When critical thinking ends, self-hate begins

This briefly leapt into my Creepbook for Business timeline yesterday before I judiciously hit the “unfollow” button on the twat who thought this was appropriate to my professional life.

If that’s not bad enough, the comments should ruin any remaining hope you have for post-Renaissance Western civilisation. With very few exceptions, every response is a variant on virtue signalling, self- loathing, identity politics and really poor quality (if at all) critical thinking.

Obviously the flow chart is meant as a commentary on the fact that the most recent USA school shooter is a young white male.

It’s hard to think that anything good at all can result from these tragedies but at the very least we can identify who among us are absolute fools.

99% of the commentators on the above post, for example.

Bill’s Opinion

We could play the identity politics game and run a Pareto of numbers of gun crimes and murders by ethnicity of the perpetrator (first prize African American) or we could wave a finger at Virginia Tech, but we won’t.

Why? Because the reason we are in this shitty hole is mainly due to identity politics.

Oh, and the irony should not be lost that Ian Bremner’s employer is “Eurasia Group”, as in “we’ve always been at war with Eurasia“.

Useful Idiot.

That’s the thing with concepts….

Apparently, cryptocurrencies make no sense.

The author offers the following qualities as being important for a currency;

  • facilitating transactions;
  • a store of value;
  • lending of last resort.

And then goes on to explain why cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, fail to tick any of those three qualities.

Tellingly though, he hints at the reason why our current currencies do provide those features;

Bill’s Opinion

Fiat currency passes his three tests not because “the government guarantees it” but because we believe that guarantee.

Money is fungible, a unit of measure and a store of value because we have bought into the idea*. When enough of us cease to believe in a concept, it stops being real.

Some examples of this include; the 12 gods of classical Greek religion, purgatory, the noble savage, copper bracelets for arthritis and the Bermuda triangle.

Sure, cyptocurrencies are a million miles away from being trusted stores of value or tools to transact exchange today. However, should enough people find that they trust the concept enough to use it in a limited way, there is nothing to distinguish “Billy Occam Coin” from good old greenbacks.

In the meantime, if you distrust those central bankers but don’t want to buy a cryptocurrency that fluctuates 10% up or down daily, gold seems to have passed the test of time as a value store. You might find your local bartender reticent to give you change from an ounce of it when you order a beer, though.

*I disagree about the “lender of last resort” requirement – many of our economic issues today would have been avoided without this “public service”. Let failed banks die and new ones fill the space.

The Occam’s Razor test of leadership

Sometimes how a person answers a simple hypothetical question tells us all we need to know to understand their character. Take this one, for example, which cuts to the core of the qualities of leadership;

Scenario; You are Prime Minister of country. The press break a story that your Deputy has been having an affair with a member of his staff, has deserted his wife and family, jerrymandered the recruitment and selection process twice to ensure his new partner remains employed in good roles, received a “gift” of a rent-free apartment to house her and they are now expecting the birth of their child in 2 months’ time. Previously, the Deputy Prime Minister has been a vocal supporter of “family values”.

Do you;

A) Confirm that there are no impediments to removing him from his post and replacing him with a more suitable candidate based on pre-existing codes of conduct relating to bringing parliament and the office of the Prime Minister in to disrepute and then do so with immediate effect?

B) Give him the benefit of the doubt, gracefully allow him a suitable period of time to state his case and to show some level of contrition but then, with a heavy heart, remove him from his post in order to maintain the gravitas of parliament and the office of Prime Minister as paramount?

C) Dither about for a week or so, force him to take a long weekend paid “leave” and then make a public statement to “update the ministerial code of conduct” to explicitly state that knocking up your staff and dumping your wife is not acceptable these days but do nothing tangible about the situation in the hope that Donald Trump will tweet something inflammatory over the weekend that diverts the news agenda?

Bill’s Opinion

There’s a special place in hell for people who claim to be leaders but soil their underwear the first time they are faced with a difficult decision which requires some level of consistency with previously-stated moral positions.

If you feel that this is a trivial point, remember that the person in this job has the ability to send troops to fire live rounds, both internationally and, in extremis, domestically.

“Over the top lads, I’m right behind you!”.

The best women are men

Remember the transgender Aussie Rules player trying to play in the women’s league?

(Hannah Mouncey, not to be confused with a bricklayer from the 1970s)

Well, “Hannah” Mouncey has just been given the green light and is eligible to compete as a woman.

Readers outside Australia will probably find coverage of the league on satellite television channels or via the watch again facility on Australian tv channel seven. I’m sure most matches will be fun to watch but there will be an extra frisson of vicarious adrenaline rush if they show footage of the recently-female “Hannah” smashing in to an originally-female player.

See also; Fallon Fox.

Who has agency?

Those unfamiliar with the principled, intellectual and classy world of Australian politics may have missed this current affair (s’cuse the pun); the Deputy Prime Minister has left his wife and family for a member of his staff and has subsequently had a child with her.

As always, there are some other periphery issues to be aware of; the staffer was recently moved into a new tailor-made taxpayer-funded position and the Deputy PM, Barnaby Joyce, has previously been a drum-beater for such things as “family values”. Whoops.

Well, nepotism and hypocrisy are nothing new in politics. Hand out the appropriate penalties, hoist him by his petard and move on.

What is more interesting, however, is the left’s take on all of this. There is a concerted effort to compare and contrast the situation with a hypothetical gender role reversal, obviously to bring our old nemesis duh patriarchy in to the firing line.

The link above has a TV monologue piece by veteran broadcaster (one hesitates to use the noun, “journalist”), Lisa Wilkinson, where she poses questions about how the story might have been handled should the genders have been reversed.

We’ll answer that question in a moment, first let’s look at one of the facts that are being touted in the list of reasons to damn the, already fucked, Barnaby Joyce; his paramour is 15 years his junior.

How do we feel this is relevant? Is she under the age of consent?

Not exactly, she’s 35 years young.

So why would the feminist, Lisa Wilkinson, think this is a relevant fact?

Bill’s Opinion

It’s subtle but the inference we are being offered is that a 35 year old woman was taken advantage of by the Deputy Prime Minister. Let’s rephrase that; a 35 year old professional woman does not have enough agency to make an informed decision about selecting her sexual partners.

That’s a fairly damning report card for the outcomes delivered by 3 waves of feminism.

Lastly, we can answer the “what if the genders were reversed, how would the press report it?” question with three words;

Julie “bicycle” Bishop.

Every Australian journalist reading this will be aware of the in-jokes, rumours and innuendo surrounding the Foreign Minister’s complicated and “busy” personal life. They will also be aware of how much of that has been investigated and reported on by the Canberra press corps – zero.

Hypocrisy is contingent on the observer’s viewpoint, it would seem.

That joke isn’t funny anymore

Think of your favourite jokes, comedy sketches or scenes from a funny film….

What is the one common thread that ties those chuckles together?

May I suggest, “laughing at someone’s expense”?

At the root of every successful form of comedy is some level of poking fun at someone else or oneself.

Comedy needs a victim.

The victim is seen to be deserving for various reasons; hubris, pride, arrogance, stupidity, aggression, etc. but, for whatever the reason they have deserved to be the butt of the joke, we find it amusing.

The acts of smiling, chuckling or laughing at joke, sketches or slapstick are completely involuntary, it’s almost impossible to control in advance what one finds amusing.

Yet, apparently, “Food allergies are not a punchline“.

Bill’s Opinion

Be very, very afraid of the joyless people who require us to not laugh at a joke.

As P.J. O’Rourke explains, they’ve confused the fact that they would prefer it if we didn’t find something funny with the reality that we still do.

He gives the example of Helen Keller falling down the well and breaking 4 fingers shouting for help. We know we shouldn’t laugh at that but we still do.

Q. How do you know if someone is gluten-intolerant?

A. It’s the first thing they’ll tell you.*

* also works for vegans, boot camp participants or people from Yorkshire.

Sorry seems to be the easiest word

Anyone who has been involved in rearing human infants will understand that the word “sorry” is the coda to the process of reconciling a malevolent or negligent act, not the start.

It’s also totally meaningless for the word to be said by anyone other than the person who committed the act, unless it’s used in the context of sympathy (“I’m sorry that happened to you”) instead.

Australian politicians don’t seem to have learned this important life lesson, however.

A decade ago the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised for previous Australian governments’ treatment of the Aboriginal people of Australia.

This year, the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, will apologise for child abuse committed in various institutions.

In addition to the word “sorry”, these apologies have a significant commonality; they are both meaningless because the speaker was not responsible for the crime. In most cases, the speaker was not even born at the time of the crime.

This new apology will receive much gushing news coverage and several soundbites will be carefully crafted to ensure their future use in television documentaries.

But let’s be clear; it will change nothing.

Fortunately, I’m not a victim of institutional child abuse (or any other kind of child abuse for that matter) but I am able to empathise with those who are. I assume that, if an apology were to be offered to the survivors, it would be far more likely to give them “closure” if the apology was delivered by the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator refused to give the apology or was unable to (most are dead now), perhaps it might give some satisfaction if their direct manager apologised for their part in the problem.

But there seems to be a rapidly diminishing law of returns in play as the apology moves further and further away from anyone actually involved at the time to the point that, when we reach the Prime Minister (in just his 3rd year in the job), it may as well be delivered by an out of work actor. At least the dramatic delivery would have a good chance of seeming genuine.

Bill’s Opinion

Apologising for history is virtue signalling nonsense.

We can understand why it is attractive to politicians however; it’s far simpler to say sorry for something you weren’t responsible for than to competently oversee the investigation and prosecution of criminals and assisting any living victims.

In other news, on behalf of the whole of western Christendom, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the sacking of Constantinople in 1215. Hopefully we can all move on from here and find common ground.

Did you actually read the report?

Cognitive dissonance occurs when irrefutable facts meet a firmly-held world view.

At this point the subject has two stark choices; change their mind in light of new information or create a mental cul de sac in which to park the inconvenient truth with the hope that it will stay there quietly.

Read the summary of this study (the full paper is linked at the bottom of the article) and then select which choice our blue ticked Tweeter decided upon;

The study found that there was a 7% difference in hourly pay in favour of men and the difference was explained as follows;

20% due to selection of times and locations of rides accepted.

30% due to experience gained by longevity in the service and more hours worked when the longevity was equal.

50% due to men driving 2% faster than women so able to accept more fares in a given period. Other USA studies indicate females have more accidents but men have more fatal accidents.

Nancy still feels that the pay gap is due to duh patriarchy.

Bill’s Opinion

Uber’s algorithm is gender blind. The dataset of 1m drivers, 750m rides over 2 years clearly shows driver choices are responsible for the 7% pay difference.

The pay difference is similar to other industries. This isn’t to claim there is no sexism occurring resulting in pay gaps between men and women in other industries but it does raise a very serious doubt.

And Nancy has just learned the difficult lesson that facts don’t care about her feelings.

H/t View From Northcote