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Self in Society Roundup 19

Affirmative action, libertarian watch, immigration, math, transgender care, the drug war, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
July 11, 2023; ported here on March 13, 2024

Affirmative Action: "Now when we discriminate based on race, we have to say we're doing it because of the qualities of the specific individual." This is a typical attitude of universities as summarized by Michael Huemer.

Libertarian Watch: The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Tweeted, "The Uyghur genocide is fake, and Ukraine is gay." What a repulsive organization the LP has become.

White Flight: The thesis here is some "white" parents flee school districts because they don't want their children to face "academic competition" from arriving Asian students. So stupid! Any sensible parent wants their kid surrounded by hard-working students.

Chinese Immigration: Paul Graham: "I asked a Chinese friend what percent of highly educated Chinese 25 year olds would move to America if someone handed them a free green card, and he said 90%. That surprised me. Apparently lockdown made everyone fear for the future under Xi." Surely that's exaggerated, but still. Zvi Mowshowitz (via Arnold Kling): "If we made this our policy, we would cripple China and supercharge America." Make America Great Again!

Adam Smith: Dan Klein has out a new book (free pdf!) on Smith (via Cowen).

CA Math: "California . . . is simultaneously one of the technology capitals of the world and has some of the worst math scores for children in the entire United States. In practice, California has relied on a combination of pockets of home grown math excellence and imported math whizzes from around the globe to bridge the gap between the math skills it needs and the math skills it has." Unfortunately, the state seems set to make things worse, not better. From Armand Domalewski.

AI Education: Sal Khan wants to create—and has already started to create!—Neal Stephenson's Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (from The Diamond Age)—i.e., AI- (LLM-) driven education software (via Brad DeLong).

Books: Kevin Williamson is not impressed with Alissa Quart's Bootstrapped.

Transgender: Laura Jedeed finds reasons to worry about the motives of members of a major group that mostly opposes gender-affirming care for minors. I would point out that "all gender-affirming care is prudent" and "no gender affirming care is acceptable" are not the only possible viewpoints.

Trump: Michael Huemer reviews the problems.

Forfeiture: The practice remains out of control. Basically many law enforcement groups act as de facto crime rings stealing people's money and stuff.

Drug War: There's been some libertarian hand-wringing about easing drug laws, as by Arnold Kling. Dan Mitchell has a good take. I replied: "Prohibition and 'anything goes' are not the only options. E.g., it's reasonable to disallow public drug use that's dangerous and that interferes with others' reasonable use of public spaces." Regarding the Susan Pinker article that Kling mentions linking marijuana use to mental illness, I suspect most of the linkage is due to some people with mental illness attempting to self-medicate with marijuana. But even if it turns out that consuming marijuana substantially contributes to the mental illness, most marijuana users do not become mentally ill, and the the problem would not justify prohibition as the response.

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