It’s easy to forget how unnatural it is to tolerate views we disagree with

From Spectator Coffee House

Most of us have grown up in such comfortable, peaceful political cultures that we easily forget how unnatural it is to tolerate worldviews and opinions we strongly disagree with; in the English-speaking world it took hundreds of years to achieve this lucky situation, but in much of the planet it is still a mirage. It’s probably more fragile than we think because many people’s actual attachment to democratic liberal principles are pretty wafer-thin when it comes to people and views they dislike.

Judging by actual recorded footage, rather than morality tales on social media with implausibly emotive narratives, the overwhelming majority of violence around the US election has been conducted by opponents of Donald Trump. Many are angry because they have grown up with everything being a consumer experience in which their whims are catered for, when as Australian philosopher Russell Blackford‏ put it, ‘Liberalism is about putting up with stuff that you don’t much like on the basis that others will do likewise.’ Many are not so much angry as simply bored, and wish to live in more interesting times, a wish they may get. The people who terrify me, and who have caused the most misery throughout history, whether for religious or secular causes, are the true believers, convinced that God or history or justice is on their side, and that their enemies are heretics, infidels or Nazis. You’d have to be very dull-witted indeed not to see that legitimising their violent passions will have serious consequences down the line.

Read it all there.


Comments so far

  1. Surely the problem is there are a majority of stupid and ignorant people, exploited by a cynical government and its interchangeable political veneer? If most people were reason-able these things could never happen. I would like to develop this thread into the supposedly rational developed societies where we think rational scientific disciplines have replaced ignorant fear and belief as the basis for our governance. Simply not the case in the system we live under. My hypothesis is that it’s our emotional ignorant masses who are to blame, plus an elite that has spent centuries refining its exploitation of the masses in a elected totocracy for their own power and profit, so we are all doomed by the ignorance and uncritical, emotional, social pressure-led beliefs of the masses, who are simply not intereted in a thinking democracy. Forget it..

    “Science doesn’t care what you think.” “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts”. “Belief in the ignorance of experts”. “What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”. Yeah, right. Great words, from clever people..

    Sadly the lumpen proletariat don’t follow these lofty and challenging ideals. Politicians and government can cynically exploit their power FAR more profitably by legalised deception using easy popular belief of the unquestioning masses, and their opinion led media.. AKA modern democracy. It’s just less violent, and state organised crime is legalised and better concealed within our “constitution”. A “Department of Hard Sums” is unlikely to take precedence in British politics. “The truth? Surely Not, Minister?” People are the problem. Nothing those who know the truth can change without power.

    Few who depend on the science and rational engineering that delivers their developed society actually apply scientific discipline of independnent validation to their beliefs. So, sadly, science denial for easy control and profit is the basis for too many laws and actions. The inconvenient truth is not encouraged by politicians, because politics doesn’t like sceptically scrutinised hard facts they can’t argue, they prefer emotional opinion decided by adversarial debate – “winning” – with personal attacks against those promoting the facts they cannot deny. Just make it up.

    Sound familiar? Burn the books, disappear the intellectuals, win the argument – Lite. And they are allowed to get away with it, because too many people prefer easy opinion and fitting in to the difficult and less popular understanding. I blame this majority of hard of thought people. The government you get deonds on the level of informed scrutiny you exert on them.

    Seems increasingly few can be bothered to understand or support the hard won facts of science and the disciplines of statistical fact and scientific validation. Easy beliefs are SO much easier to hold and share, and so much easy MONEY is available to insiders from legalising the exploitation of snake oil remedies to artificially created fearful beliefs in peactime rackets – Han’s Rosling’s “disastrous ignorance”, of most people. RIP.

    The promotion of easy belief over the harder facts of actual science and experience has become a government industry for regressive profit, in preference to what we KNOW are the solutions on the science facts, to subsidise a number of quite avoidably regressive “solutions” to environmental issues. This is a non-trivial industry , wasting growing Billions pa by law to make its supposed benefits much worse in science fact. Set to waste over £1T over the next 20 years on energy policy that must make every one of its claimed benefits worse on the science facts, by law, especially climate change from CO2 emissions and sustainability of affordable supply.

    Politicians and environment zealots arguments present easy to beieve, and ultimately wrong and unquantifiable, justification for what cannot solve the problems. LIes on the fact. They attack detractors who use inconvenient facts personally, rather than on the facts. Same old god on our side, with us or against us, the racist oppression of the Nazis, Zionists, Pol Pot, Tribal Africa, etc.

    The new, victimless, technological, post truth legalised crimes of governments. Easy £Billions for those in power, no one dies, directly. Malfeasance in fact.

    This exploitation of easy belief over harder understandng for fraudulent profitby law is happening in supposedly civilised, educated and developed societies – scocieties developed through application of the scientific method that should have replaced the need for an exploitable belief in a god, or the bloke down the pub, at work, etc.. Not yet.

    The same ignorant fear promoted by pressure group propaganda in earleir times uses the same old techniques in modern forms, to promote false in fact solutions for easy insider money and votes/power. It works because the people being manipulated are in fact still fearful and ignorant, the majority proudly innumerate and lazy of thought, as well as far too easily trusting of the fraudulent system of government behind such legisaltion, prefering the easy comfort of social conformity and tribalism to the educated objective independence they are supposedly educated to apply to their conclusions. Evidence? How do I know?

    My expertise is in what is being enforced by law for easy insider subsidy profit in energy, waste, etc. In fact these subsidies exploit fear of environmental disaster, that is unprovable by scientific method, and probably mostly bogus on the facts, but easy to be unknowingly fearful and dramatic about, and easy to simplistically recite and share with your tribe as a global disaster.

    Climate disaster – from a maybe 1 degree rise in global temperature this century, for whatever reason, etc. Maybe AGW, maybe not. Can’t be proven, but…. the disastrous human failing of ignorant fear of disaster beyond their personal control is easily exploited with some partial and “stretched” data (as was again exposed recently at NOAA), plus some extremist post truth science=propaganda, But the REAL fraud comes when bogus, and in fact very regressive solutions on the basis of their supposed benefits, are proposed to make easy money for cynical law makers and their lobbyists, on the facts of established energy science few care to address. The media are usually complicit in any supporting catastrophe story…

    ” I once saw a photograph of a large herd of wild elephants in Central Africa seeing an airplane for the first time, and all in state of wild collective terror… As, however, there were no journalists among them, the terror died down when the airplane was out of sight.” BR

    Fact – fossil dependent renewables are causing more CO2 per MWh to be emitted from the grid at 2 or 3 times the price versus simply preferring gas replacing coal and nuclear replacing both, on existing grid connected sites. The best solution on the objectives of policy requires NO environmental disasters of a carpet of wind farms across most of the UK land area, or a coastline of barrages – that can’t actually deliver enough energy to replace fossil in fact so will be pointlessly obsolete when nuclear is our only mainstream base load, 24/7.

    Renewables are in fact very un eco in the context of a deveoped economy’s grid supply, use massive resources per unit energy generated, and are incapable of powering most developed economies versus the fossil and nuclear we have. NONE of these solutions can actually deliver the energy we need when put to the test in the UK energy future, at current or post fossil tripling of electrical demand, after the fossil fuels they are parasites upon for their subsidies are gone.

    nb: Bio fuels emit more CO2 per MWh than coal, so make climate change from this cause worse, and are unsustainable in quantity as they require massive amounts of land to fuel, finally they cost twice the price by law. But these are only the facts, not the rhetoric.

    WASTE: Fines that don’t discriminate between modern landfill in lined pits following high RDF recycling rates (hence less carbon based fuel BTW) , and very substantial energy recovery from landfill gas, at £25/tonne gate fees, have been displaced by the burning of the waste at £100/tonne exploiting land fill fines, FAR more than it costs, cartel price rigged, by law, using £80/tonne fines that divert waste to over priced combustion in EfW incinerators, etc,, regardless of whether it is “bad” old style landfill or modern well managed landfill we have plenty of room for (but Belgium and Netherlands don’t).

    Waste burning is a troublesome technology, and produces more CO2 per unit energy than coal or even bio mass, at 2 or 3 times the price for their “energy from waste”, by subsidy again,, and still leaves a substantial residue of landfill that goes to – landfill. Not good for the planet.

    Needless to say the CO2 emissions from bio fuels and waste burning are reclassified as OK because they are “renewable”. The inconvenient climate truth that its all the same CO2, and that other generation like gas and nuclear produces a lot less CO2 per unit energy, a lot cheaper and cleaner as well, is conveniently omitted when justifying the subsidies for such regressive in fact “solutions”. Just one more example.

    In fact this is all about utilities exploiting environmental issues by law to make them worse at many time the price and profit per unit of what they were paid before. Check out turbines in River locks, etc. The more inefficient and insignificant, the greater the subsidy. Reverse economics, by law, for profit. Saving the the planet, powering (very few in fact) homes vs. 2.5 Million a regular power station does, , etc. Also inefficiently and expensively for easy profit that makes net CO2 emissions from the grid worse in fact.

    Never mind the environment, deceive the public to monetise a real or artificially created irrational belief du jour, with a more profitable solution. Doesn’t have to be effective, as long as it makes more profit than what they did before, for lobbyists AND government insiders. The “trough” too many of our powerful elites are in, and, like pigs, hard to get them away from while there is still food in it. Plus ca change?

    Sadly it seems our expensively educated soft degree millenials all believe in “renewables”, as advertised (best renewable is in fact nuclear energy, using transmutation, but don’t tell the anti-science greenshirts ), so we are all doomed by their ignorance and gullibility, the proto fascism social consensus of their beliefs, easily exploited by dishonest politicians and government, happy to exploit it for profit and power by whatever law delivers them easy rewards – for supporting a fraud on the people in science fact. This isn’t just what I think. It is easy for an A level physics student to prove on government statistics.

    The renewable enrgy fraud already takes Billions pa from our productive economy in energy poverty, to profit Whitehall’s energy lobbyist friends while making every measure of the problems they claim to relieve worse, on the science facts.

    We know by their public statements and subsequent appointments outside public office, that politicians including Gummer, Yeo, Davey, Huhne and Hendry have promoted this fraud on the science fact, and have been in the pay of a grateful renewables industry either during or after office. Don’t know about the permanent secretaries, who write the laws for the lobbyists. Wonder who their retirement jobs are with, though. Or if the payola speaking circuit for great and good lawmaker insiders takes care of it? Or both.

    So be careful what you think, believe, and wish for. Seems we are all DOOMED to these serial scams based on what people think, enabled by studied human ignorance, fearfulness, stupidity and tribalism that our politicians understand well, and are well trained at Eton, Oxgridge et al to exploit for their lobbyist friends. If you doubt the above on energy, watch the former Chief Scientist to the DECC from 2008 -2014, Sir David MacKay FRS, explain the realities to you, that he explained to them w/o success, debunking most of the nonsenses people believe/think are “facts”.

    Policy is simply fraudulent and wrong. No opinion appropriate. But this is only the science fact, politicians follow the MONEY they can get from exploiting the fearful beliefs of an ignorant and opinionated population whose thoughts they control through a compliant populist media, run by hard of science arts graduates, strong on beliefs and opinions, mercifully ignorant of the scientific or statistical reality, and not encoursged to promote it if the facts conflict with the social belief systems of the class whose opinions they wish to control, in the next great pseudo-scientific catastrophe promoted by Feynman’s “experts” – with “an opinion and a typewriter.”.

    Ed West, Bad news. No one will save us, because the powerful elites have spent centuries learning how to legally exploit the under privileged hard of thought, who believe stuff, and have opinions. The powerful won’t give up the rackets they spent lifetimes legalising their control of as “government”, and people won’t stop being gullible, lazy minded and stupid, or the media backward in exploiting this.

    We are doomed, DOOMED, by the deceitful elites and the avoidable, lazy, tribal stupidity of our supposedly educated masses. Just are. Education shall not change them , nor reason deny their beliefs.

    I could go on…………

What do you think?