A tell revealing central authority over the official line

The most useful tells are short and sweet – you twit someone with something, and their response reveal their real beliefs and real motivations.  This tell is, unfortunately, long, tedious and complex, but it not only reveals an elite that believes or pretends to believe in official truth absolutely regardless of evidence, but reveals that there is an official line, and the politically correct know it – reveals that they do not just believe certain improbable things because its is fashionable, or because it is what all the right people believe, they believe in the edicts of a a highly centralized authority, after the fashion of Orwell’s Winston Smith, believe because they are damned well told to, fear punishment from on high for heresy, that they are not speaking what they believe, nor what is fashionable to believe, nor what is high status to believe, but what they are damned well told to believe, like communist party members who would spout the official line, and claim to have always spouted that line, and that the line had never changed, even when the line had reversed itself yesterday.

The communist left was infamous for its abrupt reversals on Hitler and Pol Pot, and its confident proclamation, continuing to this day, that the most recent line on these topics had been its line from the beginning.  Progressives, unfortunately, do not have anything so spectacular and shameful, but the obscurity of the examples where the line has abruptly changed make their rigid adherence to the line, though less spectacular, all the more revealing of totalitarianism, of highly centralized authority over the line, where a single voice speaks a lie, and every other voice echoes the lie, a million megaphones with one microphone.

A nice short tell, revealing insincerity is to twit a progressive with “Mike’s Nature trick … to hide the decline”  They will deny that “trick” and “hide” mean what they sound like they mean, but will then explain, not what “trick” and “hide” really mean, but what “decline” really means, implicitly admitting what they explicitly deny, implicitly admitting that they know that “trick” and “hide” mean exactly what they sound like they mean.  But they could be doing that because of sincerely held religious convictions about man raping nature or some such, rather than because they are taking orders from someone above them, rather than doing what they are damn well told as Orwell’s Winston Smith was told.

This tell, the Lamarck common descent tell, is a tell that justifies a more paranoid and conspiratorial view of disagreements.  It reveals that progressives, and anyone employed by the government, media, or a university, are, like communists, faceless minions of higher authority insincerely parroting not merely the fashionable line, the high status line, but the official line, knowing that any deviation is likely to be punished, fearing that they are under continuous scrutiny for any deviation from a ten thousand point official line.

You twit a progressive, or an academic, or a government employee, or a supposedly libertarian and conservative academic, or a supposedly heretical not-all-PC academic, or a government employee, with the fact that history gets rewritten at alarmingly frequent intervals, and everyone important falls into line on the new version, forgetting it was ever different, and failing to notice that no evidence is produced for the new version, while the evidence that supported the older version disappears from newer books, and everyone mysteriously forgets it ever existed.

While all of history is frequently rewritten, I focus on rewrites of science history, because the history of science is the history of what the particular scientists who made history wrote for their colleagues, thus the true version is not in any doubt.  Perhaps the latest account of feudalism or colonialism reflects a deeper understanding, rather than barefaced lies, though I doubt it, but the latest version of science history is always barefaced lies, and lies that can be easily checked by reading the works of the scientists that they are lying about.

The revision of history indicates a centralized authority operating Winston Smith style with world wide power, or at least power over the anglosphere, most of europe, and most of the third world, especially Africa.

Your academic, confronted with the evidence that history changed, and that the new version is false, will deny the change, will at first weasel around trying to avoid taking any position on the new version, will sort of change the subject, but will, if pressed, eventually assert the new version is true, and not only true, but was indeed always accepted:

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and four fingers extended. “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

“Four”

“And if the party says it is not four but five – then how many?”

To which your academic dutifully replies

“five”.

By endorsing a flagrantly false version of history, he reveals that this is not the Zeitgeist, not the climate of opinion, it is people shutting up and saying what they damn well told to say. He reveals that he is afraid.

That the story changed in an abrupt and coherent fashion, with additional details being fabricated to make it all fit together, reveals that the story is decided by centralized authority.  Someone must have said to John Painter: “Telling students that Darwin is famous for natural selection focuses undue attention on natural selection.  Correct references to Darwin”.  And so John Painter then fixed it by making Darwin famous for common descent, and then, like Winston Smith inventing comrade Ogilvy to fill the gap, had to adjust Lamarck to fit by denying that Lamarck proposed common descent.  Whereupon everyone everywhere was instantly convinced, and instantly forgot that yesterday they had believed that Lamarck, among several others, had proposed common descent, had proposed that groups of species that resemble each other, resemble each other because of physically relationship by blood or sap.

That if you twit an academic with this, or any other, revision of history, he will go along with the official version and deny that history has been revised shows that the existence of this highly centralized authority is not exactly secret, merely plausibly deniable – and those who most deny it show by their behavior that they most believe it.

On the big issues, official truth tends to be sophisticated and subtle: It is on the minor and obscure issues that the official truth tends to be simplistic, rigid, and absurd, and it is on these obscure minor issues, not the big issues, where one will see O’Brien hold up four fingers and every supposedly high IQ person with tenure swears he is holding up five fingers because the party declares it to be so..

Fraud on Lamarck is a good illustration, because what modern historians of science say is provably false.  We may argue about how Harold died at the battle of Hastings, but what Lamarck really said is not in genuine doubt.

Every respectable authority before 1972 that mentions Lamarck’s position on common descent says Lamarck proposed common descent, often quoting from Lamarck at length.  Every respectable authority after 1972 that mentions his position on common descent says that Lamarck rejected common descent, without, however quoting anything substantial from Lamarck, or mentioning that past authorities disagreed.

Twit an academic with this abrupt change on Lamarck, and he will weasel around, perhaps instead argue that Darwin has legitimately become an unperson because his unspecified theory has been discredited in some unspecified way by new and improved science, but if pressed, will eventually loyally endorse the official line, and deny any rewrite of history,

No one from post 1972 said, “hey, everybody pre 1972 was wrong and here is why they were wrong” Instead, all those writers were flushed down the memory hole. That’s not what normally happens when a shift in opinion occurs. When Einstein revised physics, nobody flushed Newton down the memory hole. Everyone said explicitly, “hey, look here everybody, Einstein revised Newton’s physics.  Turns out that Newton was only accurate for velocities much less than that of light, which of course was all that he could easily observe”. But when claims about what Lamarck meant reversed in 1972, nobody said, “hey, look here everybody, the past wrong understanding of Lamarck has been revised.” Why the secrecy about the fact of the shift? It’s weird. It’s significant. It’s the same as what’s done in the photos that Stalin had his victims airbrushed out of.

If in the Soviet Union you started trying to explain changes in photos, you would be out in the Gulag, and if today you started trying to explain changes in the history books, you would be out of academia.  Even if your explanation was politically correct, it would still draw attention to that which you are forbidden to notice.

Even if you wrote “The earlier photograph showing the commissar was in error, and the error happened because Trotskyite wreckers”, you would still be in the gulag double plus quick, for drawing attention to the change in photographs.

And so, when you twit an academic with a rewrite of science history, no academic will be able to explain why large numbers of people before 1972 “mistakenly” thought that Lamarck proposed common descent, and why no one doubted that he proposed common descent.  Even if the academic was to explain it as evil fabrication by right wing creationist Christian racists, drawing attention to the discrepancy would get him untenured mighty fast. (The commenter Bill, whose knowledge of academia is more current than my own, assures me you would not get untenured, but would merely have eyes rolled at you, and find that your office was eventually transferred to the basement.  He knows more than I, but strangely, I  see only very mildly heretical documents issuing from offices located in university basements. )

So if your academic or left winger lies on this incredibly obscure and minor point, which he will, he is lying on another ten thousand incredibly obscure and minor points.  Your academic will deny that old authorities differ from recent authorities, and claim that the new version is supported in some unspecified way by Lamarck’s words.  It is just a little lie, but its very unimportance and obscurity implies he lies on everything.

This world wide, or at least anglosphere and academia wide, U turn on the history of science was as abrupt and unexplained as Orwell’s hate week, which U turn implies a single command, a decision made by one man, or a group of people small enough to meet around a table and feel each other’s breath, a decision made by a few, and imposed on all, to which all academics, major publishers, and so on and so forth, world wide, servilely and abruptly submit, except perhaps for a tiny handful so unimportant and obscure, at such low status universities, that they did not get the message – and thereby demonstrate their low status by having an out of date version of official history.

What happened in or around 1972, that caused this universal 180?

Affirmative action caused it.

I first became interested in this issue when there was a debate on the blogs as to whether Lamarck proposed common descent, and by an interesting coincidence, every blog that claimed Lamarck proposed parallel descent, also took an supporting position on affirmative action.  Checking the books, every biology text book that claimed that Lamarck proposed parallel descent, also de-emphasized or denigrated natural selection.

Rewriting Lamarck’s position on common descent looks to be a knock on effect of rewriting the history of science to revise Darwin’s position on race, much as Bergholz got an invented history as a side effect of revising Beria out of history.   When Beria suddenly became an unperson, this left a gap in the Soviet Encyclopedia at Ber, which was filled by an invented history of Bergholz, an event parodied in “1984”, when Winston Smith invents Comrade Oglivy to replace the gap created when Comrade Withers becomes an unperson.

Beria became an unperson.  Darwin did not become an unperson, but his accomplishments became unfacts, because of the horribly politically incorrect implications of his theory for human races and genders, implications that he was not shy about mentioning.  So just as it became necessary to invent a comrade Bergholz to replace the unperson Beria and a comrade Oglivy to replace the unperson Withers, it became necessary to give a new important accomplishment to Darwin to replace the unfacts for which Darwin had previously been famous.  And thus, necessary to take that accomplishment away from Lamarck.

De-emphasizing or denigrating natural selection meant that all these busts of Darwin around the biology department were hard to explain.  Students might ask? “Why do we have busts of this obscure little known nineteenth century racist”.  So it was necessary to give Darwin something else to be famous for.  That, or chisel the busts off. So John Painter gave him common descent, which meant that he had to take it away from Lamarck.

And so, whenever you accuse someone who rejects evolutionary psychology of rejecting Darwinism, he will be sincerely puzzled and point out that he believes in common descent, he believes that men and apes had a common ancestor, that he believes that men and monkeys had an earlier common ancestor, and that all mammals had an even earlier common ancestor, that the likenesses between species indicates common descent, descent from a common ancestor, indicate physical relationship by blood or sap, and thinks that this makes him a Darwinist.  By and large, those who reject evolutionary psychology associate Darwin with common descent, not with natural selection.  And, similarly, if you refer to slavery practiced and still practiced by Arabs and blacks, they will have difficulty comprehending what you could possibly be talking about.  To them, it is only slavery if the slaves are owned by white male capitalists.

Which implies that history is being rewritten in an abrupt centralized, conspiratorial, and planned way, after the fashion of Winston Smith in “1984”.  And we observe that when history changes, it changes everywhere in the world at once, every academy, in every nation, or at least every western nation, and most non western nations.

An individual might misrepresent the facts on his own initiative, or change his mind on the evidence.

When everyone changes their minds at the same time, without explanation, and declines to admit ever holding a different position, they are lying because the official line has been officially imposed.

Science history of the idea of common descent before 1972

1882 Works of Samuel Butler (full context available in google books):

In his preface Lamarck had already declared that “the thread which gives us a clue to the causes of the various phenomena of animal organization, in the manifold diversity of its developments, is to be found in the fact that Nature conserves in offspring all that their life and environments has developed in parents.” Heredity “the hidden bond of common descent” tempered with the modifications induced by changed habits which changed habits are due to new conditions and surroundings this with Lamarck, as with Buffon and Dr. Darwin, is the explanation of the diversity of forms which we observe in nature. He now goes on to support this briefly, in accordance  with his design but with sufficient detail to prevent all possibility of mistake about his meaning.

1882 Nature, Volume 26

While he [Lamarck] was engaged in substantially classifying and describing not merely the forms already in existence, but also their extinct ancestors which he incorporated into his system, there was disclosed to him the inner morphologic connection between the former and the latter, and from this disclosure he inferred their common descent

1895 Geological biology an introduction to the geological history of organisms, New York: Henry Holt and Company, pp. 158–159, (full context in Internet Archive)

The portion of the theory of Development [Evolution] which maintains the common descent of all species of animals and plants from the simplest common original forms might, therefore, in honor of its eminent founder, and with full justice, be called Lamarckian ; on the other hand, the theory of Selection, or breeding, might be justly called Darwinism being that   portion of the theory of Development [Evolution] which shows us in what way, and why, the different species of organisms have developed from those simplest primary forms.

1897  The evolution of Man by Ernst Haekel page 58 (Incorrectly dated by Google as 2004, creating the illusion of a break in the pattern wherein everyone before 1972 attributes common descent to Larmarck, and everyone after 1972 denies that Lamarck proposed common descent.)

Lamarck was the first to formulate as a scientific theory the natural origin of living things, including man the rise of the earliest organisms by spontaneous generation, and the descent of man from the nearest related mammal, the ape

his theory of the common descent of man and the other animals.

1901 The Century Cyclopedia Volume 4 pp. 3334 (full context in Internet Archive)

Tells us that Lamarckism is:

the general body of doctrine propounded by the French Naturalist J.B.P.A. de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829): the theory of evolution as maintained by him at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the effect that all plants and animals are descended from a common primitive form of life. In its fundamental principles and essential features Lamarckism differs from Darwinism in assuming that changes resulted from appetency and the active exertion of the organism.

1914 Scientific American: Supplement: Volume 78

(quoting or paraphrasing Ernst Haekel above)

Lamarck was the first to point this out and to explain it by his theory of common descent. But the science of his time did not afford a sufficient body of facts in proof of his conception, and he failed to convince his contemporaries.

Context is that “this” is resemblance, the common characteristics, that group species together. “This” is the “unity of organization” of related life forms.

… in order to find a conclusive proof of the idea of Lamarck. Common descent is now acknowledged as the natural cause of the unity of organization. …

1928 Outline and general principles of the history of life By William Diller Matthew, Ayer Publishing, page 52 tells us (full context available in google books):

Lamarck and many others of his time believed that the different species of a genus resembled each other because they were of common descent, and each species had gradually changed in form and become distinct and ceased to interbreed; and in his studies on the fossil mollusks in the Tertiary strata of the Paris basin he believed that he saw the actual record of those changes preserved in the fossils from the successive strata.

Every single relevant pre-1972 book that came up in Google books advanced search told the same story, often, as in the case of Samuel Butler, supporting their account with copious quotes.

One way of rationalizing this away is to claim that rather than history abruptly changing in 1972, the meaning of common descent abruptly changed in 1972, but the 1928 quote from William Mathew above

ceased to interbreed

shows that common descent  meant then when what it means now – actual physical ancestry by blood or sap – as indeed would most of the quotes should I give sufficient context. This 1928 quote, like the 1972 quote, makes clear and precisely defines what “common descent” means, so that there is no way you can reconcile the change in the history books by adjusting the meaning of “common descent” between 1928 and 1972.

Science history of the idea of common descent after 1972

1972 Biology Today  by John Painter, page 638

The central claim of that book [The Origin of Species] can be fairly simply stated. According to the Darwinian theory, any natural group of similar species-all the mammal species, for instance-owe their common mammalian characteristics to a common descent from a single ancestral mammalian species

Which is of course total bunkum. The central claim of “Origin” is natural selection.

And since common descent, rather than natural selection was now supposedly Darwin”s claim to fame, they had to lie about Lamarck: Page 641:

Lamarck’s theory is not a hypothesis of common descent, which ascribes the common characteristics of a particular species to their common descent from a single species. He claims that mammals are produced by the gradual complexification of reptiles and that this elevation is going on constantly. Although all mammals are descended from reptiles, they are not descended from the same reptiles.

(Which, oddly, no longer shows up on google book search, though it appears to be the original of the new version of history, of which all subsequent versions are merely repetitions.  However I scanned the above from an actual printed book, printed in ink on paper in 1972)

Somehow they neglect to mention that everyone before 1972 thought that Lamarck’s theory was a theory of common descent, or explain what caused this change of mind, nor do they mention any authority who made this discovery about Lamarck.  Some people cite Ernst Mayer “Lamarck Revisited” as such an authority, but he says nothing of the kind in the original version of his paper.  The assertion just appears from nowhere in 1972 as if everyone had always uncontroversially known it and no one had ever doubted it.

This 1972 quote, like the 1928 quote, makes clear and precisely defines what “common descent” means, so no one can weasel out of the abrupt change in history by saying that the meaning of “common descent” changed in 1972

1978: Scientific American: Volume 239

Darwin’s two other main postulates were essentially new concepts. One was the postulate of common descent. For Lamarck each organism or group of organisms represented an independent evolutionary line,having had a beginning in spontaneous generation and having constantly striven towards perfection

In context, denies common descent to Lamarck

And what, you might ask was Darwin’s other main new postulate? The authors (it is a committee) eventually and reluctantly kind of admit it was natural selection, while doing their best to obfuscate and ignore this inconvenient and embarrassing bastard child of Darwin. They show, however, no similar reluctance in listing all the objections to natural selection.

1981:Environmental ethics: Volume 3

He [Darwin] departed from Lamarck in supposing a common descent.

Departing from Lamarck in supposing natural selection being something to horrible to mention.

 

1982:  The Growth of Biological Thoughtpage 345

Lamarck had no theory of an origin of species nor did he consider common descent.

1999: The Darwinian Revolution:  Science red in tooth and claw  By Michael Ruse, page 10

Lamarck’s theory was in no way a theory of common descent …

The difference between a theory like Lamarcks ...

Michael Ruse tells us that Lamark’s evolutionary diagram looked like the one on the right above.  But Lamarck drew an evolutionary diagram of the animals, what we now call the bilaterians

And here is Lamarck’s diagram, translated by Elliot, which you will notice is strikingly different from Michael Ruse’s account of Lamarck’s diagram

The REAL Lamarck Diagram

The accompanying text in Elliot’s translation of Lamarck can most reasonably be interpreted as showing that Lamarck believed that the common features of worms, flies, men, and seals, what we now call bilaterians, were due to their common descent from an ancient spontaneously generated simple worm, that seals have hands inside their flippers because they share a more recent common ancestor with men, though he thought it likely that jellyfish and such (infusorians, polyps, radiarians) evolved from a separate spontaneously generated ancestor.

And if Michael Ruse wants a different interpretation, he needs to explain away Lamarck’s diagram and text instead of making up his own diagram and confidently attributing it to Lamarck.  He needs to acknowledge Lamarck’s diagram and explain why his interpretation is better than the interpretation of everyone before 1972

1995:The Spirit of System: Lamarck and Evolutionary Biology : Now With … – Page xxii

Lamarck’s theory, unlike Darwin’s, should not be seen as a theory of common descent. Darwin’s emphasis was on common ancestry …

No, Darwin’s emphasis was on natural selection.  Again, we see that taking the credit from Lamarck and giving it to Darwin is done to de-emphasize and minimize natural selection.

A 2009 change back?

After I posted this, two of my  commenters have drew my attention to a high status post in Nature attributing common descent to Lamarck.  Fortunately I had already covered my self against such an embarrassing possibility by writing …

Not the last rewrite on evolution

Gould’s approach to reconciling biology with equalism seems to be out of favor, so tomorrow morning, Lamarck might be reinstated, his arguments for common descent restored to science history.  But if he is reinstated, that he was ever removed will be erased.  Should science history once again tell the truth on this matter, suddenly no one will remember that it ever lied on this matter.  Similarly Hitler went from good guy to bad guy and back again several times amongst the communists, and when he was officially a good guy, no one ever remembered that he had ever been officially a bad guy, and when he was officially a bad guy, no one ever remembered that he had ever been officially a good guy, which Orwell parodied in “1984” as “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”

If tomorrow morning, official history once again officially tells us that Lamarck proposed common descent, as well it may, not one academic will remember ever doubting it.

Why history was adjusted.

The full title of “The Origin” is “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”

By races, Darwin means both human and non human subspecies. Selection occurs on the level of species, races, and individuals. Races, Darwin tells us, originate by differential selection pressures on populations, and races tend to differentiate into species, eventually becoming so different that crosses have reduced or nonexistent fertility. Races are the origin of species. Darwin cheerfully and optimistically tells us:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

In short, natural selection is raaaaciiiiiiist! That animals are evolving implies that humans are evolving. That humans are evolving implies that human races are unlikely to be equal.

Darwin also concluded that sexual selection means that the differences between the human sexes are likely to be substantial and politically incorrect. In fact, he originated every major way in which biology leads to politically incorrect conclusions. Every politically incorrect fact from evolutionary psychology, you will find foreshadowed in Darwin, plus a pile that no one dares go near any more.

60 Responses to “A tell revealing central authority over the official line”

  1. sconzey says:

    That’s slightly scary.

    On the bright side, any future reversals will be highlighted forever in the edit history on the Wikipedia page.

  2. Thales says:

    On Lamarck’s 1802 treatise, I find this commentary:

    “But within the maddening, confusing and repetitive pages of Lamarck’s exposition lurk concepts that are central to modern evolutionary thought. Stated in contemporary terminology, they include the ideas that species change through evolutionary time; that evolutionary change is slow and imperceptible; that evolution occurs through adaptation to the environment; that it generally progresses from the simple to the complex, although in a few cases it proceeds in reverse; and that species are related to one another by common descent.”

  3. Thales says:

    Further, I find very little in Darwin’s works about “common descent” per se. “Origin” is entirley about natural selection — common descent is simply assumed as prior art — the phrase isn’t even used in “Origin” or “Descent of Man”.

    Nonetheless, there’s is serious attribution of the concept of “common descent” to Darwin despite the dearth of primary sources. Those attributions that I can actually trace lead back only to secondary sources.

  4. Bruce Charlton says:

    This is an excellent and useful piece of work – and helps pinpoint what led to this situation…

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/two-kinds-of-human-anti-evolutionism.html

    so that the metaphysical part of Darwin (natural selection as the mechanism of speciation) is now treated as a ‘scientific’ fact; and the plainly scientific part of Darwin (that natural selection, analogous to artificial selection, is a cause of adaptation) is treated as evil.

  5. Bill says:

    This is very interesting and plausible post. I don’t know anything about the substantive area. I believe you, though.

    I do want to point out this hyperbole:

    if today you started trying to explain changes in the history books, you would be out of academia . . . Even if the academic was to explain it as evil fabrication by right wing creationist Christian racists, drawing attention to the discrepancy would get him untenured mighty fast

    You absolutely would not get fired for this. It would go like this. If you brought up an inconvenient fact like this a few times, people would nod, say “interesting,” and act as if you had never spoken. If you brought it up repeatedly, you would get, to your face, “that’s interesting but experts X,Y, Z say something very different,” and, behind your back “Jim is a good guy, but he’s a fan of Lamarck (smirk).” If you continued and made a nuisance of yourself (and ignored warnings to shut up on the topic), you would become a crank. Office in the basement. Hidden from view. Never spoken of, except with eye-rolling and knowing looks, etc. Ignored on every subject. Students can’t get real jobs. No consulting, no service on boards, etc.

    There are a lot of these guys in academia. Not every department has one, but everyone knows several and understands their role as cautionary tales. They are invariably interesting guys. Once they become cranks, they have no incentive to stay on the reservation, so they often stray on many subjects, not just the one on which they achieved crankdom.

    My point is that the dire punishments you imagine don’t happen. This method of punishing dissent, social isolation in place, is kind of expensive, though. You have to pay their salary, and they hang around saying disquieting things to students. This, then, has implications. If the system is going to require more and more overt dishonesty over time, then something has to be done to minimize the cost of cranks. The main method to date has been improved screening for submissiveness and conscientiousness and against intellectual independence in graduate students and junior faculty (lots more women, for e.g.). There are also occasional rumbles about getting rid of tenure. These rumbles tend to come from people at higher status institutions.

    It’s also revealing about the kind of people who staff universities. They are really shockingly different from the “heroic scientist” stereotype popularized by Bacon and more recently by Feynman. Instead, they are just incredibly timorous cowards, scared shitless by the most minor of threatened punishments. Again, this is a design feature. Tenure attracts not bold risk-takers, but people who very highly value job security. That is, cowards. This, I think, is why the rumbles never go anywhere. For now, the great and the good are satisfied that tenure, on net, improves the behavior of academics. It may protect cranks, but it helps to ensure that there are very few of them.

    • jim says:

      My point is that the dire punishments you imagine don’t happen.

      Don’t they? I rather think that Chagnon’s punishment was pretty dire. So was Phil Mitchell’s, though Phil Mitchell never got tenure.

      Conversely Ward Churchill was tenured despite his lack of a doctorate, without the normal tenure review, and despite the fact that he “avoids” publishing in peer-reviewed venues. It looks to me that Ward Churchill was tenured as an enforcer – that his job was to threaten people who might stray off the reservation with death or physical violence. He sent out the message that worse things might happen to you than people rolling their eyes at you. Ward Churchill was, like Brett Kimberlin, a deniable and discardable tool through which to apply measures a little cruder than are officially applied.

      Where is the academic who was such a crank that he noticed the Soviet economy was in the state that everyone knew it was in?

      Where is the academic who was such a crank that he noticed what proportion of Soviet GDP went to defense?

      Bruce Charleton is deemed a crank, for his Christian position, but he cannot quite swallow the New Testament position on women, preferring to interpret it away. If he was arguing, within academia, for the New Testament position on women on the basis of empirical and biological evidence concerning female character and behavior, I think he would run into considerably firmer measures than he has yet encountered.

      Before the fall of the Soviet Union the boundaries of permitted debate on the Soviet Union were whether the Soviet economy was doing great, (ivy league) or merely doing OK (obscure low status backwater U), whether the Soviets were peaceloving (ivy league), or whether they were almost as aggressive and warlike as the USA (obscure low status backwater U).

      That no one transgressed against these boundaries suggests that the punishment would have been more dire than being deemed a crank. The “crank” position (low status backwater U) was that the Soviets were doing OK, and were devoting a moderate and reasonable part of their GDP to defense. Anyone producing actual facts on the topic would have been going far beyond the crank and eye roll position, and would presumably therefore been dealt with by means more extreme that being deemed a crank and having eyes rolled at him.

      If it would, perhaps, have been a little too blatant to de-tenure the heretic, doubtless someone like Ward Churchill could have arranged for a small unfortunate accident.

      • Bruce Charlton says:

        BTW, Jim, I was a crank many years before I became a Christian – I only started going to church in 2009.

        You will have to stop misrepresenting what I believe on the topics you mention because you are wrong. What has happened is that I *won’t discuss* these matters of sexual relationships with you on a secular and materialist basis – because to do so is grossly distorted and does harm. By stripping out the Christianity from Christianity, you end up with vile evils such as the ‘Game’ discourse (anyone who cannot immediately see that the advocates of Game are clearly and obviously evil (actively destructive of good), is in a bad moral state – it really is a no-brainer).

        Christianity does not provide a blueprint of social behaviours which can be detached from Christianity and applied to a society which regards Christianity as a delusion. The fullness of distinctively Christian behaviours are (insofar as they are Christian) an outcome of Christianity – and will appear only after there is faith.

        For example, if the Byzantine Empire is taken as a Christian ideal – in the sense that Christianity was a constant living presence in the lives of most of the citizens, and there were many examples of great sanctity – then one could not take the details of Byzantine life and impose them upon the modern West while leaving out the centuries of increasingly intense Christian living which led up to it. One could not suddenly impose a divine monarchy upon the modern West who would coercively introduce all the Byzantine practices upon a secular material populace, and expect good results in any sense.

        Probably, if there was to be a Western Christian revival (which is unlikely) then it would have to begin with mass Protestant conversion to a much simpler Christian faith, and this might then build up to Orthodoxy over a few generations. (However, it seems that this is not what the prophecies say can or will happen.)

        To discuss how advanced Christianity might be ‘implemented’ in terms of sexual relations in a Christian society is a deceptive activity, in a world where the mass of people have been brain-washed out of the most basic, ground level, spontaneous human beliefs and understandings. Christianity was built on top of paganism and then Judaism – whereas modern people are sub-pagan – or to be more exact we are ruined pagans, corrupted pagans, pagans who lost their paganism often while still young children.

        How can matters of detailed social organization coherently be discussed by such people who lack any *basis* for discussing anything yet are unaware even of their lack?

        • jim says:

          Christianity does not provide a blueprint of social behaviours which can be detached from Christianity and applied to a society which regards Christianity as a delusion.

          It provides a blueprint for some social behaviors in church and in the congregation, and your church is not adhering to them.

          It provides a blueprint for marriage, at least for members of the congregation married in the church.

          You can reasonably argue that it is inappropriate for Christians to campaign for legal enforcement of New Testament marriage, but marriage grows out of social enforcement of marriage, which is the Church’s business, at least within the congregation.

          To discuss how advanced Christianity might be ‘implemented’ in terms of sexual relations in a Christian society is a deceptive activity, in a world where the mass of people have been brain-washed out of the most basic, ground level, spontaneous human beliefs and understandings.

          In other words, you have decided to make your peace with feminism – which explains why you still have your job. But as recently as 1960, most churches at least pretended to endorse and socially enforce the New Testament concept of marriage, and if they frequently weaseled out of it practice, hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, and back then they paid homage.

          if there was to be a Western Christian revival (which is unlikely) then it would have to begin with mass Protestant conversion to a much simpler Christian faith

          By “begins” you imply that it would start by being compatible with feminism, and then eventually furtively sneak back to New Testament Christianity while no one is looking. But this strategy is fatal. It is the churches that have most made peace with progressivism that are emptying out the fastest, because progressivism is a competing and hostile religion. Christianity cannot make peace with it. Show me a church where the women run the youth group, and I will show you a youth group largely empty of masculine youths. Progressivism’s number one demand of Christian Churches is not feminism, but annihilation, and if a Church has consented to feminism, it has also consented to annihilation. Progressivism really does not offer any compromise compatible with the continued existence of a religion based on the crucifixion and the New Testament.

          I *won’t discuss* these matters of sexual relationships with you on a secular and materialist basis

          You also won’t discuss whether your pastor thinks the New Testament was written early (before the execution of James, brother of Jesus) or late (after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple)

          The historical evidence that the New Testament was written early is fairly compelling. The major reason for someone to believe it was written late is because he wants to have the excuse that it is all myth so that he can ignore the bits that are now inconvenient – which strategy leads to progressive approved, or at least progressive tolerated, but rapidly emptying, churches.

          And, to get back on topic, that is one of the reasons I am highly unimpressed by what little supposed dissent happens in Academia. If dissent merely resulted in people rolling their eyes at you and treating you as a crank, we would see some real dissent among those cranks, for example support for the kind of marriage that most people claimed to believe in fifty years ago, or an academic who before the fall of the Soviet Union noticed that communist economies were going to hell in a hand basket, and that the success of communism was based on mass conscription, brutal indifference to casualties, and total mobilization of the economy for war.

          A teensy bit of dissent in academia results in crank status. What would real dissent result in? Well we don’t see any real dissent, but we do see some pretty forceful measures to shut people up who are getting a little too close to real dissent.

          • Bruce Charlton says:

            @Jim

            Come, come. When you blog under your full name and address, I will accept your tellings-off, but not until then.

            I dont really have a ‘my church’ for reasons I describe on my blog (I attend three with regularity) but this is the one I support most:

            http://www.church.org.uk/

            There are printed sermons, podcasts, essays, links to other organizations they support. Read for yourself what they say about the things that concern you.

            If you think them too feeble and compromised, then make clear *compared with what real world, actually existing, institution*. I don’t know of any UK secular organizations which do half so much good, not a tenth so much as this single church (except bigger versions of the same movement – This is the ‘mother church’ http://www.allsouls.org/.

            But of course, in the vast context what can a single church do? Unless by ‘supernatural assistance’ we are certainly doomed, as I keep saying – and clearly you agree, except that you deny any possibility of assistance.

          • jim says:

            Come, come. When you blog under your full name and address, I will accept your tellings-off, but not until then.

            Fair enough. It would obviously be unwise to preach the New Testament as is, and I surely would not do it, for fear of reprisals.

            But I would like to hear you say that you and your church refrain from traditional Christianity due to state repression.

            Don’t tell me that the culture would not permit it. The culture of the state and authorities would not permit it. The culture of intact functional successful families would permit it. They are all or almost all of them furtively patriarchal. When you blame history and the culture that is Stockholm syndrome.

            I may be afraid, but I have got balls enough to name that which I fear.

            The alternative to the patriarchal family is not the politically correct egalitarian family. It is family breakup. And that is why the Church was commanded to conduct religious gatherings of the congregation in ways that endorse and support the authority of the husband and the subordination of the wife, which command your church is not following (I checked the sermons)

            Equals need walls between them or a leader above them. A family, being close, needs a leader, being very close, needs a ruler. Women, dogs, and children all push to be the leader of the pack, but they are not happy when they achieve it, becoming tense, difficult, badly behaved, angry, lost, and frightened. If the dog becomes the leader, he will bark a lot, and the woman not much different from the dog. They need a patriarch to rule them, and are disturbed if they don’t have they need.

            There is a substantial minority of men that would like to have a sexual relationship in which the woman is the ruler, but they are SOL, because the minority of women who are comfortable in that role is so small as to be entirely unobservable if they exist at all. If they exist at all, they are massively outnumbered by those men who want to be ruled.

            If you think them too feeble and compromised, then make clear *compared with what real world, actually existing, institution*.

            Amish, Mormons (though the mainstream Mormons are pretty compromised themselves, but they are not as compromised). Bill pointed me to the Society of St Pius X, which preaches:

            1. That the wife honors and obeys,
            2. that divorce is forbidden
            3. and that withholding sex from one’s husband or wife is forbidden.
          • jim says:

            But of course, in the vast context what can a single church do?

            Help preserve the families of its congregation, thereby ensuring that the congregation propagates themselves, and thus propagates the church – the Mormon/Amish strategy.

            Indeed, I would argue that this is in substantial part how the Church succeeded originally, by being family friendly in a family unfriendly Roman society, competing with other religions such a Mithraism that were more in tune with Roman empire values, that is to say, were family unfriendly, helped by the fact that when society collapsed, people found they needed their families, and thus needed a religion that backed families.

        • jim says:

          one could not take the details of Byzantine life and impose them upon the modern West while leaving out the centuries of increasingly intense Christian living which led up to it.

          Every successful family that I observe conforms pretty well to the New Testament prescription on the relationship of husbands and wives, and the relationship of fathers and children. The father and husband is furtively a patriarch, and manages to succeed in his patriarchy in face of the fact that this illegal, subject to severe social disapproval, continuous hostile propaganda, and, if he takes his family to church, in the face of hostility by his church.

          His church should not be hostile. It should support him, for reasons both practical and biblical. Since it is hostile, he does not attend, and in consequence his family does not attend.

          • Bruce Charlton says:

            This kind of Anglican evangelical church is a growing denomination with a young congregation and many families (now including many Chinese and some Africans, i.e. the populations where Christianity is growing most rapidly).

            The ‘Patriarchal’ doctrine is there – most explicitly in the organization of the church and all its committees and groups (including the 100 home groups); and it is mentioned in sermons. It is there, and it is quite firm.

            However, it is not core business, it is not the major emphasis, and certainly should not be core business or major emphasis – the main job is evangelism and teaching about Christ from a very low baseline of knowledge and interest (in England, remember – now perhaps the least religious society in the world).

            Therefore the emphasis no doubt seems inadequate to you – since you are evaluating the church on the basis of how much it contributes to your secular agenda – exactly as mainstream secular egalitarian liberals do, except that your agenda is a pro-selfish/ non-egalitarian secular-liberal agenda.

            The Left want the Christian church to be ‘Liberals at Prayer’ (or pretending to pray) and they have largely succeeded – you want the church to be the secular Right at prayer – or what Liberals would call Fascists at prayer.

            But that is not the point of the church.

          • jim says:

            The ‘Patriarchal’ doctrine is there – most explicitly in the organization of the church and all its committees and groups (including the 100 home groups); and it is mentioned in sermons. It is there, and it is quite firm.

            I looked for it, did not find it. Perhaps you could direct me to a relevant sermon.

            I read the sermon on marriage. It would be politically incorrect today, perhaps daringly so, but would have been perfectly politically correct in 2010.

            If you are a Christian, you cannot really give a sermon on marriage that would have been politically correct in 2010, or 2000, or 1970, and even by the standards of 1950, you are going to have to be a bit daring.

            you want the church to be the secular Right at prayer

            Progressivism is the heretical spawn of Christianity, which makes them competing and incompatible religions. Progressives act as if they are competing and incompatible religions, demonizing Christians and Christianity and calling them out as hateful. Christians, however, do not. Christians respond by transmuting their religion to make it inoffensive to progressives – recapitulating the transformation that brought progressivism into being in the first place. This is the progressive strategy to destroy Christianity, and indeed all religions: To make all religious sects transform in the same way as evangelicals became progressives. And it works. Muslims are causing some serious indigestion, but Christians are getting swallowed up nicely.

            Christians quietly overlook the violently politically incorrect parts of the New Testament, then they interpret the New Testament as written late, therefore not binding, then pretty soon Jesus becomes chief community organizer, and hey presto, the church is now a community mobilization center. If your pastor can give a sermon on marriage that would not have raised eyebrows in 2010, you are most of the way to assimilation and absorption.

            All organizations tend to move left, due to pressure, coercion, and manipulation by the left wing state. But when Christian Churches move left, they stop being Christian. You may well think that the Church can make a few concessions here and there, de-emphasize a few troubling doctrines, and avoid getting into unnecessary trouble with the state, and still be Christian. But the progressives already walked that path. Each concession makes further concessions less resistible. Opposing gay marriage makes little sense if you have already conceded that heterosexual marriage is an institution in which both spouses have identical roles. If men and women are equal, they are interchangeable. Why then, not interchange them.

      • Bill says:

        Don’t they? I rather think that Chagnon’s punishment was pretty dire. So was Phil Mitchell’s, though Phil Mitchell never got tenure.

        No, they don’t. What was Chagnon’s punishment? I’ve noodled around a bit, and it seems like some people said some mean stuff about him and generally messed up his reputation. And the governments of Venezuela and Brazil wouldn’t let him in any more. Are you saying he was fired from a tenured position?

    • jim says:

      You absolutely would not get fired for this.

      A standard part of academic activity is the literature review – you discuss past work on X, thereby padding out your own work on X, and demonstrating its relevance and significance.

      Has any academic produced a literature review that remarks on any of the numerous abrupt rewrites of history that are ordinarily ignored?

      What I am seeing is that the positions that gets the crank and eye roll treatment are not very far out of what is now the mainstream. So what happens to an academic who addresses reality where reality is way outside the mainstream? For example, before the fall of the Soviet Union, where was the academic who said that communist economies were going to hell in a handbasket, but were nonetheless menacing because of total mobilization of the economy for war and the reckless willingness to expend unlimited conscript cannon fodder.

      The absence of such academics suggests measures a good deal firmer than eye rolling.

      • Bill says:

        The problem with that example is that, even if such a person existed, I would not likely know about him. Wildly non-mainstream views are not going to be represented in journals. They can be represented in non-academic writings, of course. But, for me to have heard about them, the writing would have to have had an audience. There was no audience for Soviet economy debunking. Both the “right” and the left wanted the USSR big, rich, and threatening.

        • jim says:

          The problem with that example is that, even if such a person existed, I would not likely know about him. Wildly non-mainstream views are not going to be represented in journals. They can be represented in non-academic writings, of course.

          Exactly so. The view that communist economies were going to hell in handbasket, and what made communism externally dangerous was extreme mobilization for war, was pretty well represented outside academia. The movie Red Dawn and Ronald Reagan’s primary campaign being good examples.

          Both the “right” and the left wanted the USSR big, rich, and threatening.

          That is not what I recall. Only the “cognitive elite” thought the Soviet Union was rich.

          The left and the Republican establishment pseudo right claimed the USSR was not threatening despite being rich and successful, that they were going to love us to death. When Khrushchev said “We will bury you”, they hastily explained he meant that they were going to produce more tractors than we were.

          But the non establishment right and the Reagan right, on the other hand, reported that the Soviet Union was in a state of economic collapse, that the Soviet economy depended on conquest and expansion, and therefore, the Soviet Union, to stay afloat, was conquering more lands enslaving more people. This was the background story of the 1984 movie “Red Dawn”. In the movie, the Russians attack the US because they are starving. In the presidential primaries this was Reagan’s interpretation of Russia’s numerous post Vietnam victories. The communists were short on logistics and getting shorter, but the one thing they did have was cheerful willingness to expend conscript lives in unlimited numbers, they intended to use that to solve their supply problem, and were in fact using it to solve their supply problem. The core Reagan argument was that Russia’s economic weakness made it a paper tiger, as in his famous bear commercial – that communism could be defeated by technological supremacy. The sophisticated argument, of which the bear commercial was a simplistic summary, is that you don’t engage the bear in a wrestling match of conscript cannon fodder, but with economic and technological superiority – give them more wars, and higher tech wars, than they can afford financially, because they can afford to expend no end of human lives.

          Back then, if someone thought the Soviet Union was rich, he thought it was nonaggressive and nonthreatening. If someone thought the Soviet Union was aggressive and threatening, he thought that communism was an economic disaster and the Soviet Union was aggressive in part because it was an economic disaster, that, as in the movie “Red Dawn”, it had no choice but to expand by conquest.

          If you heard that the Soviet Union was dangerous threat, you heard it was an economic disaster. If you did not hear it was an economic disaster, you did not hear it was a dangerous threat. What you heard was progressives telling you that ignorant neanderthal right wingers falsely claimed the benevolent prosperous and peaceloving Soviet Union was a dangerous threat.

          Everyone saw the bear commercial, and the left denied then, and deny today, that it said what is so plainly said, misremembering what happened in the commercial, much as those few of them that know that you really can see Russia from Alaska misremember Palin as saying that she can see Russia from her house. The left and academia not only refused to admit that the Soviet Union was weak, but also refused to admit that there was anyone in the world that said it was weak, even though they saw, to their indignation and horror, ads on prime time television proclaiming that the Soviet Union was weak.

          That the Soviet Union was dangerous because of economic failure was the mainstream opinion outside of “the cognitive elite”, and “the cognitive elite” had its fingers in its ears and was singing “la la la, I can’t hear you”. This was exhibited in their reaction to the bear commercial. They could not could not admit that is said what it said, even to refute what it said – that the Soviet Union was menacing, aggressive, and weak due to technological and economic inferiority.

          That ad played and played, and yet, somehow, no one in “the cognitive elite” can remember what was in it, or will admit to remembering what was in it. It was that the ad portrayed the Soviet Union as weak that outraged them, outraged them so much that they could not admit that anyone would ever say such a thing, though in fact, outside of academia, government, and the establishment, there was a thunderous storm of people saying it loudly.

          And the academic who was deemed a crank, and has his office moved to a broomcloset in the basement, could not hear that thunder any better than the academic in the corner office, which suggests that if he had heard the storm, something worse than getting his office moved to the broomcloset would have happened to him.

          • Bill says:

            We remember differently. The pseudo-right of General Dynamics, the Pentagon, and Ronald Reagan claimed the USSR was rich and threatening. The left claimed they were rich and friendly.

            The Bear commercial is here and it does not claim the USSR is poor or weak. What it plainly says is that the USSR is strong and threatening and that American leftists are delusional or lying. If you get, from the final shot in that commercial with the bear standing next to the man, that the bear is weak, then you need to adjust your meds. And what is the commercial talking about when it exhorts us to be “as strong” as the bear, if it is also saying the bear is weak?

          • jim says:

            We remember differently. The pseudo-right of General Dynamics, the Pentagon, and Ronald Reagan claimed the USSR was rich and threatening. The left claimed they were rich and friendly.

            Your recollections postdate the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back before the collapse, Reagan was supposedly a moron and a chimpanzee for thinking it was going to collapse, in large part for economic reasons.

            Back before the collapse, Reagan was supposedly a moron because he told us:

            “nothing proves the failure of Marxism more than the Russians inability to produce weapons

            much as Palin is supposedly a moron for thinking she can see Russia from Alaska.

            Everyone who advocated rollback said the Soviet Union was dangerous, aggressive, poor, and economically stagnant. Everyone who continued to advocate containment after Vietnam said it was rich, growing, and friendly.

            “In spite of a stagnating economy”

            “Surely, it must be clear to all that until Warsaw’s military authorities move to restore Solidarity to its rightful and hard-won place in Polish society, Poland will continue to be plagued by bitterness, alienation, instability, and stagnation.”

            “Reagan, a life in letters” summarizes Reagan’s position as: … The Soviet economy is so weak at the bottom …”

            Everyone outside academia and government employment knew this.

            No one in academia, including the supposed heretics, dared admit what everyone knew. They all stuck their heads under the pillows and their fingers in their ears and hummed “la la la, I can’t hear you”

          • jim says:

            The Bear commercial is here and it does not claim the USSR is poor or weak.

            It does however claim that the USSR is technologically backward and can be overawed by our superior technology. It is Reagan’s speech on the inability of the Marxist system to produce weapons made into a video.

            If you get, from the final shot in that commercial with the bear standing next to the man, that the bear is weak, then you need to adjust your meds

            You have seen an edited version of the commercial, or are seeing it through your preconceptions.

            There is no final shot of the bear standing next to the man.

            In the bear commercial, we see the man, and the voice over about a dangerous bear, so we think, “Oh the bear is hunting the man”.

            Then we see the bear and we think “Oh, the man is in danger”.

            And then we see that the man has a gun, and think “oh, he is a hunter, presumably hunting bear. The bear is in danger.”

            And then we see the bear reach the same conclusion and start backing away from the man.

            Then the voice over explains that the man is stronger than the bear – presumably through superior technology. In the final shot the bear is not “standing next to the man”. He is backing away from the man.

            The video is a non verbal representation of Reagan’s famous line:

            “nothing proves the failure of Marxism more than the Russians inability to produce weapons“

          • Bill says:

            I linked the commercial.

            The gun is about as subliminally present as it is possible to be, over the guy’s shoulder, almost invisible, and entirely useless. I doubt more than 1% of viewers noticed it. What you are calling backing away is one step which looks a lot like it is just the bear shifting around. Again, shocking if more than 1% perceived it as backing away. The final scene shows a very vulnerable man next to a very threatening bear.

            If Reagan had told us

            nothing proves the failure of Marxism more than the Russians inability to produce weapons

            that would, indeed, have proven that he was a moron. Not only was there no such inability, but Reagan would have been cutting the legs out from under a key constituency group: Orange County. He was not a moron; therefore, he did not say this. What your link says is:

            nothing proves the failure of Marxism more than the Russians inability to produce weapons . . . and at the same time provide for its people’s everyday needs

            He is saying, rather hyperbolically, that the USSR chose to punch above its weight militarily by reducing its population’s consumption of consumer goods. That’s exactly what they did. He could have added despoiling the environment and a bunch of other things to the list.

          • jim says:

            The gun is about as subliminally present as it is possible to be, over the guy’s shoulder, almost invisible, and entirely useless. I doubt more than 1% of viewers noticed it. What you are calling backing away is one step which looks a lot like it is just the bear shifting around. Again, shocking if more than 1% perceived it as backing away.

            You are looking at a very blurred video, in which Reagan is almost unrecognizable, as is the gun. In the original version, the gun was so shockingly salient that a lot of people mistook the subject of the commercial to be gun control, thought that Reagan was implying that the Democrats would disarm hunters. While lots of people mistook the ad issue as gun control over hunters, considerably fewer thought the ad issue was dangerous animals in the woods.

            And even in the blurred video, no one is likely to think the bear is just shifting around. He is clearly backing off.

            Viewed at original resolution, the viewer sees the gun, guns have very high salience, so they would perceive the bear as backing off even if it merely had stopped advancing. But what happens is that the bear locks eyes with the hunter, then turns its head away, breaking eye contact, then retreats. The hunter unambiguously dominates the bear.

            He was not a moron; therefore, he did not say this. What your link says is:

            nothing proves the failure of Marxism more than the Russians inability to produce weapons . . . and at the same time provide for its people’s everyday needs

            True: But how about:“In spite of a stagnating economy

            He is saying, rather hyperbolically

            No he is not saying “hyperbolically” The lights were quite literally going out in the Soviet Union, in that light bulbs were not being replaced. The Russian army was hijacking potato trucks in order to feed its soldiers. The Soviet Union really could not provide for its people’s everyday needs. The elite would fly to Finland to buy light bulbs and toilet paper. The most precious belongings of ordinary people were horded pre-revolutionary items. If you did not know this, you were in an academic bubble isolated from reality – which implies that any academic that pricked the bubble would find that there were worse things than an office in the basement.

          • jim says:

            The gun is about as subliminally present as it is possible to be, over the guy’s shoulder, almost invisible, and entirely useless. I doubt more than 1% of viewers noticed it. What you are calling backing away is one step which looks a lot like it is just the bear shifting around. Again, shocking if more than 1% perceived it as backing away

            If Reagan did not intend 100% of viewers to see the gun, he would not have put a gun in the scene. If he did not intend 100% of viewers to see the bear intimidated and retreating, he would not have shown the bear breaking eye contact and retreating. The bear looks away, then takes one full step backward and begins the next step backward when the video fades out.

            What is happening is that you are looking at a very blurry video through the eyes of your preconceptions.

        • jim says:

          Both the “right” and the left wanted the USSR big, rich, and threatening.

          If you argue for confrontation with X, you are going to argue X is weak and aggressive. If you argue for compliance and cooperation with X, you are going to argue that X is strong but non aggressive.

          And that was in fact what the debate was: Academia, all of academia, including the heretic in the basement said that the Soviet Union was strong and peaceloving, pretty much everyone outside of government and academia said the Soviet Union was weak and aggressive. If they said it was weak, they said it was aggressive. If they said it was aggressive, they said it was weak: Examples being Reagan’s bear advertisement, and the movie Red Dawn.

          In the primaries, Reagan was running on “rollback”. If you supported rollback, you argued that the USSR was aggressive, dangerous, and weak.

          And why weak?

          Weak because communism was economic disaster leading to collapse, and aggressive in substantial part for the same reasons – the Red Dawn story line.

          • Bill says:

            No, DOD, CIA, and the defense industry had money and power and wanted “strong and dangerous” pushed. They found academic stooges to push that. The Neocons had an academic wing which busily pushed the line that the USSR was strong, unappeasable, and dangerous. It was less boring and stupid than their current drivel (we need 11 carrier battle groups to combat the deadly threat of Afghan goat-herders!), but its structure was the same.

            Shit, how many times did we hear about the Soviet’s 5-1 tank advantage and 10-1 fighter advantage (or was it the other way?) and every other damn thing. Do you just take for granted that the MSM reported that stuff and that academics produced the raw materials for such reports? It was caused, maybe, by the righteous fury of Joe the Plumber demanding his say on foreign policy and the Soviet threat? It was caused by guys with money and power wanting it to happen.

            People who want war in a democracy do not push “Look! Over there! A nerd with lunch money! Let’s go beat him up!” People who want war in a democracy push “Look! Over there! A bully who is coming to beat us up! Let’s beat him up first!”

          • jim says:

            No, DOD, CIA, and the defense industry had money and power and wanted “strong and dangerous” pushed.

            The CIA also say that Bush is a chimpanzee and the defense industry says he drowned Katrina.

            The state is the left and the left is the state. Outside the left, which is to say outside the state and outside academia, the message was “dangerous, but technologically and economically weak”, as illustrated by Ronald Reagan’s famous bear ad, and Reagan’s many speeches on the topic, and the movie “Red Dawn”.

            People who want war in a democracy do not push “Look! Over there! A nerd with lunch money! Let’s go beat him up!”

            The right did not depict the Soviet Union as nerd with lunch money, but as an undersized hoodlum who was stealing our lunch money.

          • Bill says:

            Academia, all of academia, including the heretic in the basement said that the Soviet Union was strong and peaceloving

            Edward Teller was an academic. Tom Sowell was and is an academic. A large minority, at least, of engineering faculty circa 1980 did not think the Soviet Union was peace-loving.

          • jim says:

            Yes, I got carried away when I said they all believed the Soviet Union was peace loving. But all of Academia, even the heretics believed the Communist economic system was working at least tolerably well, or feared to say otherwise, though for those outside the little Berlin wall of academia, it was apparent that the lights were literally going out in the Soviet Union, a process that has now run almost to completion in North Korea.
            The lights go out

    • jim says:

      I have elevated a part of your comment (that I exaggerate) into the body of the post.

  6. Bruce Charlton says:

    @Jim – The historical work of psychiatrist David Healy documents many analogous examples – but connected with more obviously understandable and better known motivations of Big Pharma. Nonetheless amazing things can be airbrushed.

    One I found was the effectiveness of opiates in the treatment of melancholia/ endogenous depression. This was known in the late 19th and early 20th century, forgotten and rediscovered in numerous papers in major journals in the 1970s, and has again been forgotten. It would currently be thought wildly reckless to discuss using opiates to treat severe depression, yet clearly it works for some people (and depression is just about the worst thing in the world).

    One minute everybody knows it, the next minute nobody knows it and it is un-discuss-able.

    *

    Bill – spot on. But why are you gesturing in my direction and rolling your eyes?

    • Samson J. says:

      One I found was the effectiveness of opiates in the treatment of melancholia/ endogenous depression. This was known in the late 19th and early 20th century, forgotten and rediscovered in numerous papers in major journals in the 1970s, and has again been forgotten.

      Can you point me towards some references? I would love to be able to bring this up with others.

      • Bruce Charlton says:

        If you wordsearch my book Psychiatry and the Human Condition

        http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/psychhuman.html

        you will find it in the section about Analgesics as Opiates, and the notes for Antidepressant Drug Action – an illustrative reference is the book collection of research – Vereby K. editor (1982). Opioids in mental illness: theories, clinical observations and treatment possibilities. New York: New York Academy of Science.

        When enkaphalins and endorphins were discovered from the mid-1970s, the excitement sparked a new wave investigation of these endogenous (naturally produced) opiates – the field became fashionable and well funded for a few years, including trials of these agents for various mental illnesses – and some of these trial showed significant effects in depression. And then suddenly everybody stopped and forgot.

        Presumably (?) the powers that be joined the dots between the trendy new substances and the demonized old opiates (heroin etc), and realized with horror the implications of the new research, and it was all flushed down the memory hole.

        It was perhaps the single most dismaying discover of my medical life, that proven effective (and at least reasonably safe) treatments are so easily forgotten, ignored and suppressed – or at best taken for granted and not propagated such that their existence is known to few (one clear example is in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, where nicotine is ignored, and the potential benefits of electroconvulsive therapy/ electroshock are unknown http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/prevention-and-treatment-of-parkinsons.html).

        The other was that dangerous and ineffective drugs are promoted to make billions, at the expense of health, happiness and functionality (‘atypical’ antipsychotics, ‘mood stabilizers’, statins…)

        Sorry to hijack the thread – will stop…

        • jim says:

          The other was that dangerous and ineffective drugs are promoted to make billions, at the expense of health, happiness and functionality (‘atypical’ antipsychotics, ‘mood stabilizers’, statins…)

          Sorry to hijack the thread – will stop…

          Seems on topic to me.

  7. Occupant says:

    Where does Prohibition fit into all of this? If progressivism is the politics self- righteousness then Prohibition seems to fit the mould, but doesn’t seem to fit the narrative of a remorselessly accelerating Left Singularity. Having successfully abolished slavery, do-gooders in the post Civil War era set about finding some other grand crusade to justify their unbounded meglomania. It’s no accident that Carrie Nation came from Bleeding Kansas, the site of a pitched pre-Civil War battles and John Brown’s Raid. Prohibition was an Official Good Thing … until it wasn’t. It still isn’t. What changed? Who changed it? Why? Could the end of Prohibition serve as a blueprint for a way out of our current dilemma?

    • red says:

      Prohibition never ended. They simple moved from criminalizing the sale of the substance to criminalizing it’s use incrementally. Progresses from time to time like to bite off too big of a chunk and they always end up having to back up and then implement the policy they want bit by bit. Official prohibition largely ended because they could no longer get jury to convict rum runners and the alike.

      Today juries toss fully non impaired drinkers in jail simply for having an arbitrary amount of booze in their blood stream. It’s illegal to drink almost anywhere in public and bar’s have harsh regulations controlling them. The taxes are quite high as well. Men have drunken beer for thousands of years while doing hard manual labor and this too is now 100% illegal. It’s death by a 1000 cuts backed up by huge amounts of propaganda.

      • jim says:

        Progresses from time to time like to bite off too big of a chunk and they always end up having to back up and then implement the policy they want bit by bit.

        Temporary retreat for the purpose of a more cautious and permanent advance. Affirmative action for blacks had its first run immediately after the civil war, only to be immediately, but temporarily, ditched.

    • jim says:

      Progressivism needs a moral crusade. If one is turning out rather sucky, and no more progress can be made along it to ever greater levels of purity, they will adopt another, which permits a temporary retreat on the one that stank.

      Both ever greater levels of prohibition, and ever greater taxes on the rich, ran into dead ends, followed by retreat – but the retreat set in only after another, supposedly greater, cause had been adopted, and the retreat was partial, temporary, and transient. After a while, they come back to finish the job.

      Thus, for example, the slaves were freed, but the Southern states with black majorities resisted black majority rule, and progressivism retreated on this issue for sixty years. Slavery was not restored, but neither was the black vote. But it was only a strategic retreat on one front, and eventually progressives returned to that front, resulting in Detroit and one sided justice for white victims of black attacks in areas with black majorities.

  8. Zach says:

    Bruce, please give your blogging address, I’m too lazy to look it up. haha

    You said:

    “Come, come. When you blog under your full name and address, I will accept your tellings-off, but not until then.”

    I personally feel this is a worthy request. STFU, and reveal yourself asshole, or piss off.

    I get that. But talking from experience, I don’t let anybody photograph me, talk about me, see me (if I am not really good friends) or even email me.

    This email address I have here is shared with many.

    Bruce you seem like an honest guy; why Christianity in 2009? I ask in all sincerity. One thing I value above all else is intellectual honesty. If one chooses to indulge in their truth, I am inclined to indulge in mine.

    Jim here – on this blog – is incredibly insightful, but that insight comes at a cost. I doubt he knows this. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Lamarck was unsure as to his own beliefs which caused a lot of confusion, and such confusion leads to long blog post from the void.

    So be it…

    • jim says:

      Lamarck was unsure as to his own beliefs which caused a lot of confusion, and such confusion leads to long blog post from the void.

      Supposing that Lamarck is sufficiently obscure, ambiguous, shifty, and confused to allow both interpretations, which does not seem to be the case when I read him, why the abrupt and near unanimous shift? And, having shifted, why ditch the previous interpretation down the memory hole?

      I don’t see any confusion over common descent. When I read Lamarck, he explains resemblances between kinds by common descent. Everyone before 1972 who addressed the issue also read him as a I read him, read Lamarck as explaining the relationships between kinds, for example that inside the flipper of a seal is the same skeleton as the human hand, as resulting from common descent, explained the reason for the inward resemblance between the flipper and the human hand as that some time way back there was a single creature father to both the seal and the man, and everyone after 1972 who addressed the issue, with a few obscure and low status exceptions, claims to believe he said the opposite

      While Darwin proposes that the tree of life likely has but a single root, Lamarck suspected that complex life probably had several roots, comprising several trees, and simple life was still being spawned by spontaneous generation – but that is not the distinction that the post 1972 books make.

  9. RS says:

    > Sure, the tribe tells me that having children is somehow essential to “happiness,” but I’m not convinced. I’ve seen those dreary, weary parents emerging, drained, from Chuck E. Cheese.

    Bruce, you will never understand the sec right, because you obviously don’t want to. Which is fine I guess. Heck, I’ve learned plenty from you anyway. I recognize your modus on this, though, from when I wanted not to learn things.

    Anyone with appropriate knowledge will tell you that Nietzsche is the (consensus) central figure of the sec right and less-trad, less-conservative right — and the co-father with Stirner.

    He explicitly founded his entire work on “the solidarity of chains of generations, forwards and backwards” — working towards great goals, familial, ethnic, intellectual, political, you name it. The “heir(s)” who exist after one’s (possible or probable) eternal demise figures so prominently in his outlook that Zarathustra says, approximately, “whoever has no inheritor and no goal scarcely has the right to go on living — nay, does he have it at all?” Granted, the inheritor or most important inheritor need not be one’s own bio-progeny, but I think that will generally be the case although Nietzsche does not say so to my knowledge.

    Again, his entire work is an attack on hedonism and a laudition of the ideal of heroic struggle. “Do you not know that every enhancement of human beings has only been possible through the discipline of great suffering?” The hero, the heroic people or polity, is the one willing to pay more terribly than others in order to become superior and deeper, even para-divine.

    If I were some hagiographer of Nietzsche or the sec right, I probably wouldn’t drone on to the tune of 100,000 words about its connections with fascism, so you would think one could place some provisional credit in what I have to say. Your 179-degree misapprehension of this particular issue is simply sub-scholarly, then again scholars professional and high-amateur are as a body sub-intellectual, sub-you, in a number of ways… such as their notorious ovinity, followership, domestication, which barely beats the general population average, and their modest and probably declining creativity.

    • RS says:

      Actually, I have slightly exaggerated the ‘goal and heir’ thing and ‘solidarity of chains of generations, forwards and backwards’ thing.

      It’s not really one of the many things he goes on about again and again and again.

      That said:

      My death, praise I unto you, the voluntary death, which cometh unto me because I want it.

      And when shall I want it?—He that hath a goal and an heir, wanteth death at the right time for the goal and the heir.

      And out of reverence for the goal and the heir, he will hang up no more withered wreaths in the sanctuary of life.

      Verily, not the rope-makers will I resemble: they lengthen out their cord, and thereby go ever backward.

      Many a one, also, waxeth too old for his truths and triumphs; a toothless mouth hath no longer the right to every truth.

      And whoever wanteth to have fame, must take leave of honour betimes, and practise the difficult art of—going at the right time.

      One must discontinue being feasted upon when one tasteth best: that is known by those who want to be long loved.

      [...]

      In your dying shall your spirit and your virtue still shine like an evening after-glow around the earth: otherwise your dying hath been unsatisfactory.

      Thus will I die myself, that ye friends may love the earth more for my sake; and earth will I again become, to have rest in her that bore me.

      Verily, a goal had Zarathustra; he threw his ball. Now be ye friends the heirs of my goal; to you throw I the golden ball.

      Best of all, do I see you, my friends, throw the golden ball! And so tarry I still a little while on the earth—pardon me for it!

      Thus spake Zarathustra.

      From ‘Twighlight’:

      Critique of modernity. — Our institutions are no good any more: on that there is universal agreement. However, it is not their fault but ours. Once we have lost all the instincts out of which institutions grow, we lose institutions altogether because we are no longer good enough for them. Democracy has ever been the form of decline in organizing power: in Human, All-Too-Human (I, 472) I already characterized modern democracy, together with its hybrids such as the “German Reich,” as the form of decline of the state. [********]In order that there may be institutions, there must be a kind of will, instinct, or imperative, which is anti-liberal to the point of malice: the will to tradition, to authority, to responsibility for centuries to come, to the solidarity of chains of generations, forward and backward ad infinitum. When this will is present, something like the imperium Romanum is founded; or like Russia, the only power today which has endurance, which can wait, which can still promise something — Russia, the concept that suggests the opposite of the wretched European nervousness and system of small states [probably 'kleinstaaterei', small-statery, -ei being a rather belittling suffix], which has entered a critical phase with the founding of the German Reich.

      The whole of the West no longer possesses the instincts out of which institutions grow, out of which a future grows: perhaps nothing antagonizes its “modern spirit” so much. One lives for the day, one lives very fast, one lives very irresponsibly: precisely this is called “freedom.” That which makes an institution an institution is despised, hated, repudiated: one fears the danger of a new slavery the moment the word “authority” is even spoken out loud. That is how far decadence has advanced in the value-instincts of our politicians, of our political parties: instinctively they prefer what disintegrates, what hastens the end.

      Twighlight is from the very end of his working life, so these are particularly his mature views.

    • RS says:

      … since I only get this one go-round at consciousness before the hungry spark I call my “self” drops like a match into a toilet, why should I trouble myself with the dreary business of reproduction? My DNA may be selfish, but so am “I.” If it’s so bloody determined to replicate itself, it had better rejigger my neurons to offer me a better set of hedonic rewards for taking the effort to do its bidding. So far, no sale.

      Sure, the tribe tells me that having children is somehow essential to “happiness,” but I’m not convinced. I’ve seen those dreary, weary parents emerging, drained, from Chuck E. Cheese. I’ve read a compelling study that shows the happiest married couples are the childless—who are free to use their resources to gratify their own actual desires, instead of pouring their time and toil into some other, smaller person, to help him gratify his. To this end, men work longer hours at tedious tasks, give up the chance to travel, move out of exciting cities full of cool ethnic restaurants and beautiful buildings into sprawling, sterile suburbs with “decent schools.” They even allow their mates to gain weight that is hard to lose, to accumulate stretch marks and droopy breasts—and all for what?

      What’s the payoff for those who let entropic “nature” take its course? Best case scenario: If all goes really well and their spawn don’t turn out ugly, stupid, or dead, the parents will gain some secondhand happiness—a warm fuzzy glow acquired vicariously, gussied up with the language of “sacrifice.” I’m doing the math right now, and it adds up to this: Vasectomy.

      Actually, I can acknowledge that the sec and less-trad (not non-trad of course) right

      1. does sometimes feel children to be an interest that competes with other interests, other fascinations

      2. should contemplate and talk about parenthood considerably more . . . I can’t, not knowing anything about it

      Which segues to the observation that tendencies (1) and (2) are both partly just products of intellectuals, and adventurer types, and intellectual adventurers, tending somewhat towards being unattached, for a variety of reasons, not all of which are “don’t desire/prefer/will it as much as others do”.

      What IS clear is that if your “other interests, other fascinations” are not something to do with transforming into some sort of an ever more superior and excellent being, hopefully at a rather ravenous pace, then the alt right will have utter contempt for them. Or at least that’s the ideality of it, quibble if you will with the results in reality.

      Stirner, inasmuch as I’ve covered about 75 pp of him, appears to have been rather radically non-trad and ultra-individualist, to Nietzsche’s less-trad and measuredly-individualist. (His individualism is generally considered extreme, and it does often look that way, but careful absorption of the complete works reveals multiple considerable moderations of this tendency, sometimes quite explicit.) I might ultimately see Stirner somewhat as you might see him: searingly radical and rigorously logical to the point of absurdity, and to the point of incoherence or worse when made into a life practice.

      • RS says:

        > if your “other interests, other fascinations” are not something to do with transforming into some sort of an ever more superior and excellent being

        Awfully abstract, so let’s name some shit. Alpinism, philosophy, art, soldiery, true love, semi-intentional misadventure, athleticism along with all other asceticisms… there’s plenty more of course.

        True love (mainly thinking of amorous love) might not seem to fit the pattern of ‘paying terribly in order to become more excellent’, since it doesn’t exactly hurt if it goes right — you may find yourself with a pretty serious affective-spiritual problem though if it goes wrong, so it’s dangerous. Love’s not really my strong suit, so I’ve barely been roughed up by it all that much, but I can still see how it could get pretty bad.

        One final point about ‘fiery, existential’ sec right intellectuals is that they don’t necessarily want everyone to be exactly like them. They certainly think most people, and man’s future, ought to come out quite considerably according to the pattern they espouse… but they don’t necessarily think every single person should paint a true masterpiece in oils and then summit the Eiger Nordwand before age 23, or else commit suicide in case of failure. It does often feel that way with N., but at other times he rolled his eyes at malice toward the unexceptional person, considering it a silly misunderstanding of how things simply have to be — and admitting or hinting that this unskeptical, incurious, prevailing-opinion-accepting, rather timorous, and fairly unexceptional person, or something not too unlike him, was needed in very large numbers in order to create a stable society.

  10. red says:

    ” You may well think that the Church can make a few concessions here and there, de-emphasize a few troubling doctrines, and avoid getting into unnecessary trouble with the state, and still be Christian. But the progressives already walked that path. Each concession makes further concessions less resistible. Opposing gay marriage makes little sense if you have already conceded that heterosexual marriage is an institution in which both spouses have identical roles. If men and women are equal, they are interchangeable. Why then, not interchange them.”

    Worse, the church has already endorsed and fully supports “love” marriages which led directly to first divorce and then to homo marriage. Either marriage is a permanent contract for producing and raising children or it’s a temporary arraignment based on sexual desire. The church is 100% on board with the sexual desire arraignment as demonstrated by it’s total lack of shaming and shunning women who violate the contract(and 90% of the time it is the women).

    • jim says:

      the church has already endorsed and fully supports “love” marriages which led directly to first divorce and then to homo marriage.

      This is a logical and necessary consequence of abandoning the position that consent for sex is given once and forever, a consequence of the church accepting that “marital rape” is a crime. If sex requires ongoing and continual consent by both parties, then marriage requires ongoing and continual consent by bother parties and ends when either party ceases to consent.

      Yield on any one point, you really have to yield on the next, and the next, and the next, until Jesus ceases to be the redeemer and becomes chief community organizer, and shortly thereafter becomes junior community organizer to Obama.

      Of course I don’t think that either belief system is true, but one is deadly and apt to destroy civilization, and the other constructive and supports civilization.

      Conversion of Christians to progressivism is proceeding along the same path of conversion of pagans to Christianity did. The elite convert, the old pagan rituals are superficially retained, but filled with Christian doctrine, in place of pagan doctrine, and the masses slowly follow, attending to the usual pagan rituals, but somewhat to their surprise hearing christian instead of pagan doctrine. They find that knowing the old doctrines is low status, and the new doctrines are high status.

      Some guy takes his family to Church on Christmas, and gets preached that salvation comes from supporting taxation, regulation, and welfare handouts, that women need a man like a fish need a bicycle and that the presence of a biological father is harmful to his children.

  11. RS says:

    Jim my very favorite one for evading truth/untruth is ‘outmoded’, lol

    “his reference to Carleton Putnam’s long-outmoded…”

    OMG how I cracked up when I read something like that somewhere. Pretty sure it had to do with bio-racial anthro.

    “were Coon’s views true? Perhaps true in part?”

    “why no, Sir – I can assure you that he is altogether outmoded. Set your mind at ease.”

    Actually, if anyone ever wants to harvest a set of particularly phony academic works, you could probably do worse than query databases for ‘outmoded’. It seems to me that there could rarely be any excuse to EVER use this concept in an intellectual text, more especially in relatively technical subjects. Unless you are describing the belief of some weak intellectuals or non-intellectuals that something’s outmoded, or writing a history of haute couture.

  12. RS says:

    Bruce it’s pretty darn strange that you are friends with Dave Pearce, but I guess you are pretty broad minded after all. I was like 17 when I first read him, no idea how-where. He’s certainly a very interesting counterpoint to the stuff I tend to read and believe. I suppose the crux between me and him is that he probably accepts philosophical hedonism — which in the technical sense does not necessarily mean indulgence or short-termism, it just means pleasure is the only thing good in itself, per se. He may mostly accept what I would call ‘strong’ hedonism — that there is only one fundamental quality of pleasure (or the distinctions of quality are small enough to be irrelevant), so that quantity is the main concern.

    Whereas someone like me would assert that the ‘pleasure’ of climbing the Eiger is so superior, qualitatively, that the pleasures of television or whatever should be treated with relative contempt. Not that TV drama and comedy has been all bad in the last few decades, some fraction of it is pretty impressive, though I’m not exactly going to set it next to Tarkovskij’s “Mirror” — which, again, (once you’ve watched it a few times) doesn’t give you ‘pleasure’ but practically beatitude, elevation, what have you.

    • Bruce Charlton says:

      @RS

      I got to know Dave Pearce in the late 1990s, and over the years he has been a good friend in too many ways to list.

      Back then, my views were quite similar to Dave’s – atheist, libertarian, anarchistic etc. And it was not until around 2008 that I became a Christian and a reactionary.

      If you search my name on YouTube you can find a talk I gave summer 2008 describing the two possible futures of modern society in relation to human nature – transhumanist (Dave helped me with this) versus religious reactionary (I use Mormons as the example) – that was the crux for me, shortly afterwards I made my choice!

      • Thales says:

        I can only stare in wonder at your metaphysical flexibility. Like watching an octopus on a nature show — it is a totally alien umwelten.

        Well, I guess there will be a whole lot of us STEM majors in hell — at least we’ll have the Buddhists to talk to…

  13. Erik says:

    I could not find the posted quote in the 1892 source’s text version:
    http://archive.org/stream/historycreation01lankgoog/historycreation01lankgoog_djvu.txt

    Possibly this is because it is badly scanned and produces phrases such as “On; Uie Ori^n of Language”

    Can I get a searchable word/phrase, or a page reference for another version?

    Searching for “Lamarckian” produced no results at all.
    Searching for “common descent” neither.
    Searching for “founder” got me only “Charles XiinnEeuH, the founder of systematic natural history”.

    • jim says:

      My error. I gave the wrong book, and the wrong link. Have fixed it. Click on the page number, you will go directly to the correct page.

  14. [...] been thinking about the sorts of arguments Jim has been making here and [...]

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