Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I'd value both over my freedom

I always love when something in the Real World is alike to what we see in games, reinforcing my belief that video games could/should be the main modelling method of social sciences. In this example, an "intersectional feminist" literally suggests that "you are probably taking up room that should go to someone else. If you are a white cis man you almost certainly should resign from your position of power" and "What can universities do? Well, that’s easier. Stop hiring white cis men until the problem goes away. If you think this is a bad or un-serious idea, your sexism/racism/transphobia is showing."

Then she goes on and on how every "meritocratic" system is just a perpetuation of sexism/racism, but - since she is a mathematics PHD by trade - the whole thing is logically sound and self-consistent, unlike the "diversity is strength" crap. However, when something is logical, self-consistent and wrong, it's because it's built on wrong axioms. And she gladly provides these axioms: "Are you concerned the quality if your institution would plummet [if white men would be replaced]? Are you worried about all the brilliant minds you’d be missing? List your reasons and ask yourself which ones you’d value over your own freedom."

This is the most logical explanation of liberalism I've seen in my life. And I gladly answer: I'd value both the quality of the institution I serve and the brilliance of minds over my freedom. (If I choose to not serve an institution, I stay in private business) My reason is simple (and I wrote it): I'm mortal, I'll die and everything I am will disappear. The items I create can survive me, but in time they'll go down too. But the knowledge I create can live forever. As it's written in The Book, we are mere vessels for genes and memes (not the reddit ones).

Her logic is sound: if we accept personal freedom as the axiom, then liberalism is right and we should surrender all qualities and brilliance - and in turn become unable to maintain a functioning society. Meritocracy is unfair, as some people indeed have privileges and others have disabilities. But it creates the most production to all of us, and it matters more than ideas and feelings. Bluntly put: I'd much rather be a slave of a brilliant black trans-woman who creates millions of dollars GDP than an equal member of a hippie commune where everyone is stoned and the life expectancy is 30 years like in the prehistoric ages due to inability to create any form of health care or even food surplus to survive a bad harvest.

In the games we play, the "freedom" is meant as "do whatever I please without consequences". "For fun" players are infamous for being horrible in the games and creating very badly performing groups. When developers cater to them, the games themselves become shallow and die soon. Even the flagship of MMOs, WoW is constantly losing subscribers since they came up with the "non-elitist" approach at WotLK. The rest of the MMOs died or linger at minimum subscribers while Kickstarter scammers make killing among the desperate would-be players. Only good performance creates the value we all need on to exist.

This looks strange in a video game where everything is make-believe. The dragon you kill or the items you farm are not real. However your effort and thinking are real and they are real values. Many communities are performing make-believe tasks seriously: students solve problems that have solutions in the back of the textbook and soldiers fight imaginary enemies during drills. The "serious" games with "consequences" create the same atmosphere, while the "for fun" games create exactly what liberals try to create: a non-functional "equal" society everyone runs away screaming.


Halycon said...

There's actually a sociology paper floating out there somewhere that kinda backs her up and kinda refutes her. It's about CEOs, non-white men aren't groomed for CEO positions so they just don't have the experience and ability to do the jobs. They aren't cultivated for them so they can't do them.

Now the reason that happens is actually kinda boring. It's not overt racism, sexism, or any other -ism. It's that if they're going to be spending 60-70 hour work weeks with someone for years there's a tendency to choose people with similar life experiences because they're just easier to talk and relate to. They don't pick the person who's on paper the best for the job to groom. After spending years with a group for long work weeks they pick the person who's easiest to deal with.

Trend goes for hiring practices from Ivy League schools too. The people who end up doing best normally aren't the most brilliant minds with the best grades. It's people in the middle of the upper half of the list. Smart, but not too smart, and more sociable than the people at the very top of the list who worked their butts off to graduate there. Which is oddly enough, a lot of white men. The only exception are highly technical fields, but even then the people who end up on mahogany row aren't usually the most brilliant people in the company.

She isn't fighting against -isms. She's fighting against the social nature of humanity. And so are you. When I played WoW way way back in the twilight era I was part of the best guild on my server, all the server firsts. Several brilliant players. Our guild leader though, retired HS football coach. Not too bright. People person who knew how to get everyone moving in the same direction. A manager. That's what she's working against. The tendency of hiring people persons who get along with the majority.

Eaten by a Grue said...

It seems you needlessly focus on the extremes. Sure, if you imagine an extremely dysfunctional and incompetent hippie commune that can barely eke out a subsistence life, I can see how being a menial laborer in a much wealthier society might be preferable to that.

You seem to accept slavery, but slavery comes with great inefficiency. Slaves are divorced from the fruit of their labor, so are generally incentivized to work the bare minimum, only enough to avoid punishment.

More relevant to the article you site (which I cannot say I agree with entirely), if certain demographic groups are artificially limited in opportunity, they become dis-incentivized from contributing maximally to society. If this can be fixed, society overall could become wealthier in the end.

What about a moderate approach? Temporarily give minority groups small advantages until equality of opportunity is no longer a significant issue with upward mobility.

Gevlon said...

@Halycon: offtopic. It doesn't matter what is "merit" (mathematics, IQ, people management). Her point is we should prefer fair representation over meritocracy, my point is the opposite.

@Grue: in an ideological discussion you must consider the extremes, simply because your opponent will push toward it anyway. Just like she did. Instead of the usual "diversity" bullshit, she flat out said that white men should be replaced until equality is reached. Which is completely logical if equality is the goal. My point is equally clear: equality is irrelevant, performance matters. Sure no sane man would want to live in an extreme society. I do not prefer slavery. I do however prefer the slavery-extreme over the perfect equality extreme.

Giving "temporary advantage" to minority groups have two problems:
- serious damage to the disadvantaged majority sub-group (the famous rural white middle class)
- permanent damage to the society if the minority group is actually performing worse on average. For example it's an unchallenged fact that black Americans have one sigma lower IQ whites. So reaching equality on highly intelligence-demanding positions would be quite wasteful.

maxim said...

I still remember the days where the whole point of liberalism was to enable brilliant minds to shine.
I guess everything reveals its true colors in the end.

Slawomir Chmielewski said...

"Her point is we should prefer fair representation over meritocracy"
Meritocracy is a fair representation.

She is indulging in liberals' usual sleight of defining "fair" and "equal" based on equality of outcomes. Equality of outcomes has as much to do with equality as electric chair has with chairs.

Anonymous said...

Where is Africa not a functioning society, it functions just not on the value system of the west. Don't bring up human rights. We obviously don’t care about human rights, it’s a hypocritical relationship and we tend to ignore and make deals anyway if it suits our pocket.

Marxists oppression femplebs
Canada bill 89 and last week bill c16. "Look at how progressive we are, yay!". Families will disintegrate and the witch-hunt is now on in Canada. way to go, yay, something to be proud of. where is the coldwar commie fear if you need it *sigh*

we need the top .01% intelligence IN universities not out of it. please femtrolls tell me what is the female:male ratio in the top percentile? hmm? Ohh obvious patriachical science and facts hurt your feeling? to make you feel better, if you don't see it, look the male curve also produces the more braindead people thihihi. But how do universities reflect this to filter, select and nurture the next super brain? hmm? and no the next gender-studies research topic from a non binary ZHER will not make equal change and be as important like Einstein relativity theory. If you really think so, why do you _feel_ that the earth is round, on your basis you could start _believing_ that the earth is flat, because patriarchy indoctrinates a false truth that the earth is round, right? And don't dismiss this so lightly, space is something typical MEN, satellites and pretty pictures could all be a huge LIE!

I don’t know if games are good enough. As femtrolls already hiss at behaviour and bio studies, it will be the last shallow thing to “investigate” because of toxic Unis blocking real research.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Throwing cogs like affirmative action into the cogs of economy can be tricky, and certainly should be done with caution, so there is truth to what you say.

But you should not focus on total productivity as the sole goal. To use an extreme example, which you may therefore like, imagine one master and the rest of society as slaves, with $1 trillian national GDP, however all of it going to the master, with the exception of the bare minimum needed to support life for the slaves. Compare that to a more egalitarian society producing $500 billion GDP, but carrying a real middle class. Median happiness is important too, not just the mean.

As you say, we are all temporary, and we all die. As important as leaving behind knowledge, I would argue is attaining some substantial periods of joy in life. Allowing opportunity for such joy, and in fact developing strategies for maximizing it (I realize happiness/joy is a fuzzy area to put your finger on, but we should at least try), is a legitimate goal of any state.

Eaten by a Grue said...

Also, I just finished a book you may find interesting, if nothing else to explore the mind of the "social". It is called Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Junger.

It describes the innate human urge to connect with and contribute to their social group. It also talks about the value people find in general social equality.

And I would argue you are not completely immune to some of these factors, and you have to recognize it within yourself. I have asked you before about squaring your blogging with your opposition to socially motivated actions, and you explained it away by reasoning that you want to improve the state of society with your ideas, and thereby attain a more pleasing society to live in (correct me if I am wrong in my restatement).

I can see that view, but you also emphasize that you want to create ideas that may live on, even after you die. To me, that is a purely social motivation. Why do you care about what happens to society after you die? Why do you care if people remember your ideas (whether or not the attribute them to you)? The motivation has to come from some kind of innate urge to help others, and I think this is great that you do this, but it is completely social behavior. You are deriving pleasure from your contribution to society and recognition of others of this contribution.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to look again at your definition of liberal. She isn't arguing for a liberal policy in my view it's just a different brand of conservatism (e.g. I believe society should work 'this way' so you all have to conform).

Halycon's comment is spot on and the reason why a fair number of businesses now educate senior members of staff about unconscious bias and various other factors that aren't necessarily overt but impact decision making. As business becomes more global the ability to communicate and do business with a variety of cultures is valuable therefore the recognition that teams containing a variety of people will be more effective in a global environment is gaining traction. This does equate to diversity being a good think overall.

Anonymous said...

@Slawomir Chmielewski
>Meritocracy is a fair representation.

Let's consider a contrived and over-simplified example.

Adam is born into a family of millionaires. Bob is born to a drug-addicted single mother and is quickly moved into foster care.

Bob grows up in a succession of broken homes. He's subjected to emotional abuse, neglect, irregular nutrition, and inadequate health care. He has a brilliant mind, but he's unable to properly cultivate or exploit his talents (no books at home, no personal computer, no mentorship, lousy role models, etc).

Adam grows up with every possible advantage. He's not especially bright, but he has private tutors. His parents fill his life with interesting opportunities - programmable robotic toys, musical instruments, sports equipment, etc. His parents carefully vet his friends, ensuring that he builds connections with the sons of millionaires while avoiding bad influences.

Both boys sit down to write the SAT. Bob hasn't eaten today, so he finds it hard to focus and he scores only 1500. Adam has undergone 10 months of exhaustive test preparation; he manages a 1520.

Naive meritocracy says that Adam is a better worker. So the boss gives Adam a corner office, and sends Bob down to work in the mailroom.

That's silly. It's obvious that Bob would have done much better if he had been given a better upbringing. It's obvious that Bob *could* do much better than Adam if you put both of them into the same job.

The problem with this naive idea of meritocracy is that it tends to enshrine the status quo. If there are distortions in the market (such as nepotism) then it treats them as irrefutable facts of nature, instead of seeing them as problems to be ameliorated.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: nope. Bob is now in the mail room, getting minimum wage. He can now eat properly. He can rent a place where he can regenerate. He can buy books. He can make friends with other mailboys who are not billionaires, but nor thugs.

Yes, he is at unfair disadvantage to Adam. But he can always advance as long as he works hard. He may never get to a corner office. But he'll get to a decent home and raise kids who will have what he didn't.