Links – 03/01/2017

  • Brian Boutwell and J. C. Barnes argue on Quillette that many results in sociology may be confounded by genetics, but we don’t know for sure because social scientists use research designs that don’t account for that possibility. In particular, they mention neighborhood effect, which is one of my obsessions. I think there are good studies about this phenomenon, but I also think Boutwell and Barnes are right that genetic confounding might be a significant problem, so it will be interesting to see what happens as more studies use designs that account for the possibility that genetics is a confounder.
  • Politico published a piece last  year on a research group led by McMaster, whom Trump recently chose to replace Flynn as National Security Advisor, on how to modernize the US Army so that it would be ready to face Russia. I’m still trying to figure out what to think about McMaster. The fact that he has been praised by every neoconservative in Washington suggests that he is bad news, but I have also read some realists speak well of him, so I’m not sure what to make of him.
  • Harvard-Harris conducted a survey for The Hill which is bad news for the Democrats in more ways than one. In particular, it shows that a majority of people, in some cases overwhelming, support Trump on most of his immigration-related policies. As I have noted repeatedly, I think the Democrats are making a huge mistake by trying to be the party of immigration, for which they will pay a price even though they don’t know it yet.
  • Meanwhile, according to a poll for Chatham House, the vast majority of Europeans think that immigration from muslim countries should be stopped. This is not remotely surprising to anyone who has lived in Europe recently, though it seems to have surprised quite a few people on this side of the Atlantic. If the sophisticates were as smart as they think they are, they would at least consider the possibility that the people who don’t like muslim immigration are not just a bunch of ignorant bigots, but that’s not going to happen.
  • As a recent by-election in the UK and the upcoming election in the Netherlands show, the Left in Europe continues to die slowly, which is largely because immigration has become such a big issue over there. Democrats in the US should take note, for the same thing might happen to them if they’re not careful, but they won’t because in their own way they believe in American exceptionalism. (To be clear, there are many significant differences between the US and Europe with respect to immigration, but I also think people overestimate their political significance.)