Depression is hard to talk about. I don't mean "there's a social stigma to it", although that's true. I don't mean "modern society calls minor mood swings 'depression' and medicates them with lifestyle drugs, so the depths of true depression are hard to convey to someone", although that's also true.
I mean that depression is a color, and people who haven't experienced it are color blind to its hue. There are no words to bridge the gap, to make it clear.
I suppose I should close with some pithy words of advice, but … I don't have any.
The best I can muster is this:
* If you're depressed, know that it might very well get better. Hang in there. Please. Deep in the darkness, you can't imagine that the sun will ever come out again, or even that if it does come out that light is worth seeing. But it is.
* If someone you know is depressed, be there for them, as much as you can (and I know it's hard. A depressed person is … depressing.)
If anyone has any better advice or thoughts, please share.
This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…Mayday, Mayday…we are under attack…main drive is gone…turret number one not responding…Mayday…losing cabin pressure fast…calling anyone…please help…This is Free Trader Beowulf…Mayday….
Got home late tonight and found a package on the front porch.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was denied a second slice of pizza today at an Italian eatery in Brooklyn.
The owners of Collegno's Pizzeria say they refused to serve him more than one piece to protest Bloomberg's proposed soda ban,which would limit the portions of soda sold in the city.
Bloomberg was having an informal working lunch with city comptroller John Liu at the time and was enraged by the embarrassing prohibition. The owners would not relent, however, and the pair were forced to decamp to another restaurant to finish their meal.
Now, a quick note: I really don't want to clutter up this thread with theology. I'm not the theology blogger here, Popehat is not – despite the name! – a theology blog, most people don't care about theology. So, for the love of (cough) God, please don't use this thread to talk theology; keep it in the other thread!
What I do want to discuss here is how a society deals with three-, four- and five-deviation-from-the-mean opinions.
I absolutely do not believe that the law should prohibit basically any sort of speech… I think hate speech laws, in particular, are horrifying.
Excellent, glad to hear it.
However, many things that are (and should remain) "okay" in a legal sense are "not okay" in a social sense, an ethical sense, or both.
Certain thoughts and ideas and statements by and large make their possessor or speaker appear to be a complete asshole.
Yes, I agree.
However I note three things:
1) appear – verb – 3: to have an outward aspect
2) appearance is in the eye of the beholder, and beholders vary widely.
Saying that Jews are non-human and can be exterminated without moral qualm would not raise an eyebrow in Germany c. 1941, but saying it in 2013 would exclude you from polite society.
Saying that fetuses six months after conception are non-human and can be exterminated without moral qualm would not raise an eyebrow in Germany c. 2013, but saying it in 1941 would exclude you from polite society.
3) Most people don't read any books in a given year. Most people watch four hours of TV per day. Half the populace has an IQ under 100, and 99.8% of it has an IQ under 145.
What I take away from all of this is that I really don't care if my ideas – reasonably well-thought out, somewhat researched – make me appear to be an a-hole to 99% of people.
I'm not going to speak what I consider lies or refrain from speaking what I consider truth because the masses are bad at thinking and rarely experience any idea outside of of the comfortable bubble of two-major-parties / late-night-TV-comedy / approved US history.
I additionally believe that certain statements are irresponsible to make on a widely-read and well-respected blog such as Popehat
I strongly disagree.
I don't think that the marketplace of ideas is good in theory but bad in practice – I think it's good in theory and good in practice.
Here's how I engage in the marketplace of ideas :
1) I say things that may or may not make me appear to be an a-hole.
2) Anyone who wants to can leave a comment questioning my facts, my sanity, or my rationality.
3) I will engage with those people, striving to calmly respond to each and every one of them.
At the end of the day I may end up changing my opinion, one or more of them may end up changing their opinions, or no one will be swayed, but we will all be better off for having explored each other's premises and logic.
I would be enthusiastically in favor of your being socially shunned because of your statement.
I have been socially shunned for my opinions, and I've survived. The fact that I'm an nerdy INTJ who's extremely (perhaps pathologically) capable of sticking to his opinions even in the face of social opprobrium that has allowed me to explore lots of ideas, argue about them out loud, and change my mind dozens of times, so the causality implied by the previous sentence is backwards: it's not that I'm tough that has allowed me to survive the shunning, it's that I knew up front that I could survive the shunning that allowed me to explore ideas and embrace fairly crazy ideas like voluntaryism, transhumanism, modified Newtonian dynamics and Catholicism.
I would be totally okay with the New York Times printing your statement, your real name, and your photo on page one.
Interesting example. In fact, the New York Times has quoted me (under my real name) saying things that are outrageous to conventional prejudices. Twice. Neither, sadly, made page one. Both resulted in dozens of emails from people who went to the work of tracking me down and telling me that I'm terrible.
I think what you said is detestable and that you should face social consequences for it
I would not oppose your being fired from your day job (whatever your day job is) because of it.
I note that you don't merely say that it's OK if I face social consequences – you chose the word "should". You want me to be punished for expressing ideas that I have reached honestly.
That being the case, you don't really believe in a marketplace of ideas, do you? You want people to be punished for saying non-conformist things, you just want to keep your hands clean (or, rather, to claim that your hands are clean. You want your intellectual enemies to go hungry, but you want to be able to say that you didn't do it to them).
The goal here is – what? To raise the cost of speaking non-conformist ideas, so as to lower the total quantity of non-conformist ideas produced? I personally like the idea of an open society with intellectual ferment, but it seems like you do not.
Further, you're in favor of pretty extreme punishments: you'd like to see my lose my income, and because of that, inevitably, my house and my ability to support my family. You'd like to see that happen, and all because I dared to reach and then say out say out-loud an unpopular conclusion.
I consider that to be a shameful stance on your part.
However, I note that I don't want you to lose your job or your house, or go hungry because of your opinion. I'm glad you said it out loud, because it lets me see what you think.
What I want is to engage you, change your mind, and change the minds of anyone who might agree with you.
The following will likely bore most readers, as it's a family fight of sorts. Anyone who doesn't want to argue about the merits of Aunt Deb's lasagna versus those of Aunt Dorothy's is advised to move along. … and if you think Italian food is a pale excuse for the obviously superior Greek / Armenian / German / Nigerian food, this debate will be deeply uninteresting.
In the process of attacking a censorious tyrant ( a stance I entirely back Ken on), Ken wrote:
If one cares about popularity, knowing how the mob votes is important.
If one cares about Truth, not only is the voice of the mob irrelevant, it's downright distracting.
Having a debate about Chris Boussard's beliefs might be interesting, but having a debate about how his beliefs stack up against the latest USAToday poll is not only uninteresting, it's a confusion of categories; it makes comparing apples to oranges seem like an exercise in sanity.
One heuristic I use when someone is making an argument is the presence of absence special pleading – stacking the deck, or outright removing certain cards from it and discarding them. Any politician who argues against gay marriage because it denigrates the sanctity of the sacrament – while on his second or third wife – should have his lips sewn shut before being tossed into the ocean (metaphorically, of course – I don't condone polluting oceans that way).
Conversely, if someone says something like "drugs are bad because they're addictive; I know from my own 20 year struggle with alcohol, where I rose up and fell down a dozen times", I may not be immediately convinced that we should continue the war on drugs, but I do respect the debater for putting evidence on the table, including evidence that does not flatter him and his self discipline.
So, by this heuristic, how does Broussard do?
Well he stands up for traditional Christian sexual morality – whatever you think of that – and was very clear that he considers premarital heterosexual sex to be sinful as well.
That itself is a wildly unpopular position. To use Ken's term, this isn't just snarling against the next asteroid; it's snarling against the one that already hit (and had a detrimental effect on the dinosaurs).
Broussard is not engaged in special pleading – he's declaring that 100% of the population is tempted by the category of sin he'd discussing, 99% have fallen into it, and he's explicitly leaving open the possibility that he himself is a sinner.
So far, so good. We need not be convinced by Broussard's stunning unpopular and uncontemporary stance, but we have, as yet, no reason to think that he's arguing in bad faith.
If they are angered by people like Jason Collins, Broussard and his ilk…
First, let me say that I'd like to ban the word "ilk" from debate by fair minded people. Technically, it merely means "type" or "group", but the connotation is clear – we never talk about "our wonderful mother and others of her ilk".
I cringe when I hear the word – especially from people that I agree with. Arguing for or against Obamacare / abortion / guns / pepperoni pizza is fine. Let's have a rational debate or three. But demonizing opponents shuts down the cerebellum processors and spurs the lizard hind-brain to action.
…his ilk are destined for lives of increasingly marginalized bitterness and resentment.
I didn't detect any anger or bitterness in Broussard's explanation of his beliefs. They were calm and dispassionate. Far less angry, than, say, this:
He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
Ken, and I, Broussard and 273 million Americans identify as Christians. A core theme in Christianity is the concept of the high path and the low, of God's law and the temptations of flesh, of sin and redemption. Coupled with this theme is the idea that that which is identified as sinful should be rejected. Jesus himself is quoted above berating the man who would later become the first pope.
Christians have been fighting about which fruit are forbidden and which are not since 30 AD, and will continue fighting about it until the end of time, but no matter where one draws various lines, the concept of forbidden actions is inextricable from Judeo Christian morality. Further, Christians are explicitly told to call attention to sinful behavior and correct it:
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted
Ken says that Broussard is acting with "bitterness and resentment", but it's pretty clear to me that Ken is wrong, and Broussard is acting like a good Christian.
(side note: speaking as a Christian who is deep in sin – including several mortal ones – I'll say that it's a blessing to have better Christians than myself calling my attention to my deficiencies and reminding me that attonement is a good thing that has wonderful results. I'd rather be painfully prodded to do what I know is right than lied to by a brother and told that black is white.)
Now, perhaps Ken is right that homosexual relations / heterosexual relations outside of marriage / wearing white after Labor Day / mixing dairy and meat on the same plate is not sinful and Broussard is wrong on the matter of theology.
That does not make Broussard wrong to argue his point, and argue it in public (at least, not according to Christian doctrine; I acknowledge that according to Puritan New England Neo-Anglican SWPL doctrine, he's committing one of the worst offenses possible).
Jesus did not much care about unanimity and bowing to the popular opinion.
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
I note that Ken didn't argue that Broussard's theological interpretations are wrong. He argued that they're unpopular. As someone who actively prefers to be out on the intellectual fringes than in the mainstream, I find it weird and suspiciously neurotypical that Ken considers that an insult, but no matter.
Let us look at Christian thoughts on intellectual marginalization:
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Oh, horrors. Please, Ken, don't let Broussard be marginalized – tell him what he has to believe and profess aloud in order to travel the broad road and pass through the wide gate!
A conservative neo-prohibitionist feels that the only way to convince his libertarian-leaning audience that even soft drugs like pot are bad is to – wait for it – "take a big rip off a bong filled with 'Master Kush'".
Note that this is not because I think that most people serving in government are evil. I think that most people, in most cultures, and across most times, are more-or-less decent. The problem is best analyzed with systems theory, and best fixed with the same tool.
The government-run horror show that killed Castaneda wasn't because there were mustache-twirling villains; it happened because dozens of people were "just doing their jobs".
Every day Pakistani children are killed by US drones. On my best days I'll say that the folks in DC aren't evil baby killers, the staffers at the DoD aren't evil baby killers, the engineers at Boeing aren't evil baby killers, and the USAF drone pilots aren't evil baby killers. They're all just normal human beings doing their jobs…as part of a huge and grotesque machine that kills people.
Every day young adults are arrested for possession of minor amounts of pot, sent to jail, and gang raped. On my best days I'll say that this doesn't happen because the politicians writing anti-drug laws are in favor of anal rape, or because beat cops are in favor of anal rape, or because wardens are in favor of anal rape or because prison staff are in favor of anal rape. They're all just normal human beings doing their jobs…as part of a huge and grotesque machine that arrests people for possessing leaves of a plant and puts them in rape factories.
The list goes on and on.
Normal people are perfectly capable of being cogs in machines that engage in madness, if not evil. When pressed, these normal people tend to fall back on the phrase "just doing my job" and a hand-waving version of the just world logical fallacy.
Arguing that we shouldn't be outraged at government because "it's just us" is one of the worst lies we tell ourselves.
Frankenstein's monster was stitched together out of people like us. Nazi Germany was stitched together out of people like us. Mao's PRC was stitched together out of people like us.
And though it's not as bad, the US government is still pretty nasty, and it too is stitched together out of people like us.
There are a lot of reasons you're going to say I'm wrong. Most of them are covered here, but I'm interested in hearing any others.
One of my favorite features at this blog is Ken's "The Road to Popehat".
While playing around in the admin pages I looked at yesterday's search terms and decided that I should take a stab at it. Ken isn't an IP attorney, so stealing his licks should be safe, right?
quote you fuck with us we close down the city and find you boston terrorist – I'm tempted to say that someone overheard Rahm Emmanuel talking to his dry cleaner about a mustard stain, but the reference to Boston leaves me a little unsure.
pirate resignation letter – I can't find the document you're referring to, but based on my experience in such things, I'm sure it starts with "Arrr!" and degenerates into a list of complaints about too little rum and too much sodomy.
sex college – given the higher education implosion, I have to give a nod of appreciation to whoever came up the idea of boiling a B.A. degree down to the essentials.
dr steven kirschner tattoo – I expect that in a few days when this visitor sobers up we'll see another search, this time for "dr steven kirschner tattoo removal".
why dos a nabeor keep throwing rocks and making sounds wither ph to heras me becuse i dont want anything to do with her – we don't know, but based on the facts you present, we don't want anything to do with her either.
popehat origin – it involves a family sized bag of Doritos, electricity, and a late night dare. Beyond that, I've been sworn to secrecy.
cure for chewing on fingers – your own or someone else's?
how to dislodge a hotdog – usually I just slap Ken hard on the back and warn him that one at a time is safer.
angry dick – You're not the first one to end up on the 'Clark' author page this way.
pointless carry on story to annoy of failure – you really like that 'Clark' page, don't you?
lesbian wear in grope suit been punish – of course she has; the Guild of Lesbians has a very strict dress code.
what will happen if i don't respond to a lawyer's letter – the whole issue will go away. Trust me. On the other hand, I'm the one non-lawyer here at Popehat.
shooting joe pullen in the face with a badger launchers – I don't even know who Joe Pullen is, and I already love this search.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for me to go offline, draw the shades, and peek out so that I see Angry Ken coming for me.
"But Clark," I hear you asking, "what about the lives saved?"
There is no evidence that any lives were saved by the Boston shutdown.
"Yeah, but you can't know for sure!"
True. I can't. But in London, Washington, LA after the El Al shootings, and so on and so on and so on, there were not lockdowns, and there were no further fatalities. It's not perfect proof, but it's suggestive.
"Then why the hell do you care, Clark?"
First, the unprecendented shutdown of a major American city may have increased safety some small bit, but it was not without a cost: keeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and school destroyed a nearly unimaginable amount of value. If we call it just three million people, and we peg the cost at a mere $15 per person per hour, the destroyed value runs to a significant fraction of a billion dollars.
"Yeah, maybe…but in this day and age where the federal government is borrowing an extra $3.85 billion per day, a couple of hundred million doesn't sound like much. After all, if we're borrowing money that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back to fund Cowboy Poetry Festival and military golf courses, then what's another $200 or $400 million to keep people safe?"
I've got multiple answers:
First, just because you're already two hundred pounds overweight doesn't mean that another bowl of ice cream won't hurt you. It will.
Second, the cost isn't just measured in dollars – it's measured in the degree to which it trains a population to freak out over minor risk and to trust blindly in authorities.
Third, keeping citizens off the street meant that 99% of the eyes and brains that might solve a crime were being wasted. Eric S Raymond famously said that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow". It was thousands of citizen photographs that helped break this case, and it was a citizen who found the second bomber. Yes, that's right – it wasn't until the stupid lock-down was ended that a citizen found the second murderer:
The boat’s owners, a couple, spent Friday hunkered down under the stay-at-home order. When it was lifted early in the evening, they ventured outside for some fresh air and the man noticed the tarp on his boat blowing in the wind, according to their his son, Robert Duffy.
The cords securing it had been cut and there was blood near the straps.
We had thousands of police going door-to-door, searching houses…and yet not one of them saw the evidence that a citizen did just minutes after the lock-down ended.
"But Clark," you protest, "you may not trust the government to decide what's risky and what's not, but I do. If it saves even one life, then shutting down a major city is the right move. That's obvious!"
But the Boston police didn't shut down an entire city. They shut down an entire city except for the donut shops.
Law enforcement asked Dunkin' Donuts to keep restaurants open in locked-down communities to provide… food to police… including in Watertown, the focus of the search for the bombing suspect.
The government and police were willing to shut down parts of the economy like the universities, software, biotech, and manufacturing…but when asked to do an actual risk to reward calculation where a small part of the costs landed on their own shoulders, they had no problem weighing one versus the other and then telling the donut servers "yeah, come to work – no one's going to get shot."
Ex Cathedra – Irrationally infallible thoughts about life, politics, religion, current events, and minutiae.
Popehat adoption forum – (to read and write here you need to register on the forums, and then send Ken a personal message to join.)
Hi, this is Ken. Normally I wouldn't hijack a co-blogger's post. But if Clark were paying attention he'd know the forum software is returning false "you've been banned" messages to people trying to register. People then email me. All day. Every day.
Hi, this is not Ken. Normally I wouldn't hijack a co-blogger's post either, and instead would be doing something constructive for society like keeping the streets of the city I live in zombie free. Being one of the founding members, I can take these liberties and I don't see any reason to sugar coat that particular aspect, unlike Ken who would like you to maintain calm but is abusing his powers for nefarious purposes. I digress. The forums are getting replaced wholesale because phpBB3 sucks goat ass. Well, the vast body of existing forum software sucks goat ass, point of fact. Something that didn't finally materialized earlier this year. It is our hope that we'll be taking all of the data with us but we can't offer any definitive details. Stay tuned.
Clark, you will pay. Don't think you won't pay.
Ken here. STOP HIJACKING MY HIJACK OF THIS POST. It appears that forum registrations are now working. I am activating them as they come in.
The New York State Police has another 6,000 troops.
The New York Port Authority adds another 1,600, The New York Transit Police adds 600, the New York State Department of Conservation Police adds 300, the New York State Park Police adds 230, and so on.
Once you add in other cities and towns of New York, you've got almost 600 distinct agencies and over 95,000 troops.
You won't be surprised to hear that with this many boots on the ground, that there's some bullying going on.
Chief Michael Biasotti, president of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, bravely stood up for the victims of the bullying on NPR yesterday, when in an act of defiance – a shiver-inducing stand, a true case of the powerless speaking truth to the powerful, he spoke out against bullying.
The victims? Him and the other 95,000 armed government employees in New York State.
The bully? A family-owned company.
How did these lawless bullying thugs hurt the feelings of the vulnerable and powerless cops?
I'm glad you asked. They did two things: 1) they said hurtful things, and 2) they refused to carry on voluntary commerce with the oppressed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Olympic Arms is a staunch believer in and defender of the Constitution of the United States, and with special attention paid to the Bill of Rights that succinctly enumerates the security of our Divinely given Rights. One of those Rights is that to Keep and Bear Arms.
Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States, ignoring such SCOTUS rulings as District of Columbia v. Heller – 554, U.S. 570 of 2008, McDonald v. Chicago – 561 U.S. 3025 of 2010, and specifically the case of United States v. Miller – 307 U.S. 174 of 1939.
Due the passing of this legislation, Olympic Arms would like to announce that the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity – will no longer be served as customers.
"In short, Olympic Arms will no longer be doing business with the State of New York or any governmental entity or employee of such governmental entity within the State of New York – henceforth and until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the State of New York and the American people.
If the leaders of the State of New York are willing to limit the right of the free and law abiding citizens of New York to arm themselves as they see fit under the Rights enumerate to all citizens of the United State through the Second Amendment, we feel as though the legislators and government entities within the State of New York should have to abide by the same restrictions."
The last paragraph is particularly galling. How dare Olympic Arms compare the right, just, and legitimate governmental action of threatening to jail non-violent citizens for a decade with their own extremist, unfair and illegitimate decision to not engage in commerce?
I, for one, salute Michael Biasotti for his brave stand against bullies and bullying. His taking to the air waves and explaining that he and the police are not used to being bullied in this way and do not enjoy being bullied opened my eyes.
If you want to build widgets, and each widget has a base-plate, a power supply, and a cover-plate, and you've got 10 base-plates, 10 power supplies, and 6 cover-plates, then you can just build 6 widgets. The cover-plates are the limiting factor.
If a new shipment comes in with 6 more power supplies and 10 cover-plates, now your inventory stands at 10, 16, and 16. The bottleneck has moved – the base-plates are the limiting factor.
Yes, your shop is now materially better off than it was before the shipment arrived, but you, as the conscientious small business owner, are not satisfied – you're paying attention to the limiting factory.
Starting with the initial condition when we were hunter gatherers, operating much like the other primates on the savanna:
The first wave was the development of agriculture. People moved from the open range to the farm as we grew our food, which meant that we didn't have to continually move to new locations, which meant that we could accumulate physical goods, which meant that we could experiment with producing physical goods via new techniques, which meant that we could have specialization of labor, which meant that productivity went up, which meant that we could support dedicated government, priestly caste, and so on.
The second wave was the development of industry and mass production. People moved from the farm to the factory as specialization increased, food yields went up, universal factory style education was created, the corporation prospered, the extended family gave way to the nuclear family, universal literacy appeared, returns on education increased radically.
The third wave is the post-industrial society. People moved from the factory to the coffee-house, open source appeared, people began forming friendship groups that spanned continents instead of city blocks, one good algorithm could now reshape a massive industries, 20-something billionaires became – if not normal, at least not surprising. Pets began getting pedicures, celebrity chefs appeared on TV and organic food appeared in supermarkets.
In each of these four eras mankind has become materially better off than in the era before…and yet there is always one shortage.
In the initial state of hunter-gatherers, the shortage was food. The lack of food kept the population in check, and when times got really hard, only the physically strongest (and their allies) would eat. Utopian visions were those where there was lots of food.
In the first wave society, the shortage was irrigated land – anyone could raise enough food to live on if only he had enough land. The lack of land kept the serfs in check. Those with a monopoly on the land (the best armed thugs those favored by God and blessed with the divine right of kings) owned all the land and let the peasants work it in return for a share of their product. Utopian visions were those where there was lots of land.
In the second wave society, the shortage was capital – anyone could buy enough food to live on if only he had enough capital to start a small business. The lack of capital kept the proletariat in check. Those with a monopoly on capital let the proletariat work their machines in return for a share of their product. Utopian visions were those where there was there was enough machinery for everyone.
In the third wave society, the shortage is not good ideas – it's minds capable of executing good ideas. Your average silicon valley maniac has more ideas than he can shake a stick at (to use a first wave term). The problem is that bringing even one of his ideas to fruition takes years of effort. …and not just years of anyone's effort, but years of effort by one or more people with
high executive function
strong self discipline
There is a shortage of such people (and, again, but "shortage", I mean not "people are dying in the streets because we don't have more", but "we are only rate limited by this").
Given that this is the only real shortage that the world faces, I find it darkly amusing to look at retrograde utopians of earlier eras, telling us that all of our problems will be solved if we just adopt their dated hundred- or thousand- year old solutions.
Those who still think that there's a first wave shortage of good land want us to adopt Georgism. "We'd all be better off if they didn't have a monopoly on the land!". Yeah, OK – if I just gave you a few acres, Google and Goldman Sachs would tremble before your might.
Those who still think that there's a second wave shortage of capital want us to adopt redistributive socialism. You know what happens if we take away Elon Musk's money and hand it out to every American? Ten years later Elon Musk is a billionaire (again) and you're carrying a balance on your credit card (again).
When the shortage is human minds, there's really only one solution ("solution"): enslave the high productivity brains (or perhaps just tax them at 90%) and make them labor for everyone else so that the livers can lean back and watch Jersey Shore reruns courtesy of Larry Page and Sergei Brin's paychecks.
While I'm not a fan of this on deontologic grounds (i.e. "we have no right"), it's at least an honest model of how the world works.
The mainstream political parties are blind to reality, and that's because of incentives – everyone involved is handsomely rewarded for being blind to reality. The Republicans fondly remember 1860, when the common man stood behind a plow, and the Democrats fondly remember 1960, when the common man stood behind a stamping machine.
The Republicans want to bring back small towns and white-painted churches, because when those things were ascendant all was right in the world.
The Democrats want to bring big cities and big industry, because when those things were ascendant all was right in the world.
And so the Republicans shovel money at farmers, endorse prayer in school, and tell us to worship our heroes fighting for manifest destiny, and the Democrats shovel money at unionized teachers, endorse government run mass transit, and tell us to worship dense urban living.
If a rawhide clad savage stood before a podium in Washington and told us that all of our problems could be solved if we, as a tribe, packed up and moved over that hill there, because there's a lot of rabbit, and maybe even some deer, we'd laugh at his naivety.
…and yet when representatives of the two major parties stand up in 300 year old clothes and tell us that the path to prosperity lies in moving over that hill there, because there's a lot of arable land and/or good paying factory jobs, we pretend we're hearing something other than rank idiocy.