Friday, March 23, 2018

Beware Strong, Empowered Women

A strong, empowered woman in Florida, by name of Carol Stone, assaulted her husband for having committed a decidedly sexist offense. No, he did not harass her. He did not assault her. He did not ghost her or gaslight her. No, sirree, he forgot their wedding anniversary.

The Daily Mail has the gory details:

Florida woman has been arrested after she was accused of attacking her husband when he forgot their wedding anniversary.

Carol Stone, 35, was detained Wednesday by the Pasco Sheriff's Office after allegedly 'smacking' her husband 'multiple times' on his head and face, reported.  

Police said her husband recorded the assault on his cell phone and has handed it over to deputies.

For those of a more psychological temperament, who want to know why this man would ever have forgotten his anniversary… I hypothesize that he wanted to forget that he was married to her. That seems to have been her own working hypothesis.

Anyway, here's a picture. If this is her mug shot, she looks like she had a very good time of it... and does not feel the least remorse.

Carol Stone was allegedly seriously unimpressed when her husband forgot their wedding aniversary

Amy Wax for the Truth

Penn Law Professor Amy Wax has done it again. She spoke truth to power. She refused to continue to mouth pious platitudes about the academic performance of groups that are admitted to law school by a different set of standards. Students who are admitted to fulfill diversity criteria do not do as well the other students. They suffer what other authors have called a mismatch. 

Wax told it as she saw it. And as many other people see it. But we are not allowed to say in public and in polite society.

For her pains Wax was denounced by her dean and disallowed from teaching first year law courses.

Jason Riley explains:

During an interview in September with Glenn Loury, a black economist at Brown University, Ms. Wax remarked on the academic underperformance of black students at Penn Law.

“Here’s a very inconvenient fact, Glenn: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely, in the top half,” said Ms. Wax. “I can think of one or two students who scored in the top half of my required first-year course.”

Riley continues that the facts about affirmative action students have long been known and are beyond dispute:

Moreover, the evidence is overwhelming that students (of any color) who do not meet the normal standards applied to other students at a school tend to have lower grades and graduation rates. That’s not because they are less intelligent or less capable, but because they have not been prepared for the pace and rigor of an Ivy League institution. Affirmative-action policies in higher education regularly set up bright students—students who otherwise would be excelling at less-selective schools—to fail at elite colleges, and the proponents of these policies become indignant when you point out the obvious.

The obvious is a fact. People who whine about their love of facts refuse to allow Amy Wax, a distinguished law professor, to discuss the facts. They are not interested in reality, but in advancing their own oppression narrative. They believe that the best way to help victims of oppression is to pretend that they are better than they are. Why? Because life imitates art and if you create a strong enough fiction the real world will naturally imitate it.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wax herself weighs in on these issues. She attributes it all to our identity politics, and especially to the fact that the proponents of affirmative action are incapable of recognizing that their policies are failing… and are failing the students they are supposed to help. Pretending that a minority student with inferior test scores will naturally be able to compete with students who have vastly better test scores is the grand illusion behind diversity hires. It becomes the doctrine of equal outcomes. If outcomes are not equally distributed across different victim groups, then this counts as a sign of endemic bigotry.

What are the facts? Wax explains:

Another reason measures of academic performance are hard to ignore is that students often expect equality of results and—especially in our identity-conscious world—issue loud demands for equality in group outcomes. When that doesn’t happen, frustration and disappointment ensue, followed by charges of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination….

Those accusations are bound to provoke concern from the accused, especially those who deny that bigotry is the chief cause of certain inequalities by pointing to possible alternatives—including group disparities in qualifications, skills, performance or life choices. Keeping key documentation about the sources of disparities out of view does not prevent people from discussing them and their consequences. They are a regular topic of conversation behind closed doors, in offices and hallways, around kitchen tables, in living rooms and in private correspondence.

Explaining underperformance has become an industry in itself. And yet, explanations are of little value. No one ever improved his performance because he has at the ready a set of socially acceptable excuses for underperformance.

The problem is, we have gotten to the point where we believe that outcomes are merely social constructions and that the way to improve minority performance is to say that minority students are performing well. It does not matter whether they are. The point is to force everyone to say that they are. Because, by the terms of this cockeyed theory, if you can convince everyone to think and to say something, then it will magically become true.

It’s like the story of the Emperor’s new clothes… with Wax playing the role of the young boy who declares that the Emperor is not decked out in imperial finery. Today the boy's declaration would get him pilloried. 

Minority law students and lawyers are praised in public and disparaged in private. They are being lied to. Presumably, it bloats their self-esteem. But it also tells them, because they know that they are being lied to, that they are not being held to the same standards as everyone else. This means that they are being treated with condescension. No one cares, because the consequences of telling the truth are too dire. It’s easier to go along.

Wax explains the big lie.

… these conversations may not take place publicly or even be acknowledged openly. My students know that. So do working lawyers and judges, and everyone else trying to run institutions, decide cases, serve clients, and make a buck. So do employers and other citizens, including many people, young and old, from around the country who have deluged me with letters, phone calls, and emails setting out forthright, common-sense observations, such as this one: “The facts about the comparative performance of the different groups on [for example] the bar, medical boards, SATs, MCATs, LSATs etc. are well-established. Viewing these facts as offensive will not make them go away.”

If you are praised and told that you are brilliant while producing substandard work, what motive do you have to improve? Why not sit back and profit from the con? Surely, Wax is correct to say that everyone talks about these facts in private, but what makes us think that the recipients of this condescension do not know that they are being used as props to sustain a narrative.

Were you to ask why we have fallen into this intellectual abyss, I would suggest that it’s a byproduct of the Obama presidency. Isn’t it the case that we are not allowed to speak ill of the last president, that we are obliged to suggest that everything he did was great and that anyone who dares undo what he did is a monster. Since we are all obliged to lie about the Obama presidency, taken by many to be more a gesture of atonement than a recognition of qualifications and accomplishments, we must also lie about everyone else who belongs to a victimized group… which ends up being a majority of Americans.

Wax suggests that it’s about time that we get back in touch with reality.

The mindset that values openness understands that the truth can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, doesn’t always respect our wishes, and sometimes hurts. Good feelings and reality don’t always mix. But there is a price to be paid for putting the quest for psychological comfort over openness on matters central to how our society is organized. While some people benefit from the favored view, others lose out. People accused of bigotry and discrimination—claims that are more pervasive than ever—are understandably unhappy about being deprived of the ability to defend themselves by pointing to alternative reasons for group differences. Hoarding and hiding information relevant to such differences, which amounts to predetermining a verdict of “guilty as charged,” violates basic principles of fair play and gives rise to justified resentment.

It’s an old philosophical argument, one that goes back as far as Plato, that teaches us that we create reality by interpreting it or thinking it or perceiving it. Thus, in order to recreate a new reality we need but all think differently. And in the current state of American intellectual dysfunction we have come to believe that we should do so through politics, by exercising our power and forcing everyone to recite the same message from the same hymnal. Of course, this spells despotism and totalitarianism. Naturally, those who want to force everyone to sustain the politically correct orthodoxy spend much of their time sanctimoniously standing up and leaning in for democracy:

That belief that political force determines objective reality has characterized totalitarian regimes world-wide and throughout history—regimes that are responsible for untold amounts of human misery. That mindset is dangerously inconsistent with the kind of free society Americans have painstakingly built and defended over many centuries, at the cost of blood and treasure. Perhaps we no longer want such a society. But we relinquish it at our peril.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Downside of #MeToo

Nearly everyone is cheering the #MeToo movement. Nearly everyone believes that a frank and open conversation about sexual harassment is going to put a definitive end to sexual harassment and usher in an era of comity between the sexes. 

All we need is enhanced awareness of the problem accompanied by a series of men who have had their lives destroyed for harassing women in the workplace.

It is an article of secular faith that once we see a problem all we need is for everyone to become aware of it… and then, the problem will go away. Yet, we have already undergone five decades of enhanced consciousness raising about relations between men and women, in and out of the workplace, does not seem to have registered. It does not seem to have registered that these conversations have produced Harvey Weinstein and Louis CK et el., and not vice versa.

If you would like a more common sense approach, you can ask yourself what good can come from endless graphic public descriptions of men harassing and assaulting women. Does this make it more likely that men see women as colleagues, or does it force them to focus on the dangers that lurk beneath? Does it tell us how strong and empowered modern women are or does it show us how weak and vulnerable they are?

We already understand that many men, as a direct consequence of the auto-da-fes, will be far less likely to hire women, to support women, to mentor women, to have lunch or dinner with female staff and so on. #MeToo will probably end up damaging women’s prospects in the workplace. Lest we overlook the obvious, men and women do not just interact in the workplace. Breaking down the bonds of trust between the sexes is not going to facilitate good relations between the sexes. Stoking a hostile cultural environment serves no one’s interests.

It does not matter to those who are happily throwing themselves into the current round of male bashing, but we must recognize that trying to solve a problem by raising consciousness often makes the problem worse. At the least, it gives people ideas. Not everyone is sufficiently woke to draw the correct conclusion.

And yet, tracking the fallout from this public orgy of recrimination is anything but easy. Thus, we need to be somewhat circumspect in drawing conclusions. For all we know, the effects might have been produced by a different cause, but we regretfully feel obligated to point out that among high school students—who are certainly aware of the #MeToo movement, but who are morally underdeveloped—the open and graphic conversations about sexual harassment seem to have given boys new ideas. It seems to have produced exactly what it was designed to suppress.

The New York Post reports on the increase in sexual harassment in New York City high schools:

The number of city students charged with sex crimes in the fourth quarter of last year jumped by 73 percent from the same period in 2016, according to NYPD school-safety data.

During October, November and December, 26 students were charged with rape, sexual misconduct or forcible touching — up from 15 sex raps in the same months in 2016, the data said.

Three were charged with rape, 14 with sexual misconduct (five prosecuted as felonies), and nine with forcible touching (a misdemeanor offense), police said.

The 26 sex-charge arrests were the highest of any quarter since the NYPD began keeping track two years ago. The old record was 22 in the first quarter of 2016.

Of course, these are only the incidents that were reported. The true number is surely much higher:

Students at the complex said sexual horseplay was common, but they were under peer pressure not to report it.

“My mother says if a guy does something I don’t like, tell him no or tell her or tell a teacher,” said one 16-year-old girl at International HS at union Square. “But it’s hard. You don’t want to seem like you’re not cool or can’t take a joke, so I ignore it.”

A 15-year-old girl from the school said, “Somehow a boy gets in his head that it’s OK to treat girls a certain way. Somewhere, someone maybe encouraged it and that’s wrong. That’s a big problem.”

The NYPD logs school crimes only when officers or school safety-agents are involved.

The state also tracks a less severe “other sex offense” category involving “touching another student on a part of the body that is generally regarded as private,” among other misconduct.

Those offenses rose from 2,311 in 2016 to 2,604 last year.

Is this part of the fallout from #MeToo? Without making a definitive statement, I would merely note that it counts among the risks. People should table some of their arrogance and understand that public discussions of sexual harassment are more likely to produce more sexual harassment, and not just among high school students. And, if they produce more hostility between men and women... people who want to hurt other people can surely find more socially acceptable ways to do so.

Psychiatrists Diagnosing Politicians

Once upon a time, and it wasn’t very long ago, the psycho world was abuzz with theories about the mental health of one Donald Trump. Led by a Yale psychiatrist named Bandy X. Lee, psycho professionals banded together to draw serious conclusions from the way that Trump held a glass of water or from his misspeaking. For the record, not one of said professionals cared a whit about the constant misspeakings, brain freezes and the like of one Nancy Pelosi.

Anyway, the story was so compelling that the press ran with it and ran with it and ran with it. Until one day, President Trump had a physical exam, including a test of his cognitive functioning. Trump’s physician, a man who had been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike, held a news conference and answered journalist questions for nearly an hour. This demonstrated that journalists know nothing about medicine, but that they like to posture and preen for the cameras.

The result: the story died, it faded from public consciousness and the brigade of anti-Trumpers moved on to another front in their war against the president.

Today, over at the PsyPost site— highly recommended for its articles on the latest research in matters psycho— Eric Dolan reports on a recent study about the researchers who defied the rules of professional ethics and diagnosed Trump without ever having met him or treated.

You will not be surprised to hear that the so-called clinicians who diagnosed Trump were guided, not by the beset science, but by their own political bias. So much for the glories of science and rationality.

Dolan writes:

New research indicates that psychology experts who have been used in studies to judge Donald Trump’s personality traits are biased against him. The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found that perceptions of Trump’s personality where strongly linked to one’s own political orientation.

“Research ideas are like a winding staircase; they take you in directions that you never intended to go,” remarked Joshua D. Wright of the University of Western Ontario, the corresponding author of the study.

Naturally, these pseudo-scientists found more positive qualities in their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. And yet, voters saw things differently:

“In short, expert raters thought Hillary Clinton was highly emotionally stable and highly conscientious and yet it was conscientious and emotionally stable voters that preferred Donald Trump (Samek, 2017),” Wright explained.

“Experts in Nai and Maier rated Donald Trump very low in conscientiousness and very low in emotional stability, which should have been off putting for conscientious and emotionally stable voters. Either the congruency model didn’t apply to this particular election or the experts in Nai and Maier were wrong.”

One will be forbidden a grin at the notion that Hillary Clinton is emotionally stable. The nation’s whiner-in-chief is so unstable that she cannot get over her election loss. She now travelling around the world to share her angst and to say foolish things about why she is the biggest loser.

The important point is that these psycho professionals are culture warriors, wanna-be political activists posturing for the camera. To call them scientists is a joke:

“Experts are just as politically biased as everyone else. They cannot objectively rate the personalities of political candidates. When expert raters are highly skewed to the left, the personality profiles will be highly skewed to present the left-wing candidate in a more favorable light. Expert raters are basically Clinton voters in disguise.”

“Without self-reported personality assessments of these candidates and without close friends and relatives providing peer assessments, we are probably left with a very inaccurate portrait of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s personalities. But if I had to pick which ratings were most likely to reflect their personalities, I would choose the assessment of the politically moderate voters in our sample,” Wright continued.

How much should we respect our psycho professionals? How much confidence should we have in their ability to deal with mental health?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How #MeToo Hurts Women

Once upon a time Wall Street was decidedly inhospitable to women. At a time when trading floors were oozing testosterone men seemed to believe that women would ruin the mood. They thought that they needed to max our their the manly aggressiveness in order to succeed in trading. Surely, they did not want to get in closer touch with their feminine side. Or so they thought. Michael Lewis wrote a book called Liar’s Poker where the power players were called “big swinging dicks.”

Evidently, men who suffer a testosterone rush are unlikely to behave in the most gentlemanly fashion toward women.

More than a few horror stories have emerged from those testosterone filled swamps. And yet, the large financial firms have made progress, if not in hiring women, if not in promoting women, at least in not harassing women. At a time when much of the actual trading is being done by computer programs, the threat of being overexposed to female pheromones seems to have been mitigated.

And yet, Bethany Mclean points out that the #MeToo movement is closing doors for women. It is depriving them of opportunities and causing them to lose mentors and sponsors. What would be more ironic than that this mass cri de coeur would work against women? Somehow or other, Mclean points out, women are often labeled complainers, not simply about untoward gestures or harassing behavior, but for other reasons too. People who complain are quickly diminished, for not being team players. 

What is happening to the reputations of businesswomen when we are regaled, on a weekly basis, by the constant whining and complaining of the sorest of sore losers, the champion of women’s empowerment: Hillary Clinton?

Just a thought.

We had heard rumors about how #MeToo is hurting women. Mclean reports:

“But you can be excluded nonetheless, because some men have a fundamental lack of ability to work with women. That’s the killer part. That’s the experience most women I know have had.”

That exclusion is especially devastating to women’s careers. “Power in an organization is all about information and access,” says Melanie Katzman, a New York psychologist who runs a consulting firm that advises corporations, including big financial firms. “If you can’t speak comfortably with a woman with the door closed, that woman is being cut off from information and access.”

And also,

The politically incorrect, but nonetheless widespread, fear is that #MeToo is going to make more subtle forms of discrimination even worse. Even before #MeToo, Sherry wrote in her Times op-ed, she was told by banks’ H.R. departments that men were often afraid of hiring women because of the risk that even innocent comments could be misinterpreted and cause legal problems. “More than once I was told that it’s just easier to fire a guy or—my favorite line—that ‘there’s just less drama with men,’ ” she wrote.

Again, it’s getting worse. Why take the risk of losing your career and your livelihood:

There’s anecdotal evidence that this problem is getting worse. Katzman says she’s hearing stories from men who are “really nervous about being alone with women.” One client told her he wasn’t taking a female colleague on a business trip, because he feared that if he fell asleep on the plane his behavior might be misinterpreted. “I’m very concerned,” Katzman says, “that under the guise of protection we may be legitimizing the marginalization of women.”

She adds, “Some well-intentioned men undermine women by protecting them and sometimes men use ‘protection’ to intentionally undermine women. Women have worked so hard in areas like trading and finance to say, ‘I’m not brittle!’ This is a return to the old concept of women as fragile.”

The evidence is piling up:

“We have heard anecdotally that there is a chilling effect and that men are pulling back from sponsoring women,” says Stellings. She heard that one company made a rule that men and women could not meet behind closed doors in the office. “That is the current environment,” she says. “Most people think that is ridiculous, but there are some people who feel like the lines are not as clear now.” Stellings says she had a conversation with a senior woman executive, whose male colleague told her, “Well, I’m just not going to take women associates out to lunch now.” The woman replied, “I assume, then, that you won’t take the men out, either.”

One might stop for a moment and examine the retort at the end of the last paragraph. The woman thinks she is clever. She thinks she is being a good social justice warrior. Yet, she comes across as impudent, and as more involved with the pursuit of gender equity than with what is good for the company. Does that make her someone you would want to work with?

Could it be that feminism is more the problem as the solution?

Cultural Collapse in Once-Great Britain

We have been covering the grooming scandals in Once-GreatBritain. Consider it a public service, but also a warning: it can surely happen here.

It’s a horrifying story, a story of human sacrifice, of young girls sacrificed to the gods of multiculturalism. Apparently, #MeToo does not apply in Once-Great Britain, when the rapists are Muslim. To demonstrate their moral backbone, the authorities in Once-Great Britain are quick to deport anyone who has dared ever say a discouraging word against Islam— they punish people for blasphemy.

Mark Steyn sums it all up in a few wonderful paragraphs (via Maggie’s Farm.) I pass them on for your interest:

Because, as in Rotherham, it was white working-class girls being gang-raped by "Asian" men - "Asian" being the coy euphemism for Muslim males of Pakistani origin, notwithstanding that it's immensely insulting to Indian Hindus, Sri Lankans, Chinese, etc. When Douglas indicts the various "arms of the state", we should also add the politicians - Labour and Tory - for whom these stories are not helpful to the multiculti narrative, which is why, in the week of Telford, they chose to ban and deport more explicit threats to public order and social tranquility such as, er, Lauren Southern and Brittany Pettibone. But, as Douglas notes, we should also indict another arm of the state - the dominant national broadcaster. The BBC was so panicked by the mass sex-slavery of Shropshire children by Pakistani men that, as the German media did after the Cologne sex assaults, they chose not to cover it at all. It wasn't on the BBC News homepage, or the BBC England homepage, or even the BBC Shropshire homepage - although in fairness, after 36 hours of negative online comments, someone from BBC Radio Shropshire managed to file a report on the subject that you'd be forgiven for not spotting because it got less prominence than a compilation called "My Telford", the usual bit of feelgood community boosterism.

And then there was the case of Jimmy Savile, famed BBC personality, exposed as a child molester:

When the child-sex crimes of lifelong BBC presenter Jimmy Savile were posthumously exposed, Commander Spindler of the Metropolitan Police piously announced:

Jimmy Savile groomed a nation.

But Savile's old enablers at the Beeb and Spindler's colleagues in the British constabulary are also grooming a nation. They're grooming Britons to accept that the serial mass gang-rape of English girls is just a social phenomenon, part of the natural order - regrettable perhaps, but nothing to be done about it; and thus the mountain of human debris is merely a small price to pay for the benefits of vibrant diversity. Which means the real problem is these ghastly types boorish enough to draw attention to the sacrifice of English maidenhood to the volcano gods of multiculturalism. Whereas the BBC knows that the proper response is a brief story on Radio Shropshire followed by Part 457 of the "My Telford" diversity fairytale.

Ah, yes… “the benefits of vibrant diversity.” Ought we to notice that the nation that gave us gentlemen and ladies, the stiff upper lift, an advanced sense of dignity and decorum has been done in by multiculturalism.

Is the Tech Bubble Bursting?

An Uber self-driving automobile ran down and killed a woman in Tempe, AZ. It apparently got confused by traffic patterns that had not been programmed into its artificial mind.

Also this week, the world discovered that Facebook, even if it does serve as something of a networking tool, is really a data mining operation that attempts to decipher your mind and sell the information to whomever. Or, at times, to give it away to politically sympathetic politicians.

As it happened, Facebook’s stock has been tanking. Yet, great tech geniuses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are nowhere to be found. One cannot help but feel a rush of Schadenfreude, especially in the case of Sandberg, a self-proclaimed feminist heroine who has made a second career out of handing out bad advice to women.

Spengler (aka David Goldman) reads the convergence and analyzes:

Now Americans have discovered that cars won’t drive themselves like magic and that the Facebook fishbowl is not a substitute for ordinary human interaction, but rather a vast commercial experiment in profiling their behavior. Only a handful of Facebook users will delete their accounts and cancel their broadband connections, to be sure, but the bloom is off the lily: The Internet giant no longer can sell the concept of community, and it is not clear what it will sell except the sort of connectivity that is provided by any number of competitors.

We can grant Facebook credit for selling the concept of community, but still, it merely masks the absence of same in today’s America.

Spengler adds the important point that Americans, especially the tech elites, got drunk on their own genius and failed to notice that their products required a real infrastructure.

The idea that Americans would be the designers and Asians would be the manufacturing worker-bees had an obvious and fatal flaw. At some point, the advancement of the technology requires real physical infrastructure, and research and development will come to grief without a working partnership with the factory floor. Without the sort of physical infrastructure that China is building into its new cities, computation can’t solve all the problems that arise in intersections like the corner of Mill Avenue and Curry St. in Tempe, Arizona.

The people of China have leapt from traditional life into the modern world, and their entire life experience is a sequence of innovations. They are far more eager than Americans or Europeans to adopt new technologies because they never made a habit of old ones. For example, E-commerce now accounts for 30% of retail sales in China, but less than 10% of retail sales in the United States.

He is making the obvious point, namely that our confidence in our genius and our brilliance has blinded us to the fact that other nations are catching up to us in technological innovation. But also that the world of bits and bytes will eventually come a cropper when everything around it is disintegrating. 

Doesn’t Spengler’s analysis bring to mind the picture of San Francisco, a city that was built by and for the tech oligarchs, but where their magnificent mansions and high priced life styles are surrounded by squalor and misery, by homeless encampments and rising poverty, and where environmentally friendly homes protect the oligarchs from having to deal with streets filled with every manner of filth.