Political Science

That is a Mary Beard feature in the 3 June 2016 edition of the Times Literary Supplement.  Various luminaries were asked what they thought of Brexit.  My favorite answer came from Colm Tóibín:

The European Union, despite its flaws, or perhaps because of them, is a wholly rational institution.  Like most of us, it is in constant need of urgent reform and can handle anything except a crisis.  Even though it is deeply secular, the EU has performed miracles.  It has allowed France and Germany to move close to each other; it has allowed Irish and British ministers to meet as equals, which the Irish have enjoyed.   It can also make us laugh — the group photographs of the EU leaders after their meetings and the antics of the European Parliament are wholly ludicrous…

More brutal was Jan Morris:

Being politically in or out of Europe has had no impact at all on my own work, and I have no idea what it’s done for or to the cultural life of Britain.  For myself, I have long argued for a federal Britain within a federal Europe, but it was always a dream anyway, and I’ve woken up now.  If reasons you require, look around you!

Declan Kiberd had a good point:

They [the English] realized that in some ways England’s was an immensely stressed society, whose people had been so distracted by the British cultural project that they still faced an unresolved identity question of their own.  It’s a long time since Bernard Shaw described England as the last, most fully penetrated of the British colonies — which could be why its people feel such ambivalence about the more recent transnational scheme.

I do recommend that you all subscribe to the TLS.  If you would like yet another point of view, from Dissent, here is Richard Tuck with the Left case for Brexit.

That is a William Hazlitt essay from the Edinburgh Magazine of 1828, reprinted in Table-Talk (scroll to p.165), focusing on why the political uses of nicknames are so problematic.  It retains some relevance today:

The only meaning of these vulgar nicknames and party distinctions, where they are urged most violently and confidently, is, that others differ from you in some particular or other (whether it be opinion, dress, clime, or complexion), which you highly disapprove of, forgetting that, by the same rule, they have the very same right to be offended at you because you differ from them.  Those who have reason on their side do not make the most obstinate and grievous appeals to prejudice and abusive language.

…a nickname…is a disposable force, that is almost always perverted to mischief.  It clothes itself with all the terrors of uncertain abstraction, and there is no end of the abuse to which it is liable but the cunning of those who employ, or the credulity of those who are gulled by it.  It is a reserve of the ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance of weak and vulgar minds, brought up where reason fails, and always ready, at a moment’s warning, to be applied to any, the most absurd purposes…a nickname baffles reply.

…the passions are the most ungovernable when they are blindfolded.  That malignity is always the most implacable which is accompanied with a sense of weakness, because it is never satisfied with its own success or safety.  A nickname carries the weight of the pride, the indolence, the cowardice, the ignorance, and the ill-nature of mankind on its side.  It acts by mechanical sympathy on the nerves of society.

…”A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man.”

There is more excellent analysis at the link, most of all on how the uses of nicknames avoids and runs away from the careful making and unpacking of specific charges.  Hazlitt notes the nickname can on the surface sound quite innocent yet nonetheless be a form of powerful invective.  For a while the Whigs were called “the Talents,” yet in a manner reeking of implicit scorn.

From Hazlitt, here is another scary part:

I have heard an eminent character boast that he had done more to produce the late war by nicknaming Buonaparte “the Corsican,” than all the state papers and the documents put together.

Here is a brief summary of the essay.  Hazlitt remains under-read and underappreciated.

For the pointer to this essay I thank Hollis Robbins.

Or perhaps I should rephrase that question: what would neo-reaction be if it were presented in a more coherent analytic framework?  (You’ll find other takes here; I like it better with the hyphen.)  Here is a list of propositions, noting that these are an intellectualized summary of a somewhat imagined collective doctrine, and certainly not a statement of my own views:

1. “Culturism” is in general correct, namely that some cultures are better than others.  You want to make sure you are ruled by one of the better cultures.  In any case, one is operating with a matrix of rule.

2. The historical ruling cultures for America and Western Europe — two very successful regions — have largely consisted of white men and have reflected the perspectives of white men.  This rule and influence continues to work, however, because it is not based on either whiteness or maleness per se.  There is a nominal openness to the current version of the system, which fosters competitive balance, yet at the end of the day it is still mostly about the perspectives of white men and one hopes this will continue.  By the way, groups which “become white” in their outlooks can be allowed into the ruling circle.

3. Today there is a growing coalition against the power and influence of (some) white men, designed in part to lower their status and also to redistribute their wealth.  This movement may not be directed against whiteness or maleness per se (in fact some of it can be interpreted as an internal coup d’etat within the world of white men), but still it is based on a kind of puking on what made the West successful.  And part and parcel of this process is an ongoing increase in immigration to further build up and cement in the new coalition.  Furthermore a cult of political correctness makes it very difficult to defend the nature of the old coalition without fear of being called racist; in today’s world the actual underlying principles of that coalition cannot be articulated too explicitly.  Most of all, if this war against the previous ruling coalition is not stopped, it will do us in.

4. It is necessary to deconstruct and break down the current dialogue on these issues, and to defeat the cult of political correctness, so that a) traditional rule can be restored, and/or b) a new and more successful form of that rule can be introduced and extended.  Along the way, we must realize that calls for egalitarianism, or for that matter democracy, are typically a power play of one potential ruling coalition against another.

5. Neo-reaction is not in love with Christianity in the abstract, and in fact it fears its radical, redistributive, and egalitarian elements.  Neo-reaction is often Darwinian at heart.  Nonetheless Christianity-as-we-find-it-in-the-world often has been an important part of traditional ruling coalitions, and thus the thinkers of neo-reaction are often suspicious of the move toward a more secular America, which they view as a kind of phony tolerance.

6. If you are analyzing political discourse, ask the simple question: is this person puking on the West, the history of the West, and those groups — productive white males — who did so much to make the West successful?  The answer to that question is very often more important than anything else which might be said about the contributions under consideration.

Already I can see (at least) four problems with this point of view.  First, white men in percentage terms have become a weaker influence in America over time, yet America still is becoming a better nation overall.  Second, some of America’s worst traits, such as the obsession with guns, the excess militarism, or the tendency toward drunkenness, not to mention rape and the history of slavery, seem to come largely from white men.  Third, it seems highly unlikely that “white men” is in fact the best way of disambiguating the dominant interest groups that have helped make the West so successful.  Fourth, America is global policeman and also the center of world innovation, so it cannot afford the luxury of a declining population, and thus we must find a way to make immigration work.

By the way, here is Ross Douthat on neo-reaction:

But while reactionary thought is prone to real wickedness, it also contains real insights. (As, for the record, does Slavoj Zizek — I think.) Reactionary assumptions about human nature — the intractability of tribe and culture, the fragility of order, the evils that come in with capital-P Progress, the inevitable return of hierarchy, the ease of intellectual and aesthetic decline, the poverty of modern substitutes for family and patria and religion — are not always vindicated. But sometimes? Yes, sometimes. Often? Maybe even often.

neoreaction

Anyway, let’s continue.

Who are the important neo-reaction thinkers?

Those who come immediately to mind are Aristotle, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Franklin, John Calhoun, James Fitzjames Stephens, Nietzsche, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, and Lee Kuan Yew.  For all of the fulminations against neo-reaction, the intellectual movement is not a flash in the pan.  Of course these thinkers were not operating in the cultural matrix laid out above, nonetheless they embody varying elements of elitism, non-egalitarianism, historical pessimism, and culturalism.  The most significant neo-reaction thinker today probably is Steve Sailer, who often comments on this blog in addition to writing his own.  By the way, both F.A. Hayek and Murray Rothbard were drawn to neo-reaction in their later years, and perhaps a separate post could be written on the complex connections between libertarianism and neo-reaction.

The miracle to my mind is that neo-reaction as an intellectual movement was relatively dormant for so long, not that it is coming back or will persist.

And maybe some of you are upset that I am even covering this topic, but neo-reaction, in varying forms, is a (the?) significant ideology in China, India, Russia, and Japan, and it is growing in popularity in Western Europe and of course America, where it has captured the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties.  It seems odd not to discuss it at all.

Is neo-reaction a racist movement?

I don’t “hang out” with neo-reaction, whatever that might mean, so I cannot speak from first-hand experience.  Still, I see overwhelming circumstantial evidence, including from the MR comments section, that the answer is yes, neo-reaction is very often racist.  (And by “racist” I mean not only a particular set of beliefs, but how they are held with a kind of obnoxious, self-pleased glee.)  If you read through the above propositions, it is easy enough to see why racists might find neo-reaction a congenial home.  And that is an important critique of neo-reaction, namely that the doctrine, when stated explicitly or understood clearly enough, encourages a very harmful racism and a variety of other forms of bad behavior.  Even if not every neo-reaction thinker is a racist himself or herself.

The early stages of the Trump campaign show clearly enough how publicly propagated neo-reaction disturbs the fabric and rhetoric of society.  And there is a cruelness to the humor one finds in neo-reaction which is all too revealing; more generally neo-reaction just does not seem so conducive to a deep generosity of spirit.

That all said, I think it is a category mistake to dismiss neo-reaction on the grounds of racism or prejudice.  There exists a coherent form of the doctrine perfectly consistent with the view that different races are intrinsically equal in both capabilities and moral worth, even if such a variant tends to get pushed out by the less salubrious elements.  Furthermore calling neo-reaction racist, as a primary response, seems to personalize the debate in a Trump-like way, ultimately playing into the strengths of neo-reaction and distracting the liberals, in the broad sense of that term, from building up the most appealing vision of their philosophy and doctrine.

Liberalism isn’t actually an automatic emotional default for most people on this planet, so being a scold is in the longer run a losing strategy.  I believe many current “democratic mainstream” thinkers genuinely do not understand how boring and unconvincing they are, as they live in bubbles filled with others of a similar bent.  And while neo-reaction does not get exactly right the nature of “the golden goose” in modern America, that is a question which modern progressivism rather aggressively avoids in its attempt to view the wealthy as an essentially inexhaustible ATM.

What about me?

As an undergraduate, I was deeply struck by my readings of the Spanish and Salamancan friars who protested against the New World enslavement of the Indians, as they were then called.  You can start with Bartolomé de las Casas.  Here was a doctrine that was anti-slavery, anti-oppression, pro-reason, pro-liberty, pro-individual rights, and analytically egalitarian, and on top of that based on actual real world experience with the subject matter.  On top of that, the overwhelming empirical fact is that people are far too willing to go tribal when it comes to politics.  We don’t need to encourage that any further, nor am I excited by the notion of setting tribe against tribe.

The world could be facing some fairly dicey times in the decades to come, mostly for geopolitical reasons.  I view the Spanish friars and their successors and offshoots — Montaigne, David Hume, Adam Smith, William Wilberforce, John Stuart Mill, Edmund Silberner, Martin Luther King  Jr., Gene Sharpe, Thomas Schelling, and some of the EU founders, among many others — as providing better and more useful guides to our world than neo-reaction.  Looking earlier, toss in Buddha and Jesus Christ and some of the Stoics as well.

Still, it would be a big mistake to simply dismiss neo-reaction, even though there are some rather easy and facile ways to do so.  It’s a wake-up call for the fragility of liberalism, a doctrine which sinks all too readily into its own dogmatic slumbers.

From 2012:

The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color, Donald Trump tells Newsmax.

Whether intended or not, comments and policies of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during this election were seen by Hispanics and Asians as hostile to them, Trump says.

“Republicans didn’t have anything going for them with respect to Latinos and with respect to Asians,” the billionaire developer says.

“The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it,” Trump says. “They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”

Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says.

“He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

The GOP has to develop a comprehensive policy “to take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country,” Trump says.

Here is the link, via Rebecca Berg and Robin Grier.  Does this get filed under “Model this” or “Solve for the Equilibrium”?  Or perhaps both?

Bob Davis asks that question.  I can think of a few hypotheses, none well-grounded:

1. It was first necessary for America to recover from recession, so people could be less scared, thus feeling sufficiently secure to go a bit crazy.

2. Rising expectations are required to sustain a backlash, and finally the economy was strong enough to deliver some of those.  This mechanism was discussed by Tocqueville in his book on the French Ancien Regime.  Of course this is a close cousin of #1.

3. Obama actually has been a towering and calming presence.  But after him…the deluge.

4. The “Great Man Theory of Trump.”  He has unique skills, and an unusual celebrity background, and the relevant variable is when he chose to actually run for President.

5. The institutional and intellectual capital of the Republican Party was finally run totally into the ground.  (But when exactly? And who perceived it as such other than Democrats?)

6. Americans have been paying closer attention to the terror attacks and refugee crisis in Europe than we traditionally might think, and thus they feel that the American system requires a radical wake-up call.

7. Traditional white males approached some kind of threshold where they realized from now on they will lose all political battles unless kind of radical rebellion is undertaken.  This hypothesis reminds me somewhat of the South’s decision to secede shortly before the Civil War.

8. Social media are more potent, and that helps populist sentiment, but populism isn’t actually any more popular these days (see Krugman, who notes Obama has fairly high approval ratings).

9. Noise.

These are just food for thought, I am not endorsing any of them.  And for the most part they are not mutually exclusive.

The ride-hailing group [Uber] is smarting over guidelines that let government workers recoup transport costs such as “feeding and stabling horses” but do not appear to permit claims for taking an Uber.

Here is the Barney Jopson FT article.  It remains to be seen whether or not the regulations will be changed.

Singapore is a well-run place by world standards, and has perhaps the world’s highest quality bureaucracy, yet right now the country faces a somewhat menacing constellation of silent risks, none of their own making:

1. It is possible that the role of the United States in the Pacific Ocean is rewritten rather suddenly.  This could come about through either a Trump presidency, or a successful Chinese attempt to grab more in the South China Sea.  Can you imagine a Singapore that had to court Japan and India rather than relying on the United States for protection?  In this same world Japan is probably more militarized than in the status quo, and possibly even a nuclear power.

2. Singapore sovereign wealth funds and related institutions have been pulling in high returns since the 1970s.  Yet the opportunities in both China and Singapore’s own real estate just aren’t there any more.  They would be very lucky to pull in four percent a year looking forward.  While fiscal risk is minimal, this will crimp expansion plans, especially if Singapore ends up needing to spend more on national defense.

3. It seems increasing pressure is being brought to bear on the Chinese currency yet again.  China would like to lower rates to stimulate its economy, and the Fed is likely to raise rates at least once more this year.  There is surely a chance that the renminbi simply snaps due to capital outflow.  During the Asian currency crisis, the Singaporean dollar fell about twenty percent as a side effect of the turmoil elsewhere.  Yet now China is much bigger than South Korea + Thailand + Indonesia were in 1997.  Furthermore Singapore is much more of a financial and clearinghouse center.  How insulated is Singapore from this China risk?  Does anybody know?  To what extent might a flow of capital into Singapore mitigate some of this risk?

4. Climate change could well lead to rising water levels for island nation Singapore.  Investing in sea walls and other forms of protection could take what percent of gdp?  The Dutch are already putting 0.5% of gdp a year into a fund for future water defense.

From this list, #2 and #4 are more likely problems, whereas #1 and #3 are more speculative, but by no means in the realm of science fiction.  There is the possibility of a perfect storm from all four.

And yet think of how things must have looked in 1965.  The Vietnam War was going badly, and most of the trends in Southeast Asia were negative.  Chinese Communism was at its nadir with the Cultural Revolution.  Indonesia had just massacred 500,000 citizens, many of them Chinese.  Singapore itself had just been kicked out of Malaysia, an outcome which its key founders mostly opposed.  There was not yet evidence that what later became “the Singapore model” was going to work, and even Japan was not yet an evident success.  It was commonly believed that Singapore, Malaysia, or both might collapse into a kind of ethnic civil war.  British military expenditures were about 20% of Singapore’s gdp, and it was widely understood that source of income would be going away.  Somehow they managed, most of all with the aid of human capital and being in the right place at the right time.

Here is the Singapore Complaints Choir, one of my favorite music videos.

In any case, I am happy to be here once again.  For dining, I recommend Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang, at Geylang Serai hawker centre, get the beef rendang.  National Kitchen, in the new National Gallery is also very good for a more traditional kind of dining.

The bumps we’ve seen over the past 12-18 months stem from a reality that the post-recession world we’ve built doesn’t scale beyond its current size. Consider the following:

-Chipotle wanted to be this era’s McDonald’s. Turns out scaling organic, freshly-prepared food isn’t as cheap or easy as they thought.

-Fintech lenders promised to disrupt big banks. Turns out the lending business requires a lot of capital, and that in jittery markets that capital doesn’t like funding a growing lending business. Maybe the big bank model isn’t so bad.

-The San Francisco Bay Area is the economic center of the early 21st century. But it’s finding that scaling housing and infrastructure for workers is a lot harder than scaling servers and storage. So jobs and people have to move to cheaper metros.

-On demand startups were the solution to mass unemployment and megacity renters who demand services immediately. But they’re finding that as the labor market tightens those workers are getting harder to find, and maybe the unit economics never worked to begin with.

-Tesla wants to disrupt the auto industry. But it’s never produced more than 50,000 cars in a year, and suddenly has to meet demand for as many as 500,000 cars a year. That won’t be cheap or easy, and it’s unclear how much shareholders and lenders will be willing to finance that growth. It’s not as cheap to scale atoms as it is to scale bits.

-Uber and Facebook are the 800-pound gorillas in their respective industries. But as they grow, they’re running into problems of scale. For Uber, it’s finding drivers and fighting regulation. For Facebook, it’s eating too much of the revenue pie for content, and maybe as it grows it’s going to come under greater and greater scrutiny given its media clout. Both will argue they’re not utilities, but the vision and scale they aspire to would make them exactly that.

-Conservatism is finding that the demographic groups that believe in conservatism no longer scale to form a viable national party. Trump will soon find the same to be true for his white working class coalition. The Republican Party needs a new ideology or constituency that can scale to compete with Democrats.

It’s time to let Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan rest in peace, and find new leaders who can build the world of the 2020′s.

That is from @conorsen, link here.

In many forms of combat between armed groups, about four people are injured for each person killed, according to an assessment of wars since the late 1970s by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sometimes, the number of wounded is even higher.

But the body count in Mexico is reversed. The Mexican Army kills eight enemies for every one it wounds.

For the nation’s elite marine forces, the discrepancy is even more pronounced: The data they provide says they kill roughly 30 combatants for each one they injure.

The government stopped reporting such figures in 2014 — model this!

Contracting:

America, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Ukraine, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, and Brazil, though the latter may be in flux.  Tunisia and Iran are problematic, but arguably hard to call.  Saudi may be headed toward collapse, but I don’t think you can say they are less free just yet.  Ethiopia is losing more political freedom, though still making very real economic progress.

Advancing:

Mexico and Colombia, if only by consolidating previous gains, and still there is a chance of a turnaround in Argentina at some point.  Latvia?  Where else?  You could make a (modest) case for India and some of the smaller African countries.

Neutral:

Japan, South Korea, Canada, and much of Western Europe though many of these cases appear fragile to me.

Overall this is not a thrilling ledger.  I haven’t listed most of the smaller countries, but in the longer run they often follow the lead of their larger neighbors.

File under Not Good.

…when scholars cluster on the left end of the spectrum, they marginalize themselves. We desperately need academics like sociologists and anthropologists influencing American public policy on issues like poverty, yet when they are in an outer-left orbit, their wisdom often goes untapped.

In contrast, economists remain influential. I wonder if that isn’t partly because there is a critical mass of Republican economists who battle the Democratic economists and thus tether the discipline to the American mainstream.

Here is more.

Here is an excerpt from a longer post, which also includes a summary:

Here are some of the most interesting ideas in the book:

1. Mind speeds: I had not previously spent much time thinking about how our brain’s hardware affects the speed at which we think. As it happens, our minds are spectacularly slow compared to what’s feasible with other materials! Better hardware, as well inequalities of hardware across individuals, will likely drive many parts of em society.

2. Death in the time of copies: An individual’s relationship to death is much different when you can make and store copies of yourself. Given how much of our current lives and societies are wrapped in who dies / how they die / when we die – a world where death is less central has major implications for identity, values, and relationships.

3. Security concerns are paramount: Theft (making copies of you without your permission) thus becomes almost more of an issue than death. As such, laws and cultural taboos will shift with security becoming more central to em value systems.

4. Less democratic: In a short period of a time, a well run non-democratic regime can outperform your average democracy. However, in the modern human world, these regimes often implode on themselves before they can dominate the rest of the world. But in the em world, things will move so fast (economic doubling rates are incredibly fast, every month or two!), that the rewards to short bursts of effective non-democratic regimes may be very high.

5. Religion: I tend not to think of robots as religious, but Robin makes the case that the utility of religion (nicer hard-working people) and the values of the em world (more farmer like) should lead to increased religiosity.

6. Increased utility: The sheer number of ems, coupled with their high mind speeds – as well as the likelihood that there lives will be ok in terms of meaning and happiness – suggests that the transition to an em world will be a positive utility move.

You can order the book here.  Here is my earlier review.

Plug those numbers into the formula, and the prediction is that the Democratic share of the two-party presidential vote in 2016 will be 44.99%.

That is from Timothy Taylor, here is an earlier piece by Jeff Sommer.

Donald Trump may get the nuclear suitcase, a cranky “park bench” socialist took Hillary Clinton to the wire, many countries are becoming less free, and the neo-Nazi party came very close to assuming power in Austria.  I could list more such events.

Haven’t you, like I, wondered what is up?  What the hell is going on?

I don’t know, but let me tell you my (highly uncertain) default hypothesis.  I don’t see decisive evidence for it, but it is a kind of “first blast” attempt to fit the basic facts while remaining within the realm of reason.

The contemporary world is not very well built for a large chunk of males.  The nature of current service jobs, coddled class time and homework-intensive schooling, a feminized culture allergic to most forms of violence, post-feminist gender relations, and egalitarian semi-cosmopolitanism just don’t sit well with many…what shall I call them?  Brutes?

Quite simply, there are many people who don’t like it when the world becomes nicer.  They do less well with nice.  And they respond by in turn behaving less nicely, if only in their voting behavior and perhaps their internet harassment as well.

Female median wages have been rising pretty consistently, but the male median wage, at least as measured, was higher back in 1969 than it is today (admittedly the deflator probably is off, but even that such a measure is possible speaks volumes).  A lot of men did better psychologically and maybe also economically in a world where America had a greater number of tough manufacturing jobs.  They thrived under brutish conditions, including a military draft to crack some of their heads into line.

To borrow a phrasing from Peter Thiel, perhaps men did better in the age of “technological progress without globalization” rather than “globalization without technological progress,” as has been the case as of late.

Here’s a line from Martin Wolf:

Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton note, in addition, a sharp relative deterioration in mortality and morbidity among middle-aged white American men, due to suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.

(Addendum: note this correction.)

For American men ages 18-34, more of them live with their parents than with romantic partners.

Trump’s support is overwhelming male, his modes are extremely male, no one talks about the “Bernie sisters,” and male voters also supported the Austrian neo-Nazi party by a clear majority.  Aren’t (some) men the basic problem here?  And if you think, as I do, that the incidence of rape is fairly high, perhaps this shouldn’t surprise you.

The sad news is that making the world nicer yet won’t necessarily solve this problem.  It might even make it worse.

Again, we don’t know this is true.  But it does help explain that men seem to be leading this “populist” charge, and that these bizarre reactions are occurring across a number of countries, not just one or two.  It also avoids the weaknesses of purely economic explanations, because right now the labor market in America just isn’t that terrible.  Nor did the bad economic times of the late 1970s occasion a similar counter-reaction.

One response would be to double down on feminizing the men, as arguably some of the Nordic countries have done.  But America may be too big and diverse for that really to stick.  Another option would be to bring back some of the older, more masculine world in a relatively harmless manner, the proverbial sop to Cerberus.  But how to do that?  That world went away for some good reasons.

If this is indeed the problem, our culture is remarkably ill-suited to talking about it.  It is hard for us to admit that “all good things” can be bad for anyone, including brutes.  It is hard to talk about what we might have to do to accommodate brutes, and that more niceness isn’t always a cure.  And it is hard to admit that history might not be so progressive after all.

What percentage of men are brutes anyway?  Let’s hope we don’t find out.

That is the new book by David Dagan and Steven Teles, here is the publisher’s description:

  • Argues, counter to the conventional wisdom, that the conservative embrace of criminal justice reform is not primarily about money
  • Provides the most comprehensive account both of the rise of the conservative reform movement and of the criminal justice reforms that have swept the states in the last 10 years
  • Features interviews with of the major players in the conservative criminal justice reform movement
  • Provides a theory for how to create breakthroughs in other policy areas amid political polarization

I am looking forward to my copy, here is the Amazon link.