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.

 

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.

RadFems, Cenobites, and the Lament Configuration

Folks, this post is going to be a doozy. It’s been rattling around in my brain for a very long time, and I finally feel that the time is right to post it. For this, I will blame the esteemed Tom Kratman, who accidentally reminded me of it in a conversation earlier. It’s going to be long, and dark, and go into places the human psyche is not always comfortable in. I have faith my readers can weather it, but if you’ve any question… now is the time to check out. Take my warning seriously, here.

In the manosphere, the various hodgepodge collection of sites emphasizing a return to masculinity for men, I encountered a comment some years ago which stuck with me. In it, a man who had been banging a number of women lamented that every woman he encountered was a Cenobite, one of Clive Barker’s seekers of pain through pleasure. They would say “choke me until I pass out, hit me, spank me until I bleed, cut me…” They would demand ever-greater excesses, because they were unable to feel pleasure if it did not include pain. He didn’t care — all he wanted was to get laid, so he’d do whatever they asked of him — but he didn’t understand why women were this way, or why he could find so few who weren’t like this. He seemed to have a sense that things were not always this way.

In my DJ career, I have spent a great deal of time in communities and scenes that normal folks would regard as underground. For many years, I DJed BDSM parties, Fetish events, and the like. I’ve DJed warehouses and clubs with no names, buried in the wreckage of abandoned industrial parks. The marketplace of sex is one which I know exceedingly well. I’ve been DJing these scenes for the better part of 20 years.

To quote Blade Runner, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

As that commenter lamented, so I’ve seen first-hand. These SJWs, the radical feminists who spend their lives fighting the Patriarchy? They come to my clubs to be beaten senseless on crosses, chained to them by men dressed in uniforms very reminiscent of the Nazis. Yes, it’s a thing, as anybody who has ever been to a Goth club can attest. They demand to be tied up, burned, bruised, and battered.

Go on social media, and you will see SJWs telling us that Nazis are everywhere, that they are evil, and foul, and legion. They are in the White House, they are on Youtube, they are on Twitter, they are in Video Games. Nazis, everywhere. And so they march out into the streets, the Black Bloc, Antifascists engaging in what Tom Kratman calls a bit of political theater (not unlike Fascists once did).

But at the end of a long week of fighting the cisnormative heteropatriarchy, they come to be beaten by men dressed as Nazis, to the gritty beats of loud Industrial music in the depths of an Industrial park.

And what’s more, RadFems have come to resemble these very same Cenobites, covered in piercings, dyes, and tattoos, such that the difference between Hellraiser’s Pinhead and the average denizen of Slut Walk is minimal at best. And then they say “I’m a slut, but that doesn’t mean I consent.”

pinhead1

Go to any Slut Walk, I guarantee you’ll see worse.

Then, off they go to have simulated rape, to cry “yes Daddy” to the men they hate, after a day of fighting the Patriarchy in the streets.

Now they will say there is a difference, that it’s all okay because they consented to it. They came to the club. They asked for it. And it is true, to some extent. There are rules in such communities. But why, if you hated a thing so much would you come to love its reflection so deeply?

There is something deep here, some psychological damage present in the West, such that we, as an entire civilization, have lost the ability to take pleasure in anything, and have merely exchanged pleasure for pain in everything we do. Pleasure has lost its novelty. We are like Slaanesh in the Warhammer 40k world.

Where once we celebrated achievement, putting a man on the moon, inventing, building, and learning… now we celebrate victimhood in a form of emotional sadomasochism. Everything is about being made to feel bad. Imagine coming to work in the morning, chugging your cup of coffee, seeing a friend and saying “hey, how’s it going?” Said friend responds cheerfully and happily, “oh, it’s been going horrible, I got run over by a bus, and discriminated against by HR, catcalled by a thug, and my house burned down then got sucked into a tornado! How’s it with you?”

It’s almost that ridiculous.

If you walked on the moon, check your privilege, because I’m a bigger victim than you. If you cured AIDS, fuck you, you were privileged because you’re white, or have a penis. They will say things like, oh you want to know what challenge is, Mr. Quantum Physicist? Challenge is trying to make it in STEM when you’re mentally ill, bipolar, on meds, when you’re a genderqueer black Hispanic Muslim lesbian from Somalia. Who got sucked into a tornado.

Forget curing cancer, cure racism, they say.

And then they, too, go to the club and get beaten by the guys with floggers and chains. Business has never been better, let me tell you.

I see it everywhere. I see women spurning “lesser” men, finding the most intimidating, scarred, barbaric thug on the dance floor and making out with him all night, and it hits me. I see barbaric men starting fights over stupid shit, and everybody drinking until they can’t see or walk straight, filing out of the club at 3AM to try and crawl their way home. This is our entire civilization right now. These people are in power, and are doing on a meta level exactly the same sort of thing I see from my DJ booth.

They scoured the world for the most barbaric and twisted belief systems they could possibly find, and said “come to our home. Beat us. Be our Nazis.” Islam, certainly, can do that well enough. It is more than willing. And so they come, hordes of men mostly (why bring the women and children in such a circumstance?).

The Cenobites are at the helm of our civilization, and they solved the Lament Configuration, and are taking us to the dimension where pleasure and pain are meaningless distinctions. Choke me, hit me, tie me to a cross and stone me to death, Islam. Kill me in the streets.

Then they can be a better victim, to achieve even less than they do now, to achieve negative achievement, to actually rollback civilization, to be nothing more than burka-clad objects, who can’t read, or write, or drive an automobile.

These RadFems don’t want less Patriarchy, they want more Patriarchy. They don’t want less Nazis, they want more Nazis. A civilization full of weak-minded fools has broken them, somehow. Deprived of any form of constructive masculinity, people have gone out to seek it among the barbarians. Better a Mohammed than a boy-man who thinks his gender is an Oscar Meyer wiener. You could sell them to a Saudi prince as a sex slave, and they’d experience true joy.

Was this how Rome fell, all those years ago? Some poor asshole solved the Lament Configuration, and out popped Alaric and his merry band of Visigoths?

I’ve recognized local protesters at the club, submitting to a guy who served in the sandbox and took a few rounds for his trouble. He’s everything they should hate, a big scary Right-wing man with guns who’s seen the shit and has that stare that says don’t fuck with me in spades.

And they are all over him — this man who, by rights, should be their ideological enemy. But it doesn’t matter to them. Just like all this drama about fascists and Nazis doesn’t matter to them and never did. It’s theater. Anything to feel good at this particular moment. It’s a way to get in the 11 o’clock news, to be seen saying and doing the right things, before spending the night drinking, smoking, shooting up, and partying.

Maybe, even spending part of it chained to the cross, or beaten, cut, and choked.

Do you think it is an age thing? Let me disabuse you of this right now. The club isn’t the same as you see on TV. There are young 20 years olds, and old cougars. There are young men and old men, and everything in between, and in no particular ratio I can discern.

They all do it. I’ve recognized men of stature, wealth, and power. Millionaires and paupers. And I’ve seen thugs from the ghetto, and financiers of renown… all there, all in the same place, all doing the same things.

And do I care? Not personally. This is a job, and to be honest, some of the people who go to these places are good and fine people, and I get along with them famously. But that’s not the problem here, that’s not the contradiction. People who find a thing they like, even if normal folks regard it as twisted, aren’t the issue.

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?

Or, perhaps since they are good Communists, they will summon the spirit of Lavrentiy Beria to do the deed? The Left has a history with this sort of thing, after all.

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.

They are Cenobites who have lost entirely the ability to distinguish between pain and pleasure anymore. But what’s worse, they’ve lost the ability to distinguish the real and the unreal. Some of them don’t even know what gender they want to be, much less actually are. Another will say she has the soul of a kitty-cat. It’s solipsism in the extreme. What happened yesterday didn’t exist, and what will happen tomorrow will never exist.

Leftism has always had a fascination with erasing history in the Orwellian manner. So much the better if you don’t even believe history exists, or that yesterday ever mattered at all.

Only today, the moment, exists at all. Only the feelings of right now matter at all. There is no right and wrong, no pain and pleasure. Only present experience. It’s beyond Fatalism, which tells us that individual choice doesn’t matter, doesn’t really exist, that all such is illusion. They have gone beyond this, in that nothing objective exists.

So today, they want to pretend to be a superhero punching Nazis, and tomorrow they change their minds and want to go on a drinking binge in the club district and find the most Nazi-like human they can, and have sex with him. They are all heroes of their own little fantasy narratives, like every song is a personal movie soundtrack, and every event is a momentous struggle. Hailing a taxi cab is the equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge, getting up the stairs in a drunken stupor is the evacuation of at Dunkirk, losing weight is a quest Jason and his Argonauts would fail.

I guess burn more calories than you eat isn’t as dramatic as a quest to the ends of the Earth.

A poop swastika splattered on the wall of a University bathroom is a racial struggle reminiscent of the Million Man March. Enforcing border security is the same as Auschwitz. Donald Trump is literally Hitler. PewDiePie is a fucking Nazi. Calling an obese woman fat is the same as stoning them to death for being raped. Making a sexual joke is literal rape. Abortion is sacred, but everything we do is For the Children ™.

You can’t interrupt the narrative, the struggle in their own heads.

And meanwhile, Islamists stream across the borders of the West in numbers, and bring with them a culture that countenances the very same thing they claim to oppose, but seemingly want in secret, behind closed doors.

Why yes, she says, I will cover my head and body for you, my Islamist master.

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Sweden’s Feminist government that don’t need no man, and fuck the Patriarchy, submitting to actual patriarchs.

I said, once, that much of the decline of the West could be seen from my DJ booth, and I wasn’t bullshitting you. There you can see the fruits of a society at war with itself, unsure of its own direction, helmed from the highest spires of Academia and government by solipsistic lunatics, hell-bent on destroying their own lives, and ours along with them.

My father is fond of saying that the time will come when evil is called good, and good is called evil. But today, we have a people who appear to be unable to even tell the difference, because they are no longer grounded by a belief in objective reality at all. It feels good, in that particular moment, to submit to Islam, and so they do it. There is no other reason. No good or evil.

The rationalizations all come later, after the decision is made and the thing is done.

They come to my clubs for the same reason.

I’ll see them again on Saturday.

Ideological Subversion

Many of my readers have already seen Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov’s videos on ideological subversion, but on the off chance some of you have not, take a gander at this:

The stereotype of the KGB was that of a spy agency, a sort of spook counterpart to the CIA. But in reality, their primary weapon was ideological subversion, the deconstruction and brainwashing of a people, such that they can no longer come to sensible conclusions about anything. To use a modern and practical example, the human species has two genders, male and female, and an exceptionally small number of individuals who have very specific physical abnormalities (XXY/Klinefelter syndrome, for instance), who possess traits of both to varying degrees. Another small subset of individuals have a desire to be the opposite gender, but they were nonetheless born male, or female.

Ideological subversion has set into the culture to such a great degree, that stating the simple truth that there are only two genders is enough to incur the wrath of most of Academia, and one of America’s two major political parties.

You’ll notice that in this short video, Yuri places a timetable on ideological subversion, and this timetable is fixed around generations of students. Infiltration of Academia is how the KGB initially demoralized and subverted the American system. Now of course the KGB is gone now, and whatever Putin’s KGB past and Russian nationalistic ambitions, he does not appear to be behind the ideological subversion taking place today. Indeed, the previously-subverted are the ones most likely doing the subversion today, like a mad scientist project gone haywire.

The students subverted back in the 1960s still occupy many positions of power today, but they are falling by the wayside. Today’s academics are arguably worse  than the generation that preceded them. Yuri explains that they are programmed to think and react in certain ways, to certain stimuli. They are trained like Pavlov’s dog. When someone cries “racist” they are trained to initiate a Maoist struggle session. When someone cries “rape” they are trained to believe the accusation in the face of all available evidence to the contrary. Virtue signalling is the method by which they communicate and relay relative status, and their position in the Progressive hierarchy.

To quote Yuri: “the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible.” You can’t reason with them anymore, because they don’t listen to reason. They listen to virtue signalling, to NewSpeak. It is instructive to view them as speaking an almost entirely different language. Communication is extraordinarily difficult. Conversion is impossible.

They are useful idiots, however. Yuri also tells us that when these people see the true fruits of equality and social justice, they will revolt. The subverters know this. The people in power will want to dispose of the idiots as soon as they are finished with us. They are a tool of the enemy, no more, no less.

Sadly, Yuri was ultimately proven to be correct. Though the Soviet Union collapsed of its own internal contradictions, the ideological subversion of the United States was already largely complete. That is why, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Marxism still commands such great respect from the Left and has, in many ways, become much more virulent than it was in Reagan’s day. The infection is even within us, dear readers. I will provide some psychological examples for you.

When I say “nationalist” what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most Americans, nationalism is tainted by Nazism. Any mention of nationalism brings up images of fascists, and genocidal maniacs, and racial supremacists. Why? Nationalists, i.e. people who love their country and its people, have been around since the dawn of civilization. Nationalism is neither inherently good, nor evil. It merely is. Certainly it can be used for evil purposes, as the Nazis did. But it can also be used for good purposes, as used by the patriots of the American Revolution. Yet the word is irrevocably tainted. That is ideological subversion at work. Pride in your country brings feelings of guilt, for things you have never done, nor would ever countenance yourself.

When the accusation of racism is leveled at a person, the first instinct is usually defensive in nature. It is to attempt to prove that you are not guilty of the charge. You might point to a friend of the race in question, or in one of my friend’s cases, his very own wife. And then you say “see, I can’t be a racist, because I genuinely like these people.” No, this is ideological subversion at work. The charge should be dealt with in the exact opposite manner. One ought to say “prove it! Prove your claim that I am racist.” They’ve no proof — they almost never do. The accusation is a political weapon designed to discredit you. Alternatively, you can also respond as I’ve suggested in the past with “fuck you.” That works, too. Francis at Liberty’s Torch, has suggested saying something along the lines of “well, by your definition, fine, I’m a racist. Now what?”

Being defensive plays into their hands, for they can say “see, he feels bad, that’s why he’s being defensive about it, more evidence that he’s a racist!” Saying “prove it” won’t work on them and their ilk, of course. But it will work for those who are not entirely subverted. Those who still adhere to the concept of innocent until proven guilty will get it right away.

Nonetheless, the guilty feeling, the horror at being called a racist, is a form of ideological subversion. You don’t want to be seen as one, because the culture at large has told you how horrible it is, and so you do everything you can to not appear racist. This is a weapon that was tried on me very recently.

The thing to understand here, is that when you feel a sort of guilt or revulsion when you know you shouldn’t — because you are not guilty of the crimes in question — that’s probably ideological subversion at work. This is everything from your school teachers to mass media attempting to control your thinking, to make you question your own beliefs at an emotional level rather than a rational one, while applying no such critique to theirs.

The thing that still confuses me, however, is the end goal. Yuri was worried it would be a prelude to Soviet attack through more direct means. Obviously that is no longer a possibility. Yet we are seeing the destabilization right now, the unprecedented resistance to Trump’s administration. We see even semi-serious calls for secession in places like California.

So who is waiting to take power, should Trump fail? Thoughts?

Technocrats and the Worship of Intelligence

Consider this post to be something of an expansion on the concept of the Brahmandarins. Technocracy is one of those things which sounds perfectly good on the surface, but can lead to absolute tyranny in short order. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, technocracy is, in essence, rule by technical elites. For instance, your media would be run by trained, credentialed journalism experts. Politicians would be groomed and educated to be leaders from an early age. You could not, for instance, be President if you did not attend the proper schools, earn the proper certifications, and demonstrate a certain set of requirements, like IQ, or perhaps an impressive set of grades in your debating classes.

Climate scientists would run the departments dealing with weather and climate change. Rocket scientists would own NASA, and determine how it should be funded in consultation with the banking experts. The bankers, of course, would run the monetary system and determine appropriate levels of taxation and redistribution.

shape_of_things_to_come_dust_jacket

In The Shape of Things to Come, H.G. Wells describes the Dictatorship of the Air, a prototype for technocracy. He was rather more bullish on the idea than I am.

Naturally, none of these technical elites would need to consult with you and I on these matters. If you are not one of the elite, you would need to be quiet and accept the rulings of your superiors.

The flaws in technocracy are very obvious, to any who care to see them. First and foremost is the matter of trust. Even if we were to concede that the trained, technically-minded elites were better than the hoi polloi, how could one be assured that they were not pulling the wool over the people and taking advantage of them? After all, just because you’re intelligent doesn’t mean you’re honest.

Similarly, being able to design and build rocket ships does not confer upon you the ability to manage and run organizations of rocket scientists. It’s a known problem among STEM folks, and a problem I suffer from personally, that technical ability and management ability are often mutually exclusive. I couldn’t manage brothel in Thailand with a US Navy aircraft carrier in port. But I can write and engineer software all day long. The intelligence and talent I possess is suited for certain things, and ill-suited for other tasks. Nobody would ask me to be a therapist, that’s for sure.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, technocracy denies a voice to the peasantry. We’ve tried that before. We call it feudalism and those feudal elites were called nobles. They knew themselves to be more intelligent and better-suited for leadership than those dirty plebs. Why, they could afford a costly scholarly education for their children, when desired, and the rag-wearing farmhands could not. And there was the Divine Right of Kings to consider, also.

What prompted this screed? Tom Nichols posted a long-winded series of tweets about how he is irritated that the Internet exists, and gives voice to people he regards as stupid. Observe:

I can’t really escape the conclusion that for most people, the internet has been a bad thing. In many ways. I was in my 20s when the internet arrived, and I loved it. Especially the way it could link me to other scholars and resources. And the internet, like gunpowder or nuclear energy is a boon. Except in the hands of people who misuse it. Which is nearly everyone.

His Twitter series begins by explaining that while scholars like him can properly use the Internet, it’s bad in the hands of nearly everyone else.

It’s made the world smaller, sure, but mostly to create less distance for bad information to travel and nuts to find each other. It’s also been the spark for an epidemic of relative deprivation that is destabilizing our democracy. It’s also encouraged our worse impulses. The internet’s dark side has likely broken up more relationships than whiskey and cards. And instead of democratizing information, it’s created a buyer’s market for stupidity delivered at the speed of cable.

Tom explains that the Internet has broken up more relationships than whiskey and cards. This is something I find fascinating, because so far as I can tell, no evidence exists for that. Surely, if Tom is right, we would see a spike in the divorce rate around the time Internet usage became widespread. Take a look at this chart, do you see a spike around that time?

us_divorce_and_marriage

If Tom’s hypothesis is true, we should see divorce rates skyrocket around the late 90s to early 2000s. We see nothing of the sort. I’m just armchair quarterbacking here, but my thought is the phenomenon Tom talks about, things like pornography, cheating sites like Ashley Madison, social media leading to the reigniting of old flames… all of that is counterbalanced by easily-available marital and relationship advice, dating sites that allow people to select from a wider pool, and other boons. Thus the trend that already existed before the Internet more or less continues.

This makes you wonder. Is it possible Tom is then wrong about the proliferation of bad information? Or, rather, that the bad information is counterbalanced by easier access to good information?

Do I think people were better off having to read a book and only having 4, 10, or even 15 channels? Yes. It’s even made us (including me) phobic about being out of touch with each other for just minutes. (WHERE’S MY PHONE?!) No quiet time. So, while I love the internet, I think it’s been a dangerous, anti-social development in an affluent society that can’t handle it. And yet, here I am, because this is the new public space. For better – or mostly – worse.

Tom is telling us that the world was better when a few media giants had exclusive control over the flow of information. Major publishers decided what books would be published, and what was permissible for authors to say. Major media outlets decided what was news, and what wasn’t. They decided which opinions were sanctioned, and which ones were wrongthink. Everything you saw, read, or heard was carefully screened by technocrats.

However, the phobia he speaks of is a real phenomenon, mind you. This obsession with being constantly connected has had detrimental effects. People can’t put their phone down. They can’t close the social media window. This is the trouble with folks like Tom Nichols, and technocrats in general. They are right about some things, even a great many things, and so stock is placed in their opinions and expertise. The best lies contains elements of verifiable truth, the better to hide the lie. But is it possible this flaw, like the others noted above, might also be counterbalanced by something else?

Fact is, the Internet is my area of expertise, not his. I’ve been writing software and building websites and applications since the mid-90s. I see the user research data. I built user interface layers by the hundreds (maybe more? Hard to remember them all now). So by the logic of the technocrats, by Tom Nichols’ own commentary on the death of expertise, he ought to listen to me on this.

The Internet is a vast and complex system, and its ad hoc nature makes it very difficult to make the kind of judgments he’s making. It would be like saying cars are bad, because of stupid drivers, car accidents, pollution, etc… Cars certainly impose costs, but they also supply benefits. Would people be driving them so often if the costs were truly greater than the benefits?

The same holds true for the Internet. I once opined that Gibbon had to spend a lifetime travelling Europe to do research for his opus The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire. It was, quite literally, a life’s pursuit. Today, the research for such a work could be conducted on your Kindle. You could find, purchase, and download books instantaneously. Many of those books may have been denied by major publishing houses for various reasons. Perhaps the author was not politically correct, or perhaps his particular conclusions were not in vogue at the present moment. Or perhaps they were blatantly incorrect, but the researcher wants to highlight the bad data so as to better show the good.

Either way, Gibbon would have loved the Internet.

Tom Nichols can pine for the restoration of the old gatekeepers, the highly-placed technocrats who determine what may be said, and where. He can imagine himself as an arbiter for the flow of information. But all the pining in the world will not bring them back. They are gone, and for better or worse, Tom needs to get used to this idea. And truly, it’s not a bad thing, overall. At worst, it is neutral. But I, for one, believe it to be a great boon.

Virtue Signalling: Game Theory’s Cheat Code

So I have returned from my short little vacation, a free trip to Las Vegas, gambling mecca extraordinaire. Of course, I’m not inclined to gamble, because the house always wins in the end. But we had a great time going to some shows, meeting some old friends, and enjoying the break from work.

Nonetheless, the gambling environment is instructive in human nature. People know that they will lose money, they know the odds are stacked against them, and they play anyway. Even if the house advantage is razor slim, as in Black Jack, repeated often enough the house still wins.

Democracy in America operates under a similar principle. The primary purpose of a biased media is not to prevent a right-wing victory per se, but rather to give the house (the Democrats) better odds. The same is true of our Leftist education establishment, celebrity figures spouting mealy-mouthed Marxist platitudes, and so on. Even now, with desperate plays by Jill Stein to force recounts in the Rust Belt, and with SJWs harassing Republican electors and fantasizing about the electoral college putting up John Kasich as an alternative… we are seeing nothing more than last minute, desperate plays by the house to recover from a loss they didn’t expect.

Yes, the house always wins the war in the end. But they still lose individual battles, individual hands, and this one cost them big time. You might even look at Donald Trump as a card counter. He knew the game the house plays, because he was part of the house.

So full media, education, and cultural control is sufficient to give the house an advantage, but not enough of one. Certainly not enough to bankrupt us as quickly as they would prefer. So another means was identified and created in recent years: Virtue Signalling.

If you are familiar with Game Theory’s Prisoners’ Dilemma, you know that the ideal result for the individual is to betray while the other sucker confesses. But the ideal result for both as a whole is to cooperate, and for each to receive very little punishment.

prisoners-dilemma

The numbers used often vary, but here is the basic matrix.

Virtue Signalling is the cheat code to Game Theory. It is how politicians, SJWs, and other assorted tyrants on planet Earth have managed to short-circuit the rational self-interest of people in Western countries. It uses political correctness as a bludgeon with which to force you into a default state of “cooperate”. Knowing that you will usually choose “cooperate” due to political pressure, they are then free to “defect” whenever they wish, leaving them with all the benefits, and you with all the costs.

It would be like playing poker where you had to show your hand (because Social Justice, or whatever excuse is in fashion at the moment), and the other player could keep his hand secret.

It must have been a consistent problem for tyrants throughout history. How do you get a theoretically democratic populace to vote consistently against their own rational self-interest, and in favor of your own? Control of education was one natural step, of course. If you fill the heads of impressionable young people with Communist “end of history” claptrap, they can be counted upon to vote your way for a while out of ignorance, at least. But reality quickly intrudes…

The quote falsely attributed to Churchill (it may have actually originated with Edmund Burke) explains for us:

If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.

So propagandizing education only works for a while. Virtue Signalling political correctness is a much more consistent weapon, because it can also be used against people who know better, but are merely afraid to speak up due to the probable consequences to career, family life, and friendship.

You better show your poker hand, pleb, or else you’re an evil-mean-bad person, and you’ll lose your job. Virtue Signalling is your warning that you are treading too close to “defect” and you better “cooperate”. No such restriction applies to the other side of the bargain.

Virtue Signalling forces a default setting of “Keep Faith” even when the person knows they will be betrayed. It forces “Keep Faith” with mass Islamic immigration even when most terror comes from an Islamic source. It forces “Keep Faith” even when illegal immigrants and Islamic migrants bring in diseases previously eradicated in America, when many use the people-smuggling routes for drugs, weapons, and cartel activities. It forces “Keep Faith” with thugs, criminals and malcontents.

Why? Because anything other than Keep Faith is hate, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, otherkinphobia, and whatever bigot buzzword bonanza the SJW Left decides is the cause-of-the-minute.

At this point, I cannot conceive of anything that any Leftist victim group could possibly do that would diminish them in any way in the eyes of the Left. If Islamists nuked an American city, they would still say that Islam is a religion of peace. If a repeat of the LA riots occurred, and another Reginald Denny was pulled out of his truck and beaten near to death, the sympathies of the Left would still be with the poor, disenfranchised thugs, not the truck driver, who would still be accounted as having white privilege. And if a woman raped a man (yes, it is possible), radical feminists would celebrate the crime as a great step forward for women’s rights.

Keep Faith. Cooperate. Obey.

They may as well say: “always lose.”

Life is not a zero-sum game, or at least it shouldn’t be, but the Left plays it that way. Their entire ideology is built around it. Marxism is an economic zero-sum ideology. Social Justice is a social zero-sum ideology. And, as the house, they seek to maximize their personal gain from it. They are the house, The Man, the Establishment, whatever you want to call it. And we are the poor slobs dumping money into the slots by the bucket load. And on top of all that, they still cheat.

Only, unlike my trip to Vegas, there is no option to say “no thanks, I don’t feel like playing a rigged game.”

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