Friday, January 11, 2013

The Tyranny of Anecdotes

by Gavin McInnes

There’s a [---] kind of tyranny with which the seemingly oppressed like to oppress us: anecdotal evidence. Where freak occurrences and exceptions used to be treated for the aberrations that they are, they now define policies and dominate discourse. Right now, Putin is using one dead orphan to justify a total adoption ban on American parents because his ego is hurt. To be against him is to want orphans to die.

Safety culture uses this tactic often. Thirty-four children in Ohio died in car accidents! Are you OK with that? Are you OK with a classroom blowing up? To be against booster seats for 7-year-olds is to laugh at the atrocities in Sandy Hook. No wonder Ralph Nader has a career. If you don’t pay his extortion fees, you’re killing kids. When you have the emotions behind “common sense” on your side, counterintuitive truth is doomed.

In a culture where a Liberal Arts degree is considered education and “Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent,” replacing data with propaganda is easy.

Here are 10 totally random occurrences that tyrants pretend aren’t random at all.

When the tsunami hit Japan last year, it destroyed a nuclear power plant that killed probably dozens of employees and will lead to countless cancer deaths down the road; ergo, nuclear power is bad. Every time I try to defend nuclear energy this past year, the conversation jumps there and promptly commits hara-kiri. But the number of workers killed appears to hover around zero and the number of future cancer victims caused by the accident is expected to approach 100. That’s less than 1% of the deaths the tsunami caused.

The documentary Gasland exploded into the fracking debate by showing families near natural gas mines lighting their tap water on fire. This is a very compelling image for Americans who don’t live near areas with plenty of naturally occurring methane already in the water table. However, the ones that do are well aware their tap water has been flammable since indoor plumbing began, which was decades before fracking. The tap water you saw in Gasland was always flammable and it was always drinkable.

Read the rest here.

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