Pain and Gain is a new Michael Bay film loosely based on a true story. One character is based on the very real (and murderous) Adrian Doorbal who appears to be a product of the twice-emigrated brown folk of the Caribbean. Because this is America, he will be played by Anthony Mackie who is…er…close enough. I won’t hold my breath for the AAPI, or whatever alphabet-soup grievance-mongering lobbyist that now holds rights to represent brown folk, to raise the black flag of “race-bending.”
There are some good caveats about Samantha Power in the next paragraph but, as with all things where I disagree with the mainstream of normative preference, the central point is that you can’t begin to fix the real problem if you perceive another in its place:
As a general rule, sad to say, the good guys and the smart guys often play on different teams. For too many foreign policy humanitarians, it is more important to have good intentions than to understand the crooked and wicked ways of the world you want to change. This instinct for the ideal over the real was a hallmark of humanitarian policy failures all during the 20th century and on the evidence to date the deadly mixture of political amateurism with ambitious humanitarian international agendas has persisted into the 21st. America’s university campuses are packed with people who believe that the flaws in our foreign policy are failures of morality rather than failures of forethought and execution, but morality unhinged from wisdom is one of the most destructive forces known to man.
Again, from Gawker:
Samira Ibrahim was scheduled to receive an award yesterday from First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry honoring her as one of the “International Women of Courage”. But that was before the State Departmentbecame aware of a number of tweets that Ibrahim had sent out endorsing Hitler quotes and celebrating the deaths of Israeli tourists.
Samira was raped in Tahrir Square by a marauding bunch of Government goons. Nobody I would care to even call an acquaintance could countenance such barbarity. It amuses me to no end, though, to see the Gawker commentariat attempt to understand (accept?) that Egyptian cultural norms include cursing the Jews and endorsing Nazi-era social policies. At the point which “Oppressed Minority= Unquestionably High Moral Function!” becomes insufficient to resolve cognitive dissonance, does true understanding begin?
The Vatican’s properties on Via Carducci in Rome serve as homes to many top-level members of the Roman Curia’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples — the department responsible for coordinating the Church’s missionary work — including the Congregation’s head, ultra-conservative cardinal Ivan Dias of India, who has referred to homosexuality as a disease in need of a “cure.”
Dias, the so-called “prince of the Church,” has a spacious 12-room apartment “just yards away” from the bathhouse’s main entrance, according to The Independent.
Of course it’s possible that the head of their missionary efforts would seek to convert those he sees as most ‘damned’ but it’s also probable that the formal ban against fornication and marriage, which has produced innumerable scandals and human misery, has also affected Ivan Dias. One does not simply spend $30M on spacious apartments adjacent to Europe’s largest gay bathhouse only in order to spread the holy trinity.
From Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray, confirming an old suspicion:
The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of conservative writers….Trevino’s subcontractors included conservative writer Ben Domenech, who made $36,000 from the arrangement, and Rachel Ehrenfeld, the director of the American Center for Democracy, who made $30,000. Seth Mandel, an editor at Commentary, made $5,500 (his byline is attached to the National Review item linked to above). Brad Jackson, writing at the time for RedState, made $24,700. Overall, 10 writers were part of the arrangement.
Of the six remaining names, I can recognize only Claire Berlinksi (she writes for City Journal–disappointedly so as I enjoyed her writing.) I’m used to hearing about Podestas defending the Springier Egyptian government’s detainment of American Republican Institute employees or various other lobbyists working for many odious strongmen around the world but, to me, there’s something particularly insidious about carrying on with your PR work (I have nothing against PR hacks when they present themselves as such) while claiming to be a journalist. Anwar Ibrahim was hounded out of public service because the Malaysian government is run by people who know that a completely unsubstantiated charge of sodomy can be understood as a sentence for actually committing child molestation in the court of Malaysian public opinion. Perhaps the greatest defense against this social disgust-to-ostracism dynamic is the moral function of those who might choose to take advantage of its existence.
A while back on the FaceTubes, I posted a bit of Robert Kurzban’s humor, and Razib quickly directed me to the butt of the joke: a theory promoted by three anthropologists who believe that classic psychological tests of perception and moral reasoning were inappropriate to accurately gauge the perceptions and moral reasoning (let alone function!) of people in non-Western societies (WesternEducatedIndustrializedRichandDemocratic.) Ethan Watters, in PSMag, tells the tale of Joe Henrich, who developed this theory while studying the Machiguenga of Peru–noting that their choices in the Ultimatum Game differed sharply from typical Western results.
I do recommend reading the whole thing if you’ve not heard of WEIRD. The political aspect of this theory is that the ‘logical’ endpoint of its strategic trajectory is in an academy where theories about human behavior not only become increasingly fine-grained but also seek to elide those newly discovered differences between groups to ignore the fact that they are simply pieces of a larger puzzle and must be put together to make sense of the world. Regarding our South Asian beat, the deconstructionists of damned dirty determinists find:
We are just at the beginning of learning how these fine-grained cultural differences affect our thinking. Recent research has shown that people in “tight” cultures, those with strong norms and low tolerance for deviant behavior (think India, Malaysia, and Pakistan), develop higher impulse control and more self-monitoring abilities than those from other places. Men raised in the honor culture of the American South have been shown to experience much larger surges of testosterone after insults than do Northerners.
What norms do these people observe? What do they regard as deviant behavior? Exactly which impulses are being controlled and how much of that is absence of opportunity? I can say with confidence that growing up in a W.E.I.R.D society hasn’t robbed me of the ability to understand people outside the Western sphere but it has sharpened my focus on moral function, human suffering and the abject failure of some societies to promote the former and mitigate the latter.
“Those people behead women for listening to the radio…they can fucking go to hell.”(quoted from memory.)
He also talks about how Mitt Romney was right in saying Palestinian vs. Israeli wealth disparities are a result of differences in culture.
The following quote is from Binayavanga Wainaina’s excellent sarcastic satire of international development (and the little hegemons of Sahar’s delightful supper club storieswho aspire to shape the future of the third world.). What I notice only now is that its 2007 publication preceded that of Sex At Dawn by nearly three years.
“We have learned from people and bonobos living in harmony in forests and deserts what your fate is and we will help you fulfil it. By the time we are done you will all be having non-sexist multiple orgasms, you will be pacifists (we make and market organic pacifiers), you will dance and make merry with stone-milled, recycled mango wines that contain herbs to make you experience sudden and overwhelming universal love.”
(photo credit to the Colombo Telegraph)
30 years ago, my mother fled a Sri Lanka that she could could no longer recognize. A wave of chauvinistic fervor had passed over the country, seemingly turning random people into crazed arsonists, murderers and other assorted dregs of the human behavioral spectrum (this is the short and dirty account–like everything there is a timeline we don’t have the space to discuss here.) In the meantime, a similarly anti-human international brigade of goons would arise to assassinate simpleton heads of state and commit acts of unimaginable brutality via terrorism. The latter group, however, had strict (though I can’t estimate rates of compliance) rules about marriage and procreation, discouraging both for the ‘grunts.’ I would bet that many of the former group of scum-in-human-skins have reproduced (though I may be overestimating how heritable and biological the basis of these aggressive, violent and sociopathic behaviors really are and that population’s influence.) In any case, via India Samarajiva (essential reading if you do wish to follow SL, along with DBS Jeyaraj,) here’s his mother’s account of protesting the BP-mentioned sacking of the country’s Chief Justice by Emperor Mahinda the First.
It was interesting how the goons got exasperated with us at one point and said “Madam, why don’t you leave without creating trouble. I think, we got that response because we were engaging with them making eye contact with each one, and that made them uncomfortable. When one of them lifted the stick, my hand went automatically to my umbrella, but, he did not hit. One man even said, if you can’t go why don’t you bed with us.
From Seth Roberts, a twist on Matt Ridley’s post on the European outlook:
I don’t think it is “economic planning and control” that causes stagnation in these examples. I believe it is expertise — more precisely, rent-seeking experts who know too little and extract too much rent.
This resonated in my head as I read Mark Lynas’ remarkable about-face on genetically-modified crops, this bit about the execrable Vandana Shiva and her Kanjeevaram-clad anti-GM activism:
It is unfortunately much the same in much of Africa and Asia. India has rejected Bt brinjal, even though it would reduce insecticide applications in the field, and residues on the fruit. The government in India is increasingly in thrall to backward-looking ideologues like Vandana Shiva, who idealise pre-industrial village agriculture despite the historical fact that it was an age of repeated famines and structural insecurity.
We often talk about the importance of micronutrient interventions and the many benefits of making sure developmental disorders are made a thing of the past by intelligent supplementation. Lynas goes on:
The second example comes from China, where Greenpeace managed to trigger a national media panic by claiming that two dozen children had been used as human guinea pigs in a trial of GM golden rice. They gave no consideration to the fact that this rice is healthier, and could save thousands of children from vitamin A deficiency-related blindness and death each year…This to my mind is immoral and inhumane, depriving the needy of something that would help them and their children because of the aesthetic preferences of rich people far away who are in no danger from Vitamin A shortage. Greenpeace is a $100-million a year multinational, and as such it has moral responsibilities just like any other large company.
India is in a tough spot with regards to these rent-seeking experts. They have the ‘evidence’ on their side (that which most people find clashes least with their own confirmation biases) and it is not at all easy to distinguish between the snakes and ladders. Do you choose Duflo and Bannerjee or Sen and his cronies? Vandana and Arundhati Roy or the evil white men in suits who come to introduce just-in-time retail distribution, rock-bottom prices and sundry immoral Western values. Vhat to do?