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Links to Consider, 8/25
Jesse Singal on excess anti-Wokism; Louise Perry on the sexual revolution; Rob Henderson on academic values; Kotkin and Cox on demographic trends
This illiberal belief system is disproportionately influential in many media, academic and nonprofit settings. But even there, there are often silent majorities whose mouths are agape at how weird things are getting – I know because they often email me. So if you’re sceptical of the moral panic roiling many parts of the left, I’m sympathetic. But I don’t think you should make that fight central to your identity, or abandon all belief in American liberalism. The people most responsible for making progressive spaces toxic are too-online weirdos. Don’t become one yourself.
Louise Perry writes (WSJ),
the group of people who have done particularly well from the free-marketization of sex are men high in the personality trait that psychologists call “sociosexuality”: the desire for sexual variety.
…Worldwide, there is a significant difference in average sociosexuality between the sexes, with men generally much keener to sow their wild oats than women are.
…At a minimum, however, a sophisticated system of sexual ethics needs to demand more of people—and as the stronger and hornier sex, men must demonstrate even greater restraint than women when faced with temptation.
1950s norms indirectly repressed sexually promiscuous men. Women were shamed for extramarital sex, so they were less available. And homosexuality was shamed. The sexual revolution eliminated that repression. It turns out that when you unleash men to indulge in promiscuity, you get epidemics of sexually-transmitted diseases and lots of attempts to harass, deceive, and pressure women. It seems to me that the current set of norms make sex less fun for everyone but still unleash promiscuous males, at least via the homosexual route. We still have not converged on a set of norms that works best for most people.
relative to those who were politically liberal, academics who were more politically conservative placed greater importance on academic rigor and advancing knowledge. And they assigned less importance to social justice and the emotional well-being of students.
Considering how conservatives are a vanishing species, this suggests that academic rigor and advancing knowledge will also shrink in importance as academic values.
academics who were more agreeable place more value on social justice and student emotional well-being than academic rigor and advancing knowledge. Conversely, academics who were relatively disagreeable assigned more value on rigor and knowledge, and less value on social justice and student emotional well-being.
I would add that there is a pronounced gender difference in agreeableness, with women more likely to be high on agreeableness than men. So increased feminization in higher education is likely to coincide with lower status of academic rigor and advancing knowledge.
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.
…Compared with their parents, young people today are more likely to have a future with no substantial assets or property. A Deloitte study projects that millennials (born 1981–1996) in the United States will hold barely 16 percent of the nation’s wealth in 2030, when they will be by far the largest adult generation. By then, the preceding generation (Gen X) born between 1965 and 1980 will hold 31 percent, while boomers, entering their 80s and 90s, will still control 45 percent.
There are a lot of interesting data points in the article. But I do not endorse all of the doomsday spin, warning that we could “regress to the demographic and economic torpor of the Dark Ages.”
If we have the will, there are ways to adapt to a different demographic pyramid. For example, an increase in people aged 65 or older does not have to increase the dependency ratio. People are staying healthier longer, and if government were to raise the '“retirement age” (meaning the age of government dependency) the fiscal problems would be reduced. 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.