Friday Ephemera

Elsewhere (19)

Thomas Sowell on the idea of fairness.

If by “fair” you mean everyone having the same odds for achieving success, then life has never been anywhere close to being fair, anywhere or at any time. If you stop and think about it (however old-fashioned that may seem), it is hard even to conceive of how life could possibly be fair in that sense. Even within the same family, among children born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, the first-borns on average have higher IQs than their brothers and sisters, and usually achieve more in life.

Unfairness is often blamed on somebody, even if only on “society.” But whose fault is it if you were not the first born? Since some groups have more children than others, a higher percentage of the next generation will be first-borns in groups that have smaller families, so such groups have an advantage over other groups. Despite all the sound and fury generated in controversies over whether different groups have different genetic potential, even if they all have identical genetic potential the outcomes can still differ if they have different birth rates. Twins have average IQs several points lower than children born singly. Whether that is due to having to share resources in the womb or having to share parents’ attention after birth, the fact is what it is - and it certainly is not fair.

Shrinkwrapped ponders “diversity,” culture and social constructs.

It is not politic to ask, but here goes: Who constructs inner city culture, anyway? Is it cooked up in some hidden smoke filled room somewhere by evil WASP social engineers and then imposed on unsuspecting black gang bangers? Are rappers the unwitting agents of such nefarious plots aimed at destroying the work ethic and academic accomplishments of young black children? The idea that the black community has suffered egregious social damage from the liberal enabled destruction of the black family is rarely mentioned in polite society.

John Hawkins interviews Thomas Sowell.

This notion in academia of publish or perish - well, there is a certain merit to that. But like everything else, you can carry it to point of absurdity, which is where we are in a lot of fields. If you’ve mastered the writings of William Shakespeare and convey that to the next generation, who have obviously not mastered it, you’re performing a valuable service. But, that’s not going to advance your academic career. You’ve got to come out with some new theory of Shakespeare. You’ve got to go through and show how there is gender bias or the secret gay message somewhere coded in Shakespeare. You’ve just got to come up with something.

And Julia M notes some arts funding disasters.

As usual, feel free to add your own.