Friday, March 30, 2007

Some issues on HBD blindness

All right. There are some issues that I have to bring up after reading US News

US News had an article on practices of other countries and how they are superior to the United States.

"We have the biggest GDP, the finest universities, the highest ownership of color TVs, and the greatest number of Nobel Prize winners. So how come the Danes are the happiest people in the world?"

What they do is take the best things of a country and show how we are totally lacking in it. There are some fair criticisms of the United States, and some that are left field and not fair.

1) "On Handford Road in Ipswich, England, there are no stop signs, no posted speed limits, no lane lines, and hardly any traffic lights. Yet drivers politely edge aside to make room for other drivers, they slow down, and they yield to bikers and pedestrians."

What this system does is rely on trust in place of law. So I wish it were in the United States. Introduce several groups of minorities, and I would be curious to see if the calmness was maintained. Racial diversity makes people trust each other less. It's genetic. If people of different races had different attitudes towards driving aggressiveness, then a system without rules will lead to chaos. In racially homogenous Ipswitch, I doubt there are the same issues.

I have always complained about how New Yorkers are unfriendly and self-obsessed. But it makes sense, just as it does in LA. In such a racially diverse city, with so many different things going on, its impossible to be open to everyone and everything without going crazy. I do it to. I look around and see the incredible diversity. The lack of friendliness is a fair trade off for the opportunity to be successful. People can always worry about finding a warm and fuzzy home later.

2) "The people of France are generally considered to be the world's best conversationalists largely because of their monarchical tradition, in which the court gathered all the brightest minds of the realm. In the famous 18th-century salons, nobles and artists came together for the sole purpose of talking. "Conversation was considered one aspect of civility," says author Philippe Meyer, a raconteur in the best French tradition. French civility forbids asking how much money one makes."

This is a pretty fair criticism. In general, when people have conversations here, it usually seems to be about one person talking about themselves, and others pretending to listen while trying to think of something in their own lives that is relevant to the conversation. I do the same. How much more informed will out people be if they actually talked about the world, instead of themselves? What seems odd, though, is that most women are not turned on by intellectual conversation. If trying to get a woman into bed, the worst thing you can do is bring up politics and science. Talk about drama instead. How the hell are we supposed to have a free exchange of ideas when it is at odds with procreation?

Anyway, I am sure that there are racial disparities in the ideas-self combo in conversation.

3)" Every 10th trip in Berlin is made by bike. With more than 500 miles of bike lanes and paths, rush hour in this German city of 3.4 million can be a blur of two-wheeled commuters, from suited businessmen to mothers hauling toddlers in specially designed trailers."

I'm all for taxing gas into oblivion. President Bush should be much more ambitious in his fuel-efficiency standards.

"Time is money. But for drivers who try to save time by speeding through the streets of Finland, the money they'll owe can be staggering.

Case in point: In 2004 the heir to a family sausage fortune was caught driving 50 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone in Helsinki. His fine was 170,000 euros, then worth about $204,000.

The reason for such astronomical fines lies in Finland's lofty ideals of egalitarianism. The nation imposes graduated traffic fines based on the wealth of the lawbreaker as well as the severity of the offense."

We have to look at whether the objective of fines is whether to discourage speeding or compensate society for the costs of someone speeding.

I think it is a mix. Sure, everyone should follow the same laws. But, if a rich guy has a million dollar meeting that day, then I think he should speed, and should pay the 1,000. Its better for the economy. He should not have to pay 200,000 to go to the meeting. At the same time, though, rich people can't just flaunt the law and pay it off. Especially if they are rich because of genetically endowed intelligence.

5) "Being a generous host in Afghanistan is akin to a sacred duty-an obligation of honor, even of life and death. A host must provide food, shelter, and protection for a guest, whether friend or stranger. "Not to do so would be dishonorable," says Fawzia Etemadi, an Afghan author who's writing a book on her nation's codes."

Well, what about being good hosts to terrorists like Bin Laden? I think cultures that place too much value on "personal honor," tend to go a little overboard and lose their power of reasoning along the way.

6) "Along with soybeans, fish, and seaweed, the Japanese diet offers one health benefit that nutritionists say outweighs all the others: small portions.

Even American companies selling food in Japan shrink their portions to conform to the local norms: A large order of McDonald's french fries in Japan adds up to 529 calories; in the United States, it's 570."

Are you kidding me? If you compare obesity rates in Japan with those of Asian-Americans, that's a fair study. If companies race norm tests to find the best (comparing blacks with other blacks and hiring the best blacks to meet the quota) why can't we race norm when comparing the US with other countries? I mean, seriously. Look at the eating habits of African Americans. Do you really honestly think that any comparison between them and the Japanese will yield any productive information about the US?

"Vanessa Acosta Ruiz had lived in several European countries by the time her family moved to Sweden when she was 12. A veteran at adapting to new schools, she was nevertheless surprised at Sweden's frank approach to sex education. "In every other school I had attended, it was very taboo to talk about sex," she recalls. Now here was the teacher talking condoms and penises."

We really have to become more frank about sex these days. Get rid of religion's influence on morality. A slutty vegetarian is much more moral than a prudish meat eater, in my opinion. That doesn't mean people shouldn't use protection and birth control, though.

"Thirty years ago, there were an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 heroin addicts in the Netherlands. Since then, the country's total population has grown by 6 percent. But the number of junkies has remained the same. Few new users have joined their ranks, and theirs is an aging cohort. There's a popular misconception in the United States that Holland has a permissive attitude toward drugs. It doesn't. Instead, the country has adopted a more pragmatic approach to drug abuse. It still vigorously prosecutes large-scale drug trafficking. But it considers drug users a public-health problem, not a criminal one. Addicts caught stealing or breaking other laws are prosecuted, but they aren't arrested for possession."

Yeah, lets see if they can get the same results if they have minorities in their population. They're lucky that the Muslims in their country aren't into drugs (but aren't into women's rights, either).

"When Singapore residents call their hometown a "fine city," they're not bragging about their looks. But the fines they mean-big-dollar punishments for "antisocial behavior" like spitting-can make the city look finer, too. Drop trash on the ground in this Southeast Asian city, and you'll pay $1,000. You'll also get a "community work order," forced labor designed to shame people the government deems litterbugs. The result: Trash's life span is short."

Yeah, well do you want to turn the US into a dictatorship?

10) "In England, as in the United States, people may fear getting sick-but it's only the illness that worries them, not how to pay for the treatment. Like all other western European countries, Britain has a taxpayer-funded health system. The National Health Service is hardly perfect; patients can't see a specialist on their own, and trying to find a dentist can give them a headache to go with their toothache. But, by and large, the NHS delivers what it's supposed to: free healthcare coverage for all."

Again, its a racial diversity/trust issue. They don't have the massive amount of low income Hispanic immigrants, nor resentful asians and jews. Honestly, I don't want to pay for the health care of some fat black woman who has a heart attack. If people want government to take better care of them, they have to acknowledge that serious disparities in behavior between races will create uneven levels of benefit disbursement.

11) "If Americans want better schools and smarter students, they should think F-for Finland.

Finnish 15-year-olds score at or near the top in reading, math, and science in the prestigious Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, offered every three years by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2003 (2006 results aren't yet available), Finland ranked first among 40 industrialized nations in reading literacy, first (with Japan) in science, and second in math. The United States ranked 18th, 22nd, and 28th in those subjects, respectively. Finland also boasts the smallest gap between its best and weakest students, and the second-smallest difference among individual schools' performances."

This is just funny. Compare finnish americans with finnish, they'll probably be similiar. Comparing racially diverse America with huge IQ disparities with racially homogenous Finland? Come on.

I really wonder at how much anti-HBD attitudes have permeated everything. So many basic assumptions that even I have are probably colored by non HBD assumptions that have been drilled into my head. Just in class the other day, my economics professor was perplexed as to why East Asia, while following the same inefficient import substuting development strategy as Latin America and India (who stagnated), was able to pull far ahead.

Yeah, the answer is simple. Stop scratching your heads and denying the truth that is right in front of you. Yeah, Jeffey Sachs. If you get rid of malaria, Africa will still be a shithole.

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