World view – Saturday

Friday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.


  1. High Flying Duck

     /  October 20, 2018

    Great article on the fallout from the Kavanaugh hearings:

    This represents a turning point in the culture wars. I watched it play out with a sense of dread and horror. It was mortifying enough to see so many people completely abandon standards of jurisprudence such as burden of proof, or innocent until proven guilty. It was almost amusing at times to watch them disingenuously mount each step of the goal-post treadmill: “It’s not a trial it’s a job interview.” Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if he did it or not: “He got angry! He drank beer! He threw ice in 1985! Look at this yearbook from 1982!”

    At times I felt dazed trying to keep up with the mind-bending logic of people who argue only from Machiavellian tactical ends and never from first principles. Thus, within a week, the message went from #BelieveAllWomen to “don’t believe women that Michael Avenatti puts forward.” When there was still a chance it could bring Kavanaugh down, in lieu of corroboration or evidence, the Democrats and their assorted cheerleaders in the media and academia—and even some Republicans—endlessly repeated the phrase “credible testimony.” To quote Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow: “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.” This had all the hallmarks of gaslighting, and it was alarming to see august institutions such as The New Yorker ready to cash in decades of cultural capital for a tawdry political hit job. The Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, opted to drain away the last dregs of his credibility in an extraordinarily tin-eared column, even by his low standards, which has rightly been taken to task by Quillette already. More alarmingly, this was all done in broad daylight and millions could see it. If I was being optimistic, I’d say it was a moment in which lots of normal people woke up. If I was being pessimistic, I’d say it was a moment in which the left chose a nuclear option that threatens to turn the culture wars into a civil war.

    However, the thing that worried me most about the whole episode was something else: the basic inability of those on the left to see Brett Kavanaugh as a human being with a family, friends, and a reputation to uphold. Most normal people saw Kavanaugh on the stand fighting for his life. Personally, I was reminded of John Proctor from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a play about the Salem witch trials, who screams “because it’s my name” as he refuses to sign the confession that he has consorted with devils. However, this was not the reaction from thousands of people on the left. To them, Kavanaugh was something else. He was a symbol of the “white male patriarchy.” He was a petulant and spoiled creature of privilege, and an emblem of everything wrong with the US and Western civilization more generally (which, of course, they also despise). To these people, Christine Blasey Ford was not simply a victim, but a symbol of all women: a hero, a martyr, a modern-day saint. To me, as someone who believes that the Western ideal of individualism is a bedrock of our common values, this is terrifying. It marked the moment that the juvenile “Resistance” movement and the genuinely important #MeToo movement coalesced into something resembling the spirit of the French Revolution.

  2. High Flying Duck

     /  October 20, 2018

  3. duperez

     /  October 20, 2018

    Man goes in to building get marriage licence. Picks fight with 18 people. Some of them referred to as an “assassination squad.”

    Gets dismembered and parts got rid of.

    The moral of the story: Don’t go in to a building to get marriage licence and pick a fight with 18 people particularly if some of them are described an “assassination squad.”

    Or: Getting married is not necessarily a good thing.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  October 20, 2018

      Salman fights and lies for his life. It may not be a long one.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 20, 2018

        Nobody could believe these lies and certainly not those who claim to. Each story is more pathetic than the last.

        Saudis – a bunch of lying killers with pots of money. Trump’s solution might be best – take their money and try to bankrupt them preferably in a war that also takes out Iran.

        • Gezza

           /  October 20, 2018

          Sell them F-35s. Those suckers will spend half their time in the repair shop.