Notes from 6. Caylan Ford

Here are the show notes from my conversation with Caylan Ford. As always, the actual minute will be around 1 -2 minutes later than usual. So if you want to hear about Caylan’s preference for milk oolong green tea, it won’t be at 0:00 but rather at 1:30 or 2:00 ish.

If you’d like to do some reading on the texts that she ent which turned into a complete nightmare, they’re pretty easy to find by googling her name. If you would like to hear her side of the story and her defence, listen to this podcast by Lawton (which is nearly a year old now) or this podcast from Hugging the Cactus. In my opinion, Hugging the Cactus is better because it provides more context than Lawton’s.

0:00 – Caylan’s non-alcoholic beverage of choice: milk oolong green tea. Was the Aztec’s prediction that the world would end in 2012 just 8 years too soon? 

2:00 – Is 2020 worse than the 1960s and the 1920s? Yes. Yes it is. Why?

4:00 – Technology, the conditions for totalitarians coming into power, Hannah Arendt, the atomized individual, our thinning civil institutions, Liberalism’s failings, technological bubbles, being unable to just sit down and read because of technology, twitter’s impact on thought and book readings, hyperlinks on an article, digital hygiene, Cal Newport’s Deep Work. 

15:00 – Liberalism tries to free everyone, but liberty is a means, not an end. We’ll just become more dependent on and enslaved by bureaucracies and technologies. A better system? Conservatism? Tradition? 

20:00 – Wokeness is becoming the religion of America to replace Christianity (see Toqueville). Liberalism only works when people share moral view and purpose of life. Otherwise, it’s just an unending dispute. Perfecting the system will not extricate suffering and inequity in the world. That’s totalitarian. Science can’t answer moral questions, so it’s dangerous if we all hold science in the highest regard. Facts and moral truths were bound together up until the 19thcentury. You can’t reason your way to moral truths and fundamental principles. 

27:30 – China. COVID-19 and Hong Kong. Meng Wanzhou. Their responsibility in letting COVID-19 spread, how they’re using it to spread acceptance across the globe. Our responsibility for how China is still an authoritarian place. We shouldn’t have thought they would change from communist to lib dem. They bungled the masks and PPE equipment, so their soft power sucked. Canada’s relationship with China – we have more leverage! Closed door talks vs. public pressure. The BURN process. Michael Kovrig’s situation is an outrage. The Magnitsky Act, but for China. 

42:00 – Ben Woodfinden, Adrian Vermeule, Jordan Perkins. What value does political philosophy have? Hobbes vs. Rousseau, arguing with roommates. Solution: study history and the implementation of these ideas. Read Arendt, and Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. The Tragedy of Liberation by Frank Dikötter, Dostoyevsky’s Deamons. Political philosophy brings us back to moral philosophy – a person must set his soul in order first towards truth, beauty and goodness. Daniel Chirot. 

48:30 – What would you say to the rioters in the US? There is unfairness in the world, religion is just social control, there’s no order in the world. If only the systems could be gotten right! The Russian Revolution used to be in Alberta’s curriculum. Solzhenitsyn quote. Constrain the evil you have in your heart. Trying to eradicate suffering through fixing systems lead to harm. Faith in the hereafter means you can bear suffering better and allows for there to be transcendent justice. It also brings you peace

55:30 – No transcendent order? Then you enter a place where truth and morality just becomes a function of power, as Voeglin agrees. Hume – morality is based on reason or on feeling. Reason fails because there is no objective proof of it. So it must then be based in experience. The passions are the cause. So Hume: what satisfies the passions = good. Issue: your view of what is happy is deviant if you think killing kittens is moral. 

1:01:00 – People who don’t believe in the transcendent either become hedonistic nihilists or totalitarians. But what if there’s no proof for it? No proof for a standard of truth or beauty? Solution: take a quarter leap of faith. Faith is the opposite of empiricism – you take things to be true, and then the truth reveals itself. You likely can’t live a life of meaning without faith.

1:08:00 – The IDW, their tolerance for ideas, but the weaknesses of tolerance. Respectful dialogue across partisan lines. Today, we aren’t seeing people in good faith anymore. For eg. cancel culture. People won’t speak out loud if they get destroyed after saying something. How someone used Caylan’s private conversations to frame her as a white supremacist. 

1:15:00 – But as long as there are people of good faith are out there, we’ll be okay. New platforms are good. Journalists are useless intermediaries now because they are just another filter, possibly ideological. Another solution for the intellectual intolerance: humility. Caylan refused to talk down to voters; elected responded positively as a result. But journalists and politicians just speak in soundbites now because anything else is too dangerous. 

1:23:00 – The NDP, Press Progress. People were more charitable were journalists. Many were willing to even change their vote for Caylan because of her unfair defenestration. The UCP did not have reliable information to know how well they’d do after Caylan. 

1:26:00 – How do you consult your conscience clearly, without bias, when there’s a mob at your door and/or when there’s harm done? People definitely felt anguish from reading what the articles said. Caylan’s method: first, what was your intent? Second, if harm was caused nonetheless, who or what caused the harm? Caylan did not have evil intentions and the harm was caused more by the newspapers and the falsifiers. The mob isn’t interested in dialogue, they’re not going to accept you back into society, so apologizing won’t make it better. Lying = moral debasement. Don’t lie by apologizing. Andrew Lawton’s podcast with Caylan (I recommend it!).

1:37:00 – Cancel culture is unjust. The harm is not proportional to the reputation destruction. No due process, but also no free speech! You can’t speak if people are recording your conversations. Cancel culture demoralizes people, and rewards outrage. Solution: ask yourself what is just, what serves your integrity, and do that. Moral first principles. Eugene’s solution: assume everyone is recording you, grow thicker skin, and then continue speaking nonetheless. Mobs are there to humiliate and dominate you; they don’t want to help you fix your soul. Be antifragile instead. (the question I accidentally edited out was “have you read Antifragile by Taleb?”)

1:47:00 – Thucidydes’ quote: Thus every form of iniquity took root in the Hellenic countries by reason of the troubles. The ancient simplicity into which honour so largely entered was laughed down and disappeared; and society became divided into camps in which no man trusted his fellow. To put an end to this, there was neither promise to be depended upon, nor oath that could command respect; but all parties dwelling rather in their calculation upon the hopelessness of a permanent state of things, were more intent upon self-defence than capable of confidence. 

1:50:00 – Your reputation can be taken away. But other things cannot be taken away, like your dignity and self-respect. And this will let you live life further. Caylan’s new podcast and her SEO results. Book Recommendations: Eric Voeglin’s Order and History, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism. Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel, and Plato’s Gorgias, The Republic, Euthypro, Phaedo. Popper is wrong about Plato. Caylan’s own story of her rise, tragic fall, and redemption fits closely with the Gorgias. Caylan’s inspiring summary of the Gorgias – it is better to die a just man than live as an unjust man. 

The Caylan test: first, what was your intent? Second, if harm was caused nonetheless, who or what caused the harm? Third, (and I am reading this in), apologize to those who wish to continue a relationship with you; not those who wish to dominate and humiliate you.  

Caylan refused to talk down to voters; elected responded positively as a result. But journalists and politicians just speak in soundbites now because anything else is too dangerous. Many were willing to even change their vote for Caylan because of her unfair defenestration.

We’ll just become more dependent on and enslaved by bureaucracies and technologies. Liberalism only works when people share moral view and purpose of life. We shouldn’t have thought they would change from communist to lib dem. 

Political philosophy brings us back to moral philosophy – a person must set his soul in order first towards truth, beauty and goodness. Constrain the evil you have in your heart. Trying to eradicate suffering through fixing systems lead to harm. 

The solution to Hume: take a quarter leap of faith. Faith is the opposite of empiricism – you take things to be true, and then the truth reveals itself. You likely can’t live a life of meaning without faith. Faith in the hereafter means you can bear suffering better and allows for there to be transcendent justice. It also brings you peace

Cancel culture is unjust. The harm is not proportional to the reputation destruction. No due process, but also no free speech! But other things cannot be taken away, like your dignity and self-respect. And this will let you live life further

Published by efernandes

I blog now.

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