“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely
exercised for the good of its victims
may be the most oppressive.”
– C. S. Lewis
“The urge to save humanity is almost always a
false-front for the urge to rule it.”
– H.L. Mencken
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H.L. Mencken
Superb piece from Prof. James Allan.
(5 min read)
Via The Australian
Covid hysteria based on lies, propaganda and ignorance
By James Allan
12:00AM OCTOBER 2, 2021
All the Covid hysteria around most of the democratic world, and especially in Britain, New York state, Canada and here in Australia, is driven by two main things.
The first is that many people haven’t got a clue about what the relative risks are. Ask them what they think their chances of dying would be should they catch Covid and most get this massively wrong – a good few get the odds wrong by two orders of magnitude (answering 30 per cent when at most it’s about 0.3 per cent). And we’re talking about one’s chances of dying before being vaccinated.
Government propaganda – because there is no other way to describe it – has deliberately tried to scare people senseless and hence to distort their relative-risk assessments. That has been a clear and unmistakeable goal, including of all the daily press conferences with the breathless recitation of cases by politicians without an ounce of concern for freedom-related issues, and by public-health types.
And for once, government seems to have got something right because its Covid scaremongering has been very successful.
The second problem has been all the models relied upon by the supine political class. It started with the Neil Ferguson modelling coming out of Imperial College in London and spread out from there.
No one in the press corps seems to care that Professor Ferguson has had an unbroken track record of massively wrong predictions with his models, prophesying things that came nowhere near reality. In 2002, his models predicted 50,000 people would likely die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease). In the event there were 177 deaths.
In 2005, Ferguson predicted that up to 150 million could be killed from bird flu. By 2009, 282 people had died of it. Ferguson was also heavily involved in the modelling around Britain’s foot-and-mouth disease that led to a mass culling of 11 million sheep and cattle in 2001. That time his models predicted up to 150,000 humans would die. You guessed it. There were actually fewer than 200 deaths. And before Boris Johnson’s “Freedom Day” a couple months ago, when the British PM finally summoned up a backbone and ignored the public-health class of fearmongers, Ferguson and a small army of supposed experts (more than 1200 scientists and doctors, including the editor-in-chief of The Lancet) signed a letter predicting carnage if Boris went ahead. All their “this is a murderous, irresponsible opening up” predictions proved woefully wrong.
Ferguson, interviewed later about being off by such a huge margin, replied along the lines that it doesn’t bother him being wrong, as long as he is wrong in the right direction. Let that sink in for a moment. For him, and seemingly the vast preponderance of the modelling caste, the right direction is the one that massively overstates future bad outcomes.
A woman looks at a mural of a health worker with wings holding a globe on International Nurses Day in May. Picture: AFP
You can keep your jobs no matter how badly off your predictions are, as long as you’re wrong in the overstated direction. Under-predict by even one death, though, and the fear is some pusillanimous politician will give you the axe.
That same attitude seems to be true of virtually all the modelling, including here in Australia. So many models have implausible assumptions built in, such as that no citizens left to their own devices would change any behaviour without the despotic, mailed fist of government ordering them to do so. You will try in vain to find a single model that ended up understating the bad outcomes it predicted.
So now turn to Sweden, with a population of just under 10 and half million. It never locked down at all. No small businesses were forced to close and so bankrupted (and no big businesses were thereby incredibly enriched and allowed to have bumper profits under the sort of crony capitalism that lockdowns deliver). Schools never closed. People were trusted to make smart calls. Oh wait, Sweden may have put a limit of 500 people at big events for a while. That was it.
According to the most recent data I can find, Sweden has had about 1.14 million Covid cases and 14,753 Covid deaths (a sizeable chunk of those happening early on in aged care, for which the overseeing epidemiologist, Professor Anders Tegnell, quickly admitted the country’s handling mistakes). Since May of this year Sweden has had one of the lowest rates of Covid in Europe. Its deaths per million across the whole pandemic are now low enough that the press no longer talks about Sweden. The lockdownistas do not want the country to do well.
Meanwhile, a number of British doctors are now predicting that deaths caused by the lockdowns themselves will end up outnumbering the saved Covid deaths by 10 or 20 to 1. And this in a world where the median age of Covid deaths is higher than the country’s average life expectancy for men and for women.
It’s a world where (according to the latest Stanford study) the survival rate for the unvaccinated for these age ranges is: 0-19 (99.9973 per cent); 20-29 (99.986 per cent); 30-39 (99.969 per cent); 40-49 (99.918 per cent); and the survival rate doesn’t drop below 99.7 per cent until you get to the over-70s.
In a world with that sort of risk of dying from Covid, if you are under 70 why would you care in the slightest if someone else chooses not to get vaccinated? You started with those great odds and improved them by getting vaccinated yourself. Give anyone under 75 a choice of whether to get Covid or cancer, heart disease or diabetes, and you’re an idiot if you don’t pick Covid.
The whole vaccine-passport mandate position (full disclosure, to have some hope of one day seeing my kids who live overseas I’m double-jabbed) is premised on people having no clue at all of their relative risks. Then add in a dollop of “take the worst imaginable outcome modelling”. Throw in a media and press corps that is either stupid or longs for the reincarnation of Pravda. Stir. And you have Australia, readers.
We’re not the world’s best handlers of Covid. From early on it was plain we were on a trajectory to be the world’s worst. And with every year that passes, that will become ever more obvious.
James Allan is Garrick professor of law at the University of Queensland.
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