Tag Archives: Darwinian Conservatism

Reactionary Realism

From Poseidon Awoke, NRx: Against Platonic Rationalism:

I believe that the Dark Enlightenment is the realization that we are currently governed by pseudosciences, which were created out of the Enlightenment exuberance for the human ability to reason (rationalize). What the children of the Enlightenment did not understand was the limits of human cognition and the laundry list of cognitive biases that humans have. As such, we cannot simply think our way forward, deducing from first principles… we have to actually measure and experiment. We have to measure our mental models against the real world. Today, the pseudosciences assume that they are correct because they are logically consistent, but when the real-world outcomes to not match their imaginary models, it is because of some witchcraft (some evil crimethinker), rather than the fact that the imaginary model is not founded on observable truth.

Agree that democracy is a pseudoscience that (as I explain yesterday) requires its subjects suspend disbelief. But I’m not so quick to join the ‘humans are irrational’ bandwagon, because that often segues into turning IQ into a handicap, a tactic common among the left and liberal pop psychology charlatans. If smart people and their models are occasionally wrong, do you think less intelligent people will fare better? If a rocket blows up on the launchpad, do we fire the rocket scientists and replace them with ditch diggers? I would argue that all humans act in a way that they individually perceive as rational, but the rationalizations of smarter people tend to produce better results both individually and for society.

If I had to rename the site, maybe it would be called Rationalist Reaction, Reactionary Rationalism, or Reactionary Realism. The idea is to reconcile free will/ individualism/autonomy within a reactionary and deterministic framework, where the ‘social order’ is both an economic and biological one. This is similar to compatibilism. The example of Hobbes’ river, in contemporary society, is analogous to IQ and other biological factors. For example, the meritocracy by IQ, which means that individuals have free will and self-determination within their cognitive limitations. People with low IQs and genetic markers for violence are influenced by these biological factors to make poor life decisions, so while they have free will to make choices, these choices are often bad.

Conservatives tend to want to preserve the ‘status quo’, but biology helps by creating new caste systems within America, especially since 2008, stratified by IQ, with smart people tending to rise to the top and the less intelligent wedged between the cracks. Thus, Social Darwinism may, in fact, be compatible with conservatism, as both are a means to preserving a social order – the former by biology and the latter by rule of law, culture, and customs – or, preferably, by some combination of both. Rationalism is the understanding of this process, the entanglement of biology with socioeconomics, but it also goes beyond that, to understanding macroeconomics, and to the rejection of superstitions and wishful thinking by the embracing reality even if we don’t always agree with it or like it.

The suggestion that some people are intrinsically better than others is antithetical to egalitarianism and is a view many conservatives, liberals, and libertarians find offensive, wishing it weren’t so. They create these ‘myths’ to explain it away – we need more spending on social programs, more wealth redistribution, stronger families, less regulation…etc, etc. I’m sympathetic to the last two, and indeed stronger families will make for a better society, but it doesn’t change the fact some people are still, at the biological level, better than others. That’s the problem with Thomas Sowell…although he’s right about economics, he dismisses the role of biology and its connection with economic outcomes, arguing like liberals do that to posit such a link is racism. Biological and economic reality throws cold water on these ‘myths’, as evidenced by growing wealth inequality, or how smart, rich people tend to produce more economic value than poorer, less intelligent people. Or how high-IQ people create technologies and research that advances civilization, sometimes getting wealthy in the process, too. Again and again, the research is clear: IQ is biological and strongly influences socioeconomic outcomes. Therefore, some people, upon conception, must better than others – if ‘worth’ is measured by the potential to create economic value and advance civilization, which I think is pretty important. One could argue, of course, that not all high-IQ people are productive, useful members of society, and this is true, but, by in large, the there is a positive correlation between creative output and IQ. In other words, IQ is more than just a number, as much as many were it were.

Some libertarians and conservatives, to their credit, even in rejecting the idea of biological determinism, acknowledge that some people are superior to others by virtue of their economic, scientific, and social contributions.

But back to the subject of policy, if smart people occasionally draft poor policy, that doesn’t mean smart people are the problem. We need better policy and leaders.

Neo Masculinity and Christianity, Darwinian Conservatism, Free Will, Biological Reality

An interesting post from Return of Kings:

Why Christianity Is Not An Enemy Of Neomasculinity

I’m not sure who ever said it was. Atheists within the neo-masculinity movement, in contrast to the smug atheists who watch Colbert and Daily Show, don’t have enmity towards Christians. They may not agree with Christianity, but this disagreement is never acrimonious. The author is raising an issue that doesn’t really exist.

But the topic of Christianity and ‘alt right’ politics is interesting. The alt-right movement encompasses a wide variety or mishmash of ideologies and beliefs, with a universal rejection of egalitarianism and liberalism. You can reject religion and still oppose egalitarianism and the welfare state, as in the case of Ayn Ran or Murray Rothbard, for example.

Atheist Conservatism and Libertarianism is one of the fastest growing movements. Contrary to popular belief, Darwinism and Conservatism are compatible because the social order of things often follows from the biological/genetic one, in that social castes and socioeconomic issues (wealth inequity, rich vs. poor, etc) often stem from the biological differences between individuals (race, IQ, etc), meaning that some people by virtue of ‘good’ genes are more likely to succeed, while those with inauspicious genes are likely to find themselves in a lower caste. In agreement with Conservative/Libertarian thought, individuals do have free will – but only within their biological limitations.

You have the free will to try to become a successful physicist or writer, but if your IQ isn’t high enough you won’t get much millage for your efforts. So biology is the ultimate sorting mechanism for man and his role or place in society, and even if the concept of biological determinism is unsettling to many – that millions of individuals are preordained at birth to a life of failure or mediocrity – wishful thinking, vacuous ‘pull yourself up’ platitudes, and political correctness won’t change this. Many atheists understand that evoking a ambiguous higher ‘power’ to try to undo a physical or autonomous process is futile.

These posts may seem negative and pessimistic, but they are in agreement with an empirical reality that is also a biological reality. It’s better to swallow the bitter pill of reality than to live in fantasy. But this should not be confused with a pessimistic view of human nature, as expounded by Hobbes. In the spirit of Locke, I am optimistic about the human condition, as well as the economy, but not for most individual humans – in that while society will continue to advance and prosper in terms of technology and other metrics, and the stock market will keep going up, at the individual level things won’t feel so great, with ennui, anxiety, and emptiness the dominant human condition for the vast majority who are not smart enough to attain ‘enlightenment’. John Locke’s optimism was rooted in his faith, for man to full fill his ‘god given’ potential to create, in contrast to the atheist Hobbes who equates man to animals. There is a middle ground, in that we are in an ‘enlightenment’ for those who are smart and successful enough to participate in it , but a Hobbesian ‘dark age’ for everyone else. The capacity to create does not come from god or some creator, but from genes, which is how Darwinism can be reconciled with the more optimistic, future-oriented worldview of the Enlightenment.

Also many Enlightenment thinkers, from Voltaire to Kant, expressed interest in biological matters such as race, with opinions that would be considered politically incorrect today and an affront to ‘blank slate’ Christianity. Voltaire, for example, rejected Monogenism, which contends that all races have a single origin, while polygenism is the idea that each race has a separate origin. Instead of all people coming from a single origin or creator, some came elsewhere, although it wasn’t until later with the research of Darwin and Galton, and much latter With Murray, Jensen, Rushton, and Lynn, did speculation about race, intelligence, and individual biological differences become burnished with scientific rigour.

But the problem with mainstream/contemporary Christianity (and my own experience going to Church) is that it tends to espouse the ‘bank slate’ pseudoscience that all people are born ‘equal’ under god and that redemption is through belief, when economic reality throws cold water on those delusions. In reality, some people by virtue of IQ and other genetic factors are born ‘better’ than others, and redemption is not as easy as just believing in a spirit, but by quantifiable accomplishments, social status, and the creation of economic value, which I outline in the ‘salvation quadrant’ here. Maybe that’s why the NRx movement argues that progressivism is an offshoot of Puritanism, although this theory is contested by some in the NRx community.

A common rebuttal is that IQ isn’t everything, and it isn’t, but it’s damn important. In the competitive post-2008 economy and recent trend towards automation and the winner-take-all nature of the economy, brains seem to be more important than brawn. The data on wealth vs. IQ is hard to dispute – smarter people tend to earn more more money, while less intelligent people fall into poverty. Smart people also create technologies that improve living standards. Yes, smart people occasionally make stupid decisions, but what kind of decisions do stupid people make? It’s tempting to just cherry-pick a few examples of smart people acting stupidly or unethically to paint all smart people with the same brush. The ‘evil genius’ trope is so ingrained in popular culture that we tend to ignore or overlook all the good that smart people create. Yes, there is evil on the right side of the Bell Curve, but also plenty of evil on the let, too. Gary Ridgway, the most prolific American serial killer, has an IQ of 80. Evil on both sides of the Bell Curve. Even ‘effort’ and ‘hard work’, which the left says is more important than IQ, may also be biological, making it hard to escape the pull of HBD in all facets of society.

I guess we need systems in place to minimize the potential harm caused by morally compromised people. The rule of law is a deterrent, but it can’t undo the past, nor will it effective against those who ignore it.

And although there is evidence smarter people are liberal – wealthy, smart liberals tend to be of the pragmatic/classical/neoliberal variety, with examples being Larry Summers, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Steven Levitt, Steven Pinker and Bryan Caplan, in contrast to the less intelligent welfare liberals. Classical liberals are more inclined to subscribe to Social Darwinism than welfare liberals, and are less hostile to free markets, the rule of law, and private property.