Open Thread, 7/31/2016

They say to write about what you know. One thing I know are peppers, and hot sauce. So in addition to my writings on genetics, history, and assorted odds & ends, probably more pepper writing than before.

51G93vyEl5LClass is important, but it doesn’t seem to be a good organizing principle around which an organic social movement can develop, like race or religion. The Soviet Union and Peoples’ Republic of China have both evolved into nationalistic states because the ideology of Communism never erased, and in fact only complemented, the nationalist ethos which served as the true substrate of the modern polities.

The Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is an important book because it gives an impression of the possibilities of much of the human future. These poor white people can be described in unvarnished terms because they’re white, and white people can be described somewhat objectively. Their world is in crisis, as the world economy leaves them behind. The golden age of well-paid unskilled and semi-skilled work is gone. The future is uncertain, and without dignity.

This is the lot of the bottom 90 percent of all races. But because class can’t motivate human emotions in the same way as race and religion, we might see a return to more nationalist organizing principles in the near future because the elites really don’t have anything to give in terms of dignity and economic hope to the masses. Yes, they’ll live at a marginal consumer level, but they won’t obtain honor and self-worth through work, because they will have been rendered redundant by productivity gains and globalization.

I had a discussion about gentrification at a start-up event recently. As a gentrifier and small-l libertarian I don’t have a problem as such with gentrification. My interlocutor had local roots, and talked about the dislocation imposed upon his maternal Mexican American side. I was sympathetic, but, I suggested that America is a global nation, and a diverse one. He made the case for non-economic social capital, and cultural cohesion, and I suggested that sounds a lot like the sort of thing working class whites might also offer up for why mass immigration is a problem (he was taken aback by the analogy).

Ultimately the public discussion tends to avoid the hard questions. And that’s why we’re where we are.

A tutorial on how (not) to over-interpret STRUCTURE/ADMIXTURE bar plots. Unless you’ve produced a lot (a lot) of these plots, please read this. Whether you read my blog, or plan to do admixture analysis in the future.

The Strange Rites of the Ancient Olympics.

The domesticated brain: genetics of brain mass and brain structure in an avian species.

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