Meme propagation process

Changes in public sentiment don’t arise exnihilo. Rather, there is a multi-step process by which public opinion evolves and forms, through what I call the meme propagation process.

When I talk about the ‘high-IQ left’ and the ‘high-IQ right,’ these are the progenitors and propagators of this process.

Smarter people tend to have more money and larger social networks, and impart greater influence in major online communities such as Reddit and 4chan. Eliezer Yudkowsky, who has a really high IQ, has a much larger social network (such as on Facebook and Twitter) than an average person. These high-IQ people, with their large networks and influence, can gradually change public sentiment on issues, and affect the news cycle. Articles and sentiment conveyed on Reddit and 4chan by these high-IQ people are picked up by journalists (who scour these sites), who then disseminate the idea, story, or sentiment to a much broader audience.

A recent example of this is the rise of Jordan Peterson, whose popularity on Reddit and YouTube by his high-IQ fans was later picked up by the mainstream media, turning him into a celebrity. The decline of the ‘self-esteem’ movement is another example. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, everyone seemed to be in agreement that boosting self-esteem was an unalloyed ‘good’ (although the ‘right’ generally has always been somewhat more skeptical) for child development. It was only around 2010-2013, with the rise of Reddit and ‘rationalism’, was the self-esteem movement finally held to scrutiny, and suspicions were confirmed when it was revealed that the self-esteem moment was founded on a lie,. The media did a 180, from praising self-esteem to excoriating it, and things like ‘participation trophies’ have becomes punchlines. Online coverage is overwhelmingly negative, and it’s to find many articles praising self-esteem. The same goes for the decline of ‘helicopter parenting’, which was also done-in by online skepticism around 2008-2013, and like self-esteem, coverage is overwhelmingly negative. The sentiment suddenly changed from parents needing to be protective, to parents being too protective.