Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Politicians and deliberate failures?

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I have quite a few private speculations that I am reluctant to put into words (or only do so after I see sufficient evidence), because they seem too far-fetched or in violation of Hanlon’s Razor or Eriksson’s Razor(s). I often take claims by others with several grains of salt for similar reasons.

Sometimes, this works in my favor; sometimes, it does not. A notable example is claims of deliberate lies and distortions in and by mainstream media, up to and including the German “Lügenpresse”. Here I have long taken the position that what we see is mostly explainable by e.g. incompetence, unconscious biases, or, at worst, misguided attempts to avoid xenophobia or whatnot,* with deliberate or malicious lies and distortions being a comparatively small phenomenon. In light of accumulated evidence (including e.g. the disparate reporting on crimes that I have discussed recently ([1], [2]) and the handling of COVID reporting), I have to cave—it is simply not plausible that such enormous distortions, even outright lies, are explainable without assuming a deliberate intention. (In my defense, I have the impression that the situation has grown worse over the years, and I need not have been wrong originally.)

*As with e.g. the common stubborn refusal to report that the perpetrator of a certain crime was an immigrant. This is unethical by the press, but on a different level from e.g. the deliberate vilification of Rittenhouse.

One of the major unwritten speculations, and the impetus for this text, is that what seems like incompetence in (mostly) politicians might sometimes be deliberate attempts to fail—that they might not just sabotage what they dislike, but actually sabotage their own “solutions”, in order to allow the enemy to survive, in order to not lose a scapegoat or a cause. Now, my opinions of politicians are not flattering, and I am willing to accept incompetence as the explanation for very much. However, politicians seem to get virtually everything wrong. Their work is comparable to a game of pin the tail: they get it wrong so often, that their few successes seem like sheer luck.

Look at all those noble or distracting causes that never end: Consider the COVID situation, the “war on poverty”, the “war on drugs”, the “war on terror”, the ever-changing reasons why pollution will destroy the Earth within ten years from an ever-changing now, how cries for more “equality” for us poor women (in e.g. Sweden) or us poor blacks (in e.g. the U.S.) are today as loud as or louder than they were in the past—no matter how much has already been achieved and even when, as with Swedish women, the scales have been tipped to give a decided advantage, instead of the claimed disadvantage.

A text from last year dealt with political failures through attacking the wrong target. What if this is largely deliberate? Or what if poor means are deliberately chosen? Take school: Decades of experience show that just throwing more money and more resource at school has very little positive effect. If a politician demands that more money be thrown at schools to solve this or that problem, is he truly ignorant of past failures, or does he bank on being able to (a) take credit for the next batch of money and (b) use the same argument of “We need more money for schools!!!” again, a few years down the line, because the last batch brought no improvement?*

*This is also a good example of why I try to hold back some ideas and not jump to conclusions. Here, e.g., a different, if still nefarious, explanation is often given: The politicians might be afraid to, or ideologically banned from, admitting a true cause, e.g. that “underprivileged” students often have more of an I.Q. problem than a money problem; and have to be shown as doing something in order to be re-elected. Throwing money on the problem might be the easiest way out (for the politician—not the students or the tax payers).

Similarly, Swedish politicians seem to have an odd obsession with time in school, be it hours per day, years of mandatory schooling, or proportion of the population who has a higher education.* The results are unsatisfactory? Throw on more time! (Quality? Who cares about quality? Time!!!) The problem is not solved; the renewed solution is more time; lather-rinse-repeat. That e.g. the politicians might ask too much of someone who simply does not have a head for or an interest in studies, that never seems to occur to them. Neither does that e.g. more students in college might force a lowering of graduation criteria in order for sufficiently many to pass, which will lower the value of the degree for the top performers and future employers.** Etc.

*In all fairness, they also often fiddle around with the minimum qualifications for teachers. However, these often have a time component: If only the teachers spent more TIME in college! These minimum qualifications are also usually of a type that prioritizes formal qualifications over ability, in that an incompetent idiot who has a certain degree is qualified, while even the most competent outsiders without one are not. (And incompetent idiots are fairly common, as teacher programs are often chosen by those unable to enroll in other programs of study.)

**An interesting potential example is the increase of the duration of some Swedish degrees, like my own civilingenjör, e.g. from 9 semesters to 10. I have heard two explanations for this: The official, used by e.g. politicians, that “there is so much more to learn today that we had to increase the length” and the unofficial, whispered in rumors by professors and students, that “the quality of students has dropped so much that we had to stretch the same contents over an extra semester to keep graduation rates up”. (Which explanation is true, I leave unstated.)

Nuclear power might provide a particularly perfidious example. (Here I still tend to favor the Razor’s; however, the idea is a good illustration of the mechanisms that could be involved more generally.) By focusing strongly and highly irrationally on reducing or abolishing nuclear power, various countries have been forced to increase emissions of “greenhouse gases” to keep the energy supply up. More of such emissions allow for greater panic-making around global warming than less emissions, which makes it easier to keep that cause going. This is a double whammy: first a few decades of panic-making against nuclear power (“Vote for us, or you will all DIE in a nuclear accident!” or “Vote for us, or YOUR CHILDREN will live in a RADIOACTIVE WASTELAND!”), then a few decades of panic-making against global warming (“Vote for us, or the WORLD WILL END in ten years!”), which would have been less effective without first forcing nuclear power out.* Of course, the panic about global warming has reached such proportions that, unthinkable just a few years ago, some environmentalists call for more nuclear power. If this road is taken, and succeeds, expect more panic making about nuclear power just a few years later (after all, you do not want to die in a nuclear accident or leave a radioactive wasteland to your children, do you?).

*I note e.g. that Germany is in the process of shutting down its remaining reactors, roughly half now, in what little remains of 2021, and roughly half next year, if I recall correctly.

I can only re-iterate my claims that we need both a constitutionally guaranteed small government and “evidence based” politics. (And note that by evidence, I mean actual scientific evidence, not speculation and misinformation by the likes of Fauci and Ferguson, let alone the astrology-level nonsense found in e.g. gender studies or, increasingly, social sciences in general, which often is in direct contradiction to the actual evidence.)

Written by michaeleriksson

November 30, 2021 at 9:20 pm

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