Posted by: bkivey | 26 October 2017

Flattening the Normal Curve

The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

William Gibson

NPR 31 August 1993

I discovered that quote this year, and it clarified some thoughts I’d entertained on why some people insist on creating a reality that is disconnected from the Universe. This is of a piece with trying to figure out the last couple of years why it is that people living in by any reasonable measure the best society humans have ever come up with can think of nothing to do but destroy it. And it’s not new. History is replete with great societies that failed. Some fell victim to natural disaster: most didn’t. We have thousands of years of written history from every part of the globe, yet even now we are watching the Fall of the West. There are factors endemic to humans, and, I suspect, biology in general, that will, I fear, doom us as a species.

It is canon among Progressives that Everyone Should Be Equal. Some individual variations are allowed, but only those approved by the Anointed. Progressivism makes much of economic equality, but what they really mean is intellectually conformity. No one should be too smart or too stupid, too rich or too poor, and just curious enough to take an interest in the Church, but not so curious as to question Its tenets.

For the majority this is attractive. One thing I notice about biology is that Nature doesn’t work harder than it has to to achieve a goal. One might say that life seeks the lowest energy state consistent with, well, living. This is why there are organisms unchanged in form or function for tens of millions of years. They live quite well with what they have, so no reason to change. Humans are part of the natural world, so it’s reasonable to expect we’ll behave in a manner consistent with the rest of the Universe. Observation would seem to bear this out.

I’m also aware of statistical analysis. I spent a goodly portion of my last academic foray studying statistics. I’m fascinated by mathematics generally, and statistics provides powerful tools. As robust as the science is, it comes down to one curve:

normal curve with SD mod

This one.

The normal, or more popularly, bell, curve. For any discriminating characteristic in any population of sufficient size, this distribution will occur. To our knowledge there are no exceptions. It is a universal law.

The astute will note that it is not an even distribution.

Given that even distributions don’t occur in Nature, why would you expect human society to be different?

The Church maintains that human society should be structured so that everyone falls between -2 SD and +2 SD, and they’d really prefer the Morlocks stay in the +/-1 range. Every effort of Progressivism is aimed at that end; a goal that is demonstrably unobtainable. The more reasonable approach acknowledges this reality, and seeks to mitigate the extremes while allowing people to migrate along the economic bell curve as ability and fortune allow.

Related Reading

Previous posts related to this one:

Carnot and Economic Mobility

Limits to Growth?

Income Inequality Incoherence

Barriers to Social Mobility

A Bug, Not a Feature

Capitalism is Fine, But . . .



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