Clearing the Ghettos

Eddie of Hidden Unities and another blogfriend alerted me to “American Murder Mystery,” by Hannah Rosin in The Atlantic Monthly.

The article is distress. Read it.

The article covers the attempt to clear the ghettos of Tennessee by moving the residents out into nicer neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, many people who live in the ghettos do bad things. They may be uminaginably lazy, whether individually:

Rodgers didn’t finish high school, although she did get her GED, and she’s never had a job. Still, “I know I have to venture out in the world,” she said, running through her options: Go back to school? Get a job? Get married? Have a baby? “I want more. I’m so ready to have my own. I just don’t know how to get it.”

or in aggregate:

Researchers have started to look more critically at the Gautreaux results. The sample was tiny, and the circumstances were ideal. The families who moved to the suburbs were screened heavily and the vast majority of families who participated in the program didn’t end up moving, suggesting that those who did were particularly motivated. Even so, the results were not always sparkling. For instance, while Gautreaux study families who had moved to the suburbs were more likely to work than a control group who stayed in the city, they actually worked less than before they had moved. “People were really excited about it because it seemed to offer something new,” Popkin said. “But in my view, it was radically oversold.”

They may be criminals, or those who harbor criminals:

In truth, the victims are constantly shifting. Hardly any Section8 families moved into wealthy white suburbs. In the early phases, most of the victims were working-class African Americans who saw their neighborhoods destroyed and had to leave. Now most of them are poor people like Leslie Shaw, who are trying to do what Lipscomb asks of them and be more self-sufficient. Which makes sorting out the blame even trickier. Sometimes the victim and the perpetrator live under the same roof; Shaw’s friend at Springdale Creek wanted a better life for herself and her family, but she couldn’t keep her sons from getting into trouble. Sometimes they may be the same person, with conflicting impulses about whether to move forward or go back. In any case, more than a decade’s worth of experience proves that crossing your fingers and praying for self-sufficiency is foolish.

Moving them is worthless:

If replacing housing projects with vouchers had achieved its main goal—infusing the poor with middle-class habits—then higher crime rates might be a price worth paying. But today, social scientists looking back on the whole grand experiment are apt to use words like baffling and disappointing. A large federal-government study conducted over the past decade—a follow-up to the highly positive, highly publicized Gautreaux study of 1991—produced results that were “puzzling,” said Susan Popkin of the Urban Institute. In this study, volunteers were also moved into low-poverty neighborhoods, although they didn’t move nearly as far as the Gautreaux families. Women reported lower levels of obesity and depression. But they were no more likely to find jobs. The schools were not much better, and children were no more likely to stay in them. Girls were less likely to engage in risky behaviors, and they reported feeling more secure in their new neighborhoods. But boys were as likely to do drugs and act out, and more likely to get arrested for property crimes. The best Popkin can say is: “It has not lived up to its promise. It has not lifted people out of poverty, it has not made them self-sufficient, and it has left a lot of people behind.”

Moving them is wore than worthless:

He remembers when the ground began to shift beneath him. He was working as an investigator throughout the city, looking into homicides and major crimes. Most of his work was downtown. One day in 1997, he got a call to check out a dead car that someone had rolled up onto the side of the interstate, on the way to the northern suburbs. The car “looked like Swiss cheese,” he said, with 40 or 50 bullet holes in it and blood all over the seats. Barnes started investigating. He located one corpse in the woods nearby and another, which had been shoved out a car door, in the parking lot of a hospital a few miles away. He found a neighborhood witness, who gave up everything but the killers’ names. Two weeks later, he got another call about an abandoned car. This time the body was inside. “It was my witness,” he recalled, “deader than a mackerel.”

At this point, he still thought of the stretch of Memphis where he’d grown up as “quiet as all get-out”; the only place you’d see cruisers congregated was in the Safeway parking lot, where churchgoing cops held choir practice before going out for drinks. But by 2000, all of that had changed. Once-quiet apartment complexes full of young families “suddenly started turning hot on us.” Instead of the occasional break-in, Barnes was getting calls about armed robberies, gunshots in the hallways, drug dealers roughing up their neighbors. A gang war ripped through the neighborhood. “We thought, What the hell is going on here?” A gang war! In North Memphis! “All of a sudden it was a damn war zone,” he said.

By increasing the geographical range of the network of people who bad things, crime was made easy and policework was made harder.

Memphis’ attempt to clear the ghettos had failed.

Attempts to make the ghettos better places to live have failed. Better education has failed. Better opportunities has failed. We’re now down to COIN (Counter-Insurgency), which is hopeful in as much as it is a generally successful tool to to sacrifice freedom, justice, and liberty for security.

Some problems appear to escape our environmental manipulations. While fiction writers have imagined Objective Rooms and Ludovico Techniques, these have not worked in the real world. While tyrants have come up with initially probably theories based on racial genoplasm and early child development, these have not worked. We now know of a lot of ways to screw people up. Getting them to go along with our political objectives — such as a peaceful society — is far harder.

Fortunately, we seem to now know a mechanism that does work: genetics. An incredible amount of variation in important social characteristics (often between 50% and 80%) is explained by genetics and inheritance. And the technologies we have for working with genetics just get better: we can cross time, cross species, track ancient populations (both human and animal) and change lives.

I do not believe that we will solve the problem of ghettos until mass gene therapy (eugenics-while-you-wait) becomes feasible. Which means we’ll live to see it.

49 thoughts on “Clearing the Ghettos”

  1. Wow, thank you for posting this. The results of “experiment” needs to be widely understood by the public.. I’ve spoken to sociologists who seem to think that this kind of practice would be the best way of “cleaning up the ghetto.” One women I spoke to told me that each American block should have a racial distribution according to the population of the country.

    I do very much like the idea of using eugenics. Could you explain what you mean by “mass gene therapy.” How can we actually fix undesirable characteristics? I’ve been saying for a long time that we should pay certain people not to have kids and give incentives to other to have kids.

  2. Seerov,

    Genetics not only lets us predict behavior far better than other methods alone, but it also allows us to break out of prescientific ideas. For instance, in an important sense “races” really are an illusion — they are a statistical clustering, useful for some things and not for others.

    While doubtless many gene-behavior relations only hold because of the impact of development, there may be others where decreasing the likelihood of a behavior is as simple as changing DNA, and then waiting for it to take off. For instance, a patient may be infected with a retrovirus that enters the patient’s cells, changing his particular genome. This new DNA may in turn stimulate the body and mind more or less in some particular way, leading to a better citizen. If we want this change to be heritable we’d do it germ-line (so it’s passed on via sperm or eggs), but otherwise we can keep it somatic (intragenerational).

    If the recidivism rate for a crime is less after one year of treatment and gene therapy than after a twenty year sentence, is there a justification (apart from revenge, which has its merits) for forcing a criminal to undergo a twenty-year sentence, as apart to a one-year treatment?

  3. dan-

    Eugenics, eh.

    Perhaps a reading of The Abolition of Man, by CS Lewis, is in order?

    And after a little small-group-discussion on that dandy little essay, lets watch a little GATTACA. I’ll bring the popcorn.

    Concepts of viral gene therapy remind me of the famous Reverend Jeremiah Wright claiming that HIV was concocted by the US government to kill black people. The only difference between you and Wright is one of ends. Nice company, eh?

    The problem with technologies that have moral components is that so often the ethics and morality of such technologies so often lags behind the use of said technology. Sometimes the ethics/morality of such technology never even manages to catch up.

    And sometimes the moral/ethical/legal/mental frameworks required to support the humane use of such technologies are too onerous for society to cope with (for example, we could make gun ownership illegal in the US, but that is antithetical to American conceptions of liberty, constitituional law, and common law. So we just live with high rates of gun-related crimes).

    Another example of this would be Seerov’s mentioning of designs to racially redistribute the populations in city blocks. Even if this would work (which I don’t think it would–there is research by Robert Putnam that suggests that it would be counterproductive. [1]), the implications of having a government so powerful, and so controlled by sociological dogma instead of democratic will, are extremely dangerous.

    What’s next? Why not forced interracial marriage? If the feds can tell me who I can live next to, why cant they tell me who I sleep next to? I guess the good old days of freedom are too old for us!

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Putnam

  4. Its all about culture. Poor blacks weren’t acting like this at anything near this level until the mid-late 60’s. A combination of cultural degradation, adverse social programming by the government and others, weakening of social mores, the flood of cheap crack and the subsequent war on drugs that has become a war on fathers and children.
    Genetics has nothing to do with it.

    Folks from Rev. Wright to Bill Cosby to Denzel Washington to Barack Obama to J.C. Watts to Clarence Thomas have been trying to heal this for decades now. Not to mention regular people on a regular basis.

  5. Smitten,

    Gattaca was a rather awful film, but I generally enjoy C.S. Lewis. So consider Abotion of Man to be on my to-read list. 🙂

    I don’t get the analogy between gene therapy and Jeremiah Wright. (To clarify, the retroviri used by gene therapy spread within, but not between, people.)

    I don’t understand your last two paragraphs. Could you rephrase?

    Eddie,

    Its all about culture. Poor blacks weren’t acting like this at anything near this level until the mid-late 60’s. A combination of cultural degradation, adverse social programming by the government and others, weakening of social mores, the flood of cheap crack and the subsequent war on drugs that has become a war on fathers and children.

    I oppose the war on drugs as much as you, but it’s certainly incorrect to say “the subsequent war on drugs that has become a war on fathers and children.”

    As proportionally fewer white, asian, or jewish fathers have been caught up in it. Perhaps you meant “a war on black fathers and children,” but those who do not use drugs are not imprisoned. Thus, your statement shoudl then be refined to “a war on drug-using fathers,” which is true, in as much as there are police actions against murderers, rapists, thieves, and other classes of criminals, too!

    Black culture before the 1960s was heavily influenced by a combination of factors, including

    a) arbitrary detention and arrest for suspicision of crimes (that is, a biased justice system)
    b) widespread use of citizen militias against those suspected of crimes (that is, lynching)
    c) highly authoritarian child-rearing practices (that is, what many would classify as physical child abuse)
    d) patriarchy in the home (relatively greater powerlessness of women and children in domestic situation than with whites, jews, or other groups)
    e) governmental neglect (that is, generally no social programs to help those in need)

    Bring these back, and I’m sure you can lower the crime rate. (a) and (b) will be particularly effective in the short-term.

    Genetics has nothing to do with it.

    We’re very lucky to be living in an age where this is rapidly becoming an empirical question. Certainly crime itself appears to be heavily genetic within races. It still is possible to say “genetics may explain around 50% of the variance of many types of crime within a race, but 0% between them,” though I think not for long.

    Folks from Rev. Wright to Bill Cosby to Denzel Washington to Barack Obama to J.C. Watts to Clarence Thomas have been trying to heal this for decades now

    And failing, aside from anecdotes.

    Not to mention regular people on a regular basis.

    Ditto.

  6. My usual computer doesn’t allow me to post comments on here, so I apologize in advance for any non-responses. The takes I took from the article were:
    1. Only move people from the ghetto if they actively WANT to be moved–don’t care either way don’t cut it.
    2. Whether you choose to obey rule 1 or not, be sure to provide mental and emotional support (to the best that any government agency can do the latter) while they adjust. Also be sure to scatter the moved individuals as widely as possible so as to avoid creating new ghettos.
    3. Be prepared to settle for “not as f*cked up as before”.
    4. Have a plan for the people left behind in the ghetto.

    A possible plan for those left behind:
    1. Fix up some decent housing within the ghetto area, give it to public employees (teachers, police, firefighters, social workers) working within the area for free SO LONG AS THEY LIVE THERE. Push them to network with each other as much as possible (for mutual protection at the very least).
    2. Also encourage them to hook up with some of the more constructive social networks within the community–the article points out instances where they exist.
    3. If the gangs can’t be controlled in the schools, send the gang members to a separate school just for them–preferably one where opposing gangs have to work and interact with each other constantly (active-duty police are recommended for TAs, janitors and guards). They’ll learn to get along, or they’ll do something that gets them imprisoned; either way, the community benefits.
    4. Sometimes, two radically different communities will exist side-by-side with clear boundaries (highways, railroad tracks, natural obstacles) preventing the normal gradual transition between the two. Locate schools- as large as can be controlled-, churches and other public and commercial spaces next to the bridges crossing the barriers. If they have to go to school together, they’ll rub off on each other.
    5. If there’s one the government does well, it’s spending money and usurping other peoples’ cultures. The Feds can offer to take funding and control of the poorest schools off the hands of the local school districts. Where the offer is accepted, in addition to fixing up or replacing the buildings, other pre-existing programs can be ramped up. Teachers can compete to work there, and get appropriately lavish salaries for winning. JROTC, JA and other such programs can be made fixtures in addition to sports. Local child welfare and health services can have offices and clinics within the schools (one stop shopping, essentially). Free and reduced lunch can be expanded into free and reduced breakfasts and dinners. Afterschool programs of all types can be ramped up. In short, any parent lazy enough to give up their parental duties to complete strangers would be allowed to do so; any parent honest enough to admit to needing help can do so.

    If all goes well, the hardened criminals will find life much more difficult and the culture will gradually change for the better. As for genetic issues . . .
    6. Concerns about genetic problems can be partially addressed by applying the Darwin Award rules to public policy. If a poor person wants help getting sterilised, great. If they can be suckered into getting sterilized, wunderbar. Just make sure all get councilling before the sterilization’s reversed so that theft-based attempts at paying for the reversal are spotted in time. Punish criminal risk-taking with military and other dangerous public service. Ditch helmet and seat belt laws, at least for drivers and bike operators–but keep them for children and passengers, and make graphic explanation of the risks mandatory for licensure.

  7. Michael,

    An interesting series of proposals. They seemed design to increase violence as much as possible — thus dispersing criminals over a wide geographic area, locating schools so as to maximize social conflict, increasing the vehicular fatality rate, etc.

    I strongly disagree with this approach. This amounts to an indirect 0GW, which does not work. (With a few exceptions here and there, populations appear to strive for a replacement rate…. thus increasing the fatality rate will change the kN (quality and number) equation to decrease quality but increase quantity of kids.) Instead, you’ll probably have a worse situation with even worse people.

    And that’s ignoring the death and destruction you’re causing, which are evils in themselves.

    Rather, the short-term solution appears to be area-denial [1], while the long term ones may be gene therapy. Medium term solutions (sterilization, more executions etc), are politically impracticable.

    [1] http://catholicgauze.blogspot.com/2008/06/geography-of-denial-of-movement.html

  8. “Its all about culture.” (-Eddie)

    What about sports? Are they cultural too? Do African Americans dominate running an jumping sports because of black culture?

  9. We’re very lucky to be living in an age where this is rapidly becoming an empirical question. Certainly crime itself appears to be heavily genetic within races. It still is possible to say “genetics may explain around 50% of the variance of many types of crime within a race, but 0% between them,” though I think not for long.

    This requires a religious discussion.

  10. “This requires a religious discussion.” (-PRCalDude)

    No, just the opposite. This conversation requires a scientific discussion. Too much of this subject is “religious” in nature as it is.

  11. Before we go and start involuntarily giving gene therapy mass populations, perhaps it might be advisable to discuss a few things:

    1) Why is anybody able to modify other people’s genes, with intent, and without due process? This is contrary to all concepts of liberty. This MUST be addressed. If the government were to infect me with a virus against my will, surely I would have to be charged with a crime. What crime do you propose to charge me with? Living in a ghetto?

    2) There have been literally trillions of trillions of variations of viruses that have infected people, with both generalilzed and idiosyncratic effects. Has there ever been a case of a viral infection leading to a better citizen? I am not claiming that something could not be engineered, but there is already striking variation within nature that it would be astonishing if nature did not create such a virus in the first place. One could even assume that such a natural better citizen virus would have a genetic advantage over other viruses, since populations of “better citizens” might prosper more so than populations that were infected with other viruses.

    3) What constitutes a “better citizen”? Riffraff like pesky American Revolutionaries certainly would not constitute better citizens, or would they?

    4) I find the claim that “An incredible amount of variation in important social characteristics (often between 50% and 80%) is explained by genetics and inheritance,” to be completely dubious. The human being is the ultimate chaotic system, and a given human’s genetic makeup does indeed have a large influence on his life. But as the human ages, the role his genetics play generally decrease compared to other influences, and even small non-genetic influences can have enormous outcomes. A virus cannot reprogram the behavior-sets in neurons, and these behavior-sets/habits still have to be contended with, even after you turn the ghettos into petri dishes.

    5) Since we are in the business of making “better citizens through gene therapy,” lets infect everybody with the virus. And lets infect our enemies with viruses that make worse citizens. Lets turn the planet into a petri dish of infected people. And that way we could give a sort of truth to the Jeremiah Wright claim that the US government engineered the HIV virus to kill “undesired” populations. Concepts of government accountability would disappear, as now every viral sickness becomes potentially an outcome of governmental action. Yep, great idea, dan.

    6) Viruses mutate all the time. What’s to say that the traits that are enabled/disabled that provide a beneficial outcome (“a better citizen”) would not be changed, or reversed in later generations of virus? These could conceviably lead to worse citizens. And not to mention that said citizens would probably be pretty pissed.

    7) Has there ever been a successful eugenics program implemented anywhere that had a good outcome?

  12. PRCalDude,

    think we need to establish where morals come from first before deciding that altering genes is the answer.

    Do you mean moral behavior, or morality as such? To answer your questions

    If moral behavior: an interaction between environment and genetics
    If morality as such: God.

    This requires a religious discussion.

    The answer is Christianity, and its assertion (contra Aristotle) that all humans have equal moral worth… equal virtu. This allows us to throw off our notion that someone’s worth is tied into the material they are bad of (their DNA sequence) or their behavior, loving them absolutely.

    Someone should write a book on that! [1]

    Seerov,

    What about sports? Are they cultural too? Do African Americans dominate running an jumping sports because of black culture?

    Annother example for your argument is tonal languages. Language is often thought of as more cognitive than sports,. The “new” version of ASPM [2]emerged around than 6,000 and is now possessed by around half of the human population. The “old” version is strong in areas where people traditionally spoke tonal languages

    It seems therefore that (a) the new version is really, really, really useful (b) unless you speak a language common in East Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa.

    It’s possible that a gene can go from 1 person to 3 billion people in 6,000 years by chance, and it’s possible that ASPM doesn’t do anything… but I doubt it.

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193484036X/
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASPM_(Gene)

  13. I read the same article at my local Barnes & Noble yesterday. I think that many sociologists have reversed cause & effect for two reasons. One is the premium on economics as emphasized by the Marxist dialectic which is almost universal in the humanities and second is the uncomfortable racial issues it raises that most would not rather face.

    I remember the quote about the 64 year old grand mother when hearing that her grandson had been jumped by other kids responding by getting her gun and proclaiming that she will go f*ck them up. This isn’t a rational or normative response by a 64 year woman and really defines in depth the dysfunction that characterized much of the black urban community. Forget expensive gene therapy, the best and cheapest solution is a one way ticket to Liberia where they would feel much more at home.

  14. Smitten,

    Excellent comment. Let me address your question

    1) I imagine the most feasible way to introduce this would be in exchange or lenience in time served. So, for instance, 1 year of therapy may count off as 10 years of a prison term? If you get comparable recidivism rates, that seems pretty fair.

    2) One way to begin answering this question would be to determine if any retroviri have entered the human genome, and then been under selection. (That is, if DNA from these viri have become useful to our species). I don’t know the answer, but if you are curious I’d begin looking at studies like this [1].

    3) Presumably, the same thing that constitutes a “corrected” citizen. (As in, for a century we’ve had a correctional system, not a retributive system, for criminals.)

    4) Are you dubious about intelligence [2], personality [3], political orientation [4], or some other trait? Across these, depending on method used, you get heritability estimates of between 40% and 80%.

    Your concern about the degree to which changing a gene can change behavior in a relatively short amount of time is valid, empirical, and doubtless will vary for different genes. Indeed, briding the gap is one of the reasons for the emergence of pharmacological gene therapy. [5]

    5) You propose an absurd idea, and then demonstrate it’s absurd. What does this demonstrate, other than that your strawman is a straw-man?

    6) The retroviri used in gene therapy are outcompeted by natural viri and have very limited vectors. Indeed, this is often considered to be a problem, because extended gene therapy can require multiple reinfections! Obviously though, this is great from the standpoint of your concern, as it prevents the sort of outbreak you are worried about.

    7) Yes. [6]

    Any other questions, or have I allayed your fears?

    Jing,

    Even laying everything else aside, “repatriation” is politically infeasible.

    “Corrections” however has supposedly been the purpose of our criminal justice system for a century. Combine that with the American habit of “medicalizing” problems, the pharmaceutical-industrial-complex, and the desire on the part of inmates to make incarceration as short as possible, I think gene therapy will be much easier to accomplish when it becomes technically feasible.

    [1] http://jvi.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/76/13/6442
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_of_intelligence
    [3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8776880
    [4] http://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/GeneticsAPSR0505.pdf
    [5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmacological_gene_therapy
    [6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_counseling

  15. 1) You proposed “mass genetic therapy” for those in ghettos. Living in a ghetto is not a crime. You did not propose mass genetic therapy for criminals. Yet you also propose to exchange genetic therapy for leniency of criminal sentence. You fail to specify crimes which would trigger a genetic therapy sentence/plea bargain.

    What of those criminals without a genetic background that can be improved upon? Say that Mr. Doe is a murderer, but comes from genetic stock that already predisposed toward “good citizenship.”

    And what of those criminals who undertake genetic therapy yet still commit crimes? For these cases there is no empirical way to ascertain whether the genetic therapy had a positive, neutral, or negative effect. Nor will the criminal have repaid any debt to society, nor would the criminal have been successfully isolated from society. (I don’t mean to imply that current “correctional” methods are any better, only that there is greater risk to society if genetic therapy fails.)

    What of those who are convicted, given therapy, and later proven innocent?

    Should the viral genetic code become embedded in a more communicable vector, the possibilities for “therapy” for those who do not require such treatment are a great risk.

    The implications for due process for both victims of crime, and for criminals, are quite dire.

    3) We have a correctional system in name only. Given recidivism rates, I fail to see how the system is correctional. There are correctional aspects, but it seems that the current system is more prone to benefit litigators rather than mete out justice, or improve criminals.

    5) What is absurd about waging genetic warfare? I fail to see the absurdity. I also fail to see how the government would successfully disavow genetic warfare once it starts undertaking genetic therapy.

    7) Fair enough, but the eugenics campaign you cite doesn’t appear to have much of a political or criminal-justice component. It appears to me that the campaign you cite is administered on a voluntary basis on an individual level, and therefore even stretches the definition of what a eugenics campaign would even be.

  16. Smitten,

    Thanks for the comment.

    1)

    You proposed “mass genetic therapy” for those in ghettos. Living in a ghetto is not a crime. You did not propose mass genetic therapy for criminals.

    Mass means “a large number of people,” “a grouping of individuals,” and so on. Hence, the widespread use of gene therapy for criminals would be mass gene therapy.

    You fail to specify crimes which would trigger a genetic therapy sentence/plea bargain.

    Logically, crimes for which it would be efficacious.

    What of those criminals without a genetic background that can be improved upon? Say that Mr. Doe is a murderer, but comes from genetic stock that already predisposed toward “good citizenship.”

    What of them?

    What of those without [extenuating — ed.] circumstances in any case?

    Equal protection refers to equal treatment of those in similar circumstances. Without similar circumstances, there’s no requirement for equal treatment.

    And what of those criminals who undertake genetic therapy yet still commit crimes?

    All treatments, sentences, etc have a recidivism rate. This sounds like a “special plea” — holding a proposed policy you dislike to a standard applied to no other policy.

    For these cases there is no empirical way to ascertain whether the genetic therapy had a positive, neutral, or negative effect.

    All any social analysis is ever left with is correlation and regression, which are always statistical. Anecdote is not a valid way of analysis.

    Nor will the criminal have repaid any debt to society,

    Indeed, a correlational and retributional theory of justice have different implications.

    nor would the criminal have been successfully isolated from society.

    Isolation is itself a policy that has a failure rate. The question is whether rates are comparable, not whether one is perfect.

    (I don’t mean to imply that current “correctional” methods are any better, only that there is greater risk to society if genetic therapy fails.)

    You implied neither.

    What of those who are convicted, given therapy, and later proven innocent?

    What of those sentenced, given a prison term, and later proven innocent?

    Should the viral genetic code become embedded in a more communicable vector, the possibilities for “therapy” for those who do not require such treatment are a great risk.

    This holds for all gene therapy.

    The implications for due process for both victims of crime, and for criminals, are quite dire.

    You haven’t demonstrated this assertion. (At least, relative to such policies as long prison terms, etc.)

    3) We have a correctional system in name only. Given recidivism rates, I fail to see how the system is correctional. There are correctional aspects, but it seems that the current system is more prone to benefit litigators rather than mete out justice, or improve criminals.

    Our system is failing in its purpose, yes. Elite political support has consistently existed for a correctional system. Sadly, “correcting” behavior is extremely hard, so we have a de facto retributive system.

    5) What is absurd about waging genetic warfare?

    The end of your point 5 is “Yep, great idea, dan,” so I assumed that you believed your strawman was somehow implied by my proposal.

    If you withdraw that last sentence, the negative implication you site is trivial, as conspiracy theories and 5GW both already exist.

    7) Fair enough, but the eugenics campaign you cite doesn’t appear to have much of a political or criminal-justice component. It appears to me that the campaign you cite is administered on a voluntary basis on an individual level, and therefore even stretches the definition of what a eugenics campaign would even be.

    My only use of the term eugenics in the post was as part of the phrase “mass gene therapy (eugenics-while-you-wait),” which indicates how much more effective and quicker gene therapy is compared to traditional concepts of eugenics. I agree with Britannica’s definition, “Study of human improvement by genetic means.” Another common definition, “The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding,” fits this only if the gene therapy is germ line, and thus alters the sperm and eggs such that future children inherit the improved genes.

    Any other questions, or have I allayed your fears?

  17. Whenever I hear of proposals to reduce crime, I am reminded of Ruben M Greenberg, the late former police chief of Charleston, South Carolina speaking about how he had made a substantial reduction in the violent crime rate. He said:

    1) We do not know how to rehabilitate people. It may be possible but so far nobody has demonstrated any reliable way to do it.

    2) Most crimes are committed by a fairly small group of people who commit a lot of crimes. Most violent crimes are committed by a fairly small subset of the first group.

    3) After the age of 45 or so, there is a substantial drop off in the number of crimes that people in that small group commit.

    The implications of that was that the authorities examined the records of people who kept getting arrested and put a lot of effort into getting people who were in the small group of violent criminals into prison and keeping them there until they were middle aged. Perhaps genetic examination of arrested criminals might find indicators that would cause the prosecutors to put extra effort into sending them away for a long time.

    There are some arguments for the environmental theory of crime’s root causes. For one thing, it is often argued that marriage has the effect of “civilizing” young men. Since the 1960s, the welfare system has essentially outbid young black men in the marriage market for the financial support of young black women. This has coincided with the decline in economic opportunities for uneducated workers, the decline in the school systems where black students are the majority and now several generations of black men and women who have been born into a black culture where illegitimacy is the norm.

  18. You have not allayed my fears.

    Attempts to improve the moral condition of humanity have usually ended up in very dark places, with humanity more brutish after the attempt than before. The great struggles of the 20th century were defined by several of these attempts, whether to create a new socialist man, a master race, or attempts to destroy people who are viewed to be morally blighted (Jews, gays, Christian, Slavic, of a given tribe).

    You are obviously not in favor of such campaigns to improve the moral condition of humanity. But you are in favor of a campaign to improve the moral condition of criminals, using methods that have analogues in history. Granted, genetic therapy while-you-wait is still in the future, but attempts to modify the gene pool of a specific set of people against their will have already been committed. So you seem to be in support of the methods of such a campaign, just not the ends. You reserve the right to define those ends yourself. You have already defined ends of “Clearing the Ghetto,” and of using genetic therapy on criminals as part of sentencing, stating circularly that such therapy would be for crimes for which such therapy would be efficacious.

    How does one measure the effect of a specific genetic therapy on a given person?

    I said: “What of those criminals without a genetic background that can be improved upon? Say that Mr. Doe is a murderer, but comes from genetic stock that already predisposed toward “good citizenship.”

    You responded:
    “What of them?
    What of those without aggrevating circumstances in any case?
    Equal protection refers to equal treatment of those in similar circumstances. Without similar circumstances, there’s no requirement for equal treatment.”

    So having a specific genetic makup is an aggrevating circumstance?

    I said: “What of those who are convicted, given therapy, and later proven innocent?”
    You responded: “What of those sentenced, given a prison term, and later proven innocent?”

    Imprisoning somebody has the advantage of only taking their time and freedom, of which the latter can be given back. Monetary payment has been used to compensate for time, and that’s reasonable. The imprisoned person’s time and freedom are gone, but they still have their personal integrity.

    Genetic modification of criminals is different–it seems to me that it is much more permanent. They would be forever modified, probably irreversably so. To me this represents a violation of the integrity of the person, a right that even criminals have (the writ of Habeas Corpus descends from the same natural right).

    Forced genetic therapy by the state represents another way to violate the integrity of the person.

  19. “An interesting series of proposals. They seemed design to increase violence as much as possible — thus dispersing criminals over a wide geographic area, locating schools so as to maximize social conflict, increasing the vehicular fatality rate, etc.”

    Not necessarily. Limiting relocation programs to people who actively want it, setting up programs to help the people after they move and scattering them over as wide an area as possible are all meant to keep new ghettos- and new gangs- from forming in the places they’re moved to. School relocation was suggested on the condition that said schools not be allowed to get too big to be safely monitored and controlled.

    “I strongly disagree with this approach. This amounts to an indirect 0GW, which does not work. (With a few exceptions here and there, populations appear to strive for a replacement rate…. thus increasing the fatality rate will change the kN (quality and number) equation to decrease quality but increase quantity of kids.) Instead, you’ll probably have a worse situation with even worse people.”

    Non-rhetorical question: in light of your OODA-based XGW definitions, what would 0GW even mean? The only thing I can think of is some sort of passive resistance–none of my suggestions are passive. I tend to think they run the gamut from 1GW (arresting someone for committing a crime) to 5GW (Bending over backwards to help those who are willing to help themselves get off the wheel of poverty).

    “And that’s ignoring the death and destruction you’re causing, which are evils in themselves.”

    This is your best point. While I did the best I could to to add safety factors to the different ideas, many of them ARE inherently risky. And the Darwin Award concept is, in effect, an indirect death penalty on stupidity.

    “Rather, the short-term solution appears to be area-denial [1], while the long term ones may be gene therapy. Medium term solutions (sterilization, more executions etc), are politically impracticable.”

    See #3 on the second list–for all intents and purposes, that IS area-denial, the area being public schools denied to known gang members. Executions weren’t on my list (as a liberal, I’m rather squishy about that), and the reason I keep talking about VOLUNTARY sterilization is to make it politically palatable.

    A couple more things to think about:
    1. One of Barnett’s sayings: Disconnectedness defines danger. I’m not sure there is any way around this. Ignore the disconnect, people get hurt by misunderstandings, anger and what connectivity still exists. Increase the disconnect, people get hurt trying to enforce the quarantine or by being included in the quarantine by mistake. Decrease the disconnect, people get hurt in the connection process.
    2. Even if a genetic program is developed that IS politically viable, technically feasible and has a low false-positive rate, you still have culture to worry about. That puts you right back in point 1. And until you have such a program, you’re stuck with older methods of genetic alteration–namely, natural and artificial selection. The last part of my previous post was me trying to strike a balance between this reality and the needs of a free democracy.

  20. “The great struggles of the 20th century were defined by several of these attempts, whether to create a new socialist man, a master race, or attempts to destroy people who are viewed to be morally blighted (Jews, gays, Christian, Slavic, of a given tribe).” (-SE)

    The communists, in trying to make a “new socialist man” were in no way associated with eugenics. In fact, if a scholar in the ex-USSR even implied that people had differencing genetics, they lost their job along with their freedoms.

    So this leaves us with the Nazi card. Which is the favorite among people who oppose eugenics. But I think Dan Tdaxp made it clear that such programs would have to be voluntary. I think there’s an even simpler route. Simply pay people with undesirable characteristics not to have kids, or if they’re pregnant, pay them to abort.

    At the same time give incentives to others to have kids. The best incentive I’ve seen would be to give a loan to a family for a house. For every kid they have, 1/5th of the loan would be knocked off. If they 5 kids, the house is free.

  21. Now we’re getting into the 5GW aspects of using eugenics…..

    Seriously, I’ve not followed this entire conversation although I have a persistent knee-jerk reaction when I read some of the more incendiary posts Dan writes on race and genetics. Give a person with some interest in science a sampling that can be expressed as a statistic, and very quickly a figure of 80% or 73% gets expanded into a universal. This is only true, however, for those who explore science for the purpose of achieving control. (Which I think describes most “applied” scientists, i.e. not those working primarily in theory.)

    The problem is simply that the interplay between genetics and environment is not well understood, especially as plotted through the course of a lifetime. Both the genetic code and the environment are exceedingly complex; their confluential effects are also exceedingly complex; and I suppose dabblers in genetic therapy are likely to be quite surprised more often than not when targeting (to rid or to produce) social and psychological phenotypes.

    OTOH, given the fact that people already submit to being the subjects of medical experiments for a little extra cash — or, to appearing on Judge Judy, or to appearing on COPS — I doubt that Dan, Seerov, and other would-be Frankensteins will have too much difficulty selling the program to would-be subjects.

  22. Thanks for the comments!

    Mark in Texas,

    Clearly there are social problems that are relatively unique to the black community. For instance, I believe that blacks are the only race in America where women typically outearn men. This makes it very hard for a man to trade wealth for an acceptable wife, and obviously leads to other resource conflicts as a result.

    I think the point about the core of criminals as the cause of crime, and the difficulty in rehabilitating them through conventional means, is important. It’s all the more reason to try something new, like gene therapy.

    Smitten,

    The first part of your comment is not relevent, as (for the second time) you propose an absurd idea and then argue that it is absurd.

    Moving on to the substantive part of your comment…

    stating circularly that such therapy would be for crimes for which such therapy would be efficacious.

    No circularity there. Every treatment goes through a series of clinical trials before it’s available for general prescription.

    How does one measure the effect of a specific genetic therapy on a given person?

    Typically treatments are measured for their effects on a population, through such things are remission rates, fatality rates, and so on.

    So having a specific genetic makup is an aggrevating circumstance?

    Well, it strikes me that it can be an extenuating circumstance. If the thoughts, intention, and desire of two men are identitical, and they differ only in their behavioral control and subsequent behavior, it strikes me that not taking behavioral control into account amounts to punishing the behavioral control, as opposed to the desire, intention, etc. [1]

    Imprisoning somebody has the advantage of only taking their time and freedom, of which the latter can be given back.

    Obviously this is absurd. Twenty years in prison cannot be given back. You can cease taking time, but that is completely different from giving it back.

    Monetary payment has been used to compensate for time, and that’s reasonable. The imprisoned person’s time and freedom are gone, but they still have their personal integrity.

    What do you mean by “personal integrity”?

    Genetic modification of criminals is different–it seems to me that it is much more permanent. They would be forever modified, probably irreversably so. To me this represents a violation of the integrity of the person, a right that even criminals have (the writ of Habeas Corpus descends from the same natural right).

    The reason I asked for a definition of “integrity” is that you seem to be using it in a very strange way here. Clearly it does not refer to irreversible damage, as someone still has lost years with loved ones, has obtained all sorts of terrible memories, may have been raped, etc.

    Forced genetic therapy by the state represents another way to violate the integrity of the person.

    What is meant by “represents”? If you mean “is,” you should say that and be clear. If you mean “is not, but is similar in some aesthetic way” say that as well.

    Michael,

    Your spreading-the-ghetto concept was directly addressed by the article I referenced in the post. It increases crime overall, because criminals now possesss greater networking opportunities with potential recruits and greater maneuverability.

    Putting schools in places were they will likely experience high degrees of violent resource competition similarly increases crime. Now you say you only want that if it is “safe,” but before you welcomed the increase crime rate (“They’ll learn to get along, or they’ll do something that gets them imprisoned; either way, the community benefits.”).

    You seemed to be arguing for a 0GW approach because your plan appears designed to increase social mayhem and murder. In other words, it is genocidal. (Or as you put it “an indirect death penalty on stupidity” with the goal of darwinian evolution of a group.)

    See #3 on the second list–for all intents and purposes, that IS area-denial, the area being public schools denied to known gang members. Executions weren’t on my list (as a liberal, I’m rather squishy about that), and the reason I keep talking about VOLUNTARY sterilization is to make it politically palatable.

    Escalating conflict and concentrating enemy fighters is not “area-denial” — it is promiscuous area-access-enablement.

    Your plan does not entail judicial executions, but increase many other sorts of nonjudicial killings.

    2. Even if a genetic program is developed that IS politically viable, technically feasible and has a low false-positive rate, you still have culture to worry about.

    No more so than with many other forms of gene therapy. You’re looking to decrease the rate of something. As Mark in Texas mentioned, Most crimes are committed by a fairly small group of people who commit a lot of crimes. Most violent crimes are committed by a fairly small subset of the first group.. We talk about using culture as a tool to change the behavior of these failry small groups. Certainly it is. We can use gene therapy as a tool as well. From our perspective, leaving the culture intact while reducing crime through gene therapy is an acceptable outcome (though obviously improving the culture would be better still).

    Seerov,

    Excellent comment. Smitten Eagle was quick to play the Nazi card [2], though we rarely see the Communist card played when someone proposes an environment-based crime fighting technique.

    At the same time give incentives to others to have kids. The best incentive I’ve seen would be to give a loan to a family for a house. For every kid they have, 1/5th of the loan would be knocked off. If they 5 kids, the house is free.

    Such eugenics programs have been remarkably politically unpopular, across large amounts of time. They were first proposed a century ago in England, in a much less politically correct age, and nothing came of them. There has been some progress in anti-dysgenics campaigns (more recently involving genetic counseling, and in the future with gene therapy), but history can help us learn what is feasible and what is not.

    Curtis,

    Give a person with some interest in science a sampling that can be expressed as a statistic, and very quickly a figure of 80% or 73% gets expanded into a universal.

    What are you talking about?

    I suppose dabblers in genetic therapy are likely to be quite surprised more often than not when targeting (to rid or to produce) social and psychological phenotypes.

    Doubtless. The same goes for all treatments. I imagine the experimental failure rate for pharmaceutical companies is quite high, especially in the early steps.

    Dan, Seerov, and other would-be Frankensteins

    You seem to be using the analogy correctly (to the Dr., not the monster) which implies a literary (as opposed to pop-culture) reference. I take it you’ve adopted anti-scientific, anti-Enlightenment, anti-industrial Romanticism as a philosophy?

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/06/17/better-behavior-through-chemistry.html
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  23. I take it you’ve adopted anti-scientific, anti-Enlightenment, anti-industrial Romanticism as a philosophy?

    On the contrary, I object to the kind of pop-science which gets carried away by simplistic dreams of what can be accomplished via science without considering the limitations of science and knowledge. So anti-Romanticism might be a fair characterization, but not anti-scientific or anti-Enlightenment.

    One way to ease into a chemical-based and genome-directed solution might be to find ways to eliminate the effects of crack cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, etc. The search could be similar to the search for ways to eliminate the effects of nicotine in anti-smoking efforts. This might go a long way in helping to “re-repatriate” (so to speak) criminals back into the society, especially also if those in ghettos, indeed society in general, who are not yet felons could be offered those, um, quick fixes to the problem of substance abuse.

    As for dealing with repeat felons, greater understanding of the genome might actually help us determine intrinsic positive value re: talents and skills; in which case, felons could be offered not only education and training that best fits their own better qualities but also reintroduction into society which includes positions of employment in their prime field.

    Additionally, in the case of certain mental disorders which can be isolated, through understanding the genome, special programs and chemical counter-agents, or indeed gene therapy, could be offered.

    A successful program would be multi-pronged.

    RE the expansion of a statistic into a universal: consider it a metaphor for dogmatism run wild, or science utilized without sufficient, healthy skepticism. As an example, from your post:

    An incredible amount of variation in important social characteristics (often between 50% and 80%) is explained by genetics and inheritance.

    — but unless I misread your conclusions in the post, you seem to have very little skepticism about the utility of eugenics for solving the problem. What if the correct figure is 50%? Or 80%? Or 63%? And where is the variation capable of being “explained by genetics and inheritance” and where not? Similarly, too often I see the quoting of a statistic, which is under 100%, used as a defense or justification for a policy or procedure that should be used 100% of the time or adopted universally. The fringe is forgotten or overdriven.

  24. Attempts to improve the moral condition of humanity have usually ended up in very dark places, with humanity more brutish after the attempt than before.

    Agreed. There is no fixing it by any of man’s means.

    Do you mean moral behavior, or morality as such? To answer your questions

    If moral behavior: an interaction between environment and genetics
    If morality as such: God.

    No “moral behavior” is what I ought to do. “Morality” is the set of principles that flow from the existence of a good creator God that provide the “oughtness.”

  25. While I would not say that a genetic modification strategy would never work, I am extremely skeptical. I am not sure genes are the problem.

    It seems to me that the real issue is a problem of motivating, channeling, and directing human characteristics or traits in productive directions more often than it is eliminating or modifying those characteristics or traits. The traits that in one individual result in a high level of positive achievement may be the same traits that result in a high level of destructive or criminal proficiency in another individual. The difference, of course, is motivation, direction and channeling. And, interestingly enough, the neural network formed in the brain that seem to set a person on one path or the other appear to be formed extremely early in ones life and are so resistant to modification after formation that it is seldom that they can be changed.

    Let me relate to you a couple of experiences that I believe will illustrate my point.

    My wife and I have fostered two seriously abused children, both girls, that came from extremely grim circumstances. Both of these girls were abused almost from birth. The first little girl came to us at 10 years of age and lived with us for 2 years. And even with medication and psychiatric counseling it became necessary for her to be committed to an institution for her protection and for the protection of others. Unfortunately, by the time she had come to live with us she was already an incurable sociopath.

    The second little girl came to live with us at the age of six (6). She lived with us for almost three years and we were prepared to adopt her and give her a permanent home. We came to love her and care for her a great deal; but, unfortunately, because of her abusive past, she could not form any meaningful attachment to us and became depressed and unhappier the longer she lived with us. In the end, the psychiatrist who treated her determined that it would be more detrimental for her to remain with us than to move her to an institutional group home to live with other girls her age with medication and rigorous counseling.

    In discussions with the psychiatric professionals who treated these girls we learned that this was not an exception. With years of professional help, these girls may learn to cope, but they will probably never be cured. In the first few years of these children’s lives, their brain’s neural network was in place and it was unlikely it would be significantly changed.

    In the last century they tried chemicals, electric shock therapy, and frontal lobotomies. So, maybe this will be the century of gene therapy. But, maybe the real cure is extremely early intervention so we don’t create dysfunctional people.

  26. “Your spreading-the-ghetto concept was directly addressed by the article I referenced in the post. It increases crime overall, because criminals now possesss greater networking opportunities with potential recruits and greater maneuverability.”

    In the interests of getting my butt off the computer and in bed, I’m holding off on responding to this until tomorrow. I’ll just say now that a more careful reading of the article’s text would be helpful.

    “Putting schools in places were they will likely experience high degrees of violent resource competition similarly increases crime. Now you say you only want that if it is “safe,” but before you welcomed the increase crime rate (”They’ll learn to get along, or they’ll do something that gets them imprisoned; either way, the community benefits.”).”

    Re-read my first post. I wasn’t arguing for increased crime levels in the schools taken over by the Federal Government or built near sharp community boundaries. I was arguing for making schools in or near high-crime areas safer by removing the criminals and near-criminals.

    Look at it this way. We can all (hopefully) agree that having violent people in normal schools makes it harder for them to do their job. But if you just put the violent youth out onto the streets, the danger is transfered to the community at large and- over time- increased because said youth isn’t getting an education. Those criminal youths who are convicted of crimes severe enough to get them jail sentences can be put into Juvenile Hall schools; assuming those schools do their job properly, the problem is belatedly dealt with. But where do you put the problem kids who haven’t been convicted, or who’s only crime (thus far) is hanging out with one of the local gangs and getting into fist fights? THAT’s where my idea originally came from. Remove high-risk youth from normal schools so that kids there can learn and put them in a higher security environment where they’re less likely to get away with things. Having concentrated high-risk youth in this environment, you force them to learn self-discipline by exposing them to people their culture teaches them to hate on a daily basis. The ones willing and able to learn that lesson do so; the ones unwilling or unable to learn that lesson (aka the people disproportionately likely to become career criminals) are more likely caught in the act, in an environment with fewer risks for the victim, and locked up.

    “You seemed to be arguing for a 0GW approach because your plan appears designed to increase social mayhem and murder. In other words, it is genocidal. (Or as you put it “an indirect death penalty on stupidity” with the goal of darwinian evolution of a group.)”

    You still haven’t given a formal definition of 0GW. Did I miss it in one of your prior posts? As for the accusation of increasing social mayhem and murder, my more specific responses (some of them yet to be written) aside, I can only ask: Why you think mayhem and murder will go up in these areas beyond the levels they’re already at?

    “Escalating conflict and concentrating enemy fighters is not “area-denial” — it is promiscuous area-access-enablement.”

    I’m talking about getting gang members away from schools and into areas where they can do less harm, and that’s increasing their area??

    “Your plan does not entail judicial executions, but increase many other sorts of nonjudicial killings.”

    Depends on how well the details are handled. Note that I’ve talked about flooding the Gang School with police officers; heavy-duty searches upon entry and CCTV set ups would also be useful. IF they work as hoped, nonjudicial killings between rival gangs should go down. But I do have to admit, that is a big if.

    “No more so than with many other forms of gene therapy. You’re looking to decrease the rate of something. As Mark in Texas mentioned, Most crimes are committed by a fairly small group of people who commit a lot of crimes. Most violent crimes are committed by a fairly small subset of the first group.. We talk about using culture as a tool to change the behavior of these failry small groups. Certainly it is. We can use gene therapy as a tool as well. From our perspective, leaving the culture intact while reducing crime through gene therapy is an acceptable outcome (though obviously improving the culture would be better still).”

    That’s reasonable. But until that therapy is available, and the means to use it effectively, legally and respectfully are established, other methods would be needed. Note, also, idea #2 in my original comment: I was imagining the homesteading of ghetto neighborhoods in part as a means of connecting the good aspects of its society (churches, other non-profit or volunteer groups, positive traditions. . .) with wider government and social networks that can help.

  27. Thanks for the comments!

    Curtis,

    One way to ease into a chemical-based and genome-directed solution might be to find ways to eliminate the effects of crack cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, etc. The search could be similar to the search for ways to eliminate the effects of nicotine in anti-smoking efforts. This might go a long way in helping to “re-repatriate” (so to speak) criminals back into the society, especially also if those in ghettos, indeed society in general, who are not yet felons could be offered those, um, quick fixes to the problem of substance abuse.

    As for dealing with repeat felons, greater understanding of the genome might actually help us determine intrinsic positive value re: talents and skills; in which case, felons could be offered not only education and training that best fits their own better qualities but also reintroduction into society which includes positions of employment in their prime field.

    Additionally, in the case of certain mental disorders which can be isolated, through understanding the genome, special programs and chemical counter-agents, or indeed gene therapy, could be offered.

    A successful program would be multi-pronged.

    Definitely. Certainly impulse control is part of the solution, but everything you’ve mentioned is valid as well.

    I’m confused by the last part of your comment. Obviously any treatment (cognitive-behavioral, gene therapeutic, imprisonment, etc) has a rate of success, and has some populations will it will be more successful than others. Social policy does not look for perfect fixes or universal truths, but rather for approaches which work better than others in certain circumstances.

    PRCalDude,

    think we need to establish where morals come from first before deciding that altering genes is the answer.

    &

    No “moral behavior” is what I ought to do. “Morality” is the set of principles that flow from the existence of a good creator God that provide the “oughtness.”

    Now I think I understand your point, though I’m not sure I agree. The theological question of where morals ultimately & truly come from is interesting, but more important here is the state’s need to keep the peace.

    Rex,

    You’re right that a variety of factors apart from genes matter (motivation surely high among them), and that early intervention (everything from good childhoods to good genes at conception) leads to the best outcomes. Still, we’re left with social problems now.

    It seems to me that the real issue is a problem of motivating, channeling, and directing human characteristics or traits in productive directions more often than it is eliminating or modifying those characteristics or traits. T

    I’m sure it’s possible to motivate, channel, & direct the unintellgent, the violent, the impulsive, and the sociopathic, but you’re left with actual efficacy of these approaches. If prison has a rate of success, if counseling has a rate of success, and gene thereapy has a rate of success, it will be possible to compare these solutions. I’m assuming approaches #1 and #2 generally don’t work on the population that most threatens the peace. Hence my enthusiasm for getting to the day when we can try #3.

    Michael,

    Look at it this way. We can all (hopefully) agree that having violent people in normal schools makes it harder for them to do their job. But if you just put the violent youth out onto the streets, the danger is transfered to the community at large and- over time- increased because said youth isn’t getting an education. Those criminal youths who are convicted of crimes severe enough to get them jail sentences can be put into Juvenile Hall schools; assuming those schools do their job properly, the problem is belatedly dealt with. But where do you put the problem kids who haven’t been convicted, or who’s only crime (thus far) is hanging out with one of the local gangs and getting into fist fights? THAT’s where my idea originally came from. Remove high-risk youth from normal schools so that kids there can learn and put them in a higher security environment where they’re less likely to get away with things. Having concentrated high-risk youth in this environment, you force them to learn self-discipline by exposing them to people their culture teaches them to hate on a daily basis. The ones willing and able to learn that lesson do so; the ones unwilling or unable to learn that lesson (aka the people disproportionately likely to become career criminals) are more likely caught in the act, in an environment with fewer risks for the victim, and locked up.

    This is reasonable, but then should does the geographic location matter, and why provoke intercommunal resource competition?

    If you have a low-performing population, you have a population that needs a good educational environment more than the general population, because they are less able to learn on their own. Attempting to use the schools to manage intracommunal cooperatoin is not only dangerous, but it detracts from the more important goal of graduating functional citizens.

    You still haven’t given a formal definition of 0GW. Did I miss it in one of your prior posts? As for the accusation of increasing social mayhem and murder, my more specific responses (some of them yet to be written) aside, I can only ask: Why you think mayhem and murder will go up in these areas beyond the levels they’re already at?

    I’ll use the definition I give in my monograph [1] (have I sent you a review copy?):

    You still haven’t given a formal definition of 0GW. Did I miss it in one of your prior posts? As for the accusation of increasing social mayhem and murder, my more specific responses (some of them yet to be written) aside, I can only ask: Why you think mayhem and murder will go up in these areas beyond the levels they’re already at?

    I’m talking about getting gang members away from schools and into areas where they can do less harm, and that’s increasing their area??

    Yes, as the article linked to in the post makes clear.

    That’s reasonable. But until that therapy is available, and the means to use it effectively, legally and respectfully are established, other methods would be needed. Note, also, idea #2 in my original comment: I was imagining the homesteading of ghetto neighborhoods in part as a means of connecting the good aspects of its society (churches, other non-profit or volunteer groups, positive traditions. . .) with wider government and social networks that can help.

    This has proven disasterous in Memphis. “Homestead” neighborhoods are both thsoe with lower police-citizen neighborhoods and those closer to the brink of falling into ghetto status themselves

    [1] http://www.amazon.com/Revolutionary-Strategies-Early-Christianity-Counterinsurgency/dp/193484036X

  28. Look at it this way. We can all (hopefully) agree that having violent people in normal schools makes it harder for them to do their job. But if you just put the violent youth out onto the streets, the danger is transfered to the community at large and- over time- increased because said youth isn’t getting an education. Those criminal youths who are convicted of crimes severe enough to get them jail sentences can be put into Juvenile Hall schools; assuming those schools do their job properly, the problem is belatedly dealt with. But where do you put the problem kids who haven’t been convicted, or who’s only crime (thus far) is hanging out with one of the local gangs and getting into fist fights? THAT’s where my idea originally came from. Remove high-risk youth from normal schools so that kids there can learn and put them in a higher security environment where they’re less likely to get away with things. Having concentrated high-risk youth in this environment, you force them to learn self-discipline by exposing them to people their culture teaches them to hate on a daily basis. The ones willing and able to learn that lesson do so; the ones unwilling or unable to learn that lesson (aka the people disproportionately likely to become career criminals) are more likely caught in the act, in an environment with fewer risks for the victim, and locked up.

    This is reasonable, but then should does the geographic location matter, and why provoke intercommunal resource competition?
    If you have a low-performing population, you have a population that needs a good educational environment more than the general population, because they are less able to learn on their own. Attempting to use the schools to manage intracommunal cooperatoin is not only dangerous, but it detracts from the more important goal of graduating functional citizens.

    That’s a fair criticism. Question arises, though, of logistics. Depending on the number and size of gangs you’re dealing with, a separate school for each one might not be practical. Lumping them together with non-gang members and/or non-hostile gangs might work, safety-wise, but runs the risk of creating larger gangs. Separate classrooms for each gang within the gang school would work better still, and reduce the networking opportunities, but you still have the challenge of dealing with them between classes–depending on the size of this challenge, lumping into the same classrooms may be just as easy.

    You still haven’t given a formal definition of 0GW. Did I miss it in one of your prior posts? As for the accusation of increasing social mayhem and murder, my more specific responses (some of them yet to be written) aside, I can only ask: Why you think mayhem and murder will go up in these areas beyond the levels they’re already at?

    I’ll use the definition I give in my monograph [1] (have I sent you a review copy?):

    Don’t have a blog to review it on; unless you’re feeling really generous, sending me a copy wouldn’t be worth it. Easier at this point to explain what I’m thinking 0GW means.

    You’ve defined XGW warfare in the past by the reduction of an enemy’s OODA loop. 5GW is denying the ability to Observe your actions, 4GW allows observation, but denies him the ability to figure out what you’re doing, etc. By this pattern, allowing the enemy his full OODA loop would be 1GW. The only place left for a 0GW in this model would be denying yourself the ability to respond to your enemy’s actions. If my understanding is correct, lack of response isn’t a shortcoming of my ideas.

    I’m talking about getting gang members away from schools and into areas where they can do less harm, and that’s increasing their area??

    Yes, as the article linked to in the post makes clear. More about this in a separate post.

    That’s reasonable. But until that therapy is available, and the means to use it effectively, legally and respectfully are established, other methods would be needed. Note, also, idea #2 in my original comment: I was imagining the homesteading of ghetto neighborhoods in part as a means of connecting the good aspects of its society (churches, other non-profit or volunteer groups, positive traditions. . .) with wider government and social networks that can help.

    This has proven disasterous in Memphis. “Homestead” neighborhoods are both thsoe with lower police-citizen neighborhoods and those closer to the brink of falling into ghetto status themselves

    Getting definitions mixed up. #2 was the idea of getting non-ghetto residents- teachers, police, firefighters, social workers- to move INTO the ghetto. By giving them what they need to deal with the dangers of their new neighborhood and encouraging them to make social connections with such positive social networks as are already there (churches, non-profits and volunteer groups, etc), disconnection with the wider society can be gradually reduced and new ways of dealing local problems can be introduced.

    “Your spreading-the-ghetto concept was directly addressed by the article I referenced in the post.”

    Being one of the people who sent it to you, I’m well aware of that:P Thing is, the article also takes a look at why these different programs didn’t always work well. Some didn’t bother filtering for people who actually wanted to move, many didn’t take care to put the people in good neighborhoods, and none (including the Galtreaux study, if I’m reading it correctly) took care to make sure the people moved had a support structure waiting for them. Here’s a quote from the article:

    **Physically redistributing the poor was probably necessary; generations of them were floundering in the high-rises. But instead of coaching them and then carefully spreading them out among many more-affluent neighborhoods, most cities gave them vouchers and told them to move in a rush, with no support.

    “People were moved too quickly, without any planning, and without any thought about where they would live, and how it would affect the families or the places,” complains James Rosenbaum, the author of the original Gautreaux study.**

    That’s why I put the lessons learned in my first post that I did: people who don’t REALLY want to move are more likely to carry disfunctions with them from the old neighborhood, cutting even willing people off from their accustomed support networks gets messy, concentrating people in one place tends to reinforce mutual habits (good and bad) and expecting miracles from such a program is unrealistic at any rate. This last part leads into:

    “It increases crime overall, because criminals now possesss greater networking opportunities with potential recruits and greater maneuverability.”

    Maybe, maybe not. I talk about support structure as a short hand, but it means more than just Social Service Agencies. Are there people available to model, and teach, good habits to replace the bad ones? Are there people who can help them find available jobs? Do they have the opportunity to make new friends, or are they isolated from their new environment like the one lady from the Galtreaux study was? If people don’t have these things, they’re more likely to keep bad habits and to cling to dubious social ties from the ghetto. And if people DO have these things, there’s some portion of them who’ll STILL cling to the bad habits and bad friends from the ghetto. The difference being between a neighborhood turning into a ghetto and neighborhood suffering a somewhat higher crime rate until the recidivists are caught.

  29. Dan,

    My point was that the same genetic charachteristic may be perceived as an asset in one person and a liability in another. For example, an aggressive gene in a football player or a CEO would be considered a desirable attribute but not in a getto youth who becomes a criminal gang member or a person from any background who becomes a bully.

    So, the question is how is it that for two people with the same genetic attributes, that one might become a CEO and the other a gang member? And, if the person raised in the getto who became a gang member and criminal without a conscience were raised in a family with guidance and direction, might they have become a productive, law abiding member of society, and maybe even a CEO? Further, it is not clear to me whether the gene, or genes, which result in criminal violence in one person are different than the gene, or genes, that one uses as a soldier, a policeman, or for self-protection when necessary.

    Bottom line: are all criminals genetically defective? Is there really a genetic cure for laziness, lack of ambition, lack of conscience, violence?

    I have no doubt that there may be some genetic predisposition for some behaviors; but, are they geneticly set in stone? Is laziness a learned behavior or is it genetic? Is motivation a learned behavior or is it genetic? Is conscience a learned value or is it genetic. Or, if it’s the way the brain gets wired in early life, and not the genetic components, then gene modification would not solve the problem.

    On the other hand, I have no doubt that there are some genetic anomalies that can cause abberant behavior and we can see benefits from gene modification or therapies in these cases. And, you may be right, we may actually find some genes that we would be better off without.

    As for low IQ, if you can raise people’s IQ with genetic modification, I would be all for that. I wouldn’t mind getting a few extra points myself.

  30. Okay, I’ll have to wade thru all the comments after Jing’s later, but…

    1) Dan, I have to urge caution. we don’t know enough to do this, wisely. We don’t know what genes interact to code for poly-gene traits. Law of unintended consequences. I’m thinking of the Cheetah example here, but no longer natural but imposed(an entire species with fragile hips). Until we know a ton more I think it irresponsible to call for active push of genetic manip of human beings.
    2) I think you misinterp Micheals initial comment. I don’t see it so much as zeroeth grade. Barnett’s phrase of ‘getting the necessary killing over in the shortest period of time.’ I don’t think I’d call that phrase philosophy of a oth grade conflict. Apparently you disagree. Can you elaborate?

    3) I also think you have to accept certain ‘evils’ here. Forcibly screwing withi someones genetic code is evil too. When one steps into the role of decider one accepts the ‘asshole doctrine’. People will be hurt or killed because of some asshole making decisions, and that asshole is you. Many days that asshole is me, so don’t think it’s an insult. It simply is. There are few, if any, painless solutions to real problems and the person who makes the call to inflict the pain is typically denounced as an asshole. Get used to it and get on with it.
    Now it’s time for bed.

  31. Thanks for the excellent comments!

    Michael,

    That’s a fair criticism. Question arises, though, of logistics.

    Actually, the reverse. The default location for a school is in a neighborhood, hence “neighborhood schools.” Your proposal seeks to make schools and school districts purposefully cross neighborhoods in order to get as hostile a student body as possible. So you still need to address the fair criticism of trading in academic value for social conflict, and also the question of logistics which you’ve raised.

    You’ve defined XGW warfare in the past by the reduction of an enemy’s OODA loop. 5GW is denying the ability to Observe your actions, 4GW allows observation, but denies him the ability to figure out what you’re doing, etc. By this pattern, allowing the enemy his full OODA loop would be 1GW. The only place left for a 0GW in this model would be denying yourself the ability to respond to your enemy’s actions. If my understanding is correct, lack of response isn’t a shortcoming of my ideas.

    The gradients of xGW are defined in terms of social dispersel of kinetic action [1]. They are described in terms of Operative Actions [2]. The central theoretical prediction of xGW is that each gradient is more cognitive than the one before it [3].

    I’m not sure how this relates to our present discussion?

    That’s reasonable. But until that therapy is available, and the means to use it effectively, legally and respectfully are established, other methods would be needed. Note, also, idea #2 in my original comment: I was imagining the homesteading of ghetto neighborhoods in part as a means of connecting the good aspects of its society (churches, other non-profit or volunteer groups, positive traditions. . .) with wider government and social networks that can help.

    Would this be more effective than getting people with bad behaviors off the street by, say, lower standards of evidence, longer prison terms, etc?

    Getting definitions mixed up. #2 was the idea of getting non-ghetto residents- teachers, police, firefighters, social workers- to move INTO the ghetto. By giving them what they need to deal with the dangers of their new neighborhood and encouraging them to make social connections with such positive social networks as are already there (churches, non-profits and volunteer groups, etc), disconnection with the wider society can be gradually reduced and new ways of dealing local problems can be introduced.

    Have plans like this one had success in the past?

    Are there people available to model, and teach, good habits to replace the bad ones?

    Does modeling work in such dysfunction? I’m assuming if it does, it works for the chosen few who are poor because of a bad run of luck, rather than the chronic poor we are focusing on in this discussion.

    Rex,

    My point was that the same genetic charachteristic may be perceived as an asset in one person and a liability in another. For example, an aggressive gene in a football player or a CEO would be considered a desirable attribute but not in a getto youth who becomes a criminal gang member or a person from any background who becomes a bully.

    So, the question is how is it that for two people with the same genetic attributes, that one might become a CEO and the other a gang member?

    Clearly. In your example, fluid intelligence and self-control would appear to be major factors, even before getting into education, etc.

    And, if the person raised in the getto who became a gang member and criminal without a conscience were raised in a family with guidance and direction, might they have become a productive, law abiding member of society, and maybe even a CEO?

    Further, it is not clear to me whether the gene, or genes, which result in criminal violence in one person are different than the gene, or genes, that one uses as a soldier, a policeman, or for self-protection when necessary.

    Think Gene X Gene X Culture interaction. Something of an example of this is a “really recent” allele, about five centuries old, which started out as functionally neutral in Iceland but then experienced rapid negative selection. [4] Something around it changed so that the same thing became very harmful, when before it had no effect.

    Bottom line: are all criminals genetically defective? Is there really a genetic cure for laziness, lack of ambition, lack of conscience, violence?

    No more (or less) than they have bad life experiences, or that there are behavioral cures for laziness, lack of amibition, lack of conscience, and violence.

    I have no doubt that there may be some genetic predisposition for some behaviors; but, are they geneticly set in stone? Is laziness a learned behavior or is it genetic? Is motivation a learned behavior or is it genetic? Is conscience a learned value or is it genetic. Or, if it’s the way the brain gets wired in early life, and not the genetic components, then gene modification would not solve the problem.

    Nearly all traits are an interaction of both.genes and environment.

    Ry,

    1) Dan, I have to urge caution. we don’t know enough to do this, wisely. We don’t know what genes interact to code for poly-gene traits. Law of unintended consequences. I’m thinking of the Cheetah example here, but no longer natural but imposed(an entire species with fragile hips). Until we know a ton more I think it irresponsible to call for active push of genetic manip of human beings.

    Obviously the same holds true for prison sentences, which have a host of unintended consequences on the lievs of both criminals, and those around them.

    2) I think you misinterp Micheals initial comment. I don’t see it so much as zeroeth grade. Barnett’s phrase of ‘getting the necessary killing over in the shortest period of time.’ I don’t think I’d call that phrase philosophy of a oth grade conflict. Apparently you disagree. Can you elaborate?

    As I understood Michael, he was advocating the killing-off of those with problematic behavior through increased accidents, etc. Genocide is 0GW.

    3) I also think you have to accept certain ‘evils’ here. Forcibly screwing withi someones genetic code is evil too.

    Is reducing a jail sentence in exchange for undergoing anger management evil?

    When one steps into the role of decider one accepts the ‘asshole doctrine’. People will be hurt or killed because of some asshole making decisions, and that asshole is you. Many days that asshole is me, so don’t think it’s an insult. It simply is. There are few, if any, painless solutions to real problems and the person who makes the call to inflict the pain is typically denounced as an asshole. Get used to it and get on with it.

    Thus guilt naturally flows to the people in a democracy.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/06/07/defenses-against-4gw-what-xgw-theory-says.html
    [2] http://www.dreaming5gw.com/2007/10/xgw_left_of_boom_right_of_boom.php
    [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/07/18/orientation-and-action-part-i-the-ooda-loop.html
    [4] http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/06/evolutionary_genetics_in_icela.php

  32. “Obviously the same holds true for prison sentences, which have a host of unintended consequences on the lievs of both criminals, and those around them.”
    I’ll have to think about this one a bit more, but first blush is no. If I understand you correctly, we’re talking about genetic manip, and that means genes and allelles being passed on. What i see is akin to the rise of extreme peanut allergy and like traits that were nearly pushed out of the gene pool but are resurgent, only potentially worse since you could be removing a necessary but annoying gene for species survival(an anti-social gene, or collection of genes, that allows one to step outside societal norms. Without which cops, fireman, soldiers, and scientists worth a damn might not be pssible.).

    On the other hand incareration keeps this gene in play. It does not give a competitive gene with an artificial selection preference. It would leave things very much alone, leaving this potential gene in play along with genes that code for self control.

    In sum, I think you’re talking about breeding for docility and that is not good.

    Or, one could say that with long term incarceration having been in effect for most of my life (30 years) that the ‘wicked’ gene had been sequestered and so if the behavoir was biochemical machine induced we’d be seeing a drop in ‘wicked’ behavior. We are not.

    True, though that unintended consequences occur with incarceration. Yet, you’re talking about a much larger field upon which the negatives to play out on with forced gene manipulation than with incarceration. Scale does come into the calculus I would think.

    Getting to Micheal. So would you call GWoT a genocidal war then? It would fit, as so far defined, the same rhubric. Yet, it is obviously not, agreed? So must it be 0th grade? I see two factors at work. One social one genetic. The genetic is a culling of those without self control while haveing a ‘wicked’ gene. The other is socialization. Nurture surely has *some* value since those of us with terrible self control as kids learn to have some as adults. And, yes, I see the culling element in GWoT, though not genetic. In this instance it is not really different than your own plan since you are also essentially calling for the extermination of a ‘breed’—those who have a gene for violence but without a gene for self control. One is done by people in lab coats while the other is not. Why is the former prefered if the end result is the same in Micheal’s arrangement where the violence is largely confined to the self-culling?

    “Thus guilt naturally flows to the people in a democracy.”
    I hear you, boy do I hear you.

  33. Dan,

    I don’t think I can add anything else of any real value to this discussion. As you said, “Nearly all traits are an interaction of both genes and environment”.

    All this talk of genetic modification, however, reminded me of a book made into a movie called “The Boys from Brazil”. The premise is that Dr. Mengele escaped to Brazil and is able to clone Adolf Hitler to create his genetic double. He then proceeds to raise multiple clones in environments similar to that in which Hitler flourished so that he can resurrect the Third Riech.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boys_from_Brazil_(film)

  34. ry,

    What i see is akin to the rise of extreme peanut allergy and like traits that were nearly pushed out of the gene pool but are resurgent, only potentially worse since you could be removing a necessary but annoying gene for species survival

    The argument doesn’t hold, as we would be curing only the sick, not giving the treatment to everyone.

    Still, we’ve held up under breakneck evolution these past ten-thousand years [1], so I’m not worried.

    On the other hand incareration keeps this gene in play. It does not give a competitive gene with an artificial selection preference. It would leave things very much alone, leaving this potential gene in play along with genes that code for self control.

    Well, not really. You’re decreasing the frequency of a gene by incarcerating those who might otherwise be breeding. As Hawks et al. [1] show, human evolution has been accelerating with the rise of culture. We’re experiencing more profound genetic changes than before. Life in civilization is not evolutionarily stable… it’s evolutionarily accelerated.

    In sum, I think you’re talking about breeding for docility and that is not good.

    Disagree [3].

    Or, one could say that with long term incarceration having been in effect for most of my life (30 years) that the ‘wicked’ gene had been sequestered and so if the behavoir was biochemical machine induced we’d be seeing a drop in ‘wicked’ behavior. We are not.

    I think you are incorrect [4].

    True, though that unintended consequences occur with incarceration. Yet, you’re talking about a much larger field upon which the negatives to play out on with forced gene manipulation than with incarceration. Scale does come into the calculus I would think.

    This is an even better argument against public education, because we’re giving tremendous power in childhood education to the government.

    Getting to Micheal. So would you call GWoT a genocidal war then? It would fit, as so far defined, the same rhubric.

    The Long War appears to be a 5GW of the state-without variety [6] in which an operational arm of the government attacks a different society. Certainly some battles within it are more kinetically intense and so belogn to lower gradients, but I’m not aware of a general to plan to, say, exterminate Arabs.

    The rest of you paragraph assumes that we are killing ourway to victory in the Long War — that once we kill off all potential terrorists, we win. I don’t think that is the way we are going about it.

    All this talk of genetic modification, however, reminded me of a book made into a movie called “The Boys from Brazil”. The premise is that Dr. Mengele escaped to Brazil and is able to clone Adolf Hitler to create his genetic double. He then proceeds to raise multiple clones in environments similar to that in which Hitler flourished so that he can resurrect the Third Riech.

    The first colrollary of Godwin’s law (whoever invokes the Nazis first, loses) works, I think, because references to the Nazis are emotionally heated, and they imply someone is arguing from an emotional rather than a calculated principle.

    [1] http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/evolution/selection/acceleration_embargo_ends_2007.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/07/06/against-the-wild-type-of-man.html
    [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/07/06/against-the-wild-type-of-man.html
    [4] http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/06/your-generation-was-more-violent.php
    [5] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/07/the_boring_long_war_is_the_rea.html
    [6] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/08/01/kinds-of-5gw.html

  35. ‘The argument doesn’t hold, as we would be curing only the sick, not giving the treatment to everyone. ”

    But they breed, Dan. They breed. The given trait, the neutered gene, gets passed on. Just as we’re likely to have an America where almost everyone is of olive skin tone, black and curly hair, and almond shaped eyes because of the intermarriage and passing of genes so too must we consider the input of a new neutered gene. (Unless you’re talking about simply suppression of neuro-hormones, which is a different thing entirely, but the talk of gene manipulation makes me think you’re talking about far more than simply neuro-hormone or chemical suppression). Why will not this new gene be dominant?

    I’m not so sure you’re right not to be worried having read {1}. A prefered gene or trait busts out and becomes the norm even though it’s initial occurance is less than 22%, beating out ones with higher occrance rates? Okay, I’ll admit that my last genetics and population genetics courses close to a decade ago(undergrad finished in 01 at 27), but I don’t think that supports you well. Maybe I’m mmisudnerstanding this. Would you elaborate, please?
    {2} seems to me to be exactly somewhat of exactly what I worry about. think of the recent problems of thuroughbread horses. Highly fragile. To strengthen them someone is breeding in the wild type. I’m not the romantic wanting a Heinlein-ian everyman, but I see potential for breeding in docility. Would you care to explain why this is ultimately unfounded instead of simply waving it away, please?

    I think there’s been a little, unintended, bait and switch with {4}. We’re talking about, for lack of a better term, and isolated group. Those in the ghetto. Sure, nationally, even globally, we’re seeing a drop in violence. But what of the expression of the ‘wicked’ gene? If it weren’t a problem to begin with why worry about it, and if it is dropping rapidly and naturally why fix what isn’t broken? It’s because we aren’t seeing a comensurate drop in the ghetto that you’re calling for genetic rewrite(or maybe I’m mis=interpreting, but that’s how I’m reading currently). If the gene isn’t a continual problem(what’s the incarceration rate for inner-city blacks?) problem, leading to an increasing proportion of ghetto dwellers with the ‘wicked’ gene for which you want to treat them, then what’s going on? It is exactly the wicked gene without the self control that you want to deal with. The gene expression blog tells us we shouldn’t worry because of the globla(in math sense) trend toward a decrease in violence, yet your whole argument seems to be we have to act beause there isn’t one in the ghetto. So, I’m confused or an unintended bait and switch has occured, me thinks(as the clock strikes 4am).

    Long war as genocide. But, from a utilitarian standpoint, your end state is the same: no more terrorists. You’ve killed them off or otherwise created conditions where they are not produced. Effectively genocide as you have said Michaels plan would be. His plan has the deterrent(behave or you go to the school where you have a 90% chance of being killed, and thereby we socialize the wicked out), or se send them to the school where most die. That seems to me to be what Barnett says is how this should be done and is being done—integration into the Core is socialization away from being wicked. End results are the same. So that’s how I see it being same-same. Why am I wrong?

    PJP2 was largely as joke, hence the yipe since I figured you’d snap me with a digital towel for it. He didn’t cotton much to this based on what little I’ve read of his encyclicals. He wasn’t big on stem cells, Dan, so I can’t really see him being cool with rewritting genetic code. Though, that old buzzard did love his fellow man tremendously. But, it was intended as a joke.

    laters

  36. Ry,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Why will not this new gene be dominant?

    It will not be a new gene, or even a new allele.

    Consider some gene that has two alleles, one of which is associated with lack of impulse control, or rape, or somesuch. We know about both alleles because both already exist, and our older than our investigation into genetics. Would we would be doing is selecting against the “bad” allele, thus changing their frequencies in the population. However, we would be replacing one old allele with another, no gene would be knew.

    Selection is happening anyway. Indeed, it’s happening faster now than at any time in our species history. We have political power over selection. So the question is not whether we want both alleles at steady & holding fractions, but rather we want to select for genes that lead to rape (by allowing rapists to impregnante women, some of whom will bear children) or select against genes that lead to rape (through long imprisonment, gene therapy, etc.).

    think of the recent problems of thuroughbread horses. Highly fragile. To strengthen them someone is breeding in the wild type. I’m not the romantic wanting a Heinlein-ian everyman, but I see potential for breeding in docility. Would you care to explain why this is ultimately unfounded instead of simply waving it away, please?

    The problems of thoroughbred animals come not from their domestication, but from the fact they are thoroughbreds. What thoroughbred actually means is aeshetically pleasing type of inbred. In spite of a recent faddish appeal [1], inbreeding is dangerous. A man may have any number of potentially harmful alleles in your genome, but if these alleles are recesive and rare, they won’t get a chance to express themselves (and so won’t be selected against). If that man marries his sister, however, suddenly it’s much more likely that their children will possses two copies of the “bad” alleles, leading to problems. Outbreeding can silence a large number of these “bad” alleles at one time, because even if the poor kid has two copies of them, it’s likely a random mate has none of them, so the kid receives only one copy of the passive allele, and thus is healthier.

    I think there’s been a little, unintended, bait and switch with {4}. We’re talking about, for lack of a better term, and isolated group. Those in the ghetto.

    You need to be careful here. Blacks commit a disproportionate share of crimes. This does not mean that most criminals are blacks.

    If it weren’t a problem to begin with why worry about it, and if it is dropping rapidly and naturally why fix what isn’t broken?/blockquote>

    92,455 forcible rates in 2006 is certainly less than 109,060 in 1991, and so is cause for celebration. But it’s still more than the 91,460 of 1986, and, more importantly, it’s still 92,455 to many. [2]

    You’ve killed them off or otherwise created conditions where they are not produced. Effectively genocide as you have said Michaels plan would be.

    Incorrect.

    Imagine you have this social problem — adult illiteracy — and wish to do something about it. Obviously solutions include

    a) killing all the illiterate adults you can find
    b) encouraging early dealth among illiterate adults by encouraging them to work in high crime areas, suspending enforcement of safety laws for them, etc
    c) teaching them to read

    (a) and (b) are both genocidal in nature. (c) is not.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/06/23/inbreeding-becomes-politically-correct.html
    [2] http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/Search/Crime/State/RunCrimeTrendsInOneVar.cfm

  37. ” That’s a fair criticism. Question arises, though, of logistics.

    Actually, the reverse. The default location for a school is in a neighborhood, hence “neighborhood schools.” Your proposal seeks to make schools and school districts purposefully cross neighborhoods in order to get as hostile a student body as possible. So you still need to address the fair criticism of trading in academic value for social conflict, and also the question of logistics which you’ve raised.”

    I’m not thinking of a new busing system, like they tried in the ’70s, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m thinking that, in situations where a sharp dividing line exists between two different neighborhoods, put the neighborhood schools next to the bridges (intersections, underpasses) crossing that dividing line. As for the subject of academic value:
    *Most public schools rely, to one extent or other, on property taxes for their budgets. In situations where this is still the case, minimizing the number of schools drawing on low-value lands makes financial sense.
    *I’ve also seen reports of studies to the effect that poorer students benefit from a more diverse school environment. This is one way of providing such an environment.
    *In situations where the two neighborhoods are linguistically disparate, schools which mandate a rigorous curriculum in both languages (plus English, if that isn’t already in the mix) would serve both communities well: partly by easing the transition of the non-English speakers into society, partly by helping the students become bilingual or trilingual (good skill to have on a resume or college application).
    *Any public school worth its salt has the responsibility of preparing its students to be productive adults in society. Academics is a major part of that–getting along with people who look, sound and think differently than you is another part of that. The challenge, in this case, is maximizing the number of people learning that lesson while minimizing the number of people hurt in the process.

    Keep in mind, too, a couple of other things. 1) Depending on the school district’s budget and the existing school supply, such a program would likely start with preschools or elementary schools; in addition to being typically smaller, their student body is less likely to break out in riots and more likely to learn the above lesson about getting along. 2) I wasn’t just thinking of schools at such locations: churches (Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist would all work well here), retail, entertainment and other public service centers would all benefit from (and offer benefit to) such a location.

    “The gradients of xGW are defined in terms of social dispersel of kinetic action [1]. They are described in terms of Operative Actions [2]. The central theoretical prediction of xGW is that each gradient is more cognitive than the one before it [3].

    I’m not sure how this relates to our present discussion?”

    You’re the one who accused my ideas of being 0GW. I was just making sure I understood what I was being accused of.

    That’s reasonable. But until that therapy is available, and the means to use it effectively, legally and respectfully are established, other methods would be needed. Note, also, idea #2 in my original comment: I was imagining the homesteading of ghetto neighborhoods in part as a means of connecting the good aspects of its society (churches, other non-profit or volunteer groups, positive traditions. . .) with wider government and social networks that can help.

    “Would this be more effective than getting people with bad behaviors off the street by, say, lower standards of evidence, longer prison terms, etc?”

    Where in this thread did I say that my ideas were exclusive of other ideas? In case you hadn’t noticed, I tend to take a shotgun approach to problem solving.

    ” Getting definitions mixed up. #2 was the idea of getting non-ghetto residents- teachers, police, firefighters, social workers- to move INTO the ghetto. By giving them what they need to deal with the dangers of their new neighborhood and encouraging them to make social connections with such positive social networks as are already there (churches, non-profits and volunteer groups, etc), disconnection with the wider society can be gradually reduced and new ways of dealing local problems can be introduced.

    Have plans like this one had success in the past?”

    One problem: I don’t know how close to this idea other programs have reached in the past. For example, I know NOLA police were required to live in the same neighborhoods they patrolled, but how much of their lack of success was due to problems with this approach, how much was due to differences (Were other public servants also required to live in the same neighborhoods?) and how much was due to larger dis-functions in NOLA society.

    ” Are there people available to model, and teach, good habits to replace the bad ones?

    Does modeling work in such dysfunction? I’m assuming if it does, it works for the chosen few who are poor because of a bad run of luck, rather than the chronic poor we are focusing on in this discussion.”

    Fair enough. But the more cultural factors we can clear out of the way, the easier it will be to home in on genetic and epigenetic factors and the people suffering therefrom.

  38. Michael,

    This will be the 44th comment/trackback to this thread… it’s alwasy fun to talk about something that other people find interesting!

    I’m not thinking of a new busing system, like they tried in the ’70s, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m thinking that, in situations where a sharp dividing line exists between two different neighborhoods, put the neighborhood schools next to the bridges (intersections, underpasses) crossing that dividing line. As for the subject of academic value:

    No, my criticism is more basic.

    Your plan optimizes for escalating social conflict between groups, in order to teach appropriate de-escalation strategies.

    All the time & energy being directed to that could be better spent on academics and technical training.

    Your plan is doubly tragic, because it deprives those communities who most need those vital skills the opportunity to learn it, in the name of social engineering.

    *Most public schools rely, to one extent or other, on property taxes for their budgets. In situations where this is still the case, minimizing the number of schools drawing on low-value lands makes financial sense.

    Perhaps, but I don’t see how your proposal relies on implies a Robin Hood principle [1]. It’s easy to see how RH schools can exist without purposefully inciting communcal violence, and how purposefully inciting communal violence can exist without RH schools.

    *I’ve also seen reports of studies to the effect that poorer students benefit from a more diverse school environment. This is one way of providing such an environment.

    If by this you mean they benefit from a higher fraction of whites, asians, and jews in class with them, then you’re right. (Whites, asians, and jews do, as well.)

    This doesn’t have anything to do with creating a more dangerous school environment in order to weed out troublemakers, though.

    In situations where the two neighborhoods are linguistically disparate, schools which mandate a rigorous curriculum in both languages (plus English, if that isn’t already in the mix) would serve both communities well: partly by easing the transition of the non-English speakers into society, partly by helping the students become bilingual or trilingual (good skill to have on a resume or college application).

    Perhaps, though your plan obviously retards English-language aquisition among the non-fluent community (which hurts them), and also takes time away from mor basic skills the fluent underclass community needs (which hurts them).

    Your comment appears to reason free of constraints, figuring that if we say “Teach them X” it implies no reduction in skills for any other areas.

    Alternatively, if you do want to sacrifice some things to get your new objectives, outline what those thigns are.

    *Any public school worth its salt has the responsibility of preparing its students to be productive adults in society. Academics is a major part of that–getting along with people who look, sound and think differently than you is another part of that. The challenge, in this case, is maximizing the number of people learning that lesson while minimizing the number of people hurt in the process.

    Why do you think that communal conflict escalation is important or useful in teaching people to obey the law?

    Keep in mind, too, a couple of other things. 1) Depending on the school district’s budget and the existing school supply, such a program would likely start with preschools or elementary schools; in addition to being typically smaller, their student body is less likely to break out in riots and more likely to learn the above lesson about getting along.

    Indeed. Additionally, socialization at this age seems not to matter much, so if you do your plan at the elementary school level, you’re trading little pain for little gain. So what’s the point?

    2) I wasn’t just thinking of schools at such locations: churches (Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist would all work well here), retail, entertainment and other public service centers would all benefit from (and offer benefit to) such a location.

    I don’t follow.

    Skilling ahead…

    Where in this thread did I say that my ideas were exclusive of other ideas? In case you hadn’t noticed, I tend to take a shotgun approach to problem solving.

    OK, let me rephrase: what makes this worth the political effort, considering the opportunity costs of that effort?

    Much of the remaining parts of your comment do not even address my questions. When I asked if you a similar plan succeeded in the past, you responded with a description of embedded police officers… But the central point of your argument is that you want to build neighrbohoods across neighrbohood lines to create a diverse student body. So your example not only doesn’t address the criticism, it only loosely relates to your actual rpopsoal.

    So: Have plans like this one had success in the past?

    Your last paragraph:

    Fair enough. But the more cultural factors we can clear out of the way, the easier it will be to home in on genetic and epigenetic factors and the people suffering therefrom.

    Confuses means and ends, and does not answer the question of: Does modeling work in such dysfunction? (Unless your answer was a way of saying “no”; again, I’m having trouble following your logic.)

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood_plan

  39. “”I’m not thinking of a new busing system, like they tried in the ’70s, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m thinking that, in situations where a sharp dividing line exists between two different neighborhoods, put the neighborhood schools next to the bridges (intersections, underpasses) crossing that dividing line. As for the subject of academic value:”

    No, my criticism is more basic.

    Your plan optimizes for escalating social conflict between groups, in order to teach appropriate de-escalation strategies.

    All the time & energy being directed to that could be better spent on academics and technical training.

    Your plan is doubly tragic, because it deprives those communities who most need those vital skills the opportunity to learn it, in the name of social engineering.”
    “” 2) I wasn’t just thinking of schools at such locations: churches (Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist would all work well here), retail, entertainment and other public service centers would all benefit from (and offer benefit to) such a location.”

    I don’t follow.”

    Remember, the original topic wasn’t schools in ghettos, it was ghettos in general. What is the definition of a ghetto? An urban neighborhood that is socially disconnected from the rest of the city. The point of this idea was to bridge those disconnections at the places where it is most acute, the places where conflict is most likely to happen anyway.

    Churches are one method. You’ve heard the old saw about Sunday mornings being the most segregated hour in America? Why not persuade church leaders to fight that? If you have Catholics living on both sides of a sharp border (probable, as there are Catholic segments in most populations), why not help the local diocese put churches at the border’s bridge points? Baptists (white and black Americans) and Pentecostals (both groups and Hispanics besides) also come to mind. If successful, this would create areas where the two groups could interact peacefully, discover their areas of common belief and work towards common purposes.

    Putting mutually attractive (and/or necessary) entertainments, retail stores and public services at these bridge points is also aimed at the same goal. Taking people who are normally isolated from each other and giving them opportunities- with incentives- to SAFELY interact as equals. To start knowing each other not as the other that thugs on both sides want to attack but as the family from church, the kid at the next desk, the folks who drink the same beer or watch the same movies.

  40. I decided to divide my response into two sections to make it easier to follow.

    ” *Most public schools rely, to one extent or other, on property taxes for their budgets. In situations where this is still the case, minimizing the number of schools drawing on low-value lands makes financial sense.

    Perhaps, but I don’t see how your proposal relies on implies a Robin Hood principle [1]. It’s easy to see how RH schools can exist without purposefully inciting communcal violence, and how purposefully inciting communal violence can exist without RH schools.”

    It doesn’t rely on a “Robin Hood” plan–in cases where both sides of the dividing line are poor, the above case doesn’t apply. And you are correct that there are other ways of redistributing wealth. But in areas property taxes are tied to the schools serving said property, it makes sense to locate those schools in such a way as to maximize the number of students getting adequate funding; that means crossing boundaries.

    As for your repeated claims of inciting communal violence (BTW, Firefox 3 comes with spell check*grin*) and hindering learning, I point to the city I grew up in. 100,000 people, 4 public high schools and a lot of economic and cultural diversity. As you can imagine, this forces each school is forced to draw students from a variety of neighborhoods and mush them together. We DID have riots in the schools in the early ’80s, but I saw no such thing in the early ’90s, and I’ve yet to hear of riots breaking out since then. None of these schools are great, but each continues to produce excellent students and one has a IB school-within-a-school. Heck, I had more trouble from other White kids that from the Blacks and Hispanics in my classes (plus boring teachers, clueless staff, athletics-obsessed Principles . . .). Starting to see why I’m not real sympathetic to Seerov and company? I KNOW from experience that conflict in diverse high schools isn’t inevitable!

    ” *I’ve also seen reports of studies to the effect that poorer students benefit from a more diverse school environment. This is one way of providing such an environment.

    If by this you mean they benefit from a higher fraction of whites, asians, and jews in class with them, then you’re right. (Whites, asians, and jews do, as well.)

    This doesn’t have anything to do with creating a more dangerous school environment in order to weed out troublemakers, though.”

    No, it doesn’t. Remember my other idea? The one about providing alternate schooling for known troublemakers?

    ” *In situations where the two neighborhoods are linguistically disparate, schools which mandate a rigorous curriculum in both languages (plus English, if that isn’t already in the mix) would serve both communities well: partly by easing the transition of the non-English speakers into society, partly by helping the students become bilingual or trilingual (good skill to have on a resume or college application).

    Perhaps, though your plan obviously retards English-language aquisition among the non-fluent community (which hurts them), and also takes time away from mor basic skills the fluent underclass community needs (which hurts them).”

    Depends on the curriculum. I’ve heard of elementary schools that provide rigorous instruction in two languages and produce students fluent in both languages–another reason why starting with preschools and elementary schools at the bridge points would be a good idea. Granted, though, I don’t know how much of the success of those students depends on their initial quality; if they were all from affluent families who pushed to get them into the school, they were more likely to succeed anyway. That’s one reason I was kvetching about charter and magnet schools last year: Has anyone figured out what what curriculums help problem students the most?

    “Your comment appears to reason free of constraints, figuring that if we say “Teach them X” it implies no reduction in skills for any other areas.

    Alternatively, if you do want to sacrifice some things to get your new objectives, outline what those thigns are.”

    The constraints aren’t being ignored, they’re being assumed as a constant. The kids can learn to get along with other groups when they’re little (limited damage done and limited penalties for mistakes) or when they’re big (more ability to hurt others and harsher penalties for lost tempers). They can learn languages (English and others) when their minds are agile and comparatively little effort is needed, or when they’re older and more commitment is required (either to learn the language or to accept the limitations of not knowing it). The same can be said for the three R’s.

    “” Keep in mind, too, a couple of other things. 1) Depending on the school district’s budget and the existing school supply, such a program would likely start with preschools or elementary schools; in addition to being typically smaller, their student body is less likely to break out in riots and more likely to learn the above lesson about getting along.

    Indeed. Additionally, socialization at this age seems not to matter much, so if you do your plan at the elementary school level, you’re trading little pain for little gain. So what’s the point?”

    Why doesn’t socialization at that age matter much?

    “” Where in this thread did I say that my ideas were exclusive of other ideas? In case you hadn’t noticed, I tend to take a shotgun approach to problem solving.”

    OK, let me rephrase: what makes this worth the political effort, considering the opportunity costs of that effort?”

    How many quotes have you heard comparing the costs of educating a child to the costs of welfare, crime and/or incarceration? Depending on how long it takes to perfect genetic treatments for low intelligence or low self-control, the improvements in welfare and crime rates wouldn’t have to be large to be financially (as well as morally) worthwhile. Now what ideas do you have for making such improvements that would be better?

    “Much of the remaining parts of your comment do not even address my questions. When I asked if you a similar plan succeeded in the past, you responded with a description of embedded police officers… But the central point of your argument is that you want to build neighrbohoods across neighrbohood lines to create a diverse student body. So your example not only doesn’t address the criticism, it only loosely relates to your actual rpopsoal.”

    That’s because you keep getting the ideas mixed up. Schools on the bridge points between sharply bordered neighborhoods is one. Homesteading police, firefighters and teachers within the ghettos they already serve is another. It was the latter I assumed you were referring to. If we’re going to continue this debate, we’re going to have to agree on some sort of short-hand to mark which part of my original post we’re debating:P

    “Your last paragraph:

    Fair enough. But the more cultural factors we can clear out of the way, the easier it will be to home in on genetic and epigenetic factors and the people suffering therefrom.

    Confuses means and ends, and does not answer the question of: Does modeling work in such dysfunction? (Unless your answer was a way of saying “no”; again, I’m having trouble following your logic.)”

    Not confusing ends and means, just confusing period. I was admitting your point that modelling may not always work. But if some combination of these and other ideas allows every kid who CAN be helped by good role-models to have them around, that’s still an improvement.

  41. Michael,

    Thank you for your comments, and apologies for the long delay on my part.

    Remember, the original topic wasn’t schools in ghettos, it was ghettos in general. What is the definition of a ghetto? An urban neighborhood that is socially disconnected from the rest of the city. The point of this idea was to bridge those disconnections at the places where it is most acute, the places where conflict is most likely to happen anyway.

    I’m sure this description fits, but we might be more direct and say its a concentrated geographical area of low socio-econoimc-status individuals. The advantage of this definition is that it becomes clear that connectivity is not a cure for the ghetoo — it just leads to better-connected low-SES individiuals.

    Tennessee’s tragic experience, highlighted in this post, is an example of this.

    Churches are one method. You’ve heard the old saw about Sunday mornings being the most segregated hour in America? Why not persuade church leaders to fight that? If you have Catholics living on both sides of a sharp border (probable, as there are Catholic segments in most populations), why not help the local diocese put churches at the border’s bridge points? Baptists (white and black Americans) and Pentecostals (both groups and Hispanics besides) also come to mind. If successful, this would create areas where the two groups could interact peacefully, discover their areas of common belief and work towards common purposes.

    This invites increaed social conflict, as it forces race-based political conflict over basic folkways such as style of service.

    Further, it decreases social trust in one of the few insituttions in these area which are pools of it.

    Putting mutually attractive (and/or necessary) entertainments, retail stores and public services at these bridge points is also aimed at the same goal.

    I’m not sure what your experience of this in practice is. In the city I currently live in, the consequence is shootings at the city-wide labor day fairgrounds (leading to smaller communities having their own labor day festivities), the trashing of city works that are in low-SES areas (effectively wasting those funds), etc.

    Taking people who are normally isolated from each other and giving them opportunities- with incentives- to SAFELY interact as equals.

    No idea how one would do this.

    To start knowing each other not as the other that thugs on both sides want to attack but as the family from church, the kid at the next desk, the folks who drink the same beer or watch the same movies.

    Pairing people up by SES will naturally lead to high-functioning folks in the ghettos being paired up with normal folk outside the ghettos. To the extent this allow high SES ghettofolk to escape, very well. Of course, it will also be introducing normally functioning people to bad influences they would not have had otherwise, as well as depriving low-functioning ghettofolk from high-functioning peers who may have been an example.

    Affirmative action has similar consequences [1], by the way.

    I point to the city I grew up in

    Can you share which one?

    No, it doesn’t. Remember my other idea? The one about providing alternate schooling for known troublemakers?

    Are you think of a zero-tolerance policy (in which case you can expect to be sending a much greater percentage of blacks to alternative school), or one where you need to do something truly heinous to be kicked out?

    Depends on the curriculum. I’ve heard of elementary schools that provide rigorous instruction in two languages and produce students fluent in both languages–another reason why starting with preschools and elementary schools at the bridge points would be a good idea.

    Which ones?

    Granted, though, I don’t know how much of the success of those students depends on their initial quality; if they were all from affluent families who pushed to get them into the school, they were more likely to succeed anyway.

    That’s one reason I was kvetching about charter and magnet schools last year: Has anyone figured out what what curriculums help problem students the most?

    Given Nebraska’s experience, I would say one that provides opportunities for regular, rigorous, quantitative evaluation.

    Nebraska (and I believe many states) saw NCLB improve ELL and black students more than any others, because it removes a great deal of choice from the curriculum mand forces an intensive education on basics.

    The constraints aren’t being ignored, they’re being assumed as a constant. The kids can learn to get along with other groups when they’re little (limited damage done and limited penalties for mistakes) or when they’re big (more ability to hurt others and harsher penalties for lost tempers). They can learn languages (English and others) when their minds are agile and comparatively little effort is needed, or when they’re older and more commitment is required (either to learn the language or to accept the limitations of not knowing it). The same can be said for the three R’s.

    I’m not sure what is meant by this paragraph?

    Why doesn’t socialization at that age matter much?

    Except for nutrition, early childhood intervention programs fade out after a few years. Both genes and social environment seem to matter as children approach adolescence, and they become aware of thsoe they are politically allied with due to resource constraints, and their genetic heritage places a greater role in putting a cap in their general intelligence.

    Head-start and all the rest are find baby-sitting program, but worthless over the academic long-haul.

    How many quotes have you heard comparing the costs of educating a child to the costs of welfare, crime and/or incarceration? Depending on how long it takes to perfect genetic treatments for low intelligence or low self-control, the improvements in welfare and crime rates wouldn’t have to be large to be financially (as well as morally) worthwhile. Now what ideas do you have for making such improvements that would be better?

    Effective technical training, time-consuming extra-curricullar activities, a minimal exposure to liberal education of any sort.

    That’s because you keep getting the ideas mixed up. Schools on the bridge points between sharply bordered neighborhoods is one. Homesteading police, firefighters and teachers within the ghettos they already serve is another. It was the latter I assumed you were referring to. If we’re going to continue this debate, we’re going to have to agree on some sort of short-hand to mark which part of my original post we’re debating:P

    I favor three-letter acronyms, henceforth to be known as TLAs 😉

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/07/08/decapitating.html

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