Friday, August 05, 2016

There's a Simple Solution to Every Complex Problem. Which is the Problem.

Obama and Clinton prove the old adage that lying is the essential quality -- for if you're good at lying, then brother, you're good at everything. Thus, Obama's presidency has been a stunning success, and Clinton is the most qualified candidate for president ever.

Churchill once remarked that it is sometimes necessary for truth to be protected by a bodyguard of lies. In the case of the left it's the other way around: their lies are protected and propagated by a bodyguard of self-styled "truth tellers," AKA the media.

Think about that: our culture has developed a systematic and pervasive megaphone for the propagation of liberal lies, under the guise of being the necessary institution for an informed citizenry. It pretends to be our cognitive immune system on a seek-and-destroy mission against falsehood, when it is really an autoimmune disorder that attacks truth.

There's another old adage about how every movement begins with an ideal but ends up a racket. But the media is not a racket, in the sense that its members are not generally motivated by venality -- at least consciously -- but by idealism. What happens when lies are animated by idealism? Pretty much every manmade catastrophe in history. Islamists are idealists, as were communists, national socialists, and the French revolutionaries.

Ideals don't exist in the world but in the head. The world can never match the ideal, but that doesn't stop idealists from trying to force the issue, with violence if necessary. Yesterday I heard Clinton say she was going to "rewrite the rules for the middle class." Can you imagine the presumption? She must believe the middle class only developed because of some set of government rules, instead of spontaneously emerging from the free activities of millions of independent actors. No one planned it, because such things are far too complex to ever be planned.

The left labors under an epistemology that is not only outmoded but delusional. I've only just started this refresher on Complexity, but that's my takeaway already. If you deny complexity and live in the old-fashioned, linear cosmos of the progressive, then lies become plausible and the impossible becomes possible. You can tweak some rule at the top and pretend to solve a complex societal problem. Magic is real!

Levin mentions the same thing in The Fractured Republic, and it is such an important point that I will proceed to belabor it.

There was a time when Americans actually had confidence in their government, but this was because virtually everyone was laboring under the pre-postmodern idea that there are linear solutions to complex societal problems. The whole war on poverty was based on this faulty premise, with catastrophic results. For it turns out that an input at one end doesn't result in a linear, predictable output at the other. Rather, in a complex system there is no way to predict -- not even in principle -- what will result from the new input.

Everyone who isn't a liberal understands that this is how the economy works. It is an infinitely complex information-processing system that no human being could ever comprehend. As with global warming, liberals superimpose some simplistic model over the irreducibly complex system and pretend they can get the output they want by tweaking this or that factor -- like the Community Reinvestment Act that nearly brought down the global economy in 2007-2008. The input -- forcing banks to give loans to unqualified borrowers -- was with the Best of Intentions. But look at the output: it didn't generate order, but complete chaos. And not the good kind.

"Indeed, this outdated model for solving problems is what now stands out most about the social-democratic vision that implicitly guides the American left: although it offers itself up as a vision of the future, it is an anachronism. It is how the past used to think about the future" (Levin).


Nevertheless, this sidesteps perhaps the most important aspect of politics, which is to say, its implicit promise that there are linear solutions to complex problems. Someone said that politics is the "organization of hatreds," which is surely true. However, hatred -- even if warranted -- isn't rational, but emotional. More generally, I find that politics is much more rooted in emotion, in atavistic tribalism, in magical wish fulfillment, in anxiety containment, than in anything rational.

Therefore, not only must we understand reality itself as a complex system, but the system we apply to the complex system -- politics -- is itself a complex system. That may not be entirely clear. Hopefully it will become more so as we proceed.

I suppose it goes to a comment I made yesterday, that "no plan survives contact with reality, and the future cannot be extrapolated from current trends." We bifurcate our politics into a simplistic left and right, but in reality, we have no idea what will result from conservative inputs or liberal ones. From our side, even if our policies are successful, you can be sure the media will make it appear they aren't, which will in turn generate unpredictable outcomes.

Yesterday I also mentioned Eliot's gag that there are no lost causes because there are no gained ones. Thus, even if we gain the White House, that will only be prelude to countless losses. As if the left will just roll over. Evil doesn't sleep. It doesn't even rest.

If Trump thinks he's being attacked now, just wait until next November 9th. Everything for which Obama and Clinton are responsible will be immediately blamed on him. 95 million out of the workforce! 20 trillion in debt! Wars all over the middle east! Racial division! Crime increasing! Unsustainable entitlement programs! Blacks regressing by every conceivable measure! Why haven't you solved these staggering problems!

Levin cites several reasons why the vision of the left is so fucking retarded. First, it -- ironically, given the fact that it is responsible for, and even proud of, our deep divisions -- "takes a degree of social cohesion for granted that is no longer realistic." Yes, you would never game the system to get free stuff from the government. Hell, you just want the government to leave you alone.

But that is not true of people with quite different cultural conditioning. The left loves immigrants, so long as they are immigrants who love the left, i.e., big government. Democrats were thrilled when Mr. Khan whipped out that constitution, because it is the very same constitution they so reverently ignore.

In the old days -- i.e., prior to the 1960s -- we could assume a level of cultural order, stability, and cohesion that no longer exists. And guess why it no longer exist? Many reasons, one of which is past efforts on the part of the left to pretend there are simple, top-down solutions to complex problems. "This means they [their policies] don't work to to create order, and in fact that they frequently undermine it -- especially by creating incentives against family formation and work" (ibid.).

It reminds me of how conservatives favor economic policies that generate wealth, whereas the left just assumes the wealth and goes about dividing it up between favored constituents. The end result is Venezuela, i.e., failure to generate wealth at all. But at least everyone is equal. Or rather, income equality reaches infinity, in that people in the bottom 90% have nothing.

Levin is of course correct that "we need alternatives that actively encourage the integration of needy and vulnerable Americans into the mediating institutions of family, community, and work." Well, yes. There is a little catch, however. People tend to marry people of a similar IQ. They then produce children with similar IQs to the parents. You know the rest. As I said, I'm all for marriage. But marriage itself, without a host of other values and virtues -- for example, absence of class envy -- won't suffice. I mean, Obama and Clinton are married. QED.

Levin again highlights the left's "fundamentally anachronistic epistemology, or theory of knowledge." In this quaint worldview, "the most effective way to regulate and manage a complex modern society was for the legitimately elected government to empower social scientists to employ their centralized expert knowledge." This has been the reigning paradigm ever since FDR (and really, Hoover before him), such that it seems impossible to dislodge it.

For the most part, Republicans simply promise to do a better job while using the same faulty paradigm. Very few are true conservatives, like Reagan, who knew that when it comes to complex systems such as the economy, less is more. That is, less regulation, taxation, and bureaucratic meddling results in much upside surprise.

In political and economic Realville, "the top-down theory has given way to a kind of bottom-up theory of distributed knowledge suggesting that the expertise needed to make complex decisions is not concentrated in the hands of a small band of experts, but dispersed among all, and best aggregated through the medium of individual choice in a diverse society" (ibid.).

The implications are almost staggering. For example, it could mean that you understand more about your healthcare needs than the most thoroughly indoctrinated leftist expert sitting behind a desk in DC.

Nah, can't be. How could we ever negotiate through life without our liberal masters?

Modern man comforts himself by thinking that everything has a solution. As if there were no sinister solutions!


None of the high points of history has been planned. --Don Colacho

Thursday, August 04, 2016

One Nation Divided by God

I have to say, I don't see any realistic possibility of overcoming our problems. True, we've been backed into a corner before, even from the very beginning, with Washington's eight year struggle to keep together a bedraggled and vastly overmatched army. Then there was the civil war, the Great Depression (another man-caused disaster of the left), World War II. But we've never seen anything like the present slow motion conflagration, in which the left serves as both arsonist and fire department.

And this is coming from a temperamental optimist. America is the world's "last best hope." Lose America, and there is no hope for the world. Simple as. If the left prevails, it is the end of America as we know it. The geographical space will still exist, but not the idea, the vision, the project.

Yes, there is always the possibility of a divine intervention, but the left has not only passively frittered away the moral inheritance that would render us worthy of divine providence, but actively poisoned it. At the present rate of decline, we will have to ask ourselves: does America even deserve to live?

The left is hardly reticent in announcing its goals. Clinton will have the opportunity to name two, three, or four justices to the Supreme Court. We can certainly say goodbye to the first and second amendments. Recall that the Citizens United case was about whether the state had the power to ban a film critical of Hillary Clinton.

Of course it doesn't. Congress is specifically forbidden to make any such law. So, naturally the left would love to overturn that inconvenient barrier to its total control of information. It won't apply to left wing megaphones such as the New York Times (and virtually all big city papers), CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, academia, the entertainment industry, public education. Remember what was said yesterday about the intellectual brittleness of the left, such that they cannot tolerate a single light shining on their darkness. It burns!

The liberal media really is a fourth branch of government, and probably even more powerful than the other three. I mean, if the media decides to go after a politician -- or anyone else -- it's very difficult to survive with one's reputation in tact. With so much to work with, they certainly could have destroyed Obama if they had wanted to.

Look at the Khan kerfuffle, in which the media has devoted something like 75 times the coverage it has to Clinton's sleazy lies to the "gold star parents" of Benghazi. The media is a force of nature -- or supernature, rather, in that it speaks for powers and principalities that are not of this world -- and unfortunately, Trump doesn't seem to understand this, so he plays into their hands.

More generally, you can divide conservatives into two camps. There are those of us who see the left as quite manifestly evil, and those who think they are just dealing with different ideas about which it is possible to negotiate. Note that, unlike the left, I do not say the people holding the views are necessarily evil. Rather, it is the ideology that is evil, and when the ideology hijacks the personality, the person helps bring about evil despite the "best of intentions."

Of course, many of them are plainly malevolent and actively work toward the weakening and ultimate destruction of America (again, America as we know it). But even then, they are always coming from a self-styled "moral" plane. The Black Lives Matter vermin who call for violence toward police hardly think they are less moral than the rest of us. Rather, they are animated by the same confident moral superiority radiated by Obama.

So yes, we are living in a deeply Fractured Republic. The fracture is between "left and right," but that obscures much deeper sources of division.

The division is ultimately rooted in absolutely polarized visions that can never, under any circumstances, be reconciled. Just as in Lincoln's time, when it was impossible to reconcile slavery with the universal principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, it is strictly impossible to reconcile liberty and equality, or the natural law of marriage with the state's imposition of an arbitrary redefinition, or (true) individualism and collectivism.

These things -- and many more -- cannot coexist. There is no compromise between what the constitution says and what the left wishes it said. There is no middle ground between biological man and woman (with trivial and generally pitiable exceptions). But in New York you are compelled by the state to recognize 31 genders on pain of a $250,000 fine "if establishments refuse to address someone by their preferred pronoun." These Orwellians call it a friendly "guide" rather than a totalitarian threat.

One point Levin makes -- and I think he's correct here -- is that "collectivism and atomism are not opposite ends of the political spectrum, but rather two sides of the same coin." The two "often coexist and reinforce one another," in that there are no mediating institutions between the radical, isolated individual and the massive state. Recall the infamous Julia of the liberal imagination, who, at every vital stage of life, was married to the state. They don't consider that pathetic, but rather, the ideal.

But human beings are not isolated monads, so the left has their anthropology all wrong. Rather, we are intersubjective right down to the ground. This intimate intersubjectivity is discovered and nurtured in the context of the tripartite family, which nothing can replace -- at least nothing invented by the state, and not at a psychic cost to the child and to society. We wouldn't mind Clinton's claim that it takes a village to raise a child, so long as she didn't conflate the spontaneously self-organizing, bottom-up village with the coercive, top-down state. One of these is not like the other.

Nevertheless, we are living in this new and unprecedented world, in which the unmediated individual is supreme. Now, a nation is bound by an implicit and collectively held vision of the world. Prior to the 1960s, the majority of Americans held to this ideal, so we were generally familiar to one another. But a nation of so-called individuals naturally erodes trust. Although my next door neighbors are American, they aren't American, so we have little in common. There's nothing to discuss. We live in different worlds.

Certainly neither Trump nor Clinton will be able to do anything to "heal" this truly ontological divide. Rather, regardless of who prevails, it will be four years of total war. Neither side will accept the other as legitimate. And the truth of the matter is that one side is illegitimate. Or perhaps neither side will be legitimate, depending upon how forceful Trump is in naming Supreme Court justices who will defend and uphold the constitution. We already know that Hillary won't.

Usually we are faced with a choice between the evil party and the stupid party, but this time around it is the evil party vs. the impulsive, undisciplined, and occasionally incoherent one. Nevertheless, the choice is still easy, in that we must reject evil and hope for -- and work toward -- the best. Death can't be avoided, but perhaps we can slow the disease.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

We Demand an Education that Will Make Us Even More Stupid!

Speaking of IQ, Black Lives Matter has issued its demands. One of the demands has to do with access to better education, which introduces an interesting paradox: if they are as educationally deprived as they are suggesting, then they are too stupid to know what they should be demanding. How did they get so stupid? It's certainly not our fault. Republicans have no say in the awful state of our educational system. Is there a majority black school district run by conservatives? Somehow I doubt it.

The whole manifesto is a monument to invincible ignorance, but here are the educational demands:

"Reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities in the form of full and free access for all Black people (including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people) to lifetime education including: free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities, technical education (technology, trade and agricultural), educational support programs, retroactive forgiveness of student loans, and support for lifetime learning programs."

Public education is of course already free, but there will be no access to a high quality public education so long Democrats are in charge, i.e., until such a time as education is private and competitive. You know the old joke: "The food is terrible. And such small portions!" Likewise, government education is completely dysfunctional, so can we please have more of it?

And we already have free -- or at least very low cost -- access to lifetime education. It's called books. I access them all the time, with no support whatsoever from the state. Indeed, I read a fair number of books that the state would never permit anywhere near a place of learning.


"Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities in the form of mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery, and funding to support, build, preserve, and restore cultural assets and sacred sites to ensure the recognition and honoring of our collective struggles and triumphs."

Reparations for the cultural and educational exploitation, erasure, and extraction of our communities. What does that even mean? You can't exploit what has been erased. As to the "critical examination" of their metaphysical victimhood, what they are really asking for is a state-funded Marxist education to prevent them from ever outgrowing their childish beliefs. We already have whole university departments devoted to that, and it's been highly successful in producing stunted intellects.

There's more!

"A constitutional right at the state and federal level to a fully-funded education which includes a clear articulation of the right to: a free education for all, special protections for queer and trans students, wrap around services, social workers, free health services (including reproductive body autonomy), a curriculum that acknowledges and addresses students’ material and cultural needs, physical activity and recreation, high quality food, free daycare, and freedom from unwarranted search, seizure or arrest."

That's a tautology: a constitutional right to a free education that articulates the right to a free education. More generally, that word "free" certainly comes up a lot. Just because an education is "free," it hardly means it is accessible. For example, I am utterly free to learn advanced trigonometry, quantum mechanics, and vector calculus. Indeed, they could pay me to learn them, but that wouldn't help. There's this thing called "aptitude" that places constraints on learning, irrespective of its material cost. There are no extrinsic factors stopping blacks from majoring in science and engineering.

I've always said that if we could mandate high school courses in logic and basic economics, that would go a long way toward inoculating children against the left. Which is why they will never be mandated.

We mentioned last week that leftists habitually externalize their problems, whereas conservatives regard the locus of control as being interior. As such, the main obstacle to our success is ourselves. (It reminds me of the old Buddhist story about the king who wanted to pave the world with leather so as to be able to walk comfortably in it. This is what the left has done to the university: sensitive liberals want to pave it with leather instead of simply wearing shoes. Or -- the horror! -- developing mental calluses.)

Perversely, these warped leftists are demanding access to educational services that will only further warp them. It's really a kind of soul sickness demanding the conditions for its own perpetuation.

Which is what leftism is more generally: when the soul is in a state of "wrongness," it feels compelled to transform the world in order to mirror, support, and legitimize its wrongness. This is not true of the healthy soul, which will always be at odds with "the world." How prescient is it of Jesus to remind us that "you will be persecuted for my sake," and that "if the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first."

This goes to the ubiquitous totalitarian temptation of the left. Any reminder of their wrongness -- their sinfulness -- cannot be tolerated, hence the inevitable assaults on freedom of speech, conscience, and religion, to the point of absolute absurdity, e.g., microaggressions. Why is sin so darn touchy? It must be because it isn't safe so long as light exists to shine on it.

It reminds me of Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled. So long as one person fails to enter the group trance, it spoils the whole scapegoating ritual. Scapegoating is always "unanimity minus one" -- that one being the scapegoat.

Consider the current media trance of scapegoating Trump for daring to criticize Mr. Khan, the the high-end Muslim coyote and sharia devotee. It is an absolute, fevered unanimity, with no critical distance -- and no desire for it -- whatsoever. Rather, there is nothing that thrills the superego more than cultural sanction for the release of primitive aggression.

This also explains the psychology of rioting. Liberals, of course, give blacks the moral sanction for violent acting out, such that simple criminality becomes sanctified violence, AKA "rebellion," or murdering police officers is placed on the same moral plane as killing a thug in self-defense.

Back to The Fractured Republic. Levin says something at the very outset that I have always maintained, that "Life in America is always getting better and worse at the same time."

And it's not just America. At any point in history, it is always the best and worst of times. I am reminded of when Churchill was asked to name his favorite year: "1940, every time." That was the year good and evil paired off, to such an extent that "it was equally good to live or die." But good and evil are always pairing off.

Traditionalists tend to see in history only the best of times, while leftists tend to see the worst. But the bag is always mixed, largely because of the mixed nature of man. Under the best of circumstances, man's ambiguous nature ensures that the best, even if established, won't last long. Rather, as per the above, the good is always under attack. The more dangerous a conservative is to the project of the left, the more he will be equated with Absolute Evil. I just googled Trump Fascist, and 552,000 entries come up. But that is a fraction of the 23,000,000 that come up for Trump Hitler.

Indeed, even in my son's fourth grade class, at least one classmate casually mentioned that Trump is As Bad As Hitler. My son knows better than to argue with a liberal. More to the point, he knows that to equate Hitler and Trump is to trivialize evil to the point of meaninglessness.

But this is what the left does: as Dennis Prager has said, if you don't recognize and fight real evil, then you will end up elevating some non-evil to the status of absolute evil, and then fight that. In other words, humans are built to recognize and struggle against evil. This explains why John Kerry and the rest of the climate buffoons think that air conditioners are more of a threat then ISIS.

I didn't intend this to be a mere rant, but now I'm out of time, so, to be continued.

Monday, August 01, 2016

The Fractured Republic and the Big Sort

We left off Friday with the idea that a purportedly horizontal multiculturalism may obscure a hierarchical and vertical multi-worldism. Indeed, this is one reason why it is such an historical anachronism to uncritically accuse our distant forebears as "racist," when, first of all, the concept didn't exist, and second, they were simply being empirical, not ideological. In other words, they observed the undeniable differences in cultural attainment, and concluded accordingly. There was no one there to tell them to ignore their lying eyes, and that all cultures are equally worthwhile and beautiful.

Speaking of worlds and cultures, I just finished reading Yuval Levin's new book, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism. I was looking forward to it, because I really enjoyed his previous book, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left. That's a book I never got around to blogging about, despite the fact that it does an excellent job of tracing the genealogy of left and right, all the way down to the roots.

This will probably be a series of posts. This first one is just from memory, so I'll no doubt pass over a lot of detail and not do the book justice. This is just my first overall stream-of-consciousness impression, based upon what I remember.

The Great Debate really shows how left and right inhabit different worldspaces, with very different assumptions about reality and about human nature, and therefore about the role of the state.

Politics, of course, applies to human beings and only human beings. Therefore, if you get your anthropology wrong, then your political philosophy will be even more wrong. This hardly stops people from trying to apply the defective model, but this only causes more problems. It's analogous to running a zoo but knowing nothing about zoology.

For the left, this results in an inevitable vicious cycle of 1) misunderstanding human nature, 2) trying to fix it with the wrong approach, 3) which results in further human wreckage, and 4) which then requires the state to remedy. This formula is a guarantee that the state will always grow in power over the citizen.

Note that, among other things, our founders were explicitly trying to extricate man from this cycle by placing sharp limits on the scope of state power. This was rooted in a specific conception of human nature, whereby the state is not permitted to violate our natural, God-given rights; rather, it is there to respect and protect them -- especially from itself!

Anyway, the first half of The Fractured Republic does an excellent job of diagnosing our historical situation. However, I found that the second half, which proposes the remedies, is way too optimistic, and a little naive -- which is something a conservative should never be.

One reason it is naive is that it ignores the scientific Elephant in the Room, which is to say, the heritability of IQ, more on which below. What I would say is that if the science of IQ is correct, then none of the current solutions proposed by the left or right will help. Indeed, they will only make matters worse. (Remember what was said above about getting your anthropology wrong: if you believe intelligence isn't limited by the genes, then you are in for a rude awakening).

For Levin, both the left and right are blinded by nostalgia. In short, they assume as a norm economic circumstances that were quite unique. Leftists such as Paul Krugman hearken back to the 1950s, when we had a greatly expanding economy, full employment, much more "income equality," and a marginal tax rate of 90%.

But that period of time was hardly normative, and certainly not repeatable. For one thing, in the wake of World War II we were Masters of the Universe, with no competition anywhere in the world. We were by far the largest manufacturer and consumer, to such an extent that it would have taken a real genius like Obama to mess things up.

A key point is that we essentially controlled the global economy from top to bottom. As such, there were plentiful jobs available for everyone along the IQ spectrum, from low to middle to high. And with no global competition for labor, everyone was relatively well paid.

Levin points out that back then, we were a labor-driven economy, such that business could afford the economic inefficiency of overpaying their employees. But in the meantime we have become a much more efficient consumer-driven economy, with people expecting high quality at the lowest possible price. In order to achieve that, something has to give, i.e., high wages for low-value work.

Precisely because that unusual situation was taken as normative, liberals assumed it would continue forever. Thus the vast expansion of government in the mid 1960s, with all the Great Society programs that continue haunting us to this day. It didn't take long for the economy to crash in the 1970s, only to be resuscitated by Reaganomics.

Thus, conservatives tend to hearken back to the 1980s as normative, but there too we were in a specific historical situation that cannot be repeated. For example, Reagan brought the marginal tax rate down from 70% to 28%, whereas now the parties fight over a mere percentage or two. I don't see any future tax cut that will unleash the economy as the Reagan tax cuts did.

One other major change has been the relentless globalization of the economy. Oddly, this is something lamented by left and right -- or at least Sanders and Trump -- but it is not going away, and there is no way to reverse the trend. Again, because consumers expect high quality at low prices, they are not going to buy an American made phone for $2,000 when they can get a Chinese-made one for $500.

Yes, through tariffs we can force Americans to purchase the more expensive phones. But you can't fool Mother Economics, such that it accomplishes nothing to protect mid- or low-wage jobs if everything costs more.

Another important point made by Levin is that the middle class hasn't so much "disappeared" as moved up. In short, we now have a bifurcated economy with a crater in the middle. Why the middle? Well, those are the jobs that are most ripe for exportation due to the consumer-driven demand for economic efficiency. But you can't export low-wage service jobs such as janitor, housekeeper, gardener, etc. Those jobs can't be done from China, so we will always have them.

Increasing the minimum wage is simply the left's acknowledgment that they have no idea how to foster economic conditions that will create high-wage jobs, so they will simply outlaw low-wage ones. Which inevitably leads to higher prices and fewer jobs. But more Democrat voters, and that's the important point.

This leads directly to the problem of the Big Sort. Recall that in the 1950s and 196s there was a decent paying job for most everyone, from low to to high IQ. But now, more than ever, we have a "knowledge-based" economy with a cratered middle and mostly low wage service jobs at the bottom. This means that the economy is efficiently -- ruthlessly -- sorting people by intelligence, with predictable results.

Now, how do you solve that problem, especially if the problem isn't permitted to be named? Levin doesn't name it, so all of his solutions are somewhat beside the point. He mainly argues that we have to make a commitment to rebuilding mid-level institutions that mediate between the state and the citizen, because our economic bifurcation has led to a situation in which we have the isolated individual at one end and the state at the other, with nothing in between.

We know, for example, that the poor have much higher divorce rates, if they marry at all. But this might well be conflating a consequence with its cause. For example, divorce rates for college-educated women are quite low. Do they not get divorced because they are college-educated, or are both education and divorce rate controlled by something else, i.e., native intelligence?

It reminds me of the canard that kids raised in a house full of books grow up more intelligent -- as if the mere presence of books is the causal factor! In reality, intelligent people tend to read books, and pass on their intelligence to their children. If you take a person with an IQ of 85, and fill his house with books, it won't make any difference in the long run. This is to confuse a marker of intelligence with its attainment -- like making college "free" for everyone, including those of below-average intelligence.

Likewise, if two people with IQs of 125 have a stable marriage, economic prosperity, and successful children, can we extrapolate from this to say that people with IQs of 85 can and should expect the same? I mean, I believe in the institution of marriage for entirely different reasons. I'm all for it. But again, conservatives tend to conflate cause and consequences. I don't see how it will do much of anything to reverse the Big Sort.

I have no idea what the solution might be.

As I said, those are just my first impressions. I'll need to dig into more detail to do the book justice. Maybe Wednesday, because tomorrow will be tight.