What’s wrong with the Ivy League

Very recently, a Chinese-American Yale undergrad cold emailed me expressing approval of this blog, and we not long after began to talk regularly.

A few days ago, in an email to Steve Hsu, me, and some others, he wrote:

I think the Ivy League is best understood as a giant money-making organism. Attached to it like a leech is a seminary for training priests and spreading the gospel of the American progressive religion. Attached to that leech is an even smaller leech which actually contains smart people doing good technical work. And gmachine1729 is right that the average Ivy student is not that great (but the top end does represent the best of the best).

Relatedly, I just saw an essay on Zhihu in Chinese by Yale finance professor Zhiwu Chen on the matter of 中国人那么优秀,为什么美国人还是更喜欢印度人?(Chinese are so exceptional, why do Americans still like Indians more). The essay was one of Chinese are smart and hardworking but modest, passive, conformist, filially pious per the Confucian tradition and emphasize hard skills at the expense of soft skills, while Indians, like Americans, are assertive and confident with strong leadership qualities. The comments, of which there were 27, were mostly dismissive. The first one, and the most memorable one was

你对比下毛主席和甘地还不能明白点?

In translation,

Can’t you better understand the situation by comparing Chairman Mao with Gandhi?

I’m very happy to see this. It means that Chinese are no longer dazed by Ivy League credentials. They are beginning to think more independently, to have more confidence in themselves. Maybe in another decade’s time, non-STEM professor at Ivy will become an explicit negative signal among Chinese in China.

wokeAZN

I stumbled upon the reddit by the handle wokeAZN. Guessing from his handle, he advises Asian-Americans on how to fight for equal rights. One of his main points, which I’ve long realized and written about on this blog, is that in the current system, privileged whites have no incentive to not preserve their privilege, which necessarily means depriving Asian-Americans. A representative comment on that would be

Correct. Asian-American activism as of today is entirely focused on begging the predominantly white owners to change their ways without even considering to challenge or disrupt the ruling mechanisms to begin with. Their weapons of choice are politeness, copying SJW concepts that worked for other marginalized groups and political correctness. Good luck with that.

Look at the recent Harvard and specialized NYC HS admissions controversy for example. Asians loudly speak up in droves protesting the process changes yet none of them even thought about the need to challenge and dismantle the administrations and institutions that are in charge of the admissions processes. Same goes for any activism directed towards Hollywood and the Western media etc.

This was in response to the quote:

“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”- Assata Shakur.

This is nothing but obvious to me. Reminds me of how in essence, Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance signals nothing but weakness. India’s nominal independence didn’t really liberate India. She remained at her core still a British colony. I recall how Chinese Marxist philosopher Ai Siqi (艾思奇) wrote of Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance with disdain, a fact I had commented on before in Chinese. The Chinese communists on the other hand actually won a war against America in Korea, the reason they are so despised in the West. So yes, if Chinese-Americans want equal rights in America, they should go unambiguously more in the direction of the Chinese communists. It’s not about morality; it’s about leverage. I heartily hope that Asian-Americans can stop exhibiting a form of Stockholm syndrome manifested in the form of defensiveness and attachment towards a system that treats them as second-class citizens.

I’ve written the following:

You can probably tell that I want Chinese to obtain more position of power internationally. It would make a better world. By default Chinese have less sense of entitlement which also hinders their rise to the top. I used to blindly revere the top STEM people. Now I realize that not only should you be strong technically but you should also have the political awareness of what your technical strength is going into. Who is reaping the fruits of your labor. A guy I know told me he got promoted, with the help of someone higher up, after he sort of went on strike and only then did management realize how much he was needed. See this is leverage. There are a lot of eager earnest people churning out a ton of value for the company without demanding more and executives love that. Their existence lowers the leverage of the value creators. I’m thinking of what could possibly give Chinese-Americans more leverage. Little, as they’re for the most part unwelcome in positions of power in the US. Again many Chinese have false hopes of meritocracy. Yes, it’s meritocratic up to a certain point, but in terms of actual political power it’s far from it. The Chinese who do get promoted in the media and politically by the mainstream American establishment tend to be those who are against collective Chinese interests. Why do you think the successful Chinese entrepreneurs in America have a hardware focus. Because those require real expertise with high barrier to entry.

The struggle for socioeconomic position of Chinese-Americans I expect to be largely futile. It’s already very saturated at this point. Way more technically smart and well-trained Chinese than the system can tolerate. There are some rich Chinese who hit it big with entrepreneurship but they generally have far less political power than a white guy with the same net worth due to relative lack of elite networks. Those rich Chinese from China in the states have little actual power; all they can really do is make a dent on the real estate market, and fund some pro-Chinese activities there, though with that, there will only be increasing scrutiny. If Chinese are to gain massively, it would have to be based from what comes out of China. Basically become like the Jews. Develop a reputation of fuck with us too much and there will be consequences. To do so, China would have to play the extortion game very aggressively too. What leverage does China have now? For one, large market. This is why airlines have to accept demands to list Taiwan as part of China; if they don’t they lose a ton of business. What else? Potentially encourage the Chinese with hard to acquire expertise in critical STEM fields to stop working for American companies, go to China instead. Take it to the very extreme, if China/Chinese want to be truly feared on the international stage, they can once they’re adequately prepared to guarantee victory encourage North Korea to invade again as Stalin did in 1950 with a serious pledge to back them up, use anti-ship/anti-aircraft missiles to prevent Americans in Seoul from escaping, then America will negotiate with China to save members of their own political elite. China could demand complete withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula as a condition. Now, anti-ship/anti-aircraft missiles would make it not that hard to enforce blockades near one’s borders; the era of American military dominance by air is over. China is already in the process of deploying the state of the art S-400 it got from Russia to cover most of Taiwan and has already deployed its own, less advanced but still formidable, air defense system on the South China Sea islands, enough to render US fighter jets practically useless in the region.

How do you get an edge over a competitor? You can by improving yourself, making your product more competitive, that’s the good way. Like it or not, you can often do equally or more by directly sabotaging the competitor in a way you can get away with. The success of Microsoft, and many big businesses, had arguably much more to do with the latter. In the case of geopolitical influence, militarily evicting the enemy is necessary. It doesn’t have to turn violent, and ideally, it shouldn’t; all one needs is enough military power for the other side to give in on the negotiating table.

As an example of China’s exercising leverage, did you know that in the 50s, after the Korean War, the US would not let Chinese with STEM PhDs return? After a few years of negotiation, the Chinese government exchanged American POWs for the freedom of those Chinese with hard-to-obtain and strategically important STEM expertise to return to their home country, where they would make a decisive contribution to the success that China is today. China/Chinese, if they really want to get ahead, need to do similarly. Their struggle in America is a losing game. Yes, there are ways to succeed massively yourself, but more often than not the tradeoff is generating much more value/money/success for others, which could even count as an anti-success given the relative nature of success.

For Chinese, it’s okay if you piss off some elite Americans. You can always go back to China and find something reasonable there. China is not what it was twenty years ago. Plus, if you’re anti the American establishment, the Chinese government will likely support you. With Indians, it might be different, since India still is shit place. And Indians have for the most part already given up. Indians cannot even create their own Internet companies.

Speaking of which, I am trying out some Chinese internet products, and while there is still room for improvement, they seem to have created a reliable alternative. Weiyun (微云) for cloud storage, and integrated with WeChat. Foxmail.com for Email. Both products of Tencent. There is also that Opera Browser, which originated from Norway, was acquired by Chinese company Qihoo 360, and it is faster and uses less memory than Chrome. Comes with ad-block and VPN by default too. I’m definitely sticking to that.

I’ll conclude with another comment of wokeAZN:

Good. Let them be afraid. TBH I live and eat because I’m taking wealth that previously belonged to whites every day probably. Not that I dispossess whites or whoever else on purpose, I just work and buy land, stock and assets here legally. So? What do you want me to do? Apologize and return my land and assets? Lol lol

Asians, keep acquiring your land and wealth while you’re here. if you dispossess whites unintentionally don’t feel bad about it.

He’s 100% correct. If Asian-Americans want equal rights, they should try to take as much from this country while contributing as little as they can in return. That’s the logical response towards discrimination. Either use this country solely to advance yourself and your group to the extent that you can, or don’t come here in the first place. There are even some Asians who bash their own for not contributing enough to the community, which is ridiculous. Seriously, have some sense of entitlement. It’s not really your community anyway. Yes, those rich Chinese who buy real estate here basically contribute nothing. If fact, they make lives harder for the middle-class by driving up housing prices. Well too bad.

我对于种族关系的看法

最近在美国,正在进行的对常春藤大学歧视亚裔的种族配额制度的案子在2018年6月中旬透露了哈弗录取人员给亚裔申请生更低的所谓的“个性评分”,以此为拒绝他们之由。可预料,这引起了一场稍同情亚裔的媒体大波,而7月出头没过多久,川普政府撤销了奥巴马时期推行的大学录取种族平衡政策并颁布了新政策指南的重要举措。同时,亚裔又在纽约市强烈抵抗市长de Blasio提出的将撤销特殊高中考试录取的案,为了种族多元化而改至holistic的录取方式,难以接受在现有制度,那些特殊高中的名额大约百分之七十都占于亚裔学生。加上,芝加哥大学,一所SAT分数分布很高的接近顶尖大学,已经把SAT考试改为可选而非必要的申请件。看来随着亚裔体抗议常春藤的歧视加热而稍有进展的同时,美国的某些其它教育机构又开始给以新的袭击。看来美国社会就是对亚裔不要好啊。为此,我当然也有自己的想法。

对于一位为所谓亚裔孩子平等教育权的活动者所提出的,我是这么说的:

没错,但是我现在不断觉得华裔在美国所争取的社会地位的提升很可能大多会是枉然的,因为美国当权派不愿意太多华人进入美国上层。是,在美国的华人必要敢于为自己的利益抗争,但要现实,不要把太多时间和精力浪费于几乎不可能成功而对自己毫无长远价值的事情上。现在美国优秀的华人太多,已经难以容纳,要移民最好找找别的地方,或者留在中国为增强我们自己主导的体系而奋斗,把它转成有国际竞争力的一流体系。在美国,华人只是会帮着造福望永远把华人以世界二等人对待的美国当权派。

总之而言,这些人我觉得在忽略一个更根本的问题,就是为什么华裔在美国得不到平等。为什么呢,美国还是白人统治的白人大多数国家就不用说了,就是在世界,作为种族,白人的社会地位还是远远更高的,由于白人在前好几百年所积累的,此难以摆脱。没错,东亚人很聪明,又勤奋,智商高一点,这一点在心理统计学界里是几乎绝对认可的,毫无异议的,但是问题是权利和资源掌握在白人手里,这一点白人的精英和统治者是不会轻易放弃的,反而东亚人好,还更有原因被歧视。白人不太在乎黑裔或墨西哥裔,他们不构成任何威胁,而且给予这些被压迫民族一点名额和资源不仅能缓解一些殖民奴役所造成的所有的白人內疚感,还便以表出一点虚伪的慈善,不用说,把资源从主要对手转移至弱者是非常典型常用的增强巩固自己地位的手段。

同一个人,非男性,还发布关于亚裔男性爱受到的歧视的信息,对此,我只能说:

可惜的是,说不定亚裔男性的性(这包括身材,面容,外表)吸引力就是差一些,或者他们由于属于更弱的种族被视为缺乏社会地位。没什么好办法,只能进步自己和做你所能做的进步你所属于的不可脱离的种族。抱怨只会让你显得更加屌丝(loser)。

我在美国长大,但显然与ABC很不一样,还是一直坚持了对自己文化的认同,因为大多ABC所做的真的挺愚蠢的。我一直认识到正宗中国人的势力比在美国被边缘化的ABC的势力要大得多,对种族关系和歧视还是比较现实主义的,可惜像我这样的人实在太少。现在的中国人过于想如何多融入美国白人所主导的社会和体系而非如何把自己主导的体系变得更有国际竞争力,无论如何,华裔在美国只能采取二流的附属的地位,中国人的主力应该放在中国。

中国人不要忘记日本的经历。他们从明治天皇的领导起现代化做得非常成功,不断像世界证明了东方人在现代科技和军事还是有竞争力的,但是最终还是得不到平等的对待,不得不对西方列强发动战争,在此过程中将其它东方人和亚洲人为奴隶和牺牲品,最终由于自己太小而过于扩张还是失败了,最终不得不永远放弃原有的军事大国梦想。虽然日本输了,但是还是打赢了好几场具有先进军事技术水平的战争,也得到了一定的认可,而战后,他们的飞速经济重建和崛起又让西方人刮目相看,把美国的好多科技产品打的落花流水。我还是非常佩服日本人为民族而不服输的精神,他们很多方面比中国人的确素质高,像日本的精英从来没有过永久留在外国乘凉的现象,大多都最终回去为他们的祖国贡献,同时,也很少出日奸,在这一点现在的中国人可以感到羞耻。相比之下,中国人的奴性和民族自卑感要严重得多,若没有毛泽东和抗美援朝的胜利只会远远更差,当然比印度人要强得多了。说起印度人,你看中国人62年把印度打的那么惨,魂飞魄散,现在还要在美国公司受印度人欺负,多么丢人啊。在这一点我的确对当代的中国人感到很失望。说的极端一点,中国人去买美国的那套扯淡,不如勾结俄罗斯人想法把美国打垮。你想想当年斯大林和毛带领的那样的团队是没人敢惹的,斯大林的间谍那么可怕连美国都要搞类似于文革的麦卡锡主义反共浪潮来镇压,把钱学森那样的顶级华人人才也吸引回国了,中国人现在已经失去了这种精神,这是很遗憾的。

现在的中国人经常盲目的崇洋媚外没有什么骨气,经常接近于教条的将与美国体系多近为衡量人的标准,非常的缺乏民族自尊心。台湾人和香港人对大陆人有优越感,因为他们经济更富裕,更西化,没有意识到他们自进入美国的怀抱下都是殖民经济,以附属地位和产品换取了他们的经济和生活水平,而在此过程中,增强了他们的阿Q心态,变得像印度人那样了。的确是,他们和印度人一样少数精英享受了美国的教育和体系,自己发展的很好,但是他们绝对不能算得上真正代表中国人,当然中国人也都为他们的精彩成果感到自豪。一个国家的人才大多在国外只能说明这个国家的国际政治影响力比较微弱。说到这一点,由于领导,毛泽东时代的中国很多方面国际政治影响力比现在远远更富裕的中国都要强,为这一点,现在中国人也应当感到羞耻。

中国人也应该有一定的优越感。虽然自己没有搞出近代科学和工业,落后挨打了,但这不一定说明中国人本质上就是劣势的,可能在身材上某些方面劣势一些,但是这也是次要的。相反,中国那么落后糟糕但为何,类似于日本人,只不过起步晚的多,追赶却那么快呀?不是因为更高的智商和更加刻苦耐劳吗?而这一点,不也通过在美国的优秀刻苦但受歧视的华裔学生加以证实吗?而且中国人还做到了日本人未能的,就是与西方白人打平一仗而建立自己独立的体系和制度吗?中国人在外国还被白人欺负,没办法,这个问题必须靠自己以中国为主的势力来解决,对手还是瞧不起你,不会轻易认输的,只会更加给你施加压力。最终还要看中国人自己的能力了,不是那些为美国机构服务的中国人,而是为中国自己服务的中国人。任务是艰难的。我作为中国人敢直截了当这么说因为我知道无论如何,我不可脱开中国人的面貌,就像俄罗斯人无论和西方多么亲,依然无法脱开共匪的面貌,还是被彻底毁坏了,中国人即是共匪,又是黄种人,就更没有希望了。可惜太少人认识到这一点。反而,汉奸还是特别多,像我说的,中国的整体素质还比日本人要差,我想如果中国不敢为此严厉处置,在内加在外,中国人的希望是不大的,连港台的人心都拉不过来,谈何与白人平等啊。有些人如果品德实在太差而无救,也不要放弃劳改,绝育,甚至灭九族的手段,不用一切向美国学习,美国现在反人类的SJWneocon势力日益增强,无可遏制(消灭就更不用说了),将来它们都可能把美国整个国家搞坏,损失已经很大了,中国人不要一样傻就行了。

Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-Americans

It was revealed last week or so that Harvard systematically rates Asian-Americans lower on personality, on subjective traits such as “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected.” I’m not surprised at all by this. Though they could have at least been a bit smarter about this by keeping this shit off the record. Now the investigators could actually reveal something about their process to the public that would undermine the institution’s credibility.

Though I am an Asian-American, I will not try to pretend. It’s so far for Harvard’s institutional interests more or less rational to do what they’re doing. Asian-Americans have very little power and influence over the institution. Sure, there is no shortage of prominent Asian-Americans professors at Harvard, mostly in STEM, but they don’t actually have all that much influence over the institution, and are mostly being used by the institution to advance its own academic reputation. The same goes for being an Asian academic undergrad admit (who can, say, win a high place for Harvard at the Putnam Contest). There is also the implicit assumption that because Asians face race-related disadvantages in the career game, especially in the corporate world, due to unconscious bias, lack of ethnic affinity networks, etc, they should be penalized, as future career success, of a form not perceived as too threatening to the current elite, is crudely what admissions is optimizing for. So, life is not fair, get used to it, and do the little that you can to try to make things more fair (or more in your favor).

I’ve actually seen some not actually very talented Asian-Americans without hooks who did make it to HYP under very striverish behavior. They played the game of try hard resume optimization, of appearing less Asian. The thing is that most of those people end up not well at all after graduation. Don’t think that HYP guarantees a good job. There is no guarantee is today’s world. Those people did too little in terms of developing actually employable skills. What they got by playing the college admissions game was essentially a pyrrhic victory. Actually competent state school kids do much better than them in the workplace. So, don’t be stupid like that.

Even many actually smart Asian-American HYP grads don’t do all that great. A common outcome is a merely solid engineer at a respected technology company. Some go to a top grad school, but success much depends on the field. Academia has very few openings nowadays, though for engineering, due to industrial demand, it is much less competitive than math or science. A common route of course for the really technically exceptional is quant finance, though those positions tend to be taken by immigrants, who generally undergo a much more rigorous STEM education with less distraction compared to what Asian-Americans receive. The thing is that so many people are irrationally desperate to attend an elite school. Some middle class parents will burn a fortune to send their kid to some fancy prep school full of rich kids, where they easily end up at the bottom half of the school’s social hierarchy, let alone for an elite university. They lose sight of the fact that in many if not most cases, major determines what you do much more than school. There are many cases of these try hards wasting much time, money, and stress for nothing.

Like it or not, America is still very much a white country. Asian-Americans can and should try, but they shouldn’t realistically expect equality. If Chinese parents really want their son to become a lawyer or politician, they should probably stay in China. It’ll be hard there as well, but your odds of success will be probably at least an order of magnitude higher than in America. Here, I use only the male qualification of child in light of how “on average, Asian American women received higher personal ratings and extracurricular ratings than Asian American men.”[3] This is, of course, consistent with what goes on in the real world as well. And it is expected, considering how historically, sexism and racism have always gone together.

A while ago, I wrote on here a rather cynical (or whatever you call it) piece in Chinese regarding elite US schools, which to my pleasant surprise a Chinese international of my acquaintance who attended Harvard commented on affirmatively. Its title has somewhat of a sensationalist provocative vibe to it, translated to English as “American elite universities as a political tool for brainwashing and uplifting (pseudo) elite of Chinese descent.” Of course, I have more or less the highest regard for the STEM being done at these top American institutions, though maybe it is a bit overrated. Much of the humanities and social science coming from those places I find quite questionable though, and that goes along with the cultural and political values fostered by these institutions. On that, I brought up how the former unsuccessful regime of China, the Republic of China, was led and run largely by Chinese graduates of Ivies of their time, who were but superficially Westernized and modernized Chinese. Despite their graduating from these elite schools, they lost the civil war and failed to modernize China, though perhaps that also had much to do with their being in the wrong time. Certainly though, many of the elite Chinese who played prominent roles in China’s modernization from the 50s on did advanced study in STEM in these top American schools. I’ll say that from my experience, it certainly does seem that these schools tend to select for Asians whose social and political viewpoints, often not very grounded on reality, tend to fit them into the aforementioned category, like Jeff Yang, with whom Steve Hsu had a debate. This is of course part of the pattern of American elites’ desire to bring elites of other countries into their circle, in a sufficiently subordinate position. On this, I’ll say how I’ve read comments on how over past half century or so, affirmative action by Harvard and other Ivies has won for American elites not only (a facade of) charity but also cultural and ethnic representatives to advance their interests in, say, African countries. For that, Harvard was useful as a binding force. Surely, Harvard has always played a quintessential role in persisting the rule and influence of the current American elite throughout the world, and like it or not, kissing the ruler’s ass is almost always the easiest way to rise up on the social ladder. In Chinese, to be America’s dog is spoken of as pejorative, but so what, there were and are too many small countries willing to do so, because it brings them, their elites in particular, much economic and political benefit.

Asians tend to be pretty obsessed with prestige. Chinese are very, and Koreans are especially so. In the 80s and 90s and 00s, a degree from a prestigious or good American school was much an upper mobility ticket in China. Now, this is much less so, because there are too many such Chinese now, and also maybe because people in China have increasingly realized that maybe these people aren’t actually all that good, in spite of their brand-name American school. A PhD from MIT from China once told me that now in China, companies are increasingly reluctant to hire “sea turtles;” you have to pay them more, when more often than not, you can find a local guy who can do the job as well or better for much less. This is a sign of devaluation of elite American institutions, and I believe this will continue, given the relatively low level of STEM education and preparation in America (which is impossible to hide to any actually smart, scientifically literate person) along with America’s overall decline.

The short-sighted and personally motivated decisions of the intellectually mediocre and politically delusional American elite over the past generation are, cumulatively, really taking its toll now, on the American economy and the credibility of its ruling class. Their elite institutions, nepotistic and corrupt in its admissions, are losing the public’s trust and alienating Asian-Americans especially, many of whom moved to a foreign country speaking little English with too much blind faith in the so-called American Dream that they sought for themselves and more so for their children. American elites may have thought that they themselves could neglect STEM, that there are plenty of talented foreigners, many of whom Asian, willing to do those jobs indefinitely, often grossly under-compensated and with their American-born, American-raised kids facing higher hurdles in education and at work. This might have been so decades ago, when in their home countries, there was still lack of economic opportunity for smart people. Nowadays, there is a booming and internationally competitive high technology sector in China, with India going that direction as well, in spite of brain drain into America. Collectively, the STEM expertise has over time not only grown itself but transformed into significant leverage for the group, so much that the elites running Harvard need to resort to rogue tactics to preserve themselves. I don’t exactly blame them. It’s just like how people who go the bullshit business and social climbing route do so largely to compensate for their inherent intellectual deficit; at least to me, that’s never a pleasant or honorable position to be in. But what else can you do, if not to accept defeat? I can already foresee such an entrenched group fighting desperately for its own survival. Harvard will do all that it can to get away with what it’s doing right now amidst much backlash. And it’s an extraordinary rich, powerful, well-connected institution, much able to manipulate the outcomes. Either they win, or they reform themselves accordingly, or they become slowly sidelined. We’ll see. I just hope they don’t resort to even nastier tactics. Though that tends to happen when power and survival is at serious risk.

References

[1] http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2018/06/harvard-office-of-institutional.html

[2] http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2018/06/harvard-office-of-institutional_21.html

[3] http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-lee-harvard-legacy-student-advantage-20180622-story.html

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gekcNqlHptM