Education

Critical thinking is a disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. It involves questioning ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value.

It requires curiosity, skepticism, and humility to acknowledge the limitations of one’s knowledge and understanding. Critical thinking enables individuals to make reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought-out. It is a foundational skill for problem solving and decision making in a wide range of contexts, and it empowers individuals to act more wisely and responsibly in their personal, professional, and civic lives.

Think Better with Mental Models

Mental models are a key component of critical thinking. They are a kind of strategic building blocks we can use to make sense of the world around us.

Some are formal mathematical proofs, some are scientific theories, and along the other end of the continuum are models more akin to metaphors or ancient wisdoms that still hold true today — they’ve been time tested and still hold explanatory value in helping us understand new (and new to us) phenomena.

Models are often extensible, and can apply to other systems in addition to their systems of origin. In fact, the most powerful models seem to show up again and again, across different disciplines and in a wide variety of contexts. They’re a bit like a mental image of how something works, that helps us predict what will happen next or explain how something works to others.

Also, multiple models can often be applied to the same systems — in order to describe different parts of that system, or account for different contexts, use cases, or configurations of the same process. Mental models aren’t like multiple-choice tests, where only one answer is correct — typically, a set of different models may have value in giving us a sense of how something works or how an ecosystem behaves.

See here for the set of Top Models to start with.

Then, follow up with the unabridged and upcoming collection I will continuously update and curate over time:

Read more

The term Christian nationalists brings together a number of radical religious sects seeking to overthrow the democratic republic of the United States and installing a strict theocracy, from dominionists to orthodox Catholics to Evangelicals and many more.

They tend to believe in Strict Father Morality, and desire to establish some sort of Christian fascist theocratic state in America, under the backwards idea that the founders never intended to separate church and state — despite religious freedom and the ability to worship as one pleases being precisely one of the major founding ideals of the United States.

Christian nationalists abstract

Christian nationalists list

Here are some of the people and organizations involved in — or foundational to — the modern day movement to establish a Christian theocratic government in America (this is a work in progress!):

  • 700 Club — Airing since 1966, the 700 Club is one of the longest-running Christian TV programs in the U.S. The show is produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network, founded by evangelist and one-time presidential candidate (1988) Pat Robertson.
  • Howard Ahmanson Jr. — American businessman, philanthropist, and Christian conservative activist who has donated millions of dollars to right-wing organizations and the GOP. Ahmanson is the son of the late financier and philanthropist Howard F. Ahmanson Sr., and a supporter of the Intelligent Design movement.
  • Awake 88 — A 2008 initiative sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC) in which J.C. Church visited 2500 churches in all of Ohio’s 88 counties in an effort to turn the state red in the 2008 elections.
  • Alexander AcostaTrump‘s Secretary of Labor from April 2017 to July 2019 who resigned when new details of his unlawful “sweetheart” plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein came to light. He was known to attend the weekly White House Bible study gatherings led by Dominionist Ralph Drollinger.
  • Alex Azar — Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services from January 2018 to January 2021, who was also known to attend the weekly White House Bible study gatherings led by Dominionist Ralph Drollinger.
  • Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — The ADF is a nonprofit founded in 1994 by James Dobson, Bill Bright, and other Christian leaders to provide legal representation and support to people and organizations facing legal challenges based on their religious beliefs. The ADF was involved in the high-profile Masterpiece Cakeshop case, defending the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake.
gay wedding cake, by Midjourney
  • American College of Pediatricians — ACPeds is a small, socially conservative group of pediatricians founded in 2002 that has been criticized for its support of the discredited “conversion therapy” practice for LGBTQ+ youth and other views that run counter to the group’s stated purpose of promoting healthy and respectful development of children. The group is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — A conservative think tank based in the United States that conducts research and advocacy on a range of public policy issues. Founded in 1938, the AEI is known for its promotion of conservative social values.
  • American Family Association (AFA) — A non-profit conservative Christian organization based in the United States, founded in 1977. The group has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which cites the organization’s history of spreading false and harmful information about LGBTQ+ individuals and promoting intolerance and bigotry.
  • American Family Radio Network (AFR) — A Christian radio network in the U.S.
  • American Heritage Girls (AHG) — The American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a faith-based scouting organization for girls based in the United States. The organization was founded in 1995 and describes itself as “a Christ-centered character and leadership development program for girls 5 to 18 years of age.” It requires all members to agree to a statement of faith that affirms a belief in God and a commitment to Christian values.
  • American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — Along with CNP, one of two primary right-wing groups with deep funding ties over the past half century to Republican lawmakers and donors & covertly driving “local” and state legislative agenda centrally from a nationally-coordinated source that shrinks from public view and carefully shields its operations from scrutiny.
  • Americans of Faith — A massive church-based get-out-the-vote campaign in 2004 led by conservative Christian activist and Salem Radio founder Edward Atsinger III.
  • America Wake Up — “America Wake Up” was a religious movement that emerged in the United States during the early 21st century, primarily gaining momentum in the late 2010s and early 2020s. The group, which combined elements of evangelical Christianity with apocalyptic and nationalist themes, aimed to rally Americans to restore traditional religious values and preserve the nation’s spiritual and cultural heritage. Its followers believed that America was in a state of moral decline and that God’s favor could only be reclaimed through a mass spiritual awakening. Although “America Wake Up” was never a centralized organization, its adherents often united through social media, small-group meetings, and public rallies. Critics accused the group of promoting intolerance and divisiveness, and its influence waned as mainstream religious and political figures distanced themselves from its more extreme rhetoric.
  • Robert Arnakis — Robert Arnakis was a prominent conservative political operative and trainer in the United States during the early 21st century. As the Director of Domestic and International Programs at the Leadership Institute, he played a crucial role in mentoring and training conservative activists, politicians, and future leaders. Although he maintained a relatively low public profile, Arnakis significantly impacted the conservative movement by shaping the careers of numerous political figures and promoting conservative values through education and training initiatives.
  • Arlington Group — The Arlington Group was a coalition of influential conservative Christian leaders and organizations in the United States, formed in 2002 to facilitate cooperation and strategic coordination among various religious and political factions. By focusing on shared goals such as opposition to same-sex marriage and the promotion of traditional family values, the group aimed to advance a socially conservative agenda on a national level. While the Arlington Group’s influence diminished over time, its efforts significantly impacted American politics and contributed to the ongoing debate surrounding social issues in the country.
  • Larry Arnn — Larry Arnn, the long-serving president of Hillsdale College, has been influential in guiding the institution towards a more conservative and Christian nationalist direction. Under his leadership, Hillsdale has emphasized a curriculum rooted in the traditional values of Western civilization and has increasingly associated with conservative religious and political figures. Arnn’s tenure has undeniably made Hillsdale a central hub for promoting and advancing conservative ideology and Christian nationalist delusions in American education and public discourse.
  • Edward Atsinger III — Edward Atsinger III is an American businessman and broadcasting executive, who co-founded and served as the CEO of Salem Media Group, one of the leading conservative and Christian media companies in the United States. Established in 1986, Salem Media Group operates a vast network of radio stations, digital media platforms, and publishing houses, targeting conservative and faith-based audiences. Under Atsinger’s leadership, the company has played a pivotal role in shaping American conservative and Christian media landscapes, with its platforms serving as influential channels for promoting conservative and religious viewpoints.
conservative talk shows and right-wing radio
  • Marcus Bachmann — Marcus Bachmann is an American clinical therapist and entrepreneur who gained national attention due to his marriage to former Republican Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is the founder of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling center in Minnesota that offers therapy services for a wide range of mental health issues. Bachmann has faced criticism for his views on conversion therapy for LGBTQ individuals, which he allegedly practiced at his clinic, although he has denied promoting this controversial treatment.
  • Michele Bachmann — Michele Bachmann is an American politician, lawyer, and former Republican Congresswoman who represented Minnesota’s 6th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. A prominent figure in the Tea Party movement, Bachmann was known for her conservative stances on issues such as limited government, pro-life advocacy, and opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2012, she sought the Republican nomination for the presidency but eventually withdrew from the race, returning to the private sector after completing her congressional tenure.
  • Jim Bakker — Jim Bakker is an American televangelist, entrepreneur, and former minister who became a prominent figure in the 1970s and 1980s as the host of the successful Christian television program “The PTL Club,” alongside his then-wife, Tammy Faye Bakker. Bakker’s ministry took a downturn in the late 1980s when he was embroiled in a series of scandals involving financial fraud and extramarital affairs, ultimately resulting in his conviction and imprisonment. After his release in 1994, Bakker returned to televangelism and has continued his ministry, albeit on a smaller scale, focusing on end-time prophecy and the sale of survival products.
Jim Bakker, by Midjourney
  • Steve Bannon — Steve Bannon is an American political strategist, filmmaker, and media executive who gained national prominence as the executive chairman of Breitbart News and later as the chief strategist for President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign and his early White House administration. Through his work at Breitbart and in the Trump campaign, Bannon promoted conservative and nationalist ideologies, often aligning with Christian nationalist values and narratives. Although not solely focused on Christian nationalism and more oriented towards nationalism more broadly, Bannon’s influence in shaping the political landscape and amplifying the voices of the far-right contributed to the resurgence of Christian nationalist sentiments in the United States.
Steve Bannon, by Midjourney
  • Baptist Press — The Baptist Press, established in 1946, is the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
  • George Barna — George Barna is a renowned American pollster, researcher, author, and speaker, best known for his extensive research on religion, culture, and public opinion. In 1984, he founded the Barna Group, a market research and polling firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behaviors of Americans, as well as the intersection of faith and culture.
  • Jeff Barke — Dr. Jeff Barke is an American physician, conservative activist, and author, known for his outspoken views on various public health and policy issues. He came out against the majority of the covid-19 public health measures including mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and vaccines along with pushing unproven treatments.
  • Mari Barke — Mari Barke serves on the Orange County Board of Education, having been first elected in 2018. Married to Dr. Jeff Barke, she shares her husband’s conservative political views.
  • Stephen Barney — Stephen Barney is a conservative philanthropist, American businessman and donor to various conservative organizations, political campaigns, and educational initiatives.
  • David Barton — David Barton is an influential American evangelical Christian author, speaker, and political activist, known for his advocacy of conservative Christian values in politics and education. Born on January 28, 1954, in Texas, Barton is the founder and president of WallBuilders, a national organization known for its revisionist historical claims — including the idea that the First Amendment is not meant to establish freedom of religion.
  • Gary Bauer — Gary Bauer is known for his staunch advocacy of social conservatism and his prominent roles in various right-wing organizations. Born in Kentucky, Bauer served in the Reagan administration, first as the Deputy Under Secretary for Planning and Budget in the Department of Education, then as the Under Secretary of Education and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. He left the White House in 1989 to become the president of the Family Research Council, a position he held until 1999. Bauer is especially known for his conservative views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Since then, he’ has remained active in conservative politics, notably founding’s founded the Campaign for Working Families, a political action committee dedicated to electing conservative candidates to office.
  • Glenn Beck — Glenn Beck is a prominent American conservative political commentator, radio host, television producer, and founder of the news and entertainment network, TheBlaze. He began his career in radio as a DJ, but his career took a turn towards political commentary in the 2000s. Beck hosted the nationally syndicated radio talk show, “The Glenn Beck Program,” and his television show, “Glenn Beck,” which aired on Fox News from 2009 to 2011, was known for its emotionally charged commentary, chalkboard diagrams, and historical analysis. His shows have often been controversial for their provocative content. Beck is recognized for his libertarian-leaning conservatism and his vocal support for the Tea Party movement.
Glenn Beck is shouting on TV, by Midjourney
  • David and Jason Benham — David Benham, along with his twin brother Jason, is a prominent figure in American conservative circles, known for his outspoken views on Christianity and social issues. Prior to his involvement in political and social activism, Benham was a professional baseball player, drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1998. After retiring from baseball, he and his brother co-founded the Benham Companies, a real estate conglomerate. The brothers gained national attention when their planned HGTV show, “Flip It Forward,” was canceled in 2014 due to controversy over their views on homosexuality and abortion. They are known for their strong pro-life stance, their opposition to same-sex marriage, and their misunderstanding of religious freedom.
  • Philip “Flip” Benham — Philip “Flip” Benham is an American evangelical Christian minister and anti-abortion activist, notable for his leadership roles in pro-life organizations. He was born on April 16, 1948, in Hartford, Connecticut. Benham is the father of David and Jason Benham, also known for their conservative activism. Flip Benham was the director of Operation Save America (formerly known as Operation Rescue National), a pro-life group advocating for the criminalization of abortion. The organization has been associated with protests at abortion clinics and other locations. Benham’s activism has often courted controversy, and he has been arrested multiple times during demonstrations. His vocal stances on issues such as abortion and homosexuality reflect his conservative Christian beliefs.
  • Robert J. Billings — Robert J. Billings was a significant figure in the American conservative movement, particularly known for his contributions to the rise of the Christian right in the late 20th century. Born on October 19, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Billings advocated for Christian education, founding Christian schools and serving as a superintendent in Wisconsin. His involvement in politics began in earnest in the 1970s, when he co-founded the American Association of Christian Schools and later became an influential figure in the Moral Majority, an organization that played a key role in mobilizing conservative Christian voters. Billings served as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan and was an instrumental figure in shaping the political landscape of the Christian right. He passed away on November 3, 1997.
  • Dr. Henry Blackaby — Dr. Henry Blackaby is an influential Christian pastor, author, and speaker, best known for his work “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God,” a study that has sold millions of copies worldwide. Born on July 11, 1935, in British Columbia, Canada, Blackaby served as a pastor in California and Canada before becoming the president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Conference. In 1976, Blackaby started working for the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention. His work in spiritual revival and church leadership has had a profound impact on evangelical Christianity, particularly in the Southern Baptist tradition. His “Experiencing God” study, developed with his son Richard, has been widely used in churches and study groups and is considered a seminal text in contemporary Christian education.
  • Sen Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — Marsha Blackburn is a prominent figure in American conservative politics, known for her tenure as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Born on June 6, 1952, in Laurel, Mississippi, Blackburn attended Mississippi State University, earning a degree in home economics. Her political career began in the Tennessee State Senate, where she served from 1998 to 2002. In 2002, Blackburn was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, where she developed a reputation as a staunch conservative, particularly on issues such as healthcare, internet privacy, and fiscal responsibility. In 2018, Blackburn was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first woman from Tennessee to serve in the upper chamber. Known for her support of President Donald Trump and her opposition to big government, Blackburn has remained a significant figure in the Republican Party and American conservative politics.
Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, by Midjourney
  • Morton Blackwell — Morton Blackwell is an influential figure in American conservative politics, best known for his role in the development and training of young conservative activists. Born on November 16, 1939, in LaHarpe, Illinois, Blackwell became involved in conservative activism early in life, working on Barry Goldwater‘s 1964 presidential campaign and serving as executive director of the College Republicans. In 1980, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the position of Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, working on youth outreach. Blackwell is perhaps best known as the founder and president of the Leadership Institute, an organization established in 1979 that provides training for conservative activists, particularly college students.
  • Bob Jones University — Bob Jones University (BJU) is a private, non-denominational evangelical university located in Greenville, South Carolina. It was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones Sr., a prominent evangelist and religious leader, with the aim of creating a training center for Christian workers. Throughout its history, BJU has been known for its conservative cultural and religious views. The university requires students to adhere to a strict code of conduct in line with its religious beliefs. Historically, BJU has been at the center of several controversies, notably regarding its policies on racial segregation, which it maintained until 1971, and its ban on interracial dating, which was not lifted until 2000. Despite these controversies, BJU has had a significant influence on conservative Christian education in the United States.
  • Bolthouse Foundation — The Bolthouse Foundation is a private foundation established by the Bolthouse family, who made their fortune in the farming and food production industry, notably through the Bolthouse Farms brand. The foundation’s mission has been to invest in Christian organizations and causes that align with their commitment to spreading the Christian faith and promoting social good. The foundation’s funding has often focused on supporting Christian education, religious activities, and other nonprofit organizations that align with their values.
  • Dick Bott — Dick Bott was an influential figure in American Christian radio broadcasting, known for founding the Bott Radio Network. Born on March 23, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, Bott launched the Bott Radio Network in 1962, which grew to become one of the nation’s largest Christian radio networks, featuring Bible teaching, Christian news, and music. Bott’s commitment to broadcasting Christian content led to a network that includes over 100 radio stations across the United States. Bott’s influence extended beyond his radio network, as he served on the boards of numerous Christian organizations and was a strong supporter of Christian education. He passed away on November 6, 2019.
Christian radio, by Midjourney
  • Bott Radio Network — A network of 120 Christian radio stations operating in 14 of the United States, broadcasting Christian talk radio programs.
  • Lt. Gen. William Boykin (ret.) — Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin is a retired American Army officer and conservative political commentator known for his Christian views and involvement in special operations. Born on April 19, 1948, in Wilson, North Carolina, Boykin’s military career spanned over 36 years, during which he played key roles in several U.S. military actions, including the Iran hostage rescue attempt and operations in Grenada and Somalia. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force and eventually served as its commander. He also served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush. After retiring from the military, Boykin became an outspoken conservative Christian activist, serving as Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think-tank and lobbying organization. He has drawn controversy for his comments on Islam and other topics.
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is one of the largest and most influential conservative grantmaking foundations in the United States. Established in 1942 by Lynde and Harry Bradley, co-founders of the Allen-Bradley Company, a successful Milwaukee-based electronics and industrial automation manufacturer, the foundation began its significant conservative philanthropic activity in the 1980s, after the sale of Allen-Bradley to Rockwell International. It has provided substantial funding to conservative think tanks, advocacy groups, and scholars, with a focus on areas such as limited government, free markets, education, and the traditional family structure. The foundation has had a considerable impact on shaping conservative policy and intellectual discourse in the United States.
  • Bob Branch — Bob Branch is an educator and conservative political figure known for his involvement in Arizona politics. Branch is recognized for his conservative stance on issues such as education, immigration, and the Second Amendment. He ran for the position of Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2018, campaigning on a platform of local control of education, school safety, and curriculum transparency.
gun rights in Arizona and the 2nd Amendment / 2A position
  • Lincoln Brewster — Lincoln Brewster is an American contemporary Christian musician and worship pastor known for his guitar-based songs. Born on July 30, 1971, in Fairbanks, Alaska, Brewster developed a passion for music at a young age, with his mother nurturing his talent. He became a sought-after session guitarist in his early 20s and had the opportunity to work with mainstream artists, including journeyman rocker Steve Perry. However, Brewster felt a spiritual calling to use his musical talents for religious purposes and transitioned to contemporary Christian music. In addition to his music career, Brewster has served as a worship pastor at churches including the Bayside Church in California.
  • Jim Bridenstine — a former U.S. Representative and NASA Administrator. Though not overtly a Christian nationalist, his political stances often align with conservative Christian values. He has advocated for limited government and traditional family structures.
  • Harold O. J. Brown — was a theologian and co-founder of the Christian Action Council. He was instrumental in shaping the Christian right movement, emphasizing the role of Christianity in public life.
  • Brown v. Board of Education — this landmark Supreme Court case isn’t directly related to Christian nationalism but had a profound impact on American society by desegregating schools. Some Christian nationalists have criticized it for undermining local autonomy.
Brown v. Board of Education, by Midjourney
  • Pat Buchanan — a political commentator and former presidential candidate. He has often fused conservative Christian beliefs with his political ideology, advocating for a return to traditional American values.
  • Mark Bucher — a lesser-known figure in the Christian nationalist movement. He is an attorney who has been involved in legal cases that aim to advance conservative Christian principles in public policy.
  • Building a Nation — not a person but a concept often invoked by Christian nationalists to emphasize the role of Christianity in the founding and sustaining of the United States.
  • Jonathan Cain — a musician, best known as a member of the band Journey. His connection to Christian nationalism is tenuous but he has expressed strong Christian beliefs.
  • Capitol Ministries — an organization that aims to evangelize elected officials. It has been criticized for pushing a Christian nationalist agenda by seeking to influence policy through religious teachings.
  • Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation — this foundation is named after a Hungarian Cardinal who opposed communism and has been adopted as a symbol by some Christian nationalists in their fight against secularism.
  • Ben Carson — a retired neurosurgeon and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his conservative views often align with the movement’s principles.
Ben Carson and Donald Trump, by Midjourney
  • CBN University — now known as Regent University, the institution was founded by Pat Robertson. It aims to provide a Christian education and has been influential in training leaders who align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • A Choice Not an Echo — a political pamphlet by Phyllis Schlafly, published in 1964. It has been influential in conservative circles and is often cited by Christian nationalists as a call to action against liberal ideologies.
  • Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) — Founded by Pat Robertson, CBN is a television network with a Christian focus. It has been a significant platform for disseminating Christian nationalist views and influencing American politics.
  • Christian Coalition — a political organization founded by Pat Robertson. It aims to mobilize conservative Christians in the U.S. and has been a driving force in the Christian nationalist movement since the 1990s.
  • Christian homeschooling movement — advocates for homeschooling as a way to instill Christian values in children. It has gained traction among Christian nationalists who view public education as secular and morally corrupt.
  • Christian Satellite Network — a media outlet that broadcasts Christian content. While not overtly nationalist, it serves as a platform for voices that often align with Christian nationalist views.
  • J. C. Church — a pastor and political activist who has been involved in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies. He advocates for the integration of Christian principles into American governance.
  • Church United — an organization that aims to politically mobilize churches. It has been criticized for promoting a Christian nationalist agenda, particularly in local and state politics.
  • Church Voter Lookup — a tool often used by Christian nationalist groups to identify and mobilize Christian voters. It aims to influence elections in favor of candidates who uphold Christian values.
  • Tom Coburn — Tom Coburn was a U.S. Senator known for his conservative stances. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his political ideology often aligned with the movement’s principles.
  • Mary Colbert — a Christian author and speaker. She is known for her books that blend Christian teachings with conservative political views, making her a voice in the Christian nationalist sphere.
  • Concerned Women for America — a socially conservative Christian women’s activist group. It focuses on issues like abortion and religious freedom and has been influential in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Conscience and Religious Freedom Division — this division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aims to protect religious freedoms in healthcare. It has been praised by Christian nationalists for upholding Christian values in public policy.
  • Conservative Caucus — a political organization that aims to mobilize grassroots conservatives. While not exclusively Christian nationalist, it often aligns with the movement’s goals.
  • Kellyanne Conway — a political strategist best known for her role as counselor to President Donald Trump. She has often defended policies that resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Kellyanne Conway bloody from the fight, by Midjourney
  • Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation — this alliance focuses on environmental stewardship from a Christian perspective. It often opposes mainstream climate science, aligning more closely with the conservative Christian viewpoints of climate change denialism.
  • Council for National Policy (CNP) — a secretive organization that brings together influential conservatives, many of whom are Christian nationalists. It aims to shape public policy in line with conservative Christian values.
  • Culture Impact Teams (CITs) — grassroots groups often found in churches. They aim to influence local politics and culture in line with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Jan Crouch — She was a co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a major Christian television network. TBN has served as a prominent platform for Christian nationalist voices.
  • Paul Crouch — also a co-founder of TBN and husband to Jan Crouch. Like his wife, he played a significant role in disseminating Christian content that often aligns with nationalist ideologies.
  • Rafael Cruz — Ted Cruz’s father and an American evangelical preacher.
  • Ted Cruz — a U.S. Senator from Texas known for his staunch conservative views. He has been a vocal advocate for integrating Christian values into American governance, making him a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton — a Baptist minister and Vice President for Church Ministries at the Family Research Council. He is known for advocating the role of Christianity in American public life, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Robert Lewis Dabney — Robert Lewis Dabney was a 19th-century theologian and Confederate Army chaplain. His writings have been cited by modern Christian nationalists as foundational texts for their movement.
  • The Daily Signal — a news outlet run by The Heritage Foundation. It often publishes articles that resonate with Christian nationalist and conservative viewpoints.
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser — the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that focuses on electing pro-life candidates. She is a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Jeff Denham — a former U.S. Representative from California. While not overtly a Christian nationalist, his conservative stances often align with the movement’s principles.
  • Betsy DeVos — a former U.S. Secretary of Education known for her advocacy for “school choice” (i.e. allowing parents to use public tax dollars to send their kids to private Christian academies) and Christian education, making her a significant figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Richard DeVos — Richard DeVos was an American entrepreneur and co-founder of Amway. He was a major donor to conservative and Christian causes.
  • James Dobson — the founder of Focus on the Family, an organization that promotes Christian values in American families. He is a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Mark Drever — a lesser-known figure in the Christian nationalist movement who has been involved in various Christian organizations.
  • Karen Rudolph Drollinger
  • Ralph Drollinger — the founder of Capitol Ministries, an organization that aims to evangelize elected officials. He has been criticized for pushing a Christian nationalist agenda, as well as for advocating corporal punishment for children.
  • Dinesh D’Souza — a conservative author and filmmaker. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his works often resonate with the movement, particularly in his critiques of liberal ideologies.
  • Alan P. Dye — a Washington, D.C.-based attorney known for representing conservative and Christian organizations. His legal work often intersects with the goals of the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Eagle Forum — Founded by Phyllis Schlafly, the Eagle Forum is a conservative organization that has been instrumental in opposing feminist and liberal policies, often from a Christian nationalist perspective.
  • Stuart Epperson — the co-founder of Salem Media Group, a Christian and conservative media company. He has been influential in disseminating Christian nationalist views through various media platforms.
  • Equal Rights Amendment — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution aimed at guaranteeing equal legal rights regardless of sex. It has been opposed by some Christian nationalists who argue it undermines traditional family values.
The women behind the Equal Rights Amendment that sent the right-wing shrieking in fear, by Midjourney
  • Frank Erb — serves as a minister to California State Capitol leaders and is associated with Capitol Ministries. He aims to integrate Christian principles into governance, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Tony Evans — a pastor and author who focuses on building strong Christian families. While not overtly a Christian nationalist, his teachings often align with the movement’s principles.
  • Jerry Falwell — Jerry Falwell was a prominent televangelist and founder of the Moral Majority, an organization that played a key role in the rise of the Christian right and Christian nationalism.
  • Faith & Freedom Coalition — aims to mobilize conservative religious voters and has been a significant force in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in electoral politics.
  • The Family — Also known as The Fellowship, this organization is a Christian association that has been criticized for its secretive nature and influence on American politicians. It is often associated with Christian nationalist agendas.
  • Family Christian Academy (FCA) — a private religious academy offering a “Christ-centered” curriculum and the teaching of a “biblical worldview.”
  • Family Life Radio — Family Life Radio is a Christian radio network broadcasting contemporary Christian music and Christian talk radio programming across the United States.
  • Family Policy Alliance — The Family Policy Alliance is a conservative Christian organization in the United States that advocates for various policy issues from a faith-based perspective. It focuses on issues such as religious freedom, anti-abortion policies, and the promotion of the traditional family structure (aka Strict Father Morality).
  • Family Policy Councils — Family Policy Councils in the United States are typically conservative organizations at the state level that focus on lobbying and advocating for policies they believe support family values. These councils often address issues like gay marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, and anti-abortion initiatives.
  • Family Research Council (FRC) — The FRC is a prominent conservative Christian group that advocates for policies they believe uphold traditional family values. It is influential in right-wing politics, often shaping public debate on social issues.
  • Family Worship Center — Associated with the ministry of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, the organization reflects his blend of evangelical worship and conservative family values.
  • Fellowship Foundation — Also known as “The Fellowship” or “The Family,” this is a religiously-oriented group that operates the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. It is known for its influence on American politics, fostering relationships among political, business, and religious leaders.
The National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump presiding -- by Midjourney
  • Reverend Wilber Fisk — An influential 19th-century Methodist educator and theologian, remembered for his strong advocacy for Methodist doctrine and education. His work has inspired many current Christian nationalist groups and ideologies.
  • Tami Fitzgerald — Fitzgerald is a contemporary figure known for her conservative activism, particularly in North Carolina, where she has been a prominent voice on issues like gay marriage and gender, reflecting broader right-wing advocacy trends.
  • Florida Family Action — This is an organization that works at the state level in Florida, engaging in grassroots lobbying and electoral involvement to promote conservative values on social issues.
  • Florida Family Action PAC — The political action committee of the Florida Family Action, this group supports candidates and initiatives in Florida that align with its conservative, family-centered policy goals.
  • Florida Family Policy Council — This council operates in Florida, advocating for conservative social policies. It’s part of a network of state-based conservative policy groups with similar aims.
  • Focus on the Family — A well-known evangelical organization based in Colorado Springs, it promotes conservative policies related to family structure and parenting, and is a major producer of Christian-themed media content.
  • Foster Friess — Friess was a prominent conservative donor and philanthropist, who financially supported various Republican candidates and causes aligned with right-wing politics until his death in 2021.
  • Free Congress Foundation — Founded by Paul Weyrich, this right-wing think tank historically has been instrumental in promoting conservative legislative agendas and played a pivotal role in the development of conservative strategies and policies.
  • Lynn Friess — Lynn Friess is the widow of Foster Friess and has continued to be active in philanthropy and conservative causes, supporting various initiatives that align with her and her late husband’s values, particularly in the realms of education, Christian outreach, and family services.
  • Jim Garlow — A pastor and author, Garlow is a notable figure in conservative Christian circles, known for his advocacy on traditional marriage and anti-abortion issues, and has been a key influence in the intersection of faith and politics.
  • Rosemary Schindler Garlow — A speaker and activist, she is married to Jim Garlow, and is also a distant relative of Oskar Schindler. She is involved in Christian ministry work and advocacy, often in conjunction with her husband’s activities.
  • W. Barry Garrett
  • Godspeak Calvary Chapel — Non-denominational church in California that gained attention in conservative media for its defiance of public health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Barry Goldwater — Known as the “father of modern conservatism,” Goldwater was a five-term U.S. Senator from Arizona and the 1964 Republican nominee for President. His libertarian-leaning conservative philosophy laid the foundation for the conservative resurgence in the following decades.
Barry Goldwater running for US President, by Midjourney
  • Peggy Goldwater — As the wife of Barry Goldwater, Peggy Goldwater was a supportive figure in his political career. While less politically active herself, she played a role in the personal side of the conservative movement during her husband’s career.
  • Grace Community Church, Sun Valley — A prominent evangelical church in California, led by Pastor John MacArthur. It is known for its conservative theological stance and has been influential in evangelical Christian circles.
  • Billy Graham — Reverend Billy Graham was one of the most influential Christian evangelists of the 20th century, serving as a spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents and preaching to millions globally, with a message that was generally hard-lined conservative.
  • The Green family — Best known for founding Hobby Lobby, the Green family is prominent in conservative circles for their Christian faith and legal battles over religious freedom and opposition to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Ken Ham — a young-earth creationist and the founder of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. Ham is a significant figure in promoting a literal interpretation of the Bible and opposing evolutionary theory, which is often referenced in conservative Christian education debates.
  • Abraham Hamilton III — host of American Family Radio‘s “Hamilton Corner” who described the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas as “Satan’s work” that was “immune to legislation.” He went on to claim that the Democrats were “exploiting” the victims by calling for hearings on gun control.
  • Mark Harris
  • Kristan Hawkins
  • Carl F. H. Henry — a prominent American evangelical theologian and a key figure in the neo-evangelical movement, advocating for evangelical engagement with broader culture while maintaining orthodox Christian theology who played a vital role in shaping evangelical thought in the 20th century. Henry’s influence continues through his foundational role in institutions like Fuller Theological Seminary and Christianity Today magazine.
  • Heritage Academy — Heritage Academy is a private Christian school known for its emphasis on providing education based on Christian principles and traditional academic subjects. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its approach to education, integrating conservative Christian values and teachings into its curriculum and school culture.
Christian academies began sprouting up after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling ending segregation in schools
  • Heritage Action — Heritage Action for America is a conservative advocacy organization and the political action sister organization of the Heritage Foundation. It focuses on promoting conservative policies and legislation, and while not exclusively Christian nationalist, its activities often align with Christian nationalist principles, advocating for policies rooted in conservative Christian values.
  • Heritage Foundation — a prominent conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., established in 1973. It focuses on promoting conservative public policies based on principles like free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values, and strong national defense. The foundation has significantly influenced American politics and policy through research, policy recommendations, and influencing decision-makers, making it a key player in shaping U.S. conservative policy.
  • Eric Heubeck — Eric Heubeck is known for his involvement in conservative political strategy, notably for authoring “The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement,” which outlines strategies for conservative cultural renewal.
  • Hugh Hewitt — Hugh Hewitt is an American radio talk show host, lawyer, academic, and author, known for his nationally syndicated conservative talk radio show and his contributions as a political commentator.
  • Jack Hibbs — Jack Hibbs is a prominent evangelical pastor and founder of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, known for his teachings and influence in Christian conservative circles.
  • Rob Hilarides
  • The Hillsdale Collegian — The Hillsdale Collegian is the student newspaper of Hillsdale College in Michigan, known for its coverage of campus events and its emphasis on conservative perspectives in higher education.
  • Kay Hiramine
  • A. A. Hodge — Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823–1886) was an American Presbyterian theologian and principal of Princeton Seminary, recognized for his contributions to theological education and the Presbyterian Church.
  • John Henry Hopkins
  • Mike Huckabee — Mike Huckabee is an American politician, Christian minister, author, and commentator, who served as the 44th governor of Arkansas and unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016.
Mike Huckabee, by Midjourney
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders — Currently the sitting governor of Arkansas, she is the daughter of Mike Huckabee and the former Press Secretary of the Trump administration.
  • Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG) — HISG is an organization known for its humanitarian efforts with a Christian perspective, often involved in providing aid and support in crisis situations. Their work intertwines humanitarian aid with Christian values, which aligns them with aspects of Christian nationalism.
  • Nelson Bunker Hunt — Nelson Bunker Hunt was an American oil company executive known for his significant involvement in conservative Christian movements. He financially supported various Christian nationalist causes and was a major donor to conservative Christian organizations.
  • Institute on Religion and Democracy — The Institute on Religion and Democracy is a conservative Christian think tank that focuses on promoting their interpretation of Christian ethics within policy and society. They have been influential in advocating for Christian nationalist ideals within the United States.
  • Larry Jackson
  • David Jeremiah — David Jeremiah is a prominent Christian pastor and televangelist known for his evangelical teachings. While his ministry primarily focuses on evangelical Christianity, it occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist ideology.
  • Bob Jones Sr. — Bob Jones Sr. was an American evangelist and the founder of Bob Jones University, a private, non-denominational evangelical university. The university and Jones himself have been associated with conservative Christian ideologies, some of which align with Christian nationalism.
  • Bob Jones University — Bob Jones University is a private, non-denominational evangelical Christian university known for its conservative cultural and religious values. Historically, it has been associated with and influential in promoting conservative Christian ideologies, as well as notorious for continuing to support segregation — and remaining a segregated institution — until 1971.
Bob Jones University, one of many religious institutions in the south that remained segregated long after Brown V. Board of Education in defiance
  • Kingdom Warriors — Kingdom Warriors is a term that can refer to various Christian groups or movements that advocate for applying Christian principles to societal and political life. These groups often align with Christian nationalist ideologies in their efforts to influence culture and politics according to their religious beliefs.
  • KMMJ – KMMJ is a Christian radio station known for broadcasting content that aligns with evangelical Christian values.
  • C. Everett Koop — C. Everett Koop was an American pediatric surgeon and public health administrator, known for serving as the Surgeon General of the United States, and a devout Christian.
  • Ku Klux Klan — The Ku Klux Klan is a white supremacist hate group with a long history of violent extremism. Their ideology often misappropriates Christian symbols and rhetoric to promote their racist agenda.
The KKK loved a good cross burning on a Saturday night
  • Beverly LaHaye — Beverly LaHaye is a Christian conservative activist and founder of Concerned Women for America, a group known for promoting Christian conservative policies. Her work often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • Tim LaHaye — Tim LaHaye was an evangelical Christian minister and author, best known for the “Left Behind” series about the End Times and world-ending apocalypse. His works and ministry often promoted a conservative Christian worldview, aligning at times with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Wayne LaPierre — Wayne LaPierre was the CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) for many years. While primarily focused on gun rights advocacy, his influence occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist groups that share common conservative values.
  • Bill Lee — Bill Lee, as the Governor of Tennessee, has implemented policies and supported legislation that align with conservative Christian values. His governance reflects aspects of Christian nationalist ideology, emphasizing traditional Christian values in policy-making.
  • Leonard Leo — Leonard Leo is a prominent conservative legal activist, known for his influence in the Federalist Society and the composition of today’s Supreme Court. He plays a significant role in promoting conservative judges, some of whom align with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Mark Levin — Mark Levin is a conservative commentator and radio host, known for his advocacy of conservative policies. While his primary focus is on conservative politics, his viewpoints sometimes resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Liberty University — Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. The university is a major hub for conservative Christian education and activism.
  • LifeWay Research — LifeWay Research is an evangelical Christian research group that provides research and resources for churches. Christian nationalist ideologies guide their work in terms of influencing church and societal policies.
  • Rush Limbaugh — Rush Limbaugh was a conservative radio host and commentator, known for his influential role in conservative media. His advocacy for conservative politics intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Rush Limbaugh on the radio, by Midjourney
  • Elias Loera
  • Nathan Lord
  • Dave Louden
  • Barry Loudermilk — Barry Loudermilk is a U.S. Congressman known for his conservative Christian views. His legislative actions and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian principles.
  • John MacArthur — John MacArthur is a prominent evangelical pastor and author, known for his conservative theological views.
  • Rachel MacNair — Rachel MacNair is known for her work in the pro-life movement, with a focus on consistent life ethics. While her work is primarily in the anti-abortion arena, it sometimes intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in terms of advocating for policies based on Christian ethics.
  • Danielle Madison
  • March for Life — The March for Life is an annual event advocating against abortion in the United States. While its primary focus is on anti-abortion activism, the event often draws support from Christian nationalist groups, advocating for policies aligned with conservative Christian values.
  • Ed McAteer — Ed McAteer was known as a leading figure in the Religious Right movement and was influential in mobilizing conservative Christians into political activism. His efforts significantly contributed to the alignment of evangelical Christians with conservative and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • The Moral Majority — The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1979. It played a significant role in mobilizing conservative Christians into political action, promoting policies aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Jeanne Mancini — Jeanne Mancini is known for her role as the President of the March for Life, a major anti-abortion organization in the U.S. Her leadership focuses on advocating for anti-abortion policies, often resonating with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Manhattan Declaration — The Manhattan Declaration is a Christian manifesto issued in 2009, emphasizing the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom. It is supported by various Christian leaders and aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its advocacy for public policies based on Christian ethics.
  • Rob McCoy — Rob McCoy is a pastor and former city council member known for his conservative Christian views. His public stance often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the integration of Christian values in governance and society.
  • Mark Meadows — Mark Meadows is a former U.S. Congressman and White House Chief of Staff for Donald Trump, known for his conservative and Christian nationalist views. He has been influential in promoting policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Mark Meadows in front of the Capitol, by Midjourney
  • Mark MecklerTea Party activist and co-funder of Convention of States.
  • Janet Mefferd — Janet Mefferd is a conservative Christian radio host and commentator. Her broadcasts often emphasize conservative Christian viewpoints, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in discussions on culture and politics.
  • Roy Moore — Roy Moore is a former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice known for his staunch conservative Christian views. His public and professional life has been marked by advocacy for Christian nationalist principles, particularly in legal and political contexts — as well as by controversy, when he was credibly accused by several women of having pursued a romantic relationship with him when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
  • Museum of the Bible — The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible. While it presents as an educational institution, its exhibits often align with conservative Christian perspectives, resonating with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • The Naked Communist — “The Naked Communist” is a book by Cleon Skousen, published in 1958, presenting a critique of communism and its perceived threats to Christian and American values. The book has been influential in conservative and Christian nationalist circles, advocating for anti-communist and conservative Christian ideals.
  • Penny Young Nance — Penny Young Nance is the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative advocacy group. Her leadership focuses on promoting policies and viewpoints aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • National Center for Constitutional Studies — The National Center for Constitutional Studies is an organization known for promoting a conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Its work often aligns with Christian nationalist principles, advocating for governance and policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • National Christian Foundation — The National Christian Foundation is one of the largest Christian grant-making foundations, supporting a wide range of Christian causes and organizations. Some of its funding goes to groups and initiatives that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • National Conservative Student Conference — This conference, organized by the Young America’s Foundation, gathers conservative students from across the U.S. to engage with conservative ideas, including those aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
National Conservative Student Conference, by Midjourney
  • National Federation of Republican Women — This organization is dedicated to empowering and mobilizing women in the Republican Party. Its activities sometimes intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for conservative Christian policies.
  • National Right to Life Committee — The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest national anti-abortion organization in the United States, advocating for pro-life policies. Its advocacy often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its approach to legislative and cultural issues.
  • Richard John Neuhaus — Richard John Neuhaus was a prominent Catholic priest and theologian, known for his influence in the realm of religion and public life. His work often intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for the integration of Christian values into public policy.
  • New Christian Right — The New Christian Right is a politically and socially conservative Christian movement that emerged in the late 20th century. This movement is characterized by its advocacy for Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the role of Christianity in American public life.
  • Kristi Noem — Kristi Noem, as the Governor of South Dakota, is known for her conservative policies and alignment with Christian nationalist ideologies. Her governance and public statements often reflect a strong emphasis on traditional Christian values.
  • Gary North — Gary North is an economist, historian, and writer known for his advocacy of Christian Reconstructionism, a theological perspective that advocates the adoption of Biblical law in the United States.
  • North Carolina Family Policy Council — The North Carolina Family Policy Council is a conservative Christian organization focused on promoting family values and policies aligned with conservative Christian ethics. Their advocacy often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing traditional Christian views in public policy.
  • Michael Novak — Michael Novak was a Catholic philosopher, journalist, and diplomat, known for his writings on capitalism, religion, and democracy. His work, blending Christian theology with democratic capitalism, sometimes resonated with Christian nationalist thought.
  • Old Time Gospel Hour — The Old Time Gospel Hour was a Christian radio and television ministry founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. This program was instrumental in spreading evangelical Christian teachings and often intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • John M. Olin — John M. Olin was an industrialist and philanthropist, known for funding conservative causes through the John M. Olin Foundation. His contributions significantly supported academic and political endeavors aligned with conservative and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Organicgirl — Brand of organic lettuce ultimately owned by a right-wing billionaire
  • Joel Osteen — Joel Osteen is a prominent televangelist and pastor of Lakewood Church, known for his motivational speaking and prosperity gospel teachings.
  • Sarah Palin — Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate, is known for her conservative Christian views. Her political career and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the integration of conservative Christian values into American politics.
Sarah Palin, patriotic drag queen -- by Midjourney
  • “Pastors Briefings”
  • Mike Pence — Mike Pence, former Vice President of the United States, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs and policies. His political career is characterized by advocacy for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Pentecostals — Pentecostalism is a Christian movement known for its emphasis on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and vibrant worship. While diverse in its expressions, some segments of the Pentecostal movement intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for the integration of Christian beliefs into public life.
  • Sonny Perdue — Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is known for his conservative policies and Christian beliefs. His political career has included support for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Tony Perkins — Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group known for its advocacy on social and family issues. His leadership and activism are closely aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • Rick Perry — Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas and U.S. Secretary of Energy, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs and political career reflecting support for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies. He is famous for a gaffe during the Republican presidential primary debate in 2011 where he claimed he would abolish 3 federal agencies but could only name 2 of them.
  • Howard Phillips — Howard Phillips was a conservative political activist, known for founding the Constitution Party, which advocates for a government based on biblical principles. His political ideology and activism were closely aligned with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Buddy Pilgrim
  • Mike Pompeo — Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Secretary of State and CIA Director, is known for his conservative Christian views. His political career and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the importance of Christian values in American foreign and domestic policy.
Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State and all around nauseating dude, by Midjourney
  • Art Pope — Art Pope is a businessman and political donor known for his support of conservative causes and candidates in North Carolina and nationally.
  • Reverend J. C. Postell
  • POTUS Shield — POTUS Shield is a collection of Charismatic Christian leaders who focus on intercessory prayer and prophecy for the United States government and leadership. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in its support for leaders who uphold conservative Christian values.
  • The Power of the Positive Woman — “The Power of the Positive Woman” is a book by Phyllis Schlafly, advocating for conservative Christian views on women’s roles. The book has been influential in the Christian right, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting traditional gender roles.
  • Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and writer known for his religious and conservative viewpoints. His work often resonates with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for the integration of Judeo-Christian values into American life.
  • Praise Network — The Praise Network is a group of Christian radio stations broadcasting religious content, often including evangelical and conservative Christian teachings. Its programming sometimes aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting a Christian worldview.
  • Tom Price — Tom Price is a former U.S. Representative and Secretary of Health and Human Services, known for his conservative policies. His political career has occasionally intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the realm of health policy and religious freedom.
  • Erik Prince — Erik Prince, the founder of the private security and paramilitary firm Blackwater, is known for his conservative Christian views and his support for conservative causes. His views and activities sometimes align with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the context of military and security affairs. He is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Michigan industrialist and Secretary of Education in the Trump administration.
Erik Prince and his Blackwater militia private stooges, by Midjourney
  • Scott Pruitt — Scott Pruitt, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs. His tenure at the EPA ended after less than 2 years, when he resigned as a result of a growing mass of corruption scandals and ethical violations.
  • Quiverfull movement — The Quiverfull movement is a Christian ideology advocating for large families and traditional gender roles, viewing children as a blessing from God.
  • Oleg Rachkovski
  • Ronald Reagan — Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was known for incorporating conservative Christian values into his policies and rhetoric. His presidency is often cited as aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting conservative Christian values in American governance.
  • Ralph Reed — Ralph Reed is the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and was the former executive director of the Christian Coalition. He is a significant figure in Christian nationalist circles, advocating for conservative Christian values in politics.
  • Carolyn Richards
  • Road to Majority Conference — The Road to Majority Conference is an annual event hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, aimed at mobilizing conservative Christians in politics. The conference aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, focusing on advancing conservative Christian values in governance.
  • Pat Robertson — Pat Robertson was a televangelist, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and former presidential candidate. He is a major figure in Christian nationalist circles, known for his advocacy of conservative Christian values in American society and politics.
  • Jim Robison
  • Roe v. Wade — Roe v. Wade is the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. It had been a central focus of opposition in Christian nationalist ideologies, which they successfully advocated for its reversal based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Rousas Rushdoony — Rousas John Rushdoony was a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian, known as the father of Christian Reconstructionism. His teachings, advocating for the application of biblical law to all areas of life, have significantly influenced Christian nationalist thought.
  • Karl Rove — Karl Rove, a political consultant and strategist, is known for his role in shaping modern conservative politics, particularly during the presidency of George W. Bush.
  • John Rustin
  • SAGE Cons — SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives) refers to a segment of conservative Christians who are highly engaged in the political process.
  • Salem Radio Group — The Salem Radio Group is a leading broadcaster of Christian and conservative content, operating numerous radio stations across the United States. Its programming often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, promoting conservative Christian viewpoints.
  • Richard Mellon Scaife — Richard Mellon Scaife was an American billionaire and publisher, known for funding conservative causes and publications. His philanthropy significantly influenced the growth of conservative and, at times, Christian nationalist ideologies in American politics.
  • Jeff Sessions — Jeff Sessions, former U.S. Attorney General and Senator, is known for his conservative and often Christian-oriented political stance. His policies and public statements often resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the areas of immigration and religious liberty.
Jeff Sessions, by Midjourney
  • Francis Schaeffer — Francis Schaeffer was an influential evangelical theologian and philosopher, known for his writings on Christianity and culture. His work laid a foundation for the Christian right and indirectly influenced Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Phyllis Schlafly — Phyllis Schlafly was a conservative activist and author, known for her opposition to the feminist movement and her advocacy for conservative Christian values. She was a key figure in the rise of the Christian right, which intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Alan Sears — Alan Sears is an attorney and founder of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization known for its conservative Christian legal advocacy. His work often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, especially in legal battles over religious freedom and traditional values.
  • Jay Sekulow — Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), known for his legal advocacy on behalf of conservative Christian causes. His work frequently intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in defending religious liberties and conservative values in the legal sphere.
  • W. Cleon Skousen — W. Cleon Skousen was an American conservative author and lecturer, known for his work on anti-communism and the Constitution. His writings have been influential in conservative and Christian nationalist circles, advocating for a conservative interpretation of American history and governance.
  • SonLife Broadcasting Network (SBN) — SonLife Broadcasting Network is a Christian television network run by evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Its programming focuses on evangelical Christian content and promoting a conservative Christian worldview.
  • SonLife Radio Network — SonLife Radio Network, part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, broadcasts Christian programming with a focus on evangelical teachings and music.
Jimmy Swaggart crying on national TV
  • Springs Community Church
  • Horatio Robinson Storer — Horatio Robinson Storer was a 19th-century physician known for his campaign against abortion and his contributions to the field of gynecology. His historical role intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in terms of advocating for conservative Christian morals in medical ethics.
  • R.J. Rushdoony — Rousas John Rushdoony was a theologian and philosopher, known as a foundational figure in the Christian Reconstructionism movement, advocating for applying Biblical law to all aspects of society. His ideology significantly influenced Christian nationalist thought.
  • Southern Baptist Convention — The southern Baptists split with the northern Baptists in 1845 over the issue of slavery.
  • Southern Presbyterian Church — The Southern Presbyterian Church historically refers to Presbyterian denominations in the American South, known for their conservative theological views. Their historical and modern stances often align with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing traditional Christian values.
  • Southern Strategy — The Southern Strategy was a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans. While not directly a Christian nationalist strategy, it intersects with certain aspects of Christian nationalist politics in its appeal to traditional values and segregation.
  • Darla St. Martin — Darla St. Martin is a prominent figure in the pro-life movement, known for her leadership roles in the National Right to Life Committee. Her activism aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for anti-abortion policies based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Stop ERA — Stop ERA was a political movement led by Phyllis Schlafly, aimed at opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. This movement was aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for traditional gender roles and conservative Christian values.
  • Students for Life of America — Students for Life of America is a pro-life organization focused on mobilizing young people against abortion. Their activism often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the alignment of conservative Christian values with anti-abortion advocacy.
  • Susan B. Anthony List — The Susan B. Anthony List is a non-profit organization that seeks to reduce and ultimately end abortion in the U.S. by supporting pro-life politicians. Its mission aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for policies based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Donnie Swaggart — Donnie Swaggart is an evangelist and pastor, part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, known for his evangelical teachings.
  • Gabriel Swaggart — Gabriel Swaggart is a pastor and television host, part of the Swaggart family’s evangelical ministry. His work, like that of other family members, often aligns with conservative Christian values, occasionally intersecting with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Jimmy Swaggart — Jimmy Swaggart is a well-known Pentecostal evangelist and founder of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, including the SonLife Broadcasting Network. His ministry, marked by traditional evangelical teachings, sometimes aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting conservative Christian values.
Jimmy Swaggart preaching and televangelizing up a storm, by Midjourney
  • Jimmy Swaggart Bible College (JSBC) — Jimmy Swaggart Bible College is an educational institution part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, focused on training individuals for ministry work with an evangelical Christian perspective.
  • Jimmy Swaggart Telecast — The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast is a Christian television program led by evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, focusing on evangelical preaching and worship.
  • Bruce Taylor
  • Jeff Taylor
  • Steve Taylor
  • Taylor Farms
  • Thomas Road Baptist Church — Thomas Road Baptist Church, founded by Jerry Falwell Sr., is a significant megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia, known for its evangelical Christian teachings. The church has historically been associated with the Christian right and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • James Henley Thornwell — James Henley Thornwell was a 19th-century Presbyterian preacher and theologian, known for his conservative theological views and defense of slavery. His teachings have been cited in contexts related to Christian nationalist ideologies, especially in the historical context of the American South.
  • Robert Tilton — Robert Tilton is a televangelist known for his prosperity gospel teachings and controversial faith healing practices. His ministry is focused on “individual prosperity.”
  • Unity Project
  • “Values Bus”
  • Values Voters Summit — The Values Voters Summit is an annual political conference hosted by the Family Research Council, known for gathering conservative Christian activists and politicians. The summit aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, focusing on advancing conservative Christian values in politics.
  • Richard Viguerie — Richard Viguerie was a political figure known for pioneering direct mail fundraising for conservative causes. His work has significantly influenced the conservative movement, including aspects that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Young America’s Foundation — Young America’s Foundation is a conservative youth organization known for promoting conservative ideas among young people. Its activities often intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for conservative and traditional values in education and public life.
Young America's Foundation of future date rapists, by Midjourney
  • C. Peter Wagner — C. Peter Wagner was a theologian and missiologist, known for his influence in the Charismatic and New Apostolic Reformation movements. His teachings emphasized conservative Christian principles.
  • Chester Ward
  • Washington Watch
  • The Watchmen
  • Doug Wead — Doug Wead is a conservative commentator and author known for his involvement in presidential politics. His work, while primarily political, sometimes intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in his advocacy for conservative values.
  • Well Versed
  • Paul Weyrich — Paul Weyrich was a conservative activist and commentator, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. He played a key role in mobilizing the Christian right and influencing Christian nationalist ideologies within American politics.
  • Paula White — Paula White is a televangelist and pastor, known for her association with the prosperity gospel and her role as a spiritual advisor to former President Donald Trump. Her ministry, while primarily focused on individual prosperity and spiritual matters, occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Paula White, spiritual advisor to Donald Trump, praying with his Cabinet in the White House while he looms over her lecherously, by Midjourney
  • Donald Wildmon — Donald Wildmon is the founder of the American Family Association, a group known for its conservative Christian advocacy. His work aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in promoting conservative Christian values in media and culture.
  • Farris Wilks — Farris Wilks is a businessman and conservative political donor, known for his support of Christian and conservative causes. His philanthropy often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Dan Wilks — Dan Wilks, alongside his brother Farris, is a businessman and significant donor to conservative and Christian causes. His contributions have influenced the conservative political landscape, occasionally intersecting with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • World Ag Expo
  • World Congress of Families — The World Congress of Families is an international organization that promotes conservative Christian values related to the family structure. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for policies based on traditional Christian views of family and morality.

Learn more:

Christian nationalism terms

Christian nationalism books

What is Dominionism?

3 GOP Cults: Christian Cult, Wealth Cult, White Cult

Read more

The “repetition effect” is a potent psychological phenomenon and a common propaganda device. This technique operates on the principle that repeated exposure to a specific message or idea increases the likelihood of its acceptance as truth or normalcy by an individual or the public. Its effectiveness lies in its simplicity and its exploitation of a basic human cognitive bias: the more we hear something, the more likely we are to believe it.

Repetition effect, by Midjourney

Historical context

The repetition effect has been used throughout history, but its most notorious use was by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. Hitler, along with his Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, effectively employed this technique to disseminate Nazi ideology and promote antisemitism. In his autobiography “Mein Kampf,” Hitler wrote about the importance of repetition in reinforcing the message and ensuring that it reached the widest possible audience. He believed that the constant repetition of a lie would eventually be accepted as truth.

Goebbels echoed this sentiment, famously stating, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The Nazi regime used this strategy in various forms, including in speeches, posters, films, and through controlled media. The relentless repetition of anti-Semitic propaganda, the glorification of the Aryan race, and the demonization of enemies played a crucial role in the establishment and maintenance of the Nazi regime.

Psychological basis

The effectiveness of the repetition effect is rooted in cognitive psychology. This bias is known as the “illusory truth effect,” where repeated exposure to a statement increases its perceived truthfulness. The phenomenon is tied to the ease with which familiar information is processed. When we hear something repeatedly, it becomes more fluent to process, and our brains misinterpret this fluency as a signal for truth.

Modern era usage

The transition into the modern era saw the repetition effect adapting to new media and communication technologies. In the age of television and radio, political figures and advertisers used repetition to embed messages in the public consciousness. The rise of the internet and social media has further amplified the impact of this technique. In the digital age, the speed and reach of information are unprecedented, making it easier for false information to be spread and for the repetition effect to be exploited on a global scale.

The repetition effect on screens and social media, by Midjourney

Political campaigns, especially in polarized environments, often use the repetition effect to reinforce their messages. The constant repetition of slogans, talking points, and specific narratives across various platforms solidifies these messages in the public’s mind, regardless of their factual accuracy.

Ethical considerations and countermeasures

The ethical implications of using the repetition effect are significant, especially when it involves spreading disinformation or harmful ideologies. It raises concerns about the manipulation of public opinion and the undermining of democratic processes.

To counteract the repetition effect, media literacy and critical thinking are essential. Educating the public about this psychological bias and encouraging skepticism towards repeated messages can help mitigate its influence. Fact-checking and the promotion of diverse sources of information also play a critical role in combating the spread of falsehoods reinforced by repetition.

Repetition effect: A key tool of propaganda

The repetition effect is a powerful psychological tool in the arsenal of propagandists and communicators. From its historical use by Hitler and the fascists to its continued relevance in the digital era, this technique demonstrates the profound impact of repeated messaging on public perception and belief.

While it can be used for benign purposes, such as in advertising or reinforcing positive social behaviors, its potential for manipulation and spreading misinformation cannot be understated. Understanding and recognizing the repetition effect is crucial in developing a more discerning and informed approach to the information we encounter daily.

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Science denialism has a complex and multifaceted history, notably marked by a significant event in 1953 that set a precedent for the tactics of disinformation widely observed in various spheres today, including politics.

The 1953 meeting and the birth of the disinformation playbook

The origins of modern science denial can be traced back to a pivotal meeting in December 1953, involving the heads of the four largest American tobacco companies. This meeting was a response to emerging scientific research linking smoking to lung cancer. Concerned about the potential impact on their business, these industry leaders collaborated with a public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, to craft a strategy. This strategy was designed not only to dispute the growing evidence about the health risks of smoking, but also to manipulate public perception by creating doubt about the science itself.

And it worked — for over 40 years. The public never formed a consensus on the lethality and addictiveness of nicotine until well into the 1990s, when the jig was finally up and Big Tobacco had to pay a record-breaking $200 billion settlement over their 4 decades of mercilessly lying to the American people following the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998.

smoking and the disinformation campaign of Big Tobacco leading to science denialism, by Midjourney

Strategies of the disinformation playbook

This approach laid the groundwork for what is often referred to as the “disinformation playbook.” The key elements of this playbook include creating doubt about scientific consensus, funding research that could contradict or cloud scientific understanding, using think tanks or other organizations to promote these alternative narratives, and influencing media and public opinion to maintain policy and regulatory environments favorable to their interests — whether profit, power, or both.

Over the next 7 decades — up to the present day — this disinformation playbook has been used by powerful special interests to cast doubt, despite scientific consensus, on acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, the viability of Ronald Reagan‘s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and perhaps most notably: the man-made causes of climate change.

Adoption and adaptation in various industries

The tobacco industry’s tactics were alarmingly successful for decades, delaying effective regulation and public awareness of smoking’s health risks. These strategies were later adopted and adapted by various industries and groups facing similar scientific challenges to their products or ideologies. For instance, the fossil fuel industry used similar tactics to cast doubt on global warming — leading to the phenomenon of climate change denialism. Chemical manufacturers have disputed science on the harmful effects of certain chemicals like DDT and BPA.

What began as a PR exercise by Big Tobacco to preserve their fantastic profits once science discovered the deleterious health effects of smoking eventually evolved into a strategy of fomenting science denialism more broadly. Why discredit one single finding of the scientific community when you could cast doubt on the entire process of science itself — as a way of future-proofing any government regulation that might curtail your business interests?

Science denial in modern politics

In recent years, the tactics of science denial have become increasingly prevalent in politics. Political actors, often influenced by corporate interests or ideological agendas, have employed these strategies to challenge scientific findings that are politically inconvenient — despite strong and often overwhelming evidence. This is evident in manufactured “debates” on climate change, vaccine safety, and COVID-19, where scientific consensus is often contested not based on new scientific evidence but through disinformation strategies aimed at sowing doubt and confusion.

The role of digital media and politicization

The rise of social media has accelerated the spread of science denial. The digital landscape allows for rapid dissemination of misinformation and the formation of echo chambers, where groups can reinforce shared beliefs or skepticism, often insulated from corrective or opposing information. Additionally, the politicization of science, where scientific findings are viewed through the lens of political allegiance rather than objective evidence, has further entrenched science denial in modern discourse — as just one aspect of the seeming politicization of absolutely everything in modern life and culture.

Strategies for combatting science denial

The ongoing impact of science denial is profound. It undermines public understanding of science, hampers informed decision-making, and delays action on critical issues like climate change, public health, and environmental protection. The spread of misinformation about vaccines, for instance, has led to a decrease in vaccination rates and a resurgence of diseases like measles.

scientific literacy, by Midjourney

To combat science denial, experts suggest several strategies. Promoting scientific literacy and critical thinking skills among the general public is crucial. This involves not just understanding scientific facts, but also developing an understanding of the scientific method and how scientific knowledge is developed and validated. Engaging in open, transparent communication about science, including the discussion of uncertainties and limitations of current knowledge, can also help build public trust in science.

Science denial, rooted in the strategies developed by the tobacco industry in the 1950s, has evolved into a significant challenge in contemporary society, impacting not just public health and environmental policy but also the very nature of public discourse and trust in science. Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach, including education, transparent communication, and collaborative efforts to uphold the integrity of scientific information.

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The Flat Earth conspiracy theory, which posits that the Earth is flat rather than spherical, is a fascinating example of how ancient beliefs can resurface and influence modern thinking. This theory challenges the fundamental scientific understanding of the Earth’s shape, a concept that has been well-established since the time of the ancient Greeks and further solidified by centuries of astronomical and physical observations.

Flat earth conspiracy theory, by Midjourney

Origin and Historical Context

The idea of a flat Earth dates back to ancient civilizations, where various cultures had differing perceptions of the Earth’s shape, often influenced by mythology and religious beliefs. The spherical nature of the Earth was first proposed by ancient Greek philosophers like Pythagoras and later substantiated by Aristotle and Eratosthenes. Despite these early scientific assertions, flat Earth beliefs persisted in various cultures.

Resurgence in Modern Times

The modern Flat Earth theory began to resurface in the 19th century. Notable figures like English writer Samuel Rowbotham, based on his interpretation of biblical passages, argued for a flat, disc-shaped Earth. His work, “Zetetic Astronomy,” became a cornerstone of modern Flat Earth theory.

Contemporary Supporters

Today, the Flat Earth theory is supported by a small but vocal minority. This group includes individuals from various backgrounds, from conspiracy theorists to those skeptical of mainstream science. Organizations like The Flat Earth Society, founded in the mid-20th century, and numerous internet forums and social media groups, have been instrumental in spreading these beliefs in the digital age.

The Flat Earth Society's annual meeting poster, as imagined by Midjourney

Reasons for Belief

The reasons why people believe in the Flat Earth theory are complex and varied. Some are driven by religious or scriptural interpretations, while others are skeptical of scientific institutions and mainstream media. The rise of social media has also played a significant role, providing a platform for the spread of various conspiracy theories, including the Flat Earth belief. The psychological appeal of being part of a group that “knows the truth” can also be a strong motivator.

Impact on Disinformation and Science Denial

The Flat Earth theory’s resurgence is emblematic of a broader trend in science denial and disinformation in modern culture. It represents a distrust in scientific expertise and institutions, a phenomenon that has been exacerbated by the rise of the internet and social media. This environment allows for the rapid spread of misinformation, where unverified claims can gain traction among communities that are distrustful of conventional sources of knowledge.

Societal and Cultural Implications

The belief in Flat Earth theory has broader implications for how society perceives and engages with scientific information. It highlights the challenges in combating misinformation and the importance of scientific literacy. The proliferation of such beliefs can undermine public understanding of science, with potential impacts on public policy and education.

the flat earth, as imagined by Midjourney

Conclusion

The Flat Earth conspiracy theory, though widely disproven and rejected by the scientific community, persists as a notable example of how ancient beliefs can be revived and propagated in the modern world. Its existence and persistence underscore the ongoing challenges in promoting scientific literacy and combating misinformation in an increasingly digital world.

In understanding the Flat Earth phenomenon, it’s essential to consider the broader context of why and how such theories gain traction. This involves examining the roles of media, culture, psychology, and education in shaping public understanding of science. Addressing these underlying factors is crucial in mitigating the spread of scientific misinformation and fostering a more informed and rational public discourse.

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disinformation

Disinformation Dictionary of Psychological Warfare

The cat is well and truly out of the bag in terms of understanding how easily wide swaths of people can be misled into believing total falsehoods and even insane conspiracy theories that have no basis whatsoever in reality. In their passion for this self-righteous series of untruths, they can lose families, jobs, loved ones, respect, and may even be radicalized to commit violence on behalf of an authority figure. It starts with the dissemination of disinformation — a practice with a unique Orwellian lexicon all its own, collated in the below disinformation dictionary.

Disinformation is meant to confuse, throw off, distract, polarize, and otherwise create conflict within and between target populations. The spreading of falsehoods is a very old strategy — perhaps as old as humankind itself — but its mass dissemination through the media was pioneered in the 20th century by the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union, the Nazis in Germany, Mussolini‘s Fascists in Italy, and other authoritarian regimes of the early 1900s through the 1940s.

After World War II and the Allies’ defeat of Hitler, the role of disinformation lived on during the Cold War. The Soviet KGB were infamous for their spycraft and covert infiltration of information flows, while the United States experienced waves of anti-Communist paranoia and hysteria fueled by the spread of conspiracist thinking. Psychologists, social scientists, and others did their best to unpack the horrors revealed by the reign of the Nazi regime with a wellspring of research and critical thought about authoritarian personalities and totalitarianism that continues to this day.

disinformation, illustrated

The John Birch Society rides again

In some ways, we haven’t really moved on yet from the Cold War — in fact, some appear not to have moved on since the New Deal and are hellbent on rolling its provisions back, almost 100 years later. The dregs of the John Birch Society — an organization famously too koo-koo even for William F. Buckley, who excommunicated them from the conservative wing of the Republican Party — live on today in a reconstituted form known as the CNP, or Council for National Policy.

Founded officially in 1981 after almost a decade down in the political trenches radicalizing the right, the CNP is the shadowy organization pulling the strings of many of the set pieces in puppets in today’s political play. In alliance with other powerful networks including the Koch empire, the NRA, and the Evangelical church, the CNP is the group behind the recent hysteria out of nowhere about Critical Race Theory in public schools (where it is not taught). They are funneling the money of America’s billionaires into absurdist theatrical displays of performance artists who distract America with bread and circuses while the plutocrats make off with the cash in the form of tax cuts, tax breaks, tax carve outs, tax loopholes, tax policy, and other wealth-building sweetheart deals for themselves and their cronies.

A crowd of people consuming disinformation, by Midjourney

The CNP, in partnership with Charles Koch’s massive database of all American voters (and of course, his money), have managed to brainwash the Evangelical flock and various assorted MAGA groups into believing a raft of nonsense from climate change denial to anti-masking to the Big Lie about the 2020 election and much more. They have leveraged new political technology in order to recruit and radicalize new cult members quickly and at now digital scale — via QAnon, Fox News, the even more extreme aggressively partisan coverage of Newsmax and OANN, and a fleet of “grassroots” astroturf operations peddling their brand of seditious aspirational theocracy to ruralites like it was going out of style… on accounta it is.

This disinformation dictionary covers (and uncovers) the terminology and techniques used by disinfo peddlers, hucksters, Zucksters, propagandists, and professional liars of all sorts — including confirmation bias, the bandwagon effect, and other psychological soft points they target, attack, and exploit. From trolling to active measures to “alternative facts,” we dig into the terminology that makes disinformation tick.

This resource will be added to over time as neologisms are coined to keep up with the shifting landscape of fakes, deep fakes, and alternative timelines in our near and potentially far future.

TermDefinition
active measuresRussian information warfare aimed at undermining the Westhttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/active-measures/
alternative factsStatements that are not supported by empirical evidence.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/alternative-facts/
ambiguityAmbiguity is utilized in disinformation by presenting information that is deliberately vague or open to multiple interpretations, leading to confusion and uncertainty. This technique exploits the lack of clarity to obscure the truth, allowing false narratives to be introduced and believed without being directly disprovable.https://doctorparadox.net/
America First Unity RallyAn event organized by supporters of Donald Trump, held in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18, 2016, during the RNC that featured speakers known to spread conspiracy theories and unverified claims.https://doctorparadox.net/
AntifaAntifa, short for "anti-fascist," is a decentralized movement composed of individuals and groups that oppose fascism and far-right ideologies, often through direct action and protest. The group serves as a frequent scapegoat for the right-wing, who tends to blame Antifa for anything they don't like, without evidence.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/antifa/
anti-governmentThe neo-Libertarians within the GOP have no more intention of governing than Trump did. Libertarians prefer the government to be non-functional: that's the "smallest" government there is!!They *will* lead us to war, with either Russia, North Korea, Iran, or China most likely.https://foundations.doctorparadox.net/Ideologies/anti-government
assert the opposite of realityA disinformation technique where false information is presented in a manner that directly contradicts known facts or established reality. This approach is used to confuse, mislead, or manipulate public perception, often by claiming the exact opposite of what is true or what evidence supports.https://doctorparadox.net/
astroturfingCreating an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support exists.https://foundations.doctorparadox.net/Dictionaries/Politics/astroturfing
bandwagon effectA psychological phenomenon whereby people do something primarily because other people are doing it.https://doctorparadox.net/data-sets/psychological-biases-list/
the Big LieA propaganda technique originally devised by Adolf Hitler, based on the idea that if a lie is colossal and audacious enough, and repeated often, people will come to accept it as truth. This technique relies on the premise that the sheer scale and boldness of the lie makes it more likely to be believed, as people might assume no one could fabricate something so extreme without some basis in reality.https://doctorparadox.net/gop-myths/gop-big-lies/
black and white thinkingA pattern of thought characterized by polar extremes, sometimes flip-flopping very rapidly from one extreme view to its opposite. Also referred to as dichotomous thinking; polarized thinking; all-or-nothing thinking; or splitting.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/black-and-white-thinking/
blackmailThe demand for payment (or other benefit) in exchange for not revealing negative information about the payee.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/emotional-blackmail/
blaming the victimA popular strategy with sexual predators, blaming the victim involves alleging that the receipient "had it coming" or otherwise deserved the abuse they suffered at the hands of the blamer (see also: DARVO)https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/what-is-darvo/
book burningThe ritual destruction of books, literature, or other written materials -- usually in a public forum to send a chilling message about ideas that are disallowed by the state.https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/book-burning
botA software program performing repetitive, automated tasks -- often used in the dissemination of disinformation.https://doctorparadox.net/category/technology/bots/
botnetsAn interconnected network of bots, often used for nefarious purposes like DDoS attacks or propaganda.https://doctorparadox.net/
bullyingHarming, threatening to harm, intimdating, or coercing others into doing your bidding (or for no reason at all)https://doctorparadox.net/mental-self-defense/how-to-deal-with-bullies/
cathexisThe concentration of one's mental energy on one specific person, idea, or object -- typically to an unhealthy degree.https://doctorparadox.net/
cherry-pickingSelectively choose from what is available.https://doctorparadox.net/
@citizentrollingFormer Twitter account of Chuck Johnson, the far-right mega-troll who doxed two New York Times reporters and argued that homosexuality caused the Amtrak derailment.https://www.wired.com/story/chuck-johnson-twitter-free-speech-lawsuit/
clickbaitContent designed to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link.https://doctorparadox.net/
climate change denialismClimate change denialism refers to the disbelief or dismissal of the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and primarily caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. It often involves rejecting, denying, or minimizing the evidence of the global impact of climate change.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/climate-change-denial/
closurePropagandists exploit the psychological need for closure by presenting oversimplified explanations or solutions to complex issues, appealing to the desire for quick, definitive answers. This tactic preys on the discomfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, leading individuals to accept and adhere to the provided narratives without critical examination.https://doctorparadox.net/
cognitive dissonanceMental discomfort resulting from holding conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes -- or from behaving contrary to one's beliefs, values, or attitudes.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/cognitive-dissonance/
cognitive distortionIrrational, exaggerated, or negative thought patterns that are believed to perpetuate the effects of psychopathological states, such as depression and anxiety. These distortions often manifest as persistent, skewed perceptions or thoughts that inaccurately represent reality, leading to emotional distress and behavioral issues.https://doctorparadox.net/
cognitive warfareCognitive warfare is a strategy that aims to change the perceptions and behaviors of individuals or groups, typically through the use of information and psychological tactics. This form of warfare targets the human mind, seeking to influence, disrupt, or manipulate the cognitive processes of adversaries, thereby affecting decision-making and actions. (see also: psychological warfare)https://doctorparadox.net/category/politics/psychological-warfare/
con artistSomeone who swindles others with fake promises.https://doctorparadox.net/
confirmation biasConfirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. Disinformation peddlers exploit this bias by crafting messages that align with the existing beliefs of their target audience, thereby reinforcing these beliefs and making their false narratives more convincing and less likely to be critically scrutinized.https://doctorparadox.net/data-sets/psychological-biases-list/
confirmation loopA situation where beliefs are reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system.https://doctorparadox.net/
conspiracy theoryA false narrative or set of narratives designed to create an alternative story or history that distracts from the real truth and/or obscures or absolves the responsibility of those behind the curtain.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/conspiracy-theory-dictionary-from-qanon-to-gnostics/
cultivation theoryA theory which argues that prolonged exposure to media shapes people's perceptions of reality.https://doctorparadox.net/
DARVOA rhetorical device used in mind control in which the identities of the perpetrator and the victim are reversed, such that the abuser is playing on the sympathies of the abused to help him rewrite the history they both wish to forget.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/what-is-darvo/
deceptionLying; intentionally misleadinghttps://doctorparadox.net/
deep fakesFabricated video footage appearing to show an individual speakinghttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/deep-fakes/
deep stateThe term "deep state" refers to a conspiracy theory suggesting the existence of a hidden or shadowy network of powerful and influential individuals within a government or other organization. These individuals are believed to operate outside the democratic system and pursue their own agenda, often in opposition to the official policies or leaders of the institution.https://doctorparadox.net/conspiracy-theories/deep-state/
demoshizaShort for ‘democratic schizophrenics’ -- a Russian slander against citizens of democracies. The ‘demoshiza’ tag also serves a useful purpose in conflating ‘democracy’ with ‘mental illness’. The word ‘democratic’ has an unhappy status in Russia: it is mainly used as an uncomplimentary synonym for ‘cheap’ and ‘low-grade’: McDonald’s has ‘democratic’ prices, the door policy at a particularly scuzzy club can be described as ‘democratic’ – i.e. they let anybody inhttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/demoshiza/
denialismDenialism is the practice of rejecting or refusing to accept established facts or realities, often in the context of scientific, historical, or social issues. It typically involves dismissing or rationalizing evidence that contradicts one's beliefs or ideology, regardless of the overwhelming empirical support.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/science-denialism/
denial of deathThe denial of death is a psychological defense mechanism where individuals avoid acknowledging their mortality, often leading to behaviors and beliefs that attempt to give meaning or permanence to human existence.https://doctorparadox.net/
denying plain factsDenying plain facts is the act of refusing to accept established truths, often in the face of overwhelming evidence, typically to maintain a particular narrative or belief system.https://doctorparadox.net/
dezinformatsiyaRussian information warfarehttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/dezinformatsiya/
digital footprintThe information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity.https://doctorparadox.net/
"dirty tricks""Dirty tricks" refer to underhanded, deceptive tactics used in politics, business, or espionage, often involving unethical maneuvers designed to damage opponents or gain an unfair advantage.https://doctorparadox.net/
disappearingIn the context of disinformation, disappearing means removing or concealing information, individuals, or objects from public view or records, often to hide evidence or avoid scrutiny.https://doctorparadox.net/
diversionDiversion is a tactic used to shift attention away from a significant issue or problem, often by introducing a different topic or concern, to avoid dealing with the original subject.https://doctorparadox.net/
doxxingDoxxing involves researching and broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual, typically on the internet, usually with malicious intent such as to intimidate, threaten, or harass the person.https://doctorparadox.net/
"drinking the Kool-Aid"Coming to believe the ideology of a culthttps://doctorparadox.net/
Dunning-Kruger effectA cognitive bias where individuals with low ability at a task tend to overestimate their ability.https://doctorparadox.net/data-sets/psychological-biases-list/
duty to warnThis refers to a legal or ethical requirement for certain professionals, like therapists or counselors, to break confidentiality and notify potential victims or authorities if a client poses a serious and imminent threat to themselves or others. It's often applicable in scenarios where there's a risk of violence or harm.https://doctorparadox.net/
echo chamberEnvironment where a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/echo-chamber/
echo chamber effectA situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an enclosed system.https://doctorparadox.net/
election denialismElection denialism is the act of refusing to accept the legitimate results of an electoral process, often based on unfounded claims of fraud or manipulation. It undermines the democratic process and can lead to political instability or violence.https://doctorparadox.net/
emotional abuseEmotional abuse is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It involves tactics like belittling, constant criticism, manipulation, and isolation to control or intimidate the victim.https://doctorparadox.net/tag/emotional-abuse/
emotional blackmailEmotional blackmail is a manipulation tactic where someone uses fear, obligation, and guilt to control or manipulate another person. It often involves threats of punishment, either directly or through insinuation, if the victim does not comply with the manipulator's demands.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/emotional-blackmail/
emotional manipulationEmotional manipulation involves using underhanded tactics to influence and control someone else's emotions or actions for the manipulator's benefit. It can include gaslighting, guilt-tripping, and playing the victim to gain sympathy or compliance.https://doctorparadox.net/tactics-of-emotional-predators/
empty promisesEmpty promises refer to assurances or commitments made with no intention or ability to fulfill them. They are often used to placate or appease someone in the moment but lead to disappointment and mistrust when the promised action or change doesn’t occur.https://doctorparadox.net/
extortionExtortion is a criminal offense that involves obtaining something of value, often money, through coercion, which includes threats of harm or abuse of authority. It's a form of manipulation where the perpetrator seeks to gain power or material benefits by instilling fear in the victim.https://doctorparadox.net/
fact-checkingThe act of checking factual assertions in non-fictional text to determine the veracity and correctness of the factual statements.https://doctorparadox.net/
fake audienceBots or paid individuals used to create an illusion of more support or interest than is really the case.https://doctorparadox.net/
fake newsFake news refers to fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent, often created to mislead or deceive readers, viewers, or listeners. It is intentionally and verifiably false, and is disseminated through various media channels, typically for political or financial gain. Trump is fond of mislabelling actual journalism outlets as "fake news" as a way to discredit them.https://doctorparadox.net/
false consciousnessPart of Marxist theory regarding the phenomenon where the subordinate classes embody the ideologies of the ruling class, diverting their self-interest into activities that benefit the wealthy who are taking advantage of them.https://doctorparadox.net/
false equivalenceFalse equivalence is a logical fallacy that occurs when two opposing arguments or issues are presented as being equally valid, despite clear differences in quality, validity, or magnitude. It involves drawing a comparison between two subjects based on flawed or irrelevant similarities, leading to a misleading or erroneous conclusion.https://doctorparadox.net/
false flagcovert operations designed to deceive by appearing as though they are carried out by other entities, groups, or nations than those who actually executed themhttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/false-flag/
false narrativeA false narrative is a deliberately misleading or biased account of events, designed to shape perceptions or beliefs contrary to reality.https://doctorparadox.net/
fifth world warNon-linear war; the war of all against all -- a term coined by Putin's vizier Vladislav Surkov.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/fifth-world-war/
filter bubbleIntellectual isolation that can occur when websites use algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see.https://doctorparadox.net/
flying monkeysIn a psychological context, "flying monkeys" refers to individuals who are manipulated to harass or undermine someone on behalf of a manipulative person, often in situations of abuse or narcissism.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/flying-monkeys/
Fox News EffectThis term describes the significant influence that watching Fox News can have on viewers' political views, often swaying them towards more conservative positions.https://doctorparadox.net/
framing effectThe way information is presented so as to emphasize certain aspects over others.https://doctorparadox.net/
fraudFraud is the intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.https://doctorparadox.net/
GamerGateEarly harbinger of the alt-right, emerging on social media and targeting professional women in the video games industryhttps://doctorparadox.net/
gaslightingGaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.https://doctorparadox.net/mental-self-defense/gaslighting/
"global cabal"euphemism in far-right Russian discourse to refer to a perceived "Jewish conspiracy" behind the international order of institutions like NATO and the EUhttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/global-cabal/
globalizationThe process of increased interconnectedness and interdependence among countries worldwide, characterized by the free flow of goods, services, capital, and information across borders.https://foundations.doctorparadox.net/Dictionaries/Economics/globalization
greenwashingA deceptive practice where a company or organization overstates or fabricates the environmental benefits of their products or policies to appear more environmentally responsible.https://doctorparadox.net/
groomingA manipulative process used by predators to build a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a potential victim, often for abusive or exploitative purposes.https://doctorparadox.net/
groupthinkThe practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility -- making poor decision-making more likely.https://doctorparadox.net/models/bad-models/groupthink/
Guccifer 2.0A pseudonymous persona that claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee's computer network in 2016, later linked to Russian military intelligence.https://doctorparadox.net/
hate speechSpeech that attacks or demeans a group based on attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender, often inciting and legitimizing hostility and discrimination.https://doctorparadox.net/
hoaxA deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth.https://doctorparadox.net/conspiracy-theories/moon-landing-hoax/
honey potIn cybersecurity, a strategy that involves setting up a decoy system or network to attract and trap hackers, thereby detecting and analyzing unauthorized access attempts.https://doctorparadox.net/
horseshoe theoryPolitical model in which the extreme left has a tendency to sometimes adopt the strategies of the extreme right.https://doctorparadox.net/
hybrid warfareHybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare, and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, like fake news, diplomacy, and foreign electoral intervention.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/
hypnosisHypnosis is a mental state of heightened suggestibility, often induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which involves focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion.https://doctorparadox.net/
influence techniquesInfluence techniques encompass a range of tactics and strategies used to sway or manipulate someone's beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors, often employed in marketing, politics, and interpersonal relationships to subtly or overtly change people's minds or actions.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/influence-techniques/
information overloadExposure to or provision of too much information or data.https://doctorparadox.net/
information terroristsMedia personalities and professionals working against the interests of democracy in the United States. Many amplify their messages through automation and human networks, creating a Greek Chorus-like cacaphony of fake support for unpopular positions.https://doctorparadox.net/
information warfareInformation warfare involves the use and management of information to gain a competitive advantage over an opponent, often involving the manipulation or denial of information to influence public opinion or decision-making processes.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/
InfoWarsInfoWars is a far-right American conspiracy theory and fake news website and media platform led by Alex Jones, known for its promotion of numerous unfounded and false conspiracy theories.https://foundations.doctorparadox.net/People/Alex+Jones#Early+life+and+Infowars.com
Intermittent reinforcementIn the context of manipulation, intermittent reinforcement is a behavior conditioning technique where rewards or punishments are given sporadically to create an addictive or obsessive response, making a person more likely to repeat a behavior.https://doctorparadox.net/
jumping to conclusions biasThis is a cognitive bias that involves making a rushed, premature judgment or decision without having all the necessary information, often leading to misinterpretation or misinformation.https://doctorparadox.net/
kleptocracyform of government in which the leaders harbor organized crime rings and often participate in or lead them; the police, military, civil government, and other governmental agencies may routinely participate in illicit activities and enterprises.https://doctorparadox.net/category/politics/kleptocracy/
kompromathttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/kompromat/
Mafia stateA systematic corruption of government by organized crime syndicates. A term coined by former KGB/FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko. See also: kleptocracyhttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/mafia-state/
malignant envyMalignant envy refers to a deep-seated, destructive form of envy that desires to spoil or harm the qualities, possessions, or achievements of someone else, often arising from feelings of inferiority or failure.https://doctorparadox.net/
malignant narcissismMalignant narcissism is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissism, antisocial behavior, aggression, and sadism, often manifesting in manipulative and destructive tendencies.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/malignant-narcissism/
manipulative mediaMedia that is altered to deceive or harm.https://doctorparadox.net/
MarxistA catch-all derogatory slur for Democratshttps://doctorparadox.net/
maskirovkawar of deception and concealmenthttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/maskirovka/
mass hypnosisMass hypnosis refers to a phenomenon where a large group of people, often in a crowd or under the influence of media, enter a state of heightened suggestibility, making them more susceptible to persuasion and collective beliefs, often used in the context of propaganda and political manipulation.https://doctorparadox.net/
media biasThe perceived bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media.https://doctorparadox.net/
meme warfareThe use of memes to disseminate an ideology or counter its adversaries.https://doctorparadox.net/
men's rightsThe men's rights movement is a movement that advocates for the rights and interests of men, often focusing on issues like family law, alimony, and false rape accusations, but it has faced criticism for spreading misinformation and fostering anti-feminist sentiments.https://doctorparadox.net/
mind controlMind control refers to the process or act of using psychological techniques to manipulate and control an individual's thoughts, feelings, decisions, and behaviors, often associated with cults, brainwashing, and coercive persuasion.https://doctorparadox.net/
minimizingMinimizing is a manipulation technique where the severity, importance, or impact of an issue, behavior, or event is downplayed, often to deflect responsibility or diminish perception of harm.https://doctorparadox.net/
misinformationMisinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread, regardless of intent to deceive, which can include rumors, hoaxes, and errors, often leading to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of facts.https://doctorparadox.net/
money launderingMoney laundering is the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source.https://doctorparadox.net/
moral panicA widespread feeling of fear, often an irrational one, that some evil threatens the well-being of society.https://doctorparadox.net/
motivated reasoningMotivated reasoning is a cognitive bias that causes individuals to process information in a way that suits their pre-existing beliefs or desires, often leading to skewed or irrational decision-making and reinforcing misinformation or false beliefs.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/motivated-reasoning/
moving the goalpostsChanging the rules after the game is played, when one side doesn't like the outcome.https://doctorparadox.net/
"myth of tech misogyny"A form of denialism made popular by alt-right commentator and troll Milo Yiannopoulos, used to discredit feminist discussions about the tech and gaming industry's notorious levels of misogyny.https://doctorparadox.net/
naive realismNaive realism is the cognitive bias leading individuals to believe that they perceive the world objectively and that people who disagree with them must be uninformed, irrational, or biased.https://doctorparadox.net/
narcissistic rageNarcissistic rage is an intense, often violent, emotional outburst by someone with narcissistic personality disorder, usually triggered by a perceived threat to their self-esteem or self-worth.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/narcissistic-rage/
narcissistic supplyNarcissistic supply refers to the attention, admiration, emotional energy, or other forms of "supply" that a person with narcissistic tendencies seeks from others to bolster their self-esteem and self-image.https://doctorparadox.net/
narrative framingThe context or angle from which a news story is told.https://doctorparadox.net/
The National EnquirerThe National Enquirer is an American tabloid newspaper known for its sensationalist and often unsubstantiated reporting, typically focused on celebrity gossip, scandals, and conspiracy theories.https://doctorparadox.net/
neurolinguistic programming (NLP)Neurolinguistic Programming is a controversial approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy, which claims that there is a connection between neurological processes, language, and behavioral patterns learned through experience.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/neurolinguistic-programming-nlp/
nihilismNihilism is a philosophical belief that life lacks objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value, and often rejects established norms and values, sometimes leading to skepticism and pessimism about the world.https://doctorparadox.net/
non-linear warfareNon-linear warfare is a military and geopolitical strategy that involves unconventional, unpredictable tactics that do not follow traditional lines of conflict, often blending military and non-military means, including cyber attacks, disinformation, and economic tactics.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/
novichokmilitary-grade nerve agent developed by Russia and used in the poisoning of former FSB agent turned Putin critic Andrei Skripal and his daughter in Lonson in March, 2018https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/novichok/
one-way streetExpect loyalty from you while offering none in returnhttps://doctorparadox.net/
opposhort form of opposition researchhttps://doctorparadox.net/
Overton windowThe range of ideas tolerated in public discourse.https://doctorparadox.net/models/
paranoiaNurturing and maintaining enemieshttps://doctorparadox.net/psychology/paranoia/
passive aggressivePassive aggressive behavior is a way of expressing negative feelings indirectly rather than openly addressing them, often involving subtle actions or inactions intended to annoy, obstruct, or control others.https://doctorparadox.net/
photo manipulationAltering a photograph in a way that distorts reality.https://doctorparadox.net/
PizzaGatePizzaGate was a debunked conspiracy theory that falsely claimed high-ranking Democratic Party officials and U.S. restaurants were involved in an underage human trafficking ring, which was widely disseminated online and led to dangerous real-world consequences.https://doctorparadox.net/conspiracy-theories/pizzagate/
plausible deniabilityPlausible deniability refers to the ability of people, typically senior officials in an organization, to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others in an organizational hierarchy because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation.https://doctorparadox.net/
playing the victimPlaying the victim is a manipulative technique where a person portrays themselves as a victim of circumstances or others' actions in order to gain sympathy, justify their own behavior, or manipulate others.https://doctorparadox.net/
post-truthPost-truth describes a cultural and political context in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.https://doctorparadox.net/
projectionProjection is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own negative qualities by ascribing them to others, often leading to blame-shifting and misinformation.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/projection/
Project LakhtaInternal name for the operation that Prigozhin's IRA was running to interfere in elections across the Western world, according to the Mueller indictments.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/project-lakhta/
propagandaPropaganda is the systematic dissemination of often biased or misleading information, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/authoritarianism/propaganda/
psychopathyPsychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, and egotistical traits.https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/psychopaths/
PUAPUA, or Pick-Up Artist, refers to a person who practices finding, attracting, and seducing sexual partners, often using deceptive and manipulative tactics.https://doctorparadox.net/
QAnonQAnon is a disproven and discredited far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against former U.S. President Donald Trump.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/what-is-qanon/
received wisdomReceived wisdom refers to ideas or beliefs that are generally accepted as true without being critically examined, often perpetuating existing biases or misconceptions.https://doctorparadox.net/
red herringSomething that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question.https://doctorparadox.net/
#releasethememo"#ReleaseTheMemo" was a social media campaign promoting the release of a classified memo written by U.S. Representative Devin Nunes that alleged abuses of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.https://doctorparadox.net/
retconRetcon, or retroactive continuity, is the alteration of previously established facts in a fictional work, often seen in comics, movies, and TV shows, used to reshape the narrative.https://doctorparadox.net/
running out the clockRunning out the clock is a strategy in debates or negotiations where one party intentionally delays or prolongs the process until a deadline is reached, limiting the ability of the other side to respond or take action.https://doctorparadox.net/
sadismSadism is the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.https://doctorparadox.net/
samizdatSelf-publishing material that is banned by the statehttps://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/samizdat/
satireThe use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices.https://doctorparadox.net/
selective exposureSelective exposure is the tendency to favor information which reinforces one's pre-existing views while avoiding contradictory information, a significant factor in the spread of misinformation.https://doctorparadox.net/
shameShame is a complex emotion that combines feelings of dishonor, unworthiness, and embarrassment, often used in social or psychological manipulation to control or degrade others.https://doctorparadox.net/
shit-postingShit-posting is the act of publishing deliberately provocative or irrelevant posts or comments online, typically to upset others or divert attention from a topic, often seen in online forums and social media.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/disinformation-dictionary/shitposting/
silovikiRussian term for those who have backgrounds and employment in the Russian power ministries -- security services, the military, and police; and more specifically a reference to Putin's security cabal.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/siloviki/
Snow RevolutionPopular protests beginning in Moscow in 2011, demanding the reinstatement of free elections & the ability to form opposition parties. Hundreds if not thousands of protestors were detained on the first day of action (Dec 5), continuing over the next 2 years as punishments grew increasingly harsh and more activists were sent to penal colonies.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/snow-revolution/
social botsAutomated accounts that use AI to influence discussions and promote specific ideas or products.https://doctorparadox.net/category/technology/bots/
social hierarchiesSocial hierarchies refer to the structured ranking of individuals or groups within a society, based on factors like class, race, wealth, or power, often influencing people's behavior, opportunities, and interactions.https://doctorparadox.net/
social proofA psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.https://doctorparadox.net/
sockpuppet accountsFake social media accounts used by trolls for deceptive and covert actions, avoiding culpability for abuse, aggression, death threats, doxxing, and other criminal acts against targets.https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/hybrid-warfare/sockpuppet-accounts/
source credibilityThe perceived trustworthiness or authority of the source of information.https://doctorparadox.net/
"sovereign democracy"system in which democratic procedures are retained, but without any actual democratic freedoms; brainchild of Vladislav Surkovhttps://doctorparadox.net/
Special MissionIn the context of disinformation, a "Special Mission" often refers to covert, deceptive operations or tasks assigned under the guise of legitimacy, typically to influence public opinion or political situations.https://doctorparadox.net/
spinA form of propaganda that involves presenting information in a biased way.https://doctorparadox.net/
splittingSee the world as with them or against them; an extension of black and white thinking.https://doctorparadox.net/
stonewallingStonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate, such as by not responding to questions or withdrawing from a conversation, often used as a tactic to avoid confrontation or evade accountability.https://doctorparadox.net/
Stop the Steal"Stop the Steal" was a slogan and movement promoted by supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump, falsely claiming widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election in an attempt to overturn the results.https://doctorparadox.net/
Tarasoff ruleThe Tarasoff rule refers to a legal principle requiring mental health professionals to breach confidentiality and notify potential victims if a client makes credible threats of violence against them, stemming from a 1976 California court case.https://doctorparadox.net/
thought-stoppingThought-stopping involves the deliberate cessation of unwanted or disturbing thoughts, often used in ideological or religious indoctrination to avoid critical thinking and maintain control over beliefs.https://doctorparadox.net/
tortureTorture is the act of inflicting severe physical or psychological pain or suffering on someone, typically to extract information, punish, intimidate, or for the personal gratification of the torturer.https://doctorparadox.net/
troll farmsA group of individuals hired to produce a large volume of misleading or contentious social media posts.https://doctorparadox.net/
trollingTrolling is the act of making unsolicited or provocative comments online, often anonymously, with the intent of upsetting others, provoking a reaction, or disrupting discussions.https://doctorparadox.net/
undue influenceUndue influence involves the exertion of excessive pressure or manipulation by one person over another in a relationship, typically to gain control, decision-making power, or exploit the vulnerable party.https://doctorparadox.net/
urban legendA humorous or horrific story or piece of information circulated as though true.https://doctorparadox.net/
viral misinformationFalse information that spreads rapidly through social media networks.https://doctorparadox.net/
wallpaper effectThe "wraparound" pervasiveness of Right-wing Media and its Brainwashing effects at scalehttps://doctorparadox.net/
whisper campaignA method of persuasion in which damaging rumors or innuendo are spread about the target.https://doctorparadox.net/
white male identity politicsWhite male identity politics is a form of identity politics centered on the interests, experiences, and perspectives of white men, often emphasizing racial and gender hierarchies and reacting against perceived threats to white male dominance.https://doctorparadox.net/
white nationalismWhite nationalism is a political ideology that advocates for the self-governance and superiority of white people, often emphasizing racial purity and the creation of a white-only state.https://doctorparadox.net/save-democracy/right-wing-ideologies/white-nationalist-beliefs/
white terrorismWhite terrorism refers to acts of terrorism committed by individuals or groups motivated by white supremacist or white nationalist ideologies, typically aimed at advancing racial and ethnic hierarchies.https://doctorparadox.net/
yellow journalismJournalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration.https://foundations.doctorparadox.net/Dictionaries/Politics/yellow+journalism
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Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning that occur when arguments are constructed or evaluated. They are deceptive and misleading, often leading to false or weak conclusions. Recognizing and avoiding logical fallacies is essential for critical thinking and effective communication.

These flaws in rhetorical logic can be observed aplenty in modern political and civil discourse. They are among the easiest types of argument to dispel, because their basic type has been discredited and compiled together with other discarded forms of rational persuasion, to make sure that ensuing generations don’t fall for the same tired old unethical ideas.

By understanding and identifying these common logical fallacies, individuals can sharpen their critical thinking skills and engage in more productive, rational discussions. Recognizing fallacies also helps avoid being swayed by deceptive or unsound arguments — which abound in increasing volume thanks to the prevalence of misinformation, disinformation, and disingenuous forms of motivated reasoning.

Types of logical fallacies

There are several types of logical fallacies, each with its own pitfalls. Here are a few examples:

The Straw Man argument, illustrated
  1. Ad Hominem: This fallacy attacks the person making the argument rather than the argument itself. For instance, dismissing someone’s opinion on climate change because they’re not a scientist is an ad hominem fallacy.
  2. Straw Man: This involves misrepresenting an opponent’s argument to make it easier to attack. If someone argues for better healthcare and is accused of wanting “socialized medicine,” that’s a straw man.
  3. Appeal to Authority: This fallacy relies on the opinion of an “expert” who may not actually be qualified in the relevant field. Just because a celebrity endorses a product doesn’t mean it’s effective.
  4. False Dichotomy: This fallacy presents only two options when, in fact, more exist. For example, stating that “you’re either with us or against us” oversimplifies complex issues.
  5. Slippery Slope: This fallacy argues that a single action will inevitably lead to a series of negative events, without providing evidence for such a chain reaction.
  6. Circular Reasoning: In this fallacy, the conclusion is used as a premise, creating a loop that lacks substantive proof. Saying “I’m trustworthy because I say I am” is an example.
  7. Hasty Generalization: This involves making a broad claim based on insufficient evidence. For instance, meeting two rude people from a city and concluding that everyone from that city is rude is a hasty generalization.

Understanding logical fallacies equips you to dissect arguments critically, making you a more informed participant in discussions. It’s a skill that’s invaluable in both professional and personal settings. Arm yourself with knowledge about this list of logical fallacies:

Logical fallacyExplanationExample / Notes
ad hominem attackattacking something about the character of the opposing side, instead of engaging with the argument or offering a critique
ambiguityusing double meanings and language ambiguity to mislead
anecdotalappeal to a personal, individual observation as relates to the topic in questionoften used to dismiss statistical analysis
appeal to authorityusing opinion of authority figure or institution in place of an actual argument
appeal to emotionmanipulating emotional response in lieu of valid argumenta huge part of Donald Trump's playbook
appeal to naturearguing that b/c something is “natural” it is valid / justified / inevitable / good / ideal
bandwagonappealing to popularity as evidence of validationRetort: "When everyone once believed the earth was flat — did that make it true?"
begging the questionwhen conclusion is included in the premiseone form of circular argument (tautology is another)
black or whitepresenting two alternative states as the only options, when more possibilities existvery commonly used by political and media resources as a way to polarize issues
burden of proofclaiming the responsibility lies with someone else to disprove one's claim (& not with the claimant to prove it)
composition/divisionassuming what is true of one part of something must be applied to all parts
fallacy fallacypresuming that a poorly argued claim, or one in which a fallacy has been made, is wrong
false causepresuming that a real or perceived relationship between things implies causation
gambler's fallacyputting a tremendous amount of weight on previous events, believing they will influence future outcomes (even when outcome is random)also a psychological bias
geneticvalue judging based on where something comes from
loaded questionasking a question with an assumption built in, so it can't be answered without appearing guilty
middle groundclaiming a compromise between two extremes must be the truththe media establishment is often guilty of this for a number of reasons: lack of time for thorough inquiry; need for ratings; available field of pundits and wonks; established programming formats, and so on
no true scotsmanmaking an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws
personal incredulitysaying that because a concept or argument is difficult to understand, it can't be true
slippery slopearguing that a small change or decision will inevitably lead to larger-than-intended (perhaps even disastrous) consequences rapidly
special pleadingmoving goalpost to create exceptions when a claim is shown to be false
strawmanmisrepresenting someone's argument to make it easier to attack
texas sharpshootercherry-picking data to suit an argument, or finding a pattern to fit a presumptionthe impending era of big data will increase the prevalence of this type of sheister
tu quoqueavoiding having to engage with criticism by criticizing the accuser

Read more:

30 Common Psychological Biases ↗

These systematic errors in our thinking and logic affect our everyday choices, behaviors, and evaluations of others.

28 Cognitive Distortions ↗

Cognitive distortions are bad mental habits. They’re patterns of thinking that tend to be negatively slanted, inaccurate, and often repetitive.

Think Better with Mental Models ↗

Mental models are a kind of strategic building blocks we can use to make sense of the world around us.

Read more

George Orwell’s 1984 lexicon is a lingua franca of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. Newspeak words have the stamp of boots on pavement, the stench of disinformation, and are most likely to be found in the mouths of Trumpians and the chryons of the OAN Network.

The terse portmanteus are blunt and blocky, like a brutalist architecture vocabulary. Their simplicity indicates appeal to the small-minded masses for easily digested pablum.

About Newspeak

Newspeak is a fictional language created by George Orwell for his dystopian novel 1984, published in 1949. The language serves as an essential tool for the oppressive regime, known as The Party, to control and manipulate the population of Oceania. Newspeak is intentionally designed to restrict the range of thought, eliminate words that convey dissent or rebellion, and enforce political orthodoxy. The language accomplishes this by reducing the complexity of vocabulary and grammar, condensing words into simplified forms, and eliminating synonyms and antonyms. The Party aims to eliminate the potential for subversive thoughts by ensuring that the language itself lacks the necessary words and expressions to articulate them.

In Orwell’s world, Newspeak works hand in hand with the concept of “doublethink,” which requires individuals to accept contradictory beliefs simultaneously. This manipulation of language and thought is central to maintaining the Party’s power and control over the populace. Newspeak’s ultimate goal is to render dissent and rebellion impossible by making the very thoughts of these actions linguistically unexpressable. As a result, Newspeak serves as a chilling representation of how language can be weaponized to restrict personal freedoms, suppress independent thought, and perpetuate an authoritarian regime.

Newspeak rises again

Those boots ring out again, from Belarus to Hungary to the United States. There are book burnings and the defunding of libraries in multiple states. From Ron DeSantis to Trumpian anti-intellectualism to the rampant proliferation of conspiracy theories, It’s a good time to brush up on the brutalism still actively struggling to take hold.

Newspeak Orwell

Newspeak Dictionary from 1984

Newspeak termDefinition
anteThe prefix that replaces before
artsemArtificial insemination
bbBig Brother
bellyfeelThe blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea
blackwhiteTo accept whatever one is told, regardless of the facts. In the novel, it is described as "...to say that black is white when [the Party says so]" and "...to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary".
crimestopTo rid oneself of unorthodox thoughts that go against Ingsoc's ideology
crimethinkThoughts and concepts that go against Ingsoc, frequently referred to by the standard English “thoughtcrime”, such as liberty, equality, and privacy, and also the criminal act of holding such thoughts
dayorderOrder of the day
depDepartment
doubleplusgoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "superlatively good", such as excellent, fabulous, and fantastic
doubleplusungoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "superlatively bad", such as terrible and horrible
doublethinkThe act of simultaneously believing two, mutually contradictory ideas
duckspeakAutomatic, vocal support of political orthodoxies
facecrimeA facial expression which reveals that one has committed thoughtcrime
FicdepThe Ministry of Truth's Fiction Department
freeThe absence and the lack of something. "Intellectually free" and "politically free" have been replaced by crimethinkful.
–fulThe suffix for forming an adjective
fullwiseThe word that replaces words such as fully, completely, and totally
goodthinkA synonym for "political orthodoxy" and "a politically orthodox thought" as defined by the Party
goodsexSexual intercourse only for procreation, without any physical pleasure on the part of the woman, and strictly within marriage
goodwiseThe word that replaced well as an adverb
IngsocThe English Socialist Party (i.e. The Party)
joycampLabour camp
malquotedInaccurate representations of the words of Big Brother and of the Party
MiniluvThe Ministry of Love, where the secret police interrogate and torture the enemies of Oceania (torture and brainwashing)
MinipaxThe Ministry of Peace, who wage war for Oceania
MinitrueThe Ministry of Truth, who manufacture consent by way of lies, propaganda, and distorted historical records, while supplying the proles (proletariat) with synthetic culture and entertainment
MiniplentyThe Ministry of Plenty, who keep the population in continual economic hardship (starvation and rationing)
OldspeakStandard English
oldthinkIdeas from the time before the Party's revolution, such as objectivity and rationalism
ownlifeA person's anti-social tendency to enjoy solitude and individualism
plusgoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "very good", such as great
plusungoodThe word that replaced "very bad"
PornosecThe pornography production section (Porno sector) of the Ministry of Truth's Fiction Department
prolefeedPopular culture for entertaining Oceania's working class
RecdepThe Ministry of Truth's Records Department, where Winston Smith rewrites historical records so they conform to the Party's agenda
rectifyThe Ministry of Truth's euphemism for manipulating a historical record
refTo refer (to someone or something)
secSector
sexcrimeA sexual immorality, such as fornication, adultery, oral sex, and homosexuality; any sex act that deviates from Party directives to use sex only for procreation
speakwriteA machine that transcribes speech into text
TeledepThe Ministry of Truth's Telecommunications Department
telescreenA two-way television set with which the Party spy upon Oceania's population
thinkpolThe Thought Police, the secret police force of Oceania's government
unpersonAn executed person whose existence is erased from history and memory
upsubAn upwards submission to higher authority
–wiseThe only suffix for forming an adverb

Related intel:

Disinformation Dictionary ↗

Disinformation is a practice with a unique Orwellian lexicon all its own, collated in this disinformation dictionary.

disinformation

Essential thinkers on authoritarian personality theory ↗

The authoritarian personality is characterized by excessive strictness and a propensity to exhibit oppressive behavior towards perceived subordinates.

How did they get this way? Are people born with authoritarian personalities, or is the authoritarian “made” predominately by circumstance?

authoritarians gather for a witch hunt

Pathocracy Definition: Are we in one? ↗

Pathocracy is a relatively lesser-known concept in political science and psychology, which refers to a system of government in which individuals with personality disorders, particularly those who exhibit psychopathic, narcissistic, and similar traits (i.e. the “evil of Cluster B“), hold significant power.

Donald Trump pathocracy, by Midjourney
Read more

Top Mental Models for Thinkers

Mental models are different ways of mapping or viewing a system or a problem. They are frameworks that help explain what’s going on, and predict what’s likely to happen next.

Model thinking is an excellent way of improving our cognition and decision making abilities. Thinking in models helps us understand how new concepts fit with older observations, and what theories and metaphors are likely to endure.

They are useful in strategy, decision-making, analysis, planning, and a broad range of applications in both our personal and professional lives. It’s a good investment to spend time learning models — which are most typically extensible outside their original field of interest.

Often more than one model can apply to a situation or problem. Models are useful for picturing the issue in a different way, through a different lens — and perhaps to see something before unseen. They can help us try out different scenarios with ideas or personas.

Top Models and Concepts

We all have learnings in our lives we consider more precious than others — explanations and predictions that endure and keep on giving, versus those that fade away. Our core models form the backbone of our thinking and decision-making throughout our lives; it’s our grab bag of problem solving tools — and we want to have a resilient Swiss Army Knife at the ready at all times. These mental models help us understand a complex world, and prepare for all the changes that are inevitably ahead.

This set of top models below is my personal “desert island” set of model thinking concepts. These are the ones I really wouldn’t want to be caught dead leaving the house without.

Once these are on lock, head over to the unabridged models section for more model thinking goodness!

I will continue to add to this list over time as well as fill in the number of holes that remain in the set. Learning about new mental models is one of my favorite activities — it’s the closest thing to a superpower I can think of.

TermTypeTopicDefinition
80/20 ruleModelEconomicsAlso known as a power law, or the Pareto Principle
absolute advantageTermEconomicsThe ability of a party to produce a product or service more efficiently than any of its competitors.
absolute valueTermMathThe value of a function irrespective of its sign (positive or negative). Its distance from zero, expressed as a positive.
accessibilityTermPsychologyHow easy something is to call to mind
acquittalLegal precedentLawA judgment of not guilty in a criminal trial
activation energyTermScienceA chemistry term that describes the minimum energy required for a chemical system to react; the amount of energy required to get two or more compounds to react.
adverse selectionTermEconomicsInsurance phenomenon in which buyers or sellers in a transaction can use insider knowledge to unfairly get a better advantage over the other party or parties
a fortioriLogicLogicFrom the Latin, "from a stronger argument," the phrase refers to conclusions for which there is stronger evidence than a previously accepted one.
akrasiaTermPsychologyA state of mind where someone acts against their own better judgment due to weakness of will.
alea iacta estMetaphorMetaphorIn Latin, "the die is cast" -- attributed to Julius Caesar as he crossed the river Rubicon, leading an attack on Rome: a metaphor for a point of no return.
allocationMethodEconomicsDistributing resources, assets, or funds amongs recipients.
"All the world's a stage“MetaphorArtsShakespearean metaphor likening culture to a theatrical performance: "And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances ..." —William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Amara's LawTheoryScienceWe tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
annuityTermEconomicsA series of regular payments at equal intervals.
antifragilityModelEconomicsThings that can benefit from disorder, and grow stronger amidst chaos. When something grows stronger under stress; when there is more upside to downside of experiencing a shock to the system.
antimatterTheoryScienceAntimatter particles are the precise opposite charge and spin from their matter counterparts, but identical otherwise.
appreciationModelEconomicsThe tendency of an asset to appreciate, or grow, with value over time.
a prioriLogicPhilosophyInformation deduced from logical precedents versus empirical observation.
arbitrageModelEconomicsA method of turning profit via simultaneous purchase and sale of the same assets in different markets, benefiting from the differences in listed price in various geographical regions.
archetypesSymbolPhilosophyAn ideal type; a model after which others are fashioned.
arrow of timeTheoryScienceTheory of physics stating an asymmetry of time -- that time has a one-way direction in which the entropy of the universe is only increasing. Although human beings perceive the past as being different from the future -- and that we remember the past, but not the future -- intrinsically there is nothing in the structure of the universe that defines past from future. Time is instead an emergent feature.
artificia docuit famesAncient WisdomPhilosophyLatin saying meaning, "sophistication is born out of hunger" -- a metaphor for innovation and genius being awakened by challenge, difficulty, and constraints.
ASCIITermTechnologyAmerican Standard Code for Information Interchange: a standard character translation table used by computers to convert numerical representations into printable characters.
asking a fish about waterMetaphorMetaphorThere are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
assetTermEconomicsA valuable object or good.
astroturfingMethodPoliticsThe deceptive political practice of paying operatives to pose as members of the public engaging in "grassroots protest" as a way of adding plausible deniability as well as amplification of their point of view.
asymmetric encryptionTermComputer ScienceAlso known as public-key cryptography, asymmetric encryption encrypts and decrypts the data using two separate keys that are related mathematically (a public and a private key).
asymptoteTermMathThe graph of a curve as it is approaching a numerical value or limit, but never quite reaching it.
autophagyExperimental findingBiology, MedicineThe body's way of cleaning out damaged cells and replace them with newer, healthier cells. Literally, "self-eating."
availability biasModelPsychologyCognitive distortion arising from the unconscious preference for information that is recent rather than what is representative.
averageMethodMathA measure of central tendency of a set of data, whether the mean, media, or mode.
balance sheetMethodEconomicsA financial document showing the book value of a company, i.e. how much it's worth.
balancing loopModelSystems theoryA balancing loop attempts to move a current state (the way things are) to a desired state (goal or objective) though an action (thing(s) done to reach the goal).The balancing loop is one of the two foundational structures of systems thinking, along with the Reinforcing Loop. A balancing loop is representative of any situation where there is a goal or an objective and action is taken to achieve that goal or objective.
Baldwin EffectModelScienceAs organisms learn to shape their environment, they can alter the path of evolution. For example, with the advent of dairy farming, selection pressures began favoring lactose absorption genes in humans.
bank reservesTermEconomicsCash minimums banks must have on hand to meet regulatory requirements ensuring the financial system is equipped to handle periodic shocks in demand for withdrawals.
bank runTermEconomicsEconomic term for when a large group of bank depositors withdraw their money all at once -- once a common occurrence that rarely happens anymore in the modern world.
base conversionMathMathThe base is how many numbers there are in a number system; we use base 10 primarily, and computers use base 2, aka binary. Base conversion is the method of converting numbers from one base system to another.
Base Rate FallacyModelPsychologyA type of fallacy in which people tend to ignore the general prevalence of something in favor of specific anecdotes.
base weightingMathStatistics
Bayes' TheoremMethodMathA mathematical method of determining the updated probability of a certain event or case, given new information.
bend the kneeMetaphorSocial psychologyGive up one's own opinion and swear fealty to a higher authority.
betaMethodEconomicsIn finance, a term that refers to investments tracking the broad market performance of an exchange or industry sector
The Big BangModelScienceThe massive explosion which spawned our entire universe, back at the beginning of time.
The Big CrunchModelScience
binary numbersMathMath
binomial distributionMathStatistics
Binomial TheoremTheoryMath
black holeTheoryScience
Black-Scholes modelModelEconomics
Black SwanModelEconomicsA highly improbable and unexpected event -- which yet occurs with more frequency than one might generally assume.
blockchainTermTechnologyThe basis of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology is a kind of public ledger or shared database that records transactions transparently and out in the open, in a way that anyone can access or verify.
boiling frogMetaphorPhilosophyA metaphor for the common occurence of slow, gradual changes over time not being noticed, like the (contested) legend of a scienfitic experiment that boiling a frog alive by starting with tepid water and slowly turning up the temperature.
bondMethodEconomics
Boyle's LawScientific LawScienceA scientific law that describes the relationship between the pressure and the volume of a confined gas.
boundary objectTheoryTechnologyInformation science concept describing information used in different ways, by different communities, for collaborative work through scales.
bounded rationalityExperimental findingPsychologyA central challenge to the c. 1776 ideas of Adam Smith regarding the Invisible Hand of markets, this 20th c. psychological theory posits that rather than making optimized rational decisions, at most times the average person is "satisficing" or making the most expedient choice under considerable constraints and lack of available information
bricolageMethodArtsCombination of many types and forms into one piece; a pastiche or mashup of style and cultural referents
broken windows theoryTheoryLaw
Butterfly EffectModelScience
bystander effectExperimental findingPsychology
cadenceTermArts
camel's noseMetaphorPhilosophya metaphor describing how allowing a smaller innocuous act may lead to larger acts that are undesirable
capital gainsTermEconomicsMoney that is earned as a result of a stock investment appreciating in value — the capital "gains in value"
capital requirementsEconomicsActual cash on hand for banks to theoretically offer at a given time, with the rest lended out as leverage
carbon-14Scientific LawScience
carbon datingMethodScienceA way to scientifically determine the age of an organic object by radioactive decay.
carpe diemAncient WisdomPhilosophyIn Latin, "seize the day" -- a reference often used to motivate oneself and others to act boldly and live vigorously in the moment.
cartelEconomics
catalystModelScience
categorical dataMath
causa-sui projectTheoryPsychology
cause and effectModel
caveat emptorAncient WisdomStrategy"Beware, the buyer" in Latin -- a reference to a warning about what one is getting into.
cellular automataMath
Central Limit TheoremMathStatisticsIn probability theory, the CLT establishes that independent random variables when measured will tend towards the normal distribution.
central tendencyMathStatisticsA measure of the midpoint of a data set; includes mean, median, and mode.
ceteris paribusMethodEconomics"All other things being equal"; holding the effects of other variables constant to determine the effects on a single variable of interest.
charge preservationScience
charlatanPsychologyone who aspires to wealth &/or fame through trickery and deception
Chesterton's FenceModelMetaphor
chilling effectTermHistoryThe inhibition of one's legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by threat of legal sanction.
cognitive biasExperimental findingPsychology
collapseModelSystems theory
comparative advantageEconomics
composite eventsStatisticsin probability
compound interestModelEconomics
conditionalsMath
Condorcet Jury TheoremMathStatistics
confidence intervalStatisticsthe range of values over which a predicted outcome may lie; the amount of certainty one has about the predicted value falling within the estimated range
confirmation biasExperimental findingPsychology
conflationPsychology
consent of the governedPhilosophyPoliticsConcept of political philosophy in which a government's legitimacy and right to use state power is only justified if consented to by the people over whom said power is wielded.
consequentialismPhilosophy
conservation of energyScientific LawChemistryIn a closed system, total energy remains constant.
conservation of massScientific LawPhysicsIn a closed system, mass remains constant.
conservation of momentumScientific LawPhysicsIn a closed system, momentum remains constant.
constraintsMath
Consumer Sentiment IndexEconomics
continuous vs. discrete variablesStatistics
Copernican theory of the solar systemScientific LawScience
correlationStatistics
correlation coefficientStatistics
correlation is not causationScientific LawStatistics
cosineMathMath
counterfactual
countervailing powerEconomicsEconomist John Kenneth Galbraith's concept for how collective worker power is needed to balance against growing corporatism in the economy.
creative destructionModelEconomicsEconomist Joseph Shumpeter's idea for how the business cycle works: by innovation disrupting established processes and industries and forcing change into markets, often destructively and swiftly.
credo quia absurdum"I believe because it is absurd" — Tertullian's defense of belief in the miracles attributed to Christ
critical massScience
crossing the RubiconMetaphorHistoryMaking a decision from which there is no turning back; a reference to Julius Caesar's overthrow of the Roman republic to found the Roman Empire in 49 BCE.
cross-sectional dataMath
crowdfundingEconomics
crowdsourcingMethodSystems theory
cryptocurrencyEconomics
Dark MatterTheoryScience
dead hand of the pastPhilosophyHistoryProblem inherent in constitutional political philosophy, where eventually a people becomes ruled by "masters" no longer alive, who rule by "fiat" via a document, from beyond the grave (Thomas Jefferson's concept)
death spiral
decision theorySystems theory
decision treeMethodComputer Science
de minimisLegal precedentLaw
depreciationMethodEconomics
derivativesMath
diminshing marginal utility (DMU)ModelEconomics
directory structureComputers
dispersionMathStatisticsthe amount of variation within a set of data; how spread out the data points are from each other
distributionsMathStatistics
divergent thinkingPsychology
diversityExperimental findingScience
Diversity Prediction Theorem
dividend paymentsMethodEconomicsPeriodic, usually quarterly, payouts to stockholders of the company when posting profits. Along with capital gains, one of the 2 primary reasons to invest in stocks.
Dodd-Frank Act of 2010Legal precedentEconomicsdefinitive financial regulation of the financial industry following the 2007-8 financial crisis
domain dependence
Doppler EffectScientific LawPhysics
double helix
doxaSocial psychologycommon belief or opinion
Drake EquationModelScienceEstimation of the number of technological civilizations that might exist in the universe.
dualismPhilosophy
Dunbar numberTheoryPsychology
Dunning-Kruger EffectExperimental findingPsychologyA cognitive bias in which people mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as higher than it actually is, because they cannot recognize their incompetence in comparison to others.
Duverger's LawModelPoliticsHolds that plurality-rule elections within single member districts — such as the structure found in the U.S. — tend to favor two-party systems
Easterlin paradoxExperimental findingEconomicsBeyond a certain point, countries don't get happier as they get richer.
economies of scaleEconomics
edge caseMetaphorScience
elasticity; price elasticityModelEconomicsThe ability of pricing mechanisms to respond quickly or less quickly to changes in prevailing conditions.
elasticity of demandModelEconomics
elasticity of supplyModelEconomics
electromagnetic spectrumScientific LawScience
electron cloudModelScienceRefers to the true nature of an electron's existence around an atom, wherein its location in space is not a definite point, but a fuzzy region of probable occurence.
elephants and fliesMetaphorEconomicsSales concept to quickly segment leads into size buckets, from elephants > deers > rabbits > mice > flies.
elephant and riderModelPsychologyPsychological idea about how our unconscious and semi-conscious desires dominate us, but can be directed by reason (Jonathan Haidt et al)
embargoLegal precedentEconomics
Emperor's New ClothesMetaphorGovernment
encryptionMath
ensemble learningMethodTechnology
entropyScientific LawScienceThe disorder of a system increases over time.
epistemologyPhilosophy
e pluribus unumSymbolPoliticsLatin: "one out of many" — one of several phrases on the American dollar bill, it refers to the unity of the nation as made up of its many peoples and as such, signifies the republic.
equality under lawLegal precedentPoliticsAn ancient principle of vital importance to almost every constitution in the world, stating that all people should be treated equally in the eyes of the law, and that all individuals are subject to the same set of laws
equilibriumScienceA resting condition all systems seek, in which all competing inflows and outflows are in balance.
equityEconomics
equity crowdfundingEconomics
error-embracingPsychology
event horizonScientific LawPhysicsA boundary beyond which events cannot affect on observer, such as the edge of a black hole.
evolutionScientific LawScience
exception handlingMethodComputer ScienceThe process of responding to the occurrence of exceptions -- unexpected conditions that throw the application into an error state and must be resolved before continuing.
exchange ratesEconomicsThe value of one country's currency as measured against another
existentialismPhilosophy
exit strategyMethodEconomics
externalitiesEconomics
extrapolationStatistics
factorialMath
factum tacendo, crimen facias acriusPhilosophyHe who does not stop a crime is an accomplice.
fact /value problemPhilosophy
fake newsMedia
false negativesLogicScience
false positivesLogicScience
false consensus effectExperimental findingSocial psychology
falsifiabilityLogicScienceAbility to be proven untrue; a requirement for a theory to be called scientific.
Feynman TechniqueMethodScienceA method of learning and remembering difficult concepts by simplifying them until you can explain it to a new student or layperson who knows nothing about that concept.
fiat moneyEconomics
fiduciary dutyLegal precedentEconomics
fifth columnModelPoliticsA group who unites in secret to undermine a larger group from within.
file systemMetaphorComputer Science
filter bubbleMetaphorSocial psychology
first mover advantageExperimental findingStrategy
first principlesAncient WisdomPhilosophy
fishing expeditionMetaphor
fitness functionTermScienceIn AI, refers to a set of selection criteria applied to a set of potential solutions to a problem to allow only the better candidates to survive to the next generation.
flâneurTermArts
force multiplierModelScience
fractalsMathComputer Science
fractional lendingMethodEconomicsFractional reserve banking is the traditional way of doing business, in which banks loan out multiples of the assets they actually have on hand. This falls apart if there is ever a run on the bank, when every client demands their money back at the same time.
fractionsTermMath
fragilityPhilosophy
framingPsychology
free tradeMethodEconomics
free willPhilosophyPhilosophy
freshwater vs. saltwater economistsEconomics
Friend of the Court filingLaw
FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)Social psychology
fundamental attribution errorExperimental findingPsychology
future valueEconomics
gainTermArtsIn audio recording, a control that allows more or less of the source sound into the channel being recorded.
game theoryMath
Gates' LawTheoryPhilosophyThe idea that software development speed halves every 18 months, negating the acceleratory effects of Moore's Law and preventing computing from leaping greatly forward.
Gaussian distributionTermStatisticsthe Normal distribution
GDP (Gross Domestic Product)ModelEconomicsThe sum of all public and private goods produced within a given period; a measure of a country's economic health.
general relativityTheoryScience
general willModelGovernment
generalists and specialistsPhilosophy
genetic algorithmsScienceAn approach to AI based on evolutionary models, in which multiple candidate solutions to a problem are generated randomly by mutation and recombination, then iterated over thousands of generations through fitness functions to weed out the best of each generation.
germ theory of diseaseScientific Law
Gettier problemPhilosophy
gilding the lillyMetaphorArtsSpeaking so floridly of a subject that one actually tarnishes its natural beauty.
GOFAITechnology"Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence" — reference to the style and general algorithmic approach of early artificial intelligence work, which fell out of popularity over the decades in favor of more organic neural net and evolutionary approaches.
Golden calf
Golden MeanAncient WisdomPhilosophyAristotelian theory of an ideal balance point between the many extremes we face in life; he advocated harmony between the various spheres of life for an experience of happiness.
Golden RuleAncient WisdomCulture"Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" is the essence of this ancient wisdom, often used as a shorthand version of Jesus's core teaching.
Goldilocks ZoneModel
gold standardLegal precedentEconomics
gravityScientific LawScience
gravity wavesPhysics
habeas corpusLegal precedentLaw
habitusTheorySocial psychology
Hanlon's RazorModelPhilosophynever attribute to malice what is adequately described by carelessness
hard determinismPhilosophy
harmonicsArts
hearts and mindsPolitics
hedge fundsEconomics
hedonismPhilosophyPhilosophy
Heisenberg Uncertainty PrincipleTheoryScience
hexadecimal numbersTermMathbase 6
heuristicsModelPsychologyMental shortcuts that we do as a matter of routine, especially when we're stressed or under other types of cognitive constraints.
hormesisScienceWhen a small dose of a toxic substance is actually beneficial to the living thing that ingests it
hydraMetaphor
iatrogenicsHealthharm done by the healer
ice core datingMethodScience
id, ego, superegoModelPsychologyFreud's psychological model of the conscious and unconscious mind.
implicit costEconomics
Imposter SyndromeModelPsychologyA psychological pattern in which one doubts their own accomplishments and has a generalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.
index number; indexingStatistics
inferior goodsEconomics
inflationModelEconomics
inflection pointMathThe point of a curve at which a change in the direction of the curve occurs.
intellectual propertyLegal precedentEconomicsIP
interestModelEconomics
interest rateEconomics
internal rate of return (IRR)Economics
Internet of Things (IoT)TermTechnology
intersectionMath
interventionismSocial psychology
Invisible HandTheoryEconomics
IP addressesTermTechnology
iron law of oligarchyTheoryPoliticsPolitical theory positing that no matter how democratic a group may start out, over time it will develop into a bureaucracy ruled by a small handful.
It from BitTheoryPhysicsJohn Wheeler's theory about the fundamental informational nature of the universe
Keynesian economicsTheoryEconomics
Keynesian PutModelEconomics
keystone
Kronos EffectModelEconomicsthe tendency of a successful corporation to seek to acquire and/or drive its upstart competitors out of business
Laffer CurveTheoryEconomics
law of excluded middle
Law of Large NumbersScientific LawMathAs the number of coin tosses approaches infinity, the number of heads encountered will converge on 0.5; helpful in calculations of probability.
least-barricaded gateMetaphorPoliticsTrotsky's metaphor of how social revolutions can take hold more easily in already weakened societies.
lecturing birds how to flyMetaphorMetaphor
length contractionModelPhysics
less is morePhilosophyMetaphor
L'etat c'est moiPhilosophyPolitics"I am the state“
leverageEconomics
lifeboat ethicsPhilosophyPhilosophy
light-weight processComputer Science
limit of a functionTermMath if the graph of an equation seems to approach a numerical value but never quite reaches it, we say that number is the limit of the function (approaching from the negative or positive direction; sometimes directionality is important)
limiting factorModelSystems Theory
linear regressionMethodMath
liquidityEconomics
local minModelSystems Theoryidea that to grow out of a stasis or plateau, you likely have to endure a period of "setback" that is a lower dip or minimum value from where you are now, but is what's required to get over the activation energy to reach the next level
locus of control
logarithmMath
logical fallaciesPhilosophy
long tailModelMathIn a power law distribution (of population, ages, items, etc.), the region of the graph that tapers off quickly after the initial segment of high data points
loss aversionExperimental findingPsychology
Lost EinsteinsTheoryCulturehttp://doctorparadox.net/models/lost-einsteins/
loyalists and mercenariesMetaphorSystems Theory
maker's time and manager's timeModelSystems Theory
M1Economics
M2Economics
mandalaAncient WisdomReligionIntrocate and elaborate patterns created with colored sand by Buddhist monks, who blow away their creations at the end to signify their celebration of impermanence.
ManichaeanAncient WisdomPhilosophya narrowly-defined dualistic worldview of good against evil
man on horsebackMetaphorSynonym for a demagogue. Comes from French general Georges Ernest Boulanger, and refers to a military leader who presents himself as the savior of the country during a crisis and either assumes or threatens to assume dictatorial powers.
map is not the territoryMetaphorMetaphorA phrase reminding us that our mental picture of a thing is not the same as the actual thing itself
margin of errorMathStatisticsHow much uncertainty there is in the results; a percentage the estimate may be bounded by.
marginal benefitEconomics
marginal costEconomics
marginal returnsEconomics
marginal utilityEconomics
market shareEconomics
Markov chainTermMath
Maslow's Hierarchy of needsModelPsychology
meanMathStatisticsThe average value of the numbers in a data set; take the sum of all values and divide by the total number of values in the set.
medianMathStatisticsLike mean, another way to describe the central tendency of a data set.
Median Voter TheoremTheoryPolitics
megalopsychonPhilosophyPhilosophyConcept in Aristotelian ethics of living with grandeur and taking risks with dignity; being nonsmall
mens reaLegal precedentLaw"guilty mind" — establishing the intent of a perp can help to establish criminal liability
mercantilismTheoryEconomics
meritocracyModelSystems Theory
metaphysicsPhilosophyPhilosophy
mirror neuronsExperimental findingScience
modeMathStatisticsThe frequency with which each data point exists in the set.
monopolyModelEconomicsMarket condition in which there exists only one seller of a resource.
monopsonyModelEconomicsMarket condition in which there exists only one buyer of a resource.
Moore's LawTheoryTechnologyNamed after Gordon Moore, the model predicts the doubling of transistors on a circuit of equivalent size every 18 months to 2 years. This has many consequences for both technology and economics, including the predictable drop in price of generating the same amount of computing power each period.
moral hazardModelEconomicswhen one party takes on additional risk, knowing that other parties will bear the brunt of the risk in event of a loss
Moravec's Paradox
MVP (minimum viable product)TermEconomics
naive cynicismPsychologyState of mind in which people believe others to have more egocentric bias than is warranted or is actually the case.
Narcissus & EchoAncient WisdomMetaphor
Nash EquilibriumTheoryMath
nasty, brutish, and shortTheoryPhilosophy
natural lawsScience
natural selectionScientific LawScience
necessity is the mother of inventionCommon WisdomCulture
negative externalitiesModelEconomics
negative interest ratesMethodEconomics
neomaniaExperimental findingSocial psychologylove of the modern for its own sake
neural netTermTechnology
net present value (NPV)ModelEconomics
neuroplasticityExperimental findingScience
Newton's first lawScientific LawScienceAn object in motion will tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon by a force.
Newton's second lawScientific LawScienceF = ma, or an object of mass m feeling a force F will tend to accelerate by an amount a.
Newton's third lawScientific LawScienceWhen 2 objects interact, they each apply force on the other in equal amounts magnitude, in the opposite direction.
nodesTermMath
noosphereThought ExperimentData scienceSphere of human thought — all interacting minds on earth. An early 1900s concept from Teilhard de Chardin
nominal figuresEconomics
nonlinearityMath
Normal distributionScientific LawMath
normal goodsEconomics
normalized weighted averageStatistics
normative and descriptivePhilosophy
noumenaPhilosophy
novus ordo seclorumSymbolGovernmentA new order for the ages; Latin phrase seen on the American dollar bill.
null hypothesisMethodScience
observer effectExperimental findingScience
Occam's RazorTheoryPhilosophyA philosophical rule of thumb that favors the simplest explanation. Also known as the "law of parsimony."
octal numbersMathComputer Sciencebase 8
oligopolyTermEconomics
omphalosPolitics
opportunity costModelEconomicsWhat you miss out on by using a resource in a certain way -- what you would have done with the resource otherwise; what alternative use you would have put it to.
optionsEconomics
orders of magnitudeScientific LawMath
ordinally ranked dataStatistics
organizational debtEconomics
oscillationsScience
out-group biasExperimental findingSocial psychology
outlierModelMathData points that fall well outside of the normal distribution or expected distribution of a data set.
paradoxModelLogicA self-contradicting statement or logically impossible event.
paragonModelCultureA standard against which something can be judged — an exemplar example of a thing
Pareto PrincipleExperimental findingEconomicsAnother term for the 80/20 Rule
path dependentMathComputer Science
Pavlovian responseExperimental findingScience
pax RomanaLegal precedentHistory
pearls before swineMetaphorCultureThe sense of wasting one's efforts for people who don't really appreciate them.
P/E RatioMethodEconomicsPrice to earnings ratio: standard measure of relative stock performance
permutationsMathComputer Science
Peter PrincipleTheorySystems TheoryTheory that individuals within corporate and other organizational hierarchies will rise to the highest level at which they become incompetent in their job duties.
phase shiftScientific LawScienceThe ability of matter to change phases, most famously water from liquid to ice to vapor and back again.
philosopher kingsAncient Wisdom
Philosopher's StoneUnsolved Mystery
phonemesExperimental finding
plant a seedMetaphor
Platonic formsModel
PlatonicityPhilosophyadherence to crisp abstract theory & forms that blind us to the mess of actual reality
Plato's CaveModelPhilosophyAllegory in Plato's Republic about a cave dweller whose only picture of reality is the shadow on the cave wall thrown by the fire.
pluralismGovernment
point of no returnMetaphorCulture
pollingMethodStatistics
Pollyanna PrincipleModelPsychologyThe tendency for people to remember pleasant events more accurately than unpleasant ones.
populismGovernment
positronScientific LawPhysicsan antimatter electron
Potemkin Village EffectModelSystems TheoryTendency of systems to create the appearance of functioning normally — to appease the operators who wish it so — even when they are not.
precisionMath
present valueEconomicsThe expected current value of an income stream.
price ceilingEconomics
price floorEconomics
prima facie
principle of indifferenceStatisticsIn probability, when there is no basis to choose some outcomes as more likely than others, they are given equal weight (1/2 chance of a particular side of a coin, 1/52 to get a particular card from a deck, etc.).
Prisoner's DilemmaThought ExperimentMath
private equity (PE)MethodEconomics
probabilityMath
probability distributionMathStatistics
Procrustean bedAncient WisdomPhilosophySynonymous with ruthlessly enforcing conformity, the phrase comes from a Greek tale of extreme "form fitting" on the part of Poseidon's son Procrustes, a robber who is said to have attacked victims by cutting off men's legs or stretching them on racks accordingly to fit an iron bed size.
profitLegal precedentEconomics
propagandaMethodSocial psychologyoriginally, a way to "propagate" any idea; used by both sides in WWI, it thereafter took on a sinister connotation when American & British citizens felt hoodwinked by their govt's use of it
proper framePhysicsin physics, the frame of reference that accelerates with you and determines your age
proportionalityModelMath
prospect theoryPsychology
proximate causeLogic
proxy warTermPolitics
pseudoscienceMethodCulture
PTSDPsychology
punctuated equilibriumModelScience
putting legs on a snakeMetaphor
Pygmalian EffectSocial psychology
Pyrrhic victoryMetaphorHistoryA victory in which the costs of winning far outweigh the rewards.
quantum computingMethodComputer Science
quantum entanglementTheoryPhysics
quantum physicsScience
qubitScience
quid pro quoLegal precedentLaw
quota
r > qModelEconomicsThomas Piketty's elegant demonstration of the rise of inequality
random walksMath
rangeStatisticsIn a set of numbers, the difference between the highest value and the lowest value in the data set.
rara avisAncient WisdomCulture"Rare bird" in Latin; similar to an outlier. Someone who stands out.
rate of returnEconomics
ReagonomicsEconomics
realismPhilosophy
reality testingModelPsychologyDiscerning the difference between inner and outer, and seeing events as they really are, and not just what we want them to be.
received wisdomAncient WisdomReligion
recursionMethodMath
red shiftScientific LawScience
reductio ad absurdoAncient WisdomPhilosophyCollapsing things too far, in a way that destroys real significance.
reductio ad finemAncient WisdomPhilosophyTo analyze to the end — break the concept down into its conponent parts.
redundancyMethodSystems TheoryHaving multiple pathways within a system to accomplish the same task or achieve the same objective.
reference framePhysicsA frame that does not accelerate; also known as a Lorentz frame.
regnat populus
regression analysisMethodStatistics
reincarnationUnsolved MysteryReligion
reinforcing loopSystems theory
relativityTheoryPhysicsEinstein's central insight that the experience or perceived passage of time depends greatly on the conditions of the observer, particularly with respect to velocity and gravity
resilienceModelSystems TheoryAbility to bounce back into shape after having been pressed or stretched; elasticity. The ability to recover quickly.
respice finemAncient WisdomPhilosophy"Consider that you will die" — i.e. live life as you would in order to be proud of it by the time it's over.
res publicaAncient WisdomGovernmentpertaining to the state
retrodiction
revenueEconomics
ripple effectExperimental findingScience
riskLegal precedentEconomics
risk-weighted assets (RWAs)Economics
root causePhilosophy
Rosetta StoneExperimental findingHistoryMetaphorically, a key to unlocking the secrets of a given thing.
roundingMethodMath
rounding errorMath
rule of lawLegal precedentPhilosophy
run on the bank
samplingMethodStatistics
samsaraReligion
scarcityEconomics
Schelling's Tipping Model
Schrödinger's CatTheoryPhysics
search intentTermMedia
second-order thinking
selection biasExperimental findingPsychology
self-governancePhilosophy
set theoryMath
ship of TheseusAncient WisdomMetaphor
SIFIEconomicssystemically important financial institution; post-2008 financial crisis designation for banks deemed "too big to fail" (currently, firms holding more than $50b in assets)
sigmaStatisticsstandard deviation, named for the Greek letter denoting the statistical term
signal pathPhysics
significant figuresMathaka "sig figs"
simulationPhilosophy
sineMathPhysics
sine waveMathPhysics
Single point of failure (SPoF)TermComputer ScienceA part of a system that, when it fails, brings down the entire rest of the system or stops it from working properly
singularityTheoryScienceA black hole.
SIR modelModelSciencecontagious disease modelling based on possible patient states (susceptible, infected, recovered)
site navigationMethodComputer Science
six degrees of separationExperimental findingPsychology
six sigmaMethodStrategyMotorola-originated concept of ensuring quality control to a very fine point, by ensuring that parts or other production outputs are manufactured to be within a certain quality range up to 6 times the standard deviation.
situational preparednessMethodStrategy
skewMathStatistics
skin in the gameAncient WisdomEconomicsWhen someone has a stake in the outcome, they are more likely to keep their word in assist its fruition.
slope of a lineMathStatistics
social contractLegal precedentPhilosophyProfoundly impactful document in political philosophy from Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th c. France, refuting the rights of monarchs to rule the people
Socratic methodMethodPhilosophyTechnique of instruction or conversation where the teacher or moderator proceeds by asking the student or pupil a serious of questions, enticing her or him to come up with their own answers to the issues related to the subject at hand.
solipsism
sortingMath
special relativityScientific LawScience
speech act theoryTheoryPhilosophyBritish philosopher J.L.Austin's concept that all uses of speech carry a performative aspect.
speed of light (c)Scientific LawScienceapprox. 300 million meters per second
spreadStatistics
squaring the circleUnsolved MysteryA notorious philosophical problem first posed by Plato, the phrase has come to be used to allude to the grandiosity and infeasibility of someone's plans.
standard deviationMathStatistics
standing wavesTerm
stare decisisLegal precedentLaw"It has been decided" — terminology used by a judge or court to indicate that the matter before them has already been decided by a previous ruling.
state of natureThought ExperimentPhilosophy
status quoTermCultureThe way things currently are.
stochastic terrorismTermSocial psychology
stocks and flowsModelSystems Theory
StoicismAncient WisdomPhilosophy
Streisand EffectMetaphorSocial psychologyWhen the act of attempting to hide information only makes it more prominently spread, especially via the Internet.
strict father moralityGeorge Lakoff's terminology to describe the conservative worldview.
strict liabilityLawCrimes which have no mens rea requirement, such as rear-ending of another vehicle (where it is always the rear-enders' fault no matter what the circumstances.
subsidyEconomics
success to the successfulSystems theoryA reinforcing loop within complex system — especially economies — wherein the spoils of victory include the means to alter the rules of the game further in the favor of the previous winners.
summum malumAncient WisdomPoliticsultimate evil — some posit cruelty as this ultimate evil
supply and demandModelEconomics
supply chainTermEconomics
sword of DamoclesAncient WisdomMetaphor
symmetric encryptionTerm
tabula rasaAncient WisdomMetaphorBlank slate
tachyonExperimental findingSciencehypothetical particle that travels faster than the speed of light
tangentMethodMath
tariffLegal precedentEconomics
tempus edax rerumAncient WisdomArts"Time devours everything." — Ovid
tempus fugitAncient WisdomTime flies
tempus neminem manetAncient Wisdomtime waits for no man
Third StoryThought ExperimentPhilosophythe story an impartial third-party observer might tell; a version of events any unbiased person could agree on
Thucydides Trap
tilting at windmillsMetaphorArtsA reference to the novel Don Quixote, denoting the ongoing pursuit of useless attacks against an implacable enemy. Ineffectual activity undertaken strenuously and loudly.
time dilationThought ExperimentScience
time series dataMethodStatisticsA collection of measurements taken over time that create a graph when plotted.
time value of moneyTheoryEconomics
tipping pointModelSystems Theory
Tit-for-TatMethodStrategy
too many cooks in the kitchenMetaphorCultureA metaphor connoting that too many people are currently involved in the decision-making process.
touchstoneMetaphorMyth/MetaphorA black stone once used to judge the purity of gold or silver — now signifying a standard against which something should be judged.
Tower of BabelMetaphorReligionA tale in the book of Genesis in the Bible that purports to explain the origins of different languages, via narrative about God confounding the speech of humans trying to build a tower to reach Him.
trade-offsModelEconomics
tragedy of the commonsExperimental findingEconomicsAn economic term for a situation in which unfettered access to a resource can lead to resource depletion through uncoordinated behavior -- a classic example is overfishing. A commonly-pooled (aka public) resource is overconsumed, but underinvested in.
transitivityTermMath
trickle down economicsMethodEconomicsRight-wing economics, also known as Reaganomics, supply side economics, fiscal conservatism, tax cut policy, and austerity.
trolly problemThought ExperimentPhilosophy
turtles all the way downTheoryPhilosophy
twin paradoxThought ExperimentScience
tyranny of choiceExperimental findingSystems TheoryThe paradoxical effect that having too many options to choose from actually decreases the likelihoof of being able to reach a decision at all.
UnicodeTermComputers
unionTermMathIn set theory, a union of sets is a set which consists of all the members of all the sets.
universal lawPhilosophyPhilosophy
usuryTermEconomicsThe act of charging interest on borrowed money; for thousands of years there have been religous proscriptions against lending money with interest in various societies.
utilityTheoryPhilosophy
varianceMathStatisticsThe amount of variation within a data set.
Veil of IgnoranceModelPhilosophyPhilosopher John Rawls' model for making better ethical decisions, in which the decider chooses a course of action based on the predicate that s/he will not know which of the groups or persons affected by the decision they personally would be. This method creates natural incentives to find the fairest outcome for all groups, since the decider doesn't know which group they will "end up in" on the other side of the decision.
Venn DiagramModelMath
via negativaMethodPhilosophyAn indirect description of a thing by describing what that thing is not.
Volcker ruleLegal precedentEconomicsFinancial rule preventing consumer lending banks from speculative trading in securities for their own profit.
vulnerabilityExperimental findingPsychology
wave functionScientific LawScience
wave-particle dualityExperimental findingScience
wheel of lifeSymbolReligion
when life gives you lemonsMetaphorPhilosophyYou try to make lemonade! Another way of saying, "let's try and make the best of this unfortunate situation."
winner-take-all marketEconomics
wisdom of crowdsModelSocial psychologyDerived from the Diversity Prediction Theorem: the average prediction of a group of individuals will be more accurate than the prediction of one average member.
wolves and sheepMetaphorPhilosophy
wormholeTheoryPhysicsA sort of tunnel formed on the surface of a black hole that may connect two different regions of space
worst case scenarioModelSystems Theory
zero sum gameModelMath
z scoreTermStatistics
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Motivated reasoning is a common daily phenomenon for all of us, assuming we’re human and/or interact with other humans. It’s a cognitive science term that refers to a type of emotional bias in which we have a tendency to prefer decisions or justifications based on their personal desirability vs. an unbiased examination of the facts.

Thinking and feeling aren’t anywhere near as “separate” in the brain as is commonly believed — they are very intertwined, and it’s also incredibly difficult for us to understand or detect from moment to moment which parts of our stream of consciousness are “thinking” and which are “feeling.”

What’s worse, we have other biases that exacerbate the motivated reasoning bias — like the “Lake Wobegon Effect” wherein we tend to overestimate our own abilities vs. others. So, we’re overconfident — at the same that we are less rational than we think we are. That can be a volatile combination — especially when found in individuals who hold a lot of power, and make decisions that affect people’s lives.

For we know not what we do

It can be infuriating to deal with people who are using motivated reasoning to make decisions instead of critical thinking: they tend to work backwards from the conclusion they wish to reach, and ignore evidence that contradicts their pre-existing beliefs. The way they deal with the cognitive dissonance of conflicting information is simply to toss the new information out, instead of evaluating it. Generally, though, they are unaware that their brain is in the habit of making that easier choice, and tend to get angry when this is pointed out.

Examples of motivated reasoning:

  • Bigotry and prejudice
  • Belief that you can “reduce covid cases” by not testing
  • Belief that you can get Republicans elected by refusing to count Democratic votes either outright or via procedural means

Related concepts:

  • Emperor’s New Clothes
  • Potemkin Village
  • tautology
  • foregone conclusion
  • Catch-22
  • ouroborous
  • self-fulfilling prophecy
  • revealed wisdom
  • divine right of rule
  • teleological thinking
  • self-interest bias
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Mind control is a type of “psychological technology” used by con artists, cult leaders, and influence peddlers of all stripes to try and modify human behavior, to twist it to one’s own nefarious and usually opaque ends. Also referred to as undue influence, emotional abuse, or thought reform, mind control is a set of techniques designed to hack in to the brain’s cognitive quirks, biases, and numerous psychobiological “opportunities to circumvent rational and critical thought.”

Cults are a specific structure of social organization formed through the application of mind control. There are at least 2 “layers” and often many interstitial rings that draw members ever closer to a hidden agenda lurking at the center — the true purpose of the organization that most of the footsoldiers know nothing about, because they work for one of the many “friendly PR faces” tacked on to the outside of the group to disguise the malignancy within.

Here’s the cult leader playbook:

  1. Position himself (and the group — his extension) as the only safe haven to turn to when afraid: “I alone can fix it!”
  2. Isolate followers from other sources of information — i.e. keep them in the Fox News/OANN/Newsmax ecosystem
  3. Arouse fear in the follower — invent invisible boogeymen everywhere! Huge caravans at the border that mysteriously disappear after elections! Evil liberals trying to do their jobs in schools and educate our youth about our history! INFLATION looms as a large spectre every time the left manages to eke out a few pennies from the cold unfeeling hands of the aristocrats!

Rinse; repeat. Stoking fear is “EZ Mode” — it means one of the parties in our two-party system can “de facto secede” from governance by just sitting on the sidelines and heckling all day, waiting for the problems and frustration to boil over so they can harness the abject anger of poor manipulated people into political weaponry, to break their lives on the wheels of history carelessly and for no higher purpose than personal greed and addiction to power, wealth, and status.

This set of books is a lead on how they fuel their political war machine:

Qualities of a Cult Leader

  • Narcissistic — highly self-absorbed, they demand excessive admiration and slavish devotion to their whims.
  • Charismatic — they have a way of grabbing attention, whether positive or negative.
  • Unpredictable — erratic behavior keeps enemies on their toes and fans “on edge” with desire to please Dear Leader.
  • Insatiable drive — it could be status, money, sex, power, or all of the above, but they feel they deserve it more than anyone else on the planet.
  • Lack of conscience — they have no shame and will demand things a decent human being would not.

…remind you of anyone in particular?!

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President Biden and Vice President Harris commemorated the 1 year anniversary of the January 6 attack on our democracy with morning speeches and a day of remembrance inside the Capitol rotunda with Representatives and Senators giving a number of moving speeches in their respective chambers. The tone on TV news and blue check Twitter was somber and reflective. The President referred to the violent events of Jan 6, 2021 as a terrorist attack on our democracy, and said that the threat was not yet over — that the perpetrators of that event still hold a “dagger at the throat of America.”

Only two Republicans were present in chambers when the moment of silence was held for the nation’s traumatic experience one year ago — Representative Liz Cheney and her father, Dick Cheney, the former VP and evil villain of the George W. Bush years. That this man — a cartoonish devil from my formative years as a young activist — was, along with his steel-spined force of nature daughter, one half of the lone pair that remained of the pathetic tatters of the once great party of Lincoln.

What do you do if you’re in a 2-party system and one of the parties is just sitting on the sidelines, heckling (and worse!?)? How do you restore confidence in a system that so many people love to hate, to the point of obsession? Will we be able to re-establish a sense of fair play, as Biden called on us to do today in his speech?

The Big Lie is about rewriting history

We don’t need to spend a ton of time peering deeply into discerning motive with seditionists — we can instead understand that for all of them, serving the Big Lie serves a function for them in their lives. It binds them to their tribe, it signals a piece of their “identity,” and it signals loyalty within a tight hierarchy that rewards it — all while managing to serve their highest goal of all: to annoy and intimidate liberals. Like all bullies, their primary animating drive is a self-righteous conviction that “I am RIGHT!” at all times and about all things, and that disagreement is largely punishable by death or, in lieu of that, dark twisted fantasies of death passed off lamely and pathetically as “just joking, coworker!”

Continue reading January 6 Attack: A “dagger at the throat of America”
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Elder wisdom, Thinkers, and Creators Since Antiquity

Some say there’s nothing new under the sun. Maybe we don’t need to go that far — but we should definitely appreciate the voluminous contributions of the ancient thinkers and great philosophers of antiquity, who figured out a dizzying array of complicated concepts long before the modern era.

We have much to learn from our ancestral teachers. Here’s a place to start — which shall grow over time as the knowledge is passed down yet again, age unto age. Things that stand the test of time are valuable, no matter what the currency of the day.

The Great Philosophers

NameKnown forBornDiedWhere livedInfluenced
St. Thomas AquinasSumma Theologiae12251274Italy
AnaxagorasEarly Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who moved forward ideas about the nature of existencec. 500 BCc. 428 BCGreece, PersiaDiogenes, Plutarch
Hannah ArendtA politically progressive Jewish philosopher, Arendt fled the Nazi regime for America, where she wrote the foundational text on the political psychology of authoritarianism, "The Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951)19061975Germany, America
AristotleStudent of Plato and founder of the Lyceum, he is widely known for his Socratic Method of questioning as a basis for philosophical discussion384 BC322 BCGreeceThe Enlightenment, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante
Marcus AureliusRoman emperor and Stoic philosopher who advocated for cultivating an ethos of impermanence and doing one's duty.121180Roman Empire
AvicennaPersian polymath, father of early medicine, and a key figure during the Islamic Golden Age9801037Persia
Francis Bacondeclaring that human intellect and reason are means of discovering the truth: "Knowledge is power“15611626England
Roger BaconMost celebrated European scientist of the Middle Ages.12201292England
Pierre BourdieuThe French sociologist's work focuses on how upper social classes preserve their social privileges through generations despite the persistent myth of social mobility in post-industrial liberal societies19302002France
Jeremy Benthamfather of Utilitarianism17481832England
Daniel BernoulliSwiss mathematician widely credited for pioneering the field of statistics17001782Switzerland
Jacob Bernoulli16551705Switzerland
Jean BoudinFrench political philosopher known for his theory of sovereignty15301596France
Louis BrailleFrench educator and inventor of the Braille system of reading and writing for the blind18091852France
BrunelleschiItalian architect, sculptor, and designer13771446Italy
Joseph CampbellLiterature professor most known for his work in world mythologies, and the widely observed narrative of the archetypal hero19041987White Plains, NYGeorge Lucas and Star Wars
Andrew CarnegieGilded Age tycoon who made a fortune leading the steel industry in the late 19th century, becoming one of the richest Americans in history18351919Scotland, America
CiceroRoman statesman, orator, philosopher, scholar, lawyer, and skeptic who championed a return to republican government during the dictatorship of Julius Caesar.106 BC43 BCRomeJohn Locke, David Hume, Motesquieu, Edmund Burke
Marquis de CondorcetFrench philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who played a key role in transforming European society from feudalism to modern secular democracy.17431794FranceThomas Jefferson
ConfuciusConfucianism -- a system of ethics and morals to guide "right" behavior551 BC479 BCChina
Marie CurieChemist and physicist whose work on radioactivity earned her a Nobel Prize -- the first woman ever to win the award.18671934Poland, France
Leonardo da VinciThe Italian polymath, painter, engineer, inventor, scientist et al was a giant of the Renaissance. He is often credited as being the greatest painter in th history of art.14521519Italy
Charles DarwinEnglish naturalist most famous for the knowledge of evolution18091882England
Democritusbasic theory of the atom: a fundamental building block unit of all things that itself is not divisible (although later we would discover even smaller particles, the atom is still essentially the most basic building block)460 BC371 BCGreece
René Descartescogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am15961650France
Alexis de TocquevilleFrench diplomat, philosopher, historian, and aristocrat best known for his two volume Democracy in America (1835 & 1840), now considered one of the earliest works of sociology.18051859France
DiogenesThe most famous of the Cynics, a school of philosophy founded in Athens c. 400 BC, advocating the pursuit of happiness through avoiding the unnecessary temptations of material goods412 BC323 BCGreeceZeno
Emilé Durkheimanomie — concept of lack of a shared moral order. Normlessness.18581917France
Albert EinsteinKnown for his theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, Einstein is widely agreed to be one of the greatest physicist of all time.18791955Germany, America
Ralph Waldo EmersonWriter, philosopher, poet, and abolitionist who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century and became a key figure in the American romantic movement18031882AmericaHenry David Thoreau
EmpedoclesGreek philosopher best known for his cosmogonic theory of the four classical elements.494 BC434 BCGreece
EpicurusGreek philosopher and founder of the highly influential school of philosophy bearing his name, Epicureanism341 BC270 BCGreeceJohn Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx
ErasmusA Dutch philosopher and Catholic theologian, Erasmus is acknowledged as one of the greatest minds of the northern Renaissance14661536Netherlands
EuclidGreek mathematician and founder of geometryc. 325 BCc. 270 BCAlexandria, Egypt
Michael FaradayHugely influential English scientist who made numerous contributions to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry17911867England
Enrico FermiItalian physicist who emigrated to America with his Jewish wife in 1938 and worked on the Manhattan Project, creating the world's first nuclear reactor and becoming dubbed the "architect of the atomic bomb."19011954Italy, America
Michel FoucaultWidely influential philosopher, literary critic, historian, and activist best known for his theories on the relationship between power and knowledge.19261984France
Sigmund FreudAustrian neurologist who founded psychoanalysis18561939Austria, UK
John Kenneth GalbraithConcept of countervailing power — that collective worker power is needed to balance against growing corporatism in the economy19082006Canada, America
GalenGreek physician, surgeon, and philosopher credited with developing the fields of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, neurology, and logic130200Greece, Rome
GalileoThe Italian polymath is considered the father of modern science, making groundbreaking contributions to the fields of modern physics, observational astronomy, and the scientific method itself.15641642Italy
Siddharta GautamaThe Buddha; achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in India563 BC483 BCIndia
GhibertiSculptor most famous for his creation of the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistry13781455Italy
Johann GutenbergInvented the printing press, democratizing the dissemination of information for the first time.13941468Germany
Jürgen HabermasGerman philosopher and member of the Frankfurt School, his work addresses public opinion and the public sphere through the lens of critical theory1929Germany
Friedrich HegelOne of the most important figures in German idealism and a founding figure in Western philosophy17701831Germany
Martin HeidiggerGerman philosopher and member of the Nazi Party18891976Germany
Heraclitusposited that change or flow is the most basic character of nature; that the world is characterized by opposites; and that God or "logos" is the essence of nature's constant flux and source of all things535 BC475 BCGreece
Herodotusfirst historian; first journalist; first foreign correspondent480 BC425 BCGreece
HippocratesGreek physician who is considered the Father of Medicine and known for the Hippocratic oath still in use todayc. 460 BCc. 370 BCGreece
Thomas HobbesEnglish philosopher and founder of modern political philosophy15881679England
HomerAncient Greek poet and author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odysseyc. 750 BCGreece
David HumeKey Enlightenment philosopher who championed empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism17111776Scotland
William JamesThe father of American psychology18421910America
Thomas JeffersonFounding Father and third president of the U.S., Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence17431826America
Carl JungFounder of analytical psychology18751961Switzerland
Immanuel KantA central Enlightenment thinker who made contributions to epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics among other fields.17241804Prussia
John Maynard KeynesEnglish economist whose ideas profoundly changed the field of macroeconomics and economic policy, now known as Keynesian economics18831946England
Søren KierkegaardDanish poet and polymath regarded as the first existentialist philosopher18131855Denmark
Thomas KuhnPhilosopher of science known for his theory of scientific paradigms and paradigm shifts19221996America
Lao Tzuthe Dao de Ching and philosophy of Daoism6th c. BC6th c. BCChina
LamarkA botanist, naturalist, and taxonomist, the French academic was an early proponent of the idea of evolution 17441829France
Gottfried LiebnizThe German polymath is a key figure in the history of philosophy and mathematics both16461716Prussia
Vladimir LeninFomented the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the tsarist regime18701924RussiaJoseph Stalin
Carolus LinnaeusThe father of modern taxonomy and inventor of binomial nomenclature for the modern system of naming organisms17071778Sweden
John Lockephilosophy of liberty and natural rights16321704England
Martin LutherKicked off the Protestant Reformation when he broke with the Catholic Church over the practice of indulgences14831546Germany
James MadisonFounding Father and fourth president of the U.S., Madison is known as the father of the Constitution and the author of the Bill of Rights, as well as a co-author of the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay 17511836America
Karl MarxHis political theories were so revolutionary he lived in exile much of his life, with his works The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital exerting enormous influence on subsequent intellectual thought and world history18181883Germany, England
John Stuart MillA key thinker in the pantheon of classical liberalism, Mill contributed to political theory, political economy, and social theory among others18061873England
MoziAn ethical philosophy advocating the caring for everyone equally470 BC391 BCChinaLegalism
MohammadArab social and political leader who founded the religion of Islam570632Mecca
Isaac NewtonOne of the greatest scientists of all time, Newton discovered gravity and the laws of motion among much else16421727England
Friedrich NietzscheKey figure in modern intellectual history18441900Germany
Alfred NobelInventor and philanthropist who gave his fortune to establish the Nobel Prize18331896Sweden
Georgia O'KeeffePainter known as the Mother of American modernism18871986America
Thomas PainePolitical theorist and revolutionary whose pamphlets Common Sense and The American Crisis helped persuade the colonists to declare independence from Great Britain17371809Britain; America
Parmenidesearly Rationalist; believed our perceptions are an illusion shielding us from true reality, which is only discernable via human reason515 BC445 BCGreecePlato
Louis PasteurA French chemist and microbiologist who discovered vaccination and pasteurization, Pasteur is considered the father of bacteriology and the father of microbiology18221895France
PetrarchPetrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters helped spark the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century13041374Italy
Philo of AlexandriaPhilosopher and theologist who entwined Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophyc. 20 BCc. 50 ADAlexandria, Egypt
PlatoPlatonic Forms427 BC347 BCGreeceAristotle
Pliny the ElderAuthor, naturalist, and navy commander who wrote encyclopedic works on natural philosophy2379Rome
Marco PoloThe first European to create a detailed history of his voyage to Asia via the Silk Road, including China, Japan, Persia, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.12541324Italy
Neil PostmanThe professor and cultural critic warned against the ill effects of tchnology and is best known for his book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985)19312003America
ProtagorasFather of relativism; coined the phrase "man is the measure of all things"490 BC420 BCGreece
PythagorasThe Pythagorean theorem570 BC495 BCGreeceParmenides
François RabelaisA writer, physician, Greek scholar, Renaissance thinker, Rabelais is infamous for his satirical and bawdy humor14831553France
John RawlsMoral and political philosopher known for the thought experiment known as the "veil of ignorance," in which participants make decisions about the society they will live in without knowing a priori which class or social position they themselves would occupy. 19212002American
Jean-Jacques RousseauPolitical philosopher whose concept of the Social Contract inspired the French and American Revolutions, and underpins all modern liberal democracies17121778FranceThe Enlightenment, French Revolution
Jean-Paul SartreA key thinker in the philosophy of existentialism19051980France
Arthur SchopenhauerThe German philosopher was one of the first in the west to embrace Indian philosophy, including asceticism, self-denial, and the concept of worldly illusion. He influenced many other important thinkers and creators of the 19th and 20th centuries17881860PolandLudwig Wittgenstein, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett, Richard Wagner, Arnold Schoenberg, Gustav Mahler
Joseph SchumpeterAn Austrian emigree to the US, Schumpeter taught at Harvard and popularized the economic term "creative destruction"18831950Hungary, United States
SenecaRhetoric teacher and Stoic philosopher55 BC37 ADRoman Empire
Adam SmithThis Scottish philosopher was a pioneer of political economy, and is widely regarded as the father of economics and the father of capitalism.17231790ScotlandDavid Hume
SocratesWidely considered a founder of philosophy; the dialectic method, among much else469 BC399 BCGreecePlato
SpinozaAn early Enlightenment thinker inspired by Descartes to go on to lead the Dutch Golden Age16321677The Netherlands
Nicholas Nassim TalebThe author, mathematical statistician, and former options trader has written several influential books on probability, uncertainty, and randomness.1960Lebanon, America
ThalesPosited water as being the basic material of the cosmos624 BC546 BCMiletus, Greece
TheocritusCreator of ancient Greek pastoral poetryc. 300 BCc. 260 BCGreece
ThucydidesAthenian historian and general who wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War about the conflict between Sparta and Athens460 BC400 BCGreece
Edward TufteProfessor of computer science at Yale and a pioneer in the field of data visualization1942America
VirgilRegarded as one of Rome's greatest poets, Virgil penned the Aeneid, the national epic of ancient Rome70 BC19 BCRomeDante and the Divine Comedy
VitruviusRoman author, architect, and army engineer known for his significant contributions to architecture and designc. 80 BCc. 15 BCRomeThe Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
VoltaireKey figure in the Enlightenment, Voltaire was famous for his criticism of the Catholic Church and advocacy of civil liberties including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the separation of church and state16941778FranceJean-Jacques Rousseau
James WatsonCredited with discovering the double helix structure of the DNA molecule1928America
Max WeberGerman historian and political economist widely regarded as one of the most important theorists of modern Western society18641920GermanyCritical theory, the Frankfurt School
Ludwig WittgensteinConsidered one of the greatest modern philosophers, Wittgenstein made significant contributions to the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind.18891951Austria, England
ZenoFounder of the Stoic school of philosophy in 4th c. BCE Greece and Parmenides's most famous student.c. 495 BCc. 430 BCGreeceSocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes

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For all their angry rhetoric and now, overtly political violence, I maintain that it is the right wing that is profoundly insecure, anxious, and in need of soothing. They are panicking at the idea that the world can possibly change without their approval, and deprive them of their stolen superiority — they do not want the party to end for white male dominance of this entire planet.

Right-wing authoritarian adults latch on to symbols and ideologies and demagogues as “surrogates” for the childhood safety blanket they once needed — these are the “adult-acceptable” pablum substitutes.

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