Fake Science

Unless you have been in a cave the last year, you are well aware of the fact that most of what we call news is just made up. Any story with “sources say” in it is fictional. The writer simply conjured the sources and most likely the things they would have said, if they existed. Maybe someone did say something like what was reported, but the so-called reporter was not there to hear it. At best, they got it from the gossip chain or from some C-level talking head, cooling his heels in a cable television green room.

The worst for this is sports reporting, as they no longer even pretend to do be doing real reporting. They just make stuff up and slap the words “according to sources” on it and it is posted as news. Trade rumors are where you see this all the time. Since the people doing the deals for the sports clubs are not talking about their business on camera, the fake news reporters are free to just make up what they want, so they do. It’s all pitched as “rumors” so when it never happens, the fake sports reporters can “report” on that.

Even fake news needs content, which is where fake science comes in. There’s nothing better for a fake news story than a quote from a fake scientist, especially when the topic is human health. Turn on the local fake newscast and there’s always at least one fake story on health or diet. Many of these shows now have a recurring health segment where one of the bubble heads puts on their serious face and talks into the camera about some new threat to your health, usually your diet. It’s all fake.

Late in January, the researchers Jordan Anaya, Nick Brown, and Tim van der Zee identified some fairly baffling problems in the research published by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, one of the more famous and prolific behavioral-science labs in the country, and published a paper revealing their findings. As I wrote last month, “the problems included 150 errors in just four of [the] lab’s papers, strong signs of major problems in the lab’s other research, and a spate of questions about the quality of the work that goes on there.”

Brian Wansink, the lab’s head and a big name in social science, was a co-author on all those papers, and refused to share the underlying data in a manner that could help resolve the situation, though he did announce certain reforms to his lab’s practices, and said he would be hiring someone uninvolved with the original papers to reanalyze the data. Wansink, whose lab is known for producing a steady stream of catchy, media-friendly findings about how to nudge people toward healthier eating and habits in general, has also openly admitted to a variety of data slicing-and-dicing methods that are very likely to produce misleading and overblown results.

What the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell does, is not science. Calling it science is a crime against the language, as well as science. For instance, they will have participants eat a variety of lunch offerings and then grade them on their perceived “healthiness.” Naturally, people get the “wrong” results, because there’s no fixed definition of “healthy” with regards to food. This allows the “scientist” doing the study to write a paper claiming that people are brainwashed into picking the wrong foods or that people need more education on diet.

Wansink’s problems just got a lot worse. Today, Brown, a Ph.D. student at the University of Groningen, published a blog post highlighting many more problems with Wansink’s research practices. First, it appears that over the years, Wansink has made a standard practice of self-plagiarism, regularly taking snippets of his text from one publication and dropping them into another — a practice that, while not as serious as outright data fraud or plagiarizing someone else’s material, is very much frowned upon. And sometimes it was more than “snippets.” Brown includes the following image of one Wansink article in which all of the yellow material (plus three of the four figures, which Brown said he couldn’t figure out how to highlight) is lifted from Wansink’s own previously published work:

In another instance, Brown writes, Wansink appears to have published the same text as two different book chapters at around the same time. “Each chapter is around 7,000 words long,” he writes. “The paragraph structures are identical. Most of the sentences are identical, or differ only in trivial details.”

What this suggests is the people running the place know full well that all of it is bullshit and nothing close to being real research. Once you come to accept that, going through the exercise of setting up dramatizations of real research work probably seems pointless. If you know the results in advance, the exercise is just silly. What we have here are adults kitted out in lab gear, live action role playing as a real scientists at a real lab. Their published work is just for the purpose of financing their fantasy game.

The root cause of the replication crisis in the soft sciences is mostly due to the fact that it is it not science. It’s market research. They try to quantify some behavior in order to pitch an idea already popular in the mass media or with the managerial class. By slapping the word “science” on it, they are pitching their role as an authority. Bill Nye, the toaster repairman, has made a killing claiming to speak for science on behalf of the cult of Gaia worship. The Cornell Food Lab does the same thing, but for nutrition and food marketing.

This points to one flaw in Karl Popper’s famous definition of science. What is unfalsifiable is classified as unscientific. Science, according Popper, is that which can be invalidated or disproved. This sounds good until you look at the Cornell Food Lab. Everything they do can be invalidated, as almost all of it is nonsense. Therefore, it meets the definition of science as described by Popper. It also means that a pseudo-science can easily masquerade as science.

A better, more narrow definition of science is that science concerns itself with causation. If A causes B then science explains how A causes B. Analysis, on the other hand, points out that whenever we see B, we often see A, therefore, there is a correlation between A and B. That’s just observation. Statistical analysis takes observation further by apply probability to it. It’s not useless and it often aids science, but it is not science. It’s simply observation and analysis, and more often than not, pseudo-science.

The Tribal States of America

The other day, I heard someone use the word “kike” in public. I can’t remember when I last heard someone use the word in conversation. My grandfather would use it, along with WOP, Spic, Mic, Jew, Polack and other colorful euphemisms. That was just the way men of his generation spoke to one another. One of his old friends was Italian and he called him a “Guinea bastard” so often it may as well have been his given name. In turn, his buddies would call him a commie, a rook, a pinko, etc.

That was a long time ago. In our sensitive age, people are afraid to mention the race of a crime suspect, lest they get accused of blasphemy. The result is we get crime bulletins from the news that tell us the suspect is tall and bi-pedal. In fact, I’ve learned to take some pleasure in mentioning race in conversation, just to see the honkies flinch. Blacks and Hispanics never flinch, but honkies are so beaten down they come close to tears at the mere mention of race or ethnicity.

In the incident the other day, no one seemed to notice, although I probably missed the context. Still, I was bit surprised to hear the word in public. I don’t think “kike” was ever a slur as it has no negative connotations. It’s roots are supposedly from Ellis Island, but that could be apocryphal. It’s also possible the people I overheard were Jewish, and they were owning the insult, in the same way blacks use the word “nigger” in every other sentence. Given the complexion of the people in the room, my guess is they were not Jewish.

The hand-wringers all swear that we are reliving Weimar Germany and Trump is the 12th invisible Hitler the prophecies foretold. The inevitable result is the Cossacks galloping through the streets of Jewish neighborhoods. Maybe so, but I’m skeptical. Trump seems to get along well with the Tribe and he seems to love his Jewish grandchildren. He has quite a few Jewish advisers and business partners. Maybe they are not making Hitlers like they used to, but my hunch is he is not Hitler and we are not Weimar Germany.

Still, the special position for Jews in American may be changing. It’s impossible not to notice that the roster of people leading the opposition to Trump reads like a Manhattan law firm. It’s also hard to not notice that people with a precious metal in their name are wildly over-represented in America’s ruling elite. It’s fair to say that Jews in America are the new WASP’s, a narrow ethnic group that dominates the ruling classes. Instead of Pemberton and Prescott in the overstuffed leather chairs, it’s Goldstein and Silverberg.

As a result, it will become increasingly acceptable to make sport of the Jews, just as it was acceptable to make fun of the WASP’s in the prior century. I grew up in a time when all the rich people were portrayed by Hollywood as a cartoonish version of the Monopoly guy, plotting with others in the elite to block the advance of the lower classes. The horse-faced actor William Devane made a career out of playing the sinister WASP at the head of a conspiracy against the swarthy people, excluded from the best golf clubs.

I doubt we’ll ever see Hollywood treating elite Jews that way, since Hollywood is run by Jews, but you never know. The movie War Dogs was not very sympathetic to the two Orthodox Jews at the center of the story. Still, mockery of the new ruling elite will probably be restricted to the on-line culture, which is increasingly where people get their enjoyments. The Right Stuff’s podcast The Daily Shoah is a good example. It’s a blend of commentary, locker room humor and Family Guy style mockery of the Chosen People.

Whether or not this is a sustainable arrangement is debatable. Whites in American have never been anti-Semitic and have largely accepted the reality of Jewish success in America. In fact, most whites take some pride in it, seeing it as validation of America’s meritocratic culture. The millions of Muslims being imported will obviously be hostile to this arrangement. Hispanics and Asians don’t seem to care. Progressive whites, on the other hand, are increasingly anti-Semitic, suggesting there is a war brewing among the Cloud People. The Democrats coming close to putting Keith Ellison in charge is a good example.

There’s something else to consider. There are a decent number of Jews in the Dissident Right, supporting Trump and often sympathetic to the alt-right. For example, the news site Breitbart is run by Joel Pollak, an Orthodox Jew. Mickey Kaus has been on the forefront of the patriotic immigration issue. It’s entirely possible that American Jews will come to view multiculturalism and open borders as suicidal, because they are bad for the Jews. Israel, after all, is pretty much the opposite of what the American Left advocates.

It’s fair to say that the America now passing into history was one built by the northern WASP elite, that emerged after the Civil War. These were the men who got rich in the Industrial Revolution. They built a country in their image. They wanted to conquer the world and they did. The people in charge now, in the technological age, will remake America into whatever they believe will suit their purposes. The Tribal States of America will reflect their interests, their cultural prejudices and their view of what’s best for the people in charge of the country.

The God’s Must Be Crazy

Half a dozen years or ago, I had a Facebook page at the insistence of female friends, who told me I had to have a Facebook page. It did not last long as my life is not interesting and the lives of my friends are not interesting either. What killed the idea for me was that I kept seeing posts for “I Fucking Love Science!” and they were always from people with no math or science. The posts themselves were never really about science either. Instead, they were usually about confirming some belief bubbling up on the Left.

In other words, they were just using science as a placeholder for a transcendent authority that allegedly validated their preferences. Instead of claiming that God commands us to put more women and blacks into STEM fields, we’re to believe science is happier if we put more women and blacks into STEM fields, because, science!  I dropped Facebook a long time ago so I have no idea if it is still a thing, but I see there is a website for it now. By the looks of it, it is the same act.

For as long as I can remember, the Left has been claiming that science confirms their beliefs and preferences. Not that long ago they use to claim that socialism was based in science. Today it is multiculturalism. At least once a week, someone, not knowing the difference between statistics and science, makes a claim that science demands we fling open our borders to the gathering hordes. You see? Science says open borders is good, so only a science denier would oppose wholesale immigration and those people can be dismissed.

Science is not the only stand in for God that we have today. Libertarian economists worship at the altar of Castor and Pollux, or as they call them, Efficiency and Productivity. No matter the policy, they demand it be sent off to the druids of the local economics department so they can read the goat entrails and then forecast the policy’s impact on efficiency and productivity. For instance, clamping down on immigration is a bad thing because it lowers worker productivity and that makes the gods cross. Handing off trade policy to global planners is a good thing because it pleases efficiency.

The most stunningly absurd manifestation of this came from the libertarian economist Alex Tabbarok, who claimed the mystery cult of economics demanded open borders. He argued that your preferences are invalid unless you can please his gods and he was the guy who would decide if the gods were pleased. This is Bronze Age oogily-boogily and it exposes a truth about the Left in the modern era. While they may appear to have abandoned the Christian concept of God as a moral authority, in reality they just gave him some new names. They still point to the heavens and demand you submit.

That’s the thing you see with all of these sects within the Progressive hive. They maintain that old Puritan instinct where they assume to have special insights into the desires of the heavens and therefore they have a right to push everyone around. This is clear when you look at the campus war on whites. When the nutters demand the blanco check his privilege, they are claiming to speak for some mystical force that has decided that the honky hegemony must be eradicated. They assume the gods are on their side and the accused must justify his actions or else.

It’s not just a mysterious supernatural authority that animates their morality. They have a list of demons and sub-demons they believe are at war with the forces of light. Racism used to be a white guy refusing to hire a black guy. Now, it is this thing called “institutional racism” which you can’t actually see or describe. It’s this dark force that results in the IT department being staffed with pale penis people, rather than looking like the multicultural paradise we all know is the natural destiny of man. We must fight institutional racism!

Feminist have also conjured a monster, the opposition to which has become their rallying cry. Campus Rape Culture™ is not a real thing in the sense that it exists. Instead, it is a metaphysical concept that causes all sorts of bad things. The result is we have a line of hungover coeds at the rape counseling center blaming the campus rape culture for why they woke up with their underwear on their head. The rarity of actual rape on campus is held up as proof of the insidiousness of Campus Rape Culture™.

Eric Hoffer said, “Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” This is true, but the latter always results in the creation of the former. Once the great evil has been identified and described, there has to be a moral code in response to it and that requires a transcendent authority to animate. Otherwise, the moral code is just a list of preferences that can be disputed or discarded. If those preferences have the color of authority, one beyond the reach of man, then it has power.

That’s what we see with the various utopian tribes in the modern age. Modern Progressive have “the right side of history” as their spirit god. Libertarians have Efficiency and Productivity. The open borders crazies have “it’s who we are” and Buckley Conservatives have “conservative principles.” All of which serve as a supernatural authority whose word trumps any argument made by men in opposition. It also gives the adherents license to use any means necessary to impose their morality on the rest of us.

Essential Knowledge: Part VII

The great events of Western history almost always revolve around a revolution or a great war, where the nation, or even the West as a whole, comes out the other side as something radically different. The most obvious recent example is the first half of the 20th century, where Europe went in as a collection of empires and kingdoms and emerged as a collection of vassal states. Wars and revolutions are more often than not the result of a slow build up of pressure, like two tectonic plates bumping into one another.

The resulting earthquake reconfigured the map of Europe, not just geographically, but culturally and spiritually. The European culture of the 19th century was obliterated and replaced by a bland servitude culture. The impact of those two industrial wars was so immense that even today, Europe is afraid to stand up for itself in the face of a migrant onslaught. Anything that smacks of nationalism sends chills up the spines of Europe’s elite, as they remain in the shadow of the great wars of the last century.

One way to approach history is to treat the wars and revolutions like hubs from which radiate out spokes of history. Some spokes extend into the past, reaching back to antecedents that led up to the great event. The Great War, for example, was in no small part the result of the unification of Germany. Other spokes head of laterally, setting off events in other countries. The French Revolution, for example, had a great influence on the Bolsheviks, who studied the Jacobins and built on their tactics.

The first big upheaval on the list is the English Civil War. Most everyone knows about Oliver Cromwell, but the consequences of the war between the Roundheads and Cavaliers is still with us, particularly in America. One of the more popular recent books is from Peter Ackroyd, Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution. For those with short attention spans, this booklet is actually a pretty good summary. If you like podcasts, Mike Duncan’s Revolutions Podcast is a good choice.

The key figure is Oliver Cromwell. He is a remarkable guy in many ways, but for Americans he casts a particularly long shadow. That’s because his spiritual followers landed in New England. The reason the University of Virginia has a Cavalier as its mascot is because of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans in England is a pretty good treatment. If you are really serious about knowing the mind of Cromwell, then you can read his collected letters and speeches.

That brings us to the American Revolutionary War. The challenge here is in finding books that are not myth making or nonsense histories. One way around this is to focus on the key people and read biographies of them. It’s hard to write historical figures into the modern narrative, because historians tend to be covetous of the figures they have studied and they are quick to criticize attempts to remake historical figures. Plus, seeing the event through the eyes of the participants adds another perspective.

James Madison and the Making of America is a great place to start. Ben Franklin’s autobiography is a must read. Of course, Thomas Paine’s writings are also a must read because they were instrumental in two great revolutions. John Adams is a giant from the period. Of course, Thomas Jefferson is another giant. An interesting book on two critical figures is Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution. The serendipitous combination of Lafayette and Washington is a great story.

Interestingly, several of the key figures in the American Revolution played key roles in the next great upheaval in the West, the French Revolution. This is a huge topic with libraries full of books on it. For a straightforward chronology of events, a book from 25 years ago is a good choice. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. It’s a little dry, but it covers the basics without a lot of gratuitous commentary. Another older book is The Oxford History of the French Revolution. There’s also a short version.

Again, reading about the people is a great way to get a feel for these important events and no one is more associated with the French Revolution than Maximilian Robespierre. Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution is a good study of the guy who was arguably the West’s first fanatic. The second political fanatic would then be Jean Paul Marat. There are not a lot of good biographies of Marat. This is the only one I know of, but you can probably learn enough about him from general histories of the revolution.

Yes, Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France is a must read.

The next big event, particularly for Americans, is the American Civil War. Readers of this blog will know that the long shadow of this war is a regular topic on the Dissident Right. Like the American Revolution, the volume of books on the topic is endless. The thing to keep in mind is that history is written by the victors, so, many books on the subject are really about modern topics. The go to source therefore is Shelby Foote and his three volume series on the Civil War. It’s long, but it covers everything and it is easy to read.

The official history is that the Civil War was about slavery and the North was forced to go to war in order to end it, but history is written by the victors. The root cause was mostly the abolitionist movement. For a view of the abolitionists, from the Left, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War is a good book written by and for the Progressive audience. Modern historians blame the never ending trouble with race on the failure of Reconstruction. Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution is probably the best modern book on the topic.

Finally, the last big event to cast a shadow on our age is the Russian Revolution. This is a funny one because in the fullness of time, the Bolshevik Revolution may fade away as a seminal event in Western history. Communism is dead and the Cold War is over, but understanding the Cold War, and its warping effect on the West, starts with knowing about the Soviets. A good book from twenty years ago is A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924. It’s 800 pages, but it covers everything.

The Department of Nice

The other day, I was at the Department of Nice. It is in the Imperial Capital area and while it is not a very pleasant commute, once you are there, it is very nice. It’s still technically winter here, but the weather was very mild, in the 60’s with a gentle breeze. Many of the nice people, who work in the Department of Nice, took advantage of the nice weather and were out enjoying a walk around campus. It’s nice that they call it a campus. It has that same feel, like an oasis, where you see none of the coarseness of the adult world.

Walk around any big city and you see the full range of human society, from bums to businessmen. Everyone seems to have a purpose and everyone looks a bit hurried. Even the bums will have an urgency to their panhandling. It’s also noisy out in the regular world, even when you get away from the big city. The cars, the car horns, the construction and usually, in most cities, young people being loud. This usually means urban youth shouting and boasting or maybe hardhats yelling to one another.

It’s rarely noisy on a college campus. Maybe if there is an organized event with a PA system it can get noisy for a while. In good weather, the kids will be out playing games, but that’s not the noise of the outer world. Those are the noises of the schoolyard and no one can be vexed by them. It’s not like a car alarm going off or a jackhammer tearing up the sidewalk. Young people having fun or laughing as they enjoy the weather on a bucolic campus, just reinforces the beauty of it, the niceness of it. The campus is nice.

At the Department of Nice, I had some time to kill so I sat against my car, eating my lunch, watching people saunter around, enjoying the nice weather. The quietness is what struck me. In my neighborhood, it is only quiet in the dead of night and even then it is not very quiet. Outside the campus walls, in the Imperial Capital, it’s not quiet. The other thing that struck me was the relaxed look on the faces that wandered past. Nowhere did I see anyone with a worried look about what comes next. Everything is just nice.

On the ground floor of the building where I was needed, they have a nice little coffee shop, like you see at an airport. It’s not quite a shop and not a kiosk. It’s a counter with some couches and chairs scattered in front of it. I saw some young people, maybe in their late 20’s, hanging out and socializing, like you would see on any college campus. One of them was a skinny, hippy looking guy with a pony tail. He reminded me of a guy I knew in college, who would bring a guitar to parties. It was his hook to charm girls.

Spend any time at a government facility and you quickly see, if you are the noticing sort, that it is a different world. The Department of Nice is pretty much an adult daycare center, like every college campus. Except it is not a college campus. It is a government facility allegedly doing necessary work. Trying to find anyone who can tell you what it is they do and why it is necessary is not recommended. It’s not that anyone will get upset at your questions. It’s that no one in government land is defined by what they do. They are defined by their credentials.

The people who find their way onto the college campus, or the government campus, are not there to confront life. They are there to escape it. Once on the campus they quickly forget about the rest of the world. They become institutionalized, like convicts that spend decades in the penitentiary. The government never fires anyone and there are never tough times, requiring the bosses to make hard decisions. For the career civil servants, death is the only thing that can get them off the payroll.

It’s why everyone is so nice and relaxed. When you don’t have to worry about hard times, you can spend all your time enjoying the good times. There’s plenty of office politics, of course, and the stress that comes with it, but the people in the Department of Nice are secure in their positions. They know the check will be deposited every two weeks into their account. They know their job will always be there. They know that no matter what happens out there in the world, everything will be fine on campus.

The director of the Department of Nice was a pleasant fellow, described to me by his subordinates as a visionary. He presented me with his card, which had two lines of letters indicating his credentials. Other than PhD, I had no idea what the letter combinations meant. Similarly, I could not figure why he was considered a visionary. Maybe he described to his subordinates the world outside the campus. Maybe he told them of his plans for expanding the Department of Nice. Maybe visionary just means really nice.

The other thing about the director that stood out to me as that he was very aware that I had no reason to be there and we had no reason to meet. It was all ceremonial. Everyone else carried on as if it mattered, but the director was the exception. Maybe that’s why they see him as a visionary. He’s the one guy who knows there is no real purpose to the Department of Nice other than to perpetuate the Department of Nice. Maybe they admire him because he visionaried his way to a position where he could afford a Mercedes.

The reason the managerial class is in revolt since last November is not that they hate Trump or the people who voted for him, at least not in a specific way. It’s that we are alien to them. The people on campus live different lives than the rest of us. They are vaguely aware of the world of the Dirt People, but they no longer feel what we feel. They have no fear of failure. They no longer feel angst. They no longer worry about the ground under their feet. Unlike the bulk of America, the people in the Department of Nice, know what tomorrow brings. In their world, everyone is nice.

Coming home, I saw a cop I know checking out a now familiar set of bums. The bums were dumped in our slice of heaven by someone, maybe the city, maybe the state, I don’t know. They just turned up the other day. They spend their days camped out by the Food Lion or wandering the streets making a nuisance of themselves. For some reason I began to think of what it must have been like for Alaric and the Goths to burst through the Porta Salaria and see the Eternal City for the first time. I bet it was nice.

Free To Not Be Around You

Talk to a real estate agent, who deals in mid-sized suburban properties, and they will tell you that the local schools sit atop their client’s list of concerns. A great house in a bad neighborhood usually means bad schools and no one will choose that on purpose. Instead, families will pay extra for a not so nice house in a great neighborhood because that means good schools. You can fix up your house, but you cannot make the local school better, if it is full of misbehaving knuckleheads or headed that way because of the neighborhood.

People instinctively understand a basic truth about education. That is, the quality of product coming in dictates the quality of product coming out. Despite generations of lectures from our betters, we still know that the apple does not fall far from the tree. If the parents are low-IQ losers, the kids are most likely going to be low-IQ losers. The schools are not correcting this. In fact, it is the opposite, because the other old saying about apples is also true. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

Everyone, including our hypothetical real estate agent, is too polite and too afraid to say what this means as a practical matter. For instance, I knew someone who lived in a mostly Jewish suburban neighborhood of starter homes. These were townhouses and ranchers. A black family moved in next door and they got along well with everyone. Then another black family moved in, but it was ghetto time, with parties into the late hours. Suddenly, the neighborhood sprouted “for sale” signs and the demographics changed within one summer.

In a prior age, this problem was mostly solved through free association, home owner associations and covenants. People in that neighborhood would have prevented the threat to their property values by prohibiting the sale of houses to people who did not belong. It was not entirely fair, of course, but it allowed people to protect their property rights without having to resort to lying. As is always the case, there were trade-offs, but at least their was a natural way for people to guard their rights as property owners and citizens.

Similarly, in a prior age the neighborhood association would have cracked down on the troublemakers. Even the “progressive” neighborhoods policed their ranks and used the rules to enforce standards. A couple generations of myth making have convinced everyone that these rules were used strictly by racists, and they often were, but they were more often used to maintain public order without having the government send in the police. With enforced diversity came the police state and that is not a coincidence.

Free association is illegal now. If a real estate agent is too obvious in how they handle these things, they face disciplinary action from the real estate board. A homeowner, who refuses to sell or rent to whoever shows up, can easily find themselves in front of a judge. Freedom of association is no longer a right in America. Everyone has to seek permission from the state before they can make these decisions. That means finding a place to live has become a game of cat and mouse for middle-class families.

It’s yet another example of the worthlessness of modern conservatism. They rolled over for this stuff long ago, accepting the Left’s assertions that discrimination was the vilest of sins and therefore required an extraordinary remedy. Once you accept that people don’t have a right to say with whom they will associate, addressing things like crime and the schools means begging the Left to make exceptions to their moral code in order to enforce anything resembling civic order. That’s where school choice and voucher programs come in. They are an appeal to the Left for an exception.

Of course, the Left hates the middle-class so any appeal on their behalf is denied. Instead, these appeals have to be decorated in such a way that appeals to the vanity of the Left and allows them to benefit. So-called charter schools that are for the “gifted and talented” are marketed to Lefty as a way to cull from the ghetto, all of those bright and creative minds, otherwise left to be raised by their parents. In realty it means those self-righteous progressive women get to send their kids to schools that are not so diverse.

School voucher programs attempt to expand on this by playing the Magic Dirt game. “If only those poor mothers can get their kids off that tragic dirt and onto the magic dirt.” They muster statistics and education studies to buttress the claims. It’s all nonsense, but it is the only way modern conservatism can frame the issue. They are begging the Left for an exception to the moral code. No one is fooled by it, which is why school voucher programs have gone nowhere. The Left will not tolerate them.

Freedom of association is not just forbidden. You’re not even allowed to talk about it anymore. Imagine what would happen if someone went on TV and said they don’t want to live next to Koreans or Somalis. They would have their life ruined. It’s why all those principled conservatives we keep hearing about were nowhere to be found when the queers started attacking bakers. Even libertarians sprint from the room when the topic of free association is raised. It’s the result of conceding the moral high ground to the Left.

It’s why the so-called Right is in a panic over Trump’s immigration talk. If it is acceptable for Americans to say “no” to Muslims on the grounds that we don’t want any more Muslims, then we’re back to discussing the limits, if there are any, to the freedom of association. Put another way, if we don’t need a reason to say “no” to Mohamed, then we don’t need to ask for permission in order to say “no” to diversity. That’s not a fight, or even a discussion, the so-called conservatives want to have with the Left.

It’s also why the hand-wringing over free speech on campus is a pointless distraction. You cannot have free speech without freedom of association. That’s the obvious lesson from the confines of the academy. Put a bunch of people in close quarters and you have to police what they say and where they go. Otherwise, you have violence. The same is true of all other rights. All natural rights are premised on freedom of people to live apart from those they do not wish to associate. Self-segregation requires little policing.

Bring back freedom of association and all the other rights follow.

Which Side Are You On?

Last week Charles Murray went to the Middlebury College to give a talk about his latest book and other subjects. For those unfamiliar with Middlebury College, it is a very preppy private college in New England. It is one of the “Little Ivies” and ranked in the top-10 of national liberal arts colleges. For those unfamiliar with Charles Murray, he is most famous for The Bell Curve, a controversial book 20 years ago that described the mountain of data on IQ and its relevance to social outcomes. He’s also a fixture at the think tank AEI.

I’ve never met Charles Murray or been in the audience for one of his lectures. I’ve seen him on television a few times and he seems like a nice person, but for all I know he could be a monster. I do know he was cravenly dishonest about the last election. Like the rest of the NeverTrump loons, he refused to acknowledge that the election was a choice between two options, not a choice between Trump and the model of perfection. He believed that gave him a free pass to work on behalf of Hillary Clinton, by working against Trump.

Anyway, Murray went off to Middleburry to give his speech and the campus lunatics shut down the event. They even managed to assault one of the professors, who sponsored the thing. Murray wrote up his reflections on the event, as if it was a seminal moment in the history of the republic. Normies have been getting the business from the lunatics for a long time, but no one cares about them. When Ann Coulter gets screamed at on campus, guys like Murray just shrug, because after all, Coulter deserves it. She’s a bad thinker.

That’s the thing with these guys. They don’t care about free speech or the open exchange of ideas. They care about their free speech and their access to the marketplace of ideas, which means staying in good with the Left. When a John Derbyshire is shut down by the campus lunatics, Conservative Inc is silent. To defend Derb or anyone else the Left has ruled out of bounds would risk their standing and that can never happen. The only core principle of these so-called conservatives is to remain on the good side of the Left.

This is not supposed to happen to good thinkers like Charles Murray, so it is a big deal to the people who pretend to be on our side. It also offers another opportunity for Conservative Inc. to pretend they are on the front lines fighting the Left. As I pointed out the other day, these guys are looking for a way to insert themselves at the front of the movement they claim to lead, at least until things get serious. You just know that one of them will be declaring himself the “respectable” version of the Dissident Right.

The incident is a good reminder of Official Right’s worthlessness. Murray’s piece reads like an apology. That’s because it is an apology. The boys and girls of Conservative Inc have always worked to position themselves at the edge of what the Left considers the respectable Right. Twenty years ago, the Bell Curve was right at the edge. Now, the Left considers it heresy and Murray knows it. It’s why he invested so much effort into advertising his opposition to Trump. It’s part of the long apology for his past heresy.

Murray is fond of the label Establishmentarians to describe his peers. While it is true that they are forever defending the establishment, they have no say in what is and what is not the “establishment.” That’s decided by the Left. Since that is always changing, most of these guys spend their days trying to justify the latest movement of the Overtone Window as conservative. It’s why a Jonah Goldberg was out declaring homosexuality a core conservative principle  It’s why a National Review is pro-tranny.

It’s also why the most important project of the Dissident Right is discrediting those palace guards of the Progressive establishment. Guys like Charles Murray are useful opponents for the Left and not just because they are always willing to take a dive. Like the tomato cans that fill up the fight card for a weak champion, Conservative Inc insulates the Establishment from a real challenge. Instead of having to face off against people who are willing to punch back, the Left likes these journeyman who are just happy for the payday.

Yeah, its a shame Charles Murray got heckled in preppy-ville, but it is important to keep in mind that these guys never do anything about it, other than complain. If Murray, or any of the others, gets an invite to speak at Middleburry tomorrow, they are volunteering to jog there if that’s what it takes. It’s why they deserve no sympathy and no support. I have more respect for Based Stick Man than any of the cowards of Conservative Inc. That guy is willing to fight back. That’s a guy who deserves support, not Charles Murray.

The Destroyer of Worlds

Since Trump has entered the White House, the Left has been spinning bizarre fantasies about how the Trump team is part of some super-secret Russian conspiracy. You cannot turn on the television without seeing a liberal nutter hooting “Russian hacking!” To date, no one has bothered to explain what that phrase is supposed to mean. The implication is that through some special magic, the Russians caused the voting machines to register results in favor of Trump. They don’t come out and say it, but that’s the game.

A big part of this lunacy is the fact that the Left was sure that Trump could not win the election. It’s not that they were sure they had the better choice. It was that they were completely convinced that there were no circumstances where Trump could become President. They were so sure, in fact, that they had all of official Washington convinced of this as well. A month before the election there was no one in either party talking about a Trump victory. In fact, the topic of debate was the size and scope of the Clinton victory.

This belief was so pervasive, that both parties spent the summer plotting how they were going to configure themselves after the disaster. Team Clinton spent the summer figuring out how they could use the landslide in order to steamroll the Republicans and enact their agenda. The Republicans were similarly planning for the onslaught and how they could somehow preserve themselves after the election. The day after the election, the stunned looks on the faces of everyone in the political class made this hilariously clear.

There’s another aspect to this that has become abundantly clear over the last couple of months. Both parties wanted to see Clinton win. The Republicans, at least the leadership, liked the setup under Obama. They got to pose as rock-ribbed conservatives fighting Obama, without ever having to do anything. Democrats liked that Obama was just issuing executive orders and bypassing the parliamentary process. The Washington ecosystem was at equilibrium as long as everyone on both sides played their part.

The proof of this is the fact that the GOP has no plans ready for the 2017 legislative session. They have been talking for years about ObamaCare and now we know they never planned to do anything. The same is true of taxes, which is the one thing Republicans like doing. They have no plans for anything, not even something symbolic. They not only have no plans, they are still staggering around in shock, not sure what they should be doing. Suddenly nothing makes sense to the people inside the bubble and they are scared.

In a world where the rules no longer apply, it quickly becomes every man for himself and that’s what is happening in Washington right now.The Left accusing Trump of colluding with the Russians is not just a reckless political attack. It’s war on the very system of governance. It’s the sort of thing that goes on when the political system is breaking down. Trump’s charge that Obama was spying on his campaign makes perfect sense in light of what see happening. The evidence of some sort of Nixonian skulduggery is pretty strong.

Of course, in a world where the scrupulous following of protocol is essential to maintaining the status quo, a break down in the rules puts everyone at risk. That seems to be Trump’s game here with the spying charges. The establishment has tossed out the rules in their effort to attack him, so he is threatening to further bust up the system, which works to his favor and to their disadvantage. it’s a foolish game the Left has decided to play as they have much more to lose in a world without rules.

There’s another aspect to this. Trump has fewer skeletons in his closet than any president in generations. In Washington, that makes him a very dangerous man. All of these guys have shady deals in their closet. All of them bend the rules to reward themselves and their associates. No one says anything about it because everyone is dirty. Washington is a lot like a corrupt police precinct, where everyone is on the take so no one dares rat on anyone else. Trump’s life is an open book so he does not have to play along.

That’s probably why he went nuclear over the weekend. He’s looking around at a city full of crooked politicians calling for investigations so he is turning the table and threatening to open the investigation up to everything. Imagine Trump coming out and asking for a special prosecutor to look into Obama, Clinton, the IRS people, the DOJ and maybe even the FBI itself. There’s a lot of people in Washington with a lot to hide and Trump certainly knows it, which is why he is going on the attack over the tapping of his offices.

A long time ago I pointed out that Trump was The Mule, the character from the Asimov novels. Trump is the destroyer of worlds, not because he has some grand vision of the future and wants to plow under the existing order to make room for his utopia. He is the destroyer because the old order can only exist if Trump does not exist. His rise to the White House is the nullification of the established order. It’s why Washington is going for total war to destroy him. They see it is a matter of survival.

It’s probably too late. The Mule has arrived.

It’s All Fake

Back in Obama’s first months on the throne, Rick Santelli, a TV personality, was “reporting” from the floor of the stock exchange. He responded to a question about Obama’s housing plan with a rant about socialism, finishing it off with a call for a new Tea Party. Whether it was spontaneous or choreographed is hard to know, but at the time people took it to be entirely spontaneous. Santelli is a carny barker prone to getting carried away on the air and his rant had the feel of an old fashioned stem winder.

Regardless of the intent or the execution, the rant went viral and the Tea Party Movement was born. Middle America was ready to be pissed off due to the terribleness of the Bush years, so Obama’s poor start put the normies in a fighting mood. Before long people were showing up at town hall meetings, dressed as Samuel Adams, giving their congressman the business about reckless government behavior that had made a hash of things. Since the Democrats were the majority, they got the brunt of the abuse.

It did not take long for the moonbats to declare the whole thing a racist conspiracy cooked up by the twelfth invisible Hitler in league with the eternal cyclops of the KKK. This was when the fake hate crime stuff got its start as a daily phenomenon. It was also when it became apparent to a lot of people that the news is mostly fake. The increasingly deranged Nancy Pelosi, slurring about “Astroturf” was so weird, it begged a challenge, but the news people carried on like it was manifestly true.

The claim that middle aged suburbanites, dressed in tricorne hats, were paid agents of a nefarious conspiracy was so nutty that the response from the press should have been laughter and then derision. After all, it has been known for decades that the Left uses rent-a-mobs. They pay people to show up and hold signs. Unions have been doing this since the days of Jimmy Hoffa. For the Democrats to clutch their pearls and call the Tea Party inauthentic should have been too much of a farce for even the very liberal press corp.

I’ve often wondered if that was when a lot of people started to think the corruption in Washington was worse than they imagined. The corruption of the Tea Party by Conservative Inc surely turned a lot of people to the dark side, but the priming agent may well have been the AstroTurf stuff. It was so obvious that the media was coordinating their coverage with the Left, it was hard not to notice it. The game was rigged and nothing in the media was on the level. It was not just bias, it was collusion.

The question is, how fake is it? The answer may be, more fake than you think.

A majority of online and social media defenders of Obamacare are professionals who are “paid to post,” according to a digital expert.

“Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time,” said Michael Brown. “They were paid to post.”

Since so much of the mass media is now intertwined with social media, the authenticity of social media is a useful proxy for the authenticity of the mass media. It’s right to assume that social media is mostly fake.

The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger.

UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.

Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

On Twitter, bots are accounts that are run remotely by someone who automates the messages they send and activities they carry out. Some people pay to get bots to follow their account or to dilute chatter about controversial subjects.

“It is difficult to assess exactly how many Twitter users are bots,” said graduate student Juan Echeverria, a computer scientist at UCL, who uncovered the massive networks.

Mr Echeverria’s research began by combing through a sample of 1% of Twitter users in order to get a better understanding of how people use the social network.

However, analysis of the data revealed some strange results that, when probed further, seemed to reveal lots of linked accounts, suggesting one person or group is running the botnet. These accounts did not act like the bots other researchers had found but were clearly not being run by humans.

This would explain the strange disparity in followers you see in Twitter. I’ve had people with tens of thousands of followers post a link to this site and the traffic was a few click throughs. On the other hand, a Ricky Vaughn tweet would net thousands of hits in minutes and it would last hours. That told me real humans were reading his timeline. It also suggests that those follower counts for allegedly famous people may be fake. We know people have bought followers for social media, but the scale has never been examined.

That may be changing. ZeroHedge used on-line traffic tools to figure out that major news sites have most likely hired Chinese click farms to help them game their traffic numbers, even though these sites are blocked in China. These sorts of solicitations come through the contact page of this site on a daily basis so it is nothing new. If the big major sites have succumbed to temptation in order to fraudulently boost their traffic counts, it is safe to assume all of them are doing it.

None of this surprises those who turned to the dark side when Darth Vader was still in knickers. The JournoList scandal was thrown down the memory hole, but the hate thinkers still remember it. The rampant fraud on Facebook with regards to their advertising is starting to impact on-line ads. That was entirely predictable if you have been following these things. But now, the general public is noticing that not only is the news fake, the people behind it look a lot like people our betters have been warning us about for years.

What may push everyone over the edge is the mother of all fake news stories, the entirely fictional Russian Hacking™ scandal. There is nothing about this that passes the laugh test. No one can even explain what it is the Russians supposedly did. No one can explain how Trump people talking to Russians is different from everyone else who regularly talks with Russians. It’s as if the media has been infected with a rage virus. Of course, it’s obvious that the hysteria is part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine Trump.

In other words, it’s all fake.

And it will end poorly.

The Battle of Preferences

The other day, Tucker Carlson had Nicholas Eberstadt on to discuss his most recent column on the economic causes of the turmoil we see in the culture.

The column is well worth a read, as Eberstadt loads it up with facts and graphs to make his points. The shocking statistics on the un-working population should be a national scandal, but as he points out, the economic data fed to politicians disguises these realities. Relying on the unemployment rate, for example, hides the legions of people, particularly men, who have dropped out of the workforce entirely. If you are not looking for work, you are not counted in unemployment figures.

Again, it is a great piece and worth reading. He has a book on this topic as well. Eberstadt is a guy worth reading, mostly because he has one of the more impressive biographies you will see.

Eberstadt was born on December 20, 1955 in New York City. His father, Frederick Eberstadt, was an author and photographer. His mother, Isabel Nash, was a novelist. His paternal grandfather, Ferdinand Eberstadt, was an investment banker and co-founder of the Central Intelligence Agency; his maternal grandfather, Ogden Nash, was a poet. His sister, Fernanda Eberstadt, is a novelist.

Eberstadt graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1972. He then earned his A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.Sc. in Social Planning for Developing Countries from the London School of Economics in 1978. He completed his M.P.A. at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1979, and his Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government at Harvard University in 1995.

Anyway, one of the great mistakes made by conventional conservatism was to adopt the sterile, transactional view of culture favored by libertarians and Progressives. In fact, their view is often anti-cultural, as it treats humans as if they are moist robots. Culture is about tastes and preferences that are embedded to a great degree in human biology. Just as every person is the sum of decisions made by his ancestors, the culture of any society is the sum of all those individual sums. In other words, culture is tied to human biology.

Let’s pretend that, through some special magic, economics comes up with a way to put most everyone on welfare, at a rate that allows for a middle-class life. The robot revolution leads to a world where hardly anyone works, but everyone has access to all the goods and services we associate with the comfortable middle-class life. In other words, we have lurched into a version of the future imagined by H.G. Wells, where everyone spends their day in leisure, but no one is eaten by Morlocks after sundown.

While it is impossible to know how humans would respond to such a world, we do know something about how humans relate to one another. For instance, we know that men compete with one another for access to females. Not too long ago, men would engage in battle with one another to establish status within the group. Today, status is established by income, academic titles and profession. A lawyer has more status than a sewer worker, for example. A small business man has more status than a middle manager.

In a world without work, figuring out these relationships is impossible. It is not entirely ridiculous to think that in such a world, humans would bring back things like jousting and trial by combat, as a way to settle disputes and figure out the pecking order. In fairness to Eberstadt, he does seem to get that men without work prospects lose something essential to being a man. Men without purpose are men without a reason to live. They will also be men looking for a way to fill that void, be it drugs or some great cause.

The trouble with the economic explanation is that it assumes the current rumblings are only due to the want of material goods and social status. That people would embrace the multicultural paradise our betters plan for us, as long as we have meaningful work and lots of cheap goods. The men and women of the managerial class are incapable of viewing the world through any other lens but their own. They are blinkered to the fact that theirs is a culture now alien to the rest of us and as such they cannot see the world as we see it.

Further, underlying all of the recent analysis attempting to explain the Trump phenomenon, Brexit and the cultural rumbling across the West, is the conceit among the Cloud People that what is driving the revolt is something they would call shame, if they possessed such a quality. They imagine the unrest is the result of  a great army of men ashamed of being losers in the new super wonderful global economy. That shame is turning to envy as they seek out causes and candidates to exact revenge on the Cloud People and their attendants in the managerial  and political classes.

All of the analysis of Brexit, for example, was seasoned with this view. The savvy cosmopolitans of London voted against Brexit, of course, because they have long interesting lives ahead of them in the multicultural paradise. The people who voted for it are old country rubes being left behind. Similarly, the Trump voters are always described as white working class losers angry at having been left out of the new economy. You cannot help but get the sense that the analysis on offer is less about a search for truth than it is a justification for defending the status quo.

Men are not moist robots. The reason most white men don’t want to raise their kids next door to former tribesmen from Somalia is they don’t like Somalis. It is not personal, they just strongly prefer the choices of their ancestors over the choices made by the Somalis. They like their culture. They like remembering their ancestors by maintaining their traditions. They don’t want to toss what they are into the great blender of multiculturalism. It’s not about economic data or the tides of history. It is about preferences. They prefer their own over strangers.

That’s what our masters cannot comprehend because at their heart of what drives their thing is self-loathing. They hate their ancestors and the culture they built, because they hate themselves. Our betters want the featureless gray slurry of multiculturalism because it is the nullification of culture. Multiculturalism is no culture. It is the bland formality of rules and check lists. It is a world where no one remembers the past, because no one wants to be remembered. The great unrest is not about economics. It is about men not wanting to leap into the void. It’s about men not wanting their name erased from the book of life.

The reason the focus is on the white working class and the economic plight of men is the people doing these analysis cannot bring themselves to face this truth. They insist that anything that cannot be measured does not exist, because that eliminates any consideration of alternative viewpoints. There are lots of people who voted for Trump who have done quite well in the new economy. Lots of Brexit voters suspect that they will pay some price if England breaks from Europe. They voted the way they did for more than base economics. They did it for cultural reasons.

For a long time, the political battles in the West have revolved around an agreed upon goal. Fighting the Soviets or improving human rights. The coming battles are not about agreed about ends or transcendent truths. These are not battles over things that can be measured. They will be about preferences. What sort of society will be left to the next generation? How do we wish to be remembered and who will remember us? There are no right answers to these questions. In a war over preferences, it is not enough to be right. It is that everyone else must be made wrong.