Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just For Fun: Who SHOULD Be In The Back Of The Bus?

Just as a Saturday morning amusement, let's consider this question.  Who SHOULD be in the back of the bus?
By this, we mean what group should enjoy the lowest group status in our society?
We know that SOMEONE must be in the back of the bus, it is practically a tautology.
Just for fun, let's approach this from a utilitarian perspective---one familiar to the both the wielders and those under the scourge of Universalism.
Well, what are the downsides of being at the proverbial back of the bus?
The biggest one is that it hammers your position in the SMP/MMP.  Women go for status, enough said.
The second is that having low status contributes to inflammation markers in the body.

Not much can be done about the second---perhaps in the future we'll see GMO humans that don't care as much about status, or perhaps when Jesus returns, everyone would be overjoyed to be even a street sweeper in His Kingdom.  Or perhaps through meditation, we might develop such insane state control that we effortlessly transcend status.

But meanwhile, back in the world we presently live in, it will remain a major concern.

But look at the first consideration.  There's an easy way around it.  Any group that has a largely self-contained SMP/MMP will suffer FAR less from being at the 'back of the bus'.
So what does this imply?
Consider geeks---since they're largely competing with the rest of society in the MMP/SMP (female geeks being vastly less common AND willing to date/marry non-geeks), geeks did suffer much/continue to suffer some from the status hit they suffered more in the past/still suffer to a lesser degree.
But blacks, for instance, have always had a largely self-contained MMP/SMP.  The black man around the 80th percentile among blacks in status usually got around an 80th percentile attractiveness black woman as perceived by blacks.
So, from a utilitarian perspective, it made excellent sense to relegate blacks to the back of the bus back in Jim Crow days.  They were the group least injured by it.

Note that I am NOT a utilitarian.  By this argument I'm simply humorously pointing out how inconsistent must purported utilitarians actually are.  In practice it's just a contest of glibness when universalism is the hegemon of 'SHOULD'.

Notice how nobody these days argues about the flip side of their proposed increase in status---just what group would you like to REDUCE in status to balance your proposed increase.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beware: arguments about which groups should have low status are almost inevitably addictive and biased wastes of time, for reasons that should be obvious.

Jehu said...

Anonymous,
Addictive---absolutely, most of public discourse is hardly anything else but an argument as to status
Biased---absolutely, everyone wants the rules of the status game to favor them where they are strong and socialize their areas of weakness
Waste of time---disagree strongly, status is one of the most important things going. It's also a team sport.

Anonymous said...

shouldn't it be jews then

Anonymous said...

Do I have to think practically? I'm going to forego that for a minute.

It should be those that fail to live morally. Obviously, that will vary from person to person. If someone is left half of the bell curve simply having them hold down a job and not commit crimes ought to give them a shot at a happy life. This doesn't have to be about resources, but about respect and human dignity.

Those that are on the right side of the bell curve should be held to a higher standard. More is expected of them. If they fail at this it should be a status hit, even if they still live comfortably.

Practical hat on now:

In Japan they used to have very distinct castes.

Samurai
Peasants
Artisans
Merchants

While the merchants often lived comfortable lives they had very low status. No matter how much money they had they were seen as people that used their intellect to rip people off without creating anything. Those that created, even if they lived harsh lives, were afforded more status.

Jehu said...

Anonymous,
Yes, a sane society would dole out status in proportion to contributions to society and in inverse proportion to detriments. Such status would definitely have a 'disparate impact' across the races and would encourage better behavior overall.
As to Jews, with their present levels of intermarriage, they're largely in the same SMP/MMP as most people. Therefore you couldn't argue that dropping their status wouldn't hurt them as much as other groups.
Of course, that's ok, frankly no reason other than---because we want to---is really necessary anyway, and any reason other than that is likely just glib sophistry anyway. I'm all for a straightforward slugfest of self-interest in status competitions as opposed to the sanctimonious scolding of simpering sophists.

Anonymous said...

Jehu,

You can just keep making the groups smaller and smaller though until you can't even form a society. That's the end of such logic. If people are going to form a society, there need to be some ground rules as to how one is going to jockey for status.

A long time ago my Irish and Italian ancestors were discriminated against. However, today we are pretty much just considered "white". There was a lot of group on group bickering for a long time, but eventually it all sort of melded together. It melded together because we could all agree one a new group, "Americans", and that meant certain things. Becoming "American" added a new group allegiance with certain expectations on top of the existing allegiances.

Jehu said...

Anonymous,
Honestly the direction of open status jockeying tends towards larger and larger groups. After all, to compete with the Mormons, for instance, you want a bigger effective group. Irish and Italians threw and received plenty of elbows in said games. Italians, in particular, took a significant jump upwards in status after their organized crime elements were largely neutralized.

Anonymous said...

Jehu,

If we take that logic, the universalists are right. We will all be one group one day.

Jehu said...

Anonymous,
The counterbalancing force is that humans feel the need to be superior to someone. So some group has to be in the back of the bus.

Anonymous said...

All groups have subgroups. Irish are a subgroup of whites. Blacks are a subgroup of Americans.

In order to form larger groups you need to make peace between the subgroups. You need rules for how they can compete while still cooperating. You also need to acknowledge that individuals belong to different subgroups (a black yuppie).

Jehu said...

Anonymous,
To have actual rules, you need to be able to make it less profitable to flout said rules than to obey them. Presently we can't effectively enforce any rules of engagement.

Alex said...

Who affords status to whom? The answer to which is nobody in particular. A place at the back of the bus isn't allocated to any group - except in cases of systematic social discrimination.

Don't human hierarchies emerge or evolve like the 'spontaneous order' of a market economy?

Jehu said...

Alex,
Status is intermediated by media as well as via law. Hollywood and the MSM have a major role in conferring status to groups. There's little 'spontaneous' about it.

Alex said...

It is thought that the media have a powerful influence in the creation of status so that 'celebrities' occupy the highest level in the social scale - with subordinate positions ranked according to their nearness to or distance from people who are famous for being famous.

But mere opinion foists these ephemeral distinctions upon society which itself calls for an explanation.

Jehu said...

Alex,
Persuasion isn't about truth, it's about repetition. Certain things are inherently high status, like powerful men and attractive women. By constantly linking and associating such with groups, products, etc, media constructs a very large fraction of the status hierarchy.