An era of extremes

On dissent-right forums and blogs, it’s not uncommon to see people who subscribe to HBD bemoan the purported emasculation of men or the dumbing-down of society and younger generations, compared to older generations. Such arguments and generalizations are along the lines of:

“…Kids today are so much weaker than when I was growing up…”

“…people were smarter 100+ years ago, but now everything is so dumbed-down…”

“…technology and processed foods are making people weaker mentally and physically…”

and so on…

What people are ignoring is that the “D” in HBD stands for diversity. This means that not everyone is going to grow up to be a virile specimen/facsimile of masculinity or intellect. Many will be in the middle, neither being super-smart nor super-masculine. But increased population growth means more variance, hence more biodiversity. For example, IQ follows a normal distribution with a standard deviation of 15 points and a mean of 100, so having a larger world population means there will be more individuals with super-high IQs, at the very extreme. The same applies to physical strength, too, which like IQ is also normally distributed (although is more affected by environment). As evidence of this, in spite of purported dumbing-down and male effeminacy, cognitive and strength records are being smashed at a rate that far exceeds any time in history. Child prodigies are graduating from college and high school earlier than ever, and power lifters and strongman are lifting more weight than ever. Athletes are bigger and faster than ever. A new record for the deadlift was set just last week, at an astonishing 501kg, an increase of 1k from the prior record in 2016. This is due to a combination of better performance-enhancing drugs, but also the trend of people in developed countries getting bigger and taller due to better nutrition (a 1% increase in height corresponds to a 3% increase in weight and 2-4% increase of strength, depending on the activity and mechanical advantage/disadvantage). Football players are bigger and stronger than ever, too. A 300+ pound football player was a rarity 30 years ago ago, but it is much more common nowadays. A 9-year-old graduated from college recently, which is even more mind-blowing when one considers graduating from high school, let alone college, at such an early age is already exceedingly rare, so that record was crushed too. Having more people alive means that at the extremes, there will be people who are very smart or very strong even if seems like, on average, most people are neither. Now one can argue that perhaps the mean in terms of physical strength and IQ has fallen, but genotypic changes that change the phenotype take a long time to develop, hundreds of years possibly. Increased rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyles may lead to decreased physical fitness, but this cannot be generalized to everyone. More population growth means there will still be plenty of people who are not obese or sedentary, but the burden on public healthcare systems due to obesity cannot be ignored either.