Cornpone Nonsense

A long time ago, I decided I would just ignore the intelligent design people. I’m perfectly fine leaving them to their beliefs, as I don’t think it causes any harm for people to believe in a supernatural designer. In fact, I feel the same way about creationists. There’s no harm in it and if it brings people some peace and comfort, that seems like a good thing. The reason I will not debate evolution with them, however, is that intelligent design people rarely argue in good faith. They engage in sophistry and logical fallacies, rather than honest debate.

ID’ers will often misrepresent some bit of science, in order to discredit it, and by extension, everything they claim rests upon it. The thermodynamics and entropy argument that was popular with them for a while was a grossly inaccurate interpretation of the science and a faulty application of it. order cannot arise from disorder.By the time you corrected them, they were onto some other half-baked claim. It is simply a waste of time debating them as they just keep moving the goal posts, demanding you prove them wrong.

Anyway, this steaming pile of nonsense from Fred Reed the other day reminds me a lot of the way ID’ers attack evolution. If I recall, Reed is a flat earth guy, so it is probably a habit of mind that puts ID’er and IQ denialists in the same pew.

Apologies to the reader. Perhaps I wax tedious. But the question of intelligence is both interesting to me and great fun as talking about it puts commenters in an uproar. It is like poking a wasp’s nest when you are eleven. I am a bad person.

This Gomer Pyle routine has always been a part of his act. It’s a form of intellectual base stealing where the writer gets to declare the subject, upon which he intends to opine, is easily reduced to folk wisdom. The author is the folksiest of folk wizards, so that means he can be an expert on the countrified version of the topic. He also likes playing the Jon Stewart game of wearing the serious mask when criticizing others, but then donning the clown mask when receiving criticism. In Reed’s case, it is “Ah shucks fellers, I’m just a simple country boy. Why are you sore with me?”

Clearing the underbrush: Obviously intelligence is largely genetic–if it were cultural in origin, all the little boys who grew up in Isaac Newton’s neighborhood would have been towering mathematical geniuses–and obviously the various tests of intellectual function have, at least among testees of similar background, considerable relation to intelligence.

This is a good example of what ID’ers like doing when attacking evolution. It is the false concession. He appears to be conceding that iQ is not cultural, but in reality he is saying it is not magic.  What Reed is describing, with regards to Newton, is not culture. It is magic. Culture is the highly complex feedback loop that evolved over time among a group of people with a shared heritage and biology. Mere proximity does not mean culture. That’s just a version of Magic Dirt Theory. No one would call that culture.

Some individuals have more of it than others. For example, Hillary, a National Merit Finalist, scored higher than 99.5 percent of Illinois and can reliably be suspected of being bright. Some groups are obviously smarter than other groups. Mensans and Nobelists are smarter than sociologists. Of course, so are acorns.

But knowing that a thing exists and measuring it are not the same thing.

Notice the Hillary gag. He knows his readers are not Hillary voters so he attempts to discredit the idea of intelligence, by pointing out that, according to standardized testing, Clinton is intelligent. “How ’bout that fellers? These pin-headed IQ people are so dumb they they think that fat commie Hillary Clinton is smart! Shazam!” It is a way to get the reader to accept a point that the writer was never able, or never bothered, to prove. It’s basically guilt by association.

Notice also the subtle confusion of the idea of shared group traits. When people in the cognitive sciences talk about shared traits, they mean biological groups, not social groups or arbitrary categories like Nobel Prize winners. The implication of what Reed is claiming here is that sub-Saharan Africans, for example, are just a random a collection of people like the local PTA or Rotary Club. That’s absurd. They are people with a shared biological heritage and as a result, a shared sent of traits that evolved in Africa.

This fits in well with the last line where he claims you can know something exists, without measuring it. This is complete nonsense. We cannot know something exists without having some evidence of it. Seeing a a mysterious animal may not tell us much, but it is data of an animal. How accurately we can measure a thing like IQ or height or weight is the question, not whether we can measure it. Of course, what he is trying to slip in here is the assertion that just because something can be measured does not mean it exists.

Virtuosity in taking tests is similarly affected by experience in taking tests. Like most in my generation, I was subjected to unending tests: an IQ test in the second grade when my teacher thought me retarded (as many readers still do). Some sort of Virginia test. PSATs. NMSQT. SATs. GREs. Marine Corps General Qualification Test. FSEE. And so on.

As I suppose others did, I learned the technique for acing tests. Run through all the questions rapidly, picking the low-hanging fruit, putting a tick mark by those questions not instantly obvious. Run through again, answering those of the tick-markeds susceptible to a minute’s thought, double tick-marking the really difficult ones. Then to the really hard ones and finally, with an eye on the clock and knowing how the tests are scored, eliminate one or two answers on the remaining ones and guess.

This is a bit of folk nonsense popular with people who have no idea how intelligence testing is constructed. Test designers have understood for generations that guys like Fred Reed will try to game the test. People who have done a lot of test administration learn that people in the high normal range really worry that they are just in the normal range, rather than some level of genius. Therefore, they will be the ones who are the least honest in test taking. That’s why the tests are designed to mitigate this observed phenomenon.

The most common way of defeating the scheme Fred thinks is effective is to make the exams progressively more difficult. Therefore, running through and answering the easy ones just means you get frustrated quickly as you find fewer and fewer cherries to pick from the exam. Some tests are designed such that non-consecutive answers will be discarded. These days, test takers will use a computer and not have the ability to skip ahead looking for easy questions, even if they think it will work.

Among the lumpen-IQatry, the tendency is to regard SATs, NAEP, and so on as surrogates for IQ, and thus for intelligence. This is error. The SATs in particular are not intelligence tests and were never intended to be. Their function was to measure the student’s ability to handle complex ideas in complex normal English, which is what college students used to do. The tests did did this well. The were not intelligence tests as their scores were functions of at least three things, intelligence, background, and experience in taking tests. IQ = f(a,b,c…)

This is a what is called a lie. Yes, some standardized tests correlate with IQ tests in narrow areas, but exactly no one in the cognitive sciences thinks the SAT is a surrogate for an intelligence test. As for the claim regarding cultural bias, that’s always been nonsense, as anyone who has taken the Raven’s Progressive Matrices would know. When researchers look at IQ among groups, they specifically use these sorts of exams. Here’s a short presentation on IQ testing in Africa for those interested.

Like those ID’ers I referenced at the start of this post, Fred has the habit of assuming that his position must be right if the alternative is not proved beyond all doubt. If evolutionary biology has not answered all of his questions to his satisfaction, then it must all be wrong and his brand of oogily-boogily is correct. Similarly, because there are lots of things we don’t know about IQ, he feels free to dismiss all of it, even the stuff that is correct.

What’s objectionable about Fred Reed is not the sugar-coated goober routine that he lays on so thick it gives you cavities. That’s tolerable if it is sincere. When he gets into these topics, there is a distinct lack of authenticity. There’s a meanness to his approach, as if he is bitter at not being able to keep up with the crowd, so he invests his time in trying to prove there’s no reason to bother. Regardless of the motivations, his brand of cornpone nonsense is exactly that, nonsense.

Iceland

Iceland is one of the weirdest places on earth. In fact, it may be the weirdest, at least that is what many Icelanders will tell you. Some of their weirdness is made up for the tourists, but some of it is made up for their own entertainment. The belief in elves and “hidden people” seems to be mostly for local amusement. The Icelandic Phallological Museum, on the other hand, is harder, so to speak, to explain. But, when you live on a volcanic rock in the North Atlantic, indulging in weirdness is probably to be expected.

The little island republic came to world attention back in the financial collapse when they went bankrupt. Iceland had managed to become a hedge fund with a fishing village attached to it. Michael Lewis wrote a fascinating and humorous piece on them back in 2009. When I was over there last summer, I mentioned this to locals a few times and they had never heard of it. When I mentioned some of the colorful anecdotes from it, they laughed at me like I was an idiot, so Lewis may have been liberal with the truth.

In addition to the Dungeons & Dragons vibe to the place, Iceland is interesting for biological reasons. It is a small and extremely homogeneous population located on an isolated island. That means it makes for a good place to tease out things about the human genome. The genetics company deCode is located in Reykjavik and has been doing a lot of interesting work for decades. The willingness of the population to participate in this research makes it a great laboratory for this type of work.

Another topic of interest is how the people have organized themselves over the last 1,000 years since settlement. Unlike most places on earth, human settlement on the island is very recent and it has been written down. We can only guess about the waves of humans that settled in the Ruhr Valley or along the Thames, but we have written records about who settled Iceland and how they developed their society. It is, in this regard, an interesting anthropological study.

A Norwegian chieftain named Ingólfur Arnarson is usually considered to have been the first permanent settler in Iceland. His legend says he threw two carved pillars overboard as he neared the island, vowing to settle wherever they landed. He then sailed along the coast until the pillars were found. There he settled with his family around 874 and named the place Reykjavík, which means “Bay of Smokes” due to the geothermal steam rising from the earth. As is always the case, historians are not sure if this entirely true.

Eventually, Ingólfur was followed by other Norse chieftains, who brought their families and slaves, settling all the inhabitable areas of the island in the next decades. The Chieftains were Norwegian, while their slaves were Irish and Scottish, according to the Icelandic sagas and Landnámabók, which is a written history of the settlement. This tracks with the findings of modern genetics. That’s what makes Iceland so useful, We have written records and archaeological findings, that are validated by genetic data.

There are two theories for why the Norse fled Norway and settled on a volcanic rock in the middle of the North Atlantic. Legend says it was due to people fleeing the harsh rule of the Norwegian king Harald the Fair-haired. Norway was undergoing a consolidation of power under one powerful family and the losers were heading off for new lands. It is also possible that the western fjords of Norway were simply overcrowded in this period. The general theory for the rise of the Vikings is simple over population.

Once there was enough people to farm the land and create an economy, they set about organizing themselves. In 930, the ruling chiefs established an assembly called the Alþingi that convened each summer. The representative chieftains made laws, settled disputes and appointed juries to judge lawsuits. Because writing down laws could lead to the use of force to interfere with an individual or individual’s property, the laws were instead memorized by an elected Lawspeaker until the next assembly.

Since there was no central executive power, it meant the laws were enforced by the people on an ad hoc basis. A land dispute, for example, would require hiring some third party to act as the judge. Violence against people or property would require the people temporarily banding together to address the problem. This is the sort of arrangement that results in blood-feuds. Consequently,  the writers of the Icelanders´ sagas had plenty of material. Trial by combat was a real thing when it came to disputes.

Iceland did pretty well into the 13th century when the growing power of a few families led to a break down in the system. Rather than adjudicate disputes the old fashioned way, for example, it was easier to go to the head of one of the powerful families for relief. Inevitably, the ruling families began to resolved things, like land disputes, in a way that benefited them over other rival families. This led to other powerful families doing the same in order to check the power of their rivals and soon Iceland was dominated by a few chieftains.

The start of the 13th century known by the very cool name Sturlungaöld, which means “The Age of the Sturlungs.” Sturla Þórðarson and his sons were one of two clans waging war for domination of the the island. This clan eventually won the support of the king of Norway who was looking to exploit the conflict. Sturla Sighvatsson became a vassal of Haakon IV of Norway in 1235, thus allowing the Norwegian king to exercise authority over the island, by backing the Sturlungs against their rivals.

In 1262 Iceland signed the Old Covenant establishing a union with the Norwegian monarchy. It was a nice run as a transactional society, but they ran into the problem of how to deal with inequality once their society was able to amass excess wealth. The rich were not satisfied with being rich, they also wanted power, which means authority over others. It is the natural human impulse and the ad hoc system of governance was unable to respond to this internal challenge. The result was domination by a few.

Of course, they also had the problem of how to deal with powerful neighbors looking to dominate the island. Norway could use a combination of force and political meddling to create the sort of conditions they could exploit. An iron law of the human condition, and of nature, is that the strong come to dominate the weak. In the case of Iceland, Norway was the strong neighbor determined to dominate the island. They were not going to be talked out of it so Iceland eventually fell under her dominion.

Orks and Beakers

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. If you look at a map, they are pretty much due north of what most people think of as England, roughly on the same latitude as Oslo Norway. Archaeologists think the first people to find their way to the islands were Mesolithic nomads about 8000-9000 years ago. The first people to set up camp, most likely, were Neolithic people about 5,000 years ago. Archaeologist have found and dated stone structures from that period so that’s the prevailing theory.

During the Roman invasion of Britain the “King of Orkney” was one of 11 British leaders who is said to have submitted to the Emperor Claudius in AD 43 at Colchester. Whether or not that’s true is hard to say, but it is a cool story. Somewhere in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age, the islands were either incorporated into the Pictish kingdom or overrun by the Picts. It could simply be that the people thought of themselves as Picts all along and no movement of peoples occurred.

As the Picts faded from the scene, the Norse began to arrive. First as traders and then as raiders, the Norse made the Orkneys a base for their pirate activity, as it was a perfect place from which to launch raids on English coastal towns. Eventually, the Norse began to settle in large numbers. In the 9th century, towns and villages began to change from Orcadian names to Norse names. The assumption has always been that the Norse, given their reputation, either killed off the locals or killed the men and took their women.

Recent genetic data tells a different story. The current population is still about 65% Orcadian, with the rest being Norse. This is not just on the female line. It is on the male line as well, suggesting that the Norse just blended into the local population. The thing is, even though a relatively small number of Norse settled into the Orkneys, they did not assimilate into the local culture. Instead, it was the Norse who dominated. Their language, their customs and even their religious practices displaced the native Orcadian culture.

It is one example of how a small population can conqueror a larger population by imposing their culture on the vanquished people.  By the times the Norse arrived, Pictish culture was dying out. Celtic missionaries had started to arrive, beginning the process of Christianization. On the other hand, the Norse were bursting at the seems with cultural confidence. They were sailing forth to raid coastal cities in England and Europe and they were taking lands from old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Vikings were on the rise.

The reason this is of any importance is the combination of a fading culture and the arrival of an ascendant one can result in the former being replaced quickly by the latter. People go with a winner, especially the women. When the Nazis occupied the Low Countries, they found plenty of local women willing to take German lovers. The same was true in France, despite the centuries long hostility between the French and German people. Women naturally look for security and that means picking men from the winning team.

This may seem obvious, but the flat-earth types who rule over us have been insisting for decades that culture is transportable. People are the same everywhere and when one group comes up with some new idea, it can easily be transported to other societies. The big example was Beaker culture. The archaeological record has their unique form of pottery all over Europe, but the further east you go, the older the examples. Put another way, the oldest stuff is found in central Europe, suggesting it as the origin.

This would suggest these people migrated West, but that would bring up things about the human condition our betters would prefer were not true so the official theory was that they lent their cultural habits to people across Europe. It is known as the “pots, not people” theory. For some mysterious reason, their unique pot making became the rage of Europe, like a pop song, and spread West. It’s funny, but a big part of official knowledge depends upon mysterious, unexplained forces driving natural processes.

Anyway, the cultural diffusion theory took a big hit when a new genetic study was recently published showing that the people in the West were related to the steppe people associated with the Beaker culture. It means that humans migrated West from the steppe and either conquered the people already in Europe or dominated them in the same way the Norse came to dominate the Orcadians. They moved in and imposed their ways on the local people or they wiped out the local people, if that was required.

The history of humanity is that humans have migrated from place to place since the first humans left Africa. When a group of humans encountered another group, they would at first be on good terms with the people they encountered, maybe conduct trade and adapt to local customs. But, when the numbers of the new arrivals reached a certain level, they went from migrants to invaders and then to conquerors. The progression has always been traders, raiders and then conquerors.

That’s why when our ruling lunatics howl about being nations of immigrants, what they are really saying, even though they are too fevered to know it, is that we are nations of conquerors. The tribes in place today, at some point pushed out or wiped out the tribes that were there yesterday. It’s not always the case. Some times the natives muster the will to thwart the raiders and discourage further incursion. Sometimes, like the Late Bronze Age Egyptians, they just had the will to resist the conquerors and maintain their culture.

But first you have to want it.

The End of Diversity

The other day, I was chatting with a business acquaintance in San Francisco. He was unburdening himself about a project that had lingered on for too long. Apparently the contractor he was using gave him what he asked for, but not what he wanted. He was going around and around with them, but they are located in Asia so it was a big hassle for him. He had to stay up late to talk with them because of the time difference and, of course, he had to go through the endless haggling that comes with using Asian firms.

He did not say it, but I suspected he had a cultural issue as well. I helpfully pointed out that Asian solutions are not American solutions. Anyone who has done business with the Chinese or Indians knows they have a very different way of looking at things. For South Asians, a solution is whatever meets the letter of the request or whatever gets you off the phone. The Chinese will tell you whatever you want to hear. It’s not lying as they don’t have enough respect for you to tell a lie. It’s dismissal through deception.

Anyway, I pointed out the cultural issue and the guy literally gasped. If he had pearls, he would have clutched them. He started sputtering about how he had “the same problem with” and then he would sputter again. He could not say the word “white” or “American” so I volunteered “white” just for kicks.The way he was carrying on, you would have thought I said “Hitler was right! Gas the Jews!” It was crazy to see someone having a physical reaction to my noticing diversity.

We have come full circle in the last 30 years. In my youth, the Boomer Progs preached tolerance to us. My first class in college, on the first day, I was harangued by a little French girl, telling all of us about how America was a racist and sexist society. Americans were intolerant! The Boomer Prog teacher nodded along until I foolishly pointed out that the word tolerance means to put up with something you don’t like. Therefore, the little French girl was telling me she did not like black people, but was willing to put up with them.

In my first adult job, I was sent off to what they called sensitivity training. Tolerance was now a bad-think word and sensitivity was the good-think word. My hunch was everyone figured out what I found to be obvious in college, with regards to tolerance. Even so, the implications of all the sensitivity talk was that anyone not a white male was prone to weird behavior and opinions. We had to be sensitive to this fact. It also meant treading lightly around them as they were easily offended and traumatized.

Eventually, of course, the Progs figured out that this was a loser so they moved onto celebrating diversity. Unlike tolerance or sensitivity, diversity has the benefit of putting everyone on the same level. One race is as good as another. Men and women can do all the same things. All cultures are the same. Modern life was going to be a celebration of the beauty and variety of life! Well, except the white parts. White people suck and they better keep their heads down, especially you, honky-man.

I suppose it is no surprise that the Progs are now freaking out about anyone noticing diversity. After all, the next stop on the train from celebrating differences is noticing differences, like the fact that South Asian engineers tend to have a strange narrowness that causes them to miss the big picture. Indian engineers will literally build a road off a cliff if that’s what the spec says to do. That’s why my acquaintance nearly had a stroke when I admitted to noticing this. Noticing is the gateway drug that leads to judging.

The internal incoherence of multiculturalism means that they will forever have to be dashing about in an effort to keep the plates spinning. One day we’re celebrating diversity and the next day we’re stoning a heretic for noting that people are different. The reason is there’s no getting around the fact that humans are just as susceptible to evolutionary pressure as every other creature. Human evolution was copious, recent and local, which means people in different places have different physical and cognitive traits.

It’s hard to know where they go from here. In Europe, even the most unhinged nutters in the ruling class have stopped celebrating diversity. In the US, a few crackpots like that dunce Elizabeth Warren will babble in public about the glories of diversity. All the signs point to them dropping this as their signature issue. At the same time, the new catchphrase “scientific racism” to describe the human sciences is ominous. It’s not hard to imagine mobs of Birkenstock-clad lunatics smashing up biology labs.

It would be ironic if Progressives meet their demise at the hand of science. After all, Progs have been using science as a weapon against Christianity and local customs for as long as anyone has been alive. It has been their go-to move in the culture war. Smug idiots on late night TV still smirk about how they are on the side of science, despite the fact they cannot count their balls twice and come up with the same number. It would be poetic if Progressivism crumpled and collapsed as it ran into the reality of biological science.

Bring Back Smoking

Are we getting stupider?

This is hard to know as we don’t have IQ exams from further back than last century. We have some ways to approximate IQ going back into the mists of time, but those will always get bogged down by debates over methods.Then you have the flat earth types who argue that IQ is not a real thing or that there are multiple forms of intelligence. Just sticking with the good data we have for the last 100 years or so, it does appear that the West is getting dumber. By how much and and how fast is the debate.

Why this could be happening is not much of a debate. There are three reasons related to biology. One is the Idiocracy example. The stupid are breeding like bunnies while the smart are reproducing at less than replacement levels. The high achieving man marries late and marries a high achieving women with a head full of feminist nonsense. They put off childbearing until she can only produce one child. Meanwhile, the guys that cut their grass are knocking up their girlfriends in high school and producing five kids.

Another reason is that stupid people are migrating into Western countries. This is an easy one as we just have to look at the news. The migrants flowing in from south of the equator into Western countries are bringing a mean IQ in the 80’s and sometimes, in the case of Somalis, the 70’s. They also breed like rabbits. A country full of 95-IQ white people that becomes 90% white and 10% Somali will lose almost ten IQ points. This is just an accelerated version of the above answer. It turns out that Magic Dirt is not real.

Finally, the hardest one to grasp is that something has happened to change the evolutionary pressure on the population that is now changing the rewards and punishments. Traits that in the past were punished, thus resulting in fewer children by those with those traits, are now neutral or maybe even slightly favored. We know smart people tend to live longer, so reducing the risk of death by misadventure or even death from common maladies could be lowering the over all IQ of Western populations.

If you want to read a bunch of smart people debating this, this post by Greg Cochran has a lively comment section. What you’ll note is that people focused on genetics tend not to consider environmental factors. In fact, they often veer into a form of genetic determinism that sounds a lot like astrology. The fault dear mortal is not in our stars, but in our genes, that we are just moist robots. People who tend to this sort of thinking are usually unfamiliar with 4GL programming languages or write JavaScript for a living.

That’s not to say free will is a real thing. Humans are not free to rewrite their personalities anymore than they can make themselves taller. We are the result of our wiring, plus some environmental factors like the community in which we were born, climate and serendipity. Someone born to the Amish will be raised to develop pro-Amish traits and ignore traits that are no useful to the Amish way. Environmental factors may play a small role over all, but they do play some role in what we are as people.

In specific cases, it could have an enormous role. Greg Cochran’s Gay Germ idea is a great example. Homosexuality is most certainly not genetic. Nature works against low-fitness. Males with a trait that sharply reduces their ability (or willingness) to mate will have far fewer offspring and therefore pass on this trait in low numbers. In just a few generations, the trait would die out. In the case of homosexuality, we know there were gay Roman emperors and Elton John is still with us, so this trait cannot be genetic.

Alternatively, homosexuality is either taught or the result of psychological damage done at a young by something like molestation. This is a popular idea on the Right, but it does not explain most cases. Lots of homosexuals grew up fairly normal lives and were simply attracted to the same sex once they hit sexual maturity. That’s where Cochran’s gay germ comes in. Instead of a trauma, it is a virus or parasite that triggers changes in brain chemistry, resulting homosexual behavior. That would provide an answer that fits the data.

Bringing this back to IQ, what if something like this is at work with Western IQ? Maybe not a germ, but environmental factors that are having a cascading effect on mean IQ. For example, such an idea has been posited to explain the spike in black crime. Many on the Left think the Tragic Dirt is contaminated with lead, leading to low-IQ and increased violence for the people living on the Tragic Dirt. It’s not a crazy idea, but like the Gay Germ, it is not proven idea. It’s more of a thought experiment at this stage.

Here’s soemthing else. Smoking rates began to decline in the middle of the last century, with the Baby Boomer interest in health. Nicotine is known to increase focus and increase your cognitive abilities. It’s why writers and computer programmers were all smokers. In fact, STEM fields in the 20th century were dominated by men who chain smoked at their desks. Anyone who has had to sit for hours working a math problem knows how exhausting it can be. Even a small boost in focus has enormous results.

What if the apparent uptick in Western IQ was accelerated by smoking? Tobacco was introduced to the West in the 16th century and its use increased steadily. By the 18th century, the use of tobacco was common. By the 19th century, smoking cigarettes was ubiquitous. Everyone smoked. It also corresponds with the Industrial Revolution. Once tobacco use became universal, Western technological progress took off like a rocket, culminating in a rocket literally taking off and putting men on the moon.

Once the anti-smoking crusades got a purchase in the 60’s and smoking rates declined, it does appear that the West began to decline. Perhaps that small boost to our cognitive ability had a huge impact on our intellectual achievements. Now that the crutch is gone, we’re doing idiotic things like putting minorities in charge and inviting in low-IQ barbarians from the fringes of civilization. Perhaps the lunacy that has gripped the West is simply the withdraw symptoms of kicking the habit.

Maybe we need to start smoking again.

The Iron Law of Conservatism

The British journalist, and sometime National Review editor, John O’Sullivan stated that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time. This observation is conveniently named O’Sullivan’s Law and is based on the observation that non-liberals will hire liberals into their organization, while liberals apply ideological tests. The result is liberals eventually take over non-liberal organizations while ruthlessly defending their own turf.

What O’Sullivan was observing is the natural tendency toward entryism among members of mass movements. It is the corollary to proselytizing. The true believer seeks validation so they are always trying to recruit members to their cause. It’s why Mormons knock on doors offering to show you their magic underwear. This also manifests itself in the inclination toward undermining organizations seen as a challenge, often by infiltrating and co-opting them. When an institution flips to their ideological camp, it is seen as validation.

The irony here is that O’Sullivan and other Buckley Conservatives confused their temporary, ad hoc response to communism, with Anglo-Saxon conservatism. The former existed in the temporary space of the Cold War, while the latter is the baseline of Western Civilization. It’s why Buckley Conservatism is now just Progressivism with a blood lust for Arabs. Once the Cold War ended, their reason to exist ended with it. It turns out that Buckley Conservatism was not expressly right wing after all.

That raises the question of what it means to be expressly right wing and introduces this video from Alt-Lite provocateur, Gavin McInnes. The summary, for those uninterested in watching it, is McInnes putting up a board displaying the various figured on the Alt-Right and Alt-Lite. He has a line dividing the two camps. On one side are those who are Western chauvinist, rallying around a group of ideas. They are “inclusive” of anyone that embraces Western civilization and they are not hung up on race or heritage.

The other side mostly agrees with that, but adds in the fact that those ideas were invented by white people and that matters. The West is the result of white people so to preserve Western Civilization you have to preserve white people. There’s also the “JQ” issue, according to McInnes, where the Alt-Right places Jews outside the white camp and outside Western Civilization. He soft-sells it, but the point is that one side is pro-white and the other side is Pro-West, but both sides largely agree on the philosophical stuff.

That’s fine and maybe it is correct. To his credit, McInnes makes clear that it is more of a continuum, than two distinct sets, but he invests a lot of time talking about a vaguely defined line between the two camps. Richard Spencer is over on the side near the fringe Nazis and Paul Joseph Watson is over on the other side, closer to something McInness never bothers to address. The whole shtick is mostly about distinguishing himself from the bad guys on the Alt-Right so the Left is left unmentioned.

To be fair to McInness, he is still young enough to dream of having a big time job at a big time media operation. He got a taste of it at Fox News and he probably hopes that one day he gets a shot to host a show on some other mainstream cable platform. Frankly, they would be wise to dump one of the Jon Stewart Mini-Me shows they have and give a guy like a McInnes a shot to be the normie version of Stewart, but that’s a topic for another day. The point here is McInness is treading lightly.

The defect with the Alt-Lite is the same problem the Buckley Conservatives had a generation ago. They have no antibodies to resist entryism, because they lack a timeless definition of what it means to be Alt-Lite. Western Civilization, after all, includes Karl Marx and Hitler. Nazism is just as much a part of the West as John Locke. In fact, Hitler currently casts a longer shadow than any of the men of the Enlightenment. On what grounds can the Alt-Lite reject Hitler, but embrace the slave owning Jefferson?

The same is true of anti-racism and egalitarianism. How can these be rejected when they are inventions of the West? Of course, the Alt-Lite makes no attempt to reject these as that would get them in trouble with the Left. That’s what opens the door to, and requires them to accept, the defining feature of the dominant orthodoxy. That feature is the blank slate. As McInness goes to pains to point out, if a hotep brotha is on the Trump Train, he has a place at the table of the Alt-Lite, a cherished place.

That’s the fatal flaw that was the undoing of the Buckley Right. The Alt-Lite has no affirmative argument. Instead, it is a list of things it is not and most of those things are to their Right. That firewall they are building to their Right, just as Buckley did with Kirk and with the paleocons, comes at the expense of any defensible line of demarcation between themselves and the Left. That leaves them open to entryism, corruption and subversion, which is why the leading opponents of Trump are all Buckley Conservatives.

That brings us back to the beginning. O’Sullivan was mostly correct, but he left out the most important part of the rule. That’s the definition of Right Wing. What is it that forever separates the Right from the Left? What is the thing about which there can be no meeting in the middle, between Left and Right? The great divide that can never be crossed, is biology.The Left embraces the blank slate and rejects biological reality. The Right accepts biology, human diversity and all the truths about the human animal that arise from it.

The great chain of causality is Biology→Culture-→Politics-→Economics. It’s why Libertarianism, in its current form, not right wing. The Reason Magazine crowd are sure that all you have to do to fix Haiti, for example, is end the licensing of barbershops and other small businesses. And legalize weed, of course. In other words, they get things backward and end up rejecting the human condition. This is the crack in the foundation of all Left Wing movements. It’s what they share in common.

Therefore, any ideology or political movement that does not accept the great chain of causality will eventually be subverted and become left wing.

Somewhere Eichmann Smiles

When I was a teenager, abortion was one of the big issues in politics and social policy. Bill Buckley used to say it was one of three issues that told you everything about a man’s politics. It turns out he was wrong about that, as so many of his tribe were pro-life for effect, as a part of the Frank Meyer “fusionism” strategy. Putting that aside, for normal people, abortion was the issue that defined you politically. Liberals were pro-abortion and non-liberals were pro-life. The latter emphasized the sanctity and uniqueness of each life while the former rejected that entirely.

Here we are 30 years later and abortion is not much of an issue for our politicians. There are some who make it a centerpiece of their politics, but they are rare exceptions. The so-called conservatives that we see in the commentariat wince when the topic is raised. You get the sense they look at it like public professions of faith, something the Dirt People still do, but unbecoming of a Cloud Person. They go through the motions, as we will see with the court nominee, but the result will be that a “conservative” judge will swear to never ever think about altering abortion law.

The thing that the pro-life people never could accept is that the pro-abortion people were never really pro-abortion, at least not as they advertised it. Sure, the barren spinsters protesting in the streets for a “woman’s right to choose” are pro-abortion, but they are the dull witted shock troops of the Cult of Modern Liberalism, organized around simple ideas in order to get them out in the streets making noise. The women who were running around dressed as vaginas last month had no idea why they were doing it. They just liked the drama and the attention.

The real core of the abortion movement is blank slate ideology, which has become a foundation item for the Left. Since all humans are the same at birth, the only thing society should care about is the number of live births and the social structures for shaping and forming these amorphous blobs as they come into the world. Babies born to mothers not “properly trained” to be good citizens will not get the proper training so the emphasis of the abortion movement has always been about making sure the woman is “ready to be a mother” as if it is just another job within the state.

Anyway, another example of how far and how fast we have moved away from the idea that human life is unique and precious is what we are seeing with gene editing.

An influential science advisory group formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine on Tuesday lent its support to a once-unthinkable proposition: clinical efforts to engineer humans with inheritable genetic traits.

In a report laden with caveats and notes of caution, the group endorsed the alteration of human eggs, sperm and embryos — but only to prevent babies from being born with genes known to cause serious diseases and disability, only when no “reasonable alternative” exists, and only when a plan is in place to track the effects of the procedure through multiple generations.

“Once unthinkable” basically means last week. In the Bush years, we had big fights about the use of embryonic stem cells for use in experiments. Now, we’re about to start experimenting on actual humans, without really knowing the result. This is, of course, eugenics. The Cloud People will not use the word, because they believe they killed that word and the bad juju that comes with it, but that’s just the nature of magical thinking. Once you step onto the path of designing humans, you are in the world of eugenics.

The counter argument will be that this is not really human experimentation. That embryo they are editing is not a person. It’s not like they will be pulling kids out of school and zapping they with the CRISPR gun to “fix” their defects. That sort of argument is a dodge and a common one used by our betters. Left unmentioned is the reason to edit the embryo, which is so that the resulting human comports with what the editors set out to create as a finished product. It’s designer babies and that’s eugenics.

There’s another aspect to it. Mistakes will be made. In fact, dig around in the literature and that is the assumption. The process will involve multiple embryos and the correct one will be used and the rest discarded. This assumes human error. But then, maybe the human error is not detected until six months into pregnancy or six years into life. Like any other manufacturing process, recalling defects will have to be a part of the discussion at some point. If you are buying a designer baby, you will want to get what you paid for, which means sending back the lemon, if it comes to it.

Fat People

Last month when I was in line waiting to vote, I spotted an extremely fat woman. She was so fat, her ankles rubbed together. Judging by the three gallon bucket of soda pop in her hand, I’m assuming she was not the victim of elephantiasis or some other disease. Everything about her was fat, even her head, which was the size of a bowling ball and covered in pink-dyed fur. How she was able to get around with hundreds of pounds of fat attached to her is a mystery. I would think the mere act of toting around so much weight would result in weight loss.

Last week, I stopped at the ghetto market for a few items and spotted a couple in the snack aisle. The man was something like a large ball with arms and legs. I estimated his diameter was close to 24 inches. That would mean his belt was 75 inches. His wife was of similar size. My first thought was how they were able to, you know, enjoy the marital bed. Is it even possible that they find one another attractive? I suppose it is possible that all of their energies are focused on moving around their girth and finding enough food to maintain their weight so sex is a non-issue.

Anyone familiar with American poverty knows that our poor people are fat, very fat. There are exceptions like drug addicts or those spindly ectomorphs you see loitering on street corners. Black woman, of course, are almost always fat. This is something most everyone knows. The ancients drew images of African women with giant stomachs and buttocks. In all probability, this is a genetic issue with West Africans. Even so, across the ethnic spectrum, American poor people are fat. Even our Mexicans are fat now.

In fact, Mexico is the world’s fattest country. This is mostly likely due to the fact that food is cheaper now than at any time in human history. It’s extremely hard to starve your people these days. Food is just too cheap and plentiful. Even basket case countries like those in sub-Saharan Africa have more than enough food. That’s most likely the cause of the population boom in Africa. The Malthusian limit has been pushed much further out so the population has exploded.

Public health officials tell us that obesity is a crisis in America. Being fat supposedly results in an exploding number of maladies like diabetes and heart disease. This drives up health costs thus collapsing the technocratic schemes cooked up by the managerial class. It’s important to remember that public health officials are usually wrong. For example, they said AIDS would jump from the bathhouse and heroin den into the middle-class suburbs. That never came closer to happening.

Even if obesity is a public health problem, it’s unlikely that there can be a public policy to address it, other than deliberate starvation of the people. Our Germans probably have the same obesity rates as Germans in Europe. The same is true across the ethnic landscape. We’re forbidden to notice that blacks and Mexicans are very fat, compared to everyone else. That means we’re forbidden to note that honky obesity rates are not too far off from Europeans rates. That would be racist and everyone knows race does not exist.

The point of this observation is to note that biology is beyond the reach of public policy. If fatness has some serious detriments to the population, then it will sort itself out over time. If fatness becomes associated with low status people, then there will be cultural pressure to not be fat. Smoking rates have declined not so much due to public policy, but from the fact famous people stopped smoking. It stopped being cool with famous people. Fatness will follow a similar path. We are seeing that with black actresses and singers.

Still, humans have never had to deal with the problems that come from too much food and too much free time to consume it. We really have no idea what will come from it and how it will hurt or help society. There could very well be a huge upside to having lots of fat people. Perhaps when the zombie apocalypse comes, the zombies will eat the fat people and be satisfied, leaving the rest of us to regroup. That’s unlikely, but nature tends not to reward that which is deleterious to a species. Nature is self-correcting.

There’s no reason to think that public policy in a liberal democracy would be capable of addressing problems that stem from excess. Liberal democracy evolved in an age of great inequality and scarcity. Having a super rich aristocracy could not work while the peasants were starving. We now have a mega-rich aristocracy while the peasants are munching snacks and playing video games. They are doing these things at public expense. The bottom half of America is receiving direct and indirect public assistance these days.

Would the super-rich aristocracy of today have the will to impose rules on the bottom half, with regards to their welfare? Mayor Bloomberg came the closest with his soda and salt bans, but they went no where. Even his peers snickered at his prudery. Would these same people be willing to back exercise requirements and fitness exams in exchange for welfare benefits? Probably not. A feature of the modern aristocracy and their attendants in the managerial elite is a fear of confrontation. Hence the passive-aggressive culture of the rich.

We’ll just have to rely on nature to solve the obesity problem.

Beyond Left and Right

The late great Eric Hohher observed that a mass movement can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. This is often misread, but what Hoffer had in mind was that the movement needs an enemy. It can live without a great cause, but it has to have an enemy. The struggle against evil allows the movement to create its own origin myth and justify its failures as sacrifices. It is why the Progressives have been so good at inventing new monsters to slay. Without monsters, they have no reason to exist.

The modern American Right, in contrast, was never good at inventing bogeymen, because it was always a Progressive heresy. By that I mean the Buckleyites eventually came to accept all the assumptions of the Progressives with regards to the human condition. The difference was they had a different devil to confront. Theirs was the Red Menace and the its Soviet sponsors. What kept movement conservatism moving was the fight against the commies, even when they ceded all the important philosophical turf to the Progressive.

An example to see this is the recent column by National Review editor Rich Lowry. National Review is the flagship publication of the American conservative movement. In theory, at least, they describe the boundaries of what is and what is not conservative, by defining the principles of modern conservatism.

President Barack Obama won’t explicitly say that Donald Trump is on the wrong side of history, but surely it is what he believes.

The president basically thinks anyone who gets in his way is transgressing the larger forces of history with a capital H. During the 2008 campaign, he declared that John McCain “is on the wrong side of history right now” (the “right now” was a generous touch — allowing for the possibility that McCain might get right with History at some future, undetermined date).

Obama has returned to this phrase and argument obsessively throughout his time in office. It is deeply embedded in his, and the larger progressive, mind — and indirectly contributed to the left’s catastrophic defeat on Nov. 8.

The notion that History takes sides ultimately traces back to the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel and borrows heavily from the (genuine and very hard-won) moral capital of the abolitionists and the civil rights movement. Obama is given to quoting Martin Luther King for the proposition that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. Whoever is deemed to be on “the wrong side of history” by progressives is always loosely associated with the opprobrium directed toward the Southern Fire-Eaters and the defenders of Jim Crow.

Now, Lowry is no one’s idea of a deep thinker so he can be forgiven for not seeing the the ridiculousness of the highlighted section. If Progressives have all this moral capital from their past fights over race, then they are by definition on the right side of history. How could it be otherwise? That’s the logical end point of Lowry’s assertion that the Left was on the side of angels in the great moral crusades of the last two centuries. It would be bizarre for Progressives not to use such a thing as a weapon. They see it as an obligation.

There’s something else there. Lowry goes out of his way to kowtow to the Left on the issue of race. What he is doing, even if he does not know it, is signally his submissiveness to his moral superiors. These are the words of the loser letting his betters know he is not going to be any trouble. Lowry is letting his alleged adversaries know that he agrees with them on the big issues and that there is no need to question his belief in orthodoxy.

The orthodoxy is the New Religion with its three pillars of egalitarianism, multiculturalism and anti-racism. The only real quibble the Official Right has with the people in charge is how to go about turning the New Religion into public policy. It is probably why they are obsessed with restarting the Cold War and waging a Crusade against the Muslims. Official Conservatism™ needs a devil. Otherwise, it becomes just another school of thought among Progressives.

There’s always been a problem with the New Religion and that is it clams run head long into objective reality. The sort of spiritual egalitarianism preached by the intellectual forebears of Progressives was perfectly sustainable as it was impossible to disprove. The modern version of it is hilariously absurd. Boys are not the same as girls. Nature does not bestow her gifts equally and this scales up to group differences. People tend to notice that the NBA is all black and the best lawyers have a precious metal in their name.

This is the central issue of our age. Our betters insist that all men are equal, full stop. Filling up Cologne with Arabs changes nothing about Cologne because people are the same everywhere and culture is a myth. Everyone else recognizes this to be dangerous nonsense. Thousands of generations of evolution have resulted in a planet full of people with different skills, culture and attitudes. Sweden is the way it is because it is full of Swedes, instead of Arabs.

The determination of our rulers to stamp out large parts of observable reality is what is eroding their legitimacy. This is why Official Conservatism™ has failed. It has no response to the ongoing crisis that is the inevitable result of the New Religion. It has become a mass movement afraid of offending anyone, therefore it is left with gooey platitudes about principles and its role in public life. It’s why it is difficult to tell the Right from the Left these days. They believe all the same stuff now.

The great fight that is shaping up is between one side that insists, despite all the evidence, that all humans are equal in every way. it is only the differences in culture that result in differences in people. For our purposes, economics is in the culture bucket. The other side says man is naturally hierarchical and that groups of humans have unique attributes suited for where they evolved over thousands of generations. This means that different people will have different cultures, different gifts and different liabilities. This is why people naturally self-segregate.

Observable reality is on the side of the latter.

A Moral Philosophy of HBD

Pubic policy in the West is argued on many fronts, but the roots of all of our debates are in the Enlightenment. Arguably, the three most important men of the Enlightenment are Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. They are the giants whose shadows are still felt today. When Progressives, for example, proselytize on behalf of equality and inclusion, they are relying on Rousseau, and to a lesser extent Locke, as the foundation of their argument. Libertarians root their ideology in the ideas of Locke, specifically with regards to property.

The starting point for the men of the Enlightenment was man’s natural state or how they imagined humans acted before civil society. Hobbes imagined that man’s natural state was a “war of all against all” and civil society was imposed to protect men from each other. Locke imagined that man was naturally cooperative, looking out for one another and that civil society was a natural outgrowth of man’s nature. Similarly, Rousseau imagined that man in his natural state was virtuous and altruistic.

Obviously, that is an absurdly generalized version of three of the greatest thinkers in human history. The point I want to establish is that the foundation of modern Western society is rooted in notions about man’s natural state. The men of the Enlightenment did not have access to detailed studies of hunter gatherers. They did not have the fossil record or an understanding of evolution and genetics. They were simply conjuring the possible starting places by working backwards from where they stood in the timeline.

And they were wrong.

While we don’t know the nitty-gritty details of early modern human society, we have some rough contours of how our ancestors lived before settlement and writing. We also have loads of studies of our nearest relatives that allow us to understand what pre-modern man must have been like before we split off on our own evolutionary branch. Even if you reject evolution, we have examples of hunter gatherer populations in the modern age that live, most likely, as our ancestors lived at one time in Eurasia.

What we know, with a high degree of certainty, is that humans were never in a state of nature as Hobbes imagined. We were always in cooperative groups, most likely kin based groups. While conflicts between groups of humans over territory and resources would have been common, these groups exchanged women and food with one another too. Marrying off women from the clan to men of the neighboring clan would have been an important way to keep the peace, settle disputes and bind people together.

Similarly, human societies were not egalitarian paradises as Rousseau imagined. Human beings developed compassion for one another based on familial relations. Trog guarded the interests of Grog because it was good for both. Similarly, they were hostile to strangers for the same reason. Compassion for others is no more or less natural than hostility to others. In both cases, they are driven by biological necessity. One group of humans would share scarce resources internally, but gladly let strangers starve to death

The point here is two-fold. One is that we know a lot about the biological nature of man that the men of the Enlightenment did not know. Genetics is opening up vast new areas of understanding. Continuing to base our moral philosophy on vague speculation that has proven to be incorrect does not make a lot of sense. For instance, we know with certainty that nature does not bestow her gifts equally, but she does so predictably. Continuing to operate as if we are born a blank slate is rather foolish, given what we now know.

Further, we know that human evolution was local and on-going after humans spread out from Africa. Asians have physical characteristics that are unique to people from Asia. Northern Europeans have physical features unique to them. These variations must extend beyond the physical, into cognitive areas as well. Assuming that moral codes, for example, are universal is as nutty as assuming that people everywhere have red hair. The way in which people see themselves, there relationship to one another and their place in nature is not universal.

An assertion like “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” works great if by all men you mean all the men of your tribe, your ethnicity or your lands. It falls on its face when you apply it to all humans everywhere. Similarly, the political economy of Sweden works great when it confined to Swedes in Sweden. It does not make any sense to the people of Syria because they are different people with different natural abilities and cognitive skills.

The Enlightenment came along with the revolution in commerce. The West was suddenly rich and the old feudal order was no longer workable. The industrial age gave us intellectual movements that built on the Enlightenment and attempted to create a moral philosophy to match the industrial world. We have just gone through a technological revolution and we are in the midst of a revolution in the understanding of human biology. Accordingly, a new moral philosophy is certain to develop and evolve to match our new understanding.

The next big thing in public policy will most likely be based in Human Bio-Diversity, unless the good thinkers go the Muslim route and begin to slaughter the men of science. Heading off down the road of mysticism and magic is not out of the question, but the more likely option is the people preaching equality and inclusion follow the Shakers into the history books. What comes next will be a public debate rooted in biological reality. How best to manage the bone-deep differences in human populations.

There will also be a degree of magical thinking as that helps grease the wheels of society, but the disaster of multiculturalism, the memory of it as well as the residue on the ground, will mark it in the same way the Holocaust has marked fascism. Instead, debates about what to do for X people will be bounded by the debate over the limits of compassion for out-groups. Many of these arguments will be just as wrong as the arguments in favor of inclusion are today, but they will be wrong in a different direction.