Category Archives: Philosophy

Why people don’t admit they’re wrong

The no longer know how to think critically

Todd Hayden has written an article (“Admit You’re Wrong, Or Die“) in which he observes that people are less able to admit they’re wrong than they used to be.

What is this? I am a pretty old guy, and I do remember a time when people were more flexible. Sure, no one likes to admit they’re wrong, but they actually used to do that, at least occasionally.

He looks for reasons:

I will stick to the idea that much of this resistance to absorbing the evidential truth and changing minds accordingly has to do with a decades-long priming. People in general no longer know up from down—as they blindly navigate the bizarre-o streets of the 2000s. Not much that their senses pick up is automatically, as it used to be, identified accurately.

He blames technology:

Anything our senses are asked to evaluate as evidence is rejected as such, like in a magic show. Nothing can be trusted anymore, until some certain type of authority says it can be. There’s the catch.

He also, briefly and obliquely, touches on education:

If you have nearly no system of determining reality (your senses and common sense), and have never been taught to critically think so you can ascertain truth with a blindfold on, then you are going to be looking for someone to whisper in your ear to describe what it is you are looking at but cannot see. [My emphasis, PwG]

I am currently reading a book by Gary North, his last, called “The Biblical Structure of History”, in which he lays out that modern historians, not basing their study on the presupposition of a creator God, have no way of referencing their perception of the past to anything fixed. Therefore, their history becomes something totally random and relative.

This perception of history became dominant soon after the first world war. It has by now percolated throughout society. The result is that people no longer know what to believe, but still must make their way through society and life. And so they latch on to “some certain type of authority” who tells them what’s up and what’s down, what’s right and what’s wrong. No matter how much it contradicts their “common sense”. And they believe it, and act accordingly.

New definition of socialism

A recent Orwellian change in the Oxford English Dictionary

I’ve just learnt that at some point at or before 13th January 2019, the OED added some interesting words to its definition of the word “socialism”.

According an entry in Kristen R. Ghodsee’s blog, dated 13th January 2019, this is how the OED defines socialism (emphasis added by me, PwG):

“Frequently with capital initial. A theory or system of social organization based on state or collective ownership and regulation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange for the common benefit of all members of society; advocacy or practice of such a system, esp. as a political movement. Now also: any of various systems of liberal social democracy which retain a commitment to social justice and social reform, or feature some degree of state intervention in the running of the economy.”

When exactly did that “now” of the “now also” happen?

It’s quite obvious what has happened, and why. Believers in socialism have still not accepted that their path to paradise has failed miserably, abysmally. So they want to rescue their idea by stowing away on “liberal social democracy”. It’s no secret that left-wing types are heavily overrepresented in academia. They will have had the clout to get that change done.

Secondly, this is a great way to bring in socialism back in again through the back door. First change the definition, then have as many people as possible campaign for “social justice” and “social reform” and more “state interventionism”. In the meantime scoffing baselessly at anyone who shows that these concepts will necessarily lead to socialism. At some point in the future, when it is deemed safe to do so, declare openly that all those campaigners are really demanding socialism – just refer to the OED! And then demand its full implementation.

Apocalypse from now on?

How the climate of fear turned a heatwave into a catastrophe.

Article by Tim Black.


Take the rising temperatures in Britain over the past two decades, which culminated in a record 40 degree Celsius at Coningsby in Lincolnshire. It is undoubtedly true that all of the UK’s 10 warmest years on record have happened in the past 20 years. But what is striking is that during this period there has been no accompanying increase in the kind of fires we saw in Wennington – even in Greater London, which is the hottest, most populous area in the UK.

Quite the opposite. As the Spectator notes, between 1966 and 2008 there were more than 30,000 fires in Greater London, peaking in 1976 when there were nearly 64,000 fires. Since 2008, the number of fires recorded in London has fallen dramatically, with just 15,000 in 2021.

Even grass fires, which one would expect to be on the rise given the hotter, drier climate of the past two decades, have actually been in decline in Greater London. As the London Fire Brigade puts it, the number of grass fires in Greater London is ‘significantly lower [today] than a decade ago’. Indeed, grass fires peaked in 2003 and have fallen 83 per cent since then. Which is hardly a sign that we are heading towards a future of annual wildfires and burnt-out houses.


This contrast between the catastrophising of our cultural and political elites and a rather more mundane reality is borne out globally. We hear constantly about ‘extreme’ weather events. We hear endless talk of the rise in natural disasters caused by manmade climate change. Our house is on fire, says Greta Thunberg relentlessly. It certainly feels as if the world has entered a period of ever-more dangerous natural instability.

Yet the statistics tell a very different story. As Michael Shellenberger noted in his 2020 book Apocalypse Never, there has been ‘a 92 per cent decline in the decadal death toll from natural disasters since its peak in the 1920s’. Back then, 5.4million people died from natural disasters. In the 2010s, just 400,000 did.


Sontag’s analysis of the apocalyptic imagination, which she witnessed emerge during her own lifetime, is as invaluable now as it was then. She didn’t dismiss or ‘deny’ the facts from which the apocalyptic visions drew their dark inspiration. AIDS really was a terrible disease. Heavy industry really could cause instances of environmental degradation. And no doubt the climate could be warming.

What she critiqued was the apocalyptic extrapolation. This means that any challenge or problem we face, when refracted through the apocalyptic imagination, is presented in terms of the catastrophe to come. Every scientifically observable change in nature is, via ever more sophisticated modelling, transformed into a future end-of-days event. This is less a scientific procedure than a creative, metaphorical one, transforming one thing into something else. As she put it: ‘Every process is a prospect, and invites a prediction bolstered by statistics. Say: the number now… in three years, in five years, in 10 years; and, of course, at the end of the century. Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.’


Think of anti-pollution measures introduced in Western societies over the past couple of centuries. Excessive smoke and smog wasn’t in the past treated as a symbol for something else – as a warning sign or punishment or the occasion for a Just Stop Burning Things protest. It was simply treated as a practical problem to be solved. Which it was.

So it is with a potentially warmer climate. Whatever problems it throws up, there is a sober, resilient approach we can take. This is no easy task, of course. It requires us, as societies, to re-orient ourselves in relation to the future, and also in relation to the past. It requires recovering and revitalising the Enlightenment ideals we have repudiated, too often in the name of environmentalism. Only by re-embracing reason, science and progress will we have the wherewithal to face the uncertainty of the future with a degree of confidence. Perhaps then we can finally stop catastrophising about climate change and start treating it as a challenge we can overcome.

Jordan Peterson’s message to CEOs

Ditch the evil, satanic "woke" stuff, the DIE and the ESG

He rains down fire, brimstone and pro-free market slaps in the face. He quotes Jesus to them: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (but then mistakenly seems to say that this is from the Sermon on the Mount – it’s not, it’s from Luke 12:48, but that’s just a minor quibble).

Here it is, the full 25 minutes in all their glory.

Rapid Cultural Decline and What Comes Next

Western Civilization changed the very nature of life - and is the only civilization worth talking about

Writes Doug Casey:

Whenever the public was in a frenzy about something or other, my friend Herman Kahn (look him up) liked to quip, “There are only two important things that have happened since the dawn of history—and this isn’t one of them.” He was referring to the Agricultural Revolution around 5000 years ago and the Industrial Revolution. It’s good to keep things in perspective…

[. . .]

The thing to remember is that Western civilization is built on a certain set of values and virtues that have given the world something unique in history. Before the rise of Western Civ, people everywhere in the world survived by piling sticks and stones on top of one another and grubbing for roots and berries, freezing in the winter and starving in the spring, expecting an early and likely violent death.

Western Civ changed the very nature of life. It is, in fact, the only civilization worth talking about. China may have given the world Taoism, martial arts, and General Tso’s Chicken. India developed yoga, and curries are tasty. But on the whole, Ayn Rand was right when she said East minus West equals zero.

We’re now undergoing our own Great Cultural Revolution. It’s much more serious than what the Chinese attempted in the ’60s. Why? Because a whole complex of destructive ideas have now captured the apparatus of most governments, academia, media, entertainment, charities, and large corporations. The public has been both subtlety and overtly indoctrinated for generations. It’s not easy to reverse a trend this large.

Let me give you the dozen things that made Western Civilization and America not only unique but vastly better than any other country or civilization in history. I’ve listed 12 concepts. These things are the essence of Western Civ—and are unique to it. Ask yourself if attitudes towards them haven’t changed radically in recent years. Ask yourself if the trend towards collapse of the West hasn’t accelerated since then.

  1. Free thought has been replaced by Political Correctness, and it’s discouraged. We’re approaching the stage of Orwellian thought crime.
  2. Free speech is subject to cancel culture at universities, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and society in general. In totalitarian societies, free speech is cause for imprisonment or worse. We’re headed in that direction.
  3. Free markets mean the freedom to act. They’re gone as an ideal, replaced by socialism as a goal. Regulation is now considered essential by most people.
  4. Limited government has been replaced by State control of almost everything.
  5. Individualism is seen as bad, or at least antisocial. Identity politics is preferred. You’re not an individual so much as a member of a race or a party.
  6. Rationality is white and therefore racist. Science, logic, and fact are replaced by superstition. Group think is the new secular religion.
  7. Liberty is seen as a danger. Snowflakes need shelter in safe spaces for fear of being triggered.
  8. The concept of Progress is dangerous because it leads to inequality, and no one should be left behind.
  9. Privacy has been replaced by Transparency. God forbid you might have a secret. Everything is monitored. The Chinese Social Credit system is becoming a model.
  10. Property Rights—Fuhgedaboudit. You’ll own nothing and better be happy. On the bright side, your masters may give you food, housing, education, meds, and a Guaranteed Annual Income—if you’re obedient.
  11. The classic Rule of Law is gone, replaced by thousands of micro rules. Everything that’s not obligatory is forbidden.
  12. Industry & enterprise are evil since they lead to “greed,” inequality, and using the planet’s resources.

Statists and collectivists have largely succeeded in corrupting the public’s attitudes towards the twelve things which made the West unique. The trend is accelerating, and trends tend to stay in motion until they reach a crisis. Once they reach a crisis—it’s called a revolution in the case of a country, or a collapse in the case of a civilization—things usually get even worse, at least for a while.

[. . .]

My guess is that for years to come, we’re going to see a serious devolution of civilization everywhere. The world has become top-heavy with the fruits of civilization. Hundreds of millions rely on those fruits, with no clue about how they came about. Meanwhile, the roots of the tree that produced them are rotting.

As a result, we could be looking at not just a historic financial meltdown, accompanied by a really serious economic upheaval, with wars and serious shortages. But an overthrow of traditional cultural norms, social chaos, and political totalitarianism. Of course, mankind has survived all that for at least five millennia so far. And I suppose we’ll handle this as well. There will just be more unpleasantness and inconveniences than usual in the decade to come….

From Finite World to Infinite Growth

The Malthusians decided in their hubris and arrogance that because they couldn’t see a solution to a problem they’d defined, that solution did not exist.

Tom Luongo has written a piece called “From Currency Resets to Limiting Infinite Growth

In it, he writes:

In a recent article on this blog, I did a quick and dirty takedown of the globalist talking point about infinite growth in a finite world.   That gaslighting was at the core of the conflict in the big story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of films, which centered on Thanos coming to bring balance by destroying half of the life in the Universe.

Davos has gaslit two entire generations of westerners in the Malthusian talking point that you can’t have infinite growth in a finite world. All of their economic dogma is predicated on this.

It doesn’t matter that this talking point is predicated on an inane premise, truth is, after all treason, at this point in the economic and cultural cycle. But, to try and explain quickly for the slow-witted. GDP growth is not necessarily real growth. It’s just spending. It says nothing for the quality of the spending or whether, in real terms, the people spending the money are materially better off than they were at a previous point in time.

What isn’t measured by GDP is VALUE. Value is what we crave, the ability to plan further into the future, using our ingenuity to find better mousetraps to build and more efficient, and yes sustainable, ways of deploying scarce capital and time.

When you have a monetary system and regulatory regime designed to thwart that to stop growth then you have the world we live in today. That infinite growth is a subjective, not objective, measure…. not in GDP terms but in the ‘alleviation of human misery’ terms.

Davos absolutely doesn’t want this because a world where everyone gets maximal value for their time is a world without our need for them.

Thanos in the Marvel films makes the same mistake Davos and Huxley made, deciding in their hubris and arrogance that because they couldn’t see a solution to a problem they’d defined, that solution did not exist. This justified their acquisition of power unlimited to re-make the world in their image.

I liked his conclusion in particular:

At that point you will then see what the real growth rate of the world is.  Gary North used to say that prior to the early 1800’s the real rate at which wealth compounded was ~1% annually.  Then something changed and it doubled to 2% and that scared the bejeesus out of the elites because too many people were getting rich too quickly to need them to look out for their interests.

Now you know why the Club of Rome began in the 1850’s, why central banking was so bitterly fought over here in the US then. It’s why Marx’s insane ideas were adopted by those with generational power.  It was to STOP our growth as a species, not keep it from destroying the planet, but their system of unearned privilege.

What Exactly Did the Reformation Reform?

Article by Frank van Dun

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century reformed nothing but it changed everything. It was a crucially important factor in the demise of Medieval Latin Christendom and its rapid transformation in what we now know as Europe or, more generally, the West. Philosophically and religiously it rede­fined and revolutionized Western civilization, for, what characterizes a civiliza­tion is not so much what people do (which is pretty much the same always and everywhere) as what they conscientiously believe they ought to do: its fundamental scheme of justification and rectification — in a word, its conscience.

Continue reading here.

The Science of Evil

Michael Rectenwald's Review of "Political Ponerology"

“Political Ponerology” is the title of a book on the science of evil, written by Polish author Andrew M. Łobaczewski and first published in 1984 (!). US academic Michael Rectenwald has read it and written a review on He starts by saying:

This strange and provocative book argues that totalitarianism is the result of the extension of psychopathology from a group of psychopaths to the entire body politic, including its political and economic systems. 

He goes on to say:

Łobaczewski made the bold claim that he’d uncovered “the general laws of the origin of evil.” If true, the book was on par with Newton’s Principia in the physical sciences, while being of greater practical importance. And he approached this domain from the disciplinary perspective of psychology. Such an “individualist” methodology had been dismissed as mere “psychologism” in my own and many other fields of the humanities and social sciences. Łobaczewski’s insistence to focus on individual psychological disorders to understand the unfolding of “macrosocial evil” seemed mistaken to me initially, but this approach accords well with Joseph Schumpeter’s methodological individualism, which became a hallmark of the Austrian school. My assumption had always been that one needed to study political ideology and economics and that political ideology and economic theory explained nearly everything one needed to know about how and why totalitarian evil comes about.

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The True Causes of the Ukraine-Russia Conflict

A very good succinct presentation

By Vasko Kohlmayer.

Included are videos with Ukraine- and Russia-experts John J. Mearsheimer, who is a Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Jim Rickards, who is, according to the author of the article, “one of the most astute experts on geopolitics today. He is a lawyer, best-selling author and investor. He is an advisor on capital markets to the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”