Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trotskyist Party Gossip

If you Google jack barnes swp, I come up third on the list, just after the Wikipedia article and Gus Horowitz's piece. Likewise, a search for spartacist league cult puts me at the top of the list. These and similar searches are among the most common sources of new readers to my blog.

I'm not proud. I've written three posts that are labelled Cults, which are the ones that these search terms select among. I've said in all three posts and I'll say it again--I don't think the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is a cult. If I thought so, I wouldn't write about them at all. I think the best way to characterize them is as a social club with a mission, rather like the Elks or the Knights Of Columbus. Weird? Perhaps. Cult-like? No way.

For all I know, the Spartacist League is a cult. The fact that my passing reference to them in a single post shows up at the top of the search does seem to indicate the irrelevance of that rather pathetic organization.

Anyway, these searchers are not really interested in politics, but instead gossip. I call it Party Porn, analogous to the ruin porn so popular in Detroit these days. Were I a real reporter, I could probably earn a living digging up dirt on Barnes, Mary-Alice Waters, Steve Clark, Barry Sheppard, etc. Fortunately for them I'm not. I just repackage what I read elsewhere on the web, but apparently that's sufficient to earn me a high ranking on some popular Google searches.

So what is it about Jack Barnes that generates so much prurient interest? That's easy--everybody hates him.

Not everybody, of course, but a lot of people. Perhaps there are 20,000 people alive today who were at some point in their lives members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Most of them left because they simply fell away. My good friend from that era now has no interest in politics whatsoever. So he doesn't really hate Jack Barnes. He's just not interested.

Others were members of groups that split from the Party. There are probably still a few Schachtmanites around, along with Cochranites, Wohlforthites, International Tendency folks, and then not to mention the whole Socialist Action (SA) crew. Even old-timers, such as Barry Sheppard, have left, as, apparently, has my old comrade, Mike Taber. These people are often vitriolic in their hatred for Mr. Barnes, a trait I attribute to envy.

Many, such as Louis Proyect, left the Party but retain their belief in Marxism, and continue to be politically active. Mr. Proyect famously published the speech Jack Barnes should have given in 1974--a speech that to me looks very much like the program for Solidarity. A consistent Marxist, he has refused to personalize the decline of the SWP, even to this very day, which instead he attributes to "objective forces." As such, he doesn't "hate" Jack Barnes as much as disagree with him. But he is not above calling the SWP a cult.

Many others left because they could no longer stand the rigors of being "worker-bolsheviks", whatever that means. For many years in the late 90s, the Party had a dual-track membership. Full members could vote, but so-called sympathizers had the right to contribute money and do work. Does anybody recall the name Ruth Cheney? I never met her, though I gather she was a comrade of mine in the 70s. In the event, she co-organized the Pathfinder Project in the 1990s as a sympathizer. These sympathizers have all fallen away, and I'm sure there are lots and lots of hard feelings. I suggest most of them "hate" Jack Barnes.
So Mr. Barnes elicits a lot of schadenfreude, which drives traffic to my blog. Could a college be successful if they inspired so much animosity among their alumni? Certainly not--the president would be fired long before it ever got that bad. And likewise, the SWP leaves a lot of money and talent on the table by alienating so many of their former comrades.

Unfortunately, few of Mr. Barnes' competitors would have done any differently. Certainly neither the Workers League nor the Spartacist League are any better when it comes to openness. And neither are many ex-comrades, such as Barry Sheppard. Mr. Proyect is correct--it isn't a failing on the part of a single individual. It is, instead, baked into the democratic centralist cake, at least as implemented by the SWP.

But there is one person who probably could have saved the SWP: Peter Camejo. He had the commitment, intellect, and personality to pull it off. He remained a Marxist up to the very end. He was a very smart man (MIT grad). And his personality was both charismatic and intellectually open.

I had an e-mail exchange with Mr. Camejo before he died. I wrote him with a reminiscence, saying that I was his chauffeur around Chicago and Milwaukee during his 1976 presidential campaign, and that was a job I very much enjoyed. I also said that, while my personal politics had changed, I still very much admired him as an individual.

Mr. Camejo wrote back--a very nice e-mail apologizing for not remembering me, and (jokingly) hoping that nobody I vote for will win the election. He also mentioned that he had cancer.

Compare this big-hearted response to that from Socialist Action. I wrote them (twice) asking for copies of the convention documents that they announced on their webpage would be distributed for free to all who asked. I asked, politely. And politely also a second time. They answered neither e-mail. This is sad.

Mr. Camejo would have been able to keep Party alumni involved with the organization, and on good terms. In a Camejo world, my blog might still be successful, but Party porn wouldn't be a traffic driver.

Further Reading:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Nation Of Shopkeepers

There's a famous statistic that's trotted out whenever academics want your money. This version comes from Professor Robert Sternberg, who is now president of the University of Wyoming.
...93 percent of the employers surveyed said that "a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate's] undergraduate major." They were not saying that a student's major does not matter, but that, overwhelmingly, the thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills a job candidate has acquired in college are more important than the specific field in which the applicant earned a degree.
Just go to college--so the theory goes--major in women's studies with a minor in global musicology, and the corner office will be yours. Of course it's horsefeathers.

But what would you expect employers to say? We are looking for brainless nitwits who can follow simple directions. No employer, or rather no employee who represents the employer, will admit to being hired under the brainless nitwit program.

As it turns out, I have some experience with this. Some years back my campus organized students to help businesses better utilize green energy. It was a service learning project. We got an enthusiastic reception from local companies, and so warehouses were analyzed, blueprints were drawn, elaborate spreadsheets were tabulated, and teams of students worked hard to generate useful data.

And then, when all the planning, measuring and studying were done, nothing. When it came time to actually put capital behind these plans, none of the businesses--none--coughed up a dime. If you asked them, of course they'd say we support the environment. We're in favor of green energy. But real capital is invested for business reasons, not for propaganda, and in the interests of company survival they didn't invest frivolously.

What people say and what people do are two different things.

So my Trotskyist friends are smarter than academics (faint praise, but it's the best I can do). Consider this quote:
First of all, the turn capitalism has taken over the past few decades has knocked the stuffing out of our class, has ridden roughshod over its organizations and communities and has driven down its quality of life. More than this, there has been a proletarianization process engulfing and embracing many occupations and social layers once considered “middle class,” while at the same time technology and globalization have eroded the industries that were once at the heart of working-class employment, replacing them with jobs that pay less and are less secure. And all of this has contributed to a slow-moving, contradictory, but intensifying radicalization process, and out of this process have been emerging new struggles, new forms of struggle and a still-evolving crystallization of a new, diverse vanguard layer of the working class.
That's from an article by Paul Le Blanc (my former comrade in the Socialist Workers Party, not the president of the University of Southern New Hampshire), entitled Leninism for Dangerous Times. Now I don't agree with Mr. Le Blanc's characterization of events, but his description of them is far more accurate than Professor Sternberg's.

Mr. Le Blanc uses the term proletarianization, a mouthful that hardly connotes people with college-trained, critical thinking skills. Now I don't like that term, either, but it is certainly true that technology is de-skilling what was once intellectual labor. As I've suggested elsewheredoctors and professors are ripe targets for automation. Add lawyers, accountants, pilots, and truck drivers to the list of jobs that are at least partially on their way out.

It is the academic's conceit that these skilled, well-paying jobs will be replaced by people with even more skills at even better pay, i.e., those with much vaunted "critical thinking" skills. The job that people like Professor Sternberg have in mind is a manager. Indeed, in the original conception a college education was designed to prepare you for the officer class, i.e., the people with the book learning necessary to manage other people.

But technology sharply reduces the need for managers. Organizations (outside of government or academe) are flatter than ever. Employees increasingly work from home, or from Starbucks, or from their cars, or in comfy Google-plexes with free food. Performance is monitored by the keystroke or by the dollars generated, not by some managerial assessment. The abilities of the women's studies major are, sadly, increasingly useless.

So how can one know what companies really want in employees if you can't believe what they tell you? Just ask yourself--what do you look for in a plumber? Do you care if he attended college? Are you worried about the quality of his general education program? Does it matter if he can factor a quadratic equation? Of course not. You want somebody with experience doing plumbing, and who is honest, personable, and reasonably good looking. And that's what employers want--a person with narrowly relevant skills, who is honest, personable, and good looking.

I think Professor Sternberg's plea for more money can be dismissed out of hand. On the other hand, Mr. Le Blanc's term proletarianization implies a de-skilling. That certainly is what is happening with some professions, e.g., medicine, but it is not happening across the board. Instead both computerization and, especially, globalization lead to increased specialization. Today, for example, it isn't enough to be a computer programmer. Instead you become specialized in particular sub-disciplines, such as database, or web programming, or bank software, or whatever. And the more specialized you become, the higher your pay, because the rarer your breed (at least until your career is rendered obsolete). This is not de-skilling. It's the opposite.

So Mr. Le Blanc actually makes the same error as Professor Sternberg--that the economy needs generalists more than it needs specialists. The professor deludes himself into thinking these generalists require some bizarre academic training, while Mr. Le Blanc thinks they're becoming de-skilled, proletarians. They're both wrong.

What we are really becoming is a land of petty bourgeois, skilled tradesmen. That still includes traditional skilled trades, such as plumbers, but there a lot of new ones out there. These include being the world-class expert in programming a particular IBM mainframe, or the ace salesman of food processing equipment to corn syrup producers, or the person who can fix any gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer around, or the guy who can repair 3D printers.

Unlike Mr. Sternberg's imagination, these people have skills instead of knowledge, which means they actually know how to do something. And unlike Mr. Le Blanc's fear, these people are neither cheap nor interchangeable, i.e., they are not proletarian workers.

Computers can do the math and store the knowledge. We won't be a nation of managers, analysts, or intellectuals. The modern college degree is generally useless in the marketplace. And robots can do the work that proletarians used to do. The union movement is dead and gone.

We are becoming a nation of shopkeepers. And that's not a bad fate--not bad at all.

Update: This post should note that Paul Le Blanc's article, Leninism for Dangerous Times, appeared in the current issue of Socialist Viewpoint. I've only highlighted a bit of it here, but read the whole thing--it's worthwhile. And kudos to Socialist Viewpoint for a good selection.

Further Reading:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are Rich People Rich?

Are rich people rich? That seems like an odd question to have to debate, but such a debate must be had, at least in our imagination.

In one corner we'll put Bill Whittle, a person my Trotskyist friends have likely never heard of. He produces charming videos that appeal to people like me who believe in free enterprise and constitutional government. Unfortunately, like most of the Internet, he mostly just preaches to the choir. He argues that rich people aren't all that rich.

In the opposite corner is Andrew Gavin Marshal, a Canadian-based, independent researcher who authors an article entitled World's Top Billionaires, reprinted in the current issue of Socialist Viewpoint. He argues that rich people are nothing short of filthy, stinking.

Mr. Whittle makes his case in a video produced in 2011 entitled Eat The Rich (based on data from here). He was responding in part to the Obama campaign's efforts to make the millionaires and billionaires "pay their fair share". The federal budget in 2011 was $3.7 trillion, and Mr. Whittle imagines how that might be paid for by "eating the rich". He manages to cover the bill by confiscating all profits from all Fortune 500 companies ($391 billion), all personal income above $250,000 ($1.4 trillion), and the entire net worth of the plutocrats, all billionaires and near-billionaires ($1.3 trillion). That added together is still $600 billion short of the full federal budget, but Mr. Whittle cobbles together the necessary amount from humorous odds and ends.

To pay the federal budget for one year, Mr Whittle (in his imagination) has confiscated the wealth of all the plutocrats, and in so doing simply liquidated the assets of many or most American companies. Of course there is no encore--it is impossible to repeat that trick for a second year. Compared to the federal budget, or for that matter, state budgets or even many municipal budgets, the rich just aren't all that rich.

Mr. Marshal disagrees. His report is full of data, none of which I take issue with (at least for the sake of argument). He says that 1% of the world's population owns 40% of its wealth, while the bottom 50% own only 1% of the wealth. In the US the figures are similar--1% own 36%, and the richest 400 people own more than the bottom 150 million people. He also claims that the world's super-rich have stashed as much as $30 trillion in off-shore tax havens--in a few minutes that won't sound like a lot of money.

While I'm willing to accept all of Mr. Marshal's data, I think he has an unjustifiably narrow view of wealth. He is considering only financial assets, which really is a small part of the universe. The total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies worldwide is about $55 trillion. That's the extent of Mr. Marshal's gaze, and it sounds like a lot of money, but it isn't.

To see how big the US economy really is, think about it this way. We have a $15 trillion GDP--that is, our annual return on investment is $15 trillion. If you assume a 5% return on capital, that means total capital equals about $300 trillion. Since the US is approximately 30% of the global economy, we can, in round numbers, suggest that total global capital is $1 quadrillion. The total public market capitalization--the universe which Mr. Marshal considers--is only about 5% of the total wealth.

So where is all this extra wealth that Mr. Marshal can't see? I'll suggest three places: houses, benefits, and skills.

I live in an average home, worth about $200,000. I hope to have it paid off before I retire, in which case it will make up about 40% of my net worth. Twenty odd years ago, I recall reading about Bill Gates building his new house at a then unprecedented cost of $30 million. That is less than 1% of his net worth. I believe Mr. Marshal ignores home equity in his calculations (not sure), and so isn't giving credit to the 60% of people who own their own homes--the majority of whom have paid off the mortgage. And as my example illustrates, even though Mr. Gates' house is far nicer than mine, as a percentage of wealth it's less important. If you include home equity, the fraction of wealth owned by the top 1% is less--probably significantly less--than 40%.

When I retire I expect to receive about $2,000 a month in social security. Mr. Gates will get no more than that (though at his current salary of $1/year, he may not receive as much as I do). For me, social security is as if somebody just gave me a trust fund worth $400,000. Thus you really need to add that to my net worth in order to compare apples to apples. Social security pays out about $871 billion annually, wealth that goes overwhelmingly to the 99%, but which is not included in Mr. Marshal's statistics. That's equivalent to a trust fund worth $16 trillion. Similarly, Americans have trust funds associated with Medicare, food stamps, disability, etc.

Finally, there is human capital, namely the skills and attributes that we have all acquired that enable us to perform socially valuable labor. These range from getting out of bed and showing up to work on time, to being able to play NBA quality basketball. Gary Becker estimates that 70% of American capital is human capital--that's $210 trillion. This reminds of the middle-aged, slightly pudgy, Black woman I saw during my early morning constitutional along the Las Vegas strip last week: she ran up the stairs rather than taking the escalator. Now there's a lady who conserves capital! Mr. Marshal gives her no credit.

So looking only at the narrow world of financial assets, then yes, Mr. Marshal is correct. The rich really are rich, and wealth inequity really is obscene. But that's not the right picture. Instead, one needs to pull the camera back far enough to encompass all capital. In the larger view, financial assets (in the form of publicly held corporations) shrink to only 5% of the total. The big picture includes government benefits, such as social security, and amorphous but very important things, such as human capital. These are distributed much more broadly across the population--it is simply not true that the top 1% own 40% of all assets. They're lucky if they own 4%.

Are rich people rich? This judge rules for the negative, and declares Mr. Whittle the winner of our debate. But high kudos to Mr. Marshal for good effort. His article is worth reading--here's the link again.

Further Reading:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Two Muddles: Syria and Zimmerman

The original title for this post was Middle East Marxist Muddles, based on two posts by Louis Proyect, here (1) and here (2). But on second thought, Marxists aren't alone in being confused--everybody else is too, including yours truly.

That said, Marxists are muddled in their own peculiar way. Take for example, Proyect's post (2), entitled Homs Today. It is a photograph, a panoramic view of the Homs skyline--destruction and ruin as far as the eye can see. What follows is only this short caption, which I quote in full:
The necessary consequences of resisting jihadist/CIA/Salafist/Samantha Powers/Zionist threats to a secular and socialist bastion of Arab nationalism? Or is that Arab national socialism?
Do you know what that means? Me neither.

Post (1) is a reprint from the Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal--an Australian publication of no renown. (Links is the German word for Left--I don't know if that's relevant.) The article, by Michael Karadjis, is very long (brevity must be a bourgeois virtue), but I'll try to summarize it for you in bullet points.

  • The events in Syria are a revolution, and represent secular, Leftist progress against a brutal government, and against western imperialism.
  • Evidence of secular leftism are found in the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC), which are democratic managers of local governance.
  • The threats to the revolution are three:
    • Imperialism wants to preserve the deep state, while changing the leaders at the top to make the government more representative.
    • The Assad regime wants to remain in power as is, with support from reactionary elements in Iran and Lebanon (Hezbollah).
    • The evil Salafists, represented by the al-Nusra Front, want to hijack the revolution for their own, nefarious Islamofascist ends. In this they have help from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The Marxist error is to cast events as revolutionary, i.e., a struggle of Left vs. Right. The analysis relies heavily on the character of the LCCs, supposedly novel, grassroots organizations representing secular, Marxist principles. They have no such importance. Instead they are simply local efforts to restore basic municipal services. Syria is a country of kin and tribe--large, extended families who live together in neighborhoods and defend themselves with local militias. The LCCs are just another name for existing tribal institutions--civil extensions of militias.

The revolt is Syria is an ethnic conflict pure and simple--there is no ideological conflict of significance. The best recent analogy I can think of is the war in Sri Lanka, pitting the Tamils against the Sinhalese. The Tamil Tigers were so not-cuddly that even Marxists couldn't rise to their support, and the government wasn't much better. Unlike Syria, the Sri Lankan conflict had no resonance elsewhere, and so the world community just ignored it.

But the Syrian struggle is ultimately Sunni vs. Shi'a, which echos across the entire Middle East. It has already spread to Iraq and Lebanon. It could easily extend into Turkey, and not just through the Kurds, but via the Alevi--a Shi'ite sect comprising about 20% of the population. Bahrain and even Saudi Arabia are potential battlegrounds. This is no small problem.

So the "imperialist" project of preserving the "deep state" while broadening the government is not such a bad idea. That keeps Syria intact and prevents a larger war. Only problem is it is probably now impossible. Walter Russell Mead has long taken the Obama administration to task for dithering and speechifying. He believes (without much conviction) that if the US had intervened sooner we could possibly have rescued the situation. But now it is too late.

It's not so much that I disagree with the Obama administration on policy--but they are just stunningly incompetent. Mr. Obama is clearly just not interested in world affairs, and knows very little. He has made a complete hash of the Russian "reset," the Egyptian "Spring," the Libyan "lead from behind," the Afghanistan "threat to withdraw if you don't surrender first," and so forth. If anybody is in a muddle, it's Mr. Obama.

Apart from his obscure caption, Mr. Proyect has said little about the Syrian conflict. A wise man, that Mr. Proyect. Humility is in order when it comes to something as complicated as Syria.

So now let's think about muddle number two--the Zimmerman verdict. Unlike his speeches on Syria, I was absolutely astounded by Mr. Obama's speech yesterday about Trayvon Martin. I think he said exactly what needed to be said, and he said it very well. Again, let me summarize in bullet points:
  • He explained to majority America why Blacks see the Trayvon Martin case differently than others. I found his comments very clarifying.
  • He did not accuse whites of being racist, nor did he accuse Blacks of being stupid. He gave full credit to both sides.
  • He did not excuse or explain away Black criminal behavior.
  • Stand Your Ground has no bearing in this particular case, and this was the only sour note in his speech. I did not follow the logic of his role reversal hypothetical.
  • However, as Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, Stand Your Ground is a very nice way of changing the subject, and I think the fact that Obama brought it up implies the Feds will not prosecute Zimmerman for civil rights violations. If true, this is good news.
  • He said that we are not in a post-racial world. There still is racism, and there are certainly racial problems. But he acknowledged the huge improvement in our society since 1964. In this he separates himself from race hustlers such as Al Sharpton.

Post-racial we may not be. But we are post-civil-rights. It is not true that race has nothing to do with the Zimmerman case--of course it does. There's too much history here. But we can say that Zimmerman has nothing to do with civil rights. Zimmerman was found innocent on the facts of the case. In other circumstances he would have been found guilty. There are no civil rights issues involved at all.

The civil rights movement is over. Zimmerman, and Obama's speech, marks the end.

So what does this have to do with Syria? Syria is an ethnic conflict without ideological content. And likewise, because of the victory of the civil rights movement, race relations in America is an ethnic conflict without ideological content. White people and Black people simply have different views of the world.

Marxists have it wrong. Ideology is dead.

Further Reading:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Immigration? Si!

Two specters are haunting the globe: deflation and depopulation.

The two are related, but deflation is a transient economic problem--in a decade or two it will be vanquished. Depopulation is much more serious, threatening civilization as we know it. That problem is long-term--lasting on the scale of centuries.

In southern Europe fertility rates have plunged to below 1.5--the number needed for a constant population is 2.1. In Japan, and South Korea the rate is below 1.3. In Japan they now sell more adult diapers than they do for babies. Even China isn't the teeming mass of humanity it used to be--it's down to 1.55.

Mexico and the United States come in at 2.25 and 2.06, respectively. Good by comparison, but hardly a population explosion.

Depopulation is terrible for a society. Of course the best solution is to have a stable birthrate, but failing that, a sensible immigration policy is essential. Japan dramatically illustrates the problems of having neither. The country simply will not exist 100 years from now if current trends continue. No, we don't need to wait for the last Japanese to die out--they will just succumb to invasion from one of their neighbors, e.g., the Philippines (3.1).

France illustrates the problems posed by unassimilated immigrants. Nominally, their fertility rate is 2.08. But according to Mark Steyn, the baby bulge is primarily among the very non-French Muslim population. Ethnic French (the carriers of French culture) are no better lovers than other Europeans. France, too, will simply cease to exist as France.

The world will be a much poorer place without either France or Japan.

As usual, the United States is a blessed country. Not only can we hold our own in the fertility sweepstakes, but our major source of immigrants is from Mexico. Mexicans are Christians who speak a language as close to English as any, and who share a significant part of our history. As immigrants they are not politically demanding, and they come here to work hard and accumulate capital. And yet, for all that, a lot of people want to turn them away.

Now this would be a disaster. Vitality, both economic and cultural, depends on population growth. From 2000 to 2010 we had the slowest growth of any decade in our history--a mere 10%, or 30 million people. Maybe that's sufficient, but if so, then just barely.

Of that 30 million, 11 million of them are illegal immigrants. Extremists like Michelle Malkin want to either deport them all, or strongly "encourage" them to leave ("self-deport" in Mitt Romney's unfortunate phrase). Of course that will never happen. Deporting 11 million people would be the largest forced migration in history, and it would be a humanitarian disaster. Even Ms. Malkin will flinch before actually doing that. So one way or another, we have to legalize these immigrants.

Not only should we legalize them, we should welcome them. In a world with shrinking human resources, the country with the most young people will do well.

But assimilation is essential, and unlike France, the US has a proven track record of accomplishing just that. In my youth, we Trotskyists vilified the once-famous linguist, S. I. Hayakawa. Mr. Hayakawa championed English Only laws that would make English the national language of the United States. Today I think he was on to something.

Now I'm not going the full Quebec on you--that is, unlike that province, I do not advocate government regulation of what language people use in their own private business. But the public language of the United States--the language of government at all levels--has to be English. English is the language of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, against which all laws are judged. Accordingly, for example, if Puerto Rico were to become a state (which I oppose) a condition has to be that all legislative and judicial deliberations at all levels of government be in English.

Mexican immigrants seem perfectly happy to learn English. They came to this country in part to leave Mexico--not to bring it with them (though if they bring more food, so much the better).

Two additional common arguments are made against immigration reform:
  1. The moral hazard: Many, especially my friends in the Tea Party (e.g., Glenn Reynolds), maintain that amnesty now will simply encourage more illegal immigration in the future. They cite the failed reform of 1986. But the world is different--Mexico's fertility rate has fallen dramatically and continues to fall. There simply is no large excess of Mexicans waiting to cross the border. The moral hazard--valid in principle--is simply irrelevant in practice.

    Accordingly, I object to the billions of dollars in proposed spending for the border fence. It won't keep people out because there aren't that many people waiting to get in. And it won't make us safer. The NSA does a better job with our security than do immigration officials at the border. What people carry on their persons is the least of our worries.
  2. Economic competition: Mickey Kaus is the most prominent advocate of this view, that low-wage Mexican workers compete against low-wage American workers. There is some truth to this, but not much. First, the illegal immigrants are already here, and because of their status receive below market wages. Hence they are worse competition now than they would be if they were legal. Employers will hire somebody below minimum wage if that person is both competent and available. Legal employees are not available at the extra-low salary.

    Second, low-wage workers benefit from a growing population, just like the rest of us.

    And third, it assumes that Mexicans will always be low-wage workers. I don't think that's true. My sense is that they hoard capital rather than fritter it. Over time, they will be a wealthy community.
Opponents of immigration reform point out the scandal that the current bill in congress is 1300 pages long and growing. "You'll have to pass it to find out what's in it," in Nancy Pelosi's immortal phrase. And this is a scandal, but it has nothing to do with immigration reform. Instead, it reflects the incompetence and corruption in congress, on both sides of the aisle.

The perfect cannot be the enemy of the good--Marco Rubio's bill deserves to pass the House. In a world of declining human resources, we can't afford to forego our last opportunity for immigration. Turning away people who are already here is huge mistake. Similarly, we need to find a way to give residency status to a large number of the foreign students now in the United States, regardless of major.

Common sense security concerns are, of course, valid. A criminal background, along with evidence of connections to terrorism, have to be disqualifying. Some border enforcement is necessary--probably at the level we currently have. But in general, people are our most valuable resource. Let's not turn them away.

Mr. Rubio has my vote for President, should he ever choose to run.

Further Reading:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why Trotskyists Don't Like Las Vegas

Live, from the Fabulous Strip in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada, please welcome Trotsky's Children!

Not quite true. I am alive, and I am in Las Vegas. But I'm not on the Strip--instead I'm writing you from a Starbucks on Paradise Road, while the Missus goes shopping with friends at Seafood City. It's all very pleasant, but nothing especially glamorous or unusual. Not a slot machine in sight.

What's there for a Trotskyist not to like? Three things.

Vegas, as you all know, made it's name in gambling, for which it used to have a legal monopoly. Casino revenue built the resorts--the famous ones for which streets are still named: the Tropicana, the Sands, the Flamingo. In those days--so the story goes--high rollers financed this town, betting big bucks on high stakes, losing enough of it to make a lot of other people rich.

That doesn't really hold true today. Yes, there still are "elegant" casinos, but the problem with casinos is that nobody who knows anything about money is going to spend any time there. So almost by definition casino patrons are poor. Not all of them, of course--there are still conventioneers and foreign tourists who visit Vegas once a decade or so, who don't mind blowing a few hundred dollars on a lark. But especially on weekends, the typical punter is low-rent--the big, fat guys with their double-wide brides. Or, perhaps more typically, the double-wides--divorced and lonely--come on their own.

These are people who not only don't earn very much money, but they can't hold on to it. Their sole hope at wealth is the unlikely jackpot--which even if they were to win they'd blow it all in a year or two. Gamblers can't conserve capital--instead, they fritter it. Some people fritter too much. On my early morning constitutional along the Strip, I see them--men and women, drunks literally in the gutter, beggars too tired, depressed, and morose to even look at me, bums scrounging through garbage cans. They are not only out of cash, but they've lost the social capital necessary to generate any income at all.

Welcome to Las Vegas. It's a great place to fritter away your capital.

Trotskyists aren't like that. As much as they advocate the redistribution of capital, they're very much against frittering it. The drug discipline--to which I'm pretty certain the grouplets I follow still adhere--is an excellent example. Trotskyists are under severe discipline never to use illegal drugs--a single offense leads to expulsion. The given reason for this is to prevent victimization by The Man, who could use drug offenses to frame the entire movement. But it colors their entire world view--Trotskyists never had much use for hippies or counter-culturalism. Even today, the Socialist Workers Party didn't buy into the Occupy Movement (rightly so, in my opinion). And they probably view casino patrons in approximately the same light I do--losers.

So fritterers are not a Trotskyist constituency. In this they differ from the Democratic Party, which counts fritterers among their key supporters (free phones, anyone?).

So, second on the list, what about casino workers? Perhaps surprisingly, Nevada has a higher rate of unionization than most states--almost 15% compared to 11% nationwide. Superficially, at least, this would be fertile ground for Trotskyist activism. Certainly with their newfound interest in service workers, Vegas is prime real estate. The biggest union, with 60,000 members, is the Culinary Workers union, representing casino workers.

There are two parts to the union business, and neither Leftists nor conservatives understand that. Part of the union movement is exactly what it says it is--an organization to aid the workingman. Surely this was true of the 1934 Teamsters in Minneapolis, the Flint sit-down strikes that formed the UAW, and the continuing saga of the United Mineworkers. It is probably largely true for today's SEIU, teachers' unions, and the UAW.

The dirty half of the union movement is run by organized crime, and involves labor racketeering. Trotskyists don't acknowledge this history, and conservatives generally fail to see that it's largely separate from the well-intentioned, workingman's movement. But in Las Vegas, it's the main show. The Strip was founded by the Mob, ultimately becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chicago's Outfit. In the early days, the Mob just skimmed the take from the casinos (Howard Hughes complained about being robbed blind). When that didn't work anymore, they unionized the labor force and used the monopoly to extort money from both the casinos and the workers.

So these unions have no honorable past--they never stood up for the workingman. Indeed, they're pretty close to being company unions--no wonder Trotskyists don't want anything to do with them. Still, they're a Democratic Party constituency--Nevada's become a swing state because of the unions.

This morning--perhaps around 7:30--I walked through a Strip casino. There was one craps game going on--I spent a few minutes watching. The boxman was a young Chinese man. The two dealers and the stickman were all middle-aged, Chinese women, who spoke accented English. They were working very hard and took the job very seriously. These people, far from being fritterers, are capital hoarders. I doubt they gamble at all, and I seriously doubt they share their earnings with the Mob. The union movement is dying in Las Vegas as much as in the rest of the country.

There's yet a third strand to Vegas history that's relevant--Mormonism. Much of Eastern Nevada was part of the Utah Territory before statehood. Congress, in it's great wisdom, didn't want to admit too big a state to the union, especially too big a Mormon state. So in it's plea for statehood, Utah was cut down to size. Still, Eastern Nevada is as Mormon as anyplace in Utah, and Las Vegas was founded as a Mormon settlement. Even today, there is a large Mormon presence--just check out the Vegas phone book for evidence.

Like Chinese, the Mormons are great capital hoarders. They don't gamble or drink--they won't even patronize the Starbucks where I now sit! They have lots of children. And hoarding capital pays off--Mormons have become political leaders, including Harry Reid. He's the senior senator from Nevada who is also the Senate Majority Leader.

He's a Democrat. That's almost an oxymoron--a Democrat Mormon, but now you know why. The fritterers are Democrats, the Mob bosses are Democrats, and the unions are Democrats. Success in state-wide politics is a lot easier if you're a Democrat. Mr. Reid is more interested in political success than in religious principle--though if you think of Mormonism as being mostly about capital appreciation, perhaps it makes sense.

Trotskyists aren't fritterers, but they're not hoarders, either. Redistribution is their bag. For that and many reasons, they won't get along with the Mormons or the Chinese.

So there you have it. None of the constituencies--fritterers, company unions, or Mormons--are friendly to Trotskyism. No wonder they've never made any efforts here.

Back in the day I visited Las Vegas occasionally as a tourist, and so I gambled small amounts for entertainment. But now that I come more often (and hope to retire here, at least part of the year) I’ve sworn off the habit completely. I like Las Vegas. I like the weather, the restaurants, the big airport, the passing scene. But there is one rule for life in Sin City:

Don’t fritter.

Further Reading:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The End Of Science

This article--not about Trotskyism--is inspired by thinking about careers in the STEM disciplines. I am posting today a long article on this subject, entitled Future STEM Employment. It doesn't really belong in this blog, but I don't have another blog so this is where it will have to go. Don't worry--we'll get back to Trotskyism soon.

In 1992 Francis Fukuyama published a famous book entitled The End Of History And The Last Man, by which he did not mean the end of events. Instead, he saw history as a Hegelian dialectic (only in a blog like this can one use that term without elaboration), with successive contradictions eventually reaching a resolution. The "contradictions" were the various -isms throughout history--feudalism, fascism, communism, capitalism, etc.

The last big ideological "contradiction" in Fukuyama's view was the conflict between communism and liberal capitalism. With the defeat of communism, the last great -ism has been vanquished, and we're all liberal capitalists now. And that appears to be true. All great powers--USA, China, Japan, Europe--are competing on who can build the most successful capitalist economy. There are no ideological disputes among them. (Islamism may be an exception, but that tendency is so incoherent and derivative that I don't think it offers any ideological contest for capitalism.)

So I mean the End Of Science in something like the same way. It's not that there won't be any further discoveries, or that science becomes irrelevant. It does mean that science will no longer radically change our world view any more. The big issues have (mostly) been decided. There is no huge pool of unexplained data out there.

Francis Bacon, arguably the founder of modern science, was very optimistic. He embarked on a project of empirical observation, against which any theory was to be tested. He admitted that he didn't have theories to predict much of what he saw, but felt that within a generation or two all the problems could be solved. Such hubris! We laugh at him today. By his account science would have ended by around 1700 or so.

Still, even though nature was more subtle than anyone imagined, by the middle of the 19th Century it looked as though the end was in sight. Elegant theories were developed for both electromagnetism and thermodynamics--two subjects that had baffled the best minds for centuries. Bacon's optimism, while premature, seemed justified. A few small questions remained: black body radiation seemed inexplicable, nobody knew if atoms really existed, and the universe was found to be both much older and much bigger than anybody had thought.

We can use the year 1905 as a marker for when the world was turned upside down. That was Albert Einstein's Annus Mirabilis, when he submitted four papers that shook science to it's very core. From those papers evolved the modern theories of quantum mechanics and relativity. These theories used new or hitherto obscure branches of mathematics in their description, which made them seem both very difficult and incredibly esoteric to the lay audience. But familiarity breeds contempt--today both theories are taught in the undergraduate chemistry and physics curricula. I teach quantum mechanics myself.

Since 1905, Baconian optimism has been replaced by what I call the Magic School Bus approach. Far from being a solvable problem, in this view science has become an infinite frontier, one that will never close. Second graders are urged to employ creativity to discover new scientific truths about the world around them. College students are exhorted to study science because, after all, that's where progress will be made. New discoveries are just a matter of additional manpower--investment will inevitably be rewarded.

Horsefeathers. I think Mr. Bacon ultimately was right, and that's why I predict the End of Science.

Certainly physics and chemistry have already ended. There simply is no unexplained data out there--nothing like the pre-1905 list given above. Yes, there are folks who study string theory, but this is so far from being experimentally testable that it's not really physics anymore. And there are people who try to find short range aberrations in the law of gravity--but if they exist at all they're too small to be measured. The rules of quantum chemistry have yielded to computation, and can now be employed by college freshmen. There are no big problems.

Of course there are lots of little problems, some of which have considerable technological importance. Some claim that nanotechnology is the science of the age (though I think it's been over-hyped). But it is more accurately a branch of engineering, not science. The basic rules of chemistry and physics are not challenged--it's just that our technology is now good enough to work at the nanoscale.

Biology still has some big problems left. We don't understand how the brain functions. Our understanding of the genome and proteome is still fairly primitive. Still--the horizon is in sight. The theory of evolution is elaborated down to the molecular scale, and is completely uncontroversial in scientific terms--religious and Marxist objections notwithstanding. Evolutionary psychology has enormous explanatory value, though until we really do know how the brain works it has to remain tentative.

So now the discussion turns. From the relatively simple laws of physics and chemistry, and even evolution, we arrive at unimaginably complex phenomena such as brain function and psychology. Can economics and sociology be far behind? No--and that was precisely the thesis of Edward O. Wilson's 1999 book, Consilience. Wilson claims that all human knowledge will be combined within a single logical framework--the motion of an electron around an atom is intimately connected to emotion surrounding da Vinci's Mona Lisa. There exists a chain of reasoning that connects one phenomenon with the other.

Well, maybe not so directly. There is a discipline known as complexity theory, which holds that complex phenomena are qualitatively different from simpler systems. Terms that arise when discussing complexity include chaos and emergent phenomena.

Chaos refers to systems that are intrinsically unpredictable due to strong, non-linear coupling. These need not even be complex systems; deceptively simple things such as the double pendulum will do. The so-called butterfly effect is an example of chaotic phenomena.

Emergent phenomena is when the whole is clearly more than the sum of the parts. For example, in this video, the behavior of the flock cannot in anyway be described by the flight trajectory of an individual bird. The flight pattern of the flock emerges from the complex interaction between individual birds. An emergent theory for consciousness, for example, is that it arises spontaneously from the complexity of the brain, and that there is no individual area of the brain where consciousness resides.

Complexity theory claims that, while consciousness is indeed a natural phenomena, it remains both unpredictable and indivisible. One will never be able to isolate a thought down to an individual neuron, nor can one ever devise a simple algorithm that will reliably reproduce human behavior. The complex brain, so the theory goes, is both chaotic and emergent.

So the traditional sciences, along with much of biology, are dead. Francis Bacon was right--Ms. Frizzle has it wrong. The human sciences, on the other hand, are very much alive.

Science is dead. Long live science.

Further Reading:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Motown Blues

Sometimes Trotskyists commit acts of outstanding journalism.

An article entitled Shock and Awe in Detroit is an excellent example, written by Dianne Feeley, appearing in Against the Current, and published by Solidarity. Ms. Feeley and I were comrades in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the 1970s, though I don't recall meeting her personally. She now identifies herself as a "retired autoworker," which is certainly the best kind of autoworker to be.

So what makes it such good journalism? Two things: 1) she really knows something, and 2) she cares.

I have read much about Detroit's meltdown in a lot of places, written by people who don't live there. Detroit reporter Charlie LeDuff has crossed my radar screen as well, but somehow I can't take him seriously. Ms. Feeley has them all beat--she actually lives in Detroit and knows a lot about her city. I respect people like that.

I don't know how long Ms. Feeley has lived in Detroit, but it is obvious that she cares about her city. Her article contains actual suggestions for how to improve things. More traditional Trotskyist parties (SWP and  Socialist Action (SA)) will accuse her of reformism, i.e., some plan to improve people's lives short of world revolution. But the truth is neither the SWP nor SA give a rat's patoot about people who actually live in Detroit. The SWP closed their Detroit branch ten or fifteen years ago--when the going got tough the vanguard Party left town. SA no longer publishes the locations of their branches(!?), but I doubt they get any closer than the leafy confines of Ann Arbor. By contrast, Ms. Feeley is looking for ideas to make things better right now, not just in the sweet bye-and-bye.

Knowledge and sympathy lead to honesty. Not only does Ms. Feeley's account confirm facts that I have read elsewhere, but she also states facts that don't support her larger, ideological thesis. Like a true journalist, she can put her ideology aside in the cause of truth--very unTrotskyist behavior. It's not often I get to say this in this blog, but read the whole thing.

Ms. Feeley offers four specific suggestions. Despite the fact that I disagree with all of them, they are serious ideas--not just cheap efforts to score rhetorical points. Let's consider them in turn.
Since only 27 working-age Detroiters (16-64) out of every 100 have jobs, developing a jobs program is key.
There are two problems with this, though I confess I have no better ideas. First, many Detroiters are, frankly, unemployable. Working at a fast food place, for example, requires that you be well-spoken, appropriately dressed and groomed, that you know how to run a cash register, and that you show up on time. This is a tough hurdle for a lot of ghetto kids who've never succeeded in school at any level and never really held a job.

Second, make-work, charity jobs are never a good idea. Not only will they cost a whole lot more than just straight welfare benefits, but they'll attract a whole lot of hangers-on needed to manage the welfare employees. You'll never get rid of them, and in the meantime it's a big hole in the wallet.
Stop foreclosures and evictions that are devastating the city. The city currently has more than 45,000 abandoned homes. Most homes are “under water,” with $140,000 mortgages on homes that are valued by assessors at $20,000. We need a program of principle reductions.
Somebody is going to take a loss on Detroit real estate--that's a given. Ms. Feeley thinks it should be the banks and the landlords, rather than "homeowners" or tenants. Unlike most Trotskyists (and to her great credit) she only calls for principal reductions--in other words she understands that not even the banks should take a complete loss. Hers is as good a suggestion as any, and I think it's already happening (however imperfectly).

Landlords who can't collect rent will simply walk away from the property. The last thing Detroit needs is more abandoned property. So letting landlords evict tenants is absolutely essential--Ms. Feeley is wrong on this one.
Stop closing public schools, which anchor neighborhoods. Approximately 100,000 children who live in Detroit attend charters, suburban public schools, or schools that the governor has taken over and operates outside of any legal framework. Without decent public schools, many young families feel forced to leave the city.
This is her most ideological point, and accordingly the least defensible. 100,000 students must be the majority of Detroit's pupils, who are voting with their feet. The public schools are a disgrace--not just in Detroit but across the country. They need to be shut down. The teachers' unions surely deserve a lot of the blame, but corrupt politicians and parasitic hangers-on are right up there.
Yet he [Kevyn Orr] does not call on the state to return to the annual revenue sharing it provided just 15 years ago ($330 million in 1999 versus $173 million in 2012) or ask the governor to pass a law instructing businesses in the city to deduct taxes for those workers who live in the suburbs. This act alone would bring in an annual $155 million more to the city.
The decrease in the state allocation isn't quite as bad as she makes it sound--Detroit has lost about 30% of it's population since 1999. But worse, the Michigan economy has gone through the wringer, and the idea that taxpayers in Flint or Grand Rapids should be sending more money to Detroit is unrealistic. I can't fault Mr. Orr.

Taxing workers who work in Detroit but live in the suburbs is a very unTrotskyist suggestion, and I give Ms. Feeley high props for putting it forward. It's not clear if she just means city employees, in which case it's the same thing as giving them a pay cut. That might be necessary, but then it's probably easier just to cut their pay than raise their taxes. If, alternatively, she means all people who work in Detroit, then this is just a tax on employment. It's hard to see how that will make people richer. I don't support this idea.

One reason Ms. Feeley lives in Detroit is that Solidarity has its national headquarters there. Now this is odd--why choose a declining, impoverished, rust-belt town as your icon? I can think of three possibilities:
  1. To paraphrase Ken Gibson: I don't know where American cities are going, but where ever it is, Detroit will get there first. Rather than being an irrelevant backwater, Detroit, on the verge of bankruptcy, is a national trendsetter. Look here and weep.
  2. Detroiters' circumstances are so desperate that they're ripe for a revolutionary party like Solidarity.
  3. Solidarity's national headquarters is wherever Dianne Feeley happens to live.
These are not mutually exclusive, and I think they're all good reasons. But I vote for #3--I have considerable respect for Dianne Feeley.

Further Reading:

It's Vegas Baby

Later this coming week, Mrs. Trotsky and I will be spending a few days in Las Vegas. She is going to attend a school reunion, which means I'm going to have some time on my hands, especially since I don't gamble. So I've set myself the somewhat challenging task of finding connections between Sin City and Trotskyism.

I'm asking for your help. If you know of any relevant bookstores, historical sites, etc., that I could visit, please send word along. Warning: failure to respond may result in off-topic posts.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Affirmative Action: Out With A Whimper

A word commonly used to describe the Supreme Court's recent Fisher v. University of Texas decision is "punted." Rather than rule decisively for or against racial preferences, the court instead remanded the case back to lower courts for strict scrutiny. The decision was 7 to 1, with the liberal Justice Ginsburg the only dissenter.

I don't believe the Court punted. That term implies that they made a mistake in agreeing to hear Fisher in the first place, and I find that claim incredible. Despite the fact that they have already agreed to hear Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action next year, I think the fate of affirmative action is sealed and will not now change very much.

The issue revolves around the 14th Amendment, also known as the equal protection clause, which states in part
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
It is ironic that this clause, originally written to guarantee Black civil rights, is now used to protect the rights of whites and Asians. Irony notwithstanding, the principle of equality under the law is too important a concept to sacrifice for frivolous reasons. Clearly, treating Blacks as second class citizens is and should be unconstitutional. Likewise, discriminating against whites--or more accurately, against Asians--is comparably unacceptable.

The original jurisprudence on affirmative action dates from the 1978 Univ. of California v. Bakke decision. This ruling stated two things: 1) that "diversity" is a legitimate educational goal that universities have a right to pursue. And 2) that an explicit, racial quota system--i.e., reserving a set percentage of seats for Blacks and Hispanics--violates the equal protection clause. Instead, universities are required to use "holistic" admissions standards in which race can be only one of many criteria. Your attitude toward Bakke depends on which of these two points you find most offensive.

If, like me, you consider the "diversity" concept to be mostly horsefeathers, then you regard Bakke as wrongly supporting affirmative action. This is clearly the opinion of Justices Alito and Thomas, who wrote concurring opinions to Fisher saying that affirmative action should be ruled unconstitutional.

Certainly I see value in diversity. I work today on a very diverse campus--though I would rather use the word cosmopolitan. Such an environment is much more pleasant and interesting than a small campus in a Midwestern farm town. Students who value an urban, multicultural atmosphere will find many colleges to choose from in this country. There's a reason why New York University is among the most sought after institutions. But there is no value here that comes close to trumping the equal protection clause.

At the opposite extreme, I recall the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) as being adamantly opposed to the Bakke decision. They objected most to point #2, i.e., they strongly supported quotas in university admissions. This is totally consistent with the Trotskyist (Marxist) view that human beings are interchangeable. Anybody can be an A student at Harvard if only they are given the chance. And the only reason Black people don't have the chance is because of racism. By this logic, any discrepancy in equal outcomes for all races is due entirely to racist discrimination and can be easily corrected by quotas.

Of course it's not true. The bottom line is that Trotskyists don't believe in the equal protection clause at all. They believe that university slots should be allocated politically, rather than by any merit. Part of the problem, of course, is that "merit" is a very slippery term, and includes not only academic talent, but also athletic ability, relationships to alumni, religious affiliation, etc. Why shouldn't it also include race? That is precisely the issue that the court will address when it takes up the Schuette case next year.

As much as a radical like me would find it satisfying if the court had simply thrown out affirmative action in its entirety, I have to respect the decision of the Roberts court in Fisher. The court is deciding cases on the narrowest possible grounds, which is indeed a very conservative procedure. Affirmative action has been the law of the land for over fifty years now, and it can't all of a sudden be found unconstitutional.

All constitutional rights are limited. The right to free speech does not extend to yelling "fire" in a theatre, or to threatening violence. Freedom of religion does not permit human sacrifice, and the right to bear arms is tightly circumscribed. Likewise, the equal protection clause won't apply everywhere. Governments have long made distinctions between men and women, certain religious groups have been exempted from the draft, and some affirmative action apparently is constitutional. But any violation of the equal protection clause requires strict scrutiny, which is exactly what the court has ordered.

In practice, very little affirmative action will survive such scrutiny. It will simply fade away, despite the strenuous efforts of the few remaining ideologues who support it.

It is interesting that most relevant jurisprudence on this issue has involved academia. This is probably because people see colleges as a gatekeeper. Get admitted to Harvard, so the theory goes, and you are pretty much guaranteed a life among the 1%. This is a very Trotskyist point of view--admission to Harvard is indeed very much a matter of luck, and affirmative action has simply altered the odds somewhat.

But the role of academia as gatekeeper has always been exaggerated. Harvard has prestige because only a thousand freshmen are admitted annually--a tightly rationed status symbol. Insofar as the status symbol is allocated for reasons that have nothing to do with status, it devalues the brand. Athletic talent confers status (which is why good schools offer those scholarships), but race does not.

Further, technology is allowing education to be much more widely distributed, devaluing the brand yet more. Bright students will get an excellent education without ever setting foot in Harvard. Prestigious companies, such as Google, have now eliminated the college degree as a filter for employment because it is not predictive of performance. So colleges--even Harvard--will lose prestige and power, and affirmative action becomes less and less important as a result.

I actually wouldn't object to affirmative action if it were limited to African-Americans. That group, uniquely, has had a particularly sorry history on this continent, and modest measures subject to strict scrutiny to improve their lot seem warranted. They constitute only 12% of the American population, so the impact spread among the remaining 88% would be minimal.

Unfortunately, affirmative action has been extended to Hispanics, who are just another ethnic group no different than the rest of us, and to women, who are completely undeserving. The result is that 65% of the population is part of a "protected class," which really means that the remaining 35% (white males) are screwed. So affirmative action as it actually exists is really just legalized discrimination against white males and Asians of both genders.

As the academy shrinks, affirmative action will shrink with it. Good riddance.

Note: I wish all friends and comrades a Very Happy 237th Birthday! Have a great Fourth Of July!

Further Reading: