We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Steven Pinker has become a bit of a hero for those not entirely seduced by the mediocratic project. He is perhaps the only prominent academic prepared to trumpet the idea that ability is at least partly inherited. This idea has, apparently, become highly controversial, a fact which a visiting Martian might find rather bizarre. When the Financial Times reviewed The Blank Slate, it treated Pinker as some kind of firebrand radical, referring to his "dangerous work", and that it "would be best if it didn't get into the hands of those who would use it to terrifying ends".
... if people's sense of well-being comes from an assessment of their social status, and social status is relative, then extreme inequality can make people on the lower rungs feel defeated even if they are better off than most of humanity ... The medical researcher Richard Wilkinson, who documented these patterns, argues that low status triggers an ancient stress reaction ... Wilkinson argues that reducing economic inequality would make millions of lives happier, safer, and longer. (ibid)
An example of pseudo-rationality: in this case, an incomplete analysis that looks cogent but is actually biased. What it leaves out is (a) that we can only reduce ex post (= after the event) inequality by changing the rules of the game, and (b) that this is certain to have its own associated costs, which are left out of the equation. The need to compete for status is no less likely to be an important human drive than the need for status itself. If you make it harder for people to win, that may also generate stress. While there is plenty of research purporting to show the stressful effects of inequality, I doubt there is much (if any) looking into the stressful effects of intervention, restrictions, red tape, or deselection on ideological grounds (the flip-side of affirmative action).
Mediocracy thus presents an excellent case of pseudo-rationality in which the human costs of an intervention are ignored. In my experience, failure to enter these costs into calculations generally results in further problems which also end up begging for another government intervention to try to correct. Thus governments and agencies grow, on the fertile soil of their own manure.
Precisely. Even if relative status is a problem that needs to be solved for health reasons, equalizing solutions won't address it. The natural human desire to reach in and tinker with stuff to fix it must be fiercely held in check when we are talking about the actions of government.
Assistant Village Idiot
''Relative poverty'' is a somewhat new term, invented by the left in response to the comprehensive rise in the American standard of living.
The term refers to a condition of negative balance, such as that of a millionaire relative to a billionaire.
The idea is, there exists a human right to be as wealthy as the wealthiest.
Of course, when everyone is special, no one is -- but logic is not what drives our leftist friends.