The Daily View: NRx Activism, Do You Live in a Bubble, Math Education, Contrarianism

Lately there has been some debate about pasivism vs. activism, in regard to NRx.

The the final way, rather than passivism or activism, is that, economically, autonomous economic forces will make welfare liberalism obsolete, and then, socially, social media will continue to erode the ability of the left to impose their cultural will on people unchallenged. By blogging, tweeting, and posting, we’re slowing affecting the narrative, gradually pushing the Overton Window to the right.

Perhaps the problem with the Trump hype and ‘alt right’ activism is that it’s predicated on the mistaken belief that an irredeemable system (democracy) can be fixed through a ‘great man’, instead of the system being torn down and rebuilt. Trump, in effect, is a cog – a good cog – but still a cog of a dysfunctional machinery that consist of thousands of cogs turning the wrong way.

Related: NRx Ideology & Endgame, part 2

The Gift of Autism article has been updated to correct formatting errors in some of the latter paragraphs.

Do you live in a bubble. Take the quiz. I scored a 2, which is pretty bad. This quiz is similar to Charles Murray’s Are You A Snob Big Think video a couple years ago. People tend to form bubbles based on likes, dislikes, IQ, and ideology. There is some cross-compatibility between high-IQ people of differing ideologies (which is why the rationalists keep commingling with reactionaries), but there is little admixture between high and low-IQ people regardless of ideology. Smart, rich, well-educated liberals probably don’t want much to do with the least educated, least intelligent of their ideological ranks.

Also, activities that may seem gregarious and ‘low brow’ can be surprisingly expensive, examples being sporting events. By being too poor or minimalist to have cable, watch many movies, go on road trips, or attend sporting events, ironically you may actually score worse on the quiz.

Gig Economy Attracts Many Workers, Few Full-Time Jobs

‘Gig/sharing jobs’ are a way to circumvent the possible economic inefficiencies of minimum wages and regulation. If these gig jobs are so awful, workers can always look elsewhere, although good luck: On a 2011 national hiring day, McDonald’s got 1 million applicants for only 50,000 job openings, an acceptance rate lower than the Ivy League. The problem is that there are simply not enough low-skill jobs available relative to the amount of people applying, and attacking the ‘gig economy’ is not going to magically make better jobs appear.

Some gig workers make a lot of money, even more than they would with a regular job. The competitive and meritocratic nature of gig jobs reward efficiency and productivity, and this benefits customers and the economy. Uber, Air BNB, Task Rabbit allow people to earn money when they may not have otherwise been able to.

Becoming a Contrarian Like Everyone Else

Even though we’re probably on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I respect Barry’s sober analysis, rationalism, and level-mindedness in what is otherwise a maelstrom of sensationalism and hype in the world of financial journalism. I remember articles Barry wrote in 2010 about being bullish in the stock market, which conferred with my own economic analysis, and with the S&P 500 up 100% since then, it was a good call. Meanwhile those who listed to Peter Shciff and other losers lost money.

As we learned in “The Big Short,” the folks who made the contrarian bet against subprime mortgages and derivatives still had to absorb a lot of punishment before their wager paid off. Even when the market finally moved their way, the index that tracked this asset class took a long time to catch up to the reality of the meltdown.

This is indeed true. For every person or firm who makes money as a contrarian, whether it’s betting against treasury bonds, stocks, or mortgages, there are many who lose but are ignored by the media; only the winners are adulated. Sometimes the crowd is right; sometimes the status quo, even if it sucks or you don’t like it, is right. In 2011, for example, I knew that the status quo would prevail in that QE would not cause hyperinflation and dollar collapse. But in 2013, the SJW status quo began to unravel. Thus there is some timing involved, in knowing when to be contrarian or not.

Also, contrary to popular belief, predictions in 2006 of housing market collapse were hardly unique, although only very few people, such as Michael Burry, made money betting against the housing market. A large element of luck and timing is involved, because betting against the housing market to soon (such as in 2003-2005) would have likely yielded a loss even if the thesis was ultimately correct.

From Slate: It Doesn’t Add Up

But even if math is only useful for our jobs, few high schoolers know what job they will eventually have. (I wanted to be a herpetologist. And president. And a professional musician. And a biomedical researcher. And a priest.) How can they know exactly what math topics to learn? Fourteen-year-olds who choose not to take algebra II are limiting their future career options, or at least making it much more difficult to catch up if they decide in college that they want to be engineers. It’s impossible for every student to take every class that might help them in the future, but foundational math classes keep doors open.

This is a lot of truth to this. If coding is the ‘new literacy’, it’s reasonable to assume numeracy is a close second.

As shown by the comments and viralness of the article, it’s nice to see so many people agreeing how fundamental math concepts and terminology are not ‘too abstract’ for high school students, as well as elucidating the book’s glaring methodological flaws. People are tired of lowered standards, students being coddled, which hurts America’s competitiveness.

Maybe math education fails students, but also many students fail because they simply are cognitively incapable of grasping it. Rather than lowering standards to the lowest common denominator, a better solution solution is to eject the underachievers instead of wasting too much money on them, while everyone does the normal coursework.