Nassim Taleb Explains Who Just Got Buried

Tyler Durden's picture

The world's "intellectual yet idiot" class just took another blow to the chin, but who really got buried? Nassim 'black swan' Taleb explains...


Simply put, as Taleb recently explained via, The "Intellectual Yet Idiot" class...

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence and fall into circularities?—?but their main skills is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3th of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats wanting to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They cant tell science from scientism?—?in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types?—?those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior?—?much of what they call “rational” or “irrational” comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities?—?most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.


More socially, the IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver. Those in the U.K. have been taken for a ride by Tony Blair. The modern IYI has attended more than one TEDx talks in person or watched more than two TED talks on Youtube. Not only will he vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable and some other such circular reasoning, but holds that anyone who doesn’t do so is mentally ill.

The IYI has a copy of the first hardback edition of The Black Swan on his shelves, but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence. He believes that GMOs are “science”, that the “technology” is not different from conventional breeding as a result of his readiness to confuse science with scientism.

Typically, the IYI get the first order logic right, but not second-order (or higher) effects making him totally incompetent in complex domains. In the comfort of his suburban home with 2-car garage, he advocated the “removal” of Gadhafi because he was “a dictator”, not realizing that removals have consequences (recall that he has no skin in the game and doesn’t pay for results).

The IYI is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist he uses statistics without knowing how they are derived (like Steven Pinker and psycholophasters in general); when in the UK, he goes to literary festivals; he drinks red wine with steak (never white); he used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; he takes statins because his doctor told him so; he fails to understand ergodicity and when explained to him, he forgets about it soon later; he doesn’t use Yiddish words even when talking business; he studies grammar before speaking a language; he has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; he has never read Frederic Dard, Libanius Antiochus, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, Amianus Marcellinus, Ibn Battuta, Saadiah Gaon, or Joseph De Maistre; he has never gotten drunk with Russians; he never drank to the point when one starts breaking glasses (or, preferably, chairs); he doesn’t know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba; he doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual” in the absence of skin in the game; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past 5 years in conversations that had nothing to do with physics; he knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.

But a much easier marker: he doesn’t deadlift.

Not a IYI

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Creative_Destruct's picture


MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This election result needs to be challenged. Numerous accredited intelligence sources have reported rampant hacking by the Russians. If Trump is elected, he needs to be impeached!

yippee kiyay's picture
yippee kiyay (not verified) pine_marten Nov 9, 2016 4:39 AM

Did the establishment really get buried? So how come Trump is ready to set the Middle East on fire?

lonnng's picture
lonnng (not verified) yippee kiyay Nov 9, 2016 4:40 AM

My bags are packed before Trump starts world war 3.

beauticelli's picture
beauticelli (not verified) lonnng Nov 9, 2016 4:41 AM

I myself am heading to Haiti to look for the billions in aid Clinton stole.

Miles Ahead's picture

You fools (below).  MDB is still doing comedy for those of us (including he most of all!) who appreciate his great talent.  And you idiots (however useful, otherwise he would have to find a day-job) still don't get it.  Amazing.

Hey MDB, I look for your stuff first, otherwise it's no fun reading the otherwise retarded IYI commenters here...

Is-Be's picture

Me too. Iwas going to respond. And then I read his moniker


Escrava Isaura's picture

MillionDollarBonus: This election result needs to be challenged.

You sound like a right wing nut that can’t stand to lose.

It’s over MDB for the elite lies. Now we have to see how if Trump goals don’t become lies because he won’t be able to deliver. We won’t know until next year. Good luck to the new President.

Anyway, major loss for the Democrats and the Republicans that didn’t support Trump. For the Democrats even more so. Very confusing times ahead because the Democrats won’t know which direction to move within its right and left side.


Tarzan's picture

IYI, also known as a LIE,

"Little intellectual Elite"


This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

Ronald Reagan,
October 27, 1964

insanelysane's picture

Karma's a bitch as the Dems wanted Trump to accept the election results a month ago and scoffed at his comments that the election was rigged.

Fed Supporter's picture

Screw Nassim, Springstein, Diller, Will Smith, every cuckservative, etc.  They all voted for Shillary, tells you who they really are.  I hope Trump persecutes all these leftists and uses depts like the IRS to persecute them.  I hope Trump kept a list.  I hope since he now has his finger on the nuclear button he uses it against the Bankers supposedly doing God's work.  I hope Trump funds all of those who promised to leave the country.  I hope he jails the pollsters for fraud and the journalists for treason.  I hope he fires Lyin Ryan.

And most important, I hope Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires and moves to New Zealand as promised.

We need to hold all these people to their pledge to leave the country.

One can wish right?

Omen IV's picture

what makes you believe Nassim voted for Hillary?

Fed Supporter's picture

I could be wrong on Nassim I thought he came out pro hillary or at least anti trump.

contrarianz's picture

He doesn't believe in the two party system and didn't vote.

stocker84's picture

Very gracious of you. As long as the house, the Senate and the president are Republican, first time since 1928???

The Democrats have nothing to do but sit by and watch.

They are now spectators.

I still think I'm dreaming. 

Too good to be true!

I thought for sure that, Hillary would win!

I should be as gracious as you, but i want that woman put in jail.

If she doesn't get indicted, Trump might renege on other promises.

Does anybody remember if Trump's first 100 day plan included Hillary investigation?

And finally... To Newsweek... Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! Doh!

A. Boaty's picture

If the Repubs. have all the power, then they will also take all the blame if things go wrong.

Blythes Master's picture

"If the Repubs. have all the power, then they will also take all the blame WHEN things go wrong."

There, fixed it for you.

It is a mathamatical certainty that things will go wrong sooner tan later.

BarkingCat's picture

Trump might let her off the hook to ensure she goes away and does not attempt to rig the results in those states which are very close.


disarray1's picture

MDB is an amazing troll. absolutely amazing.

Escrava Isaura's picture

He’s not a troll, he’s an ideologist just like most conservatives, but of course, within the other spectrum of the political view.


OverTheHedge's picture

It's just possible that you are losing something in translation. Whilst I envy deeply your ability to converse in a foreign language as ably as you do, I think you might be taking MDB just a smidgen too literally.

Having written that, I've just worked out that you are winding me up. Nicely played.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

You really can not bother with Escrava other than to downvote him and maybe some day very long in the future he will realize we do not listen to his wizdumb.

MDB amazing?  Not really.  I think he tries to be funny.  He obviously never got to that high of state of mental function.  

Arnold's picture

He works in DC.

'Nough said.

Tall Tom's picture




He is a satirist. He is like most conservatives.


He has dropped character and posted genuine on a few occasions.

TuPhat's picture

One thing MDB is not and that is humourus.  Nothing funny about anything he posts.  It is not satire either unless it is the worst satire I have ever read.  He could be a robot but some robots are better than MDB.

philipat's picture

SPAM ALERT: Serial spammer DO NOT click on his fake links which are completely unconnected to his comment.Current active accounts: Yippee Kiyay, lonnng, letsit, Mano-A-Mano, techies-r-us, beauticelli and stizazz plus some others under review. He doesn’t actively Spam with every account and uses some just to “talk to and congratulate himself”.
Previous names include but not limited to: mofio, santafe, Aristotle of Greece, Gargoyle, bleu, oops, lance-a-lot, Loftie, toro.
Shit Tylers, this asshole has more accounts than the rest of us combined!. Can’t you IP block him? And his conversations with himself are now taking up half of each thread.

Miles Ahead's picture

And YOU.  Way more irritating than Yippe Kiyay.   Look: YK - 2 lines.  You - 13 lines. Over and over. Day in and day out. Let him be.  Find something to do.  No one asked you to be the fucking spam police.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

And why are you here then threw a tantrum and drool?

Tarzan's picture

and no one asked you to be the spam police raker

Tall Tom's picture





That santafe, mofio, or whatever, is Mentally Ill.


He now publically converses with his other personalities which he has created. He has suffered a major fragmentation of his own personality, a psychological break,and has demonstrated that he is clinically schizophrenic. It is almost textbook.


The attention seeking behavior demonstrates his delusions of grandeur. He believes that what he writes is so important that it demands validation. Since he has received little positive validation he was driven to create personalities in order to gatner that which he so desperately seeks.


He is to be pitied and, at this point, really needs to be on meds.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Yeah, he's delusional. There in the text all written, is a fantasy of a schizophrenic.

Easy to see long time ago this guy had slipped to the cuckoo.

This artist clearly needs a performance in the form of a mandatory holiday in the asylum.

War Machine's picture

And no one asked you either.

The serial spamming is bad, so is the perpetual adding to it by philipat.

Report to abuse and leave it at that.

Spamming the spammer is still spam


BarkingCat's picture

How do you know that no one asked him?

I for one appreciate his efforts.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

a few things:

1). Super long leash/free speech here - rare nowdays. It is a cunt move to hide urls and have obvious multiple accounts and continually promote your own blog with little or no substantive comment otherwise.

2) reread 1, because even those of us, or a lot of us anyway, who might largely agree with you are going to ignore you and junk you because... What the fuck - just a dick move, and kinda disrespectful. I myself post tons of links, but its only fair that people who hate your arguments and viewpoints be able to know where you're trying to send them. And it's certainly better to post ideas and arguments in a comment and not just spam a board to drive traffic to the same site.

3) you might consider the fact not everyone buys into the Christian nonsense just because they also don't buy the Jewish snd Muslim nonsense. Your earnest beliefs aside, arguments about a state's violence or a special interest group's undue influence can and should be made primarily in real world terms without appeal to the invisible, and faith-based.

4) it's not so much about belief as it is about action and their affects. Banking and the MIC are major parts of the warmongering and therefore resultant suffering and waste. Israel and its lobby could disappear tomorrow and much, even most of our problems would remain

Miles Ahead's picture

Nobody is reading this shit you wrote... including Yippee Kiyay.... hellooo....

mvsjcl's picture

I read it. Made sense to me. It was, like, an argument, you know. Unlike what you write.

OverTheHedge's picture

A not-so-very interesting point regarding being a Christian: according to the book, if someone hears the word of god, but chooses to ignore it, then that person has reserved an extra-special place in hell for themselves. It has always struck me as the height of arrogant hubris to be willing to spread the word of god, and thereby risk damning untold numbers of people to eternal damnation, on the off-chance that one or two might buy into your particular brand of bollocks.

Thanks for ruining my afterlife, bastard.

3 cheers for Phillipat, who is doing difficult work under extremely trying circumstances.

Tall Tom's picture




He is sick. See my post above.


Why are you attempting to reason with someone delusional? You'd be better off writing to a wall.


(I disagree with point 4 as beliefs are the motive force behind behaviors.)

Mareka's picture

These self appointed intellectuals have total confidence that their world view is correct and anyone who disagrees is simply not as enlightened.

No amount of evidence that they are wrong will make them question their qualifications to run other peoples lives.

Chuck Todd at 6:30 PM on election night was predicting they would be able to call the win for Clinton by 10:00 PM.

No doubt he wakes up this morning with total faith in his own opinions.

Liberalism is a mental disorder.

Arnold's picture

My money is on Chuck Todd waking up with a whiskey headache, and half a set of chin  hair.

Perimetr's picture

hey MDB

apparently you don't get it

this article is about YOU




how's that troll thing working out for you now?

4 wheel drift's picture

sooo correct....



de3de8's picture

I thought we'd never hear from him again, blowing his pea brain out after hearing "president Trump"

Creative_Destruct's picture

"Numerous accredited intelligence sources..." 

BOGUS "accredited" IYI lame-brains....

Troy Ounce's picture



Let's hope Trump does not do an Obama.