Progressives do not suffer from this curious blind spot when discussing what they see as social problems. They can wax eloquent on "externalities" and the Tragedy of the Commons when discussing pollution. In many ways they are correct when they do this; it's just odd that they do not see externalities and the Tragedy of the Commons on their preferred nostrums: the firing of Brendon Eich, the canceling the bank account of a couple of christian brothers, the suppression of scientific papers "unhelpful" to the current Anthropogenic Global Warming mania.
This may be happening not because Progressives are stupider than those one or two generations ago, but because Progressives who could (or would) reason this way have been purged:
Earlier this evening an Instapundit reference reminded me of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s insightful essay Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs, in which he uses a clever physics analogy to explain why cult-like groups often respond to strong evidence against their core beliefs by becoming more fanatical.So where does this lead? What will be the easily foreseeable reaction to an increasingly despotic and increasingly unpopular - and, dare I say it, an increasingly foreign - ideology?
Here’s a major sign of evaporative cooling: the American Physical Society has since appointed a committee of working scientists (one of whom is Curry herself) to reexamine and possibly reverse its public commitment to AGW alarmism. As well it should; the alarmists’ predictions have failed so massively that they no longer have a scientific case – they’re going to have to rebuild one with a set of models that at least retrodicts the actual data.
Whatever findings the APS committee issues, the very fact that it has been convened at all is a sign that (in Yudkowsky’s analogy) the higher-energy molecules have become excited by the counterevidence and are exiting the cold trap. Or, in the metaphor of an earlier day, the rats are looking for a way off the sinking ship…
This is happening at the same time that the IPCC’s AR5 (Fifth Assessment Report) asserts its highest ever level of confidence that the (nonexistent for 15+ years) global warming is human-cased. What Yudkowsky tells us is that AR5′s apparently crazed assertion is a natural result of the mounting counterevidence. The voices of sanity and moderation, such as they are in the AGW crowd, are evaporating out; increasingly, even more than in the past, their game will be run by the fanatics and the evidence-blind.
The sooner the correction is made, the less jarring the turn. The longer things drag out, the sharper and more jolting it will be.
The Media used to be a firm brace against any correction, but they are moribund - not dead, but coughing up blood and a shadow of their former strength. They won't help the Progressive cause. The Universities have been fiercely Progressive of late, but there's a Bad Moon rising in higher education with unsustainable cost structures and massively online courses that will wipe out the current establishment withing a decade or two. They won't be able to help the Progressives after that happens. The government bureaucracies are staffed with what increasingly seem to be political hacks. There's the problem.
The IRS, the BLM, the EPA, the CDC, the Justice Department, the ATF - all have been on Progressive crusades. A purge is needed, but is unlikely to happen. So where do things end?
This will not end well. If Progressives use the only remaining tool in their toolbox (the Organs of the State) to impose their will on a resistant country, then that road leads straight to secession. There isn't any question where it ends, only whether one or the other party turns aside before the destination.
Evaporative cooling theory suggests that Progressives won't. As they increasingly (and rightly) feel under counterattack, they will double down.
This will not end well.