Mushy and Wifty

This week, we mix up the line-up with Conservatarian guest hosts Jon Gabriel and Stephen Miller. They’re joined by author Tom Nichols (his new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters is a must read) and our old pal James Delingpole who lets loose about Milo and CPAC in the way only he can. Also, weird goings on in North Korea and next stop, Trappist-1.

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Music from this week’s podcast: You’ve Got To Stand For Somethin’ by John Mellencamp

The ALL NEW opening sequence for the Ricochet Podcast was composed and produced by James Lileks.

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There are 73 comments.

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  1. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I get an error when I try to download this:
    <Error>

    <Code>NoSuchKey</Code>

    <Message>The specified key does not exist.</Message>

    <Key>traffic.megaphone.fm/PPY1672807039.mp3</Key>

    <RequestId>B8225F9A1E0728A4</RequestId>

    <HostId>

    8B6dJcTzV7PH9fprQOq4gCXndjQWQAabbCpl+kkeJ8HnJvQeO+YK48lUOFGAzuK1VWpRvQY4NPI=

    </HostId>

    </Error>

    • #1
    • February 24, 2017, at 1:29 PM PST
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  2. NigelT Member

    Why do you tease me so? Audio file not playing makes Nigel sad. :(

    • #2
    • February 24, 2017, at 1:36 PM PST
    • Like
  3. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No can get it to work by clicking on the start button.

    • #3
    • February 24, 2017, at 1:36 PM PST
    • Like
  4. The Elephant in the Room Member

    NigelT (View Comment):
    Why do you tease me so? Audio file not playing makes Nigel sad.

    They turned it down to -11. Wokka wokka wokka!

    • #4
    • February 24, 2017, at 1:41 PM PST
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  5. Petty Boozswha Inactive

    Yeti and Max went on strike.

    • #5
    • February 24, 2017, at 1:52 PM PST
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  6. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra Fractus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Turned this crap off around the third or fourth “Cuck.” Next time you decide to have Delingpole on I will skip it entirely.

    • #6
    • February 24, 2017, at 2:14 PM PST
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  7. Blue Yeti Admin

    Working on it. Stand by.

    Update: Fixed! Sorry about that…

    • #7
    • February 24, 2017, at 2:23 PM PST
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  8. NigelT Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):
    Working on it. Stand by.

    Update: Fixed! Sorry about that…

    Thanks!

    • #8
    • February 24, 2017, at 2:36 PM PST
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  9. Sorry, I can't take this … Member

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    Turned this crap off around the third or fourth “Cuck.” Next time you decide to have Delingpole on I will skip it entirely.

    Yeah, apparently it doesn’t matter how disgusting you are, everything is forgiven as long as you’re “winning.”

    • #9
    • February 24, 2017, at 3:07 PM PST
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  10. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    Turned this crap off around the third or fourth “Cuck.” Next time you decide to have Delingpole on I will skip it entirely.

    Indeed. Delingpole used to be a favorite of mine too.

    • #10
    • February 24, 2017, at 3:18 PM PST
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  11. Profile Photo Member

    It’s great to be continually lectured about conservatism by Evan McMullin voters.

    • #11
    • February 24, 2017, at 3:21 PM PST
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  12. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    BD1 (View Comment):
    It’s great to be continually lectured about conservatism by Evan McMullin voters.

    Who are those people?

    • #12
    • February 24, 2017, at 3:23 PM PST
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  13. Blue Yeti Admin

    BD1 (View Comment):
    It’s great to be continually lectured about conservatism by Evan McMullin voters.

    For the record, we do not ask guests (or anyone else for that matter) who they voted for.

    • #13
    • February 24, 2017, at 3:59 PM PST
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  14. Profile Photo Member

    Stephen Miller: “Evan McMullin’s candidacy was never so much about him as the principled opposition he championed.” Sure.

    • #14
    • February 24, 2017, at 4:45 PM PST
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  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Downloaded it and installed it in iTunes manually because the iTunes link is still horked.

    • #15
    • February 24, 2017, at 4:52 PM PST
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  16. Valiuth Member
    Valiuth Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No one fought the Campus speech codes and illeberalism until Milo? Huh? Maybe some one should check with FIRE. I recall hearing about them long before I have heard about Milo. Sad.

    • #16
    • February 24, 2017, at 5:08 PM PST
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  17. Quake Voter Inactive

    Not as much mushy as squishy. Prominent NeverTrumper Tom Nichols gets a segment of strawman arguments contrasting the wisdom of American academic and policy elites against the knownothingism of the American masses. No discussion of the actual track record of the post Whiz Kids cognitive elite over the past 50 years, from the Great Society onwards.

    Is Trump perhaps a logical (Trump logical???) reaction to two disastrous, failed wars promoted by Nichols et al., a housing and financial collapse put on steroids by the financial, banking and FANNIE/FREDDIE experts, and the latest products of social policy expertise: the Affordable Care Act, women-with-penises bathroom policies and climate change hysteria?

    I guess the Bill Buckley, Harvard and Boston phonebook argument is out of the area code of the NeverTrump betters.

    I agree that tone of the Delingpole interview was unfortunate and unproductive. But who set it with the cuck, cucking intro? If James L. hates a word and believes it denigrates the conversation (and it does), why use it repeatedly in the intro for crissakes? And why shuffle Delingpole off the show and then proceed to debate and evaluate him amongst yourselves? Steven made some good strong points after Delingpole was dispatched. Delingpole is often at his most entertaining and winning when backpedaling from his often comically wrong exaggerations about American politics.

    • #17
    • February 24, 2017, at 5:47 PM PST
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  18. James Lileks Contributor

    No discussion of the actual track record of the post Whiz Kids cognitive elite over the past 50 years, from the Great Society onwards.

    I think I made the point that the general assault on Expertise was a result of the specific and general failures of the technocratic social-management class.

    If James L. hates a word and believes it denigrates the conversation (and it does), why use it repeatedly in the intro for crissakes?

    To make the point that he he had gone on a Facebook tear accusing Milo’s foes as cucks, and now was willingly attending a conference that had disinvited Milo. Thus participation = endorsement. We’re supposed to play by their rules now, remember?

    He took it in the spirit it was intended; giving someone the needle.

    And why shuffle Delingpole off the show and then proceed to debate and evaluate him amongst yourselves? Steven made some good strong points after Delingpole was dispatched

    Sound was horrible; we’d run up against the clock; I was trying to get him out by :55 so I could do the next spot and the member feed and / or exit discussion. That’s on me, so I take responsibility.

    • #18
    • February 24, 2017, at 6:12 PM PST
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  19. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    I must be in a silly mood, I’m thinking of Felix Unger, ‘ Mushy and Wifty and Bursting With Love’

    • #19
    • February 24, 2017, at 9:05 PM PST
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  20. Arahant Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    No one fought the Campus speech codes and illeberalism until Milo? Huh? Maybe some one should check with FIRE. I recall hearing about them long before I have heard about Milo. Sad.

    @greglukianoff is it true?

    • #20
    • February 24, 2017, at 11:11 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Arahant Member

    Overall, I enjoyed it. Of course, I’m an expert at being an expert, and in my expert opinion, the gentleman had a point. The problem here is that there is hard expertise and soft expertise. If I want to build a building that will be over fifty feet high, I want a certain type of expert called a structural engineer. Two different structural engineers may have different ideas on how to handle a particular engineering situation, but they should both be able to pull of the formulæ, plug in the numbers, and get the same results as to whether the building will stand and under what tolerances for each design. That doesn’t mean that either design will be pleasing to the eye, of course. Architectural æsthetics are measured differently and much more subjectively than under what conditions a building will fall down.

    Likewise, I can look at a poem that is purported to be a particular type of sonnet, and I can tell you whether it meets the rules of the form. I can’t tell you that the poem will move you, though. I can only say if it moved me.

    We have elevated artists, political prognosticators, to expert status as if they were engineers because they use data. The problem is that their data is always suspect and must be “adjusted.” It is our misunderstanding of what results a particular type of expertise can generate that makes us lose faith in expertise. Art is not engineering.

    • #21
    • February 24, 2017, at 11:26 PM PST
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  22. Wolverine Inactive

    Tom Nicholas knows nuttin!

    • #22
    • February 25, 2017, at 5:32 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Skarv Coolidge
    Skarv Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This was a great podcast. Professor Nichols’ thoughtful and well argued insights were immediately illustrated by Mr. Delingpole’s insistence on having his emotions affirmed.

    • #23
    • February 25, 2017, at 6:47 AM PST
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  24. Sorry, I can't take this … Member

    BD1 (View Comment):
    It’s great to be continually lectured about conservatism by Evan McMullin voters.

    Can’t possibly be as fantastic as continually being called “cuck” by Trump voters. Man, that really makes my day.

    • #24
    • February 25, 2017, at 7:56 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Skarv (View Comment):
    This was a great podcast. Professor Nichols’ thoughtful and well argued insights were immediately illustrated by Mr. Delingpole’s insistence on having his emotions affirmed.

    I thought it was a coin flip myself. Prof. Nichols is an expert who thinks we need to pay more attention to experts. Is he an expert in paying attention to experts? I’d have asked that, but then I’m no expert.

    Mr. Delingpole made me laugh. I didn’t exactly agree with him either.

    Good podcast in other words.

    • #25
    • February 25, 2017, at 8:11 AM PST
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  26. Richard Easton Member

    Merrijane (View Comment):

    BD1 (View Comment):
    It’s great to be continually lectured about conservatism by Evan McMullin voters.

    Can’t possibly be as fantastic as continually being called “cuck” by Trump voters. Man, that really makes my day.

    It’s unfortunate that Delingpole felt the need to repeatedly use a nasty word in the podcast rather than focus on the argument. He can be funny and enlightening. His recent podcast with an Anglican priest who protested against a Muslim prayer in an Anglican cathedral was excellent.

    • #26
    • February 25, 2017, at 10:31 AM PST
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  27. Crow's Nest Inactive

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I think I made the point that the general assault on Expertise was a result of the specific and general failures of the technocratic social-management class.

    Some of the reason for the critique of expertise is indeed the track record. But there is another kind of critique of expertise (and of “intellectualism”, which is a distinct thing from having intellect) that begins from the question “what is expert knowledge?”

    Arahant mentions above the example of a structural engineer in a building. I could provide a similar example of a port pilot. Both of these men have a form of knowledge that I think all conservatives–Trump supporters included–respect and honor.

    But is there a similar sort of techne (τέχνη) for ruling human beings? Is political science really a science in the same way as other forms of technical knowledge? And what about its constituent elements–economics, for example: does it afford us non-falsifiable predictive formulae for how a policy is sure to play out?

    Isn’t one of the reasons that conservatives place such emphasis on character, whether in the high-brow intellectual version of that argument or in the common sensical instinct for it, that we’ve intuited that the ruling “science” is really more of a ruling art?

    (cont bel0w)

    • #27
    • February 25, 2017, at 11:30 AM PST
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  28. Crow's Nest Inactive

    None of this is to say that expert knowledge of discrete fields of human endeavor involved in governing a modern nation-state isn’t sorely needed. Nor is it to say that economics and other branches of the humanities and social sciences aren’t worthy of our attentive study. Nor is it to say that even the hard sciences issue in uniform predictions or that there aren’t serious debates among experts.

    It is to say, however, that the caricature of expert knowledge, the deep misunderstanding of it that assumes the best and brightest will ipso facto rule well should give us pause.

    Incidentally, in my experience and with my own expertise in some fields, I think that the first sign of a true “expert” is a willful and open acknowledgement of the humility that comes from doubt.

    • #28
    • February 25, 2017, at 11:39 AM PST
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  29. Arahant Member

    Crow's Nest (View Comment):
    Isn’t one of the reasons that conservatives place such emphasis on character, whether in the high-brow intellectual version of that argument or in the common sensical instinct for it, that we’ve intuited that the ruling “science” is really more of a ruling art?

    This is indeed what I was talking about. The discredited experts we don’t want to listen to are the ones who have been proven wrong time after time. If a structural engineer is proven wrong time after time, he will probably wind up in jail or at least sued for damages and injuries. If a harbour pilot is proven wrong, it could result in a suit for damages and he may never work in that field again. But where is the punishment for the pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators? They are still out there selling the same snake oil.

    • #29
    • February 25, 2017, at 11:42 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Mate De Inactive

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    No one fought the Campus speech codes and illeberalism until Milo? Huh? Maybe some one should check with FIRE. I recall hearing about them long before I have heard about Milo. Sad.

    The FIRE cases always happened after the fact, and usually were done by letters to administrators and the like. Most students probably didn’t know about many of the FIRE cases. Milo was actually taking it to the students themselves. You should check out his campus speeches, they are actually very good. Funny, engaging and he speaks to the millenial generation using their own language. Milo really has been a cultural force to fight against the authoritarian speech codes of university’s in a way FIRE couldn’t do. FIRE was there for legal protection but if the students don’t even know about them then that doesn’t help. FIRE does amazing work in protecting students free speech but Milo has a place as well.

    • #30
    • February 25, 2017, at 11:48 AM PST
    • Like