Monday, August 03, 2015

What social and medical science has to say about Obama's push to "desegregate" white suburbs

In their constant determination to go against the grain of what they see in the society around them, Leftists have long argued that contact  between people of different races is a good thing.  They started that ball rolling not long after WWII, when it emerged that black/white contact in the American military during WWII had fostered some inter-racial friendships, even though the forces were at that time largely segregated racially.  That the military is not much like society at large and that war is not peace were  "overlooked".

So the "contact hypothesis" was born and thrived for many years in social science writing.  As early as 1974, however, I was arguing in the academic literature that the converse is true: The more you see of other races, the less you like them.  Nothing I wrote in the research literature on the subject had any influence, however.  It took Robert Putnam to blow the nonsense out of the water.

Putnam was a well-credentialled Leftist whose early illustrations of declining "social capital" in the USA had attracted a lot of interest.  In that work he showed how social interactions outside  the home had shrivelled up since the '60s.  People were "hunkering down" and "bowling alone".  People were increasing less trustful of their environment and reluctant to set foot outside their own front door.

He proposed several reasons for this effect but omitted the obvious one:  The "liberation" of blacks accomplished by the Civil Rights Act and the destruction of racial segregation that took place in the '60s.  Whatever else it did, Jim Crow kept blacks significantly subdued and, in particular, not dangerous to whites.  A black man getting "uppity" could in some cases end up hanging from a tree in those days.  The incidence of violence among groups of sub-Saharan Africans is uniformly high at all times and in all nations so there was still a high level of crime among blacks in the Jim Crow era but it was almost entirely black-on-black, as, indeed, it still largely is.

I am not of course defending Jim Crow or advocating a return to it.  I am simply being a good social scientist and noting that, after it abolition, life became more dangerous for whites.  And it was because the world outside was more dangerous that white Americans, in particular, became more hesitant about setting foot outside their front door, particularly at night.  They watched TV instead.

Eventually, however, Putnam felt he had to address the racial facts that kept bobbing up in his data.  After years of hesitation,  he dropped his bombshell: The more ethnic diversity there was in a community, the less was the social interaction and co-operation.  It was when you had black neighbors that you stayed at home as much as you could.  So much for the contact hypothesis!

So "diversity" brings on social isolation.  But social isolation is a very bad thing.  Ever since the work of sociologist Durkheim in the late 19th century, researchers have known that alienation from those around you has serious psychiatric consequences.  It is, for instance, a major cause of suicide.

And if social isolation is troublesome to us in advanced societies, it is even more troublesome in less sophisticated societies.  Australian Aborigines are, for instance, compulsively social.  They have a strong need for the physical company of others of their kind. Put one in isolation in jail and he will do his level best to kill himself.  An erring Aboriginal can be "sung" to death by his tribe.  The singing consists of the men of the tribe sitting down together and chanting disapproval of the person for hours on end.  The target of such chanting will simply die.

So from the literature of both anthropology and sociology, we know that social isolation is bad for your health  -- bad to the point of being fatal.  I was pleased therefore to see the article from the medical literature below which confirms how fatal social isolation can be.  It's no wonder so many Americans avoid "diversity" by "white flight" and it's very threatening that Obama is trying to "diversify" existing white suburbs.

So an obscure article in a medical journal has great relevance to a current "hot" political issue.  Under the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH), announced by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently, Obama wants to plop down "affordable" housing in the middle of better-off communities. In conjunction with Putnam's findings, the article below would suggest that more white  suicides will result if he succeeds. Leftism can be fatal in all sorts of ways -- large and small.

Association Between Social Integration and Suicide Among Women in the United States

By Alexander C. Tsai, MD et al.


Importance:  Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of mortality among middle-aged women. Most work in the field emphasizes the psychiatric, psychological, or biological determinants of suicide.

Objective:  To estimate the association between social integration and suicide.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing nationwide prospective cohort study of nurses in the United States. Beginning in 1992, a population-based sample of 72 607 nurses 46 to 71 years of age were surveyed about their social relationships. The vital status of study participants was ascertained through June 1, 2010.

Exposures:  Social integration was measured with a 7-item index that included marital status, social network size, frequency of contact with social ties, and participation in religious or other social groups.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome of interest was suicide, defined as deaths classified using the codes E950 to E959 from the International Classification of Diseases, Eighth Revision.

Results:  During more than 1.2 million person-years of follow-up (1992-2010), there were 43 suicide events. The incidence of suicide decreased with increasing social integration. In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression model, the relative hazard of suicide was lowest among participants in the highest category of social integration (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.23 [95% CI, 0.09-0.58]) and second-highest category of social integration (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.26 [95% CI, 0.09-0.74]). Increasing or consistently high levels of social integration were associated with a lower risk of suicide. These findings were robust to sensitivity analyses that accounted for poor mental health and serious physical illness.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Women who were socially well integrated had a more than 3-fold lower risk for suicide over 18 years of follow-up.



The IRS Is Still Targeting Conservatives!

The political targeting of Americans violates our most basic rights.


In a stunning abuse of power, the IRS has been targeting the donors to conservative political organizations for audits, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. The documents released via a Freedom of Information Act request as part of an investigation by Judicial Watch show that the agency specifically singled out individuals who gave to groups with words and phrases like "tea party" in their name for audits.

This is a continuation of the scandal that began in 2013, in which the agency targeted the groups themselves. At that time, Lois Lerner took most of the heat for the targeting, with officials claiming it was an isolated incident that didn't go any higher up. Clearly, that was not the case.

The fact that this sort of thing goes on in our government is an outrageous assault on our most basic liberties. America was founded on the idea that we should be free to express our political opinions without the government punishing us for them. This was an important distinction to draw from previous autocracies, where dissent from the ruling class could land you an indefinite stay in cold, dark cell. It has not yet gotten that bad in America, but the idea of using government power to to intimidate, bully, and harass those of us who think that the government has grown too large and oppressive, apart from proving our point, should offend any American who values the freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution.

This scandal has been brewing for two years now, and still nothing meaningful has been done. Lois Lerner no longer works at the IRS, true, but a low level official falling on her sword to protect her superiors is no longer an acceptable solution. We have to send a message that this sort of corruption will no longer be tolerated in the land of the free.

The IRS has spent much of the last two years attacking conservative non-profit groups. Apart from the continuing targeting scandal, there was also a proposed regulation that would have effectively destroyed the ability of non-profits to conduct political organizing. The IRS is supposed to do one thing - collect revenue, not serve as an attack dog for the Democrats against any and all political opposition.

The IRS continues to justify its status as the most hated of all government agencies.



Mayor de Blasio Calls off Uber Cap Bill

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” -Milton Friedman

New York City, NYC- Capitalists and customers throughout the country are celebrating a major free market victory as news that progressive NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he will not continue to push a city council bill that would have placed a cap on the number of Uber drivers allowed to operate in the city. The news coming from the Mayor's office came in several days after Uber general manager, Josh Mohrer, publicly announced that he wanted to hold a live streaming debate between himself and de Blasio in order to discuss the bill for the public at large to witness; in addition to Mohrer's challenge, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who recently called Uber “one of the great inventions of this new economy”, which struck a more political blow to de Blasio, seeing how Cuomo has always supported the populist progressive mayor in the past. There are four key points to understand about this whole situation:

Lessons from de Blasio's war on Uber:

1) If de Blasio, the unions, and the NYC city council had their way, Uber would have in fact had a monopoly on the entire app based ridesharing industry in the city. As mentioned in an episode of the Young Voices podcast with contributors Jared Meyer and Daniel Pryor, they pointed out how Uber (which already holds a 90% market share in the app based ridesharing market in NYC) would essentially come out of this battle as the ultimate winner in terms of consumer accessibility, since other ridesharing app businesses such as Lyft have not moved into the city. By continuing to fight the bill like they did, Uber sent a loud and clear message to the Taxi unions (who pushed for the driver cap bill) by stating that free and open competition for the betterment of both businesses and consumers, was more important than crony capitalism trying to use the heavy hand of regulation to erase competitors from the market.

2) The progressive war on the "sharing economy" should at this point begin to bring awareness to the young voting population of millennial voters who are typically swayed by Democrats. As I mentioned in a previous article regarding progressive 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's recent economics speech:

"An all-out political assault on these services is a strange move for the Democrat; according to Breitbart writer Joel Pollak, this decision in her platform may in fact "surprise millennial consumers, whose loyalty to the Democratic Party has largely been blind, and who have presumed that the party of government shared their love for technology."

A look overseas gives us all a glimpse into the state's negative intervention into the "sharing economy"; the French government in June declared an all out ban on Uber operations in the country. BBC picked up on the initial story and reported that:

"French taxi drivers have blocked the roads to Paris airports and the main ring road around the city in a protest against Uber, a US taxi app. The drivers set up blockades and burned tires as part of a nationwide strike. Some cars were overturned and others had their windows smashed with bats."

3) Technological innovation, job opportunities, and consumer happiness, are finally becoming talking points for many Americans across the land, as this whole Uber debacle has shown many politically apathetic citizens what can happen in markets that are not bogged down by red tape, regulation and corporate interests. As FreedomWorks research analyst Logan Albright points out simply, yet strongly:

"Mobile apps are providing services that benefit consumers, workers, and communities. Don’t let regulators drive them out of business in order to protect favored monopolies."

4) Last but not least, free market advocates must be listening in for buzzwords that indicate hidden motives for new regulation. In de Blasio's op-ed in the New York Daily News discussing his stance on the city council Uber driver cap bill, he continually tried to use environmental issues in order to mask the real issue at play:

"We need to find a way to manage the huge increase in new vehicles to keep our streets moving, protect air quality and make sure our buses and other vehicles can also get around…”

"The city is focused on making our transportation more sustainable by improving access to ride-sharing, investing in low-carbon and multi-modal options like walking and biking, and reducing dependency on private fossil fuel vehicles."

When hearing politicians talk about the green agenda , people should always ask, are they using real science, or just trying to push their own bias? since the green policies pushed by Democrats in the past several decades have been used over and over again to kill jobs and economic growth .

All in all, this whole situation wasn't simply about Uber, its about the constant struggle between free, individual enterprise, and government control forced by the influence of special interests



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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