Monday, January 29, 2018

Pareto Distribution

The past three posts [here, here, and here] were all a declaration that feminism doesn’t speak for me. That was prompted by a video of an interview with Jordan Peterson. I hadn’t been aware of him before, but I was certainly not the only one whose attention was caught by that interview. There were entire collections of responses to it on YouTube, and a series of memes featuring the flummoxed interviewer.

When you watch something on YouTube, a whole list of suggested videos appears based on what you were watching. I was thinking it was time for an economic post. It turns out Jordan Peterson can help there too. I came across one where he talks about income inequality, on the Joe Rogan podcast, from October 2017. (You can watch the whole 25-minute interview below.)

In this discussion, Jordan Peterson presents the problem, or the phenomenon of inequality. He refers to the Pareto distribution, which I had to look up. The Pareto principle is also called the 80/20 rule, which is, in essence, that 80% of outputs come from 20% of causes. And, further, 20% of producers bring about 80% of production in any particular class of production.
Image from Wikipedia, which explains
"The Pareto Principle claims that
only a 'vital few' peapods
produce the majority of peas."

Jordan Peterson explains it this way:

If you look at any creative endeavor that human beings engage in—so that would be an endeavor where there’s variability in individual production. It doesn’t matter what it is. Here’s what happens. People compete to produce whatever that is, and almost everybody produces zero. They lose completely. A small minority are a tiny bit successful. And a hyper-minority are insanely successful. And so, the Pareto distribution is the geometric graph representation of that phenomenon. And so, here’s how it manifests itself.
If you have 10,000 people, 100 of them have half the money. So the rule is, the square root of the number of people under consideration have half of whatever it is that’s under consideration. So, this works everywhere. So, if you took 100 classical composers, 10 of them produce half the music that’s played. And then, if you take the 10 composers, and you take 1000 of their songs, 30 of those songs, which is the square root of 1000, roughly speaking, are played 50% of the time.
So, when people work to produce something—anything: a product, wealth, music—the outcome will be unequal. Quite dramatically unequal. In a distribution we can estimate with a mathematical formula of

√X = ½ Y 

where X is the total number of something, and Y is the recipient of the reward or whatever you’re counting.

There’s a field of study that measures this kind of thing—econophysics. Econophysicists, Peterson tells us, “use the same mathematical equations that represent the propagation of molecules—gas molecules into a vacuum, to describe the manner in which money distributes itself in an economy.” Cool. I didn’t know that.

He also refers to the Matthew effect. This references the parable of the talents. To one man is given five talents (a sizable amount of money); he doubles that for the master and is rewarded. To another is given two talents, which he doubles for the master, and he is also rewarded. To a third man is given a single talent. He does nothing with it and returns only that single talent to the master at the day of reckoning. He made no use of what he was given, so he has that talent taken from him and no reward.
The verse referred to as the Matthew effect is 25:29:

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
In a parable, things are metaphorical. It is about using what you have—not about producing five more or two more of something. But sociologists describe this effect as “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

As we also know from scripture, “For ye have the poor with you always” (Mark 14:7), there will always be work you can do to help them.

The question being discussed in the podcast is a combination of “Why are the poor always with us?” and “Is there something that can or should be done about it?”

The whole discussion shows just how interrelated economic and social issues are. Given the Pareto effect, as long as people do different things, think up different things, and find solutions to various problems, they will acquire differing rewards for their efforts. Some will create wealth more successfully than others.

As Peterson explains, “The problem is, if you let a monetary system run, all the money ends up in the hands of a few—a very small number of people.” That is only a problem when things are wildly unequal—more than that, wildly unequal and with some having essentially zero—subsistence with no way out. Add to that a sense of oppression or systemic unfairness, and bad things happen.
People with no way out get desperate, which leads to high crime, or revolt. That’s what you see in Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. I wrote about this result of disparity in 2015:

In Pearl Buck’s novel The Good Earth, there’s a point where the poor are starving and growing daily more desperate, squatting along the walls of the wealthy, until things get so heated, the poor rise up and raid the property of the wealthy, looting and killing. That was a book of fiction, but the Durants’ book [The Lessons of History] describes that as a typical cycle.
It might look like the problem is too much wealth at the top, but it’s really about too little at the bottom. When people are starving and suffering while the wealthy ignore their needs, that is an injustice that won’t stand indefinitely.
As Peterson put it, “If you don’t have any money, it’s really hard to get some. Once you have some, it’s not so hard to get some more.” And that's the underlying problem of inequality--not too much in some places, but too little in some places.

As Peterson points out, “what Marx observed was that capital tended to accumulate in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and he said that’s a flaw of the capitalist system. That’s wrong. It’s not a flaw of the capitalist system; it is a feature of every single system of production that we know of, no matter who set it up and how it operates.” 

But it becomes more troublesome when someone—usually a Marxist—reframes the situation as rich = evil and poor = good. It is not the fault of successful people that they tend to accumulate the good stuff. It is also true that being poor is not simply a matter of failing to work hard enough. Getting the ones at that near zero situation unstuck is necessary, not only for those stuck there to improve their lot, but also for the successful to not lose what they have from a revolt.

I don’t think the discussion got all the way to a solution, but Peterson frames it right:

You need innovation. You pay for innovation with inequality. But you need to bind inequality, because if it’s too intense, then things destabilize. OK, we can agree on that. We’ve got the parameters set. Now we have to start thinking very carefully through how to do the redistribution issue, and we don’t know how to do that.
I understand what he’s saying, but I wouldn’t use the term “bind inequality.” That sounds like something that needs to be imposed from some greater power—although I don’t think he intended that. He’s literally talking about the “redistribution issue,” but I wouldn’t use that term either, although technically that is the issue. Redistribution, again, sounds like something imposed.

What we really want—and he suggests, although I’m not sure how we get there—is “equality of opportunity. Because people are actually not as resentful about the success of others as you might expect; they’re resentful about it if they feel that the game is fixed.” He adds, “It has to be a straight game. And that’s why ethics is so important to keep this landscape stable. People can’t play crooked games.”

So a discussion of civilization has to come into it. People have to be honest in order for it to work for everybody.

Also, people have to care about those stuck at zero, where high IQ and conscientiousness—the best predictors of success—are just not enough to get going. In a civilized society, people care about one another. They give freely to help those who are temporarily downtrodden, or those who are not capable of helping themselves, or who just need a break.

We can only have that to give, if we’ve had enough success to build up surplus beyond our needs. And we only get surplus—or wealth—by creating more than subsistence and having a way to store the surplus. The most effective way ever invented—the natural way—is trade in a free market economy.

The answer comes down to free market—free of crony capitalism and con games—plus philanthropy. We’ve talked about that before [here, here, and here]. The addition today is, there will always be natural inequality, but even the wealthy benefit economically by being honest and giving freely. So, you need a civilized people to get and keep a healthy, prosperous economy.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Feminism Turns Women into Bad Men

The last couple of posts (here and here) have been about women’s issues. I think I’ll make this a third in the series.

Feminism is an ideology at odds with the feminine. Feminism, in a misguided scree, declares that women can be men as well or better than men can be men.

There are many ways in which men and women are equal. Intelligence, according to IQ data, is essentially equal. Individuals differ. And interests differ. Women who enjoy math, engineering, and other left-brain-labeled fields do as well (sometimes better) in those fields as men who enjoy those things. And men who enjoy arts, humanities, social sciences, and other right-brain-labeled fields do as well (sometimes better) in those fields as women do. Nevertheless, a larger number of women gravitate toward the “right-brain” side, and a larger number of men gravitate toward the “left-brain” side.

But it’s a rare woman who makes a better physical laborer than a man. If you can’t carry a fire victim over your shoulder to rescue them, maybe firefighter isn’t the best career choice for you. Same for construction fields, heavy equipment operations, oil rig worker, or a lot of other physically tough jobs.

Some women flourish in STEM fields.
image from here
If you’re 5’4” and 120 lbs., you probably can’t lift a 100-lb. sack of grain as easily as a 6’ tall 190 lb. man. Fact of nature, like gravity, not worth fighting.

Should qualifying women be prevented? No. And in my lifetime (I’m upper 50s) they haven’t been. And during my lifetime, when they do equal work, they get equal pay.

Women are not lesser women, or less feminine, for pursuing something different from most women, nor are men lesser men, or less masculine, for pursuing something different from most men.

But women who pursue something to prove that women can do it too are not doing it to help women; they are doing it with the attitude that women’s choices are less valuable. This is what feminism does; it shames the feminine.

Women are biologically made to bear children, and most women naturally bond with those children and care deeply about their welfare, sacrificing time, energy, and resources for the good of her children.

But, consider the feminist attitude toward women who choose to stay home to raise their children—they’ve sold out their sisters. Consider the derisive feminist sneers against women who choose to have a large family.

Feminism has resulted in a cultural shift, from women who expected to spend some years, or adjust a career around, raising young children—to women expecting to work, and possibly limiting the number of children, and time for them, in favor of the career. The result is that economic adjustments practically require women to work in order to maintain the socioeconomic level of the previous generation. There are more amenities at that socioeconomic level than before—bigger homes, multiple cars, smart phones, multiple television, etc. Still, the expectation for women to work, even while children are young, adds considerable pressure to women’s lives.

The result is less choice and more pressure on women to do both what they feel the urge to do and what they feel the necessity to do—or to do just way too much, almost all of which is pressure more than pleasure.

As Jordan Peterson said in the interview we reviewed the other day, if you require equality of outcome—such as certain quotas of women in every field, or at every level—then you do that by taking away the choices women would make if left to choose for themselves. In other words, to get the outcomes feminism claims are for the good of society, that requires tyranny—more against women than men, although they’re plenty willing to tyrannize men as well.

There’s another cultural shift resulting from feminism that is not helping women. It is a biological fact that pregnancy results from heterosexual sex. Not every encounter, not every time. But pregnancy doesn’t come any other way (including in vitro fertilization, which puts together the sperm and egg, just not during a sexual encounter). And it’s always the woman who gets pregnant, never the man. That’s not a social construct; that’s not an invention of society. That is biological fact.

What is social is the support and partnering a husband provides to a wife when she is bearing his child. In a civilized world, sex outside of marriage is always wrong—because it puts the pregnant mother and her child at risk, both economically and physically. But in an uncivilized, savage world, men engage in casual sex, sometimes leaving a woman pregnant, and then failing to provide for her and the child, leaving them economically and physically vulnerable.

The man in this uncivilized situation could get away with casual sex without apparent consequence, leaving individuals and society as a whole to pay the price. The appropriate response would be for women individually and society as a whole to hold men accountable. Do not allow or participate in casual sex. Hold men socially and economically responsible when they act in this savage way.

Feminism looked at this savagery and said, “That’s not fair. We need to be allowed to have casual sex without consequence too.” Put another way: God is wrong to burden women with a baby. What can we do to overrule God? Birth control, to prevent consequences—or abortion, if the consequences start to show up.

Women are still biologically going to face pregnancy following sex. Encouraging women to engage in frequent, casual, promiscuous sex—because a man can—means there will be more frequent vulnerable situations for women and children. Meanwhile irresponsible men get more casual sex that they are not held accountable for.

Expectations change, so it is actually harder for a woman to enforce the expectation on a man that sex with her must only follow commitment. By giving in to feminist pressure to pretend to be a man—and not a good man, but an irresponsible man—she loses the expectation of respect for her body and soul that she had before feminism stepped in to “help.”

4D ultrasound at 12 weeks
image from here

And how does abortion help a woman? She is pressured to kill her child in order to maintain the fa├žade that casual sex is what she does willingly, since she’s just as much of a man as any irresponsible male. She denies biology. And she denies the naturally feminine part of herself. And, if you believe in good and evil, right and wrong, she sacrifices her soul to kill her child, gaining nothing but fake masculinity in exchange.

Sex only after marriage has always worked better for families than sex outside of marriage. But there used to be serious social pressure on a man to step up and do his duty by marrying a woman he caused to be pregnant. Now the pressure is on the woman to do away with the child so it doesn’t look like she was entrapping a man into responsibilities he didn’t want.

There’s a piece from National Review that I came upon week (from 2016) on the damage legalizing—and mainstreaming—abortion has done. Here’s an image to grasp the numbers: 

In the 43 years since Roe v. Wade, there have been 59 million abortions. It’s hard even to grasp a number that big. Twenty years ago, someone told me that, if the names of all those lost babies were inscribed on a wall, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the wall would have to stretch for 50 miles. It’s 20 years later now, and that wall would have to stretch twice as far. But no names could be written on it; those babies had no names.
Author of the piece, Frederica Mathewes-Green, says this about the pressure to abort:

We had somehow bought the idea that abortion was necessary if women were going to rise in their professions and compete in the marketplace with men. But how had we come to agree that we will sacrifice our children, as the price of getting ahead? When does a man ever have to choose between his career and the life of his child?
We can use a rule of thumb, to tell whether something is anti-woman—or anti-feminine: If you have to deny who you really are and portray yourself as more man-like, that’s anti-woman.

If you’re a competitive person, go ahead and compete. But don’t force yourself to be hyper-competitive because some feminist says you ought to for the sake of women everywhere.

If you’re a high-energy force to be reckoned with (as a lot of women are), go ahead and be that. But if you’re gentle and nurturing, don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not just because some feminist says you ought to for the sake of women everywhere.

If you like STEM studies better than soft sciences or humanities, pursue those interests. But don’t force yourself to become an engineer because some feminist says you ought to for the sake of women everywhere.

If you love children—especially your own—and you’d rather give them a well-run family with a nurturing mother than push yourself to work overtime and get the next promotion, do what’s right for you and your family, rather than what some feminist says you ought to do for the sake of women everywhere.

If you want to have a committed, permanent relationship with a man who will support you and your children, growing with you to become a strong, loving family together (which offers a greater sense of joy than any career position), don’t give that up in favor of casual, irresponsible sex—the results of which you may end up feeling pressured to get rid of with an abortion—just because some feminist says you need to prove women can be like irresponsible men. That’s not doing anything good for the sake of women everywhere.

If you’re a woman, be yourself, and be a good woman. That is the best thing you can do for women everywhere.

If you’re a man, be yourself, and be a good man. That is the best thing you can do for both men and women everywhere.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Long Bending Arc

Remember that quote Martin Luther King used: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” We may be watching that arc.

This past week marked 45 years since the badly botched Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. And there was another March for Life on Friday at the nation’s capital.

President Trump spoke at the rally. I remember when he casually leaned toward pro-abortion, back when he was a Democrat and not a politician, so even less inclined than today to think through issues. So it’s a little surprising to hear pro-life language from him now, but I’ll take it. Repentance is a good thing.
Pres. Trump speaks at March for Life 2018
Image from here

The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation and you love every child—born and unborn—because you believe every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God.
He added, "Americans are more and more pro-life, you see that all the time,” which I’ll talk about more today. He also said,

Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.
Well done.

So about that bend in the right direction. I think he’s right. Science is with the right to life; the more we know about the baby in the womb, the more we verify each one is a human baby, growing, with a heartbeat, feeling pain, and experiencing other senses. That is so clearly not simply a clump of cells, like a tumor. Truth leads in the direction of life.

I came across a story at The Daily Signal, verifying that young, teenage pro-life activists are pretty formidable. Three reasons: 1) They’re surprisingly upbeat and joyful—not angry. 2) They’ve already “learned to deal with incessant opposition.” Because “Pro-life people of any demographic live in a world where everyone from their boss to their favorite Hollywood star blatantly abhors them and their beliefs.” And 3) Opposition makes them stronger. “Those displays of mean-spirited opposition only knit them closer together, harden their conviction that they are fighting against true evil, and give them a sense of heroism. (A little secret: Teenagers love to feel like heroes.)”

Another story, from last week, was good news out of Tennessee. Back in 2014, Tennessee voters, a 53% to 47% majority, added this amendment to their state constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” It has been making its way through court challenges—since Planned Parenthood filed a challenge just days after the vote. The vote was upheld April 2016 in a Circuit Court, and went from there to federal appeals court. Then, on January 9, 2018, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Planned Parenthood’s efforts to overturn the will of Tennessee voters.
Image from here

Senior Judge David McKeague (appointed in 2005 by George W. Bush) wrote,

Although the subject of abortion rights will continue to be controversial in Tennessee and across our nation, it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people’s 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest.
I don’t know the full ramifications of the amendment, but it does mean one state has successfully defied the SCOTUS decision claiming the right to kill a baby in the womb is a fundamental right. Hurray!

Now, back to the evidence that public will is changing.

Michael Knowles, in today’s podcast, which he titled “Lying, Shrieking Harpies: Women’s March 2018,” discussed the second annual Women’s March, in various cities this weekend. I wrote about this confusing event last year. It’s those people with knitted vagina caps on their heads again. Knowles had gone to the official website,, to get their purpose—because women actually at the march were pretty unclear on what they were doing there: you know, women’s rights, and equality, and, and, you know, stuff.

marchers on a New York subway,
wearing those things on their heads,
image from here
So, I’ve transcribed the whole 5-minute segment (I think it’s about 17 minutes into the full podcast—he pulled out this segment on Facebook), which I’ve divided up by issue. The section on Reproductive Rights is what ties in directly with our topic today. But I’ve included the rest for your interest. The part on Equal Pay ties in with last Thursday’s topic. Anyway, here’s Michael Knowles sharing’s stated mission, and then comparing it to real life facts:

Here is the mission statement from Women’s “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women in their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists and organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.”
What? What? What does any of that mean? They get a bit more specific later on, but this shows you just how out of touch they are.
The first principle that they list is ending violence. They write: “Women deserve to live full and healthy lives free of all forms of violence against our bodies.” Just to correct the record here, women live significantly longer than men on average. By the end of the 20th Century, male life expectancy was 73.4 years, compared to 80.1 years for women.
Unlike men, when women register to vote, they don’t simultaneously have to register for the military draft. Men are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than women. 76.8% of murder victims are male. Boys and men are more likely than women to be victims of assault, and robbery as well. Additionally, according to the Gallup World Poll, women report being happier with their lives than their male counterparts.
Women’ goes on to the euphemistically titled “reproductive rights.” They say, “We believe in reproductive freedom. We do not accept any federal, state, or local rollback cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive health care services—birth control, HIV/AIDS prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” So it’s just about abortion. They put all that other stuff there, but it’s really about abortion.
And yet, according to a 2016 Marist poll, despite constant Democrat euphemisms, renaming abortion as “women’s issues” or “reproductive health,” nationally the vast majority of women—77%—support restricting abortion to at most the first trimester. Far fewer, just 71% of men, support restrictions on abortion. The women are clearer. The majority of women—59%—say abortion is morally wrong. 52% of women believe that abortion should at most—at MOST—be permitted in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. But, nevertheless, according to the Women’s March, women want abortion on demand, anytime, anyplace, and it just isn’t backed up by reality.
On workers’ rights, Women’ declares, “We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security, and equity. All women should be paid equitably.” And you hear this constantly, this popular disinformation that there’s a gender pay gap: women make 77 cents on the dollar; no equal pay for equal work. But that gender pay gap disappears once you control for factors like education, time in the industry, and hours worked.
Actually, single childless women in metropolitan areas—they don’t earn less than their male counterparts; they earn more than their male counterparts by 8% on average. Nationally, women also graduate from college at significantly higher rates than men. In 2015 39% of women 25-29 had earned a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 32% of men.
On Civil Rights, Women’ explains, “We believe civil rights are our birthright, including voting rights.” This is odd to pick a fight on voting rights, as, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, since 1980 women have voted at higher rates in every single presidential election than men. So, by 2016, that gap widened to 63.3% of women voting compared to just 59.3% of men. Additionally, the number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in every presidential election since 1964. Despite constituting a majority of the US population—50.2% to 49.8%—women also benefit from affirmative action policies on campus and in the workplace, that give them a competitive advantage over men.
There’s a section on disability rights. Women’ proclaims, “We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and deaf women.” I guess that one’s right. Deaf women are still women. I don’t know what the point of that is, but sure. That’s the one thing that the Women’s March got right: deaf women are women.
On immigrant rights, Women’ insists, “Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right, and that no human being is illegal.”
So, putting aside for a moment the illogic of a national policy to do away with national borders, even on the numbers the Women’s March doesn’t seem to represent women. Even among illegal aliens brought to the United States as children and teenagers—even the Dreamers, the most sympathetic and relentlessly demagogued group of illegal aliens—a November survey from Morning Consult and Politico shows that fewer than 30% of Americans support amnesty. Even among Democrats, support for granting amnesty to the most sympathetic group of illegal aliens is just 44%.
Finally, last segment, on environmental justice, Women’ observes, “We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands.” Lucky for them, federal law has protected all of those things, to say nothing of state and local management, for at least the past five decades.
The Women’s March is the most frivolous protest in the history of the world.
Usually, people whose heads are filled with vapidity masquerading as thought either figure it out and change, or they get found out and ignored.

Anyway, there was one march last weekend that affirmed women and life, and the connection between sexuality and women and new life. There was a lot of love there, which clearly relates to and supports women.

I really think that long arc will keep bending toward justice, because love is more persuasive than hate, and truth is more persuasive than demagoguery. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Feminism Does Women Wrong

There’s a lot of harm that feminism has done to men and women. I’m not saying there should be subservience, or underpaying, or arbitrary limitations. But feminism hasn’t really focused on equal opportunities and choices for women; feminism has been about insisting there is not difference between men and women, and then pressuring women to hide their femininity and behave as if they are men.

That is not freeing; that is limiting. And it is anti-woman.

There was a conversation I heard this week, an interview on British television, I believe, with Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules ofLife: An Antidote to Chaos. I wasn’t familiar with him, and haven’t read the book. But the conversation was enlightening. The Channel 4 woman interviewing him (her name is not mentioned, and I don’t recognize her) was aggressive, pushy, a lot of negative things—but there was, indeed, a conversation.

I'm including the video here. It's about 29 minutes long, so I'll only quote a few parts afterward.

Much of it consisted of her saying, “So, you’re saying…” and him returning, “No, I’m not saying that at all.” I tried to count. I think there are at least a dozen of those instances. Once he adds, “And I’m very very very careful about the words I use.” And another time he said, “It’s because you’re not listening,” to which she talked over him to insist she was listening carefully.

I found him to be very clear. But her misunderstandings come from an assumption that anyone who doesn’t see things the way she does must be asserting something unacceptably negative. So her purpose was mainly to catch him saying those negative things. It didn’t work. But it did demonstrate the difficulty in actually having these conversations.

There are several points he makes about the statistical differences between men and women and the choices they make. She always tried to imply that mentioning those facts was inherently sexist, and she would add on some negative assumptions. And then he would correct her.

For example, at around 6 minutes in, she brings up the 9% pay gap in the UK:

She: But I want to put to you that, here in the UK, for example—let’s take that as an example—the gender pay gap stands at just over 9%. You've got women at the BBC recently saying that the Pollcaster [?] is illegally paying them less than men to do the same job. You’ve got only seven women running the top FTSE 100 companies. So it seems to a lot of women that they’re still being dominated and excluded, to quote your words back to you.
JP: It does seem that way, but multivariate analysis of the pay gap indicate that it doesn't exist.
She: But that’s just not true, is it?
JP: It’s absolutely true.
She: 9% pay gap. That’s a gap between median hourly earnings between men and women.
JP: Yeah, but there’s multiple reasons for that. One of them is gender, but it’s not the only reason. If you’re a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a univaried analysis. Like, you say, well, women in aggregate are paid less than men. OK. Well, then we break it down by age; we break it down by occupation; we break it down by interests; we break it down by personality.
She: But you're saying basically it doesn't matter if women are getting to the top, because that's what skewing that gender pay gap, isn't it? You’re saying, well, that's just a fact…, but it doesn’t matter, because you’re never going to get to the top.
JP: No, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter either. I’m saying there are multiple reasons for it.

Later the discussion turns to the difference between equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcomes. I don’t know whether she ever grasped the difference. But I appreciated his part:

She: Is gender equality a myth?
JP: I don’t know what you mean by the question. Men and women aren’t the same, and they won’t be the same. That doesn't mean they can’t be treated fairly.
She: Is gender equality desirable?
JP: If it means equality of outcome, then almost certainly its undesirable. That's already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Because, in Scandinavia,
She: What do you mean by that? Equality of outcome is undesirable?
JP: Well, men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories, if you leave them alone to do it on their own accord.  We’ve already seen that in Scandinavia. 20 to 1 female nurses to male, something like that—it might not be quite that extreme—and approximately the same male engineers to female engineers. And that’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences. You can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure and tyranny. But if you leave men and women to make their own choices, you will not get equal outcomes.
She: Right. So, you’re saying that anyone who believes in equality—whether you call them feminists, call them whatever you want to call them—should basically give up, because it ain’t gonna happen?
JP: Only if they’re aiming at equality of outcome.
She: So, you’re saying, give people equality of opportunity; that's fine?
JP: Not only fine; it's eminently desirable, for everyone, for individuals and for society
She: But, still, women aren’t going to make it. That’s what you’re really saying?
JP: It depends on your measurement techniques. They’re doing just fine in medicine. In fact, there are far more female physicians than there are male physicians. There are lots of disciplines that are absolutely dominated by women. Many, many disciplines. And they’re doing great.
She accuses him of not wanting women to have equal pay for equal work. He points out that the problem is complicated, because you have to ask, who decides what is equal work? There’s more. A lot of it uncomfortably argumentative. But it is revealing.

Men and women are different. They make different choices. There will therefore be different outcomes. If a woman does pretty much the same things as a man, in the same competitive business world—taking away all the different choices, and just comparing raw equal behaviors, which is more an intellectual exercise than an actual experience, you get woman who succeed. You only get more women at the top if more women choose to behave as men do.

That has always been my problem with feminism; it’s so anti-woman.

You see that as well in the recent sexual debate. The so-called sexual revolution was supposed to make it so women had the same sexual freedom as men. But that requires denying that women get pregnant from sex. It also denies that men degrade themselves with casual, commitment-free sex, and a woman only degrades herself when she follows that uncivilized male behavior.

Matt Walsh explained this  well this week. It was an uncomfortable conversation too, but needed. He was responding to the accusations against comedy actor Aziz Ansari. Walsh’s piece is titled, “You Feel Violated After Casual Sex Because You Degraded Yourself. Not Because It Was Rape.” There were parts a little too graphic for me to want to quote. But these paragraphs make the point:

So, you feel violated? Well, you were. But you allowed it to happen; you invited it; you participated in your own degradation, and you did the same to the other person, even if he does not share your regret. What you hear in your heart is your conscience telling you that your body is too sacred to be treated the way you treated it. You. You treated it that way. It wasn’t something that happened to you, it was something that happened through you, because of you. You are 100% responsible, and so is the other person.
In this way, casual sex is no different than any other sin. Whenever we do something wrong, if our conscience is still functioning, we will always look back when the deed is done and think, “Why did I do that? It wasn’t worth the cost.” And we may be tempted to retroactively relieve ourselves of our guilt by rationalizing and justifying. We may say — whether the sin is sex or anything else — that we were “pressured.” And surely we were pressured. Every sin in the history of man has been committed by someone who was pressured, whether externally or internally, to carry it out. But the fact that you were pressured into sex does not mean that you were raped, any more than the fact that you were pressured to smoke a joint in high school means that you were drugged. Moral courage is required to resist pressure and temptation. It is no one's fault but your own if you lack it.
There is one way the Hollywood “casting couch” scenario could have been prevented: If every woman who had ever been placed in that compromising situation had run, yelled for help, and made sure the men who put her in that situation were held accountable, it would never have become a thing.

I’m not saying this is the individual victims’ fault. I’m saying that it is the fault of willing females who sold their souls for a chance at fame, laying the trap for future victims. Every man who did these despicable acts is culpable, fully. And should be prosecuted and brought down. Every person, male or female, who knew about it and turned their head and gave predators a pass is culpable for their part.

But it’s not just a matter of consent. Like Matt Walsh says, even if a man doesn’t recognize why he should regret it, he degrades himself as well. Soul-degrading casual hook-up sex was never a way in which women should emulate men. But let’s not forget that, every time a man has casual sex, there’s a woman choosing to have it with him. This was true in the Ansari episode. The soul degrading consequences are severe for both, but the physical and emotional consequences are more likely to affect women, no matter what the feminists shout.

Feminists were always wrong about casual sex. And they compounded the wrongness by adding abortion, to take away the result of what the woman should only have done within a married relationship, in which the two parents would raise the child. So feminism denies womanhood, and kills babies in an attempt to cover up natural consequences.

I think it’s likely that women would be more respected in the workplace if they were still respected as women, instead of turned either into “just another man” or else the sex object of a man who never learned to respect women.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Standing Up

The MLK Memorial in Washington, DC,
viewed from near the Jefferson Memorial

I had my flag out for Martin Luther King’s Birthday today. I keep thinking we’d do better to have school and other ways to educate his message on this day than just having a long weekend. So, to that end, here are some thoughts from and about a man who stood up when it took bravery and strength to do that.

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Yes, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”—Martin Luther King, Jr. (quoting 19th Century abolitionist Theodore Parker)

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.—Martin Luther King, Jr., “I Have a Dream”
The stone marking where MLK gave his
"I Have a Dream" speech,
in front of the Lincoln Memorial

In 2013 I wrote this in honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday:

MLK, like Gandhi, valued non-violence as a strategy toward change. He stood up for what he believed and was willing to spend time in jail to show his seriousness. That willingness to stand up for principle no matter the unpleasant consequences is something to admire.
MLK was a conservative in many ways that I am. Our Constitution says it guarantees the rights God has given to all human beings. It was not the Constitution that was wrong, but the people in the country who hadn’t opened their eyes to the validity of human rights for all races. So the Constitution was worth conserving. MLK was a Republican, because that party was (and has been, since Lincoln or before) the party ideologically aligned with applying the Constitution to all citizens. Conservatives, half a century ago as well as today, look at MLK’s words, and find resonating truth.

Last year I shared Martin Luther King’s Ten Commandments for those joining him in the nonviolent movement, which bear repeating: 

1.       MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2.       REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.
3.       WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.
4.       PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5.       SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6.       OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7.       SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8.       REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9.       STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10.   FOLLOW the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

It was an advantage that this man was willing to stand, and also had the talent of speaking words that persuaded good people to stand with him. Here are a few more beautiful words from MLK:

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light 
can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: 
only love can do that.

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

On the wall of the MLK Memorial in Washington, DC

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Security Limits Opportunity

Real life is an untidy, somewhat chaotic thing. And economics is part of real life.

For example, we’re a couple of weeks since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In the wake of that, many companies have offered bonuses to the employees and other investments in the business. Among them, Walmart this week announced raising their starting wage to $11 an hour, which is more than $3 above the national minimum wage.

No law was required to force them to do this. The free market did it. Entry workers are in short supply, so much so that they need to offer more money to entice the workers of the level they want. That’s a good thing for every entry-level worker willing to do the work Walmart wants done.

One of the Sam's Club locations closed in Houston
image from KHOU

But then, this morning, without prior warning, the Walmart corporation closed about 100 Sam’s Club 
locations across the country. Sam’s Club, if you’re not familiar, is the big box store branch of Walmart. It requires a membership fee, and quantities and sizes of products tend to be large. But prices are typically better than you can get elsewhere. Three of these closed stores were in and near Houston.

When I heard the news, I immediately went to the internet to find out if our nearby store was among them, and breathed a sigh of relief. The closed ones are far away enough that I’ve never been to them.
But employees weren’t even given a heads up. The announcement apparently went out overnight. The company explains,

After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.
The suddenness seems harsh. But employees will get pay for next 60 days and are eligible to apply for transfers to other Sam’s Club locations or Walmart stores.

If you see the sudden upheaval that these employees face —the untidy chaos—as a problem that needs to be solved, you might forget that the free market solves this “problem” better than government or any other way.

In France there are guarantees that you can’t lose your job for life. That’s security. But there are steep costs for that, in money and freedom. I met an exchange student during recent travels. She was studying here to avoid, or postpone, some requirements from her high school in France. She was expected, by age 16, to have decided on her life’s work. From that point on, all education and opportunities would be limited to that decision—assuming she qualified for her choice. She would have a job waiting for her after graduation, but no opportunity to change her career once she realized, at age 19 or 23, that what she loved at 16 didn’t still interest her or fit who she grew up to be.

That kind of limitation might work for people who are raised from birth to believe job security is everything, and choice and flexibility are overrated. But here in America, that kind of control over life choices bristles with tyranny. And we won’t stand for it.

Does that mean we don’t care about workers at Sam’s Club who just lost their jobs? Of course we care. But the solution is in the market. We know—and it’s also evidenced by Walmart’s raise in wages—that there’s something of a shortage of workers right now (at last). So those workers will be in demand elsewhere.

It’s a general rule of thumb that, the lower the pay rate, the quicker a worker can find a job. Over a certain level, you add a month of searching for every $10,000 in annual pay. Except for management, most of the laid off workers are in the under $20,000 a year range; that means they’re very likely to find new work within the two months of their severance pay. If they get work very quickly with a different company, that severance is actually a bonus.

Lack of control, and that sense of insecurity, may feel uncomfortable while you’re in a moment of upheaval. But this is America, where opportunities abound when government gets out of the way. There’s always a good chance that change will lead to something better. There’s a reason we still talk about the American Dream.

Monday, January 8, 2018

What Is This Spherical Model?

The Spherical Model is an alternative way of looking at political ideas, rather than right and left. There have been so many errors attached to the right/left model that it’s hard to have a conversation about ideas related to politics, economics, and culture.

Why is that needed? Take a look at this post from Louder with Crowder today:

The article he links to is here.

In case you can't read the fine print at the top that I’d like you to notice, it's this:

A super comprehensive post about the many, MANY, ways Hitler was a socialist liberal. So stop calling him “right-wing” already.
A favorite tactic employed by leftists is to describe the Nazis as “right wing,” with Adolf Hitler, their leader, as the grand champion of this “right wing” movement.
But thanks to this nifty thing called “history” in combination with “the internet” we can bust this myth once and for all. Thoroughly. Or until a leftist insists on ignoring it. Then we’ll hold them down and tape their eyes open. Just kidding, that’s only what a leftist would do….

It makes zero sense to talk about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the National Socialist Party (Nazi) as opposites on a political spectrum. They are at best slightly different flavors of the exact same type of tyranny. But people ignore that and throw the Nazi or Hitler epithet against those who disagree with them. There has to be a better way, certainly, than left and right—especially when abiding by the US Constitution gets called right-wing extremism.

So, yes, the Spherical Model is a better way. On the Spherical Model, tyranny is opposite of freedom, so if a form of government, or a policy, doesn’t follow the principles required for freedom, then it’s in the southern hemisphere, where you find tyranny of all kinds. Where exactly depends on whether the type of tyranny is statist or anarchic. If you’ve got two forms of statist tyranny, they will be very close together on the sphere. It’s easily visible.
Overlap of Fascism, Socialism, and Communism
from this post

I’ve written well over 800 posts, starting March 2011, all under the heading of Spherical Model, with the subheading “Commentary on the interrelationships of the political, economic, and social spheres.” The blog is where we talk about how to apply the Spherical Model to what’s happening in our world. The three spheres interrelate, and that often becomes evident in the real world.

But I’m not really about commenting on world, national, and local politics. There are plenty of people doing that. I do political philosophy [I define that here and more here], rather than political commentary. So every now and then I review what the Spherical Model is.

The long version is on the website,, divided into sections for the three overlapping spheres: political, economic, and social. It’s about 50 pages of reading. 

The short version is what I summarized at the end of 2014: “ThePolitical Sphere Is Round.” The political sphere explains the value of using a sphere, rather than a spectrum line, most obviously, so we start with that sphere. 

There’s also a short video (9 minutes), explaining it visually, which, when you’re dealing with three dimensions, is helpful—even though it’s about the lowest budget video on the internet. 

A year ago, in a post like this one, to clarify what the Spherical Model is, I summarized the principles for each of the three spheres. 

The Spherical Model is what I call the world’s smallest think tank. It’s made up of me, and any input I get from my three adult children, who happen to have interests and abilities that coincide with the three spheres, so I refer to them as Political Sphere, Economic Sphere, and Social Sphere. A few times I’ve had Political Sphere write a guest post. I keep hoping he’ll do more of that. Mr. Spherical Model supports the effort by providing for the website.

I’ve done some “best of” and other collections:

·         Best of Spherical Model, in 3 parts starting June 10, 2013 
·         More of the Best, in 4 parts starting March 2, 2015 
·         Motherhood Collection, May 11, 2017 
·         Defense of Marriage Collection, July 1, 2013 
·         Education Collection, July 24, 2013 

I’ll add a few “bests” from 2017

·         Defending Religious Freedom, January 1, 2017 
·         Another Nail, February 2, 2017 
·         Love and Other L Words, June 29, 2017 
·         What a Minimum Wage Should Be, July 13, 2017 
·         Worse Than We Imagined, in 2 parts starting July 21, 2017 
·         What Makes You Think That? September 28, 2017 
·         Family Isn’t Extinct, October 12, 2017 
·         Communism’s 100 Year War on Civilization, November 9, 2017  
·         Socialism is Selfish, November 13, 2017