The Naked Eye

Imagine you are kidnapped off the streets and after a period blindfolded isolation transported to a small coastal village. instead of being chased by a balloon-like automaton, you find yourself constantly watched by cameras. You begin to notice that everywhere you go, there is a camera. You even discoverer them in the bathroom and in your sleeping quarters. Further, these cameras are beaming your activities to a large screen in the middle of the village in real-time.

Once you discovered the reality in which you were now living, you would begin to mull over the consequences. For example, escape would no longer be a possibility, as the cameras would be broadcasting your efforts in real-time. You could not try to plot with others in the village, as that would be broadcast to the whole village as well. Of course, things you may do in private, but never in public, would suddenly become public, once you forgot about the camera and did them as usual.

This is a good plot for a sci-fin story, but it is pretty close to reality now for cops in the United States. They don’t have to deal with cameras in the toilet yet, but they are recorded constantly as they go about their jobs. Often, they are recorded without their knowledge, so they now must assume they are always performing in front of an audience that is hostile to them. They get called to handle a misbehaving black and there will be an army of militant millennials holding up cellphones.

It is not just cameras on the street. The use of selective editing, which has become a feature of these hoaxes, means the cops wear body cams. Remember back to the O.J. Simpson trial and the cops had to deal with secret audio recordings of themselves long before Simpson murdered his wife. Mark Furman’s life was ruined by recordings of himself using colorful metaphors in an interview years prior. Cops are fired now for private communications that become public.

One thing these latest batch of riots seem to be revealing is that conventional policing is impossible in the Synopticon. The Panopticon is a situation where the few watch the man, like in a prison or an authoritarian state. The Synopticon is where the many watch the few, like a theater. The crowd watches the actors on the stage. In modern America, we have a combination of both. The state and its technology patterns watch us, while the masses and their cameras watch the police.

Most of the debate about the emerging surveillance state focuses on the state and its private collaborators spying on citizens. So far, we have not had a riot over Apple harvesting your metadata. We have been convulsed by video of cops beating blacks turning up on social media. Just wait until deep fakes make it possible for people to post realistic fake videos of cops abusing blacks. What happens when activists can use technology to identify the cops and that gets posted on-line?

If you are a cop, unless you are a rage-head moron, you have to realize that your range of motion is increasingly restricted. In these riots, the cops have been mostly useless, because there is no way for them to be effective. Even if they are following direct orders to end the violence, they know their bosses will not back them if a video of them getting rough with a hooligan shows up on-line. If a rioter captures one of them using colorful language in a melee with rioters, the cop is fired.

We think of privacy as just the area of our life that is off-limits to the public, but in reality, privacy is a spectrum. There are things that exist only in our head or perhaps with a few people in our lives. Then there are things known to family and close friends. Out further and there are things that are known to the community or maybe the workplace. The most distant belt is where we are supposed to find the things available to anyone interested enough to discover them, like an address or phone number.

Technology is collapsing the normal structure of privacy. There are things that get done in public that should not be broadcast to the world, just as there are things done in private that should not be made public. Those cops who took down the Gentle Giant did not spring from nothing. They were operating in the context of a career dealing with these sorts of people. The bit of the event we see is not the entirety of the event, It is devoid of context that would change how we view it.

This is happening all over. An academic, for example, discussing speech laws at a conference, could be secretly recorded. The recording is then edited to only include his recitation of prohibited words and phrases. All of a sudden, he is being forced into a struggle session by the mob. Alternatively, we have the situation of a jilted lover releasing private information about a public man. Things said in the heat of the moment, assumed to be private, suddenly become public.

There are some inevitable results of this. One is what we see with the cops. They can no longer do their job without personal risk, so they will evolve to avoid any situation where they could be shown in a bad light. We will no doubt see laws passed that ban the filming of rich people and politicians. They will not want to be subjected to what is happening with the cops. We’re already seeing signs in public buildings banning the use of cellphone cameras, Soon, phones will be banned entirely.

The more important change will be the contraction of the public space. On the one hand, those with nothing to lose will feel liberated in the public space. On the other hand, the auxiliary volunteer army of ideological enforcers will be emboldened to go crazy recording and reporting everyone. Those with anything thoughtful or controversial to say will flee the scene entirely. Even private conversation will collapse, as you cannot trust anyone to respect the ancient rules governing privacy.

Another consequence will be the collapse of what remains of trust. If you are a dissident, for example, you will no longer speak with anyone in possession of a mobile phone, even if you know them. In fact, the new tracking laws will mean all dissident will meet without phones. Not only will they fear recording; they must fear tracking, as the tech companies share this data with Antifa now. To voice a controversial idea now means living in a world closer to organized crime than politics.

Even apolitical people will have to assume that even their closest friends will be tempted to fink on them. Think of the “leaked” video of stars or ballplayers at private events or in private phone calls. These are all leaked by people close to the subject, so everyone now must distrust even their closest friends. The Synopticon will accelerate us into the no-trust society. The only place trust will exist is in secret societies that enforce their codes of silence the old-fashioned way.

In a world of a million leering eyeballs following your every move, lots of necessary things will simply stop happening. They will have to retreat to the world of intimate thought, but even there, coded to make it impossible to publicize. Outside, in the outer rings of the public-private spectrum, life will become simultaneously more intolerant and more vulgar. It will be a riot of uninhibited vulgarians and reckless scolds, where no useful work necessary for society can be done.

It remains to be seen if such a world can function. The riots suggest there is a point where the machine just stops. On the other hand, within living memory, people thought the current state was beyond the pale. Maybe people in the Synopticon will quickly evolve to become the uninhibited vulgarian or the reckless scold. Or maybe as we see in these cities, we stagger from one crisis to the next until finally the people are exhausted. We collapse while livestreaming it to the world.


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Fermi’s Paradox

Fermi’s paradox is named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, who famously asked, “Where are all the space aliens?” Whether he actually said that is unknown, but he did wonder how it is that we have yet to find any evidence of life in the universe, other than on earth. According to the Drake equation, there should be quite a few extraterrestrial civilizations that we can detect from earth. Here is a famous paper on the topic written back in the 1970’s explaining the problem.

For those interested in listening to a long discussion on the subject, this episode of the Future Strategist with Jim Miller is a good listen. He interviews Greg Cochran, who knows a great deal about the topic. This was before Greg unfortunately succumbed to the The Madness, so it is free of that stuff. Miller and Cochran go into the background of the topic and offer some possible reasons for why we have not discovered any signs of intelligent life anywhere in the known universe.

Problems like this are fun and make for great science fiction plots. The great science fiction novel The Mote in God’s Eye is about man’s first contact with an alien civilization and touches on why it took so long for humans to find aliens and vice-versa. A main topic of the book is the idea that the alien civilization has Malthusian cycles, where they eventually overpopulate their world and destroy themselves. As a result, they can never advance quite far enough to explore the universe.

The novel does not get too far into this, as it is mostly a plot devise to move the story along, but it is a possible reason for why we have not found intelligent life in the universe and why we can no longer go to the moon. That is, we have regressed due to social evolution of some sort that we don’t fully understand. It now takes ten years to build a tall building in New York City, when a century ago it took a year. We don’t build dams or bridges anymore. We can’t even maintain the ones we have now.

This is where people will say, “We could go to the moon if we really wanted to do it. It’s the government that cannot do it. Private industry could go if it was worth it.” Maybe that’s true or maybe that is just a coping strategy to mask reality. All we know is we have not been to the moon since 1972 and we lack the facilities to do it right now. Even those vaunted private explorers are struggling to do things we could do decades ago, like launch something into space and bring it back again.

Social cycle theory is not a new idea. In the 19th century, Italian sociologist and economist Vilfredo Pareto developed a theory where power in a society passes back and forth between the clever and the aggressive. Most famously, Oswald Spengler theorized that human societies are born, blossom into maturity and then, like a person, decline into old age and eventually death. Ed Dutton and Michael Woodley have built on this concept using modern studies of human intelligence.

In other words, the reason we have not been able to travel the stars is that intelligent life can never advance to that point. Our civilization lifespan prohibits us from reaching that level of technology. That does not mean there is no progress. Clearly, we have reached a higher level of technological achievement than the Romans, but there’s always a dark age to reset things. What comes after this cycle will learn a lot from us, but maybe make it as far as Mars, before the great downturn ends their run.

Current events offers some insight into why we may never meet space aliens. The panic over the virus is something new to modern society. This virus is not a threat to humanity, but it is treated as one. We know there was no panic over the Swine flu, the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu and so on. There was no panic over the great influenza outbreak of 2017 that killed 80,000 Americans. Yet with the death toll soaring to 4,000 with the Chinese flu, America is paralyzed with fear.

It could be that when a civilization becomes sufficiently advanced, three things happen that change how it interacts with the world. One is the birth rate falls. This is something we have seen all over the world. Once a society can reliably feed its people and it reduces interpersonal violence to a certain level, total fertility rates fall. At the same time, the society feminizes. Women begin to take up positions of authority in both civil and government institutions, changing the nature of those institutions.

That’s the third thing, what we are seeing today. A society dominated by women is extremely risk averse. The focus first shifts to elevating the value of life, then to guarding the children against any potential risk. We saw this happen in the 90’s and 00’s with the millennial generation, who were sheltered from everything. Finally, the society shifts to organizing against any threat, even those that promise to merely trim a few years off the lifespan of the octogenarians.

A society that is hyper-focused on preventing even the slightest risk is not a society taking great risks to explore the stars. Maybe that’s why the cost of going back to the moon is prohibitively high. The safety precautions that would be required make the venture pointlessly expensive. The reason it takes ten years to build a building that a century ago only took a year to build, is that today’s society is risk intolerant. If just one worker gets a hangnail or stubs a toe, the cost is considered too high.

Another possibility along the same lines is that in addition to the obsession with safety, the low fertility rate simply reduces the population. This is beginning in places like Japan and Italy. In a world of growing populations, the point of technological advance is to provide for more people. In a world of shrinking populations, the point of technological advance is to protect the people. That means more automation and less actual work, which could result in physical harm to the remaining humans.

What we may be seeing is the early stages of a new social model, one imagined in science fiction a century ago. Once a species becomes sufficiently advanced, the population shrinks, but lives in greater comfort. Perhaps in time lifespans will extend so a small number of humans, cared for by automated cities, live long lives almost like children in a daycare center. A species of pampered toddlers is no going to risk it all to explore the stars and come visit earth.

Of course, the Chinese flu is a great reminder that the free flow of people means the free flow of germs, many of which are deadly to those unfamiliar with them. The Europeans expansion into the New World probably killed off 90% of the indigenous people in the Americas. No one really knows for sure, but the great weapon used against the Indians was the pathogen. Small pox and influenza have been the greatest killers spread by man in all of history.

Maybe once a species overcomes all of the problems listed above and reaches the point where it can explore the stars, it has also realized that the spread of pathogens is too high of a risk. Maybe extraterrestrials explored a few places before they could reach earth and the result was a horrific die off. Maybe the alien bug killed them or maybe their bugs killed everything they touched. As a result, they hide from us any sign of life, so we don’t make the mistake of infecting the universe.


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The Plague

The zombie apocalypse is upon us. It is time to load up on ammunition, potable water and the dehydrated food they say will last generations. Of course, it also means cutting yourself off from the rest of humanity, as you can’t be sure when they will catch the virus and turn into a zombie. You might have to use the ax on the guy next door, who just moved in, so there’s no point in getting know him. It also ensures that whatever is turning people into zombies will not get to you.

We may not be on the verge of a zombie apocalypse, but there is a cornavirus outbreak in China that has spread to several other countries. The Chinese are taking it very seriously, warning people to limit travel and avoid the outbreak zone. They are saying the virus has mutated, but what exactly that means is unclear. There has been at least one case in the United States. The infected person had recently traveled to the outbreak region of China and developed the symptoms.

Now, it is highly unlikely that this will turn into a pandemic that wipes out a large swath of humanity, like the Black Death. It’s not impossible, but the odds are low because of modern technology. One reason the plague spread so easily is the poor sanitation in urban areas. People were exposed to all sorts of unhealthy things. They also lacked the medical care we take for granted. Mortality rates for plague today are about 10%, while they were as high as 60% in the Middle Ages.

Even as recent as a century ago, doctors were still blaming miasmas, bad odors, for various diseases. One reason the Spanish Flu spread so far is the general understanding of germ theory was in its infancy. Rather than isolating infected people and quarantining infected areas, people traveled as normal, spreading the virus all over the world in a short period. The Great War had millions of people moving from their homelands to foreign areas and the virus went with them.

That is the one connection between the last great pandemic and this new coronavirus outbreak in China. Every day millions of people leave their home area and travel to some new area for business, crime, tourism and so on. Humanity is probably more mobile today than at any time in history. Maybe there was more net mobility in the great industrial wars of the last century, but it is close call. The possibility of something really bad being spread by people is therefore at a peak.

Modernity may be the reason we are much more vulnerable to a civilization-wrecking pandemic than at any time in the past. A century ago, most humans lived in rural areas and farming was the number one employer in most of the world. Even industrialized nations still had close to half the workforce engaged in agriculture. Most men still had the wherewithal to maintain themselves in a pinch. The cities would be crippled by a plague, but the rural areas could carry on,

Today, 90% of western populations are dependent on the system to provide the basics of life, like food, water and heat. If enough people die from plague or even get really sick, the supply chain will break down. Given how near run all modern business is these days, the margin for failure is pretty low. A few weeks of failed logistics in the food business would leave whole communities starving. One water main break could cut off water to an entire city, if the work force has fallen ill.

Modern society could be like Jenga, the kid’s game where players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower of blocks. When everything is running as designed, removing one item does not cause collapse. If a few items stop working, then maybe it just takes one wrong failure for the whole thing to come down. For example, a pandemic plus a series of bad weather events leads to widespread food shortages, which in turn lead to civil unrest in major cities.

There’s also another angle to the risk analysis of modern society. Much of the infrastructure in America has been neglected for generations. Drive around an East Coast city and the roads are like the surface of the moon. Under those roads lie generations-old sewer, gas and water pipes that have been neglected. It takes a lot of manpower to keep them running. The same applies to lots of other basic infrastructure around the country. Manpower is needed to keep it functioning.

One reason for this is simple corruption. The ruling class no longer feels a duty to the societies over which they rule. They are extractive in nature, seeking only to skim and pilfer what they can from the people they rule. Another reason though is the collapse of social capital from mass migration and financialization. Most of the public stuff we rely upon is maintained by local communities. The obliteration of those over the last few generations is showing up in the infrastructure.

In a serious crisis, like a deadly pandemic, survival will depend upon communities voluntarily working together to provide the basics and care for the weak. For much of America, this is now impossible. In Europe, where 80-90% of people live in urban areas now dominated by foreigners, it would also be impossible. The point being, the cost of responding to a serious pandemic like the Spanish Flu is now much higher. In fact, we may not be able to react to such a threat.

Now, it is possible that like scarcity, humanity has overcome the threat of pandemic, through medicine and technology. The SARS outbreak killed 800 people, but in a world of billions of people, that is a trivial event. It’s three airliners crashing in a year. Just as we no longer prepare for famines in the West, we may no longer need to plan for another round of the Black Death or similar. Of course, people had similar thoughts before the outbreak of the Spanish Flu a century ago.


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The Compound Eye

Compound eyes, common with insects and crustaceans, are made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is a fully functioning eye in itself. The insect’s “eye” is thousands of ommatidium that together create a broad field of vision. Every ommatidium has its own nerve fiber connecting to the optic nerve, which relays information to the brain. The brain then processes these inputs to create a three-dimensional understanding the surrounding space.

The compound eye is a good way to imagine how the surveillance state will keep tabs on the subjects in the near future. Unlike the dystopian future imagined by science fiction, it will not be one eye focusing on one heretic, following him around as he goes about his business. Instead it will be tens of millions of eyes obtaining various bits of information, sending it back to the data-centers run by Big Tech. That information will be assembled into the broad mosaic that is daily life.

For example, rather than use informants and undercover operatives to flesh out conspiracies against the state, the surveillance state will use community detection to model the network of heretics. Since everyone is hooked into the grid in some fashion and everyone addresses nodes of the grid on a regular basis, keeping track of someone is now something that can be done from a cubicle. There is no need to actually follow someone around as they go about their life.

For example, everyone has a mobile phone. At every point, the phone is tracking its location, which means it is tracking your location. It also knows the time and day when you go into various businesses. Most people use cards to pay miscellaneous items, so just that information would tell the curious a lot about you. Combine that information with the same information from other phones that come into close proximity with your phone and figuring out the community structure is simple.

Of course, the mobile phone is not the only input device. Over Christmas, millions of Americans were encouraged to install surveillance devices in their homes by friends and family. Maybe it was an Alexa listening device from Amazon or a Nest Doorbell surveillance device from Google. All of these gadgets are collecting data on your life inside and around your home. It is then fed to the same data-centers that have all of your movements and associations collected from your phone.

That’s an enormous amount information about the lives of the subjects, but that’s just the start of what they are collecting. Everything about property and property ownership is now kept in those same systems. Tax and earnings information are now shared with the new technological overlords. We know this because Raj Chetty told us so. He gained access to everyone’s tax information from the IRS. Since Big Tech provides the infrastructure to all government operations, they have their data too.

It turns out that the future will not be one big eye searching about for a heretic on which to focus or even thousands of such eyes. Instead, it will be tens of millions of eyes, collecting data, filtering it through a specific lens, and passing it onto massive data-centers controlled by Big Tech. It is there where the focus will narrow, looking for patterns, modeling communities and searching for any anomalies that could indicate unacceptable behavior. Big Brother will be an Indian in a cubicle.

The human eye is attached to muscles that allow it to move, expanding the field of vision and narrow in on specific items of interest. The compound eye is fixed and therefore cannot focus on a single item. It also results in nearsightedness. It is, however, exceptional at detecting motion. The mosaic of infinitesimally small images lets the insect notice the smallest movement around it. This is why flies, for example, are so good at anticipating your effort to swat them.

Big Tech’s compound eye will be similar. It will be adept at tracking movement and capturing data about the environment, but it will not be very good at focusing in on one individual or even a group of individuals. That’s where the brain takes over to interpret the data, looking for the sorts of movement that could present danger. As with insects, the compound eye has evolved for defensive purpose. Hunters need focus, prey need a broad field of vision and pattern matching.

We are seeing the precursors of what will be special teams of agents charged with focusing in on potential trouble. Those “Trust & Safety” squads on social media are the early attempts at this. Algos were created to look for patterns and movement that would then warrant further review. The “focus teams” then look more carefully at individuals inside an identified community. This is how a heretic gets banned from Twitter despite not using the system very much. He was part of an identified community.

In the future, these “Trust & Safety” teams will be dispatched into the real world to infiltrate suspected communities, disrupt social bonding within dissident communities that are forming up and, of course, neutralize genuine threats. That last part is always what the dystopians focus on, but that will be an exceedingly rare occurrence as we move into the custodial state. Technological advance will also bring with it new ways to influence behavior in a myriad of small ways.

Alongside those millions of eyes collecting data will be other nodes that nudge people in the right direction through the power of suggestion, social proof and social bonding. The Chinese social credit system is a crude example of what is to come. A much more subtle version will rely on social influencers, who will be rewarded for encouraging positive behaviors. Social proof and fear of ostracism will confirm the tendency to accept what comes from prominent influencers.

This is already happening in a crude way on social media platforms. They promote those with the right opinions and demote those with the wrong opinions. Since active users seek an audience, inevitably they act in such a way that gets them promoted by the algos running these sites. It is why review sites have abandoned real user reviews in favor of robots. It is a lot easier to push a movie on a movie review site if the “viewer reviews” are actually robots run by the site.

That’s the future that awaits us in the custodial state. It is living under the watchful compound eye that is feeding all of our data into massive data-centers controlled by private companies. Since information is the ultimate currency and controlling the currency makes you sovereign, the official state will simply become another node on the network run by the Big Tech. There will be no recourse. Any effort to revolt will be detected by the compound eye before it gets started.

Note: Some have asked why comments end up in moderation. This is the doings of the spam filter I’m using. It is often triggered by epithets, certain links and mysterious word combinations. These messages get flagged as possible spam. Now, in half a dozen years it has blocked over 3.5 million spam messages, so it is trade-off I accept. It means I check the moderation queue once an hour or so. I approve the real comments and trash the spam. Otherwise, there is no moderation.


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Scientific Theology

Way back in the before times, when terms like “multiculturalism” had not escaped the academy, it was assumed that science and math were immune from the politicization that was ongoing in fields like history. After all, history is about storytelling, while math is about getting the right answer. Surely the right answer fields would not succumb to the growing lunacy on the Left, with regards to race, sex and ethnicity. Yet, here we are in the current year and the Left has declared a fatwa against math.

It turns out that lunacy and intelligence are not opposites. Smart people, the sort you tend to find in science departments, can believe in crazy things. This probably should have been obvious to the men of science a long time ago, but scientists, like the lunatics now making war on them, have always had a narrow definition of religion and the supernatural. They fell into the trap of thinking the people spouting oogily-boogily about the gods were churchgoers, not their friends at the university.

A classic example of smart people embracing wacky beliefs is the fascination with communism in the last century. Lots of brilliant people, some working on top-secret government projects, were sure communism was the future. Marxism was their religion in the same way Catholicism was for Blaise Pascal. By the standards of his day, Pascal was considered a religious fanatic, even an extremist, but there’s no disputing his influence on math and science. Religion and science are not oil and water.

That is what we have to keep in mind as the sciences of today are overrun by the modern fanatics. A person capable of sitting through an undergrad degree in biology and then advanced degrees in human sciences is also capable of thinking their penis is a human construct and they are oppressed by pronouns. People are of two minds, the moral and the empirical. The former will always override the latter when it comes to their group participation. Morality is the shared reality of the group.

That’s important to keep in mind when these epistles are issued by random clerics and imams of the academy. The people putting these together are not using their science brain, which is why that post is largely devoid of science. Instead, they are using their moral brain in order to both reassure themselves by huddling tighter with their coreligionists, but also to increase their standing within that group. You can be sure they got plenty of positive feedback from their fellow members of the hive.

The anti-science quality of that post is clear in the second paragraph. The authors talk about “dark forces” in the same way a primitive would warn villagers of spectral forces he experienced in the forest. That’s not a phrase that has any business in a post about facts, but it is not a post about facts. It is an effort to anathematize a set of facts that contradict deeply held beliefs by the ruling cult of the West. The “dark forces” are not wrong as a factual matter. They are wrong in the spiritual sense.

This is something normal people have struggled with for a very long time, as they foolishly think facts and reason can overcome emotion. They have been sure they can “win” the fight with the Left by assembling enough facts or providing bulletproof reasoning. That never works. Facts will never triumph over people’s sense of right and wrong and that is the point of that post. They are not disputing the facts. They are subtly arguing that those facts are immoral, so they must be condemned.

Of course, the reason the fanatics are so focused on the human sciences now is they see it as a way to solve a problem in their faith. A couple generations ago, before genetics began to reveal important facts about humanity, the Left could claim to be on the side of reason against the superstition of religion. Their opponent was Christianity and they were on the side of facts and reason. Now that their opponent is the new information springing forth from science, they have lost their authority.

Imagine if suddenly the Catholic Church discovered some scrolls written by Jesus that contradicted key parts of modern Christianity. It turns out that Jesus wanted everyone to convert to Judaism. One option would be to overturn two thousand years of theology and tradition, admitting that Christianity is a hoax. The other option would be to toss the scrolls into the fire and be done with it. It’s not hard to see which way things would go, which is why this idea makes for a great plot device.

That’s what the primitives of the Left are doing when they attack the new findings from the human sciences. Everything the authors believe about the world, including their social connections and personal beliefs about themselves, are tangled up in the religion of the blank slate and extreme egalitarianism. The facts that are now showing those beliefs are false, perhaps deliberately false, are just like those scrolls in the hypothetical example. It’s easy to see why they are ready to destroy science in order to save it.

It is tempting to assume that the truth will eventually triumph, but that has never been the way to bet, at least in the cultural realm. We are more likely to see Steve Sailer burned at the stake as a heretic than we are to see these primitives accept biological reality. Belief is powerful magic that can easily overcome the most stubborn facts and the most stubborn people holding them. The barking at the moon fanatics now in control of the West will let the world burn before abandoning their faith.


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The Gay Debate

For the longest time, it was assumed by science that there was not a single gene that caused homosexuality. The reason is a gay gene would make the person less sexually fit and therefore less likely to reproduce and pass on the gene. It does not take much of a disadvantage for a trait to disappear from the pool over enough time. If such a gene did exist, so it was thought, it would have disappeared from the human gene pool a long time ago and homosexuality with it. Therefore, something else must be at work.

Human societies have, for the most part, assumed homosexuality was to some degree a choice. Like an excessive desire for drink or criminality, that natural inclination could be controlled with enough determination. Like alcoholism or criminality, homosexuality came to be seen as a moral failing. On the other hand, there was always that sense that like alcoholism or criminality, some people are born bad. For whatever reason, they lacked the mechanisms to control their passions or the will to do so.

The source of this divide is the philosophical argument that there are facts that can be tested and values that are purely opinion. A scientific theory is one that can be tested, while an ethical proposition cannot. If something cannot be tested and possibly falsified, it is not science. In the case of something like human traits, it means there is either a biological mechanism to explain it completely or it is purely a social construct with no biological root. Traits fell on either side of the fact-value divide.

As in moral philosophy, the fact-value divide with regards to human traits is starting to come apart, as science gives us a greater understanding of human genetics. For example, complex human traits like intelligence are not the result of a single gene, but the result of many genes. In the case of intelligence, science has identified 55 alleles that influence general intelligence. How these switches are set influences intelligence, but the combinations are also an important factor.

In the case of homosexuality, it is starting to look like it may be the result of both a combination of genetics and environmental factors. A recent study has found two SNPs that influenced both male and female homosexuality. These are not the “gay genes” some thought existed, but two “switches” that have a strong association with homosexuality in men and women. That means homosexuals tend to have these two markers, but it does not mean all people with them are gay.

As with intelligence, something as complex as human sexuality probably has many genes that influence the trait. It could also mean other traits come along with the ride, as they are also associated with the set of genes that cause homosexuality. It’s entirely possible that this set of genes is responsible for a range of behaviors that are often associated with homosexuals. In other words, the attraction to the same sex is just one result of many from a set of genes turned on or off in the person.

A useful way of thinking about this is to imagine genes that cause someone to become an alcoholic. Let’s say ten genes positively or negatively influence a person’s propensity to alcoholism. If all ten switches are on, you will be a serious drunk. If all ten switches are off, you will be a teetotaler. Then there are the combinations in between. Alcoholism is therefore a spectrum. The person’s ability to control their drinking will depend upon where they fall on the spectrum and their access to alcohol.

That last part is where the either/or way of thinking falls apart. Someone with a lot of the drunk switches set to on, but living in a society without alcohol or one with severe repression of it, like Saudi Arabia, is less likely to be a drunk than the same person living in Ireland. In fact, that person with the high genetic propensity to alcoholism may never express those traits, because they are never exposed to alcohol. At the extremes, at least, environment can overcome nature with regards to behavior.

Now, bringing this back to a behavior like homosexuality, it is plausible that it is a spectrum, like the alcoholism example. Anyone who has been out in the world long enough knows that gays come in many varieties. At the one end are the flamboyant Milo Yiannopoulos types, while at the other end of the spectrum are the prudish Lindsey Graham types. In reality, homosexuality probably has more complexity than a linear range. Those switches result in a variety of manifestations.

What it means is that the trait is probably not purely biological. There’s a lot of evidence that homosexual males share more than two SNP’s. They also seem to share grooming stories in their youth. Homosexuals report a significantly higher rate of childhood molestation than do heterosexual men and women. This may simply be a downstream result of genetic factors, but it has been something science has observed for a long time, going back to when homosexuality was treated as a mental disorder.

This is where the fact-value divide closes. If it is a fact that some human traits fall along a range of propensity, based on genetics, then environment plays some role in how those traits are expressed. Put in terms of this topic, if homosexuality is a propensity, then cultural logic that discourages the activity will reduce the amount of homosexual activity in the society. This is the same logic behind banning alcohol. If it is hard to get alcohol, many people prone to alcoholism will never become drunks.

We may be seeing this put to the test with the youngest generation. There have been quite a few surveys indicating young people are the gayest generation. Here’s a story from last year on a survey of young people and sexual identity. Here is a post from the Progressive-adjacent blogger Audacious Epigone using recent survey data. According to that study, nearly 1-in-5 people under the age of thirty identify as something other than heterosexual. It appears that Gen-Z is super gay.

Now, such surveys should be treated with some skepticism. Young people are dumb and most are prone to repeating what they see in the media. Because the usual suspects tell them homosexuality is the best, many will claim to be some exotic sexuality as a moral signifier. The problem with surveys is respondents tend to tell the survey taker what they think is right. What these surveys may be picking up is the public reaction to the new morality being imposed on them by the usual suspects.

Even so, if sexuality, particularly homosexuality, is purely genetic, independent of environmental factors, then we should not see a real shift in homosexual activity when the culture changes. A study of venereal disease rates would probably be a good proxy to measure homosexual activity. If what the survey data suggests is true and we are seeing a real increase in homosexual activity, then it is not unreasonable to conclude that culture plays some role in the frequency of homosexuality.

That means debating these cultural issues is not only valid, but a necessary thing for every society. After all, if sexuality is purely natural, then debating the culture issues surrounding it is a waste of time. On the other hand, if culture matters a lot, then debating the morality surrounding sexuality is a primary concern. Do we want more homosexuals or fewer homosexuals becomes a valid topic of debate. Leaving it up to nature is no longer a justifiable response.


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The Reality of Life

In his July Diary over at VDare, John Derbyshire recounted an exchange he had with Mark Steyn about biological reality. Like most men his age, Steyn is incapable of thinking clearly about race and ethnicity. Instead he tries to jam reality into the blank slate fantasy, where culture makes the man. Steyn asked, “Why is Haiti Haiti and Barbados Barbados? Why is India India and Pakistan Pakistan? Skin color and biological determinism don’t get you very far on that.”

This is a popular form of arm flapping by right-wing Progressives. Whenever they are confronted with biological reality, they reel off a series of exceptions they think extremely clever. Somehow, they think their ignorance is some sort of magic spell that will make the bad men go away. If biology cannot explain everything to them to their satisfaction, then they will hang onto their magical thinking. It is a good example of how you cannot overcome superstition with facts and reason.

Now, as to the challenge, Derb correctly points out that biology is one ingredient that results in the societies we see. The biology of Barabbas is a lot closer to the biology of Haiti than it is to Iceland. Yet, Barbados seems to be closer to Iceland on the civilization scale than it is to Haiti. Of course, Barbados is not Iceland, not even close. Botswana is much nicer than Somalia, but that does not make Botswana a paradise. Maybe Steyn should first explain why Barbados is not Iceland.

It turns out though, that Steyn’s “gotcha” response is actually a very good example of the role biology plays in social organization. Haiti was a French colony and its current population is descended from the slave population used by the French. Barbados, in contrast, was a British colony. About ten percent of its population is white and its black population is descended from both slaves and free men. Further, Barbados never sank into anarchy, so its population has been stable for generations.

How big a difference does that white population make in Barbados? If we assume the whites are fairly typical of the sorts of people willing to colonize the New World, they are probably a bit smarter than the average European. That means they will make up the bulk of the island’s smart fraction. Haiti, in contrast, will have no smart fraction, as even the talented ten percent fled a long time ago. Barbados may not have the smart fraction of Iceland, but it has one, while Haiti does not have one.

Of course, Barbados will have a talented ten percent, as well. While the bulk of the black population is descended from slaves, a lot of blacks came to the island as freemen during the age of sail. Just as with North America, the British were a much softer touch on their colonies than the French and Spanish. That history has resulted in a much better black population than in Haiti. It’s talented ten percent, plus the white population, is capable of maintaining a civil society.

That may strike some as a small difference to hang an argument, but in biology, small difference can have very large downstream consequences. As Derb pointed out, Albania has an average IQ in the low 80’s while Ghana is in the 60’s. That does not seem like a big difference, but it means Albania has about 4% of the population that qualifies as a smart fraction, while Ghana has none. That 4% has a huge impact on the outcome of Albania. Small differences mean a lot in biology.

That does not explain all of the differences between the two places. As Derb points out in his piece, history and geography play a role. Chance plays a role as well. Haiti has not been helped by its geography. That massive earthquake would have been tough for any of the island populations to endure. It’s also regularly raked by tropical storms and hurricanes. Outside interference from America has not always been in the best interest of the Haitian people. Haiti is a very unlucky place.

Still, there is a reason no African nation has created a modern society or been able to maintain one that was handed to them. Somalia has all of the things modern libertarians celebrate, but it is a violent hell hole. Liberia adopted the US constitution, but Liberia is nothing like America. Detroit has a much better history than Salt Lake City, but it has much worse biology. Perhaps Steyn thinks Detroit’s problems are due to weather, but most likely he knows the real reason. He just hates it.

That really is the issue with the science deniers. It’s not so much that they don’t accept biological reality or even that they lack the numeracy to grasp it. They just hate facing the reality of the human condition. It should be noted that the science deniers tend to live as far from human diversity as possible. Steyn, for example, lives in a whites-only part of northern New Hampshire. Celebrating diversity from a great distance is the hallmark of the science deniers and egalitarians.

Putting aside the revealed preferences of the deniers, they cling to their superstitions because to do otherwise means accepting some harsh truths. One of which is that the only way to maintain Western civilization is to maintain the European people. That means playing very rough with the rest of the world’s people. It turns out that we have not advanced beyond our nature. Life for us is the same struggle for survival it has always been. The winner has to play for keeps.

As a practical matter, that means the Europeans will have to deport their non-European populations. Not all of them, but most. Telling a few million Muslims they have to go back is not something our betters care to face. Similarly, it means sinking enough migrant boats in the Mediterranean to discourage the practice. Europe’s leaders lack the stomach to defend their people, so instead they have embraced magical realism as a coping strategy. It’s an effort to gracefully lose the struggle for life.

Reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it. Biological reality is no exception. The history of man has been a struggle between people. History, geography and some good fortune made Europeans the dominant people on the globe, because they were willing and able to out-compete their rivals. That’s reality. If Europeans are unwilling to compete, then they will be overrun by their rivals. That too is reality, a realty that will not go away even if the deniers stop believing it.


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The Age Of Anti-Knowledge

One of the funny things about this age is how the political poles seem to be swapping positions on a great many issues. The Right, for example, is now more concerned with the plight of the working man than the Left, while the Left is a fanatical defender of global capitalism. If 1980 man were transported to the present, he could be forgiven for thinking Tucker Carlson is a liberal. He uses the kind of language that was common on the Left in response to the rise of conservatism.

That does not mean Tucker is a liberal. It just means what we understand to be Left and Right are not fixed, timeless positions. They are just words used for “us” and “them” in the game of politics. Conservatism, properly understood, was always skeptical of capitalism, because it tended to destroy indiscriminately. Bulldozing a church to build a processing center may be a more efficient use of resources, but conservatives always knew the altar was the keystone of civilization, not the factory.

As is always the case, the Left has the ability to create and define its opponents, because it controls the institutions. Forty years ago it created the image of a conservative as a ruthless, cold-hearted capitalist, in order to have an enemy they could more easily manipulate. They never cared about the poor or the working classes and never opposed rule by corporation. The Left in America is an effort to explain why inequality prevails despite the fact man is born equal.

Thinking of the American Left, at least the old Protestant aspects of it, as a theodicy, is a good way to understand why the people who used to sport Darwin fish on their Volvo are now extreme science deniers. Steve Sailer has been following the new star on the denialist scene, Angela Saini, who is getting famous waging jihad against observable reality. Her latest fatwa has been published on the site called Nature, which is ironic, given the article is a rebuke of nature.

Saini is not the only primitive showing up in the prestige press, shaking her staff at the heavens, demanding the gods conform to her dictates. Cordelia Fine was the toast of the town a couple years ago, when she published a book claiming reality is a magic trick played on us by hobgoblins. She did not put it that way. Her case was actually much weaker and less coherent. Greg Cochran’s review of her book reads like someone correcting a child or possibly a simpleton.

Of course, the over-the-top science denialism we see in the prestige press is filtering down to the rest of the cult. They don’t bother with the arguments, instead preferring to repeat the catch phrases. The extremely long-winded YouTuber, Alt-Hype, reviewed a chubby left-wing incel, who is making a name for himself as a science denier. JF Gariepy has a shorter version. The even shorter version is the lefty incels are now denying the very basics of biology.

If you are over the age of forty, this is quite a development. Within living memory, to be a Progressive meant mocking religious people of all types, but especially Evangelicals, as science denying primitives. The Left waved around evolution like a magic talisman, dismissing any argument they deemed religious, by which they meant cultural. Even Obama mocked Christians this way when he was running in 2008. Progressives bleeping loved science, while their enemies loved magic.

The change in tone and language among some right-wingers, like Tucker Carlson, is a bit jarring, but once you get past the superficial, it makes sense. In the 1980’s, a right-wing regard for the public good would not have focused on things like affordable family formation or wage stagnation in the heartland. The excesses of cosmopolitan globalism would not have entered their minds, because those things did not exist. It took time and hard experience to learn that Pat Buchanan was right after all.

What’s happening with the Left seems to be different. It is not an adjustment to new information or a changing culture. For a very long time, the human sciences understood that the variety we see in the human family is rooted in nature. Even those who dispute the validity of evolutionary biology on religious grounds, fully acknowledged that God does not distribute his gifts equally. The Left argued that these difference could be mitigated through public policy and cultural change.

That’s no longer the case. What the Left is engaged in now is a full-throated rejection of observable reality on moral grounds. Angela Saini commands that you accept that Kenyan performance in distance running is an optical illusion. Cordelia Fine, says, as a women, she knows sex is a social construct, created by men. This is not an inability to grasp the material. It is a conscious desire to forbid certain knowledge, to anathematize noticing the world and the explanations for what we see.

It is popular to talk about this phenomenon in terms of Galileo. The left-wing science deniers are playing the antagonist role of the Church and the humans sciences are in the protagonist role. This is probably comforting to the empirically minded, as it suggests they will eventually triumph in the end. Not only is this a faulty reading of history, particularly the Church, it assumes that human progress is inevitable. That no matter what they do, the march of science will continue unabated.

Instead, what we are seeing could be the signal of a coming dark age. Maybe this is what it was like in 1177 BC. The slow decline in general intelligence leads to a period of anti-knowledge, where knowing how stuff works, or even being curious about it, is seen as a threat to the established order. The brakes are applied and progress is reversed until the point where the people are no longer able to operate the mechanisms of society created by their ancestors.


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The Reality Of AI

Every day, we are told the artificial intelligence is not a science fiction fantasy, but a reality of modern life. Crimes are solved using AI and the military is supposedly using it to fight the forever wars. Microsoft regularly runs ads explaining that thanks to AI, the modern world will run just fine without white people. IBM goes further, claiming their artificial intelligence robots are already running large swaths of the world. The robot revolution is here and humans are being replaced with machines.

The target audience for these ads is a question, as the people watching television are not the people deciding whether to use IBM or Microsoft for the artificial intelligence requirements. It’s an example of how the custodial state has evolved. These ads are not about moving product or even improving the image of the firms. It is about conditioning people to the idea that they are wards of the state. Not only will they have no role in how their world is managed, they should not even bother thinking about it.

Of course, there is the matter of the AI itself. Everyone reading this post has had the experience of seeing ads on every web page, for things they bought six months ago from an on-line retailer. Maybe you just did a search and clicked on one of the ad links on Google. The result is every page that contains ads will display the product to you until you make the same mistake with a different product. Billions have been invested in smart advertising on-line yet the robots remain vexed by your search habits.

Then we have the companies supposedly at the forefront of artificial intelligence, like Microsoft and IBM. Anyone who has done business with Microsoft will tell you it is every bit as nonsensical as the government. Their “partner portals” appear to have been designed by people who hate Microsoft and their vendors. Then you have IBM, which is no longer an American company. It is now reliant on slave labor from the Orient. Most of its workforce is now un-American. It’s mostly a sweatshop now.

That brings us to the people these tech giants rely upon to write their code and engineer their products. Talk to people familiar with the code base of Facebook, Twitter and the big software-as-a-service providers and you learn it is a house of cards. Most of the code was thrown together in a rush using cheap labor from the Orient. As a result, the maintenance costs continue to rise, necessitating more outsourcing to places with even cheaper labor costs. We’re not far from having African coding shops.

That assumes this can go on forever. The Boeing 737 Max airplane that is riddled with so many problems may be a glimpse of the future. According to the news, they outsourced the coding for the planes “intelligence” to programming sweatshops on the Indian subcontinent. India is a land that struggles to manage basic sanitation, yet they are relied upon to produce complex software for complex systems. Perhaps someone should have told IBM’s Watson about what goes on in the Ganges.

The reality of artificial intelligence is that it is not here and it is not coming. One reason is we really don’t understand human intelligence. We have some sense of it, as in person X is smarter than person Y. We have some tests that give us an insight into individual and group intelligence, but those tests are imperfect. In fact, the so-called Flynn Effect may be the result of the flaws in testing. We may be picking up increases in things that are not a great influence on general intelligence.

When it comes to the biology of intelligence, science has identified about 50 alleles that negatively or positively affect intelligence. Think of them like the old dip-switches from the early days of computing. Some will positively impact IQ if closed, while having no impact if open. Others will negatively impact IQ if closed. Steven Hsu is involved in a project that one days hopes to be able to help parents select embryos for the highest chance of maximum intelligence, based on these correlations.

The fact is though, we really don’t understand human intelligence or human decision making very well. Therefore, creating artificial versions of something we don’t understand is unlikely. What we are calling AI today is just the result of technological progress in more mundane areas like disk capacity and bandwidth. We have an over capacity for data storage and all the bandwidth we need to connect it. That allows for faster processing of the same old boring tasks we have been performing for years.

There’s something else that works against the robot revolution. The smart fraction of the human race is getting dumber, not smarter. This is increasingly obvious to those who follow politics and current events. You can just look around your daily life and see that the basics of society are grinding to a halt in the West. Ed Dutton’s book, At Our Wits’ End, goes into examples and explanations for why we are getting dumber. Smart people in the West have fewer children and over time the results are manifest.

Of course, those Western populations have been the smart fraction of humanity for about 500 years now. The Chinese are certainly smart and there are a lot of them, but they have other characteristic that make them a poor substitute. They had 1000 years to take up the role of being the world’s smart fraction. Instead they created an insular society and put their smart people at work on astrology, calligraphy and turning the body parts of exotic animals into aphrodisiacs. They will not be the new smart fraction.

Then we have the swelling populations of the dumb fraction. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a population boom, which promises to flood the West. When people from Congo, the most backward place on earth, are turning up on the American southern border, it is fair to assume the West will be overrun by Africans. How many 85-IQ Africans does it take to sink the West? Detroit and Baltimore suggest a population that exceeds 25% is about the point where everything turns negative.

The reality of AI is it is mostly an advertising campaign at this point. What it is selling is the legacy idea of the custodial state. It’s a bit of the distraction so you don’t notice what is happening in your communities, workplace and even your family. It’s a campaign for staying the course and building out the multicultural custodial state that will solve the problems of diversity. The suicidal polices of the ruling class will be solved by machines that do not exist and probably will never exist, because we are ruled by fools.

If you care about your community and want to support those working hard on your behalf, consider supporting my work by donating the price of a beer or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. Unlike those mega-corporations, I will not use your money to destroy your family and community. Or, you can send money to me at: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. I now have a PayPal setup for those who prefer that method to donate. Thank you for your support!

Regulating The Public Space

There are few things good about aging, but one of those benefits is you start seeing how history often repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun, but when you are young most everything is new to you. When you get old, you have experienced enough to begin noticing the repeats of things you saw in your youth. For example, those old enough to remember the early the days of the internet, probably recognize what’s happening with the tech giants trying to regulate the public space.

By early days, I’m not talking about the iPhone 4 days. I’m talking about the Windows 3.1 days, when the internet was for weirdos, who knew how modems worked and liked tricking the phone company for free long distance. It was when hobbyists assembled their own computers It was when NewEgg was called Egghead and operated in shopping centers. That was before the phrase “social media” existed, but there was still plenty of social media and plenty of people on it, just smarter people.

Usenet and bulletin board systems served the same role as Twitter and Facebook, without the cute names and billionaires trying to control the platforms. Like the big social media platforms, they started with the same general idea. They would be open forums for people to debate and argue. The internet was going to be free from the censorship of the old media and free from government control. The same things people say about bitcoin today were said about the internet in the olden thymes.

What happened to those first public forums and those that succeeded them is a good lesson for understanding what is happening to the big social media platforms. Usenet, for example, started as an open platform for anyone with internet access. It did not take long for jerks and troublemakers to arrive. Soon, the squabbling and fighting fractured the community into separate channels. In short order, Usenet became a million little havens for like-minded people to talk about their thing in semi-private.

Bulletin boards followed a similar path. Their successor, the message board also followed a similar arc. The first boards for college sports, for example, soon turned into free-for-alls and shattered into hundreds of small, private boards. Unlike Usenet, the creators of these boards initially tried to regulate the content by having moderators ban trouble makers and people trolling for attention. That just encouraged the trouble makers to find clever ways around the rules, in order to disrupt the communities.

What was discovered in those early efforts of public forums is that the public is pretty awful and needs to be regulated. You just can’t let everyone into a public forum and have them say what they wish. On the other hand, the cost of regulating who enters and what is said is prohibitive. The more you regulate the forum, the cleverer the troublemakers get at disruption. This sets off an increasingly costly game of cat and mouse between the moderators and the people seeking to disrupt the forum.

The solution to the problem was the oldest of solutions. Peaceful separation allowed everyone to have a forum, but it reduced the incentives for the disruptive. Going into the forum of a rival group, for example, and posting a bunch of troll-bait, did not provide the same dopamine rush to the troll as it did on a public forum. There was no one around to see it and cheer it. It was like being a graffiti artist in a blind community. These trolling efforts were quietly removed and the community could easily ignore them.

That is what will happen with the big social media hubs. Twitter is the first that will splinter into a million separate channels, as it is the most public. Gab has weathered the assaults and now provides a home for dissidents. Telegram is now becoming the favorite tool for young people creating small communities. Others are working on alternatives for other tribes, looking for a place on-line both free of censorship and the sorts of people who just seek to disrupt. This is a repeat of the message board phenomenon.

YouTube and Facebook are a bit different. Facebook already has the ability to let users self-segregate within the forum. That solves the trolling a bit, but the company is run by the sorts of people who liked being moderators on chat boards in the old days. They can’t help but meddle in the discourse of others, even those in private groups on the platform. Given the demographics of the platform, it will probably collapse at some point as people realize its user base is old people, robots and gullible advertisers.

YouTube is the one to watch. As server capacity outstrips demand, the cost of hosting video will keep dropping. There are services popping up as alternatives to YouTube, with some starting as commercial enterprises. This service lets you create a branded channel that can be distributed on a variety of platforms. If you have talent and can hold an audience, the days of relying on YouTube are numbered. Since YouTube has never made money, it’s hard to see a future for the service as currently constructed.

None of this is to say that the tech oligopolies will come to their senses and stop trying to suppress speech on-line. In all probability, they will exhaust themselves trying to stamp out dissent, which means things will get much worse. Apple, for example, is now censoring speech within chat programs like Telegram. Microsoft is promising to moderate speech over Skype. The people behind these efforts are driven by hatred and self-loathing, so they lie awake at night thinking about this stuff.

The trouble is, it is expensive. The latest YouTube banning probably cost the company $10 million dollars to organize. It’s pretty clear they invested a lot of manpower in reviewing specific videos. The return on that investment was mostly bad press and greater awareness by regulators that there is a problem. That’s a lesson from the old days too. No matter how right they were to regulate users, the forum moderators were always looked upon unfavorably. They were the prison guards of the system.

That last bit is probably key. A decade ago, Apple was a cool brand run by an equally cool genius who liked wearing black turtlenecks. Now it is seen as a Chinese electronics company run by an angry homosexual. Similarly, YouTube used to be a place where young people could express themselves. Now it’s where old Jewish women yell at young people for using naughty language.With every censorship effort, the reputation of the oligopolies declines. Silicon Valley is now the universal villain.

The point of all this is not that libertarians are right that the market will magically sort out the problem for us. All of this could have been avoided if the government had done its job and cracked down on these oligopolies a long time ago. The natural disaggregation of the public space will not happen without help from the state either. It’s that wide open public forums cannot last. It was tried decades ago by smarter people and a much smarter user base. Eventually, peaceful separation became the only alternative.

If you like living off the sweat of others, then ignore the following. On the other hand, if you care about your community and want to support those working hard on your behalf, consider supporting my work by donating the price of a beer or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. Unlike those mega-corporations, I will not use your money to destroy your family and community. Or, you can send money to me at: P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432.