The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wonderland--Part II

Yesterday, I wrote that we're now living in Wonderland—a place where logic and common sense have been jettisoned and replaced by a mob mentality that has given in to fear and hysteria. In Wonderland some of the general public, almost all of the media , and most of our politicians, along with public health "experts," seem to cite only bad information as long as it conforms to their narrative of events. They jettison hard facts and data that challenge the prevailing catastrophist narrative, avoid context at all cost, and otherwise work to ensure that people are afraid, uncertain of the future, and doubtful as we face an "apocalypse."

We have experienced pandemics in the past—some quite serious. Tens of thousand of people died, tens of millions were infected, and yet, the world didn't stop, life went on, schools stayed in session, businesses remained open, travel continued. The big question is: "Why?"  

I believe that the Alice in Wonderland reaction to COVID-19 has occurred for the following reasons:
  • A main stream media that is no longer professional or trustworthy and therefore creates a false narrative that draws in credulous viewers or readers;
  • Social media that amplifies the false narrative by at least one or two orders of magnitude, introducing still more false information and toxic ideas as a bonus;
  • A society that over the past few decades has worshiped at the alter of "safetyism"—a term coined by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their book, The Coddling of the American Mind and defined this way:  “Safetyism refers to a culture or belief system in which safety has become a sacred value, which means that people are unwilling to make trade-offs demanded by other practical and moral concerns.”
  • The false belief (bolstered by so-called "experts") that forward-looking models are precise and to be trusted to the exclusion of common sense and past experience. Even worse, the continuing belief in those models' projections even after they have been proven to be grossly inaccurate;
  • Political leaders who are afraid to make any decision that might blow back on them (even if it's the right decision) and instead take the path that allows them to CYA;
  • A general public and its leaders who are innumerate—meaning they don't understand the meaning of graphs, the subtleties of statistics or the necessity of adapting strategies based on early projections once a growing body of data calls those strategies into question; 
  • Advisors to political leaders who suffer from tunnel-vision, unable or unwilling to consider the ramifications of their recommendations on other equally important aspects of society;
  • And finally, a strong political overlay that affects the manner in which the narrative is crafted and the decisions associated with the virus threat are made.
All of this has led us to Wonderland—a place where catastrophists flourish while the rest of us shake our heads in amazement.