spaceflight, technology, anime, politics, and whatever else I feel like writing about

In Defense of the Draka

In S.M. Stirling's classic science fiction stories, the Draka are held up as an example of ultimate evil from the perspective of a Cold War American: Royalists from our Revolution mixed with Confederates from our civil war mixed with apartheid South Africa mixed with aspects of National Socialist racial ideology, who steamrolled both the Germans and the Soviets in their WW2 equivalent and then proceeded to conquer the solar system, exiling a single colony ark of Americans to the Alpha Centauri system. The Draka win so thoroughly that they lock in their class system at a genetic level, with all the traits they spent centuries breeding and training for locked in and amplified at the genetic level, and the rest of humanity made genetically predisposed to servitude. For books written in the 1980s and 1990s, these aspects were of course held up a examples of the Platonic ideal of evil expressed in physical form, and written as the villains of a series where the Draka attempt to invade a timeline much more like our own.

Then, in real life, the human genome project wrapped up.

We now know that natural evolution has already created a small portion of people with ambition, and a great mass of people that simply want to be given simple rules and simple jobs and otherwise left alone. We now know that racial differences are so vast between whites and blacks that by any standard but political they would already be considered separate species. We now know that everything from general intelligence to propensity to commit specific classes of felonies has a genetic base. If governments have a responsibility to govern well, then eugenics isn't just back on the menu, it should be the main course.

This also intersects rather intensely with the computerization of society. The paranoid security state of the Draka produced a computer history using what computer scientists would call a Harvard Architecture, where code and data are completely incompatible and can not be transferred between each other, with mechanisms for loading code usually requiring physical transfer of ROM modules between computers. Our own history produced standardization on Von Neuman Architecture, where code and data are both just bit patterns in memory and a computer can build and load more software for itself, from minor convenience scripts to hacking on the operating system itself, but distributed systems engineering still favors the large and expensive when it comes to cloud systems, and so we find ourselves in a very Draka like situation where the really important processing happens on large systems in warehouses that only rare, expensive programmers know how to hack on. I happen to be one of those people, having been an engineer at AWS for several years, and so I've seen this from the inside as well as the outside.

Computerization of society leads invariably to stratification of society, because the data doesn't lie. The core premise of egalitarianism is a lack of knowledge - you don't know who's going to grow up to have what capability, so give everyone an equal shot at advancement and governance. That assumption is now invalid. Instead, we have enough data to reliably predict the upper bound of a child's potential given nothing but a sample of their DNA. Spoiler alert: all those "doctors and engineers" coming from the third world, aren't.

This feeds into another stratification trend: assortative mating by IQ. The rich get rich by being smart, and then marry other rich (smart) people. This is draining the upward mobility potential right out of the lower classes at the genetic level. Can representative democracy survive a world where the masses are literally too stupid to understand the issue? Somehow I doubt it. Eric S. Raymond, better known as "ESR," the author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, a good book on software development from the 1990s, wrote a good piece on this challenge.

He called it, "The Return of the Servant Problem."

ESR's blog goes down more often than a navy town whore on a liberty weekend so I have mirrored the article here.

What ESR failed to percieve, in part due to his Boomery immersion in the Jewish media and in part to his own libertarian biases, is that people don't WANT self government. The average man or woman wants to spend precisely no time and effort thinking about the way society is ordered outside of their little Dunbar's Number sized tribe of apes they personally know. Men just want to have families, provide for them, and do useful things to earn their bread. Women's worlds largely consist of their social circles, their men, and their children. It takes tens of billions of dollars every election cycle to get these people out of their houses to go stand in line for an hour or three to fill out a ballot every two or four years, and even in peak election cycles like 2016 still almost half the adult population doesn't vote at all! The people have spoken, and their choice is "go away and stop bothering me about this, I don't care."

So, we have a genetically more capable ruling class, a subject class that's got no desire or ability to revolt, and the computational power to put the right people in the right class for their genetic temperaments when their parentage is unknown. We are also now in the teeth of the automation crisis predicted for decades, accelerated by COVID lockdowns. Shut off immigration, restrict the franchise to these capable ones, and we'd have colonies on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn by the end of the century. Apply life extension technologies to the enlightened leaders and you have a political system that can last a thousand years.

The problem, of course, is keeping enough of a meritocracy in a democracy of the incompetent long enough for the genetocracy to establish itself rather than the corrupt midwits running the show now. That challenge remains unsolved.