Models matter, just like details matter. Good models can provide insight into mechanisms and into directions for better predictive utility and better responses to problems which we encounter in the world.
Engineering models give us airplanes that mostly don’t crash, cars that mostly get to their destinations, bridges that mostly don’t fall down, sewer and water systems that mostly keep us healthy, elevators that mostly don’t drop us to our deaths, and civil infrastructure systems that keep us alive in spite of much of our stupidity.
Good models also help us figure out better solutions when things don’t work the way we were expecting, when things go wrong. And in the hard disciplines, at least, the people who make and use the models are held accountable for the results when the models fail.
Unfortunately, outside of the hard sciences and engineering, where reality matters and failure usually results in blood on the floor, many models often fall short of replicating and predicting the full spectrum of reality.
But what’s really going on here … in this rant? This whole Post reflects MY model of reality … can I back it up with research? No. Can I make real world predictions based on this model? Yes, most of the time this model predicts quite effectively the coming course of events … BUT … and its a BIG BUT! This is just MY model about what I perceive as other faulty models. What makes my model right?
In spite of being somewhat successful at predicting it fails utterly in telling me anything about motives, malice, intentions, thoughts, and desires on the part of those individuals who collectively make up the “Herd”. All those are MY sins resulting from MY model. I am judgemental and self centered, I feel good about myself because “I am just so bright”. My ego gets stroked every time my model proves accurate. My model is all about me.
The Global Warming Environmental Model and the now infamous “Hockey Stick graph is now “settled science” depending on who you talk to and what their agenda is.
But that hugely flawed model continues to wreak havoc and cause untold misery for millions of regular folks every day.
And I judge and attribute intent and malice because of my model, but I don’t really have any data on motive and intent.
Keynesian Economic Models are still robustly defended in all government and management circles despite massive evidence to the contrary which was front and center from every source after the great “Too Big To Fail” financial meltdown of 2008. And, again, I judge and attribute intent and malice because of my model, but, again, I don’t really have any data on motive and intent.
Then there are the multitude of Political Models of various persuasions, and the Social and Anthropological models of how society works, how humans work together in groups.
And, of course, my model gives rise to the question of “How can people be so crazy and stupid as to vote for (fill in your favorite enemy party)? They don’t agree with me, therefore they must be wrong, right?
Curiously, when these models fail to reflect reality no one seems to be responsible, no one is held accountable for the failure of the model and the often deadly results (see the Guidelines link below)
Outside of the hard sciences like Engineering, few are held accountable when the latest soft model fails to produce as advertised.
People die, and huge amounts of resources are pissed away chasing fantasies based on models which have only a passing connection to any real research and development and testing. Well, this is pretty obvious in my model, but how do I know that as fact?
You have doubts? You need more data to see the validity of my model? How about just one example for now: the Beta-Blocker fraud … check out this article for a starting place:
“I would replace the word ‘May’ with these two words ‘almost certainly.’ You would think, would you not, that if any other event in the world, at any time, had killed eight hundred thousand people, this would be front page headlines around the world for weeks, probably months, maybe even years.
The reality is, I am willing to bet, that you have never even heard of this gigantic scandal. It will not have appeared in any national television programme, or newspaper. The blogosphere is also, almost totally silent.”
“Ideological” models permit and encourage divergence of action and activities from truth and natural law into fantasy. “We hold these truths to be self evident” is manifestly false today for many people, perhaps even most people, because our morally relativistic “Ideological models” say otherwise, that there are no truths so they can’t be self evident.
Ideological models encourage paradoxical fantasies about how things would be “if only” … how things “should be” in order to conform with whatever the protagonists, the brights and elites, the legislators, the advocates, want to do onto others in the real world … supporting their desire to indulge in the latest fashionable “deviance du jour”.
One small example of this moral relativism in action is the vast tide of “government money” and “Human Rights” legislation now being poured into advancing the politically correct agenda of the Rainbow Coalition.
Of course, this is what my model predicts and from this I, in my egotistical, self centered wisdom, draw conclusions leading me to attributions about people’s motivations and thoughts that are really only known to God.
There a lot of problems with models … Weather models (global warming), Economic models (Keynesian), Health models (Beta-Blockers or Cancer causes), Political models (Liberal or Democratic or Conservative ), Ideological models (Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Genderism, Progressive Humanism, Monarchy, Theocracy).
Simplification, Elegance and Spin are more important than facts and truth, remove all distractions that detract from the objective and argument being presented, Elegant Theory is more desirable than Messy Reality.
My model sees everywhere serious compromises of the primary predictive purpose of models in favour of theoretical elegance, simplicity of presentation, and punchy delivery. All these polished models are divorced from real-world relevance in favour of establishing and increasing individual wealth and power. That’s how the 30 second sound bite model stacks up … in my model … which of course is the only correct model, right? What about “Judge not, lest you be judged by the same standard”?
Hypothetical premise – opening statement:
“In the West, “Government” was once a “higher calling”, for example Marcus Aurelius, or Thomas More. But the line of Lords weakened and failed, the torch has fallen to lesser men “the Stewards of Gondor”. Government and Public Administration have become the least rewarding of all fields of endeavor. As a result, government attracts only the most fearful and mediocre players and workers“.
Hmmm … in my model, there is no apparent opposition to the hypothesis … must be true then, right?
Our government seems to attract career drones … those lacking vision, capacity for thought, and unable to succeed elsewhere, or unable to gain employment in other fields. Drones are remotely controlled, lacking in autonomy and intelligence, simply following orders.
Whether from lack of freedom or lacking the confidence to strike out on their own, they “middle of the road” everything. Everything and anything can be seen and presented as acceptable in the right light, with the right “spin”. My model, again.
Government and administration, aka “Management” seems to attract those who would rather remain a part of the faceless herd, faceless but powerful in their anonymity, secretive gang members operating in “Nacht und Neble”.
My model again. So what if the historic facts support this model, it is still just my model, right? See the moral relativism image above.
Hmmm, well who else seems to share my model as their model? This is called “Appeal to Authority”. I validate my model based on the credibility of others in authority who share, or seem to share, my model.
Well, lots of other people share my model, at least in part. Lots of unpopular thinkers who are no longer fashionable in the western bureaucracies, or academia, and especially unheard of in the media of our day.
Perhaps, having read their works, they have in fact influenced my model.
How about this one: Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1909-1999) , wrote a book about the phenomenon, “The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large“. Super book, and available on Kindle for pennies. Definitely worth the read.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was an Austrian nobleman and socio-political theorist who described himself as an enemy of all forms of totalitarianism and as an “extreme conservative arch-liberal” or “liberal of the extreme right.” Note: This is NOT our current usage of the term “Liberal”, but rather the classical definition of Liberal.
Described by contemporaries as “A Walking Book of Knowledge”, Kuehnelt-Leddihn had an encyclopedic knowledge of the humanities and was a polyglot, able to speak eight languages and read seventeen others. This man had and has huge cred.
That is just so unlike our “Bottom of the Barrel” bureaucrats, who are most desiring of personal “security” and most motivated by fear”, all these special ones who don’t want to be blamed or held accountable for anything. My model again … nasty model, eh?
Ironically, our culture has also gifted those very same mediocre players and workers with vast wealth as the gatekeepers of the public treasury. “Public Money” and “Public Programs”, those programs most concerned with direction and disbursement of those same “public monies” have become the Holy Grail of all treasure hunters everywhere.
“Government funding” has developed into the ultimate “mother-lode” for everyone and every agenda outside of the government herd, the mythological “Horn of Plenty” colloquially known as “The Big Tit”.
To ease the draining of the horn we have perfected the art of elegant simplicity to the exclusion of reality. This has been done in order to impress simple gatekeepers with elegance and erudition.
This is colloquially known as “BS baffles brains”. My model again.
If you can’t say it in a 20 slide Power Point presentation or a one line Blackberry text, or best of all just one cute picture, then management just doesn’t have time to investigate the reality of a proposal or to consider potential outcomes which in any other field would be career stoppers. And by all means you must prevent minutes from ever being recorded at any meeting where decisions are being made.
The unstated purpose of all this simple elegant BS is to convince the simple gatekeepers to open the taps of “public monies” to pursue goals ever more distant from genuine benefit for “the public” and ever more focused on the benefit of a few elite “Elegant Theory” peddlers.
These Neo-snakeoil Salesmen of our modern progressive mythology, these “self-love” gurus called “lobbyists” are everywhere, lobbying and schmoozing away for Academic and Private “research” funding.
Schmoozing away for Guidelines and Regulations to control those who don’t agree.
Advocating for policies and programs and interests and causes which benefit a tiny segment of the population while often destroying or even killing tens or even hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and other innocent bystanders.
Of course, once a “program (in whatever the theory of the day happens to be) is adopted, there is huge incentive on the part of the government adopters to be seen as wise and of course “right” in the sense that they are authoritatively correct.
And there is huge incentive for the Lobbyists and the junior ranks to feed that hubris and self love indulged by the gatekeepers so that the taps keep flowing through multiple generations of gatekeepers.
And the whole pyramid is founded on models which are totally divorced from everyday reality. Food for though … every government program or initiative, seems tailor made to destroy human beings, destroy their livelihood, their families, their lives, and ultimately, their soul.
But are they really? What about unintended consequences? Models matter, just like details matter, models can be predictive and can help us going forward, but models are utterly incapable of telling us anything about folks intentions.