Friday, May 11, 2012

Of Smart Rednecks and Low Church Libertarians

One segment of the population that I'm actually quite fond of, and whose interests I try to advocate and work towards is the group I'll call Smart Rednecks.
This group tends to be in the same IQ range as the 'Second Sigma'---i.e., between around 115 to 130---but generally tends to be stronger in mathematics and spatial relationships (especially) than verbal IQ.  They very frequently work as techs, contractors, or highly skilled trades.  An associates degree is the most common level of education for them, followed by a high school diploma.  There appears to be a strong thread of independence in this group---one friend of mine who fits into this category tells me he has NEVER had anyone who he called 'boss', just customer.  They tend to know a LOT of useful skills, often including things like flying helicopters and airplanes.

I honestly see a lot more actual intellectual curiousity from them than I see from the Second Sigma types.  They almost always have a fair set of real interests where they have read a lot and where applicable, actually practiced.  They tend to often be interested in meaningful discourse with you, but only if you can demonstrate that what you're talking about can be used to make good predictions or actual useful products.  They've got little use for studies.  Their world models actually tend to be pretty good--I've been able to refine and improve mine in quite a few instances by talking to them.  For one thing, they've actually frequently hired and subcontracted things to people of average or lower intelligence.  They've got a decent grasp of what people in those categories actually CAN and CAN'T usually handle.  Frequently they've also had a great deal of experience working with the law as it is actually applied in business.  Interestingly, this group doesn't tend to watch sports much at all, preferring to participate in sports rather than watch them.  The exception is that if they're into playing a sport, they'll sometimes watch it in hopes of picking up pointers with which to improve their game.  Yes, I've a friend who watches NASCAR sometimes for exactly that reason (he likes to race cars and motorcycles himself).  That's also the only reason I can fathom why people watch golf.

Politically, most of them are what I call 'Low Church Libertarians'.  I don't mean Low Church as an insult---frankly I like Low Church Libertarians much better than the High Church version anyway.
A low church libertarian has a general presumption that they want to be left alone inasmuch as is feasible.  They also have no particular desire to rule over other people and do so only grudgingly when  Reality requires it.  They're not in love with philosophical abstractions like a 'nonaggression principle', and they tend to be nationalistic (another thing I like about them).  Live and let live, 'it's a free country', and 'leave us alone' are their most frequently articulated slogans.  They tend fairly conservative in their tribal affiliations, although much more paleo than neo---but again, they're unlikely to use such terms.

I tend to use this group as my benchmark for judging whether a social science has any merit to it.  Can said school or group within the social sciences make better predictions than a Smart Redneck?  If not, how much value does it have, other than perhaps the attempt to force a willfully delusional society to face reality.

This group isn't huge---maybe 5% or so of the population---but they provide an awful lot of what makes our standard of living so high in the US.  Readers would be advised to cultivate at least some contacts within it.

14 comments:

Matthew said...

I imagine this group was much larger before bright flight to the cities.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right.

One of these guys is my boss. 100% redneck and irritatingly super-competent at whatever he puts his mind to. Likes chewing tobacco, guns, motorcycles.

Self-taught Programmer in C, and rose to the level of IT manager/CIO on reputation for getting things done in a common sense practical way.

Formal education ended at High School.

Jehu said...

Matthew,
Yes, I bet this group used to be closer to 10% of the population before 'the big sort'.
As it is, they tend to spawn lots of engineers as children.
Anonymous,
Lots of our techs in my industry fit this profile also. They're solid folk and, what's more, they will often solicit and take advice and thank you afterwards when it works out well for them. They can at least fake gratitude a lot better than most segments of the population.

Olave d'Estienne said...

I know and like those folks too. I'm an urbanite steeped in SWPL attitudes that are harder to shed than SWPL values, so I'm always a little surprised when a fellow with a crewcut in a grass-stained domestic-beer-ad t-shirt tells me about shooting a skunk that was under his porch, and then changes the subject to installing a new router at his business so his employees wouldn't have [some problem involving packets of data ... web jargon ... Greek to me.]

Those guys are absolutely my allies philosophically, or they would be if they were into philosophy. *Sigh* I'm not Enoch Powell, but if I were it wouldn't help, I guess.

Anyway, moving to my rural-smart area finally helped me figured out who it was that was producing the surviving community of White engineers in this country. My SWPL friends included some sysadmin types but no true engineers.

Europe produces tons of engineers. I suppose this means that, the reason no├Âne has identified smart-redneck culture as the source of the European engineering class is that Europeans are never called rednecks.

Jehu said...

Olave,
I suspect that there's another word for redneck in most Euro countries. I'm dead certain there's one in Finnish and another in German.
There are lots of folks in this category in the military of the US as well---although most aren't lifers, just having done a term or two.
Rural-smart areas are really good places to raise kids, especially if you're a homeschooler.

Justthisguy said...

I love guys like that. I had two Physics professors and one Civil Engineering professor who fit that profile exactly, except for being good with words.

Anonymous said...

I just got my motorcycle license two weekends ago. Lots of guys like this at the course. Lots of Ron Paul supporters.

These guys have been really devastated by the last few years. Military guys were sent off. Many owned their houses and are underwater. Manufacturing got mauled in the recession.

Olave d'Estienne said...

I do plan to raise my baby boy hear, and homeschool. What is almost too good to be true is we know another couple with a boy a little older than ours. They are fairly conservative and quite anti-Islam.

I'm still too chicken to broach subject like HBD or anti-white pogroms, but once when I semi-joked about masses of zombies invading rural New England, he said, "That's what we have guns for." Very nonchalant. I don't know if that man would die to save his beautiful family, but he'd certainly kill to save them. I have no doubt of this.

Olave d'Estienne said...

Also will be sure to teach the boy the difference between hear and here.

I suspect that there's another word for redneck in most Euro countries. I'm dead certain there's one in Finnish and another in German.

Sounds plausible. I wonder if those words are shaded with the weird semi-anti-intellectual notion that "guys who tinker with mechanical things are probably rednecks even if they're technically smart". That one pops up from time to time in SWPL circles, I think because auto-mechanics have those patriarchal pictures of ladies in bikinis.

james wilson said...

That is my brother to a T. What you describe may be more pronounced in the Scotts-Irish DNA than any other (within the USA at least), not that it is common to any group. I'm almost convinced that Asians don't have it at all.

It's the sort of peculiarity that helped ensure the Scotts stayed barbarians for a good deal longer than many neighbors, but given a different axe to sharpen, formed enlightenment thinking.

totalesturns said...

I agree that guys like these deserve much more respect than they get. I'm humbled by some of the locals in the rural New England village where my parents retired, who think nothing of plumbing for a living, fixing cars on the side and running the local ISP as a hobby.

It's not just engineering that has benefited from the Big Sort, either. More of these guys than you might think end up in the arts. They stay far away from the SWPL world of prestige galleries and museums, but in my anecdotal experience, smart, self-taught guys from blue-collar backgrounds are surprisingly overrepresented among "working" artists. They're the commercial illustrators and graphic designers who earn their living not by foundation grants and cocktail-party backscratching but by providing a quality finished product to paying clients. They're often much more capable designers and draftsmen than their SWPL peers, who dropped six-figure tuition on "fine arts" degrees which involved a lot of Marxist philosophy but no actual training in craftsmanship. And they also tend towards low church libertarianism. This interview with the designer and musician Tom Hazelmyer is a good example -- his language is rough, but if you can read the first interview answer and not immediately like this guy, you might as well admit you're a SWPL and send NPR a big check.

Steve Sailer said...

Back in 1986 I hired a guy like this to fix PCs, except he was about 150+ IQ. No college degree, went straight from high school into six years in nuclear subs. Within 12 months, he was advising the top executives on corporate strategy. He caused me no end of office politics problems with all the middle managers who were offended that my fat, poorly groomed, not terribly well-socialized technician was always barging into the CEO's office and, worse, that the CEO was listening to him. But he got an insane amount of work done.

nydwracu said...

Sounds like half of my family. My father spent high school hanging out with the kids from the, erm, juvenile correctional facility across the street from his school, dropped out of community college, and now works as a network engineer for the government, the only people who would hire him without a degree. They'd love to fire him, since he causes no end of trouble for the bureaucrats, but they can't find anyone who knows as much as he does. My uncle graduated from college with an engineering degree, and now he's an aerospace engineer, but he farms in his spare time and talks shop with car mechanics. Politically, they're both low-church libertarians to some degree, although my father voted Democrat before the coming election cycle, because he says they're better with the economy.

scottlocklin said...

Such folks were the technical backbone of LBNL back when I worked there. Machinists, electronics guys, vacuum techs, glassblowers; they could make anything. The management, of course, hated them, and outsourced as much as possible. A lot of unique knowledge is dying off with these guys.