I 100% get this guy's views on guns. Completely understand why he has it. I'm now curious about if his hard anti-right stance on that issue has led him to start to adopt hard left stances on other issues. Maybe not, but I have to wonder. https://t.co/es99VTj7Sp— James Lindsay (@ConceptualJames) May 5, 2019
Do splits in weak empires really tend, over time, to bi-modality?
Off the top of my head, I'd say yes. For example, here's the case studies I looked at the other week, before this idea came up:
- Canadian Confederation - Canada should have been a three founding nation state (French, English, First Nations). But, in practice, it ended up being a 2 nation system.
- US Confederation - It stated out as a multi-state, multi-ethnic confederacy. Following the war of Independence, it had functionally settled down to a bi-polar arrangement (federalists, statists)
- US Great Religious Awakenings - Lots of different sects formed during these cycles. While a couple of radical sects stayed independent (Mormonism, Jehovah witnesses, etc.), most tended to a common Protestant confessional grouping. But Catholicism also represented another pole. You could even argue that Native religion maintained itself as yet another pole. But, in general, it seems like most of the population was bifurcated between nouveau Protestantism, classic Protestantism, and Catholicism. This disproves the two-way schism model. But, its interesting to note that there was very little violence forcing polarization....
- US Civil Rights - This pretty much split the population into two camps. There may have been some moderates, but its doubtful that they really functioned as a cohesive group.
- European 16th century War of Religions - This was definitely a bi-modal split. You get lots of different permutations of Protestantism, but things were pretty bi-modal.
The possibility that during weak empire splits, sub-populations split into two and only two groups over time is very interesting. Inspection suggests this only happens when selection pressure (violence) is significant and the empire is weak. This facilitates grievance sacralization.
But, the possibility of a set social fractal length of 2 is very, very, intriguing.
One possible post facto explanation of this potential fact is that binary division produces the largest possible sub-group size.
For, example, imagine a weak empire splits into 3 groups. Any of these sub-groups would radically increase it's chance of success if it had 1/3+n members. Thus, over time, it makes sense that divisional gene-cultural practices should favour individuals who express this tendency. 1/2 + n is possible, but it immediately limited by intra-sub-group competition. Thus, 1/3+n solutions should stabilize at 1/2.
I don't think this process should be too hard to model.... I guess I'll have to add another "to do project" to my list...
It would also be very interesting to test this via a historical database.
This suggests a bimodal welled cultural-evolutionary landscape. This implies that people are, to some extent, hardwired for bimodal polarization. This fits common sense experience.
Overtime, oscillations between one hegemon and another increase polarization and select for bi-modality. The main question is how much pressure and what time frames are required to produce bi-modality?
But what's even more interesting, is that this process may take a multi-moded, segmented weak grouping (divided rule based empire), and via over-reach into a higher level of selection, produce a bifurcated (bi-modal) stable state.
Thus you really can't say the process is clear fission...rather it is an odd sort of "poly-sexual" reproduction fission.
- Multiple populations come together under semi-ordinated control,
- They percolate through lots of unifying options, none of which are stable enough for the population's traits (gene-culture co-evolution)
- Eventually a meme emerges which is innocuous enough to not immediately get suppressed (because it is hard for elite hegemons to really grasp, but is understandable-enough for the laity, and is amenable to hidden signalling), has sufficient memetic virility, and facilitates intractable conflict via grievance sacralization.
- The population splinters. While lots of offspring are produced, environmental processes (resonating around gene-cultural trait expression) produce a two welled landscape (at least over long periods of time in environments with sufficient selection pressure).
- Oscillations between old power and new power polarizes the population and, as per 4, selects for the largest sub-group size possible (roughly a 1/2n solution). The more pressure is present, and the more polarizing the process, the closer things should get to a 1/2n split. Laissez faire moderates may obscure a true 1/2n, 1/2n fission.
- Either, A) pluralism emerges, B) two state solution emerges, c) one side or the other trounces the other to the ground.
Relevant quotes from Nexon (pp. 261-264)