NYT Editor Bari Weiss Resignation Letter: “The New McCarthyism”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

When President Trump unexpectedly won in 2016, the New York Times realised they had lost contact with a large segment of the American people. Opinion writer Bari Weiss was hired to reach out beyond the NYT’s increasingly narrow audience demographic. But Weiss has now resigned, after she decided it was impossible for her to do her job.

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times. 

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong. 

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets. 

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati. 

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry. 

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper. 

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them. 



Source: https://www.bariweiss.com/resignation-letter

The intolerance Weiss describes seems awfully familiar. In my opinion it is likely just another manifestation of the same self righteous narcissism and cancel culture which seems to be pervading many of our scientific and academic institutions, the corruption which permits and sanctifies vile personal attacks and bullying of scientists who disagree with their colleagues.

But there is nothing new about the rise of intellectual fascism.

Cancel Culture Dominates Climate Research, Cancelling the Scientific Method

H. Sterling Burnett
July 14, 2020 Updated: July 14, 2020

Contrary to popular perception, “cancel culture,” in which people or their opinions are shamed and shut out of discussion when they don’t conform to whatever those shouting the loudest or rioting in the streets believe, is not a new phenomenon.

For more than two decades, politically connected climate scientists have been leading the cancel culture movement.

Let’s look at just a couple of examples of where academic conferences and media headlines have given consensus, cancel culture science pride of place over the facts when it comes to alarming climate claims.

Based solely on the unsupported assertions of consensus climate researchers, the media has been flooded with stories claiming human caused climate change is causing famine and starvation.

In late June 2020, Cornell Alliance for Science claimed farmers in sub-Saharan Africa were desperate for new farm technologies and crops to fight a climate change induced decline in crop production that the Alliance claimed was “driving millions [of Africans] into hunger.” Yet data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization shows cereal (staple) food crop production across southern Africa has grown substantially, and fairly steadily, since at least the 1960s. Moreover, the past 10 years have provided the 10 highest crop yields in sub-Saharan African history.

Too many climate scientists have become sideshow hucksters hoping to sell the general public the dangerous notion that giving government experts greater control over our lives will allow us to control the weather, and make the world a utopia. Ask the people in Cuba, Hong Kong, North Korea, of Venezuela how that is working out for them.

Read more: https://www.theepochtimes.com/cancel-culture-dominates-climate-research-cancelling-the-scientific-method_3424575.html

How did we get into this diabolical situation?

The late author Michael Crichton claimed in his famous Caltech lecture that the intellectual rot started in the 1960s, with the SETI project. Scientists really, really wanted to look for radio signals from intelligent extraterrestrials, so nobody spoke up to challenge the flaky assumptions which were used to justify SETI project expenditure.

… In 1960, Drake organizes the first SETI conference, and came up with the now-famous Drake equation: N=N*fp ne fl fi fc fL

[where N is the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; fp is the fraction with planets; ne is the number of planets per star capable of supporting life; fl is the fraction of planets where life evolves; fi is the fraction where intelligent life evolves; and fc is the fraction that communicates; and fL is the fraction of the planet’s life during which the communicating civilizations live.]

This serious-looking equation gave SETI a serious footing as a legitimate intellectual inquiry. The problem, of course, is that none of the terms can be known, and most cannot even be estimated. The only way to work the equation is to fill in with guesses. And guesses-just so we’re clear-are merely expressions of prejudice.

Nor can there be “informed guesses.” If you need to state how many planets with life choose to communicate, there is simply no way to make an informed guess. It’s simply prejudice.

As a result, the Drake equation can have any value from “billions and billions” to zero. An expression that can mean anything means nothing. Speaking precisely, the Drake equation is literally meaningless, and has nothing to do with science. I take the hard view that science involves the creation of testable hypotheses. The Drake equation cannot be tested and therefore SETI is not science. SETI is unquestionably a religion. …

Read more: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/09/aliens-cause-global-warming-a-caltech-lecture-by-michael-crichton/

Once an entire group has embraced the idea that the end justifies the means, if the end seems important enough, once they have accepted that a model full of wild guesses can be treated as a guide to action, it can be hard to kick the habit. There is no end to the list of noble causes and meaningless equations which can be used by the dishonest to justify their dishonesty and bullying. Making stuff up is easier than doing real work.

Such intellectual dishonesty and the bigotry it led to is ultimately self defeating, though it can do a lot of damage while it lasts. If the alleged intolerance and double standards at the New York Times continues and worsens, in the end the only people who will want to read NYT will be the staff. And perhaps not even them.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

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Insufficiently Sensitive
July 15, 2020 6:17 pm

If the alleged intolerance and double standards at the New York Times continues and worsens, in the end the only people who will want to read NYT will be the staff.

BUT with the momentum of herd mentality carrying the stampede of readership along, it will be decades before that end is in sight, simply because all those loyal readers will simply brush off Bari Weiss’s letter, no matter how clearly and eloquently written it is. Oh, it’ll make a few editors blush, and maybe some of the low-level nerds who were once supportive to her. But the far-from alleged intolerance and double standards at the Times will persist as long as the paychecks keep coming – what else can those verbiage-puppets do but echo the Great Newsroom Leader of the hour?

Michael Ozanne
Reply to  Insufficiently Sensitive
July 16, 2020 8:18 am

I did ask how they basically unlawfully dismissed this person (by UK standards anyway) but kept the brain donor who couldn’t tell the difference between “Edelweiss” and the “Horst Wessel Lied”

No answer yet…

Steve Case
July 15, 2020 6:46 pm

Among those I helped bring to our pages: …Monica Lewinsky …

Was that put in there just to see if everyone actually read all the words? Dunno, maybe I’m missing something.

Reply to  Steve Case
July 15, 2020 7:10 pm

Sticky situation.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Scissor
July 15, 2020 8:15 pm

On the topic of both questionable puns and Monica, possibly the most eye opening successful attempts to combine both came from an article about her published about 4 or so years ago.

In the cheerful opening paragraph the article read, “… since… Moncia Lewinsky has been keeping her head down.”

Yeah. They published that with a straight face. Just wish I could remember who published it. A casual search suggests it was Time.

Steve Case
Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 15, 2020 8:35 pm

“… keeping her head down.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 16, 2020 12:28 pm

My favorite example of mis-speak occurred back when the accusations about Michael Jackson’s relationship to young boys surfaced back in the late ’80s. As I recall he was on a tour somewhere in Asia and collapsed on stage. Elizabeth Taylor (a close friend of Jackson’s) flew over to see him in the hospital. Later she met with the press and one of the reporters asked her how Michael was doing. Her response: “He’s holding his own”.

A few days later a Jackson spokesperson related that Jackson had undergone a brain scan, but “they didn’t find anything”.

Reply to  Scissor
July 15, 2020 8:21 pm
John Endicott
Reply to  Steve Case
July 16, 2020 7:08 am

I dunno, did you somehow miss the stain on the blue dress?

Tim Gorman
July 15, 2020 6:56 pm

This did begin n the 60’s. It started with many young people abandoning moral absolutes for more relativism. Moral relativism is really nothing more than “you can’t judge me, my personal morals can’t be questioned”. Once your moral relativism becomes internalized then it becomes pre-eminent in your mind. Those who don’t believe the same as your moral relativism become an enemy that must be destroyed so that your moral relativism can remain intact.

It’s why so many “boomers” today see nothing wrong with living in an alternate reality (usually drug induced) or in “free” sex (i.e. cheat on your spouse with no repercussions).

Morals are those traditions and beliefs that support the survival of a society. E.g. the Judeo/Christian moral code that has survived for several thousand years. Moral relativism breaks down the survival of a society, it becomes moral chaos. I’m not saying that the Judeo/Christian moral code is the only one that works or is the best one. But for a society to survive there must be a constant moral code. Moral chaos where everyone believes they are law unto themselves simply can’t work. It’s why we are seeing so much chaos in our society today – including seeing babies shot to death with almost no repercussions instituted by society.

Can this be fixed? It won’t be easy. I’m not sure there is enough moral courage left in our society to fix it.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 15, 2020 7:30 pm

Babies are scalped, decapitated, dismembered, disemboweled, liquified under selective-child for social progress, and cannibalized (“reduced, reused, recycled”) for medical progress, in what the zealots characterize as an “essential service”. Not the first, second, third, or fourth choice, but Pro-Choice, the wicked solution.

Then there is diversity (i.e. denial of individual dignity, denial of individual conscience, affirmative discrimination, color quotas, color blocs) and exclusion, political congruence (“=”) or selective exclusion, and a-bortion… cancel culture.

Deja vu. Ethical (i.e. relativistic “religion”) codes, and, of course, the Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic religion. Here’s to progress (i.e. monotonic [unqualified] change): one step forward, two steps backward.

Martin Buchanan
Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 15, 2020 8:21 pm

I’ve heard this argument my whole life. Then what happens when confederates are attacked?….conservatives resort to a moral relativist position. I say that as someone who abhors most leftist thought.

Reply to  Martin Buchanan
July 15, 2020 10:18 pm

That disagreement was about preserving history, and mitigating the progress of so-called “cancel” culture. It was about diversity (i.e. denial of individual dignity, denial of individual conscience, affirmative discrimination, color quotas, color blocs) and exclusion.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Martin Buchanan
July 16, 2020 8:51 am

Let me clear something up. I live in Kansas. We never had slavery. We were a Free State. When I grew up history taught us about the bravery in battle of the Confederates. Nary a word about them supporting slavery. They were “Rebels” first and foremost, just as our Founding Fathers were. The TV show “The Rebel” and the movie “Outlaw Josie Wales” were perfect examples. Easyrider was another “rebel” movie. Surprisingly Malcom X is another perfect example of a “rebel”. While his views were racist and violent, he was a true rebel against the society. Anyone who has seen the “Dukes of Hazzard” *should* have a hard time saying the show exemplifies a belief in racism or slavery. That confederate flag on their car represents them being rebels against the local law.

So when the BLM and Antifa today condemn the statues of Confederate generals as being emblems of racism and slavery, that simply isn’t true for an entire segment of the population to whom they represent bravery and freedom from an oppressive government.

What you see in a symbol is personal to you. It is the height of hubris to say that everyone must view the symbol in the same way. Just ask Kapernick. He sees the American flag as a symbol of hatred and racism. I don’t. For him to say I am a racist and a hater is nothing more than projection.

A symbol doesn’t act. It is actions taken as part of what you believe that symbol stands for that should be condemned. There are lots of dead soldiers, law enforcement officers, and firefighters that died believing that symbol of America, its flag, stands for what is laid out in the Declaration of Independence – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. When you condemn all those who died as racists and supporters of slavery you actually only condemn yourself.

Bob Meyer
Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 16, 2020 4:21 pm

Read any of the state secession documents and it becomes abundantly clear that it was not a spirit of rebellion that led these states to secede. It was to maintain their “peculiar” institution of slavery. The only spirit of rebellion was among the slaves and it was fear of a slave rebellion that led to the secession.

Many southerners cannot imagine that their great grandparents died in the cause of keeping people in chains so they invented the “rebel” identity. The ante-bellum southern culture was rigidly and oppressively conformist, hardly a place to breed rebels.

Reply to  Bob Meyer
July 17, 2020 6:51 am

The reasons the state leaders decided to secede are not the reasons the citizens fought for their state in the war. Very few Confederate soldiers owned any slaves themselves, and a case can be made that the institution of slavery depressed their wages, so they weren’t doing it out of self-interest. They honestly believed that loyalty to their state superseded any allegiance to a distant national government, and that they were defending that state against “Northern Aggression”. We may not agree with those beliefs, but that doesn’t change the fact that they held them.

Reply to  Bob Meyer
July 17, 2020 8:06 am

Slavery was listed as one reason among many.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 16, 2020 5:31 am

“This did begin n the 60’s.”

I agree.

There was a little bit of leftwing bias in the press prior to the 1960’s but it was not overt.

In the 1960’s we had the Vietnam war, the first television war, and the anti-war protestors, and that is the time when the Media started actively advocating for leftwing causes, mostly anti-war causes at the time, but they expanded their political activism into all areas after the war was over, and haven’t looked back since.

The Leftwing News Media is now almost exclusively a Propaganda Machine for the Left. Everything they say is aimed at gaining political power for the Left by tearing down the Right. The Truth is not in them.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 17, 2020 7:54 am

I recently started rereading Ayn Rand’s “For The New Intellectual”. Her insights into the protests and counter-culture of the 60’s and where it would lead was quite prescient. I’ve found it a rather disturbing read in light of recent events.

Mike Dubrasich
July 15, 2020 7:01 pm

The NYT jumped the shark long ago. It’s been a Lord Of The Flies descent into savagery. Weiss never held the conch shell, anyway.

July 15, 2020 7:02 pm

I don’t know that the SETI project was the start of all this intellectual fascism, even though I agree with the comment that it may range from billions to zero. The Drake equation is sort of meaningless, since you need an exceptionally huge event, like two merging Neutron Stars going boom to make all the heavier elements that life is made from. A supernova just doesn’t cut it, making Iron as its heavier elements. A big enough Supernova does create a Neutron star, and having two in a binary system orbiting each other is further unfathomable odds. A pair of colliding Neutron stars, which was probably in our neck of the woods ~5 Billion years is probably a one in a many billion chance already, not to mention everything else just happening like a Goldilocks fairy tale on the good Earth to create the conditions for advanced life forms capable of understanding the universe itself. My gut feeling is that the good Earth is a very, very special place in the entire Universe.

It may be a waste of money, but it is honing scientific advancement in technology to be able to do such a search, and it may pay dividends in some other way, way down the line. So I don’t buy the argument this intellectual fascism started with the SETI project. If anything, the lack of finding any signal proves we are very special. I was with the whole article until that lame claim. Should have blamed Rachael Carson instead for the banning of DDT. Sorry, but I don’t buy that part of the post, but the rest was spot on.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 15, 2020 9:07 pm

I just don’t recall ever hearing that argument before. I agree that the premise was faulty, as in 1960 some of the assumptions weren’t even fully understood. I always doubted the claim since I first heard it in the1960’s as a teenager, since it was pure speculation just making average odds on everything, and that isn’t how science should work. But today is the first I ever heard that argument that it contributed to to sorrry state we are in now.

The creation of the modern day environmental movement that has morphed into culture Marxism is in my mind, orders of magnitude higher than SETI. And that did start in 1963 with Silent Spring and Rachael Carson with the banning of DDT, which has had major devastation on people in Malaria ridden areas. The environmental movement is the trojan horse to global control of the masses, as we see now with the climate charade.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 7:37 am

As a reader of Scientific American from the late 1950s to the late 1990s, it seems to me that the rise of anti-nuclearism and the atomic clock had more of a detrimental influence on science than SETHI.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 8:47 am

Earthling2, I think you are on the right track, but you didn’t go quite far enough. It seems that the modern Marxism started at about the time that Economic Marxism failed, back in the 40s and 50s, or maybe even a bit sooner. The economic Marxists morphed into the Cultural Marxists about then, and started the Long March through the Institutions, which is coming to fruition today, with predictably disastrous results.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 9:17 am

Hard to say where the integrity of multiple disciplines of science was lost but it is quite clear that Socialist ideology and university pseudo-intellectualism are the lies at the heart of it. The social “sciences” in particular have spewed garbage cans full of papers that are referenced and lauded despite being devoid of any rigour. The failure of peer review is a critical aspect of this. With the ability to teach on line now it is past time to board up the bricks and mortar and send forth 90% of the professors to the horrors of the real economy.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 17, 2020 7:59 am

I think it was more likely a symptom of damage that was already there.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 7:33 pm

Inference from signals of unknown fidelity and origin. They want to believe… an intellectual curiosity at best, a conflation of logical domains and catastrophic anthropogenic corruption at worst.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 8:26 pm

Maybe the intellectual fascism hadn’t made it to any great heights, but I think the claim is that the SETI project, disguised as science, was able to pave the road up to some greater heights… setting up a base camp for the decades of fantastic ascensions we’ve seen since.

Reply to  Q
July 15, 2020 9:25 pm

Well, out of the blue, I have a new concept to consider, in that fanciful claims, which SETI was, planted the seeds for all other fanciful claims like CAGW. But there were many fanciful claims before that one, in many beliefs, including UFO’s, which are also suspect since there isn’t, and never has been, any definitive proof. And that happened in 1947, probably as part of a cover for all the new weapons and technological advancements in military hardware. Or it was a spoof to fool the Russians that we had more advanced weapons that we were building and hiding it behind the ridiculous notion of little green men. Fanciful claims are everywhere throughout human history, including most of the world religions.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 10:24 pm

Every religion (i.e. behavioral protocol, moral philosophy), especially those prescribed by mortal gods and goddesses, when conflation of logical domains suits their purposes (e.g. leverage, suppression). To the credit of the Judeo-Christian line of faith, religion, and traditions, their God advises them to separate logical domains, and that combined with their religion, was the secret of their unprecedented success. Be fruitful and multiple, don’t commit elective abortion, etc.

John Endicott
Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 7:18 am

There’s a difference between fanciful claims (like UFOs/little green men, big foot, etc.) and fanciful claims pretending to be science (SETI, CAGW, etc.). Prior to SETI, there wasn’t much in the way of fanciful claims being used to fund science on that scale.

john harmsworth
Reply to  John Endicott
July 16, 2020 9:37 am

Apparently I didn’t realize that SETI was a considerable expenditure and I never connected it with the Drake equation. I actually thought SETI was started as a largely volunteer effort to analyse existing radio data.
The Drake equations has obvious limitations as it attempts to define the odds of the existence of something not known to exist. I always took it as an investigational model, with SETI an attempt to bypass it altogether. Rather like looking at observations of temperature instead of calling computer model outputs “evidence”.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 17, 2020 8:02 am

I commented elsewhere on Rand’s essay’s of the time – she wrote about a wholesale abandonment of reason in favor of mysticism and emotionalism in colleges and universities. General intellectual rot. I think her observations were right and all of these things are simply symptoms of the general malaise.

John Tillman
Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 9:17 pm

Merging neutron stars would have been common in the early universe. The first generation of stars contained a disproportionate number of supermassive stars, which burned out quickly and left heavy corpses. They were also close together, so collisions were frequent.

The distribution of elements in the universe has been similar to now for about ten billion years.

You’re right that the Drake Equation is pseudoscience, since so many of its terms have such wide ranges, just for starters. That said, it’s probably fairly easy for simple life to get started, indeed probably inevitable under the right conditions. But, as the history of life on Earth shows, The evolution of more complex organisms is a long shot.

Prokaryotic cells evolved twice, ie bacteria and archaea. The two domains share slightly different versions of the same basic biology, but contained within significantly varying membranes. The fusion of these two types of cells happened only once, to produce us eukaryotes.

Then multicellular, heterotrophic, motile eukaryotes, ie animals, likewise evolved only once. Given sponges and time, the bewildering array of animal life today is not surprising. But getting to sponges was a distinctly low-probability event in just four billion years after the formation of our planet.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2020 6:53 am

Our life is carbon-based. That there is any carbon at all is a double miracle:
1. That any was ever formed.
2. That whatever carbon miraculously did emerge wasn’t immediately shanghaied into becoming oxygen.

Those two miracles needed to happen over and over and over again before life could miraculously arise from non-life. That third miracle needed to occur before life could spend billions of years constantly violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, as it relentlessly became more and more complex – stupidly, blindly, and ever so slowly… for no reason whatsoever

That there is any life at all anywhere in this relatively small and short-lived universe (relative to the appalling odds against life) is astounding. The notion that the universe is dotted with life that arose by chance is just nuts.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
July 16, 2020 9:54 am

Life arose on Earth almost immediately once it cooled sufficiently. This indicates a high probabity of occurence. Whether the first life was based on RNA or DNA is unknown but there has been 4 billion years for silicon or some other lfe to arise here and it hasn’t. Based on these limited facts I conclude that life is common throughout the universe, it is mostly carbon based and if we ever find it, we will find that it has DNA.
Perhaps we’ll find that they just don’t like radio waves.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  john harmsworth
July 16, 2020 6:31 pm

Wow, the certainty of that first statement, sans any evidence whatsoever, is amazing. Good for you, man! Also, there is literally no reason for you to have included the phrase “Based on these limited facts” in your reply. Unless, of course, you consider “limited” to be a synonym for “none”.

While I’ve got you on the line –
What’s tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers?
Just write them with as much conviction
As you wrote your opening fiction
And I’m sure it will work out fine!

Fred Streeter
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
July 17, 2020 9:35 am

A miracle that Carbon is formed within an already existant stellar source of energy?
A miracle that Carbon did not transform to Oxygen? Why would it?
Is a Viroid ‘Life’, or merely a complex molecule?
Is a Petunia ‘Life’, or merely a complex organic structure?
“You for instance, you know Physics, something of Geometry.
Mathematics are your pastime, souls shall rise in their degree.
Butterflies may dread extinction, you’ll not die, it cannot be.”
Or are you merely a more complex self-aware organic structure?

Work performed in an Open System (Planet Earth) does not break the 2nd. Law of Thermodynamics.

I hate to break this to you, but our existence is pointless.
It is up to each of us to give it a point, so that we lead a fulfilled life.
Or top ourself. Most opt for the former.

Small Universe? Observable diameter about 93 billion light years?
Short Lived? About 14 billion years?

Age of the Sun? Age of the Earth? 4.6 billion years.
First signs of Life on Earth? 4.1 billion years ago.

Evidently, plenty of time, if the ingredients are available.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 17, 2020 12:55 pm

The brilliant astrophysicist and Cambridge professor, Sir Fred Hoyle explained that 1) the creation of carbon, and 2) that preservation of carbon (from not being used to build oxygen) is proof of a Super Intellect who had purposely tinkered with the workings of the universe.
The notion that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics isn’t violated in an “open system” is just too stupid for words. Really, anyone reading your comment is in immediate danger of a loss of a few IQ points (therefore, I HIGHLY recommend you not re-read your comment! You’ve been warned!)

As (the atheist) Dr. Crick discussed years ago, the odds against a single medium sized protein arising by chance was something like 1×10^200. In other words, IT. NEVER. HAPPENED. And that’s for a single protein! But the “simplest” life (there is no such thing) is made up of DOZENS of interdependent nanotechnological marvels busily interacting in a highly choreographed dance. The notion that life arose by chance is an insult. It’s a joke where the teller of the joke is its punchline.

The odds against life arising blindly, stupidly and oh so slowly by utter chance is so remote the adjective “astronomical” is a gross understatement. Therefore, yes this universe is way too young and way too tiny to allow even the beginnings of an attempt at something so outrageous.

Abiogenesis is claptrap 19th century pseudoscience. It is the silly creation myth for willfully obtuse people who refuse to believe the patently obvious because of the moral implications.

Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 19, 2020 1:49 pm

I hate to break this to you, but our existence is pointless.

Funny story regarding this premise:

WORLD—A group of atheists, along with some agnostics, announced on Tuesday a new sociopolitical movement consistent with their worldview called No Lives Matter.

According to sources, organizers for NLM have planned numerous rallies to protest other rallies claiming that lives matter. The organization’s mission statement defines the group as “people motivated by the belief that all human lives are equally meaningless.”

“Since we are just random accidents of evolution, and our so-called moral truths are just biochemical reactions in our brain, no human lives, or any lives at all, actually matter,” said prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, speaking for NLM. “Anyone who says Black Lives Matter, or Blue Lives, or whatever lives, has to believe in a higher moral code given by a creator. You can’t say in one breath that lives matter, and in the next breath claim that God is a human invention and all truth is relative.”

“We’re just trying to be logically consistent,” he added.

The movement quickly fell apart, though, when leaders had trouble convincing followers that the No Lives Matter movement mattered.


Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 10:48 pm

The primary problem of the “Drake Equation” is the application of the word “equation” to something that, at best, should be referred to as the “Drake Cocktail Napkin Doodle.”

paul courtney
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
July 21, 2020 12:25 pm

/sarc/ Mr. Kafkazar: I ask the moderator to delete this comment, as it is an affront to cocktail napkin doodles everywhere.

mike macray
Reply to  Earthling2
July 15, 2020 11:50 pm

Earthling 2..
“..I don’t know that the SETI project was the start of all this intellectual fascism, even though I agree with the comment that it may range from billions to zero. ”

And I always thought that SETI was started to compensate for the unsustainable exhaustion of Terrestrial Intelligence. Silly me!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  mike macray
July 16, 2020 5:51 am

SETI made for a good background for a few science fiction movies. I watched a good one the other day: Independence Day.

The movie starts out with a SETI scientist picking up a signal from space, and after they look at the data they realize the signal is not coming from a far away star, but from inside the orbit of the Moon!

I liked the part where the Will Smith character punched the alien in the mouth and knocked him out, after they both crashed their craft in the desert.

I also like the part where they set off the nuclear weapon inside the Alien Mothership. 🙂

A good movie.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:15 am

Indeed, a few well done movies with SETI being part of the main plot/theme. Contact, who was written (novel) by Carl Sagan and his wife in 1985 was a good entertainment movie. And Carl Sagan I believe, wanted to believe in the Drake equation. The thought itself isn’t wrong, that there may be extraterrestrial life out there, but maybe there is a point about SETI starting a slippery slope of pseudoscience that has led to this slippery slope of careless science, which has resulted in this disastrous climate science gone bad.

Another would be 2001: A Space Odyssey, a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was inspired by Clarke’s 1951 short story “The Sentinel”. This probably gave Drake the inspiration to come up with his pseudoscience ‘equation’ in 1960.

The most recent movie to really use the SETI theme was Clara, which was really well done and thought provoking and really good entertainment. But I am a skeptic on ET as well. I guess you could say I am from Missouri…I want cold hard proof of extra ordinary claims. Climate change being the biggest proof required yet.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 7:54 am

“I am from Missouri”

An Army buddy from there pronounced it “Misery”.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:52 am

Except the part about writing a virus for an alien computer system…

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 17, 2020 8:07 am

I’d call it a fun movie.

M Seward
Reply to  Earthling2
July 16, 2020 1:36 am

The Drake equition was marketed as a model.

There is your problem. It is fascinating how these things start with such tiny tears in the science-logic continuum.

Say no more.

CD in Wisconsin
July 15, 2020 7:02 pm

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

A.K.A. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 16, 2020 5:46 am

A truly great quote, and the main reason why Leftist dictatorships are so terrifying.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 16, 2020 7:35 am

Thank God for C.S. Lewis!

Fred Streeter
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
July 19, 2020 11:41 am

No “Reply” to your comments above, so I am posting here.

“The notion that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics isn’t violated in an “open system” is just too stupid for words. Really, anyone reading your comment is in immediate danger of a loss of a few IQ points ”

I have been attending to my vegetable plots for the past couple of days, making the most of the fine weather.

My potato plants have had enough energy to use the chemicals in the soil to build themselves and their tubers.
Disorder into Order, one might say.

That energy was mostly obtained from the Sun, as has been the case throughout Evolution, or since Creation.

Planet Earth is an Open System permitting the passage of Energy and Matter between itself and its surrounding environment.
Even Creationists have agreed with this.
Thus there has been no violation of the Second Law.

Perhaps it would have been more adult of you to provide examples of where you believe the Second Law to have been broken, “time after time”?

B.T.W. Moral implication?
We are only moral if we are threatened with eternal damnation?

Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 19, 2020 1:45 pm

Disorder into Order, one might say.

One might try to say that, but surely one commits False Equivalence in doing so.

In your premise regarding plants, the concept of “Disorder” as you’ve used it would seem to have to presuppose “Chaos,” a condition or state of being that most certainly may not be applied to potatoes and their tubers. If I’m wrong what have I missed in your argument?

A potato as something that can be identified, explained, studied, understood, etc., i.e., a potato merely because of its existence as a thing cannot be “Chaotic,” which is by definition a condition or state of being, and this only loosely.

Because a plant reproduces itself from a seed or tubers or whatever using chemicals from the ground, etc., doesn’t mean that system is chaotic. In fact quite the opposite it would seem. There’s an ordered system if there ever was one is there not?

Fred Streeter
Reply to  sycomputing
July 20, 2020 12:46 am

(Note to self. No more throw-away facetious comments.)

But my debate with Mr Schilling was primarily about his interpretation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Energy is required to form the potato plant from the seed potato and its chemical environment. The developing plant takes most of this energy from the Sun. Etc., etc.

Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 20, 2020 4:55 am

“But my debate with Mr Schilling . . . ”

Agreed. Pardon the interruption.

Fred Streeter
Reply to  sycomputing
July 20, 2020 6:28 am

Just read No Lives Matter.
Thank you.

“Since we are just random accidents of evolution, and our so-called moral truths are just biochemical reactions in our brain, no human lives, or any lives at all, actually matter.”

Well, an indifferent cosmos/chaos supports that statement.

My vegetable plot pests (animal and vegetable) confirm that “staying alive” is innate in even the lowest species.

We are well aware of our inevitable demise and some have to find some means of “staying alive” after death.

Religion can guarantee that.
Heaven if you adhere to the tribal norm, otherwise – Hell.

I clearly remember not believing in God (or Father Christmas) around my 4th birthday (23rd December).

Since then I have attended Sunday Schools of various Denominations, had Religious Instruction at school, sung in the Anglican Church Choir, married a Roman Catholic girl – in Church, attended Church services with her, etc.

So, have I been imbued with Christian Moral Values, regardless of my disbelief in the whole kit and kaboodle? Possibly. Who touches Pitch, and all that.

Do I believe in an afterlife? No.
One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste, and all that Jazz.

Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 20, 2020 6:34 am

“Just read No Lives Matter.
Thank you.”

You bet. I got a kick out of it!

“Do I believe in an afterlife? No.
One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste, and all that Jazz.”

Well the Good News is it really isn’t up to you, so we’ll see what happens.

Fred Streeter
Reply to  sycomputing
July 20, 2020 6:44 am

Just read No Lives Matter.
Thank you.

“Since we are just random accidents of evolution, and our so-called moral truths are just biochemical reactions in our brain, no human lives, or any lives at all, actually matter.”
Well, an indifferent cosmos/chaos supports that statement.

My vegetable plot pests (animal and vegetable) confirm that “staying alive” is innate in even the lower orders.

We of the highest order are well aware of our inevitable demise and some of us have to find some means of “staying alive” after death. And Religion guarantees that: Heaven if you adhere to the tribal norm, otherwise – Hell.

Now, I clearly remember not believing in God (or Father Christmas) around my 4th birthday (23rd December).
Since then I have attended Sunday Schools of various Denominations;
Had Religious Instruction at school;
Sung in an Anglican Church Choir;
Had a Roman Catholic Church Wedding;
Attended RC Church services with my family;
Etc., Etc.

So, have I been imbued with Christian Moral Values, regardless of my disbelief in the whole kit and kaboodle? Possibly. Who touches Pitch, and all that.

Do I believe in an afterlife? No.
One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste, and all that Jazz.

Fred Streeter
Reply to  Fred Streeter
July 20, 2020 7:10 am


I got a strange error message.
So, retyped and sent again.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 19, 2020 8:04 am

I love t his!!!!

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

I’m putting it at the end of my email! Thanks!

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
July 19, 2020 11:12 am

Can’t place the source or the exact wording, but there is a shorter phrase which gets across the same concept. It goes something like “The health and safety of the public is an excuse that tyrants hide behind”.

July 15, 2020 7:10 pm

If the left thinks President Trump is bad, let’s just see what happens as they continue to ignore and alienate the majority of the population.

One possibility is that the dis-United States break up. link That could be relatively peaceful and might even be a good thing for most of the population. On the other hand there are many other possibilities.

Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2020 2:45 am

I sent the original letter from Bari Weiss’s website to my brother-in-law’s wife. His wife has always been a big fan of the New York Times. This is the email response that I got, don’t know how to answer him – he’s family. (He answered for her):

“Well written and thoughtful, but we have a man in office who has no concept of decency or even think about what he says or cares that he is wrong. This short 4 years will be well remembered by historians 100 years from now!”


Pariah Dog
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 4:37 am

Send a correction – “Well written and thoughtful, but has absolutely nothing to do with Trump.”

Greg S.
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 4:44 am

These people lost the plot a long time ago. Everything devolves into “Orange man bad!”.

Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 4:52 am


Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 6:05 am

“don’t know how to answer him”

It would probably be a waste of time. It sounds like he drank deeply of the Leftwing Koolaide.

People get a certain point of view in their minds and it’s hard to get them out of it, if not impossible. They believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts because it brings order to their world. They pick out the facts that support their view and reject any facts that don’t support their view.

Everyone does this to a certain extent. The job of someone who is trying to think clearly is to realize this human weakness in themselves as well as in others.

Trying to make sense of the world is difficult. Some people have to depend on the opinions of others for this. This can be counterproductive if those “voices of authority” are delusional, as is the case with the Leftwing Media.

Stephen Goldstein
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 9:14 am

Most everyone is familiar with the expressionon, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

I offer this corollary, “If you don’t believe it you can’t see it.”

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Stephen Goldstein
July 18, 2020 8:08 am


Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 6:26 am

A classic straw man. Apart from that her 4 years may be an underestimate by a factor 2.

Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 16, 2020 7:27 am

Proof of noble cause corruption.
Since Trump is bad, it justifies them doing whatever it takes to get rid of him.

Beyond that, it’s pretty typical liberalism, their concept of decency is the only one that counts.
That others believe stealing money from those who earned it in order to buy the votes of those who would rather not work, is not “decent”, just doesn’t compute with them.

john harmsworth
Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2020 10:01 am

Well said. This is at the center of the issue.

paul courtney
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
July 21, 2020 12:35 pm

My suggested reply? Tell him you don’t think historians will remember DeBlasio for that long.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2020 5:55 am

“One possibility is that the dis-United States break up.”

All the Lefties should be required to relocate to California. That will solve all our problems. Sorry California, we have to sacrifice someone for the greater good. If you are a consevative in California you could move to the sane part of the United States.

John Endicott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:26 am

Unfortunately many of the otherwise sane Californians are too often hopelessly infected by the politics of that state and try to get their new states to adopt the same policies – failing to see the connection between the bad policies and their reasons for wanting to exit California.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  John Endicott
July 16, 2020 7:57 am

“sane Californians”

Coming from a 5th generation Californian, that is an oxymoron.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:29 am

California is already too far gone to save.

Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2020 8:04 am

The entire west coast, from LA, to Portland to Seattle to Vancouver is barking mad. Makes me wonder about that other pseudoscience hypothesis that earth quake faults cause chaos in the social fabric. Of course, that is also probably bunk, since there is also social chaos in areas devoid of any earthquake faults. But some have speculated that these faults can cause ball lightning and other phenomena that isn’t fully understood. Someday, science will have more and more credible explanations for natural phenomena, including natural variation driving the majority of climate change.

Adrian Mann
Reply to  commieBob
July 16, 2020 10:17 am

It’s not “The Left” that thinks One-Term-Trump is bad, it’s pretty much the entire world, including the majority of voters in the US. Personally, I think that Trump is just about the worst possibly human being (and I use that term loosely) that could ever have attained the office of President.
And I am most definitely not on “The Left”. You might think otherwise – “Doesn’t support Trump therefore Communist” – but you would be wrong, as it’s your definition of what constitutes “The Left” that is at fault. It’s not just you – it’s almost every one here that supports Conman Trump and all his works, in the face of all evidence demonstrating what a loathsome slug he is. It’s obvious that the vast majority who carp on about “The Left” and “Communists” have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, which is to be expected from supporters of the most corrupt President in US history. They really have no idea about… well, pretty much anything.
Here’s something to think about.
Some years ago, there was a Hungarian Finance minister in the then MSZP (MSZP = Hungarian Socialist Party), during the time they were in government. He was a leftover from the old Communist regime, when Hungary was a member of the Warsaw Pact and effectively governed by the Soviet Union. Now they were proper Communists, and seriously “Left”, I’m sure you’ll agree. The minister was still a died-in-the-wool, card-carrying member of “The Party”. He was stopped by a reporter who asked him about the charges of nepotism within his department. He replied, with a straight face, “What’s the point of being in power if you can’t give jobs to your friends and family?”
And now look at how many of Trumps friends and family hold positions of power, or have been appointed to well payed jobs, and also what happens when he decides he doesn’t like you any more. Trumps’ behaviour is much closer to that of a Communist… which is probably why he admires Putin so much.
187 days and counting…

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 16, 2020 1:31 pm

A serious case of TDS, or did I miss the gulags on my trip to Home Depot this morning?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Komerade Cube
July 16, 2020 3:38 pm

When a President pushes unemployment as low as it was in January of this year, and pushes black/Hispanic unemployment as low as it was in January, and pushes wage growth to more than 4% for the working man, while working to establish actual enterprise zones in black urban neighborhoods he is *not* a con man. He is not a Nazi. He is not a racist.

TDS can be identified by the willful ignorance displayed about what Trump has done for this country. Trade deals that actually benefit America, getting troops out of the middle east, boosting small business by cutting regulations, spurring an American oil boom making us independent of the rest of the world.

So what if he is crass and outspoken. My father was too. Men of action and good will many times *are* crass and outspoken. They don’t have time to sugar coat the truth so no ones feelings are hurt. And that is the biggest problem those with TDS have, they don’t want to hear it like it is.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
July 17, 2020 9:25 am

“So what if he is crass and outspoken.”

Would you rather have a nice guy or a crass boor who gets things done?

Chamberlain or Churchill?

Reply to  Komerade Cube
July 17, 2020 8:14 am

Notice how he goes out of his way to emphasis that the communists are the real leftists.
In his “mind”, as long as he isn’t a communist, he isn’t a leftist.

John in Oz
Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 16, 2020 3:50 pm

As an outsider (in Australia) it seems every US President hand-picks those who will be in the most powerful jobs and running the country, not just Trump.

From Wonkipedia:

According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, a political appointee is “any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head”. As of 2016, there are around 4,000 political appointment positions which an incoming administration needs to review, and fill or confirm, of which about 1,200 require Senate confirmation.

Reply to  John in Oz
July 17, 2020 8:15 am

To the left, it’s only a crime when those you don’t like do it.

Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 16, 2020 8:11 pm

And now look at how many of Trumps friends and family hold positions of power, or have been appointed to well payed jobs

How many?

Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 16, 2020 8:20 pm

“What’s the point of being in power if you can’t give jobs to your friends and family?”

Indeed. According to Politico:

“Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency.

Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two other company executives collected at least $150,000 more.

After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then, in mid-2009, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa. Meanwhile, Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states — though Gips said he had been “completely unaware” that the company had received the contracts.

More than two years after Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.

. . .

Overall, 184 of 556, or about one-third of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role. But the percentages are much higher for the big-dollar bundlers. Nearly 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took “key administration posts,” as defined by the White House. More than half the 24 ambassador nominees who were bundlers raised $500,000.

• The big bundlers had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social events. In all, campaign bundlers and their family members account for more than 3,000 White House meetings and visits. Half of them raised $200,000 or more.

• Some Obama bundlers have ties to companies that stand to gain financially from the president’s policy agenda, particularly in clean energy and telecommunications, and some already have done so. Level 3 Communications, for instance, snared $13.8 million in stimulus money.

The Obama administration has tightened restrictions on hiring lobbyists, but the deference shown major donors contradicts its claims to have changed business as usual in Washington.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2011/06/obama-donors-net-government-jobs-056993

What was that you were saying, Adrian?

Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 17, 2020 8:13 am

One constant with those on the left, they all think they aren’t leftists.
They have all been taught that as long as there is someone more liberal than themselves, they are centrists.
The vast majority of the time, when someone proudly proclaims themselves to be a centrist, they are a leftist and are either lying to you or themselves.

As to your claim that the whole world hates Trump. What is your evidence? That the media giants all over the world hate him? That’s evidence?

As to your charge of nepotism? Have you noticed the charges against Obama and Biden? Oh no, of course you haven’t. Like most leftists its only wrong if it’s done by someone you don’t like. And of course if it’s someone you don’t like, then if they are accused, then they are guilty. No evidence needed, or wanted.

paul courtney
Reply to  Adrian Mann
July 21, 2020 12:47 pm

Adrian Mann: You said you would give us something to think about. Still waiting.

J Hinton
Reply to  commieBob
July 17, 2020 7:05 pm

Things aren’t looking too peachy at the moment and I suspect that if Trump is re-elected, the wheels are going to be stripped off. Screw putting the car on blocks, too … they’ll just burn the thing after they’re done.

Few observations, along with the fact background checks are out the roof.

Pocket sized/concealed carry pistols are not to be had at this point. Videos of people being pulled out of a car and beaten like a drum, for the offense of simply being there, seems to have been the ad the gun industry really, really needed to prosper.

While there’s some rifle ammunition available locally of some calibers, handgun is scarce.

Finally got around to getting a concealed carry permit and expected a wait of a few weeks for the background check, etc. Sherrif’s deputy at the door told me that if I hung around for 20 minutes, rather than just dropping the paperwork off, I’d leave with the permit.

Life will get better.

July 15, 2020 7:20 pm

This is sad and to think this paper won a Pulitzer Prize for their blockbuster story of Trump Russia Collllluuuusion. All of it faked. If Comey wasn’t their source, one can only wonder if they sourced themselves.

It’s crazy how journalism gets worse.

Simon, Llyodo, Nick, Mosh, Izaak….it is hard for most of us, well me for sure, to take you seriously with this as a backdrop for every major media including Fox. The minute Trump mentioned he was taking HCQ and zinc Fox ran a piece on the danger of HCQ…a 40 year old drug.

Sad times indeed.

Paul Johnson
July 15, 2020 7:28 pm

“truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”
A perfect summary of the state of “climate science” and its journalistic acolytes.

July 15, 2020 7:43 pm


Staffan Lindström
July 15, 2020 7:49 pm

Talking of C.S. Lewis, who died 12 minutes (in Oxford England) after Aldous Huxley (cancer) and less than an hour before JFK in Dallas 11/22/1963… according to The Independent UK but according to Wikipedia AH died after JFK, several hours , given LSD by his wife…. But William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes both died April 23 (my father as well…) but as England and Spain in 1616 had different calendars…NOT the same day…
A few hours ago BBC World claimed the heat in Siberia was ACCCTBRBT (Anthropogenic Catastrophic Climate Change To Be Repented Big Time) and the utter twat Justin Rowlatt talks about CO2 and showing cooling towers H2O… Has he even seen “his” own report?? An own goal, though showing all the blue areas in the Arctic and elsewhere…

Darren Porter
July 15, 2020 7:55 pm

I urge everyone to watch this video on how Post-Modernism took over the reigns of Marxism :

July 15, 2020 7:58 pm

Wasn’t McCarthy proven right?

Reply to  markl
July 15, 2020 10:11 pm


Reply to  markl
July 16, 2020 12:10 am

McCarthy underestimated the communist infiltration of the US.

Had people listened to him rather than let the communists deplatform him, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkG
July 16, 2020 7:28 am


July 15, 2020 8:04 pm

People were silenced by accusations of being a Communist.

But there was, and is, more to it. The Marxists WERE actively involved in many ways in the USA. We now know that, as a matter of history.

Back then, the Marxists knew they could not advance their political agenda by being forthright. So ,they figured out a way to operate without being called out: when called out, they accused you of “red-baiting,” of McCarthyism.

The Marxists hid their activity behind the “Red-Baiting” claim. I know. I said this, and thought this, for decades, whenever hearing some Conservative claim that “the Communists” were behind this or that. I defended us “Democrats” and disparaged anyone saying some idea or policy I supported was “Communist.”

About 12 or 13 years ago, I decided to go investigate the “Global Warming.” I stumbled upon Watts’ “surfacestations” project, and then to WUWT. I quickly figured out “Global Warming” was fake.

But my Democrat colleagues, people I knew well, were “all in.” How could these smart, caring people be so duped? I had a further mystery to figure out.

I eventually figured out that the Global Warming was just one phalanx of the Marxists gaining ground in our society. And I figured out that the “red-bating,” “McCarthyism” tactic was how they advanced, unquestioned and un-examined.

Across the Obama era, we saw Marxists step out of the shadows a lot. They were prominent in the Occupy Movement, etc.

All this to say: there was more to the “McCarthyism” phenomenon than we all had thought.

The Democrat Party has gone Communist. There are no more Democrats. Except me. I am the Last Democrat.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 16, 2020 6:26 am

“they say “it doesn’t matter if we are wrong, the changes we advocate are beneficial for society”.

Excerpt that’s not true. The changes Alarmists advocate will be highly detrimental to society. That’s why they must be stopped.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Eric Worrall
July 16, 2020 10:26 am

Very often it is much more a desire for power over others . Marxism presents itself as science and so becomes an inviting religion for those who want power. Marxism fails to recognise that it is inherently coersive. It requires that people behave in ways that are contrary to human nature and therefore must become more oppresive as it attemts to sustain itself. In a similar way the Inquisition arose as the Catholic Church came under internal stress from the inconsistencies of its practices that served the priesthood and not the message of Christ.
Human nature is the immovable object.
It is why politics serves the ambitious and unprincipled.

July 15, 2020 8:08 pm


Complains that getting fired for making anti-semitic comments proves that Jews have all the power.
Then in the next breath he declares that they can’t get anyone fired for making comments that blacks disagree with.

I don’t know what planet this guy is living on, but getting people fired for making statements blacks disagree with is what the BLM movement is all about.

If you read through many of this guys statements, if you reverse black and white, they could have been uttered by any grand wizard of the KKK.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2020 8:22 pm

Remind me, is this the guy Joe Biden proved wasn’t actually black?

Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 16, 2020 7:31 am

Biden made the comment about not being black if you don’t support Democrats while on his program.
I don’t believe the comment was about him though.

John Endicott
Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 16, 2020 7:34 am

Apparently all it takes to be proven to not actually be black is not voting for Joe Biden

July 15, 2020 8:21 pm

BW is basically a ditz. And to paraphrase George Carlin, those who worked for her are ‘stupider’ than that!


Reply to  RonPE
July 15, 2020 9:35 pm

The U-Tube link is not showing up yet. The U-Tube link was titled: “NYTimes Journo Melts Down On Joe Rogan’s Show”

Reply to  RonPE
July 16, 2020 9:58 am

What do you get in return for saying what you did?
How about we get an ally?

William Astley
July 15, 2020 8:36 pm

You guys are too kind.

It is spreading hate and anger for no purpose, except to attack our own country.

Hey here is a great unfilter search engine, it includes conservative and liberal articles (Google no longer does about anything political) and what ever applies, search engine. And no ads for now.


The spreading of hate and divide in the country is Anti American. So is no borders and uncontrolled immigration. The US people do not want open borders when unemployment is double digit and we are broke and there are real problems that need to be solved.

Ditto for Climate Change.

The McCarthy error was he divided us, rather than united us to defend our country.

CNN is Anti American and Anti/No Logic News and Divide the Country

CNN is 24/7 running their fabricated Trump story of the hour.

From outside the US, it looks like there is a crazy effort to destroy the US by starting riots over statues, and the favour Democrat’s favorite election issue, problems of the blacks, who ironically live in Democrat controlled cities and states.

So, it is a fact, that 82% of the Blacks are Vitamin D deficiency, blood serum levels less than 20 ng/ml and we are too stupid or corrupt to tell them that Vitamin D deficiency increases their chance of dying from covid or getting serious covid symptoms by a factor of 19.

And rather than find out that fact, which would help all ‘blacks’ in every country in the world. Due to the fact that we now live and work indoors and wear cloths and live at high latitudes ….

… We are all Vitamin D deficient and Blacks severely so.

CNN pushes BLM fascism. Which is sort of ironic in a way, actually in a big way. A big weird way.

The Covid virus death rates have dropped in the US by a factor of ten, principally because, the US general population is less Vitamin D deficient in the summer than they are in the winter.

… And because regardless of sex or age, Vitamin D deficient people 25(OH)D blood serum levels less than 20 ng/ml are 19 times more likely than those who have 25(OH)D levels greater than 30 ng/ml.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  William Astley
July 16, 2020 6:41 am

“The McCarthy error was he divided us, rather than united us to defend our country.”

McCarthy just told the truth. The dividers are the ones on the Left who didn’t want to hear the truth.

The same thing happens today: The Leftwing Media accuses Trump of being a divider, when in fact, it is the Leftwing Media that is doing all the dividing by falsely accusing Trump of being a divider.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:34 am

For years, the media’s definition of bipartisanship has been, Republicans and Democrats working together to pass the Democrat’s agenda.
Their definition of divisive was whenever someone disagreed with a Democrat.

Reply to  William Astley
July 19, 2020 10:26 am

Sorry, very late to the thread ….

… We are all Vitamin D deficient and Blacks severely so.


The Covid virus death rates have dropped in the US by a factor of ten, principally because, the US general population is less Vitamin D deficient in the summer than they are in the winter.

Black people came mainly from equatorial regions and their skin colour is an adaptation to that fact. The Sun is much stronger and more constant around The Sahara than it is in Northern Norway. One of the results of black skin is that, amongst others, you don’t over produce vitamin D in The Sahel under those conditions.

The problem is then that living in The North a black persons vitamin D ‘resistance’ works against him. He can’t produce enough under the ‘modified conditions’. (Likewise, our hypothetical Norwegian wouldn’t last long in The Sahel)

This isn’t some ‘racist’ screed. If all it takes for a black skinned person to reduce their susceptibility, living in the melanin and Sun challenged North, to CV19 is a regular vitamin D supplement then this should be ‘publicised’.

Let people make their own decisions based upon the best available Science.

Craig from Oz
July 15, 2020 8:47 pm

Okay. I have read this letter about four times now from four different sources and skimmed the headlines on a handful more.

The big question is now, “And?”

I am not familiar with Bari’s work. I had a quick look on her linked website and discovered she is promoting a book (good on her) and that 2 years ago she wrote about a brave MeToo moment related to actor Geoffrey Rush. Didn’t see any follow up article from 2020 when the courts ruled in favour of Rush, but hey, guess it is the conversations that get started that are the important thing.

So what have we proved with this letter? That the NYT is as shamelessly corrupt as everyone else has been saying and that their target audience is basically the people who shout the loudest on Twit? Not actually that huge a reveal if we are all honest with ourselves.

Also, while we are being honest, the NYT is – to the best of my casual knowledge – a business, with the core objective being to turn a profit. To be a business it is normally useful to have a business model to work towards. Who are going to give you money and what do they want? My base level understanding is that media works from either the direct subscription of the readers (ie – people physically paying for the paper) and ad money from third parties who believe it is within their business models to pay media for access to their consumer base.

Hence the more people who read the bigger consumer base the bigger the ad market and if you can get a big enough reader base you can sometimes get away with not charging the readers because the ad money swamps the lost sales.

So at the end of the day – KNOW YOUR MARKET. Write what your consumer base wants because the bigger that is the more you can sell ads. And if your reader base doesn’t want the truth, STOP TELLING THEM.

And here lays the problem with media. They believe they are the guardians of the truth. This is true only in the same way guardians of the banks stop you from getting to all the money. The reality is that you only need to tell the truth for as long as your reader base is asking for it.

Frankly I don’t mind that. Free market. If these people believe they can run a business selling to the woke, then good on them. No one is forcing me to buy the SMH, The Age, The NYT or even The Advertiser, so I don’t.

The problems start occurring when these types stop being passive in the free market and actively try and prevent me from buying and/or reading anything else. It has stopped being ‘Please buy our product, it is good, you would like it’ and become ‘If you don’t buy our product you are clearly a Straight White Male who is toxic, racist, homophobic, and burns down orphanages in third world countries to make up for your clear InCel deformities’. They are not competing in the free market, they are attempting to get it regulated so they become the only market.

(and regulating the market from above? Well kids, that is called Nationalising and guess which sort of left of centre government types like doing that?)

And that is what narks me.

As for Bari? Again, nice letter, but now what?

Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 15, 2020 9:53 pm

Her point was based on the ideal of journalism, which is to report the news and let people draw their own conclusions about what it all means. Actually, the journalistic ideal allows a newspaper to publish opinion, but it can only do so in a section reserved for opinion. Today’s news media blend news and opinion liberally in every story (I used the term “liberally” intentionally), but perrhaps their biggest departure from the ideal is their failure to fully investigate the truth of what they publish. A good example of this is when some govt agency claims that June was the hottest month in history, they could easily investigate the truth of that claim with readily available data to show that the claim is not true.

She quit because she seriously wanted to help the NYT to regain its reputation as an actual newspaper, and she was catching hell from most of the staff of the NYT.

I can only think of one newspaper where she would have half a chance, and that’s the WSJ. Even my local paper, which used to be a centrist paper, is going left. Disgusting.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 16, 2020 3:09 am

I think the Times gets a lot of Chinese money. On Wednesday, I believe, they run a Chinese insert. Those are not cheap!

Joel O'Bryan
July 15, 2020 8:49 pm

The Left has had to adopt the Cancel Culture because so much of its foundation is built on lies and deceptions. Without the Cancel Culture, proceeding to an open debate with informed adversaries would expose those lies in vivid and immutable fashion, laying them bare. The Emperor being called out naked so to speak.

For example, the BLM-Defund Police movement is built on the lies that systemic racism and brutality to (only/mostly) Black Americans exists in police departments across America. Critical analysis shows this in not only not true, it is invented to push a Marxist agenda. An Open and Honest debate on TV networks or in the printed press would expose the lies about racism in America and the BLM movement would be shown for what it is – racist in its own right and with a Marxist agenda at its heart.

Similar things can be shown for all aspects of Climate Change policy pushed by the LEt’s alarmism rhetoric. The rhetoric simply gets eviscerated upon critical examination. Thus the Cancel Culture is there to protect it (the Climate lies).

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 15, 2020 9:51 pm

‘Cancel Culture’ is just what the left do when they’re not allowed to Purge.

And, as the left are now discovering, the first to be Purged are always other leftists. Watching them eat each other in public is quite delightful.

John Endicott
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 16, 2020 7:41 am

Look at all the cities where the incidents of “systemic racism” come from. Every single one of them have been run by the left/democrats for decades. If it’s true that racism is systemic in those places then it’s the left that is the system.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  John Endicott
July 16, 2020 8:07 am

“Look at all the cities where the incidents of “systemic racism” come from. Every single one of them have been run by the left/democrats for decades. If it’s true that racism is systemic in those places then it’s the left that is the system.”

That’s because they aren’t left enough for the Marxists.

Ian Coleman
July 15, 2020 8:59 pm

The New York Times is a political entity, just like every other news media outlet. Bari Weiss took the money and has to obey her employers’ rules. Her principal infraction was probably equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, which is a tough position to justify in light of the aggressive immiseration of the Gaza Arabs, including two collective punishment massacres that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of children.

All interactions with other people involve editing out things that will offend other people, unless you want to spend your life as an outcast. I myself hold quite a few opinions that would get me shunned by people who are now my friends, were I so foolish as to speak them. I suspect that many other people hold these opinions too but, since the utterance of those opinions is severely punished, we don’t speak them.

I was born in 1952, and there was a general population prohibition against speaking about sex when I was growing up. The characters in popular TV shows did not have sex, or even allude to its existence. The prohibition against speaking of or depicting sexual activity was enforced by statute, because adults wanted their children to be sexually continent until marriage. It was believed that speaking about sex would engender interest in it in the young, who would then act on it. Pornography that children with computers can see now was illegal, and people went to prison for disseminating it. What I’m getting at here is that there have always been prohibitions on allowed public speech, and Ms. Weiss is a fool if she thinks they don’t exist.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
July 16, 2020 7:38 am

Speaking of using made up facts to justify your hatred, out come the anti-semites.

Pat Frank
July 15, 2020 10:02 pm

Bari Weiss’ strong letter needed a stark closing.

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them. The best ideas no longer find a voice at The Times. The worst ones do. By your hand A. G. Sulzberger.’

mike macray
July 16, 2020 12:11 am

Earthling 2..
“..I don’t know that the SETI project was the start of all this intellectual fascism, even though I agree with the comment that it may range from billions to zero. ”

And I always thought that SETI was started to compensate for the unsustainable exhaustion of Terrestrial Intelligence. Silly me!

July 16, 2020 1:02 am

Man is an extremist. Thats the problem.

M Seward
July 16, 2020 1:54 am

My recollection of the early 70’s on campus is that the sort of groupthink that is now in an out of control pandemic had its beginnings in getting laid. There was this, hippie, anti-war, long hair is cool, anti establishment buzz around the social part of university life and without tuning in and turning on to it you dramatically reduced your social capital.

Drugs, the prospect of SETI in the context of the moon landings and the Cold War etc was enough to unhinge a significant fraction of the university attending cadre who went on into teaching, public administration, journalism and politics. Many of these same people displaced the older school labour union based activists who had hithero formed and run ‘the left’ on the basis of protecting and advancing the interests of ‘working’ people. In turn they filled the resultant intellectual vacuum with the fluff of life that had been the bread and butter of their intellectual development. Their best analogy to my mind is that they have delivered to our society a kind of intellectual Thalidomide. Sure, they pushed aside some historical cultural baggage that was well due to disposal as Thalidomide actually ‘cured’ morning sickness but that is hardly the point now that reality has caught up and the world come down from its transient high.

Mr Bliss
July 16, 2020 4:53 am

According to Breitbart;

“The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization, has set up a special antisemitism hotline for Jewish staffers at the New York Times and other outlets who are victims of antisemitism from their colleagues.

The ZOA was reacting to the resignation of Times opinion editor Bari Weiss on Tuesday……..”

Reply to  Mr Bliss
July 16, 2020 10:05 am

Seems to help Trump.

Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 5:04 am

From the article: “For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles”

The New York Times and all the other Leftwing news outlets betrayed their standards and principles back during the Vietnam war and have been advocates for Leftwing causes ever since.

The only difference between then and now is the volume of Leftwing Propaganda has been turned up to 11, and there is no room for any other opinions.

The Leftwing Media have turned themselves into active propagadists for the Left. Nothing they say should be taken at face value because there is a political agenda behind what they say, always.

Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 5:17 am

From the article: “but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis”

I love that! Ain’t it the truth! They’re just trying to help us!

Please go away! We don’t need or want your “help”.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 7:36 am

That brings another quote to mind, from Thoreau: “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”

Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 16, 2020 11:04 am

I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. To see the failures of socialism, one needs to look no further than U.S. indian reservations. And so on.

J Savage
July 16, 2020 5:36 am

“Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.“

In other words, Gnosticism, at least in the way it was described by St. Augustine. Amazing how the old heresies keep coming back.

July 16, 2020 5:42 am

A great many educated people saw the paper of record as a rotten apple long ago. Seeing evidence from the inside of the apple helps validate the external view. Elsewhere in the orchard basket there are varying degrees of rot with similar progression. The apple consumers should pick wisely or maybe come back another day.

July 16, 2020 5:54 am

“We understand and know very well that the world is complicated and that what we are asking for may not be easy. The changes necessary to safeguard humanity may seem very unrealistic,”

Never mind the platitudes just march vehemently and blindly on all ye who feel the heat and passion-

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 16, 2020 6:19 am

Leon Szilard, a brilliant Hungarian physicist of the mid 20th century, had this to say about extraterrestrials. I paraphrase. There are two possible answers: first, we are alone because the good Lord would not make the same mistake twice, second they exists and moreover they are already here and call themselves Hungarians. Over the years I have heard this one added to the list: they exist and do their very best to not have anything to do with us.

July 16, 2020 6:48 am

Bari Weiss got a dose of her own medicine. You can’t blame other for copying your own effective slandering methods. This kind of behaviour is classic whenever people are passionate about a cause.


Reply to  Poul
July 16, 2020 7:41 am

Calling out lies, is now an “attack on academic freedom”?

July 16, 2020 6:48 am

Moral relativism is the business card of neomarxism.

July 16, 2020 8:41 am

I have no time for the NYT. But I have even less time for Bari Weiss.

Here’s what is wrong at the NYT.

Here’s a taste of it . . .
“For starters, it’s important to accept that the New York Times has always — or at least for many decades — been a far more editor-driven, and self-conscious, publication than many of those with which it competes. Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”

“It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.”

“Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”

Andy Pattullo
July 16, 2020 8:47 am

“Making stuff up is easier than doing real work.”

No more true words were written. I entered medical school after a biology degree and studying a few years in fine arts – drawing, painting and design. So I have lived and worked in the worlds of science and art. One of my talks is titled “Science, Art and Models”, in which I make the case that art (a wonderful source of beauty and pleasure in our world) is the “making stuff up” part of human intellect, science is the finding truth by avoiding our own imagination and biases, and models are simply a product of the human imagination partly founded on what truths we believed we have learned from science, but often largely based on our own biases and adjusted perceptions.

So what has led western wealthy countries to slide back into the “making stuff up” mode of human thought and turning their back on the foundations of natural discovery and the learning of ‘truth”? My own simplistic hypothesis on this is that, as mentioned above, “making stuff up is easier than doing real work”. Then what kept us at the grindstone for so long trying to find the truths of the natural world that would allow us to build a richer, healthier and more successful society? Necessity! Before mid 20th century we had world conflict, poverty, contagion, hunger, oppression, corrupt governance and many other ills that stem from a large number of individuals competing for a limited supply of resources. Since then things have gotten much better as has been the overall trend of the very brief history of human society. Two to three generations of westerners have grown up in relatively wealthy middle class society and had little to do with real problems. This has allowed them to “slack off” intellectually and to give reign to their own irrational thoughts and beliefs because there were no real consequences to doing so and it is simply easier than rational thought and objective inquiry.

This behaviour has become institutionalize through the gradual appointment or election of more and more people to leadership posts who are not in fact leaders but rather followers. These are the folks who try to discern whatever is popular thought and behaviour, what is in fashion, what is socially correct according to the celebrities they worship. All of their actions are directed towards following those perceived trends without any consideration or question as to the merits. If it is in vogue then it must be good. This is what has brought the New York Times to the place where it competes favourably with the rags one passes at the checkout on the way to pay for your groceries. It is just another product of social fashion and unquestionably belief systems and no longer a place to find truth.

If we want this to change we will ultimately have to bite the bullet and discharge anyone in a leadership post who is not a true leader, and then fill those posts with people who are dedicated to rational thought, objective inquiry, balanced debate and making hard leadership decisions irrespective of frivolous fashion. Good looks, nice clothes and the spouting of “social justice” pablum at every opportunity will not build a better society.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
July 16, 2020 8:50 am

Correction: “unquestioned belief systems”

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
July 16, 2020 10:26 am

Thanks Andy, good analysis. Today’s Americans (and westerners in general) certainly aren’t as tough, capable or discerning as just a few generations ago.

July 16, 2020 8:53 am

Twitter caught red handed having blacklists, while denying they have blacklists:


July 16, 2020 9:24 am

What’s amazing is that it took her so long to figure out these things (to me, obvious decades ago).

Alasdair Fairbairn
July 16, 2020 10:26 am

Funny. Halfway trough reading I thought she was talking about the Washington Post. Same difference I suppose. The problem is media endemic these days.

Kevin kilty
July 16, 2020 11:46 am

This did not begin in the 1960s although it was widely promoted and disseminated in the 1960s. It would be difficult to look at the research of one Joseph Rhine, Duke University, into ESP, beginning at least as early as the 1930s, and not see something that was absurd on its face, filled with specious and fallacious statistics, and yet gained mainstream belief by the 1950s.

The problem is the political left. Answers to questions on national surveys, including the General Social Survey, over a very long period of time, have shown that the left believe strongly in superstitions and magic. The more that superstition and magic gain sway over elite thinking, the more our “advanced” society looks neo-medieval — citizens become subjects, the educated become experts, then authorities, then a sort of entitled nobility. The entire “western world” has drifted left for decades, and throughout it all superstition has generally prevailed over reason, rationality, and science. I suspect it is the reason that spending has everywhere outpaced revenues, so that the more wealthy our societies grow, the more indebted (normalized by size of economy) and fragile we become — and the more hardened become a number of social pathologies, which the spending was supposed to vanquish.

I find some comfort in the view of the economist and optimist Herb Stein who said, things will continue until they can’t.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 16, 2020 3:28 pm

I agree with you, Kevin, that the the left wing is at the center of our problems. It has manufactured all the present hullabaloo about racism out of nothing.

Its takeover of the universities with their cultural and whiteness studies are themselves systemically racist and prejudicial, and have ruined academics. It has inflamed the temperaments of the students, and infected the minds of faculty and, especially, administrators.

I’ve been watching the slow destruction of Stanford University and SLAC, both of which have now introduced officers of the euphemistically labeled ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion,’ which actually mean conformity, quotas, and systematic racism, respectively.

People will soon be forced from their jobs for wrongthink. I can’t imagine their continued excellence, should those policies persist.

Regarding the ultimate source of this, I offer that the Enlightenment was a cultural speciation event, in the true evolutionary sense. Humans are the only culturally obligate species. Speciation involving culture is a necessary outcome.

Homo individualis emerged from the older Homo collectivus, during the 15th through 18th centuries. The two species are now contending for the same ecological space, namely human society. The Romantic counterattack on the Enlightenment was actually the response of Homo collectivus to the emergence into view of a true competitor, Hi.

The left is composed chiefly of Homo collectivus. They’re great at organizing, as one might expect. They shift from one cause to another with the generations, because the specific ’cause’ is unimportant. Its only purpose is to energize collective action. That action is mobilized to wreck Hi societies. That’s why the causes of the left can be self-contradictory with time. The substance doesn’t matter.

Free speech in 1964. Censored speech in 2020. Opposing causes, same people.

It’s no surprise, in that light, that individual rights emerged with the appearance of humans with minds self-organized into an individualistic psychology. Individual rights have no place in a society of collectivists. There, adherence of the normative morality is all. Negotiation is heresy.

It’s a mortal contest.

Reply to  Pat Frank
July 17, 2020 8:19 am

I was reading last night about a college course in which part of the mandatory reading list was a book that claims that all whites and all conservatives are racist. Even black conservatives.
Apparently, if you don’t believe that affirmative action is a good idea, you are a racist.

As usual, leftists set themselves up as the measure of all things, and anyone who disagrees with them is evil and must be destroyed.

Reply to  MarkW
July 17, 2020 9:17 am

And there’s another example of leftist-contradiction as Pat Frank describes above — affirmative action is just reverse-discrimination.

Pat Frank
Reply to  beng135
July 17, 2020 2:11 pm

With the universal imposition of, “equity, inclusion, and diversity” (= enforced quotas, enforced prejudice, and enforced conformity), it’s become systemic racism, beng.

Reply to  beng135
July 17, 2020 2:25 pm

As I’ve said before, leftists define right/wrong, good/evil based solely on whether they benefit from it.

Any tactic is defensible when they use. In the next breath they will attack anyone else who uses the same tactic.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 16, 2020 3:44 pm

You may have something. Most of the ‘progressive’ lot do seem to believe in pyramids or salvation by weird diet. I remember in the 70’s when my dad, a rigid leftist, tried to get me to read a book about how the Russians had proved telepathy by killing baby rabbits and observing distress in the mothers who were under the sea in a submarine – something like that.

As far as Bari Weiss’s letter goes, I think she goes on and on, dissing her former colleagues. The letter reads as a piece for the media to circulate, not a short clear message in resignation. In other words, she is playing the same game as she accuses her colleagues of, but from the opposite side.

July 16, 2020 1:47 pm

The leftish media and others of their ilk are behaving as if they have some self-importance and authority when they have neither.

They do, however, act like my mother would act if I said something that was true, forthright, and real. She would repeatedly tell me: “You can’t say that. You can say – – – – -,” and my response to her dishonest attempts to “manage” what I said got this response from me: “Oh, so you want me to lie instead of telling the truth?”

That always annoyed her.

Having to lie to make someone else happy is the worst thing you can do. Dishonesty and falsehood run rampant in today’s world, which is unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that Ms. Weiss is too honest for her “own good” (I think that’s the term for it) and her coworkers are nothing but spoiled brats and bullies who lie like dogs and hammer anyone they see as a threat. That is SOOOOO first grade on the school playground, you know.

But I do support her in the choice she made. I think it will pay her in her favor. It just won’t be quick to do so.

July 16, 2020 7:00 pm

I forgot to add something about this: Crichton claimed in his famous Caltech lecture that the intellectual rot started in the 1960s, with the SETI project. – article

Well, we now have SIX (count ’em) SETI signals, including the original “WOW!” signal that got those two Ohio State astronomers all wigged out in the 1970s, but has never been repeated. It makes for a good source for science fiction, maybe a “cry for help” from a civilization under attack some 300 million lights years distant in a galaxy far, far away, but by the time it left, no one on Earth even existed, and when it gets here, it gets a “Wow!’ rating, and that’s about it.

And speaking of oogey-boogey stuff like magick/sorcery/whatever, there are people who have made a very good living as authors of fantasy fiction.

July 17, 2020 7:49 am

“Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob” seems to be the standard response anymore, and not just with publishers.

July 17, 2020 10:08 am

“The Left eats its own”, part whatever. If the likes of Rowling and Chomsky were denounced as insufficiently virtuous, what hope she could have?..

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