Monthly Archives: March 2016

In Search of Fulfillment

From raging Twitter debates between oversized personalities, to physics discoveries making headlines, to web 2.0 and tech visionaries being lauded for their genius, to wealth inequality widening to widths never before imagined, to Instagram selfie ‘culture’, more than ever we’re in an era of the celebration of the ‘self’, where individual differences are manifested acutely both economically and socially, where ‘meaning’ ‘purpose’ and ‘fulfillment’ is through individuality and not the ‘collective’.

But we’re also in an autopilot nation and economy, where everything is predictable or inevitable up until the moment it happens – just a continuum where the past and present adjoin in a loop.

Perhaps fulfillment is through ownership – ownership of wealth (financial independence), ideas (intellectualism), and maybe positive affirmations (social status), which is related to the former two. Post-scarcity doesn’t provide any of those. A hypothetical society where everyone has what they need, where food and entertainment are free and abundant, may not bring the purpose and fulfillment many seek. Consider the Kennedy Clan. No Kennedy will ever be forced to make ends meet and they have an abundance of leisure time, but no one ‘owns’ anything – rather they are a part of a ‘collective’. Considering the rise of entitlement spending and the shrinking labor pool, the future of America may (and already is) resembling this. Europe has already gone down that road, but the quality is not very good.

Some argue that religion brings salvation and purpose, but the problem is that the barriers to entry for salvation, unlike intellectualism and affirmation, are low and one only need to be a decent, moral person to be ‘saved’, not highly intelligent, popular, exceptional, or prescient. Organized religion is analogous to the rapidly fading factory or union job – good returns for being mediocre and just ‘showing up’, but because the barriers to entry are so low, I suspect religion does not bring fulfillment, as I describe in response to the epidemic of white males committing suicide:

My guess the root cause is fulfillment, emptiness. In the past, God filled that role, but the developed world is becoming more secular. Society demands a lot from white men – money and social status – things that are harder to obtain than just being a decent, moral person. Church is easy. You go every week and God gives you salvation, but attendance is falling, people realizing what atheists have suspected all along: it doesn’t work. This is not a knock on religion, but science is supplanting religion. No, salvation cannot be attained by believing in a deity. You have to make a lot of money and be well-known.

That definitely seems to be the case in our post-2008 hyper-competitive, winner-take-all society and economy where promotion is based on difficult to obtain quantifiable results and rarefied talent, not altruism, which could be considered our ‘new’ religion in America today where only smart people can be ‘saved’ and or are worthy of salvation. Post-2008 economic reality seems to conflict with the egalitarian nature of religion, making ‘old’ religion less relevant compared to this ‘new’ one. In the past, theology was used to explain reality when science couldn’t suffice, but we see in front of our eyes right now that society is rewarding (in terms of higher wages and prestige) people who produce results and create economic value, not those who are ‘people-pleasers’, and hence in putting two and two together, we ‘learn’ the path to salvation is to emulate these successful people. Also, religion played a much bigger role in social status hundreds of years ago wheres today it’s wealth, intellectualism, or social media followers, which tend to be harder to obtain.

Wealth inequality is a bigger discussion point than ever, as manifested through headlines – and parents, who see these headlines about wealth inequality and how the ‘middle class’ is shrinking, are spending thousands of dollars on various educational programs to give their kids an edge in today’s competitive economic environment. Instead of Sunday School, it’s Summer enrichment programs and elite schools.

Social status is another pathway to fulfillment. Scott’s landmark, groundbreaking article I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup, posted on September 30, 2014, put him on the map, making him an overnight esoteric celebrity (if he wasn’t already) as expert on internet subcultures, and in the processes generating a tsunami of traffic to his website as the article went viral, getting over 10,000 Facebook shares and hundreds of comments. The lengthy article, divided into twelve sub-sections each chocked-full of anecdotes and detail, was probably one of the most important ‘sub culture’ articles of the year, blowing everyone’s minds away. Maybe it would even qualify as the ‘Great American Article‘ by capturing the polarized, contentious political state of America (particularly online) at the time, the war between feuding ideological ‘clans’ and ‘tribes’. That’s how ‘epic’ is was and still is. I could go on about the significance of the article, and it would still be an understatement.

This passage stood out:

When a friend of mine heard Eich got fired, she didn’t see anything wrong with it. “I can tolerate anything except intolerance,” she said.

“Intolerance” is starting to look like another one of those words like “white” and “American”.

“I can tolerate anything except the outgroup.” Doesn’t sound quite so noble now, does it?

Unfortunately writing tends to not pay well relative to the skill and talent involved, which for Outgroup was immense – at most, probably only the top 1-.5% of population is capable of composing such a galvanizing essay. Scott has a donation button on his site and some links to various advertisements that generate an undisclosed income. Upon the article going viral, I estimate he saw a bump in those figures – hard to know, but I imagine not much, since the esoteric subject matter isn’t one that readily converts into sales, unlike, say, golf clubs or investment plans. So why bother if the pay isn’t great. Part of the reason has to do with signaling and social status from other like-mined peers that comes from performing difficult feats of intellectualism, even if such feats don’t pay well. The gains in status is valuable, even if such worth cannot be as easily quantified in an economic sense. Popularity, even if it’s only as an esoteric celebrity, means feeling good, endorphin flowing, etc. If people pay money for entertainment and drugs that are supposed to elicit these feelings, then it must be worth something. For example, wealthy alumni trade money for status in having buildings named after them or through philanthropy, creating a legacy that will outlive their lives.

In The Writer and The Coder, the writer aims for social status, which is worth some sort of monetary value, whereas the coder, whose skills are also rare relative to the general population, derives a more direct, quantifiable monetary return but also a boost in social status, too. Writing a personal polemic about your student loan debt or about being homeless likely won’t make the debt go away or immediately put a roof over your head, but it will boost your social status should the article go viral as others empathize with your problem. As explained above, there is a value to this even if it isn’t pecuniary.

In the case of being homeless, the article I linked to went massively viral. FDR sums it up eloquently:

Whether or not people people pursue intellectual feats for status is debatable – maybe they also do it for enjoyment, as a hobby, or for knowledge and understanding, with status as icing on the cake.

Richard Feynman opined, ‘What Do You Care What Other People Think?’ People apparently care a lot about what others think, and for good reason, if ‘good’ opinions means more status and hence more happiness. All to often we’re told to ‘be yourself’, but what if ‘yourself’ isn’t that good?
But, ultimately, I think we – as people – we all want to be a ‘part’ of the system; a participant or ‘player’ rather than observer; an ‘owner’ or stakeholder rather than a renter. This cannot be solved with economic solutions.

Defending ‘Academic’ Writing

What is wrong with ‘academic’ writing?

Academics Stink at Writing – Steven Pinker

Why Is Academic Writing So Unpleasant to Read?>

Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?

Believe it or not, academics actually know how to write, but some of this ‘jargon’ is for brevity. How should a scientist describe the concept of heritability without words like ‘phenotype’ ‘chromosomal’ and ‘autosomal’? Of course, he could dumb it down by omitting those words and replacing them with their definitions, but that would make the writing longer and be unnecessary to his intended audience who already know what that those words mean. The writer assumes the reader has sufficient knowledge of the necessary terminology, as explained by Cass R. Sunstein in In Defense of Academic Jargon:

Plain language has its virtues, and some academic jargon is pointlessly obscure, but when specialists are speaking to other specialists, it’s perfectly fine to use specialized language. These passages could be translated into ordinary language only at a high cost, resulting in a loss of precision, excessive length and unnecessary definitions. For the intended audience, phrases such as “concavity of the utility function,” “the binary signal case” and “leximin rule” are familiar, not arcane.

Most jargon is amenable to a Google or Wikipedia search. It will take some extra effort on the reader’s part, but this is a small price to pay if the intent is understanding a new or difficult concept.

Verbosity, unlike jargon, can be avoided and may be problematic in excess. But I think it’s part of the ‘reading experience’. Readers have a expectation that certain texts will be long, and writers meet those expectations through circumlocutions. Also if you enjoy what you’re writing about, you’ll probably be inclined to use more words than necessary out of enthusiasm.

This passage from anomalyuk:

Nobody in the system has the aim of destroying society. That is an incidental byproduct of the competition for power. When a particular leftist trend gets to the stage where the destruction of the governing institutions becomes imminent, some conservative will actually be allowed to stop it. After all, the individuals in the permanent establishment are choosing the holy policy in order to retain their power; if it comes to a choice between accepting a less holy policy or seeing the institution in which their power resides fall apart, there is less to lose by compromising on purity.

…could be compressed to:

Nobody in the system wants to destroy society. That is an incidental byproduct of the competition for power. When destruction is near, someone will be allowed to intercede. This is because stability, which their (the establishment) power resides on, supersedes ideological purity that may be destabilizing.

An example is George W. Bush ratifying the 2008 bank bailouts, which seemed to go against the Republican echoes of ‘free market’ purity, but was ultimately a necessity and a success. But the civilization or ideology may stand for something not worth preserving, but that is another issue.

But back to the topic of academic writing, if you want easy-to-read stuff, read sales letters, which by deliberately sacrificing richness of language are designed to be accessible to as many people as possible in order to maximize…sales. Or read Tony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad books. The inability to understand academic prose is more of a deficiency of the reader’s comprehension or patience than a deficiency of the writer to communicate.

The Second ‘Great Experiment ‘

The first ‘great experiment’ was secession from Britain. Yeah, some on the on the ‘NRx-sphere’ argue this was ‘bad’, but the data shows that secession succeeded, with the US economy not only surpassing Britain but becoming the biggest in the world, as well as a global military superpower.

Fast forward a couple hundred years, the second ‘great experiment’ is if America can survive liberalism, particularly post-WW2 social liberalism, and not ‘blow it’. To break it down, economically, although the debt is high and entitlement spending is growing too quickly, economic collapse is not in sight as measured by data such as profits & earnings and consumer spending. However, Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, Norway, and France are just as infested with liberalism as America is, possibly even more so, although East Europe seems to be spared:

Brazil, Japan, Australia, and Russia are all worse-off economically than America, with high inflation or deflation, falling currencies, weak real GDP growth, and fragile economies dependent commodity exports. If America topples, it will be the last domino to fall, not the first as many are wrongly predicting. China will be the penultimate. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial problem, the US economy and stock market recovered the quickest among all major economies:

That’s why from an investing standpoint, I recommend going ‘long’ the S&P 500 while shorting Europe and other foreign regions.

Some are predicting ‘civil war:’

Topher Hallquist points out that although America has historically been among the most stable developed countries, this is likely due to sheer luck rather than some kind of systemic factor.

Political polarization is increasing. If these factors are systemic, it may continue increasing until some kind of “correctional event”. (Forecast the trend.)

America has an unfortunate executive structure that does not cope with political polarization as well as a parliament does. My sense is this leaves us with a lot of “latent partisan energy” that is not getting defused properly.

The internet’s rising preeminence as a communication platform, and the collapse of traditional media revenue streams, is shoving us in to unexplored cultural territory and increasing the chance of black swan events.

Good tweet: “Shockingly few public figures and elites are defending the norms of public debate and restraint from violence that Trump is bulldozing.” I only assign Trump partial responsibility–I see his tactics as a response to Alinsky tactics used by the media and the left. (Scott Adams commenter’s alternate perspective: ‘The media attributing the violence to Trump is like an abusive boyfriend punching the girl on the face and screaming “see what you make me do!”‘) The point is that few are calling for civil discourse (or if they are, they aren’t being heard–moderate tweets are ignored, partisan tweets are retweeted).

This is absurd. ‘Violence’ at Trump rallies is no more predictive of civil war than occasionally violent Vietnam war protests of the 60′s. Donald Trump losing will likely leave his supporters disappointed, but it wont escalate into war or anything remotely like that. Also, the belligerents at Trump rallies bring it upon themselves by interfering and heckling. Trump is trying to give a speech and here you have these idiots creating a nuisance. This ‘violence’ is not unprovoked, as the media would have you believe. They (these protesters) are knowingly creating an interference, and then crying to the media or taking pictures when they get ‘assaulted’ to make Trump look bad.

Time will tell.

What Martin Shkreli Says About America

I’ve mentioned Martin Shkreli a couple times here, posting some of his tweets.

Martin Shkreli’s popularity is evidence we’re in a ‘smartist era’, where people’s intellectual contributions are more important than their character flaws. The synthesis of wealth and intellectualism is a defining characteristic of post-2008 America, culturally and economically, and few embody this synthesis more so than Martin Shkreli. Shkreli, the son of Albanian and Croatian immigrants who worked as janitors, built an entire pharma ‘empire’ using only his intellect, becoming not only rich in the process but a STEM ‘celebrity‘ revered (and also loathed) by many.

Here is Shkreli’s first video in his popular series on ‘Investing and Finance’, watched by thousands. And as part of the synthesis, here is his equally popular video series about chemistry, a complicated STEM subject which, by virtue of his profession, he is an expert on. In today’s economy and ‘social cycle’, intellectualism signals credibility and authenticity, and hence a higher social status. It wasn’t always that way:

In earlier decades – the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, especially – nerds were bullied or simply ignored. Fast forward to 2008 and beyond, from teens taking selfies on Snapchat and Instagram donning faux glasses to 30-somethings sharing on Salon, Daily Elite and Vice personal embarrassing moments of social awkwardness, we’re all becoming nerds and weirdos now.

As evidenced by the popularity of these videos and his Twitter account, Shkreli’s followers aspire to be smart, rich, and successful as he is [1] – not poor, naive, and angry like a Bernie Sanders voter, a Mizzou protester, or a ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrator.

Through self-improvement and personal finance, millions of millennials looking to improve their lives instead blaming others or expecting a handout, as well as taking control of their financial future in our uncertain economy. An an example of dwindling social safety net and the necessity of self-sufficiency, the Social Security trust fund is projected to be insolvent by 2030:

Although Social Security will probably be thrown a lifeline or modified to keep it running much longer than it should, the current trajectory of entitlement spending is likely unsustainable, with lower payouts in store for the future.

This shift in mindset, from one of dependency to one of self-sufficiency [2], is in large part motivated by millennials’ disaffection with Obama over his unrealistic campaign promises of affordable healthcare, an abundance of good-paying jobs for everyone, and less student loan debt. After the failure of OWS, rather than fight the rich in an exercise of futility, many millennials aspire to be like the cognitive and financial 1%, as embodied by Martin Shkreli, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, David Tepper, or Peter Thiel. From Scott, Utilitarians, The Rational Middle, Scientism, and Liberals:

Also, the post-2013 SJW backlash has to do with a disillusionment among millennial Obama voters over the failure of liberalism. From 2008 to 2012, there was much optimism by the left over Obama, which soon faded. OWS, for example, went nowhere. And student loan debt is still higher than ever, and the job market still sucks for many millennials despite record high profits & earnings. Millennials realize that leftism isn’t working – it hasn’t lived up to its expectations… In light of the failure of OWS and the disappointment of Obama, many millennials realize that it’s more productive to emulate the rich and successful than waging class warfare and holding class envy.

But of course, just by looking at the number of ‘re-tweets’, Bernie Sanders is still wildly popular among many millennials, but now, unlike in 2008 or 2012, at least more millennials are seeing the light.

[1] assuming he doesn’t go to jail for securities fraud, but on Twitter he seems optimistic that he will prevail

[2] A caveat is explored in Why Millennials Are Still Living With Their Parents, in which forgoing ‘location independence’ for long-term financial independence may be advantageous:

A generation ago, all too many people were caught up in the idea of independence as in location independence, but millennials care more about financial independence, even if that means living with parents longer to secure a better financial future by using the saved money & time to buy a home, invest in stocks, or learn high-paying skills. Stock and home prices have risen markedly since 2011, and will continue to do so; why make other people rich when you can be doing so yourself?

He’s Right, Part 2

There’s a reason they call him Senile Sanders:

The graphs below show that wages for men have actually fallen more than for women, that the gender gap has narrowed since the 80′s, and that the decline was most likely triggered by the financial crisis, which hurt both genders:

We should not expect intellectual honesty from someone who isn’t much smarter than the low-information voters he’s pandering to. The fact that someone who is so demonstrably feeble-minded can become president is not only a failing of democracy but a potential national security risk.

Marshmallow ‘deferers’ vs. ‘eaters’

Since 2008, economically and socially, we’re also seeing the rise of the ‘deferers’ – the high-IQ kids who deferred eating the marshmallow, now grown-up, and are reaping all the fruits of prosperity in our ‘new economy’, getting richer than ever while the ‘eaters’ are on the lower echelons of society, stuck with crappy, low social status jobs and bad relationships, assuming they even have jobs.

…In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores,[2] educational attainment,[3] body mass index (BMI),[4] and other life measures.[5]

In follow-up studies, Mischel found unexpected correlations between the results of the marshmallow test and the success of the children many years later.[5] The first follow-up study, in 1988, showed that “preschool children who delayed gratification longer in the self-imposed delay paradigm, were described more than 10 years later by their parents as adolescents who were significantly more competent.”

This is just more evidence of how little ‘free will’ we have, how from a very early age through simple experiments it’s possible to separate society’s future winners from the losers.

Beyond the experiment sample, marshmallow ‘eaters’ are analogous to people with poor impulse control and or mediocre IQs that until recently did well economically and socially due to an abundance of overpaid jobs that rewarded mediocre talent, but now in light of recent economic changes find themselves much worse-off than the ‘deferers’, with fewer opportunities in an economy where ‘average is over‘ and productivity, efficiency, merit, quantifiable results, and talent rule. From Paul Graham: Economic Inequality and The Refragmentation:

Everything has become much more efficient (both in the stock market and in corporate america) and competitive, with droves of college graduates applying for jobs that can be completed by high-school dropouts.

The 2008 recession gave employers a great excuse to thin the herd, and keep it thin long after stock prices and earnings made new highs. There were too many people being overpaid to do jobs that could otherwise be automated, outsourced, or simply eliminated.

Today the low-paying service sector dominates, as the labor force becomes bifurcated with the ‘creative class’ or ‘cognitive elite’ on one extreme everyone else on the other.

This echoes James Altucher in his best seller Choose Yourself of how companies used the 2008 financial problem as an excuse to ‘thin the herd’, ushering a new era of hyper-productivity, with S&P 500 profits & earnings growing long after the crisis subsided:

As you can see, profits are at record highs, and I predict they won’t be falling anytime soon:

This parallels the rise of the ‘gig’ and ‘temp’ economy – ‘DIY’ jobs that, unlike the overpaid salaried jobs of a decades ago, may not pay much, are more demanding, have no perks, and where DIY-entrepreneurs are directly accountable for their success or failure.

But as I discuss in Pencil Pushers, the problem with the ‘gig’ economy is that it requires top 5% skills to make a top 50% income, and by virtue of the Bell Curve most people just won’t cut it. There are other gig jobs that are less intellectually demanding – landscaping, dog walking, or making greeting cards. But even then, while a top 5% IQ is not required for these jobs, a top 5% work ethic is (because you have to get the customers yourself, promote yourself, etc), and most people don’t have that either. In the ‘old’ economy, you could get away with a ’50%’ work ethic and a ’50%’ talent. From a social darwinistic standpoint, these ‘eaters’ are at a major disadvantage.

National Review Writer: Working-Class Communities ‘Deserve To Die’

Online, there is a storm brewing over NRO’s Kevin Williamson’s derisive comments about working-class communities, with outrage from pretty much everyone.

Here is the pertinent passage:

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,”

More information here and here. You have to go down a pretty deep rabbit hole to find the actual article, which is behind a paywall.

IDk..Hyperbole aside, I think his message is about communities and the people who comprise them having to to bear some responsibility for their circumstances. Rather than being told niceties, they (these communities) need to be told the truth, or risk ‘dying off’. In other words, evolve or die. Similar to democrats in 2008 with Obama, too many on the ‘right’ are looking to Trump as the ‘solution’ to their problems, as if Trump as president will make all their problems go away. Which I think is a valid point on Kevin’s part. We need to look beyond others and instead to ourselves for the solution.

Kevin probably made some good points, but the wording was poor. Part of the problem is that online authors are paid per pageview, and the way you get more clicks to to say outrageous things, and it would seem he succeeded at that. While the anger is justified, we don’t want to go down the left’s path using the same tactics against him that they use against us.

The issue is why he implicated white communities (with the reference to Oxycontin) and not inner-city black ones, which are also plagued by dysfunction. The 2012 firing of John Derbyshire may explain why, which is that it’s ‘safe’ to lecture whites but not blacks. It’s the third rail: white columnists dare not touch it.

IQ: It Still Predicts A lot

The Bermuda Triangle of Science

Nonetheless, the evidentiary base regarding the existence of general intelligence and its ability to predict important life outcomes — including health, longevity and mortality, as well as other key variables — is beyond compelling, it’s overwhelming. And if you find yourself feeling like you can do damage to this evidence base by invoking arguments about “multiple intelligences” or something of the sort, let me save you the effort. Those urges illustrate unfamiliarity with any of the serious research done on the topic in the last several decades. If those urges haunt you, I’d recommend Stuart Ritchie’s excellent primer on the topic. The waters of intelligence research, though controversial, no longer require that you be Magellan to navigate them…

If you want to watch academics glorify a trait that many still think, “doesn’t exist” or “doesn’t matter”, hang around them when student applications are being reviewed.

The fact some become so histrionic in trying to prove or show that IQ is meaningless or irrelevant is evidence that deep in their subconscious there is a possibility they are wrong, that IQ is not meaningless. It’s almost like it hits too close to home. If someone proclaims that there are flying toasters in space, such statement is meaningless and no one gets defensive because it can be immediately and safely be dismissed as nonsense, but not IQ research. Hence all the arm waving in trying to explain away IQ as ‘meaningless’.

A few weeks ago I got into some Reddit debates about IQ which will be excepted here to help dispel common misconceptions about IQ:

IQ tests have been widely disregarded by academic elites since Howard Gardner’s work in the 80′s. You’re actually serving as an example of non-experts overvaluing their own opinions, as touched on in the article.
The red pill thrives on this notion. Arguments don’t have to be sound, they just have to sound good.
So please, leave the talking to the experts, or at least journalists who are trained to do more thorough research than your cherry picked, pseudo-intellectual school of “thought.”

Not true. As shown above, there is a positive correlation between IQ and income, academic and creative achievement, crime, welfare dependency, morality, success at work, and other qualities.

The problem with the multiple intelligences theory is that it’s an example of moving the goalpost – creating enough categories that everyone is a ‘genius’ at something.

I’ve written two posts with links to studies:

More resources:

Less intelligent people may be predisposed to criminality

The push to discredit IQ tests is more motivated by partisanship than quantifiable evidence that IQ is meaningless.

On a tangential note, another problem is accusations of ‘elitism’ in defending IQ.

From Reddit:

I’m fairly sure that all this talk of anti-intellectualism is the American scholar caste’s way of expressing their frustration with democracy, and of scolding the peasants for not submitting quietly to their enlightened judgement in all matters all the time. So much for “critical thinking”. Typical of this perspective is the tendency to portray the efforts of peasants to resist cultural assimilation as an act of heinous reactionary aggression. And of course, their remedies always involve increasing the prominence, prestige, and respect afforded to, well, themselves.

A quotation comes to mind:
I’m quite happy to be an anti-intellectual, actually. It is the modern equivalent of anticlericalism, and it is long overdue. One can oppose specific institutions without opposing thought in general. In fact, sometimes, it is even necessary.

The unification of anti-intellectualism with democracy is the best argument against democracy.

Also, what about the inventions and discoveries smart people bring to the world, raising standards of living as well as making the world more interesting? Everything we take for granted – internet access, running water & electricity, roofs that don;’t leak, etc -involved the ingenuity smart people, although some of the liberal arts stuff may be of dubious value. Complicated problems demand smart people to solve them, which if this is not egalitarian, inclusionary, or democratic enough, so be it.

The concept of ‘hierarchy’ and ‘natural order‘ is antithetical to the prevailing culture of egalitarianism and equality that for decades has been instilled by pop culture, parents, teachers, and clergy – the false belief that we are all, upon conception, of equal ‘value’ despite differences in ability and biology. According to this flawed thinking, a person with a middling IQ who works in an assembly line or warehouse is as valuable or important as an engineer. However, most people can do a factory job but only a small percentage can create jobs and innovation that, ultimately, employs the warehouse and assembly line worker. There is a hierarchy. Gladwell books and wishful thinking won’t change this, sorry.

An online IQ debate is not complete without the anecdotal argument about high-IQ people who ‘didn’t amount to anything’, as if these underachievers are representative of everyone with a high IQ. What must understood is that a high or low IQ is no guarantee of success or failure – it’s only about probability, with smarter people tending to have a higher probability or likelihood of being successful, if ‘success’ is measured by things such as income, educational attainment, or creative output.

Stock Bull Market Continues, Seven Years Later

The 2009 bull market is third-longest in history: Seven-Year Anniversary: From the Depths of the Crisis, a Bull Run

If you go back to the archives and other posts, you will see that I was among the few pundits who called for a continuation the bull market, even as far back as 2011, as everyone else was predicting ‘crisis’ ‘inflation/deflation’ ‘recession’ and so on. The fed, the US consumer, high-IQ people, exporters, and web 2.0 – all helped, not Obama, who simply rode on the coattails of the successes of smarter people who laid the groundwork for the recovery that continues to this day.

Given that we’re just a few months shy of #2, it will soon be the 2nd longest bull market ever, and I would not be surprised if it takes the #1 spot, too. I still don’t see meaningful headwinds for why the market should collapse as it did in 2008 or 2000 [1].

The way I see it, a bet against the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq 100 is a bet against capitalism, human ingenuity and high-IQ – a bet that I sure as hell would never make. Yes, people are being left out, and the left sees this as justification for why the economy is weak, but also the nature of capitalism is changing, too, with fewer but bigger winners and more losers. The forever rising stock market is an example of Social Darwinism 2.0 in action, with IQ more important than ever, of the most successful and productive being rewarded with rising asset prices (web 2.0 valuations, home prices, stocks, etc) for their economic contributions.

Maybe ‘exit‘ [2] will be the most successful creating their own societies, free of the pull of liberalism that punishes success. But right now, the insular, meritocratic communities of Silicon Valley and other places, enriched by Web 2.0 and stock market windfalls, are a precursor.

[1] It’s going to be slow going. Probably another year of choppiness until new highs are made.

[2] Some in the ‘NRx-sphere’ seek collapse and rebuilding; I (and maybe some others) seek secession, ‘exit’, or incrementalism to some form of techno-monarchy. Or the ‘singularity’.

NRx and Capitalism

From Reactionary Future: Zizek nails it

The very architects of the Cathedral have been “Randian” heroes. The idea that capital will flee the Cathedral is absurd, as is the idea that the elite will shut up shop and walk – they made this mess and they think it is great.

Look at all the great fortunes that have been made by capitalist ubermensch – it all went to promoting leftism for fuck sake, which it will by default, as leftism is chaos. Even the counter example of Henry Ford is dubious – he did run for senate as a democrat. Just look at the current examples we have as well. Do you think Bill Gates and Zuckerberg are being forced to promote liberalism? really?

Seems like the Zeorhedge ‘recessionary utopia’, where greed, ambition, and self-interest doesn’t exist, and everything is slow and tranquil, with abundance for all – in other words, a society that can’t exist, as it conflicts with human nature and economics.

A theme of this blog is that technological progress/capitalism and liberalism need not be mutually inclusive. Historically speaking, SJW-liberalism is a new phenomena, yet the ‘arrow’ of technology, for thousands of years, has pointed forward. Technology and liberalism coexisting doesn’t prove that technology is the antecedent. Did technology and capitalism cause this to happen? Ford or Gates having some liberal tendencies doesn’t void their contributions to the economy and society in terms of productivity, job creation, and rising standards of living. Even Zuckerberg, if you can hold your nose at his political leanings, has created more economic value than probably a million SJWs combined.

As Mitt Romney and later Trump astutely pointed out, 51% of the country is on some form of unemployment or other government handouts. They, these ‘free loaders’, are the problem, not entrepreneurs. Another problem are people who are a drain on the system in terms of medical expenses, costing more in care than they return in economic value.

And furthermore, as I explain:

Technology may actually auspicious for the NRx or anti-democracy cause, hastening the decline of democracy and egalitarianism, with IQ and wealth as the new caste system in our hyper-competitive post-2008 economy. Social hierarchies and techno-commercialism can coexist.
Technologists and scientists like George Gilder, Razib Khan, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, and Matt Ridley, who may not necessarily subscribe to NRx, have voiced criticism and skepticism of the various tenets of liberalism, which include democracy, egalitarianism, and concern over anthropic global warming.

The UAE is an example of a monarchical government that rejects western norms of social liberalism, while embracing technology and capitalism.


Libertarian = Socially Liberal ?
Liberalism is the Problem, Not Technology
Embracing Modernity, Part 2