Domestic Patriarchy

Another Guest Post by Jason Cockrell:

When is it appropriate for a woman to argue with her husband? My position is essentially never. She should obey him completely, including when he is totally wrong.

You might think the household jointly should act according to the man’s plan when he is right, and the woman’s plan when she is right. On the face that sounds reasonable, but it suffers a fatal problem of epistemics. By definition, an argument can only arise when the man and woman are in disagreement, that is, when they have two different ideas about how the household should proceed. There is then the problem of *determining* who is right (if either of them) and persuading the other of that fact.

Women, generally speaking, are not capable of assessing the correctness of their own ideas, nor their level of confidence in those ideas. This is not to say women can’t be right, nor that they can’t successfully argue a correct point. They can. The problem is that they are just as likely to be wrong, and just as capable of arguing for an incorrect idea as a correct one. Female arguing strategies don’t select for truth over falsehood.

Men do not exclusively or flawlessly apply logic and fact-finding in their arguments. However, they do *preferentially* apply logic and fact-finding. Male arguing techniques favor statements that correspond to reality over those which do not. Among men, an argument is won when one party makes a statement intimately tied to both reality and the subject at issue, and the other party cannot produce a meaningful response to that statement while remaining within the bounds of reality.

Female arguing strategies include the aforementioned, but also include: Shaming, nagging, pleading, diverting, and exhausting. Women win arguments when they have produced enough words with enough emotional effect that the other party no longer has the energy to respond. Women’s statements don’t need to correspond to reality, and perhaps even more critically, they don’t need to bear any relation to the statements made by the other party.

The preference men have for rationality is rooted in men’s need to confront material reality. Men have evolved to solve physical and logical problems in hunting, fishing, construction, and war. Ignorance is the enemy they seek to defeat when they argue. Women, being distributors of resources more than producers of resources, have evolved to defeat *men*. For a woman, the amount of resources she can secure for her children is essentially the amount she can convince a man to bestow upon her. Thus the purpose of female arguing is to enlist men into her service, whereas the purpose of male arguing is to enlist metal, wood, and fire into his service. A man’s argument has failed if he has not discovered the truth. A woman’s argument has failed *only* if she does not get her way!

Related and parallel to this, men with competing interests are more likely to engage in negotiation while women are more likely to engage in posturing. The distinction is subtle yet critical. In negotiation, each party declares their respective desired outcomes (the “I wants”) and then probes the other party to ascertain what can be exchanged (the “I haves”). The negotiating parties then haggle to some midpoint in which each surrenders some value in order to obtain another, presumably preferred value.

Posturing looks and sounds similar, but with an undercurrent of dishonesty. Posturing occurs when the stated desires aren’t sincerely felt, or come with threats or ultimatums that won’t be carried out. Posturing freerides on the credibility of negotiating to obtain more than what one could obtain honestly. The key distinction is the overstatement of preferences in an attempt to derive value where none exists. Women are experts at posturing, as can be inferred from the frequency with which they issue ultimatums that simply dissolve when they are ignored.

Women often confuse the making of demands with the offering of value, so much that it’s questionable whether they even know the difference. How a woman goes about securing loyalty from a man is one example. She could simply demand monogamy, condemn casual sex, and screech until every man who has other thoughts feels cowed and afraid. On the other hand, she could offer positive reinforcement for loyal behavior, such as by fulfilling her role in the bedroom with enthusiasm. The latter strategy adds value to the man’s life, and so is a form of negotiation. The former merely substitutes demands for offerings, and so is a form of posturing. That women don’t seem to understand the distinction is probably attributable to their primary resource – the “I have” – being their own good will. What women offer men in negotiating is, after all, essentially their kindness, deference, and availability to men, so to maintain their posturing they intermittently are cold, obnoxious, and screeching.

The purposes of legally instituting monogamous marriages are manifold, but central among them is that a man be legally – in property and in social responsibility – bound to his wife and his progeny in the same way that he is naturally bound to them through love and kinship. This means that a decent man, fully vested in his family, will *regard* the interests of the household *as* his own interests. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this point. Any man worth marrying will necessarily view his wife’s happiness and his children’s well-being as centrally important to – indeed, indistinguishable from – his own. If he does not, he is a scoundrel.

It follows then that a married woman has no need to *enlist* her husband in her service. He is already in her service. Her interests are his interests, and chiefly among them, the interests of the children. Therefore the conventional female arguing tactics are moot. She does not need to nag for his resources, as he will provide them when it is appropriate. Whereas outside of marriage, disagreements may arise due to conflicting interests, in the context of marriage, disagreements are fundamentally only disagreements of facts themselves. It is no longer will the man serve himself or serve his woman, but what *actually* serves the best interests of the household jointly? Men always have the epistemic advantage in disagreements of pure facts, because men’s cognition is tailored toward assessing facts. It bears repeating that none of this implies men are always right and women are always wrong. The only salient point is that men are right more often than women, and women aren’t in any position to tell the difference, because they can’t distinguish disagreements of fact from conflicts of interest.

Therefore, my position is that the wife should be as submissive to her husband’s understanding of the facts as he is devoted to the household’s shared interests. This means that she should not question his judgment as long as his heart is in the right place. Sometimes he will be utterly incorrect, but she can’t tell when he is actually incorrect apart from when she merely thinks he is incorrect but is herself mistaken. Good will and affection is lost in the process of arguing who is right, and the outcome of such argument isn’t more likely to be accurate than the man’s assessment on its own. She can, of course, state her preference, but it’s up to him to interpret that in the context of the situation at hand, bearing in mind that women’s stated preferences don’t correlate particularly well with their actual preferences.

As a final note on this point, men are, for all of the reasons explained above, also more likely to notice when they are wrong and change course. If a man starts down a path with a certain plan in mind, he can detect halfway through whether the outcomes he was projecting are manifesting. If he has miscalculated, he can adjust the plan. Women struggle with this because they are marvelously talented at confabulating ex-post-facto rationalizations for all outcomes. Little if anything that occurs in a woman’s life is ever directly related to her own decisions, according to her telling of the story. Since women experience reality as something that happens to them rather than something they mold by their will-power, they won’t necessarily recognize when a plan isn’t producing the outcome they intended. This is one more sense in which a man’s cognition is preferentially truth-seeking while a woman’s is rent-seeking.

A counter-point is that women may, and indeed must, relieve their husbands of command if and when their judgment is fundamentally compromised. If a man is no longer putting the interests of the household at the front of his mind and the center of his heart, then he is not functioning as a husband and father. By far the most likely culprit in this scenario is alcohol. History is replete with instances of otherwise good men falling from grace because they allowed alcohol to replace their family as their greatest love. This is a *chemical* change in the brain which destroys a man’s reason and truth-seeking. If his wife steps in and takes over the household, she is not contradicting his judgment. He has lost his judgment – she is merely contradicting the bottle. This decision cannot be made due to a disagreement of facts, especially not of particulars. If an intervention is warranted, it is an evaluation of the entire man and the family dynamic, so it must be reserved for those situations where a man has truly lost his way.


Confirmation Bias as a Strategy for Collective Cognition

Guest post by Jason Cockrell, reprinted with permission.


Confirmation bias is the tendency for a person to accept a given proposition as fact based on limited or ambiguous evidence if he is primed ahead of time to lean toward that viewpoint, when the same evidence would not be convincing without priming. Confirmation bias is considered a fallacious form of thinking because the objective merit of the evidence is the same regardless of the thinker’s initial unsubstantiated inclinations, but his interpretation of that evidence is biased toward confirming his preconceptions.

Susceptibility to confirmation bias is thus by-definition irrational in the scientific sense – it does not give the individual thinker the greatest probability of arriving at a true model of the world. However, Eli Harman writes that confirmation bias can be rational in the utility-maximizing sense if the cost of false negatives (failing to hold that a certain proposition is true when it is) is much greater than the cost of false positives (holding a proposition as true when it is not). As an example, he proposes the scenario of trusting or mistrusting a member of an ostensibly disreputable minority group. Mistrusting errantly incurs only a modest fixed cost, a specific social interaction that could occur but does not, whereas trusting errantly incurs unknown and potentially disastrous costs. Thus it can be economically optimal to apply a cognitive process that is not scientifically optimal.

However, Eli’s analysis does not clearly address the converse scenario, namely, that a false positive might be more costly than a false negative. In this case, confirmation bias would be actively risky relative to a more agnostic approach, since the tendency to form conclusions exposes one to the outsize risk of false positives. One example of such is the need for omnivorous creatures to explore a wide variety of food sources in times of famine. So many foods that humans regularly consume are toxic in their raw form, and had our ancestors been closed-minded, they might never have discovered the preparation techniques required to make these foods palatable. It is conceivable that real-world challenges correspond to Eli’s proposed scenario more frequently than mine, but this is not obvious, and not demonstrated.

I propose a more comprehensive theory for the origin of cognitive bias, and one with broader implications for epistemology. To preserve generality, I make no assumptions about the relative costs of a false positive versus a false negative, but only that both outcomes are inferior to a *true* positive or negative. In other words, I allow for all utility functions that uniformly prefer truth over falsehood.

Lying Blues

Imagine a society consisting of 95% green people and 5% blue people. Suppose that a certain behavior is five times more common among blue people than green people, but the behavior is nonetheless rare overall in all people. This could be a positive or negative behavior, but either way, most interactions won’t involve the behavior. Just to use some specifics, call this behavior ‘lying’, and suppose green people lie 1% of the time they speak while blue people lie 5% of the time. Note that although blue people lie five times more frequently, green people still tell four times more lies due to their greater share of the population at large.

Now suppose an individual scientific truth-seeker seeks to detect a propensity for lying in a demographic group. This need not be a conscious process, just a logical consequence of the tendency of all people to notice patterns. Reasonably, he might induce that a demographic has a propensity for lying if members of that group lie to him three times in a row. Three lies would constitute a pattern, which he would notice and generalize into a stereotype.

However, this scenario almost never occurs. When the truth-seeker interacts with green people, they tell three lies in a row only 1% * 1% * 1% = 0.0001% of the time. When he interacts with blue people, they tell three lies in a row only 5% * 5% * 5% = 0.0125% of the time. Although the latter scenario occurs 125 times more frequently than the former, it is still so rare as to nearly never occur, especially given that interactions with blue people are already rare. In all probability, an individual looking for a three-lie pattern to detect a demographic propensity for lying will live his whole life never realizing that blue people are more prone to lying than green people.

Confirmation Bias

Consider the same society proposed above, but instead of applying a rational inductive process, let the truth-seeker use confirmation bias. With this bias, he will consider a demographic to be particularly prone to lying if he is first primed with the stereotype verbally, then encounters a lie from that group *once* after the priming. If he is primed with the suggestion of a stereotype but does not encounter a lie in his next interaction, he forgets the priming and returns to an agnostic cognitive state. However, if he does encounter a lie after the priming, then the stereotype is ‘confirmed’ (despite the lack of a true pattern). Once confirmed, he will spread the stereotype by verbal suggestion to others.

To stimulate the confirmation process, imagine inducing initial biases in the society through random jitter. That is, pick people totally at random, and whisper a stereotype in their ear. For fairness, let the stereotype alternately be “Blue people tend to lie more than others” or “Green people tend to lie more than others.” This randomness can be achieved with a literal coin-flip. The stereotype has no correspondence to reality and is not intended to have any such correspondence to reality. It is merely a random seed – some people are told that blue people lie more, and others are told that green people lie more.

If the next interaction they have with the member of the specified demographic is consistent with the seeded stereotype, it is confirmed. If not, it is forgotten. After one iteration of this process, 99% of the people told that greens lie more often will have forgotten it, but only 95% of those told that blues lie more often will. In other words, within one iteration, 5 times more people will hold the ‘confirmed’ stereotype that blues are liars than will hold the ‘confirmed’ stereotype that greens are liars, even though the initial seed was an even 50-50.

Those who have the stereotype ‘confirmed’ spread it by verbal suggestion to others, while those who do not, forget it. Through gossip, the stereotype that is ‘confirmed’ more frequently is also suggested more frequently. Thus going into the next round, five times more people will have been verbally primed to believe that blues are liars than that greens are liars.

It follows straightforwardly that the stereotype that blues are liars will spread over time at a much faster pace than the competing stereotype that greens are liars. After several iterations, the blue stereotype will crowd out the green stereotype and reach a point of social consensus. Thus it will be general ‘knowledge’ among most people in society that blues are not to be trusted while greens are fine. This truth will be ‘known’ despite no particular person ever encountering the tell-tale three-lie pattern that would inductively lead one to conclude blues are liars.

A fun exercise for the reader is to model this scenario programmatically, using variables for the rate of lying in each demographic (prevalence), the number of people to whom each individual will communicate a stereotype once it has been ‘confirmed’ for him (growth rate), and potentially other variables for forgetfulness. There is likely a social ‘carrying capacity’ for stereotypes which emerges from these factors, but that is out of scope.

Frequency Over Rigor

Lest the significance of the above go unnoticed, it should be explicitly mentioned that the true stereotype – blues tend to lie more often – manages to become widely known among the populace despite (1) the initial ‘seed’ stereotypes being totally random and (2) no individual person ever experiencing enough direct evidence to induce the stereotype themselves.

Absent the priming by verbal suggestion, no one would ever conclude from any single instance of lying that any particular demgoraphic is more prone to lying than any other. To be clear, a single instance is by-definition never a pattern. No matter how politically incorrect or open to stereotyping one allows, there is no way to induce from the single act of being told a lie by a blue person that, therfore, blue people generally tend to lie. Indeed, perhaps it is tall people – if the person is tall – or redheaded people – if the person is redheaded – who are prone to lying. A pattern simply cannot be extrapolated from a single instance, all political correctness aside.

It is only by introducing a priming, the initial seed of a suggestion that blues tend to be liars, that confirmation bias can cause a person to conclude this to be true based on a single experience, a single lie. Yet other individuals were primed with the stereotype that greens tend to be liars, and when they encountered a lying green, they felt that the stereotype was confirmed, as well. The rigor of the evidence is the same in both cases – a random suggestion of a stereotype followed by a single instance which confirms it. In neither case is the evidence scientifically rigorous, and in both cases, the ‘confirmation’ occurs by statistical chance.

Thus the true stereotype becomes more prevalent due to the greater *frequency* of its confirmation. Because more blues actually do lie, more people seeded with the ‘lying blue’ stereotype feel that it is confirmed. However, each individual who felt a confirmed stereotype – in either direction – encountered the same level of evidence – a single event of ‘confirmation’. From the standpoint of individual cognition, those who believe blues lie more often and those who believe greens lie more often feel the same level of certainty, and have the same level of justification for their (conflicting) beliefs.

Collective Cognition

It follows from the above that confirmation bias plays a critical role in collective cognition. This is a stochastic truth-seeking process in which the error of some individuals holding incorrect views is acceptable from the perspective of the broader society which tends, on average, to gravitate toward accurate views. Each person is a laboratory for testing the tendency of a hypothesis to hold up against reality. False hypotheses will seem to be confirmed for some people, but not most people. True hypotheses will fare far better, and thus will get repeated. Over several iterations of gossip followed by experience, the narratives that more accurately describe the world will displace those which do so less accurately.

That this benefit of confirmation bias has not been generally noticed in discourse is a consequence of the Western rationalist and scientific concept of epistemology. Under rationalism, the purpose of thought itself is for the individual to assess the evidence and deduce accurate conclusions. Any biases which interfere with *his* discovering the truth are to be discarded. Confirmation bias is clearly an example of such, alongside naturalistic and nativistic biases, anchoring, the gambler’s fallacy, etc.

It is profoundly contrary to science and rationalism to suppose that the purpose of thought might not be individually rational – in humans, anyway. This concept is quite familiar in ants, though, where scientists have long understood that knowledge is distributed throughout the colony. Each individual ant has little understanding of the macro structure of the colony and almost no sense of its purpose or the greater direction of its missions, yet the effective behaviors of construction, scavenging, hoarding, defense, and invasion that characterize successful colonies nonetheless manifest out of the collectively-held knowledge of the many ants.

Thus it may be beneficial for the human species, and probably for tribes and nations, that humans often give in to the instinct of confirmation bias and allow themselves to be persuaded by shaky evidence if such evidence is consistent with views that have been expressed by others, especially others from their own tribe. In doing so, the individual sacrifices some degree of his own reasoning, but he gains access to a distributed network that includes the aggregated and distilled experiences of many others. For the Western man, this constitutes a bit of a leap of faith, but evolution has apparently rewarded those who take the leap more than those who do not.

Likelihood vs. Frequency

Many people conflate likelihood with frequency. For example, they point out how infrequent Muslim terror attacks are and they make fun of you for even mentioning such an unlikely possibility. There are far more likely ways for you to die, car accident, petty crime, cancer, heart disease, etc… etc… So why are you worried about Islamic terrorism? You’re just an old fuddy duddy, and probably a bigot.

But the likelihood of Muslim terror attacks is not in question. We know now for a certainty that as long as Muslims and westerners continue to mix and mingle, a small but significant minority of Muslims will attack western governments, infrastructure, military, and civilians (but especially civilians) with the aim of inflicting as many casualties or as much damage as possible. Unless something changes, however, those attacks will remain infrequent enough that you probably won’t be caught up in one.

But something IS changing, the number and proportion of Muslims in western nations is changing. The number and proportion of Muslims in western counties is increasing. The ONLY reason anyone mentions the infrequency of their terror attacks (under the duplicitous guise of unlikeliness) is to JUSTIFY increasing their numbers still further. And so the frequency of attacks will rise. And your likelihood of dying or being maimed in one will rise with it.

And if the number and proportion of Muslims in western nations keeps increasing, they will eventually have options other than to engage in random attacks with a near certainty of being caught or killed themselves.

There will be other objects within their reach, supremacy, rule, subjugation, victory. And we can be just as certain that they will reach for those as we are certain now that they will continue to attack us, because that is their aim. They have said so.

This is what those who sow this confusion advocate. This is what those who peddle this lie demand. They have CHOSEN treason to the west and its destruction of their own free fill and they have had every reason and opportunity to KNOW that this is what they were choosing.

Whether the west prevails, or Islam, their fate is sealed; unless they repent of their lies and make good the damage they have wrought.


Bottom line. There are people who can’t shine, who can’t participate meaningfully in production, who have (at best) little more than minimum wage to look forward to, if they play by the rules.

If you ask those people to refrain from parasitism and criminality, you are asking them to bear a substantial cost (an opportunity cost) because those may well be their best options.

People will not support and order that does not work for them. If you want them to bear the costs it demands, there are 2 ways to make it worthwhile for them to bear it. You can punish them for not bearing it (for engaging in parasitism and criminality) or you can reward them for bearing it (for refraining from the same.) People WILL support an order that works for them.

It’s worth examining which approach is cheaper or more effective at accomplishing the same end. Perhaps it’s some combination of them.

If you elect to offer positive incentives, as well as negative, it’s not an entitlement, it’s not even charity, it’s a productive exchange, because the productive need law, order, and stability, in order to produce. If it’s cheaper to BUY the cooperation of the unproductive in maintaining the conditions necessary for production, than it is to compel it, then that purchase is a profitable one, and the surpluses it generates may rightly be shared between those party to the deal.

But care must be taken not to simply subsidize the reproduction and relative increase of the underclasses, or the cost of purchasing their cooperation will only increase until it becomes impossible or uneconomical to bear.

It is incumbent upon lords, not only to destroy and defend, but also to provide. That’s not foolishness, but pragmatism.

Why Do Democracies get Weaker & more Parasitic?

What you have under a representative, egalitarian, winner take all, democracy is a shifting coalition of about 51% of voters aligned to threaten about 49%.

If you’re getting more than 51% of the vote (which is certainly possible) that just means you’re leaving rents on the table. You could take more, and/or give less, and still win the election.

Additionally, maximum rent extraction occurs if your coalition comprises the cheapest 51% of voters, in other words, the most useless and parasitic.

In relative terms, the 51% will tend to expand in number as they gorge on the 49%, who will tend to diminish. That means, the 51% will generally be in the position of being able to kick their most productive members out into the 49% and begin consuming them in turn, getting ever more leftist, degenerate, and freeloading as the polity becomes progressively weaker and more parasitic, until finally, it collapses.

This is one explanation for the expressions “Cthulu only swims left” or “the ratchet effect.”

Thankfully, there are alternatives to democracy.

Borders and Property Lines

Borders are analogous to property lines. Both are social constructs which exist only by convention. Both nevertheless exist because Darwin rewards people who practice their use. (And punishes those who do not.)

Property lines exist when individuals claim territory and succeed in defending it.

Borders exist when groups claim territory and succeed in defending it.

If property lines are the boundaries between property holdings, borders can be thought of as the boundaries between property regimes.

In practice, you have the property and property rights that the people around you are willing to concede that you have. One man cannot stand alone against the world.

But a few in confederation can hold the looting hoards at bay indefinitely.

Property and property rights are obtained in exchange. You recognize and uphold mine and I’ll do the same for yours.

But to this basic condition, others can be added to protect the long term viability of the confederation which gives it force.

And first among these must be “don’t let the looters in.”

One condition people may demand for recognizing and upholding your private property is help in upholding shared borders.

You don’t have to assent to that condition, but if not, you might find your position very lonely.

Privilege as a Commons

Critics of privilege allege that it is unearned, and therefore unfair. Well, part of that’s true, so far as it goes. I didn’t earn my privilege. I inherited most of it. But I do pay to maintain it. And I must pay to add to it, so that I may pass on more to my children.

Every time I’m extended privilege, I’m necessarily given the opportunity to abuse it.

When I go into a store, say, and am not followed around by security, I’m given the opportunity to steal. By foregoing that opportunity, I’m bearing an opportunity cost, and in so doing, paying for my privilege, and at the same time, maintaining it as a commons for others like me to enjoy.

When I am pulled over by a cop, and am polite and cooperative rather than belligerent and reactive, not only do I purchase a better outcome for myself, but for everyone who resembles me (in whatever way.)

Every time I seek to do my share, rather than to shirk; to pay my way, rather than to free ride; to give, rather than take; I pay into the privilege bank. I can only ever cash in a fraction of that. But if I can count on others like me to do likewise, we all come out ahead.

Now, if someone would be willing to bear those costs, but their coethnics are not, or are less willing than others, that’s unfortunate for them.

But if they demand the same privilege, it is they who are demanding something unearned, and that their coethnics have not demonstrated a willingness to pay for, or at least an equal willingness to pay for. They are demanding that others take a risk for their benefit; one that has not been shown to be a good risk, one worth the cost of taking.

If you want privilege, pay for its construction as a commons. But do not attack those who do and demand that they share their privilege with you, and offer nothing in return.

Now some might object that this is “collectivism” or “collective responsibility” and we should instead only judge anyone as individuals.

But that is not a reasonable objection nor a reasonable suggestion.

I don’t hold anyone accountable for the misdeeds of people who resemble them. But I can’t necessarily tell them apart. There is a cost involved in telling them apart. It takes time, effort, energy, resources, etc… And even then, there is risk, because it’s not foolproof.

Now, if someone doesn’t want to be profiled, or discriminated against, there are three ways they can realistically attack this issue.

They can help make it easier (and therefore less costly) for me to distinguish them from less reputable elements by using signals (dress, mannerisms, speech etc…) which demonstrate that they are not a threat, that they are successful, reliable, etc…

They can increase the value of what they can OFFER me so that I have more incentive to invest in telling them apart.

Or they can suppress the misbehavior of the disreputable element within their community to reduce the NEED for me to tell them apart; to reduce the risk for me of failing to tell them apart.

But to simply demand that I presume they are not part of that element, when I have no way of knowing whether they are part of that element or not, is to demand that I take a risk. And even if that risk is a good risk, and worth my while in their case, that demand includes the demand I extend the same benefit of the doubt to all others. And that is not worth my while.

This is, so far as I can tell, an accurate and truthful (though not necessarily full) account of what social justice warriors are talking about when they talk about “privilege.”

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. And when they rally and shame you over your privilege, they are behaving as a child behaves when it throws a temper tantrum, and for the same reason. They want you to give them something but they don’t want to give you anything in return. So they resort to moral, emotional and social blackmail, hoping you will give them what they want to leave you alone.

But they never will, because as long as this method works, they will never quit using it, never quit making demands, never quit throwing tantrums like bratty children.

Never give in.