Currents 070: Brian Chau on Propaganda & Populism



Jim talks with Brian Chau about seeing the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. They discuss the firehose of bullshit, how modern-day propaganda works, QAnon & Pizzagate, the idea of egregores, adapting our biases against a drastically increased sample size, paranoia about child safety & kidnapping, why the vast majority of Americans are populist, the perception that our institutions are bankrupt, the golden rule of institutions, the CDC’s banning of Covid tests, status as the ability to efficiently align with power, mainstream media as status engine, why populism is growing & where it might lead, the Edelman Trust Barometer, the difficulty of converting public sentiment into actual policy, and much more.

Brian Chau is a mathematician by training and is tied for the youngest Canadian to win a gold medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics. He writes software for a living while posting on his spare time. He writes independently on American bureaucracy and political theory and has contributed to Tablet Magazine. His political philosophy can be summed up as “see the world as it is, not as you wish it to be.” Everything else is application.