Tag Archives: books

The Tyranny of the Bookish

Saw this re-tweeted by the great Charles Murray:

Perhaps it’s reading books, not grades, parenting, or TV, that is the biggest influence of success at life. It seems in our increasingly intellectualized economy and society, everyone is flaunting how much money they make or how many books they read. This ties into the growing MGTOW and Red Pill movement, which fuses right-wing philosophy/ideology with self-improvement. Even as recently as a decade ago, the conservative message centered around God, guns, and gays – but now, especially since 2008 and online, it has shifted towards intellectualism (like the Red Pill or Dark Enlightenment/NRX philosophy), self-sufficiency (delaying family formation to go your own way so you can be happier), objectivism (related to going your own way, hedonism), and economics (the unending online debate about student loan debt, jobs & automation, national debt, and wealth inequality). It seems like the old wedge issues just aren’t that important anymore, especially among younger conservative and libertarian types. It doesn’t mean Republicans have abandoned all wedge issues, but they have been pushed to the periphery. Defense spending, free trade, homeland security, and interventionism – once popular with the right as recently as 2004 – has lost its luster. It’s hard to know how long this trend will continue.

But back to the topic of being bookish, this picture went viral, with Reddit users wholly impressed. It isn’t at all like the stereotypical high school, where bookworms are ostracized – quite the opposite. The girl with the book and her parents were ‘rockstars’ that day. So much for America dumbing down, as the left keeps insisting it is.

Whether it’s mathematicians, theoretical physicists, coders, writers, quants, economists, or bibliophiles, the viral image above is more evidence that in America, especially, intellectualism is more important than ever, with MIT and Caltech the ‘meccas’. Reddit users know that the booksish, socially awkward, and introverted will rule the world, if they haven’t already. The financial problem of 2008 kicked the legs of the flimsy folding table that was the old economy, knocking it over and crushing those intellectually unfit.

Or from my post The Great College Debate in response to a Taki article by John Derbeshire, The Tyranny of the Bookish, in which I write:

Not being bookish is fine if you enjoy working a crappy job the rest of your life or you have the connection to join a guild. The evidence is clear: those who read more books (which I guess could include technical books) tend to make more money and without the need for as many connections. In Britain (and the rest of the world) during the years Derb’s youth there was an abundance of good-paying factory jobs that didn’t require much book learning; nowadays, not so much. In the post-2008 economy, cognitive capital translates into financial capital, and this leftist yearning for an earlier era when this wasn’t so won’t change reality. Republicans understand this, it’s the left, in their lack of understanding of economics, who wants to bring back the obsolete, overpaid factory jobs.

And that’s why being bookish is not just a hobby, but a predictor of success in an economy and society that increasingly rewards high-IQ.