May 28, 2011

Selecting for Conformity

Bryan (Selfish Reasons for Having More Children) Caplan writes:
I had an interesting argument with Charles Murray at yesterday's Cato Book Forum.  While he expressed fundamental agreement with my views on nature and nurture, he thought parental marital status was an important exception.  Children of divorce do worse than children whose parents remain married; children of never-married parents do worse than children of divorce.  At least at first, Murray seemed to see these disparities as entirely causal: getting married causes your kids to do better in life; getting divorce causes some (but not all) of that benefit to go away. 
I objected that divorce and single parenthood are not random.  People who divorce are on average more impulsive and quarrelsome.  Single parents are on average more impulsive and less achievement-oriented.  Since these traits are heritable, we'd expect children of divorce and children of single parents to have worse outcomes - even if they were adopted at birth by Ozzie and Harriet.

You can read the whole thing there.

I want to note a social trend, that's reflective of a general theme: that in contemporary society, a lot of the rules for successful living aren't spelled out for people the way they used to be. This means that people who are smarter and/or raised in better social settings and/or naturally inclined toward successful life choices will still pick up the messages, but lots of other people won't. 

This isn't a universal trend -- for example, since the 1980s, the rules about not committing felonies have been made clearer after a disastrous experiment in the 1960s with blurring the message. Prison terms have been lengthened, and a huge fraction of popular entertainment is devoted to sending the message that criminals will get caught. 

In contrast, consider single motherhood and the term "bastard." A century ago, single motherhood was deterred, among other ways, by heaping opprobrium on the children of single mothers. That was cruel, but also pretty effective. Today, the term "bastard" has lost almost all connection with its original meaning. Nice people today would be shocked by the notion that society should discriminate against a child just because his parents weren't married. That's hardly the child's fault, now is it?

In fact, society is now deeply uncomfortable with the notion that we should be impolite to single mothers themselves. Thus, the term "single mother" has expanded strikingly to comprise not just never-married mothers, but also divorced mothers, and even widowed mothers. In most human civilizations, widowed mothers were always given higher regard than never-married mothers, but I see little of that in modern America. I was struck by learning that a Korean immigrant co-worker of my wife's, who was raising two daughters after her husband was killed in a car crash, always referred to herself as a "single mother" rather than as a "widow." Having come to English later than me, she was more aware of au courant Oprah Age terminology.

Not surprisingly, this decline in "preemptive discrimination" to deter single motherhood means we now have far more bastards. On the other hand, we don't see many bastards in the upper reaches of society, outside of celebrity bohemian circles. In fact, upper middle class life is evolving in directions that quietly but effectively discriminate against not just bastards, but also against the children of divorce. 

The extraordinary complication of the modern college admissions game, for example, are best navigated by happy two parent families where mom and dad work together seamlessly to polish Junior's resume. Consider Amy Chua: she seems like a handful, yet she and her husband get along well-enough to stay married, which allows them to bring their huge joint resources of money, energy, education, and connections to bear on getting their amenable oldest daughter into Harvard. 

This trend has disparate impact on the children of broken families, but what are a combination of single moms, deadbeat dads, men with demanding new girlfriends, and widows going to do about it? Form the Losers and Screw-Ups Rights League?

This may have something to do with the vague social trend that many people have noted: that the young people at the top of society today seem pretty happy, well-adjusted, cooperative, and much more conformist than in the recent turbulent past. I suspect that people of ornery and/or impulsive dispositions inherited from their screw-up parents are less likely to make it to the upper reaches of society than in the past. In older times, parents with screw-up inclinations were more likely to be deterred by explicit social pressures against bastardy and divorces. 

The niceness of today's SWPLs probably sets a good (if vague) example for the lower orders, which might have some impact on the decline in crime. On the other hand, this social selection for the children of nice, cooperative couples probably means that the upper middle class is becoming nicer and more cooperative, but also more conformist and more politically correct.

But are we losing any good things that go along with ornery nonconformity, such as creativity and insight?

By the way, if you like either of today's two posts, or are anticipating my upcoming VDARE column on an overlooked reason why Republicans are almost as hostile as Democrats toward noticing the race-IQ nexus,  please consider donating using the Paypal button at the top of the the righthand column above.

85 comments:

jb or mz's black hoodie said...

"This trend has disparate impact on the children of broken families, but what are a combination of single moms, deadbeat dads, men with demanding new girlfriends, and widows going to do about it? Form the Losers and Screw-Ups Rights League?"

Though I'm very much interested in education wrt outcomes for students, you lose me with the intense focus on getting into Ivy League institutions. I assume this is b/c you have children who are gifted enough and sufficiently prepared to compete at that level.

But, NEWS FLASH, the rest of us non Ivy Leaguers would be happy enough if our offspring attended the same state Us we did (hence the huge supply of toddler size college logo sweats & god-awful cheerleader outfits). There is life outside the upper echelons of society, Sailer.

Maybe I should come back after jrs 1 & 2 have gotten their degrees to see if you're over this status seeking phase enough to transform the world.

I guess you & yours wouldn't be of the iconoclastic bent either. Figures.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Bill Clinton counts as a 'celebrity bohemian' since he did not inhale.
Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

SWPLs? Uh...they aren't really having kids.

Miley Cyrax said...

As a matter of fact, we subsidize single motherhood in the U.S via welfare. When you subsidize something you get more of it. We're just helping single mothers have more kids along the Malthusian trap. It's also dysgenic because the women who end up being single mothers are impulsive and have lower future time orientation in the first place and pass this on to their offspring.

Anonymous said...

I don't even see the term illegitimate used very much any more. It is usually love child, which just seems silly.

Lucy said...

"The niceness of today's SWPLs probably sets a good (if vague) example for the lower orders, which might have some impact on the decline in crime. On the other hand, this social selection for the children of nice, cooperative couples probably means that the upper middle class is becoming nicer and more cooperative, but also more conformist and more politically correct."

The upper middle class seem obsessed with avoiding criticism/judgement and the kind of emotional confrontation that such direct communication requires. Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily mean you're dealing with nicer people. If you are not socialized in such a group at an early age and commit some social faux pas there are some potentially extreme consequences:

1) the lapse in a behavior that demonstrates politeness or sophistication can be viewed as serious as criminal behavior (if not more so)

2) the great aversion to direct communication which appears to be vicarious humiliation at the uninitiated's mistake may cause a problem that could be easily remedied to snowball

All day, every day until the end of my life, I will prefer simpler, honest people who are wise enough not to confuse a lack of sophistication with a lack of character and who have enough empathy not to let social conventions cause them to inadvertently destroy a human being.

What you're glossing over is the kind of hypocrisy that makes the term "Victorian" pejorative. What I've observed is upper middle class "mean girls", etc. who have been carefully trained to channel the inevitable bullying behavior towards non diverse targets. This means that a segment of the white population due to relative poverty, dysfunction or religious beliefs will take the brunt of their aggression.

You're kind of helping them out today, btw, Sailer.

Karol said...

Around two thirds of kids born in Scandinavian countries are illegitimate.

Contrast this with a country like Malta where there are few illegitimate kids, and indeed divorce is illegal. Any tourist will tell you that there are a lot of arguing married couples and hence, unhappy kids.

Where would you rather live? Which is better?

Anonymous said...

The degree of conformity among the Seattle "progressive free-thinkers" is astounding. But, if you asked them about it: We're all individuals!

Anonymous said...

re: bastards 2 of the last 3 presidents (in clinton and obama) are bastards. along with steve jobs. i don't see where you are coming from with the notion that bastards do not make it into high society
(edit- karl rove, as well)

beowulf said...

"In most human civilizations, widowed mothers were always given higher regard than never-married mothers, but I see little of that in modern America"

I disagree, never-married mothers live in a world of deadbeat dads and means-tested welfare. Widowed mothers are quietly taken care of by Social Security.
Your widow or widower who has not remarried can receive survivors benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives benefits on your record...
Your unmarried children who are under 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits when you die.

http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/onyourown.htm

Anonymous said...

There used to be two spheres in life: CORE VALUES and FUN.
In the past, both high folks, middle folks, and low folks shared in CORE VALUES and prioritized them over FUN. FUN was good too, but it couldn't violate CORE VALUES.

But then the West underwent a crisis of confidence. WWI, WWII, issues of imperialism, 'racism', etc. So, the CORE VALUES came into question. If Western elites were so decent, why did they allow stuff like WWI, WWII, Holocaust, etc to happen? And were CORE VALUES for poor people a means to keep them in chains: for example, keep blacks 'as nice negroes' than rising up as angry blacks? Keep the proletariat in chains instead of rising up?

So, CORE VALUES got weakened. White elites could no longer invoke CORE VALUES to uphold their civilization as good and decent, let alone the highest in the world. Also, many of the intellectuals, leftist and trained in Marxism, attacked and defamed elite/middle class values as 'bouregeois' or 'petty bourgeois'. VALUES became reactionary and old-fashioned, or worse--social control tools.
Then, feminists got into the act with 'patriarchy' stuff; Values were a means by men to keep women chained.
And blacks attacked white values as hypocritical. Whites said all this stuff about 'values' but kept the black man down, etc.

So, the concept of CORE VALUES weakened among the Western elites, especially after WWII. Many Jewish elites saw Western CORE VALUES as atavistic, bigoted, and conservative. After all, just how did Germans, a law-abiding and 'decent' people, follow Hitler like sheep and commit the crime of Holocaust? And Wasp elites after WWII also wanted to keep up with intellectual trends. With success of FDR, there was also confidence in rational programs to fix social programs. So, the anti-values people came from both rationalist intellectuals and from angry blacks. Also from artists who loved to mock 'bourgeois' values as sexual repression, social paranoia, social fears, and etc. FAR FROM HEAVEN shows how a decent middle class white household is really made up of a gay hubby and a white woman with repressed jungle fever. Rotfl.

But CORE VALUES also eased cuz of good times following WWII. With greater wealth and comfort, people just wanted to enjoy their life more. FUN became more important. With rock n roll and rise of youth culture--with roots in black culture--, FUN took on a political character. It wasn't just about kids having FUN but about being misunderstood and oppressed by their parents, old people, and 'everyone over 30'. FUN was no longer just fun, but a VALUE in its own right. And if you favored VALUES over FUN, you were lame and square---one of the Silent Majority who voted for Nixon.

Anonymous said...

But the problem was FUN since the 60s got pretty wild and crazy, with songs and movies glorifying drug use, crime, wild sex, vulgarity, etc. And without CORE VALUES to counter the effects of EXTREME FUN, the lower classes got corrupted and debased.

As for the upper classes, even though they OFFICIALLY favored FUN--cool and hip--over CORE VALUES--lame and square--, they still had enough sense and intelligence to know what was right and what was wrong. They practiced IMPLICIT CORE VALUES. And those values kept them more successful than people who literally think FUN is what life is all about.

Elites, unlike lower-class dummies, cling to and succeed by IMPLICIT CORE VALUES while enjoying FUN as entertaiment(or diversion). A Harvard guy listening to some rap music after doing his homework is very different than some lower class clown who thinks rap is life and so he never bothers with honkey-ass homework. Also, elites tend to be more responsible and discrete even when they do have 'wild fun'. If they cheat on spouse, they keep it secret and use condom. Or, the spouses come to a diplomatic understanding of 'you do your thing' and 'I do my thing', but 'we still maintain appearances and take care of the family'. I know of a very successful Jewish couple who sometimes goes for 'spouse-swapping', but they seem to be very congenial about it.

The Middle Class was--and still is--the last group to resist the neo-ideal of FUN over VALUES, which is why the it has often come under attack by liberal elites. The Middle Class know of the thin line between poverty and making it. Since they made it and wanna keep it, they know that life is not a game of FUN but real work based on VALUES. In contrast, the lower orders are too wild and stupid to resist the addiction to FUN, and the affluent elites are too far removed from reality and too filled with 'intellectual' notions to see the connection between social stablity and core values.
It's cooler to be rich and hip(in tune with fun)than rich and lame(with talk of values).

Also, the rich, though stable and family-oriented, still prefer FUN over CORE VALUES because they are obsessed with the ideal of freedom and 'liberation'. Even if they generally stick with one partner, they want to entertain the conceit that they are free and liberal enough to 'try different things' and not 'chained' to 'reactionary' AND 'patriarchal' CORE VALUES.

Also, lots of liberals work in media and entertainment where they make their dough by marketing EXTRME FUN, so why wouldn't they butter their own bread?

Henry Canaday said...

What strikes you when you read about famous high achievers in the 19th Century is how many (the great majority) were not raised by both birth parents, simply because one or both of these parents died while their children were still very young. Family breakup was not a problem, premature adult death was.

That's different, of course. The death of a parent can mean poverty, being farmed out to callous step-parents and plenty of misery. But is does not represent irresponsibility or betrayal of promises by one's parents. The obligation to deal honorably with the consequences of natural tragedies is still conveyed to the children by the example of deceased parents.

Anonymous said...

The whole "parents don't matter" thing is totally dumb. The people who write this stuff seem like they're trying to sound smart by uncovering some counter-intuitive truth, when this is just one of those situations where the "common sense" view is correct. I take it none of the people who write this stuff came out of abusive families.

Jason Malloy said...

I've followed this logic before to explain why it's exactly wrong to look at successful demographic groups for examples of effective cultural strategies. But there is an almost universal bias against thinking like this since it requires strong genetic-thinking, and because unsuccessful groups are too disliked for any counter-intuitive benefit of the doubt. To think that maybe NAMs or "white trash" actually know more about keeping their daughter off the pole than Asians or SWPLs.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you view the current elite in such generous terms, as if they were a bunch of insular, secular Ned Flanderses.

IQ filtering is the prime determinant, right? (As opposed to heritage, manners, business cunning, military success, etc.) The 99th percentile of nowadays don't entertain this quasi-Victorian concept of "showing a good example." Or you must be hanging around with different rich people than the ones I've met.

There's a short article on the Weekly Standard site from several years ago which I recommend here: "Too Smart To Be So Dumb"

Anonymous said...

Self actualization movements like feminism, the cult of indivualism spawned by the enlightenment. the roots of the decline of the traditional stigmas associated with family breakdown were seeded in western culture itself. it contained its own self destruct trigger within it all along...

Anonymous said...

So, Jews aren't white when it's convenient...it's the other way around...

David Mamet in NYTM...

Sometimes in the book I thought you were just trying to anger some of your liberal friends, like when you wrote the West sees the Middle East conflict as “entertainment.”

No, I think that it’s true. There has always been a different standard for the Jews. We’re like “honorary Aryans,” as Hitler said of the Japanese. That means that we’re human beings only when it suits the world to treat us as human beings. There’s a pretty good book on the subject — the Torah.

Anonymous said...

While he expressed fundamental agreement with my views on nature and nurture

LOL. Note the construction. Murray agreed with Capalan's views. As if Caplan came up with something that convinced Murray. As if it wasn't Murray's work that played instrumental role in Caplan adopting his particular set of views on interplay between nature and nurture.

Black Sea said...

In one of his essays, Theodore Dalrymple refers to "the sheer ignorance of how to live" that he observes among the British poor. I've always liked that phrase. When major life decisions become a matter of personal whim, confirmed (or not) through trial-and-error, you can imagine that most people aren't going to navigate this test very well.

Imagine for a moment that someone removed from the roadways all speed limit signs, lane dividers, and cross walks. Some people would still drive at a reasonable speed, stay on the right hand side of the road, and stop to let pedestrians cross, and not just out of habit, but through rational awareness of their own interests. But a lot of people wouldn't be capable of such calculation, and driving (not to mention crossing the street) would get a lot more nerve-wracking for everyone.

With regard to the other point, about the increase in conformity, I'm inclined to agree. The bureaucratic world (corporate, government, or academic) selects for "agreeableness" among most of its emp0loyees and we all know what this really means. A friend of mine who'd worked for the same company for over 20 years told me that during the entire time he'd been there, he could honeslty say that he'd never seen anyone lose their job due only and exclusively to incompetence. He had, however, seen all kinds of people lose their jobs for reasons of attitude. The institutional world will generally tolerate marginal performance indefinitely from a "nice guy," "team-player" type.

You have to be really good at a really essential job to get away with speaking your mind. On occasion.

Tricia said...

In Stephenson's The Diamond Age, the premise of the need for the primer is that even though Vicky culture is best, the only way that the adults really learn that is by having stepped outside of, or not conformed to it in the first place. The Primer is supposed to provide the subversiveness necessary to the girls so that they too can eventually truly appreciate the value of appropriate conformity, in the appropriate places.

I'm not convinced that the stay-married-upper middle class couples are nicer or more cooperative, nor that in fact, their children are more conformist. I wonder if they are simply more subversive rather than overtly anti-conformist. Their own moral system seems just as weak as lower-functioning folks--"we'll do anything to move our child ahead" is a vastly different viewpoint than the Ten Commandments, which was how society used to keep the lower-functioning members of society in line.

College admissions seem the prime example of a place where you learn how to game the system (much like how becoming an Eagle Scout means gaming how to get as many badges as you need, not being the most upstanding young man.) And while some parents may take the Chua approach, others just hire consultants to write their kids essays for them.

Now, are we losing something by having this subversiveness underneath, rather than having interesting elements? Well, on the margin, probably, but our overwhelming problems are with society not being able to have a general moral compass that goes beyond "what's in it for me".

JMSmith said...

Just want to comment on one aspect of your post, There is a woman in my university department, raising two girls on her own. Her husband was in Afghanistan, special forces, I believe. He was killed. But people call her a single mom. As far as I'm concerned, she's a War Widow. Damn stupid war, but that's another question. Please, everyone, refuse to use the phrase "single mom." There are widows, divorcees, and women who have had children without benefit of marriage. Isn't there some way to be decent to the latter class without equating them with the former?

Wes said...

Fascinating idea. I wonder of other civilizations have undergone this process of conformity and "niceness" at the top. Contemporaries always speaks of advanced civilizations as being a bit weak and effeminate.

Glaivester said...

Since these traits are heritable, we'd expect children of divorce and children of single parents to have worse outcomes - even if they were adopted at birth by Ozzie and Harriet.

But that glosses over the question of whether they would have better outcomes with Ozzie and Harriet than they would in a divorced/never-married situation.

The question here is whether or not the trends you are discussing actually have any effects, or whether they are just predictors - in the past, the rules were spelled out more explicitly, so almost everyone followed them or tried to.

But did this lead to better outcomes, or did we just have more people whose parents were married and never-divorced who were unsuccessful?

Dutch Boy said...

It is the corporate capitalist/welfare state that promotes passivity and conformity.

Bill said...

This trend has disparate impact on the children of broken families, but what are a combination of single moms, deadbeat dads, men with demanding new girlfriends, and widows going to do about it? Form the Losers and Screw-Ups Rights League?

-Steve Sailer


Well, first we ought to start by ditching presumptive maternal custody. I know you may not be all that familiar with this issue, but I am, and matrifocality represents a huge regression from civilized norms.

This eliminates the overwhelming majority of single moms and "deadbeat dads" in one fell swoop, and will be a huge step forward in guaranteeing that boys at least grow up with some emotional stability and shoot for moderate, constructive goals.

Sure, we may not have as many Bill Clintons and Barack Obamas come out of such a society, but visit a prison sometime if you want to see what the more likely outcome is for boys raised by single mothers.

Of course, your conformist, responsible SWPL types from intact families may have an advantage, but consider that they benefit from this state of affairs, and their political correctness starts to take on hues of self-interest at the majority's expense. Go sit in on some family law proceedings sometimes -- it's shocking for those who have never seen it first-hand. Of course, most guys who go through it have never seen it first-hand until they are served those fateful papers. It is a meat-grinder.

What percentage of kids grow up in intact families these days? 40%? What will it be in another generation? 25%?

You go on in this manner and there's nothing "eugenic" about it.

There is one very easy solution: end presumptive maternal custody. Do that, and the problem will be a fraction of what it is today. Stop rewarding women for adultery and promiscuity, and there will be less of it. Very simple. You should know that. Also, the very term "deadbeat dad" implies that women who leave their husbands and take the children have a right to expect something from them. Does that really make sense? You have a kind of common blind spot over this because you assume that these guys just ran off on their kids -- that's not how it goes down these days. I'm not sure you even have a clue to what extent women are indulged in these matters.

But the conformist SWPL PC types make a lot of money off this, and it reduces competitive pressure on their kids at the expense of others'. If this doesn't change, it won't end well.

BTW, there's really nothing new about this. Social upheaval due to preference for one class of children over another (e.g. concubines' kids vs. official wives' kids) has been a factor in the fall of many regimes over history. It will happen again.

agnostic said...

If growing up in a single-mother household is causative, then we should be able to look at the trend over time in that and predict other trends -- crime rates, risky behavior, drug use, early sex, etc.

For whites, 8% were brought up in single-mother households in 1970, 14% in 1980, 16% in 1990, and for the past 20 years it's plateaued around 17-18%.

Those past 20 years are when we've seen a plummeting of all the negative social indicators that are supposed to follow from growing up with just mother.

So it turns out that growing up in that family structure was not causal after all. It would have looked that way from 1960 or 1970 through 1990, when both trends were heading in the same direction. And indeed that period was the heyday of the "father absence" cottage industry.

But the past 20 years show that they were really separate trends that just happened to overlap for awhile.

Chicago said...

The SWPL crowd is evolving towards terminal boringness. They've become something like what a pet house cat is to one that's living in the wild: neutered, declawed, tame and just waiting for the next feeding time. Their idea of a duke-out is to get snarky with someone, then stride away as if they just came from the OK Corral shootout
If they have any kids then they'll probably be doomed to be hopelessly neurotic. Then the cycle of dysfunction starts up again, only in a newer configuration.

agnostic said...

I think most of the difference in conformity between today's young kids and those of wilder times is adjusting-here-and-now ("facultative"), rather than showing a different inborn wiring ("obligate").

Kids shook off conformity only when society looked like it was getting much more violent and unpredictable. The old rules were no longer a useful guide, since the old rules came from people who grew up in a safe and orderly world.

So kids had to fly more by the seat of their pants and experiment, while also applying selective retention after they figured out what worked and what didn't -- not experimentation for its own sake.

Now that the world has been getting safer and more predictable for 20 years, kids feel no need to use trial-and-error, do their own thing, etc. Doing what you're told seems to have been working, so why not keep on conforming?

When the crime rate starts shooting up again, kids will adopt the figure-it-out-ourselves style. We see that anytime there's a swing in violence rates: 1900 to 1933, 1780 to 1830, 1580 to 1630, and the later 14th C. Those were all periods of flaming youth, don't trust anyone over 30, whatever turns you on, and so on.

Auntie Analogue said...

"Having come to English later than me" should finish, "later than I [came to English]." It isn't English to say, "Later than me came to English," isn't it?


"[A]re we losing any good things that go along with ornery nonconformity, such as creativity and insight?"


I think, Mr. Sailer, you get ahead of yourself there - you went past broad-based healthy skepticism all the way to nonconformism (the latter having gotten far too much approbation when, after all, nonconformism is simply what used to be the quite unremarkable exercise of liberty). It's not just that we've lost genuine, and previously much rarer nonconformism - it's that we've lost a great healthy lot of good old-fashioned all-round sober skepticism. Not the rote ideological dismissal, which nowadays for political points-scoring often masquerades as honest skepticism, of the other ideologue's side, whether the other side be hard Left, or Fundie Base Right or any other pairing of antagonists in the Culture War. In fact until the 1960's there'd been no Culture War. Until the 60's being civilized and skeptical crossed just about every social line, and so, for that matter, did nonconformism which, since the 60's, has like everything else taken on burdensome, tiresome political baggage of which it had hitherto been free.

Anonymous said...

Yes to Bill's comment.

Family law reform is the first step to restoration. No fault divorce followed by the Bradley Amendment have destroyed our society.

Anonymous said...

You know what really kills me? All those judge shows. They are shameless in their shame-on-you moralism. People will watch Judge Judy or Judge Mathis--or some other clown--and cheer on the Judge for telling off all those shameless cheateres, liars, thieves, and etc. and putting them in their place. Ahhhh, we say, those punks are really getting their comeuppance.

On the other hand, people watch for the sheer sensationalism and trashy voyeurism of it all. And the judges, though OH SO OUTRAGED AND JUDGEMENTAL, are really showbiz whores greedy for fame and fortune. They are shameless self-promoters saying 'shame on you' to petty crooks.
And it doesn't seem to bother anyone that justice has been turned into cheap entertainment.

These days, even the culture of shame is shameless. The shame game for fame.

Ever notice if the judge is a white woman, the bailiff is a black guy; and if the judge is a black guy, the bailiff is a white woman, etc.

I suppose there is public morality and shaming in the form of anti-'racism' and anti-'sexism', etc, but they are PUBLIC, not personal. It may teach people to be nicer to others but it doesn't teach people to be personally industrious, responsible, accountable, self-reliant, and etc. Also, they put greater moral burden on certain groups, which means certain other groups could morally slack off.
It's like Wasps have to be very careful what they do and say, but Jews can get away with anything since criticism of Jews is 'antisemitic'.

Given that some groups are generally deficient in many individual/personal virtues and qualities, even to discuss those things could be 'racist', which is to say many virtues and excellence could be 'racist', which is why schools get rid of honors programs. If diligence is a virtue, and if whites are more diligent than blacks, saying so would be 'racist'. Public morality is undermining personal morality in some ways.

As for the moral hysteria about 'homophobia', heaven's sakes. True, we should be tolerant of gays, but now anything critical of gayness is 'homophobic'. And we are supposed to believe that gay sex between men isn't digusting. This isn't tolerance but TOTALITARENCE.

Anonymous said...

"The SWPL crowd is evolving towards terminal boringness."

True, but then it's all the more sad that the Right hasn't been able to counter this with politically incorrect derring-do and creativity. If anything, most conservatives are even more boring. Sarah Palin? Romney? Christian Rock? Or how about that Kurtagic character and his postcard facile-fascism and crap metal music?
And I for one am not a fan of Southpark. Sometimes funny maybe... but what annoying immature jerks.

Dutch Boy said...

"Any tourist will tell you that there are a lot of arguing married couples and hence, unhappy kids."

Ha! What planet are you from, Karol? Parents have been arguing ever since Adam and Eve argued over the results of that fruit-gathering expedition and kids have been happy nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

"It is the corporate capitalist/welfare state that promotes passivity and conformity."

Maybe... but also true of communism, Islam, Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, Asian cultures, etc, etc.

The most free and creative places are still the US and the West.

Anonymous said...

Remember... Candace Bergin was married to Louis Malle... but played Murphy Brown.

Anonymous said...

"David Mamet in NYTM..."

Mamet is a funny guy. He bitches about PC in OLEANNA but on the issue of Jewishness, he's just like that shrill girl.

What's really funny is many of his movies are veiled expressions of Jewish anxiety. Watch closely and his movies say, 'We Jews are different, we are difficult, we are assholes'.
Yet, when he's not writing plays, he wonders, oh gee wee, how come people see and treat Jews differently.

Anonymous said...

"Widowed mothers are quietly taken care of by Social Security."

Is this true even if the wife lost her hubby before retirement age? Suppose the guy died at age 30. Would the wife get SS?

Anonymous said...

The affluent watch stuff like GIRL WITH DRAGON TATTOO but most of them don't have wild tattoos. Those with wild tattoos aren't glamourous Nazi hunters but losers.

Anonymous said...

"The SWPL crowd is evolving towards terminal boringness."

True, but then it's all the more sad that the Right hasn't been able to counter this with politically incorrect derring-do and creativity.


This is because the alternaright is intensely, and stupidly, misogynist. Anybody who links to Roissy isn't going to attract any women to their movement who aren't broken, and without awesome chicks, your movement is doomed.

Simon in London said...

My lower-class Northern Irish mother joined the middle class back in the '60s, when you could do so based on intelligence and raw academic ability via the grammar school system and the exclusive UK University system. She married a downwardly mobile upper middle class Englishman but passed on her ornery and screw-up genes to me, though. I went to a grammar school then to Oxford, based on my intelligence/academic ability, in a fairly simple admissions process. I failed to navigate the complicated social & academic achievement rules there, got a weak degree, and would have been better off going to a different University, one with much simpler unwritten rules.

Thanks partly to assortive mating, I expect my son has much the same high intelligence, ornery, and screw-up genes as myself. My wife and I were unable to navigate the complex rules that get upper middle class kids into good state schools (we were offered a place for him, not just in a mediocre school, but in a 'sink' school full of feral whites and scary Somalis), but we have enough money to send him to private school, so he'll start out ok. But there's no way we could navigate anything like the US Ivy League college admissions process, and nor can we impart the social rules to become part of the English upper middle class metropolitan elite.

beowulf said...

"As far as I'm concerned, she's a War Widow."

Congress agrees with you. She's entitled to $100,000 - $500,000 in life insurance (only a maniac would leave their family for a war zone without maxing out), GI Bill benefits, Tricare health coverage plus widow and orphan pensions similar to SS (and she's eligible for that too).
------
"Is this true even if the wife lost her hubby before retirement age? Suppose the guy died at age 30. Would the wife get SS?"

Yes she would, as long as he'd earned $1,120 or more in 6 out of the 12 quarters prior to death.
Under a special rule, if you have worked for only one and one-half years in the three years just before your death, benefits can be paid to your children and your spouse who is caring for the children.
http://ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html

A single mother with a deceased baby daddy may qualify for half benefits-- she won't qualify but the kids might-- but SSA makes her jump through hoops (i.e. if he hadn't bothered to acknowledge and support the kids, they won't pay).

Gc said...

OT (or not), OECD study on school discipline problems.
Japan comes first, Finland third to last. USA well above average.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that there is some question about Clinton and Obama's biological fathers, their mothers were both married to their putative fathers and so they don't qualify as illegitimate. Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison were illegitimate.

Wandrin said...

"and a huge fraction of popular entertainment is devoted to sending the message that criminals will get caught."

I was thinking based on experience that these kind of explanations couldn't be true because the sort of criminals who make up the bulk of prisoners are too dumb and impulsive to be affected. But on reflection maybe they're the bulk of the prisoners because they're unaffected but people with more foresight aren't.

.
"Contrast this with a country like Malta...there are a lot of arguing married couples and hence, unhappy kids. Where would you rather live? Which is better?"

I would have said the opposite once but now i'm not so sure. If feeling secure is more important for kids then *maybe* Malta.

.
"After all, just how did Germans, a law-abiding and 'decent' people, follow Hitler like sheep and commit the crime of Holocaust?"

From 1917 onwards the Bolshevik regime in the Soviet Union were engaged in the mass murder of 30 million people. Every action has a reaction.

.

Wandrin said...

If it is true, and maybe it's not, that individual orneriness is a factor in innovation, and the Chinese early adoption of selection by ranked examinations, although beneficial in many ways, selected against individual orneriness then maybe the current accreditation ponzi scheme would also select against innovation over time if it wasn't going to collapse under it's own weight very soon.

The other factor in this is sheer numbers though. Say it is true that North Euros have 2% innovators because they haven't been urbanized long enough to have bred out individual orneriness as much as the Chinese have. However unless the trait was bred out completely - which i would have thought was unlikely - the Chinese will still have some - say 1%.

Then if say the Germans were 50 million and the Chinese (with the same level of education) were 200 million then the Chinese would still have twice the innovators.

However even if it was true the Chinese still had 1% ornery individual innovators they might be blocked from doing anything through an inability to be agreeable enough.

If any of that rambling has any truth to it then the Chinese should set up some science towns where it was acceptable to be a little crazy and fill it with aspie scientists and fertile state-funded hookers.

Marlowe said...

H G Wells predicted this scenario when he penned The Time Machine in 1895 - the division of human society into the Eloi and the Morlocks.

Difference Maker said...

This is because the alternaright is intensely, and stupidly, misogynist. Anybody who links to Roissy isn't going to attract any women to their movement who aren't broken, and without awesome chicks, your movement is doomed.

Control the media and the women will come.

David said...

Black Sea is right.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, upper middle class life is evolving in directions that quietly but effectively discriminate against not just bastards, but also against the children of divorce."

I would like to know, how do the upper middle class discriminate against both categories of children mentioned above?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think most women who have lost their husbands would prefer to be called single mothers rather than widows.

The term 'widow' conjures up images of dusty old crones dressed in black that no man wants to touch. There's also something morbid about it.

Anonymous said...

Karol said,

"Any tourist will tell you that there are a lot of arguing married couples and hence, unhappy kids."

Well, I've never been to Malta, but I've been in a high school classroom for over 30 years, have talked, listened to thousands of kids, have read who knows how many journals in that time, and can tell you how teenagers despise, I mean despise, their divorced parents. Oh sure, they love them too, but they hate them as well. Not the kind of "hate" that teens of all time have had for adults in authority, but scorn, disrespect, and yes, enmity for the careless and selfish agony the adults in their lives have caused them.

The human mind doesn't deal with abandonment well at all and the definition of abandonment is much broader than any parent would care to accept.

As much as divorced parents wish to believe otherwise ("Hey, my kids are doing well, have gotten used to it, know we both love them, we have a great relationship, we communicate really well" blah, blah, blah), I could tell you stories that put the lie to all of that.

They feel that what made them feel secure was, in the end, secondary to the desires of the adults in their lives...and they hate them for that and to a greater or lesser degree, depending on all kinds of things, always, always will.

It's a comforting lie to tell yourself the kids are just fine and everyone is better off.

agnostic said...

"You know what really kills me? All those judge shows."

That's a good point. What all those shows share is a focus on incredibly *petty* offenses that only affect one other person in society at most. E.g., Deshawn borrowed Maurice's iPod and after dropping it, returns it with some dead pixels on the screen.

Yet look at how much fire those wannabe dictators blow down.

It's like those school films from the 1950s that said you were going to rot and die if you didn't clip your fingernails in just the right way. High pressure to "solve" a problem that is trivial and of little consequence to broader society.

The establishment's continuing of do-what-you're told through the 1960s and early '70s at least shifted to problems that were of wide importance -- if you women enter the workforce, society will break down. If you young people don't follow the advice of your elders, the social fabric will be torn apart. And so on.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

All day, every day until the end of my life, I will prefer simpler, honest people who are wise enough not to confuse a lack of sophistication with a lack of character.

Nice sentiment, Lucy, but what do you talk to them about? Once you've exhausted the weather as a topic, what is there - the moronic reality TV shows they watch? Their "challenging" and often embarrassing family situations? The politics they learn exclusively from Fox News? In this society, intelligent people who are not criminals or screw-ups tend to become sophisticated whether they want to or not just by virtue of the wide range of media they are exposed to. If you rule them out, most of what's left may be honest, decent folk, but they are not good company for people who like to think.

it's that we've lost a great healthy lot of good old-fashioned all-round sober skepticism. Not the rote ideological dismissal, which nowadays for political points-scoring often masquerades as honest skepticism, of the other ideologue's side, whether the other side be hard Left, or Fundie Base Right or any other pairing of antagonists in the Culture War.

Excellent point, Auntie Analogue. The lines are now so sharply drawn that even smart, sophisticated people are forced to think the same way, at least in public. The demonization of those who do not toe is line is brutal, and it happens on both right and left ... and even at iSteve. Post a comment suggesting that maybe some non-white immigration is OK or that maybe there isn't a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to dominate the goyim and see what happens. The degree of conformity in almost every sphere of society is frightening. Even more frightening is that no one seems to notice or care.

Anyway, I agree with Steve that kids (by which I mean anyone under 30) in upper half of society seem "nicer" than they did back in my 70s youth, but it's all superficial. They're not really fundamentally nicer or less nice; human nature doesn't change that quickly. For example, they are not particularly nice to each other.

What they are is confrontation-avoidant, particularly with respect to anyone they perceive as being an outsider, including us old farts. That's why they SEEM so much nicer and more polite than my sarcastic, sneering, surly generation. It's one aspect of the conformity mentioned above, and it's partly the result of growing up in a feminized society where "niceness" and "sensitivity" are considered essential qualities in most environments.

none of the above said...

Karol:

At a guess, there are diminishing returns to ease of divorce, as with most other things. Going from no divorce to having it be difficult and rare but possible to get a divorce, probably most of the couples who get a divorce are seriously unhappy. As you move toward easier divorces, probably you get less and less of the benefit (letting people out of impossible-to-fix marriages) and more and more of the cost (leaving one parent to raise the kids, tearing up the family, etc.).

helene edwards said...

There was an example of the hostility to the term "bastard" just the other day on the #1-rated Bay Area morning radio show. In the context of the Schwarzenegger thing, the hosts complained that the term has become too-little used. A black woman named Robinesha, with the usual sputter and rage, reamed them out and reminded us that these days, issue from the unmarried is more or less the norm.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Karol, the Scandinavians may be civilized, but I'd rather live in a place uncivilized enough to know how to deal with swarthy foreigners raping the native women on a regular basis!

Anonymous said...

The public censure that illegitimate children got was good for them. It used to be that bastards tried harder. They had to prove themselves. Now there's no opprobrium to overcome. Bastards don't have to try at all.

Lucy said...

"In this society, intelligent people who are not criminals or screw-ups tend to become sophisticated whether they want to or not just by virtue of the wide range of media they are exposed to. If you rule them out, most of what's left may be honest, decent folk, but they are not good company for people who like to think."

Such people are great for cultural discussions though not for anything of real substance. They are the new status quo which in my opinion doesn't qualify them as great thinkers.

I can't help remembering a conversation I had with a blue collar type guy when I was a teenager. He gave me a bit of commonsense advice about college: "If you don't know exactly what you're going to study then don't go." It was an astute observation though I just thought that as a tubby kinda trollish looking guy who worked with his hands he probably didn't know what he was talking about. Thankfully, I was polite believing I was indulging the guy.

Smart and intellectual aren't one and the same thing. If you've got problems that need solving, go for smart every time.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect that people of ornery and/or impulsive dispositions inherited from their screw-up parents are less likely to make it to the upper reaches of society than in the past. In older times, parents with screw-up inclinations were more likely to be deterred by explicit social pressures against bastardy and divorces."

Using this logic, maybe there is some justice in calling a bastard a 'bastard'. (By the way, what was a female bastard called? Bastardess?) If bastards are the product of wild/crazy genes of their parents, it means they drove their parents crazy and pressured them to produce them.

People say, "I didn't choose to be born", but in a way, they did. Before anyone was born, he or she existed as the force-within-his/her-parents-that-drove-the-parents-to-have-sex. In other words, whenever a man or woman feels horny, it's the child-not-yet-born sending a message, 'come on, screw and give birth to me'.

Though people say "I feel horny", in biological terms, it really means, "a genetic force within me is pressuring me to have sex to produce another life." The child-not-yet-born is throwing tantrums to be born in the form of 'raging hormones'.
This is true of humans and animals. When animals go into heat or when people feel horny, it's almost like they're possessed by a demonic, irrational, or alien power. They can't think rationally. They just wanna get it on. The life-not-yet-born is pressuring them to have sex to give birth to life-borned.

Of course, humans do have control over their lives. Unlike other animals, humans are the ONLY creatures that have sex to reproduce. When animals go into heat and screw, they have no idea, 'my screwing is going to lead to kids'. And they don't think in terms of 'I want kids and I want to be a parent'. No, animals just go into heat, have sex, and then natural processes take over. Female has cubs or kits and takes care of them. But there is no conscious thinking in terms of 'I want to have kids' or 'having sex is gonna lead to kids'.

Humans, on the other hand, are probably the only animals that knows sex leads to pregnancy which leads to childbirth. So, humans are the only creatures to consciously have sex TO HAVE KIDS. Animals just have sex cuz they go into heat and it just feels GOOOOOOD to be doing all the humping. They feel frustration from the heat and find pleasure in the hump. It's like a starving beast just gotta eat to satiate its hunger(and enjoy the meal too).

Humans, on the other hand, know that beyond the pleasure of sex lies the pain of childbirth plus the cost of raising kids. So, humans, more than animals, do consciously choose to have sex to have kids.

Anonymous said...

EVEN SO, sexual energy is pretty powerful stuff. It send even the smartest guy into that Chuck Berry song about my ding and your ding and everybody ding.
What is the nature of this sexual energy? It's the power of the DNA. It doesn't just wanna be stuck inside one person but wants to carry on and multiply into other organisms. So, the DNA in each person makes that person horny or ornery or hornery. It says 'have sex and produce a kid'. But this 'it' is the voice of the child-yet-to-be-born within the not-yet-parent. So, in a way, we all chose to be born.
In our state of not-yet-born-ness, we were forces within our parents' DNA driving them crazy to have sex. It's like a kid goes to his parents and rags "I want that toy" on and on and on until the parents give in and buy it for him. Similarly, before anyone was born, he or she was the force within his/her parents banging on the door and saying, 'let my one-half in the guy(soon-to-be-dad) join with the other-half in the gal(soon-to-be-mom) and form into me in the womb and then let me be born!'

If the parents of a bastard felt especially hornery, it was because the bastard-yet-to-be-born was driving them nuts to have wild crazy irresponsble sex.

In one sense, a bastard is innocent cuz he didn't choose to be born, at least from the conventional perspective. But in another way, he did choose to be born because prior to his conception, he was the wild genetic force within his parents who drove crazy to have sex.

Even so, maybe today's bastards are even crazier than in yrs ago. In the past, a beastly guy, especially if rich and privileged, might have taken advantage of a poor innocent girl. She might have been forced to do what she didn't want to do. Like in the series THE MALLENS. The guy might have had the wild-bastard-hornery gene but maybe not the woman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGWWYkLmDv8

But, women are free today, so I suppose we often have wild guys and wild gals getting it on. Bastard gene meets bastardess gene.

Miguel Madeira said...

"Around two thirds of kids born in Scandinavian countries are illegitimate."

Most of these "illegitimate" children in Scandinavia are not sons of single mothers, are sons of regular couples who live together, only without being officially married.

Difference Maker said...

Post a comment suggesting that maybe some non-white immigration is OK or that maybe there isn't a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to dominate the goyim and see what happens. The degree of conformity in almost every sphere of society is frightening.

Since these positions are incorrect, expect to be corrected. I'll be proud if there is strict conformity as to the answer.

Jews are not monolithic and some immigration may be ok. Problem solved! Deportation and moratorium - Get to it!

These matters are of grave consequence to the future of the nation

Difference Maker said...

In this society, intelligent people who are not criminals or screw-ups tend to become sophisticated whether they want to or not just by virtue of the wide range of media they are exposed to. If you rule them out, most of what's left may be honest, decent folk, but they are not good company for people who like to think.

Do share your sophisticated and wise plans for making this country into a great power.

Anonymous said...

Do we suffer from EXCESS LOVE?

Consider our love for sweet stuff. This was biologically useful since sweet stuff have lots of calories. Early man had to scrounge for food, and it was to his advantage to love sweet stuff since he had to pack on the calories whenever possible. So, if he had a taste for berries and fruits, good for him. In a tough world of much bitterness, sweetness was not only a welcome respite(and pleasure)but a chance to store some fat. Also, since sweet stuff wasn't all that plentiful--and since early man had to be active and move around a lot--, he didn't have to worry about getting fat or diabetes.

Modern man still has sweet tooth but can sit around all day. And he has access to tons of sugary foods. So, sweet tooth, which was an evolutionary advantge of early man, became something of a handicap for modern man. Modern man eats too much sweet stuff, grows fat, and becomes ill.

Well, maybe the same goes for love. We may ask... why is the feeling of love so POWERFUL among higher animals like cats, apes, elephants, hippos, dolphins, and of course man? Considering the brutality and horrors of nature, why did organisms produce something so sentimental and heart-warming? Given the tooth-and-claws way of nature--from which man also arose--, there shouldn't have been a place for love in the world. By all accounts, it seems like every organism would be best off ruthlessly looking out for its own interest. So, the 'logical' thing for all animals to do is be heartless and look out for numero uno. But if this is the case, mating would be difficult between males and females. And even more important, it's unlikely that mothers would take care of their offsprings. In a way, love is a hindrance for the mother. She has to share her food with offsprings. She may endanger her life to save her kits or cubs. Especially given the brutal nature of nature, love seems irrelevant and counter-productive. Yet, the species survives only if the offsprings survive. And so, the powerful emotions of love/attachment/bonding between mother and offspring is crucial. Everything in nature tells her to abandon her offsprings and look out for herself. Survival is tough, things are rough, food is scarce, etc. It's difficult just to survive on one's own. So, why increase the risk by taking care of others? Since the 'logic' of nature would suggest that the mother should abandon her offsprings--which are a burden--, there has to be the irrational force of 'love' to bond the mother to the offsprings(and in some cases to the father to mother and offsprings; male lions do play father roles).

Anonymous said...

So, the intensity of love developed as a counter-force to the ruthless 'logic' of nature. Love was never meant to be for love's sake but to emotionally pressure/persuade the organism to go against the logic of nature and risk even its own survival to increase the chance of survival for its offsprings.
So, the power of love only really makes sense against the logic of brutality. It is the yin to the yang or yang to the yin, whichever is which.

But modern humans live with no dangers. Thus, love is no longer the counter-force against the brutal logic of nature. Modern humans have all their needs; they don't worry about survival or starvation. Since there is no 'logic' of nature, there is just love to grow fatter and fatter.

Suppose a bunch of white women were in a war zone, and their lives were threatened. They could save themselves by running off on their own, but they don't because they feel a strong to their children. Their love counters the survivalist logic. Their love makes them even want to sacrifice themselves for their kids. Here, love serves its original evolutionary purpose.

In this ruthless scenario, not only does love counter the 'logic' of brutality, but the 'logic' also trims down on excess love. It keeps love lean and useful and purposeful. A mother in a warzone may feel sufficient love to save her own kids, but she's not wanna waste her love about 'saving mankind' and all that dumb flaky crap. Love, because of its 'weak sentimentality' is potentially harmful to the organism. What good would love do if a tiger charged you but you just stood there filled with 'love for all creatures'? Just as the 'logic' of nature has to be counterd by love, love has to be trimmed and made lean by the 'logic'.

But the modern SWPL woman faces no dangers. There is 'logic' to trim down on her excess love, which just grows bigger and bigger and flabbier and flabbier. Without the logic to cut off the excess fat, love turns into goo-goo 'save the world' crap, the kind promoted by Bono and other idiots. Europe may be swamped by masses of dangerous non-Europeans, but prosperous Europeans are all fattened on excessive flabby love.

So, love, like the sweet tooth, now indulges in excess when its original purpose had been to counter the 'logic' of nature for the purpose of increasing the chance of survival for the offsprings(the future of the species). Both had been evolutionarily advantageous but now they've become disadvantageous to modern white people. With too much food and too much safety, they can indulge in excess sweets and excess love. Instead of thinking of their own offsprings, they wanna SAVE HUMANITY with their EXCESS LOVE.

none of the above said...

The real question is, to what extent have we as a society been making more and more of success in life depend on getting the perfect scores and resume fillers in high school? To the extent that's the only real path to success, we will select for conformity, because only people who followed exactly the prescribed path could get the perfect grades, perfect test scores, perfect resume matieral, perfect letter, etc., and get into Yale.

My sense, though, is that there are a lot of other paths to success. (Though I think we're becoming a more-and-more credential driven society over time, and that also selects for conformity.)

Laban said...

I think Caplan's more correct than Murray here. But 60-odd years ago in the UK hardly anyone divorced - it was seen as something that happened in America, like violent crime ;-(

Back then a divorce for a public figure could end a career - the most famous example (at one remove) being Edward VIII. In the 1950s the Queen's sister fell in love with a divorced man, did her duty and dropped him. Only in the 70s/80s/90s did the Royal Family's love life turn into a TV soap.

In my primary school class of 30-odd children I was the only fatherless (for whatever reason) child. Not so 40 years on, when my kids were at school.

It's likely that people who don't get married are (on average) less committed and more self-regarding, impulsive etc so in that sense Caplan's correct, but Murray's also correct that the public declaration of commitment is important - in that it reinforces the culture that says - "you don't leave your kids". The expectation - legally and socially enforced - of marriage (and a corresponding negative view, often legally enforced, of bastardy), and its importance in a society, is part of a cultural setting which values the raising of children by two parents. The legal bits and the cultural bits react on, reflect, reinforce each other in a kind of dialectic - the same dialectic as you see in criminal punishments.

In China, an unmarried woman who has a child is subject to crippling fines (several years wages). In the UK and the US she would be given a flat and welfare payments.

A few months back the UK Institute of Fiscal Studies, those well-known anthropologists, produced a report basically saying "it would make no difference if more people married, as the people who currently don't marry are the people who would split up anyway".

This statement - that cohabiters lack the commitment of the married - was inexplicably greeted with glee by the UK left.

Anonymous said...

"The real question is, to what extent have we as a society been making more and more of success in life depend on getting the perfect scores and resume fillers in high school?"

How else is academic excellence determined for most people?

But I don't believe that is or will be the ONLY path to success. Many computer/high-tech giants dropped out of college and did their own thing, starting in their garage.
And though Zucker did attend Harvard, his success owed to being a maverick.
Spielberg didn't go to film school.
Neither did Richard Linklater.
And with rise of internet and etc, there is greater chance for outsiders to get attention. Without the internet, Sailer would be far less known.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the problem of EXCESS LOVE exists among animals too. Look at dogs. They are very loving and that's nice. But also stupid. If a housedog filled with excessive love for all people and other animals were to be let out in the wild, it wouldn't last a second.

Wild dogs can love too but it knows when love is appropriate, when it is dangerous/weak. An African wild dog doesn't try to be friends with hyenas and leopards. Their love is in check by the harsh logic of nature. But family dogs have been raised--indeed bred--for their excess love, which means they can only thrive/survive in the NICE protective environment provided by humans.
This is the paradox of excess love. It loves most things but must be protected from them since many things in the world are dangerous. It's easy to love wolves and tigers when we are separated from them, but not when we're face to face with them. It's easy to love Somalis and other Africans when they're over there and we're over here. But when huge numbers of them end up amongst us, they're not so lovable. (But westerners fat with excess love don't have the guts to admit that not everyone/everything is lovable since excess love has become a drug to them.)
Grizzly Man, for instance, was killed by excess love for bears. The moron was like a stupid dog trying to be pals with everything/everyone.

This brings up Christianity founded on a man who love all of humanity. I suppose if one kind of pathology makes one wanna kill others, another pathology makes one seek death or martrydom, which could mean there is a connection between murderous psychopaths and saints. Psychos wanna kill, saints wanna be killed. Psychos suffer from excess hate(or lack of love) and saints suffer from excess love. As for guys like Che and Mishima, it seems they suffered from both psycho and saint complex.

Even so, Jesus knew what he was getting into. He didn't harbor naive illusions about where love was gonna take him: hatred by the mob and death. And given the harsh realities of his time(and most of human history), where the 'logic' of life was brutal, maybe His kind of love served a need for people with wounded souls and bodies.
Since life was pretty horrible, spirituality of love gave people hope, the will to go on. For most of Christian history, the church was like a hospital for souls, and there was a need for that stuff to counter the logic of history.

But in the modern era of plentiful food, pleasure, and etc, we don't have wounded souls but inflated egos that wanna be coddled 24/7 and wants to just huggy-wuggy everything. So, the church has changed from the merciful hospital of souls to mega-mall Rock concert fest. Lots of McChurches are more about love as a consumer fantasy than a real need. Consider how the church told all those mexican-americans that loving Jesus is gonna make them rich.

Anonymous said...

This SELECTING FOR CONFORMITY always happens when the dust settles. In the early yrs of America, the East Coast produced the Founding Fathers and other folks. But as the East got more settled, things got more orderly. A system could be instituted whereby people made the social climb through an agreed-upon process. Over time, the East Coast came to be dominated by rigid stuff Boston Brahmin types.

Same with the Wild West. Once, guys like John Wayne could thrive when the dust hadn't settled yet. Man had to live by his guts as well as wits. He couldn't rely on an established system that chose winners and losers in an orderly efficient manner. (At the beginning of RED RIVER, John Wayne just stakes his territory.) The pioneer had to prove himself a winner by creating the world that had yet to be created.

But once the West built towns with churches, schools, courts, and other stuff that made things safe for children and womenfolk, success was less the product of randomness and wildness than of working within the system. When the West was open and wild, any creative person could get some book-learning and become a lawyer. But once towns were built and law schools created--and rules instituted--, one could become a laywer only by submitting to a process. Same goes with being doctors. Doctors certainly used to be more 'creative' back in the old days when medicine hadn't yet been institutionalized. Well, you gain some, lose some. Today's lawyers have to conform more to established standards, but otoh, do you want to hire one of those 'creative' lawyers from the old days?
And journalism too used to be a lot more creative in the old days when journalistic ethics was less well defined. Since those ethics got more defined, it got more professional, more 'conformist'.

Even so, I don't think professionalization itself has been the problem. We want professional doctors, lawyers, and journalists than creative amateurs and charlatans. The problem isn't professionalism but correctness. I think the golden age of journalism was maybe the 60s and 70s. For the first time, the media could cast aside taboos and report on all manner of news and offer all sorts of views but also do it within journalistic ethics.

Conforming to high standards of the profession isn't the same as conforming to a set of dogmatic beliefs that say so-and-so.
Professionalism is conformism to a process, a method. And through this process, it seeks the truth, whatever it may be. It's like there is a scientific method but no apriori scientific truth. The truth is revealed via the method.

In contrast, political correctness is a conformism not to a process but to a (pre-ordained)product. The product must be 'anti-racism', 'anti-sexism', 'anti-homophobia', etc.
The problem is the process of professional journalism/science doesn't always yield the desired product of correctness. So, what is done about this? The incorrect product is suppressed or reviled(so much so that people are afraid to discuss it, even if it's true: like 'blacks run very very well'). Or, the process itself is denigrated as Euro-centric, reactionary, or whatever: like anthropology now declaring that it is NOT a science but a kind of social advocacy.

Political correctness is neo-Ptolemism. It has apriori truths and everything has to be arranged in order to fit that model. Of course, like the Ptolemian model, it can be made to work theoretically, but it's still a wrong picture of reality.

The Tychonian(click lower right bottom)seem a variation of the Ptolemy model, and I suppose it works as a theoretical explanation, but it's still untrue. And an inelegant strained model at that.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2jRGYC/dd.dynamicdiagrams.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/orrery_2006.swf

barbra's black hoodie said...

"Same with the Wild West. Once, guys like John Wayne could thrive when the dust hadn't settled yet. Man had to live by his guts as well as wits. He couldn't rely on an established system that chose winners and losers in an orderly efficient manner. (At the beginning of RED RIVER, John Wayne just stakes his territory.) The pioneer had to prove himself a winner by creating the world that had yet to be created."

You know this odd conglomeration of references to movies and Ptolemy doesn't represent the more linear and controlled thinking style of conformists. It's like you're saying, "Rebel by conforming!" or "Dare to conform!"

Anonymous said...

The question is 'how much moral truth is owned by the elites?'

There were all sorts of conformism in the past that younger people rebelled against. John Reed the commie grew up rich but rebelled against the unjustness of exploiting the workers. Morality was on his side(even if his solution was crackpot).

And guys like Hemingway rebelled against their parents. Hemingway got sick of all the proper manners and that stuff. Maybe it wasn't very moral but it was liberating.
And 60s kids rebelled against their overly materialistic parents. And they also rebelled against social injustices in a nation that purported to be free and equal. Morality was on their side.

But how does one morally justify rebellion against PC? PC isn't just an elite thing but big among blacks and Hispanics, though, of course, in a selective manner--some things are more incorrect than others.
PC morally protects the elites because they can say they're working for the oppressed. It's easier to call for the heads of snobby aristocrats than those of rich swapples who wanna feed the hungry in Africa and save the world from Big Oil. And though swapples may be mostly white, they did vote for Obama and hang around blacks like Gladwell and John McWhorter to show how 'progressive' they are. If old elites could be needled for their bigotry, snobbery, and contempt, this is more difficult to do against SWPL who dress and act 'casual' and have politically correct-ized their lifestyles. So, a SWPL doesn't just get himself a big mansion but a green-tech mansion. He may be a rich vain pig, but hey, he's environmentally conscious.

Also, if elites in the past were wasps who could be needled on their 'racist' past and privilege, today's top elites are Jews, the Holocaust-Godpeople protected by ADL and the media that they control. And Jews would have us believe Mormons and Southern baptists have more power--and the wrong kind--than Jews do. Wall Street Jews could rob us blind but we cannot point this out.

So, the PC elite is morally protected far more than any elite in the past.
So, their conformism is tougher to crack. To rebel against them would be morally foul. In the past, rebellion against the elite could be deemed socially nasty, politically improper, etc but not necessarily immoral. If anything, the rebellion could be justified on moral grounds.

Anonymous said...

For rebellion to work, it needs to be morally grounded. So, how do we do it? Maybe learn from the history of rise and fall of Christianity. Christianity too was a morally-justifying creed that protected the elite. Since Jesus was about love and the Son of God, a king or noblemen who upheld Christianity had the divine/moral right to rule. And to rebel against the king or the Christian social order would be tantamount to rebelling against God and Jesus Himself.
But in time, rise of science questioned the basis of faith. Also, the elites of Christian order were exposed as corrupt and oppressive. So, the forces of counter-Christianity earned moral credence whereas the Christian order lost it. Also, the moralism of Christianity got repressive and stifling, suppressing even healthy emotions as 'evil and wicked'.

PC is, in some way, even more vulnerable than Christianity. If moralism of Christianity is based on faith, morality of secular PC is founded on science. Yet, PC violates scientific principles. The Left also defined itself as pro-freedom against the repressive right, but PC is now shutting down free speech. etc. Today, college kids may be socially liberal on many issues but they're also more libertarian than their professors and parents cuz they have access to different news online and can discuss stuff. Just as girls of the 90s rebelled against their overly puritanical feminist mothers, many kids are sick of excessive PC taboos. (To be sure, the skank rebellion against old feminism had dire results.)

Also, it's not difficult to moralize political incorrectness. It is morally just to criticize vast Jewish power when it abuses national interests. It is morally just to discuss the problems of black crime. It is morally just to be honest with science and truth.

Anonymous said...

"I can't help remembering a conversation I had with a blue collar type guy when I was a teenager. He gave me a bit of commonsense advice about college: 'If you don't know exactly what you're going to study then don't go.' It was an astute observation though I just thought that as a tubby kinda trollish looking guy who worked with his hands he probably didn't know what he was talking about. Thankfully, I was polite believing I was indulging the guy.
Smart and intellectual aren't one and the same thing. If you've got problems that need solving, go for smart every time."

Whether college is worth it or not, it is a memorable period in a person's life. Up to highschool, you're living at home and not legally independent. You're still officially a kid.
And in the world of work, there's no time for dreams and meaning. It's 'gotta gotta gotta get ahead'.
College is the time when you're truly free from home for the first time yet not chained to careerism and pragmatism. College is a time to dream, party, have fun, and be with lots of people your own age.

So, maybe what we need to provide for many young people for whom college is too expensive(not worth the cost) is a kind of giant club for 4 yr post-highschool club where you can do some partying, some dreaming, some discussing, etc. I mean it would be a bummer to go straight from highschool to the workforce without a few yrs to take stock of your life.

Anonymous said...

Selecting for conformity? I seriously doubt that. I think what's happened is that we've gotten much better at identifying and sifting out the elites from the rest. This idea that people who have excellent academic credentials and scores are somehow lacking in creativity or some other intangible oh so important trait that is present in large quantities in a high school dropout is nothing but sour grapes.

Lucy said...

"College is the time when you're truly free from home for the first time yet not chained to careerism and pragmatism. College is a time to dream, party, have fun, and be with lots of people your own age."

College is a way to prolong childhood. If you are a successful student, you work for free by joining volunteer organizations, getting internships and often having to complicate your life by getting a part-time job. You make it sound like an easy ride where you can mostly daydream or discuss philosophy. Unless you want to waste that money your spending, it's not.

Besides, college shouldn't be the best part of your life. You shouldn't be dated by the trends in thought and pedagogy up to the point you graduate. Rather, you should be developing intellectually and career-wise throughout your life and take yourself seriously while doing so. It's completely unnecessary to compartmentalize our lives this way.

Besides, you aren't truly free from home when mommy and daddy are paying and/ the perhaps unwarranted financial investment in your 18 year old self is being funded by loans. There's no reason our 18 year olds can't be responsible, relatively carefree adults due to not having children or great job responsibilities yet. And, there's no reason that a mature young person who is paying his own way should be barred from partaking of a quality university education.

We're not a society of nobles who shouldn't think twice before making the huge upfront investment that college usually is (Some have even suggested using that money to establish a young person as an entrepreneur rather than wasting it on a degree of dubious value.). As I mentioned, you pretty much have to find productive, unpaid work for yourself as a college student in order to present yourself effectively upon graduation anyway. I'm advocating flexibility here that combines the advantage of developing your ability to think abstractly along with a healthy respect for the practical aspects of life which is where most of us who don't become professors or writers concentrate our efforts.

For instance, what if a young person got involved in an aspect of the food industry, taking the job seriously, and, along the way, perhaps got a science degree that related to the processing of the food, growing it or using it for medicine or, took a more humanistic approach, and became fluent in the language of the country where that food is produced or got an area studies degree in order to do business there.

The way we approach education now is by having inexperienced young people make decisions about what to study based on limited information about what opportunities will be available as a result of gaining this expertise.

Getting a degree in Russian, for instance, was a good idea up to the point the cold war ended. Then, it became more profitable to be fluent in Spanish or Chinese, even if you simply became a high school language instructor. You may still be very young but your education dollars are already spent and the loans are due. Yet you are already somewhat obsolete. This could happen when a new technology emerges in a medical field, too.

What I'm suggesting (likely via distance learning degree programs) will not only make it possible for people to get further training at the point it becomes most profitable, it will keep us all mentally agile and vital long past age 22.

Anonymous said...

"We're all individuals!"


I'm not.

Anonymous said...

"What percentage of kids grow up in intact families these days? 40%? What will it be in another generation? 25%?"


61% of children live with both biological parents. Probably because stable marriages produce more children.

Also, 20% of women over 40 have no children, and 27% of women have 53% of the children. All those single moms, divorcees etc, yeah, there are plenty of those chicks, but, they don't have that many kids.

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb08-30.html

"What percentage of kids grow up in intact families these days? 40%? What will it be in another generation? 25%?"

If the trend continues, marriage rates could go up. I can't predict that but it is possible.

"According to the 2008 Current Population Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.9 million children live in the same homes as their biological fathers, representing 67.4 percent of all children. In 2004, the number and percentage were 48 million and 65.5 percent respectively."

http://www.fatherhood.org/Document.Doc?id=10

Anonymous said...

"I think most women who have lost their husbands would prefer to be called single mothers rather than widows."


Huh? I would never call myself a single mom. It is like calling myself, slut.

Anonymous said...

"In China, an unmarried woman who has a child is subject to crippling fines (several years wages). In the UK and the US she would be given a flat and welfare payments."

Yeah, but the Chinese consider themselves a nation to which all members have an obligation. In the west the haves consider themselves the 'saviors' of the weak minded losers.

The Chinese are playing to win. The west is trying to win "hearts and minds". It's a fool's errand.

read it said...

"So, maybe what we need to provide for many young people for whom college is too expensive(not worth the cost) is a kind of giant club for 4 yr post-highschool club where you can do some partying, some dreaming, some discussing, etc. I mean it would be a bummer to go straight from highschool to the workforce without a few yrs to take stock of your life."

Okay, dreamer, you pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Those with wild tattoos aren't glamourous Nazi hunters but losers.

And how come Nazi hunters are still glamorous, while commie hunters are "McCarthyist", "reactionary", "imperialist", and the like?

TGGP said...

Black Sea, there was actually a Dutch traffic engineer named Hans Monderman who removed all traffic signs from a city. Made things safer.

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