Senior educated white male.

Senior educated white male.

A non-hysterical view of global warming

I sift through lots of global warming stuff pro and con. I think this guy comes closest to my current position. Geologists, in my opinion, are much more cognizant of the long record of the planet, and way less hysterical than the “climate” scientists. Still, his view of rising oceans within the next century is alarming enough. Britt’s view is that we have stopped the Milankovich cycle in its tracks and that we are not heading into an ice age, as we ought to be by this time, but are heading to significantly greater warmth.

As he points out, the biggest friend of a colder earth was Mao Tse-tung, who kept China in poverty. And that, my friends, is the only way I know to prevent further global warming.

Whatever your reaction to Dan Britt’s science, I find his presentation to be cheerful and gloomy at the same time. Geologists are like that, because the planet has gone through so much more change than most people are aware of.

 

 

Fred Reed: Distributed Cognitive Stratfication

One of my favourite writer-bloggers is Fred Reed. A deplorable before the term was invented, Reed was in the US army as a journalist. He is descended of literate professional Presbyterian stock from the upper South.  He lives with a Mexican wife in Guadalajara, raises his children, and sends reports from strange parts of the globe. This one was from Washington DC:

A wag once described DC as “a federal enclave surrounded on all four sides by reality.” Just so. It is one thing to think Trump a terrible President–I do–but quite another for the national media to have no idea why he was elected. So far as I can tell, none of PC Washington has the slightest idea. This certainly includes the media. Their thinking, if it quite is, comes down to, “They’re stupid. They’re ignorant. They’re racist. They’re sexist. They’re fascist.They’re…evil.

 

The issue that Reed gets to is the complete cluelessness of our social betters in their professed ignorance of why Trump beat Clinton. As an example, Reed writes about the media reaction to Trump’s lewd talk about women in a locker room decades ago, at which the media frothed at the mouth. Not so the electorate.

 

Here we have another example of the gap between the  Bubble and the country. The talking heads exultantly said that because of the groping comments the Donald had just lost any hope of election by insulting women. Which he only barely did, if at all. Yet fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump. How could this be, wonder the Bubblists?

Easy. White women (outside the Bubble) are intelligent and independent agents who vote according to their politics, circumstances, needs, and beliefs. They did. Apparently they thought  immigration, the economy, jobs, education and so on more important than a couple of lines of dirty talk. Washington, huge on identity politics and political correctness, expected them to be herdable ninnies. Which it expects of most of the country. Well, they weren’t.

And a word from our sponsor, the Internet”

Finally, methinks the Byzantine Kindergarten has badly underestimated  the influence of internet. Among the many intelligent people I know (a fair few, eeeeeek! supporters of trump) the Net has become primary, the media secondary. When the New York Times says something nauseatingly PC, well-informed rebuttals surge across the Web. People on the Net, not constrained by political correctness, can speak of the many topics forbidden in Washington. Sites like the Unz Review, however idiosyncratic and whatever their leanings, attract writers of high intelligence and great expertise, and appeal to similar readers. (In a bid for a place in the Hall of Fame of Linguistic Vandalism, I call this “distributed cognitive stratification.” Is that embarrassing or what?)

=================================

 

Post script

A propos thinking Trump a bad president:

“It is one thing to think Trump a terrible President–I do–but quite another for the national media to have no idea why he was elected.”

I have not yet reached the conclusion that Trump is a terrible President, though I fear that this may be my final judgment. I reserve any condemnation for the time being, because the results, in terms of international peace or economic recovery, have been superb. But the Mexican wrestling costumed-avenger aspect of Trump is grating. I hope you Trumpians will feel safe enough to admit to yourself your own ambivalence.

Then you turn your attention back to the media and the establishment opinions, and you go: “Yay Trump!! Go get ’em, Donald”.

Christmas

 

The great thing about Christmas, Garrison Keillor once said, is that it is not about you.

See Ann Althouse if you want to be annoyed at some prat who feels rejected and lonely when people wish her a merry Christmas.

I have retired to the country for a week of quiet, book reading, listening to the fire in the stove hiss and pop, listening to big music, and messing with tractors.

A Merry Christmas to you all, heathens and Christians alike. Be well. Blogging will continue as the spirit moves me.

Dalwhinnie

Carlson on the Russian lunacy: “a disinformation frame that surrounds our country”

 

Malcolm Nance is a former chief petty officer (senior NCO) in the US Navy. Watch as Tucker Carlson eviscerates the nonsense spouted by Nance, and which was swallowed devotedly by NBC anchor Brian Williams. “This is why we ask you all the time to come on this broadcast”  said Williams.

You have to listen to Nance’s concatenation of tropes and babble: “mainstreamed”, “weaponized”, “Bannon”, “John Birch Society”, “fake news”, ” these tropes and memes became the cruise missiles of fake news and disinformation designed .. to take one third of the US population and may have resulted in’ -you guessed it -Trump.

I have seen the same anti-Russian obsession in authors as erudite as Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, a book you must read, by the way. He has gone completely bonkers on the subject of Russian influence in the last election. I link these two articles because it shows that Tucker Carlson’s calling out of Malcolm Nance and Brian Williams is only a part of the story.

“Somehow they got to choose our president” says Snyder about the Russians (at minute 28:30). I am not disputing that Snyder is right in his suspicions of Russian intentions, actions, and strategies.

The Russians are like a bunch of bears in one’s garbage bins. They raid them, they twist off tops, wreck them, and turn into a garbage -addicted problem. Sometimes you have to chase them off, with guns, if necessary. But the capacity of Russians to undermine democratic institutions abroad is grossly exaggerated. Yes they are a real problem.  Yes we have to be vigilant. But Russians are not The Problem. The left has had a major brain seizure on the subject of Trump because it was the event that ought not to have happened.

The average age of death in the United States is declining. The American working class has been devastated by the transfer of jobs overseas and to Mexico. They have been impoverished by the mortgage meltdown of 2008. The opioid crisis is killing dozens of people a day, if not hundreds.

Americans do not need a “disinformation frame” to perceive these events, they need one to prevent them from seeing it.

The curious thing about Snyder is that, for all his erudition, and fancy talk of themes propagated by Facebook, he is only saner version of Malcolm Nance. It is not the American Trump supporters who are in “a total denial of reality”, but rather the Democrats who are in total denial that there is any legitimacy whatever to the people who thought Trump was the better candidate than Clinton.

 

 

Listen elites: There is a guillotine in your future if you don’t sharpen up

Image result for gilets jaunes france

 

 

Three articles of value I found in this morning’s sieving of the internet krill through my baleen.  I will let them speak for themselves.

Victor Davis Hanson in American Greatness:

Globalism is both an ideology and a culture of behavior. The creed is that the Western world, given its colonial and imperialist past, has a duty both to make amends to the former third world through magnanimously lending the global community elite Western expertise—whether through Kyoto- or Paris-like climate accords, foreign interventions guided by Western humanitarian principles, asymmetrical trade agreements, open borders, or U.N. mandates.

The globalist alone knows how global warming threatens us and how the ignorant masses must sacrifice to cool things down, how nationalism supposedly causes world wars, how sexism, racism, and homophobia have warped Western, but non-necessarily non-Western, society, and how human nature can be modified to avoid these pathologies through greater coercion, more relevant social education, improved material conditions, and greater secular ecumenicalism—a far better religion than calcified Christendom. The Western consumer—fat, “lazy,” played out—surely does not need any more affluence or income. His nation, therefore, can afford to subsidize, through his superfluous lifestyle, far nobler international crusades for mankind.

The nation-state then is passé. Transnational organizations, the larger and more powerful the better, tame mindless Western chauvinism, while enhancing and making invaluable alternative post-Western paradigms. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, the chief executive officer of the World Bank, the Secretary-General of NATO, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the President of the Council of Foreign Relations, the president of CNN Worldwide, all these are certainly to be listened to in a way an elected senator from Kansas, the nuts who stirred up the gilets jaunes, the unhinged Poles and Bulgarians who wanted to build fences on their borders, or renegade British MPs pushing for Brexit should not be.

The Indiscreet Charm of the Gilets Jaunes  by C.J. Hopkins

 

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own, with no decent human restraint whatsoever, Identity Politics Leftists feel a sudden overwhelming urge to analyze, categorize, organize, sanitize, and otherwise correct and control them. They can’t accept the fact that the actual, living, breathing working classes are messy, multiplicitous, inconsistent, and irreducible to any one ideology. Some of them are racists. Some are fascists. Others are communists, socialists, and anarchists. Many have no idea what they are, and don’t particularly care for any of these labels. This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.

And porn is unplugged from Tumblr. Poof! Imagine what they could do to you, what you read, and what you publish?

Then They Came for Tumblr: Yes, Tech Totalitarians Can Just Pull the Plug, by Hubert Collins

Set aside, for just a moment, however you feel about porn, its purveyors, and its connoisseurs. What Tumblr is doing here is really quite incredible. It is purging from its rolls one of its most defining and popular aspects—the ability to post porn.

There are hundreds of thousands, if not more, of loyal Tumblr users who have been running porn-centric blogs for years—some for more than a decade. They have built up voluminous archives to their liking, and in many cases amassed huge followings of folks with similar, shall we say, “tastes.”

Then, one day, Tumblr announced that in fourteen days it will all be gone. It is not just that users will no longer be able to post porn, it is that all porn that has been posted will be deleted—and the WayBack Machine preserves precious few Tumblrs, and in general is bad at preserving photos and videos anyway. Archive.org volunteers are trying: see The frantic, unprecedented race to save 700,000 NSFW Tumblrs for posterity |Volunteers are scrambling to download up to 800 terabytes of content from Tumblr’s adult-themed community before it disappears from view on December 17,By Sean Captain, Fast Company, December 12, 2018.

I think porn is as necessary to human well-being and happiness as toilet paper and flush toilets: they are all so much better than anything that went before. Masturbation is as necessary to human well being as blowing one’s nose or washing. The attack on porn is just the beginning. They always start with porn and the private possession of weapons. They do not stop once they get going.

That is why I am saying that we are in a pre-revolutionary situation. There are days when I can just feel it. And no, I do not have murderous intentions towards our social betters. Superficially I can blend in with upper class twits quite easily, until I spout my opinions. But listening to a few raging anti-Trump snobs, liberal élitists, Davos men and women, I can see some major political disturbances ahead. In fact they are with us now. we have just have to open our eyes. That is why, en passant, I think that Maxime Bernier may (just possibly) have a future in Canadian politics.

 

Yuval Noah Harari debunks everything but himself

Yuval Noah Harari

 

 

Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian who has afflicted us with his know-it-all debunking, in three books: Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st century.

I got fed up with Harari after reading Sapiens and my impatience with his doctrines has been clarified by a reading of 21 Lessons for the 21st century.

Basically Harari insists we do not have free will. More importantly, he asserts that all human stories – myths, religions, creeds – are wrong answers. He uses the words “wrong answers” in the same sense as someone who dials the wrong number, or answers “42” to the question, “what is the meaning of life?”.  Instead of political correctness, it is philosophical correctness.

Harari is a gay vegetarian who practices meditation for two hours a day. He is a Buddhist. In that sense, his views are the expression of  what I think is orthodox Buddhism.

The core of his argument is contained in the chapter ‘Meaning’ in 21 Lessons, at page 285.

“While a good story must give me a role and must extend beyond my horizons, it need not be true. A story can be pure fiction, yet provide me with an identity and make me feel that my life has meaning. To the nest of our scientific understanding, none of the thousands of stories different cultures religions, and tribes have invented throughout history is true. They are all just human inventions. If you ask for the true meaning of life and get a story in reply, you know this is the wrong answer. The exact details don’t really matter. Any story is wrong, simply for being a story. The universe just doesn’t work that way.”

Any Christian, Jew or Muslim will tell you, if they have thought about truth and story deeply enough, that the Story they live by is the criterion of truth, that meaning in the world is given by the story, not the story given the meaning by forces extraneous to it. They have different stories and hence constitute different religions, because they link back to different ideas of what story the adherents shall be guided by.

Each religion contains disparate elements, and thus allows for different stories to be told. Try reconciling the Gospel of John with those of Mathew, Mark and Luke, if you need evidence for differing elements in the sacred texts of a major world religion. Religions spring up as new stories are told: think of Islam, Mormonism, Communism, Christianity, and so forth, without end.

Truth is not therefore a proposition, such as 2+2=4, or e=mc², though both are truthful equations.

Harari also disputes the liberal version of storytelling, that it is I who gives meaning to the world. The world has no need of meaning, he says, following the Buddha.

We do not govern our brain, our feelings, or our reactions to our feelings, he says. With that I agree, but he nowhere seems able to get beyond a truly presumptuous arrogance that, because our “truths” are embedded in stories, there is no truth, no meaning, nor need to create a meaning. This may be orthodox Buddhism. I do not know enough about Buddhism to be sure.

If I have no control over my desires, or my urges, I see no way in which to educate myself, my feelings, or my behaviours. Nor can we expect anyone else to effectively influence my behaviours. This idea is immediately refuted by the experience of every child growing up under the influence of parents and educators.

Harari constantly emphasizes our inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality, as if “reality” were itself not a fiction we have invented. I have bad news for Harari: it is all fiction. We change by having new metaphors, and guiding ourselves by them. Reality does not exist outside of our fictions. Our sufferings take place inside our maps of meaning. Some people just have different maps of meaning, but no one, not even Harari, is without his fictions. He thinks his Buddhism has brought him to the place of no fictions. Suffering without a fiction to explain its meaning: that is his remedy for dependence on stories.

Just as you cannot pick up the gross national product with a set of tongs, because they belong to two different orders of being, so you cannot pick up meaning without having the metaphorical instrument by which to apprehend it, which is a story. That is all we have had so far, and even if the stories are illusory in some sense, they are also our proven ways of getting as far as we have, from wandering the Serengeti devouring dead food to running the planet.

He concludes his book with:

“So if you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life, and about your own identity, the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is. The answer isn’t a story”.

That is as unprovable an assertion as that God manifested himself in Jesus, and it is, inevitably, just another story that Harari is peddling. Truth is found in fictions, it is such stuff as we are made of. I doubt we can do better than to try to live in better fictions and, as I have already related, our fictions are often the criteria by which we are obliged to judge the fictions, the world and its inhabitants.  We need fictions by which to live as birds need feathers to fly. Some of those fictions we hold to be true, and others we hold to be self evident, even as they are the results of previous iterations of our governing  fictions. If this seems circular, it is, in part, but there is a crack in everything, and that is how the light gets in. As that is yet another story, I rest my case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth said in public is always un-PC

Ross Douthat is predictably being pilloried for saying the obvious about George Herbert Walk Bush and the WASP upper class:

 

I think you can usefully combine these takes, and describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional) conspicuously absent in our society today.

Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well….

So if some of the elder Bush’s mourners wish we still had a WASP establishment, their desire probably reflects a belated realization that certain of the old establishment’s vices were inherent to any elite, that meritocracy creates its own forms of exclusion — and that the WASPs had virtues that their successors have failed to inherit or revive.

And somehow the combination of pious obligation joined to cosmopolitanism gave the old establishment a distinctive competence and effectiveness in statesmanship — one that from the late-19th century through the middle of the 1960s was arguably unmatched among the various imperial elites with whom our establishment contended, and that certainly hasn’t been matched by our feckless leaders in the years since George H.W. Bush went down to political defeat.

So as an American in the old dispensation, you didn’t have to like the establishment — and certainly its members were often eminently hateable — to prefer their leadership to many of the possible alternatives. And as an American today, you don’t have to miss everything about the WASPs, or particularly like their remaining heirs, to feel nostalgic for their competence.

 

There is a wonderful moment in a movie that deals with the WASP Establishment and its intelligence agencies in the 1950s. Matt Damon plays a senior US spook on a visit to pre-communist Cuba, talking to an Italian mobster. The mobster asks what “you people” – the WASPs -get out of the deal.