'JD' contacted me today to say (order slightly altered):
Post in The Conservative Woman today about Gates and his plan to 'seed' the atmosphere with calcium carbonate to 'protect' the earth from the sun. I had read about this last year but it is planned for June this year in northern Sweden. Recently Elon Musk called Gates a knucklehead; an optimistic assessment of his intelligence.
But it comes back to what I wrote in one of my posts: the ignorance of politicians, civil servants, academics, 'experts' and the over-educated. Here is a perfect example which I recently sent to Wiggia. His one word response was - blimey!
The man in the video, Tomasz Schafernaker, is a meteorologist who worked at the Met Office. This appearance on Would I Lie To You is not only unbelievable but is unforgiveable. Even David Mitchell was lost for words.
We are back to one of my hobby horses; those in the green corner are usually highly educated and ignorant. You will know by looking at their weather page that they are fully on board with all this climate change nonsense and green issues.
School is where you go to learn how to be stupid and university is the finishing school where you go to have the remains of your brain given a quick rinse in the latest woke fads.
I have often noted how 'celebs' on quiz shows seem more ignorant than contestants drawn from the general public.
How to account for their success? I assume that it's down to focusing narrowly on what gets them where they want to be. I think that is a winning strategy in a situation where generally we are safe and secure and the social/work/political hierarchy has been settled. All you need to know is your performing role, and who to suck up to and amuse.
We inhabit a complex social and linguistic structure, mistaking human words and power relations for reality. Only when disaster strikes are we made to wake up truly - think of how the butler become the boss in The Admirable Crichton, when his practical and organisational skills become essential to the survival of an upper-class party shipwrecked on a desert island.
Ironically, the term 'woke' as used today really means 'in a fantasy' - riding political hobby-horses while remaining astonishingly ignorant. The first time I heard the modern usage was when watching 'Breaking Bad', when the chemistry teacher Walter White is finally provoked by poor pay and conditions and the scorn of his students into breaking his civilised conditioning and turning wholeheartedly to crime: 'I am awake,' he says ominously, meaning the exact opposite of the baby-idealism of cocksure, semi-educated 'woke' youngsters.
Our world is complex but artificial, like the Mayan building complexes left to rot in the encroaching jungle when calamity overtook that society. In my days as an English teacher, I used to attend meetings of the National Association for the Teaching of English; it was all politics, progressivism and 'skills' - leading to today's schooling that concentrates on teachable-and-testable duckspeaking about 'fronted adverbials' while airbrushing out much of our literary heritage, with its embarrassing links to religion, history and classical learning. I said we have become experts in abstractions, but cannot name the plants we see when we go outside; they looked at me as though I were mad.
Ah, learning. My friend's three children spent never a day in school; two each went on to do two degree courses in Europe (one is dyslexic and only decided to learn to read at age ten), while the third has travelled widely and walked into jobs lacking a fistful of exam certificates but having a powerful and engaging personality.
At one stage, the young lady felt she might need formal academic guidance on one course, and went to a sixth form college in the Midlands. She soon gave up, saying that her fellow students didn't really want to learn and (possibly as a result) the teacher didn't really want to teach. She went on to get first-class honours in mathematics.
Modern society and its unbelievable wealth depend on STEM subjects - even just to maintain the systems we have, let alone develop further; and to provide for the 7.7-billion-plus humans on the planet, most of whom are trying to attain the Western standard of living. Meanwhile, as my American brother tells me, university managements cut away at the budgets of 'hard' academic disciplines while boosting business management courses (you can never have enough Pointy-Haired Bosses) and pouring millions into college sport.
You never know what knowledge will turn out to be useful. I recall seeing a TV programme that mentioned an episode in the North Africa campaigns in the Second World War, in which an American general (Patton?) remembered a detail in the Old Testament (Joshua, Chapter 8?) about how the ancient war-leader used a valley to hide a force to ambush the foe; the modern officer looked for and found the dip (not observable from a distance) and so managed to smuggle a column past the enemy's position.
Again, there is an anecdote told by David Niven of a discussion with Winston Churchill in 1941:
’Do you think, sir,’ I asked, ‘that the Americans will ever come into the war?’ He fixed me with that rather intimidating gaze and unloosed the famous jaw-jutting bulldog growl. ‘Mark my words—something cataclysmic will occur!’ Four weeks later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
“Months later, when we were once more at Ditchley, I asked if the Prime Minister remembered what he had said so long ago. His reply gave me goose pimples.
“‘Certainly I remember.’
“‘What made you say it, sir?’
“‘Because, young man, I study history.'”
That sort of learning informed the great man's gambles - not all paid off, but enough did.
Do our leaders today have that breadth and depth of learning that will save us in time of peril? Or do they, like Crichton's social superiors, have a 'little man' who sorts everything for them? Is it the right 'little man'? How would they know?