David Gelernter on Millennials and the State of Higher Education

From Isegoria America-Lite:

I’m a teacher of college students. I’m lucky to be at one of the best colleges in the world, at Yale. Our students are as smart as any in the world. They work very hard to get here. They are eager, they’re likable. My generation is getting a chip on its shoulder, we always thought we knew everything about every topic, our professors were morons, and we were the ones who were building the world.

My students today are much less obnoxious. Much more likable than I and my friends used to be, but they are so ignorant that it’s hard to accept how ignorant they are. You tell yourself stories; it’s very hard to grasp that the person you’re talking to, who is bright, articulate, advisable, interested, and doesn’t know who Beethoven is. Had no view looking back at the history of the 20th century — just sees a fog. A blank. Has the vaguest idea of who Winston Churchill was or why he mattered. And maybe has no image of Teddy Roosevelt, let’s say, at all. I mean, these are people who — We have failed.


They know nothing about art. They know nothing about history. They know nothing about philosophy. And because they have been raised as not even atheists, they don’t rise to the level of atheists, insofar as they’ve never thought about the existence or nonexistence of God. It has never occurred to them. They know nothing about the Bible. They’ve never opened it. They’ve been taught it’s some sort of weird toxic thing, especially the Hebrew Bible, full of all sorts of terrible, murderous, prejudiced, bigoted. They’ve never read it. They have no concept.

partial transcript

I agree with his assessment of the richness of post-WW2 America, as measured economically and technologically (except the social justice aspect). The middle class of today has a much higher standard of living than the middle class equivalent of 100 years ago. He’s right about the post-WW2 cultural revolution in college, the decline of Judaeo-Christian values, and how students are being brainwashed to hate Western civilization. He is right about computer science being a force for good, and how mainstream society is wrong to reject nerds and nerd culture. I disagree with his enmity towards transhumanists and singularitarians. He also exhibits the typical leftist paranoia that is to be expected about genetic engineering, demonstrating the slippery slope fallacy. His criticism of online education may be due to a conflict of interest, being that his his job may be at risk if parents stop writing those 5-figure checks. He seemed bemused by the possibility that his job may be rendered obsolete by technology.

But David Gelernter’s assessment of millennials as being ignorant may be wrong, because knowledge tends to be segmented. People have strengths and weaknesses, concentrating on the former and tending to neglect the latter. Omnibus geniuses like David Gelernter, who is both very well-versed in STEM and the humanities, are rare. To use myself as an example, when I entered college, I too was ignorant about art, history, philosophy, and theology (I still am), but knew all sorts of stuff about math. I was asking my professors difficult questions, with research I had compiled on my own time, about math that one normally doesn’t encounter until graduate school.

Maybe some millennials are experts at computer and video games; others at coding; others at sports statistics; and so on…

Also, Gelernter may be falling for the confirmation bias and cherry picking fallacy, in choosing only a few anecdotal examples that agree with his original thesis. Maybe only a handful of students don’t know who Churchill or Beethoven are, using those examples for his video instead of polling every student in his class or the entire university. That’s how those ‘man on the street’ videos work; the TV host will ask 100 random strangers an easy question and maybe only five won’t know the answer, and then in the editing room those five incorrect answers are merged to create the illusion that everyone is ignorant.

According to the Pew Research Center News IQ Quiz, millennials score only slightly lower than older demographics:

In this cutthroat economy where many college graduates are saddled with debt and have poor job prospects, it helps to have a hobby where you can make money as an entrepreneur. Millennials are smart to follow the money (STEM, video games) even at the cost of being slightly ignorant about the liberal arts. For example, John Bain, a video game reviewer on Youtube, has over a million subscribers and probably makes tens of thousands of dollars a month from endorsements and reviews. If you’re spending over a $100,000 on a piece of paper that is supposed to certify your competence, why major in something that can be outsourced to Wikipedia? If you want to learn about a certain philosophy or history concept, you go to Google, enter a relevant query, and you get hundreds of results for free. Yes, a philosophy degree does signal above-average critical thinking skills, but so does STEM – and it pays more.

America still creates – apps, Netflix, Tesla, Uber, Amazon delivery drones, iPhones, theoretical physics, artificial intelligence, 3-d printing, fuel cells…the list goes on. Maybe we’re seeing a greater focus on STEM, as more and more people realize that the liberal arts don’t pay much.

But people still care about the arts and books. The 2015 David Foster Wallace biopic, The End of the Tour, got over 7,000 reviews on IMBD. Wallace’s writing is notoriously difficult, so the fact that so many people reviewed the movie is evidence there is a large market for even the most highfalutin of art. It grossed over $2 million, which is good for an indie film.

The Hivemind, Immigration, and IQ

From ricochet.com, A Review of Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own

From the reviews on Amazon:

The book’s primary and most important contribution is to document the following empirical regularity: Suppose you could a) improve your own IQ by 10 points, or b) improve the IQs of your fellow countrymen (but not your own) by 10 points. Which would do more to increase your income? The answer is (b), and it’s not even close. The latter choice improves your income by about 6 times the former choice.

One implication of the regularity should please some conservatives—perhaps especially Ann Coulter and Donald Trump. It says that, if the U.S. continues its current policy of admitting many third-world immigrants, then this will likely decrease the incomes of current citizens. Alternatively, it also implies that a better policy would be to admit only “the best” people, in the words of Donald Trump.

Regarding the second point, the problem is the immigration debate has been dominated by politics, overshadowing economics. The solution may be to stop or restrict immigration from countries or demographics where there is likely to be a net economic drain.

Hispanics tend to use welfare at a much higher rate than Asians or Europeans (observed for both natives and immigrants):

This lends support to high-IQ immigration. Having a larger pool of labor helps if we consider a situation where a foreigner is qualified and there are no qualified Americans applying, or the foreigner is more qualified, or the foreigner is qualified and can do the work for less.But tech companies in America are still paying top dollar for top US talent. Also, smarter immigrants tend to create jobs.

However, a counterargument is that foreign workers depress wages and take job opportunities that would otherwise go to native tech workers. As I show here, what’s more likely happening is that tech companies are not substituting US workers with foreign workers to save money, as is commonly believed. The report finds that STEM jobs are also hard to fill.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a consensus on the matter, with arguments showing that immigrants may or may not depress wages. A Google search indicates the debate is far from settled.

As for the first point regarding national IQ and income, I’m not so sure about this. Because I have not read the book (and am going by the review), I don’t know if the author makes the distinction between nominal incomes (which are rising) and real (which have been flat for awhile).

Linear regression models show a positive correlation between national IQ and per-capita income, originally observed by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in their book, IQ and the Wealth of Nations:

Per-capita income has also soared:

However, real median income has been stagnant despite rising GDP growth:

I think what’s happening here is that per-capita income is skewed in favor the financial ‘elite’, who have seen real wages surge, while the median lags.

Per-capita income is a mean value and does not reflect income distribution. If a country’s income distribution is skewed, a small wealthy class can increase per capita income substantially while the majority of the population has no change in income. In this respect, median income is more useful when measuring of prosperity than per capita income, as it is less influenced by outliers.

Booting the nation’s IQ will likely boost exports, GPD, profits, and technological innovation – but not necessarily real median wages. But that may be OK, though, because new technologies lead to more utility, as in the example I give of TV sets or movie tickets. Technology may improve living standards, so much so that wealth inequality and stagnant wages may not matter. The result, however, may be an ‘un-participatory’ economy where a lot of people are not contributing much to economic growth, nor are participating in the gains such as measured by real wages, in accordance with the Pareto Principle.

Functional Stock Market Theory

The idea is that the stock market can be described through a functional that is constrained by endpoint conditions depending on characteristics of the stock or market, such as volume, duration, and geometric factors.

The theory borrows some concepts of relativity, but is simpler because the stock market occupies a single spatial dimension instead of three.

The results can explain why certain symmetries and patterns in the stock market exist. The modeling of discrete buy and sell orders has applications for option pricing.

General Theory

Single Solutions

The second is still a work in progress

Media Outrage Fuels Trump Campaign

Trump mocks reporter’s chronic illness — and MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ cruelly laughs about it


Donald Trump’s various rude and offensive comments haven’t hurt him at all

Trump’s strategy is to get the media to overreact, which brings the issue to the forefront of the National Debate.

Even if there’s no definitive proof New Jersey Muslims weren’t partying in response to 911, it’s plausible some were celebrating (maybe in other ways), and that’s good enough. He’s planting seeds in the minds of millions of potential voters that, yes, we do have a Muslim problem in America. Trump is controlling the narrative, and that’s what matters. As we saw last week with Trump’s ‘incorrect’ race and crime statistics, the liberal media in trying to ‘correct’ Trump, is falling into his trap.

This leftist outrage will blow over. The media is trying to foment a narrative of collective outrage when, in reality, many people probably thought his impression (assuming it was intentional) was kinda funny and accurate.

There is also evidence Trump was not mimicking the reporter’s disability, but his inability to remember what he wrote 14 years ago:

Trump isn’t mocking the reporter’s handicap. You need to watch the video. Then, read Scott’s “Update” in the blog post above and the accompanying cartoon. Trump is mocking the reporter’s confusion from a story he wrote 14 years ago, and now can’t remember, can’t remember if it is true, can’t remember if what he wrote is true, can’t explain why just a few days earlier the Washington Post claimed to have run a Lexis/Nexis search on all media finding no contemporaneous evidence of Trump’s claim and yet it was printed IN THEIR OWN PAPER!

And on a related note, if the disabled want full integration in society and to be treated as ‘equals’, that includes possible ridicule and mockery. Liberals want protected status and equality, but the two cannot coexist.

Also, Serge Kovaleski, being that he’s a journalist for a major publication, is a public figure. Had Trump mocked some random person with a disability, it would have been far worse. Trump knows this – he only targets public figures, who should be able to take the heat.

Scott Adams writes:

2. Trump mocked an enemy reporter who has a physical disability. In the video, Trump does a sarcastic physical impression of the man that is hilarious to anyone with a sick sense of humor but appalling to anyone who has the least bit of respect for humankind. Personally, I’m in that second group, and I advise you to pretend you’re in it too.

So I guess everyone else who laughed is a sicko, according to Scott. Humor is a coping mechanism to help people get through the monotony of a world that has been cuckold by political correctness. If we can’t laugh at the absurdity of it all, even if it’s possibly mean spirited or inappropriate, then you’ve eliminated a refuge for many people. Especially ironic coming from a cartoonist, of all people, whose job it is to make people laugh.

Part of humor is the reaction, not just the prop or the joke. It was funny making jokes about Obama during the 2008 and 2012 campaigns not because of the jokes themselves, but how I imagined the left would react to reading them.

PUA and NRx

The Necessary Divorce Between Traditionalists/Altright and the PUAs

PUAs are not truly against feminism at all. A PUA, which I will define as a man who wants to sleep with a lot of women, should be on his hands and knees praising feminism

To conclude, I believe they should break off from the alt-right and do what they do best, talk about how they all have banged 100 women and have 8 inch dicks.

These are the same generalizations used by the left against PUAs.

The PUAs are playing the game by the new rules, which are stacked against men. The PUAs know that the majority of women – due to feminist brainwashing and ‘changing societal values’ – are perfidious, superficial, materialistic, and uncommitted to long-term relationships, so they are turning the tables against these women by ‘picking them up’ using ‘Game’, the study of which allows men to use science-backed (whether or not it actually works is subject to debate) ‘methods’ to level the playing field. And many in the PUA community are also right about the destructiveness of feminism as it pertains to Western Civilization, a view also shared by NRx. To sever ties with the PUA community would be a gift to the left, who are strengthened by our weakness.

The Daily View: Turkey, Home Ownership/Moving Out, Isolationism & Islam

How to Carve a Turkey – Begin with Airstrikes.

This Thanksgiving, it looks like the biggest turkey of all is Turkey, for f-ing up big time in striking down that Russian warplane. For those who want to bet against Turkey’s continued economic decline, short TUR. Things are going to get worse. That’s what happens when you have a low-IQ country where incompetence isn’t punished.

A couple of ‘mass delusions’ observed in recent years:

“You must move out (from your parents)/you must rent…buying a home is bad.”

Despite of tame CPI-based inflation, rent has surged since 2009, along with home prices.

Rent in many locations far exceeds inflation. According to Zillow, San Jose rent, for example, is over $3,000 a month, a gain of 50% since 2011 vs. negligible CPI. I would rather put that money into a home in San Jose, where prices are rising 15-20% YOY, than make the landlord rich.

From The Washington Post, Map: Where it’s cheaper to buy than rent

In most places in the U.S., it’s still cheaper to buy a home than rent one. If you buy a home with a traditional 20 percent down payment and a 30-year mortgage, on average it will cost about one-third less than renting a similar home around the U.S., according to a new report from Trulia, a real estate site.

Trulia says there are two reasons why home ownership is now so affordable. One is cheaper mortgage rates, which have decreased from 4.5 percent in 2014 to 3.87 percent as of April 15. Another is that the growth in home prices over the last year — 3.9 percent — wasn’t much larger than the 3.7 percent gain in rents.

As you can see from the map above, there are very few regions where it’s better to rent than buy, yet many on the left (and some on the right) insist buying is bad. There are many (here is one, there are dozens others on Reddit) instances of people in their 20-30′s who have made big money in recent years buying and flipping properties, but that won’t dissuade the chants from the left that ‘all home buying is bad, you must rent’. Gets irritating after awhile. The left wants people to rent instead of buy, as part of the left’s war on the ‘ownership society’.

On a related note, this insistence that you ‘must move out of your parent’s house’ has also become repetitive in recent years, and is possibly wrong.

There are many millennials who believe financial independence is more important than location independence, if it means living with your parents longer so you can keep more of the money you earn instead of pissing it away every month to a landlord. But this requires that you have amicable relations with your parents, some millennials don’t.

$1,000 a month for rent could be better spent making yourself rich through stocks or on a down-payment on your own home. The stock market is up over 200% since 2009, and it has higher to go. Those who invested that $1,000 every month in the S&P 500 starting in 2009 would have A LOT (about $120-150k, depending on the calculation), versus a loss of $72,000 through rent (and this is not including rent hikes). Even if you started investing in 2007 at the peak of the last bull market, you would still come out way ahead. An investment in the S&P 500 in 2005 would be up 75% as of today, despite a bear market in 2007-2008.

$1,000 a month is the poverty line, yet wealth can be amassed if you aren’t pissing it away money every month for various expenses, and, secondly, if you invest it wisely, such as in the S&P 500.

In the years following the second Bush administration, isolationism has become popular among the right, but after some consideration, I realize it may be bad policy.

Isolationism ‘protects’ those who have nothing to lose. Businesses that have foreign customers don’t want war to breakout, and then policy makers to do nothing as the economy falls apart. People with property don’t want their homes and businesses devastated by terrorists.

If you want to ‘focus on the economy’, that means protecting foreign economic interests. If major trade partners are engaged in war, it will have economic ramifications in America.

Some say if we ‘pull out’ and cut ties to Israel, Islamic terrorism will go away.

Radicalized Islam (which is tautology) has claimed far more lives, caused much more destruction than radicalized Christianity – the ‘kill count’ is not even close. Islam comes way ahead.

It’s not just about Israel – Muslims attack all over the world, from Spain, to France, and even Australia. They will even attack other Muslims who aren’t radicalized enough. Just take a look at a list of recent Islamist terrorist attacks, modern causalities in Islam’s endless war against the ‘infidel’ going as far back as the first millennium. Only some of them involve territory of Israel and Palestine. The belief Muslims are going to stop terrorizing because we adopt isolationism, is delusional. The ‘neo atheist’ movement, which includes Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, is right its criticism of Islam as being an affront to Western civilization, intellectual discourse, and fundamental human rights.

The biggest problem with isolationism is that it relegates America to the role of defense, allowing the enemy to buildup with impunity and keep striking over and over. Just because we adopt isolationism, doesn’t mean our enemies will. If we’re going to spend all this money on the military, may as well use it. Right now, with the recent terrorist attacks on France the, tide may be turning against isolationism. France’s response of airstrikes against Isis was met with much approval by the right. Isolationism doesn’t work with Islamic terror. You have to treat it like an infestation and get rid of it. When a building is on fire, do you just wait for the fire to go out? No, you marshal the fire department to put it out; otherwise, it spreads and gets worse.

Also, proactive foreign policy and border control need not be mutually exclusive.

But now, on another tangent, why does the left love Islam? It boils down to to Hobbes and Rousseau, both of whom believe the natural state of man is savagery, which is a view also shared by many on the welfare left. The welfare left believe the world is doomed because of institutional ‘racism’, technology, capitalism, and wealth inequality, so the left’s natural ideological ally is Islam, because Islam wants to bring the world back to its natural, egalitarian, ‘noble’ savage state, liberated from ‘racism’, technology, wealth inequality, and other ‘ills’ of modern Western Civilization. Like Hobbes, the welfare left has a very pessimistic view of human nature.

How the Liberal Media is Always Wrong

We’re all dreaming the same dream that someone or something will break the monotony, and maybe that’s why Trump, who is perceived as a renegade in a world of ‘politics as usual’, is so popular. He’s like the Right’s version of Obama, bearing ‘change’, although more competent than Obama.

You’re not missing out on anything if you ignore the news. Ask yourself, are you any better off for having read the news? Unless you make a living a news junkie, like this guy does, has following the news had any meaningful effect on your life? Does you caring about the news in any capacity change the outcome of it? I’m pretty sure for most people the answer to all these questions is ‘no’.

One reason why I’m a ‘news nihilist’ is because so much of it is crap.

Instead of sensationalist news, I prefer to subscribe to rationalism and realism.

Here are some examples of how the media misleads, or is just flat-out wrong:

‘China’s economy slowing down’ Been reading this headline since 2005, yet China’s market is near record highs, up 100% YOY. A 1% decline in China’s GDP from 8% to 7%, according to the doom and gloom media, is a full-blown crisis. In reality, it’s a blip, noise that can be ignored. Meanwhile, Brazil actually did fall into recession, but hardly a peep from the media.

‘Holiday shopping anticipated to be weak’ Every year, before Black Friday, the liberal media repeats this line, and every year they are wrong, but that doesn’t stop them from forever predicting the demise of the US consumer. They will be right eventually…we may not be alive to bear witness to it, but it’s coming…eventually.

‘Housing is a bubble’ Yet prices were up 25-40% in 2013 in many regions, 10-20% in 2014, and up again in 2015. Just another example of the media being wrong all the time.

‘Web 2.0 bubble, tech bubble, stocks are too high’ Same as above. Door dash, a food delivery start-up, is worth over a billion dollars. There are dozens of success like this, with stronger fundamentals compared to the first internet boom, as much as the left wishes it were 2000 and pets.com all over again. I read an article yesterday about how stocks could go lower and I just laughed it off. If you use Google’s search by date feature, you will find hundreds of failed predictions of web 2.0, housing, and stock bubbles.

‘Hyperinflation, dollar collapse, blah blah…’ Also wrong. I hate to be the bearer of good news, but the world is not coming to an end.

From Jame Altucher, How to be a Human, this is funny and true (bold added for empahsis):

I know this because they want the world to end. They keep blaming their problems on how bad the world is. How the world is falling apart. How we “borrowed too much” or how “the United States is going to fail” or how “Europe is going to take us down” or how “China is going to take over the world”. It’s an easy excuse so they don’t have to blame themselves on their own failures. They can blame me instead because I don’t think “China is going to take over the world”.

The left blames ‘greedy’ rich people, Wall St., the fed, the government, institutional racism, conspiracy theories, employers, college – everyone but themselves for failing. It’s easier to blame an external target than to do self reflection, ‘Maybe my IQ is not high enough to succeed…Maybe my work ethic sucks…Maybe I should have held my stocks in 2008 instead of selling…Maybe I majored in a useless subject in college…Maybe I should have read the fine print before taking out the student or home loan…etc.’

These people who either have bad genes or made bad life decisions seek crisis so that the ‘game’ of life is reshuffled and cards redealt in the hope of getting a better hand. Or they seek crisis to ‘punish’ their imagined oppressors.

In the article, James also writes:

– Their fathers or mothers didn’t love them.
– Other kids beat on them
– Girls (or guys) didn’t like them or called them names.
– Their friends backstabbed them.

That part I don’t agree with. People hold erroneous beliefs due to media influence, peer pressure, rationalization, and other factors. It don’t think it has necessarily to do with trauma or a bad childhood. A century ago, many thought the world was flat; they weren’t mentally ill or traumatized, just wrong.

‘US economic growth anticipated to be slow’ Isn’t it always? The stock market up some 200% percent since the recession ended. America is never going back to ‘fast growth’, nor does it need to.

According to the doom and gloom liberal media, wasn’t the fallout from Fukushima supposed to turn us all into mutant zombies?

Or what about Swine Flu and Ebola, both which were hyped as the next Black Death.

OWS…that failed miserably, much to the disappointment of the liberal media.

Remember the debt ceiling, S&P debt downgrade, and sequester (which the democrats caused), all overhyped by the liberal media, and all duds. There were headlines in 2013 – by Paul Krugman and others – that the budget cuts would cause a recession and bear market. Nope. The economy and stock market brushed it off, as I and others predicted it would.

This was in mid-2013. As of October 2015, payrolls have claimed to 142,654. A big goose egg for Krugman and the rest of the left.

Or the 2011 European debt crisis, the Greece crisis, and the 2014 Hong Kong protests? All hyped by the liberal media, and all duds. 99% of of the time, what the left calls a ‘crisis’ is a just a speed bump. The liberal media predicted a global economic contagion from the European debt crisis – also wrong. By 2012 the US market had recovered its 2011 losses and by 2013 was at new highs. Europe’s growth remains very sluggish, just as it was before 2011, so it’s not like Austerity can be blamed. Very few S&P 500 companies reported any evidence of weakness due to Europe.

Or what about that rape epidemic on colleges – that turned out to be a hoax, but the media ran with it anyway?

Or about the alleged ‘war on blacks’ by police? In reality, the percentage of justifiable homicides on blacks by law enforcement has been declining for decades, but you’ll never know by listening to the media:

How about man-made global warming? Debunked:

Global climate changes have been far more intense (12 to 20 times as intense in some cases) than the global warming of the past century, and they took place in as little as 20–100 years. Global warming of the past century (0.8° C) is virtually insignificant when compared to the magnitude of at least 10 global climate changes in the past 15,000 years. None of these sudden global climate changes could possibly have been caused by human CO2 input to the atmosphere because they all took place long before anthropogenic CO2 emissions began. The cause of the ten earlier ‘natural’ climate changes was most likely the same as the cause of global warming from 1977 to 1998.

Global cooling is a possibility:

Now a decade later, the global climate has not warmed 1° F as forecast by the IPCC but has cooled slightly until 2007-08 when global temperatures turned sharply downward. In 2008, NASA satellite imagery (Figure 6) confirmed that the Pacific Ocean had switched from the warm mode it had been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period. The shift strongly suggests that the next several decades will be cooler, not warmer as predicted by the IPCC.

Or the liberal media spreading doom and gloom over wealth inequality, as consumer spending keeps surging anyway. The left insists that if wealth inequality is too high that the US economy will suffer, yet countries with less inequality, such as Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and France, for example, have lower GDP growth and overall weaker economic fundamentals.

The liberal media owes everyone an apology for spreading panic and for being wrong all the time, but it will never happen.

Classical Liberalism, Democracy, Libtertarianism, Nihilism, and NRx

From Peter A. Taylor The Resurrection of Classical Liberalism

Here’s what I think happened. The US began as an expression of classical liberalism. The founders were steeped in John Locke’s ideas about natural rights, as modified and popularized by writers like James Otis, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. What actually made it into the American political canon was a mixture of beliefs about natural rights and democracy. For example, the Declaration of Independence talks of unalienable rights and states “…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” I see two problems here. First, the clause about securing rights sounds good to libertarians and Objectivists, but what does “consent” mean? And second, the basis for the government’s legitimacy is overspecified. Do “just powers” stem from the necessity to secure rights or from consent?

To some extent (with the exception of SJW radicalism and other elements of post-ww2 liberalism) America still is that way.

Thus Progressives and Libertarians both engage in “cocktail party sophistry”, but their styles are different. Progressives feel good about cogency and political cohesion where Libertarians feel good about elegance and internal consistency. Progressives are having fun running in a potato sack race. Libertarians are having fun daydreaming about the perfect destination for a potato sack race. “Perfect” here more or less means “most elegant”. “Elegance” here more or less means “providing false moral clarity”. Elegance is the curse of the libertarian movement. The tendency to value elegance, combined with a tendency to grade your own work, are what give the libertarian movement the feel of being a “head game”. I believe this emphasis on elegance is closely related to the false diagnosis that a slippery slope problem (i.e. lack of moral clarity) was what did in the classical liberal tradition. Which came first, the craving for moral clarity, or the diagnosis that lack of moral clarity killed classical liberalism? I suspect the craving came first, but I’m not sure.

America is a partial libertarian country – free market capitalism, private property, but also a state, which is similar to a mixed economy. Through trial and error, feast and famine, this seems to be the most successful or stable configuration, with notable examples being China and Russia, as well as other modernized countries that have evolved to this state. That’s why it’s kinda pointless when you have libertarians and conservatives arguing about which is better – America has both (conservatives get military, police, and free markets; libertarians get free markets, and personal autonomy due to the 1st amendment, but with some regulation. Less business regulation and lower taxes would be better.)

There was little ‘democratic’ about early American government, and I’m not sure why so many people, even those as smart as Peter A. Taylor, get this wrong. Nor is classical liberalism the same as a ‘liberal democracy’. A ‘natural right’ does not necessarily include the ‘right to vote’.

Here is John Adams on democracy:

“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”

Thomas Jefferson:

This is relevant to the tyranny of the proletariat, in which the underclass using ‘democracy’ tries to overthrow the smaller productive class.

From Wikipedia:

Classical liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government. It developed in 18th-century Europe and drew on the economic writings of Adam Smith and the growing notion of social progress.

18th century America and Europe would be considered tyrannical -hardly democratic – by today’s left.

Democracy may be a means of constraining a government to tend to its legitimate business, but it cannot be the source of the government’s moral legitimacy. The distinction between a republic and a democracy sounds promising, but this distinction is only meaningful so long as the voters choose to honor it. Scratch the surface of a republic, and underneath you find a democracy.

The solution is to roll back voting rights to how they were hundreds of years ago, in accordance with the founding fathers, who saw voting as a privilege rather than a right.

The system we have, although certain aspects of it suck, is the best of the alternatives, and it’s what we’re stuck with.

But we can reform it, which is what this blog is about. We don’t need a monarchy. Just turning the dial back 100 years would be immense progress.

One of the questions libertarians sometimes argue about is whether there are moral-practical dichotomies. That is, are there ever situations where doing “the right thing” from a moral standpoint conflicts with doing “the right thing” from a practical standpoint? To someone like me, in the “moral sympathy” school of thought, it’s a silly question. The relationships under consideration are “loose, vague, and indeterminate”. It’s complicated. We probably don’t even have the same people’s interests in mind when we ask the question. Who exactly are my tribe? Is “morality” something I personally choose to benefit myself, or is it a set of social norms my peers impose on me as the (possibly exorbitant and possibly evadable) price of associating with them? Jonathan Haidt’s definition (from The Righteous Mind) mostly supports the latter view:

America is also consequentialist, as are many nations. Examples of consequentialist policy being the 2008 bank bailouts, fed policy, war on terrorism, and others – policies that may not be popular with large segments of the population, but are deemed necessary to stave off a worse problem.

Of course, there are gradations: some countries and government are more socially liberal (European Union); others less so (China, Russia). America seems to have struck a balance that for for the past 240 or so years has worked, although the wave of post-ww2 liberalism may threaten this harmony.

America is an amalgamation or patchwork of many ideologies, and maybe this dynamism is why it has succeed for so long when other nations have failed.

From Bruce Charlton, The salvation of Mencius Moldbug:

But (and you were waiting for that ‘but’, weren’t you?) his system is based upon arbitrary axioms and is pragmatic and ‘utilitarian’ – in the sense that MM argues that his plans for government and society would in practice lead to the greatest happiness and/or the minimum misery for the greatest number of people.

But, to some degree, utilitarianism and policy are inseparable. In order to optimize the ROI of ‘Public Goods’, optimization in the mathematical and socioeconomic sense is desirable. Right now, due to liberalism and other scourges, we have a problem of poor optimization – for example, excessive welfare for those who contribute little, if any, to society.

In other words, Mencius Moldbug is an advocate of pure nihilism: a total denial of reality (since bottom line ‘reality’ – i.e. human emotions and what triggers them – is by this analysis wholly reversible, hence wholly relativistic).

So according to Charlton, Moldbug is not a moral realist.

Charlton’s definition of ‘nihilism’ is frustratingly reductive and doesn’t apply to Moldbug. Anyone who believes in the rule of law, which is what Formalism is about, cannot be a nihilist, by definition.

The essay Why Nihilism is Not Anarchy is relevant to NRx thought, and why Christianity may be incompatible with NRx, bold added for emphasis:

Nietzsche saw the above as parallel to Christianity, an assertion of inherent order based on shared humanity. Science and Nietzsche agree that humans vary so widely that to construct a universal “human nature” or “human morality” is a pointless endeavor toward false inherency. No such thing exists; some humans rise above others.

Anarchy, liberalism and other false social notions of equality and the inherent importance of man are entirely anti-nihilistic. In fact, they’re descendants of Christianity: they are falsely inherent orders based on human desires for the universe to be centered around humans. It is not. We are thinking monkeys, and it’s great we have come so far, but it’s not really that far. We’re not that great. And most of us are morons, perverts, lazybones, selfish people, criminals, or people who smoke in bed.

Maybe also fatalistic, in understanding that economic and biological reality means we’re subject to autonomous forces outside of our control, with the result being humans who are more endowed for success will tend to rise above others. The rule of law is still applicable, even if such views may seem fatalistic, amoral, and nihilistic.

Public Policy and Obesity

seem oblivious to basic awareness of GMO, HFCS, refined sugars, fluoride, aspartame,…

In the past, it was liberals who made a big deal about food additives, but interestingly, with the post-2013 rise of Red Pill, neo masculinity, and ‘gym culture’, and with the backlash against fat acceptance, conservatives are becoming the new ‘health nuts’, which originally was the domain of the left (Michelle Obama’s push for healthier school lunches, for example, and Bill de Blasio’s push for banning soft drinks in schools).

Many on the right, particularity in the manosphere, now see obesity and the bad food and parenting that gives rise to it as an issue of public concern that affects everyone through the higher healthcare costs, which is a waste of taxpayer money that could be better spent than keeping fat people, who tend to have bad impulse control, alive longer.

And I agree with this position. Bad lifestyles, once they develop public externalities, can no longer be hand-waved under the pretense of personal freedom. The same goes for my stance on mandatory birth control for welfare recipients, with possible sterilization for repeat offenders who get pregnant, because welfare, like healthcare, is a public resource. The “Bechtloff” also agrees:

If you want to be obese, fine, but if uninsured you waive your right to public healthcare, including emergency room access and medicare. As you can see below, obesity is very expensive for both businesses and tax payers:

In the instances where obesity is not environmental, my position is still the same because denying public healthcare to treat obesity-related ailments prevents the genes for obesity from being propagated, which saves businesses and taxpayers money over the long-run.

Trump’s ‘Racist’ Tweet

Trump’s ‘racist’ tweet is going viral:

Everyone knows what Trump meant, which is that black-on-black crime is very high and that white-on-black crime is very low.

Some have argued that the tweet was intentionally wrong in order to get the media and people talking about the real statistics, which are still pretty bad:

Whites Killed by Blacks – 14.8%
Whites Killed by Whites – 82.4%
Blacks killed by Blacks – 90%
Blacks killed by Whites – 7.6%
Blacks (14.3% of USA Population) commit 47% of all murders in the USA.

For these stats, Hispanics and Asians are categorized as ‘white’.