Friday, July 31, 2020

how malleable are our beliefs?

Exactly how malleable are our beliefs? It’s not so much a question of changing people’s political opinions. That seems to be very easy. In the past half century we’ve seen extraordinary, and extraordinarily rapid, changes in the population’s views on various political and social issues. Political positions that enjoyed almost no support at all a couple of decades ago (such as homosexual marriage) now enjoy majority support. And among the young, overwhelming support.

Immigration was very unpopular a few decades ago. Today it has sufficient support that immigration restrictionism has become a non-viable political position.

Political positions that were considered to be open to some debate, such as climate change, are no longer open to question. Among the young climate change is absolutely unquestioned. 

But to what extent have beliefs really changed? Are people simply conforming to these dominant ideologies because they’re too scared to disagree? Or because it’s easier and more socially advantageous to conform outwardly? Have people’s core beliefs actually changed?

Perhaps we should look to history. In 1520 England was a Catholic country. A hundred years later the English were rabidly and hysterically anti-Catholic. Was this a sincere abandonment of one religious conviction for another? Was it, despite the anti-Catholic hysteria, mostly superficial? In fact was the hysteria a sign of over-compensation? 

One interesting recent sign is the rabid Sinophobia that has emerged in Australia in the past few months. Anti-racism is the dominant ideology in Australia as it is throughout the Anglosphere but now that anti-Chinese racism is not merely socially acceptable but approved by the government and the media Australians seem to be enthusiastically embracing it. 

So is anti-racism merely a superficial change in belief?

Is the widespread belief in open borders merely superficial? If the government and the media suddenly started pushing anti-immigration rhetoric would the population simply go along and become ardent immigration restrictionists? If the government and the media suddenly announced that climate change was nonsense would people become ardent climate change sceptics?

A couple of months ago hardly anyone in Australia was wearing masks. The government and the media had told them that masks don’t work. Now the government and the media are telling people that masks not only work, they’re essential. And suddenly Australians are willing to accept the idea of compulsory mask-wearing.

There’s also the popular belief on the Right that there are millions of secret Trump voters who are unwilling to admit to pollsters that they intend to vote for Trump. But, so the right-wing theory goes, despite trailing badly in the polls Trump is going to win easily. Is this theory correct? Are millions of people outwardly conforming to anti-Trumpism while being secret MAGA hat-wearers? In a few months we’ll know the answer to that question, which may provide some clues as to the answers to the other questions I’ve posed.

Is it possible that political opinions are so malleable that public opinion really can turn on a dime?

Is it also possible that most people don’t really have strong political opinions? That they merely outwardly conform to whatever beliefs make life easy?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

COVID-19 not all bad news

Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. One very very good thing could come out of the COVID-19 situation - it could be a disaster for universities.

In Australia universities are closing campuses and laying off thousands of staff. This is the best news for Australia in decades. With any luck some universities will shut down for good. And a lot of academics will end up on the dole. 

A university education is only beneficial for a very small proportion of the population, probably 10% at most. For anyone else it is not merely useless but actively harmful. Our universities are churning out immense numbers of graduates, most of whom we simply don’t need. There is nothing more dangerous to a society than excess university graduates. They become a serious social problem. They swell the ranks of political activism and are a threat to the very survival of our civilisation.

It’s not just the graduates with Mickey Mouse degrees in gender studies or women’s studies. The single most dangerous thing for any society is a surplus of lawyers and we already have a massive over-supply of lawyers. Most university business courses are only marginally less useless than gender studies courses. And how many economists do we actually need?

And of course there are the pseudo-sciences, such as anthropology and climate science. 

Not that I’m cruel or vindictive. I would like to see those now useless academics offered retraining so that they can become useful members of society. They could be taught valuable skills. Like digging ditches, waitressing, truck-driving.

My one great fear is that idiotic governments will bail the universities out. This needs to be resisted. The universities should be allowed to die. If our society is to survive they must be allowed to die.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

social media and the cultural Revolution

If you look at western society in the 1990s there were obviously some problems. There was a lot of feminist craziness. The unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government was becoming more and more of a threat. There was however no real reason to believe that western civilisation was on the brink of chaos and complete madness. The problems seemed survivable.

Now we have chaos and complete madness. Something has changed. And that something is social media. Other factors have been at work but the truly devastating factor has been social media.

Social media is the big one because it's the thing that turned SJWs from a minor irritation into a grave threat to civilisation. It gave SJWs a weapon with which they could destroy people's lives and force corporations to toe the SJW line. It transformed SJWs from marginalised nutters into an immensely formidable organised power bloc. It has made SJWs/Wokesters into a force capable of carrying through the most radical Cultural Revolution in history.

The problem is that social media is inherently bad. You can't have good social media. All social media is damaging. Bringing the social media giants under some sort of control (forcing them to operate as public utilities for example) might help marginally but social media is by its very nature socially destructive.

Since it seems very unlikely that social media can be destroyed then at the very least it needs to be brought to heel.

Social media is the oxygen that allows SJWs and Wokeists to survive and thrive and multiply.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

de Gaulle quotes

“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.” - Charles de Gaulle

“In order to be the master, the politician poses as the servant.” - Charles de Gaulle

“You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.” - Charles de Gaulle

“In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.” - Charles de Gaulle

“No country without an atom bomb could properly consider itself independent.” - Charles de Gaulle