Paraphrasing Greg Cochran:
… a [model] that generates entertainingly wrong results will inevitably produce many interesting and publishable results.
Hah! And what do the media insatiably want? Interesting and publishable results! Clickbait! Something scary! Something that can be blamed upon some scapegoat! Something we can act to eliminate, simply by ostracizing the scapegoat!
A model of some sort generates a scary result of some sort: “Arctic May Be Ice Free By 2014,” or “Local Witch May Be Responsible For Cow Death,” or, “Jews / Blacks / Christians / Whites / Men / Immigrants / Liberals / Progressive Social Justice Warriors / Environmentalists / Feminists / Muslims May Be At Fault For All That Is Wrong With Your Life (Not You),” or something of the sort. Then, it’s off to the races, with lots of breathless news about the ongoing crisis.
Thus is established the symbiotic positive feedback circuit that links the distributors of fake news with the manufacturers thereof. The former pay the latter handsomely for their products; the latter produce new clickbait for the former. So there is a market for bad models. It is a department of the market for addictions. The fact that it is governed by a positive feedback circuit – by, that is, a vicious cycle – is a dead giveaway. An addiction is an insatiable appetite for ever greater vitiation.
Because the market for clickbait is a positive feedback circuit, the strangeness and fearsomeness of the clickbait must ever increase, in order for it to keep attracting the first jot of notice. The addict’s hits must get bigger and bigger to produce the same dopaminergic effect.
So the market demand for bad news can be met only by a supply of output from ever worse models, and so the price of sufficiently bad models keeps going up with the insatiable demand for their interesting and publishable results. The profits generated by that increasing price motivate the discovery of ever more sensational and incredible results.
This is why the Overton Window must move left. This is why the only way that we will ever be rid of the tiresome noise about Anthropogenic Global Climate Change, Russia Russia Russia, vile white Christian men, and all the rest of it, is … the sheer sick terrific stupefying boredom of it all (this stuff never gets resolved; it rather just fades, and is superseded by the next appalling thing).
Or else, of course, some quite real, concrete and devastating disaster – a world war, or a truly conservative administration, or a deep and widespread revival of traditional religion, or Proph’s Collapse.™ Under such conditions of massive catastrophe, there’s no need to invent crises so as to sell papers. The media can in such circumstances get back to reporting real news. There is then more of it than they can keep up with, and so no need to gin up any of it.
We should never however think that after Anthropogenic Global Climate Change and the other crises du jour have silently shuffled off the stage to join their predecessors in the dustbin of history, we shall then be left alone on that score. Oh no. There will be some new and even more scary product of stupid inadequate models, to which then all the chattering classes may make their loud overweening ritual obeisances, so as to demonstrate that they themselves cannot possibly be the necessary scapegoats.
What can we do about all this? Leave the market. Stop paying attention to the news (this is to say: stop *paying* the news). Read old books. Observe the weather out in the countryside. Get some real work done, with our hands. Spend time playing with young children. Watch animals. Pray, worship; confess, repent. Do something wonderful and lovely for its own sake. Work out. Visit the mountains, or the desert, or the deep woods. Sing, for God’s sake.
Excursus: Interesting, is it not, how much the tactics of avoiding the market for wicked news and remembering sweet clean virtue resemble those of the monastic ascetic, of one sort or another? No reason to find this intimidating; no reason, necessarily, to seek the dire demanding cloister. The first and most important cloister is the inwardmost, by which we govern our own thoughts, and so defend our inmost lives. It is there, at the gates of our inner castle, that Lucifer constantly lays his most intimate and salient and efficacious siege.
We find we are ever at war, willy nilly.
To war, then! What else is there?
Deus vult! That our Father wills us to war shows his confidence in our victory. Deo Gracias!