Charts that backfire reveal ideologies that are unfit for purpose

The Slog continues his scatter-gun attack on ideologically based bigotry

The charts that follow represent classic examples of assumptive tribal thinking. I’m not having a go at Bloomberg per se, by the way: rather, at the blinkered thinking unable to see the alternative interpretation of the content.

I’m not a socialist of any hue and I have always had a low opinion of the South American version of it: but US reporting about Venezuela has always been biased in the same way as it is about Ukraine, Poland and Hungary: the American élite comes down like a ton of bricks on any régime that has a popular, anti-colonial leader.

Hugo Chavez was commercially illiterate, but he did care genuinely about the poor in his country. And as always, of course, Washington went out of its way to make life difficult for him. Following his death, Venezuela finds itself in a President/Assembly standoff…and years of incontinent idealism are coming home to roost. One can almost hear the glee with which that dilemma is pointed out in this first chart:


Although Boombust calls this their ‘misery’ index, the word is not one that comes back from research: the opening assumption is that if you have 153% inflation, you must be miserable. Actually, most of the misery in Venezuela comes from the same place it always does in centrally ‘planned’ economies: the incompetently corrupt distribution of goods and services.

I’m sure the Venezuelans are far from happy at the minute, but then the country’s unemployment rate is 6% and falling. The Greek bar above shows they have deflation and 28% unemployment: I don’t think the Hellenics are happy about that, but I do not doubt that every monetarist in Europe and the US assumes the south American mess is greater than that of ClubMed. In my opinion, they are quite wrong: Greece’s debt keeps getting bigger, the Italian debt is now also obviously unsustainable, and Spain as both a country and a banking system is crumbling. The ramifications of Teutonic austerity anti-logic in ClubMed are infinitely greater than those of budgetary incontinence and well-meaning claptrap in Venezuela. And, as it happens, the country’s debt to gdp ratio is just 50%; there are EU members who would die to have those numbers.

So much for the dig at neoliberal thinking: now for a swipe at liberal, right-on pc assumptions about the systemic and the cultural. Once again in this second illustration, the assumption is that we’d all like to be millionaires. I have indeed been rich and poor…..and yes, rich is better. But today far less so than in my previous life – I have enough for what I want, so (other stressful events aside) I have more peace of mind.

The real giveaway of the mindset in this chart however is the bald asertion – itself unconsciously racist – that insists ‘Race Matters’. Frankly, that’s bollocks:


To deconstruct this crude attempt to draw a causal relationship where there isn’t a proven one:

  1. The ‘Race matters’ thing is – like most of what one sees on the Left – a slogan. It would fit nicely on a placard in the sort of tedious ‘demo’ still yelling the same slogans as were endlessly repeated in 1968 in Paris and 1981 in Yorkshire. What it’s trying to say is that systemic race prejudice against Hispanics and Blacks in the US holds back their progress.
  2. The flaw in the argument is that the equally daft takeout from this chart for Wannabe millionaires is “marry into an Asian family” and hope for dark-skinned children. Yet this result for ‘Indo-Asians’ would be the same if you’d conducted the research in East Africa, the UK Midlands, or even the old Nationalist South African régime: that Indo-Pak culture always thrives in business.
  3. Notably missing from the comparisons is ‘Jewish’. On far smaller numbers admittedly, I would hazard a guess that the figure would be above 25%. Up the ante to ‘billionaires’ and the figure would be – what? – 70+%?
  4. The real, and eternally uncomfortable, question this chart asks (but liberals never want to answer it) is that, in the 21st century, cultural factors far outweigh those of systemic racism.

These are all broad brush-strokes, so if I may I’d like to narrow them down to some specifics that are empirically supported by over half a century of objective research in the West….but still treated with the use of eyepatches and wrong-way-round telescopes by the Left.

The issue of gender in black education and employment is telling: females do significantly better than males in achieving diploma results, and the satisfactory completion of career training. Open-minded, free-thinking observers now accept that the key factor in play here is Afro-Caribbean paternal absence in loose familial structures. That is a cultural fact. Young black men join gangs because they lack self-esteem and look to gang leaders to fufil the father role…and of course, because they are desperate.

Attitudes are created on both sides of the prejudice conflict by previous experience. Abuse from neglectful fathers gives some young blacks a heavy cross to bear, and doubts among employers about employing them in turn stems from indifferent experiences with truculent and undisciplined black male employees in the past. I have professionally interviewed many of the old ILEA’s teachers in the past, and their classroom experiences of the syndrome I describe were exactly the same.

Race and skin colour are dayglo red herrings put up by both the BNP and the likes of Diane Abbott to disguise one simple fact: culture – especially familial, parental and eduational culture – is a far greater driver of life success or failure than any other factor.

Finally – and this too is important – notwithstanding all the above highly controversial observations, individual wiring even within a culture will often vary massively from the archetype. My own father was a ragged-arsed Irish Catholic brought up in a grubby Salford slum. He had decent parents, but then so did many of his contemporaries who drifted into bitterness and – in two cases – the hangman’s noose. But Pop’s insight and perseverance – and a very wise wife – brought a better life to him, and far greater opportunities for my brother and I.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be blessed with that, and sadly, 90+% of life is still about luck. The big helping hand for my generation growing up in the 1950s was the genuinely level playing field of Grammar, Technical and Trade schooling – a horses for courses system destroyed by socialist public schoolboys, and then perverted and underfunded by Thatcher, Blair and Cameron….all of whom also went to private schools. The same private school system that Jeremy Corbyn went through, and into which Diana Abbott entrusted her privileged children.

This has been another in the long line of posts here since 2009 pointing out why the only way out of its torpor for what’s left of Britain now is to destroy the Party ideologies, reengineer the aims and practice of education, start insisting that more people accept personal responsibility, and adopt a pragmatically utilitarian approach to the mutualist community as a building block.

It’s probably alienated at least 60% of readers, but it didn’t set out to.

Yesterday at The Slog: The higher-level game being played behind Brexit

18 thoughts on “Charts that backfire reveal ideologies that are unfit for purpose

  1. Didn’t alienate this reader.

    I to am grateful for the level playing field, and I can see the damage from cultures that don’t accept, or worse attack, the work ethic.


  2. John,

    My father was also a ragged arsed Irish Catholic brought up in a slum, but a Liverpool slum (do we now try a race to the bottom in discussing which slum was the best?). He had decent parents, a tight family group and a crappy brutal schooling. Through his and my mother’s efforts (he working >60 hours per week every week) they managed to scrimp and save to pay for my education in the not so local public school (I won an assisted scholarship).

    I relay the above to tell you why I, from my personal experience, agree with you 100% – familial, parental and educational culture – is a far greater driver of life’s success or failure. The politicising of education by all ideologies is ruining our society. Get the politicians out of the classroom and allow the experts to educate.



  3. must say that Bloomburg are the same pressitutes that work in all the MSM. .. and contrary to the total rubbish that comes from the elites, masters of wealth creation, and so called leaders, the ordinary people i meet with tend to be and act human.Yes the sheeple seem asleep but by and large they can’t be bothered with rubbish but can smell which way the wind blows…. and then the EU gang that we are so desperate not to leave. It is desperation and weakness that brings men to join gangs that they are never allowed to leave.. and gang culture leads to disrespect of the human element both familial and in the mass population. I am seeing the fight to be won is to preserve and nurture our own humanity in the presence of machine like automatons that hate and disregard the human element more and more.


  4. One of your best JW. I have long thought that luck is a much overlooked factor in the material success of the individual and completely agree that culture and the circumstances of one’s birth is a far more important determinant than genetic make-up. It’s partly why I object so strongly to the ‘winners’ vs ‘losers’ meme so prevalent on this side of the pond. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ is a much more healthy attitude in my opinion.

    I would contend that comprehensive education vs grammar/sec mod is less important than careful setting within the institution. In academic subjects I was always surrounded by those who would have qualified for the grammar route, but also had many valued friends in school who would not have made the cut. Our school football and cricket teams ran the gamut from academic star to characters who would have been hard pressed to read a novel. I can also testify to the value of redemption as at least a few who would have stumbled at the age of 11 went on to good universities after 6th form.


  5. I never comment normally but always read your writings some of which I agree with some not. I’ve got to say this is the best piece you’ve penned in a long while. 60%? I’m guessing a huge majority will agree with you.


  6. As a child of the sixties I agree entirely with you John. I would ask the question, did the growth of comprehensives at the expense of grammar schools benefit society or not. All men may be created equal but you would have to be a total idiot not to recognise that some are more equal than others, irregardless if it may be by education, inheritance, wealth or whatever measure may be chosen. Have the changes in education since the sixties been of benefit to the individual or our massaged society? In the ideal world education would stretch the individual to the maximum of their potential in whatever field/s they excelled in. In today’s world of extreme it would seem to be a process of dumbing down, apart from an elite..
    In today’s world could a prime minister come from a background such as John Major, or is our choice confined to those public school imbeciles who at least were taught the art of public speaking?.


  7. The paradox of your argument JW is that if every child had such upright, perspicacious parents as you had, then you would not have done nearly so well as you have.


  8. DE
    Depends what you mean by ‘well’. I know dozens of people far less bright than me who are financially better off. I neither resent nor envy them. Cooperation is a virtue on a par with competition.


  9. DrDF
    My brother ‘failed’ the 11-Plus, went to a Tech and has a degree in Chemistry. I think his recognised expertise in water treatment is far more important to the planet than my ability to write and amuse. But we have a mutuam admiration society: each to his own.
    I do not have a problem with the abolition of the 11-Plus EXAM: but we threw the baby out with the bathwater.


  10. Bollocks!!!!! Much better in your analysis of the economy but culture is a slippery path as subjective impressions substitute for historical analysis. Racism in America (my home country) is deeply entrenched and has been since the birth of the nation, the destruction of the educational system here was not the product of any socialist tinkering but by underfunding it and privatizing it.


  11. @Fats
    Have you any idea how your educational system was destroyed without political interference? Or was it a voluntary choice to underfund itself?

    Please note I did not use the word “socialist”. The ideology of the politician is of no regard.


  12. I’m with Fats most of the way on that one, One starts to suspect whoever coined the phrase “Ignorance is Bliss” might have had a tad of manipulation in mind. No need for the over emphatic word at the start, to my mind.

    I have grown to considered the Micro Biological use of the concept of the word “Culture” rather usfull, when considering society. Rather seems to matter more which petri dish you are in, as to what the likely results will be. I’m not excluding cross contamination though.


  13. One of the most refreshing things about the Province of Ontario is that, unlike the UK, private education captures only a tiny sliver of the school population. Most highly intelligent, well-educated professionals and academics here have been to ordinary publicly-funded high schools. The UK schooling experience is blighted by the fact that most of the upper middle classes, and the outlier IQ students from less privileged backgrounds are syphoned off into the private sector, so state schools are not truly comprehensive at all. I know of several extremely highly-placed corporate executives who do not hesitate to have their spawn educated by the Province, and the powerful have a stake in the success of the school system here. The fact that teachers have traditionally been well-paid, and have better conditions than many other careers is undoubtedly part of the reason for this. Competition for jobs in the public education sector in Ontario is intense.


  14. I am in accord with the article as I share many of the same background attributes (Poor family, East End of London, respect for education etc.). One refrain I hear constantly and which I find extremely patronising is “They come from a deprived background so you cannot expect much from them”. I can also remember hearing a politician talk about needing to educate children in a way that was “appropriate” for their needs. It reminded me of what I was told when I briefly worked in pre Apartheid South Africa. It was only considered necessary to give the Blacks sufficient education to be able to carry menial roles such as farm labouring, mining and domestic service etc.. anything more was wasted on them.

    I vaguely remember George Orwell saying that if you excised critical abilities and the language to express complex ideas, then revolution became impossible. PC and “Safe Spaces” are currently stamping out critical discussion even in our best Universities.


  15. Did not alienate this reader JW as I came from a similar background in the same part of the world. Rock solid working class parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts also.

    Passed the eleven plus and was estranged from most of my former childhood pals. First day at grammer school we were shown the plaques of the glorious dead of the world wars then told that we would be going to university (no doubts, ifs or buts) and a decent percentage would br going to Oxbridge.

    About twenty years later whilst visiting my parents my wife and I were crossing the town bridge when we came across a doddery white haired old gent. I immediately fell back into schoolboy mode and said good evening sir for it was my old headmaster a true Edwardian. Imagine my surprise when after a moments thought he adrressed me as X senior. He even remembered my two younger brothers, the subjects and sports we were interested in. How out of all the thousands of boys that had been through the school he could do that is beyond me but made me feel that he really had cared. I doubt that such an eucational experience is available to the lower orders these days.


  16. Just a little curious about the statement “3. Notably missing from the comparisons is ‘Jewish’. ” Surely if this were the case you would also need to include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Voodoo etc as Jewish is a religious classification and NOT a racial type. ‘Jews’, as descendants of the tribes of Israel and Judah, are Semites, or basically Arab types, but of course that does not hold good as a classification as Ashkenazi ‘Jews’ are Caucasian for the most part.


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