Substack cometh, and lo it is good. (Pricing)

The beginning of history and the first men

As readers know I think Matthew Yglesias’ One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger is a decent read. Unlike a reviewer at the new TNR, I didn’t expect a Ph.D. dissertation. Though a few years ago I would be very skeptical of one billion diverse Americans, today I am far less so, mostly because I think our elites are perverts. I see no conventional way to get out of the perversion spiral, so I’m quite open to some sort of “exogenous shock”. I am aware of the arguments of people such as Mark Krikorian. We are actually quite friendly and I have appraised Mark of my change of views privately and am open to revising my perspectives in light of new data (he makes the fair point that our elites are so powerful they’ll turn new immigrants into perverts as well!).

But setting that aside, I think Yglesias’ candor in his interviews has been refreshing (he’ll be on the Brown Pundits podcast on the 15th, though I’ve posted it for Patrons). For example, on Tyler Cowen’s podcast, he admits he thinks if more Americans went to church, that that would be a good thing. He also admits openness to immigration that takes into account parameters such as cultural or national background. Like most normal Americans he is not beholden to the redlines of woke Twitter.

But these are details. What I am interested in seeing are ideas that are new for this century. Ideas that shake things up. We have not reached the ennui of the last bourgeois man. On the contrary, we again live in interesting times. But our cultural elites do not have the mental furniture to grapple with the beginning of the new century and the new age. They are stuck in a “Boomer Mindset.”

For conservatives, the 1950s will not return. For liberals, the 1960s will not return. They can pretend and will it, but the recycling of old motifs and paradigms reflect intellectual and cultural exhaustion, not renewed vigor.

That is one reason I read The American Mind.  I am, fundamentally, a fusionist of the old school (I do write for NR). But the future does not belong to fusionism. For someone of my age, the future is going to seem crazy. Perhaps Matthew Yglesias crazy. Or Michael Anton crazy. Or a thousand other permutations. The only thing I’m certain of is the exhaustion of old paradigms.  I believe “Black Lives Matter” is attempting to recapture the old 1960s radicalism in a bottle. It will not last. When the Republicans last had control of the legislature, the thing they managed to do was pass a tax cut. The last gasp of an old ideology.

What is America in the 21st century? I don’t know. None of us do.

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99 thoughts on “The beginning of history and the first men

  1. but who is the alternative?

    Your alternative is not really an alternative, though, at least not in the stage you have presented it; too few specifics, too little detail, too much abstraction. Where do you want to import pro-family, non-degenerate elites from? Why do you think that place, wherever it be, will produce people able to counter the current madness?

    someone on an earlier thread said “why don’t you move to brazil.” my rxn: “well, the did elect bolsanaro…”

    If this is followed by “therefore, I know they’re just copying whatever America does”, then you’re spot-on. That said: why not move to Bangladesh, where you presumably have relatives to help you, or to nearby India (in case you’re afraid of Muslim retaliation)? If you think that your country is already dead and its leftover elite is specially heinous, why not?

  2. From studying the human past, all I can conlude in regards to it(humanity) is: 1) relying too much on tools has brought us to this level of degeneration aka civilization, comfort. 2) sedentism and agriculture go against humanity’s restless nomadic nature. 3) a part of humanity must evolve into a separate human species and the current one has to go extinct.

    We need new nomads, aggressive nomads that are not afraid to destroy civilization and its elites(not totally but take from civilization that which only aids our nomadic nature.)

  3. Probably we should look at a state which opened up its borders for just a couple of years completely and see what the results have been?

    Like Sweden – people made fun of Trump, but just look where they are heading:
    “The Social Democrats have firmly denied that gang crime can be linked to migration. But in tonight’s hearing in Aktuellt, it sounds different from Stefan Löfven. – If you have a migration that means in the order of magnitude that you can not cope with the integration then it will be the case that we get social tensions in a society and that is not good, says Stefan Löfven.”

    https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2020-09-09-l%C3%B6fven-s-turn–connects-large-migration-with-the-development-of-crime.H1DIhrFLVv.html

    Interestingly, the reports on the issue being… almost not present in the US media? Or how many of you read about this big confession of the leading Social Democrat of Sweden? This is a turning point, in many districts of the Swedish urban zones its like in a civil war with bombs, grenades, machine guns and executions. This is the future for an open borders country, becoming like some districts of Mexico, with a failed state and the escalation of violence and social conflict.

    The only way mass immigration will cause a turn is by going too far and leading to a right backlash – against immigration. Otherwise it will only help the plans of the Oligarchy or lead to a collapse of the state and society on a level we have to look back to Rome for a comparison.

    There is no currently no state which selects carefully which immigrants are allowed to come and which not, with asylum law, backed by the UN, the international law and organisations (read again, largely the USA), largely annul any policy employed. And those coming in, en masse, whether they are more conservative in some respects or not, are most likely to either assimilate in the Plutocrats favour, or reject the local culture as degenerate altogether, leading to destructive conflicts rather than a political rejuvenation.

    The only way out of this dilemma is to look at the roots of the problem, people acting accordingly:
    – Cultural Marxism as the moral compass and leading ideology of the masses
    – Plutocratic Capitalist societal structures leading to a
    – Oligarchy and manipulation of society and the state in favour of a corrupted few.

    Unless these problems being not realised and tackled, regardless by whom, there is no way out.

    And there is no way to go. Like I have relatives on various continents, in various European based or founded countries, its not better anywhere, they are all in the same trap and have to free themselves, die as slaves.

    Big changes are coming, they are coming soon, the “refugee crisis” of 2015 and the “Corona crisis” of this year being major catalysators. There is no way back and the whole “woke crap” is the project to keep things under control and busy, its the last trial to keep things together and making the introduction of mass control and surveillance easier.
    This is the endgame for our generation and everybody should realise who is really in charge of this mess, and no, its not Twitter activists, simple professors, sexual or colored minorities. Its simply not, because its much bigger than that.

    Its not even necessary, regardless of whether it would work out or not, to think too much about a turn by immigration, because the biggest decisions will be made in the next years. After that, you have a control & surveillance state, if the Oligarchy succeeds, which makes us all dependent slaves and will create a highly violent political atmosphere and conflict. Things will get tempo very soon and at this point, there is nobody who can stop it any more, even if they want it.

    The Covid 19-crisis of 2020-2021 will be remembered – as long as civilisation persists – as a political, societal and econoic turning point. I’m just not sure about what’s coming up from it, I’m somewhat afraid of it, but it will change the world forever, that’s by now an established fact. There is no comfortable and soft way out of this any more, the levers been shifted already.

    And I don’t think it will be decided in the USA alone, because the good thing of the US decline is that all the vassals get more freedom to do “their own thing”. While I hope the USA get out of their Cultural Marxist-Plutocratic mess and become a better leader for the occident and role model for the world, I have my doubts. I don’t think they make it. So I just hope people won’t follow if the USA becomes a corporate prison state which wants to expand its model to the rest of the world, with the vote for Biden being the signal after which, or shortly before, a sudden “economic crisis” of unprecedented proportions will emerge from this “Corona epidemic”, which will “force” the political elite to “implement necessary measures” to “stabilise society”.
    Out of a sudden, the politically cleansed police will become the best friend of the political Oligarchy with its corrupted leftist slogans, you will see how good they will cooperate if everything is going their way…

  4. @Jason: “We need new nomads, aggressive nomads that are not afraid to destroy civilization and its elites(not totally but take from civilization that which only aids our nomadic nature.)”

    You don’t see what’s going wrong and want therefore to destroy everything instead of correcting the details which went wrong?

    What you describe is more animalistic than human – probably in a romanticised way. Such a result would make the remains of Hominids like other animals and they will die like the rest with the next global catastrophy. No chance of surviving it, as primitive nomads. Doesn’t mean even my idealised techno-civilisation would survive every challenge, but changes are higher and life would be more meaningful for them.

    Humans either climb up the ladder some steps more or will fall down and crash. There is nothing in between, there never was and it would be meaningless anyway. The Hominid trajectory doesn’t make us better predators or ruminants, our species is ought to build a culture and create civilisation from it.
    Either you survive at a good level, at least a level from which you can recover from, or it doesn’t matter whether you survive for another moment or not.

  5. @Obs

    I don’t think we have to look back to Rome for a comparison; we can look at China during the “Century of Humiliation”, from the beginning of the 19th Century through the 1930s as the country collapsed into warlordism. Qing China wasn’t merely a country, or merely an empire, it was a whole civilization, with significant parts of East, Southeast, and even Central Asia ordered around it. The total collapse of China with the Taiping Rebellion, preceded by the social and political decay emblemized by the opium crisis and the Opium Wars, the hasty reconstruction as outlying tributaries were picked away in the latter half of the 19th Century, the end of the Qing Dynasty, and then warlordism, colonization, and devastating invasion by Japan is roughly as low as a once proud civilization can sink. On the other hand, look where China is today: shows that losses aren’t permanent.

  6. I don’t really think that it takes a billion Americans to compete with China. China doesn’t need or use a majority of its people. They have about 350 million who live in the coastal productive economy. The other billion live in grinding poverty in the deep interior. They serve as a reserve army of cheap unskilled labor who are barely tolerated in the cities when they are needed and who are pushed back to the boondocks when they aren’t.

    In the US this role is filled by illegal immigrants. The US political system couldn’t handle the level of cruelty necessary to maintain the Chinese system.

    BTW, I am convinced that the way the Chinese has dealt with the WuFlu pandemic is to allow old folks in the rural areas to die unshriven. There is no coronavirus testing in those areas, and no diagnosis. They are listed as deaths due to old age.

  7. Here is my political idea. Attack the Universities.

    Require “selective” colleges to admit students by lottery. Here is the jujitsu, everyone knows that testing is racist and high school records are the products of racism and privilege. Replace the admission system based on testing high school grades, and legacy connections with a lottery.

    Impose wage and price controls on the universities. $60,000 to sit in front of your laptop? College Presidents who make more than the US Preident? Professors who seldom see undergraduates and are paid in the mid six figures?

    I think you could mobilize a lot of class resentment and economic rage. And the ideologies produced by the universities leave them no room to reply.

    The whole package would be complicated but I see no political downside in it.

  8. @obs, I don’t see Japan as ever really too likely to be forced by anything external to change a migration policy; nowhere else ever has, save by monstrosities like the European Union that have explicitly usurped those powers (and where the rather toxic influence of German culture seems to be trying to extend this further). But that was a throwaway aspect and anyway the point is whether a growing population is necessary to cultural survival (the only kind of survival that is even interesting) in a 21st century of increasing AI, and the geopolitical speculation is not the main point.

  9. @Mekal: “On the other hand, look where China is today: shows that losses aren’t permanent.”

    That was just because of one single reason: Because China was a big economic sphere the Europeans wanted to survive and they couldn’t come to terms how to colonialise the Chinese completely.
    If they would have had the spirit of the early Colonial days or some more brutal outlook, and if one power would have been important enough to just do it, they could have crushed China like nothing. That’s the real lesson the Japanese learnt, and the Chinese also: They were at the mercy of the Europeans, because they were so weak. Like most of China was at the mercy of the Mongolians many centuries before.
    They were lucky that their conquerors didn’t decide otherwise and tell me, how many colonists entered China? China was kept alive as a unity and purely economic colonial subject. That’s a huge difference, it was never fully colonised at all and there was never a mass immigration of foreigners which would have ever threatened the unity and homogeneity of the Chinese people in a serious way. The nation, its ethnic and cultural fundaments, persisted.

    That’s the big difference to Rome and the West now, which disintegrated, which being flooded with foreigners and lost cohesion. The Chinese never. Even if they were different states, they were still Chinese for a long list of reasons. You couldn’t say that about Roman citizens even when the Roman Empire was still alive. And its the same in China, the ethnic minorities are just much more likely to split off, Chinese cultural influences or not. Its just that those became so small, that in the bigger scheme of things, they don’t really matter in the Chinese sphere.

    @Walter: When Rome became Christian, one of the first things the emperors did was to pay their priests and bishops more than almot any other employee of the state. Same here:
    “Impose wage and price controls on the universities. $60,000 to sit in front of your laptop? College Presidents who make more than the US Preident? Professors who seldom see undergraduates and are paid in the mid six figures?”

    They being bought out of the political competition by the Plutocracy, it became a gilded cage for the American intellectuals.

    @Matt: “But that was a throwaway aspect and anyway the point is whether a growing population is necessary to cultural survival (the only kind of survival that is even interesting) in a 21st century of increasing AI, and the geopolitical speculation is not the main point.”

    A population is allowed to shrink and some might argue for ecological reasons its good. Especially in the case of Japan, which is in some way overpopulated. But there are two issues with this:
    – First, it makes you less competitive in the current setting, which any nation has to survive, and Japan is just less likely to make it for the mentioned reasons. It will be a vassal or even colony at some point, if things to on like they do right now, with its people largely disappearing as a discrete unity.
    – Second, any shrinkage should happen slowly and controlled, like by reducing average births by some 0,1-0,2 per generation, so you keep up a stable, only slightly shrinking population.
    The problem of most developed countries in the current demographic catastrophy is not just that they are no longer growing, not even that they are shrinking as such, but the speed of it. Its happening too fast and they lose between one quarter to one half of their young per generation. That’s just suicidal and way too much.

    The geopolitical speculation is a major point, because those on the weaker end will be forced to accept whatever the stronger wants and you can be sure, if the future masters of Japan want mass immigration to this country, they will force them to accept it and by then the Japanese might be as indoctrinated as others to even embrace it. That’s only determined by the course the rest of the world is taking.

    The European Union is in itself a hull, the content matters. And the content was, there too, forced in. And it didn’t just affect actual members of the European Union, but many states throughout the world.

  10. “BTW, I am convinced that the way the Chinese has dealt with the WuFlu pandemic is to allow old folks in the rural areas to die unshriven. There is no coronavirus testing in those areas, and no diagnosis. They are listed as deaths due to old age.”

    Evidence, Walter? What have you seen that has “convinced” you?

  11. Hmm. Obs, I think the population decline in Japan may be well manageable, we shall see. On their future policy direction, I guess I don’t really believe in the conspiracy idea of countries being forced to change migration policy by secret elder masters through psychological manipulation and such, so I guess I don’t see this affecting Japan. In the EU of course, there are public masters, the Germans, who are directly and obviously, in front of the scenes, forcing things which emanate from wholly within German culture (and not from elsewhere), like the “fair distribution of refugees” which Germany decided to take, but this is another thing. Maybe if the US goes sufficiently crazy and does try to sanction foreign countries that maintain border controls this could happen in long term for a nation like Japan, but does not matter right now.

  12. @Matt: “Hmm. Obs, I think the population decline in Japan may be well manageable, we shall see.”
    Its manageable, in theory, under the best possible circumstances. But add anything negative to the calculation, and they end in a catastrophy. The decline is too steep and the most stupid thing the Chinese did, too, was to keep the 1 child policy up and enforced for too long. Now especially the well-educated, intelligent and more urban people have lower birth rates than 1 in many districts. That’s dysgenic and has a highly negative socio-economic effect too.

    Japan had a birth rate of 1,43 in 2017. This is just too low, because it means more than one quarter being lost per generation, with general losses even significantly more and the trend is negative. That’s not stable and healthy shrinkage at all. If it goes down just by some 0,x more, that’s a population collapse, its an unsustainable behaviour.

    Let’s say Japan would do just fine with 1/3 of people less, which is reasonable, the shrinkage should just happen over many generations and with a healthy population pyramid. And even then, at some point, they have to come back to at least 2,1-2,2 per woman, which is the absolute and bare minimum under best circumstances. But Japanese women stay longer unmarried and get less children rather, being even more career oriented and hedonistic than the last generation, so…

    The social and economic incentives in Japan are highly negative for a stable demography and overall dysgenic. Same as in urban China. That’s living from demographic reserves and burning them for short term economic gains, its not sustainable. Its still better than being replaed by completely foreign people which behaviour is unpredictable on the longer run, but its still bad and – I repeat it, unsustainable.

  13. Both Japan and Germany had, for some years, even lower birth rates, in Japan related to the financial sellout and recession I referred to before. So they had for some years almost just half the population replacement necessary. These years are significant and they never fully recovered. In some places this means there are almost 2 old : 1 young in a couple of years, especially in many rural places. That’s just insane and won’t work out. China has bigger reserves but basically the same problem.

  14. John Massey: “Evidence, Walter? What have you seen that has “convinced” you?”

    The general duplicity and cruelty of the regime. They want to appear to have the pandemic under control. Shoot, shovel, & scoot. It’s the easy way.

  15. I think we are engaged in a process of ethnogenesis and playing the vital role of developing folkways and writing cultural scripts for a newly emerging global (but not universal) culture.

  16. That was an IQ test, Robert.

    Walter Sobchak – Your assertion is full of holes, for reasons including: 1. Covid-19 doesn’t only kill old people, and 2. If asymptomatic carriers or only mildly ill people were moving from rural areas to cities, they would be seeding numerous outbreaks in the cities, and that is not happening. The threat to China is from imported cases, not from ‘concealed’ cases in-country.

    As for duplicity and cruelty, I do have to acknowledge the honesty and empathy of the regime you are currently living under (cough).

  17. You conservatives are intriguing creatures.

    California is in a situation that demonstrates (in a concrete and undeniable fashion) the global climate crisis, and your beloved president continues his shitty job at handling a literal plague (and we now know that this isn’t due to him being a dimwit who doesn’t understand disease control; he knew this shit was real, all the way back in February. But in his own words, he “didn’t want to start a panic”. You folks really know how to pick em’)

    So we have climate change, a pandemic, a terrible economic situation engulfing millions of Americans due to said pandemic, and the pathetic work being done on all three fronts by the politicians who share your beliefs and neuroses.

    Yet, you guys (and you are all guys) are bitching and moaning about wokeism? Real solid work on prioritization.

    This kind of situation forces one to be blunt:

    Liberals are annoying. Surely they are.

    But conservatives are just plain stupid. And that’s not an opinion: it’s a fact. Multiple studies show that, on average, conservatives have lower IQs than liberals. So I guess it isn’t your fault.

  18. So….

    A: “People are so stupid who focus on cultural issues at a time when there is a pandemic and global climate change and a terrible economy!”

    B: “Oh you mean the Woke? The people who restarted the culture war in the middle of the pandemic?”

    A: “No! Not those people! The people who complain about the Woke! … And not me, who complains about the people who complain about the Woke!”

    I mean, it’s OK to say it’s kind to respond in nauseated disgust that cultural war issues are “back” when there is a global pandemic going on. You can probably find tons of examples of this back in early June, when culture war “Woke” nonsense started to filter back in and take the conversation away from Corona.

    But you can’t really do this dilly-dally, shilly-shally, flip-flop back and forth thing of turning a blind-eye to Woke types shifting back to cultural issues, then get angry at people who complain about them as the ones who are *really* shifting back to cultural issues. A person who has any self respect can’t! I’d be quite happy if we’d remained on talking about the environment and the pandemic, but sadly the Woke keyword warriors brought back their issues and here we are…

  19. Conservatives believe in the autonomy of the individual. They know that there is a “right” way and get pissed if you don’t (or can’t) emulate them and they blame everything bad on the fact that you don’t.

    SJW liberals know that there is a “right” way, give lip service to the ideal of individual freedom, and get homicidal if you don’t do as you are told.

    Does anyone suspect that the nuclear family should share the blame for the mess that we are in? If we should get a do-over, would the nuclear family bring us back to a similar outcome? Is it possible that all of the good outcomes associated with the nuclear family are the result of the totality of the environment surrounding the nuclear family, rather than the nuclear family itself?

  20. John – I failed! But hey, I’ve never claimed to be more than avg. around here:)

    Nero – “Liberals are annoying. Surely they are. But conservatives are just plain stupid.”

    I actually would have to agree with this and I think it needs to be said more. Pretend wokeness disappeared tomorrow…now what? We’d still have to rebuild nearly all of our institutions. Those things should not get equal priority. Especially since wokeness is mirrored on the Right by corruption and corporatism, which is arguably worse, and is probably causing more institutional decay and more wokeness in the first place.
    I hated woke people so much I wanted Trump to win (for revenge) but not at the expense of the country…it’s gone way too far now.
    You don’t make wokeness go away by supporting a wanna be dictator any more than you could beat the Taliban/ISIS by invading Iraq and Libya.
    Meanwhile, more and more people fall down the right-wing youtube rabbit hole insanity…

  21. @ohwilleke: “I think we are engaged in a process of ethnogenesis and playing the vital role of developing folkways and writing cultural scripts for a newly emerging global (but not universal) culture.”

    I don’t know whether you noticed, but the only people disappearing right now are Europeans and the “plural, multicultural societies” too only exist in European founded and based countries. This is no “global panmixture” on equal terms, but just a large scale replacement of people of European stock and culture.

    @iffen: “Conservatives believe in the autonomy of the individual.”

    That’s a very Libertarian interpretation of what conservativism is about. I don’t know how widespread such a view on what conservactive is about is in the USA, but I wouldn’t say that’s the central moment.

    I have a broader one: People with a conservative mindset don’t change things which work, they are reluctant to change anything, unless there is very clear argument and need for it.

    And I would strictly differentiate between
    – “strukturkonservativ”, structural conservative = keep things as they are, whether they work or not, just because you are used to it or some social groups profit from it.
    – “wertekonservativ” (don’t know the the ideal translation from German, like so often), value based conservativism (?), so keeping up conservative values and trying to preserve, but being ready to adapt and correct where it seems useful or even necessary for the well-being of the people and community.

    Any true conservatism must be based on specific values, especially around the family, nation, state and general morals and ethic standpoints. This can be the opposite, in some respects, to “over the top” individualism which might create simply anti-social, provocative and distorted personalities, which is not on the agenda of any true conservative or right-winged person at all.

    @Nero: “So we have climate change, a pandemic, a terrible economic situation engulfing millions of Americans due to said pandemic, …”

    And what does the left? They allow the Plutocracy to make profits with all these catastrophies and create suppressive surveillance state in which free choice and freedom of expression being no longer guaranteed, with millions being impoverished, and still they defend the status quo, the sellout of all values and the European people, the whole tradition of the occident, while fighting against their own people and interests, for what?
    The honest left working for the middle class and nation, even all people and parts of it, is dead. The “new Left” just creates fissures and splits in society, with different identity groups hating each other, without mutual understanding, not even the trial to and everything for allowing the Oligarchy to create their totalitarian state which will, in the end, turn on honest leftists too.
    Good job.

    And climate change is not our primary problem and even if it would be, the programs are just there to make even more money for the financial Oligarchy and putting up more pressure on the middle class, making the mass more dependent and impoverished again, but the real effects of CO2 reducation are what? CO2-certificates, the emission trading system, just add to the speculative bubbles and financial exploitation already in place, but its so great we have it and people will get more expensive food, housing and mobility.
    I’m all for ecological solutions, if they work out and don’t do more harm than good. The only viable solutions are technological ones, but thats up to the investment and corporative sphere, which is so happy supporting “wokism”, and speaking about how people should live worse to reduce CO2, but otherwise change nothing for their “ecological footprints”. Like leftists celebrities coming to a conference about climate change with jets and yachts, while talking about common people having to use no car and eating no meat any more. That’s pretty mature and fair I’d say. I call that stupid and hypocritical, and its like the recurrent them of leftist activists, concentrating on nonsense and ignoring the much bigger problems caused by their Plutocratic sponsors and masters.

    Always nice to kick down, on the weaker ones, like the white middle class, instead of talking about why there are not enough well-paid jobs for Afro-Americans any more, or the housing market got so expensive, the divorce rate and drug problem, the intrinsic problems and so on and on. Better kick on the middle class white man and make it a funny, joyful and humorous experience for everybody else, distracting from what’s really up in this society.

  22. I can’t say that I have much skin in this game. And I’d chalk that up to the fact that I don’t find myself committed to any political orientation qua ideological framework.

    In other words, I’m not really a leftist, in the sense of personally subscribing to the whole contemporary leftist ethical weltanschauung.

    ^ But when push comes to shove, I do subscribe to broadly far-left solutions (especially in matters of economics, and in matters related to climate change. Much less so in socio-cultural mattters…. but even there, I skew center-left).

    And if I were to be forced to choose between the left and the right wholesale (with no allowance for disagreeing with any specific aspect of the broader tendencies involved with these political philosophies), I would undoubtedly pick the left over the right.

    And I feel that I have a sensible set of interrelated reasons for this. But to simplify: the left, broadly speaking, is constructive. The right, broadly speaking, is reactive. The left seeks to innovate; it comes from an understanding that the contemporary context in which we produce social and ethical solutions is a product of historical contingencies. And as thinking beings, we are malleable animals, capable of productive creativity, and constructive novelty.

    ^ So, if anything in the contemporary situation militates against our ethical commitments, we can (and should) work to change the situation. It’s a politics of bravery.

    By definition though, conservatism is a politics of fear. And in concrete terms, it usually comes from a place of ignorance.

    Nietzsche despised socialism, and employed the concept of
    “ressentiment” to explicate the deeper roots that sustain both Christian morality and it’s supposedly atheistic leftist replacements. But when one examines the discourse of the contemporary far Right, you get the distinct impression that Nietzsche’s diagnosis is just as pertinent to these people (if not more).

    I realize that I’m talking about the deeper underpinnings of these political orientations, and that not all leftists or conservatives actually think about the “why” of their beliefs in this manner.

    ^ But even if we just traverse the surface, and ignore the roots, I think that the left fares better. I mean, just look at the worst examples of both political tendencies.

    For the left, you have “woke” types as representative of the “lowest”, most repugnant manifestations of degraded leftist tendencies. To be frank, these individuals aren’t exactly geniuses. But in their own self-image, they’re trying to do good, by correcting supposed injustices.

    ^ You can laugh at them for their lack of understanding; you can criticize their methods; and you can stand aghast at the hypocrisy and performative contradictions that are involved. But, at least you know that their broader goals involve the “Good”.

    Compare them to the worst of the Right: nationalist racialists. These are people who explicitly aim at furthering human suffering. Their whole framework involves exclusion, involves suppression, and in certain cases even involves violence. And all because of both a faulty conception of how cultures thrive, and a misplaced faith in imaginary ethnic “essenses”.

    I wouldn’t want a society planned by either. But at least I know that the former aren’t genocidal; a minority of the latter are vocally so.

  23. ^ Anyway, sorry for the length. And don’t kill me, lol; I’m just thinking out loud. The comment isn’t meant to be a chapter in a book that I’ll eventually write. It’s just some vague impressions and quick thoughts.

    And speaking to an American context, the whole left-right thing is overblown.

    You’d think it’s the end of the world if you’re on social media. But IRL, people get along fine.

    ^ Or maybe that’s just a midwestern thing. Lol

  24. @Jason “We need new nomads, aggressive nomads that are not afraid to destroy civilization and its elites (not totally but take from civilization that which only aids our nomadic nature.)”

    For destroying this technological civilization, it’s enough to left it unmaintained for a few decades. This includes also not transmitting any of the required skills to the progeny.

  25. @Sein, I would think there’s an inherent contradiction in believing that you hold a worldview where you would claim to be animated by a unique perspective in seeing humans respond to ideas in their environment in a complex, creative, flexible manner, animated and driven by ideas… and then trying to reduce left-right political affiliation to a fundamental essence of moral character, saying in effect that “They are the Sith and we are the Jedi” (and other such simple, Manichean narratives).

    If you believe that politics are about ideas and interests, it seems more consistent to believe that ultimately we, as individuals affiliate with movements primarily because we believe in their central factual claims as ideas. Then secondarily on whether we see them as serving our interests and those we care about (which for most normal people is mainly and primarily their nuclear family).

    I personally disbelieve the truth in many left wing core claims! My read of the record of evidence does not find them borne out. (I could be specific about these but it wouldn’t add much value). Certainly enough in total that I could probably not seriously support almost any sort of present day or historically existing left movement or party (excepting perhaps a smart Green Party) in any circumstances I could imagine, other than the most narrowly single-issue transactional sense.

    Most people of believe in some vague progress, or they believe that humans can learn and change, or they believe that new discoveries can (and should) be made. It’s not really a very unique belief. It’s absolutely not a special trait worthy of any distinction or self-esteem. It certainly doesn’t explain much about the Left or the Right.

    Rather what is important are those sort of specific claims and ideas about how society and history is, has been and should be structured. Of course I’m not saying it’s uninteresting to look at what, thinkers like Haidt or Henrich would say about how values that people hold lead people to forms beliefs about facts. But values themselves are not really so determinative; what we believe are the facts of society are. “Are these people’s claims true?” not “Do they yearn for justice?” (The latter is almost a religious zealot’s way of looking at politics! it leaves truth aside and looks at “sola fide”).

    As another aside, it’s also seems kind of bizarre thing to seem to hold as true, in that the core thinker of the left – Marx – holds precisely that the left wing socialist politics must be unified and only meaningfully exist in the context of shared class interests, and of shared beliefs in the inevitability of a scientifically planned democratic socialist command economy! Not any sort of shared value of “bravery”.

    (I’m fairly certain this will cut no mustard with your personal beliefs. You’ll go right on believing that Left wing beliefs are about “bravery” and that Right wing beliefs are about “fear”, and that at root the most debased Right wing beliefs are worse than the most debased Left wing beliefs. But it helped me to work out an argument in my mind, so I thought it was worth expressing.)

  26. @Robert Ford

    That’s his way of proving just how sharp conservatives can be, when compared to leftists. Lol

    @Matt,

    I’ve always enjoyed conversing with you.

    I’d like to tackle the points that you’ve raised on a piece-by-piece basis, or analytically. Because if I go in for the “view from a thousand feet”, there’s a distinct chance that I might misunderstand you.

    Here it goes:

    “If you believe that politics are about ideas and interests, it seems more consistent to believe that ultimately we, as individuals affiliate with movements primarily because we believe in their central factual claims as ideas. Then secondarily on whether we see them as serving our interests and those we care about (which for most normal people is mainly and primarily their nuclear family).”

    In all fairness, I can see how I could be construed as being engaged in polemics. But in all sincerity, I’m not.

    Perhaps I could phrase myself in a manner that feels more “neutral”. So, I suppose I’ll do that: political affiliation is not driven by belief in the central factual claims at the heart of any given political project. That’s a category mistake if there ever was one.

    We all have our own experiences, our own upbringings that bring with them unique idiosyncrasies, our own interests (some based on concrete facts, some based on yearnings more imaginary than real), and our own distinct suite of personal affinities (ones that are often irreducible to circumstance). Your political orientation reflects these factors, because politics as ideology (and here, we need to draw a distinction; you and I, we are speaking of politics as ideology. But there’s also politics as pragmatics; politics as governance, work, alliance, compromise, etc. I’ll note that that’s a separate conversation) isn’t about facts; it’s about our understandings of, and reactions to, the facts in question. Our solutions to the problems of collective life are what constitute the flesh of our ideological leanings. And those solutions are based in the literal flesh of individuals… individuals who carry a whole background of culture and life.

    ^ With that in mind, the deeper psychological roots of left and right do obviously involve fear vs bravery. Or, if perhaps “bravery” is rather self-congratulatory for those on left, and “fear” is demeaning to those on the right, in their places we could perhaps substitute “recklessness” and “a heavy sense of caution in conjunction with nostalgia”.

    Moving on:

    “I personally disbelieve the truth in many left wing core claims! My read of the record of evidence does not find them borne out. (I could be specific about these but it wouldn’t add much value).”

    This brings us back to the beginning, naturally. Personally, my view is that you even saying this is demonstrative of you placing our dialectic in the wrong picture frame. But if I do grant you the right to use that frame, it turns out that being specific about those claims would add considerable value! I mean, if that’s the conversation we’re having, then that’s the most important factor.

    “Most people of believe in some vague progress, or they believe that humans can learn and change, or they believe that new discoveries can (and should) be made. It’s not really a very unique belief. It’s absolutely not a special trait worthy of any distinction or self-esteem. It certainly doesn’t explain much about the Left or the Right.”

    This is where our disagreement comes into full view. In my estimation, it explains nearly everything about the Left and Right! “Conservativism” is about conservation, and the left is about change/”progress”!

    (Although, in the USA, “conservatives” don’t seem very interested in “conserving” the middle class)

    “Rather what is important are those sort of specific claims and ideas about how society and history is, has been and should be structured.”

    In your own perspective, what does history tell us about how society should be structured? Do you hold to any distinction between “is” and “ought”? And if history isn’t merely our attempt at chronicling the contingencies, accidents, and idiosyncrasies of our species, would you say that you do believe in a telogical conception of humanity? (You’d have to be a theist for that to be coherent, but that’s another separate conversation to be had)

    “As another aside, it’s also seems kind of bizarre thing to seem to hold as true, in that the core thinker of the left – Marx – holds precisely that the left wing socialist politics must be unified and only meaningfully exist in the context of shared class interests, and of shared beliefs in the inevitability of a scientifically planned democratic socialist command economy! Not any sort of shared value of “bravery”.”

    The left is much older than Marx; and much of what goes under the rubric of contemporary leftist thought draws nothing from him. And again, here it feels like we’re missing the forest for the trees.

    “I’m fairly certain this will cut no mustard with your personal beliefs.”

    We go way back in terms of online interaction; you know I’m capable of changing my mind. I’m not a dogmatic person (not in the least. Give me solid arguments, give me substantive facts, and make some sense: that’s usually enough to convince me to change my views. But I don’t see much of that on the Right. (And I’m not singling you out, or even saying that this applies to you; it’s a general remark) And going back to the primary pivot of our conversation, perhaps it wouldn’t even matter anyway? The ideologies are about who we are, and what that means for our reactions to the facts, and our solutions to them. The facts aren’t right or left; we are.

    Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with disagreement. And in the real world, I have friends who are leftist anarchists, and I have friends who’d like to vote for Trump (again). I also have friends who are milquetoast Democrats, and I have friends who are moderate Republicans. I like all of them just fine as people.

    And again, sorry for the length. I don’t want to be Obs junior.

  27. @ Matt

    Out of curiosity, how do you see the right and left in the UK evolving over the coming years? In the US there’s some chatter about a political re-alignment occurring, which in some respects has merit – the Democratic Party is clearly expanding its share of college-educated, upper-income, professional urban and suburban voters, whereas the Republicans are only becoming more reliant on the white working class. Some prominent Republicans in Congress seem to have broken with sterile conservative economic orthodoxy – namely Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton. Trump himself obviously came to power on an anti-free trade platform.

    However, the problem I see getting in the way of any real realignment here is that the elite of the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement – the think tankers and Republican donor class essentially – are completely unreconstructed “free-market” fundamentalist libertarians, who will never relent to any kind of infringment of their own economic or business interests. So instead of any kind of real pivot on economic issues or even simply an acknowledgment that the conservative approach to governance itself has been a failure, I suspect the Republican Party machine will just try fighting culture war issues (which they’re already getting thoroughly trounced on) with the left to maintain relevance and could very well end up co-signing themselves to oblivion.

    In your last election you had a big swath of (white) working class voters turn away from Labour and break for Johnson. Has this infusion of former Labour voters changed anything in regards to the internal dynamics of your Conservative Party? Has there been any signs of any kind of ideological change from conventional British right-wing orthodoxy?

  28. A common misconception among those on the left is that conservative thought is fearful. Actually, conservatives are more masculine. The increase in amygdala involvement is seen in males vs females, and increased acc involvement in decision making is a female trait. Scientifically the idea was first propagated by a distortion of the studies typical of leftist midwit performance and emotional thinking.

    This is broadly reflected and in accord with findings that conservatives tend to be more sexually dimorphic, as well as our own lying eyes

  29. I have a 150 IQ and it is commonly claimed by the hysterically verbose that high IQ must be liberal. This is a confounding of correlated factors that obviously are not causative.

    Indeed, what is particularly of interest to me is that I am clearly, higher testosterone than the general population, and needless to say the liberals.

    To quote myself:
    >The brain is resource intensive as are big muscles and testicles, and I presume they compete with each other for resources. Many intelligent individuals have not undergone purifying selection to create both an efficient brain and an efficient, masculine body.

    >Since iq has advantages these individuals will make do with the shortcut. Since it is a shortcut, there are more of them, those of developed minds and frail bodies, and hence these less masculine high intelligence persons will be more commonly encountered than other variants.

    >As well, there is the case that a high iq allows for more clever planning and weaponry in war and conflict, relaxing selection on body structure.

  30. >hence these less masculine high intelligence persons will be more commonly encountered than other variants.

    Naturally, they must outnumber, just as midwits must outnumber

    Midwits:
    >125-130 iq may be all and well, but go any lower and there will be encountered people to whom advanced concepts are but a murky haze

    >At the same time all they will know is what they’ve grasped, and being that they can’t know any better and by nature there’s more of them, when convinced of an idea they’re the most annoying retards to interact with

    >Need to unfettered alpha all over them

  31. So, having established my credentials, I present the first of some exercises for the reader:

    1. Donald Trump did the best job on COVID that could be expected out of all the big shots. All others such as Biden, Clinton, etc would have been way worse.

    Assume this is true, play devil’s advocate, and establish why I might think that.

    If you get the answer right then you may have a future in investing

  32. It’s very low IQ to blame Donald for COVID.

    It’s blaming Trump for open borders and New York state. Cuomo’s egregious nursing home order, and on a finer grained level the many Democrats and Chamber of Commerce types with the mania for open borders (see Nancy Pelosi celebrating in Chinatown in Feb).

    And that which must not be named, but which has caused no end of heartache for the poor Berniebros: the behavior of various groups, almost all Democrats

    To quote myself again:
    >As soon as it hit South Korea and Italy in spectacular fashion over two weeks ago, we knew it would come here, if it wasn’t here already – indeed, as we can now surmise, it was already here

    >I knew that the American public would not have the will to do what it takes to prevent its initial spread.

    Therefore when it spread to Italy and South Korea I knew it was time. A few people thought the same and became millionaires overnight. Hahaha!

  33. Furthermore, we must ask, where was the CDC or the FDA during all this? Amidst the fevered pledges of believe science, this is the elephant in the room.

    We must question why our experts and scientists moved so sluggishly and seemed to have no clue, even now.

    Didn’t they grasp the magnitude of the situation? Didn’t these scientists have ideas? They had the backing of the executive branch early. Trump closed the border to China by the end of January. Pelosi was in crowded streets in February.

    This is all rhetorical. Actually, I already know the answer (of course).

  34. @Sein, appreciate that you read and responded to my comment! I won’t respond again at length though since I’d just be repeating stuff and the comment I’m making to Mick below is already bloated enough!

    @Mick, yeah, I think that’s an interesting question that you present, and I will procede to ramble on the subject (for yet another epic Obs-ish length comment). Firstly, I absolutely don’t have an insider’s view of what is happening in the Conservative Party at all, so I don’t have anything too profound on the party dynamics.

    Personally, bit doubtful that the voting reversals will stick (the blue intrusions to the “Red Wall”). Seemed pretty reliant on Brexit and the dislike of Corbyn. Then some constituencies that turned Blue->Red seemed to be disaffection with Brexit, lack of wealth / housing accumulation among young people, and media sentiment. Both of those could be reversed in the medium term.

    Beyond that, on q. of ideology in Conservative government, just looking in terms of the “small state” ideology, and taking as meaning “More vs less” spending in government, I think there’s change. Johnson’s government not putting up any claims of being smaller state, and there is of course lots of talk at least of infrastructure development to “level up” the North.

    Partly because Johnson never really been bullish about austerity. Partly because Dom Cummings seems in thrall to these ideas of using the state to stimulate and foster high tech – he’s a startup culture / DARPA fan-account guy as anyone who has followed Steve Hsu’s blog will know – and this is linked to recent kerfuffle over state aid restrictions in negotiations with EU. But even before them you had Theresa May’s government talking about “industrial strategy”.

    Ultimately all seems mainly because of changing macroeconomic conditions as the *real* determining factor. (Again, how deeply change of feeling exists in the party, I don’t know.)

    Back in 2008, public demand for keeping government spending and tax steady had become dominant position (see – https://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/latest-report/british-social-attitudes-34/key-findings/a-backlash-against-austerity.aspx“Attitudes to taxation and spending on health, education and social benefits: 1983 – 2016”), and the 2008 Recession seemed to confirm ideas that the UK had increased spending too quickly under the previous Labour government. So soon as UK was out of recession, Cons took opportunity to restrain expansions in spending to try and effectively reverse New Labour expansion state spending as a share of economy, and more generally the long march of the state towards a larger share of the economy (which has happened in all developed countries whatever our claims of “neoliberalism”, as we all know from “That One Graph on Social Spending From Pinker’s Enlightenment Now Which He Took From OWID” – https://twitter.com/pseudoerasmus/status/964476155842695168/photo/2).

    (E.g. IFS: “Total public spending forecast to be 48.1% of national income in 2010−11, up by 8.2% of national income from the 39.9% Labour inherited from the Conservatives. … Most industrial countries have increased public spending as a share of national income since 1997. But between 1997 and 2007 – prior to the financial crisis – the UK had the 2nd largest increase in spending as a share of national income out of 28 industrial countries for which we have comparable data.”).

    Then since over the last 10 years they’ve taken a real whacking from the press for failing to use record low interest rates on debt to increase spending to “stimulate the economy” (some pundits confusing this with “cutting spending during a recession”). And at the extreme this blends into v. pervasive ideas that they want to defund the NHS to privatize it along American lines, even to claims they are responsible for killing people by not expanding spending at *exactly* the same (and historically unprecedented) rate as the last Labour goverment etc. So although probably the policy that public signalled, and also what they wanted to do, downsides emerged.

    Now, in a world today where you on the economic side have the likes of Paul Krugman in the US under some broadly similar macroeconomic conditions advocating for Permanent Stimulus, and you have this media and electoral environment on the other, I can’t see the Tory Party really going back to any sort of “neoliberal” intention to restrict relative expansion of the state as a share of the national economy. The political calculus just doesn’t seem to work. Until the market says otherwise (the state stops being a safe haven for low risk, low yield debt), the state is probably going to get bigger whoever wins out in future, and whatever the Tory Party membership has to say about it (with the remaining choice being how much https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/doubling-down-on-a-bigger-state/“But if the state is getting bigger whoever wins, it’s getting much, much bigger under Labour.”)

    Whether there ever really was a “neoliberal” era in the first place – if you judge by expansion of state size, not really. Of course, people could say that the size of the state is not really what they mean by “neoliberalism”, and its more about how much the government officially owns in nationalized assets and how much the government willingly intervenes to protect and develop industry at home, or its about a dozen other things.

    I guess the difference I would see with the US is less about policy, but that the Tories can perhaps really more publicly do some of this stuff. While in the US even if the Republicans never really in practice cared about deficits, there is a lot more of this prominence to this idea that Conservatism is all about a smaller state. So they can’t publicly walk back on that, even when Trump and the GOP is presiding over this expansion.

    And guess part of the point here is also that I see the Tories as having been mainly driven about by the electorate here – when increasing spending was unpopular, they didn’t, now that it is again, they’ve switched their policy. In practice they’ve been electoral pragmatists. They’re definitely not elites who are just passing whatever they want, but mostly respond to public demand to remain electable. Whether the Republican Party is in practice the same, and will respond the same way, whatever the rhetoric, I don’t know.

    Ultimately, on a personal note, if you are skeptical of the state managing the economy and central planning, as most conservatives have been, of course you’re going to be skeptical of all this trend. But it seems hard to see the political parties not following the incentives of the markets and electorate, and they can either do it more openly, or as it seems they do in the US with more theatre (and other differences of constitution).

    I’m not sure if any of my response is really getting at what you’re looking to ask about though. All kind of off the cuff and mostly an individual read of things, and might also be internally not consistent at some points.

  35. The discussion upthread regarding China and Japan is a bit interesting, because East Asian nations in general have had the same fertility collapse as the west, but assuredly have not embraced “wokeness.” They have slowly become a bit more liberal regarding the role of women and LGBT issues, but they are assuredly still pretty ethnonationalist. Yet they have the same signs of long-term population decline, suggesting that whatever is causing the sickness of modernity isn’t really rooted in celebration of diversity…it’s something else entirely.

    Ultimately, I think the root of the issue – the problem with modernity – stems from capitalism itself, although as someone with socialist beliefs, of course I would. Nonetheless, the evolution of the market over the last few centuries has found ways to replace many elements of human culture which persisted across generations with more lucrative replacements. A very contemporary version of this can be seen in how mobile devices and social media seem to make people demonstrably worse (meaner, less attentive, more unhappy), yet they are crowding out more prosocial and self-improving actions, because the former is easy while the latter is hard. Consumer capitalism keeps on coming up with better and better ways to ensure we’ll fail the marshmallow test, to put it simply, ensuring we are wrapped up in our own thoughts from second to second and never put in the hard work of building community and a legacy.

  36. @Karl, as far as I could tell higher education levels link robustly with fertility decline, nothing much else does. Seems to happen in concert with this variable without regard to degree in which an economy is enmeshed in consumer capitalism (China and Russia, Cuba as much as Taiwan, West Europe, Brazil etc).

    On basis of data I’d guess that equally educationally modernised fully socialist economies would have very slightly lower TFR if anything, and that socialist central economic planning by revolutionary parties would do absolutely nothing positive for TFR. Just as it has never really done anything even slightly positive for quality of environment…

    Seems a bit rough to equate fertility decline with “sickness” though.

  37. Like, just for an example, take three variables:

    1) World Bank Harmonized Test Scores as an estimate of education. (You could use alternatives like their Learning Adjusted Years of Learning instead, or Tertiary Education Accomplishment. They all correlate.)

    2) Index of Economic Freedom (Heritage Foundation), as an estimate of capitalism in the economy.

    3) Fertility Rate 2018 (Wikipedia)

    Immediate correlations between variables over 153 countries are like this: https://imgur.com/a/SWhwqP2

    Test scores and IEF both correlate with reduced TFR, but also with each other.

    Since correlation of Test Scores with TFR is better, look at residual IEF after Test Scores to estimate independent contribution of IEF to TFR: https://imgur.com/a/iQ8Umjy

    Some correlation left, which can be negative or positive depending on whether accounting for regional effect in Africa and robust regression or not. If there’s an effect, though it’s mainly driven by poorer countries though, and basically by the absence of any countries that Heritage Foundation rates as with high economic freedom relative to WB education, not so much degree of economic freedom (market capitalism?) within higher educated/more developed countries.

    A more explicitly capitalist/socialist sensitive index than the IEF might make any residuals shrink down, and there may be some error within the Test score indicator (based on relatively patchy data for some poorer countries).

  38. I should be clear that while I self-identify as a socialist, that does not mean that any existing socialist state actually encompasses the policies I would like to see enacted.

    I am well aware of the research showing that by far the strongest correlation is between lower levels of fertility and higher levels of education – particularly for women. However, even in the least market-driven economies like Cuba individuals choose to undertake higher education primarily not for edification but to help prepare them for the workplace. If you set up a system with the expectation that people must choose between family and career, lots of people will choose to delay or forgo family entirely. I also think there’s an aspect of “choice fatigue” in any modern society. People offered too many different options are generally unhappier with their decisions than those only offered a few decisions, and modernity offers countless alternatives to family – and countless potential partners, making it difficult for many people to choose just one.

    I absolutely do think however that calling global fertility decline a “sickness” is defensible. Certainly it’s more objective than the use of “perversion” by Razib, which is a subjective judgement call. If current trends continued indefinitely, the developed world will eventually die out. And lineages with what we would consider to be desirable traits (higher intelligence, greater ability to plan ahead, etc) will die out even faster.

    I think part of the issue just comes down to fundamental human psychology. Evolution did not select for a desire to have children, only a desire to have sex, since that would usually result in children (provided it involved heterosexual intercourse). I believe that an instinctual maternal bond once the baby has arrived is a real thing, but I think any desire to have children prior to their arrival (for men or women) is largely culturally conditioned.

    The development of birth control decoupled sex and reproduction for humans. However, fertility took some time to drop because humans are social animals, and individuals looked around to their peers to see if they had children, and how many they had. But as time has gone on the average age of first child has drifted upward, and the total number of children has drifted downward. Someone who is 30 and knows no one in their social circle who has kids will on some subconscious level understand it’s not appropriate to do now, and their conscious mind will find some after-the-fact rationalization for that action.

    In the long run, I think this is solvable for the human race as a whole, because (absent say finding a cure for aging, or transhumanism) over the centuries the anti-natalist culture of modernity will literally die out and be replaced by pro-natal subcultures (like the Amish, Hasids, etc). But much would likely be lost in this transition.

  39. @Commentator “speaking to an American context, the whole left-right thing is overblown. You’d think it’s the end of the world if you’re on social media. But IRL, people get along fine.”

    Maybe in your world, not in mine, or in the one reflected by social survey data.

    Forty years ago, political differences weren’t huge as a barrier in marriage and dating, now it is epic and pretty much one of the very biggest criteria in these interpersonal interactions. Likewise, I’ve witnessed several cases of people I know divorcing in which left-right splits have been one of the major wedges in the relationship, and even more where boyfriends-girlfriends break up after extended periods of time for these reasons.

    It is an extremely intense divide within my extended family, half of which migrated from rural areas now included in lists of “Ghost towns” in Michigan and Ohio, and half of whom stayed and are far more conservative than those who migrated and than they were four decades ago. Some of the rural churches my extended family attended when young have affiliated with more conservative denominations as the denominations took more culturally liberal stances nationally and that has been reflected in what is said in the pulpit and what is echoed in interpersonal communications within the family (e.g. far more anti-gay and traditional gender role talk). There have likewise been intense, heart felt and ugly “back the Blue” v. “Black Lives Matter” themed arguments within my extended family.

    There never used to be issues of politics and social issue views getting in the way of attorney-client interactions (I’m a lawyer) in the early 1990s, but now, I’ve had several cases where these things have been cringeworthy and made maintaining professionalism and interacting productively extremely uncomfortable.

    Reactions to the pandemic have likewise moved political outlooks into the world of the personal and day to day social interactions, with liberals being very careful and conservatives often intentionally flaunting masks, social distancing and limited interpersonal interaction circle restrictions leading to tensions among friends, acquaintances, etc. I also see many spats in public places like parks and gyms and grocery stores along these lines.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen more overt expressions of hate in public in the last 50 years.

  40. @KarlZ, Sure, I mean if we want to argue for a Not-Actually-Existing-Socialism that is both natalist and eugenicist in its socialist central planning imperatives (and at the same time somehow anti-racist, and pro-poor, and gender egalitarian), and its kind of at a singularity from Actually-Existing-Socialism where the trends in Actually-Existing-Socialism relative to Actually-Existing-Capitalism just don’t tell us anything, then I absolutely I won’t pursue that argument further. By its definition that’s seems like pretty much an impossible point to say anything about. (Just as I couldn’t say anything much to a Libertarian who asserted that at some point capitalism and market magic will eventually solve any trade-off conflicts between education and fertility).

    It’s the idea that there is something in that we can see in the distribution of existing societies that would tell us one way or the other about whether the presence of markets and choice in a society, set against socialist planning, increases or decreases TFR that I kind of found interesting here.

    (And Actually-Existing-Socialism is a particularly interesting one because fertility decline, as in China, not just driven by more natural family planning and human observation and changes in education and lifecycle and child mortality and these sort of trends, but embarked on consciously and by coercive means in order to advance the worker’s state! Planners not only did not counteract choices between education and the market and children, which in practice probably would’ve meant pro-rich family subsidy, but suppressed fertility for the benefit of the worker’s state.).

    Re; “sickness” or “perversion”, well, I guess both are better than the similiarly themed “cucks”. Anyway, maybe fewer people will be bad… or maybe good. Overpopulation and the associated environmental degradation is a pretty severe question. A future where like depicted in sci-fi like “The Peripheral” or “Dancers at the End of Time” where you have really very few people but everyone who is around have large levels of technology and resources available to them, seems not so bad. So long as economic collapse on the way there is avoided… How many people do we really need?

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