Post-rationalism in America, an Example…

Okay, by now you’re used to me saying we now live in a world where rationality is dead, facts don’t matter, and expertise is irrelevant.
Here’s an example…
I’m sitting here not watching TV, but Property Brothers is playing as background noise, and I’m catching bits and pieces. This is the piece I just caught.
The Property Brothers just finished a walk through with the homeowners, the couple has had the house listed at $1M for seven months, with no offers. The brothers tell the couple that, in their expert opinion, the house is worth $900K.
What do you think the couples reaction was? Thank you both for your expert opinion, you guys are the professionals, you obviously know what you’re doing, I guess we will just have to adjust our expectations.
No. Of course not. Their reaction was: No, absolutely not. That is unacceptable.
This couple, based on literally zero knowledge, simply out of hand rejected the findings of experts who are so expert at their job, that the have their own TV show.  (Not that that means anything, but these guys are widely regarded as experts, with or without a TV show.)
Facts don’t matter. Rationality is for losers. Experts have no value. My uneducated ignorant opinion is every bit as valid as yours, even if you did spend literally years of your life closely studying the subject at hand as your profession, that means nothing. I can yell just as loud as you, therefore my words are just as relevant. Everyone gets a trophy.
Welcome to Post-Rational America.

Trump and Cruz — The New Win-Win…

Okay, let’s be really clear about the Ted Cruz speech at the RNC.  Trump and his campaign knew exactly what Cruz was going to say in that speech, and they put him up there anyway.  Why?  Theater.  Well, sort of…

Trump doesn’t know classical theater, but what he does know?  Professional wrestling.  He’s spent a good deal of time on stage with the WWE, and he understands exactly how it works.  Cruz gets to speak his peace at the convention for the same reason the bad-guy wrestlers get so much air time talking smack about the good-guy wrestlers, just before the good-guy wrestler makes his appearance and the bad-guy wrestler wraps it up and quickly slinks away.  Did you notice Trump’s appearance right at the end of Cruz’s speech?  That was no accident or impromptu reaction.  That was classic stagecraft, in the WWE tradition.

This was an easy “win” for Trump.  He gets to remind everyone of his overwhelming “victory” by parading his vanquished foe on stage for his fans to jeer at.  Trump gets to be the “victim”, attacked by Cruz’s refusal to endorse him. And he gets to portray Cruz as the poster-child of the conscience-voting ant-Trump Republicans, arguably their worst possible representative.  So Trump gets to be the good guy, under attack but prevailing, banishing his foes back to the political underworld from which they came.

But don’t feel bad for Cruz, it’s a “win” for him too.  He gets to “stand up for his principles”.  He gets to basically deliver a giant FU to Trump at his own convention.  And he positions himself perfectly for 2020.

Cruz is betting that the Trump campaign implodes in the general, or at least fails at electoral math.  (A real possibility, given Trump’s skill with numbers, facts, reality, etc.)  It’s not just a good bet, it’s really his only play.  A Trump win leaves Cruz out in the cold regardless of anything he does, but a Trump loss?  That’s something he can work with.  If Trump tanks and Clinton wins, Cruz is perfectly positioned for 2020 as the conservative, principled candidate.  The man who stood his ground, refused to back down to the Trump machine, and still appeals to the right and the far right.  His “strength” and “principles” become a stark contrast to Hillary, who is unlikely to win any converts, and a 2020 win for Ted becomes a very real possibility.

So yeah,  Trump knew exactly what Cruz was going to say.  And Cruz knew exactly why Trump was going to let him say it.  They probably had long meetings and conference calls about it, planning it all out.  It is the classic political win-win scenario.  Everyone wins.  Everyone benefits.  (Except as always, us.)


photo from the Tea Party Tribune

Thoughts on Trump and Religion…

Lately I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for a Trump presidency. (Yes, I know the latest polls show him loosing, but… the Trump phenomenon has so far defied the conventional logic of polling as effectively as Kirk whooping Spock’s ass in three dimensional space chess.)
Trump has made his feelings on Muslims made very clear. Step one, don’t let any more into the country. Step two, register and track all the ones that are already here. I can only assume the unspoken step three involves rounding them up and/or shipping them off.
On the other end of the spectrum, Trump has said he wants to force everyone to say “Merry Christmas”. How he intends to do this is unclear, but that Christianity is his preferred religious group seems clear.
From this we can extrapolate that Trump intends to establish a new American caste system based on religion, with Christians enjoying all the benefits and privileges of being on top, and Muslims being kept very firmly under foot on the bottom.
My question is, where do the rest of us fit in? In Trump’s America, what is the status of the Jew, or the Buddhist, or the Hindu? Are they near the bottom with the Muslims, based on their non-Christian tradition? What about Catholics and Mormons? Are they “Christian” enough to be near the top? And what about the Atheists/Agnostics/Nones/Others? Where do they fit in Trump’s America, if at all?
Of course, we could all follow Trump’s example, and say we go to a Christian church, without the bother of actually attending. (No seriously, the church Trump claims to attend actually went out of their way to issue a statement saying that despite a long history with the Trump family, Donald himself is not a member of their congregation.)
Anyhow, I propose the following Trump American Religious Caste Hierarchy (Trump ARCH™), let me know what you think…
Pretend Christians
Pretend Catholics
Actual Christians
Actual Catholics
Snake Handlers
Mentally Handicapped
Physically Handicapped


(photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid) 

Welcome to the Irrational Age

Side effect #1 of the Internet… because information is available to everyone, expertise is no longer valued. The ironic part is most people dismiss expertise without ever availing themselves of the information available on the Internet, because of side effect #2… because everyone can publish an opinion, everyone’s opinion is thought to be equally valid, therefore information is irrelevant.

Facts are nothing more than the archaic relics of an outdated way of thinking. Belief is all that matters now, and we will bend and shape the “facts” to fit the belief. The very idea that facts are immutable, or can and should be used to shape belief, is an unnecessary absurdity from a bygone era.

Our country was founded in an Age of Rationalism. Today, our country may well fall in an Age of Irrationalism.