Discover more from In My Tribe
Links to Consider, 9/21
Helen Dale, Helen Joyce, and Maya Forstater on the two sexes; Yuval Levin on maintaining unity under the Constitution; Marc Andreessen and Brian Chau; Anupam Bapu Jena on Hansonian medicine
some feminists reflexively refuse to accept that there are any differences between men and women. And they may believe, for example, that in a just world, men would do just as much of the childcare, women would be just as likely to be chess champions, whatever. They may think that 50/50 is what you’re aiming for in absolutely all spheres of life.
…And I know, Helen, because we’ve had this conversation before. I’ve quoted you many times since when you said to me that “the rad-fems think that evolution didn’t work from the neck up and the trans rights activists think it didn’t work from the neck down.” Well, you and I both believe it worked on both
I also recently had a discussion with Helen Dale. The central topic was empire—when an empire is well administered, when the bureaucracy becomes too overwhelming, and when it consciously does evil to some of its subjects.
Unity means acting together and not thinking alike that policy Victory requires broad coalitions not narrow majorities that reforms of Congress should make cross-partisan bargaining more likely not less necessary that the work of the executive should prioritize steady Administration not assertive policy making and that the lesson of success in the courts is that we should fight for the Constitution and not against it
He is arguing for an approach to politics very different from what was followed by Obama or Trump. It is, dare I say it, the Republican establishment approach to politics. I received zero favorable comments on my “case for the Republican establishment” post. I did not find the criticism new or persuasive. Sure, if you compare the Republican establishment to nirvana, it is pathetic. I was comparing it to other choices on offer.
Brian Chau talks to Marc Andreessen. The core topic is AI, but you should listen for all of Marc’s insights into the process of innovation. It typically does not come from large incumbents, because they are happy with the status quo. In fact, resistance to innovation comes from people whose status is threatened by the innovation. I think of Robert Solow, and his intense hostility to personal computers. He didn’t just say “We see computers everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” He never used a personal computer or went on the Internet. He communicated by snail mail.
I cannot think of a reason why Solow’s human capital would have been threatened by personal computers. Some of his human capital was tied up in a mathematical technique called linear programming, which does some simplifications that you don’t need if you have a computer handy. But is that sufficient to make him a computerphobe? The Google ngram for “linear programming” peaks around 1960 and plunges over the next twenty years, well before the PC revolution.
Anyway, Marc sees innovation coming from the fringe. People who try unusual things in technology also tend to have personal quirks. So they may not be able to form organizations to exploit their ideas.
Marc also sees a pattern where somebody has the right vision at one point in time, but it takes decades for enough developments to take place to get the idea to work. So every great technology has a backstory of failure. The sequence of failures creates a coterie of doubters who remember the failures. So everybody now who fails at a self-driving car is going to be surprised if and when they become a success.
Anyway, listen to the podcast (it’s long), because Marc makes his points with examples from his encyclopedic reading on the topic. The stories help make the points stick.
In a Russ Roberts podcast, Anupam Bapu Jena says,
the way I would think about it--another way to say it--is a following: is, if you've got a sick person in front of you, if you do a procedure and they benefit--or you've got a sick person in front of you, if you do a procedure and they, quote-unquote, "do well,"--you pat yourself on the back. You say, 'I made a good decision. I intervened at the right time. This person benefited.'
If you do that to the same sick person in front of you and you do a procedure, they do poorly, you don't think to yourself: 'Wow, the procedure caused that.' Well, you know what? 'This was a really high-risk person. The likelihood of this thing working out was not that high because of all these 10 other medical problems that this person had, and she's 90 years old. These things happen.'
Robin Hanson has pointed out that populations receiving more medical care do not on average get better health outcomes. Perhaps this is explained in part by the quoted passage.
substacks referenced above: