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Radically Unconventional Solutions to Inequality (including Universal Orphanhood)
A rather unconventional solution has been proposed to address inequity. Joe Matthews proposes “Foster Care For All,” in his SF Chronicle op-ed, Want true equity? I propose, modestly, forcing California parents to swap children. Matthews states that “The rich should give their children to the poor, and the poor should give their children to the rich. Homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.”
The reactions from conservatives were predictable and on the surface it appears that Matthews was trolling conservatives with a facetious and satirical tone in that, “Now, I recognize that some naysayers, hopelessly attached to their privilege, will dismiss such a policy as ghastly, even totalitarian.” However, sometimes trolling and satire can reflect one’s true intentions and power fantasies. This even applied to how the Alt-Right in 2016 would troll with gas chamber and helicopter ride memes for shock value. “Universal Orphanhood” could be interpreted as a thought experiment, but even Richard Dawkins got in trouble for his thought experiment, stating that eugenics would work in principle but is still ethnically wrong. Regardless, the “Universal Orphanhood” proposal reflects how the equity left thinks and how extreme, authoritarian, and out of touch with normal people they have become.
The proposal is class based with racial overtones, though much of the left hates poor Whites more than rich non-Whites. Matthews states that “Institutions from dance ensembles to tech companies have publicly pledged themselves to equity, along with diversity and inclusion. But their promises of newly equitable systems are no match for the power of parents.” This is an admission that existing equity policies have failed, in part because they go against human nature, and thus need to become more authoritarian to achieve their objectives. There is an angle of punishment and revenge against the children of Whites and the wealthy, that the article morally justifies because separating migrant children is “only a short walk to a wholesale separation of all Americans from their progeny.
Obviously, if implemented, “universal orphanhood” would be atrocious, lead to horrible abuses, and violate basic human rights. However, there are ironic parallels to The Great Class Swap, my thought experiment that addresses the societal problem that too much wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, while too much population growth is concentrated in the underclass, with both trends squeezing out the middle class. The thought experiment is a scenario in which wealth is redistributed from the top down to the masses while the genetic makeup of the upper bracket is also redistributed downwards. It is basically socialism but fused with eugenics. While the Great Class Swap is focused on uplifting civilization rather than retribution, like leftwing equity politics, it could still be authoritarian if taken to an extreme.
It is hard to tell if Joe Matthews has some awareness of genetics, beyond blank slatism, in stating that “Fathers and mothers with greater wealth, education or other resources are more likely to transfer these advantages to their children, compounding privilege over generations.” Even if there is no explicit acknowledgement that genetic factors impact success, it is unintentionally a gateway to hereditary based thinking. If this atrocious idea were implemented, it would expose truths about the nature vs. nurture debate and to what degree privilege is based upon economic and social opportunities and how much is hereditary. The left realizes that economic redistribution alone won’t guarantee equity and that explains the integrationist ideology, such as the push for coercive and mandated racial diversity in housing and education. Blogger Steve Sailer explains it as the left’s view that underprivileged people of color have a right of access to White people, besides their material resources.
The philosophy of “universal orphanhood” encapsulated by Matthews’ statement that “Ending parenthood would end the backlash, helping dismantle white supremacy and outdated gender norms,” echoes Pol Pot’s Year Zero, as so far as a complete erasure of all an intergenerational cultures and traditions, in order to start over from scratch. However, Matthews even claims influence from traditional philosophy such as Plato’s Republic, referencing that “Plato adopted Socrates’ sage advice — that children “be possessed in common, so that no parent will know his own offspring or any child his parents” — in order to defeat nepotism, prevent the amassing of great fortunes and create citizens loyal not to their sons but to society.” Plato did advocate for eugenics and there are also parallels between Plato’s Republic and The Great Class Swap. Obviously collective ownership of children is atrocious but is relevant to modern public education’s objective, which is to socialize children into the values of mass society rather than that of their family, tribe, or ethnicity. Even Matthews states that “just imagine the solidarity that universal orphanhood would create. Wouldn’t children, raised in one system, find it easier to collaborate on climate change and other global problems?”
The Great Class Swap may seem very collectivist and focused on maintaining a mass society, but my vision calls for greater decentralization, including neo-tribalism, and enclavism, to counterbalance the problems of modern mass society. Economic decentralization is a solution to wealth inequality and enclavism and decentralized education addresses demographic and fertility pressures. Due to soaring inequality and impending automation, there is an inevitable push for the redistribution of wealth. While wealth redistribution will be needed and justified, leftist redistribution of wealth could very well bring the middle class down to the lowest common dominator. This is why Great Class Swap inspired philosophy and policies are needed to address the problems of contemporary society that existing paradigms have failed to solve.
The Great Class Swap also has parallels to Bell Curve Leftism, Andrew Sullivan’s description of the outlook of Marxist author, Freddie DeBoer, and his book “The Cult of Smart,” which makes a moral case for the less intelligent. The book is very critical of the modern liberal concept of meritocracy, which places moral value upon people based upon their success in life, under a framework of genetic blank slatism. DeBoer make the case for wealth redistribution on the grounds that a large segment of the population simply lack the inborn capabilities to achieve economic success. DeBoer is one of the few leftists brave enough to acknowledge the very taboo validity that inequality is a product of genetics, besides just a lack of opportunities and oppressive, hierarchical social systems. DeBoer advocates for radically restructuring society to take into account innate inborn inequalities, with solutions such as looser standards for education and not rewarding people financially just for their intelligence. DeBoer’s shortfall is that since he is still a leftist, he has an unrealistic obsession with absolute equality of outcome and neglects the importance of incentive structures in how much he wants to penalize the intelligent.
What is needed is specialization based approaches to education, economics, and politics, in order to help people find their niche, a sort of voluntary caste system. The equity based push to get large numbers of low income people of color into the middle class via college degrees and diversity jobs programs, just creates an even more hypercompetitive nightmare, rather than ending poverty. There are better ways to improve the lives of the poor. Also equity policies economically devalue being middle class by overinflating credentials and neglect that class status is based upon some degree of demographic exclusion. Granting different groups their own enclaves and institutions could ease the cutthroat nature of capitalism but liberalism at its core stands in the way of that.
I am sympathetic to DeBoer’s idea of letting the super-smart create most of the wealth and then taxing the hell out of them to fund healthcare and UBI, especially in a post-scarcity economic future (eg. fully automated luxury communism). However, dramatically taxing the wealthy, without natalist offsets could dramatically reduce the number of intelligent people needed to pay future tax revenue. If the rich are going to produce most of the wealth then why not also have them be responsible for repopulating society?
There is a need for Great Class Swap inspired policies that are palatable, practical, reasonable, and humane. Great Class Swap polices are encapsulated by policy proposals from the blogger Jayman, who describes himself as a liberal social democratic patriot. Jayman advocates for positive eugenics that encourage “the high-IQ and accomplished to reproduce more,” including “Reducing the cost of living,” “Student loan forgiveness,” reducing the need for lengthy educations by relying more heavily on cognitive tests, “Special encouragement of exceptionally high-IQ individuals” and “Workplace reform, both for working and stay-at-home moms.” However, Jayman also touches upon negative eugenics in that “Planned Parenthood centers could be built and heavily marketed in low-income areas, with heavy availability and marketing of long-term contraceptive measures, such as Norplant,” that “Welfare should incentivize childlessness, not having more children as it currently does. Generous welfare benefits should be made available to single, childless individuals, with static or decreasing benefits for having children.”
Eugenics is extremely taboo, has the potential for state abuse, and fertility is already declining among the poor. Therefore, it would make more sense to focus on positive eugenics and scrap negative eugenics. I would advocate for UBI but for adults only and a tax incentive structure that places very high taxes on billionaires, and also raises taxes on well off childless dinks, with a gradual tax deduction for having children plus subsidies for private education and homeschooling. Bloomberg has an equity zoning atlas and the woke left wants to use zoning for equity purposes to change the demographics of well off White areas. A hypothetical Great Class Swap zoning policy would propose building more family oriented units in wealthy but ageing communities and large numbers of micro apartments in low income communities.
I am not a total genetic determinist, but blank slatism and taboos about genetics need to be rejected if we are serious about solving income inequality. Even if eugenics is taboo to discuss explicitly, existing social mechanisms and incentive structures shape demographic trends. In regards to the recent divisive SCOTUS ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is ironic that it is actually the left that takes a more eugenic position. One liberal psychologist more explicitly promoted eugenics, tweeting that, “Therapy should be a (free) prerequisite for parenthood. We require a license to drive a car but anyone can procreate and pass a lifetime of trauma responses to the next generation with no oversight or support? Yeesh.”
On the contrary, pro-life Catholic conservative, Matthew Walther, had an article in the New York Times, that was brutally honest that “an America without abortion would mean more single mothers and more births to teenage mothers, increased strain on Medicaid and other welfare programs, higher crime rates, a less dynamic and flexible work force, an uptick in carbon emissions, lower student test scores and goodness knows what else.” Walther would accept a much poorer and less dynamic America in order to end such a moral travesty. However, he parts ways from many pro-life conservatives in that he advocates for “the most generous and humane provisions for mothers and children (paid family leave, generous child benefits, direct income subsidies for stay-at-home mothers, single-payer health care) without being Pollyannaish.”
While I am sympathetic to the SCOTUS ruling on the grounds of decentralization, it could have long term negative implications on demographics, poverty rates, and income inequality. Banning abortion is dysgenic since those who have abortions tend to be the poorest, least intelligent, and most reckless and irresponsible, as contraceptives are widely accessible. Blogger Anatoly Karlin sums up the ironies of the divisiveness over overturning Roe v. Wade in that liberals are “seething about US delegating abortion policy to states, essentially becoming *like* Europe, while rightoids celebrate a boost to future Dem constituency (poor Blacks).”
Society has undergone a massive transformation due to globalization, rapid demographic change, elite overproduction, cultural liberalism, and technological changes with the information age and automation. Many of these changes have created immense economic growth but have also caused extreme inequality and social atomization. This coming apart of society is largely why politics are so crazy today. The incoming economic crash and acceleration in automation will only further exacerbate this breakdown.
There are historic parallels to how the Industrial Revolution increased inequality and disrupted rooted communities, creating anomie. During the late 19th to early 20th Century, emerged many radical new ideologies, some very authoritarian, promising solutions to the problems that emerged from industrialization. The most prominent being Fascism and Marxism, but other movements that emerged included, distributism, Social Credit, Guild Socialists, eugenicists, Fabian Socialists, the Progressive Era, and various social reformers. What is clear today is that the framework of politics and how we live, that was established in the 2nd half of the 20th Century is no longer viable.
We are seeing a rise in authoritarianism from the establishment, as well as a rise in radical ideas from dissidents. Even if both MAGA rightwing populism and Bernie Sanders’ leftwing populism were deeply flawed and co-opted by the establishment to some degree, they initially signaled a rejection of the liberal capitalist democratic paradigm that was established in the 2nd half of the 20th Century. Obviously woke equity politics are becoming more and more extreme and deranged with the backing of elite institutions. The establishment has also become less democratic and more technocratic, such as The Great Reset, which has dystopian sounding proposals and functions as a power grab by elites to consolidate power. However, there is more nuance, as neoliberal capitalism and mass democracy created a lot of destabilization and we are seeing an end to globalization. The Great Reset, in part, signifies that political elites realize that neoliberalism has failed and are shifting towards a more technocratic model of State Capitalism, rather than liberal democracy.
The American dream is dead, yet younger Americans are still expected to follow the same life scripts of the 20th Century, with political prescriptions based upon those outdated models. All existing political, philosophical and moral frameworks have failed, including blank slatism, egalitarianism, meritocracy, Social Darwinism, the Protestant work ethic, as well as copes about moralistic virtues placed upon the poor and working class. It is inevitable that we are going to see radically new political and social frameworks in the near future, for better or for worse. What is missing in the polarized culture wars and ideological echo chambers is out of the box solutions to re-structure society for a better way to live.