Friday, June 17, 2016

Racism as a convenient but flawed index of evil

Leftists are so suffused by hatred that serious thought is mostly beyond them.  So their doctrines and claims are usually extremely simplistic.  A prime example of that is the way they use cries of racism to answer any argument that is put up against them

And in so doing they make any discussion of race virtually impossible.  And yet the importance of race is as clear as crystal.  A major example of that is the fact that African Americans commit crimes of violence at a rate 9 times higher  than whites.  So the idea that there is only one race, the human race is only trivially true.

The whole of America knows that blacks are in general dangerous neighbors and takes active steps to deal with that:  By "white flight".  But that is often a difficult and costly process -- and one from which poor whites are excluded.  An ability to actually discuss black crime and remedies for it would probably do a lot to make whites safer.

Making selected residential areas "no go" places for blacks would at present be greeted by unbelievably noisy opposition from the Left but a more positive version of that could work.  Settling blacks in areas known for their liberal politics could well work magic.

But black crime is only one instance where race has visible effects.  I am a keen fan of Austro/Hungarian operetta and have, I think, all available DVDs of it.  In most of the world it is a forgotten form of musical entertainment but it lives on in the German lands, particularly in Austria, its old heartland.  So a lot of the DVDs I have are of performances in Austria, particularly from Moerbisch.

And something I note in the Austrian performances is that all the performers and "extras" in a show look just like the people I see walking down the street in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, so I can relate to them easily.  Yet Austria is the most Southerly of the German lands, with Italy to its immediate South -- and I live half a world away from there.

So what improbable thing makes inhabitants of the two countries look so similar?  Race.  Anglo-Saxons have been separated from Germany for over a thousand years but we remain members of the same race.  It's only a trivial example of no political importance but it is another reminder that race does exist and that it can have powerful and long-lasting effects.

In my observation, most alleged racial, ethnic or national differences are either imaginary or temporary -- but some are not -- JR.


Aspirin beats statins in preventing heart attacks

But no drug did much good

Drugs for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Kunal N. Karmali et al.


Importance:  The Million Hearts initiative emphasizes ABCS (aspirin for high-risk patients, blood pressure [BP] control, cholesterol level management, and smoking cessation). Evidence of the effects of drugs used to achieve ABCS has not been synthesized comprehensively in the prevention of primary atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Objective:  To compare the efficacy and safety of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statins, and tobacco cessation drugs for fatal and nonfatal ASCVD outcomes in primary ASCVD prevention.

Evidence Review:  Structured search of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA), MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PROSPERO International Prospective Systematic Review Trial Register to identify systematic reviews published from January 1, 2005, to June 17, 2015, that reported the effect of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statin, or tobacco cessation drugs on ASCVD events in individuals without prevalent ASCVD.

Additional studies were identified by searching the reference lists of included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and health technology assessment reports. Reviews were selected according to predefined criteria and appraised for methodologic quality using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool (range, 0-11). Studies were independently reviewed for key participant and intervention characteristics. Outcomes that were meta-analyzed in each included review were extracted. Qualitative synthesis was performed, and data were analyzed from July 2 to August 13, 2015.

Findings:  From a total of 1967 reports, 35 systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials were identified, including 15 reviews of aspirin, 4 reviews of BP-lowering therapy, 12 reviews of statins, and 4 reviews of tobacco cessation drugs. Methodologic quality varied, but 30 reviews had AMSTAR ratings of 5 or higher.

Compared with placebo, aspirin (relative risk [RR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85-0.96) and statins (RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.70-0.81) reduced the risk for ASCVD.

Compared with placebo, BP-lowering therapy reduced the risk for coronary heart disease (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.79-0.90) and stroke (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.56-0.73). Tobacco cessation drugs increased the odds of continued abstinence at 6 months (odds ratio range, 1.82 [95% CI, 1.60-2.06] to 2.88 [95% CI, 2.40-3.47]), but the direct effects on ASCVD were poorly reported. Aspirin increased the risk for major bleeding (RR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.30-1.82), and statins did not increase overall risk for adverse effects (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97-1.03). Adverse effects of BP-lowering therapy and tobacco cessation drugs were poorly reported.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This overview demonstrates high-quality evidence to support aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, and statins for primary ASCVD prevention and tobacco cessation drugs for smoking cessation. Treatment effects of each drug can be used to enrich discussions between health care professionals and patients in primary ASCVD prevention.

JAMA Cardiology, June 2016, Vol 1, No. 3


The Impossibility of Income Equality

There’s an old William F. Buckley quote that I love – “I’m not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that you believe what you just said.”  This is how I feel about people who claim to want income equality.  There are just too many problems with the idea that everyone should get paid the same regardless of their skill, work ethic, or contribution to society.  The problems are so numerous that I’m having a hard time imagining a person who truly believes income equality is necessary, or even possible.

Let’s imagine someone does believe this.  There’s a probably a few college freshmen who have never had a job in their life, whose parents pay for everything, that might hold this belief.  But they don’t count.  They still live in virtual reality.  I’m talking about an actual adult, with experience, who has been in the work force.  I have some honest questions.

Who gets the equality?

First serious question:  Is this income equality for everyone?  It wouldn’t be very equal if only certain people got the equality, right?  If I choose not to go to college and just get a nice, easy, low-stress job bagging groceries, or stocking shelves, do I get the equal pay?  If so, how is that fair to the person that worked their butt off in college?  The person that gets a job in a high-demand, high-stress field like a pilot or surgeon?  Or the person that gets a dangerous job like loggers and deep-sea fishers?  All these jobs have an enormous benefit to society, shouldn’t they get compensated more than me for simply bagging groceries?

If you’re advocating for everyone to get paid the same, but you concede that some classes of jobs should get paid more than others, then you’re not advocating for income equality anymore.  You’re advocating for free market capitalism!  In a free market, you get paid for the benefit you provide to your fellow people.  The more benefit you provide, and the more you help others, the more you get paid.

Do we all get paid the same every year?

Second question:  If you still believe that we should still all get paid the same regardless of our jobs, how do you factor in age in order to remain equal?  Let’s say we all get paid $50,000 a year, the person who is 50 years old will have 30 years of that $50,000 pay, but the person who is 20 will only have a couple years of that pay.  So the 50 year old will be vastly wealthier that the 20 year old.  That 50 year old would be able to have a much nicer house, a much nicer car, better food, better clothing, better vacations, etc.  How fair is that?

How will this new inequality be dealt with?

I guess this will be part two of question two:  How do we level things out since older people will have vastly more wealth than younger people?  Do we say that younger people should start out making $100,000 a year and gradually make less every year so things even out?  If that’s the case, it’s far from equal!  Now you’ll have some people making $100,000 a year and some people making $15,000.  Or we could simply tax older people more, but that would be the same thing.  They’d bring home less money than younger people thus making it unfair again.

What about investing and gambling?

Question three:  Would there be any form of investing or gambling allowed?  I’m assuming in this world there will be no such thing as investing.  After all, if you invest wisely you’ll make a lot more money than the person that doesn’t invest wisely or doesn’t invest at all.  The easiest way to solve this “problem” would be to ban investing.

How about gambling?  Same problem.  It would have to be outlawed in all forms.  We can’t have an option for someone to win the lottery or gamble their way into wealth.  That would be unfair to the rest of us!

What about people who don’t work?

Question four:  Do the people who don’t work get the same equal pay?  I’m sure you’d say that someone who has a terrible, debilitating disability would get the pay, but what about people who just say they can’t work?  People with back pain that can’t be easily verified?  Or people who have depression?  Or anxiety?  Or people who just claim they have these things?  Once we’ve crossed that bridge into people who have unverifiable injuries and disorders getting the pay, what’s going to stop more and more people getting their pay while not having to work?  Are we going to pay disabled people less in order to stop people from faking injuries or disorders?  We can’t do that, it would create more inequality.

Income equality is unavoidable and unsolvable.

Like most political issues, income equality is unsolvable.  There will always be people who have more wealth and income than others.  Even in a perfect system, the people who are older will simply have more due to the extra time they’ve spent alive.

This is how politicians like it though.  They don’t want to deal with solvable problems.  They need to pick issues that will always need their benevolent assistance.  This is called job security.  If problems got solved, politicians wouldn’t be necessary!

The only fair system is a free market.  You get paid for what you provide to society.  The more you provide, the more you get paid.  The less you provide, the less you get paid.  What could be more fair than that?



Britain's probable exit from the EU: Don’t think of it as leaving Europe; think of it as rejoining the world

Matt Ridley

Over the past nine years China and India have more than doubled the size of their economies. If that had happened in Europe it would have transformed living standards, government budgets and job opportunities throughout the continent, abolishing the scourge of high youth unemployment.

Yet Europe is the one continent that has shown almost no growth over that period. This great stagnation is not bad luck, it is the fault of policies pursued in Brussels to harmonise, regulate, punish and proscribe economic activity: the single currency, the blizzard of regulations, the precautionary principle, the external tariff and more.



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