That academic writing about differences between “liberal” and “conservative” comedy...Have they ever been to a comedy club? John Oliver, Samantha Bee, or Gutfeld do not represent the institution of comedy. Spend time around the subculture and you’ll see that’s not how any of this works.

The truly great comics are the ones who get at the greater, universal truths and absurdities of the human condition. Appealing to a certain tribe is low hanging fruit. A great comic will have every person in the room dying of laughter regardless of their social class or politics, this is the beauty of it.

I was just at the famous comedy cellar in NYC this weekend, in the west village. There were 5 professional comics that performed, and even in an overwhelmingly wealthy liberal audience, there was a significant drop off in laughter with the one woman who did something that could be called “left wing comedy.” It was impossible to tell what the politics of the other 4 were, not because they avoided the topics, but because they touched on them in a way that gave a unique perspective. They weren’t “left” or “right”, they were just *funny*.

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3) Good God. "I'm socially conservative so too stupid to not do meth so me need government to ban meth." Richard, I could probably smoke some weed and be fine. I know plenty of highly functional people who dabble in drugs. I also live and work around low IQ people. I don't want drugs legalized because the low IQ people who will inevitably use them will MAKE MY LIFE AND THE COMMUNITY AROUND ME WORSE. It's like NIMBY but real.

16) "Let's Go Brandon" is a joke that also takes a little bit of cognitive effort to fully understand (a sports reporter choosing to change what she clearly heard so as not to offend liberals, conservatives wanting a cleaner inside joke rather than saying "Fuck Joe Biden" all the time). It's arguably more clever than "Trump's ties so long they go to Russia". I guess I never watch Fox News so I don't really know what kind of humor they use. Maybe u are using Fox too much as a proxy for social conservatism in general.

26) The problem with Fusion reporting is that anti-nuclear liberals (the worst kind in terms of causing human suffering and climate degradation) will often use Fusion "breakthroughs" as a reason to avoid further investment in fission. I'd love for Fusion to become viable and replace most or all power generation, but let's not sit on our hands and burn coal/oil and cover the country in solar panels waiting on something that may never come.

As far as antivaxxers I tend to agree. They go way beyond pointing out obvious concerns about mandates and forcing poor candidates to take the vaccine. But plenty of conservatives are not antivaxx in general. Once again u are painting with a broad brush. Until u stop this tendency you'll continue to vacillate between hating the left and hating the right.

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Dec 30, 2022Liked by Richard Hanania

Thank you for making this post available to everyone. And thank you for introducing us to Rob Henderson and Brian Chau. These guys are fantastic.

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Richard, you express fear and contempt toward people with low IQ. But many of the most threatening people and movements seem to have high IQ. How to reconcile?

My own approach is to suggest that people with high IQ tend to over-estimate their cognitive ability by enough to make them even worse on policy issues than people with low IQ

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>Calling it a “culture-war form of the precautionary principle” really captures what is going on.

I think, given what's happened in the past 20 years, that this is not that bad of an argument. It's basically AI alignment: "As long as I haven't made sure that AI (the levers of power in society, as vague as a concept that might be) are aligned to my values, I'd rather not give it more tools for progress, lest it use them to destroy me".

It has the same basic weakness: Even if you don't want to, others will, and will reap the benefits of early adoption.

EDIT: Also, Hiro is not the founder of 4chan, that's m00t. He's just its current owner.

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Dec 30, 2022·edited Dec 30, 2022Liked by Richard Hanania

Re: arming Ukraine

The shells for the Soviet artillery the UA relies on (1000-2000 pieces) are in short supply (outside of Russia and its allies). Meanwhile, the US has provided only a few dozen of the best American howitzers, cannot spare anymore and also has precious few shells for them. NATO is not built for a large scale land war.

Of course the US is teaching the UA to conserve shells! Problem is that artillery is a morale booster for troops getting shelled by the opponents artillery.

Russia also running low on shells but can manufacture more than Ukraine can.

Refitting NATO country factories to produce Soviet-type shells would have been a smart move six months ago.

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It seems odd to me how little attention is given to the Ukrainian case for Ukraine seeking a peace agreement. If the war goes on for a long time as Lemoine expects, then those millions of emigres - disproportionately young, educated, skilled - will permanently settle down in Poland and Germany and never come back. Those emigrants aren't going to yank their kids out of their school, friends, and nice neighborhood in Munich to move back to a dilapidated warzone. If it takes a few more years, even if Ukraine wins a total victory, it will likely be a Pyrhhic one for demographic reasons alone.

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>17. Speaking of my culture war piece, two anonymous (I think) authors wrote a response to it. The biggest mistake here is confusing the culture war theory for a theory of how policy is made or power is exercised.

Thanks for the shoutout.

I disagree with your critique of our critique though. Our argument is summarized with this paragraph:

>In other words, there exists a sovereign class, which I call the Patriciate, whose political desires determine the state of political culture. It consists of less than 10,000 people. Since this is the case, then a status game among >10% of the population cannot be the driver of political change. Rather, the driver is change in the composition of the Patriciate, whose behavior can be analyzed using the standard model from behavior genetics.

Your article's thesis statement is:

>This article presents a psychological theory of the culture war, and posits a dynamic social system in which the actions, rhetoric, and behaviors of each side influence the other. People are not seeking their own economic interests nor even working towards a moral vision, but responding to a built-in drive towards trying to achieve status, which involves tearing others down. It’s something of a LARP because those who are most unaware of their own motivations can act with the most certitude, and therefore have the largest effects on our political culture. In its most extreme form, my model suggests that if all the hot-button issues that supposedly cause so much division in this country like abortion and immigration were taken off the table, it wouldn’t have all that much effect on the level of class resentment we have, which is the fuel of the culture war. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I’m sort of tempted to. See this theory as claiming that issues are overrated as causes of our divides, rather than them not mattering.

In our article, we're talking about political culture, not just policy, although policy is a part of political culture.

More than that, our critique is based on a developing science known as exousiology, the study of power. I think it's worth a full read for that reason alone: https://josephbronski.substack.com/p/against-status-feedback-loops-an

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

16: I disagree, I don't think the political premise is that important to whether it's funny. Dave Chappelle made left wing jokes - e.g. about police and racism - that I find pretty funny, and think would make even most conservatives laugh despite disagreeing with the premise; ditto for some of Bill Burr's 'right wing' jokes about feminism making even feminists laugh. Liberals don't laugh at Samantha Bee because she's funny, they laugh because she indulges their egos by reaffirming how obviously stupid and morally inferior their opponents are - same reason why right wingers laugh at Dennis Miller's unfunny rants. Telling someone how great they are and how stupid everyone against them is almost as effective a way to get them to smile as telling a good joke. I mean, the Trump's ties joke requires lots of cognition and knowledge? Come on, that's about as simple a joke as one could come up with. Basically makes my point that the writer thinks that's a sophisticated joke.

I don't purport to understand the science of comedy, but as I see it the best comedians tend to be those that can be essentially nihilists on stage. Moral indignation is the enemy of comedy. It's worth contrasting the standard dumb late night liberal comedy with actual good comedians doing bits that happen to be political. John Oliver or Samantha Bee bits on abortion are cringeworthy, whereas Louie C.K.'s bit on why he's a fan of abortion is great (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBbC2krBopw); I think most ardent pro-life people even would enjoy the latter. Because Louie - unlike all the late night hacks - isn't morally invested in political proselytization, he's willing take the joke into the facial absurdities of his own position (which I assume is sincere in this bit).

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I'd love to to hear about all these high IQ, highly productive regular fentanyl users, who use the drug responsibly and derive joy without being harmed. Well, there is Carl Hart I suppose.

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> I was familiar with this work already, which is what pushed me away from social conservatism, when I realized that I agreed with them about nothing except LGBT

You see affirmative action as an economic policy rather than a social policy?

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#3. IF liberals are so damn smart how come San Francisco can't solve any of its homeless/drug addiction problems? I don't see any of that kind of behavior in red country where I live. Unless you're telling me that smart people actually like stepping in human feces on their way to the office, I'm not seeing where all these extra IQ points are helping the libs

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My main problem with John Oliver is that he's smug, conformist and complacent. I'm not sure he's even left-wing in, say, a Marxist sense.

As a comedian, Oliver’s nemesis would be Bill Hicks. He had no time for smugness or complacency from any quarter, right or left.

There are, of course, plenty of comedians who are on the left. I enjoy some of them. Here in the UK, BBC Radio Four’s house Trotskyists, Mark Steel and the late Jeremy Hardy, never hide/hid their political priors. But Hardy was very willing to poke fun at the “People’s Front of Judea” absurdities of his own side. And Steel goes out of his way to proselytise his genteel take on revolutionary Trotskyism to elderly Tory audiences in the English shires.

I even like Stewart Lee, who is the closest thing we have to a UK Bill Hicks. Lee never attempts to strike even the pretend balance Hardy did. But if you watch his live shows, there’s a note of fear in his lefty audience’s laughter, which I find fascinating. They pay money to see Lee attack the left's current baddies. But Lee’s pummelling assaults always rise to such hysterical, venomous intensity, it’s impossible for his audience to extract the kind of easy, supercilious self-satisfaction that John Oliver sells. There’s a feeling in the air of, “shit, if he’s this frenzied and maniacal towards anyone he dislikes, I really don’t want to get on the wrong side of this guy”. For me, it feels that people nervously laugh at Lee’s jokes the way they nervously clapped at Stalin’s speeches. It’s this near-fear he creates which makes his routine “edgy”, in a way Oliver’s never is.

My favourite lefty comedian is Alexei Sayle. Sayle grew up in a Jewish Communist family in Liverpool. As he likes to say, “my name is Alexei Yuri Gagarin Siege of Stalingrad Glorious Five Year Plan Sputnik Tractor Moscow Dynamo Back Four Balowski. My dad was a bit of a Communist, know what I mean?”.

Sayle knows the territory: “I think despite all the chaos we create, the famines, the gulags, left-wing people are basically good people. Admittedly left-wing regimes might over time devolve into authoritarian kletpocracies whose autocratic rule is enforced by terror and torture. But we do mean well.” These days Sayle insists he’s still a Marxist, but no longer a Communist. I take that to mean he thinks Marx has a good analysis of society’s problems, but not any good practical solutions to them.

In the 80s and 90s Sayle would mercilessly attack the trendy millionaires of Hampstead, fully aware that they trended Labour, electing Glenda Jackson their MP in 1992. His attitude of suspicion towards left-wing luxury yacht owners is the antithesis of John Oliver. Best of all, Sayle said this: “If someone starts agreeing with me, I don't like it. Out of pique, I become something else.” Such reflex contrarianism represents everything the hyper-conformist Oliver isn’t.

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3) "while those who can think more clearly about the consequences of their actions can afford to enjoy themselves."

"Afford" is doing a lot of the work here. High IQ people have incredible potential to live fulfilling and meaningful lives. Drugs aren't that fun and limit that potential, even if one has the self control not to end up in the gutter. Promiscuity too gets in the way of starting and keeping a stable family.

If social liberalism was as good as you say it wouldn't be correlated with so many bad outcomes amongst high IQ people (namely, ending up sad and alone).

4) More money got spent on COVID than on any single thing on Yglesias wonk list. This is a pattern too, about every ten years we have a "crisis" where all wonk plans go to die. Whose in power and what they do during that crisis is basically all that matters. I'd like to ignore politics too, but politics doesn't ignore me.

11) If I'm reading this right he says that conservative views are somewhat consistent across the developed western world, but it gets crazy in the former Warsaw Pact. Not exactly news.

Conservatives are the "normie family responsibility party". Social and economic conservatism are both about responsible behavior in the WIERD context.

The reason you can't find a socially liberal/economically conservative party is that your combining two things that don't go together. Irresponsible people naturally want others to pay for the consequences of their irresponsibility. The more irresponsible people there are the more power they have to make that happen.

Just give up on your support for degeneracy dude, its a lot easier to do that than talk druggies out of socialism.

24) Who knows anymore what will happen on the ground. Agree that peace based on current front lines makes logical sense but is impossible politically.

Do you still think the west supporting Ukraine is a good thing (for the world)? Do you think the west should support Taiwan if China attacks? Do you approve of the recent blockbuster pentagon budget?

32) Douthat is right, but I still can't believe that COVID happened and people weren't punished. I don't even really care too much about the punishment, just that they aren't in a position to apply the same bad decision making in the future, but even that can't be managed.

And for some, even masks are still reality:

"Schools in New Jersey are not the only ones bringing back masks. Earlier this month, the School District of Philadelphia announced students would be required to wear masks for the first 10 days after winter break."

If we can't get full school vouchers in at least a few big red states out of this fuck it all.

Politics is just whatever "moderate" normies feel about the Current Thing around election time. Dems chose to promote COVID hysteria as Current Thing in 2021 based on bad read of polls and motivated reasoning about their own greatness. Apparently regular people forgot about two years of child abuse and trillions wasted by 2022.

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The bit on comedy reminds one of that “midwit” meme which depicts a low-IQ person holding an opinion, a person of average to above average IQ holding a contradictory opinion, and a high-iq person agreeing with the low-IQ person. I’m probably not the first person to notice this but conservative bases tend to be dominated by the smartest and dullest people whereas liberal or progressive bases tend to be comprised of, well, midwits. Could this be why we see more conservatives favoring illiberalism, because they don’t trust their less-intelligent fellow conservatives(let alone liberals of average intelligence) to make rational decisions?

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Jan 7·edited Jan 7

1. Valuation shmaluation. This is China, it's about whether the Chinese government thinks this is the next tech leap or not. Has been since 259 BC.

3. What, you mean ordinary people can't have a girlfriend and a submissive while smoking marijuana and holding down a software engineering job? Besides, pagan rituals are more fun than church, and a polycule means you always have enough people for a D&D game. (One of those was actually true in my case.)

4. Yglesias is actually quite right, politics has always been kind of an affiliation-thing more than an implementation-thing for most people. I mean, a gas station attendant in Wyoming isn't really going to spend lots of time worrying about tax policy, he's probably more concerned about his daughter being convinced to cut her breasts off at this point. (I'm actually OK with gender variance, it's the rush to surgery that bothers me. Kids are always experimenting--don't forget 60s long hair and pants on women was its own genderbending in that era.)

9. International trade and income? So you're pro-immigration too? That'll annoy your readers. ;) Seriously I think things like affirmative action make the situation more zero-sum than it would otherwise be--it's one thing to let Jaime from Guadalajara come over here, work as a landscaper before eventually starting his own landscaping business, and send his kids to college (nice American story right?), but if those kids now get *preference* in college admissions over yours...

10. OK, I know what he's trying to say, but I saw 'arty fire' and couldn't help but think he was making fun of some new conceptual art trend.

11a. I think part of the thing in the ex-Eastern Bloc was the Communist government was socially conservative, so if you were for 'progress' (as opposed to tradition) you were socially liberal (more gay rights, abortion, etc.) and economically conservative (more free-market).

Also I wonder if at some point we're going to have to separate out the authoritarian component of what 'socially liberal' is going to mean--a pure libertarian might support the right to gay marriage, transitioning, abortion, polyamory, and the like, but probably wouldn't try to get someone fired for disagreeing. Our modern progressives probably would. So the social-issues curve actually has a U-shape from the libertarian point of view where both the ends want to use the government to impose their views on everyone, though of course the views are different. Is the political compass now a saddle-shape in 3-space, or do we need to start tossing the wokies in the red as opposed to the green quadrant?

11b. I wonder how much information we lose in these sorts of factor-analysis problems because we are beings in a 3D universe and like to cut off principal component analyses at 2 because we can graph them. I mean, personality types apparently have five dimensions (that's the five-factor model). There's no reason politics couldn't have four or six.

12. I mean, there's no dysgenic fertility in Japan, but there's no fertility either. I don't know if it's the cost of living or they're marrying their body pillows, but something ain't working over there. (Though hey, my twenty-year-old Honda still works and their cartoons aren't woke, so I wish the Japanese people nothing but the best.)

16. I think there probably is something to the need-for-cognition argument that liberals like more complex stuff, though it's also true as others have said here that a lot of the 'missing steps' may not be seen by liberals--'Let's Go Brandon' is a joke about media bias as well as an anti-Biden bit.

It is also true that the left's gotten a lot more pious after winning the culture war, which leaves them open to jokes.

22. I'm agnostic on the HBD stuff but don't think it's enough to build a platform on.

24. Ugh. Probably the Ukraine war will continue. Alone among the things on the list, that's going to mean a lot of real human misery.

27. Ugh. Thanks for reminding me why I'm a peacenik. IRL his daughters will wait for him to come home until they hear he got blown up in a ditch somewhere.

32. You never get the ending you want; political careers end in failure, after all, unless you get assassinated. BTW, have you seen the first chapter of Ross's fantasy novel?

35. There was an article in National Review a few decades ago making fun of some vegan business, and someone wrote in saying, "Wait, I thought conservatives were supposed to be for the free market. Why shouldn't an entrepreneur make a product for people who want it and make a profit?"

T1. You know the thing...the modern left is so obsessed with weaponizing every possible double standard against men that I think a lot of righty men are happy to see a woman get caught in the new standards as well.

T7. Lot of truth to this; at least in the USA there's a lot of 'you go do your thing, over there'. I do wonder how they get around cultural pressures to look happy in studies like this.

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