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Self in Society Roundup 30

Zubrin on Mars, trans issues, conservatism, immigrants, schools, men, James Brown, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
September 7, 2023; ported here on January 15, 2024

Mars: Robert Zubrin announced that he sold his company (Pioneer Astronautics) to focus on a new initiative of the Mars Society, the Mars Technology Institute. He hopes to fund research essential for colonizing Mars, with an emphasis on developing food production (something that also could have direct relevance here at home). Zubrin also has a new book coming out, The New World on Mars: What We Can Create on the Red Planet. During a podcast episode announcing the Institute, Zubrin said, "I believe that we have to undermine people's belief in the necessity for war. And the greatest way we can do it is by showing that there is an infinite future that is available to us."

Transgender: Erin Reed: "[R]esearchers in Melbourne, Australia, recently conducted the first randomized clinical trial to study the impact of gender-affirming care on transgender individuals. Their findings were stunning: gender-affirming care led to an end of suicidality in 55% of the treatment group receiving hormones, compared with just 5% in the control group."

Revanchist Right: Arnold Kling: "Almost twenty scholars contributed to Up from Conservatism: Revitalizing the Right after a Generation of Decay, a volume of essays edited by Arthur Milikh, published in 2023. The authors articulate their paranoia about the progressive left, their frustration with the center-right, and their contempt for libertarians."

Immigrants: They are highly law-abiding. Often they have "negative views about immigration," perhaps because "successful immigrants run the risk of being perceived as related to undocumented or uncontrolled immigration." The solution is to expand documented and controlled immigration.

Schools: Gallup: "Americans' satisfaction with the quality of K-12 education in the U.S. has fallen six percentage points in the past year to match the record-low 36% reading on this measure, which Gallup has tracked for 24 years. In contrast, parents of K-12 students remain largely satisfied with the quality of the education their oldest child is receiving, as 76% say they are 'completely' or 'somewhat' satisfied, significantly higher than the 67% low on that measure from 2013." I wonder if the numbers are somewhat skewed, as the parents least happy with their child's education also might be least likely to respond to surveys.

Misandry: John Tierney via Alex Tabarrock: "'Toxic masculinity' and 'testosterone poisoning' are widely blamed for many problems, but you don't hear much about 'toxic femininity' or 'estrogen poisoning.' . . . Men get punished more severely than women for the same crime, and crimes against women are punished more severely than crimes against men. Institutions openly discriminate against men in hiring and promotion policies. . . . By the time boys finish high school (if they do), they're so far behind that many colleges lower admissions standards for males—a rare instance of pro-male discrimination, though it's not motivated by a desire to help men. . . . [T]here are now three female college students for every two males. . . ."

Marxism: Ian Bennett has some interesting things to say about whether China and the Soviet Union were "real socialism."

Get On Up: The James Brown biopic starring Chadwick Boseman is excellent, one of the best cinematic treatments of a rock star (okay, a funk star). Brown definitely had a rough edge, made so partly by an extremely difficult childhood, but he also had enormous raw talent and intense drive. See also a first and second podcast episode on Brown from A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs. Brown was good friends with Little Richard, so the Brown material goes well with the documentary and podcast episodes on Richard.

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