Child Development

“Men on Strike” sale – Men Boycotting Marriage and Adult Responsibilities

Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters by Dr. Helen Smith is on sale at $3.29 on Amazon Kindle. This is a good overview of how the bureaucratic/academic tilt toward rewarding feminine traits like compliance and tolerance for social hierarchies is damaging men. It’s a broader view of the social problem I discuss in Death by HR.

Here’s the description:

American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them?

As Men on Strike demonstrates, men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century. Men are starting to fight back against the backlash. Men on Strike explains their battle cry.

Legacy publishers charge too much for ebooks, so it becomes useful to note when they have a good book on sale. My books are generally priced at $2.99 or $3.99 because they don’t have to support the legacy overhead of offices in Manhattan, multiple editors, and costly staff. There is now a two-tier market, with legacy publishers holding their ebook prices much too high (often higher than paper!) to protect sales of paper copies, while small and self-publishers offer very similar quality books at half or less price. Authors make more by self-publishing but tend to sell fewer copies since self-published books lack the imprimatur and marketing of the legacy publishers. It is still true that reviews and media exposure are much harder to obtain for self-publishers since it’s simpler to ignore all self-published books than to pick through the dross for the gems, but by volume there are roughly equal numbers of “excellent” books being published each way.

Orlando and Elite Bigotry: Come Out as an American

Marines Marry - photo from Freedom to Marry

Marines Marry – photo from Freedom to Marry

Instapundit (Ed Driscoll posting) has a post up quoting a New York Times piece on Garrison Keillor’s retirement from Prairie Home Companion:

Curiously, Mr. Keillor has always found it difficult spending so much time with the strong, good-looking, above average people of Lake Wobegon, which he based on his relatives, past and present.

In “The Keillor Reader” (2014), he complained bitterly about “their industriousness, their infernal humility, their schoolmarmish sincerity, their earnest interest in you, their clichés falling like clockwork — it can be tiring to be around.”

Speaking on his porch, Mr. Keillor said of Lake Wobegonians, i.e., his relatives, “I am frustrated by them in real life.” They were too controlled by good manners, he said, and “have a very hard time breaking through.”

So why devote so much of his professional life ruminating about them? “It’s the people I think I know,” he replied.

Will he miss them, and the weekly jolt of the show?

“No,” he replied. “No.”

Ed continues: “As with many on the left, in the wake of 9/11, Keillor emerged as a vicious partisan, describing President Bush’s supporters thusly in 2004:”

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.

Then this quote from Christopher Caldwell:

At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns…For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.

Ed has outlined the problem: the opinion leaders in the Blue Tribe gleefully engage in the extreme stereotyping, bigotry, and prejudice they rightfully decry when applied to everyone but their cultural cousins in the heartland. It is all about feeling superior to their countrymen not so privileged as to live in elite coastal communities where wealth, education, and stable academic or government jobs give them a platform to look down on, and prescribe correct thought to, the great unwashed they have separated themselves from.

The current attempt to paint evangelical Christians and gun control opponents as responsible for a supposed climate of hate leading to the Orlando massacre is a good example. After winning enormous improvements in both law and opinion on gay rights, Democrats and activists want to continue to crusade against old enemies rather than facing the reality — that there is almost no one in their demonized classes who would want them killed, while there are a millions of fundamentalist Islamists, egged on by Salafist training financed for decades by Saudi Arabia, who *do* want them killed. By displacing the blame, the Blue Tribe leaders can avoid considering the enormity of the evil of gays and women being stoned, shot, thrown from buildings, and otherwise sacrificed in a broad swath of the Middle East and Africa where these fundamentalists are in power, and how that evil is coming home to us now.

Burt Gummer from "Tremors" - Tremors Wikia

Burt Gummer from “Tremors” – Tremors Wikia

Yesterday’s post about the infighting between American cultures over the response to Orlando murders gets at some of this — American Red Tribe members, many of whom have some traditionalist beliefs about sex roles and gay marriage, bear no murderous urges toward anyone, and would help defend their fellow citizens should it ever come to that using their stores of guns and ammo and military training. Like the townspeople’s reaction to prepper Burt Gummer in Tremors, “sophisticates” roll their eyes when the ex-military guy seems to be paranoid and overprepared for unlikely threats, but everyone is grateful when the threat appears and he’s the only one who has a useful response. A civilization which has so protected its people that they lose the ability to even imagine the need to defend themselves is ripe for external attack. And the threat from Islamist ideology is real — it’s not a country, it’s not a state (no matter what ISIS’s pretensions are), it’s a thought-virus.

It is not helpful that so many filter the news for the most outrageous behaviors to confirm their fear of the other tribe — steady consumption of clickbait outrage stories would have you believe most Christian leaders want gays killed and approve of the Orlando murders, while the truth is only a minute number of attention-seeking sect leaders (like the Westboro “Baptist” Church) are anything but properly horrified. By choosing to read these outrage porn sites, people nurture old grievances and retain a profoundly wrong idea of the feelings of their Red Tribe countrymen, so much so that it is becoming a danger to our polity.

I grew up in the era when everyone who appeared weak or different could expect to be bullied. We’ve made a lot of progress as a people to remedy that kind of abuse, but the defensive reflexes remain. The generation now in their 50s and 60s are the primary opinion leaders, and edit most of the media we read. They still believe in the ill-will of their flyover countrymen that many of them worked hard to get away from, and identities and egos are built on their feelings of moral superiority. They are easily persuaded that external threats are unimportant compared to the need to continue to suppress their old enemies in the culture wars — and that is a great danger, since by not acting to counteract Islamist ideology and its promoters, and by portraying legitimate criticism of the current government’s management of security and screening of millions of immigrants as racist, sexist, and xenophobic, they block any reform that might reduce the number of Jihadi converts in sensitive positions.

So here’s my suggestion for my Blue Tribe friends — get to know your Red Tribe cousins. Go shooting with them, barbecue some ribs with them, visit the country in the middle you’ve never seen and absorb the culture there without your blinders on. Instead of vacationing in New York or San Francisco or the villa in Tuscany or the south of France, try Salina, Kansas, or New Braunfels, Texas. Get to know some young men who sport cultural signifiers you fear — like pickup trucks, gun racks, and military backgrounds. You’ll find them to be as friendly and civilized as the average coastal resident, just different. And you may come to respect them as much as I do — even though I worked as hard as I could to get away from them when I was young. Your past experience has prejudiced you against a people who in the current reality are your closest and warmest cousins. Bigotry and discrimination have no place in the new America — the President is quite right about that. But his blindness and bigotry toward half the population of his own country is obvious.

Don’t be a bigot. Talk to those people you think you loathe and fear. Come out as an American.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


Sentencing Reforms: How to Not Solve the Problem

US Prisons - Daily Mail UK

US Prisons – Daily Mail UK

The US has too many people in prison, and too large a share of our population grows up in broken families, with failing schools just the last missed chance for a child to find guidance. I’ve commented on this in Real Life Hunger Games: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor and The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods — and Yours. A bipartisan reform movement is shortening sentences and giving judges more discretion after decades of “three strikes” policies and increasingly long sentences. While it’s good that politicians have noticed the issue, they are failing to address the underlying causes.

Punishment — the painful and public shaming of flogging and the like — evolved into long prison sentences employing large numbers of state-favoring employees to provide an artificial environment which nurtures and supports a criminal underclass. If all that is done is shortening sentences, the same underclass members will just cycle through the system faster and be out on the street more, requiring even more state employees to process them.

Shrinking the underclass only happens when they are deprived of any means to survive unless they learn to work with the rest of society in a job where reinforcement of productive habits is immediate. And cutting off support in the form of social assistance programs and prisons would do that. The fatherless children and husbandless mothers that fail to socialize them for the greater community would have to find a new way to live. “Helping” people by giving them things in the long run hurts them and keeps them from maturing into happy, productive citizens.

On Bruce Jenner and Gender

In between books, so I have a minute to comment on issues of the day.

Let’s start with Bruce Jenner and his public pronouncement that he thinks of himself and plans to live as a woman. This is instructive partly because of various reactions: some feminists resent a privileged white man muscling in on their desire to be both utterly equal and specially protected. One spokeswoman for that point of view demanded he get a vagina and suffer pay discrimination before being allowed to call himself a woman.

Others were all for his announcement and supportive of the blow he was striking in public for coming out as who you feel you really are, until he also mentioned she sees herself as a Christian, conservative Republican. Fuses blew and some partisans disowned him — not “the right sort” to be striking a blow for anyone’s freedom.

I’ve known transgender people both pre- and post-op, as well as other diverse sorts. The feeling that your body does not go along with the gender role you feel comfortable as is real and efforts to do something about it are understandable. But it’s interesting that what activists say they work toward — complete equality of the sexes — if achieved, would reduce the expectations of stereotyped behaviors from either sex and make this discordance less uncomfortable. There are people who aren’t bothered by the equipment they have and just bravely act the way they wish to, disregarding social convention, and there always have been. The idea of a physical sex change operation is recent and still somewhat impractical; we can imagine the day when medical science allows a real genetic and physical modification that makes one sex the other, and vice-versa. Science fiction has it covered, with some highly-advanced societies of people with very long lives who choose to change sexes occasionally for variety.

But why? I support everyone’s effort to achieve the self they want. But counselling very young people to start considering a sex change operation — instead of supporting them in being who they want to be in the body they have — seems like a mistake. The numbers of people who go through the operations and come out the other side regretting it are larger than activists prefer to acknowledge. It’s like going along with peer pressure to get lots of heavy metal tattoos and realizing later you didn’t need that permanent change to be a rebel, or to be who you are. Making it Conventional Wisdom that any gender confusion should be solved by hormones and surgery is making it harder for people with that problem to make the wisest decisions for themselves.

The worst political issue related to this now is the sneaky subversion of the law of medical necessity, which has been quietly changed to include sex change operations as “medically necessary.” Most people assume that means you must have a treatment or you will die or be incapacitated; being unhappy because your body doesn’t match your feelings does not really qualify. But by slipping this in to regulations, then requiring insurance and state health care to cover all “medically necessary” treatment, you get bizarre and undemocratic outcomes like a $300K sex change for a state prisoner, when law-abiding citizens go without care outside the prison. This incites a horrible and unnecessary conflict between traditionalists who rightly feel they were snookered, and people sympathetic to the transgender, for whom good results for victims trump any consideration of who pays and whether such payments are just.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


Dismissive-Avoidants as Parents

Darth Vader - Dismissive Dad

Darth Vader – Dismissive Dad

[Note: if you arrived here looking for insight into a dismissive spouse or lover, this post is now a chapter in the book I’ve just published on the topic: Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner. Right now available from Amazon Kindle for $3.99, and a trade paperback is also available.]

Avoidants tend to be unresponsive to partner needs and unconcerned with the negative effect their lack of supportive communication has on their partners. How much does this lack of caring extend to their care for children? If you are married with children, you may have observed moments of caring interaction with them, but not as often as perhaps might be appropriate; and studies have shown that the typical avoidant is a somewhat negligent, emotionally distant parent:

Edelstein et al. (2004) videotaped children’s and parents’ behavior when each of the children received an inoculation at an immunization clinic, and found that more avoidant parents (assessed with a self-report scale) were less responsive to their children, particularly if the children became highly distressed; that is, when the children were most upset and most in need of parental support, avoidant parents failed to provide effective care.[1]

The dynamics that make the Dismissive/Anxious-Preoccupied partnership so unsatisfying are repeated with children who try to get more attention from an avoidant parent. A child either learns not to expect emotional support (thus growing more avoidant themselves) or falls into the trap of requesting more and being brutally rebuffed by a parent who sees their needs as weaknesses to be despised:

As expected, avoidant individuals exhibited a neglectful, nonresponsive style of caregiving: They scored relatively low on proximity maintenance and sensitivity, reflecting their tendency to maintain distance from a needy partner (restricting accessibility, physical contact, and sensitivity), and tended to adopt a controlling, uncooperative stance resembling their domineering behavior in other kinds of social interactions….[2]

Over time, children with an avoidant parent will look to their other parent for support. If the other parent is a sensitive caregiver, the child will model future attachment styles on that parent; but if the other parent is, for example, anxious-preoccupied, the child will more likely end up with some variety of insecure attachment type. Between the Scylla of the coldhearted dismissive and the Charybdis of the clingy, preoccupied parent, the child will not have a healthy model to work with.

If your partner is avoidant and you have had or intend to have children, it is especially important that you provide a good model of caregiving: there when needed, and only when needed; calm, cheerful, responsive, but not hovering. Consider carefully (if it’s not too late) how you might encourage your avoidant to handle your children’s needs with more attention and care; and if you are considering bringing up children in the critical years from birth to age 2, whether it might be wise to wait until either your partner has learned to be more supportive or you have found a better partner. Because a steady parent’s love and attention is so important to the emotional health of children, if you find you can’t be the steady one to give your children a good model because you yourself are off-balance from your avoidant partner’s lack of support, do what you have to do to make the environment better. It’s not just your current suffering that you should worry about—your children may suffer a lifetime of attachment dysfunction as well.

Here’s a report from a mother who has just about had it with both her husband and her dad, who show the same dismissive pattern:

My son was crying last night as he talked about how he could not ever talk to his dad about anything. I very much relate and I have great compassion for him. I want to be stronger for HIM.

This morning I went to the gym and there was some show about weddings. The fathers were walking the daughter down the aisle, so proud. Then the other day I saw an ad about graduation…again, the fathers were so proud standing right next to their daughters.

It hurts very badly. I recall inviting my dad to my college graduation and he said he had to work. He doesn’t care that I was with an abusive man in my marriage. Instead he speaks so highly of him, how he is the father of his grandchildren (who he can’t stand and had nothing nice to say about)…

Once when we were visiting, my son (then 10) had a febrile seizure. I told my dad I was taking him to the doctor. My dad criticized me for overreacting. When my older son had a seizure at 5 years old from a high fever, my stepmom acted like I overreacted when I took him to the ER.[3]

And this adult survivor of dismissive parenting talks about how it felt:

My father is passive abusive. His emotional abuse is very covert. Mostly he just doesn’t care, doesn’t listen when I talk to him, doesn’t know anything about me, my life or my kids because he doesn’t care to know and he doesn’t listen to anyone who tries to tell him. To the general public, (and according to my siblings) my father is regarded as this ‘nice’ guy and he is never violent, never mean and never hurtful with his words, but the truth is that his relationship style is dismissive and disinterested all of which is very hurtful. I spent many years in childhood and in adulthood ‘begging’ (in all kinds of ways) my emotionally abusive father to notice me. The fact that he didn’t was and is very hurtful. There is a very loud message that is delivered to me when I am disregarded. The message is that I don’t matter, that I am not important, that I am not worth listening to and that I don’t have anything to contribute to his life. My father is emotionally unavailable, and that is very hurtful. Love is an action and love doesn’t damage self-esteem. Love doesn’t define a ‘loved one’ as insignificant.

After years of trying to tell my passive abusive father that his constant cutting me off whenever I tried to tell him about me, and that his lack of interest in my life was a problem for me ~ and due to the fact that there wasn’t any change on his part, I gave up; I finally realized that he wasn’t going to change.[4]

More on Attachment and Personality Types:

What Attachment Type Are You?
Type: Secure
Type: Anxious-Preoccupied
Type: Dismissive-Avoidant
Type: Fearful-Avoidant (aka Anxious-Avoidant)
Avoidant: Emotions Repressed Beneath Conscious Level
Serial Monogamy: the Fearful-Avoidant Do It Faster
Anxious-Preoccupied: Stuck on the Dismissive?
Anxious-Preoccupied / Dismissive-Avoidant Couples: the Silent Treatment
Anxious-Preoccupied: Clingy and Insecure Relationship Example
Domestic Violence: Ray and Janay Rice
Malignant Narcissists
Teaching Narcissists to Activate Empathy
Histrionic Personality: Seductive, Dramatic, Theatrical
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
On Addiction and the Urge to Rescue
“Bad Boyfriends” for Kindle, $2.99
Controlling Your Inner Critic
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Porn Addiction and NoFAP
Introverts in Management

[1] Mikulincer, Mario. Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change. Kindle edition, loc. 8408. The Guilford Press, 2007.
[2] Mikulincer, Mario. Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change. Kindle edition, loc. 8418. The Guilford Press, 2007.
[4] “Emotionally Unavailable Father; The Message of Passive Abuse :: Emerging From Broken.” Accessed September 21, 2014.

Progressive Neighborhoods: Low Vaccination Rates Create Epidemics

Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy

This story is getting a lot of coverage, but no amount is enough: pseudoscientific anti-vaccine proponents like Jenny McCarthy, Vani Hari “Food Babe,” and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are in part responsible for increasing illness and deaths from formerly vanquished childhood diseases like measles and whooping cough. The Hollywood Reporter has done an in-depth investigation of how fashionable pseudoscience is endangering children:

Vaccination rates are plummeting at top Hollywood schools, from Malibu to Beverly Hills, from John Thomas Dye to Turning Point, where affluent, educated parents are opting out in shocking numbers (leaving some schools’ immunization rates on par with South Sudan) as an outbreak of potentially fatal whooping cough threatens L.A. like “wildfire….”

Across California, thousands of children and babies are coughing so violently that their bodies convulse, uncontrollably wheezing and fighting to breathe for weeks. Nearly 8,000 pertussis cases have been reported in 2014 to the state’s Department of Public Health as of Sept. 2, and 267 of those patients have been hospitalized, including 58 requiring intensive care.

Adults can contract the disease, but 94 percent of all cases reported statewide involve children — and the youngest suffer the most. So far this year, three infants under 2 months of age have died statewide from pertussis, a disease commonly known as whooping cough (named for the high-pitched sound that kids make when they inhale after coughing)….

Whether it’s measles or pertussis, the local children statistically at the greatest risk for infection aren’t, as one might imagine, the least privileged — far from it. An examination by The Hollywood Reporter of immunization records submitted to the state by educational facilities suggests that wealthy Westside kids — particularly those attending exclusive, entertainment-industry-favored child care centers, preschools and kindergartens — are far more likely to get sick (and potentially infect their siblings and playmates) than other kids in L.A. The reason is at once painfully simple and utterly complex: More parents in this demographic are choosing not to vaccinate their children as medical experts advise.

Progressives taunt “flyover country” sorts for the anti-scientific beliefs of the minority who don’t believe in evolution and want their religious creation story taught in schools. Meanwhile, progressives are killing people and hurting their own children by adopting pseudoscientific beliefs about harmful side-effects of vaccines that have long since been debunked.

There are risks to vaccinations–idiosyncratic reactions and unusual syndromes have occurred in a miniscule portion of children receiving vaccinations. But having forgotten the much greater danger of death and permanent damage from childhood diseases, these parents believe their own child is better off without vaccines. This goes along with a pseudo-religious belief that “all natural” is a good thing.

It was “all natural” for 50% of children to die before adulthood. It was “all natural” for most people to die before the age of 40. Modern vaccinations and public health measures like improved sewers and water treatment meant you could love your young children without risk of losing them, as used to be the case; and have only two to be likely to see two to adulthood, when before you might have eight to have only three survive. The CDC comments on what a world without vaccination would look like:

Before the middle of the last century, diseases like whooping cough, polio, measles, Haemophilus influenzae, and rubella struck hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults in the U.S.. Thousands died every year from them. As vaccines were developed and became widely used, rates of these diseases declined until today most of them are nearly gone from our country.

Nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles before there was a vaccine, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

More than 15,000 Americans died from diphtheria in 1921, before there was a vaccine. Only one case of diphtheria has been reported to CDC since 2004.

An epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12½ million Americans, killed 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages. In 2012, 9 cases of rubella were reported to CDC.

It’s great that people are catching on to the benefits of less processed foods and more natural diets. It’s not great that they are starting to believe quacks who promote pseudoscience that will let dangerous diseases run unchecked.

Lemmings gotta lem!

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


More on Pseudoscience and Quackery:

Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack
Vani Hari, “Food Babe” and Quack: Where the Money Comes From
Vandana Shiva: Quack
More on Quacks: “Dr. Oz” Testifies He’s a Victim!
“Parallel Science Propaganda Machine”
Mike Adams: Quack Suggests Murdering Monsanto-supporting Scientists
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Quack

Smarter Babies when Mothers Eat More Salmon

Costco Canned Salmon Filet

Costco Canned Salmon Filet

… and less vegetable oil. Another correlation study, but it fits a pattern of such studies showing how important omega-3 fats are in building and protecting brains (see “Fish and Fish Oil for Better Brain Health.”) In this case, mothers who ate a diet rich in omega-3s (from oily coldwater fish and some nuts) had higher levels of omega-3s in the breast milk they fed their children, and their children were notably smarter.

Researchers at UCSB and U Pittsburgh have released a study (written up by Science Daily here):

In a paper published in the early online edition of the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, the researchers compared the fatty acid profiles of breast milk from women in over two dozen countries with how well children from those same countries performed on academic tests.

Their findings show that the amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a mother’s milk — fats found primarily in certain fish, nuts and seeds — is the strongest predictor of test performance. It outweighs national income and the number of dollars spent per pupil in schools. DHA alone accounted for about 20 percent of the differences in test scores among countries, the researchers found.

On the other hand, the amount of omega-6 fat in mother’s milk–fats that come from vegetable oils such as corn and soybean–predict lower test scores. When the amount of DHA and linoleic acid (LA)–the most common omega-6 fat–were considered together, they explained nearly half of the differences in test scores. In countries where mother’s diets contain more omega-6, the beneficial effects of DHA seem to be reduced.

“Human intelligence has a physical basis in the huge size of our brains — some seven times larger than would be expected for a mammal with our body size,” said Steven Gaulin, UCSB professor of anthropology and co-author of the paper. “Since there is never a free lunch, those big brains need lots of extra building materials–most importantly, they need omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA. Omega-6 fats, however, undermine the effects of DHA and seem to be bad for brains.”

Both kinds of omega fat must be obtained through diet. But because diets vary from place to place, for their study Gaulin and his co-author, William D. Lassek, M.D., a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and a retired assistant surgeon general, estimated the DHA and LA content — the good fat and the bad fat — in diets in 50 countries by examining published studies of the fatty acid profiles of women’s breast milk.

The profiles are a useful measure for two reasons, according to Gaulin. First, because various kinds of fats interfere with one another in the body, breast milk DHA shows how much of this brain-essential fat survives competition with omega-6. Second, children receive their brain-building fats from their mothers. Breast milk profiles indicate the amount of DHA children in each region receive in the womb, through breastfeeding, and from the local diet available to their mothers and to them after they are weaned…. “Considering the benefits of omega-3 and the detriment of omega-6, we can get pretty darn close to explaining half the difference in scores between countries,” he added. When DHA and LA are considered together, he added, they are twice as effective at predicting test scores as either is alone, Gaulin said.

Gaulin and Lassek considered two economic factors as well: per capita gross domestic product (a measure of average wealth in each nation) and per student expenditures on education. “Each of these factors helps explain some of the differences between nations in test scores, but the fatty acid profile of the average mother’s milk in a given country is a better predictor of the average cognitive performance in that country than is either of the conventional socioeconomic measures people use,” said Gaulin.

From their analysis, the researchers conclude that both economic wellbeing and diet make a difference in cognitive test performance, and children are best off when they have both factors in their favor. “But if you had to choose one, you should choose the better diet rather than the better economy,” Gaulin said….

Their results are particularly interesting in 21st-century North America, Gaulin noted, because our current agribusiness-based diets provide very low levels of DHA — among the lowest in the world. Thanks to two heavily government-subsidized crops — corn and soybeans — the average U.S. diet is heavy in the bad omega-6 fatty acids and far too light on the good omega-3s, Gaulin said.

“Back in the 1960s, in the middle of the cardiovascular disease epidemic, people got the idea that saturated fats were bad and polyunsaturated fats were good,” he explained. “That’s one reason margarine became so popular. But the polyunsaturated fats that were increased were the ones with omega-6, not omega-3. So our message is that not only is it advisable to increase omega 3 intake, it’s highly advisable to decrease omega-6 — the very fats that in the 1960s and ’70s we were told we should be eating more of.”

Gaulin added that mayonnaise is, in general, the most omega-6-laden food in the average person’s refrigerator. “If you have too much of one — omega-6 — and too little of the other — omega 3 — you’re going to end up paying a price cognitively,” he said.

The issue is a huge concern for women, Gaulin noted, because “that’s where kids’ brains come from. But it’s important for men as well because they have to take care of the brains their moms gave them.

So not only did the US government’s agricultural subsidies support growing more corn and soybean oils which are negative for brain growth, they recommended diets heavy in carbs, starches, and high-omega-6 vegetable oils that made the population one of the fattest in the world.


W.D. Lassek, S.J.C. Gaulin. Linoleic and docosahexaenoic acids in human milk have opposite relationships with cognitive test performance in a sample of 28 countries. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.plefa.2014.07.017