2014-09-30

Terrible Weakness

Brilliant.

By Dave Palumbo, "Terrible Weakness":




Since not everyone seemed to be figuring it out where I found it, or they had weird theories, I played art analyst:

The way I see it, he killed a woman who loved him. Her spirit is being pulled away from this world (the knife is in his hand, her death is recent), but even in death, she continues to love him (still hugging him, not letting go). Even as his shirt is soiled with her blood (a heart-shaped stain - implying love between the killer and the victim), her peaceful expression makes it seem she has forgiven - perhaps never blamed him to begin with.

One way to look at the name of the piece is that she had a terrible weakness - her love for him. But love isn't terrible; neither is compassion and forgiveness. The real terrible weakness, I think, is his proneness to anger and violence, the inability to control it. The destruction it wrought has been awful. It ended her life, and cost him a future with a woman who loved him. She departs in peace; he stays to live with the burden, already haunting him.

2014-09-28

In favor of economic incentives for healthily-proportioned mixed-race neighborhoods

I was recently involved in a discussion about race and racism. It revolved around findings such as in the following Economist article:


Three-quarters of all victims and nearly 90% of perpetrators are male. Black Americans are only 13% of the population, but over 50% of murder victims. Among black men between 20 and 24, the murder rate is over 100 per 100,000 (see chart). [...]

Perpetrators in America tend to look like their prey: less than 20% of murder victims are killed by someone of another race.

The conversation also revolved around the contentious issue of race and average IQ. I reproduced some arguments I had recently written:

The main problem is the color itself, and its reliable correlation with IQ. This is unfair to exceptional individuals, who are judged superficially by their skin. Others notice the difference, and treat black people poorly and exclude them. This treatment causes them to bundle together and turn inward, producing hopeless, crime-ridden ghettos.

If we could break the correlation with color, yet still keep the same overall number of low IQ individuals, the race issue would be solved. Those who believe there aren't biological differences could find that they're right. Prejudice would dissipate over time, since no actual differences would exist to sustain it. But we don't know how to do that.

For the US, the only solution I can think of is to minimize the dynamic of concentrated black populations becoming ghettos by enforcing racial quotas. But that takes coercion, and is totally not workable within the constitution.

As-is, we really don't have a solution. In the absence of one, we resort to paying lip service to how there are no differences. We make superficial attempts to aid them - the kinds of efforts that should work if differences didn't exist. But that's not effective, so really, we're just letting them be, and escaping to gated communities.

Though my correspondent still disliked what they perceived as my insensitivity, they found this analysis insightful, and made a suggestion I didn't consider on my own. If the US race problem is made worse by the vicious cycle that takes place in inner-city ghettos, then coercion is not the only way to encourage healthy mixed-race neighborhoods.

An effective solution might be to offer economic incentives to people living in healthily-proportioned mixed-race communities. If black Americans are 13% of the population, then an ideal proportion of black Americans per city block might be between 7 and 20%. If the federal government offered a, for example, 5-percentage-point tax rebate to members of balanced communities, inner city ghettos would eventually disperse, and the vicious cycle they create with them.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of solution for which we have to understand race-IQ as a crucial contributing factor to the ghetto and crime dynamic - and yet not judge individuals on the basis of their skin color. This, unfortunately, is a difficult proposition. If we do not discuss race-IQ, people will argue that this proposal is itself prejudiced, and that race has nothing to do with the problem, other than white people being racist - which, they will say, this is an example of. Alternately, if we do discuss race-IQ, we risk people taking it as an excuse for bigotry and ideas of race superiority.

I'm talking about it now because, for the first time, I can see a solution.

2014-09-23

Aaron's adventures #5

It's been 7 months since I last posted photos! My family has been reminding me about that. :-)

These are sorted oldest at the top, newest at the end. It's been a while, so there are quite a few.