Culture War Watch #1

Those Who Can See wrote an interesting post a couple years ago on the reason for cultural profiling. It’s a more statistics oriented version of some of my slightly polemic past writing. It’s useful to compose this stuff together, because over time those of us who read this stuff start to put the anecdotes together in our head, but often don’t have a single source to present it clearly. And not only clearly, but without needless anger. Not only does anger towards other political tribes and cultural out-groups completely mind kill your ability to think clearly, but it is also pointless. Does sitting on your couch feeling angry improve your life?

The question of cultural shifts is what the current immigration culture wars are truly about. Terrorism and ISIS are the discrete and observable results from the far end of the right tail. In some ways ISIS is even a red herring, since we already know the baseline scenario for humans in lawless anarchy is a brutalistic and savage existence.

The more important question is how do two sides of a country discuss this sort of thing? One side wants a Paris that retains it’s ethno-nationalistic French pride, well into the second half of the 21st century. The current course is a predominantly Muslim Paris. Is it okay to not want that? Why is it wrong? I think I’m even handed and articulate enough that I could get away with saying I would prefer the Paris of Hemingway to the Paris of today, but I’m not entirely sure. I know it’s cool to punch Nazis who spew hate speech, and I know I’m not a Nazi, but what if someone else says that I am? The bar seems awfully low lately.

My methodological idol, Jens Hainsmueller, the director of the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab, gave an interview.

Previously in the interview he raised points I agree with in regard to Trump’s executive order. Ending refugees so suddenly, and causing airport panic, was counterproductive. A sane policy can change the course of the US immigration policy in a fundamental way, while avoiding airport panic, revoking green cards to refugees who have spent the past frustrating, agonizing, years of their lives working with lawyers, and deporting illegal immigrants who have grown up in the US. Instead of causing fear, panic, and breaking our promises, we can simply cut off new promises. This is my strong preference.

Hainsmueller went on to say in his interview:

About 40% of Forbes 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their kids. This includes many of the most successful American brands: Apple, Google, Intel. The same goes for science. At the Stanford GSB, 40% of MBAs are citizens of another country. With these policies — emphasizing a more exclusionary approach and creating a climate that’s hostile toward immigrants — you will push some of this much-needed energy out of the U.S. economy and stymie discovery and innovation going forward.

No doubt this is true, but does this past observation of the 20th century predict the 21st? The demographic and rationale for immigrating to the US has changed. Different demographics have different probabilities of cultural assimilation, as well as mean IQs. Again, a sane immigration policy rank order metrics that benefit our nation, such as cultural fit, religious fit, expected IQ, and education, and then focus on using those immigrants as economic fuel. One way to get there is to walk through the halls of a major tech firm on the west coast, and make a list of the types of diverse people that you see, then do your best to let in more of them. Plenty of my colleagues have had an incredibly challenging time getting permits to work in the US.

This common sense approach to nation building is not really permissible to research either:

Uncomfortable though the topic may be, the authors have attempted a rigorous analysis. Denunciations came quickly, however. Within hours of publication, Mr Hamermesh received vitriolic messages and was labelled a racist in an online forum popular among economists.

A huge hidden danger in this mass denial and quasi-censorship is that it breaths life into the alt-right. While the debate continues, my own view (mainly from reading comments on Nick Land’s site, is that the neoreactionary movement and alt-right are extremely different. After all, we know the political founder of the movement is himself both Jewish, and happily pro-Jewish. If you read the true alt-right hubs, they are clearly anti-Semitic.

Both the NRx and alt-right movement reject the media and the cathedral, but the differences largely end there. The alt-right is far more base, and willing to turn inconsistencies into propaganda to push their cause forward. The NRx movement seems far more subdued, anti-violence, and wanting to optimize the world as it is, not conquer it for their tribe. Classifying nebulous political movements is probably a waste of time, but this is how I see it at the moment.

My point being, if we want the alt-right to lose, we need to find ways to discuss inconsistencies and irregularities in our current cultural policies in a rational and non-extreme way. I try to be optimistic though, and look to guys like Faisal Saeed Al Mutar as proof there are smart secular Muslim refugees who are trying to reshape their culture. I also hope genetic engineering and advanced technology might allow us to outright solve the challenge of different races, by increasing the IQ of the human race by a standard deviation or two.

The main reason I am optimistic though is because spending your time and energy angry that over the coming decades the demographic of your country will change in ways that, currently, seem to be strongly sub-optimal, is a shitty use of your time and emotions.


One Response to Culture War Watch #1

  1. Anonymous says:

    Things have been fairly busy,* so I haven’t had time to comment much, but I think that a fairly promising way to solve humanity’s problems is to genetically engineer smart children (we can probably manage +5 to +10 standard deviations above the mean in IQ *and* other beneficial psychological traits) and have *them* make strong AI for us. (An interesting corollary to this is that one of the highest value things we could be working on right now is figuring out how to educate and socialize such children. See also

    * I’ve been very focused on writing a set of scripts to download & process a lot of my Facebook content (above and beyond what’s provided in the automatic archive) in preparation for deleting and remaking my account because of mild paranoia around privacy and the potential future repercussions of more-than-controversial comments I’ve scattered around the Internet.

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