Tag Archives: free will

Classification of Ideologies

Inspired by the table above (can’t find the source), I created a classification of my own, but this is far from complete.

Welfare Liberal: Humans are imperfect or savages upon conception, and must be perfected with the help of the state in order to help create ‘equal outcomes’ where no one should be allowed to be too much better than anyone else, as well as to purge ‘bad beliefs’ that are ‘racist’; also, high taxes and regulation to try to force equal outcomes and suppress individual exceptionalism; pessimistic view of humanity and human nature – people fail because of greedy rich people, institutional racism, the fed, and other external factors – never genes or other internal factors. If a group or individual is successful, its because he had some unfair advantage, cheated, and or practiced 10,000 hours. Tends to reject HBD except for homosexuality. Rejects nationalism. Pro-choice as a form of ‘women’s liberation’; pro-SJW to a fault; anti-death penalty. Supports higher taxes on rich, and the universal basic income. Opposes free trade and globalization. Believes man-made global warming; rejects industrialization. Rejects social Darwinism, but supports policies that could be considered ‘reverse Darwinism’.* Rejects religion (except Islam), especially Christianity, to the point of persecution (war on Christmas, banning the display of the 10 commandments, etc), although there is a small subset of welfare liberals who are practicing Christians; open borders; collectivist; race is a social contract and or is irrelevant and meaningless.

Leftist Rationalist/Neo liberal/Classical Liberal: Less belief in blank slate, more emphasis on biological determinism, with the belief that some people are possibly born ‘better’ than others; economic policy should strive to allow individuals, especially the best and the brightest, to perform to the best of their abilities and to keep what they earn; pro-choice; HBD: belief in the innate, biological differences, both cognitive and physical, between men and women and different population groups, etc; support of pragmatist, utilitarian, and consequentialist policy; possibly support universal basic income. Ambivalent towards SJWs. Anti-death penalty, but may support it in limited circumstances, from a pragmatic standpoint. Global warming may exist, but not necessarily man-made. Supports free trade and globalization. More receptive to social Darwinism. Equal opportunity instead of equal outcomes. Agnostic/indifferent to individual religious preferences. Similar to welfare liberals, supports a welfare state, but possibly with means testing. Also tends to reject nationalism; tends to support open borders; less collectivist; less racial (but not outright rejecting it as welfare liberals do).

Pragmatist/Rationalist Right: Same as above but with more emphasis on free market capitalism, less regulation, more homeland security & defense, stricter border control, as well as less welfare spending; may support basic income with preconditions. May reject isolationism. Like above, generally supports free trade and is pro-technology. Ownership society. May support abortion, eugenics, and other HBD-based policy as a way to lower healthcare costs, entitlement spending, and crime, as well as to boost national IQ; pro-choice & euthanasia from a eugenic standpoint; Anti-SJW. Pro death penalty. Elements of futurism; pro-technology. Belief in social Darwinism, with some people being biologically better than others, which manifests through individual socioeconomic outcomes like wealth, creative output, and educational attainment. Agnostic/indifferent to individual religious preferences. Minimal welfare state; could be described as minarchist or neoconservative. Consequentialist; some central planning and govt. intervention such as TARP. More nationalistic, but this varies among individuals; supports high-IQ immigration, also with immigration control to turn away ‘low-quality’ immigrants; more individualistic, in the Randian sense.

NRx: Belief in HBD, but tends to be somewhat critical of eugenics, euthanasia, and policy that may be ‘un-Christian’. Isolationist, nationalistic, and traditionalist; strict border control (may support deportations); skeptical of free trade and globalization. Pro-life. Anti-modernity. Pro death penalty. May reject central planning. Skeptical of utilitarianism, pragmatism, and consequentialist policy. Ambivalent towards technology. Ideal government may be a theocracy (Catholic monarchy); less individualistic (tends to reject Randian Individualism).

The ‘mainstream right’ probably lies somewhere between the ‘rationalist right’ and the ‘rationalist left’, but shares some elements of the far-right. And the ‘mainstream left’ is between the ‘welfare left’ and the ‘rationalist left’.Paleoconservatives are perhaps the closest to NRx but probably slightly to the left. Trying to classify more ideologies, along with all of their subtleties, would require a lot more room.

*Welfare liberals have a conflicted view of race – on the one hand, having to pretend it doesn’t exist or is irrelevant, but also supporting race-based programs like affirmative action. They are also conflicted about science, being pro-global warming science but rejecting or dismissing race & IQ science. They 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.

Related:

Free Will – Welfare Liberals vs. Neo Liberals and HBD Conservatives

The Differences Between Neo/Classical Liberalism and Welfare Liberalism

Utilitarianism Is Not Welfare Liberalism

Foucault, Chomsky, Pinker, and the Blank Slate

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.

Free Will – Welfare Liberals vs. Neo Liberals and HBD Conservatives

From Sam Harris’ “Free Will” says liberals understand role of luck

It’s pleasing to my progressive self when modern science confirms one of the foundations of Democratic/liberal political philosophy. Such as, that we humans don’t have free will. It’s an illusion.

Such is the message of Sam Harris’ captivating new book, the pleasingly short (66 readable pages) “Free Will.” Harris is a neuroscientist whose first book was “The End of Faith,” which brought him a lot of well-deserved attention.

I hope “Free Will” reaches even more people. On my other blog I’ve talked about the dizzying joy of being freed from a belief in free will, and how free will is a limiting, destructive belief.

The ‘left’ generally assumes that we have less free will, that individuals are victims of factors out of their control – bad genes, ‘greedy’ rich people, ‘structural racism’ – and it’s the role of the state through wealth redistribution and entitlement spending to create more equatable outcomes. Those on the right, especially the mainstream right, tend to believe in the pulling-ones-self-up mentality that with tenacity and grit, instead of a handout, anyone can improve and overcome adversity.

So how can one believe in biological determinism without being a liberal?

Brilliant quote by Daniel Dennett, and it’s why Aethist conservatism is becoming so popular, because it makes sense – that we all have free will, the ability to thrive and succeed – but within our biological limits. That’s how you reconcile free will with Darwinism. A person with an IQ of 90 has the ‘free will’ to become a Walmart door greeter or possibly a barista, but not a physicist or a coder, for example. He has the free will to possibly attain a modest, at best, standard of living – but no more. A person with a much higher IQ has more options (a higher promotion in the Darwinian scheme) and can pursue many avenues of employment, some of which pay very well and bring great prestige and recognition, such as being a coder, a quant, a stock trader, and so on. Yes, the person with an IQ of 90 has the free will to attempt to be a coder – just as a quadriplegic can attempt to be a rock climber – it’s just that he will likely fail because of biological limitations.

The Christian Right tends to believe that people should serve God, that individuals are to be subservient before a higher power; thus free will tends to be proscribed except in believing in god and being virtuous as means to salvation, as opposed to the Mainstream Right, who tend to be to be more open to the concept of free will less in the sense of religion, but more as a way of overcoming adversity, ignoring the role of biology, which is a criticism I have with the mainstream right.

The pragmatic/HBD right, on the other hand, tends to believe that IQ, which is largely biological, is a new caste system that ‘sorts’ people, having the effect of limiting free will as far as intellectual endeavors and economic upward mobility is concerned. James Altucher blogs about ‘choosing yourself’ instead of being ‘chosen’ (chosen by a boss, a client, etc), but in our winner-take-all, average-is-over hyper-competitive economy, we have much less free will to ‘choose’ our future as we may want to believe. Due to recent economic trends, which is reflected in the data of IQ vs. income, people who are not in the top quartile as measured by IQ have relatively few choices, and upward mobility is harder and harder to come by given how competitive and cutthroat everything has become, especially since 2008. It’s more like the American Idol economy of supply (contestants) vastly exceeding demand (winners). As I explain in my article, Bryan Caplan: Anti-Democracy Pioneer, in what is Social Darwinism 2.0, people are falling behind because of low IQs in an economy that increasingly rewards intellect.

Unlike the religious and mainstream right, for the HBD/rationalists redemption is through recognition, intellectual accomplishments, and wealth – things that are typically hard to attain, as opposed to ‘easy’ like going to church and being a moral person.

The Welfare Left behaves like religious fundamentalists in their zeal that the state, instead of the church, can ‘save’ people, where everyone is a ‘blank slate’ that can be programmed by the state (instead of the church) to achieve some sort of egalitarian endgame. The left also has to perform mental gymnastics in choosing explanations for societal problems (wealth inequality, crime, and poor academic performance among some groups of people) that doesn’t conflict with their blank slate viewpoint, so instead of attributing these problems to biological factors like low IQs, they blame environmental factors – greedy rich people, capitalism, not enough education spending, globalization or – in the case of Gladwell – luck, practice, family connections, or some other ‘unfair’ environmental advantage. So in the case of Sam Harris, Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, to be a liberal and believe in biological explanations superseding environment kinda makes you a pariah among today’s mainstream left. That’s why pragmatic/neo liberals, such as Larry Summers and Steven Levitt, who believe in biology in shaping socioeconomic outcomes, especially if the biological reality offends a protected group (women, non-Asian minorities), have been targets of the welfare left, with consequences such as loss of employment, shaming, and blacklisting, as in the example of Larry Summers and recently Tim Hunt.

Pertaining to free will, the schism between welfare and classical liberals, as well other other ideologies, is delineated by this table:

Christian Conservative Welfare/Mainstream Liberal Neo/Classical/Pragmatic Liberal Mainstream Conservative HBD/Rationalist Conservative
Free Will Varies. Generally, people do have free will to choose whether or not to sin (The biblical ground for free will lies in the ”Fall” into sin by Adam and Eve that occurred in their “willfully chosen” disobedience to God). From Wikipedia: For Calvin, humanity possesses “free will,”[86] but it is in bondage to sin,[81] unless it is “transformed.”[87] Less free will, due to environmental factors such as racism, not enough education spending, income inequality, cronyism, …etc Less free will, due to biological factors such as IQ and innate differences between individuals and groups (sexes, races) Strong free will, pull-yourself-up mentality. A view also shared by most libertarians. Less free will, due to biology

Related:

Steven Levitt is Right, Not All Life is Sacred
The Left’s Problem With Science