June 3, 2010

The Minnesota Challenge

Audacious Epigone has a new ranking of U.S. states, this time of the percentage of young people "fit-to-serve" in the enlisted ranks of the military. It's based on a recent report Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve: 75 Percent of Young Adults Cannot Join the Military; Early Education across America is Needed to Ensure National Security by a bunch of retired generals and admirals.

The report lists the percentage of each state's young people are undesirable enlistees because they:
- are high school drop-outs
- have a criminal record
- have a health problem (typically, obesity).

Unfortunately, there's no information available on how much these problems overlap in individuals. Audacious merely subtracts from 100% the sum of the three problems to create his state rankings, which, presumably, overstates the severity of the problem somewhat. But, it's still pretty helpful as a ranking tool. Here are the Top Ten states with the most fit-to-serve youths:

StateEligible %
1. Vermont59.8
2. Minnesota59.2
3. Wisconsin57.4
4. Iowa57.1
5. North Dakota55.4
6. Connecticut53.0
7. Montana52.7
8. Utah52.4
9. New Hampshire51.9
10. South Dakota51.5

So, Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Law of Proximity to the Canadian Border is verified once again. And here are the Bottom Ten:

42. Alaska32.2
43. Florida28.8
44. Alabama27.9
45. New Mexico23.1
46. South Carolina22.4
47. Louisiana21.2
48. Georgia19.3
49. Mississippi17.4
50. Nevada15.9
51. District of Columbia15.2

Among the demographically diverse Big Three States of the Future -- California, Texas, and Florida -- California does best at 37.2%, Texas is at 35.5% and Florida at 28.8%. Super fast growing Nevada is next to last at 15.9%, while population-stagnant Vermont is first at 59.8%.

Here's my advice to generals based on the fit-to-serve trends implicit in these state rankings. Don't plan on getting us into any more land wars in Asia.

(Here's the list of per capita enlistment rates in 2003. Montana was first at 67% above the national average, Alaska second, Wyoming third, and Maine fourth. DC and Puerto Rico were last, Utah next (Mormon missionary commitments?), followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts.)

By the way, Minnesota comes in -- Big surprise! -- #2 on this measure of fit-to-serve at 59.2%.  It seems to me that Minnesota almost always does well on state rankings of just about anything good.

In Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis says, "There was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones." Sociologically, we see positive correlations between most positive things: income, IQ, trust, cooperation, law-abidingness, kindness, future time orientation, health, beauty, and so forth and so on.

So, here's The Minnesota Challenge: find a state ranking of a broad-based social good where Minnesota's general population falls in the lower half of all states.

It has to be broad-based. It can't be something super-elite, like Nobel Laureates resident per capita or billionaires resident per capita. And it can't be weather-related, like Lack of Frostbite.
 

77 comments:

wild chicken said...

My stepson got in to the Marines and he has a felony record, even spent 2 years back at the boys' "school."

So that means the criminal record must be pretty bad to keep a kid out.

Anonymous said...

Texas is at 35.5% and Florida at 28.8%

Ugh.

I have long held that we just don't have enough masculinity left in our culture to mount an offensive like Normandy or Iwo Jima - the boys I see on our college campuses today would be like lambs going to the slaughter if they were thrown into an environment like that.

Our only hope is that young Chinese boys today might be even MORE effeminate than young American boys.

Jeff said...

How does Minnesota do on the important metric Somalians per capita?

ASDF said...

Interesting that the South does so poorly. I heard that they are quite over-represented in the military.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the lowest states send have more people serving in the military.

Even though Minnesota has more 'eligeable' young people, I doubt they're falling over themselves to enlist.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, people always say that. But even soft kids toughen up quickly under duress. Look at the bohemians of Sarajevo, who went from being café haunting layabouts to tough fighters over the course of the Serbian siege.

Polistra said...

This set of qualifications misses the most important of all for a non-conscripted military, which is the warrior spirit. And that's where the Deep South has all the advantage. Minnesota's fine health and IQ are irrelevant if they also carry a (rational) instinct to put self-preservation above all.

ironrailsironweights said...

So, here's The Minnesota Challenge: find a state ranking of a broad-based social good where Minnesota's general population falls in the lower half of all states.

Something related to cultural/artistic achievement?

Peter

afafasfasdf said...

"Interesting that the South does so poorly. I heard that they are quite over-represented in the military."

True. It's funny that the least eligible states produce more guys eager to enlist than eligible states do.

But then it all makes sense. Joining the military--unless one goes to West Point or Annapolis--isn't exactly the best career track in life. I'll bet Jews are more eligible for the military than any other group, but why go to bootcamp when you can to Yale or Harvard?

The military is prized as an opportunity or meal ticket for those with poor prospects, so the stupid states produce more guys willing to sign up.

Obama would certainly have qualified for the military but he chose Columbia and Harvard instead. If he had been a lot dumber and ineligible for good colleges, he might have given the military some thought.

Baloo said...

My guess would be that Minnesota would rank low in average sense of humor. Germans and Scandinavians are kind of deficient that way, and apparently they even think Garrison Keillor is funny.

Chief Seattle said...

I'm pretty sure Minnesota falls into the bottom half in any ranking of diversity, which as we all know is a social good.

The South is still hurting from the last war (the recent overseas adventures don't count) where it was demonstrated that no matter how many times you read the Iliad, war-winning depends on an intact industrial base and geeks at Lockheed Martin far more than the percentage of young men that can run 5 miles with a loaded pack.

BamaGirl said...

"My guess would be that Minnesota would rank low in average sense of humor. Germans and Scandinavians are kind of deficient that way, and apparently they even think Garrison Keillor is funny."

I agree. I prefer southerners over mid-westerners any day of the week. Mid-westerners are a strange lot. My best friend in high school was born in North Dakota. Her parents house was decorated with pictures of golden retrievers, dolphins and other cutesy knick-knacks.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota doesn't do very well on obesity rankings. It's stuck in the middle.

stari_momak said...

Surprising that Utah is that low. In my own former, intelligence related speciality we had quite a few mormons -- their squeaky clean lifestyle and language abilities make them prized recruits. I suppose, however, that since Mormonism is in once sense a giant ethnoreligious self-help society, its young men have less need to go to Uncle Sugar for employment.

Anonymous said...

what is the percentage of young WHITE southerners ready/able to serve? My guess is the South is dragged down by higher numbers of NAMs compared to the Canadian border states.

silly girl said...

"My guess would be that Minnesota would rank low in average sense of humor. Germans and Scandinavians are kind of deficient that way, and apparently they even think Garrison Keillor is funny."

Haven't you heard Norwegian jokes?

http://www.jokes-funblog.com/categories/105-Norwegian-Jokes

Jim Bowery said...

1) Vibrance
2) Vibrancy
3) Vibranciness
4) Emotional IQ
5) Lack of need for Freudian psychoanalysis
6) Unhideously whiteosity
7) Natural immunity to globally emergent diseases
8) Rhythm

I could go on...

Anonymous said...

I thought Minnesota might do poorly on prevalence of depression or suicide, because Scandinavia has high rates, but Minnesota actually does well.

On the other hand, how does Minnesota rank on the most important measure of all: diversity?

Anonymous said...

Collapsing bridges?

Truth said...

The fangs of this post are just DRIPPING with blatant Nordicism

Anonymous said...

Garrison Keillor is supposed to funny?

Anonymous said...

Defend America from what? A Canadian invasion? These retired military hacks just want more cannon fodder for the empire. On a side note somebody mentioned the lack of Jews in the military. Its true. Jews have pretty much always been under-represented as a share of their (admittedly small) population. For example while Jews comprised about two percent (.02) of the population they only made up four-tenths of one percent (.004) of those who served in Vietnam. I await the inevitable countter-attack / rebutttal.

Svigor said...

Our only hope is that young Chinese boys today might be even MORE effeminate than young American boys.

You'd be hoping in vain. Sure, bring east Asian males up in an environment similar to that of non-rural American boys and they turn out bigger sissies, but that's rare in China. The typical rural Chinese lad is probably as 'ard as a coffin nail, relatively speaking, and there are more of them than there are people in the USA.

But people (especially the young) can toughen up in a short time. IME it takes about 1-4 weeks of hard living.

Rain And said...

"Minnesota has one of the nation's worst drunken driving rates, said a government report that says 15 percent of adult drivers nationally report driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous year. Here are the states with the worst records:

1. Wisconsin, 26.4 percent

2. North Dakota, 26.4 percent

3. Minnesota, 23.5 percent

4. Nebraska, 22.9 percent

5. South Dakota, 21.6 percent"

Æternitatis said...

Minnesota challenge:

How about being polyglot (that is, able to communicate very well in more than one language)? Regardless of one's feelings about large-scale Spanish-speaking immigration, it seems to me indisputable that being able to speak English *and* another language well is a sign of greater intellectual and educational achievement that only being able to speak English.

According to the 2000 Census, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-29.pdf at 5, Minnesota does not do too well on that score. Assuming that everybody who doesn't speak English very well speaks a language other than English at home (likely to only have a trivial number of exceptions) and everybody who speaks English at home does not speak any other language very well (probably more exceptions, but likely not too many of those most are likely to be well-assimilated U.S. hispanics, so they are unlikely to help Minnesota much), we get that only 4.85% of Minnesotans are polyglot.

That places Minnesota at #30 of the 50 states and District of Columbia, clearly in the bottom half.

What do I win?

Melykin said...

BamaGirl said:
My best friend in high school was born in North Dakota. Her parents house was decorated with pictures of golden retrievers, dolphins and other cutesy knick-knacks.
============================

What's wrong with that???

Svigor said...

Anonymous, people always say that. But even soft kids toughen up quickly under duress. Look at the bohemians of Sarajevo, who went from being café haunting layabouts to tough fighters over the course of the Serbian siege.

Yup. Maybe TV propagates a lot of the ignorance on this? (you know how I love to blame TV) On TV, conflict is king, and adaptation tends to ameliorate conflict, so you see an an entire landscape of people incapable of adaptation: nerds who won't learn to rough it, SWPLs who won't learn to kill, jerks who won't learn to schmooze, jocks who won't learn to type, etc. Real people are a lot better at life than this.

David said...

>What do I win?<

Continued anonymity.

Svigor said...

Hmmm, in and of itself, a second language is obviously a good thing. But in America, isn't it overwhelmingly a correlate with a host of bad things?

Fred said...

"The fangs of this post are just DRIPPING with blatant Nordicism"

Funny, considering that Minnesota has sent at least two Jewish Senators and one black Muslim Congressman to D.C.

Of course, most of the lefty/inclusive politics HBDer's blame Jews for are shared by the Minnesotans.

Rain And said...

Using the immaculate equalitarian logic of disparate impact, this site appears to bizarrely spin Wisconsin and Minnesota's relative lack of medical malpractice into a kind of incompetence at rooting out dirty doctors, while praising Alaska and Kentucky for having a surfeit of Dr. Nicks.

Anonymous said...

Scandinavians are generally good learners of language. Most Swedes speak both German and English pretty well, as do Dutch, in addition to their own languages.

Mestizos are not as adults particularly good second language learners: those who speak both English and Spanish almost always learned both as children. East LA Chicanos are often totally incapable of coherent communication in Spanish despite knowing a lot of fragments of it.

My experience is that whites who make up their minds to learn one of most Western languages and who have an IQ much above room temperature do surprisingly well. Motivation and opportunity are the limiting factors.

Camlost said...

Regardless of one's feelings about large-scale Spanish-speaking immigration, it seems to me indisputable that being able to speak English *and* another language well is a sign of greater intellectual and educational achievement that only being able to speak English.

LOL, yes let's import more mestizo immigrants to fill all of the bilingual $8.50 per hour customer service jobs that they're creating!!

Border jumper illegal immigrants from Latin America average about a 5th-grade education in Spanish (if that). They are often functionally illiterate in Spanish, and can hardly be considered Polyglot simply because they can muddle through bad English, too.

Also, Latin Immigrants are mostly mestizo and they may have even grown up speaking a pre-literate Native language, further eroding their abilities with Spanish.

Steve has also provided plenty of other evidence showing that Mestizo children in the US do NOT do well in school on average, even many 2nd-generation mestizos are functionally illiterate in both Spanish AND English, even after having attended 8+ years of public school in the US.

eh said...

I think that to further diversity in the military we must have unfit people in the military. I mean, it's only logical.

Anonymous said...

"Hmmm, in and of itself, a second language is obviously a good thing. But in America, isn't it overwhelmingly a correlate with a host of bad things?"


How about written and spoken proficiency in at least one? Beyond that, the more the merrier.

Anonymous said...

"How about being polyglot (that is, able to communicate very well in more than one language)?"

No way, explain Quebec, super low highschool rate, high degree of bilingualism. You're punishing Minnesota and rewarding Arizona for having more "bilingual" people. It's more a function of diversity.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm a man of distinction - a real rarity. I jointed up in the Washington DC National Guard. I didn't feel particularly honored at the time.

I took that military entrance exam referred to in the paper. Indeed a number of others were rejected on that day so long ago. The black guy I was talking to in the waiting room was accepted with a score at the seventeenth percentile. So the cut off score must have been lower yet.

Funny though somehow the dummies still got in. I met guys in Basic Training who were intellectually challenged by breathing.

The criteria for military acceptance seems to be IQ - artfully concealed by speaking of high school education and criminal record. In America IQ differences mean race differences (to a first approximation). This is the reason white Minnesota does better than black Washington DC.

Albertosaurus

Dutch Boy said...

Let's hear it for those Lake Wobegon Norwegians! BTW- the high Scandinavian suicide rates are a function of the latitude and it's relative lack of sunlight, not any deficiency in sense of humor. My German/Scandinavian relatives are a laugh-a-minute, my wife's WASP family is grim as a graveyard (e.g, I have never heard my mother-in-law laugh).

Anonymous said...

"Regardless of one's feelings about large-scale Spanish-speaking immigration, it seems to me indisputable that being able to speak English *and* another language well is a sign of greater intellectual and educational achievement that only being able to speak English."


Being functionally illiterate in two languages is not an asset.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Steve, how come kids from the more "fit to serve" states have a political culture generally less hawkish than the dumb redneck states.

BamaGirl said...

"What's wrong with that???"

It just seems corny and slightly comical, that's all. You won't see many native southerners with a house decorated like that. I'm not saying they aren't decent people, they certainly are, I was just pointing out that certain aspects of midwestern culture are slightly bland/weird. (at least in the my eyes)

BamaGirl said...

"Steve, how come kids from the more "fit to serve" states have a political culture generally less hawkish than the dumb redneck states."

Have you even been to any of the "dumb redneck states", anonymous? There are some obnoxious evangelicals, yes, but the other 75 percent of the population is just fine.

Gene Berman said...

C'mon, Baloo. Garrison Keillor is pretty damn funny (and otherwise
broadly talented), even if a political liberal.

The guy is really mean and small, though. On Bill O'Reilly's show (where O'Reilly, apparently totally unfamiliar with Keillor or his stuff on NPR and assuming him a Minnesota-bound farmboy) let O'Reilly go on and on about how different things were "in the city," making a complete fool of himself to anyone with the slightest familiarity with Prairie Home Companion and Keillor's various schticks--which probably spend a fair portion of their time playing NYC. A decent human being would've cut him off and wised him up after a minute or two but not Keillor--he just played straight.

Æternitatis said...

@David
>[You win c]ontinued anonymity.

Sadly, no. While I use my pseudonym, my legal name is trivially easy to figure out.

@Svigor
>[A] second language is obviously a good thing. But in America, isn't it overwhelmingly a correlate with a host of bad things?

Perhaps. But that is why finding a solution to the "Minnesota Challenge" was a challenge.


@Anonymous
> Scandinavians are generally good learners of language. Most Swedes speak both German and English pretty well, as do Dutch, in addition to their own languages.

Tell me about it. My native language is Swedish, I can pass for an educated native in Germany, and I earn an excellent living as a U.S. lawyer speaking and writing English.

@Camlost
> [But mexican immigrants are stupid mestizos who usually don't speak English well.]

That is beside the point. The percentages I quoted are for people who speak a language other than English at home (presumably very well) AND are classified as speaking English very well. Quite possibly many of them are of Latin American origin. But I only counted the ones who speak English very well too.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... how about prevalence of conservatism? Oh snap! Perhaps Minnesota's performance on so many fronts is as much a consequence of it's liberalism as its ethnic makeup.

Kylie said...

Bama Girl said..."Mid-westerners are a strange lot. My best friend in high school was born in North Dakota. Her parents house was decorated with pictures of golden retrievers, dolphins and other cutesy knick-knacks."

That is strange. I wouldn't trade my Macarena Gorilla, my pink flamingo or my Harley Davidson wall clock for any of that crap.

Richard Hoste said...

This is a left wing group that pushes things like head start for "national security" purposes.

Worst of all worlds.

Anonymous said...

Sweden. Now that is a good state. Home of the Nobel Prize. Home of the neat hedges. Home of pretty girls trimming neat hedges..yes indeed. The best country in the world to live in if you are a Swede

Baloo said...

Ye-e-s, he _is_ sorta funny, but he's made it to supreme asshole status on my list, rendering it virtually impossible for me to enjoy his stuff because I can't forget who's doing it. I also have no doubt that he'd sneer at any humorists who step off the PC reservation as 'unfunny,' me for example. I remember him making fun of Jesse Ventura as some kind of dangerous right-winger. Now, that's funny. Not purposely so, but funny.

Relatedly, I watched and loved _Up_ fortunately before I knew Ed Asner was doing the main voice. Would've been hard to appreciate first time around knowing that:)

Anonymous said...

Check out Minnesota, Nice or Not?

This was a Minneapolis Foundation pro-third world immigration campaign...

http://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/immigration/about.htm

beowulf said...

Errr, I wonder if there is a little grade inflation (or rather deflation) going on here. Recruiters in the Southeast ALWAYS beat their quotas, the Georgia National Guard was turning away recruits while Guard units in other states were starving for manpower.

If a recruiter in Georgia has his pick of solid kids (white and black) with acceptable ASVAB scores, why would he waste his time to: put an obese prospect on deferred entry to give him time to lose weight; help a high school dropout get a seat in the Army's in-house GED program or spend one minute getting waivers for recruits with criminal records?

He wouldn't. Besides if he was actually sweating his quotas, easier than any of that is making a few phone calls to the local courthouse to sign up the judges and the DA to be talent scouts for Uncle Sam (jail and a record vs. the Army and the GI Bill-- now that's a unique selling proposition!). In theory, the Army doesn't accept recruits in that situation, but there are a lot of theories that die when exposed to the real world.

Svigor said...

Of course, most of the lefty/inclusive politics HBDer's blame Jews for are shared by the Minnesotans.

Cui bono?

Truth said...

"No way, explain Quebec, super low highschool rate, high degree of bilingualism."

Outside of Montreal, you'd be surprised, even in Quebec City, at how poorly English is spoken. I would say (having been both places) that your average Swede speaks better English than your average Quebecois.

Fred said...

"Cui bono?"

Maybe you can copy Tom Frank and write a book called "What's the Matter with Minnesota?".

Charlie said...

"My guess would be that Minnesota would rank low in average sense of humor. Germans and Scandinavians are kind of deficient that way, and apparently they even think Garrison Keillor is funny."

We would also rank low in strangers-talking-to-people-beyond-monosyllables. Basically you can have a conversation with Minnesotans after you spend a few months getting to know them.

Or in being-able-to-find-one-goddamn-restaurant-in-downtown-Minneapolis. We aren't a bunch of brawling alcoholics like in Wisconsin, but basically where other people serve food, we serve liquor. I remember the first time I went to Chicago and wandered around realizing "my God, I'm in the middle of downtown and I can actually eat somewhere!"

"This set of qualifications misses the most important of all for a non-conscripted military, which is the warrior spirit. And that's where the Deep South has all the advantage. Minnesota's fine health and IQ are irrelevant if they also carry a (rational) instinct to put self-preservation above all."

Hahaha. Don't kid yourself Southerners, Minnesotans may lack the social graces, but their ancestors were raiding your ancestors back in the Middle Ages, not the other way around. Most of the pure-blooded Scandinavians I know are as oblivious to physical danger as to a good joke or the fine art of small talk. Just because they aren't Confederate-flag-waving yahoos (except some of them are, strangely enough) doesn't mean they're not fighters.

But speaking of Chicago, they seem to be sending most of their black people here, also about half of Somalia is moving in, so in a few years you can say goodbye to those above-average test scores, incomes, health, crime rates etc.

The Negro Timoteo said...

Professional athletes per capita??

ATBOTL said...

Fred, the difference is that Scandinavian leftism is sincere. They apply it to themselves too. They don't advocate leftism for America but ethno-nationalism for Scandinavia.

Fred said...

"Fred, the difference is that Scandinavian leftism is sincere. They apply it to themselves too. They don't advocate leftism for America but ethno-nationalism for Scandinavia."

Israel has more non-Jewish citizens -- and has had more of them in high government positions -- than Sweden (though Sweden did recently put a muzzie on its cabinet). And Israel has a far more hostile minority population. So I don't think Sweden is in a position to accuse Israel of being ethnocentric.

Udolpho.com said...

"Basically you can have a conversation with Minnesotans after you spend a few months getting to know them."

Although no intelligent person would profit from this hypothetical discussion.

Minnesota is one of the hickiest parts of the Midwest, including the Twin Cities which is what a hick would imagine an urban center to be.

Someone mentioned tackiness, though, and while it's hard to beat Midwesterners on that score (I'm convinced they get sexually aroused by ceramic), Southerners somehow manage. Texas is the king of tacky, from Big Tex at the state fair to the gentleman's clubs to the hideously tasteless religious displays. The South is where taste goes to die.

Howard Hughes said...

"Here are the states with the worst records [of drunk driving]:

1. Wisconsin, 26.4 percent

2. North Dakota, 26.4 percent

3. Minnesota, 23.5 percent

4. Nebraska, 22.9 percent

5. South Dakota, 21.6 percent"
Well, Sweden's drinking culture traditionally goes like this: you only drink at weekends, but when you drink you get as wasted as possibly and that's nice (I believe in this too, I suppose). This is clearly different from the drinking culture of, say, France.

That might be a reason to why Wisconsin and Minnesota are so high on the list?

The South probably have more warrior spirit in their culture than Minnesota. Obviously. I wouldn't say that Scandinavians lack humour though, but I might be biased. Monty Python, the Simpsons, et al are very popular in Scandinavia.

Anonymous said...

Pravda spoke the truth, Quebecers don't speak English. That whole "bilingual Quebec" thing is untrue. If you want to meet bilingual French-Canadians, speak to the old timers in Houma.

Now that the wonders of capitalism have grounded their shrimping boats they have plenty of time for it.

As for the comment that sparked this whole discussion, I appreciate the self-congradulatory nature of it (and indeed, your trilingual fluency is impressive) but that was a very very cheap attempt. Being fluent in more than one language demonstrates a past benefit and potential for future benefit in certain populations, Hispanic-American very blatantly not being one of them. Their ability to speak Spanish bespeaks no beneficial past (unlike having been an ESL teacher in Korea, a Mormon Missionary in Guatemala or the daughter of an Ambassador) and the future benefit to them is negligable too (they aren't going abroad to Spain for their junior year of college or engaging in a merger with Carlos Slim).

Anonymous said...

Funny, considering that Minnesota has sent at least two Jewish Senators and one black Muslim Congressman to D.C.

Four by my count--that seat currently held by Franken has been held by Jewish Minnesotans continuously for over 30 years: Franken (D, 2008-now), Coleman (R, 2002-2008), Wellman (D, 1990-2002), Boschwitz (R, 1978-1990).

Anonymous said...

The South is where taste goes to die.

I used to wonder about that when I went off to graduate school up north - why it was that the Papists built these magnificent, glorious, soaring cathedrals, filled with all the very best in statuary and stained glass and fine woodwork and marble, but the southerners attended services in decrepit old strip-mall storefront churches.

And why the Papists' cathedrals were invariably empty, and why the storefront churches were bursting at the seams.

Spent a long, long time pondering that one when I was younger.

[The other one I spent a long time thinking about: Why was it that they had organized crime up North, but we didn't seem to have it down South? It was only very recently, in just the last few years - after I got really interested in "HBD" - that I was able to put two and two together and figure out that one.]

Anonymous said...

...it seems to me indisputable that being able to speak English *and* another language well is a sign of greater intellectual and educational achievement that only being able to speak English.

Assuming that everybody who doesn't speak English very well speaks a language other than English at home ...and everybody who speaks English at home does not speak any other language very well... we get that only 4.85% of Minnesotans are polyglot.

I agree with your basic claim, but your metric is wrong. In the U.S., native English speakers who learn foreign languages are intellectually distinguished to some extent. Immigrants who learn English poorly are not. Your metric misses the former and captures the latter. All you're measuring is the number of non-English-speaking immigrants.

CB

Anonymous said...

Truth said...blahblahblah

I must invoke Anonymous' Rule Of Americans Talking About Canada: they get it wrong every single time. No American in world history has ever uttered anything factual about Canada, ever.

Janus said...

For an interesting look at small town German-descended Minnesota circa 1980 check out Louis Malle's documentary "God's Country". The home interiors are atrocious, but that's of course partly a function of the era.

Fred said...

"[The other one I spent a long time thinking about: Why was it that they had organized crime up North, but we didn't seem to have it down South? It was only very recently, in just the last few years - after I got really interested in "HBD" - that I was able to put two and two together and figure out that one.]"

There is probably less organized crime in the North, and more in the South, than you think.

David said...

>There is probably less organized crime in the North, and more in the South, than you think.<

Let us in, Fred. What do you know?

Æternitatis said...

@CB

You misread my comments. I did not simply quote the raw percentage of people speaking a language other than English at home. I agree that that would be a poor measure of polyglotism as it would capture large numbers of mostly poor, mostly Hispanic immigrants who do not speak English very well (or at all).

That is why I subtracted out the entire percentage of the population not classified as also speaking English very well. That gives you a fairly conservative floor of genuine polyglotism.

There are at least that many people in the state who speak a language other than English at home (presumably very well) AND are classified as speaking English very well too.

Those individuals are genuine polyglots which is, as you concede, a sign of educational distinction--perhaps not the most important one, but a perfectly valid one.

Anonymous said...

There is probably less organized crime in the North, and more in the South, than you think.

Don't even start that historical revisionism B.S. with me.

Ten years ago I might have been susceptible to it, but I now know exactly what I'm talking about.

As do you, I imagine.

Fred said...

"Let us in, Fred. What do you know?"

Well, I know there's less organized crime (of the Godfather/Sopranos sort) up here than TV or movies would have you believe. The main reason is that the sort of folks who would be attracted to organized crime, and smart enough to do well at it, can make more money more safely in shifty though legal (or semi-legal) ways. Sopranos-style crime just doesn't really pay anymore (to its credit, that was one of the themes of the last season of the Sopranos).

For the super-ambitious, but unconnected, there is a lot of disreputable and unethical -- but still legal -- action on Wall Street. I'm not talking the Goldman Sachs stuff, I'm talking about little firms you've never heard of. Think Boiler Room without the fictitious businesses (that was one gratuitiously unrealistic part of the movie. In reality, shifty brokers make a lot of money selling real but crappy companies).

For the ambitious but more connected types, there is the b-to-g sector. Think the companies that are pocketing the Obama stimulus money.

For the less ambitious, but still connected types, there is pillage more directly in the government sector -- cops and principals making six figures and retiring with six figure pensions in their 50s.

Fred said...

"Ten years ago I might have been susceptible to it, but I now know exactly what I'm talking about."

Fill us in, Anon. Is all crime down south unorganized?

reg cÆsar said...

Perhaps Minnesota's performance on so many fronts is as much a consequence of it's liberalism as its ethnic makeup.

Unlikely. New Hampshire and Minnesota regularly finish together near the top, despite wide differences in local policy choices. The same is true of Sweden and Switzerland-- neither side of the bigness-of-government debate can explain why both countries work.

Monty Python, the Simpsons, et al are very popular in Scandinavia.

One of the Pythons is from Minnetonka. Fancy that. (Though, like fellow gopher Eddie Cochran, he left for California at puberty.)

...that seat currently held by Franken has been held by Jewish Minnesotans continuously for over 30 years...

Not counting 'Looteran' Dean Barkley's short interregnum. But none are natives-- Coleman and Franken were born in New York, Wellstone in Virginia, and Boschwitz somewhere deep in Prussia. At least Franken and Boschwitz arrived as kids. (I think the last native New Yorker elected to the seat Hillary left was Averill Harriman.)

I once overheard someone at the State Fair talking about "Al Franklin". I bet more than a few voters made that mistake, and it put him over the top.

a poor measure of polyglotism -Æternitatus

My ligaturemate makes a good point. But I think the word he's looking for is polyglossy. And it's much more fun to say!

Æternitatis said...

@reg cÆsar

Point taken, brother in ligature. But you did misspell one of the easy letters in my nom de cyber!

Anonymous said...

I live in Minnesota and can attest to the comments about obesity and drunk driving.

As to obesity, long before I saw any statistics, I had concluded from people-watching at various airports that there seemed to be a greater concentration of fat slobs at MSP than at just about any of the others - especially in the baggage claim area, where there was a greater chance they were local. You will see more physically fit people at western airports, e.g., Denver or Portland; better dressed people at eastern ones, e.g., Washington or New York. Here they are both porcine in bulk and slovenly in apparel.

Drunk driving is fostered by a history of lax enforcement of the law against it until comparatively recently. and the custom of drinking in bars rather than at home. Wisconsin's still higher rate is probably an artifact of its even looser licensing of on-sale drinking establishments.

An interesting datum about Wisconsin - which one wouldn't expect from a state stereotypically populated with Teutons and Scandinavians, and so widely identified with breweries, is that Wisconsin has repeatedly turned out to have the highest per capita consumption in the U.S. of brandy - a drink more associated with the French than with Germans or Swedes. I have tried to come up with an explanation and the only one I can think of is that cheap brandy (E&J, Christian Brothers) is a blander spirit than bourbon, scotch, or gin, and it does not disagree with the prevailing local taste for sweetness. The natives tend to like it in a cloying concoction with 7-up or ginger ale. This reflects the taste of an amateur drinker, and it is perhaps because they are amateurs that so many end up being arrested for DWI.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota has one of the nation's highest corporate tax rates.