Note: There is new content behind the green door. For those interested in the Western, I have a review of the 1969 classic The Wild Bunch. The role of the Western is something I’ll come back to again. It is an interesting topic.
The fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes begins this week, and it promises to be an enjoyable bit of theater for those interested in the workings of the Cloud People. Holmes founded a company called Theranos when she was just 19-years-old. She had dropped out of Stanford and promised to deliver miracle drug testing equipment. She attracted the support of all the beautiful people, who saw her as the living example of everything the Cloud People believed about the world.
In reality, the company had nothing to offer other than the promise to fulfill those prophesies the Cloud People cherished. Holmes adopted the Steve Jobs black turtleneck and spoke in a weird deep voice. Like all grifters, she was short on specifics, but long on inspirational flattery. This got some of the most famous men in the world to support her company, giving it an aura of authenticity. As a result, Theranos stuck around for a dozen years before it was revealed as a fraud.
In many respects, Holmes is the poster child for the new religion. The reimagined gender role for women is just women doing the things men normally do. You see this in movies where the normal male lead is replaced by a strong diverse female who does all the same things as a male lead, even the personality. There is really nothing new about the new gender roles. The new ideal female is nothing more than a fraud against nature, a fraud that is eventually undone by observable reality.
That is the story the Feds will tell in court. They will point out that nothing about this company was based in reality. Holmes and her business partner, another unicorn of the Progressive imagination named Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, knew all along that their new technology would never work. They hid the facts from investors in order to swindle them, the textbook definition of fraud. More important, she damaged the cause of women in the workplace, which is her biggest sin.
From the perspective of the Dirt People, the Elizabeth Holmes story is great fun and also a reason to keep fighting. One look at this woman and a normal man in control of his senses could see she was trouble. Many people at the time made this point, but the Cloud People fell for her shenanigans hook, line, and sinker. It is a good reminder that these people are not evil super geniuses. They are frauds like Holmes who now have real power, but they are not unbeatable.
The Holmes story is also a good example of abductive reasoning. This is the type of reasoning that makes a conclusion on what you know or what you think you know, which is always an incomplete set of data. You wake up in the morning and you see the driveway is wet, so you quickly assume it rained overnight. There could be other explanations, like your automatic sprinkler is on the fritz or a pipe burst somewhere during the night, but rain is the most likely answer.
The important thing about abductive reasoning is that the explanation for the given facts does not have to be right to be accepted. After all, the explanation is simply the most probable, based on the data set. This is why in the hands of a good storyteller, abductive reasoning is very powerful magic. Humans are hard wired to accept stories, so a good story that explains what is going on can quickly become gospel. A good story that confirms the gospel is never questioned.
This is what Holmes was doing with her presentation to Cloud People. She presented herself as living proof of the one true faith. She was every bit as talented as the pale males in Silicon Valley. She could do anything a man could do, even sound like them and run an identity cult like Steve Jobs. Apple became one of the world’s biggest companies selling toys disguised as holy relics. Holmes was the female Steve Jobs, but saving the world, rather than entertaining it.
Another interesting aspect to the trial is the plan by the defense to blame her former partner for everything. The old story of gender said that women were always the victims of male oppression. Women who killed their husbands for the insurance would always accuse the dead man of being abusive. That story was being replaced by the new story of female empowerment. The jury will be presented with a conflict of the two absurd visions of womanhood promoted by the Cloud People.
This story is a good example of how facts play a supporting role in life. People are believing machines. Even the most cynical hard cases among the Cloud People believe they are on the side of angels. It is why facts and reason have no effect on these people, outside of the extremes. Once the reality of Theranos was too much to ignore, the Cloud People abandoned their unicorn, but only after it became clear that Holmes was a mockery of their beliefs, rather than confirmation.
That is why the endless presentation of facts and reason falls on deaf ears. The Cloud People will never abandon their faith for mere facts. The only thing that will get them to abandon their faith is a better faith. This was the central insight of you know who back in the last century. His story of redemption covered the observable, and his new facts was the mortar that held them together into a coherent narrative. That is what awaits the Cloud People running the American empire.
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