90 Miles From Tyranny

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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Fall of the Experts

In July of 2020, I was heartened by an interview by Freddie Sayers on Unherd with Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden’s COVID response. The interview was full of nuanced and common-sense statements by Tegnell. For example, he pointed out the lack of evidence and precedence for draconian lockdowns and their potential for enormous collateral harm:

“Of course we are trying to keep the mortality rates as low as possible, but at the same time we have to look at the draconian measures you are talking about. Are they going to produce even more deaths by other means than the disease itself? Somehow we need to have the discussion of what we are actually trying to achieve. Is it better for public health as a whole? Or is it trying to suppress Covid-19 as much as possible? Because getting rid of it I don’t think is going to happen: it happened for a short time in New Zealand and maybe Iceland and those kind of countries might be able to keep it away, but with the global world we have today, keeping a disease like this away has never been possible in the past and it would be even more surprising if it were possible in the future.”

Even more impressive was Tegnell’s humility. Several times during the interview he said “we don’t know,” and he qualified many of his answers with uncertain terms such as “seems” and “might.” I thought that was exactly what experts should have been doing all along, communicating nuance and even uncertainty to a terrified public. Either that wasn’t happening at all, or the media was filtering out all the nuance and uncertainty any expert might offer and just went with certain doom.

I texted a link to the interview to my sister, who I describe in my book Fear of a Microbial Planet as a germophobe. She was obviously worried about contracting the virus early on, but recently had been showing some healthy skepticism about the doom and gloom she was seeing on the news. Interestingly, she responded with “The only thing I don’t like, but it is the truth, is that he keeps saying ‘we don’t know.’ That is what scares me, is the ‘don’t know’ part of any of it.” The humility and uncertainty on display in the interview had given me comfort, but for my sister, it had the opposite effect.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was the outlier. Most people don’t want nuance and uncertainty when they are scared. They want to know that there are experts that know everything that is going to happen and how to stop it. They want to know that all risk of disease and death can be eliminated with simple and sustainable countermeasures, and they are quite willing to trade away many of their freedoms, even for an illusion of control. Many experts and the media that promote them are perfectly happy to sell that illusion when the public is frantically buying.

Because experts failed so miserably to live up to the public and media’s magical thinking the last three years, the word “expert” has lost a lot of its meaning, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Experts are terrible at predictions and don’t have much knowledge outside of their often narrow fields of interest. In a very complex situation such as a pandemic, there will not be any one person who has a deep understanding of what’s happening at any given moment, much less the ability to predict what will happen next. It’s like asking the CEO of a car manufacturer to build a car by himself from scratch—it’s nearly impossible because it requires the coordinated efforts of hundreds of people specializing in the construction of each part and assembly of the finished product. Not even a...

Visage à trois #1457

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Quick Hits Of Wisdom, Knowledge And Snark #1115


Quick Hits Of Wisdom, Knowledge And Snark #1113

Visage à trois #1456

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Quick Hits Of Wisdom, Knowledge And Snark #1114


Quick Hits Of Wisdom, Knowledge And Snark #1113

Discredited But Massively Wealthy SPLC Working with Corrupt FBI

The Biden regime is determined to silence dissidents.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the Left’s premier, well-heeled, and most dishonest and ruthless attack dogs. It relentlessly smears legitimate conservative individuals and groups by labeling them as purveyors of “hate” and lumping them in with the likes of the KKK and neo-Nazis. Its name-calling and defamation would be just more of the same rubbish that comes daily from the Left were it not for the fact that the social media giants and numerous other major corporations still take the massively discredited SPLC seriously and use its smear pieces as a guide to shun and deplatform various dissenters from the Leftist agenda. So the SPLC sounds like the perfect organization for the Biden regime to work with, right? Oh, absolutely. Now this sinister and hateful group is partnering with the equally corrupt and politicized FBI.

The Daily Signal reported Sunday that the FBI “appears, at least briefly, to have joined the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attempt to demonize Roman Catholics who follow the church’s teachings on marriage and who celebrate the Latin Mass.” One of those Catholics, Michael J. Matt, editor of a newspaper called The Remnant and producer of Remnant TV, noted that his organization, which is not remotely connected with violence or terrorism, was listed on a “leaked FBI memo,” along with other Catholic groups that he pointed out were “defunct.”

Matt declared that this was an example the “FBI phoning it in,” as its list of “radical-traditional Catholic hate groups” came from a 2007 list compiled by the SPLC’s Heidi Beirich and Rhonda Brownstein. Matt asked incredulously: “They took Heidi Beirich and Rhonda Brownstein’s word for it, from 2007?!” He added: “There has been an explosion of traditional Catholic groups since Pope Benedict XVI brought back the Latin Mass. None of the new groups who are in positions of real influence are targeted in the memo.” That’s good, but the fact that the FBI is working with the SPLC and targeting law-abiding citizens because it disapproves of their religious beliefs is disquieting enough.

The Daily Signal notes that the SPLC “has branded mainstream conservative and Christian nonprofits ‘hate groups,’ placing them on a map with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.” This includes Jihad Watch and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which have committed no offense other than standing for human rights for all people. The Signal goes on to note that “former employees have condemned the ‘hate’ labeling as a ‘highly profitable scam’ tracing back to the co-founder’s talents as a fundraiser. In 2019, the SPLC fired that co-founder amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal, the full truth of which has yet to be revealed.”

Nevertheless, “the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, office cited the SPLC in a January memo, which the national FBI office publicly rescinded in February. That memo listed nine organizations, most of which the SPLC first added to the list of ‘hate groups’ in 2007. The SPLC suggested that those organizations espouse and support antisemitism, and it has kept most of them on the list and the ‘hate map’ for nearly two decades.”

The FBI is not just keeping a list. In early March, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) asked Gestapo chief Merrick Garland, “Are you cultivating sources and spies in Latin Mass parishes and other Catholic parishes around the country?” Garland pleaded innocent, insisting, “No, the Justice Department does not do that and does not, uh, um, do investigations based on religion.” But it later came to light — okay, get ready for the shock of your life — that Garland was lying. The feds did have informants in Catholic churches, snooping around and looking for evidence of that domestic terror threat that the Biden regime keeps insisting is the worst such threat we face today. Nor is there any indication that they’ve taken these spies out of the pews.

Fox News reported on April 10 that the FBI “recently sought to develop sources inside Christian churches and Catholic dioceses as part of an effort to combat domestic terrorism.” This was clear from internal FBI documents that the House Judiciary Committee released to the public. The documents reveal that the FBI was attempting to use “mainline Catholic parishes” as “new avenues for tripwire and source development.”

The feds wanted to educate sympathetic Catholics about “the warning signs of radicalization,” and then get them to help stop the...

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Girls With Guns

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