by John Ward
Beware expert forecasters & virtue signallers
It was a beautiful, balmy evening in Aquitaine yesterday. I sat under a cherry tree, munching the fruit here and there. A nightingale warbled away in the nearby ash tree, adding a treble to the distant bass sound of tractors taking baled hay back under cover before the rain (that’s forecast for today) arrives. Allegedly: there’s no rain in sight yet.
Over the last fifteen days, I’ve been keeping a record of the Meteo’s forecasts down here. On all but two days, they were wrong. That’s roughly a 13% success rate: better than anything Neil Ferguson has ever managed, but then all things are relative.
I’m not being lyrically wiseassed for the sake of it; the point I’m making is very simple: we are becoming slaves to those who forecast…having beforehand declared themselves to be “experts”.
Nostradamus was a shrewd bloke: five centuries ago, he wrote elliptical prosey-verse stuff, in the wise expectation that future idiots would turn him into a seer who knew what was coming. The flaw in the idiots’ analysis was that – in an average lifespan of some 45 years in the 1550s – none of his predictions would be of any use to anyone, on account of the readers having been dead 400 years before ‘a great tyrant in the West shall arise’….two lines from his “second sight” now widely proclaimed as a reference to Hitler. Or Kaiser Wilhelm. Or Napoleon. Or Cromwell.
He was hailed as an expert. In fact, he was a crystal-ball chancer.
The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen a revival in similar soothsaying that has been high in saying but low in sooth. In the 1980s, we had a blizzard of Futurology doom-books, all of which are now discredited. In 1977, Peter Calvocoressi wrote a bestselling book about “the British Experience”. Nothing he expected happened, but loads of real events went unpredicted by him. In 1971 we had Only One Earth by Barbara Ward and René Dubos. Today, it reads like ignorant tosh. Have you read Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock lately? The only shock in it is the lack of a future therein predicted in the present.
All of them self-assigned as experts.
The 1985-95 period saw an explosion in Futurology consultancies. None of them saw the USSR collapse coming. My own career as a senior advertising and marketing executive was bedevilled by clients buying the hokum churned out by these tartan paint salesmen. And during this period, I became acquainted with the Almighty Modellers.
Their models had a suitably cod scientific name: econometric. Over and over again, they concluded that MsDos would be part of standard educational curricula by 2000, and that the Millenium bug would produce digital catastrophe. Later still in 2008, Russian political writer Igor Panarin claimed in a Wall Street Journal article that the US West Coast would be controlled by China, and Hawaii by Japan. The Southeast USA would become part of Mexico, the northern Midwest would go to Canada, the Northeast would join the European Union, and Russia would get Alaska.
Futurologists still refer to themselves as experts.
Bu here’s the most bizarre fact: two writers from the 1930s remain preeminent in their prescience about the way the world was going: Aldous Huxley in his book Brave New World, and George Orwell in Nineteen-Eighty Four. Both men used fiction as their medium, and both were philosophers with an eclectic (and grounded) experience of the Dark Human Side. Importantly, they were both implacably opposed to Utopianism.
They both wrote about human aspiration – and psychopathic élite manipulation of that need via drugs and media control respectively. This is what puts them head and shoulders above any of the narrow soi-disant sorcerers of our time.
Forecasting weather was probably the first sign of a human race convinced of its Godlike power to control nature. My own original profession of market research fell victim to the same delusional vision; in doing so, it failed to recognise the first rule of asking questions: people tell anthropological lies in order to defend their Right Brain emotions.
Yet meterologists and market researchers still award themselves the “expert” soubriquet.
At more or less the same moment, election pollsters came to the fore. For all their swingometers, marginal-constituency analyses, opinion surveys and gains/loss analyses, they managed – taking most European and US elections after 2004 – to get 42% of them fairly wrong….and a further 37% of them mind-bogglingly wrong – as in, Trump in 2016, Cameron in 2010, Cameron again in 2015 (the other way round) Corbyn in 2017 and Johnson in 2019. That’s 1 in 5 right. Not great.
Whenever YouGov presents findings, you can guarantee that the authors will be referred to as experts.
If you think that’s bad, take a decko at this: stock market “experts” predicted huge success for 35 big mergers after 2002. Digging into that, the Economist concluded in 2006 that 60% of them not only didn’t succeed, “they destroyed shareholder value”.
If I had a Pound for every model that falsely predicted product launch success for my clients’ products between 1976 and 1998, I wouldn’t be fabulously rich….but I would have more than enough for lunch at The Ivy for myself and three cronies.
And so finally we arrive – via this School for Scoundrels – at the modellers who moved into medicine at the turn of the century, and cost the British taxpayer a fortune in their early stabs at BSE deaths (wrong by a factor of 98.7%) – then moving on to help create needless fear about the likely death toll of Covid19.
All of the Ferguson, CDC and WHO models put together in January 2020 (‘cobbled’ would be a better word) were alarmist by factors ranging from 8 to 60. After two full ‘seasons’ of Covid19, it has been remarkably consistent in killing 0.042% of humanity, 85% of whom were economically inactive – and the owners of pathogens that could have killed them at any time.
Yet the modellers and downlockers are referred to universally in the MSM as experts.
I think you can probably see where I’m going here.
In a West that still risibly thinks of itself as ‘liberal democratic’, the overwhelming majority of most populations show their leaders, and their advisors, far too much respect. The two uniting factors among all those injustices I have tried to address over the last twelve years have been fear of radical action (“we mustn’t damage the cause”) and abject failure. Throughout the UK – and especially in Middle England – there is a timidity and respect that is totally counter-productive when dealing with legislators and bureaucrats, and thoroughly undeserved.
In the US after 2009, the banking system that had very nearly brought the global economy to its knees avoided all blame – and quietly snaffled $900 billion that were never seen again. It then removed all interest on savings and gobbled up trillions in QE. But the social media twitterati still see the Fed in particular and investment banks in general as “people who know what they’re doing”. They’re right, but in the wrong sense.
Four separate British administrations stole money off old age pensioners. I worked first with Waspi and then Backto60. Both organisations were fiercely independent, immune to advice, naive about the State and terribly respectful. They gained widespread public support, two enquiries, a Parliamentary debate, and eventually took the Government to Court. Over twenty years of campaigning, they have received nothing in the way of recompense.
The same was true of the anti-Newscorp luvvies group Hacked Off. The Government backed away from taking on Murdoch, and perhaps two dozen blatantly guilty journalists evaded both trial and jail. Hacked Off pushed back. But they got, effectively, nowhere.
Having tried to stop the enquiry into Hackgate, Boris Johnson then sat on the appalling paedophile scandal in a Tory London borough. Lots of bleating by investigative hacks, nobody in jail. People saw BoJo as “a good mayor” and believed his claptrap about “leftwing poppycock”.
After the Brexit vote went against the Cameron Government (and a lot of the votes were desperate, frustrated protests) two successive administrations did their best to undermine the vote. The EU poured in funds to kit out Remain protesters and tell lie after lie about the horror that awaited post-Brexit Britain. UK social media was completely lit up with sofa-revolutionaries saying “there’ll be blood on the street”, but at the same trusting politicians to keep their promise. They didn’t. The Remain agitation for another vote was determined and well-organised. Brexiteers were largely overconfident. Eventually they had to turn to Boris who, in a do-or-die last ditch attempt to revive his flagging career, vowed to ‘Get Brexit Done’.
It’s now emerging that he didn’t. The Irish agreement was a fudge (at the G7 bunfight, it came under heavy attack yet again), the French continue to renege on a wide range of “reciprocal” accords and push boatloads of illegal migrants in our direction. The Government’s reaction to all this falls far short of feeble. But there are still enormous swathes of voters out there with nothing but respect for this serial perverter of justice, liar and philanderer.
Worse still, Remainer-dominated sites on Facebook and elsewhere continue to put their trust in the good intentions of Brussels and Macron. Yesterday, I was vapourised by one such site purely for relaying what a senior fonctionnaire at the Agen Préfecture had told me about UK driving licences that have expired during this gigantic admin cockup. It’s clear the French are stonewalling and lying: but “we mustn’t harm the cause” by admitting that maybe an old cynic like me could be right.
And so we stumbled into Contrick19, and a lovefest of patriotically incontinent respect for the worm Hancock, the zealot Whitty, the cheats Horby and Ferguson, the seedy little mendacious monster Fauci and the shifty Pharmafia creatures who developed half-baked vaccines, lied about death counts and are now obfuscating the stats on just how insanely dangerous these rushed-through jab formulations are.
Hardly any MSM journalists have called out the scam, and over 85% of the UK population still say they want the jabs – “because I’m sure these experts are working in our best interests”….and ‘cos I wanna go on ‘oliday, dunneye?
Weimar Germany shuffled into the Third Reich after 1933 partly because of respect for President Hindenburg, and partly because they saw Hitler as a principled opponent of Communists.
A vast proportion of Americans feel the same way about President Biden – and see his witch hunt against conservatives in the US as a similar form of protection. I watched two Biden performances at the G7. His answers to questions were illogical, and his one address a tragic embarassment. But still he generates respect based on his High Office.
I don’t condone violence and I never will. But I am all for removing consent, being deliberately awkward, and making those who never asked for my consent feel profoundly uncomfortable. Civil disobedience is the only responsible way to get our civil liberties back. The United Kingdom – my homeland – faces the ultimate test in the months ahead. If the lessons of overly respectful idiocy continue to go unlearned, then Britain will become dysfunctional, the US will have a civil war, France will turn to extremism, and the bullies of Brussels will continue to keep the entire continent under the cosh.