John McWhorter: Grifter, or Delusional?; & BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-12-01 We
Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember:
This is gonzo—not Elie Mystal, but rather John McWhorter. What would McWhorter have preferred to the Civil and Voting Rights Acts?:
Elie Mystal: Review of Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America by John McWhorter: ‘McWhorter… says that Black people have no pride. Framing the civil rights era as a benevolent gift from Whites, he writes: “Segregation had been outlawed from on high, with black Americans not having had to endure the long, slow clawing our way into self-sufficiency regardless of prevailing attitudes that other groups had dealt with…. This had an ironic by-product: It meant that black people could not have a basic pride in having come the whole way…”
Basic protections under the law are, he suggests here, a gift that Black people are insufficiently grateful for yet secretly hobbled by…. McWhorter will probably get what he wants, assuming that what he wants is the opportunity to chat with aggrieved podcast hosts. This book will be a pleasing bedtime story to a certain kind of White person who is always looking for a magic Black person to tell them what they want to hear. His solution… elevates being called a racist to a badge of honor, likening it to “Galileo being told not to make sense because the Bible doesn’t like it.” For once, the analogy is almost apt, if misdirected: McWhorter’s whole book is like being lectured by an astronomer who thinks you can study the stars with a kaleidoscope…
But none of us have ever “come the whole way”. Anyione who claims they have is a real idiot.
And it sounds <edit>in some sense almost</edit> as if John McWhorter would have preferred it had Martin Luther King, Jr., and company launched a southern rural and inner-city urban guerrilla movement, and wrested power out of the barrels of their guns. Otherwise, there could be no “long, slow clawing our way into self-sufficiency regardless of prevailing attitudes” for African-Americans. McWhorter claims that “other groups” did so, while Blacks received the gift of having segregation against them outlawed by white fiat. But other groups did not have to have legal segregation against them outlawed for the reason that it had never been imposed. So the moral virtue-creating and character-building that McWhorter attributes to Irish- and Italian-Americans… simply did not happen.
Thus McWhorter treats the removal of a vicious discriminatory régime that other ethnic groups never had imposed on them not as a restoration of normality—creating the conditions that other then-minority groups had faced during their “long, slow clawing our way into self-sufficiency”—but instead as a special favor.
McWhorter has to know this is just really stupid and delusional, no?
It has to be a conscious grift—a way to get money from gullible, guilty white dumbasses who are desperately eager to be told what they want to hear, and pay money to do so, doesn’t it?
Mark Gertler: 13th Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Economics <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RvpFkfKBSU> <
Very Briefly Noted:
Erik Loomis: Land Acknowledgements: ‘Again, the point of these politics is not to make you feel good or bad. The point is to provide fundamental change. Acknowledge the land all you want. But you also need to make real demands on your institution to erase the oppression of Native people in 2021. Otherwise, it’s just diversity rhetoric that does nothing… <https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/land-acknowledgements>
Yakov Feygin: In Memory of Janos Kornai: The Contradictions of a Surplus Economy <https://building-a-ruin.ghost.io/in-memory-of-janos-kornai/>
Gideon Rachman: Why China’s Elite Tread a Perilous Path: ‘Wealth, power and fame are no defence against the arbitrary power of the Communist party… <https://www.ft.com/content/187427c5-424e-424b-bce9-62d8215ad6b4>
Jim O’Niell: Twenty Years on, the Brics Have Disappointed: ‘The challenge of how these countries achieve higher prosperity across society remains unsolved… LINK: <https://www.ft.com/content/034ba0e7-7518-437e-854c-7c0dd5d74e34>
Steven Roberts: H: ‘The circuit was completed after two years construction throughout to Calcutta on April 12, 1870… <https://atlantic-cable.com/CableCos/Indo-Eur/index.htm>
Daniel Larison: Regime Change & Acknowledging Failed Policies: ‘Admitting failure usually means acknowledging that the policy was misguided all along or that it sought to achieve something that was out of reach…
Talia Bracha Lavin: There’s No Such Thing as a Lone Wolf: ‘What Kyle Rittenhouse, Dylann Roof, and Timothy McVeigh have in common…
Matthew Yglesias: Omicron: A Reminder of How Little We’re Doing on Pandemic Prevention: ‘Our science is impressive—our investments in logistics and manufacturing capacity much less so…
Stephen Diehl: The Handwavy Technobabble Nothingburger: ‘At this point pretty much every economist worth their weight in salt has given the public fair warning about the financial absurdity of crypto assets…. There’s a simple inescapable truth at the heart of technical crypto scepticism that almost all software engineers intuit at some level: Any application that could be done on a blockchain could be better done on a centralized database. Except crime…
Martin Wolf: Lessons in ‘Levelling Up’ from the Basque Country: ‘Having a favourable context and by taking the right decisions. Spain’s EU membership was the context. But what were the decisions? A striking feature of these was how they were made, namely, by close co-operation among all levels of government and between public and private sectors. The shared aim motivating it all has been one of balanced social and economic development. According to the Basque Institute of Competitiveness, the 1980s were “defined by the creation of the new regional administration alongside the need to promote substantial industrial restructuring”. This “evolved in the 1990s into a strategy built around clusters and geared to improving efficiency, fostering non-R&D-based diversification, and promoting internationalisation”. That then evolved in the 2000s “into a sustained focus on innovation and science-driven industrial diversification”…. As in other cases of rapid economic development across the world, success created the foundations for the next stage. But running through the story of the Basque country seems to be an ability to work out the right response to what was happening in the world. Since successful development demands the creation of a range of vital public goods, it depends on a development-oriented government. But the latter in turn relies on the ability of private business to seize opportunities. A good way to think about this is as a marriage of co-operation with competition within an open world economy…. Those who live in and are responsible for the region should have both the resources and the freedom to make decisions…
Paul Krugman: Why Workers Are Quitting: ‘Unlike the “skills gap” invoked to explain persistent unemployment after the 2008 crisis, this time labor shortages seem to be real. Workers are quitting at record rates, an indication that they feel confident about finding new jobs…. So workers are clearly feeling empowered, even though many fewer Americans are employed than in the past. Why? Earlier this year many people insisted that enhanced unemployment benefits were reducing the incentive to accept jobs. But those extra benefits were eliminated…. Another story… says that the extensive aid families received during the pandemic left many… [with] the financial space to be choosier about their next job. A less upbeat story says that some employees are still afraid to go back to work, and/or that many can’t go back to work because their child care arrangements are still disrupted. But there’s at least one more possibility…. The experience of the pandemic may have led many workers to explore opportunities they wouldn’t have looked at previously…. People have a strong status quo bias…. I can easily believe that there were many workers who should have quit their lousy jobs in, say, 2019, but didn’t because they weren’t really considering the alternatives. And it’s at least possible that the disruptions of the pandemic led to a great rethink…. [That] is actually a good thing—a small silver lining…
Noah Smith: How to Fix Twitter: ‘Three changes — 1) dropping blocked users’ tweets from thread view, 2) allowing people more control over who can reply to their tweets, and 3) allowing people to opt out of being quote-tweeted—will remove much of the platform’s shoutiness and toxicity, without restricting dissent or speech on the platform overall. In addition, Twitter should implement the dislike button…
Arindrajit Dube: ’A tight labor market (and policies that support it) are a critical ingredient. But I also think a combination of factors (pandemic, savings, social multipliers) amplified the impact leading to quits exceeding what you’d expect at current tightness. Part of the reason there may be a social multiplier to quits: workers at low wage jobs historically under-estimated how bad their jobs are. Something that can spur some workers to quit and look for better jobs can animate co-workers to follow suit. It’s useful to remember that recent (and much older) research shows that typically workers who are at very low-wage employers don’t fully appreciate what range of opportunities there may be. Maybe that is changing here in America! Think of this as an… information cascade… or a spark that start a prairie fire… but applied to understanding how bad or a good a job you’ve got…
Matt Darling 🌐💸🌇 @besttrousersThis thread (and many like it) tries to explain the "Great Resignation" as the result of some sort of Great Awakening in the American people. An alternate explanation is that it is the product of tight labor markets, and dependent on continued policies to keep them tight. https://t.co/qrghA7whYb