Lion of the Blogosphere

The cult of Trump

For more than a decade I’ve been writing, from time to time, about the psychology of belief, and how people believe what they believe because other people believe it, and not because they know whether or not it’s true. Other people often means other people in their social group, or tribe, rather than all other people in general.

Until now, I’ve usually been critical or people in mainstream media or elite liberal circles believing in untrue stuff, or people believing in religion. But unfortunately, I now have to call out the fact that what one may call the red tribe has now gone all-in on believing that the election was “stolen” by the Democrats because of massive “fraud,” without any evidence that this is true.

Trump has somehow gone from being a real estate developer to reality TV star to politician and now to cult leader. (The general definition of a cult includes veneration of the cult’s leader, and belief in stuff that’s considered nonsensical outside of the cult. The cult of Trump is a secular cult; it doesn’t involve the belief in anything supernatural.)

I want no part of this cult. Any of my readers who are cult members should just leave and stop reading or commenting.

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Also, I don’t know how people can think that the electoral process is biased against Trump when Trump did way better than expected based on polls or logical thinking about the electorate. People who rightly called out Democrats for not accepting that Trump beat Hillary are now doing the same thing to Biden, but at a ten-times amped-up level.

If only Trump hadn’t discouraged his supporters from voting by mail, giving a big advantage to the other side (you want your supporters to vote by any which way possible), he might have even won re-election.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 23, 2020 at 1:08 PM

Posted in Biology, Politics

Covid-19 November update

Back in August I wrote:

We keep getting worse and worse at social distancing, we are sending kids back to school, a new wave of cases before we get a vaccine seems kind of inevitable. I predict between 400,000 and 800,000 U.S. deaths from Covid-19 before the pandemic is ended with a vaccine.

My prediction continues to be on target. The last update from the Covid Tracking Project is that we have record number hospitalized and record cases in one day, and if the trend continues this will keep getting worse. We already have 233,000+ deaths.

We are heading into Thanksgiving, and unless the government shuts down all the roads to prevent people from going places on Thanksgiving (and we lack the political will to do that), Thanksgiving will cause a major spike at a time when the virus is already out of control.

Trump insisted we are “rounding the corner” and that the media will stop reporting on Covid-19 as soon as the election is over. Trump is being proved horrible wrong. We are not rounding a corner, we are in slow-motion heading into a huge collision.

It’s also obvious that eventually Covid-19 will be so bad we will say “oh shit, this is bad, we have to change our behavior” and state governments will start closing stuff, but we lack the wisdom to close stuff BEFORE it gets like that, thus we condemn a few hundred thousand to unnecessary deaths because we are too stupid to do the right thing at the right time.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 12, 2020 at 5:17 PM

As Lion predicted, Biden wins election

I’ve been waiting for things to settle down a little before I wrote my I-told-you-so post. Since way back in 2019 I’ve been saying that Trump would not win re-election.

Part of the calculation was that polls were so in favor of Biden that, even if Trump beat the polls by a substantial amount, he would still lose. It turns out that Trump did beat the polls by a substantial amount in some states, so once again the polling industry did a crappy job. I’m going to have to side with conspiracy theorists here. The polls could only be so bad because the pollsters intended them to be bad because people like to vote for a winner, so creating the perception that Biden was winning would bring out more votes for Biden.

The above probably explains why the media never fully acted like Biden had the election in the bag. They probably knew all along that the polls were rigged to exaggerate Biden’s lead over Trump.

Another part of the calculation that Biden would win was that the mainstream media had given up on being nonpartisan, and would do everything they could in order to ensure a Biden victory. And that too is what happened.

Even though Trump did much better than I expected, he did less better than it seemed on the night of the election as more mail-in ballots have been counted. Trump may have doomed his re-election with his insistence that his supporters not vote by mail. As a candidate, you want people to vote for you by any which way they can.

At the end of all the counting, Trump lost the big-three rustbelt states of PA, WI and MI which he won in 2016, plus also probably lost GA and AZ, two states that have voted for the Republican candidate for president for longer than some people voting last week have been alive.

If only Trump had taken the virus seriously, he probably would have won another four years in office. But it’s a testament to the power of cult-belief that so many people voted for him anyway despite how bad he’s been and how he has continually lied and bullshitted about the pandemic.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 9, 2020 at 1:37 PM

Posted in Politics

HBD and “Systemic Racism”

There’s probably nothing here that I haven’t previously written, but here it goes anyway.

The left believes that there is some mysterious force that’s preventing blacks from being successful. (Successful as defined by elite whites. If you were to define success as being good at sports, then blacks are the more successful race.)

The thing is that the left is actually correct, there is a mysterious force preventing blacks from being successful. That force is HBD. However, HBD is taboo and to even talk about it is to be the worst kind of racist.

There are some people in the HBD community who think that HBD is so obvious that everyone must secretly believe in it. But they are wrong. Just as Christians genuinely believe in Jesus, liberals genuinely believe that there’s no difference in intelligence between blacks and whites, and their anger at anyone who says otherwise is very real and not just an act.

Because HBD is off the table as the force that’s preventing blacks from being successful, the left has focused on “systemic racism” as the cause. In this the left is actually more correct than conservatives who deny that systemic racism is a thing but agree with the liberals that HBD is racist and untrue.

Fifteen years ago I was optimistic that, thanks to the internet, the truth of HBD would get out there and finally become widely believed, but in fact the opposite has happened. If anything, the early naughts were the golden age of freedom to talk about HBD. The amount of online censorship of anything deemed to be “racist” is increasing, and HBD has been co-opted by a bunch of dumb proles who may be called “alt right” or “white supremacists” or whatever. The irony is that the white supremacists themselves believe in systemic racism and deny the truth of HBD; they promote a narrative that Jews are racists and the white gentiles are the victims of Jewish racism. Just like the liberals, they deny that Jews are more successful because they have high-IQ genes. When even the people who are supposed to believe in HBD don’t believe in it when it hurts their feelings, I guess it’s not likely that liberals are ever going to believe in it. At least not without some major society-shaking capitulation.

Trump supporters insist that Trump has expanded the so-called “Overton window,” but I see no evidence of that in the arena of HBD. During the last four years, the Overton window has narrowed and the types of statements that can get you censored online or fired from your job have increased in scope. Trump supporters say we are supposed to applaud Trump’s small victories in the arena of immigration, but those will be ephemeral and end as soon as Joe Biden takes over. In the more important battle, the battle for HBD, we have lost ground under four years of Trump.

The left is becoming more and more adamant that we must finally do something about the “systemic racism” that’s all around us, and without HBD there’s no way to disprove “systemic racism.” Therefore our problems are only going to get worse, and whatever the left does to try to end “systemic racism” is only going to make matters worse because you can’t end something that doesn’t exist and it will probably result in even more bad feelings between blacks and whites and liberals and conservatives, as well as rising crime because police are blamed for “systemic racism,” and with rising crime will come collapse of urban areas with a lot of blacks. Attempts to end “systemic racism” will make the live of blacks worse rather than better.

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Commenter Simon writes:

There are only two ways to explain away the obvious inequalities: Either they’re the result of small but significant genetic differences, innate and intractable, or they’re merely the result of bias and of black economic disadvantage — in which case it’s our duty to throw more money at the problem, step up racial preferences, bow to black resentment, and foster a sense of white guilt.

So yeah, science is ultimately the only remedy.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 29, 2020 at 10:38 AM

Posted in Biology

The coming collapse of New York City

It has been a month since I last wrote a post about this topic. Since then, I have become even more pessimistic about the future.

To remind you of the basic thesis, although they say that New York City has many industries like finance and banking, business services, media and publishing, etc., in fact this can be generalized to say that New York City has only one industry: people working in office buildings. If that industry leaves New York City because everyone who used to work in office buildings is working from home, then I can’t see any other future for New York City besides a total collapse, maybe even worse than the collapse of Detroit because, as the proverb goes, the bigger they are the harder they fall.

New York City is a special case, because it has more density and is more dependent on public transportation than any other city in the United States, plus it’s also the most expensive city in the United States. The pandemic won’t cause mass migration out of Phoenix, Arizona (the 10th most-populated metropolitan area in the U.S.) which is more like a really big suburb than a city in the way that New York is a city. People have to live somewhere, so there’s no particular reason for people to move out of the Phoenix area even if they are working from home instead of working in the office.

New York City is like a Ponzi scheme that requires a constant influx of corporate jobs and gentrifiers and construction projects in order to balance its budget despite having the highest tax collection per capita of anywhere else in the United States. As businesses and rich people move out, budget cuts and reduction in services will make New York City an even a crappier place to live and more will move out. Garbage is already piling up, the presence and aggressiveness of homeless are increasing, shooting incidents have doubled since a year ago.

The big question is, when will people return to the office? Will they ever? The last report on this from the New York Times indicates that less than 10% of workers have returned to the office, primarily in real-estate and banks, two industries that are especially worried about a collapse in commercial real estate (with banks having lent lots of money to big construction projects) and are trying to set a “good example” for other industries. (With a “good example” actually being a bad example for public health.)

The reason I have become more pessimistic is because it now seems to me that the pandemic is not going to have a magical neat ending. I think people are imagining that everyone is given a vaccine and Covid-19 disappears never to return again. This is unlikely to be the case. Most worrying, to me, is that during the previous two weeks there has been a rise in cases in the Hasidic neighborhoods. The Hasidim have not been social distancing for months, so why are they suddenly getting sick again now? My answer is that immunity to Covid-19 begins to fade after five to six months.

My other thought is that there will probably be an outbreak of Covid-19 AFTER we start vaccinating people. I think it’s pretty predictable that, after receiving the vaccine, people will think they can go back to normal, take off their masks, go to crowded indoor places. But if the vaccine is only 75% effective, and only 75% of the people have been vaccinated, that’s a recipe for an outbreak. There are flu outbreaks every year despite vaccines and people having had the flu before.

I think that in order for the virus to go away, we need to force EVERYONE to get vaccinated, and I don’t think we have the political will to do that, just as we don’t have the political will to make everyone wear masks in places where they should be wearing them. Robert Redfield pissed off the virus-denier-in-chief when he said that masks may be more effective at stopping spread of the virus than a vaccine. But it’s probably true.

I don’t foresee the other 90% of New York City office workers going back to the office until Covid-19 is gone. Until then, people don’t want to take crowded trains and subways, ride crowded elevators, so they can stay cooped up indoors for 8+ hours where one infected person could infect dozens of their coworkers. Corporations don’t seem to be willing to make people do that given that remote work has been working well enough, and will probably get better as people learn how to adapt it.

If Covid-19 is not gone, even after a vaccine is widely available, I don’t see New York City ever recovering. Even if Covid-19 completely disappears next summer, New York City may not be able to survive because the work-from-home model has been proven to be successful and if 20% of office workers continue to work from home, that might be enough to continue the death spiral that leads to the collapse of New York City. But given my prediction that Covid-19 will NOT completely disappear within another year or two, the collapse of New York City is inevitable.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 4, 2020 at 12:49 PM

Once again, Lion’s prediction was correct, Biden won the debate

Right after viewing the debate, it was hard to know that Biden won, because Trump’s bullying of both Biden and Chris Wallace gave the impression that Trump won some sort of battle of machismo.

But based on the latest NY Times polling, using the only scoring system that really matters, whether voters are more likely to vote for one of the candidates after watching the debate, Biden won.

Voters want a President like Mitt Romney and not a President like Tony Soprano, even though Tony Soprano could beat up Mitt Romney in a street fight. Not to say that Biden came even close to Mitt Romney’s presidentialness, but not looking senile was all he needed to win, and he succeeded.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 3, 2020 at 4:04 PM

Posted in Politics

Trump has the virus, what next?

For starters, we don’t know the full extent of the outbreak. If the President, the First Lady, and Hope Hicks have all caught the virus, the outbreak is probably bigger than just the three of them. I think the story will inevitably grow bigger over the next two days.

Then the second unknown is whether or not Trump’s Mr. Magoo luck holds out. Two weeks from now, I can certainly imagine a healthy Trump saying that the virus is no big deal and that we need to open up the economy ASAP.

If Trump is hospitalized, then I don’t see how he can win the election. Although, even before today, I didn’t see any way for Trump to win the election. But the defeat will be that much bigger.

And if Trump dies, then a lot of people will have schadenfreude and it will be a poetic end to his presidency. I’d certainly be glad if Mike Pence runs the country for the final three months before Biden takes over. Pence is far more competent than Trump. I can’t imagine Pence making fun of people for wearing masks.

Of course, the ultimate in Mr. Magoo luck would be if Biden caught it from Trump at the debate and gets seriously ill while Trump doesn’t get ill, and Trump wins the election he otherwise would have lost.

UPDATE

Trump is in the hospital, so I think his Mr. Magoo luck has finally failed him.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 2, 2020 at 8:41 AM

Posted in Politics

Looks like I was right after all, Biden DID win the debate

According to an exclusive poll, Biden won the debate “convincingly.”

The poll surveyed debate watchers but then weighted the demographics of the survey group to the population of likely voters in November. Most pollsters don’t do this, which ends up skewing their results toward Democrats because left-leaning college graduates are disproportionately likely to watch debates.

But even with the more Trump-friendly weighting, the poll shows a clear win for Biden and, not coincidentally, a fairly overwhelming sense that Biden’s conduct during the debate was more presidential.

Another Lion prediction came true.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 1, 2020 at 12:45 PM

Posted in Politics

The truth comes out, political correctness overrules real science

From a New York Times article:

When the coronavirus emerged in China in January, the World Health Organization didn’t flinch in its advice: Do not restrict travel.

But what is now clear is that the policy was about politics and economics more than public health.

Public health records, scores of scientific studies and interviews with more than two dozen experts show the policy of unobstructed travel was never based on hard science. It was a political decision, recast as health advice, which emerged after a plague outbreak in India in the 1990s. By the time Covid-19 surfaced, it had become an article of faith.

“It’s part of the religion of global health: Travel and trade restrictions are bad,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University who helped write the global rules known as the International Health Regulations. “I’m one of the congregants.”

So we see, the mantra against not restricting travel is a combination of political correctness (don’t stigmatize non-white countries) and business interests (don’t harm the profitability of airlines and the tourism industry).

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 30, 2020 at 12:16 PM

OK, so I was wrong, Biden didn’t win, except that he did win the long game

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I think that most of Trump’s prole super-supporters (the kind who go to his rallies) who watched the debate are thinking that Trump won because he talked louder than everyone else in the room and proved that he has more energy than “sleepy” Joe Biden.

But maybe some of the college-educated voters, who voted for Trump because they traditionally vote Republican, watched this and decided that they can’t take another four years of a clown in the White House.

I’m in the “get the clown out of the White House” crowd, even though there’s little there that would specifically want to make me vote for Biden other than that he’s not a clown. I’m specifically annoyed that Biden refused to answer the question about packing the Supreme Court, which I think was one of the most important questions in the debate and was an opportunity for Biden to indicate that his presidency would be a return to normalcy.

Everyone in the MSM and Biden too think that the worst thing they can say about Trump is that he’s a “racist.” It’s like a kid in kindergarten thinking he really tore down another kid because he said that the other kid has “cooties.” Nevertheless, Trump could have answered that a lot better. I don’t think that “stand by” was meant for the Proud Boys, but merely that he meant to say some other more important stuff about Antifa first and then get back to condemning people, but he lost this train of thought because Trump is as bad as Biden when it comes to speaking coherently for more than a minute at a time.

One thing that Biden did well is say very firmly that he’s the Democratic Party now and not radical leftists. And he did come out firmly for NOT defunding the police.

Also, Biden didn’t debate poorly enough for anyone to be able to prove that he’s senile. In fact, that he was able to remember some obviously canned responses proves that he’s not senile, because Alzheimer’s disease is specifically the loss of short-term memory.

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Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 30, 2020 at 7:32 AM

Posted in Politics

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