39 Comments

Another good step would be defunding universities which are influencing America's smart young people. If you don't subsidize loans, then maybe social justice majors would receive higher interest rates and it would serve as a financial disincentive.

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Great idea. How do you go about "defunding" the most prestigious universities? I think maybe that wokeness is way more popular among Ivy parents than you think.

Better to focus on State U and ridicule the Ivies into irrelevance. That, at least, has a fighting chance.

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end the tax free status of their endowments. end the tax writeoff from alumni donations. are these going to happen? no. just saying the means to defund them are readily available.

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#1 (deregulate discrimination) is premature but probably the long-term solution.

#2 (deregulate hostile takeovers) seems a non-starter in the current regulatory environment. Maybe one day.

#3 (school choice) is viable but perhaps the least effective. But we need it anyway, so it's worth fighting for.

Going from what I hear from my university-aged son (U Florida) and his friends, the next generation is going to swing hard to the right, or at least against wokeness. The backlash in that generation will be astounding (and perhaps harmful in new ways). College students are NOT swallowing the Kool-Aid. There's just nothing they can do about it . Yet.

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I'm skeptical of that claim about the next generation.

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I'm sure you have lots of contact with them at GMU, but maybe GMU is not typical.

My son went to a Catholic high school in Boston, and now is at U Florida. He shares your (and my) view of things, but reports widespread ridicule of wokeism among the kids he knows.

I find that encouraging about the next generation. (Of course they'll probably take it too far...people tend to over-react.)

Edit: Whoops, thought I was replying to Bryan.

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In the right circles, you can find ridicule of Wokeism among Millennials. Particularly if your focus is on white men in the South. I'm sure the same is true of Gen Z, even at a (Southern, public) university.

Doesn't change the fact that every generation has been more (socially) leftist than the last, and kids in college right now are still Gen Z and really not so different from peers in their early/mid 20s. Of course, 5-10 years ago I recall a lot of people in the online right arguing they'd represent a rightward shift, based on some anecdotes like the one you cite.

At this point, leftward generational drift is built into our civilization, and the idea of a pendulum is a myth. I can't really imagine the drift reversing without some sort of major civilizational crisis or breakdown to trigger it. Century-long trends don't just reverse overnight because the ruling ideology has gotten too annoying -- the ideology needs to collapse, catastrophically, for that to happen.

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Perhaps you're correct.

If so, *why* do you suppose each generation moves (socially) left? What's driving it?

My own answer is "wealth". Wealthy people don't need to follow poverty morals.

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1) Wealth

2) Low TFR

3) They spend all day being taught leftism

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Wealth is sort of an explanation, as is leftist control of culture and corresponding indoctrination. But if you want a comprehensive explanation, I would broaden "wealth" and call it "safety".

Tradition is always under attack to some degree -- some people will always bristle under it, and energy is needed to maintain it. Entropy is kept in check by two forces. First, risk-aversion as people actively don't want to risk the consequences of abandoning tradition. And second, the consequences themselves: selection pressures when families, communities, and nations that forsake tradition are annihilated.

Risk-aversion has been a weak force because the fruits of abandoning tradition have, for the most part, seemed more appealing in an era of rapid technological change, when tradition seems old-fashioned and not adapted to present circumstances.

Selection pressures to preserve tradition, meanwhile, have been on the decline ever since steppe nomads faded into military irrelevance, and basically non-existent since WW2. Aside from a few pockets like the Amish, there isn't some large rural remnant that has really preserved the old ways and their corresponding high fertility. Nowadays preserving tradition in the US means preserving the ways of 1980s-2000s suburbia, which is to say a TFR just over 2.0: not enough to give conservatives any lasting edge.

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Why would low TFR (I assume you mean Total Fertility Rate) contribute to a socially leftward drift? If anything I suspect the low TFR is a *consequence* of leftism, not a contributor to it.

(I mean, if it's any comfort, at this rate leftists will eventually eliminate themselves from the population. But not quickly.)

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It seems the pendulum swing is often an overreaction where humans are concerned, but woke is so dangerous to civilization itself that it's almost certainly an acceptable price to pay. The chances of it being a bad enough overreaction to be anywhere near as bad as wokeness (which has just gotten started and has already done literally billions in damage and ruined many lives), is not zero but very small.

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I think this is a ludicrous overexaggeration. Why do you think "woke is so dangerous to civilization itself"? Like, I experience wokeness as a minor annoyance, why do you think of it as a civilization ending threat?

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What do you think of both the chance and effect of the supreme court ending affirmative action and in the future, disparate impact?

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What will be in the ruling? Will it be enforced?

Is Harvard really going to be 40% Asian after such a ruling? If they aren't, what is going to be done to make them? Are you prepared to say confiscate Harvard's endowment if they do not comply?

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's going to take more than a ruling. Discriminating against whites/Asias/males is already illegal under civil rights law and it doesn't mean a thing.

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The governmentalization of social affairs leads to pukey morals and culture. Burke and Tocqueville were especially good on this particular consequence of governmentalization.

Pukeyness is part of what Coase called "the total effect."

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" Multiple friends in totally apolitical jobs were suddenly required to endure woke brainwashing sessions"

The other day, at a university eye clinic, I saw a sign about pronouns. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I didn't. Well. I was thinking of writing the head of the center to register my disapproval, but I didn't want to open a can of worms. You see, the sign said that "as a courtesy" my practitioner should ask me my pronouns. She didn't. (Thankfully.)

If I had written a protest letter, I might have gotten my practitioner in trouble. So I clammed up.

This is how the vile tentacles of wokeness surround and strangle us.

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I'm so sorry that you were almost strangled by the vile tentacles of being asked what pronouns you prefer. No man should ever have to experience such trauma.

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Bryan Caplan, May 23 ("An Economist Walks Into a Refugee Detention Center"): "To be blunt, I normally classify people who radically change their minds because of a personal experience as 'weak-minded.'"

Bryan Caplan, August 8: "In 2020, however, I rapidly started to change my mind. Why? Because the outrageous events stopped merely being stories on the internet. I started to experience them first-hand. My friends started to experience them first-hand."

What's the other evidence? "By now, publicizing woke outrages is a full-fledged genre. You could spend all day reading one after another." So, more anecdotes. No data or systemic analysis. Do the anecdotes even hold up to scrutiny? No mention of this problem - you apparently just take them on faith.

And what's the evidence that "wokeness" is a *serious* problem? "Hyperbole is the worst thing in the universe. Most problems and effects are marginal." --Bryan Caplan ("You Don't Understand Our Culture")

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Of these #3 has the most merit. In general, if your proposal isn't hitting someones purse strings, it's not real. Draining thousands of dollars per kid out of public education qualifies are real.

On #1, I think your are going to need some high profile examples of institutions paying substantial penalties (the kind you can't ignore and move on) for discrimination against whites/asians/males to break the pattern. I doubt you could ever get rid of civil rights law (you might as well propose to bring back Jim Crow in most peoples minds), but even if you could HR would still take the attitude of "better safe than sorry" based on the status quo which is biased one way. Perhaps the best way for people to end discrimination is to be equally afraid of discriminating in any direction, and so are left with neutrality being the best way to implement "better safe than sorry". Obviously, disparate impact will need to get gutted to make that possible.

As a simple example, Google should have paid a massive penalty for what it did to Damore. Enough that they would never do something like that again. Do that a few times and companies will want to go back to "Republicans Buy Sneakers Too." Once they are on board it will be easier to de-emphasize civil rights law.

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Problem: People are "ordered to start hiring primarily on the basis of race and gender."

Solution?: Repeal laws against explicit discrimination?

I've read your argument, and it's extremely tailored to academia. In the overwhelming majority of situations, those who hire based on discrimination are not doing it based on ignorance of the evidence. Everyone knows, and nobody cares.

More formally as a hiring agent for my employer, if I am incentivized to hire from Employee pool "A" and not "B", I'm gonna do it. Most people aren't hiring doctors and rocket scientists.

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#2. With 'Go Woke, Go Broke' what's supposed to happen is not for woke corporations to go under and be replaced, but for CEOs of woke corporations to realize that overtly woke policies are hurting their bottom lines and stock prices and their own prospects for continued employment. This process already seems to be underway in the entertainment business. Examples include the Netflix woke purge (and 'this may not be the place for you' letter) as well as the recent cancellation of the woke 'Bat Girl' movie after something like $90M had already been spent. And on the other side of the coin, there was the blockbuster 'Top Gun II' release.

In the corporate world generally, I expect the indoctrination sessions to continue (they've been around in one form or another for decades), but I expect this to become increasingly pro-forma. Instead of CEOs groveling before woke agitators within their companies, they're increasingly going to send the agitators packing and have much less tolerance for bringing politics into the workplace.

As for academia? Good luck.

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putting aside all the sarcastic comments about the newly mugged offering advice about crime control

wokeness has spread through the institutions (especially THE GOVERNMENT) because it is first and foremost a set of weapons for office politics

by now all institutions are dominated by people who are best at deploying wokeness for increasing both personal and institutional power

since it is the permanent government that interprets and enforces the laws

changing the wording of the laws will not change how the laws are implemented

the government is not a neutral tool you can direct with good intentions

which means that you also cannot free the private sector from wokeness

all businesses are regulated - even Musk or Bezos can end up in jail if they piss the deep state too much

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This really ought to be the plan the next time the right is in power. I hope someone is listening!

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I'm all for these ideas, but I get depressed. Is there a risk we'd go too far, go full Mosquito Coast?

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I don't see that you have much to apologize for; you have always opposed wokism. I suppose you can harp more relentlessly on your opposition, but you have other themes to promote, by which you might do even more good: you can't reform *all* the world's misconceptions.

And what do you want *me* to do? I have just one vote, and no special talent for persuading others, or even for getting them to listen very attentively to me. I am forced to live with the policies that my government, at the behest of my fellow citizens, imposes upon me. I hope for some good things from the Supreme Court and, with less confidence, from future Congresses and Presidents; more fundamentally, from my fellow voters. But my own contribution to the elimination of wokeness will inevitably be minuscule.

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All job interviews should include the following question: "are there any social issues you feel are important to raise at work?". SJWs can't help but reveal themselves at that point.

Act accordingly.

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Are there any social issues you feel are important to raise at work, Gary?

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Nope. In our market, I see other firms getting distracted and I don't think we can afford that. You?

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No. My firm's profit is the only thing I care about. Everything else is up for sacrifice. I don't care about anything, as long as my firm turns a profit.

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Great. Now we both have a pretty clear idea of whether we're gonna be a good fit.

Which is why it's a good question to include in every interview.

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But that's the problem. I'm actually a SJW. I just lied.

When you said "SJWs can't help but reveal themselves at that point" you were wrong.

It's a ludicrous, childish idea. Like thinking that if you ask someone if they're a police officer they have to tell you.

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So basically, eliminate the de facto right to not be offended, loosen the reins on the “free market,” and empower parents to make family-level decisions. Let’s do it!

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What if the parents make decisions that are worse for their children?

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their genes are less competitive and die out? didn't someone invent a theory that has to do with a similar concept?

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Arby said "genes" as in the children won't reproduce, not that they'll die.

But maybe you're a troll intentionally misunderstanding.

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Do you have ideas about how you could have got on the anti-woke train earlier, without too many false positives?

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