Signalling Lies

These days, I figure almost everybody knows someone who is a complete idiot with his money. Somebody who, perhaps, makes a decent wage but constantly overspends in an effort to keep up with the Joneses. This is the kind of person who buys a $5000 Italian leather couch and then tells you that it’s a $5000 leather couch. It is important to him, you see, that you acknowledge his ability to spend money on overpriced couches. This is nothing new; it’s a form of status signalling that goes back to the dawn of humanity, most likely. My beads are prettier than your beads. My mud hut is bigger than yours.

The fascinating thing about it, however, is that most folks I’ve met who do this don’t actually have the money. They have car payments and furniture installment loans. They have credit card debt and student loan debt. They may have home equity loans on top of their regular mortgages. And frequently, they lack the liquid assets to cover any of these notes. Their lives are constantly stressed, for any interruption in their income stream could expose the lie of their status signalling. People would know that they were broke. That is more terrifying to such folks than losing the possessions themselves.

Even folks who do have the money often spend themselves into poverty trying to chase status. Stories of celebrities who spend their vast sums of money and wind up in crazy amounts of debt are absurdly common. But at least they had the money at some point. The status signal wasn’t entirely dishonest.

SJWs do something similar with regards to various forms of bigotry. Their goal isn’t necessarily to defeat bigotry, as some of the more honest among their number admit that it isn’t really possible to eliminate all biases in human beings in the first place. And even the most idiotic of SJWs has to know deep down that in America, we have it pretty good with regards to demographic group tolerance – or we did, anyway, before SJWs started screwing around with it again. Rather, the goal of the SJW is to signal that he is not racist/sexist/whatever.

Like the guy who shows you his expensive couch, the SJW who spouts off how much he loves Antifa, and how he goes to all the local BLM protests, is actually saying look at me I’m better than you. He’s signalling that he’s one of the enlightened, educated, and right-thinking individuals. Not like those icky poor people; not like those icky Right-Wing would-be Nazis.

It’s all about ego gratification. It’s about feeling superior, and being able to look down with disdain on the unwashed, the impure, the unrighteous. Even some who are nominally Right-Wing have fallen victim to this (see: Tom Nichols, Bill Kristol, etc…). But like the neighbor who wants you to think he’s rich, many of them aren’t. Like Joss Whedon, feminist warrior who cheated on his wife with a dozen women, they are signalling a lie. Some, like Bill Kristol, may have once been what they are signalling, but aren’t any longer. Somewhere along the way, they took the signalling to be more important than the truth.

It’s confusing the packaging for the product, confusing PR with the people behind it. It is tacitly saying that appearances are more important than realities. This is a core tenet of Social Justice Leftism. A superficial understanding leads many to believe women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That is the appearance. Dig deeper, and the truth comes out: women make different career choices, work less hours, and tend toward lower risk tolerance. When these things are accounted for, the gap vanishes into irrelevancy. But this doesn’t matter, because the superficial appearance trumps the reality. Thus the SJW signals his acceptance of appearance over truth by constantly bleating this metric.

Underneath this ideology is a house of cards. One misstep, one accidental exposure of truth, and like the indebted man with his fancy furniture, the repo man will come and take it all away. Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch, Joss Whedon’s infidelity, or as I spoke of once before… an SJW’s obsession with getting beaten by men dressed as Nazis in a BDSM club… and it all it comes crashing down around them. Their moral preening is no more true than the yuppie’s affectation of wealth.

I often tell folks that I’m not that great of a guy. I prefer the position of Socrates on wisdom: none of us are truly wise. I prefer the Christian’s view on sinning: we all do it; we all fuck up. And I prefer a dose of humility to the obsession with social status. I don’t always achieve these lofty goals (see #2), but I’ve long believed that trying to achieve them is worth something. On the flip side of that, it’s very irritating when someone tries to signal a lie, and we all know it’s a lie.

I don’t judge my neighbor on the basis of his wealth, why should I care about that? But if he goes out of his way to lie about it, then I care about being lied to. I can’t be too harsh on a man who has committed various sexual indiscretions (provided they aren’t grossly illegal, of course – see pedo shit, rape, etc…), sex is and always will be a hangup for humanity. But if you pretend to be a moral puritan about sex, and it comes out that you are a creep, then I care about being lied to. It is a ‘cast the first stone’ situation. If you are casting stones at someone, and you are guilty of the same, you are tacking on intentional, self-centered dishonesty in addition to whatever it is you did. At least have the courtesy to be quiet about it. Better yet, go ask forgiveness from Christ.

On top of the aspect of dishonesty, it’s also insulting and patronizing. We know the signals are a lie. For the man bragging about his wealth, look… we can do math. For the man bragging about his sexual purity, we know you’re full of shit, we’re human beings too, you know. We know how it is with sexual desire. For the man declaring himself wise, an expert in all things, we know it’s all bullshit. We see when you are caught in lies and mistakes. In other words, we aren’t fooled, and by continuing on with your status signals, you’re only fooling yourself. Even your fellow signalers know, deep down, that you are lying. They merely enable your lies so that you may, quid pro quo, enable theirs.

Ultimately, the signals won’t work. Even if you fool us for a little while, sooner or later we’ll find out.

I don’t think any human can remove all signalling from himself; some of it is undoubtedly unconscious. And sometimes a signal can be true: Donald Trump’s ostentatious wealth is actually true in his case. But better to err on the safe side when it comes to signalling. Best not to do it. If you must, be very sure it’s not covering a lie.

Modern Media, Superiority Complexes, and the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect

Social media is full of long-winded, acrimonious debates about politics, sociology, cats, etc… It’s enough to make a man seriously consider giving it up completely. My colleague at Liberty’s Torch discussed cutting that particular line earlier, and though I have not done what he did, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think about it.  Mostly, the arguments are just for show. People don’t expect to win hearts and minds in them, not really. Rather, it’s often just a virtue signal, or the refilling of narcissistic supply.

A few posts in, and the insults about stupidity, bigotry, Dunning-Kruger, and otherwise will make themselves known. And in them we see the true purpose of many such debates: feeling superior. If you infer that your opponent is a Nazi, you feel morally superior to him. If you call him stupid, you can feel intellectually superior. The bigger the audience, the better, so more people can affirm your superiority over your enemy. The actual issue at hand is rarely as important as these feelings. Find me a Facebook debate, and I can almost guarantee you at least one participant who is engaging in this behavior.

And since no one is really arguing in a dialectical manner (though you will see the word “facts” repeated as mantra for things that aren’t), nothing gets resolved. No new knowledge is gained, no insight or deeper understanding. It is purposeless mental masturbation. It certainly doesn’t make one an intellectual, or more intelligent.

What I’ve come to realize is that this behavior on social media is a microcosm for our society at large. The same behavior applies at the highest levels of media and politics. Most of these people have no idea what they are talking about, even most of the so-called experts (contrary to Tom Nichols’ assessment of political expertise). Find me an expert pilot, and we can go through his records, how many hours he’s logged, on what aircraft, and with what results. It is demonstrable. There is no similar metric for media talking heads, especially where results are concerned. And for politics, and measure of this is bound to be skewed by the political views of its members, such that our reliance upon it is already suspect.

This leads to an environment of low accountability. Oh, sure, if a man like Dan Rather gets snookered by some fake memos very publicly, the house of cards can fall down on him. But the mistake has to be high profile enough and, paradoxically, covered by the media enough, for it to get out in the first place.

Michael Crichton explained the problem as the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Observe:

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

 

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

 

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

 

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

 

But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

A combination of superficial understanding and political narratives results in articles and news programs that make no sense. The percentage of the problem attributable to either feature varies widely from case-to-case. Sometimes it is blatantly political, and it cannot be explained by ignorance. Other times, it is probably best explained with stupidity. Most cases are probably a little of both. The media and its supporters, meanwhile, are quite blind to this. I came across this gem this afternoon, and it made me laugh out loud for the sheer stupidity of it:

lolol

The amusing thing is how easy this is to disprove. A quick glance at the SAT scores of incoming college students, broken down by major, is sufficient to reveal the error (see page 13 here). Of the STEM majors, all outscored journalists (see: engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, computer/information sciences). Some did so by staggering margins (see: mathematics). That the author of that tweet couldn’t be bothered to check his work, when claiming high intellect, is actually pretty damned hilarious. It’s enough to make me wonder if the guy is secretly trolling.

Anyway, point is, try Michael Crichton’s test for yourself. It’s something I’ve spoken of before – I just lacked the convenient name for it. Talk to other people who have done the same for different subjects, people you trust. You’ll soon see just how wrong the media is. Trump frequently calls CNN fake news, but in reality pretty much every outlet I’ve seen is full of shit to greater or lesser degree. Sometime I’d like to see a counter for how many times individual journalists have been caught in lies, or made serious mistakes driven by stupidity and ignorance.

These are the same people who, like the randoms on Facebook, want to demonstrate how enlightened they are, how wise, all-knowing, and progressive. They have a bigger podium, of course, and more spectators. But the motivations are similar enough. It’s all about appearances and narcissistic supply. It all boils down to a statement even a toddler could understand, and likely hears frequently on the playground. “I’m better than you! Neener-neener!” But they aren’t willing to do the work. They all expected Hillary Clinton to win, right up until she didn’t. Never forget how badly they called that election. If you get amnesia about their smaller mistakes, at least hold on to that one. They pretend to expert status. Meanwhile Trump, the supposedly stupid bigot, baits them like a matador. It’s comical how he plays them.

They want so desperately to shout down this man. I once thought it was because of his immigration policies – and I have no doubt that was a major factor, at least at first. But I’ve come to realize that there’s a deeper reason. He makes them look like idiots. He hurts their egos. Because, deep down, they know they aren’t the superior intellects they pretend to be. They know they are fake news. And he not only sees through them, he’s exposed them as frauds in front of the world. This they cannot forgive, or forget.

Tuesday Afternoon Observations

Truly, I was hoping for some more insight into the motives and background of Stephen Paddock, the perpetrator of the Las Vegas shooting, but it appears even a week later, facts are thin on the ground and few definitive conclusions have been made. It was a very unusual attack, such that if a man wrote a movie script with such a character, I’d dismiss it as completely implausible. I do hope something is discovered soon, for the conspiracy theories have already multiplied and grown several new legs in the days since.

On a more positive note, Francis, the proprietor of Liberty’s Torch, has released a new book. as of last week. A few snippets from the book were released earlier and were quite intriguing. With all the crazy news we’ve heard lately about the demented state of Hollywood, from Joss Whedon’s ex-wife outing him as a philanderer who took advantage of women in his employ, to the current case of Harvey Weinstein, a story about sexual slavery and perversion (but with a genetic engineering twist) is most appropriate for the times. Give Innocents a try if you’re looking for an appropriate read. I’ll post a full review later, when I get out from under this mountain of work I’ve made for myself.

If you haven’t seen it already, give this Project Veritas video a watch. I don’t know how James O’Keefe manages to get all these folks to admit their agendas so openly, although in this video we hear a woman’s voice, so possibly he used the honeypot technique. But I’ll be damned if he isn’t doing some of God’s own work here. We get all sorts of connections here, between Comey, Antifa, and the New York Times. None of these are surprising, per se, but to hear them freely admitted is relatively new.

Lastly, in light of current events I wanted to bring some more attention to an older post of mine: RadFems, Cenobites, and the Lament Configuration. We are seeing Hollywood and politicians getting exposed for this kind of hypocritical behavior more often lately. I’m not entirely sure why – some have speculated that the power of old print media waning has deprived them of cover, others suspect it a sort of housecleaning on the Left, where the old Clintonistas are getting kicked out from under their protective umbrella in light of her loss to Trump. But whatever the reason, the contradictions are starting to see daylight.

The trouble is the hypocrisy of it all, the person who protests Nazis, then wants to be beaten by a Nazi, the person who says all sex is rape, and then fucks a dozen guys in a cocaine-fueled mega orgy.

If you want to experience these things, and admit it to yourself, that is one thing. But the next day, you are suddenly a neo-Puritan? The standard bearer for why every time a guy in front of his computer jerks off, he’s committing the equivalent of rape? You say you are anti-fascist, dressing in black and either pretending to be a Nazi, or wanting to be dominated by one?

And so the TV cameras come out, and you’re Cotton Mather, praising the Salem Witch Trials… while at night, you are the witch. Who is the real you? These people are so very confused.

Most of Leftist politics, at least from these people, is pure theater. During the day, they are paragons of proper behavior. Why, they are almost Puritan-like, save for the fact that they don’t worship any stupid sky wizards because they are Brights, or something. But at night, they are something else entirely – ruled by drugs and lust.

It’s about time people started noticing the hypocrisy and speaking of it openly.

Mean Words and Fake Jokes

The recent kerfuffle over Clay Travis and his trademark phrase “I like the First Amendment and… boobs” has flooded social media these last few days. And it brings up a fascinating amount of cognitive dissonance. Keith Reed, who immediately white-knighted on behalf of poor, offended Brooke Baldwin, posted frequently on the subject of boobs, ass, and attractive women on his public social media pages. Brooke herself frequently wears things that accentuate her breasts and has ‘suffered’ references to boobs many times before. The outrage over the mere mention of boobs is all fake.

The thing of it is, today people often take things out of context deliberately in order to feel the rush of being offended; to get attention and sympathy from others. Being offended supplies a person with increased social status. Being offended makes them powerful for a moment. So any opportunity that presents itself, even if deliberately taken out of context or obviously exaggerated, is quickly embraced. Brooke and Keith both saw golden opportunities to be offended by Clay Travis mentioning boobs.

Note that he didn’t refer to her boobs, or any specific boobs, but merely that he liked them in general. This is hardly a great secret, the notion that men like boobs.

At the same time, Leftists will lob accusations of Nazism and white supremacism at Donald Trump and his supporters. Boobs, apparently, are offensive. But calling people Nazis, effectively the scum of the Earth, is totally okay. If challenged, Leftists often attempt to retreat with “oh, I didn’t mean he was literally a Nazi” or “I’m just joking around.” We know they aren’t, of course.

Fact is, most people know when they’ve been insulted, and when something is a joke, even if word-smithing can make either seem indistinct. The reaction to an insult is visceral. You know it. For a man who has less formal education, perhaps, an insult might even go over his head in a technical manner, yet he still knows he was insulted because of context, tone, and body language.

Now, I’m a First Amendment guy, like Clay Travis, so I don’t care even when I am insulted. Folks have a right to be offensive, to insult, even to hate (so long as they don’t act on it, anyway). But what does get irritating is when someone claims that I am insulting them, or offending them, when it is clear that I had no such intent. Or, vice-versa, when someone insults me, and we both know it was an insult, but he denies it and claims he was not with some seemingly-clever word-smithing.

Leftists gain a lot of power from feeling insulted when no insult was intended, and offering insult and then pretending no insult was offered. It’s a form of framing that we see very often in the media. And it’s absurdly common on social media outlets as well, where hashtags like #KillAllMen trend for a time, and then its authors attempt to escape by claiming it was a joke, and they didn’t really mean it. A woman might say “I hate men” and when challenged says “I don’t hate men.” But when a man says anything negative about any woman whatsoever – Hillary Clinton for example – she will be offended on behalf of women everywhere.

It’s a combination of Mean Girls and Clueless. It’s the sort of juvenile high school girl behavior we expect of a 90s teenager, only this is now often used by adult men too.

A hint for SJWs and media talking heads who find themselves reading this: we know. We see through it, okay? It’s not hard. Everything from tone to body language to snobbish airs of superiority you put on give it all away. We know when you’re being sincere, and when you’re being false, and you’re not fooling anybody. In fact, I’d respect you more if you just came out and said what you honestly believed. If you insulted us and didn’t bother to hide it, if you were truthful and claimed you wanted us all dead, I could at least respect your honesty. Your patronizing tone is, quite honestly, more offensive than your ideals (and those are often bad enough on their own). Your assumed airs, your narcissism and self-worship, your solipsistic attitudes… we know them, we see through them, and the only folks you manage to fool are your own kind.

Such Leftists want us to assume that they are acting in good faith, and then treat us as if we are acting in bad faith. This gives them a sort of social arbitrage in open debate, a sort of home field advantage, if you will, that the Rightist must overcome. And given the reach of the modern media, that advantage has become quite substantial. It’s time to deprive them of it. Assume no good faith. If you believe a Leftist is truly acting in good faith; if you don’t get the sense that he is lying and attempting to reframe everything to his advantage, then all is good. But be on your guard. The Leftist who avoids this tactic is becoming an endangered breed.

For the rest, treat them as you would an unruly, lying teenage valley girl. Even, paradoxically, when they are grown men. Keith Olbermann certainly has more in common with a teenage mean girl than any real grown man, after all.

Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage

Every good capitalist is on the look out for imbalances in the market, opportunities to earn a profit off of a thing that either the market lacks completely, or current businesses do very inefficiently and ineffectively. You can consider it a form of arbitrage.

Today’s politicians, media talking heads, celebrities and the like are moral capitalists, even though they are economic collectivists. That is to say their morality is a form of arbitrage, always for sale to the highest bidder, where each statement they issue is calculated to profit them personally.

Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump for suggesting that the Charlottesville attack, and other similar incidents between Antifa and White Supremacists, was equally the fault of both parties. Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.

Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.

But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.

Marco, meanwhile, in his own words, pins 100% of the blame onto the supremacists.

rubio

This argument is remarkably similar to Antifa and other Marxist groups saying that mean words justifies violence, that speech they don’t like justifies burning down cities and attacking people. It is okay for them to violently shut down anybody right-of-center on college campuses around the country, but it is not okay for anyone right-of-center to speak.

Marco is on a continuum with the SJWs on this matter. He concedes the central point, that violence is an acceptable response to speech deemed offensive. Yes, in the case of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the speech actually is offensive. But it is still speech. Until it isn’t, anyway.

But if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you already know my position on freedom of speech, and how speech alone does not justify violence.

To be fair, a lot of people are saying this, though, so let’s analyze this a little differently. Why does Marco denounce the white supremacists so readily, yet lets militant Marxists off the hook? As a man of Cuban ancestry, he ought to be very familiar with the depredations and dangers of Marxists. Why is he so willing to assign them 0% of the blame?

There is moral arbitrage here. When some politician or celebrity denounces Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted white supremacists, he is cheered. He is called stunning and brave. He is bashing the fash, taking a brave stand against the most evil ideology of man. In other words, he gets a huge moral bonus in the eyes of the media. It is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population. And it is profitable to do so, as well.

If it’s cheap and profitable, expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon. The explosion of Nazi denunciations is like the proliferation of those little fidget spinners that cost 10 cents to make and sell for $7.99 in every convenience store from here to Seattle. Everybody wants a slice of that action.

Meanwhile, taking a similar stand against Marxism is expensive. If a politician or celebrity stands up and denounces Marxism as a hateful, murderous ideology that is at least as evil as Nazism, he is often shot down. Real Marxism, of course, has never been tried. Real Marxism is a good theory, a good idea that maybe just hasn’t been implemented quite right. It’s morally true and righteous, and even if it has some problems, surely bashing the fash has to take precedence, right?

Except Marxism has a much higher share of the population. Marxism is celebrated openly on college campuses around the country. Marxists trash cities, riot, commit acts of violence with frightening regularity, and Marco assigns them 0% of the blame, because somewhere, there is an inbred Neo-Nazi off his meds tweeting from his mother’s basement.

Marco obtains a moral profit from denouncing white supremacism. He incurs a moral cost from denouncing Marxism. Playing the moral arbitrage for profit thus demands he pin the blame for political violence on only one participant. Then he is “stunning and brave” in the eyes of the body politic.

Marxists have been doing this as long as I’ve been alive. It is correctly seen as stupid and disgusting to wear an Adolf Hitler t-shirt. Yet somehow Che Guevara t-shirts are absurdly common. The Nazi swastika is correctly seen as a hate symbol, yet the Soviet hammer & sickle is given a pass. It is a historical tragedy that Communism was not discredited with the same vigor as Nazism was.

It is socially cheap to oppose Nazism. It is socially expensive to oppose Communism.

Donald Trump, whatever his other faults, possesses enough moral courage to speak the truth: both groups are hateful. And he paid the price for speaking that truth. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, lacks the stones, even though as descendant of Cubans, he ought to know better than most.

I’m very disappointed in him. I expect this from Democrats who have lacked moral courage as long as I’ve been alive, I even expect it from Republicans who have no history with Marxism. But I do not expect it from a Cuban Republican. Of all people, Marco, YOU should know better. Stop playing the moral arbitrage and speak honestly.

After all, even Donald Trump is showing more honesty and integrity than you are, right now.

The Trap of Perfection

Stepping away from the blatantly political for a time has already proven healthy. This morning, an aphorism entered my brain which, in turn, inspired a whole lot of thinking.

Some people demand absolute perfection of all others, but possess no desire for self-improvement.

I’m sure someone else has said similar at some point in time, but nonetheless the thought was inspiring for its completeness. When discussing politics with most people, exceptions are often brought to the table as if they somehow disprove the original assertion. For instance, one might say that a free market solution to healthcare is wrong, because one individual in certain extenuating circumstances might receive inferior care. The imperfection is then championed, weaponized empathy is applied to it, and soon the media talking heads ponder why Republicans want to push granny off a cliff.

Forget the political side of this for a moment and focus on what the real underlying message is. This is imperfect, says the academic, and since it is imperfect it must be discarded.

This same brand of thinking is what leads to excessive legal wrangling over minute issues of grammar. Second amendment opponents will drive themselves into conniption fits over the position of a comma. The point, the spirit of the law, sails right over their heads. They are consumed by a search for perfection, for an absolute set of principles that governs all human interaction without the slightest deviation.

In other words, they demand perfection from all others, while celebrating their own victimhood and eschewing self-improvement.

Those of us with a modicum of sense have long made peace with the fact that anything involving humans is going to lack perfection. The presence of perfection in anything short of the divine is, in fact, prima facie evidence of error. It cannot be perfect, thus either someone is mistaken, or is deceiving you. Demands for perfection should be scoffed at. One may as well demand flying pink unicorns, for all the good it will do.

In this way, academics and media talking heads are prone to treating people as some kind of scientific experiment. The Scientific Method provides us with a situation where a counter-example is proof of error. If, for instance, I were to dispute the claim that, in a vacuum a feather would fall at the same speed as a hammer, one counter-example would prove me wrong. Both were brought to the moon as a sort of amusing demonstration, of course:

With humans, however, it does not work this way. And this is a key problem with the way academics are prone to thinking. If a counter-example is found to disfavored public policy, wrongthink, or politically incorrect thought, that example is deemed sufficient to disprove the theory. If one person suffers because, say, Obamacare is repealed, then it is proof that Obamacare was good, and free market healthcare is bad.

I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but humans are not feathers and hammers. Conduct your experiment with another set of humans, and you may get an entirely different set of results. These people are committing a category error long before their favored political positions are even properly formed.

The thing to note about folks who think this way is that they rarely reflect inward. They are quick to criticize the imperfections of others, but are loathe to look at themselves under a similar microscope. This is how you can get folks who complain about greedy capitalists, and yet are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, stealing money for themselves. You would think that someone obsessed with perfection would start with himself, but alas, it is rarely so.

Human perfection is impossible, short of divine intervention. And whatever else academics might believe, they are certainly not gods. Hell, even the Greek gods had less personal problems than they do.

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