Monday, October 19, 2015

Caplan says parenting is worthless

Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan writes:
If you're afraid of every group, though, shouldn't you support whatever group has the minimum chance of doing terrible things once it's firmly in charge? Not at all. There's another path: Try to prevent any group from being firmly in charge. In the long-run, the best way to do this is to make every group a small minority - to split society into such small pieces that everyone abandons hope of running society and refocuses their energy on building beautiful Bubbles. As Voltaire once put it:
If one religion only were allowed in England, the Government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another's throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.
The argument is that it is to the advantage of Jews to be constantly undermining the majorities in white Christian Western countries, so that Jews can do well as privileged minorities. For most of history, Christian countries have allowed Jews to prosper as semi-autonomous groups.

For this reason, Caplan and other Jews favor open immigration of non-whites and non-Christians into Western countries.

Except for Israel, of course, where Jews maintain majority control by only allowing Jews to immigrate, and by isolating the occupied territories.

This strategy has worked well for Jews in the past, but I doubt that they will be helped by Europe and the USA taking Islamic immigrants of the sort that Israel would never accept.
Despite my lovely experiences with Mormons, they scare me.

To be fair, they're hardly alone. You know who else scares me? Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and atheists. Sunnis, Shiites, Catholics, and Protestants. Whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and American Indians. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, Marxists, and reactionaries. Even libertarians scare me a bit. Why? Because given enough power, there's a serious chance they'll do terrible things. Different terrible things, no doubt. But terrible nonetheless.
This is really some twisted thinking. If Jews really scared him, he would be working against that Jewish majority in Israel.

Maybe Jews see all gentiles as the same, but it is crazy to lump all those groups together. Mormons do not go around becoming suicide bombers. Jews are doing very well in Christendom today, while they are persecuted in the Moslem world.

Caplan is also promoting his book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, as in this podcast.

He points to research trying to compare parenting strategies, and how there is hardly any evidence that any parenting practices have any long-term advantages over any others. Eg, reading to your kids is often held out as the best thing a parent can do, but it is probably worthless.

He says that today's helicopter parents invest more time and money in their kids than previous generations, and that some have fewer kids because they require too much attention. His advice is to go ahead and have the kids, because all that attention is wasted anyway.

There is a lot of merit to this argument, altho I am doubtful about whom he might convince. It is nearly impossible to convince parents that what they are doing is worthless, or that they should follow scientific research instead of their peer group. Maybe his libertarian rationalist colleagues sometimes accept these arguments.

As I write this, a radio ad say:
You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.
It is a public service ad promoting foster care. The foster care agencies are very picky about who can be a parent, and apply prejudices with no evidentiary merit. Social service programs are always trying to justify what they do, because they could get billions in more funding if they could ever prove that they are actually improving kids somehow.

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