Americans but especially millennials are eschewing the traditional religions for a new ‘religion’ that celebrates not deities, sacred scriptures, or saints – but intellect, wealth, authenticity, and individualism. While idolatry is not a new concept, what makes this trend different is that unlike the young adults of of earlier generations who fawned over the ‘mainstream’ entertainers of their day, unfailingly gathering around the ‘tube’ to watch Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan, this generation is much more reverential to the high-IQ and wealthy, such as Wall St. power players Warren Buffett, David Tepper and Carl Ichan, quirky ‘niche celebrities’ like Bo Burnham, high-IQ porn star Mia Khalifa and scientists like Charles Murray, Kichio Kaku and Steven Pinker. In this new religion of the post-2008 America, salvation or redemption isn’t through conversion or ‘good deeds’, but by quantifiable accomplishments, such as the accumulation of a lot wealth, or demonstrable cognitive superiority, such as having a high IQ and or being an eminent scientist. Even Kim Kardashian is an example, being that she is an ‘unconventional celebrity’ who is wealthy and exudes intellect and authenticity, setting her apart from celebs of yesteryear who were mostly boobs and no brains.
The millennials, or as I call the smartest generation, unlike their spendthrift baby boomer parents, are minimalists; thus, it is in bad taste to flaunt wealth with ostentatious material possessions such as fancy cars and Rolexes; however, flaunting intellectual accomplishments is not only encouraged, but necessary to gain social recognition and acceptance among other members of the smartest generation, and broader society. If one wants to flaunt wealth, a profit and loss statement showing the amount of money made in a high-IQ endeavor, such as options trading, will suffice. Therefore, the millionaire 20-something quant option trader with a math degree who has a high-IQ and who flouts his wealth by driving a functional but boring, used automobile is an important person, exalted in online communities as thousands of digital disciples and supplicants oversee the coronation of the great one because to be smart and rich is kingliness and to be not makes you a nobody, unworthy of salvation, to be swept into the wastebasket of unimportance and disposed of unceremoniously. More than ever, this is the reality we find ourselves in today where IQ is the sine qua non for socioeconomic advancement.
So, why is an entire generation – from aspiring bodybuilders, to the tweens who take selfies on Instagram, to the millions of 20-something users of Reddit and 4chan – obsessed with intellectualism, or at least so deferential to intellectuals? First, as measured by college completion rates and general knowledge, the millennials are the smartest and most educated generation ever; second, in a world of political correctness, intellectualism is where the smartest generation finds the truth, and because they are smart, they see though the lies, omissions, and sugar coating by the left, rejecting leftist egalitarian platitudes of ‘nurture’ for the ‘nature/biological deterministic’ theories espoused by empirical scientists. The antiquated babyboomer left says IQ doesn’t matter; the smartest generation, deferring to the research data instead of wishful thinking, says it does.
A quote from a Salon article sums this up perfectly:
If our strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin, one strength of introverts is that they have less need for social approval than extroverts and so speak uncomfortable truths when others won’t. (A corresponding down side is that they often exhibit less social finesse and sensitivity in how and what they say.) One of the strengths of nerds, including scientists, is that their obsession with figuring out what’s real makes them less prone to self-delusion than many of us. (A corresponding down side is that they often don’t consider the potential harms of their hypotheses and discoveries.)
In a data-driven world that revolves around STEM, it seems like we’re all becoming economists and programmers now. We’re seeing millions of young people, especially on sites like Reddit and 4chan, take a keen interest in economics, libertarianism, human biodiversity and other topics and point of views that could be deemed taboo by the establishment. The millennials, of which the high-IQ among them constitutes an army of over a million empiricists, are waging war against the the delusions of liberalism and nurture-ism, and are winning.
The smartest generation, as part of the post-2008 Ayn Rand revival, wants policy that rewards high-IQ and talent instead of wasting too much resources on those who are cognitively incapable of contributing to society. The smartest generation sees the war on poverty – a war fought on the shaky premise of nurture – as a failure that can only be fixed by better understanding human biology; hence, this is why science, not redistribution, is the answer. The Democrats and Republicans both get this wrong by believing that nurture based solutions can fix the ills that plague society. From the high-IQ pornstar, to the personal finance guru and former child prodigy Nicole Lapin, to the coder and the options trader, through self-actualization, millennials are resisting the collectivism of leftism and some are becoming fabulously wealthy in the process.
The pertinent question is, do external macroeconomic factors shape thought or is thought shaped by macroeconomics? The evidence suggests the former, in that the post-2008 era of economic prosperity and the bull market (that has accelerated since 2012) is subconsciously and subliminally changing how young people view the world, making them more receptive to the individualist pursuit of financial and cognitive gratification, versus yielding to the collective. When you see headlines of stocks going up all the time, it makes you want to own a piece of it, or otherwise you feel left out. When you have tying times, such as in 2008 or the 1930’s, perhaps people subconsciously behave more altruistically and selflessly (although I have no data to back this up). The bull market demands perfectionism, and people must meet the standards of perfection.
It’s initially unexpected how the pursuit of empiricism and facts makes one misanthropic, because one would assume that having more knowledge is liberating, but it’s not, because being smarter makes you more acutely aware of everything that is wrong with the world and the hopelessness of rectifying it. For example, a characteristic of the post-2008 era – where Dunning–Kruger is the new Freud and Jung – is the loathing of ignorance, because the pursuit of knowledge is how one gains power in an increasingly competitive economy that increasingly rewards intellect, and second, the abundance of information made readily available through technology makes ignorance inexcusable. It’s a weird world we live in where authenticity is celebrated, but in such a way that if you fall victim to Dunning–Kruger, you become pound scum in the public sphere. So if you do wish to impart opinions, be sure that if you are wrong you don’t create the false pretense of being right, and if you’re right, well, then there is nothing to worry about. So that creates a need for prevarication and hedging language, to avoid being a ignorant, pretentious moron versus just a moron.
The smartest generation knows that the unvarnished truth – the good the bad and the ugly – is preferable to the deceptions espoused by political and media lapidaries whose job it is to polish these lies, making them superficially appealing to a public that wants to be told what it wants to hear, such as IQ being less important than hard work, that rich people are to blame for all of the world’s problems, or that 10,000 hours of practice will make anyone an expert at anything. The social sciences – with the possible exception of economics – have become arms of propaganda for far-left liberalism. The left often accuses the right of being anti-science, but it’s actually the the left, in their denial of the science they don’t agree with, such as IQ and the wealth of nations, who are the true ‘creationists’. The left, in an abuse of scientific protocol, has to make up a narrative that agrees with their preconceived biases, instead of changing their biases with the introduction of data.
This thread on Reddit,Guy who invested $90k in Monster Energy drinks 5 years ago now a millionaire after 500% increase and $90k initial investment, is an example of how STEM people, even in non-STEM endeavors, still make more money than non-STEM people. This is not because of STEM per say, but because of high-IQ, in agreement with the data that shows that smarter people do make more money. All else being equal, a high-IQ stock picker will fare better than a low-IQ stock picker. As recently as the 1980’s, the greatest minds tended to toil in obscurity, their contributions typically unappreciated and ignored by the general public as the athletes, musicians and actors hogged the spotlight, but thanks to the smartest generation and their communities like Reddit and 4chan, high-tech entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, scientists, and other INTJ/INTP-ers have become the new rock stars. And whether it’s the Apple option trader who made $150k in less than a month or the aforementioned example at the beginning of the paragraph, the cognitive elite not only rise to preeminence through raw talent and brainpower, but by a society that in rejection of the ‘old mores’ heaps collective praise befit for a king or a deity on its high-IQ aristocracy.