The Far Middle episode 125 honors Baseball Hall of Famer and Reds legend, Joe Morgan. Nick calls Morgan the greatest second baseman to ever play the game and reflects on Morgan’s stellar career, both on the field and in the broadcast booth.
While recent Far Middle episodes have concentrated on singular topics (mentoring young adults, the wisdom of Václav Havel, effective leadership, and speculative natural gas research), this installment is a lighting round episode, catching up on several developments from the last few weeks.
Nick leads off the episode highlighting the work of John Ioannidis and his research on the issue of what’s become of science and the scientific method. Among Ioannidis’ views, Nick points out his notion that you don’t need a Ph.D. in a technical scientific field to play the role of a scientific skeptic.
Next, Nick examines the United Nations Development Programme’s iVerify platform, an “automated fact-checking tool.” Nick references author Michael Schellenberger and how iVerify fits into what Schellenberger calls the Censorship Industrial Complex.
Staying within the realm of the United Nations, Nick calls out a couple frightening quotes from Piers Forster, a professor of climate physics at the University of Leeds who has helped author Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
“The United Nations’ efforts these days serve as a great connection to what’s going on at the World Bank,” Nick continues. “The World Bank has a new leader, Mr. Ajay Banga…he is going to be leading the charge of an effort to expand lending capacity through the World Bank to fight climate change.”
Nick moves from the World Bank lending to nations to help their climate change fight, to the Federal Reserve’s compounded annual growth rate, to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s pursuit of a global minimum tax.
The theme of government and institutional overreach runs throughout the episode, and comes to a head as Nick reviews consumer product regulations that have come about this year; spanning light bulbs to gas stoves and home furnaces to vehicles. Pivoting off the topic of transportation, Nick addresses congestion pricing in Manhattan, to then commenting on New York City’s iconic Roosevelt Hotel becoming an asylum seeker arrival center.
In examining government inefficiency, Nick points out the 2.2 million civilian employees in the federal government. These are career bureaucrats not elected by the American people, but who are making more and more major policy decisions that are affecting everyone. “When the bureaucratic state realizes that there’s not going to be a culture of accountability or consequences for things like expanding power base or mission creep, then you start to see illogical outcomes,” says Nick.
As the episode winds down, Nick addresses our federal government investing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, climate change negotiations between China and the U.S., China’s growing control of strategic ports, and the benefits of limited government.
In closing Nick salutes the late great jazz drummer Art Blakey whose birthday falls on the release date of episode 125. Blakey, “a polyrhythmic percussion powerhouse,” passed away on Oct. 16, 1990, two months after Joe Morgan’s induction into the Hall of Fame.