The virtue of excellence
Monday, July 30, 2012
On Vacation to wilderness Idaho, Montana for a week. Sleeping way too little tonight. As a contractor though, I had to work the hours to make up for what I'm missing...hence my weekend silence last week. And probably the weekend of the 11th.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
1. Different ethnic groups have different average scores. Chinese+Jewish > caucasian + Japanese > hispanic > black. Real differences exist inside those ethnic groupings: Anglos vs. Albanians; Spaniards vs. Swedes.
2. Wealth is a fabulous innoculant against manutrition and parasites.
3. Malnutrition and parasites have a 3-generation effect on height (if your grandfather was malnourished, you are shorter).
4. The brain is a much more subtle and easy to impact system than height is.
5. The same tests that show racial IQ differences also show a 20-30 point IQ rise in the west between 1900 and 2000.
6. Also, different genders have different IQ standard deviations as a good gendered evlutioanry game theory would expect.
7. IQ as measured by those same tests predicts individual outcomes fabulously well. Easily in the top five individual predictors of damn near anything.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Conclusion: At the core of any good libertarian approach to government must be the abolishment of limited liability corporations. Elsewise the structure guarantees repetition.
Position: The core problem at the center of our modern conception of the world is the relationship of the citizen to the government. Insofar as the government can force the citizenry to do as it is told...there is a problem.
Conclusion: The problem is the separation of the citizenry into citizenry and police. Abolish the police, and ALL police prerogative; deputize the citizenry. Without this, you're screwed.
Ethical intuitions are like senses...some folks are strong in some, weak in others...others vice versa.
My best analogy (analogy alert...attempting to prime an intuition pump, for lack of a better way to explain it) goes something like this:
I have extraordinarily sensitive taste buds...and an almost non-functional sense of smell. Due to allergies to every air-born substance known to man, I was pretty much nasally blocked for my entire youth. Assuming that I don't have a sense of smell is probably a better proxy for my state of affairs than assuming my sense of smell is like yours.
Similarly...my sense of taste is far off in a different direction. I consider the sweet Reislings (you know, the ones you would say are a kind of candy) to have too much of the alcohol bitterness in them to be drinkable. Grapefruit (from the 80s) was all bitterness...nothing else. Sometimes edible with substantial sprinklings of sugar. Coffee: If it gets far from 1 part coffee, 1 part cream, 1 part sweetener...It's so foul I can't even look at it.
Also...my sense of touch is unusually strong...I'm roughly autistic with respect to stuff/dirt/goo on my hands... and that extends to food textures as well.
As such...my experience of food is massively different than most folks...with normal senses of smell, taste, and touch.
My assertion is that ethics-es are similar.
I effectively don't have a ingroup outgroup sense. (Haidt doesn't refer to it as this...but his 3 conservative moral foundations can be classified together as ingroup/outgroup senses). I have a massive/hyper-developed sense of liberty/freedom. And a pretty strong ethical sense of harm/care.
From my point of view...the immigration restrictions hurt lots of people a lot to help a few people a little. From the two ethical senses that I have available...this is atrocious behavior. Shit on a stick.
From other folks points of view...with much weaker senses of liberty/freedom, somewhat milder senses of harm/care, and functioning senses of ingroup/outgroup suggest that the think I see as shit on a stick smells fabulous, enticing, and they want it everywhere, because the look and feel aren't what's important.
And so we're back to one of the Aretaevian core theses:
What we're disputing is effectively never what is true. It's always what is important.
And on first approximation, that's not arguable.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
As I tried to systematically lay out the pro-immigration case, I'd like also to lay out the anti-immigration case.
This is my vision of the most clear standard responses that are palatable from a libertarian Point of View.
Argument I: Sailer et. al.
- Different races/demographics/etc. have statistically different averages on several axes. Sometimes by as much as 4-ish standard deviations around the world average (some groups are +2, some groups are -2).
- This is one of the reasons that American Professional Sports is composed almost exclusively of men of West African descent (Mutations of fast twitch large leg muscle fiber), that men descended from Kenyans win ALL the marathons (mutations of high lung capacity, skinniness, blood chemistry). And that the faculty of harvard is ~50% Jewish (IQ + bookishness).
- Some of those statistically significant traits include ones relevant to me and my safety. Specifically, we know that races vary massively (3+ std dev.) on IQ, and potentially as much on the (slightly less fixed, but still stable) character trait of patience.
- IQ and patience have enormous consequences. Indeed, IQ 60, and patience far below American average leads to easily 10x (100x?) the incidence of violence, and easily 10x(1000x?) the incidence of Welfare receipt. And because of the incidence of welfare, that also (in self-interested fashion) leads to greater support for welfare, and government in general.
- Since all of the above statements are so well supported that they are no longer disputable with a straight face... THEN which race of immigrants you admit to your country has a direct correlation with the amount of violence you can expect against you and yours in the future. Both individual violence and government violence.
- Therefore...we only want to admit smart / high patience immigrants. And race/country of origin is a pretty good proxy for that, in the absence of individual IQ tests to incoming strangers.
- The greatness and freedom of the country relies heavily on the evolved tradition of anglo- values and traditions.
- The historical answer to culture in the US was assimilationism...the business of allowing folks into the country, while continuing to have a strong national culture.
- The USG has abandoned the policy of US assimilationism, and instead is busy encouraging diversity and punishing assimilationism.
- Therefore the historical business of letting in 1% of the population of our country per year is no longer viable, because given the abandonment of assimilationism, we can no longer maintain the culture that makes the USA what we want it to be.
- Groups will be in conflict necessarily.
- It is better to win the conflict than to lose.
- If you don't pick a group, then all the groups will assign you enemy/outsider status.
- You can't win the group conflict by yourself.
- Therfore you must join a group.
- Also therefore you should try to help a chosen group win the inter-group conflict.
- It isn't a nice, friendly, peaceful integroup conflict. It's ugly, and everyone cheats.
- Therefore, cheat first.
- I am aware of this argument space.
- I am incapable of evaluating this. It uses a different moral compass than I've got...and I don't have access to the emotions/experience underlying the argument.
- I'm naturally opposed.
Friday, July 13, 2012
- I think it is immoral to prevent African Ali or Mexican Maria from contracting with American Andy to come over and help build his house. That's between them. You're not a party to that discussion. If you / the government is involved...then it's total government...which I'm aggressively opposed to.
- It's blatantly obvious to everyone who looks closely that for any given poor individual in the world, the single best thing you can do for them in the short term is to not stop them from peacefully moving to a (rich) place where the institutions aren't so crappy.
- There is an enormous difference between (a) a family and (b) a group of people defined by imaginary lines on a map.
- There is an enormous difference between (a) using force to prevent, (b) using force to require, (c) not using force either way.
- It's absurdly hypocritical for Americans, a country built 98% (1.7% Amerindian) by immigrants and their children to say...this was a good deal for us and our ancestors to immigrate, now stay out.
- I think the way of thinking that says "this group" did this or "this nation" did that is a broken way of thinking. It can only confuse you. Individuals do stuff. Full stop.
- I think that any case wherein a state actor is assigned greater moral authority than an individual actor is bullshit. Roughly all immigration arguments run like that.
- I universally oppose the following line of thought: The governmenet screwed up feature X. Therefore, we need more government action to add other errors to fix their prior screwup.
- We can all agree that we may well run out of something sometime in the next couple million years. How much sooner do you think we'll run out of stuff? I'd like your reasons for your guess. As someone who groks Julian Simon I will assert that your reasons are not epistemically sound because I include the historical record of people making similar predictions.
- I have zero positive emotional connection to the experience of tribal groups larger than acquaintances or wobbly's example of co-travelers (and a substantial negative emotional connection). This makes in impossible for me to give-a-shit about what appear to me to be bullshit artificial distinctions. By observation, other people with other emotional makeups see the world differently.
- UPDATE: I think that the systematic evidence we have suggests statistically (non-anecdotally) that immigrants have a positive impact on the population in general, and the worst-impacted are at worst very mildly negatively impacted, but may actually be positively impacted, with the research not in yet.
- UPDATE: I think we have strong historical evidence from the USA that immigration rates near 1% of population per year (10% per decade) are quite manageable, and do not lead to substantial destabilization. As someone who appreciates the conservative core: "don't break shit"....I would not like to start with immigration numbers above 3m/year....though I would prefer to experiment higher over time
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
Universally among humans, but also among monkeys, and many other mammals and birds, there is a distinction between Kin and non-kin.
I am personally unfamiliar with any further group of humans that do not recognize the second category of friend.
Also...there is a universal category of tribesmates, which I think translates into "members of my community"... but doesn't translate cleanly, largely for Dunbar-number reasons. I label this as close acquaintances.
And then...there are a whole bunch of categories that some people notice, and other people don't.
Crazily, some people give a shit about which patch of ground you were born on. Other crazy people give a shit about what color you are. What language you were taught growing up. What sky-god or earth-mother your parents taught you to obey. Which school your great grandparents went to. What gender your god constructed you to find physically attractive.
I mean ... I'm sure someone is benefitting from tricking all sorts of folks into caring about groups that are irrelevant to that person's life. Making us-them distinctions has usually created group-cohesion benefits mostly for the tribe's leaders, and has the added benefit of making a whole bunch of dumbasses do what the leaders say, for fear of "the other".
I consider it the most dangerous psychological force on the planet. Smart, unscrupulous people playing on idiots group-belonging-ism.
I'm sure someone will bring up the quote I can't remember about liberals and groups. I prefer Bryan Caplan's phrasing:
Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers. 4 categories. Only 4 categories. All the other ones are bullshit that someone is using to screw with your loyalties...and move them off the sane 4-categories.
Friday, July 6, 2012
From a cellphone, so my linking is lousy.
In the Evolutionarily stable situation (ESS), there was a pretty simple situation. If you were female...then you did what the male told you to...because he was bigger, and stronger, and more violent.*
If you were a littler male...you did what the big guy said because in fights of tooth and claw...mass wins 9x out of 10.*
In both of the asterisked above cases, that isn't really true. Shifting, ever-fluid in-tribe alliances trump mass...and a coalition of 3 little guys can kick the big guy's ass.
The invention of the spear provided huge balance, though, as now rather than odds being 10:1 that the big guy wins....now it's 2:1 or 60/40.
Agriculture reestablished male dominance, but the industrial age mostly killed it. Since then...it's been a zombie. The transition to $ denominated value was huge...and the remaining patriarchalisms died with manufacturing.
As is...even without affirmitive action or socialism...male-domination is dead except insofar as individual women want it. Unless violence is re-accepted. AFAICT...that's the only path back.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
As for other news...I see roughly 5 paths to Singluarity:
In likelihood order, I rank them:
- Genetic Engineering/Designer Babies
- Energy Abundance.