Mail Bag

Mail Bag

I daily receive thoughtful emails from readers. Some ask questions, many point to articles or “studies” that need comment. Others just want to say hi.

I am grateful for these missives and thank you all for them. Please keep sending them. But I must apologize that I do not have time to answer them all. I try. I am now just over two years behind.

Here is a minor attempt at answering some.

Mail #1 Five or six times a week I get emails like this.


My name is Emily Olsen and I work with Perennial Relations, a PR firm based in NYC.

I have a client who is interested in getting some basic exposure on your website via a guest blog post, or even just a quick mention of them within one of your articles. This is a reputable, well-known company that I’m confident you’ll be comfortable mentioning on your website.

I’m authorized to offer up to $40 for the post and can pay by Paypal. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Yours truly,

Emily Olsen
Perennial Relations

The highest offer was $100. Now I’ve never taken any of these, and never will, but that there are so many for this site (which obviously has modest traffic) proves it’s a productive business. Meaning a good deal of what you see (elsewhere) on line is fake or touted or suspect.

The only donations accepted, for this wholly independent blog, are from readers.

Mail #2 True Enlightenment (ellipses original).

What an excellent read your book “Uncertainty” is. I am a very quick and experienced reader. At this moment,…on page 24.

It is a true joy to read intelligent “common sense” from time to time, especially as a German citizen…

Thank you!
(PhD student, devouring your ideas)

The must-read book this fine young man is talking about can be had here. Buy two copies in case you ever, heaven forefend, lose one.

Speaking of students. I haven’t any. This puts a damper on the amount of practical work I can get done. I’m trying, among other things, to put together a package of predictive methods. A major reason for the lack of adoption for these True Methods is that no pre-packaged software exists. One I’m doing is based on MCMCpack (with full acknowledgement of the severe limitations of simulation methods). This would ordinarily be work I could delegate.

So if there are any students out there who want to volunteer to do some leg work, for no pay and no official acknowledgement, let me know. (Has to be unofficial, because I have no ties to any institution.)

Mail #3 Difference Made (name withheld).

Hello William,

I somehow stumbled on your site. Anyway its an interesting read especially since you make a interesting arguments and from the Liberal test (the trigger into your site) I found myself nearly with a 100% agreement (with the progressive).

Yet – as I reach midlife I am starting to question some of these beliefs. Starting with spirituality (from a lowest base possible) where do you start to get a basis where your coming from?

Best regards,

J, I used to be, and not that long ago, and even in some parts still, too in love with the world. Many years ago when I started this blog, I was still mired in atheism and the sins of rank individuality. Mine was no Road to Damascus. I stupidly chose to walk back to Reality barefoot over the most overgrown path.

What helped me return to Sanity? Books. Like these:

The Last Superstition by Ed Feser. All of Feser’s books are worth reading, but this is the best to start with.

Against the Idols of the Age by David Stove. Stove was an Australian philosopher who never wrote a boring sentence. He was a self-proclaimed atheist, but I don’t believe, and can’t believe, judging by his work, that he was sincere. Like Feser, anything Stove wrote is worth reading. Start with Idols, or even What’s Wrong with Benevolence. Or On Enlightenment.

Bible. Read it. Start with the New Testament. Read slow.

Next, turn off the TV. Or if you can’t, as an experiment, don’t watch anything produced after, say, 1960. This includes sports. Cut yourself off from your usual sources of information, such as (if you use it) NPR, any newspaper.

Read other old books, this blog, Social Matter and the links within, The Orthosphere. And so forth.

Really do this. You will be amazed at the end of the fortnight how different things appear.


  1. How to recover the culture – Watch The Andy Griffith Show. It’s on Netflix. Regard its simple beauty. Reflect upon it not being a description, so much as a prescription. Its better if you think of Barney Fife as the show’s antagonist.

    Subscribe to and watch the Youtube videos of “CSLewisDoodle”.

    Find and read the “Politically Incorrect Guide” (PIG) series of books. Your local library may carry them, but probably not. Librarians are a fickle bunch, and well steeped in the socialist-progressive culture of academia. Reflect on this – they don’t have these books because they don’t want you to read them.

    Most of all, study reality. Not the reality of the newspaper and television. The real, true reality. Note the wild discrepancies between what really is, and what you’ve been told most of your life. Reflect upon who told you these lies, and their motives for doing so. Follow the money and the power.

  2. Sheri

    There’s also MeTV which is mostly shows from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. That’s probably 95% of my viewing, along with some carefully chosen shows on PBS like cooking shows and nature shows if you can find them without the “we’re all going to die from global warming” theme (I just shut them off if they go that route).

    Now I have to go watch for the balloon launches—it’s a hot air balloon fest today! Have great day!

  3. Joy

    In other words, stop living Briggs. You are giving up your mind, not controlling it, as you imply.

    Briggs you’re still kidding yourself and somebody else, at a guess, but you’re not kidding me.

    “Really do this. You will be amazed at the end of the fortnight how different things appear.”
    ..and you too might learn to hate the world like Briggs does these days.

    Particularly for men who are blessed with intellect and ability, who despise the state of the world at the moment, how the media are so toxic and the left is temporarily enjoying a boom, the only answer is to KBO (I quote Churchill). Briggs idea is to give up and pretend you’re being a good boy reading a book in the corner. You are well and truly in retreat mode when performing this manoeuvre without the humility of a true spiritual retreat.
    You have given in! and you are wasting time.

    Now you are left currying favour with individuals who will not help you and are not looking out for you whatever colour their feathers are. You have succumbed to the mob. You can no longer speak the whole truth and must tow the line.

    The need to decouple from the world isn’t to be scoffed at and may be justified but not if you’re offering a panacea and projecting that everybody else sees the world the way you do. People may share your politics or your faith and still see the world differently from you. This ought to be obvious but it isn’t and you’re still floundering as if there’s some great mystery at hand.

    If the bible comes last in your list and you’re promoting Christianity then something’s gone awry.

    It always surprised me that you rate David Stove so highly, or that other philosophical fanatics do so. Not because what he says isn’t fine but because he’s just saying what most common sense people think who are of a right wing point of view. Like Ed F h’es long on attitude and bluster and short on new ideas. Stove is just more likeable than Ed, though, being a rather more humble character.

  4. John B()

    “J, I used to be, and not that long ago, and even in some parts still, too in love with the world. Many years ago when I started this blog, I was still mired in atheism and the sins of rank individuality. Mine was no Road to Damascus. I stupidly chose to walk back to Reality barefoot over the most overgrown path.”

    Well except for the name, and a few other changes, when you talk about me, the story’s the same one – Neil Diamond (I AM … I SAID)

    Joy – such a beautiful name … and I’m sure a beautiful woman

    I truly believe some of your differences with Briggs are often cultural or even language … the US and the UK, a people divided by a common language

    I do believe Briggs does “Keep Buggerin’ On”..

    Plus, I believe Briggs to be a curmudgeon. I’ve known and loved many curmudgeons … and I am a complete optimist. When you look up Pollyanna, you’ll find my picture. I am married to a pessimist, close to but not a true curmudgeon. If curmudgeons trouble you … then … they’re going to trouble you.

    Re: If the bible comes last in your list and you’re promoting Christianity then something’s gone awry.

    Joy – Most atheists have read the Bible.

    I’m reminded of Donald Millers forward to Blue Like Jazz

    “I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.
    “After that I liked jazz music.
    “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

    “I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.”
    ? Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

    (If someone is an Atheist or Agnostic, they’ve been there already, they won’t LET Jesus or the Bible show the way)
    So my own book choices: Two by Donald Miller: Searching For God Knows What. Blue Like Jazz

    Here is a jaw dropping testimonial by a David Wood, it’s the most incredible 34 minutes you’ll find on YouTube

  5. Joy

    John B()
    Sorry for the late reply, such as it is. Your wife doesn’t know her luck! Tell her I said so!
    If my comments seem curiously in disagreement with his nibs then I can only sympathise. Briggs knows.

    He is just playing at curmudgeondom. He’s tried on the slippers!

    Most curmudgeons only want to be talked out of their aged petulant funk in any event. It’s like a pink fit but for those who have regressed to the mean. It’s cynicism, a good source of humour.

    Spreading unhappiness and false dichotomy in argument and thought, which is born of just a phase, gives an air of poverty of spiritual generosity. It’s an expensive way of attracting comments. I used to particularly like Briggs apparent generosity.

    Glibness is not and argument.
    It’s the grown up equivalent of leaning on the staff room doorway whilst addressing a teacher!

    Blue Jazz? I don’t know what it is but freeform jazz is just self indulgent non music. As I’ve always argued. Jazz with a tune? a Melody? is fine. You have to be a bit older than me to think jazz is the height of sophistication.

    Briggs new persona must now agree with this because Thomas wouldn’t approve of such dirty sensuality.
    This is REAL Jazz:

    Baloo seems strangely familiar!

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