“Charles Murray on populism, globalization, ‘The Bell Curve,’ and American politics today”

His conversation with Bill Kristol:

Very interesting discussion, after already being familiar with a couple of Dr. Charles Murray’s books and several speeches and interviews.

Pausing at 40:41: It’s taken me a while to come around to the idea, but I can appreciate what he’s suggesting there about a universal basic income. It would replace all other forms of social welfare, including social security payments. His position taken there explains how single mothers would no longer receive any financial incentives from the government for birthing children out of wedlock, which is unarguably a major issue in our country at present. Now, his scheme also requires securing our borders and no longer allowing in low-skill immigrant workers to compete in our workforce, which I would also be on board with. Ideally, it’s not what many of us would envision as a way forward, but we are facing dire straits due to the policies implemented in recent decades, spanning back to the 1960s or before that to FDR’s era. What we do know already is the direction we’re headed for currently is bound to end in national bankruptcy and mass immigration undermining our Western civilizations. So we must start there in considering this matter seriously. Wishful thinking of re-embracing frontier life and simply moving “off the grid” is not a sustainable solution, not for the vast majority of citizens at least.

I am willing to hear the man out and feel his proposal makes a good deal of sense, especially when he is open and willing to critique the globalization scheme we’re all being perpetually threatened by now. Bill Kristol isn’t someone for whom I’ve ever been a fan, but he too claims to be a reformer who’s seen the danger in the G.W. Bush administration and is looking for other alternatives. I will suspend judgment against him if that is truly the case.

My only concern standing would be that people might group up into collectives and then pool their money to afford living expenses while choosing to waste their lives with drugs and whatever else. Which they basically are doing already, so I can’t see why under his proposal it would be any different. But we as a society would have to remain steadfast and disallow these individuals to take advantage of us just because they squandered their own benefits. This is where guns and self-defense tools would remain vital, and we’d have to learn to take them more seriously. Because some people will always seek to take from others rather than earn for themselves, regardless of what they wind up entitled to. That’s just a sad fact of life that we’d be better off coming to grips with sooner vs. later.

But his talk about the advancements in artificial intelligence and driver-less cars is a real concern and certainly will displace thousands, if not millions, of American workers in the decades to come. The mechanics and automotive professionals I’m currently in contact with assure me of this reality. The sooner we prepare, the better off we might be. Might be.

I also appreciate Dr. Murray bringing up the importance of conscientiousness in our jobs. That’s something always worth keeping in mind, especially for those of us who work in unobserved environments. He’s right there, and there’s always somebody else waiting around the corner who can do better what we’re not taking seriously enough.

“Uncommon Knowledge: White America Is ‘Coming Apart'”

Dr. Peterson on Existentialism via Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag (2017 Personality course lecture)

That interesting lecture was brought to us by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, esteemed professor at the University of Toronto. Some of the material he provided there from various authors, particularly that of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I am familiar with from listening to past lectures by Dr. Peterson; plus, plenty of us internet devotees were already aware of the “Hugh Mongous” fiasco whereby Zarna Joshi made an ass of herself (and the most-modern Feminist movement she belongs to) while trying to demean a man out in public because she felt so entitled to do so. So, having viewed all of that, I personally found the most interesting portion of this lecture to begin shortly after the 1:15:45 mark where Dr. Peterson goes into the biblical story of the flood and then the Tower of Babel, followed by his thoughts on nihilism/existentialism and individual responsibility.

The latter is a topic many of us revisit time and time again as we struggle to get our lives under better control. He’s absolutely correct that a sizeable portion of the suffering we experience in this life is due to our own choices and stubbornly not following our consciences. We know this, and yet we often don’t live as if we know this. “To know and not to do is not to know” — to repeat a quote that dates back across the centuries.

He’s right that each of our lives have a ripple effect on our communities and that one’s own pathology impacts the pathological nature of wider society. It can be no other way since society is composed of individual persons — it’s an aggregate of all of us. That’s all it is and all it ever was. Though it’s very easy for us to try to hide within it, to attempt to blend in so as not to be noticed too distinctly, to shirk responsibility because we’d rather avoid the headaches that go along with that. And somewhere in that equation is where the so-called root of all evil likely resides, at least in its primordial form.

I think we know this deep down, though we like to dismiss it as somehow less relevant than continuing to go along to get along. “Don’t make waves,” some like to say. “The raised nail gets hammered down” — another proverb used to admonish us to not draw attention to ourselves by stepping out of line from the rest. And so the herd mentality gets reinforced…

The biggest problem we humans face is our own humanity and the reckoning it requires of us at this point in our psychological, spiritual, and sociopolitical development. It’s an internal struggle with external consequences, as we can clearly see.

So often we look to others to change so that we might be made happy. But that’s not how it works. Never has and never will.

That was an excellent talk by Dr. Peterson. Glad that I awoke tonight and stumbled back across his channel once again.

Another evening of existential reckoning (oh joy)

Was actually perusing a Sam Harris clip like I so very rarely ever care to do. Never been much of a fan of the guy. But found a segment where I agreed with him how people are factioning off into political tribes. Guess this is what Religions dying can morph into. Gotta put that energy toward something, somewhere. And now politics is the name of the game. The new beacon on which to direct our religious devotion.

Human beings are religious by our very natures. Have always been inclined toward religiosity and still are. Evolved this way. So even though we like to think we’re dropping all that and turning our attention toward the formation of a secular society, that inclination still resides within us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Expresses itself in various ways. Political tribalism to whatever degrees. New herds to lose ourselves within.

Lots of things to lose oneself in nowadays. So much freedom we barely know what to do with it.

Freedom to make all sorts of (good or bad) choices too. That’s one of those natural rights granted to us by Nature. Some call it Free Will, though it can’t help but come with limitations.

Still. Pretty darn free in the U.S. currently.

Free to buy an assortment of delicacies and enticements. Free to partake in a number of legal drugs, including alcohol (and marijuana in some states). Free to think whatever we want. Free to vote for whomever we want, assuming our nation’s voting apparatus is even trustworthy any longer, and assuming you’re not barred from doing so due to certain felony charges.

Free to read books. Tons of libraries around for folks who lack funds. Inexpensive entertainment as well as educational if we push ourselves to seek and explore. But that’s a choice. Comes back to exercising all this Freedom we’ve been blessed with.

Choices. Attention paid to where? Habits. Options. Alternatives. Decisions. Backed by actions.

Come to find out, it’s very easy to get lost in this 21st Century. lol  True story.

Values. What matters most?

What were the seven deadly sins again?

SLOTH

ENVY

LUST

GLUTTONY

GREED

PRIDE

WRATH

Good to keep in mind. As I sit here tonight as a sloth, once again, pondering while wandering around the internet. Satiating my legal vices. Ever look at that list and wind up having to check every box? Whether past or present, all the same we are afflicted by excesses that can prove destructive, and not only to our own selves. Obviously.

So then what? Wait for motivation to come and sweep us along on our way? Doesn’t work like that.

Some good books I’ve been contemplating on over the last several months are:

Thinking of canceling my Audible subscription for a spell so I can just refocus on these and other titles. Those books there are really informative and thought-provoking. Not needing to continue on in my studies until I get re-oriented with the aid of those books. They do help. But of course it ultimately comes down to one’s individual efforts. Application of lessons learned.

“The Architecture of Belief | Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux”

Journaling on a Friday evening in early February 2017

Been sick frequently this winter. Colds. Been battling this last one for over a week now. Makes me tired, has kept me indoors this whole week when not working. No desire for in-person company. Been skipping the gym lately too. Downtime. Sleeping more.

Mostly watching the wheels go ’round and ’round online during my waking hours. Observing the political fallout. Catching up on some of the news stories.

Currently listening to the audiobook The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis. Enjoying it. Prior to that listened to Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Race and loved it. Will be re-listening to that one again! Mostly sticking with audiobooks these days, partly because lighting in my apartment sucks. Need to remedy that.

Been cooking at home more than usual, so that’s good. Tried my hand at making lasagna for the first time in a years a couple weeks back. Turned out okay. Nothing to write home about though. Otherwise fixing other simpler pasta dishes. Screw Atkins for now. It can wait. Continue reading

“Charles Murray — The Bell Curve Revisited”

From the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard (March 14, 2014).

EXCELLENT talk! Loved how Dr. Murray outlined what the book actually stated and what can reasonably be inferred from it (and what yet cannot), as well as discussing the backlash his book received. Sad about his co-writer/co-contributor not making it to see the release and response of their research in their book. Fascinating topic with so many possible implications that we really do have to be reserved in our speculations, as Murray definitely is. It’s unfortunate that so many people chose not to actually read these men’s book yet still feel the need to trash their findings. I admit to not having read it yet, but I have watched a good many lectures/speeches from Dr. Murray, including part of this one before, and grasp his findings enough to appreciate the value of them, upsetting as they may appear to some folks.

The Truth is what what is, our opinions and desires be damned. That’s how Nature rolls. There comes a point where we have to come to grips with that, my fellow social sciences enthusiasts. Because some people’s assumptions proved wrong doesn’t mean it’s all over and that more interesting inquiries don’t exist on the horizon. And this right here points to the problems with the “social sciences” — inability or unwillingness to be flexible in light of new and substantiated data. Welcome to scientific inquiry! Learn to roll with it! Quit investing yourselves in particular outcomes. That’s called an ideology. Not true empirical Science. We have no choice but to accept that fact, lest we wind up on the wrong end of the Copernican controversy, as Dr. Murray mentioned. He’s right there. Absolutely is. See more and in-depth information on biology, physics and anatomy to start grasping the larger picture. It’s necessary for human development that we all learn to grapple with the information being presented to us and to not hide or simply dismiss it because it may not conform to our prior expectations.

Very important that we come to grips with this life lesson. Much as I love aspects of the field of Sociology, I still stand firmly on what I’ve stated here.

“Gold nugget highlights from Jordan Peterson on the Joe Rogan Experience #877”

Love this talk.