Racial Identity in the Age of Affirmative Action

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

A recent study explores racial identity in the age of affirmative action:

We find that after a state bans affirmative action, multiracial individuals who face an incentive to identify under affirmative action are about 30% less likely to identify with their minority group. In contrast, multiracial individuals who face a disincentive to identify under affirmative action are roughly 20% more likely to identify with their minority group once affirmative action policies are banned.

An Enervated Clique

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Lawrence Auster saw a pervasive nihilism in white, middle-class America:

What does the human product of a nihilist culture look like? As white America has progressively lost its belief in God, in objective truth and morality, in law, in nationhood and in race, whites have acquired an increasingly bland, complacent, pacific aspect. This seems to be true not only in the United States but in the white West as a whole. One is especially struck by this enervated quality in contemporary whites when observing them at their leisure, on Sundays, or on their innumerable vacations, or when they are shopping. In the all-white or predominantly white pockets of society, the environment is orderly and peaceful and aesthetically attractive, but something vital is missing. I have noticed it when strolling in downtown Chicago, or on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on a Sunday afternoon, or watching on tv the audience of a July 4th concert of Broadway show tunes (not traditional patriotic songs) held on Capital Hill in 1996. Even the relatively refined whites (i.e. those who avoid the aggressively nihilistic “grunge” look of today’s pop culture) have their own, passively nihilistic style — dressed down, neat but nondescript. There is the predominance of t-shirts and shorts, the absence of clothing that conveys dignity or a large sense of self, the vaguely unisex fashions that deny the true scale of man and woman. Whites seem have lost the energy, confidence and leadership qualities that once created a civilization. Absent is any sense of the long views and great plans, the intensity and faith that once bestrode a continent. There is no look of destiny, or even of character, in the faces of contemporary whites. Even the “WASPy” upper-class types on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, for all their supposed elitism, do not have the aspect of leaders of society, but of an enervated clique maintaining a residue of manners. It might be said that they have declined into a mere ethnic group; but even that would be an overstatement. What they are is simply consumers.

And in this peaceful, orderly, and insipid aspect of today’s middle-class white people, they bear an eerie resemblance to the Eloi in H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine — those pretty, passive, dimwitted creatures in the distant future who laze about peacefully in the sun waiting for the night to come, when each night the beastly Morlocks, coming up from their underground hiding places, seize and eat one of them. The graceful and attractive Eloi, whom Wells’s protagonist at first believes to be the masters of this future world, turn out to be the mere sheep or cattle of the Morlocks.

Community Wisdom

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Conservation groups often write about community wisdom:

It seems to refer to the idea that rural communities know much better than others how to sustainably manage their environments and natural resources. Reading some of the NGO texts, all we need to do is to let environmental decision-making be guided by these community folks, and all will be fine. What a total crackpot idea!

I think community wisdom is a complete fallacy. More importantly, I worry that this bad joke is undermining the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

On exactly what information is the assumption based that local communities have the traditional wisdom, practices and altruistic interests to forego individual gain for greater communal benefit? As far as I am aware evidence points in exactly the opposite direction — communities are as unable to manage their environments sustainably as anyone else (urban folk, government institutions, industries etc.).

It doesn’t take much digging in the literature about community resource use in Indonesia to find evidence of communities locally exterminating species (like tigers or warty pigs on Java, or rhinos, orangutans, crocodiles or expensive song birds in Kalimantan and Sumatra), or natural resources like Ramin wood, which had been virtually wiped out in the lower Barito region in Kalimantan by 1840, about 120 years before industrial-scale logging started. Similarly, unsustainable slash-and-burn agriculture had already turned large parts of the Kapuas and Barito basins into grasslands by the start of the 20th century.

Of course, the scale of environmental destruction significantly increased after the 1960s when the technological and financial means became available to exploit the natural resources in vast parts of Indonesia. This represents a scale difference though and not an essential difference between local communities and all the other people, businesses and institutions.

Community wisdom may exist, but it doesn’t transfer to new conditions. If the old ways weren’t sustainable, they died out. And sustainable doesn’t mean awesome:

Most anthropological and social research in Indonesia shows that the forest people of Kalimantan and Sumatra cannot wait to get out of the forest, get their kids to decent schools, access to good hospitals, and comfortable roads to drive bikes and cars on. If they are stuck in their environment, it is more often than not because they do not actually have the means to get out. As soon as someone strikes gold (literally, or maybe a village-head selling some land to mining or oil palm) these forest-loving people in harmony with nature are off into the provincial cities on the next boat, bus or plane.

Hunting and Conserving Rhinos

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

A Texas hunter bid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rhino in Namibia:

Knowlton’s $350,000 will go to fund government anti-poaching efforts across the country. And the killing of an older rhino bull, which no longer contributes to the gene pool but which could harm or kill younger males, is part of the science of conservation, he argues.

Naturally, this makes him a terrible person:

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

Pre-Modern Life Expectancy

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Basing quality-of-life estimates on average life expectancy at birth warps our view of pre-modern life:

For Neanderthals and other pre-modern humans life was short and brutal primarily because they had to kill animals with handheld weapons at close range. Neanderthals who survived into their thirties looked like they had been pulled out of a Humvee that was hit by an IED. One fellow was missing an eye, an arm, a thumb and a foot! These guys suffered from no known diseases. However, their main food [according to chemical analysis of their bones] was the auroch — basically a rodeo bull — which they had to kill be wrestling with it, stabbing it, and smashing it with rocks!

For a Neanderthal 35 years old was as old as it is for an NFL running back or a lightweight boxer. If one imagines a world where such athletes were executed at retirement, and that all men were such athletes, you get a good idea of the climate for thirty-something folks in the Old Stone Age.

Mature Stone Age hunting and gathering societies, which had not yet invented alcohol, and which did not live with disease bearing domesticate animals, and did not engage in repetitive chores that wear away their connective tissue, produced healthier warriors and women than more technologically advanced societies until the 20th Century. Although few men survived to old age due to constant small scale warfare, male leaders and women living into their 70s was common. As with other apex predators, like lions, most of a primitive’s day consisted of leisure activities.

Agriculture caused people to live in one place, which encouraged disease. With the addition of domestic animals living in close proximity, humanity acquired the measles, all the pox diseases, and venereal disease [don’t ask how]. The result was that few children lived to age five. This is reflected in the fact that many societies did not name children at birth, and that children were seen as a burden until they were able to engage in the horrid economy which the adults were shackled to.

An agrarian man typically worked from sunrise to sundown doing a small cluster of repetitive motions, resulting in a terribly worn body by about age 30. The woman had it no better, on her knees grinding grain all day long, and becoming arthritic before age 30.

This was a nasty way to live, so conquerors lived according to the more ancient primitive tradition. The apex of the population — the nobility and royalty, being the top 5% — continued to live as primitives, hunting and fighting and enjoying leisure time, and making all of those great scientific, literary, artistic, and military advances.

The common agrarian person was a machine, a brute who ate, worked, shat and died in misery, and was regarded as subhuman by his masters, who lived, essentially, as a primitive warrior class.

Note that the age of majority has always been based on man’s prime as an athlete or war fighter. Ancient Greek warrior-athletes, Roman soldiers and medieval knights were not considered fit for combat until age 21, and were regarded as pretty well shot by 40. This has not changed, with modern boxers and football players considered subpar until age 22 and over the hill by age 35. Likewise, various social rights, such as firearms licenses, drinking privileges, voting rights, and military service, have typically not been granted until the 18–22 year age range. It has also remained nigh unthinkable for a head of state to be younger than 35 years of age. This athletic life span corresponds with the hunting life span of the Neanderthal auroch hunter.

Ethnic Cleansing in American Cities

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Henry Dampier describes the wildly successful ethnic cleansing of New York City:

In NYC, America’s capitol of capitalism, the proportion of Whites was cut in half from 1950-2000, from 90% to about 45%. That’s about 7 million to around 3.5 million — a displacement of 3.5 million, which must include some fertility suppression as well.

[...]

Getting rid of 3.5 million Whites from one city in less than a century is an impressive feat, especially because it required no cattle cars or forced marches. How did they get it done, and with such clean hands, also?

Well, one easy way to do it is to teach in the schools that the ethnic group you want to get rid of is really evil and a source of all the bad things in history. Anyone who has been through the post-1960s education system knows that this is a major theme.

Another great thing to do is to encourage women in the ethnic group you want to get rid of to go in for long educations and strenuous careers, rather than having kids. If they have lots of kids, they’re harder to physically remove from the cities you want to get rid of them in.

[...]

All of this works great — in a short period of time, you can remove millions of people from the target ethnic group, forcing them to move to economically marginal areas, solidifying political control for your ethnic group and whatever coalition that you’ve brought along for the ride.

Finally, you want to soft-pedal the enforcement of criminal laws– especially symbolic, humiliating ones like rape — targeted against the population that you want to suppress or remove. Instead of executing criminals, you want to make a pretense of ‘rehabilitating’ them, providing them with long trials, generous probation periods, good-behavior releases, expensive prisons, and other forms of coddling based on relatively recent philosophical developments.

This makes it so that the ethnic group you want to get rid of knows that the police aren’t really on their sides, or are otherwise incapable of doing much. Meanwhile, you call any attempts at organizing defense by the group you want to displace either ‘terrorism’ or ‘organized crime.’

This policy is nothing more than a way of seizing territory and property from the people you want to get rid of. Using this policy, you can extract resources from healthy, successful people using coalitions of barbarians guided by glib sophists. It’s so effective that you can distribute the spoils from the millions of people you chase away to your cronies. Who said the era of rape & pillage was over? It’s just as effective as it ever was.

That’s democracy in the modern West. Conservative parties generally exist to prevent significant resistance to these campaigns from forming — by misdirecting attention to meaningless non-issues while people are prevented from living out good lives in the cities that their ancestors built in the wilderness.

The Real Problem With America’s Inner Cities

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

America is not reverting to earlier racist patterns, Orlando Patterson writes — in the New York Times:

[C]alling for a national conversation on race is a cliché that evades the real problem we now face: on one hand, a vicious tangle of concentrated poverty, disconnected youth and a culture of violence among a small but destructive minority in the inner cities; and, on the other hand, of out-of-control law-enforcement practices abetted by a police culture that prioritizes racial profiling and violent constraint.

First, we need a more realistic understanding of America’s inner cities. They are socially and culturally heterogeneous, and a great majority of residents are law-abiding, God-fearing and often socially conservative.

According to recent surveys, between 20 and 25 percent of their permanent residents are middle class; roughly 60 percent are solidly working class or working poor who labor incredibly hard, advocate fundamental American values and aspire to the American dream for their children. Their youth share their parents’ values, expend considerable social energy avoiding the violence around them and consume far fewer drugs than their white working- and middle-class counterparts, despite their disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates.

In all inner-city neighborhoods, however, there is a problem minority that varies between about 12.1 percent (in San Diego, for example) and 28 percent (in Phoenix) that comes largely from the disconnected youth between ages 16 and 24. Most are not in school and are chronically out of work, though their numbers are supplemented by working- and middle-class dropouts. With few skills and a contempt for low-wage jobs, they subsist through the underground economy of illicit trading and crime. Many belong to gangs.

Their street or thug culture is real, with a configuration of norms, values and habits that are, disturbingly, rooted in a ghetto brand of core American mainstream values: hypermasculinity, the aggressive assertion and defense of respect, extreme individualism, materialism and a reverence for the gun, all inflected with a threatening vision of blackness openly embraced as the thug life.

Such street culture is simply the black urban version of one of America’s most iconic traditions: the Wild West.

Useless and Out of Control

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Baltimore-resident James Lafond talks to a 35-year-old Nigerian cab driver at 2:30 in the morning during the recent troubles:

“Sir, thank Dear Jesus above that I am alive! I made good money tonight. People did not want the buses, were being targeted at bus stops. I was driving down Eastern Avenue into Canton and Fells Point to see if anyone needed a ride. You know, Sir, it is all yuppies moving in up there. The demographics have changed, and these yuppies cannot fend for themselves. So I was looking out for them, suspecting a need for help. I got to Fell’s Point and the blacks were coming with sticks and bricks so I pulled out. Not a cop in sight.

“I headed back east up this way looking for needful people. As I was crossing Alicane I saw ten black men with heavy clubs. They were about to cross the street. On the other side of the street was this blonde woman, just standing, wondering, waiting for the bus — a woman of the yuppies. I U-turned and pulled up, saying, ‘Miss get in, quick!’

“She dove in and I pulled off with the blacks in pursuit.

[This guy is blacker than any American black I have met. I like his accent.]

“The lady directed me to her home at Highland and Fayette. When I pulled across Highland these fifteen black men wave me over to them. They wanted the blonde woman!

“I did a U-urn and screeched wheels and they began firing handguns at us — boom, boom, boom! I thought we would die, but their fire discipline is as poor as their manners.

“I took the lady to a hotel, and we both thanked Dear Jesus above.”

I asked him, “What is your name, Sir?”

“Boomy, Sir, I am Boomy — a Christian. What is your name, Sir?

“James.”

“Well Sir James, I have something to say, and I do not wish you to take insult from it.”

“Sure, Boomy, what is it?”

“Sir, I love America — your wonderful country, and am glad to be blessed in being here. But your mayor is a stupid woman that should be married off to Boko Haram, and your n—–s, Sir — your n—–s are useless and out of control, and need to be shipped off somewhere very far away from decent people. Good day, Sir, and God bless!”

Religio Matters

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

The secular reaction’s view of religion is that Religio matters, religion not so much:

A religion’s unfalsifiable beliefs, its empirically neutral beliefs, are reverse engineered from its rituals, are rationalizations of its rituals, rather than the rituals being engineered from the beliefs. The unfalsifiable beliefs of Shinto are incoherent, since Shinto is a random grab bag of rituals, yet Shinto still worked quite well regardless, despite having very little in the way of beliefs for people to believe in.

A religion should be an effective tool for transmitting the wisdom of parents to teenagers, telling stupid people to do what smart people already know to do.

Dominated by Young Men

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Gottschall found a lack of diversity in MMA gyms:

But what I’ve found, especially in MMA gyms, is that the realm is dominated by young men. You’re talking about men who are 15 to 24 years old. In my gym there was almost no demographic diversity. There were very few women and graybeards. More or less everyone was a young man.

And if you ask these guys, “What are you doing here? This is kind of a weird thing to do, getting punched in the face all the time. Why do you do this?” one thing you don’t hear is “I want to know what to do in a self-defense situation. What if I’m walking down the street and a mugger comes along? How can I defend myself?” They’re not worried about that.

What these young men are worried about is winning a duel. They’re just like me. They’ve been in situations where they got bullied, and if that ever comes up again, they want to be in a position to stand up for themselves. They want to avoid humiliation and dishonor. They’re preparing for duels. So, generally speaking, I think they’re less likely to back down from a fight.

But part of the reason you prepare for duels is because then everyone knows you’re preparing for duels. So in their social network, these men are advertising themselves as the sort of men who are not going to take any shit because they’re dangerous. They are establishing a reputational deterrent against disrespect as well as aggression.

Just about any sport is dominated by young men, of course. What’s more interesting to me is that there’s much more diversity at an MMA gym (or BJJ school) across race and class and political lines than at a university or professional workplace.

Everything Oafish, Violent, and Oppressive

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Jonathan Gottschall’s colleagues in the English Department didn’t overreact when he started training MMA, because they knew him personally:

However, in my profession more generally, it’s not an exaggeration to say that masculinity is viewed as the root of all evil. If you were to take a literary theory course, you might think it would be about literature, but it’s really not. It’s about all the various forms of oppression on earth and how we can see them playing out in literary works. And behind all these forms of oppression is a guy.

So in a humanities department, masculinity is associated with everything oafish, violent, and oppressive. I thought that by going to train across the street, I would be seen as embracing all the worst attributes of manhood rather than doing what I should be doing, which is talking about just how awful they are.

Of course, if I were writing a polemic against cage fighting, then I’d get a free pass. But I think that because my feelings about the sport ended up being pretty positive, the book may be controversial in the intellectual world.

How Riots Start, and How They Can Be Stopped

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Riots are more common in democracies, Edward Glaeser notes — writing at the time of the London riots a few years ago:

The deadliest was the 1863 Draft Riot. More than 120 people were killed when the streets of Manhattan were taken over by protesters, many of them immigrants, who were furious at the prospect of having to fight in the Civil War.

In the early decades of the 20th century, cities such as Atlanta and Chicago were torn apart as whites attacked newly urban blacks for perceived transgressions. Chicago’s 1919 riot began when a child crossed an invisible racial barrier while swimming in Lake Michigan. In the 1960s, there was widespread unrest. In many cases, including the 1965 Watts Riot, the violence began with an argument over law enforcement.

These public disturbances are a classic example of tipping-point phenomena, which occur when there is some positive feedback mechanism that makes an activity more attractive, or less costly, as more people do it.

There is a tipping point in rioting because the cost of participating — the risk of going to jail — gets lower as the number of people involved increases. If I decided to start rioting tomorrow in Harvard Square to express my outrage at the closing of the beloved Curious George children’s bookstore, it’s a pretty good bet that I would be immediately arrested. But if thousands of others were involved, I’d probably get off scot free. The police would be overwhelmed, and my probability of incarceration would fall to zero.

Thus, riots occur when the shear mass of rioters overwhelms law enforcement. But how do these mass events get started?

In some cases, such as the New York Draft Riot, organizers get people out on the street. In others, such as the 1965 Watts Riot, a peaceful crowd provides cover for initial lawlessness. Sporting events, such as Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver this year, can easily produce the crowds that allow a riot to start. Most strangely, riots can follow an event that creates a combination of anger and the shared perception that others will be rioting. The acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King case seems to have created these conditions in Los Angeles in 1992.

The London riots appear to have had a simpler starting point. About 300 people gathered at a police station to protest the shooting of a 29-year-old suspect. Once there were so many angry people in one place, setting fire to an empty police car became a low-risk piece of pyrotechnics for the protesters.

After riots, there is often an attempt to explain the outburst as the result of large societal forces. The events in the U.K. have been blamed on growing inequality and the current government’s austerity program. The disorder in the U.S. in the 1960s was attributed to racism.

But across U.S. cities, there has never been much of a link between unrest and either inequality or poverty. In fact, the riots of the 1960s were actually slightly more common in cities that had more government spending. Riots were significantly less common in the South, where the Jim Crow laws were making their long overdue exit. This isn’t to say that many people involved in riots don’t have valid grievances, but plenty of people have serious grievances and don’t riot.

Somewhat paradoxically, even though the police often provide the flash point for these outbreaks, larger police expenditures per capita in a city in 1960 was associated with fewer arrests and arsons when riots occurred. Even if a riot provides a wakeup call for police reform, in the short run, the outbreaks typically end only when there is enough law enforcement to ensure that such behavior leads to arrests.

I hope the U.K. can handle its violence with a purely police response, but in the U.S. restoring law has typically meant bringing in the military. The 1863 Draft Riot ended when federal troops arrived after a long march from Maryland. Detroit’s terrible 1967 tumult ended with tanks on the streets. The National Guard was deployed in Los Angeles in 1992. Trying to stop a riot with too small a force can often lead to more, not less, bloodshed, because as the riot continues, vigilantes step in and beleaguered policemen can resort to brutality.

My colleague Christopher Stone has argued that there is another lesson about fighting riots to be learned from the incidents in the Paris suburbs in 2005, and the violence that didn’t happen during the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. In France, the police initially arrested relatively few people, but sought serious criminal penalties for those they did arrest. The New York Police Department arrested more than 1,000 people and let them go. The New York strategy protected the city; the French strategy wasn’t as effective.

The lesson: Light penalties widely applied and serious penalties applied to a few can both deter unlawful behavior. This is a central conclusion of Gary Becker’s path-breaking economic analysis of crime and punishment. But in the case of riots, it is awfully hard to actually prove wrongdoing and extremely important to clear the streets. Arresting widely and temporarily can be far more effective.

A Good Guy with a Gun

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

We have yet another example of a good guy with a handgun stopping a slaughter, in the recent Garland, Texas shooting, where a police officer apparently used his .45-caliber Glock to stop two AK-armed terrorists before their rampage got started in earnest. An unarmed security guard got shot in the ankle, but no one else was harmed:

The national media has gone to great lengths to try and discount the potential impact of someone with a firearm and the knowledge to use it making any positive difference in an intended mass-casualty event, but every time there is armed resistance present at the opening stages of an intended slaughter it turns out completely different to the plans of the bad guys. A sixty year old off-duty police officer armed with a handgun saw these two chuckleheads roll up and open fire…and apparently without hesitation he pulled his pistol out and used it to excellent effect. Kudos, sir. I hope you remain anonymous for the sake of your personal safety, but I think I speak for tens of millions of people when I say I’d like to buy you a beer and a few boxes of ammo. You. Rock.

Two dudes with AKs bent on slaughter versus one guy with a pistol is some pretty bad math on paper… but violence doesn’t happen on paper. In the real world the ability to put a bullet exactly where it needs to be exactly when it needs to be there can make the critical difference. From what I’m hearing, the good guy here fired his weapon with exceptional accuracy delivering hits on both terrorists that were almost instantaneously physiologically debilitating if not instantly mortal. If you want a handgun to make someone stop their violent actions, you have to put the bullets in important bits of their anatomy. There’s no better way to overcome being outnumbered and outgunned than putting bullets into the hearts and central nervous systems of the bad guys with lethal efficiency.

A Time for Men

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Baltimore, the Greatest City in AmericaJames Lafond, who lives in Baltimore, suggests we may be entering another time for men:

I have noticed that many libertarians and masculinity advocates in their 30s and 40s are hoping for civil unrest and government breakdown so that men may once against find a place in society along traditional lines, as protectors, as the strength of a family, or the autonomous drivers of a business.

[...]

Commercial districts and residential areas were patrolled by gangs of 5–15 mature black men with clubs, unopposed by police, but easily deterred by the two gun armed white men who stood up to them. The professional gun-armed black criminals were staging home invasions, drug stash-house raids, and stealthy break-ins of high value targets under cover of darkness and were not present as officers with the bully packs, as they were in Rwanda, making these incursion teams shy away from organized and/or gun-armed white men.

Approximately 12 murders were reported on social media and are, just now — a week later — being looked into by police and the media. I theorize that as many additional drug gang executions and assassinations took place during this period, and that the riots and zero police presence outside of the riot zones, has facilitated easy disposal of the bodies and blocked any effective investigation. It seems likely to infer that the three gangs that organized these riots: the Cripps, Bloods and Black Guerilla Family, have strengthened themselves at the expense of rival crews, which may therefore alter the scope of the next round of unrest in ways I could only guess at.

Over 200 businesses, including at least 13 pharmacies, and up to a third of liquor stores, have been wiped from the face of the earth, many of them minority businesses which are uninsured and will not recover. This places the drug gangs in a position to expand the illegal economy in areas where businesses will not return — as they did not return after the 1968 riots — which offsets losses of territory recently suffered at the hands of Johns Hopkins Hospital and University buying up drug territory.

[...]

The leaders and academics of our sick corrupt society have labored for nearly two centuries to emasculate our young men from the cradle to the grave.

I now observe, through what of my primal man’s eye I have been able to salvage from this systematic assault on my humanity, that all it takes is a few urban savages to rip the mask away from the slave mistress that owns us to expose her for the impotent squabbling bitch that she is, and open the door for men to be men once again, as the lie that encases our souls crumbles to dust with every fumbling falsehood that falls flat beneath the reality of naked force. The hooting black heathens that have hunted me in the streets of Baltimore for over 30 years might be my enemies, but they at least acknowledge my manhood as they probe for my every weakness, and have struck a resounding blow against the slave mistress society that seeks with its every apparatus to render me weak to the point of meek.

The Enemy of My Enemy is Still My Enemy, and I recognize his achievement, even as I prepare to oppose him.

(Hat tip to our Slovenian guest.)

Jon Stewart Wrong on Education in Baltimore

Monday, May 4th, 2015

The Fact Checker column at the Washington Post awards Jon Stewart four Pinocchios for this:

“If we are spending a trillion dollars to rebuild Afghanistan’s schools, we can’t, you know, put a little taste Baltimore’s way. It’s crazy.”

— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, April 28, 2015

It’s not close to being true, Alex Tabarrok explains:

Baltimore schools spend 27% more than Fairfax County schools [which are among the best in the country] per student and a majority of the money comes not from the city but from the state and federal government.

Baltimore schools spend more than $17,000 per student per year.