Monthly Archives: February 2016

Age of Abundance? It Depends

From Joshua Brown of The Reformed Broker: Abundance

Facebook is free. Twitter is free. Snapchat is free. Instagram is free. Youtube is free. Video game apps are free. Texting is free. Sexting is free. Skyping is free. Chatting is free. Why would you spend money on anything? Where do you think people spend their time now? Endless entertainment and content, for almost nothing.

Kinda…but the internet service is certainly not. Carriers will give the phone for free if you lock-in a long-term expensive contract. The electricity bill, too, which in addition to the internet bill, needs to be paid to run Netflix. TVs are very cheap but cable bill keeps rising:

Computers are cheap but software still stubbornly expensive. Through bifurcated inflation, the money is still going to be spent. Not through hardware (which is getting cheaper) but by services (which are becoming more expensive).

Here is the break-down by category:

Automate everything, outsource the rest – it’s cheaper for the customers. “But now there are no customers left, no one has the money to be a customer anymore.”

hmmm…yet the new Star Wars movie grossed $2 billion, a record haul. Obviously there are customers and they are buying stuff. There is also the huge business to business segment of the economy of companies spending tens of billions of dollars to advertise on TV and on social media. Consumer spending still at record highs.

The Luddite Fallacy is the subject of considerable debate. Some assume that eventually all jobs will be automated, but history has shown that new jobs are always being created. The automobile industry, which replaced the horse and buggy industry, has created millions of jobs around cars, car parts, aftermarket modifications, car salesmen, accident lawyers, car accessories, etc. No one really knows what is going to happen but the evidence suggests that human labor will not be subsumed by robots anytime soon. You also have to take into account that the definition of ‘work’ is also changing, with salaried jobs being replaced by ‘gig’ work, temporary work, contracting, self-employment, as well as jobs that have fewer weekly hours.

You can blame the Federal Reserve’s loose money policies if you’d like. There is over-investment in every industry. It’s killing confidence. Nothing is worth what it used to be. We haven’t adjusted to this reality yet.

What evidence does he have that confidence is ‘getting killed’. Just another unfounded supposition.

Here are the results: You can get a job but there’s nowhere you can afford to live that is anywhere near that job. You can create your own job but, absent access to capital markets, you can’t compete with those who have it. Plenty of hiring in New York and San Francisco. Good luck living there.

Josh also ignores that New York and San Francisco also have among the highest wages.

Although New York is expensive for minimum wage earners, San Francisco is relatively affordable because wages are so high.

Even money is free. The people and firms with the least need to borrow it can borrow it with abandon. Apple can have as much money as it wants, virtually free. They have no idea what to do with it. The US and German and Japanese governments can borrow for free. Then what?

It’s close to free for large entities like multinationals and the fed. govt. that can borrow at next to nothing, but rates are still high for ordinary people. It costs 6-8% a year to borrow money from TD Ameritrade when using a margin account, which is the same as it was when interest rates were much higher. Low interest rates haven’t dented credit card interest rates; in fact, rates have risen (probably in response to federal consumer regulatory costs incurred since 2008):

Malinvestment is everywhere. The capital markets runneth over. “Give us something with an income stream to put our money into! Even the promise of an income stream will suffice.”

As if he’s one to judge…In early 2014, Josh was bullish on 3-D printing stocks, all of which have fallen 75% or more. Facebook and Amazon were called bubbles and have defied expectations. Sometimes there’s malinvestment’; other times there isn’t, but the expected value is what matters. A few big winners are enough to compensate for many losers. That’s how VC works.

Today there is too much of everything and no demand for it. Abundance is wrecking the economy. Too much oil, too much gas. Too many websites and shows and streaming services and apps. Too many subcultures and verticals and genres. How can anyone be heard or seen? How can anything rise above the din?

There is abundance in some areas (TV show selection, apps, cheap food, low borrowing for multinationals and US govt.) and less so in others (college tuition keeps going up, very high borrowing costs for mainstream and small business). With the exception of recently bad earnings in the energy sector and potential problems with China and emerging markets, the economy isn’t ‘wrecked’, but rather subdued or slow. It’s more like a ‘winner take all’ economy, amplified. It’s possible to have a strong economy even if many are not fully participating, due to a handful of superstars who compensate for the millions who are treading water, just getting by.

If you’re wondering why the fringe candidates are the mainstream candidates in this election cycle it’s because there is no mainstream. It’s because only the most extreme views can be heard across all of the cultures and platforms and verticals and genres. You have to sound like a fucking insane person. Kanye knows this. Kim taught him. Trump knows this – instinctively. “I can be anything to any group I’m speaking to.” He was born for this moment in time.

No, fringe candidates are succeeding because people are tired of the ‘mainstream’, not because the mainstream does not exist. People are tired of the unmovable ‘status quo’, where their voices are drowned out, and this could explain the rise of Trump and Sanders, who are lending an ear to the masses. Josh’s article is full of so many generalizations, many of which are wrong or have many counterexamples. Hard to know what will happen, but my money is on things remaining how the are, but more so.

What Comes Next

From Free Northerner: The Neoreactionary Bargain

The current social order is slowly(?) collapsing. The money’s run out, inflation and cheap debt are reaching the limits of their ability to mask insolvency, the natives are growing increasingly restless, low-level guerilla war is rising, and our culture and cohesion are breaking down. What can not last forever, won’t. Eventually this social order will be replaced.

What will it be replaced by?

One option is a slow limping decline/dark age. Another is simple collapse and anarchy, possibly an on-going low-level civil war. Another possibility, particularly in Europe, is Islam. A fourth possibility is a leftist singularity. The most likely possibility is a right-wing surge of the native population and the violent expulsion of the elites and invaders.

The evidence, however, suggests the system is not collapsing, or if it is, it’s collapsing very slowly, almost imperceptibly. The reasons for this are:

A strong dollar and insatiable demand for low-yielding treasury bonds owing to America’s unassailable reserve currency status.

Strong consumer spending, strong exports, record high corporate profits & earnings, and low inflation. Compared to the rest of the world, America, economically speaking, is doing pretty well.

The technological and intellectual contributions from America’s best and brightest are enough to offset the societal/moral decay. This is the moral decay conundrum (if things seem so bad, why is the economy otherwise so strong?)

Some good news is, online, since 2013 or so, there has been a backlash against social justice warriors, and it’s possible that the backlash will spread off-line as well if Trump becomes president. And themes of HBD and the ‘art right’ are already gaining some mainstream acceptance. Millennials are losing faith in democracy. Those are some reasons for optimism.

But capitalism is changing, favoring a few winners and more losers. It has always been this way, but in the future the ‘winner take all‘ nature of the US economy and society will become more amplified, resulting in the so-called Hobbesian-Locke dichotomy. Technology and globalization could improve living standards by making entertainment abundant and cheap, as well as better treatments for diseases, but it may not bring the personal fulfillment many seek, as explained by Noam Chomsky in why Trump’s popularity is surging:

“Fear, along with the breakdown of society during the neoliberal period,” he said. “People feel isolated, helpless, victim of powerful forces that they do not understand and cannot influence.”

“It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember,” he said. “Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now, in large part because of the growth of a militant labor movement and also the existence of political organizations outside the mainstream.”

This parallels the state of politics today, as I explain in Intellect: The Universal Solvent where since 2012 neither the Democrats nor Republicans are satisfied, with an unmovable ‘status quo’ prevailing, rendering any meaningful change impossible.

Between 2008-2012, both the right and the left were duking it out over Obama, Obamacare, and OWS, but with Obamacare not going anywhere, OWS a failure, and with the economy and nation in autopilot mode, perhaps a pervasive, almost cynical, centrism has dawned, almost a resignation that change is impossible. From 2008-2012, both the right and the left had high hopes, but now empty handed, with gridlock, the status quo, and ‘politics as usual’ winning.

David Brooks sums up politics as a ‘compromise’ where neither side really gets what they want, as a way of non-violently reconciling differences:

Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.

The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want. Disappointment is normal.

This is especially true since 2008 with the bank bailouts, which no one liked but may have ultimately been necessary to stave off something potentially much worse. Although many on the ‘alt right’ (with the possible exception of this blog) opposed the bailouts, in another sense the bailouts exemplify the ‘anti-revolutionary/anti-democracy’ ethos of NRx and, some what related, utilitarianism and the ‘rational right’, which is that the ‘common man’ is naive and irrational and thus should not participate in the decision making processes. Hence, in his appeal to the uneducated, in some ways, Trump may actually be revolutionary, sorta like a right-wing version of Mao, who also courted the uneducated to support his ‘cultural revolution’, although I much prefer Trump’s revolution to Mao’s.

The rise of Trump, and Sanders, represents a backlash against ‘politics as usual’. We’re all dreaming the same dream that someone, some outsider or messianic figure, will awaken the nation from its autopilot stupor.

Rather than collapse, we will likely see a continuation of the aforementioned trends, but more extreme. That means wealth inequity will keep widening, S&P 500 profits & earnings will keep rising, treasury bond yields will remain low, etc. The entitlement spending problem may yield to a eugenics program, hopefully, to address the problem of people who are net-negative to the economy. In this blog I outline solutions, but the likelihood of any of them being implemented in the immediate future are slim. ‘Formalism’ is a possibly, but given the existing close ties between corporations and government, we may already be closer to that than we think.

But there is also the possibility that the biggest tech companies of Silicon Valley, along with tens of thousands of the most productive people, will secede from the Union, forming a sovereign state, sorta like Galt’s Gulch in Atlas Shrugged or the libertarian utopia in Stranger in a Strange Land. Or, even less likely, in the far distant future they gradually overtake the existing US government. This could be done by filling all the major branches of government with technologists, and then gradually phasing out existing democratic institutions, to be replaced by something that bears some resemblance to America today, but also different in many ways, too, although it’s difficult to describe what that would be.

Family and Individualism

From The Right Stuff: Equalism is Retarded

It’s time we rejected equalism and feminism. It’s time we rejected the notion that the desires of individual men and women are more important than the interests of the family as a social unit.

Hmmm….but why do these have to be mutually exclusive ? Why can’t we believe in HBD and individualism,as we as rejecting egalitarianism and feminism, in a society where the best and the brightest can live to their fullest potential? Social Darwinism, which is more relevant than ever in today’s competitive, increasingly automated economy, is a good sorting mechanism for separating the winners from the losers. Individualism, where each can compete to the best of his ability, is better than collectivism where wealth from the most the the productive is spread to the least.

Feminism would die in a free market society, as feminists and social justice warriors provide no economic value and are dependent on taxpayer dollars in the form of grants, tuition,and welfare for subsistence.

Families are important, but are also taxing, both financially and emotionally. All too many men are stuck in miserable relationships. Even if MGTOW becomes much more popular than it already is, there will still be enough reproduction to keep the population from falling below its replacement rate. The projections are that the world population will swell to 9-15 billion humans by 2100.

In any society, there is probably an optimal balance between individualism and collectivism. A society that is 100% atomized, by definition, is not a society. But history also shows that total conformity is no better. Those quirky people on the right side of the Bell Curve, with their idiosyncrasies, are needed for society to advance technologically, while everyone else goes about tending to civilization. If you go through Charles Murray’s database of human accomplishments, you’ll find virtually all accomplishments were made by smart people. Liberals value social justice and equality over quantifiable results. The left wants America to be a nation of takers, not creators.

Related: Individualism vs. Thede

Math Note #1 (option pricing and GR)

Collected resources:

Introductory option pricing information:

Four Derivations of the Black-Scholes Formula (best one)

FAQ’s in Option Pricing Theory

Merton Model

More advanced stuff:

First Hitting Time and Expected Discount Factor

The Ins and Outs of Barrier Options: Part 2 (really good source. explains how to derive rebate terms in barrier pricing)

“up and out call” absorbing barriers

greens function absorbing and reflecting (fourier series are the solution of 2nd order partial differential equations. some of these series have closed form solutions. related: Heat kernel)

automatic exercise capped call options

barrier option absorbing

General Relativity Intros

Einstein’s Paper: “Explanation of the Perihelion Motion of Mercury from General
Relativity Theory”

A No-Nonsense Introduction to General Relativity

Free Speech and Twitter

From Pax Dickinson: I TOLD YOU SO: TWITTER’S CRACKDOWN ON FREE SPEECH

and from Social Matter This Week in Reaction (2016/02/21)

Twitter’s House, Twitter’s Rules. One could hope Twitter might enforce their terms of service fairly without a view to the orthodoxy of the opinions expressed. But Twitter is under no moral or legal obligation to do so. Who are we kidding? It’s their house. They’ll do what they want. Don’t let the door bruise your arse on the way out if you don’t like it. – See more at: http://www.socialmatter.net/2016/02/23/this-week-in-reaction-20160221/#sthash.Gy9ji2zD.dpuf

Hmmm…even though I agree Twitter censorship is becoming problematic, Twitter, being a private company, has discretion to to whatever it wants within the law, so while we may be mad that they are disabling right-wing speech, it is within their right to do so. Way back in early 2015 during the Ellen Pao Reddit upheaval, I predicted censorship would become a problem and I implored the ‘right’ to create and run their own social media and content platforms instead of depending on a third parties that can pull the plug without warning. When Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, WordPress, or Facebook deletes your profile, everything is irrevocably lost. You lose any followers, search rankings, all content, and, most importantly, your username/handle. Grey Enlightenment content is always backed-up, and the domain is not going anywhere. It costs money to do this, but it’s a small price to pay to not have near total control over your content.

The problem is ‘free speech’ does not apply to the private sector, only the public, which given the size and importance of the private sector, is becoming quite limited. The Constitution would have to be amended, to include a clause protecting some or all private sector free speech, voiding the bulwark that has historically separated the two sectors.

Some on the ‘alt right’ also seem to have a fixation on preserving free speech, while also opposing democracy, and I don’t think this contradiction is logically consistent. We need to choose one. A reactionary state cannot, by definition, have a 1st Amendment (or equivalent).

But that doesn’t change the fact that the left are hypocrites, preaching the virtues of ‘free speech’, tolerance, and democracy while silencing speech they oppose.

From Reactionary Future:

Liberalism is acid, it is cancer, it is the most hideous disaster to befall mankind and until it is stopped completely, the disaster will continue its work. Enough of these abstract and contextless values such as liberty, equality and freedom. Enough of the fraud.

Free speech and assembly may be limited to persona autonomy.

As for Twitter, they don’t need us (the dissident right). Twitter is morphing into a broadcasting company, where a couple hundreds or so popular Twitter accounts post updates to their millions of followers, much like TV, where millions passively consume the output of a handful of creators. Celebrities can broadcast tour dates and new releases. TV studios can broadcast new shows and schedules. Sports teams can broadcast scores and rosters. Like cable TV, deep-pocketed advertisers can buy ‘sponsored Tweets’ in these broadcasts, to be seen by millions of followers. Content on TV tends to be much more nuanced than on the internet, and Twitter is moving that way, too, in suspending and ghosting potentially controversial accounts and hashtags. Performing cost analysis, Twitter executives determined that the pageviews and ad-impressions from controversial content is a trivial compared to Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez/CNN pablum.

The Daily View: In a Loop, MGTOW, and The Elite

From Amerika.org Which way, dissident Right?

Currently the dissident Right is caught in a loop of rehashing its criticisms of the Left but it is unable to make the step toward the difficult stage of demanding actual change because this conflicts with Crowdist elements in its audience. We have lots of blogs rehashing ideas that myself and others covered 20 years ago, and while that is great, it has become preaching to the choir. We either take the next step or vanish in irrelevance.

It would seem like certain aspects of the alt right are in a loop, going in circles. Malcolm Pollock expresses similar sentiments, in which he tires of repeating the same stuff over an over. The problem is with any organization, be it a corporation, non-profit, or a movement, promotion is by espousing an opinion that closest aligns with everyone else (sorta like a linear regression model), but then others also do this, too, and it becomes self-reinforcing as the outward plots move towards the line, and then the line is re-drawn again, ad infinitum. From a game-theory standpoint, this is the optimal strategy (if promotion is what one seeks), but it tends to result in repetition due to others copying the strategy.

The American Elite Hates America

They shouldn’t wish to associate with us (ordinary Americans). We’re good for consumer spending and little else. The elite are only acting in their best interests, and secondly, NRx should not be populist. I would much prefer right-wing elitists over left-wing ones, but neither are egalitarian. An NRx monarchy, or any monarchy, by definition, would be ‘elite’. Due to the recent rise of populism and general cynicism over American government, the word ‘elite’ has negative connotations, it doesn’t have to be that way. The ‘elite’ should be those who are the most competent to rule, as under a technocracy or meritocracy. Right now we have situation where, by in large, the unqualified are the in change and are the ‘elite’.

Most of academia hates America. If you told them that in fifty years America will possess a world culture and that those with European ancestry will be an oppressed minority, a huge celebration would take place in universities throughout the country

With the exception of STEM, this is true.

Most feminists, social justice warriors, liberals, and even conservatives hate America. The entire range of the political spectrum have been infiltrated and corrupted by those who want to give an unholy death to traditional American values. Consumerism, nihilism, and Islamic and Mexican interests will take over instead.

But these are not the elite; they are lackeys. The elite, interestingly, are not the most radicalized. The elite tend to be centrist (think Bill & Hillary Clinton), neoliberal, or pragmatic. Upending the status quo would cause them (the elite) to lose money and influence, and while they may seek reform, their approach is incrementalist. SJWs, on the other hand, are low-information and seek crisis so the economy fails and Marxism can be phased in. The elite have the most to lose should there be crisis and upheaval, and hence seek self-preservation.

Nihilism, like Postmodernism, is a word that is thrown around a lot (sorta as a catch-all for all that is bad in the world) but not really understood that well. As I discuss, instead of nihilism, it’s more like fatalism or predestination. The latter are compatible with some of the more HBD-variants of the ‘alt right’ who believe that genes, which are predetermined, affect socioeconomic outcomes.

Most Silicon Valley technologists hate America. They create apps and devices that are tearing apart the social fabric of family and tribe while hurting the middle class. Then they use their newfound billions in wealth to agitate for gay marriage, transsexual rights, and open borders.

Hmm..seems like Roosh is parroting the anti-technology left, albeit from the ‘right’ instead of the ‘left’. How does Uber ‘tear apart’ families? Thousands of people are making a living with gig jobs on Task Rabbit or Fiverr, and although these jobs may not pay well, they provide income opportunities for people who may otherwise be destitute. The middle class and the “American dream’, for better or worse, is being redefined. It means traditional jobs are being replaced by temporary work, where people are paid for the economic value they produce – not for merely ‘showing up’ – and are personally accountable for whether they succeed or fail, instead of a big, nameless company being accountable.

If a corporatocracy involving, say, the biggest Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon ran the country, it would probably be very efficient but possibly dehumanizing. It would be like Dubai but instead of oil, the economy would be run by apps, websites, and intellectual property. There would probably be a lot of social justice – or less, with discrimination suits no longer an issue now that the companies control the courts and the rest of the government.

For example, have you noticed that men’s rights activists are constantly attacked while the men going their own way group (MGTOW) is not, and even discussed sympathetically? It’s because the latter group promotes social isolation and reproductive sterility, which matches the establishment’s depopulation agenda. On the other hand, white nationalists are being roundly attacked through the proxy of Donald Trump. Therefore the latter group must have at least some ideas which strengthen America.

The rise of MGTOW is in response to recent social changes and to a more cut-throat, expensive economy where rent vast exceeds inflation, where jobs are increasingly scarce, and stable relationship are not only nearly impossible, but too expensive. It’s easier for men to live alone, embracing minimalism, than to trying to emulate their baby boomer parents’ expensive lifestyles. Millennials are more interested in intellectual wealth (math, coding, physics, philosophy, etc), not ostentatious materialism (big house, flashy car, Rolex, etc).

There are seven billion people in the world, so I don’t think the natalists have to worry about losing to the anti-natalists anytime soon. Instead of more humans, we need higher-quality ones.

Individualism Vs. Thede

There is a schism on ‘alt right’ (as well as the ‘mainstream right’) about individualism vs. ‘thede’ or state, and how to strike a balance between the two.

First, an article about the radioactivity of individualism

…which is contrasted by an article about the ‘borg’, denouncing the ills of too much collectivism.

There is the same penchant for heavy-handed “for your own good” tyranny (which the left inevitably puts on display as soon as they feel secure in their power); the same forced collectivism and sense of an entitlement to impose their ways on others by any means necessary

This is similar to the divide on the ‘right’ over libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and neocons, who tend to favor free markets, defense spending, individualism, and autonomy, versus the religious/traditional right, who are more skeptical of free markets and too much individualism, supporting close-knit communities united by tradition, fraternity, and ethnicity. Paleocons and traditionalists argue that unbridled capitalism – especially free markets – subverts tradition and borders, promotes amorality, and hurts native workers.

Ross Douthat expounds on this divide, in which the paleocons/traditionalists represent the ‘base’ and the neocons the ‘establishment’. Up until 2008 or so with the ignominious end of the Bush administration, the GOP was united, but it has since splintered into these two dissenting factions, and this is especially evident in the 2016 campaign, with Trump representing the ‘base’ and Rubio, Cruz, and Jeb the ‘establishment’. Ross Argues that the divide dates back earlier than 2008, although Reagan also enjoyed a near-plurality of support by the right during much of his presidency, and Bush, while in ‘exile’ now, had very high approval ratings after 911 and much of two terms office.

We need to make up our minds. The mixed economy we have presently seem to blend individuality (free markets, individual autonomy, etc) with some sort of government to hold it together. This is similar to the ‘partial libertarian’ or ‘watchman state’ approach advocated by Rothbard and Nozick – some ‘state’ to hold everything together and enforce laws, defense, and the border, but otherwise low regulation, low taxes, free markets and personal autonomy.

I prefer individualism over collectivism, even if the former tends to be a bit radioactive. Perhaps an ideal ‘state’ would be akin to United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which have capitalism and some degree of personal autonomy but also religious and cultural homogeneity. But even those countries, as culturally conservative as they are, have a lot of foreign laborers, which racialists on the ‘alt right’ would not condone. But it’s probably too late for the United States to reverse its course, being that it’s already too diverse, too entrenched in the ‘status quo’, and too populous. However, it’s still better than many of the alternatives. Brazil, for example, which is in recession and has high inflation. Or Russia , which is also sluggish and has a lot of problems. Europe, particularly Northern Europe, is even more politically correct than America, is flooded by refugees, and has a worse economy.

Related: Alt Right Part 2, and the NRx Endgame

Social Skills and Political Correctness

Are Poor Social Skills Contributing to Political Correctness?

I think it’s just the opposite: In a meritocratic society, social skills are a crutch for the incompetent who get by on connections instead of skill or talent, as well as fostering political correctness because people are unafraid to ‘notice’ things and speak their minds. ‘Good’ social skills means taking precautions to not offend ‘protected’ groups and easily triggered people – a willful rejection of reality or a cognitive dissonance to avoid hurting feelings.

Silicon Valley, yes, which I know has various leftist tendencies, values competence and results over social skills. People get rich from creating value, producing quantifiable results (such as coding an app), not by sucking-up and shallow flattery. In academia, particularly in STEM, it’s also that way.

Rationalism and reactionary beliefs, to the uninitiated, may come across as autistic or Asperger-like. We care about data and empirical evidence, not sparing feelings. Being smart means accepting and noticing reality, the good the bad and the ugly of it, as opposed to taking solace in wishful thinking and fairy tales.

The strongest push for politically correct speech comes from younger Millennials. None of the older generations of Boomers and Gen-Xs wanted PC to become more radical or applicable to our everyday speech. Even older liberals like Bill Maher hate Political Correctness just as much as their older, conservative counterparts. Only the young blood SJW’s are pushing so hard for it to become universal and radicalized.

It’s not that way on Reddit, Youtube, and 4chan, at least, where since 2013 or so, following the demise of OWS, there has been a backlash against political correctness, by millennials. Youtube and Reddit doesn’t represent all millennials, but it is still a very large sample. Based on my own observations, the tide has definitely turned as shown by how pro-SJW comments get voted-down quickly and anti-SJW posts and discussions do well.

An example: Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube videos have received such a negative response that comments and ratings are disabled. Meanwhile, AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers’ videos do very well.

Maybe it’s also like a barbell: on one extreme are SJW-millennials, but on the other are the ‘alt right’.

From An Army of Fact Checkers: How Reddit (and social media) is Destroying the SJW Narrative:

As I predicted in 2014, there is definitely evidence of SJW narrative collapse, especially on Reddit and elsewhere, with the rise of Red Pill, Dark Enlightenment, and other anti-SJW movements and ideologies. Online, whenever a story breaks out 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.

‘Low Information’ Sanders

With the exception of the Supreme Court and the primaries, not much going on in the news. We’re still in a slow news cycle and in an autopilot economy of things being sluggish but never approaching the crisis the left seeks.

Thomas Sowell endorses Cruz over Trump. No shocker there.

As part of the post-2013 SJW narrative collapse and the rise of centrism and rationalism, even celebrities, and people on Reddit and elsewhere, are finally realizing that Sanders and the rest of the left want to destroy wealth and punish the most successful, not create wealth and promote success. The internet, which includes social media and sites like Reddit and 4chan, threatens the leftist order, which depends on ‘old media’ to spread their propaganda that, up until the rise of social media, largely went unchallenged. We’re seeing the rise of minimalism and alternative/niche ideologies (such as NRx, alt right, HBD, red pill, etc), in rejection to the shallowness and banality of mass media and normative, politically correct discourse…Related to shallowness and pandering, Senile Sanders thinks wealth can be created by spreading is from the most productive and successful to the least. This desire to spread the wealth and attack the successful dates back to 20th century communism but rebranded under Obama and Sanders, both of whom appeal to ‘low-information’ voters (similar to the proletariat in communism), including welfare recipients and student loan deadbeats – not well-informed people who create economic value and are capable of critical thinking. As opposed to lifting up the cognitively exceptional, the left seeks to make them conform to thee standards to the lowest common denominator. Yes, There are rich, smart people (limousine liberals) who Support Sanders, but the vast majority of his supporters have neither of those qualities. It’s just another peasant revolt, albeit with ballots instead of pitchforks. Bill Clinton, as disreputable as he is, understood that a growing welfare state was unsustainable and hence enacted welfare reform. Some on the ‘right’ say Sanders ‘stands for something’, which makes him ‘better’ than Hillary. Others on the right argue he will hasten the decline of America, paving the way for a far-right government.

The Daily View: Math Resurgence, Economic Growth, Student Loans

The Math Revolution:The number of American teens who excel at advanced math has surged.

This agree with earlier posts I have written countering the commonly held belief that America is ‘dumbing down’, when in fact it may not be. It also agrees with posts about the rise of ‘nerd culture’, and how STEM skills are increasingly valued both culturally and economically in our new economy. It’s the tyranny of the bookish, of smart people pulling ahead as everyone else struggles with a perpetually anemic labor market, stagnant home prices, and falling real wages. Math and code are the new ‘scriptures’ of modern society and economy, with mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, and economists the new ‘priesthood’. More and more young people are studying code and symbols, much like Bible readings, as a way to salvation, except not an intangible one, but one measured by higher wages and more respect.

Interestingly, on Reddit and 4chan, English, History, and Philosophy majors are also respected, too, as they sacrifice monetary gains to pursue a ‘higher’ calling. Such degrees, even though they may not pay very well or have immediate real-world applications, are a solace of intellectual purity, patience, and understanding in a society spoiled by instant gratification, ostentatious materialism, low-information pandering, and sensationalism. Both STEM and some liberal arts (not the useless ones like child development or gender studies) combine authenticity, sufficient intellectual rigor, introspection, and abstractions. For the math major such abstractions include axioms, postulates and theorems; for the literature major, it’s words and grammar; for philosophy, it’s ontology and epistemology. ‘Low-information’ means not circuitous enough, too obvious.

Related: The Writer and the Coder

However, the article notes that in certain aptitude tests America scores low compared to foreign countries:

Only 40 percent of fourth-graders and 33 percent of eighth-graders are considered at least “proficient.” On an internationally administered test in 2012, just 9 percent of 15-year-olds in the United States were rated “high scorers” in math, compared with 16 percent in Canada, 17 percent in Germany, 21 percent in Switzerland, 31 percent in South Korea, and 40 percent in Singapore.

The problem is these studies lump Americans, who are ethnically and culturally diverse group, with homogeneous countries. It would be more accurate to compare Singapore-American students to native Singaporeans, German-Americans to Germans, or Korean-Americans to native Koreans.

The Next Big Idea in Economic Growth

Yet corporate profits, stock prices, & earnings are still at or near historic highs. It would seem like the private sector has adjusted just fine to anemic GDP growth, and investors are not too concerned.

This story is going viral: Arrested for student loan debt

Believe it or not, the US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans.

Paul Aker says he was arrested at his home last week for a $1500 federal student loan he received in 1987.

He says seven deputy US Marshals showed up at his home with guns and took him to federal court where he had to sign a payment plan for the 29-year-old school loan.

But fed. student loans are still at taxpayer expense and students should bear some responsibility for majoring in low-ROI subjects, taking on too much debt, or not understanding the terms and conditions of the loans. There so so many forgiveness and deferral programs that student loans are seldom paid in full, anyway. It’s often dragged out forever as in the case of Paul Aker, who had the ability to pay but refused to. Harsher penalties, including but not limited to jail time, are necessary for a system that is broken mainly against taxpayers.

Credentialism is another problem, as well as too many low-IQ and immature student being encouraged to enroll in college despite the high drop-out rate. Another problem is the perpetually anemic labor market.

Vox asks, if banks got bailed-out, why not students? The problem here is that student loan debt (at over $1 trillion) already exceeds the bank bailouts, and debt forgiveness will only add to the problem. There is no systemic risk in having some students default, but there is potential systemic risk if key financial institutions fail. As recently as 2011, TARP was paid in full and as of 2014 posted a profit of $15 billion, making it one of the most successful government programs, even if the most despised.

I support financial aid for students who have the cognitive aptitude to complete college (without dropping out), as well as majoring in a high-ROI subjects, but the system we have now just throws money out indiscriminately to students who shouldn’t be going to college, who will dropout with nothing to show for it but debt.

Related:

Some Ideas to Reform Higher Education
Improving Obama’s Community College Plan