Contemplating The Numbers

A genuinely novel feature of the modern age is numbers, as in statistics about all sorts of things regarding daily life. Every day some new set of numbers is announced and people who allegedly know about the subject will comment upon them. The government is about to release a fresh batch of inflation data and the volunteer army of economists will talk about them for the next week. The modern age is a game of numbers about everything including the numbers.

This was not always so. For most of human history people could only tell if there was food inflation by noticing that food was more expensive. The king did not send someone out to read the latest inflation figures. The main reason is the king did not know those figures and had no reason to know. That is the other thing about numbers. They only mean something to us in context. The official inflation rate matters only when you understand the concept behind those numbers.

Months after Bud Lite decided to associate their brand with child molesters, people are still tracking the numbers associated with the brand. They have lost X million in market value and X percent of market share. Bud Lite is no longer the most popular cheap beer and has lost X percent of sales year-over-year. To the people in the culture war, these numbers have meaning. It says that lots of people agree with them on the moral question at the center of those numbers.

Moral arithmetic is everywhere. Nick Fuentes went on a ghetto internet program the other day and his fans cannot stop talking about the numbers. They say that over one hundred thousand people got to see him use the N-word in front of a group of black people who look like they work at a strip club. What he said and did and where he did it is not what matters. It is how many people saw it that matters. The underlying logic is the bigger the number, the better the result.

The entertainment business is all about numbers. An artistically grotesque film that sells millions of tickets is better than a great film that only appeals to a niche audience or people with refined tastes. The reason is we do not have a moral metric to use to rate the artistic quality of films. We have ranking lists, but they often rely on the numbers related to popularity. The first Star Wars movies got high ratings from critics because they made a lot of money, despite being mediocre content.

One reason popular politics looks like a carnival is that we can measure popularity through polling and voting. If fifty percent plus one think candidate X is best, then he is the best, even if he is a brain damaged hobo. This is why political actors degrade themselves for attention. The math of politics says that X percentage of people who notice you will agree with you, so the goal is to always increase the number of people who take notice of you. That is the math of the circus.

Roger Scruton once described conservatism as the understanding that there are things too important to be subjected to the marketplace. This is essentially a rejection of the math of democracy. Just because one idea has a bigger number next to it than the other idea does not mean it is true or qualitatively better. Having a brain damaged hobo in the senate is not normatively better than having a Turkish carny in the senate, no matter what the numbers tell us.

This is the problem with conservatism. Who decides that something is too important to be subject to the numbers? There are only two choices. Either a supernatural force like God decides or the people through time and experience decide what is no longer subject to the numbers. The former requires a strong religious foundation for society and the latter is just democracy in slow motion. It turns out that Sir John Filmer was right, and John Locke was wrong.

Of course, we value the numbers of life in this age because we trust that the numbers are not just a reflection of some normative truth but that they are accurate. Low inflation is a good thing so when the government comes out with numbers that say it is at or near the target of two percent, the experts cheer the rulers. This only makes sense if you think the government numbers are correct. The math of this age rests on people trusting the numbers of this age.

Is inflation really near three percent now? Did Joe Biden really get more votes than any human in the history of elections? Do most Americans back Ukraine? Was last Thursday the hottest day in the history of the planet? Despite the lack of evidence to support most of the numbers, most people seem to trust them. At the same time, most people do not trust the people issuing the numbers. For most of human history people would know to never trust anything from untrustworthy people.

That is the other novel thing about this age. Christianity has faded for most people as a foundation for moral claims. Something has to fill the void, so we have been flooded with new numbers to function as the authority. This explains why people trust the numbers while distrusting the people issuing the numbers. People are believing machines so when they stop believing in God, they will find something else. In this age people have come to trust the numbers as a last resort.

In a way though, this is the metric of the liberal society. It works when people can trust the people in official positions. They can trust those people because they trust the institutions to police the people in the institutions. Even in times when the office holders are distrusted, the people can still trust the numbers because they are viewed as the product of the institutions. As long as people still trust the numbers, the rulers are safe, despite the fact they do nothing but lie to us.

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159 thoughts on “Contemplating The Numbers

  1. I seem to recall that the original Star Wars films were trashed by critics, as Lucas’s upstart, heroic space-opera completely killed the trend of of nihilistic downer films that had previously been en-vogue. Then they trashed the prequels, because Lucas had used the money he had earned from the first first three films to remove himself as much as possible from the Hollywood machine (and had published an embarassing book about the movie industry’s shell-game accounting practices to boot).

  2. Great to see Roger Scrunton referenced here. If you are a wine drinker, I highly recommend his book on wine.

  3. Numbers are a very tricky thing. They can mess with your mind. On the one hand numbers would seem to represent absolute truth, 2+2 must equal 4. And there are few things in this life that are absolutely quantifiable.
    Humans find comfort and security in absolutes, because everything else is seemingly so “random.”
    Problem is the age old issue of data in vs data out. If I want to cut a 2×4 and I want it to measure 2ft long after I cut it. If I measure correctly it will measure 2ft, an absolute. Then there’s the old canard of “damn lies and statistics.”
    For example, the govt tells us there are X amount of Mexican immigrants in this country. They are all here legally. Because the govt counted their pretty little heads, and confirmed their legal status. They used census data to arrive at this number. Then you go to LA, or Phoenix Arizona, or Houston Texas or anywhere in the south west and they are seemingly everywhere…
    Your gut instinct and intuition tells you surely there are more Mexican’s than the X number the govt arrived at via the census, just based on your small sample size. Reason being a lot of people including whites, blacks, Asians, mexicans, people of all races and ethnicities are missed by the census. The data input number is false, therefore the number we are given by the govt representing the Mexican population is not an absolute, it as at best an estimate, and since we know the govt has an agenda regarding the hispanic population, we know they are lying, or deliberately misleading us at best. We cannot “trust the numbers.”
    Another example is govt stats on Hispanic crime. Well the govt says the hispanic crime rate is equal to the white crime rate. What they don’t tell you is the govt classifies hispanics as white for the purposes of calculating crime rates. You can’t trust the math, because the data input was an inaccurate number.
    Then you have the religion of numbers called “numerology.” Where numbers are assigned representative values that are not able to be proven accurate via mathematical equations.
    You were born on X date, the moon and stars were aligned in X position, therefore you have X personality traits.
    You are supposed to accept this as truth because… numbers!
    The other odd thing I never understood about humans is the value they place on wealth “numerical value assigned to money” when evaluating the value of other human beings. Elon Musk is considered more valuable to many people than their good guy neighbor who loans you his weed whacker and offers you a beer when you return it. Even though those people will never meet Elon or benefit from his wealth personally.
    The uber wealthy are generally, but not always some of the most vile, self centered, uncaring, unfeeling and cruel people on earth. Those personality traits are often the reason they become wealthy in the first place.
    Whence the saying “filthy rich.”
    People are F’d up!

  4. I haven’t perused the entirety of comments in this thread, but as far as I got, nobody mentioned the old saw that, “Figures can lie and liars can figure.” That was one of my favorite lines to use during summation when a trial included opposition economic experts to quantify the money damages accruing from some personal injury tort. Although there were some occasions when it was not apropos (such as when the opposition expert actually figured things conservatively/correctly and did not fudge) it was more often the case that it took the steam out of the other side’s damages scenario because it made sense to the laymen on the jury. In other words, it jibed with their personal experience. Although it has been a while since I stood in front of a jury (hence my nom de plume) I suspect it may still be the case that people, by-and-large are skeptical of “figures” unless they are consistent with their personal experience, like inflation figures that are consistent with their monthly expenditures for food, clothing and shelter.

    • True. My favorite quote from a High School Mathematics teacher was “Statistics are like swimsuits or underwear: What they conceal is often more interesting than what they reveal.”

      In terms of “Official” government statistics for inflation, it’s the case of the old punchline about the husband caught in bed with his mistress by his wife: “Baby, who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?”

      EVERYBODY has to buy food. EVERYBODY has noticed food product X that was $1.99 last year is now $2.49 – 2.99. Or it’s $1.99 but it’s a 10 OZ bag and not a 12 OZ bag (Ever notice sugar went from 5 pounds a bag to 4?). Believe me, M’Lady rails about it every time she goes to the grocery store.


      But no, says Uncle Sam, you’re not seeing inflation you Silly Billy. Who you gonna believe, me or your empty wallet?

  5. Ironically, most of the stats are on our side, if you think long enough about the logic. Violent crime by ethnicity is one topic right wingers have been correct about forever. HIV and gays is another. Even pedophilia and homosexuality. Violent crime, homelessness, teen pregnancy, divorce all worsening across time also supports right wing claims, with a couple dips, probably thanks to stop and frisk.

    How about something more tricky that the liberal media plays with… have you heard claims that immigrants are safer than the average american? Looking closer, these are Legal immigrants, so theyve been “background checked.” More importantly, they do NOT have a lower crime rate than white or asian americans, or suburban americans, or middle class americans. So theyre basically not as bad as blacks but worse than whites and asians. What a great addition to our society. Then theres another few million Illegal immigrants sneaking in who are not included in that study. They have a 100% crime rate, as invaders, and 50% of the women are raped along the journey. Pretty high rape rate among that group.

    Facebook once fact checked an article with a claim that immigration lowers crime. Upon further analysis, that research was referring to an area where latino immigrants pushed blacks out into the suburbs, thereby lowering the inner city neighborhood’s crime. What a success! Just push the violent criminals outside of the research area.

    How about climate change? Well whats the statistical likelihood that china and india will return to deeper abject poverty and starvation based on sheer conviction after watching the western world ban fossil fuels to try and reduce sea levels by half an inch per century?

    We have a statistics guy at one of my contracts. He cant seem to connect the numbers to any useful argument. The data that i would like, he cant produce, due to tracking limitations, but we have a lot of graphs that make the dumb employees feel useful. I have deep respect for the autists who work solely in math, but there needs to be some utility to the data to extract meaning from it. Its such a rare skill these days, the “experts” can make any claim they want.

    • The numbers have always been on our side but have no value, because too many people live in an imaginary world where the only truth is “their truth.” Numbers are the ultimate objective truth in the universe. The same people who deny or refuse to acknowledge crime stats, are the same people who read their daily horoscope and believe they are going to marry someone rich, famous, handsome, beautiful because the date they were born says so. Their numbers are their truth and ours are not objective truth, merely “our truth.” Numbers are like tools, their only value is in using them correctly.

  6. I enjoyed Star Wars but it was the first numbers movie. Star Wars was what used to be called a B movie with A movie talent creating it. Movies starting Star Wars became cross merchandising opportunities aimed at boys and young men because they are the primary consumers of those various products.

    Star Wars came out the year after Network. Comparing the two movies tells you a lot about how we got here. Network was entertaining, well acted, had a great script and predicted the world we have now. Movies modeled after something like Network are pretty much a thing of the past. Its descendants are on TV.

    The Star Wars franchise, even early on, was a merchandising masterwork. There were Star Wars toys, clothes, comic books, books, school backpacks, lunch boxes, Disney Happy Meals toys and cartoons.

    Star Wars was loved in no small part for the numbers. People felt excited to love something so popular with others.

    • William Friedkin’s film, Sorcerer, came out at the same time as Star Wars. It was based on the older movie Wages of Fear but I’m the only person who’s ever heard of of seen such a fine film.

      • I used to go to see Sorcerer every time it came to the little art house movie theater near me. It is another one of the movies that pretty much don’t exist anymore on the big screen

      • The scene where they blow up the giant fallen tree was one of my favorites. Also, crossing the bridge.

      • As did Sam Peckinpah’s incomparable “Cross of Iron”, arguably one of THE best war movies of all time & possibly Peckinpah’s finest. The Star Wars hype buried everything before it!

        Franchise has been thoroughly trashed since thanks to wokester producer Kathleen Kennedy.

        • The best thing about Peckinpah’s ouvre is Monty Python’s merciless skewering of it.

    • I agree. Network is a classic.
      I was 9 years old when Star Wars came out. It was a good enough, enjoyable movie for a kid, but it never rang my bell to the point of obsession or anything close to it. I had a few Star Wars toy, Xmas, bday gifts etc. Amused me for a while I’m sure then promptly outgrew them.

      I have a friend in my age, early fifties, who is obsessed with all things Star Wars. He has at least three Star Wars tattoos, and a house full of Star Wars memorabilia. We used to dog the guy about it at work, just light ball busting, but it’s like a religion to him. Good guy, always had us laughing but it’s like dude… with the Star Wars thing. I just never “got it.”

  7. I watched some of smucker and torba last night, it was all about numbers. How can I be wrong when the numbers of viewers are so high he kept repeating. I couldn’t take too much of it in one dose. I turned it off, turned it back on, turned it off, and finally left it off and watched some parasailing YouTube guy with his gas powered propeller full throttle while he was on his mountain bike. He hit 50 mph. I checked in with tricky Nick Monday. I was slightly surprised he was still on. Numbers numbers numbers. Then there was the this isn’t a cult , it’s an army rational. back to parasailing. That kid is going to be broke soon I said to myself. The narcotic of fame . A phrase that the Zman himself dropped on me a few years back keeps on proving to be the root of a lot of this madness.

  8. I think I’ve figured out the monetary worth of DIE policy. It appears to be in the trillions. Possibly tens, or hundreds, of trillions.

    I’ll speculate a bit on the future of “money” as well.

    JR Wirth: “So now about 20% of the S&P 500 (your pension fund) are zombie companies. No one is factoring this in. We’ll deserve the pain for our misplaced trust.”

    First, DIE (or DEI, if we worship the Woke god) is corporate sabotage.

    Monkeys are placed to throw wooden shoes into the gears and push random buttons on the control board.
    (The same is happening in the West’s neighborhoods, schools, and churches, I note.)

    That aspect makes it appear a bust-out. The capital class mafia has stolen the silverware, sold the liquor out the back, and are now pouring gasoline, ready to burn the joint down for the insurance money.

    On the surface, it’s to gain valuable assets at a steep discount, and to harvest put options.
    Strip mining, in other words.

    But that’s only the scummy surface.
    A much, much larger prize awaits.

    The capital class doesn’t want to pay their workers.
    Now, they don’t want to pay their retired workers.

    The grand prize is the 401K and pension payouts.

    The boomer wave of retirement is cresting. Nice pension ya got there, pally, I’d hate to see something happen to it.

    In the larger institutions- where the numbers matter most- retirees often outnumber the currently employed, whether on the shop floor or in the office. This applies to all sorts of incorporated institutions, such as the NRA, the Republican Party National Committee, Stanford University, or the City of Detroit.

    A garbageman in Chicago earns north of $125,000 per year; yet, his corollary in Detroit only receives a pension of $15,000 per year.

    Future pension liabilities number in the trillions.
    Since governments all over the West (and world) have stolen all the middle class’s money, they don’t want to get caught.
    Worse, gov and institutional finances are perpetually on extremely shaky ground.

    I propose an NNPV instrument, negative net present value.

    That is, a synthetic not based on the estimated future income stream, but on the future savings stream, to the capital class.

    The worth of how many trillions the asset-owning class are not going to pay out.

    Savings to the hedge and equity funds, the Blackrocks, Carlisles, and Apollos, that they might continue waging war on the global middle class.

    Covid was one strike to reduce the numbers of the old. Especially in the White West, where the numbers matter for Culture War reasons.

    The rising number of sick (vaccine injury) will provide a healthy revenue stream, “healthcare” industry has captured over 20% of the economy, up from 3% in the 60s; this does not show the explosion in the public-private benefits, insurance, and compliance sectors.

    The military has captured 53% of the economy.

    The imported occupation shock troops (migrants) will provide another huge sector of patronage and opportunity, along with their allies in the “disadvantaged and disenfranchized” kommisar corps.

    This economic changeover from production to policing is predicated not only on a the population pressure of 8 billions, but more importantly, on a crashing birth rate.

    The capital class’s era of growth for growth’s sake by human labor is over.

    The new model, dependent on the surplus and surveillance provided by robot automation, is the means by which the capital class will retain their hold as population growth slows its rate and rise.

    The capital class is no longer concerned with making the indentured slaves dig more gold; now the important thing is to guard their golden hoard, from those very peasants.

    This corresponds with the talmudic empire’s war strategy, now copied by the capital class:

    First kill one third of the fathers, then one third of the sons, and you shall have Peace.

    The White fathers who built railroads, macadam, hydropower electricity, radar, and nuclear power plants from scratch are gone;

    Their sons, who built artificial hearts,
    missiles, airliners, satellites, speedboats, HTML and CCTV from scratch are extinguishing;

    Experience capital is near exhausted.
    No matter. Peace is at hand.
    What matters now is keeping the teeming hordes from the castle gates.

    (Side note: the usual suspects have thrown open the gates of the Shengen Zone to the Turks. Unlimited travel by Ishmaelites in the EU. History is rhyming hard in Eretz Khazaria.)

    • Further note: the policing sector economy will absorb the inflow of offshore dollars and euros as the BIS SWIFT system shrinks; those Treasury and Bundsbank bonds will be repriced as Reichmarks under the CBDC currencies.

      The kapos and enrichers will stay comfortably employed, and their families taken care of.
      Its the Mafya/alQaeda way.

      • Heh. We should just call it jihad, and zakat- charity (hospitals for the soldiers, alms for their children.) How very Middle Eastern. Yehuda akbar!

    • I really didn’t understand any of that. It went right over my head. But I ain’t that smart.

      Please tell me if I’ll be okay if your scenario plays out. I’ve got 48 acres on top of a mountain in the Ouachita Mountain range.with a small cabin, electricity, a water well, several 4×4 vehicles, lots of weapons, and zero debt. It’s a hard-core redneck area where liberals and negroes would feel very unwelcome.

  9. Got an “Amusing Ourselves To Death” echo from this post— the truth is we trust numbers because they appear precise, not because they appeal to our reason. By some legerdemain we alchemize figures and stats into gold, treat them as if they’re difficult to make up, when it is actually the easiest of the fake knowledge forms to fabricate.

    There’s a bad documentary about people who are obsessed with one of Stanley Kubrick’s duller films, based on one of Stephen King’s more amateurish cocaine-fueled Heroic Writer stories, and the addle-pated numerology religious vibe emanates strongly from these interviewed in the film. I guess it was historically attested with Pythagoras’ cult— “Follow the Science [i.e. the figures] or walk the plank…”

    • Indeed. That would have been good info to include. I’ve never heard of the dude.

  10. Numbers, eh? Thus spake Biggest Mustache Man (when he wasn’t letting Zarathustra do the spaking):

    “The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it…that without a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison of reality with the purely IMAGINED world of the absolute and immutable, without a constant counterfeiting of the world by means of numbers, man could not live…”
    — Beyond Good and Evil (I, 4)

    He was discussing the frailty of human beliefs in general, but I’d say it’s fitting for government economic forecasts, too.

  11. Do people really trust the numbers? I would say not. And that the number they trust the most is the one they see the most: their bank account balance. If they see almost nothing in their account at the end of the month, that’s bad. If they have to trade down from Kroger to Wal-Mart, and from Wal-Mart to Dollar General, that’s bad. Elites can fudge the numbers all they want but if they don’t provide patronage to people: at least a stable living standard not a constantly and accelerating declining one; then they have problems and must rule by force which leaves them vulnerable to whatever Praetorian Guard seizes power, or Bonapartism.

    As for the Original Star Wars, it was both a massive hit and the AFI’s best movie of all time because it was quality. Quality that neither Lucasfilm nor anyone else has been able to duplicate: A. It had magnificent cinematography, that scene of the double star sunset in the desert would have made David Lean proud; B. the Film Score was perhaps the greatest of all time, and perfectly matched the movie with long interludes at times with no dialog at all (the scene of Luke watching the sunset, wordlessly desiring a greater adventure); C. Had amazing set design and visual effects by Ralph McQuarrie and Douglas Trumbull, respectively, including innovated computer controlled cameras to simulate flight; D. A “used future” unlike anything before where stuff just looked beat up and heavily used; E. Amazing sound effects/design that still sound like nothing else; F. A heavily reworked script that focused on the fundamentals of story-telling, the hero’s journey; G. A mash-up of every great Samurai, Pirate, Gunfighter, and WWII fighter pilot movie that Spielberg and Lucas at the height of their creative powers could muster. Lucas went on vacation in Hawaii feeling it was a flop; when he got back to his hotel from the beach he had a lot of messages and seeing the massive line outside the local theater playing Star Wars he suddenly understood why.

    Telling: people loved that movie and high school bands routinely played the music up until recently, when Disney and Kathleen Kennedy did the remarkable — killing Star Wars by making it a feminist trashing of the old male heroes. Anyone can throw paint on the Mona Lisa, but stuff that several generations loved is generally quality and is rare, only created by a lucky few who have the skills and passion. And that is a heuristic to cut through phony numbers: if lots and lots of people love something over generations, its probably good. Stuff that was popular for a few years then forgotten is probably bad.

    People won’t love garbage no matter what the numbers, over generations. That’s just human nature.

    • Self actualized white men write scripts for heroic white male characters.

      Angry bitter females write scripts for angry bitter female characters. And permanently aggrieved POCs write scripts for the DMV lady characters.

      The bitter females and aggrieved POCs are not capable of writing great scripts because they are not great people. They literally have no idea what made the originals great except that “racist white people chose to prefer white characters due to white privilege”. They have no idea what we would want to watch and cannot recreate what we made.

      Nobody wants to watch their crap (not even them) and that’s why slam dunk movies like Mermaid are taking a loss.

    • Whiskey: “People won’t love garbage no matter what the numbers, over generations. That’s just human nature.”

      I dunno about that.

      We’re in the process of importing millions upon millions [possibly tens of millions?] of H1B pajeets which drop their pants and defecate in the middle of the road, and who swim in rivers filled with floating corpses.

      Furthermore, there’s an old Huffington Post story which indicates that (((Chucky Cheese Schumer)))’s hygiene ain’t much better than that of the pajeets:

      We mustn’t assume [without realizing that we have assumed] that The Other is capable of embracing & imbuing itself in the light of ancient White Anglospere-ian Christian ideals, such as cleanliness being next to Godliness.

      Furthermore, to the contrary, we must compel ourselves to ponder the likelihood that The Other wants nothing more than to wallow in filth.

    • Huzzah! Note to the smart guys: definitive proof that Whiskey is right, about everything.

    • Star Wars influenced many people, especially the younger generation.

      For example, do you recall how you felt and reacted to that Jump To Hyperspace?

      That was on-screen and also in-brain, as you could visualize what was only a vague notion, and then imagine the world differently from that moment onward.

    • I liked it at 12 (what 12 y.o. wouldn’t) – but by 15, I recognized it as “Dune for Boys.”
      And those sequels…!

      • Heretic! To blaspheme Star Wars, but then, even Dune, most holy…?

        Infidel! Unbelievers will be consigned forever to the fiery pits of Hell!!

        • As a psychological thriller, “Dune” [1984] was David Lynch’s magnum opus nonpareil.

          In placing the character of the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam front & center in the story, Lynch imagined the personality of the sadistic & brutally passive aggressive childless spinster Ultra-Karen, a good quarter of a century [or moar] before that personality began to emerge in real life meatspace.

          Ultra-Karen even came with her own personal Sh!t Test, known as the “Gom Jabbar”.

          On a psychological level, I’m not aware of any work of art which is even remotely close, in importance, to Lynch’s “Dune”, although it must be admitted that Sister Mary Stigmata, from the 1980 movie, “Blues Brothers”, certainly foreshadowed the character of the subsequent Bene Gesserit witch.

          And of course there’s always Lady MacBeth…

        • At 15, the age at which I pegged StarWarz ™ as “Dune geared to youngsters,” Lynch’s Dune (which I really like – baroque, hey?) was still a year or two off: I came to my opinion based strictly on a comparison between storylines, as I HAD read the novel.
          There are no heroes, just flawed humans. (Atreides is a vain “tsk-tsk” who DOES have designs on the throne. His wife is a schemer in the service of uber-schemers. His son, M’aud Dib, turns out to be worse than both…
          You get the picture! ;- )

      • Now they were not all bad. Carrie Fisher in that revealing outfit was nothing to sneer at, for example. 🙂

        Tangentially relevant: I wonder when the classic films will be censored. You see, Lando Calrissian was played by Billy Dee Williams, and he black. He “reluctantly” betrays his old friend Han Solo (per Wikipedia entry.) In defense of the man, “but later redeems himself by helping Han’s friends escape from the Empire.” In the next movie, he helps rescue Han. But surely, the original plot line of having a black play a disreputable character cannot be allowed to stand.

        Tech tip for Progressives with the power to if not mould reality, then to censor old films to current sensibilities. Colorizing old black and white movies has been doable since at least the 80s. Have any of you considered the possibilites of de-colorizing? E.g with modern CGI it should be child’s play to, say, lighten up Lando just a few shades. Now he’s a Mexican. Or if you want to go full bore, just make him some evil White dude.

  12. “This explains why people trust the numbers while distrusting the people issuing the numbers.”

    Do they? One would think they know that government statistics are just one more way of lying. Maybe they just don’t know how to counter the methodology by which the mendacious and misleading statistics are calculated.

    • People only have to know that if it’s a Government statistic, it’s almost certainly a lie…The fact that half the population hasn’t mastered this simple fact is extremely telling…

    • If the people still trusted the numbers, then trump wouldn’t have been elected in 2016, and if the people still trusted the numbers, then censorship wouldn’t have been the main noticeable attribute of the virus (along with a shit ton of money printing)

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  14. It’s everywhere now. The whole point of the big four accounting firms and their fees is to bless balance sheets like priests. The CFO has an earnings number in mind, gives them all the spreadsheets to support that number, and they bless it. They’re not auditing in a traditional sense. They’re not pointing to a random figure and saying “give me all the documentation that substantiates this number.”

    When was the last time a place like PWC looked at the books of a company like…let’s say…Tesla…and ran out the door stating “our reputation prohibits doing business with them.” My grandpa, who was a CPA ,did this very thing in the 1950’s. He literally threw the company’s ledger books into the street and told them to pick them up. His biggest client.

    The reason we trust the numbers is because three generations ago, because people asked “what would society think?” even if they didn’t attend church regularly, had baseline standards. Compare that to a place like Chase where nine figure fines and eight figure legal bills are part of the corporate budget. I could blame a lot of it on you know, (((. ))). And it’s true, we have a pure merchant culture these days, but it’s so much more than that and people still had to follow the pied piper.

    So now about 20% of the S&P 500 (your pension fund) are zombie companies. No one is factoring this in. We’ll deserve the pain for our misplaced trust.

    • Exactly this. I have a close relative who is C-suite level management of one of the big-4 accounting firms. Multi-million dollar annual compensation package, plus deferred income. Most of their activity is essentially white collar crime, performing fraudulent audits and designing fraudulent tax-avoidance schemes.

      In a serious country, they would all be in prison.

      • Now think along those lines with healthcare, i’d go as far to say that almost all medicaid and medicare is fraud. Not a single industry in our country operates honestly these days (except maybe small biz, which is why they have the highest trust ratings of all institutions currently).

        Remember in 2008 when we learned that all those rating agencies who slapped Triple A rated on all those subprime mortgages were actually full of shit and went to jail? Yeah i don’t remember that either, and that should have been the moment anyone with a functioning brain who is interested in this kind of stuff should have realized its all bullshit. Woulda put you in a better mindset when covid began 😉

        • And anyone who believes any form of “official” numbers after covid is also the same type of person who will answer when asked why they support Ukraine will reply with “because democracy” and won’t have any other answers beyond that. “Believe in the science!”

    • I have to somewhat disagree with this string. I am a CPA and have been a controller for several companies over the last 30 years. Every one of those years involved a Big 4 audit. They actually do give you lists of random transactions pulled from the general ledger. We do have to justify them with paper trails of bank statements, invoices and supporting schedules. They also send out inquiries to customers and vendors to support various transactions. Between SEC oversight and Big 4 liability, most companies try to be pretty honest.

      Granted, at the political level the SEC is as corrupt as any three letter agency in regards to selective enforcement and prosecution. And I will agree that there is quite a bit of negotiating between companies and their accounting firms over various accounting treatments under GAAP. But typically, fraud involves two or more employees colluding which is very difficult to catch in the short-term. If an audit uncovers fraud like this, it is usually by accident. Eventually, the cash flow has to match the financial statements, but two people colluding can get a way with a lot in the short-term.

      • Seconded. I think our system is getting better, not worse, at catching petty business corruption. The problem is the system-level, macro frauds of monetary policy, a multidecade one-way, correlated financial market and top-down social-political mandates on corporate boards. Cooking the books or taking cash out of the drawer, though, I think is less than in the past.

        • Thirded. The dissident right needs people knowledgeable in agency, state commission, and NGO finance.

          In the non-GAAP systems lies the enforcement power.

          Apparently, most of the important money laundering lies in the public-private system.

          Might as well call modern government the Hoover system, for all the middle class monies they’re vacuuming up.

          • uh huh, because giant MCOs and the states they operate in are totally honest about the numbers. Vote harder boys………….

      • “Eventually, the cash flow has to match the financial statements, but two people colluding can get a way with a lot in the short-term.”

        Unless you gin up a crisis and use that as an excuse to print trillions of dollars for you and your cronies. Which we’ve now seen happen twice in the past 20 years, maybe even 23 if you count the war on terrorism. I’d say the fraud is between .gov and the states and the corporations, they’re all in agreement because deflation will be the death of them. They must print print print!

        War on terror was the response to the first fraud aka the dot com boom

        Money printing was the response to the 2008 asset valuation fraud, wouldn’t want boomers not to be able to retire on the 401ks like they promised.

        2020 was the response to all of the above.

  15. “This only makes sense if you think the government numbers are correct. The math of this age rests on people trusting the numbers of this age.”

    Interesting commentary today. My minor area is “Statistics” and any mention of numbers always draws my attention—especially after reading the classic short monograph by Huff, “How to Lie With Statistics”—required reading as a new graduate student. But let’s just discuss numbers and not the science of aggregation, probability, and analysis.

    The number types/examples mentioned in today’s missive seem to dwell on simple “counts” with simple aggregation, example—What is the monthly production of “widgets” in the USA? Or, How many people voted for Biden in the last PresIdential election?

    Seems there is another type of “number” which has caused us even more distress of late and is perhaps even less worthy of trust—those produced by “models”. In short, numbers created out of “thin air”.

    Covid and Neil Ferguson come to mind here. He is a British modeler extraordinaire, and basically has never been right. For those who care to remember he was the one who modeled Covid deaths without government intervention (lockdowns) and predicted 2M deaths. He even got some mighty smart people to believe him, like Cochran. (Fear is not related to intellect I guess.) Panic reined and duplicitous pol’s seized on these (imaginary) numbers to remove basic civil rights—but as time passed, and these imaginary numbers proved false and misleading, it was too late.

    Climate Change suffers from the same problem. No one can predict what the global temperature will be from year to year, yet they state with almost certainty what it will be 80 years hence.

    • God bless you, Compsci, for mentioning Huff’s How to Lie with Statistics, a really great read.

      Your correct, in my opinion, that the issue lies with numbers that are the output of predictive models and not as a result of a direct measurement – although, these too can be fudged.

      That Ferguson devil had a great reputation as a modeler, and it seems that this was enough to get him taken seriously. Even as, within weeks of the Shamdemic, the town of my Birth, London, had no bodies piling up in the streets.” But the models! Oh, the models! It could’ve been awful! Two million deaths in the UK in a couple of months!

      Models are the ‘great obfuscators’: how they spit out their information is not well understood by the layman (or many people outside the particular academic circle in which they were developed); and so cannot be reasoned about. But direct figures can be. For example, despite people telling me it’s getting hotter, it sure doesn’t feel like it to me. And what’s wrong with that, anyhow?

      If somebody tells me that the number of cars in London is 40,000; experience tells me that if I were to directly measure this quantity, it would be much greater than 40,000. So it goes.

    • “Climate Change suffers from the same problem. No one can predict what the global temperature will be from year to year, yet they state with almost certainty what it will be 80 years hence.”

      You know some statistics (and presumably probability) so I can talk to you in this context. I toss a coin twenty and it comes up heads (say) ten times and tails ten times. Then doesn’t mean I can predict what the result of the next toss will be. However, I can safely predict with some measure of probability that between the eightieth and the hundredth toss, heads will come up around half the time. Statistics and probability work on the large scale, not the small. We can’t predict the temperature from day to day or even year to year but on the large scale we can detect certain patterns.

      • Yes, the law of large numbers and with such the cancellation of error, which one assumes is random. However, it’s the inability to compute the probabilities of the smaller contributing factors I was attempting refer to.

        In your example, a fair coin is *known* to have a probability of 1/2 for heads and 1/2 for tails. And as such you can predict outcomes of so many tails in a row and so many heads. In short, your input to any prediction (model) is the probability of a “single” event—heads or tails, and the number of combined events, eg. HHTTH.

        I maintain that the probabilities of the contributing factors in Climate Change modeling is poorly/inadequately known as well and simply unknown in many cases. I still remember when it was being argued that the sun’s radiance was *not* a factor in global warming as it was considered a *constant*. It took quite some time to convince modelers otherwise.

        None of this is to deny warming, only what can and should be done about such. Again, all this argument boils down to model inputs and assumptions. If the models assume incorrect causes, then amelioration resources are wasted.

        We can go on, but that’s not the essence of today’s commentary.

      • All statistical projections are contingent on some assumption, whether the person calculating the statistics realizes it or not. The coin example assumes a “fair” coin. William M. Briggs explains that there is no such thing.
        “There Is No Such Thing As A Fair Coin”

        Like just about anything Briggs writes about statistics, it is worth reading.

        • Nothing Briggs says contradicts my posting. A fair coin is the equivalent of the physics professor’s “frictionless plane”. It is a simplification of a problem used in teaching the student some major points of computation in physics and in my case, probability, without the complications of digression into trivia. The case of the fair coin is *not* ipso facto belief in any real world aspect of a coin despite how Briggs may pose it.

          Briggs likes being a sophist of sorts, which is fine, but don’t read too much into it.

  16. “Despite the lack of evidence to support most of the numbers, most people seem to trust them. At the same time, most people do not trust the people issuing the numbers.”

    Staggering isn’t it? And we all fall into the trap from time-to-time.

    I have very little to do with MSM nowadays – choosing to speak only about things I can directly confirm: no, the Shamdemic was not worth tyrannical lockdowns; no, I don’t want to go along with your climate hysteria; no, a man cannot become a woman and so on. These are broad, yet true statements. No need for “the numbers”, as that is all I’ll say on these matters.

    Even in my work, I have to be careful when comparing technologies, and making statements like “X is faster than Y”, “A is better than B”, “S is more secure than T” – all may have some truth to them, but are ultimately misleading. Indeed, it is a good thing that the IT sector is as driven by fads as the fashion industry.

    To make a concrete statement about a system – especially a predictive statement – requires a great deal of thought and experiment. Doesn’t matter if your system is airflow over an airfoil, the atmosphere, a database system, a PCB or what happens inside the cylinder of an IC engine during the power stroke – all require exact measurement and thorough reasoning.

    One of the reasons that predictive statements, often given “weight” by “the numbers” are misleading is because of the sheer complexity of the system itself. For example, Earth’s climate – good luck with any accurate predictions there. Really, good luck!

    For my part, all I can do is have more white kids and pray to the Good God for Mercy.

    • Indeed . Models “predict” exactly what you “tell” them to predict. Once you grasp that concept, you understand the nature of the beast. To produce an accurate “model” is to claim you have accurate knowledge of the phenomenon being modeled. If you claim to predict an outcome (with some reasonable accuracy), you imply you can supply all inputs to the model (with some reasonable accuracy).

      Modeling can be fun and often insightful (as in illustrating one’s lack of understanding), but in shaping government policy for results 50-80 years hence, bordering on the unbelievable.

      • The other issue, Compsci, is that modelling in physics and chemistry (to take two examples) is based on physical laws that have stood the test of time – and been found to be good approximations to what happens in the real world. It is why applying Newton’s Laws (or Lagrange’s method for the more fancy and sophisticated) to a system of connected masses allows quite nice predictions of what happens to those masses as time progresses.

        But what of “modelling” in the social sciences? Or the phony-mathematical field of economics? What are the hard and fast rules there? There are, to my knowledge, none. The system is incompleat and too complex to reason about entirely. Furthermore, direct experiment is impossible.

        When a gentleman wishes to measure the shear stresses in the airframe of some new aircraft, he may construct a wind tunnel (we’ll forget CFD for the moment) and proceed to deduce said stresses indirectly from other direct measurements (pressure in the airflow, for example). This experiment is of course non-trivial, but it can be done. Taken together with theory, Computational Fluid Dynamics, this experiment can clarify understanding.

        But in the social sciences? Economics? I don’t believe it can be done. Although I stand to be corrected.

        • “But in the social sciences? Economics? I don’t believe it can be done. Although I stand to be corrected.”

          I took an animal nutrition class in college. The test questions were along the lines of, You have a 1500lb Holstein cow, and you want her milk to be x% fat, x% protein, x% solids. What do you feed her? So you’d do the calculations to figure out this much alfalfa, this much oats, this much corn, etc.

          That’s only possible because dairy cows have to be one of the most carefully selected and inbred animals on earth. I imagine the same could be done with humans, and I imagine our managers would like to, to make their lives easier. Wouldn’t be surprised if some faction of the browning power has that in mind.

          We are living in a corporate farm lol. Mix the herds to make the world easier to manage.

        • Social science “modeling” is almost like magic. Freud had a better take on such aspects. 😉 Since there are now several studies indicating no reproducibility in social science “research”, I simply ignore most as pseudo science. This was the first discipline area to fall. It looks like others will as well as the universities continue their decline.

  17. Well, as the old saying goes, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Most governments are adept at all three, but the US government excels beyond all others. One of the worst aspects is how they so often couch the lies and stars in such lofty moral rhetoric. They’re always the good guys and always right – at least in their own feeble minds – smh…

  18. Numbers do matter, and especially when they are obtained in bogus or improper ways. This article on bogus climate data sensors was a real eye opener on how a simple lack of maintenance or changes in the areas where data is collected has resulted in completely false data with “trusted scientific equipment”.

    • We had exactly one of those bogus whether stations immediately across from my office window for years. The station reporting meteorologic readings was removed from the roof of the building next to us (I suspect for roof repairs) and set up in the black topped parking lot next to the building. It was never replaced back on top of the building. Faculty would point and laugh at times when a new person asked about the equipment in the lot surrounded by a chain link fence.

    • Way back in my corporate life, I was on a quality team. We spent our budget partying in various cities “doing research” for our project until it was time to put together our presentation. I was tasked with creating the data. I created a layered data set that looked great, but was impossible to validate. I knew no one would put the effort into validating my data as long as the logical conclusion of the data made management happy. The guy tasked with crafting the resulting narrative left a few gaps for management to fill in so they could feel like they managed us properly. Our presentation was a hit and they took us all out for an expensive dinner.

      Climate change always reminds me of that time.

  19. The most significant change during my lifetime has been the shift from an analog to a digital world. Demographic change through increased immigration is a close second, and may eventually come out on top, if I live long enough, but there is no doubt that the micro chip and its applications have utterly transformed the way people interact with society, and each other.

    The efficiencies created through quantification are profound and terrifying. To quantify some thing is to control it. That we have become less free over the course of my life is not so much because of policy: the New Deal and the Great Society were as constitutionally onerous as anything proposed today. The difference is that the digital Panopticon can now enforce compliance in a way that the blinkered bureaucrats of FDR or LBJ could only dream.

    The really depressing thing is that there is no going back. Even if “our guys“ like Elon Musk or Peter Thiel formed the nucleus of a new elite, we would be reduced to hoping that they use their powers “for good“. The best we can hope for is a Chinese style ant farm, which is at least run for the benefit of the Han, rather than our current empire, which is run for alien interlopers, of varying derivations.

    It would take nothing less than a quasi-religious revolution to reject the tyranny of numbers, some thing like the Butlerian Jihad that Frank Herbert writes about in the Dune backstory. Even then, you can’t uninvent the computer, or the atomic bomb.

  20. A lot of the obsession with numbers is liberal arts (aka “social sciences”) trying to ride on the prestige of the actual/hard sciences. Maybe not the worst thing; the act probably constrains their worse tendencies a little.

    OTOH, as you suggest, it does limit their analysis to things that can be plausibly measured/modeled…which often aren’t the most important questions. It’s also very, very easy to hide analytical flaws in an excel spreadsheet.

    • Yes. You see this also in education and the focus on STEM. Liberal arts folks rightly hate this, mostly because (I’ll be charitable) they picked the wrong horse in their academic careers.

      One thing was the push to change it to STEAM (adding
      Arts) which makes it meaningless since now you are just including everything. This is mostly amusing because it’s so transparent.

      The other and possibly more insidious thing is from the economics folks to try to get Econ classified as STEM. The justification is that they “use math”. Since nothing is reproducible in that garbage field, it’s not a science.

      I always get cranky about this because, even though I was educated before the STEM thing took off, as someone who majored in the hardest of hard sciences, I try to be a gatekeeper in my own small way.

  21. Great post and Anti-Gnostic nailed it. This is a regime of merchants and money worshipers. They are solely quantitative thinkers and do not even know that qualitative thinking is an option.

    Boost the numbers – grow, grow, grow. Why? Because they sold their valuations far into a highly speculative future and if the eyeballs, widget and leaf blower sales don’t, “grow into the valuation”, then the net worth of Zuck or whoever he left as his bag holders collapses.

    I am privvy to occasional conversations amongst hedge funders of a certain persuasion. Their lottery ticket was the 90s Russian oil, ‘privatization.’ Recently one of the fellow alums asked the HFers in the crew, what is the next opportunity. One replied the Asian Pacific archipeligos (Indonesia, Singapore … … ) There was zero specific qualitative reasoning given. Instead, 700 million people, x amount of tourism, x number of ports … … We are just head of cattle and the world is their ranch.

    Z’s point holds. As long as the numbers are either: believed outright; perceived as good; indicate things are improving; as bad as it will get, the dam will hold.

  22. Francis Bacon’s The New Organon articulates beautifully the genesis of this statistical impulse. In “On the True Interpretation of Nature,” he pushed for a model that rejects scholasticism. Instead, he argued for what we now think of as the scientific method and the accumulation of quanta of data (he called these “particulars”). The theory was that the stats, existing in an orderly world made with purpose by God but not yet deciphered by us, means that if we gather true, exact pieces of data, and do not speculate them, eventually a picture will emerge and we will complete each of the sciences. In essence, gathering objective data would be like a Seurat painting – precise dots that, if precisely placed, eventually pop and produce an picture. This is probably the single most influential piece of the “why” we gather statistics.
    Of course, when you get rid of a purposeful universe, what we are left with is a ghastly, inscrutable, unending sea of data, which people can manipulate in any way to build their own view. This slavish adherence and cherrypicking, coupled with the utter stupidity of most people, results in the subject of the essay.

  23. “Was last Thursday the hottest day in the history of the planet?”

    It might be true so long as the “history of the planet” means “the last 50 years” Even then, it’s probably a lie.

    Even if what they are saying is true in that sense, the fact that the ability to measure the temperature across the entire planet has only existed since well into the satellite era makes the observation pointless.

    • I actually saw one of the articles on this new “fact,” although it didn’t really say in the history of the planet. Zman is being facetious with us. No, it was merely the hottest day in the past 125,000 years.

      One may wonder how “they” arrived at that. Since today’s topic covers this being the age of “the data,” I wonder how I would look up the recorded daily high temperatures during the month of July for all the weather recording stations, say, 114,000 years ago. I know, I know; “google it!”

      Well I tried, and all I got for results is a video of Greta screeching “How dare you!” at me for even questioning !The Science!

      • 125,000 years ago? They don’t even know what the temperature of the Earth was on any particular day of the 1950s and probably not the 1960s either. If later on they could do it, I’m not sure this would really tell us much of anything anyway.

        While climate change alarmism may or may not be real (I have no clue), the damage they are doing is very real. The things they want to do will probably not work. Things they could do that would benefit most people, at least in the US, they have no interest in doing.

        Shutting down nuclear power plants is the last thing they should want to do if they believe their own hype. If they actually cared about the environment, they wouldn’t support globalism or storing nuclear waste onsite at the generating stations (and a hundred other things). The government has sites picked out that are known to be long term geologically stable and with little or no water table and a plan to bury the stuff at these sites far away from civilization. Instead, they force these power plants to house the waste locally in the hopes that an accident happens and people are killed so they can say “see, I told you so!” These are the same people who deliberately drive up the cost of building and running a nuclear power station so they can say “See, nuclear is too expensive. We need solar and wind”

        • There are probably “proxies” for temperatures that occurred a thousand or more years ago. My old universities has a very good program in “tree ring” research. They use readings from core samples to understand climate from as long as 10k years ago.

          I have no objection to this, but we must understand these are only guesstimates which, while often useful, also add errors into the model which uses them as inputs. Hell, we are still arguing over 20th century temperature reading instruments wrt their accuracy and comparability.

          • “There are probably “proxies” for temperatures that occurred a thousand or more years ago. My old universities has a very good program in “tree ring” research. They use readings from core samples to understand climate from as long as 10k years ago”

            At their best, proxy data can tell us average conditions over a time frame, like a year, but not the weather on any particular day.

            The quote said this one particular July day was (globally) the hottest day in 125k years. This is something they cannot possibly know. The technology for measuring this only came out in the satellite era.

          • The infamous East Anglia tree ring study used by Michael Mann for his hockeystick graph used centered around a few, and then 1- one!- hapless tree on a Siberian slope.

        • While climate change alarmism may or may not be real (I have no clue), the damage they are doing is very real.

          Saw some stories over the last few days about the FJB admin “considering” or “discussing” or whatevering obscuring the sun.

          I’m pretty sure that didn’t really work out that well in The Matrix. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

          • Mike, a somewhat unknown fact. This obscuring of the sun *has* been done! Or I would say, *is* being done as we speak.

            Remember 9/11 and the complete shutdown of all airline traffic for three days and then a slowish ramp up to full air traffic flow? Well, readings of upper air temps showed a rise of about 1.5 C IIRC. This rise was attributed to the lack of burned jet fuels containing sulfur.

            This was considered proof of the concept working. Since then I’ve read proposals to increase such “pollutants” in order to reduce surface “Warming”.

            Of course the article in question ignored any problem with millions of tons of sulfur flying around up there and then settling back down in our oceans and lakes.

        • If someone is indeed claiming to know that some day this July was the hottest in 125,000 years I would just put this in the same category as those “Dear Leader” stories that come out of North Korea. You know the ones where there’s supposedly a foot race and Dear Leader runs the entire 10km in 3.2 seconds or something. The point isn’t really that anyone actually believes it but that reciting it becomes a way of establishing one’s membership in the True Party. So we will now hear this “fact” about the 125,000 years inserted casually into countless YouTube and TikTok videos as a way for the producers of such things to show their virtue. Eliding over the fact that no records actually exist going back more than 150 years or so is a way of also demonstrating one’s lack of probity and willingness to accept policies that are just as far outside the norm as the claim they are based on.

    • “Climate change” begs the question: what is the perfect temperate, or climate, for a given area?

      As if London should always be 60 degrees and rainy, and Phoenix should always be 105 degrees and sunny. Or have the environmentalists determined that the weather data for, say, 1926 was the most perfectest year for weather in the 4 billion years of Earth’s history?

    • C’mon, Tars! Don’t be such a Luddite. We know dam’ well climate “scientists” can tell us the exact temperature of August 19, 2,398,337 B.C. by analyzing a boulder in Turkmenistan and measuring tidal erosion patterns in the Great Australian Bight. Trust the science, Buddy Roe.

    • Trust in the deepthinkers of Science, Inc. They know best (just ask them).

    • Also, we mustn’t forget that !The Science! has now conclusively demonstrated that climate change is causing the recent spike in people who have died suddenly of an unexplained heart attack. In fact, climate change is right up there with cold showers, gas stoves, gardening, Qatari assassins, eating eggs, and making your bed to vigorously as one of the major direct causes* of the sudden spike in unexplained heart attacks. For this additional reason, climate change must be taken very, very seriously.

      * The clot shot is, of course, NEVER to be included on this list; my teeeveee told me that to do so is to indulge in “conspiracy theories” and “medical misinformation” and doing so is very bad.

    • In the 1920’s, temperatures at sea were measured by sticking a thermometer in a bucket of water on deck, where the winds blew over it.

      The US Navy changed their policy.
      The bucket of water was now lowered through a trapdoor down into the engine room.

      As a result, Gaia got a fever.
      Ocean temperatures were now at least 2 degrees higher.

      Thus, the classic 1922 Washington Post headline article: the Arctic ice will disappear by the year 1930, the Bering Strait seals will go extinct, the whitefish will not longer run.

  24. A sad anecdote.

    Was back in the big city a few weeks ago for my annual wellness checkup, and as is my wont, I worked in a 20 mile bike ride on my way there. Rode through many neighborhoods and old haunts; a nice reverie on a sunny morning. My only prior exposure to fentanyl zombies was an internet video of Kensington Avenue in Philly. Until that morning.

    While cruising through a wealthy enclave of old-money mansions, a “thing” stumbled out of an alley and I nearly collided with it. Upon closer inspection, the thing was a woman, early 30s, hunched over at the waist, dangling arms, head down, and completely oblivious to my presence. I started to get off my bike and offer help as it shuffled away back toward the alley.

    And then something seized me and my heart broke. I had never before confronted the reality and immediacy of our societal demise until that day. It was up close and personal, and I felt helpless. The woman was normally dressed and otherwise a perfect fit for that gentrifying neighborhood, except for the zombie behavior.

    Don’t let the numbers fool you. Things are worse than they appear on MSM. And some serious push-back is going to have to happen soon.

    • So is your solution still to hide in the mountains and completely disconnect from society?

      Sounds like your mental model got an update when you visited the city for the first time after years in the mountains.

      • B125: I am consciously ‘hiding in the mountains’ and am doing my best to completely disconnect from what passes for ‘society’ in AINO. Does that make me evil or worthy of disparagement? I have rationally concluded that voting is of no possible utility, that I have no power to change the current Satanic system, that I cannot converse with the NPCs, and that living amidst diversity was equivalent to rubbing feces in my eyes and constantly immiserating my life.

        I have just as many fantasies as any notsee of executing all that need removal, excising the filth and the evil that I see in daily life . . . but I don’t have the desire to be a martyr on behalf of my ‘fellow man’ – all the tatted, twerking mothers of mulattoes and the soiboi manlets. All I can ‘save’ is myself and possibly my family. And, if allowed, my genuine friends.

        So for my sanity and my survival I have retreated to a place of peace, quiet, nature, and a primarily White heritage rural population. I want nothing to do with faux elections or what passes for cultural trends. No tv, no movies, no sportsball.

        I realize I am immensely blessed to be able to live like this, but while I appreciate it I will not apologize for it. And if others have chosen to ‘hide in the mountains,’ I congratulate them.

    • So, what happened to her? And on what basis are you concluding this was a drug overdose? She could have been diabetic, or poisoned, or anaphylactic, or having a stroke, etc. In any case, it sounds like she needed first aid. Did you help her? Did you call somebody?

      You need to flesh out this story, man. There are some serious unanswered questions here.

      • What are the unanswered questions that need fleshing out? Despite your angst and “concern”, this anecdote repeats itself a thousand time a day in our diverse urban areas. You learn to live with such or go crazy. Not everything bad in this world is your fault or your responsibility.

        Here’s another anecdote: 30 years ago, my father was sick and facing end of life in an urban “city” hospital. When notified I returned home and took a hotel room as close to the hospital as I could find. I could see the hospital from my hotel room window and would walk there daily to visit and handle affairs. The three block walk took me past a number of lower class homes with small, fence enclosed front yards. Typical of this Eastern city.

        One home had a homeless women who lived in a cardboard box in the front yard. Never could figure out what the “arrangement” might have been—if any—with the homeowner. For the couple of weeks I was there, she was a regular sight. The entire area was a cesspool of decline and this was the same neighborhood I was born in 40 years before.

        I’d walk along the business section only to see our fine inner city youth walking while drinking their 40’s. Hell, not even a paper bag covering it. When done, I was treated to the sight of them tossing the bottle into the street, breaking it. All I thought of was how lucky I was to have been able to leave this Eastern Sodom while young.

        But wait, it gets better. My father passed away and 6 months later I return during winter to handle estate matters. I took the same hotel and walked the same route. This time to the subway system entrance which I knew would get me everywhere I needed in the city.

        Walking through the sidewalk slush and seeing the snow piled all around and in the front yards. I began to think of that homeless “box lady” and wondered what happened to her and others in the winter. I supposed she must have moved on to a shelter as this city was huge and supposedly had such resources.

        Guess what? Sometime around my second or third day, I walked the route to the station and I saw movement in the front yard of the “box lady” home. Yep, “box lady”, was pushing up from a snow covered card board box in that *same* yard! She slept under a box, during the winter, and was still living in that exact same condition as I first saw her.

        This is third world stuff, right here in America! Box lady is not my affair. If a city of 8M residents can’t/won’t help her, then let them devolve to their own devices.

      • Perhaps that’s what sent her hurling back into the alley!

        Just funning you, TomA. Most of us have a regrettable post in our past. No big deal, really.

    • The zombies shown in those videos of Kensington Avenue are not on fentanyl. They’re taking a new one, that they call “tranq.” It’s essentially big game tranquilizer, which they use on elephants and so forth. On a side note, if somebody were to propose using the stuff on RINOs, then that would be a government program I would strongly favor and support.

      • What do you mean by – “a wellness check?”
        Don’t you mean “a checkup? “Why are you using “their” language?
        What was the general “route” of this “20 mi. bike ride to a wellness visit?”
        How could you possibly live “in the mountains” within 20 miles of ANY sizeable Eastern Metropolis?
        What was the zombie woman built like? Would you have…?

  25. The old saying on Wall Street is that “Price is Truth”.

    The Gov’t can fib all it wants about “statistics”, but the price of eggs, rent and steak etc. is hard to conceal. People generally form a pretty accurate picture about their individual economic situations. They vote accordingly and someone “counts” the votes and then the fun begins……

  26. The stats are not for dirt people like us. They are for the Cloud People. They need to believe their own BS. It’s the ol’ nickle on Blab: the vast majority of scientific studies will support the people that paid for them.

    Rest assured, Dissidents! The ruling class is doing a great job. They’ve done studies and investigated themselves and the best people are on the job!

      • A: “Who do you have working on it?”
        B: “Top trannies!”
        A: “Which trannies?”
        B: “I assure you: TOP trannies.”
        A: “That sounds discriminatory. What about bottom trannies?”
        B: “No can do. Lyndsey Graham is too busy servicing Zelensky.”

    • That about says it all. All I know about inflation I learned at the supermarket and confirmed at the gas sation.

  27. The cult of the KPI (or as the consultants prefer now, the more trendy OKRs). Why is it so? Try arguing against the emotional pleas of victimhood matched with the thin veneer of objective but cherry-picked statistics which most people don’t understand. It’s as if the HR dept of an advertising company had a baby with the CFO.

    And we shall call him “Leviathan” and he will go forth into the world with the sceptre of passive-aggression and the crown bought with govt bailouts. Alas, Babylon, what truly is a woman? Answer: the great whore of the marketplace.

    Anywho, most here don’t understand a lick of economics or finance outside typical dissident talking points, but be aware we are in the middle of a quiet banking crisis with producer prices dropping globally. It will probably come to a deflationary head in Sept. with a major, massive bank failure. The only statistics you should care about is how much cash you’ve got.

    • “Alas, Babylon, what truly is a woman? Answer: the great whore of the marketplace.”

      Great line! You win the thread so far.

      That said, it’s pretty clear that the Banking industry has been de-facto nationalized. There will be no “failures” in the traditional sense.

      • Oddly, it could be a way out of debt based currency. Failed deposits exchanged for greenbacks cutting out the central bank. But tptb won’t let that happen.

    • It’s my understanding the central banks have “solved” this banking crisis by way of full bailouts (also very quietly) of any/all banks that require one, and with literally same-day service. This will certainly keep the crisis quiet, with no general public knowledge that many banks (since the three that got published) would have failed, but for quiet yet same-day bailouts. Out of sight, out of mind. This does effectively keep the problem essentially entirely out of view.

      The thing is, by doing this the Globohomo Empire has effectively chosen massive monetization/printing, as much as may be necessary, with no upper limit, forever and ever and ever.

      What I don’t understand when I read expectations of deflation is, why would the present central bank same-day bailout operations stave off a deflationary event and instead, while putting off the reckoning for some additional time, end in hyperinflation?

      • Oops, what I meant was “… why wouldn’t the present central bank …”

        Also, loved the Leviathan passage as updated for our present Clown World flavored interesting times. It’s perfect to celebrate the birth of the satanic spawn of Karen in HR.

      • The situation is a lot more complex than nearly everyone can comprehend. Information is being withheld from you by design and it is admitted behind closed doors. Whatever you hear on the news, even the money news, about economics and finance is almost 100% fabrication.

        We ain’t talking about a little bit fabrication either. Some of the stats are real but the narrative around them is not and often they’re misdirection. They ask, openly ask, the real details not to be shared with the public.

        Captain Willard above may be correct that this time it’s different. However, most of this is following the same lines as the 2000s to 2013.

      • The US is staying afloat (sort of) because the empire is cannabalizing Europe. Russia was supposed to be on the menu, and the neocons are still promising it will be the main course, but the Ukraine war isn’t quite working out as planned. Blowing up Nordstream was in effect a declaration of war against Germany, and by extension the rest of Western Europe.

        Once they’ve gotten all the juice (heh) out of that lemon, shit will hit home big, unless they do manage to sink their fangs into Russia.

    • Ah. Another prediction of financial Armageddon. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that one over the last 20 years I’d be able to weather the looming apocalypse with no sweat whatsoever.

      • Maybe you forgot 2007 when you lost your house, bub. How’s that new van down by the river working for ya? Hope you didn’t finance it.

        • Ha. I didn’t lose dicksquat, friendo. Some apocalypse.

          But I’ll get back to you in September when I’m subsisting on fish-heads and rice in that van down by da ribber.

          • Fishheads, even? With your rice?

            Damn. I thought these mealie worms would be enough.

            It just ain’t fair!
            Some schlubbs get to eat like kings!

        • Luber, that was mostly people who had over-leveraged themselves. Those who lost were the firms buying those folks’ repackaged, shaky loans. Wife wanted to buy a new home in those days and I said no. We did just fine.

          • No that was the FHA putting a gun to the banks’ heads and telling them to push those inflated mortgage bonds, pronto!

            Because Johnson (black), Rubin (***), and that Dem hatchetwoman, whatsername, had stolen the agency’s money and then assassinated the head of Fannie Mae.

  28. Some years ago, I’d have been that guy insisting the verdict of the market was right and just. Maximal freedom to decide will lead to the right collective decisions being made because, well, by definition.

    But now I think that three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do. And these are too important to be left to the judgment of some mob.

    • The greatest faculty a man can possess is the ability to detect bullshit. Alas, this faculty also leads to a certain amount of social isolation, and generates great internal anger and no small measure of pain.

  29. Was recently in a meeting that discussed a recent trade show our corporation went to a month ago. We received about 100 or so contacts who went to our booth. However, none of those prospects have been called yet, as the sales team is busy quantifying “realistic prospective customers” that might actually sell the product, and then they want a metric set up to show progress in contacting said customers. All in SalesForce, of course.

    If you’re wondering why the team doesn’t initially just call everyone and log general insights before coming up with a followup plan, it’s because they insist in needing to quantify everything first, otherwise all hell would break loose I guess. It’s total analysis paralysis whose only benefit is no one needs to ever be directly responsible.

    • Salesforce allows the sales manager to assign the “Glengarry” leads to his favorites.

      • Sadly they don’t make Cadillac Eldorados any more. So I guess an Escalade will have to do.

        Second prize is steak knives.

        Third prize is you’re fired.

    • It’s total analysis paralysis whose only benefit is no one needs to ever be directly responsible.

      So Chet, how many XX employees work in that department? Cross all Ts and dot all Is before moving forward seems to be a characteristic of a certain sex.

      And then they want a metric set up to show progress in contacting said customers. All in SalesForce, of course.

      As if nobody could take a set of ten prospects, a pencil, and a paper and in Friday morning’s meeting report they’ve called all ten prospects and have follow-ups with four, and report the dates and times of the follow up calls. 🙄

      But no, you know, we need Comprehensive Documentation! 🤦‍♂️

      • Unfortunately increasing numbers of males in the corporate world have the same impulses as females.

        • There are still some crotchety old guys who are 100% results driven, but a lot of the younger guys are more about “servant leadership” and consensus building than barreling through an actual problem effectively.

          It’s not their fault, as they’ve been fed that poison since Kindergarten.

        • Sadly that is the case, and I cannot argue it. The drive to “Get off your ass and do something!” is lacking in many “men” today too.

        • Amen.
          This is what happens when betas answer to XXs…timidity, passive aggression, etc.

      • Sure sounds like makework to me. And it’s these sorts of anecdotes that convinced me long ago that 85-90 percent of American adults are cursor-pushing functionaries whose “work” doesn’t add up to bupkes in the middling, let alone big scheme of things. And I am one of those functionaries, by the by…

        • He!!, no, Ostei.

          In prison, everybody understands.

          Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, everybody’s just tryin’ to survive.

    • Chet: My husband has to go fly the company flag at a trade show in a few weeks. It doesn’t increase business. He cannot really move around the venue and buy or sell or cultivate new customers because with only a few other company people who have their own tasks, he has to keep a close eye on inventory and prevent theft (someone always gets robbed at one of these shows). The company knows this, knows he hates these shows, knows he cannot do his actual job (selling product) for the week or so he’s out at the show (time there plus two days driving each way), but they insist it’s vitally important to ‘support’ the overall business by attending.

      This is akin to Zman’s analysis at Subscribe Star of everyone following the ‘old way’ of war and unable to figure out a new way of winning. Because trade shows used to be a big thing, they must still be of great utility. Actual productivity be damned – show the company colors and make sure everyone knows who you are (despite being wholesalers who already have a solid reputation in their field). While an aging body is a painful reality, an aging mind is a choice to think inside the box – always.

  30. Like everything else, numbers have been weaponized. They only matter the way elites want them to. For example, The BUD stock decline is a meaningless dip if you zoom out.

    You would think that the stock would be actually crashing based on the sales numbers. Consistent -29% for Bud Light, loss of #1 beer spot. -12% Budweiser, -8% Bush, -4% Michelob. It’s likely that Bud Light as a brand will never recover. While competitors are growing by 20%.

    Maybe it will crash on the next earnings report but it seems like the experts have decided that there is no boycott and that Bud Light has “boosted ad spending” so all is well.

    Another example is demographics. The declining white population trend doesn’t exist, and you are a conspiracy theorist or even a racist for noticing. However, increasing diversity numbers are our greatest strength. Learn to love tacos! Sometimes, population replacement is a real thing, and you deserve it because you were Bad Person, and because France colonized a bunch of camel riders in the desert in North Africa.

    Obviously all 3 things can’t be true. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that your adherence to facts and logic has been weaponized against you. What matters is the intent and agenda behind the numbers.

    • My theory is the numbers are what made this thing stick. If that trade journal didn’t publish numbers, people would have lost interest, and impact, in the boycott.

      This isn’t dissimilar to election polling/suppression.

    • The BudLight folks are probably delighted that the beer that got the boost in sales is Modelo.

      It is exactly what they want. Take that white man!

      Btw, the commercial fiasco for the white man continues. An IG scroll yesterday presented me with an underwear commercial set in the wild west. Three white guy gunfighters in their underwear are buffoons who can’t shoot and are skittish and idiotic. The hero is a very dark gunslinger with a huge bulge and a very suave attitude.

      Sad white man watches this while sipping on a Modelo on commercial break from a sports league where nobody looks like him as he reads his ESG report where the number of whites in management in his portfolio companies as down 6% year over year so the ESG score is up as a result.

      • Hail Reality!
        Thus the Culture War aspect of my long screed up top.

        We are being made to burn down our own temples, tear down our own icons.

        What are these signature American, Commonwealth, and European brands?

        Icons. Proof in the world for all to see what rednecks and bogans can do.

        They are our culture, the culture of Colossus.

        Can’t let that happen!
        We have to show you that secretly, really, the White guys were fake and gay all along!

    • > You would think that the stock would be actually crashing based on the sales numbers.

      One thing I have noticed in studying the stock market the past 3+ years is how incredibly rigged it all is. (Sometimes this is obvious like with GAMESTONK!, but usually it is more subtle.) For instance, if the Market Makers have noticed retail investors have purchased a ton of PUT options on a particular stock (like BUD), they can keep buying shares to prop the price up until those options expire.

      Imo, the only way to make money in this market is to abandon pre-Clown World analytical strategies and just try to mimic what the Market Makers are doing.

  31. In the late stages of liberal democracy, numbers matter because they affect the future — at least to the extent the numbers are trustworthy. Even if they’re not, they still matter.

    Bud Light’s collapsing sales are meaningful because they’re bad propaganda for the regime. Sure, the managerial class don’t care what the peasants think, for now. And yet the regime is keenly interested in suppressing heterodox views. Nicolae Ceausescu didn’t care about peasant opinion until he suddenly did. The tipping point came when the peasants became aware that they agreed with each other.

    • I think news of massive losses for Anheuser-Busch, Gillette, Disney et al. is *brilliant* regime propaganda.

      No matter how much value is destroyed, nobody ever gets fired. No amount of consumer behavior can alter anything. The well-behaved company is eternal, beyond all law.

      The total unreality of the American economy since ~1970 is the wildest power flex in history.

  32. Some reasons that I don’t trust stats

    In Obama’s term, they redefined “unemployment” so that the statistics were more favorable to the administration.

    Also in Obama’s term, it seemed like every quarter there were be big, celebratory headlines about economic or job growth and then a month or two later a small story would appear about how the numbers were revised down significantly.

    High GDP tells me nothing about how well traditional white Americans are doing.

    Hillary was assured an easy victory over Trump.

    Researchers are so highly incentivized to agree with the government about climate change and covid that they are entirely untrustworthy.

    Finally, Michelle Obama is universally acknowledged as the most beautiful and desirable woman who has ever existed. She is an 11 on a 10 scale.

  33. Trust in numbers about our economy keeps the peasants from getting too upset but I wonder about trust in our military and what the realization that our military may be both a woke enterprise and a paper Tiger will do to the peasants?
    There is a video floating around of a Russians review of our military weapons and it ain’t good.
    There is also a flare up with a Alabama Senator over the priorities of the Marine Corp which reveals that the military brass is a bunch of wokesters.
    The elites may not care what the peasants think about our military capability but once the peasants figure out the military is a grift, just like everything else, the Elites may have a problem because somebody will have to eventually put on a uniform and fight for the system that the elites have built.

    • Mercenary is the world’s third oldest profession. Wagner is a preview of our future. Oh, and killer robot-soldiers too……..

      The consent and/or participation of the governed will not be required.

      • Slaughterbots, assemble!

        They’ll have a blazing Little-Mermaid-with-a-bad-weave painted on the tail fin.

    • I’d like to find that video, do you have a link? I’m of a mind that the reason we haven’t seen Abrams in action is that burning American tanks are bad for business same with F-16s, Bradleys are ok though because everyone makes a vunerable APC of some kind.

      This war has been an education about just how bad the Western militaries are, personnel and equipment. I suspected it was bad but I had no idea it was this bad. Without the subhumans in the Ukraine being willing to be slaughtered this would have been over long ago because the stuff we’ve given them has been generally ineffective or incansequential.

    • G Lordon Giddy: The elites have been busily importing all those they need to put on the uniform (plus instant citizenship as a bonus) and fire upon whomever they are told to shoot. They’re advertising this in every central American banana republic – become an instant Americano and eventually get to kill all the gringos! Meanwhile, they will have no trouble finding a handful of Whites to operate their high tech weaponry – they all have had their clot shots and know they will be financially rewarded – after all, they’re the true patriots who still vote. Every race has its kapos.

  34. Random facts: “statistics” is derived from “state” – i.e. “belonging to the state”.

    The first statistics were collated by William the Conqueror in the Domesday Book, a register of land, people and livestock that allowed William’s tax farmers to squeeze every last drop of blood out of the conquered Anglo-Saxons.

  35. In the old My Posting Career Days, they called it SCALE: Size Complexity Atomization Liberalism Elitism. It’s all about scale now, and churn. Thus you get millions of immigrants. If you sell a mere million of them your stupid cheap-ass widget, you become a millionaire. More immigrants, more sales of your cheap-ass crap, now you’re a multi-millionaire. Realtors and numerous other rent-seekers rake in the cash as people frantically retreat from the global riff-raff behind high property values. The Beast must be fed. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care if the eyeball counts are from 80 IQ Liberians or French neurosurgeons. MOAR IMMIGRANTS. He’ll just buy 4 houses around himself and a thousand acres in Hawaii.

    There is no way out of this but separation of some sort.

    • Canada’s solution to everything is to increase immigration from India (and Africa).

      Housing shortage? More immigrants
      Can’t build new houses fast enough? We need more immigrants to build houses.
      Labour shortage? More immigrants
      Doctor shortage? More immigrants to be doctors.

      Somehow we are always in a labour shortage even though we only create 100,000 jobs per quarter despite letting in 500,000 aliens. (Not exact numbers).

      • The great strength of Canada is its low population density. If you understand that land is the key resource then it’s reasonable to infer that the more land per person a country has the more powerful it is. Using this principle we can reasonably claim Canada is the most powerful country in the world,maybe in the whole of history.

    • Separation is necessary, yes, but on the way out the door someone needs to have their nose pulled or else these mutants will fearlessly infest whatever comes next.

      • The key condition of The Separation will by a border armed to the teeth with men who shoot first and ask questions later.

    • In an age where people can communicate at will and practically move at will, separation is impracticable, maybe even impossible.

      That leaves confrontation or collapse. For a variety of reasons, I’d argue collapse is more likely and probably more desirable in the long run. Not that collapse would be fun, or the other two would be, for that matter.

      Great Reset is coming imo, just a question of whose.

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