“One role of prohibition is in making the drug market more lucrative.”
— Milton Friedman(1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, “ultimate guru of the free-market system”
“One role of prohibition is in making the drug market more lucrative.”
With reports of dead bodies and excrement floating in the water, the threat of Zika and the Russian doping scandal, the Rio Olympics appears the Frankenstein of athletic events. And now Rio seems dopey in another way: owing to political correctness, a runner with,
reportedly, no womb or ovaries but internal testes will be allowed to compete with women.
This person is South African middle-distance competitor Caster Semenya. I
wrote of Semenya in 2009, back when Semenya (I’m not satisfied that Semenya is female, so henceforth I’ll refer to the runner not with pronouns but as “CS”) was an 18-year-old phenom who’d just set a record while winning a world title, dusting female opponents in the process.
These outstanding results, along with CS’s masculine physique, caused suspicion and led to tests to determine the athlete’s sexual status.
Now, I’d predicted that CS would be found to have internal testes. It wasn’t just the runner’s results and physique, which looked much like that of an 18-year-old boy. CS’s voice is so deep that a sportswriter who conversed with the runner on the phone said “I thought I was speaking to a man”; in addition, CS has masculine facial structure and very boyish mannerisms (video here; forward to 1:30). It was obvious from the get-go this was no normal individual. When the predictable sex-test results came in showing CS was a hermaphrodite, the athlete was suspended, and I’d supposed that CS’s running days were over.
Thus was I shocked to learn, just recently, that the South African would be competing in the Rio Olympics. They say CS is a shoe-in for a gold medal.
It turns out that CS’s suspension was temporary; the runner was again allowed to compete under the condition CS take female hormones to counterbalance CS’s testosterone levels, which were more than three times that of a normal woman. This female hormone therapy, not surprisingly, had caused CS’s results to decline markedly, and the runner stopped making headlines.
But now CS is back and, apparently as testosterone fueled as ever, has returned to CS’s previous form. The issue is that the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF’s) rules limiting “the amount of naturally occurring functional testosterone for female athletes were suspended last year,” wrote Eurosport. The reason? Get this: the site reports that “the Court of Arbitration in Sport [ruled] that the IAAF had insufficient evidence to back up the belief that excessively high levels of natural testosterone produced exceptional performances by women….”
So just ignore the man behind the curtain (or is it really a man?). It’s pure coincidence that when boys the world over reach puberty and their testosterone kicks in, they rapidly develop muscle mass and become dramatically more powerful; it also must be coincidence that in the rare cases of boys with conditions that prevent their entering puberty, this doesn’t happen. And perhaps now we can rescind rules prohibiting the use of steroids — artificial male hormones — because, hey, is there really any “proof” they enhance athletic performance? This all reminds me of noted feminist Camille Paglia’s incredulity at how dunderhead 1970s feminists would corner her on college campuses and insist that hormones didn’t exist and, even if they did, there’s no way they could influence behavior. And the Left calls conservatives unscientific?
Yet the political-correctness-induced irrationality surrounding this case doesn’t end there. The AP’s Gerald Imray writes, in a statement as foolish as it is fashionable, “Nobody can dictate to Semenya what gender she is.” Yet the issue here isn’t “gender.” Note that the psychobabblers who co-opted the term (it once was used almost exclusively in reference to words) and birthed the “gender” agenda tell us that “gender” and “sex” are not synonymous.
The latter is a biological classification — and thus objective — while “gender” is subjective; it’s a person’s perception of what he is. The male/female division in sports,
however, is based on sex. And when making objective judgments affecting everyone, one individual’s subjective (mis)judgments are irrelevant.
Imray also writes, “Opponents of the testosterone rule pointed to the natural advantages of other athletes that aren’t regulated, such as Usain Bolt’s fast-twitch muscle fibers, Michael Phelps’ big wingspan and former cyclist Miguel Indurain’s huge lung capacity.” But IAAF consultant Joanna Harper, expressing some rare common sense, “explained that sports competitions don’t have categories for athletes with slow twitch, short arms or small lungs,” Imray informed. Yet we do have separate categories for men and women.
So what we’re witnessing here is sophistry. If you believe division based on muscle fibers, arm length or lung capacity is warranted, lobby for it; if you think the male/female division is as silly as the old Negro Leagues, lobby to have it eliminated. But if we accept its legitimacy, then the central rule distinguishing the category must be observed.
Related to this, one argument of those opposing the “testosterone rule” is that as with height, strength or lung capacity, CS’s elevated testosterone level is a “naturally occurring advantage.” True. But here’s another “naturally occurring advantage”: being male.
So why not let men compete in women’s sports?
Oh, because then they wouldn’t be “women’s sports”? Exactly.And this brings us to the point. My belief is that everyone is either male or female and that any confusion is the result of abnormalities; of course, today’s politically correct view is that sex is a
“continuum” and that people such as CS are “intersex.” But if a continuum and nothing else exists, there can’t be the designation “female” — and then it makes no sense to have “female” sports. But if the designation is something real, then not only is the women’s sports classification lent legitimacy but also the rule distinguishing it: that it’s limited to women.
So what of the curious case of Caster? With a vagina but no womb or ovaries and undescended testicles (they normally descend into a boy’s scrotal sac during intrauterine development), CS could be an abnormally developed male. After all, CS certainly is in the male category in at least one respect: the runner is attracted to women and has a “wife.” And while knowing whether CS has an XY chromosome configuration would be instructive, political correctness prevents thorough examination of such matters; thus, a genetic test either hasn’t been conducted or its results haven’t been revealed. Then there’s the fashionable view that, as NY’s Daily News put it, “Caster Semenya…is a woman …and a man”; or, as the
activists may say, is “intersex.” But this admission alone should close the case: it’s “women’s sports,” not “women’s and people in-between’s sports.” Definitions define — and limit. And if having internal testes doesn’t disqualify you from women’s athletics, what does?
This case speaks volumes about our time, in that it reflects the attack on the concept of normalcy. Because one to two percent of people are hermaphroditic or suffer with some other sexual abnormality, so-called experts contend that “defining sex is difficult,” as if 98 percent consistency isn’t enough to indicate normality. Speaking of which, what of that comparison between height or lung-capacity advantages and CS’s condition? Well, here’s a clue: height, lung-capacity and other qualities mentioned are normal variation. Having internal testes isn’t normal, not any more than is spina bifida or Down syndrome.
Yet as abnormal as conditions such as CS’s are, they now won’t be so rare in Rio, where, says IAAF consultant Harper, there may be “an all-intersex podium in the 800 [meter].” “Women’s” sports? And that’s the irony: in a sense, liberalism gave us women’s sports. Now liberalism is taking them away.
Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitteror log on to SelwynDuke.com
Sidebear: Today’s lesson in anatomy has me confused because the one thing Duke did not tell us is Does CS have a dangling particle?
Never put physics and a Politician in the same space….
Einstein developed and proved this remarkable formula: Energy = Mass x Speed of Light squared. A brilliant genius as we all know.
Another lesser known of Einstein’s formulas determined that if you were to strip naked and run around in a circle at the speed of 298 KM/sec (the speed of light) it could be possible for you to screw yourself.
Should you determine you are not physically capable of achieving that speed at your age, you can easily achieve the same result by voting Democrat in the November 8, 2016 election.
The defining economic truth of the last decade has been the want of sustained growth. Progressives and classical liberals agree that economic growth is a good thing, but they differ profoundly in how to best to achieve it. The only way to spur growth is to undo the structural barriers to gains from trade by pruning the law books of taxes and regulations that block these transactions in the futile effort to achieve redistribution. The combination of lower administrative costs, greater legal certainty, and improved private returns fueled American growth in earlier times, and will revive it today.
Evidently, this message has not registered with progressive thinkers Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, professors at Yale and Berkeley respectively. In their New York Times column, “The Path to Prosperity Is Blue,” they criticize the Republican obsession to “cut and extract.” They deride that position for claiming, “Cut taxes and business regulations, including pesky restrictions on the extraction of natural resources, and the economy will boom.”
But this caricature displays confusion about many basic economic and political matters. The first is the appropriate role of regulation. Regulating extractive industries is always a complicated story, given the need to control against the pollution that can flow from the extraction and use of any raw materials. But the dangers in question are not confined only to coal and natural gas—they also include risks from such “clean” sources like solar and wind energy whose supposedly pollution-free technology can still incinerate birds or hack them to bits. The correct recipe for growth in extraction industries starts with increasing total useful output per unit of pollution, which is best achieved by combining effective controls on the demand side with controls directed toward limiting pollution and kindred ills on the supply side. “Keep it in the ground” does neither.
Hacker and Pierson are equally misguided on taxation. They make the argument that blue states dominate in all key areas, such as median household income, life expectancy and birth, high taxation of the top one percent, patent rates, and bachelor degrees. They attribute this to the amount of money that these states are prepared to spend on education in order to provide the human capital needed for general expansion. Sure, no one can quibble with the need for human capital formation. But that is a good reason to attack the public school monopoly by encouraging charter schools that can supply a better education at a fraction of the cost. Hacker and Pierson, though, believe that any such declines in expenditures should be treated with suspicion, for they care more about how much money is spent than about how well it is spent. The success or failure of any education system, public or private, depends on injecting competition into it.
Hacker and Pierson make the methodological mistake of dwelling on static figures, like overall education and wealth levels, instead of trying to identify measures of economic growth. In particular, they take issue with Stephen Moore, one of Donald Trump’s economic advisors, for looking to measures such as “job growth or a state economic size” as indices of economic health. Their triumphant rebuttal of Moore’s approach is to claim that he should be an unabashed devotee of India because its huge economy creates millions of jobs each year.
Yet absolute size is exactly what growth measures should ignore. A better measure of a state’s prosperity is population changes—or how people vote with their feet. Do they move into a state or do they move away from it? This is the best objective indicator of the relative health of rival states. By Hacker and Pierson’s logic, the advantages that the blue states have in terms of education, for example, should lure people into them. But as it turns out, the migration is in the opposite direction—to states like Texas, which have friendly business climates, and away from progressive bastions like New York. Just compare the changes in electoral votes in the two states to get a sense of the relative migration: In 1950, New York had 45 and Texas had 24, while in 2010, New York had 29 and Texas had 38.
Countless anecdotes illustrate the basic difficulty with the blue-growth thesis. Take Vermont, known not only for Bernie Sanders, but also for its string of ill-conceivable left-wing initiatives. Vermont has had virtually no growth in population during the last five years. But as journalist Geoffrey Norman has pointed out, the state’s high income and educational level did not insulate it from the fiscal reversals of its unaffordable single-payer program for medical services, which the Democrats are now flirting with at the national level in the wake of the breakdown in the health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. When one sees, as he reports, more “for sale” signs than political signs, it is a tacit admission that many people think that exit is the best option for a state system beyond repair. The very rich, especially rich retirees, may stay in the state, but ordinary people seeking job and business opportunities will leave in increasing numbers. Ironically, their exodus could increase average income within blue states and reduce it elsewhere—and the Hacker/Pierson measures ignore this effect.
A similar tale of woe applies to blue Massachusetts, which has benefited mightily from the technology hub located around the great universities in the Boston area. But even in Massachusetts, you get what you pay for, and the state is now in the business of purchasing its version of gender equity at the expense of wealth. Last week, Massachusetts unanimously passed yet another variation of pay-equity statutes, signed by its Republican governor Charlie Baker. The legislation forbids employers from asking prospective hires their salary history while still allowing workers to freely talk about wages and other compensation among themselves.
Under standard economic models, this statute is a business absurdity, for it is widely agreed that imperfect information is an impediment to gains from trade. The lack of ability to get key information will have the unfortunate effect of slowing down job mobility for all workers, and it will lead to a new cycle of senseless regulations that will have to take into account the job applicant who wants to offer his or her salary history to the employer to substantiate a request for a higher wage.
So why do this? The explanation offered by Karyn Polito, Massachusetts’ Lieutenant Governor, is that the measure will help overcome the gender gap in employment under which women earn 82 percent of men in the state and 79 percent of men nationwide. But it is ridiculous for Polito or anyone else to defend this law as a pro-growth measure, let alone one that could grow the economy by the size of the supposed wage gap, or $2.1 trillion annually. At best the increased wages are a transfer payment that has no impact on growth. But the reality is likely to prove far worse. Employers respond to incentives. Some will reconfigure their workforces; others will contract their operations; and others will just shut down. The added administrative costs are pure dead-weight losses. Never judge a law by its intended consequences.
The rich irony, of course, is that the defenders of the Massachusetts law offer no coherent theory to explain why or how mandated ignorance can promote the stated goal of workplace parity. Just after the legislation was enacted, the Wall Street Journal ran yet another story about how sophisticated personnel managers at successful businesses like Google were “overhauling” their pay practices to eliminate any perceived gender discrimination in the workplace. And why not? The firm that does not adequately pay for services will lose its best workers to competitors that do. So Google has thrown a wrinkle into the analysis when it says, perhaps for strategic reasons, that it asks about salary history only as a way to figure out the salaries competitors pay. But suppose the company uses it for other purposes. Why assume that that hurts women? The net effect of the Massachusetts statute is to make it harder for these firms to set accurate salaries and benefits for employees.
This same story plays out over and over again. The regulation of labor markets is regarded as the path to growth in rich blue states that are determined to undermine their own competitive advantage. The harm done by excessive regulation, taxes, and public expenditures plays itself out time and again in liberal bastions like Massachusetts, Vermont, California, Connecticut, Illinois, and New York. But as conventional progressive wisdom spreads to Washington, its implications will be dire: Jobs will disappear and wages will fall. One common response is that all a business needs to survive is a level playing field. Wrong. If that level field has the wrong institutional arrangements, it magnifies error. We are not far from the day when we shall have to modify the sage remark of John F. Kennedy that a rising tide will raise all ships. A rising tide of taxation and regulation will sink all ships if the progressive vision of Hacker and Pierson takes hold at a national level.
Source: Hoover Insitute
SideBear: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Dear Mr. Trump,
Apparently you didn’t get the memo – the one that told you the difference between competing in the primaries and running in the general election. Here’s the bottom line: you are now facing off against Hillary Clinton, and the media is no longer in your corner.
If you’re wondering why The New York Times ran a piece about the Khan family a full 10 days after the Gold Star father spoke out against you at the Democratic convention, even though there is no breaking news on that damaging fracas, it is because they do not want you to win. If you’re marveling at how quickly the explosive leaks about the DNC sabotaging Bernie Sanders’ campaign vanished from headlines – here it is: you are on the wrong side of the progressive press.
For months, as you duked it out against sixteen other candidates hoping to be the GOP nominee, the liberal media cheered you on. That wasn’t because they like you or approve of your message. No, they gave you enormous free air time and press because you drove ratings and spiced up what would otherwise have been a dreary march to a conventional convention. (Think Jeb Bush, non-lethal drone.)
And, they did not take you seriously; they thought you a boorish clown doubling down on reality TV. They imagined that if some unimaginable shifting of tectonic plates made you the nominee, Hillary Clinton would crush you.
Today, the liberal establishment is wary, and so the entire firepower of the mainstream media is arrayed against you. Everything you say (like your wisecrack about Russia revealing Hillary’s deleted emails) will be taken out of context and spun. Stories about GOP defections and hypotheticals about you dropping out of the race will grab headlines. The New York Times will run gratuitous stories like the recent one quoting hateful things said by people attending your rallies. There are no names, of course, no real proof that these things were said. They don’t have to supply meat; their readers will blindly consume the sauce. They won’t question why this vacuous story was published or whether the vile “kill the pigs” chants of Black Lives Matter will receive equal treatment.
The media will faithfully echo Democrat messaging – like Hillary’s line that “(You are) not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes.” This refrain will be driven home through stories like the one in Politico concluding that a president “would be free to launch a civilization-ending nuclear war on his own any time he chose.” As though you might do that in a fit of pique.
Not only will you not be treated fairly, but the media will pull out all stops to celebrate President Obama, knowing that unpopular Hillary Clinton’s best shot at winning the Oval Office is to convince voters they want “four more years.” Puff pieces that show Obama thoughtful and so disciplined that his evening snack consists of seven – only seven – almonds (New York Times) will buff his image, and by comparison spotlight just how sloppy you are.
The media will generously help Obama turn out black voters, some of whom are rightly disappointed in the past eight years. They will highlight targeted measures like Obama’s record pardoning of 214 convicts. The headlines will gloss over the reality that more than 50 of those commutations were for people convicted for firearms-related offenses, in addition to their drug crimes. Obama argues that those pardoned are part of the huge number unjustly locked up for minor drug-related offenses — those “young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made.” This narrative is false. More than 90 percent of U.S. inmates are in state prisons; 95 percent of those locked up for “non-violent” crime have long rap sheets, averaging more than 9 prior arrests. Less than 4 percent of state-held prisoners are in jail for drug possession – and most of those have pleaded down from trafficking or are repeat offenders. Less than 1 percent of those convicted for drug-related crimes in federal courts in 2014 were locked up for possession, and generally that was the result of a plea deal.
The liberal press will extol good news about the economy, and bury the bad. The robust July jobs number got great play; near-recession level growth is ignored. They will play down the disintegration of ObamaCare, and the fraudulent Iran deal. The cash for hostages story? It will be gone within a week.
What to do Mr. Trump? Will you continue to bawl about a fixed election or whine about how people are treating you unfairly? If so, you’re doomed, and Hillary Clinton – arguably the most corrupt candidate to ever run for president, will soon occupy the Oval Office. All because you could not control yourself and could not out-think the Clinton machine.
It’s not over, but time runs short. Here is what you have to do:
1) Stay on message. Talk ONLY about law and order, job creation, illegal immigration and ISIS. That’s it. All other topics are off the table.
2) Get data points on each topic and know your facts.
3) Stop responding to ad hominem attacks. People like John Allen are looking at your campaign and deciding Hillary will win. They want to be part of that victory. Don’t take it personally.
4) Keep reminding voters of just how dishonest Hillary Clinton is. Use facts.
You can do this, Mr. Trump. Millions hope you will. Welcome to the big time.
Liz Peek is a writer who contributes frequently to FoxNews.com. She is a financial columnist who also writes for The Fiscal Times. For more visit LizPeek.com. Follow her on Twitter@LizPeek.