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Are There Any Right-Wing Sociologists?
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The various London School of Economics left-wing sociologists are sure there must be one out there somewhere, but they can’t think of any off the top of their heads.

The young guy in the video, Sam Friedman, should write dialogue for Jeremy on Peep Show.

Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?

Ironically, one glamorous young sociologist Alice Goffman is the child of glamorous 1960s sociologist Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness. While the two sociologists, father and daughter, share equally disastrous views, because Alice was born only months before Erving’s death, they seem to be testimony more to the power of Nature than Nurture.

 
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  1. Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    • Replies: @vinteuil

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.
     
    No. The founding father of Sociology was William Graham Sumner.

    And he got pretty much everything right.

    , @Desiderius
    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it's head cut off.
    , @Anonymous

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.
     
    Without trying to be coy, I must refuse a premise implicit in this whole thread (and Steve's title), namely that anyone knows what 'left' and 'right' means anymore.

    Bernie is / was against open borders, does anyone really think he is to the right of the Koch brothers?

    Trump and Tulsi are the only anti-war candidates and they're on the opposite poles of the (obsolete) political spectrum.

    C.Wright Mills explained American elite colleges' function for the ruling class. Is that 'left' or 'right'?

    I like my scientists and scholars to be pro-truth. Which means they should be wicked smart, and must not be cultists...which is probably what Steve meant...
    , @Art Deco
    No, it's not. However, something Erin O'Conner reported about the evolution of literary scholarship is relevant here: in a decaying discipline, anything produced which doesn't have certain contentious premises is defined as outside the discipline, and commonly defined as non-academic. Sociology, cultural anthropology, social psychology, &c exist to provide empirical support for The Narrative, not to explore the social world and understand how it ticks. See KC Johnson, who has been subject to poltically-motivated harassment which nearly destroyed his career (who would have been understood as a common-and-garden northern Democrat in 1980). Johnson's noted that some subdisciplines of American history are now so denuded of personnel that material published 40 years ago counts as current scholarship.
    , @Forbes
    Whatever it was, sociology has evolved into the study/teaching/propagation of socialism.

    Is there a better descriptive explanation...
    , @Hypnotoad666
    I would argue that "sociology" isn't even really a thing, anyway.

    People acting as groups is already the subject of most other intellectual field. "Sociology" has nothing unique or original to add. It's just a bunch of labels and jargon applied to things which are either trivially obvious or which are assumed without evidence.
  2. The one guy who looks like an alpha who should be right-wing at least makes the epistemological point that sociology is inherently left-wing in it’s assumption that human outcomes are the result of nurture not nature. Then of course he goes on the restate that very assumption as fact and confirms that he too can only think left.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    Thus the circular logic completes itself. I think, therefore I am left-wing. Ergo, because left-wing, I think. The process is complete, said God.

    Q: What's the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.
    , @notanon
    once you discount heredity sociology automatically becomes left-wing.

    Boas is the foundation of pozworld.
  3. Everyone has their breaking point; a sociologist might start out as right-wing, but it will be beaten out of him or her, or he or she will be driven to suicide, because nobody knows more about peer pressure to conform and the mass insanity of crowds than a sociologist.

  4. The French guy who started sociology was kinda right-wing. He started the field to explain the French Revolution.

    • Replies: @Seek
    Auguste Comte?
    , @International Jew
    I thought the first sociologist was Emil Durkheim, who studied suicide.
  5. They would both reject the label “right wing”, but anyone who thinks intact biological families are the best way to raise children is ipso facto “right wing” these days.

    Peter Saunders, formerly of Brighton University, and the late Norman Dennis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Robert_Saunders

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Dennis

    Dennis’ “Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics”, a dissection of the Stephen Lawrence moral panic, is excellent.

    https://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/cs05.pdf

    Also “Families Without Fatherhood”

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs03.pdf

  6. “… perhaps they’re working with … the State.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. The wavy-haired lady (and I’d do her, don’t get me wrong) thinks that the State employs right-wing sociologists! Who exactly is paying for all you people in the video, and the “research” in sociology, lady, a local pizza chain or a rope-manufacturing plant?

    Then, listen to the younger guy who has to close his eyes to think of a word: “Sociology may be very different if we were living in a Communist society.” The guy doesn’t even know left from right.

    These people are around so few conservatives that they can’t even imagine them up correctly. I don’t think you will find a conservative in Sociology, because most want to pass and not be ABD* until 40 years old.

    .

    * All But Dissertation – held. up in committee.

    • Replies: @ganderson
    A bit of googling would suggest that you are correct about her "do-ability"; she is, as the great Howie Carr would put it, "Not Guilty". In the universe of sociologists she's a 10!
    , @Olorin
    The other option for conservatives or even open minded independents is to take all the coursework, observe (as Social Studies fieldwork!) all the wrangling/PC mobbings, have access to all the libraries/conferences, learn all it's possible to learn, preferably on someone else's nickel...

    ...then leave ABD having all the skills...

    ...and pleased not to be stamped with the official imprimatur of the leftist Social Studies priesthood.

    Best of both worlds. Inside knowledge, state of the field skills (both the quanty stuff and the ability to observe/critique the field and its academic eructations), and clear indication of one's Unmutual leftist dissertational inclinations.

    I'd hire a well-skilled Social Studies ABD over a Ph.D. any day. On several occasions I did.
    , @Hibernian
    "* All But Dissertation – held. up in committee."

    That was my Dad's situation circa 1970, at the University of Iowa.
  7. Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    • Replies: @bomag

    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?
     
    LOL

    The video hints at it; people become sociologists to explain why they are not employable: "it's the structure, man. I was born in the wrong place."
    , @dr kill
    That's just what I was thinking. I believe it is obvious to any thinking First grader that his classmates are divided into winners, workers and losers. The losers go into Education and Teh Various Humanities.
    So to your question; no. I don't think it's necessary to go all Khmer Rouge or Mao on educators, but some fear or hunger could focus their minds a bit .
    Kids are still kids, we need to help them before education destroys them.
    , @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.
    , @Alden
    Decades ago , I think in the 1980s; there was an article in the paper about all the college grads who couldn’t get jobs

    Sociology PHDs had the worst prospects. There were about 740 new Sociology PHDs that year. There was one, exactly one, job opening for a college sociology teacher.

    Sociology was replaced by grievance and gender studies long, long ago.

    Unfortunately, the unemployable sociologists either went to law school or became non profit grant grifters so as to better wage war against American Whites.
  8. Three sociology books that are written by lefties that more or less bite the bullet on sensitive issues:

    American Dream, by Jason DeParle,
    Promises I can Keep, by Edin and Kafalas,
    Doing the Best I Can, by Edin and Nelson.

    American Dream describes welfare families in Wisconsin during welfare reform, and it makes WorldStarHipHop seem like varsity debate club.

    “Promises I can keep” is just a book length confirmation of Idiocracy. There are plenty of people in America having five kids, just not the people who can do math or hold down a job.

  9. Are there any right-wing Marxists?

    • Replies: @fnn
    The late Eugene Genovese.
    , @dfordoom

    Are there any right-wing Marxists?
     
    If you're an Old School Marxist you probably think that immigration is a capitalist conspiracy to drive down wages and keep the working class divided and demoralised, so you're probably anti-immigration (for the reasons Bernie Sanders was anti-immigration before he got re-educated). So if you truly are an Old School Marxist then today you're almost certainly in the eyes of goodthinkers a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you're an Old School Marxist you might also think that the Cultural Revolution is a capitalist conspiracy to demoralise working-class families and to distract attention away from the struggle for economic justice. So in the eyes of goodthinkers that would also make you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you're an Old School Marxist you might also think that feminism was a way to destroy the trade-union movement, so once again today that makes you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    I'd say that if you're a true Marxist today you're in real danger of being rounded up and sent to the re-education camps as the literal reincarnation of Hitler.
  10. Anon[265] • Disclaimer says:

    Sociology as a job doesn’t exist outside of universities. Sociology as a job title comes from having a PhD obtained after years of close observation by academic sociologists. A conservative would have to be like one of those deep cover FBI guys who lives like a mobster or biker gang member for years before the big bust and roll-up. There’s no such thing as an “independent” sociologist. There’s no grant money for stay-at-home sociologists.

    So of course there are no conservative sociologists.

    You could maybe PhD in economics and then segue into sociology type areas, and maybe some sociology journal would publish you.

    Next question: Are there any gender studies or black studied professors with degrees related to biology, medicine, neurology, genetics, applied mathematics, or psychology?

    Stanford had to split their anthropology department in two, adding a department of anthropological sciences, in 1998, eventually merging the two warring departments back into a single department in 2007.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt or Raj Chetty, of course you'd be an economist and then impinge on the traditional turf of other social scientists.

    The Stanford anthropology department gave Stanford provost Condi Rice the experience she needed to be Secretary of State.

    , @Unladen Swallow
    Harvard split off its biological and cultural anthropologists and so did Cal-Berkeley. When I checked a few years ago, they were still split.
    , @Hypnotoad666
    Sociology seems almost created by design as a ghetto for ultra left-wing ideologues. It's probably useful in that regard because it keeps them quarantined in a place where they can be safely ignored by serious people.

    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.
    , @Art Deco
    About 1 sociologist in 6 works outside academe.

    Some skills you learn on the quant side of sociology I would think you could apply in practical occupations, like market research. The sociology department I'm best acquainted with did not employ any quants and subcontracted instruction in statistics to two other departments. Don't know how common that is.
  11. While the two sociologists, father and daughter, share equally disastrous views, because Alice was born only months before Erving’s death, they seem to be testimony more to the power of Nature than Nurture.

    I would say it is Nuture. It is not as if Alice Goffman had been adopted and didn’t know who her father was. She had access to his writings and was probably much more aware of her father’s career than she would have been if he were alive. Plus, both her mother and step-father were professors in sociolinguistics, a similar field of study as sociology. Steve Jobs is a better Nature vs Nurture case study.

    Melanie Wood was the first girl to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She later became a Putnam Fellow and earned her PhD in math at Princeton. She was gifted in math but purposefully nutured.

    Melanie M. Wood was born in 1981, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Melanie’s mother, Sherry Eggers, a foreign language teacher, started teaching her daughter general mathematics at the age of three in an attempt to implant in Melanie the fortitude and memory of her father, who had died almost immediately after Melanie’s birth. At a very early age, Melanie began to show signs of becoming a child prodigy in mathematics and mother felt impelled to teach her daughter linear equations. …

    https://sites.google.com/site/awmmath/programs/essay-contest/contest-rules/essay-contest-past-results/essays/thecreationofafemalemathematicianmsmelaniewood

    • Replies: @Budd Dwyer

    Melanie Wood was the first girl to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She later became a Putnam Fellow and earned her PhD in math at Princeton. She was gifted in math but purposefully nutured.
     
    Here’s her faculty webpage at UW: https://www.math.wisc.edu/~mmwood/

    There have been quite of few people who’ve gotten Ph.D.’s in math by the age of 17 or 18. Or even at the age of 15, like NASA mathematician Kim Ung-Yong. The late great mathematician Norbert Wiener, founder of cybernetics and professor of math at MIT, got his Ph.D. at 17. So, in the case of Ms. Wood, starting as an undergrad math major at 18 and getting a Ph.D. at 28 is a good indication that you won’t be lighting up the academic mathematics research field. But hey, even these brilliant prodigies were largely practitioners and they themselves must bow before the real geniuses, the guys who thought all this mathematics up in their heads (Riemann, Cauchy, Fourier, Kolmogorov, Fermat, Galois, Lagrange, Poincaré, et al.), not like the former, the precocious types who merely learned it quickly and well.

  12. I started looking up Alice Goffman, and, as if by magic there it was “Alice Goffman TED talk”. Aghhh!

    • LOL: jim jones
  13. Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?

    I believe that it has more validity than any of psychology, psychiatry, law or economics.

    • Replies: @bomag

    I believe that it has more validity than any of psychology, psychiatry, law or economics.
     
    When there is a problem, people often consult psychs, lawyers, and economists (sort-of).

    I don't know anyone who makes a point to consult a sociologist.

    , @Hibernian
    I'd say the order of lesser to greater lunacy is law (We're stuck with it; we need to learn the rules.), economics, psychology, a tie between sociology and economics.
  14. It has been pretty much proven that Alice Goffman fabricated her doctoral dissertation (which was later published as a book). In a normal, sane world she sould have had her Princeton Ph.D rescinded (as Naomi Wolfe should have her Oxford Ph.D rescinded), but maybe there is still a little bit of honor in academia because, as per Wiki, she has been turned down for tenure at Madison, Wisconsin. I don’t relish denying her a livelihood, but she really would be more suited to writing for Slate, Vox, opining for the NY Times, or driving for Uber, as I was doing until my car was side-swiped and nearly totaled by an out of control trucker, ferrying blasted-heads up to Electric Daisy Carnival outside Vegas.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    Liberal masquerading as a consevative, maybe sincerely drifting to the right, maybe there's some hope for you.
    , @simple_pseudonymic_handle
    Goffman's defenders say she changed names to protect the innocent like on Dragnet. The thing that interests me about the whole foofaraw is this is the exact same defense Carlos Castaneda used for fictionalizing his don Juan source material. He claimed if all the facts were in there the zip code would have been swamped with peyote and psilocybin hunting tourists. Castaneda was anathematized and never got an academic job again.

    (Castaneda never anticipated that the entire southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico would get swamped with peyote and psylocybin hunting tourists. I don't think the locals complained.)

    Isn't Max Weber reputed to be a like this close --><-- to a flaming fascist?
  15. I’ve saw a neocon sociologist once, he was giving a speech about how democracy had to be saved from liberals because they were the real authoritarians. He was a middle aged white guy. So I think it’s safe to say there are no real right-wingers in sociology.

    • LOL: bomag
  16. @Anon
    Sociology as a job doesn't exist outside of universities. Sociology as a job title comes from having a PhD obtained after years of close observation by academic sociologists. A conservative would have to be like one of those deep cover FBI guys who lives like a mobster or biker gang member for years before the big bust and roll-up. There's no such thing as an "independent" sociologist. There's no grant money for stay-at-home sociologists.

    So of course there are no conservative sociologists.

    You could maybe PhD in economics and then segue into sociology type areas, and maybe some sociology journal would publish you.

    Next question: Are there any gender studies or black studied professors with degrees related to biology, medicine, neurology, genetics, applied mathematics, or psychology?

    Stanford had to split their anthropology department in two, adding a department of anthropological sciences, in 1998, eventually merging the two warring departments back into a single department in 2007.

    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt or Raj Chetty, of course you’d be an economist and then impinge on the traditional turf of other social scientists.

    The Stanford anthropology department gave Stanford provost Condi Rice the experience she needed to be Secretary of State.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Pretty sure Condi Rice was a political scientist. IIRC, her dissertation adviser was Madeleine Albright's father.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt...
     
    ...with the literal lisp, not the prisssssy sssssibliancccce.

    I met a woodworker the other day who, like former co-workers of both my wife and me, and the deacon who baptized our first child, had the double whammy of a pinched nasal whine and a pronounced sibilance. Yet all four of these men had wives.

    I wonder how many suitors these fellows have had to swat off over the years.

    Then there are all those butch women with husbands and children.
  17. @Buzz Mohawk
    The one guy who looks like an alpha who should be right-wing at least makes the epistemological point that sociology is inherently left-wing in it's assumption that human outcomes are the result of nurture not nature. Then of course he goes on the restate that very assumption as fact and confirms that he too can only think left.

    Thus the circular logic completes itself. I think, therefore I am left-wing. Ergo, because left-wing, I think. The process is complete, said God.

    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon

    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.
     
    You can substitute any "ism" for "leftism" and have the same answer. All "isms" are cults, except perhaps pragmatism.
    , @njguy73
    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Eligibility for tenure.
  18. Recently watched a Jordan Peterson Q&A where he referred to the fact that results of psychological research unpalatable to progressives cannot be the consequence of right-wing bias by the researchers, as he himself is the only right-wing psychology researcher in the world.

    Though he noted that he doesn’t consider himself to be right-wing, he’s just been designated as such because he resists the insanity of present extreme leftism.

    • Replies: @Forbes
    If you watch/listen to Peterson's class teachings--his student interactions--you quickly see that he is an old-fashion liberal--not a conservative, or right-winger. It's just that the progressive-left has moved so far left, they're effectively illiberal--and anyone espousing liberal views is to their right.

    The movement of progressives to the far left is why many old-fashion liberals are being re-branded by prog-lefties as conservatives or on the right, e.g. Harvard's Dershowitz, and the married Sullivan/Robinson couple. There are a number of other examples.
  19. Jack D. Douglas, retired from UCSD is a libertarian who has written for the Lew Rockwell site (I hope Jack is still alive!).

    The late Robert A. Nisbet was a prominent sociologist (e.g., he founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley!) and author who was a conservative while never falling for Conservatism, Inc.: I especially recommend his classic The Sociological Tradition and his The Present Age : Progress and Anarchy in Modern America.

    Anne Wortham is a black female sociologist who is a Randian of sorts, basically a pleasant, soft-spoken Randian (I know that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but strange things happen).

    Randall Collins probably thinks of himself as a liberal, but he is too smart to actually swallow the full liberal line: I particularly like his Four Sociological Traditions.

    And, for a bonus, I’ll mention the late anthropologist Marvin Harris, well-known as a self-proclaimed “cultural materialist”: I know this sounds like a Marxist, but he wasn’t. See his Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life; just listing the contents pretty much makes the point:

    Why nothing works — Why the help won’t help you — Why the dollar shrank — Why women left home — Why the gays came out of the closet — Why there’s terror on the streets — Why the cults are coming — Why America changed.

    To be sure, these folks are all old or dead: I assume a young conservative or libertarian sociologist who wants to stay in the academic world nowadays knows how to keep rather quiet.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I don't think Wortham has been an adherent of Objectivism. She has been a critic of dominant modes of thought from a libertarian viewpoint, but hasn't had any kind of sectarian affiliation. She hasn't published much over the years.
    , @Seek
    The catalyst for the Chicago School of sociology back during the 1920s, Robert Park, actually resembled a neo-Darwinist conservative. His idea of the urban neighborhood as ethnic ecology is inherently conservative.
    , @New Dealer
    I've learned a lot in the domain of sociology. Not all of it is ideological spin.

    Add to the list the late James Coleman at University of Chicago, who served a term as president of ASA. I wouldn't say he was right-wing, rather that he was definitely not left-wing after surviving an intellectual lynch mob.

    The huge 1966 Coleman Report on educational equality found that

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Samuel_Coleman

    as for physical facilities, formal curricula, and other measurable criteria, there was little difference between black and white schools. Also, a significant gap in the achievement scores between black and white children already existed in the first grade. Despite the similar conditions of black and white schools, the gap became even wider by the end of elementary school. The only consistent variable explaining the differences in score within each racial group or ethnic group was the educational and economic attainment of the parents.[7], meaning that student background and socioeconomic status are more important in determining educational outcomes of a student. Specifically, the attitudes of parents and caregivers at home and peers at school of students toward education.....

    In 1966, Coleman wrote an article asserting that black students benefited from integrated schooling only if most of the students were white....Coleman's findings regarding "white flight" were not well received in some quarters, particularly among some members of the American Sociological Association. In response, efforts sprang up during the mid-1970s to revoke his membership.
     
    Coleman was a well-meaning moderate who wanted to establish facts that would best guide policy. He was among the first to be attacked by a vicious American Red Guard attempting to destroy the career and the man.

    He thought that governmental, social, and economic organizations are of value only to serve the interests of individuals forming them, and not valuable for their own sake. His Asymmetric Society deplored the growing power of corporate actors of all types (including big business) over individuals; thus he would be anathema to the Chamber of Commerce right and the tech oligarchs.

    Late in his life he published an arch essay on "conspicuous benevolence," a better label for what is now called "virtue signaling."
    , @Desiderius
    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously. This isn't a criticism of libertarianism per se - the assumption that this would naturally follow is a product of the ConInc tic of labelling everything they don't like leftism - as much as an attempt to bring everyone's scorecards up to date. Also helps explain NeverTrumpism.
  20. @Oleaginous Outrager
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    LOL

    The video hints at it; people become sociologists to explain why they are not employable: “it’s the structure, man. I was born in the wrong place.”

    • Replies: @Oleaginous Outrager
    "I'm structurally incapable of getting up before noon."
  21. Randall Collins (b. 1941) is not exactly right wing but he’s sometimes a bit iconoclastic and seems more interested in reality than in liberal propaganda, for example a recent intervention (can’t find a link) on police violence in the USA where he quashes black lives matters talking points.

    Otherwise, there was the obscure German ‘social theorist’ Niklas Luhmann – who rather nicely demolished the pretensions of liberal and critical theory, human rights verbiage, and so forth in the name of a very austere, hyper modern, systems theory (probably not to the taste of most readers here).

    Peter Turchin isn’t exactly a sociologist but he represents a genuinely non left wing Darwinian social science. And that’s where any ‘right wing’ sociology might be found – in obscure journals devoted to simulations of inter group socio-cultural competition. For example, showing, formally via computer simulations, that hierarchy actually expands the range of human possibility, rather than (only) being the outcome of ideology or exploitation.

    And people should check out Scott Alexander’s recent, brilliant, summary of what neo-reactionaries are trying to say at Slate Star Codex.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  22. @Daniel H
    Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?

    I believe that it has more validity than any of psychology, psychiatry, law or economics.

    I believe that it has more validity than any of psychology, psychiatry, law or economics.

    When there is a problem, people often consult psychs, lawyers, and economists (sort-of).

    I don’t know anyone who makes a point to consult a sociologist.

  23. Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning.

  24. @Buzz Mohawk
    The one guy who looks like an alpha who should be right-wing at least makes the epistemological point that sociology is inherently left-wing in it's assumption that human outcomes are the result of nurture not nature. Then of course he goes on the restate that very assumption as fact and confirms that he too can only think left.

    once you discount heredity sociology automatically becomes left-wing.

    Boas is the foundation of pozworld.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    1. No it doesn't.

    2. Boas was not a sociologist.
  25. The great sociologists certainly weren’t left-wingers in the modern sense.
    They were either conservatives or patriotic liberals (a term that has become an oxymoron nowadays).

    Emile Durkheim, Robert Michels, Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, Daniel Bell, Arnold Gehlen, Talcott Parsons, Niklas Luhmann… And the list goes on.

    Conservatives, however, often have a problem with conservative sociologists. They know, after all, that “there is no such thing as society” (Margaret Thatcher). This delusion has led to a considerable impoverishment of conservative thought.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Great list.
    Why not add the former head of the LSE, Lord Ralf Dahrendorf? - He was clearly against all kinds of populism-bashing. And: He had a soft spot for Isaiah Berlin's praise of the Nation-state and was pro-free-speech - and free science, even. - It wouldn't be hard at all to make a right-winger out of him now (sigh).
  26. As a meritocrat I hate the right and the left pretty much equally, there are too many simple minded types out there who seem to believe that the inherent evil of one somehow implies the innate goodness of the other. As far as I am concerned both left and right are riddled with hypocrisy and both need taking down.

    The right claim to be meritocratic but are they really? what the right really stand for is inherited wealth and privilege, with no regard for the actual abilities of those who inherit. A society dominated by the right ends up being run by the increasingly mediocre offspring of some dynasty or other, founded by people with a talent for accumulating wealth (and more often than not questionable ethical standards) The seemingly inevitable result of right wing domination is a society run by the likes of Nero and Caligula, or their modern day equivalents.

    The left should be on the side of equality of opportunity but instead they are fighting for equality of outcome. Unhappy that reality is not conforming to their ideals, they attempt to force reality to conform by the use of legislation. Even science is not safe from their tampering, Lysenkoism being the most obvious manifestation of that tendency.

    What we need is a cap on inherited wealth, it can be quite high, it really doesn’t matter so long as it isn’t enough to buy the damned government. We cannot continue to allow mediocrities to inherit massive amounts of political influence. We also need a return of streaming in schools and aptitude testing for jobs, jobs should go to the people with the most aptitude for the job. When something so obvious is controversial it is a sign that something is very wrong.

    A society that is not meritocratic is essentially doomed, meritocracy must be re-established. The right and the left are both in the way, they must be reformed or removed.

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    If you are a meritocrat, that puts you essentially on the left.

    "Equality of opportunity" - no such thing.
  27. makes WorldStarHipHop seem like varsity debate club.

    I was shocked to watch some videos of national prize-winning debate performances a while back, and I really couldn’t tell you the difference between WorldStarHipHop and varsity debate club.

  28. @Oleaginous Outrager
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    That’s just what I was thinking. I believe it is obvious to any thinking First grader that his classmates are divided into winners, workers and losers. The losers go into Education and Teh Various Humanities.
    So to your question; no. I don’t think it’s necessary to go all Khmer Rouge or Mao on educators, but some fear or hunger could focus their minds a bit .
    Kids are still kids, we need to help them before education destroys them.

  29. @Achmed E. Newman
    "... perhaps they're working with ... the State." Yeah, that's the ticket. The wavy-haired lady (and I'd do her, don't get me wrong) thinks that the State employs right-wing sociologists! Who exactly is paying for all you people in the video, and the "research" in sociology, lady, a local pizza chain or a rope-manufacturing plant?

    Then, listen to the younger guy who has to close his eyes to think of a word: "Sociology may be very different if we were living in a Communist society." The guy doesn't even know left from right.

    These people are around so few conservatives that they can't even imagine them up correctly. I don't think you will find a conservative in Sociology, because most want to pass and not be ABD* until 40 years old.


    .

    * All But Dissertation - held. up in committee.

    A bit of googling would suggest that you are correct about her “do-ability”; she is, as the great Howie Carr would put it, “Not Guilty”. In the universe of sociologists she’s a 10!

  30. Sociologists search for “social facts”, and then look for explanations in terms of sub-Marxist ideas about class, patriarchy, etc.

    If instead their explanatory framework is Evolutionary Psychology, they will probably find themselves facing an uphill battle in a Sociology Department, and will move to Anthropology, Psychology, Biology, or Economics.

    Right-wing sociologists, if they exist, will become, for example, sociologists in anthropologists’ clothing. This makes “real” sociologists happier, because their comfort zone is not polluted either by right-wingers or by ideas that challenge their worldview.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Sociologists search for “social facts”, and then look for explanations in terms of sub-Marxist ideas about class, patriarchy, etc.

    I'm sure there are many who do that, but it's not a tendency structural to the discipline.
  31. @Daniel H
    Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?

    I believe that it has more validity than any of psychology, psychiatry, law or economics.

    I’d say the order of lesser to greater lunacy is law (We’re stuck with it; we need to learn the rules.), economics, psychology, a tie between sociology and economics.

  32. @Daniel H
    It has been pretty much proven that Alice Goffman fabricated her doctoral dissertation (which was later published as a book). In a normal, sane world she sould have had her Princeton Ph.D rescinded (as Naomi Wolfe should have her Oxford Ph.D rescinded), but maybe there is still a little bit of honor in academia because, as per Wiki, she has been turned down for tenure at Madison, Wisconsin. I don't relish denying her a livelihood, but she really would be more suited to writing for Slate, Vox, opining for the NY Times, or driving for Uber, as I was doing until my car was side-swiped and nearly totaled by an out of control trucker, ferrying blasted-heads up to Electric Daisy Carnival outside Vegas.

    Liberal masquerading as a consevative, maybe sincerely drifting to the right, maybe there’s some hope for you.

  33. @RobUK
    Are there any right-wing Marxists?

    The late Eugene Genovese.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    Excellent nomination. However, as I recall, he started out as a Trot.
  34. @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.

    No. The founding father of Sociology was William Graham Sumner.

    And he got pretty much everything right.

    • Replies: @res
    Thanks. Here are some reviews of what looks like a good overview of his work.

    https://fee.org/articles/on-liberty-society-and-politics-the-essential-essays-of-william-graham-sumner/
    http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1303/On%20Liberty%2C%20.htm
    , @Desiderius
    Wasn't that Comte?
    , @Alden
    I thought it was an 1820s French man and a1850s English woman named Harriet? Who cares. At least it was an easy A forgot about everything as soon as I finished the test.
  35. My mother is a right wing Sociologist. She worked in Sociology for 40 years, and made sure never to tell anyone she worked with, hence her long and successful career.

    She likes to quote Marx that religion is “the opium of the people” – and thus vital for keeping the masses content and happy, since without it there’d be chaos, as we now see.

    • Replies: @jim jones
    I thought it was Welfare payments that kept the masses content and happy
    , @Reg Cæsar
    In America, "the opiate of the masses" is increasingly being replaced by literal opiates.

    OK, maybe not literally literal, if anyone wants to explain the differences between opium, opiates, opioids, and little Ronny Howard.
  36. There are quite a few right-wing sociologist-like figures, some of them rather well known. Thomas Szasz, Neil Postman, and Marshall McLuhan are not exactly obscure. The European droit produces a steady stream of them, but American readers aren’t likely to hear of any of those unless they go digging.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Szasz was a psychiatrist. He had some arresting theses, but he was not an academic sociologist and wrote primarily as a critic of dominant currents in psychiatry. McLuhan was a literary scholar and Postman nestled in teacher-training faculties; both made a mark writing about communications, not social relations.
  37. @Oleaginous Outrager
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    • Replies: @Carol
    Plenty of sociology majors have wormed their way into government jobs. It was as good a degree as any up til about 20 years ago.
    , @Anon
    I don't think he was implying that holders of PhDs in sociology are literally unemployable in any capacity outside of academia.

    I think he's saying that there are no jobs you can get paid for where you practice sociology itself as your job description. In other words, there are no subdivision developers or apartment tower developers who have a sociology department to analyze the neighborhood or to predict resident relations given various hypothetical mixes of rent levels.

    Nobody cares and nobody believes that sociology "works" in having any sort of reliable and useful outcomes.

    Despite--not because of--your sociology PhD they might hire you to do something else. If you're good with people and have a solid tit-rack, for instance, you might be hired into sales.
    , @Right Winger here...
    I make pretty good pay doing just that.

    -Conservative/libertarian PhD sociologist
    , @njguy73

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.
     
    But as Dr. Ray Stantz would ask, Would the sociologists do well in a job where people expected results?
    , @Oleaginous Outrager

    any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations
     
    So, in fact, nothing productive, just more time sinks and paper shuffles, when not actively converging companies.
  38. @Simon in London
    My mother is a right wing Sociologist. She worked in Sociology for 40 years, and made sure never to tell anyone she worked with, hence her long and successful career.

    She likes to quote Marx that religion is "the opium of the people" - and thus vital for keeping the masses content and happy, since without it there'd be chaos, as we now see.

    I thought it was Welfare payments that kept the masses content and happy

    • Replies: @Forbes
    Well, it keeps them in cash. Contentment and happiness seem a bit subjective to judge the never-ending demands for more gibsmedat.
  39. @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it’s head cut off.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it’s head cut off.

     

    . . . and its heart torn out.
  40. The various London School of Economics left-wing sociologists are sure there must be one out there somewhere, but they can’t think of any off the top of their heads.

    Satoshi Kanazawa works at London School of Economics. But I think that he suffers a lot there.

  41. Anonymous[156] • Disclaimer says:

    George Yancey is a (black, Christian) sociologist at the University of North Texas specializing in how universities are biased against Christians, with a few papers about how they are biased against conservatives.

  42. Anonymous [AKA "Roland Siegfried Faust"] says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.

    Without trying to be coy, I must refuse a premise implicit in this whole thread (and Steve’s title), namely that anyone knows what ‘left’ and ‘right’ means anymore.

    Bernie is / was against open borders, does anyone really think he is to the right of the Koch brothers?

    Trump and Tulsi are the only anti-war candidates and they’re on the opposite poles of the (obsolete) political spectrum.

    C.Wright Mills explained American elite colleges’ function for the ruling class. Is that ‘left’ or ‘right’?

    I like my scientists and scholars to be pro-truth. Which means they should be wicked smart, and must not be cultists…which is probably what Steve meant…

  43. Charles Murray’s Coming Apart is right wing sociology, even if he’s not an official member of the guild.
    And what about the guy who came up with the idea of broken windows policing?

    • Replies: @Unladen Swallow
    Both Charles Murray and James Q. Wilson are and were political scientists, not sociologists, technically.They also both co-authored books with Richard Herrnstein, who was a psychologist.
    , @Forbes
    George Kelling was James Q. Wilson's co-author of broken windows policing. Kelling was a criminologist, his Ph.D. in social welfare. Puts him in the sociology ballpark, I imagine.
  44. Charles Murray. Don’t know if that’s right wing or what is a wing. Just another word worn smooth by a thousand tongues like every other word employed in political discourse in skillfully arranged weasel sucked eggs strung together.

  45. I used to know a sociology textbook author. Very successful. Great sense of humor. Of course, his textbooks were super PC, but he would say things that were so politically incorrect even I was shocked.

    We were talking about reparations once (the mid-90s) and he said we could put all the blacks in Mississippi, give them each a million dollars, and in two years they’d all be flat broke and there would be a ring of rich Jews all around the state.

  46. @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    Plenty of sociology majors have wormed their way into government jobs. It was as good a degree as any up til about 20 years ago.

  47. Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness.

    Strange as it may seem to you, there were vagrants in the U.S. prior to 1955. N.B., about 0.5% of the population of the U.S. lived in asylums that year. The vagrant population is currently < 0.2% of the population of the U.S. Literature reviews on the body of small studies of that population suggest that maybe a quarter have the sort of clinical diagnoses which would make an asylum an appropriate place for them. What creates vagrancy is catastrophic personal failure, and sociologists do not generate that.

    The profile of the body of sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and social psychologists is such that these are now apologetical disciplines, and have no proper place in an arts and sciences faculty. The same appears to have happened to American history. Clinical psychology is a pretty dubious exercise now as well. So is the study of literature.

    I can think of two starboard sociologists: Mark Regnerus and Bradford Wilcox. Regnerus has been the subject of harassment from professional bodies and been repeatedly slandered for his work, so he's the exception that proves the rule.

    • Replies: @Logan
    Thanks for the numbers.

    What creates vagrancy is catastrophic personal failure, and sociologists do not generate that.

    Very true. What generates it is much more complex and probably nobody really understands it. I suspect it's go most to do with a collapse of families and social structures intermediate between families and government. A lot also to do with the increasing lack of demand (in the economic sense) for the services capable of being provided by the less intelligent/diligent members of our society. As well as the provision of adequate safety net provisions to keep people from actually starving.

    Even more obscure than the cause of this social collapse is how to reverse or even ameliorate it.

    I keep thinking about a (possibly apocryphal) Soviet proverb/joke. "Anybody can make fish soup out of an aquarium. Only God can make an aquarium out of fish soup."

    We have intentionally and accidentally damaged out society, especially in its ability to provide meaning for its more vulnerable, and we don't know how to repair the damage.
  48. @PhysicistDave
    Jack D. Douglas, retired from UCSD is a libertarian who has written for the Lew Rockwell site (I hope Jack is still alive!).

    The late Robert A. Nisbet was a prominent sociologist (e.g., he founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley!) and author who was a conservative while never falling for Conservatism, Inc.: I especially recommend his classic The Sociological Tradition and his The Present Age : Progress and Anarchy in Modern America.

    Anne Wortham is a black female sociologist who is a Randian of sorts, basically a pleasant, soft-spoken Randian (I know that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but strange things happen).

    Randall Collins probably thinks of himself as a liberal, but he is too smart to actually swallow the full liberal line: I particularly like his Four Sociological Traditions.

    And, for a bonus, I'll mention the late anthropologist Marvin Harris, well-known as a self-proclaimed "cultural materialist": I know this sounds like a Marxist, but he wasn't. See his Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life; just listing the contents pretty much makes the point:

    Why nothing works -- Why the help won't help you -- Why the dollar shrank -- Why women left home -- Why the gays came out of the closet -- Why there's terror on the streets -- Why the cults are coming -- Why America changed.
     
    To be sure, these folks are all old or dead: I assume a young conservative or libertarian sociologist who wants to stay in the academic world nowadays knows how to keep rather quiet.

    I don’t think Wortham has been an adherent of Objectivism. She has been a critic of dominant modes of thought from a libertarian viewpoint, but hasn’t had any kind of sectarian affiliation. She hasn’t published much over the years.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    AD wrote:

    I don’t think Wortham has been an adherent of Objectivism.
     
    I remember her saying nice things about Rand years ago, basically implying that Rand was her major inspiration. Of course, there is the great "What is an Objectyivist?" question. When Rand was alive, she was explicit that you had to be granted the title of "Objectivist' by Rand herself: everyone else was merely a "student of Objectivism."

    Nowadays, people who call themselves "Objectivists" seem to be generally ignorant, arrogant, and obnoxious at a quite stunning level, much worse than your average Internet troll. It is an interesting question if Rand's ideas necessarily lead to that or if the Objectivist movement simply took a rather unfortunate turn long ago.

    The official Objectivist movement's attitude towards my own field of physics happens to be, well, bizarre. I've talked with a physicist who once was close to the movement who attributes the problems to Leonard Peikoff, Rand's "designated intellectual heir." Maybe. We'll see -- Lenny can't live forever.

    Personally, I found many of Rand's views thought-provoking but was never much tempted to become a follower.

    Perhaps it would have been fairer to call Wortham an admirer of Rand. In any case, I think you and I agree that Wortham seems to be a nice, thoughtful person who certainly should not be lumped in the same pot with the typical Randians.
  49. @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    No, it’s not. However, something Erin O’Conner reported about the evolution of literary scholarship is relevant here: in a decaying discipline, anything produced which doesn’t have certain contentious premises is defined as outside the discipline, and commonly defined as non-academic. Sociology, cultural anthropology, social psychology, &c exist to provide empirical support for The Narrative, not to explore the social world and understand how it ticks. See KC Johnson, who has been subject to poltically-motivated harassment which nearly destroyed his career (who would have been understood as a common-and-garden northern Democrat in 1980). Johnson’s noted that some subdisciplines of American history are now so denuded of personnel that material published 40 years ago counts as current scholarship.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    I can't think of any sociologists still teaching who would qualify as "right-wing" but, decades ago, there were several prominent sociologists that could fairly have been described as conservative:

    Edward Banfield (Harvard)
    Robert Nisbet (Columbia)
    Albert Hobbs (Penn)
    Digby Baltzell (Penn)

    Alas, all of these gents died during the 1990s.
  50. @Daniel H
    It has been pretty much proven that Alice Goffman fabricated her doctoral dissertation (which was later published as a book). In a normal, sane world she sould have had her Princeton Ph.D rescinded (as Naomi Wolfe should have her Oxford Ph.D rescinded), but maybe there is still a little bit of honor in academia because, as per Wiki, she has been turned down for tenure at Madison, Wisconsin. I don't relish denying her a livelihood, but she really would be more suited to writing for Slate, Vox, opining for the NY Times, or driving for Uber, as I was doing until my car was side-swiped and nearly totaled by an out of control trucker, ferrying blasted-heads up to Electric Daisy Carnival outside Vegas.

    Goffman’s defenders say she changed names to protect the innocent like on Dragnet. The thing that interests me about the whole foofaraw is this is the exact same defense Carlos Castaneda used for fictionalizing his don Juan source material. He claimed if all the facts were in there the zip code would have been swamped with peyote and psilocybin hunting tourists. Castaneda was anathematized and never got an academic job again.

    (Castaneda never anticipated that the entire southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico would get swamped with peyote and psylocybin hunting tourists. I don’t think the locals complained.)

    Isn’t Max Weber reputed to be a like this close –><– to a flaming fascist?

  51. Anon[265] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    I don’t think he was implying that holders of PhDs in sociology are literally unemployable in any capacity outside of academia.

    I think he’s saying that there are no jobs you can get paid for where you practice sociology itself as your job description. In other words, there are no subdivision developers or apartment tower developers who have a sociology department to analyze the neighborhood or to predict resident relations given various hypothetical mixes of rent levels.

    Nobody cares and nobody believes that sociology “works” in having any sort of reliable and useful outcomes.

    Despite–not because of–your sociology PhD they might hire you to do something else. If you’re good with people and have a solid tit-rack, for instance, you might be hired into sales.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Gold box worthy.

    Think of how many other degrees to which this applies and one begins to grasp the depth of the degeneracy.
    , @Oleaginous Outrager
    However you want to look at it, the net result is you've wasted years of your life and money you'll never get back for worthless paper.
  52. Well, there used to be Steve Goldberg, Chairman of the Sociology Department at CCNY. He is retired now but, thankfully, still among the living: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Goldberg

  53. I hold a doctorate in sociology. And am hard core libertarian/conservative with a few exceptions. Some comments…

    –William Sumner and Herbert Spencer were very conservative. Robert Nisbet, Peter Berger. But probably 95% of sociologists are left-wing nuts today. Close to the same number of academic psychologists, by the way. Though a few more conservatives in the latter.

    –The field is not intrinsically socialist, but has been hijacked by the Left.

    –I generally argued for libertarianism in grad school and was tolerated.

    –I had a job offer for a tenure track gig but refused it after realizing I could never fit in and did not want to live a lie.

    –I do private sector consulting as public opinion/polling expert. Pay is good. I am a capitalist to the core.

    Finally, academia is a sewer these days, an utter wasteland. In fact, it is likely worse than you imagine. Thank God I escaped. The wacko left-wingers run the asylum and until you pull all federal funding it will never….ever….change.

    • Replies: @Anon
    What is your take on the polling crisis?

    I've heard that with the reduction in the use of land line telephones with their census tract correlation it is impossible to get a statistically representative sample. There's also the problem that the gradual lowering of social trust has resulted in more refusals to participate in polling, resulting in even more skewed samples. Internet polling is the absolute worst in getting a representative sample.

    I personally would hang up on anyone trying to survey me.
  54. @vinteuil

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.
     
    No. The founding father of Sociology was William Graham Sumner.

    And he got pretty much everything right.

  55. @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    I make pretty good pay doing just that.

    -Conservative/libertarian PhD sociologist

  56. This is not the 1970s or even 1980s, when American academia had fairly large numbers (minority, but large minority) of aging professors in departments like History, English, Foreign Languages, Poli Sci, etc. who were truly open-minded Moderates who occasionally leaned Right. Those aging Moderates (with a handful of moderate Conservatives tossed in) were replaced almost to a person with either Liberals or hardcore Leftists.

    Today, English and History and Poli Sci departments are all as insanely closed Leftist worlds as Sociology has been for 50 years.

  57. @vinteuil

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.
     
    No. The founding father of Sociology was William Graham Sumner.

    And he got pretty much everything right.

    Wasn’t that Comte?

    • Replies: @Half Canadian
    Comte coined the term Sociology, but he was a nut. It didn't really go anywhere until Durkheim came along.
    , @vinteuil

    Wasn’t that Comte?
     
    Sorry, should have said "the founding father of American sociology," or "sociology as a reasonably serious empirical discipline" - anyway, a great figure in his day, and still well worth reading.

    An almost exact contemporary of his opposite number in psychology, William James.
  58. @Art Deco
    No, it's not. However, something Erin O'Conner reported about the evolution of literary scholarship is relevant here: in a decaying discipline, anything produced which doesn't have certain contentious premises is defined as outside the discipline, and commonly defined as non-academic. Sociology, cultural anthropology, social psychology, &c exist to provide empirical support for The Narrative, not to explore the social world and understand how it ticks. See KC Johnson, who has been subject to poltically-motivated harassment which nearly destroyed his career (who would have been understood as a common-and-garden northern Democrat in 1980). Johnson's noted that some subdisciplines of American history are now so denuded of personnel that material published 40 years ago counts as current scholarship.

    I can’t think of any sociologists still teaching who would qualify as “right-wing” but, decades ago, there were several prominent sociologists that could fairly have been described as conservative:

    Edward Banfield (Harvard)
    Robert Nisbet (Columbia)
    Albert Hobbs (Penn)
    Digby Baltzell (Penn)

    Alas, all of these gents died during the 1990s.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Again, Wilcox, Regnerus, and Adams (none of whom are nearly so eminent as anyone on your list). Banfield was a political scientist led to sociology via the study of urban policy, Baltzell (unless I'm mistaken) was a specialist in non-quantitative historical sociology, and Nisbet was a theoretician.
  59. Isn’t charles murray a right wing sociologist? Or would acknowledging his existence get too many noggins joggin’?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    He's a political scientist whose institutional address allowed him to bleed into related fields.
  60. Budd Dwyer [AKA "Anon000"] says:
    @Triumph104

    While the two sociologists, father and daughter, share equally disastrous views, because Alice was born only months before Erving’s death, they seem to be testimony more to the power of Nature than Nurture.
     
    I would say it is Nuture. It is not as if Alice Goffman had been adopted and didn't know who her father was. She had access to his writings and was probably much more aware of her father's career than she would have been if he were alive. Plus, both her mother and step-father were professors in sociolinguistics, a similar field of study as sociology. Steve Jobs is a better Nature vs Nurture case study.

    Melanie Wood was the first girl to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She later became a Putnam Fellow and earned her PhD in math at Princeton. She was gifted in math but purposefully nutured.

    Melanie M. Wood was born in 1981, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Melanie’s mother, Sherry Eggers, a foreign language teacher, started teaching her daughter general mathematics at the age of three in an attempt to implant in Melanie the fortitude and memory of her father, who had died almost immediately after Melanie’s birth. At a very early age, Melanie began to show signs of becoming a child prodigy in mathematics and mother felt impelled to teach her daughter linear equations. ...
     
    https://sites.google.com/site/awmmath/programs/essay-contest/contest-rules/essay-contest-past-results/essays/thecreationofafemalemathematicianmsmelaniewood

    Melanie Wood was the first girl to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She later became a Putnam Fellow and earned her PhD in math at Princeton. She was gifted in math but purposefully nutured.

    Here’s her faculty webpage at UW: https://www.math.wisc.edu/~mmwood/

    There have been quite of few people who’ve gotten Ph.D.’s in math by the age of 17 or 18. Or even at the age of 15, like NASA mathematician Kim Ung-Yong. The late great mathematician Norbert Wiener, founder of cybernetics and professor of math at MIT, got his Ph.D. at 17. So, in the case of Ms. Wood, starting as an undergrad math major at 18 and getting a Ph.D. at 28 is a good indication that you won’t be lighting up the academic mathematics research field. But hey, even these brilliant prodigies were largely practitioners and they themselves must bow before the real geniuses, the guys who thought all this mathematics up in their heads (Riemann, Cauchy, Fourier, Kolmogorov, Fermat, Galois, Lagrange, Poincaré, et al.), not like the former, the precocious types who merely learned it quickly and well.

  61. @Redneck farmer
    The French guy who started sociology was kinda right-wing. He started the field to explain the French Revolution.

    Auguste Comte?

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    Louis de Bonald.
    , @Ian M.
    Actually never mind, you're right. But Bonald was more conservative.
  62. Budd Dwyer [AKA "Anon000"] says:

    As right-leaning as I can think of is the late Peter Berger (d. 2017) who was retired from Boston University. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_L._Berger
    “Berger… at times has challenged the views of contemporary mainstream sociology which tends to lean away from any right-wing political thinking.”

    And his wife, Brigitte Kellner, “herself an eminent sociologist who was on the faculty at Wellesley College and Boston University where she was the chair of the sociology department at both schools…She was a sociologist who focused on the sociology of the family, arguing that the nuclear family was one of the main causes of modernization.”

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Berger tended in his general audience writings to place articles in venues like Commentary and First Things. He also thought sociology-of-religion a worthy subject (as did Andrew Greeley). Greeley was a partisan Democrat, while Berger had almost nothing to say on topical political controversies. Berger was less a 'conservative' than a 'conventional-academic-ca. 1962' (which put him about two-standard-deviations right of center on sociology faculties).
  63. @PhysicistDave
    Jack D. Douglas, retired from UCSD is a libertarian who has written for the Lew Rockwell site (I hope Jack is still alive!).

    The late Robert A. Nisbet was a prominent sociologist (e.g., he founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley!) and author who was a conservative while never falling for Conservatism, Inc.: I especially recommend his classic The Sociological Tradition and his The Present Age : Progress and Anarchy in Modern America.

    Anne Wortham is a black female sociologist who is a Randian of sorts, basically a pleasant, soft-spoken Randian (I know that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but strange things happen).

    Randall Collins probably thinks of himself as a liberal, but he is too smart to actually swallow the full liberal line: I particularly like his Four Sociological Traditions.

    And, for a bonus, I'll mention the late anthropologist Marvin Harris, well-known as a self-proclaimed "cultural materialist": I know this sounds like a Marxist, but he wasn't. See his Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life; just listing the contents pretty much makes the point:

    Why nothing works -- Why the help won't help you -- Why the dollar shrank -- Why women left home -- Why the gays came out of the closet -- Why there's terror on the streets -- Why the cults are coming -- Why America changed.
     
    To be sure, these folks are all old or dead: I assume a young conservative or libertarian sociologist who wants to stay in the academic world nowadays knows how to keep rather quiet.

    The catalyst for the Chicago School of sociology back during the 1920s, Robert Park, actually resembled a neo-Darwinist conservative. His idea of the urban neighborhood as ethnic ecology is inherently conservative.

  64. There is this fellow in Kanuckistan, Ricardo Duchesne, who wrote a book entitled The Uniqueness of Western Civilization. Also some other books that got him in hot water. So hot that he was forced to take “early retirement” from The University of New Brunswick as a professor of sociology. This happened quite recently. Apparently the intelligentsia in commieland had been plotting his ouster for quite some time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricardo_Duchesne

    I do not know how reliable wikipedia is in such matters.

    https://muse.jhu.edu/article/508167

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2019/05/and-then-they-came-for-ricardo-duchesne/

  65. @PhysicistDave
    Jack D. Douglas, retired from UCSD is a libertarian who has written for the Lew Rockwell site (I hope Jack is still alive!).

    The late Robert A. Nisbet was a prominent sociologist (e.g., he founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley!) and author who was a conservative while never falling for Conservatism, Inc.: I especially recommend his classic The Sociological Tradition and his The Present Age : Progress and Anarchy in Modern America.

    Anne Wortham is a black female sociologist who is a Randian of sorts, basically a pleasant, soft-spoken Randian (I know that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but strange things happen).

    Randall Collins probably thinks of himself as a liberal, but he is too smart to actually swallow the full liberal line: I particularly like his Four Sociological Traditions.

    And, for a bonus, I'll mention the late anthropologist Marvin Harris, well-known as a self-proclaimed "cultural materialist": I know this sounds like a Marxist, but he wasn't. See his Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life; just listing the contents pretty much makes the point:

    Why nothing works -- Why the help won't help you -- Why the dollar shrank -- Why women left home -- Why the gays came out of the closet -- Why there's terror on the streets -- Why the cults are coming -- Why America changed.
     
    To be sure, these folks are all old or dead: I assume a young conservative or libertarian sociologist who wants to stay in the academic world nowadays knows how to keep rather quiet.

    I’ve learned a lot in the domain of sociology. Not all of it is ideological spin.

    Add to the list the late James Coleman at University of Chicago, who served a term as president of ASA. I wouldn’t say he was right-wing, rather that he was definitely not left-wing after surviving an intellectual lynch mob.

    The huge 1966 Coleman Report on educational equality found that

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Samuel_Coleman

    as for physical facilities, formal curricula, and other measurable criteria, there was little difference between black and white schools. Also, a significant gap in the achievement scores between black and white children already existed in the first grade. Despite the similar conditions of black and white schools, the gap became even wider by the end of elementary school. The only consistent variable explaining the differences in score within each racial group or ethnic group was the educational and economic attainment of the parents.[7], meaning that student background and socioeconomic status are more important in determining educational outcomes of a student. Specifically, the attitudes of parents and caregivers at home and peers at school of students toward education…..

    In 1966, Coleman wrote an article asserting that black students benefited from integrated schooling only if most of the students were white….Coleman’s findings regarding “white flight” were not well received in some quarters, particularly among some members of the American Sociological Association. In response, efforts sprang up during the mid-1970s to revoke his membership.

    Coleman was a well-meaning moderate who wanted to establish facts that would best guide policy. He was among the first to be attacked by a vicious American Red Guard attempting to destroy the career and the man.

    He thought that governmental, social, and economic organizations are of value only to serve the interests of individuals forming them, and not valuable for their own sake. His Asymmetric Society deplored the growing power of corporate actors of all types (including big business) over individuals; thus he would be anathema to the Chamber of Commerce right and the tech oligarchs.

    Late in his life he published an arch essay on “conspicuous benevolence,” a better label for what is now called “virtue signaling.”

    • Replies: @Forbes
    My recollection is that the Coleman Report was mostly ignored because he didn't give the Left the answers/ammunition it was looking for. And those answers were essentially, as today: blame whitey and more spending on freebies in minority communities--neither of which were the cause, nor solution to, alleviate existing problems/challenges/differential outcomes.
  66. What about socieobiology? I believe they have research on homosexuality and other current social artifacts that show a distinct genesis that is not politically correct.

  67. @Anon
    Sociology as a job doesn't exist outside of universities. Sociology as a job title comes from having a PhD obtained after years of close observation by academic sociologists. A conservative would have to be like one of those deep cover FBI guys who lives like a mobster or biker gang member for years before the big bust and roll-up. There's no such thing as an "independent" sociologist. There's no grant money for stay-at-home sociologists.

    So of course there are no conservative sociologists.

    You could maybe PhD in economics and then segue into sociology type areas, and maybe some sociology journal would publish you.

    Next question: Are there any gender studies or black studied professors with degrees related to biology, medicine, neurology, genetics, applied mathematics, or psychology?

    Stanford had to split their anthropology department in two, adding a department of anthropological sciences, in 1998, eventually merging the two warring departments back into a single department in 2007.

    Harvard split off its biological and cultural anthropologists and so did Cal-Berkeley. When I checked a few years ago, they were still split.

  68. When I was very young, Buckley, on Firing Line, had the (psychiatrist?) Thomas Szaz(?) on his show. Szaz wrote the book The Myth of Mental Illness. He didn’t seem to be left wing. But, as I remember, he believed people were too readily labelled as insane but they actually just behaved differently from most people.

  69. Did Pierre van den Berghe (who died a couple of months ago) become right wing or did he stay a lefty?

  70. @Art Deco
    Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness.

    Strange as it may seem to you, there were vagrants in the U.S. prior to 1955. N.B., about 0.5% of the population of the U.S. lived in asylums that year. The vagrant population is currently < 0.2% of the population of the U.S. Literature reviews on the body of small studies of that population suggest that maybe a quarter have the sort of clinical diagnoses which would make an asylum an appropriate place for them. What creates vagrancy is catastrophic personal failure, and sociologists do not generate that.


    The profile of the body of sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and social psychologists is such that these are now apologetical disciplines, and have no proper place in an arts and sciences faculty. The same appears to have happened to American history. Clinical psychology is a pretty dubious exercise now as well. So is the study of literature.

    I can think of two starboard sociologists: Mark Regnerus and Bradford Wilcox. Regnerus has been the subject of harassment from professional bodies and been repeatedly slandered for his work, so he's the exception that proves the rule.

    Thanks for the numbers.

    What creates vagrancy is catastrophic personal failure, and sociologists do not generate that.

    Very true. What generates it is much more complex and probably nobody really understands it. I suspect it’s go most to do with a collapse of families and social structures intermediate between families and government. A lot also to do with the increasing lack of demand (in the economic sense) for the services capable of being provided by the less intelligent/diligent members of our society. As well as the provision of adequate safety net provisions to keep people from actually starving.

    Even more obscure than the cause of this social collapse is how to reverse or even ameliorate it.

    I keep thinking about a (possibly apocryphal) Soviet proverb/joke. “Anybody can make fish soup out of an aquarium. Only God can make an aquarium out of fish soup.”

    We have intentionally and accidentally damaged out society, especially in its ability to provide meaning for its more vulnerable, and we don’t know how to repair the damage.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    Religious family revival?

    Here's Malachi:

    "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

    Maybe we're just in the curse part right now.
  71. @Simon in London
    My mother is a right wing Sociologist. She worked in Sociology for 40 years, and made sure never to tell anyone she worked with, hence her long and successful career.

    She likes to quote Marx that religion is "the opium of the people" - and thus vital for keeping the masses content and happy, since without it there'd be chaos, as we now see.

    In America, “the opiate of the masses” is increasingly being replaced by literal opiates.

    OK, maybe not literally literal, if anyone wants to explain the differences between opium, opiates, opioids, and little Ronny Howard.

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
  72. @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    But as Dr. Ray Stantz would ask, Would the sociologists do well in a job where people expected results?

  73. @Captain Tripps
    Thus the circular logic completes itself. I think, therefore I am left-wing. Ergo, because left-wing, I think. The process is complete, said God.

    Q: What's the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.

    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.

    You can substitute any “ism” for “leftism” and have the same answer. All “isms” are cults, except perhaps pragmatism.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    You can substitute any “ism” for “leftism” and have the same answer. All “isms” are cults, except perhaps pragmatism.
     
    Quite so. That's why a try to be pragmatist. :-)
  74. @Captain Tripps
    Thus the circular logic completes itself. I think, therefore I am left-wing. Ergo, because left-wing, I think. The process is complete, said God.

    Q: What's the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.

    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Eligibility for tenure.

    • LOL: Captain Tripps
  75. @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    Whatever it was, sociology has evolved into the study/teaching/propagation of socialism.

    Is there a better descriptive explanation…

  76. Edward Banfield was a right-wing sociologist who did a sociological study of Sicily titled “Moral Basis of a Backward Society” which attempted to explain the poverty of the area. He later wrote another book, “The Unheavenly City”, which studied the poor here in the U.S. He distinguished between future oriented people and present oriented people and found that present oriented people are more likely to be poor. This book received a lot of attention in right-wing circles when it came out but came out a long time ago and isn’t mentioned much today and has been unfortunately forgotten. When I say he was right-wing, it’s because I don’t think any real liberal could have written either one of these books.

    • Replies: @Hoyt Thorpe
    A few years ago I took a class from a well-regarded Ivy Jewish professor in the humanities. He was obsessed with Banfield and would constantly take shots at everything from his theories to the way he smoked his cigarette (he would let it dangle from his lips - very disrespectful). From that I gathered Banfeld was a decent fellow.
  77. LOL! What a great parting statement at the end of the video “It’s not because of some political bias, but just because of the way that we think.” Could there ever be a more unintentionally revealing summation of the standard leftist point of view?

    I also like the non-verbals of the first two ladies who were asked the question. Their smiles and halting speech were something you might expect from the owner of a logging company back in the 1960’s if asked if there was such a thing as women lumberjacks. Actually, there were probably far more women lumberjacks back then than right wing sociologists today.

  78. Sociology came to America in 1854, with the publication of books with the term in their titles by Henry Hughes and George Fitzhugh. Both defended slavery, though for almost contradictory reasons. One thing they had in common was a revulsion to free-market capitalism. But more from a feudal standpoint, so they might be called “right-wing”.

    Pitirim Sorokin (whom Kindle Silk “corrects” to “Pitiful Sirloin”) had a grand theory that reactionaries could embrace, even if he wasn’t one himself. Steven Goldberg doesn’t identify as a rightist, but, like Robert Putnam, his research points that way. His first major work was The Inevitability of Patriarchy, after all.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitirim_Sorokin

    And let’s not forget Ernest van den Haag. Back when National Review really was right-wing.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    Thanks for the reminder of Ernest van den Haag, Reg! He was a great one and I can't believe I overlooked him in my post.

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are. For obvious reasons, he didn't make a public issue of this at CCNY but wouldn't dispute the characterization among like-minded people.
  79. @Anon
    Sociology as a job doesn't exist outside of universities. Sociology as a job title comes from having a PhD obtained after years of close observation by academic sociologists. A conservative would have to be like one of those deep cover FBI guys who lives like a mobster or biker gang member for years before the big bust and roll-up. There's no such thing as an "independent" sociologist. There's no grant money for stay-at-home sociologists.

    So of course there are no conservative sociologists.

    You could maybe PhD in economics and then segue into sociology type areas, and maybe some sociology journal would publish you.

    Next question: Are there any gender studies or black studied professors with degrees related to biology, medicine, neurology, genetics, applied mathematics, or psychology?

    Stanford had to split their anthropology department in two, adding a department of anthropological sciences, in 1998, eventually merging the two warring departments back into a single department in 2007.

    Sociology seems almost created by design as a ghetto for ultra left-wing ideologues. It’s probably useful in that regard because it keeps them quarantined in a place where they can be safely ignored by serious people.

    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.

    Bryan Caplan thinks so. There's a reason the moderator refers to his brand of social theory as 'applied autism'.

    Subject matter is different and the foundational methods are different. Cleaning up sociology is a worthy task. Attempting to merge sociology with psychology or with economics is not.
  80. @Reg Cæsar
    Sociology came to America in 1854, with the publication of books with the term in their titles by Henry Hughes and George Fitzhugh. Both defended slavery, though for almost contradictory reasons. One thing they had in common was a revulsion to free-market capitalism. But more from a feudal standpoint, so they might be called "right-wing".

    Pitirim Sorokin (whom Kindle Silk "corrects" to "Pitiful Sirloin") had a grand theory that reactionaries could embrace, even if he wasn't one himself. Steven Goldberg doesn't identify as a rightist, but, like Robert Putnam, his research points that way. His first major work was The Inevitability of Patriarchy, after all.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitirim_Sorokin

    And let's not forget Ernest van den Haag. Back when National Review really was right-wing.

    Thanks for the reminder of Ernest van den Haag, Reg! He was a great one and I can’t believe I overlooked him in my post.

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are. For obvious reasons, he didn’t make a public issue of this at CCNY but wouldn’t dispute the characterization among like-minded people.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are.
     
    In Thomas Sowell's sense that the only working definition of the "right" is "anyone who opposes the Left."
  81. Historical notes: Fitzhugh’s only visit to states outside the South featured a debate with abolitionist Gerrit Smith, who was married to the equally committed, and likely unrelated, Ann Carroll Fitzhugh.

    For those of you who work with dye lasers, Sorokin’s son Peter was one of that device’s inventors.

  82. @Steve Sailer
    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt or Raj Chetty, of course you'd be an economist and then impinge on the traditional turf of other social scientists.

    The Stanford anthropology department gave Stanford provost Condi Rice the experience she needed to be Secretary of State.

    Pretty sure Condi Rice was a political scientist. IIRC, her dissertation adviser was Madeleine Albright’s father.

  83. @Anon
    Sociology as a job doesn't exist outside of universities. Sociology as a job title comes from having a PhD obtained after years of close observation by academic sociologists. A conservative would have to be like one of those deep cover FBI guys who lives like a mobster or biker gang member for years before the big bust and roll-up. There's no such thing as an "independent" sociologist. There's no grant money for stay-at-home sociologists.

    So of course there are no conservative sociologists.

    You could maybe PhD in economics and then segue into sociology type areas, and maybe some sociology journal would publish you.

    Next question: Are there any gender studies or black studied professors with degrees related to biology, medicine, neurology, genetics, applied mathematics, or psychology?

    Stanford had to split their anthropology department in two, adding a department of anthropological sciences, in 1998, eventually merging the two warring departments back into a single department in 2007.

    About 1 sociologist in 6 works outside academe.

    Some skills you learn on the quant side of sociology I would think you could apply in practical occupations, like market research. The sociology department I’m best acquainted with did not employ any quants and subcontracted instruction in statistics to two other departments. Don’t know how common that is.

    • Replies: @Olorin
    Properly approached, the skills you learn from the quant side of Social Studies can be highly applicable to small business entrepreneurship.

    This is something that far too few small business development groups/centers/organizations understand. They work with implicitly quant and group phenomena but rarely pull it out where it can be seen. Or their data sets focus on aggregating profit to existing sectors--for instance keeping strip malls open and yielding profits to their owners via franchises, etc.

    I've seen many small business owners led in self-destructive directions, or directions profitable to others than themselves/their families, by "advisers" who apply all sorts of untested theories about how groups work, including potential customers. There's a lot of "plug n play" in this model small business development.

    The quant side of Social Studies can help an aspiring entrepreneur develop and test hypotheses, rethink approaches, etc.

    My quant and Social Studies background helped me orient my first business's model and plan with reference to an actual customer base. I was surprised to find myself having to reorient my product/services. Yet I recognized that the advice I got from all small business organizations was useless, partly because my business was something they'd never seen before.

    I'd say these skills are even more useful the smaller-down you scale a business--being the MOST potentially useful to, say, microbusiness or self- and family employment. There, a big goal is to avoid being devoured by unfolding trends--holding enough terrain open, of the right type, to function at a very localized level.

    That's not something the Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center is going to supply. But then they do things like encourage the opening of more nail salons and teriyaki/burrito/pho restaurants (to keep the commercial real estate/strip mall base thriving of course). They are especially useless for productive-sector food and fiber enterprises, being focused mostly on urban/suburban retail and landlordism.

  84. @Hypnotoad666
    Sociology seems almost created by design as a ghetto for ultra left-wing ideologues. It's probably useful in that regard because it keeps them quarantined in a place where they can be safely ignored by serious people.

    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.

    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.

    Bryan Caplan thinks so. There’s a reason the moderator refers to his brand of social theory as ‘applied autism’.

    Subject matter is different and the foundational methods are different. Cleaning up sociology is a worthy task. Attempting to merge sociology with psychology or with economics is not.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Cleaning up sociology is a worthy task.
     
    In theory of course. In practice a refoundation may be necessary. It is akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa at this point.
  85. @Buzz Mohawk
    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing. Maybe it is impossible to think like a sociologist without thinking left. All I know is they were the worst textbooks in college, and the only ones I ended up throwing across my dorm room.

    I would argue that “sociology” isn’t even really a thing, anyway.

    People acting as groups is already the subject of most other intellectual field. “Sociology” has nothing unique or original to add. It’s just a bunch of labels and jargon applied to things which are either trivially obvious or which are assumed without evidence.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    People acting as groups is already the subject of most other intellectual field. “Sociology” has nothing unique or original to add.

    That's where you're wrong. Psychology is concerned with the human subject, it's cogitations and the influences on it. Economics is concerned with production and trade, and is understood foundationally with graphics and calculus. Political science is heterogenous, but is focused on political life. Anthropology at it's origins was concerned with primitive man, and in its purest state seeks to understand a whole culture; it doesn't make use of quantitative methods. Statistics seeks to develop valid tools for other disciplines. Demography (what there is of it) is concerned with spare features of populations. History is concerned with documenting the human past (and makes only sparing use of quantitative methods). Only anthropology may be said to be concerned with social relations per se, and their methods and emphases are quite different.
  86. @Budd Dwyer
    As right-leaning as I can think of is the late Peter Berger (d. 2017) who was retired from Boston University. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_L._Berger
    “Berger... at times has challenged the views of contemporary mainstream sociology which tends to lean away from any right-wing political thinking.”

    And his wife, Brigitte Kellner, “herself an eminent sociologist who was on the faculty at Wellesley College and Boston University where she was the chair of the sociology department at both schools...She was a sociologist who focused on the sociology of the family, arguing that the nuclear family was one of the main causes of modernization.”

    Berger tended in his general audience writings to place articles in venues like Commentary and First Things. He also thought sociology-of-religion a worthy subject (as did Andrew Greeley). Greeley was a partisan Democrat, while Berger had almost nothing to say on topical political controversies. Berger was less a ‘conservative’ than a ‘conventional-academic-ca. 1962’ (which put him about two-standard-deviations right of center on sociology faculties).

  87. The concluding sections of John Murray Cuddihy’s book *No Offense* discuss differences between the old “WASP” style of sociology, to which Cuddihy professed adherence, and the incoming Marxist and new left sociologies. Talcott Parsons, Robert Bellah and Randal Collins could be included in this set, but also perhaps Goffman as well. I’m not sure WASP sociology was ever conservative (or really WASPy) but it was slightly less deranged than what replaced it.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Don't think Parsons or Bellah was an adherent of Marxism.
  88. @PhysicistDave
    Jack D. Douglas, retired from UCSD is a libertarian who has written for the Lew Rockwell site (I hope Jack is still alive!).

    The late Robert A. Nisbet was a prominent sociologist (e.g., he founded the Department of Sociology at Berkeley!) and author who was a conservative while never falling for Conservatism, Inc.: I especially recommend his classic The Sociological Tradition and his The Present Age : Progress and Anarchy in Modern America.

    Anne Wortham is a black female sociologist who is a Randian of sorts, basically a pleasant, soft-spoken Randian (I know that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but strange things happen).

    Randall Collins probably thinks of himself as a liberal, but he is too smart to actually swallow the full liberal line: I particularly like his Four Sociological Traditions.

    And, for a bonus, I'll mention the late anthropologist Marvin Harris, well-known as a self-proclaimed "cultural materialist": I know this sounds like a Marxist, but he wasn't. See his Why Nothing Works: The Anthropology of Daily Life; just listing the contents pretty much makes the point:

    Why nothing works -- Why the help won't help you -- Why the dollar shrank -- Why women left home -- Why the gays came out of the closet -- Why there's terror on the streets -- Why the cults are coming -- Why America changed.
     
    To be sure, these folks are all old or dead: I assume a young conservative or libertarian sociologist who wants to stay in the academic world nowadays knows how to keep rather quiet.

    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously. This isn’t a criticism of libertarianism per se – the assumption that this would naturally follow is a product of the ConInc tic of labelling everything they don’t like leftism – as much as an attempt to bring everyone’s scorecards up to date. Also helps explain NeverTrumpism.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    NeverTrumpism is a thing among opinion journalists on the Acela Corridor. It has little popular resonance. Promoters of NeverTrumpism took all sorts of stances in 2015 and 2016. They were wrong on a great many specifics and can't bring themselves to back down, something not so difficult for people who aren't word-merchants.

    There's a Baskin-and-Robbins selection of libertarianisms. There are soi-disant libertarians who are readily suborned by the left, but they aren't leftists per se.
    , @vinteuil
    Just as there are real, honest-to-God conservatives, like Paul Gottfried, as opposed to Conservatism.inc, there are real, honest-to-God libertarians, as opposed to Libertarianism.inc (Reason, Cato, Marginal Revolution).

    Real, honest-to-God libertarians might include Taki, Papa JF Gariépy & Stefan Molyneux.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously.
     
    Well... some decades ago the "libertarian" movement split in several ways -- you now have paleo-libertarians, the Libertarian Left, the Beltway crowd (e.g., the Cato Institute), dynamist/futurist libertarians, a growing (!) neo-medievalist group, etc.

    Back when I started calling myself a "libertarian," there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace. It is no coincidence that the most free of modern societies have been the stereotypes of bourgeois norms and values (e.g., Victorian Britain).

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared "libertarians"? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.

    But, I think one important message does remain from the old libertrainsim: the decline in individual responsiblity, the rejection of human nature, and the deep corruption of most of our institutions grew hand-in-hand with the progressives' expansion of the role of government at the expense of individuals, families, and an unhampered market.

    Merely getting rid of the state does not guarantee a free, sane, and livable society. It merely frees people to create the sort of society they want (and deserve).

    But, a state which is ravenous for ever-expanding power does guarantee a society that is corrupt, irresponsible, and basically insane -- i.e., the sort of society that progressives have brought us in our country (and that the Left created in a truly terrifying manner in the Soviet Union and Maoist China).
  89. @Art Deco
    Any objective or data driven inquiry regarding the human condition can be done by economists or psychologists.

    Bryan Caplan thinks so. There's a reason the moderator refers to his brand of social theory as 'applied autism'.

    Subject matter is different and the foundational methods are different. Cleaning up sociology is a worthy task. Attempting to merge sociology with psychology or with economics is not.

    Cleaning up sociology is a worthy task.

    In theory of course. In practice a refoundation may be necessary. It is akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa at this point.

  90. @Hypnotoad666
    I would argue that "sociology" isn't even really a thing, anyway.

    People acting as groups is already the subject of most other intellectual field. "Sociology" has nothing unique or original to add. It's just a bunch of labels and jargon applied to things which are either trivially obvious or which are assumed without evidence.

    People acting as groups is already the subject of most other intellectual field. “Sociology” has nothing unique or original to add.

    That’s where you’re wrong. Psychology is concerned with the human subject, it’s cogitations and the influences on it. Economics is concerned with production and trade, and is understood foundationally with graphics and calculus. Political science is heterogenous, but is focused on political life. Anthropology at it’s origins was concerned with primitive man, and in its purest state seeks to understand a whole culture; it doesn’t make use of quantitative methods. Statistics seeks to develop valid tools for other disciplines. Demography (what there is of it) is concerned with spare features of populations. History is concerned with documenting the human past (and makes only sparing use of quantitative methods). Only anthropology may be said to be concerned with social relations per se, and their methods and emphases are quite different.

    • Agree: vinteuil
  91. Professor Mike Adams at UNC-Wilmington (Criminal Justice, Criminology) may miss the strict definition of Sociologist by a little bit, but he’s close enough for me and he’s about as right wing as you’ll find in contemporary academia (particularly when his relatively young age is taken into account) and has pretty big cojones.

    https://www.thecollegefix.com/conservative-professor-files-title-ix-complaint-for-denied-funding-of-all-male-abortion-debate/

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2014/03/conservative-prof-wins-discrimination-lawsuit-against-unc-wilmington/

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Another exception who proves the rule. He was a conventional sociologist as a graduate student. It was during his years as a working professor (IIRC, he was doing research on the Peruvian penal system) that he abandoned the left. His department couldn't readily see their way clear to having him stripped of tenure and fired, but they could contrive a long menu of petty harassments, and did.
  92. @Mark G.
    Edward Banfield was a right-wing sociologist who did a sociological study of Sicily titled "Moral Basis of a Backward Society" which attempted to explain the poverty of the area. He later wrote another book, "The Unheavenly City", which studied the poor here in the U.S. He distinguished between future oriented people and present oriented people and found that present oriented people are more likely to be poor. This book received a lot of attention in right-wing circles when it came out but came out a long time ago and isn't mentioned much today and has been unfortunately forgotten. When I say he was right-wing, it's because I don't think any real liberal could have written either one of these books.

    A few years ago I took a class from a well-regarded Ivy Jewish professor in the humanities. He was obsessed with Banfield and would constantly take shots at everything from his theories to the way he smoked his cigarette (he would let it dangle from his lips – very disrespectful). From that I gathered Banfeld was a decent fellow.

  93. So the fag flag logo is now stamped everywhere on everything that comes out of mainstream institutions in the West?

  94. Anonymous[264] • Disclaimer says:

    . . . 1960s sociologist Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness.

    I’ve always wondered who came up with that disastrous idea. I’ve always heard that “Reagan shut down the mental hospitals,” but that never seemed entirely correct to me.

    • Replies: @Logan
    Reagan played a role as governor in the shutting down of CA mental institutions, but the process was pretty nearly complete by the time he became president.

    The body count went from 558,000 in 1955 to 72,000 in 1994.

    It was a perfect storm. Liberals tended to romanticize the mentally ill, as in One Flew Over. while conservatives didn't care much and wanted to save the money.

    The idea was that institutionalization would be replaced by community mental health centers. So they killed the institutions but the community mental health centers never got going.

    https://www.thebalance.com/deinstitutionalization-3306067
    , @Anonymous
    If you take a radical enviromentalist approach, nobody is born crazy. Crazy environments create crazy people. And what could be crazier than a nuthouse? People aren't in nuthouses because they're nuts, they're nuts because they're in nuthouses. Close the asylums and you cure insanity.
  95. The Unz essayists and commenters can be deemed conservative sociologists. Being well-informed, observant, thoughtful, intuitive, quantitative, objective, and smart obviates the need for the advanced degree. True, commenting is an unpaid position, but then again, there is no sociology educational loan to repay.

  96. @Logan
    Thanks for the numbers.

    What creates vagrancy is catastrophic personal failure, and sociologists do not generate that.

    Very true. What generates it is much more complex and probably nobody really understands it. I suspect it's go most to do with a collapse of families and social structures intermediate between families and government. A lot also to do with the increasing lack of demand (in the economic sense) for the services capable of being provided by the less intelligent/diligent members of our society. As well as the provision of adequate safety net provisions to keep people from actually starving.

    Even more obscure than the cause of this social collapse is how to reverse or even ameliorate it.

    I keep thinking about a (possibly apocryphal) Soviet proverb/joke. "Anybody can make fish soup out of an aquarium. Only God can make an aquarium out of fish soup."

    We have intentionally and accidentally damaged out society, especially in its ability to provide meaning for its more vulnerable, and we don't know how to repair the damage.

    Religious family revival?

    Here’s Malachi:

    “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

    Maybe we’re just in the curse part right now.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Indeed we are, but His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. He'll not forsake us forever.

    Have a son or two, you'll see.
  97. @Ian Smith
    Charles Murray’s Coming Apart is right wing sociology, even if he’s not an official member of the guild.
    And what about the guy who came up with the idea of broken windows policing?

    Both Charles Murray and James Q. Wilson are and were political scientists, not sociologists, technically.They also both co-authored books with Richard Herrnstein, who was a psychologist.

    • Replies: @International Jew
    I don't know what Charles Murray got his PhD in, but those books of his I'm familiar with — Losing Ground, The Bell Curve, and Coming Apart — are definitely sociology.
  98. “Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?”

    Everytime someone invokes Brown Vs Board of Education directly or indirectly (e.g. enforcing integration on the States in contravention of the 10th Amendment) they are “paying attention to sociology“.

  99. @notanon
    once you discount heredity sociology automatically becomes left-wing.

    Boas is the foundation of pozworld.

    1. No it doesn’t.

    2. Boas was not a sociologist.

    • Replies: @notanon
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist - said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.
  100. @James N. Kennett
    Sociologists search for "social facts", and then look for explanations in terms of sub-Marxist ideas about class, patriarchy, etc.

    If instead their explanatory framework is Evolutionary Psychology, they will probably find themselves facing an uphill battle in a Sociology Department, and will move to Anthropology, Psychology, Biology, or Economics.

    Right-wing sociologists, if they exist, will become, for example, sociologists in anthropologists' clothing. This makes "real" sociologists happier, because their comfort zone is not polluted either by right-wingers or by ideas that challenge their worldview.

    Sociologists search for “social facts”, and then look for explanations in terms of sub-Marxist ideas about class, patriarchy, etc.

    I’m sure there are many who do that, but it’s not a tendency structural to the discipline.

  101. @Intelligent Dasein
    There are quite a few right-wing sociologist-like figures, some of them rather well known. Thomas Szasz, Neil Postman, and Marshall McLuhan are not exactly obscure. The European droit produces a steady stream of them, but American readers aren't likely to hear of any of those unless they go digging.

    Szasz was a psychiatrist. He had some arresting theses, but he was not an academic sociologist and wrote primarily as a critic of dominant currents in psychiatry. McLuhan was a literary scholar and Postman nestled in teacher-training faculties; both made a mark writing about communications, not social relations.

  102. @Oleaginous Outrager
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    Decades ago , I think in the 1980s; there was an article in the paper about all the college grads who couldn’t get jobs

    Sociology PHDs had the worst prospects. There were about 740 new Sociology PHDs that year. There was one, exactly one, job opening for a college sociology teacher.

    Sociology was replaced by grievance and gender studies long, long ago.

    Unfortunately, the unemployable sociologists either went to law school or became non profit grant grifters so as to better wage war against American Whites.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Sociology PHDs had the worst prospects. There were about 740 new Sociology PHDs that year. There was one, exactly one, job opening for a college sociology teacher.

    There are shy of 14,000 sociology professors. The average work schedule for a post-secondary teacher is 70% time, so you have the equivalent of 9,700 f/t faculty. There are 2,700 sociologists working outside academe. The ratio of extant practitioners to new entrants varies from one profession to another, but seems to bounce around 22.5. If that's the case, the ranks of sociologists could be replenished with 550 new entrants per year. Last year, 640 doctoral degrees were awarded in sociology, so you can guess it's oversubscribed, but less so than other disciplines (e.g. law).
  103. @Jim bob Lassiter
    Professor Mike Adams at UNC-Wilmington (Criminal Justice, Criminology) may miss the strict definition of Sociologist by a little bit, but he's close enough for me and he's about as right wing as you'll find in contemporary academia (particularly when his relatively young age is taken into account) and has pretty big cojones.


    https://www.thecollegefix.com/conservative-professor-files-title-ix-complaint-for-denied-funding-of-all-male-abortion-debate/

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2014/03/conservative-prof-wins-discrimination-lawsuit-against-unc-wilmington/

    Another exception who proves the rule. He was a conventional sociologist as a graduate student. It was during his years as a working professor (IIRC, he was doing research on the Peruvian penal system) that he abandoned the left. His department couldn’t readily see their way clear to having him stripped of tenure and fired, but they could contrive a long menu of petty harassments, and did.

  104. @Hoyt Thorpe
    The concluding sections of John Murray Cuddihy's book *No Offense* discuss differences between the old "WASP" style of sociology, to which Cuddihy professed adherence, and the incoming Marxist and new left sociologies. Talcott Parsons, Robert Bellah and Randal Collins could be included in this set, but also perhaps Goffman as well. I'm not sure WASP sociology was ever conservative (or really WASPy) but it was slightly less deranged than what replaced it.

    Don’t think Parsons or Bellah was an adherent of Marxism.

    • Replies: @Hoyt Thorpe
    I meant that list to correspond to Cuddihy's WASP sociology category.
  105. @Achmed E. Newman
    "... perhaps they're working with ... the State." Yeah, that's the ticket. The wavy-haired lady (and I'd do her, don't get me wrong) thinks that the State employs right-wing sociologists! Who exactly is paying for all you people in the video, and the "research" in sociology, lady, a local pizza chain or a rope-manufacturing plant?

    Then, listen to the younger guy who has to close his eyes to think of a word: "Sociology may be very different if we were living in a Communist society." The guy doesn't even know left from right.

    These people are around so few conservatives that they can't even imagine them up correctly. I don't think you will find a conservative in Sociology, because most want to pass and not be ABD* until 40 years old.


    .

    * All But Dissertation - held. up in committee.

    The other option for conservatives or even open minded independents is to take all the coursework, observe (as Social Studies fieldwork!) all the wrangling/PC mobbings, have access to all the libraries/conferences, learn all it’s possible to learn, preferably on someone else’s nickel…

    …then leave ABD having all the skills…

    …and pleased not to be stamped with the official imprimatur of the leftist Social Studies priesthood.

    Best of both worlds. Inside knowledge, state of the field skills (both the quanty stuff and the ability to observe/critique the field and its academic eructations), and clear indication of one’s Unmutual leftist dissertational inclinations.

    I’d hire a well-skilled Social Studies ABD over a Ph.D. any day. On several occasions I did.

  106. @vinteuil

    Perhaps sociology is inherently left-wing.
     
    No. The founding father of Sociology was William Graham Sumner.

    And he got pretty much everything right.

    I thought it was an 1820s French man and a1850s English woman named Harriet? Who cares. At least it was an easy A forgot about everything as soon as I finished the test.

  107. @Desiderius
    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously. This isn't a criticism of libertarianism per se - the assumption that this would naturally follow is a product of the ConInc tic of labelling everything they don't like leftism - as much as an attempt to bring everyone's scorecards up to date. Also helps explain NeverTrumpism.

    NeverTrumpism is a thing among opinion journalists on the Acela Corridor. It has little popular resonance. Promoters of NeverTrumpism took all sorts of stances in 2015 and 2016. They were wrong on a great many specifics and can’t bring themselves to back down, something not so difficult for people who aren’t word-merchants.

    There’s a Baskin-and-Robbins selection of libertarianisms. There are soi-disant libertarians who are readily suborned by the left, but they aren’t leftists per se.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Fusionism was useful for the Cold War world but when it comes to rebuilding institutions and cutting through the miasma of nonjudgmentalism (I.e. restoring moral reasoning to its full functioning - see Haidt) libertarianism is, usually, worse than useless.
  108. (Erving Goffman) -> (Alice Goffman)

    the traits breed true.

    seems like i can’t turn anywhere in a deep dive of what went wrong, and what bad decisions were made, without finding one of (them) behind it.

  109. @Alden
    Decades ago , I think in the 1980s; there was an article in the paper about all the college grads who couldn’t get jobs

    Sociology PHDs had the worst prospects. There were about 740 new Sociology PHDs that year. There was one, exactly one, job opening for a college sociology teacher.

    Sociology was replaced by grievance and gender studies long, long ago.

    Unfortunately, the unemployable sociologists either went to law school or became non profit grant grifters so as to better wage war against American Whites.

    Sociology PHDs had the worst prospects. There were about 740 new Sociology PHDs that year. There was one, exactly one, job opening for a college sociology teacher.

    There are shy of 14,000 sociology professors. The average work schedule for a post-secondary teacher is 70% time, so you have the equivalent of 9,700 f/t faculty. There are 2,700 sociologists working outside academe. The ratio of extant practitioners to new entrants varies from one profession to another, but seems to bounce around 22.5. If that’s the case, the ranks of sociologists could be replenished with 550 new entrants per year. Last year, 640 doctoral degrees were awarded in sociology, so you can guess it’s oversubscribed, but less so than other disciplines (e.g. law).

  110. @Art Deco
    About 1 sociologist in 6 works outside academe.

    Some skills you learn on the quant side of sociology I would think you could apply in practical occupations, like market research. The sociology department I'm best acquainted with did not employ any quants and subcontracted instruction in statistics to two other departments. Don't know how common that is.

    Properly approached, the skills you learn from the quant side of Social Studies can be highly applicable to small business entrepreneurship.

    This is something that far too few small business development groups/centers/organizations understand. They work with implicitly quant and group phenomena but rarely pull it out where it can be seen. Or their data sets focus on aggregating profit to existing sectors–for instance keeping strip malls open and yielding profits to their owners via franchises, etc.

    I’ve seen many small business owners led in self-destructive directions, or directions profitable to others than themselves/their families, by “advisers” who apply all sorts of untested theories about how groups work, including potential customers. There’s a lot of “plug n play” in this model small business development.

    The quant side of Social Studies can help an aspiring entrepreneur develop and test hypotheses, rethink approaches, etc.

    My quant and Social Studies background helped me orient my first business’s model and plan with reference to an actual customer base. I was surprised to find myself having to reorient my product/services. Yet I recognized that the advice I got from all small business organizations was useless, partly because my business was something they’d never seen before.

    I’d say these skills are even more useful the smaller-down you scale a business–being the MOST potentially useful to, say, microbusiness or self- and family employment. There, a big goal is to avoid being devoured by unfolding trends–holding enough terrain open, of the right type, to function at a very localized level.

    That’s not something the Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center is going to supply. But then they do things like encourage the opening of more nail salons and teriyaki/burrito/pho restaurants (to keep the commercial real estate/strip mall base thriving of course). They are especially useless for productive-sector food and fiber enterprises, being focused mostly on urban/suburban retail and landlordism.

  111. @Anon
    I don't think he was implying that holders of PhDs in sociology are literally unemployable in any capacity outside of academia.

    I think he's saying that there are no jobs you can get paid for where you practice sociology itself as your job description. In other words, there are no subdivision developers or apartment tower developers who have a sociology department to analyze the neighborhood or to predict resident relations given various hypothetical mixes of rent levels.

    Nobody cares and nobody believes that sociology "works" in having any sort of reliable and useful outcomes.

    Despite--not because of--your sociology PhD they might hire you to do something else. If you're good with people and have a solid tit-rack, for instance, you might be hired into sales.

    Gold box worthy.

    Think of how many other degrees to which this applies and one begins to grasp the depth of the degeneracy.

  112. @BigDickNick
    Isn't charles murray a right wing sociologist? Or would acknowledging his existence get too many noggins joggin'?

    He’s a political scientist whose institutional address allowed him to bleed into related fields.

  113. @PV van der Byl
    I can't think of any sociologists still teaching who would qualify as "right-wing" but, decades ago, there were several prominent sociologists that could fairly have been described as conservative:

    Edward Banfield (Harvard)
    Robert Nisbet (Columbia)
    Albert Hobbs (Penn)
    Digby Baltzell (Penn)

    Alas, all of these gents died during the 1990s.

    Again, Wilcox, Regnerus, and Adams (none of whom are nearly so eminent as anyone on your list). Banfield was a political scientist led to sociology via the study of urban policy, Baltzell (unless I’m mistaken) was a specialist in non-quantitative historical sociology, and Nisbet was a theoretician.

  114. A right-wing sociologist is John Ray of Brisbane, Australia. He runs the Dissecting Leftism blog. https://dissectleft.blogspot.com

  115. Does anybody pay attention to sociology anymore?

    What counts as a problem is a normative judgment. When everyone in the department is making the same normative judgements (or is one of two schools dissimilar to most of the population), there’s a great deal not being studied. Also, when large swaths of information are ‘unacceptable’ and land in a drawer (or get published but in lower rung journals and not cited), the output of the discipline as a whole is invalidated (though specific studies may be valid). I think you’d have to scrounge to find an academic sociologist who thought antecedently that the Giuliani / Bratton program for NYC would work. Post hoc, I’m wagering you that if you did a headcount, you’d find the overwhelming majority of academics who study crime or urban problems have ignored the evolution of New York since 1990 or have set about attempting to ‘debunk’ the popular understanding.

  116. Joe Sobran defined “bigot” as someone who “practices sociology without a license.”

  117. @Desiderius
    Wasn't that Comte?

    Comte coined the term Sociology, but he was a nut. It didn’t really go anywhere until Durkheim came along.

  118. @Art Deco
    1. No it doesn't.

    2. Boas was not a sociologist.

    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist – said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Blank slate precedes pozworld (and Boas) by centuries. The foundation of pozworld is the widespread adoption/enforcement of an ethos of nonjudgmentalism (libertarianism wrought large).
    , @J.Ross
    2 is correct but isn't Tabula Rasa from Rousseau?
    , @Art Deco
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity.

    No, your explanations do. Quit projecting.
    , @gregor
    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature, including more acceptance for hereditary influence. But the right has also been very interested in environment factors, just not the same ones as liberals. The right sees things like traditional values, family, religion/civic institutions as important. For the left in contrast “environment” just means not enough gibs.
  119. @Logan
    Recently watched a Jordan Peterson Q&A where he referred to the fact that results of psychological research unpalatable to progressives cannot be the consequence of right-wing bias by the researchers, as he himself is the only right-wing psychology researcher in the world.

    Though he noted that he doesn't consider himself to be right-wing, he's just been designated as such because he resists the insanity of present extreme leftism.

    If you watch/listen to Peterson’s class teachings–his student interactions–you quickly see that he is an old-fashion liberal–not a conservative, or right-winger. It’s just that the progressive-left has moved so far left, they’re effectively illiberal–and anyone espousing liberal views is to their right.

    The movement of progressives to the far left is why many old-fashion liberals are being re-branded by prog-lefties as conservatives or on the right, e.g. Harvard’s Dershowitz, and the married Sullivan/Robinson couple. There are a number of other examples.

    • Replies: @notanon
    there's also another factor, BDS.

    part of this is a battle between pro-Israel SJWs (who the media promote as the intellectual dark web) and anti-Israel SJWs (a Frankenstein's monster created by previous generations of cultural Marxists).
    , @Logan
    Also Jonathan Haidt. Although for some reason he seems to be able to say most of what Peterson says without getting the extreme reaction to the same degree.
  120. @PV van der Byl
    Thanks for the reminder of Ernest van den Haag, Reg! He was a great one and I can't believe I overlooked him in my post.

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are. For obvious reasons, he didn't make a public issue of this at CCNY but wouldn't dispute the characterization among like-minded people.

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are.

    In Thomas Sowell’s sense that the only working definition of the “right” is “anyone who opposes the Left.”

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The only working definition that suffers from a century-long losing streak, to be sure. There are others for a right interested in winning.
  121. @New Dealer
    I've learned a lot in the domain of sociology. Not all of it is ideological spin.

    Add to the list the late James Coleman at University of Chicago, who served a term as president of ASA. I wouldn't say he was right-wing, rather that he was definitely not left-wing after surviving an intellectual lynch mob.

    The huge 1966 Coleman Report on educational equality found that

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Samuel_Coleman

    as for physical facilities, formal curricula, and other measurable criteria, there was little difference between black and white schools. Also, a significant gap in the achievement scores between black and white children already existed in the first grade. Despite the similar conditions of black and white schools, the gap became even wider by the end of elementary school. The only consistent variable explaining the differences in score within each racial group or ethnic group was the educational and economic attainment of the parents.[7], meaning that student background and socioeconomic status are more important in determining educational outcomes of a student. Specifically, the attitudes of parents and caregivers at home and peers at school of students toward education.....

    In 1966, Coleman wrote an article asserting that black students benefited from integrated schooling only if most of the students were white....Coleman's findings regarding "white flight" were not well received in some quarters, particularly among some members of the American Sociological Association. In response, efforts sprang up during the mid-1970s to revoke his membership.
     
    Coleman was a well-meaning moderate who wanted to establish facts that would best guide policy. He was among the first to be attacked by a vicious American Red Guard attempting to destroy the career and the man.

    He thought that governmental, social, and economic organizations are of value only to serve the interests of individuals forming them, and not valuable for their own sake. His Asymmetric Society deplored the growing power of corporate actors of all types (including big business) over individuals; thus he would be anathema to the Chamber of Commerce right and the tech oligarchs.

    Late in his life he published an arch essay on "conspicuous benevolence," a better label for what is now called "virtue signaling."

    My recollection is that the Coleman Report was mostly ignored because he didn’t give the Left the answers/ammunition it was looking for. And those answers were essentially, as today: blame whitey and more spending on freebies in minority communities–neither of which were the cause, nor solution to, alleviate existing problems/challenges/differential outcomes.

  122. @Steve Sailer
    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt or Raj Chetty, of course you'd be an economist and then impinge on the traditional turf of other social scientists.

    The Stanford anthropology department gave Stanford provost Condi Rice the experience she needed to be Secretary of State.

    If you are a hard charging straight guy like Steve Levitt…

    …with the literal lisp, not the prisssssy sssssibliancccce.

    I met a woodworker the other day who, like former co-workers of both my wife and me, and the deacon who baptized our first child, had the double whammy of a pinched nasal whine and a pronounced sibilance. Yet all four of these men had wives.

    I wonder how many suitors these fellows have had to swat off over the years.

    Then there are all those butch women with husbands and children.

  123. @jim jones
    I thought it was Welfare payments that kept the masses content and happy

    Well, it keeps them in cash. Contentment and happiness seem a bit subjective to judge the never-ending demands for more gibsmedat.

  124. @Ian Smith
    Charles Murray’s Coming Apart is right wing sociology, even if he’s not an official member of the guild.
    And what about the guy who came up with the idea of broken windows policing?

    George Kelling was James Q. Wilson’s co-author of broken windows policing. Kelling was a criminologist, his Ph.D. in social welfare. Puts him in the sociology ballpark, I imagine.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    James Q. Wilson made sure I identified him (JQW) as a political scientist, not a sociologist.
  125. @Achmed E. Newman
    "... perhaps they're working with ... the State." Yeah, that's the ticket. The wavy-haired lady (and I'd do her, don't get me wrong) thinks that the State employs right-wing sociologists! Who exactly is paying for all you people in the video, and the "research" in sociology, lady, a local pizza chain or a rope-manufacturing plant?

    Then, listen to the younger guy who has to close his eyes to think of a word: "Sociology may be very different if we were living in a Communist society." The guy doesn't even know left from right.

    These people are around so few conservatives that they can't even imagine them up correctly. I don't think you will find a conservative in Sociology, because most want to pass and not be ABD* until 40 years old.


    .

    * All But Dissertation - held. up in committee.

    “* All But Dissertation – held. up in committee.”

    That was my Dad’s situation circa 1970, at the University of Iowa.

  126. @Forbes
    George Kelling was James Q. Wilson's co-author of broken windows policing. Kelling was a criminologist, his Ph.D. in social welfare. Puts him in the sociology ballpark, I imagine.

    James Q. Wilson made sure I identified him (JQW) as a political scientist, not a sociologist.

  127. @Art Deco
    NeverTrumpism is a thing among opinion journalists on the Acela Corridor. It has little popular resonance. Promoters of NeverTrumpism took all sorts of stances in 2015 and 2016. They were wrong on a great many specifics and can't bring themselves to back down, something not so difficult for people who aren't word-merchants.

    There's a Baskin-and-Robbins selection of libertarianisms. There are soi-disant libertarians who are readily suborned by the left, but they aren't leftists per se.

    Fusionism was useful for the Cold War world but when it comes to rebuilding institutions and cutting through the miasma of nonjudgmentalism (I.e. restoring moral reasoning to its full functioning – see Haidt) libertarianism is, usually, worse than useless.

  128. @Reg Cæsar

    BTW, Goldberg is a right-winger in, at least, the sense you or I are.
     
    In Thomas Sowell's sense that the only working definition of the "right" is "anyone who opposes the Left."

    The only working definition that suffers from a century-long losing streak, to be sure. There are others for a right interested in winning.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    There are others for a right interested in winning.
     
    There are too many "rights". How will they coalesce?

    Religious, libertarian, cultural, capitalist, monarchic, racialist...

    The only thing they have in common is the target on their backs. Sowell has nailed it.
  129. @notanon
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist - said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.

    Blank slate precedes pozworld (and Boas) by centuries. The foundation of pozworld is the widespread adoption/enforcement of an ethos of nonjudgmentalism (libertarianism wrought large).

    • Replies: @notanon
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

    Franz Uri Boas[a] (1858–1942) was a German-born American[21] anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology".

     


    Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then-popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics.
     
    believing in heredity was normal and then it wasn't.
  130. @Desiderius
    The only working definition that suffers from a century-long losing streak, to be sure. There are others for a right interested in winning.

    There are others for a right interested in winning.

    There are too many “rights”. How will they coalesce?

    Religious, libertarian, cultural, capitalist, monarchic, racialist…

    The only thing they have in common is the target on their backs. Sowell has nailed it.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Ad fontes.

    Altar and throne, however distasteful to our lips - certainly is to mine. And yet Isaac was spared and Arthur/Aragorn capture the imagination like none else.

    Let the shopkeepers have the Left as they did in the beginning.

    , @Desiderius

    target on their backs
     
    Perhaps better to turn around then.
    , @PhysicistDave
    Reg Caesar asked:

    There are too many “rights”. How will they coalesce?
     
    They won't.

    And they shouldn't.

    We do not need an alternative centralized monolith to the Left.

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.

    Some of the most murderous regimes in human history,, most notably the Soviet Union itself, fell in 1989-1991 because ordinary people no longer believed any of the lies.

    And, it is happening now with the Left in the West: one by one -- first Roseanne, then Kanye, Dersh, Cher, John Cleese, Meryl Streep (!) -- even members of the opinion and entertainment elite are having trouble swallowing it all.

    My guess is that the transgenderism thing -- silly, pointless, and comparatively harmless compared to the other things the Elite has done to us! -- may prove to be peek insanity.

    As Sailer documented in a more recent post, the Elite is now trying to convince the peasants that they are bigots if they do not want to date trans folks.

    But, it turns out that almost all straight people feel the same way.

    We're close to the point where everyone starts looking at everyone else and just starts laughing and laughing at the foolishness we have been subjected to and which we have tolerated.

    And, when the peasants start openly laughing at the rulers, the rulers are in trouble.
  131. @Curmudgeon

    Q: What’s the difference between leftism and a religious cult?

    A: Nothing.
     
    You can substitute any "ism" for "leftism" and have the same answer. All "isms" are cults, except perhaps pragmatism.

    You can substitute any “ism” for “leftism” and have the same answer. All “isms” are cults, except perhaps pragmatism.

    Quite so. That’s why a try to be pragmatist. 🙂

  132. @Redneck farmer
    The French guy who started sociology was kinda right-wing. He started the field to explain the French Revolution.

    I thought the first sociologist was Emil Durkheim, who studied suicide.

  133. @Unladen Swallow
    Both Charles Murray and James Q. Wilson are and were political scientists, not sociologists, technically.They also both co-authored books with Richard Herrnstein, who was a psychologist.

    I don’t know what Charles Murray got his PhD in, but those books of his I’m familiar with — Losing Ground, The Bell Curve, and Coming Apart — are definitely sociology.

    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    His PhD was in Political Science at MIT.

    But, his dissertation topic was on life in rural Thailand, where he had been a Peace Corps volunteer and found his first wife.

    So, it was pretty close close to sociology, even if not officially.
  134. LSE has a cool tie pattern and it’s a waste to see that universal homogenizing infantile rainbow like this is actually a kindergarten.
    https://postimg.cc/1nW2jwXy

  135. @notanon
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist - said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.

    2 is correct but isn’t Tabula Rasa from Rousseau?

    • Replies: @notanon
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

    Franz Uri Boas[a] (1858–1942) was a German-born American[21] anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology".

     


    Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then-popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics.
     
    Rousseau may have coined the term but believing in heredity was still the default case until Boas.
    , @Ian M.
    John Locke.
    , @Ian M.
    John Locke.
  136. Sam Friedman:

    “Are there any right wing sociologists?”

    “I fink there must be, mustn’t there? I mean, everyone finks ‘airdressers are all gay, but that can’t be true, cannit? It’s like, I cut me own ‘air, an’ I’m not gay, am I?”

  137. @International Jew
    I don't know what Charles Murray got his PhD in, but those books of his I'm familiar with — Losing Ground, The Bell Curve, and Coming Apart — are definitely sociology.

    His PhD was in Political Science at MIT.

    But, his dissertation topic was on life in rural Thailand, where he had been a Peace Corps volunteer and found his first wife.

    So, it was pretty close close to sociology, even if not officially.

  138. Anon[265] • Disclaimer says:
    @Right Winger here...
    I hold a doctorate in sociology. And am hard core libertarian/conservative with a few exceptions. Some comments...

    --William Sumner and Herbert Spencer were very conservative. Robert Nisbet, Peter Berger. But probably 95% of sociologists are left-wing nuts today. Close to the same number of academic psychologists, by the way. Though a few more conservatives in the latter.

    --The field is not intrinsically socialist, but has been hijacked by the Left.

    --I generally argued for libertarianism in grad school and was tolerated.

    --I had a job offer for a tenure track gig but refused it after realizing I could never fit in and did not want to live a lie.

    --I do private sector consulting as public opinion/polling expert. Pay is good. I am a capitalist to the core.

    Finally, academia is a sewer these days, an utter wasteland. In fact, it is likely worse than you imagine. Thank God I escaped. The wacko left-wingers run the asylum and until you pull all federal funding it will never....ever....change.

    What is your take on the polling crisis?

    I’ve heard that with the reduction in the use of land line telephones with their census tract correlation it is impossible to get a statistically representative sample. There’s also the problem that the gradual lowering of social trust has resulted in more refusals to participate in polling, resulting in even more skewed samples. Internet polling is the absolute worst in getting a representative sample.

    I personally would hang up on anyone trying to survey me.

    • Replies: @International Jew
    I'd ask the pollee to go to my web site. At that point, my Javascript would detect his location (unless he was one of the 0.001% of the population that have undertaken a countermeasure).
  139. @Reg Cæsar

    There are others for a right interested in winning.
     
    There are too many "rights". How will they coalesce?

    Religious, libertarian, cultural, capitalist, monarchic, racialist...

    The only thing they have in common is the target on their backs. Sowell has nailed it.

    Ad fontes.

    Altar and throne, however distasteful to our lips – certainly is to mine. And yet Isaac was spared and Arthur/Aragorn capture the imagination like none else.

    Let the shopkeepers have the Left as they did in the beginning.

  140. @Reg Cæsar

    There are others for a right interested in winning.
     
    There are too many "rights". How will they coalesce?

    Religious, libertarian, cultural, capitalist, monarchic, racialist...

    The only thing they have in common is the target on their backs. Sowell has nailed it.

    target on their backs

    Perhaps better to turn around then.

  141. On my Sociology 100 term paper (c. 1967) the prof wrote that I had provided a sociological analysis and not merely a description in sociological terms. I guess that makes me a sociologist. Sort of. And I am a right-winger. Hence, a right-wing sociologist. Is there a prize?

  142. @Desiderius
    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it's head cut off.

    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it’s head cut off.

    . . . and its heart torn out.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Seems to me like they're all heart and no balls.
  143. @fnn
    The late Eugene Genovese.

    Excellent nomination. However, as I recall, he started out as a Trot.

  144. @Desiderius
    Wasn't that Comte?

    Wasn’t that Comte?

    Sorry, should have said “the founding father of American sociology,” or “sociology as a reasonably serious empirical discipline” – anyway, a great figure in his day, and still well worth reading.

    An almost exact contemporary of his opposite number in psychology, William James.

  145. @Desiderius
    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously. This isn't a criticism of libertarianism per se - the assumption that this would naturally follow is a product of the ConInc tic of labelling everything they don't like leftism - as much as an attempt to bring everyone's scorecards up to date. Also helps explain NeverTrumpism.

    Just as there are real, honest-to-God conservatives, like Paul Gottfried, as opposed to Conservatism.inc, there are real, honest-to-God libertarians, as opposed to Libertarianism.inc (Reason, Cato, Marginal Revolution).

    Real, honest-to-God libertarians might include Taki, Papa JF Gariépy & Stefan Molyneux.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I don't know man, I think you're getting at temperament there more than principle/ideology. I've been libertarian most of my life, still love me some Professor Reynolds, etc... You've got to allow room for personal growth/professional discovery/experience, etc...

    If there is to be politics (cf. Aristotle) there needs to be contending schools of thought. Once that is established it seems prudent to work with what one has at hand and for definitions to work with the longest established common meaning - i.e. since the French Revolution.
  146. @Forbes
    If you watch/listen to Peterson's class teachings--his student interactions--you quickly see that he is an old-fashion liberal--not a conservative, or right-winger. It's just that the progressive-left has moved so far left, they're effectively illiberal--and anyone espousing liberal views is to their right.

    The movement of progressives to the far left is why many old-fashion liberals are being re-branded by prog-lefties as conservatives or on the right, e.g. Harvard's Dershowitz, and the married Sullivan/Robinson couple. There are a number of other examples.

    there’s also another factor, BDS.

    part of this is a battle between pro-Israel SJWs (who the media promote as the intellectual dark web) and anti-Israel SJWs (a Frankenstein’s monster created by previous generations of cultural Marxists).

  147. @Peter Akuleyev
    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?

    I always assume conservatives who make jokes like this have never worked in the modern American business world and seen the range of people that are apparently employable.

    Probably any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations, but academia still confers more status, or at least the promise of more status.

    any sociologist would do just fine in marketing, advertising or the HR function of most corporations

    So, in fact, nothing productive, just more time sinks and paper shuffles, when not actively converging companies.

  148. @bomag

    Are there any sociologists who are employable in any productive enterprise?
     
    LOL

    The video hints at it; people become sociologists to explain why they are not employable: "it's the structure, man. I was born in the wrong place."

    “I’m structurally incapable of getting up before noon.”

  149. @Desiderius
    Blank slate precedes pozworld (and Boas) by centuries. The foundation of pozworld is the widespread adoption/enforcement of an ethos of nonjudgmentalism (libertarianism wrought large).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

    Franz Uri Boas[a] (1858–1942) was a German-born American[21] anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the “Father of American Anthropology”.

    Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then-popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics.

    believing in heredity was normal and then it wasn’t.

  150. @Anon
    I don't think he was implying that holders of PhDs in sociology are literally unemployable in any capacity outside of academia.

    I think he's saying that there are no jobs you can get paid for where you practice sociology itself as your job description. In other words, there are no subdivision developers or apartment tower developers who have a sociology department to analyze the neighborhood or to predict resident relations given various hypothetical mixes of rent levels.

    Nobody cares and nobody believes that sociology "works" in having any sort of reliable and useful outcomes.

    Despite--not because of--your sociology PhD they might hire you to do something else. If you're good with people and have a solid tit-rack, for instance, you might be hired into sales.

    However you want to look at it, the net result is you’ve wasted years of your life and money you’ll never get back for worthless paper.

  151. @J.Ross
    2 is correct but isn't Tabula Rasa from Rousseau?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

    Franz Uri Boas[a] (1858–1942) was a German-born American[21] anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the “Father of American Anthropology”.

    Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then-popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics.

    Rousseau may have coined the term but believing in heredity was still the default case until Boas.

    • Replies: @Ian M.
    I'm not sure that's true. I think it might be the other way around: that there was a brief period in the 1920s when the belief in nature over nurture was ascendant, but that before and after, belief in nurture over nature was dominant. That's what some key contemporary opponents of Boas seemed to think, anyway.

    For example, J.S. Mill was already a major proponent of the blank slate theory in the mid 19th century and was quite influential in its widespread acceptance. Here is the Harvard psychologist William McDougall (a 'race realist') writing in 1921 in a series of lectures entitled Is America Safe for Democracy?:


    For at that time [mid 19th century] the prevailing view of the human mind, of which Mill was the chief exponent, was all against the assumption of racial differences…
     
    He goes on to say that at the time of his (McDougall's) writing, the blank slate view is still the prevailing view:

    The “race-slumpers,” [i.e., the blank slaters] in their denial, both explicit and implied, are the champions of common sense and the views of the plain man – views in which the plain man has been supported by both law and medicine until very recent years. For the plain man, and law and medicine also, accepted the traditional assumption that our mental powers are the expression of a supernatural principle, the soul, miraculously implanted in each one of us at birth; and, while they recognized great differences of bodily endowment, they ignored comparable differences of mental endowment, with certain exceptions. The man of genius on the one hand, the idiot and the madman on the other hand, were mysterious exceptions; but, part from these exceptions, all men were born equal, and all differences of attainment were attributed to differences of opportunity and education; all men had equal powers and equal responsibilities, and must be treated as strictly alike…
     
    Likewise, in 1916, Madison Grant writes on p. 13 in The Passing of the Great Race:

    Religious teachers have also maintained the proposition not only that man is something fundamentally distinct from other living creatures, but that there are no inherited differences in humanity that cannot be obliterated by education and environment.
     
    And later on p. 19:

    There exists today a widespread and fatuous belief in the power of environment, as well as of education and opportunity to alter heredity, which arises from the dogma of the brotherhood of man, derived in turn from the loose thinkers of the French Revolution and their American mimics.
     
    Both writers thus appear to regard the blank slate as the prevailing theory at the time, but acknowledge that racial consciousness was gaining momentum. Indeed, in the preface to the fourth edition (1936?) of The Passing of the Great Race, Grant writes that the dominant ideology among the elites had shifted to one of racial consciousness:

    The new definition of race and the controlling role played by race in all the manifestations of what we call civilization are now generally accepted even by those whose political position depends upon popular favor.
     
    So it seems that except for a brief period of time in the 1920s and early 1930s (views like Grant’s began to fall out of favor in the ’30s), the blank slate theory has been regarded as the default view in America from the late 19th century until today.
  152. @Art Deco
    I don't think Wortham has been an adherent of Objectivism. She has been a critic of dominant modes of thought from a libertarian viewpoint, but hasn't had any kind of sectarian affiliation. She hasn't published much over the years.

    AD wrote:

    I don’t think Wortham has been an adherent of Objectivism.

    I remember her saying nice things about Rand years ago, basically implying that Rand was her major inspiration. Of course, there is the great “What is an Objectyivist?” question. When Rand was alive, she was explicit that you had to be granted the title of “Objectivist’ by Rand herself: everyone else was merely a “student of Objectivism.”

    Nowadays, people who call themselves “Objectivists” seem to be generally ignorant, arrogant, and obnoxious at a quite stunning level, much worse than your average Internet troll. It is an interesting question if Rand’s ideas necessarily lead to that or if the Objectivist movement simply took a rather unfortunate turn long ago.

    The official Objectivist movement’s attitude towards my own field of physics happens to be, well, bizarre. I’ve talked with a physicist who once was close to the movement who attributes the problems to Leonard Peikoff, Rand’s “designated intellectual heir.” Maybe. We’ll see — Lenny can’t live forever.

    Personally, I found many of Rand’s views thought-provoking but was never much tempted to become a follower.

    Perhaps it would have been fairer to call Wortham an admirer of Rand. In any case, I think you and I agree that Wortham seems to be a nice, thoughtful person who certainly should not be lumped in the same pot with the typical Randians.

  153. @Reg Cæsar

    There are others for a right interested in winning.
     
    There are too many "rights". How will they coalesce?

    Religious, libertarian, cultural, capitalist, monarchic, racialist...

    The only thing they have in common is the target on their backs. Sowell has nailed it.

    Reg Caesar asked:

    There are too many “rights”. How will they coalesce?

    They won’t.

    And they shouldn’t.

    We do not need an alternative centralized monolith to the Left.

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.

    Some of the most murderous regimes in human history,, most notably the Soviet Union itself, fell in 1989-1991 because ordinary people no longer believed any of the lies.

    And, it is happening now with the Left in the West: one by one — first Roseanne, then Kanye, Dersh, Cher, John Cleese, Meryl Streep (!) — even members of the opinion and entertainment elite are having trouble swallowing it all.

    My guess is that the transgenderism thing — silly, pointless, and comparatively harmless compared to the other things the Elite has done to us! — may prove to be peek insanity.

    As Sailer documented in a more recent post, the Elite is now trying to convince the peasants that they are bigots if they do not want to date trans folks.

    But, it turns out that almost all straight people feel the same way.

    We’re close to the point where everyone starts looking at everyone else and just starts laughing and laughing at the foolishness we have been subjected to and which we have tolerated.

    And, when the peasants start openly laughing at the rulers, the rulers are in trouble.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.
     
    Citation needed.

    It's the worst nightmare of many women, for instance.
  154. @RobUK
    Are there any right-wing Marxists?

    Are there any right-wing Marxists?

    If you’re an Old School Marxist you probably think that immigration is a capitalist conspiracy to drive down wages and keep the working class divided and demoralised, so you’re probably anti-immigration (for the reasons Bernie Sanders was anti-immigration before he got re-educated). So if you truly are an Old School Marxist then today you’re almost certainly in the eyes of goodthinkers a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you’re an Old School Marxist you might also think that the Cultural Revolution is a capitalist conspiracy to demoralise working-class families and to distract attention away from the struggle for economic justice. So in the eyes of goodthinkers that would also make you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you’re an Old School Marxist you might also think that feminism was a way to destroy the trade-union movement, so once again today that makes you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    I’d say that if you’re a true Marxist today you’re in real danger of being rounded up and sent to the re-education camps as the literal reincarnation of Hitler.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    That makes you an enemy of the state, not right wing.

    Truth matters.
  155. @Desiderius
    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously. This isn't a criticism of libertarianism per se - the assumption that this would naturally follow is a product of the ConInc tic of labelling everything they don't like leftism - as much as an attempt to bring everyone's scorecards up to date. Also helps explain NeverTrumpism.

    Desiderius wrote to me:

    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously.

    Well… some decades ago the “libertarian” movement split in several ways — you now have paleo-libertarians, the Libertarian Left, the Beltway crowd (e.g., the Cato Institute), dynamist/futurist libertarians, a growing (!) neo-medievalist group, etc.

    Back when I started calling myself a “libertarian,” there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace. It is no coincidence that the most free of modern societies have been the stereotypes of bourgeois norms and values (e.g., Victorian Britain).

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared “libertarians”? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.

    But, I think one important message does remain from the old libertrainsim: the decline in individual responsiblity, the rejection of human nature, and the deep corruption of most of our institutions grew hand-in-hand with the progressives’ expansion of the role of government at the expense of individuals, families, and an unhampered market.

    Merely getting rid of the state does not guarantee a free, sane, and livable society. It merely frees people to create the sort of society they want (and deserve).

    But, a state which is ravenous for ever-expanding power does guarantee a society that is corrupt, irresponsible, and basically insane — i.e., the sort of society that progressives have brought us in our country (and that the Left created in a truly terrifying manner in the Soviet Union and Maoist China).

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Back when I started calling myself a “libertarian,” there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace.
     
    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?
    , @Desiderius

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared “libertarians”? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.
     
    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.

    The state naturally (and ineptly) fills the vacuum thus created.

  156. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously.
     
    Well... some decades ago the "libertarian" movement split in several ways -- you now have paleo-libertarians, the Libertarian Left, the Beltway crowd (e.g., the Cato Institute), dynamist/futurist libertarians, a growing (!) neo-medievalist group, etc.

    Back when I started calling myself a "libertarian," there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace. It is no coincidence that the most free of modern societies have been the stereotypes of bourgeois norms and values (e.g., Victorian Britain).

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared "libertarians"? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.

    But, I think one important message does remain from the old libertrainsim: the decline in individual responsiblity, the rejection of human nature, and the deep corruption of most of our institutions grew hand-in-hand with the progressives' expansion of the role of government at the expense of individuals, families, and an unhampered market.

    Merely getting rid of the state does not guarantee a free, sane, and livable society. It merely frees people to create the sort of society they want (and deserve).

    But, a state which is ravenous for ever-expanding power does guarantee a society that is corrupt, irresponsible, and basically insane -- i.e., the sort of society that progressives have brought us in our country (and that the Left created in a truly terrifying manner in the Soviet Union and Maoist China).

    Back when I started calling myself a “libertarian,” there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace.

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    dfordoom asked me:

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?
     
    Depends on what you mean by religion, doesn't it?

    Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that "religion" is exclusivist (you can't be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you're a "member" of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    But, the philosophies-of-life of East Asia -- Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism -- just are not like that, even though we often call them "religions." You can be a Dasist and a Confucian and a Buddhist.

    You don't have to worship Confucius, Buddha, or the Dao -- arguably, engaging in such worship is a degraded form of the belief system.

    You don't have to be a "member" of Confucianism, Daoism, or Buddhism (yes, you can join a Buddhist monastery, but most Buddhists don't).

    Morality in these belief systems follows from the nature of reality, not divine command.

    And, there is no required dogma that you must believe in to be a Daoist, Buddhist, or Confucian -- indeed, you can be an atheist and also adhere to any or all of those belief systems.

    So, if by the word "religion," you mean to include philosophies of life such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism, then I suppose no human society does in fact totally lack "religion." But such "religions" can be quite atheistic: indeed, a contemporary example is Randian "Objectivism."

    But, if you are asking whether there can be a sense of responsibility and moral restraint without religion in the Western sense (exclusivist, henotheistic, fideistic, communal, and divinely-mandated morality), then the answer from empirical historical and cross-cultural data is completely conclusive:

    No, religion in that sense is socially unnecessary.

    The classical Greco-Roman world provides another example, by the way: prior to the rise of the mystery religions and the triumph of Christianity, religion just was not a matter of faith in dogma, membership in a "church," a personal relationship with "God," exclusive commitment to one god, or religion as the primary source of morality.

    As Gibbon famously said:


    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    And everyone (except the Christians!) was okay with that.

    At some level, much the same was true of Victorian Britain and even Renaissance Italy.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her "Objectivism"!

    But, perhaps you are not a follower of Miss Rand.

  157. Friedman guy paraphrased: What we do as sociologists is we look at social systems that appear to be healthy and well functioning and we deconstruct them and try to ruin them. A sort of culture of critique.

  158. @The umpteenth German on here
    The great sociologists certainly weren't left-wingers in the modern sense.
    They were either conservatives or patriotic liberals (a term that has become an oxymoron nowadays).

    Emile Durkheim, Robert Michels, Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, Daniel Bell, Arnold Gehlen, Talcott Parsons, Niklas Luhmann... And the list goes on.

    Conservatives, however, often have a problem with conservative sociologists. They know, after all, that "there is no such thing as society" (Margaret Thatcher). This delusion has led to a considerable impoverishment of conservative thought.

    Great list.
    Why not add the former head of the LSE, Lord Ralf Dahrendorf? – He was clearly against all kinds of populism-bashing. And: He had a soft spot for Isaiah Berlin’s praise of the Nation-state and was pro-free-speech – and free science, even. – It wouldn’t be hard at all to make a right-winger out of him now (sigh).

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Isaiah Berlin would make a good starting point for reconciliation after the surrender of the woke forces.
  159. @notanon
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist - said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.

    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity.

    No, your explanations do. Quit projecting.

  160. @stillCARealist
    Religious family revival?

    Here's Malachi:

    "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

    Maybe we're just in the curse part right now.

    Indeed we are, but His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. He’ll not forsake us forever.

    Have a son or two, you’ll see.

  161. @Dieter Kief
    Great list.
    Why not add the former head of the LSE, Lord Ralf Dahrendorf? - He was clearly against all kinds of populism-bashing. And: He had a soft spot for Isaiah Berlin's praise of the Nation-state and was pro-free-speech - and free science, even. - It wouldn't be hard at all to make a right-winger out of him now (sigh).

    Isaiah Berlin would make a good starting point for reconciliation after the surrender of the woke forces.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Jürgen Habermas just turned ninety and now - after decades of praise, something quite interesting happened: Quite a few leftwingers began to ignore him!

    2 Points:

    1 Habermas is basically a free-speech-man, saying it is the basis of progress and democracy.

    2 He - about two decades ago - began to accept (at least) religion (before that change in his
    thinking, he held the belief, that enlightenment & social progress combined would make
    religion slowly but steadily a sure thing of the past. - His upcoming book "Auch eine
    Geschichte der Philosophie" is about the "co-evolution" of Christianity and philosophy
    (1700 p., to be published 30th of September).

    2b) Ah for those wondering: Habermas is philosopher and sociologist, too.

  162. @Desiderius
    Isaiah Berlin would make a good starting point for reconciliation after the surrender of the woke forces.

    Jürgen Habermas just turned ninety and now – after decades of praise, something quite interesting happened: Quite a few leftwingers began to ignore him!

    2 Points:

    1 Habermas is basically a free-speech-man, saying it is the basis of progress and democracy.

    2 He – about two decades ago – began to accept (at least) religion (before that change in his
    thinking, he held the belief, that enlightenment & social progress combined would make
    religion slowly but steadily a sure thing of the past. – His upcoming book “Auch eine
    Geschichte der Philosophie” is about the “co-evolution” of Christianity and philosophy
    (1700 p., to be published 30th of September).

    2b) Ah for those wondering: Habermas is philosopher and sociologist, too.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    It's about time the overflowing love of sophisticated Chritians for Habermas was requited.
    , @vinteuil

    ...1700 p...
     
    1700 pages of Jürgen Habermas?

    You've got to be kidding.

    Like anybody's life is long enough for that.
  163. @vinteuil
    Just as there are real, honest-to-God conservatives, like Paul Gottfried, as opposed to Conservatism.inc, there are real, honest-to-God libertarians, as opposed to Libertarianism.inc (Reason, Cato, Marginal Revolution).

    Real, honest-to-God libertarians might include Taki, Papa JF Gariépy & Stefan Molyneux.

    I don’t know man, I think you’re getting at temperament there more than principle/ideology. I’ve been libertarian most of my life, still love me some Professor Reynolds, etc… You’ve got to allow room for personal growth/professional discovery/experience, etc…

    If there is to be politics (cf. Aristotle) there needs to be contending schools of thought. Once that is established it seems prudent to work with what one has at hand and for definitions to work with the longest established common meaning – i.e. since the French Revolution.

  164. @PhysicistDave
    Reg Caesar asked:

    There are too many “rights”. How will they coalesce?
     
    They won't.

    And they shouldn't.

    We do not need an alternative centralized monolith to the Left.

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.

    Some of the most murderous regimes in human history,, most notably the Soviet Union itself, fell in 1989-1991 because ordinary people no longer believed any of the lies.

    And, it is happening now with the Left in the West: one by one -- first Roseanne, then Kanye, Dersh, Cher, John Cleese, Meryl Streep (!) -- even members of the opinion and entertainment elite are having trouble swallowing it all.

    My guess is that the transgenderism thing -- silly, pointless, and comparatively harmless compared to the other things the Elite has done to us! -- may prove to be peek insanity.

    As Sailer documented in a more recent post, the Elite is now trying to convince the peasants that they are bigots if they do not want to date trans folks.

    But, it turns out that almost all straight people feel the same way.

    We're close to the point where everyone starts looking at everyone else and just starts laughing and laughing at the foolishness we have been subjected to and which we have tolerated.

    And, when the peasants start openly laughing at the rulers, the rulers are in trouble.

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.

    Citation needed.

    It’s the worst nightmare of many women, for instance.

    • LOL: vinteuil
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    He clearly said normal human beings.
    But the metastasizing State's big door to hell does get opened by empowered female neuroses.
  165. @Dieter Kief
    Jürgen Habermas just turned ninety and now - after decades of praise, something quite interesting happened: Quite a few leftwingers began to ignore him!

    2 Points:

    1 Habermas is basically a free-speech-man, saying it is the basis of progress and democracy.

    2 He - about two decades ago - began to accept (at least) religion (before that change in his
    thinking, he held the belief, that enlightenment & social progress combined would make
    religion slowly but steadily a sure thing of the past. - His upcoming book "Auch eine
    Geschichte der Philosophie" is about the "co-evolution" of Christianity and philosophy
    (1700 p., to be published 30th of September).

    2b) Ah for those wondering: Habermas is philosopher and sociologist, too.

    It’s about time the overflowing love of sophisticated Chritians for Habermas was requited.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    When I read about the forthcoming book of Habermas about the deep kinship of Christianity and Philosophy (let me put it this way), I instantly thought of a story told by Jürgen Habermas in one of his hitherto sixty books, and this story is about a black priest and his mighty (!) words. I think it happened in NYC but I might look this story up.
  166. @dfordoom

    Are there any right-wing Marxists?
     
    If you're an Old School Marxist you probably think that immigration is a capitalist conspiracy to drive down wages and keep the working class divided and demoralised, so you're probably anti-immigration (for the reasons Bernie Sanders was anti-immigration before he got re-educated). So if you truly are an Old School Marxist then today you're almost certainly in the eyes of goodthinkers a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you're an Old School Marxist you might also think that the Cultural Revolution is a capitalist conspiracy to demoralise working-class families and to distract attention away from the struggle for economic justice. So in the eyes of goodthinkers that would also make you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    If you're an Old School Marxist you might also think that feminism was a way to destroy the trade-union movement, so once again today that makes you a far-right extremist and a literal Nazi.

    I'd say that if you're a true Marxist today you're in real danger of being rounded up and sent to the re-education camps as the literal reincarnation of Hitler.

    That makes you an enemy of the state, not right wing.

    Truth matters.

  167. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    It is slowly becoming apparent that libertarianism is just leftism that takes the withering away of the state seriously.
     
    Well... some decades ago the "libertarian" movement split in several ways -- you now have paleo-libertarians, the Libertarian Left, the Beltway crowd (e.g., the Cato Institute), dynamist/futurist libertarians, a growing (!) neo-medievalist group, etc.

    Back when I started calling myself a "libertarian," there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace. It is no coincidence that the most free of modern societies have been the stereotypes of bourgeois norms and values (e.g., Victorian Britain).

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared "libertarians"? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.

    But, I think one important message does remain from the old libertrainsim: the decline in individual responsiblity, the rejection of human nature, and the deep corruption of most of our institutions grew hand-in-hand with the progressives' expansion of the role of government at the expense of individuals, families, and an unhampered market.

    Merely getting rid of the state does not guarantee a free, sane, and livable society. It merely frees people to create the sort of society they want (and deserve).

    But, a state which is ravenous for ever-expanding power does guarantee a society that is corrupt, irresponsible, and basically insane -- i.e., the sort of society that progressives have brought us in our country (and that the Left created in a truly terrifying manner in the Soviet Union and Maoist China).

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared “libertarians”? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.

    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.

    The state naturally (and ineptly) fills the vacuum thus created.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote:

    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.
     
    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!

    Libertarians, more than anyone else, should be able to avoid the mistake of thinking that a polticial perspective can be or should be a general guide to how to live one's life.

    Should you be strict or permissive with your kids? A religious believer or a skeptic? Avoid recreational drugs or indulge to your heart's content? Be faithful to one partner for life or sexually promiscuous?

    Political philosophy -- and most certainly libertarianism -- has nothing to say about any of that. All that libertarianism has to say is that the state (and politics) should not decide such questions -- a view that most Americans would have taken for granted through most of American history.

    But, we live in such a politicized age that everything has to be about politics, and all too many libertarians have fallen for that trope.

    So, I call myself a Thoreauist: for all his eccentricities, at least Thoreau did not think any of the issues I just mentioned were questions to be decided by politics.
  168. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Sociology is the chicken of Theology with it’s head cut off.

     

    . . . and its heart torn out.

    Seems to me like they’re all heart and no balls.

  169. @Forbes
    If you watch/listen to Peterson's class teachings--his student interactions--you quickly see that he is an old-fashion liberal--not a conservative, or right-winger. It's just that the progressive-left has moved so far left, they're effectively illiberal--and anyone espousing liberal views is to their right.

    The movement of progressives to the far left is why many old-fashion liberals are being re-branded by prog-lefties as conservatives or on the right, e.g. Harvard's Dershowitz, and the married Sullivan/Robinson couple. There are a number of other examples.

    Also Jonathan Haidt. Although for some reason he seems to be able to say most of what Peterson says without getting the extreme reaction to the same degree.

    • Replies: @Forbes
    Good point. Haidt has a soft, sensitive, empathetic style--less of a lightening rod than Peterson can effect.
  170. @Anonymous

    . . . 1960s sociologist Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness.
     
    I've always wondered who came up with that disastrous idea. I've always heard that "Reagan shut down the mental hospitals," but that never seemed entirely correct to me.

    Reagan played a role as governor in the shutting down of CA mental institutions, but the process was pretty nearly complete by the time he became president.

    The body count went from 558,000 in 1955 to 72,000 in 1994.

    It was a perfect storm. Liberals tended to romanticize the mentally ill, as in One Flew Over. while conservatives didn’t care much and wanted to save the money.

    The idea was that institutionalization would be replaced by community mental health centers. So they killed the institutions but the community mental health centers never got going.

    https://www.thebalance.com/deinstitutionalization-3306067

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Right. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was to deinstitutionalization as The China Syndrome was to the death of nuclear power in the USA. Truly a perfect storm.
  171. @Art Deco
    Don't think Parsons or Bellah was an adherent of Marxism.

    I meant that list to correspond to Cuddihy’s WASP sociology category.

  172. @Desiderius

    Is that view now a minority view among self-declared “libertarians”? Could be, which is why I often call myself a Thoreauist or Lockean or radical Jeffersonian.
     
    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.

    The state naturally (and ineptly) fills the vacuum thus created.

    Desiderius wrote:

    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.

    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!

    Libertarians, more than anyone else, should be able to avoid the mistake of thinking that a polticial perspective can be or should be a general guide to how to live one’s life.

    Should you be strict or permissive with your kids? A religious believer or a skeptic? Avoid recreational drugs or indulge to your heart’s content? Be faithful to one partner for life or sexually promiscuous?

    Political philosophy — and most certainly libertarianism — has nothing to say about any of that. All that libertarianism has to say is that the state (and politics) should not decide such questions — a view that most Americans would have taken for granted through most of American history.

    But, we live in such a politicized age that everything has to be about politics, and all too many libertarians have fallen for that trope.

    So, I call myself a Thoreauist: for all his eccentricities, at least Thoreau did not think any of the issues I just mentioned were questions to be decided by politics.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!
     
    Dude, what kind of libertarian are you with all these shoulds?

    That's just, like, your opinion man.

    , @Desiderius

    nothing to say about any of that
     
    Nature abhors a vacuum, how much more nature's apex?
  173. @notanon
    1. right wing explanations for the causes of inequality tend to focus on heredity. if heredity is ruled taboo then left wing explanations will come to dominate.

    2. never said Boas was a sociologist - said his blank slate ideology was the foundation of pozworld.

    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature, including more acceptance for hereditary influence. But the right has also been very interested in environment factors, just not the same ones as liberals. The right sees things like traditional values, family, religion/civic institutions as important. For the left in contrast “environment” just means not enough gibs.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature
     
    Which Right are you talking about? Free-marketeers have a wildly unrealistic view of human nature (and of markets). Lots of right-wingers think that everybody can be a billionaire if he works hard and that if you're not a billionaire it just means you're lazy. I'd say that's a wildly unrealistic view of human nature. And that's the view held by most mainstream conservatives.

    Marxists and most Old School leftists have a much more realistic view of human nature. People are not equal. Therefore the state has to to step in to even things up. You might not agree with them but it's certainly a brutally realistic view of human nature.

    Liberals are the ones with the really deluded ideas about human nature, but keep in mind that conservatives are just right-wing liberals.

    Right-wingers like to think they're smarter and more realistic than left-wingers. Unfortunately there's no evidence to support such an assertion.
  174. @dfordoom

    Back when I started calling myself a “libertarian,” there was a widespread understanding that a free society required a sense of responsiblity and moral restraint among most of the populace.
     
    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?

    dfordoom asked me:

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?

    Depends on what you mean by religion, doesn’t it?

    Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that “religion” is exclusivist (you can’t be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you’re a “member” of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    But, the philosophies-of-life of East Asia — Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism — just are not like that, even though we often call them “religions.” You can be a Dasist and a Confucian and a Buddhist.

    You don’t have to worship Confucius, Buddha, or the Dao — arguably, engaging in such worship is a degraded form of the belief system.

    You don’t have to be a “member” of Confucianism, Daoism, or Buddhism (yes, you can join a Buddhist monastery, but most Buddhists don’t).

    Morality in these belief systems follows from the nature of reality, not divine command.

    And, there is no required dogma that you must believe in to be a Daoist, Buddhist, or Confucian — indeed, you can be an atheist and also adhere to any or all of those belief systems.

    So, if by the word “religion,” you mean to include philosophies of life such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism, then I suppose no human society does in fact totally lack “religion.” But such “religions” can be quite atheistic: indeed, a contemporary example is Randian “Objectivism.”

    But, if you are asking whether there can be a sense of responsibility and moral restraint without religion in the Western sense (exclusivist, henotheistic, fideistic, communal, and divinely-mandated morality), then the answer from empirical historical and cross-cultural data is completely conclusive:

    No, religion in that sense is socially unnecessary.

    The classical Greco-Roman world provides another example, by the way: prior to the rise of the mystery religions and the triumph of Christianity, religion just was not a matter of faith in dogma, membership in a “church,” a personal relationship with “God,” exclusive commitment to one god, or religion as the primary source of morality.

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

    And everyone (except the Christians!) was okay with that.

    At some level, much the same was true of Victorian Britain and even Renaissance Italy.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!

    But, perhaps you are not a follower of Miss Rand.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    If you're reduced to Gibbon, I don't know what to tell you. The JK Rowling of historians.

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.

    When the church rises again in due time I have some hope we can get that right and recognize that not only does God make those without much if any of a spiritual sense or need for one, but that they're often among our most valuable achievers and creators, that the secular is the fruit of the sacred, not her rival.
    , @dfordoom

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!
     
    We could be in for a long wait.
    , @nebulafox
    >Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that “religion” is exclusivist (you can’t be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you’re a “member” of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    There's one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad. It was a messily sectarian place where literacy and statehood was rare, and sects that had long since been kicked out of Rome and Persia could flee to. You could indeed find Jews and Christians in the apocalypse-awaiting proto-Islamic community-just as you could find other varieties of Christians that believed in notions of the Holy Spirit being female or worshiping the old pagan deities as angels, something that the Prophet denounced in bloodcurdling terms as not being "truly" monotheist at all. Even during the first generations after the conquests, Byzantine sources show that the Arabs were thought of as something like heretical non-Trinitarian Christians as opposed to anything noticeably Islamic. The Arabs themselves, for their part, thought they were acting in the grand tradition of their ancestor: "Abraham the True", the founder of the primordial, "true" faith. One of the theories behind the motivation for the conquest even revolves around this idea: after all, as far as Muhammad and Company were concerned, weren't they just as entitled to Palestine as the Jews?

    Why that changed is really an exercise in understanding how subordinate religion is to culture: the Arabs needed a way to distinguish themselves from the conquered peoples. Then, over the next centuries, Islam would absorb a lot of Zoroastrian features as the ancient Persian religion died out, which give what comes off to a Westerner as an "Eastern" vibe. Praying five times a day, the emphasis on purity and washing... in that sense, one could view Christianity and Islam as half-brothers, sharing a similar Jewish genesis, but having vastly different (Greco-Roman vs Persian) fathers overseeing their transition to adulthood and giving them their values.

  175. @Desiderius

    Most of us, most normal human beings, simply want to be left alone.
     
    Citation needed.

    It's the worst nightmare of many women, for instance.

    He clearly said normal human beings.
    But the metastasizing State’s big door to hell does get opened by empowered female neuroses.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    It is not neurotic to prefer not to be left all alone.
  176. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote:

    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.
     
    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!

    Libertarians, more than anyone else, should be able to avoid the mistake of thinking that a polticial perspective can be or should be a general guide to how to live one's life.

    Should you be strict or permissive with your kids? A religious believer or a skeptic? Avoid recreational drugs or indulge to your heart's content? Be faithful to one partner for life or sexually promiscuous?

    Political philosophy -- and most certainly libertarianism -- has nothing to say about any of that. All that libertarianism has to say is that the state (and politics) should not decide such questions -- a view that most Americans would have taken for granted through most of American history.

    But, we live in such a politicized age that everything has to be about politics, and all too many libertarians have fallen for that trope.

    So, I call myself a Thoreauist: for all his eccentricities, at least Thoreau did not think any of the issues I just mentioned were questions to be decided by politics.

    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!

    Dude, what kind of libertarian are you with all these shoulds?

    That’s just, like, your opinion man.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    Dude, what kind of libertarian are you with all these shoulds?
     
    Yeah, well that's the point we're both making: we can oppose the state imposing its views on certain issues and yet still have strong views ourselves on those same issues.

    E.g., I think it is silly to outlaw marijuana, but I also disapprove of using the stuff.

    Everyone actually grasps this point in mundane cases: it is a very bad idea to chug-a-lug household bleach, although there is (as far I know!) no law prohibiting it.

    Back in the '70s, most libertarians I knew grasped this point (perhaps because Rand made it rather forcefully). I'll admit, however, that even way back then I was starting to see the "It's okay if it does not violate people's rights" meme starting to grow. It certainly is widespread among libertarians today, though, for example, paleo-libertarians still try to resist it.

    So, I'm a Thoreauist.

    And, so, I voted for Trump over Gary Johnson. To be sure, I thought that Johnson's biggest fault was not his goofiness or marijuana obsession but that he badly misreads the current strategic situation: The greatest threat to liberty today is not mairjuana laws (which are basically unenforceable and just stupid) but the power of the ruling elite.

    And, Trump, as imperfect as he is, is a better vehicle for attacking that ruling elite than Gary Johnson.

    A clear-eyed view of strategy and tactics can be more important than the ability to recite from memory the collected works of Ayn Rand (or the Libertarian Party platform or whatever)!
  177. @J.Ross
    He clearly said normal human beings.
    But the metastasizing State's big door to hell does get opened by empowered female neuroses.

    It is not neurotic to prefer not to be left all alone.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Completely on your side regarding that (albeit at a safe distance) but somebody kept bringing in women.
  178. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote:

    They take it for granted rather than notice how libertarianism (a theory of government) misapplied (as a general ethos for life) has actively contributed to the erosion of just such qualities.
     
    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!

    Libertarians, more than anyone else, should be able to avoid the mistake of thinking that a polticial perspective can be or should be a general guide to how to live one's life.

    Should you be strict or permissive with your kids? A religious believer or a skeptic? Avoid recreational drugs or indulge to your heart's content? Be faithful to one partner for life or sexually promiscuous?

    Political philosophy -- and most certainly libertarianism -- has nothing to say about any of that. All that libertarianism has to say is that the state (and politics) should not decide such questions -- a view that most Americans would have taken for granted through most of American history.

    But, we live in such a politicized age that everything has to be about politics, and all too many libertarians have fallen for that trope.

    So, I call myself a Thoreauist: for all his eccentricities, at least Thoreau did not think any of the issues I just mentioned were questions to be decided by politics.

    nothing to say about any of that

    Nature abhors a vacuum, how much more nature’s apex?

  179. @PhysicistDave
    dfordoom asked me:

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?
     
    Depends on what you mean by religion, doesn't it?

    Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that "religion" is exclusivist (you can't be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you're a "member" of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    But, the philosophies-of-life of East Asia -- Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism -- just are not like that, even though we often call them "religions." You can be a Dasist and a Confucian and a Buddhist.

    You don't have to worship Confucius, Buddha, or the Dao -- arguably, engaging in such worship is a degraded form of the belief system.

    You don't have to be a "member" of Confucianism, Daoism, or Buddhism (yes, you can join a Buddhist monastery, but most Buddhists don't).

    Morality in these belief systems follows from the nature of reality, not divine command.

    And, there is no required dogma that you must believe in to be a Daoist, Buddhist, or Confucian -- indeed, you can be an atheist and also adhere to any or all of those belief systems.

    So, if by the word "religion," you mean to include philosophies of life such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism, then I suppose no human society does in fact totally lack "religion." But such "religions" can be quite atheistic: indeed, a contemporary example is Randian "Objectivism."

    But, if you are asking whether there can be a sense of responsibility and moral restraint without religion in the Western sense (exclusivist, henotheistic, fideistic, communal, and divinely-mandated morality), then the answer from empirical historical and cross-cultural data is completely conclusive:

    No, religion in that sense is socially unnecessary.

    The classical Greco-Roman world provides another example, by the way: prior to the rise of the mystery religions and the triumph of Christianity, religion just was not a matter of faith in dogma, membership in a "church," a personal relationship with "God," exclusive commitment to one god, or religion as the primary source of morality.

    As Gibbon famously said:


    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    And everyone (except the Christians!) was okay with that.

    At some level, much the same was true of Victorian Britain and even Renaissance Italy.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her "Objectivism"!

    But, perhaps you are not a follower of Miss Rand.

    If you’re reduced to Gibbon, I don’t know what to tell you. The JK Rowling of historians.

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.

    When the church rises again in due time I have some hope we can get that right and recognize that not only does God make those without much if any of a spiritual sense or need for one, but that they’re often among our most valuable achievers and creators, that the secular is the fruit of the sacred, not her rival.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.
     
    Well, as you know, when I have the time I am willing to engage Christians in detailed discussions of whether or not Christianity is true.

    But, there is one point on which I am rather rigid: the issue really is whether or not Christianity is true, not whether it is necessary for great art or for a stable society, or whatever.

    In any case, we already know the answer to those latter questions: numerous non-Christian societies have been relatively stable (at least compared to current Westerns society!); numerous non-Christian societies have created great art; etc.

    We probably agree that the West has not done well handling the transition from a Christian to a post-Christian society: as the quote (mis)attributed to Chesterton says, "“When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

    But that rocky transition is not that surprising: when the classical world went through the analogous transition -- from paganism to Christianity -- it really did not go very well, either.
  180. @Desiderius

    What is truly odd here is that one of the central points of libertarianism is that politics should not dominate life!
     
    Dude, what kind of libertarian are you with all these shoulds?

    That's just, like, your opinion man.

    Desiderius wrote to me:

    Dude, what kind of libertarian are you with all these shoulds?

    Yeah, well that’s the point we’re both making: we can oppose the state imposing its views on certain issues and yet still have strong views ourselves on those same issues.

    E.g., I think it is silly to outlaw marijuana, but I also disapprove of using the stuff.

    Everyone actually grasps this point in mundane cases: it is a very bad idea to chug-a-lug household bleach, although there is (as far I know!) no law prohibiting it.

    Back in the ’70s, most libertarians I knew grasped this point (perhaps because Rand made it rather forcefully). I’ll admit, however, that even way back then I was starting to see the “It’s okay if it does not violate people’s rights” meme starting to grow. It certainly is widespread among libertarians today, though, for example, paleo-libertarians still try to resist it.

    So, I’m a Thoreauist.

    And, so, I voted for Trump over Gary Johnson. To be sure, I thought that Johnson’s biggest fault was not his goofiness or marijuana obsession but that he badly misreads the current strategic situation: The greatest threat to liberty today is not mairjuana laws (which are basically unenforceable and just stupid) but the power of the ruling elite.

    And, Trump, as imperfect as he is, is a better vehicle for attacking that ruling elite than Gary Johnson.

    A clear-eyed view of strategy and tactics can be more important than the ability to recite from memory the collected works of Ayn Rand (or the Libertarian Party platform or whatever)!

  181. @Desiderius
    If you're reduced to Gibbon, I don't know what to tell you. The JK Rowling of historians.

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.

    When the church rises again in due time I have some hope we can get that right and recognize that not only does God make those without much if any of a spiritual sense or need for one, but that they're often among our most valuable achievers and creators, that the secular is the fruit of the sacred, not her rival.

    Desiderius wrote to me:

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.

    Well, as you know, when I have the time I am willing to engage Christians in detailed discussions of whether or not Christianity is true.

    But, there is one point on which I am rather rigid: the issue really is whether or not Christianity is true, not whether it is necessary for great art or for a stable society, or whatever.

    In any case, we already know the answer to those latter questions: numerous non-Christian societies have been relatively stable (at least compared to current Westerns society!); numerous non-Christian societies have created great art; etc.

    We probably agree that the West has not done well handling the transition from a Christian to a post-Christian society: as the quote (mis)attributed to Chesterton says, ““When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

    But that rocky transition is not that surprising: when the classical world went through the analogous transition — from paganism to Christianity — it really did not go very well, either.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.

    That state of affairs is far from unprecedented.
  182. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    One area where traditional Christianity fell short was in knowing just what to make of the PhysicistDaves of the world, and that shortcoming caused untold strife leading to the downfall of many churches, including most of the big ones, in the present age.
     
    Well, as you know, when I have the time I am willing to engage Christians in detailed discussions of whether or not Christianity is true.

    But, there is one point on which I am rather rigid: the issue really is whether or not Christianity is true, not whether it is necessary for great art or for a stable society, or whatever.

    In any case, we already know the answer to those latter questions: numerous non-Christian societies have been relatively stable (at least compared to current Westerns society!); numerous non-Christian societies have created great art; etc.

    We probably agree that the West has not done well handling the transition from a Christian to a post-Christian society: as the quote (mis)attributed to Chesterton says, "“When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

    But that rocky transition is not that surprising: when the classical world went through the analogous transition -- from paganism to Christianity -- it really did not go very well, either.

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.

    That state of affairs is far from unprecedented.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The clergy, the episcopate, the divinity schools and seminaries, and the quondam Christian colleges have so arranged matters that even ordinary people have little need of them. You staff your congregations with mediocrities who want to be den mothers on salary and bishops who act like random NGO administrators, people lose interest. The faculty at soi-disant Christian colleges are in the business of ruining their institutions' foundational missions.

    (My favorite discrete example for gratuitous vandalism can be found in a handsome Catholic Church in Clinton, New York I used to visit now and again, built just prior to WWi. The administrator, one Rev. Fr. John Croghan, was using the confessional to store folding chairs. He later had it removed entirely).

    , @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.
  183. @Dieter Kief
    Jürgen Habermas just turned ninety and now - after decades of praise, something quite interesting happened: Quite a few leftwingers began to ignore him!

    2 Points:

    1 Habermas is basically a free-speech-man, saying it is the basis of progress and democracy.

    2 He - about two decades ago - began to accept (at least) religion (before that change in his
    thinking, he held the belief, that enlightenment & social progress combined would make
    religion slowly but steadily a sure thing of the past. - His upcoming book "Auch eine
    Geschichte der Philosophie" is about the "co-evolution" of Christianity and philosophy
    (1700 p., to be published 30th of September).

    2b) Ah for those wondering: Habermas is philosopher and sociologist, too.

    …1700 p…

    1700 pages of Jürgen Habermas?

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    Like anybody’s life is long enough for that.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    German scholars pretty much have to be speed readers. They never had a Hemingway.
    , @Dieter Kief
    Well, Habermas is one of those authors I have indeed read almost everything he wrote. But I grew up near Heidelberg, where Habermas had been teaching, and one of my really good teachers at the Gymnasium knew him from his studies and told us about Habermas' ideas when we were - when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. That helped.
    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion" from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.
  184. @Desiderius
    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.

    That state of affairs is far from unprecedented.

    The clergy, the episcopate, the divinity schools and seminaries, and the quondam Christian colleges have so arranged matters that even ordinary people have little need of them. You staff your congregations with mediocrities who want to be den mothers on salary and bishops who act like random NGO administrators, people lose interest. The faculty at soi-disant Christian colleges are in the business of ruining their institutions’ foundational missions.

    (My favorite discrete example for gratuitous vandalism can be found in a handsome Catholic Church in Clinton, New York I used to visit now and again, built just prior to WWi. The administrator, one Rev. Fr. John Croghan, was using the confessional to store folding chairs. He later had it removed entirely).

    • Agree: Desiderius, Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    All those things are just weeds growing in the fields abandoned by our most capable citizens, erstwhile conservatives in the lead. They stopped calling their sons into the ministry of the word and sacrament. Everything is downstream from that.

    Another consequence of smaller family sizes.

    And yet:

    https://thefederalist.com/2018/01/22/new-harvard-research-says-u-s-christianity-not-shrinking-growing-stronger/

    Jesus Balboa Christ

  185. @Art Deco
    The clergy, the episcopate, the divinity schools and seminaries, and the quondam Christian colleges have so arranged matters that even ordinary people have little need of them. You staff your congregations with mediocrities who want to be den mothers on salary and bishops who act like random NGO administrators, people lose interest. The faculty at soi-disant Christian colleges are in the business of ruining their institutions' foundational missions.

    (My favorite discrete example for gratuitous vandalism can be found in a handsome Catholic Church in Clinton, New York I used to visit now and again, built just prior to WWi. The administrator, one Rev. Fr. John Croghan, was using the confessional to store folding chairs. He later had it removed entirely).

    All those things are just weeds growing in the fields abandoned by our most capable citizens, erstwhile conservatives in the lead. They stopped calling their sons into the ministry of the word and sacrament. Everything is downstream from that.

    Another consequence of smaller family sizes.

    And yet:

    https://thefederalist.com/2018/01/22/new-harvard-research-says-u-s-christianity-not-shrinking-growing-stronger/

    Jesus Balboa Christ

  186. @gregor
    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature, including more acceptance for hereditary influence. But the right has also been very interested in environment factors, just not the same ones as liberals. The right sees things like traditional values, family, religion/civic institutions as important. For the left in contrast “environment” just means not enough gibs.

    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature

    Which Right are you talking about? Free-marketeers have a wildly unrealistic view of human nature (and of markets). Lots of right-wingers think that everybody can be a billionaire if he works hard and that if you’re not a billionaire it just means you’re lazy. I’d say that’s a wildly unrealistic view of human nature. And that’s the view held by most mainstream conservatives.

    Marxists and most Old School leftists have a much more realistic view of human nature. People are not equal. Therefore the state has to to step in to even things up. You might not agree with them but it’s certainly a brutally realistic view of human nature.

    Liberals are the ones with the really deluded ideas about human nature, but keep in mind that conservatives are just right-wing liberals.

    Right-wingers like to think they’re smarter and more realistic than left-wingers. Unfortunately there’s no evidence to support such an assertion.

    • Replies: @gregor
    Yeah, I’m not talking about the modern kosher sandwhich right.

    I would refer you to Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions, wherein Sowell theorizes that the left and right are divided primarily on their view of human nature.

    The Unconstrained (or Utopian) View


    Sowell argues that the unconstrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially good. Those with an unconstrained vision distrust decentralized processes and are impatient with large institutions and systemic processes that constrain human action. They believe there is an ideal solution to every problem, and that compromise is never acceptable. Collateral damage is merely the price of moving forward on the road to perfection. Sowell often refers to them as "the self anointed." Ultimately they believe that man is morally perfectible. Because of this, they believe that there exist some people who are further along the path of moral development, have overcome self-interest and are immune to the influence of power and therefore can act as surrogate decision-makers for the rest of society.
     
    The Constrained (or Tragic) View

    Sowell argues that the constrained vision relies heavily on belief that human nature is essentially unchanging and that man is naturally inherently self-interested, regardless of the best intentions. Those with a constrained vision prefer the systematic processes of the rule of law and experience of tradition. Compromise is essential because there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs. Those with a constrained vision favor solid empirical evidence and time-tested structures and processes over intervention and personal experience. Ultimately, the constrained vision demands checks and balances and refuses to accept that all people could put aside their innate self-interest.
     
    As an example, consider attitudes toward crime. The left sees crime as stemming from poor social conditions and they see criminals as victims needing support and remediation. The right in contrast favors strong punishment to disincentivize anti-social behavior.
  187. @PhysicistDave
    dfordoom asked me:

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?
     
    Depends on what you mean by religion, doesn't it?

    Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that "religion" is exclusivist (you can't be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you're a "member" of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    But, the philosophies-of-life of East Asia -- Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism -- just are not like that, even though we often call them "religions." You can be a Dasist and a Confucian and a Buddhist.

    You don't have to worship Confucius, Buddha, or the Dao -- arguably, engaging in such worship is a degraded form of the belief system.

    You don't have to be a "member" of Confucianism, Daoism, or Buddhism (yes, you can join a Buddhist monastery, but most Buddhists don't).

    Morality in these belief systems follows from the nature of reality, not divine command.

    And, there is no required dogma that you must believe in to be a Daoist, Buddhist, or Confucian -- indeed, you can be an atheist and also adhere to any or all of those belief systems.

    So, if by the word "religion," you mean to include philosophies of life such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism, then I suppose no human society does in fact totally lack "religion." But such "religions" can be quite atheistic: indeed, a contemporary example is Randian "Objectivism."

    But, if you are asking whether there can be a sense of responsibility and moral restraint without religion in the Western sense (exclusivist, henotheistic, fideistic, communal, and divinely-mandated morality), then the answer from empirical historical and cross-cultural data is completely conclusive:

    No, religion in that sense is socially unnecessary.

    The classical Greco-Roman world provides another example, by the way: prior to the rise of the mystery religions and the triumph of Christianity, religion just was not a matter of faith in dogma, membership in a "church," a personal relationship with "God," exclusive commitment to one god, or religion as the primary source of morality.

    As Gibbon famously said:


    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    And everyone (except the Christians!) was okay with that.

    At some level, much the same was true of Victorian Britain and even Renaissance Italy.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her "Objectivism"!

    But, perhaps you are not a follower of Miss Rand.

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!

    We could be in for a long wait.

    • Replies: @International Jew

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.
     
    I had an argument recently with a Mongolian friend, over who was more barbaric, his people or mine (well, I'm half Italian, ok?) He knew all about Roman Law and aquaducts and sculpture but little about what went on inside the Roman Colosseum. I'm afraid, though, that in the end he did kinda win the debate.
    , @International Jew
    On its good side, one thing I admire about Rome was its intellectual curiosity about other cultures, principally Greece. That curiosity, and the serious study of other cultures, is one of the jewels of our modern western culture. (And like so much else, now getting sacrificed to a know-nothing "multiculturalism".)

    Maybe Japan's traditional interest in China was like that but I don't know much about Japan.

    , @PhysicistDave
    dfordoom wrote to me:

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.
     
    Well... not as bad as the Aztecs!

    In any case, my point was that the various civilizations based on Islam or Christianity are historically anomalous. Westerners and Muslims see religion of a very particulart sort as central to art, morality, social order, family life, etc. in a way that is just not that common in human history.

    It's as if Hindus were to argue that you could not have real art, morality, family life without the caste system, both varna and jati (I suppose some Hindus have argued that!).

    Anyone who argues that human civilization must have certain characteristics should do a quick fact check to see if their claim is true of historical China, the Hellenic world, etc.

    If not, their hypothesis is false.
    , @Desiderius

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.
     
    Which is why some of her best and brightest turned their lonely eyes to Judaism, as Steve looks longingly to Israel today. Most settled on Christianity after getting a load of Judaic OCD.
  188. @Logan
    Reagan played a role as governor in the shutting down of CA mental institutions, but the process was pretty nearly complete by the time he became president.

    The body count went from 558,000 in 1955 to 72,000 in 1994.

    It was a perfect storm. Liberals tended to romanticize the mentally ill, as in One Flew Over. while conservatives didn't care much and wanted to save the money.

    The idea was that institutionalization would be replaced by community mental health centers. So they killed the institutions but the community mental health centers never got going.

    https://www.thebalance.com/deinstitutionalization-3306067

    Right. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was to deinstitutionalization as The China Syndrome was to the death of nuclear power in the USA. Truly a perfect storm.

    • Replies: @Logan
    A very powerful movie, and it had a point.

    The problem is that the point was only one side of a complex issue, but since the other side is never presented people act like it's actually the whole story.

  189. The clergy, the episcopate, the divinity schools and seminaries, and the quondam Christian colleges have so arranged matters that even ordinary people have little need of them.

    And most churches have dived headlong into being progressive. Church used to be a place you could get away from the world. Now you get pounded with the same BS from the pulpit that you hear from the culture all week.

    My mother’s church is facing declining membership, so they are considering “affirming” being ok with poofters and trannies, as if poofters and trannines are chomping at the bit to go to church.

    The two lesbos who run a very old church around here removed Washington and Lee’s names from the pews, because of the angry mob of negros outside protesting slavery. Only one part of the previous sentence is true.

    • Replies: @International Jew

    Now you get pounded with the same BS from the pulpit that you hear from the culture all week.
     
    Well, in fairness, in was always like that to an extent. Your (and my) complaint is really that the culture has changed.
  190. @vinteuil

    ...1700 p...
     
    1700 pages of Jürgen Habermas?

    You've got to be kidding.

    Like anybody's life is long enough for that.

    German scholars pretty much have to be speed readers. They never had a Hemingway.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    This one stuck in my memory, and whenever I thought of it, I thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein as a counter-example. The Ludwig was famous for boasting about all the stuff he had not read (almost all of the canonical texts). Did hurt neither his thinking nor his reputation.


    And this might be (at least part of) the reason that he was crystal clear about the structural (= inherent!) shortcomings of modern science - and the necessity (=existential and or systematical "ort" (=place?)) of religion (cf. Thomas Rentsch: Heidegger und Wittgenstein und ders. : Gott (2005).

  191. @Desiderius
    It is not neurotic to prefer not to be left all alone.

    Completely on your side regarding that (albeit at a safe distance) but somebody kept bringing in women.

  192. I don’t know about current sociologists, but the late Mary Douglas was pretty conservative.

  193. @Anon
    What is your take on the polling crisis?

    I've heard that with the reduction in the use of land line telephones with their census tract correlation it is impossible to get a statistically representative sample. There's also the problem that the gradual lowering of social trust has resulted in more refusals to participate in polling, resulting in even more skewed samples. Internet polling is the absolute worst in getting a representative sample.

    I personally would hang up on anyone trying to survey me.

    I’d ask the pollee to go to my web site. At that point, my Javascript would detect his location (unless he was one of the 0.001% of the population that have undertaken a countermeasure).

  194. @Jim Don Bob

    The clergy, the episcopate, the divinity schools and seminaries, and the quondam Christian colleges have so arranged matters that even ordinary people have little need of them.
     
    And most churches have dived headlong into being progressive. Church used to be a place you could get away from the world. Now you get pounded with the same BS from the pulpit that you hear from the culture all week.

    My mother's church is facing declining membership, so they are considering "affirming" being ok with poofters and trannies, as if poofters and trannines are chomping at the bit to go to church.

    The two lesbos who run a very old church around here removed Washington and Lee's names from the pews, because of the angry mob of negros outside protesting slavery. Only one part of the previous sentence is true.

    Now you get pounded with the same BS from the pulpit that you hear from the culture all week.

    Well, in fairness, in was always like that to an extent. Your (and my) complaint is really that the culture has changed.

  195. @dfordoom

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!
     
    We could be in for a long wait.

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    I had an argument recently with a Mongolian friend, over who was more barbaric, his people or mine (well, I’m half Italian, ok?) He knew all about Roman Law and aquaducts and sculpture but little about what went on inside the Roman Colosseum. I’m afraid, though, that in the end he did kinda win the debate.

  196. @dfordoom

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!
     
    We could be in for a long wait.

    On its good side, one thing I admire about Rome was its intellectual curiosity about other cultures, principally Greece. That curiosity, and the serious study of other cultures, is one of the jewels of our modern western culture. (And like so much else, now getting sacrificed to a know-nothing “multiculturalism”.)

    Maybe Japan’s traditional interest in China was like that but I don’t know much about Japan.

  197. @PhysicistDave
    dfordoom asked me:

    Is a sense of responsibility and moral restraint possible without religion? Can you point to an example of an atheistic society that has a sense of responsibility and moral restraint?
     
    Depends on what you mean by religion, doesn't it?

    Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that "religion" is exclusivist (you can't be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you're a "member" of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    But, the philosophies-of-life of East Asia -- Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism -- just are not like that, even though we often call them "religions." You can be a Dasist and a Confucian and a Buddhist.

    You don't have to worship Confucius, Buddha, or the Dao -- arguably, engaging in such worship is a degraded form of the belief system.

    You don't have to be a "member" of Confucianism, Daoism, or Buddhism (yes, you can join a Buddhist monastery, but most Buddhists don't).

    Morality in these belief systems follows from the nature of reality, not divine command.

    And, there is no required dogma that you must believe in to be a Daoist, Buddhist, or Confucian -- indeed, you can be an atheist and also adhere to any or all of those belief systems.

    So, if by the word "religion," you mean to include philosophies of life such as Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism, then I suppose no human society does in fact totally lack "religion." But such "religions" can be quite atheistic: indeed, a contemporary example is Randian "Objectivism."

    But, if you are asking whether there can be a sense of responsibility and moral restraint without religion in the Western sense (exclusivist, henotheistic, fideistic, communal, and divinely-mandated morality), then the answer from empirical historical and cross-cultural data is completely conclusive:

    No, religion in that sense is socially unnecessary.

    The classical Greco-Roman world provides another example, by the way: prior to the rise of the mystery religions and the triumph of Christianity, religion just was not a matter of faith in dogma, membership in a "church," a personal relationship with "God," exclusive commitment to one god, or religion as the primary source of morality.

    As Gibbon famously said:


    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    And everyone (except the Christians!) was okay with that.

    At some level, much the same was true of Victorian Britain and even Renaissance Italy.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her "Objectivism"!

    But, perhaps you are not a follower of Miss Rand.

    >Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that “religion” is exclusivist (you can’t be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you’re a “member” of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    There’s one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad. It was a messily sectarian place where literacy and statehood was rare, and sects that had long since been kicked out of Rome and Persia could flee to. You could indeed find Jews and Christians in the apocalypse-awaiting proto-Islamic community-just as you could find other varieties of Christians that believed in notions of the Holy Spirit being female or worshiping the old pagan deities as angels, something that the Prophet denounced in bloodcurdling terms as not being “truly” monotheist at all. Even during the first generations after the conquests, Byzantine sources show that the Arabs were thought of as something like heretical non-Trinitarian Christians as opposed to anything noticeably Islamic. The Arabs themselves, for their part, thought they were acting in the grand tradition of their ancestor: “Abraham the True”, the founder of the primordial, “true” faith. One of the theories behind the motivation for the conquest even revolves around this idea: after all, as far as Muhammad and Company were concerned, weren’t they just as entitled to Palestine as the Jews?

    Why that changed is really an exercise in understanding how subordinate religion is to culture: the Arabs needed a way to distinguish themselves from the conquered peoples. Then, over the next centuries, Islam would absorb a lot of Zoroastrian features as the ancient Persian religion died out, which give what comes off to a Westerner as an “Eastern” vibe. Praying five times a day, the emphasis on purity and washing… in that sense, one could view Christianity and Islam as half-brothers, sharing a similar Jewish genesis, but having vastly different (Greco-Roman vs Persian) fathers overseeing their transition to adulthood and giving them their values.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    nebulafox wrote to me:

    There’s one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad.
     
    Yeah, and the ancient Christian excursion into Central and East Asia was also pretty interesting -- when we visited China a few years back, we saw an ancient Nestorian artifact.

    By the way, there seems to be a real debate among scholars (a bit muted by the fear of jihadis!) as to exactly what really happened in the early centuries of Islam. Was early Islam really just a heretical form of Christianity? Or Judaism? We have almost no documents from those early centuries that have not been extensively redacted, so it is hard to tell.

    I think you and I agree, though, that the modal Christian point of view is more or less as I described it.
  198. @Seek
    Auguste Comte?

    Louis de Bonald.

  199. @Seek
    Auguste Comte?

    Actually never mind, you’re right. But Bonald was more conservative.

  200. @MarkU
    As a meritocrat I hate the right and the left pretty much equally, there are too many simple minded types out there who seem to believe that the inherent evil of one somehow implies the innate goodness of the other. As far as I am concerned both left and right are riddled with hypocrisy and both need taking down.

    The right claim to be meritocratic but are they really? what the right really stand for is inherited wealth and privilege, with no regard for the actual abilities of those who inherit. A society dominated by the right ends up being run by the increasingly mediocre offspring of some dynasty or other, founded by people with a talent for accumulating wealth (and more often than not questionable ethical standards) The seemingly inevitable result of right wing domination is a society run by the likes of Nero and Caligula, or their modern day equivalents.

    The left should be on the side of equality of opportunity but instead they are fighting for equality of outcome. Unhappy that reality is not conforming to their ideals, they attempt to force reality to conform by the use of legislation. Even science is not safe from their tampering, Lysenkoism being the most obvious manifestation of that tendency.

    What we need is a cap on inherited wealth, it can be quite high, it really doesn't matter so long as it isn't enough to buy the damned government. We cannot continue to allow mediocrities to inherit massive amounts of political influence. We also need a return of streaming in schools and aptitude testing for jobs, jobs should go to the people with the most aptitude for the job. When something so obvious is controversial it is a sign that something is very wrong.

    A society that is not meritocratic is essentially doomed, meritocracy must be re-established. The right and the left are both in the way, they must be reformed or removed.

    If you are a meritocrat, that puts you essentially on the left.

    “Equality of opportunity” – no such thing.

  201. @notanon
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Boas

    Franz Uri Boas[a] (1858–1942) was a German-born American[21] anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology".

     


    Boas was one of the most prominent opponents of the then-popular ideologies of scientific racism, the idea that race is a biological concept and that human behavior is best understood through the typology of biological characteristics.
     
    Rousseau may have coined the term but believing in heredity was still the default case until Boas.

    I’m not sure that’s true. I think it might be the other way around: that there was a brief period in the 1920s when the belief in nature over nurture was ascendant, but that before and after, belief in nurture over nature was dominant. That’s what some key contemporary opponents of Boas seemed to think, anyway.

    For example, J.S. Mill was already a major proponent of the blank slate theory in the mid 19th century and was quite influential in its widespread acceptance. Here is the Harvard psychologist William McDougall (a ‘race realist’) writing in 1921 in a series of lectures entitled Is America Safe for Democracy?:

    For at that time [mid 19th century] the prevailing view of the human mind, of which Mill was the chief exponent, was all against the assumption of racial differences…

    He goes on to say that at the time of his (McDougall’s) writing, the blank slate view is still the prevailing view:

    The “race-slumpers,” [i.e., the blank slaters] in their denial, both explicit and implied, are the champions of common sense and the views of the plain man – views in which the plain man has been supported by both law and medicine until very recent years. For the plain man, and law and medicine also, accepted the traditional assumption that our mental powers are the expression of a supernatural principle, the soul, miraculously implanted in each one of us at birth; and, while they recognized great differences of bodily endowment, they ignored comparable differences of mental endowment, with certain exceptions. The man of genius on the one hand, the idiot and the madman on the other hand, were mysterious exceptions; but, part from these exceptions, all men were born equal, and all differences of attainment were attributed to differences of opportunity and education; all men had equal powers and equal responsibilities, and must be treated as strictly alike…

    Likewise, in 1916, Madison Grant writes on p. 13 in The Passing of the Great Race:

    Religious teachers have also maintained the proposition not only that man is something fundamentally distinct from other living creatures, but that there are no inherited differences in humanity that cannot be obliterated by education and environment.

    And later on p. 19:

    There exists today a widespread and fatuous belief in the power of environment, as well as of education and opportunity to alter heredity, which arises from the dogma of the brotherhood of man, derived in turn from the loose thinkers of the French Revolution and their American mimics.

    Both writers thus appear to regard the blank slate as the prevailing theory at the time, but acknowledge that racial consciousness was gaining momentum. Indeed, in the preface to the fourth edition (1936?) of The Passing of the Great Race, Grant writes that the dominant ideology among the elites had shifted to one of racial consciousness:

    The new definition of race and the controlling role played by race in all the manifestations of what we call civilization are now generally accepted even by those whose political position depends upon popular favor.

    So it seems that except for a brief period of time in the 1920s and early 1930s (views like Grant’s began to fall out of favor in the ’30s), the blank slate theory has been regarded as the default view in America from the late 19th century until today.

  202. @J.Ross
    2 is correct but isn't Tabula Rasa from Rousseau?

    John Locke.

  203. @J.Ross
    2 is correct but isn't Tabula Rasa from Rousseau?

    John Locke.

  204. @dfordoom

    I would say the right has tended to have a realistic view of human nature
     
    Which Right are you talking about? Free-marketeers have a wildly unrealistic view of human nature (and of markets). Lots of right-wingers think that everybody can be a billionaire if he works hard and that if you're not a billionaire it just means you're lazy. I'd say that's a wildly unrealistic view of human nature. And that's the view held by most mainstream conservatives.

    Marxists and most Old School leftists have a much more realistic view of human nature. People are not equal. Therefore the state has to to step in to even things up. You might not agree with them but it's certainly a brutally realistic view of human nature.

    Liberals are the ones with the really deluded ideas about human nature, but keep in mind that conservatives are just right-wing liberals.

    Right-wingers like to think they're smarter and more realistic than left-wingers. Unfortunately there's no evidence to support such an assertion.

    Yeah, I’m not talking about the modern kosher sandwhich right.

    I would refer you to Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions, wherein Sowell theorizes that the left and right are divided primarily on their view of human nature.

    The Unconstrained (or Utopian) View

    Sowell argues that the unconstrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially good. Those with an unconstrained vision distrust decentralized processes and are impatient with large institutions and systemic processes that constrain human action. They believe there is an ideal solution to every problem, and that compromise is never acceptable. Collateral damage is merely the price of moving forward on the road to perfection. Sowell often refers to them as “the self anointed.” Ultimately they believe that man is morally perfectible. Because of this, they believe that there exist some people who are further along the path of moral development, have overcome self-interest and are immune to the influence of power and therefore can act as surrogate decision-makers for the rest of society.

    The Constrained (or Tragic) View

    Sowell argues that the constrained vision relies heavily on belief that human nature is essentially unchanging and that man is naturally inherently self-interested, regardless of the best intentions. Those with a constrained vision prefer the systematic processes of the rule of law and experience of tradition. Compromise is essential because there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs. Those with a constrained vision favor solid empirical evidence and time-tested structures and processes over intervention and personal experience. Ultimately, the constrained vision demands checks and balances and refuses to accept that all people could put aside their innate self-interest.

    As an example, consider attitudes toward crime. The left sees crime as stemming from poor social conditions and they see criminals as victims needing support and remediation. The right in contrast favors strong punishment to disincentivize anti-social behavior.

  205. @Desiderius
    It's about time the overflowing love of sophisticated Chritians for Habermas was requited.

    When I read about the forthcoming book of Habermas about the deep kinship of Christianity and Philosophy (let me put it this way), I instantly thought of a story told by Jürgen Habermas in one of his hitherto sixty books, and this story is about a black priest and his mighty (!) words. I think it happened in NYC but I might look this story up.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Three best (most learned and lettered, cohesive, and credibly, powerfully inspirational) sermons I've heard in the last ten years were from not just black preachers, but black pulpits.
  206. @vinteuil

    ...1700 p...
     
    1700 pages of Jürgen Habermas?

    You've got to be kidding.

    Like anybody's life is long enough for that.

    Well, Habermas is one of those authors I have indeed read almost everything he wrote. But I grew up near Heidelberg, where Habermas had been teaching, and one of my really good teachers at the Gymnasium knew him from his studies and told us about Habermas’ ideas when we were – when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. That helped.
    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion” from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.

    • Replies: @vinteuil

    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion” from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.
     
    The sketch takes 372 pages?
  207. @dfordoom

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!
     
    We could be in for a long wait.

    dfordoom wrote to me:

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Well… not as bad as the Aztecs!

    In any case, my point was that the various civilizations based on Islam or Christianity are historically anomalous. Westerners and Muslims see religion of a very particulart sort as central to art, morality, social order, family life, etc. in a way that is just not that common in human history.

    It’s as if Hindus were to argue that you could not have real art, morality, family life without the caste system, both varna and jati (I suppose some Hindus have argued that!).

    Anyone who argues that human civilization must have certain characteristics should do a quick fact check to see if their claim is true of historical China, the Hellenic world, etc.

    If not, their hypothesis is false.

  208. @nebulafox
    >Societies dominated by Mosaic/Abrahamic religions have this mindset that “religion” is exclusivist (you can’t be both a Muslim and a Christian), the source of morality (the Ten Commandments and all that), henotheistic (a special relationship with one particular god), communal (you’re a “member” of a church or synagogue), and focused on belief (you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, Allah was the messenger of God, or whatever).

    There's one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad. It was a messily sectarian place where literacy and statehood was rare, and sects that had long since been kicked out of Rome and Persia could flee to. You could indeed find Jews and Christians in the apocalypse-awaiting proto-Islamic community-just as you could find other varieties of Christians that believed in notions of the Holy Spirit being female or worshiping the old pagan deities as angels, something that the Prophet denounced in bloodcurdling terms as not being "truly" monotheist at all. Even during the first generations after the conquests, Byzantine sources show that the Arabs were thought of as something like heretical non-Trinitarian Christians as opposed to anything noticeably Islamic. The Arabs themselves, for their part, thought they were acting in the grand tradition of their ancestor: "Abraham the True", the founder of the primordial, "true" faith. One of the theories behind the motivation for the conquest even revolves around this idea: after all, as far as Muhammad and Company were concerned, weren't they just as entitled to Palestine as the Jews?

    Why that changed is really an exercise in understanding how subordinate religion is to culture: the Arabs needed a way to distinguish themselves from the conquered peoples. Then, over the next centuries, Islam would absorb a lot of Zoroastrian features as the ancient Persian religion died out, which give what comes off to a Westerner as an "Eastern" vibe. Praying five times a day, the emphasis on purity and washing... in that sense, one could view Christianity and Islam as half-brothers, sharing a similar Jewish genesis, but having vastly different (Greco-Roman vs Persian) fathers overseeing their transition to adulthood and giving them their values.

    nebulafox wrote to me:

    There’s one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad.

    Yeah, and the ancient Christian excursion into Central and East Asia was also pretty interesting — when we visited China a few years back, we saw an ancient Nestorian artifact.

    By the way, there seems to be a real debate among scholars (a bit muted by the fear of jihadis!) as to exactly what really happened in the early centuries of Islam. Was early Islam really just a heretical form of Christianity? Or Judaism? We have almost no documents from those early centuries that have not been extensively redacted, so it is hard to tell.

    I think you and I agree, though, that the modal Christian point of view is more or less as I described it.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    The bubbling religious milieu of Tang-era China is one of those subjects that I really wish I knew more about, but I'm fully ignorant of outside of some skim-level osmosis knowlege. If I ever make it back to China, I'm gonna binge.

    >By the way, there seems to be a real debate among scholars (a bit muted by the fear of jihadis!) as to exactly what really happened in the early centuries of Islam. Was early Islam really just a heretical form of Christianity? Or Judaism? We have almost no documents from those early centuries that have not been extensively redacted, so it is hard to tell.

    Yeah, it is not a topic you see a lot of scholars eager to embrace. It'd be quite ironic if Islam had its roots in Jewish messianism. I wouldn't go as far as some do there-the Qu'ran does show that the Arabs were, if not nationalistic in the sense that we'd recognize it, aware that they were their own people with their own language and culture-but the Arabs probably did head for the Holy Land first for a reason.

    The Arabs seem not to have objected to being considered heretical Christians of a sort by their former Roman subjects until Abd al-Malik came along. But I don't think that is what they thought of themselves as. Luckily, we do have one very easy source to look at! Unlike all the hadiths and biographies of the Prophet, the Qu'ran does seem to authentically date from Muhammad's lifetime. So, I actually take the Qu'ran's word more or less at face value, stripping away all the inevitable commentaries and clarifications that the Muslims insert in it: the Arabs were following what they perceived to be the pure monotheism of their ancestor, Abraham. Mu'awiyah's address to Constantine IV during his forays against Constantinople seems to confirm this. And because of the general societal breakdown of the Near East around the early seventh century in which the old tribal structures broke down, it isn't unreasonable to assume that Muhammad was the most successful of the new generation of monotheistic prophet-leaders that arose to fill the vacuum. When you do things like this, you can put the traditional Islamic account into context-like most oral traditions, it probably breaks down at the details of the exact persons and events but does have a kernel in reality-however misunderstood-at the core-and come up with a reasonably plausible picture, although barring a time machine, we'll never know for sure.

    As an aside, that Muslims in their version of "Sunday school" are taught the traditional narrative about the origins of their faith-that it exploded out of Arabia fully formed-should seem natural to anyone with childhood experience with the Christian equivalent. But what is truly interesting is that post-Rashidun history is generally ignored as well, especially after the conservative, globalizing turn Sunni Islam took after 1979. The Shi'ites seem to be somewhat better about this due to theological necessity (that, and the Iranians have an intellectual streak to them that is rare in that part of the planet-they really were the analogue to the Hellenistic Greek east if we take the Arabs as the Latin Romans and the Turks as the Germanic peoples in the new societal construct). But I don't enough about Shi'a religious education to comment intelligently on that.

    >I think you and I agree, though, that the modal Christian point of view is more or less as I described it.

    For the most part, yeah. I like talking about the early histories of these religions because it is fun and interesting, not because I have delusions that it truly matters in real life issues concerning believers and religion today. "Religion" is what people make of it. Whatever Islam was in the 600s, it has been for the majority of its history a clear, distinct, seperate faith, and whatever its true origins, the narrative as understood by the billion+ Muslims around the globe defines what it "is", in my opinion. This would have really, really caused me a lot of mental distress a few years ago, but ever since I accepted the ability for nuance in life, I've grown a lot happier.

    Any potentiality of a murky Jewish-Christian hybrid died pretty quick in the sack of Jerusalem, and from the beginning, there was little chance of it merging with the pagan cults because of its Jewish origin. If Christianity sprang out of the womb of, say, Zoroastrianism or Greek paganism instead, it might be different. What did take much more time was for all the Gnostics and Marcionites and Pelagians and (especially) the Arians to die out. Some of the weird sects would survive out in Arabia, where imperial agents couldn't get them. This ties in with my original point: Muhammad would have been primarily exposed to Christians who believed in a lot of things that Constantinople would have considered absolutely beyond the pale. Some of these, as I mentioned, are listed up as prime examples of idolatry. But others would have been completely acceptable to the new community awaiting the seemingly imminent apocalypse.

  209. @Desiderius
    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.

    That state of affairs is far from unprecedented.

    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.

    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality — atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. — is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the “substance” of the wine and the wafers change while their “accidents” remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the “mystery” of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It’s just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the “modern synthesis” in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to “spiritual” pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the “mystery religions.”

    But, if so, I’d guess that those new “spiritual pursuits” will not quite be the old-time religion.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality — atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. — is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.
     
    Yes, I agree.

    I don't think there's any chance at all of a Christian revival. Christianity will continue to decline in the U.S. as it has elsewhere. What remains of Christianity will become steadily more pozzed as belief in the supernatural elements of the faith continue to decline.

    But you can't maintain a civilisation without something to believe in. So secular religions will take the place of Christianity. At the moment there is only one secular religion, the Church of Social Justice, communism having suffered a catastrophic eclipse.

    The Church of Social Justice however relies on economic prosperity. Compassion for strangers is a luxury for people who have plenty to eat, comfortable houses and whose every material need has been met. Social Justice is a problem that bothers rich people. If that economic prosperity becomes a thing of the past then communism and fascism could stage spectacular comebacks. And they have the advantage of being a lot more rational than Social Justice.

    Islam is the wild card. It doesn't require people to believe stuff like virgin births, miracles, people rising from the dead. It's more compatible with modern thought systems.
    , @dfordoom

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam.
     
    Science and technology are not producing the spectacular advances that characterised the period from about 1800 to 1960. For most non-scientists science and technology are the same thing. And technological progress is a lot less exciting than it used to be. All those sexy spectacular inventions - locomotives, steam ships, photography, antibiotics, radio, television, cars, aircraft, computers, jetliners, spacecraft, the Moon landings.

    What we've seen in recent decades are mostly incremental improvements that make downloading porn faster, allow wildly unconvincing special effects in dumb comic book movies and allow people to think hundreds of complete strangers care about them. These are not inspiring inventions.

    One of the reasons that capitalism became the dominant global ideology is that it basked in the reflected glory of rapid scientific and technological advances.
    , @Desiderius

    it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA
     
    Delayed childbearing. For better or worse, the churches have been teaching that the prodigal son is now normative. Mandatory Rumspringa for all!

    A good number of believing Christians aren't in the pews at all presently. Many in the pulpits aren't Christian at all nor particularly bothered by that fact. The situation is fluid.
    , @Desiderius
    You seem awfully enamored with modernism. If you think that view widely shared I'm afraid you'll be terribly disappointed.

    Science and Spirit play for the same team. The other is Arts and Body. Forgoing those giants has left you blind on many questions.
    , @nebulafox
    >So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to “spiritual” pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the “mystery religions.” But, if so, I’d guess that those new “spiritual pursuits” will not quite be the old-time religion.

    Unfortunately, over the last 100 years, most of the replacements for the traditional religions worldwide have proven to be far nastier than they ever were. Things have calmed down some over the last few decades-the tenets of neoliberalism as a new religious faith is highly flawed but better than some other things we've seen!-but humans are quick to forget, easy to convince, and always capable of innovating, for better or for worse.

    In the modern United States, for our part, we have been witnessing an attempt to transfer the impulses of Christianity to liberal political ideology. Not that they weren't always intertwined, but over the last half-century, it has become more and more like a crude replacement than genuine intermingling. The more and more I look at how the MSM and political segment of our ruling class genuinely views the world, the more I sense an essentially religious character to it. I would suspect the oligarchs have more cynicism than they do, but still... if Constantine could embrace the cross, why can't the chiefs of Google and Amazon become the new moral exemplars, as per Vox?

    I guess the main priority is ensuring that we don't end up screwing this transition up like the classical world did and ending up with another Dark Ages.

    I am not, at this juncture, optimistic. Already the elites want feudalism.

  210. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.

    it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality — atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. — is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    Yes, I agree.

    I don’t think there’s any chance at all of a Christian revival. Christianity will continue to decline in the U.S. as it has elsewhere. What remains of Christianity will become steadily more pozzed as belief in the supernatural elements of the faith continue to decline.

    But you can’t maintain a civilisation without something to believe in. So secular religions will take the place of Christianity. At the moment there is only one secular religion, the Church of Social Justice, communism having suffered a catastrophic eclipse.

    The Church of Social Justice however relies on economic prosperity. Compassion for strangers is a luxury for people who have plenty to eat, comfortable houses and whose every material need has been met. Social Justice is a problem that bothers rich people. If that economic prosperity becomes a thing of the past then communism and fascism could stage spectacular comebacks. And they have the advantage of being a lot more rational than Social Justice.

    Islam is the wild card. It doesn’t require people to believe stuff like virgin births, miracles, people rising from the dead. It’s more compatible with modern thought systems.

    • Replies: @RSDB

    stuff like virgin births
     
    It does actually.
  211. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam.

    Science and technology are not producing the spectacular advances that characterised the period from about 1800 to 1960. For most non-scientists science and technology are the same thing. And technological progress is a lot less exciting than it used to be. All those sexy spectacular inventions – locomotives, steam ships, photography, antibiotics, radio, television, cars, aircraft, computers, jetliners, spacecraft, the Moon landings.

    What we’ve seen in recent decades are mostly incremental improvements that make downloading porn faster, allow wildly unconvincing special effects in dumb comic book movies and allow people to think hundreds of complete strangers care about them. These are not inspiring inventions.

    One of the reasons that capitalism became the dominant global ideology is that it basked in the reflected glory of rapid scientific and technological advances.

  212. @Dieter Kief
    Well, Habermas is one of those authors I have indeed read almost everything he wrote. But I grew up near Heidelberg, where Habermas had been teaching, and one of my really good teachers at the Gymnasium knew him from his studies and told us about Habermas' ideas when we were - when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. That helped.
    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion" from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.

    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion” from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.

    The sketch takes 372 pages?

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Uhhh. Habermas is a good man and tackles serious questions with a very wide angle perspective - that seems to be his nature. He is always trying to address as many people in a certain context, as seems reasonable to him - and those are indeed - - - many. - That is one reason for his worldwide success, which is something very unlikely if you think how complex a lot of his arguments are. He seems to be the most discussed living philosopher. His books sell in over forty countries - amongst them China.

    Anyway, now I am a bit more precise: In Between Naturalism and Relgion, there are a few chapters about philosophy and religion, which add up to less than a hundred p. and those chapters give an idea of the new book's 1700 p., so: That looks like a shortcut now, doesn't it?

  213. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.

    it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA

    Delayed childbearing. For better or worse, the churches have been teaching that the prodigal son is now normative. Mandatory Rumspringa for all!

    A good number of believing Christians aren’t in the pews at all presently. Many in the pulpits aren’t Christian at all nor particularly bothered by that fact. The situation is fluid.

  214. @Dieter Kief
    When I read about the forthcoming book of Habermas about the deep kinship of Christianity and Philosophy (let me put it this way), I instantly thought of a story told by Jürgen Habermas in one of his hitherto sixty books, and this story is about a black priest and his mighty (!) words. I think it happened in NYC but I might look this story up.

    Three best (most learned and lettered, cohesive, and credibly, powerfully inspirational) sermons I’ve heard in the last ten years were from not just black preachers, but black pulpits.

  215. @dfordoom

    As Gibbon famously said:

    The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
     
    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Of course, Ayn Rand argued that we could not have a stable, long-lasting, and truly civilized society unless most people adopted her “Objectivism”!
     
    We could be in for a long wait.

    The only problem with that is that the Roman Empire was a cesspit of depravity and degeneracy. And corruption. It was perhaps the most barbaric civilisation in history.

    Which is why some of her best and brightest turned their lonely eyes to Judaism, as Steve looks longingly to Israel today. Most settled on Christianity after getting a load of Judaic OCD.

  216. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.

    You seem awfully enamored with modernism. If you think that view widely shared I’m afraid you’ll be terribly disappointed.

    Science and Spirit play for the same team. The other is Arts and Body. Forgoing those giants has left you blind on many questions.

  217. @PhysicistDave
    nebulafox wrote to me:

    There’s one prominent though limited exception to this, and it is a highly ironic one: Arabia around the time of Muhammad.
     
    Yeah, and the ancient Christian excursion into Central and East Asia was also pretty interesting -- when we visited China a few years back, we saw an ancient Nestorian artifact.

    By the way, there seems to be a real debate among scholars (a bit muted by the fear of jihadis!) as to exactly what really happened in the early centuries of Islam. Was early Islam really just a heretical form of Christianity? Or Judaism? We have almost no documents from those early centuries that have not been extensively redacted, so it is hard to tell.

    I think you and I agree, though, that the modal Christian point of view is more or less as I described it.

    The bubbling religious milieu of Tang-era China is one of those subjects that I really wish I knew more about, but I’m fully ignorant of outside of some skim-level osmosis knowlege. If I ever make it back to China, I’m gonna binge.

    >By the way, there seems to be a real debate among scholars (a bit muted by the fear of jihadis!) as to exactly what really happened in the early centuries of Islam. Was early Islam really just a heretical form of Christianity? Or Judaism? We have almost no documents from those early centuries that have not been extensively redacted, so it is hard to tell.

    Yeah, it is not a topic you see a lot of scholars eager to embrace. It’d be quite ironic if Islam had its roots in Jewish messianism. I wouldn’t go as far as some do there-the Qu’ran does show that the Arabs were, if not nationalistic in the sense that we’d recognize it, aware that they were their own people with their own language and culture-but the Arabs probably did head for the Holy Land first for a reason.

    The Arabs seem not to have objected to being considered heretical Christians of a sort by their former Roman subjects until Abd al-Malik came along. But I don’t think that is what they thought of themselves as. Luckily, we do have one very easy source to look at! Unlike all the hadiths and biographies of the Prophet, the Qu’ran does seem to authentically date from Muhammad’s lifetime. So, I actually take the Qu’ran’s word more or less at face value, stripping away all the inevitable commentaries and clarifications that the Muslims insert in it: the Arabs were following what they perceived to be the pure monotheism of their ancestor, Abraham. Mu’awiyah’s address to Constantine IV during his forays against Constantinople seems to confirm this. And because of the general societal breakdown of the Near East around the early seventh century in which the old tribal structures broke down, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that Muhammad was the most successful of the new generation of monotheistic prophet-leaders that arose to fill the vacuum. When you do things like this, you can put the traditional Islamic account into context-like most oral traditions, it probably breaks down at the details of the exact persons and events but does have a kernel in reality-however misunderstood-at the core-and come up with a reasonably plausible picture, although barring a time machine, we’ll never know for sure.

    As an aside, that Muslims in their version of “Sunday school” are taught the traditional narrative about the origins of their faith-that it exploded out of Arabia fully formed-should seem natural to anyone with childhood experience with the Christian equivalent. But what is truly interesting is that post-Rashidun history is generally ignored as well, especially after the conservative, globalizing turn Sunni Islam took after 1979. The Shi’ites seem to be somewhat better about this due to theological necessity (that, and the Iranians have an intellectual streak to them that is rare in that part of the planet-they really were the analogue to the Hellenistic Greek east if we take the Arabs as the Latin Romans and the Turks as the Germanic peoples in the new societal construct). But I don’t enough about Shi’a religious education to comment intelligently on that.

    >I think you and I agree, though, that the modal Christian point of view is more or less as I described it.

    For the most part, yeah. I like talking about the early histories of these religions because it is fun and interesting, not because I have delusions that it truly matters in real life issues concerning believers and religion today. “Religion” is what people make of it. Whatever Islam was in the 600s, it has been for the majority of its history a clear, distinct, seperate faith, and whatever its true origins, the narrative as understood by the billion+ Muslims around the globe defines what it “is”, in my opinion. This would have really, really caused me a lot of mental distress a few years ago, but ever since I accepted the ability for nuance in life, I’ve grown a lot happier.

    Any potentiality of a murky Jewish-Christian hybrid died pretty quick in the sack of Jerusalem, and from the beginning, there was little chance of it merging with the pagan cults because of its Jewish origin. If Christianity sprang out of the womb of, say, Zoroastrianism or Greek paganism instead, it might be different. What did take much more time was for all the Gnostics and Marcionites and Pelagians and (especially) the Arians to die out. Some of the weird sects would survive out in Arabia, where imperial agents couldn’t get them. This ties in with my original point: Muhammad would have been primarily exposed to Christians who believed in a lot of things that Constantinople would have considered absolutely beyond the pale. Some of these, as I mentioned, are listed up as prime examples of idolatry. But others would have been completely acceptable to the new community awaiting the seemingly imminent apocalypse.

  218. @PhysicistDave
    Desiderius wrote to me:

    “We” are not transitioning at all. We have a decadent ruling class who are off their meds and a small class of super achievers who see little need for the church.
     
    Well, I think that is empirically mistaken. From what I have seen of formal studies, as well as what I have seen myself anecdotally, it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality -- atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. -- is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.

    The idea that the "substance" of the wine and the wafers change while their "accidents" remain the same just seems kooky to most modern, educated people. Same thing for the Virgin Birth (where did Jesus get the Y chromosome?), the "mystery" of the Trinity, the Vicarious Atonement, etc.

    I know attempts have been made to reconcile all of that with a modern world-view, but, for most people, we are just talking about two different ways of thinking that simply do not interface.

    A bit as if someone tried to combine the world of Star Wars with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I know that most of the people I am talking about do not have a deep understanding of either science or Christianity. But, as someone who does know a lot about science, and, I have found, more about Christian beliefs than most of our contemporaries, I have to say that I think this sense of incompatibility is legitimate.

    You and I agree that naive materialism does not work, but that is not really what is at issue. Very few people are actually naive materialists (indeed a decreasing number of philosophers and fewer of us physicists than you might think). The Soviets actually tried to impose dogmatic materialism, and the evidence is that they failed.

    No, science does not imply naive materialism, and naive materialism is not what is causing people to abandon religion.

    It's just that the thought world of the Hellenistic Age is no longer our thought world.

    Of course, the little secret that few people are talking about (John Horgan is a major exception) is that science is running out of steam. Science made enourmous progress from 1900 to 1940: relativity, quantum mechnics, the "modern synthesis" in biology, the discovery of other galaxies and the expansion of the universe, etc.

    There was also huge progress from 1940 to 1980: the genetic code, plate tectonics, the Standard Model of elementary particles, pulsars and quasars, the cosmic microwave background radiation (proof of the Big Bang), etc.

    But in the last forty years, not so much. We discovered the Higgs (but all of us particle physicists knew it had to be there!). We have found that the expansion of the universe is accelerating (but Einstein knew that was a theoretical possibility a century ago). And the discovery of extra-solar planets is pretty cool (though all of us sci-fi readers knew they must exist).

    But, no fundamental revoluation like quantum mechanics or plate tectonics or molecular biology. For forty years.

    By and large, we have just been filling in the empty blanks, working out the details. For four decades now.

    So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to "spiritual" pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the "mystery religions."

    But, if so, I'd guess that those new "spiritual pursuits" will not quite be the old-time religion.

    >So, maybe as science loses steam, people will return to “spiritual” pursuits. This seems to be what happened in the age of the “mystery religions.” But, if so, I’d guess that those new “spiritual pursuits” will not quite be the old-time religion.

    Unfortunately, over the last 100 years, most of the replacements for the traditional religions worldwide have proven to be far nastier than they ever were. Things have calmed down some over the last few decades-the tenets of neoliberalism as a new religious faith is highly flawed but better than some other things we’ve seen!-but humans are quick to forget, easy to convince, and always capable of innovating, for better or for worse.

    In the modern United States, for our part, we have been witnessing an attempt to transfer the impulses of Christianity to liberal political ideology. Not that they weren’t always intertwined, but over the last half-century, it has become more and more like a crude replacement than genuine intermingling. The more and more I look at how the MSM and political segment of our ruling class genuinely views the world, the more I sense an essentially religious character to it. I would suspect the oligarchs have more cynicism than they do, but still… if Constantine could embrace the cross, why can’t the chiefs of Google and Amazon become the new moral exemplars, as per Vox?

    I guess the main priority is ensuring that we don’t end up screwing this transition up like the classical world did and ending up with another Dark Ages.

    I am not, at this juncture, optimistic. Already the elites want feudalism.

  219. @vinteuil

    A scetch of his new book is to be ound in Between Naturalism and Religion” from 2005, 372 p. in the German edition.
     
    The sketch takes 372 pages?

    Uhhh. Habermas is a good man and tackles serious questions with a very wide angle perspective – that seems to be his nature. He is always trying to address as many people in a certain context, as seems reasonable to him – and those are indeed – – – many. – That is one reason for his worldwide success, which is something very unlikely if you think how complex a lot of his arguments are. He seems to be the most discussed living philosopher. His books sell in over forty countries – amongst them China.

    Anyway, now I am a bit more precise: In Between Naturalism and Relgion, there are a few chapters about philosophy and religion, which add up to less than a hundred p. and those chapters give an idea of the new book’s 1700 p., so: That looks like a shortcut now, doesn’t it?

  220. @Desiderius
    German scholars pretty much have to be speed readers. They never had a Hemingway.

    This one stuck in my memory, and whenever I thought of it, I thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein as a counter-example. The Ludwig was famous for boasting about all the stuff he had not read (almost all of the canonical texts). Did hurt neither his thinking nor his reputation.

    And this might be (at least part of) the reason that he was crystal clear about the structural (= inherent!) shortcomings of modern science – and the necessity (=existential and or systematical “ort” (=place?)) of religion (cf. Thomas Rentsch: Heidegger und Wittgenstein und ders. : Gott (2005).

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Were the queen of the sciences not locked in the tower perhaps we wouldn’t be suffering from a replication crisis and a marked slowdown in new discoveries.
  221. Anonymous[342] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    . . . 1960s sociologist Erving Goffman, who was a main man in getting lunatic asylums shut down, which is what created homelessness.
     
    I've always wondered who came up with that disastrous idea. I've always heard that "Reagan shut down the mental hospitals," but that never seemed entirely correct to me.

    If you take a radical enviromentalist approach, nobody is born crazy. Crazy environments create crazy people. And what could be crazier than a nuthouse? People aren’t in nuthouses because they’re nuts, they’re nuts because they’re in nuthouses. Close the asylums and you cure insanity.

    • Replies: @Logan
    Bad schools create bad students.

    Laws cause crime.

    Medicine causes disease.
  222. Anonymous[281] • Disclaimer says:

    You can look at same issues with similar tools but come at it from departments of economics, business (market research), political science, etc. Even in some cases physics (the fad for social graphing for instance). Also law and law enforcement.

  223. @Dieter Kief
    This one stuck in my memory, and whenever I thought of it, I thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein as a counter-example. The Ludwig was famous for boasting about all the stuff he had not read (almost all of the canonical texts). Did hurt neither his thinking nor his reputation.


    And this might be (at least part of) the reason that he was crystal clear about the structural (= inherent!) shortcomings of modern science - and the necessity (=existential and or systematical "ort" (=place?)) of religion (cf. Thomas Rentsch: Heidegger und Wittgenstein und ders. : Gott (2005).

    Were the queen of the sciences not locked in the tower perhaps we wouldn’t be suffering from a replication crisis and a marked slowdown in new discoveries.

  224. @Jim Don Bob
    Right. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was to deinstitutionalization as The China Syndrome was to the death of nuclear power in the USA. Truly a perfect storm.

    A very powerful movie, and it had a point.

    The problem is that the point was only one side of a complex issue, but since the other side is never presented people act like it’s actually the whole story.

  225. @Anonymous
    If you take a radical enviromentalist approach, nobody is born crazy. Crazy environments create crazy people. And what could be crazier than a nuthouse? People aren't in nuthouses because they're nuts, they're nuts because they're in nuthouses. Close the asylums and you cure insanity.

    Bad schools create bad students.

    Laws cause crime.

    Medicine causes disease.

  226. I

    I don’t know. People learn from hardships, errors and suffering*****. What I’ve learned about philosophy is this: It is of absolutely no use for those who think it is of no use for them (often times quite successful persons (in social psychology too).

    II

    *****
    One of the rare exceptions from this rule might be thoughtful people (or groups of them) which are in a good mood: This at times induces a willingness to look at things in fresh and insightful ways. (This was Schillers and Goethe’s hope, I guess*****, and definitely Jean Pauls. Jean Paul soon started drinking hard, though (and never stopped) – the really lovely and thought-provoking insight- and playful Jean Paul – the longer the more – was the one which surfaced in his books…The first page (!) of Leben Filbels would make for a perfect example.

    *****
    cf. Friedrich Schiller’s Letter’s Concerning the Aesthetical Education of Mankind.

    (II is subject for further thoughts.)

  227. @dfordoom

    it seems that the under-30s are abandoning Christinaity in the USA (this happened several decades ago in Western Europe, of course, and was generally acknowledged as such by everyone from sociologists to fundamentalists).

    And, there is a simple explanation: the modern view of reality — atoms, evolution, a thirteen-billion-year-old universe, etc. — is simply a very different way of thinking than the thought world that produced Christianity.
     
    Yes, I agree.

    I don't think there's any chance at all of a Christian revival. Christianity will continue to decline in the U.S. as it has elsewhere. What remains of Christianity will become steadily more pozzed as belief in the supernatural elements of the faith continue to decline.

    But you can't maintain a civilisation without something to believe in. So secular religions will take the place of Christianity. At the moment there is only one secular religion, the Church of Social Justice, communism having suffered a catastrophic eclipse.

    The Church of Social Justice however relies on economic prosperity. Compassion for strangers is a luxury for people who have plenty to eat, comfortable houses and whose every material need has been met. Social Justice is a problem that bothers rich people. If that economic prosperity becomes a thing of the past then communism and fascism could stage spectacular comebacks. And they have the advantage of being a lot more rational than Social Justice.

    Islam is the wild card. It doesn't require people to believe stuff like virgin births, miracles, people rising from the dead. It's more compatible with modern thought systems.

    stuff like virgin births

    It does actually.

  228. @Logan
    Also Jonathan Haidt. Although for some reason he seems to be able to say most of what Peterson says without getting the extreme reaction to the same degree.

    Good point. Haidt has a soft, sensitive, empathetic style–less of a lightening rod than Peterson can effect.

  229. May I put my hand up
    I am a conservative sociologist
    I even had a big article on the measurement of social class published once

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