You’ve probably seen the phrase decision tree before. It’s become a frequent element in op-ed columns such as this one. While it looks forbiddingly formal and technical, it refers to one of the most pedestrian things in human life: our priorities and how we use them to make choices.
Everyone has priorities. However, you’re only aware of some of them. Others are buried in your unconscious mind. The latter ones assert themselves through mechanisms your conscious mind can’t gainsay.
For example, let’s take risk-aversion. Everyone has some sense for that one. It pertains to how much risk you’re willing to accept in the pursuit of some objective. But context matters. In some contexts your aversion to risk will differ from what you deem its usual level.
The gambler who’s down to his last few bucks and faces the prospect of confronting several large, unfriendly persons over an unpaid debt will readily take larger risks with those dollars than the solvent, debt-free family man who has no such worries. Yet that same gambler, equipped with the same amount of cash and unthreatened by the attentions of a loan shark’s leg-breakers, would sneer at a display of Lotto tickets…and the family man, were he to face the possibility of calamity for his loved ones, might take a much larger monetary risk to avert it.
Risk-aversion is one of the criteria that separate law-abiding men from criminals. But the criminal might well display the same apparent level of risk-aversion as the law-abiding man according to the size of the prospective payoff…or the identity of his prospective target.
There’s also the frequent divergence between the imagined risk and the actual risk. Visions of great wealth, great glory, or great vengeance can make a man wish away a risk that he would see plainly and accurately under other circumstances.
Why yes, this is about the so-called vaccines for the Chinese Lung Rot / Kung Flu / COVID-19. However did you guess?
All the following factors play into an American’s decision to accept or not accept The Jab:
- The probability of catching the disease.
- The probability that the disease will be fatal.
- The probability that the vaccine will prevent the disease.
- The probability that the vaccine will have side effects worse than the disease.
- Awareness of alternative approaches and the probabilities associated with them.
- Any incentives and coercions associated with accepting or not accepting the vaccine.
- The probability of significant changes to those incentives and coercions in one’s personal context.
The most significant thing about the above factors is that all of them have large error bars. No one’s sense for any of the probabilities above can be firm enough for confident decision-making.
That isn’t the case with most older vaccines. The polio vaccine, for example, is well understood. It has been demonstrated to be effective and safe, in the 99%-plus sense in which those words are usually used. But the record of polio vaccine in use is open to anyone who cares to study it. And the polio vaccine wasn’t urged – in some districts, forced — upon us by political forces and agencies with spotty records for veracity.
In other words, we are being asked to make a potentially life-altering (possibly life ending) decision under a dense, dark cloud of uncertainty. In such conditions, the choice made by some will appear unreasonable to others, perhaps even hysterical.
If I may speak solely for myself, I intend not to be vaccinated for COVID-19. My decision is based on my complete lack of trust in the “authorities” urging the vaccine upon me. I’m sure there are others for whom that lack of trust will be just as decisive. Moreover, Heinlein’s famous dictum about lies and liars is much with me:
“A thousand truths do not mark a man as a truth-teller, but a single lie marks him as a damned liar….Lying to other people is your business, but I tell you this: once a man gets a reputation as a liar, he might as well be struck dumb, for people do not listen to the wind.”[Robert A. Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy]
Given the lack of reliability of the Usurper Administration – and really, what better could we expect from a gaggle of men and women who literally stole the White House? — added to the numerous, well documented complete reversals of position by Anthony Fauci, the CDC, the WHO, and other pseudo-authorities, there is essentially no prospect of those persons and agencies regaining my trust. Your decisions are yours to make, but as a life rule, “Don’t trust the statements of a proven liar” is one of the more reliable guides to sound thinking and right action. It’s right up there with “Put not your trust in princes” – and that one has demonstrated its soundness over and over for millennia.
Some relevant links:
- America’s Ministry of Fear.
- Maryland’s governor: Get jabbed or more lockdowns!
- COVID-carrying illegal aliens are being dumped into the U.S.
- “Criticize an Administration scientist, go to prison.”
- A heartening sign of defiance in NYC.
Have a nice day.