Why NRx is Popular on Reddit

Reddit’s users are predominantly millennials, and ideologically, the site tends to have an anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, and contrarian bias, yet NRx and related ‘Dark Enlightenment’ views are surprisingly popular there despite reactionaries generally advocating ‘more power’, not less. When Moldbug in 2016 did an AMA it was very well-received, and judging by the up-votes, many Reddit users were not only curious about NRx but agreed with many aspects of it, but also if they didn’t agree still respecting Moldbug for his intellectual intrepidness. You can go on almost any moderately popular sub and many posters are familiar with NRx writers and concepts…they know who Nick Land and Moldbug are. Here are some reasons why NRx has become popular, not just on Reddit but elsewhere online:

1. The post-2013 anti-SJW backlash. After a string of victories: OWS, the 2008 election, and 2012 re-election of Obama, the left became overconfident and overplayed their hand, and the Reddit community turned against ‘social justice’ when SJWs began going after innocent targets, embodying the very oppression they allegedly were supposed to fighting against.

2. The recent backlash by millennials against democracy. Both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ agree democracy is ineffective and not the ‘unalloyed good’ that their teachers and other propagandists had told them, blaming democracy for engendering wealth inequality, creating inefficiency and waste, fostering corruption, being an impetus for unnecessary and costly ‘nation building’ occupations, being a popularity contest that puts superficiality ahead of important issues, and for giving voters who are ill-informed too much influence over policy. It makes sense: anyone who finds Dancing with the Stars entertaining should not have a say in how the country is run. Put the most competent people in charge, but the problem with democracy is the increasing trend towards the least competent running things. The people who are the most drawn to power are often the least fit to serve.

3. Related to anti-establishmentarianism, being a reactionary in an era of political correctness is in itself anti-establishment and contrarian. In the 60′s and 70′s, boomers rebelled through drugs and other acts of mindless conformity; millennials rebel by turning to intellectualism and introspection.

4. Although Reddit tends to be anti-authoritarian, it understands the need for legitimate authority such as police and military, which is why the Reddit community, by in large, condemned the BLM protests during the 1-year Ferguson anniversary, the protests by women and BLM against Trump, and other instances.

From Social Skills and Political Correctness:

Online, whenever a story breaks about the public school war on boys or about false rape accusations, the overwhelming majority of comments are against the SJWs, and we’re not talking about conservative websites, but sites like Reddit that have a broad appeal. For example, I was on Reddit in early August following the Ferguson melee, and I estimate at least 3/4 of the users were on the side of the police and against ‘black lives matter’. Anti-police comments were summarily down-voted. This was for general, bi-partisan subs like /r/news, not conservatives ones.

Reddit and 4chan oppose illegitimate and arbitrary power; for example, SJWs telling white males to check their privilege, or how far-left liberals try to impose their values on society through the education system, courts, or culture. They oppose communism for this very reason. When Fidel Castro died, all of Reddit was celebrating, save for a handful of the usual socialist/Marxist subs.

5. Reddit understands that power in the context of NRx is not about micromanaging individuals (that’s puritanism), but rather about power as a means of promoting order, stability, and ‘rule of law’, yet where personal autonomy is still preserved, in contrast to democratic forms of government, which do a poor job at concentrating power and thus tend to be susceptible to corruption and ‘purity spirals’.

6. Related to the backlash against democracy, the millennial-lead backlash against ‘low information‘ discourse, and NRx is as ‘high information’ as you’re going to find.

7. Related to #1, many liberals realize they have been too close-minded, and Hillary’s loss, which came as a surprise to many on the left becase Hillary’s polls were strong for most of the campaign, was a lesson or wake-up call to the value of understanding opposing perspectives instead of being insulated. This also ties in the with rise of ‘rationalism’ and centrism, and the pendulum of discourse, to some extent, returning to the middle after swinging too far to the left in 2009-2013. Popular sites such as Slate and Quillette are part of the new ‘contrarian mainstream’ that are challenging beliefs that many on the far-left hold dear. Less Wrong, which is very popular on Reddit, although it’s not reactionary per say, helped create the intellectual groundwork for the reality-based approach characteristic of NRx, and with its large readership helped to make NRx more popular. Some could liken Less wrong as ‘reaction’ for the left.

8. The rise of the alt-right and Trump, although this is related to reasons 1-7.

Trump Presidency: Sober Expectations

Trump’s inauguration speech was very ambitious….if he accomplishes just 10% of it (and assuming there are no negative economic consequences), his presidency will be a success. Of course, it’s very hard to predict how history will judge Trump, but I’m predicting he will surpass expectations, meaning that he’ll be a better president than many in the media and the right-wing ‘establishment’ are predicting. I am highly confident the eight years of foreign peace, stock market gains, and American economic growth and stability under Obama (not that I am giving Obama credit for it; had Bush been given two more terms, the post-2008 recovery would likely been even stronger) will continue under Trump. Given Trump’s inexperience, this will work to his favor, because all he has to do is not screw it up. Voters who are expecting deescalation in the Middle East and sweeping economic and immigration reform will likely be disappointed. The Trump presidency will prove to be surprisingly uneventful. Yeah, unless there is some sort of cataclysmic event (such as another 911), for the next four years, all the global economic and social trends that were in place before Trump acceded office will remain so. As Scott noted, Trump’s efforts to create and save American jobs my be more symbolic than permanent and sweeping. But that’s still better than nothing. Trump’s legacy is being a catalyst for increased populism around the world, but making a big difference in terms of policy will be much more insurmountable.

A Skeptic’s View of Fred’s IQ Artilce

From Fred Reed; IQ: A Skeptic’s View

As anyone who has read Fred Reed’s columns knows, he has a soft spot for Mexico, possibly stemming from the fact he lives there with his wife and children, ardently defending the country against so-called ‘IQ-ists’ who insist Mexico only has an IQ of around 85, which Mr. Reed refutes with anecdotal evidence and how Mexico City, developmentally, resembles that of cities of higher IQ populations. His latest article is no different.

Fred is far from being an idiot, having scored in the 99-percentile on the GRE according to his website, implying an IQ of at least 140-150, but I think he deliberately omits obvious counterarguments to generate more discussion for his articles, as commenters below fill the obvious but intended gaps of his logic. It’s almost like a variation of Cunningham’s Law, which states “the best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.”

For example, American blacks, the Irish, and Mexicans had IQs accepted by the list as being 85, 86, and 87 respectively—almost identical. It seemed odd to me that identical IQs had produced (a) the on-going academic disaster of American blacks (b) an upper Third World country running the usual infrastructure of telecommunications, medicine, airlines, and so on, and (c) a First World European country. This, though IQist doctrine argued vociferously that IQ correlates closely with achievement. Well, it didn’t.

I think he confused ‘b’ and ‘c’.

I was struck by the perfect acceptance of these numbers even though they made no sense. IQists simply do not question IQ. I pointed out the obvious conclusion, that if Mexicans could run the infrastructure of modern nations, decent if not spectacular universities, and so on, then so, on the basis of IQ, could blacks—none of which they in fact do, or have done.

…Do you really believe that this city was designed and built by people with a mean IQ of 84? That is six points below Mexicans, and below American blacks? As a matter of logic, it follows that if people of IQ 84 can design, build, and operate a city with all the credentials of modernity, so can a population of IQ 85. It’s either both can, or neither can, or something is wrong with the purported IQs. For what it’s worth, my wife and I recently spent a month traveling widely in the country. No sign of stupidity

Here is the global IQ map:

Africa and South America have IQs of around 85-90, almost a full standard deviation below Europeans and Asians. In the case of Africa, this data is corroborated by many tests, in which Africans consistently score even lower than Whites, even for non-culturally biased tests such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices. This is discussed in further detail in IQ Tests Are Not Culturally Biased.

But it’s not just Mexico that has modern-looking cities–so to does Zimbabwe and Uganda, both of which have lower national IQs than Mexico. For example, Kampala, the capital city of Uganda:

…and Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe:

As the examples above show, the existence of modern infrastructure in sub-100 IQ countries is not a refutation ‘IQ-ism’, but rather that scarce cognitive capital is being put to good use. The major flaw in Fred’s logic is that he ignores how national IQ is only an average of a normal distribution of IQ scores. Countries with national IQs of 80-90 will still produce geniuses (albeit at a much lower rate), because of the normal distribution of IQ scores. Maybe instead of, say, thousands of geniuses required to to build and run a modern city, maybe you only need a few hundred geniuses, which is feasible even for a country with a national IQ of 85. Also, low-IQ countries import cognitive capital (doctors, engineers, etc.) as needed.

This is furiously denied in IQist circles. The reason, in my judgement, is that thirteen points is exactly the purported gap between Mexicans and US whites insisted upon by IQists. These, often rabidly anti-immigration, do not want to admit any possibility that the immigrants might not be suitably stupid. Why they want immigrants to their country to be moronic is not clear.

Again, señor Fred continues to misinterpret, ignore, or misconstrue arguments that refute his thesis. How else is it explained that certain immigrants score lower on achivement tests and are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

Source: The Color of Crime, 2016 Revised Edition

If IQ measured intelligence, we would be in the midst of an intellectual explosion. We are not.

To some extent, we are. Look at all the innovation coming out of Silicon Valley (self-driving cars, delivery drones, apps that can do everything you want, etc.), or the surge in physics and mathematics publications on arXiv, or how America leads the world in research papers, Nobel Prizes, and patents.

Then in the IQ brew there is the occasional intrusion of common sense. (Not much of it, I grant.) A country whose purported IQ seems to me to fail the test of common sense is India, mean IQ 81. Here we have a billion people averaging well below borderline-retarded. Say again? Anyone even vaguely familiar with the intellectual, artistic, and musical history of India is going to think, “What are you guys smoking?”

The cut-off for retardation is 70, not 80.

There immediately springs to everyone’s mind that Indian kids dominate the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The IQist response is that only the smartest Indian kids come to the US. Perhaps, but the smartest American kids are already here, aren’t they? And since the kids got their visas based on the brains of their parents, shouldn’t they be regressing to the (dismal) mean?

Yes, I know the IQist explanation, that they are genetically-selected Brahmans, said to have a mean IQ of 96, the rest of the country being wretchedly stupid. Well, maybe. Like so much in IQist thought, it relies on genes posited but not identified, acted upon by selective pressures assumed but not quantifiable, to produce assumed effects that cannot be correlated with the pressures. If that isn’t rock-solid, I can’t imagine what could be.

One reason they don’t regress is because of assortative mating. It’s funny how Fred dismisses such counterarguments as ‘maybe’, when it’s the most obvious explanation and also pretty much destroys his thesis. Also, a spelling bee is not an IQ test.

Having spent twelve years in Mexico, I can see no difference in intelligence between Mexicans and Americans. Nor when I lived in Taiwan, Vietnam, or Thailand. This raises the question: How great would the difference have to be to be noticeable? Clearly, greater than thirteen points (OK, now reduced, sometimes, to ten points), since that is the Mexi-American gap measured by IQists. The response will be that I am reasonably intelligent and so spend my time with the reasonably intelligent, but that is equally true in the US, and of course I am in frequent contact with ordinary citizens.

Depends on how you define ‘intelligent’ or how you measure it. Merely conversing with someone in casual setting about simple day-to-today stuff is too imprecise to be of any use in ascertaining intelligence. There’s a reason why IQ tests are designed the way they are, and have specific questions that measure quantifiable attributes of intelligence.

The ‘New World Order’

From Unz: Risks and Opportunities for 2017

Russia is now the most powerful country on the planet. I know, I know, the Russian economy is relatively small, Russia has plenty of problems and just a year ago Obama dismissed Russia as a “regional power” while McCain referred to her as a “gas station masquerading as a country”. What can I say? – these two imbeciles were simply wrong and there is a good reason, plenty in fact, why Forbes has declared Putin the most powerful man on earth for four consecutive years. And it’s not just because the Russian armed forces are probably the most powerful and capable ones on earth (albeit not the largest ones) or because Russia has successfully defeated the USA in Syria and, really, the rest of the Middle-East. No, Russia is the most powerful country on earth because of two things: Russia openly rejects and denounces the worldwide political, economic and ideological system the USA has imposed upon our planet since WWII and because Vladimir Putin enjoys the rock-solid support of about 80%+ of the Russian population.

Even though I’m on the ‘right’, I’m not so quick to jump on the ‘Russia is the greatest thing ever’ bandwagon. People said the said thing in the late 80′s, too, that Russia would dominate, and then like a house of cards it folded. Putin having 80% support is kinda meaningless considering the country is run like an oligarchy anyway. Russia’s economy is weak and highly dependent on oil and gas prices being high. When oil prices plunged in 2008 and in 2014, Russia’ economy contracted significantly. Russia also has high bond yields on its debt and a weak currency. Unlike America and China, Russia’s very deficient in intellectual property exports.

The ‘new world order’ is not Russia, rather it’s the regions below:

America – west and east coasts; Massachusetts
China – four major cities
Northern Europe – Oslo, Stockholm, Davos

The leader by far is America, with it’s unstoppable dollar, eight consecutive years of GDP growth, the election of Trump, and the biggest and longest stock bull market ever. For 2017, I predict the US dollar will continue to surge as Europe struggles with slow growth, Islamic terrorism, debt, and uncertainty…The only way the US dollar falls is if non-American countries outperform, economically, relative to America, which won’t happen as long as the rest of the world constitutes to be economically weak as it has been since 2011. There’s no reason why Europe, South America, Russia, and the Middle East will stage a meaningful economic recovery. Another reason is that the fund managers who bid up foreign currencies between 2002-2008 and in 2009-2011 are not going to make that mistake again, having been burned twice. As foreign countries rack up debt to futility inflate their dying economies, this pushes their currencies lower and consequently lifts the US dollar, due to the ‘fight to safety’ trade. Yen, Euro, Pound, Aussie, and Canadian dollar are never going to recover…stick a fork in em’. This also explains why Bitcoin is doing so well and will continue to rise, as a means of transferring capital out of countries with doomed currencies. Bitcoin is going much higher an and have been long Bitcoin since 2013.

Although America, as a ‘whole’, is one of the leaders of this ‘new world order’, not all of America contributes equally. The ‘epicenters’ are the Bay Area (especially, the Silicon Valley–the technology capital of the word, home to Apple, Facebook, Google, etc.) Same for China, which has Ali Baba, Baidu, and many other leading technology companies. Europe and Russia also have technology companies, but they don’t exert nearly as much influence as America’s and China’s tech companies. The Bay Area also has among the best real estate markets in the world too. This tiny region controls so much of how the world consumes and processes information, whether it’s the Twitter feed, the Facebook feed, or Google search results. In this same region, there is also Caltech, UC Berkeley, and Stanford, three of the most prestigious universities in the world. Southern California, which has Hollywood and UCLA, is also important, but not as much as the Bay Area.

Another ‘epicenter’ is Seattle, where Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon are headquartered. And also, Massachusetts, which has Harvard and MIT, two hugely influential institutions. Additionally, there is New Haven, Connecticut, home to Yale; Providence, RI: Brown; Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth; and so on. Also, Washington D.C., for obvious reasons. Then there is also New York, specially, Manhattan, home of Wall St. and the two most important stock exchanges in the world: the Nasdaq and NYSE. And Sagaponac, NY, the most expensive zip code in America. So that pretty much covers the most important and influential parts of America (but also most of the world, too).

Despite the protectionist and anti-globalist sabre rattling during the campaign, China–United States relations will strengthen further with Trump as president, and will remain the two most dominant countries in the world, by far, for the foreseeable future. America, especially the Bay Area and New York, will remain more than ever a magnet for China’s high-IQ rich, as China’s cognitive and financial capital floods America’s coasts. As much as some want to believe we’re in a post-America era, the rest of the world can’t get enough of America. The four major cities of eastern China – Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen – are also ‘epicenters’ or constituents of this ‘new world order’, and like Silicon Valley, are full of innovation and technology, as well as having a very strong real estate market. Like Silicon Valley, it’s somewhat insular, high-IQ, and high-trust, in contrast to most parts of the world, that are much less intelligent and more corrupt and incompetent. China has become so important in recent years to America that even the smallest of news over there is picked up by the American media, and vice-versa.

Finally, there is northern Europe, specifically, the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, where the global elite retreat, insulated from the occasionally undesirable consequences of their actions and general pubic disdain. Other countries that are part of the ‘elite’ include Austria and Switzerland. The capitals Oslo and Stockholm are like quintessential ‘socialist utopias’ consisting of high living standards and perpetually rising real estate for those who are wealthy enough to afford it, and, overall, are high-trust societies with low crime and no Islamic terror.

Debunking the 90% Eisenhower Income Tax Myth

From Unz: The Trump Bubble

The author, Mike Whiney, cites a study that the US economy did better when income tax rates for top earners were at 80-90% during the Eisenhower administration, compared to around 34% today.

“A study from the Congressional Research Service — the non-partisan research office for Congress — shows that “there is little evidence over the past 65 years that tax cuts for the highest earners are associated with savings, investment or productivity growth.”

In fact, the study found that higher tax rates for the wealthy are statistically associated with higher levels of growth…

The CRS study looked at tax rates and economic growth since 1945. The top tax rate in 1945 was above 90 percent, and fell to 70 percent in the 1960s and to a low of 28 percent in 1986.
The top current rate is 35 percent. The tax rate for capital gains was 25 percent in the 1940s and 1950s, then went up to 35 percent in the 1970s, before coming down to 15 percent today — the lowest rate in more than 65 years.

Lowering these rates for the wealthy, the study found, isn’t aligned with significant improvement in any of the areas it examined…

There is one part of the economy, however, that is changed by tax cuts for the rich: inequality….

The share of total income going to the top 0.1 percent hovered around 4 percent during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, then rose to 12 percent by the mid-2000s. During this period, the average tax rate paid by the 0.1 percent fell from more than 40 percent to below 25 percent.” (Study: Tax Cuts for the Rich Don’t Spur Growth, CNBC)

This oft-cited study by the left is easily debunked on several fronts:

To assume high taxes spurred growth is confusing correlation with causation. It’s possible GDP growth would have been even higher had taxes been lower.

Although the top .1% have seen their wealth grow more than the bottom 90%, the top.1% produce economic value relative to the total size of the economy than they did decades go, due to factors such as globalization and technology. But also, declining long-term capital gains taxes also plays a role, since the wealthiest tend to derive their wealth from capital, not income and wages:

There a good article by Misses that debunks the 90% tax rate myth. The highest tax rate, 90%, only applied to those earning over $3,425,766 (when adjusted for inflation), which was pretty much no one:

In 1958, out of 45.6 million tax filers, only about 10,000 reported incomes subject to the 81% rate or above. This means only .02% of filers had any income taxed at the 81% rate, let alone the 91% rate! (note: the 81% bracket was from $140,000-$400,000)

Reliable data concerning what top income earners actually paid in taxes during the 50’s is hard to come by, but ironically, Thomas Piketty (who is best known as the French economist promoting progressive tax rates) compiled data estimating tax rates in 1960, when the top rate was still 91%. According to his data, shown in the chart below, the top .01% of income earners paid an effective 31% income tax rate in 1960, compared with a rate of 25% in 2004. While slightly higher, it’s fairly similar considering the huge variation in marginal rates (91% vs 36%). Piketty does claim the rich were more affected by corporate tax rates in the 50’s, as shown on the chart, but the Manhattan Institute has a good rebuttal to that finding in this paper.

Also, one would assume with taxes so high, that tax receipts as a percentage of GDP would also be much higher, but they weren’t:

This is partly because there were much more generous tax deduction loopholes decades ago, such as being able to deduct significant capital losses from income (instead of just $3000/year). Or the ability to offset income taxes by buying a home and then gradually depreciating the home every year, but while also collecting rental income on the home (to cover the mortgage). Tax reforms of 1964, 1969, and 1986 gradually patched these loopholes.

But what was probably the biggest lost deduction for wealthy individuals was the elimination of deductions on passive investment losses on real estate. Before 1986, wealthy individuals would often buy real estate with no hopes at all of it cash flowing. That wasn’t the point. The point was that real estate is depreciated every year in the eyes of the IRS. Even though in the long run, properties usually go up in value, the IRS assumes that every twenty-seven-and-a-half years a property’s value will depreciate to zero.

This “loss” can be written off. So, for example, say a man earning $100,000 a year buys a property worth $275,000. He rents out the property and breaks even on it. The tax code allows that person to write off $10,000 as a loss which he can count against his income for that year. So now he only has to pay taxes on $90,000. If he owned ten such properties, his income would be zero, at least according to the IRS.

Many decades ago, the IRS actually considered real estate to be a depreciating asset. Not anymore:

When the income tax rates were cut under Reagan, this loophole was mostly closed in exchange under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Only the mortgage interest deduction remained for real estate for most taxpayers. Under the current code, if a lawyer earns $500,000, they can only deduct $3,000 in all losses, no matter how real or large.

Why Choose Pacifism

Pacifism is not about giving up or conceding – it’s about perspective, in picking and choosing your battles wisely, as well as maximizing one’s present situation with the resources at his or her disposal. The failure of conservatism over the past 40 years to halt–let alone reverse–leftism, is evidence of the failure of activism as a means for effecting change. Activism plays into the hands of our foes. This doesn’t mean pacifism is the best approach, but it’s better than what has already been done. Marx, who didn’t do anything anything besides create the intellectual groundwork for an ideology that proved so maleficent that even Satan was probably impressed, is evidence of the power of ideas over action. It can be hard to accept pacifism, because of how history is conventionally portrayed (in school, TV, books, and media), in that that battles and other pivotal events are led by ‘great men’ (such as George Washington), who get all the attention, in a vacuum separate from the underling philosophies that motivate such action and ‘greatness’.

Trump and the Alt-Right: A Return to ‘Localism’

The alt-right is new, but it’s intellectually descended from the John Birch Society and Pat Buchanan brand of conservatism, which failed to gained wide acceptance. It ended when Reagan, who promoted a message and policy of unity, won twice by significant margins, changing the course of American national politics from one of identity to one of all-inclusiveness (or what some call a ‘globalist agenda’). Clinton continued on the path of inclusion where Reagan left off, also winning by large margins. Globalization cannot be fixed with nationalism alone, because globalization is both a mindset and a from of policy. The rise of the internet and mass media has contributed to the former, by making international events as important, if not more so, than local ones. To end globalization, one must literally disengage from the rest of the world. This could explain why sports, celebrity gossip, and reality TV are so popular – not only is it escapism, but such things are very local. 911 was ‘local’, and as awful as it was, it brought the nation together. Globalism can cause anomie and ennui because it’s hard to develop a social or personal connection with it, but also the powerlessness in trying to change it. Donald Trump, who is a reality TV star, is refreshing to so many, and why he won, because he’s the first American president exclusively for Americans, in a long while.

The Long Peace, and the Slowdown

In an earlier post Our Less Participatory Times, I discuss how political blogging, by in large, peaked in 2012-2013, and I still stand by that. Part of the problem is pundits, bloggers, commentators, and writers in the ‘political sphere’ are starved for ‘something to happen’, so we have to either go in circles, invent or breath life into ‘un-provables’, invent ‘paradigm shifts’ where none exist, or repeat sound bites to fill the void of silence, similar to Parkinson’s law which states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” except it’s the media that is doing the filling. Although things have been slowing down since late 2014 or so, they have slowed markedly since early 2016, and even Trump’s win hasn’t been enough to reverse it.

In diagnosing the problem, the slow news cycle [1] (save for Trump’s win), stands out as the chief culprit. Second, the US economy, which has transitioned from a boom-bust cycle to a perpetual, monotonically-increasing ‘boom’, albeit a slow one, is party to blame. Third, the ‘long peace’ as described by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, remains intact despite Isis, the deterioration in Syria, the European refugee crisis, and other problems. [2] All three of these tie in with the trend towards increasing stability of large, interconnected systems–the opposite of the entropy some say exists.

Fourth, since 2014, the increased importance and discussion of immigration, border, and nationalism, as a consequence of the European refugee crisis and Trump’s campaign. Although these are important issues, sometimes it gets repetitive and predictable. Nationalism and ethno-interests are never going to be ‘highbrow’ no matter how much you dress it up in intellectual prose, because by definition such things tend to be populist and collectivist, in contrast to right-wing elitism such as neoconservatism. Libertarianism [3] is fun in terms of debate and theory, but like a sitcom or other work of fiction, is fundamentally detached from reality. Nationalism, borders, and culture is less fun and more serious, because it’s practical and less theoretical. Between 2012, when NRx was first conceived, to around early 2014, there were themes of libertarianism, technocracy, and Nietzsche, but the 2014-2015 European refugee crisis pretty much ended that, because it became apparent that civilization could not be saved by theorizing and individualistic self-interest–but rather by forging a ‘collective identity’ united against obvious external forces that threaten it. You have to get out of the comfort of the ‘ivory tower’ and take a stand. From Against the Ubermensch:

In the past year or so, we’re seeing a re-branding or transformation of NRx…less Nietzsche’s ubermensch as embodied by John Galt (and the Californian ideology) and more like Oswald Spengler or Pat Buchanan. Maybe the old, pre-2014 NRx may have put too much emphasis on capitalism, individualism, and technology and not enough on culture and identity politics, as man lives not within his mind but as part of a social order and culture. Maybe this is a step in the right direction to broadening the appeal of NRx

[1] this depends on how you define something as ‘eventful’ – I define it as something that changes the way people fundamentally understand the world and the human condition. The 2008 financial crisis qualifies, although barely. 911 does, as does the fall of the USSR, and certainly the second world war. But there is also tendency in retrospect to see events as being pivotal, whereas in the present as they are unfolding, to be less so.

[2] Such, problems although they fill headlines, have not had any negative effect on the US economy, although it has hurt Europe to some extent due to increased terrorism (abetted by incompetent leftist policy in much of central and northern Europe).

[3] As in ‘pure’ libertarianism, not minarchism, partial-libertarianism, or anarcho-monarchism, whereby personal autonomy is maintained in high-trust societies. I generally remain sympathetic to libertarian ideas, but I can understand they have fallen out of favor in the wake of the increasing threat of Islam against Europe.

Inaction and Indifference as Rebellion, and the Decline of the Culture Wars

Activism includes but is not limited to telling people what to do or what to believe. By that definition, mainstream liberalism and conservatism is activist. There is an authoritarian and conformist tone to it that implores the subject to do something; for example, for the left, ‘you must spread your wealth and check your privilege’, as part of a collective ‘good’. But, especially since 2013, both the ‘left’ and ‘right’, particularly millennials, are tired of having to ‘do’ things, to have to ‘believe’ things, or to have strong convictions about things. With the exception of SJWs and, to a lesser extent, the alt-right and Trump, millennials are tired of action and dogma, preferring inaction and indifference. Decades ago, young people rebelled through action (protests, Woodstock, drugs, cross-country motorcycle rides), but now ‘rebellion’ is through inaction: staying home and watching Netflix instead of partying, going MGTOW, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, minimalism, personal finance, learning coding, and eschewing careerism.

As part of the post-2013 rise of ‘introspection culture’ (which is related to intellectualism culture), where ‘boring’ has become the new ‘hip’, naval-gazing and introspective articles, such as the widely-shared personal account of someone disconnecting from the internet for a month How I Got My Attention Back, frequently go viral, as every personal observation, no matter how small, has suddenly found a captive audience. In terms of clicks and viralness, even attention-grabbing headlines about major pubic figures such as Donald Trump find it hard to compete against seemingly mundane and contemplative topics, such as the articles In Defense Of A Boring, Comfortable Life and Why are Adults so busy?, both of which went viral.

With the decline of activism and the rise of introspection, which is individualistic and to some extent self-absorbed, the ‘culture wars’ are dying, as far as millennials are concerned. The post-2009 bull market (which is officially the longest ever), the post-2009 economic expansion (also the longest ever although the GDP growth is still sluggish), as well as a culture, economy, and society that celebrates and prizes individualism (such as taking pictures on Instagram), has also made culture wars less relevant. People see headlines about surging stock prices, stratospheric web 2.0 valuations, and Chinese buying up all the expensive estate estate in America, and we want a piece of the action instead of missing out (FOMO)–but also headlines about social security dwindling, the bad labor market, or how deficit spending threatens social programs, and millennials realize that while culture wars may be a sort of ‘bonding experience’ between like-minded people, no amount chest-thumping about social issues will change anything as far as policy is concerned nor provide financial peace of mind in increasingly uncertain economic times (such saving for retirement, paying for healthcare and education, covering the mortgage, or getting a job). Because of the aforementioned social, cultural, and economic factors, the culture wars ‘lost’ in the ‘court of pubic opinion’ or the ‘marketplace of ideas’, because the ‘generals’ failed to provide a sufficiently compelling case for why people should keep fighting when other issues seem more pressing.

As further evidence of this capitulation, particularly among the millennial-right, in 2016, Peter Thiel’s RNC speech, in which he proudly proclaimed being gay, was met with raucous applause. Such an ebullient response would have been inconceivable even as recently as a generation ago. Additionally, Thiel implored the ‘right’ to focus less on culture war issues (such as the controversy over same-sex bathrooms) and more on entrepreneurshi and innovation. However, conservatism in the individualistic, Randian sense (capitalism, private property, ‘ownership society’) is thriving, which is why Peter Thiel, who is a business and investing genius, not a culture warrior, is beloved by many millennials on the right. Same for Elon Musk.

With the exception of condoning obvious criminality that violates the non-aggression principle, such as the exploitation of minors, taking a moral ‘high ground’, in recent years, has become an untenable position in our era of moral ambiguity. For one, it’s a lost cause. For decades, spanning four presidential administrations, as well as talk radio and TV, the ‘right’ has nothing to show for its efforts, as American culture and society has inexorably moved ‘left’. Also, wrapping yourself in a cloak of moral sanctity and piousness leaves one exposed to charges of hypocrisy should one’s own indiscretions come to light. Rather than pressing judgement, it’s easier, but also more robust, to just not care. Moralizing, which includes SJW-activism, is sometimes an unwanted imposition that goes against one’s capacity for self-determination and self-regulation. ‘Our’ values, as in the ‘right’, are the bedrock of civilization, and leftist values are anathema to this. But to have strong values at all, from throwing in the towel on the culture wars or the rise centrism is, in and of itself, becoming an anachronism.

Idiocracy in America? Probably not

Anatoly Karlin’s article A Short History of the Third Millennium went massively viral, being read by thousands and getting almost 200 comments. Online, especially, there is considerable interest in ‘weird’, speculative topics such as futurology and existentialism, and these are issues that may have dramatic ramifications for the future of humanity: is radical life extension possible? How about whole brain emulation? Or creating super-human intelligence through gene modification and embryo selection? Will artificial intelligence render all jobs obsolete, or possibly even threaten to enslave us? Will humanity see the singularity and the transition to a type-1 and beyond civilization, or will it kill itself first? Are we destined for greatness or doomed to perish under a dysgenic dystopia?

Human genetic editing is banned by government edict around the world, to “protect human dignity” in the religious countries and “prevent inequality” in the religiously progressive ones. The 1% predictably flout these regulations at will, improving their progeny while keeping the rest of the human biomass down where they believe it belongs, but the elites do not have the demographic weight to compensate for plummeting average IQs as dysgenics decisively overtakes the FLynn Effect.

The good news is, historically, the trend has been towards towards the expanded use and adoption of new technologies, not restrictions. It cost $3 billion and over a decade just to sequence the human genome, let alone do much with it. It doesn’t make any economic sense for companies to spend so much money and time developing technologies, only to intentionally restrict the usage of such technologies to only an ‘elite’. By making technology readily available, it lowers costs and spurs further innovation. Now it only costs $1,000 to sequence a human genome.

It’s like the belief that elites have secret cancer cures that they are keeping themselves. Again, this is bad economics considering that there is huge demand (millions of people get cancer) and cancer drugs cost hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars to develop, creating an economic need to make these treatments available to as many people as possible, in order to recoup the costs. In a free market economy, if a company or entity were to a hoard a technology, another entity will eventually develop a cheaper and better version and make it available to more people, likely putting the first entity out of business.

An obvious counter-example are sports cars and private planes, which are still only available to elites. This is because the technology doesn’t exist to make private planes as cheap as a Honda. Another factor is branding, which is why Nike shoes and Rolex watches are so expensive even though their underlying technologies are not revolutionary. The reason why cancer treatments, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, are made available regardless of ability to pay is because the government has deemed it a ‘public good’. It’s possible genomic modification will become another luxury item and not a pubic good. It’s possible offshore embryo modification labs will be created for ultra-high-worth clientele who want their children to be endowed with traits that auger well for socioeconomic success, such as having a high IQ.

FLynn effect of environmental IQ increases is petering out across the world, especially in the high IQ nations responsible for most technological progress in the first place (Dutton, Van Der Linden, & Lynn, 2016). In the longterm “business as usual” scenario, this will result in an Idiocracy incapable of any further technological progress and at permanent risk of a Malthusian population crash should average IQ fall below the level necessary to sustain technological civilization.

However, even if current trends persist, the movie Idiocracy becoming reality is unlikely, as I discus in more detail here.

Even if the FLynn effect is tapering off, that doesn’t mean it will reverse. Anther possibility is that early gains in IQ are attributable to environment, and now that essentials such as food, shelter, sanitation, clean water, electricity, and literacy are much more common, the ‘low hanging’ fruit has been picked, putting more precedence on genetic factors, which are much slower to evolve than environmental ones, which is why it may seem like the FLynn effect is reversing.

For global IQs to keep falling without a bottom, there has to be some sort of environmental selection pressure to favor increasingly low IQs.

Just as the human population rose tenfold from 1 billion in 1800 to 10 billion by 2100, so it will rise by yet another order of magnitude in the next two or three centuries. But this demographic expansion is highly dysgenic, so global average IQ falls by a standard deviation and technology stagnates.

Even if this happens, the growing world population will mean more total smart people, which seems to be the case right now. Russia, Europe, and East and South Asia have billions of people and produce thousands, if not millions, of geniuses each year by virtue of the normal distribution of IQs. Even populations with a mean IQ of less than 100 still produce geniuses. Furthermore, smart people are more likely to procreate with other smart people (assortative mating), resulting in ‘enclaves’ of high-IQ, even as the rest off the world regresses.

The best and brightest from all over the world flock to America’s most prestigious universities and companies, which is why I’m skeptical of the America ‘Idiocracy’ scenario. As further evidence against ‘dumbing-down’, the number of research publications on Arxiv, a pre-print repository that specializes in physics and math papers, has surged in recent years. There is also no evidence yet of technological stagnation either (for example, genome sequencing is becoming cheaper). Like a fantasy sports team that gets the best players from all the teams, America is getting the best and brightest from all over the world. This is a major reason why the US economy has proven so resilient and strong in recent years whereas other economies have struggled with falling currencies, high inflation, falling stock markets, corruption, and slow growth. It’s a testament to these smart people that America is as functional as it is given all the forces of decay by leftism.

What matters most, however, are the total number of genetically ‘smart people’, not the proportion of smart people relative to the overall population size. Similar to how only a single human can oversee an entire ant colony, you don’t need many smart people to manage large populations.

By ‘genetically smart’, I mean people who have non-adjusted IQs above 130 or so. If the world were to become less intelligent, IQ tests would be adjusted to be easier, in order to keep the ‘mean’ IQ score still at 100. A century from now, an IQ of 130 may only be the same as a score of 115 today. But it’s still possible to have many people with biological IQs still at 130.

As the world population swells, it’s imperative that the population of smart people at least remain constant and undiluted. As far as America is concerned, the obvious answer is eugenics and restricting immigration by IQ and country, to keep such enclaves from becoming contaminated. Silicon Valley, perhaps the greatest IQ enclave ever, needs to be made aware of the threat of low-IQs to it homogeneity and stability. But if not for the sake of boosting IQ, we need restrictions for the sake of preserving civilization and civility against the hordes that threaten it, for without civilization, high IQ is useless.