Democracy and the Decline of Reason

On personal errand we recently infiltrated the “elite” Georgetown precinct of Washington, D.C.

Georgetown is the site of the infamous Washington “cocktail party” — the very symbol of insular and corrupt Washington.

Our travels took us past a store that sold books. We maintain a peculiar and likely irrational interest in books.

And so we ordered an immediate stop… to take a look.

Displayed upon a table in front of this store were several books.

One of them instantly seized our attention — Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason, by title.

Beneath its title appeared a name, William Davies, the author.

Your editor reflects often upon democracy… its pros… its cons… its merits… its demerits… its contradictions… its absurdities.

He has — in fact — written some of these reflections down in these pages.

Our arousal kindled, we took this book in hand. We turned it upon its stomach in order to read the synopsis upon its back…

Why Don’t They Trust the Experts Anymore? Darn It?

What was this book about? We were informed thusly:

In this age of intense political conflict, we sense objective fact is growing less important. Experts are attacked as partisan, statistics and scientific findings are decried as propaganda and public debate devolves into personal assaults. How did we get here, and what can we do about it?

We turned the book back upon its back… and thumbed the introduction. Here we were informed that:

Experts and facts no longer seem capable of settling arguments to the extent that they once did. Objective claims about the economy, society, the human body and nature can no longer be insulated from emotions. In 82% of countries around the world, less than half of the public express trust in media and this is contributing directly to rising cynicism toward governments…

Feelings of nostalgia, resentment, anger and fear have disrupted the status quo. Populist uprisings, as manifest in the victories of Donald Trump, the Brexit campaign and a wave of nationalist surges across Europe, are cases of this…

We can respond either by hurling more facts at these disturbances or by diagnosing their underlying drivers…

We were about to undertake a deeper exploration when a passerby talking into a cellular telephone knocked into us… and knocked us out of our temporary trance.

We had someplace to be at any rate.

We placed the book where we found it and proceeded to navigate down the walk, due east, in the direction of our assignation.

We began to ponder what we had read…

Shut up Serf and Do What You’re Told

At this point we file a caveat. We did not read the book but merely a slight fragment of the book.

And we apologize to the author — in advance — if we misrepresent his thoughts, explanations and conclusions.

Yet we emerged from this brief bibliographic encounter with a sense…

A sense, that is, that the author laments deeply the public’s loss of confidence in media and government.

They are… after all… “experts.”

They know better than the average man — and they know best.

The citizen is bound in duty to listen to them. He must yield to their superior sagacity.

If he does not then you have chaos and old night on your hands.

You have the election of Donald Trump. You have Brexit. You have nationalist uprisings that war against enlightened reason.

In brief: You have each and every species of calamity.

Again, we apologize if we misrepresent the author’s central claims.

Yet if this fellow hauls us into court on slander charges, we have his literal words on file. We will produce them in court as we have produced them here.

But to proceed…

Why Should We Listen to These Experts Anyway?

Let us address the author’s claim that:

Experts and facts no longer seem capable of settling arguments to the extent that they once did. Objective claims about the economy, society, the human body and nature can no longer be insulated from emotions.

To which we ask: Why should the greater public listen to such “experts” and their “facts”?

Center your thoughts on the pandemic. What did the experts tell us?

The experts told us that lockups were necessary, that facial masks performed gorgeously, that the vaccines were safe and effective and that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were not.

Anyone who rose to challenge these claims was labeled the common enemy of mankind and cast into outer darkness.

When they tried to talk the “social media” outlets — in strict collaboration with federal authorities — placed tape upon their mouths.

These hellcats were attempting to disseminate “misinformation” and “disinformation.”

Did a critic hold a doctoral degree in epidemiology or related field? Could he claim several decades of relevant experience that informed his dissent?

Did he occupy a perch at such a learned institution as Yale University or Stanford University?

It made no nevermind. The masking tape went across his mouth.

And “fact checkers” lacking any credential within the medical disciplines said he was wrong.

Yet who has time validated — the official experts — or the officially denounced experts?

We believe the evidence validates the second group, the officially denounced experts.

Even New York Magazine Admits It

Let us summon New York magazine to the witness stand…

Is there another organ of information more favorably inclined toward lockdowns than The New York Times and its satellite publications?

Well friends, here is a New York Intelligencerheadline, bearing the date Oct. 30, 2023 — a mere three days ago:

“COVID Lockdowns Were a Giant Experiment. It Was a Failure.”

Under that headline we are informed of the following:

In the U.S. and the U.K. especially, lockdowns went from being regarded as something that only an authoritarian government would attempt to an example of “following the science.” But there was never any science behind lockdowns — not a single study had ever been undertaken to measure their efficacy in stopping a pandemic. When you got right down to it, lockdowns were little more than a giant experiment.

And as the article itself concedes, that experiment failed.

Chapter, verse, line, letter, the article lists the failings.

The officially denounced experts — the authentic experts with tape across their mouths — were attempting to say it at the time.

Yet the social media organizations, the primary media outlets and the regulatory authorities of the United States government would not let them say it.

How Many People Did the Experts Kill?

Meantime, several medical studies indicate — powerfully in certain cases — that agents such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were potent treatments when applied timely and properly.

We are not a physician and cannot evaluate these claims. Yet highly learned men in the medical arts and sciences endorse them.

At the very least they are worthy of critical examination. Yet officially recognized experts denounced these medicines as quack cures.

In many cases these quack cures would have likely kept the homebound sick out of the hospital and the hospitalized sick out of the morgue.

Not in every case of course. Yet likely in many cases.

How many succumbed to the viral ravages because they were denied the use of these medicines?

We do not know. Yet we bet high the number is handsome.

As is the likely number of vaccine-killed, maimed or otherwise injured.

The evidence is available for those who seek it.

Next we haul Newsweek into the dock…

An Admission of Guilt

We cite the following headline, dated Jan 30, 2023:

“It’s Time for the Scientific Community to Admit We Were Wrong About COVID and It Cost Lives.”

Beneath which:

As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines and boosters.

I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.

I can see now that the scientific community from the CDC to the WHO to the FDA and their representatives repeatedly overstated the evidence and misled the public about its own views and policies, including on natural versus artificial immunity, school closures and disease transmission, aerosol spread, mask mandates and vaccine effectiveness and safety, especially among the young. All of these were scientific mistakes at the time, not in hindsight. Amazingly, some of these obfuscations continue to the present day.

There you have your admission of guilt. Under withering cross-examination the witness continues:

But perhaps more important than any individual error was how inherently flawed the overall approach of the scientific community was, and continues to be. It was flawed in a way that undermined its efficacy and resulted in thousands if not millions of preventable deaths…

We created policy based on our preferences, then justified it using data. And then we portrayed those opposing our efforts as misguided, ignorant, selfish and evil. We made science a team sport, and in so doing, we made it no longer science. It became us versus them…

Do not forget — this man was in lockstep with the “experts” at the time. More yet:

When strong scientific voices like world-renowned Stanford professors John Ioannidis, Jay Bhattacharya and Scott Atlas… sounded the alarm… they faced severe censure by relentless mobs of critics and detractors in the scientific community — often not on the basis of fact but solely on the basis of differences in scientific opinion…

Labeling this speech “misinformation” and blaming it on “scientific illiteracy” and “ignorance,” the government conspired with Big Tech to aggressively suppress it, erasing the valid political concerns of the government’s opponents.

The witness may step down.

What does the author of Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason have to say about this testimony?

Does he believe the public should cling to faith in “experts”?

What about other experts in unrelated fields?

American Disinformation

Fifty-one former officials of the United States intelligence agencies informed the American public that Hunter Biden’s laptop computer was the product of “Russian disinformation.”

It was not the product of Russian disinformation — as even the Federal Bureau of Investigation concedes.

The Russian disinformation theory was itself the product of American disinformation…

Disinformation issued and disseminated by 51 former officials of the United States intelligence agencies.

Should the American public hold trust in these experts?

Last April many active officials of the same intelligence agencies informed us that Russia would shortly be depleted of missiles… that the Russian army was reduced to attacking with shovels… that Vladimir Putin would soon be toppled from his horse.

The facts war very, very heavily against each of these claims.

Yet again we ask: Should the American public hold trust in these experts?

Meantime, experts inform us that American elections are “safe and secure.”

It is treason to dispute it.

Yet today we learn that a Connecticut judge has ordered a new primary election concerning the mayoralty of Bridgeport.

That is because video evidence came surfacing.

This video revealed a campaign functionary emptying loads of ballots into a mail-in vote box — contrary to the election laws of the state of Connecticut.

We could continue but the hour grows late and the timekeeper is pointing anxiously to his watch.

We depart with one simple observation…

If the experts are so hot that the American people no longer trust them… they need but stare into a very clear mirror.

They have none to blame but themselves.

The Daily Reckoning