Open Thread – 09/16/2020 – Gene Expression

India in the Persianate Age: 1000–1765 is a good read and I recommend it. I don’t read too many books on Indian history to be honest, because there seems to be a death of them (perhaps they are printed in India?). This is in contrast to China. Then again, China has a much stronger tradition of premodern history writing (which, to a great extent, is really Muslim observations of India).

The power to detect cultural transmission in the Nuclear Twin Family design with and without polygenic risk scores and in the Transmitted-Non-transmitted (alleles) design.

Evolution is in the details: Regulatory differences in modern human and Neanderthal.

Pervasive duplication of tumor suppressors in Afrotherians during the evolution of large bodies and reduced cancer risk.

Podcast: One Billion Americans, with Matt Yglesias.

Two related podcasts on The Insight, Joe Henrich and Brian Hare.

If you haven’t, check out Quantitative Genetics, do so. Everyone should know some population genetics and some quantitative genetics. OK, not everyone. But more.

University of Chicago only accepting English students willing to work in black studies. A lot of conservatives are mad. First, I don’t think this is sincere. They don’t want to admit people this year, and, the faculty want to just say that they did this to avoid accusations of racism. Look at all the old white people collecting salaries in their English department (seems like they’ve really increased diversity in the assistant professor track though).

Second, for most people, even at an elite university, studying the humanities is a scam. Instead of demanding that these universities take ten years of someone’s life to do a novel interpretation of a Shakespeare play, more people should be reading Shakespeare, period. The current system is not sustainable.

I wrote this spring of 2017:

Sulla is efficient. Cruel, but certain in his rightness. Sulla is not a clown. He is not narcissistic, for Sulla does have ideals, even if you hold that those ideals are cruel or callous. Sulla is a piece of furniture, found in many places at many times. The United States of America has not seen Sulla yet. I believe it will.

I have no idea why I had such a dark vision of America in 2017. But I did. And in some ways, I think I was justified. The main difference now is I am not so sure that the lictors will ever come. Perversion, not proscriptions.

0

15 thoughts on “Open Thread – 09/16/2020 – Gene Expression

  1. I’ve never understood the Sulla analogy tbh. As far as I can tell, there was nothing populist about Sulla, he was a pure reactionary who wanted to shore up the power of the old nobility from which he originated (e.g. by reducing the powers of the tribunes of the plebs and the influence of the equites over the courts). What you seem to be thinking of as a possibility for the US sounds more like a form of fascism to me, a populist leader who attacks both the oligarchic economic elite and the “progressive” left with its identity politics (already fused in the perception of many anyway, e.g. “woke capital). Trump’s rhetoric has sometimes veered into such a direction, but obviously he isn’t the real deal, not least because he and his family themselves belong to the oligarchic elite.

    0
  2. “The power to detect cultural transmission in the Nuclear Twin Family design with and without polygenic risk scores and in the Transmitted-Non-transmitted (alleles) design.” links instead to “The power to detect cultural transmission in the Nuclear Twin Family design with and without polygenic risk scores and in the Transmitted-Non-transmitted (alleles) design.”

    0
  3. @German_reader
    not least because he (Trump) and his family themselves belong to the oligarchic elite.

    He didn’t go to Harvard or Yale.
    Mere money doesn’t get you a seat at that glorious table.

    0
  4. @German_reader
    “not least because he (Trump) and his family themselves belong to the oligarchic elite.”

    Not every rich person is part of the Oligarchy, they are not all involved in this sinister cabals, the near unlimited business and financial connections, and yes, the access is limited too.

    But there are even influential Plutocrats which are not part of the clique, without which things would be much worse in America. The problem is that the majority is united in the current Oligarchy and the remaining Plutocrats are too few and form no sufficient unity to create a real counterbalance. Most know that and being satisfied with securing their very own, very personal interests and don’t care for the social engineering of the Oligarchy enough to risk their position.

    0
  5. Trump is certainly not of the core managerial class in America. He grew up wealthy, but his father did not, and in general their family history has been marked in part that outsider status – being outer boroughs nouveau-riche and never getting the full respect as equals that they craved.

    That said, Trump is fundamentally a wannabe oligarch, not a populist. Rhetorically speaking he certainly makes appeals to the demos, but that is because he sees them as his “customers.” He transitioned his brand in the 1980s away from pure real estate to selling the idea of wealth and success to people who are not particularly wealthy and successful themselves, and his political brand is in part an extension of the same model that had him sell Trump steaks or online classes.

    But when it comes to getting advice from others on what policies to implement – to the extent he takes any advice – he absolutely turns to members of the managerial class. Trump is a person who likes power and takes the opinions of powerful people more seriously than people who do not have power. Which is honestly not different from 90% of elected politicians of both parties. But he has this almost pathological desire to be accepted even by the beltway creations that he publicly attacks. How else to explain his curious decision to freely talk to Bob Woodward – a man who post Watergate decided to ingratiate himself to the conduits of power in Washington, and had already released a book openly hostile to Trump. The explanation appears to be Trump either cared what Woodward thought of him, or thought that he could use Woodward to his advantage and get greater respect from “the swamp.”

    2+
  6. One unfortunately fairly likely scenario is that the election result is contested, and finally
    settled by (military) force. Indeed the Dems. have talked openly about asking the Army to
    intervene.

    If that were to happen, even if the winner was quite clearly who ought to have won, in my view
    the 250 year old U.S. constitutional experiment is essentially over. If the election result can be
    decided by force, what is to stop some future general simply deciding that the obvious person
    to be president is himself?

    I don’t think the Sulla scenario is the most likely, but it’s not impossible. Sulla led a
    counter-revolutionary reaction to Marius who was a true populist. One can imagine such a
    thing happening here.

    0
  7. The worst about the current “New Left” in the USA is that everything they accuse the right, like police state, brutality, suppressing free opinion and expression, asocial economic policies, expanding foreign conflicts and war, being ready to use the army to get rid of a democratically elected politician and even doing a coup being done and supported and demanded by their own political class and leaders.
    Their actions make them the worse authoritarians currently.
    They only whine about all these things when it suits them, otherwise they are even worse already.

    0
  8. “I don’t read too many books on Indian history to be honest, because there seems to be a death of them”

    dearth intead of death?

    History of India before the Muslim invasions is really weak. I guess that Indians did not write histories before than. OTOH, I suspect that there may be more material that remains to be exploited than has been used. E.g. was Ashoka the only one who erected monuments with writing on them. One suspects that he wasn’t.

    0
  9. @Walter:

    was Ashoka the only one who erected monuments with writing on them

    Not at all. If you check out different (surviving) monuments around India, you’ll see a lot of inscriptions, many with narratives. One example I remember is a Gupta-era (I think, it was 4th-6th century IIRC) narrative next to the Iron Pillar in Mehrauli (Delhi).

    A lot of monuments have either disappeared, unfortunately, or in ruins. Invasions (especially by Muslims) took their toll.

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *