Intellectual Laziness

As discussed in an earlier post about normies and bugmen, a characteristic of non-normies are shared narratives. One such narrative is a repulsion/revulsion to low-information discourse and also a heightened ability to detect inauthenticity. Low-information discourse is interchangeable/synonymous with intellectual laziness. But ‘laziness’ suggests a lack of effort, whereas low-information discourse makes no distinction. Low and average-IQ people, however, cannot help but to come across as intellectually lazy, whereas high-IQ are less susceptible, but at times can still exhibit such laziness. Not surprisingly, intellectual laziness is obvious to high-IQ people but much less so to average-IQ people. [1]

The characteristics of intellectual laziness are similar to the characteristics of normies, except it applies to discourse. Examples include:

–Unfounded generalizations
–Missing the point/whoosh
–Lack of imagination/too literal/inability to read between the lines (when responding to someone)
–Not reading the article which one is responding to from beginning to end, but rather skimming or only reading a small part of it
–Deferring only to anecdotal evidence (anecdotal and personal evidence is useful for establishing a rapport with the reader, but it should be backed up by objective data too)
–Uncharitable readings (when resounding to someone)
–Gross factual inaccuracies
–Trying to form a consensus when none exists
–Brow-beating the reader with your opinions instead of presenting evidence and then nudging the reader to your desired conclusion
–Writing on the presumption of being right, instead of being provisional and open to being wrong and having to reject your hypothesis
–Confirmation bias (looking for evidence that confirms your hypothesis instead of trying to disprove it)
–‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’…latching onto a single part/detail of an argument and missing the bigger point (similar to the ‎Genetic Fallacy and Red Herring)
–Preaching to the choir (instead, preach to the most skeptical reader in mind. What is self-evident to you is possibly alien to the reader.)

The problem is, almost everyone will make these mistakes. But part of the huge success of Wait But Why and Slate Star Codex, but also the post-2013 rise of ‘rationalist discourse’, is they keep such mistakes to a minimum. Popular news and opinion sites such has QZ and VOX, despite at times their overt left-wing biases, try to employ this style.

From the post Bret Stephens: Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers

WND (World Net Daily), NRO (National Review Online), and Fox News are relics of the 90′s. Even if they are on the ‘right side’ of the culture wars, they just don’t resonate, for the same reasons why Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, despite their popularity, don’t affect narratives either. Journalism and writing , much like everything else, evolves. Tastes change, influencers change. Instead of writing with Drudge in mind as one would have done in the 90′s and early 2000′s, now it’s the ‘shitlord’ on Twitter who has ans IQ of 130+ and 13,000 follows, in mind. Granted, the shirtlord can’t send nearly as much traffic as a Drudge link, but the shitlord’s readers, who are about 10x as engaged and 10x as smart as Drudge readers, will share it, and then the high-IQ media like Vox and Quartz and people on Reddit, 4chan, and Medium will pick up on it, and the story will become actually more viral than the Drudge link in terms of affecting narratives.

Jordan Peterson is not right about everything. Some of his ideas, such as lobster hierarchies being analogous to human hierarchies, have not been vetted. As Vox Day points out, Dr. Peterson likely overestimates the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews, which is probably closer to 103-105 (for Ashkenazi Jews residing in the U.S.) than the 115 score given by Peterson, who makes no distinction between Israeli Jews and American Jews. The ‘100 million deaths under Communism’ figure he often cites likely overstates the actual total by 40-60 million. The style of discourse he employs is as important, if not more so, than the veracity of content of his lectures and videos, because he conveys intellectual credibly through the somewhat high-pitched tone of his voice, his ‘scrappy professor’ appearance, his quick-witted extemporaneous style of speech, and this is a major reason why he is so effective. But the left does not know how to handle someone like Jordan Peterson, who, unlike mainstream conservatives such as Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, conveys much more intellectual credibly and appeal to young people. It’s easy to dismiss National Review and Fox News as being out-dated and washed-up ,which they largely are, but JP infuses new energy and ideas into the ‘right’, so the left’s tactic of labeling the ‘right’ as anti-intellectual no longer work as well. Unlike TV pundits, Dr. Peterson engages in constructive dialogue rather than shouting-down his opponents and resorting to name-calling. Jordan Peterson’s ideas are presented as self-evident and axiomatic, rather than him trying to push an ideology, further adding to his effectiveness. It’s like yeah, gender differences are real and are biological.

Why are Moldbug, Vox Day, Nick Land, and even Andrew Anglin so popular, but also respected by so many people despite holding views that many would find reprehensible. Say what you want about their politics, but all them are authentic and none could be considered intellectually lazy. That’s why many left-wing intellectuals (the so-called ‘rational left’) are willing to engage in debate with reactionaries, who see eye-to-eye intellectually (although not ideologically), compared to mainstream conservatives and mainstream liberals, in which there is no such intellectual connection.

Good writing is good everywhere; bad writing tends to be bad everywhere. One can argue that left-wing articles won’t do well in communities with a right-wing bias, and vice-versa, but I think a good, well-thought-out article in which the author is cognizant of the ‘opposing side’ and argues in good faith, can be successful anywhere.

[1] So then the question is, if most readers are average IQ, and average-IQ readers cannot readily discriminate between laziness and that which is not, why not just save yourself the time and effort and write intellectually lazy stuff? Those who have been reading the blog would know the answer. The answer is, in post-2008 internet journalism, the ‘keys’ to viralness are held by high-IQ gatekeeprs, so for content to be successful it must first pass through them. The second answer is, the fastest growth is in high-IQ stuff even though these niches are smaller than the average-IQ stuff. Sports, cooking, gardening, and celebrity gossip are very popular niches but also very saturated and have stagnant growth.