“People have been making friends and getting married and forming social bonds for millennia, back when they lived on the edge of death. That’s how they survived in a dangerous world.”

I’ve been reflecting on that a LOT lately. In the world we live in, we tend to feel so lonely, isolated, and devoid of purpose, and I think a lot of it comes back to our limited ability to form social bonds. It’s interesting how much we value our independence, wealth, and social status now, but it’s the exact thing that causes us that pain to begin with.

We don’t live the way we used to (or I would argue, the way humans are supposed to live) which would be in tight-knit communities. We used to live in multigenerational households and communities. If you were overwhelmed by your children, there was another mother or woman near by who would inevitably take the baby off your hands. Once in a while, you or your neighbors would take turns giving up a pig on their farm to barbecue and feed to community. I don’t want to seem too idealistic about this, but I do think it goes to your point about money and status not being responsible for happiness. I think generally we underestimate the importance interdependence.

Ultimately, I think that only comes when people have something much bigger than themselves to believe in.

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Jun 22, 2022·edited Jun 22, 2022Liked by Rob Henderson

One reason people tend to focus on government economic redistribution is that it is something the state can accomplish (albeit not without many unintended consequences). And because the government is an institution with coercive power it is an easy outlet for desires that something be done.

Unfortunately these tendencies mean that there is far less focus on areas of life that would probably benefit us far more, e.g. developing relationships with the people we come into contact with, treating strangers decently, participating in building religious and civil institutions distinct from the government, spending time with family, working at or building a business which provides things of value to others.

Despite its claims on GDP and media attention-- the vast majority of life is lived in spheres largely separate from what government does or doesn't do. It is for this reason that to the extent problems have solutions, they aren't likely to come from the realm of public policy-- despite being most people's first thought.

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Humans of any social class don't like having things stolen from them, whether they "earned" them or not.

This is probably truer the harder those things are to recover or replace, but Ib think research shows the primary psychic insult is the violation of the sense of sanctity of self, and of one's private property as an extension of the self. And that seems pretty robust across culture and time.

Redistributive policy is theft. When the process is sufficiently transparent- an increasingly unavoidable state as humans have more access to information every year- people are angry about being robbed, especially when it's made clear to them that they will NEVER be the direct beneficiary, only the donor, of this largesse, and should satisfy themselves that the things stolen from them are enriching others "fairly."

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Yes and it's a growing problem with things like ESG, where people can see that the money they're putting away is being used for causes that they have little to no say over or agreement with. Society is becoming more and more disconnected from the say of the people, even as elites pretend to be all about 'democracy'. We can see that clearly that is only true if the results don't offend them too much. They shut people up these days by threatening their careers, as we all know and can see with cancel culture.

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The "Success Sequence" popularized by Brad Wilcox of UVA (@BradWilcoxIFS ) seems apropos here. It is advertised as a sequence of (doable) steps teens can take to avoid poverty, but getting married and having gainful employment also seems to be correlated with a meaningful (& happy) life.

The "Sequence" includes the following 3 steps:

Graduate High School

Obtain gainful employment

Marry before procreating

Not hard to understand, and while it does require *some* effort, it is doable for nearly all people.

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I would also observe that the lack of marriage, friends, and religion tends to sap the vitality out of places. People are languishing without the social fabric of the olden days. Neighborhoods are breaking down, as you've observed.

Culture is transmitted by people and that transmission has been profoundly interrupted. Without culture it is easy to become disconnected from meaning and purpose. The context of a life becomes less clear as perennial institutions are deconstructed. Pretty soon you have no idea where you stand or what you're contributing to. Cue the descent into hedonism and lethargy.

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I’m sad to find that all the churches within walking or easy public transportation distance of my home are basically mouthpieces of the Labour Party. As much as I’d like to attend a weekly service and raise my children in a church, I cannot abide the talk of COP27, wealth redistribution, reparations etc that are spouted from the pulpits. I found the same when living in Canada and the USA, too. The left has taken over Christian leadership.

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Jun 23, 2022·edited Jun 23, 2022

What percentage of people do we think would actually be satisfied with life and their political aims if there was actual, thorough financial re-distribution based on genetics?

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Question for you.

What evidence do you have for your statement below and what specific policies would you suggest that "elites" promote?

"Yet our elites are reluctant to promote marriage, friendship, social bonds, neighborliness, etc. The non-material factors that give rise to a rich and fulfilling life."

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Among U.S. college graduates, only 25 percent say couples should be married before having kids. And yet the vast majority of American college graduates who have children are married. Affluent Americans are the most likely to say marriage is unimportant for child-rearing, despite their behavior suggesting they value this practice more than anyone else.

In my beloved home state, 85 percent of Californians with a college degree say that family diversity, “where kids grow up in different kinds of families,” should be publicly celebrated. But the vast majority of Californians with a college degree say that it is personally important for them to have their own kids within marriage.



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First off: 🤦🏻‍♀️

Secondly: Why do you think this is? Is it because they feel they are being virtuous or charitable? Or do they hold some belief that the lower classes somehow can’t control themselves?

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In my bubble, everyone seems to have had children when married. Now, some are divorced.

I have not heard anyone espouse (Dad pun!) having children outside of marriage, including LGBT people I know.

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My preference would be for educated/affluent people (who broadly decide which behaviors in a society are prestigious) to publicly prize marriage, and to confer status on long-term social bonds.

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