Nicholas Nassim Tooleb holds a mirror to himself for some much needed self-reflection:
Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite; pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand not realizing it is his understanding that may be limited; imparts normative ideas to others: thinks people should act according to their best interests *and* he knows their interests, particularly if they are uneducated “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class.
More socially: subscribes to the New Yorker; never curses on twitter; speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver; has considered voting for Tony Blair; has attended more than 1 TEDx talks and watched more than 2 TED talks; will vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable; has The Black Swan on his shelves but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence; is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist uses statistics without knowing how they are derived; when in the UK goes to literary festivals; drinks red wine with steak (never white); used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; takes statins because his doctor told him so; fails to understand ergodicity and when explained forgets about it soon later; doesn’t use Yiddish words; studies grammar before speaking a language; has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; has never read Frederic Dard, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre; has never gotten drunk with Russians and went breaking glasses; doesn’t know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual”; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years; knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.
But a much easier marker: doesn’t deadlift.
The first step in not being a semi-intellectual blowhard is to recognize you are one, so this I think is an improvement on Taleb’s part, in recognizing his own problem.
has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years
I guess that would include most physicists, but again, Taleb is smarter than them, becozz black swans…
Intellectual Yet Idiot: semi-erudite bureaucrat who thinks he is an erudite
…and also creates strawmen and misconstructions of experts, bullies experts and scientists who are smarter and or more knowledgeable than him, sells overpriced and useless ‘mini certificates’, and is thin-skinned and cannot take criticism.
Here’s another example of Tooleb pseudo-intellectual sophistry:
A GOLDEN RULE in ETHICS
Take a moment to figure out whether you'd rather be praiseworthy but not praised, or praised but not praiseworthy.
— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) June 26, 2016
Did it ever occur to him that it’s possible to be both worthy of praise and be praised?
Here is Taleb showing his liberal colors again, retweeting in approval something about GMOs and Bernie Sanders, yet many on the ‘alt right’ think he (Taleb) is one of them:
Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, or Joseph De Maistre;
In regard to Joseph de Maistre, an important counter-enlightenment thinker:
Maistre, considered by Masseau and Didier to have been a key figure of what they termed as the Counter-Enlightenment, saw monarchy both as a divinely sanctioned institution and as the only stable form of government. He called for the restoration of the House of Bourbon to the throne of France and argued that the Pope should have ultimate authority in temporal matters. Maistre also claimed that it was the rationalist rejection of Christianity which was directly responsible for the disorder and bloodshed which followed the French Revolution of 1789.
Agree with this part:
speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality”
As someone how identifies with NRx, I agree to some extent with this, but an augment against democracy, racial blindness, welfare liberalism, and egalitarianism, is not necessarily an endorsement of an absolutist Catholic monarchy or an endorsement of Taleb. Some (such as myself) favor something different (maybe Protestantism, secession, turning back the dial to before the 60’s, or a non-theistic techno-oligarchy of sorts), but find common ground in opposing democracy and egalitarianism. It’s possible to have technological progress, while eschewing democracy, as in the case of Thiel and others. But one problem I have with Taleb, and to some extent with NRx and the ‘alt right’, is the tendency to advocate populist ideas (such as being ‘anti-fed’, anti-establishment, anti-academia, anti-centralization, anti-Wall St., anti-globalization, pro-Brexit, etc.) while being anti-democracy and advocating elitism. It’s kinda like copying the Sanders/OWS economic platform, the Ron Paul foreign policy platform, and calling yourself ‘right-wing’ or elitist. You cannot have it both ways. Or maybe the hope is that the left’s ‘version’ of elitism will be replaced by a right-wing version of elitism, or something like that. Another problem with Catholicism is whole the ‘sanctity of life’ thing, which proscribes programs that could be beneficial like eugenics.
I lean neoconservative on economics and foreign policy, while opposing things like democracy, egalitarianism, and feminism. Neoconservatism is shamelessly elitist, logically consistent, consequentialist, and right-wing. The neocon brand was hurt by ‘cuckservative’ and the aftermath of the Bush administration, but many neocons and ‘alt right’ agree on the threat to civilization posed by Islam, for example.