On my About page I have this:
Former libertarian. Establishment libertarianism completely lost me over one issue: Immigration.
Charles Darwin + Friedrich Hayek + John Nash.
We live in, or if shocked away from are always heading toward,
Stable equilibria (Nash) of decentralized interactions (Hayek) of multiple self-interested agents (Darwin, Hayek, Nash), which are not optimized for rationality or “utility maximization,” but reproductive success (Darwin).
The Basic Ideas
You know who Charles Darwin is. Evolutionary psychology is the only way to make sense of human behavior, just as evolution in general is the only way to make sense of biology in general.
After all, what is evolution? It is simply a combination of ingredients which, taken individually, no sane person denies: Cause and effect, probability, the inheritance of certain characteristics, and the fact that reproductive success is a function of (among other things) inherited characteristics. I have never (literally never) met a human being who denied the reality of any one of those facts, taken in isolation. Creationists deny their combination, strangely. And CURRENT-YEAR leftists… I don’t know what their position on evolution in general is. The left used to love talking about evolution but they seem to have gone quiet on that lately. But bring up evolutionary psychology and you’ll find their position is crystal clear; give any credence to it and you’re a misogynistracistnazifascist.
Notably, feminists say that a woman under the influence of alcohol can’t consent to sex, and thus concede that chemicals in the body can affect judgment and behavior…but they deny that testosterone or estrogen could affect judgment and behavior. I guess. Again, it’s hard to figure out what they “believe” here, because they cannot afford to acknowledge the existence of such questions for longer than it takes to shout “misogynistracistnazifascist!”
(If you’re doing anthropological field work to study leftists and need to blend in with that tribe, just remember: Evolution stops at the neck. From the soles of the feet to the clavicle, natural selection is a valid, though somewhat vulgar, topic. But the brain is magic; it has an exception to phenomena like cause and effect that makes it immune to evolution.)
Friedrich Hayek was a 20th century writer in political science, economics, and the theory of law. He didn’t invent the phrase “spontaneous order” but he did more than anyone else to popularize it. In the social sciences, spontaneous order is the emergence of ordered patterns that are the result of human action but not human intention. The emergence of natural languages is one example of jillions. Spontaneous order is not confined to human interactions; e.g., in biology, evolution is an example of spontaneous order.
Another major aspect of Hayek’s thought is the immense complexity of modern societies and the limitations of our knowledge about them. We’d need a million? a billion? times more information than we actually have in order to “plan” society as socialists want to, or even to regulate it in a way that avoids the Law of Unintended Consequences.
John Nash is the father of game theory. He came up with the basic concept of equilibrium that converted game theory from an ad hoc collection of unconnected examples to a field of study with structural coherence and unity. How? He saw that the appropriate equilibrium notion is simply mutual best responding. That simply means— take a 2-player game for example— that your move is your best response to my move, while my move is at the same time my best response to your move. If both those things are true, then neither of us has any incentive to change his behavior, so that pair of moves is an equilibrium. The concept easily generalizes to any number of players.
This concept is radiantly useful. There are now maybe a dozen refinements of it tailored to specific types of games, but they all have some notion of mutual best response at their core. It’s now called “Nash equilibrium” in Nash’s honor.
In general a given game can have any number of Nash equilibria; none, one, more than one, or indeed infinity. However, Nash proved that under general conditions, a game has at least one equilibrium, if you broaden the things that players can do from just choosing moves to choosing probability distributions over moves. In other words, if you let players be random to prevent other players from predicting what they’ll do. Because the players use a mix of possible moves in this kind of equilibrium, it’s called a mixed strategy equilibrium. Nash proved that unless the game is screwy, in technical terms, there is at least one mixed strategy Nash equilibrium.
Example: About an hour before writing this I was watching some baseball on TV. The pitcher doesn’t want the batter to know what pitch he’s going to throw, obviously. So we must use mixed strategy game theory to analyze what’s going on.
If we’re studying strategic interactions we must start with Nash. But we can’t stop there: Nash and conventional game theory by themselves are necessary but not sufficient to understand a broad set of social phenomena.
Why don’t they suffice? Because conventional game theory-cum-Nash equilibrium takes the game as fixed and known to the players. But in real-world adversarial interactions we often want to burst outside the game as our opponent understands it and do something they didn’t even think of as being possible. The development and use of the first nuclear weapons in World War II is an example.
Summing all this up…
We need Darwin to understand and predict people’s preferences and moves, noting that their “preferences” may not be consciously held in their minds, but more like evolutionarily instantiated behavior patterns.
We need Nash to make sense of and predict what happens when such evolutionarily engineered creatures interact with each other.
But we also need Hayek to remind ourselves that predictability is limited, a limitation on knowledge that applies to both us and our adversaries. And sometimes the very unpredictability is one of the main points. For example: Immigration. Once immigrants and their sympathizers are 51% of the voters, they are not going to vote to eject themselves from the country, so allowing in a flood of immigrants is an irreversible decision with unknown consequences.
(It’s hard to believe that any human being could be stupid enough to advocate rolling the dice on an unknown outcome that’s irreversible. Yet observe the politics of CURRENT YEAR. By the way, one might say, “The consequences of not having immigration are also unpredictable.” Sure, but: That decision is reversible. If we don’t let immigrants in now, we can always let them in later. But if we let them in now, we can’t eject them later. Not easily. Not without something like total war. Which we are far from guaranteed to win, and will be immensely costly even if we do win it.)
And, now that the left is taking things totalitarian, breathtakingly quickly, [Nick Fuentes being forbidden from flying: https://www.unz.com/mmalkin/anti-censorship-legislation-get-it-right/] we also need Nash as one of the things to help us think about the looming civil war. By the way, we’re already in the civil war, if you hadn’t noticed. It doesn’t always have a clear sign. In this case it was kind of like an astronaut’s crossing of a black hole’s event horizon: the astronaut himself doesn’t notice it. (Though future historians will likely settle on some event like the mostly-peaceful protests of January 6 for convenience.)
All of this is a more detailed exposition of the simplified statement on my About page,
“We live in, or if shocked away from are always heading toward,
Stable equilibria (Nash) of decentralized interactions (Hayek) of multiple self-interested agents (Darwin, Hayek, Nash), which are not optimized for rationality or “utility maximization,” but reproductive success (Darwin).”
(1) Why is war unavoidable? Why has there never been a microsecond on Earth during which the entire planet was at peace? Why is it almost entirely men who fight wars?
Evolutionary psychology (Darwin) explains who fights and why. Men fight with each other because uteruses are scarce and they are valuable— in reproductive terms, from a man’s point of view, infinitely valuable. They are worth fighting over. (Men want pussy, but obviously evolution designed us to want pussy because pussy is the gateway to uterus.) Women do not fight because they don’t have to – women can get access to sperm extremely easily. That’s because fucking a chick is low-cost for a man. Men are sexually available to women. In contrast, pregnancy is costly and risky for a woman, and was even more costly and risky in the evolutionary environment that shaped our sexual preferences. It makes sense for a woman to be very picky about who she has sex with. Thus men’s demand for pussy is much higher than women’s demand for cock. Thus men fight for pussy; women do not fight for cock. Men are evolved to be warlike.
So Darwin explains who fights, and ultimately why.
Nash explains why fighting always exists, and unfortunately probably always will, even though it’s costly for both sides. To see this, imagine the contrary – we’re going to do a kind of proof by contradiction. Here we have a wonderful world with no physical conflict! No wars, not even any fistfights. Fantastic! Alas, this situation is not stable – it’s not a Nash equilibrium. Why not? Because if there is no physical conflict then there is no need for defensive measures. No one owns a firearm, no one trains in fighting, no one is alert for the threat of violence. E.g. no one takes care to avoid isolated areas at night, etc. And on longer, evolutionary timescales, no one needs cognitive modules like the ability to model opponents’ intentions, or emotions like anger that help you to make credible threats of retaliation against violence.
In this world with no countermeasures against violence, violence is extremely effective and low-risk. Amoral assholes look around and see a bunch of easy targets with no mental preparation for resisting violence and no weapons that would help them resist it. (Picture those fat immobile people on the Axiom spaceship in the movie Wall-E.) So they use violence to easily get what they want (whether it’s money or pussy or whatever).
Violence increases until countermeasures against it appear to an extent that makes an increase in violence not worthwhile. That is, we have the world as we know it – there is neither zero violence nor infinite violence. And that, sad to say, is the only Nash equilibrium.
(2) Why is an unbiased media impossible? Why is an unbiased educational system impossible? For the answer we look to Nash.
Again, consider the contrary: Suppose all news media and educational institutions are completely unbiased. So we trust what they say without bothering to verify it. But if we trust what they say without verifying it, it’s very easy to deceive us by infiltrating the news media and schools and lying to us. So malign actors do so. Ergo, in the long run we cannot have unbiased information-conveying institutions. It’s not a Nash equilibrium.
(3) Why do male and female voting patterns on immigration differ? Darwin tells us.
Women have a reproductive interest in mating with strong males. (Interpret the word strong broadly; this is mostly not about muscle mass.) A strong male can defend her against threats and is more likely to conquer than be conquered. As I noted here https://neurotoxinweb.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/red-pill-in-fiction-justina-robsons-keeping-it-real/,
The instinct to play “Let’s you and him fight” is deep in the female psyche. Time and again we see it play out, and not only with humans. There’s a species of duck, e.g., that my high school Bio teacher told us about, where the females do this. A female will sidle up to a male and get him to follow her. Then she’ll swim over to the vicinity of another male, so that the two males fight. Then she mates with the victor. This female behavior pattern has an ancient evolutionary history; it goes back even to pre-human animals.
There is no reason for men to want immigration (unless it’s 95% hot foreign chicks, which it isn’t). There is a reason, in terms of evolutionary psychology, for women to want it: It creates a game of “Let’s you and him fight.” Women also have a preference for their own population group, which is why more than half of white women voted for Trump in 2016. But note that more white men than white women voted for Trump.
(Prediction: In every nation in the world, a higher proportion of women than men support immigration.)
(4) Why does socialism always cause economic disaster? Why do even attempts to regulate society, short of total socialism, so often end in disaster? Gas price controls, busing, public housing, etc. This one is all Hayek.
The problem is that planning an entire economy requires much, much more information than the government could ever have about consumer preferences, available resources, production technology for turning resources into products, etc. The hubris of thinking one could do this!
In contrast, market economies work because they’re decentralized: each small unit— person, household, firm— only has to deal with a relatively small piece of the economy. So production and most other social processes generally work better if they develop at the local, self-organizing level.
And that is why we need Darwin (evolutionary psychology), Nash (game theory), and Hayek (the social science of limited information and spontaneous order) to understand society.