Links to Consider, 2/23
Henrik Karlsson on culture and genius; Richard Hanania on right-coding; Veronique de Rugy on entitlements; Robert Wright and Coleman Hughes;
These naked apes, the humans, are intensely social animals. They obsessively internalize values, ideas, skills, and desires from the people who surround them. It is therefore not surprising that those who grow up to be exceptional tend to have spent their formative years surrounded by adults who were exceptional.
…the area of study which would eventually give them fame came to them almost like a wild hallucination induced by overdosing on boredom. They would be overcome by an obsession arising from within.
He advises a parent,
It is just a way of viewing children: as capable of competence, as craving meaningful work, as worthy to be included in serious discussions.
But I still worry about the direction of causality—some children may be ready to be included in serious discussions, and some may not be.
In an earlier essay, he writes,
since May, I’ve been helping Erik Hoel comb through the literature on the upbringings of historical geniuses. What has struck me, more than anything else, is the quality of the cultures they internalized. The pedagogies their guardians employed differed radically; they had differing temperaments; they mastered different disciplines, but they all had this in common: they spent their days around highly competent people.
This seems like a variation on my catch-phrase that we decide what we believe by deciding who to believe. Pointer from Rob Henderson.
Anyone today skeptical of feminism, BLM, and trans ideology is conservative, regardless of what they think about abortion, the economy, or foreign policy. It’s why people say I’m a conservative despite half my writing being about how conservatives are immoral, low IQ, and generally inferior to liberals.
An anti-woke liberal will be coded as conservative.
The average Social Security retiree will get $698,000 and will only have paid $625,000. That explains the program's insolvency. It's even worse for Medicare since the average beneficiary receives three times more than he or she pays in taxes for that program.
Every technocrat on the Democratic side knows that entitlement spending is unsustainable. But they are thrilled when their President engages in the lowest form of demagoguery on the issue.
Robert Wright interviews Coleman Hughes on a podcast. The link for Wright’s paid subscribers is here, but by the time this post goes up there may be a link that is not paywalled. Hughes can really rack up FITs points for steel-manning, for example around minute 26, when he steel-man’s those who disagree with his anti-Woke position.
Substacks referenced above:
$625/$698 = 90%. Not a big deal. That seems pretty close to accurate for the median voter.
I would also point out that writing checks to individuals and letting them decide how to spend it is usually some of the least damaging ways the government spends money (in this case they aren't even really spending it, just transferring it).
Medicare is a different story, but it's a story of reforming our entire healthcare system, not really a question of what one generation owes the next. Right now Medicare means "we cover everything until you die". If its going to mean something else that its a fundamentally different benefit. Maybe that is a good idea, but it's more complicated then cutting SS payments 10% or whatever.
I would point out that the real constituency for Medicare is the health industry as much as seniors. Seniors don't benefit nearly as much from end of life care as the people getting paid do.
I'm generally against the Gerontocracy, but I'm reflexively against cutting benefits UNLESS the money is going to be spent on things that are better then my Mom getting a check and my not having to support her. So if they want to use the money for a child tax credit, good. But if they want to use it on the Green New Deal, I'd rather my Mom got the check.
What will probably happen is a mixture of neglect, means testing, and raising taxes on people with six figure incomes. Absent healthcare reform none of that will matter either.
There is NO budget, nor entitlement crises, until the Democrats support cuts because of the crisis. Which will likely only be AFTER the crisis.
The more years, and decades, that pass before such a crisis, the less needed seem the tough choices of higher taxes and/or lower entitlements.
It's also clear that whenever the Republicans talk about "reform", it is unfairly portrayed as cutting or eliminating SS & Medicare. People who are serious about getting elected would be foolish (the Stupid party?) to talk "cutting SS".
It's increasingly likely that better medical AI plus careBots who can actually take care of sick folk will be working well before the overspending of US dollars crashes Western (Christian capitalist) civilization. It remains a big risk that the crash happens too soon - but I don't see it in the next 4-8 years.