Inferiority Complexes Lead from Equality to Supremacy

 

As I was reading a particularly insightful and brilliant post (even by Ricochet standards) about smartphones, it occurred to me that the alternative medicine trend has something in common with feminism and Black Lives Matter.  I immediately made two decisions – perhaps I’ve had enough bourbon for today, and perhaps I should share my thoughts on this fascinating topic, that I’m sure has been keeping you up at night.  You’re welcome.

The feminist movement and the civil rights movement have a few things in common, the most obvious of which is that they are both equality movements that rapidly evolved into supremacy movements.  Or perhaps ‘devolved,’ if that’s a word.  I think that alternative medicine is falling into the same trap.  It’s not hard to imagine certain ‘alternative’ treatments playing an important role in our treatment of certain diseases under certain circumstances.  Which is fine.  We should study this.  But the idea that modern medicine is more sophisticated only in the realm of Medicare reimbursement and not in the realm of outcomes requires a suspension of disbelief that, until recently, was difficult for most people to achieve.  But no longer, it seems.

Why do the supporters of alternative medicine feel the need to not simply promote their ideas, but also to denigrate the ideas of modern science?  That would seem to be a losing proposition for them.  Once someone looks at the data, they will lose.  Badly.  They would only attempt a power play like this if they presumed that no one would look at the data.  And that’s ridiculous, of course.  Except it’s not.  With the internet, you can look at whatever data you want.  It’s very reassuring.  It beats thinking.  And it certainly beats questioning your own assumptions.  That can be uncomfortable.  This is better.  Well, in a way.

So where does that take us?  In the realm of feminism, we end up with men in women’s sports.  In the realm of civil rights, we end up with CRT and anti-racism (whatever that is).  And in the realm of alternative medicine, we end up with cancer patients dying because they’re trying homeopathic remedies until just before they die – by the time we get them on conventional chemo, it’s too late for anything to work.

Our desire to see that which is not there leads us to be blind to that which actually is there.

I mentioned in a comment that the real trick to being an outstanding physician is balancing the arrogance necessary to take people’s lives in your hands, with the humility to recognize that you may be wrong about even your most basic assumptions.  That really is difficult, and physicians struggle with it.  Well, the good ones do, at least.

The excitement of a revolutionary movement like feminism or the civil rights movement tends to blind its adherents to the possibility that they might be wrong, about even their most basic assumptions.  Their admirable passion leads their arrogance to overtake their humility.  There is a reason that all revolutionary movements start with impressionable and impulsive students.

So we rapidly descend from “Perhaps there is a better way to do things” to sharing the view of the philosopher Elwood Blues: “We’re on a mission from God.”

Looking for better ways to do things is what defines Western Civilization.  Once we stop arguing and striving for a better tomorrow, societal growth stops, and we rapidly transition from America to Syria.  We should avoid that at all costs.

But there is a big difference between looking for better ways to do things, and simply attempting to defend whatever point is popular at the time, at all costs.  It’s ok to be wrong about something.  It’s not ok to defend a position that’s wrong, just to make yourself look virtuous.

Such behavior is the opiate of the lazy and the weak-minded.

And it’s becoming a national pandemic, which I would argue is significantly more dangerous than COVID-19.

As a nation, we find ourselves in desperate need of adult supervision.  I see none immediately available.

I heroically maintain sufficient humility to acknowledge that perhaps I was wrong about even my most basic assumptions.  Perhaps I’ve not yet had enough bourbon for today…

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Back before TDS and micro-dosing etc, Rob Long made a comment – actually in the very first “Flagship” Ricochet Podcast with James Lileks as a “regular” – about how stupid people think they’re smart because they think they can predict the future, which they really can’t.  But because they stupidly think they can, they think they’re smart.  It seems to be a similar kind of thing with these situations, and that it’s really pretty difficult for people to admit that they AREN’T smart.  Especially if they are – to use an old expression – just smart enough to be dangerous.

     

    https://www.adrive.com/public/J5jzxs/Ricochet%20Podcast%2007-08-10%20Jabba%20the%20Fed.mp3

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Most people don’t even know what their most fundamental assumptions are. 
    Those who say that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes don’t know that the basic assumption is that earnings belong to the government before the individual. 
    I have always referred to Ayn Rand’s saying “Check your premises”. 

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Most people don’t even know what their most fundamental assumptions are.
    Those who say that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes don’t know that the basic assumption is that earnings belong to the government before the individual.
    I have always referred to Ayn Rand’s saying “Check your premises”.

    And when you point out that high-income people actually pay the lion’s share of income taxes… they just shrug.

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I think feminism and civil rights reached their current sorry states by very different paths. Feminism got on its wrong path quickly in the sixties and has never seemed to quite get back on a correct heading. We have been able to see the truth of this with feminism for more than two decades thanks to Steven Pinker:

    https://kitiopia.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/steven-pinker-equity-feminism-vs-gender-femi.

    Civil-rights, guided well by Dr. Martin Luther King,  has been misdirected by minority charlatans, who know the real truth, for profit in dollars and they have been aided in this by government and our public education system among other sources. 

    I don’t know much at all about alternative medicine but I do have a strong sense that traditional medicine has been very much corrupted by government and big business. I will never get back the more than two decades during which I avoided bacon and eggs for breakfast (not completely but by a large measure) while hassling my children constantly about their sugar consumption that was promoted by that same government through subsidies for domestic sugar production. These policies have seen some change but I doubt we have it right yet.

    Hasn’t the federal government ruined your profession yet? Just you wait!

    • #4
  5. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Most people don’t even know what their most fundamental assumptions are.
    Those who say that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes don’t know that the basic assumption is that earnings belong to the government before the individual.
    I have always referred to Ayn Rand’s saying “Check your premises”.

    And when you point out that high-income people actually pay the lion’s share of income taxes… they just shrug.

    As a famous philosopher (and bank robber) once said, “Because that’s where the money is.”

    • #5
  6. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Most people don’t even know what their most fundamental assumptions are.
    Those who say that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes don’t know that the basic assumption is that earnings belong to the government before the individual.
    I have always referred to Ayn Rand’s saying “Check your premises”.

    And when you point out that high-income people actually pay the lion’s share of income taxes… they just shrug.

    As a famous philosopher (and bank robber) once said, “Because that’s where the money is.”

    Actually it’s not, and that’s part of the problem.  People say “tax the rich!” because it sounds easy, and that it won’t affect THEM.  But the reality is that if you confiscated 100% of “the rich’s” money, it wouldn’t pay for the government for a year.  And then you couldn’t do it NEXT year.  One reason “increasing taxes on the wealthy” ends up with “wealthy” being defined at maybe $150,000 or less, is because the much higher number of people have “middle income.”  That’s where most of the money really is.

    • #6
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    In Claire Berlinski’s 2006 book Menace in Europe, she discusses the phenomenon represented by the French farmer and anti-globalization leader Jose Bove, whose philosophy Berlinski summarizes as “crop worship”….”European men and women still confront the same existential questions, the same suffering as everyone who has ever been born. They are suspicious now of the Church and of grand political ideologies, but they nonetheless yearn for the transcendent.  And so they worship other things–crops, for example, which certain Europeans, like certain tribal animists, have come to regard with superstitious awe.”

    The title of this chapter is “Black-Market Religion: The Nine Lives of Jose Bove,”  and Berlinski sees the current Jose Bove as merely one in a long line of historical figures who hawked similar ideologies.  They range from a man of unknown name born in Bourges circa AD 560, to Talchem of Antwerp in 1112, through Hans the Piper of Niklashausen in the late 1400s, and on to the “dreamy, gentle, and lunatic Cathars” of Languedoc and finally to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Berlinski sees all these people as being basically Christian heretics, with multiple factors in common.  They tend appeal to those whose status or economic position is threatened, and to link the economic anxieties of their followers with spiritual ones.  Quite a few of them have been hermits at some stage in their lives.  Most of them have been strongly anti-Semitic. And many of the “Boves”  have been concerned deeply with purity…Bove coined the neologism malbouffe, which according to Google Translate means “junk food,” but Berlinski says that translation “does not capture the full horror of bad bouffe, with its intimation of contamination, pollution, poison.”  She observes that “the passionate terror of malbouffe–well founded or not–is also no accident; it recalls the fanatic religious and ritualistic search for purity of the Middle Ages, ethnic purity included.  The fear of poisoning was widespread among the millenarians…”  (See also this interesting piece on environmentalist ritualism as a means of coping with anxiety and perceived disorder.)

    Related, I think, to the obsessions with ‘natural foods’ and ‘natural medicines’.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And when you point out that high-income people actually pay the lion’s share of income taxes… they just shrug.

    That’s what I do when I hear someone say that. I just shrug.  Dunno what it has to do with “fair share” of anything, though. 

    • #8
  9. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Dr. Bastiat: I mentioned in a comment that the real trick to being an outstanding physician is balancing the arrogance necessary to take people’s lives in your hands, with the humility to recognize that you may be wrong about even your most basic assumptions.  That really is difficult, and physicians struggle with it.  Well, the good ones do, at least. 

    Not all are like you Dr. Bastiat. 

    I’m 58 and I don’t have a doctor who insures my trust. Maybe it is because I’m so rarely sick, or in need of care. 

    If more were like you, maybe the profession and industry might have a better reputation?

     

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The title of this chapter is “Black-Market Religion: The Nine Lives of Jose Bove,” and Berlinski sees the current Jose Bove as merely one in a long line of historical figures who hawked similar ideologies. They range from a man of unknown name born in Bourges circa AD 560, to Talchem of Antwerp in 1112, through Hans the Piper of Niklashausen in the late 1400s, and on to the “dreamy, gentle, and lunatic Cathars” of Languedoc and finally to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Berlinski sees all these people as being basically Christian heretics, with multiple factors in common. They tend appeal to those whose status or economic position is threatened, and to link the economic anxieties of their followers with spiritual ones. Quite a few of them have been hermits at some stage in their lives. Most of them have been strongly anti-Semitic. And many of the “Boves” have been concerned deeply with purity…Bove coined the neologism malbouffe, which according to Google Translate means “junk food,” but Berlinski says that translation “does not capture the full horror of bad bouffe, with its intimation of contamination, pollution, poison.” She observes that “the passionate terror of malbouffe–well founded or not–is also no accident; it recalls the fanatic religious and ritualistic search for purity of the Middle Ages, ethnic purity included.

    That is fascinating. I didn’t know Claire had written about that, but I learned some of the same points about “purity” from Venus Bivar’s 2018 book, Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France. Bivar’s book helped explain some of the ideas that were circulating among my family in the 50s and onward. I had probably not wondered enough about where they came from. Bivar also explains how some of the right-wing “purity” ideas had to change before the “organic” movement was adopted by the left.   It sounds like Ms Berlinski has taken an even longer historical view of the subject than Ms Bivar, so I’ve now got her book in my Kindle library, too.  (I just checked. Bivar doesn’t cite Berlinski in her book.)

     

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Dr. Bastiat:

    And it’s becoming a national pandemic, which I would argue is significantly more dangerous than COVID-19.

    Just out of curiosity, what are the annual numbers of people dying by needlessly pursuing alternative medical cures over medical ones?

    • #11
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat:

    And it’s becoming a national pandemic, which I would argue is significantly more dangerous than COVID-19.

    Just out of curiosity, what are the annual numbers of people dying by needlessly pursuing alternative medical cures over medical ones?

    I would love to know the answer to that, although I have no idea how one could possibly calculate it.

    I chose an extreme example – cancer and chemotherapy. But a more typical example, would probably be preventive care. People declining to take statins, or blood pressure medicines, or diabetes drugs, due to fear of side effects. They meditate, and take cinnamon supplements, or whatever. And then one day, they die their sleep of a heart attack. The death would not be attributed to the cinnamon, it was just her time, right?  But that did not have to happen.  How many of those deaths could have been prevented by adequate treatment? A lot. But it would be difficult to say exactly how many. Things like that would be very difficult to quantify objectively.

    Or, perhaps, someone who declines their flu shot, and decides to take vitamin C instead. How many of those people will die of influenza? Some. How many of those ‘some’ could have been saved by a flu shot? Again, some. How many exactly? It would be very hard to say.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat:

    And it’s becoming a national pandemic, which I would argue is significantly more dangerous than COVID-19.

    Just out of curiosity, what are the annual numbers of people dying by needlessly pursuing alternative medical cures over medical ones?

    I would love to know the answer to that, although I have no idea how one could possibly calculate it.

    I chose an extreme example – cancer and chemotherapy. But a more typical example, would probably be preventive care. People declining to take statins, or blood pressure medicines, or diabetes drugs, due to fear of side effects. They meditate, and take cinnamon supplements, or whatever. And then one day, they die their sleep of a heart attack. The death would not be attributed to the cinnamon, it was just her time, right? But that did not have to happen. How many of those deaths could have been prevented by adequate treatment? A lot. But it would be difficult to say exactly how many. Things like that would be very difficult to quantify objectively.

    Or, perhaps, someone who declines their flu shot, and decides to take vitamin C instead. How many of those people will die of influenza? Some. How many of those ‘some’ could have been saved by a flu shot? Again, some. How many exactly? It would be very hard to say.

    Sounds like a good reason why people shouldn’t be coerced into anything they don’t want or feel comfortable with.

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    People declining to take statins

    Yes, I understand what you’re saying, but I myself wouldn’t take statins.  And I question the idea that elevated cholesterol causes arteriosclerosis.  (Is arguing with a lipidemiologist part of the stupidity you’re talking about?)  Anyway, I’d get into a tontine with you, but you’d have to spot me ten years, and even then I doubt I’d win.  But Linus Pauling did live into his 90s.

    PS: And I doubt AGW as well. :)

    PPS:  And at Boeing recently they cut corners and fudged FAA reports on the MCAS of the 737-800 Max, and that didn’t turn out very well.

    • #14
  15. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Dr. Bastiat: But there is a big difference between looking for better ways to do things, and simply attempting to defend whatever point is popular at the time, at all costs. 

    My wife complains about a woman who is always commenting on the town’s Facebook page. Evidently, this lady parrots all of the leftist talking points and addresses all disagreements with “Let me educate you . . . “ 

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    addresses all disagreements with “Let me educate you . . . “ 

    I wonder if there’s any topic in which she could not educate someone.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    addresses all disagreements with “Let me educate you . . . “

    I wonder if there’s any topic in which she could not educate someone.

    Certainly not in HER mind.  The problem is, it’s so tiny…

    • #17
  18. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    That is fascinating. I didn’t know Claire had written about that

    The whole book is very interesting, though depressing.  I review it in some detail here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/44959.html

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    That is fascinating. I didn’t know Claire had written about that

    The whole book is very interesting, though depressing. I review it in some detail here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/44959.html

    Was that book pre-TDS?

    • #19
  20. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    addresses all disagreements with “Let me educate you . . . “

    I wonder if there’s any topic in which she could not educate someone.

    Certainly not in HER mind. The problem is, it’s so tiny…

    Yeah, even the other liberals are embarrassed by her. They believe all the same things but realize you need to be a bit more tactful. 

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    addresses all disagreements with “Let me educate you . . . “

    I wonder if there’s any topic in which she could not educate someone.

    Certainly not in HER mind. The problem is, it’s so tiny…

    Yeah, even the other liberals are embarrassed by her. They believe all the same things but realize you need to be a bit more tactful.

    Interesting.  Tactful tyranny.

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    kedavis (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    That is fascinating. I didn’t know Claire had written about that

    The whole book is very interesting, though depressing. I review it in some detail here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/44959.html

    Was that book pre-TDS?

    2006. Definitely.

    • #22
  23. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Of all the genetic traits I wish to imbue into humanity 1.2, the ability to change your mind based on evidence is the most important one.

    • #23
  24. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Of all the genetic traits I wish to imbue into humanity 1.2, the ability to change your mind based on evidence is the most important one.

    I don’t see how that could work. Evidence can provide a good reason for changing one’s mind, but it can never be the basis for it.

    • #24
  25. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Of all the genetic traits I wish to imbue into humanity 1.2, the ability to change your mind based on evidence is the most important one.

    I don’t see how that could work. Evidence can provide a good reason for changing one’s mind, but it can never be the basis for it.

    Please explicate fellow hominid.

    • #25
  26. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Dr. Bastiat: Once someone looks at the data, they will lose.  Badly.  They would only attempt a power play like this if they presumed that no one would look at the data.  And that’s ridiculous, of course.  Except it’s not.  With the internet, you can look at whatever data you want.  It’s very reassuring.  It beats thinking.  And it certainly beats questioning your own assumptions.  That can be uncomfortable.

    Data is now censored to such a degree that one cannot trust that the available data is correct (by virtue of being selectively incomplete).  Just ask the Frontline Doctors, or anyone questioning the most secure election in history. 

    • #26
  27. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    That is fascinating. I didn’t know Claire had written about that

    The whole book is very interesting, though depressing. I review it in some detail here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/44959.html

    Was that book pre-TDS?

    2006. Definitely.

    And she has repudiated its core theme. ):

    • #27
  28. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Dr. Bastiat: I immediately made two decisions – perhaps I’ve had enough bourbon for today

    Just a little more bourbon and you’ll be writing your first novel.  See me for free advice – it’s worth every penny!

    • #28
  29. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But the reality is that if you confiscated 100% of “the rich’s” money, it wouldn’t pay for the government for a year

    The venerable Iowahawk covered this beautifully:

    https://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/feed-your-family-on-10-billion-a-day.html

    • #29
  30. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Of all the genetic traits I wish to imbue into humanity 1.2, the ability to change your mind based on evidence is the most important one.

    I don’t see how that could work. Evidence can provide a good reason for changing one’s mind, but it can never be the basis for it.

    Please explicate fellow hominid.

    I was a little sloppy about the first part.  Evidence can’t be a reason, but it can be part of a reason. 

    But the basis for reasoning has to be some value or objective that precedes the reason.

     

    • #30