Monday, August 30, 2010

Psychologists preaching feminism again

I had a bit to do with this in my own research career. I found huge holes in the feminism-supporting "research" of my fellow psychologists at the time. So the latest bit of nonsense does not surprise me. It says that feminized boys are psychologically healthier, just as lots of other psychologists repeatedly claim (by ignoring a lot of evidence) that leftists are psychologically healthier.

The report below has not yet passed peer review and been published in an academic journal so is a bit difficult to evaluate but it clearly depends on a questionnaire called the Children's Depression Inventory, and they almost certainly used it inappropriately. Note here for instance, that it should not be used alone as a diagnostic tool. It is too weakly predictive for that. It is supposed to be used only in conjunction with a diagnostic interview. There is no mention of such a precaution below.

Additionally, a standard warning with the test is that is is very open to the respondents "faking good" yet there is no mention below of that being controlled for or examined in any way. Use of a Lie scale might have been considered, for instance.

And since teaching is so feminized these days, more feminine boys are probably more aware of teacher expectations and are therefore both better at faking good and more motivated to do it. So their "healthier" scores could well be simple fakery.

The findings below are then readily explained as the product of sloppy and biased research rather than reflecting anything real
Being a mama's boy, new research suggests, may be good for your mental health. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association by Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University's School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Santos recently conducted a study that followed 426 boys through middle school to investigate the extent to which the boys favor stereotypically male qualities such as emotional stoicism and physical toughness over stereotypically feminine qualities such as emotional openness and communication, and whether that has any influence on their mental well-being. His main finding was that the further along the boys got in their adolescence, the more they tended to embrace hypermasculine stereotypes. But boys who remained close to their mothers did not act as tough and were more emotionally available. Closeness to fathers did not have the same effect, his research found.

Using a mental-health measure called the Children's Depression Inventory, he also found that boys who shunned masculine stereotypes and remained more emotionally available had, on average, better rates of mental health through middle school. "If you look at the effect size of my findings, mother support and closeness was the most predictive of boys' ability to resist [hypermasculine] stereotypes and therefore predictive of better mental health," Santos says. He adds that his research did not examine why a close mother-son relationship differed in its effect from a close father-son bond, but he suspects that fathers use stereotypically male behaviors to guide their sons into adulthood. "It could be, men see close relationships with their sons as an opportunity to reinforce traditional gender roles," he says. (See a story on mothers who opt for breast milk, not breast-feeding.)



Alternative history

I am something of an alternative history buff. Alternative history features quite a lot in Sci Fi and I used to read a lot of Sci Fi once so maybe that is why.

It seems to me that there were two great turning points in the 20th century which would have left us with a very different world today if they had been decided differently.

The first is the distinctly odd decision of Britain to enter what became WWI in support of their old enemy: France. It led to a slaughter of Britain's young men to rival the American North/South War and what did it achieve? Had Britain stayed neutral, the outcome of the war would surely have been similar to the Franco Prussian war of the 1870s: A flag-waving German withdrawl with a few small bits of German-speaking France hacked off and returned to German rule -- and a resumption of Edwardinan calm by all.

OK. I know why Britain did not go down that road. They were rightly spooked by Tirpitz's Luxusflotte. And in the one big naval engagement of the war -- the battle of Jutland -- those fears were amply confirmed -- with admiral Scheer running rings around admiral Jellicoe.

The second big turning point was Hitler's decision to make himself Oberkommando des Heeres (army chief). If he had given that job to the man who most deserved it -- Von Manstein (the conqueror of France) -- Russia would have been conquered, no doubt about it (Von Manstein destroyed two Russian armies even AFTER the Stalingrad debacle). And what a different world that would have been! How different goes beyond even my alternative history imagination.


The Market as a Redistributor of Wealth

One of the primary arguments employed by statists to justify the welfare state is the necessity to equalize incomes. The rich just get richer and richer, and the poor just get poorer and poorer, in a free-market economy, say the statists. To balance things out, they say, the state must take from the rich and give to the poor.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, a free market is a tremendous engine for the redistribution of wealth, one in which the poor become rich and rich become poor.

In other words, you don’t need the state to confiscate and redistribute wealth through income taxes, estate taxes, or any other taxes. The market does a fine job in redistributing wealth.

In fact, the market is the most just vehicle for redistributing wealth because it’s based on voluntary choices, not the coercive action employed by the state. In the marketplace, consumers are ultimately sovereign. Through their buying decisions, they decide which businesses are going to stay in business and which ones are not. If a business fails to satisfy consumers, it will lose market share and possibly go out of business. New, upstart businesses have the opportunity to become wealthy by providing goods and services that consumers want.

By the same token, a rich person must make decisions as to how to manage his money. Nothing is guaranteed. If he makes the right choices, he keeps his wealth and even expands it. But if he makes the wrong choices, he stands to lose part of it or even all of it.

Consider, for example, the Wyly brothers of Dallas, Texas, who were the subject of a recent New York Times article.

The Wylys are billionaires. So, they’re rich, right? Well, yes, but it’s really not that simple because they actually were poor before they were rich. According to the Times, “Depression-era babies, they were raised in rural Louisiana by a well-educated mother and father who fell on hard times by failing to hedge a cotton crop. For a time, the family moved into a shack without electricity or plumbing.”

So, here were two poor brothers. But the state didn’t take money from the rich and give it to the Wyly brothers. Instead, these poor people became rich entirely through their own efforts by buying and selling businesses in the marketplace.

And there were no guarantees. In the 1970s, they lost almost $100 million of their and their shareholders’ money in the purchase of a company that went bad. As Sam Wyly put it, “It’s a game. You win some, you lose some. Some are sort of a tie.”

Or consider the case of Larry Dean, who became a multi-millionaire through a software company he founded in the 1970s, who was also recently featured in the New York Times.

Dean used $25 million of his money to build a 32,000 square feet, “Xanadu-like” mansion in Atlanta that included $17,500 leaded glass and mahogany double front doors.

Dean, however, has fallen on hard times. Now on his third divorce, he recently sold the house for $7 million, after having it on the market for 17 years. The Times stated “The estate sale brought down the curtain on a particular kind of spectacle, a rags-to-riches tale that somewhere along the way slipped into reverse and played itself out in the unforgiving glare of the real estate market.”

You don’t need the welfare state to redistribute wealth. The free market does that. Moreover, since the market is based on voluntary choices rather than coercion, it’s a better and more just method of deciding the allocation of wealth in a free society.




Google Maps Misplaces Lincoln Memorial: "A curious thing has been happening on Google Maps -- the Lincoln Memorial is being misplaced in favor of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, which is a good half a mile south of the more famous memorial. According to the Geographic Travels blog, this "misplacement" has been happening for about two days now. Typing "Lincoln Memorial" into the regular Google search bar brings up a number of listings related to the Lincoln Memorial, yet shows a map of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Is this a Google Maps glitch, or could this have anything to do with the fact that conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck is holding a controversial "non-political" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday?"

US birth rate hits new record low: "America’s birth rate was lower in 2009 than at any other time in the past century, the AP reports — and many experts feel that the economic downturn is to blame. In 2009, the total number of births across the country fell for the second year in a row — from 4,247,000 in 2008 to 4,136,000, according to provisional data released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.”

US bureaucrats wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq: "A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets. As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted - more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.”

$1.9 million in computers for kids missing in Iraq: "The U.S. military is demanding to know what happened to $1.9 million worth of computers purchased by American taxpayers and intended for Iraqi schoolchildren that have instead been auctioned off by Iraqi officials for less than $50,000, the military said Friday. The U.S. press release was a rare public admission by the military of the loss of American taxpayer money in Iraq and an equally rare criticism of Iraqi officials with whom the Americans are trying to partner as the military hands over more and more responsibility and withdraws troops from the country.”

More "war on drugs" madness: "In the space of a few hours, on bomb-clearing patrol near Balad, Iraq, US Army Corporal Eric Small and his unit were rocked by three separate roadside explosions. He sustained serious injuries to his head, back, neck, and hip. Small’s combat days were over. It was the summer of 2008, and Small spent 10 months convalescing in military hospitals. He came home to Massachusetts with two lasting wartime souvenirs: a Purple Heart medal and a painkiller addiction. But in a bitter irony for Small and his family, the same government that sent him to war balked for months before agreeing to pay for the treatment his doctors feel best addresses his drug addiction.”

Alaska’s Miller: Let state control its resources: "The federal government is driving the nation into bankruptcy, and Alaska’s resources should be turned out of federal hands to save the state and the nation, Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller said Sunday. ‘In this state, two thirds of it is owned by the federal government,’ Miller said. ‘The government is going bankrupt. … It’s our position that as the money is restricted, the lands are transferred.’ Miller was speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation.”

Most Americans just don’t get it: "It bothers me to no end that millions of Americans simply don’t get just how dangerous this current administration’s views are, especially about the nature of our basic rights. I suppose I should not be surprised, given the utterly perverted primary and secondary education most people receive now in their government run schools. After all, those very schools and everyone with a job in the system, depend upon the flat out rejection of the idea of our basic, natural rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.”

Government Insurance: Guaranteed to fail: "Few observers were shocked when the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) asked for a nearly $20 billion bailout of its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For years groups and individuals have warned that NFIP was underfunded and increasing its liability each year by not encouraging consumers to move or alter their homes in a way that would limit future losses.”

You call this a “recovery?”: "So this is the economic growth that by far the largest Keynesian stimulus in American history produces? President Obama’s $814 billion in stimulus, a more than $1.3 trillion annual deficit for the second year in a row, has produced what the administration has declared is the long awaited ‘Summer of Recovery.’ Last fall the economy grew at a reasonable 5 percent annual rate, though even that was not particularly fast for a ‘recovery.’ Yet, it has dropped since then: during January through March, the growth rate dropped to 3.7 percent and April through June, 1.6 percent. … Since April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey has shown that 1.7 million Americans have left the labor force and simply given up looking for work. The total number of people employed has dropped by nearly half a million.”

There is a big new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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