December 12, 2011

A tribute to "Moneyball"

A reader writes from the shores of the Bosporus:
Hi Steve

I just saw a baseball movie named "Moneyball" and I loved it. Even though I'm bored to death of "success story" movies -- be they on sports, music, movies, or whatever. And even though I know nothing about baseball.

It tells the story of how the "statistical" approach got into baseball and proved its worth.

You know why I loved it?

Because there's something in the statistical approach that maps to the essence of the Republic.

Winner-takes-all is feudal. It is primitive, neolithic, scales very poorly, and is the natural tendency of humans that refuse to grow up. Primates like gorillas are much better at that type of social organization than us. If they weren't, they would have evolved in another direction -- or we wouldn't have evolved into humans.

And yet, misguided fools all over the planet still aspire to be silverbacks.

The thing with the statistical approach is this:

Say we're talkin' music. You can either be a freak of nature like Paco de Lucia -- who probably comes once in every two hundred years, and is absolutely brilliant SOLO -- or you can be four blokes from a working-class neighbourhood with mediocre instrumental skills at best, get a good coach, and make fantastic music.

Same with sports.

Same with technology.

Same with everything in the Republic.

You DON'T have to be the Chuck Norris of every skill known to man to score. (Totally OT but if you can chuckle to half of these Chuck Norris jokes, you've worked as a programmer at one point in your life.)

I don't much care for discussions on "barbaric" vs. "civilized" -- especially if concepts like "kleptocracy," "dusky races," "buggery," "stable society," "brutal treatment of women" etc. are sprinkled all over it. They bore me to death since more often than not (regardless of their factual accuracy) they express the typical fears of a lower-beta/omega Western male with an oversized brain. I -- like most other half-intelligent and decent carbon-based life forms on this planet -- have suffered all my life from the political shenanigans, pathological ideologies, and never-ending machinations of these types to be the top dog neolithic-style in a republic. Fuck 'em. All of them.

I only care about the "average," and the "good life" that the average CAN manage in a Republic.

The gist of it is, if you're half good at anything, and if you can team up with a bunch of guys who are also half good at what they do who complement each others' skillsets, you have a shot at a good life, and don't have to worry about being a silverback to pass on your genes.

Why don't people get this very simple fact?

Right. Like when I was a kid I used to go to the scrubby ranch of this family that my mom and dad knew from Lockheed to play hide and seek with their six kids. Their dad was the chief designer of the fastest airplane of all time, the SR71. Get a good group of fellows together all working on the project rather than their political positions and you've got a chance to go far (or in this case fast).

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get a good group of fellows together all working on the project rather than their political positions and you've got a chance to go far (or in this case fast).

More likely, of course, is that the ranking male who's immersed in the politics will graze off the ideas of lesser males and receive most (if not all) of the credit for the project.

Ranking, charismatic, politically-minded males rapidly progress in the corporation/institution, lesser males (who thought they were on some kind of 'team') do 30 years of cubicle-farm wage slavery before retiring to write bitter blogs. :-)

Let's! said...

"you can be four blokes from a working-class neighbourhood with mediocre instrumental skills at best"

Haha...what a self-adoring blowhard...after the Beatles broke up, how many Top 40 hits did each have?

Paul: 37
George: 15 (this even includes the Hare Krishna ripoff of "He's So Fine")
John: 13
Ringo: 12

I happen to know a group of guys who've been living the Beatles Reeperbahn period (i.e. supporting themselves playing the hit parade in major nightclubs) for many, many years. They're all charismatic and likable in a natural, unforced way. It's a fun life, but none of them has a good original song in him. So on they soldier, playing covers and the occasional uninspired jam.

They know that for their self-respect, they should do more, but there's no Paul around.

Anonymous said...

Best thing I have ever read on this Blog.

SFG said...

All well and good, but seems to me the Republican insistence on tax breaks for the rich before anything else is making this harder than ever by encouraging winner-take-all.

I grew up in NYC during the pre-Giuliani years and that's why I hate NAMs and read your blog, but I still vote Democrat because they damage the average man less than the plutocrats.

This triumph of the average is a lot closer to true in Sweden or even basket-case countries like Italy than here.

Anonymous said...

Daughters financially better off than mothers, but sons ...

DAJ said...

Excellent post! I have long maintained that the core of the American Dream centered on a belief that common (i.e., average) people can attain comfortable lives in the U.S. As long as one finished high school, played by the rules, married his sweetheart and only sired children by her, he could find good employment, buy a decent house in a good neighborhood, and support a family.

Think of bygone days when every small city had a manufacturing plant that employed a good chunk of locals at appealing wages. These workers could afford annual family vacations to the beach, small boats for fishing expeditions, and trailers for camping. Good retirement packages and paid-off mortgages awaited them if they diligently stayed the course. No inordinate amount of talent, luck, intelligence, or beauty was required. Average ability sufficed.

Any nation can have a small, impressive elite surrounded by shoeless masses (Latin America, Nigeria, medieval Poland-Lithuania, etc.). America distinguished itself from others by its large, healthy middle class and the relative ease by which one could join it.

Anonymous said...

Working in teams, sharing a common bond and interest always seems to me to be a very male thing, white male in particular.
Hate to pontificate again, but perhaps it goes back to ancient neolithic hunting days.
It's a habit men have a hard time of shaking off.Perhaps the male ritual of 'going to the pub' every evening is another vestige.The idea seems to be to leave the stultifying atmosphere of women and childre and to find solace in male company where natural ease and comfort is to be found.
At the risk of being skinned alive by women iSteve contributors, I might add that the archetype of male behavior expressed most strongly in boyhood perhaps is to go off and explore the worls either solely or with other hearty companions, think of Huckleberry Finn etc.
Women and girls seldom have that tendency.

Laughing and Crying in DC said...

Steve,

Sorry, OT, but you're favorite education writer, Jay Mathews of the Wash Post, has another hilarious column. (He really is the gift that keeps on giving.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/us-school-excuses-challenged/2011/12/10/gIQANIqmmO_blog.html

It's a waste of time, but here's my comment that I posted on the article.

"Seriously, I feel as though I'm sitting with O'Brien and being asked to tell him how many fingers he's holding up.

You really can't even conceive of the possibility - just the POSSIBILITY - that our national scores are lower because the racial - yes, I said racial, not income - differences in our population?

Throughout the world, there is a permanent hierarchy of test scores. Asians come in first. Whites come in a close second. Hispanics come in third. Africans - or their decendants - come in fourth. The differences pretty well correspond to average - remember, average - IQs of ~103, 100, low 90s and 85, respectively.

Those results are seen over and over again at different times and different countries. It is the Iron Law of Sociology. And there's nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is good at math, just like I can't run very fast. It doesn't make one group inferior or superior. It's just different abilities. So what.

Well, it does mean something for evaluating our schools and teachers. We should compare how well our system educates kids relative to their peers. How do white American kids do compared to Europeans? How do Asian Americans do compared to Asian countries, etc.

In fact, when you do compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, our system does a very good job.

Asking our education system to match Finland or Singapore with our demographic composition of students is like asking Japan's Olympic track coach to get as many Japanese runners in the finals of the 100-meter dash as Jamaica or other countries with people of West African decent. It's simply not going to happen, and, more importantly, labels the coach and his Japanese team as failures when they're not."

Henry Canaday said...

Aren’t the key questions: 1) how the group of average guys forms; 2) how they pick their leader; 3) how much power they give this leader; and 4) what the group does, or is allowed to do?

Seems to me individual males in early clans understood quite well they were most powerful as a group, as long as they had unified leadership and fought together to kick other clan’s cans. They didn’t necessarily romanticize this leader into a top gorilla, at least at first, just the guy they needed to pull things together. Did anyone in 1930s Germany think Hitler was the best specimen the German race could produce, or just a leader when one leader was needed?

Hail said...

"I don't much care for discussions on 'barbaric' vs. 'civilized' -- especially [involving] concepts like..."dusky races,".....they express the typical fears of a lower-beta/omega Western male with an oversized brain."

Am I missing something, or does this not sound like an insult against all people who discuss the Race Question, including Steve Sailer himself?

Marlowe said...

I'd like to point out that the four lads from Liverpool came from a constitutional monarchy and not a republic.

Anonymous said...

Is this guy saying: "i don't like white males who are smart that don't like mass immigration"? Because I get that impression from what he says about "musky races" or whatever. Does Sailer agree with him? I once heard Sailer say that he likes diversity and that gave me the impression that maybe he liked the third world tidal wave. Since I've backed away from that suspencion but not sure.

Anonymous said...

Except that if the Silverback manages to get its genes reproduced 10 times more often, the future is still going to look very Silverback-ish.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Steve-o,

You and your correspondent want a society where intelligent, future-oriented white guys build airplanes and V-8 auto's from the raw materials that less intelligent but no less future-oriented white guys dig from the ground. The starting point for such a society is discrimination to keep most of the present-oriented, non-white guys out, and redneck cops to smack the trash around when they step out of line.

More fundamentally, you want organic society, i.e., a society organized along the lines it would without the distorting effects of the secular democratic State. Organic society relies heavily on the pre-State institutions of Faith and Tribe to maintain its civil order. The State has already outlawed Tribe, and it is working hard on outlawing Faith, wherever Faith has not already been wholly co-opted.

With no Tribe and no Faith, conservatism is dead; there is nothing left to conserve. At this point, it is about Game and gettin-while-the-gettin's-good.

In other words, you can forget 'winning' or fretting about whether Newt Romney or Mitt Gingrich is in the White House in 2012. All we're trying to do now is make sure our genetic line survives the collapse of the modern secular State.

SFG said...

It's also worth mentioning that Moneyball quickly gave the advantage to rich teams like the Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees, turning baseball into a way for Boston to compensate for its inferiority complex vis-a-vis New York.

paleo blue dot said...

That was in response to the Private Eye post where you asked for a list of your cliches, right?

Nadaav said...

You were friends with Kelley Johnson's kids? That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

"lower-beta/omega Western male with an oversized brain"

Accurate description of the readership.

Kylie said...

"The gist of it is, if you're half good at anything, and if you can team up with a bunch of guys who are also half good at what they do who complement each others' skillsets, you have a shot at a good life, and don't have to worry about being a silverback to pass on your genes.

Why don't people get this very simple fact?"


Some people do.

Anonymous said...

LOL how the hell have you suffered your whole life from omega Western males

Anonymous said...

Steve, there is plenty of defeatism on this blog, it manifests itself in many ways. One of our erstwhile scotts irish friends likes to say that ONLY the small % of males who are born as alphas have any hope.

Similarly, you have plenty of people who failed in the job market saying that some "old money crowd" or some ethnic group other than theirs magically hooks people up with great jobs, and that the only reason they don't have a great job is because they have been frozen out - frozen out because they were not born as part of "the club"

Yeah, the old money types often have their family connections get their young men plum jobs at the I banks. But they just didn't have the stamina to impress the older guys at the investment banks and get pulled in to the really high paying jobs like private equity

Most of the posters here at Isteve confuse GETTING a job at a prestige investment bank with KEEPING a job at a prestige investment bank. Hundreds of people get accepted in to the entering class of the I banks, but only a small percentage of them are impressive enough ON THE JOB to be able to get promoted in to the $1 million a year jobs. Majority wash out.

Same thing at Biglaw. If the entering class at a group of biglaw firms is 100, and you visit those 100 people 15 years later, most have washed out. Not made partner, and also not made it in to a million dollar plus perch somewhere else

I think that the big mis understanding among people who read this blog is that they just assume that certain people are granted "tenure" or "seniority" or are made a "member of the club" and can just keep making a million a year for life - because of who they were born to.

It just doesn't work like that. getting a biglaw job, getting an i banking job is just the start of a harder, more challenging tournament. So yeah the upper class guys are more likely to get to the starting gate, but most of the ranks of people earning $1 million plus incomes are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

All of this is even more relevant to the entertainment industry. Look at all the actors and actresses making more than $1 million in ordinary income. how many of them were born in to wealth? Very few. Go to Palo Alto - how many of the big money tech CEOs were born in to wealth?

Bottom line, people who fail like to excuse their own failure by saying that their birth to a non wealthy family prevented them from being successful in the $1 million plus bracket when the reality is different.

No need to be a silverback.

Whiskey said...

I'd agree with Anti-Gnostic there, but add that the reality is that mating, job, and other opportunities are basically Big Man or nothing.

Whole areas: education, health care, welfare, government work, media-infotainment, etc. are female-dominated and Big Man or nothing. Being female-gay ghettos with various Black/Hispanics. For example, Peter Brimelow if memory serves has calculated the over-representation of Blacks in federal employment, they are substantially over-represented at the expense of Whites. Even in places like NASA. This is important because this is the only growth area of employment.

Traditional male beta provider territory, the Lockheed of your youth, no longer exists, manufacturing AND DESIGN/ENGINEERING being sent abroad in search of cheap labor, and/or H1-B'd to death. Leaving those cooperative beta males basically nothing.

Meanwhile, the influence of White middle class/nascent upper class women has been to increase the stratification of society, because they benefit from Princes and paupers. Reducing White non-sexy male competition, more clearly identifying silverbacks, and providing status climbing. For your original respondent I'd counter with "the Help" which as a book and movie is pretty indicative of the financial rewards to catering to that White female desire for status mongering.

Steve Sailer said...

"You were friends with Kelley Johnson's kids? That's awesome."

No, two levels below Johnson. It takes a lot of talent working together to make an SR71.

Whiskey said...

I'd like to add that your respondent does not understand the role of technology as a commomdity in undermining the Beatles/Lockheed model.

Cheap contraception, anonymous urban living, rising female income, the welfare state, make a beta male provider useless, thus ALL racial groups tend towards soft polygamy/female hypergamy, with some (Asians, upper class Whites) resisting it more and others (Blacks, Hispanics) less. But the clear push is toward the silverback model.

Kevin Federline has five kids, only two legitimate, all with beautiful and famous women. How many does your correspondent have, and how much wealth/power/privilege will he pass on to his descendants vs. Federline? That's classic silverback success.

The comments above about excluding competition and ethnic homogenity are correct. However they run afoul of White middle/upper class status mongering, convenience, and desire to exclude male competitors and enhance silverbacks. Eric S. Raymond has "reconsidered" sexual repression in light of the various findings on female hypergamy, "Game" and its adherents are merely the unformalized Vasco De Gama pioneers searching for utility in the mating game adding to the formal body of knowledge in that area. The way the wave of exploration in the 1500's added to astronomy (in search of better navigation aids).

Those Third World silverback models now with technology as a commodity are even more competitive than the anti-silverbacks. They are more aggressive, less cooperative, and have the same technology with greater will. Who has the advantage, a street punk with seven illegitimate kids and the willingness to use violence at any turn, or the boring engineer who struggles to find an acceptable mate?

The future belongs to those who show up, I'd say that technology spreading to a commodity level, like say, wheat, means that the silverback model is now dominant because it produces the most descendants with the most advantages.

Le Sigh said...

No, two levels below Johnson. It takes a lot of talent working together to make an SR71.

I don't know who this Johnson guy is, but seeing he was two levels above the guy you were referencing AND seems to have got the credit, he played the corporate politics game right. First comment was me, btw. Forgot to add my name.

Anonymous said...

""Similarly, you have plenty of people who failed in the job market saying that some "old money crowd" or some ethnic group other than theirs magically hooks people up with great jobs, and that the only reason they don't have a great job is because they have been frozen out - frozen out because they were not born as part of "the club""

While cheap foreign labor is destroying the labor market as a whole, whites are doing the best on average in the economy... because... wait for it... they can move away from "immigrants". Funny how distance from the mexican border is a good predictor of whether or not a young person will "fail" in the jobs market."

Anonymous said...

"I only care about the "average," and the "good life" that the average CAN manage in a Republic."

Yup, yeoman republic built around the middle 60% and maximizing trickle sideways economics.

Anonymous said...

whiskey said, "Kevin Federline has five kids, only two legitimate, all with beautiful and famous women. How many does your correspondent have, and how much wealth/power/privilege will he pass on to his descendants vs. Federline? That's classic silverback success."

Do you ever leave the house? Do you get all of your information watching Entertainment Tonight, Oprah and the internet?

I have no idea where you live, but where I do the educated women who work in the glass buildings are generally married to regular guys, or beta to you, who usually work in the same buildings.

I guess it is not surprising you think this if you get all of your information from those sources. After all, the average American now believes homosexuals comprise 25% of the population after a couple of decades of the media shaping public opinion. Apparently, whiskey now believes the great swath of white America lives like the Kardashians and Kevin Federline.

Anonymous said...

Completely incoherent.

David said...

>I think that the big misunderstanding among people who read this blog is that they just assume that certain people are granted "tenure" or "seniority" or are made a "member of the club" and can just keep making a million a year for life - because of who they were born to.<

George W. Bush.

Next.

Anonymous said...

"Japan's Olympic track coach to get as many Japanese runners in the finals of the 100-meter dash as Jamaica or other countries with people of West African decent."

Japan won bronze in the last Olympics 100m relay.

europeasant said...

"Today's young women make $1.17 for every $1 their moms earned back in 1980. Young men, however, are earning 10 cents per hour less than their fathers did 30 years ago, new research shows."

You cannot believe how many young males I have known and known about about that are ne'er-do-wells and how many young women are financially doing well. Take a look at how many young women are driving fancy expensive cars on the streets today! Even young males whose ACT scores are higher than 27 but are making only minimum wage if any wage at all.
We have a serious problem in the western world. Too many high IQ males and not enough jobs.
Something will have to change or we will be entering a new era of social and biological interaction between males and females, and it will not bring the same results as the older generations are used to seeing.

Steve Sailer said...

A Japanese guy made the Olympic 100m final in 1932. And a number have made the semifinals in recent Olympics.

Charlesz Martel said...

Steve,
Did you ever meet Kelly Johnson? And did you ever find out if that famous story about how the U-2 got its' name was true? And was he really a very difficult man to get along with?

For those non-aviation types here, I'll fill you in on the anecdote. The U-2 was the famous (infamous) spy plane that Francis Gary Powers got shot down in over Russia in 1962.(Actually a bomb was planted by a spy, but the Russians wanted us to believe they could track and successfully target an aircraft at that altitude- the edge of space- so we would stop overflying their secret bases- this was pre-satellite photography). The U-2 was an extreme aircraft- beautiful, but designed for one purpose. Anyway, with her extremely high aspect ratio wings (long and slender) she was a difficult plane to fly, and especially, land. The story goes that during the first landing attempt, the aircraft went into PIO's (Pilot induced oscillations- a type of overcompensation due to a delayed response from the aircraft). Essentially, the bird would pitch up and down while attempting to land. Johnson is said to have grabbed the mike in the tower and said something along the lines of "What the hell's the matter with you? Don't you know how to fly an airplane? And the pilot, who had his hands full at the time, snapped back "Fuck you, Johnson!" To which Johnson replied, "Fuck you too!". The story made the rounds at the Lockheed "Skunk Works" (The nickname for Lockheed's special projects group) and the airplane got the nickname, the U-2.

DaveinHackensack said...

"The gist of it is, if you're half good at anything, and if you can team up with a bunch of guys who are also half good at what they do who complement each others' skillsets, you have a shot at a good life"

If you're half good and socially savvy, you've got a shot, because you can use your social skills to link up with those who are very good. But if you're half good and don't have those social skills, then you'll have trouble linking up with other half good guys, let alone the very good ones.

Wes said...

Great post. This is the value of living in a country with an authentic spirit of community. And obviously that's what we are losing. This is also why it used to be so cool to be part of the middle class: you actually lived an intersting and rewarding life. All those nice neighborhoods and friendly, competent people were something you wanted to be part of - you didn't have to be a "Big Man".

I once heard a conservative say long ago, that when he was a young man, everyone wasn't so obsessed with being billionaire - in other words, having a small office in Dan Draper's world wasn't so bad. I wonder if the current almost pathological preoccupation with "alpha" status isn't a sign of a decadent society.

Anonymous said...

Middle class institutions, such as decent state schools, provide, (or used to provide), an environment where people are judged on their saltiness vis a vis the Earth. Try big noting yourself as a cashed-up newbie on the PTA committee; the old hands who have spent two hours in that meeting every Tuesday evening since 1985 will give you short shrift. The church can be another great leveler in this way. Another way to get your your feet slammed back on the ground is to suffer a life threatening injury or illness in your family. Your uber-executive status won't cut much ice at the quadriplegics support group meeting.
Gilbert Pinfold.

Anonymous said...

The only person I can think of who dissects and lampoons the arguments of authoritative writers as entertainingly as Steve Sailer is historian David Hacket Fischer (e.g. Historian's Fallacies).
--Morgan C

ELVISNIXON.com said...

High IQ people cooperate.

Low IQ do not.

Look at Mexico.

Nadaav said...

I thought Kelly Johnson was the chief designer? That's what I remember memorizing when I was ravenously inhaling SR-71 trivia as a 10 year-old, anyway. God, I was obsessed with that plane. I still think it's probably the most visually beautiful machine mankind has ever invented.

Anyway, it's cool that you knew the chief designer, even if he was just your friends' dad. That's quite an honor.

Anonymous said...

So none of the jaw-droppingly high IQ supermen here have heard of Paco de Lucia or the Gypsy Kings. How shocking.