Sunday, May 18, 2014

The political bands connecting us weaken

One of the best arguments that Progressives are not very smart is that they cannot deduce the easily foreseeable consequences of their actions.  The Obama years are really nothing other than an orgy of progressive ideas forced on a (mostly) unwilling Republic.  So where does that lead?

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.


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.
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?

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.


Dave H said...

Evaporative cooling? Sounds more like fractional distillation to me. Impurities that are inclined to migrate away when heat - or facts - are applied do so, leaving behind a residue of the most fact-resistant products.

Borepatch said...

Dave, that's perfect. The intent is not to cool, it's to purify.

Dave H said...

Except what's left in the bottom of the still is worthless crap nobody wants. Toxic waste in many cases. (Think oil refining, or Marmite.) All the good stuff evaporated away and was collected elsewhere, because it was valuable.

Hmm. Maybe I got that right after all.

Chris said...

In far too many cases, progressives refuse to countenance facts because they disagree with them on an emotional basis. If a fact is double-plus ungood, it can't be true.

scipioamericanus said...

"Think oil refining, or Marmite."


Comrade Misfit said...

Personally, I tend to think that a lot of conservatives have an ideology that they will not bend, even if the facts are otherwise. When I hear the social conservatives talk about how "evolution is a hoax" or the whole birther bit, I conclude that they are just nuts and there is no point in talking to them.

But so it goes.

Borepatch said...

Comrade Misfit, no argument. The Right also has its shibboleths. However (a) the social conservative movement does not seem politically ascendent in this country, certainly not like progressiveism is, and (b) the Left itself shies away from these topics (e.g. look at how the Left views evolution and Human Bio Diversity, or Evolutionary Psychology and implications on gender relations).

There is Received Wisdom, and the line that Must Not Be Crossed, eh?

burt said...

Comrade Misfit (and BP): (c) when confronted with facts that bring its agenda into question, it (the Left) unilaterally declares that "the debate over [x] is settled" rather than acknowledge the existence of those facts. conservatives (little "c") tend toward adoption of new facts into the discussion in an attempt to find the truth of the argument.

Moreover, (d) the Left goes out of its way to "punish", ostracize, and label as "traitor to the cause" those who publicly question their own belief structure.

Indeed, the widely varied ideological viewpoints being expressed by many of those on the Right are proof of the willingness - and sometimes eagerness - of conservatives to hear as many points of view as possible when trying to find the truth in an argument.

Nosmo King said...

This will not end well

I think we have no idea just how not well this will end. I'm just as certain the Left has even less an idea than we do.

Goober said...

BAM! I couldn't agree more. The left dismisses evolution when it is inconvenient to them, too.

despite their claims of being Enlightened, they are as anti-science as the young earth creationists, in their own way.

Lissa said...

On weeding out the knowledgeable portion of the population so that only the dum-dums are left:

Mike and I were talking about this the other night. He asked if I knew why, since EVERYONE knows the Nigerian oil emails are scams, they still reference "Nigeria." (Why not Qatar? Or the UAE?)

It's brilliant. Because EVERYONE knows that Nigerian oil emails are scams, they dismiss them out of hand. That means that anyone who clicks or emails in response . . . is that small portion of the population that they are targeting, i.e. that might fall for such a scam.

It's self-selection at its dreariest.

Goober said...

Nosmo - Unfortunately, peace is an aberration in the history of humanity. That we've managed to live in such mostly-peaceful times was a case of luck, not a unique ability that humanity has somehow only recently acquired to avoid conflict.

I think the only thing that has changed is that large, wide-scaled conflicts have become more untenable, and so long-term, small scale insurgencies and 4th generation warfare have become the norm in today's world.

The rest is all the same. Any person expecting to live out their life in relative peace is a person hoping for a life far outside the norm for most of humanity.

Of all the things we humans are good at doing, we're absolutely the best at being total bastards to each other, and if you look back through history, it is mostly a result of people like our progressive friends, trying to force themselves on other people against those other people's will.