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On Slate Star Codex & Scott Alexander February 14, 2021

Posted by Summerspeaker in Uncategorized.
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A few years ago, I spent a considerable amount of time engaging with folks in the Slate Star Codex community. I can confirm that Scott Alexander Siskind attracts a lot of fascists, racists, & bigots. I learned about contemporary scientific racism in part because SSC fans *kept on* bringing it up & I wanted to refute them. Siskind maintained distance from the more openly oppressive & offensive followers. But it’s got to be more than coincidence.As others are emphasizing, the fandom scene around Siskind is a major pipeline of fascist & eugenicist recruitment. I tried to humanize social justice warriors to SSC folks & argue against the oppressive narratives popular among them in shared rationalist terms. While the experience was always intellectually simulating, I eventually moved away from that approach. As pleasant as aspects of SSC culture are, the persistent prominence of fascism & eugenics ultimately says the most about the project.

I hope Siskind’s current notoriety doesn’t lead more people down the recruitment pipeline. I might quibble about certain details, but overall I support the negative attention Siskind & SSC are getting.

I still intend to write a longer piece aimed at Slate Star Codex types that argues disability radicalism makes the focus on IQ & so on irrelevant.

Yes, humans differ & society only accommodates specific minds & bodies.

Yes, people lie about this & refuse to accept reality.

The solution ain’t to double down on selection, but rather to create environments where all feeling beings can thrive.

The IQ debate highlights the utter hegemony of meritocracy. It’s an overwhelmingly intra-eugenicist dispute where hardly anyone even acknowledges the underlying assumptions, much less challenges them.

Scientific racist: “Ability differs between populations, so fuck equality & fuck you.”

Liberal eugenicist: “No, ability only differs between individuals. Equality of opportunity facilitates selection.”

Mystical meritocrat: “It’s not about ability but the choice to work hard.”

Each of these jerks supports having some thrive while others languish, whether determined by the free market, the experts, bureaucrats, or what have you. They’re all eugenicists, including the mystical meritocrat who will never admit it.

Likewise, disavowals of IQ typically retain the concept of intelligence in normative terms & reinforce its social value: “Only idiots believe in IQ! (Implied: I am very smart!)”


Only communists take the relatively radical position of (theoretically) wanting everyone to have absolutely equal access to material nice regardless of intelligence or ability of any sort. They rarely entertain notions of *social equality*, however.

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