Are you an artist?

An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Some examples:

The threat of mental health impacts.

Position A: we must agree, without question, with children who say they are transgender because otherwise their inevitable negative mental health outcome and possible suicide will be our fault.

Position B: we must keep children off school and away from group sports for months to protect the elderly and chronically unwell. The mental health impacts of this are insignificant.

Climate change

Position A: climate change is the biggest existential threat to humanity, all necessary resources and national finances should be applied to solve it. We must think the unthinkable.

Position B: nuclear energy is too big a danger to use to generate our power.

Election fraud

Position A: Russia hacked the 2016 election resulting in the illegitimate Trump presidency.

Position B: there were no irregularities in the 2020 election. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a conspiracy theorist.

The World Health Organisation

Position A: it’s unfortunate the WHO made several significant mistakes over the efficacy of masks and the possibility the Kung Flu came from the Wuhan lab.

Position B: the WHO is correct that the vaccines are safer for all age and health cohorts than catching the virus.

Prophylaxis

Position A: there is no evidence from randomised double blind longitudinal studies of the effectiveness of existing generic pharmaceutical treatments for Kung Flu and anyone suggesting these should be further investigated is a conspiracy theorist.

Position B: a vaccine first produced less than a year ago is completely safe in both the short and long term for all age and health cohorts.

Freedom of speech

Position A: one of the greatest benefits of living in a western democracy is the freedom to criticise government policy without sanction.

Position B: there is no problem with private companies, some of whom have revenue greater than the GDP of many countries, to censor people who spread misinformation as these people are dangerous conspiracy theorists.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps there’s a bit of artistry in us all. It’s not those who have inconsistency who scare me most, but those with certainty.

Take it away boys:

Mostly peaceful

The online world is a bit of a dumpster fire this week, with everyone with an opinion feeling uninhibited enough to let us know their hot take on the situation, with the added not insignificant bonus of publicly demonstrating their virtue.

Careful observers with memories longer than a few months might spot some slight inconsistencies in these public opinions, however.

For example, those who are loudly proclaiming on their soshal mejia accounts the Trump supporters breaking into The Capitol was an attempted coup yet didn’t speak up against any of the following:

  • The four year campaign to impeach the President on the basis of an election “hacked” by Russia which, after an expensive taxpayer funded investigation, turned out to be a big nothingburger,
  • The nightly Antifa riots in Portland, the destruction of the city centre and the implementation of a lawless “autonomous zone”,
  • The nightly attacks on the Portland courthouse,
  • The invasion of the Senate by anti-Brett Kavanaugh protesters,
  • The riots across the USA and looting of department stores in the name of BLM,
  • BLM and Antifa threatening diners in restaurants and suburban residents in their homes.

Given time and motivation, we could continue to list multiple examples of illegal and violent protest over the last four years, and undertake the offence archeology on the accounts of those who were silent then, vocal now. People are doing this for high profile names such as Alexandria Occasionally Correct with amusing results.

But for the average person, you, for example, what’s the standard you’ve demonstrated? Have you applied the same principles when your team screwed up as when the other side did?

If you didn’t, what does that make you?

Bill’s Opinion

In the few jurisdictions where it still exists, your freedom of speech should be unaffected by your record of subjective and partisan commentary.

That statement notwithstanding, your inability to apply objective standards and principles and your lack of courage to do so in public massively reduces your credibility.

You may exercise your freedom of speech to attempt to persuade us that, despite the long history of coup attempts and successful coups around the world, an unarmed raggle taggle bunch of cosplay Davy Crockets entering a building is a clear and present danger to the world’s most powerful military force. We, however, will judge those twitterings in the context of your previously demonstrated commitment to consistency.

My view on the events in The Capitol are that it was illegal and the rule of law must be maintained. That was also my view on the looting during the summer of BLM, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and all of the other illegal acts we witnessed last year but were given a free pass by many for reasons of political expediency.

I suggest this is a time for a long look in the mirror in case the Nietzsche quote applies to you:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Statistics are fun

More numerical ignorance on Creepbook for Business (TM);

To which my favourite reply is;

The WEF is obviously trying to make a point along the lines of #notallmuslims that our fear of Islamic terrorism is not rational, based on the relative causes of death, and the compliant Katja has bought the idea in full.

Let’s ask some additional questions;

Interestingly, there’s something nearly all of the categories have in common except the terrorism one; there’s a large factor of personal responsibility which could be exercised to avoid demising by each method.

Gun-toting toddlers, for example; why is there an armed weapon within reach of a toddler? In all states, that would be a violation of your gun licence (assuming you have one, of course).

Lightning; electrical storms don’t just appear overhead without warning, so it would be extremely unlikely that you didn’t have several loud and bright clues that seeking safe cover would be a good idea.

Lawnmowers; the words “user error” and “read the fucking manual” come to mind.

Being hit by a bus; don’t jaywalk? Oh, hang on, that prompts another question; where’s the category for automobile accidents? There’s about 37,000 deaths on the road each year. That’s more than all of the categories chosen above combined.

Falling out of bed; really? That’s a medical category on death certificates is it, rather than “elderly and infirm person died from complications following being hospitalised after falling out of bed”, for example? Sniff test failure.

Then lastly, being shot by another American.  At least the WEF is fair-minded enough to only show homicides, as the vast majority of deaths by guns are suicide (2 for every 1 homicide). Being murdered by a gun is terrible, of course, but there are always things one can do to reduce the probability of this occurring. Top of this list would be “not having a criminal record” as various studies suggest 3 out of every 4 gun murders are of people with criminal histories.

Another good avoidance technique might be to keep away from several specific metropolitan areas, such as Washington DC, Baltimore, Puerto Rico in general, etc. and certain specific neighbourhoods in every other metropolitan area. You know, keep away from the bad part of town like Mum and Dad used to tell you, perhaps there was a good reason for that advice.

Also, the statistics tell us that a really good avoidance technique would to not be a black male between the ages of 17 and 24 and to certainly not be in the proximity of anyone involved with crack cocaine. No judgment here, that’s just what the data is telling us.

In contrast to all these sensible methods we can deploy to avoid an early death, terrorism is a little trickier to pre-empt and avoid. I suppose we could steer clear of tall buildings in New York in 2001, travelling in planes or trains, crossing the road in France, attending Christmas markets in Germany, using the underground in London, being a priest in a rural church in France, a concert in Paris or Manchester, a marathon in Boston, etc. etc. etc. Not so easy after all, eh?

Which is perhaps why it’s called “terrorism” rather than “an avoidable accident” or simply “a murder“.

Bill’s Opinion

This relativism using statistics is fun but deliberately misses the main point about terrorism, that is, it is intentionally unpredictable and difficult to defend against because the entire point is to terrorise the surviving population.

In the future, historians may look back at apologists like Katja and WEF and diagnose a form of Stockholm Syndrome as the cause.