Friday, January 1, 2021

Not Falling for Specious Arguments

How should we logically and ethically weigh an extremely clever, specious argument from an economics expert, even if like myself, we have no formal training in economics? To wit: Noah Smith's argument that recent migrants do not lower wages, meaning the wages of natives. Below are quotes from Smith's argument. I left out most of Smith's irrelevancies, circular claims, and other fallacies for copyright reasons. Some of my comments are in parentheses because I can't do brackets on my phone.

"No one is going to be persuaded by this post (persuasion is irrelevant)." Polls suggest significant variation in immigration views from year to year.

"First, people don’t really believe social science evidence. It took years and years of empirical research — solid results, almost all pointing in the same direction — just to shift academic economists’ opinions on the effects of minimum wage (irrelevant to immigration)." Most social science studies aren't evidence, especially pro-multiculturalist studies. Surprisingly, Smith portrays economists as having closed minds while also treating them as the top experts on immigration issues. The views of Marxian, libertarian, and neoliberal economists all massively contradict each other, and more important, massively contradict reality. Economists in some European countries, where most migrants receive welfare or engage in free riding occupations, preposterously tell pollsters that migrants are not lowering wages of natives.

"The average person, not being an academic economist, has even less of an idea of how reliable social science research is (false claim)."

"Second, in my experience (small sample), anti-immigration people (irrelevant ad hominem) are completely set in their belief that immigration should be restricted (false claim). It’s their fixed north star (false analogy). The justifications change — Lower wages! Environmental destruction! Brain drain! Rule of law! Cultural change! (straw person, good reasons are additive and there are far more) — but the policy conclusion never wavers (false claim).

"So this post isn’t going to persuade anti-immigration people (irrelevant ad hominem) to change their stance, and it’s probably not going to persuade (irrelevant) many normies (irrelevant ad hominem) to be up in arms about the need to let in more immigrants, either. But it’s still important to write (false claim), and not just because I’m a stubborn S.O.B. who will die face-down in the muck fighting for The Empirical Evidence (false claim). It’s because in another 20 years or so, when America’s current freakout (straw person) over identity and nationhood has passed, we’re hopefully going to be ready to let in a bunch of immigrants again."

"Most people think of labor markets as determined by supply and demand (straw person). This is actually not a great model of the labor market in general (straw person, it is better than alternatives offered)."

"A positive labor supply shock pushes wages down. A positive labor demand shock pushes up wages. Maybe one of those effects is a little bigger; maybe the other. But they’re going to mostly cancel out (false claim)."

"And to see why this is true, just think about babies. Each new generation is bigger than the one that came before it. If those young people were just a labor supply increase, then as population went up, wages would go down. But obviously that’s not what happens, because young people also buy stuff, which pushes up labor demand, which pushes wages back up (false analogy and missing quantification)."

"Immigrants are just babies from elsewhere (false analogy)."

"As you might expect, economists have done quite a lot of research on the question of whether immigration lowers wages. It’s not the kind of thing where you can just wave your hands and... conclude that the former causes the latter... just a few reasons you can’t just look at overall correlations: Immigrants may compete with some groups of native-born workers more than others; for example, less-educated immigrants might compete mainly with native-born workers without a high school degree (no good reason to use the word may here)."

"Second, they try to compare places that get immigrants with places that don’t, but which are otherwise similar in all economic respects (false claim)." This is why all the pro migration studies are junk. Economists ignore dozens of long-term indirect factors, factors they consider offensive, and so on. They ignore IQ, faulty measures, unrepresentative sampling, character traits, economic effects of cultural changes, the low productivity of some migrant groups far more numerous descendants, and so on. Those groups' descendants then get counted as part of the native population in future junk science. It is extremely important to know whether the descendants of migrants will cause genocides, subjugation, totalitarianism, civil wars, societal collapse or massive amounts of legalized corruption. The historical track record of diversity is atrocious.

Smith does not stick to the wage issue. He raises the irrelevant issue of whether contemporary migration is good in general, treating the wage issue as if it decides the immigration issue, leaving out other  important issues, especially issues more important than the wage issue. Smith lists the junk science, some of it relevant to unemployment but not the wage issue. 

Smith never mentions productivity.

If an immigrant group, and far more important, their much less productive descendants, are less productive than the native population but disproportionately get hiring quotas, receive welfare benefits, and enter into multitudes of other free riding activities, they will almost certainly lower the median and mean hourly compensations of native populations, along with living standards. It's important to know the rates of Machiavellianism, psychopathy, evolutionary egoism, psychological egoism, unethical egoism, and other traits among differing ethnoracial groups, but that would be too offensive to know or mention. Immigration also turns native populations into worse and less productive people than they would otherwise be. Many immigrant groups become far worse as their power and numbers increase. A decades-old study tells us little about how ethnoracial groups will behave 50 years from now when they have more power.

There is also an ever decreasing quality in the character of ethnoracial groups entering the US, but they are all just lumped together as immigrants by Smith.

To weigh arguments, we should give no weight to fallacies and compare the relevant good points from various sides. Unfortunately, for Smith's argument, it contains no good points and thus no evidence despite his claims to the contrary. It matters little whether he has a dozen or 50 dozen evidence-free junk science studies to cite. We should not fall for rhetorical tricks no matter how clever. The long-term consequences for present societies' rampant glib, craven, and anti-reason views on dysgenic and multicultural issues will be disastrous for hundreds of future generations.

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