Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Peter Woit

Peter Woit, a notorious pseudointellectual warrior against modern theoretical physics, has joined several other leftists in the Academia (including Susskind, Tao, Aaronson) and ordered his readers to vote for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump.

Woit seems less detached from reality than e.g. Terry Tao but the simple-mindedness, emptiness, and evil of his type of argumentation is still shocking.

In the first paragraph, he says that we don't live in normal times and the U.S. democracy is in a "disturbing state". To sketch how we wants to fix the "disturbing state", he announces that no discussion about his blog post is allowed because "Internet comment sections are a part of the problem". Right, a non-disturbing "democracy" is one in which people never talk and just mindlessly arrive to vote for Hillary-like candidates.

Woit is a stuttering inarticulate crackpot so I won't copy his verbose prose. But several pages at the beginning say:
  • If you want to vote for Hillary, don't forget to vote for Hillary and don't change your mind
  • If you want to vote for a third candidate, change your mind, don't be like the Nader voters in 2000, and vote for Hillary
  • If you want to skip the vote, change your mind and vote for Hillary
  • If you want to vote for Trump, don't do it and ideally change your mind and vote for Hillary
You may estimate the IQ of a person who is capable of figuring out that it's better for Hillary if these four groups do vote for her. I think that it must be at least 30. But how can someone think that these "instructions", without a glimpse of an argument, will actually change someone's mind?

His message to Trump voters actually has two "justifications" (another page). They're the following:
  • Don't vote for Trump because of his values because he changes his mind and he could give a job to Peter Thiel who is eccentric and no one shares his views
  • Don't vote for Trump because he is one of us because Trump is actually one of us, the liberal coastal educated elite, and he is trying to fool you and pretend that he is a Southerner
Jesus Christ. First, concerning the changing opinions. Well, in some respects, Trump is a centrist candidate who doesn't have clear and constant opinions about some things. But the same is true about hundreds of millions of Americans. In many other, often fundamental questions, he is a rather orthodox conservative candidate. At least verbally, he wants lower taxes, a less wasteful and less corrupt government, better safety against immigration, conservative economic reforms, preservation of the constitution by courts, defense of individual liberties. See e.g. this tweet.

And then there are all the understandable material motivations that make people vote in one way or another. For example, Obamacare seems to be an absolute catastrophe, as predicted (and a crazy thing, as mentioned by Bill Clinton), and many people are currently seeing a tripling of their insurance costs etc. Unsurprisingly, Trump wants to repeal the Obamacare, in agreement with most of non-left-wing folks and some left-wing ones.

No one can guarantee that as a president, Donald Trump will fulfill all these promises. But these promises still shape what he's representing and what he'll be expected to do – and therefore influence what he will likely do. Hillary Clinton doesn't defend these important things even verbally. So lots of the standard conservative voters will vote for Trump because of the rather standard well-known ideological reasons. They know that all the comments that Trump is special – in some sense much worse than any previous Republican candidates – are just meaningless hype. The current Republican candidate is always the "worst one in the history" according to the left-wing hype because he needs to be defeated now. George W. Bush was also the worst one ever. McCain and Romney weren't the worst ones only because they were left-wing enough for the Democratic Party.

Concerning Peter Thiel, Woit says that no one shares his opinions and values. Well, I surely share most of them. And lots of voters find them interesting and respectable, to say the least. Donald Trump's opinions and flexibility don't really dramatically differ from those of his voters. So if he thinks that it's a good idea to hire Peter Thiel for the Supreme Court, be sure that a big part of the Trump voters will think that it's a great idea, too. To pretend that you're certain about the opposite answer is just stupid.

In the second paragraph, Woit says that most people in the New York City consider everyone in the red America to be deplorable "ignorant racists". A problem is that Donald Trump thinks the same about the rednecks, Woit says. Please, give me a break with this utter bullšit. The fact that someone lives in the New York City doesn't mean that he shares the values and perspective of a politically extreme movement that is strong in the New York City. It may be strong there but it is in no way covering everybody. At most, the observation that Trump is a wealthy Newyorker implies that comments that he must be "totally incompatible with the engine that powers America" are surely exaggerated.

Trump has towers in Chicago, Las Vegas, Florida, and many other places. He's in no way confined to some ivory tower or any other bubble in the New York City. He also has real estate in the Philippines, Turkey, Toronto, Panama, Mexico, and other places. His mother was born in Scotland, his first wife was Czech, and his current wife is Slovenian-born. He's travelling a lot. But even if he weren't travelling, it wouldn't mean that he shares some perspectives of the likes of Woit.

A little bit later, Woit writes cute sentences such as
More recently I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s going on here has to do with the world-view of much of the liberal, educated class that I’m a part of.
The IQ needed for this deep insight had to be at least 30, too. Imagine: the Americans' dissatisfaction with the people like Hillary Clinton and Peter Woit – and the establishment surrounding them – which turns many people into enthusiastic fans of Donald Trump could have something to do with Hillary Clinton, Peter Woit, and their world view. Wow, what a discovery. Columbia University will surely renew the contract with this unproductive "intellectual" because of this discovery.

The detailed choice of the words is crazy, too. First, the idea that the society should be divided to "classes" is a Marxist construct. The real America is a set of 300+ million people who belong at most to numerous overlapping fuzzy sets with an unbelievably high number of connections between all of them. To talk about the classes – and frame the elections as a part of a class struggle – is both irresponsible and uninformed. Almost all the people who feel comfortable with this Marxist language probably prefer Hillary, anyway.

But let's accept that a set of people similar to Woit may refer to themselves as a "class". We hear that they are the "liberal, educated" class. The second pompous adjective sounds implausible given the fact that Peter Woit hasn't even been able to understand the importance of string theory despite pretending that he was "educated" in theoretical physics. He's just a mediocre uneducated crackpot. The first adjective is bizarre, too, because these people have no respect towards the liberty or anything associated with it. They are classical Stalin-style leftist totalitarians – Woit's decision to ban any discussion on politics is just one tiny symptom of it among thousands. But Woit is clearly not the first leftist who is trying to hijack the word "liberal" so let's not argue about this manipulative terminology much.

This "educated, liberal class" is despising the expected Trump voters. We are told:
From a lifetime spent among such elites I can tell you that, yes, they do look down on you.
But what an arrogant leftist aßhole similar to Peter Woit cannot tell you is what the Trump voters think about these people who describe themselves as the "elites". He can't tell you because he has never lived among them. I assure you that the antipathy is mutual. The Trump voters look down on you, pro-Hillary and feminist and multicultural and pro-Islamic and pro-Big-Government and otherwise defective and especially corrupt, self-serving, and hypocritical would-be "elites". That's a rather important point that the likes of Woit just can't understand which prevents them from understanding pretty much anything in politics.

After all, the idea that the coastal, highly "blue" states are some elites who are much better off than the "red" states etc. is largely a nonsense, too. Just look at a random map of the GDP per capita:

Written tables with the same information (from various years) may be found on Wikipedia. You see that the colors look nothing like the colors on the political maps. The very rich, pink, states include Sarah Palin's Alaska and Wyoming i.e. the square in the Midwest. Minnesota at the center of the North is violet i.e. richer than average. The New York state, California, and Texas don't differ from the average – and each other – too much. Needless to say, the by far wealthiest territory in the U.S. is Washington D.C. with over $180,000 in GDP per capita. It's a city with the dominantly Republican Congress.

The idea of the likes of Woit that they're better than the conservative America in some "objective" sense is just not justifiable by any real-world data.

Most of the remainder of Woit's article is redundantly presenting a conspiracy theory that everyone has teamed up to discredit Hillary Clinton who must be completely clean. All the pundits are discrediting Hillary in order to create the illusion of their own moral superiority. The "unholy alliance" contains not only right-wing and left-wing websites (Woit seems no different between them) but also the New York Times (!) and of course, Jill Stein and the Green Party. As we mentioned above, the voters of Jill Stein are obliged to be progressive and vote for Hillary Clinton, too.

When it comes to this group and all others, Peter Woit (and similar rotten brains in the ivory towers) seem absolutely unable to imagine that someone may think differently about politics. Well, they can't really imagine that someone may be able to think about politics with their own brains; that he can have different values he is trying to achieve etc. He and similar scumbags want everything to be controlled by some left-wing power structure. He doesn't hide at all that he considers environmentalism etc. to be just another tool for spreading the left-wing agenda.

But the green color was chosen because of Nature. The greens should normally and traditionally be defending and conserve Nature – in this sense, they are conservative. The environmental movement in the West has been largely hijacked by the leftists – the kind of crap that had to escape the overt Marxism after that ideology got humiliated when it lost the Cold War – who repainted themselves green and became watermelons (which are still red inside). But it was just a historical curiosity that isn't meant to exist forever. Of course there's nothing paradoxical about a green party's opposition to a generic left-wing candidate, especially if this candidate plans e.g. to escalate the tension against the world's #1 nuclear superpower.

In Czechia, we also have some left-wing greens but for many years, a political tourist named Martin Bursík (a mainstream politician who's been a member of many, mostly center-right, parties) was the chairman of the Green Party. I actually know rather right-wing people in the Greenpeace, too. There's absolutely no "canonical" reason why a green person should be supporting someone like Hillary Clinton. Woit's "assuming" that the green "has to" only highlights Woit's own stupidity.

You may see that the Stein-Hillary animosity is strong and mutual, too. See e.g. this Facebook post reposted and endorsed by Jill Stein that says that Hillary Clinton is very dangerous and more dangerous than Donald Trump; and this hostile and anxious response by DailyKos.

So Peter Woit just hasn't presented a single damn sensible argument that could change a rational person's mind about the U.S. elections – just like in his 8,000 rants attempting to say "string theory is bad", he hasn't presented a single rational argument that would weaken the critical importance of string theory in physics in any way. He's just enumerating all the mostly illogical and self-evidently manipulative slogans, excuses, threats, and insults that he wants all obedient people to repeat.

But people who are able to think and people who have some moral values simply know that Peter Woit's words are absolutely worthless demagogic junk. You're not an elite in any meaningful sense, Mr Woit. You're just a spoiled brat from a Nazi family who understands nothing important about the world and who has never contributed anything to the mankind. So please return to the sewerage system in the New York City where you belong and don't try to pollute the environment for decent Americans by your dirty presence.

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