Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Plutocrats Always Fancy Themselves Meritocrats (Also, a Brief Digression on IQ As Rationalization for Plutocracy)

Upgraded and adapted from the Moot, from an ongoing exchange with a self-declared champion of aristocracy:

It is true that important knowledge can be counterintuitive -- the sun doesn't travel around the earth (even though it really does look that way), governments should borrow more to stimulate the economy in recessions especially when interest rates are at the zero lower-bound (even though proper intuitions from household economics suggest the reverse), micro human actions can catastrophically impact macro global climate systems (it hardly seems possible, people being so small, the world being so big, and yet it is true), one can lower aggregate healthcare costs by providing them universally (everybody benefits from distributing social costs across a whole population across generations, not just THEM), social policy works much better when it focuses on harm-reduction rather than on punishment (even tho' it sure feels nice to punish with the law, it can't be wrong when it feels so right, eh?), and so on. Education is necessary for an informed citizenry as well as for competent administration of public affairs, these things are not automatic.

To declare as you do that people should be assigned to government at random -- apart from freeing you from having any skin in the game when it comes to making actually existing governance actually better since such thought-experiments without any constituencies will never even remotely happen to produce results to hold you accountable -- also demonstrates a mistaken disdain for the work of administration and legislation fairly typical of right-wing ideology. The same goes for your reduction of governance to "services" paid for by fees, as if commonwealth is a commodity which it very much is not. My point is not to deny that there are some things that are commodities, nor to denigrate ownership of or trade in them or fairly widespread microeconomic models for talking about such trade. But there really is a difference that makes a difference between private goods (and also that obscure uncle, the "club good") as against public and common goods. Reductions of the second pair to the first -- or the other way around I just as cheerfully concede -- yield injurious confusions and catastrophic policies.

The availability of non-violent arenas for the adjudication of disputes -- including over the determination of what counts as violence -- is not a commodity, equity in access to law and in the accountability of law-making to all is not a commodity, the maintenance of a scene of informed, nonduressed consent to the terms of everyday concerns is not a commodity, a community of healthy, well-educated, non-precarious potential collaborators confident in the laws, norms, infrastructural affordances of their society is not a commodity, a sustainable planetary ecosystem of the sort humans evolved to flourish in is not a commodity -- these are all goods, but not private goods, they are public and common goods. You declare me "illogical" in making such distinctions and proceeding in my arguments and formulations in ways that take these distinctions into account. There is no nice way to point out that you are saying this because you simply have a profoundly mistaken and impoverished understanding of politics.

I do not doubt you are educable, but as of now you certainly don't strike me as particularly superior in the way of intellect -- quite apart from the question of your morals, which look to be conspicuously inferior, given the ugly inequities and violent evils you seem willing to countenance in support of your errors. You speak endlessly of the "better" people, the "smarter" people who should run things, and the "dumb" people and "inept" people who muck everything up. All this idiotic business of yours over IQ tests is the worst in this line of BS that has you ensorcelled, it's truly embarrassing, I'm not even going to dignify that stuff with comment, but it is really just the awful extreme edge of your general self-congratulatory elitism. You know, privileged people always think they have it better because they are better -- this doesn't mean they are all bad but they are usually mostly wrong. The conception of intelligence in plutocratic bioreductionist IQ discussions is always radically impoverished, usually implicitly self-congratulatory, often demonstrably racist. You don't have to take my word for it, and this is the sort of thing I won't spend too much of my time arguing about because it is even more unutterably depressing than the other topics I take up here. Look, there's good and bad in everyone. In general, people seem to me to be capable of good and bad things.


Y. said...

You speak endlessly of the "better" people, the "smarter" people who should run things, and the "dumb" people and "inept" people who muck everything up.

Yeah. Stupid people are more apt to muck things up.

Of course, humans being what they are, smart people do so too. Still, they are better at it.

I believe this has been common knowledge ever since the species homo started to do stuff more complex than digging for grubs.

If you want a study that says so, this for example:

Dale Carrico said...

You're stupid.

Michael Anissimov said...

These general arguments are what one might call "Marxist subversion." :)

Dale Carrico said...

Depends on just which arguments you are subsuming under "these."

Y. said...

Consider me bored.

I am not impressed how you can repeat, time after time that 2 + 2 is 5, because that is the party line. I grew up talking politics with my grandparents who kept repeating the party line out of a multi-decade habit.

(the purges never happened. Conquest is a dirty liar. Muggeridge too. Kulaks were a true danger. Expropriating small to mid businesses was necessary. 90,000 tanks USSR built- those had a 'peaceful' purpose.. and so on)

And avoid answering the real questions - such as if IQ or g is such a reductionist and useless measure, why does it have such great predictive validity?

Have fun though.

I'll be off reading some antiquated C source code..

Dale Carrico said...

Of course you would be a coder. Never fails, the right wing bio-reductionist tool who codes is the tiredest imaginable futurological cliche. Perhaps you are boring yourself? Nobody who looks at the actual words in front of their eyes will fall for your lie that I am saying anything remotely like 2 + 2 = 5 or defending Stalinism. Cling to your pet IQ test that tells you you are the brightest boy in the whole wide world and that you deserve to rule the world that has been stolen from you from the scary brown people. Yawn your way all the way to complete irrelevance, bigot.