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User ID: 1845



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User ID: 1845

Has anyone actually done this

As described before, the are thousands of variants responsible for variation in intelligence in existing populations (as distinct from 'responsible for intelligence', there are many more nucleotides sequences that are necessary for intelligence and don't have any variation in the population because you're disabled or dead without them). This is the only paper I could find: http://pfigshare-u-files.s3.amazonaws.com/2134951/NineHits__3_5.pdf and there's a graph inside it which shows that the populations HBDers claim are low IQ have lower polygenic scores for intelligence. Now, it's just one paper, I think it's as likely to be biased/wrong as it is to be meaningful. There isn't more research into this because as I said it's considered racist, and in order to do a proper study you'd need a lot of biobanks and research approval to get the data, and they don't want you to be racist. They even restrict research that's only tangentially related: https://www.city-journal.org/article/dont-even-go-there

I'm pretty sure he's entirely sincere, although idk if it's an example of what I described or not.

Everyones gotten into the pattern of just spitting out a thousand words in response that is tangentially related to the post in some minor way and not receiving any pushback for it

I mean, I like reading these, when they aren't clearly motivated culture war reasoning. If gattsuru makes a post about an obscure legal issue I have no natural interest in or a furry VR video game drama, I'll still read it for the same reason i'd read a Scott blogpost about some random thing, it describes interesting relationships between ideas in some niche, and if you read a thousand things like that from a hundred different people you'll see trends and learn a lot about the world in general.

Maybe there's just fewer grand stories to mine in the culture war. It's the same for rationalists and AI risk people and right-wing twitter, all of the fresh big ideas have been mined, every obvious fruit has been picked, there's nowhere left to go. Once you read moldbug or yud or scott there are a bunch of obvious next questions, and they've all been asked and answered over and over. We all know all of the various right-wing ideas and most people agree, anyone who hasn't been persuaded by now probably isn't going to be. Not too much one can do about that, and I don't see why that should stop me from enjoying reading about regulation to prevent hypoxia while flying, or whatever hundred other small topics.

I mean, there obviously are many Big Ideas that we don't know about yet but should. I'm not sure to what extent we'd recognize them as important if we saw them, there's something to the idea that when the time is right, the people naturally have similar ideas due to the surrounding environment and simultaneously become more receptive to hearing about and spreading them.

I can't really narrate a personal experience I or a close friend of mine might've had without coming too close to doxxing myself (and I'm not a good enough writer atm to do it well), but things in the same vague category as 'fight club' have, in my direct experienced, causally affected peoples' life trajectory or ideology at the largest scale and in a non-butterfly effect way. Something doesn't need to change someone's entire worldview, nor does it need to require zero pre-existing affinity to the topic to work, to be the kind of thing you're claiming doesn't exist.

It's definitely a judgement call to say that it isn't mostly the 'straw break camel back effect' and I can't really justify it in any compact way, but I'm like 99% confident these individual instances of watching/reading media have several orders of magnitude more impact than others in these peoples' lives. It's sort of similar to a spiritual experience, I think.

iirc, 'this book changed my life' of thing isn't that uncommon a trope for notable figures, and while most cases are clearly exaggerated I think some cases aren't.

(I don't think this makes it reasonable to worry about individual pieces of media though.)

you would have to be totally disconnected from reality to think a single piece of media reshaped someone's entire worldview.

Oh, wait, I was skimming and didn't even read this part. This is just flatly wrong. Single pieces of media do sometimes change the entire direction of peoples' lives. I've seen it happen! I mean they technically don't change someone's "entire worldview" because that's not really possible, but definitely can be critical very large personal changes. And yeah, I know, everything changes slowly and maybe the piece of media was just a "straw that broke the camel's back", but in my experience that's only partially true. Which makes sense, "media" broadly are stories that are designed to be as compelling as possible to people, and the reason we like stories is that we learn from them. It just makes sense that strong resonant "emotional" experiences could influence someone.

Now of course it's very rare for that to happen, given how much people read and watch and listen in their life, and even if it does happen it's probably better to let the person evolve by learning new compelling information even if it makes them partially wrong for a time, you can let them fail and figure it out later.

I'm not sure it's a lack of intelligence, exactly. Smart and independent people usually have some (or many) strange beliefs they've worked their way into - it's just impossible to get the thousand complicated judgements you make every day all correct if you make any attempt to think about them yourself, and you won't be making the same mistakes everyone else makes. And as a result it's entirely plausible a motte member would have a dumb fear of introducing their kid to a movie. There have been stranger premises in Wellness Wednesday questions. And some of the very intelligent people I know personally have much dumber anxieties in their personal lives. I was skimming, thought the premise was kinda dumb (everyone makes dumb posts sometimes), upvoted Pasha and moved on. Maybe if I'd thought about it for more than three seconds it'd be weird that you'd take the implied political position, but whatever.

Also, some of the people who you say 'took the bait' are some of the best posters, so I don't really think it's strong evidence of anything.

There are a bunch of humanities-ish people in the 'postrat' area of the twitter rationalist social sphere.

Quite frankly given the high level of motivated reasoning I see behind the HBD debate I doubt that the proponents of this theory are more careful than the academics who point at other factors. I would have to see significant actual evidence that they indeed have taken these things into consideration.

Right, but we're discussing the individual heritability of intelligence here, not the race-level heritability, so this is an area where the scientific consensus disagrees with the comment you linked. See e.g. this review, finding intelligence to be highly heritable through genes. This isn't a HBD guy, this is ". A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Plomin as the 71st most cited psychologist of the 20th century.[1] He is the author of several books on genetics and psychology." and "Plomin was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to scientific research.[8]". There is a tremendous amount of mainstream literature on the heritability of intelligence, a lot of back and forth between various camps, and the consensus has ended up that there are large genetic components.

Crucially, I stated that environmental confounding was well addressed for the heritability of intelligence among individuals, and that this is the consensus. I am not claiming that the scientific consensus claims environmental confounding has been addressed as an issue for the heritability of intelligence contributing to group differences.

I think it's clearly true that humans are a lot less biodiverse than is possible or normal for other species, and that the range in human cognitive ability and behavior would be a lot larger if older human populations were still around.

Africans have more genetic diversity than literally every other ethnicity on earth taken together, so any classification that separates "Africans" from other groups is going to be suspect.

I mean, some African subpopulations seem to do a lot better than other African subpopulations, but it's reasonable to compare American whites to American blacks even if you don't generalize that to all of Africa so I don't think this proves much. I think it's reasonable to not expect the properties of American blacks to generalize to Africa, but that isn't the core of HBD so whatever.

Race isn't a valid construct, genetically speaking. It's not well defined; even HBD proponents disagree on how to classify people beyond Blacks/Whites/Asians

This is kinda ridiculous. You can tell what a non-mixed person's ancestry is by looking at them. There are extremely clear associations, you can get something looking like a map of europe by doing (something like a) PCA on genetic variation. Yeah, there's no single entirely correct categorization, but no single entirely correct categorization exists for fish either, and I think we can talk about fish. And different ancestry groups have differences in so many different traits - skin color, kinds of athleticism, body shape, hair, etc etc etc - that it's not implausible there'd be a statistical difference in intelligence.

Intelligence is not well-defined and not construct valid. There's no single definition of intelligence on which people from different fields can agree. (Among other things, this is why AI specialists have been struggling with "general AI" for the better part of a century)

... I mean, there's a whole literature on this, but IQ tests have strong associations with achievement and capability in every area. And just like, anecdotally, I can personally observe that some people are clearly much smarter than other people. And, funnily enough, when I get these people I know to take IQ tests, the ones I judged as clearly much smarter score ~130+, and those that I didn't don't.

There's no single genetic explanation that was ever put forward to account for traits purported to be "genetic" in origin by HBD proponents. This is because HBD proponents do not care about genes, and because they do not know about anything related to genetic mechanisms

No, this is because valuable complex traits are highly polygenic - many different genes have a small effect on the trait. This is because any variant that has a strong positive or negative effect is highly selected for/against, so the only genes with remaining variance have small effects.

Heritability does not imply genetic determinism. Many things are heritable and do not involve genes. These include epigenetic mechanisms, microbiota, or even environmental stress on germinal cells (this can carry over two generations if someone is pregnant - the stress then applies to the cells that would become the germinal cells of the foetus). That's not even addressing the environmental confounding factors. When confronted with their lack of an actual genetic explanation, HBD will fall back to utterly bizarre retorts like "uuuh you don't need to find genes for something to be grounded in genetics".

The effects of epigenitics, microbiota, and environmental cells are just quite small. The evidence just isn't there. Environmental confounding is very well addressed by existing studies. "lack of an actual genetic explanation" - again, complex traits are extremely polygenic.

Literally every public HBD proponent operates outside academia and is virtually unknown in the genomics community

So, this is a subtle trick. The comment's been attacking several things as foundational to HBD - the construct validity of IQ, the relevance of heritability, genetic explanations for traits like intelligence and personality that are claimed to be genetic, the relationship between genes and race. And then we say "HBD operates outside academia and is unknown in genomics". This is true, if HBD means "race genetically causes low IQ". It is profoundly and either maliciously or negligently false if we take HBD to include the validity of IQ, polygenic scores, and the heritability of and genetic explanations for intelligence. Those are well studied and in significant part accepted in academia. The positions this comment takes, especially about the validity and heritability of IQ, are not what is currently believed in academia.

Literally anyone who's been working on HBD stuff has been receiving funding from shady organizations like the Pioneer Fund whose express purpose is to prove a hierarchy of races and justify eugenics since the 1930s so their neutrality can be questioned.

... okay? This is "every progressive organization was funded by SOROS, a globalist jew who loves criminals and hates wites" tier. Funding doesn't make something false, Soros has funded plenty of good causes.

Many public HBD figures have been found guilty of fraud. Cyril Burt would literally forge results, while Lynn would take the average of two neighbouring countries' IQ in order to derive "data" from a country's unknown national IQ.

Yep, and anti-HBD people do bad things too. Stephen Jay Gould, one of the big names! Or consider modern research policies that just ... ban the use of biobanks to research the relationship between race and IQ.

I'll also link you to this, which probably does a better job than me, but I like writing anyway.

And if this is all too abstract and not connecting, try this - for a direct demonstration of one of the practical consequences of HBD, jewish overrepresentation. Once you've seen it it's hard to stop seeing it. But it's not necessarily a (((conspiracy))), they're just smart.

Assuming no genetic racial variance in relevant traits, and assuming no other policy or social interventions of any kind, how long would you expect it to take from the day that there is zero race-based discrimination anywhere in the country, to the day when all racial wealth and achievement gaps have been completely eradicated?

My answer is 'probably around 300 to 500 years.'

I agree! Even if you multiply a number by .8 every decade, after 300 years .1% still remains. However, crucially, I don't think that a .1% - or even 7% - remaining difference in racial wealth or achievement gaps is a huge political issue. And then it's plausible again that the gap closes faster. How long closing the gap to that takes depends on how quickly someone who has average genes, but is poor, mixes into having average income.

I think trying to prove a black-white IQ gap just via the existing income gap is a mistake, anyway. There's just so much going on in society that it's quite hard to figure out cause and effect. The thing is, there are other much stronger lines of evidence, like the fraction of of black people in the top .1% of intelligence being so small, the gap in IQ or standardized test scores, etc. And once you believe that for other reasons, it's a simple explanation for existing income gaps. But I'll go through this first:

Poverty sticks. If your parents lived their entire lives without wealth, then you're going to start with no wealth and little investment, you're going to take on debt and take short-term solutions over long-term investments just to stay afloat, you're not going to be able to afford a car to get to the better job you were offered 35 minutes from home, or you'll lose the job when your shitty used car malfunctions and you miss a day

And yet, the absolute poverty rate has absolutely plummeted. All of our great-grandparents lived in conditions that, by today's standards, were truly horrific. Yet, here we are. The vast majority of Americans aren't in any sense poor. The relative costs of food, rent, transportation, etc are cheaper than they've ever been. And many of the people I know personally who are high-income or high-status had average income parents or grandparents.

And large-scale genome sequencing has demonstrated that intelligence and other cognitive and personality traits - things that contribute to income, life success - are quite (~50%) heritable. It makes sense that, over multiple generations in a deeply connected modern world, people would cluster along these lines. And that it'd be difficult to distinguish without careful looks this effect from 'poverty keeps people down'.

I think the material abundance of modern life sinks ideas like 'poverty rationally forces you to take on debt and short-term solutions' - you can just not spend much money on non-must-haves, save, work, etc. The poor people I know all attest that poor people are worse with their money than middle-class people, act less rationally, etc. Yeah, it's a distribution, there definitely are smart people who are poor for one reason or another, but not anywhere near enough to explain most poverty or even racial income gaps.

This is why there are so many (bad) papers to the effect of "poverty makes impulse control worse", "epigenetic effects of poverty", etc. Unfortunately, they're methodologically poor and don't replicate.

Poor education sticks. If it was illegal for your great-grandparents to be taught to read, and your grandparents were taught in segregated schools that barely treated them better than animals, and your parents were seen as per-linguistic savages because they spoke a different dialect than their teachers and were put in slow classes and neglected because of it, how well are they going to educate you as an infant, how well are they going to help you with your homework, what kind of relationship with the school and the state are they going to train you to expect?

I mean ... universal education. Six hours a day, five days a week, being directly taught in every subject. This system has taught the vast majority of kids, smart and average and below average, rich and poor, over the past few centuries. Like, it's a significant component of why modern life works at all - the hyper-smart kid who's randomly born into a middle-class family does well on test scores, gets into a top college, specializes in something, and goes into industry from there and designs a chip or writes scripts for a movie or trades bonds or whatever. And even if the average person doesn't go to a good school, they can excel once they've gotten a job and then be promoted based on their competence and rise from there. Both of these have happened constantly, for any given successful person if you go between 0 and 3 generations back most paths terminate at someone whose parents weren't well off but did well in school or an occupation. Poor education mostly doesn't stick. Yeah, it sticks in some cases, but I don't think most. And even granting that, modern technology helps even more - a kid in a bad home can teach themselves english with TV, they gain knowledge and skills just by having fun on the internet, etc etc etc.

Or, quantitatively, take a look at this, a visualization from a paper (i'm not super confident that the data for this is correct, but I'd be surprised, but not terribly so, if it was wrong enough to affect the conclusion): https://viz.theinequalitylab.com/Animations/1-mobility-rates.html

Your theory would predict that being bottom 20%, or bottom 40%, is 'sticky'. Yet, 40% of children of whites in the bottom 20% made it out of the bottom 40% (and 27% of black children). In the second poorest quintile, 29% of white and 14% of black children make it to the top 40%. It seems like poverty is a lot stickier for blacks than whites. Being rich is a lot less sticky for blacks and whites though! Go look at the visualizations, it's quite striking. Curiously enough, the numbers for the 2nd top quintile seem a lot starker than for the poorer quintiles - i.e. in a relative sense poor blacks and whites have somewhat similar rates of existing poverty, but richer blacks drop out of the rich quintiles a lot faster than rich whites. This isn't at all what you'd guess if stickiness of poverty was what was driving racial income gap differences. And again this is where the multigenerational trauma or poverty habits or whatever research comes in, but that doesn't replicate.

Minority status matters. If you are making a movie you may as well appeal to the largest possible audience, white people. And if you want to appeal to white people, you may as well have a white main character

I mean, this illustrates the other problem. If you've watched any popular media recently - there are ethnic minorities everywhere. Even Biden notices it. This is an explicit effort on the part of the progressive-leaning people who make up the media. If some sort of implicit bias in media makes it harder for minorities to get jobs, it's more than made up for by this. We're basically discussing black people specifically here, and:

The report notes that African Americans, who make up 13.4% of the U.S. population, were “slightly overrepresented” in leading film roles (15.5%) last year

And, despite this representation, the SAT score gaps aren't closing. The progressive arguments were a lot harder to rebut sixty years ago, when 'structural racism' and 'patriarchy' as described today were manifestly real and significant. But people with similar beliefs to you been hard at work dismantling them. And, you know, some of these gaps did close, especially for women. But the remaining gap is very difficult to explain along the same lines. I'm sure you've heard all about the test score gap before, so here's something:

But to demonstrate racial IQ differences, I think the clearest example is just that ... there are so few black people in high IQ professions. Like, nobel prize winners in math and science, top scientists in general, CEOs, and to a lesser extent anything intellectually demanding. And just anecdotally, any community that's very g-loaded just won't have a noticeable number of black people. I wonder what the rate here is. And the dual of this, of course, is that asians and especially jews are very overrepresented in those areas. And again anecdotally, any community around something that requires high intelligence has heaps of jews and asians. If you read around on wikipedia articles on pure research mathematics, there are jews (2% of US population, less internationally) everywhere, and barely a black to be found.

This can't be primarily explained as a poverty or racism effect. Plenty of these people were average income as kids, or had average income parents. There's clearly a strong race effect after you control for income. So many successful historical figures began their lives as poor or middle class Jews. And yet there are enough rich black families that you'd expect a lot more successful black pure mathematicians than there are.

And, to be clear, by my argument this is no inevitable somber fact of nature, but could be fixed by just modifying a small fraction of the nucleotides in the human genome of each (future) person. Or maybe large-scale selective sperm donation, but that's not really socially plausible in anything resembling today's environment.

(I think a better version of this post would have a lot more numbers and data, but w/e those are my thoughts)

People who get abortions really don't want to have kids. It disrupts their entire lives. I'd expect something like a 2-7% increase in the fertility rate (compare to increases in state with abortion bans) - which isn't getting us above replacement - and those increases will mostly be among the sorts of people who aren't intelligent or bad at planning, which aren't what you want.

To get fertility above replacement, you'd want a significant culture shift such that more people actually want - and not just want, see it as a powerful social / moral good - to have children, and more than two children at that. And something a little bit like that is part of the conservative package - it just doesn't have much to do with anti-abortion.

There are a ton of private discords and groupchats, but unfortunately the quality of discussion is usually the same or worse as what people post on their main accounts ime. And a lot of what seems like coordinated action is just people independently coming to similar conclusions.

Even BAP has, for whatever reason, made posts recently about how race and IQ/HBD is politically doomed. Imagine him and Yggy plotting together.

It might be an election loser but Pro-life seems a very good policy and a cultural view that is extremely good if I want my society to be strong and growing. If you look at the entire pro-life package it’s better than the opposite which is sub replacement level fertility in core American ethnicities behind American success

You're switching between "pro-life" as "anti-abortion" and "pro-life" as "pronatalist conservative". The literal policy of being anti-abortion does essentially nothing for fertility rates. The "entire pro-life package" only promotes fertility rates to the extent that it's the entire conservative package, and even US conservative fertility rates aren't that high. Being "pro-family" or pro "making it easier for families to have children" politically toxic in the way that being anti-abortion is.

And so if we listen to a lot of HBD proponents like Murray and ‘accept’ it and dismantle those programs that largely benefit those communities, and abolish / criminalize affirmative action and so on, do we really think that the social problems we see in black communities are going to improve? That issues with eg violence are going to improve? It just seems very unlikely to me.

A more generally reactionary view lets you propose programs that might actually work, once you're no longer putting effort into ones that don't work! One of those is just genetic enhancement - just like it's easier to replace a broken machine than to fix one, we know the genetic 'recipe' for whatever kind of people we want, and we can just birth more of those. There's no reason this has to hurt ethnic pride - there are plenty of well above-average black people on any quality, one can just use their genes. Even if you can't say HBD, universal genetic enhancement still works.

It's not gonna happen, but the best way to solve the criminal underclass (as a relatively small % of the black population) is just paternalistic interventions into criminal communities. Think moldbug's proposal of "give Black churches sovereignty over black criminal youth". I think if you gave some elite absolute sovereignty and let them be totally unclouded by political affiliation - whether progressive, conservative, or wignat - they wouldn't find the issue that hard to resolve on a technical level. But, yeah, that's just not happening, at all.

So even with the significant restrictions of liberalism, I think it's highly likely that a smart and driven elite with accurate beliefs could significantly improve things. In terms of crime, just imagine police that just used technology and strength of numbers to effectively enforce laws around drugs, theft, assault, with a focus on rapid and consistent prevention and punishment, even if the punishments weren't that harsh. The hour-level action of stealing or dealing would just become unappealing, and it'd plausibly stop happening. This isn't even, really, a HBD belief, but it's the kind of thing an Effective Altruist in a political culture that actually understood that affirmative action and anti-racism just don't work anymore might get behind.

And, honestly, I don't think ethnic underrepresentation in positions of power is itself a huge issue. Ethnic nationalism in America is just much less intense than it is in Nigeria. Representation of minorities in the media or politics is most of what the average person notices, and that comes naturally anyway as minorities cluster physically and being a pop star or comedian isn't as g-loaded as being an engineer. I think all of the push for higher minority representation in positions of actual power comes from other elites, and there won't be any riots if that just becomes deemphasized because elites don't care anymore.

In my experience, there's not really a point at which high IQ stops having very visible benefits for anything practical. People just get ... better, more capable, at everything. Better understanding why you asked them to do something and accomplishing your actual goal instead of goodhearting, figuring out things to do themselves, in general just understanding everything better and doing better. Just in my personal experience, there's a significant correlation between IQ and being good at sports, or being funny, or being a good musician, or...

There's definitely relatively diminishing returns, - a 160 IQ restaurant manager is a better restaurant manager than someone at 120 IQ, but the relative difference is just lower than the significant difference between a 160 CEO and a 120 CEO which is in turn lower than between a 160 top-level theoretical physicist vs 120 who can't do that. I'd still definitely rather have a 160 IQ maid than a 110 IQ maid, but that's obviously a poor allocation of resources (and also very unpleasant for the maid).

Obviously this happens, but these people are incredibly fringe and have no power (although you'd be almost forgiven for believing otherwise if you spend a lot of time on twitter)

Who, uh, doesn't spend a lot of time on twitter? Matt Yglesias spends a lot of time on twitter, and often quote-tweets these fringe far-right figures. Tucker's writers breathed the twitter-far-right environment both when he was at Fox and now. Random smart people I know IRL follow all sorts of people on twitter. Even many years ago the social network for the "liberal media" was ... twitter. And a lot of relatively mainstream right-wing media figures follow various far-right people on twitter. Sure, the far-right doesn't currently have *power, but it certainly has influence. And most of the far-right does mix in the 'statistical differences in IQ' part of HBD with white identitarianism.

The reason talking about HBD is important is that so much policy is based on the false premise that not-HBD

His point is sort of that 'not-HBD' is a key part of the logic justifying affirmative action, but not actually a key part of the political resonance of affirmative action for almost everyone. The political resonance is just that people really really don't want to be racist and really really want to help the poor black people helpless in the face of structural factors. Someone who's an earnest progressive activist isn't going to be receptive to HBD, it just doesn't do anything for any of their motives.

And in terms of those motives: Scott Alexander clearly believes races have different average IQs. But he's a liberal so he doesn't make a huge deal about it - it just doesn't feel good. Whereas someone like ZHPL or Fuentes do believe races have different IQs, and they buy more into the whole far-right idea cluster so they make a huge deal about it. Hanania's significantly more liberal, so he doesn't really want people to become ZHPL or Fuentes, so he doesn't want to make a huge deal about race and IQ. Also, maybe emphasizing race and IQ puts you in a coalition with the 'nazis', and then the nazis are toxic to the public, so your cause loses.

As he says at the end:

Those who are obsessed with the idea of talking about group differences believe that they are transcending this debate. If bio-realism makes its way into public discourse, it will, like almost all empirical facts about the social world, be a handmaiden to a larger political vision. Whether you want to make its lessons more salient in the discourse ultimately depends on what you actually want to replace leftism.

(I'm not agreeing with his position here, just trying to explain it)

If you want to eliminate the injustice and (worse) inefficiency of policies based on blank slatism then you need to convince the intelligentsia. These people will not be convinced by changing the subject. I think popularizing HBD is much more likely than western elites saying "liberty is so great that it's worth racial inequality".

He'd say 'yeah, we already tried to convince the intelligentsia, see the Bell Curve, it didn't work'. But - does that mean we should stop trying? Just because it's not enough doesn't mean it isn't useful to promote HBD on the margin. Some of the intelligentsia (eg Scott and the many mainstream people who respect him) clearly are convinced, and that can't hurt the Right or Freedom or w/e.

If you know how to use a terminal, grep for anything with the string 'motte' in it and then zip those files up and upload them to the dev discord i think is the easiest. It's in a bit of a weird format

specifically 'rg -a -uuu -l motte'

If anyone's privately archiving every mottepost, now's the time to say that!

How does one make a copy of the browser cache

Literally take the browser cache folder that gattsuru posted below and make a copy of it to somewhere else

The, imo correct, worry with that approach is that, so long as the stage is just Rufo and Gay and similar people dueling, that'll never happen - there'll be a hundred scandals every year, we'll perpetually be draining the swamp of the rot, and somehow it'll never go anywhere. It's not that Gay shouldn't be fired for plagiarism, it's that it just doesn't really matter, and that thinking it does is kinda a misdirection.

There are a lot more important lies than 'Gay didn't do plagiarism'! Not that one should object to her firing, but maybe not put your will behind the idea that the thing generating this is something that's useful in the long run.

Imagine if everyone committed minor tax fraud in the course of day to day life, but only partisan Republican activists were prosecuted for it. Well, they're being destroyed by the Truth, right, so this is good?

Claudine Gay should've been fired. Fired for not being qualified, not for having done plagiarism. If Harvard scrapes the bottom of the barrel to find a black woman academic who hasn't committed plagiarism and elevates them to President, nothing's actually improved. The reason we have a plagiarism rule is because plagiarism is bad, not as a tool to use to take out opponents who've done other bad things, even when said opponents deserve it. It's a much more 'symmetric' weapon than the weapon one wants - 'she's not qualified, so she shouldn't have the job'.

If I wanted to agree with him - it's not that a welfare state and having open borders to labor and capital are incompatible, it's that having those two and a political attitude among a majority of your elite and/or voters that 'if there are poor people physically here, we need to give them welfare and doing otherwise is unjust and racist'. You could absolutely have a welfare state for citizens, allow noncitizens to work here without receiving welfare, and then have an enforced and selective path to citizenship if people wanted that.

That probably reflects the chief problem; the "grey tribe" (such as it exists - I've always argued that it's actually just a subset of the "blue tribe", which is about as much as Scott said in the post that popularized the concepts) is an insignificant political force, and any successful attempt to expand the reach would mean implicitly or explicitly catering to more mainstream blues

Which is why the strategy the greys seem to be using is less "create a political party and get votes" and more "push their ideas within existing political institutions". Things like EA's policy work in global health and development, animal welfare, and AI risk. Or things like zvi's balsa research, which is explicitly targeting some of OP's bullet points.

It's analogous to the YIMBY strategy, and YIMBYism is much bigger than most of the other ideas in the OP.

As for "oh the cute cuddly octopuses which are just as intelligent as we are, don't farm them!", I think a few videos of the intelligent cute octupuses hunting and eating their own fellows would counter all that. If octopuses think their own species make delicious meals, why object to a totally different species eating them?

"Other tribs of humans naturally hunt and kill each other in war, why object to my tribe doing it to them for fun"?

I could be wrong, this is just guessing, but I strongly suspect the social benefits of banning noncompetes are much higher than the social benefits of allowing them. Thinking first in the case of high human capital occupations, no noncompetes allows employees to freely move on to better-paying (and thus more productive) occupations, take knowledge with them, and start their own companies. These are the exact things that are critical to the existence of competitive markets - being able to choose a job that pays better and start new companies in niches that would be profitable is exactly what pushes prices down to efficient levels. And 'a new startup' is such a risky thing to do that having a noncompete hanging over your head could disrupt a lot of innovation. California, notably, has banned noncompetes for a long time, and also contains Silicon Valley. Some argue that was important to SV's growth - idk.

"On the other hand - an absence of non-compete distorts incentives for training, trade secrets, and customer sharing". In the specific case of programmers, I don't see noncompetes significantly reducing the extent to which people are trained. In the course of doing your job, you need to learn about what you're doing and what the rest of the company is doing, and you learn by doing. "Trade secrets" - having a high quality team and existing features and customers is more than enough moat to be profitable for a while, and anything more than that (compare to, like, stronger software IP) would, intuitively, reduce surplus by reducing competition. And empirically, tech seem to innovate a ton despite the existing California noncompete bans. "Customer sharing" - for most jobs, this isn't a big issue. It is for some - and for those, you could imagine a noncompete ban that carved those out - but even then, isn't 'an employee taking customers with them' the exact kind of thing that enables those customers to switch to a better product?

At a high level, the issue is that, despite the theory that anything that two parties agree to will be beneficial to both of them and efficient, rational agents and all - in practice employers have tremendous power in negotiations with employees for a whole host of reasons, and can use this power to insert clauses like noncompetes that employees just accept because 'everyone does that'. This is (one of) the reasons why there's a lot of regulation around the employer-employee relationship.