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Making decisions – about riots

I was watching a video of US Marines about to attack a town in Afghanistan. The Captain addressed his battalion. At about 2:20 into the video he said (I paraphrase) : “The plan we have gone over and over – as soon as you land, it will fly out the window. You will be called upon to make a hundred decisions that there is no right answer to. But guess what? you will have to decide; you will have to act.”

I enjoyed the approach, and it ought to be better understood. You will have to act, you will have to decide. I wish it were more broadly understood in society. You have to decide and you have to act. Make a wrong decision? Go ahead and make another. This one may be better. This approach is utterly contrary to the bureaucratic mindset which fears decision-making.

A former boss of mine was a judge. He said: “Make ten decisions. Eight will be right. One will be wrong. One you win or lose on appeal”. But the message was” keep making decisions.

This brings me around to Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book on the newest generation, and it is not pleasant reading.  The Coddling of the American Mind 

chronicles the increase of neurotic levels of fear among American college students: how good intentions and bad ideas are generating a generation of weak people. As he says: prepare your children for the road not the road for the children.

 

The message Haidt is giving in his YouTube lecture is that we are heading for tribal war. That was in 2019. Look around you. What do you see? Dogmatism, groupthink, a crusader mentality and anti-intellectualism [at 42:40]. The riots and revolt we have been witnessing these last few days have been long prepared by the erosion of cultural and educational standards. The failure of the forces of order to act, because they have been told to lay off by mayors and governors, is yet another signof the scale of  the rot inside our institutions.

 

Someone, possibly Jonathan Kay, said that this could be Trump’s Reichstag Fire moment. I avoid the connotation that Kay would like to put on these riots. These are an excuse for  looting and for anti-fa to break windows. Everyone is seeing far too much disorder to be enthusiastic for kneeling before the black race and beseeching forgiveness, as the Left would have us do. Time for some violence from the state against Antifa and the looters. And yes, Derek Chauvin disgusts me. But so does mass break down of order.

 

 

A statistician looks at COVID-19: relax, that’s an order

William Briggs is a statistician, and he blogs at www.wmbriggs.com. I wish he were better known, but he does go off for pages on Thomas Aquinas when he is not commenting about numbers. This is his latest posting about coronavirus. His take? The fear is exaggerated. The reaction outlandish. I will say no more and let him speak for himself.

  • In Wuhan itself, the City of Doom, some 2,446 souls departed their fleshly existence earlier than expected. Google tells us the city has between 11 and 19 million, depending on whether you count the entire metro area as “the city”.
  • The city had 49,995 cases. The case rate was 0.26% to 0.45%, depending on what China called “the city”. The total dead rate was 0.01% to 0.02%. The case dead rate was 4.9%.
  • People fixate on that last number, forgetting you first have to get the bug before you can die from it. But everybody now seems to believe they’ll get it with certainty. Review Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus!
  • If everywhere will eventually be as bad as Wuhan, then, given 7.7 billion of us now speak with authority on “social distancing” and “flattening the curve”, as if we’ve been using these neologisms from birth, from 20 million to 35 million the world over will get the bug, and from 1 million to 1.7 million will croak from it. (Fifty million died from 1918’s Spanish flu.) ….[clip]
  • CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 36 million flu illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths from flu.

  • That’s in the United States alone, friends. Mostly pneumonia and old folks (God bless them). Worldwide at least ten times that number.
  • If the Wuhan numbers apply globally, losing a million or two of us worldwide is not welcome news, but it’s not panic-level, end-of-the-world, buy-every-roll-of-toilet-paper-in-sight news. It’s wash-your-damned-hands, stay-at-home-if-you’re-sick news.

There is much more that follows at the original site.

I have been reading Twitter a lot these past few days and have decided that, for most commentators, the advice and commentary is as significant as what is heard in the hen coop. Cluck, cluck, cluck.