Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Intelligence Without Wisdom

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

-        The Intellectual Yet Idiot, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

President Obama gave a speech at the United Nations yesterday.  I could probably stop here….


But let’s press on.  It is a speech overflowing with intelligent sounding words that reflect a total – and even corrupt – lack of wisdom; it is a speech that fools no one in the room (it isn’t really meant to, as they are more or less in on the game), and is fooling fewer and fewer people who will never be invited into the room – people like you and me:

From the depths of the greatest financial crisis of our time, we coordinated our response to avoid further catastrophe and return the global economy to growth.

A financial crisis created by the same “we” who coordinated the response that resulted in “growth” in every corner of the globe except for the corners occupied by, well, most of us.

We’ve taken away terrorist safe havens….

Except for where “we’ve” created them, like Syria, Iraq, Libya, France, Germany, Belgium, the United States….

…strengthened the nonproliferation regime…

Except for the trillion-dollar nuclear “modernization” program announced by you-know-who.

…resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy….

The single, reasonably positive, foreign policy action of the United States in the last several decades.

We opened relations with Cuba…

Is it appropriate to take credit for stopping your abuse of your wife?  Does this deserve an atta-boy?  Can you give yourself a pat on the back for this?

With these supposed positives come a few negatives:

Around the world, refugees flow across borders in flight from brutal conflict.

Conflict brought on by the “global force for good.”

Financial disruptions continue to weigh upon our workers and entire communities. 

Wait a minute.  I thought you took credit for…let me get the exact quote…“return[ing] the global economy to growth.”  What happened?  And in just a few short paragraphs?

Across vast swaths of the Middle East, basic security, basic order has broken down. 

What do Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and Afghanistan all have in common?  Ah, yes.  They are all being made safe for democracy by the world’s exceptional nation.


If Russia continues to interfere in the affairs of its neighbors, it may be popular at home, it may fuel nationalist fervor for a time, but over time it is also going to diminish its stature and make its borders less secure. 

Russia’s interferes with neighbors are a few miles away, while America interferes with “neighbors” who are 5000 miles away.

In the South China Sea, a peaceful resolution of disputes offered by law will mean far greater stability than the militarization of a few rocks and reefs.

That would be the South China Sea that is adjacent to…China?

Powerful nations contest the constraints placed on them by international law.

I am speechless.  Even I cannot come up with a sarcastic witticism for this.

Intelligent Solutions, Lacking in Wisdom

Obama offers his solutions to these tensions, conflicts, and wars.  These solutions are to be found in doubling down on the same actions that brought the world to this point:

We can choose to press forward with a better model of cooperation and integration. 

By “better model” he means more government force – forced cooperation, forced integration.  No other possibility could exist to the intelligent that lack wisdom.

Or we can retreat into a world sharply divided, and ultimately in conflict, along age-old lines of nation and tribe and race and religion.

There is a reason that nation, tribe, race and religion are “age-old.”  That reason is human nature.  To ignore or otherwise try to remove these from our humanness is…inhuman.  Of course, if we do not have nation, tribe, race and religion to fall back on, we are left only with government for governance (and for the libertarian utopians out there, it will always take more than the NAP to provide governance; take away culture, and you will always and only be left with government).

In any case, do you think that’s the plan?  Remove all voluntary forms of governance such that government is all that is left?

Allow me a brief detour: I have written often about culture, immigration, and borders.  It is clear that the only libertarian answer on these issues is for managed movement of goods and people; there is difficulty in today’s world regarding the issue of who does the managing, but this is a different subject (and one I have addressed enough in the past).

To present the problem, as Obama does, in this “either-or” form is a trick – presenting two possibilities as if these are the only possibilities.  Either we continue to forcibly integrate or we will revert to walled fortresses.

Of course, there is another way – known for millennia and perfectly libertarian: naturally occurring integration and trade.  People move to where they are welcome, to where they find opportunities, to where they have relatives, to where they are invited, to where they can homestead previously unowned land.

Obama recognizes this himself:

I believe that the acceleration of travel and technology and telecommunications -- together with a global economy that depends on a global supply chain -- makes it self-defeating ultimately for those who seek to reverse this progress.

Integration, migration and trade – it can all happen naturally, without compulsion.  These have occurred for all of recorded human history, with no help from government force or rule-writing.  It is not an either-or as Obama presents it and as he would have us believe.  And he keeps reverting to the dialectic – the either-or:

So the answer cannot be a simple rejection of global integration.

It isn’t either-or.  Either you are with the intelligent on this one, or you are a simpleton.  This is how it is presented; of course, these aren’t the only alternatives.

More from Obama: “we” must no longer ignore “inequality within and among nations” and no longer leave “international institutions ill-equipped, underfunded, under-resourced, in order to handle transnational challenges.”  Labor unions, social safety nets, investing in people; working with all nations regarding banking and taxation; government-negotiated trade agreements; fighting climate change.

In other words, more socialism and more global government.  Precisely that which the people are revolting against is offered as the solution to that which the people are revolting against.

Intelligent?  Maybe.  Wise?  Not so much.


Intelligence without wisdom brings destruction.

-        Erol Ozan


  1. Obama reaffirmed that the demonization, disempowerment, and minoritization of people of European descent in their traditional homelands is to continue. That is the essence of his speech, more than anything else.

  2. "presenting two possibilities as if these are the only possibilities"

    Dr. Robert Lifton interviewed communist defectors and POWs in the 1950s who had been indoctrinated and found 8 themes or traits within this totalist psychology.

    Presenting ONLY two possibilities(black/white, good/evil, enlightened/crude) allows the guru, enlightened one, or charismatic leader the ability to transcend his audience employing jargon riddled "thought terminating cliches".

    This, "loaded language", interprets words("progress") in new ways understood only to the insiders, the true believers, not understood by the outside world. This world becomes suspect to the group and it's leaders, inducing a paranoia that is exploited by it's leader/s.

    Using this "sacred science", allows the guru to project a "mystical manipulation", where the audience believes this "doctrine" and places it "over the person". In other words, individual experience is to be rejected in the, "demand for purity", which is the, "sacred science".

    This, "demand for purity" results in a, "cult of confession", where the members are to confess their sins, faults, or attitudes("crudeness") to the group which can be exploited by it's leader/s. If they, the other, the evil, the unenlightened, cannot be conformed to the group, then the group must "dispense with their existence". The outside world loses all credibility and so does any member who decides to leave the group.

    Obama has failed and grudgingly admits why he failed. The lack of, or perhaps because of, what Dr. Lifton called, "milieu control".

    "Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large."

    Obama is in a bubble of his own making(isolated from society at large, the "crude"), he's in a prison of his own belief, a bounded choice.

    The DWP(democratic workers party) was a marxist-lenninst political cult that existed in the 1970s/80s. It was led by Marlene Dixon, a self described Maoist-Feminist. One perusal of her "teachings", should make clear that Obama has adopted this, "save the world from itself" mantra. He or his "guru/mentor" has indoctrinated him into believing he was the enlightened despot, the chosen one, the "chairman". He's experiencing cognitive dissonance. He lacks the coping mechanisms to live in a world that doesn't fit the "sacred science", that he may have been indoctrinated into believing.

    The "sacred science" Obama espouses, "sounds" intelligent to outside observers, but is confusing, not understood, or seen as hypocritical by those with critical thinking skills. It appears he lacks "wisdom", but it seems he also lacks the independence to critically think for himself, or is constrained within the "loaded language" of the "sacred science". This leads me to believe his "higher power", is a hodge-podge of the gurus he was "mystically manipulated" by in earlier years.

    You might be giving him too much credit. IMO, he's just a true-believer, a useful idiot, a prisoner of his own belief, thats why he comes off as shallow or lacking wisdom. We can see this totalist psychology in his disciples, from "sjw" to "climate truthers" to "liberation theologists". Obama sounds a lot like Tim Kaine.

    But thats just my crude opinion. :)


    1. Like I always say, the comments here are almost as good or better than B.M.'s posts themselves. Does "crude" = "deplorable"?

  3. Tim Kaine's radical roots

    The Power of Cults (DWP)
    How Chico State Prof. Janja Lalich went from cult member to author-expert

    Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism

    Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief