Tag Archives: eugenics

The Daily View: 1/17/2016 (lots of stuff)

From Fred Reed: The Inevitability of Eugenics

I predict within 50 years America will start giving Eugenics a serious consideration as a way to tackle the growing entitlement spending problem, which by then will be much bigger than it is now if trends persist. Liberals and conservative alike need to get over this squeamishness of genetic engineering, which like masonry or computers, is a tool that can be used to improve society. A hammer can break but it can also build.

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Jim and XS have some thoughts on bitcoin.

As some may already know, I have been a Bitcoin optimist for awhile, here and here for example, as well as an investor in the cryptocurrency.

I’ll believe there’s a crisis when the price crashes and doesn’t recover; until then, ‘coin on’. One thing I’ve learned from following bitcoin over the past three years is that everyone has their ‘theory’ for why it will fail, and all have been shown wrong. Bitcoin just keeps coming back, rising like a Phoenix from every adversity thrown at it. The FBI seizure of Silk Road didn’t stop it, neither did price crashes in 2011, 2013 and 2014, or the failure of Mt. Gox in 2014. Now Bitcoin is booming because because of China. Wealthy Chinese are using Bitcoin to circumvent capital controls. As China’s economy slows and in anticipation of a falling Yuan, the wealthy are looking for anywhere to park their money.

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The internet has made defensive writers of us all

Perhaps ‘defense writing’ has become so commonplace nowadays because there is less tolerance at both the individual and societal level for mistakes than in the past. In an era where an abundance of information can be found instantly online for free, ignorance has become inexcusable. With the government spending tens of billion of dollars a year on public education, no one should be ignorant, and ignorance is seen as both a personal failure as well as an institutional or societal one. This dates back to the ‘enlightenment’ ideals of centuries ago, when we expected science and reason to explain everything, and that still carries on today. Failure or ignorance is seen as un-enlightenment. But the problem is the majority of people are simply not smart enough to benefit much from mass education, forgetting much of what is learned beyond the basics of reading and writing, rudimentary history and geography, and some math.

Also, thanks to the internet and other factors, we’re in an era of fact checking, which means writers have to be especially assiduous to buttress against all possible holes that can be poked into their thesis. Hedging means being open the possibility of being wrong, so instead having to create a thesis that is impervious to factual criticism, just use verbal disclaimers in the form of hedging language so that you’re covered.

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More American exceptionalism: Cancer survival rates higher in USA than UK

Long wait times, scarcity of drugs for NHS patients, and poor screening regimens may be to blame.

Related:

Some Thoughts on Healthcare
Universal Healthcare Not So Great
Affordable Housing, Healthcare, & Tuition: Putting Things in Perspective

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From Social Matter: Unless You’re An Atom, Principled Libertarianism Is Not For You

This invokes the slippy slope argument: what if instead of a plumber it’s a butter churn business and now technology has made churns nearly obsolete. Should the government ban automated churners to save his business too? Cheaper plumbing (and cheaper butter production) means more people can afford plumbing and butter, which boosts standards of living. 100 years ago, automobiles were a luxury item; now they are everywhere, thanks to globalization, free market capitalism, and other factors. That’s the free market argument, but it does not take into account the individual who may lose his job when technology becomes obsoleted, or his job is replaced by someone who can do it cheaper. New technologies and markets create new jobs, replacing the lost ones, although there is no guarantee the Luddite Fallacy or Lump of Labor Fallacy must remain fallacies.

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Hmm…but private investment has risen substacially over the past six years:

Dividends are worse than buybacks, due to tax issues and other inefficiencies, but no one attacks dividends. Somehow buybacks have become the scourge of the left.

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The Trouble With Fascism

Kinda, but fascism is predicated on race whereas communism is predicted on class, the later which is obviously leftist. Fascism means maybe some government control over certain industries,but it’s not leftist like Marxism, which has more control over businesses, to the point of almost total confiscation of private property.

On a somewhat related note, the problem with populism is that it tends to promote bad policy (particularly economic policy) for the sake of getting votes by exploiting the fears and ignorance of the masses (especially about economics), which is one of the fundamental flaws of democracy. In that regard, both left-populism and right-populism may be the different sides of the same coin. For example, many on the right support low taxes, but it’s less realistic promise both a smaller deficit and lower taxes, but republicans have to promise both to get elected.

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Everyday Economics: The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Economy

Am I the only one who is still on the fence about China? It’s too early to say there is actually a mess. There is evidence maybe growth is glowing, but it’s far too early to call it a catastrophe, even though the doom and gloom media has been calling it one for the past year. The debate is over 7% GDP growth vs. 5.5%.

The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Economy.

If by ‘fall’ he means 5.5% GDP growth instead of 7%. Alos, low oil prices should help China as well as other Asian economies.

Maybe a lot of this doom and gloom comes down to a a simple math misunderstanding, which is that ‘slowing growth’ is not the same as shrinkage. Slowing growth implies the second derivative is negative, but the first one is still positive, meaning the size of the economy is still expanding. An example is the function ln(1+x)

Rather, his video does a good job of explaining what could go wrong, but I’m not sold on the idea that there’s a crisis now. I would not be surprised if this blows over in a a couple months like it did in the past during past concerns over China.

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The Handicap of a High IQ (Guest Writer Matt Baldoni)

He’s probably right on all accounts, but take issue with this:


Okay, more good science, kids! There is a negative correlation between involvement in organized religion and IQ numbers. Dumb people go to church, basically. Smart people don’t.

I’ve heard this argument, but I’m not buying it, and its not like the correlation between IQ and religiosity is incontrovertible. No one really knows. This is similar to the leftist ‘knuckle dragging’ stereotype of Conservatives, which by my own empirical observations is also false. Liberals, particularly welfare liberals, are prone to reductionism and oversimplification more so than Conservatives. This is due to tribe mentality, as well well as general ignorance of complicated issues.

Maybe offline this is the case, but online some of the smartest, well-written people I’ve encountered are religious and or identify as Christian – blogs and writers like Free Northerner, Vox Day, Bruce Charlton, Nick B. Steves, Mark Citadel, Zippy, WM Briggs, and more. It’s many avowed atheists, people who watch Colbert or Daily Show, who seem dull and conformist.

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Interest Rates, Unicorns And What The Fed Means To Silicon Valley

Low interest rates helps America’s best and brightest innovate and create wealth, and is an example of pragmatic/utilitarian/consequentialist polity that helps the ‘greater good’ even if such policy is unpopular with a lot of people. TARP, QE, and ZIRP were ‘lifelines’ for America’s most productive, as a way of containing or mitigating the the damage from the weak, inept sectors (banking, housing) so that the healthier portions could thrive. It was a success, with TARP three years later returning a profit to the treasury, and the economy & stock market now in its sixth year of expansion. Although the private sector and the consumer deserve most of the credit, TARP helped too.

A common argument is that low interest rates create bubbles, but the end result is still better than if bubbles are never formed. Risk taking is necessary for an economy to grow technologically and not become stagnant.

Second, compounding this run up in asset prices is the appreciation of the dollar on the global currency markets. Because the world was anticipating an increase in U.S. interest rates, the value of the dollar has been increasing for the past two years, since the Fed started signaling that it would eventually raise rates.

This is due to the ‘flight to safety’ and the insatiable demand for safe, low yielding US debt. The dollar is so strong not only because of the flight to safety, but because foreign countries that don’t have reserve currency status are running up deficits to try to grow their economies. Other reason are given here.

Fredrick Brennan on Eugenics

Hotwheels: Why I Support Eugenics

Fredrick Brennan aka ‘hotwheels’, the creator of the popular imageboard 8chan and who is severely disabled due to brittle bone disease, uses himself as an example for why eugenics is a good idea for lowering healthcare costs and minimizing human suffering:

As a society, most of us seem to agree that people deserve medical care, and we are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars directly to the parents of disabled children who knew for a fact that their children would be crippled. We are also willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in some cases millions of dollars indirectly in medical costs.

Simply offering people with debilitating, genetically dominant genetic diseases $100,000 cash each to undergo voluntary sterilization would be a libertarian, humane way to encourage genetic purity. Couples who both carry a recessive gene could be offered a smaller sum, like say $10,000, by genetic counselors.

This is a good start, offering financial incentives for people with inauspicious genetic markers that may cause severe, costly disability to undergo sterilization, or maybe at least voluntary forgo pregnancy.

But the problem is that many prospective parents are unaware of these genetic risks, and other severe disabilities may not have an obvious genetic marker or family history where genetic counseling would be of use. For example, to screening for trisomy 21 requires that all mothers of certain risk factors (advanced maternal age) be tested early in the pregnancy, because the presence of the extra chromosome can only be detected after the first trimester. On the other hand, Tay-Sachs disease, which is inherited in the autosomal recessive pattern, is amenable to counseling because couples can be tested for carrier status before having children, hence the risk is well-defined.

Reddit also agrees, and even though ‘hotwheels’ is part of gamergate, even anti-gamergaters see the merits of his argument:

I’m going to defend Frederick Brennan’s article. I’m not totally one hundred percent behind his idea, but I support the discussion of it. It shouldn’t be immediately dismissed, and it’s unfair to relegate it to the most undesirable corners of the internet.

Frederic Brennan is a man who is suffering. He is in constant pain. Having dealt with several broken bones from a variety of sports injuries, I can tell you how painful a screw, or a plate, or a support rod can be, especially when they move just ever so slightly, grinding into your nerves.
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His “eugenics” is not an enforced sterilization, nor based on pseudo-science.

It’s a voluntary program, based on genetic screenings, clear science, and compensation. This isn’t based on some demented notion of genetic purity, but on the belief that sometimes, some people are too sick to live.

Many of you support the concept of death with dignity, where those with terminal diseases fight for their right to end their own lives on their terms rather then suffer. I support it as well.

Oh, and merry Christmas to everyone, too.

Related:

Abortion & Healthcare Policy
Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia May Lower Healthcare Costs

Consider Contraception

From iSteve: The Economist: Free Contraception for Africa Would be a Great Investment

This an example how HBD-based policy can help curb social problems, be it entitlement spending, overpopulation of at-risk groups, or crime. Republicans need to get over this belief that every unborn life is sacred or is worth saving and instead consider HBD-based solutions, as everything else has been tried with little or no success. Too many Republicans believe family values and good intentions will solve everything; obviously it hasn’t as evidenced by the prison population overflowing, at great cost to taxpayers. Same for the expansion of the police and FBI. If Republicans care about stopping crime and entitlement spending, as well as protecting tax payers, as do I, they should be more receptive to policy that over the long-run would do just that – instead of what we already have, which isn’t really working that well.

Related: Eugenics Summary, and HBD-Based Policy

Collapse can wait

From David Stockman: Why This Sucker Is Going Down…….Again!

In a word, with a printing press. But what happened today is that Draghi showed he is out of tricks and Yellen confessed she is out of excuses.

Yes, this sucker is going down. And this time all the misguided economics professors turned central bankers in the world will be powerless to reverse the plunge.

Yawn… haven’t they been predicting collapse since 2009? It gets old after awhile. There have only been two financial crisis in America in the past 100 years: 1929 and 2008…the odds are we won’t live to see another one.

M2 velocity is sill very low and the currency in circulation hasn’t grown beyond it’s historical growth rate.

All this monetary policy can be likened to taking a bunch of money, putting in a safe, and melting the key. It hasn’t gone into the economy.

The stock market and economy is doing well because of fundamentals such as record high profits & earnings and consumer spending. Central bank policy may have helped a little, but it’s hardly the major contributing factor. If the US economy were dependent on QE, why have stocks surged 25% since May 2013 when the fed announced they were going to end QE? Discuss this further here.

Indeed, for a short period of time the brunt of the industrial production adjustment occurred in China and the EM. In effect, China and its supply chain had become the exporter/creditors of the present era.

.., but China only owns 8% of the national debt, although the media hype may make it seem like they own all of it.

Likewise, labor productivity has stalled dramatically. Since the pre-crisis peak nonfarm business productivity has grown by only 1.1% annually or at just half its historic 2.3% rate. Moreover, during the last five years productivity has grown at just 0.4% per annum.

Not sure what he’s taking about. Productivity seems in-line with historical trends:

Furthermore, it seems banks and policy makers have learned their lessons from 2008: lending standards are much more stringent. For example, the quantity of subprime mortgages have fallen considerably since 2008:

After a spike between 2003-2006, mortgage debt is back to it’s historical trend:

And, Fed stress tests: Banks come out stronger than ever

Federal Reserve says 29 of the nation’s 30 largest banks could survive a severe economic meltdown. Of course, some people will never be convinced, no matter what anyone says.

Also, leverage ratios for major banks are well off the 2008 highs, which could explain the good stress test results:

Entitlement spending could be problematic. Immigration control won’t stop the millions who are already citizens and producing negative economic value. That leads to the e-word, eugenics, which few have the bravery to endorse, but I see it as possibly the only long-term viable solution to the entitlement spending problem, in addition to restricting low-IQ immigration. Boosting the national IQ by just a handful of points can help remedy a multitude of problems.

We now have life, liberty, free emergency room treatment, ebt, education, section 8 housing, and the purist of happiness…for all. The government won’t allow sick people die in the streets, nor will it deny certain services. Or maybe there will be enough abundance created by technology and the productive class to take care of everyone…hard to know.

I had an exchange with Nick Land about this, and he disagrees, arguing that the Cathedral wins if there isn’t collapse.

I’m partial to not having things fall apart…it would hurt a lot of productive people to have collapse. Hurt wage earners, businesses, retirees who have savings, home owners with equity, etc. We don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There are better ways of dealing with the Cathedral than resetting everything. As I posit in the Kaczynski post, is it worth replacing one problem with a worse one? As for solsutions, I don’t know. Collapse doesn’t guarantee the Cathedral won’t be rebuilt. I predict, possibly within the next generation, a mass realization by politicians due public pressure to address problems such as enticement spending and immigration, averting a possible crisis.

The want or desire to see crisis when the evidence doesn’t support it strikes me as wishful thinking, which is antithetical to the rationalist in me. I care about empirical evidence and data. If there have only been two major financial crisis in the past 100 years of US history, I’m going to err on the side of there not being a crisis soon. This unwavering belief in the face of empirical evidence in crisis just strikes me as another religion or superstition, but instead of selling indulgences they are selling newsletter subscriptions, bad investments, and overpriced gold.

I’m also kinda confused by Nick Land and Michael Anissimov, both who were (or still are?) involved with futurism – Accelerationism (to serve Gnon) and Singularitarianism, respectively – but now seem to be renouncing these views by seeking collapse and the end of modernity? Eschatology seems contradictory to futurism. I think in 2011-2013 or so, the idea of a ‘sci-fi NRx’ seemed cool, but since 2014 has fallen out of favor to more of a medieval style of reaction.

Nick Land discusses how NRx is Accelerationism with a flat tire being the Cathedral.

Neoreaction is Accelerationism with a flat tire. Described less figuratively, it is the recognition that the acceleration trend is historically compensated. Beside the speed machine, or industrial capitalism, there is an ever more perfectly weighted decelerator, which gradually drains techno-economic momentum into its own expansion, as it returns dynamic process to meta-stasis. Comically, the fabrication of this braking mechanism is proclaimed as progress. It is the Great Work of the Left. Neoreaction arises through naming it (without excessive affection) as the Cathedral.

So so the solution is to somehow remove or override the decelerator (re-accelerationism) instead of destroying the system, which agrees with my approach as well. The whole thing is kinda confusing, and in the past year I haven’t seen any posts in the nrx-o-sphere about accelerationism, suggesting it may have fallen out of favor.

To conclude, collapse can wait. But who knows, I will leave the window open for < 1% probability for crisis, just in case.

2060 IQ Projections

Interesting new study: Future Cognitive Ability: US IQ Prediction until 2060 Based on NAEP

From the abstract:

…US Census Bureau, cognitive trends until 2060 for the entire age cohort and ethnic groups were estimated. Estimated population averages for 2060 are 103 (optimistic) or 102 (pessimistic). The average rise per decade is dec = 0.76 or 0.45 IQ points. White-Black and White-Hispanic gaps are declining by half, Asian-White gaps treble. The catch-up of minorities (their faster ability growth) contributes around 2 IQ to the general rise of 3 IQ;

A modest IQ gain of 2-3 points by 2060 is expected. But, technically, IQ does not rise; instead people become more intelligent and tests are re-designed with harder questions to maintain the same mean, and variance.

Not surprisingly racial IQ disparities will persist with Asians outperforming everyone by a substantial (and growing) margin, although I’m skeptical about projected Asian gains:

As for the methodology, scholastic assessment is used as a proxy for IQ, both of which are highly correlated:

… Empirically, results of scholastic tests and psychometric IQ are highly correlated. Kaufman, Reynolds, Liu, Kaufman, and McGrew reported a latent correlation of rl = .83 (N>2,000) between the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement [34]. This result is backed by studies of real-world school achievement: e.g. rl = .81 between General Certificate of Secondary Education scores and Cognitive Abilities Test (N>70,000) [35] or rl = .86 between Scholastic Assessment Test and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (N>900) [36]. At the national level (the one we will use in our analysis) the correlations are even higher (e.g. r = .89, N = 99 countries) [37].

The economic implications are fascinating:

We calculated expectable wealth productivity effects (in US Dollar of 2010/2011). Internationally, one IQ point corresponds to $810 higher average productivity per capita and year. Between 2012 and 2060 it is expected that 17 year olds’ ability level will increase by 2.16 (pessimistic model) or 3.68 IQ (optimistic model), representing a productivity gain of $1,750 to $2,981 (at constant prices). The general FLynn effect (White’s slow ability rise) contributes at about $219 to $1,806, minorities’ catch up at $1,644 to $1,450, demographic change at–$1,102, interaction between minorities’ catch up and demographic change at $988 to $834 US Dollar.

Smarter people create more economic value, a point I have hammered repeatedly on this blog and confined by actual data. Maybe this should be taken into consideration for America’s immigration policy, as low-IQ people tend to consume more in public benefits than economic value they produce in return. Something as simple as administering IQ tests for immigrants and turning away anyone who doesn’t score above a certain threshold, I imagine, would help put a dent in the growing entitlement spending problem.

This is also compelling argument for eugenics, as raising the national IQ could have substantial compounded returns, economically and socially, for future generations.

I’m skeptical about the projected Asian gains in IQ, especially since the gains are so much greater than for whites, and the paper doesn’t offer a compelling explanation. Maybe assortative mating is the reason, but the paper doesn’t cover this, since of the projected IQs are extrapolated from a linear regression. The weak gains for other races confirms that the ‘Flynn Effect’ may diminish with economic development, which I discuss in more detail here, suggesting that purported gains in IQ are not from people becoming biologically smarter but people living up to their ‘full’ cognitive potential due to better environment. But then wouldn’t we also expect East Asian IQs to plateau at around 107, not 112. Due to the weakening of the Flynn Effect, eugenics may hold promise as a viable long-term solution to boost IQ for developed nations.

Eugenics Summary, and HBD-Based Policy

Concise summary of eugenics by polymath Martin Sewell.

The most important passage:

Herrnstein and Murray found that when they moved the average IQ down statistically by just 3 points, from 100 to 97, all social problems were exacerbated: the number of women chronically dependent on welfare increased by 7%; illegitimacy increased by 8%; men interviewed in jail increased by 12%; and the number of permanent high school dropouts increased by nearly 15%.

The problem is politicians, both the left and the right, are afraid to touch the hot potato that is HBD, instead regurgitating same ol’ environment-based solutions to societal problems. For the left, we need more wasteful social programs in a futile effort to close an achievement and wealth gap, which is really an IQ gap. For the right, they say that with smaller government, stronger family units, and more religion, problems like crime, unemployment, and poverty will be lessened. I’m more receptive to the right’s approach but, even then, these solutions lack originally, and despite decades of trial and error and good intentions, among certain groups, social problems like unemployment, academic underachievement, and crime remain high. It’s time to at least consider biology-based solutions to these problems. For example, make welfare conditional on birth control, with possible serialization for repeat offenders. Encourage abstinence/birth control among high-risk groups.

On Reddit in early August, upon news of gunshots being fired in Ferguson on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, someone suggested, perhaps jokingly, that Ferguson needs some Planned Parenthoods. Maybe he’s right. That’s an example of an HBD-based solution that could solve the crime problem, and that’s also an example of where the right could bridge the gap with the neo-liberal left by supporting such policy. That’s where I agree with neo liberal Steven Levitt in his assessment that maybe not all life is sacred. But neither the right nor the left want to accept the biological reality that maybe some people are born ‘worse’ than others, predisposed to poverty and incarceration, while others are born ‘wired’ for success, and that policy should reflect this reality. No, let’s just keep repeating the same tired platitudes over and over and hope these problems go away. But, again, the reason why people are afraid to speak out is for fear of the consequences which, in our era of political correctness and public relations, can be quite grave.

Related: World’s ‘Smartest Man’ Supports Eugenics

Effective Altruism Need Not Be Politically Correct

Maybe the form of altruism with the highest ROI isn’t one that is politically correct. The problem is when one side takes cheap shots the other, such as by invoking Godwin’s Law, as an easy substitute for having to actually provide a substantive counterargument. If my version of EA (effective altruism) is a high-IQ basic income, eugenics, and more funding for gifted education, to some people I’m suddenly a Nazi or some other disparaging label. To quote Scott Adams, ‘Refutations without evidence are self-refuting’ The naturalistic fallacy is also invoked in that because the word ‘altruism’ invokes connotations of ‘goodness’ and ‘happiness’, people assume that something that is labeled ‘altruistic’ must also feel altruistic, when the two need not be mutually inclusive. A eugenics program carried out over many generations may in the long-run be altruistic for the ‘greater good’ of humanity by advancing technology and the canon of knowledge, but many still find eugenics repulsive without even giving it a second thought, letting labels and knee-jerk reactions override logic and debate.

Nature Beats Nurture

An interesting post from Vox Nature beats nurture

The “Blank Slate” theory is dead. It was never anything but political philosophy and science killed it. Every nominal justification for human equality is being gradually eliminated, one by one, as scientists revisit hypotheses that have long been passed off as pseudoscientific facts.

This is true. The left twists science so that it agrees with their ideology. The left believes in Darwinism – but in reverse, or survival of the un-fittest. Taking tax payer dollars from the most productive and frittering it away on the least. The left can’t stomach the idea that some people are intrinsically better than others, so they want the state to create equal outcomes, even if it makes everyone worse-off.

According to the left, if some groups fall behind, it’s those evil greedy rich people’s fault for holding them back, never genes.

This delusional belief in the perfectibility of man motivates people to support ineffective social programs that run headlong into the limitations imposed by biology. This is related to the success of Malcom Gladwell, who sells an appealing message that anyone, with enough practice and the alignment of other environmental factors, can covet the skills of geniuses. See, Bill Gates didn’t succeed because of a high-IQ, it was 10,000 hours of practice, and you have the potential to, too.

And then you have others in the pop-psychology community – the likes of Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman, to name a few – who try a different approach, leveling, arguing that smart people are no more rational than less intelligent people. For example, if a smart person falls for the conjunction fallacy, according to these authors, he is no smarter than someone who doesn’t. This ‘leveling’ is intended to diminish the importance of IQ, in agreement with leftist egalitarianism.

I suspect that those equalitarians who claim to believe that a meritocracy is the best of all possible systems are going to rapidly change their tune once it becomes apparent that material merit is predominantly genetic in origin. Because in a post-Christian world of scientific rational materialism, there is no way that a meritocratic approach will not eventually lead to Eugenics 2.0.

But the equalitarians (who want equal outcomes) by definition are opposed to the meritocracy (outcomes based on competence, results, etc). They are not interchangeable, but are exact opposites.

…material merit is predominantly genetic in origin. Because in a post-Christian world of scientific rational materialism, there is no way that a meritocratic approach will not eventually lead to Eugenics 2.0.

I think he’s over the map here. If merit is good and biological, but this leads to eugenics 2.0, how does it become bad without contradicting his first premise?

The irony is that it is the equalitarians and anti-racists who will likely cling to the concept of race. Now that genetics gives us far more precise metrics, the new eugenicists won’t have to pay any attention to race at all in order to achieve their desired results. And they can claim, quite truthfully, that their policies are race- and color-blind. For example, if variants of the MAO-A, DAT1, and DRD2 genes are deemed to be unsuitable for an occupation, those possessing the unwanted genetic markers can be banned with absolutely no reference to race at all.

Eugenics isn’t exclusively about big categories like race; it’s about genes, in choosing which genes we want passed and which ones we don’t.

Eugenics does not have to be dystopian sci-fi trope Vox makes it out to be. To some extent, positive eugenics is already occurring today though assortative mating; second, negative eugenics offers a possible solution to the entitlement spending problem, as well as other problems like crime.

Employers should be able to request a genomic profile of prospective employees in order to choose candidates that are not only the most qualified based on biology, but will be less of a drain due to future health problems that can be identified through the profile. If someone’s profile shows a very high risk of early-onset dementia or heart disease, you may think twice before hiring him if there is an equally qualified candidate without such problems.

Vox seems conflicted in having to choose between believing HBD and then opposing eugenics and other HBD-based programs.

Related: The IQ Wars

World’s ‘Smartest Man’ Supports Eugenics

This is pretty old, but Chris Langan, the ‘smartest man’ in the world, supports Eugenics, as shown by this clip:

I put scare quotes because I don’t think it’s possible to determine who the smartest person in the world is. There are probably a hundred or so people who could hold the title, of which would include various child prodigies, individuals who are in those ‘smartest people’ lists, theoretical physicists, and mathematicians who specialize in the hardest math of all, Algebraic Geometry. This is why Guinness Book of World Records no longer has an IQ category, discontinuing it due to the difficulty of assigning a single record holder.

But he is right. After a rough start, maybe it’s time to give eugenics, specifically negative eugenics, another try. The war on poverty has failed, entitlement spending shows no indication of slowing, and perhaps society would be better if we found a way to slowly phase out its most undesirable elements. Positive eugenics already occurs to some degree due to assortative mating. The idea would be first make the idea of eugenics palatable to the public through pro-eugenics education and guides, and then try to get politicians on board by showing how eugenics can reduce entitlement spending and crime. Perhaps make welfare benefits contingent upon mandatory birth control, with violators requiring sterilization. Also offer financial incentives for individuals with low-IQs or costly heredible disabilities to undergo sterilization. And pay people with favorable phenotypes for egg and sperm donation. And prenatal screening, with required abortion in the event of severe disability unless the parent demonstrates financial means to care for child without too much government assistance, with some monetary compensation for compliance. Such screening can be done within the first trimester. Unlike eugenics of the past, there would be less emphasis on compulsory sterilization and a greater emphasis on financial incentives, making eugenics a market-based solution, and I think that’s probably the best approach. No, this is not leftist planned parenthood Sangerism. Welfare liberals want nothing to do with eugenics, supporting birth control due to a lack of self-control, not to make the world a better place. The left wants an upside-down world where the least advantageous, least desirable traits are propagated (an Idiocracy), to the determinant of society and the tax payer.

Anti-Democracy, Part 4

You know it’s a slow news day when the big story is Clinton’s drinking habits. The only people who are getting worked up about Hillary’s overblown email problem and Russia are the people whose paychecks depend on manufacturing hype and outrage for clicks and page-views. The doom and gloom media was hoping Putin was dead, but guess what? He’s alive, and stocks surged again.

A commenter, Wrong Species, on Scott’s blog writes:

If China was able to “create” Yao Ming, then maybe we should try to bring back eugenics. Doesn’t have to be anything too extreme, maybe the government could pay high IQ men to give sperm and high IQ women their eggs. Or more controversially, pay low IQ people to get sterilized. Assuming that we are picking the right people, is there a downside other than people feeling it’s icky?

Eugenics can be justified from a pragmatist perspective to possibly reduce crime and entitlement spending, and if framed in such manner I don’t see why Conservatives couldn’t eventually endorse it, but the invocation of the slippery slope fallacy and comparisons to Nazism (Reductio ad Hitlerum) precludes the possibility productive debate on this issue. The idea is we have a finite amount of resources (public goods); we should allocate them, all else being equal, to those who have the potential to contribute more to society. A negative eugenics problem would be more effective for reducing crime and entitlement spending, given that positive eugenics seems to already be occurring through assortative mating.

Perhaps the best form of government is one run by elites that benefits elites, or what can be called un-egalitarian rule or a technocracy. This is based on the premise that average people , by in large, don’t know what is best for them and given the ignorance of individuals on most issues, an argument can be made for excluding them from influencing policy in any way. Sometimes the people do get it right (support of Afghanistan strikes in response to 911), but most of the time they get it wrong (voting to enlarge entitlement spending for unproductive individuals, for example, or opposition to QE and TARP). Elites also have a large socioeconomic interest in having the system not fail and thus in an act of self-preservation will enact proactive policy during crisis, because the last thing the elites want to have happen is for the system to collapse and all their wealth and power to evaporate.

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.

One can argue our tripartite form of Government is set up to create and foster ‘awful, ineffectual’ politicians, and this apathy is a feature rather than a flaw. It’s better to have pols do as little as necessary to keep the system running, only to intercede during crisis – but no more, pissing off both sides than being overzealous. Looking back at history, governments and politicians that were too effective tended to be really awful.

Related:

Anti-Democracy, Part 2

Anti-Democracy