Monday, January 7, 2019

Demise of the West



Rachel Silverthorne's Ride (1938), mural by John W. Beauchamp at Muncy Post Office. Government-funded art used to promote love of family, community, and nation.



In my last post I discussed the uncoupling of gene-culture coevolution in the Western world. We are no longer co-evolving genetically with an environment where kinship matters less and less and where the market economy has become the main way we process social and economic transactions. Meanwhile, this cultural environment has continued to evolve on its own ... and at an ever-faster rate.

A lot of cultural change has happened since that uncoupling in the late nineteenth century. The extended family is gone—few young people have significant relationships with their cousins or grandparents … if only because most of the latter are already dead because of longer generation times. As for the nation-state, kinship no longer plays even a symbolic role—your "nation" is where you currently reside. Only the nuclear family remains as a kin group, and that last holdout is crumbling. A growing proportion of the population lives alone, and the families that do exist are increasingly "blended" or single-parent.

This liquidation of kinship is driven by the expansion of the market economy and its accompanying ideology of liberalism. This ideology allows some differences of opinion: Right-liberals wish to let kinship self-liquidate and wither away on its own, whereas Left-liberals want to use the State to accelerate the process. Both agree, however, on the end game. Once kinship has been reduced to a vestigial role, individual freedom will be maximized, and we will be able to do the most with what we have in a global marketplace.

So why worry? There may be bumps and potholes on the road to a better world, but we'll all be better off in the end. So let's stay the course and ignore the purveyors of doom and gloom. Such is the thinking that prevails among our elites.

I see fewer grounds for optimism:


Psychological mismatch

We are creating conditions of extreme social atomization that have never existed before and for which we are psychologically ill prepared. It's true that northwest Europeans have a long history of individualism, and this is largely why our ancestors were able to create free societies where the market economy replaces kinship networks as the main way for people to relate to each other. Nonetheless, we’ve freed ourselves from ties of kith and kin to a degree that would surprise even our recent ancestors, with no accompanying changes to our psychological makeup.

Some consequences are already visible: after decades of uninterrupted increase among white Americans, life expectancy is falling because of suicide and opioid abuse among the growing numbers of men who live alone. Those people are like canaries in a coal mine.

To make matters worse, we are exporting this societal model to the rest of the world. The psychological consequences will be much worse there, as can be seen with immigrants to the West. Typically, the first generation has low levels of dysfunction; the problems arise mostly in the second and third generations. 

You may ask: how can that be when the latter are more acculturated? To ask the question is to answer it. Non-Western societies keep people in line through multiple social, cultural, and ideological restraints. Migration to the West dissolves those restraints in an acid bath of personal freedom. The first generation will be OK, but the succeeding generations will have a serious mismatch between their genotype and our phenotype of extreme individualism. Some of them will become a caricature of Western dysfunction. Others will try to recreate the restrictive environment of their ancestors.


Decline of the bourgeois mindset

The market economy requires a certain psychological makeup. It will not, for instance, self-generate in a low-trust society where people are fixated on the present and prefer to settle personal disputes through violence. In that context, the market mechanism will be confined in space and time to marketplaces. It will not spread throughout society to encompass most of the transactions that people carry on with each other (Frost 2018).

This was the case for most of history and prehistory. It's not that people didn't understand markets. They did. It's just that they preferred to get most of what they wanted on their own or through people they could trust in their kinship network. Conditions were not in place for the market mechanism to break out of this straitjacket and create a true market economy.

It's no coincidence that this breakout happened in northwest Europe, where kinship networks were already relatively weak, where most adults remained single into their mid to late twenties, and where many never married. Once the market economy took off, people exploited its possibilities by pushing their envelope of phenotypic plasticity—by living, thinking, and behaving in new ways. Then, through selection over succeeding generations, the mean genotype followed this evolving phenotype, thus allowing people to keep pushing the envelope farther and farther. 

In sum, this market-driven environment favored the survival and reproduction of people with a certain psychological makeup. Such people were more future-oriented, less willing to settle personal disputes with violence, and better able to process numerical and textual data. In other words, this was the bourgeois mindset of thrift, self-control, foresight, numeracy, and literacy (Clark 2007; Clark 2009; Frost 2011; Frost 2017; Frost and Harpending 2015; hbd*chick 2014; Rindermann 2018, pp. 86-87).


Cultural decline

This mindset has helped the market economy to work better, but there is no reason to think that the latter will return the favor. This was pointed out by Daniel Bell in his work The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976). In it, he argued that the market economy encourages consumerism and desires for immediate fulfilment, thus eroding the values of thrift and delayed gratification that originally made it possible. Furthermore, since personal desires cannot be satisfied without effort, and since people vary in their ability to make the necessary effort, there will be growing pressure on the State to step in and satisfy those desires for everyone. The culture itself will become narcissistic.

These negative effects were being noticed by the late nineteenth century, notably in Catholic encyclicals. In Rerum novarum (1891), the church stated that employers must see the worker "as a person ennobled by Christian character" and ensure that he "be not exposed to corrupting influences and dangerous occasions; and that he be not led away to neglect his home and family, or to squander his earnings."

In the United States, the Progressive Era of the 1890s to the 1920s reflected this same mistrust of the free market and individualism. Many movements for community or national improvement began in that era, particularly those for temperance, social hygiene, immigration control, nature conservation, urban beautification, and so on.


Genetic decline

Alongside this cultural decline, the bourgeois mindset also seems to have suffered genetic decline. There is growing evidence that people in Western countries are losing the gene-based improvements their ancestors had gained in cognitive capacity and other mental traits. 

The strongest evidence for this regressive evolution is seen in an Icelandic study that shows a steady decline since the early twentieth century in alleles associated with high educational attainment (Kong et al. 2017). Only a fraction of such alleles have been identified to date, but it is disturbing that the ones we have identified are being replaced by alleles associated with low educational attainment. There is also evidence that mean reaction time has increased since the Victorian era (Madison 2014; Madison et al. 2016; Woodley et al. 2013). Finally, the Flynn effect is leveling off and even reversing in some Western countries (Rindermann 2018, p. 88). The Flynn effect is itself illusory, being due mostly to increasing familiarity with test taking. With peak familiarity the genetic decline is now becoming visible.

At first, this decline was driven by a reversal of class differences in natural increase. Previously, the lower classes had failed to reproduce themselves and had steadily absorbed downwardly mobile members of the middle class, which at that time was much more reproductively successful (Clark 2007). In the late nineteenth century this situation reversed. The middle class had fewer children because they wished to pursue higher education and pay for the trappings of an affluent lifestyle. Meanwhile, working people were better able to settle down, marry, and have children. This was largely because industrialists began to recognize they had a vested interest in creating stable communities for their workers. Two English companies, Cadbury's and Lever Brothers, showed the way by providing their employees with housing, medical care, and recreational activities. Other companies followed suit, and this industrial paternalism became a model for the welfare state (Wikipedia 2019a)

These class differences in natural increase would eventually narrow, particularly after the Second World War. All classes participated in the postwar economic boom and baby boom, with fertility rising among middle-class couples. This leveling of class differences was further aided by greater access to contraception for people of all backgrounds.

Since the 1970s the IQ decline seems to be driven much more by decomposition of the nuclear family: proportionately more births are to single mothers who tend to have children by sexy men who are less intelligent and more prone to violence (see previous post).


The Indian summer of the mid-twentieth century

This cultural and genetic decline leveled off during the mid-twentieth century. On both the right and the left, people had become convinced that the market economy was fouling its nest through impulse buying, needless consumer debt, and erosion of community values. In response, a new societal model came into being.

That model took shape during the last great depression and lasted until the 1960s. Called the "New Deal" in the U.S., it was characterized by low immigration, particularly of unskilled, low-wage labor, by high unionization, by corporate paternalism (employee benefits, recreational activities for workers, etc.), and by the welfare state (pensions, health care, unemployment insurance). It was also characterized by propaganda to promote the family, the community, and the nation. Although this societal model is now branded as "fascist" it was present to some degree in all advanced societies, including America under Roosevelt and the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Indeed, Roosevelt's America was a lot less liberal than we like to think. The Hays Code, introduced in 1930 and strengthened in 1934, imposed strict moral guidelines on movie making. Meanwhile, Frances Perkins, U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Roosevelt administration, brought in policies to encourage marriage, larger families, and population growth:

Maternalists would use the New Deal to reward the domestic woman and discourage the working mother. They expanded and nationalized existing state programs that protected mothers and created "new ones to deliver social benefits to the wives and widows of wage-earning men." They "prescribed domesticity to unemployed women in vocational programs that trained [them] for housekeeping and parenting," and they urged "counseling services for mothers tempted to work outside the home." Linking truancy, incorrigibility, and emotional disorders among children to a "mother's absence at her job," the Maternalists mounted campaigns to bring working mothers home. (Carlson 2002)

Under the New Deal, support was also given to artwork that promoted love of family, community, and nation. This was particularly so with "regionalist” artists like Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Craven, and many others (Baigell 1974).


End of the New Deal and beginnings of globalization

The baby boom ended in the 1960s and the economic boom a decade later. To some degree both were victims of their success. As incomes doubled, and as unemployment remained low, people could more easily do as they liked. Many postponed marriage, either to pursue postsecondary education or simply to enjoy the pleasures of the new affluence. Sexual experimentation became widespread. Again, this was made easier by the success of postwar society, particularly in reducing STDs to a low level and in creating a safety net that could cope with broken homes and parentless children. Negative effects were less serious back then than they would be later.

Meanwhile, the West opened up to globalization. This began in the late 1960s with outsourcing of textile production and some manufacturing to low-wage economies, initially the eastern fringe of Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea) and later, in the 1980s, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, and Bangladesh. Outsourcing soon spread through most of  manufacturing and even high-tech.

This period also saw a steady rise in the number of immigrants, principally from low-wage countries. The U.S alone went from taking in just under 300,000 a year in 1965 to over a million a year by 1990. Illegal immigrants also arrived in growing numbers, their estimated population in the U.S. now ranging from a low of 11 million to a high of 29 million (Fazel-Zarandi et al. 2018). Immigration to the United Kingdom has similarly surged from around 200,000 a year in the 1970s and 1980s to around 600,000 in the 2000s (Wikipedia 2019b). Most Western countries have followed suit, including many that had previously not received immigrants on a large scale.

Jobs have thus been outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper. Conversely, cheap labor has been insourced for jobs that, by their very nature, cannot be sent abroad, i.e., in construction, agriculture, and services. This two-way movement benefits business at the expense of workers. It is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, why more and more wealth is accruing to the top 1% (Roser and Ortiz-Ospina 2016). It is also the reason why workers in the West are getting poorer: median wages have stagnated since the 1970s and have probably fallen if we adjust for the decline in employee benefits and the decline in unpaid childcare by mothers and grandparents (Mishel et al. 2015; Semuels 2013).

The old working class also has to bear the cost of longer commutes as it gets pushed farther and farther into the exurbs by the rising cost of housing and by the new class of low-wage immigrants. The latter now dominate the suburbs and provide the gentry of the inner city with cheap services (daycare, food services, laundry and dry cleaning, landscaping, etc.).  A new social geography is being created, with high-income people in the inner city, immigrants in the suburbs, and the old working class relegated to the exurbs.

This pattern is key to understanding the gilets jaunes in France. Why are they so upset over a fuel tax? A big reason is the long commutes that French working people now have to make.

[...] employment and wealth have become more and more concentrated in the big cities. The deindustrialised regions, rural areas, small and medium-size towns are less and less dynamic. But it is in these places — in "peripheral France" (one could also talk of peripheral America or peripheral Britain) — that many working-class people live. Thus, for the first time, "workers" no longer live in areas where employment is created, giving rise to a social and cultural shock.

[...] This confinement is not only geographical but also intellectual. The globalised metropolises are the new citadels of the 21st century — rich and unequal, where even the former lower-middle class no longer has a place. Instead, large global cities work on a dual dynamic: gentrification and immigration. This is the paradox: the open society results in a world increasingly closed to the majority of working people.

The economic divide between peripheral France and the metropolises illustrates the separation of an elite and its popular hinterland. Western elites have gradually forgotten a people they no longer see. (Guilluy 2018; also see Caldwell 2017)

Why not build housing for them near the big cities? Well, such housing was built. It's now inhabited overwhelmingly by immigrants who provide the inner-city gentry with cheap services:

After the mid-twentieth century, the French state built a vast stock—about 5 million units—of public housing, which now accounts for a sixth of the country's households. Much of it is hideous-looking, but it's all more or less affordable. Its purpose has changed, however. It is now used primarily for billeting not native French workers, as once was the case, but immigrants and their descendants, millions of whom arrived from North Africa starting in the 1960s, with yet another wave of newcomers from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East arriving today.

[...] As a new bourgeoisie has taken over the private housing stock, poor foreigners have taken over the public—which thus serves the metropolitan rich as a kind of taxpayer-subsidized servants' quarters. Public-housing inhabitants are almost never ethnically French; the prevailing culture there nowadays is often heavily, intimidatingly Muslim. (Caldwell 2017)


Conclusion

We need to stop viewing the market economy as a self-correcting mechanism that works best if left alone. That view is best reserved for things that have proven themselves over the long term. That is not the case here. For most of history and prehistory we had markets but not a true market economy. It has only been over the past thousand years that this economic system gradually came into being among northwest Europeans and in the societies they founded. Its current globalized form is less than a half-century old.

Ironically, free market proponents often look back with nostalgia to the United States of the 1950s—a time of high tariffs, low immigration, high corporate taxation, and high unionization, not to mention the Hays Code and countless other restrictions on entertainment. The current system is actually much closer to the free market ideal.

Is this system sustainable? It is … for some people. As is often the case, the system is most sustainable for those who benefit the most and who have the power to prevent change. For them, life is great and couldn’t be better, at least for now. 

The system is less sustainable for the remnants of the old working class. For them, the outlook is especially bleak. They are caught between the anvil of stagnant wages and the hammer of rising costs—in part to support the growing population of net tax consumers and in part to insulate themselves from the latter … and an increasingly dysfunctional social environment.

In the end, however, the current system is not sustainable. The problem isn’t just that globalization will level the wages of Western working people down to the global average. In that scenario, the system could be sustainable. Indeed, the new gentry would have the best of both: a nice first-world lifestyle and cheap third-world labor. The world, as a whole, would be wealthier, even though people in the West would, on average, be poorer. And the top 1% would probably be richer than they are today.

That scenario ignores one thing, however. The market economy, and its power to create so much wealth, came into being because of certain cultural, psychological and, yes, genetic characteristics. Those characteristics are not distributed uniformly around the world. In fact, for a long time they didn’t even exist. They gradually evolved and came together in certain human groups, particularly in northwest Europeans.

Yes, there were similar evolutionary processes in other human groups, notably East Asians, Ashkenazi Jews, Parsees, and so on. But those groups, too, will form a diminishing proportion of the world’s population. The cultural, psychological, and genetic basis for the market economy will therefore regress as time goes on.

The most likely scenario is that the market economy will likewise regress. We will return to a low-trust world of spatially localized markets with no market economy, at least not one that will self-generate without coercion. We will all be poorer.


References

Baigell, M. (1974). The American Scene. American painting of the 1930s. New York: Praeger.

Bell, D. (1976). The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.

Caldwell, C. (2017). The French, coming apart. The Social Order. Spring
https://www.city-journal.org/html/french-coming-apart-15125.html

Carlson, A.C. (2002). Sanctifying the traditional family: The New Deal and national solidarity, The Family in America 16(5).
http://profam.org/pub/fia/fia_1605.htm

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford.  

Clark, G. (2009). The domestication of man: The social implications of Darwin. ArtefaCTos 2: 64-80.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277275046_The_Domestication_of_Man_The_Social_Implications_of_Darwin

Fazel-Zarandi M.M., Feinstein, J.S., Kaplan, E.H. (2018). The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States: Estimates based on demographic modeling with data from 1990 to 2016. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0201193.
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201193

Frost, P. (2011). Human nature or human natures? Futures 43: 740-748.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Frost2/publication/251725125_Human_nature_or_human_natures/links/004635223eaf8196f0000000.pdf

Frost, P. (2017). The Hajnal line and gene-culture coevolution in northwest Europe. Advances in Anthropology 7: 154-174.
http://file.scirp.org/pdf/AA_2017082915090955.pdf

Frost, P. (2018). Evolution of the market economy. Evo and Proud, June 4.
http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2018/06/evolution-of-market-economy.html

Frost, P. and H. Harpending. (2015). Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification. Evolutionary Psychology 13: 230-243.
http://evp.sagepub.com/content/13/1/147470491501300114.abstract

Guilluy, C. (2018). France is deeply fractured. Gilets jaunes are just a symptom. The Guardian, December 2
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/02/france-is-deeply-fractured-gilets-jeunes-just-a-symptom

Hbd*chick (2014). Big summary post on the Hajnal Line. October 3
https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/big-summary-post-on-the-hajnal-line/

Kong, A., M.L. Frigge, G. Thorleifsson, H. Stefansson, A.I. Young, F. Zink, G.A. Jonsdottir, A. Okbay, P. Sulem, G. Masson, D.F. Gudbjartsson, A. Helgason, G. Bjornsdottir, U. Thorsteinsdottir, and K. Stefansson. (2017). Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(5): E727-E732.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/01/10/1612113114.full

Madison, G. (2014). Increasing simple reaction times demonstrate decreasing genetic intelligence in Scotland and Sweden, London Conference on Intelligence, Psychological Comments, April 25
#LCI14 Conference proceedings
http://www.unz.com/jthompson/lci14-questions-on-intelligence/  

Madison, G., M.A. Woodley of Menie, and J. Sänger. (2016). Secular Slowing of Auditory Simple Reaction Time in Sweden (1959-1985). Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, August 18
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00407/full

Mishel, L., E. Gould, and J. Bivens. (2015). Wage stagnation in nine charts. Economic Policy Institute

Rindermann, H. (2018). Cognitive Capitalism. Human Capital and the Wellbeing of Nations. Cambridge University Press.

Roser, M. and E. Ortiz-Ospina. (2016). Income inequality. Our world in data
https://ourworldindata.org/income-inequality

Semuels, A. (2013). The numbers behind the decline in workplace benefits. Los Angeles Times, April 7
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/business/la-fi-mo-numbers-decline-workplace-benefits-20130407

Wikipedia (2019a). Welfare capitalism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_capitalism  

Wikipedia (2019b). Modern immigration to the United Kingdom
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_immigration_to_the_United_Kingdom  

Woodley, M.A., J. Nijenhuis, and R. Murphy. (2013). Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time. Intelligence 41: 843-850.
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e8cc/634169c7c5d3e4738fe08091c86177be1380.pdf


24 comments:

Nigel Seel said...

Good and comprehensive analysis. The reversion to 'petty commodity production' and the demise of globalised capitalism doesn't seem to me the highest probability outcome. Instead, Brazil comes to mind.

The absolute size of the high-bourgeoisie (say, those within the top 0.1%) is not going to reduce anytime soon - family size even seems to be increasing there. The size of the smart fraction available to the largest corporations, finance organisations, state and military apparatuses looks fairly stable going forwards. I suggest the highest probability future over the next few decades is the continuing story of islands of wealth and competence amidst a broadening sea of undercapitalised peripheral stagnation. The elites are always wary of the masses of course - but the latter lack any credible strategy, effective organisation, or critically, force-projection capability.

Like I said: Brazil.

Anonymous said...

This liquidation of kinship is driven by the expansion of the market economy and its accompanying ideology of liberalism.

My view is that the liquidation of the family is caused by the Africanization of Western society, and that the market economy and liberalism are ultimately rationalizations of this Africanization. Female economic independence has been recreating an African social environment in the West.

This is the culmination of 500 years of contact between the West and Africa. Globalization and the West's rise at its early stages involved contact with Africa and the transport of Africans around the world. We have been unable to extricate ourselves from Africans since then, and now we stand at the precipice of skyrocketing African fertility and the prospect of an African population boom enabled by the West swamping and inundating the West and the entire world. As we take a wider historical view, a monstrous horror is gradually being revealed to us: that the West has been a giant extended phenotype of Africans.

Luke Lea said...

And now for something optimistic, namely, the forward to my new book, An American Eutopia, which you can find on Kindle:

"The ideal of a simple life on the land, the vision of a new day “when every man will sit under his own vine, and nation shall not vex nation anymore”—these are, perhaps, as old as history and as broad as humankind. Yet seldom if ever, I suspect, has the ideal been so apt, or the vision more compelling, than they are today, when thanks to the great Tree of Capital we have for the first time not only the means to realize the dream in substance if we choose, but also the means to destroy ourselves in the event we should fail. In a sense, then, we may already be living in the judgment day. The only question is, shall we try to go on living the way we do now in a world divided between the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant; a foolish, dangerously imbalanced world whose symptoms are technological unemployment on an unprecedented scale, social and cultural disinter-gration, and the mass migrations of peoples, and which can only end in violence and decay? Or shall we strive to seek a fairer and more permanent form of civilization based on a just division of the world’s desserts, with equitable portions of liberty, leisure, and the good things of this earth for all people everywhere?


It is against the background of this question that I have assembled these notes, in the hope that they will prove useful in the period ahead."

Here is a preview: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B07L7W5GKZ&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_zjcnCbFNBFTCR

Sean said...

Superb analysis The ultimate post.

iffen said...

but the latter lack any credible strategy, effective organisation, or critically, force-projection capability


Yeah, well, the guillotine will cover a multitude of sins and limitations.

iffen said...

If you believe in free universal medicare, then I'm with you 100%. Let me shake your hand. If you believe in open borders, then turn around and let me give you a swift kick in the butt. You're no friend of working people.

The universalist trend has been with us much longer than the bourgeois trend. The universalist trend pushes toward open borders and medicare for all; see leftist Democrats in the U.S. The communitarian impulse is hard-wired as the in-group/out-group instinct. The conflict between the communitarian and the universalist is playing out. Most people will not be able to separate the medicare for all and open borders as you have.

de Ruyter said...

A great piece and also extremely depressing at the same time.

Sean said...

iffen, Only the dead have seen the end of war, or the nation state.

Peter Frost said...

"The size of the smart fraction available to the largest corporations, finance organisations, state and military apparatuses looks fairly stable going forwards."


The size of the smart fraction won't be a serious constraint for the core Western countries, particularly the U.S. (which can still attract such people from rest of the world). I'm less optimistic for the peripheral Western world, particularly the former Soviet bloc countries. Some of them, like Moldova, have lost too many of their youngest and brightest to be sustainable.

In any case, the real problem is not so much the smart fraction as the general population. If the general population gets replaced, the situation will be like South Africa without a steady inflow of money from external markets. The high cost of insecurity, theft, and graft will wreak the market economy.

"My view is that the liquidation of the family is caused by the Africanization of Western society"

Canada had relatively few Africans until the 1970s, and Australia had relatively few until much later, yet both countries went through the same cultural changes as the U.S.: falling birth rates; rising divorce rates; rising age of marriage; increase in births out of wedlock, increase in common-law relationships; increase in people living alone, etc.

"Female economic independence has been recreating an African social environment in the West."

That's part of the story. Rising affluence opened a Pandora's box, but I would also include male economic independence as part of the problem. Economically, it's easier for most of us to live alone today. That wasn't the case in the past.

On the other hand, we are poorer today than we were in the 1970s, yet I see little sign that families are coming back together. In fact, my impression is that we have, if anything, become more obsessed with personal autonomy, especially since the 1990s. Part of the problem is that there are few community organizations at the grassroots to lead the way back to traditionalism.

Luke,

Most people understand that something is going terribly wrong. Unfortunately, people need leaders, and the traditional sources of leadership -- academia, churches, media, and politicians -- have become part of the problem, either because of intellectual inertia or because they worry about their sources of funding (ultimately the top 1%). In fact, the prevailing discourse on both the right and the left is that we need more personal autonomy and more freedom from the terrible ogres of the family, the community, and the nation state.

"The universalist trend pushes toward open borders and medicare for all"

You cannot have a welfare state and open borders. People understood this in the past, and most still do. Unfortunately, a lot of money is being channeled into the hands of people who don't understand this elementary point. Why? Some people are just naïve. Others, especially libertarians, see open borders as a means to destroy the welfare state. Still other people have a grudge against Western society.

Tyrion Lannister said...

@Peter,

Bright trilogy of posts!

I understand from your writings that you are, like me, a strong supporter of marriage (based upon ideal monogamy), the extended family as the backbone of society.

Leaving for a moment the economics systems aside, I think most serious/profound problem of human society is sexual conflict: since reproduction and survival (subordinated to the previous one, i.e. survival to guarantee genetic replication), are the two most primordial issues of human beings.

Reproductive fitness ultimately reduces to an initial, limiting condition of female choice (passive: where outcomes in male competition are more strongly indicated, or active: where outcomes in sexual conflict are more strongly indicated).

The second existential basic objective would be acquisition of resources to survive at least until reproduction.

How would the market economy and liberalism fit into this whole mating landscape?

It is clear that globalization and free market, as well as urbanization and the increase of population densities are an enhancer of female mating skew (propitiating floating polygyny).

For what you comment, it affects the social atomization, destructuring of family clans and extended networks, community.

To what extent would the strengthening of extended family structures would provide ideal monogamy for their offsprings? Do you mean marriages arranged by family (or marriage between cousins) assuring that youngs, whether male or female, can access to a partner for life?

And it does not seem feasible that in the next eons no conventional political movement promulgates the implementation of measures such as promoting an equitable distribution of human sexuality/love (forced monoandry) providing the opportunity for each male in the population to be provided with a female partner.

Which would solve in a cascade process many other collateral problems that underlie this issue: male suicides, vagrants, sexual deprivation (TFLs / Incels), loneliness / chronic bachelors, masculine violence / resentment (criminality, rapes, coercive sex, terrorism), unemployed bags for existential angst/depression).

It has discouraged the male competitive effort for the acquisition of resources, since many men have realized that they can only access heavy/precarious jobs of low class blue-collar (building, industry, agriculture, workers and laborers) with low salaries and sacrificed life, without the incentive of having a woman/wife when they arrive at home at night (assuming they could buy a home, according to the modern price of housing).

I see that the majority of white-collars jobs in the state bureaucracy/public administration are filled by women, as well as office, health, education and more comfortable/rewarding jobs.

Morevoer given nascent trends of sub replacement fertility(where unbeholden/ active female choice confounds all other explanations), the instability of occidental populations will become increasingly evident at a rate of population momentum, and strategic displacement in frequency dependent selection.

The demographic winter is coming, less and less births and population pyramid invested: fewer contributing young workers to the welfare state, more retired pensioners to maintain, aging population less consumption internod-degrowth of aggregate demand ...)

Tyrion Lannister said...

This would imply mitigating the hyperselectivity of women by indirect methods ( e.g. limiting female welfare state/access to labor market, encourage early marriage, anti-feminist social engineering, prohibition of divorce, abortion, contraceptives, discourage female eagerness for emancipation, university education and sexual libertarianism/searching for sexy men for short-term mating) promote housewife life, and motherhood as the greatest exponents of women's realization, etc) or directly by means of the precise allocation of 1: 1 long-term pairings type Gale-Sharpley algorithm (e.g. arranged marriages).

A whole fantasy-fiction exercise on my part!

What human political-economic system do you think would be better and worse to achieve ideal monogamy? liberalism, socio-liberalism, socialism, libertarianism, minarchism, anarchocapitalism, anarchosocialism, communism ..? and regarding the distribution of wealth? What is your opinion?.

As question within a chimeric/mental experiment (since as things are in the West, it seems that nobody is going to be able to weaken the prevailing dominating forces)

I think State intervention would be thus incumbant upon systematic regulation of reproductive fitness, through policies in stable population replacement (which, again, must necessarily infringe upon 'floating' options in female choice).

Peter Frost said...

"Do you mean marriages arranged by family"

No, that wouldn't be necessary. In any case, arranged marriages aren't part of the Western tradition. I do believe it's necessary to create incentives for young people to get married earlier and have their families earlier. That way, they'll be able to benefit from grandparenting and avoid the pitfalls of reduced fertility in their 30s.

The demographic situation is bad but not hopeless. We've been through worse. During the Black Death, Europe lost a third of its population. There was also a "baby bust" during the Great Depression. I remember hearing "early baby boomers" (born in the late 1940s) talk about how there used to be almost nothing but old people in workplaces, particularly in senior positions.

To turn things around, we should:

1. Reduce funding for colleges and universities. Higher education should be only for people who have the intelligence and motivation for it. On the other hand, we should continue to support continuing education (night school and 1-year sabbaticals) for people who are already in the work force.

2. Provide tax credits for infertility treatment, including surrogacy.

3. Increase the tax burden on single people and on people (both men and women) who have children out of wedlock. People who have children out of wedlock will, in fact, be fined (as is the case in China).

4. If a prisoner is let out on parole and has a child out of wedlock, he will lose parole and go back to prison to serve out his full term.

5. In cases of no-fault divorce, the person initiating the divorce will be ineligible for alimony. There should be no monetary incentives for divorce.

6. Reduce pressure on the housing market by stopping large-scale immigration. We need to get away from the idea that your house is some kind of pension plan that will inevitably increase in value as you get older. A lot of pressure for immigration comes from this source, i.e., homeowners and real estate agents.

Truth Seeker said...

At the root of the problem is today's white women. We have to be clear on where the degeneracy is coming from. I deal with them on dating sites (Tinder/Match/etc) and I can tell you the following: (1) They've stopped caring about their biological clocks, which is a new thing; (2) They no longer want to start a family; (3) They've become ugly and have stopped grooming themselves properly; (4) There's a new statistical shortage of them, so they've become spoiled brats with outrageous behavior. Solving this crisis requires applying pressure on white women. Make them more dependent on men. Turn off the spigot on some of their freedoms, such as abortion rights. Generate conditions of poverty for them. You can't scare them with childlessness because they don't care about kids anymore, so it has to be some new wake-up call for them, but with enough bite.

Tyrion Lannister said...

"Reduce funding for colleges and universities. Higher education should be only for people who have the intelligence and motivation for it. On the other hand, we should continue to support continuing education (night school and 1-year sabbaticals) for people who are already in the work force."

I would disagree partially on this proposal.I believe that the supply-demand of university qualification positions should be readjusted. That is to say, being for example T = absorption rate = R (retirement replacement) + (creation or destruction rate of new annual jobs). And being U = ratio of academic enrollments taught annually (number of new graduates in the market per year). You should make T = U as possible as possible. Since it does not make sense that a country has, for example, 70% of higher graduates when the jobs for higher graduates are 40%. In the end, you get 30% of graduates stuck in limbo without being able to access a job within their qualification: they have wasted money and years of their life to academic training for nothing. They have to emigrate to another country, remain unemployed (pockets of poverty or work in garbage jobs (competing with immigrants) below their expectations.

Respect to allow only the smartest to access. It would be a meritocratic measure that seems fairly fair, but I disagree when trying to link intelligence with economic status of the parents. There are some pretty stupid kids who could study and smart but poor people who would stay out. Honestly I do not think the kids of wealthy families are smarter. It seems to me a very elitist measure.


": ... and motivation for it"

Women are, on average, many more motivated than men to strive in higher degrees. Which would take us back to the same place we started from. If women dedicate all their youth to study and get a good job, they will not be interested in motherhood or hinder their desire for professional fulfillment. Education and work gives them more economic independence, and this dynamic erase male direct / material benefits as a determining factor in female sexual choice (which is all that is
relevant to male evolutionary concerns).

Higher education/best incomes/best life quality gives females wings to pursue their hypergamous biological instincts; the same ideal they have always wanted (and
will always want at any age) - a young, physically attractive male (sexy hunks) to
give them their oxytocin fix.

Tyrion Lannister said...

"Increase the tax burden on single people"

Why put the burden of guilt on involuntary single men? I am referring to the marginalized/ mate-deprived men (average looking men) ... of course I agree on tax those free-riders selfish polygynous men (sexy strategic opportunists) who can (and usually manage) to mate with a multitude of women and are not interested in monogamy / exclusive relationship (i.e they are voluntary singles since they have a harem).

Unknown said...

"Reduce pressure on the housing market by stopping large-scale immigration."

While this is true, house prices have also been pushed up by the hundreds of billions of new money that banks created in the years before the financial crisis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4WmDoYJhnk

Sean said...

Henry Harpending suggested that the welfare benefits for a child should be be paid to the father rather than the mother. https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/when-public-policy-meets-elementary-biology/

Led by America, the West is going to meet the challenge of China, which will require exerting military pressure if not an actual war. It sounds all too likely that as the previous post pointed out, Liberalism is unbeatable in such conflicts. If we are preparing for one, immigration can be expected to increase as the Deep State gears up. 'ONLY specific types of violence have consistently forced down inequality,” Scheidel writes. War has to be total; revolution has to be ultraviolent and socially pervasive; state failure has to lead to violence so intense that “it wipes the slate clean”.'

An economic and maybe military steamrollering by China into second rate status seems the only way that the West might be persuaded to alter course, but that change could be toward open borders (borders are inequality). Things are heading that way, but I do not think the process will run on long enough for complete unraveling of the social fabric of the West in the way Peter predicts because AI, blockchain ect is going to make productive low trust economies more feasible.

Peter Frost said...

Truth,

Women value relationships with other people and are thus more likely to think as others do. Conversely, men tend to be social retards and are more likely to think differently.

Women used to be more traditionalist than men. Even within the Left they tended to be a conservative influence. All of that changed between the 1960s and the 1990s. My impression is that the turning point was in the late 1980s. There was a massive die-off of traditional culture around that time, and an implosion of social conservatism. Yes, I'm talking about the Reagan era.

You're not going to turn things around by getting angry at women. You have to create culture -- music, videos, books, stuff that women love to listen to and read. And you have to talk and act like winners. There is an ugly side of defeatism on the Alt-Right.

I agree that university admission should be merit-based and not income-based. "Legacy admissions" should be discouraged. If you want to donate money to your alma mater, don't expect to get preferential treatment for your children. That kind of "donation" should not be tax deductible.

Again, I disagree with some of your comments about women. As I see it the problem with universities is twofold: 1) too many people go to university, especially people who lack intellectual skills; and 2) universities have become places for indoctrination and not free intellectual inquiry. I don't see women as being worse than men in either respect. Men are more likely to be intellectual mavericks, but they're also more likely to be intellectual sociopaths.

Sean,

People should not be having children while they are on welfare, unless they can show that their welfare dependency is a temporary circumstance.

VivaDuterte! said...

Stop worshipping Mammon, that is the first step. Then stop trying to 'convince' everyone of everything. Impose patriarchy and rule unapologetically.

iffen said...

People should not be having children while they are on welfare, unless they can show that their welfare dependency is a temporary circumstance.


I can understand how you failed as a leftist. Worrying about the proles fornicating and having babies. You need to look around and see what company this puts you in.

S. Richard said...

I loved this essay, and agreed with much of it. A minor point: FDR strongly admired fascism, especially Mussolini's version, and sent some of his staff to learn from him. FDR was, for all intents and purposes, an elected dictator. He even capriciously set gold prices.
Your description of the policies of the Fifties in the US point to a way out of the mess we're currently in. All levels of society would receive economic benefit, but there would be limits on elites' rapaciousness through the tax rates on corporations and the collective might of the proles through strong unionization. Tariffs would also help preserve the overall strength of the nation's businesses. Morality codes like Hays would strengthen community and family structures through popular culture. IMHO, of course.

tired said...

I'm visualizing this so-called demise of the west right now by reading a litany of self-serving dogma from a conservative, androcentric old fart.

tired said...

@Tyrion Lannister

I'm not going to delve too deeply into the hows or whys of female infidelity or adultery because there's enough reductivist shit in this comment thread.

Available data from OKC, surveys and observation suggest that men are the ones ones pining after and pursuing a much smaller group of attractive women (2/3ds of male messages go to the top 1/3 of women according to OKC data). Men show a marked preference for younger women, especially as they get older. The various evidence I've encountered strongly suggests that there's a huge premium on beauty with males being more shallow than females, which reflects the patriarchy: a system where men hold more power than women, with women tending to be the beneficiaries of hypergamy.

I'm not entirely certain what Frost is implying about the alt-right, who qualify as representatives of some vestigial male urge to destroy if you ask me but he's full of hypocrisies himself, speaking endlessly of some western adaptation towards empathy while not appearing particularly empathetic himself.

How would you propose we decide who's worthy of higher education, Frost? The wealthy already have an unfair advantage over most of us, that much is evident. And reliance on genetic essentialism is bound to lead one astray. Not to mention that IQ, beyond being an imperfect measure of "intelligence", does not necessarily remain fixed throughout life and that I have yet to see evidence suggesting otherwise. The original "marshmallow test" or the notion that "[...]Delaying gratification, delay discounting, and self-regulation are all variations on the same concept — self-control. The ability to put aside short-term gain for long-term goals makes us more successful." has been brought into question recently and decried as biased:

"What's making delayed gratification predictive of later stuff in life are probably these other large factors that are present in these kids' lives, and other cognitive ability."

"Watts notes that while the Temple University study is interesting, it still does not prove delayed gratification as a singular cause of higher income, just that it's an associated factor."

>""[...]The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow," said McCrory Calarco.

[...]For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting.""

(source:https://www.buzzfeed.com/elfyscott/heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-marshmallow-test?origin=thum)

The multiple compounding factors affecting "intelligence" cannot be summarily attributed to either sexual/natural selection or any other select few factors.

various sources:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/iq-myth-debunked-by-canadian-researchers-1.1264832
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/be1c/2abc85a1bc4352b992f0c332988a4098267f.pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289611001413
http://web.archive.org/web/20170711130039/https://theblog.okcupid.com/your-looks-and-your-inbox-8715c0f1561e
https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2015/07/03/ok-cupid-data-on-sex-desirability-and-age/

Peter Frost said...

"Available data from OKC, surveys and observation suggest that men are the ones ones pining after and pursuing a much smaller group of attractive women (2/3ds of male messages go to the top 1/3 of women according to OKC data)."

The same is true for women. In general, both men and women aim too high on the mate market. That being said, it has become a lot tougher for men. If we look at singles in the 20 to 40 age bracket, there are more men than women at all ages. The ratio is even more unbalanced if we look only at singles without children. This is a situation that has developed since the 1980s; previously, women outnumbered men on the mate market.
http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2012/09/our-brideprice-culture.html
http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2015/06/young-male-and-single.html

"I'm not entirely certain what Frost is implying about the alt-right, who qualify as representatives of some vestigial male urge to destroy if you ask me"

I see a lot more of that "urge to destroy" on the alt-left, if you ask me.

"but he's full of hypocrisies himself, speaking endlessly of some western adaptation towards empathy while not appearing particularly empathetic himself."

I've learned to discipline my mind. Whenever I do something I try to ask myself: "What are the consequences?"

"How would you propose we decide who's worthy of higher education, Frost? The wealthy already have an unfair advantage over most of us"

I agree. Legacy admissions should be banned. Admission should be merit-based. We also need to change the culture so that students don't automatically try to enter university after high school. Employers also have to stop demanding university degrees for jobs that don't really require them. If they want smart applicants, they should simply administer a skills test.