Immigration Miscellany Politics

Miscellany 22: Dr. Neurotoxin’s Home for the Moral Improvement of Wayward Miscellany

1. Welfare for invaders worsens the problem.

“The Welfare Magnet Hypothesis: Evidence from an Immigrant Welfare Scheme in Denmark,” by Ole Agersnap, Amalie Jensen and Henrik Kleven. American Economic Review: Insights vol. 2, no. 4, December 2020, pp. 527-42.

ABSTRACT: We study the effects of welfare generosity on international migration using reforms of immigrant welfare benefits in Denmark. The first reform, implemented in 2002, lowered benefits for non-EU immigrants by about 50 percent, with no changes for natives or EU immigrants. The policy was later repealed and reintroduced. Based on a quasi-experimental research design, we find sizable effects: the benefit reduction reduced the net flow of immigrants by about 5,000 people per year, and the subsequent repeal of the policy reversed the effect almost exactly. The implied elasticity of migration with respect to benefits equals 1.3. This represents some of the first causal evidence on the welfare magnet hypothesis.

2. The first rule of holiness spiral is…

A remark I made in the comments on my “True Beliefs” post of May 2020:

“Sooner or later the concept of holiness spiral—perhaps under a different name—is going to be a standard concept in political science, sociology, etc., and preventing them is going to be an acknowledged Big Problem. But since current academics are involved in a holiness spiral, they cannot acknowledge that a holiness spiral is happening, so a significant change in academia probably won’t happen until after The Big Show.”

It’s notable that “holiness spiral” is a thoughtcrime which people involved in a holiness spiral cannot acknowledge. Why? Because participating in a holiness spiral requires keeping a rhetorical straight face. If you say “The average woman makes just as good a soldier as the average man,” you can’t add, “And by the way, I’m only saying that because I’m in a holiness spiral.” That defeats the purpose, which is to pretend to assert the proposition sincerely. Acknowledging that there is a holiness spiral, i.e. acknowledging that people are saying things that make no sense for political reasons, ipso facto puts one outside the holiness spiral.

Thus for people in a holiness spiral there is a kind of unspeakability of it. It is not like being in an old-fashioned socialist revolution, in which you could say to your socialist friends, “We’re in a socialist revolution and I’m a socialist revolutionary.” It’s not like being in the mafia, where you can talk about the omerta (code of silence) with other mafia guys, as long as you don’t break omerta and blab to outsiders. A holiness spiral is a weird social dynamic which by its very nature prohibits its participants from ever speaking of it.

3. TheDividualist: Religion as the brain’s agency detection module generating false positives.

While this is not rational, it is presumptively evolutionarily optimal: Falsely detecting agency where there is none generally has small or zero costs, but for an animal that deals with social dynamics constantly, failing to detect agency where it exists could be very costly. Suppose you have an enemy who tries to kill you by rolling a boulder down a hill at you. If you think it’s just an accident, you’re not alert for later attempts on your life. As a result, you die. If you have a bias to thinking it was an attempted murder, you’re alert for further attempts on your life, and you live.

In contrast, a false positive, i.e. thinking that it was an attempt to kill you if it actually wasn’t, doesn’t cost you anything.

So of two targets of attempted murder, one with a bias for concluding that there was agency survived to leave more genes in successive generations. Since neural structures are to an extent inherited, evolutionary pressure favors people who over-detect agency.

That humans are adapted to think in terms of agency is obvious, and there’s an wonderfully simple and persuasive demonstration of this in psychological experiments: The Wason Selection Task.

Basically: Take a certain pure logic problem and present it to people. Only about 10% of them solve it correctly. Take exactly the same logic problem, in terms of formal structure, but embed it in an example in which someone might be trying to get away with breaking a social rule. Catching rule-breakers requires solving the logic problem. Result: 75% to 80% of people get it correct. Plainly it engages a brain module that evolved to detect cheaters.

(By the way, the logic problem involves a rule of logical inference called the contrapositive. My blog’s tagline from 2020 illustrates this: “If you’ve got a modem, I’ve got an opinion. Therefore, by the contrapositive: If I don’t have an opinion, you don’t have a modem.”
If this makes you laugh (and I hope it does), it’s because the contrapositive is not an intuitive mental rule for humans, outside of certain social contexts that we’re evolved to deal with.)

4. Outside of Dungeons and Dragons, there is no “lawful evil.”

In 1986, Fortune magazine ran an article on the 50 biggest Mafia bosses in the country. Thirty-three years later, 49 of them were dead. The only one who survived was Michael Franzese.

Franzese says “I don’t know one family of any member of that life, including my own, that hasn’t been totally devastated.”

Evil really fucks up the evil. They like to pretend that they’re happy, that they’re successful, that they’re winners, that they can easily cooperate with each other… but it’s all lies. It simply isn’t true. Their life expectancy sucks. They’re unhappy, stressed out, devastated, and constantly at war with each other.

“But evil is winning!” you say. “They just terminated American democracy and installed themselves in power!” I didn’t say that they don’t fuck up the world for the non-evil as well as each other. Obviously they do. But they are not at ease, can never be at ease, because they’re a pack of cannablistic jackals (apologies to jackals) who attack each other as naturally as they attack anyone else.

See New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s current crisis: His fellow leftists are not only attacking him rhetorically (an excellent example of Jim’s “He’s falling, falling, fallen” rhetoric, by the way); they’ve appointed an “impeachment committee” in the state legislature! This guy was until five seconds ago a darling of the left, a Democrat whose COVID policies killed lots of old white people (i.e. Republican-leaning voters). Now Dems think they don’t need him any more – it’s a solidly left-voting state – so they try to oust him. I chuckle with satisfaction whenever I think of how bewildered he must be right now.

Joining the leftist gang at best provides you with temporary protection from them, which can end unpredictably at any time.

5. Purple Pill in Fiction: The Lives of Tao

“I was possessed by a super-advanced alien, and all I got was The Speech from the father of this chick I’m dating.”

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu is a mediocre (being generous) SF book and the male-female stuff is mostly noticeably blue-pilled. For example Our Hero, who is sucked into some high stakes cloak-and-dagger stuff at the start of the book, has to learn all kinds of combat. In the hand-to-hand training, a chick is constantly beating the crap out of him, and this is portrayed as not at all being a barrier to her being attracted to him. Lordy.

However, on page 329 (paperback edition) we suddenly get a red pill passage in the form of a little speech made to Our Hero by the father of a chick he’s dating. The thrust of the speech is, “My daughter’s getting close to The Wall, so you’d better not be toying with her.” There is nothing startling in this passage (especially for a reader of this blog), except for the fact that it comes in the middle of a book which is otherwise so blue-pilled. And after it, we go back to the blue-pill nonsense. Interesting.

Here’s The Conversation, edited for brevity.

“Look, Roen,” Louis began, “let’s get a few things clear. This is the second time that Jill has introduced us to one of her boyfriends, so it’s a big deal. Now, I’m just a country boy from the swamps of Alabama, so I’m going to tell you some of my country-boy sexist philosophies, and you’re gonna listen.”

Roen gulped and nodded. His mind raced as her tried to mask his terror. [Don’t be such a pussy!]

“I like you,” Louis said. “So here’s my philosophy on life and women. I’ve always viewed God as very fair. Girls in their twenties – the world’s their oyster. They’re beautiful. Older men want to date them. Guys pay for everything, and everyone desires them. Men on the other hand, when we’re in our twenties, we’re dumb, we’re poor, and women our age want nothing to do with us.” [They sure don’t if you don’t know how to handle them.]

“But like I said,” Louis continued, “Our Lord is a fair and good God. Women shine bright, but they burn out fast. [Like Roy Batty in Blade Runner.] Their lives are over by thirty. What do you geeks call it? Half-life? Shelf-life? Whatever. It’s shorter than for us men. They have to find the right guy right away or it becomes a game of settling. Guys are like wine. We get finer with time. We start earning money. [Money doesn’t matter as much as blue-pilled people think, but anyway…] We become more confident. Younger girls will still date us. You get me?”

Roen nodded. “I think so,” he mumbled politely.

“So,” Louis continued, “if you waste the best years of my little girl’s life because of your fine-wine-aging process, I’m going to kill you.”

[Appropriate way to deal with this: Get the father fuck-faced drunk, drag him into a poker game and clean him out, then escort him home. (You also might learn some Irish drinking songs. It just hit me, I don’t know enough Irish drinking songs.)]

The father adds, annoyingly, “I might even call you son one day, as long as you know how to hunt and fish.”

What is this weird “son” thing? And who likes to fish? I used to know a couple of dudes who lived near me who would get up at like four in the morning to go fishing. What the fuck? You’d be hard pressed to get me out of bed at 4:00 in the morning for anything other than my house being on fire, let alone for fishing, a pastime so boring it makes golf look dynamic.

By the way, there’s another irritating feature of this novel, which I’ve been seeing a lot lately. Advice to aspiring authors tells them to make their opening chapter, especially their opening paragraphs, exciting or weird or otherwise grabby so the reader is hooked and drawn in. The problem is, a lot of mediocre authors have internalized this advice and spent a lot of time refining their first couple of chapters so the stuff is actually reasonably good. Then you read it and the rest of it turns out to be mediocre pap. Grrr. Thank goodness for libraries; they’ve saved me from buying a lot of crap the first few chapters of which looked good on Amazon.

6. On attempts to design religions or found political movements in existing religions:

Most regulars over at Jimbo’s already get this, I think, but it doesn’t seem to be stated tersely anywhere, so for clarity: Outside of its explicitly prescriptive parts (“Don’t steal”), your religion should restrict itself, as far as possible, to assertions that are true, or assertions that are metaphysical and therefore meaningless by positivist standards. Assertions that are empirically meaningful and false are an entry point for a lot of problems.

“Alligators have teeth.” OK.

“Alligators have metaphysical souls which survive their deaths.” OK.

“Alligators do not have teeth.” No, bad!!! This gets you into all sorts of trouble. See modern leftism with its insistence that e.g. men and women are interchangeable, and so forth. Founding major parts of the ideology on such naked falsehoods has led to all kinds of avoidable complications for the left, viz. necessitating taking over the entire media and educational establishments just to slow the propagation of truth.

(Lately leftism has entered an advanced stage in which it insists that, e.g., everyone assent to the notion that a person’s sex is whatever the person wants it to be, a flagrantly obvious falsehood which is asserted because it is a flagrantly obvious falsehood. But that is not doctrine designed to acquire and unify adherents; it is a naked bullying power flex perpetrated by an entrenched ideology. It generates opposition; leftists are willing to pay that price because they’re a bunch of power-mad sadists. And of course they’re caught up in a holiness spiral.)

2 replies on “Miscellany 22: Dr. Neurotoxin’s Home for the Moral Improvement of Wayward Miscellany”

Lifelong Florida fisherman here and I partially agree with you. I like to go fishing (when I have a good chance of catching something large) for one to two hours, at most. After an hour or two, it becomes boring. I don’t understand guys that go fishing for six hours straight and/or wake up at 4am just to go fishing.


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