We are often told that sometimes we must act as if the worst could happen, even if the worst is unlikely, because the worst is so bad.

This is the precautionary principle.

I am dubious about the usual applications of the principle, in part because of framing.

That is, the prophet of doom who delivers the extremist message of disaster has framed the imagined situation in such a way as to preclude other, equally valid scenarios in which the same principle works against his dire warning.

Take the current situation with the coronavirus.

We are being corralled like cattle with little or no respect for our rights. We are being told the government must do these things to stave off the worst outcomes.

There is a lot going on here. But consider another use of the same extremist imagining:

Conspiracy.

We were introduced to the contagion immediately along with the possibility that it was the product of human engineering leaked from a medical lab, perhaps by accident, perhaps by sabotage or worse.

Quickly the major news sources and political players and the usual academic upholders of Respectable Opinion worked to squelch such notions. Almost certainly, we were told, it was the inadvertent if predictable outcome of the Chinese practice of raising and selling cultivated wild animal meat in “wet markets.” The caging of farmed wild animals brought them too close together, allowing for a new virus to spring up and infect the world.

Plausible story. Likely story. But it is by no means certain.

As I argued with Emile Phaneuf on the last episode of the LocoFoco Netcast, if you were Doctor Evil and sought to engage in an international power play using a major contagion as a weapon, but wanted to hide your activity, you would release it in Wuhan.

That would be cover.

And, as David Icke notes, if you take note of the infection patterns in America’s Public Enemy No. 1, Iran, and do not at least suspect a weaponization, how stupid are you? Just how much of a mark, a sap, a willing victim do you have to be?

I say: you would be a stooge. The useful idiot of malign forces.

You don’t have to believe in the conspiracy conjecture. You don’t have the evidence.

But if you resist thinking about the possibility, you make yourself an easy mark for the worst of our species.

And we know that the worst of our species can be very bad indeed.

Belief is not the issue: it is suspicion and caution that the precautionary principle requires.

We do not KNOW if the coronavirus was deployed as an instrument of social control. But we do know it IS being used to rob us of freedoms and create a nation, indeed, a world, of servile sheep to be corralled and shorn and perhaps slaughtered for the benefit of an elite who likes being in charge.

That being the case, it would be a form of the precautionary principle to act as if the coronavirus had been deployed as a weapon, and therefore resist tyrannical paternalism and instead promote distributed responsibility as the way to increase the safety of the population.

Note what I’m saying here: if the precautionary principle seems to require a fixation on an extremely bad outcome of a contagion, just so it requires us to consider that it is being used as a means of suppressing freedom. That is, the bad outcome of a plot to take away our freedoms.

Belief in the face of the unknown is not relevant. Probability comes into play in cultivating wisdom, and so do other principles of prudence.

So, to those of you who reject “conspiracy theories” out of hand? I say: don’t be a stooge, either to a possible malign organization or to the tricky nature of a system spinning out of control, and into a new form of dangerous control.

Free people aren’t stooges.

twv

Sad situation, really, that I was too afraid to place this on LocoFoco.us:

David Icke just doesn’t believe the hype about the virus.

Why “afraid”?

Because LocoFoco.us points to a Facebook page, and Facebook has been giving our team page quite a bit of problem for posting “fake news.” Which means their “teams” did not approve of two or three of our sharing of some stories.

The powers that be do not like questions to their “truth.”

I am merely listening to this Bitchute talk, right now, and not through. But Icke’s right about the danger of getting rid of cash. And the Democrats in Congress are trying to push a digital currency as an emergency measure. Without cash, there is no hope for freedom. This is an end-time scenario for liberty.

Why do some rich guys think polygamy is their preserve?

as answered on Quora

There is a major difference in the sexual “economies” and “strategies” of males and females throughout the animal kingdom. Each species has “figured” out its way to handle the differences. Human beings have come up with a number of distinct patterns. Polygny is one of them. For reasons of basic biology, it is a much more natural a fit than polyandry — which nevertheless has occasionally occurred.

Men produce an overabundance of sperm to fertilize women’s small number of eggs. This is a radically unequal investment in genetic heritage. A man can sire hundreds, even thousands — technically millions — of babies; a woman, at best a handful. If a woman wanted to increase her genetic inheritance, having many “sperm donors” would be of little help. It is more rational — and, over the life of our species, this is how it tends to work out — to invest in a man or two to feed and protect her and her children. A man seeking to increase his progeny can collect more wives — or mate with many women he invests in not at all.

So, those men who want to increase their standing in the world — who want to flex their wills to power by siring many multiples of children — increase their numbers of wives.

Men tend to think in a “polygamous” fashion more than women because of that basic inequality: abundant sperm vs. scarce eggs.

There is nothing very mysterious about this.

The major wrinkle, in our time, is that to a remarkable degree the costs of child-rearing have been socialized. Women need not marry to raise children. “The village” raises the child, through subsidies such as public schools, public school breakfasts and lunches, SNAP, Section Eight housing, Medicaid, and much more. This and widespread use of contraception, abortion, and even infanticide allows women to ape typically male-desired promiscuity patterns — having many sexual partners — without inordinate discomfort, though it is worth noting that many of the professional feminists who push for these measures tend to be married and sport fairly stable marriages, merely using their ideology to export aped male sexual styles onto poor women, often to their ruin.* It is a weird and I think rather sick bit of moral gamesmanship, but most folks disagree.

And it is worth noting that women, as a class, are net tax consumers, and men, as a class, are net taxpayers, and this merely mimics the one-on-one marriage system of old, where men went out into the world to secure resources that women spent on setting up house and raising children. And to that extent polygamy has been socialized, with a mass of make taxpayers supporting a mass of female state aid recipients. Sociologist Herbert Spencer, linked above, had an old-fashioned term for the dominant sexual style of today, “promiscuity,” which he defined as “indefinite polyandry joined with indefinite polygyny.” Marriage is a more “definite” social institution, in his terminology, while today’s tax-based child-rearing system is far less definite, since much of the responsibility for raising children has been shifted from actual parents and guardians onto taxpayers, the courts, bureaucracies, and government functionaries.

It is a cruel joke upon both sexes, if you ask me, but no one asked me — the question was why men with great resources think that polygamy is their prerogative, in effect asking why rich men favor polygyny more than rich women favor polyandry. The answer should be obvious: cheap sperm vs. scarce eggs, coupled with the opportunity costs associated with rearing children, both of which have gone into the (observed) sexual division of labor of our species.

The subject is almost boring in its simplicity and explanatory power. What is interesting is how things change (and do not change) when the costs of raising children get socialized. Which is why I brought it up. Even if no one asked me.


* The puzzle of what I call the WWWWs — “The Woke White Women of the West” — in their bizarre, moralistic anti-white racism runs parallel to their defense of socialized child-rearing even while they themselves tend to adhere to the older, individualistic structure for their children, is fascinating. My guess is that their cult of Woman Power forces them into their strange cognitive dissonances, but my extended, high-octane speculations on this matter must be dealt with elsewhere.

Emile Phaneuf joins Timothy Virkkala for this, the fourth episode of the LocoFoco Netcast. The conversation covers what we can make of the COVID-19 menace in the context of the totalitarian threat. Can we survive and be free?

This podcast is available on Google, Spotify and iTunes, and is hosted by SoundCloud at LocoFoco.net. It is available in video on the LocoFoco channel:

LocoFoco Netcast No. 4

To interact with the LocoFoco team, go to LocoFoco.us. Timothy Wirkman Virkkala’s handle on Twitter, Gab, Minds, Facebook and the Liberdon instance of Mastodon is @wirkman; his blog is wirkman.com.

While reading a novel, last night, I was interrupted by intrusive thoughts — a memory of the day a man repeatedly called the magazine offices where I worked over two decades ago, threatening to kill us all with a knife. “I’ll rip out your guts,” he snarled. I took the phone from Kathy and, using a popular curse, wished him the worst in forceful terms. Actually, the grammatical form was an imperative, not an indicative or subjunctive: “wish” is an understatement. I told him never to call again.

As far as I know, he never did.

I sort of marvel that anyone would do such a thing, make an apparently empty threat. Unless I was so minatory that I scared him off? Seems unlikely.

Every now and then I wonder whether I knew the man in real life, if he followed me or any of the other people in the offices. Probably he just dialed a random number. At the time it did not cross my mind that he might have been the hitchhiker I once picked up who threatened to kill me. (I talked him down: he was a drunk and hadn’t put on his seatbelt, so my power over him was almost total.)

It did not once cross my mind to call the police. 

The police — indeed, the State — does not exist to protect us. The State intervenes in “justice markets” to suppress “the feud” and other patterns of revenge, and the police are mainly in service to clean up messes, chiefly those made by violence. An important job, but if you think protection is what they are all about, you have not been paying attention. We must protect ourselves.

twv

In his 2009 book, Christian pollster George Barna explores the varieties of religion in America. I’ve mentioned the book before, since I found it extremely interesting. But I just noticed something: he misses the religion that is coming to birth in our time.

There is no mention of UFOs in this book.

This is a big lapse, because, whatever else may be said about the “ancient aliens/flying saucer” aficionados, they are developing their lore at breakneck speed; it is in a foment as wild and diverse as was Christianity during its first 300 years; and there is a prominent and somewhat ominous spiritual component. Further, there are parallels to the bewildering complexion of religion 2000 years ago, with Gnostic, Orthodox, agnostic, philosophical, and misotheist sub-movements.

Of course, it may be that most members of the “seven faith tribes” that Barna explores in his polling data would be (outside his book) very dismissive of the “UFO nuts,” as to be expected.

“Everyone is.”

But that “everyone” is rapidly diminishing — especially now that several branches of the U.S. Government have admitted to the existence of so-far-as-yet-unexplained aerial phenomena that irregularly-but-not-too-infrequently appear in our oceans and skies, and appear to be (in many cases) craft of some kind.

This leaves the emerging religion in a very dangerous position: it could be captured by real beings of unknown variety — or charlatans and fake-outs. (Or both.) The weirdness of it all is quite dangerous.

You may think that Ancient Aliens is just rube entertainment. You would be wrong. I am not saying it is reliable or even mostly non-nut. But I am saying it is reaching increasing numbers of non-dismissive ears and imaginations, and that this is having a spiritual impact and will have an increasing political impact. The last election was truly interesting, since one of the two major candidates explicitly and repeatedly promised this community disclosure on the subject, from the U.S. Government. What this candidate did not appreciate was that she was, from what I can tell, more deeply distrusted in this community than in most. Not a few “UFO nuts” I have encountered believe that Trump was selected by elements within the Deep State to make a big push against her cult, which is regarded as untrustworthy in the extreme. We are talking Q-Anon kinds of conspiracy. PizzaGate and much, much more — but with the arrest and putative death of Jeffrey Epstein, PizzaGate has gained new legs. And even if this particular rumor turns out (as it looks) to be buncombe, the linkages between the trafficking of youngsters for sexual exploitation by the very rich and famous remains a thing.

Precisely what kind of thing, I do not know.

But it is noteworthy that John Podesta and the Clintons, who feature so big in PizzaGate lore, are all proud pushers of UFO disclosure.

With some amusement I also note that I write about UFO stuff more often than any of my friends would like. It creeps them out. As a known sympathizer with Barna’s so-called Captive Christians (odd name!) while having been for years a member in good standing of Barna’s Spiritual Skeptics, my affinity for UFOs may seem a bit out-of-the-blue. So, disclosure: my reasons for often bringing up this matter are not simple, but manifold:

  1. UFOs have influenced our culture greatly, aesthetically and ethically and spiritually;
  2. UFOs appear to have some unsettling truth-value, precisely what I do not know;
  3. Honest people should feel therefore compelled to consider the issue — admittedly bizarre — in non-dismissive ways;
  4. The issue has links to what I regard as most important story of our epoch, the cataclysms at the end of the Ice Age that are pregnant with paradigm-busting potential;
  5. The subject is such an enigma and so fraught with deception and error that it provides a good challenge for nimble minds — as I hope mine can qualify for, for a while at least;
  6. The subject is intimately related to all major traditional religions and esoteric religious traditions as well as to literature (science fiction) and dreams (ask Jung);
  7. The emerging religious movement that is (just barely) contained within the UFO aficionado community almost surely will prove to have a huge impact on our social world, if we manage to survive what’s coming down the pike.

In my first paragraph, I deliberately echoed Catholic theologian John S. Dunne’s opening words in The Way of All the Earth (1972): “Is a religion coming to birth in our time? 

It could be. What seems to be occurring is a phenomenon we might call ‘passing over,’ passing over from one culture to another, from one way of life to another, from one religion to another. Passing over is a shifting of standpoint, a going over to the standpoint of another culture, another way of life, another religion. It is followed by an equal and opposite process we might call ‘coming back,’ coming back with new insight to one’s own culture, one’s own way of life, one’s own religion.’

Until the last several years, ufology was as alien to me as the religion of Ba’al or Quetzelcoatl. In investigating this sphere of inquiry, speculation, fabulation, and bold conjecture, as well as its attendant spiritual components, I am in a sense trying to do what Dunne discussed. And what a weird world it is: strangely familiar understandings of consciousness are what stand out, and stories of resurrection in new bodies (“containers”) and recirculation of souls and the like litter the UFO noösphere — including literal beliefs in the evolution of a noösphere. Notions out of Hinduism, shamanism, Christianity, Norse myth — they are quite varied. And then there are the politico-social movements, like Ubuntu, which I find quite congenial, I confess.

But there is something even bigger on the line here. The truth. There is some truth in the UFO reports. Or, truths. The UFOs are not just misidentified insect swarms, ball lightning and skunk-work test runs. But figuring out exactly what it is? Difficult. I have no intention of doing the dogmatic thing — the pretend-skeptic thing — of dismissing the subject altogether, on the basis of focusing on just a few mistakes, frauds, and confabulations of obvious lunatics. 

An old theory of mine, though, does come into recollection: when I was young, and a Christian, I conjectured that God would be so outside of comprehensibility that any intersection between God and humankind would not look normal, have a normal feel to it at all. So it would be prejudicial to expect that intercourse with actual aliens would be any more comforting or comprehensible than intercourse with gods and angels and devils and the like would seem. An encounter with a Zeta Reticulan or Mantid or what-have-you would likely seem quite different from talking to a Tuvan or trading with a Quaker, as admittedly odd as those encounters can be in themselves.

Approaching a new field of inquiry with a dismissive attitude and strong preconceptions of possibilities might be a display of Dunning-Kruger more than anything else. Some humility might be in order.

And holding ideas in Epoché should hardly be difficult for a “skeptic”!

twv

Hunched over for work. And I cannot right now find my computer glasses.

The problem with prophecy is that prophesying can change outcomes. 

Ask Jonah. He said Nineveh would be destroyed; in excoriating the Ninevites, they repented; they were then forgiven — holocaust averted. So, was Jonah a bad prophet because his prophecy did not come true? No. He was a bad prophet because he yearned for Nineveh to be destroyed.

The opposite effect can also be true: the self-fulfilling prophecy — as when speaking a prediction sets the situation up for the prediction to come true — which is related to the Thomas Theorem . . . which states that imagined causes can have real effects. 

So the very idea of prophecy links directly to important ideas in sociology and social psychology.

Economists also understand this pretty well — as when warning of a panic causes a panic, or, contrariwise, when warning of disaster spurs folks to prepare for disaster and therefore mitigates or even prevents disaster — and generally economists understand that predictions of a specific variety are well-nigh impossible.

The current pandemic has multiple instances of possible prophecy problems, as should be painfully obvious.

Prediction is a tricky business. Most people in the prediction biz are therefore also in the influence business. When we engage in predictions, we often find ourselves taking sides on outcomes, no matter how horrific.

Just ask Jonah.

twv

George Henry Lewes Painting; George Henry Lewes Art Print for sale
G. H. Lewes, The Study of Psychology: Its Object, Scope, and Method.

I often quote the highlighted sentence:

“Ideas are forces: the existence of one determines our reception of others.”

We suffer from a partisan bug. 

“An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Sunday found that just over half of Americans are worried that a family member may catch the virus that causes COVID-19,” Fox News informs us, “and that six in 10 say the worst is yet to come regarding the pandemic.” But there is a huge difference whether you are a Republican or Democrat: “Sixty-eight percent of Democrats said they were concerned that a family member could contract the virus,” Fox News goes on. “But that number dropped to 40 percent among Republicans. Nearly eight in 10 Democrats felt the worst was yet to come in coping with the pandemic. That number dropped in half to 40 percent among Republicans.”

So why? 

Just to get Trump?

Not likely. The poll, we are informed, was taken mostly before Trump’s big viral speech.

What’s going on?

Let me speculate.

According to Jonathan Haidt and Jordan Peterson, those on the left are much more “open to new experiences” than are those on the right, while conservatives tend to be far more conscientious than liberals.

Being “open” suggests activities likely to spread contagion, so those who lean left are also more open to contagion, while more cautious and indeed suspicious conservatives would be less likely to catch bad stuff. Additionally, conservative defensiveness and readiness to defend the in-group — which is said to be a hallmark of “the right” — breeds a constant readiness, which, when crisis comes, means conservatives would be less likely to panic. 

Not so those on the left. After their incaution comes the panic. And the spontaneous lust for a Messiah — their favorite pagan savior, the State.

The trick is to find some balance. We must be open, but we must also be cautious and ready to defend self and in-group from aggression and . . . contagion.

But we cannot expect a lot of balance during a crisis.

Which suggests we should work on the balance in better times.

Episode 3 is up:

LocoFoco Netcast #3.

It is available on iTunes and Spotify as well as on SoundCloud:

Dennis Pratt himself provides a thorough guide to this episode on the Libertarian Writer’s Blog on Quora.