Fuzzy little things that I find interesting.

Political musings from someone who thinks the S-D curve is more important to politics than politicians.

Month: May, 2017

TIL: If served with papers, verify them with the court clerk because they could be a forgery.

Another libel takedown order

Alas, this is not the case to deal with these interesting questions — because it’s not a case. There is no Motamedi v. Oesterblad in the Eastern District of Michigan. The case number 2:13-cv-14541 (the number listed in the order) in that district corresponds to a completely different order. There is no Daniel Ro. Markus, the lawyer who, according to the order, was responsible for the case. The order submitted to Google was a forgery, like the ones discussed here (Lichterman and Aukerman), here (Arnstein), and here (Haas).

And this should be instructive to all of us: Never trust a court document (a subpoena, an order, or anything else) from someone else’s case until you check it with the court records. Sometimes you can do it online for free, sometimes for a modest amount — and if you get the document as part of your business, it’s a cost of doing business — and sometimes by calling the clerk of court’s office. I wish that this weren’t so, and that you could trust documents that ostensibly come from the government. But you can’t.

(Emphasis mine.)

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I’m not the only one who sees Trump as a reaction to decades of Left-wing hatred. Nor am I the only one worried that the Left isn’t going to like it when the Right borrows the same tools.

Liberals Are Shocked To Find We’re Starting To Hate Them Right Back

I know it’s theoretically wrong for a Republican candidate to smack around an annoying liberal journalist, but that still doesn’t mean that I care. Our ability to care is a finite resource, and, in the vast scheme of things, millions of us have chosen to devote exactly none of it toward caring enough to engage in fussy self-flagellation because of what happened to Slappy La Brokenshades.

Sorry, not sorry.

And that’s not a good thing, not by any measure, but it is a real thing. Liberals have chosen to coarsen our culture. Their validation and encouragement of raw hate, their flouting of laws (Hi leakers! Hi Hillary!) and their utter refusal to accept democratic outcomes they disapprove of have consequences. What is itself so surprising is how liberals and their media rentboyz are so surprised to find that we normals are beginning to feel about them the way they feel about us – and that we’re starting to act on it. If you hate us, guess what?

We’re going to start hating you right back.

The article includes this bit of irony:

We all know it was wrong for Greg Gianforte to beat up Ben Jacobs. But we also know the general attitude of the media is that when we conservatives get beat-up by leftists it’s perfectly excusable – even laudable – and thanks to the fact that Twitter is forever, we now know that Ben Jacobs himself specifically thinks it’s A-OK to slug conservative kids. So can someone tell me why anyone should be shocked that we conservatives refuse to devote one iota of caring to poor Ben’s wedgie?

Bias Response Teams? Are you fucking kidding me?

How ‘Joke’ Doc Revealed Best, And Worst, In College Kids

HiT: You experienced some blowback while screening the film. Can you briefly detail what that looked like?

Balaker: We’ve had cases of people tearing down promotional posters on campus. At UC Irvine someone pulled a fire alarm before a screening and Q&A I was scheduled to participate in. The alarm basically cancelled the whole event. And of course recently there was the fallout at Lawrence University where protesters interrupted a screening, followed soon after by the student organization that hosted the screening being denied recognition.

There were plenty of angry letters, so-called “bias reports” (if your readers want to get really depressed they should read about the emergence of “Bias Response Teams“), and a public message from a dean in which she addresses the fallout.

“Bias Response Teams?”

The Fire: First National Survey of ‘Bias Response Teams’ Reveals Growing Threat to Campus Free Speech

Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released the first-ever nationwide survey of college “Bias Response Teams” (BRTs)—and the growing threat they pose to free speech on campus.

BRTs encourage students to formally report on one another and on faculty members whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech is “biased.” FIRE’s 2017 Bias Response Team Report identified 232 public and private American colleges and universities that publicly maintained bias response programs during the course of 2016, affecting an estimated 2.8 million students. 182 of these institutions are also featured in FIRE’s Spotlight database of campus speech codes.

“BRTs encourage students to formally report on one another and on faculty members whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech is ‘biased.'”

What. The. Fucking. Hell?

If you read this and you are not immediately reminded of the Soviet Union’s political commissars, officers whose duty was to supervise the political education and ideology of those in the field, and to guard against (and punish) anti-Revolutionary (i.e., anti-communist) thought, then you are a mother-fucking moron who needs to be put in the care of a registered nurse in a mental ward to make sure you don’t poke your eye out the next time you use a fork.

What we in the West tend to forget is that the most extreme soul-crushing (and life-crushing) ideologies of the past century often started with students rebelling against the established order. The Communist Revolution in the Soviet Union (which eventually led to purges where millions were murdered) was started with the active participation of college students. The Chinese communist revolution started similarly. The NSDAP in Germany had the active cooperation of college student groups and the SA recruited from colleges, making college-age students amongst the first NAZIs as Hitler rose to power.

Hugo Chávez had huge support amongst college-age students as he seized power in Venezuela and turned that country into a basket case. Che Guevara shirts are still popular amongst college-age hipsters.


To what end we are seeing the rise of “Bias Response Teams” (i.e., Political Commissars) in various colleges, I don’t know. But the pattern is extremely troubling.

And given their coordination with groups such as the various local “Black Lives Matters” groups who have sometimes resorted to violence against the police (and who often tend to support murdering police, even if they do not actively participate themselves), and we are seeing a very dark side of the progressive-liberal movement.


Many liberals reading this may think the rise of Trump is a very worrying development.

And I respect that idea.

But if you actually take the time to talk to Trump supporters (rather than engaging in name calling and beating them senseless), you find they supported Trump for two reasons: because they believe government has gotten too powerful, and because they believe Trump can counteract the Left.

And counteract decades of pressure. Of decades of liberal bias in the media. Of decades of destructive and violent protests. Of decades of obscenities and racism.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Even in politics, even though it may take a couple of decades. For years the lesson the right has learned is that to succeed, you have to be willing to engage in violent protests, promulgate lies and take over the cultural institutions which define how we perceive the world.

And now that conservatives have seen beloved classical institutions fall into chaos, it’s hard not to pick up the tools of the Left and use them against the Left.


To some degree, there has always been a strong tendency for opposition politics to descend into violence in the United States. But for a few decades after World War I there was a belief, to some degree, that those who opposed your political beliefs were part of a loyal opposition: while they may disgree with you, they were loyal to the country and were doing what they believed was best for the United States.

That’s over now.

It may have taken a few decades for the Right to catch on, but they have.

This means that with each riot shutting down a conservative voice, with each “bais report” filed against a student for thoughtcrime, for each “news reporter” who deliberately picks and chooses their facts to fit their confirmation bias, a score card is being kept.

And it will be played.


I honestly think the Left will miss the civility of the past when they’ve succeeded in destroying it.

Remember: we shoot revenuers.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump Faces the Fury of a Scorned Ruling Class: The ‘threat’ that has elites quaking is his serious attempt to curb federal power and cut spending.

I don’t know why these people think that Trump voters will just stay home and sigh if the Establishment wins. It’s likely to be something much uglier.

The GOP health care bill, scoring and the bat-shit media.

CBO report: 24 million fewer insured by 2026 under GOP health care bill

Democrats immediately blasted the bill based off the report’s findings.

“I think that throwing 24 million Americans off of health insurance, raising premiums for older low income Americans, while giving $285 billion in tax breaks to the top 2% is a disgusting and immoral proposal,” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, told reporters. “Thousands of Americans will die if this legislation is passed and we have to do everything that we can to see that is defeated.”

I have a few thoughts on this.

First, let me renew at this time my objections to every form of health care reform that addresses just the demand side (through insurance reform) and neglects the supply side. (This won’t work, and it’s self-evident why., Supply And Demand.)

This objection applies to both Republican and Democratic proposals.

Second, let me note that the CBO estimate does not suggest that the new bill will “[throw] 24 million Americans off health insurance.”

What happens is that, by repealing the penalty for not obtaining health care insurance, the CBO believes fewer people will sign up for health care insurance. (They never expressly state this, but they note the current demand created by Obamacare is triggered by subsidies plus current penalties.)

The subsidies to purchase coverage, combined with the effects of the individual mandate, which requires most individuals to obtain insurance or pay a penalty, are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by enough people, including people with low health care expenditures, for the market to be stable in most areas.

The CBO also notes in its report its belief that by removing the penalty for failing to have health care insurance, the complete failure of the individual market in many states will accelerate–though the key word here is “accelerate”: the CBO soft-peddles what happens under current law, but it does note “[s]everal factors could lead insurers to withdraw from the market” in various states under the current Obamacare legal regime.

The private health care market is currently collapsing, and the current GOP bill accelerates this collapse–assuming no further action is taken in the health care market.

This is by design: there were several who promoted the passage of the PPACA in order to force insurance companies into a corner, causing the introduction of a “public option” which would lead to “single payer.” ObamaCare a Trojan Horse for Single-Payer.

And complaints that this will increase the cost of private insurance–well, hell: that ship has sailed. In North Carolina an individual plan on the private market has gone up 20% just in the past year.

“But my health care insurance plan hasn’t gone up in price.”

If you have your insurance through your employer, various executive orders signed by the Obama Administration delayed the roll-out of PPACA requirements on employer-provided insurance. This is why the group health care insurance market is not in as much trouble as the private market: the private market is required to provide much greater coverage over a broader range of essential health benefits, while employer-provided insurance does not. Insurance plans purchased through the Health Insurance marketplace is also required to fit one of a handful of templates: bronze, silver, gold or platinum, which establishes nearly identical deductions and co-pays. (The differences in plans offered on the marketplace revolve around out-of-network costs, and the size of the network.)

And group insurance can be bought for any company employing two or more individuals–with substantial savings: a bronze plan in North Carolina averages around $600/month per person for the cheapest option, while a group insurance plan can be purchased for $350/month per person total (half paid by employer, half by employee).

(Truth be told, if my wife and I found ourselves in the private market, I’d consider figuring out how to obtain health care insurance for the both of us through incorporating a small corporation.) This is no longer a permitted option for small companies.

Had the PPACA requirements on group health care insurance plans were permitted to be implemented, we may see private insurance costs go down some, but we’d also see employer-provided health care plans rise in price–and with it a rise of companies reducing hours to below the 30 hour limit that triggers the PPACA requirement for employer-provided health care coverage.

President Obama knew this, which is why large chunks of the PPACA remain unimplemented.

This is currently unsustainable.


The PPACA and its changes to the marketplace were substantial and complex.

Thinking we can resolve the health care crisis with a single “big-bang” bill thrown together in a few months and implemented within the first year of a new President getting into office: well, hell; that’s how we got here in the first place.

Which is why my third thought on this: I don’t mind if President Trump and Congress take their time to come up with a better plan. I actually would prefer if we got a series of bills which seek to unwind those elements of Obamacare which is leading us towards disaster.

But part of that must address the supply of health care in this country. This means considering reforming everything from how we approve non-drug related diagnostic equipment and how we approve new hospitals being built, to considering malpractice reform and reconsidering the scope of practice of various medical professionals in the marketplace.

In other words, we need to allow new players to enter the health care market in order to innovate and come up with new business practices, new procedures, new software solutions, and new equipment in order to improve the supply of health care provided in this country.

Otherwise, any plan the GOP comes up with, just as any plan a future DNC controlled Congress comes up with, is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This is one reason why it’s hard to believe in Global Warming.

Chelsea Clinton: ‘Climate Change’ Connects To ‘Child Marriage’

“Climate change” and “child marriage” are “interconnected” issues, said Chelsea Clinton on Monday. Participating in a left-wing discussion panel framed as a meeting for “social justice,” she was introduced as an “activist, thought leader, and change agent.”

See, this is why it is so hard for many folks who are center or right-of-center to believe in Global Warming. Because Global Warming has become a brand, a way to say that somehow the Goddess Gaia disapproves of our morality, our ethics and our culture, and it has become a wagon to hitch every crisis of the world onto.

This won’t work, and it’s self-evident why.

Would Californians Be Better Off Under Single-Payer Healthcare?

A proposed single-payer health system in California would cost about $400 billion annually, with up to half of that money coming from a new payroll tax on workers and employers, according to a state analysis.

The report by the state Senate Appropriations Committee, issued Monday, put a price tag for the first time on legislation that would make the state responsible for providing health coverage to all 39 million Californians.

To understand the size of this proposal, the entire size of the currently-proposed California State budget is $183.4 billion.

To be honest, there are some advantages to this plan. For example:

But the proposal expands coverage to all and eliminates premiums, copayments and deductibles for enrollees, and that would cost more money, Levitt said. “You can bet that opponents will highlight the 15 percent tax, even though there are also big premium savings for employers and individuals,” he added.

The thing is, most employer-provided health care plans are handled by asking employees to pay a fixed co-pay–in essence a highly regressive payment towards health care. If you work for an employee and have a co-pay of $200 per pay check (or $400 a month) towards your health care plan–that amount remains the same if you are making $30k/year or $300k/year.

So this proposal would shift upwards the amount which employees current contribute to their own health care plans from the poorest to the richest. And as I’ve noted elsewhere several times, if you propose a tax, make it progressive rather than regressive: VATs and sales tax are regressive (as they land disproportionately on the poor as a percentage of income), while income taxes and property taxes tend to be more progressive (as they land on those who have the income to spare).


The biggest problem with the current California proposal, as with all single-payer proposals is not that it eliminates choice. It’s not that by placing all doctors under a single-payer umbrella you effectively nationalize the entire health care system. It’s not even that by nationalizing the health care system you effectively remove incentives to consumption unless you create so-called “death panels” whereby you force those who have certain conditions to either pay out of pocket or perish. And it’s not even that you’ve politicized medicine–and by politicizing medicine you’ve made altering or changing the doctor/patient relationship an inherently political process rather than one that is driven by science or by consumer concerns.

These are, by the way, all valid concerns.

No. The biggest problem is economics. Or more specifically, the fact that a single payer system only addresses the demand side of the supply-demand curve, and does not deal with the supply side.

As I noted elsewhere, basic economics suggest that if something is expensive and getting more expensive, it’s because there is too little of that thing.

Diamonds are expensive because there are too few diamonds thanks to a monopoly by De Beers. Housing in many areas of the state is expensive because there are too few houses to go around. Whenever there is a shortage in a particular food, we see it go up in price–from bananas in Greece to Oranges in Spain.

Don’t believe me? Her’s the International Monetary Fund talking supply and demand: Supply and Demand: Why Markets Tick.


By simple examination of the idea of supply and demand, if you only influence the demand side of the curve, there are only two fundamental ways in which you can lower prices.

You can lower demand.

Falling Demand Curve

As demand falls from its former level to the new level (a), the price falls (b). Also note the quantity falls (as the intersection point between supply and demand, where markets find an equilibrium, shifts leftwards as well as downwards).

(Note: As this applies to health care, this means as people get sick and get hurt, they simply choose not to see a doctor–even if that means they go off and die without getting the care they need.)

OR

You can hold a gun to the head of the suppliers and force them to sell at a lower price than the natural market equilibrium.

(This is effectively what happens when you rob someone else, or when governments set price ceilings. The morality and the mechanism is different, but the net effect is the same: the price that the market would naturally settle to is interrupted by an outside force.)

Now you may think this is an okay thing to do. After all, it is the mechanism that government has been doing to lower prices paid for medical procedures supplied to Medicaid patients. However, this has created a situation where private payers and private insurance companies are now expected to make up the gap in the cost to doctors and hospitals to provide health care.

And, more fundamentally, this creates shortages–and shortages leads to rationing as sure as night leads to day.

Why?

Price Floor Creates Shortage

Because when we set a maximum price (a), we get a gap in the quantity (b) from what people would want to buy (on the right) to what suppliers are able to supply (on the left).

This is why we got gas lines in the 1970’s: the U.S. government placed a price cap on the price of gas, but the OPEC oil shortage drove up natural prices by restricting supply.

In the extremis, we get food shortages in Venezuela, as government-mandated price ceilings cause farmers to be unable to grow food.

Several of his cavernous henhouses sit empty because, Escobar said, he can’t afford to buy more feed. Government price controls have made his business unprofitable,…


Sadly the second option: holding a gun to everyone’s head, is the mechanism the U.S. government has decided to use to control health care prices.

This is what motivates the drive to single payer health care. By centralizing all payments for health care under a single buyer, effectively creating a Monopsony in the health care system, theory has it prices can be controlled as that monopsony can effectively dictate the terms by which a product is obtained and paid for.

This is how Walmart provides its low low prices, arguably to the detriment of the supply chain as we see lower quality products in order to bring products in at the right price point.

Yet somehow we are to believe that, unlike the case with Walmart, and despite basic economic theory, the quality and quantity of health care provided in the United States will increase, and we won’t see the same rationing you see in Canada (where people cross the border to the United States for certain procedures) or in the U.K. (which had its own crisis with people being placed on end-of-life care without their knowledge).


Now there is another way you can lower price and increase the amount of a product available, be it health care or food or housing or anything else.

And that is to consider the supply side of the supply-demand curve: to figure out how to allow more people to supply a product (in a safe and effective manner), and to allow competition amongst those new entrants so they can figure out cheaper and more effective ways to provide that product.

More supply decreases price

As more suppliers enter the market and increase the quantity available (a), we get a decline of price (b).

This is why, in a world where starvation has been the norm pretty much since Homo sapiens first evolved, we now live in a world where we have more obesity than starvation.

And we did it by allowing farmers to compete to increase supply and lower costs to raise crops. We did it, in other words, by allowing “free markets” (a catch-all phrase for suppliers being allowed to enter the market and compete against each other to create more products and profit from their work) to work.


There are many ways in which we can increase health care competition. We can permit competition in the ways and types of health care that is provided to individuals. For example, we can allow certain types of urgent care to be peeled off from the current CMS-defined “urgent care” category and handled by places like Walgreens. (If you have a fever there is no reason the nurse who now administers vaccinations at Walgreens can’t also help to determine if fever is just a cold or something more serious.) We can simplify the process by which new medical centers and hospitals are opened–and do away with the “Accountable Care Organization” concept which wiped out so many doctor practices and led to the rise of health care monopolies. We can allow greater latitude in the scope of practice with medical professionals, such as nurses.

We can allow greater latitude in the construction of non-drug-related medical devices. It shouldn’t take the market clout of an Apple Corporation to experiment with a watch which can monitor blood glucose levels, and there is no reason why sonogram technology from the 1960’s cannot be miniaturized and made cheaper by Silicon Valley.

In other words, there are many places where increased competition can result in increased supplies of health care at a lower price. And competition often means figuring out more efficient business practices, more efficient charting practices, cheaper equipment and larger numbers of people who can provide medical care.

Because ultimately supply-side competition lowers prices and improves quality because it encourages thousands and thousands of people to try to solve the intractable problems of health care, rather than leaving the decisions to a handful of “experts” at CMS and to the political process negotiated between doctor’s groups, hospitals and the federal government.

The more eyes looking at the problem, the more minds experimenting with new ways to deliver health care, the more health care we get, and the lower the price we pay for it.


It’s sad that California has chosen the “gun to the head” approach to controlling costs, because it never works.

Worse, by detaching the incentive to restrict access to health care without increasing the supply to health care, we will get health care lines similar to that of the gas lines of the 1970’s–though it will look like the doctor scheduling you for a pain-relieving surgery six months from now.

And ironically by doing all of this, I predict that the price for health care will simply increase–and $400 billion will seem like trump change in 10 years.

Until we increase the supply of health care, everything we do on the demand-side of the equation (and that includes Republican proposals as well as Democratic proposals) is simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Hi. I’m still here. Thanks. Bye.

Spectacular mammal rediscovered after 113 years — first ever photographs taken

NewImage

A unique and mysterious guinea-pig-sized rodent, not seen since 1898 despite several organized searches, bizarrely showed up at the front door of an ecolodge at a nature reserve in Colombia, South America. The magnificent red-crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis), stayed for almost two hours while two research volunteers took the first photos ever of a creature the world thought would never be seen again.

Note this story is from 2011. None of its kind has been seen since.

A disclaimer to all news stories out there.

Keep Watching the News, But Be Very Skeptical of Everything You Are Told

A reader taking in a story about the president in any major newspaper would be wise to imagine a prologue at the outset, one that goes something like this:

The story you are about to read was written and edited by people who a) voted for Hillary Clinton, b) think Donald Trump is a menace, and c) are appalled that 63 million of their fellow citizens – all those ignorant rustics out there in the howling wilderness between Beverly Hills and the Hudson River – could have so abased themselves as to choose Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. Furthermore, these same reporters and editors go about their daily lives with no contact with anyone who might have a different opinion, and if they were to encounter one by accident they would run shrieking from the room. Every one of these people hope to be their own era’s Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein and be remembered as the journalist who saved America and the world from Donald Trump. And finally, these aspiring Woodwards and Bernsteins have ready access to what seems to be an endless supply of aspiring Deep Throats, anonymous “administration sources” equally desirous of seeing President Trump impeached, jailed, or otherwise rendered impotent.

The answer to the question has always been obvious to me.

Crushing on Crushers

Why do intellectuals fall in love with dictators and totalitarians?

From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship, by Paul Hollander (Cambridge University Press, 338 pp., $29.97)

The question Hollander asks is why intellectuals whose own experience of danger was that of a negative book review or a hostile tenure committee, and who were so sensitive to the slightest threat, real or imagined, to their freedom at home, were so often attracted to the oppressors, and even slaughterers, of foreign multitudes.

The answer has always been very apparent to me.

Simply put, intellectuals do not believe that the (largely) unfettered free will of the masses will lead us to a better world.

And I think the reason for this is twofold.


First, intellectuals (and those self-styled intellectuals who believe themselves smarter than the average) have a hard time conceiving the idea that people less smart than them, when left to their own devices, will make rational choices.

You see this all the time in news reports. From discussions on poverty (where the poor are framed as either witless victims of society or lazy layabouts who refuse to improve themselves), to discussions on nutrition and diet (where people are framed as incapable of resisting the addictions of the food industry) to politics (where people on the other side are slavish idiots or two-faced), we are faced with the fundamental proposition by journalists and others that we are surrounded by idiots who need our help.

We see this in polls showing strong support for severe restrictions on SNAP benefits, despite the fact that most economists point out the fungibility of benefits. (That is, unless you are desperately poor, recipients of SNAP benefits can substitute: using the cash they save with SNAP benefits to buy prohibited items.)

Just look at this article: How to Deal With Less Intelligent People.

It can be frustrating to have to deal with people who are less intelligent than you. You may feel that you are constantly having to answer questions or carry their weight. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to change their intelligence. You can, however, change the way that you interact with them and perceive them. Some small changes on your part can make dealing with less intelligent people a much easier task.

Only one of the tips even remotely suggest that perhaps your self-assessment of your own intellectual superiority may be wrong. Yet (as has been popularized recently) most of us have heard of the Dunning Kruger effect which observes that people of low ability suffer from an illusion of superiority because they are too dumb to self-reflect.

(The flip side of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which has been completely forgotten in all our discussions about the stupid is “the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.” That is, the more competent you are, the more likely you are to suffer from Impostor syndrome, the belief that your achievements and intellectual accomplishments are fraudulent. The more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to realize your intelligence.)

It’s also worth noting that those with intelligence tend to specialize in a handful of topics. With the death of the Liberal Arts (thanks to post-modernism), and with a Liberal Arts education being synonymous with that all important question “do you want fries with that?”, the intelligent in our society tend to specialize in a handful of topics. This exacerbates the illusion of superiority, as generally those with some mental horsepower craft little bubbles in which they are objectively superior–forgetting that outside that little bubble they’re probably as dense as a fucking rock.

We see this all around us, with stories of people like Stephen Hawking warning us about AI destroying the human race. Stephen Hawking may be the most brilliant theoretical physicist of our era, but in other subjects (from philosophy to computer science) his opinions have about as much intellectual backing as some random guy you pull off the streets of New York City.

When Stephen Hawking says that philosophy is dead, when he advocates Scientism, or when he discusses Artificial Intelligence–we give him far more credit than he deserves. Sure, Stephen Hawking may be vastly more intelligent than the average person–but these are topics he has not studied with the same depth as a philosopher, a theologist or a computer scientist.

Putting all this together it’s pretty clear that most intellectuals are ill-equipped to understand those they see as less intelligent. Worse, the majority of people, having specialized in areas which objectively make them more intelligent about a particular subject (like computer programming or psychology or health care or advertising or plumbing), see their intellectual superiority extending over the rest of their lives.


The counter to this problem is Ethics, or the philosophy of morality. The idea being that in the study of ethics we concern ourselves with understanding the best way for people to live–and if you conceive that this problem applies to others you see as less intelligent than yourself, you necessarily come to some sort of universality of individuality in moral decision making.

Yet this leads us to the second problem:

Modern intellectuals tend not to subscribe to a deep belief in ethics or morality, beyond a form of prescriptive ethics which formulates “right” and “wrong” as the pragmatic application of a set of rules.

You can see this all around us. From Neil deGrasse Tyson’s observation that “philosophy is useless” to Stephen Hawking’s observation that “philosophy is dead,” and with the dearth of active philosophers thanks to creeping post-modernism which strips meaning from existence in a nihilist “anything goes” which flushes intellectual rigor down the toilet, we now live in a world without moral reason.

All that is left is victimization, complaints and prescriptive training which attempt to answer the deep moral questions of acceptance and correct living through the formulation of mindless rules.

Don’t have the moral compass to respect those around you regardless of gender? Sexism awareness training, where you learn the signs and are trained on the proper reactions but without a moral compass as to why we should show respect.

Lack the moral compass to take a live and let live attitude towards the LGBT community? Diversity and tolerance training where you learn the signs of a lack of tolerance (including supposed “dog whistles”) and training as to how to respond and react to these signs–but without a real moral compass as to why we need to show respect.

We live in an era of “political correctness”–a mindless formulation of policies and learned actions which teach us to avoid certain language and certain actions–but without a real moral compass as to why we should respect one another.

Worse, those who observe there are moral absolutes are dismissed as either being hateful religious hacks or as old-fashioned idiots who are out of intellectual fashion.

George Orwell’s Newspeak (from the novel 1984) has become a user’s manual.

We no longer learn morality and ethics, because our post-modern world with deconstructed language and islands of victimized minority groups, “meaning” is null and void–at best relative construct promulgated by dead white oppressive philosophers.

Immanuel Kant’s notion of the universality of moral laws cannot exist in a post-modern framework where meaning is no deeper than the worlds used to express them. Adam Smith’s “Theory of Moral Sentiments” is reduced to an excuse for selfishness–as there are no “great systems of the universe” by which one can navigate, as those “great systems” are little more than a form of eurocentric intellectual imperialism.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, stripped of its original meaning that one should live by the seven heavenly virtues and predicated by John Locke’s idea that true happiness stems from quiet self-reflection and moral action, becomes a statement of unabashed hedonism and a recipe for rebellion against a Creation that exists only in word and thought.

In such a world stripped of moral and ethical meaning all that is left is Force.


So why do intellectuals flock to dictators and totalitarians, looking at people from Joseph Stalin to Hugo Chávez with respect and admiration?

Simple.

In a world stripped of moral meaning all that is left is Force. With a world full of people who are incapable of taking care of themselves, top-down control is favorable to the chaos of bottom-up control.

The population, incapable of making any sort of moral judgement, will never self-organize in a working, functional society which hints at a deeper order to the Universe–even if that deeper order is simply an emergent phenomenon. That’s because in a world where meaning is no deeper than the page it is printed on, there can be no deeper order, no global absolutes.

So the population must be bridled and broken, like a bucking horse too stupid to live on its own.

And that requires a dictator.


The saddest part about all of this is the simple observation that throughout history, dictators have relied on “useful idiots” in order to bring themselves to power.

And the first up against the wall in the purges dictators inevitably need to cement their power (as no dictator can create the utopia intellectuals demand of them for reasons too deep to go into here), are the “pseudo-intellectuals”–those who see themselves as intellectuals but who are at best the petit-bourgeoisie: the people who have mastered a single subject, and in that mastery saw themselves as intellectuals who helped wave in the current dictatorial regime.

Dictators must shoot them in the head–because they are the ones who helped change the government, and as such are the biggest threat to the new regime.

We see this time and time again: with the Bolshevik purge in the early 1920’s, with the purge and executions in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s by Joseph Stalin, with the Great purge which left millions dead. We see this when Hitler consolidated power in Germany, with Hugo Chávez’s consolidation of power less than two decades ago. It’s a pattern throughout Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, and in Europe: the popular ruler who executes members of his own party–a necessity given they are the only ones who can remove him from power.

You see it today in Turkey as “President” Erdoğan consolidates power.


It’s a shame that most intellectuals hate the populous, and rail at the notion that “there but with the grace of God go I.”

And it’s a shame that most modern intellectuals look down at their noses at those who may question evolutionary theory, while they themselves do not believe in emergent phenomena, at least as it applies to history, civilization and culture–as if the pressures of evolution stop at the macroscopic level.

Because it leads intellectuals to the inevitable conclusion that, because of the idiocy that surrounds them by a flood of incapable self-interested idiots, the best way to order a society is to imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.