Why is it good to know that?

Just finished John Anderson’s In Search of Civilisation: Remaking a Tarnished Idea (Penguin 2009) and then went to look for more which turned out to include the video above. The oddest part is that the authorial sound of the book as you read it has no resemblance to the actual sound of the book’s author. That said, a wonderful book and cannot recommend it more highly. Excellent throughout, but this particularly caught me.

I try out an old strategy of inquiry: one most vigorously pursued by St. Augustine. Why, he asked of of the results of scholarly investigation, is it good to know that? … Augustine was in search of a principle of quality – a principle that would help us see what, out of the infinite variation of possible knowledge, it was important to devote one’s time and effort to. (Anderson 2009: 159)

Why is it good to know anything? More to the point here, which bits of knowledge will make one “civilised” and which is just part of life. And in what way is it good to be familiar with The Mona Lisa or with Cosi Fan Tutti?

Why politics is filled with crackpots

From When Fools Rule:

The people in charge are running around spouting crackpot conspiracy theories because they know little about the people they govern. They are easily fooled, because they are so ignorant. Why would they question the Russian conspiracy? Everyone they know thinks it is true. Those ants they see through their telescope, the people the rest of us call neighbors, sure seem to be doing what the Russian experts have claimed.

This is why they are so certain of these crackpot theories. They have barricaded themselves behind razor wire and armed men because they are absolutely sure the crackpot theories are true. Again, people are most certain of the things they least understand. The Cloud People know so little of the Dirt People, they will believe anything about them, because they have no way to know otherwise. It is why we find ourselves ruled by increasingly foreign fanatics spouting bizarre conspiracy theories.

With this as a suggested remedy: Only through generative culture can we recover from sterilized liberalism.

There are two groups of thinkers who claim the mantle of growth today, but neither fulfills the criteria of a generative worldview. The first is the corrupt and opportunistic neoliberalism that obsesses over statistical artifacts of growth but practices, in fact, the dominant culture of sterility and suicide. The now 14-year-old false economic recovery, in which GDP goes up while life continues to get worse for everyone outside a small number of megacities, illustrates the facile mindset of neoliberal claims to support growth and prosperity….

The second alternative which explicitly claims the title of vitalism is the growing fringe of neo-Nietzschean thought revolving around self-perfection and mastery. These groups do make the valid argument that they are advocating for things that are genuinely good and useful. Exercise, good diet, and self-education are not net negatives comparable to the consumerism, obesity, and materialism promoted by neoliberalism. However, many neo-Nietzscheans do not seem to understand is that the plethora of fertility imagery in Nietzsche’s work is not simply a stylistic flourish. Nietzsche recognized that a Will to Power which doesn’t generate offspring is mere masturbation.

His answer. Become parents.

It is the power of parenthood that focuses and forces the mind to approach the problem of reality rather than pursue various sterile intellectual playthings and vacuous political agendas. The challenge of begetting is the struggle to bring people entirely new into the world, and to strengthen them, in their vulnerable youth, for the harshness of life’s conditions. Until philosophers beget families or family men learn to philosophize, there will be no end to the nihilism at the heart of modern philosophy.

Self-interested nitwits who make a pile of dough is now the domain of politics. This is no solution and there may be no solution beyond an actual collapse. Sounds bad, and it will be bad. It shouldn’t take more than a century or so for things to fix themselves up.

Happy Mother’s Day

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It is Mother’s Day, and a Happy Mother’s Day to all of our readers who have borne and been blessed with children. It may not be much of a point, but I am always pleased to see the spelling as Mother’s Day and not Mothers’ Day.

I am not going to wish anyone an HBPD – I am not even willing to print the words out in full. But I will bring it to your attention via this post from Instapundit. My only criticism of what follows is that there is nowhere enough emphasis on how mentally ill, sick and depraved one has to be to follow along with any of this.

Rep. Cori Bush referred to mothers as “birthing people.” This elicited immediate, and deserved, mockery from many folks on the right, including yours truly. NARAL—or, at least, NARAL’s Twitter person—rallied to her cause.

Birthing-person-of-pearl! (Or for those of a certain faith, Holy Birthing Person of God!) This is a seamless disco ball of absurdity, radiating inanity from every angle. If one of the core tenets of the new Great Awokening is that the term “mother” is divisive or bigoted, then the Great Awokening is doomed (and deservedly so). Don’t tell me conservatives are too obsessed with silly and divisive culture war “distractions,” if in the next breath you’re going to lecture me on the need to erase the term “mother” from the English language.

Why is this not totally discrediting to the left? How can anyone line up with such nutters? There are, no doubt, various social problems that need to be examined. This is not one of them.

The sound and sensible political philosophy of Australia’s Prime Minister

I know it’s unfashionable to say anything positive about Scott Morrison but I fear he may be under-appreciated. But where can you find such sentiments expressed anywhere any more by someone who leads a government: Don’t give in to identity politics, Scott Morrison urges.

Scott Morrison has urged Australians not to surrender to “identity politics” and the forces that undermine the community, declaring freedom rests on “taking personal responsibility”.

In a speech outlining his values and beliefs, the Prime Minister on Thursday night launched an impassioned critique of the “growing tendency to commodify human beings through identity politics” and elevated the necessity of viewing “people as individuals — with agency and responsibility”.

Speaking at a United Israel Appeal NSW donor dinner in Sydney, Mr Morrison set out his vision of morality, community and personal responsibility in the modern world while warning that reducing individuals to their attributes would end in division and a broken society.

“We must never surrender the truth that the experience and value of every human being is unique and personal,” he said.

“You are more than your gender, your sexuality, your race, your ethnicity, your religion, your language group, your age.“

All of these contribute to who we are and the incredible diversity of our society, and our place in the world, but of themselves they are not the essence of our humanity.

“When we reduce ourselves to a collection of attributes, or divide ourselves on this basis, we can lose sight of who we are as individuals — in all our complexity and wholeness. We then define each other by the boxes we tick or don’t tick rather than our qualities, skills and character.

These were once merely boilerplate commonplace statements. Now they are radical arguments that we seldom any longer hear. Very happy to hear the PM say what really needs saying in these dark times.

Stationary state or is it stagnation?

 I saw this yesterday and thought it may have been the most profound bit of meming I had seen in quite a while:


I don’t know whether we have gone about as far as we can go in pretty well every kind of technology, or whether we have instead reached what John Stuart Mill had described as the stationary-state, but my belief is that we have just stopped advancement and are stagnating. The mobile phone and the PC are pretty good and have been developing but over the past 30-40 years we live in the dreariest period of stagnation possibly in the last 500 years. It’s a pretty good life I suppose, and materially better than in the past. But this is where we are and are going nowhere else, except politically into a new age of feudalism since even politically we are going backwards.

Personal freedom and individual rights are disappearing, even as an ideal. Per capita wealth is on the decline with a fantastic shift in the distribution of income towards those already better off. Everyone else will either stay put, or more likely begin to slip backwards as time moves forward. Hardly anyone notices how their lives have been constricted, but they have been and weirdly near on half the population is grateful for their oppression.

And this was from forty years before that.

Leftism is a mental health disorder

White liberals more likely to have a mental health condition is just as it says.

White liberals are more prone to mental health disorders than individuals who identify as conservative or moderates, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Sixty-two percent of Whites who classify themselves as “very liberal” or “liberal” have been told by a doctor they have a mental health condition, as compared to 26% of conservatives and 20% of moderates, the study found.

Young White people who identified as “very liberal” were almost one and a half times more likely to report mental health problems than those who considered themselves “liberal.”

Although the Pew Study was published last year, Zach Goldberg, a doctoral candidate, consolidated the data on Twitter, which sparked a column by news magazine Evie trying to dissect why this actually is.

Mr. Goldberg speculated the disparity may be because White liberals were more likely to seek mental health evaluations than other ideologies. This could be a simple, and true, answer.

Yet, there’s a lot of drawbacks to believing in liberalism.

The entire ideology “forces its followers to wallow in feelings of helplessness and victimhood,” Evie noted, as opposed to “building resiliency against hardship,” which helps combat depression.

Then there’s this about the left and the Chinese flu.

Other polls show liberals have bought into the mainstream media’s panic porn surrounding COVID-19 more than other ideologies, also causing them more stress and fear.

The vast majority of Democrats overestimate the probability of being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19, compared to other ideologies, a Gallup survey found. There’s only a 1 to 5% chance of somebody with COVID-19 having to be hospitalized, yet 41% of Democrats’ believe there’s a greater than 50% chance. Only 10% of Democrat respondents in the survey knew the correct answer.

With all of this misinformation, it’s not surprising why Democrats are afraid to take off their masks even after they’ve been vaccinated or are outdoors, and why liberal governors have been reluctant to reopen their states.

With this comment which speaks for me as well.

Having been a left wing liberal when I was young, I know first hand that much of what the PEW study stems from is cognitive dissonance. You’re passionately trying to believe in an ideology that real world facts don’t fully comply with it. So you fudge and reinterpret the facts but down deep you know you’re not being totally honest with yourself. The solution is to reinforce it all and the dissonance increases, surfacing as irrational behavior and dogmatic bluster.

Living in an “epistemological crisis”

I read this sentence which began the article and stopped right there. This, I said to myself, is the single most strikingly offputting statement that I have ever read that would ensure that from then on I would not trust a word of what follows. This was the sentence:

Barack Obama is one of many who have declared an “epistemological crisis,” in which our society is losing its handle on something called truth.

An authority on lying he definitely is having been one of the most grotesque liars in quite a long line of dishonest politicians, and not just in America. The article was, How physicist Steven Koonin became a climate truth teller.

The article is so empty of analysis that I am virtually unable to provide a brief example of its inanity. This will have to do.

Mr Koonin created the Energy Biosciences Institute at Berkeley that’s still going strong.

At Berkeley! Meanwhile the article is from the Wall Street Journal. The last thing I would look for in any of this would be something that might accurately be described as “truth”.

Do they really have our best interests at heart?

I want to explain why I worry. First the conclusion to this: Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis.

The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

OK. It’s an argument. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. But then this: Democrats Furious Over Stanford Study that Found Masks are Useless Against COVID. The results of studies like this should not be a politicised issue but it is. It would be one thing if I thought they were worried about bad science becoming generally believed, but that is the last thing I think Democrats (and the political left in general) worry about. They are worried that some of the political power that has accrued to them because of Covid might slip away.


Nazis [Canadian division] are not welcome here

And this is the same story from Ezra Levant via Small Dead Animals.