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Culture War Roundup for the week of February 13, 2023

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As former President Jimmy Carter enters hospice care, we are likely to soon see a huge number of stories concerning what an honorable person he was. But keep in mind that in 1971 Carter, then Governor of Georgia "proclaimed ‘American Fighting Men's Day" likely in support of First Lieutenant William L. Calley who had recently been convicted for his role in the Mỹ Lai massacre. The massacre involved the rape and murder of Vietnamese men, women, and even children.

Carter is probably vying with Nixon as the most demonised US president in the 20th century. Maybe Hoover would also qualify for the competition. Hoover seemed to be a fantastic human being but simply inept at the job (despite being highly intelligent). Nixon was likely demonised for ideological reasons with Watergate being the fig leaf. Carter is really the enigma. How much of the economic woes was even his fault, rather than the energy shock(s) that reverberated throughout the 1970s? He pissed off the Israel lobby with his "Peace not Apartheid" book, which didn't help matters for his post-presidential reputation.

Finally, to sell the Reagan revolution you need a bogeyman and Carter was it. I'm perfectly prepared to believe that Carter was a mediocre president, but I'm unconvinced he was as bad as his reputation.

One interesting aspect of his political career I've heard about is that it supposedly disproves the notion of the Southern Strategy. After all, when Carter was running for reelection, Reagan only barely won the Deep South states.

Far more disgraceful is that as a person with a background in nuclear engineering, he failed to support the industry and was instead promoting coal and solar and such nonsense.

His administration also did not defend against a lawsuit that ended examinations for civil servants, thus helping ensure the worse quality of future bureaucrats.

No politician would have done so after three mile island, surely.

Firstly, that happened late in his term, secondly...

Nothing bad really happened at TMI apart from a massive financial loss, because the design of the reactor was fundamentally sound.

Despite gross negligence, there was no radiation release worth mentioning, just some amount of contamination of the power plant. And this is one of the top 10 power plant disaster, ever.

Had it not been for operator error- a valve was closed off that should have allowed emergency feedwater into steam generators for extra cooling - the reactors would probably still be in operation.

It's darkly funny, as one of the reasons for the meltdown is possibly obesity. An operator did not notice the signal one that a emergency feedwater pump valves was closed because his fat gut blocked the view:

The valve position lights for one block valve were covered by a yellow maintenance tag. The reason why the operator missed the lights for the second valve is not known, although one theory is that his own large belly hid it from his view.[32] The valves may have been left closed during a surveillance test two days earlier.[33][34] With the block valves closed, the system was unable to pump any water. The closure of these valves was a violation of a key Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rule, according to which the reactor must be shut down if all auxiliary feed pumps are closed for maintenance. This was later singled out by NRC officials as a key failure.[35]

All in all, big fuckup resulting in nothing more than a 2 billion $ of damage.

Still, it does seem like people operating the plant weren't trained properly - e.g. allowing the design to run without back up feedwater pumps, when those are needed to avoid partial meltdown - seems like a very odd decision.

Now, there's plenty of designs that do not even require emergency core cooling systems, for various reasons.

But keep in mind that in 1971 Carter, then Governor of Georgia "proclaimed ‘American Fighting Men's Day" likely in support of First Lieutenant William L. Calley who had recently been convicted for his role in the Mỹ Lai massacre.

Reading that article it doesn't sound like the day was in support of Calley. It was more to affirm the fact that Calley's actions and character were not representative of the us armed forces in general. That's much less objectionable.

If the newspaper doesn't come right out and say that Carter created the day for that reason, don't believe it. They didn't come right out and say it because they didn't have any evidence.

I am going to do what I do every day, and that is not trust the New York Times or other institutional journalists

I sort of wonder if that'd currently and indirectly draw any attention to the the complete farce which resulted in such idiots being accepted into the armed forces, namely Project 100,000.,000

Obligatory link to Gwern's outstanding review of McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War:

It’s not well-known, but one of the most consistent long-term sponsors of research into intelligence has been the US military. This is because, contrary to lay wisdom that ‘IQ only measures how well you do on a test’ or book-learning, cognitive ability predicts performance in all occupations down to the simplest manual labor; this might seem surprising, but there are a lot of ways to screw up a simple job and cause losses outside one’s area. For example, aiming and pointing a rifle, or throwing a grenade, might seem like a simple task, but it’s also easy to screw up by pointing at the wrong point, requires fast reflexes (reflexes are one of the most consistent correlations with intelligence), memory for procedures like stripping, the ability to read ammo box labels or orders (as one Marine drill instructor noted), and ‘common sense’ like not indulging in ‘practical jokes’ by tossing grenades at one’s comrades and forgetting to remove the fuse - common sense is not so common, as the saying goes. Such men were not even useful cannon fodder, as they were as much a danger to the men around them as themselves (never mind the enemy), and jammed up the system. (A particularly striking non-Vietnam example is the case of one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever, the Port Chicago disaster which killed 320 people - any complex disaster like that has many causes, of course, but one of them was simply that the explosives were being handled by the dregs of the Navy - not even bottom decile, but bottom duo-decile (had to look that one up), and other stations kept raiding it for anyone competent.)

Gregory’s book collates stories about what happened when the US military was forced to ignore these facts it knew perfectly well in the service of Robert McNamara & Lyndon Johnson’s “Project 100,000” idea to kill two birds with one stone by drafting recruits who were developmentally disabled, unhealthy, evil, or just too dumb to be conscripted previously: it would provide the warm bodies needed for Vietnam, and use the military to educate the least fortunate and give them a leg up as part of the Great Society’s faith in education to eliminate individual differences and refute the idea that intelligence is real.

It did not go well.

Going from a dead wiki reference to Calley , he does come across as somewhat stupid in terms of being a community college dropout and screwing up a few jobs, but Project 100k was strictly about getting more enlisted- Calley caused as much harm as he did because he was an officer in charge of others. He was able to go to Officer Candidate School based on his ASVAB [standardized test score].

It seems to me that the work the Carter Center has done to eradicate parasitic diseases in Africa over the past 50 years (among other charitable work) would more than make up for once publicly supporting the killers of 500 Vietnamese civilians, from a utilitarian standpoint at least.

Agreed. He has been an excellent former politician.

hmm...a common narrative is that Carter imposed gasoline price controls, which backfired, but they were initially imposed by Nixon, and towards the end of his term Carter actually rescinded some of them, and the rest were rescinded by Reagan after entering office.

more info

Complicated by his awful relationship with his own party and Congress, it’s hard to say whether Carter achieved too few or too many of his goals. Reading this book review…could he have possibly done it? Were we spared from even worse policy?

I had no idea rail and air deregulation happened under Carter, not to mention home brewing. Thought that was later (and earlier, for brewing)

You may enjoy an ACX guest book review for his absolutely bizarre presidency.

My reason for disliking Carter is that even though he (a Navy-trained nuclear engineer) understood what was going on during the Three Mile Island accident and could have told the nation that there was nothing to worry about, he apparently didn't want to upset anti-nuclear activists in his own party. While that was only a small part of the PR disaster that TMI was, in my mind that makes him partially to blame for why the US abandoned the adoption of nuclear power for electrical generation, which in turns make him partially responsible for global warming (very partially - it's not like Carter is responsible for what China and India have been doing or will continue to do in the next century).

If you actually look at nuclear development, electricity deregulation made it impossible to do the long-term funding to build nuclear reactors, because the time to get your money back is such a long tail.

It's not a surprise that France, the only country that continued to basically directly control nuke reactors via the gov't were the only ones to continue to really build them. Ironically, in a situation where a New Dealer like Hubert Humphrey was POTUS, nukes might've been better off.

If you actually look at nuclear development, electricity deregulation made it impossible to do the long-term funding to build nuclear reactors, because the time to get your money back is such a long tail.

Depends on whether you look at the cost before or after the government imposed regulations that make it impossible for nuclear to be cheap, specifically the "as safe as possible" standard (as opposed to "meet X bar of safety as cheap as possible").

It's perhaps worth contemplating who was president at the time of the price spike.

Didn’t we just have high interests rates which could admittedly be a problem.

But our economy funds many long term projects in deregulated industries. I’d like to see what your actually referring to but the best I’m guessing it’s based on receiving variable pricing.

Here's a Twitter thread to peruse -

That can't be true, since the cost of nuclear energy actually increased over time - primarily due to regulations that complicated construction. The US for instance had the capital cost of a plant rise enormously. See figure 7.11:

The difference between $1000 and $4000 (or even $8,000) per kilowatt of capacity is massive, more than any deregulation effect. There is no such effect in South Korea or India - this proves it must be a regulatory issue.

See the ridiculous regulatory constraints imposed on US nuclear power plants further in the article.

An example was a prohibition against multiplexing, resulting in thousands of sensor wires leading to a large space called a cable spreading room. Multiplexing would have cut the number of wires by orders of magnitude while at the same time providing better safety by multiple, redundant paths.

Another example was the acceptance in 1972 of the Double-Ended-Guillotine-Break of the primary loop piping as a credible failure. In this scenario, a section of the piping instantaneously disappears. Steel cannot fail in this manner. As usual Ted Rockwell put it best, “We can’t simulate instantaneous double ended breaks because things don’t break that way.” Designing to handle this impossible casualty imposed very severe requirements on pipe whip restraints, spray shields, sizing of Emergency Core Cooling Systems, emergency diesel start up times, etc., requirements so severe that it pushed the designers into using developmental, unrobust technology. A far more reliable approach is Leak Before Break by which the designer ensures that a stable crack will penetrate the piping before larger scale failure.

A forklift at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory moved a small spent fuel cask from the storage pool to the hot cell. The cask had not been properly drained and some pool water was dribbled onto the blacktop along the way. Despite the fact that some characters had taken a midnight swim in such a pool in the days when I used to visit there and were none the worse for it, storage pool water is defined as a hazardous contaminant. It was deemed necessary therefore to dig up the entire path of the forklift, creating a trench two feet wide by a half mile long that was dubbed Toomer’s Creek, after the unfortunate worker whose job it was to ensure that the cask was fully drained.

The Bannock Paving Company was hired to repave the entire road. Bannock used slag from the local phosphate plants as aggregate in the blacktop, which had proved to be highly satisfactory in many of the roads in the Pocatello, Idaho area. After the job was complete, it was learned that the aggregate was naturally high in thorium, and was more radioactive that the material that had been dug up, marked with the dreaded radiation symbol, and hauled away for expensive, long-term burial.

The new rules would be imposed on plants already under construction. A 1974 study by the General Accountability Office of the Sequoyah plant documented 23 changes “where a structure or component had to be torn out and rebuilt or added because of required changes.” The Sequoyah plant began construction in 1968, with a scheduled completion date of 1973 at a cost of $300 million. It actually went into operation in 1981 and cost $1700 million. This was a typical experience.

It's basically racketeering:

Instead, the nuclear companies themselves pay the NRC for the time they spend reviewing applications, at something close to $300 an hour. This creates a perverse incentive: the more overhead, the more delays, the more revenue for the agency.

Ok so this isn’t deregulation bad. It’s nuclear was not economical unless government gave them pricing power.

And ignore that a big reason why nuclear got super expensive is excessive regulation after 3 mile/Chernobyl.

I wonder how much better our nuclear power would be if we had continued to develop it. Seems like 50+ years of development, with billions of dollars poured in per year, would lead to much safer, more consistent, cheaper, and more powerful reactors. China and India would certainly switch to nuclear if it were actually the economical option. If we could even get nuclear close in price to coal we could bribe them to switch over by subsidizing the costs. Seems highly plausible to me.

There has been quite a bit of development of reactor technology, even just within what are now seen as the boring, old and busted design of Pressurized Light Water Reactors. So-called Gen III+ Reactors have substantial improvements in safety and operational efficiency (how much time they spend generating electricity (and thus $$$) vs. time spent shut down for maintenance).

The main way to subsidize costs would be guaranteed zero- or low-interest loans, combined with some reduction in red tape; the main thing that makes nuclear cost-prohibitive right now is the ridiculous amount of time it takes to go from "we're thinking about building a nuke plant here" to "actually generating electricity". The NRC safety certification process is important and shouldn't be circumvented, but what needs to be stopped is every single anti-nuclear organization being able to file NIMBY-lawsuit after NIMBY-lawsuit that keeps the project tied up, with loan interest accumulating the whole time.

Other more advanced reactor design concepts are interesting but PLWRs have 70 years of design and operational experience behind them now, which makes them quite hard to dislodge from their dominant market position.

China and India would certainly switch to nuclear if it were actually the economical option

Do you mean like this?

from here - At least as of 2021, china's use of nuclear power isn't much larger than its use of other alternative energy sources. They're investing in it, but solar and wind are growing more rapidly.

There's something weird about it, because the chart with absolute numbers shows higher nuclear than wind production, while the relative chart is showing the opposite (and a ridiculously small proportion of gas power for some reason).

If you take the numbers for their planned expansion from my article, and the absolute numbers chart, nuclear production would nearly double. But I guess there's the question of how long it will take them, at what cost, etc.

I think you have it set on 'world', when I click 'change country' in your chart and click 'China' I get this with wind=655 and nuclear=407

Oops, I thought it kept the settings.

Ok, so they're planning to 5x their nuclear production, which would put it above where even hydro is at the moment. Of course the question of will they pull it off remains, and wind and solar will probably grow in the following years as well.

But my original point stands, it certainly looks like they are (at least planning on) switching to it.

China and India would certainly switch to nuclear if it were actually the economical option.

I have no reason to doubt this, but it does seem odd to me to suggest that the lack of a green lobby means a country will default to pragmatism when it comes to energy. Do China and India not have their own set of political challenges (say a fossil fuel lobby) when it comes to nuclear or is really as straightforward as nuclear failing on one or all of cost/skill/payoff?

Of course someone who knows these countries can tell me I'm wrong and I'll accept that, but I worry that the reasoning is along the lines of 'because they don't have the same problems as the West, they don't have a problem', where the 'problems of the West' are the only things we would think to look for.

Not sure about energy policy in those countries in general, but I would be shocked if they had fossil fuel lobbies.

China at least already seems to use more nuclear than us, so my read is that they are already defaulting to pragmatism. Less sure about India I guess. My read in general is that somewhat poorer countries have less qualms with this sort of thing but I could be wrong.

To be clear I was saying less "If we had fewer qualms they would have fewer qualms" and more "they seem to already have few enough qualms that the cost/skill/payoff trade is all that matters"

A lot of Nixon- and earlier-era funding for nuclear power research was kinda spending good money after bad: the institutional views of the major players were focused on a number of specific assumptions (limited uranium availability, funding preferring large single reactor sites, high concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation from power plants) that lead to some really goofy focuses (eg, anything involving molten salt reactors, incoherent positions on breeder reactors, multi-gigawatt PWRs are a mainstay despite decay heat issues).

That said, not turning civil development into a mindfield would have probably allowed far greater private research and development along saner lines. Which I think is far greater an issue than Carter's PR approach to TMI.

You're not cynical enough; American Fighting Men's Day will be suppressed or dragged up depending on how the Egregore feels about Carter. My priors are that few will really care enough to do so, there's little else to pin on Carter other than being kind of a lame duck President who is remembered for little.

Not only is he honorable, he has a proud (healthy!) in-group bias towards his own tribe’s warriors! Based Carter!

William L. Calley made all American warriors look bad. Forgive me for being superficial, but I'm betting that thousands of US soldiers lost the opportunity to have sex with US women because of the transferred disgust these women felt because of the massacre.

but I'm betting that thousands of US soldiers lost the opportunity to have sex with US women because of the transferred disgust these women felt because of the massacre.

This is telling me more about you than anything. And that your mind went in this direction. You have not been with many women?

Forgive me for being superficial, but I'm betting that thousands of US soldiers lost the opportunity to have sex with US women because of the transferred disgust these women felt because of the massacre.

You bet that way if you want, I'm betting that transferred "dangerous bad boy" vibes led to thousands of US soldiers getting more sex from US women.

The median woman loves a man in uniform, and not because she think he's making flower necklaces and rescuing puppies while he's wearing it.

An aging species tries to save itself

We begin with Do It For Denmark. The angle in this ad campaign is sex. Don't you want to have sex? No? Well, do it for your country, or at least your mother, who wants grandchildren. We'll also throw in a travel discount for a romantic holiday getaway, where you will hopefully have sex. Of course, the declining appeal of sex is probably not the main cause of declining birth rates.

Like Denmark, Iran also has a fertility rate of around 1.7, but of course we find a more conservative version of the exhortation to build a family in this ad from an Iranian cultural center. The sell now focuses on the benefits of a tradwife: she'll replace your alarm clock, cook you healthy meals, and give you children. I guess they saw no need for an ad on the benefits of a tradhusband.

For the most direct and honest appeal we turn to Taiwan, whose fertility rate of 1.0-1.2 portends a crisis possibly even worse than the much-discussed demographics of its belligerent neighbor. To a soundtrack that tries to be hopeful, this PSA from the Taiwanese ministry of education, which I recommend watching, pleads its case:

Once upon a time, building a family [/ settling down] meant that the man got a second mother [a wife cooks in the kitchen], while the woman had to leave her parents' home [to join the multigenerational household of her husband]. It took many years for her to realize she could search for her own voice ... outside marriage [they return their wedding rings in a bittersweet farewell].

One upon a time, building a family [/ settling down] meant the man's domain was outside the home, and the woman's inside. So they ended up living in separate worlds [split screen: woman waits on the sofa while the man works late]. But sometimes, all it took to break down conventional roles [man pushing a stroller with his son] ... was a chance. [Text: More and more men are taking paternity leave.]

Once upon a time, building a family meant rushing [to have kids], as if to wait was to waste [her] youth / prime years [pregnant woman hands her boss her notice of leave].

[Text advertises increased government assistance for fertility issues.]

When we've learned to better empathize with others, we've become stronger supporters of each other [happy gay couple]. And behind every step of progress we make [happy lesbian couple] ... are countless clashes and acts of persuasion. [Text: paternal benefits are also open to same-sex couples.]

Although things aren't perfect, over the decades we've seen more and more ways to build a family [group of happy young people at a restaurant]. And of course that includes starting a family while single [woman walks alone at night]. Because in a democratic society, everyone has the right to decide how they want to live their life.

[A couple takes care of their baby. The camera lingers on a pamphlet: "From 0 to 6 years old: raising a kid together with your country."]

With gender education [?] and environmental awareness as our starting point, let's work together as a society to do our "homework": raising the next generation. [Montage of different kinds of families.] We promise to work even harder to take care of more families, and make it normal and comfortable for everyone to ...

[final screen with slogan] choose to build a family, together.

I don't know about you, but the earnestness and sheer desperation in this plea really broke me down. And I have no reason to think the whole project isn't exactly that: an act of desperation.

Denmark had a small upwards bump after the Do It For Denmark campaign in 2015 (nat change per 1000: 1.0 -> 1.5, or some three thousand babies more) but it has since tapered off, and it is difficult tell if it was because of the campaign or other random variation.

ad from an Iranian cultural center

Man that ad seriously made me think for a few minutes that I should get married immediately (I felt seen at the cola and pizza leftovers vs juice and healthy breakfast bit).

Are they confusing having sex and having kids? Or are they implying low fertility rate is the consequence of people not having enough sexual intercouse, and if so, is there any data to support it?

That said, I can just imagine what a field day would people on some alt-right forums will have with the fact that Europeans now apparently need to be convinced to have sex (and the ad seems to place emphasis on the male as the party not wanting to rumble).

That said, I applaud to whoever in the marketing dept thought of this. Tapping into retiree's incomes to sell them active vacations they can't actually do is not an easy task, but they found a way.

all it took to break down conventional roles [man pushing a stroller with his son]

Oh come on, my woke copywriter bro, breastfeeding is breaking down conventional roles for a male, walking with one's son never has been.

paternal benefits are also open to same-sex couples.

Not sure how this is going to help the issue? I imagine the grammatical structure of wokese does not admit any other way of expressing it, though.

Because in a democratic society, everyone has the right to decide how they want to live their life.

But some of the decisions are so wrong, or we wouldn't be doing this ad.

With gender education [?] and environmental awareness as our starting point

It will all undoubtedly prove a huge waste of taxpayer money. But doubleplusgood woke duckspeak, to be sure. Maybe one day they'd be so desperate as to kick out the wokesters, but that day is definitely not today.

Oh come on, my woke copywriter bro, breastfeeding is breaking down conventional roles for a male, walking with one's son never has been.

All the reports of men being harassed for taking their child to the park because people are assuming they're some kind of paedophile kidnapper indicate otherwise.

That's not breaking conventional roles, that's moral panic which has been promoted for years in the press (completely contrary to stats showing stranger child kidnapping is a very rare event, and pedophiles mostly prey on children already close to them). But I don't think it has much to do with gender roles. It used to be normal for a father to play with their kids. I've seen old movies that are full of these tropes. It's not some recent invention, it's very traditional (well, maybe not in the Victorian tradition where kids are meant to be seen rarely and heard never, but in less rigid ones).

"All the reports"? I'm a father. I take my kid to parks. Other dads do also. I've never seen or 2nd hand heard of a dad being accused of anything at a public park. I accept that it must have happened sometime somewhere in a nation of hundreds of millions of people. But I believe such a thing is vanishingly rare.

I once took a teenaged non-blood-relative out to dinner. Given our relative ages and racial differences it should be obvious I'm not her dad and you wouldn't know we are relatives by marriage. I wondered if I looked like a creep. No one cared. No one gives a damn about a 30 year old eating dinner with a teenaged girl.

That's not tradition, that's the remnants of an earlier moral panic.

That said, I can just imagine what a field day would people on some alt-right forums will have with the fact that Europeans now apparently need to be convinced to have sex (and the ad seems to place emphasis on the male as the party not wanting to rumble).

From a Russian (headquartered in Riga, Latvia, ofc) liberal globohomo news portal

At Berlinale 2023, Manodrome, a psychological thriller starring Jesse Eisenberg, was screened

You immediately recognise the protagonist - not Ralphie himself, but the type he embodies. A frustrated, lonely, struggling to cope with his impulses, obsessed with childhood trauma, a taxi driver in a metropolis at night: a direct descendant of Travis Bickle from Scorsese's Taxi Driver. Nowadays, such a loner drives an Uber. The director brilliantly defines his character in the opening scene: he's looking too intently in the rear-view mirror at a female passenger who has decided to breastfeed an infant right in the car. Calling the driver a pervert, she exits halfway through. In fact, Ralphie's interest can be explained. His girlfriend Sal is pregnant and about to give birth. Struggling with irritation and fatigue, she ploughs on at the supermarket cash register while Ralphie, who has recently lost his job, drives customers around. The only outlet in his life is the gym, where he works out to a deafening heavy metal soundtrack.

[...] The only hope for success comes when the guy is welcomed into their circle by members of the mysterious «Manodrome», an elite fraternity of men. Its members call themselves «sons» and its leaders «fathers». In this phantom club, Trengov has developed the dreams of hundreds of thousands of alpha males, venting their frustrations on the universe in the social networks. He has created the perfect ersatz family of incels, where women are not allowed.

The word «incels», as you can see, is helpfully disambiguated:

From the English "incel", an abbreviation for "involuntary celibacy", meaning "involuntary abstinence" [rus]. These are people who feel unable to find a sexual partner, despite wanting to do so.

Fair enough. However, doesn't this seem at odds with the text around, where incels are simultaneously alpha males who also avoid the company of women? Web archive, yesterday's snapshot:

From the English "incel", an abbreviation for "involuntary celibates". These are people who have completely renounced sex because of their own belief that they are incapable of building a romantic relationship.

I think this is telling. The notion that men can be genuinely not guilty of some failure relating to relations of sexes – whether to score or to sire – is about as far outside the Overton window as HBD. It just feels weird to those progressive journalists and the whole «Cathedral». There must be some mistake, or barring that, a conspiracy of alpha male incels who just refuse to pull their weight... It can't be that the solution lies in any conceivable change to female behavior, except even more emancipation, even greater triumph over toxic masculinity. Так победим.

Haven't heard about the movie, but looks like woke Fight Club, tbh.

As for the whole story, it always boils down to the same thing - in the leftist idpol ideology, the oppression categories are fixed, and only the proper oppressed are allowed to have qualia and have their suffering mean something. If you are not a member, your suffering is a) your own fault for being an evil oppressor and b) does not matter and you have no right to ever mention it, because it's just a cynical manipulation in order to keep your oppressor position. And if you try to make it otherwise, it never ends well - the "tragic finale" is guaranteed. As if you weren't warned by hot iron rituals. Thus, people that are desperate to find love and human connection, or struggling an ages-old struggle for meaning, are always reduced to a one-dimensional universal metaphor for evil.

The notion that men can be genuinely not guilty of some failure relating to relations of sexes – whether to score or to sire – is about as far outside the Overton window as HBD

Interestingly, the fertility rate itself says otherwise: whether they feel it's their fault is immaterial to the fact they're going "well, fuck you then", strapping on the wirehead if they have one, and laying flat. And when the barbarians come to enslave the women... well, they weren't putting out for the men of their own tribe anyway, so what's the difference?

I guess the shy Tory effect applies to the Overton window, too.

I, for one, welcome our new barbarian overlords.

Faustian man is done, the sooner we move on the more will still be around for the next civilization to build upon. This slow agony is almost unbearable.

Declining rates of sexual intercourse, plus a rising percentage of virgins and practical celibates among young people, have been recorded in most Western or Westernized societies (such as Taiwan) for many years. This, the so-called sex recession, has been discussed extensively on the parent subreddits as well, multiple times, and also on this forum here. I can’t be arsed to dig up sources because I’m lazy, and because the sources themselves aren’t much relevant here. But anyway, yes, I’m sure that declining fertility rates can easily be explained in part by this. And I’m also sure that it’s driven by multiple factors that are, in part, mutually reinforcing: obesity epidemic, opioid epidemic, rising rates of prescription drug abuse, rising rates of alcoholism and unhealthy life choices in general among single women and the resulting health problems, chemical pollution, endocrine disruptors in the drinking water, dropping sperm counts, a growing mental health crisis in society due to the consequences of social media use/abuse etc.

I think this belongs squarely in the 'raising awareness' category of government activity. Governments raise awareness about obesity, mental health, cancer and so on - it does basically nothing.

On the other hand, there are actual kinetic, physical actions.

From the abstract of this article, it cost the government about Aus $ 126,000 per new birth in its fertility spending program (giving $3000 to women who have children). Accounting for inflation, that sums to about US $ 118,417.10 2022.

So if Taiwan wants to double its fertility (which I'll take to be that of 2019 pre-COVID, 177,767) births, it would cost somewhere around $21,050,634,839 per annum, or about 2.5% of GDP. That's more than they spend on defense, so they're at least consistent about ignoring all threats to national existence. Anyway this naively assumes the effect scales, which it probably won't seeing as many Taiwanese women are too old to have children or too rich to care about a few thousand here or there. There'd be some dysgenics too.

Only a massive spending program is going to have any significant effect. Alternately, there are more unconventional options like organizing social credit for parents (such that they're priveliged in education and workforce), suppressing contraception, placing caps on women entering higher education and so on. My suspicion is that the ultra-nerdy East Asian youth would instantly start having children if it meant they'd better be able to get into prestigious universities. The amount of effort that goes into education there is ridiculous. But nobody has bothered trying this. Perhaps it's a case of 'you know who else tried raising their country's fertility by encouraging mothers to have children?'

Real desperation is when states start taking serious action.

'you know who else tried raising their country's fertility by encouraging mothers to have children?'

My guess was gonna be "Communist Romania."

You assume that marginal cost of extra birth will stay flat. There is every reason to expect otherwise. As you buy yourself more births, each additional one will be more and more expensive.

I’m skeptical that even a massive spending program will have any effect. Eventually natural selection will run its course and the USA, France, Japan, Australia, etc will have high TFRs once more. Of course the populations might look very different, but eh, hajnalis shouldn’t have invented the pill.

Eventually natural selection will run its course and the USA, France, Japan, Australia, etc will have high TFRs once more.

... why do you think so? Even if we aren't all converted into biodiesel for use in drone tanks and jets by competing AI armies by 2060, there won't be much 'natural' selection going on within 50 years.

If we don't die out, odds are very high the dream of biological immortality is going to be realised, at that point a high fertility becomes a real problem unless your plan is to dismantle Venus into raw materials for a lot of space habitats.

Since it might not have been obvious immediately from the OP, the Danish ad doesn't belong to this category. It's an ad by a (private) travel company, and their goal is not (at least directly) to increase fertility but to sell vacations. Moreover, it's the travel company originally established by this dude, so using sex and publicity to sell vacations basically runs in their blood, so to say.

You might be the first person on the planet to suggest that Asians are too concerned with not copying Hitler.

I was mostly thinking about the West in that bit, that obviously doesn't come through in what I wrote. Anyway, it's striking how important demography and race was to Hitler's thinking. The whole objective of the war was to acquire land to fit more Germans on, ensure that there were as many Germans as possible. Population is power as far as he was concerned. But today, there's this schizophrenic thinking about demography where some countries like Canada and Australia want to massively increase their populations by immigration even as they artificially restrict and complicate housing, as they propagate memes about overpopulation. It's made out to be virtuous not to have children due to climate change. The notion that population is power seems to be very fringe, there's only that 'One Billion Americans' book.

China goes around calling the West racist for police brutality against blacks. They bring in tens of thousands of Africans to Chinese universities. They actually conducted a mass sterilization/infanticide program of their own people in the One Child Policy. Their rhetoric and their official policy are diametrically anti-Hitler. It's funny since China is probably the closest thing ideologically today to fascism but without any of the racial or eugenic angles. They've got the corporatism, the party-state and the national rejuvenation/revanchism elements.

China goes around calling the West racist for police brutality against blacks.

As did the Nazis, with the same motives.

I remember that Spike Lee movie where some waiting Germans tried a "Berlin Betty" kind of thing on an advancing black troop.

Low effort but CW so it goes here. Its the end of the week anyways.

It seems to me the slatestarcodex subreddit has been fully normified. Of all those comments only 1 mention (hint) of group average IQ on why sub saharan Africa is poor??

Then theres the "woah how did you get here, you dont belong here" as a response to the guy who hinted at IQ. Does that guy even know whose blog he is in the subreddit of.

All I am saying is for those of you who still say /r/ssc is "smart", update your priors, this post is not an isolated case.

E: Ill remove if consensus building.

There looks like there's now a comment there from a mod saying that those topics were removed.

Generally we'd prefer people didn't remove posts unless they really regret posting something.

I don't think this is consensus-building, but it is kind of failing to leave the rest of the Internet at the door. "Look at how stupid SSC has become" isn't exactly a genre of post we want to encourage.

If you're going to argue something outside the mainstream, you're going to have to do the work in explaining yourself. None of the "It's IQ" comments are doing that, even the ones that were removed. They're simply attributing the entire reason to IQ and leaving it at that, as if you can reduce all of SSA's failure to develop strictly on their national IQs.

Even if that were the case, you'd have to do a great deal more to explain that position. The comment about institutions cited multiple published books by respected researchers to illustrate its case.

Not mainstream in... Scott Alexanders blogs subreddit?

It was maybe mainstream in the past. Definitely not now.

Is this outside the mainstream? It’s not something acceptable to talk about but my gut is most people believe it is a primary contributor. Just the whole getting branded racists and talking about differences is a taboo. I put this ideas is the taboo but everyone basically believes them camp.

IQ is generally not in the Western mainstream. I've seen people express genuine shock at the idea that IQ is even heritable.

I strongly suspect that this is a "blue tribe midwit" phenomenon. I would also bet that most of those people think IQ is a fake statistic made up by racists in general, and that most of them would cite the "regatta" example as proof. That idea is much rarer among the people who don't even pretend they read the NYT. "Parents pass down traits like brawn and brains" is the sort of folk wisdom that everyone has... except for the people who've had that scooped out and replaced with something else.

In a freshman class in college many years ago we were basically fed anti-IQ propaganda. Including impuning people as racists. Good educated middling progressives have been inoculated against honestly considering the facts of heritability. That well has been thoroughly poisoned.

The American working class mostly does not think IQ is particularly closely correlated with g, and is fairly likely to deny the influence of IQ on success in education.

The "American working class" has never even heard of Spearman's g.

That is completely antithetical to my experience. They think IQ is the measure of how smart someone is, so they think it obviously factors into success in education... even if that's not necessarily the be-all-end-all of general life success (book smarts versus practical smarts). They have never heard of g, and have also never heard of progressive cope lines around the topic.

This is a quite recent development. I remember reading a lot about it in mainstream pop science.

Take this from Science for example (2014):

If you sailed through school with high grades and perfect test scores, you probably did it with traits beyond sheer smarts. A new study of more than 6000 pairs of twins finds that academic achievement is influenced by genes affecting motivation, personality, confidence, and dozens of other traits, in addition to those that shape intelligence.

But it would probably not appear today.

Is this outside the mainstream?

Yes. Whatever you want to attribute it to, the prevailing sentiments are like this one:

“Is it really likely that the average person of African ancestry is cognitively impaired when compared to the average white person?” David S. Jones, a Harvard historian and medical ethicist, told Vox. “I can’t think of how that could actually be true. And the assumption that it is true just sounds like white supremacist racism to me. We need to subject any claims like this to really strict scrutiny.”

Not just, "well, that's one explanation" or "I doubt it, that's improbable", but "I can't think of how that could actually be true". Stating that you can't even think of how it could be true that people of different ancestries differ in average cognitive ability is Harvard medical ethicist thinking. Whether he's stating that cynically or honestly, that's where we're at. Do you want to be subject to really strict scrutiny on whether you're a white supremacist?

How many Black friends do you have? Close friends, say minimum "pick you up at the airport" level of friendship on the Seinfeld scale

Two that meet that standard, but I probably wouldn't actually call them, "close friends". Close enough to be part of group get togethers at holidays and such though.

You actually hit on why I’m questioning whether HBD is mainstream accepted. Vox is a blue tribe probably aimed at around the 10-20% Iq area. Harvard is a 1% elitists spot. So people here would call it not mainstream because the people in their intellectual space don’t follow it. If I asked a 50 year old welder his views he would probably admit he thinks there are differences. It’s just that people in your social space don’t adhere to hbd.

The big logic for HBD being important is based on Garrett Jones arguments. A quick simplification is he thinks a nations average IQ is important and not as much being smart yourself. You have a better chance being well off being less intelligent in a high average IQ country than you would be super smart in a low average IQ country. Basically governance improves a lot if you have higher average IQ. All government need to get a consent of the governed to effectively function. Democracy especially is hard to do if the voters can’t understand policy. So that ends up making dictatorship better. But you still need a degree of the populace understanding what your doing to encourage good policy choices. And when things go wrong poorly informed citizens are more likely to turn to their in group leader and having a coup and hopefully sending more of their spoils to their own tribe.

A 50 year old welder may not have a positive view of black people, but it’s the rare blue collar worker who thinks of IQ as the determining factor.

Blue collar workers who think there’s something wrong, genetically, with blacks are usually going to point to laziness, not IQ, being the differing hereditary factor.

Democracy especially is hard to do if the voters can’t understand policy

Countries with low IQs tend to do poorly no matter what system they adopt. The UAE is a possible exception because it pivoted to tourism and westernism in every other respect but government and religion. The quality of people tells you the quality of country. Liberal democracy seems to work best when you have a small, highly productive, high trust population, which pretty much excludes much of the world and even much of the US.

Most of the UAE's revenue is oil and its derivatives (You are confusing Dubai and UAE). The Arab Gulf states are National avg IQ vs GDPPc PPP, outliers. Simar to ex-communist states who are outliers in the opposite direction. Credit where credit is due, it's not like natural resource wealth can't be squandered (or not realized at all), the ruling elite of the UAE is the real deal.

The native modest IQ stock of the UAE is a minority at ~20% of the population. The entire rest of the population is much higher functioning imported expats who do all the serious work (and construction workers).

I don’t know that ‘people with differing ancestries have different IQ’s’ is the sentiment objected to so much as ‘it just doesn’t seem within the realm of possibility that entire countries are made up mostly of actually literally retarded people’ is the objection.

Sigh. A Harvard medical ethicist of all people ought to know the nosological difference between «actually literally retarded» and «very low IQ», because those are, in fact, different conditions.

Then again, maybe it's the opposite and his job is to not know the difference – who am I to tell, not being Harvard material myself? Like the Chinese say,

“We need to teach machines not only how to speak, but also how not to speak.”

And more is expected of experts.

If some people have cognitive impairment and low IQ and some have just low IQ and can function in society, I don't see why the cognitive impairment shouldn't be considered to be part of IQ in the first place. A meaningful measure of IQ would consider the person with cognitive impairment to have a lower IQ, because he has cognitive impairment.

You can also look at it from another angle: "Can learn the skills needed to function in society" should be most of IQ. If a 60 IQ person can function as well as an 80 IQ person but doesn't understand analogies, he should, by definition, have a 80 IQ, especially if the 80 IQ person barely understands analogies either. "Understands analogies slightly worse, but neither of them understands analogies well enough to use them" is not a large IQ gap under any useful definition of IQ.

(I'm not convinced that the whole distinction is even real. Are there studies that show that it's possible to have 60-IQ-with-impairment and 60-IQ-without-impairment for people who are otherwise under similar cultures and circumstances?)

That would defeat the premise of what an IQ score is, a metric trying to capture the latent g factor.

Why not just have a "societal functioning quotient"? The SFQ so to speak. It might even gain popularity over IQ and become the de facto "intelligence" metric (because that will be gameable unlike IQ). Be warned, it's not that easy to make what you are proposing, not to speak on will it be even useful for research or as a signal. There is a reason Academia gave so much weight to the SAT and GRE up until the recent past (It was a useful signal), Half the job openings for ETS (the company that makes the GRE) is for Psychometrics and Psychology PhDs.. I wonder why they need so many psychologists for a primarily Math and English test.

more is expected of experts

By who? I certainly don’t expect experts to speak truth to power, and I don’t expect the general public to be able to catch them lying or confusing terms to mislead or shutting down debate or whatever.

FWIW I made it to my late 20s working in philosophy and cognitive science before I encountered HBD. Most people, especially educated ones, will simply believe some combination of (i) IQ is a discredited old measure of intelligence, (ii) race is a social construct, and maybe (iii) insofar as we give IQ any weight at all, we should recognise it as highly mutable as demonstrated by stuff like the Flynn Effect.

This started to unravel for me when I began poking around and found that (i) was false. But most educated people won’t get to that point.

Well, what I don’t understand is that there are obviously some people who are smarter compared to other people. Just like there are people who are more attractive or more athletic or more consistently drunk. And shockingly these things seem to run in families.

That and we see that in animals we can breed certain outcomes.

Blank slatism just seems so difficult to believe given the above. The simpler solution is that genetics impact life outcomes. Not saying it is 100% but important. Once you accept that, then it seems once you have population A and population B separated by an obvious genetic difference it is perfectly within the realm of possibility to see a difference in group IQ.

Of course, I do think the problem is people oversimplify. There are African sub populations that are reasonably high IQ. Moreover, there is great variability within black populations. And white populations. And Asian populations. We need not abandon colorblindness as principle given HBD. But it can be a refutation of the claim that group differences re a result of oppression.

It is very easy not to see something when your viability within the system depends on not seeing it.

Well, what I don’t understand is that there are obviously some people who are smarter compared to other people. Just like there are people who are more attractive or more athletic or more consistently drunk. And shockingly these things seem to run in families.

People do not seem to follow up on observations about genetics, if they are even making them in the first place. That is, people will accept that you look like your parents, but don't consider if you can be smarter or dumber based on the genes your parents give you.

That and we see that in animals we can breed certain outcomes.

"Humans are different", "evolution stops before it reaches the brain", etc.

This feels like something where education makes you forgot something that was plainly obvious to children or lower educated people.

I knew the points you make were false when I was 8 year olds and saw a lot more people with more melanin playing the sports I liked to play professionally. Just seemed obvious races were not identical. Everyone I grew up knew that blacks people ran faster and jumped higher.

Me and some others tried to speak up. The jannies censored our comments.

If you dislike this, consider organizing a pipeline from there to here, privately or publicly. Bakkot says:

As a reminder, culture war topics are forbidden. That includes "maybe these people are genetically predisposed to be lower IQ or otherwise less suited to build modern economies". I've removed a few subthreads to that effect. Please don't make any more of them. If you'd like to have a discussion about that particular hypothesis you'll need to go elsewhere.

This pissy attitude openly vilifying the very clear and well-argued line of thought in the corpus of writing of the guy he owes the community to is deserving of some pushback. I'm permabanned there (for mocking Kevin Bird's beliefs), but if I were not, I'd have written something like «and if you'd like to discuss whatever hypothesis seems best supported by evidence, you can check out this offshoot of the community». What's he going to do? There are no normie reddit rules against promoting other places, far as I know. Will he remove it as culture warring unto itself?

and if you'd like to discuss whatever hypothesis seems best supported by evidence, you can check out this offshoot of the community

Sounds good probably won't work. "Best supported by the evidence" translates to "The evidence I agree the most with (but is just as shitty, but in the opposite direction)" in the overwhelming majority of cases, anyone who hasn't defaulted to making that translation is less cynical than I. This is assuming you are trying to invite the HBD skeptics along aswell.

A superior advertisement (imo) would be "The theories discussed here are some of the theories but not all of them, visit this offshoot community to read what you read here, and more". This has the advantage of implying that you won't only see a set complement of arguments but a superset of them. However there is a failure mode that any invitation to an alternative discussion can be translated to "come join us at the flat earth society we have alternative theories!".

I honestly can't think of a perfect advertisement for someone who is (rightfully) skeptical and not on the fence already.

Yeah, could be phrased better. I referred not to the evidential superiority of my own opinion, but to the possibility to entertain any opinion you deem better-supported – not just the most plausible thing still allowed by Bakkot. They are explicitly prohibited from discussing HBD to any serious extent, beyond a snarky hint or a perfunctory denunciation. Sure, some of that is community sentiment. Consider such brilliant rationalist logic as:

Jumping straight to an IQ answer is antagonistic and uncharitable to a whole group of people, and more importantly, a thought-ending cliché that's likely making you stop looking for actual answers.

But not all of it. /u/plowfaster, /u/crowstep, /u/Throwaway6393fbrb, /u/uber_neutrino, /u/Possible-Summer-8508, /u/FDP_666, /u/Therncic, /u/Courier_ttf, and perhaps some of those already removed are more or less /ourguys/, I think at least 1 or 2 aren't here already. Why not offer them a way out of that circus. As for the rest... well, pseudo-erudite midwits can probably stay where they are. But wouldn't hurt showing them the other option.

As an aside, I like that jannies do not remove blank slatism as «culture warring». They've entirely redefined Scott's idea to align with their distaste for witches, now «culturewar» = nonwoke, basically.

But not all of it. /u/plowfaster, /u/crowstep, /u/Throwaway6393fbrb, /u/uber_neutrino, /u/Possible-Summer-8508, /u/FDP_666, /u/Therncic, /u/Courier_ttf, and perhaps some of those already removed are more or less /ourguys/, I think at least 1 or 2 aren't here already. Why not offer them a way out of that circus. As for the rest... well, pseudo-erudite midwits can probably stay where they are. But wouldn't hurt showing them the other option.

This got me thinking if a place is sufficiently woke (not sure if it generalizes to all ideological conformity), then most of the modded/removed content won't be by people breaking non-political rules but by people who say something unwoke.

Thus writing a bot that scrapes the usernames off the red comments from and sending them an automated message along the lines of

"We saw that your comment was removed from {woke sub}, there is a high probability you didn't break the discourse rules but instead said something unwoke, consider joining us at this { same community but not woke}, {summary of community}"

Might work as an excellent recruiting tool.

As an aside, I like that jannies do not remove blank slatism as «culture warring». They've entirely redefined Scott's idea to align with their distaste for witches, now «culturewar» = nonwoke, basically.

Lack of self-awareness is a hell of a drug. So is confusing aesthetics and morality.

Exactly my point.

Well, @ZorbaTHut, how's that for a recruiting pipeline? I gather you still haven't decided what to do. I foresee your objections along the lines of diversity, but people who still hang around captured subs might well be the closest thing to a leftie you can get.

Sounds like a pretty bad approach honestly :V

Right now recruiting is not the biggest issue I see. Honestly, this thread itself is kind of a bigger problem; note that it's already been mod-warned, but it's entirely "wow, such normie, very woke, what a problem". The thing I'm most concerned about right now is . . .

. . . okay right now it's dealing with the employment tangle I'm dealing with. But after that, the thing I'm most concerned about is tweaking moderation and figuring out a better way to gently-but-firmly shove the tone around, and that's what the volunteer-janitor stuff is for.

Once I've handled that, I plan to go back to recruiting efforts. However, right now the traffic honestly isn't bad - it's lower than it used to be but nowhere near lower enough that I think it's an immediate existential threat.

And I think, if I were going to recruit people, "people who got removed from a community for not reading the room" is not the group I'd be targeting. Especially people in that situation who would push the balance of this community further away from diverse-opinions.

Well this went poorly. You look like you are going hard into your bonsai-trimming power trip. Do you plan to monetize this place of what?

but it's entirely "wow, such normie, very woke, what a problem"

Well, what else could we say – that it was a mistake to commit a stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast? I believe such regrets are expressed as silent evaporation.

Are you impressed with the intellectual culture Bakkot et al. have built? Get a load of those mod notes. Be honest. It is objectively a normie culture, a culture of shaming and shooing and unquestionable sanctified priors instead of rational discussion. When the choice is between scholarly epicycles in the manner of Marxist theory and a possibly more parsimonious explanation, they are being told to praise the amazing complexity of the former or shut up and «go elsewhere». Elsewhere where if not here?

I realize that «normie» is just a psychologically healthy normal Hajnali human, and as one of those you too might have a hard time distinguishing between very consistent «shame on you, cringe, do better, imagine your mom reading that, we do not need this, removed» etc. signals and a reason to value one's opinion less. But those are still different things and the former is still poison for any serious rationalist-ish place, and is still far less desirable than «dogpiling» in the form of tonally correct objections. At least that's how I see our value function.

if I were going to recruit people, "people who got removed from a community for not reading the room" is not the group I'd be targeting

Really? You would prefer people who «read the room» over people who can't – as in, who believe that «no culture war» should apply fairly and not privilege a side in it? The mods implicitly precommit to a culture war position that requires righteous combat, under the justification of «no culture war». This is a deceptive signal, and a profanation of all that the sub stood for. Are you saying you endorse that? If even we pick people who are adept in reading the room over autistics irritated with inconsistencies and double standards, where are people who are bad at that supposed to go – straight to nazi imageboards?

right now the traffic honestly isn't bad

It's not so much the traffic problem as diversity problem. And I do not mean political compass distribution but even just topic distribution. More people means less banding. For example, nobody has mentioned Turkish earthquake (okay, here) – a NATO state has suffered a major disaster, tens of thousands dead, possibly immense geopolitical ramifications, partially because Erdogan has appointed his fellow right-wing theologian grifters throughout the system. I might do a writeup as a community service and as the resident Turk, but more people could help with such stuff.

Especially people in that situation who would push the balance of this community further away from diverse-opinions.

Have you not understood my argument? People uncomfortable with /r/slatestarcodex modding are leftier than the median user here, and realistically as far left as you will get now, barring a complete reinvention of this place. You will never again get the «diversity» we had on Reddit by virtue of dipping into Scott's captive leftwing audience, unless you ruin TheMotte in the manner not much different from Bakkot's – and then, you'll probably just chase everyone away, like you've repeatedly threatened to do.

It is inevitable that the discussion evolves and some opinions disappear, while others emerge. This is what it means to have a honest non-compelled discussion. If you fetishize access to the frozen equivalent of Scott's captive audience from 2010's, with their particular distribution of opinion, over the value of this community where genuinely all hypotheses can be discussed and the worst that could happen is «dogpiling» – then you, like many people, are a rigid old fart fixed on the object level, unable to recognize the worth of your creation, and should stop wasting our time, much less soliciting our help and money. Pull the plug ASAP.

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Sounds like a pretty bad approach honestly :V

I'm sure the approach is bad for a thousand reasons but if applied very judiciously to very specific places (NOT /r/politics and other stupid places) I don't see how it would run afoul of your concern. E.g users from that ssc thread.

And I think, if I were going to recruit people, "people who got removed from a community for not reading the room" is not the group I'd be targeting.

The Motte is not on Reddit because they couldn't read the room. Don't you think that ship has sailed?

I respect your vision and desire to attract "diverse-opinions", but that has never happened. It's not ever going to happen for various reasons.

Not until you fix (not saying you should);

"diverse opinion" haver joins Motte -> expresses opinion -> gets dogpiled -> leaves (after flaming out and letting us know that we are nazi shitlords)

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I just assume no HBD allowed on reddit, full stop.

As @DaseindustriesLtd said, the appearance of incompetence of the opposing side the intended outcome of censorship

Those three deleted top comments are really low effort. A drive by punchy one line comment is bound for deletion.

Other comments more thoughtfully discuss IQ and have not been deleted.

Yet; growth mindset!

Most people don't understand why Haiti is poor, even though the truth is actually very simple. Mainstream explanations are awful, but the simplistic HBD explanation is poor too. Haiti is poorer than countries like Senegal and the Ivory Coast that served as the regions of origin for most Haitians. And Haiti is much poorer and more dysfunctional than other Caribbean countries peopled almost entirely by descendants of slaves from West Africa, including Jamaica and St Lucia.

The actual reason why Haiti is poor and dysfunctional is extremely simple. Time and time again, poor Haitians of humble origin have, with the support of a minority of the population, come to power and have massacred or persecuted the traditional mulatto elite that rules pretty much every black Caribbean nation. Sometimes, as most infamously in 1915, this has been with the help of the United States, which was very upset that the rich Germans who were industrializing the country were marrying into the leading mulatto families.

Whether it is infamous courtesans or village doctors, the same story repeats itself. A problem was that often the criticisms of Haiti's old bourgeoisie were themselves accurate, and were voiced persuasively by black Haitian scholars and intellectuals who found succor in the universities of France and the United States. But unfortunately, as is the case almost every time old elites have been overthrown in recent human history, the outcome for the population is disastrous. And Haiti, cursed with challenges that even, say, post-1789 France did not have to deal with, struggled more than most.

The solution to Haiti's problems is similarly simple, if one wanted to help. Find the top twenty old families (many of which are, in fact, still on the island and still somewhat powerful), give them an army, turn a blind eye to whatever they must do to achieve order, and make sure they're never overthrown again. Haiti will still be poor and corrupt relative to the United States, but as the birthrate comes down Haitians can have a comfortable future in a lower-middle income country that would be stable enough for lucrative tourism income and jobs.

I feel like "Haiti's problems are caused by the masses preventing the mulatto elite from holding power" elides an important detail, which is that the instability and massacres weren't a bottom-up noir-peasant rebellion, they were driven by the mulatto elite themselves - generally by one faction (often financed by the Germans) hiring mercenaries to take out one leader and install their favored candidate instead. President's Sam massacre against leading mulatto families, however and barbaric and unjustified, wasn't due to racial animosity but to credible fears that this would happen again (as it had happened numerous times before) due to another incipient caco revolt fomenting around the opposition leader. From Max Boot's "Savage Wars of Peace":

Of 22 rulers between 1843 and 1915, only one served out his term of office. During those years there were at least 102 civil wars, coups d'etat, revolts, and other political disorders. The period between 1908 and 1915 was particularly chaotic. Seven presidents were overthrown during those seven years.

Most of these coups followed a familiar pattern. They were orchestrated by the mulatto elite that ran the black republic . . . A cabal of mulatre (mulatto) plotters in port-au-Prince, the capital, would become unhappy with the incumbent. They would select an alternative candidate - usually a noir (black) - and line up financing for him from the German merchant community, which expected to make a tidy profit on the investment out of public funds once the usurper came to power. The would-be president would journey to the wild, mountainous north of Haiti, where he would recruit to his cause tatterdemalion soldiers of fortune and part-time bandits known as cacos (after a local bird of prey) with promises of loot. The cacos would march south toward Port-au-Prince, plundering coastal towns as they went. Since the Haitian army was corrupt and ineffectual, there was little to slow their progress. Upon the cacos' arrival at the outskirts of the capital, the incumbent president would go quickly and quietly into foreign exile, taking a portion of the treasury with him. His successor would be elected by the National Assembly at gunpoint. The cacos would be paid off from the public treasury and happily return home, until a fresh revolutionary leader invited them to march again. It was, boasted one Haitian in 1915, "an efficient revolutionary system . . . the most intricate and elaborate system in the world"

If the elites were so elite, why did they lose, time and time again? You'd think that an elite class would catch on.

The reasons include, but aren't limited to, a combination of early independence (elites in other Caribbean countries had 150 years of tacit support from colonial authorities that Haitians didn't), foreign intervention (eg. the US-backed leader in 1915 slaughtered dozens of members of the most elite elite families to try to prevent the opposition leader, who was perceived as sympathetic to German interests, from coming to power; the public lynched him and then the US intervened to protect his legacy), the geography of the country that made it easy for rebel movements to emerge in rural, mountainous regions quickly in ways that were difficult to hunt down and some French-descended political institutions including a strong military that incorporated some quasi-meritocratic elements (always a large risk; see much of mid-late 20th century Africa) and a longstanding intellectual engagement with France and with radical French political philosophy that undoubtedly contributed to a political climate in which revolution was seen as more realistic and more necessary (this engagement also happened in other French and formerly-French colonies).

Isn't, this, rather, an argument that Haiti is «HBD played straight»? This is how a democratic, or perhaps ochlocratic, nation with an average IQ of 67 functions: it doesn't.

It's those other nations which are deviations from the natural path, thanks to introgression of some elite material and its ability to withstand the pressure of the demos, which is not a given when eldritch powers side with the latter. And accordingly, African nations which have succeeded in humbling their elite castes – be those local Africans of another tribe, like with Tutsis, or Indians, or Arabs, or colonial remnants – are nations where the genetic factor is playing out in its purest form.

The obvious question for me as a libertarian republican is, how was free-market capitalism treated in the school lessons learned by the children who grew up into the gangsters now dividing up the island? Were they taught to respect others’ property? Were they taught to deny a single one of their emotionally-driven urges to have and thus to take?

I’m “friends” with an autistic woman with an IQ of less than 100. She was raised by a WEIRD progressive mother in a highly permissive home. She was thoroughly educated about her rights as a human, a citizen, and a person with disabilities, but not her responsibilities as an economic unit. She is now a want-monster who argues until she gets her way, because she believes the world owes her, and money is just an excuse for people to reject her. She treats her help-staff as garbage and complains when they quit.

Why would you be friends with such a person?

Before I learned about codependency, I thought I could be the friend people needed. That got me four bad friends in a row who could not reciprocate in any meaningful way. They drained me and I suffered immeasurably. She’s the only one I’m still in contact with because she’s the only one with my phone number.

Not OP but, I am friends with a lot of basketcases. Most of them got "grandfathered in" as friends from middle school and my childhood neighborhood.

They are not bad people, if you can dispense your desire to have "deep" conversations with literally everyone you know ( I have other people to do that with), then they are perfectly fine to associate with and do (limited) things with such as play sports, video games, goof about, hold a cookout with, etc.

Also, "bad" people are not always universally bad to everyone. In certain cultures, the more of an asshole one is to "outsiders" the more loyal he is to his "family". My grandfather was one such example, An absolute menace to service workers of all stripes, but a gentleman of the nth order with his family.

Isn't, this, rather, an argument that Haiti is «HBD played straight»? This is how a democratic, or perhaps ochlocratic, nation with an average IQ of 67 functions: it doesn't.

The counterfactual is that in a different timeline and perhaps if buffeted by different global geopolitical circumstances in the two centuries after independence, the elites may have stayed in power and the country might be better off even if the same medium term 'HBD circumstances' were present. I'm sceptical of Lynn's estimate for Haiti, but in any case he gave a number of likely more functional nations than Haiti similar or even lower numbers (eg. Ivory Coast, as aforementioned).

The question when it comes to Haiti typically doesn't seem to be "why isn't it as rich as Israel or South Korea", but rather "why is it uniquely poor even compared to peer nations with a similar profile" (of course, a public intellectual might not use identical language, but the nature of the question is clear).

That nations perform better when the economy is in the hands of the most competent group is universally true, whether in Africa, in the Americas or anywhere else.

Uh, isn’t Rwanda improving rapidly while the rest of the Great Lakes region is perhaps not improving rapidly but still gradually getting better? S Africa is getting worse, true, but Botswana is getting much better.

Rwanda is ruled by Tutsis,no?

Could you explain the distinction between Tutsi and Hutu?

Previously I vaguely remembered colonial authorities basically made them up. So I looked into it a bit. Wiki e.g.:

They defined "Tutsi" as anyone owning more than ten cows (a sign of wealth) or with the physical features of a longer thin nose, high cheekbones, and being over six feet tall, all of which are common descriptions associated with the Tutsi.

which would add any successful people into this, as if making "kulak" an ethnicity.

Both the Tutsi and Hutu had been the traditional governing elite, but both colonial powers allowed only the Tutsi to be educated and to participate in the colonial government.


Is it the case where a few disparate groups were sublimated into either Tutsi or Hutu? Or that the Tutsi were a coherent group? Are "official" takes as distorted as e.g. HBD? I'm more familiar with Central Asia, where Kazakhs, Uzbeks and such were basically invented in the 1920s, almost whole cloth.

Yeah, that's the standard excuse - Belgians did it because they elevated only one group. There was no trouble till whites came.

I don't really believe it in the slightest.

Or that the Tutsi were a coherent group?

They're probably largely descended from a coherent group that originated outside Rwanda.

E.g. from wikipedia:

The ability to digest lactose among African adults is widespread only among desert-dwelling nomadic groups that have depended upon milk for millennia. Three quarters of the adult Tutsi of Rwanda and Burundi have a high ability to digest lactose, while only 5% of the adults of the neighboring Shi people of eastern Congo can. Among Hutu, one in three adults has a high capacity for lactose digestion, a surprisingly high number for an agrarian people, which Mamdani suggests may be the result of centuries of intermarriage with Tutsi.[2]


Imo, the clearest reason why Rwanda went bugshit was, that even though it is an unusually fertile region, the population density was extremely high, resulting in privation:

Rwanda's population soared from 1,887,000 people in 1948 to more than 7,500,000 in 1992, making it the most densely populated country in Africa. Poor farmers were forced onto marginal land, where cultivation resulted in severe erosion. Reliance on firewood as a source of energy caused massive deforestation, and farmers were then forced to use straw and other crop residues for fuel, thereby damaging soil fertility. These factors led to a disastrous shortfall in food production, with two-thirds of the population unable to meet even the minimum food energy requirement of 2,100 calories per person per day.

which would add any successful people into this, as if making "kulak" an ethnicity.

From my understanding the categories are remarkably genetically coherent since they measured different cultural groups/ways of life, but it wouldn't shock me if there was also an element of 'everybody doing 8/10 or better at life is now a Tutsi' at the fringes.

There's been a bunch of revisionism on the topic that's very much of the 'ethnic strife didn't exist prior to colonialism whatsoever' brand of hilarity.