On Danger and Those Who Are Dangerous

 

“… the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said ‘No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.'” — 1 Samuel 8:19-20

Enter Omicron. Nature’s vaccine. But free; much too free, and it doesn’t require any special administration, nor does it require any special oversight, any new agency or organization, any emergency powers, any massive spending and taxing and all the control, the ceding authority to expert opinion that must necessarily accompany such important endeavors to save humanity; it doesn’t require any force at all, and really … there is nothing more dangerous and terrifying than that.

But it doesn’t really matter whether Omicron is nature’s vaccine or not.  It wouldn’t really matter of Omicron was just the same as alpha, or beta, or delta … or kappa, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, or any of the other possible and inevitable variants that have come and which are sure to follow.  Those are all distractions, just the same as “do they work?” is an irrelevant distraction when discussing whether governments should be permitted to force individuals to cover their faces with masks.

These are all questions for free societies.  “Does it work?” is a relevant consideration when taken as a part of the complex analysis that is individual decision-making; when I decide whether I want to engage in some particular action.  As we know, free societies permit and foster the creation of knowledge.  Even something so simple as “is this a good product?” can only be determined by consumer action, not bureaucratic preference.  Or, “is this a desired product?”  Imagine the fashion czar, having determined that gray collarless quarter-button shirts ought to be produced and sold en masse, confronted with alternate preferences:  So it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing fashion because I represent fashion. That’s dangerous. To me, that’s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me. I’m not going to be around here forever, but fashion is going to be here forever. And if you damage fashion, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave. And that’s what I worry about.

No, of course, fashion is different.  It isn’t set in stone, it isn’t something that can be determined with test tubes and Petri dishes, it is mere preference.  Stop being ridiculous.  Stop messing with Science.

Right.  Science is going to be around forever.  Well … unless it isn’t.  Unless you know what science actually is.  Like economics, real science only exists in free societies.  A person might quibble over the details.  Merriam-Webster seems like a good source, no?  I have a copy of the New World Dictionary on my shelf, dated 1966, so perhaps that is before words like supposably made their appearance… but Mr. Webster wasn’t going to be around forever, after all.  Regardless, my dictionary defines science as, originally, simply “knowledge.”  But, second, “systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation.”  And “systematized” means methodological, so, not random knowledge, then?  But knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation, which has been … organized?

Mr. Fauci may represent, in a certain twisted sense of the word, “systematization,” but he certainly doesn’t represent observation, study, or experimentation.  In fact, it is those very things that he is rejecting and censoring when he claims to represent science.  Odd.  It seems that the systematization may sometimes work to undermine certain observations, studies, and experiments.

Webster also has a website, which defines science as “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from misunderstanding or ignorance.”  I guess that’s the 2021 version; unlike science, it may be that language isn’t around forever, unchanging, outliving Messrs. Merriam and Webster.  Or maybe it is simply trying to weather all of those slings and arrows; to protect against misinformation.  Science is knowledge, knowledge is understanding and knowing … derived perhaps from science?  From observation, study, and experimentation?  So then, what is misinformation?  Is misinformation something that runs contrary to science?  Perhaps it is something that runs contrary to the scientist – the authority, who represents science.

It seems to me that misinformation, if defined as something that is incorrect, having perhaps come from a faulty observation, study, or experiment, is still science.  In fact, I might even suggest that it is essential to the ongoing pursuit of meaningful science.  But then, I’m only thinking back to the 7th grade, when I learned about the scientific method; when I was told that science was not knowledge, but the pursuit of knowledge, and that the two are very importantly different.  I am thinking of a science through which hypotheses are made and experiments are designed to falsify; where hypotheses sometimes become theories, but where theories very rarely become laws because it is only meaningful to say that “science will be around forever,” if what you are saying is that knowledge is in a constant state of flux, and that very little is ever finally set in stone.  But if that is the sense in which we understand science, than perhaps the most unscientific statement ever uttered would be something along the lines of:  So it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science.  Yes, that absolutely is dangerous – not the criticism, but the idea that any one scientist might represent science, and that science itself – which, in its essence, is very little more than the constant exercise of criticism, through observation, study, and experimentation – cannot be criticized.  That is very dangerous, indeed!

Of course, it is absolutely true that science will be around forever.  It is also true that truth will be around forever; whether and to what extent we are capable of understanding and organizing that truth at any given time is unknown, but truth certainly doesn’t change along with our ever-changing whims about its convenience, its political-correctness, whether we like it, and whether or not we even seek it.

Fauci’s view is not a new one.  A hypothesis that has failed the tests of observation, study, and experimentation would be demoted under the scientific method as I learned it.  When criticism of the hypothesis is criticism of the scientist, and criticism of the scientist is an attack on science, however; enter Omicron, enter a fifth wave.

…But new waves rolled from the collectivized villages: one of them was a wave of agricultural wreckers.  Everywhere they began to discover wrecker agronomists who up until that year had worked honestly all their lives but who now purposely sowed weeds in Russian fields (on instructions, of course, of the Moscow institute, which had now been totally exposed; indeed, there were those same 200,000 unarrested members of th3 Working Peasants Party, the TKP!). Certain agronomists failed to put into effect the profound instructions of Lysenko – and in one such wave, in 1931, Lorkh, the so-called “king” of the potato, was sent to Kazakhstan.  Others carried out the Lysenko directives too precisely and thus exposed their absurdity.  (In 1934 Pskov agronomists sowed flax on the snow – exactly as Lysenko had ordered.  The seeds swelled up, grew moldy, and died.  The big fields lay empty for a year.  Lysenko could not say that the snow was a kulak or that he himself was an ass.  He accused the agronomists of being kulaks and of distorting his technology.  And the agronomists went off to Siberia.)  Beyond all this, in almost every Machine and Tractor Station wrecking in the repairing of tractors was discovered – and that is how the failures of the first collective farm years were explained!

— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Guluag Archipelago, vol.1, pg. 57

Omicron will be unique in the same way that Delta was.  It will evade all our well-established science, just as Delta before it, just as Alpha prior, unless we take action!  There are still so many unmasked, yet to be covered.  There are still so many unvaccinated, yet to be jabbed.  There are still so many voices spreading misinformation, yet to be silenced!

Lysenko couldn’t be revealed as an ass, because the party is never wrong – to criticize the party is to criticize science, because the party represents science.  And if observation, study, and experimentation showed something different, something often undeniably and starkly different, well…  those attacks on science must be stopped; perhaps merely shown to be misinformation.  History would even be re-discovered if necessary.  And what of January 6, senator?

Joe Biden read a speech that may well have been written by Anthony Fauci, but perhaps it was believed that the President could draw a larger audience than the good Dr.’s thousandth appearance on MSNBC:

A year ago, America was floundering against the first variant of COVID. We beat that variant significantly, and then we got hit by a far more powerful threat: the Delta variant. But we took action, and now we’re seeing deaths from Delta come down. We’ll fight the –- you know, and –- look, we’re going to fight and beat this new variant as well.

See how easy it is?

This is why “does it work?” is a distraction.  What if Lysenko happened to have some successes to claim?  What if instead of creating famine after famine, the tyranny of Stalin had also managed to feed its people?  What if – sometimes – it worked?  (Or if, as seems more likely, the president could still give speeches claiming victory for things that he had only done everything in his power to destroy.)  We have some hypotheses that have been tested through observation, study, and experimentation – and some of those experiments are still running, in China, in Venezuela.  Some of what we’re observing is violence and uprising in Europe in response to increasing totalitarianism, though it is difficult to observe what governments do not permit to be shown.  One who is scientifically minded could do worse than to modify his hypothesis, slightly, and ask whether we are studying the right things, taking the right lessons from what we observe, noting the outcomes of hundreds of years’ worth of experiments – he might ask:  “so what if it did work?  Is it worth what we lose in return?”  Lysenko was always able to find wreckers.  He was always able to explain why it really does work.  He was always able to win the argument, because the only demand he even pretended to address was “justify your actions,” and only on his terms; to criticize the scientist was to attack science itself.  Those who engaged in that sort of observation, study, and experimentation were spreaders of misinformation, deliberate wreckers, enemies of the party, of the people, of science.  Those were all people with the wrong hypotheses; they asked “but does it work?” when the only real question was ever “by what right do you rule over us?” and the people who asked that question did not even make it to Siberia.

We do now face a serious and life-threatening danger; it’s one we have seen before, and it isn’t Omicron.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 21 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Clarke’s First Law:

    When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

    Percival’s Observation: When a bureaucrat of any age states something is possible, he wants a budget increase. When he states that something is impossible, he doesn’t feel like doing it.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Does Pope Fauci make this a kind of theocracy with “science” as god?

    • #2
  3. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Stina (View Comment):

    Does Pope Fauci make this a kind of theocracy with “science” as god?

    No, I think it is nothing more than good old fashioned tyranny.  Science is simply the justification.  If I took that quote from Fauci and presented it a historical quote from Lysenko himself, I don’t think there are many people who would find it out of place.  He is right when he says that he will not be around forever, but there is nothing new under the sun.  Many Dr. Fauci’s have come before him, and many more will follow.  That’s why we need to shift our focus.

    • #3
  4. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clarke’s First Law:

    When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

    Percival’s Observation: When a bureaucrat of any age states something is possible, he wants a budget increase. When he states that something is impossible, he doesn’t feel like doing it.

    But he still wants the budget increase.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clarke’s First Law:

    When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

    Percival’s Observation: When a bureaucrat of any age states something is possible, he wants a budget increase. When he states that something is impossible, he doesn’t feel like doing it.

    But he still wants the budget increase.

    Because determining that something can’t be done, it almost as expensive – perhaps even more expensive – than actually doing it.

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I’m not very dangerous, but if provoked, and I shoot you, you’re going to be dead.  I won’t miss.

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Stina (View Comment):

    Does Pope Fauci make this a kind of theocracy with “science” as god?

    Maybe not as god, but I think in his heart of hearts, Fauci does see himself as High Priest of something.

    • #7
  8. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Einstein formulated his theory, then said “I’m sure this is right. If anybody demonstrates that it is wrong, let me know – I’ll get back to work on it.”

    They did their solar eclipse observations, and everything came out exactly as Einstein had predicted. When he was told, he said, essentially, “thought so”. Then he went to work on the next problem on his list.

    That seems like science to me. Fauci is the opposite of this.

    • #8
  9. Hans Gruber Pfizer President Coolidge
    Hans Gruber Pfizer President
    @Pseudodionysius

    I couldn’t help but note that Ultron rhymes with Omicron.

    • #9
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker
    • #10
  11. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    A year ago, America was floundering against the first variant of COVID. We beat that variant significantly, and then we got hit by a far more powerful threat: the Delta variant. But we took action, and now we’re seeing deaths from Delta come down. We’ll fight the –- you know, and –- look, we’re going to fight and beat this new variant as well.

    By the scientifical definition, the variants aren’t more deadly.

    Not that that matters to gov’t in its many incarnations, including Beau Jiden.  Reality is something to avoided, if it’s ever even allowed to intrude.

    We are a disaster of a people for letting all of this happen to us.  When we look at Australia and ask why they let them take their guns, and now the conspiracy theorists hilarious predictions from a year ago are coming true there (quarantine camps, forced injections), how many of our sainted leadership are thinking how close we are to becoming them, and how many actually see that as the model to emulate?

    • #11
  12. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Science is as Science does.

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    I think this is all emerges from our fear of death and our desire for a king/god to save us. We must accept that we will all inevitably succumb to the all-devouring worm and no god will ever save us for there are but only men.

    We are just like Pibby.

    • #13
  14. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    I cannot edit essays once they have posted, but if I could, I would include this link in the original post.  Another example of how various governments’ response to Omicron has been knee-jerk and self-interested (obviously taking a predetermined line rather than assessing any sort of actual risk), which is a good indication of how these governments are likely to respond to all subsequent variant discoveries:

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/i-have-been-stunned-at-the-response-south-african-dr-who-reported-omicron-slams-hysteria

    One more small note:

    Yesterday, I received an email from my Federal Loan servicer.  It said that I need to re-instate the auto-deduct on my student loan (yes, I am still paying – many, many years later…  a story for another time).  It stated:

    “we suspended your automatic withdrawals during the covid emergency; in order to avoid missing payments when the covid emergency ends…”  In January, apparently. 

    Emergency scheduled to officially come to an end.  This is fantastic news, is it not?  I wonder if Jay Inslee got the same memo that I did…  it sure will be nice when all of those “emergency declarations” expire along with the suspension of my student loan payments.  I will be very happy to start making payments again!

    • #14
  15. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Hans Gruber Pfizer President (View Comment):

    I couldn’t help but note that Ultron rhymes with Omicron.

    You know on Mars they say that “Trust me” rhymes with “I love you.” 

    • #15
  16. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    I cannot edit essays once they have posted, but if I could, I would include this link in the original post. Another example of how various governments’ response to Omicron has been knee-jerk and self-interested (obviously taking a predetermined line rather than assessing any sort of actual risk), which is a good indication of how these governments are likely to respond to all subsequent variant discoveries:

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/i-have-been-stunned-at-the-response-south-african-dr-who-reported-omicron-slams-hysteria

    One more small note:

    Yesterday, I received an email from my Federal Loan servicer. It said that I need to re-instate the auto-deduct on my student loan (yes, I am still paying – many, many years later… a story for another time). It stated:

    “we suspended your automatic withdrawals during the covid emergency; in order to avoid missing payments when the covid emergency ends…” In January, apparently.

    Emergency scheduled to officially come to an end. This is fantastic news, is it not? I wonder if Jay Inslee got the same memo that I did… it sure will be nice when all of those “emergency declarations” expire along with the suspension of my student loan payments. I will be very happy to start making payments again!

    So Fauci emailed the virus and said “We should be done by January, that’s our science”, and the virus agreed, and then you got your email from federal dispensation overlords.  

    The system works!

    • #16
  17. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Update:

    The doctor who first announced Omicron is shocked by the irresponsible government response to her announcement.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10256373/Dr-ANGELIQUE-COETZEE-discovered-Omicron-says-reacting-threat.html

    • #17
  18. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Update:

    The doctor who first announced Omicron is shocked by the irresponsible government response to her announcement.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-10256373/Dr-ANGELIQUE-COETZEE-discovered-Omicron-says-reacting-threat.html

    That wasn’t predictable?

    • #18
  19. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Update 2:

    “Hey Ryan, stop being so hyperbolic!  The comparisons to Soviet Russia are tiresome.  This is public health we’re talking about – it’s the same as requiring people to wear seatbelts in their cars or shirts and shoes in grocery stores.  Just because you don’t like masks and you don’t like being told what to do.  You’re just selfish!”   

    Rather, I believe that perhaps the most foolish thing we can ever do is refuse to learn from history.  And I do wonder what Captain Von Trapp, who so disliked the Nazis in his country, would say about this?  Jail for not being vaccinated…  Australia and Austria are competing for some sort of “return to the brownshirts” award, perhaps?  And don’t think there aren’t quite a few here in the US who are jealous of these governments.

    https://eugyppius.substack.com/p/austria-plans-enormous-fines-incarceration

    • #19
  20. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I think this is all emerges from our fear of death and our desire for a king/god to save us. We must accept that we will all inevitably succumb to the all-devouring worm and no god will ever save us for there are but only men.

    We are just like Pibby.

    I don’t believe the evidence supports such a confident atheist’s perspective – I also think you gravely misinterpret the Christian’s understanding of eternity, as well as the relationship between God and man.  Interestingly, it is the Christian worldview that reminds us of man’s incapability of elevating himself to the status of God; that humility drives our understanding of the value of limitations of power, etc… even with respect to those men who claim to represent God (and are equally capable of becoming tyrants).  If there are but only men, then all men are gods, and those at the top do indeed rule by divine right.

    But that’s a discussion for another time.

     

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    I think this is all emerges from our fear of death and our desire for a king/god to save us. We must accept that we will all inevitably succumb to the all-devouring worm and no god will ever save us for there are but only men.

    We are just like Pibby.

    I don’t believe the evidence supports such a confident atheist’s perspective – I also think you gravely misinterpret the Christian’s understanding of eternity, as well as the relationship between God and man. Interestingly, it is the Christian worldview that reminds us of man’s incapability of elevating himself to the status of God; that humility drives our understanding of the value of limitations of power, etc… even with respect to those men who claim to represent God (and are equally capable of becoming tyrants). If there are but only men, then all men are gods, and those at the top do indeed rule by divine right.

    But that’s a discussion for another time.

     

    To clarify, no gods or G-d will save us in this world. 

    • #21