Part 1: The Smartist Era
The left likes to lament about the dumbing down of society, while ironically, actively contributing to the alleged dumbing down by opposing the talent based meritocracy in exchange for politically correct equal outcomes and rebuking biological determinism, IQ, and standardized testing. So if dumbing down is occurring, the left is making it worse.
We’re in the age of smart people, the meritocracy, science, Silicon Valley and Wall St. We’re in a technological and free market capitalism revolution that is making Washington obsolete.
America is and will always remain the smart capital of the world, where the necessity of superior achievement under a cutthroat meritocracy is the permanent regime, versus other more liberal countries where being average or borderline incompetent is sufficient for long-term, good-paying employment. America has an unending influx of smart foreigners that are raising standards and competition for all sorts of things, like getting into college or getting low-paying entry job position. Sure you can attend a predominately while private college without that foreign competition, but your degree will pretty much be toilet paper, especially compared to the cognitive elite that graduate from top-10 schools. Credentialism is rampant and won’t be going away soon, because we’re obviously still, and always will be, in a job market where supply vastly exceeds demand, giving employers the freedom to be a choosy as they want to be to select the best and brightest for even the most trivial of jobs out of a huuuge and growing pool of applicants.
As more evidence America has never been smarter, consider the curriculum on common core – perhaps the most rigorous of any public schooling system. But what about Americans lagging on the PISA test (Program for International Student Assessment)? Keep in mind that America has a huge population, with more students than the populations of most of the higher-scoring countries combined. So even among thousands of dull students, there will still be millions of bright ones by virtue of the bell curve, which is more than the total population of the smallest counties of the assessment. Also, grade inflation is even more rampant in Europe than in America, even though it’s still bad here. American universities have ranked higher than European universities Out of the top 10 universities, only two are from the UK; the rest are American:
From the economist:
America boasts 17 of the world’s top 20 universities, according to a widely used global ranking by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. American universities currently employ 70% of the world’s Nobel prize-winners, 30% of the world’s output of articles on science and engineering, and 44% of the most frequently cited articles. No wonder developing countries now look to America rather than Europe for a model for higher education.
Everywhere you look – from the the popular TV shows, to the internet, to economic data and the web 2.0 scene, Smartism has become an inescapable part of our lives, and the economic premium as measured by wages and net-worth of being smart has never been so great or the handicap of being even just average been so grave and intractable. Everyone wants to be a nerd now, because they are the ones making all the money with perpetually rising stocks like Tesla, Google and Facebook. Or in web 2.0 with the nosebleed but not-a-bubble valuations of companies like Pinterest, Snapchat, Uber, AirBNB, Tinder, Yo, and many more…Same for home prices where the smartest tend to congregate – Manhattan, Palo Alto, and the Hamptons – those keep going up with no end in sight and certainly not a bubble , as much as the left wishes it were. VCs and Founders, often in in the top 1% of IQ, are making overnight, obscene fortunes that would make the King of Saud jealous. Then you have the stock market, which keeps going up and up for eternity. The people that are the most heavily invested tend to be be the smarter than those who have little assets, and the relationship between wealth and IQ is well-established by numerous studies.
The post popular TV show on right now, The Big Bang Theory, is about theoretical physics – arguably one of the most cognitively demanding jobs in existence. Mainstream entertainment has come a long way from the days I Love Lucy and Gilligan’s Island. By picking up on the lingo, you can get the equivalent of an undergraduate in physics watching a season of the The Big Bang Theory.
On the Reddit, site that caters to a broad audience, on the ‘Ask me Anything’, scientists and wonks can typically get as many comments and up-votes a A-list celebrities. So much for dumbing down. Americans, especially the well-educated young adults the smartest generation, are drawn to smart academics – especially those who push the boundaries of political correct discourse like Charles Murray and Steven Pinker, while the duller, more politically correct baby boomers typically prefer simplistic left/right worldviews. Among this smart, educated and technologically savvy demographic, political correctness is ceding ground to the truth, however controversial it may be, because the millennials are smarter than any previous generation and thus are more capable of independent and critical thought. That includes acknowledging that SATs and IQ do measure useful abilities and are predictive for success, or that many important traits from intelligence to criminality have biological etiologies, instead of only environmental. This means a while new approach to solving social problems, that neither of the old right or old left want to tread, instead clinging to costly, ineffective government solutions that feel wholesome in a campaign speech, but are of dubious effectiveness.
Consider how the bank bailout and the various iterations of QE – programs that mainly benefited VC, web 2.0, real estate, and stock market speculators and other members of the top 1% – went without a hitch, while the Obama stimulus, which was intended to help everyone else, is generally regarded to be a failure by many economists and was met with much resistance. This comes as little surprise as economic policy, by design, is manifestly intended to help the creative class or the cognitive elite. These are the most useful people of society, so they deserve economic policy that makes them richer. Don’t like it, too bad. Being smart means the government works for you because of the economic value you create.
The big problem is still entitlement spending, which gives incentives the room temperature IQ masses to keep procreating, when we should be clamping down. Numerous studies have shown IQ has a hereditary component, in addition to other factors, so the most efficacious or pragmatic way to possibly reduce entitlement spending so that more resources can be diverted to the most useful individuals of society is through some form of eugenics. Even without eugenics, with post-2008 economic developments, we’re seeing a social Darwinism in action, and again, this is a trend that will only continue with no paucity. That means harsher sentencing laws for small crimes, the ascension of the warrior cop, more defense defense spending, and the runaway healthcare and tuition costs we’ve become accustomed to. As another example of American excetionalism, America has the highest incarceration rate in the world which. One one hand perhaps putting away large portions of the population is unethical, but a benefit is that is keeps them from reproducing.
The overused argument ‘the liberals pioneered eugenics Sanger/planned parenthood’ is a red herring. The liberals of today have completely renounced any earlier ties to eugenics. Eugenics is something that could appeal more to republicans as a way to curtail crime and entitlement spending, although to endorse it would be political suicide. Find one liberal that supports or at least acknowledges the potential efficacy of eugenics (or a eugenics like policy) who hasn’t gotten a mountain of criticism from other liberals.
Of course, none exists. But to repeat, the smartest generation – the millennials, some of whom voted for Obama, at least are more open minded about controversial stuff such as Steven Levitt’s abortion paper, James Watson’s comments on race, Pinker’s refutation of blank slate human biology, Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve or Larry Summer’s comments about women, so there there is some hope for the future that the smartest generation, with the help of the internet, will undo some the damage done by decades of political correctness that has made it taboo to discuss certain matters.