July 03, 2024

New York, September 11

New York, September 11

Source: Bigstock

If the mainstream media won’t tell you the truth about the President’s age-driven mental decline until forced to spill the beans by a debate on live TV, can you trust them not to try to mislead you about other things as well?

No, of course not.

Does that also mean that if they misdirect you about some facts, that therefore they are lying to you about anything and everything?

For example, how do we really know that HIV leads to AIDS? Isn’t there one scientist, Peter Duesberg, who has gone around for decades making plausible-sounding speeches about how AIDS isn’t caused by HIV?

And if the elites think Shakespeare’s plays were written by a non-elite like Shakespeare, isn’t that proof that they must have been written by an elite like the Earl of Oxford?

If the Deep State claims that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, doesn’t that just mean Stanley Kubrick faked it on a soundstage, right?

Did anybody really see any jetliners crash into the World Trade Center?

And, the Holocaust? I mean, c’mon!

“Unfortunately, an increasing number of people on the right are making flying leaps into the lunatic fringe.”

Unfortunately, an increasing number of people on the right are making these kinds of flying leaps into the lunatic fringe.

Part of the problem is that most people aren’t good at running reality checks on theories they hear. This extends up to many prominent individuals. For instance, a couple of decades ago, I started pointing out that bestselling New Yorker author Malcolm Gladwell, while possessing many talents at publicizing the theories of academics, simply had no ability to think critically about whether their notions were plausible or not.

After a while, I became more sympathetic toward Malcolm because I grasped that his shortcoming was near universal.

Let’s do basic reality checks on the theories mentioned above:

AIDS isn’t caused by HIV. Dr. Duesberg began pushing this in 1987, at which point it wasn’t ridiculous. I saw him give his spiel in 2009. It was quite reasonable-sounding…except that by that point, orthodox medical researchers had made enormous progress against AIDS, and they’ve made much more since then. Meanwhile, Duesberg has not.

Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare’s plays. For more than 200 years after Shakespeare’s death in 1623, nobody argued that he hadn’t authored his own plays. After all, why would they? During this long era, people had, say, grandfathers’ uncles who told fun anecdotes about Shakespeare.

Then in early Victorian times a brilliant but mentally unbalanced American lady named Delia Bacon attributed the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays to a talented coterie of Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh, and Edmund Spenser. She got accoladed by American authors like Whitman, Hawthorne, and Emerson. And here we are.

Moon landing was faked. I think the Soviets would have mentioned that.

9/11 conspiracy theories. Well, 9/11 was a conspiracy, and like several other conspiracies, such as Lincoln’s assassination, it’s not clear just how high up the conspiracy went. Who knew within the Saudi regime? Who in Pakistan gave Osama refuge a mile from the Pakistani military academy? But nobody seems to care much about those questions, instead preferring to emphasize genuinely stupid theories such as that jetliners didn’t actually crash into the WTC.

The Holocaust. Very few events in human history are as exhaustively documented as the Holocaust. The sudden extermination of most Polish Jews during the second half of 1942 was so historically bizarre—many people down through human history had been murdered en masse in hot blood after battles, and many others have been worked to death in cold blood, but virtually nobody had been murdered en masse in cold blood rather than be enslaved and get some labor out of them—that even few Jews believed what was happening to them until late in 1942, after most Polish Jews had already been massacred.

An interesting aspect of this trend is that valid conspiracy theories are of little interest to the right these days. For example, as I reported in this column on Nov. 11, 2020, and confirmed on March 23, 2022, Trump’s Operation Warp Speed would likely have been announced a huge success on the day before the 2020 election, except that Pfizer shut down processing of its Covid vaccine clinical trial from late October until the day after the voting, which allowed the corporation to avoid Democratic enmity for helping Trump win reelection.

But the GOP rank and file has since proved, as Pfizer executives smartly anticipated in October 2020, too stupid to notice.

Instead, Republicans have decided that Trump’s immensely well-publicized plan to rush vaccines into service, which proved more or less successful, was actually a sinister plot to poison America. But of course, they also argue, Trump should therefore be reelected…because reasons.

It has also become dogma among conservatives that crime can’t possibly be going down recently, even though Democrats and the media have stopped egging crime on for the past couple of years.

Instead, conservatives allege, big-city cops like the NYPD/a> must be failing to report crime because they are all liberal Democrats conspiring against Trump. In reality, the NYPD and the U.S. Marines were the only top 100 employers in 2020 whose workers gave more to the Republicans than to the Democrats.

Granted, in recent years, local police and the FBI have been engaged in an endless methodological dispute over an incredibly abstruse and boring epistemological argument over the best way to count incidents in which multiple crimes are committed.

Is this because the police hate Trump? Nah, it’s because cops don’t care much about data. Top cop Bill Bratton’s memoir recounts that his CompStat initiative in the mid-1990s succeeded because he found, out of 40,000 NYPD officers, six who were interested in statistics and computers.

For instance, the NYPD has lately stopped reporting crime statistics to the FBI. But it keeps publishing its own statistics online. Year-to-date, murders in NYC are down 18 percent over the first half of 2023.

There exist numerous data sources, most of which suggest that the worst kind of crime started falling about when the Democratic Establishment stopped egging it on a couple of years ago for fear of blowing the 2022 midterm elections.

For example, the Gun Violence Archive, a crowdsourced site devoted to firearm homicides, reports that during the first half of 2024, killings by shootings were down 10 percent since the first half of 2023.

That’s nice.

But shooting homicides are still up about 46 percent since the first half of 2014, before Black Lives Matter emerged at Ferguson in August 2014.

That’s nasty.

Similarly, after surging upward at the same time as the murder rise in 2020–2021, total car crash deaths have fallen from the second quarter of 2022 through the first quarter of 2024. During the Great Awokening, homicides and traffic fatalities have become closely correlated as BLM succeeds or fails at intimidating police into not stopping bad drivers and checking them for outstanding warrants and illegal handguns.

Yet still, even per million miles driven, traffic fatalities were up 17 percent from 2014 to 2023.

That’s really nasty.


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