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Culture War Roundup for the week of March 11, 2024

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On disparate impact, prejudice, American civil rights law, and academic vs. lay definitions of words.

(Or, why HBD won’t save you.)

This is an adaptation of a couple of long replies I made to a mutual on Tumblr, relevant to some recent arguments made here. Specifically, how sophisticated academic and legal arguments can differ from the version that trickles out through journalism and politics into the general population, and how people misunderstand the post-Griggs “disparate impact” regime (further cemented by the 1991 civil rights act), which is at once less ridiculous and yet more extreme in its implications than many of its critics think.

I saw someone here recently characterize said doctrine as the idea that “if a process produces disparate impact, then someone somewhere must have done something discriminatory.” But this itself can mean very different things depending on how one defines “something discriminatory.” Are we referring to treating individuals differently, or to treating groups differently? At one end, you get a kind of unfalsifiable “blood libel” reminiscent of classic antisemitic tropes about Jewish “elite overrepresentation,” and at the other, you get a tautology.

A major of the problem is essentially a conflict over definitions; that too many people mean too many different things when they use terms like “racism.” So I’m going to go ahead and do the thing around these parts of “tabooing” the term to start with. Instead, I’m going to talk about two distinct things. First, there’s “invidious discrimination.” That is, discrimination motivated by racial prejudice and stereotypes — treating individuals differently due to their race (judging by “color of their skin” rather than “content of their character,” as it were); what most ordinary people, especially those on the center right or the older left, are thinking of when they think of “racism.” Then there’s “disparate impact” — the existence of statistical differences between racial and ethnic group outcomes.

The standard criticism of Griggs v Duke Power is that it came to the ridiculous conclusion that disparate impact is itself presumptively evidence of invidious discrimination by someone, somewhere, in the hiring process until proven otherwise. Not too long ago, I saw someone (I think it was on Tumblr) who argued that yes, this would be a stupid thing for a court to conclude… but that this is not, in fact, what the court found in that case. Instead, they essentially deferred (as the courts usually do) to the EEOC’s own understanding of their mission. And what was that? Remember, they are the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Well, what does equal opportunity mean in the context of employment? The answer the EEOC came to is, essentially, that “equal opportunity” means you are equally likely to be hired, which means that the rate at which a racial or ethnic group gets hired should be roughly in proportion to their prevalence in society. That is, anything which makes blacks less likely to be hired constitutes a lack of equal opportunity. That using an IQ test results in disparate impact is itself the problem. It doesn’t matter why. it doesn’t matter that the employer has no discriminatory intent. It doesn’t matter whether or not the makers of the IQ test had any racist stereotypes or ideas about blacks, conscious or unconscious. It could well be because blacks just have lower IQs. That last is not an excuse for hiring blacks less, it is simply an explanation as to how and why IQ tests deny blacks equal employment opportunity. All that matters, for the purpose of civil rights law, is that if it causes a minority group to be less likely to be hired on average, it is presumptively forbidden (unless proven absolutely essential).

To go back to “something discriminatory,” the argument is that a thing is racially discriminatory if it produces statistically distinct outcomes for different racial groups — that is, it gives rise to disparate impact. As I said before, with this definition, “if a process produces disparate impact, then someone somewhere must have done something discriminatory” becomes a tautological statement.

This is very much in line with the academic consensus. Ibram X. Kendi makes it quite clear in his glossaries, when he defines racism and anti-racism in terms of racial equity and racial inequity, which he in turn essentially defines in terms of disparate impact. That is, “anti-racism” is anything which narrows or eliminates disparate impact. And anything that doesn’t — that is, not only things which increase disparate impact, but anything that maintains it — is racist. Invidious discrimination is, ultimately, irrelevant.

Back when I used to do some math and physics blogging on Wordpress over a decade ago, I’d occasionally get crank comments about some piece of jargon which also has a different meaning in colloquial usage, and how consequently, physicists or mathematicians are “using the word wrong” and need to stop. I don’t quite recall the math examples (except that one was in group theory), but for physics, the most memorable example was the angry comments holding forth the position that “you can’t taste quarks” therefore speaking of “flavors” of quarks is wrong, and physicists must stop. I’m pretty sure there are also words whose usage as legal terms differ in important ways from the layman’s ordinary usage.

No, the experts are not going to change their established terminology to assuage the linguistic prescriptivism of random cranks asserting the absolute supremacy of lay definitions.

To an ordinary person for whom the term “racism” refers primarily to invidious discrimination and prejudice, statements like “colorblind racism” and “you can be prejudiced against white people, but can’t be racist against them” (I remember someone giving a quote to this effect from the show “Dear White People”) make no sense. Which implies that those making such statement are using a different definition (particularly the latter statement). If instead, you define “racism” as meaning disparate impact, then those become quite straightforward, even obvious. Does “colorblindness” reduce or maintain differences in racial outcomes? Note that ignoring a thing seldom makes it go away. Does issuing covid vaccines on racial lines increase or decrease the white-black gap in health outcomes? (This last example remains perhaps the biggest “red flag” issue for my mutual.) Does openly discriminating against whites, asians, and jews (my mutuals go-to acronym here is JAW, in contrast to BIPOC) make the aggregate outcome differences between them and BIPOC bigger or smaller?

As one can see from the likes of Kendi, this latter is the academic definition, the term as used by the technical “experts” in the field. Further, if you buy the argument about Griggs, it’s also the legal definition — the definition used by the people who enforce civil rights law and policies “against racism.” And just like with quark flavors, you, the random layman, are not going to get them to change. Yes, one can argue that the term “racism” carries serous moral and legal weight in the way “flavor” does not, that definitional mismatch about such an emotionally-loaded term allows way too much “strategic equivocation” and other such games to let pass, and that a rectification of names is needed, but even then one shouldn’t expect the lay definition of the masses to win out over the elite definition.

One can also assert that the original intent of the civil rights law that created this system was to eliminate invidious discrimination, not to eliminate disparate impact, but this is disputed. (For example, Tim Wise does so here: “No, Precious, No One “Changed” the Meaning of Racism.”) In particular, there was a narrative in the early days that held that disparate impact was fully downstream from invidious discrimination, thus allowing the conflation of the two definitions of “racism.” If one did care more about ending disparate impact itself, well, then banning invidious discrimination was still the way to go about solving it. Except, of course, it was becoming clear by the time of Griggs that this didn’t hold. That eliminating Jim Crow and making things “colorblind” wouldn’t fully close the gaps. Hence the definition split.

(IIRC, it was @Hoffmeister25, either here or at the old place, who said that, in his experience as a white left-winger talking to blacks about these sorts of issues, American blacks were indeed mostly this latter set. That, to the extent they signed on to “colorblindness,” it was because they thought it would fully solve the outcome gap — which was always what they really cared about — and once it became clear that it wouldn’t do that, they increasingly moved on in search of something that would.)

I believe it is in Stamped from the Beginning that Kendi specifically addresses and rejects this narrative. Racist ideas do not produce racist institutions, he has argued, but instead it’s the other way around. Our institutions result in disparate outcomes between races — have done so since the first blacks arrived in any notable numbers in Western societies (hence “from the beginning”) — and people come up with ideas to explain it, and when those ideas propose that the “problem” to be “fixed” lies somewhere with the underperforming minorities themselves, rather than the system, those are racist ideas.

Earlier in the original Tumblr thread, the other party said the following:

Arguments that, for instance, fit people and fat people should have the same lifespan, so we should redirect healthcare spending from fit people to fat people until they both live the same average lifespan, would mean reducing the total lifespan lived for a net loss in life-years.

For instance, to take the weight example, supporters might be open to “make everyone take a class about how fit people and fat people should have the same outcomes,” or, “redirect healthcare funding from fit people to fat people until lifespans equalize,” but wouldn’t be open to “invent ozempic”.

That’s pretty strange, isn’t it? Trying to equalize lifespan on the back end, resulting in a net loss of life-years, is way more oppressive than inventing a new diet pill.

This is where that example, and the Ozempic analogy comes in. Because that method of addressing different life outcomes between “thin” and “fat” treats obesity as the thing to be fixed, not that the obese have different outcomes. Sure, this might be okay to hold in the case of something like obesity — but even then, note my past comments, here and here, on Carleton University's Fady Shanouda attacking said medication as "fatphobia”, even "the elimination of fat bodies”, and “that treatments for "the so-called obesity epidemic" were "steeped in fat-hatred.”” But for people like Kendi, it’s never okay in the case of racial groups.

It’s like the stupid “positive action/self-esteem” shit we got in elementary school, about how “you’re fine just the way you are" (even back then, I knew that I was in some way broken and defective). It doesn’t matter if you think the “problem” is inborn, or cultural (the classic black conservative ‘stop listening to the rap music, get married and adopt bourgeois norms’ position), it’s still a racist idea if it holds that underperforming groups aren’t “fine just the way they are.”

Years ago, left-wing mixed-race HBD blogger Jayman was making pretty much the same argument, even as he asserted that the outcome gaps were almost entirely genetic. It’s the duty of society, he argued, to perpetually redistribute from the genetic “haves” to the genetic “have-nots” along racial lines, until racial equity is achieved. Genetic engineering to fix those genetic have nots — even of the IVF with genetic screening kind — is “Nazi stuff.” (My mutual is very bullish on these technologies.) Crime rate differences between races are because blacks are genetically predisposed to crime… and therefore it’s not their fault, and the solution is to punish blacks less often and less harshly for the same criminal acts as whites, until their fraction of the prison population matches their fraction of the general population. Yes, it means white people accepting continuing victimization by black criminals — at one point in HBDChick’s comments section, Jayman described the contemporary situation as a “one-sided race war” by blacks against JAWs… and then asserted that “a two-sided war is always worse” than a one-sided war.

Other writings of his in a similar vein point to a couple of analogies — mine, not his. First, the classic injunction that a man must never hit a woman… even if she’s hitting him, first. He can try to gently restrain her, but otherwise, he’s obligated to stand there and take it… because he’s stronger and she’s weaker. Even more extreme, but also more broadly accepted: if you’re an adult, and a small child throwing a tantrum is pounding on your leg with their tiny fists, you definitely aren’t allowed to “hit them back,” no matter what. You stand there and take it because you can take it, and hitting back would do far, far more damage. Cue classic “when white people riot” meme with pictures of the Third Reich. BIPOC, due to their ‘genetic disprivilege,’ can’t do as much damage as JAWs can, and JAWs can also collectively *absorb( more attacks thanks to their ‘genetic privilege.’ Thus, they have a duty to “stand there and take it” with regards to racialized wealth redistribution, racialized vaccine distribution, or random subway shovings, and just as any adult man who “hits back” against a woman or a child is a brute, any white person who won’t simply accept this sort of thing as the price of their superior genes is a racist Klansman Nazi who will be dealt with accordingly. The goal is, as with Kendi, to ensure statistically equal outcomes for racial groups as they currently exist, and anyone who opposes that is racist.

Now, plenty of people have called for changes to current civil rights law to address this definitional issue and change things “back” to fighting invidious discrimination rather than fighting disparate impact. But the proposals won’t work, because they tend to miss how we got here. I think it was Chris Rufo who, while holding up Nixon of all people as the example to follow, called for the creation of a new Federal task force to track down and punish “anti-white discrimination” in the institutions. Given the nature of how people are hired for Federal bureaucracies, the nature of our credential-issuing institutions, and such, just who will end up running said institution in the long run?

I also recall reading recently about a British think-tank created in the wake of the Rotherham scandal to specifically address Islamic radicalization and lack of assimilation. Why were they being brought up? Because their most recent action was to release a book list with a warning of ‘if someone you know is reading these books, they may be on the path of radicalization to becoming a white supremacist.’ The list included works by Orwell, CS Lewis, and a book on the Rotherham scandal. So this institution, despite its founding mission, has decided that the real problem they need to fight is ‘Islamophobic white supremacy’ amongst the native British population.

Personnel is policy. The same thing applies with attempts to “repeal and replace” civil rights law to “get back” (again, see Tim Wise) to the lay “racism=discrimination” definition and away from the academic “racism=disparate impact” definition. Laws are but words on a page unless they’re enforced. And no matter how much we might say “this time when we say ‘fighting discrimination’ we really mean fighting discrimination, including against white people, not “disparate impact,”’ so long as the people who interpret and enforce it are the same bunch as we have now — who all belong to the same academic consensus understanding as to what what “racism” is and what their mission to fight it means — you’re going to keep getting the same results as we do now. And there is no (peaceful, legal) mechanism to replace that personnel.

Now, why does this matter? The answer to that question seems to be ‘because we (for certain elite values of “we”) have come to recognize (i.e. have decided) that it is our biggest issue and highest moral priority as a society, in keeping with the fundamental value of Equality, and, perhaps more importantly, have enshrined this into our law. And why have our elites chosen to define “racism” this way? Well, first there’s all the cynical, power-seeking and power-maintaining reasons for doing so. But even that tends to give way under “generational loss of hypocrisy.” To quote @WhiningCoil:

I’m reminded of some joke about the difference between a cult and a religion. A cult is all made up by people. In a religion, all those people are dead. We’re coming up on generations that have only known demoralization propaganda, and who’s parents have only known demoralization propaganda. Whatever kayfabe social signaling hating cis white males, normal women, or wholesome white families used to mean, the people uncritically consuming it and signal boosting it now don’t understand it’s only supposed to be insincere virtue signaling. They’re ready to start pogroms now.

Thus, many of them probably actually believe it. Why? Well, because, as noted above, it’s what they and all their peers were taught (without “getting the joke” as it were), and it’s what their peer groups enforce as the moral consensus. But also because it fits with Haidt’s “moral foundations.” For people whose moral foundations are based primarily around the “fairness” axis, with the “care/harm” axis as the only other one in their worldview, appeals to “equity” will always have the strongest effect. (See also Moldbug’s “Puritan hypothesis.”)

One may or may not be familiar with the ultimatum game? (If not, I’d recommend take a moment to read about it.) Even though, in terms of one’s personal outcomes, it’s always rationally preferred to take a non-zero split no matter how unfair, most human beings are indeed willing to pay a price in lost opportunity to “punish” a (positive-sum) outcome they find too “unfair.” And, per Haidt, some people are far more sensitive to “unfairness” than others Some people would reject a $51/$49 split. Some might reject a $501/$499 split.

It’s why appeals to aggregate well-being — like in the fatness example, about how redistributing healthcare to equalize lifespans for fit-vs-fat (as opposed to treating the latter with Ozempic) will lead to a net loss of aggregate life-years — tend not to work. Because plenty of people care more about the relative distribution than the absolute aggregate. They see equitable destitution as morally preferable to fabulous prosperity even slightly unequally distributed. In their view, making people worse off in absolute terms is good if it also makes them more equal. This is a matter of terminal goals and moral axioms.

This also appeals to one of humanity’s worst tendencies: envy. Not just wanting what other people have (and you don’t have), but resenting those who have more than you. If your primary drive is that nobody ever have more than you do, then views centering “equity” like this allow you to portray your envy and resentment as moral virtue, which makes those views more attractive than alternatives that don’t.

I hope this helps clarify why the whole “HBD as counter to disparate impact” argument won’t really work. Even if you convince people “blacks have genetically lower average IQs,” or whatever, then you’ve only just explained why IQ tests are racist — because blacks deserve to be hired at proportional rates despite the lower average IQ. And so on. Under the currently-dominant framework of our society, it doesn’t matter how much biology contributes, if any, to current inequality, it is still our legal and moral duty to change “the system” in whatever ways necessary to produce equitable outcomes despite it. The established institutions of our society — government, academia, media, NGOs, etc. — are filled top-to-bottom with true believers who hold this as a terminal value, and it’s not going away until they all do (which is a problem, because there’s no voting them out).

The point of HBD is to get rid of the currently dominant framework in society. Normative equality with factual inequality is ridiculous. Most would agree that the idiot/drug-dealer/robber deserves worse outcomes than the Nobel prize winning family man.

The current system pretends that 'investing' in lower quality people will increase their quality. If we shuffle around welfare policies and make more investments, we'll eventually have everyone be really high quality and it will all be harmonious and great. Of course there are various ethnic resentments and greed that really motivate things but officially, that's what the explanation is. That's the source of legitimacy.

HBD explains why the investment doesn't work. It shows that you might make marginal changes on the edges but that fundamentally low-quality populations will remain low-quality. It shows that there's no end to this 'investment', that it's actually a tax on efficiency, meritocracy and society generally. Prosocial people might pay for an investment to improve all of society but few are going to throw money down the drain when it's guaranteed not to work and actually creates problems. The beginning of blankslatism was founded on scientific fraud for this very reason - they fiddled with the figures of skull measurements so it looked like their opponents were lying, evil racists. First you establish the facts, then you explain how your policy solves the problem, then you purge the old guard of nonbelievers, then you implement it.

HBD will show the danger in taxing the most capable while subsidizing the least capable. I know a bunch of really clever, productive people - zero children, one child, zero children, two children... Very few have more than three. Meanwhile you see single mothers on welfare with a brood of children, statistically of much lower quality. Consider how sex and reproduction are considered among society's elite. Sabatini was this genius researcher with one son who's been impoverished and excluded from his work because he dared have consensual sex with a woman. HBD would say we need lots of this, that the best should be reproducing the most.

Blankslatism is a huge drain on group efficiency, understanding HBD increases efficiency. Even if blankslatist ideology can't be voted out, it does go against the structure of the universe. Those groups that are less blankslatist will get a competitive advantage. If we don't vote it out, then the Chinese army will. If not them, then some other force.

Sabatini was this genius researcher with one son who's been impoverished and excluded from his work because he dared have consensual sex with a woman.

Reading the linked story, it's a little more complicated than that. And basically demonstrates that the Pence Rule is not a bad idea, and fucking co-workers/colleagues is.

What the articles tells me is that getting women into science is simply not worth the trouble; each time some broad opens her piehole, we lose a luminary.

Can you imagine if this nonsense had been around while Richard Feynman was still alive?

You haven’t had a warning since September, but it was for the exact same ranting about women as a class.

Painting with that broad of a brush is still against the rules.

As infamously expressed by Tim Hunt:

Tim Hunt, an English biochemist who admitted that he has a reputation for being a “chauvinist”, said to the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.”

Hunt said he was in favour of single-sex labs, adding that he didn’t want to “stand in the way of women”. The 72-year-old, who won the 2001 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, made the remarks when addressing a convention of senior female scientists and science journalists.

It doesn't strike me as a bad idea, but I don't actually want the Science to get any better. Best case scenario seems to me for diversity to cancel the AI apocalypse.

Is his action the problem or is it the rule that's bad?

People should be allowed to have sex if they're coworkers without one party retrospectively deciding it was abuse and canning a top researcher. What was the point of all this sexual liberation/free love if it's only for anonymous strangers to have casual sex?

I think the woman who complained made a mountain out of a molehill, but she was also plainly hoping to boost her career by association with him. He didn't do that, plus he then was giving signs he was going to dump her for the German squeeze, hence the revenge accusation.

If he didn't realise all the way that an affair with a work colleague could go south, then I'm sorry for him, but he walked into this trap. He probably, by the sound of it, isn't too smart when it comes to relationships; he took up with the accuser when he was in the middle of divorcing his wife (this wasn't an affair), he never noticed the red flags over her having a string of guys on the go at the same time, and he seems to have thought she'd be just fine with him having another side piece and probably replacing her with that one.

He may not have deserved what happened to him, but women and men do not want the same thing out of sex. If he imagined that she was approaching sex like a guy, like him, as "fun casual thing with no deeper intentions", well now he knows different. I genuinely think "don't shit where you eat" is a good rule, particularly when it comes to 'office romances' because an ordinary love affair is bad enough when it goes sour, but something like this is ten times worse, as we can now see.

Now, if the pair of them had ended up getting married or in a "durable relationship" out of this, then okay. But he was looking for something no-strings-attached, assumed she was the same, and ignored or was not aware of the signals she was giving out.

is it the rule that's bad?

Given that the rules Sabatini violated include not only the Whitehead Consensual Sexual and Romantic Relationships Policy but also Exodus 20:14, and "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" and "Don't shit where you eat" form part of the Copybook Headings of Gnon, I don't think "Sabatini did nothing wrong" is a defensible position. You can defend "Geniuses should not be held to the same rules as plebs", but that fell out of fashion for good reasons after it became clear how much damage sociopathic elites could do by abusing it.

What was the point of all this sexual liberation/free love if it's only for anonymous strangers to have casual sex?

There wasn't any. Free love isn't. The only dispute is about whether Blue Tribers should doublethink this in order to avoid giving aid and comfort to the hated Red Tribe by straight up admitting it.

@aqouta - apologies for the ping, but we were discussing HBD recently. What's your assessment of the argument he's making here?

No worries about a ping, it's good to have another context to continue from.

I think @RandomRanger drawing some conclusions from HBD that make sense if you add some other values like that society's purpose is to do something like maximize capabilities that I don't really hold, or at least don't strongly hold. You'll see they don't even mention race, this is just the Idiocracy argument.

It does seem like our heavy investments in educational interventions could at least be better spent even going to improve the lives to those they're trying to uplift if we were a little more realistic and separated out the most gifted students with impoverished backgrounds for tracks and gave the less talents of all races something like a comfortable life. It doesn't strike me as particularly compassionate to spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to teach less gifted students subjects that they aren't capable of. In fact that seems quite humiliating, it makes the failing more personal if we assume that they're capable but some personal failing is causing them to fall short. Those resources could go towards making sure they have adequate housing and that their neighborhoods are safe. There is no reason our less gifted can't lead dignified lives. I suspect that because of HBD those living dignified but not demanding lives will differ in racial proportions to those living impactful lives. I think it will probably have different proportions of red heads and heights as well for much the same reason.

As for @Capital_Room's longer post, I find it pretty unconvincing. Yes, I know that those people are obsessed with disparate outcomes. No, I don't think that this is reasonable justification for racial discrimination. It's just the argument for Harrison Bergeron given without candor.

It doesn't strike me as particularly compassionate to spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to teach less gifted students subjects that they aren't capable of.

Have you read Chris Arnade's Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America? It's a pretty good book, and this is one of its key points. (There's also some bits about getting help or services — particularly the passage about waiting rooms — that really resonated with my personal experiences.)

Yes, I know that those people are obsessed with disparate outcomes. No, I don't think that this is reasonable justification for racial discrimination.

Except, of course, they don't need to convince you it's reasonable, they just have to have convinced EEOC bureaucrats, judges, DEI departments, and so on, and they'll force it on everybody whether you agree or not.

It's just the argument for Harrison Bergeron given without candor.

Speaking of which, I remember when we studied that in school, and the teacher argued that the titular character is actually the villain of the story, and that Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers is meant to be the hero.

Except, of course, they don't need to convince you it's reasonable, they just have to have convinced EEOC bureaucrats, judges, DEI departments, and so on, and they'll force it on everybody whether you agree or not.

This is all technicality. We still live in a democracy, these people serve at our collective pleasure. All sorts of things have been the law carried out as written, been unjust and overthrown. Step one is to defeat the idea in the public arena, the rest follows.

We still live in a democracy, these people serve at our collective pleasure.

And I disagree with both of these. Our "democracy" is a sham, and "these people" are fully insulated from the electoral process.

Then this conversation is pointless.

By "this conversation," do you mean you and I talking, or do you mean the entire discussion as to what motivates the "equity set"?

More comments

Don't apologize for ping - we are amongst friends - if anything let's ping more

Which makes OP's vaguing @mitigatedchaos even more infuriating.

Personally, I think it's interesting to see how other people respond. He responds to my Tumblr posts in this manner quite regularly.

Trust me, I know, I'm the one who needled you into replying to his posts one time. I'm 99% on his side, I simply find those indirect references to you rude.

HBD explains why the investment doesn't work. It shows that you might make marginal changes on the edges but that fundamentally low-quality populations will remain low-quality.

Except that you're ignoring the likes of Jayman. He's quite cleat that it's not an "investment," it's compensation for the "low quality."

It shows that there's no end to this 'investment', that it's actually a tax on efficiency, meritocracy and society generally.

Again, he's quite open about this, that his proposals mean redistribution from genetic "haves" to "have-nots," and that it it will indeed never end. That is a perpetual moral obligation of JAWs to pay that "tax on efficiency, meritocracy and society generally" forever.

Prosocial people might pay for an investment to improve all of society but few are going to throw money down the drain when it's guaranteed not to work and actually creates problems.

The argument is that, again, you will be forced, by legal and cultural pressure, to "throw money down the drain", because if you don't, you will be deemed a racist bigot and cast into the Outer Darkness. Punish dissent severely enough long enough, and you'll get people to cave.

Edit: Let me add the classic "equality vs. equity" cartoon, this version courtesy of the United Way. This is why your "blankslatism" vs. "understanding HBD" is irrelevant, because in the "equity" framework, the sources of the inequity don't matter. Even if the supposed "blankslatists" came to believe HBD instead, those biological differences become just one more thing to build and distribute metaphorical "boxes and ramps" to compensate for it. If genetics has left groups unequal, then society must make them equal. The problem isn't "blankslatism," it's equity.

Well, it's a good thing for the blankslatists that Jayman isn't in charge of their PR! Jayman is the exception, the general rule is that HBD people want to end the current system. I bet if you took the HBD community and asked them to choose between his 'infinite redistribution and one sided race war' or my 'end the tax', I'd enjoy an overwhelming majority of support. The only hbd people I know of who say this are Jayman (black) and Razib Khan (brown of some description).

Punishing dissent can paper over the cracks but Boeing needs to produce planes that don't fall apart. TSMC's ever-delayed plants in America need capable staff. Doing things correctly isn't a luxury, it's the grinding stone of competition. An equilibrium of eternal net-negative redistribution cannot hold. Either it gets voted out or it gets bombed into oblivion.

TSMC's ever-delayed plants in America need capable staff.

A relevant piece I read recently in The Hill: "DEI killed the CHIPS Act"

The Biden administration recently promised it will finally loosen the purse strings on $39 billion of CHIPS Act grants to encourage semiconductor fabrication in the U.S. But less than a week later, Intel announced that it’s putting the brakes on its Columbus factory. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has pushed back production at its second Arizona foundry. The remaining major chipmaker, Samsung, just delayed its first Texas fab.

This is not the way companies typically respond to multi-billion-dollar subsidies. So what explains chipmakers’ apparent ingratitude? In large part, frustration with DEI requirements embedded in the CHIPS Act.

Commentators have noted that CHIPS and Science Act money has been sluggish. What they haven’t noticed is that it’s because the CHIPS Act is so loaded with DEI pork that it can’t move.

There’s even plenty for the planet: Arizona Democrats just bragged they’ve won $15 million in CHIPS funding for an ASU project fighting climate change.

That project is going better for Arizona than the actual chips part of the CHIPS Act. Because equity is so critical, the makers of humanity’s most complex technology must rely on local labor and apprentices from all those underrepresented groups, as TSMC discovered to its dismay.

In short, the world’s best chipmakers are tired of being pawns in the CHIPS Act’s political games. They’ve quietly given up on America. Intel must know the coming grants are election-year stunts — mere statements of intent that will not be followed up. Even after due diligence and final agreements, the funds will only be released in dribs and drabs as recipients prove they’re jumping through the appropriate hoops.

For instance, chipmakers have to make sure they hire plenty of female construction workers, even though less than 10 percent of U.S. construction workers are women. They also have to ensure childcare for the female construction workers and engineers who don’t exist yet. They have to remove degree requirements and set “diverse hiring slate policies,” which sounds like code for quotas. They must create plans to do all this with “close and ongoing coordination with on-the-ground stakeholders.”

No wonder Intel politely postponed its Columbus fab and started planning one in Ireland. Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was launching a CHIPS-funded training program for historically black colleges.

So, no, the people in charge are indeed willing to prioritize "equity" over having microchips.

the grinding stone of competition

There's a lot of ruin in a nation. The "fall of Rome" was a centuries-long decline only visible in hindsight; from within, it just seemed like a series of individual, unrelated crises. The Global American Empire is still the sole hegemon of our "unipolar" world order, and can remain on top for quite some time despite ongoing encrudification. If it can take down any major potential competitors while that still holds — ensure China "grows old before it grows rich" and collapses from its terrible demographics, grind down Russia until it breaks apart, et cetera — and uses its remaining power to spread the ideology to as much of humanity as possible, then there won't really be anyone really left outside the GAE to "bomb it into oblivion" even as it decays.

The article skirts around it, but almost all the actual DEI stuff is just filing “plans” and some more paperwork for bullshit job HR employees at corporate. Even the union training stuff was only implicitly critical. The main reason, which the article ignores, is surely just that a strong dollar and extremely high US salaries mean that moving the factories to Germany and Japan makes them much more economically viable.

I can scarcely put into words my profound disappointment and heartbreak learning that the CHIPs act was killed by DEI bullshit.

I've been banging on for years now about the risk of Taiwan being invaded, or blockaded and smothered, by China. That the risk of TSMC being nationalized by China is so existential that it should be our number one priority. That we cannot possibly prevent China from eventually "unifying" with Taiwan, and the only possible solution is to do whatever it takes to have, preferably domestic, alternatives. I've thrown oodles of money into Intel due to this thesis, and plan on throwing oodles more. I might be talking out my ass, but I've put my money where my mouth is.

I honestly believed our government was taking this shit seriously with the CHIPs act. It was practically the singular glimmer of hope I had that the current administration wasn't content to just let people suffer and die en masse if it at least meant they weren't acting racist. I should have fucking known better. I really fucking should have.

God damnit.

Intel's been truly cucked by NVIDIA on the gains front. It's down over the last 5 years. Then again, my Lockheed Martin shares aren't doing so great either. I assumed the US would start making big munitions orders as the world heated up, they were my war hedge. But no...

God damn it, indeed.

Even if I take your phrasing with a shaker of salt, I’m still disappointed in the politics being played.

From Wikipedia:

TSMC planned to send experienced Taiwanese technicians to train local workers, which local unions characterized as "a lack of respect for American workers". The Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council subsequently asked Congress to block visas for 500 Taiwanese workers.

The whole wiki section on criticisms, of course, spends more time quoting the one commentator who didn’t think CHIPS favored unions enough.

It borders on parody. What can a man even do about this?

I can scarcely put into words my profound disappointment and heartbreak learning that the CHIPs act was killed by DEI bullshit.

@DaseindustriesLtd disproven again, there are no traces of any secret cabal keeping things under control. "Von Neumanns" are not in politics (and if they are, they are busy maneuvering to climb as high as possible and divert as much money and resources for themselves as possible).

As said Dominic Mckenzie Cummings, someone with extensive experience in government:

You might think somewhere there must be a quiet calm centre like in a James Bond movie where you open the door and that is where the ninjas are who actually know what they are doing.

There are no ninjas. There is no door.

No God, no Caesar, no hero is going to save us, we are on our own.

Oh come on, this is more American whining. Muh deaths of overdoses, muh Russian election meddling, little old us assaulted on all fronts, won't somebody please spare a thought for the poor hegemon.

The CHIPS act has been about pork and the usual fighting over the spoils from the beginning, its success or failure is of no consequence. China was summarily cut off from modern semiconductor manufacturing and falls behind, new fabs in safe allied countries are being completed, Taiwan is getting reinforced, and AGI seems to be on schedule within 5 years. Yes, could have been done better. But it has gone well enough that advancing petty political agendas took precedence. If there ever is any plausible risk of the US losing control over the global high-end manufacturing chain, I am sure you'll see it going differently.

The problem with Cummings was that he was the archetypal example of the stupid and ill-informed public school to Oxbridge humanities pipeline graduate who runs the British civil service, he just thought he could do a better job than his contemporaries after he failed to make money in 1990s Russia (itself a damning indictment given he was a moderately well-connected Englishman while the state was being comprehensively pillaged by many of his peers). Most of his ideas were the kind of ill-informed contrarianism that belongs at the Oxford Union, except that Cummings was so linked by his class hatred of men from better families who went to better or more reputable schools that he decided he would tear everything down to be replaced by his version of the same system that ruined everything.

His veneration is ridiculous. All of his good ideas were because he occasionally read a couple of good pieces in the SSC/rat/LWverse and possibly read some Moldbug (although clearly, clearly not enough). Cummings failed to understand that the problem was not that the people in charge were uniquely incompetent but that their incentives were mismatched with the improvement of the nation, and that he would have acted exactly the same if he had been in power (and indeed largely did when he was, as evidenced by his chaotic flipping on COVID and his ultra-pro-lockdown position contra Boris’ libertarianism, which was worse for the country than the decisions of the vast majority of Whitehall civil servants he so decried.