I’m a bit late in pointing this out, but the New York Times has dipped its dainty foot into the scary waters of hbd. In the article they quote GNXP’s Jason Malloy (who has perhaps the best post on the Watson controversy here) as well as Half Sigma. Mencius Moldbug called it “epochal” and in the reaction at GNXP Godless Capitalist (aka gc, who had been AWOL for some time) agreed. I’m holding off on the champaign, as one demure NYT article does not a revolution in paradigms make. What I found interesting was how hopeless gc seemed in the comments here at 2Blowhards. His diagnosis was that the West was doomed, and advised those with foresight to “Go East, young man”. I’ve sometimes thought about that, but it was usually idle speculation and my imagined destination was generally another western country (Ireland, Australia, Switzerland if I can brush up on my German).
I’ve stated before that I feel no serious attachment to the west or white people and if it turns out that the Chinese/Indians take over and my (very extended) relations also disappear, I wouldn’t be too peeved as long as My New Asian Overlords are willing to give me a decent spot. I also wouldn’t care if after I died humanity was wiped out by an asteroid. Maybe if I was a father and pillar of some community rather than rootless cosmopolitan things would be different, but they aren’t. I am glad to have this rather dispassionate/apathetic outlook, because it allows more fruitful discussion and contemplation of ideas that I have seen others (figuratively) frothing at the mouth over. I would not say I am completely free of the mind-killers. Though I’m on the left tail of the empathy distribution, I must admit I found it difficult to read this by Idang Alibi from Nigeria (he has a follow-up here). Both the understanding that led to his despair for his country and the misunderstanding that gives him hope (yes, Virginia, religion is adaptive) bit into me. I’m glad I’m not in his position and, es tut mir leid, I wish he were not either. Clear-headed in the face of the bothersome is what I aspire to be though. I take inspiration from this review by Chip Smith of a compendium of writings by those the fearful imagine hbd-realists to be. Is there a smug sense of superiority in that detachment over someones’ fears of the worst thing he could possibly imagine? Sure. There are worse things than smugness though. I’d say self-righteous opponents of truth and free speech qualify, as do hate-filled disguised inferiority complexes.
A great many react to things we self-described “hbd-realists” say with anger, which is easy to ignore, but a number of others don’t bother denying the claims made while at the same time declining to climb aboard our bandwagon. They say “It’s true, but so what? You’ve just depressed us all and said there are no solutions”. Some question whether it is good if such acknowledgedly true ideas are spread, (Steve Sailer responds to that better than I or just about anybody I know could here). These people are usually minorities themselves who happen to be intelligent enough to realize that most of their co-ethnics are not going to be as fortunate as themselves any time soon (Razib and Godless could technically be considered to fall into this category as South Asians, but I think they identify near wholly with other educated Americans rather than the masses of Bangladesh or India, respectively). Telling them to stop caring about their extended relations is unlikely to be persuasive, if there’s one thing Sailer has striven to beat the drum on, it’s the importance of who your kin are and the promotion of loved one consciousness. While not on this specific subject, I think Robin Hanson gives a good case for why, whatever your cause is, truth should come first. He discusses picking a correct cause, but another important thing is that we will be better able to solve a problem if we have a more accurate perception of it. Without that unintended consequences abound.
Among the charges leveled by both the saddened and angry is that we take joy in news that brings them down. I think there is some confusion there. It is not so much a case of schadenfreude as relief. There is certainly a good bit of anger at those who insisted we were despicable, who ruined the careers of respected academics that were good liberals to boot, and on a less serious but informative level chose to dump buckets of water on their colleagues heads rather than hear them out. When we get notice that they may be having second thoughts and our despised contentions are being vindicated, of course we are more pleased than we would be otherwise. What we are not rejoicing in is the existence of a problem that admittedly bears the hardest on others (there are people do so, and we don’t like them either). We are not happy that obvious remedies will be ineffective, only that their ineffectiveness be recognized so that better ones may be sought. We recognized these things in the past, and it was not a pleasant realization, so of course our reaction will not be the same as those who are comparatively late in their acceptance.
I’d like to have something quasi-uplifting to say after ending on that note, but I can’t think of anything satisfactory. Perhaps next time.