Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
There’s no use crying over the bad results — we, and our precious news-cycle, got punked and good — we may as well acknowledge the obvious. Something is broken; something’s wrong. If the experiment could somehow be repeated a hundred more times, it would’ve turned out the way it did a hundred more times. Whatever makes the President-Elect look bad must be true.
This is right after we all got to watch an aging actress lecture us about the nobility of feeling what other people feel, and in the very same breath completely lose track of how her soapbox rant was coming across to anyone in the country who was not in the immediate vicinity. Without a trace of irony.
It isn’t just a Trump thing. I was listening with half an ear to the confirmation hearings and it made an impression on me that a lot of people in some very high places seem to have fallen into a habit of introducing themselves, or others, in laudatory or in pejorative ways, with some variation of the form “I am / he is / she is / they are a [not-]deplorable person[s], because of my/his/her/their [lack of] belief in [X]…” Where, [X] is something a lot of people might want like the dickens to be acknowledged far & wide as true or false…but, it isn’t really known. The great global-warming swindle is by far the best example, although it’s dirty and contaminated. Proponents of it have succeeded in pushing the idea that we’re debating the insulating properties of carbon dioxide, and in so doing have made “he doesn’t believe in global warming” sound like “he doesn’t believe in the greenhouse effect.” Consequentially, most people with the most adamant opinions about this seem to have forgotten what they themselves are saying: Planet Earth’s ability to sustain life as we know it, for the foreseeable future, is open to question and so we’re going to have to tax & regulate the bejeezus out of ourselves in order to prolong this. That’s the real source of disagreement.
But the issue is not goalpost-moving, so that’s what makes the example dirty. Here’s a clean one: Barack Obama was not born in Kenya. This is almost certainly true; knowing what we know about Stanley Ann Dunham’s whereabouts in 1961, it is logistically very difficult to seriously consider, let alone accept, she birthed a child in Kenya that August. But logistics are not at the forefront of consideration of people who go around saying this. They seek to ridicule and cast dispersions on those who believe that’s what happened — seemingly forgetting that they themselves do not know, and thus aren’t in a position to pass judgment like this. Were they in that delivery room in Honolulu? If not, then why are they using “he’s a birther” as some sort of slanderous intro? Surely, if the target of slander were given to believing spurious things, a better example could be found?
Something has been happening to us, and as usual I suspect if we take the time to self-examine, and the good grace to be honest about what we’re finding as we go along, we’re going to find it’s something that’s been happening for a very long time. It’s tribalism taking the place of the desire to discover what’s really true — what’s really known.
I’m guessing we’ll find out we’ve been doing it to ourselves. Tribalism pulled rank over epistemology when we decided, as a society, we didn’t care to know if a black guy was more likely to rob you or burgle your apartment than a white guy. This was “discrimination,” and it was so evil that in our constant efforts to vanquish it, we didn’t care about what was really true. It’s good that we were so dedicated to seeing to it everyone had an equal opportunity. But I’m noticing it never seems to work out over the long haul when we decide we don’t care what’s true. There always seems to be an unraveling. In this case, a dedication to not caring about who was “more likely” to commit crimes, meant there had to be an accompanying dedication to not caring about statistics; can’t claim that glorious, cleansing apathy with regard to the former, while committing the sin of acquiring & using actual information about the latter. Okay, so we don’t care about crime statistics. That means we can’t care about crime. Also, if you’re smearing people by saying “he thinks black people commit more crimes,” you are obliged, for consistency’s sake, to smear people the same way by saying “he thinks gay people are more likely to molest children.” Again, without reading up on, or giving a fig about, the relevant statistics.
And then you’re obliged to take another step, and another step, and another and another…hey, now that gay people can get married, can they get divorced? Are we allowed to ever think any of them would want to be? Or is that just a straight thing?
There are three factors at work here. One, the “carrot” of positive social reward, as a consequence of thinking the correct things, is more keenly defined. The second, closely aligned with the first, is the “stick” — God only knows what will happen to you if you’re caught thinking the wrong things. The third is where things get messy: It’s the loss of incentive involved acknowledging what’s really true. People like to pretend the last forty years or so have been full of suffering and things have been getting worse and worse, but overall we’ve been heading in the opposite direction. We’ve been living high on the hog, we’re not worried about where our next meal is coming from, and you can tell this by way of a quick profile view of most of us. The truth of the matter is that if we’re wrong about something, we don’t suffer for it, and we know we won’t; we anticipate it. Over the long run, this hurts us.
I think about this every time I go shooting, whether I do well or not. I know I’d be scoring a lot more hits if I were forced to survive on this, as people used to years and years ago. And even then, I suspect they may have been better shots as they reached the end of their ammunition stockpile, compared to when they were just starting in on a fresh supply. There’s something about scarcity that sharpens the mind. It seems we can’t ace anything until we know we’re in a position to lose something.
The Z Man had a very artful way of writing about how this all works, going so far as to argue that diversity hiring is a sign that the employing organization, for whatever reason, just doesn’t care anymore. It’s the same principle: An embiggened margin of error leads to a diminished concern over what’s really true, and invites all sorts of distractions and invitations to contemplate a phony “truth”:
All sorts of silly and ridiculous things are indulged because the margin for error seems endless. You can make up a bunch of silly diversity rules, for example, on the college campus, because little serious work is done on the college campus. Most of what is done is busy work. In the areas where serious work is done, like the hard sciences, you see very little of the PC nonsense we associate with the academy.
When a company that appears to doing real work hires a powerskirt to bring diversity to the firm, it means the insiders have cashed out and no longer think the firm is a good bet. Yahoo made that clear when they hired Marrisa Mayer to diversify the company. She immediately went berserk and started firing men and turning the place into an estrogen circus. This was possible because the smart money had left and they could afford to indulge in some PC jackassery.
That’s the thing about modern liberalism. Identity politics cannot survive contact with reality. That’s because it is the ultimate luxury item. It can be indulged only where the consequences are of no consequence…
This is why we have that tragic cycle: Bad times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men and weak men create bad times. What we explore here explains the last three-fourths of that cycle-maxim. The good times create weak men because of this undocking from reality, made possible by the higher standard of living that now will not be lasting too long. People indulge these fetishes when they feel like they can afford to do so. It stops when the cupboard gets bare, but there is a lingering question as to how quickly.
During this undocking, epistemology dies. Those who are unfamiliar with the word will not be well-served by checking the reference material; defining “epistemology” is something that can consume whole pages and chapters. It’s better to take it at a lossy, casual, high level and go by the Cliff’s notes. It is a study of the relationship between belief, truth and knowledge. It is an attempt to answer the question: “How come it is you think you know the things you think you know?”
And that’s what is withering on the vine. Nobody cares — right now. The cupboards are too full. Things are so far gone, that some have lost track of the metaphysical; they’ve forgotten that there even is a truth, failed to keep in mind that regardless of who knows what, who’s telling the truth, who’s lying, Barack Obama was born somewhere. People have neglected considerations of the metaphysical so resolutely and for so long, they think they can make things true by putting it to a vote, and expressing their opinions emphatically.
It’s as if we just got done voting on whether the world’s going to end. And there’s a panic that’s set in because the “no it won’t” side is the one that came out ahead.
People care about social stature. You’d think this might nudge them back toward the classic concern about what’s really true, during times of acute embarrassment, as we saw just take place at the expense of Buzzfeed and CNN. But that will all be forgotten tomorrow.
I’m afraid, based on the way I see people acting, things will have to get much worse before they get better. Well…for that, I’m sure people can just blame the new President Trump, ignoring all the cultural makeover that’s been happening for the eight years previous. Their peers will think very highly of them for this.
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