Monday assorted links

1. Profile of Claire Lehmann.

2. Profile of Shane Parrish and Farnam Street (NYT).

3. With @RyanHawk12 on The Learning Leader Show – Talked about developing skills for what is scarce, Stubborn Attachments, & having a complete dedication to your craft

4. The Future Library — books that will not be published until their authors die (NYT).

5. New journal allows academics to publish controversial articles under a pseudonym (while they are still alive).

What do #1, #4, and #5 on this list have in common?  Three such items in one day?  Is it possible that Leo Strauss is underrated?


"Is it possible that Leo Strauss is underrated?"

I am certain that Tyler does not under-rate Dr Strauss. In fact he could do a bit better by making his Straussian preferences more Straussian. Unless stubborn attachments was in fact not about maximizing sustainable economic growth.

1., 4., 5. Lehman is in Australia, where Rupert Murdoch dominates the news media market to a greater extent that in America. Here in America, Murdoch seems to control the minds of those who rely on his media outlets for news. As the creator of The Journal of Controversial Ideas states, the left only has influence on college campuses while it's the right that threatens free speech beyond the campus. While I am much aware of the threat of Facebook vigilantism on college campuses, is that a real threat, a threat anywhere near the threats from right-wing politicians to control the outcome of elections. I mean really, who is afraid of the loudmouths in women's and ethnic studies; they are as powerless as Don Quixote. Are you afraid of them? Here's a news story about some loudmouth opportunist who criticized Tucker Carlson and his daughter at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville (FAAAHRMINGTON is a thing in Charlottesville): For his boorish behavior, the opportunist has been expelled from the club. Carlson can come anytime.

"the left only has influence on college campuses while it's the right that threatens free speech beyond the campus"

The left only has influence in college campuses, academia, the media, the entertainment industry, the tech industry and social media, and the legal profession.

The right has lots of influence in the NFL, though not enough to prevent ongoing protests.

Hey don't forget talk radio. ;)

Rest easy, bro. The right still has plenty of influence in scrub-lands and blackberry thickets and mangrove swamps, and in senior slow-pitch softball.

You should add the US Senate to that list...

Kinda the same thing he said. The Senate is dominated by the scrub-land states. Enjoy for now, eventually the population advantage of the Dems will outweigh the electoral college advantage of the Reps. Basically when Texas goes blue....2024 perhaps?

The right, like the left, also has influence on college campuses (see Liberty University), academia, the media (see Fox News, Wall St. Journal, Sinclair broadcasting, etc.), the entertainment industry (anything owned by Murdoch, talk radio), the tech industry (see how tech CEOs vote), and social media (Facebook owned by Thiel), and the legal profession (see Federalist society). In addition, it has influence over the oil industry, the tobacco industry, Wall Street, big agribusinesses, a large number of thinktanks, most state governorships and legislatures, and all three branches of the Federal government minus the House.

Peter Thiel owns 2.5% of Facebook.

So the right has control in areas where political ideas and soul-shaping isn't actually part of the job. The left directs your general wordview; the right sells you cigarettes.

The way the left justifies its ideological dominance is by claiming the right is in control everywhere where "right" and "left" are irrelevant and orthogonal to getting things done. This they call "neoliberal ideology."

It's imperative that the left keep an iron grip on their influence in academia because they believe every OTHER institution is controlled by their enemies. The one place you can't expect them to be interested in overthrowing or upending in any serious way is the university. That would undermine their attempt to make serious changes everywhere else.

Make sure you're wearing your own oxygen mask before you attempt to affix others'. And all that.

More on this phenomenon:

I honestly don't see what the problem is. Why not just allocate social institutions on the basis of the political spectrum.

The right gets: the state, military, police, religion, and business.
The left gets: the university, education, literature, art, and entertainment.

Each side gets their own media and sports.

This way the right keeps all the power and the left suffers sufficiently to make great art. Seems like a fair deal to me.

the state, military, police, religion, business. the university, education, literature, art, and entertainment

One of the above will(must) support the others. Guess which one.

Lol no. Your first sentence is totally false. The left dominates all those areas, your point seems to be that there is at least one person in each area that is not a leftist, which is damning with faint praise if I ever heard it.

Your second sentence says 1) businessmen tend to be right and 2) the right has won some elected offices. Regular businesses are one area where ideology makes little difference. Elected offices are something the people at large vote on.

He didn't say that Ray, here's the quote:

Jeff McMahan, professor of moral philosophy at University of Oxford, and one of the organisers, said: "It would enable people whose ideas might get them in trouble either with the left or with the right or with their own university administration, to publish under a pseudonym."


"The fear comes from opposition both on the left and the right. The threats from outside the university tend to be more from the right. The threats to free speech and academic freedom that come from within the university tend to be more from the left."

The threats from outside the university tend to be more from the right.

Yeah, the Tea Partiers were roaming around in masks rioting.

Wow. To think that the American media is in its majority right-leaning is quite a thing. Either you don't read / watch anything that is produced here or your definition of left and right is completely outside of the american norm.

rayward observations seem to be somewhat unique.

Rupert Murdoch owns the top TV news network and the top newspaper. Sinclair owns the top local media outlets across the nation. Talk radio is thoroughly dominated by the right.

"The right controls and restricts speech far more outside universities. See this country club as proof!" (I mean that's the definition of a narrow, unimportant space with little relevance in producing elites; the universities are elite producing machines!)

Its common for folk on the older established liberal left to dismiss social justice warrior antics as a blip and just some youthful exuberance that is overblown on campuses.

But recent survey data suggests that the same views are held essentially in lockstep by an 8% strong population of the US at much wider age ranges than a narrow sophomoric band, and a far higher proportion of "the Left" and the high educated. The older liberals who understand what calm rational debate looks like are in denial about how their left is being replaced by the SJWs.

Is it still Straussian if you point it out?

I know just barely enough about Strauss to get the joke. Basically, I know Strauss from TC references / context and from the Wikipedia article.

So, hypothetically speaking, if you were going to summarize what's meant by 'Straussian' so a reasonably intelligent individual who had great potential to understand but did not yet, what would you say?

#s 1, 4, and 5 tell us that the values of intellectual honesty and intellectual cowardice are both being re-evaluated by the media-corrupted, business-corrupted global Academy.

Do not expect resolution any time soon. Far too early to guess whether the quaint notion "truth" survives the ordeal, since both objective data and subjective states assessing such data can no longer be accounted for reliably using existing metrics.

#1: "Over a 30-day period this fall, Quillette received north of 2 million page views"......."Cries of victimhood, or of being silenced for voicing unpopular viewpoints, are common grievances among her site’s contributors."

The Politico writer has the audacity to call it intellectual dark web, not so different from the music industry giants promoting alternative artists.

After reading the profile, I wonder if is also a joke like the friends of hers submitting nonsensical articles to the "grievance studies" journals.

Hey it's okay that your viewpoint and the viewpoint held by 60% of Americans is totally excluded from the media that 99.5% of Americans see, because Quilette, which I'm totally sure you've heard of and which has HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people who have visited it globally, is willing to share your viewpoint.

ahhhhh, do you see the contradiction between 2+ million page views and unpopular opinions? the dictionary is full of other adjectives that can be used instead of unpopular.

the use of the adjective is important because people uses "unpopular" as a defense: don't discuss my opinions, the only reason you criticize me is because I hold an unpopular opinion..... nothing else to see here.

To use a Tylerism, Quillette is overrated. On the one hand, I appreciate that it publishes views that are critical of liberal orthodoxy. But, much like the "new atheists", those same articles often preach a new type of dogmatism. I stopped reading a while back.

My complaint with Quillette is more that they tend to be repetitive. There's a bit too much complaining about liberal orthodoxy, not enough exploring alternatives.

Quillete: Here's a long article about a person who was treated shabbily in higher education.
Me: I've seen this fish before.

Yes, but how else do you handle the standard Left wing rebuttal that this type of behavior rarely happens without a source to document that it's not rare?

That's fair, it's just that my quota for feature articles of the "he/she was unfairly punished for violating the unwritten rules at [University Name]" genre is about one/month, tops, despite whatever sympathies I happen to have with the victims (which I usually do).

+1. Quillette isn't necessarily promoting a "new orthodoxy", it's just that their views are contrarian to the dominant discourses in academia, so by nature they will have a certain tone. And this tone does get repetitive, something like 75-80% of Quillette articles are just a little less predictable than a standard "grievance studies" article in Chronicle of Higher Ed, Slate, or an academic journal; now I only read Quillette if they get linked to or if some particularly outrageous campus event happens (like the Charles Murray borderline-riot at Middlebury). But Quillette isn't like The New Left Review circa 1970, it doesn't have a comprehensive, all-encompassing program and viewpoint.

You're not totally wrong. Light years more likely anything new and true per article better than with Vox, Slate, the Atlantic though.

The fall of The Atlantic is the most disappointing. Vox, Slate, Vice and the like all went Salon-tier 4 or 5 years ago, but The Atlantic managed to stay fairly sane, reasonable, and insightful. Then they fell quite rapidly over the course of the end of 2016 through 2017.

TC: Q: "What do #1, #4, and #5 on this list have in common? "
A: Who is John Galt?

Bonus trivia: reading Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" now.

If i remember right, Clarke hypothesized there would be a future where the n word uttered by a caucasian would would not be offensive. I think this one was a spectacular failure in prediction, unlike Clarke's communications satellite prediction.

Bonus trivia: I read Childhood's End as a kid, perhaps once more in early adulthood.

Clark, a pedophile who these days would be locked up or chemically castrated, also got the 'race war' wrong in South Africa. In his Childhood End novel the benevolent (sic) being (I'm still in Chap 2) intervened in South Africa to protect the whites from the blacks (!), not the other way around.

Protecting the whites in ZA would be racist, we couldn't do that!

And accepting asylum seekers that are not a drain on social services would be a scandal, as all the other ones would look bad!

"What do #1, #4, and #5 on this list have in common?"


#1 - The "Intellectual Dark Web" is a silly attempt to shore up the right side of the Overton frame. It's a hello-fellow-kids moment.

Been there done that, well before the hilariously contrived "Dark Web."

Don't forget this comment:

"It’s all part of the site’s efforts to “broaden the Overton window,” Lehmann says—referring to a term that originated in the late 1990s as a synonym for reasonable political discourse but more recently has been hijacked by the alt-right in an attempt to normalize extreme rhetoric."

That's a transparently blatant attempt to control the language.

It strikes me as just plain rude.

The very notion of an acceptable range of debate is itself a right-wing dog whistle now. An alt right one at that.

How did the left lose its edge? Why is everyone who's reading Manufacturing Consent these days a right-winger - or at least comes off like one by making their enemy the dreaded SJW?

The Left is out of intellectual gas because their models fail to predict or describe accurately. That can't be admitted, so the cognitive disconnect is bridged by making arguments that are medium-based: "hate "speech, "othering," or "mansplaining."

Sounds like guilt by association. The rhetoric at Quillette is decidedly unextreme, but, hey, the site's editor use this term "A" and a group of really bad people also use term "A," so it's reasonable for you to assume, dear reader, that the editor is a bad person, also. Otherwise, why would she use that term?

"Intellectual dark web" is a better marketing term than "slightly out of the mainstream intellectuals who get called mean names by the intellectuals who are more in the mainstream." But several of the people associated with the IDW (both weinsteins, harris) are serious thinkers worthy of engaging with.

It's an embarrassing label imo.

Isn't the actual dark web for terrorists and child pornographers? So wouldn't the intellectual equivalent be a thought criminal? It's absolutely hilarious that pretty safe thinkers like Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan (intellectual???) are being portrayed are being portrayed as beyond the edge of permissible discourse.

This is all about creating the illusion of open discourse and controlling and preempting full discussion of various topics.

They probably think turning off cookies is "Dark Web."

#5 they need to cryptography sign each paper so the author can claim it at a later date. Maybe a good application of blockchain? That would also make it impossible to delete an article from the record if it proves too controversial.

Interesting. Why didn't Satoshi Nakamoto cryptographically sign HIS paper, to be claimed later?

(Not an expert, but I think cryptographic signature is pretty mature, independent of blockchain.)

Because there was no need to. Satoshi also mined the first few bitcoins. If there was a need to verify his identity, it is a simple matter of spending those bitcoins.

Aren't there some bitcoin addresses known to be from Satoshi? If he's still alive he presumably has those keys, which could prove his identity if he wanted to do so. But it's not
clear why that would benefit him.

Maybe. I think it is less clear than a timestamped digital signature.

1, 4, and 5 are all people far more impressed with themselves than anyone else ever could.

Pen names and posthumous publications have been around for a long time. The reasons for such practices are obvious. Strauss isn't the only one to notice or discuss veiled communication. At the same time, Tyler undersells Strauss by invoking him exclusively as a shorthand for a single concept.

+1. Tyler is debasing Strauss to the point where simply not being on-the-nose, bashing-you-on-the-head explicit is "Straussian".

1, 4, and 5 all confuse "mockery and ridicule" with "censorship".

#1...(“I read Foucault and thought it was bullshit,” she says.)" Having spoken with Foucault, heard him lecture, and read his books, I can unreservedly say that he didn't deal in bullshit. I can't say that he had a large influence on my own views on the subjects he studied, but he was a brilliant man.

Foucault was a good diagnostician of Western society as it existed in the 50s, 60s, and 70s as a critic of positivism at a time when that outlook ruled the roost in the social sciences and humanities. He's a lot weaker, though, in his later output (which somehow became foundational to LGBTQ studies) and, at his core, he is rehashing philosophical arguments made by Parmenides, Heraclitus, and Protagoras 2400 years ago.

Is it kosher to suggest an article for a future links post?

"One way of looking at human creativity is as a process of pulling balls out of a giant urn. The balls represent possible ideas, discoveries, technological inventions. ... What we haven’t extracted, so far, is a black ball—a technology that invariably or by default destroys the civilization that invents it."

"The scientific ethos is rather this: every ball must be extracted from the urn as quickly as possible and revealed to everyone in the world immediately; the more this happens, the more progress has been made; and the more you contribute to this, the better a scientist you are. The possibility of a black ball does not enter into the equation."

The principles of entropy apply to civilizations - the more highly ordered a structure the more options there are for it to be less ordered than more ordered.

Bostrom suggests some ways to protect against this vulnerability. One idea he didn't mention was to make everyone more stupid. So perhaps an aerial campaign to spread lead via commercial aircraft......

More seriously we have to pin our hopes on the multiverse I think to expect survival of the human race given all the threats we have faced in the past and the future.

"The principles of entropy apply to civilizations - the more highly ordered a structure the more options there are for it to be less ordered than more ordered."

Yes, but logically wouldn't most of the options lead to other forms of slightly less ordered structures. Human society seems amazingly robust. In nearly every case of societal decay, the collapse was localized and society recovered to some extent fairly quickly. Even the vaunted Dark Ages didn't effect the entire world.

Outside of bad popcorn fiction, society doesn't devolve into tribal cannibalistic gangs.

There's a difference between stuff that will destroy the current order of civilization, stuff that will destroy the current civilization, and stuff that will destroy mankind.

I can think of ideas that caught on and fundamentally killed a bunch of the older social order, replacing it with a new one. (Think of the fall of communism in Europe, or the way that titles of nobility and being the right religion were huge factors in how your life went in 1600, but are not too important today.)

Are there ideas that have actually destroyed their society? The closest thing I can think of is the way that dictatorships can abruptly fall once everyone realizes that everyone else also wants the dictator gone. (I'm not sure how much that's the spread of the idea "the dictator sucks" and how much is solving the coordination problem of who is willing to face down the secret police first, though.) Maybe the protestant reformation would be another example of an idea that destroyed (or remade) a big part of its host society. Are there other good examples?

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