July 11, 2008

Fool me once ...

One theory for why states and cities are raising their high school graduation requirements (Los Angeles now requires passing Algebra II to graduate) is that they are hoping to persuade their dumber students to move somewhere less demanding, and keep people with dumb kids from moving to the state in the first place. For example, Arizona now has much easier high school graduation requirements than California, so it would be smart for families with not so bright kids to relocate, and it would be smart for Mexicans planning to sneak into America to choose Arizona, where their kids are more likely to become high school graduates, than California.

The theory isn't very plausible, however, because there's little evidence that California's politicians and educators are smart enough to understand it.

You might, however, someday see politicians in, say, New Hampshire devising ways to get illegal immigrants to live in Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts even while working in NH.

That reminds me that I wouldn't be surprised to see the following happen:

Imagine you were a fairly young man relatively high up in the rather geriatric Cuban Communist dictatorship. You are content to bide your time until Fidel and Raul are gone, but you intend to then emerge as the Deng of a prosperous post-Communist Cuba. And you intend to enjoy that role for a long time.

As you survey post-Communist transitions, you note the sad case of East Germany, where Communism badly dented the formerly famous Protestant work ethic, leaving economic malaise even two decades later.

Cuba is in even worse shape culturally and morally: huge subsidies and tiny wages mean that Cuba is now full of welfare bums and hustlers who won't take jobs.

Think of how much easier everything would be for you as El Presidente of capitalist Cuba if you could just get rid of the bottom quarter of your population.

You aren't a cruel man. You don't wish the Cuban parasite class ill. You just want them to go be parasites on somebody else, somebody who is big, rich, and only 90 miles away.

Fidel made many mistakes, but he was a clever man, never more so than in 1980, when some political dissidents took refuge in a foreign embassy, hoping for asylum in America. Fidel made lemonade out of lemons by not only letting the political prisoners go, but by emptying his prisons of all the real criminals too, dumping them on Uncle Sam in the Mariel boatlift.

Could you pull off something like that anew? Could America be fooled twice?

Say you started rounding up all the welfare mothers and pimps as "anti-Communist wreckers." The Cubans in Miami would soon be up in arms (it would help to schedule this right before a Presidential election). Finally, you could relent and let a million bums sail for America in a Dunkirk like exodus, where they would be granted asylum as soon as they landed. The Wall Street Journal would write rapturous editorials about it.

You really think Americans are smart enough not to fall for this trick twice?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

I think the average American is too smart to be fooled by this ploy twice. After all, didn't we slap down "comprehensive immigration reform" aka amnesty twice recently after accepting it in 1986? However our politicians of both parties are corrupt enough to allow it to happen several times. After all, THEY won't be affected by it. They live in gated comunities, send their kids to private schools, and steer clear of all those "vibrant" neighborhoods.

Deena Flinchum

Anonymous said...

The Cuban parasite class is mostly just responding rationally to Cuba's perverse incentives. I'd sit on my ass rather than work for $10/week too if I lived in a socialist state where housing, health care, etc were free.

Get them to the US and most of them would not be parasites. Likewise, change the incentives in Cuba and most of them would start working, though this may endear Raul to his subjects. Also, the loafers who get remittances are at least bringing foreign currency into Cuba, which is not something Raul would want to stop.

If Raul did want to dump these people on the US, it would be easy because both parties want to win Florida in November. Who's going to antagonize the Cubans over a few work-ethically challenged immigrants?

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: ...it would be smart for Mexicans planning to sneak into America to choose Arizona, where their kids are more likely to become high school graduates, than California... The theory isn't very plausible, however, because there's little evidence that California's politicians and educators are smart enough to understand it...

The theory isn't very plausible because there's little evidence that people with average IQs down around 85 [and possibly much lower even than that] are smart enough to understand the importance of an education in the first place.

Trying to convince someone with an IQ of 85 of the importance of a high school diploma is like trying to convince someone with an IQ of 125 of the importance of learning Grothendieck's theory of schemes, or Witten's M-Theory, or the various attempts to solidify the Langlands conjecture.

albertosaurus said...

Actually California politicians have been smart enough to understand the value of shipping out undesireables for decades.

Many rural California counties (and the state of Nevada) have long found it cheaper to give welfare applicants a bus ticket to San francisco rather than to sign them up and thereby commit to supporting them at local taxpayer expense in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

Not only fall for it... We'd eat it up and ask for seconds!

My mentor in fed immigration enforcement was detailed to process in the Muriel camps in FL in the 80's. He stated flatly that several of his compatriots quit outright after their processing shift ended.

But hey! With either the Dali-Bama or McPain, we're getting an even bigger amnesty, so I'll be able to happily relate the aforementioned story to my new agents when they start whining about the fraud they discover during processing this time 'round...

"What, you guys thought you joined the government to enforce laws?! lol"

Anonymous said...

"Could America be fooled twice?"


We're being fooled every flipping day! Mexico has us fooled. El Salvador has us fooled. Sudan has us fooled. Even Somalia - quite possibly the dumbest country on the planet - has us fooled. We're taking in the most backward people from the most backward nations on earth.

Japan - a major diplomatic actor for Hart-Celler - fooled us not long after it engaged in an ugly, brutal, racist was against its neighbors, by suggesting that we were racist for not taking in more Asian immigrants, even as it kept its doors firmly shut.

Cuba dumping its poor on the US would be smart. Doing everything it could to attract its expats back to the homeland to revitalize the place would be even smarter. Post-Communist Cuba is going to need all those poor people to clean the hotel rooms when it becomes the world's next tourist paradise.

Still, if it does happen I suspect that the Miami Airport will be seeng waves of US passport-bearing pregnant women arriving in port daily. Cubans may move back to Cuba, but they're going to do everything to ensure their children retain American citizenship.

Anonymous said...

The Cubans in Miami would soon be up in arms (it would help to schedule this right before a Presidential election).


I have to wonder if there wouldn't be more backlash than reward. I'm sure there are plenty of whites in Florida who would punish the candidate for taking in yet more Cubans. After all, Al Gore still almost won Florida, even after the Elian Gonzalez fiasco. The more people, the more white backlash it would cause.

Anonymous said...

There are several problems with your Model Steve.

1: As the story about gangs in Catalina Island show, "dumb" kids (in gangs at Catalina) follow their parents, who are the low-wage workers. They don't care if they are in school or not, they are going to be gang members as a career. Which beats working like their parents.

A gang's power is based on manpower, i.e. how many bodies they can put on the street to intimidate and extort.

HS graduation requirements won't mean diddly to them. You're thinking, again, like a middle class person and applying it to people who's entire orientation is outside the middle class.

None of these kids care about graduation, and their parents don't either. They assume best-case that their kid will rise in the gang hierarchy, worst case they'll continue as they do in menial low paying jobs.

2. Manpower matters to a Castro successor. The LAST thing he'd want is to send lots of people over to somewhere else. That's again, middle class thinking. With basically a semi-serf labor, forced to do what he tells them, the post-Castro successor, the Deng figure, can wield POWER. That's why ALL "Kingship" type societies, aka Communist ones, kept their people inside. To use their forced labor. That's the #1 resource.

THEY DON'T CARE about work ethic, quality, craftsmanship, etc. That's again, middle class thinking. Idi Amin, Osama bin Laden, Charles Taylor, King Fahd, Mubarak, Assad, Chavez, and people like them don't think like that.

For their society, power flows from barrels of guns which forces people to do things. The more people you can force to do things, the more power you have.

It's what Stalin understood.

Anonymous said...

You are assuming (possibly correctly, but possibly not) that any person who was a bum in Cuba would end up being a bum in the US as well.

You're also assuming that the people who the Cuban government thinks are not working are in fact not working-but they could be actually working for themselves.

The Cuban govenment gets a lot of its information from members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (local paid busybodies) who may have their own personal agendas

Anonymous said...

anony-mous - for once you have a point.

Anonymous said...

What does "Algebra II" mean in the LA schools? Is this course so dumbed down that it wouldn't qualify as 6th grade math in a sane school system?

Anonymous said...

LA algebra test:

x=3. What is x?

Anonymous said...

x=3. What is x?

Some number.[1]

[1]Joke borrowed/stolen from here.

Anonymous said...

One of Sailer's side points is that East Germany has not recovered from Socialism, even with a high IQ population. Cuba does not have a high IQ population. The smart set and Whitey were driven out by Castro, or shot dead by Che.

During the "revolution, a relative of mine was taken from his Havana home at gunpoint, bound and gagged, pushed to his knees at city hall and shot in the head by the ferocious Che. His crime? He was a Latin American editor of a translated common magazine of the day.

Every time I see some dirtbag wearing a Che shirt, I feel like giving back some of the love. But I am a relatively restrained fellow so I typically suppress my longing for PDAs.

There will be a massive, successful Cuban exodus at some point; successful because the migration will be aided by ex-pat Cubans. Things will get ugly from there, and fast.

Anonymous said...

I don't think illegals strategerize much about how to get their kids through high school. If they cared about gringo diplomas, they would just find a way to make their kids study maybe 20 minutes every week or two.

Anonymous said...

Any country which gets rid of its sociopaths is doing itself a great favor, and the recipient country a huge disfavor. Sociopaths never change. Then again, there's plenty of work for them over here in Hollywood, Washington D.C., and on Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that people who aren't necessarily good at math are necessarily "dumb," although one could say that they are at that subject.

I used to think that intelligence progressed in a linear fashion, with extremely complex math on the far end. I’ve no come to view intelligence more as it relates to “spikes” in certain areas. For example, GRE verbal scores of math, physics, and other highly quantitative majors are far inferior to the GRE verbal score of the student (on average) who is majoring in English, for example.

So who's smarter, the physics grad student or the english one (on average)? Most people would reflexively say the physics student is. I suppose one could look at the total GRE score, verbal & math, and decide that the physics grad student is (this is usually true). But then again, philosophy grad students have GRE scores (on average) higher than some quant. majors.

Anonymous said...

Bad example using New England, Steve. As Julian May pointed out, New Hampshire historically sent their welfare applicants to Massachusetts. Now, with the exodus from the People's Republic of MA to points north, NH and Maine are struggling with conflict between the natives and the newby "Massholes" trying to recreate the MA-style welfare state in places without the industry or infrastructure to support it.