We Used to Rape Them for Their Natural Capital, Now We Rape Them for Their Human Capital

Back in the day (19th century) the Western world completed the Scramble for Africa and held virtually the entire continent in bondage. Every part of Africa under European control was raped for its natural resources, a process that made Europe very wealthy and Africa very poor.

In recent decades, the West has more or less come to widely accept that this process was immoral. The primary reason for this is that it’s apparent in hindsight that, in order to get the populations to be compliant with colonialism and the processes of resource extraction, massive abuse and neglect had to be inflicted upon the native populations of Africa.

This abuse and neglect led directly to a widespread emotional, intellectual and cognitive impairment that has been passed down through the generations, crippling the capacity of Africans to care for themselves to this very day.

But, we also know that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In today’s world, wealth has less to do with natural resources and more to do with human resources. After all, diamonds or oil buried deep under the earth are not valuable without the human capital that knows how to extract and process them.

In an age when the total dollar value of services are five times the value of manufacturing, why go through the expense of building an empire just to dig up shiny rocks and extract rubber?

We know that doctors, engineers, psychologists, nurses etc. are generally more than happy to abandon their own people the moment you wave a fat Western paycheck in front of them, so it’s much better to loosen the immigration policy and let the human capital come to you.

The great irony here – which has been entirely unappreciated by the left – is that, from the perspective of people in the developing world, anyone who becomes capable of making a positive difference to the people around them usually ends up disappearing before they do, abandoning those they grew up with.

After all, why should a Kenyan doctor get paid $5,000 for saving 1,000 kids from malaria when he can move to New Zealand and get paid $50,000 to wipe old white people’s arses?

The next time a wealthy person tells you that allowing mass immigration is a moral imperative because of prior colonial action in the developing world, just know that the purpose of this mass immigration is not as moral as it sounds. The purpose is to plunder the affected areas of their human capital, making the West once again wealthy at the expense of Africa and the Middle East.

The only difference with the 19th century is that, today, the capital is getting itself on planes and delivering itself to us.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Understanding New Zealand: Voting Greens

Long stereotyped as a fringe movement for harmless eccentrics, the New Zealand Green Party appears to be following the general upward trend for environmentalist parties in the West as the social democrats continue to fragment into special interest groups. The Greens in New Zealand are large and established enough to be a political force in their own right and ought not to be considered an adjunct to the Labour Party.

Despite a nominal adherence to the left wing of Parliament, the Greens have a number of striking differences with the Labour Party to whom they appear shackled.

The most notable is that the Greens are a party for comfortably wealthy people, but not the ones creaming it. This might surprise many who still consider the Greens to be a party for students and semi-employed Golden Bay hippies. The correlation between voting Green in 2014 and Personal Income is 0.31, which is not as strong as National’s 0.53 but is much closer to that than to Labour’s -0.51.

Voting for the Greens in 2014 may have had a negative correlation with Median Age, but it was not significant at -0.17. This belies the image of the Greens as a student’s party, especially if one compares to the correlations between Median Age and voting Cannabis Party in 2014 (-0.55) and voting Labour (-0.70). This suggests that the average Green voter is significantly older than the average Labour voter.

The average Green voter was the best educated of those of all the parties, with a correlation between voting Green in 2014 and having a Master’s degree of 0.64. The only party to come close to this is ACT with 0.57 – National is the closest major party, with a not significant 0.20.

Also, the average Green voter was about as likely as the average National voter to have no qualifications. The correlation between having no qualifications and voting Greens in 2014 was -0.49, for National -0.43, for Labour 0.34 and for New Zealand First 0.79.

One factor that correlates highly with support for the Greens is not being religious. Not being religious and voting Green in 2014 had a correlation of 0.56, which was much higher than for any other major party (National 0.10, New Zealand First 0.12, Labour -0.50). Only the Cannabis Party was close: voting for them in 2014 had a correlation of 0.34 with being religious.

Unsurprisingly, Green voters are very unlikely to be Christians. Voting Green in 2014 and being Christian had a correlation of -0.57. This was at variance with all other parties except Internet MANA (-0.40) and Cannabis Party (-0.41). None of the other major parties are so antichristian. Being Christian and voting National had a correlation of 0.29, with voting Labour it was 0.10 and with voting New Zealand First it was -0.11.

Perhaps the oddest correlation is the one between voting Green in 2014 and having spiritualism as a religion. This is a fairly significant 0.52. This was shared with the Cannabis Party, who had a correlation with being a spiritualist of 0.36, and is a notable point of difference with the ACT Party, with who the correlation with being a spiritualist was -0.43.

Perhaps these points can be explained by the fact that cannabis use tends to turn people strongly away from the exoteric side of religion and strongly towards the esoteric side, an interest they will share with the spiritualists.

Although the Greens are mostly a white person’s party, there is just barely a signification correlation between being of European descent and voting Green in 2014 – this is 0.24. There was also a barely significant correlation in the other direction (-0.27) between being of Pacific Islander descent and voting Green in 2014. For being of Maori descent it was a not significant -0.09, and for being of Asian descent it was perfectly uncorrelated.

So the Greens are an odd mix – like Labour when it comes to taxes, like National when it comes to personal income, like the ACT party when it comes to education and like the Cannabis Party when it comes to religion. The only party they are really opposed to seems to be New Zealand First. Probably the bulk of their voters come from people who are educated in the hard sciences in particular and the humanities to a lesser extent.

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

Did Aleister Crowley Predict That Donald Trump Would Become a Great Man?

Aleister Crowley, love him or not, saw further beyond than almost anyone. He skewered the establishment of his day with his withering sarcasm and wit, and established himself as one of the premier iconoclasts of all time. The mind boggles at what a genius like Crowley would have made of our modern age.

This article discusses the applicability of one particular quote of Crowley’s to the rise and rise of Donald Trump, namely:

The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without. Inevitably anyone with an independent mind must become “one who resists or opposes authority or established conventions”: a rebel. If enough people come to agree with, and follow, the Rebel, we now have a Devil. Until, of course, still more people agree. And then, finally, we have — Greatness.

This “essence of independence” has a paragon in our culture today: Donald Trump. Let’s take this quote sentence by sentence.

It can’t be denied that Trump acts according to standards from within: indeed, this is one of the reasons why he has caused so much consternation. There are no gurus or mentors who can be examined for clues as to Trump’s influences, and he is not an ideologue of any known stripe.

Because it’s so difficult to slap such a label on Trump it’s obvious that he must be a highly free-thinking man. But, as any free-thinking person reading this article will know, to think freely is to incur social pressure intended to force you back into the herd.

The agents who exert this social pressure are the extremely powerful men and women of silver, and they are the authority in the sense that they control the media and the government and therefore are the psychological programmers of the populace.

Trump was firmly in the ‘rebel’ stage when he first announced his presidential bid. He was laughed at, like teenage rebels tend to be. Not taken seriously, a clown, a buffoon. The purpose of all this social pressure was to bring Trump back to the herd, to coerce him into bowing the knee before the masses.

He refused, and won the Republican nomination. The Hitler comparisons began – Hitler being perhaps history’s prime example of an independently-thinking politician. Because Trump won’t be cowed by the bleating of the masses, the logic went, he would inevitably start another world war.

That Trump was self-funded, and thus able to act independently of the money men who seek to make all politicians into whores in exchange for putting them on the throne, was made out to be a negative. It was as if, by not grovelling before those who had set themselves up as the powerbrokers, Trump had committed a heresy.

This was the moment he transitioned out of rebellion and into devilry. Every single day, the New Zealand media had a headline piece about how Trump was evil and if he became President we would definitely all die in nuclear hellfire.

As we now know, even this didn’t stop him, or the Trump voters. Donald Trump duly won the Presidential election by a considerable margin, and in doing so set himself up for greatness.

One might argue that, in becoming President of the United States that Donald Trump has already achieved greatness. However, a look at the recent alternatives for the role – Hillary Clinton, Obama, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney – tells us that the standards are very low indeed.

Certainly with the world being a powderkeg right now, Trump has an unprecedented opportunity for greatness. Whether he takes it is a matter of Fortune and Will.

Why Nietzsche is Hard

The experience of reading and contemplating Nietzsche is fundamentally different to that of the majority of thinkers. A natural consequence of this is the unprecedented degree to which Nietzsche is misunderstood.

Appreciating Nietzsche isn’t a simple matter of considering a number of competing claims to the truth and deciding if his case is the strongest. He is not such a man that will brook standing in the dock while his ideas are tried by plebs.

Nietzsche is hard for the same reason that integrating a psychedelic trip is hard. This is because to understand him, first you have to concede to his basic contention: that everything you know might be wrong. This makes Nietzsche appear to be a nihilist for anyone who stops reading him at this point, which most people do.

But to appreciate Nietzsche, at least initially, you have to accept that the very way you think may be fundamentally flawed.

His contention is that people have been lied to so often by the church, by the state, by centuries of half-wit philosophers, by power-crazed kings and by the bleating of the herd, that they’re too confused to even begin thinking their way out of it. The way people think is so fundamentally flawed that to make progress the first point of order is to forget all the lies that they currently consider to be true – and there are many.

In fact, you can’t merely forget them – you have to deliberately and purposefully smash them. To get to the truth you have to escape the labyrinth of lies, and so you have to “philosophise with a hammer”.

Understanding the truth of Nietzsche is thus not a pleasant and straightforward experience like sitting in a kindergarten listening to the sweet voice of a kind teacher guiding you gently away from ignorance. It’s more like Hell Week of the Navy Seals, in which a person’s entire personality has to be torn to the ground so that a new, stronger one can be rebuilt in its place.

Regular readers of this column will recognise this phenomenon as the task of the mystic, the shaman or the schizophrenic. Nietzsche himself clearly recognised this when he subtitled Thus Spake Zarathustra as “A Book fof Everyone and No-one.”

This is very evidently not a task for the man of clay; Nietzsche had no intention of founding his own religion for the masses (probably this explains the appeal of Nietzsche among those of the left-hand path).

All of this helps to explain why the name of Nietzsche has been associated with the Nazis.

Any political power who seeks to tear down the established order (which in Hitler’s time was the Anglo-American Empire) and impose their own based on transvaluated values (the Nazi Empire) has one immense – but superficial – connection with Nietzsche’s philosophy in so far that both are revolutionary.

Both seek to tear down old ways that they see as corrupt or decadent. Indeed, crusades against ‘decadent’ art was one of the ways the early Nazis built outrage in their favour, and rhetoric about the corrupting effect of Jews on German society was regular.

Moreover, Nazism was one of the most striking historical examples of a supremacist movement, and supremacists of all stripes find a superficial interest in Nietzsche’s talk of the ‘Superman’.

The great irony here is that Nietzsche would likely have considered the Nazis – like all egoic supremacists – a pack of plebs.

Is It Time For Gay and Lesbian New Zealanders to Lose Their Victim Status?

Apart from Rugby World Cup trophies, the one thing that New Zealanders fight for with the most intensity is victim status. Being a victim in our society is to wield the power of laying guilt trips on people, which often brings with it a free media platform to convince people to stop their behaviour and adopt others more to the guilt-tripper’s liking.

Once you have achieved the status of victim no-one can disagree with you without feeling ashamed because if they disagree with you they automatically become part of the oppressor class, who all New Zealanders have been conditioned since kindergarten to reflexively despise.

This social pressuring has an extremely powerful influence on the thoughts and feelings of the individual, but the problem with this cozy arrangement is this.

The reason why gay and lesbian New Zealanders have, as of right now, an impregnable position at the very summit of Mount Victim is that being gay and lesbian is not highly correlated with significant measures of social deprivation in the country today.

The average homosexual is actually fairly wealthy on account of being both better educated than average and being less likely to have children, a phenomenon known as the pink dollar.

There’s no denying being gay and lesbian once was highly associated with measures of social deprivation and disenfranchisement. This is inevitable when you can literally get locked in a cage for being who you are. The contention of this column, however, is that this battle has long been won.

Homosexuality became illegal in 1840 in New Zealand and legal again in 1986 – now thirty years ago – so the people that enforced the legal prohibition on it are all long ago dead and buried.

In the 2011 General Election, seven gay or lesbian MPs were elected to Parliament, which is almost six percent of the total – over twice the actual proportion of gay and lesbian New Zealanders (and this is ignoring the known homosexual MPs who are just not public about it).

If your marginalised group is represented in Parliament at 250%+ of its proportion among general society, so much so that when a law is passed in your favour the entire Parliament will band together and sing a song of regret that they didn’t do it sooner, are you really that marginalised?

The irony of the eternal battle for victimhood is this: once your victim status is recognised by your society at large, you are automatically no longer a victim, because you are instantly doing much better than all the oppressed people whose victim status is not recognised.

The reverse of this is also an irony: in order to get into a position where you can do anything about being a victim, you have to get into a position where you are no longer a victim.

This is why the physically and mentally infirm will always be at the bottom of society – simply because they are in the weakest position to advocate for themselves. It is exceptionally rare to meet a sick person wearing a suit and who is articulate as Grant Robertson.

So perhaps it’s time for another marginalised group of New Zealanders to get some attention?

If you are one of New Zealand’s 400,000 medicinal cannabis users, getting completely ignored by all parties is galling when you can turn the television on and hear Jacinda Ardern passionately arguing for legalising gay adoption – an issue which affects perhaps 50 people a year.

Every day you are ignored is another slap in the face, another insult. But no-one will bring up your plight in Parliament, ever, and merely to point out that it’s time for you to displace some of the wealthy and powerful people raking it in at the victim table is seen as effrontery (no doubt many people will read the headline of this article and become outraged without reading the body).

That’s a real victim of societal prejudice.

Why There Always Has Been War And Always Will Be War

It’s as simple as looking at a yin-yang, and knowing that the yin represents chaos and the yang represents order. Keeping in mind the Fifth Hermetic Principle – the Principle of Rhythm – we can surmise that it is true of order and chaos that “the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left.”

In a Taoist sense this is to say that an excess of order, by its very nature, leads to a minuscule element of chaos arising within it, which grows, and soon takes on a momentum of its own, only to itself crystallise from a tiny seed into order, and ever more rigid order, until the cycle begins anew.

Too much masculinity in the alchemical world is represented as fire and iron, and these stand as metaphor for how too much masculinity in the physical world leads to violence.

An excess of masculinity is like fire when it has too much energy because it causes violence which burns flesh and sears souls, and is what the ancient physicians meant when they diagnosed a person with a choleric personality.

It is also like iron when it imposes too much order because it is harsh and cuts mercilessly, and when it breaks down it shatters, as with an excess of masculinity one loses one’s ability to yield and to withdraw and breaks like a tree that cannot yield to a storm.

This is evident in the natural world even when one looks at biological life in the simplest way. A seed that sprouts and begins to grow towards the light must eventually break the surface if it is to survive (for a literary description of this phenomenon see Chapter 21 of Anna Nilsen’s Writing With The I Ching: Biting Through).

As below, so above: the world of men is no different. If a person observes the current order of the day and finds it unworthy of continued existence, then – if they are intelligent – they will soon come to appreciate the degree to which, and the vigour with which, the established order maintains itself (indeed, that’s all that order is).

But like the rising yin, the desire to break the established order – once it takes hold – grows ever more powerful by virtue of its position within nature. As the dusk darkness consumes ever more of the light, so does the chaos dissolve ever more of the existing order, until it breaks through and imposes an order of its own.

If you look at the current state of world history, there is an established Anglo-American order, which has dominated world affairs for about 200 years. This order is generally known as ‘The West’, because it represents the powers on the Western side of the world when viewed as a chessboard.

This world order arguably began at Waterloo, when the then wielder of the Spear of Destiny – Napoleon Bonaparte – was defeated in battle and the First French Empire sundered.

The nature of yang is to decline into yin – we know this, and already it’s possible to observe an America in cultural decay. Already the American Empire has degenerated in certain ways further than any empire in history, with the most recent 50 years giving us everything from Charles Manson and Ted Bundy to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The nature of yin is to rise into yang – and this can be observed with the awakening of the sleeping giants of China and India. These countries were poor and were always going to remain poor as long as they were too corrupt to organise any meaningful invest in the human capital of the young. This was how it was when the Spear of Destiny was held in Europe, but now, as it crosses the Pacific, the East is awakening.

There is every chance that a rising Eastern power that wants its place in the Sun will naturally come into conflict with the established Western one that wants to hold onto power. Indeed, many believed that the Japanese action in the Western Pacific theatre of World War II was this event playing out (this column is far, far from the first to suggest it).

The collapse of the established order is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The established order never collapses peacefully (observe adult male elephants for an analogy in the natural world).

Therefore, war is a fundamental aspect of life, and always will be, as long as there are masculine and feminine.

Understanding New Zealand: National Voters

If National are the current governing party it is because they are the most popular, and if they are the most popular it stands to reason that understanding them will bring us a lot of insight into New Zealand. This article is a statistical analysis of the sort of person who kept the National Party in power during the 2014 General Election.

The simplest way to describe National voters is as the opposite of Labour ones. Generally they are wealthy, and wealth more than anything is what defines the National voter. The correlation between Personal Income and voting National in 2014 is 0.53, much stronger than it is for voting for any other party. Even ACT, stereotyped as the party of big business, has a correlation with Personal Income of only 0.36.

By being wealthy, National supporters naturally tend to feel that the control system is there for their benefit and to protect them. This explains why voting National in 2014 has a strong correlation of 0.76 with Turnout Rate. National Party supporters vote, vote and then they vote some more. A turnout rate of 0.76 means that even the thinnest conservative sentiment will see their supporters come out and vote, rain or shine.

Also by being wealthy, voting for National in 2014 tends to correlate with other correlates of wealth. With voting National in 2014 and Median Age the correlation is a very strong 0.81, which reflects the well-known phenomenon that turnout rate declines sharply the younger the demographic one looks at. Old people love to vote, and they love to vote conservative.

Although voting for National in 2014 is significantly negatively correlated with having no academic qualifications (-0.43) there is no significant positive correlation between voting National in 2014 and having a Master’s degree. As there is a significant positive correlation between having a Master’s degree and both voting Greens in 2014 (0.64) and voting ACT in 2014 (0.57) this might be difficult to understand until one realises that the National Party is the party of inherited wealth and class.

This is evident from the fact that Asians, who are more likely to be recent immigrants and thus less likely to inherit wealth from grandparents etc. (and who correspondingly have a non-significant correlation with Personal Income of 0.22 compared to the European 0.35) do not have a significant correlation with voting National in 2014 (0.09) but have an extremely strong correlation with voting ACT (0.85).

This reflects the foundational split on the right wing: if you want to start a business you tend to vote ACT; if you want to charge rent or inherit you tend to vote National.

This is evidenced by the fact that, although the correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting ACT in 2014 was significant, it was a weak 0.35. This is much weaker than the correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting Conservative in 2014, which was 0.77.

Another point of note is that while voting National in 2014 obviously has a very strong negative correlation with voting Labour in 2014 (-0.85), the strength of the negative correlation is greater between voting National in 2014 and voting New Zealand First in 2014 (-0.34) than it is between voting National in 2014 and voting Green in 2014 (-0.19).

This is probably because National and Green supporters share significant similarities that they do not share with New Zealand First voters, namely being white and wealthy. The correlation between voting National in 2014 and being of European descent is 0.60, whereas for Maoris the correlation is -0.75 and with Pacific Islanders it is -0.46. This pattern is similar with the Greens, who also attract Europeans and repel Pacific Islanders.

Interestingly, the correlation betwen voting New Zealand First in 2014 and being of European descent is a perfect 0.00 – which tells us that the National Party, in so far as it maintains class privilege, actually maintains the racial privilege that correlates with it much more aggressively than New Zealand First, although the latter is stereotyped as the party that attracts racial supremacists.

Those readers unfamiliar with this newspaper might be surprised at the massive correlation between voting National in 2014 and voting to change the flag in the second flag referendum: a whopping 0.95.

Considering that the correlations between voting National in 2014 and Turnout Rate in the first flag referendum (0.86) and the second flag referendum (0.83) were also very strong, it’s fair to say that the whole flag referendum project was pretty much a National Party vehicle (one that was perhaps intended to distract from more pressing issues).

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This article is an excerpt from Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan, published by VJM Publishing in the winter of 2017.

The Real Media War is the Mainstream Media vs. You

noamchomsky

Noam Chomsky said something very intelligent once, quoted in the above image. It’s an extremely perceptive insight because it lays bare at a stroke one of the most powerful tools of deception that the Hate Machine has to levy against you.

The corporate media is very skilled at creating the impression that the war between truth-tellers is a war between TV1 and TV3, or between Stuff and Newshub.

In reality, it is a war between those who seek to force you into that claustrophobic little paradigm of thought that Chomsky referenced, and the rest of us.

An insight into how this works can be gleaned from observation of the incestuous nature of the mainstream media. On Stuff, for example, many of the articles are simply puff pieces that reference other mainstream sources of media, in particular television, the pleb’s choice of medium.

This probably isn’t surprising once you consider that the majority of the New Zealand media is owned by a small number of foreign billionaires. If you own both a television station and a newspaper, then why not direct your newspaper to write about the shows on your television station?

This collaboration is in principle little different to how the major bookstores work in concert to act as gatekeepers for any book or publisher whose message does not serve corporate interests (which is why you don’t find David Icke and VJM Publishing books in Whitcoulls or Paper Plus).

They will say it’s a matter of economy of scale but this dodges the point, because there will always be more money in pandering to the lowest common denominator, which has been true for a long time.

In Ben Vidgen’s 1999 bestseller State Secrets he notes, of the media: “The corporate media is not about delivering information (at least not to the public): it’s about making dollars… Crap sells newspapers, and the number of newspapers sold equals the quantity of advertising space sold.”

This newspaper warned at the time that the flag referendum was a deliberate waste of time and energy intended to distract us from making progress on real social issues. Predictably, this warning was not heeded by the masses, who indeed wasted many months of time and energy deciding which flag would ultimately be rejected in favour of the status quo.

The accuracy of Chomsky’s headline quote is very evident if one studies the message of the New Zealand media during that period. They presented a meaningless choice between a range of already doomed options, and then simply refused to discuss anything else.

And then, a few months later, they simply did it all again: excluding all political debate of any national significance so that John Key’s hubristic charade could be front and centre.

The end price of $26,000,000 was a win-win-win for the National party: they successfully hamstrung any meaningful debate about the state of society for months, and they made us pay for it, while at the same time cutting access and funding to social services.

The real media war is between those who want to inform you (out of solidarity) and who want to confuse, frighten, mislead and befuddle you (usually out of a profit motive). So if you have a piece of information that is of more value than the average mainstream media puff piece about Max Key or Kate Middleton, then share it.

Our Relationship With Information Has Fundamentally Changed in a Quarter-Century

The greatest selective advantage that the human creature has over its competitors is an unrivalled capacity for intelligence. This manifests as an ability to make use of information. Few are aware of it, but the human relationship to information has undergone a revolution over the past 25 years – and it has implications for our conception of intelligence.

It used to be that there was a shortage of information. Now there is a surplus. In many ways, this has been a good thing. In some ways it’s had strange implications.

Some of the ways it is good are like the way creatures that have adapted to a shortage often find themselves thriving when there is a surplus, such as athletes who have trained at high altitude where there is a shortage of oxygen.

It has meant that researchers and academics now have it easier than ever. Instead of relying on a librarian or punch cards, researchers can put a regular expression into a search engine which has crawled all the papers in their field (or subset thereof).

In fact, most people have in their pockets instant access to more information than physically exists in the largest library in the world. This is fairly straightforward, and not as interesting as the ways in which it is strange.

The strangest implication of our new relationship to information is that it is no longer about finding rare nuggets of truth among fields of irrelevant or easily dismissed information. Now it’s about knowing how to distinguish those nuggets of truth from nuggets that might look or sound very similar but which might really be full of falsehood.

Becoming educated about a subject used to be like finding diamonds among rocks – now it’s more like sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Being correct is now no longer a question of having money to buy books or to hire a learned tutor and having a good enough memory to recall what one has been told. Now it is a question of gullibility.

Take climate change as an everyday example. Determining the truth of this isn’t as simple as just finding out what the foremost expert thinks.

Who are the foremost experts on climate change, and why? And why does one set of supposed experts disagree so fundamentally with another set of supposed experts? If the experts are unified on climate change, how is that different to when they were unified on homosexuality being a mental illness? How much of the consensus is groupthink?

And what is the extent of politics on the science of climate change?

Questions like this once didn’t need to be asked because there was no way of propagating enormous amounts of dis- or misinformation like there is with the Internet of today. Often things were as simple as finding the nearest university professor who had an interest in the subject, and that was as good as one could hope for.

Dealing with this change is difficult because it requires an entirely different set of mental skills. The new paradigm prioritises nuance and probability over revolution and absolutes. Shades of gray instead of brutal black and white.

One now has to be more streetsmart with research, and accept that politics has a much greater influence on science – especially the soft sciences – than most would dare admit. Today’s climate change debate appeared in the previous generation as the debate over racial intelligence, and in the generation before that as the debate on the medicinal value of various psychoactive drugs – two other subjects where finding the simple truth is impossible.

To some extent it doesn’t matter: the sort of person who didn’t read books nowadays simply doesn’t educate themselves with the Internet instead. You can’t make gold out of shit.

But to a large extent, intelligence is different to what it used to be. It is no longer a simple question of storing, retaining and reproducing information like a biological hard drive, but a question of identifying the most likely claim to correctness out of a number of plausible competitors, like a knight choosing a blade from an armoury before battle.

This may mean that the kind of person we consider to be intelligent now may not be the same kind of person that we will consider intelligent in another quarter-century.