Saturday, January 7, 2017

More on the Causes of 2016

I wrote a post recently in which I mused about the possible causes of the global populist-nationalist trend. One theory that I didn't mention there is that globalism, like some other lefty movements, has a shelf life. I think Steve Sailer advanced this idea in some form.

Freudianism, for example, is mostly discredited now. It had a run of several decades, and then people started questioning it, picking it apart, laughing at it. The same fate recently befell Chomsky's universal grammar. As I've mentioned on this blog, the quality of public architecture has been rebounding recently. If, architecturally speaking, 1913 was 10 and 1970 was 0, then 2016 was about 2.

Leftism may not be retreating in general. There's transgenderism, gay marriage, intersectionality, etc. But for some reason it periodically retreats on some fronts. Why? Maybe because these fronts start to feel stale to people. The young are always looking for something to rebel against.

Well, that last part doesn't fit well with the current populist-nationalist trend. According to this article, during the primaries Trump got 42.3% of the voters over 65, 41.9% of those between 45 and 65, 37.7% of those between 30 and 44 and 32% of those between 17/18 and 32. Oldsters preferred Trump in the general too.

Same thing for Brexit: "leave" got 25% among the 18 to 24 group and 61% among the over-65 group.

None of the theories of the causes of the nationalist trend that I've seen so far were convincing to me.


  1. Isn't the banal explanation the world's nationalist revival simply just a decline of the world's preeminent Imperial power?

    - Yevardian

    1. Without looking it up, I would think that America's share of the global GDP has gone down. With the rise of China and other East Asian economies that seems very likely. But has America's cultural influence gone down? I haven't noticed that. The Russians I follow online constantly talk (in Russian) about Game of Thrones, House of Cards, the recent Star Wars movies, etc., etc. They all follow American politics. I think it's the same in Europe. English is as dominant as ever.

      America isn't winning any wars, but that's been true since WWII, nothing new here.

      And globalism is losing ground within America too.

  2. Another idea I've been toying with: What drives cultural change anyway?

    (1) One side winning more arguments than the other. Liberals are more intelligent, so they have been winning arguments against conservatives across the board for the past century (why not earlier? Because in tougher, rougher times, "Gnon" weeded out those who went too shitlib).

    (2) One side breeding faster than the other. Conservatives are more fertile, and in the developed world, the end of Malthusianism and the demographic transition that laid the groundwork for conservative genes to begin to increase prevalence in the population happened 50-150 years ago.

    So far cultural change has exceeded biological change, much like Flynn > dysgenics, but there is of course no guarantee that this will continue indefinitely. Most likely it will not. It is curious that the rightwards populist shift is happening, at least in the West, at around the same time that the Flynn effect is petering out and even going into reverse.

    I would further note that "liberalism" amongst today's youth, that is SJWism, is of a particularly idiocratic sort. Older liberals tend to drift more classical liberal/libertarian, basing their positions on consistent principles such as rationality, individualism, freedom of speech, and sexual emancipation, as opposed to identity politics, moralistic puritanism, and feelz over realz.

    1. Conservatives are more fertile, and in the developed world, the end of Malthusianism and the demographic transition that laid the groundwork for conservative genes to begin to increase prevalence in the population happened 50-150 years ago

      I know that the birth rate declined in France much earlier than elsewhere in Europe. It was already very low throughout the 18th century, got worse in the 19th. I think they had negative growth in the early 20th.

      So the opportunity for conservatives to outbreed the liberal majority opened up in France earlier than eslewhere. It's kind of a test case. France has a higher TFR now than most Euro countries, and I've seen people argue that it's not just Muslims. So maybe conservative genes did make some progress there. They had huge anti-gay-marriage protests, "manif pour tous" against "mariage pour tous". This has to be weighed against the fact that the French simply like to protest.

      If one wanted to investigate the effect of long-term liberalism on society, France vs. Quebec would be a very good comparison, maybe the best one available. Birth rates declined in Quebec in the 1960s, probably two and a half centuries after France.

  3. The cause might be universal spread of internet access and social media, even to the elderly and less educated ppl, who are more nationalist.

    1. Maybe. Smart phones definitely made it easier to go online, but I don't know how many older people are taking advantage of that. I think that young uneducated, downscale people were on the Net long before the start of the nationalist trend. Myspace, later Facebook. YouTube comments have been famous for their stupidity for a long time now.