Enough Never Trump

We love Kevin Williamson, Jonah Goldberg is often entertaining, and David French writes but the NRO Never Trump Brigade needs to find a new song.  Today it is Kevin’s turn to salt the soil:

Some of the smarter right-wing talking mouths on cable news have already developed aggressive amnesia regarding their own complicity in Trump’s rise, and it is likely that many will follow. The line of argument will be: “Hey, I was a big Ted Cruz supporter, really, but, after the primary, it was Trump or Hillary.” Some people will need reminding of what they said and did.

To be fair to Kevin, he is against impeaching The Donald.  To be fair to us, we were for anyone but The Donald in the primary.  Like many, we were not a big Ted Cruz supporter but we voted for him in the primary because he was better than The Donald.  In the general election our first choice was Mitt’s second term but that wasn’t on the ballot.  The choice, and it was a binary one, was between The Donald and Herself.  We, and the country, made the right choice and voted for The Donald.

NRO deserves some credit for The Donald’s rise.  They were steadfastly against The Donald but tried to beat somebody (The Donald) with nobody for most of the primary season.  They, like many others, underestimated The Donald until it was too late and then nothing worked.

Many of The Donald’s supporters main concern was illegal immigration.  There has not been a legislative solution but there has been a change:

Illegal immigration across the southwest border is down more than 60 percent so far under President Trump, officials revealed Tuesday, even before the first new agent is hired or the first mile of his promised border wall is constructed.

Those supporters have gotten what they wanted.

It was a binary choice in November.  There were many folks that reluctantly supported The Donald.  It was the right choice.  If the Never Trump Brigade didn’t support The Donald in November then they were wrong.  They don’t need to admit it but the Never Trump Brigade needs to stop emulating The Donald.  Write less silly stuff.  Instead let us talk of serious things.

MSM And James Damore

The Guardian reports that James Damore is considering legal action against Google.  James was fired because he suggested alternative diversity actions that Google did not want to consider or discuss.  Below we have taken the first two paragraphs of the article and made comments in bold with [].

The computer engineer fired by Google
[A good start] 
for suggesting women are less suited to certain roles in tech and leadership
[Nope. It is about overlapping distributions with different means.  He does say that the percentages by gender and race can be different because of mean differences.]
is considering taking legal action against the company.
[That’s what they report]
James Damore, a chess master who studied at Harvard, Princeton and MIT and worked at the search engine’s Mountain View HQ in California,
[We didn’t look these things up but we accept them]
caused outrage
[Boy did he ever!]
when he circulated a manifesto
[Well, yes it is a written statement by James outlining his views.  We see manifesto as akin to fascist in terms of its negative connotation.]
at the weekend complaining about Google’s “ideological echo chamber”
[Yup.  The evidence, his firing, confirms he was right.]
and claiming women have lower tolerance of stress
[The whole point of his memo was that populations can have different means but substantial overlap.  James said that women, on average have more openness, extraversion, and neuroticism.  The latter causes them, on average, to have higher levels of anxiety.]
and that conservatives are more conscientious.
[Don’t worry he said lots of negative things about conservatives.  What he did actually say (p. 8) is that Google should stop alienating conservatives because viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important, conservatives need to express themselves, and conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, part of the Five Factor model that James uses elsewhere.]

It seems to us that The Guardian missed the most pro-conservative point in the memo when James went the full George Will and said that viewpoint diversity is (arguably, he hedged) the most important.  Every progressive should be aghast at that statement but we have not seen mention of it.

James, we predict, will get enough money from Google that he doesn’t need to sue The Guardian.  Of course, his relationship with the paper is different than with Google so his opportunity is not as great but they are clearly part of the echo chamber he wants to have a discussion with.  It is unfortunate that they do not want to have a discussion with him.


Bad Rhetoric

Nicole Gelinas is taking aim at James Damore’s argument over at NRO.  She says that James has a right to his opinion but he is wrong:

[Google] claims to encourage internal dissent and debate, and that is what Damore provided. But the contents of his memo are nothing to celebrate: He said nothing that hasn’t already been said, in tiresome fashion, for decades.

Nicole then does what she accuses James of without even a change of paragraph:

Damore, like any novice rhetorician, relies on straw men. He is concerned that in aiming for perfectly equality of the sexes, Google will deplete its financial resources and become less competitive. Google’s tech workers, however, are 80 percent male, and its leadership is 75 percent male. If the company is indeed striving for numerical equality, it is a long way from the danger zone.

She actually does it right in the title: Biology Is Not Destiny.  Nowhere does James make such a claim.  Means are different.  Does Nicole think that the 39 percent Asian-American tech force at Google (her stat) is the result of bias?  The are two differences.  The first is that nobody can accuse Nicole of being an novice rhetorician.  The second is that James is explicit about using the extreme case.

Google has been emphasizing diversity for quite a period and spend lots of money without moving the needle.  Biology is not destiny.  But sexes and races can and do have different means.  Yes, John McEnroe is roughly right about Serena Williams.  If you don’t accept that you end up like universities.  You may remember that the provost at American University denied tenure to Carolyn Brown, who identifies as hispanic, because of her Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) scores.  More important for our discussion are the diversity reactions like her chair (well, actually director but it sounds like a chair):

But [John] Watson warned that scholars of her stature, particularly scholars of color, get offers to go elsewhere fast.

“It’ll be a yearlong process to replace her,” he said. “The likelihood we’ll get another woman who is a minority is a tick above zero.”

We understand John’s attitude.  Leadership, including the provost is all over him to get diverse faculty members but then the provost fires Carolyn.  All of the department’s work has gone for naught.  If you asked is there a separate market for diverse faculty the answer would be yes.  The prices are higher because the completion is intense.  Or Carolyn’s reaction:

“They used me as a face of diversity,” Brown said, “and when I went up for tenure, they threw me away. It’s really disappointing. I’m still kind of devastated.”

You can’t fire me because I add the diversity that you crave.  We interviewed for a chair position at another school.  Part of the interview was to meet each of the faculty individually.  One meeting was real short because the faculty member said that her diversity status made her untouchable.  She may have been right.

Nicole is wrong.  The outcome of Google is not going to be a few yoga classes.  Question: does Nicole want to exclude men from those classes?  Google has already spent years and many millions on this.  If they want to meet their goals they will move further towards the university model with different hiring standards and different retention standards depending upon your diversity value.  If you want diversity you can get it because universities do but the cost is high.



Binary Still

The Morning Jolt is discussing Conrad Black’s polemic when Jim says:

Maybe you saw Election Day 2016 as that strict binary choice. But we’re past Election Day. It’s time to stop measuring Trump merely as an alternative to Hillary and to start measuring him on his own merits. [Emphasis added]

Maybe?  The 2016 presidential election was a binary choice.  It still is.

Sidebar: Has Conrad ever written something that is not a polemic?  We enjoy him but  he can’t help recycle the same material: Nixon and FDR were great presidents and the US justice system.  This time Conrad says the Never Trump group has defected from being conservative Republicans.  It is a wonderful turn of phrase designed to infuriate his friends.  End Sidebar.

Moreover, comparisons, this time not binary, are how we measure presidents.  Reagan isn’t a great president because he batted 1.000.  He didn’t and no president is anywhere close to that mark.  Instead we compare presidents.  We need to criticize The Donald when appropriate but recognize the road ahead.

The 2020 presidential race is not yet a binary choice. If The Donald runs for the GOP next time is there anyone in the current crop of Democrats that you prefer?  We are not suggesting that you become a shill for The Donald but that you remember that there will be binary choices in the future.  So, yes, The Donald is still the [superior] alternative to Herself.


Diversity Again

Mike Wilbon is upset about an election.  No, not that one.  Tiger Woods was left off the list of 50 greatest black athletes as voted on Survey Monkey.  Tiger’s greatness is not in question.  Tiger, Jack, and Bobby are the three greatest golfers.  We will wait while you decide the order.

OK.  Mike says, “But it ain’t a credible list of the greatest [black athletes] if it doesn’t include Tiger.” We agree on greatness so Mike has decided that Tiger is black.  It is a binary choice and we would vote the other way unless given criteria.  Tiger, as Mike says, calls himself “Cablinasian.”  It means he is multiethnic.  Since he is half asian then he is less than half black and we would think that (at least half) would be the criteria.  If you go by the old Jim Crow criteria of one drop then he should be on the list.  Tiger surely is the greatest asian golfer of all time.

The good news is that many of the challenges of diversity will go away as folks become more multiethnic.  It can’t happen too soon.

Bias By Viewpoint

James Damore, the fired Google employee, tries to identify biases by viewpoint in his email that led to his firing.

Sidebar: Part of the title of the cite above describe the email as “An Anti-Diversity Screed.”  It is not Anti-Diversity as it tries to find ways to increase diversity.  It is not a screed as in a ranting piece of writing.  Since screed also includes a lengthy discourse and the email runs ten pages then it might sneak in as a screed but it is the opposite of a rant.  It is a plea to be rational in augmenting diversity  End Sidebar.

James tries to identify biases of the left and right.  Below is his analysis of the biases of the left and right and the text that follows from the email.

Left Biases

  • Compassion for the weak
  • Disparities are due to injustices
  • Humans are inherently cooperative
  • Change is good (unstable)
  • Open
  • Idealist

Right Biases

  • Respect for the strong/authority
  • Disparities are natural and just
  • Humans are inherently competitive
  • Change is dangerous (stable)
  • Closed
  • Pragmatic

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

You can decide if James is a man of the left or just trying to curry favor with the left as almost all the biases on the left are positive and the majority of biases on the right are negative.  Certainly compassion for the weak, change is good, open, and idealistic are positive attributes.  Whereas alleged conservative biases: Authority, change is dangerous, and closed are certainly negative.

A great book would be (please cite us but no need to send a check) to examine postulates and biases of the left and right.  We don’t have the time or inclination to write it.  Metaphysics just doesn’t interest us that much.

In the two paragraphs below the lists, James tells us he is trying to reason with the authorities at Google using evidence.  As we would expect, it didn’t work.

The nature of biases is that we don’t notice them.  Thus, both the left and the right commonly accuse the other of being impervious to facts.  The outcome with James would suggest that at least one of the groups is correct.  [Yes we are scoring points.  We agree that both sides can be guilty of ignoring the facts.]  The larger point, however, is “You’re biased!” is a good way to start a fight but a bad way to start a discussion.  Even though James said you’re biased in the kindest and gentlest way by giving the left nicer biases than the right he still started a fight that he could not win.  It is unfortunate that James was figuratively burned as a heretic.  We do need a discussion about how the means of genders and races can be different.  Otherwise, the liberals in Silicon Valley and academia will continue to bang their heads against the walls of statistics and get nothing more than a headache while the liberals in government will give folks headaches.

Speed Limits And Signals

We are vacationing so posts will be more erratic than usual.  We are currently in Canada.  We first became regular visitors to Ontario when our move to the Midwest coincided with the US moving to a national 55 MPH speed limit.  As Wikipedia notes, many jurisdictions found it to be a major source of revenue.  We found that a less enforced 100 kilometers per hour (KPH) or 62.137 MPH got us home quicker.

Sidebar: In the old days we used 5/8 or 62.5% as an approximation.  Now we just tell the car to use the metric system.  Both the digital readout and the dial speedometer give us kilometers per hour.  It is an impressive bit of technology but another loss for mental math.  End Sidebar.

We thought that this would be a story of democracy.  In the US the scolds have lost and the speed limits have been returned to the states and most states have raised them so that the maximum speeds in most states are 70, 75 or 80 MPH.  Canada has not changed its speed limit in any province we have chanced to enter it is still 100 KPH.  Almost nobody drives 100 KPH but it is still the listed limit.

There is, however, a signal of the real Canadian speed limit.  Every not so often there is a sign that lists the penalties.  Because it happens rarely and we don’t have a photographic memory you will get an approximation of the sign.  It has three lines: 150 KPH means up to a $10,000 fine,
some speed between 120 KPH and 150 KPH means $xxx, and
120 KPH means $100 fine.
All numbers except for 120 and 150 KPH are approximate.  The signal is clear.  The police are not going to give you any trouble up to 120 KPH which is approximately 75 (more precisely 74.56454) MPH.  We passed three police cars at 111 KPH to test the the enforcement of the signal.  We were not willing to test it any more robustly with out of country plates.  You will get some leeway in the US but not as much.  So it turns out the systems are pretty similar.  There is just a different method of communicating the signal of what speed is acceptable.