Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Steven Weinberg will not vote for Obama

Steven Weinberg is a top theoretical physicist who remains immensely active.

Just yesterday, he released a new paper demonstrating that in scale-invariant theories, fields \(\psi_n\) transforming as \((j,0)\) or \((0,j)\) under the Lorentz group – symmetric spintensors with one kind of indices only – don't allow any interactions if the mass dimension obeys \(\Delta=j+1\).

(I took the picture in the Society of Fellows. Of course, I have taken many other pictures of Steven Weinberg in my life...)

But many more readers may be much more interested in his interesting new political stance. He is a left-wing Texas, one of the world's most famous atheist activists, a pro-Israel guy, but you might expect him to enthusiastically vote for Obama. You would be wrong:
Steven Weinberg on the election (The New York Review of Books, November 2012)
I won't unmask the point of his justification, except that conservatives shouldn't expect too much from his reasons. ;-)

But you're surely free to discuss it in the comments.

Of course, Weinberg's sentiment is just an example of the growing dissatisfaction with Barack Obama among life-long leftists. The reasons why they're dissatisfied are probably the same reasons why I think that Obama has been more or less OK, in comparison with some of the catastrophic predictions some pundits made four or five years ago.

After I watched the second presidential debate, I would say that the difference between both candidates is not too great.

Incidentally, Steven Weinberg wrote a new book – Lectures on Quantum Mechanics – that was written for grad students and professionals, contains some unusual stuff as well as problems, and will be out at the end of the year but you may pre-order it via the link on the left to guarantee the price. Just a few years ago, I wouldn't believe I would ever say so, but I think that even a giant of Weinberg's caliber has recently said some softcore silly things about the foundations of quantum mechanics. I don't know anything about the content of the book but my guess is that it will focus on the technical, not philosophical, issues.


  1. Brian G ValentineOct 17, 2012, 7:55:00 AM

    Я не буду голосовать за него либо.

    I assume you can read that easily enough Lubos, I can understand Czech but cannot speak it so well.

    Anyway, I admire Weinberg, this is an interesting result, not obvious to me at all.

    The President has gone off the deep end with an energy policy, taking advice from the most Communist tainted collection of advisers outside of the EU, there is no way I could support him - even at gunpoint

  2. Dear Brian, just to be sure, you realize that what you wrote is Russian and Czech uses the Latin alphabet, don't you? ;-)

    Weinberg probably criticizes Obama for the opposite things concerning energy policy than you. ;-)

  3. Brian G ValentineOct 17, 2012, 8:19:00 AM

    Of course I know that Lubos. I'm not as stupid as I sound sometimes ...

    If Weinberg thinks that it is possible to bankrupt a country to make solar panels and liquid fuel from trees work, then I wouldn't vote for Weinberg either. This scheme only works in the fantasy world of the EU

  4. Guilt makes some feel that they MUST vote for Obama because of past wrongs. There is an advertisement running, off and on,which makes this point to those who voted for Obama that they tried something new, and it did not work. It is OK to try something else.

    Perhaps we need an advertisement featuring Steven Weinberg's comments, telling our "Educated Elite" that it is OK to vote for someone else this time.

  5. SteveBrooklineMAOct 17, 2012, 4:31:00 PM

    Where does the Leftists' unending faith in strong central government come from Lubos? Has there ever been an example of such government that actually worked to the people's long-term benefit? It's easy to come up with many examples where it has been a disaster. Yet, despite the evidence, there is zero doubt in the Leftist mind that bigger and stronger government is the solution to every problem.

  6. despite having contributed more to the western civilisation than any other group for their size, by far the last couple hundred years, the Jews are pretty good at destroying themselves and not foreseeing when big trouble comes.
    i don't understand why most of them support Obama so much. it is probably the biggest problem between US Jews and Israeli Jews. it is not only that they vote for him, his team had many Jews. they are educated but cannot see some basic things.
    ok...they don't like the Republicans because they relate many of them with racism etc., because they had problems with many of them in the past.
    but who is the biggest danger, some Republicans that don't like Jews or some idiot that is against Israel and does not care about a nuclear Iran despite the fact that many people from the group he does not support put him into power?
    one more reason he is a parasite. despite growing up in the western world, enjoying the goods other worked to provide him with and attending a hateful anti-white church. Obama the product of school and government brainwashing.

  7. do you work for the federal government?

  8. People out where I'm at are voting for Mitt over Obama because Obama is
    black. I live in idiot La-La-land where skin color still matters. Never
    mind about the drones or any of the bombing "campaigns" Obama has done.
    Or, that he hasn't thrown one Bankster in the slammer. Nope, its his
    skin color they're voting against. So, maybe we are all about to get a 4
    year educational experience on Mormonism.

    I'm afraid I can no longer stand up for the American people and make excuses for them.

  9. Did anyone catch the irony when Obama accused Romney of " investing in
    companies that are building surveillance equipment for China to spy on
    its own folks?"

    It was stated as if Obama was shocked that a government could have the audacity to spy on its citizens. Made me ill.

    I suppose he forgot a certain Executive Order Janet Napolitano sent
    over from DHS for Obama to sign authorizing enhanced cyber-surveillance
    against US citizens.

    Now folks, just let me be clear

    You really have nothing to fear

    I've heard all the groans

    About building those drones

    What's that? I can no longer hear!!!

    The Limerick King

  10. Maybe next time you'll have a scientologist candidate :-)

  11. It comes from schools. In school you have a strong central authority – principal, teachers, and clear explicit rules. Some people excel at that environment. Later on they hit the “real world of business”, when “rules” are rather fluid and you have to produce something other people are actually interested in, and they do not do so well. It usually makes them to withdraw back to the universities, where they are judged by their peers, rather than by actual practical success of their ideas, and reconfirm that the strong central authority system works. (And it really does – for them.) There is no reason why they should not advocate it for others, too.

  12. Watching the "debate," it seemed obvious to me that it was nothing more
    than a choreographed, scripted production right down to the color of tie
    each candidate wore. You could almost see the strings being pulled by
    their corporate and party masters as they moved around the stage,
    circling each other in some kind of strange shadow dance like
    marionettes. The so-called "82 uncommitted voters" were nothing more
    than set props asking predictable questions that elicited predictable
    answers--and told me little about what each candidate truly believed. In
    fact, it probably doesn't matter what they truly believe--they just do
    as they are told, not by the common American citizen, as it should be,
    but by their deep-pocket corporate sponsors.

    This demonstrates, once again, that what really goes on in the rigged
    two-party dance of American democracy should be enough to make any sane
    person puke their guts out. Puke up your sponsor-supplied Budweiser beer
    right along with your sponsor-supplied Pizza Hut pizza. Thus I propose
    that like the NASCAR drivers, the Presidential candidates must wear
    outfits that have buttons and labels of their sponsors.

    The dance of the Cronies begins

    A pageant of well rehearsed spins

    Although it's all show

    We still want to know

    Which of these two cronies wins

    The Limerick King

  13. ;-) like a simulated reality

  14. Andrew Bacevich in, "The Limits of Power: The End of American
    Exceptionalism," brings up the utility of war as the basis for the
    continued institutional survival of the American war machine, the
    Military Industrial Complex as understood but never acknowledged. Even
    though military action is never a solution, and the US Military seems to
    slink away more often than not.

    Chris Floyd, over at Empire Burlesque, also has come to the
    establishmentarian view of American Imperialism, quoting the old
    systems motto ‘The Purpose of a System is What It Does.” The American
    military machine is about war, so it needs war.

    The First Gay President isn’t going to pass up the chance to
    escalate testosterone building murders from drone assassinations to
    directing mass military movements. Someone pointed out that Shrub talked
    like a sniveling fool until he started talking war, and then he was
    grand and glorious. Since Barry is continuing Shrub’s presidency, one
    assumes he’ll quit posing as a goodhearted family man and start posing
    as a killer.

    If the police knew that our next great costly war -- be it against Syria, Iran, or both -- would be paid for out of their
    pensions, and not just the pensions of the people in the streets with
    antiwar signs, perhaps the outlook wouldn’t be so gloomy.

  15. if you are talking about Obama i seriously think he is bisexual but he probably never had sex with a man. actually i don't seriously think he is. i am sure he is. and i am not saying it because of his support for gay marriage.

  16. After reading Weinberg's article it may not have been a complete coincidence I did not bother watching the second debate, and CNN endless interpretation of it...

  17. To me, Obama just looks like a black guy who made it big, and is very
    proud of the fact. And maybe he should be. At any rate, it’s the
    American Dream, isn’t it, especially for a guy from a non-privileged
    background? People who are surprised that Obama isn’t very interested in
    any lefty agenda shouldn’t be. His agenda isn’t to attack the 1%, it’s
    to join them. And he’s doing really well.

  18. The elite are enjoying this game of CandyLand going on through November
    4th while they play an unending real life game of Monopoly.

  19. When I read one of your posts Cynthia I always think "I am paranoid - but am I paranoid enough?" Ever read the book "Interface" by Neal Stephenson and George Jewsbury?

  20. i couldn't agree more with everything you said after the second line. of course the first two lines have a point.

  21. I've just read Weinberg's NYT article. Somebody could really do a job on it/really do a number on it/really take it apart/whatever ... Americanisms, dear brother and sister foreigners. :-) Somebody could destroy much of it with criticisms. Wow! I almost couldn't think of a non-idiomatic way to say it. :-)


  22. Conservative people around the world use the same electoral strategies. They always try to win elections by convincing leftist voters that the candidate that confront theirs is not a pure leftist and does not deserve the vote from any pure left-wing voter. In general, they don't care about the ideological profile of their conservative candidate, because they only want to take control of government. In other words, they win elections because of the abstention of their ideological opponents.

    Saying that Steve Weinberg is a left-wing Texan because he is an atheist being, as we know very well, a radical Zionist belongs to the kind of political garbage Lubos likes to scatter. Your lies are very much like Romney's ones.

    Knowing Steve, I am pretty sure he's not going to vote for Obama because Obama is not fully convinced about sweeping Iran out from Earth's surface by next Christmas season.

    It is important for Lubos to take into account as soon as possible that we already live in the twentieth first century and not in a dreamed frozen mental world in a fictitious summer of 1968 after a fictitious victory of the Spring Revolution in Prague.

  23. Honestly, was this comment written by a real leftist, or was it a prankster's attempt to caricature leftists? I can't tell. If the comment above is meant seriously, I am just left speechless.

  24. "The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and
    policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a
    foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers.
    Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the
    American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without
    leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy." - Carrol Quigley

    This pretty much explains why the Left-Right Paradigm is over. It's now You vs Corporations:

  25. Hi Lubos, (sorry if this is the wrong place to post this)

    I often
    read your blog and I really appreciate your work. You really seem to care for
    truth and you demonstrate impressive knowledge and mastery of physics.

    You often
    discuss political subjects and you certainly express your opinion when you have
    one (which you seem to have most of the time). But sometimes when you discuss
    the relations/problems with/between the middle-east and the western world I get
    the impression that some of your opinions are based on (what I perceive to be) incorrect
    information. I mostly get the feeling when you discuss subjects related to the
    foreign policy of the US.
    I urge you to re-investigate these subject matters. Look into US foreign policy
    from the second world war and forward. Their relationships and actions and not
    just in the middle east, but all over the world. Maybe look into theories which
    by some are considered controversial and by others considered hard fact, for
    example the petrodollar system and its significance (or insignificance) for
    continued US
    dominance. Perhaps read some articles by Noam Chomsky, who express a view
    different from yours. He seems very knowledgeable and argues – as one example -
    why Iran
    does not pose the threat we are given to believe.

    I don’t
    have any illusions that I can persuade you into doing an extensive
    investigation, mostly because you probably remain very confident in your world
    picture, however I still wanted to send you this.

    I care for
    truth just like you, but have often been blinded by emotional reactions.
    Whenever one feels a reaction to political matters the objectivity might
    already be lost and all the arguments convincing oneself about the correctness
    of the initial feeling might be somewhat empty, simply because one search only
    for the arguments or indicators which support the initial feeling. The best way
    to proceed is to not care, yet somehow keep the motivation to learn more and
    think about what one learns. When (almost) no feelings remain greater objectivity
    may be reached and when new insights (hopefully) appear they can be
    reintroduced. Humans in general have such impressive intellectual potential,
    but most of the time this is not reflected in our actions nor our opinions as
    they often reflect primitive “programs” inherent in our nature, which have been
    heavily manipulated by all the misleading information we constantly receive.

    Here’s how
    I imagine you might answer to this if you don’t like it:

    pitiful attempt at flattery to ease me into your nonsense only succeeds in
    irritating me. Believe me I have investigated those matters sufficiently well
    to form an opinion. And you need subjectivity to form a political opinion, it
    is “inherent in our nature” and in the process. Please quit the condescending
    educational advice.

    Well …, I
    wish you the best and will continue reading your blog regardless.

  26. Hello Lubos. Unfortunately, some of Weinberg's fellow leftist Laureates aren't as well-informed: