RWCG: The Crib’s Notes Version
July 25, 2011 6 Comments
Let’s say you’re sitting there studying for your 2012 Rhymes With Cars And Girls AP Exam. Okay maybe that’s a bit far-fetched. Your great-grandchildren then. Decades from now, when your great-grandchildren are taking their Rhymes With Cars And Girls AP Exam, they will likely come across a question like the following:
List and describe three (3) main themes of the now-classic blog, Rhymes With Cars And Girls. Compare and contrast. Use all available space.
This post is for them. Consider it my gift to your legacy. Because, though it’s been observed that my blog covers a wide variety of subjects, I have to admit that there are a few recurring themes that do emerge. Here they are, annotated with key posts, for your great-grandchildrens’ last-minute-cramming convenience:
- All Large Calculations Are Wrong. I do not want to be governed or compelled by the results of someone else’s large, centralized calculation. I fundamentally do not trust – more importantly, don’t think I should be implicitly forced to trust – calculations I have not verified myself (and I have worked on large calculations). Too often, the ‘reality-based’, ‘technocratic’ claim that these or those purportedly ‘scientific’ findings of such ‘expert‘ calculations ought to hold sway over society really amount to little more than a power grab that would overrule/deny normal democratic politics and enshrine – even if this is not the conscious intent (but sometimes it is) – the (actual and signalled) wealth, comfort, privilege, and social status of a credentialed, technocratic elite – the Smart People. This is scientism and/or rent-seeking; it is not science and in some cases may even be anti-science. To the extent possible, policy should aim towards allowing individuals such as myself to calculate for ourselves, as transparently as possible, what our best options in life are.
- ‘Progressivism’, Or The Left, Is A Coalition Of The Poor/Weak And Wealthy/Strong Against the Middle. ‘Progressive’ policies harm most non-elite individuals in many ways; in particular, they work in concert with Smart People to make informed individual choices more difficult, for example by distorting the price mechanism, regulating away choices, etc. In short they centralize decisions that cannot and should not be pre-calculated and doled out either by well-meaning ‘progressives’ or by omniscient ‘experts’. Thus, Pigouvian taxes on so-called ‘externalities‘ are folly and hubris, a sin many ‘technocrat’ ‘progressives’ are guilty of; most prominent regulation, such as financial but not only, is pointless if not counterproductive, sometimes warping the free market to the point where it’s more aptly labeled financial socialism. Any small subset of society fundamentally lacks and can never have the knowledge necessary to unravel all the factors needed to make the choices they arrogate to themselves. This is the main lesson we should have learned from the fall of communism but evidently did not. Communism was, after all, an attempt at (among other things) calculating the perfect distribution of goods within a large society. But all large calculations are wrong.
- High School Never Really Ended. Politics is a continuation of the same social-climbing, posturing, conformism, mindless namecalling, sex-obsessed and sex-motivated, popularity-driven, tribal thinking we are all familiar with from high school. The attempt mentioned above to permanently ensconce technocratic elites – Smart People – as our ruling overclass is one, but not the only one. Another large bloc is the ‘cool‘ in-crowd, all grown up. Political language is heavily laden with euphemisms, dishonesty, posturing, faddish memes endlessly echoed but never really believed used only for cheerleading purposes, and sheer self-contradiction if not naked hypocrisy to hide the embarrassingly ignorant, self-serving, and juvenile motivations behind the stances people take. People are generally in denial about their political and economic actions and beliefs. Though everyone recognizes and reminisces that these motivations and social patterns were present in high school, few notice that high school never really ended.
- Sloan Is The Best Canadian Rock Band Since Rush. Self-explanatory.
- For Some Reason, The Writings Of Lefty Blogger Matthew Yglesias Both Fascinate And Repel Me. My favorite lefty blogger, I guess I should say. Well, by default, that is.
- The World Is Biased Against Introverts and the Left Seeks to Make it More So. I am an introvert, which among other things means people make me tired, and I am bad at small talk. These properties of introversion have political and social implications. “Fun” things non-introverts like to do make no sense to introverts; more politically, familiar ‘progressive’ arguments for the importance and goodness of such things as cities, dense housing, social programs, etc., often ignore introvert priorities in favor of extravert ones that are given more weight. Some of the preceding themes – i.e. the ongoing movement (which includes credentialism and too much schooling) to empower a technocratic upper class to rule society, the continued indulging in and reinforcing of high school politics, as well as the ongoing project to shift wealth and (thus) decision-making away from individuals and towards government to distribute back to them via ‘programs’ – disproportionately disfavor introverts who by nature are less well equipped to navigate the resulting landscape. For example, a new regulation means more bureaucracy to navigate, which is by nature more difficult for introverts; if you take $100 from me but (supposedly) give me $100 back in a ‘social program’, I might never claim – thus receive – it. Etc. Just let me use my own fucking money thanks. And, just pay me with money, not with something else (such as with health care plan). The form of technocracy and economics sought by many ‘progressives’ also has the effect of making social connections and networking – or what could just quaintly be called outright corruption and back-scratching – more important to success than need be or should be. This tilts the rules of the road towards social-butterfly extraverts, even those with less or no merit – explaining why they like the idea – but tilts it away from introverts, even those who may have more. I fundamentally object to a politics that does me disproportionate harm and alters the rules of the game based on who I am – as anyone would.
Obviously, the AP test-taker may only have to remember 3 of these, but in such matters it’s best to study all of these, one assumes, as some may come to mind more readily than others.
The really interesting thing here is that I seem to have stumbled upon the central theme of RWCG, without realizing I would (anyone notice?), so you may be able to answer more questions than just this one. Get ready for that 5 score on the RWCG AP exam!
And, you’re welcome.