Monday, April 23, 2018

"I Can’t Get No…"

"I Can’t Get No…"
by Bill Bonner

"In the summer of 1965, President Johnson opened a new phase of the war in Vietnam. Instead of observing, training, advising and protecting… US soldiers were to go on the offensive. It was already nearly a half-century after Woodrow Wilson had put America into the empire business; still, the country was just getting the hang of it. But in a matter of months, there would be more than half a million U.S. troops in that steamy hellhole. Their mission was to protect Western democracy from the communist menace. That they were on a fools’ errand, sent by imbeciles and commanded by blockheads was apparent then, as now, to anyone who took a minute to think about it. But only a philosopher with a stone heart could do so; almost everyone else went along - believing what they had to believe.

People think the most preposterous things. But the most preposterous thing they think is that they think at all. We have come to that conclusion after much observation, reflection and experience. Practically every stance any man ever took can be traced not to his head… but down to his feet…to the circumstantial rocks and sand upon which he stands.

Before the Limelight: When America was a humble republic, with neither the means nor the will to play a part on the world’s great stage, its leaders were content with minor, supporting roles. "Mind your own business," was practically engraved on the nation’s currency. Then, when its economy became the world’s largest, in 1910, and its ambitions grew, it stepped out under the proscenium arch with the cautious confidence of a young Booth or Barrymore. It knew even then that it was destined for a long career before the limelight.

So it adjusted its ideas. It found that it had to "make the world safe for democracy." Because democracy was what it had. For reasons that are still largely inexplicable, it decided that Germany, rather than England, represented a threat to democracy. As a matter of logical thinking, it made no sense. But thoughts are always subordinate to circumstance. Britain was in decline and ready to hand over the imperial baton to America. Germany, on the other hand, was an ascendant industrial power. It was Germany that had to be defeated in order for the US imperium to rule the world.

In this instance, as in so many others, America may have miscalculated. In defeating Germany, she gave rise to another competitor - the Soviet Union. And by the summer of 1965, this new empire - with its comic creed and suicidal tendencies - had taken over the half the world. So it appeared to the empire builders in Washington that they couldn’t afford to lose another square meter to the red menace. They did not know it, but communism had reached a peak. It was overpriced and overbought. A quarter of a century later, it would be history, probably whether a shot was fired or not.

If that were all that had happened in the summer of 1965, it would have passed in through these pages as just another warm spell of fraud and claptrap. But something important happened that year too.

As Tears Go By: Earlier in the year, Keith Richards was staying in a motel in Clearwater, Florida, with a guitar and a tape recorder by his side. He was 21 years old. Having a hard time sleeping, perhaps jet-lagged, he worked on a riff modeled after something by Chuck Berry. The year before, the Stones had done their first tour of the United States. Unlike the Beatles, they were received poorly. Dean Martin mocked them. Ed Sullivan was cold and reserved. But their popularity was growing. In 1964, their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, had practically locked Richards and Mick Jagger in an apartment in Chelsea. They had to write some songs, he told them. What they wrote was the tender "As Tears Go By."

Readers may wonder why we are writing about the Rolling Stones. We answer: first, because we have been thinking about the difference between price and value. We find the subject sticks in our brains, like a melody. We remember when "As Tears Go By," came out. That too haunted us like a ghost - it was there when we went to bed. It was still there when we woke up in the morning. It was a soundtrack in the back of our brains. We never knew exactly when we would hear it… or when it would be silent.

That is the way good music is. Whether it is popular or classical… it sticks with you. Somehow, without passing through the logical, word-processing, humbug-churning part of the brain, it goes into the mind and furnishes the sentiments. It has value - a value you can’t put a price on. You can hear music for nothing. In the summer of 1965, some of the best music ever produced by man came out. For some extraordinary reason, the world was flush with political claptrap for which it paid a high price but high-value popular music you could get for free. All summer long, the Stones’ new hit – "Satisfaction" – was on the radio.

Their Own Sound: We are not music critics. But we can’t help but notice that most of the music played by most of the world’s people most of the time is bosh. We do not know how it works; it does not appeal directly to the intellectual faculties. There is no rational way to judge it; still it seems as stupid and puerile as a Senate speech. The ideas, sentiments, and musical combinations themselves are worn out. They sound like humbug set to music. This true of all musical genres. You’re as likely to find it in the highbrow opera houses of Paris as in the low dives of the Tennessee backwoods… in the avant-garde, as in the traditional.

Against this backdrop of lame mediocrity in the early 1960s came an exceptional group of fresh and talented musicians; in the summer of 1965, they reached a kind of bull market peak. There was Bob Dylan with his "Like a Rolling Stone." The Beatles came out with "Yesterday." The Who produced "My Generation." And the Beach Boys classic, "California Girls," also came out that year.

Each had its own sound. Each left a tune in your mind that stayed for days… weeks… months - like an immunization against tetanus, some remained in the blood for years. Many are still there… nearly 50 years later… coursing through our vessels, pumping through the old heart valves, occasionally spraying up in our brains, too, like happy memories, for no apparent reasons. We recall when we first heard them. It was as if we had done more than merely listened to music. We thought we had lived through something special, something important. It was if we would never be the same, never able to go back to our work in quite the same way… or to look at things in the same way.

Inspiration and Suffering: They say that great artists are tortured… that they feel pain more acutely and are able to express it more eloquently than most people. "My compositions," said Schubert, "spring from my sorrow." Beethoven’s genius was traced to Guilietta Guicciardi. The Beach Boys had no shortage of California girls to provide inspiration and suffering.

The Stones were no exception; they shared models and mistresses. They had their Ruby Tuesdays who could not be tamed. But they also had plenty of women "under my thumb." That was the nice thing about the Rolling Stones; they were able to turn the conventions around. They were raw, but still refined. They were tortured, but they were torturers, too. They could dig around in the mud of man’s eternal tragedy, but they could have fun doing it. They appeared to trashy, cheap, layabout drug addicts, but they were imposters; they were far more than they appeared to be.

Their music rested on the work of Berry, Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, but they added some delightful nuance that the old rockers couldn’t manage. " Blue Turns to Grey," "Sitting on a Fence," as well as "Ruby Tuesday," were not just songs of disappointment and disillusion. They have a kind of elegant sweetness that surpass the genre.

In "Satisfaction," Keith Richards began by borrowing from Chuck Berry, but he worked on it and gave it more life. In a Los Angeles studio, he worked with a collaborator of Phil "Wall of Sound" Spector and the sound engineer David Hassinger. They managed to fill it out – and give it that distinct distortion that makes the opening of "Satisfaction" sui generis. By midsummer, the song was a No. 1 hit in practically the entire world. Young American boys listened to it on their way to getting themselves killed in the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam.

Some things have no value. Others have no price. A young man tends to focus on prices. But a middle-aged man sitting around in the French countryside listening to old Rolling Stones tunes wonders more about value. He sees more life behind him than in front of him, like a man down to his last dollar wondering how to get the most of it."

The Daily "Near You?"

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

"If They Are Okay..."

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is 
suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends.
If they are okay, then it's you."
- Rita Mae Brown

"Let Us Consider..."

"Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; 
it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simplify many things which 
are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now."
- Mark Twain, "What Is Man?"
Click above image for larger size. Print. Fill in details. Proudly display as I do.

"We Live In Radical Times..."

"We live in radical times surrounded by tasks that seem impossible. It has become our collective fate to be alive in a time of great tragedies, to live in a period of overwhelming disasters and to stand at the edge of sweeping changes. The river of life is flooding before us, and a tide of poisons affect the air we breathe and the waters we drink and even tarnish the dreams of those who are young and as yet innocent. The snake-bitten condition has already spread throughout the collective body.

However, it is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears where deep losses become acknowledged. Along the arc of healing the wounds and the poisons of life are created the exact opportunities for bringing out all the medicines and making things whole again."
- Michael Meade,"Fate And Destiny"

"The Appointment in Samarra"

"The Appointment in Samarra" 
As retold by W. Somerset Maugham, 1933
The speaker is Death

"There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions, and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, "Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me." The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?" "That was not a threatening gesture," I said, "it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

"Is A False-Flag Attack On A US Navy Ship Next?"

"Is A False-Flag Attack On A US Navy Ship Next?"

"The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group left the east coast Naval Station Norfolk, VA on 11th April. The aircraft carrier is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Burke, Bulkeley, Forest Sherman and Farragut, and the destroyers USS Jason and The Sullivans. The strike group carries 6,500 sailors and Carrier Air Wing One.

Recent announcements about Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) missile system having made these vessels effectively obsolete, this means that the ships and their crews are essentially being sailed into a bloody scrapyard.

Even without the recent upgrading of the Kinzhal system, the experience of the British fleet in the Falklands conflict illustrates the vulnerability of warships to low-flying missiles. In addition to the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and Sir Galahad, virtually every British ship was hit by at least one of Argentinian’s French-made Exocet missiles – a weapons system which was already 20 years old at the time.
Reportedly the only thing that saved the UK force from obliteration was that the Argentinians had got their missile altimeter settings wrong. The Russians will not make the same sort of error!

These facts are of course known to the US military planners and – one would assume and hope, for it is duty to know – by Donald Trump. And yet the US fleet is now nearing the coast of Syria, where it will met up with American and other NATO warships already in position. Together, they will make one big flock of sitting ducks.

If the people pushing Trump manage to get him to launch a new strike on Syria (and we must expect a new false flag attack) and if the massive increase in NATO firepower means that enough missiles get through to enough targets to kill Russians, then Putin really has no choice but to sink the US fleet. No choice because, whatever the danger of doing so, failure to respond would signal Russian defeat and retreat in Syria, which would of course lead to a rapid escalation of military pressure against Lebanon and Iran, and mean that when the Empire then rolls on to strike Russia, her most reliable allies will already have gone and her ‘soft underbelly’ will be seriously exposed.

So Putin orders the destruction of the US fleet, and an hour later all that is left is debris and mangled corpses in some oil slicks – and some ‘great’ photos and video clips to illustrate Trump’s declaration of war on account of “Russia’s deadly sneak attack on a US humanitarian force”.

Sounds familiar? It should. Because we’re not just thinking here of the USS Maine, the Lusitania and the Gulf of Tonkin. The Washington habit of using sunken ships as the casus belli also of course included Pearl Harbor.

Just in case you need a reminder, here’s just one example of the many short videos out there on the truth about the Japanese attack on 7th December 1941 which explain how Roosevelt had advance intelligence of the planned attack, but decided not to pass it on to the anchored sitting duck fleet:
The more or less official excuse (the President’s guilt never having been formally acknowledged) is that to have alerted the fleet would also have tipped off the Japanese that their naval codes had already been broken. But the truth is of course that he deliberately didn’t warn the fleet because he knew that the sacrifice would goad the American people into a war against Hitler to which he and those around and behind him were committed, but which the American people opposed.

The circumstances this time are of course somewhat different, not least that everyone with even a passing knowledge of the Russian missile capability already knows that 6,500 sailors are “on their way to Samara”.

Which makes Donald Trump either a criminally incompetent fool, a bad poker player or a wholly controlled puppet of the psychotic Anglo-Zionist elite. If he is one of the first two of these, then there is of course still a chance that he might respond to the disaster by blinking and retreating. In which case, the Beltway elite will use the human tragedy and his humiliation to remove him from office (not a bad consolation prize, from their point of view).

But if he is the third, then the ‘shock’ blitz on the US fleet will lead to the immediate declaration of World War Three. Indeed, if things get that far (and we’re probably 48 hours and one White Helmets’ video away from it) then the only thing that realistically stands a chance of stopping the racist Anglo-Zionist psychopaths in their tracks is if the Russian attack and its result are such a devastating show of ‘shock and awe’ as to make it impossible for them to ignore a simultaneous public warning by Putin to Netanyahu that any further US hostile response will place Israel directly in the firing line as well.

That might JUST be enough to make the Neocons back off. If not, then World War Three it will be. It might not go nuclear straight away, but even while it is conventional EVERYTHING will change: Dissident anti-war voices such as this will rapidly be silenced by blanket censorship and internment; your sons and daughters will be conscripted; your taxes will go through the roof – and you will have to live with the ever-present fear that, once China enters the war against Washington and its client states, the tide will run so fast against the ‘democratic allies’ that their ‘humanitarian missiles’ will end up with nuclear tips.

If that disturbs you (and it surely should) then all I ask is that you take the Pearl Harbor analogy and get busy spreading it on social media RIGHT NOW. Because once those young sailors and airmen have been sacrificed, the demand for a war of ‘revenge’ will be unstoppable. But if the warmongers realize that plenty of people have already understood the plan, it might just spook them into backing off.

In which case the fleet can do a few face-saving maneuvres and then sail home again and we can look forward to a summer which may be warm, but not as uncomfortably hot as it could otherwise become!”

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows”

Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows”

"How It Really Will Be"

"You Are Only Sure Of Today..."

“Do not look back on happiness or dream of it in the future. 
You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it.”
- Henry Ward Beecher

"Stop and Assess"

"Stop and Assess"
by James Howard Kunstler

"America has become Alzheimer Nation. Nothing is remembered for more than a few minutes. The news media, which used to function as a sort of collective brain, is a memory hole that events are shoved down and extinguished in. An attack in Syria, you ask? What was that about? Facebook stole your…what? Four lives snuffed out in a… a what? Something about waffles? Trump said… what? Let’s pause today and make an assessment of where things stand in this country as winter finally coils into Spring.

As you might expect, a nation overrun with lawyers has litigated itself into a cul-de-sac of charges, arrests, suits, countersuits, and allegations that will rack up billable hours until the Rockies tumble. The best outcome may be that half the lawyers in this land will put the other half in jail, and then, finally, there will be space for the rest of us to re-connect with reality.

What does that reality consist of? Troublingly, an economy that can’t go on as we would like it to: a machine that spews out ever more stuff for ever more people. We really have reached limits for an industrial economy based on cheap, potent energy supplies. The energy, oil especially, isn’t cheap anymore. The fantasy that we can easily replace it with wind turbines, solar panels, and as-yet-unseen science projects is going to leave a lot of people not just disappointed but bereft, floundering, and probably dead, unless we make some pretty severe readjustments in daily life.

We’ve been papering this problem over by borrowing so much money from the future to cover costs today that eventually it will lose its meaning as money - that is, faith that it is worth anything. That’s what happens when money is just a representation of debt that can’t be paid back. This habit of heedless borrowing has enabled the country to pretend that it is functioning effectively. Lately, this game of pretend has sent the financial corps into a rapture of jubilation. The market speed bumps of February are behind us and the road ahead looks like the highway to Vegas at dawn on a summer’s day.

Tesla is the perfect metaphor for where the US economy is at: a company stuffed with debt plus government subsidies, unable to deliver the wished-for miracle product - affordable electric cars - whirling around the drain into bankruptcy. Tesla has been feeding one of the chief fantasies of the day: that we can banish climate problems caused by excessive CO2, while giving a new lease on life to the (actually) futureless suburban living arrangement that we foolishly invested so much of our earlier capital building. In other words, pounding sand on a rat hole.

Because none of that is going to happen. The true message of income inequality is that the nation as a whole is becoming incrementally impoverished and eventually even the massive “wealth” of the one-percenters will prove to be fictitious, as the things it is represented in - stocks, bonds, currencies, Manhattan apartments - hemorrhage their supposed value. The very wealthy will be a lot less wealthy while everybody else is in a life-and-death struggle to remain fed, housed, and warm. And, of course, that only increases the chance that some violent social revolution will take away even that remaining residue of wealth, and destroy the people who held it.

What lies ahead is contraction. Of everything. Activity, population. The industrial economy is not going to be replaced by a super high tech utopia, because that wished-for utopia needs an industrial economy underneath to support it. This is true, by the way, for all the other “advanced” nations. China has a few more years of dependable oil supply left and then they will discover that they can no longer manufacture solar panels or perhaps not even run the magnificent electronic surveillance system they are so artfully building. Their political system will prove to be at least as fragile as our own.

The time may even come when the young people, of the USA especially, have to put aside their boundary-smashing frolics of the day and adjust the pre-cooked expectations they’ve been handed to the actual contraction at hand, and what it means for making a life under severely different conditions. It means, better learn how to do something really practical and not necessarily high tech. Better figure out a part of the country that will be safe to live in. Better plan on hunkering down there when the people stuck in the less favorable places make a real mess of things."

"Just Look At Us..."

"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. 
Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, 
universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, 
the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality."
 - Michael Ellner

"Why Google Threatened to Ban Us”

"Why Google Threatened to Ban Us”
by Bill Bonner

"As regular readers know, our mission at the Diary is to connect the dots. As we like to say, we’re sometimes right, sometimes wrong…but always in doubt. Recently, we tried to connect the dots here in our hometown of Baltimore. Why is it that the once-prosperous areas of West Baltimore now more closely resemble a third-world city than a neighborhood in the most powerful country on Earth? Our conclusion was that the feds undermined the two most successful win-win deals in history: marriage and work. Get the ‘world improvers’ out of West Baltimore, we said, and it could be one of the most dynamic, prosperous places in the country.

We wrote that ‘Diary’ entry, and went about our business. Alas…some readers found our thoughts ‘offensive’. Among them were some who work for the giant search engine Google. They said they were considering banning us from their network!

Where are they going with this, we wondered. As Dan Denning reported in the monthly newsletter 'The Bill Bonner Letter,' a growing number of college students believe that ‘offensive speech’ (ideas they don’t agree with) should be outlawed. Some think it’s acceptable to respond to ‘offensive speech’ with violence. Many young people aren’t aware that the first amendment is intended to protect ‘offensive speech’. (There’s hardly any need to protect ideas that people don’t find offensive.)

What next? What does the future hold? We don’t know… But it is worth exploring. Here’s what we think. We hope you find it enjoyable…and perhaps a bit offensive.

The offending truth: ‘Sort yourself out, bucko.’ - Jordan Peterson. Within the space of 24 hours, two friends - one in Buenos Aires and one in São Paulo - urged us to pay attention to what they described as ‘the hottest thing on the internet’. That was a little overstated. Jordan Peterson is hot…but only with a very small percentage of the population - the readers of earnest journals on the Left, such as The New Yorker…or scurrilous websites on the Right, such as The Rebel Media.

Broadly, the Left hates him. In fact, the hate mail he gets is amazingly vicious. Typically, writers compare him to Hitler and denounce everything that he says, without paying too much attention to what he actually is saying.

The difference between men and women: That’s the amazing part. Mr. Peterson is not really very right-wing at all. Read his work carefully, and you’ll find that he is really a rather mild-mannered intellectual trying to understand how the world works. But when you are a professor of clinical psychology, understanding how the world works inevitably involves trying to understand how men and women interact (since so many of our phobias and discontents seem to centre on our relationships with the opposite sex).

And trying to understand how those relationships actually work immediately puts you at odds with the many people who think they know how they should work. In particular, Mr. Peterson is convinced that men and women are different.

‘Does that mean you think it’s all right to pay women less than men?’ asked Cathy Newman, a particularly annoying TV interviewer in London earlier this year - or words to that effect. When asked this sort of question, Mr. Peterson paused momentarily. You could almost see his brain deconstructing it into its constituent parts, trying to come up with an answer that was not stupid. He could simply say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but a binary response wouldn’t do it justice.

‘Maybe’ is the right answer. Because there are certainly circumstances in which paying women less than men…or men less than women…is probably better than paying them the same thing. Even then, ‘better’ requires careful definition.

In the vineyards of the Calchaquí Valley in Argentina, for example, owners don’t care what sex their pickers are; they just want the grapes picked. So they pay per gamela - the yellow plastic bins that are used to collect the grapes. A picker earns 8 pesos per full gamela. And a good picker can fill 75 of them a day…giving them an income for the day of about the equivalent of $30.

The female pickers typically pick about half as many grapes as the male pickers. In order to pay the women the same amount as the men, you’d have to pay them twice as much per gamela. Is that a good idea? Yes, if what you really want is to get more money into feminine hands. No, if you want to get the grapes picked.

‘Maybe’ is never a very satisfying reply to a TV interviewer - especially not to Cathy Newman. She was determined to put Peterson in his place, and she probably thinks that the best place for him is the penitentiary. But the more she tried to trap him into admitting that he is a hopeless misanthrope whose views shouldn’t be taken seriously, the more patiently and clearly he explained his views, which must have infuriated her even more.

Mr. Peterson, a Canadian, is most famous for resisting a law that requires people to address transgender people with a specific pronoun, neither ‘he’ nor ‘she.’ ‘I’m not going to be a mouthpiece for language that I detest,’ he said in a November 2016 debate at the University of Toronto. The professor explained that he would address any student as requested. But he would not submit to a government requirement aimed at changing his speech.

Most likely, he was making the distinction between two kinds of rights. There are positive rights - such as the right to collect Social Security. And there are negative rights - such as the right to not be put in jail for something you didn’t do.

As we see it, it is one thing for the feds to prohibit you from yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater; it is very much another thing for them to insist that you address fellow citizens as ‘comrade’. In the former, your right not to be trampled by a panicking crowd is considered more important than the prankster’s right to say whatever he wants. In the latter, you are forced to say something you don’t want to say, violating your right to free expression.

Neither left nor right: Peterson’s kind of careful parsing of ideas and logic is infuriating to the Left. Those on the Right, meanwhile, think he is on their side, so they don’t bother him. But as we listened to him speak, we came to see that he is neither on the side of the fascists on the Left…nor of the bullies on the Right.

When asked to explain why he thought compelling certain kinds of speech was a bit like what Chairman Mao might do, for example, he explained (as we recall it): ‘We’re not talking about murdering millions of people. We’re talking about philosophy. And the philosophy is the same. Leftist activists want to put everyone into categories. And then, you get your rights and responsibilities depending on what category you are in. I’m against it.’

Both right-wing activists and left-wing activists favor the ‘us versus them’ approach. On the Left, if you are a woman, a cripple, a transgender person, or a ‘person of color,’ you are assigned certain rights, according to your category. ‘Identity politics’, it is called.

On the Right, the categories are more traditional. Their ‘us’ refers to native-born Americans. Keep the Mexican immigrants and the Chinese imports away!

Mr. Peterson favors individuals…which has no support on either the Left or the Right.

He has written two books. The first, a 600-page academic tome, is entitled Maps of Meaning. It is apparently very hard to read or make sense of. His more recent book, however, '12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos", is a bestseller. We have not yet read that, either. All we have done is listen to him in a couple of interviews…and read about him on the internet.

But from what we can tell, Mr. Peterson is worth checking out. He is not afraid to think clearly. When he was an undergraduate, he explains, he almost had a mental breakdown. He was appalled when he heard himself speaking. He realized that much of what he said, he didn’t really believe. From then on, he resolved to say only what he really thought.

In his interviews and speeches, you can see that he is still doing it…carefully thinking before he speaks…hesitating while he tries to separate honest thoughts from facile claptrap…working hard to avoid the blah-blah myths and balderdash of popular (and university) culture. That is, of course, what makes him so unpopular on the Left. He thinks too much. And then he realizes that so much of what the socialists and the mainstream liberals hold dear is nonsense, desperately in need of deeper reflection.

On the issue of gender equality: ‘If it means equality of outcome, then it is almost certainly undesirable. That’s already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them to do it of their own accord. It’s 20-to-1 female nurses to male, something like that. And approximately the same male engineers to female engineers.

That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences - you can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure, and tyranny, but if you leave men and women to make their own choices, you will not get equal outcomes.’

Should more women be forced to study engineering? Should more men be required to become nurses, just so the ‘gender equality’ goal could be achieved? Maybe. And why are so few of the major corporations run by women?

Peterson: ‘There are any number of men, although not that many, who are perfectly willing to sacrifice virtually all of their life to the pursuit of a high-end career. So they’ll work…These are men that are very intelligent. They’re usually very, very conscientious. They’re very driven. They’re very high-energy. They’re very healthy. And they’re willing to work 70 or 80 hours a week, non-stop, specialized at one thing, to get to the top!’

Newman: ‘So you think women are just more sensible? They don’t want that, because it’s not a nice life?’
Peterson: ‘I’m saying that’s part of it, definitely!’

Another highlight of the interview was this exchange:
Newman: ‘You cited “freedom of speech”. Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?’

We’re not sure how Peterson responded to this question. We were too busy thinking of the answer we could have given Ms. Newman, as follows: ‘I wouldn’t put it that way. I don’t offend anyone. People may be offended, of course, by what I say. But that is not my intention. I just try to say things I think are true. I’m not going to stop saying what I think is true just because someone may or may not be offended.

And right now…you are certainly taking the risk of offending me. Should you not ask these questions because it might offend me? Should you only ask questions if you are sure they won’t offend me? Of course not. Because you’re trying to get at the truth, too. And that’s the way it should be. The truth is more important than protecting people who might be offended.’

We are especially sensitive to this point. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t offend hundreds or thousands of readers. We don’t intend to offend people (although we sometimes delight in provoking them). But if you can’t say what you think - for fear of offending sensitive readers - what would be the point?"

"Why The Other Side Won’t Listen to Reason"

"Why The Other Side Won’t Listen to Reason"
by David Cain

"At some point during your first year as a human being, the adults throw a real curveball at you. They expect you to start understanding what right and wrong mean. These lessons come in the form of mysterious reactions that follow certain things you do. After you pull all the books from the bottom shelf onto the floor, quite a feat for a one year-old, they scold you for some reason. When you pee in the correct place, they praise you. It’s completely baffling, but over time you get a sense that adults are extremely preoccupied with classifying actions into two broad categories: okay and not okay, or good and bad.

You quickly gather this is how the world works. And there is some logic behind what’s rewarded and what’s punished: “bad” actions are usually (but not always) ones that hurt, annoy or inconvenience other people, and “good” actions usually (not always) help in some way, or at least don’t hurt anyone.

This classification system is so strongly emphasized by the adults that you develop a keen sense of it yourself. You see rights and wrongs everywhere, particularly where you stand to gain or lose something personally: in the fair distribution of treats, in acknowledgement for chores done, in which cartoon characters deserve to be happy (or in a police wagon) at the end of the episode. 

Seemingly everything is morally relevant. There are right and wrong ways to speak, play, fidget, ask for things, touch people, and express your feelings. The rules are endlessly detailed and idiosyncratic. There are right and wrong places to sit or stand, things to wear, things to stare at, even expressions to have on your face. Some acts are okay in one place and very bad somewhere else. The adults insist that navigating this sprawling bureaucracy is simple: just be good.

You make use of this system. You argue your case to your parents when your sibling takes something of yours, or plays with a coveted toy too long—if you feel slighted, there must be wrongdoing, and you say so, perhaps listing reasons why you’re right. You petition teachers to take action against other kids who are being greedy, annoying, or mean, and you defend yourself when you’re the one being accused.

There’s Something Fishy About the Way We Judge: By adulthood, morality has become such an intuitive part of our thinking that we barely realize when we’re making a moral judgment.

Hundreds or thousands of times a day we assess the character of another person. We feel we know enough to commend or condemn (usually condemn) a person from the way they park, a word they chose to use in their comment, the state of their front lawn, how they stand in a queue, what they laugh at, where and when they look at their mobile phones, how long they take to get to the point of their anecdote, or any of ten thousand other morally salient micro-actions.

Our moral sense works with great speed and force. Every news article - even the headline alone -gives us a strong, immediate, and seemingly unmistakable sense of which are the good and bad parties involved. Virtually every time we feel annoyed, we reflexively assert some wrongdoing on the part of another human being, even if it’s someone we’ve never seen. If service is slow, some employee is being lazy or inconsiderate. If traffic is crawling it’s because the city always schedules construction work at such stupid times. If an item’s price is unexpectedly high, some greedy CEO is getting paid too much.

There’s something fishy about all this moralizing. We treat our moral feelings and judgments as though they’re truly all-important; seemingly, nothing deserves as much energy and attention as determining the right and wrong of everything done and said in the human world, and lamenting that world’s failure to meet our idea of what’s right. (For endless examples, just check Twitter.) Yet for all their importance, we’re extremely flippant with our moral judgments. We make them all day long, with ease and even a kind of pleasure, and very little second-guessing. Maddeningly, other people have almost perfectly opposite positions on the same moral issues - drug policy, immigration, pornography, whether mayo belongs in guacamole - and they cast their judgments with the all the same ease and certitude.

You’d think that if determining right and wrong were truly what’s important to us, we’d be far more careful about making judgments. We’d want to gather a lot of information before saying anything. We’d seek opposing viewpoints and try to understand them. We’d offer people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. We’d be very wary of our initial emotions around the topic, and very interested in how our personal interests might be skewing our conclusions. We’d refrain from making conclusions at all if we didn’t need to.

In other words, we’d employ the same reserved, dispassionate, self-scrutinizing ethic we use to examine questions about anything else: physics, history, biology, engineering, business, or any other arena of understanding where premature conclusions can create a big problem. We’d have a keen, ongoing interest in learning how we might be wrong.

But we’re not like this at all. We make moral conclusions freely, immediately, and without self-scrutiny, recruiting as much emotional tilt as possible. We dismiss counterpoints reflexively, as though it’s dangerous to even consider changing our minds. We only rarely admit that an issue is too opaque or complex to be sure what to think.

Why are we so smart and careful when it comes to figuring things out in most areas of inquiry, and so dumb and impulsive when it comes to moral questions, which are supposedly the most important ones to get right?

Why We’re So Stubborn: Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt sheds a lot of light on our confused moral psychology in his book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics and Religion.  It’s a fascinating read, but the main punchline is that our moral sensitivity didn’t evolve in order to make us good at determining right and wrong. It evolved to help us survive and thrive in highly social environments.

Our moral feelings are quick and reactive because they developed to aid us in real-time social interactions, not in careful, solitary periods of reflection. These feelings are often conflicting and illogical because they adapted to meet a number of different social goals:

Our desire to protect the vulnerable, and our hatred for cruelty and carelessness, adapted to motivate us to keep children safe at all costs, and keep potentially dangerous people away
Our resentment for cheating and unfairness adapted to help us avoid getting exploited by the rest of our group
Our respect for loyalty, and our fear of betrayal, evolved to help us form coalitions, and identify disloyal people before they make trouble
Our attitudes towards authority, and those who subvert it, conferred an advantage at positioning ourselves within social hierarchies
Our moralizing around cleanliness and the sanctity of bodies, sex, and bodily functions, adapted to help us avoid infection and disease 
It’s no wonder our moral intuitions are so strong, quick and often thoughtless. They are essentially survival reflexes, conditioned by our upbringing and our instincts.

Our moral reasoning - our capacity to explain why something is right or wrong - comes only after our emotional intuitions, if at all, and is tuned for persuading others of our value to the tribe, not for helping us find the most sensible moral stances.

Haidt describes our moral reasoning as working much like a press secretary or company spokesperson - its purpose is to justify positions and actions already taken, using any explanation that sounds passably good in the moment, true or not.

Note that none of the above social goals require our moral feelings to be fair or logically sound, and in fact, that can be disadvantageous - a tribe that viewed all outsiders as predators likely would have protected its children better than a tribe that was most concerned with never falsely accusing someone of being dangerous.

In other words, our moral intuitions are strongly tuned to make us groupish and tribal, not even-handed and insightful. And our moral reasoning is tuned more for soliciting approval from others than for actually discovering moral truths.

This explains why we’re so susceptible to rhetoric, prejudice, selective hearing, and fake news. It also explains why it’s strangely pleasurable to take hard moral stands, no matter how poor or nonexistent the reasoning behind them - hard stands, declared publicly, reliably generate a small flood of praise and approval from the tribe that shares those positions.

You can see what a powder keg this moral psychology is liable to create in an increasingly global, internet-connected society, composed of people from many different backgrounds, all of whom enjoy getting Retweeted, Liked, and Favorited.

It’s why, when it comes to politics, the other side simply doesn’t listen to reason. Of course, all of us are on someone’s other side."