In thinking about what to write for my most recent post on the epidemic big picture, one question I asked myself was what has been learned through this epidemic. It was kind of a depressing exercise.
- Our political leaders are incompetent, incapable of identifying and gathering pertinent information, talking to a wide variety of “experts” and synthesizing the information in a rational and analytical way to make a decision that benefits the population as a whole. Oh, wait, we already knew that. Turns out they are more like a mindless stampede of lemmings, happy to drop off any cliff, as long as other politicians go with them. Lockdown–sure great idea, let’s all do it and not consider the costs in comparison to any benefits.
- Our experts aren’t so expert, apparently incapable of recalling the basics of some of their training. Modeling was awful and the experts did not adequately warn that the shortcomings meant projections should not be used. We have heard all kinds of contradictory advice. It should be a good reminder to all of us, and especially the people in point one above, to take a skeptical perspective even on expert opinions. Question everything.
- A lot of people in this country are way too happy to conform to authority and be well-behaved sheep. Here we are with powerful computers at our fingertips constantly and most of us seem unable to look for and absorb basic data and research. It isn’t that hard. And why at this point would we trust anything from the people listed in points one and two above, without our own independent check on whether it makes sense. Stay-at-home, sure, no problem. Keep your kids out of school, ohh fine. Shut down your business and lose jobs, happy to go along. Wear a mask, must be a good reason to do it. And so on.
- There are some people, and I hear from you, that do adopt a more skeptical stance and do try to understand the complexities of the epidemic and the response to it. It is up to you to be leaders, to be heard and to help move the entire country to a more rational approach to these issues. I am grateful you are out there.