Science!!!

Stacy McCainn spotted a good one:

Using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warming projections, Ranson calculated that from 2010 to 2099, climate change will “cause” an additional “22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft” in the United States.

Because, obviously, science.

I think even Dr. Ike Antkare would be embarrassed by this.

 

In “Words I Thought I’d Never Type” News….

… I agree with Peggy Noonan on this one.

Noonan:

[Y]ou see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.

What happens to a nation whose elites laugh at its citizens?

What happens to its elites?

Ace:

I guess what I’m saying is I’m far more worried about actual corruption and self-dealing among Congressmen and Wall Street guys than I am about them making gallows humor jokes about such things.

It’s the actual corruption and self-dealing that would be a concern, not their expression about it, nor their lack of concern about “how it looks.”

I worry about the actual corruption and whatnot too, buddy, but I think that ship has sailed.

Because, as you also note,

Apparently [the Weimar Republic’s embrace of The Three Penny Opera] was contrary to the author’s, Brecht’s, intent, as he intended it to be horrifying.  Instead, it was greeted with laughs. (I have no earthly idea if this is true; I am second-hand reporting what I’ve just read.)

The Threepenny Opera was the Sopranos of its day. Here’s Arendt’s description:

The play presented gangsters as respectable businessmen and respectable businessmen as gangsters. The irony was somewhat lost when respectable businessmen in the audience considered this a deep insight into the ways of the world and when the mob welcomed it as an artistic sanction of gangsterism. The theme song in the play, “Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral” [First comes the animal-like satisfaction of one’s hungers, then comes morality], was greeted with frantic applause by exactly everybody, though for different reasons. The mob applauded because it took the statement literally; the bourgeoisie applauded because it had been fooled by its own hypocrisy for so long that it had grown tired of the tension and found deep wisdom in the expression of the banality by which it lived; the elite applauded because the unveiling of hypocrisy was such superior, wonderful fun.

We know what happens when elites laugh at the country they rule, and what happens to those elites.  Here’s what happened to Brecht:  He fled Germany ahead of the Gestapo… but ended up in East Germany, where he supported the Ulbricht regime.

Hilter promised the mob that the elite would no longer laugh at them.  Then he promised the elite protection from the mob.  We know what happened after that.

A country can tolerate quite a bit of corruption and cynicism in its political class.  The Gilded Age — the Era of Good Stealings — was legendarily corrupt, but there was no danger of an American Weimar.  Rockefellers and Morgans and Astors led bogglingly opulent lives, but they didn’t openly mock and belittle their customers.  Weimar elites did.  Ours do.

I can’t stress this enough:  Government — law and order — remains legitimate because people believe it’s legitimate.  If belief in the legitimacy of government drops below a certain threshold, it’s every man for himself.  The best possible outcome of this is a banana republic.  For the worst possible outcome, start with Sulla and work your way forward.  Hobbes makes a pretty good case, you know.

Of Two Minds….

On the one hand, grab the popcorn baby!

A whole lot of money is chasing the new cool kids, the newly name-branded “journalists” like Ezra Klein and Glenn Greenwald, who bring their friends along with them to the bottomless internet money pits.

As the good professor notes,

The bidding up of mostly mediocre journalism has to end badly.

Bubble always do end badly.  And no one expects it.

Well, except everyone who does.  Like him.  And me.  And everyone else who remembers the last time this exact same thing happened.

Which brings me to the other hand:  Is it 2002?  I had the most horrible nightmare that we somehow elected a Kenyan Marxist who banana republicanized the place in less than four years… tell me I dreamed that.   It’ll be worth another three or four years of insufferable “new media” whiz kids regaling us with all the wisdom of their inexperience if we can just avoid that horrible fate.

[PS confidential to Matt Taibbi [who?], Catherine Rampell [huh?], Mike Allen [guh?], Susan Glasser [wha?], and all the rest:  They’re lying to you.  No matter how many times you use words like “cool” and “bro” and “rad” and “cyber,” you’re still pushing the same ol’ Mao ‘n’ Marcuse nonsense the original “new media” darlings pushed.  You know, back when “new media” was badly mimeographed magazines and local tv.  William F. Buckley had your number in 1951, for pete’s sake.  “The same dumb shit, but faster” is not a viable business model.  That’s the Max Power Way.]

Swillogism in the Newsroom

Stacy McCain spotted a good one.  Turns out there aren’t too many cis-womyn of the girlular gender in journalism.

According to the report, women made up 36.3 percent of newsroom staffers at American newspapers in 2013, a figure that’s decreased slightly since the American Society of Newspaper Editors Newsroom Census started its gender count in 1999. They made up just 27 percent of opinion columnists in the major U.S. newspapers and content syndication services last year.

[If anything, 27% seems a bit high for opinion columnettes.  But maybe that’s because they all sound like Maureen Dowd and/or Kathleen Parker… and by the way, has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same room at the same time? -ed.]

Let’s expose the hidden premises of this familiar liberal syllogism:

  1. If women are less than 50% of employees in any profession, the only explanation is sexist discrimination.

  2. Working as a journalist is a career opportunity that women seek out as often as do men.

  3. It is not possible that women are rejecting journalism, rather than the other way around.

To us, this is risible, since, as McCain points out, journalism is mostly low-paying drudge work.  With the cornucopia of affirmative action choices available to Gyno-Americans, no lady woman girl Person of XX-Chromosomeness in her right mind would go into journalism unless she a) couldn’t clear the minimum sentience threshold for the worst law school in the country, or b) was filled with a burning desire to ask local party hacks what kind of tree they’d be if they could be one.  Either way, 36.3% seems to be the upper bound.

That logic wouldn’t faze a liberal, though, because they’re not looking at it logically.  It’s a swillogism.  They see themselves as Crusaders for Social Justice; they’ve noticed that 36.3 is less than 50; therefore, this is a grave social ill.

I wish I’d understood this “thought” process back when.  When I was but a lad, Shannon Faulkner was trying to get into the Citadel and some guy — for some reason, his name is not readily available on Google — was trying to get into Texas Women’s University’s College of Nursing.  I made the mistake of not agreeing with a young lady I was dating, that the one was a heroic and necessary stand against entrenched injustice, while the other was a farce and a travesty.  Stupidly, I tried reasoning with her.  You can guess how that worked out.

They’re liberals, you see.  So discrimination can’t be discrimination when they do it, because they’re liberals and liberals are against discrimination.  Which was too bad for ol’ Whatzisface at TWU– and me, since I wouldn’t be getting laid that semester — but it makes perfect sense if you don’t think about it.  And so it goes with girls in the newsroom.

Nationalists and Libertarians

A good quick hit over at Steve Sailer’s blog:

What I like about this whole revolution is that it is the ultimate shut-up-button for libertarians.

Whenever libertarians moan about nationalists you can now say: “Well, when Ukraine was in trouble, who fought for liberty? Where were you guys?”

My various gripes with libertarianism boil down to the same thing my gripes about socialism boil down to: It disregards human nature.

Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet who really believes in evolution.  If it’s true, descent with modification applies to all life without exception.  Which means that yes, Virginia, race exists and has observable, measurable impacts on things like intelligence and behavior.  But it also means that human brains are complex pieces of software running on basic chimpanzee hardware.  Which means that most if not all humans will fight for atavistic things like tribe and nation, while very few will fight solely for sophisticated intellectual notions like “freedom” (much less for things like “the right to pay for the Reconquista”).

I thought we’d settled all that back in 1914, when internationalists both left and right swore up and down that a general European war couldn’t last more than a few weeks.  The continent’s interlocking financial systems would stop it before it started, the right huffed, while the left decreed that no workingman would fight his fellow exploited laborer.

Sigh.

Pictured: About 98% of all human behavior

Pictured: About 98% of all human behavior

And since both left and right are still running chimp DOS, I suppose now’s the time to throw in the disclaimers:  I’m not saying libertarians are the same as socialists, let alone worse than socialists.  In general, libertarians are only stupid about this one thing; socialists are stupid about everything.  But in this one case, the stupidities meet, because they flow from the same source — refusal to acknowledge a basic consequence of their own beliefs about human beings.

D3: Swillogism

I think it’s time for a new word.

Swill-o-gism (n): A form of liberal “reasoning,” superficially resembling the classic syllogism, that begins and ends with self-congratulation.

If I’m right about that astrology study, below, it’s a perfect example of swillogistic logic.  I’m a liberal; liberals like science; I like astrology; therefore, astrology is scientific.  It’s a neat little engine for turning one’s personal preferences into sweeping metaphysical statements.

It also explains another thing that’s been bugging me for a long time: Liberals’ evident immunity to cognitive dissonance.  I’m not willing to go all-in on the prospect that I’m right and the neuroscience PhDs are wrong, but liberals sure as hell seem to believe grossly contradictory things with no psychic pain at all.  If I’m right about swillogism, then cognitive dissonance doesn’t kick in because the “contradictions” don’t rise to the level of propositions in the first place.

An example: Liberals who consider themselves intellectuals (ah, but don’t they all?) love this George Lakoff guy.  Conservatives think he’s a clown.  Here’s Theodore Dalrymple taking him down in typically brilliant fashion:

According to him people view the world through the lens of their metaphors, which he thinks provide them with the framework of their thought. Since the 1980s, liberals have allowed conservative metaphors to take over their own metaphoric framework, so that all discussions or arguments about social policy are carried out on conservative terms. Liberals waste their time and effort in arguing from the evidence (conservatives, of course, can have no evidence); they should instead be working to get conservatives to accept a different metaphoric framework.

A simple instance of what he means is the use of the term ‘tax relief.’ This term implies that taxation is an illegitimate burden from which people need to be relieved. Professor Lakoff is obviously in favor of high taxes as instruments of ‘social justice’ – that is to say, justice with the desert taken out – and so liberals should avoid the term, replacing it with another, perhaps ‘evasion of fiscal responsibility’ [the latter is my suggestion, not his].

Because we conservatives start from the premise that words mean what they mean, we find it impossible to take this idea seriously.  Were we ever allowed to debate Lakoff –alas, TED Talks are invitation only — we’d start by asking things like “which specific conservative metaphors currently dominate liberal thinking on social policy?” and “what the hell are you smoking, kemo sabe?”  Because, pace Lakoff, we actually do use evidence from time to time, we’d point out that Political Correctness is nothing but the imposition of liberal metaphors on public discourse, and PC has had a pretty good run these last few decades.  And so on.

But Lakoff, an obviously intelligent guy, really seems to believe that we’d all come around to socialism if only they called it “Patriotism Plus” or something, and obviously intelligent people really seem to believe him.  What gives?

I think they approach things emotionally –swillogistically– not propositionally.  We’re baffled by their love of Lakoff because we look at his theory’s content.  We know what {socialism} means, and when we get the definition of {Patriotism Plus}, we compare the two sets and find that their members are identical.  Thus we reject the proposition “you should embrace Patriotism Plus” on exactly the same grounds as we reject the proposition “you should embrace socialism,” because, you know, they’re the exact same fucking thing.  We may be knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, but nobody’s that stupid.  Ergo, Lakoff is full of shit.

Approaching it emotionally, though, Lakoff is right on the money.  It’s a swillogism.  It starts from the proposition that principled, well-meaning objections to liberal social policies are not possible.  His theory should be read like this:

  • I am a good person
  • I like social policy X
  • Therefore, social policy X is good

From there, it’s an easy leap to

  • Those who object to The Good are, by definition, Evil
  • Evil can only win by underhanded means
  • Therefore, those who stymie policy X can only do so underhandedly

The specific form the underhandedness takes is just details.  “Metaphors” and “frames” and such sound suitably arcane and intellectual– that one cool prof in that one required English course used ’em — so they’ll do.  It could be “the contradictions of capitalism” or “the Trilateral Commission” or “the price of rice in China,” because that too is a swillogism:

  • I am a liberal
  • Liberals are super smart
  • I like the sound of the word “metaphors”
  • Therefore, metaphors are super smart

It’s 100% content free, but it’s emotionally satisfying.

I guess.  One of the main reasons I’m not a liberal is that I got tired of leading with my chin.  It’s just plain exhausting to scurry through life in search of feelies, constantly retconning my so-called beliefs with whatever the hive mind declares to be Good this week.  It took too much mental energy to not notice that my whole intellectual life was controlled from outside, that something nobody was even talking about yesterday is suddenly one of the most pressing civil rights issues of all time, and we’re all supposed to get passionately worked up on cue… until it’s time to move on to the next thing.

Evidently lots of folks find it easy.  Swillogisms must be comfortable for them.  Why else would they exist?

 

 

Syllogisms and Identity Politics

Philmon and I had an exchange below that needs further expansion.  Phil wrote:

I’ve long been suspicious that the modern liberal is typically nothing more than someone who is proud of the “ability” to string multiple syllogisms into what they ultimately consider a de facto valid “argument”.

As have I.  As I wrote in that post, liberals’ confusion about whether or not astrology is scientific comes, not from misunderstanding either of the terms, but from skipping over meaning entirely.

I’m going to ignore the “astrology” part, mostly because I really don’t know what pops into people’s minds when they hear that word.  But “science,” now…. that I get.  It means

knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Or, at least, that’s what it should mean, used as a standalone word.  The problem is, as Phil noted, Our Betters tend not to use it as a standalone word.  Rather, “science” is part of the definition of another word: Liberal.  A liberal is someone who likes science.

From there, liberals tend to “argue” in bastard syllogisms, like so:

  • I am a liberal.
  • Liberals like science.
  • Therefore, things I like are scientific
  • Therefore, things I dislike are unscientific
  • Therefore, people who disagree with me hate science.

I think this was once known as the fat cattle fallacy — the notion that a cause must be like its effects.  We don’t need to look at the evidence for, say, global warming — it’s “settled science,” and therefore we believe it, and it’s settled science because we believe it.

It’s nothing new that liberals like to poach on the authority of science; it goes back at least as far as Marx himself (his socialism, unlike the gassy love-the-world-ism of guys like J.H. Noyes, was “scientific”).  But Marx was also a philosopher, and he could browbeat folks into submission with verbiage about “dialectical materialism.”  Our modern leftists lack this, and because they do, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re using themselves as the starting point for all their arguments.

Which makes sense, given the left’s identity politics uber alles attitude.  But this makes communication with them very, very difficult, as they’re automatically going to assume that their preferences are both metaphysically true and universally applicable.  And in any conflict with the real world, the real world is likely to lose.

A good example of this comes from the supposedly conservative side of the aisle. I didn’t really follow politics much back then, but I recall that Andrew Sullivan used to call himself a conservative, and graciously allowed himself to be used as the face for the new, open, tolerant right….

His feud with National Review Online was semi-amusing, back when I cared about what any of those hacks thought, but I think they missed a trick when it came to the origins of Sullivan’s “conservatism is whatever I feel it is today” schtick.  It wasn’t George W. Bush’s objections to gay marriage that sent him over the edge; it was the Pope’s.

Now maybe Jonah Goldberg and the crew saw this clearly, and I’m misremembering.  Again: didn’t care, don’t care.  The point is that Andrew Sullivan subscribed to two different identities simultaneously — Catholic and Gay Crusader — and, when they inevitably came into conflict, spent years insisting that he was right and 2,000+ years of Church history was wrong.

That the Catholic Church needs to embrace leftism is one of the rottenest of all chestnuts, of course, but when the hipster dimbulbs at places like Salon.com say it, you know it’s just a nervous tic.  They’d be much happier if the Catholic Church didn’t exist at all.  But from what I could tell, Sullivan really meant it.  He continued to insist he was a good Catholic — indeed, perhaps, the only good Catholic — while rejecting one of the oldest and strongest of Church dogmas.  His endless contortions to square that circle only make sense if he’s “arguing” fat-cattle style — I’m Catholic, I’m gay, therefore the Catholic Church is ok with every item on this minute’s gay agenda, no matter what the supreme and infallible successor to St. Peter says about it.

How to break this thought-complex up beats my pair of jacks.  I can’t enter into that mental world very easily, or stay there for very long.  Like many conservatives, for instance, I’ve abandoned the Republican Party — they just don’t fit with my values anymore.  And while I do understand the urge to change it from within, to get it back closer to what I think its values should be, that’s not what I’m talking about (noble though that pursuit may be).  The fat-cattle version would be, I guess, to insist that the Republican Party is the party of Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, and that there’s no conflict at all between my limited-government preferences and the big-government activism of the GOP establishment, because I’m a small government guy and a GOP voter and therefore Republican plans to “fix” Obamacare are actually shrinking both the scope of government and the debt…..

Any thoughts?

“Science” = Goodthink

I’m not above a little schadenfreude.  Or a lot of schadenfreude.  So choke on this, idiot leftists:

Science!!!

Science!!!

There’s also some good stuff about the heliocentric model in there, too.

Yet I don’t want to just gloat.  As Ace notes, and reflected in Philmon’s post below, the liberal’s religious certainty that he’s a bigger, badder fan of science than any of us knuckle-draggers has important consequences.  No, not just Global Weather and related stupidities (“the weather’s getting warmer colder staying about the same existing!  Quick!  Enact massive global regulations!!”).  It’s a more fundamental disconnect than that.

Much like “fascism,” which Orwell described as meaning little more than “something not desirable” as early as 1946 (!!), today “science” means, for many people, little more than “an objection to a certain caricature of religious belief.”  And this caricature is labeled “evangelical,” and it’s recursively defined with “science” — an “evangelical” is someone who doesn’t believe in “science”….

When words become slogans like this, we lose the ability not just to communicate efficiently, but to talk about communication breakdowns themselves.  For instance, despite the clear wording of the study, I don’t really think a majority of liberals think astrology is scientific.  For one thing, as Ace speculates, I imagine some number of people heard “astrology” but thought “astronomy.”  Which does happen, even to the best of us. In many more cases, though, I think respondents were simply presented with two buzzwords.

“Astrology?  Sure, there might be something to it.  [Insert horoscope anecdote + multi-culti blather].”

“Science?  Of course I love science!  I’m a liberal after all.”

And therefore, syllogistically, astrology is scientific.

It’s essential to periodically examine the content of our beliefs.  Especially when they can be reduced to slogans, particularly one-word slogans like “science.”  For instance:

There’s a branch of science called “astrophysics.”  I am literally unable to understand more than the most basic postulates of astrophysics; I can’t grok the math.  Thus, I have no opinion on astrophysics, or astrophysical topics.  More to the point, it would be the height of stupidity for me to claim to be a “fan” of astrophysics, or to declare that I fucking love science, or what have you, based on the fact that I know something called “astrophysics” exists and is studied by people with PhDs in labs with telescopes.  I’m “glad” it exists, I guess, in the loosest possible sense — the limitless ingenuity of the human mind is always neat to see — but this reflects nothing of consequence about me as a person, let alone anything about the correctness of my political beliefs.

If that’s unclear, I’ll put it a different way — my understanding of astrophysics, or lack thereof, is for all intents and purposes exactly the same as my understanding of “angelology.”  Anything but the most basic postulates of this discipline are likewise Greek to me, and always will be, because my brain just doesn’t work like that.  This is no more a credit to my rational “scientific” mind as my inability to understand astrophysics is a knock against my intuitive “theological” mind.  And neither of them has anything to do with whether my opinions on the role of government are good, bad, or indifferent.

What is the actual, substantive content of your “beliefs”?  Do you know?  Can you define, say, “social justice” or “family values”?  If you can’t, you’re just playing with buzzwords… and pretty soon you’ll end up maintaining that astrology is scientific, because you’re not like those idiots who put their stupid blind faith in make-believe.

Social Work Academia Defines Conservatives

From a college textbook used for an Introduction to Socialwork class (“Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare”):

“… conservatives tend to take a basically pessimistic view of human nature.  People are conceived of as being corrupt, self-centered, lazy, and incapable of true charity.”

Close! Conservatives actually do take a pessimistic, or “tragic”, as Thomas Sowell puts it, view of human nature. The list is basically correct except for that last piece, “incapable of true charity.”

On the contrary, TRUE charity is what an individual chooses to give of himself to others. It is progressives who think individuals are incapable of true charity and therefore it must be coerced by the government. Forced “charity” is not true charity. It is not charity at all. And it will always be taken advantage of by multitudes who do not warrant it.

12

Conservatives do not oppose change. They do oppose change simply for its own sake, though. As a matter of fact, what is now referred to as Conservatism is actually the most Liberal idea ever unleashed regarding society on this planet: that people are sovereign and the power to govern is subject to the consent of the governed. The tragic view of humanity, that men are not angels and that power has a tendency to corrupt is exactly why our Founders crafted a system designed to keep as much power away from central government as practically possible.

21

They do not think that everyone is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, though they do believe this should be the default expectation. There are certainly exceptions, and they believe that it is first the responsibility of the family, then the community to see to it that these exceptions are taken care of.

However, progressives tend to

“confuse[] the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. ” (- Frederic Bastiat, The Law)

Which is why progressives tend to favor a system where ultimately everything is in the state, and no human or spiritual thing exists, or has any sort of value, outside the state.  There is no room for religion, no room for personal property, no room for homeschooling, or private education that does not conform to the state’s standards, no room for the individual (except, of course, for those “expert” individuals at the top – but they never admit this).

A Small Cause for Hope

Just to show y’all I’m not all gloom’n’doom around here….

Evidently Thomas Frank has finally figured out at least part of what’s the matter with Kansas: Democrats.  Via Ace of Spades:

For the ruling faction of the Democratic party, meanwhile, I felt like the Kansas story triggered a bout of guilty conscience. To begin with, there was something true at the core of all the conservative bullshit: we really are ruled by a meritocratic, professional elite – just look at the members of the president’s cabinet, or who gets interviewed on NPR – and a great number of meritocratic believers really are found in the ranks of the Democrats. As a party, they are openly in love with expertise; it is who they are; it means more to them than any ideology. It’s the awful story of “The Best and the Brightest” repeating itself over and over and over again.

Huh.  Whaddaya know — people don’t like being self-servingly ruled by condescending jackalopes.  Whose main area of “expertise” turns out to be composing socialist-porn white papers from the safety of the ivory tower and whose “meritocratic” credentials largely consist of kissing the right asses at the same private day-care college as some lobbyist’s cousin’s roommate.

I congratulate you on your insight.  Your next step towards satori, Tommy boy, is the realization that prosperity, real or imaginary, is the enabling fantasy of liberalism.  In the hot economy of the dot-com bubble, for instance — you know, when you composed your brainless tome — we can tolerate the semi-socialist screwups of Our Betters, because our capacity to make money outpaces your ability to fritter it away on gold-plated crappers for ghettopotami.  But when the bubble bursts — as they always do — people who work for a living become remarkably less tolerant of proposals to take food off their tables for the benefit of a coalition of the shiftless, the lazy, the stupid, and the freakish.

But, hey, one step at a time.  That a liberal can learn anything — even in this bitter, grudging, half-assed way — is little short of a miracle.  Keep up the good work.