39 Comments

If Woke-ism will be defeated, its going to come from politics. You're going to have to elect right wing populists at every level of government, every school board, every judgeship, etc. Then you are going to have to punish and fire wokesters so hard that out of fear and self preservation they stop or are powerless.

It's not going to come from centrist Democrats or Romney republicans. It's not going to come from friendly debate or asking people nice. It's not going to come without forming coalitions being pragmatic.

It's going to come from court rulings and school defunding and mass firings and executive orders that don't give a shit. It's going to look like DeSantis endorsing and supporting school board candidates or punishing work companies that get involved in politics. It's going to look like suing and winning against companies that practice affirmative action with huge penalty lawsuits.

If you think you can keep voting D and doing things the way they are and it will all somehow just go back to "the way it was" you aren't serious.

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To do those things you actually have to win elections, and right wing populism doesn't appeal to any majority. DeSantis is basically a conventional Republican who's made wokeness his main issue, which has fairly broad appeal across much of the spectrum. The whole Sohrab Ahmari/JD Vance right wing Marxism strategy is a dead end, which is probably part of why the latter is on track to lose what should be an easy senate race.

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If DeSantis is a conventional Republican, why do all the conventional Republicans seem to hate him?

DeSantis backed Trumps trade war with China. DeSantis is anti illegal immigration. Is Desantis talking about privatizing social security.

It's almost like DeSantis adopted all of the key planks of Trumps populist economic package.

He does not appear to be a Marxist, but he's not conventional Republican.

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I love the term "right-wing Marxists." I remember when that referred specifically to libertarians, due to their right wing economic reductionism.

Now those libertarians are thought to be too similar to the Romney Republicans at odds with these new so-called right-wing Marxists like Vance.

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I'm learning so much! I had to look up "economic reductionism" - interesting label to attach to libertarians, who are largely focused on freedom from coercion, but let's not debate that.

I've been trying to learn about "right-wing Marxism" and coming up largely blank, though. There's an article from 2013 in the New Labor Forum about the Tea Party (which also seems to have mystified people, and which I have no doubt mystified Labor activists) and one in American Affairs Journal by Micah Meadowcroft from 2019, attributing the phrase to F.H. Buckley, who is apparently a Trumpist (I count myself among those mystified by Trumpism). Buckley evidently used the phrase in a 2018 book. Meadowcroft concludes he is a "New Deal Democrat adrift," which honestly doesn't help me much, while repeatedly noting he seems to prefer how Canada does things.

What the heck is Right-Wing Marxism?

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Obviously "Right Wing Marxism" makes no sense, but my guess at what he was getting at is a kind of "Reform Conservative" embrace of state-based subsides that benefit the Republican-voting working class, or on which that class has become reliant.

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"We still have not converged on a set of norms that works best for most people."

Half False.

The 50's norm of no sex outside of marriage works best for most people, something like 80% of women and 60% of men (my guesstimates - what are yours?).

It's true that the 20% of women and 40% of men for whom some other norm would be better have NOT "converged" on the optimal norms. (There's also the issue of norm-violation while maintaining the norm as a standard, like speeding laws.)

The homosexuals & alphas (Trump, Clinton) & elites (H. Weinstein) & most beautiful & rich who think other norms are better have successfully destroyed the optimal norm - but it's becoming increasingly clear to many, especially to more women, that the "responsible promiscuity*" norm of consent is sub-optimal for them, and their own children.

*I used to believe in responsible promiscuity, but now it's clearly sub-optimal. Christians & Republicans & conservatives should try to talk more using terms like "optimal" rather than "moral", even tho the development of morals is an attempt to develop optimal norms.

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Where did you come up with those numbers? You overestimate the fraction that wait till marriage by about an order of magnitude. Excepting Mormons no one waits till marriage anymore and I've never met a person of either sex who wants to return to an era when that was expected. There's definitely no going back to pre-modern sexual norms, and though few conservative will admit it, this is primarily because they've lost most of their utility due to technological advancement. Not all of their utility, but the better part of it.

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"Excepting Mormons no one waits till marriage anymore and I've never met a person of either sex who wants to return to an era when that was expected. "

Your peer group may not be representative.

https://www.econlib.org/archives/2015/01/gss_sf.html

Promiscuity is more rare than you think. A very large percentage of the population only have one or two partners in their whole life. When you recreate this graph by married people it looks even more square. High SES and religiosity would tamp down on it to. The honest answer is that all most middle class religious republicans are actually living up to the hype of their stated sexual ideals the most part.

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I'm looking at the numbers. Taking them as valid, it says that of men who have ever had sex, 70% have had more than one partner, 56% have had 3 or more, 42% have had 4 or more, just under one in 3 has had 5 or more. Just under one in 5 claims to have had 11 or more.

If we look at women's responses, we find that 60% have had more than one partner, 43% have had 3 or more, just under one in three has had 4 or more, and one in five has had 5 or more. One in 10 admits to having had 11 or more.

(Why the gender differences? Probably some social desirability bias: women under-admit sexual activity and men over-claim it. If all sex were heterosexual we could probably split the difference; and in the more common buckets that's probably close to correct. Remember, the average number of women a man has had sex with must equal the average number of men a woman has had sex with.)

In any case, these are not small minorities - especially when you consider that there's no age adjustment here: a fair number of people are virgins or have had only a single partner because they're still young. 9% of all the male respondents (and 7% of the female respondents) in those numbers say they never had sex at all.

Actual or quasi-monogamy, then, appears to be the experience of a large minority (again, some of that is due to age/opportunity rather than commitment). If we allow for "2" as reasonable for "monogamy or quasi-monogamy" then "3 or more" would be non-monogamists. That's 56% of men and 43% of women. Splitting the difference (social desirability bias), half. So, no, monogamy would not be a norm that clearly suits <i>most</i> people (except maybe under a 50%+1 definition of "most") - but it's a very common behavior.

Actual promiscuity is another matter. We see that 5% of the male population and 3% of women say they've had more than 100 partners. That's clearly promiscuous, and the public health issues we've seen (to be clear, in the past 40 years we're talking about HIV and very nearly nothing else) are very likely tied to that group, not the "under 20 partners" crowd.

21-100... probably a matter of opinion. The lower end is pretty active, but over a 40-year sexually active life a single person could hit 20 partners without exactly lighting up Tinder. The upper end... would take concentrated effort, I'd think.

Where does all this leave us?

- For conservatives, the world is not falling apart, and true or quasi-monogamy is very, very common. But, the vast majority of non-monogamists are not wildly promiscuous and it's okay to leave them alone and remember the conservative credo, "mind your own business".

- For non-conservatives, monogamy or something close is the way about half the population lives, and it's important to know and respect that. Promiscuity is more rare than you may think, and monogamists are not "weird" or "dinosaurs". Remember the non-conservative credo, "live and let live."

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"Remember, the average number of women a man has had sex with must equal the average number of men a woman has had sex with."

I keep hearing this, and it makes absolutely no sense to me. That would be true assuming a non-skew distribution, but the distribution is clearly skewed.

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Aug 26, 2022·edited Aug 26, 2022

Eric, the statement is correct but I used it wrongly. The skew can be different, as you note. If 1 man has sex with 100 women who only have sex with him, and 99 men have sex with no-one, ALL the women report a single partner. The average, for the men, is then (1x100+99x0)/100 = 1, and the average for the women is (100x1)/(100) = 1. But the skew would be enormous.

So, my "split the difference" comment is not supported without further analysis.

As a side note, while we tend to focus on "male promiscuity" it's worth noting here that the skew could be entirely driven by the women's choices.

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Louise Perry was on Bari Weiss (where I read this, not WSJ)

https://www.commonsense.news/p/im-30-the-sexual-revolution-shackled

She offers 11 bullet points of advice, the last two being:

• Only have sex with a man if you think he would make a good father to your children—not because you necessarily intend to have children with him, but because this is a good rule of thumb in deciding whether he’s worthy of your trust.

• Monogamous marriage is by far the most stable and reliable foundation on which to build a family.

Quillette offers more against Tinder:

https://quillette.com/2022/08/25/terrible-tinder/

"only a tiny minority of men receive a preponderance of matches, and that this disparity was comparable in scale to the income inequality of South Africa under apartheid. In contrast, the match disparity among females was similar to the magnitude of economic inequality found in Western Europe. During a recent podcast discussion with Jordan Peterson, guest Rob Henderson cited statistics from a study on Tinder finding that women “like the profiles of only four percent of the men they see on the app, whereas men swipe right or like 60 percent of the profiles”

The backlash by normal folk against "consent promiscuity" is growing - but going back to monogamous marriage seems likely to be too square to be cool, even if it's optimal.

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A single choice, enforced on the whole population, is never optimal.

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Singal: "Hey don't be a cariacature of an anti-woke fanatic idiot extremist, becaue just look how I can push that strawman down."

Ok Jesse. How about telling us where between that and "Lay back and think of England" / "I signed an open letter once" is the sweet spot for taking the problem seriously and pushing back when necessary?

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If 80 and 90 year old people control 45% of assets and property, right around the corner is a windfall of inheritance for the younger people in their lives.

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Yeah, but most of that would go to a relatively small number of only slightly less old people, right?

One proposal could be that any money the government spends on one's behalf via some old age program like social security or Medicare becomes a highest priority unsecured debt to one's estate at death. If the estate is in the red, then the rest is forgiven or extinguished (yes, poor old people wouldn't be able to get credit cards.) Otherwise the heirs can only take after and with the estate reduced by the repayment of the debt.

This creates an incentive for a wealthy old couple and their heirs to care a little more about whether the government is getting a good deal for its money and to see if they can work out a better deal for care between themselves, though heirs would want some enforceable contract which constrains the liberty of the couple to alter their will in any way end up to the last moment, and there would be some tricky tax issues to work out.

That way the whole younger working generation gets to enjoy the windfall of a collective inheritance of not having to pay as much of their income to support incredibly expensive old age programs.

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Medicaid already requires you to be broke and even goes after assets that you transferred to your kids within the last five years. The way people adapt to this is by either:

1) Spending down their assets on consumption, some of which might have a dual purpose (paying for your grandkids diapers, taking them on vacation).

2) Making charitable "donations" that are backdoor assets (school admission or non-profit jobs for grandchildren)

3) Planning ahead far enough to transfer the assets more than five years before you expect to need expensive medical care.

This is more common than you think. My friend bought a very expensive house in a posh suburb of Boston in part with money from a parent. They built an addition onto the house as an in-law suite, so even though the parent has no assets the fact that she can live with them free and have many of there expenses paid is a kind of asset. They've done this far enough in advance that five years will likely elapse before any issues. She even gets her expensive medications paid for in full by the government because she is "low income".

4) In some cases due to bad planning or not having kids the government will simply get the money, which isn't exactly a win

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Yep, all kinds of fake-destitution gaming to qualify for benefits and get out of taxes. But in the final analysis, the government is gonna pay the piper eventually, and it's gonna grab a bunch of that wealth to do it, one way or another. I expect estate tax rates to go up, excluded amounts to go down, and IRS scrutiny of inter-generational transfers to explode. A few years ago I predicted that this would provide another criminal-adjacent source of demand and value-maintenance for crypto, and I stand by that prediction.

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I didn’t think the potential tax on gift and estate wealth transfers was or could be all that great compared to the potential income tax on wages. If the government is going to plug the gap, it’s going to have to go back to extremely high marginal rates starting at relatively low income brackets.

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I don't think so, seems to me it's the other way round. The US only gets $2 trillion a year in (non-payroll) income taxes and already relies more on them for revenue than any other developed country, and I suspect the practical and political ability to collect a lot more from that source is more limited than you imply. On the other hand, there is plenty of room at the bottom for federal sales or VAT taxes, and there's something like $25 trillion in just the single asset category of home equity in the U.S., mostly owned by older folks. My guess is that grabbing even just 1% of home equity per year via higher estate taxes would match about the upper limit of extra juice you could squeeze from the income tax orange, and of course there a lot more wealth to grab in the form other assets and investments. You can hide a lot of financial wealth offshore or in crypto, but you can't hide your real estate, and businesses have a strong inventive to report costs for deduction for and deliver VAT revenue.

Look, we're in so deep, the right answer can only be "all of the above plus new stuff you can't even imagine yet."

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On your last point we’re in agreement.

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I'm all for raising the age at which people start to receive SS, but in my experience, private companies also devalue older workers. There are issues of norms and expectations that go beyond the "retirement age"

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Probably in large part because aging has significant effects on cognition and mental energy, to say nothing of the physical side of things. 70 year olds are not going to be as productive as younger workers unless Aubrey de Grey gets his wish, and maybe not even then.

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True enough. But the "right" solution is not a "retirement age" but arrangements that allow people to use their changing abilities to the fullest at any age. And I don't presume that changing the SS retirement age will do the trick.

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Yeah I'm not opposed to Arnold's policy proposal as much as I am to his optimism about the results of this demographic change.

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Shorter Singal:

"You don't have to fight back since the crazy people are under control by people who aren't fighting back either."

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Long run fiscal health will depend entirely on the ability to control medical cost trend. Raising the retirement age would be a meaningless gimmick for medical cost trend, and if anything I expect there will be pressure to decrease rather than increase the age people can apply for Medicare.

As to demographics, you can't just keep raising the retirement age forever. If TFR is below replacement, it's just going to get worse and worse over time.

Anyway, the real demographic worry is immigration. Where are those billion Africans going to go? If the answer is "the west", I don't think raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 would be enough to fix Detroit.

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Oh dear. Bad ideas from the early 20th Century - fascism, socialism, Victorianism - are on the rise all over the place. There are always problems, but some ideas were genuinely bad. Oh well, I guess we'll spend the next couple of decades re-learning why Victorianism once had such a bad reputation. Those who do not remember history, etc.

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Bad reputation or not, the British Empire was at its peak in the Victorian era and with those norms, and everything since the house of Windsor and has been an uninterrupted slide down the drain. People tend to call the Puritans nasty names too, but they were incredibly successful and the cultural descendants of their project of national ethnogenesis basically conquered the world (too bad it's all run out of steam and rolling on inertia now). The first Muslims were pretty strict too, and did you ever see that series of maps on how they conquered most of the civilized Mediterranean world so quickly it would have embarrassed any Roman emperor?

It's almost like there's something really beneficial about those super strict norms, and maybe the bad reputation those folks get later is so much sour grapes from lame successors with a deserved inferiority complex.

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022

Or maybe those norms signal the moment right before the collapse.

Seriously, though, in a world where success derives from the physical strength of men, and where women are basically machines for producing more men, cultures that encourage monogamy are going to be more successful because each man has a family to provide for, which - in the absence of distractions like video games, travel, creative employment and the myriad other features of the modern world - gave him a reason to care. Cultures that allowed or encouraged polygamy would wind up with a lot of men who didn't care and were rather restless.

This is not that world, and - despite right-wing nostalgia for a 1950s that never was - America and the rest of the western world have become fabulously more successful, wealthy and powerful since the mocking of Victorianism began.

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"Between 2022 and 2050, United Nations projections indicate that nearly 55 percent of world population growth will occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility rates are still relatively high."

Consider the avg IQ of sub-Saharan Africans. Even with 5-10iq point pickup in low hanging fruit of nutrition and health, that still leaves them south of African American IQ (~84, with 10-15% white admixture), and of course other non-IQ issues (high predisposition to violence, high time preference, etc.).

That is a VERY different human capital stock and no you can't just educate your way out of it. Either thousands of years of sharp painful Malthusian natural selection, or we need genetic engineering. Else....

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022

We pretty much have the technology for genetic engineering and could make incredibly superior people right now just by spell checking out genetic load. The spell-checked version of you would probably be at least a standard deviation better than you along multiple dimensions: smarter, faster, healthier, more attractive.

But it doesn't matter if you make super babies if no one wants to raise babies anymore.

Unless you raise them in giant mass facilities like factory livestock operations, or force a class of state-designated troublemakers to do all the labor. We won't do that, but China will because the gains are irresistible for those who are serious, capable, iron-willed. So they own the future for a while, until the machines take it from them too on their way to fill the entire cosmos with copies of themselves.

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The Chinese couldnt even bring themselves to force seniors to vaccinate. They'd rather lock down entire cities of 20-30mio people and shut down swathes of their economy instead of force recalcitrant uncles playing Mahjong to submit to the jab. I have my doubts as to any large scale livestock factories of children.

Regardless, the selection for fertility is proceeding quite sharply and should turn around by end of century. The problem is we have two selections: selection for high time preference (idiocracy style), and selection for high fertility from actually wanting kids. Ideally we'd suppress the former and encourage the latter particularly for high iq/culture folks.

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Demographics is destiny, but is also adjustable.

Japan showing the world how to be a stable, comfy, country of balanced old-middle-young, perhaps also rich-middle-poor (but not too uncomfortable nor suffering), would be good.

Note the wealth figures: 16% millenials, 31% Gen X, 45% boomers (in 80s & 90s). This is because of the inflation since 2008, almost none in the Consumer Price Index, but hyper-inflation in the (ad hoc metric) Investor Price Index, which includes financial assets, houses, and valuables (art, jewels, NBA teams). Magic Monetary Theory (MMT - magical Modern) says deficits don't matter because of CPI. But "all-Money" Theory says that when more investment money chases the same investment goods, the prices of those goods goes up. Making the rich, and old, richer - as well as increasing their richness faster than the poor are getting richer.

No talk yet about getting more housing built.

Just like, for medical costs, little talk about increasing the number of Medical Schools and graduating more doctors.

No discussion about increasing the number of jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially to hire women. Like the sweatshops 20 years ago in Bangladesh, which have created a far more prosperous and NOT aid-dependent society.

Arnold is mostly correct, slow de-population is not such a big problem, "there are ways to adapt to a different demographic pyramid."

Humans won't have so many problems adjusting.

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Jesse doesn't name names - therefore he isn't really serious; except for claiming, without evidence! or specific argument, that one can't favor "liberalism" and still support Donald Trump.

"radical lefty professors are annoying. Sometimes they do bad things, such as leading campaigns to get their colleagues fired or calling everything – everything – 'fascist.' But they are not, in fact, one of America’s hundred most pressing problems. "

False.

The acceptance of college discrimination against Republicans, Christians, & conservatives is the SINGLE biggest cause of the increased polarization in America as well. It was known, documented, & publicized in 1987 with Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind", and it has only gotten worse - partly because useful near-idiots like Jesse claim it's never a "pressing problem".

Jesse totally fails to make the connection that, for those unwilling to be excessively anti-Woke, the best strategy is to support somebody else who IS anti-Woke. I.e. support somebody like DJ Trump, who fights against the Woke and whom the Woke fight against, so that the Trump voters can do other things with their lives. And for such mild anti-Woke folk, those like Jesse who attack DJT are just trying to support the Woke, even if they claim they're not.

At least Jesse is not as bad as those who Neo tells how "The Left explains the Trump voter"

https://www.thenewneo.com/2022/08/24/the-left-explains-the-trump-voter/

As I note there, it's not the Left, but it IS Democrats.

Talk about "the Left" allows Democrats to claim that "it's not them". Like Jesse does.

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Rob's questionable analysis about distributing 100 points among the 5 categories includes:

"The researchers looked at whether there were differences in academic values based on gender. There were no significant differences between men and women regarding preferences for academic rigor, academic freedom, and advancing knowledge. However, women valued the emotional well-being of students and social justice significantly more than men."

So, no significant differences on points for 3 groups, but for 2 other groups women gave significantly more. Significantly more was given to some groups without significantly less being given to others.

How is that possible? By "significant" - the women can give an avg of 18 to emotions & social justice, as well as an avg of 21-22 to rigor, freedom & knowledge. The men avg 15 for emotions & social justice, but 23-24 for rigor, freedom & knowledge. The 2 point diff in avg is "not significant" for 3 groups, but the 3 point diff is. Kinda close to p-hacking.

These point distributions are EXAMPLES only - I'd like to see the actual data, and a summary of the data would not have been so hard:

Professor(#profs) avg points for each trait total, . . . female (#profs), . . . male (#profs).

Were such professors to also take the 4 axis Myers-Briggs test, I'm sure most of the women would be NF (abstract feelers) and the men split between NF & NT (abstract thinkers), with virtually none of them on the N-S axis having S - sensory (concrete). But some 3/4 of the population are S, only about 1/4 are iNtuitive (abstract).

It might be that no other single personality axis widely used would have as much predictive value as the N-S axis for elite vs non-elite, tho the F-T (decision making by Feeling or Thinking) might be more predictive of Dem vs Rep now.

For understanding people with mental health problems, the Big 5 OCEAN model seems likely to be better, but for understanding the normal folk you deal with, the Introvert-Extrovert, N-S, F-T, and J-P (closure vs open ended) axes are probably better, especially the 4 main pairs of NF & NT and SJ & SP.

For the non-abstract folk, their closure vs open-ended styles of living make a bigger difference than F-T. (J-judging P-perceiving don't seem to be such good words for describing the trait)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/104190.Please_Understand_Me_II

So very lay popular.

"Why? Perhaps it was the user-friendly way that Please Understand Me helped people find their personality style. Perhaps it was the simple accuracy of Keirsey's portraits of temperament and character types. Or perhaps it was the book's essential message: that members of families and institutions are OK, even though they are fundamentally different from each other, and that they would all do well to appreciate their differences and give up trying to change others into copies of themselves."

New for me from Keirsey:

"Each of us, he says, has four kinds of intelligence -- tactical, logistical, diplomatic, strategic -- though one of the four interests us far more than the others, and thus gets far more practice than the rest. "

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"I am not predicting that this will happen, but I dissent from the view that increasing birth rates is an urgent task for public policy."

+1

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I think thats an easy enough answer if your only concern is the government fisc, but less clear if your concern is continued growth and wealth creation.

Old people won’t be a source of growth and idea generation (ask Arthur Brookes)—it’ll come from the young. Those of us still around in a few decades may be saying thank goodness for Africa.

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