Sunday, August 09, 2009

Subversive Thought for the Day

Occasionally, when I'm day-dreaming instead of actually working on my prospectus like I should be doing, I mentally game my own arguments, testing them for weak points or inconsistencies. This isn't always necessary; usually, we do this in the comment section, where the back-and-forth of debate sharpens our ideas and lets us know what works and what doesn't work. But sometimes, I think up my own challenges.

It is in this spirit of self-examination that I take on the role of liberal interlocutor and ask the following:

Why is it that the Half Sigma / Steve Sailer blogging community, when confronted with, say, the murder of Lily Burke, or the crimes in Knoxville and Wichita and God-knows-where-else, we sound the HBD trumpet and rush to man the barricades? But when George Sodini murders an aerobics class, suddenly we get all root-causey and meta-narrative-social-justicy?

I actually have an answer, or rather, several possible answers, to that question. But I wanted to start by throwing it out there for your contemplation.


Trumwill said...

I will say that the degree to which people are suggesting that this is something that was done to Sodoni has been somewhat startling. There really is not much reason to believe that if he had just been able to get a girlfriend that he would have been a remotely happy or well-adjusted guy.

Justin said...

Just an amount of sheer numbers, isn't it? Or, to be clear, statistical probabilities...

Also, GS was motivated by a metanarrative, his action was ideological. Common predatory violence is not. The ideological violence calls for interpretation in a way that predatory violence does not.

Φ said...

Trumwill: As a baseline assumption, I agree with you. But the scary thing is that Sodini himself gave no warning that his actions were possible, and even his internet presence didn't come across as mentally ill.

Elusive Wapiti said...

First, what is HBD?

Also, Sotini was an Everyman who followed the script that society wrote for him and yet it still failed him. He was a nice guy turned bad. The root-cause dots connect easily in his case.

Criminals are willing deviants from the socially approved code of conduct. They are largely bad guys acting out their badness, and a root-cause analysis just ends up making excuses for their behavior.

I did not see anywhere where a commenter attempted to justify Sotini's murderous rampage by saying that "he couldn't help it" or that "the bitches deserved it".

ironrailsironweights said...

Many men in the blogosphere, perhaps especially in the HBD segment, see Sodini as different from themselves in degree rather than in kind.


Φ said...

Wapiti: HBD stands for "Human Bio-Diversity". It means partially attributing to genetic factors the wide-ranging differences between racial groups in mental, physical, and social functioning. Most controversially perhaps is our examination of mean differences in intelligence between the races. Steve Sailer is our most lucid and prolific analyst. (For what it's worth, Sailer links to the blogger Welmer, who links to Novaseeker, who links to you. So consider yourself an associate member!)

And you are correct: nobody I have read has said that Sodini's actions were moral or rational.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"So consider yourself an associate member!"

Four degrees of separation. I like it!

Also, I had another thought about Sodini and the root-cause debate. The data does not support a causal link between poverty and crime (one such root-cause debate); while my impression is that researchers have linked unattached men and violence.

So a root-cause debate would be appropriate in the latter, while not appropriate in the former.

Justin said...

It is also to be noted that GS adopted the basic worldview of the PUA and Game in general: that women are sluts, who are having lots of sex with the alpha males. I think that worldview is highly destructive, not to mention wrong.

That is what I mean when I say his was ideological violence. When someone commits ideological violence, it is worthwhile, if not mandatory, to determine the root cause of that ideology.

PeterW said...

I would say first of all because it confirms the HBD/PUA worldview! This is not the most legitimate reason but it happens to affect judgment. But a more rational reason is because Mr. Sodini viewed himself through an ideological lens; in the Lily Burke case the criminals were just criminals, and the ideological filter was put on after the fact.

Conversely, the Matthew Shepard killing was also ideologically motivated, and I don't see either side arguing that it was random violence. The mainstream left has of course talked about it more often, since it confirms their worldview, but at least they are justified in viewing it through ideology.