Sports Radio IQ

For a long time I did cognitive testing for companies evaluating applicants and current employees. Modern people associate this sort of thing with evil Nazis who view humans the same way farmers look at their livestock. That said, there is a strain of this in the human sciences that dates back to the the Efficiency Movement. The industrial revolution did result in the widespread believe that technology and science could improve the stock of human capital, often by eliminating the stupid and dangerous.

That said, the work I was doing had nothing to do with eugenics or genocide. It was about evaluating employees and applicants with regards to fit within the firm. The idea was to create profiles of the various roles in the company. Everyone including senior managers were tested and then a profile was created for each area. There was the marketing profile, for example, which was used to assess sales applicants. The closer some one was to the ideal profile, the better the fit. It was not determinate, just another evaluation tool.

One of the things I eventually learned is that management often selected against people with a high IQ, particularly for certain sales and management roles. It was just assumed, for example, that a super smart person would be unsatisfied in a sales position, unless the position requires problems solving. Managers looked for simple minded, but outgoing people to sell commodities. For technical sales or sales engineer positions, problem solving was more important than personal skills or aggressiveness.

In other words, before testing, people naturally arrived at some rather sensible assumptions about human behavior. A guy with a high IQ is going to go mad sitting ina  toll booth eight hours a day. On the other hand, he can work out fine in a position where he can kill hours reading a book, while waiting for some process to run. Einstein famously worked in a patent office. Faulkner wrote at least one novel working in a boiler room, as a maintenance man. He wrote while waiting for alarms to ring, telling him to do something.

Certain professions certainly seem like they are better served by a certain kind of stupid person. I was listening to sports talk radio the other day and they were discussing Tim Tebow and it was the usual blather. They wanted dumb sports fans to call in and say bad things about Tebow. When the callers did not materialize, the jabbering sports jocks filled the void by saying stupid things. It occurred to me that being a sports talk radio person requires a combination of stupidity and a misplaced sense of self.

In other words, the good sports radio guy is not very bright, but he is sure he is smarter than the callers, which may be true, but the differences are small at that level. Yet, the people running the sows think they are brilliant. it’s possible that the callers think the exact opposite, that they are the smart ones and the radio guy is the dummy. The bulk of the listeners tune in to hear dumb people argue about sports. If the sports jock was smarter and more self-aware, the whole thing falls apart and is no longer fun for the rest of us.

It is assumed that stupid people fill menial jobs like carrying stuff, picking fruit and stocking shelves. It is further assumed that robots will replace these people and we will have a population of idle nitwits. The truth is, the demand for stupid people may be much higher and their roles may be more difficult to replace. If the robot future also comes with a eugenic component, the result may be fewer middling IQ people, rather than fewer dumb people. The bell curve may be inverted, so it is the smart leading the very dumb.

The Great Game: Syria Edition

Shockingly, the American foreign policy establishment seems convinced the war in Syria is about freedom and democracy, despite the fact the rebels are probably worse than Assad. Those rebels would not exist without Saudi and GCC money and arms. On the other hand, Assad would be sleeping with Muhamar Qaddafi if not for Russian money and arms. There are reports that Iran has sent revolutionary Guard units to bolster Assad’s army. Out another way, there are no Jeffersonian democrats in the thing.

More important, the civil war in Syria is a proxy war. It is not about the specific events within Syria, but about the money men backing the actors. In this case, it is Iran and Saudi Arabia, Shia and Sunni, but also Russia, Europe and the United States.Like central Europe in the Thirty Years war, Syria is the chess board on which the game is played but the great power of this age. The fact that the most powerful player is the least realistic about what’s happening should be the great cause for concern.

This piece from the Financial Times goes into the other level of the game. The Euros, Russians and Chinese are not involved because they have an ideological interest. They are not there to promote freedom and democracy. The reason is for them to be involved is natural gas. The Russians, through Gazprom, control about a third of the natural gas supply to Europe. The Chinese have an insatiable appetite for natural resources, so they are involved. Europe, of course, is dependent on energy from the Middle East.

Iran shares an enormous natural gas field with the GCC countries. They would like to sell it to Europe. Building facilities to liquify it and ship it over sea to Europe is not practical for them. Instead, running a pipeline north through Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Black Sea is a cheaper and faster option. Running through Iraq to Syrian ports on the Mediterranean would be even better. Russia would then have a customer for their arms, regain Iraq as a client and dominate the natural gas market into Europe.

Following the money makes it easy to see the Russian interests. On the other side, the Saudis have a similar set of interests. The Saudis understand better than anyone that oil is going to be replaced by gas as the primary energy source in the world. Within a decade refineries will be on-line that produce gasoline from natural gas at prices cheaper than crude. Therefore Saudi Arabia, along with the GCC countries, are looking to build their own natural gas pipeline to Europe.

Their pipeline could head in two different routes. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. I don’t think you have to be that clever to see why the Saudis and GCC are invested in Syria. If their ideological buddies win then it makes building their pipeline a better option than the Iranian pipeline. Inevitably, money and resources would swing in their favor. It also has the benefit of cutting the legs out from under Iran too.

The one player not in it for geopolitical reasons is the United States. That’s because the American foreign policy elite is neoconservative nuttery. There are people like John McCain, their heads are full of fantasies about spreading democracy, demanding we support the Islamist rebels. John McCain has been wrong about everything in the last three decades, but he just waves his POW-MIA flag and everyone runs for cover. He has the full backing of the Israeli lobby, who support American war on their enemies.
The thing is, the rest of the world figures they can wait out the Americans, who will get tired of spending blood and treasure on pointless wars. Obama’s election was, in part, a reaction to the disasters of the Bush years. Americans figured out they were conned into pointless wars on behalf of Israel. They don’t think of it exactly that way, but that is the reality of it. At some level, white people have figured out that the neoconservatives don’t seem to have our interests in the front of their mind. It’s heresy, so it goes unsaid.
That means the rest of the world can safely ignore the US, while they sort the mess out themselves. This is not a terrible outcome. Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires and we have been mired there for a dozen years. The Levant was nothing but trouble for the Romans and the British. The lesson of history is to stay out of these tribal lands and do what is required to keep them in their own lands. If the great game in Syria restores the old order of aggressive containment, that would be a pretty good result.

The Racists At The UK Independent

This is linked to Drudge. It is one of the slide shows popular for fill space on sites. This one lists the sites top-10 cities in the world. What’s striking about the list is that it is almost exclusively ultra-white cities. The exceptions are Vancouver (Asian) , Toronto (Asian) and  Calgary(Asian). The rest are nearly all European, with a trivial NAM population. Helsinki just about glows in the dark. The other feature of the list is the dominance of cities down under. Australia and New Zealand have tiny NAM populations, trivial in demographic terms. The people who cooked up this list seem to think that’s a critical metric for a city.

One of the more hilarious bits is how each city is described in Wikipedia. Even though most are whiter than a Klan rally, they list “diversity” at the top of their list of attributes. Yep, they have every type of white person the world offers. Throw a few Chinese guys in and that’s the sort of diversity the diversity crowd likes to see. I have a friend who is a moonbat living in Arlington Mass. That’s a typical whites-only town in Mass. Very liberal and very white. The guy told me with a straight face they moved there because of the diversity. He seems to think the three Indian PhD candidates in the rented house makes the town into 1930’s Casablanca. Even pointing it out to him, he refuses to accept it.

MSNBC’s Decline

Kathy Shaidle has a post on her site (now defunct) about the fact Rush Limbaugh has decided to boycott MSNBC. he will no longer use audio clips from their shows on his show, presumably, address the points they make on their shows. I don’t know what sort of ratings Limbaugh is pulling these days, but I doubt his audience has much of an overlap with the sort of people who watch screamers like Chris Mathews. I’ve tried to watch some of their offerings just for laughs, but it is so over-the-top, I switch off after a few minutes.

Most of their shows are hosted by people who seem to struggling with mental illness or struggling with extreme rage. Mathews always has that look on his face like he just caught a whiff of a bad odor. If I were trying to mock Prog culture I’d create skits like Hardball and characters like the Rachel Maddow, a mentally disturbed lesbian. I suspect a fair bit of their audience is made up of people looking for clips to post on right-wing sites.

The recent cratering of their viewership may suggest the public is growing weary of the left-wing freak show. Five years of Obama has probably satisfied the public interest in the radical Left. This happened at the end of the 1970’s. The press was making fun of Carter and the lefty talk shows were losing audience. Guys like Phil Donahue suddenly found themselves as old geezers talking about yesterday topics. They staggered on into the Reagan years, so it is safe to assume the MSNBC types will stagger on as well.

A theory of mine is these liberal spasm follow the same pattern as the great awakenings, that would feature a religious revival among Protestants. Since the dawn of the Progressive era, this civic religion has occupied the emotional space where old fashioned Christianity used to live for the American radicals. Part of it is the entry of Jews into American Progressivism, but part is due to the waning of Christianity among the intellectual elites in the West. Progressivism is the new faith, but has the same rhythm

These liberal spasms don’t have a defined end or beginning. By the end of the 1970’s, the public had put up with riots, war and stagflation at the hands of ridiculous posers and filthy teenagers. The staggering incompetence of Jimmy Carter was the finishing touch on that liberal spasm. Roughly speaking, the first post-war Progressive Awakening started with John F. Kennedy and ended with the election of Reagan. Maybe the assassination of JFK was the flash point at the start and the impeachment of Nixon was the peak.

maybe this spasm, which seems to have started with the election of Bush over Gore is now peaking with the second term of Obama. It’s hard to know when you’re in it. People in the 1970’s probably thought the Left got their pound of flesh with Nixon’s resignation, but the craziness continued on for five more years. Even with the election of Reagan, the Left never went away. They just went into a slumber where they reformed as this weird racial identity cult built around a hatred for white people. Maybe the end is not near after all.

That’s why it is probably a mistake to look at the TV ratings of lefty chat shows and read too much into it. It could simply be a natural decline that happens when politics is no longer front and center. Maybe the crazies just need to take a break to recharge the batteries, before they launch into a another war on the rest of us. Given the MSNBC is immune from market forces, their ratings are not all that important. Even if they lose all of their advertisers, they will remain on the air as long as they get mandatory cable fees..

They Think We’re Stupid

Politics is mostly theater to keep anyone from noticing that the people in charge are not the people you see on your televisions. It’s not the tin-foil hat deep-state stuff, but the politicians all report to their donors. Still, the reason the media exists is to put a professional gloss on the whole thing. The people working for the New York Times are supposed to be good at the propaganda stuff. Instead they post stuff like this.

The New York Times Web site was unavailable to readers on Tuesday afternoon after an online attack on the company’s domain name registrar. The attack also forced employees of The Times to take care in sending e-mails.

The hacking was just the latest of a major media organization, with The Financial Times and The Washington Post also having their operations disrupted within the last few months. It was also the second time this month that the Web site of The New York Times was unavailable for several hours.

Marc Frons, chief information officer for The New York Times Company, issued a statement at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday warning employees that the disruption — which appeared to be affecting the Web site well into the evening — was “the result of a malicious external attack.” He advised employees to “be careful when sending e-mail communications until this situation is resolved.”

In an interview, Mr. Frons said the attack was carried out by a group known as “the Syrian Electronic Army, or someone trying very hard to be them.” The group attacked the company’s domain name registrar, Melbourne IT. The Web site first went down after 3 p.m.; once service was restored, the hackers quickly disrupted the site again. Shortly after 6 p.m., Mr. Frons said that “we believe that we are on the road to fixing the problem.”

The Syrian Electronic Army is a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Matt Johansen, head of the Threat Research Center at White Hat Security, posted on Twitter that he was directed to a Syrian Web domain when he tried to view The Times’s Web site.

You see? It’s not a normal system failure that happens every day. It was a super-sophisticated crew of hackers who live in a war torn land without running water and electricity. There’s no question that the people charged with writing up this stuff probably believe it. They are dumb and don’t know any better. The people running the company certainly know better, but they go with it anyway because they think we’re dumb.

It is long past time to stop with the scary hacking stories. The reason they got hacked, assuming it happened, is incompetence. A properly designed and managed site like a news site should never get hacked. In most cases, the site is not even hacked. The hosting service is what goes down and that’s seldom a real hack. Usually it is either a stupid IT guy leaving a door open or an old fashioned hardware failure. There’s also the fact that the New York Times is not exactly a high value target

Of course, the point is to keep beating the war drums over Syria. The same media that spent the entire Bush administration in hysterics of his wars is now out promoting war in Syria. The reason is magic black guy. War in Syria is even dumber than war with Iraq and that was pretty dumb. At least there was some chance of finding a local strong man to take over fro Saddam. Topple over Assad and it is chaos for a generation or longer.

Believing In False Things

It is a common lament to say that people are dumber today than in the past or that society is more depraved to day than in another age. It’s a lament that old men have made in all times and places, even when it is obviously false. That said, it seems as if the West is getting institutionally stupid. Basic facts about the human condition that were commonly understood are becoming forbidden knowledge, discussed only in secret.

The crush of information that comes at us probably has something to do with it. Our brains simply can’t hold the volume. Still, it seems like someone would remember that everyone knew Bobby Riggs threw the match against the lesbian tennis player when it happened. I was just a kid at the time and I recall the adults laughing at the thing. I’ve gone my whole life assuming the whole thing was a setup. The mafia angle is probably new.

The funny thing to me is the strange persistence of the feminist lunacy about the differences between the sexes. Biology is not a social construct and we have thousands of people, tens of thousands, working in fields that assume biology is real, sex is real and even race is real. Especially when it comes to the issue of sex. Yet despite the mountains of evidence and daily existence, the social construct argument persists.

We have a mountain of evidence now from the military and it is clear that women can’t do the same things physically as men. It turns out that 10,000 years of observation was indeed correct. That’s why there is one standard for women and another for men. It is also why we should never see women in combat units. They simply cannot do what is required. Yet, saying it in polite company gets you sent out of the room if you’re lucky.

The magical thinking does not stop at physical skills. Since 1901, women have made up four percent of the Nobel laureates in Medicine, two percent in Chemistry, and only one percent in Physics. The number of men with an IQ of 145 is seven times that of women. At the highest levels,  the ratio is 30:1. On average, men are clearly better at mathematics and dominate the higher IQ groups. It turns out boys are better at math.

Men are also over represented in the low end of IQ, which makes a lot of sense from the perspective of evolution. Human society needed a smart fraction, but also a strong violent fraction. Someone needs to be in charge, but someone has to be willing to carry out the orders. Women, in contrast, have to be good at bearing and raising children, which requires neither high math skills nor great physical courage.

Despite the mountain of evidence and 10,000 years of observation, put “women not good at math” and you get back pages and pages of links to stories claiming the facts are to be ignored. Hilariously, the counter to decades of test scores will be a paper in Psychology Today claiming it is part of the conspiracy to maintain the patriarchy. Feminism is that thing everyone knows is false, but everyone pretends it is true anyway.

Posted in HBD

Failing Up

In the 17th century, European elites told themselves and their subjects that it was providence that put them in charge. For most of human history, blaming God for the rulers has been a popular option. The alternative is some system where rulers are determined through merit. Exceptional warriors have often risen to the top of their society. Wealthy merchants would graduate into the ruling class either through bribery or marriage.

In modern times, western elites have no use for God and they are allergic to discussing nature as it applies to humans. Instead we have this make-believe meritocracy. The first step is to go to the right prep schools so you can get into the right college. Then it off to graduate school for networking and rubswabbery. Once those credentials are obtained, then it is getting the right jobs to fill out the resume and make the right friends.

Finally, if you worked the system correctly, you get into that top tier, where all of sudden the floor becomes impenetrable. You have made the club and unless you harm the reputation of the club or call into question the logic of the club, you are in the club for life, no matter what you do. That’s why government service has become the ticket to great wealth. It’s like having your own private toll booth on the highway. You get paid by simply being there. The managerial elites is a collection of toll takers.

Today we have this story about the perpetually wrong Larry Summers possibly getting the job of Fed Chairman. This was the guy who did the hatchet job on Brooksley Born over derivatives. She was the person who tried to blow the whistle of Long Term Capital, a trillion-dollar hedge fund that was about to go bust due to creative accounting. LTC had powerful friends in the managerial class, so they were saved by the government and the whole matter was swept under the rug. Again, that floor never gives way.

Everything Summers said back then turned out to be completely wrong. The single biggest economic event of the modern era and he was totally wrong. Yet, he is held up as an expert. Granted, it is economics, a profession with no right answers, only models of right answers. Still, you would think getting the one big thing wrong would have some impact on his career. That’s never how it works in the managerial state

He’s far from being an exception. In fact, he is the norm. There are whole professions that now have become inoculated against their own failures. The intelligence community got it all wrong at the end of the Cold War and they totally missed the rise of Islamic extremism, but they just get more money and power. We are rocketing toward a police state, because the people in charge are staggeringly incompetent. They just keep failing up.

Libertarian Stupidity

When you look around the public square, you can’t help but notice that the number of interesting and insightful people seems strikingly low. It’s like television where expanding from three channels to three hundred resulted in 297 channels of crap, in addition to the previous three channels. The democratization of the media has not opened the field to new and interesting people and ideas. Instead, it has allowed in an army of mediocrities who repeat all the same stuff everyone else says. It is a sea dull-witted conformists.

A post like this in the American Spectator is a good example. There is a worthy discussion, maybe even a debate, to had over the role of populism in a modern western society. It’s a debate we will have to have, one way or the other. Populism is not an unalloyed good. It can run amok, like we saw with Hugo Chavez, where it turned into a cult of personality that has lived on after his death. Granted, it is Venezuela and western style liberal democracy is a poor fit, but populism seems like a poor fit too.

Closer to home, the Bolsheviks are probably the quintessential populists. There movement was the literal overturning of the old hierarchical order. You can’t get any more populist than that. The Nazis were certainly appealing to populist sentiment. Granted, they were battling the Bolsheviks for popular support, but that just goes to the heart of the criticism of populism in general. When the goal is simply to win enough of the crowd to gain power, populism can easily become mob rule and then authoritarianism.

The point here is that we are about o have a long debate about populism and it would be a good idea if serious people, or at least people with serious pretensions, were capable of discussing the issue like adults. It would also help that the people writing for public consumption knew something about the subjects. For example, there is a lot of overlap between political libertarianism and populism. In both cases, there is a rejection of rule by expert and the rejection of expertise as a requirement for rule.

Even if you think the similarities between populist politics and libertarianism are incidental, the rejection of populism in that post is just crude posing. It is something that has become a common feature of so-called conservatism. It’s a cultivated sneer from people with nothing to show for themselves. What conservatism has borrowed from libertarianism is the dilettantism. They parade around as if they know everything, but they sport of record of failure that would make a Cleveland sports fan blush.

In a way though, studying modern libertarianism a good way to understand why Buckley-style conservatism was a huge flop. Their goal was to engage the Left within the constraints of the political system, designed by the Left. Before long, they turned playing by the rules into a badge of honor, despite getting whipped by the Left, who never abides by the rules. Libertarians similarity shoot themselves in the foot, but always finding someway to remain a marginal player. They take pride in being ignored.

Yet Another War

Looks like Obama will launch an attack on Syria soon.  I would assume this has been in the works for at least a year, but the chemical attack is being used as a justification or maybe the chemical attack is fake. One of the things that is hard for people to come to grips with is that most news is fake. It’s a combination of propaganda, bias and incompetence. If Obama wants a war, the media will provide the news stories to justify the war, even if they have to make them. That’s just life in a no trust society.

Either way, the US military does not move that quickly. The planning and execution structure is heavily bureaucratic and sclerotic. They need four or five planning sessions to build a latrine. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just how big armies of a global empire have to function. The minute civil war broke out in Syria, the military began preparing options for their civilian bosses. This from Wikileaks suggests western special ops have been working in Syria for a couple of years, probably since Bush invaded Iraq.

Of course, they have probably been working with Israeli intelligence and maybe even Saudi and Qatari forces. Then there is the fact that lots of money can be made from war, especially in a land full of oil and gas. Mesopotamia has become something of a giant version of Casablanca during World War II. Everyone and anyone that can make a buck from oil or war is int he region. War is inevitable, as long as there is money to be made from war. That means all the great powers are invested in the region.

Bullshit Jobs

This story article was linked on Marginal Revolution. In the comments, a fellow named Bill points out that rent-seeking inevitably leads to worthless occupations. The source story is one of those snarky rants that have become popular with Millennials. They like that blend of pointless irony and dismissive disgust with reality. It seems like a strange affectation, as it implies a combination of naivete, obliviousness and solipsism. Of course, there is the strong possibility that millennials are in fact naive, dumb and solipsistic.

Economists will naturally reject the the assertion that there are “bullshit” jobs, because it lies outside their belief set. No profession is controlled by its tools like economics and since they have not tools to measure culture or biology, those things are left out of their models. That’s a story for another day. The important bit is that even in the private sector, loads of worthless jobs are created because they favor the state. Or, those jobs exist because they favor some cultural push by the state, like diversity training, for example.

One place you see this is in sports entertainment. In the days before cable, the sideline reporter did not exist. The reason is two-fold. One is women don’t know much about sports and therefore were not in the sports business. The other reason is no one would pay to have these bunnies on the field. The money was not there to do it.The job of sideline reporter is not a lot different than that of cheerleader. They pretend it is a real job, but it’s not. The girls come and go, because they are just not that important.

Government created cable monopolies have changed all that. ESPN can tax 100 million homes through their cable bill, which they do for about $8 a month. According to people who track this stuff, ESPN is watched by 20% of cable homes. That means the other 80 million homes are paying $80 bucks a year so ESPN can hire T&A to strut along the sidelines. ESPN is a great marketing machine, but it is mostly a rent-seeker. It spends a portion of its $9 billion in revenue bribing politicians and cable operators.

There is nothing new about rent-seeking. Government is the monopoly of force in a society, which means they can force people to do stuff and not do stuff. In a democracy, bribing elected officials so they will force people to do stuff that favors your business, is as old as democracy itself. Ben Franklin was a rent seeker. he got government contracts for printing and he got them by buttering up government officials. That’s how it works.

Franklin is a good example of how rent seeking can have unintended consequences down stream from the event itself. Franklin was a printer. His government contracts did not keep his presses running full time, so he he used the excess time to print fliers, newspapers and almanacs. In a way, government contracts underwrote the birth of the newspaper business in the colonies. Sports oligopolies and cable oligopolies are rent seekers that are altering the very nature of media, as a consequence of their rent seeking.

Put another way, rent seeking creates make work. Economics can understand the first part, but they struggle to understand the second part. they certainly don’t grasp the cultural impact of the second part. The legions of people in make work jobs want to keep those make work jobs. The employees of government contractors, for example, are the most effective lobbyists for more government. Northern Virginia, the home of government employees, media and political operators, is a billion dollar lobbying machine now.

Anyway, here is one of my all time favorite bits on the bullshit job theme.