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  • The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect and Current Politics

    Posted by Jonathan on February 20th, 2016 (All posts by )

    In a recent comment here Andrew Garland referred to a 2009 comment by Chicago Boyz contributor Michael Kennedy, quoting Michael Crichton. It is worth re-posting the Crichton quote in full:

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
     
    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    I thought about this because I have been having an email exchange with a left-wing acquaintance of mine. My acquaintance thinks highly of Obama’s performance in office. Like many of us, my acquaintance has noticed an increase in racial animosity over the seven years of Obama’s presidency. My acquaintance attributes this increased racial tension to racists, presumably white, who “are driven practically insane at the thought of having a black president”.

    I am sure that there are such people. A quick tour of the Internet reveals plenty of racism to go around. And yet none of the many anti-Obama arguments I’ve read or heard has been based on race; conservative media are full of substantive arguments against Obama and his policies. Meanwhile Obama and his political allies have gone out of their way to racialize political controversies. And yet most of the Obama partisans I’ve met have been confident that white racism is the cause of most opposition to Obama. Apparently there are many people out there who believe that wet streets cause rain.

     

    6 Responses to “The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect and Current Politics”

    1. Mike K Says:

      I have nearly finished Gates book, “Duty” and plan to buy Panetta’s book after reading this one.

      Gates has a much higher opinion of Obama but, of course, he is being diplomatic toward a man who chose him to stay on as Sec Def when he did not seek or expect it. He is also fairly complimentary toward Hillary. He is dismissive toward Obama’s staff and, especially toward several NSC staffers like Tom Donilon about whom he has nothing good to say.

      He believed that Obama was more competent than I have but agrees that he is driven by ideology. For example, the gays in the military issue was far more important than military morale in the midst of two wars.

      I was hostile toward Obama early after reading how he got to the Senate.

      Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city’s most popular black call-in radio ­program.

      I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

      “He said, ‘Cliff, I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.’”

      “Oh, you are? Who might that be?”

      “Barack Obama.”

      Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

      “I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen,” State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. “Barack didn’t have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

      Just an amazing story. The Illinois Republican Party played a significant role, of course, in refusing the support Senator FitzGerald.

      Obama has literally no record of accomplishment.

      We are much the poorer for the loss of Michael Crichton.

    2. Phil Ossiferz Stone Says:

      On Thanksgiving Day, CNN’s cover story was about — not homilies about family or tradition or how to safely cook a turkey, oh no — the necessary death of White Privilege. How wonderful and different it was going to be in the new multi-ethnic America, and how wrenching it was going to be for White America to first realize and then give up its un-self-conscious power, and yet how necessary it was, and how great it would be when the transition was complete. How the transition was Demographically and Historically Inevitable and indeed a Moral Imperative, but how we would need to speed things along….

      On our national day of Thanksgiving the bastards do this. You think these racist twistoids don’t know their target audience? We have become a society that believes gelding medically healthy children is okey-dokey and where our own government tells the Border Patrol to stand down and stop doing their job, and scarcely a murmur is aroused. If it is, the liberal-controlled dinosaur media swiftly squelches it by declining to report it. Six in ten murders in our country are committed by inner city black hoodlums shooting each other; if Black Lives matter, how come we aren’t talking about Federal funding to put the National Guard into Compton and Cleveland and Detroit?

      I could make a laundry list of the absurdities that have been foisted on us and gone mainstream, become powerful, immovable. The New Normal. And a society that believes absurdities is primed to commit atrocities.

      You have not seen the end of blue-state fascism, nor the cognitive dissonance that the faithful willingly indulge in. Your friend is one such. The day The Narrative requires him to throw you under the bus, you will go beneath the wheels. have no doubt of that.

      Stockpile.

    3. PenGun Says:

      “You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues.”

      A large percentage of light news fits this well. I am surprised when anyone gets it halfway right these days. Everyone has an opinion. Very few opinions are worth paying any attention to at all.

      The heavy news, national stuff, major networks and papers are almost completely in lock step. Obviously controlled by someone. Could it be the deep state, 1%, whatever …. nah. That’s just crazy. ;)

    4. David Foster Says:

      Mike K…”Gates has a much higher opinion of Obama but, of course, he is being diplomatic toward a man who chose him to stay on as Sec Def when he did not seek or expect it. He is also fairly complimentary toward Hillary. He is dismissive toward Obama’s staff and, especially toward several NSC staffers like Tom Donilon about whom he has nothing good to say.”

      Anyone in a leadership position should be judged in large part by those whom he puts into key positions.

    5. Anonymous Says:

      Uncle Joe was a great leader who had no idea about Lubyanka or the gulag or the starvation in Ukraine. It was Beria, he was the problem…if only Uncle Joe had known!

    6. Mike K Says:

      “Anyone in a leadership position should be judged in large part by those whom he puts into key positions.”

      Oh yes and that is why I have ordered Panetta’s book.