Time to diverge from the post series on intelligence/IQ for just this post, which I of course forgot to set to autopost.
A week ago – while the Republicans were enjoying their landslide congressional victories – I was doing what I do every year on November 4th. Six years ago on the night of the 2008 elections, I came to the damningly unpopular conclusion that a society could function and even thrive in the complete absence of government.
It wasn’t a very happy day. There were – and still are – enough reasons on my plate for why I stand out more than I’d like to from average people. There’s no need to alienate myself from the masses at large any more than I already do. Okay, so maybe that’s too dramatic but back then that’s the thought process I had and still do to some degree today.
Rather than tell the same story all over again, I guess I could best use this post to talk about what’s changed since then. Yes, I still score at the top of the Nolan chart. Yes, I still think everything the government does either shouldn’t be done or can be done via market means. But despite the broad picture being the same, the finer details remain in a constant flux.
I’ll focus here on the biggest of those finer details. In 2012, I finally ordered a copy of a book that I had known about for years prior to getting it, and that was originally published in 1994. One of the coauthors happened to be one of the most influential social scientists of our time – and a self-described “lowercase l” libertarian. He rose to prominence critiquing the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the war on poverty. From there, he espoused his libertarian (again with the lower-case “l”) views in a book he wrote shortly thereafter through a fascinating starting premise: The purpose of public policy is to create the optimal conditions for people to pursue happiness.
He continued writing numerous other books – some related to public policy, others related to social science – and it’s because of that book I first read two years ago that he is notorious for the latter. It was this interview he did for ReasonTV that finally made my interest in his work skyrocket:
Yep, the man, the myth, the legend himself: Charles Murray. It would be less than six months after I first saw this video that I would finally get a copy of his most notorious work. When I did, it turned out to be quite the red pill to put it mildly. Around the time I first began looking into the debate over IQ, I came across a Norwegian documentary series called “Brainwash” – which was a seven-part series done a few years back about the disconnect between sociology (which assumes much if not everything about human nature is environmental) and actual science (which acknowledges the fact that genes and other biological factors can influence a person’s behavioral traits).
It started with a Youtube comment I came across where someone had noted in a video critiquing feminist rhetoric that a documentary had aired over the Norwegian counterpart to PBS (NRK) that led to the defunding of a prominent
feminist gender research institute. So I looked it up, saw the first episode, and was hooked from there! Soon I found myself spending less time following or studying public policy issues, and more time following sociological issues; namely political correctness, as well as the ongoing debate over how much of human nature is innate or influenced by society at large.
No need to go into too much detail here about this. All I can say is that it’s now a small staple in my daily thinking and research, but that I’m now trying to ween from it. As of a few days ago, I’ve decided to make political and economic issues my main focus all over again. To do so, I’ve begun rereading some of the books that influenced my early thinking in the first place.
In terms of political issues, the only real changes of heart that I’ve had over the past few years stem from how I think activism works best. Voting is a survey – nothing more or less – and should only be done to serve as a way to educate others on given political issues. As for what actually leads to change, I’ve continued to become more convinced every day that the bulk of what influences public policy and current events lies outside of the political system itself. For an excellent overview of how this is the case, this video should give you a clear idea of what I mean:
The video above is a reading of an article that has links to the various things listed. Overall I think it gets the basic point right, namely that the things that influence current events and public policy the most lie outside electoral politics. Cody Wilson and the rest of those with Defense Distributed have already demonstrated that gun control is anything but. That alone really drove the point home to me that leading by example is often the best way to go. At this point, I can only hope more attention will be drawn towards The Surgery Center of Oklahoma as a model for why price transparency is needed in the healthcare market.
Overall, those two things – emphasis on social science (which I plan on cutting back on) and non-political means of making change happen – represent the main changes in attitude that I’ve had over the years. Seems like I need to start networking with others, and get that first book draft done.
For the rest of this month however, I plan on rereading the books I found persuasive back in the day.