Optimism and The_Donald

The left (but also some on the ‘right’) is celebrating Facebook stock plunging 20% yesterday on ‘weak’ earnings (weak as in not meeting the impossibly high estimates set by Wall St. analysts). Facebook stock is still a fist-pounding buy and will make new highs soon, just as I was right about the S&P 500 making new highs, and I was right about the overblown privacy concerns not being a big deal either. The left so badly wants Facebook to fail, especially for Facebook’s alleged role in helping Trump win in 2016..it’s like an obsession with them, even though many liberals have a Facebook profile and spend a lot of time on the site.

Over on /r/the_Donald, everyone is celebrating the blow-out 4% GDP growth, which agrees with my earlier predictions on this blog of how there would not be recession.

I think part of the problem is the Dark Enlightenment/NRx has to reconcile the strong economic data and their support for Trump, with their generally negative assessment of society. Trump and /r/the_Donald are optimistic about the economy and America; NRx is not. If you believe the economic data is rigged and underestimating inflation, yet here you have Trump touting strong numbers and you support Trump, how does one reconcile this. One way around this is to acknowledge that the data is strong, but with some major caveats (unemployment is low, but a lot of people who want to work cannot..).

From The New Yorker, the article Are Things Getting Better or Worse?, went viral:

Pinker’s message is simple: progress is real, meaningful, and widespread. The mystery is why we have so much trouble acknowledging it. Pinker mentions various sources of pessimism—the “progressophobia” of liberal-arts professors, for instance—but directs most of his opprobrium toward the news media, which focus almost entirely on of-the-moment crises and systematically underreport positive, long-term trends. (Citing the German economist Max Roser, Pinker argues that a truly evenhanded newspaper “could have run the headline number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday every day for the last twenty-five years.”) He consults the work of Kalev Leetaru, a data scientist who uses “sentiment mining,” a word-analysis technique, to track the mood of the news; Leetaru finds that, globally, journalism has grown substantially more negative.

This echoes what I wrote earlier about how merely being optimistic, is, in and of itself, controversial. Decades ago, if you wrote a book about how things aren’t bad, no one would have cared. But now such an argument is met with enormous rebuke from both sides. The left says things are worse due to wealth inequality and structural racism. For the ‘right’, things are worse due to the rise of secularism, decline of families, decline of tradition, etc.

One can gauge sentiment by seeing which articles go viral. Both the high-IQ left and the high-IQ right can relate that modernity may be creating a generation that is ill-equipped to deal with a potentially more hostile and changing world, and that the lessons from the past are as valid now as the were then. Articles that express a sort of yearning for the past–whether it’s articles about rejecting ‘coddling’ of college students, or the rejection of ‘helicopter parenting’–is evidence of this.