Science Salon
Science Salon
Oct 20, 2020
139. Shelby Steele — Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country & the film What Killed Michael Brown?
1 hr 38 min

The United States today is hopelessly polarized; the political Right and Left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s—when we came together as a nation to fight for equality and universal justice—remains unfulfilled.

As Shelby Steele reveals in Shame, the roots of this impasse can be traced back to that decade of protest, when in the act of uncovering and dismantling our national hypocrisies—racism, sexism, militarism—liberals internalized the idea that there was something inauthentic, if not evil, in the America character. Since then, liberalism has been wholly concerned with redeeming modern America from the sins of the past, and has derived its political legitimacy from the premise of a morally bankrupt America. The result has been a half-century of well-intentioned but ineffective social programs, such as Affirmative Action. Steele reveals that not only have these programs failed, but they have in almost every case actively harmed America’s minorities and poor. Ultimately, Steele argues, post-60s liberalism has utterly failed to achieve its stated aim: true equality. Liberals, intending to atone for our past sins, have ironically perpetuated the exploitation of this country’s least fortunate citizens. Approaching political polarization from a wholly new perspective, Steele offers a rigorous critique of the failures of liberalism and a cogent argument for the relevance and power of conservatism.

Shermer and Steele discuss:

  • 30th anniversary of his book The Content of Our Character, and what has changed in race relations in America in those 30 years?
  • Steele’s response to President Johnson’s famous quote:

    “Freedom is not enough. You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him; bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”
  • why “The promised land guarantees nothing. It is only an opportunity, not a deliverance.”,
  • literal truths vs. poetic truths and power:

    “What actually happened was that liberalism turned to poetic truth when America’s past sins were no longer literally true enough to support liberal policies and the liberal claim on power. The poetic truth of black victimization seeks to compensate for America’s moral evolution. It tries to keep alive the justification for liberal power even as that justification has been greatly nullified by America’s moral development.”

     

  • political correctness is the enforcement arm of poetic truth,
  • black families & fatherless homes,
  • white guilt,
  • race fatigue,
  • reparations,
  • anti-racism,
  • achievement gap,
  • Princeton racism letter,
  • race and IQ,
  • SAT tests,
  • BLM and the nuclear family,
  • training and sensitivity programs.

Shermer and Steele also discuss his new film, produced with his son Eli Steele, titled What Killed Michael Brown?

Steele:

“We human beings never use race except as a means to power. Race is never an end. It is always a means, and it has no role in human affairs except as a corruption.”

“America’s original sin is not slavery. It is simply the use of race as a means to power. Whether for good or ill, race is a corruption. Always. And it always turns one group into the convenience of another group.”

“Liberalism’s great sin was to steal responsibility for black problems away from black people, leaving them vulnerable to destructive social forces, such as the drug epidemic of the 70s and 80s. It was the suffering of blacks that justified liberalism’s demand for power, but this only relegates blacks to permanent victimhood and alienates them from the power to uplift themselves.”

Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Winner of the Bradley Prize and a National Humanities Medal and the author of the National Book Critics Circle award-winning The Content of Our Character, Steele lives in the Central Coast of California.

New Discourses
New Discourses
New Discourses
The Next Chapter of the American Story
Human beings think in stories. We understand ourselves and the world, societies, social groups, and contexts we live in that way. One type of story is a national story, and in this episode of the New Discourses podcast, James Lindsay makes the case that Americans have, by and large, forgotten the totality of their own story. This has happened by placing too much focus and too much emphasis on one valuable and important part of the American story, which is equality. All men are, in fact, created equal, at least so far as liberal ethics should understand men, but this part of the American story exists in some tension with the other parts, especially the liberty part of the story, which is threatened by an overemphasis on equality in the same way that equality is threatened by an overemphasis on liberty. The truth is, even on a perfectly equal playing field, liberty will produce unequal outcomes because people will behave in unequal ways, and this form of inequality of outcome is just, even if inequality of opportunity isn't. In this podcast, Lindsay argues that Americans have mistaken the equality part of their story for the whole story, and in that the equality part of their story has been largely but not perfectly fulfilled, Americans now find themselves retelling the story in ever more tendentious ways, including Critical Social Justice. That is, Americans, in seeking to understand themselves against their own story, which they have misunderstood, are telling a kind of genre fiction on the equality story, trying to resurrect its themes in new ways to give themselves meaning and personal and social context. The Critical Social Justice, or Woke, story is comprehensible as a certain type of genre fiction on the equality portion of the American story, one that inverts the very values it claims to espouse in the pursuit not of further equality but of equity, which is a type of enforced equality of outcomes, regardless of behavior, talent, and merit. In the end Lindsay urges Americans to remember the totality of their story: liberty and equality in balance with one another, government with the consent of the governed, and a place, at least one place in the world, where these values can be kept alive. The American story has not been fulfilled, although it is not necessarily clear what its next chapters are. This podcast hopes to start finding the next parts of the American story. In that, Lindsay urges that Americans today are called to be keepers of the flame of liberty in a society that values and has, in largest part, achieved equality. They are also encouraged to offer their balanced model of federalism and anti-federalism, individual and national sovereign liberty, in this case, to the world as globalism increases with technology. Should the world refuse, Americans should not turn their backs on their story but should, instead, keep the flame of Americanism burning bright for any who should want it. Support New Discourses: paypal.me/newdiscourses patreon.com/newdiscourses subscribestar.com/newdiscourses youtube.com/channel/UC9K5PLkj0N_b9JTPdSRwPkg/join Website: newdiscourses.com Follow: facebook.com/newdiscourses twitter.com/NewDiscourses instagram.com/newdiscourses pinterest.com/newdiscourses/ linkedin.com/company/newdiscourses minds.com/newdiscourses reddit.com/r/NewDiscourses Podcast: @newdiscourses podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/new-…es/id1499880546 play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#…nzwvdjjpd6gg3cmuy open.spotify.com/show/0HfzDaXI5L4LnJQStFWgZp stitcher.com/podcast/new-discourses © 2020 New Discourses. All rights reserved.
55 min
Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking
Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking
The Long Now Foundation
Roman Krznaric: Becoming a Better Ancestor
Tune in at 11:00am PT on 10/28/20 to watch & share the live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Long Now Live. Human beings have an astonishing evolutionary gift: agile imaginations that can shift in an instant from thinking on a scale of seconds to a scale of years or even centuries. The need to draw on our capacity to think long-term has never been more urgent, whether in areas such as public health care, to deal with technological risks, or to confront the threats of an ecological crisis. What can we do to overcome the tyranny of the now? The drivers of short-termism threaten to drag us over the edge of civilizational breakdown, while ways to think long-term are drawing us towards a culture of longer time horizons and responsibility for the future of humankind. Creating a cognitive toolkit for challenging our obsession with the here and now offers conceptual scaffolding for answering one of the most important questions of our time: How can we be good ancestors? ---Roman Krznaric Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His newest book on the history and future of long-term thinking is The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking. Other books include Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, which have been published in more than 20 languages. Krznaric founded the traveling Empathy Museum and is especially interested in the challenges of how we extend empathy to future generations. Roman Krznaric is also a Long Now Research Fellow.
1 hr 24 min
Regenerative Agriculture Podcast
Regenerative Agriculture Podcast
John Kempf
Reversing Soil Degradation with Dwayne Beck
Dr. Dwayne Beck is well known for being one of the pioneers of no-till agriculture in central South Dakota and across the High Plains. For more than three decades, Dr. Beck has been creating comprehensive systems for both irrigated and dryland crop production throughout the region, educating growers on the power of crop rotation, diversity, and other regenerative practices. He currently serves as the Research Manager at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, a non-profit made up of farmers committed to sustainable land practices. On today’s episode, John and Dwayne discuss: * Dwayne’s background and his earlier work assisting local growers with their irrigation systems * The continuing decline of the Ogallala Aquifer and how water infiltration can be improved by implementing no-till agricultural practices. * Addressing the often-overlooked aspects of irrigation, such as percolation and water delivery, and how it affects soil health. * Dwayne’s observations on lake bottom soils, the power of macropores, and the prevalence of summer fallowing in the High Plains. * Utilizing de-percolation strategies to maintain proper nutrient levels in your soil. * Using competition, sanitation, and rotation to control weeds, diseases and insects. * Dwayne’s historical research on nutrient cycling and fertilizer placement. * Dwayne offers up a broader historical perspective on how agriculture, human nature, and mother nature work together. * A discussion on why moving to no-till options for all crops including potatoes, carrots and sugar beets are engineering and genetics problems. * The shared vision, but much different methods, between regenerative agriculture vs. organic agriculture.
1 hr 16 min
The Abundant Edge
The Abundant Edge
Abundant Edge
Working with nature to build soil health, with Robert Pavlis
After last week’s session with Matt Powers, I want to add a second perspective on soil and the new science behind how we can restore it to health in our own gardens. For that perspective I got back in touch with Robert Pavlis who was first on this show a few seasons ago to talk about building natural ponds. Robert has been an avid gardener for over four decades. He is the owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a 6-acre botanical garden that features over 3,000 varieties of plants. As a specialist in soil science, he has been an instructor for Landscape Ontario and is a garden blogger, writer, and chemist. He teaches gardening fundamentals at the University of Guelph and garden design for the City of Guelph, Ontario, where he lives. One of the things I most appreciate about Robert’s work is that he’s not afraid to challenge any entrenched gardening belief or myth. He is always looking to get to the bottom of what helps plants to grow and what’s just marketing scams.  In this episode we really dive in deep on the fundamentals of soil composition and understanding the nutrients that plants need to thrive. We talk about looking at soil as an ecosystem unto itself rather than a living material, and why striving for ideal soil is not as important as making sure that you have the components necessary for the life inside it.  Robert also helps me to understand what happens in the ground after tillage, mulching, and other amendments. We go over simple tests you can do to diagnose your soil without special equipment or needing to pay for laboratory testing, and by the end, how to use the results of those tests to develop your own personalized soil plan.  This episode alone is like a short but thorough course on soil health, so you might want to keep a notebook handy.  For those of you who want to really expand your knowledge on soil science, I’ve teamed up with New Society Publishers to give away a free copy of this book. If you want to win a copy of Soil Science for Gardeners, just message me through our dedicated facebook group called Abundant Edge weekly regenerative skills and write a post about why you want to amend the soil on your site. I’ll select a winner one week after this episode comes out and send a hard copy of the book to you if you live in the US or Canada or a digital copy if you live anywhere else in the world. It’s that simple, plus you’ll be joining an incredible group of listeners like you who are sharing their regenerative living journey and learning experiences with the community.  Resources: https://abundantedge.com/abundantedge-robert-pavlis/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJfYCNSWCIuOB2sltDh5ZjQ https://www.robertpavlis.com/books/ https://www.gardenmyths.com/ https://www.gardenmyths.com/garden-myths-book-1/ https://newsociety.com/books/s/soil-science-for-gardeners https://www.atitlanorganics.com/online-permaculture-design-certification
1 hr 17 min
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
Jack Symes | Andrew Horton, Oliver Marley, Gregory Miller
Episode 89, Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground (Part I - The Life of Fyodor Dostoevsky)
Introduction I write this in secret, hoping that these notes be passed on outside Russia. The author of the diary and the diary itself may, of course, be imaginary. Nevertheless, it is clear that such persons as the Underground Man do exist in our society. We have tried to expose him to the public but so far there has been no luck. If only people knew of the power of the Underground. He is one of the representatives of a generation still living, a generation waiting patiently for the right moment. His notes were discovered long after his passing, written on tatty paper in cheap ink, covered in cigarette burns and dust…. Don’t listen to the ants who would rather slave over the anthill than accept the truth. These notes are yours now, spread them to every corner of the globe. Long live the Underground! Contents Part I. The Life of Fyodor Dostoevsky Part II. Underground Part III. Apropos of the Wet Snow Part IV. Body and Blood Part V. Further Analysis and Discussion Links Notes from Underground, Dostoevsky (pdf). Teaching Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature (book). Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time (Joseph Frank). The Case against Rational Egoism in Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, James P. Scanlan (paper). Symbolism of Rats and Mice in Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, Michael Haltresht (paper). Notes from Underground, Dostoevsky - Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (book).
52 min
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