Karl Denninger has produced a compendium of “expert” errors and lies about the Chinese Coronavirus and its social and political outcroppings. It’s an exceptionally useful item that everyone should read. If you’ve harbored suspicions that the Kung Flu has little to do with public health and a lot more to do with the aspirations of totalitarians, Denninger’s article will confirm them.
For me, the wonder throughout this misadventure has been that anyone was willing to believe anything emitted by any of the so-called “experts.” From the very beginning of this manufactured pseudo-crisis, their lust for power has radiated forth like a searchlight. The affair should suffice to demolish what remains of Americans’ willingness to trust government-nominated “experts” and their claims about “science.”
At one time it was near to universal for young Americans to learn an old and very sturdy wisdom from their parents: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” The truth of it has certainly been demonstrated in the surveying and polling industries. When company X hires market surveying firm Y to determine whether the market will embrace proposed new product Z, Y’s most powerful incentive is to determine, as swiftly as possible, what those who run X really want to hear. It’s a better guarantee of full payment and repeat business than any amount of effort put to unearthing the true answer.
The same is true for government-funded “experts.” Such “scientists” face financial incentives and political pressures that can overwhelm any impetus toward the truth. Add to that the desire of even the most mediocre researcher for stature, prestige among his fellows, and widespread fame. Add also the preference of “journalists” for what will sell air time and column inches, rather than the ungarnished, undisguised facts. It’s not a formula for accuracy, nor for candor, as the East Anglia CRU leaks should have taught us.
Among the most frightening scientific trends of the past fifty years is the steady encroachment of government funding, and hence government direction, upon all of science. Even in the Seventies, before I left academia, the effects were visible: on our research teams, ever more attention was put to the acquisition of funding, and ever less to the research it was supposed to fund. The funding was either directly from the federal government or from a non-governmental organization funded by the federal government. In many cases, if the results of the research weren’t to the liking of the funding agency, the money stream would dry up at once.
I seldom find it possible to put my trust in such “science.” Granted, there are aspects of government-funded science that are impressive, and whose conclusions appear impervious to political distortion. It’s hard to imagine that the coalition of governments that fund the various supercolliders would demand a particular answer to ongoing questions in quantum physics, for example. (“What’s that? The mass of the Higgs boson is only 125 GeV? You get that mass up to 140 GeV or no more money!”) But in the sciences more directly applicable to practical matters, political pressures or biases can and often will determine the “answers” produced.
Hard data makes it plain that there is not and never was a good reason to fear the Wuhan virus any more than we fear common influenza. Yes, it’s dangerous to older people with comorbidities, but so is the flu. More, the indifferent efficacy of annual “flu shots” should have told us something about the prospects for a truly effective vaccine against the Kung Flu. The only plausible route toward immunity – which, I will grant, is desirable, just as is immunity to any disease – is to get it, get over it, and forget it.
But politicians saw a pseudo-pandemic as a pathway to increased power. (“You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.” – Rahm Emanuel) Government “experts” saw it as a route to riches and enhanced reputations. The media were wholly onboard with the project from very early on, and lent their offices to frightening as many Americans as possible into sheeplike compliance with the “advice” from On High. And so we got the procession of errors, lies, distortions, panic propaganda, and seizures of powers never granted that has largely ruined the Land of the Formerly Free and Home of the Formerly Brave.
It would be nice if Americans were to learn something from all this. But given the current social, political, and media climate, what are the odds?