Retired, sometime civil servant, sometime consultant, active intellectual, former lawyer, active property manager, and on rare occasions in the past a political activist. He has recovered from the experience.

Retired, sometime civil servant, sometime consultant, active intellectual, former lawyer, active property manager, and on rare occasions in the past a political activist. He has recovered from the experience.

Follow the science! That’s an order!

A hodge-podge entry today.

Sabine Hossenfelder is a German nuclear physicist who bears a distinct relationship to a dominatrix. I am strangely attracted to her. I feel the need for domination and discipline. She stars in a stand-up physics blog called Backreation. In this episode, she takes exception to those who think science is a kind of Ten Commandments. She draws a very sharp distinction between faith or belief on the one hand, and what science can ever show. I wish more people abided by this distinction. Normally her language is more polite than in this episode. Science is a matter of fact. It does not tell us what to do. Science does not know the direction in which we should go.

 

Manhattan Contrarian profiles one of the most dreadful fanatics I have ever met, John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor. I was once subjected to his presence in a room of thirty people. I can assure you that he is as close to an exterminationist as you can get, though it is couched in suitably ecological terms of overpopulation. Co-author with the Ehrlichs of anti-human drivel.

 

The point is, in the new Biden/Harris administration, “Science is back”, so shut your trap and fall into line, skeptics. As the Manhattan Contrarian ends his piece:

“Or, to put it another way, “science is back”! De-develop the United States? Forced population control? A “planetary regime” to control all “resources”? The “science” requires it! All the “smart” people from Harvard know that. You can understand why Holdren is excited about a Biden presidency. Are you?”

Conrad Black was right when he said the US population will have a bad case of buyer’s remorse, quickly, in the new regime.

 

 

 

Let the healing begin

 

Now that  a Democrat has been elected, the healing can begin. Or so it would seem. Peace and reconciliation all around, except for those on the death or exclusion lists. The People have spoken!

One thing I shall remember for future guidance is the extent to which I felt the polls discouraged Trump supporters, like me. The polls were bullshit, as it turned out: active suppressants of voting enthusiasm. And now the pollsters themselves are allowing as how the polls were wildly off. According to the Daily Caller, citing Real Clear Politics:

“The polls were also off in several battleground states that ultimately defined this election. Biden held a lead of 6.7 points over Trump in Wisconsin before Election Day according to Real Clear Politics but he ended up winning the state by a razor-thin margin of 0.7 points.

“Biden also held a lead of 4.2 points over Trump in Michigan before Election Day according to Real Clear Politics but the current results estimate in the state show Biden leading by 2.7 points. Trump defended Florida with a 3.4-point lead even though the last Real Clear Politics polling average gave Biden a 0.9-point lead.

“But in both Wisconsin and across the country, the polls were wrong on Trump once again. “The polls were clearly off again and in a surprising fashion,” Burden said. “Many of us expected the polls to be more accurate this year than they were four years ago.”

“Marquette Poll director Charles Franklin found that national polls overestimated Biden even more than they did Hillary Clinton in 2016, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Biden’s national lead was overstated by 5.8 points while Clinton’s was overstated by just one point.”

The most ready answer may be the right one, that the pollsters with Democratic leanings, which are most of them, do not form a group of dispassionate social scientists, but rather a group of campaigning Democratic activists. They have no incentives to be right. They have strong incentives to be on the wining side, or more accurately, perhaps,  to favour their party. They gainnothing by being right about a possible Republican victory

It is discouraging to see the extent to which media, Hollywood, big tech, Wall Street, sports, and opinion polling are united to portray the conservative half of the United States as benighted and in need of education, silencing, or shame. Peace and reconiliation indeed.

 

Megan Kelly and Dave Rubin

I find Megan Kelly to be as sharp as any political observer in the United States, and I found her analysis of the end of Trump to be discerning. (We may need to overcome our lust to hear her properly, but listen to her carefully).

  • Republicans have become good at winnng elections and have been poor at fighting the culture wars.
  • Democrats control the media, sports, high-tech, Hollywood, academia and half the country does not feel represented on all the information that comes back to them publicly.
  • This leads to the feeling that everything conservatives think is wrong
  • She doesn’t think conservatives have a future on big media, and it will need a Peter Thiel to establish a new platform.
  • Wokeism was dealt a blow in this election. The media lost this one.
  • The idea of “Defunding the police” killed the Dems in this election.
  • She has no time for people who obsess about politics, about those who may say the wrong thing but who are good people.

 

It is always high drama with Trump

Well well well: the race is tighter than anyone thought possible. We may confidently expect that Democrats will suddenly discover hundreds of thousands of votes that were mailed in but missing until needed, and not counted until today, or tomorrow or next Wednesday. The Democrats stole the election from Richard Nixon to elect John F. Kennedy back in 1960 by finding Chicago graveyards were full of Democratic voters who had been unfairly denied the right to vote. They may do something like this again.

 

It is never undramatic with Trump. In the meantime I suggest you spend a few hours watching the railroad run from Bergen to Oslo. It is very relaxing. The scenery is spectacular. It will calm your frazzled soul.

 

Trump is making things worse – Andrew Sullivan with Sam Harris

This is a full and complete explication of Trump Derangement Syndrome by two highly articulate men who are suffering from it.

According to Harris and Sullivan, Trump is guilty of the following:

 

  • He is worsening the leftism of BLM and the extreme Left, by everything he does and is
  • He worsens the faults of all his opponents
  • He is greedy and malevolent and unaware of this deficits
  • He has denounced white supremacy in insufficiently strong terms
  • He is charcterized by extraordinary and extreme pathological narcissism,
  • Which prevented him from making objective and useful judgments about COVID
  • It is almost supernatural how he manages to skate through situations that would have torpedoed the Presidencies of anyone else
  • It is as if he were an extra-terrestrial put down among us to upset all our ideas and values
  • He is the object of a cult
  • His self confidence and psychological tenacity force those around him to accept his reality
  • It is a warlord mentality, and the capacity to pull this off is a disability on his part
  • He has the virtue of energy, and only mental illness can explain it
  • He has never spent a moment in silence or self-reflection
  • There is no governing process in his mind
  • He would need more virtues to be a more dangerous man
  • He has not sought to persuade; that would have given the persuaded some deference to their independence of mind
  • He wants to be a talk show host sitting in the Oval Office
  • He considers the entire political constitutional system to be a reality entertainment show.
  • Our judgments are objective.

The two of them are frankly in awe of a person whom they hate, or cannot figure out. “I think he has gotten into my head”, said Sullivan. Sullivan likens him to a totalitarian despot whose poster is on the walls everywhere.

Sam Harris:

“There are people who just don’t see this about him… I don’t have a theory of mind for those who don’t feel this way.”

Go to minute 43:00 of the podcast for Sullivan’s understanding why people who don’t like what the Left are doing to the United States would vote for Trump. It is as close as they get to understanding the other side, which is not close at all.

Sullivan and Harris also decry the New York Times, the Steele dossier, CNN, and the obsession with Russia-Trump collusion. It is as if their Trump derangement syndrome is rational, but the lower orders of the media are not entitled to their biases. They are alike with Scott Adams in their denunciation  of the “fine people” hoax that Trump had not sufficiently denounced white supremacy after the Charlottesville riots. They denounce the racialization being practised by the left wing media. They denounce the suppression of news regarding Hunter Biden by major news outlets.

These are two rational people who are caught on the narrow ledge afforded by reasonable views about the Left, and what I consider irrational fear of Trump. I think a lot of people are on that ledge.

And “of course” says Sulivan we should not be examining too closely the revelations from Hunter Biden’s computer about influence peddling with China and Ukraine. They go back and forth between understanding the causes why Trump was voted into power, and not understanding what he is doing to answer the constituencies that elected him.

 

 

 

 

 

I am beginning to believe

 

Late October. Thank heaven for the length of autumn because if we had to adapt overnight, or within a month, to winter I think we might expire from the shock. So we need September, October and most of November (usually) in which to adapt mentally and spiritually to the season of deprivation ahead. The pleasures of Christmas are merely a hiccup in the stately procession from warmth and gladness to cold and darkness and back out again by February, March or April, depending on your latitude and your hemisphere.

The evidence of my own eyes in the American Presidential campaign tells me a different story than the polls. Manufactured crowds of maybe a couple of dozen or real ones of a couple of hundred for Biden and Harris, immense throngs for Trump. What this requires me to do is to imagine that the polls in which Biden is leading, and the armies of sycophants in the media, are manifestations of the same disinformation that characterized the original Trump-Clinton contest of 2016. The polls are being manipulated (likely), or the methodology is wrong (more likely), or the shy Trump voter feels that he gains nothing by telling a pollster how he feels (most likely).

If, as seems likely to me, that Trump wins on Tuesday, it will come as a surprize to millions of people who have dwelt exclusively inside the media whale. If I am wrong and Trump loses, there will be no suprize but only the exhultations of the Usual Suspects, for four more years. Trump will be excoriated and the riots will continue, and the attacks on civilization will intensify.

 

Engage Google Image  search “Biden rally today” and “Trump rally today”. See what you get. The first picture below is from Breitbart, the next two were produced by a search.

 

trump-kamala-rally-getty-youtube

 

 

 

 

The division within all of us

I have been reflecting on what Solzhenitsyn said about the dividing line within our hearts between good and evil.

The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.

There is another line that goes through our hearts, that between the liberal and the conservative. I was reminded of this line by what Douglas Murray said in his conversation with Brett Weinstein. The political realm lies in a balance between reforming abuses, and the capacity to see the abuses and the need for reforms, with the ability to pay for the reforms, to adopt new ideas of justice, and to resist excessive compassion.

It is in the weakening of resistance to excessive compassion that is causing society to disintegrate, or to “deliquesce” to use a word I last saw in an issue of The Idler back in the 1980s; to disintegrate from the inside out.

It is obvious to me, as a conservative in this sense, that we have swung too far over into a land of therapeutic remediation of all previous offences against the  equal dignity. of people and cultures. The BLM  ideology, “whiteness” as a spiritual disease, the endless guilt tripping over Indian residential schools, the entire settlement of North America by white people: each and all are held to be examples of the offence that white people – as whites- have wrought against natives and Africans. It will not be long before punctuality, hard work and discipline are held to be examples of sick white culture.

Back in the 1990s I attended some weekend sessions taught by people from the Diamond Heart school of philosophical inqury. As  a discipline it  had much to recommend it, including especially its central idea that it was not a therapy: it was not trying to cure you or your condition. At some point in a session we were talking about compassion. One of the first ideas that you get in these kinds of schools is that you must first have some compassion for yourself if you are to have compassion for others. Yet our class leader immediately took up a phrase I used when I said some people need the “boot of compassion”. She agreed. Compassion is not only  open-hearted listening. It actually involves taking steps to get people off their addictive or self destrctive behaviours.ld just as well be expressed by the admonition “get a grip”.

I am suggesting that part of the problem is that it is becoming morally impossible to tell people to get a grip. A grip on reality, a grip on their addictions, a grip on their tendency to self-pity, and a grip on their inability to look themselves in the mirror and see that what needs improvng is not society but themselves.

In short, the boot of compassion is needed at all levels of discourse.

I think that most of what Jordan Peterson has been aiming at is a purposeful life. This is not the same as a the boot of compassion, but the boot of compassion is a good place to start the voyage.

 

 

 

 

 

Terroirism

In the annals of complete rubbish, I would like to add my observations of the French obsession with “terroir”. My own view is of no importance and I declare that terroir is nonsense: French mystification about wine.

First,  my views are mere matters of taste, and you are completely free to believe passionately that wine is inescapably a matter of its “terroir”, the land from which it sprung, and that terroir matters extremely to the quality of wine.  Better men and thinkers than me, such as the late Roger Scruton, passionately believed in the importance of terroir. Nevertheless I maintain that “terroir” is nonsense on stilts.

The issue arises because of the success of standardized points systems for evaluating wines. The fellow who started the most successful of them, the late Ralph Parker, established a 100 point scale, which you can frequently spot attached to the label of a wine. The Parker scale offended a lot of wineophiles – as  I call them – because it rated more highly jammy flavour-forward wines like cabernets than twee or less forceful varietals like gamay, pinot noir and grenache-syrah-mourvedre blends. The latter are often referred to as GSM, which can be mistaken for a cellular telphone protocol, and the two taste about the same.

I had a cousin who made well-received and highly sucessful films. I asked him once what made for a good film, one that he would invest in. Without hesitation he said: “script script script script and director”. Likewise I shall say that what makes for a good wine is “grape grape grape grape grape and everything else, including soil.” A wine maker’s largest expenditure is for the grapes, not the storage, bottling, sales, transport or any other factor. This is reassuring to know. It means that, in the production of wine, the quality of the grape is of paramount importance, and lies not in post-grape-pressing fiddles with the chemistry of the fermentation.

Giles Fraser provoked this entry by an interesting article on Roger Scruton’s attitude towards wine and terroir, which is worth reading for the terroirist point of view. He cites the following:

“Writing in Decanter magazine, the geologist Professor Alex Maltman challenges the very idea that geology has any particular contribution to a wine’s taste. “Vines and wine,” he writes, “are not made from matter drawn from the ground, but almost wholly of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, abstracted from water and the air.”

Exactly. It is the grape and the vine which is the engine of production. I would never deny the influence of soil and climate, to the extent they have some. But it is mystification to believe that generations of monks clipping the vines, or other extraneous factors of society and history, influence the flavour. But if  you are entitled to believe in the Holy Ghost, you may also believe what you want about terroir. Just don’t try to snob me for my unbelief.

Taste, and taste alone, ought to be the criterion of quality. Contrary to this view, and  consistently with the terroirism, blind tastings are thought to be suspect, because they eliminate all the associations of politics, culture, sentiment and history. Fair enough, if you are a terroiriste: a Lebanese wine will forever carry with it associations, pleasant or not, of the Christian near-east, and Bordeaux something else entirely.

Yet even the most dedicated terroiriste would likely acknowledge that the doctrine lends itself to snobbery, mystification and lack of broad consumer acceptance.  Winesnobs are not concerned, of course. The French like to think they have a special relationship to wine that other wine producing Latin cultures do not. Their classification systems are pre-Revolutionary: local,  particularistic, and controlled by clans. No national equivalent of the metric system has ever been imposed on or accepted by the French wine grower. Thus you still get all kinds of information about terroir or region on a bottle of French wine and almost nothing about the grape varietal. Other countries, such as Australia, were forced to develop a national approach to wine marketing that emphasized the key pieces of knowledge required to assess wine: grape varietal, and year of production.

Most French wine derives from the pinot noir grape. When I tasted my first bottle of Australian pinot noir, I had a revelation. It tasted exactly like French wine made from pinot noir.

This revelation happened in about the year 2000 in a restaurant in Sydney, New South Wales. I can still remeber the moment. I was like Galileo having seen the moons of Jupiter with my primitive telescope. If pinot noir from Australia tasted like pinot noir from France, then the concept of terroir was bullshit, just as Galileo knew that Aristotle had to be bullshit (on this subject at least) if the planet Jupiter had moons. Simple as that.

Eighty percent of humans do not have a sufficiently accurate sense of taste to engage in the flavour discriminations necessary for accurate wine tasting. This is not the same as insights into how taste rankings can be manipulated by associations of one kind or another. This finding is more like eyesight: most people do not have the capacity to taste with the discriminations that only twnety percent of us can. My wife is among the 20%, I am among the 80%. Yet I am the joyful wine drinker, not she.

My classificiations have nothing to do with terroir. I go by nation of origin, grape and price. It provides a reliable matrix by which to judge from the label. Australian/cabernet-sauvignon/$15.50 tells me infinitely more that Pouligny-Montrachet/no information on varietal/$23.50. And if the label vapours on about the wine makers’ respect for the terroir, I put it back on the shelf with the thought that they are bullshitting me, especially if the wine is American.

If all these reflections are too serious, enjoy Peter Lorre and Vincent Price in a wine tasting contest. Remember, this wine goes well with this wine. Keep drinking. The screw top has had more to do with the success of wine than terroir. Discuss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All crime, all the time

If you have women in your life, you will know this to be true. Women watch a lot of crime dramas. They absorb crime blogs, podcasts and television. My theory is that this is a form of education for them. As the weaker and more vulnerable sex – yes I said that and mean it – they have an interest in educating themselves about the world they live in, one where the other sex is, on the whole significantly stronger, faster and more violent than they are. Crime drama acts as an education in the world without the danger of actual contact with it. Kind of like men watching Andrew Camarata fixing machines that we will never own. I always wanted to know how they get a tread off a tank. Women always want to know exactly how dangerous the world is without being murdered.