The Intellectual Solvent, Part 2

In Solvent, I posit that intellectual similarities are more important than ideological ones. A democrat and republican of equal IQ are more compatible than a conservative of a high IQ and another conservative of a low IQ. Unfortunately, I have no case studies to go by, so it’s mostly a hunch based on some empirical evidence.

Doesn’t the rise of Trump contradict the rise of centrism, a major theme of solvent? No, because centrism also includes the shift of some of the far-left to the middle, as part of the post-2013 SJW backlash.

For example, going through the medium article Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid, I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of intellectuals on the ‘left’ that are repudiating the immature generalizations and groupthink pandering, even by their ideological cohorts, against Trump. Its intellectually lazy to dismiss your opponents as ‘stupid’, without looking at the big picture. I discuss the rise of Trump, as well as these repudiations, in more detail in In Search of Reset. It pretty much boils down to the fact the people are tired of ‘politics as usual’, and Trump and Sanders, who are opposite sides of the political spectrum, are answering to a shared frustration. And then throw in some populist issues such as immigration and the plight of the ‘working class’.

Notice the phrase ‘shared frustrations’. Free Northerner’s article The High-IQ Homo Economicus about how the ‘cognitive elite’ have created a rigged system against the ‘working poor’, and how ‘high’ and ‘low’ IQ people have different value systems, went viral not just on the ‘alt right’ but was also featured on Slate Star Codex, with commenters who are presumably on the ‘left’ agreeing or empathizing. This is similar to Scott’s How Bad Are Things article going viral and being shared on ‘alt right’ sites and forums. It’s a symbiosis powered by shared narratives. But it’s more than politics: it’s also intellectualism. ‘Free Northerner’ is perceived, rightfully, as being smart, and that allows him to be ingratiated by the opposite ‘tribe’, that also values intellect. The same is also observed with Moldbug, who is has also been ‘ingratiated’ by the ‘rational left’ despite not being a leftist. The common threads are intellect, in rejection of ‘low information’. As an addendum, Moldbug’s Reddit AMA went very well, with all his answers generating a lot of up-votes. People respect Moldbug not because they agree with him, but because he exudes intellectual honesty and authenticity, bridging ideological disagreement.

Rationalism is more empirical or theoretical than ideological, the latter which tends sometimes to be ‘low information’ and emotive. Paul Krugman, despite being a liberal, may be seen as being too beholden to ideology to appeal to the ‘rational left’. This is similar to how the ‘rational right’ tends to reject the ‘low information’ of mainstream conservatism. The ‘rational right’ and the ‘rational left’ agree in rejecting ‘low information’.

‘Low information’ can include things like preaching to the choir, excessive logical fallacies, failure to anticipate the views of your opponent, gross factual inaccuracies, emotiveness, excessive use of anecdotal evidence instead of literature, wishful thinking, pandering, inauthenticity, politically correct and or oversimplified/superficial explanations for complicated problems (reductionism), regurgitation of talking points, pablum, etc. That’s a lot and we’re probably all guilty of it at some point.