The Inescapable Fact & Nature Of

  • For those who don’t believe that political-economic questions and their answers are entirely grounded in philosophy and that philosophy underpins all knowledge, scientific and otherwise, I ask you to observe the nightmarish spectacle unreeling before us now: because in your lifetime you’re not likely to see a greater global-wide testament to the inescapable fact and nature of philosophy’s foundational place in human life.

     

    Ask yourself: How do you know what you know or believe you know about Covid-19?

     

    How do you know how contagious it is?

     

    How do you know the risks? The infection rate? The demographics? The geography of the spread?

     

    How do you know the actual death-rate? By what means?

     

    Ask yourself: By what method or methods do you conclude? By what process do you determine accuracy? How do you distinguish between possible, probable, and certain?

     

    How do you decide if the information you’re acting upon is true? By what standard?

     

    What does “true” mean?

     

    Is true synonymous with correct?

     

    Ask yourself: How do we calculate the number of people worldwide, who are suffering from other illnesses and who cannot receive medical attention because of policies that have been enacted overnight? Upon what data were these policies determined? And was that data accurate? And how do we know?

     

    How does government determine “essential businesses” from “non-essential” and why?

     

    By what authority is government permitted to arrest people for being outside?

     

    By what authority is government permitted to break up a one-year-old’s birthday party?

     

    How do we calculate the number of people who will lose their entire life savings and the retirement for which they worked all their adult life?

     

    How do we calculate the number of small businesses, including dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, doctors, and much, much, much more that will vanish because of governmental mandates — mandates, furthermore, permitted by whose authority? Mandates based upon what data? And how do we know if that data is correct?

     

    How do we calculate the number of grocery stores and gas stations that will no longer be able to stay open and keep stocked?

     

    Will crime spike? Will the social fabric tear apart? And how do you know, one way or the other?

     

    How?

     

    How do you even attempt to know?

     

    Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek described the “flow of knowledge” as the “central issue in all social organization,” which is overwhelmingly economic. Ask yourself: have we been cut off from a flow of knowledge which otherwise would have been ours had we left this issue to the private, non-governmental sectors, which sectors would have brought you a Covid-19 test as quickly as you could order takeout, and for the exact same reasons?

     

    Why is the so-called Swine Flu (H1N1) from ten years ago all but forgotten — despite 57 million infections worldwide and 12,469 fatalities — whereas coronavirus has created a collective panic worldwide and, as a result of that panic, an economic nightmare in the making? Was the critical difference really that in the case of H1N1, the CDC worked with private laboratories and private medical facilities to disperse the tests, and succeeded?

     

    Ask yourself: why have contrary perspectives by people with impeccable credentials been ignored?

     

    Why in South Korea have infection rates fallen and fallen — with no shutdowns, no geographic quarantines, no panics, but everything open for business? Was it simply that they had access to testing, which is to say that people were given access to the essential and most important flow of information that was necessary at the time?

     

    Was this really the case?

     

    And is the opposite actually the major source of the problem in, for example, the United States?

     

    Is it really, as Hayek said, that the flows of information, when they’re cut off by force — force for whatever reason and in whatever form — lead to complete chaos?

     

    I’m even prepared to argue that it is largely because philosophy has been explicitly written off as something for academic hairsplitting only (nothing, surely, which affects day-to-day human life) that the events of today have hit such a shocking and calamitous state. And I use the word “explicitly” because in actuality philosophy cannot be written off: it’s an inescapable necessity of human life, a prerequisite of life for a conceptual species; so that most people’s philosophical notions come to be implicitly developed: the majority of humans across the globe holding convictions, whether political, economic, ethical, epistemic, esthetic, metaphysical, or any cross-combination, which they’ve never thoroughly examined but have only implicitly absorbed.


    April 2nd, 2020 | journalpulp | 4 Comments |

About The Author

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning as the constant in my life.

4 Responses and Counting...

  • Doc 04.02.2020

    Generally in agreement with all of this.

    The early section questions how do we know which ‘facts’ are true. We could look at the data, read the research results, etc. But this is an unwieldy way to warrant statements, and few of has the requisite knowledge of the field.

    Historically we have increased the amount of knowledge in most fields. When that becomes too complex, we further divide fields of study. Over 100 years ago, we divided Moral Science into sociology, psychology, et al. It could be said that this contributed to the extinction of polymaths and the proliferation of experts

    Today we rely on experts to help us choose the right bottle of wine, the best investments, and the dildo that will best suit our needs. Many fields are now too complex, too knowledge dense, for most of us to be able to make critical choices. We have been comfortably relying on experts for many decades, even centuries.

    But we now live in a post-fact, post-truth world which is suspicious of experts, seeing them as propagandists. This is a politically powerful move. It allows our leaders to dismiss facts. Consider the untenable concept of ‘an alternative fact. A fact is the case, as in ‘it is the case that this chicken weighs 12 pounds.’ To accept the concept of alternative facts is to entertain the idea of alternative realities. A concept previously consigned to pulp science fiction.

    The power of this move is in its ability to dismiss the findings of scientific research as objective facts, relegating them to the status of subjective opinions. Opinions are like certain organs in that everybody has them, and there are no ‘true’ opinions, just opinions that pass the smell test. Thus one man’s opinion on virus cure is just as valid as the research finding of any scientist’s.

  • “Today we rely on experts to help us choose the right bottle of wine, the best investments, and the dildo that will best suit our needs.”

    You made me spit coffee all over my computer screen, Doc.

    I agree in general with what you say about the political power move, but it’s the other way around: it’s the scientists and their political backers who have politicized the scientific method — government grant money largely dependent upon it, and certain viewpoints automatically won’t get funded. Science has unquestionably turned propagandistic. I will argue that Neil Ferguson’s worst-case projections were absolutely propagandized science — that there might, as his ridiculous models said, be as many as 2.2 MILLION American deaths and half a MILLION new patients a day in New York City from Covid — walked back, of course, once the world was sufficiently scared senseless: 60,000 American deaths, about like the bad flu season of 2016, but not as bad as the flu of 1968-69.

    In conclusion, I do agree, but in juxtaposed form.

    Thank you for the erudite comments, and thank you for dropping by.

  • Let me add here a few remarks concerning the question of experts, because I do believe that strikes at the heart of the issue.

    I think that to be truly informed, every single person must undertake the responsibility of sifting through the data from the experts — as much as humanly possible — and truth is NOT nor ever was determined by consensus, scientific or otherwise:

    When I posted my article here, there was ALREADY an overwhelming worldwide consensus (red flags everywhere when it’s that rapid), among scientists and civilians alike, that COVID-19 had a lethality of well over 1 percent, many experts suggesting 3-to-5 percent. Among scientists, a handful of lone, courageous voices — and it does take courage, believe me, because people grow bloody fucking enraged and come at you swinging, and you’ll lose friendships over this sort of thing — those lone voices began pointing out serious flaws in the calculation of those purported lethality rates: flaws that non-scientists can see as well, provided an effort is put forth. For instance:

    You can’t calculate fatality rates without first knowing infection rates, and infection rates were not only NOT known: nobody had any idea whatsoever. They still aren’t fully known. Why? Because there simply has not been widespread testing. The more widespread testing there is, the more the lethality rates plummet. That is highly significant. In this country, our heavily taxpayer-funded CDC bureau botched testing. They botched it big, and my long-standing question, never once answered after over ten years, still stands: why after all the endless bureaucratic botching and proven political ineptitude, why do government-lovers (rightwing or left) still insist that the rest of us nevertheless put our trust in government? Why?

    I insist upon an answer to this question.

    Why after millions and millions and millions of deaths and wrongful imprisonments and unjust actions and arrant ineptitudes, why should we now, with each new thing (and they will never stop) trust these same inept institutions with matters that are life and death?

    And more: why should we put our trust in repeatedly demonstrated ineptitude when there is an alternative that’s proven far better: voluntary action and the freedom to exercise it?

    The question stands. Why?

    But the real point here is that with matters this serious — and with political-economic policy decisions that are so goddamn serious — it is, in my emphatic opinion, the absolute responsibility of each one of us individually to look deeply into these things, and to question the experts, and to keep asking why. The proper course is not to simply rely upon “the experts,” although that may (or may not) be a good starting point. We must carefully consider and think about what all the experts are saying, all perspectives, even if they contradict “the consensus.” I repeat: with matters this serious, we must process the data and integrate it and inform ourselves of other viewpoints, even if those viewpoints are contrary to everything we’ve read and heard and come to believe.

    The notion that we put all our trust in an “expert consensus” — especially concerning matters which have dire policy ramifications — is reckless and wrong. That’s not speculative, either: it is what most people have done for about six weeks now, and look at what it’s brought us: an entire cult-of-covid who in a matter of mere weeks have become so zealous and so convicted of what they’ve heard “the experts” were saying that nothing now, no amount of information, no matter how factual, could ever change their minds. And why? Because it’s grown into a full-fledged ideology, with a religious fervor, in about a month.

    “The experts,” by the way, are as susceptible to this same sort of groupthink as anyone. And the reason for this is the convictions they already hold, usually political-economic, have long ago solidified into dogma.

    I am the first to admit that it’s not easy to sift through so much information — especially with all the deliberate misinformation that’s promulgated. But every adult who wants to be truly informed must do so. I do think this. I believe that for something of this magnitude, people need to assume the responsibility of thinking for themselves — informed by experts of all disciplines and differing viewpoints, okay, but also keeping abreast of other facts, non-scientific, geo-political, whathaveyou. South Korea, for instance, cannot be ignored. Taiwan cannot be ignored. Likewise Singapore and Hong Kong and Sweden and even Iceland, as well as some of the individual states in America. I am aware that the measures employed and the policies put into place are not all the same in all these places. I’m aware that some (like Taiwan) were more invasive than I would personally agree with. That changes nothing about my essential point here: what worked and why? Everyone must investigate this fully and honestly inside their own mind. It is imperative each person do so — or we end up with what we have: a world of drones parroting “the experts” and the (alleged) consensus, but without any good idea of what foundation-of-knowledge that “expert consensus” was built upon.

    Why are many of the world’s foremost epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists saying that this is nothing more than a serious flu season — totally overblown? Do you dismiss it out-of-hand, without even bothering to read or listen to these trained women and men, merely because it doesn’t fit the “expert consensus”? If you do so, what does that suggest about your epistemic methodology?

    Even if “the experts” aren’t part of the consensus, I say that their information and their knowledge should be heard and measured and weighed, and the proper standards for gauging this information and determining its truth or falsehood is epistemological, not scientific.

    The laws of logic and reason are ultimately how we determine possible, probable, and certain, and the “expert consensus” is undeniably, demonstrably political and biased.

  • There is one final thing I must add to this discussion of the measures enacted overnight, putatively in the beginning to ease hospital overload but now transmuted into an indefinite government power-hold:

    Who will accept responsibility and who will be held accountable for all the unnecessary death caused by these reckless governmental mandates hammered into place overnight by executive decree?

    And where is the concern and compassion for the hundreds of thousands of innocent people who will be killed by these mandated acts of severing supply lines, which is what happens when a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide economy is brought to a grinding halt in 24 hours? Who takes responsibility for all this incalculable destruction?

    Who?

    And why isn’t there an equal or greater uproar over THIS indefensible and unspeakable governmental cause of death — fully backed by so many among the masses calling for longer lockdown and forced closure? Why? Why will none of the Covid cult even talk about it, let alone begin to defend it, as they should, if so convicted in their beliefs about the dangers of the virus? Why is the uproar only about death and damage caused by Covid-19 and not the far greater and longer lasting damage created by panic-driven mitigation measures?

    Why is there not a public outcry over the horrific chain-of-events set into motion by the mandates they all support?

    Why is there not at least discussion of so-called trade-offs? And why is this far greater death-toll tacitly regarded as acceptable, when “not another death from coronavirus” is deemed acceptable? Why? For the sake of equity, if nothing else, why?

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-children-un-idUSKBN21Y2X7

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