Monthly Archives: July 2015

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


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

The Writer and the Coder

I imagine the IQ required to get a short story published in the journal Asimov’s Fiction excludes 98% of the educated* population, but the pay of 7-8 cents a word (around $700 for a 10,000 word short story) is not so great. The same for ‘mid list‘ writers, who are published and have sales, but make a low-middle class income from their work. According to the IQ/profession conversion table, if graduating college requires an IQ of around 115, I imagine the threshold be a successful author is much higher, which agrees with this data that shows that doctors, writers, and graduate engineers have a the second-highest IQs by profession (108-129), bested only by professors and CEOs. So to become a published** fiction author probably requires an IQ >130, which would exclude 98% of the population.

By contrast, a job that requires only average intelligence and pays $12 an hour nets around $1,900 a month, so the sci-fi writer would need to churn out three masterpieces a month to equal the income of a pencil pusher. Making matter worse for the writer, he has to keep coming up with new stuff whereas the pencil pusher just performs the required work to get paid – and no more.

The other extreme is coding, which requires a high IQ but pays very well. In either case – from the writer to the coder – personal fulfillment comes from the recognition and respect that comes from doing something few people are smart enough to do. Income for the sake of income also garners respect, but only if it’s a lot of money and the person lives a minimalist lifestyle instead of flaunting the wealth. Also, having a unique personal story that conveys authenticity helps a lot, too. Narratives and stories – stories of student loan debt to major in something smart, living hand-to-mouth as a published writer, the insufferable encounters with dumb people that inevitably arise when you’re smarter than average, the trials and tribulations of being a coder – is the conduit for which respect and recognition flows. A sort of Machiavellian rationalism in millennials whereby the ends (wealth, recognition) justifies the means.

* How we define ‘education’ is pretty much obsolete. A 4.0 high school GPA and AP courses doesn’t get you very far these days. Now you need professional degrees, and that’s often not good enough. Too many people who graduate college don’t have any marketable skills and can barely write a cogent sentence.

** By published I mean by a publishing house, not the trash heap that is Amazon self-publishing.

Bold, Determined, But Somewhat Wrong

From Victor Pride’s Bold & Determined: 33 Ways To Be The Greatest

There is a schism between the Objectivist faction of millennials, who embody the ethos of self-determination and ‘hustle’, and the empiricists and rationalists on the right and neo-liberal left, who also tend to also be pro-capitalist, but are more skeptical of the ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality. The rationalists believe (and I think this is the correct explanation based on the empirical evidence) that all else being equal, human biology plays a dominant role in individual success or failure, not environment or determination.

As I explain in the Terry Pratchet essay, practice and hard work will allow one to live to their cognitive potential, but not exceed it.

Steven Pinker in his writings is critical of Communism, but he is also critical of pop-psychologists, like Gladwell, who use shoddy research and cherry picked examples to downplay IQ and HBD as it pertains to individual life outcomes and wealth of nations, crafting a ‘schmaltzy’ message that appeals to readers, even if it’s scientifically dubious or just plain wrong.

Anyone who has a minimum IQ of 100 (very low!) can succeed with undivided obsession.

An IQ of 100 is not low; it’s average. It is low if you aspire to work at Google or create the next app sensation. But I imagine that an IQ of 100 is probably good enough to be a low-tech entrepreneur.

Work, work, work, work, work, work, and work some more. Get used to working!

If you want more success than everyone else then all you ever have to do is more than anyone else.

Hard work is important, but intelligence determines how much of a ‘return’ you get from your work, or if your goals are even possible. The best may do more than the rest, but they also tend to be smarter than the rest, too.

We need sober realism. No amount of practice and determination will ever allow me (or anyone else in the world) to dunk a 20-foot basket. It’s just too high. That’s an obvious example of how biology supersedes free will, but there are more subtle ones. A person with an IQ of 130 stands a much better chance of being a coder than someone with an IQ of 90, in which for the later it’s probably impossible. Since wealth and IQ (and its proxy, the SAT) tend to be highly correlated, it’s not unreasonable to assume that smarter people are also more successful at their entrepreneurial endeavors, too.

With a 9-5 job you will only ever scrape by.

You will never get rich, you will never have enough money to make a difference in the world, you will never not worry about bills, you will never have enough money in a catastrophic emergency, and your stupid family will start to despise you.

Hmm…but I think the 9-5ers who work at Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, Google or Facebook make good money, or at least some of the higher ranking employees. I think the executives of fortune 500 companies, who work 9-5, do alright. Same for doctors, high profile lawyers, etc. If you’re making more money with a 9-5 job than an entrepreneur who slaves away 12-20 hours a day for months and years, taking on debt for little in return, you’re winning. If the goal is to make money, which is a good goal, entrepreneurship may not always be the best approach. It’s one of many.

Even if Victor makes more money than the executives for Fortune 500 companies, he the exception rather than the norm. The data shows that the vast majority of entrepreneurs (those who don’t fail) make a middle-class income, which is good, but earning tens of millions as take-home profit as an entrepreneur is rare.

A study from American Express OPEN revealed that while more than half of small business owners pay themselves a regular salary, they are receiving an average salary of $68,000 annually, down from $72,000 a year ago.

There is no competition if you’re ahead of the game. If you’re ahead of the game competition simply cannot exist.

But there is no guarantee anyone will ever want what you have to offer. You may be ahead of the game, but that doesn’t do you much good if you have expenses to pay now.

The money comes to the first or to the best, so be one of them.

Not quite so. Look how Google overtook Lycos, Webcrawler, Alta Vista, and Yahoo. Look how Facebook overtook Mysapce.

Don’t chase respect and people will respect you, chase respect and people will despise you.

Agree, and this ties in with the importance of authenticity in post-2008 America. Being yourself, even if means being socially awkward, is better than trying to be someone you’re not. The millennials, especially the smart ones on 4chan and on Reddit, have a fine-tuned BS detector, and if you’re faking it, they will know. It’s like passing yourself off as a ‘published’ author, but not from a real publishing house, but from Amazon’s digital landfill of self-published books. The only exception to avoid poseur-dom would be if you sold a lot of books through self-publishing, which would make you cunning and successful and thus authentic, the epitome of cool. Failure to make money is fine if you’re exceptional in other ways (like being successfully published).

Athletes take steroids and businessmen take cognitive enhancers.

Anabolic steroids do work, which is why doctors sometimes prescribe them to treat various hormone disorders, but cognitive enhancers are at best placebos and most likely a scam. 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.

So you sweat out toxins

The human body does not produce toxins, and waste is not excreted through the skin (except possibly in severe kidney failure, resulting in uremic frost). Detox is another scam.

Dating is an ultimate waste of time.

Agree, and this aligns with the MGTOW philosophy.

Spurn comfort so you know how great comfort is.

Agree…minimalism is one of the fastest growing movements right now…delaying instant gratification for long-term success and abundance. Even if you’re rich, the cool thing to do nowadays is to invest the money in the S&P 500 (or one of the related indexes like the Dow or Nasdaq) instead of pissing it away on crap that depreciates. In the post-2008 world, ostentatious materialism is definitely out of style, but this is juxtaposed with the millennial obsession with personal finance and wealth – another contradiction, but understandable, since millennials tend to be savvier about finance, economics, and money than earlier generations, as well as millennials understanding the importance of self-sufficiency in our hyper-competitive post-2008 world.

26) No one owes you a fucking thing

Agree, and there is an epidemic of net-negative value people who take from the economy instead of contributing it, as alluded by Mitt Romney in his infamous 2012 remarks about the ’47%’ who are takers, dependent on the government for a handout at the cost to the productive taxpayers. One solution is to exclude these net-negative people from the democratic process.

Overall, I agree with about half of the list…especially the parts about not looking for a handout, but so not so much about entrepreneurship.

Related: Reddit Users Eviscerate Entrepreneurship BS

The Tech Rich Keep Getting Richer

Amazon stock is going nuts in after hours on blowout earnings, defying the pessimists who keep insisting it’s overvalued.

83933463 shares times a $70 gain, take the log…that’s another $6 billion or so for CEO Jeff Bezos in the span of about 10 minutes.

Whether it’s global warming or economic crisis, people who predict doom and gloom are losers. If they are right it’s because of luck, not any skill. They just sit around all day, pontificating about things that will likely never happen.

Amazon isn’t just selling stuff online, it’s building an entire infrastructure (both digital and physical) that may eventually run the world. In the not-so-distant future, 99% of commerce and information may flow through maybe only a dozen companies, of which Amazon, Google, and Facebook will be the biggest players.

And its not just Amazon going up, those web 2.0 valuations are rising, too. And it’s got much further to go.

This could be the technological rapture or ‘exit’ techno libertarians talk about. Right now Silicon Valley, with it’s surging real estate prices and new found wealth, has become further economically and socially detached from the rest of the country. Same for Wall St. & Manhattan, too. Both regions, the east coast and the west coast, flooded with intellectual and financial capital, meanwhile as the left still insists the economy is weak. The regions that are falling behind or stagnant don’t matter that much, sorry to say. People out of work…people with liberal arts degrees unable to find good jobs…they are specks of dust in the grand scheme of things, economically speaking. That’s the kind of economy we live in…where the most productive and useful 5% can compensate for the majority, who are dead weight or close to it.

Related: Wealth Creation Orgy

Bryan Caplan: Anti-Democracy Pioneer

I’ve always wondered why bloggers on the alt-right, such as Steve and others, seem to show a mild deference to the GMU (George Mason University) school of economists, linking to and commenting on the blog posts of Tyler Cowen and Bryan Caplan. These economists tend to be free-market neoliberal pragmatists/utilitarians, not cultural conservatives, but the interestingly these economists are also quite skeptical of democracy and the ‘rational voter’ , in agreement with the neo-reaction/alt right.

For example, Bryan Caplan, one of the early pioneers of the recent anti-democracy movement, in his critically acclaimed 2007 book The Myth of the Rational Voter challenges the notion that voters are reasonable people that society can trust to make laws

His book disabuses liberals voters’ misconceptions of economics, such as:

Make-work bias

Liberal voters assume that work for the sake of work is always good, ignoring the possible good that comes from structural unemployment, such as more productivity and new technologies. Full employment is not only impossible to achieve, but would be bad for the economy, since it would cause stagnation. The left wants more overpaid, redundant jobs that produce little economic value relative to their pay. Republicans and neoliberals understand that job loss is a necessary and unavoidable part of the evolution of the economy.

The left also wants more regulation, and then they complain that there are not enough good jobs, oblivious to the fact their policies are a contributing factor.

Anti-foreign bias

Caplan, along with the GMU school of bloggers and Ycompbinator’s Paul Graham, argue that free trade and immigration are good for the economy. I’ve argued repeatedly that in a free market, such as America, we shouldn’t limit our labor options, which hurts our competitiveness and stunts innovation. China is not our enemy, and they have much to more to lose by engaging in a trade war than they could ever stand to gain. It’s this economic symbiosis between China and America that keeps goods cheap and inflation low.

Pessimistic bias

The left wants the world to be doomed so that they can rebuild society to their egalitarian image, similar to the Russian Revolution, French Revolution, The Great Depression, and other examples of economic and social upheaval. The left would rather have the economy fail so the the rich lose money so that everyone is equally poor, than a society that rewards people for their economic contributions, even if that means some people will be richer than others. The left, in their want of failure and crisis, consistently underestimate the efficacy of policy makers and the resiliency free market. For example, by being bearish and negative on the economy going as far back as 2009, fanning the flames crisis for every non-event like Greece, insisting that the consumer is ‘maxed out’ despite the consumer always pulling though, spreading fears over web 2.0 being bubble, predicting over and over to no avail that housing and stock prices will crash, that profits & earnings will fall, that the fed is doing a bad job, that the economy is weak because not enough people can find jobs, that wealth inequality will doom the economy, that student loans are bubble, and on and on, the left’s shrill cries for crisis always ignored.

The left wanted the 2008 financial problem and the election of Obama to usher a post-America era, but the opposite happened: America only solidified its economic power with the best performing currency, the strongest stock market, and high inflation-adjusted GDP growth. In 2013 liberals like Krugman and midget Robert Reich spread doom and gloom about the sequester, despite the fact that the sequester was Obama’s fault for his refusal to compromise with Republicans over entitlement spending cuts. The economy and stock market brushed it off like it was nothing, so the left couldn’t blame the Republicans for the crisis that never came.

The left pretends to care about the health of the economy, yet they advocate policy that is bad for it.

Then you have doom and gloomer liberals, like Robert Shiller, Shiff and Roubini, who call everything a bubble and have been wrong about everything since 2009, as shown below:

Anti-market bias

The left blames corporations, rich people, the government, the fed, student loan companies, colleges, employers – everyone and everything but biological factors such as IQ. Sometimes in an economic recovery not everyone can participate. Social Darwinism 2.0 means those who are cognitively unfit may be left out, or have to wait longer than usual. People are falling behind because of low IQs in an economy that increasingly rewards intellect, not because of ‘greedy’ rich people. The solution, according to the left, is to do away with the free market, spreading all the wealth from the most successful to the least.

From Wikipedia:

Sometimes, however, it is virtually costless for the individual person to hold on to their preconceived beliefs, and people like those beliefs. Rational irrationality simply states that when it is cheap to believe something (even when it is wrong) it is rational to believe it. They refuse to retrace their logic and seriously ask themselves if what they believe is true. For some people, thinking hurts and they will avoid it if they can. This often appears in politics. Caplan argues that, “Since delusional political beliefs are free, the voter consumes until he reaches his ‘satiation point,’ believing whatever makes him feel best. When a person puts on his voting hat, he does not have to give up practical efficacy in exchange for self-image, because he has no practical efficacy to give up in the first place.”[9]

This is similar to the naturalistic fallacy – that just because something feels good (seeing the banks fail, rich people lose money, stocks crash, etc) doesn’t mean it’s good. Since 2008 or so, doom and gloom is trendy; views such as mine, while correct, are of the minority and tend to be ignored. Individuals don’t bear the consequences of bad voting habits and delusional beliefs – it’s spread out over millions of people, but if millions of people vote this way, it adds up.

Caplan, however, emphasizes that democratic failure exists and places the blame for it squarely on the general public. He makes special emphasis that politicians are often caught between a rock and a hard place: thanks to advisors, they know what policies would be generally beneficial, but they also know that those policies are not what people want. Thus they are balancing good economic policy (so they do not get voted out of office because of slow growth) and bad economic policy (so they do not get voted out of office because of unpopular policies).[citation needed]

Agree..the banks bailouts, for example, were a necessity despite being politically unpopular. George W. Bush, Paulson, Geithner, and Bernanke deserve praise for doing a good job, rising to the occasion when so many expected (and wanted) them to fail. TARP, which everyone hated, had the highest ROI of any government program, while social security, which everyone loves, is an economic drain.

Democracy means that people vote for what feels good, not for what is best for the common good (utilitarianism). More funding for high-IQ kids, for example, is a good policy, but everyone would rather just keep pouring water in the muddy well that is special education and other ineffective programs.

Also Caplanm, like Summers, Pinkers, Adam Davidson, Steve Levitt, and others of the Chicago and George Mason school of economics, probably subscribes to an HBD-centric view of the world in contrast to welfare liberals, who deny HBD as it pertains to intelligence and socioeconomic outcomes. As everyone knows, Larry Summers got into hot water with the left in 2005 for stating what everyone otherwise suspected to be true but were too afraid to say: women tend to lag at math and science due to cognitive differences at the ‘high end’, meaning that while man and women both have a mean IQ of 100, women have a smaller variance of IQ scores, resulting in fewer genius scores necessary to succeed at STEM.

Caplan is also skeptical of parenting as a means of changing behavior, which aligns with the HBD-centric views of the alt-right. The left wants to believe that helicopter parenting, universal pre-k, and wealth redistribution can turn dull kids into super-achievers, but biology suggest otherwise.

But beyond a shared ambivalence towards democracy and egalitarianism, as well as belief in some elements of HBD, neo-reaction and Caplan (along with the rest of the neoliberal left and neoconservative right) otherwise seem to have little in common.