Friday, June 22, 2007

Nerds/Jock Theory and the Politics of Envy

Bryan Caplan:

With the Jock/Nerd theory firmly in mind, this sentence takes on a deeper meaning:

We don't take steps to redress inequalities of looks, friends, or sex life.
Notice: For financial success, the main measure where nerds now excel, governments make quite an effort to equalize differences. But on other margins of social success, where many nerds still struggle, laissez-faire prevails.

It's suspicious - and if you combine the Jock/Nerd Theory with some evolutionary psych, it makes sense. When the best hunter in the tribe gets rich, his neighbors will probably ask nicely for a share, if they dare to ask at all. But if the biggest nerd in the tribe gets rich, how long will it take before the jocks show up and warn him that "You'd better share and share alike"?
I've been a nerd for most of my life, but I had a nice athletic run in middle school. On the football field, for instance, I wasn't skilled, but I had great speed and the ability to breakdown whatever the offense was trying to do and disrupt it. So I was a successful defensive back and special teams gunner. I would have continued into high school, but I entered my freshman year around 90 lbs soaking wet. So it was all good grades and very good test scores for my next few years, until my strong academics and early university acceptances increased my perceived value in the dating market. Those last 5 months of high school were the best.

I think this is why I've never gone back to any high school reunions--I'm doing better than all the jocks in my class, and don't want trouble.

But politicians dealing in the Politics of Envy--well, their policies will find me. Four wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner, that is where our capitalistic democracy is going.

People who respect the law and work hard and take smart risk build their businesses from the ground up. A few succeed. And everyone else wants to free ride and/or punish them.

If our politicians ran the football program, they would campaign like this: I will force the best football programs to pay the worst ones--say, for every win in your last 10 games played, spot the other team 2 points.

Our best football players might as well go to Canada. Yeah, this'll keep us real competitive in the long run. But the politicians don't really care about our long run competitivity. Talk isn't even cheap, it's costing us.

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