The provocation is probably first with the Moldbug Reactionaries, which is to consider the scope of which all of the American dialectic is false and incomplete. The second is something I have engaged upon through Niall Ferguson, Robert Conquest and George Orwell. That is to determine the depth of which the moral case for Marxism & Socialism and their materialism can and should be taken. Prodded and poked along by the New Oxonian and John C. Wright, I have been considering why atheists fail, and if they should. As always, I keep tabs on Nassim Taleb, Dan Ariely and to a lesser extent Robin Hanson to see how it is people are generally deceived. And of course I have Steven Pinker to thank for his marital naïveté. The grand provocateur that more people than me have been watching is, of course, Donald J. Trump whose effect on so many people is thunderous. I am a little bit frightened that people are so easily frightened.
But I must continue my vigilance against wishful thinking, as crabby as it makes me. And I must keep my eyes aware of the massive powers of institutions and their leaders, no matter how small, insignificant and contrite it makes me feel for having not been adopted (brilliant soldier of intellect that I am) by significant powers that be.
So in the past week I have been struck by the notion that all of the soft sciences are wrong and that we don't actually know about human behavior what we think we know. Because if we actually knew, we would be better at controlling and predicting it. Which is to imply that there is more coercion going on in those enticements that make up our consumer society than we ever thought probable. In other words 1984 is here and we think our tolerance for Big Brother is voluntary. I'm sure I could write other provocative statements of that sort, but let's leave that to the future, shall we?
Start next HERE: The Amoral Society:
It is sometimes asked why the social sciences don’t make progress the way the physical sciences do. The answer is invariably that it’s because the social sciences deal with much more complexity. I disagree. There’s plenty of complexity in the physical sciences as well. The answer, I believe, is that progress in the social sciences is being blocked by moral beliefs. More precisely, the social sciences are pervaded by moral beliefs to an extent that not only disincentivises research into areas that potentially challenge them, but to an extent that prevents social scientists from even asking questions.
One thing I have always done is to question the relevance of / accuracy of studies that tend to help Americans understand themselves. These studies are almost never done in a global context. And furthermore our studies of things people do or think in other countries are almost always predicated on a domestic controversy. We never hear anything about Sweden unless it's to compare their healthcare system to our own. We never hear how people in Spain view single parent families.
As my scope widens to the aspects of the fate of Western Civilization, I am reminded of this quote and conversation. To Act Against Reason. So that's what I'm bringing into the mix. Some sense that the history of sociology in America is more a form of social control and political exegesis than a form of actually learning and understanding how people live in society.