Sunday, July 19, 2020

Try To See The Little Pictures

     There’s a general preference, embedded somewhere in the human psyche, for simple explanations. Multicausality frustrates and irritates us; we want unicausality, at least when it’s available. One of the tragedies of life under the veil of Time is how seldom unicausality is even imaginable, much less plausible.

     I know, I know: you’re about to cite Occam’s Razor, aren’t you? But Occam’s Razor isn’t a law of nature; it’s a heuristic device, a technique that accelerates investigation. We don’t prefer simple explanations because they’re more likely to be right. Indeed, the opposite is the case. We test the simplest available explanations first because they’re the easiest to disprove!

     About ninety-five percent of all scientific investigation is concerned with the elimination of possible explanations for phenomena. The simpler the potential explanation, the easier it is to design an experiment whose results could conclusively disprove it. That’s really all there is to it.

     But that doesn’t help the average man to cope with his instinctive attraction to devil theories.

     A devil theory is one that attributes some terrible condition to the conscious action of an agent or agency that strove – successfully, of course – to bring it about. Every devil theory implies all the following:

  • Without the deliberate actions of the devil, the condition would not have come about.
  • Conscious actors peripheral to the condition are merely remora, essentially irrelevant to the cause of the condition;
  • If we succeed in finding and destroying the devil, the condition will become soluble. Indeed, it might go away without any other remediation efforts.

     Most conspiracy theories are devil theories. The conspirators aren’t always named or defined. However, one or more deplored conditions are attributed to their conscious action. The proponent implies that exposing and destroying the conspiracy will make those conditions correctable.

     It is among the truly great ironies that the purveyors of devil theories also propose government action to counteract the devils’ machinations. The great Milton Friedman noted this in his Foreword to William E. Simon’s book A Time For Truth:

     The view that if there is a problem, if there is something wrong, the way to deal with it is to pass a law, set up a governmental agency (staffed, of course, by the intellectuals urging this solution), and use the police power of the state to correct it is, as Mr. Simon demonstrates so well, a superficially appealing view. It is simple, as well as simpleminded, and appeals to our natural impulse to take personal credit for the good things that happen and blame a "devil" for bad things...
     On the other hand, the view that the government is the problem, not the cure, and that the invisible hand of private cooperation through the market is far more effective than the visible hand of the bureaucrat is a sophisticated, subtle view that is far harder to get across. It requires thought, not emotion, to comprehend. It does not lend itself to ringing phrases, to high-flowered sentiment, to promises to particular people or particular groups. Moreover, the market has no press agents who will trumpet its successes and gloss over its failures; the bureaucracy does.

     There are many reasons for my admiration of Dr. Friedman. The above is only one of the lesser ones. And with that as our preface, we turn to the massively irritating, sociopolitically devastating phenomenon of the Chinese Coronavirus: the Kung Flu, the Lung Pao Sicken, the Pangolin Plague, or the Bat Gobbler Bug more commonly known as COVID-19.

     My esteemed Co-Conspirator Colonel Bunny has written feelingly of his conviction that the various major maladies we suffer have been deliberately inflicted upon us:

     The same analysis makes sense with the issues of mass immigration, fiscal lunacy, monetary recklessness, black hatred and cultural failure, and the willful and determined refusal to deal with the Antifa scourge -- Antifa the shock troops and street thugs who serve Soros and the DNC.

     It is simply im…bleeping…possible to believe that what has been done in these areas is motivated by a sincere concern for the welfare of the American nation and its citizens.

     As the legal maxim has it: People intend the natural consequences of their acts.

     Yes, they do.

     As regards COVID-19 and the “containment and remediation” efforts, I’m right there with him. The notion that those who have attempted to imprison us in our homes, shut down our businesses, destroy our social and entertainment outlets, and generally put an end to American society as we know it have done so out of “sincere concern” for our well-being is too ludicrous to entertain. Indeed, the Colonel cites a Zero Hedge article that elaborates on the theme. But one snippet from that article will stimulate a few extra thoughts:

     We’re not saying that Covid doesn’t kill people, and we’re not suggesting that Covid is a bioweapon released on the public for nefarious purposes. (although that’s certainly a possibility.) What we’re saying is that scheming elites and their allies in the media and politics see every crisis as an opportunity to advance their own authoritarian agenda.

     In fact, the restructuring of basic democratic institutions can only take place within the confines of a major crisis. That’s why the CIA, the giant corporations, the WHO and the Gates Posse gathered for meetings that anticipated an event just like the Covid outbreak. They needed a crisis of that magnitude to achieve their ultimate objective; total control. That’s what they mean when they say there will be “no return to normal”, they mean they’re replacing representative government with a new totalitarian model in which the levers of state power will be controlled by them. So while the virus outbreak might be coincidental, the management of the crisis certainly is not.

     Note the phrasing in the first paragraph above. The author is “not suggesting...(although that’s certainly a possibility.)” This is a prime example of “weasel-wording.” The author is suggesting that COVID-19 was a deliberately engineered and released bioweapon; indeed, I’d wager that he believes it and wants us to believe it too.

     Is it possible that COVID-19 is an engineered bioweapon inflicted upon us to advance the purposes of a power-hungry Super-Elite? Yes, it is. But whether or not that’s the case has essentially no bearing on the governmental responses to the pandemic. Whether COVID-19 was accidentally or deliberately released, the governmental responses would have been exactly the same.

     Why? Because public officials and their hangers-on are opportunists. In the classic phrase of Rahm Emanuel, they never let a serious crisis go to waste. Every such crisis is an opportunity for them to expand and intensify their power. When one happens along, they leap at it.

     When a conspiracy is proposed, always check whether opportunism would serve to explain the facts. Opportunism is always in operation, and unlike conspiracy, it doesn’t need to hide its face.

     A large conspiracy is the most difficult thing in the world to conceal. It requires communication, coordination, and operational secrecy that become geometrically more implausible as the number of persons involved increases. (The probability that a group with a common secret will “leak” rises with the square of the number of persons in the group.) Even if we postulate the most powerful motivations imaginable, the notion that a conspiracy that involves a thousand persons wouldn’t “leak” is mind-bogglingly unlikely. The operation of advancement-seeking and profit-seeking motives among those at the lower levels of the conspiratorial hierarchy virtually guarantees that someone down low in the pyramid would trade his knowledge for some form of compensation, whether internally or externally available.

     A conspiracy postulated to exist within a government would be far too large to be concealed successfully. The “Russian Collusion hoax” conspiracy can stand as an example – and that one didn’t require anywhere near a thousand participants.

     But we want that Big Picture, that identifiable Devil. We want him because we need to hate him. And of course, we need to believe we can target and destroy him. If he’s not there, what on Earth would we do?

     Yet the little pictures – the many, many men, from low status to high, who see an opportunity to grab more of what they most value – are both easier to see and more plausible in the scheme of things. Check for them first. By their motivations shall ye know them. Those motivations are most easily and reliably deduced from the careers they’ve chosen: the positions they’ve taken and clung to like man-sized barnacles.



How coincidental - I'm putting a Friedman video in my next Random Thoughts and you put up an excellent quote by him. So, taking it. :) But, of course, linking back to your post.

Happy Sunday to all.

Paul Bonneau said...

Gatto has talked about conspiracy, in his "Underground History of American Education":

"With conspiracy so close to the surface of the American imagination and American reality, I can only approach with trepidation the task of discouraging you in advance from thinking my book the chronicle of some vast diabolical conspiracy to seize all our children for the personal ends of a small, elite minority.

Don't get me wrong, American schooling has been replete with chicanery from its very beginnings. Indeed, it isn't difficult to find various conspirators boasting in public about what they pulled off. But if you take that tack you'll miss the real horror of what I'm trying to describe, that what has happened to our schools was inherent in the original design for a planned economy and a planned society laid down so proudly at the end of the nineteenth century. I think what happened would have happened anyway - without the legions of venal, half-mad men and women who schemed so hard to make it as it is. If I'm correct, we're in a much worse position than we would be if we were merely victims of an evil genius or two.

If you obsess about conspiracy, what you'll fail to see is that we are held fast by a form of highly abstract thinking fully concretized in human institutions which has grown beyond the power of the managers of these institutions to control. If there is a way out of this trap we're in, it won't be by removing some bad guys and replacing them with good guys."

Paul Bonneau said...

Oh, BTW, this post you made reminds me of Jerry Pournelle's "Iron Law of Bureaucracy".

Tar said...

One possible exception to the probability of leaks rising with the square of the members:

If the group controls law enforcement within the jurisdiction of the complaint, and the conspiracy is criminal, the cops will be worse than no help.

If the group controls the media, nobody will publish news exposing the conspiracy, and may instead publish news slandering the person revealing it.

If the group controls high-use tech platforms, it can bury search results and shadow-ban any user who dares to speak out about the issue, silently putting them in "digital playpens" of their own bubble of like-minded users, unseen by the outside.

If the group has control of a means of vast social pressure, an organization like a church or some other kind of supposedly "moral" busybodies that the public trusts, it can apply broad pressure to ostracize the person revealing the info, up to and including having loved ones pressure the person simply to make it stop.

There's power, and then there's POWER...

Tar said...

Oh, forgot one last point: monsters with that level of control? They often make examples (for their in-crowd audience) of the little guys who try to stand up to them, then eulogize them publicly, perhaps naming something after them, only to be forgotten soon by the public, but remembered by them... and that will become a reminder to the others not to step out of line.

Worth noting: the DNC dedicated a bench to Seth Rich. I wonder who meets at that bench?