicit bias formed over a lifetime show any positive effects tend to wear off after a few hours or days. Some researchers even suggest that asking people to fight stereotypes through training can make those stereotypes more prevalent in a person’s mind

Additionally, when employees feel like they’re being controlled, says Dobbin, organisational studies show they tend to react negatively. So, when diversity training is designated as mandatory – which Dobbin’s research found was the case at 80% of corporations in the US – employees can perceive these sessions as much less palatable than if they were voluntary.

Naturally, you are shocked to hear that telling people to fight stereotypes produces more stereotyping. Anyone who had been paying attention will quickly recall Dostoevsky-- yes, that Dostoevsky-- who pointed out that if you tell someone not to think of polar bears, if you insist over and over again that he not think of polar bears, in a short period of time he will be thinking of nothing other than polar bears.

We do not need to do too many mental contortions to understand why this is so. The person receiving this imperious command will need to think of polar bears, in order to know what it is he is not allowed to think of. 

Otherwise, diversity training is a rip off, conducted by people who know very little, engaged by corporate leaders in order to forestall lawsuits.