No Crisis At All

More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February, more than double the levels from the same period last year and approaching the largest numbers seen in any February in the last 12 years...
The throngs of new families are also affecting communities on the American side of the border. In El Paso, for example, where most of the families are being processed after submitting their asylum applications, a volunteer network that temporarily houses the migrants after they are released from custody has had to expand to 20 facilities, compared with only three during the same period last year...
Border Patrol officials said that the biggest “pull factors” encouraging migrant families to make their way to the United States were federal laws and court settlements that prohibit the authorities from deporting Central Americans without lengthy processing, and from detaining migrant families for more than 20 days, after which they must be released into the country while they await immigration court proceedings.

This is from today’s NYTimes.

No, there is no crisis at all. Everything is just as it should be. The situation is ideal and anybody who suggests otherwise is evil.

For the bizillionth time, what’s the name of the candidate offering to prevent this horrible situation by removing the concept of immigrating “at the port of entry” out of existence?

76,000 people is five universities like mine. That’s a lot of people suffering needlessly. Every month!

What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?

Makes me so angry.

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A Definition of Totalitarianism

Here is a great definition of totalitarianism from Masha Gessen’s The Future Is History:


“Totalitarianism establishes its own social contract, in which most people will be safe from violence most of the time, provided they stay within certain boundaries and shoulder some of the impressibility for keeping other citizens within the same boundaries. The boundaries are ever shifting and this requires the population to be ever-vigilant in order to stay abreast of the shifts. A hypersensitivity to signals is essential for survival.”

There is no need, of course, to reduce the concept of violence to the purely physical. The “softer” totalitarian regimes don’t eliminate people physically. They erase them from public life, deplatform them, and deprive them of employment. Obviously, it’s a much better fate than being shipped off to the concentration camps. But the nature of this social contract remains totalitarian.

My friend Basia practically forced me to read this book, and I’m now grateful to her.

Art Wins

Here’s a great interview Tyler Cowan had with Jordan Peterson.

My favorite part is where Peterson bashes HR departments:

COWEN: If we turn to senior management of large American companies, as a class of people — and I know it’s hard to generalize — but what do you see them as just not getting?

PETERSON: I would caution them not to underestimate the danger of their human resources departments.

That’s exactly what my sister always says. The moment a company is large enough to make its leaders erroneously believe it needs an HR department, that’s when all hope for anything good dies. And those of us who are in academia can definitely agree.

This part is something he hasn’t thought through very clearly:

Our current prime minister has made a huge mistake by not putting down firm policies about what happens when you cross the border illegally. All that does is mess things up. But there wasn’t anti-immigration sentiment in Canada before that, even though, as I said, there’s tremendous amount of immigration into Canada.

Quebec is Canada, last I checked. But leaving aside Quebec, even in Toronto that he so loves there is a huge Chinese community that is entirely isolated from Canadian life. Ask any immigrant from anywhere how many of his or her close friends aren’t immigrants and, aside from the folks who were brought to the country as kids, the answer is likely to be none. In the five years I lived in Canada, I was never inside the home of anybody who wasn’t an immigrant. Never, not once. People were friendly but there was always a distance. But I was in the homes of folks from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Kenya, Iran, India, Spain, and Hong Kong constantly. (I was young, so there was a lot of hanging out together). So my suggestion is, ask an immigrant if there’s anti-immigrant sentiment. There is a lot of segregation into ethnic communities in Canada, and the crossover mostly happens from one ethnic community into another. From this group of friends I listed, everybody I know about married another immigrant, and not necessarily from their own country.

I loved this part, though:

But one thing we do know is that if you exercise — and weightlifting and aerobic exercise both work — that you can restore your cognitive abilities at age 50 to approximately what they were at age 30. That’s almost all a consequence of increased physical fitness.

And this great part about why my job is extremely important:

COWEN: What’s the main thing you learned over the years, living with those works, viewing the propaganda, thinking about it every day, every night?

PETERSON: Art wins.

COWEN: Art wins over propaganda. Why?

PETERSON: All the time, yeah. Nothing wins over art. Nothing is powerful enough to stand in the way of art.

This is so true.

There’s also a good part on cognitive ability. It’s a good interview.

The Early Morning Cappuccino

It’s actually the second cappuccino but who’s counting.

I very rarely get to come to this local, non-chain coffee shop because I usually sleep until the very last second and then I’m reduced to grabbing a Starbucks at a drive through. But today I dragged myself out of bed at six to come here and veg out before a very crazy day.

I used to go to coffee shops every day until I moved here, and I kind of miss them.