We’re living in a very odd time. Not only is it almost impossible to collect/publish/track down objective data on anything, but the data we think we have is probably corrupted somewhere at some level. This at the same time that the ruling would be elites insist on “science” and “evidence” and “studies.”
Now, most of you know most scientific studies aren’t reproducible. In a sane era, this means that either it has to be proven by another study, or that the hypothesis is completely disproved.
We don’t live in a sane era. So, the minute that a study comes out “saying” or “proving” this or that, everyone must obey it, because “don’t you believe in science.”
And the people who don’t know how the sausage is made, look at it and go “well, it must be true, because–“
And if this were only in scientific studies and principles, it would be incredibly damaging, since it affects most of STEM. But…. Oh, no. It’s everything. Even the things that should be simplest, most obvious and most clearly traceable. Like…. sales figures.
Now part of this is this the weird mentality that started setting in around the 80s in all sorts of businesses and science that you can’t fail. If you fail you are a “loser.” Also at the same time a “only the experts can do this” set in, which I wonder if it’s protection against fudging.
The other part of it is that when the government funds something, like, say, studies, you have to show “results” — even if the results are all fudged and insane.
The other part …. is ideological. Someone here talked about how libraries do everything possible to make sure the “woke” books get good circulation, while handicapping, or outright kneecapping books that people actually want to read.
Those of you who have had kids in public school recently, have probably also noticed how more and more teaching is “indoctrination.” Kids are carefully trained to match slot A with tab B and fill in tests with given keywords, but they don’t actually learn anything. In fact, when they had younger son do homework with my supervision, because he wasn’t doing it/turning it in, I realized that 90% of it was not only stuff that made no sense whatsoever and didn’t teach anything, but also it was extremely boring. (Homework can, and maybe should be boring. But it should also be useful. Such as by making you practice skills until they’re instinctive, such as multiplication. But say, coloring all the fences on a picture in pink is not actually in that kind of category for a middle schooler.) The thing I remember for instance was the French homework that involved looking at a French magazine and counting the number of pictures of monkeys, then saying on what page they were. This made my jaw drop with its bizarre time-wasting idiocy. What were they hoping for? That people learned the language by casually flipping through the magazine looking for monkeys? I mean, I can see giving homework that’s like, look at this article and look up all the words you don’t know. But pictures? WHY?
And I know publishing is…. oh, dear. Not only can houses make sure you sell or don’t (at least on paper) but also completely riddled with insanity, incompetence and lack of tracking of actual sales. At every level.
And everyone I talk to in depth, who works for other fields, comes up with the same thing. “Oh, yeah, this is corrupted all along the line, and we have no way of tracking the real numbers.”
And you know, it’s always the same: either people protecting fiefdoms, or people lying because they work for the government and certain results have to be obtained, or people are trying to make sure the “proper” books end up ahead. Or–
Now, in the middle of this there is some real data, of course. There are honest researchers. I know one or two. There are decent sales people who keep track of sales scrupulously. There are factories that turn out good product (likely none in China, but…
But the problem is you can’t tell the good from the bad.
And that even the people jiggering the numbers in one corner, one franchise, one branch, believe the numbers from the other corners, franchises and branches.
Take for instance the librarians, who get numbers from other branches, showing that the woke books are lending out like crazy and of course reviewers love them, etc.
What are they going to do? They’re going to look at their own branch where these things don’t go out at all, and go “Uh. I guess my patrons are exceptionally unenlightened.” And because leftism is a positional good and no one wants to fail to display the appropriate enthusiasm for wokism, from themselves or the population they serve, they then — quietly — jigger the numbers. And the next branch over goes, “Well, it must be only my branch.”
And this goes on with everything, non stop. From the much ballyhooed advances for woke writers and leftist celebrities, which are nothing less than bribes, but which the man on the street goes “I guess there’s a lot of call for this” to the big deals with Obama/Clinton, to the people chosen to come to various programs as “experts” which are unfailingly left.
All of these things create a facade that not only are the leftist ideas triumphant, but that “everyone” believes in them/is for them. Because even if people know what’s fudged in their little corner, they can’t imagine that everyone else is fudging. Or that a little fudging goes a looooong way.
Add to that the “the king’s new clothes” effect, reinforced by a cancel culture (which is not a new thing, it’s just more visible) in which if you come out as not being a leftist, at this point in MOST fields, including stem, you’re at best handicapping your career advance and at worst you’re going to make yourself an untouchable. Regardless of your competence of abilities, disagree publicly with ONE leftist shibboleth, and suddenly no one in your field will hire you. (Trust me, I know whence I speak. Though Yeah, I’ve been running for years in “might as well get hanged for a whole herd as for a lamb” principle.) Recall for instance the shirt storm.
So most people, from science to the humanities to sales will not say, aloud, under their own names, in public, that the king goes naked. Instead they at best stay quiet, and since even that is dangerous, they endorse the bullshit.
The problem is that a society can’t function like that. Societies in general can function on “one big lie” particularly if the lie is beneficial. When I was in my teens, Portugal still believed it was one of the most important countries in the world, for instance. It damaged nothing, and made people feel good.
People can run on other such lies that are big enough not to impact their daily life. Or even if they do. Hey, remember when we were going to freeze to death in the seventies? Or when we were running out of oil? The lie was a problem, and it damaged economies and people. But it was one lie.
Now the lies are thick and everywhere. Honestly, if I see a figure touted as “figures reveal that” my basic assumption is that it’s not ony wrong but laughably wrong. Particularly if it reinforces some beloved leftist bs.
For instance, in the midst of the covidiocy, it’s actually impossible to figure out how many people died, because between financial incentives and ideological freight everyone is invested in the number of deaths. We all know of people who supposedly died of Covid, while actually having face and/or chest shot out, but there are less obvious and therefore more insidious lies we don’t even know about which are probably more damaging because of that, such as the number of cases diagnoses after a number of cycles that would kick up any corona virus fragment as “being infected with C-19”, or those that were diagnosed over the phone on symptoms only because tests were scarce, or even those that are diagnosed despite negative tests, because there’s something respiratory going on which is not flu.
Now we can all laugh at that, but given the insane idiocy perpetrated upon us to combat this supposedly deadly bug, the real numbers would seem to be important, to either confirm that the panic was needed or to resolve — as a society — never to do this thing again.
Or you know, in other things. Like if they’re going to impose the “Green New Deal” on us to curb global warming, I’d like to know there really IS global warming, generalized, not localized with shifting patterns, and that humans have something to do with it, beyond the very faint and outlying margins. Because if we’re going to destroy civilization, it shouldn’t be for a lie.
But the big picture, the small picture, all the information we have, at this point, is a bizarre sketch of corruption and lies. For everything.
It’s gotten so insane the left actually believes human beliefs shape reality, which is where you get things like Modern Monetary Theory, which thinks that money is make believe, with no real world referent, and that you don’t need to have most of the population work, you can just indefinitely keep printing money and keep 80% of the people on welfare. This is what I call “Well, if money were edible, maybe” or “Not actually knowing where food comes from.”
The problem with this, of course, is that what can’t go on won’t go on.
I was recently amused by finding that our current occupying Junta considers any references to Romania or the flag of Romania to be signs of extremism.
My younger and more naive friends were confused. “What is with Romania.”
So when I stopped laughing I told them the story of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife: in the morning to all appearances, and supported by a facade of lies and fear, beloved leaders of the country of Romania. And in the afternoon cooling meat in courtyard, after being executed.
You see, they were resting on a throne of lies. So many lies that they, themselves, probably believed they were the beloved leaders, and therefore failed to skeedadle when they should have.
Though a lot of the downfall of communist regimes was sudden and startling from the outside (because the facade of lies is easier to maintain at a distance) that one was the most dramatic one, and surprised even insiders.
Books have been written about it, using equations designed to track the movement of a sand pile (the phenomenon by which we get walking dunes.) As in, the pile seats at a slight incline, and if it’s a really small pile it might be stable for the foreseeable future. But as it grows in size, it becomes more perilous/less likely to hold. And as it starts to move, no one will see it, because it happens at the level of grains underneath the other grains. Until some inner desiquilibrium is reached and suddenly the whole pile of sand moves over.
Resistance to totalitarianism, particularly leftist totalitarianism which always rests on a bed of lies starting with “we care” and “we’re for the people” is like that. First really small and invisible, then suddenly everywhere. Mostly because they think that preventing talk in opposition prevents opposition. So the “turning against” is not only silent, but very often your biggest enemies are the people you think are your most vigorous defenders.
Until the pile of sand moves.
I find it interesting the Junta is afraid of anything relating to Romania. Perhaps afraid of the story becoming known.
It must be that despite the very strange gelman amnesia that infects lower ranks, where each person thinks they’re the only ones fudging the figures, those at the top know that they rest on a throne of lies.
And lies, you know, are notoriously unstable. Reality is a bitch. In the end, if you pick a fight with her, she always wins.
And the pile of sand moves.