Monday, October 28, 2013

Liberty and equality, stoics and epicureans

Just as there is an enormous amount of tension between the consular ideals of liberty and equality, so too is there in aspiring to provide the best health care available while simultaneously striving to make health care ubiquitous and universally accessible. Anti-Gnostic does a great job succinctly articulating as much, with the following excerpt of demonstrating particular perspicacity:
The whole point is that *old people are going to die* with probability 1. So let's take those evil capitalists out of the question, and assume for now that no innovative entrepreneur could figure out something win/win for his own grandpa. ... 
We are in the realm of social justice. Sounds so nice, until we answer the question: how much of your children's money do you want to spend on futile care for 83 year old Emma in Ohio? For 74 year old Bill in Texas? For countless, endless, unnamed others? 
Because you can spend ALL of your money on futile care [or, by extension, the government can spend it for you]. Literally every last penny.
Worth reading in full.

Abstractly, the strong appeal of liberty--potentially even stronger than that of equality in the much of the public's mind--is why, despite actual policy disagreements on crucial issues like immigration, I'm still excited by the rise of guys like Rand Paul.

Anyway, Heartiste first brought the above to my attention. Speaking of the galactic overlord, he gently censured his occasionally inimical dux for insinuating that the Game approach to classifying males has it backwards due to the tendency of betas to outbreed alphas (which should mean even more cleaning up by the remaining alphas!). At the risk of getting lost in semantic weeds, I'm fine granting the Manosphere its preferred terms and consequent definitions and then making empirical observations free of normative judgments from within this framework. Hopefully it's illuminating or at least interesting. All the better if it keeps our hero's skills at their sharpest.

To the extent that I'm grated at all by Heartiste, it's in his seeming celebration of what amounts to an ennui-inducing mix of realized hedonism and nihilism. His meaning is often as nuanced as his tongue is silver, and I suspect that beneath all the veils lies a volition more inclined towards using sexual conquest as a means to an end rather than an end to indulge in for it's own sake, despite protestations to the contrary. Oh yes he doth protest, but I don't buy it, which is why I'm compelled to play the role of affectionate gadfly rather than whiny hater.

This isn't all merely a philosophical rehashing of Stoic vs. Epicurean, either. You might not care about propagation, but propagation cares about you. It's plausible to imagine that in the not-so-distant future pleasure surpassing that coming to a "Super Alpha" on an A-game night will be made available to all on demand without any real life human interaction being required at all. Just as the reproductive edge has shifted away from alphas and towards betas over at least the last half century, so another seismic shifting in fecundity may be just around the bend. I want kindred souls to be ready for it.

Finally, a post like this wouldn't be complete without an added wrinkle or two. The data are a couple of decades old, but the GSS queried respondents in 1994 on whether or not they'd watched any pornography in the preceding year. Cross-referencing this with reported sex frequency, we find that men who had sex less than once a month over the same period of time were considerably less likely to have viewed pornographic material than men who had sex more frequently than that were to have viewed any (18.2% and 38.1%, respectively, N = 183). For more contemporary, if proxied, relevance, using male respondent data from 2000 onward, we find that men who report not having sex at all in the last year are more than twice as likely as men who enjoy it 4+ times per week to support an outright ban on pornographic material (36.9% and 16.5%, respectively, with a sizeable chunk of that 16.5% of 4+ times per week group presumably being comprised of social and religious conservatives). Pornography, at least from this angle, appears to be more of a supplement to real life carnality than a substitute for it.

Undoubtedly there are a lot of frustrated betas out there who would love to possess an alpha prowess with women, but there are also a lot of them who just aren't that interested in recreational sex (and I suspect the latter has been and continues to increase as a proportion of the total male population). This probably goes some way in explaining why the unending comment threads Heartiste generates are mostly populated by alphas echoing the taunts and diminutions of the beta no shows, who, while constituting a majority of the population, are far less likely to be found than sheer numbers would suggest. How much attention is this Silent Majority paying?

GSS variables used: XMOVIE1, SEXFREQ(0-2)(3-6)(0)(6), YEAR(2000-2012), SEX(1), PORNLAW(1)(2-3)


Jokah Macpherson said...

Regarding pornography, I see problems with both sets of data. Viewers of Skinemax circa 1994 probably are more likely to be a little more worldly that their complement group. For those from 2000 onward, opinions on whether pornography should be banned are a poor proxy for how much a person consumes it - Robin Hanson might say that liberty is "far" and rubbing one out is "near" or something like that. Even Gary Wilson, the reluctant prophet of the anti-porn movement, always states in interviews that he fully supports the legality of porn.

The big problem is that porn access is accelerating exponentially. Few people in the last millenium could access more than (slow-loading) nude pictures of actresses from the privacy of their homes but now pretty much everything is on the table. I think you are right that for the time being, there is strong selective pressure for the ability to resist high-speed internet porn (and Marilyn Monroebots).

This is a topic of great personal importance to me, by the way, since I am two months porn-free as of tomorrow for the first time since having high-speed internet access at age 18. It finally got to the point where facing the consequences of my ineptitude with girls was preferable to comfortably brushing them aside, so I guess I'm moving towards the Stoic side of things.

Noah172 said...

Abstractly, the strong appeal of liberty--potentially even stronger than that of equality in the much of the public's mind--is why, despite actual policy disagreements on crucial issues like immigration, I'm still excited by the rise of guys like Rand Paul

C'mon, AE. Don't swoon over the younger Paul in the way that the gullible rubes of the Religious Rights swooned over Dubya. You know very well that the more vibrant diverse America becomes, the less liberty and equality we all will have.

Senator Paul is not his father's son politically. He did have the good sense (on principle or from opportunism, I don't know) to oppose the Gang Rape of H8 amnesty -- the only thing leaving me even to consider supporting him for President -- but overall on that issue he appears to be an open-borders libtard (I am open to correction on that, or to a sincere change of position from him). In addition, he is just another free-trader (father never voted for an FTA, and wanted to repeal NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO) and even on foreign affairs he is wobbly (which in today's Washington still gets you branded an isolationist Hitler-appeaser).

Paul may be the best nationally-known Republican on offer, but that doesn't mean that he's actually good for folks like you and me.

Audacious Epigone said...


Where is the inconsistency, then, in the 1994 numbers?

Yes, words and actions aren't the same thing, but on other moral choice issues, I think people do tend more towards what they preach than away from it, at least relative to the general population (conservatives less likely to get abortions or cheat on their spouses than liberals, liberals more likely to spend extra money to buy hybrid models of cars, etc).

Congrats on being off the stuff. I've never been an owner or user, but I've of course seen videos before and it's hard to see how it could do anything other than warp the perceptions and relationships users have with real life women.


Do keep me honest, sir, though swooning might be a little heavy a word choice. Different interpretations of the first part of your last sentence is all--other than that, I think we're on the same page.

Jokah Macpherson said...

I really don't have any hard data to back up my hunch that the proxies don't work very well so you could be right - it is just a gut feeling.

I guess it is kind of a bummer that there isn't much research, GSS or otherwise, into what is quite possible a pretty important social issue.

I don't think porn warped my understanding of women too much, inasmuch as I had one - I was never into anything weird or violent and sort of knew intuitively that porn wasn't very realistic - but tricking your hindbrain into thinking hot women are always available definitely makes you, well, a pussy. I didn't notice how anxious and depressed I had been all the time (between porn sessions) until I quit.

Anonymous said...

Heartiste is promoting r-type behavior to k-type people. It's poison but interesting poison due to the insights thrown up in the process.

"Just as the reproductive edge has shifted away from alphas and towards betas over at least the last half century"

Since agriculture imo.