counter-revolution   61

« earlier    

Contingent, Not Arbitrary | Truth is contingent on what is, not on what we wish to be true.
A vital attribute of a value system of any kind is that it works. I consider this a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for goodness. A value system, when followed, should contribute to human flourishing and not produce results that violate its core ideals. This is a pragmatic, I-know-it-when-I-see-it definition. I may refine it further if the need arises.

I think that the prevailing Western values fail by this standard. I will not spend much time arguing this; many others have already. If you reject this premise, this blog may not be for you.

I consider old traditions an important source of wisdom: they have proven their worth over centuries of use. Where they agree, we should listen. Where they disagree, we should figure out why. Where modernity departs from tradition, we should be wary of the new.

Tradition has one nagging problem: it was abandoned by the West. How and why did that happen? I consider this a central question. I expect the reasons to be varied and complex. Understanding them seems necessary if we are to fix what may have been broken.

In short, I want to answer these questions:

1. How do values spread and persist? An ideology does no good if no one holds it.
2. Which values do good? Sounding good is worse than useless if it leads to ruin.

The ultimate hope would be to find a way to combine the two. Many have tried and failed. I don’t expect to succeed either, but I hope I’ll manage to clarify the questions.

Christianity Is The Schelling Point:
Restoring true Christianity is both necessary and sufficient for restoring civilization. The task is neither easy nor simple but that’s what it takes. It is also our best chance of weathering the collapse if that’s too late to avoid.

Christianity is the ultimate coordination mechanism: it unites us with a higher purpose, aligns us with the laws of reality and works on all scales, from individuals to entire civilizations. Christendom took over the world and then lost it when its faith faltered. Historically and culturally, Christianity is the unique Schelling point for the West – or it would be if we could agree on which church (if any) was the true one.

Here are my arguments for true Christianity as the Schelling point. I hope to demonstrate these points in subsequent posts; for now I’ll just list them.

- A society of saints is the most powerful human arrangement possible. It is united in purpose, ideologically stable and operates in harmony with natural law. This is true independent of scale and organization: from military hierarchy to total decentralization, from persecuted minority to total hegemony. Even democracy works among saints – that’s why it took so long to fail.
- There is such a thing as true Christianity. I don’t know how to pinpoint it but it does exist; that holds from both secular and religious perspectives. Our task is to converge on it the best we can.
- Don’t worry too much about the existence of God. I’m proof that you don’t need that assumption in order to believe – it helps but isn’t mandatory.

Pascal’s Wager never sat right with me. Now I know why: it’s a sucker bet. Let’s update it.

If God exists, we must believe because our souls and civilization depend on it. If He doesn’t exist, we must believe because civilization depends on it.

Morality Should Be Adaptive:
I agree with this
gnon  todo  blog  stream  religion  christianity  theos  morality  ethics  formal-values  philosophy  truth  is-ought  coordination  cooperate-defect  alignment  tribalism  cohesion  nascent-state  counter-revolution  epistemic  civilization  rot  fertility  intervention  europe  the-great-west-whale  occident  telos-atelos  multi  ratty  hanson  big-picture  society  culture  evolution  competition  🤖  rationality  rhetoric  contrarianism  values  water  embedded-cognition  ideology  deep-materialism  moloch  new-religion  patho-altruism  darwinian  existence  good-evil  memetics  direct-indirect  endogenous-exogenous  tradition  anthropology  cultural-dynamics  farmers-and-foragers  egalitarianism-hierarchy  organizing  institutions  protestant-catholic  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  realness  science  empirical  modernity  revolution  inference  parallax  axioms  pragmatic  zeitgeist  schelling  prioritizing  ends-means  degrees-of-freedom  logic  reason  interdisciplinary  exegesis-hermeneutics  o 
april 2018 by nhaliday
Imagine there’s no Congress - The Washington Post
- Adrian Vermeule

In the spirit of John Lennon, let’s imagine, all starry-eyed, that there’s no U.S. Congress. In this thought experiment, the presidency and the Supreme Court would be the only federal institutions, along with whatever subordinate agencies the president chose to create. The court would hold judicial power, while the president would make and execute laws. The president would be bound by elections and individual constitutional rights, but there would be no separation of legislative from executive power.

Would such a system be better or worse than our current system? How different would it be, anyway?
news  org:rec  rhetoric  contrarianism  usa  government  elections  democracy  antidemos  alt-inst  proposal  institutions  axioms  law  leviathan  leadership  obama  nascent-state  counter-revolution  journos-pundits  douthatish  responsibility  the-founding  benevolence 
april 2018 by nhaliday
The Space Trilogy - Wikipedia
Out of the Silent Planet:

Weston makes a long speech justifying his proposed invasion of Malacandra on "progressive" and evolutionary grounds, which Ransom attempts to translate into Malacandrian, thus laying bare the brutality and crudity of Weston's ambitions.

Oyarsa listens carefully to Weston's speech and acknowledges that the scientist is acting out of a sense of duty to his species, and not mere greed. This renders him more mercifully disposed towards the scientist, who accepts that he may die while giving Man the means to continue. However, on closer examination Oyarsa points out that Weston's loyalty is not to Man's mind – or he would equally value the intelligent alien minds already inhabiting Malacandra, instead of seeking to displace them in favour of humanity; nor to Man's body – since, as Weston is well aware of and at ease with, Man's physical form will alter over time, and indeed would have to in order to adapt to Weston's programme of space exploration and colonisation. It seems then that Weston is loyal only to "the seed" – Man's genome – which he seeks to propagate. When Oyarsa questions why this is an intelligible motivation for action, Weston's eloquence fails him and he can only articulate that if Oyarsa does not understand Man's basic loyalty to Man then he, Weston, cannot possibly instruct him.



The rafts or floating islands are indeed Paradise, not only in the sense that they provide a pleasant and care-free life (until the arrival of Weston) but also in the sense that Ransom is for weeks and months naked in the presence of a beautiful naked woman without once lusting after her or being tempted to seduce her. This is because of the perfection in that world.

The plot thickens when Professor Weston arrives in a spaceship and lands in a part of the ocean quite close to the Fixed Land. He at first announces to Ransom that he is a reformed man, but appears to still be in search of power. Instead of the strictly materialist attitude he displayed when first meeting Ransom, he asserts he had become aware of the existence of spiritual beings and pledges allegiance to what he calls the "Life-Force." Ransom, however, disagrees with Weston's position that the spiritual is inherently good, and indeed Weston soon shows signs of demonic possession.

In this state, the possessed Weston finds the Queen and tries to tempt her into defying Maleldil's orders by spending a night on the Fixed Land. Ransom, perceiving this, believes that he must act as a counter-tempter. Well versed in the Bible and Christian theology, Ransom realises that if the pristine Queen, who has never heard of Evil, succumbs to the tempter's arguments, the Fall of Man will be re-enacted on Perelandra. He struggles through day after day of lengthy arguments illustrating various approaches to temptation, but the demonic Weston shows super-human brilliance in debate (though when "off-duty" he displays moronic, asinine behaviour and small-minded viciousness) and moreover appears never to need sleep.

With the demonic Weston on the verge of winning, the desperate Ransom hears in the night what he gradually realises is a Divine voice, commanding him to physically attack the Tempter. Ransom is reluctant, and debates with the divine (inner) voice for the entire duration of the night. A curious twist is introduced here; whereas the name "Ransom" is said to be derived from the title "Ranolf's Son", it can also refer to a reward given in exchange for a treasured life. Recalling this, and recalling that his God would (and has) sacrificed Himself in a similar situation, Ransom decides to confront the Tempter outright.

Ransom attacks his opponent bare-handed, using only physical force. Weston's body is unable to withstand this despite the Tempter's superior abilities of rhetoric, and so the Tempter flees. Ultimately Ransom chases him over the ocean, Weston fleeing and Ransom chasing on the backs of giant and friendly fish. During a fleeting truce, the "real" Weston appears to momentarily re-inhabit his body, and recount his experience of Hell, wherein the damned soul is not consigned to pain or fire, as supposed by popular eschatology, but is absorbed into the Devil, losing all independent existence.
fiction  scifi-fantasy  tip-of-tongue  literature  big-peeps  religion  christianity  theos  space  xenobio  analogy  myth  eden  deep-materialism  new-religion  sanctity-degradation  civil-liberty  exit-voice  speaking  truth  realness  embodied  fighting  old-anglo  group-selection  war  paying-rent  counter-revolution  morality  parable  competition  the-basilisk  gnosis-logos  individualism-collectivism  language  physics  science  evolution  conquest-empire  self-interest  hmm  intricacy  analytical-holistic  tradeoffs  paradox  heterodox  narrative  philosophy  expansionism  genetics  duty  us-them  interests  nietzschean  parallax  the-devil  the-self 
january 2018 by nhaliday
The Western Elite from a Chinese Perspective - American Affairs Journal
I don’t claim to be a modern-day Alexis de Tocqueville, nor do I have much in common with this famous observer of American life. He grew up in Paris, a city renowned for its culture and architecture. I grew up in Shijiazhuang, a city renowned for being the headquarters of the company that produced toxic infant formula. He was a child of aristocrats; I am the child of modest workers.

Nevertheless, I hope my candid observations can provide some insights into the elite institutions of the West. Certain beliefs are as ubiquitous among the people I went to school with as smog was in Shijiazhuang. The doctrines that shape the worldviews and cultural assumptions at elite Western institutions like Cambridge, Stanford, and Goldman Sachs have become almost religious. Nevertheless, I hope that the perspective of a candid Chinese atheist can be of some instruction to them.


So I came to the UK in 2001, when I was 16 years old. Much to my surprise, I found the UK’s exam-focused educational system very similar to the one in China. What is more, in both countries, going to the “right schools” and getting the “right job” are seen as very important by a large group of eager parents. As a result, scoring well on exams and doing well in school interviews—or even the play session for the nursery or pre-prep school—become the most important things in the world. Even at the university level, the undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge depends on nothing else but an exam at the end of the last year.

On the other hand, although the UK’s university system is considered superior to China’s, with a population that is only one-twentieth the size of my native country, competition, while tough, is less intimidating. For example, about one in ten applicants gets into Oxbridge in the UK, and Stanford and Harvard accept about one in twenty-five applicants. But in Hebei province in China, where I am from, only one in fifteen hundred applicants gets into Peking or Qinghua University.

Still, I found it hard to believe how much easier everything became. I scored first nationwide in the GCSE (high school) math exam, and my photo was printed in a national newspaper. I was admitted into Trinity College, University of Cambridge, once the home of Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, and Prince Charles.

I studied economics at Cambridge, a field which has become more and more mathematical since the 1970s. The goal is always to use a mathematical model to find a closed-form solution to a real-world problem. Looking back, I’m not sure why my professors were so focused on these models. I have since found that the mistake of blindly relying on models is quite widespread in both trading and investing—often with disastrous results, such as the infamous collapse of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. Years later, I discovered the teaching of Warren Buffett: it is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong. But our professors taught us to think of the real world as a math problem.

The culture of Cambridge followed the dogmas of the classroom: a fervent adherence to rules and models established by tradition. For example, at Cambridge, students are forbidden to walk on grass. This right is reserved for professors only. The only exception is for those who achieve first class honors in exams; they are allowed to walk on one area of grass on one day of the year.

The behavior of my British classmates demonstrated an even greater herd mentality than what is often mocked in American MBAs. For example, out of the thirteen economists in my year at Trinity, twelve would go on to join investment banks, and five of us went to work for Goldman Sachs.


To me, Costco represents the best of American capitalism. It is a corporation known for having its customers and employees in mind, while at the same time it has compensated its shareholders handsomely over the years. To the customers, it offers the best combination of quality and low cost. Whenever it manages to reduce costs, it passes the savings on to customers immediately. Achieving a 10 percent gross margin with prices below Amazon’s is truly incredible. After I had been there once, I found it hard to shop elsewhere.

Meanwhile, its salaries are much higher than similar retail jobs. When the recession hit in 2008, the company increased salaries to help employees cope with the difficult environment. From the name tags the staff wear, I have seen that frontline employees work there for decades, something hard to imagine elsewhere.

Stanford was for me a distant second to Costco in terms of the American capitalist experience. Overall, I enjoyed the curriculum at the GSB. Inevitably I found some classes less interesting, but the professors all seemed to be quite understanding, even when they saw me reading my kindle during class.

One class was about strategy. It focused on how corporate mottos and logos could inspire employees. Many of the students had worked for nonprofits or health care or tech companies, all of which had mottos about changing the world, saving lives, saving the planet, etc. The professor seemed to like these mottos. I told him that at Goldman our motto was “be long-term greedy.” The professor couldn’t understand this motto or why it was inspiring. I explained to him that everyone else in the market was short-term greedy and, as a result, we took all their money. Since traders like money, this was inspiring. He asked if perhaps there was another motto or logo that my other classmates might connect with. I told him about the black swan I kept on my desk as a reminder that low probability events happen with high frequency. He didn’t like that motto either and decided to call on another student, who had worked at Pfizer. Their motto was “all people deserve to live healthy lives.” The professor thought this was much better. I didn’t understand how it would motivate employees, but this was exactly why I had come to Stanford: to learn the key lessons of interpersonal communication and leadership.

On the communication and leadership front, I came to the GSB knowing I was not good and hoped to get better. My favorite class was called “Interpersonal Dynamics” or, as students referred to it, “Touchy Feely.” In “Touchy Feely,” students get very candid feedback on how their words and actions affect others in a small group that meets several hours per week for a whole quarter.

We talked about microaggressions and feelings and empathy and listening. Sometimes in class the professor would say things to me like “Puzhong, when Mary said that, I could see you were really feeling something,” or “Puzhong, I could see in your eyes that Peter’s story affected you.” And I would tell them I didn’t feel anything. I was quite confused.

One of the papers we studied mentioned that subjects are often not conscious of their own feelings when fully immersed in a situation. But body indicators such as heart rate would show whether the person is experiencing strong emotions. I thought that I generally didn’t have a lot of emotions and decided that this might be a good way for me to discover my hidden emotions that the professor kept asking about.

So I bought a heart rate monitor and checked my resting heart rate. Right around 78. And when the professor said to me in class “Puzhong, I can see that story brought up some emotions in you,” I rolled up my sleeve and checked my heart rate. It was about 77. And so I said, “nope, no emotion.” The experiment seemed to confirm my prior belief: my heart rate hardly moved, even when I was criticized, though it did jump when I became excited or laughed.

This didn’t land well on some of my classmates. They felt I was not treating these matters with the seriousness that they deserved. The professor was very angry. My takeaway was that my interpersonal skills were so bad that I could easily offend people unintentionally, so I concluded that after graduation I should do something that involved as little human interaction as possible.

Therefore, I decided I needed to return to work in financial markets rather than attempting something else. I went to the career service office and told them that my primary goal after the MBA was to make money. I told them that $500,000 sounded like a good number. They were very confused, though, as they said their goal was to help me find my passion and my calling. I told them that my calling was to make money for my family. They were trying to be helpful, but in my case, their advice didn’t turn out to be very helpful.

Eventually I was able to meet the chief financial officer of my favorite company, Costco. He told me that they don’t hire any MBAs. Everyone starts by pushing trolleys. (I have seriously thought about doing just that. But my wife is strongly against it.) Maybe, I thought, that is why the company is so successful—no MBAs!


Warren Buffett has said that the moment one was born in the United States or another Western country, that person has essentially won a lottery. If someone is born a U.S. citizen, he or she enjoys a huge advantage in almost every aspect of life, including expected wealth, education, health care, environment, safety, etc., when compared to someone born in developing countries. For someone foreign to “purchase” these privileges, the price tag at the moment is $1 million dollars (the rough value of the EB-5 investment visa). Even at this price level, the demand from certain countries routinely exceeds the annual allocated quota, resulting in long waiting times. In that sense, American citizens were born millionaires!

Yet one wonders how long such luck will last. This brings me back to the title of Rubin’s book, his “uncertain world.” In such a world, the vast majority things are outside our control, determined by God or luck. After we have given our best and once the final card is drawn, we should neither become too excited by what we have achieved nor too depressed by what we failed to … [more]
news  org:mag  org:popup  letters  lol  :/  china  asia  sinosphere  orient  usa  the-great-west-whale  occident  rot  zeitgeist  tocqueville  culture  comparison  malaise  aphorism  random  realness  hypocrisy  emotion  success  counter-revolution  nascent-state  communism  capitalism  education  higher-ed  britain  anglosphere  competition  oxbridge  tradition  flux-stasis  finance  innovation  autism  👽  near-far  within-without  business  gnon  🐸  twitter  social  commentary  discussion  backup  mena4  futurism  trends  elite  institutions  religion  christianity  theos  truth  scale  population  courage  vitality  models  map-territory  long-short-run  time-preference  patience  temperance  virtu  cultural-dynamics  input-output  impact  investing  monetary-fiscal  is-ought  pic  unaffiliated  right-wing  analytical-holistic  systematic-ad-hoc  stanford  n-factor  civilization  management  industrial-org  people  stream  alien-character  pro-rata  tails  gnosis-logos  signal-noise  pragmatic 
january 2018 by nhaliday
Gender Differences in Vote Choice: Social Cues and Social Harmony as Heuristics | British Journal of Political Science | Cambridge Core
It argues that men’s generally lower sensitivity to social cues makes them more likely to vote for stigmatized and small parties, whereas women’s greater concern with social harmony is expected to make them less likely to vote for extreme parties. The models are tested at the individual and party levels using three waves of Comparative Study of Electoral Systems data from twenty-eight countries. Ceteris paribus, men are more likely than women to vote for parties that are socially stigmatized or ideologically extreme.

women are regime loyalists
study  politics  polisci  sociology  government  social-choice  social-norms  preference-falsification  gender  gender-diff  psychology  social-psych  anthropology  stylized-facts  counter-revolution  revolution  coalitions  elections  democracy  flux-stasis  flexibility 
september 2017 by nhaliday
The Government is the Largest Source of University Funding | Free By 50
wonkish  data  visualization  let-me-see  higher-ed  academia  money  variance-components  distribution  monetary-fiscal  local-global  government  multi  usa  org:edu  org:ngo  chart  roots  org:lite  counter-revolution  class-warfare  nascent-state  pdf  white-paper  org:data  analysis  objektbuch  harvard  princeton  elite  stanford 
july 2017 by nhaliday
Without belief in a god, but never without belief in a devil. – sam[ ]zdat
The nature of mass movements. The beats and the John Birchers. The taxonomy of the frustrated. Horseshoe theory. The frustrated cannot derive satisfaction from action, something else has to fill the void Poverty, work and meaning. Mass movements need to sow resentment. Hatred is the strongest unifier. Modernity inevitably causes justified resentment. Tocqueville, Polyanai, Hoffer and Scott's theories. Helpful and unhelpful responses.
ratty  postrat  ssc  essay  insight  modernity  hate  coordination  tribalism  cohesion  incentives  ideology  polisci  anthropology  tocqueville  emotion  counter-revolution  polanyi-marx  prejudice  organizing  us-them  love-hate 
july 2017 by nhaliday
Abandoned Footnotes: Francisco Franco, Robust Action, and the Power of Non-Commitment
I’m currently in Spain, doing some research on Franco’s cult of personality. In preparing for this project, I recently read Paul Preston’s biography of Franco, which presents Franco as a selfish, vengeful, and ultimately petty tyrant who caused the death of hundreds of thousands of his compatriots. (If not for Hitler, Franco seems like he would certainly have been in contention for the “worst person of the 20th century” award). Yet despite the evidence of Franco’s political cunning (nearly four decades at the top of the Spanish political system puts him in the top 2-3% of all modern rulers in terms of sheer longevity), the portrait that emerges from Preston’s biography is emphatically not one of a decisive and Machiavellian political leader, but one of “astonishing personal mediocrity” (Kindle Loc 17636), a ruler who constantly procrastinated important decisions, acting reactively rather than proactively, and was rarely clear or even coherent about his commitments, to the despair of allies and enemies alike. How could such a person end up leading the winning side of a bloody civil war and becoming the effective ruler of Spain for more than three decades?

Preston argues cogently that luck played a large role, but it struck me while reading his book that one possible key to Franco’s “success” (measured simply by his ability to remain in power) is something that Padgett and Ansell called, in a classic article on the rise of the Medici in Renaissance Florence, “robust action,” action that cannot be easily foiled or prevented by your opponents. Since their ideas about what enables a political leader to act in this way seem to me to illuminate Franco’s spectacular longevity in power, it’s worth describing them in some detail.
econotariat  broad-econ  unaffiliated  history  mostly-modern  europe  mediterranean  politics  polisci  profile  people  big-peeps  power  leadership  antidemos  authoritarianism  revolution  counter-revolution  machiavelli  track-record  analysis  strategy  🎩  robust  adversarial  article 
july 2017 by nhaliday
Halsey’s Typhoon | West Hunter
Halsey fucked up, repeatedly. It’s obvious even to fictional characters, like Marko Ramius in The Hunt For Red October. If not for pressure from the top, Halsey would have been relieved. But Nimitz had reasons for sparing him. Not ones I agree with, but reasons. Halsey was an important symbol of the Navy to the general public, and it was thought that letting it all hang out would hurt the Navy in the expected budgetary fights after the war. And to be fair, Halsey wasn’t a traitor or anything: he was just dumb. Or, as a kinder person than I once said, by 1944, the war had become too complicated for Halsey.

Christ, they gave Halsey five stars, more than Spruance.

Problem is, this seems to be standard policy. Once you soar above a certain level, you never get punished for fucking up. Mangle a major company (like HP) and they whip you with hundred dollar bills – your failure is the stepping stone to a Presidential campaign. Invade the wrong country, turn another into an anarchic sand pile, misread the Soviet Union as the coming thing – you have foreign policy ‘experience’. Reminds me of an 11 year old’s definition of experience – what you have after you’ve forgotten her name..
west-hunter  scitariat  history  mostly-modern  military  war  leadership  management  stories  realness  error  rant  critique  bounded-cognition  info-dynamics  coordination  oceans  japan  asia  counter-revolution  alt-inst  organizing  usa  alien-character  power  progression  expert-experience  elite  ability-competence  russia  communism  track-record  statesmen  old-anglo  big-peeps  reflection  world-war  cynicism-idealism 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Majors | West Hunter
Sometimes we touch upon the question of what people know or don’t know. Probably this has something to do with what they study, assuming that they remember any of what they are exposed to in school.

So what do college students major in?

I have national figures, as well as recent numbers for Harvard.

College as signaling – exceptin’ always Steam:
Some economists [like Bryan Caplan] are now arguing that the benefits of college are almost entirely signaling – showing that you can learn and how much crap you can swallow – rather than conferring knowledge that makes you better at doing something people would pay you for. Ideally, something genuinely useful.

This cannot be entirely true, at least if you consider education in the broadest sense. Once upon a time nobody knew how to build a decent steam engine. After James Watt developed one, other people learned about it at some point in their lives – maybe not in college, but somewhere. Acquiring that knowledge increased their human capital.

But it’s mostly true. If you look at college majors, it is easy to see most college instruction is not very useful. 21% business majors, 10% social sciences and history, 7% educational majors, 6% psych majors, 5% in visual and performing arts, 5% in “communication, journalism, and related programs”, 3% English and literature – well over half at first cut. When I looked at a more detailed breakdown, I had a hard time arguing that the useful fraction was as high as 20%. Even when someone studies a subject that is potentially useful, there’s a significant probability that they’ll end up doing something entirely different. And then there’s forgetting – I don’t think most people retain much of what they studied in school, unless they use it in their work or happen to find a subject fascinating.

Majors, II:
I talked about what people major in earlier, but this is useful, I think. I’m revving up for some posts about education.

A question: I’d like to hear some thoughts about which degrees are worthless. Define you terms. For example< I can imagine degrees that teach you to do things that are useful but somehow out of fashion, useless but highly in demand, useful to you but worse than useless to society as a whole, etc.
west-hunter  scitariat  trends  higher-ed  harvard  education  institutions  data  distribution  knowledge  kumbaya-kult  elite  multi  signaling  realness  cracker-econ  human-capital  counter-revolution  phalanges  retention  impact  quality  judgement 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Dadly adaptations | West Hunter
If we understood how this works, we might find that individuals and populations vary in their propensity to show paternal care ( for genetic reasons). I would guess that paternal care was ancestral in modern humans, but it’s easy enough to lose something like this when selective pressures no longer favor it. Wolves have paternal care, but dogs have lost it.

This could have something to do with better health in married men. High testosterone levels aren’t cost-free.

It’s possible that various modern environmental factors interfere with the triggers for dadliness. That would hardly be surprising, since we don’t really know how they work.

All this has a number of interesting social implications. Let’s see how many of them you guys can spot.

Poles in the Tent:
I’m considering a different question: what was the impact of men’s contribution on their children’s survival and fitness? That’s not quite the same as the number of calories contributed. Food is not a single undifferentiated quantity: it’s a category, including a number of different kinds that can’t be freely substituted for each other. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates can all serve as fuel, but you need protein to build tissue. And amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are not all fungible. Some we can’t synthesize (essential amino acids) others can only be synthesized from a limited set of precursors, etc. Edible plants often have suboptimal mixes of amino acids ( too many Qs, not enough Us) , but I’ve never heard of this being a problem with meat. Then you have to consider essential fatty acids, vitamins, and trace elements.

In principle, if high-quality protein were the long pole in the tent, male provisioning of meat, which we see in chimpanzees, might matter quite a bit more than you would think from the number of calories alone. I’m not say that is necessarily the case, but it might be, and it’s worth checking out.

Sexual selection vs job specialization:
Pretty much every species is subject to sexual selection: heritable characteristics that lead to more mates or better mates can be favored by natural selection. Typically, sexual selection favors different strategies in males and females. Generally, males can gain fitness with increased mating opportunities, while females gain more from high-quality mates or mates that confer resources. Since the variance in reproduction is usually greater in males than females, sexual selection is usually stronger in males, although it exists and is significant in both sexes.

Usually, though, males and females of a given species have very similar ways of making a living. A male deer and a female deer both eat grass or arugula or whatever. Sexual selection may drive them to evolve in different directions, but finding something to eat mostly drives them in the same direction.

Humans are an exception. In the long past, men hunted and women gathered. The mix varied: in Arctic regions, men produce almost all the food (while women made and repaired gear, as well as raising children). In groups like the Bushmen, women produced most of the calories, but done rightly you would count more than calories: if most of the local plants had low protein or low-quality protein (wrong amino acid mix), meat from hunting could be important out of proportion to its caloric value.

This has been going for a long time, so there must have been selection for traits that aided provisioning ability in each sex. Those job-related selective pressures probably changed with time. For example, male strength may have become less valuable when the Bushmen developed poison arrows.

I was looking for an intelligent discussion of this question – but I ran into this and couldn’t force myself to read further: ” It should not simply be assumed that the exclusion of women from hunting rests upon “natural” physiological differences. ”

God give me strength.
What does Greg think about the “plows vs hoes” theory? (As seen here, although Sarah Constantin didn’t invent it.)

The claim is that some societies adopted farming (Europe, the Middle East, Asia) while some societies adopted horticulture (Oceana, sub-Saharan Africa, various primitive peoples) and that this had an affect on gender relations.

Basically: farming is backbreaking work, which favours males, giving them a lot of social capital. You end up with a patriarchal kind of society, where the men do stuff and the women are mostly valuable for raising offspring.


It’s kinda true, in places. There is a connection I haven’t seen explicated: the ‘hoe culture” has to have some factor keeping population density low, so that labor is scarcer than land. Tropical diseases like malaria might be part of that. Then again, crops like yams don’t store well, better to keep them in the ground until eating. That means it’s hard to tax people – easy with grain bins. No taxes -> no State – > high local violence. At times, VD may also help limit density, cf Africa’s ‘sterility belt’.

I am not a Moron:
So said Augustin Fuentes on Twitter, a few days ago. He’s the same guy that said “Genes don’t do anything by themselves; epigenetics and complex metabolic and developmental systems are at play in how bodies work. The roundworm C. elegans has about 20,000 genes while humans have about 23,000 genes, yet it is pretty obvious that humans are more than 15-percent more complex than roundworms. So while genes matter, they are only a small part of the whole evolutionary picture. Focusing just on DNA won’t get you anywhere.”

Fuentes was claiming that we don’t really know that, back in prehistory, men did most of the hunting while women gathered.


Someone (Will@Evolving _Moloch) criticized this as a good candidate for the most misleading paragraph ever written. The folly of youth! When you’ve been around as long as I have, sonny, you will realize how hard it is to set records for stupidity.

Fuente’s para is multidimensional crap, of course. People used to hunt animals like red deer, or bison, or eland: sometimes mammoths or rhinos. Big animals. Back in the day, our ancestors used stabbing spears, which go back at least half a million years. Stand-off weapons like atlatls, or bows, or JSOW, are relatively recent. Hunters took big risks & suffered frequent injuries. Men are almost twice as strong as women, particularly in upper-body strength, which is what matters in spear-chucking. They’re also faster, which can be very important which your ambush fails.
So men did the hunting. This isn’t complicated.

Which contemporary hunter-gather societies followed this pattern, had men do almost all of the big-game hunting? All of them.


Look, feminists aren’t happy with human nature, the one that actually exists and is the product of long-term evolutionary pressures. Too bad for them. When they say stuff like “It should not simply be assumed that the exclusion of women from hunting rests upon “natural” physiological differences. “, they just sound like fools.. ‘natural physiological differences” exist. They’re as obvious a punch in the kisser.

Suppose you wanted to construct a society with effective sexual equality – which is probably just a mistake, but suppose it. The most effective approach would surely entail knowing and taking into account how the world actually ticks. You’d be better off understanding that about 6,000 genes (out of 20,000) show significant expression differences between the sexes, than by pretending that we’re all the same. You would to make it so: by hook or by crook, by state force and genetic engineering.

Similarly, if you want to minimize war, pretending that people aren’t warlike is a poor start – about as sensible as fighting forest fires by pretending that trees aren’t flammable.

My advice to Augustin Fuentes, about not being a moron: show, don’t tell.
Since DNA is the enduring part, the part that gets transmitted from one generation to the next, the part that contains the instructions/program that determine development and specify everything – he’s wrong. Stupid, like you. Well, to be fair, ignorant as well: there are technical aspects of genetics that Agustin Fuentes is unlikely to know anything about, things that are almost never covered in the typical education of an anthropologist. I doubt if he knows what a Fisher wave is, or anything about selfish genetic elements, or coalescent theory, or for that matter the breeder’s equation.

There are a number of complex technical subjects, things that at least some people understand: those people can do stuff that the man in the street can’t. In most cases, amateurs don’t jump in and pretend to know what’s going on. For example you don’t hear much concerning amateur opinions concerning detonation physics or group theory. But they’re happy to have opinions about natural selection, even though they know fuck-all about it.
"Significantly fewer females are present at hunts than males...females tend to appear at the hunting site once the capture has been made..."

“Women in Tech”:
west-hunter  scitariat  discussion  ideas  pop-diff  biodet  behavioral-gen  endocrine  parenting  life-history  speculation  time-preference  temperance  health  counter-revolution  rot  zeitgeist  environmental-effects  science-anxiety  legacy  incentives  sapiens  multi  farmers-and-foragers  food  gender  gender-diff  intricacy  dimensionality  agriculture  selection  symmetry  comparison  leviathan  cultural-dynamics  peace-violence  taxes  broad-econ  microfoundations  africa  europe  asia  MENA  world  developing-world  🌞  order-disorder  population  density  scale  stylized-facts  cocktail  anthropology  roots  parasites-microbiome  phalanges  things  analogy  direction  rant  EEA  evopsych  is-ought  attaq  data  genetics  genomics  war  people  track-record  poast  population-genetics  selfish-gene  magnitude  twitter  social  commentary  backup  quotes  gnon  right-wing  aphorism  sv  tech  identity-politics  envy  allodium  outcome-risk  hari-seldon 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Pieties of Silence | The American Conservative
By the time he died on July 1 at the age of 83, Philip Rieff had, quite intentionally, slipped into obscurity. His seminal Triumph of the Therapeutic had appeared 40 years earlier, the epistolary Fellow Teachers in 1973. Little had been heard from him since. Rieff published just seven articles and reviews in the entirety of the 1980s, and, until the first volume of his three-volume magnum opus was released just a few months before his death, no additional books (if one excepts the fine collection of essays, The Feeling Intellect, edited by his former student Jonathan Imber, which came out in 1990). A famously prickly man, he spent his last years in his Philadelphia townhouse, venturing out rarely, seeing few visitors, fiddling with his unfinished manuscripts. He was one of those whose obituary prompts one to exclaim: was he still alive?


Indeed, compared to the emergent Western rejection of all “moral demand systems,” Rieff notes that communism was, in a certain sense, conservative. Americans, on the other hand, had been released by the anti-cultural doctrine of the therapeutic to be “morally less self-demanding,” aiming instead to enjoy “all that money can buy, technology can make, and science can conceive.” (This comparison helps explains why self-publicists such as Christopher Hitchens have been able so easily to “switch sides” in our culture wars; their fundamental allegiance is to the globalization of therapeutic remissiveness, and they realize that that goal is now best served by Western secular liberalism.)
news  org:mag  right-wing  history  mostly-modern  cold-war  profile  sociology  academia  ideology  communism  left-wing  culture-war  counter-revolution  rot  postmortem  usa  universalism-particularism  tradition  absolute-relative 
june 2017 by nhaliday

« earlier    

related tags

16thc  1770s  1790s  17thc  1800s  1810s  1848_revolutions  18thc  19thc  2011  2016-election  20thc  21stc  :/  ability-competence  abolition  absolute-relative  absolutism  academia  adversarial  aesthetics  africa  age-generation  aging  agri-mindset  agriculture  albion  alien-character  alignment  allodium  alt-inst  american_colonies  american_exceptionalism  analogy  analysis  analytical-holistic  anarcho-tyranny  anglo  anglosphere  anomie  anthropology  anti-jacobin  anticlerical  antidemos  antiquity  aphorism  applications  archaeology  aristocracy-natural  aristocracy  aristos  arms  army  article  asia  assembly  atlantic  attaq  authoritarianism  autism  axioms  backup  balance_of_power  behavioral-gen  being-becoming  being-right  benevolence  bentham  bibliography  big-peeps  big-picture  bio  biodet  bioinformatics  biotech  blog  bolingbroke  books  bounded-cognition  britain  british_history  british_politics  broad-econ  burke  burney_frances  business  canada  canon  capitalism  catholics  causation  change-intellectual  change-social  change  chart  china  christianity  christopher-lasch  church_history  church_of_england  citizenship  civic  civil-liberty  civil_liberties  civilization  civilizing_process  cjones-like  clarkjonathan  class-warfare  class  climate-change  coalitions  cocktail  cohesion  cold-war  coleridge  coming-apart  commentary  communism  comparison  compensation  competition  concept  conceptual-vocab  confidence  confounding  conquest-empire  conservatism  constant  context  contrarianism  cool  cooperate-defect  coordination  correlation  corruption  cost-benefit  cost-disease  counter-enlightenment  counter-reformation  courage  cracker-econ  criminal-justice  critique  crooked  cultural-dynamics  cultural_history  culture-war  culture  current-events  cybernetics  cycles  cynicism-idealism  dark-arts  darwinian  data  death  debt  deep-materialism  defense  deference  degrees-of-freedom  delicious-export  demand  democracy  demographics  density  deterrence  developing-world  dignity  dimensionality  diplomatic_history  direct-indirect  direction  directoire  discipline  discrimination  discussion  disease  dissenters  dissertation_on_parties  distress  distribution  diversity  domestication  domination  douthatish  downloaded  duns_scotus  duty  dynamic  dynasties  dysgenics  early-modern  eastern-europe  ecclesiology  econ-metrics  economic_culture  economics  econotariat  eden  education-civic  education  eea  ef-add  efficiency  egalitarianism-hierarchy  egypt  elections  elite  elites  embedded-cognition  embodied  emotion  empirical  endo-exo  endocrine  endogenous-exogenous  ends-means  english_lit  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  enlightenment  environmental-effects  envy  epigenetics  epistemic  equality  equilibrium  eric-kaufmann  error  essay  ethics  ethnocentrism  europe-19thc  europe-federalism  europe  evangelical  events  evidence-based  evolution  evopsych  exegesis-hermeneutics  existence  exit-voice  expansionism  expert-experience  expert  explanans  expression-survival  facebook  farmers-and-foragers  fda  fertility  feudal  fiction  fighting  finance  flexibility  flux-stasis  food  foreign-lang  foreign-policy  formal-values  forms-instances  france  french_enlightenment  french_politics  french_revolution-impact  french_revolution  french_revolutionary_wars  frontier  futurism  gallic  gallican  games  garett-jones  gavisti  gedanken  gender-diff  gender  gene-flow  generalization  genetics  genomics  george_henry  germanic  gibbon  gilens-page  gnon  gnosis-logos  gnxp  godwin_wm  good-evil  google  governing_class  government  great-powers  group-selection  growth-econ  guilt-shame  hanson  hari-seldon  harvard  hate  health  healthcare  heavy-industry  heresy  heterodox  heterodoxy  hierarchy  high-dimension  higher-ed  historians-and-politics  historians-and-religion  historical_fiction  historicism  historiography-18thc  historiography-19thc  historiography-tory  historiography-whig  historiography  history  history_as_examples  history_of_england  hive-mind  hmm  homo-hetero  honor  housing  human-capital  human_rights  hume-ethics  hume-historian  hume-politics  hume  huntington  hypocrisy  ideas  identity-politics  ideology  ifttt  impact  impetus  impro  in  incentives  india  individualism-collectivism  individualism  industrial-org  inequality  inference  info-dynamics  innovation  input-output  insight  institutions  integrity  intel  intellectual_history  interdisciplinary  interests  international_law  international_system  intervention  intricacy  investing  iq  ir  ir_theory  iran  iraq-syria  iron-age  is-ought  islam  israel  isteveish  jacobins  jansenists  japan  jargon  jefferson  john_paul_ii  journos-pundits  jstor  judgement  kant  kindle-available  kinship  kissinger  knowledge  korea  kumbaya-kult  labor  laisser-faire  language  latin-america  law  leadership  left-wing  legacy  legal_system  legal_theory  legitimacy  let-me-see  letters  leviathan  lexical  liberalism  life-history  links  list  lit_crit  literary_history  literature  lived-experience  local-global  locke-2_treatises  locke  logic  lol  long-short-run  long-term  love-hate  lower_orders  machiavelli  macro  madisonian  magnitude  malaise  management  managerial-state  manners  map-territory  maps  marginal-rev  marginal  martial  marx  mass_culture  math  media  medicine  medieval  medieval_philosophy  mediterranean  memetics  mena  mena4  merchants  meta:medicine  meta:science  meta:war  microfoundations  microsoft  middle_class  migration  military  mill  models  modernity  moloch  monarchy  monetary-fiscal  money  montesquieu  moral_philosophy  moral_reform  moral_sentiments  morality-christian  morality-conventional  morality-divine_command  morality  more_hannah  morsi  mostly-modern  msr  multi  muslimbrotherhood  myth  n-factor  napoleonic_wars-impact  napoleonic_wars  narrative  nascent-state  nation-state  national_interest  nationalism-globalism  nationalism  natural_law  natural_rights  near-far  neocons  neoliberalism  networks-information  networks-policy  new-religion  news  nietzschean  nihil  nitty-gritty  nl-and-so-can-you  no-go  nobility  nominalism  nordic  novels  nuclear  null-result  nullification  obama  objektbuch  occident  oceans  offense-defense  old-anglo  on  optimate  order-disorder  org:anglo  org:data  org:edu  org:junk  org:lite  org:mag  org:ngo  org:popup  org:rec  org:theos  organizing  orient  other-xtian  outcome-risk  oxbridge  paganism  paleocon  papacy  parable  paradox  parallax  parasites-microbiome  parenting  path-dependence  patho-altruism  patience  paying-rent  paywall  pdf  peace-violence  peace_of_utrecht  people  personality  phalanges  pharma  philosophy  philosophy_of_law  philosophy_of_social_science  physics  pic  pinker  piracy  planning  plots  poast  poetics  polanyi-marx  polarization  policy  polisci  politeness  political_culture  political_discourse  political_economy  political_history  political_participation  political_philosophy  political_press  politics-and-literature  politics-and-religion  politics  poll  pop-diff  pope_francis  population-genetics  population  populism  positivism  postmortem  postrat  power  pragmatic  pre-ww2  prediction  preference-falsification  prejudice  prepping  price_richard  priestley  princeton  prioritizing  privilege  privileged  pro-rata  profile  progression  project_muse  propaganda  property  property_rights  proposal  prose  protest  protestant-catholic  protestants  prudence  psychology  psychometrics  public  public_opinion  public_sphere  putnam-like  q-n-a  qra  quality  questions  quotes  race  radical_enlightenment  radicals  random  randy-ayndy  rant  rationality  ratty  realness  realpolitik  reason  recruiting  reference  reflection  reflections  reform-political  reform-social  reformation  regression-to-mean  regularizer  regulation  relativism  religion-established  religion  religious_culture  religious_history  religious_right  remarks_on_history_of_england  rent-seeking  repression  republicanism  reputation  responsibility  retention  review  reviews  revisionism  revolution  revolutions  rhetoric-political  rhetoric  right-wing  rights  ritual  robust  romanticism  roots  rot  russia  ryan_paul  s-factor  sanctity-degradation  sapiens  savigny  scale  schelling  science-and-religion  science-anxiety  science  scientific_revolution  scifi-fantasy  scitariat  scott_sir_walter  scottish_enlightenment  secularism  secularization  selection  self-control  self-examination  self-interest  self  selfish-gene  sex  sexuality  shelley_mary  signal-noise  signaling  simulation  sinosphere  slavery  social-capital  social-choice  social-norms  social-psych  social-science  social  social_contract  social_darwinism  social_history  social_order  social_psychology  social_sciences  social_theory  socialism  sociality  society  sociology  société_des_princes  southey  sovereignty  space  speaking  spearhead  speculation  speedometer  spencer_herbert  spock  sports  spreading  ssc  ssrn  stagnation  stanford  statesmen  status  stock-flow  stoic  stories  strategy  stream  street-fighting  strike  strikes  study  stylized-facts  subjectivity  subjects  sublime  success  sulla  summary  sv  symmetry  systematic-ad-hoc  tactics  tails  taxes  tea_party  tech  technocracy  technology  telos-atelos  temperance  terrorism  the-basilisk  the-bones  the-classics  the-devil  the-founding  the-great-west-whale  the-self  the-trenches  the-world-is-just-atoms  the  theology  theos  thesis  things  thucydides  time-preference  time-series  tip-of-tongue  tocqueville  todo  top-n  tories  track-record  tracker  trade  tradeoffs  tradition  trends  tribalism  trivia  trump  trust  truth  twitter  unaffiliated  unintended-consequences  universalism-particularism  urban-rural  urban  us-them  us_legal_system  us_politics  us_society  usa  usable_past  utilitarianism  values  vampire-squid  variance-components  vatican_ii  violence  virginia-dc  virtu  visualization  vitality  volo-avolo  walls  war  water  wealth  west-hunter  west_indies  western_civ  westminster  westphalia  whigs-radicals  white-paper  wiki  wingnuts  winner-take-all  wisdom  within-group  within-without  wollstonecraft  wonkish  world-war  world  worldviews  xenobio  yarvin  zeitgeist  zero-positive-sum  🌞  🎩  🐸  👽  🔬  🤖 

Copy this bookmark: