Changing our metrics to suit our narratives has caused confusion, frustrated the honest, and destroyed public trust
I think my main frustration the last couple of years has been that one seems to be able to get away with data manipulation murder so long as one doesn't contradict "the narrative"
As soon as one does contradict "the narrative" the information is promptly deplatformed, for reasons as spurious as "not being peer-reviewed" when anyone who actually pays attention to these things knows that things that go against the narrative are scrutinized 100x harder than the analytical pablum spewed regularly by Krugman et al.
It's damn near impossible to know what to believe without devoting a significant chunk of time to the endeavour.
Yeah, Michigan State University, right next to us... oh, what to say. When they created a vaccine mandate last August, I thought, "I'm against this, but I guess at least it's a path to ending their mask mandate". Silly me, they never ended their mask mandate. Now they have a booster mandate too. And now they've moved their January classes online. And the letter from the president announcing the change includes a vague comment about "additional information shared on the vaccine and booster requirements" in the future, which makes me wonder... what is booster #2 mandate coming? I'm not sure what additional information there is to share when you already have a booster mandate. Vaccination requirements to attend sporting events maybe? You got me.
Another excellent post with well-made, reasoned points! This is why I often share this substack on threads where people seem to be not-entirely-tightly wedded to the (usually MSM/WH, occasionally other side's) narrative, such that they'll be open to other views.
The failure of politicians to properly set expectations (Biden most recently on a variety of subjects; also Trump, especially on the 2020 election results) has had devastating and widespread results, but is to be expected (while still lamented and challenged) in politicians.
But the failure of supposed journalists, and especially self-titled scientists, to do so has been even more devastating, I think. From MSM's successful depictions of Rittenhouse as a white supremacist who killed 3 black people (which led to retractions in international media such as, I think it was, The Independent in the UK), to Fauci's increasing obsession with being seen as the sole arbiter, if not source, of scientific truth (which I suspect has substantially driven the deplatforming of actual scientists and others questioning the dominant narrative), we've seen a widespread abandonment of professional ethics in fields that are (were) pretty much defined by them and which are of little use, and much danger, otherwise.
I'd be more troubled by this if I hadn't long believed that titles (and degrees!) were poor predictors of competence, truth, and so on. Seeing "random" people, with online blogs like yours, make more salient, valid points than most anyone else in politics, journalism, or (MSM-carried) science, would otherwise be very troubling; but I find it worth celebrating, at least on some level.
This is just a fantastic post. I happen to be reading Death on the Nile right now, because I’d never read it and didn’t want the upcoming movie to spoil enjoying the book. The Colonel who is investigating the murder with Hercule Poirot tries to put the murder into a tidy narrative (which nicely gives the reader a summary of the book about 2/3rds of the way through). But Poirot focuses instead on what doesn’t fit, on what’s missing, on the facts that you have to ignore or explain away with improbable reasoning. That’s his superpower and what makes him different, and what leads him to the truth. Now, fiction, of course, but there’s some deeper understanding in there, and it seems to dovetail with what you’re saying in this post.
I think you make some valid points regarding the failure of high vaccine rates to prevent high case rates and the failure of some commentators to be consistent and/or acknowledge they got that wrong. With that said, I think it would have been better to create your updated deaths-per-million-7-day-average chart (the one that updates Krugman's chart from early September) with the same y-axis range (maxing out at 18 per million) as Krugman used. That would make it easier for readers to see that MA/NY's current death rates, while certainly much higher than FL's current death rates, are still less than 1/3 FL's early September death rates and about half those of TX. If you're arguing for consistency in metrics, you probably should use a consistent y-axis range. Many readers will glance at the charts without looking at the y-axis closely.