How to Destroy Higher Education

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the University of Arizona was using taxpayer money to pay students to police the speech of their fellow students. Now comes news that also UCLA is adopting similar measures against campus freedom.

The University of California-Los Angeles is offering to pay students to serve as “Social Justice Advocates” who will “educate” their peers about “systems [of] oppression.”

The Social Justice Advocates program seeks students who want to help their classmates “navigate a world that operates on whiteness, patriarchy, and heteronormativity as the primary ideologies,” and comes with a quarterly stipend, the amount of which has yet to be determined.

In a critique at pjmedia.com, Tom Knighton summarizes the program’s objective as follows.

UCLA’s focus will be on really hammering home the “white men suck and should probably be dead” message. In case the students hadn’t heard it yet that day.

Sounds about right.

And what is the source of funding for UCLA’s version of the Red Guards?

The program is funded through the Bruin Excellence & Student Transformation Grant Program (BEST), which receives funding from the university’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and from Gold Shield, Alumnae of UCLA.

Thanks, ladies!

Meanwhile, in a remarkably authoritarian piece at Time magazine, Lisa Wade, PhD, advocates banning campus fraternities.

I make no claims that it will be easy. Fraternities have dominated campuses, defied authorities and rebuffed efforts at suppression for nearly 200 years. But in that time we have ended slavery, given women the vote and put men on the moon. Of course we can get rid of fraternities. College presidents, administrators and trustees just have to muster the will to do it. As for the rest of us, we need to keep pressure on them to do so, and keep counting the bodies until they act.

Well, if feminists like Lisa Wade succeed in making college campuses inhospitable to men, then men are going to stop attending. The college experience is a good, produced and marketed by an industry, and sold to a consumer. If feminists keep ramping up the hostility to men, at some point, men are going to drop out of the market for the college experience. And if men stop attending, then straight women are not going to want to attend either. That won’t leave sufficient demand to sustain the system of higher education as we know it, and so eventually, the system will collapse.

Right now, the universities are one of the primary power bases of the political left. If the political right were smart (lolz), they would be actively seeking some way to destroy the universities. A direct political assault would meet with stiff resistance. But here’s a strategy that would work:

Step 1. Let radical feminists take over the universities.

Step 2. Wait.

Step 3. Winning.

A Generational Decline in Testosterone

Ever wonder how, in just three generations, American males went from G.I.s who defeated the Nazis and the Japanese Empire to whiny Pajama Boys who think Barack Obama is cool? Well, I’m just throwing this out there: maybe it has something to do with low-T. Several studies have found that contemporary western males have significantly lower testosterone levels than same-age males had roughly 30 years ago. A couple of studies first reported the secular decline in testosterone about ten years ago. One study focused on men in Massachusetts over age 45.

“Male serum testosterone levels appear to vary by generation, even after age is taken into account,” said Thomas G. Travison, Ph.D., of the New England Research Institutes (NERI) in Watertown, Mass., and lead author of the study. “In 1988, men who were 50 years old had higher serum testosterone concentrations than did comparable 50-year-old men in 1996. This suggests that some factor other than age may be contributing to the observed declines in testosterone over time.”

For men 65-69 years of age in this study, average total testosterone levels fell from 503 ng/dL (nanograms/deciliter) in 1988 to 423 ng/dL in 2003.

Another study published the same year found similar results for men in Denmark. But that was 10 years ago, and I was wondering if any follow-up studies had been done since then. All I managed to find was a 2012 study from Finland. This study also found a secular decline in testosterone.

We analysed serum levels of testosterone, gonadotrophin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in 3271 men representing different ages (25–74 years) and birth cohorts within three large Finnish population surveys conducted in 1972, 1977 and 2002…The more recently born Finnish men have lower testosterone levels than their earlier born peers.

French leftists protesting in skirts

Notably, the fall in T-levels cannot be fully explained by changes in health or lifestyle such as obesity or smoking. Some other environmental factors must be responsible, but nobody knows which. Speculation involves a wide range of possibilities, everything from endocrine disruptors in plastics to tight underwear!

Whatever the cause, I wonder if this change in hormone levels has implications for male behavior and social outcomes. For instance, could low-T have an effect on marriage or divorce rates? And what about birth rates? (There is some mixed evidence suggesting that sperm also has declined in both quality and quantity.)

Right now, violent crime rates in America are at their lowest level in about 50 years. Could the drop in violent crime be caused at least in part by diminished male aggression due to lower testosterone?

Low T might offer some benefits, like maybe lower crime rates, but the fact that some unknown factor is adversely affecting men’s health is nonetheless disturbing. And yet, nobody seems to care. As far as I know, there is no concern among advocacy groups or public health officials regarding the problem of secularly declining testosterone. Some endocrinologists have an academic interest in the issue, but it does not show up on the radar screen of people working in public health.

Imagine, however, if the sexes were reversed, and it were women instead of men who had exhibited a long-term decline in hormone levels. In that case, it would be a genuine public health crisis. We would all know about the problem, and the subject would be discussed endlessly on The View.

But when it happens to men: crickets. Men take note: Society does not care about you.

Making Headlines in America: 21st Century Slavery

Media outlets around the country carried the recent story of the woman who purchased a handbag at an Arizona Walmart and found hidden in the bag a desperate note, purportedly from an enslaved Chinese worker. Here is a translation of the note.

Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn’t finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan, any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Prison in China is unlike prison in America, horse cow goat pig dog (literally, means inhumane treatment).

Nonprofit groups like China Labor Watch are accusing Walmart of not doing enough to prevent sourcing of goods made with slave labor. For its part, Walmart says it is investigating.

“We’re making contact with the customer and appreciate her bringing this to our attention. With the information we have, we are looking into what happened so we can take the appropriate actions,” Ragan Dickens, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an e-mail to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Of course, it’s possible that the note is not authentic, since anyone who handled the bag between China and Arizona could have inserted the note. Walmart should nonetheless investigate, and if they find evidence of slave labor, they should definitely act to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, non-profit groups seem to be much less concerned about another recent report about slavery even though it took place right here in the USA. You read that right–slavery in modern America. The story comes from Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon who revealed shortly before he died that he and his family owned a slave.

Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.

To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be.

After my mother died of leukemia, in 1999, Lola came to live with me in a small town north of Seattle. I had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream. And then I had a slave.

Needless to say, owning a slave in America is highly unlawful. In fact, it’s unconstitutional! And how long was this poor woman enslaved in America? Fifty-six years, until she died. U.S. government authorities allowed this family to traffic the slave into the country, and then never did catch up with them for fifty-six years. Good job!

Now I’m wondering: How many other immigrants are bringing slaves with them to America? How many slaves live among us in America today? What is the government doing about it? Not much, if the Tizon case is any indication.

Walmart may or may not have a slavery problem. But the federal government surely does. Maybe I’m biased, but I frankly have more confidence in Walmart’s ability to clean up its act than I do in the federal government’s.

Meanwhile, Tizon the slaveowner actually published a bestselling book about how America is racist toward Asian males like him. The book is apparently an assigned text for many of the proliferating college courses on victimology. The Seattle Times called his book “a devastating critique of contemporary American culture.”

Tizon’s arguments in the book seem to be based primarily on personal anecdotes of slights he perceived to have received from Americans on account of being Asian. Tizon’s book may well have some merit, but even though the book is autobiographical, he never mentions his slaveowning. I guess it would tend to undermine his narrative as a victim of discrimination if he admitted to owning a freaking slave.

Meanwhile, in racist America, Tizon somehow managed to live in affluent neighborhoods, attend the best schools, win a Pulitzer Prize, and write a best-selling book. By his own admission he “had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream.”

Too bad his slave never had those same opportunities.

Why China Will Dominate the 21st Century

I’m frankly amazed that the Chinese, despite having almost no national experience with Western-style political institutions, have somehow been able to quite accurately diagnose the ideological disease afflicting Western politics.

If you look at any thread about Trump, Islam or immigration on a Chinese social media platform these days, it’s impossible to avoid encountering the term baizuo, or literally, the ‘white left’. It first emerged about two years ago, and yet has quickly become one of the most popular derogatory descriptions for Chinese netizens to discredit their opponents in online debates.

So what does ‘white left’ mean in the Chinese context, and what’s behind the rise of its (negative) popularity?…

The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the ‘white left’. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

Apart from some anti-hegemonic sentiments, the connotations of ‘white left’ in the Chinese context clearly resemble terms such as ‘regressive liberals’ or ‘libtards’ in the United States.

My own preferred term is actually ‘shitlib.’ But ‘baizuo’ is a totally cool term that I intend to start using. To be understood when speaking, however, it’s necessary to correctly pronounce the Chinese tones. ‘Bai’ has a rising tone, and ‘zuo’ a falling-rising tone.

Here’s another bit of impressive wisdom displayed by the Chinese.

Although economic disparity in China has been worsening in recent years, sociologist Yu Xie found that most Chinese people regard it as an inevitable consequence of economic growth, and that inequality is unlikely to give rise to political or social unrest.

That’s precisely the attitude conducive to economic growth.

In an academic-style essay that was retweeted more than 7000 times on Weibo, a user named ‘fantasy lover Mr. Liu’ ‘reviewed’ European philosophy from Voltaire and Marx to Adorno and Foucault, concluding that the ‘white left’ as a ‘spiritual epidemic’ is on its way to self-destruction. He then stated that Trump’s win was only “a small victory over this spiritual epidemic of humankind”, but “western civilization is still far from its self-redemption”.

Yet, Freedom! Analysis: TRUE.

If China can somehow manage to inoculate itself from the disease of shitlibbery, it will have a huge advantage over the West, and will quite possibly surpass the West in both economic and social terms.

U of Arizona Using Taxpayer Money to Employ Red Guards

The Red Guards were gangs of students empowered by Chinese authorities in the 1960s to terrorize the population by enforcing ideological orthodoxy. Fifty years later, the University of Arizona is launching its own version of the Red Guards.

Administrators at the University of Arizona are now accepting applications for “social justice advocates,” whose job it is to snitch on other students accused of bias. They’re also expected to hold educational programs about “the mosaic of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity” and maintain “social justice bulletin boards” in student residence halls.

The job, which officially calls (archived link) for the advocates to “report any bias incidents or claims to appropriate Residence Life staff,” pays the student workers $10 an hour. They’re expected to work 15 hours a week, which means they could be making as much as $600 a month to police their fellow students.

Reminder: The University of Arizona is a state-sponsored institution, which means the university is governed by the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which protects free speech. Under the laws of the United States, therefore, it is unlawful for the University of Arizona to police the speech of its students. In fact, such an organized attempt to police speech constitutes a ‘conspiracy to interfere with civil rights,’ which under 18 U.S. Code § 241 is a federal felony. Furthermore, 42 U.S. Code § 1985 enables victims to sue for damages in federal court.

Personally, I would encourage any students whose rights are violated by the 21st century Red Guards to sue their university from here to Timbuktu.

Also, it is long overdue that the Justice Department step in to protect the rights of Americans on campus. During the Obama Administration, federal bureaucrats famously issued a Dear Colleague letter to universities regarding sexual assault. At the very least, Justice needs to start by sending a Dear Colleague letter reminding universities that suppressing free speech is a federal felony.

Or at least that’s a possible strategy if we still believe the universities are worth saving. Otherwise, an alternative would be to just leave the universities free to continue to discredit themselves until they implode. Because in the long run, parents are not going to willingly shell out tens of thousands of dollars for their children to attend Maoist indoctrination camps where they’re encouraged to play the role of Red Guards, repressing the rights of their fellow students.

I also don’t believe that citizens should or would willingly allow their hard earned tax dollars to be spent on employing Red Guards at $600 per month.

Call me an optimist, but I gotta believe the universities implode before they go full Maoist.

Confirmed: Students at Elite Colleges are Spoiled Brats

I always believed that students at exclusive colleges must disproportionately come from high-income families, but this statistic cited by Joanne Jacobs surprised me.

At 38 elite colleges, more students come from the top 1 percent of the income scale than the bottom 60 percent, according to an Equality of Opportunity Project study.

And these are the very same schools noted for campus activism, with students out protesting ‘the one percent.’ To find ‘the one percent,’ they apparently don’t need to look very far.

Jacobs offers the following analysis.

High-income achievers may turn to activism because they feel guilty about their privilege, writes Riley. Since they think they know it all, they “shut down outside speakers and demand that professors censor their lectures,” demand safe spaces and trigger warnings.

Indeed, it takes more than a little chutzpah to be 19, 20 years old, never having accomplished anything in the world of adults, and telling professors and administrators how they should be doing their jobs. At that age, I never would have presumed such a thing. But the phenomenon gets easier to understand if we keep in mind that a lot of these students are rich, and therefore believe they’re better than everybody else.

And undoubtedly a lot of what motivates campus leftists is guilt, because they know, deep down, that they are highly privileged. That’s why they talk so much about privilege: white privilege, male privilege, etc. It’s a way of expiating their own privilege.

Not a pretty picture.

In any event, if some of these snooty schools are really, as they say, interested in ‘diversity’ they can start by admitting more kids from the poor and working classes.

The Death of Inland California: Exaggerated?

Joel Kotkin likes to write about how the social and political elites in Coastal California are screwing over the inland part of the state, and his articles usually contain much truth and insight. In a recent piece, he returns to this theme in somewhat florid rhetorical terms.

California may never secede, or divide into different states, but it has effectively split into entities that could not be more different. On one side is the much-celebrated, post-industrial, coastal California, beneficiary of both the Tech Boom 2.0 and a relentlessly inflating property market. The other California, located in the state’s interior, is still tied to basic industries like homebuilding, manufacturing, energy and agriculture. It is populated largely by working- and middle-class people who, overall, earn roughly half that of those on the coast.

Fresno, Bakersfield, Ontario and San Bernardino are rapidly becoming the Bantustans — the impoverished areas designed for Africans under the racist South African regime — in California’s geographic apartheid. Poverty rates in the Central Valley and Inland Empire reach over a third of the population, well above the share in the Bay Area. By some estimates, rural California counties suffer the highest unemployment rate in the country; six of the 10 metropolitan areas in the country with the highest percentage of jobless are located in the central and eastern parts of the state. The interior counties — from San Bernardino to Merced — also suffer the worst health conditions in the state.

Just a couple paragraphs later, however, Kotkin unwittingly contradicts this narrative that the Inland Empire has been declining economically.

Between 2000 and 2013, the Inland region experienced a 91 percent jump in its population with bachelor’s degrees or higher, a far more rapid increase than either Orange or Los Angeles counties.

By curtailing new housing supply, California is systematically shutting off this aspirational migration. Chapman University forecaster James Doti notes that, in large part due to regulation, Inland Empire housing prices have jumped 80 percent since 2009 — almost twice the rate for Orange County.

I have no doubt that housing prices are higher than they should be due to regulation, particularly restrictions on land use and development. So the housing price situation is not ideal. But let’s step back and consider what rapidly rising housing prices imply about the Inland economy. If the economy were really in a tailspin, housing prices would not be rising, they would be falling or at least failing to keep up with the rise in other regions. But that’s not the case; Kotkin says Inland prices have experienced a more rapid rate of increase than at least some prominent parts of the coastal region.

Also the huge jump in the population with bachelor’s degrees is not indicative of economic decline, and on this metric Kotkin again notes that the rate of increase exceeds that for key coastal counties.

Kotkin’s reporting makes me think the death of the Inland Empire has been greatly exaggerated. The region undoubtedly trails the coast by most social and economic metrics, but that has always been true. Bakersfield in (say) the 1970s was not some kind of economic paradise.

Debate: The End of Jobs

Here at Yet, Freedom!, we warned years ago that robots and artificial intelligence pose grave threats to human jobs. Now Alex Tabarrok, our old classmate, and Tyler Cowen, our old professor, have filmed a lively debate on the subject.

Alex says that labor saving technologies in the past did not cause a net reduction of jobs, because they opened opportunities for new areas of employment that did not previously exist.

The jobs of today were unheard of even ten years ago. Think about all of the people writing apps for those smart phones that we have. Those jobs were unheard of before. There will be new jobs in the future that you and I can’t even imagine today.

What Alex says has always been true. For more than 200 years, machinery and automation have generally been beneficial to labor by increasing wages and improving working conditions. Two hundred years ago, about 90 percent of people were farmers; now only 2 percent are. The disappearance of those farming jobs did not leave people with nothing to do, because new jobs were created that people centuries ago could never have imagined.

The problem is that, while Alex’s argument is correct about the past, it’s not necessarily true about the future. For the first time, things are different. Instead of merely replacing manual labor, machines now are threatening even highly intellectual jobs like being a lawyer or an anesthesiologist.

As Tyler points out, labor market data suggest that, this time, things are different. Labor force participation is falling, and wages are stagnant. Alex, however, dismisses this evidence.

Alex and Tyler posted this debate about six months ago, but a new study published just last month supports Tyler’s position. Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University found, somewhat to their surprise, that industrial robots depress both employment and wages.

The paper is all the more significant because the researchers, whose work is highly regarded in their field, had been more sanguine about the effect of technology on jobs. In a paper last year, they said it was likely that increased automation would create new, better jobs, so employment and wages would eventually return to their previous levels. Just as cranes replaced dockworkers but created related jobs for engineers and financiers, the theory goes, new technology has created new jobs for software developers and data analysts.

But that paper was a conceptual exercise. The new one uses real-world data — and suggests a more pessimistic future. The researchers said they were surprised to see very little employment increase in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing. That increase could still happen, they said, but for now there are large numbers of people out of work, with no clear path forward — especially blue-collar men without college degrees.

The economists looked at the effect of robots on local economies and also more broadly. In an isolated area, each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by 6.2 workers and wages by 0.7 percent. But nationally, the effects were smaller… each robot per thousand workers decreased employment by three workers and wages by 0.25 percent.

So each robot eliminates three jobs. And keep in mind those are net jobs in the overall economy, not just jobs at the plant where the robot is introduced. The net effect on jobs takes into account those new jobs, as Alex points out, made possible by the robots. New jobs are needed to make and service the robots, but moreover, the robots create jobs by decreasing costs. By lowering costs, the robots leave people with more money to spend on other goods, which can expand employment in other industries. But even after accounting for new jobs, Acemoglu and Restrepo still found a net loss of three jobs for each robot.

Alex’s view of the effects of technology is the optimistic one, and I hope he is right. His argument has always been correct in the past. The latest evidence, however, suggests that the past might not serve as a useful guide to the future.

Earth Hour: *Yawn*

I’m running a little late with this, but this past weekend featured the 11th annual Earth Hour, when people all over the world are supposed to demonstrate how committed they are to stopping ‘climate change’ by turning off their electric lights for one hour.

Earth Hour is a kind of protest, of course, and a protest is not an argument, but just a way for people to show how strongly they feel about something. As a signal of feeling, however, Earth Hour seems laughingly pathetic, since the cost of participating is so meager. I mean, if you really believe that life on Earth as we know it is in jeopardy, shouldn’t you be willing to do more than just turn off your lights for one hour per year?

I’d be a lot more impressed by these folks if instead of an hour they lived without electricity for a year or even a month. Go into the woods and make a hut out of mud and pine needles and I’ll be duly impressed. I’ll still disagree with you, but I’ll at least acknowledge the strength and authenticity of your commitment to your false beliefs.

I mean, St. Francis of Assisi grew up well-to-do, but when he had his religious epiphany, he gave away literally all of his worldly possessions including his clothes, so that he was going around town completely naked. The local bishop had to tell him that he couldn’t go naked and gave him some clothes. Now, I don’t worship at the altar of St. Francis, but he certainly demonstrated his commitment.

But turning off lights for an hour is just the cheapest of cheap virtue signalling, like posting to social media about Cecil the Lion or Kony 2012.

Peace out.

What Hath Feminism Wrought?

By some measures, women in America are doing better than ever. For every three men in college, there are four women. Women outnumber men in law school. There are more women working than ever, making more money than ever. We would right now have our first woman president if not for the fact that her opponent managed to run the table in the electoral college by winning a series of close state contests.

The legal regime governing marriage, reproduction, child support and custody totally favors women over men.

And yet, for all this presumed progress, women report being less happy, and exhibit more of the symptoms of despair. At least, that’s what I conclude from the fact that American women appear increasingly to be drowning their sorrows in alcohol.

Back in December, the Washington Post published a remarkable article about the rise in binge drinking among women, particularly white, middle-aged women. Here are just a few of the astonishing facts.

  • Every year more than one million women end up in hospital emergency rooms for alcohol related reasons. This number may involve some double counting, as the same woman may be admitted to the hospital more than once, but the number nonetheless seems appallingly high.
  • Since 1997, binge drinking by white women has increased 40%.
  • Since 1999, alcohol-related deaths among middle-aged white women have soared by 130%.

The Post blames the problem on alcohol advertising, particularly advertising on social media targeted at women. The trend in binge drinking, however, started long before social media became a thing. I suspect the problem runs much deeper than advertising. Consider the fact that also drug overdoses have increased, particularly among middle-aged, white women. The drug overdoses likely have little to do with advertising and more to do with despair.

This same cohort of middle-aged white women has also exhibited a significantly higher suicide rate. From 1999 to 2014,

the age-adjusted suicide rate for women increased by 45%, while the rate for men increased by 16%.

The suicide rate increased for women of all ages, but the spike was especially pronounced for women aged 45-64.

The rise in alcohol and drug related deaths would seem to be of a piece with the higher rate of suicides, since alcohol and drugs often serve as methods of slow-motion suicide. One way or another, a lot more women are killing themselves.

What has happened to middle-aged American women? Historically, only about ten percent of 35-year-old women were unmarried. Now, 40 percent of 35-year-old women are unmarried, and that figure just keeps rising. Could the lack of support from family explain the despair among middle-aged women?

Many will say that the problems facing women are caused by ‘the patriarchy’ and we therefore need to double-down on feminism.

Maybe. But in the bad old days, before the triumph of feminism, women reported higher levels of happiness and weren’t succumbing nearly as often to the pathologies of despair.