Polarization, Charles Murray and the Evolutionary Theory of Games

I think the interwebs dont really understand what is happening with the anti-Charles Murray protests that are sweeping campuses across the country.

From this otherwise excellent article by PHarden–



“Is there any academic more widely reviled by mainstream social scientists than Murray?”

People have forgotten that Murray is a paid think-tank “scholar” and strictly speaking NOT an academic.  Nor is Murray a social scientist– he is a political scientist.  So actual social scientists certainly have the right to critique him.  And I think students have every right to exercise their free speech rights against him.

Universities are supposed to be bastions of freedom of speech and ideas.  To conservatives this presents as a deliberate banning of conservative ideology.  But it is actually darwinian selection for merit in academe coupled with rejection of outgroup memes.  Conservative ideology fails with liberals, because it simply doesnt appeal to them, and thus it has no scientific validity.  I have no problem with stating facts: academy is painted blue.  Why is this?  I think its largely because universities select for IQ which correlates with factors of blue brain biochemistry (exploration, SES, educational attainment of parents, etc).

AEI was deliberately constructed to present an alternative to perceived liberal academe, much as the Breitbart organization started out as Big Hollywood in 2009, an attempt to “take back” Hollywood from liberal “bias” .  It is not, and never will be, a university.

As increasing polarization in America divides americans into two camps we can observe increasing radicalization on both sides of the debate fueled by social media.  On twitter for example accusations of “Red Guards” or “Torquemadas” leveled against liberal university students and professors protesting Murray are becoming as common as accusations of “Nazi ” or “Brownshirt” against campus Republicans and the tiny cohort of conservative geneticists and political scientists.  If we simply consider US universities as Culturally Stable Strategies that evolved over hundreds of years by selection for IQ, EGT and Social Network Theory predict that conservative ideology will never penetrate.

An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare.

So according to John Maynard-Smith conservative ideology and conservative researchers, scientists, and professors cant make much headway in penetrating the CSS of liberal universities.

The big reveal post-election is the correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns.  Much has been written about the supposed “liberal bias” of academe– very little has been said about the voting patterns of the election and how they project into the future.  The GOP is facing a double whammy of demographic doom– from the hispanic deathcross and from the correlation of liberal voting patterns with educational attainment.  How did we get here?

The Founders set up their version of a Nash equilibrium in the US constitutional republic– its really very clever.

In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy.

But the US equilibrium system began to fail in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, and the first ringing of the demographic timer.  In 2008 (for the first time) white kids under five became a minority.  Republicans began to play a two-person zero-sum game against democrats in congress– a profound change in strategy culminating in the refusal to honor Obama’s SCOTUS appointments in his final term.

But the US equilibrium system is not just challenged by demographic disparity, but also by economic disparity.  Jobs and SES in the 21st century are increasingly dependent on college educations.  Currently 70% of US pop has no college degree, but there are 20 million or so new college freshman every year.

So what happens to a large non-equilibrium system (or as my beloved John Von Neuman termed it, a “non-elephant”) ?  It becomes vulnerable to sandpile collapse, according to another hero of mine, Per Bak.  This is observably happening in MENA, and in the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and in the French Revolution.  Indeed, in America Trump’s election is a sort of the Postman Always Rings Twice avalanche– the first avalanche being Sarah Palin’s insane popularity with the GOP base– a populist avalanche.

Again, there is no certainty that US will undergo full collapse– currently the Founders’ protections against an elected demogogue seem be holding– the constitution is WAI.  But is collapse such a bad thing?  Collapse brings emergence of new forms.  Collapse brings chaos and self-organizing criticality.  Collapse brings new scales of complexity.

I personally think liberal democracy is a Terrible Lie.

Maybe we can do better.





10 thoughts on “Polarization, Charles Murray and the Evolutionary Theory of Games

  1. im talking abt red/blue brain hypothesis, the EEA and Cooperation Competition Paradigm
    u apparently dont understand anything about my points
    Polarization is also a recent phenomenon, starting from the 90s


  2. There’s patent discrimination of conservatives and non-liberals in academe. For example, liberal and progressive professors openly state (in survey studies) that they’d discriminate against them in various ways, ranging from hiring decisions to promotions, etc… In the political sphere, your game-theory analysis is essentially what I see too. But both sides are pretty guilty in underhanded play. Right now, I’d say the Democrats and Republicans have more or less converged in their level of non-zero-sum behavior (it’s basically inevitable, assuming both sides are self-interested and eventually figure out the dynamics of the game). And anyway, all of this tribalistic politicking, whether in academe or without, is all mainly self-interested behavior cloaked in rationalization (a special gift given to us by natural selection).


    • that was the point of my EGT comments– academe has become a Culturally Stable Strategy for watever reason
      its impenetrable to conservative ideology, because that is rare ingroup– math in chapt 5 of JMS book
      u can think of a CSS as fairly immune to both outgroup penetration AND ingroup mutation
      after the 2016 fake news hostile takeover of the media, u can understand why liberals wud reject “alternative science”.
      polarization is increasing– circling the wagons
      like Boyer says– the fundamentalists burn the middle ground to force fence sitters to choose a camp.


    • ur correct–the Nash equilibrium set up by the Founders has devolved into 2person zerosum
      and its now iterated Sinner v Sinner tit-for-tat
      democrats no longer have the luxury of being Saints
      thats why some conservatives are complaining the hard-left “has gone crazy” when the left has simply been forced to abandon its Saints strategy and emulate the rights Sinner strategy in play
      Saint v Sinner will always loose
      Sinner v Sinner is congressional deadlock


  3. I value the idiosyncratic intellectual counter-ideology that you have assembled out of your various themes. I want to see it come to fruition and become a thing. I want that enough, that I’ve learned to restrain myself from making “obvious” objections when I disagree or feel provoked, because that adds nothing new.

    So let me just ask: where, in your alternative sociobiology of politics, IQ, and phenotypes, are American Jews? Are they epiphenomenal, not a distinctive causal factor? The alt-right might say they are the most important blue-brained clade. Sascha Vongehr seems to have a nuanced view…


    • I have really not formulated a response to this yet…im still trying to get my head around how few jews exist in the world population today. Certainly jews have far greater influence than their numbers would suggest. Its gobsmacking that Hitler reduced the pre-WWII jewish breeding population by half, and its only now recovered to pre-WWII levels. I will read the Vongehr piece and let u kno what i think.
      and im not so special lol. im just tryin’ to get to the next screen.


      • this is pretty horrible to contemplate…but perhaps the holocaust was sort of an extreme selection gradient…higher IQ people had a better chance of surviving and reproducing…


  4. […] No, not between Huntington-style Western Civilization and dar ul Islam— this is a story about the clash of sub-populations in the US– about red/blue brain biochemistry hypothesis and political polarization, about emergent systems and artificial systems, about social physics and identity and complex adaptive games. […]


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