We’re Making Life Too Hard for Millennials

From Steven Rattner of the NY Times: We’re Making Life Too Hard for Millennials

TO some, millennials — those urban-dwelling, ride-sharing indefatigable social networkers — are engaged, upbeat and open to change. To others, they are narcissistic, lazy and self-centered.

Saddled with debt and thin paychecks, millennials are delaying purchasing cars and new homes, low mortgage rates notwithstanding. By June of this year, homeownership among Americans under 35 fell to 34.8 percent, down from a high of 43.6 percent in 2004.

Agree. Maybe millennials appear conceited and narcissistic to older generations, but the new economic rules of the post-2008 era means millennials have to adapt, such as by living with parents longer and delaying family formation.

They are faced with a slow economy, high unemployment, stagnant wages and student loans that constrict their ability both to maintain a reasonable lifestyle and to save for the future.

The first problem is credentialism; second, students going to college who are not smart enough or mature enough graduate, taking on debt and then dropping out; third, federal student aid driving up tuition costs; fourth, students majoring in subjects that pay poorly instead of STEM. As I explain in an earlier article Countering Flawed Arguments of the Anti-College Movement:

Telling the truth, especially as it pertains to biology-based cognitive differences between individuals, often means losing your job. Teachers can no longer tell a parent his or her child his slow; now, it’s called ‘differently abled’, or whatever has become the latest iteration of the euphemism treadmill. A guidance counselor cannot flat-out tell a dull student he or she isn’t smart enough to benefit from higher education, so the student goes to college, takes on debt, drops-out, and the cycle continues…

Students who, a generation or two ago, would not have gone to college are being prodded into going, often dropping out with debt. ‘Some college’ provides very little benefit over only having a high school degree.

As shown below, the nice thing about a STEM degree is that it tends to be fungible, meaning that a STEM degree at a less prestigious, high-admittance school has the same ROI as a STEM degree from a prestigious school.

As the NYT journalist roster would suggest, a liberal arts degree from a prestigious college can payoff, but all too many students are getting low-ROI degrees from expensive, no-name private schools – a deadly combination.

And from the WSJ article, Federal Aid’s Role in Driving Up Tuitions Gains Credence, government student aid is boosting prices:

‘Well intentioned’ people are selling shovels to millennials to dig their financial graves.

Longer term, rising federal debt payments and increased spending on Social Security and Medicare will inflict a tremendous financial burden on them, threatening their own prospect of receiving promised retirement benefits.

It was a liberal, FDR, who signed the Social Security Act and Lyndon B. Johnson who in 1965 signed the Social Security Amendments (Medicare and Medicaid) into law, and now liberals like Steven Rattner are complaining about its costs? The left also complains about the weak job market, apparently oblivious to the fact Obamacare is a contributing factor, although the post-2008 obsession with profits and productivity is another.

Part of the reason why millennials are so obsessed with personal finance is because they understand that these social safety net programs are unsustainable and not may be available when they, the millennials, get older.

That’s a daunting challenge that would require revamping federal outlays to emphasize areas like education, infrastructure and research and development. Spending more on these areas would require higher taxes on my generation, which is getting a lot more from government than we are paying into it.

To spend money indiscriminately on broad programs like ‘more education’ and ‘more infrastructure’ is the wrong approach. If debt and spending is a concern, as it apparently is to the author, spending should be allocated and targeted in such a way that it provides the highest ROI possible. When you allocate money to the best and the brightest, some of those people create companies and technologies, which creates jobs and boosts the economy, and this may be enough to even create a post-scarcity society.

But of course there are a lot of unknowns. What if the Luddite Fallacy stops being a fallacy? Due to automation and other factors, the cognitive demands for middle-income work may rise beyond a certain threshold, requiring that even average-IQ people, who are not smart enough to find good-paying work, go on welfare, a situation that could be occurring today but could be much worse decades from now. People will rationalize that it’s cheaper to drop out and collect a government check than toil in low-paying service work. Or immigration? Or how the effect of Baby Boomers working longer, refusing to retire?

While the total labour participation rate has fallen from a peak of 67.3% in 2000 to 62.6% in June, the labour participation rate for Americans aged 65 or above has risen from 12.5% to 18.8% over the same period (see Figure 12).

As for older people, GREED & fear’s view is simple. Many elderly people who can afford to retire do not want to. While in many instances those who do want to retire cannot afford to. The Japanese style collapse in interest income in America since the implementation of zero rates is clearly one issue here. Thus, interest income accounted for only 8.3% of total personal income in May, down from 11.5% in 2007 (see Figure 13). While in absolute terms, total personal interest income has declined by 9% since peaking in September 2007

Overall, it’s not that anyone is conspiring to make life harder for millennials – these are autonomous economic forces at work, forces that converged and accelerated since 2008 and show no signs of slowing. In the new era we find ourselves in, perhaps more unemployment and a weaker job market is a necessary but unavoidable byproduct of the transition to a type-1 civilization, with high-IQ millennials in STEM faring better than lower IQ ones. But liberalism as it pertains to job-destroying regulation, rent control, zoning laws, and the rise of credentialism is also to blame.

Brain Training Doesn’t Make You Smarter

This pretty much upends the left’s approach to education: Brain Training Doesn’t Make You Smarter. The left wants to believe that costly intervention can make kids smarter, and that everyone is blank slate, but the empirical evidence doesn’t bear itself out.

It also agrees with my criticism of ‘cognitive enhancers’

Unfortunately, human biology restricts our ability to get smarter much more so than our ability to get stronger. A person can train to get stronger, with definitive results, but training to get smarter (as measured by an IQ test) is much harder, if not impossible.

From the article:

Jaeggi and colleagues have since published their own meta-analysis, and have come to the slightly more optimistic conclusion that brain training can increase IQ by 3 to 4 points. However, in the best studies in this meta-analysis—those that included a placebo control group—the effect of training was negligible.

So according to the meta-analysis, at best you can hope for a 3-4 point gain in IQ, but tests with a placebo control group show no gains.

Fluid intelligence is hard to change, but “crystallized” intelligence—a person’s knowledge and skills—is not. Learn how to play the piano or cook a new dish, and you have increased your crystallized intelligence. Of course, brain training isn’t free, either. According to one projection, people will spend $1.3 billion on brain training in 2014.

Notice how the article tries to hedge its initial premise with the red herring that is “crystallized” intelligence. But people with higher “fluid” intelligence learn faster and more efficiently, resulting in more skills and hence a higher “crystallized” intelligence.

Speed reading courses are also of dubious value. You can read faster and retain more, but only if you’re smarter, and what is considered ‘speed reading’ is often just skimming. Studies have shown that WPM with high comprehension peaks at around 500.

Once again, HBD is shown to be correct – as much as we may derive comfort from the mistaken belief we can make ourselves smarter, some people are indeed wired better than others.

Uber Worth $50 Billion, Leaves Doubters in the Dust

Uber is now worth $50 billion

What happened to the California ruling that was supposed to be the demise of Uber? It was way overblown, the pertinent details ignored in the leftist anti-Uber cacophony. Obviously, Uber can’t make every driver an employee, and no judge would ever decree that they do so. What if someone only drives four hours a month? Making every Uber driver an employee would mean far fewer drivers and less convenience, since Uber would have to terminate everyone who doesn’t drive enough to be profitable under the new regulations. That’s the modus operandi of the left: they see a capitalism success story (Walmart, Facebook, Google, Uber, or Microsoft, for example) and attack it by imposing regulation that results in less hiring. Then they complain about the labor market being weak, low wages, outsourcing, or the proliferation of ‘gig jobs’.

Next stop: $100 billion and then IPO.

Getting Rich Quick In the Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is perhaps the most productive and innovative place in the world

Silicon Valley is like an HBD success story, a region that through the free market and meritocracy rewards the best and the brightest for their contributions to society. People in Silicon Valley get rich through IQ, skill, hard work and competence – not nepotism, quotas, and favoritism. For example, coders strait out of college or even high school are earning high six-figures in the Silicon Valley at some of the hottest web 2.0 firms. It’s thus no surprise that the left, who pride diversity and equal outcomes over competence and opportunity, is critical of Silicon Valley and the meritocratic tech culture. Although having VC connections can help get a start-up off the ground, having a good idea that is viral is much more important. As I’ve said before, anyone with a good idea and some coding can become a millionaire very quickly and possibly even a billionaire in 2-5 years. First you code the app, the app goes viral, you get some series-A funding and add new features and bring new people to the team, and within a couple years you close a large round valuing your ownership of the company at over $500 million dollars. Never before in the history of capitalism has such quick wealth been possible – it’s literally ‘get rich quick’, but it’s not a scam. In the past, it would take decades to build a multi-billion dollar company, but the network effect of apps, mobile devices and the internet accelerate the process, in accordance with Metcalfe’s Law that states that the value of a network grows not linearly with the number of nodes, but quadratically.

Related: Wealth Creation Orgy

We’re Not Broke

The documentary We’re Not Broke went viral on Reddit. The synopsis is that the Republicans are wrong about America being broke, and that there would be more money for social programs and infrastructure if tax loopholes and other problems were fixed.

Despite being on the right, I agree with the ‘left’ that America is not broke. And up until 2007 or so, many Republicans also shared this sentiment until the debt hysteria took over, which puts me in a very small minority among the alt-right. But that’s where the agreement ends. Whereas the left wants more money for social programs and welfare, I support supply-side policy that broadens the tax base and spurs innovation by helping America’s best and brightest, as well as policy that keeps America safe, which is summarized below:

How the left wants to spend money:

Indiscriminate education spending, universal pre-k
Free tuition for everyone, student loan forgiveness
Indiscriminate entitlement spending
Universal healthcare
Low-tech infrastructure
Universal basic income

This blog:

More money for gifted education
Reduced or free tuition for high-ROI majors (STEM) and or high-IQ students, who have the greatest likelihood of not dropping out
High-IQ basic income
Lower taxes
High-tech infrastructure
Investment in high-tech, high-IQ companies (like Tesla and biotech, for example)
Defense spending to protect America’s economic interests. If America cannot defend itself, society will regress to the level of its aggressors.
Targeted healthcare (As America’s population ages, it’s possible public healthcare costs will spiral out of control more than they already have. Thus, costly procedures may have to be prioritized to individuals who provide the most economic value. Therefore, all else being equal, a high-IQ person, who provides more value to society, would have priority over a lower-IQ person, who contributes less. The idea is pubic healthcare expenditures should be allocated in such as way that it provides the highest ROI. An example of rationing that occurs today are organ transplant waiting lists. A solution is to sort the list not just by urgency but also IQ, with smarter people having priority over the less intelligent.)

The problem is not America’s debt or spending; it’s how money is being spent. In choosing between indiscriminate spending, versus spending that is targeted in such a way that it provides a high ROI (the optimal allocation of resources), the choice should be obvious. This is where I part with the Mises/Austrian school of economics in that debt is not bad always bad, especially when a country has reserve currency status* as America obviously does.

In the 90′s, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, to their credit, understood that government investments in information technology would pay dividends, but today’s left, rather than supporting pro-growth policy, instead attack technology for causing wealth inequality and displacing jobs.

*America is kinda in a sweet spot : if the economy is sluggish, the flight to safety causes rates to plunge as we saw in 2008 and 2011. If growth overheats, the growth will be enough to offset the higher interest rate payments. Japan has been in the former scenario for decades without any problems. If Japan, which has slower growth, worse demographics, and a much higher debt/GDP ratio, can avoid crisis, America, which is economically better in pretty much every way, certainly will, too. Emerging markets have the opposite problem: negative inflation adjusted growth, high interest rates, and capital flight during economic weakness. Furthermore, the surging US dollar is more evidence of the post-2008 flight-to-quality trend. With the exception of China, the rest of the world is economically in much worse shape than America.

The Value of a Skill

Scott Adams of the Dilbert Blog asks:

If someone offered you $100,000 to take a class for a few weeks, would you do it? I believe most of you would, assuming there is nothing terrible about the class itself.

But if I change the offer to say you have a 30% chance of making $100,000, would you take the class then? You should, if you need the money and you are rational. But ideally you would find a bunch of classes you could take that all have the same odds. If you take every one of the classes that have a 30% chance of giving you $100,000, one class at a time, your odds of eventually getting the $100,000 are good.

He gives some examples of skills that are worth over $100,000, such as learning a foreign language, business writing, hypnosis, and A-B split testing.

But what he doesn’t mention is that a skill is only worth what someone will pay you, not some arbitrary figure like $100,000. This is not even econ 101; it’s common sense.

If Bank of America, a $300 billion dollar company, hires me to split-test their website, yes indeed me knowing split testing is worth $100,000, possible much more. But for my own site? Much less..maybe $50. Again, it comes down to how much someone will pay you (or for the entrepreneur, how much you earn for your efforts).

Rather than learning skills for the sake of skills and hoping that one of them pays off later, find out what skills people want right now and will pay a lot of money for (hint: coding). In the case of learning a foreign language, find out of there are jobs that are paying decent money for translators. Then learn those skills.

But there is a caveat. A skill can also provide indirect value (signaling) that can yield a monetary benefit. Some examples are high-level mathematics & physics and philosophy, skills that don’t have a direct application for making money (unless you’re a teacher, you typically don’t get hired to ‘solve differential equations’), but signal superior analytical ability that can be applied to a technical job (engineering, finance) that does yield a large paycheck. So a good skill is also one that signals above-average analytical ability, such as STEM, and this agrees with the data that STEM majors earn more money than other majors.

Autism/Asperger’s the New ‘Cool’?

Yesterday the site was hacked and someone posted made a bogus post about poetry, which I deleted this morning. Self-hosted WordPress is a magnet for hackers and spammers.

A post on Hacker News about an autistic Wikipedia editor, Guillaume Paumier, went viral, generating thousands of page views for Paumier’s site and heaps of laudatory approbation for Paumier and the autistic community at large. This agrees with my earlier post about the rise of the Omega male, and how Omegas – not Alphas – are the leaders of the pack in post-2008 America.

In the post-2008 era, social awkwardness, a defining characteristic of Asperger syndrome, is the new ‘cool’, in contrast to being all style and no substance, since awkwardness conveys authenticity and competence. It seems people with the ‘good’ social skills are putting those skills to use at Starbucks, for example, asking techies in line what toppings they want on their coffee, while those who are better at reading code and equations than reading faces are making all of the money in today’s economy. In what could be called the the tyranny of the bookish, today’s cognitive elite, like the 21st century equivalent of kings and barons, are being waited on by the ‘servants’ in the low-paid, but very competitive service sector. Cognitive capital, more than ever, has precedence over social capital, and this is exemplified by the meritocracy that is the tech culture of Silicon Valley, where anyone with a good idea can become instantly immensely rich and successful through hard work and raw intellect instead of family connections.

Servility is ‘out’ and candidness is ‘in’, the willingness to confront and espouse biological and economic reality with ‘Spock-like’ logic without worrying about hurting people’s feelings. Right now there is a demand for bloggers on the alt-right to spread the truth, as people are seeking explanations – even if such explanations are not politically correct – for why the economy has changed so much and why so many people seem to be permanently falling behind in an other wise strong economy, as well as possible solutions. The left says the government isn’t doing enough to help the disadvantaged, yet the left has been waging a war on poverty since the 60′s and entitlement spending is at record highs, so maybe biology, not social factors, is the last stone to be upturned, the final taboo. Liberals would prefer we not talk about biology as it pertains to socioeconomic outcomes.

Guillaume Paumier has gotten more recognition and praise being autistic than the vast majority of neurotypical people. But of course, there are vastly more neurotypical people, but as a matter of percentages, autistic-spectrum people are kinda like the new Ashkenazim of society: a minority, but a very successful, smart, and prominent one. As much as they avoid social interactions, the rest of society and the media apparently can’t get enough, whether it’s extremely successful shows like The Big Bang Theory that feature autism-spectrum protagonists, the rise of nerd culture among millennials, or the the latest scientific discovery that spreads through the media like wildfire, evoking awe and wonder.

The Daily View: Coding Camps, Billionaires, Airport to Nowhere, Liongate

No, billionaires don’t drive economic growth – and crony billionaires strangle it

The article gets the cause and effect wrong. A billionaire by himself doesn’t create economic growth; a person becomes a billionaire by creating value, which creates growth.

Some people, through their inventions, ingenuity, effort, IQ…etc, create more economic value than others, and these people are rewarded through the free market with more wealth than others, some even becoming billionaires. In the case of Steve Jobs, for example, his leadership of Apple leading to the development of the iPod and iPhone spawned an entire ecosystem of apps, music and peripherals that indirectly created billions of dollars of value. Same for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. An alien didn’t just dump these billionaires on earth; often they created some value or service that lead to them becoming rich. Is it not fair that people who create more economic value than average also have more money than average?

Form the NYT As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding for Career Change

Companies cannot hire fast enough. Glassdoor, an employment site, lists more than 7,300 openings for software engineers, ahead of job openings for nurses…

This agrees with the post-2008 hollowing out of the middle theme – lots of of opportunities for high-IQ employment (coders) and the polar opposite: lots of demand for low-paid service workers and bedpan changers. It’s like if you’re IQ is not in the top 10-25% of the population, go directly to the low-income, do not go pass go, do not collect $60-100k a year.

I’m very suspicious of the claim that these boot camps can turn novices into job-ready professionals in just 3 months. There’s too much to learn and unless you’re one of those high-IQ people who has an aptitude for math, as the example in the article, you won’t be competent enough get a job and, to make things worse, you’ll also be out $10,000.

Instead, if you’re not smart enough to work in tech, take that $10k and buy Facebook, Google, Amazon or QQQ stock using in-the-money-call options. You can leverage 5-1 and make $30k a year from a $10k account doing this. The tech boom has much further to go. You don’t need to be a member of Mensa to ride an obvious bull market trend.

A new $4 billion LaGuardia Airport is coming

This was on the front page of Business Insider out of hundreds of possible stories. As far as New York is concerned, $4 billion is just a rounding error in the grand scheme of things. The fact this is considered major news is reflective of the slow news cycle we find ourselves perpetually mired in – a world where we’ve becomes spoiled by our unprecedented peace and prosperity. It’s such a slow news cycle that the the biggest story is not an actual news event – but a new portmanteau, Cuckservative, which in the past week has been spreading like wildfire throughout the blogs and major news sites. And coverage of Donald Trump is also fading, as he has stopped making attention-seeking remarks.

Now the big news is some guy, Walter Palmer from America, shot a lion in Zimbabwe – but not just any lion – this was a special one, Cecil the lion. What is ignored by the liberal media is that Walter Palmer’s $50,000 permit, which is like a huge donation, helps Zimbabwe’s game wardens, who protect the animals in the park. Want to guess how much money has the sanctimonious holier than thou left, who are outraged about the slain lion, will donate? My guess is zero. The left is all talk, no action.

Nature Beats Nurture

An interesting post from Vox Nature beats nurture

The “Blank Slate” theory is dead. It was never anything but political philosophy and science killed it. Every nominal justification for human equality is being gradually eliminated, one by one, as scientists revisit hypotheses that have long been passed off as pseudoscientific facts.

This is true. The left twists science so that it agrees with their ideology. The left believes in Darwinism – but in reverse, or survival of the un-fittest. Taking tax payer dollars from the most productive and frittering it away on the least. The left can’t stomach the idea that some people are intrinsically better than others, so they want the state to create equal outcomes, even if it makes everyone worse-off.

According to the left, if some groups fall behind, it’s those evil greedy rich people’s fault for holding them back, never genes.

This delusional belief in the perfectibility of man motivates people to support ineffective social programs that run headlong into the limitations imposed by biology. This is related to the success of Malcom Gladwell, who sells an appealing message that anyone, with enough practice and the alignment of other environmental factors, can covet the skills of geniuses. See, Bill Gates didn’t succeed because of a high-IQ, it was 10,000 hours of practice, and you have the potential to, too.

And then you have others in the pop-psychology community – the likes of Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman, to name a few – who try a different approach, leveling, arguing that smart people are no more rational than less intelligent people. For example, if a smart person falls for the conjunction fallacy, according to these authors, he is no smarter than someone who doesn’t. This ‘leveling’ is intended to diminish the importance of IQ, in agreement with leftist egalitarianism.

I suspect that those equalitarians who claim to believe that a meritocracy is the best of all possible systems are going to rapidly change their tune once it becomes apparent that material merit is predominantly genetic in origin. Because in a post-Christian world of scientific rational materialism, there is no way that a meritocratic approach will not eventually lead to Eugenics 2.0.

But the equalitarians (who want equal outcomes) by definition are opposed to the meritocracy (outcomes based on competence, results, etc). They are not interchangeable, but are exact opposites.

…material merit is predominantly genetic in origin. Because in a post-Christian world of scientific rational materialism, there is no way that a meritocratic approach will not eventually lead to Eugenics 2.0.

I think he’s over the map here. If merit is good and biological, but this leads to eugenics 2.0, how does it become bad without contradicting his first premise?

The irony is that it is the equalitarians and anti-racists who will likely cling to the concept of race. Now that genetics gives us far more precise metrics, the new eugenicists won’t have to pay any attention to race at all in order to achieve their desired results. And they can claim, quite truthfully, that their policies are race- and color-blind. For example, if variants of the MAO-A, DAT1, and DRD2 genes are deemed to be unsuitable for an occupation, those possessing the unwanted genetic markers can be banned with absolutely no reference to race at all.

Eugenics isn’t exclusively about big categories like race; it’s about genes, in choosing which genes we want passed and which ones we don’t.

Eugenics does not have to be dystopian sci-fi trope Vox makes it out to be. To some extent, positive eugenics is already occurring today though assortative mating; second, negative eugenics offers a possible solution to the entitlement spending problem, as well as other problems like crime.

Employers should be able to request a genomic profile of prospective employees in order to choose candidates that are not only the most qualified based on biology, but will be less of a drain due to future health problems that can be identified through the profile. If someone’s profile shows a very high risk of early-onset dementia or heart disease, you may think twice before hiring him if there is an equally qualified candidate without such problems.

Vox seems conflicted in having to choose between believing HBD and then opposing eugenics and other HBD-based programs.

Related: The IQ Wars

Free Will – Welfare Liberals vs. Neo Liberals and HBD Conservatives

From Sam Harris’ “Free Will” says liberals understand role of luck

It’s pleasing to my progressive self when modern science confirms one of the foundations of Democratic/liberal political philosophy. Such as, that we humans don’t have free will. It’s an illusion.

Such is the message of Sam Harris’ captivating new book, the pleasingly short (66 readable pages) “Free Will.” Harris is a neuroscientist whose first book was “The End of Faith,” which brought him a lot of well-deserved attention.

I hope “Free Will” reaches even more people. On my other blog I’ve talked about the dizzying joy of being freed from a belief in free will, and how free will is a limiting, destructive belief.

The ‘left’ generally assumes that we have less free will, that individuals are victims of factors out of their control – bad genes, ‘greedy’ rich people, ‘structural racism’ – and it’s the role of the state through wealth redistribution and entitlement spending to create more equatable outcomes. Those on the right, especially the mainstream right, tend to believe in the pulling-ones-self-up mentality that with tenacity and grit, instead of a handout, anyone can improve and overcome adversity.

So how can one believe in biological determinism without being a liberal?

Brilliant quote by Daniel Dennett, and it’s why Aethist conservatism is becoming so popular, because it makes sense – that we all have free will, the ability to thrive and succeed – but within our biological limits. That’s how you reconcile free will with Darwinism. A person with an IQ of 90 has the ‘free will’ to become a Walmart door greeter or possibly a barista, but not a physicist or a coder, for example. He has the free will to possibly attain a modest, at best, standard of living – but no more. A person with a much higher IQ has more options (a higher promotion in the Darwinian scheme) and can pursue many avenues of employment, some of which pay very well and bring great prestige and recognition, such as being a coder, a quant, a stock trader, and so on. Yes, the person with an IQ of 90 has the free will to attempt to be a coder – just as a quadriplegic can attempt to be a rock climber – it’s just that he will likely fail because of biological limitations.

The Christian Right tends to believe that people should serve God, that individuals are to be subservient before a higher power; thus free will tends to be proscribed except in believing in god and being virtuous as means to salvation, as opposed to the Mainstream Right, who tend to be to be more open to the concept of free will less in the sense of religion, but more as a way of overcoming adversity, ignoring the role of biology, which is a criticism I have with the mainstream right.

The pragmatic/HBD right, on the other hand, tends to believe that IQ, which is largely biological, is a new caste system that ‘sorts’ people, having the effect of limiting free will as far as intellectual endeavors and economic upward mobility is concerned. James Altucher blogs about ‘choosing yourself’ instead of being ‘chosen’ (chosen by a boss, a client, etc), but in our winner-take-all, average-is-over hyper-competitive economy, we have much less free will to ‘choose’ our future as we may want to believe. Due to recent economic trends, which is reflected in the data of IQ vs. income, people who are not in the top quartile as measured by IQ have relatively few choices, and upward mobility is harder and harder to come by given how competitive and cutthroat everything has become, especially since 2008. It’s more like the American Idol economy of supply (contestants) vastly exceeding demand (winners). As I explain in my article, Bryan Caplan: Anti-Democracy Pioneer, in what is Social Darwinism 2.0, people are falling behind because of low IQs in an economy that increasingly rewards intellect.

Unlike the religious and mainstream right, for the HBD/rationalists redemption is through recognition, intellectual accomplishments, and wealth – things that are typically hard to attain, as opposed to ‘easy’ like going to church and being a moral person.

The Welfare Left behaves like religious fundamentalists in their zeal that the state, instead of the church, can ‘save’ people, where everyone is a ‘blank slate’ that can be programmed by the state (instead of the church) to achieve some sort of egalitarian endgame. The left also has to perform mental gymnastics in choosing explanations for societal problems (wealth inequality, crime, and poor academic performance among some groups of people) that doesn’t conflict with their blank slate viewpoint, so instead of attributing these problems to biological factors like low IQs, they blame environmental factors – greedy rich people, capitalism, not enough education spending, globalization or – in the case of Gladwell – luck, practice, family connections, or some other ‘unfair’ environmental advantage. So in the case of Sam Harris, Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, to be a liberal and believe in biological explanations superseding environment kinda makes you a pariah among today’s mainstream left. That’s why pragmatic/neo liberals, such as Larry Summers and Steven Levitt, who believe in biology in shaping socioeconomic outcomes, especially if the biological reality offends a protected group (women, non-Asian minorities), have been targets of the welfare left, with consequences such as loss of employment, shaming, and blacklisting, as in the example of Larry Summers and recently Tim Hunt.

Pertaining to free will, the schism between welfare and classical liberals, as well other other ideologies, is delineated by this table:

Christian Conservative Welfare/Mainstream Liberal Neo/Classical/Pragmatic Liberal Mainstream Conservative HBD/Rationalist Conservative
Free Will Varies. Generally, people do have free will to choose whether or not to sin (The biblical ground for free will lies in the ”Fall” into sin by Adam and Eve that occurred in their “willfully chosen” disobedience to God). From Wikipedia: For Calvin, humanity possesses “free will,”[86] but it is in bondage to sin,[81] unless it is “transformed.”[87] Less free will, due to environmental factors such as racism, not enough education spending, income inequality, cronyism, …etc Less free will, due to biological factors such as IQ and innate differences between individuals and groups (sexes, races) Strong free will, pull-yourself-up mentality. A view also shared by most libertarians. Less free will, due to biology

Related:

Steven Levitt is Right, Not All Life is Sacred
The Left’s Problem With Science