Tom Nichols and the Public’s View of Science

Tom Nichols is one of those individuals who straddles the line between elitism and sense. At times, he acts intelligently and contributes valuable insight into current affairs. At other times, he demonstrates a certain elitism, a sort of smugness little different from the Jon Stewart liberals, a sort of technocratic disdain for the layman, or, indeed, anyone that is not within his small circle of approved smart people.

Recently, he had this to say about the public’s view of science: How Does the Public’s View of Science Go So Wrong?

It’s one of those pieces that demands a fisking, a point-by-point rebuttal, because this notion of the stupid layman, the idiot who is unaware he is voting against his own best interests, as determined by the credentialed wise men of government, is central to the dispute about where the West is heading, and why.

You need only recall Brexit, and the groans of the remainers, to understand this. A majority of Britishers, it would seem, were too stupid to understand that the EU was better for them. And so all sorts of legal chicanery was deployed in the service of preventing Brexit, or rolling it back.

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve taken issue with Mr. Nichols and his view of the American citizenry as what you might call expertise deniers. A sort of equivalent of the climate change denier writ large, as if most Americans hate experts for no good reason, and are too stupid to realize that they ought to willingly subordinate their wills to greater men.

But enough of that. Let the fisk begin:

Do Americans hate science? They certainly seem to hate it more than they used to, as they rage against experts in every field. This is more than a traditional American distaste for eggheads and intellectuals. Americans, increasingly, are acting (and voting) on myths and misinformation about science, and placing themselves at significant risk.

What traditional distaste for intellectuals? When I was young, I remember how the engineers and scientists who supported NASA were regarded as quasi-gods. Everybody wanted their kid to be a rocket scientist, or an aeronautical engineer. No, America never had a tradition of hating intellectuals. At worst, there was a time when being nerdy was regarded poorly. But nerdy and intellectual are not the same thing.

Furthermore, Tom tells us that they rage against experts in every field. This is observably false. They do not rage against airplane pilots, or automotive engineers. They do not malign physicists and mathematicians. There are very specific fields which have attracted the ire of a sizable fraction of the citizenry. More on this later.

In Texas, for example, “personal-belief exemptions” among parents refusing to vaccinate their children increased from 2,314 in the 2003-2004 school year to 44,716 in 2015-2016. Although these parents were, they say, galvanized by the election of Donald Trump—America’s most prominent vaccine skeptic—this reflexive dismissal of science long predates the 2016 election, even if it has intensified in the last few years.

This anti-vaxxer thing is a frequent political bludgeon deployed by the Left to make the Right look like morons. Except there does not appear to be strong correlation between conservatism and vaccine skepticism. Observe. For one, only 13% of Americans disagreed with the statement that “vaccines are safe.” The French were much more skeptical, at 41%. Meanwhile, the article cites Marin county, California as a bastion of strong vaccine skepticism. This is a county that votes strongly Democratic. So it is not exclusively (or even strongly) a Right-wing issue.

Tom, of course, doesn’t claim that it is Right wing (he probably knows better). But nonetheless, the skepticism bothers him. Another interesting tidbit of information comes to us from the same article’s citations. In it, we find that one out of four French doctors are telling their patients that many vaccines recommended by the public health authorities aren’t even necessary. I wish there was better data in America on this, but nonetheless, the French statistics are useful for illustrating one possibility, namely that citizens aren’t distrustful of qualified doctors and medical practitioners, they distrust public health bureaucrats. That’s very different from distrusting science, or expert opinion, or just smart people in general.

Of course, Americans don’t really hate science: they rely on it every day in ways they don’t even notice. From tens of thousands of safe and effective over-the-counter drugs to the directions on a car’s GPS system, Americans trust the work of experts on a daily basis. Rather, it is more accurate to say that the American public distrusts scientists, rather than science itself. Scientists, however, should be consoled by the fact that they are disdained not for their work, but for being part of an undifferentiated mass of “experts” whom a fair number of Americans now view as, at best, a suspect political class, and, at worst, as an enemy.

There is an interesting intellectual sleight-of-hand here. Note that Tom starts off talking about science, then switches to the word expert. Scientist and expert do not mean the same thing. Neither, it should be noted, do Americans distrust scientists in all fields. It’s not a general hatred of science, it’s much more specific than that.

Tom is right on one thing, however. The ones who are disdained are subjected to this because they are seen as a suspect political class. It is the politics that engenders the hate, not reliance on the scientific method.

In one sense, this attack on the defenders of established knowledge was inevitable. It is not only fueled by an obvious culprit—the internet—but also by the unintended side effects of otherwise positive social changes. Universal education and increased social mobility, among other changes, have thrown America’s experts and citizens into direct contact after nearly two centuries in which they lived segregated lives and rarely interacted with each other. And yet the result has not been a greater respect for knowledge, but the growth of an irrational conviction among Americans that everyone is as smart as everyone else. To understand this, and to think about solutions, requires a deeper look at causes. Both the professional community and the public it serves bear some responsibility for our parlous condition.

Tom spoke before on how he thinks the Internet was actually a bad thing, because in his view, the proliferation of bad information on the Internet has given rise to a politically active class of idiot. He explained that he believes the media was better when it was in the hands of a few expert firms, and such clout was effectively denied to the layman. The rise of blogs like this one horrified him.

Trouble is, the layman may in many ways be uneducated, and not inclined to intellectualism. But that does not mean he is stupid. America doesn’t have a tradition of hating scientists, it has a tradition of hating tyrants. The layman may not know anything about climate statistics, ice sheets, the ozone layer, or a host of other things, but he may have the vague sense that he’s getting screwed, that he’s being taken advantage of. It is similar to when a man goes to the car dealership, and may not understand all of the arcane math spouted by the sales weasel. Indeed, the sales weasel may be far more intelligent. Yet the man still realizes the salesman is trying to screw him, and acts accordingly.

In other words, the average American is on the look out for a tyrant trying to sell him a lemon.

For its part, the American public is in the grip of a sullen, almost paranoid, narcissism about science and experts. This is not a function of education; the anti-vaccine movement, for example, is actually concentrated among parents with more education than their poorer counterparts.

The poor and uneducated do what they’re told. The middle class doesn’t. It’s been a bone of contention for a long time. The elite doesn’t like the middle class. Tom’s second statement here is borne out by the data… it isn’t the uneducated and stupid who are vaccine skeptics, generally. Saudi Arabia has only a 2% skepticism rate, and we’d hardly call it a bastion of high education, or particularly high IQ.

This actually contradicts his earlier implications that this is primarily driven by stupidity. It isn’t.

Instead, the public rejection of science is an extension of our politics, which in turn have become an expression of our constant outrage about everything that offends our deepest beliefs about ourselves. As social scientist David Dunning has put it: “Some of our most stubborn misbeliefs arise not from primitive childlike intuitions or careless category errors, but from the very values and philosophies that define who we are as individuals.” When those misbeliefs are challenged, laypeople take it not as correction but as a direct attack on their identity.

Now we get to it. This reminds me of the common atheist superiority complex, wherein an atheist believes himself to be superior and more intelligent because he isn’t so stupid as to believe in a sky wizard. To the atheist, God is misbelief. 

It’s funny to hear this sort of thing from social scientists – the same sort of folks who are going over to this idea of gender as an infinite spectrum rather than anything concrete. Tell a genderqueer androgynous person that this is all made up nonsense, misbelief in other words. Does that not get viewed (by them, as least) as a direct attack on their identity? The experts in social sciences have been spewing a lot of nonsense lately, things that are directly and easily contradicted by observation.

Now they are bothered when, suddenly, folks don’t trust them anymore?

The expert community, however, must shoulder some of the blame for the collapse of the relationship between science and the public. Experts often trespass across from empirical knowledge to normative demands—I am not without sin as an expert myself in this regard—and thus validate the suspicions of laypeople that the real goal of expert advice is to force compliance with expert policy preferences.

Well, at least he admits it.

The debate over climate change is a good example of this problem. Is the earth’s climate changing? Most experts believe it is, and they believe they know why. Whether their models, extrapolated out for decades and centuries, are accurate is a legitimate area for scientific debate. What experts cannot answer, however, is what to do about climate change. It might well be that Boston will be underwater in fifty years, but it might well also be that voters— who have the right to be wrong— will choose to shift that problem to later generations rather than to risk jobs (or comfort) now.

This is so stupid. “Is the Earth’s climate changing?” Of course it is changing. This is axiomatic, it categorically must be. The Earth is not static. When the experts say “the climate is changing” the proper reply is “duh!” This is why I hate the label “climate change.” It would be like calling weather forecasting “weather change” and acting like it’s somehow the mark of an intelligent man to say that the weather tomorrow will be different than the weather today. Duh! It also strikes the layman as a weaselly term. The layman knows that the climate will change, and may view the expert as hedging his bets. In other words, he may think the salesman is trying to screw him.

It doesn’t help that “fighting climate change” almost universally requires the government to take more of his money. It isn’t the science that bothers John Doe, it’s the potential for tyranny.

Now, as to making specific predictions, to say the climate will change in this direction, by this amount, and for these reasons… that’s a much more difficult ball of wax. As I’ve stated before, I essentially have no opinion, except that I don’t trust the government or the academic establishment, because I’ve caught them in many other lies.

And that goes back to why Tom’s appeal is likely to fall upon hearts of stone. The public has been lied to with such frequency that it is hard to trust anyone in a position of power anymore. Politics has always been a business of lies, but the last few decades have become much worse. Tom wants to blame the Internet for this.

I blame our “leaders” and their way of trying to piss down my back while telling me it’s raining.

Letting Boston slide into the harbor is not my preferred outcome. But experts cannot compel civic engagement, and they must accept that their advice, which might seem obvious and right to them, will not always be taken in a democracy that may not value the same things they do. The job of mediating those values and policies lies with elected officials, not with scientists or other experts. The knowers cannot—and in a constitutional republic, should not—be the deciders.

This is the sort of stupid, transparent rhetoric usually peddled by Leftists. Tom should be ashamed of himself. Sure, he admits the technocrats shouldn’t be the ultimate decision makers, but then makes sure to jab the stupid hoi polloi by implying they’d be fine letting Boston slide into the harbor.

Actually, with the way Boston votes these days, he might be right. Maybe they wouldn’t care. It would be like if the California coastline sunk into the Pacific, there’d probably be a party in middle America the next day. But that has nothing to do with climate change, per se.

Tom is making sure to tell us that it sucks that stupid people (i.e. people not like him, the anointed intelligentsia) get to make decisions.

At the same time, experts cannot withdraw from a public arena increasingly controlled by opportunistic demagogues who seek to discredit empiricism and rationality.

Tom is talking about Donald Trump here, of course. He can’t resist a dig at the President, either.

Instead, the expert community must help to lead laypeople, who find the modern world intimidating and even frightening, back along the road to a better day when the citizens of the United States valued scientists and other professionals as essential parts of the American story. Experts must continue, as citizens, to advocate for those things they believe to be in the public interest, but the most important role they can play is defend a stark but empathetic insistence on science and reason as the foundation for public policy.

In the end, Tom tells us that the experts must lead the laypeople, shepherding the flock of idiots who find the world intimidating and frightening. He then admits openly that America once valued these people (you know, back when Academia wasn’t the shining beacon of Marxist-Leninism and Social Justice weirdness). Earlier, you recall, he told us that America traditionally hates these people.

Which is it, Tom?

He tells us that experts shouldn’t make the decisions, but must advocate and lead the laypeople. Which is it, Tom?

I can only guess at what’s going on in his head, because he appears very conflicted and contradictory here. He doesn’t want to espouse open technocracy, to seize control openly. And yet he wants his chosen to lead the people nonetheless.

He fails to mention the real reason we are in this mess. Academia is full of loons and crazies. The education system is a disaster, and full of leftist agitprop. The experts in certain fields have been caught in egregious lies, obviously designed to serve a political narrative. Having been lied to about so many things, many Americans find it hard to trust those people.

And that’s what Tom’s experts (at least in those fields closely tied to Academia and government) need to address. Trust. They need to stop crying wolf, stop lying, stop trying to cloak wealth redistribution and globalization with a thin veneer of environmentalism.

The layman feels strongly that he’s being sold a false bill of goods by a fast-talking salesweasel. And quite often, he’s right on the money about that.

 

Food, Virtue Signalling, and Narcissistic Supply

Recently, there has been some foofarah over the President’s food preferences. Namely, he likes his steaks well done and slathered in ketchup. The horror! The utter, unmitigated gall of a man to order food the way he likes it!

You know, it’s funny. My father still orders his steaks well done, and I’ve never quite understood why. Medium rare to medium has always struck me as the best balanced steak. I really don’t care for a bloody mess on a plate, so rare and blue rare are right out. If I wanted that, I’d just go to the Serengeti, chuck a spear at some wild animal, and eat the flesh raw. But well done, indeed, cooks out much of the flavor. So, yeah. Balance. But what business is it of mine to harp on a man for what he likes to eat? It is enough that I’ve my own preferences, and another man has his.

Food virtue signalling, or more aptly, food snobbery has been a thing for a very long time. And like political virtue signalling, it is all about display one’s superiority over another based on some irrelevant metric. “Look at me,” says the narcissist, “I’m superior because I like my steak rare.”

Of course, it is not merely steak that has suffered this effect. Wine has traditionally been a strong bastion of snobbery, but the practice has moved to craft beer. Now, again, don’t get me wrong, I like craft beer. For the longest time, I thought I didn’t like beer, because I found Bud, Coors, and Miller Lite to be foul-tasting  beverage abominations. But therein lies the point: I found them foul. Another man might like them. Indeed, even today these beers sell like hotcakes. Obviously somebody likes them.

If the President wants a Bud Lite, get him a damned Bud Lite. And just because you drink Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA (which I also find foul, by the way, as it’s a totally overrated beer in my opinion) doesn’t mean you are a better man, or have a more “elevated” palate, or anything of the sort. Here’s a great video about the irritating nature of the new craft beer snob types that have been popping up in trendy bars around the country:

 

Some years back, I remember reading about a blind taste test of wines, and a number of Napa valley California wines beating out French wines among the French. Naturally, the French were angry about this. You can’t virtue signal your superiority if you’re just rating what tastes good. Or, put in simpler terms, the French taste testers couldn’t cheat and give their own a leg up.

There’s this thought today that, like correctness in politics, there is correctness in food and drink. There is an Overton Window for acceptable steak. There are some steak places I’ve been to where ordering a medium steak gets me a dirty look from the server. As if to say “how dare you order cooked food from our establishment.” Given that Donald Trump likes his steak well done, I’m sure he’s dealt with much worse over the years.

Folks act like Donald Trump is afraid to try new things, afraid to eat superior food, or some such. It’s lunacy. More than likely, he’s tried his steak other ways in the past, and just likes what he likes. After all, if you like your steak rare for whatever reason, you’ll deal with a lot less dirty looks and peer pressure. Just like, it should be noted, that if you like your politics Leftist, again, you will deal with a lot less hate for it.

cook-a-steak-blue-rare-medium-welldone-2

Rare has been deemed by the nameless food correctness authorities to be the *perfect* steak. Anything else is wrongthink.

 

This is past the point of ridiculousness. Not only must your politics be perfectly correct, according to some nameless, faceless, cultural authority, but your food and beverage choices must be also. Or else, as some outlets have implied, you are not qualified to be President.

I wonder, however, if the people who push such narratives of correctness even believe any of their own bullshit. Do people really prefer their steaks rare in such mass numbers? Or are a healthy percentage of them doing it because the snooty server at the fancy steak place will give you a dirty look if you order anything else?

How many craft beer snobs drink the beer for taste, and how many drink it because it’s trendy? I suspect a great many folks do this out of trendiness. When I went to Germany some years back, I noticed that some of my favorite German beers were incredibly cheap there. I filled up on beer, let me tell you. I remember walking through the aisle of a kiosk store there, and seeing bottled water selling for a higher price than some of the best beers in the world (again, in my opinion). Amusingly enough, German purity laws regarding beer probably meant the water in the beer was probably of better quality than the actual bottled water. But never mind that. I had a great time at the breweries and such.

But one thing that stood out to me was how normally the Germans regarded their beers. To them, this was just how beer was. If you wanted one, you drank one. People weren’t sitting around sniffing their glasses, or some theatrical bullshit like you see sometimes in American craft beer bars.

If you like your beer, you can drink your beer.

It was that way in America, once too. Sure, our beers were probably crappier in those days, but I do miss the idea that if you liked a certain kind of beer, nobody cared. I wonder if steaks were once that way too. Wines, of course, probably weren’t, but we can blame the French for that. Though if you read your Bible, you’ll notice how wine didn’t seem to be a big deal in Christ’s day. Certainly the Messiah didn’t see the need to sniff the cork and aerate the wine before doing whatever with it.

Most of this is just theatrics. Maybe more folks like their steak one way as opposed to another, and maybe more folks like this beer over that beer. But it’s not about that anymore. It’s about putting on airs of self-righteous indignation every time someone does something differently with their food and drink. It’s about saying “I’m better than you.”

For a bunch of Leftists who once tried to ride the wave of prole resentment into Communism, it’s something of an irony. Their behavior has much more in common with aristocratic disdain for the peasantry than any sort of “workers of the world unite” bullshit.

Apparently, you can have infinite number of genders, my friends, but you must order your steak only one way.

Stones are Hard, Water is Wet. Truisms are True.

This quotation from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a frequent citation on The Declination, for very good reasons:

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

One of the harder lessons in life is understanding how little you know, and how small you are in the grand scheme of things. The Dunning-Kruger effect describes the great confidence utter morons often have in their conclusions, and the corresponding uncertainty possessed by those of more advanced intelligence. The idiot often has greater certainty than the skilled and talented.

This uncertainty is commendable in many ways. A man might remain mentally flexible, able to modify his opinions and beliefs as new information is revealed to him. But this uncertainty can also be cynically exploited. You can lob facts at a moron all day, and nothing will pierce the dense armor of stupidity that surrounds him. But you can do likewise with carefully-calculated lies and expert debating techniques, and convince a smarter man that lies are truth, and truths are lies.

Water is not wet. Stones are not hard. Objects unsupported do not fall towards the earth’s centre.

Let us review this part of the quotation again:

His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer.

One thing became clear to me in the 2016 election. The enormous power arrayed against anyone with right-of-center views is too great to defeat in a framed debate. Questions were leaked to Hillary’s campaign, so as to give her an advantage. The media went from suspected bias to openly siding with Hillary’s campaign. Media collusion was revealed in the Podesta emails. The hatred of Trump was constant, the tears flowed from journalists live on television as Trump’s victory became certain.

Trump was accounted to have lost the first debate, and if he won the second, it was by a nose hair only. The third was accounted a Trump victory, though not one based on substance as much as style. Trump has a talent for pulling one-liners out of nowhere and landing surprising blows on his opponent. But it was more rhetoric than dialectic.

In a framed debate, the argument is seen only from the Leftist perspective. For instance, if we were to talk about welfare payments, the Left would demand that any Right-wing alternative should give even more to the poor. Otherwise, they say, you must hate the poor and want them to suffer. When Milton Friedman proposed a negative income tax as a replacement for welfare, Leftists loved the idea… so long as it wasn’t actually a replacement for welfare. Negative income tax plus the welfare state was something they considered to be a great idea. Milton Friedman, of course, was advocating no such thing. He wanted the massive welfare bureaucracy to go away and be replaced with a more efficient system with less overhead.

Nobody can even discuss the opportunity cost of the welfare state. For instance, could we have colonized Mars with that money? Or perhaps could we have cured cancer with it? What else could those billions have been used for, what benefits might we have realized? And how does that weigh against the results of the welfare system? It is entirely possible that America without the welfare state may have actually elevated the poor relative to their current position. But we’ll never know any of it. We can’t even discuss it without accusations of greed and hate being lobbed our direction.

Those questions cannot be asked in a Leftist frame. The welfare state is axiomatic. All that is allowed the discussion of how much more may be given to the poor, and where the money might come from. In the same manner, discussion of whether or not illegal immigrants should be permitted to stay, and which countries we deign to accept legal immigrants from, are not allowed in the Leftist frame.

All illegals must be given amnesty — citizenship would be most ideal — and as many immigrants from any country on Earth must be permitted to come to America. That is the Leftist frame. All that is open for discussion is how we can give them more money, more benefits, and how we can best elevate their lives. The lives of the existing citizenry are irrelevant. Nothing is allowed to be discussed, except how America can best give up its wealth to everyone else.

Government, media, entertainers, academics, and most of the gatekeepers, from HR departments to publishers all agree that no discussion that takes place outside of these bounds is to be permitted. The debate is framed this way, and so framed, it is nearly impossible to obtain victory. The argument essentially becomes a moral superiority contest within a narrow Overton window that is exclusively Leftist.

Try arguing, for instance, that individual choice and responsibility means anything to Leftists. To them, this is meaningless. Nothing is choice. All is fate. A Rightist might say, for instance, that homosexuality is a choice. Sure, he might say, there are probably genetic predispositions, and consequences from upbringing that make it much more likely. But ultimately, it still remains a choice.

To a Leftist, this is not only a point of disagreement, it is considered outright hatred. Of course a gay man was born gay, and has no choice in the matter. Of course the trans person was born trans. Everything is fate. To say otherwise is hateful and evil.

“It’s not my fault,” is the rallying cry of the Leftist.

Note that the Rightist point-of-view is not that homosexuality is necessarily an evil, but rather that it is a choice. In contrast to the common Leftist view of Rightists, individual freedom is paramount, but it comes with individual responsibility, too. In other words, if you want to be gay, then be gay. But if being gay means a church down the street doesn’t want to conduct a marriage ceremony for you, then too bad. It’s not like you didn’t know, it’s not like you didn’t have a choice.

See how that works? Leftism subtly removes choice from everything, then only permits debate within a framework that doesn’t allow for individual choice. It becomes mental masturbation at that point. It’s utterly useless, like my old back-and-forth debates with Merkur, to which I’m sure most of my readers can relate. We’ve all had a persistent Leftist or two in our time that argued this way.

As Orwell explained for us, the vast power arrayed against us is impossible to defeat conventionally.

And yet water is still wet! Truisms are still true. At least, insofar as one believes objective reality actually exists, insofar as one avoids the trap of solipsism, and the resulting descent into nihilism.

I’ve learned in recent years that to defeat this trap, you cannot allow the Leftist to frame the debate this way. You must force them to acknowledge that reality exists beyond their narrow, self-determined bounds. That not only do their decisions have consequences in the strictest sense, but they also have opportunity costs.

And if they can’t acknowledge this, they are either fools or liars. Oftentimes, they will be both.

But above all, you cannot allow yourself to fall into the moralizing trap, because their system of morality permits no free will on the part of any participant except the Leftist himself. It is solipsism.

Here is a great example of this in action. In my neighborhood, there is one village/street that was opened up to Section 8 housing some years ago. That one street quickly became full of ruffians, drug dealers, thieves and a number of such undesirables. Almost all crime in the neighborhood originated from this one place. Given the demographics of Section 8 usage, most of the offenders were blacks.

Now, we’ve some good blacks in the neighborhood. There’s a good family down the street, real nice folks. And a few others in the village across the main drag. So far as I can tell, none of them wanted the Section 8 people either. The phase I CDD managed to get it isolated and restricted through legal means (I’m not quite sure how – I’m no lawyer – I’m just glad it happened), so that the cancer would not spread. Meanwhile, an effort to remove the existing Section 8 allowances was pushed, to which even the black residents agreed (after all, blacks are more often victimized by other blacks)My own phase II CDD has never allowed it, thank God.

I remember discussing with Tom Kratman as to why things like this happened. If it wasn’t the blacks in the neighborhood agitating for Section 8 to be adopted in a good area… who was doing it? He said “it’s always the white liberals.” And he’s right. White liberals get stuck in this solipsistic do-gooder trap, wherein they don’t even see the Section 8 blacks as real people. They don’t even see their neighbors, white or black, as real people. They are seen, rather, as something akin to an NPC in an role playing game. A static thing which can be manipulated for personal political purposes, or just outright amusement. Chess pieces, only.

They have an image of what the demographic balance ought to be in their minds, and they go about making it happen, without any regard for the fact that all those involved are human beings, possessing free will of their own. And if you presume to debate them on the wisdom of this, you will be called a racist, or forced to debate the issue in the framework of what’s good for blacks who need Section 8 housing instead of what’s good for the neighborhood’s existing residents (white, black, and otherwise). In such a framework, only one answer is possible: cede the neighborhood to criminals and thugs, and let it become a ghetto. After all, it’s easy to argue that giving them nice houses for free is good for them.

All because a Leftist got it in his head that he wanted to change the demographics of his neighborhood, for whatever reason, personal profit, virtue signalling, do-gooderism, or just for the lulz.

Now extrapolate this to immigration and the welfare state as a whole, and you start to see how allowing Leftists to control the frame is not only stupid, but quite possibly suicidal. After all, if the CDD hadn’t struck down the Section 8 crap, I could have sold my house (probably at a loss, but hey, I could still sell it) and moved someplace else. But if your entire country is rendered into a third world cesspit, as are all other first-world nations, where will you go?

Taking the frame away from them right now is exceedingly difficult. I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you it was easy. Vast powers are arrayed against us. But in the end, Truisms are True.

Water is wet.

Hold on to that.

Media is Now Part of the Government

In a de facto sense, mainstream media and government have merged into a singular entity. They have become both the fourth branch and the fifth column, selling America on Marxism from within.

They are the enemy.

And it’s not just the latest character assassination that shows this, it’s the media themselves. They admit their role is to control the public, to tell them how to think and what to believe, not merely to report on the facts.

Francis at Liberty’s Torch explains:

Mika Brzezinski has committed a Kinsleyesque “gaffe.” Michael Kinsley defined that as an occasion on which a politician unwittingly tells the truth. I submit that the definition applies with equal accuracy to mask slippages among media figures.

 

The luminaries of the media really would like to control what you think, Gentle Reader. They aspire to the authority of Orwell’s Ministry of Love. That President Trump has denied them the homage they expect from the White House has evoked their counterfire. Not that that’s likely to have the effect they seek.

The Presidency is suppose to obey the press, to operate solely within the narrow Overton window constructed by manufactured public opinion. Not only is the press the fourth branch of government, at this point, it is supposed to be preeminent over the other three. Media consensus is supposed to turn legislation, check the President’s veto pen, and steer court rulings.

This is their job, as stated:

This is not surprising, except to note that it was admitted openly, which is usually taboo for them. The thing to note about the media is how inaccurate and disingenuous they can be. Pick a topic you are an expert in, any topic. Choose mechanical engineering, or Byzantine history, or theology. The subject doesn’t matter, so long as you are well qualified to speak on it.

Now, go look up media articles, hit pieces, videos, and otherwise on that particular subject. Note the level of inconsistency, the many lies, the spin, the incompetence and blatant, obvious errors.

Now, extrapolate that across the entire media and everything they do. Are you beginning to see it?

There used to be a detractor of mine that would comment here. And he’d often ask why, if I didn’t trust the media, I would post links to media articles here. Aside from the obvious answer, which is I often post the links to point out the lies, there’s a deeper reason.

For some bizarre reason, many Leftists actually trust the media. Perhaps this is because the media tells them what they want to hear, or perhaps they don’t really believe it, but merely use it as a cynical weapon. Whatever the reason, unless it’s sourced from AP, CNN, or some other such outlet, they don’t believe it. So when even one of those outlets is forced by the obviousness of the truth to report on something, it can be a fearsome weapon against them.

For example, even CNN admits the riots in Sweden are a thing. We all know they’d rather not.

If there was no Internet, no way for the hoi polloi to get the word out, I’ve no doubt that CNN would have buried it, or even outright denied it was happening. But even there, they will cast doubt, spin to the maximum of their ability, and try to manipulate public opinion in their favored direction as much as possible.

Sometimes they just lie, other times they tell the truth because they are forced to, but try to spin it as much as they feel they can get away with. Oftentimes, it’s a combination of both.

Either way, however, they cannot be trusted. They are the enemy, and Donald Trump is right to treat them thusly. He is reasserting the primacy of the elected government over the unelected bureaucracy and the de facto media branch, which has long been accustomed to unchallenged dominance.

For the court of manipulated public opinion needs no judge, nor jury of peers. Such a court needs neither evidence, nor witness, and, indeed, generally disdains both. Only the journalists seething hatred, the reporter’s smug sense of self-righteous superiority, is needed. “Believe me,” says the journalist, “for if you do not, I shall destroy you too.”

Character assassination has replaced the more literal variety. But the damage done to our country is much the same either way. Fortunately the weapon they wield cuts both ways, as it appears CNN shall soon discover.

The Media Strikes Back: Milo, Lies, and Videotape

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time discussing the matter of Milo’s supposed support of pedophilia, with both detractors and supporters. I am prepared to take my position on the matter. The fact is, you have to stand up for what you believe to be right and not let fear give your enemy power over you. The Alinsky manual itself instructs us:

Always remember the first rule of power tactics: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

We often ascribe to the media more power than it actually possesses, especially when we’re in a position where PR can make or break us. I’ve long known that I could have been much more successful if I had turned my coat, become a Benedict Arnold, and gone over to the Left. They like traitors, they worship the faithless and the easily corruptible.

I made the decision a long time ago that I would give up lies. You see, I was once a very accomplished liar, given over to dishonesty and self-aggrandizement. I was so good at it, I could fool myself. There were many reasons for this, and I don’t want to sidetrack this post by delving too deeply into them. But the day came when I couldn’t look myself in the mirror anymore. I didn’t like what I had become.

I swore honesty, for like the alcoholic who has given up liquor, and dispenses with the bottles, for the temptation is too great, lies were not safe for me. Not even the little ones. Especially the little ones.

So let’s lay this thing out with a respect for truth, something the lying, self-aggrandizing media has never had as long as I’ve been alive.

Did Milo kiddy-diddle? No. No evidence of this has ever surfaced, so far as I am aware. There are no chat logs of him discussing how he wants to rape his 8 year old cousin, such as in the case of Sarah “Butts” Nyberg. There are no accusers coming forth to say that he molested them. There are no convictions, or even court cases. Nothing. So the insinuation that he, himself, is a pedophile has no basis in fact, no evidence whatsoever. The insinuation is a subtle lie.

Did Milo defend pedophiles? No. Evidence exists that he did the exact opposite. He has exposed multiple pedophiles in the past, including the aforementioned Nyberg. Salon, one of the publications attacking Milo for this supposed behavior, has published many articles defending pedophilia, calling it a sexual orientation (something Milo has absolutely never done). People like Meryl Streep have given standing ovations to convicted pedophiles, like Roman Polanski. Do you really think any of this is based on principle? That the media has suddenly developed a conscience when it comes to molesting children?

They don’t care. They want Milo gone. And by extension, they want Trump gone.

Did Milo defend the practice of pedophilia in any way? No. I’ve reviewed the unedited video [the video has since been taken down – can’t imagine why] and Milo’s response. In both, it is clearly and emphatically stated that he has no problem with the age of consent, and does not condone pedophilia. Yes, in the same video he is purported to be supporting this behavior, he denies supporting it.

So what did Milo do wrong?

Well, he did make a mistake. In fact, he made several mistakes. Again, let’s be honest here.

First off, he went into too much detail about something that, quite honestly, we don’t want to know about. To be fair, part of this is his trolling, provocateur personality. But even so, most of us really don’t want to hear the gruesome details of gay sex. To be fair, I don’t want to hear the gruesome details from straight people. Folks like Lena Dunham ought to shut their yaps about this, too. But in this case, he definitely gave way too much detail. It got positively squicky.

Second, this issue became personal for him, because he was abused at a young age. So instead of it being a far away issue he could treat more objectively, it became a matter of emotion with him. I can’t blame him for this, mind you. But this is how the Left will destroy you. They will find a weak part of your psyche and subvert it. They will make you act with emotion instead of reason, they will infuriate you, and embarrass you.

Third, Milo apologized profusely for his poor choice of words. He should know better. There is no forgiveness to ever be had from the political Left. He did choose his words very poorly, mind you. There is no disputing that. But he should never have said I’m sorry. At best, he could have said “you know, I really shouldn’t have gone into so much gory detail, but you… you shouldn’t lie about what I said.”

But let’s be crystal clear, because I suspect even my readers are divided on this issue: you have done or said something that can be used to assassinate your character.

Again, for clarity: you have said things that the press could assassinate your character with. I guarantee it. Every single person reading this right now has said something which the press could twist into a knife and plunge into your gut. All of you.

You don’t need to like Milo, or approve of his behavior. In fact, I don’t approve of some of the outlandish things he’s done. The bathing in pig blood stunt was just weird.

Rather, what you need to realize is that the press is striking back against Donald Trump right now. It’s another Alinsky tactic. Three Alinsky rules are pertinent here:

No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough.

Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.“ Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

First, the media perused Milo’s work for a potential hot issue. The video in question was published on January 4, 2016. So they poured through his material looking for a hit piece, just like journalists drove all the way out to the sticks to find a pizza shop that didn’t want to cater a hypothetical gay wedding, in order to serve a narrative. They found a hot issue, and made it hot enough that Milo had to respond. Step one.

For step two, they went to the conservative right, who are largely Christian, and spun this story in a way to disgust them as much as possible. Like I said, they can do this to every single person reading my blog. Have you ever said something hasty to someone? Ever written anything controversial? Anyway, the media put pressure on the right to drop him, because, they say, here is a guy who doesn’t live up to your standards. Make it so the right destroys Milo. Then the media can wash its hands of the character assassination.

Now, in the larger picture, this is part of an effort to destroy Donald Trump. You see, the media has finally learned that Donald Trump can’t be destroyed via conventional media tactics. He has been dealing with them since the late 70s, he knows them, and he never backs down. He is a hardened target. They’ve tried frontal assaults, they’ve tried siege tactics, they tried to sneak in the back door, and nothing has worked.

This attack is the first smart thing they’ve done since the election.

But they can still isolate him by destroying all of his prominent supporters, one-by-one. The supporters are less hardened to media blitz than he is. And if his support dries up, his administration will be a fortress cutoff from the countryside. They can starve his administration and regain power in 2018 and 2020. Especially, it should be noted, if they manage to drive a wedge in the right wing in the meantime.

If Milo had diddled kids, I’d drop him immediately. If Milo defended kiddy diddlers, I’d drop him immediately. No evidence of either has been put forward. All we have is a hit piece constructed of cherry-picked quotes from an old video. Now, again, honesty here. I do think he made several mistakes here (but he’s human, it’s going to happen).  But is it really worth throwing him to the wolves for? Think about that very carefully, and know that you could be next. No, not could be, will be. If the media succeeds with this, they will keep doing it.

Don’t let the media isolate and freeze out targets this way. Throw the Alinsky manual back in their faces.

If you like Milo, do it for him. If you don’t like him, do it because you could be next. Never let the media get away with dishonest character assassination, even if the target is someone you have issues with. You cannot embolden them with such successes. Don’t support liars. Take it from one who learned better.

UPDATE: Milo has resigned from Breitbart. They got their scalp. They’ll be emboldened, now. I certainly hope that next time, we will fight instead of cave in.

In case anyone thinks this isn’t premeditated, note that Salon deleted their pro-pedo material before attacking Milo. It was a cynical, calculated political move. The tweet is still up, but it goes nowhere.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Evan McMullin confirms his involvement with this whole affair: https://twitter.com/Evan_McMullin/status/833863025434251264

The Press is the Enemy

Love or hate Donald Trump, one of the reasons he managed to win the election was that he spoke a truth we’ve all known for quite some time now, but which few others were willing to say openly: the press is the enemy of the American people. It’s a sad state of affairs, and indicative of the descent into technocratic government.

Some time ago, one of my readers linked a post of mine on Free Republic. He suggested my blog was worth following, for which I can only express my gratitude. But another individual immediately lambasted the original poster with “oh, you follow blogs? I feel sorry for you.” It was the sort of self-absorbed, arrogant snark you usually see in places like the Democratic Underground. When it was pointed out to him that the press is blatantly corrupt, and cannot be trusted, he fired back with an insinuation that at least the press is better than amateur bloggers.

To be fair, I am not a trained journalist, nor am I even a trained author. My readers have probably noticed errors here and there, and in all likelihood I will continue to make those boneheaded mistakes from time-to-time (I count on my readers to let me know when this happens, of course). But regardless of my own errors, at least it can be said that I am not an enemy of America, her culture, and her way of life.

The intrepid anti-blog freeper missed that point. No matter how much training the technocrats in government and media receive, we cannot trust them. They are no longer reporters of facts, they are agents of propaganda as dishonest and skewed as the editors of Pravda.

Blogging is relatively popular in the right-wing world, not necessarily because we are the best, or the most highly trained professionals, but because most of the highly trained professionals have stopped doing journalism at all. They are pure propagandists, at this point. The market had a demand for news that was either unslanted, or slanted the other direction in a sort of compensation for the blatant left-wing agitprop spewed 24/7 from the major news outlets (Fox possibly excepted).

In other words, the proliferation of bloggers like myself is due almost entirely to the media not performing its own stated function. Some time ago, Tom Nichols and I got into it over whether or not the public ought to be informed about unclassified material. Tom took the position that it was better to keep as much as possible out of the public eye, because the public is too stupid, and decisions are best left to the experts.

Tom isn’t even a Leftist, but he is a technocrat. And his default position is trust the experts. He used the example of airline pilots. Certainly we trust them, right? The comparison was all wrong. Airline pilots are observably good at their jobs. We can see their record, and determine that for the most part, they do a wonderful job. The media, on the other hand, is observably bad, and in many cases intentionally so. We can see it in our own lives, when they misreport everything with a political spin. But some people still believe it is better to trust them because they are the experts? It doesn’t make any sense.

Francis, at Liberty’s Torch, explains that you shouldn’t accord this respect to one who is observably your enemy:

Your enemy is, by definition, someone who wishes you ill. He intends your subjugation or destruction. If you’re sane and possess appropriate self-regard, your objective is to prevent him from attaining his objective. By implication, his opinion of you should be utterly unimportant to you.

Politicians and commentators in the Right have utterly missed that implication.

Contrast the behavior and statements of figures on the Left and the Right these past few decades. I posit that the Left has made its intentions plain at every step. Leftist politicians and spokesmen have never feared to wound persons on the Right, whether by word or by deed. Yet the Right has behaved, spoken, and written as if the most important of all its desiderata is not to offend the Left or its allegiants.

Francis doesn’t explicitly connect this behavior to the media in his post, but given their obvious left-wing bias, the implication is there. The media doesn’t like you. They wish you ill. If they could dispose of right-wing America with a wave of their hand, they would do it without hesitation. Their contempt for you is open and obvious.

Take a look at this piece of drivel from the chief foreign correspondent at ABC News.

He’s taking a petty and completely idiotic jab at Trump for the way he has chosen to decorate his office. Presumably Trump is busy, you know, doing the job for which he was elected. These sort of nitpicking jabs are one of the media’s chief weapons, finding some small thing which they can use to deliver a passive-aggressive barb at their chosen target.

In case you think I’m cherry picking (I’m not, I see these things almost every time I go to a mainstream media site), here’s a great series of headlines:

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Here’s another great example:

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On the off chance that you thought this didn’t apply to sports and hobbyist reporting. Gamergate should have disabused you of this notion with how video gamer journalists treated their own demographic, but still…

And another one:

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Gee. I wonder why he doesn’t like you?

And the amusing contradictions are legion:

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Sure, two different authors. But this *is* pretty funny nonetheless.

See, Donald Trump is right about one thing. The media is the enemy. I’m not quite sure how this happened, except to reference back to my previous post on Ideological Subversion. It is clear most of them have been subverted in the manner Yuri Bezmenov explained.

And so, they are now opposed to the idea of America, to its culture, its way of life, and, indeed, Western civilization entirely. You can count on them to be strongly dismissive of Christianity, and embracing of Islam, because Christianity is a feature of the West, and Islam is generally opposed to it. They will harp on white people for the most minor of quibbles, and excuse the actions of individuals of other races (provided, of course, the members of those races don’t become “contaminated” with right-wing ideas), because the West was European in origin. They celebrate other cultures, while denying us the right to do likewise (they call this cultural appropriation), or to even embrace our own.

Liking your own culture is bigotry, white supremacism, cisnormative heteropatriarchy, or a host of other ills and buzzwords. The specific allegations don’t matter. The fact that they are peddled by the ‘experts’ in the media does matter.

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Basket of Deplorables… and now schmucks. These people don’t like you.

I’ve had my issues with Donald Trump, and no doubt I will continue to have them. But on this matter, he is 100% correct, and conservatives ought to take note. The media is your enemy. They don’t merely disagree with you, they hate you. You are a basket of deplorables. You are bigots. You are the whitelash (even if, paradoxically, you are not white). You are stupid hicks, fundie Christian loons, or whatever else they might come up with.

They see you as the enemy. You ought to see them as the same. And, having done so, the advice of Francis Porretto is important to digest and understand fully.

No, I am no expert. But the experts are liars, and once a man has demonstrated his dishonesty, there is no reason to trust him on anything. This is something Tom Nichols and other technocrats, like the guy on Free Republic, criticizing the whole notion of blogs, don’t really understand.

And so, like it or not, us bloggers must do what we can. We won’t always get it right, but it can at least be said most of us don’t deliberately try to mislead you. We don’t lie to you, or hate you, or regard you as our enemy. And when we get it wrong, we’ll fess up to the mistake and try to learn from it.

And that’s better than the alternative, is it not?

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