Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Alt-Right and its Failings, Part 2

In The Alt-Right and its Failings, Part 1, I wrote about how the alt-right prescribes regressive solutions to problems like college costs, essentially arguing for a drastic reduction in scope, and a return to IQ-based employer screening. What I did not mention is that this is based in a sort of hereditarian, elitist argument.

Unlike mainstream conservatives, alt-righters believe that well-adjusted, functional behavior is biologically ingrained, and that some groups of people (particularly blacks) are notoriously poor at it due to some kind of biological shortcoming. The alt-right's "objective" means for claiming this is the one-standard-deviation difference in IQ between whites and blacks.

The problem is that, as Robert Lindsay and others have pointed out, IQ scores are not a reliable means for predicting maladaptive behaviors. Yes, the White->Hispanic->Black hierarchy holds, but once you start throwing other races in, the picture gets much murkier. And then when you compare the IQs of, say, middle easterners to that of American Blacks, the latter actually score higher. Yet middle easterners commit far less crime.

This leads me to believe that the IQ theory of alt-righters is another just-so story that doesn't come close to explaining the full truth. It is true that blacks suffer more social dysfunction than whites, which is reflected in crime rates and the rates of single motherhood. But they should be doing far better if one takes their IQ into account.

I have an alternate explanation: Many of our problems in society are caused by underinvestment in infrastructure and other public goods. Blacks, who tend to be quite poor, suffer the most from this deficiency. How easy is it for them to get from point A to point B? How intellectually stimulating is their environment, or is it just a run-down ghetto? How good is their health care, and the quality of their food? By many objective measures, these areas are in dire need of improvement.

There is also the cultural aspect. How are the relations between the genders, and parents/children? Are kids seen as a society's future, or just something that a babymomma takes care of? Do women select for intelligent, caring men, or do they just go after thugs? This is all stuff that can be fixed with the right attitude (read: shaming.)

So while some black problems could be due to genetics, I think the vast majority of them are because of 1) a poor environment and 2) poor cultural attitudes, both internal and external. Alt-righters are not helping in this regard. They want to starve the state, which will cause poor black areas to crumble even more. They also promote the idea that most blacks essentially "deserve" their status, instead of it simply being a consequence of unfortunate coalescing forces.

I think this is one reason why the alt-right disparages the manosphere. You see, the manosphere is trying to fix the problems of societal decay, which begin with environmental and familial decay. Some prominent manosphere commentators are black, and have come from broken families. Yet the alt-right sees them as "blacks" instead of "men."

I don't think there is much in the alt-right sphere for people for actually want to improve the general well-being of society as a whole. Their prescriptions are all backwards, and won't do a lick of good for anyone in the long run.

The Alt-Right and its Failings, Part 1

You will note that some of the blogs in my sidebar are "alt-right" blogs. The alt-right is essentially an "underground" that sprang up in opposition to the cultural left's domination of mainstream discourse. Alt-righters reject political correctness of all stripes, and tend to strongly reject egalitarianism. They also tend to be highly skeptical of mainstream medical science, especially in the realm of nutrition.

Their opposition to the current orthodoxy is driven by the perceived failure of it to fix the problems that plague modernity. It is indeed true that many societal organs are in serious trouble, and headed in an unsustainable direction. Everywhere one cares to look, there are bloated systems that cannot possibly continue in their current state. The health care system is one. The military is another. The education system is yet another. All of these systems are in need of serious reform, or they threaten to topple the country.

The alt-right viewpoint is that this rot is the result of egalitarianism, excessively large government, and ethnic nepotism. For instance, they believe that the obscene cost of college is the result of both student loan subsidy and the banning of IQ tests as a legally valid measure of competence. Their prescription is to end student loan subsidy, essentially "starving the beast," which will supposedly bring education costs down. They also want to reinstate employer IQ tests.

The problem with these prescriptions is inherent in the reactionary viewpoint of those advocating them. People in the alt-right, much like those in the mainstream right, want to claw back to a time when certain "things" were not "foisted" on them. If only we went back to the way things were, they say, all of these major problems we now suffer will be solved.

It does not take much thought to see where such ideas are problematic. Generally speaking, people like education, and enjoy the broadened opportunity that comes with it. I have been around poor families, and one their greatest joys is to see their child with a college degree that they were not able to obtain themselves. Going back to some sort of IQ-based system seems horribly backward and inadequate given how technologically advanced the world is becoming. Engineers don't train themselves, and most employers will jump ship if they have to train their workers from step zero.

Of course, the reactionaries don't seem to grasp this. They see college as an institution of the cultural left that needs to be starved as much as possible. But one reason why college tuition is increasing so much is because state governments are continuously being drained of tax revenue. It's not hard to see how this hampers competitiveness, and why businesses are clamoring for skilled immigrants.

Compare our college attendance rates to, say, Europe. They're abysmal, and this directly due to the anti-education attitude in the country. I know people left and right who are more than smart enough for college, but can't get in because they can't afford it. This is horrible and needs to be reformed. And the direction it needs to go in is the direct opposite of what the alt-righters (and right-wing people in general) propose.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today's Young Men Face an Uphill Battle

A recent Mangan's post on declining birthrates listed all the usual suspects, but one comment in particular caught my eye:
Subtle little things like seat belt laws make it difficult to have a large number of kids and be able to transport them around. Not to mention costs of food, clothing, health care, education and so on. Our society is designed for a low number of children per family.
That got me thinking. If you're a young man today, drowning in college debt, where are you going to get the money to pay for a kid, let alone two, three, or four? Even if you managed to graduate debt-free, your income is still likely to be lower than your equivalent in the "baby boom" years. In other words, kids are going to be put on the back burner in favor of more immediate concerns.

But that's not even the beginning of it. Insidious things like the non-dischargeability of student loans in bankruptcy look set to keep many kids in financial dire straits for a long time to come. And the cost of everything keeps going up like crazy. It's almost like it's by design.

I think there is a growing tide of resentment in young men against all this bullshit. Men now want to get married more than women, an exact opposite of how it was in the past. But they're more or less shut out, because women are at parity or above them in status. This can't last. Men don't like being crippled and emasculated, and eventually they're going to boil over.

We're probably already seeing some subtle effects of this. The gerontocracy is turning increasingly reactionary and unhinged, desperately holding onto its ways, oblivious to the fact that it is obsolete. Its actions can be seen in almost every entrenched rent-seeking institution, be it banking, academia, government, military, or the courts. On the other hand, there is room for reactionary thinking among young men as well, in the direction of dismantling feminism.

Which form of reaction will win out? Who knows, but young men must figure out a way to free themselves of their burdens. Their emasculation inhibits their emancipation.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unnecessary Effort and Ways Around It

The Problem with PUA Advice is a good short series by blogger Advocatus Diaboli explaining how many of the teachings of PUA are logical-sounding but based on false premises. One of the main myths he tackles is this idea that women are a mystery sauce, and that you have to work hard on "self-improvement" to get them. This myth keeps getting proliferated by both mainstream "dating advice" people and PUAs. In reality, as long as you have a decent getup and aren't slovenly looking, flirting will get you decent results, but you have to flirt a lot. AD describes this as "putting in 23 hours of work for every hour of pussy you get."

AD believes this labor-intensive process is not necessary, or at least should not be relied on exclusively. His solution? If you have a middle-class income, you can consistently get better-looking girls for a lot less effort by simply paying for sex. It doesn't have to be that much, either- you can get creative with it, and AD has written a lot on just how you can do that.

PUAs seem to be obsessed with getting "free" women, but they are investing large amounts of time for fleeting pussy. It strikes me as a scam where men have to put in huge amounts of effort, and women get to pick and choose. AD's alternative sounds much better.

The Problem with PUA Advice Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Material Incentives Against Divorce?

One of the main topics in the manosphere is the harsh divorce regime that every married man risks being  subjected to. Since family courts can be quite arbitrary and tend to be pro-female, a man could face a serious reduction in the quality of his life if his wife decides to divorce him.

Some manosphere commentators, notably TFH, have argued that the main reason why divorce is so common is because women do not face a reduction in their standard of living when they divorce. They point out that the divorce rate in many third-world and second-world countries is quite low compared to many developed countries (the Status of Men Index backs this up). I find this assertion difficult to dispute. It seems that once again, economics rules.

This got me thinking about how to set up an economically-based anti-divorce incentive system in a first-world country. Obviously, you can't make it so that the woman is impoverished if she divorces you, nor can you really make it so that her standard of living drops below your level. This is in part because women have extensive access to high-paying employment, despite the gnashing of teeth over the 77-cent statistic. My idea (tell me if it's been mentioned before) is to set up cash incentives against divorce. In other words, elevate her standard of living ABOVE yours while she is married to you, so it drops to your level if she divorces you.

Now there are several problems with this. Family court judges can be arbitrary, and may order you to still pay these incentives after the divorce. However, I don't think they would have much legal precedent to do so, and a good attorney could probably shift things in your favor. The details of how it would be setup are also murky; I am no expert on these matters. You'd probably have to divide assets 50/50 in the beginning.

There is also the problem of feeding an entitlement complex, since she would come to expect the rewards, and could decide to divorce you if she stops getting them for whatever reason (say you lose your job or something). So you can see that there are some questionable aspects to such a setup, and I don't even know if it'll work. I need feedback.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why is the American Public becoming so Reactionary?

Between the 30s and the 80s, America was moving toward the Left. Social Security, Medicare, the welfare state, Civil Rights, Feminism, Environmentalism, and other left-like movements were all either established or became mainstream in that time period. And many, many things improved during that time period. The economic security and freedom of the average American improved dramatically. Everyone's lot in life was improving, no matter who they were. The whole country was booming and improving in every measurable way.

Then, ever since the Reagan revolution in the 1980s, America has been slowly drifting ever-more rightward. The lot of the average American has slumped. Costs of things like education and healthcare are insane, because they were not allowed to reach their natural conclusion of full government funding. Basic female rights like abortion and contraception are being threatened. Men are exposed to harsh and punitive regimes in the areas of divorce, child support, sexuality, and law enforcement.

Ever since Reagan, every president has had to work within a small "box" that has drifted slowly rightward. Even Clinton was not able to break out of this box, and had to triangulate with a reactionary House of madmen led by Newt Gingrich. Clinton was nearly hanged for getting a BJ (compare this to countries like France, where political leaders are almost expected to have lots of sex on the side.) After that, Bush II pushed all kinds of bizarre crap like abstinence education, which kids like me fell for. Now that Obama is in office, people are complaining that he is too far to the right, and that he is breaking his campaign promises in areas like Marijuana seizure and corporate pandering. The problem is, he too is confined to that little box that's almost impossible to break out of. There was a brief period of respite when the Democrats controlled congress, but now it's back to the rightward drift.

There are numerous political and economic reasons for this rightward drift, such as the 1970s oil price shocks, fears of Communism, and fears of Japanese dominance, but they themselves do not explain why America, and America alone, drifted so far to the right. After all, western Europe was exposed to all these risks as well, even more so due to its proximity to the USSR, but it didn't go all Reagan (the UK did a little bit with Thatcher, but it's still far to the left of the US).

So what caused this? Well, one major culprit is religion. You'll notice that in western Europe, many countries have state-supported religions. In fact, clergymen are actually government employees! There is a natural, deep-seated suspicion of religion in Europe due to all the shit that it caused over the past few 800-plus years or so, and this reflects in religious attendance rates, which are abysmal. Put simply, religion doesn't have much sway over Europeans. As a result, they are very unburdened by religious baggage.

Contrast that to America, where there never was a state religion. Religions basically had to compete with one another on the free market, and this led to a big battle to create captive markets. Since religion runs on fear, they amped up the fear to 11, keeping people hooked (and psychologically screwing people up, but that's beside the point.) It wasn't too difficult to stir strongly religious people into radical reactionary fervor.

Also, there is a demographic shift. In Europe, I don't think there is a strong dichotomy between people who are reproducing and those who aren't. In America, however, it's pretty clear that strongly religious people are reproducing like flies, while less religious (and importantly, more liberal) people are barely reproducing at all. So more and more people are raised with right-wing thinking; kids who barely have a handle on reality get this stuff basically shoved down their throat. I don't think this will be good for men because of the issues I discussed in "The War on Sex."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The War on Sex

In "The Prudes are Winning," writer Tracy Clark-Flory interviews sex therapist Marty Klein, asking him how the mainstream views of sex have changed in America. He first mentions that Republicans have been quite successful at threatening rights that used to be a given, such as contraception and abortion. In fact, Arizona recently successfully passed several abortion restrictions. More - not fewer - things can put you on a sex offender list. Banning porn is becoming a legitimate topic of political discussion.

Why is this happening? Well, according to Klein, people have all kinds of sexual hangups because of the misinformation that is being fed to them. Due to the insane emphasis on extended abstinence that I mentioned earlier, people are growing up sexually fucked-up with a huge number of hangups and neuroses, because it's an unrealistic goal. How do they cope with this? There are two possibilities: 1) Confront the reality of their sexuality and deal with it out in the open or 2) try to deny it and sweep everything under the rug. Apparently, there is a big emotional desire for the latter:
We’re looking at people who are desperately frightened and lonely and sad and upset about their own sexual impulses and they’re turning to any place they can find to comfort themselves. Ironically, the religious right and the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party and Fox media, they’re offering a kind of comfort. It’s a Pyrrhic victory because the public doesn’t walk away feeling, “Oh, I have this wonderful sexuality and this wonderful body.” No, no, no. People get to walk away with, “Phew, I dodged a bullet, here are the sexual restrictions that alleviate my guilt, lower my anxiety about my neighbor’s sexuality, that make me as a parent feel less anxious.” People walk away with their sexuality diminished but they feel less anxious about the complicated world in which they live.
So you see how such neuroses drive unhinged policy, but policy is not the only area where damage is caused. Women are strongly driven by emotion, and this feeds into their treatment of men. If women see sex as disgusting, they will tend to see men as disgusting. Every man suffers somewhat as a result, especially men who end up in relationships with such women. I have not met a religious woman who was not somehow sexually hung up in a weird way, and who didn't see natural male sexuality as predatory and perverse.

This manifests in ways such as the following, where a man is unwilling to admit that he goes to strip clubs to supplement his sexual appetite:
As long as you have homes where Joe goes to strip clubs on his lunch hour and his wife doesn’t know, because if his wife knew she’d kill him, as long as you have a home like that, Joe is not going to want to go to a city council member or his county board of supervisors or his state assembly member and say, “Excuse me, I go to strip cubs, cut it out.” Joe’s going to have to say to his spouse: “Honey, don’t take this personally, but every once in a while I go to a strip cub. It’s really a lot of fun. If you want to come that’s great, if you don’t that’s OK with me, but I just want you to know that I go to strip clubs.” Believe it or not, that would be a building block toward political action on the legislative level. Because right now, people can’t go to their legislators because they’re not willing to come out.
If the average American guy today admitted that he went to a strip club, his wife would crucify him. She might even divorce him (note that the traitorous churches support divorce based on such premises). So due to the ruination he risks, he doesn't push to maintain strip clubs and other male sexual outlets, and they end up being restricted/dismantled by legislation. I think a similar thing is going on with the (almost literally) Puritanical war on prostitution.

So you see how this stuff is directly relevant to Men's Rights. Abstinence brainwashing makes women sexually frigid. They see men as disgusting, which probably means that they need harder "gaming," and less-aggressive guys are left out in the cold. Men are seen as sexual predators, which leads to severe sexual harassment laws, child porn hysteria, and porn hysteria in general. Divorce laws are made extremely pro-woman, and sex offender lists nearly include sneezing in public. Low-status men are seen as dirt and scum even more so than they otherwise would be (probably one reason why the prison system is so draconian).

And men who try to relieve themselves from their sexually frigid wives are punished harshly (viewed porn? went to a strip club? DIVORCE TIME!) Men who try to get action outside of "sanctioned" methods are punished because sex is seen as dirty and sinful (see: severely-enforced prostitution bans.) They then become mentally fucked-up themselves and become more likely to commit sex crimes. See how this stuff feeds back on itself? In the end, everybody is less happy.

Barry Goldwater was right when he said that the dominance of the Religious Right would be one of the worst things to happen to this country. And Dalrock is right in that social conservatism and feminism are practically linked at the hip. "You hold him down while I rob him" indeed.