Briggs Schools Justice Kagan on Expertocracy

William Briggs writes at his blog Elena Kagan’s Blind Love Of The Expertocracy: SCOTUS Slaps The EPA.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

SCOTUS ruled 6-3 that, in effect, without Congressional authorization, the EPA does not have the power to regulate carbon dioxide. Justice Elena Kagan dissented.

Kagan opened her dissent thus (whole opinion; with my paragraphification for screen readability):

Climate change’s causes and dangers are no longer subject to serious doubt. Modern science is “unequivocal that human influence”—in particular, the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide—“has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” [Cites IPCC] … The rise in temperatures brings with it “increases in heat-related deaths,” “coastal inundation and erosion,” “more frequent and intense hurricanes, floods, and other extreme weather events,” “drought,” “destruction of ecosystems,” and “potentially significant disruptions of food production.” [Cites, of all things, a case in which this was quoted.]

If the current rate of emissions continues, children born this year could live to see parts of the Eastern seaboard swallowed by the ocean. See Brief for Climate Scientists as Amici Curiae 6. Rising waters, scorching heat, and other severe weather conditions could force “mass migration events[,] political crises, civil unrest,” and “even state failure.”

So Kagan has bought and believes, seemingly sincerely, the failed predictions of global warming, which she calls “climate change”. This is her adopted opinion, provided her by climate Experts, who claim there is no “serious doubt” about their theories.

We have seen many times that her (or her Experts’) quoted predictions of doom are false. There have not been an increase, but a decrease, in floods. Same for drought. There is no “destruction of ecosystems.” And just last week a paper appeared—a peer-reviewed paper in the regime-approved journal Nature, going by the name “Declining tropical cyclone frequency under global warming“—which shows the number of tropical cyclones have been decreasing, not increasing.

Here’s a picture from that paper (ignore the straight and red lines, which are models and not the data):
So Kagan’s suppositions about the dooms of global warming are false, and known to be false with only a little investigation. Which she did not make. Nor did Wise Latina, and nor did the other guy who’s now retired and will be quickly forgotten. Both signed Kagan’s dissent.

Their non-curiosity and blind acceptance of the Expert Consensus is point one. And really is our only point, as we’ll see.

Under the Clean Air Act, as Kagan writes, Congress gave power to the “EPA to regulate stationary sources of any substance that ’causes, or contributes significantly to, air pollution’ and that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.’”

As we know, EPA called carbon dioxide, the basis of almost all life on earth, the very stuff of your breath, the food of plants, “pollution”. And started to regulate it. Scientifically, this is like the American Medical Association saying “not all women have cervixes”, and allowing the AMA to regulate the English language.

Do people forget, or maybe they never knew, that CO2 is plant food? And not only plant food, but the plant flood. Back in olden days, they used to teach photosynthesis. No longer? Remove CO2 and plants die. Then you die.

So what the EPA did in trying to regulate CO2 was ridiculous—unless you really do believe global warming, a.k.a. “climate change”, is an “existential crisis.” As Kagan, Wise Latina, and Gone Guy believe, or say they do. But which all observations show is not so.

Models, on the other hand, show the “existential crisis” is true. And all models only say what they are told to say. So models are told to say that “climate change” is an “existential crisis.” Experts told models to say this.

Experts, therefore, value models over observation. The Deadly Sin of Reification.

The real problem, then, is letting Experts make decisions based on models which are beautiful, to Experts, but which make lousy predictions. Experts are trusted too much.

Even if you think not, and still believe the models, nothing follows from them. That is, no policy is suggested, implied, or necessary because of the models. Not one. It is separately true that all policies, suggested from any source, have consequences, which may be known to greater or lesser extent—their uncertainty in them also are models.

It is scientism, a fallacy, to say Experts who wrote climate models also know what is best to do about the weather. Scientifically, it is like saying the CDC knows what is the best rate to pay for rent during a disease outbreak. Which they did say. And were rebuked for saying. A rebuke which they ignored. Which may happen here with the EPA, too.

Therefore, even if you believe the models, which stink, a fact that requires only minor effort to check, it does not follow the Experts who created those models, including agents in the EPA, know what is best to do about model predictions.

That power should fall to Congress, and to state and local governments, who have that mandate.

In other words, the Expertocracy, which was in part struck down and which Kagan dissented against, is based on two false assumptions. The first is that Expert models have skill. They do not. And the second, which is independent, is scientism, which is that scientists with expertise in one are are equipped with greater senses of good and evil on all subjects, which is absurd.

Kagan, though, embraces the Expertocracy. She said (her emphasis):

Members of Congress often don’t know enough—and know they don’t know enough—to regulate sensibly on an issue. Of course, Members can and do provide overall direction. But then they rely, as all of us rely in our daily lives, on people with greater expertise and experience. Those people are found in agencies. Congress looks to them to make specific judgments about how to achieve its more general objectives. And it does so especially, though by no means exclusively, when an issue has a scientific or technical dimension. Why wouldn’t Congress instruct EPA to select “the best system of emission reduction,” rather than try to choose that system itself?

Second and relatedly, Members of Congress often can’t know enough—and again, know they can’t—to keep regulatory schemes working across time. Congress usually can’t predict the future—can’t anticipate changing circumstances and the way they will affect varied regulatory techniques. Nor can Congress (realistically) keep track of and respond to fast-flowing developments as they occur.

Kagan is quite wrong. For all the reasons we discussed. Congress (as sick as that institution is) does know enough, and it knows vastly more than weather Experts about law. Because it knows, or is supposed to, what laws are, and what laws should do, and what the consequence of laws are. Climate or weather Experts do not. Congress can consult with Experts: “If we pass this law, what are the bounds of uncertainty on this particular weather-effected thing?” That is sensible. But it is rank foolishness to trust weather Experts to decide what laws are best, even if you by subterfuge call those laws “regulations”. And it even more dangerous to trust people who have something to gain, as Experts do, to decide what is “best” to do.

The impetus for the Expertocracy, and the faith in it, is there in Kagan’s words. She reasons, in effect, that Experts know more than anybody else on their subjects of expertise, therefore we have no right to interfere with their decisions on any subject.

It is a bad argument because Experts don’t always know best about their own subjects, as we see now everywhere. And even if Experts do know best about their subjects, they don’t know what is best to do about them.

Democratic Socialists Party Platform

Everyone can see that a kind of Star Chamber hides in Biden’s shadow and dictates what he says and signs. Over the last year and a half, the game plan has been revealed by the exercise of authority assumed by federal and state Democratic Socialistic party.  The platform below summarizes what we have witnessed from these political operatives.

Establish Wokeism as the new state religion.

Under the guise of “Diversity-Inclusion-Equity, the doctrine is to eliminate pluralism from American Life. Critical Race and Gender Theories, among others, are to be asserted as secular truths, and all other beliefs are to be banned from the public square in the name of separation of church and state.

In the cult of Woke, adherents have a “critical consciousness” and are able to see the “problematics” in everything. This includes in speech, writing, institutions, thoughts, people, systems, knowledge, history, one’s past, and society itself. Society is broken into different groups or classes (social group identity) that are oppressive on one side, oppressed on the other, and in conflict over this. That is, conflict theory is the belief that different social groups in society are always in conflict with one another for power and dominance.  And rather than working together in complex, dynamical ways that can be mutually beneficial, they are at war.

Any criticism or questioning of Woke Doctrine is: racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, imperialistic, hateful, bigoted, unjust, evil, ignorant, wrong, and a crime against humanity.

Purge Public and Private Institutions of customs and symbols adverse to Wokeism.

To facilitate the dominance of Woke doctrine, the heritage of previous widely adopted beliefs must be purged. Thus monuments of past American heroes must be destroyed, and doubt must be cast over the documents and writings of the founders of the American Republic. Rituals like the Pledge of Allegiance or prayers at public events must be replaced with pride rainbows or kneeling to BLM flags.

Persecute and prosecute individuals whose speech and/or actions are contrary to Wokeism, or who are less than enthusiastic.

To achieve Woke totalitarian dominance, dissenters must be reviled as heretics. And if unrepentent, they must be incarcerated or otherwise excommunicated by removing their reputations and employment. Any spokespersons for alternative opinions to Woke views of history and identity politics must be driven out of public awareness and discourse.

Expand the administrative bureaucracy to extend social and economic control and to deepen dependency upon the state.

By declaring states of emergency, a la Covid or Climate, Executive agencies will create more rules regulating enterprises, indeed all employees public and private, constraining personal choices to align with Woke doctrines. Expanding the regulatory authorities will greatly increase numbers on the public payroll, and shift financial power away from the private sector.

Strip the citizenry of firearms to prevent resistance to the force of governmental edicts.

To complete the state’s monopoly of coercion force over the populace, citizens’ right to self-defense must be rendered mute by confiscating guns and ammunition.

Rig the election process so that the Woke party is always returned to power.

In line with Marxist theory, Woke doctrine includes believing that only one political party is legitimate; that is the one representing the victims of oppression. All others are illegitimate, and cannot be allowed to form the government by means of a free and fair election. The illusion of voters choosing will be maintained, but political communication will be slanted to heavily favor the Woke appointed candidates. Also the collecting and counting of ballots will be coordinated to ensure the right outcome.

Neutralize Congress and Supreme Court as checks upon Executive authority.

With the centralizing of governance in the Executive branch. Congress and the Courts must be relegated to advisory roles. Deliberation will occur in the agencies with Executive oversight, while congressional discussions will give the appearance of representation for the electors. The courts will limit themselves to reaffirming Woke doctrine against heresies arising from time to time.

Postscript

I have used satirical images to poke holes in this mistaken political movement, but this is a serious moment in the struggle for the soul and future of the American Republic.  For example, note these statements excerpted from a recent fundraising email from Ron DeSantis, addressing these same points in resolute language. The Appeal of Ron DeSantis

Our country is currently facing a great threat. A new enemy has emerged from the shadows that seeks to destroy and intimidate their way to a transformed state, and country, that you and I would hardly recognize.

This enemy is the radical vigilante woke mob that will steamroll anything and anyone in their way. Their blatant attacks on the American way of life are clear and intensifying: stifling dissent, public shaming, rampant violence, and a perverted version of history.

A group that will, literally, tear down monuments and buildings but — perhaps in an even more sinister way — tear down the American spirit itself.

To destroy America, they go after the family unit, parental rights, traditional moral values, the church, and fact-based education.

Over the past few years, we’ve watched horrified as this group has attempted to brainwash our children into thinking we live in an evil, racist, irredeemable country.

With regard to Covid, we listened to them deny science and data to exert political theater all the while trampling over personal liberties enshrined in the Constitution.

We saw them take to the streets for an entire summer like outlaws burning, looting, and destroying everything in sight while being told they were “mostly peaceful” and “passionate.”

We watched Big Tech moguls in Silicon Valley be the arbiters of truth – deciding who gets to speak and who gets silenced through the digital public square.

We The People still have a say. We know the truth, you and I, about America and the country she is and can be. We must fight to defeat these false pretenses and predetermined narratives.

I am choosing to counter this enemy with faith, with reason, and with freedom. As Governor of the Free State of Florida, I have chosen to lead with a vision that builds America up rather than tears it down.

Together we can ensure that our children are raised to know they live in the greatest state in the nation, the greatest country in the world and that they have an opportunity to continue making them even greater.

Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don’t. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do.

Why The Protests Over Abortion and Guns?

As Jimbob notes in this cartoon, the people in the streets are nearly always leftists appealing to the state to take away someone else’s freedom.  This latest round is triggered by Supreme Court decisions confirming American constitutional rights, contradicting the left’s agenda.  They respond with outbursts of emotion and rage, rather than  by reading and understanding what they have gotten wrong.

Bruce Pardy explained the dynamics in his National Post article Meet the new ‘human rights’ — where you are forced by law to use ‘reasonable’ pronouns.  Excepts in italics with my bolds.

Human rights were conceived to liberate. They protected people from an oppressive state. Their purpose was to prevent arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and censorship, by placing restraints on government. The state’s capacity to accommodate these “negative rights” was unlimited, since they required only that people be left alone.

If only arm twisting were prohibited beyond the ring.

But freedom from interference is so 20th century. Modern human rights entitle. We are in the middle of a culture war, and human rights have become a weapon to normalize social justice values and to delegitimize competing beliefs. These rights are applied against other people to limit their liberties.

Freedom of expression is a traditional, negative human right. When the state manages expression, it threatens to control what we think. Forced speech is the most extreme infringement of free speech. It puts words in the mouths of citizens and threatens to punish them if they do not comply. When speech is merely restricted, you can at least keep your thoughts to yourself. Compelled speech makes people say things with which they disagree.

Traditional negative human rights give people the freedom to portray themselves as they wish without fearing violence or retribution from others. Everyone can exercise such rights without limiting the rights of others. Not so the new human rights. Did you expect to decide your own words and attitudes? If so, human rights are not your friend.

Then, some comments about the abortion street theater from Rajan Laad’s American Thinker article Decoding the Democrat protestors after Roe.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The recent ruling from the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade launched a thousand protests, which the Democrats called “The Night of Rage.”

In Washington D.C., hundreds of pro-abortion ‘activists’ marched, shouted slogans, and held signs outside the Supreme Court building and beyond.

Crowds ‘demonstrated’ before the federal building in downtown Chicago. The cacophony of ‘protests’ was also witnessed at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta, the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, and in Flint, Michigan.

There were ‘marches’ in downtown Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles.

There were ‘demonstrations’ in Richmond, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina, and Topeka, Kansas.

In Phoenix, ‘protesters’ managed to break the doors of the Arizona Senate building.

Some of these ‘demonstrations’ involved road blockades while obscenities were shouted elsewhere.

Enraged ‘protesters’ also descended before the homes of the six conservative Supreme Court justices.

Also, this week the Senate passed a gun control bill, that among other things, enables the confiscation of guns on the basis of suspicion. But conservatives didn’t hit the streets demonstrating that their rights were encroached upon.

For decades, since the beginning of the Nixon era, the Democrats have been the party of “demonstrations.” The operation has become so smooth now that they can muster raucous nationwide protests for any issue in a matter of hours. It is almost as if they have a sleeper cell that can be activated on command.

Democrats use these groups like disposable commodities. They will be cheered as a group but overlooked as individuals. They will always be part of the crowds. but never be allowed on stage. The stage is reserved for the Hollywood star or the pop singer or the politician. If they secure a victory, the Democrat ‘elites’ will enjoy the fruits of power and receive invites to galas. The activist will always be out on the streets.

Comment:

The protests are about purifying the population of the “wrong thinkers”.  It means cancelling any woman (yes, they do know what one is) concerned about ending the life of her unborn child.  It means forcing doctors and caregivers to act against their principles to do procedures to abort an embryonic human life because someone couldn’t manage their sexual practices to prevent it.

The guns thing is even more obvious.  Responsible gun owners are to have their self-defense removed so that outlaws can roam freely without fear of lethal confrontation.  Urban snowflakes want rural folks disarmed so they can feel safer in their crime ridden neighborhoods, even though they aren’t.

And on it goes.  Anyone who has a longer and higher quality life because of fossil fuel products must be deprived of it to “save the planet.”  Anyone thinking otherwise is to be silenced and ostracized.  There is only one right way to think; all others must be cast aside.

 

 

One More Time: Shooters Are Disordered Personalities

One more time:  These shooters assaulting their fellow citizens are disordered personalities, not people suffering from emotional problems who can be helped by counseling therapy.

John Dale Dunn, M.D. explains in his American Thinker article Don’t assume school shooters are mentally ill.  Excerpts in italics below with my bolds.

There is a lot of mumbo jumbo psych talk circulating around the dead bodies in Uvalde, a town I knew pretty well because I consulted frequently with their hospital administrator.

I want to remind readers of the problem of personality disorders (PD) and distinguish PD from mental illness.

PD is pattern of anti-social or dysfunctional behavior that is not caused by mental illness but by bad manners and bad social adaptation. There are 3 groups of personality disorders. In the Emergency Medicine part of my life,

I taught residents that PDs are the weird, the wild, and the withdrawn.

The killers and criminals are usually in the wild group, who are the most anti-social and disruptive.

Here is a typical listing available from a search at: https://psychone.net/list-of-personality-disorders.php

Class A (The Weird)

Odd or eccentric disorders

·         Paranoid personality disorder 

Characterized by suspiciousness and a deep mistrust of people, paranoid personalities often think of others as manipulative, cunning or dishonest. This kind of a person may appear guarded, secretive, and excessively critical. More..

·         Schizoid personality disorder 

People with schizoid personalities are emotionally distant and tend to prefer to be alone. They are generally immersed in their own thoughts and have little interest in bonding and intimacy with others. More..

·         Schizotypal personality disorder 

This disorder is characterized by odd and unusual “magical” beliefs. These individuals may have an eccentric way of behaving or dressing. They also tend to display outlandish beliefs such as believing that they can see the future or travel to other dimensions.

People with this condition often have difficulty connecting with others and establishing long term relationships. Overtime, they may develop a fear of social gatherings. More..

Class B (The Wild)

Dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders (wild) 

·         Antisocial/psychopath personality disorder

Individuals with this disorder are known to be manipulative, irresponsible, and have a history of legal difficulties. They show little respect for the rights of others and feel no remorse for their actions. They also leave a trail of unfulfilled promises and broken hearts.

Antisocial personalities are also at high risk for drug abuse (e.g., alcoholism; meth) since many are rush seekers. While they seldom suffer from depression or anxiety, they often use drugs to relieve boredom and irritability. More..  (Dunn note–this PD is male dominant) 

·         Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personalities are impulsive and have extreme views of people as either all good or bad.

These people are unstable in relationships and have a strong fear of abandonment. They may form an intense personal attachment with someone they barely know and end it without no apparent reason. They might also engage in a pull and push behavior that usually ends with their partner leaving permanently.

Self-mutilation, suicidal gestures or attention-seeking destructive behaviors are not uncommon. Borderline personalities are three times more likely to be female. More..

·         Histrionic personality disorder

People with this condition engage in persistent attention-seeking behaviors that include innapropriate sexual behavior and exaggerated emotions. They can be oversensitive about themselves and constantly seek reasurrance or approval from others.

Excessive need to be the center of attention, low tolerance for frustration, blaming others for failures are also characteristics of the histrionic personality. More..

·         Narcissistic personality disorder 

Narcissistic personalities have a blown up perception of themselves and an excessive desire for attention and admiration. Individuals with this disorder have a false sense of entitlement and little respect for other people’s feelings. They are oversensitive to criticism and often blame others for their failures.

Prone to outbursts of anger and irritability, the narcissistic personality tends to be manipulative in interspersonal relationships. But deep beneath the surface lies a vulnerable self-esteem, susceptible to depression and feelings of inferiority. More..

Class C (The Withdrawn)

Anxious or fearful disorders 

·         Avoidant personality disorder 

This disorder is described by chronic social withdrawal, feelings of inferiority, over-sensitivity and social withdrawal.

People with avoidant personality disorder are constantly fearful of rejection and ridicule. They form relationships only with people that they trust. The pain of rejection is so strong that these individuals prefer to isolate rather than risk disappointment. More..

·         Dependent personality disorder 

Individuals with this condition have an abnormal desire to be nurtured that leads to submissive and clinging behavior. Dependent personalities have difficulty making their own decisions and seek others to take over most important areas in their lives.

They will often go to great length to obtain nurturance from others, have separation anxiety when alone and desperately seek another partner when a close relationship ends. More..

·         Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Not to be confused with OCD. People with OCPD are perceived as strict and demanding by others. They have a persistent preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and efficiency, at the expense of interpersonal relationships. They also show an excessive devotion to work, productivity and exhibit rigidness and stubbornness.

People with OCPD usually have a negative view of life and often become withdrawn and depressed.

I was a corrections physician for almost 30 years as a contribution to our hometown and local law enforcement/incarceration services. I know a little about criminals. Here are three essays, two short, one long, on the issue of criminality and mental disorders.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/mental_illness_and_misconduct.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/03/personality_disorders_and_mass_murder.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/senator_cornyn_and_the_inmates.html

Consider my warning: PDs are not a mental illness, they are a culturally dysfunctional behavior problem. PD individuals are not psychotic or out of touch with reality — they just have a bad set of behavior and social controls. They got messed up on the way to adulthood and functional good behavior.

My Comment:

Dr. Dunn puts analytic rigor to confirm a suspicion many of us have, that these violent acts by individuals demonstrate the breakdown of socialization in our societies.  Current political initiatives aim to denigrate and defund law enforcement, and to not prosecute criminal behavior.  Educators are proudly replacing family values with ego-centric pleasure gratification.  How can this be anything but a concerted effort to infect free societies with more and more mal-adjusted, disordered personalities?  And social media adds fuel to the fire.

The wokeness destruction of our institutions must be reversed, and families must function to raise children to care about and respect others.  Otherwise, when the social bonds are completely dissolved, the jack boots will come in.

See also Hey Groomers, Leave Those Kids Alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Leftist Media Saturation Leads

Tyler Durden writes insightfully on the current cultural war in his zerohedge article Why Are Twitter Employees So Afraid Of Free Speech? It’s About Market Saturation.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

When a franchise sets out to compete with other companies that have a superior market or branding presence, they will sometimes exploit a strategy called “market saturation” in order to undermine their opponent’s visibility. An example of this is Starbucks, which sought to co-opt and then destroy the concept of the neighborhood hipster coffee shop by flooding every city and town with their own stores. After several years, there was at least four Starbucks within a mile of every other Starbucks store and often these franchises would sit right across the road from each other.

Every coffee house was now a Starbucks coffee house.

You might ask – What the hell does this have to do with Twitter? Well, remember this analogy for later because it’s important, but it has a lot to do with the manner in which the political left operates and how social justice warriors and trans activists take control of the narrative. And guess who has been running Twitter until recently? That’s right, extreme leftists based out of the social justice Mecca – San Francisco.

Twitter is supposedly one of the largest social media companies in the world (though this has come under question recently as it has yet to be determined how many users on the platform are actually fake), and basing this massive communications hub out of one of the most communistic/collectivist cities in the US already set the stage for unprecedented political bias.

When your company is headquartered in such a place, the vast majority of people you hire will be part of the social justice hive mind. It’s saturated.

Why is this a problem? Leftists don’t believe in work, they believe in activism, and they even believe that their activism is so important to the world that they should be paid for it as if it is the same as work. This is not an exaggeration; they really are that crazy. That’s why when it became apparent that billionaire Elon Musk, a self described proponent of meritocracy, was going to take over the platform, the employees freaked out. Not because they thought they were going to lose their jobs (though that was a concern), but more so because they were horrified at the notion that Twitter as a communications platform would be “forced” by Musk to allow free speech. Meaning, Twitter employees have spent most of their careers trying to erase one side of the political discussion (conservatives), and the prospect of all that censorship disappearing has them frothing at the mouth like rabid dogs.

Again, it’s about saturation.

Though leftists often greatly overestimate their influence within the overall culture, they don’t really care so much about convincing the public of the legitimacy of their ideology. Rather, what they are obsessed with is their beliefs becoming the ONLY beliefs that are perpetuated in the mainstream. No other franchises can be allowed a foothold in media, in popular culture or on Big Tech platforms. They see the public as a blank canvas, a lump of clay that can and should be molded, and they think that if the public is bombarded daily with the social justice cult message then this will eventually translate to a manufactured majority that serves their interests.

A perfect example is the concept of “pride month.”

Since when does 2%-3% of the global population need an entire month to celebrate their obscure sexual habits? Since when does almost every major corporation need to brand their products with pride propaganda during June? Because saturation works, to a point. In the US, where there has been a constant bombardment of LGBT propaganda in media, the number of people identifying as gay and trans rose from around 2.5% in 2008 to over 5% in 2016, and it’s still climbing today. Remember, the gay lobby has long argued that homosexuality is inborn. So, somehow, the rate of people born gay doubled in the span of 8 years, and only in the US and certain parts of Europe. How is this possible?

It’s not possible. Not statistically or scientifically. There was no stigma in 2008 in terms of identifying as gay; there wasn’t really any stigma as far back as the 1990’s. On top of that, survey methods are generally anonymous anyway. So stigma can’t be used as an excuse for the abnormality in stats. Furthermore, the rise in gay identification is almost entirely among Gen Z teens and young adults (an easily manipulated subsection of society). Again, there is no stigma in any age group today. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The LGBT movement has become a political movement and a pop culture movement driven by corporate saturation. It is considered trendy among young people to be gay or trans, and so the percentage rises according to the trend.

Leftists have long understood a concept which most of their political opponents have not, and that is the power of cultural gatekeeping.

They understand that by forcefully injecting their ideology into every aspect of a culture through key sources of entertainment and information distribution as well as public schools, they can create the illusion that they are the majority. And by creating the illusion of a majority, you can one day turn that illusion into a reality as millions of people start to assume that there is only one way to see the world – The leftist way.

In a recent meeting with Elon Musk to discuss the future of the company, Twitter employees were particularly grieved by the notion that the business would be run on meritocracy and that Musk argued in favor of people being able to say whatever they want within the bounds of the law (no death threats). Twitter is a platform that has been declining for years, but it is true that there is no alternative in existence yet with the same level of cultural reach. Employees have been enjoying an incredible level of power – the power to omit, to bury and to erase any messages, facts or people that contradict the greater hive mind.

They see this as their job and the thing that brings meaning to their lives.
Now, that power is about to be taken away.

Not surprisingly, many globalists also share the same sentiments as Twitter workers. Max Boot, a long time member of the Council on Foreign Relations, had this to say about the potential for free speech on Twitter:

Note the level of hypocrisy: For “democracy” to survive, we need MORE censorship?

There is something very wrong with the existence of only a few major communications networks becoming integral to social and economic cohesion within a society. It’s not just about a handful of corporations working together to form a technically legal monopoly, it’s also about the ability of those companies to digitally shun entire groups from the wider discourse. As Big Tech platforms become more integrated into our financial life, those same companies could even block entire groups of people from economic access.  They could literally starve people to death if they disagree with the collectivist narrative.

This is the power that leftists really want; the power to silence
and to destroy all other ideals besides their own.
And they get to that goal by first achieving market saturation.

On the bright side, companies like Starbucks got the saturation they wanted and it’s killing them. With so many franchises everywhere, they are now competing with each other and cannibalizing each other. You’ll find that this is also a common theme among leftist movements. With so many different professional victims battling over an ever shrinking piece of the pie, it’s only a matter of time before these people eat each other alive.

Unfortunately, they may destroy our country well before our society
gets a chance to wake up from the madness and rebalance the scales.

USA Today Outed for Fictional Fact Checking

Paul Joseph Watson writes at Summit News Top ‘Fact Checker’ USA Today Forced to Delete Articles Over Fabricated Sources.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Tyler Durden

USA Today, which is used as a ‘fact checker’ by social media platforms, was forced to delete 23 articles from its website after an investigation found one of its reporters had fabricated sources.

Well, this is awkward

The news outlet has an entire section of its website dedicated to ‘fact checking’ and is used by Facebook to ‘fact check’ stories published by other outlets, downranking them in algorithms in a form of soft censorship.

However, it appears as though USA Today should have devoted more resources to fact checking itself before publishing articles by its own staff.

“USA Today’s breaking news reporter Gabriela Miranda fabricated sources and misappropriated quotes for stories, the news outlet confirmed on Thursday. The outlet conducted an internal audit after receiving an “external correction request” on one of its published stories,” reports Breitbart.

The 23 articles which were removed for not meeting the paper’s “editorial standards” included pieces on the Texas abortion ban, anti-vaxxer content and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Miranda, who has now resigned from her position, “took steps to deceive investigators by producing false evidence of her news gathering, including recordings of interviews,” according to the New York Times.

“After receiving an external correction request, USA TODAY audited the reporting work of Gabriela Miranda. The audit revealed that some individuals quoted were not affiliated with the organizations claimed and appeared to be fabricated. The existence of other individuals quoted could not be independently verified. In addition, some stories included quotes that should have been credited to others.”

As we previously highlighted, USA Today was also forced to hastily delete a series of tweets which critics said were tantamount to the normalization of pedophilia after the newspaper cited “science” to assert that pedophilia was “determined in the womb.”

The newspaper was also lambasted by critics after it ‘fact checked’ as “true” claims that an official Trump 2020 t-shirt features a ‘Nazi symbol’.

In February last year, the news outlet published an op-ed which denounced Tom Brady for refusing to walk back his previous support for Donald Trump and for being “white.”

The newspaper also had to fire their ‘race and inclusion’ editor Hemal Jhaveri after she falsely blamed the Boulder supermarket shooting on white people.

In summary, USA Today has a severe bias problem and shouldn’t be used as a non-partisan ‘fact checker’.

 

How to FLICC Off Climate Alarms

John Ridgway has provided an excellent framework for skeptics to examine and respond to claims from believers in global warming/climate change.  His essay at Climate Scepticism is Deconstructing Scepticism: The True FLICC.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added comments.

Overview

I have modified slightly the FLICC components to serve as a list of actions making up a skeptical approach to an alarmist claim.  IOW this is a checklist for applying critical intelligence to alarmist discourse in the public arena. The Summary can be stated thusly:

♦  Follow the Data
Find and follow the data and facts to where they lead

♦  Look for full risk profile
Look for a complete assessment of risks and costs from proposed policies

♦  Interrogate causal claims
Inquire into claimed cause-effect relationships

♦  Compile contrary explanations
Construct an organized view of contradictory evidence to the theory

♦  Confront cultural bias
Challenge attempts to promote consensus story with flimsy coincidence

A Case In Point

John Ridgway illustrates how this method works in a comment:

No sooner have I’ve pressed the publish button, and the BBC comes out with the perfect example of what I have been writing about:  Climate change: Rising sea levels threaten 200,000 England properties

It tells of a group of experts theorizing that 200,000 coastal properties are soon to be lost due to climate change. Indeed, it “is already happening” as far as Happisburg on the Norfolk coast is concerned. Coastal erosion is indeed a problem there.

But did the experts take into account that the data shows no acceleration of erosion over the last 2000 years? No.

Have they acknowledge the fact that erosion on the East coast is a legacy of glaciation? No.

[For the US example of this claim, see my post Sea Level Scare Machine]

The FLICC Framework

Below is Ridgway’s text regarding this thought process, followed by a synopsis of his discussion of the five elements. Text is in italics with my bolds.

As part of the anthropogenic climate change debate, and when discussing the proposed plans for transition to Net Zero, efforts have been made to analyse the thinking that underpins the typical sceptic’s position. These analyses have universally presupposed that such scepticism stubbornly persists in the face of overwhelming evidence, as reflected in the widespread use of the term ‘denier’. Consequently, they are based upon taxonomies of flawed reasoning and methods of deception and misinformation.1 

However, by taking such a prejudicial approach, the analyses have invariably failed to acknowledge the ideological, philosophical and psychological bases for sceptical thinking. The following taxonomy redresses that failing and, as a result, offers a more pertinent analysis that avoids the worst excesses of opinionated philippic. The taxonomy identifies a basic set of ideologies and attitudes that feature prominently in the typical climate change sceptic’s case. For my taxonomy I have chosen the acronym FLICC:2

  • Follow data but distrust judgement and speculation

     i.e. value empirical evidence over theory and conjecture.

  • Look for the full risk profile

      i.e. when considering the management of risks and uncertainties, demand that those associated        with mitigating and preventative measures are also taken into account.

  • Interrogate causal arguments

      i.e. demand that both necessity and sufficiency form the basis of a causal analysis.

  • Contrariness

      i.e. distrust consensus as an indicator of epistemological value.

  • Cultural awareness

       i.e. never underestimate the extent to which a society can fabricate a truth for its own purposes.

All of the above have a long and legitimate history outside the field of climate science. The suggestion that they are not being applied in good faith by climate change sceptics falls beyond the remit of taxonomical analysis and strays into the territory of propaganda and ad hominem.

The five ideologies and attitudes of climate change scepticism introduced above are now discussed in greater detail.

Following the data

Above all else, the sceptical approach is characterized by a reluctance to draw conclusions from a given body of evidence. When it comes to evidence supporting the idea of a ‘climate crisis’, such reluctance is judged by many to be pathological and indicative of motivated reasoning. Cognitive scientists use the term ‘conservative belief revision’ to refer to an undue reluctance to update beliefs in accordance with a new body of evidence. More precisely, when the individual retains the view that events have a random pattern, thereby downplaying the possibility of a causative factor, the term used is ‘slothful induction’. Either way, the presupposition is that the individual is committing a logical fallacy resulting from cognitive bias.

However, far from being a pathology of thinking, such reluctance has its legitimate foundations in Pyrrhonian philosophy and, when properly understood, it can be seen as an important thinking strategy.3 Conservative belief revision and slothful induction can indeed lead to false conclusions but, more importantly, the error most commonly encountered when making decisions under uncertainty (and the one with the greatest potential for damage) is to downplay unknown and possibly random factors and instead construct a narrative that overstates and prejudges causation. This tendency is central to the human condition and it lies at the heart of our failure to foresee the unexpected – this is the truly important cognitive bias that the sceptic seeks to avoid.

The empirical sceptic is cognisant of evidence and allows the formulation of theories but treats them with considerable caution due to the many ways in which such theories often entail unwarranted presupposition.

The drivers behind this problem are the propensity of the human mind to seek patterns, to construct narratives that hide complexities, to over-emphasise the causative role played by human agents and to under-emphasise the role played by external and possibly random factors. Ultimately, it is a problem regarding the comprehension of uncertainty — we comprehend in a manner that has served us well in evolutionary terms but has left us vulnerable to unprecedented, high consequence events.

It is often said that a true sceptic is one who is prepared to accept the prevailing theory once the evidence is ‘overwhelming’. The climate change sceptic’s reluctance to do so is taken as an indication that he or she is not a true sceptic. However, we see here that true scepticism lies in the willingness to challenge the idea that the evidence is overwhelming – it only seems overwhelming to those who fail to recognise the ‘theorizing disease’ and lack the resolve to resist it. Secondly, there cannot be a climate change sceptic alive who is not painfully aware of the humiliation handed out to those who resist the theorizing.

In practice, the theorizing and the narratives that trouble the empirical sceptic take many forms. It can be seen in:

♦  over-dependence upon mathematical models for which the tuning owes more to art than science.

♦  readiness to treat the output of such models as data resulting from experiment, rather than the hypotheses they are.

♦  lack of regard for ontological uncertainty (i.e. the unknown unknowns which, due to their very nature, the models do not address).

♦  emergence of story-telling as a primary weapon in the armoury of extreme weather event attribution.

♦  willingness to commit trillions of pounds to courses of action that are predicated upon Representative Concentration Pathways and economic models that are the ‘theorizing disease’ writ large.

♦  contributions of the myriad of activists who seek to portray the issues in a narrative form laden with social justice and other ethical considerations.

♦  imaginative but simplistic portrayals of climate change sceptics and their motives; portrayals that are drawing categorical conclusions that cannot possibly be justified given the ‘evidence’ offered. And;

♦  any narrative that turns out to be unfounded when one follows the data.

Climate change may have its basis in science and data, but this basis has long since been overtaken by a plethora of theorizing and causal narrative that sometimes appears to have taken on a life of its own. Is this what settled science is supposed to look like?

Looking for the full risk profile

Almost as fundamental as the sceptic’s resistance to theorizing and narrative is his or her appreciation that the management of anthropogenic warming (particularly the transition to Net Zero) is an undertaking beset with risk and uncertainty. This concern reflects a fundamental principle of risk management: proposed actions to tackle a risk are often in themselves problematic and so a full risk analysis is not complete until it can be confirmed that the net risk will decrease following the actions proposed.7

Firstly, the narrative of existential risk is rejected on the grounds of empirical scepticism (the evidence for an existential threat is not overwhelming, it is underwhelming).

Secondly, even if the narrative is accepted, it has not been reliably demonstrated that the proposal for Net Zero transition is free from existential or extreme risks.

Indeed, given the dominant role played by the ‘theorizing disease’ and how it lies behind our inability to envisage the unprecedented high consequence event, there is every reason to believe that the proposals for Net Zero transition should be equally subject to the precautionary principle. The fact that they are not is indicative of a double standard being applied. The argument seems to run as follows: There is no uncertainty regarding the physical risk posed by climate change, but if there were it would only add to the imperative for action. There is also no uncertainty regarding the transition risk, but if there were it could be ignored because one can only apply the precautionary principle once!

This is precisely the sort of inconsistency one encounters when uncertainties are rationalised away in order to support the favoured narrative.

The upshot of this double standard is that the activists appear to be proceeding with two very different risk management frameworks depending upon whether physical or transition risk is being considered. As a result, risks associated with renewable energy security, the environmental damage associated with proposals to reduce carbon emissions and the potentially catastrophic effects of the inevitable global economic shock are all played down or explained away.

Looking for the full risk profile is a basic of risk management practice. The fact that it is seen as a ploy used only by those wishing to oppose the management of anthropogenic climate change is both odd and worrying. It is indeed important to the sceptic, but it should be important to everyone.

Interrogating causal arguments

For many years we have been told that anthropogenic climate change will make bad things happen. These dire predictions were supposed to galvanize the world into action but that didn’t happen, no doubt partly due to the extent to which such predictions repeatedly failed to come true (as, for example, with the predictions of the disappearance of Arctic sea ice).  .  .This is one good reason for the empirical sceptic to distrust the narrative,8 but an even better one lies in the very concept of causation.

A major purpose of narrative is to reduce complexity so that the ‘truth’ can shine through. This is particularly the case with causal narratives. We all want executive summaries and sound bites such as ‘Y happened because of X’. But very few of us are interested in examining exactly what we mean by such statements – very few except, of course, for the empirical sceptics. In a messy world in which many factors may be at play, the more pertinent questions are:

♦  To what extent was X necessary for Y to happen?
♦  To what extent was X sufficient for Y to happen?

The vast majority of the extreme weather event attribution narrative is focused upon the first question and very little attention is paid to the second; at least not in the many press bulletins issued. Basically, we are told that the event was virtually impossible without climate change, but very little is said regarding whether climate change on its own was enough.

This problem of oversimplification is even more worrying once one starts to examine consequential damages whilst failing to take into account man-made failings such as those that exacerbate the impacts of floods and forest fires.9   The oversimplification of causal narrative is not restricted to weather-related events, of course. Climate change, we are told, is wreaking havoc with the flora and fauna and many species are dying out as a result. However, when such claims are examined more closely,10 it is invariably the case that climate change has been lumped in with a number of other factors that are destroying habitat.

When climate change sceptics point this out they are, of course, accused of cherry-picking. The truth, however, is that their insistence that the extended causal narrative of necessity and sufficiency should be respected is nothing more than the consequence of following the data and looking for the full risk profile.

Contrariness

The climate change debate is all about making decisions under uncertainty, so it is little surprise that gaining consensus is seen as centrally important. Uncertainty is reduced when the evidence is overwhelming and it is tempting to believe that the high level of consensus amongst climate scientists surely points towards there being overwhelming evidence. If one accepts this logic then the sceptic’s refusal to accept the consensus is just another manifestation of his or her denial.

Except, of course, an empirical sceptic would not accept this logic. Consensus does not result from a simple examination of concordant evidence, it is instead the fruit of the tendentious theorizing and simplifying narrative that the empirical sceptic intuitively distrusts. As explained above, there are a number of drivers that cause such theories and narratives to entail unwarranted presupposition, and it is naïve to believe that scientists are immune to such drivers.

However, the fact remains that consensus on beliefs is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for presuming that these beliefs constitute shared knowledge. It is only when a consensus on beliefs is uncoerced, uniquely heterogeneous and large, that a shared knowledge provides the best explanation of a given consensus.11 The notion that a scientific consensus can be trusted because scientists are permanently seeking to challenge accepted views is simplistic at best.

It is actually far from obvious that in climate science the conditions have been met for consensus to be a reliable indicator of shared knowledge.

Contrariness simply comes with the territory of being an empirical sceptic. The evidence of consensus is there to be seen, but the amount of theorizing and narrative required for its genesis, together with the social dimension to consensus generation, are enough for the empirical sceptic to treat the whole matter of consensus with a great deal of caution.

Cultural awareness

There has been a great deal said already regarding the culture wars surrounding issues such as the threat posed by anthropogenic climate change. Most of the concerns are directed at the sceptic, who for reasons never properly explained is deemed to be the instigator of the conflict. However, it is the sceptic who chooses to point out that the value-laden arguments offered by climate activists are best understood as part of a wider cultural movement in which rationality is subordinate to in-group versus outgroup dynamics.

Psychological, ethical and spiritual needs lie at the heart of the development of culture and so the adoption of the climate change phenomenon in service of these needs has to be seen as essentially a cultural power play. The dangers of uncritically accepting the fruits of theorizing and narrative are only the beginning of the empirical sceptic’s concerns. Beyond that is the concern that the direction the debate is taking is not even a matter of empiricism – data analysis has little to offer when so much depends upon whether the phenomenon is subsequently to be described as warming or heating. It is for this reason that much of the sceptic’s attention is directed towards the manner in which the science features in our culture rather than the science itself. Such are our psychological, ethical and spiritual needs, that we must not underestimate the extent to which ostensibly scientific output can be moulded in their service.

Conclusions

Taxonomies of thinking should not be treated too seriously. Whilst I hope that I have offered here a welcome antidote to the diatribe that often masquerades as a scholarly appraisal of climate change scepticism, it remains the case that the form that scepticism takes will be unique to the individual. I could not hope to cover all aspects of climate change scepticism in the limited space available to me, but it remains my belief that there are unifying principles that can be identified.

Central to these is the concept of the empirical sceptic and the need to understand that there are sound reasons to treat theorizing and simplifying narratives with extreme caution. The empirical sceptic resists the temptation to theorize, preferring instead to keep an open mind on the interpretation of the evidence. This is far from being self-serving denialism; it is instead a self-denying servitude to the data.

That said, I cannot believe that there would be any activist who, upon reading this account, would see a reason to modify their opinions regarding the bad faith and irrationality that lies behind scepticism. This, unfortunately, is only to be expected given that such opinions are themselves the result of theorizing and simplifying narrative.

Footnote:

While the above focuses on climate alarmism, there are many other social and political initiatives that are theory-driven, suffering from inadequate attention to analysis by empirical sceptics.  One has only to note corporate and governmental programs based on Critical Race or Gender theories.  In addition, COVID policies in advanced nations ignored the required full risk profiling, as well as overturning decades of epidemiological knowledge in favor of models and experimental gene therapies proposed by Big Pharma.

 

 

How to Make Climatists Happy

There are many places where people are worried about erratic and destructive behavior by those inflamed with fear of global warming/climate change. In the past they have been known to vandalize pipelines delivering natural gas or oil critical for energy needs.  These days climatists are more and more frantic, and for example, given to slashing tires on SUVs, thinking them to be “Axles of Evil.”

Fortunately, we have news from Paris that there may be a way for these fevered persons to vent their fears, thereby feeling better, and leaving the rest of us alone.  I refer to the reported action by one of these poor souls attacking the image of Mona Lisa in the Louvre with a cream pie in order to save the planet from climate change.  Of course the painting is behind bulletproof glass, so it was not damaged.  But the release of passion was cathartic, followed by the climatist being taken away for admission to the Paris Home for the Bewildered.

The good news is that from now on there could be at local carnivals or at county fairs booths like those above where other such inflamed activists could act out their passion against images of Mona Lisa, and thus, perhaps regain reason and common sense.  Let us all hope for the best for these tortured souls.

A Climate Activist Smeared Cake On The Mona Lisa
“Think about the Earth. There are people who are in the process of destroying the Earth. Think about them!”

Don’t Assume School Shooters are Mentally Ill

John Dale Dunn, M.D. explains in his American Thinker article Don’t assume school shooters are mentally ill.  Excerpts in italics below with my bolds.

There is a lot of mumbo jumbo psych talk circulating around the dead bodies in Uvalde, a town I knew pretty well because I consulted frequently with their hospital administrator.

I want to remind readers of the problem of personality disorders (PD) and distinguish PD from mental illness.

PD is pattern of anti-social or dysfunctional behavior that is not caused by mental illness but by bad manners and bad social adaptation. There are 3 groups of personality disorders. In the Emergency Medicine part of my life,

I taught residents that PDs are the weird, the wild, and the withdrawn.

The killers and criminals are usually in the wild group, who are the most anti-social and disruptive.

Here is a typical listing available from a search at: https://psychone.net/list-of-personality-disorders.php

Class A (The Weird)

Odd or eccentric disorders

·         Paranoid personality disorder 

Characterized by suspiciousness and a deep mistrust of people, paranoid personalities often think of others as manipulative, cunning or dishonest. This kind of a person may appear guarded, secretive, and excessively critical. More..

·         Schizoid personality disorder 

People with schizoid personalities are emotionally distant and tend to prefer to be alone. They are generally immersed in their own thoughts and have little interest in bonding and intimacy with others. More..

·         Schizotypal personality disorder 

This disorder is characterized by odd and unusual “magical” beliefs. These individuals may have an eccentric way of behaving or dressing. They also tend to display outlandish beliefs such as believing that they can see the future or travel to other dimensions.

People with this condition often have difficulty connecting with others and establishing long term relationships. Overtime, they may develop a fear of social gatherings. More..

Class B (The Wild)

Dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders (wild) 

·         Antisocial/psychopath personality disorder

Individuals with this disorder are known to be manipulative, irresponsible, and have a history of legal difficulties. They show little respect for the rights of others and feel no remorse for their actions. They also leave a trail of unfulfilled promises and broken hearts.

Antisocial personalities are also at high risk for drug abuse (e.g., alcoholism; meth) since many are rush seekers. While they seldom suffer from depression or anxiety, they often use drugs to relieve boredom and irritability. More..  (Dunn note–this PD is male dominant) 

·         Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personalities are impulsive and have extreme views of people as either all good or bad.

These people are unstable in relationships and have a strong fear of abandonment. They may form an intense personal attachment with someone they barely know and end it without no apparent reason. They might also engage in a pull and push behavior that usually ends with their partner leaving permanently.

Self-mutilation, suicidal gestures or attention-seeking destructive behaviors are not uncommon. Borderline personalities are three times more likely to be female. More..

·         Histrionic personality disorder

People with this condition engage in persistent attention-seeking behaviors that include innapropriate sexual behavior and exaggerated emotions. They can be oversensitive about themselves and constantly seek reasurrance or approval from others.

Excessive need to be the center of attention, low tolerance for frustration, blaming others for failures are also characteristics of the histrionic personality. More..

·         Narcissistic personality disorder 

Narcissistic personalities have a blown up perception of themselves and an excessive desire for attention and admiration. Individuals with this disorder have a false sense of entitlement and little respect for other people’s feelings. They are oversensitive to criticism and often blame others for their failures.

Prone to outbursts of anger and irritability, the narcissistic personality tends to be manipulative in interspersonal relationships. But deep beneath the surface lies a vulnerable self-esteem, susceptible to depression and feelings of inferiority. More..

Class C (The Withdrawn)

Anxious or fearful disorders 

·         Avoidant personality disorder 

This disorder is described by chronic social withdrawal, feelings of inferiority, over-sensitivity and social withdrawal.

People with avoidant personality disorder are constantly fearful of rejection and ridicule. They form relationships only with people that they trust. The pain of rejection is so strong that these individuals prefer to isolate rather than risk disappointment. More..

·         Dependent personality disorder 

Individuals with this condition have an abnormal desire to be nurtured that leads to submissive and clinging behavior. Dependent personalities have difficulty making their own decisions and seek others to take over most important areas in their lives.

They will often go to great length to obtain nurturance from others, have separation anxiety when alone and desperately seek another partner when a close relationship ends. More..

·         Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Not to be confused with OCD. People with OCPD are perceived as strict and demanding by others. They have a persistent preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and efficiency, at the expense of interpersonal relationships. They also show an excessive devotion to work, productivity and exhibit rigidness and stubbornness.

People with OCPD usually have a negative view of life and often become withdrawn and depressed.

I was a corrections physician for almost 30 years as a contribution to our hometown and local law enforcement/incarceration services. I know a little about criminals. Here are three essays, two short, one long, on the issue of criminality and mental disorders.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/mental_illness_and_misconduct.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/03/personality_disorders_and_mass_murder.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/senator_cornyn_and_the_inmates.html

Consider my warning: PDs are not a mental illness, they are a culturally dysfunctional behavior problem. PD individuals are not psychotic or out of touch with reality — they just have a bad set of behavior and social controls. They got messed up on the way to adulthood and functional good behavior.

My Comment:

Dr. Dunn puts analytic rigor to confirm a suspicion many of us have, that these violent acts by individuals demonstrate the breakdown of socialization in our societies.  Current political initiatives aim to denigrate and defund law enforcement, and to not prosecute criminal behavior.  Educators are proudly replacing family values with ego-centric pleasure gratification.  How can this be anything but a concerted effort to infect free societies with more and more mal-adjusted, disordered personalities?  And social media adds fuel to the fire.

The wokeness destruction of our institutions must be reversed, and families must function to raise children to care about and respect others.  Otherwise, when the social bonds are completely dissolved, the jack boots will come in.

See also Hey Groomers, Leave Those Kids Alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Institutions Turn Against Individuals

These days, marxist theory is camouflaged as “Critical Theory”, AKA Critical Race Theory, Critical Gender Theory, etc. But the thrust remains the same:  every social identity and relationship is redefined as a power struggle between oppressor and oppressed.  Thus everything is politicized and civil society is reduced to a jungle where might makes right.  Those who seize cultural control of social and economic institutions imperil each individual’s inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Last month Peter Robinson conducted an Uncommon Knowledge interview with Jordan Peterson on the topic The Importance of Being Ethical.  The video link is below, followed by my transcription with light editing to produce from the captions a text for reading.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds. (PR is Peter Robinson, JP is Jordan Peterson)

PR:  If you’re the prime minister of Canada the man is a villain, but if you’re a conservative particularly a young conservative it’s very likely you think of him as a hero. Jordan Peterson on Uncommon Knowledge.

In 2016 the Trudeau government enacted legislation making it illegal to discriminate on the ground of “gender expression”. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto objected. In particular he flatly refused to use politically correct gender pronouns, said so in videos and went viral in 2017. He began a series of podcasts called the psychological significance of biblical stories that has been viewed by millions. In 2018 he published a book 12 rules for life an antidote to chaos that became an international bestseller. Last year he published another bestseller beyond order: 12 more rules for life, and then he resigned from the University of Toronto to devote himself to lectures and podcasts. Jordan Peterson welcome. The audience should know by the way that we’re filming today as part of the classical liberalism seminar at Stanford.

PR:  All right, question one: The February protest by Canadian truckers. They’re protesting covid restrictions; some of them block border crossings; some of them snarl the capital city of ottawa.
Here’s your quotation made in a message you taped for the protesters. “ I’d like to commend all of you for your diligence and work on accomplishing what you have under trying conditions, and also for keeping your heads in a way that’s been a model for the entire world.”

Now the clip of PM Trudeau speaking in parliament: “It has to stop. The people of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods. They don’t deserve to be confronted with the inherent violence of a swastika flying on a street corner, or a confederate flag, or the insults and jeers just because they’re wearing a mask. That’s not who Canada, who Canadians are.”

So here’s the first question: How can discourse in a great democracy have become so polarized that Jordan Peterson and the Prime Minister look at exactly the same set of events and come to opposite conclusions about them.?

JP: Well he’s lying, and I’m not. So that’s a big part of the issue. I don’t believe that he ever says a word that’s true. From what I’ve been able to observe, it’s all stage acting. He’s crafted a persona. He has a particular instrumental goal in mind, and everything is subordinated to serve that.

What’s the motivation? It’s the same motivation that’s generally typical of people who are narcissistic, which is to be accredited with moral virtue in the absence of the work necessary to actually attain it.

Apart from playing a role, from you know the swastika thing is really just untrue about Canadians.  Really, we’re going to be worried about Nazis in Canada? First of all that just isn’t a thing in Canada; There isn’t a Nazi tradition, and i don’t know anyone in Canada who’s ever met anyone who’s met someone who was Canadian and who was a Nazi. So that’s just a non-starter

When that sort of thing gets dragged into the conversation right off the bat you know, “Canadians shouldn’t be subjected to the inherent violence of a swastika, ” first of all it’s not even obvious what that swastika was doing there. There’s reasonable evidence to suggest that the person who was waving it was either a plant, or someone who was making the comment about what was characteristic of the government. Now no one knows because the story around that event is messy, and it’s not like there were credible journalists who were going in there to investigate thoroughly. But to use that, and the confederate flag issue is exactly the same thing.

The story in Canada is that our Prime Minister implemented the emergencies act and so the question was why. So I went on twitter when this was trending and read at least 5000 twitter comments to try to get a sense of people who were supporting Trudeau in applying the emergencies act. I wanted to understand what do they believe is happening. As far as I can tell, and maybe I’m wrong, the story was that something like make america great again conservative republicans, the you know pretty far right., were attempting to destabilize Canadian democracy.

And so my question was, well what makes you think they care first of all about Canada and its democracy? And second, why in the world would they possibly do that? You need a motive for a crime like that. At the same time, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which is subsidized by the liberals to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars a year, the CBC was insisting that most of the money that the truckers raised was foreign financed. If it wasn’t the bloody Russians, then it was the American Conservatives. And so that all turned out to be a complete lie.

And so the line was, it’s republican right-wingers trying to destabilize Canadian democracy, except no one has an answer for what’s in it for them.

And then three days later, the emergency act was lifted. i thought, okay now what are they going to make of that? What could possibly be the rationale for that? And the rationale was that it just showed how effective he was. We had this coup ready to go that was financed by Americans apparently, and our prime minister acted so forthrightly that we only needed to be under the strictures of the emergency act for three days.

I don’t even know what sort of world exists in which those things are happening, and then why do Canadians buy this to the degree they do.

And I think they’re faced with a hard choice. Because in my country for 150 years you could trust the basic institutions. You could trust the government, it didn’t matter what political party was running it; you could trust the political parties right from the socialists over to the conservatives. The socialists were mostly union types and they were trying to give the working class a voice and honestly so. You could trust the the media, even the CBC was a reliable source of news. You know, none of that’s true now. And so Canadians are asked to make a hard choice in the truckers convoy situation. Either all your institutions are almost irretrievably corrupt, or the truckers were financed by like right-wing republican-americans. Well both of those are preposterous, so you might as well take the one that’s least disruptive to your entire sense of security. And I think that’s what Canadians mostly did.

PR:  Coming back to Canadian universities Jordan Peterson was quoted in the National Post this past march: “I had envisioned teaching and researching at the University of Toronto full-time until they had to haul my skeleton out of my office.” Instead you retired. Why?

JP:  Well it was impossible to go back. For a long time I couldn’t think clearly about what I should do on the professional front because I was ill. Later when I started to recover and looked at the situation, first of all there was just no going back because I’m too well known and too provocative I suppose. I’ve never really thought of myself as that, but it seems to have turned out that way. I couldn’t just return to the classroom.

And then there were other problems too. There’s no bloody way I’m writing a diversity, inclusivity and equity statement for a grant.

I can’t imagine the circumstances under which i would do that. And that’s become absolutely crucial now in Canada. Also increasingly in the US to get any sort of research grant you you have to write a diversity statement, and it has to be the right kind of statement. I read that the national sciences and engineering research councils frequently asked questions about how to prepare a diversity statement. And you couldn’t write a more reprehensible document from the ideological perspective if you set out with the intent purpose of writing a despicable document.

So there’s no way I could get funding for my research and then what bloody chance would my students have of being hired in an academic environment today? You know perfectly well those who sat on faculty hiring committees your basic decision right off the bat is: Okay who do we eliminate because you have way too many candidates? And so you’re searching for reasons to get rid of people. I’m don’t say this as a criticism, it’s just a reality. If there’s any whiff of scandal of any sort, well we have 10 other people we could look. Why would we bother with the trouble? So I just couldn’t see my students having any future.

Then I also thought: Well I can go lecture wherever I want, to whoever i want with virtually any size audience, with no restrictions whatsoever. Why go back to teaching a small class at university? I did like doing that, but all I could see were disadvantages. Plus it was impossible. Exactly what am I supposed to do when I meet a graduate student or a young professor hired on diversity grounds manifest instant skepticism? What a slap in the face!

The diversity ideology is no friend to peace and tolerance; it is absolutely and completely the enemy of competence and justice.

PR:  What happened? How did wokeness take over universities? University faculty poll after poll of party affiliation in this country, I’m sure it’s the same in Canada, shows the university faculty been to the left for a long time. But this wokeness is something new. What’s the transmission mechanism; what happened and how did it happen in a small number of years?

JP:  That’s a tough question. I’ve tried to put my finger on the essential elements of what you might describe as political correctness or wokeness and done that in a variety of ways. For example this is one student of mine undertook a quite promising line of research. The first thing we wanted to find out was: Is there really such a thing as political correctness or wokeness? Because it’s vague, can you identify it? And by that I mean psychometrically. Because for 40 years one of the things that psychologists have been wrestling with is construct validation. That’s the technical problem: How do you know when you put a concept forward whether it bears any relationship to some underlying reality? For example, is there such a thing as emotional intelligence? Is there such a thing as self-esteem? Or political correctness?

The proper answer is we don’t know, but there are ways of finding out. You need to find out if the construct assesses something that’s unique and does that in a manner separate from other similar constructs in a in a revealing and important way. There’s a whole theory of of methodology that should inform your efforts to answer such questions. So for example if you’re a clinician you might want to differentiate between depression and anxiety. Keeping the concepts separate is important so they have functional utility, but also accounting for the overlap because they’re both negative emotions. It’s part of epistemological mapping

So we asked a large number of people a very large number of political questions trying to oversample questions that had been put forward in the media and in the public sphere as indicative of politically correct beliefs. Then we did the appropriate statistical analysis to see if the questions hung together. They hang together if question a is politically correct, let’s say you answer it positively. And question b is politically correct and you answer it positively. If there’s a large correlation between those two questions then you think well they’re assessing something underlying that’s holding them together.

In this way we identified a set of beliefs that were observable or easily identifiable as politically correct. So yes, it exists.

The next question is: Where does it come from? We haven’t done empirical analysis of that, but I think if you’re reasonably familiar with the history of ideas you can see two streams, two broad streams of thought.

One is a postmodern stream that basically emerged out of literary criticism.

It’s predicated on what is actually a fundamental and a valid critique; which is that it’s very, very difficult to lay out a description of the world without that description being informed by some value structure. That’s at the core of what’s useful about the postmodern critique. I actually happen to believe that you look at the world through a structure of value.  Well then, what is the structure of value and also what do you mean by a structure value?

And that’s where the post-modernists went wrong,
and where I think our whole society went wrong.

Because the radical left types who were simultaneously postmodern turned to marxism to answer that question. They said, well we organize our perceptions as a consequence of the will to power. And I think that is an appalling doctrine. It’s technically incorrect for all sorts of reasons that we could get into. Partly the issue is: if power is my ability to compel you to do things against your own interest or in your own desire, maybe I can organize my social interactions on the basis of that willingness to express power. That’s a very unstable means of social organization.

So the notion is that it’s power that structures our relations,
but where’s your evidence for that?

There’s no evidence for that, it’s wrong; but that’s what we assumed and that’s what universities  teach by and large. It makes no sense to me that this thing that has raged through these great magnificent institutions, these universities that our grandparents and great grandparents sacrificed to give money to, these magnificent citadels of learning.  It makes no sense to me to suppose that english departments suddenly took over well unless they’re on to something. As I said before, I don’t think you can look at the world except through a structure of value. So why has literary criticism become so relevant and so powerful?

I believe that we see the world through a narrative framework. If that’s true, you need a mechanism to prioritize your attention because attention is a finite resource and it’s costly. So you have to prioritize it and there’s no difference between prioritizing your attention and imposing a value structure those are the same thing. The mechanisms that we use to prioritize our attention are stories, which means that the people who criticize our stories actually have way more power than you think. Because they’re actually criticizing the mechanism through which we look at the world.

So the post-modernist would say, you even look at the scientific world
through a value-laden lens. I think they’re right, yes you do,
but they’re wrong that the lens is one of power.

Now with a word like power, you can expand the borders of the word to encompass virtually any phenomena you want. And so that’s why I define power as my willingness to use compulsion on you or other people. Because power can be authority, power can be competence, but I don’t mean any of that. I mean power in the sense you don’t get to do what you want, you do what I tell you to do. This is power as coercion exactly. And I do think the marxist types view the willingness to use coercion as the driving force of human history. That’s really saying something, because that means it’s the fundamental motivation.

That’s a very caustic criticism, and it’s easy to put people back on their heels
about that,  as we are seeing with capitalists.

I’ve been stunned to see the CEOs of major corporations just roll over in front of these DEI activists. I wonder, what the hell’s wrong with you people? You’re not even making use of your privilege and you are not very powerful if you’re the CEO of a major corporation and you can’t even withstand some interns who have DEI ideology, which is not doing you a lot of good. So why would you produce a fifth column within your organization that’s completely opposed to the entire manner in which you do business and to the capitalist enterprise as such?

One answer would be, well we don’t think much about ideas. Well maybe you should. Or maybe you are cynical about it and say, well it’s just a gloss to keep the capitalist enterprise going while appearing to to meet the new demands of the new ethical reality. Which I think is also a bad argument.

But more importantly it’s that people are guilty and the the radicals who accuse us all historically and as individuals of being motivated
by nothing but the desire for power
strike a chord especially in people who are conscientious.

Because if you’re a conscientious person and someone comes to you, or a little mob of 30 people says, you can be a little more careful in what you say and do on the racist front and the sexist front etc. You’re likely to think, well I’m not perfect. I probably could be a little more careful. And no doubt people have been oppressed in the past and it’s also true that in some sense I’m the undeserving beneficiary of historical atrocity and so maybe I should look to myself.

That’s weaponization of guilt and it’s very effective and it’s not surprising. But it’s not helpful because there’s a resentment that drives this, a corrosive resentment that’s able to weaponize guilt and it’s very difficult for people to withstand it.

PR:  Earlier you talked about values and how we see the world through values so here’s a question.  If there’s no objective standard of reason outside and above ourselves, if everything is just matter how we think, how can we do science? What do you think of this from C.S. Lewis:  If I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, meaning all that exists is only what we can perceive through our senses, then not only can I not fit in religion, I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry in the long run on the meaningless flux of the atoms, how the thoughts of minds have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees?

JP:  Well that’s a complicated problem. First of all I don’t think science is possible outside of an encompassing judeo-christian ethic. For example, I don’t think you can be a scientist without believing as an axiom of faith that truth will set you free. In fact we don’t know the conditions under which science is possible and we tend to overestimate its epistemological potency. I mean you can stretch it back to the Greeks if you’re inclined, but in a formal sense it’s only been around for about five centuries, and it’s only thrived for a very short period of time. And it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that there were particular preconditions that made its rise and ascendancy possible. It is an historical phenomenon, yes it happened at a specific moment in time and for particular reasons.

One of the bunch of conditions is for example, there’s an intense insistence in the Christian tradition that the mind of god in some sense is knowable, and yes including the structure of the cosmos. And you have to believe that’s the case before you’re going to embark on a scientific endeavor. You have to believe that there’s some relationship between logos or logic. But logos is a much broader concept than logic, that’s for sure. You have to believe that there’s some relationship between that and the structure of the cosmos.

You have to believe that the pursuit of truth is in itself an ethical good,
because why would you bother otherwise.

You have to believe that there is such a thing as an ethical good and those are not scientific questions. Which is why i think the arguments of people like Hitchens and Dawkins are weak. People like that have a metaphysic which they don’t know and they assume that metaphysic is self-evidence. Well sorry guys, it’s actually not self-evident. And they assume that it can be derived from the observations of empirical reality and the answer to that is no. There’s going to be axioms of your perceptual system that aren’t derivable from the contents of your perceptual system.

And you might think, well that’s not very scientific and i would say you can take it up with Roger Penrose about say the role of consciousness and and the structure of consciousness. And it’s by no means obvious that the materialist reductionists have the correct theory about the nature of consciousness. And not surprisingly we don’t understand the relationship between consciousness and being at all.

You know these are hard hard questions. One hard question for consciousness researchers is: Why is there consciousness? Why aren’t we just unconscious mechanisms acting deterministically?  I don’t think that is the hardest question.

The really hard question is: What’s the relationship between consciousness and being itself?

Because I can’t understand what it means for something to be in the absence of some awareness of that being. There’s an awareness component implicit in the in the idea of being itself. Consciousness is integrally tied up with being in some mysterious manner and so I also don’t believe that the the most sophisticated scientists are by necessity reductionist materialists. It’s occam’s razor clear if you can reduce and account deterministically no problem. But don’t be thinking that accounts for everything because I don’t think there’s any evidence that it does.

PR:  From science to to politics to quotations. Jordan Peterson this is a tweet of just last month: Does anything other than the axiomatic acceptance of the divine value of the individual make slavery a self-evident rule, right? That’s a good one.  I’m going to put you in an august company.  Here’s G.K. Chesterton:  The declaration of independence bases all rights on the fact that god created all men equal.  There is no basis for democracy except in  the divine origin of man so these are very similar thoughts.

JP: I’ve been talking to my audience about what is the right to free speech and and how that might be conceptualized. Because you can think about it as a right among other rights, so it’s just one on a list of rights. And you can also think of rights as being granted to you in some sense by the social contract.

That is a different theory than the notion that rights originate in some underlying religious insistence of the divine value of the individual.

There’s a bunch of problems with the rights among other rights argument i don’t think free speech is a right among other rights. Speech has to be free because if it’s not free it’s not thought. So imagine if everything’s not going all right, you have problems, and you have to think about hard things. If you have a problem the thinking is going to be troublesome because you’re going to think things that upset yourself and upset other people. It’s part of the necessity, part of what will necessarily happen if you’re thinking.

PR:  You said something that just stopped me so completely cold that I missed some of what followed. To repeat: There is no difference between speech and thought; if you have free thought you must have free speech. That’s the argument.

JP: Yes. Well I’ll unpack that first and then return to the other. First of all, mostly you think in words now. People also think in images but I’m not going to go into that, we’ll just leave that aside. But mostly we think in words and so we use a mechanism that’s sociologically constructed– the world of speech to organize our own psyches. We do that with speech and basically when you think there’s two components to it that are internal. In a sense when you think you have a problem, you ask yourself a question and then answers appear in the theater of your imagination. They are generally verbal so that’d be like the revelatory element of thought. And that’s very much prayer in some fundamental sense.

It’s very mysterious the fact that you can pose yourself a question and then you can generate answers. So why did you have the question if you can generate the answers, if the answers are just there. Where do the answers come from? Well you can give a materialist account to some very limited degree, but phenomenologically it’s still the case that you pose a question to yourself in speech and you receive an answer in speech. Now it can also be an image but forget about that for this discussion.

The next question is what do you do once you receive the answer? The answer is, well, if you can think then you use internal speech to dissect the answer. This is what you do, for example, you encourage your students to do if they’re writing an essay. You know they lay out a proposition and then you hope they can take the proposition apart. Essentially in this way they’re transforming themselves into avatars, speaking avatars of two different viewpoints. So you have the speaker for the proposition and then you have the critic. Maybe you lay out the dialogue between them and that constitutes the body of the essay.

You have to be bloody sophisticated to manage that because it means that you have to divide yourself in some sense into two avatars that are oppositional. And then you have to allow yourself to be the battle space between them that. People have to be trained to do that. It’s what universities are supposed to do.

But it’s really hard; so instead of that, people generally talk to other people.
And that’s how they they organize themselves, by talking to other people.

So the additional reason you have the right to free speech, isn’t that you can just say whatever you want to gain a hedonistic advantage, which is one way of thinking about it. You have a right to say whatever you want like you have a right to do what you want, you know subject to certain limitations. It’s like it’s a hedonstic freedom. No, that’s not why you have a right free speech.

You have a right to free speech because the entirety of society depends
on this ability to adapt to the changing horizon of the future
on the free thought of the individuals who compose it.

It’s like a free market in some sense, a free market argument in relationship to thought. We have to compute this transforming horizon, and we do that well by consciously engaging with possibilities. Doing that is mediated through speech. So societies that are going to function over any reasonable amount of time have to leave their citizens alone to grapple stupidly with complexity. So that out of that stupid, fraught grappling that’s offensive and difficult and upsetting, we can grope towards the truth collectively. This before taking the steps to implement those truths, before they’ve been tested.  So that’s the free speech argument.

The divinity argument is while you are that locus of consciousness,
that’s what you are most fundamentally.

The reason that’s associated with divinity is a very very complicated question and part of the reason I outlined this in my biblical series on genesis. This divinity of the individuals rooted in the narrative conception is part and parcel of the judeo-christian tradition. You have god at the beginning of time in whose image men and women are made acting as the agent that transforms the chaos of potential into the habitable reality that is good. And he uses the word the divine word logos to do that, which implies that the word that’s truthful is the word that extracts habitable order out of chaos.

What characterizes human beings is that capability.

To those who don’t believe that, I say try acting another way, try basing your personal relationships on any other conception and see what happens. You know people are so desperate to be treated in that manner that it’s their primary motivation. You want other people to treat you as if you have something to say that you’re worth attending to. You have the opportunity to express yourself, no matter how badly you do it. And if they’re willing to grant you their attention and time to help you straighten that out, there isn’t anything you want more than that. If you try to structure your social relationships on any other basis then that respect for their intrinsic value, it’s going to fail.

PR:  We’ve talked about faculty and students. A couple of statistics: According to Gallup the proportion of Americans who claim no religious affiliation, among Americans–over 76 years old is just seven percent. 93 percent of the oldsters claim a religious affiliation. The youngest group that Gallup tested is Americans between 26 and 41–almost a third claim no religious affiliation.

Item two and I’m reasonably certain this is the same in Canada at least in eastern Canada, but certainly in the United States, poll after poll shows that young people are far more open to socialism, or to farther not just left of center but farther left political aims. They’re the ones who most fervently support this. By the way This is an inversion from the Reagan years in the 80s when the kids were more conservative than the older. That’s not the case now, add in my personal observation that during covid, during the lockdowns, personally almost more shocking than any other aspect was the supineness, the passivity of the kids. This despite it was established very very early that if you’re young you’re at no serious risk of this virus. You’ll get sick, perhaps it’ll be a flu, but you’re more likely to die in a car accident up to the age of 20 something than you are to die of covid. That was established right away and yet universities shut down and they made kids go on zoom to take exams or take their classes. I could detect no pushback. No kid was trying to diss the man; in general they were saying, Yes Master.

It’s like they were Igors to Dr Frankenstein. This is all really bad news.

After listening to you talk with such a sophistication for a while now, here’s the crude point, the crude suspicion I take away:

If you don’t have some notion of the transcendent; if you don’t have some notion of the divine, then you’ll believe any damn thing.

JP:  I think that’s right and that’s what the kids are doing. Dostoevsky commented on that: if there’s no god everything is permitted you know. And he did a lovely job of analyzing that in Crime and Punishment and the Brothers Karamazov. I do think it’s true that if you believe nothing, you’ll fall for anything.  People like to ask me if i believe in god, and i always think well, who are you to be asking that question? First of all you have some notion of what you mean by believe that you think is just accurate because you know what believe means. And so you have a prior theory about belief and now you’re asking me if my belief in god fits into your a prior theory.

How about we start by questioning your a priori theory of belief?

Because I don’t even know what you mean by believe, and neither do you especially when we’re asking a question that profound. You know, do you believe in god involves three mysteries there, and all three of those are subject to question. 

I think people act out what they believe. So when people ask me if I believe in god, generally I say that I act or try to act as if god exists. And they’re not very happy about that because they want me to abide by the rules, the implicit rules of their question. Which is, do you believe in the religious view as a pseudo-scientific description of the structure of reality? I don’t know how to answer that question because it’s so badly formulated i can’t get a handle on it.

Do you believe that there’s something divine? Well let’s try to define divine here, we can do that for for a moment. Most of us have some sense that literary stories differ in their depth. I don’t think that’s an unwarranted proposition: some stories are shallow and some stories are deep; some stories are ephemeral and some move you deeply, whatever that means. It’s a metaphor but we understand what it means. Imagine there are layers of literary depth and one way of conceptualizing the layers is that the deeper an idea is the more other ideas depend upon it.  So you have ideas that are fundamental because if you shake that idea, you shake all the ideas that depend on them.

And then I would say the realm of the divine is the realm of the most fundamental ideas.

That must be so because the alternative is to say well all ideas are equal in value. Okay well, try acting then and you can’t, because you can’t act unless you prioritize your beliefs. And if you prioritize them you arrange them into a hierarchy, and in that arrangement you accept the notion of depth. And so when we use language of the divine we’re talking about the deepest ideas.

And so I believe the notion that each individual is characterized by a consciousness that transforms the horizon of the future into the present.

That’s a divine idea–it’s so deep and our functional cultures are necessarily predicated on that idea. It’s not just a western idea since you can not have a functional culture that in some sense doesn’t instantiate that idea. Because you interfere with the mechanism of adaptation itself, by not allowing it free expression.

Suppose you are like my prime minister and you say, “Well I really admire the Chinese Communist Party, because when it comes to environmental issues they get things done.” So many things are wrong with that statement, it’s hard to know where to begin. It is the posture of an inexcusably narcissistic idiot. But we can start with the idea that, if you know what you’re doing and you have power, maybe you can be more efficient in your exercise of in your control over movement towards that goal. Fair enough but what about when you don’t know what you’re doing. Where then do you turn because it means your ideology failed you and you have no mechanism for operating when you don’t know what you’re doing.

The regime is based on believing we always know what we’re doing
because we’re totalitarian and we have a complete theory of everything.
And don’t say anything to the contrary or else.

In free societies, when we don’t know what we’re doing, we let people talk. And out of that babble, out of that noise, (American culture is particularly remarkable in this regard) you have this immense diversity of opinions. Most of them are completely useless and some are absolutely redemptive. As a Canadian observing your culture we see you guys veer off in weird directions fairly frequently and things look pretty unstable. And then there’s some glimmer of hope somewhere that bursts forward in in a whole new mode of adaptation and away you go again. And that just happens over and over and over as a consequence of real diversity.

It’s definitely a consequence of freedom of association and freedom of speech
because it enables all that expression of possibilities.

PR: Sure that’s optimistic and I always like to end a show on an up note. But first let me put a pin in the optimism balloon. You mentioned Trudeau and Trudeau’s admiration for the Chinese communist Party. Ray Dalio billionaire on china points out empires rise when they’re productive, financially sound, earning more than they spend and increasing assets faster than their liabilities. Objectively compare China in the US on these measures and the fundamentals clearly favor China” Jordan Peterson writing about communism in your introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of the Gulag Archipelago:

“No political experiment has been tried so widely with so many disparate people in so many different countries and failed so absolutely and catastrophically.”

The question is: How much proof do we need and why do we still avert our eyes from the truth?  Why why do we still feel tempted. Dostoyevsky in the legend of the grand inquisitor has the grand inquisitor speaking to Christ and he says to Christ: You’re all wrong.  Receiving their bread from us the people will clearly see that we take the bread from them to give it back to them. And they will be only too glad to have it so long as we will deliver them from their greatest anxiety and torture: that of having to decide freely for themselves. Never was there anything more unbearable to the human race than personal freedom.”

What do you think:  Canada had a good run, the United States had a good run but sustaining free societies across the decades and across the generations is just too hard for human nature to bear.

JP: No you should not agree with that for two reasons. The first is that man does not live by bread alone so that’s the first rejoinder. And the second is regarding difficulty: the only thing more difficult than contending forthrightly with existence is failing to do so. I’m not suggesting for a moment that this isn’t difficult. What the western religious tradition has done, what religious traditions in general do to some degree, is to try to provide people with support from what’s divine in their incalculably difficult efforts to deal with the unknown. If you orient yourself ethically in the most fundamental sense, then in some sense you have the force of god on your side and then maybe you can prevail despite the difficulty.

I try to ask these questions seriously you know and I would also say that I’ve been driven to my religious beliefs such as it is by necessity not by desire. What do you want to have on your side when you’re contending with the unknowable future and it’s vagaries? How about truth? How about beauty? How about Justice? You want allies, those powerful allies that the university is supposed to be teaching young people

You need some allies for the pursuit of truth when the scientists are having their say. On the economic front, how about the free trade between autonomous individuals, the free trade of goods of value between autonomous individuals. That’s not such a bad thing to have on your side these eternal verities. They share something good in common as all good things. For all intents and purposes that’s god. You might say well i don’t believe in that. How is possible you don’t believe there’s any such thing as good, and don’t believe there’s any such thing as ultimate good. I’m not trying to make some ontological claim about an old man living in the sky, although i think that’s a lot more sophisticated concept than people generally realize.

My point is you do have a belief system whether you know it or not, a system of ethics whether you know it or not. There’s either something at the bottom that unifies it or it’s not unified. In which case means you’re aimless and hopeless and depressed and anxious and confused because those are the only other options. And maybe you don’t know what that unifying belief is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It just means you don’t know what it is.

I can give you a couple of examples very very briefly. I already mentioned the story in genesis that associates god with the force process that generates habitable order out of chaos and attributes that nature in some sense to human beings. The next part in the story of adam and eve, god is what people walk with unself-consciously in the garden. So adam doesn’t because he’s now ashamed and he doesn’t walk with god anymore. So what is god? Well that’s what you walk with when you’re unself-conscious, so that’s an interesting idea. And then you have the god that manifests himself in the story of noah. That’s the intuition that hard times are coming and that you better get your house in order. If you have any sense, the nature of the intuition is a spirit that animates you. Well obviously because there you are acting and you’re acting out a pattern. it’s a spirit that animates you.  And then there’s the story of the tower of babel, what’s god there? Well god is that which you replace at your peril because everything will come tumbling down. That’s the tower of babel. It’s like  definitely if we put the wrong thing at the top, like Stalin for example then look out. We’ve done that a bunch of times in the 20th century.

I think you know Milton conceptualized Lucifer as something like the spirit of unbridled intellectual arrogance. Something like Lucifer is the light bringer and he is engaged in a conflict with god attempting to replace the divine and that’s pretty explicit in the story. That’s a poetic intuition of the of the battle between the secular intelligencia and the religious structure that’s milton’s pro-droma. He sees happening the intellect has become so arrogant that it will attempt to replace the divine and rule over hell. Well that’s the soviet union man; that’s Mao’s China— we know we’ve got our theory, it’s total, we’ve solved the problem and nothing’s going to change

Fair enough if you want to rule over hell and you think these societies are successful. Pretty odd definition of success as far as I’m concerned. If you want to be successful like china, you know that’s why it’s true that man does not live by bread alone. You know that a wealthy slave, that’s no life.

PR: I’m going to stumble along toward o setting up my last question. I’m thinking back to the 1970s.
Canada is part of this, but i know the American story better, and in the 1970s everything goes wrong.  Economic stagnation, loss of morale in this country because we lose in Vietnam. Watergate scandal.  We’re on the defensive as the soviets advance in Africa, Latin America. And then in the 1980’s,  we go  from 1979 with the national humiliation of the Iranian hostage crisis and this Soviet  invasion of Afghanistan, and then 1989 one decade, just 10 years later, the Berlin wall comes down.

So the question here is: the loss of freedom of speech, the corruption of the universities, the rise of
china which is in all kinds of ways a more formidable opponent than the soviet union was. In all kinds of ways one could argue that we’re in a worse position now than we were in the 70s. Are you speaking to those few who have eyes to see and ears to hear? Do you believe that we are capable  to prompt another kind of restoration? Or is Jordan Peterson the fascinating eloquent compelling  champion of a lost cause?

JP: When I spent a lot of time at the various universities, I was associated with studying motivation for atrocity. Because i was very curious about that as a psychologist; not as a sociologist or an economist or a political scientist. If you’re an Auschwitz guard, what’s motivating you as an individual? I wanted to understand it well enough so I could understand how I could do that. Some say, well that sort of behavior is so far beyond the pale that it’s completely incomprehensible. It’s just a manifestation of say, intense psychopathy, and a normal person can’t even imagine it.

I think the evidence doesn’t really suggest that. Because it is not obvious that all the people involved in the Nazi movement for example were criminally pathological, that they were incomprehensible deviations from the norm. It’d be lovely to think that and it would make the world a lot simpler. But the evidence mostly suggests that you can get ordinary people to do that sort of thing, and maybe even to enjoy it. So that’s pretty bloody terrifying and so i tried to understand, and think i did to some degree. Without getting deep into it here, we can say a fair bit of it is a consequence of envy. It’s the spirit of Cain if you had to sum it up in a phrase.

But that isn’t the issue; rather the issue is how do you stop it from happening again? Because that’s what we’re supposed to be concentrating on. In the aftermath of the second world war, we said, “Never Forget.” That should mean something like, How about we don’t do this again? So my question was: how do we best go about ensuring we don’t walk down that road again? My conclusion was that it was fundamentally an issue of individual psychology, most fundamentally more than economics, more than sociology.

For all of that, the cure is individual people have to act
as ethically as they are powerful or else.

And so I’ve been trying to convince people to do that. I suppose not to convince them precisely, but to put forward an argument about why that’s necessary and why it’s on them. You have to understand this problem because if you don’t get it right, it isn’t gonna work. How you start is with what you have under control in your own life. Where else are you going to start but to look to yourself. Put your house in order, not to be worried about some other person walking the satanic path. That’s what activists do all the time. They’re protesting it’s you, it’s the corporations, like it’s someone else.  No, it’s you and I think also fundamental to the judeo-christian doctrine is that it’s you. it’s on you.

Redemption’s an individual matter and so my hope is that if enough people take themselves with enough seriousness, then we won’t end up in hell.

Because we certainly could, it’s a high probability. But I also don’t think that you can be motivated enough to put your house in order to the degree that’s necessary merely by being attracted, let’s say to the potential utopia that might emerge as a consequence of that. So that’d be a vision of heaven, let’s say you need also to also be terrified of hell. Just because you haven’t been there doesn’t mean there’s no such thing. You have to be pretty bloody naive to think there’s no such thing, how much evidence do you need?  It comes about at least in partial consequence of the sins of men.

PR: What about incoming freshman next year at University of Toronto or Stanford University, 18 year old kids coming into all this, we’ve been through three years of covid. I won’t rehearse it all in one sentence.   What would you say to them as they begin university at the age of 18 or 19?  What’s the restorative, redemptive sentence?  What should they do?

JP: What should they do is: Don’t be thinking your ambition is corrupt. Because that’s part of the message now: we human beings are a cancer on the planet. We’re headed for an environmental apocalypse. The entire historical structure is nothing but atrocity. etc etc. Anyone with any ethical
aim whatsoever is just going to pull back; you don’t want to manifest any ambition, support the patriarchal structure, exploit the environment. You’re supposed to crush yourself down, you shouldn’t even have any children.

There’s no excuse for that there’s zero excuse for that I saw a professor at an event something like this who came out and trumpeted this bloody environmentally friendly house he built. Fair enough, it was a pretty interesting house. But not everybody had the four million dollars that that it took him to build it. I’m not criticizing his money, good for him he built a house, okay. But then to trumpet that as a moral virtue well you’re pushing it there. Then he came out to all the kids and he said my wife and i decided that we’re only going to have one child. I think that’s one of the most ethical things we could have possibly done and I would strongly encourage you to do the same.

I thought, you son of a . . . , you get up in front of these young people, a lot of these kids children of first generation immigrants from china, and he showed all these images of these terrible factories in China, these endless rows of sterile mechanism that were subordinating all the chinese people to this terrible capitalist machine. And I thought you don’t understand half the audience is looking at those factories and thinking that’s a hell of a lot better than struggling through the mud under Mao buddy.

I don’t know where he thought he was but to come out in front of all those kids and basically tell them that the whole human enterprise is so goddamn corrupt that the best thing they could possibly do is limit their multiplication, and to think of himself as a scholar and an educator. I did say something, by the way it was rather uncomfortable and he stomped off the stage. But that’s no message for young people: that’s no there’s no excuse for that.

You think we’re going to destroy the planet, so we have to do this:
we have to demoralize the youth to be ethical

I’m passionate about this because you have no idea how many people that’s killing. I see people everywhere all over the world they’re so demoralized especially young people especially young people with a conscience, because they’ve been told since they were little that there’s nothing to them but corruption and power. How the hell do you expect them to react? You know they will say. OK, I shouldn’t do anything.

So I go around and say to people: Look there’s not only more to you than you know there’s more to you than you can imagine. You have an ethical responsibility to act in that light. You might claim not to believe that, but i would say your whole culture is predicated on that belief. Insofar as you are an active member of that culture and a believer in its structure, then you believe it. You might not be very good at  believing it, you might be full of conflict and doubt, and you might not be able to articulate it. But it’s still right at the bedrock of your culture: this notion of what the divine sovereign individual is. Your culture is predicated on that idea the logos is inherent in each person.

I’ve never seen a credible argument made to show that it’s anything other than that. You can say, well rights are attributed to you by the state. Sorry that’s a weak argument, because the state’s dependent on your actions. In effect you are believing that the state is the entity, and that individuals are just subordinate in some fundamental sense to the state. No, the state is dependent on the individual to exactly the same degree. So we’re the active agent of the state in some sense we are the seeing eye of the state, the speaking mouth of the state, because the state’s dead without the individuals that compose it.

Resources:

Jordan Peterson’s Critical Analysis of Marxist Theory, synopsis at Why Marxism Always Fails

Five part series of posts on themes from Peterson’s Maps of Meaning, beginning with Cosmic Dichotomy: Peterson’s Pearls (1)