Elite opinion as a form of stupidity

Elite opinion is so off the planet that the evidence that high IQs are a form of stupidity is becoming more evident with each passing day. The latest evidence, this from Donna Laframboise:

The closer one examines the recent climate conference co-sponsored by the UK Supreme Court, the worse it looks. I’ve previously discussed the 45-minute keynote address given by Philippe Sands, in which that law professor urged international courts to “play a role here in finally scotching” non-mainstream climate perspectives.

But the video recording of that speech includes the remarks of three other individuals. Strung together, this is among the most terrifying 90 minutes I’ve ever witnessed. The event at which Sands’ speech was delivered was chaired by sitting UK Supreme Court Justice Lord Robert Carnwath. His opening remarks demonstrate that activist scientists have been joined by activist judges.

It isn’t possible to listen to Lord Carnwath’s remarks and conclude that, where the climate debate is concerned, he’s keeping an open mind. At the 5-minute, 12-second mark on the video he says the climate law conference was his idea.

You can watch the video at the link if you can bear it. Meanwhile, also from the UK, but this time with the focus on the Governor of the Bank of England:

Mark Carney’s warning that investors face “potentially huge” losses from their “stranded” coal, oil and gas assets has riled many in the investment community who believe the Bank of England governor has spoken out of turn. The chief investment officer of a large UK pension fund, who requested anonymity, agreed: “Mr Carney should stick to his mandate. Carbon policy is a matter for politics and government legislation, not the Bank of England.” Other investors also expressed scepticism about the stranded-assets theory, as well as the extent and the immediacy of the risks underlined by Mr Carney. –Madison Marriage and Richard Stovin-Bradford, Financial Times, 5 October 2015

Mark Carney believes that fossil fuels will soon become stranded assets, as the world will fall for the global warming scam and stop using them. Apparently, nobody told the Chinese! According to the IEA, they have been busy buying up all the global oil and gas assets they can get their hands on, and, as of last November, control 7% of worldwide crude oil output. –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 4 October 2015

Mark Carney, with wind turbine nailed to his forehead, has decided he doesn’t like hydrocarbons. Coal, gas and oil. He thinks we should probably leave one third of the world’s reserves of hydrocarbons right there where they are, in the ground. Leave it where it is and invest in what are euphemistically called renewables, which contribute 1% of the world’s energy needs. Right-ho, Mark — that’s the entire basis of the western economic system well and truly buggered, then. Hell, who’d have thought it: a banker doing his best to wreck the economy as a consequence of a latterly acquired arrogance. Nah. That’s never happened before, has it. –Rod Liddle, The Sunday Times, 4 October 2015

Geologically, the United States does not stand out in terms of shale resources. A very incomplete global mapping suggests a US shale oil share of no more than 17% of a huge geological wealth, widely geographically spread. Given the mainly non-proprietary shale technology and the many advantages accruing to the producing nations, it is inevitable that the revolution will spread beyond the United States. The global spread of these revolutions and the ensuing price weakness that we envisage for the coming two decades will, on balance, provide a great advantage both to the oil industry and to the world economy at large. The efforts to develop renewables for the purpose of climate stabilisation will become more costly, requiring greater subsidies, in consequence of lower oil prices. –Roberto F. Aguilera and Marian Radetzki, The Conversation, 5 October 2015

The 20 climate scientists and academics who sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to prosecute global warming skeptics may be in big trouble. A congressional committee is now looking into the government-backed nonprofit that circulated the letter, demanding they turn over “all e-mail, electronic documents, and data created since January 1, 2009.” The group has one week to respond in writing to the committee’s request. It seems like IGES’s effort to get Obama to prosecute global warming skeptics has completely backfired in the two weeks since their letter to the administration was published online. IGES has since taken down the letter and put up a message claiming the letter was “inadvertently posted” online. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation, 2 October 2015

We know there is more carbon in the atmosphere, and we know there is a theory that says more carbon in the atmosphere leads to a rise in temperature. The only problem so far is that temperatures are not rising. Obviously a mere detail to people whose lives would never be disrupted by massive increases in the cost of energy, in the same way their lives will never be disturbed by a million refugees across Europe. So when I think of this:

WinstonChurchill_DemocracyQuote

I think that’s all very well, but for someone who has spoken to his fair share of Members of Parliament, my version would be:

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an elected politician.

Ah yes, the worst system except for all the others that have been tried from time to time. But it is the same kind of elite opinion that today worries about climate change that once upon a time had Neville Chamberlain congratulating himself for achieving Peace in Our Time in 1938. Democracy at least has the benefit of making the majority complicit in their own downfall. Not much of a compensation, but it is something.

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57 Responses to Elite opinion as a form of stupidity

  1. Tim Neilson

    When the last few enlightened progressive intellectuals in Europe are gathered in one single room, just before the door bursts open amid the clatter of the AK47’s and screams of “Allahu Akhbar!”, will the intellectuals be:
    (a) worrying about climate change;
    (b) congratulating themselves on their embrace of the multicultural diversity of modern day Europe;
    (c ) sneering at conservatives and Christians;
    (d) debating the relationship between transgenderism and feminism; or
    (e) bickering with each other about perceived “microaggressions”?

  2. Zyconoclast

    (f) all of the above

  3. old bloke

    Mark Carney, BTW, is another refugee from Goldman Sachs. Are these guys trying to pick up commissions for carbon trading, or are they getting commissions from China picking up assets at reduced prices?

  4. Tel

    …once upon a time had Neville Chamberlain congratulating himself for achieving Peace in Our Time in 1938…

    It’s hard to explain anything about history, especially to people who fundamentally are not interested, but Chamberlain was continuously preparing for war. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, it’s still a good plan, regardless of how many people want to advocate rash action.

  5. shady

    It’s carbon dioxide in the atmosphere not carbon. Carbon is an element, one of the four main elements in the universe. Carbon dioxide is a compound element consisting of one carbon and two oxygen molecules. Carbon is not shorthand for carbon dioxide, CO2 is the proper abbreviation. How can proponents of the AGW theory expect to be taken seriously when they don’t respect the basics of science.

  6. rickw

    The Elite

    The very last people you would bring with you to get anything done anywhere.

    If the first fleet had brought boatloads of the elite, they would have either starved or bickered themselves to death.

    It is interesting that when faced with the need to secure tenure on a newly discovered continent, England sent ship loads of convicts, not ship loads of elite.

  7. Peredur

    Democracy at least has the benefit of making the majority complicit in their own downfall

    We are moving from discussion to instruction, from societal dialogue to top-down management with scarcely a protest. Our overseers must be delighted. Whatever we have it is not democracy. And overnight we find we have become signatories to a ‘transformational’ ‘trading’ deal the details of which virtually nobody knows or was consulted upon. We hold elections on the strength of fervent debate about measly tax-grabs and the odd distribution promise but ‘transformational’ deals rate scarcely a whisper!

  8. Ant

    The left don’t ignore history but they do use it highly selectively.

    Obama consistently demonstrates how it’s done.

    Argue that 50+ years of freezing out Cuba has gotten the USA nowhere, therefore, forget history, let’s get over our grievances and treat that police state as a friendly neighbour, while at the same time ignore the huge progress made in race relations in the US since the mid 1860s, ignore the official position of the Democrat Part vis-a-vis slavery and segregation right up to 2010*, and pretend that it’s the Republicans who are racists who want to put blacks “back in chains” (to quote his VP).

    *Robert Byrd, AKA Exalted Cyclops, was a former KKK leader, a Democrat and until 2010 a US Senator.
    “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

    —?Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1946

    I dare say 99% of Americans wouldn’t know this about their former senate majority leader. That would have required a media willing to have made his history ‘news’.

    Imagine if he had been a Republican.

  9. johanna

    Another tax-deductible talkfest for lawyers. Was Julian Burnside there?

  10. johanna

    It is interesting that when faced with the need to secure tenure on a newly discovered continent, England sent ship loads of convicts, not ship loads of elite.

    Ha, Rick, I read somewhere that sending a son into the Colonial Office was very much the third choice, after politics and the Church.

    We were lucky to get a few good ones, but they weren’t exactly the cream of the ruling class.

  11. jupes

    Elite opinion:

    I know a little bit about history and I’m sure there has never been a time when such a preposterous amount of easily falsified, utter bullshit is presented as fact.

    To listen to politicians and journalists discussing any number of subjects; climate change, terrorism, Islam, military culture and immigration for example, is like being stuck in a combination of Groundhog Day and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    It is bewildering and infuriating. Get me out of here.

  12. Monkey's Uncle

    As the old joke goes, an intellectual is a person that has been educated beyond their intellectual capacity. The whole culture of political correctness and identity politics is largely an outgrowth of an over promoted and over educated society. People who lack the ability to really understand how things work or think critically need to have a framework in which to put things and understand the world. That is where political correctness comes in. It provides those people with an intellectual framework to put things in, which they can simply rote learn without stretching their minds too much.

  13. Hydra

    Where do you get the idea that the average academic has a high IQ? I am sure some like your good self do Steve but the majority are academics because they can’t get another job…

  14. Rabz

    How can proponents of the AGW theory expect to be taken seriously when they don’t respect the basics of science.

    shady, good point about “carbon”, but AGW is an utterly discredited hypothesis – it cannot be graced with the term theory in the context of the scientific method.

  15. incoherent rambler

    When the last few enlightened progressive intellectuals in Europe are gathered in one single room, just before the door bursts open amid the clatter of the AK47?s and screams of “Allahu Akhbar!”, will the intellectuals be:

    To the list add;

    Is the Mardi Gras early this year?

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    A related observation: notice we haven’t had a climate troll come to the Cat for ages?

    You would think if the elites really believed in CAGW they would attempt to convince sceptical people of the right, especially when the polls suggest about half of the electorate is unconvinced. We used to get some reasonably scientifically literate trolls come by, but not these days.

    In other words they have worked out that they cannot win an argument on the scientific merits. Which suggests that they already know they are wrong, since if they were confident in their data they’d persist with persuasion.

    So now they’ve completely given up on logic and education and are going for snow jobs and lawfare. And all our trolls have disappeared, except Monty, and he’s too experienced to attempt a climate argument on the merits.

  17. Toiling Mass

    The broad strokes argument supposedly supporting Climate Change is equivalent to that of Rev Malthus when he argued that population growth is geometric but food production growth is arithmetic.

    Sounds plausible enough – just completely fails to take into account all the other factors.

    But for the argument equivalent of a slogan (a simple bite-sized block of knowledge) it is enough to repeat over and over to the trusting.

  18. Rabz

    So now they’ve completely given up on logic and education and are going for snow jobs and lawfare.

    Along with the increasingly deranged calls for ‘sceptics’ to be imprisoned/re-educated/executed, etc.

  19. If the first fleet had brought boatloads of the elite, they would have either starved or bickered themselves to death.

    It is interesting that when faced with the need to secure tenure on a newly discovered continent, England sent ship loads of convicts, not ship loads of elite.

    This was, I felt, one of the many major premise flaws in the movie 2012.

  20. rich

    You would think if the elites really believed in CAGW they would attempt to convince sceptical people of the right… In other words they have worked out that they cannot win an argument on the scientific merits.

    No incorrect.

    They are afraid as no one is giving them trigger warnings about being challenged over their facts. Debating is hard- you might actually have to change your mind on your favourite issues…

    Much easier to blend with other sheep bleating, “four legs good two legs better” than having the courage to take the fight to your enemies. And the more insular they become, the more they retreat into the bubble, the more convinced the elites become that anyone who disagrees with them is a monster that must be put down.

  21. Monkey's Uncle

    In other words they have worked out that they cannot win an argument on the scientific merits. Which suggests that they already know they are wrong, since if they were confident in their data they’d persist with persuasion.

    I have also noticed that over the last few years. There has been a general decline in the extent to which climate change alarmists purport to argue from a rational, scientific, empirical perspective. And there has been a general doubling down on offering simplistic, scary scenarios to appeal to the lowest common denominator. A few fires or some inclement weather somewhere? We’re all gonna die! It is all about psychological warfare now.

  22. Ellen of Tasmania

    Elite opinion is so off the planet that the evidence that high IQs are a form of stupidity is becoming more evident with each passing day.

    The incredible power of cool-shame.

    “But I’d rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself.”
    (Anne of Green Gables)

  23. John J

    Thanks Steve

    I do value your posts and the eurdite comments from my more well read cats.

    The gallows humour is what gets me through the Progressives palava as I try and point out the fallacies to my kids – they are starting to read more widely.

    Cheers All, JJ
    Keep your batteries charged.

  24. Toiling Mass

    Quite so, Rich.

    I find that a lot of kids at uni are not learning how to think as much as learning how to build a wall around their existing beliefs.

    To this end they stuff their heads with authoritative names that can be trotted out to either awe their interlocutors into silence or, more typically, to dismiss them as being nowhere near a subtle a thinker as x.

    And they love them some sophistry. All the little tricks. Blur boundaries, shave ever finer distinctions which have to be newly categorised…how else do we get to the point where someone who staves another person’s brain case in becomes the victim, and violence includes unaffectionate looks.

  25. rich

    And they love them some sophistry. All the little tricks.

    The drover in Australian culture had it right by calling a spade a bloody spade

    The cool kids are now too cool to state the obvious, such as a spade is a spade or the climate emperor isn’t wearing any codes. To punters it fails the smell test, and I can take on progressives in technical detail if they don’t mind my waffle. The problem is forming the bridge or rapport with elites/unionists/yuppies that says, “I will consider what rich says because, despite disagreeing, I like rich and he is a good person.”

  26. Steve tickler

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #1819221, posted on October 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    A related observation: notice we haven’t had a climate troll come to the Cat for ages?

    You would think if the elites really believed in CAGW they would attempt to convince sceptical people of the right, especially when the polls suggest about half of the electorate is unconvinced. We used to get some reasonably scientifically literate trolls come by, but not these days.

    In other words they have worked out that they cannot win an argument on the scientific merits. Which suggests that they already know they are wrong, since if they were confident in their data they’d persist with persuasion.

    So now they’ve completely given up on logic and education and are going for snow jobs and lawfare. And all our trolls have disappeared, except Monty, and he’s too experienced to attempt a climate argument on the merits.”

    Post the above on the Judith Curry blog BON. (:

    Shit, Steve Mosher may visit the CAT! Maybe even David Appell.

    Just planting seeds.

  27. Gary in Erko

    notice we haven’t had a climate troll come to the Cat for ages?

    You can read their latest fashionable ideas on The Conversation.

  28. Bruce of Newcastle

    Steve – Many a time have I tangled with Dave Appell. He used to come by another blog run by an ordinary guy in Kansas. Maybe he thought he would have it easy, but a couple of us regulars were scientists and we’d take him to the cleaners until he’d go full ad hom for an hour or so then slope off back to his own blog. We wouldn’t see him for a few days then he’d be back and the fight would be on again. It went on for months and months. It was a lot of fun, but poor David never won an argument because his science was so full of holes. I got very good at demolishing all the SkS kiddies’ favourite papers.

    I’ve tangled with Mosh just once, when he said an approach I was taking was invalid and he gave a reference. Which I read, came back and pointed out the reference explicitly said my method was valid. Whereupon he took off. 🙂

    I haven’t much commented at Judy Curry’s, or Spencer’s. They do fine work.

  29. Steve tickler

    Bruce of Newcastle.

    Tip of the hat to you.

    I’m currently at war with my father, arguing that solar and wind can never replace a coal fired power station. Base load, grid in phase, 50hz, capacity factors etc etc. Heated arguments!

    He’s an ABC news junkie.

    I’ll ask him to read the CAT.

    His probable response will be. ” What the fuck is Catallaxyfiles, and what credibility does this Bruce have!

    Lol.

  30. AGW is an utterly discredited hypothesis

    No, Rabz, the silly notion of AGW isn’t even a failed hypothesis, for it lacks complete data and a new, though untested, unifying explanation for the data; it is merely a pseudo-scientific conjecture:

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is a crippled conjecture, doomed just by [the] principles of science never to advance to a hypothesis.

  31. I find that a lot of kids at uni are not learning how to think as much as learning how to build a wall around their existing beliefs.

    This, times a billionty billion.

  32. Rayvic

    Philippa’s finding applies also to a lot of academics. I can think of no better example than the academic scientists who build a wall around their belief in man-made global warming — they appear to be incapable of rigorous thought.

  33. I find that a lot of kids at uni are not learning how to think as much as learning how to build a wall around their existing beliefs.

    Sums up the commenters all over. The Grauniad, Their ABC, Our Conversation (not yours), and the serial leftist wrongologists like R Ambrose Raven that bang away in The Australian comments.

  34. Squirrel

    A high IQ – as measured by the typical means – is (very obviously) no proof against vanity or self-serving delusions.

    Indeed, it is not too difficult, at all, to bring to mind public figures – past and present – who clearly would rate highly on the IQ scale but who, sadly, have chosen to use their gifts to propagate bulldust. Sometimes, of course, they get caught out spectacularly, and when that happens you sometimes see, on full public display, the indulged child who has been brought up to believe that he is very, very special and so much cleverer than all the other boys and girls that he will never, ever be caught out.

  35. incoherent rambler

    Elite opinion is so off the planet that the evidence that high IQs are a form of stupidity is becoming more evident with each passing day.

    Having consulted to a govt. organization where all the employees that (on the floor where I worked) were mensa members, I can assert that there is something seriously wrong with IQ tests.

  36. Squirrel, you know Michael Mann and Simon Chapman personally?

  37. A Lurker

    Having consulted to a govt. organization where all the employees that (on the floor where I worked) were mensa members, I can assert that there is something seriously wrong with IQ tests.

    High IQ and a tertiary education ? Wisdom.

  38. Having consulted to a govt. organization where all the employees that (on the floor where I worked) were mensa members, I can assert that there is something seriously wrong with IQ tests.

    A friend who is a former member shares that view in spades. Did the test by correspondence, then started receiving actual correspondence from the ..er.. club, then when in the Big Smoke a couple of years later, actually met some at some shindig the group threw.

  39. goatjam

    (a) worrying about climate change;
    (b) congratulating themselves on their embrace of the multicultural diversity of modern day Europe;
    (c ) sneering at conservatives and Christians;
    (d) debating the relationship between transgenderism and feminism; or
    (e) bickering with each other about perceived “microaggressions”?

    None of those things. They will be cowering in pools of their own urine wondering why there aren’t any strong men with guns there to protect their sorry arses.

  40. brennan

    Steve, do you think you could call carbon dioxide by it’s correct name? It’s not carbon.

  41. 3d1k

    Mike Carney’s wife is a green activist and Occupy supporter. Pillow talk transforms politics.

    See first two comments here http://euanmearns.com/blarney-from-carney/#more-10361

  42. Pusnip

    The best argument for democracy is The Cat: imagine a dictatorship in which some crazy like, well, Crazy Kates got in.

  43. .

    Pus – how are you not convinced that maximising freedom is the best – in case Kates got elected – after all we’ve had some very unpopular Prime Ministers recently who were elected.

    Actually I think I misjudged you. You just project the image of someone who loves big government. Deep down you don’t.

  44. Leo G

    Hardly a revelation. Oscar Wilde claimed to be “so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”
    The more interesting revelation was Nietzsche’s, that the true mark of a man of knowledge was his demonstrated capability to love his enemies and hate his friends.

  45. Driftforge

    the worst system except for all the others that have been tried from time to time

    Mind you, this statement is the equivalent of the Soviets promoting Communism.

    Democracy just degrades culture slower than communism degrades an economy. We’ve got a few more years yet.

  46. Boambee John

    Squirrel
    #1819343, posted on October 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm
    A high IQ – as measured by the typical means – is (very obviously) no proof against vanity or self-serving delusions.

    I reject the suggestion that these people constitute an “elite”.

    They are simply a bunch of self-appointed know-it-alls, who parade their pseudo academic credentials in an effort to gain mutual respect amongst themselves.

  47. Rich

    Elite opinion is so off the planet that the evidence that high IQs are a form of stupidity is becoming more evident with each passing day. The latest evidence, this from Donna Laframboise

    I wasn’t aware the ‘elites’ had high IQs

    Far as I’m concerned, the smart bastards are all Cats

  48. Pusnip

    Pus – how are you not convinced that maximising freedom is the best – in case Kates got elected.

    At best, Crazy Kates would only maximise negative freedoms; he would lessen positive freedoms, such as freedom from poverty and freedom from discrimination. The problem with many right-wingers is that they have a very narrow conception of freedom (essentially one of negative freedoms) and, often, forget or fail to ever recognise that there are other possible approaches.

    … Actually I think I misjudged you. You just project the image of someone who loves big government. Deep down you don’t.

    You’re the one who has been doing the projecting, dash. I have never been for either big or small government per se; I have always been for optimally sized government with that determined principally on the basis of the aggregation of thousands of judgments about the role of government vis-a-vis the market across the various domains of life. At some point, not doubt system effects kick in, but for the most part its case-by-case assessments for me.

  49. handjive

    OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND UN ANNOUNCE GLOBAL POLICE FORCE TO FIGHT ‘EXTREMISM’ IN U.S.

    On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at the United Nations that her office would be working in several American cities to form what she called the Strong Cities Network (SCN), a law enforcement initiative that would encompass the globe.

    This amounts to nothing less than the overriding of American laws, up to and including the United States Constitution, in favor of United Nations laws that would henceforth be implemented in the United States itself – without any consultation of Congress at all.

  50. handjive

    @Steve tickler
    #1819311, posted on October 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I’m currently at war with my father, arguing that solar and wind can never replace a coal fired power station. Base load, grid in phase, 50hz, capacity factors etc etc. Heated arguments!

    Steve, show him this post and graphs from jonova regular commentator electricity engineer TonyfromOz.

    A nation still drawing 18,000MW in it’s sleep can’t go solar

  51. handjive

    PS @Steve tickler
    #1819311, posted on October 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    If he complains that the article is ‘old’ now, here is a widget giving ‘live’ updates of power generation.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/nem-watch

    Years later, nothing has changed.

  52. Muddy

    Tim Neilson:
    The answers are either (g). This is a trick question. There are no ‘progressive enlightened individuals’ (an ‘individual’ is a danger to the hive) or (h). finalising the authoritative list of alternative targets (social undesirables), as agreed upon by 97% of climate scientists.

  53. Andrew

    The climate trolls infest the FB of one of the few MPs not taken in.

    I taunted a deeper them with a simple question: “The satellites have been up for 35 years. Please refer me to any satellite evidence supporting the scientifically illiterate Greens’ claim of a 4C / century pathway.”

    After much smearing, evasion and abuse one actually admitted that there was none but satellite datasets were an “incomplete part” of the story.

  54. Andrew

    A few of them – not sure what autocorrect was playing at there

  55. DrBeauGan

    I quit MENSA yonks ago. Too many sad schoolteachers who knew bugger all. The cats make a real elite. More knowledge and better functioning brains.

    The fact is, IQ tests don’t work well past 130. This is because that’s about the IQ of the psychologists who devise them. They figure that if the average Joe can work out 2, 4, 8, 16, ? in ten seconds, then a really intelligent guy could work out 7, 39, 82, 3, ? in thirty seconds. No really intelligent person would bother looking for the pattern.

    The best answer to the first one was given by Feynmann. He said ‘zero. And the one after that is zero. Zeros all the way.’

    It doesn’t help your IQ score to be twice as smart as the psychologist who thought up the questions.

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