Right For All The Wong Reasons

Since the Covid panic porn has managed, if nothing else, to scare my mother, she recently accused me of thinking I “am smarter than everyone else.”

(Because in her mind everyone else is panicked and terrified of the new variant from France, and– and she won’t listen when I tell her that if it were needed to be as locked down/careful as they are over there, everyone in the US would be dead with the possible exceptions of CA and NYC, but that’s not what the numbers show.)

Of course I don’t. My super-power, if you can call it that — most of the time it’s a pain and a headache — has nothing to do with being smarter — though frankly reading everything from everywhere and retaining a weird hodge podge of facts does help, for values of help — but with never looking in the expected direction.

Back in the nineties, when people were talking about thinking outside the box, I realized I couldn’t even find the box, and often what I was doing was tacking towards the box from outer space. This means I very often have absolutely no clue why people are worried about something, because I’m worried about something completely different.

But it also means — as was obvious through my schooling career and in business meetings when I had an office job — that I often home in on the one thing that no one else saw, because they were so busy looking in the other direction and debating other things.

And this often means I find problems with things that people on the right are “trooping all together” convinced this is the answer

Such was the case recently with “Mass Formation Psychosis”. There’s a brief history here, and the video is linked.

Okay, yeah, I know, Twitter has banned people for talking about it, and youtube banned Joe Rogan over it and and and….

Look, I’m not saying that this process isn’t what the left thinks it’s doing. I’m just saying that it’s not for the reasons given, and that none of it makes much sense, besides bringing up “you kids get off my lawn” memories starting when I was really young.

Let’s start with the video I linked, which annoyed the living daylights out of me by appearing be trying to hypnotize. (I don’t look at the images and had it on 2x the speed, but when I checked on the progression, that’s the feel I got.)

And then let’s move to the theory: the theory is that when people feel disconnected from each other, and people feel things are going wrong, a determined media campaign can create a reality in people’s minds completely divorced from reality.

The examples given are pre-Nazi Germany and…. 2019?

Now, I don’t know about you, but 2019 didn’t impress me as a particularly fractured year. Yeah, the woke were gamboling through the media, as they’ve done…. oh, the last 20 years. And yeah, people were getting cancelled for political reasons, as they have my entire adult life (at least now it’s in the open.)

So, I had no clue what the heck the guy proposing the theory thought was so bad about 2019. You can tell he doesn’t either, because he tries to bluster his way past it, by talking about kids always on their cellphones…. yeah. No. If anything the kids are hyper-connected.

Also, as far as I know there as no disconnection in pre-Nazi Germany, until the Nazi propaganda created it, so that too is insanity. I guess it was those kids, always on their radios or something, uh?

There was poverty, confusion, rapidly changing circumstances — which frankly is more like now than 2019 — but not “disconnection.”

So it sounds to me like having identified that “When you drive people crazy by mass media, they go crazy” this person tacked on a prelude and came up with the solution of being more local and making friends locally and– (Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that. I just don’t think it has anything to do with the problem. It’s like “Oh, your hair is falling out. Eat more pumpkin, because it’s always good for you.” Not a lie, (maybe, not fond of pumpkin) but not a remedy.)

What both epochs have in common is massive shifts in communication. And if you look at it from that point of view, you see they’re not the same thing, but brackets on the end of the mass media age.

Mass media — radio, mostly, but documentary movies also– were used to create a reality more compelling than reality itself for the German people, which is why they let their “leaders” do horrible things. Because what “everybody knew” was being fed to them from media that they were convinced carried “reality.”

Arguably this is still happening in Europe, and to an extent even in Australia and other parts of the rest of the world. (DEFINITELY Canada.)

The big exception is the US, which, as the last elections showed, is out of the mass media era by a hair’s breadth. I.e. despite the most concerted mass media campaign against Trump, people still voted for him in numbers such that despite all the fraud laid in, they had to fraud in front of everyone at the last minute. And despite their attempts at keeping us terrified, most of the country has had enough of Covid theater. And despite their attempts to make the Junta the bestest thing ever, we’re not buying, and despite–

Why? Because we are in the realm of personalized media, with blogs and various peer-to-peer coms program that allows groups to talk and dissent, and realize they’re not alone.

Now, the rest of the world has dissension too, but it necessitates face to face interaction, which the covid nonsense was designed (still is) to prevent.

The left was losing the train, as shown by Brexit and Trump’s election, and they are making a final hail-mary play to get the total control they want.

Only in the US…. it’s not working quite as planned. Enough to make us super-uncomfortable, but not enough to make us obey.

Mass Formation Psychosis? A fancy term for “Concerted mass media propaganda campaigns work, if relentless, all over the world and shrill enough.”

They work…. for a time at least.

But they don’t work everywhere, even for a time. And it doesn’t seem to work for us, or not as advertised.

Is the whole thing what the technocrats think they’re doing? Possibly. For them 2019 MIGHT have seemed like the world coming apart, as things Trump did proved their conceits wrong. For us? Revelatory, but not like that.

This might explain, btw, why the panic bit the left harder. WAY harder.

So, is the way out going local and making local contacts, and–

Uh…. why?

I mean, sure it can be. Particularly for us, political junkies, just going to the park and seeing people walk around can help (If in a non-masked area.)
But is that the way out? Again, why?

To a great extent the Covid nonsense has isolated us enough locally that many people don’t have contacts anymore, and that you can rebuild.

But why should you eschew online contacts and forums, other than the fact someone doesn’t like “Those kids on their cell phones?”

I think what they perceive as division is that we no longer trust the narrative of the one (largely leftist) media megaphone.

That’s too bad, so sad.

It could be argued that any people who speaks or thinks of current events in one unified voice is by definition not a free people.

Approach information your own way. Find your own answers. Stop looking for “unity” with a bunch of complete strangers. If you need unity and love that much, get married. Or join a group with the same goals (A small one. Large groups don’t work on that.)

If we’re not all looking in the same direction, it’s impossible to become fixated on the same things.

We’ll get out of this the only way one can get out of it: by rejecting mass information and the one true narrative.

Let’s be individuals, and fail to organize. We’ll each take a different path in dismantling this ridiculous, overarching illusion they’re trying to impose on us.

That’s the one thing they never count on: free individuals.

They won’t know what hit them.

159 thoughts on “Right For All The Wong Reasons

  1. I think it’s particularly telling that in the oral arguments currently under way before SCOTUS two of the more liberal leaning justices made remarks that were without question verifiably incorrect. 100k children in hospital on ventilators when the real number is 3500. Several other similar instances as well.
    This matters not because it happened, but rather because they were not able to cover it up. Those statements became part of public record. Now the fallout won’t be visible, but goes without question that the bevy of legal assistants for those justices will have quickly whispered into their ears their mistakes. They won’t like it, and certainly will never publicly correct themselves, but the feeling of having been mislead and sucked in to the false narrative cannot but help set those justices back a bit on their heels. Nobody likes getting caught out in such glaring errors, especially those in the senior ranks of jurisprudence.

      1. Which only bolsters my point. The CDC recently was forced to admit that as many as half the deaths claimed to be from Covid actually were another cause but with the virus present. Now it may indeed have been a contributing factor, but such loose pronouncements as the original claims is nothing short of political gerrymandering and fear mongering. Another justice, or perhaps Biden himself, recently stated categorically that Omicron was just as deadly as Delta, something that even the most casual observer knows is patently untrue.
        But when you are in the business of using words to manipulate people the facts can become very slippery things.

  2. “…my mother…recently accused me of thinking I ‘am smarter than everyone else.’”

    Ooooo, I’ve been getting that one for the last year. I finally started pushing back at my family, asking them whey they are such jerks to me (if they don’t want to discuss politics with me, then why do they start political/policy discussions?). They tried several times to pull the “why do you think you’re smarter than everyone else”, or “you sound like you think we’re stupid”.

    My answer, which actually got through to them: I told them something *correct* that they had never heard anywhere else (if not, prove me wrong). If that caused them to conclude that they’ve done something stupid, well that’s not exactly a “me” problem.

    1. I’ve been getting variations on that for years– I hate to be wrong, so I don’t say things without major qualification unless I am very, very sure. I won’t even say it WITH qualification unless I think it needs to be said.

      This, apparently, upsets folks who want to “win” by being able to say what they want without any kind of support.

      1. It’s not so much what they’re not aware of, it’s what they’re not saying, at least in public. Why do they not speak out against politicians and bureaucrats forcing doctors and nurses to take medical treatments they don’t want? Why do they suppress all discussion of drugs that have been used for decades to treat similar diseases? Why do they not even acknowledge being caught in blatant lies?

        The ‘medical authorities’ have told us so many conflicting things, they can’t all be true. They can all be lies.
        ———————————
        There is but one greater sin than to be right when those in power are wrong — proving it.

      2. Such folks tend to think that there’s only ONE group of doctors and experts, who all agree with and say the same things. Which is patently untrue.

        Also, doctors and front-line health workers are just that–front line workers. You wouldn’t ask the infantry on the front lines how the war is going or what the strategic priorities are, would you?

        1. When the generals march the troops head-first into machine guns and mortars, I’d conclude that the generals don’t have a clue and at least listen to the grunts.
          ———————————
          “The Ancients understood, that in war, it is always the young and the powerless who are sent off to fight, sent by leaders and warriors and generals who are not themselves engaged in the battle, who do not bleed on the front lines, who do not die alone in the cold and friendless night.”

          1. Which grunts? About what? The guys going over the top at one location don’t know anything about conditions fifty miles away, so why would anyone think that they have some kind of great strategic insight that people with a broader perspective don’t? You do understand that there’s a big area between “rear echelon” and “front line” that has a whole lot of space in it, yeah?

            I’m also going to have to disagree with your quote. It is frequently the young and brash who urge warfare and “teachin’ ’em a lesson.” It’s common to think that it is always old men sending in young men to die, but it is not correct. It’s usually the old soldiers counseling caution and diplomacy, in fact.

            1. I’m actually referring to Fauxi et al.

              Anybody with a decent understanding of high school biology knows the Public Health Authoriteez have not only got their heads up their asses, they’re enjoying the view. Everybody with their heads NOT up their asses are denounced for spreading ‘conspiracy theories’ and ‘misinformation’.

              Start with what they told us about the source of the virus. There are two possibilities:

              Either the virus traveled 1,000 miles all on its own, leaving no trace of itself along the way, and when it got to Wuhan it suddenly and spontaneously mutated from a virus exclusive to bats into a virus exclusive to humans, and the first humans it infected just happened to work at a virus lab.

              Or, the virus came from the Wuhan virology lab a mile away where they had been experimenting on that very virus for years with the objective of making it infectious to humans. A lab with a long history of failures to keep its viruses contained.

              But that’s a ‘conspiracy theory’.
              ———————————
              When reality doesn’t conform to theory, it’s not the universe that’s wrong.

    2. It seems like all mothers do that at some point…my mother, a very intelligent woman in her day, did it when I pointed out indisputable facts about the liberal program that I knew as an attorney who had worked in DC, that she and her group of retired teachers didn’t know…so of course, rather than check the facts, she decided that I must be wrong and misleading her…And this after I had helped one of her friends get a Masters by doing all the math for her in her thesis….

      1. :chuckles:
        My mom did… you’d THINK she’d know better. It never worked on her, after all.

        I was startled enough by the non-sequitur to ask what the heck my intelligence had to do with having provided additional information.

        Even complete idiots can know something.

    3. “…my mother…recently accused me of thinking I ‘am smarter than everyone else.’”

      Hah! If only. I would have replied, “Duh,” but I’m kind of a jerk.

      As to the folks at work pushing the vaccine mandate, I noted that by doing so, the proper legal precedent is Korematsu v. US, and that their stand was implicitly racist because the black population of the US is the least vaccinated ethnic group. Then I gave them a 7-question decision tree to decide whether they should be vaccinated or not.

      1. What’s the likelihood of me becoming infected if I am not vaccinated?
      2. What’s the likelihood of me becoming seriously ill if I am infected while not vaccinated?
      3. What’s the likelihood of me becoming infected if I am vaccinated?
      3a. What’s the likelihood of me becoming seriously ill if I am vaccinated?
      4. What’s the likelihood I can be a transmission vector of the virus if I am vaccinated?
      5. What’s the likelihood of my becoming seriously ill (from side effects) if I get vaccinated?
      6. What’s the financial cost to be vaccinated?

      Then I explained how to do the math. I could explain here, but I’m sure this audience can easily do the math and follow the logic. All they had to do is fill in the numbers as best they could find them. That means the argument is about the numbers and not the logic. (I had to add 3a when it became clear that the vaxxed were very likely to become infected, but seemed to have a lower rate of serious illness from the infection, and I didn’t want to confuse the issue by renumbering.)

      1. What is my moral responsibility to be vaccinated to avoid infecting someone vulnerable, at high risk, immunicompromised?

        1. Since the current vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission, your moral responsibility to get vaccinated against COVID for other’s sake is 0. Just don’t go over to see them and cough and sneeze on them.

          1. Sort of the same as if you had the flu, or a GI bug, or some other icky head cold, or whooping cough. If you’re sick, keep it and yourself to yourself. *shrug* Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do anyway?

        2. The same as it is with every other infectious disease–if you know you’re going to be around high-risk people, follow contamination protocols that were developed for exactly this reason. And if you ARE the high risk person, inform people who are or may be around you that you will require additional health protocols.

          High risk people are responsible for themselves. So are lower-risk people. You do NOT get to tell other people what health decisions they have to make for themselves in order to accommodate you. Or anyone else.

        3. Well, first you would have to prove that the vaccine was actually effective for that purpose. Spoiler: it isn’t.

        4. Zero. The moral responsibility question is a straw man. Vaccines don’t protect others. They protect the person who took the vaccine, assuming they work.

          The mad-science genetic modification experiment that the authorities are please to call a “vaccine” these days A) is not in any way, shape or form a vaccine, and B) provide zero protection against catching the virus or transmitting it. The argument that they reduce the severity of illness is looking pretty bogus too, the numbers don’t agree.

        5. Answer: you are probably an idiot not well equipped to unpick whatever is going on, much less correctly reason out the moral implications.

          Okay, that conclusion leans too much on the last post I recall you making here.

          Panicked mobs demanding that something be done are often at least as destructive as whatever sets the mob off.

          In hindsight, preventing the contagion of ‘dumbassery’ by people responding to the media campaign would have been more valuable than all of the futile effort at limiting the spread of a cold.

          The cold spread everywhere anyway, by way of the food supply, because just in time logistics would not have permitted a ‘safe’ delay in food changing hands.

          All the ‘information’ about spread, cases, etc.? Not worth the paper it was printed on. Testing and other data sources had too much screwing around going on.

      2. Hi Frank,

        Sorry about coming late to the discussion, but as someone who had an argument with my SO about this last week, I would actually appreciate the “rules” for the math and how to follow the logic. I think the WuFlu response is and has been, umm let’s say ill-advised, and he’s all “so you want people to die?” and “care for your health.” So I’m looking for assistance helping someone else start trying to see the logic train.

        Thanks!

        1. OK Dawn, take a deep breath. Here’s the decision tree:
          1. What’s the likelihood of me becoming infected if I am not vaccinated?
          2. What’s the likelihood of me becoming seriously ill if I am infected while not vaccinated?
          3. What’s the likelihood of me becoming infected if I am vaccinated?
          3a. What’s the likelihood of me becoming seriously ill if I am vaccinated?
          4. What’s the likelihood I can be a transmission vector of the virus if I am vaccinated?
          5. What’s the likelihood of my becoming seriously ill (from side effects) if I get vaccinated?
          6. What’s the financial cost to be vaccinated?

          Here’s my best guess at the numbers from the CDC data unless stated otherwise for each number in the decision tree.
          1. 20% worst case based on Diamond Princess
          2. Depends on age and comorbidities but 7 in 10,000 if aged 70-79, 1 in 2,000,000 if under 25.
          3. 20% same as unvaxxed, so it seems
          a) Close to 0 it seems. Hard to get good figures.
          4. 20% same as unvaxxed
          5. VAERS reports 68k serious illnesses soon after vaccination out of 208 million vaxxed in the US
          6. 0, no cost in US.

          Here’s the decision math:

          Multiply 1 by 2.
          So if you’re aged 70-79: .20 times .0007 = .00014 or .014%
          If you’re under age 25: .20 times .0000005 = .0000001 or .00001%
          This is your chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if unvaccinated.

          Multiply 3 by 3a.
          So if you’re 70-79: .20 X 0 (from all reports) = 0.0.
          This is your chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if vaccinated (ie. masks are stupid).

          4 is apparently the same as 1 at 20% since it seems the vaccinated are just as likely to catch and transmit the virus as the unvaccinated. Only the likelihood of getting seriously ill seems to be eliminated.

          For 5 one would divide the VAERS numbers by the number of US vaccinated.
          So, as of 12/31 46,755 (hospitalizations) + 9,778 (deaths) + 11,413 (permanent disabilities) = 67,946 / 207,796,335 (fully vaccinated) = .000327 or .0327%
          This is your chance of getting seriously ill from vaccinations.
          This should give you a high end number because VAERS counts self-reported serious reactions after getting the vaccine. On the other hand this number might actually be low as well, as we have absolutely no data on long-term effects, only short-term.

          So from a decision standpoint, you compare your result from multiplying 1 and 2 to the result from 5, and you have your comparison numbers. So in my example, the chance of a 70-year-old getting seriously ill without getting vaccinated is 0.14%, and the same person’s chance of getting seriously ill from the vaccines is .0327% or more than twice as likely. Now remember all my caveats. These numbers may not be perfectly accurate and will vary as we find out more information. It’s hard to know when almost the whole country is the experimental group, leaving very little room for a control group. Also the VAERS numbers may well vary by age, but I can’t find that data.

          One further caveat is that the risk assessment part of our brains can sometimes be fooled by comparing unlikely events. If I double my risk of getting some specific form of cancer by drinking liver milkshakes from 1 in 800,000 to 2 in 800,000, that is not a good reason to refrain from liver milkshakes (there may be others), since as the old adage goes, “Twice nothing is still nothing.”

          And don’t forget the decision tree does not include whether you’ve already contracted and recovered from COVID-19. If you have, stop there! There is NO reason for you to get vaccinated against something you already recovered from and have greater immunity to.

          Hope that helps.

          1. Hi Frank,

            Thanks for taking the time to spell this out for me. It certainly puts a perspective on the likelihood of significant problems, which is to mostly say, if you’re younger, why bother. However, I think I’m dealing with people who are so far into we’re going to DIEEEE that your 20% chance of catching the cough in points 1 and 4 seems will be treated as ‘fake news.’ I’m also wondering where you pulled the numbers for #2- CDC, John’s Hopkins, one state’s page, etc?

            Thanks!

            1. Numbers for 2 came from a CDC table. I just checked, and it seems to be hidden now. They seem to feature vaccination rates now and hide the old table. Might still be there if you can dig enough. Guess I should have saved artifacts given how the CDC seems to work.

              As to the folks who won’t believe my numbers, tell them to find their own, but see if you can’t get them to agree that the logic is sound, and just your numbers are wrong. If you can get them far enough to just argue with your numbers, they might actually do a little research and be open to eventual persuasion.

              As to number 1, point them to the wikipedia entry for the Diamond Princess:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_on_Diamond_Princess. I contend that a cruise ship whose passengers skew towards the elderly and lived in a confined space for 2 weeks without masks (longer if you count before quarantine) is probably close to a worst-case scenario for spreading the bug.

              Also point out to them that, if they’re vaccinated, they are protected, and that wearing masks (if they believe they work) only protects those ignorant unvaccinated folks who can’t give the bug to them because they’re protected by the vaccines, right?

              In any case, take heart. Your fearless prognosticator says all this will be over by mid-February. Boeing has refused to go along. That’s a big one because federal employees and contractor mandates are more likely to be upheld by the Supreme Court. My own company just gave religious exemptions to anyone who asked for one. They couldn’t afford to lose 10% of their workforce when they already don’t have enough bodies. All the news says, everybody gets omicron but nobody gets sick from it. The NFL has had so many players test positive that they are–cutting back on testing! The NCAA has decided to treat anybody who’s had it and recovered as vaccinated. Everybody who has anything to lose but their minds, knows this is all nonsense now. Courage, as Clarence Thomas says.

    4. “Not smarter than everybody else, but smarter than anybody that would believe [The Latest Stupid Thing].”

      Examples:

      [Masks prevent the spread of viruses]
      [Standing 6 feet apart prevents the spread of viruses]
      [Experimental inoculations for 5-year-olds prevents the spread of viruses]
      [COVID19 did not escape from the Wuhan virus lab]
      [Fauxi knows best]

    5. I was accused of thinking I was so smart so often in elementary school that they convinced me I must be unusually smart.

    6. One of the curses of genuinely high intelligence is that you REALLY ARE smarter than everyone else. Normies hate that. They can -see- that you’re smarter, that you figured out the thing they can’t understand, that you did it right in front of them, and that you found it trivial. They go nuts. That’s why I don’t talk to Normies. They’re idiots.

      Living in Ontario the last two years has been irritating. People of my acquaintance who F-ING WELL KNOW BETTER have swallowed the government public health bullshit hook line and sinker. These are people who are medically trained and work in medical research.

      Example: https://blazingcatfur.ca/2022/01/10/cdc-director-admits-over-75-of-covid-deaths-in-people-with-at-least-4-comorbidities/

      Yes, it took this long for the director of the CDC to admit that three quarters of the people on the “died of COVID-19” list were end-of-life trainwrecks who had at least FOUR major things wrong with them. They died -with- Corona, not from it.

      I’ve known that since about May of 2020. Yes, COVID-19 has killed lots of people. It has killed lots of people who were already really, really sick with multiple organ systems involved. We’re talking morbidly obese diabetics with heart failure and emphysema, okay? COVID-19 can be quite dangerous for that population. You know, the ones that are already in a hospital. They should be careful.

      So all those people I know who work in medical research? They’ve been screeching at me that masks work (no, sorry, cloth masks don’t work, it’s an aerosol transmission not droplet) and I have to social distance (worthless because aerosol), and the vaccine is safe (I really hope so but I have my doubts), and and and, and damn you Phantom why can’t you just STFU and go along like everybody else?! You think you’re soooo smart!!!

      Yep. I do. I was smart enough to go read the literature, to see the obvious and painfully -stupid- pronouncements coming out of the governments and conclude I was safe. (Remember when we were all racists for wanting to stop flights from China? Remember when it wasn’t racist that the government halted flights from South Africa? Or when they closed the border to the USA?) Not going to die from Corona. Not the OG version, not Delta, not OhMiGhod-icron.

      My acquaintances are still terrified they’re gonna dieeeeee!!!11! and they won’t come out to play. Two years with no parties, no Christmas, no New Years, no movies, no screw-all.

      You know what? We all, Western Civilization as a whole, are so freaking lucky it is ridiculous. If this virus was even a tenth as dangerous as they’ve been making it out to be, we’d all be dead.

      1. Yup, for people with one foot and four toes in the grave, COVID19 can make that last toe slip over the edge.

        For most folks — like 98% of ’em — it’s the common cold. Yeah, people die of the common cold every year, too. We just usually don’t obsessively keep score — but only until OrangeManBad was out of office. Why aren’t they counting the COVID19 deaths while Biden occupies the White House?

        So, no, I’m not smarter than everybody else, just the ones that believe all that stupid shit. I’m still seeing 80-90% sheeple wearing the idiot face diapers.

        Today outside Target two women were asking each other if they had to wear masks in the store. I told them nobody hassled me, so they should be OK.
        ———————————
        If we haven’t all died of the CCcorona virus by now, we ain’t gonna.

        1. There are exceptions to the rule that 98% come out of it clean. We had a couple cases that some over 65 folks at church that otherwise seemed fine had issues. One seemed to have dementia/alzheimers like symptoms after recovery, another ended up with COPD like symptoms for a long while after. I think part of it is that it seemed to cause clotting issues, the dementia was maybe from several TIA (essentially micro strokes), the lung issues from leftover damage (perhaps clotting also?) in the bronchi. Certainly those folks both seemed pretty well off before Covid, the person with the dementia issues was slim and athletic with no obvious co-morbidities quite the runner even. Possibly in both cases there was some subtle underlying issue. Certainly the clump of 40 and 50 somethings(some with obvious co-morbidities) that got it had little trouble, it was just like a bad flu or bad bronchitis and in their teens that got it it seemed like a mild flu/cold that just kind of hung on.

          It’s NOT Black death/ebola/TB/Smallpox/ Andromeda strain/ the flu from “The Stand” that’s for certain and early experience with the cruise ship and other sources made that clear. But you wouldn’t know that from lame stream media last year.

          1. The media and the Publick Health Authoriteez would have you believe it’s something between H5N1 (The Last Centurion) and H7N3 (Under A Graveyard Sky) and we’sa all-a gonna DIIIIEEEE!!!

            Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

            At least they don’t have the big scoreboard up every night now.

          2. Dementia issues can also be caused by restricted blood-flow– my grandmother had what they described as an operation to scrape the inside of the veins in her throat that supply oxygen to the brain, and her dementia symptoms disappeared for years.
            (in spite of diabetes and a bunch of other health and social/emotional issues, including basically Just Gave Up after losing my grandfather)

      2. I’ve known that since about May of 2020.

        When it was totally out there and public!

        And the only takeaway was… to start listing only the “comorbidities” that were most common, with cancers broken down into specific sub-types, so that being over 25 BMI was the most common.

        :facepalm:

        BMI over 25 is most common in people who survive for longer with stuff that’s killing them. Of course it’s going to be in folks who have at least three major things wrong with them and are still alive to catch COVID!

          1. I’d say “an extremely limited use tool” but man sometimes when people are trying to get me to do stuff that would seriously damage my health is it hard to keep “it has a use” in mind.

            1. Yes BMI was created as a gross number to compare whole populations. Even its creators say not to use it for individuals. Not that anybody listens to them. Body morphology plays an important role. I’m a mesomorph and 6’2″, and when I was stacking 3,300 pounds of newspaper per day in 100 pound bundles on pallets, my weight was 210, so my BMI was 27. If I went lower, I tired too easily. A high BMI for an ectomorph (basically skinny, long fingers, etc.) might signal a problem. For a barrel-chested endomorph, probably not so much. Basically, you know when you’re overweight, and, if your doctor is worth their salt, they do to and don’t try to panic you with fine-tuning your body into what it was never meant to be.

        1. There was some data that COVID likes to reproduce in fat cells. If your over BMI 25 then you are more likely to have lots of those. And a higher viral load seems to match with more issues. Of course BMI was a nonsense number generated out of a particularly lean population so yeah BMI 25 is healthy for a lot of folks. But the medicos were talking obese (BMI 35+) or Morbidly Obese (BMI 45+) not overweight (BMI 25+). I’ve been at BMI 45+ in my life (often, I’m a big guy), in the low 30’s now after a couple years of limiting food intake. That BMI 45+ has a lot of other issues (Type 2 diabetes, Low Vitamin D, Low testosterone levels, lung issues, Fatty Liver, high BP ) all of which fall into the Covid 2 co-morbidities. And if you’ve been heavy for a long time those are even more likely to be present.

          1. The only citations I’ve seen were looking a comorbidities and sorting them by how common they were; with BMI over 25 lumped into a single group, while every other factor was broken down as finely as possible.

  3. What I got out of the “mass formation psychosis,” theory was, “make people unsettled and disconnected enough, and they’ll grab any theory that offers a “plausible,” explanation and solution that helps resolve their discomfort.” Like, “follow the anti-Covid ritual in every particular and all will be well.”
    Which would help explain why the left was hit harder….Trump was challenging their certainties, then they were told we were being hit by a terrible plague and if they only follow the “science…”
    So now you have people who sincerely believe “the unvaccinated,” are selfish, unscientific disease reservoirs who may yet destroy mankind by breeding a lethal mutation in their filthy bodies….which means it’s almost a civic duty to hate them and want them punished. That worries me.

    1. As someone put it, in the covid madness we’re seeing the formation of a new religion, complete with messiahs, cleansing rituals, and heretics. (BLM didn’t quite manage it, because it wasn’t massive enough.)

  4. We’ve been talking here about how we now understand exactly how the Nazi’s did what they did.

    I did like your right for the wrong reasons remark since I’m grappling with the inflation and China stuff where I’ve been wrong for the right reasons, though that may still change and I haven’t changed my views.

    Reality, alas, is obdurate.

    1. I was just talking to my mom about you.

      She was talking about a finance/economics guy she follows on the radio.

      I sorta described you, and mentioned that you had been a bit worried because you were not seeing the consequences you would expect from the Evergrande matter.

      Personally, I’m less worried by some of this ‘failure to follow prediction’ stuff, because the weirdest stuff is not in skills I think I have potential income from. And frankly, if I could get to the point that I was using skills correctly in my main job, and could generate a failure to follow prediction, my boss would find that valuable.

      1. I know why Evergrande hasn’t played out. The penultimate event in a market crash is the margin call and China has simply forbidden the margin call. What they’ve done is sell the car crash and buy the cancer. It’ll cost them more in the end but it allows them to maintain their illusion of control. My mistake was to believe that markets would function as markets do, under central planning that doesn’t happen. I keep getting politicians wrong and am having to adjust my analytical framework since we really don’t have markets any more.

        Still, What they will get is a systemic collapse rather than a series of minor shocks. Think of it as a steam engine. The governor will often let off steam just as you want to push harder, so you screw down the governor. Everything will run at higher output until the boiler explodes.

        The FRB wants to do the same thing here. I think I recommended you investigate the question of ergodicity in economics. That is the underlying theoretical error that is used to justify politicians protecting their donors.

        Still and all, the long run is largely, I would say almost entirely, a matter of demographics and demographics suck.

        1. Letting Evergrande play out as it should would probably bring the CCP regime down with it. The CCP is doing all it can to preserve itself and nothing else matters.

          1. Agreed, though I think they’re wrong. First loss is the best loss. Letting it go would have been a shock, but shocks can be managed by calling it a national crisis, blaming corruption, blaming the gringo, etc., etc. Now, the rot is showing up in much healthier firms. Should the whole sector, over 25% of GDP, go the whole system will break.

            Reality is obdurate.

            My only concern is that the US is doing the same damn thing where the FRB bails out the banks every time the market moves even slightly against them. What they’re doing is setting up a systemic failure. Should a FED bailout not “work” it’s Katy, bar the door.

            1. Again, agreed. They have no good choices only less bad ones. I suspect, though, that the one they’ve chosen was the worst. Not that I care, the CCP going would be good riddance to bad rubbish, I just can’t forget the innocents who will be damaged when it goes.

                1. Just like an ‘adventure’ is a lot of horrible things happening to somebody else in some distant place.

      2. BTW, my financial decisions have very little to do with prediction. What I try to do is hedge losses and then be in a position to benefit from large moves one way or the other.

        Most people shouldn’t worry about this stuff at all, but rather invest in their trade as much as possible, Guys like Kramer who built a mass audience for this BS have done a lot of harm. It’s not that you should “leave it to the professionals”. Rather it’s this shouldn’t be important. Yes, allocating capital is important but trading the markets is not.

        1. I actually haven’t been doing anything with trading markets.

          I was exposed to the basic ideas of it, etc., at an early enough age, from folks in my family being interested. Both the long term stuff, and the short term gambling.

          I think I must have been doing some paper trading, and lost interest in keeping up when life got busy. I feel I would prefer to be able to tell some fancy story about calculating the value of my time, but it only brought as much joy as /any/ other information collection and analysis, and I somehow knew that I would be happier spending my life on other things.

          Yes, there is some value from my life ‘stored’ in currency, and the risk to it does matter to me /some/. It seems to me that a wide range of employable skills might be at least as good a hedge as money in the bank. Can’t use employable skills with crippling health problems, but can’t use money without a civilization providing markets. Both situations are rare, and the absence of civilization one might be less frequent by some estimates.

          1. I’ve been enthrallled by it since I was a child. It’s the great game, only poker comes close. it’s not even the money, though that’s good too, but the challenge of getting it right.

            1. Oh, I like getting things right.

              It is just that the problems of the market are largely not ones that engage me.

              I just segued into what became a long essay on defining the weird category of ‘problems that interest me’. It got a bit out of control, and finishing stopped seeming fun.

            2. I know a lot of poker players who also “play the market” and some of them are among the most aggressive in trading things like bitcoin and NFT’s. Me, I invest in the market, but with a long-term view, and do not touch things like bitcoin.

              1. There’s poker and then there’s poker. Most poker today is Texas Hold’em and I don’t get on with that. I’m a grinder in poker and the markets. I’m very boring and frustrating to play with since I only bet when I have a edge and end up harvesting antes. Had circumstances been somewhat different, I could have been a bookie. I learned how to set odds when I was quite young from professional “turf accountants”. Being a bookie is all about the percentages and taking the punters money.

                I used to count cards too. Counting cards is actually quite easy and is really about managing the bets. Not getting caught counting cards is not easy.

                1. In poker it is a single deck, so in stud games especially, you need to focus on what cards other people have, and are thus “dead” cards for use in other players (or your own) hands. Common-card games, like holdem and omaha, are a matter of probability and reading other players (which is many things, not just facial expressions as better players won’t have them or will deliberately use them to misrepresent reactions, but also things like betting patterns, etc). Betting position in holdem and omaha is very important.

                  I started out as a cash game stud player and now play more holdem and omaha, because “that is where the money is”. I really like mixed games but the ones that get going are usually at amounts higher than I am willing to play at. Contrary to common opinion, it is possible to grind in holdem and omaha, although it is done differently than stud variations. I know quite a few people who do so.

                  FYI, in my opinion, if you can become good at cash 7stud games, you can learn to play any form of poker, cash or tournament, well.

                  1. I’m sure I could learn but don’t want to pay the tuition. I’m very boring now and only play nickel ante with my friends. blackjack is too much work too. I still enjoy a flutter on the races, but only if I go to the track. I really like to watch them run.

                    1. I understand that. Never play higher stakes or forms you are not comfortable with. I have been playing strictly poker for quite a few decades now.

        2. I’ve read just enough about the markets to know I don’t understand them. I’ve pretty much just adopted a mentality of use my employer 401K to get their employer match and go with index funds, on the assumption that if the whole market goes down the toilet, my preferred investing mediums will be beans and lead.

          Apparently my blood sugar tolerates beans, but not potatoes…

          1. That’s the best way to go. The pity of the financial repression we have had since Greenspan is that carrying your age as a percentage in bonds is almost as risky as stocks. Regular people end up taking risks they can’t afford.

    2. In 2004, I heard a realtor and a banker give a pitch to an off-hours work group that touted no- down-payment, pay interest-only loans. My wife, always the smartest person in the room, looked at me and asked, “And how exactly is do I own a house then?” It took four years for reality to hit, but, what I didn’t foresee was how the PTB still managed to protect themselves and their friends and just consolidate more power from the crisis they created.

      I’ve been predicting inflation for years as the obvious and traditional government solution to unsustainable fixed-benefit pensions. And my company just dropped the commodity-based fund option from our 401-K because nobody was using it for the past several years. Just as inflation finally started to hit! As Andrew Klavan said, “No narrative structure is big enough to contain the infinite perversity of the human heart.”

      1. “And how exactly is do I own a house then?”

        A lot of people move every couple years, taking out what ‘equity’ they’ve built through inflation, and think they’re getting ahead because the numbers are bigger.

      2. Around about that time, I was researching why we couldn’t afford a house and stumbled across housing bubble blogs. After the relief of “oh, I’m not crazy, everything else is crazy,” I kept up with them.

        And they laid out a timeline that followed the actual crash pretty closely, based on ARM reset percentages. First notice of disquiet in certain California areas in 2005, spreading widely over the next few years. (Anyone who says “Nobody could have seen this coming,” ignores the fact that people did, but the PTB weren’t listening.)

        On that note, we bought our house in 2009. Not the bottom of the market, but pretty much the bottom value for the house we got.

  5. So, I had no clue what the heck the guy proposing the theory thought was so bad about 2019. You can tell he doesn’t either, because he tries to bluster his way past it, by talking about kids always on their cellphones…. yeah. No. If anything the kids are hyper-connected.

    To people not chosen by whoever assigns their school-groups.

    Having an out from an abusive situation– and schools are, most assuredly, abusive situations; there is no other way to characterize a situation where your most basic legal right to self defense can be not just violated, but punished for insufficiently submitting to assault, at the whim of those acting in loco parentis— can be a life saver.

  6. People are so hungry for contact after two years of this BS that they will talk to anyone– especially strangers. My friend had that happen to her in a Barnes and Nobles very recently. The woman couldn’t stop talking about how her family had separated from her during Covid and how hard it was to get back together. If it wasn’t so sad, I’d find it creepy. But then I’ve had to find my own ways to deal with isolation– due to illness.

    So what is the best way to cause psychosis in the population? Manufacture a crisis, media the hell out of it, and change their reality– then isolate them from family and friends– fractures abound.

      1. “This is not brainwashing, according to fact-checkers.”
        “This is not brainwashing, according to fact-checkers.”
        “This is not brainwashing, according to fact-checkers.”

    1. I think that the defiance of Respect Mah Authoritah by the locals (in $TINY_TOWN and similar and small cities like Flyover Falls) during the months of “2 weeks to flatten the curve” a) contributed to a *much* saner populace than elsewhere (*cough* west of the Cascades *cough*) and b) pissed TPTB off mightily. Note the arson fires (and attempted arson fires) that picked up in September 2020.

    2. From what I can tell, that’s actually how people used to work. My middle brother told me about a time years back when he was working on his laptop in a public place when am old guy introduced himself to ask about the laptop and what he thought of it. He said he was considering getting one and wanted to know what other people thought about them.

      They ended up spending a while talking about all sorts of things, and after he left, my brother realized this was a way of talking with people and getting social contact in that the old guy must have developed over the years.

  7. “Okay, yeah, I know, Twitter has banned people for talking about it, and youtube banned Joe Rogan over it and and and….”

    You know, maybe the public wouldn’t believe in conspiracy theories if our institutions didn’t keep acting as if they were conspiring against the public. Me, I don’t subscribe to any theories exactly, because that could lead down a number of rabbit holes. I just know something’s screwy and I pay attention.

    1. The not-quite-a-joke on Deplorable sites is that the difference between “Conspiracy Theory” and “Reality” is about 6 months. (Seems to be getting shorter, actually.)

      The fact that a nugget of information that The Powers don’t want to disclose is branded “Conspiracy Theory” as a first attack to suppress has a lot to do with it.

      “I don’t believe anything until the Feds deny it.”

      1. What the ruling Cult doesn’t realize is that when every media outlet starts blasting out the same “fact checks” in Borg-like unity, the effect isn’t reassuring: it’s terrifying.

        1. That’s what happens when the trained seals all start barking in unison.

          They even use exactly the same words, in the same order.

        1. Alex Jones really -is- always right. Unfortunately he’s also a titanic blowhard, so I wish he was wrong.

          I think his success is that he just assumes that the worst rumor out of Washington about anything is the truth, and then runs with it.

          1. “I think his success is that he just assumes that the worst rumor out of Washington about anything is the truth, and then runs with it.”

            Always the most reliable methodology….. and always has been.

        1. It;s the old story of the NYC columnist who couldn’t believe Nixon won because she didn’t know anyone who voted for Nixon, and thus couldn’t imagine people voting for him.

  8. Sometimes I think I’m the smartest person around and other times I’m afraid that I’m the smartest person around (because I know that I can be an idiot). [Crazy Grin]

    1. I know I am the smartest person around. That is what terrifies me.

      Here in Mordor, at church, at Hallmark store, MUST WEAR MASK OVER NOSE. But no problem bringing the elders close together to lay hands on someone, and pray. There is no rule against it. No problem with everyone in the tiny social hall with no masks, because we are all eating. There is no rule against it. People have no idea what they are doing, only “follow the rules”. “The rules will keep us safe”. This in an area of “educated” people.

      I hate code enforcement minions.

    1. Interesting! I’ve had some thoughts along those lines myself, but could never have put it all together as well as Paul Graham does.

      The Branch Covidians and the prog/left in general really do seem to be attempting to bring back the bad old days when the trees were all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw. They’re trying their darnedest with “we’re all in this together” and white privilege/social justice/racial equity and fascist-style censorship to forcibly squeeze everyone back into a different, but no less drab sort of mid-20th century conformity, where nobody who wants to be a success (or seem like one, at least) has any choice but to march in lockstep.

      Graham says it’d be insane to start a war just to force everyone back together the way it was 80 years ago…but considering how insane our self-anointed elites seem to be, it might just be the next inevitable phase. (I hope not.)

  9. People need both. Local community and non-local. If you don’t have local you do daily life on the very hard setting: you can’t get a pet sitter, no one brings casseroles when you have a baby or a death. If you don’t have non-local you don’t have the Big Evac landing pad, you don’t have the ‘is local crazy?’ check, you don’t have any chance of figuring out what’s really happening in the world.

    Most of human history has lacked that second, or had very much lag in information. But think a moment about how very much ‘Come to America, it’s better here’ letters, that took months to cross the ocean, influenced the past waves of migration to this country. That non-local community changed the population of the world.

    1. Well put. I like the idea of local friends and family, providing that assistance when no one else will. But, the only reason the Elite are pushing it is because the ability of the NLDs (Non-Leftist Dissidents) to meet with those that think similarly online scares the Hell out of them. They are under the impression (the WRONG impression) that, should we be dependent on local, THEY will become the information source we depend on. Because we’re just so in need of a Really Smart Person to tell us Dummies what to do.
      Not.

  10. O Carp, I just noticed! ‘Right For All The Wong Reasons’?

    Now what kind of Typo Puns can we make out of that?

        1. Hey, I didn’t notice it the first few dozen times either. When we know what to expect, our busy brains just fill it in, even if it’s not really there.

          I had a chapter posted on FanFiction for more than a year with a pretty obvious word missing from one sentence. I’d read it over and over without noticing. I knew what it was supposed to say, so that’s what I saw.

          That’s why proofreading by another person is so much more effective. They don’t know what you meant to write, so they’re more likely to see what’s actually there.
          ———————————
          At my house, the ‘things that go bump in the night’ are cats.

      1. You are not alone. I did notice it right off, but figured there’d be some ChiCom link or such, and didn’t get to read the full post until hours after seeing the title.

  11. I refuse to even investigate any phenomenon that goes by such an ungainly term as “mass formation psychosis.” Mass formations are for geology. Just tell Elizabeth Warren and AOC to warn everybody about the newest threat, “Big Psycho!”

  12. Regardless of what you think about the mass formation psychosis theory (and I don’t know enough to say anything about it), the reaction from Google has been interesting.

  13. “mass formation psychosis,” Read a little on it, very little, but it don’t make me no nevermind.

    I am, none the less, firmly convinced this is not the Age of Aquarius, but instead, The Age of Mass Psychosis. It may be which burning instead of witch burning, the nuns may not be sheep baa baa baaing but the elected and appointed none(s) in D.C. Paris, London, etc., are.

    Momma thinks you think you’re smarter than the mass of experts? What’s that thingy about mob intelligence? Something like the IQ of a mob is equal to the square root of the IQ of the dumbest member there of. Applies as well to an expert mob as to a torch and pitchfork mob. Personal opinion of course but I think any one of your cats is smarter than the expert mob attempting to run everything.

    I’m starting to see things not in terms of red, blue black pill swallowers, or left vs right but instead right vs wrong and sane, informed, vs Bat Sh__ Crazy.

    Maybe it’s all just a much needed cleaning of the gene pool and we need to just stay off the diving board until it’s finished.

    Meanwhile keep your etc. handy where you can find them in the dark and avoid crowds.

    1. I may be proof that it is possible to be semi informed as a result of deliberately ignoring everything, and paying attention mainly to rumor, denials, and rumors of denials.

      Also, it may be possible to calculate out a sane ish position while being Bat Sh__ Crazy.

      Some of my crazy is deliberate, a strategy chosen for reasons logically worked out. You don’t go with the priority that you’ve reasoned out will be most effective in a contingency, unless you live that priority as part of your ordinary life.

      Other bits are natural, have always been there, and I struggle against them.

      The opposition’s jerks don’t seem to know what they are doing, and may have missed an important thing. If you are trying to profit by being crazier than people expect, it will only work out long term if you have situations where you will fold your cards and walk away.

      Crazy is a cost for other people.

      There are people who have little choice but to put up with your crazy. If you deal with them in the expectation that they will put up with anything you do, sooner or later they will not. If you want people to choose to tolerate your eccentricities, you make a good faith effort to minimize what you cost them. If that means not inflicting everything on your family, then you don’t inflict everything on your family. Folks who aren’t making the choice to be around you, you try to understand what is decent by their lights, and if their expectations are reasonable you treat them decently by their lights.

      Behaviors that are reserved for people starting stuff are okay, so long as one is a little bit careful and critical about whether one is going off on a hair trigger. (I’m not as cautious as I should be.)

      If you are deliberately pushing things for an audience, that had better be an audience that can walk away, and you had better pay attention to if your actions are driving them off.

      This shit moderns are doing of inflicting crazy deliberately on others, with an audience of ‘everyone’, will not be tolerated for ever. People /only/ have so much that they are willing to tolerate. It used to be that the public had a /lot/ of reserves, and were willing to extend a fair amount of charity. That has been abused, and here we are. The public’s reserves are a much depleted now by what has come before.

      I’ve been warning about limited tolerance for crazy for some time. Basically, the reason I am so far beyond the pale on recreational drug use, is because my own limit is something I’ve learned to know well over the years, I’ve chosen to extend my little tolerance to naturally mentally ill people who work on controlling their problems, and have zero interest in in being obligated to tolerate the people who voluntarily harm their thinking with drugs.

      Most folks are /not/ entering adulthood with a strong conviction of “Yeah, there is a lot I will tolerate for lack of choice. I will not be made to tolerate a housemate who steals stuff to buy drugs. I will not be made to pay the living expenses of someone who recklessly fried their brain with drugs”.

      The jerks appear to be staying in the game, and doubling down further. Their early gambles, people were nice enough to think appeasement/’accommodation’ was a good idea, or the costs small enough that it wasn’t worth fighting. Now, the opposition is in the mode of forcing people to accept things quietly, and resisters are growing angrier at the coercion and at the more obvious costs. ‘Our’ side is becoming more strongly convinced. Eventually, there will be a substantial difference in mood. Now, we are talking a wide range of personalities, so we are not actually going to have many people toggle over to my perspective.

      1. “…paying attention mainly to rumor, denials, and rumors of denials.”

        The Liberal Party of Canada has steadfastly denied that they will pass a federal mandatory vaccination law.

        https://tnc.news/2022/01/04/clip-resurfaces-of-trudeau-calling-unvaccinated-extremists-misogynists-racists/

        Therefore we can be sure that they will certainly pass one before spring is over.

        I predict this will not turn out the way they think it will. Just like the Quebec Covid Curfew didn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Thousands of people protesting instead of the expected empty streets.

        I’ll have to ask you to stop making sense again, Bob. It’s unnerving.

      2. Been rereading Leigh Brackett’s Hounds of Skaith trilogy again for writing tone reference ( think Conan the Barbarian vs the Space Hippies, set on Hoth)

        It struck me that one of its big themes is failing regimes pushing things to far trying to keep power. Again and again the titular barbarian is able to reap the whirlwind because the powers that be push things too far trying to hold back the tsunami of changes that must, that are coming and cannot be stopped.

        And yes, I am totally stealing the fear duel with the Northhounds. Not in the details, I’m working with possessed murder storks, and the character has a different core, but it’s a really epic way to pare a character down to the core of what makes them legend.

  14. With the news media twisting the truth so much, I find it too hard to believe in any of it. I don’t see how anyone can believe the news media at all.

  15. The reason the left/establishment are so aggressive in trying to shut down personal media outlets is precisely because it enables people to circumvent “The Narrative” and exchange information outside of the establishment mechanisms and thus exchange info that the establishment wants buried and forgotten.

    1. I often appreciate Paul for his insightful and often amusing comments. I don’t have to wait for January 16th!

  16. This must be somewhat related to how markets work, although I have no idea how. Reality is always late to the game – if it ever shows up at all. Mass belief is what really drives most financial markets. It’s what makes money work, at all. Some commodities, at some points in time, are exceptions, but mostly not. Everything is worth what people _believe_ it’s worth; there is very little objective value. That’s why “drill, baby, drill” actually does lower oil prices – even when no new oil immediately comes on the market. “Expectation” is belief.

    It might be a good time to invest in tulip bubs, I mean bitcoin. Or is that not a valid analogy? No way to know because it depends upon what people believe in the future.

    I’m not sure it would be good if we do figure out how to predict sort of thing. I tend to think it’s impossible. Seeing the future, whether it be by computer simulation, brain simulation (i.e. imagination/planning), prophecy, or time travel, will change it.

    That’s what’s happening, right now: Everyone is simulating the future and reacting to the simulation, not what’s actually happening and it’s changing the future. Very few are checking the inputs.

    How that works – both cause and effect – en mass is very much unknown. “Mass Formation Psychosis” is as good (or bad) a theory as any (see IQ square root, above).

  17. “I expect you to make up your own damn mind” … The Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded

    The second-most-important thing my parents taught me, is to not just follow the crowd, but to think for myself … a lesson reinforced by growing up in churches which ascribed to the doctrine of “the priesthood of the believer” … a lesson vital to success in engineering, because reality is waiting for your mistake to blow your project up in your face and doesn’t care what others are saying from the outside looking in.

    Don’t get me wrong, I value expertise … as advisers, not directors. I retain decision-making authority for myself, because I have confidence in my ability to reason and apply common sense … and I’m the one closest to the problem at hand, with the most skin in the game. And I find great advisers for my technical work among un-credentialed people that the chattering classes consider irrelevant, but whose experience gives them insights that I could never learn from a textbook.

    Exercising that authority, however, involves effort and risk … and we have raised generations of risk-adverse people who can’t take a dump, er, stool sample without a (Five Year) plan from a committee of experts that lack the insights I describe, yet are treated as though they are omniscient and infallible and unworthy of being questioned by mere mortals like us.

    This is the way out of our slide into decline … we work to put ourselves in a position of authority over our own lives that diminishes the relevance of the Pedestaled Elite in DC and elsewhere, instead of chasing some One True Way in the name of “unity” and “civic responsibility”.

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