Sunday, March 14, 2010

What do I know from global warming?!

So I had an idea that I am not going to fully flesh out because I have a lot of reading to do. I was reading a paper by Bob Axelrod "The Dissemination of Culture" Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1997. The article uses Agent Based Modeling to demonstrate that if you have a lot of little cultural blocs, each distinguished by five characteristics, if two of those blocs have common elements and one bloc is allowed to mutate to be like its neighbor you quickly get a few (1-3) dominant cultural regions.

I think this model helps explain why the frum world takes issue with global warming. It is strange, right? What do frum people care about global warming? My hypothesis is that the frum world has become very similar to the liberal elite over the past half century. Not just the MO, but also the Monsey crowd go to fancy law schools, buy Beamers and fancy clothes and drink good scotch and wines. Because of these similarities it risks being imbibed by the liberal American cultural region. In a move to reduce the number of sites that it shares with this cultural region it has strategically altered its character--regarding issues with which it has no intrinsic fight--in order to better ensure that it cannot be swallowed. Instead it makes itself more similar to the less well educated and Evangelical communities with which there is very little likelihood that any real assimilation will occur.

(Social) Science!


Anonymous said...

with the exception, perhaps, of fancy law schools, the forms of (conspicuous) consumption you list have little to do with liberalness.

I thought you were going to say the opposite -that when the frum block started to have/think it had certain things in common with the, err, republican base, frum folk aslo shifted their other values to conform to their new allies due to proximity.

adopting "right wing" causes as a form of counter-cultural self-definition may be a real phenomenon among frum ivy league undergrads - i don't know. but i don't think that is the explanation at all re: what you call the "Monsey crowd."


Zev said...

I agree, my story is kind of weak. But I still like the basic account--mutate seemingly irrelevant characteristics in order to stave off assimilation (in the Borg sense).