Experts, Cult of

The People v. Pundits United

This electoral season has confirmed to me that the entire industry of opinion journalism is a con. Commit this to memory: it is not journalism. It is an elaborate game of social posturing and status jockeying, in which writers prove they are acceptable to other writers by constantly reaffirming the cultural values of their in-group.

It’s why liberal and conservative pundits sound the same these days. Once you understand that the purpose of contemporary journalism is not to inform the people, but to ingratiate oneself with the right kind of people, you begin to see the contours of our national malaise.

It’s also one reason Trump made it so far. The pundit class is a symbol, to all kinds of voters, of our civilization’s enduring cultural rot. If you make your living as a carpenter or janitor, you’re not likely to have much respect for a sealed-off class of idle scribblers who make money solely off their opinions. This is especially true if those scribblers, whether “left” or “right,” think you’re an unwashed malcontent. (more…)

How The Need for Validation Took Over Our Culture

A month or so ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ drew attention to this Reddit comment in which a former “social-justice warrior” (SJW) describes how he fled from the lunacy of identity politics.

One of this young man’s thoughts — his description of how he initially fell into the SJW mindset — jumped out at me:

I was depressed at the time, and being applauded for being progressive definitely was an ego boost. Fighting people I perceived as bigoted made me feel better about myself. My SJW tendencies were based mostly out of self loathing — I felt weird, like an outcast, had never had a girlfriend, hated myself, and thought that I was fixing myself by jumping deep into feminism.

What struck me was this young man’s need to be applauded by his peers. Of course, in itself, this is not surprising: it is not a new thing to crave validation from other people, especially from one’s peer group. It wasn’t just that he was seeking approval from others, however; it was that he absolutely needed this approval to survive. He needed it in two respects. First, he would feel miserable and alienated without it. Second, since his social circle was defined solely by groupthink, there was no way to be a part of that culture without the constant approval of others within the culture. (more…)

Some Thoughts On Open Borders, The Schengen Agreement, etc.

Something from me in Quadrant:

I actually remember my first experience of the radical Schengen arrangement. I crossed the Austrian-Hungarian border by train and ended up in Budapest’s Keleti station — a large, old-fashioned railway hub in a part of the city that can’t have changed much from the days of Communism. (Keleti station was, you might recall, recently one of the epicenters of the migrant crisis.) I stepped off the train amazed that I had actually crossed into a different country without anyone caring. No bureaucrat had any idea where I was. No one had asked me any questions. It felt good, but it also felt contrived and unnatural. I remember thinking to myself, “this can’t last.”

There is still much to be thankful for. The Anglosphere remains the freest set of nations in human history. Can that last?

 

Why I Left The Libertarian Movement

At PJ Media, I reflect briefly on why I am no longer an orthodox libertarian:

I used to identify as a libertarian. There are many reasons why I no longer do so. One is the libertarians’ often obsessive attempt to figure out every question in life as if it were a matter of simple algebra: plug in The Perfect Libertarian Axioms and get The One True Answer.

Another reason is a style of debate, common among the younger, orthodox libertarians, that allows for no disagreement without denunciation.