The collapse of the blue church consensus

Delusional non-thinking is becoming the new norm. Jordan Peterson’s interviewer on BBC4 had, it here says, “no capacity to see reality correctly.” She had only “pre-fab responses”to what Peterson was saying. The notes to the video:

Jordan Greenhall wrote one of the most compelling and widely shared analyses of the political landscape in the wake of the Trump election – ‘Deep Code’ – about how the consensus mainstream media reality “Blue Church” was being disrupted by a new insurgent “Red Religion”. He believes the recent viral interview between Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News was another example of the consensus reality breaking down – a “glitch in the matrix”. He talks to Rebel Wisdom’s David Fuller – who made the first documentary about Jordan Peterson AND used to work at Channel 4 News for many years.

Socialists at heart

Coming from the area of the social sciences that had made its name on its one key insight, that individual private-sector decision-making is the key to wealth, growth, employment and prosperity, but now to find that virtually the entire profession believes that wealth, growth, employment and prosperity are driven by demand, and particularly government spending, none of this comes as a surprise: According to a survey of members of the American Political Science Association, Donald Trump is the worst president in American history. Meanwhile his predecessor – a man of no known accomplishments (or at least good ones) – is ranked eighth. It’s a clown’s world out there.

This is discussed at Powerline: Is Trump the worst president ever? The final words:

Academia has pretty much abandoned America, and vice versa. There simply is no credibility left in soft fields like “political science.”

As for the economists of the world, I imagine you would get the same ranking in an American Economics Association survey, although they might make Herbert Hoover even lower since he was also a Republican. FDR would, however, rank first even though he prolonged the Great Depression in the US by around eight years. Everyone else was in recovery by 1932-33. In the US it took until around 1940-41. They are all socialists at heart, which is where the social sciences now largely are.

Jordan Peterson and his misunderstood lobster tale

Thank you for your patience regarding the possibility of extra events during Dr Peterson’s Australian tour. I have been advised by Dr Peterson’s office today, that Dr Peterson will not be giving any additional talks on this tour due to his work committments.

Jordan Peterson is coming to Australia and his lectures are sold out. He was asked if he would put on additional lectures but the note above has been sent out along with the picture below it.

If you understand the point of the lobster story in his 12 Rules for Life, it is that both humans and lobsters seek dominance due to both of our psychologies being pushed along by serotonin. You are always going to have alpha-male lobsters just as you do with human societies. So my guess is that the people who are organising his tour haven’t actually read his book.

Adultery and politics

You cannot choose your political sides by the personal moral failings of their leaders and members. There is not enough morality to go around, specially with the alpha male types who inhabit politics. We have here in Australia, represented by this story of the moment, a Deputy Prime Minister who has left his wife and four kids for someone else. This was the story, written tongue in cheek: Let’s recriminalise adultery. But one of the commenters did say this which said something worth saying.

How typical of you to mock marital fidelity; to mock marriage, in fact. But then, that was the whole point of SSM, wasn’t it? And how typical of you to be utterly, blithely, blindly unaware that there is anything wrong here.

I keep forgetting, though, that you suffer from libertarian autism. You can’t be expected to understand anything about non-autistic folks.

It is a hopeful sign that, quite apart from the unprincipled political opportunists, so many people do understand that there is something wrong here. An example just such as this was always the complete counter to the asinine you can’t help who you love slogan.

Meantime, in the US we have this: Trump’s Stormy Daniels problem gets worse. What’s the Stormy Daniels problem: only conservatives think adultery matters. And it does matter, but in the world as it is, unless we are dealing with circumstances well beyond the normal, it shouldn’t determine who you are going to vote for, since there is so much else at stake. But it is a point of vulnerability on the right, as the Roy Moore saga too clearly showed.

The first atom ever to have had its picture taken

My before bed reading the last few weeks has been Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura which is a philosophical tract written around 2000 years ago, whose arguments are based on the absolute assumption that everything in the universe is made up of atoms. Very radical in his time, and a belief that did not become part of our scientific understanding until the eighteenth century. FWIW my favourite book of the present century is The Swerve. No book has impressed on me, to speak in cliches, that everything changes and nothing lasts forever. Absolutely nothing about the world we are in and nothing we know about it will survive. And what The Swerve is about is how the last remaining copy of De Natura in the world was rediscovered in 1417. And then goes on to describe the world then in the context of the world when the Roman Empire was at its peak, and of course, with our world in the picture as well.

As for atoms, we now assume their existence even though no one has seen one, at least not until now. We also assume“there are between 10^78 to 10^82 atoms in the known, observable universe. In layman’s terms, that works out to between ten quadrillion vigintillion and one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion atoms.” Or to help with the numbers there are approximately 7 x 10^27 atoms in the average human body. And everyone of these was there at the Big Bang or maybe it was only the number of particles that were there, or whatever. But there they were. The mystery of existence will never be known.

And each of these atoms, as again I understand it, has a scale of size so that if we were inside St Peter’s in Rome, a speck of dust floating in the air would represent the size of the nucleus of an atom relative to the size of the atom represented by the cathedral. How is this possible?

So up above we have a picture of an atom taken just the other day: How a Student Photographed a Single Atom With a Store-Bought Camera. The entire picture is not, of course, the atom, but somewhere between those pointy metallic tubes and along the black line between them there is a tiny dot of a white speck. That is also not the atom, “it’s the light from an array of surrounding lasers being re-emitted by an atom”. Its not much, but out of the between ten quadrillion vigintillion and one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion atoms in the universe, that is one of only a handful humans have ever been able to see. Impossible and incredible, not the first atom ever to have had its picture taken; for that, which the above story led me to find, see below, a picture taken in 2013.

atom of hydrogen

There are Keynesians in even the most unlikely places

This is from, of all places, Maurice Newman’s article in The Oz today on Trump’s news might be bad for his forgotten flock. So which is the absolutely wrong word in this passage?

Despite a decade of easy money, continued fiscal stimulus and a personal savings rate that has tumbled from 6.6 per cent to 2.4 per cent in just 12 years, the US economy during calendar 2017 grew at 2.5 per cent, hardly a number to write home about. Indeed, adjusted for the once-off hurricane rebuild effect, it managed just 1.5 per cent in the last quarter.

It is, of course, the first word, “despite”. If he had said instead, “because of …” then all would be clear. Artificially low rates of interest, high levels of unproductive public spending and falling savings are the very recipe for stagnation.