Monday, November 12, 2018

Turn And Face The Strange Changes

     I was perusing Gab.Ai a few minutes ago when I chanced upon a thread in which one participant, in defending the thesis that “we are a nation of individuals,” seemed to reject the very possibility that there are statistical – or if you prefer, aggregate – differences of several kinds among identifiable demographics. The suggestion that such differences exist, that they are systematic, and that they can be contextually significant horrified her. She simply didn’t want to consider the possibility, and cast aspersions on anyone who argued that they are factors that must be taken into account.

     The enveloping subject was immigration to these United States.

     Over the past five decades, immigration to the U.S. has wrought significant changes to our society. Those changes are most pronounced where racially, religiously, or ethnically grouped immigrants cluster. The non-Muslim residents of Hamtramck, Michigan could tell you about some of them. The Caucasian residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul could tell you about others. And the native-born citizens of California and the Southwestern states could tell you about still others.

     It’s not somehow unfair to note the patterns in identifiable demographics. If the pattern is reproducible – i.e., if any observer, watching the behavior of the groups under study, would perceive it as well as any other – it constitutes important information. But so sensitized has our society become to accusations or intimations of prejudice that merely speaking of a pattern one sees has become hazardous to his social and commercial health...possibly to his corporal health as well.


     Does anyone remember this survey of traffic-law-observance and breaking on New Jersey’s roads?

     A recent, tax-funded study, conducted by the Public Service Research Institute, dared to delve into the truth or falsity of the allegations that New Jersey State Troopers have been enforcing an unlegislated statute against Driving While Black. According to what I've read, the study was conducted with meticulous alertness for factors that might bias its results. It made use of impersonal, double-blind techniques at every stage of its processing. It was apparently a model of its kind, a showcase for the best statistical practices of the social sciences.

     Unfortunately, the results of the study were:

  • The troopers were not engaging in racial profiling when they stopped black drivers, because:
  • Black drivers violate the motor vehicle laws disproportionately to their numbers. The disproportion is approximately 50%. That is, whereas blacks made up 16 percent of motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike, they accounted for 23 percent of the traffic stops and for 25 percent of the speeders. This verdict was rendered not by the troopers themselves, but by automated radar units and camera records.

     Because the study both exonerates the troopers and indicts the most sensitive American racial group, the US Department of Justice has turned its face against it. The state of New Jersey refuses to release the study to the public. That didn't keep it from being reported by the New York Times -- and denounced by the NAACP.

     Perhaps the statistics would have been different on another road, or in another county or state. But the ones that New Jersey State Troopers recorded on the Turnpike proved to be reproducible. The instruments that recorded them could not have been biased, being without opinions about matters racial.

     Yes, Virginia, there are differences among the races. One of them is in our relative propensity for lawbreaking.


     Now, a statistical difference such as the one explored above tells us nothing about any particular individual. Human characteristics, including the propensity for lawbreaking, tend to follow a Gaussian (a.k.a. “normal”) distribution. There will be numbers of persons in any given demographic who are distant from its axes of symmetry – i.e., from its averages. Have an illustration:

     As is illustrated here, about 68.2% of all the people in a Gaussian distribution will be within one standard deviation of the average. About 95.4% of them will be within two standard deviations. And about 99.7% will be within three standard deviations. So: If we were considering a demographic that contains one million persons, then:

  • 682,000 of them would be within one SD of the axis: 341,000 above, 341,000 below.
  • 954,000 of them would be within two SD of the axis: 477,000 above, 477,000 below.
  • 997,000 of them would be within three SD of the axis: 498,500 above, 498,500 below.

     ...which means that out of that million, about 3000 persons would be more than three SD from the axis. Depending on the characteristic under discussion and the size of a standard deviation, that could prove significant.

     Neither the averages nor the standard deviations are unimportant; far from it. When it comes to immigration policy, both of them matter quite a lot. We’ve been learning that as immigrant demographics have clustered tightly in selected regions.


     For the sake of what follows, and to shield myself from premature accusations of bigotry, in the next example I shall use Scott Adams’s favorite fictional ethnic group: the Elbonians. And to avoid invidious comparisons of other kinds, the characteristic I shall address is the propensity to draw to an inside straight.

     First, let’s have a little clarification for those unfamiliar with the game of draw poker. Each player is dealt five cards. After all players have had a moment to assess their hands, the dealer goes clockwise around the table asking for draws. Each player seeks to produce the highest ranking hand possible. The various combinations of cards, in ascending order of rank, are:

  1. Nothing matches.
  2. One pair.
  3. Two pairs.
  4. Three of a kind.
  5. A straight: five cards in numerical sequence.
  6. A flush: five cards of the same suit.
  7. A full house: Three of a kind plus a pair.
  8. Four of a kind.
  9. A straight flush: i.e., a straight that is also a flush.
  10. A royal flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of the same suit.

     Now, let’s imagine that we’ve been dealt:

  1. Four of spades;
  2. Five of hearts;
  3. Seven of clubs;
  4. Eight of diamonds;
  5. Ace of spades.

     Clearly, nothing matches in the above hand. As no player is permitted to discard and draw more than four cards, we’ve got poor prospects in this deal. If it’s a money game, the best move would be to fold: i.e., to declare oneself out of the betting, forfeiting the ante (i.e., the bet required to buy into the deal). But an excessively optimistic player might say to himself, “If I discard the Ace, I might draw a six, which would complete a straight.” This is what’s meant by drawing to an inside straight. He would stay in the betting hoping for that very low probability to come true...and probably lose more money than he would have by folding.

     Drawing to an inside straight is something experienced poker players don’t do. They’re either aware of the unfavorable probabilities involved, or they’ve lost enough money doing it in years past to have learned better.

     But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It’s a gaggle of Elbonians, an ethnicity whose excessive optimism about draw poker is known worldwide! Invite ‘em into the game! Why not? It’s only neighborly. Heh, heh, heh!

     If the Elbonian propensity for drawing to an inside straight is substantially greater than that of the typical American, the Americans in the game are likely to profit from Elbonian participation. Conversely, Elbonians would be rather foolish to allow a large influx of American poker players to their games.

     Can you see how that logic would apply to immigration policy?


     In crafting immigration policy, it’s important to be aware of the effects of past policies. If past policy has admitted a lot of Elbonians, with the result that nearly all of them are on the welfare rolls due to having lost their life savings at poker, the new policy should take account of it. Similarly, if past policy has admitted a lot of ethnicity X, religion Y, or race Z, and that group has caused a great deal of social discord – possibly even violence – then the new policy should take account of that. And as it happens, such patterns in racial, religious, and ethnic immigration are perceptible, regardless of the agonized cries of the “we’re all the same” bien-pensants.

  • The immigration of Muslims, who refuse to assimilate and repeatedly demand special provisions and exceptions for their “religion,” is causing harm to non-Muslims.
  • The immigration of sub-Saharan blacks, who are notoriously more prone to lawbreaking than other races, is causing harm to Caucasians and Mongolians.
  • And the exclaves formed in the Southwestern states by immigrants – legal or otherwise – from Latin America are gradually seceding, de facto, from the language, customs, and laws of these United States.

     Perhaps it could be made clearer, but for the life of me I can’t see how.

6 comments:

Jess said...

Personally, I think all U.S. immigration should have halted about twenty years ago. There isn't a huge interest to assimilate into U.S. society, and only a long time without introducing new immigrants solves this problem.

SiGraybeard said...

Didn't the US close immigration in the early 20th century specifically to allow immigrants time to assimilate?

I've heard this in a few places, but have yet to find backing evidence with a search engine. You know how that goes: all of the places repeating it may be repeating the same source. There's far too much story volume taken up with current immigration stories to find historical entries.

A History Channel page on Ellis Island doesn't mention it, although it mentions lots of things that would bring cries of "Wacist!" today. Things like literacy tests (in their native language, not English!), not allowing communists, anarchists or immigration from countries we have "too many" immigrants from, and more.

NITZAKHON said...

So is it race, or culture?

John C. said...

It's both race and culture and throw in religion which is incompatible with Constitutional law.

The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 placed certain limits of persons and nationalities permitted to enter the US. Then, thanks to our old friend and reliable communist Ted Kennedy, The Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965 (the Hart-Celler Act) changed all that and with assurances that it "would not change the racial or religious make-up or demographics of the United States" immediately began to change not only those demographics but the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and welfare statistics as well as creating an endless replenishing supply of future democrat voters. Exactly what was intended by Kennedy and his "fellow travelers" or as we call them "useful idiots". Now we have contested elections, mass election fraud, Fake News and the unmasking of the Deep State deciding what we know and if we know it. They never stop until they get what they want. The count in Florida will not stop until they get the result they want.

Linda Fox said...

The interpretation of the law is heavily influenced by the culture. Arguably, the real need for laws was when culture failed to control the increasingly diverse population:
- Moses - when returning from Egypt, there was a need for a basic level of agreed-upon norms (they were agreed to, as they were seen to have been imposed from God). During the time they had lived in Egypt, they had adopted different aspects of the surrounding culture. This law, along with the dietary and other rules, made them into a nation. (BTW, why manna? Well, eating unleavened bread would eliminate a major source of discord - fermented alcohol - widely used in Egyptian society).
- Hammurabi - during his time, Babylon was a multicultural center. The need to have a clearly agreed upon set of laws probably prompted his posted laws.
- The French Republic, Modern Japan, et al. When a new government comes in, and has to manage a formerly hostile population that do NOT trust each other, it helps with the process to have a new legal framework, that is clearly stated and open.

Dystopic said...

The issue behind folks' seeming inability to grasp this is taboo. It has been made taboo to ask these questions, much less answer them honestly.

I don't know quite how this taboo came about. Perhaps it is an overreaction from the reverse position held by folks several decades ago, wherein even if you clearly defied the statistical trend as an individual, folks would still damn you by it anyway. Perhaps it was deliberately engineered by those who want to harm us. Or perhaps it was just another case of random human stupidity.

Whatever the mechanism, the taboo must be broken for people to grok this. As it stands, when their brain starts to put together patterns and head this direction, it is immediately short circuited by fear of the taboo.