Monday, October 08, 2007

Megan McArdle misses some very basic stuff

Megan McArdle ("Jane Galt") is a very smart lady who seems to have learnt a lot about economics when she did her MBA. She has written much that I admire. She seems to be a bit light on psychology, however. Her recent article on racism and sexism in America shows very little understanding of impression-formation and the stereotyping literature, or, indeed, of current politics.

She quotes research studies which show that people with identical resumes get preferential treatment if they are white or male and infers racism and sexism from that.

She totally ignores the very well-known effects of affirmative action -- effects that Clarence Thomas has recently waxed eloquent about. The plain fact is that affirmative action has totally betrayed back people by creating the reality of a "black" university degree -- a degree which may signify negligible academic achievement because of the different standards applied to blacks both at the time of admission and during their university studies. There was even one case where a black graduate of a New York university was barely literate.

Does Megan think people are unaware of that? Does she think people are unaware of what has been one of the major political issues in America for decades? So if two people offer resumes that claim identical academic qualifications and one of the applicants is black, does Megan think that any rational person would regard the "black" degree as REALLY equivalent to the degree held by the white candidate? Surely the question answers itself. Under such circumstances it is a very good bet that the white candidate REALLY IS more qualified than the black candidate. Favouring the white candidate shows realism, not racism.

The situation with women is a bit more complex. Megan refers to a study by feminist Elizabeth Spelke which shows that men and women with identical mathematical qualifications are not treated equally. The male candidate is preferred. To understand that, it helps to know that the research literature on stereotyping shows the exact opposite of what most people believe. See here and here. What that literature shows is that impression-formation is very responsive to reality. If people think that women are not generally good at mathematics or interested in it, that will probably be true IN GENERAL (though not of course without exceptions).

And all the research that has ever been done on mental abilities has shown that women are best at verbal skills while men are best at mathematical skills. Does Megan really think that people are unaware of that difference between the sexes? They are certainly not. They might not know of the research but they know of the reality that it describes. So when people judge that men and women with ostensibly similar qualifications in mathematics are probably not really equally able at or interested in mathematics, they are simply doing something that humans do well -- using ALL the information they have to make a decision rather than just relying on a few bits of paper before them. Again, their lower expectations of female mathematical ability are realistic, not "sexism".

Megan should give her fellow-Americans more credit for intelligence and good sense.


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Ho Hum! UN fraud again: "Tsunami reconstruction funds worth $US500 million are being lost to fraud and corruption because of the failure by the United Nations to implement its own anti-fraud measures. This claim is made by the UN's former deputy director of investigations, Frank Montil, a former ASIO officer who for a decade was the deputy director of the UN's internal watchdog unit, set up to investigate fraud and corruption within the UN and its agencies. In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Mr Montil said "the oil-for-food scandal taught them nothing". The fraud and corruption which had been occurring during the tsunami reconstruction period would come back to haunt the UN, which had wilfully ignored all the warning signs. As a senior UN investigator, Mr Montil was sent to the devastated areas of Indonesia after the tsunami. His task was to assess the risks of fraud, waste and mismanagement to the public funding that the tsunami public appeal generated and for which the UN was responsible for allocating"

Waiting for the furious protests from Western Leftists: "Two men in Saudi Arabia have been sentenced to 7000 lashes each after being convicted of sodomy and have received their first round of punishment in public, a newspaper said today. The men, who were not identified, were meted out an unspecified number of lashes in public in the the southwestern city of Al-Bahah on Tuesday evening, the Al-Okaz daily reported. They were then returned to prison where they are to be held until the full punishment is completed, the newspaper added, without saying how many sessions this would involve. Homosexual acts are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which metes out strict punishment based on sharia, or Islamic law."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last week on Folsom Street people were paying good money to be publicly lashed.

They are getting publicly lashed for free?

Lucky Dogs!