Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Intellectuals waive reality

Jerry Stratton, January 6, 2016

Having just read another Thomas Sowell book a few weeks ago, I’m more sensitive to the tendency of the anointed to ignore reality. For a more recent example of the unwillingness of the intellectual class to test its ideas, it is an article of faith that putting more boots on the ground will increase the ability of terrorists to recruit new terrorists. And the more anti-terrorist rhetoric we use, the more terrorists will be able to use our public resolve in videos to recruit new terrorists.

Thus, Hillary Clinton complains that Donald Trump’s words will be used in videos. But, as it turns out, in current videos Hillary Clinton and her husband both figure far more prominently; if willingness by terrorists to use someone in a video is evidence of their being wrong, then Hillary Clinton is, by her own logic, wrong.

But she isn’t wrong, because she isn’t testing her ideas empirically against the actual world; she only tests her ideas against other members of the establishment, who, of course, agree with her.

Now, it may be that Donald Trump’s words will also make it into videos. But it is also an article of faith among the intelligentsia that fighting back against terrorists by taking the fight to them in the Middle East is exactly what the terrorists want us to do. They’re recruitment will skyrocket if we put boots on the ground to fight them.

As it turns out, the State Department keeps records that can be used to test this idea:

At the peak of its power in 2006, ISIL’s predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq (a front for al Qaeda), was gobbling up territory. By 2008, however, the jihadists had been pushed back, losing much of the ground they once controlled. This wasn’t magic. It was the result of an American-led “surge” in forces and an uprising of Iraqis who wanted to end the jihadists’ draconian rule.…

ISIL’s forerunner fought on but failed to regain the momentum it once enjoyed—until, that is, President Obama oversaw a complete withdrawal from Iraq. In October 2011, Obama announced he was bringing the Iraq war to a “responsible end.” Just two months later, the last U.S. forces left Iraq soil.…

According to the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2011, ISIL’s predecessor could field only 1,000 to 2,000 fighters by the end of the year. Their presence was a problem—one we should have actively fought—but it was not a menace. By the end of 2014, the situation was dramatically worse. State’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2014 notes that ISIL could “muster between 20,000 and 31,5000” fighters.…

… The total number of ISIL fighters grew quickly (10 to 30 times over) in the three years after the Americans left.

And again, there could be reasons for this other than the number of American troops on the ground, but the left doesn’t even bother to try to explain why their ideas do not match results in the real world. They just keep repeating that more boots on the ground will mean more ISIS recruits.

This isn’t the only recent deliberate ignorance from the intelligentsia. You probably can’t get closer to their refusal to test against the real world than in their refusal to believe in gender differences, both on the battlefield and in first-response occupations. It is an article of faith, not a tested hypothesis, that women will perform just as well as men on the battlefield. When faced with tests, President Obama chose to waive reality:

The Marines, on the other hand, have spent the last several years making themselves aggravating to the civilian defense staffers in the vanguard of the revolution. They did so by taking seriously the Pentagon’s requirements, set in 2013, that requests for exceptions to the integration of women in the armed forces be “narrowly tailored, and based on a rigorous analysis of factual data.” The Marines accordingly invested a great deal of money, time, and manpower establishing an experimental task force that included both all-male and gender-integrated units, which then had their performance measured as they accomplished a series of simulated battlefield tasks.

The results weren’t close. All-male units outperformed gender-integrated units on 93 of 134 battlefield tasks. The gender-integrated units outperformed male units on two tasks. Based on this outcome, the fact that women were injured at twice there ate of men during the course of the study, and other aspects of the multiyear review, the Marines made a “narrowly tailored” request to keep their infantry and reconnaissance fields closed to women.

[Obama Defense Secretary Ash] Carter turned them down flat, and did not address the results of the Marine study in his announcement, though he did somewhat surreally assert that “mission effectiveness” is his most important guiding principle.

And again, an argument may well be possible that the Marine Corps studies were flawed in some way. But they’re not even addressing the evidence to make that argument, because addressing the evidence includes the possibility that they might be wrong, and that’s not the way the intelligentsia thinks. They believe that integration will increase mission effectiveness; their belief is not open to empirical testing. At least, it isn’t in their minds. On the battlefield, of course, it will be.

The same thing is true with firefighters: first, they claim that women will be able to pass the tests. Then, when it turns out that very few women can pass the tests, they do not re-examine their assumptions; they simply claim that the tests are sexist. But when people need to be lifted and carried out of a burning building, fire and smoke will also be sexist, and fire and smoke cannot be dispelled by verbal virtuosity.

Theology is not meant to be tested against the real world. The real world, however, has no theology but physics.

In response to The child sex of the anointed: There’s nothing so uncommon as common sense in DC, and the Washington Post epitomizes the nonsensical vision of the anointed with Betsy Karasik’s article proposing legalizing sex between high school teachers and high school students “absent extenuating circumstances”.

  1. <- Racism of the anointed