Excellent, Thomas. Thank you once again.

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I do feel that I am back at college in my first year when I read your stuff. In my first year I learned to drop all the things that I either could not understand or could not be bothered to understand. Of course, one learns later that these things somehow fit in - otherwise they would not insist that you do them. It's a round about way of thanking you for insisting that I learn something new. Even at my age.

I have boasted, probably here and elsewhere, that I have accurately predicted the outcomes all of the major elections of the last five or six years, including Trump, Brexit and the GEs. This article goes some way to explaining why: Preference falsification. I always disregard the chatter, or at least the prevalent chatter. I do not use social media. Instead I rely on historical precedent and back-of-the-cab opinions. And I watch the key actors like a hawk.

My current concern is Russia and Putin but I am hard pressed to give a definitive end to the dilemma for several reasons. The first is primarily of not understanding Russians at first hand. The second is my underestimating the extent to which Russians, do not falsify, but actually believe the Kremlin line. A cursory understanding of Russian history over the last hundred years explains why - in the wider context of institutional theory.

I am sorry that your personal experience of campus intolerance was so hate-filled, but as you rightly say, there is dissonance between publicly held views and private ones. Another key to my 'success' in predictions is understanding the extent to which people will ignore the truth, ignore the facts, if it does not accord with their world view and their general will. To cross them on this, to challenge a view on an empirical basis can elicit strong emotions (as your experience shows). The reaction is religious. You have blasphemed their god. You have challenged their faith. Everyone must believe, they cannot believe in nothing (regardless of what the Nihilists say). When people face hell they cling to belief, just as people pray when the plane is about to fall out of the sky. And so, to argue against a religion, or a mere cult, which Stonewall undoubtedly is, can only logically entail your participation in an Auto Da Fe.

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