The Experiment That Failed

I’m increasingly disturbed by the ferocious polarization of America exposed by the 2016 election.  So when I read Arlie Hoschild’s book Stranger’s In Their Own Land I became all excited to scale the “empathy wall” for my own cohort (high IQ high SES high educational attainment).  The SSC commentariat is widely admired– I loved UNSONG, Scott Alexanders alternative kabbalist universe, and the two posts I was instructed to read were awesome.  I think a rationalist community is a noble goal, and the idea of a neutral space for discussion was appealing.  I could finally learn what made conservatives tick!  And scale the empathy wall.

Yet it did not go well.

This is pretty much how SSC saw me:

I was pretty much viewed as an attacker from day one– I was accused of being a troll, of being a moby, of being a sock-puppet for some banned-but-not-forgotten commenters, of being an “islamist” (apparently because I advocate islamic self-representative government instead of trying to bomb/drone muslims into secular democracy), of being a hater, of being a fake.

An SSC commenter hate-stalked my blog, made fun of my passion for social physics, chaos and complexity science, and then held a public shaming to absolve herself of all guilt and further humiliate me.

Whew.

But I persevered…I tried to change my comment style, tried to learn all the SSC jargon (muggle-realism, incels, paperclips, steelmanning, redpill etc) and learn all the SSC rules and comment-eating monster trigger-words, while weaning myself of my near-pathological addiction to domain acronym speak, and trying to obey the Steelman Protocol.

But in the end, this is how I saw the SSC commentariat– as the Zygote monster from Blomkamp’s new Oats short.  This is sadly convolved with how extremely physically repulsive Trump is to me– I guess that is the real reason I couldn’t believe Trump got elected.  In my head Trump IS the Zygote monster, all mashed together with the worst parts of the Red Tribe, a thousand grasping greedy hands beslimed with blood and fluids.  And I’m sure Red Tribers hated Obama and HRC just as much.

Yeah, I wasn’t assimilated.  I mean, I was trying to fit in when I accidentally drove my up-armored Blue Tribe tendency humvee over an IED buried in my own psyche.

I couldn’t handle the “rationalist” discussion of the utility good of killing-terrorist-families.   I should have quit right there.  To be fair, I never got brave enough to admit to the SSC commentariat that I actually am a muslim revert, whereby I might have used Augustinian circles to explain that all muslims see themselves as part of the Ummah, and that muslims are all technically one tribe.  I thought the moral universe and one tribe theory (we are all h. sapiens sapiens, so we are all one) would have prevented this kind of discussion.   But no.

And I really just couldn’t stand it, so I behaved badly.   I just can’t muster any empathy for these people.  There is a difference between empathy and sympathy.  I feel sympathy for the Red Tribe…their cultural fitness is eroding.  But that isn’t empathy.  I can’t walk in their shoes, I can’t understand them, I can’t scale the wall.

It is said that the SSC comments section is like a dinner party.  Well, I unexpectedly threw up all over the table service during the fish course.  Commenting at SSC actually pushed me way further left.  I’m more Frank Rich than Arlie Hoschild after my little jaunt into cultural tourism.

And the worst thing is, this proves Haidt’s thesis, and doesn’t help at all with mine.

My thesis is that two peer phenotypes arose in the EEA, and polarization is happening because the Red Tribe is losing fitness parity in the 21st century environment.  The CCP is breaking down…but if that’s true, we can fix it!  We can use technology to reshape the adaptive landscape.

But instead it looks like Haidt is correct. And that means there’s no technology fix.

I’m just as complicit in this as the Red Tribe–that is the depressing truth.  “I hate them.”  “They are evil.”  I want to punch-back too.  And punching-back means no more outreach, no more trying to persuade the other side, no more trying to understand them.

If they don’t want to be helped,  just leave them behind.

 

 

 

 

Free Speech Won’t Solve the Problem

Because no one is listening.  Polarization is increasing in America– see this Pew study.

Why is the US becoming so polarized?  In three words…the second law…aka entropy.  Or to be more precise, dis-equilibriation.  So while Jon Haidt’s noble oratory is impressive and moving, forcing conservative ideology onto resentful campus communities is pretty useless.

The only interesting part of this exercise for me is the difference between what conservatives and liberals are willing to accept/excuse in their standard bearers– conservatives accepted Trump’s “pussy grabbing”– will they also accept/excuse Milo’s “soft pedophilia”/man-boy love?  While I know many liberals from my cohort that voted for Gary Johnson (a geographic ignoramus unaware of the location of Aleppo) because they viewed HRC as a liar.

My hypoth is that in the EEA two distinct and equally successful phenotypes emerged– an expression of the Cooperation Competition Paradigm of Complexity Science.  Let’s call them explorers and soldiers.  The equilibrium between the two sub-populations ensured in part the success of h. sapiens sapiens.  But in the 21st century the relative parity of fitness of the sub-populations is eroding under globalization and technology.  What happens to Jefferson’s Noble Yeomen Farmers is the huge problem going forward.  Academe is +90% liberal…the military is +90% conservative– these are evolved institutions.  Academe selects for upper tail of IQ and g— military selects for obedience, loyalty and bravery– eg, entrance to the military is 90 IQ points.  Explorers and soldiers.  But going forward soldiers will be the first to have their jobs automated.  Indeed, the non-college part of the american workforce will lose their jobs to the robots first as well.

In the recent presidential election conservatives captured the presidency in spite of losing the popular vote– Trump won by less than 100k votes in four battleground states.  But unless conservatives can capture academe and culture the pendulum will swing back…that is the way the Founders designed the system– its WAI.  Thus Trump’s attacks on the press, on universities, on science, and on celebrities are attempts to recapture the organs of culture and academe.  Academe and culture can change youth with conservative genetic tendency and conservative parents into liberals.  Consider the scholastic poll from 2016– ever shrinking jesusland.

So free speech is just a stalking horse for conservative exclusion from academe.  And forcing conservative ideology onto campuses wont make any difference in the widening gap.  America needs to be honest about the problems facing our country.  The truth is, conservative ideology is not competitive at universities, or in Hollywood.  If the correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns holds, along with the progress of the demographic timer, there will eventually be a liberal supermajority– the pendulum wont swing back.  And that is probably not a good thing for a democratic republic.

Welcome to the Campus Wars

Commodore Perry opens Japan to American trade by force.

I keep saying– this isnt really about free speech.  This is about opening the brutal marketplace of excellent ideas (aka academe) to conservative sales pitches.  Is selling stuff covered under free speech?  Milo and Coulter, MacDonald and Murray and Spencer are not academics — they are paid shills for conservative “think tanks”.  The correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns is the single most significant fallout from the 2016 election.  The GOP is shriven of its intellectual capital, and the global science marches this weekend were basically anti-Trump marches.  If conservatism can’t establish a beachhead in blue academe, its pretty much all over but the crying.

Useful idiots like Alice Dreger and Jonathan Haidt are all for letting conservative ideas enter the debate.  They remind me of chinese mandarins and japanese shoguns tittering and smirking behind their fans at the hairy smelly uncouth barbarians at the gate.  They shouldn’t be so sure that intellectually non-competitive conservative ideas cant gain traction when backed by the big guns of nationalism and capitalism.

After, hubris and confirmation bias are the main reasons we wound up with Trump.

Erdogan’s Game

Billboards the day after the failed Turkish coup– “rule by the people” has been changed to “rule by Allah”.

Its astonishing to me the amount of study lavished on failed western attempts to interpret the Mysterious East (yes, I’m studying Said’s Orientalism).  But a lot of Said’s carefully crafted analysis is wholly applicable to 21st century problems.  For example– the West was gobsmacked to find out the Arab Spring wasn’t really about embracing secular democracy, but more of a muslim revolution embracing representative theocracy.  So I guess I should have been expecting all the Erdogan hatred boiling up across the web– another rejection lol!

Does anyone actually think Erdogan’s plan was to nurture secular democracy in the wake of an assassination attempt and a failed coup?  Secular democracy doesn’t even work well in the richest country in the world.   I am going to offer a simpler and more straight forward explanation of Erdogan’s actions– using game theory and evolutionary theory of culture.  Erdogan’s strategy here is devoted to a single goal– avoiding the Morsi treatment– where a democratically elected president was overthrown by a military dictator who was subsequently unconditionally embraced by all western “pro-democratic” leaders.

In a parliamentary system its quite difficult to degrade the Nash equilibrium into a two-person zerosum game.  But surely Erdogan has been watching the US closely, where the elegant Nash equilibrium the Founders set up has devolved into Sinner v Sinner Tit for Tat, because the republicans began playing 2person-zerosum when Obama was elected.  The advantage to Erdogan of switching to a presidential system is not just consolidating power– a presidential system forces a two party system.  This is what fundamentalists do (Boyer 2001)– burn the middle ground and force moderates to choose a camp.  In Turkey Erdogan’s AKIP will become one of the two–  the secular kemalists will be forced to ally with kurdish separatists and PKK linked “terrorists”.   The turkish military and police have been trained to view the PKK as the major cause of disruption of order– Erdogan is sticking the separatist kurds onto the kemalists.  (Erdogan didnt fight ISIS until he was forced to. ) And Erdogan has been stoking the fires of nationalism and patriotism in a campaign very similiar to Trumps MAGA– using historical references and past glories.

Currently AKIP is larger than the kemalist and kurdish parties combined.  Turkey is 99.3 % muslim– citizens become registered muslims at birth.  The failed coup empowered Erdogan to purge gulenists from executive branch, military, judiciary, and academe.  And then there’s the 2 million syrian (mostly sunni) refugee problem.  Dont look for Erdogan to lose power anytime soon.

I wish Edward Said and Scott Atran could have had long discussions instead of Said and Hitchens.  Surely science is a much better way to get around Orientalism.  And we need to figure it out pretty quickly– muslims are about to be one quarter of the global population.  Its not possible to destroy an idea with bombs, and majority muslim states will inevitably have some form of representative islamic government.  Like Dr. Atran says here:

So which do you prefer?  Erdogan or Baghdadi?

How I Learned to Love Trump: Aspects of the Trickster God

I am learning to love Donald Trump, his Foreign Policy at least.  And this is why.

In mythology, I love the Hero-Trickster the best.

Coyote (Maii’) is the most contradictory of the Navajo pantheon. He is a shadowy figure that can be funny or fearsome. Coyote is greedy, vain, foolish, cunning and also occasionally displays a degree of power. “In common with Tricksters generally, he serves to test the bounds of possibilities and order”.

Loki of Norse mythology has the same traits.  Generalized malice, chaotic behavior, and doing good works only by accident.

Loki sometimes assists the gods and sometimes behaves in a malicious manner towards them. Loki is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, a mare, a fly, and possibly an elderly woman named Þökk (Old Norse ‘thanks’). Loki’s positive relations with the gods end with his role in engineering the death of the god Baldr and Loki is eventually bound by Váli with the entrails of one of his sons.

IOW, servants of chaos, disruptors of order…like DJT.

I worked very hard on Obama’s 2012 campaign.  On Obama’s election night someone told me that the victory was “magic in a bottle”– but it turns out to have been poison in a bottle for the rest of the world.  Over the years I watched in horror as Obama amped up droning and bombing and increased weapons sales to tyrants and dictators and military aid to juntas and Israel.  Something I never could understand was his Syria policy– until I read this Tablet Magazine article.  Obama is the servant of order– he tried to re-establish the equilibrium system broken by the Bush’s Folly (OIF) and the Arab Spring uprisings.  Obama’s plan was containment: to turn the Middle East into a giant steel cage death match with all the players locked in a forever conflict, but with Israel and the US watching complacently from the sidelines as weapons brokers.  How delightful to watch all their enemies rip each other to shreds: Assad, Putin, Iran, ISIS, al-Q, other islamic insurgencies, Turkey, Kurds, KSA and the Gulf States, Alawhites, Shia and Sunni, etc.  Too bad about the half million dead civilians and the 12 million syrian refugees though.

America’s settled policy of standing by while half a million Syrians have been killed, millions have become refugees, and large swaths of their country have been reduced to rubble is not a simple “mistake,” as critics like Nicholas D. Kristof and Roger Cohen have lately claimed. Nor is it the product of any deeper-seated American impotence or of Vladimir Putin’s more recent aggressions. Rather, it is a byproduct of America’s overriding desire to clinch a nuclear deal with Iran, which was meant to allow America to permanently remove itself from a war footing with that country and to shed its old allies and entanglements in the Middle East, which might also draw us into war. By allowing Iran and its allies to kill Syrians with impunity, America could demonstrate the corresponding firmness of its resolve to let Iran protect what President Barack Obama called its “equities” in Syria, which are every bit as important to Iran as pallets of cash.

America’s Syria policy can, therefore, be best understood not in the terms most familiar to Mideast analysts, such as “getting Assad to step aside” or “supporting the moderate opposition” or “paving the way to a peaceful transition and elections.” Rather, it is a strategic-communications campaign tightly run from the White House, whose purpose was and is to serve as a smokescreen for an entirely coherent and purposeful policy that comes directly from the president himself, but which he and his aides did not wish to publicly own. The goal of the president and his closest aides is to convince the Iranians that we would meet our commitments to them while confusing and obscuring the real reasons behind the president’s set decision of nonintervention in Syria from American legislators and the public alike.

I would add concealing his purpose from our NATO allies as well, who will suffer enormously from the burgeoning Islamic Diaspora.

In a recent interview, Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon revealed that in 2013, Iran told President Obama that if he were to strike the regime of Bashar Assad following the latter’s chemical-weapons attack, the Iranians would collapse the talks over their nuclear program. Obama canceled the strike, of course, and later reassured Iran that the United States would not touch Assad. Solomon’s reporting confirms a critical fact about Obama’s Iran and Syria policies: They are one and the same. Or, stated differently, Syria is part of the price for the president’s deal with Iran.

For five-and-a-half years, Obama has maintained an unwavering position against intervention on the side of Assad’s enemies in order to set the stage for a U.S. realignment in the Middle East. To shield this ambition from view, and therefore from criticism, the White House launched an elaborate spin campaign whose purpose was to deflect and manage domestic and allied criticism while the president pursued his objective. In partnership with Russia, Obama has directly shaped the course of the Syrian war while single-mindedly working to actualize his vision of a new American alliance with Russia and Iran that will allow America to take a permanent vacation from the Middle East. While the end result of this effort may not be what Obama and his closest advisers hope, his actions are clear, and their consequences now appear to be locked in, no matter who comes after him in the White House.

But because of Trump, I think the policy may no longer be “locked in”.  The generals may ally with Trump– because the ones hes surrounded himself with believe US military power can solve any problem.  And Trump will be able to exploit bombing “ISIS” to raise his dismal popularity polling.  A popular misconception is that Putin wanted Trump to be elected– like everyone, Putin didn’t think Trump could be elected.  Putin wanted to deligitimize US democracy…and Trumps advisors were venal and inexperienced enough to fall into Putins web.  Putin and Obama both viewed Trump as a buffoon.  But he may not be…Trump may be an avatar of the Trickster God, a servant of chaos and a disruptor of order.  Like Nadim Shehadi said– deterrence by uncertainty.  I study complexity, especially non-equilibrium systems, what John Von Neuman called non-elephants…and I love chaos unconditionally.

See the resemblance?

 

Terrible Lie

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-12-24-58-pm

My depression and lack of posting isnt directly attributable to the election…its all about what the election has unveiled.  Like the creeping reveal of a terrifying horror movie there were plenty of clues in the run-up to Trump’s election.  The one thing that Trump told his supporters that was actually true– “I am your last chance”.  If the GOP remains the party of non-college whites they will never win a majority again.

But the coming liberal supermajority isnt exactly good news for our democratic republic.  The Terrible Lie that America is founded upon is that “all men are created equal”.  Liberals believe that the playing field (environment) can be leveled with law– conservatives believe that attitude can triumph over aptitude (“drive”) — these are articles of faith.   Yet neither of these aphorisms are true.  The truth is that we can’t level the genes.  At least, not yet.

The deciding factor in the election was educational attainment, pointed out by Nate Silver and Daniel McCormack—  McCormack’s analysis is especially trenchant when applied to the four battleground states that decided the election.  Yet no one is talking about this.  Are we afraid to?  Maybe.

What we are going to discover going forward is correlation of IQ and educational attainment, correlation of IQ and SES, correlation of brain biochemistry and IQ…and horribly — inverse correlation of IQ and educational attainment with red brain biochemistry.  Data Science, R programming, MIT’s Social Machine, and accelerated research into cognitive genomics with our new fabulous 21st century technology toolset– these tools are going to raise the lid on a pandora’s box of horrors that we would much rather not know…because it means secular democracy is a Terrible Lie.

The Founder’s America was built on the rough electoral parity of two ideologies– but what happens when there is radical electoral dimorphism?  In polarized America, the only thing that breaks familial tendency  seems to be education.  So what Grand Bargain can a permanent liberal supermajority offer the conservative minority?  Is there a place for Jefferson’s Noble Yeomen Farmers in the college-educated hightech world of the future where robots do their old blue-collar jobs?  Just one example– with the advent of self-driving cars 1.5 million long haul truckers are projected to lose their jobs within 4 years.  Can Trump bring those jobs back too?

This is why KellyAnne Conway (aka Skeletor in Drag) is so vested in pushing the eumeme of “alternative facts”.  Its why the GOP’s only pragmatic option for maintaining political power is fascism.

Even though I am a flaming liberal I hate this…I stood in class and pledged allegiance like everyone else.  If the richest country on earth cant realize the dream of a representative republic what hope is there to spread “democracy” to the rest of the planet?  And even worse…how to keep red brain genetic tendency Americans from finding out the truth?

Unz blogger Razib Khan once famously (or infamously) mused– “How to tell stupid people that they are stupid…”.  Going forward Razib and the rest of the HBD crewe are gunna have to work furiously to keep them from finding out.

 

 

 

 

The Demographic Doom of the GOP Isn’t Hispanics: Its Education

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-6-33-01-amResults of the 2016 Scholastic Poll.

There is a huge amount of post-election handwringing over why the polls were wrong.  But the most interesting analysis I saw was this piece by Daniel McCormack, contesting the theory that income, % white or manufacturing employment were actually the discriminating  separations– it was education.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-12-31-46-pm

What are the four variables?  Starting top left: income, manufacturing, %white, education.  What is happening?  Let McCormack explain–

What the regression analysis is telling us, then, is that districts with lots of manufacturing employment aren’t on average shifting their votes to Trump; they just appear to be shifting their votes to Trump because in many cases these districts also have below-average education levels, and these districts absolutely are shifting votes to Trump. In fact, after accounting for the effect of education on vote change, districts with manufacturing employment are shifting less of their votes towards Trump. (I ran a hundred or so permutations of this model, adding and subtracting different covariates. For instance, if education is left out but whiteness and income are included, manufacturing is still positive. I feel pretty confident that education is responsible for the flipped sign on manufacturing.)

So the real enemy for the GOP is education— half the scholastic respondents will be first time voters in 2020– and then in increasing numbers every election cycle going forward for the forseeable future.   The GOP base isnt going to college anytime soon–older, sicker, and whiter than the democratic base– but uniformly and fervently wishes a college education for their children.  Olds dont go to college…they eventually die-off.   The Trump presidency is actually radar chaff obscuring deep structural problems in the electorate.  The single thing Trump said to his supporters that was true was “I am your last chance”.  The GOP will never win a popular majority again, and soon demographics will top the levees of gerrymandered districts.  Then in 2040 the hispanic demographic deathcross, where declining number of whites crosses the increasing number of hispanics.