How politics and sport are spreading the truth about Covid

I still think that this earlier posting here was right about the direction that British public opinion is moving on the subject of lockdown, but I was clearly wrong about how far it had already changed and how much further it has to change before lockdown is done away with. Mea culpa. Bubble thinking.

The problem is that a majority has been scared into thinking that Covid, which is a bit harmful and sometimes very harmful to those whom it harms, and deadly to those whom it kills, is much more harmful and deadly than it really is, statistically speaking. Almost everyone who “gets” Covid – almost every Covid “case” – is going to recover.

One of the means by which public opinion will come to its senses is when it notices that many people are testing positive for Covid, but that not many of these are dying. This is why celebrity Covid cases are so important.

Trump “got” Covid, yet is now, apparently, thriving. A piece of anecdotal evidence goes … tick. Then a bunch of other people close to the White House “got” Covid. The Democrat media rejoiced, but failed to think ahead. None of these apparently stricken Republicans has died, which I know because if any of them had died, the Democrat Media and their offshoots in Britain would have yelled it from the rooftops. Tick tick. Next, we learned, some prominent Democrats “got” Covid. Excellent. The more the merrier. I hope and expect that none of them will die either. The immense sway that American politics has in Britain ensures that many here Britain will notice these anecdotes and learn the lesson of them. Tick tick tick. Covid is much more widespread than the lockdown fanatics have been saying, and much less deadly. Lockdown has done nothing to stop the spread. But humans have proved much more resistant to the Covid virus than had at first been assumed.

Particularly important is the number of well-known sportsmen who have tested positive for Covid. I follow rugby union. An important Premier League play-off game was won by one side, simply because members of the other team tested positive for Covid. Now, it is being reported that if a winning semi-finalist team contains some players who test positive again, the team they defeated in that semi-final may now, despite having lost, may now play in the final. So, if Covid was as deadly or harmful as had been feared, there should be deaths and retirements in some numbers happening quite soon. There will not be. Tick tick tick tick.

The importance of politics and sport is that politicians and sportsmen don’t seem to have the option of being tested positive, but then keeping quiet about it. This is because, in their world, they have to keep going, unless there’s a public reason not to. Other celebrities, notably actors, can conceal having tested positive. They can just be “resting”, and keep it to themselves. Thus, when they don’t die either, it will not be very noticeable, so actors are contributing less to public enlightenment than you might suppose, given how celebrated the most celebrated of them are. Tom Hanks, also not now dead, chose to reveal that he had tested positive, but did he have to? Surely not. But politicians and sports celebs, the sports people especially, are, with their very public medical histories, telling the Covid story like it is. There’s a lot of it about. But, we should all just take our chances and be allowed get on with our lives. A few old and frail ones will lose this anti-lottery. Most will not.

All this is bound to have consequences for public opinion, given how seriously lots of people follow sport, sport especially.

Has anyone said that they opposed Lockdown at first, but now favour it? If they have, I missed it. The movement in public opinion is all one way. Politicians who fail to get out in front of how things are moving will suffer electorally.

Telephone pollsters can take a hike!

Bloomberg:

A new online study finds that Republicans and independents are twice as likely as Democrats to say they would not give their true opinion in a telephone poll question about their preference for president in the 2020 election. That raises the possibility that polls understate support for President Donald Trump.

The headline above this story refers to the “Shy Trump Voter”.

Were I an American right now, I would not be a “shy” Trump voter. I’d be a Trump voter. But if, before I voted, some telephone pollster with whom I was wholly unacquainted was foolish enough to ring me up and ask me to tell him how I’d be voting, I’d stop the attempted conversation right there, tell him “no, not doing this” and put the phone down. There’d be nothing shy about the way I said this.

I have a good friend who rings me up from time to time, asking me about how I view the political landscape. That’s entirely different. He’s a friend. I enjoy those conversations a lot.

But election polling done by strangers has always baffled me. Who the fuck do these people think they are? Why does anyone give them the time of day?

Indian accent man: “Hello, my name is Barry.” Not doing that either.

Presumably, I am already on some kind of pollster’s black list. “Oh, he’s one of the fuck-offs.” Because, I seldom get bothered by these inquisitive arseholes, wanting to take up my time, and me to bestow valuable information upon them, in exchange for nothing. I could presumably put them on some sort of phone black list of my own, but I can’t be bothered. Besides which, me confirming, every few months or years, my status as one of the fuck-offs, is one of my life’s many little pleasures. That opinion of mine, about them, I am very happy to bestow upon them.

The public opinion graphs about The Plague are now crossing

A fortnight or so ago, GodDaughter2 and I discussed The Plague, and what a pain all the measures being taken against it were. Neither she nor any of her friends thought that The Plague itself was any problem. Nobody she knows at her place of higher education (the Royal College of Music) has actually died. But the protective measures being unleashed by the damn government are ruining all of their lives. Not only can they not get jobs as singers and musicians, they can’t even get jobs as waiters and waitresses in the meantime, because that’s all been shut down too. When, she asked me, would it end?

Trying to be reassuring, I heard myself saying to her that the tide of British public opinion was about to turn against Lockdown, on the grounds that not nearly enough people were dying, and that more and more people were, just like GD2 and all her musical friends, noticing this, and hence, if they needed persuading, being persuaded by people like this guy (who I was just then getting to grips with), that it was all bollocks.

I compared Lockdown with how smoking suddenly went from something you couldn’t complain about in polite society to something you couldn’t do in polite society. It’s a numbers thing. When the number goes from less people think Y than X to more people thing Y than X, then suddenly X ceases to count and Y becomes the new orthodoxy, at the single moment when the graphs cross. Suddenly. Blink of an eye. The impossible turns on the proverbial sixpence into the inevitable, to the amazement of those who’d not been paying close attention.

This snatch of video, lifted from Guido today, suggests to me that I’m right about what people are thinking about Lockdown, and that the graphs on what people think about Lockdown either are about to cross, or have actually crossed already. Politicians don’t talk like this Swayne guy just did unless they know something’s up:

I know, the chamber is nearly empty. But in the age of social media, all it needs is for someone to post the clip anyway, and up, up and away it goes, into Public Opinion land.

Talking of Ivor Cummins, as I just was, take a look also at what he says about Cornwall, which I did not know. In general, take a browse through his stuff. It’s not just what he says. It’s the confidence and clarity with which he says it.

To be clear, this is not one of those the-truth-lies-somewhere-between-the-two things. You either think that the government was and is roughly right, but maybe should have locked us all down sooner and more completely. Or you think that’s utter bollocks. Lockdown has either worked, but not well enough, or it has achieved bugger all besides huge collateral damage. There’s no position I can see in the middle on this thing.

The government will try to say that the continuing absence of Armageddon, which is what will be the next chapter in this story, proves that Lockdown has worked and is working. They’ve been marching down the High Street in weird robes and banging big drums to keep the elephant away, and look, no elephant! It’s working! It worked! No. There never was an elephant. A mouse, yes, maybe even a big old rat. But no elephant.

If The Plague is now everywhere, which is what the Government’s precious “testing” really serves to illustrate, but if hardly anyone is now dying from it, and if, now that The Plague has spread everywhere and now has nowhere to go and is fizzling out, then Lockdown accomplished and is accomplishing nothing, just killing or ruining or generally mucking about with lots more people.

I don’t see how Boris and his fellow Plague catastrophists can survive this, once the penny of public opinion drops, as dropping it now is. It wasn’t the original panic. That was forgivable. It was their pretence that they didn’t panic and their failure to apologise and to stop panicking that will be the end of these people.

When I spoke with her, GD2 also expressed the fear that if and when there is a real Plague, and if some actual experts of the sort who actually know what’s going on warn against it, such warnings may well be treated with contempt and be ignored, when they ought to be heeded. Good point.

Signs for Trump that passed my LOL test

Found this here:

I don’t know if it’s real or merely computerised. My first guess was the latter, but if so it’s very well done. Either way, this passed the LOL test with me. I really did LOL when I saw it.

This one is definitely a computerised contrivance, but once again, I really did LOL:

This may be a bit out of date. Now that the Dems are starting to fear that the riots are hurting them and helping Trump, they are starting also to disapprove of the riots.

Am I the only Brit finding American politics massively more diverting than British politics just now?

I think it’s because we just saw off Corbyn and Corbynism, for the time being anyway, and as far as Corbynism being in official charge of things is concerned, whereas in America they haven’t yet had their vote on the same approximate subject, but very soon will. This means that the contrast between what is now at stake here and what is now at stake there is far greater even than it usually is.

I think that Trump will beat Biden by a thermonuclear landslide, but that could merely be because I hope that Trump will beat Biden by a thermonuclear landslide.

I like Trump because of his vices

This guy, Shmuel Klatzkin, almost says why I so like the Trump Presidency:

But I think it will become clearer that the only antidote to the clever dishonesty of the Obama years was the blunt, bulldozing, free-talking, bragging Trump. For all his many faults, he has kept the most basic faith between the electorate and an elected leader — he tells the people what he means to do, and then he does it.

The point is that only blunt bulldozing would have sufficed. Where it says “for all his many faults”, it should have said something more like “because of his virtues and because of his faults …”. Trump is operating at a time when “virtue” would have rendered him utterly ineffective. Trump would either come out swinging and yelling and bragging. Or, he’d fail. Klatzkin said all that, but then, when it came to summarising his piece, he missed the nail and hit timber.

I recall writing a piece for Samizdata not long after Trump was elected, in which I expressed the hope that he would not stop tweeting. I hoped he would not turn over a new leaf and become “Presidential”. He has not turned over that new leaf. Good. It was essential that he did not.

On Ex-Muslims and on the lack of social media omnipotence

Over the course of the last few days, Facebook suppressed Ex-Muslim TV but has now allowed it back on air again.

Which provides me with a perfect excuse to write some topical commentary on the subject of Ex-Muslims, and on social media and the allegedly dictatorial powers of the social media. I have a hook. XMTV got suppressed, and then unsuppressed. By social media. Over the last few days. I can now have “Current events” in my category list for this posting.

My commentary on XMTV goes like this: Islam is an ideology of conquest, of the world, by Islam. Submit or die. Islamic terrorists interpret Islam correctly. “Moderate” Muslims either don’t read, or don’t listen to, what they nevertheless insist on going through the motions of saying they do believe. Or they’re just lying, to us and to themselves.

Those who react to the above truths with a shudder, often come back with the claim that, well, yes, that may be true, but this is not a nice thing to say. Yes, Islam does indeed need to “reform”, but if you describe Islam too accurately, that will only arouse opposition from angry Muslims, and they’ll dig in their heals and refuse to make Islam any nicer.

I, on the other hand, think that if any “reform” of this transformative sort ever materialises, it is now decades away from happening. In the meantime, if and when such “reform” (actually a radical rewrite) ever happens, the reason why it will happen will be that millions upon millions of Muslims are publicly abandoning Islam altogether, refusing to wait for it to stop being the nasty thing it has been since it was founded and as of now remains. Only when staring extinction in the face will Islam’s remaining adherents seriously set about remaking their beliefs to the point where they might become truly nice. Will it then be too late for Islam thus to save itself from oblivion? I don’t know and I don’t care.

So, in the meantime, I regard the transformation of Muslims into Ex-Muslims as by far the most important thing now happening to Islam, and also (because also) the best thing. Do you think of yourself as “moderate” and a Muslim. I say: Make up your mind which of these two things you want to be. Choose nicely and wisely. Choose to become an Ex-Muslim.

In the event that history carries on getting nicer, you Ex-Muslims are in the vanguard of it. Hurrah for you. That’s commentary part one of this posting.

As to the second part of the commentary I want to attach to this Facebook-versus-Ex-Muslims contretemps, well, Facebook surely could have kept the Ex-Muslims permanently off their platform, but only at the cost of a relentless drizzle of anti-Facebook anti-Islamic commentary, such as are to be read in this posting, in the paragraphs above this one and, to carefully moderated extent, in the paragraphs that follow. Worse, they might provoke a mass-migration to Parler or Gab or some such alternative. (Every time something like this Ex-Muslim thing happens, I get an email from Gab telling me all about it, and telling me to switch to Gab. One day, I just might.)

But, meanwhile, note that I found out about this news item via Twitter. Twitter, like Facebook, is anti-anti-Islamic, in the sense that this is surely the attitude of most of their two workforces. Yet, although presumably also constantly nagged by Non-Ex Muslims to scrub the Ex-Muslims from their site, Twitter did not do so, despite I am sure must have been a definite little spike of attention being paid by the world to the various Ex-Muslim tweets, denouncing Facebook, that they found themselves hosting.

The problem Twitter and Facebook both face is that they are juggling two contradictory agendas. There is the big money-spinning agenda, the one that says that people can say whatever they hell they like, much as I can say whatever I like on this blog, because it’s my blog. And then there’s the agenda that says that the social media should promote virtue and suppress vice, by allowing and drawing attention to virtuous messages and ignoring and scrubbing all the vicious ones, virtue and vice being defined in accordance with the wokist principles adhered to by, at the very least, an influential and noisy minority of their workforces. Because the wokists want wicked ideas suppressed, rather than merely argued into obscurity, these two agendas can’t both happen. And often the clash between the two generates fireworks, and more attention for particular agendas that the wokists dislike, as may have happened with this temporary interruption of Ex-Muslim TV service.

I don’t want to underplay the amount of grief that the wokists can do to any individual or organisation that they pick out from the herd and concentrate their attacks on. But killing an individual animal is not the same as wiping out the entire herd. If it were, there’d have been no Brexit, no Trump, no actually existing modern world. The Anglosphere is currently having an ideological civil war, and there’s nothing that social media can do to prevent this, not least because they themselves have constructed many of the battlefields and thus helped to make the war happen. They are now merely a part of this war, and a very ambiguous one at that. To switch metaphors from a herd to a conflagration, the social media often fan the very flames that the people who run them and who work for them are trying to extinguish.

Signs in Seattle

Here:

I agree with what Matthew Continetti says in this piece, which the above photo adorns, that this is froth. History as farce, Tom Wolf style. This “Seattle Soviet” is going nowhere. It’s “signs and notices”, to quote one of my more frequent categories here, rather than revolutionary architecture of any substance. That being why the above photo is the most informative one I have seen concerning these dramas.

As Kurt Schlichter (who his now being seriously noticed by his enemies) says, the important thing about this Seattle drama is the impact it has on the forthcoming Presidential election in November. Will Trump get the blame for it? Or will the local Democrat politicians? And by extension, the Democrats nationally? Schlichter says the Democrats will get the blame for this Seattle farce, this being why Trump is leaving the local Democrats to not deal with it, until America landslides in his favour. “Silent majority” and all that.

Schlichter combines partisan rhetoric way beyond the point of self-parody with very shrewd observations and analysis. I read him regularly. He is like one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies. And as I understand him, which is only a bit, this is because Schlichter is one of those crazy American lawyers, who seems insane, yet who is taken very seriously, and for good reasons, by his enemies.

Shelby Steele talks to Peter Robinson

I just watched this video of Shelby Steele being interviewed by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institute. If, like me, you’ve not been paying attention to this man, this interview would be a good way to correct that. If you have been paying attention, well, well done you. But for me, even seeing this man talk was a first. Better late than never.

The idea, which Steele talks about a lot, of freedom being a “shock” makes a lot of sense to me. I recall having this shock explained to me by an east European lady who had spent her adult life being unfree, under Soviet Communist domination. Suddenly she was in a Western style supermarket, facing choices she didn’t know how to make. And that was just the toothpaste.

Towards the end of the interview, Robinson asks if there are any more “Uncle Tom” Black people, now talking about Black Americans getting to grips with the freedom they now have rather than continuing to complain ever more implausibly about the lack of it, and Robinson mentions: Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, and, er, that’s it. Well, how about, and this is just for starters, Candace Owens?

Candace Owens – alarm clock for black America

My thanks to Scott Adams for telling me about this video speech to camera by Candace Owens. (When I watched this video at the Scott Adams twitter feed, the top of her head was sliced off, sometimes even including her eyes. Not recommended.)

The heart of what Candace Owens says about the dramas now unfolding in America is that black Americans are the only ethnic group in American who make martyrs and heroes out of their worst people, i.e. petty and not-so-petty criminals who come to bad ends. George Floyd is now all over T-shirts, but he was actually, first, a petty criminal, and then a not-so-petty criminal, as Owens explains. By martyrising and glorifying wickedness and failure, you set yourself up for a life of wickedness and failure. And mostly: just failure.

What Candace Owens says seems to me, and to Scott Adams, very persuasive. I hope it will prove persuasive to those whom it is most particularly aimed at, which is black Americans. But what Owens says is partly aimed at old non-black guys like me and Scott Adams, because what she says is also universally appealing wisdom. Wise people don’t do this! Owens has certainly done nothing to stop me hearing this speech of hers.

A twitter commenter says that Owens will become America’s first female black President. But Owens is surely in the meantime attempting something smaller and more immediate than that, and in the longer run potentially bigger and better than that.

The “alarm clock” reference comes towards the end of the video.