I’m watching our National suicide which I am powerless to stop or even slow for reasons that I simply cannot fathom.
— Eric Weinstein (@EricRWeinstein) October 9, 2021
Phasing out ‘Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs’ is beyond idiotic. Even liberals who agree with the left on everything else, agree (just by reading the comments, no one agrees with this). But I disagree with the alarmist view and hyperbole that is a ‘national suicide’ or that this threatens America’s competitiveness. If Eric believes this, he should put his money (or I guess Theil’s money) where his mouth is, to profit from this. One such trade could be to buy index puts on the S&P 500 or to structure a position that is long foreign markets (such as China) and short US equities, to profit from the US losing its competitiveness and ‘edge’ relative to the rest of the world. Such a trade would have gotten killed since 2009, so it’s understandable why no one would do it, so making bold proclamations on Twitter in which there is nothing at stake is obviously far easier.
G&T programs have already become so diluted that the threshold for giftedness is too low anyway. Second, there will always be private schools and tutoring, which is more advanced than the typical G&E class anyway. There is little to stop a smart kid from picking up coding and being an expert by his 20s, which is what is already happening. In the ’90s pundits were making similar dire forecasts of America losing its competitiveness due to affirmative action, yet the US has far surpassed its rivals nonetheless. It goes to show how hard predicting this stuff is. Explaining why affirmative action, lowered standards, and dumbing-down has not dragged down the US economy and overall competitiveness of the private sector, is harder to answer.
I think also G&T programs are factories for what Vox Day calls midwits. I have gotten into debates with people who may otherwise be ‘smart’ but cannot tell the difference between ‘because of’ vs. ‘in spite of’. Or I remember getting into a debate about crypto, and I argued that crypto is heavily regulated, and then someone tried refute my point by arguing that it used to not be regulated, which was my point! It was unregulated, but not anymore due to govt. pressure.
It’s as if America is weak and dysfunctional where it matters least, but strong where it matters most. An aspiring lawyer or doctor being passed up at a mid-tier laws school or medical school due to affirmative action, is not really a huge loss, although obviously unfair. Hugely innovative, profitable firms can still find top talent regardless, because they carefully screen for it. The affirmative action hires meanwhile are put in positions where they cannot cause too much harm.
If all the top-10 largest tech companies and retail/consumer firms, such as Walmart and Disney, were excised from the US, as well as the top-50 Forbes billionaires, and also if high-IQ immigration stopped, then I think Eric’s thesis would be much more plausible and viable from from an investing standpoint, and I would agree that America would be in trouble. You can see the contrast by comparing blue states to red states. Blue states are demonstrably vastly wealthier, not necessarily because democrats are better for the economy (GDP did well and the stock market boomed under Trump), but because that is where are the wealthy people and trillion-dollar-sized firms are, although Elon Musk has moved operations to Texas.
There is nothing about Joe Biden, De Blasio, etc. that inspires confidence or conveys competence. The Republican leadership is not that great either. It’s as if a couple hundred of the most mediocre, uninspiring people in the world were selected for running the country. If not for these large companies, which are pulling the weight and helping to keep borrowing costs low to fund the ever-expanding social safety net, then I also would also agree with Eric. Part of this is by design: maintaining the status quo and not doing much, is preferable to introducing unwanted variance to the system. Trump was a departure from this trend, so he had to go, and was (and still is) a mortal enemy to the establishment.
Brazil, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Spain, etc. have all fallen and cannot get up. The U.S. is rather unique in terms of always being on the upswing compared to the rest of the world ,even when things seem to be going badly such as BLM protests, Covid, or Capitol Hill protests. The debt ceiling thing is hyped to no end by pundits as a catastrophe waiting to happen because national parks will be closed, yet elsewhere in the world you got things literally falling apart. If you follow foreign politics and events, it’s just one economic crisis or corruption scandal after another; it never ends, and unlike the manufactured crisis by the American media, such crisis actually hurt the economies of the respective countries.
There are two opposing forces: social decay and lowered-standards, but juxtaposed with increased strength, innovation, and efficiency of the private sector. So far, the latter is winning, but for how long can this continue? I predict a lot longer, but hard to say for sure.