Motivated Reasoning

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

Cults and Mind Control Books

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 โ€” 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/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 โ€” highly self-absorbed, they demand excessive admiration and slavish devotion to their whims.
  • Charismatic โ€” they have a way of grabbing attention, whether positive or negative.
  • Unpredictable โ€” erratic behavior keeps enemies on their toes and fans โ€œon edgeโ€ with desire to please Dear Leader.
  • Insatiable drive โ€” 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 โ€” they have no shame and will demand things a decent human being would not.

…remind you of anyone in particular?!

January 6 Attack: A “dagger at the throat of America”

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””

Christian Nationalists

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.

Here are some of the people and groups involved in the modern day movement to establish a Christian theocratic government in America:

  • 700 Club
  • Howard Ahmanson Jr.
  • Awake 88
  • Alexander Acosta
  • Alex Azar
  • Alliance Defending Freedom
  • American College of Pediatricians
  • American Enterprise Institute
  • American Family Association
  • American Family Radio Network
  • American Heritage Girls
  • American Legislative Exchange Council
  • Americans of Faith
  • America Wake Up
  • Robert Arnakis
  • Arlington Group
  • Larry Arnn
  • Edward Atsinger III
  • Marcus Bachmann
  • Michele Bachmann
  • Jim Bakker
  • Steven Bannon
  • Baptist Press
  • George Barna
  • Jeff Barke
  • Mari Barke
  • Stephen Barney — conservative philanthropist
  • David Barton
  • Gary Bauer
  • Glenn Beck
  • David Benham
  • Jason Benham
  • Philip “Flip” Benham
  • Robert J. Billings
  • Dr. Henry Blackaby
  • Sen Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
  • Morton Blackwell
  • Bob Jones University
  • Bolthouse Foundation
  • Dick Bott
  • Bott Radio Network
  • Lt. Gen. William Boykin (ret.)
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  • Bob Branch
  • Lincoln Brewster
  • Jim Bridenstine
  • Harold O. J. Brown
  • Brown v. Board of Education
  • Pat Buchanan
  • Mark Bucher
  • Building a Nation
  • Jonathan Cain
  • Capitol Ministries
  • Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation
  • Ben Carson
  • CBN University
  • A Choice Not an Echo
  • Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)
  • Christian Coalition
  • Christian homeschooling movement
  • Christian Satellite Network
  • J. C. Church
  • Church United
  • Church Voter Lookup
  • Tom Coburn
  • Mary Colbert
  • Concerned Women for America
  • Conscience and Religious Freedom Division
  • Conservative Caucus
  • Kellyanne Conway
  • Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
  • Council for National Policy
  • Culture Impact Teams (CITs)
  • Jan Crouch
  • Paul Crouch
  • Ted Cruz
  • Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton
  • Robert Lewis Dabney
  • The Daily Signal
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser
  • Jeff Denham
  • Betsy DeVos
  • Richard DeVos
  • Richard DeVos, Sr.
  • James Dobson
  • Mark Drever
  • Karen Rudolph Drollinger
  • Ralph Drollinger
  • Dinesh D’Souza
  • Alan P. Dye
  • Eagle Forum
  • Stuart Epperson
  • Equal Rights Amendment
  • Frank Erb
  • Tony Evans
  • Jerry Falwell
  • Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • The Family
  • Family Christian Academy (FCA)
  • Family Life Radio
  • Family Policy Alliance
  • Family Policy Councils
  • Family Research Council (FRC)
  • Family Worship Center
  • Fellowship Foundation
  • Reverend Wilber Fisk
  • Tami Fitzgerald
  • Florida Family Action
  • Florida Family Action PAC
  • Florida Family Policy Council
  • Focus on the Family
  • Foster Friess
  • Free Congress Foundation
  • Lynn Friess
  • Jim Garlow
  • Rosemary Schindler Garlow
  • W. Barry Garrett
  • Godspeak Calvary Chapel
  • Barry Goldwater
  • Peggy Goldwater
  • Grace Community Church, Sun Valley
  • Billy Graham
  • The Green family
  • Ken Ham
  • 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
  • Heritage Academy
  • Heritage Action
  • Heritage Foundation
  • Eric Heubeck
  • Hugh Hewitt
  • Jack Hibbs
  • Rob Hilarides
  • The Hillsdale Collegian
  • Kay Hiramine
  • A. A. Hodge
  • John Henry Hopkins
  • Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG)
  • Nelson Bunker Hunt
  • Institute on Religion and Democracy
  • Larry Jackson
  • David Jeremiah
  • Bob Jones Sr.
  • Bob Jones Univeristy
  • Kingdom Warriors
  • KMMJ
  • C. Everett Koop
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Beverly LaHaye
  • Tim LaHaye
  • Wayne LaPierre
  • Bill Lee — Governor of Tennessee
  • Leonard Leo
  • Mark Levin
  • Liberty University
  • LifeWay Research
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Elias Loera
  • Nathan Lord
  • Dave Louden
  • Barry Loudermilk
  • John MacArthur
  • Rachel MacNair
  • Danielle Madison
  • March for Life
  • Ed McAteer
  • The Moral Majority
  • Jeanne Mancini
  • Manhattan Declaration
  • Rob McCoy
  • Mark Meadows
  • Mark Meckler — Tea Party activist and co-funder of Convention of States
  • Janet Mefferd
  • Roy Moore
  • Museum of the Bible
  • The Naked Communist
  • Penny Young Nance
  • National Center for Constitutional Studies
  • National Christian Foundation
  • National Conservative Student Conference
  • National Federation of Republican Women
  • National Right to Life Committee
  • Richard John Neuhaus
  • New Christian Right
  • Kristi Noem — Governor of South Dakota
  • Gary North
  • North Carolina Family Policy Council
  • Michael Novak
  • Old Time Gospel Hour
  • John M. Olin
  • Organicgirl
  • Joel Osteen
  • Sarah Palin
  • “Pastors Briefings”
  • Mike Pence
  • Pentecostals
  • Sonny Perdue
  • Tony Perkins
  • Rick Perry
  • Howard Phillips
  • Buddy Pilgrim
  • Mike Pompeo
  • Art Pope
  • Reverend J. C. Postell
  • POTUS Shield
  • The Power of the Positive Woman
  • Dennis Prager
  • Praise Network
  • Tom Price
  • Erik Prince
  • Scott Pruitt
  • Quiverfull movement
  • Oleg Rachkovski
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Ralph Reed
  • Carolyn Richards
  • Road to Majority Conference
  • Pat Robertson
  • Jim Robison
  • Roe v. Wade
  • Rousas Rushdoony
  • Karl Rove
  • John Rustin
  • SAGE Cons
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • Salem Radio
  • Richard Scaife
  • Jeff Sessions
  • Francis Schaeffer
  • Phyllis Schlafly
  • Alan Sears
  • Jay Sekulow
  • Ben Shapiro
  • W. Cleon Skousen
  • SonLife Broadcasting Network (SBN)
  • SonLife Radio Network
  • Springs Community Church
  • Horatio Robinson Storer
  • R.J. Rushdoony
  • Southern Presbyterian Church
  • Southern Strategy
  • Darla St. Martin
  • Stop ERA
  • Students for Life of America
  • Susan B. Anthony List
  • Donnie Swaggart
  • Gabriel Swaggart
  • Jimmy Swaggart
  • Jimmy Swaggart Bible College (JSBC)
  • Jimmy Swaggart Telecast
  • Bruce Taylor
  • Jeff Taylor
  • Steve Taylor
  • Taylor Farms
  • Thomas Road Baptist Church
  • James Henley Thornwell
  • Robert Tilton
  • Unity Project
  • “Values Bus”
  • Values Voters Summit
  • Richard Viguerie
  • Young America’s Foundation
  • C. Peter Wagner
  • Chester Ward
  • Washington Watch
  • The Watchmen
  • Doug Wead
  • Well Versed
  • Paul Weyrich
  • Paula White
  • Donald Wildmon
  • Farris Wilks
  • Dan Wilks
  • World Ag Expo
  • World Congress of Families

See also: Christian nationalism terms

The Great Philosophers

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 powerโ€œ15611626England
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
Renรฉ 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
Emilรฉ Durkheimanomie โ€” 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 โ€” 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
Jรผrgen 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
Sรธren 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
Franรงois 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

Safety Blanket Theory

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.

Human History Timeline v0.1

This is an attempt (bear with me!) to encapsulate a framework of the major events of importance since our curious species came down from the trees. Human History Timeline is going to be a work in progress… forever! Be sure to check back as time unfolds.

YearEventRegionThemeDomain
-250000Modern humans emerge in Africa.AfricaAncient HistoryScience
-120000Earliest cave paintings we know of are located in a South African cave.AfricaAncient HistoryArts
-100000Modern humans migrate to the Middle East.Middle EastAncient HistoryHuman History
-75000Modern humans arrive in Southeast Asia and China.AsiaAncient HistoryHuman History
-40000Modern humans had now spread around the globe as we arrived in Europe, living alongside Neanderthals. The earliest European cave paintings are from around this time in Spain.EuropeAncient HistoryHuman History
-28000The Neanderthals go extinct.EuropeAncient HistoryHuman History
-16000Humans cross the Bering Strait to Alaska over a land bridge exposed by the warming planetNorth AmericaAncient HistoryHuman History
-15000The ice age ends, and global temperatures rise by 15 degrees C.GlobalAncient HistoryScience
-14000Modern humans reach South AmericaSouth AmericaAncient HistoryHuman History
-10000First human settlements begin in the North American Great Plains, modern-day Syria, and in the Yellow River Valley region of China.GlobalAncient HistoryHuman History
-7000Invention of textiles in EgyptAfrica, Middle EastMan vs. NatureTechnology
-5000Cultivation of tin as a metal resourceAncient HistoryTechnology
-4241The Egyptians begin using the 365 day calendarAfricaOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
-3800Bronze Age beginsGlobalAncient HistoryTechnology
-3500Mesopotamian cities Ur, Uruk, and others have emerged in and around modern-day IraqMiddle EastAncient HistoryPolitics
-2980The Great Pyramid of Zoser is built in EgyptAfrica, Middle EastAncient HistoryArchitecture
-2000The last woolly mammoths die out and the species go extinctGlobalMan vs. NatureScience
-2000Epic of Gilgamesh composedMiddle East, AfricaOur Place in the UniverseArts
-1792Hammurabi's Code of LawsMiddle EastDemocracy's StoryPolitics
-1200The Iron Age begins almost simultaneously around the world, in the Middle East, Europe, and IndiaMiddle East, Europe, GlobalMan vs. NatureTechnology
-800The city of Rome is founded by Romulus and RemusEuropeAncient HistoryPolitics
-560Siddharta Gautama born in India, later to become the Buddha; founder of BuddhismAsiaOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
-530Greek tragedy is in full swing with contributions from Aeschylus, Thespis, soon Sophocles, and othersEuropeOur Place in the UniverseArts
-510Roman Republic formed when the citizens overthrew king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, aka Tarquin the ProudEuropeDemocracy's StoryPolitics
-49Republic of Rome becomes the Roman Empire when Julius Caesar overthrows the RepublicEuropeAge of EmpiresPolitics
-27Julius Caesar Augustus becomes the first emperor of Rome, ruling for 45 yearsEuropeAge of EmpiresPolitics
79eruption of Mt. VesuviusEuropeMan vs. NatureScience
312New self-made Roman emperor Constantine converts to Christianity โ€” at least nominally; he makes the empire safe and welcoming to Christianity, while maintaining many of his old Roman beliefsEuropeAge of EmpiresPolitics
325Council of Nicaea called by Emperor Constantine; the adoption of the Nicene Creed establishes the empire's stance on the divinity of Jesus and establishes Christianity as the state religionEurope
476The last western Roman emperor , Romulus Augustinius, is deposed โ€” beginning the era of the Holy Roman Empire and marking the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle AgesEuropeAge of EmpiresTechnology
632Death of Muhammad leads much of the Middle East and North Africa to convert to IslamMiddle East, Africa, EuropeOur Place in the UniversePolitics
656The first battle between the Shia (followers of Ali) and the Sunnis (followers of Aisha) over the fate of Islam โ€” a war still raging to this dayMiddle East
900-1200the golden age of North African scienceAfricaOur Place in the UniverseScience
1000an Indian mathematician recognizes the power of zeroCentral Asia, AsiaOur Place in the UniverseScience
1040Movable type is invented in ChinaAsiaKnowing ThingsTechnology
1066Battle of Hastings โ€” France's William the Conqueror defeats the other claimant to the English throne Harold and is crowned the first Norman king of England.EuropeConquest, Imperialism, and ColonialismPolitics
1073China invents an elaborate incense seal clockAsiaKnowing ThingsTechnology
1149Founding of Oxford University in EnglandEuropeKnowing ThingsKnowledge
1200Cambridge University founded in EnglandEuropeKnowing ThingsKnowledge
1265first Parliament elected in England, consisting mostly of feudal lords, knights, and wealthy aristocratsEuropeDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1271Venetian Marco Polo travels to China with his father at the age of 17; having been the first Europeans to visit the court of Kublai Khan over a 9-year stretch, the elder Nicolรฒ Polo brings his son with him on the return journey โ€” it will take them a trek of three and a half yearsEurope, AsiaAge of EmpiresKnowledge
1328The sawmill is inventedEuropeBusiness of the WorldTechnology
1330the hour becomes essentially our modern concept of hourGlobalMan vs. NatureTechnology
1347-1351Approximately 75 million people die from the Bubonic PlagueEurope, Africa, Middle EastMan vs. NatureScience
1399English poet Chaucer's The Canterbury TalesEuropeOur Place in the UniverseArts
1431Joan of Arc is burned at the stakeEuropeAge of EmpiresPolitics
1445Gutenberg invents the printing pressEuropeAttention Must be PaidTechnology
1492Christopher Columbus lands in the Americas, ushering in the age of Spanish Conquistadores and the colonial period โ€” first in the Bahamas, then Cuba, then Hispaniola before heading homeNorth AmericaConquest, Imperialism, and ColonialismKnowledge
1517Martin Luther, a German monk, becomes disillusioned with the church's selling of indulgences to fund construction projects (and with Calvinism more generally). Submits his 95 theses to papal authority, and after various machinations is excommunicated for challenging the authority of the PopeEuropeOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
1583Galileo dedicates himself to the study of mathematics and physicsEuropeOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
1585Founding of the first American colony at Roanoke, in modern-day North CarolinaNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1607Founding of the second American colony at Jamestown, in modern-day VirginiaNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1636Harvard University foundedNorth AmericaOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
1637the first American slave ship sets out on her maiden voyageNorth America, AfricaConquest, Imperialism, and ColonialismPolitics
1665Plague arrives in LondonEuropeMan vs. NatureScience
1688Glorious Revolution in England: Parliament invited Dutch William of Orange & his wife Mary, James's Protestant daughter, to replace JamesEuropeDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1701Yale College foundedNorth AmericaOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
1760invention of the steam engine in England (James Watt)EuropeMan vs. NatureTechnology
1776U.S. Declaration of Independence is written in PhiladelphiaNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1787U.S. Constitution written in PhiladelphiaNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1789U.S. Constitution is ratifiedNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1799~10-year French Revolution overthrows the monarchyEuropeDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1839Louis Daguerre demonstrates the photographic technique he's developed: the cameraEuropeOur Place in the UniverseArts
1844The Associated Press foundedNorth AmericaAttention Must be PaidKnowledge
1859Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of the SpeciesEuropeOur Place in the UniverseKnowledge
1865U.S. Civil War endsNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1914WWI begins
1921Tulsa massacreNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1942Pearl HarborNorth AmericaConquest, Imperialism, and ColonialismPolitics
1945WWII ends
1949Formation of NATOEurope, North AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1953Korean War ends
1954Brown v. the Board of EducationNorth AmericaDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1961Stanley Milgram conducts his famous obedience studies showing how willing students are to give electric shocks to their peers if ordered to by authority figuresScience
1964Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights ActDemocracy's StoryPolitics
1975The Vietnam War ends
1980Election of former actor and PR agent Ronald Reagan as President of the United States
1984Breakup of the Bell system monopoly
1986Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine
1987Iran-Contra scandal wherein Reagan trades arms for hostages and lies about it
1989Berlin Wall falls
1990Tim Berners-Lee puts up the first web page
1991Soviet Union collapses
1998Microsoft monopoly broken up
2000Vladimir Putin becomes Russian President following Yeltsin's resignation
2007Apple announces the first iPhone; Google announces Android
2008Bitcoin and the blockchain invented
2010Citizens Unied ushers in the era of dark money in politics
2012Sandy Hook mass school shooting

๐ŸŽฏ Core Models ๐ŸŽฏ

Core 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 core 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!

ConceptDateFieldPersonDefinition
absolute value1806MathJean-Robert ArgandThe value of x, regardless of its sign (or, its distance from zero).
activation energy1889ChemistrySvante ArrheniusThe amount of energy required to get two or more compounds to react, in chemistry or physics.
adverse selection1860sMoney
"All the world's a stageโ€œ1599ArtsWilliam ShakespeareShakespearean metaphor likening culture to a theatrical performance: "And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances ..."โ€”William Shakespeare, As You Like It
annuity1970sMoneyA series of payments made at equal intervals.
antifragile2012MathNassim TalebThings that can benefit from disorder, and grow stronger amidst chaos.
antimatter1928PhysicsPaul Dirac
appreciationMoney
a prioriStrategy
arrow of time1927PhysicsArthur EddingtonTheory of physics stating an asymmetry of time -- that time has a one-way direction in which the entropy of the universe is only increasing.
assetMoney
asymptoteMath
availability bias1973PsychologyKahneman and Tversky
averageMath
bank reservesMoney
Base Rate FallacyPsychology
Bayes' Theorem1763MathReverend Thomas BayesA mathematical method of determining the updated probability of a certain event or case, given new information
Big Bang1949PhysicsFred Hoyle
black holesPhysicsStephen Hawking
Black Swan2007MathNassim Taleb
blockchainMoney
boiling frog syndromePsychology
bounded rationality
broken windows theoryPsychology
Butterfly Effect1963PhysicsEdward Lorenz
bystander effectPsychology
capital gainsMoney
carbon dating1940sPhysicsWillard LibbyA method of determining the age of an organic sample by radioactive decay.
carpe diemStrategy"Seize the day!"
catalystChemistry
cause and effect
caveat emptorStrategy
Central Limit Theorem1733MathAbraham de Moivre
ceteris paribusStrategy"all other things being equal"; holding the effects of other variables constant to determine the effects on a single variable of interest
Chesterton's Fence1929Strategy
chilling effect
compound interestMoney
Condorcet Jury Theorem1785MathMarquis de Condorcet
confirmation biasPsychology
consent of the governedPolitical philosophyConcept 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.
correlation is not causation
counterfactuals
creative destruction1942MoneyJoseph Shumpeter Economist 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
crossing the RubiconHistoryJulius CaesarMaking 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
cryptocurrencyMoney
dark matterPhysics
dead hand of the pastPolitical philosophyThomas JeffersonProblem 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.
decision treeStrategy
depreciationMoney
distributionMath
diversityStrategy
divident paymentsMoneyPeriodic, 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.
Doppler Effect1842PhysicsChristian Doppler
Drake Equation1961PhysicsFrank DrakeEstimation of the number of technological civilizations that might exist in the universe.
Dunbar Number1990sRobin Dunbar
Dunning-Kruger EffectA 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 Law1940sPolitical philosophyMaurice DuvergerHolds that plurality-rule elections within single member districts โ€” such as the structure found in the U.S. โ€” tend to favor two-party systems
edge case
equality under lawPolitical philosophyAn 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
elasticityMoneyThe ability of pricing mechanisms to respond quickly or less quickly to changes in prevailing conditions
electromagnetic spectrumPhysics
emperor's new clothesStrategy
entropyPhysicsA scientific term, thermodynamic concept, and measurable physical property referring to the state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty in a system or in nature
equilibriumScienceA resting condition all systems seek, in which all competing inflows and outflows are in balance.
event horizonPhysics
evolution
exit strategyStrategy
false negatives
false positives
falsifiabillity
fiduciary dutyEthics
fifth columnStrategyA group who unites in secret to undermine a larger group from within.
first mover advantageStrategy
force multiplierStrategy
fractals1975MathBenoit Mandelbrot
fractional lendingMoney
fundamental attribution error
general relativityPhysicsAlbert Einstein
general willPolitical philosophyJean-Jacques Rousseau
Golden MeanMathAristotleAristotelian 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 RuleEthicsAncient"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 Zone
gravityPhysics
Heisenberg Uncertainty PrinciplePhysics----- Heisenberg
heuristicsPsychologyMental shortcuts that we do as a matter of routine, especially when we're stressed or under other types of cognitive constraints.
inflation
inflection point
intellectual propertyMoneyIP
iron law of ligarchyPolitical philosophyPolitical 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
keystone
Laffer curveMoney
Law of Large Numbers1713MathJacob BernoulliAs the number of coin tosses approaches infinity, the number of heads encountered will converge on 0.5; helpful in calculations of probability.
least-barricaded gateStrategyLeon TrotskyMetaphor about how social revolutions can take hold more easily in already weakened societies.
length contractionPhysics
lifeboat ethicsEthics
limiting factorChemistry
long tailMath
loss aversionPsychology
Lost EinsteinsMoney
map is not the territoryMetaphorA phrase reminding us that our mental picture of a thing is not the same as the actual thing itself
margin of errorMath
Maslow's PyramidPsychology---- MaslowA hierarchy of needs, from basic biological functions all the way up to self-actualization
meanMathThe mathematical average of a set of numbers
medianMath
Median Voter Theorem
mens rea
Moore's Law
moral hazardMoney
Narcissus & EchoMetaphor
Nash EquilibriumMath
natural selectionBiologyCharles Darwin
negative interest ratesMoney
Newton's Laws of MotionPhysics1st, 2nd, and 3rd laws
normal distributionMath
null hypothesisScience
observer effectPhysics
Occam's RazorStrategy
oligarchy
opportunity costMoneyWhat 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.
outlierMath
paradoxMathA self-contradicting statement.
Pareto PrincipleMoney----- Pareto
path dependentMath
Pavlov's dogsPsychology
pearls before swineMetaphorThe sense of wasting one's efforts for people who don't really appreciate them
permutationsMath
Peter PrincipleManagementTheory that individuals within corporate and other organizational hierarchies will rise to the highest level at which they become incompetent in their job duties.
phase shiftPhysics
Plato's cavePhilosophyPlato
point of no returnStrategy
Polyanna PrinciplePsychologyTendency for people to remember pleasant events more accurately than unpleasant ones
Potemkin VillageMetaphor
Prisoner's DilemmaStrategy
probabilityMath
Procrustean BedStrategyProcrustesSynonymous 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.
proxy warStrategy
Pyrrhic VictoryStrategyA victory in which the costs of winning far outweigh the rewards
quantum physicsPhysics
quid pro quoStrategy
ReagonomicsMoney
reality testingPsychologyDiscerning the difference between inner and outer, and seeing events as they really are, and not just what we want them to be
received wisdomReligion
red shiftPhysics
redundancyStrategy
resilienceStrategyAbility to bounce back into shape after having been pressed or stretched; elasticity. The capacity to recover quickly.
ripple effect
riskMoney
root cause
Rosetta StoneMetaphor
roundingMath
rounding errorMath
rule of lawPolitical philosophy
Schrรถdinger's CatPhysics
selection biasPsychology
Single point of failure (SPoF)A part of a system that, when it fails, brings down the entire rest of the system or stops it from working properly.
singularityPhysics
six degrees of separationSocial psychology
skin in the gameEthics
social contractPolitical philosophyJean-Jacques Rousseau
social contractPolitical philosophyJohn Locke
Socratic methodPhilosophySocrates
special relativityPhysicsAlbert Einstein
speed of lightPhysicsApprox. 300 million meters per second
standard deviationMath
stare decisis"It has been decided" โ€” terminology used by a judge or court to indicate that the matter before them has already been decided by a previous ruling.
state of naturePolitical philosophyThomas Hobbes
status quoThe way things currently are
Streisand EffectThe act of attracting lots of attention to something you had been trying hard to keep quiet
supply and demandMoney
sword of DamoclesMetaphor
tabula rasaStrategyblank slate
tilting at windmillsMetaphorMiguel de CervantesRefers to ineffectual activity undertaken strenuously and loudly.
time dilationPhysics
tipping pointMath
Tit-for-TatStrategy
too many cooks in the kitchenMetaphorA metaphor connoting that too many people are currently involved in the decision-making process
tragedy of the commonsMoneyA common economic problem in which a commonly-pooled (aka public) resource is overconsumed, but underinvested in.
trickle down economicsMoney
trolley problemEthics
turtles all the way down
twin paradoxPhysicsAlbert Einstein
tyranny of choiceMoneyThe paradoxical effect that having too many options to choose from actually decreases the likelihoof of being able to reach a decision at all.
usuryMoney
variance
veil of ignorance1971Political philosophyJohn Rawls
Venn diagramMath
vulnerabilityPsychologyBrene Brown
wave-particle dualityPhysics
wisdom of crowdsStrategyDerived 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 sheepStrategy
worst case scenarioStrategy
zero sum gameStrategy

American Fascists & the Global Right ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

It feels like the 1930s all over again — and with good reason. The rise of American fascists and right-wing extremism around the world has been a known trend for decades, and America’s past flirtations with fascism had been largely swept under the rug by the then anti-semites who tried to put a stop to FDR’s New Deal and prevent the U.S. from getting into World War II.

They fought against labor unions and labor organizers, often using private militia as henchmen to do their dirtywork with plausible deniability for themselves. The Ku Klux Klan — the principle paramilitary organization formed during Reconstruction to undo egalitarian gains from the Civil War — was just one of many instruments put to use in service of plutocratic aims to quell any “communist awakening” amongst their workers, lest they get any uppity ideas for themselves. They fell for the popular conspiracy theories of their time, which included Hitler’s bogus assertion that Jewish bankers controlled the world and had to be stopped before they destroyed the white race.

Those fascists, butthurt over America’s overwhelmingly popular decision to enter the war and stop Hitler from exterminating the Jews, seethed with jealousy at the post-war “liberal consensus” that flourished alongside the booming US economy, propelled first by the war effort and later by the peacetime success of the New Deal‘s long shadow and the burgeoning of the American middle class.

The American fascists turned into the John Birch Society, and the McCarthyites, and the Libertarians, and the Moral Majority, and the Gingrich Revolution, and the Tea Party, and the MAGA / QAnon stew sloshing around mass media. The kooks on the far right — the kind of ilk so cray cray that even William F. Buckley excommunicates you from the Republican Party — have taken over the hen house now. Outrage sells, as Facebook well knows — and as two-bit dictators around the world have bribed Mark Zuckerberg to brainwash the masses using the most inanely illogical propaganda prolefeed, the world tilts dangerously towards authoritarianism and the end of our democracy as we know it. And with it, all hope for truth and light into the future for some time to come — the equivalent of a political meteor hitting the Earth.

The American fascists are still around, and now they have tools of propaganda that Goebbels could never have even wet dreamed of. They’re more powerful and more well-connected — to other sociopaths, malignant narcissists, and other pathological cult-leader types who might be of transactional service to each other from time to time. We’d be wise to keep an eye on these folks.

NameTypeLocationKnown for
Greg AbbottPoliticianTexas
Roman AbramovichForeign agent
ACU Strategic PartnersForeign agent
Sheldon AdelsonBusinesspersonLas Vegas, NV
AggregateIQCorporation
Roger AilesMedia personalityDeceased
Todd AkinPoliticianMissouri
Nelson W. Aldrich
Ali AlexanderExtremist
Samuel AlitoJudgeWashington, DC
American Energy AllianceNon-profit
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)Non-profit
Americans for ProsperityPAC
Philip AnschutzBusinesspersonColorado
Michael Anton
Lee AtwaterPolitical Operative
Michele BachmanPoliticianMN
Steve BannonMedia personalityHouseboats
Ross Barnett
William BarrPublic Sector
Maurice BarresAuthorFrance
Louis BeamWhite Supremacist
Roy BeckWhite Supremacist
Andy BiggsPoliticianAZ
Black LegionExtremistMichigan
David BogatinOligarchNYC
Jacob BogatinOligarch
John Wilkes BoothCriminalDeceased
L. Brent BozellExtremist
Harry and Lynde BradleyKochtopus
Andrew BreitbartMedia personality
Anders BreivikExtremistOslo, Norway
Mo BrooksPoliticianHuntsville, AL
Brother's CircleCriminal
Michael BrownFerguson, MO
Pat BuchananPoliticianWashington, DC
William F. Buckley JrMedia personality
Doug BurleyPolitical Operative
Cambridge AnalyticaCorporationLondon, UK
Renaud CamusAuthorFrance
Tucker CarlsonMedia personalityNYC
Doug CaseyBusinessperson
Michael CatanzaroLobbyist
Cato InstituteThink Tank
Madison CawthornPoliticianNC
Center to Protect Patient RightsKochtopus
Mike CernovichMedia personality
CGCN GroupLobbyist
James ChaneyActivistNeshoba County, MS
Jeremy Joseph ChristianExtremistPortland, OR
Chris ChristiePolitician
Michael CohenBusinesspersonNYC
Steven A. CohenBusinessperson
Roy CohnPolitical OperativeDeceased
Competitive Enterprise InstituteThink TankWashington, DC
Continental ResourcesCorporationOklahoma
Coors brewing familyKoch InvestorColorado
Council of Conservative Citizens (CoC)
Ted CruzPoliticianTexas
Jefferson Davis
Kim DavisPublic SectorKentucky
Devos familyKoch Investor
Amadou DialloNew York
James DobsonMedia personality
Chester Doles
Rod DreherExtremist
Dinesh D'SouzaMedia personality
Doug DuceyPoliticianAZ
Aleksandr DuginExtremistRussia
David DukeWhite Supremacist
John EastmanPolitical Operative
Myron EbellPolitical Operative
Election Integrity Project CaliforniaExtremist
Larry EllisonBusinessperson
Cassandra Fairbanks
Jerry Falwell, JrTelevangelist
The FamilyLobbyist
The Federalist SocietyExtremist
Scott FitzgeraldPoliticianWI
Michael FlynnCult Leader
For AmericaPAC
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Fox NewsCorporation
Free Congress Foundation
Freedom CaucusPolitician
Freedom PartnersKochtopus
FreedomWorksExtremist
Matt GaetzPolitician
Kevin GentryKochtopus
Greg GianfortePolitician
Newt GingrichMedia personality
Tim "Baked Alaska" GionetWhite Supremacist
Rudy GiulianiPoliticianNYC
GiveSendGo
Barry GoldwaterPoliticianAZ
Seb GorkaPolitical Operative
Billy Graham
Madison GrantPolitical Operative
Chuck GrassleyPolitician
The Great Awakening
Marjorie Taylor GreeneQAnonGA
Eric GreitensPoliticianMO
Harold HammKochtopus
James Henry HammondExtremist
Warren G. HardingPolitician
Billy James HargisExtremist
Orrin HatchPolitician
Josh HawleyPoliticianMO
Matthew HeimbachExtremist
Jesse HelmsPolitician
Leona Helmsley
Diane HendricksWI
Heritage FoundationThink TankWashington, DC
Honest Elections ProjectExtremist
Herbert HooverPoliticianWashington, DC
Mike HuckabeePolitician
Laura IngrahamMedia personality
Andrew JacksonPoliticianDeceased
John Birch SocietyExtremist
Andrew JohnsonPoliticianDeceased
Chuck JohnsonMedia personality
Ron JohnsonPolitician
Alex JonesMedia personality
Jim JordanPoliticianOH
Judicial Education ProjectExtremist
Islam KarimovOligarchUzbekistan
Alex KaschutaMedia personality
Brett KavanaughJudgeDC
Dr. D. James Kennedy
John F. KennedyPoliticianDeceased
Robert F. KennedyPoliticianDeceased
Anna Khachiyan
Martin Luther KingActivistDeceased
Charlie KirkMedia personality
Walter KirnAuthorMT
KKKWhite Supremacist
Bill KochBusinessperson
Charles KochKochtopusKansas
David KochKochtopusDeceased
Fred KochKochtopusKansas
Frederick KochBusinesspersonNew York
David KoreshCult LeaderWaco, TX
Ku Klux Klan (see KKK)White Supremacist
Kylie Jane Kremer
David LaneWhite Supremacist
Ken LangoneBusinessperson
Lyndon LaRoucheCult Leader
Robert LeFevreKochtopus
Leonard LeoExtremist
Marine Le PenPoliticianFrance
Honor Levy
Liberty Counsel
The Liminal Order
William S. LindPolitical Operative
Kelly LoefflerPoliticianGeorgia
Dana LoeschMedia personality
Sen. Huey LongPoliticianDeceased
Thomas MairExtremist
Paul ManafortLobbyist
Clarence Manion
Blake MastersPoliticianAZ
John McAfeeBusinesspersonDeceased
Sen. Joseph McCarthyPoliticianDeceased
Kevin McCarthyPoliticianCA
Michael McKennaKochtopus
Timothy McVeighExtremistOklahoma City, OK
Andrew MellonBusinessperson
Rebekah MercerOligarch
Robert MercerOligarch
MicroChip
Stephen MillerExtremist
Michael Milken
Cleta MitchellExtremistOK
Semion MogilevichCriminal
Stefan MolyneuxMedia personality
Sun Myung MoonCult Leader
Roy MoorePoliticianAL
JP MorganBusinessperson
Rupert MurdochOligarch
Jack Murphy
Benito Mussolini
MWR StrategiesKochtopus
Dasha Nekrasova
neo-NazisExtremist
Terry NicholsExtremist
Richard NixonPolitician
Ralph NormanPolitician
NRAExtremist
NYPDPublic Sector
Barack ObamaPoliticianChicago, DC, Los Angeles
John M. OlinKochtopus
Viktor OrbanPolitician
The Order
Candace OwensExtremist
Matt ParrottExtremist
Laszlo Pasztor
Norman Vincent PealeBusinessperson
Mike PenceMedia personality
Rick PerryPolitician
Scott PerryPolitician
Jordan B PetersonAcademic
William Pierce
Pioneer Fund
Jeanine PirroMedia personality
Mike PompeoPublic Sector
Jack PosobiecMedia personality
Lewis PowellBusinessperson
Sydney PowellPolitical Operative
Proud BoysExtremist
Thomas PyleBusinessperson
QAnonQAnon
Jean RaspailAuthorFrance
Nancy ReaganMedia personalityDeceased
Ronald ReaganPoliticianDeceased
Kyle Rittenhouse
Pat RobertsonTelevangelist
Dylann Roof
George Romney
Mitt RomneyPoliticianUT
Murray RothbardExtremist
Dave Rubin
Richard Mellon ScaifeKoch Investor
David SchnarePolitical Operative
Stephen Schwarzman
Rick ScottPolitician
Jeff SessionsPoliticianAL
Marc ShortPolitical Operative
Sinclair Broadcasting GroupCorporation
Paul SingerKoch Investor
SNCCNon-profit
Social Contract PressWhite Supremacist
Richard SpencerWhite Supremacist
Balaji SrinivasanBusinessperson
State Policy NetworkKochtopus
Dan SteinWhite Supremacist
Lothrop StoddardWhite Supremacist
Roger StoneLobbyist
Richard StrongBusinessperson
Sen. Robert TaftPolitician
John H. TantonWhite SupremacistMichigan
Tea PartyPAC
Peter ThielBusinesspersonLos Angeles, CA
Clarence ThomasJudgeWashington, DC
Ginni ThomasPolitical OperativeWashington, DC
Three PercentersExtremist
Traditionalist Workers PartyExtremist
Turning Point USAExtremist
UnabomberCriminal
Unification ChurchCult Leader
Unite the RightActivistCharlottesville, NC
University of Texas at AustinAcademicAustin, TX
JD VancePoliticianOH
Ricky Vaughn
Ruben VerastiguiCriminalDC
John VinsonExtremist
George WallacePoliticianAlabama
Joe WalshMedia personality
Kelli WardPoliticianAZ
Ron WatkinsExtremist
Randy WeaverWhite SupremacistNaples, ID
Vicki WeaverWhite SupremacistNaples, ID
WeevWhite Supremacist
Paul WeyrichWhite Supremacist
White Citizens CouncilsWhite Supremacist
Geert Wilders
Darren WilsonPublic Sector
WikiLeaksForeign agent
Milo YiannopoulosMedia personality

Dunning-Kruger Effect

A strong and prevalent cognitive bias that causes a large majority of people to rate themselves more highly and more skilled than statistically possible. Lack of self-awareness can cause us to overestimate our knowledge or ability in a given area, and this phenomenon is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Posited in 1999 by two Cornell psychologists, Professors Dunning and Kruger also found that low-skilled people often have a double bind: they think of themselves as very skilled, but the lack even the basic level of skill that would allow them to detect and learn from their mistakes to get better. It’s very difficult for them to get out of the “trap” of perceiving themselves as superior, thus obviating any need to continue effort at improvements.

They also found that individuals of high skill levels also suffer from a sort of “lensing effect” (now dubbed the Dunning-Kruger Effect accordingly) in terms of their own self-assessment, but in the other direction — they are not generally aware of the rarity of their gifts. They assume most other people have the same kinds of knowledge and critical thinking skills that they do. In other words, careful study of our images of ourselves found us all to be living in a bubble of inaccurate self-perception, on both ends.

How to counteract the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

  • Ask for feedback from other people, and listen to it honestly.
  • Keep learning and gather knowledge and improving your skills.

Top Mental Models

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.

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)
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
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 stageโ€œMetaphorArtsShakespearean metaphor likening culture to a theatrical performance: "And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances ..."โ€”William Shakespeare, As You Like It
Amara's LawTheoryScience & TechnologyWe 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
antifragilityModelEconomicswhen something grows stronger under stress; when there is more upside to downside of experiencing a shock to the system
antimatterTheoryScience & TechnologyAntimatter particles are the precise opposite charge and spin from their matter counterparts, but identical otherwise
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 timeUnsolved MysteryScience & TechnologyAlthough 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
ASCIITermScience & TechnologyAmerican 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, โ€œMorning, boys. Howโ€™s the water?โ€ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, โ€œWhat the hell is water?โ€
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)
asymptotesTermMathThe graph of a curve is approaching a numerical value or limit, but never quite reaches 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.
averagesMethodMatha 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 EffectModelScience & TechnologyAs 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 conversionMathThe 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 FallacyPsychology
base weighting
Bayes' TheoremMethodMathan algebraic method of determining the updated probability of a certain event or case, given new information
bend the kneeMetaphorSocial psychology
betaMethodEconomicsIn finance, a term that refers to investments tracking the broad market performance of an exchange or industry sector
The Big BangTermScience & TechnologyThe massive explosion which spawned our entire universe, back at the beginning of time.
The Big CrunchTheory
binary numbersTermMath
binomial distributionTermStatistics
Binomial TheoremTheoryMath
black holeTheoryPhysics
Black-Scholes modelModelEconomics
Black SwanModelEconomics
blockchainTermScience & TechnologyThe 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 boileg a frog alive by starting with tepid water and slowly turning up the temperature.
bondEconomics
Boyle's LawScientific Law
boundary object
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 & Technology
bystander effectExperimental findingSocial psychology
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 โ€” 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 & Technology
carbon datingMethodScience & TechnologyA way to scientifically determine the age of an object
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 & Technology
categorical dataStatistics
causa-sui projectTheoryPsychology
cellular automataMath
central limit theoremScientific LawStatistics
central tendencyStatistics a 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 & Technology
charlatanPsychologyone who aspires to wealth &/or fame through trickery and deception
Chesterton's FenceModelMetaphor
chilling effectTermHistory
cognitive biasExperimental findingPsychology
collapseModelSystems theory
comparative advantageEconomics
composite eventsStatisticsin probability
compound interestModelEconomics
conditionalsMath
Condorcet Jury TheoremAncient WisdomStatistics
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 & Technology
correlationStatistics
correlation coefficientStatistics
cosineMath
counterfactual
countervailing powerEconomicsEconomist John Kenneth Galbraith's concept for how collective worker power is needed to balance against growing corporatism in the economy
creative destructionEconomics Economist 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" โ€” Tertullian's defense of belief in the miracles attributed to Christ
critical massScience & Technology
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
crowdsourcingSystems theory
cryptocurrencyEconomics
Dark MatterTheoryPhysics
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 treeSystems theory
de minimisLegal precedentLaw
depreciationMethodEconomics
derivativesMath
diminshing marginal utility (DMU)ModelEconomics
directory structureComputers
dispersionStatisticsthe amount of variation within a set of data; how spread out the data points are from each other
distributionsStatistics
divergent thinkingPsychology
diversity
Diversity Prediction Theorem
dividend paymentsEconomicsPeriodic, 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
double helix
doxaSocial psychologycommon belief or opinion
Drake EquationModelScience & Technology1961 estimation of the number of technological civilizations that might exist in the universe, conceived by Dr. Frank Drake
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 LawAncient WisdomPoliticsHolds that plurality-rule elections within single member districts โ€” such as the structure found in the U.S. โ€” 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 caseMetaphor
elasticity; price elasticityEconomicsthe ability of pricing mechanisms to respond quickly or less quickly to changes in prevailing conditions
elasticity of demand
elasticity of supply
electromagnetic spectrumScientific LawScience & Technology
electron cloudModelScience & Technologyrefers 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 riderModelPsychology psychological idea about how our unconscious and semi-conscious desires dominate us, but can be directed by reason (Jonathan Haidt et al)
embargo
Emperor's New ClothesMetaphor
encryptionMath
ensemble learningScience & Technology
entropyScientific LawScience & TechnologyThe disorder of a system increases over time.
epistemologyPhilosophy
e pluribus unumSymbolPoliticsLatin: "one out of many" โ€” 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.
equilibriumScience & Technology
equityEconomics
equity crowdfundingEconomics
error-embracingPsychology
event horizonScientific LawPhysicsA boundary beyond which events cannot affect on observer, such as the edge of a black hole
exception handlingMethodComputer programmingThe 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
existentialism
exit strategyEconomics
externalitiesEconomics
extrapolationStatistics
factorialMath
factum tacendo, crimen facias acriusPhilosophyHe who does not stop a crime is an accomplice.
fact /value problemPhilosophy
fake newsMedia
false positivesScience & Technology
false consensus effectSocial psychology
falsifiabilityScience & Technologyability to be proven untrue; a requirement for a theory to be called scientific
Feynman TechniqueScience & TechnologyA 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 dutyEconomics
fifth columnPoliticsa group who unites in secret to undermine a larger group from within
file systemMetaphorComputers
filter bubbleMetaphorSocial psychology
first principlesPhilosophy
fishing expeditionMetaphor
fitness functionTermScience & Technologyin 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
flรขneurTermArts
force multiplierScience & Technology
fractalsMath
fractional reserve bankingMethodEconomics
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
generalists and specialistsPhilosophy
genetic algorithmsScience & Technologyan 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
GOFAIScience & Technology"Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence" โ€” 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 MeanTheoryPhilosophyAristotelian 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 Wisdom"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 precedent
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 & Technology
hexadecimal numbersTermMathbase 6
heuristicsPsychologyMental shortcuts that we do as a matter of routine, especially when we're stressed or under other types of cognitive constraints.
hormesisScience & TechnologyWhen 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 & Technology
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
inflationEconomics
inflection pointMathThe point of a curve at which a change in the direction of the curve occurs.
interestModelEconomics
interest rateEconomics
internal rate of return (IRR)Economics
Internet of Things (IoT)TermScience & Technology
intersectionMath
interventionismSocial psychology
IP addressesTermScience & Technology
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
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 stateโ€œ
leverageEconomics
lifeboat ethicsPhilosophyPhilosophy
light-weight processComputers
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 factorSystems 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 tailTheoryStatisticsIn 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 EinsteinsTheoryhttp://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 territoryMetaphorMetaphor
margin of errorStatistics
marginal benefitEconomics
marginal costEconomics
marginal returnsEconomics
marginal utilityEconomics
market shareEconomics
Markov chainTermMath
Maslow's Hierarchy of needsModelPsychology
meanTermStatisticsthe 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
medianTermStatistics
Median Voter TheoremTheoryPolitics
megalopsychonPhilosophyPhilosophyConcept in Aristotelian ethics of living with grandeur and taking risks with dignity; being nonsmall
mens reaLegal precedentLaw"guilty mind" โ€” establishing the intent of a perp can help to establish criminal liability
mercantilismTheoryEconomics
meritocracyModelSystems theory
metaphysicsPhilosophyPhilosophy
mirror neuronsExperimental finding
modeTermStatistics
monopolyEconomicsMarket condition in which there exists only one seller of a resource
monopsonyEconomicsMarket condition in which there exists only one buyer of a resource
Moore's LawTheoryScience & TechnologyNamed 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 hazardEconomicswhen 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.
Nash EquilibriumTheoryMath
nasty, brutish, and shortAncient WisdomPhilosophy
natural lawsScience & Technology
natural selectionScientific LawScience & Technology
necessity is the mother of inventionCommon WisdomMyth/Metaphor
negative externalitiesEconomics
neomaniaSocial psychologylove of the modern for its own sake
neural netTermScience & Technology
net present value (NPV)ModelEconomics
neuroplasticityScience & Technology
Newton's first lawScientific LawPhysicsan object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted upon by a force
Newton's second lawScientific LawPhysicsF = ma, or an object of mass m feeling a force F will accelerate by an amount a
nodesTermMath
noosphereData scienceSphere of human thought โ€” all interacting minds on earth. An early 1900s concept from Teilhard de Chardin
nominal figuresEconomics
nonlinearityMath
Normal distributionScientific LawStatistics
normal goodsEconomics
normalized weighted averageStatistics
normative and descriptivePhilosophy
noumenaPhilosophy
novus ordo seclorumSymbolGovernmentA new order for the ages; Latin phrase seen on the dollar bill
null hypothesisMethodScience
observer effectExperimental findingScience
Ockham's RazorTheoryPhilosophyA philosophical rule of thumb that favors the simplest explanation. Also known as the "law of parsimony"
octal numbersMathbase 8
oligopolyEconomics
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
outlierModelStatistics
paradoxModel
paragonModelCultureA standard against which something can be judged โ€” an exemplar example of a thing
path dependent
pax RomanaLegal precedentHistory
pearls before swineMetaphorMyth/Metaphor
P/E RatioMethodEconomicsPrice to earnings ratio: standard measure of relative stock performance
permutationsMath
Peter PrincipleTheorySystems theory
phase shiftScience
philosopher kings
Philosopher's StoneUnsolved Mystery
phonemes
plant a seedMetaphor
Platonic formsModel
PlatonicityPhilosophyadherence to crisp abstract theory & forms that blind us to the mess of actual reality
Plato's CaveModelPhilosophyallegory in The 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 returnMetaphorMyth/Metaphor
pollingMethodStatistics
Pollyanna PrincipleModelPsychologytendency 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 โ€” to appease the operators who wish it so โ€” 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)Economics
probabilityMath
probability distributionStatistics
Procrustean bedMetaphorPhilosophy
profitEconomics
propagandaSocial 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 cause
proxy warPolitics
pseudoscience
PTSDPsychology
punctuated equilibriumModelScience & Technology
Pygmalian EffectSocial psychology
Pyrrhic victoryMetaphorMyth/Metaphor
quantum computingScience
quantum entanglementTheoryPhysics
qubitScience
quid pro quoLegal precedentLaw
quota
r > qThomas 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 avisMyth/Metaphor"rare bird" in Latin
rate of returnEconomics
realismPhilosophy
recursionMethodMath
red shiftPhysics
reductio ad absurdoPhilosophycollapsing things too far, in a way that destroys real significance
reductio ad finemPhilosophyTo analyze to the end โ€” break the concept down into its conponent parts.
redundancySystems 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
resilienceSystems theoryability to bounce back into shape after having been pressed or stretched; elasticity. The ability to recover quickly.
respice finem"consider that you will die" โ€” i.e. live life as you would in order to be proud of it by the time it's over
res publicaGovernmentpertaining to the state
retrodiction
revenueEconomics
riskLegal precedentEconomics
risk-weighted assets (RWAs)Economics
root cause
roundingMath
rounding errorMath
run on the bank
samplingMethodStatistics
samsaraReligion
scarcityEconomics
Schelling's Tipping Model
search intentTermMedia
second-order thinking
selection biasExperimental findingPsychology
self-governancePhilosophy
set theoryMath
ship of TheseusMetaphorMyth/Metaphor
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
sineTermMath
sine waveTermPhysics
singularityTheoryPhysics
SIR modelModelSciencecontagious disease modelling based on possible patient states (susceptible, infected, recovered)
site navigationMethodMedia
six degrees of separationTheoryStatistics
six sigmaMethodMotorola-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 preparedness
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.
skewStatistics
skin in the gameAncient WisdomEconomics
slope of a lineMath
social contractPhilosophyPhilosophyProfoundly 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
speech act theoryTheoryPhilosophyBritish philosopher J.L.Austin's concept that all uses of speech carry a performative aspect
speed of light (c)Scientific LawPhysicsapprox. 300 million meters per second
Single point of failure (SPoF)TermA part of a system that, when it fails, brings down the entire rest of the system or stops it from working properly
spreadStatistics
standard deviationStatistics
standing wavesTerm
stare decisisLegal precedentLaw"it has been decided" โ€” terminology used by a judge or court to indicate that the matter before them has already been decided by a previous ruling
status quoCulture
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 theoryreinforcing loop within complex system โ€” especially economies โ€” 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 โ€” some posit cruelty as this ultimate evil
supply and demandModelEconomics
supply chainTermEconomics
sword of DamoclesMetaphor
symmetric encryptionTerm
tabula rasaBlank slate
tachyonPhysicshypothetical particle that travels faster than the speed of light
tangentMath
tariff
tempus edax rerumAncient WisdomArts"Time devours everything." โ€” 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
time dilationThought ExperimentPhysics
time series dataMethodStatisticsA collection of measurements taken over time that create a graph when plotted.
time value of moneyTheoryEconomics
tipping pointModelSystems theory
too many cooks in the kitchenMetaphor
touchstoneMetaphorMyth/MetaphorA black stone once used to judge the purity of gold or silver โ€” 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 commonsTheorySystems theoryAn 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.
transitivityTermMath
trolly problemThought ExperimentPhilosophy
turtles all the way downTheoryPhilosophy
twin paradoxThought ExperimentPhysics
tyranny of choiceTheorySystems theory
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
utilityPhilosophy
varianceTermStatistics
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 diagramModelStatistics
via negativaMethodPhilosophyindirect 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
wave functionScientific LawPhysics
wave-particle dualityTheoryPhysics
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 scenarioModelMyth/Metaphor
zero sum gameModelMath
z scoreTermStatistics

Tulsa Race Massacre

On May 31, 1921, a mob of murderous whites descended on the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma dubbed Black Wall Street, and razed it to the ground. They dropped homemade bombs in the first ever domestic aerial attack on American soil, during the Tulsa Race Massacre following the end of World War I.

Over three hundred Blacks were murdered and hastily buried or burned. Police and other state officials were complicit; no one was ever charged for the crimes and insurance companies refused to honor Black business owner’s claims from the destruction of their livelihood and senseless slaughter of their friends, families, and community. A generation of wealth was wiped out overnight, with deep economic repercussions passing down to ensuing descendants.

Whitewashing, literally

The Confederates managed to memory hole the Tulsa Race Massacre event clean out of history for the most part, until the 100-year anniversary of the event — arriving at a time of perhaps maximum racial polarization and most extreme partisanship in this country since the civil rights era. Nor is it the only example of mass murder and destruction of Black property and assets — there are plenty others we’ve never heard about in school. That’s why it’s so important to bear witness, and to remember, and to tell and retell the stories of our past — even the painful ones. Especially the painful ones.

Lost Cause religion

The whitewashing of the Civil War to assuage white Southern guilt, Lost Cause refers to the historical gaslighting of the former Confederates. New mythology reinvented our nation’s greatest internal conflict as if it had been more of a technocratic war over states’ rights and the limits of federal power, instead of the truth — which is that the seditionists first seceded, then started a war against the northern states, to preserve their right to own human beings as slaves.

When they lost the war, they never accepted defeat, or put down their conviction that white people (conveniently, them) ought to “naturally” rule over the dark people (conveniently, not them) because, you know, God said so. It is known. Many people are saying.

The Ghost Confederacy

Nevertheless, the South did have to put up with the ignomy of federal occupation for several years before they were able to expel the godless globalists and return to their safe, secure, sadistic ways of slavering. It sent the Confederates’ sense of wounded pride soaring when they could finally recreate slavery under other names, after the short-lived era of Reconstruction gave way to the terrifying age of southern “Redemption.”

Peonage, convict leasing, sharecropping, and other forms of neoslavery persisted all the way through at least 1954, when the Sumter slavery case was one of the last judicial prosecutions of involuntary servitude in the United States.

1954.

The Confederacy, and with it the idea of Black servitude, stayed alive in the hearts and minds of the former Confederates — many of whom were pardoned and later went on to sit in Congress making decisions about the direction of the “union,” all the while harboring seditious views, biding their time, and awaiting the next opportunity to viciously strike. This sort of “fantasy football” fanfic version of a hallucinatory alternate history where the South won the Civil War is not just alarming, but very very dangerous.

That the Confederates were given only light slaps on the wrist before being allowed to reassume the mantle of legitimate power is bad enough. But worse — they lashed white supremacy to the mast of white southern Christianity in efforts to shore them both up, forever interweaving and corrupting a certain strain of red state Evangelical zealotry into something consciously or unconsciously celebrating white supremacy and harboring fever dreams of a white theocracy in America.

Bullies

How to deal with bullies

Or, DADA vs. MAGA. Defense Against the Dark Arts was like the women’s self-defense class of Hogwarts — it taught you how to prepare yourself for the evil that was out there lurking and waiting for you out there. This course of DADA will follow suit, aiming to offer ways to detect, defend, and defeat the cultism rising in America and beyond.

It will be a work in progress over time, so please bear with me as I assemble learnings from a number of sources.

Red Flags: Traits to watch out for

  • evasiveness
    • vagueness
    • slipperiness
    • can’t be pinned down
    • won’t answer straightforward questions
  • denialism
  • cognitive dissonance
    • doublespeak
    • paleologic
    • word salad
    • contradictions
    • nonsense
  • black and white thinking
    • “my way or the highway”
    • rigid and inflexible, even when obviously off the mark
    • all or nothing framing
    • narrow range of observations
  • motivated reasoning
  • deceptiveness
  • easily angered
    • almost anything seems to trigger them

Attention: Take Back Control of Our Minds

The internet, social media, seemingly infinite channels of entertainment and franchises in gaming are but tips of the giant iceberg that now competes for our time and attention. The number of options to choose from has scaled exponentially over the past several decades — but our amount of time to spend has not increased whatsoever. If anything, it’s decreased