Pinksheet Yang

A couple of months ago, when an avalanche of Yang memes seemed to appear out of nowhere, Hunter Wallace pointed out (his youtube channel has been deleted so I can’t link to it) that this wasn’t organic, and that Yang was clearly getting a “boost” from somewhere. Wallace was certainly correct about that. It was clearly a coordinated, professional op, but by whom? I have some ideas about who was directing it and what the reasons were, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all speculation. It’s also hard to tell to what extent anything that originates from places like 4chan is even real anymore, or to what extent it ever was. That wasn’t Yang’s fault though. Many of his policies were good. If nothing else, $1000 a month is $1000 a month. Nothing else mattered. Yang’s candidacy was propelled in essentially a “pump and dump” scheme, similar to those used in the seedy world of pinksheets and penny stocks promotion. With that thought, how appropriate the “pink hats” were.

None of that was Yang’s fault though. He of course made a strategic error in failing to embrace his new “supporters” and capitalize on the momentum which was gifted to him by the powers that be. Many people were disappointed by this and quickly abandoned the yacht. Part of me found it kind of admirable though that Yang insisted on being true to himself, “math” and all, rather than latch onto some fleeting, trendy meme campaign and pretend to be an obnoxious shitlord.

Yang did make some real blunders though. His first error was the idea to announce some new policy everyday (can’t remember if it was for 30 days or 60 days.) Many of these proposals seemed to have just been pulled out of his ass or a result of poor advice. Things such as “lowering the voting age to 16” were totally unnecessary and alienated a lot of potential supporters. He failed to take his own advice and “focus on the money.” His big selling point was the $1000 per month. That is all he should have been talking about with the exception of a few other common sense stances on important issues of the day to show he was a serious, well-rounded candidate. Yang’s other serious error was in his over the top pandering to SJWs and Russia conspiracy airheads. There is no way that someone as smart as Yang really buys into all that nonsense. The same criticism I applied to Trump years ago, applies to Yang. Intelligent candidates are at their best when they boldly articulate what they believe in their hearts rather than tell people they think (or have been advised) voters want to hear. Even if it seems unpopular or like a bad move politically, you have to just take the heat and press forward, confident that you will be vindicated. Lead the people where you want them to go.

Finally, I didn’t watch the debates, but from every indication, Yang’s performance was a disaster. He squandered what little airtime he received to make statements like “Russia is hacking our democracy.” Yang clearly does not understand where his potential pool of support lies. There was a niche available to him which he has been too clueless to recognize and exploit. Look, I like Yang. I wrote 3 lengthy essays and made a youtube video expressing enthusiastic (by my standards anyway) support for him. There’s still a long way to go in the election. If he’s really good at math, maybe he can learn from his mistakes like a sophisticated computer. At this point though, I don’t believe Yang has what it takes. $YANG stock has tanked. Don’t be left holding this bag.

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A World of Trauma – Civilizational Psychosadomasochism and Emptiness

According to Google’s vast textual corpora, there was nary an instance of the term “trauma,” or its distinctly psychiatric derivative “traumatized,” in written English prior to the 1880s. The first usage of “trauma” is documented in the 1690s, at which point it referred to physical wounding only. Its “psychic wound” sense did not pick up until the tail end of the 19th century, which is now far more familiar to us than the original sense. Exactly what took root in the world between then and now? The standard narrative is that the medical profession became wiser, but what of the wisdom embedded in our species’ genetic history? Note that even most doctors and biomedical lab technicians know little of basic genetics, or, one has to assume, of evolutionary reasoning. I recall being sneeringly told by one, on introducing her to the concept, that she was only interested in “proper science.” This is about when it set in that even many “grunt-work” scientists are basically morons. She certainly was.

Applying the principles of natural selection (i.e. evolutionary reasoning) to find the aetiology of disease tends to yield different answers from those that are now fashionable. In a 2000 paper, “Infectious Causation of Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective,” the authors compellingly argue that a huge number of supposedly mysterious illnesses are in fact caused by pathogens – bacteria or viruses. The argument is simple: any genetic endowment which essentially zeroes fitness (reproductive potential) can be maintained in a population’s genes only at the basal rate of errors, i.e. mutations, in the genetic code, with the apparently sole exception of heterozygote advantage for protection against malaria. Thus, anything so destructive which rises above a certain threshold of prevalence should arouse suspicion that a pathogen is to blame. This would include schizophrenia, an alleged evolutionary “paradox,” with a prevalence of ~0.5%, especially since, unlike “psychopathy,” schizophrenia has low twin-concordance, low heritability, and is discontinuous with normal personality. At present, direct evidence of the pathogen is scant, but that is to be expected: viruses are tricksy. No other explanation is plausible.

What, then, when one turns the evolutionary lens towards “trauma”? What is commonly called psychological trauma can helpfully be divided into two categories: non-chronic and chronic. The former is what most people would call distress. It is adaptive to have unpleasant memories of situations that could kill you or otherwise incur significant reproductive costs, which is why everyone feels this. It is good to have unpleasant memories of putting one’s hand on an electric fence for this reason. It is bad, and certainly not evolutionarily adaptive, for the memory to continually torture you for years after the fact. I have it on good authority that this does nothing to attract mates, for example.

In light of this, it becomes clearer what may be behind the apparent explosion of mental “traumas” in our psychiatry-obsessed world. One may observe, for instance, that there is no record of anything remotely resembling PTSD in the premodern world. It emerged in the 20th century, either as a result of new weapons inflicting new kinds of damage (brain injuries), or from psychiatrists’ egging people on, or both. If the received narrative about it were true, then all of Cambodia ought to have gone completely insane in recent times. It did not happen. Likewise with rape. One struggles to find any mention of long-term trauma from rape for most of human history. The ancients were not very chatty about it. Of course, they saw it as wrong, as is rather easy to do, but their notions about it were not ours. Rape does impose reproductive costs, but so does cuckoldry, and being cuckolded does not cause chronic trauma. Nor would claiming that it had done so to you do much for your social status. Sadly, exactly one person in existence has the balls to comment on this rationally. Many of these problems seem to originate from something more diffuse, something about the cultural zeitgeist of our age, rather than a particular field or bureaucracy.

It is generally agreed upon in the modern West that sexual activity before late adolescence, especially with older individuals, is liable to causing trauma of the chronic kind. This alone should give one pause, since “adolescence” is a linguistic abstraction with only very recent historical precedent, and many of the biopsychological processes which are conventionally attributed uniquely to it begin earlier and persist long after. The onset of stable, memorable sexual desire and ideation occurs at the age of ~10 (it was certainly present in me by age 11), commensurate with gonadarche, and is certainly almost universally present by age 12-13. The reason these desires arise with gonadarche is simple: they exist to facilitate reproduction. It would make little biological sense in any species other than humans to experience sexual desire but also experience some strange latency period of 1-8 years (depending on the country) during which any acting upon those desires causes inconsolable soul-destruction. Any time something seems completely unique to humans, one has to wonder if it has something to do with uniquely human cultural phenomena such as taboos. It is even more obvious when one observes human cultures which lack these taboos, e.g. Classical Greece. When they married their daughters off at age 13-14, they were concerned chiefly about whether the groom could provide her and her children with a stable living. But they were not concerned about soul-destruction. At least, I’m fairly sure of that. For the record: this is not an endorsement of lowering the age of consent. I am decidedly neutral on that question, but I do not believe Mexico’s answer is any less correct than California’s or vice versa.

It is wrong to say that psychiatrists, or therapists, have a superpower of changing people’s phenotypes. This is impossible, as any such change they could impart would be genetically confounded, i.e. it is genetically non-random sample of the population who are “successful” subjects to their interventions. So it seems fair to assume that a lot of mental health problems are explicable in this way rather than through straight-up iatrogenesis, and their prevalence is inflated somewhat through media hype and social media shenanigans. However, an interesting question is: how much of an evolutionarily novel phenomenon is the field of psychiatry? Are our minds equipped to deal with it? Well, not everyone’s. It seems possible to confect illnesses out of thin air if you subject the right person to the right conditioning, as is the case with the probably purely iatrogenic “dissociative identity disorder.”

Masses of people these days shell out large chunks of their finances on “therapy,” a form of psychiatric intervention which has shown itself to be of at best mixed efficacy. Many long-running randomised controlled trials of its effects turn up jack shit, which ought not to be shocking given what is known about the non-effects of education, extensively documented by Bryan Caplan and others. It has to change the brain in a dramatic way. Still lingering though, is the question of whether it may in fact make matters worse. Many social commentators have taken notice of the way in which mental illness, especially “depression,” seems to be afforded a kind of bizarre social status in some circles, such as within university culture in Canada. Even more galling is that it is not even clear whether “depression” of the garden variety is a disorder; it may be an adaptation that evolved to ward people off hopeless pursuits. Status is a powerful motivator, so this weird grievance culture cannot help, but encouraging people to make their living from talking to such people and consoling them with soothing words cannot be great either, since it is likely to induce the kind of institutional inertia on which the pointless continuance of America’s “drug war” is sometimes (correctly) blamed.

Legalising drugs and investing more energies into high-precision “super-drugs,” e.g. powerful mood-enrichers with no side effects, would do more for the true chronic depressives who literally have never even known what it means to be happy – a malady probably induced by rare mutations if it exists – than what is on offer today. Drugs are the only guaranteed way to do profound psychological re-engineering without gene-editing. It is not clear, though, if the psychiatric industry as it currently exists would be happy to see such problems vanish.

The Age of Orangutans

There is much talk of incentivising fecundity. It did not work for Imperator Augustus, nor will it for us, for a simple reason: kids are a pain in the arse. And land grants for chavs are probably not the best idea; need I explain why? One must differentiate based on intelligence or education level (a proxy for the former) to avoid pouring money into the sewer, and since no earthly government has the balls for that, we can forget it.

Alternatively, technology promises that which the Romans could scarcely have dreamt of. The demographic “problem” is not low fertility. Only in light of mass migration, which need not be, is low average fertility bad, and selection pressure will deal with that regardless. The problem is that the cognitive elite are infertile. Conversely, would the African population explosion be worrisome if the children all had IQs upwards of 180?

Even if you adhere to an ethical system such as libertarianism and so place all emphasis on freedom from coercion, there is a lot to be said for a state-enforced rewriting of human genetics, perhaps even a global one – setting aside the practicalities thereof. If the rewrite is imposed on all, well, there goes the problem of an inherited continuity of stupid. I am sympathetic to a lot of anti-paternalist intuitions where paternalism is liable to exacerbate a problem or make no odds, but it does make odds when one contemplates a future of regression to the mental acuity of orangutans. There will be no liberty then, nor indeed anything worth speaking of (assuming people could still speak). The desire for paternalism often arises from the knowledge that most people have poor reasoning abilities, but that need not always be, thanks to forthcoming technological interventions, too numerous to list. True, this may not be coming soon. What was that about caring for the long-term?

As per, pessimism is sensible. In the zeroth approximation, bet on China. Beyond that, don’t bother. This is where we are at.

Over the Borderline With Bernie

To the dismay of some of supporters and to the misplaced enthusiasm of some disillusioned Trump voters, Bernie made some waves again by reiterating his opposition to open borders. It’s no secret around here that support for “open borders” is only a recent phenomenon on the left (especially in socialist and communist circles.) Bernie has made arguments against mass immigration before(interestingly this article no longer appears on the BernieSanders.com website, though that may or may not mean anything and could just be the result of a design change.)

Anyhow, don’t panic everyone, rest assured! Bernie for all practical purposes, supports open borders. At the most recent event, the questioner let him off too easily. Next question should have been, “Okay there are hundreds of thousands of people trying to get into the United States. People are complaining about them being detained. If 100,000 people from Honduras and Ecuador were to arrive at the US border tomorrow, how many would you turn back?” My guess is he would not send very many back at all, because to do so would require levels of brutality his supporters would not be comfortable with. Bernie would not risk the bad publicity that comes with pictures of poor tender tots crying on tv. “Oh no, look at the poor kiddies! We must take them in!”

He says he’s not for “open borders,” he’s for “comprehensive immigration reform.” “Comprehensive immigration reform” is basically just a euphemism for amnesty and allowing mass immigration from the third world, even if technically the border will not be absolutely, 100% “open.” Bernie knows that open borders is an unpopular term, which is why he resists embracing it, even if we all know he’s not going to be rounding up and deporting illegals by the millions, which is what having a genuinely secure non-open border would actually entail, at least until people got the message and stopped coming in droves.

“I’m against open borders, but I wouldn’t detain people or deport families who came here illegally for a better life,” (not an actual quote) is basically Bernie’s position in practice. It amounts to a distinction without a difference.

I wish these politicians would just be honest and say that no one has the balls to restrict immigration in any meaningful way. The demographics have already changed to a degree where significant immigration restriction is no longer possible electorally. The replacement has for the most part, already happened. “America” is nothing but a post-national land mass at this point. We just need to adapt and find creative ways navigate the dystopia until some opportunity for escape or partition presents itself.

In the meantime, at least we can safely say that Angela Nagle has been vindicated.

Introducing… Jostle Magazine

So, as the enlightened / disillusioned ones transition to a “post-political” era, I’ve created a new site, Jostle, for people willing to ascend into abstract madness. “Jostle” is in the literary vein of a 1990’s underground zine but is stylistically modeled after pop publications like Seventeen and Sassy Magazine. The tagline of Jostle is “creating elbow room,” meaning that it intends to open up space in the ether for people to think about whatever, as there is no room for coherent thought and the transmission of concrete political ideas in the world of everyday people. As I’ve stated before, electoral politics strikes me as a pointless endeavor. If one is going to vote, they’d be better off voting for the candidate that has the cooler looking campaign logo. The vast majority of people who vote have at best a kindergarten level of understanding when it comes to the issues. They might recognize a couple of slogans and be swayed by a few generalized statements. There are very little actual differences between candidates anyway, most of whom merely spout vapid platitudes. I don’t see any mechanism for this to change any time soon. In terms of what could be termed political or ideological interests I’m mostly only focused on transhumanism now. The AltRight has nothing interesting left to offer, nor does the post-AltRight, which is mostly just young people attempting to repackage the early 1990s religious right as something new (because they grew up too late to realize that was the sort of thing people were trying to get away from.) The left has nothing to offer either, but I will probably vote democrat anyway, if the candidate is cute, quirky, funny and supports universal basic income for aging mall creeps and notoriously terrible roommates like me. Identity politics is here to stay, but as traditional identities disappear, new ones will emerge to take their place: vampire, fembot, catgirl, pigman, mystery meat, neo-juggalo, legacy human, floating brain in a jar…etc. It’s an exciting time to be alive and in chronic pain!

Behold! the “ubermensch” of tomorrow

Jostle frequently will delve into the realms of “mindless” pop culture and obscure oddities, partially because those are where my fascinations ultimately lie but also to act as a repellent to “Johnny One-Note” political pests. The subject matter of Jostle acts a neuro-tribalist filter. So if your first instinct when reading it is to mutter “What is this bullshit?” to yourself, you’re probably not on my wavelength. So you can either get on my wavelength or go home. It’s cool.

http://www.jostle.net

[Of course I will continue to update AltLeft.com if and when a political epiphany pops into my head or I feel like going on some drunken Mel Gibson rant (both of which are virtually guaranteed to happen)]