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October 30, 2004
A topic for debate...
For those who have been monitoring all of the various comments sections at this site, I'm sure you have noticed that there has been raging a rather strong debate here and there about what journals are credible sources for material and which are not. That brings me to a great question that I simply cannot allow to not be asked any longer:
What are the prerequisites for determining whether or not a journal should be used as source material?
There are a whole slew of journals out there; tens of thousands in the United States, at the very least. Every little college has a journal it seems, some created for the simple reason that the work of their academics is so pathetic that the larger journals don't feel it's good enough for publication. Many colleges have student edited journals such as the one published by my own university, the University of Florida International Review (which has published some of my work). As for this blog, a few journals have been discussed as of late: The Occidental Quarterly, Mankind Quarterly, and The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies.
The Occidental Quarterly is a favorite of Thrasymachus and is published by the Charles Martel Society, a grouping of paleoconservative, white nationalist, and European "New Right" intellectuals. While I consider this to be a fascinating journal (mostly because I love studying political ideologies and it's one of the best hard-right journals out there) and sometimes even agree with them, I have been fairly critical of the content of the journal, such as:
1. The publication of and favorable reviews of the beliefs of Richard McCulloch, a racial separatist and "Nordishist."
I could continue on and on, but I think I've made my point well enough. This is definitely a publication that advocates some fairly far-right viewpoints, even though they do occasionally publish some good material.
This brings me to Mankind Quarterly and The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies. Both of these publications were founded by Roger Pearson, a former extreme-rightist turned pro-American nationalist after getting a Ph.D. in anthropology, who also founded The Journal of Indo-European Studies, a rather prestigious anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics journal. All three of these journals are peer-reviewed and are published by either the Institute for the Study of Man or the Council for Social and Economic Studies.
Mankind Quarterly became rather famous after the publication of The Bell Curve, in which both the authors cited essays published in it. This was subsequently used to attack the authors, because the journal publishes essays by eugenicists and people who actually believe in race or, for that matter, racial differences (the horror!!!!!). The special issue (for those of you who have access to EBSCOhost, the October 31, 1994 issue) of The New Republic that was dedicated to launching vitriolic and silly assaults on the The Bell Curve used this as an attack against the book, especially in the hysterical article by Jeffrey Rosen and Charles Lane titled "Neo-Nazis!"
Mankind Quarterly has been compared by numerous readers and bloggers to Stephen Jay Gould, except being right-wing instead of left-wing. Over the past few weeks I've been reading essays published in the journal on EBSCOhost and I must say that it is absolutely nothing like The Occidental Quarterly. It is intelligent (being peer-reviewed helps) and from the past 10 years I can detect little or no anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism (which does exist in earlier issues). Sure, maybe some of the studies in it have been tilted in a Gouldian fashion, but there really aren't all that many journals out there that delve into controversial topics like this one does. Also, the journal regularly publishes essays by Richard Lynn and stuff on H-BD! It's a lot like American Renaissance, actually. And just like American Renaissance, there are a few extreme elements here and there, but nothing like The Occidental Quarterly.
I have been particularly fascinated by The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, mostly because I'm a political scientist and this is more up my alley. When I first heard about the journal and Roger Pearson, I thought when I looked it up that I would find a journal similar to The Occidental Quarterly with strong underlying anti-American, anti-Semitic, and far-right tendencies. This has not been the case. In fact, I agree with much of what they have to say. If anything, the journal is strongly pro-American and pro-science. Some of the things that I've found and agreed with in recent issues of the journal are:
1. An essay on suicide bombings in the former-USSR (Fall 2004) and many essays on comparative politics type material.
...and a heck of a lot more. Pearson's transition from far-right to more towards the middle is unusual, since normally people move to the far-right and stay there becoming gradually more anti-American and anti-Semitic as time passes. Since the phenomenon is so unusual, I had to understand it. I tried to find the e-mail of Pearson a few weeks ago, but failed. It's sort of like the conversion of neocons from far-left Trotskyites. Oh well... I guess I'll figure out what happened eventually.
But back to the topic at hand, these journals, while biased in many instances, have arisen as a result of the fields of anthropology and genetics being taken over by Marxists and Boasians (just look at the statement by the American Anthropological Association on race). When I go into my library to find a journal, I see dozens of journals like Dialectical Anthropology and "mainstream" journals that publish the same claptrap. Why can they have journals dedicated to their biases and we can't? Why shouldn't we cite essays out of Mankind Quarterly? How and what source material should we cite when the dominant publications are controlled by people whose politics matter more than the science?
St. John, Warren and Rachel L. Swarns. "Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows". The New York Times. 2004 October 31.
They're called blogs, people.
No more contemporary poltical posts until November 15th
Posts that deal too closely with the kind of stuff you can find at Daily Kos, Polipundit, Andrew Sullivan or Kausfiles will be deleted. Long commentaries on foreign policy are fine, ruminations on the relationships between political ideologies are fine, etc. etc. etc.
Also, many of the blogs run by posters are GNXP have political content, so I suggest you check those out.
By the way Aziz, why does Houston smell like a pig's anus so often?
October 29, 2004
And the role of Malik on this weeks Enterprise (with Data creating superhumans) will be played by Paul Atreides.
Osama endorses Kerry
We knew he would, a Kerry victory is in the best interest of Al Qaeda.
Update Ok everyone, let me first state that this was a joke. I have seen several leftie-bloggers seriously say that the terrorists prefer Bush and endorse him, so this is my way of thumbing my nose at the left. I do not think that what OBL says should have any effect on this election, and I would be very disappointed if anyone changed their vote because of this.
My prediction: Bush 281
Anyone else want to make a guess?
Cancer throughout history
Cancer is far more common today than at any time in history, according to a study of 3,000 human skeletons in a Croatian archaeological collection.
The researchers argue that cancer is more common today because people now have much longer life spans than they did just a few centuries ago. In Croatia, for example, the current average life expectancy is around 74 years. But the average age of death found in the archaeological remains that researchers studied was just 36 years.
Fair enough. But adjusting for life expectancy should be straightforward enough. There is more than one way to do it. I wonder how the comparison comes out then.
Meaningless Political Levity
October 28, 2004
IQ & politicians
There has been recent talk about the idea that ~120 IQ is ideal for a president, or an executive in the generality. I realized that there might be a way to take a stab at this topic as far as the US government is concerned: analyze the educational backgrounds of the 100 senators and 50 governors. The two groups do overlap (some governors become senators and some senators become governors), but while the former are legislators who often focus on certain specific public policy issues the latter are general executives.
I don't have time to check this now, but will do so later if someone doesn't beat me to it.
Mark Cousins has a sensational overview of Asian cinema, arguing that its current energy & artistry puts it reels ahead of world film. Michael Moore's schlockfest may have copped the Palme d'Or, but this year's Cannes was mesmerized by 4 Asian films: House of Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou's sensual Hero followup; 2046, Wong Kar Wai's Bladerunner-noir; Nobody Knows, an urban fairy tale from Japan; & Tropical Malady, a homoerotic Zen fable from Thailand.
Cousins details the 100-year panorama of Asian cinema - largely unknown in the West - & the influence of Buddhist, Tao, & Hindu aesthetics on the films of China, Japan, & India. Among the great directors profiled: Yuan Muzhi, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu, Mehboob Khan, Bu Wancang.
Predictably, Hollywood is turning Japanese, with 7 American versions of Asian hits in the works, including:
• Scorsese is remaking crime thriller Infernal Affairs, possibly with Brad Pitt
• Jennifer Connelly in remake of Dark Water, supernatural tale by Hideo Nakata (The Ring)
• Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham) is remaking Korean comedy My Wife is a Gangster with Queen Latifah
Has anyone checked if there was a radioactive meteor strike in 13th century Brest-Litovsk?
Gladstone, Bill [I shit you not]. "From King David to Freud to Marx, new book traces a family’s history". JTA. 2004 October 24.
hat tip: normblog
No, really, did she?
Dominus, Susan. "Growing Up With Mom and Mom". The New York Times Magazine. 2004 October 24.
A central argument advanced against gay marriage is that gay relationships have a corrosive effect on the institution of the traditional family. In that context, the children of gay parents are...a form of evidence in the political debate. How do the children of gay parents turn out, when compared with the children of straight parents, in terms of eventual marital status, income, psychological well-being? If gay couples give birth, seek to adopt or become foster parents, what kind of adult members of society will they produce?
October 27, 2004
(27 October, 18.00 GMT)
Search Google News for 'Hobbit' right now and you'll fall off your chair.
Addendum from Razib: I was in the air most of today, and paid $4.95 to access Cincinnati airport's wireless connection, and boy was it worth it, as I saw this post by David. I didn't have much time to peruse the articles, but now I'm in Houston and I spent about an hour looking at the various stories. I didn't quite fall out of my chair, but the effect was similar. Nevertheless, I am far less shocked by this story than I would have been 5 years ago. The Great Leap of 50,000 years BP hypothesis seems on shakier ground than it once was, while Out-of-Africa is being challenged by new pieces of data.
The possibility of a new ape species under our noses seems to have been timed well to precede this finding of a nearly contemporaneous hominid people. But, the excellent summation of this research over at Nature seems to make objections about its overall veracity (as opposed to interpretation of various elements) untenable.
The small size of these island hominids is a testament to the universality of natural selection, as islands tend to shift many animals away from their worldwide modal size. Additionally, the fact that it seems probable that a form of Homo erectus must have crossed a non-trivial body of water is really amazing. The possibility of "advanced" tools are easy to quibble with, and I'm not so sure about that, but the geological history is something that is less amenable to spinning. In my post about Out-of-Africa revisions because of possible ancient Asian genes in modern East Asians I noted that many of my recent books are being rendered obsolete, well, this will probably push that process along.
One final note. The use of the term "Homo erectus" seems to be so broad that I wonder about its utility for the general public. It seems that "Homo erectus" is almost a negative definition, that is, it is not sapiens, not Australopithecines, not neanderthalis, etc. It seems likely that the human family tree is very bushy, especially since hominids have been a worldwide genus for about 2 million years. Unfortunately, the press release capsules tend to be worded in a way that implies a progression upward and onward, rather than the reality that it seems difficult for many paleoanthropologists to differentiate various species or subspecies with great precision. The morphological features of the new homonid highlighted in the article are distinctive enough that I do not doubt their interpretation, but on the catchall use of the term "Homo erectus" for various homonids (with the exception of Neanderthals) before the rise of modern humans, I am more dubious. The term seems to obscure more than illuminate.
Nick Wade has a good thick piece on this topic in The New York Times. Steve offers some more juicy bits about the possibility of a modern relic population still existing. Coelacanth's of our time? I doubt it, though the stories told by Flores natives are tantalizing, pulled out from their context they sound much like tales told by many peoples the world over about barbaric tribal neighbors who behave like animals. Remember that a few years ago Indonesians were beheading "witches" and "warlocks." In much of the world ghosts, witches, spirits and demons are real elements of their universe, and I suspect tales of quasi-humans emerges from the same cognitive predisposition (same goes for the legend about ancient Formosan pygmies offered in the comments section). Strange inhuman behaviors like cannibalism are accusations nearly always made against other peoples, but genetics indicates it is part of Homo sapiens common heritage.
Related: In 1988 Harry Turtledove wrote the book A Different Flesh, a collection of short stories based on an alternate history where Homo erectus survived into modern times.
Tangentially related: A pygmy mammoth population survived on Wrangel Island until 3,700 years ago (that is, they went extinct around the time of Hammarubi).
Update: Carl Zimmer has an excellent entry up on the topic.
October 26, 2004
Could this be a mistake?
WaPo reports the end of the dominance of the Democratic Party over the Jewish vote, with Orthodox Jews now turning to the GOP.
Jews, however, were different. As late as 2000, Al Gore and his Orthodox running mate, Joe Lieberman, didn't just win most of the Jewish vote, they won a large majority among Orthodox Jews -- the "traditionalists" whom sociologists might have expected to join their Christian counterparts. But it now appears that, like Jimmy Carter, who won the votes of his fellow evangelicals in 1976, Lieberman simply delayed his community's migration into the Republican Party. This year, for probably the first time, Orthodox Jews will vote like "traditionalist" Christians. Conservative, Reform and non-affiliated Jews, on the other hand, will vote like secular, or "modernist," Christians. And the Jewish vote, in a meaningful sense, will cease to exist.
But I wonder if this is smart on the part of the Orthodox community. With the vile, paranoid, pathological, bigoted hatred usually directed at traditional GOP groups (Evangelicals, Cubans, etc) by the neo-fascist left, I wonder if a community that has found only a handful of countries throughout history that would accept them can afford to outrage the nuts in our society.
Cross Posted at Organic republican
A Libertarian Party founder comes out for Bush
Mainland China and Asian-American Identity Politics
This post evolved out of a question razib posed to me in the comments section of an earlier post. I'm keeping it in extended-entry since it's political and, typically of me, unnecessarily loquacious: it concerns the general topic of US-born Asian kids going to their mother countries and, through the pop culture, giving the public there the whole song and dance (literally) about "how oppressed we are in the US." Usually this occurs through the medium of pop tunes, rap, and movies, often presented by artists who failed to break into the US entertainment industry. They return to Asia (where, in many cases, marketing is more important than talent) to try their luck again, and popularize their "political struggle".
So far, we haven't seen most Asian-Americans turning to Asia to gain support for their identity politics, for one big reason: the public in Asian countries couldn't care less. But that might be changing.
Unlike, say, Mexico, most Asian countries are not all that concerned with their emigrants or the descendants of those emigrants, and even look down on them. India dubs theirs "Non-Required Indians" (a play on the official government designation of "Non-Resident Indians"). In Japan, even Japanese kids who live overseas for a few years and then return to Japan suffer discrimination and bullying (google "kikoku shijou"), to say nothing of Japanese descendents such as 4th-generation Japanese-Americans who speak no Japanese (sometimes turned down for English-teaching jobs in favor of Swedes) or the equally un-Japanese Brazilian labourers imported en-masse. Thus, the public in Asian countries have remained largely indifferent to the issues their co-ethnics face in the United States.
Korean-Americans might seem an exception to this trend, but missed their chance to gain sympathy for their struggles among Koreans --- they had long had influence in the Korean music industry (try listening to some Seo Taiji rap to find the obvious American roots), and emigration to the US was a hot topic in the 1980s, thus keeping Korean-Americans central in the public imagination. But the same event that crystallized the Korean-American political identity --- the 1991 L.A. riots --- was largely ignored in Korea. Some even believed the emigrants and their children deserved the calamity, for having abandoned the mother country and contributed their efforts to building up a foreign economy. Korean-Americans, having failed to gain sympathy or assistance from their brethren for a real calamity filled with destruction and death, figure that asking their assistance on smaller grievances such as racial discrimination would be pointless.
However, there already exists at present one true major exception to the above rule of non-involvement: Taiwan, a country which emerged from the Chinese cultural matrix and shares its traditional values. Thus, Taiwan's present state is at least a bit better than any other for forecasting cultural trends in mainland China. And at present, we can clearly see the influence of Taiwanese domestic politics at work among student organizations for (US-born) Taiwanese-American students. To understand how this situation came about, we need a brief overview of Taiwanese society and history.
Taiwan consists of four broadly-defined groups, presented here in decreasing order of their numbers:
Broadly speaking, from 1949 up until recent years, the Mainlanders totally excluded the other 3 groups from politics, especially the majority Hokkiens, and surpressed their languages. No formal opposition parties existed, just a generalized underground with leftist tendencies, more concerned with trying to get the existing Nationalist dictatorship out of power than with any concrete political or social platforms. The 1966-76 Cultural Revolution happening next door in mainland China, aside from scaring the pants off the Taiwanese people and government, largely delegitimized Communism in Taiwan. This forced the slowly-forming Taiwanese left to abandon Marxism as any form whatsoever of intellectual basis (if only to ensure their own survival and avoid even more ruthless surpression by the Nationalist government), and to evolve towards ethnic politics and its familiar demagoguery, arguably early and faster than the equivalent shift in certain segments of the American left. (For a much more detailed look at this process, see this article from the previous edition of New Left Review).
Chinese people, unlike other Asians, are fairly interested in their diaspora --- no less than the national father Sun Yat-Sen studied in the US --- and the Taiwanese share this Chinese cultural tendency. The Nationalist government began outreach towards overseas Chinese communities almost immediately after its resettlement on Taiwan. (See this post from the blog East South West North for one example of the results: the 1956 riots in Hong Kong, in which the Swiss consul's wife burned to death). The most familiar example of this outreach today is the so-called "Love Boat," Youth Study Tour to the Republic of China, where Taiwanese descendants all over the world converge on Taiwan with the excuse of language and cultural study, and spend 6 weeks hooking up with each other (much to the delight of their Taiwanese parents of all political persuasions, who hope they'll marry within the race), but also listening to propaganda from the Nationalist government.
The Taiwanese left showed themselves to be no less interested than the Nationalist government in using their overseas compatriots as a tool to advance their agenda in Taiwan. Taiwanese students in the US, already exposed and often sympathetic to the language and concepts of identity politics back in Taiwan by their local leftists, easily found common ground and sympathetic understanding with young Taiwanese-Americans and their growing ethnic consciousness and generalized sense of political dissatisfaction.
The best example of the result is ITASA, a yearly intercollegiate conference held by Taiwanese-American student organizations, at which the topics of Taiwanese independence (or, more precisely, Hokkien nationalism) and Taiwanese-American oppression both receive ample air time. All these identity politics are set against a background of Asian parties which provide the real impetus for most of the students who join the conference and throw their weight behind lobbying the US government in support of both topics. The public in Taiwan still lag in their awareness of the issues of Taiwanese-American and Asian-American identity politics, but an increasing stream of returnee and US-born musicians are slowly attending to this problem. (ctrl-F "racial culture" in that article).
Now, the above don't amount to a very large problem, because Taiwan is a small island of 22 million who can't exactly risk annoying the US government too much, lest the latter stop selling them the weapons necessary for their survival. So pushing Asian-American identity politics will likely remain very low on the agenda of the Taiwanese government, regardless of whether Taiwanese-Americans can succeed in riling up the Taiwanese public to protest the US government's "mistreatment" of Asian-Americans.
The real worries are the country of 1.3 billion people across the straits, and their government. And there are several reasons to think they (both the people and the government) going to start getting interested in Asian-American identity politics, even to the extent of pressuring the US government about it:
What prompted this post? I saw a rather unimpressive Filipino-American rap video of the identity politics variety, shown on a segment on a mainland MTV clone hosted by a returnee VJ, and conveniently subtitled in Chinese, complete with historical background of the "struggle" presented in the video. Just an isolated event, or the herald of a wider trend of mainland Chinese interest in Asian-American identity politics? Let's hope it's not the latter.
The Lord of the Four Corners of the World
An evangelical journalist Lee Strobel offers "13 reasons to believe God created the universe." Strobel says:
I disagree, but who cares. Read the "13 reasons," they seem really badly framed in the excerpt of the text that Belieftnet has put up.
You might want to track the Cassini/Huygens site (always on the sidebar) as the probe nears Titan.
Hey all. A weird question, those of you running weblogs, have you been getting emails from companies (not really spam, though definitely solicitations) to promote technologies that aid in reading and tracking blogs? You know, better RSS aggregators and reader-side block-tracking so that you can know when GNXP has a post on your cellphone or via MSN messenger.
Now, since this site is definitely a non-profit vanity (kind of negative actually), I really haven't paid much attention to these entreaties. I don't read many blogs myself, and am not preoccupied with getting the latest of Jonathan Edelstein's musings (to give a random example of the type of weblog I read when I do read them).
Frankly, I figre that the "core" GNXP reader checks in on the site every other day, and the posting isn't frequent enough that you'll miss anything. So I doubt you'll benefit from these sort of things, but do some of you beg to differ? I have no philosphical objection to enabling these sort of features (some of the technologies require I do some things blogside), and a few have even offered an "affiliate" program so I can get a little bit of cash if you take time to download apps, etc.
The main aim of this blog for me is to get people familiar with W.D. Hamilton's or Daniel Sperber's work (for example) and sow the seeds for intellectual discourse in the non-blog world. Don't know if these technologies will help in that....
October 25, 2004
My new blog is up (yes GNXP is branching out in all different directions) check it out.
A spoon full of sugar
I have a new post up at GNXP Sci-Fi that may be applicable to regular GNXP.
In the flesh (sort of)
October 24, 2004
Lets all raise our glasses...
Bill Hamilton of Oxford, originator of the concept of inclusive fitness and other theories fundamental to modern evolutionary biology, winner of the Kyoto and Crafoord Prizes, and first president of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, gave a toast at a banquet at an evolutionary biology conference several years ago. From the podium, with dancing eyes, he lifted his glass and announced that he was going to toast Gould—and the audience of hundreds fell dead silent, holding their breath in expectation of a joke to follow. They were not disappointed: Hamilton said that despite the confused and incoherent nature of Gould's publications on evolutionary biology, we should celebrate him anyway, because of the harvest of bright children—future biologists—that his essays would bring into the field. The audience dissolved in laughter and cheers.
Ol' Bill was at least half right.
BBC 4's In our Time has some excellent 45 minute discussions with intellectuals about major topics archived.
Out of the history archive, Romans in Britain.
Out of the science archive, The Physics of Reality.
Out of the religion archive, The Norse Gods.
Out of the culture archive, The Scottish Enlightenment.
Out of the philosophy archive, Human Nature.
Via Sepia comes this article in The New York Times about caste in the United States. Being from a Muslim family I've never heard anything about caste in the United States. After getting to know a few brown Americans in more detail caste has been mentioned now and then so I have inquired among brown Muslims I have met through the web about the salience of this social structure among them and everyone claims they have never noted its persistance in the US. In South Asia Muslims do have caste, but my hypothesis is that it can only flourish in a South Asian context because unlike Hinduism Islam does not explicitly condone it, so without the support of a cultural matrix it dissolves (the rhetorical social egalitarianism of American society has its Muslim cognate).
But I wanted to focus on one snippet from the article:
I have debated with Manish the possible future extent of inter-ethnic marriage and the eventual solvation of the South Asian identity because of this porcess several times (see here). Nevertheless, I grant that one of Manish's points, that the younger South Asians have a more articulated and concrete brown identity is probably correct (though we differ on the degree of importance this might have in reversing the trend toward inter-ethnic marriage).
You see, my sister watches Hindi movies.
What's wrong with that say you? Well, nothing. But of late I have realized that she is an example of the kind of ethnic identity formation that Manish has spoken of. I have two siblings about 15 years younger than me, and one who is only 4 years younger. In many ways we are two generations, and perhaps the most striking one is that in some ways the younger generation, especially my sister (thank god my youngest brother seems more interested in video games), are more explicitly brown-identified.
I believe there are two major factors that influence this.
1) A larger brown community means that she has peers who are brown (peers really matter!).
2) She has recounted to me episodes where her teacher approvingly suggested that she speak about her "heritage," and it is quite clear her "diversity" is encouraged and looked upon positively by the school system (I started noting that by the end of high school I started to become "educational" and teachers would want me to speak about Islam and my own view of God, which was hard since I was in an atheist).
On the first point, I was not always the only South Asian kid in any given educational circumstance, but generally there were only two of us and I never felt any need to form a friendship with someone else because of their racial similarity to me (in fact, when there are only a few co-ethnics in a population I would not be surprised if a repulsive force would be at work because a group of 2 or 3 just increases your alien profile without being large enough to give you the benefits of a clique). On the second score, though my ethnic identity was obvious to my teachers and friends, there was little comment on it. In fact, I remember my 6th grade teacher, a white liberal supporter of Jesse Jackson, expressing unconcealed disgust when I mentioned offhand that my parents had an arranged marriage. She blurted out, "that's medieval." I can't imagine a white liberal teacher saying something like that today with the rise of multiculturalism (though those who are younger might educate me on this, and there is no doubt great inter-regional variance on this issue).
So certainly I grant some of what Manish is saying. Nevertheless, I constantly make fun of my sister for her preference in movies, and note that she has many non-South Asian friends (her South Asian friends still tend to be separated by distance since they live in neighboring communities). This would not be an issue in many large urban areas where critical mass has been attained and the process of congealing of an ethnic minority can proceed faster.
I think a good analogy is to imagine a large jawbreaker vs. an equivalent volume jawbreaker broken up into 100 pieces. Clearly the latter would melt in your mouth first. My own personal preference is to work for policies that break the jawbreaker to pieces. That is why I prefer a education based immigration system (well educated professionals move more often and meet non-co-ethnics in the workplace). Also, moderating the stream of immigration would staunch the flood of new people from the old country that would be the gluten in the cake of identity.