In the 12th century, there were kingdoms and fiefdoms, but who really ruled the day was the high priests. Try to argue against the high priests you were considered a heretic. Many were burned at the stake for the sin of questioning the high priests. Flash forward 200 years and there was Joan of Arc. Today there are new high priests and dare to question one and you are scorned and ostracized.
That occurred for me a few years back. Through the modern miracle of social media, I located a very close friend of mine, Elliott, from junior high when I lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He was ‘smarter’ than me and went on to get a degree at Brown University. The fact that he used his high level degree to become a publicist for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) baffled me. One would think he would have loftier goals – maybe one of the scientists. I found he was dedicated to his beliefs.
We did not debate the value of the UCS, but we did get into a debate about a concept presented by Paul Krugman, a Nobel Laureate in economics, but currently slumming as a columnist on the New York Times. We were now discussing a field I know a lot about. I disagreed with Krugman on the issue we were debating and I expressed facts and figures. It is easy to disagree with Krugman’s columns because he has been wrong so, so many times. We went back and forth with Elliott not dealing with the facts and finally stating “I will go with the Nobel Laureate.” That was the end of the discussion and my interaction with Elliott. Why would he spend time corresponding with a heretic who dared question a high priest?
Think how many times you have been scorned or mocked for questioning a high priest. I know I have been hundreds of times. How can you possibly seriously question those facts? The high priests pronounced those facts, you can’t question them.
The favorite manner of referring to the high priests is to refer to them as experts. Most often when our Press refers to “the experts” they are invoking the high priests. They don’t even tell us who the experts are in what they write. Why would they? If you don’t know of “the experts” you are not worthy of us telling you.
Every day I received columns touting “the experts.” The New York Post wrote “Staying at home is working. That’s the message that New York’s most powerful politicians and health experts have delivered this week.” They never identified the experts we should know. The next day The Hill had a column entitled “Experts fear ‘national naiveté’ on COVID optimism”. This column actually identified one expert. One not many. Everyday my mailbox is full of like articles especially since the pandemic.
We are constantly hearing these days about ‘The Models’. I know a little about this. I spent the better part of my life doing models for the acquisition and development of senior housing projects in the mid-1980s. These real estate based models are not as lofty as predicting how many of us will die from COVID-19, but models are models. We just didn’t have bell shaped curves. I would be told to adjust the interest rate, the absorption rate, the construction cost or any other of the multiple factors. We had a legion where we had all the assumptions. It was all conjecture. We did not know. We had no idea whether we would have five new tenants in the third month or whether we would get four or maybe none.
The high priests tell us we have to abide by the models. Then the politicians speak knowingly of the models. It is laughable as they mouth this because they have no clue how the models were developed or whether they have any level of accuracy. The High Priests told them what to say and they say it.
That is why we started with a projection out of England of 2,200,000 Americans dying from COVID-19. Then the High Priest” who told us that said he went back and prayed over his model and it turns out only 250,000 of us are going to die. Then it was revised down to 60,000. Buck Sexton tweeted that it made no sense that with just two weeks of social distancing that the projection went down from between 100,000 and 250,000 to 60,000. Brit Hume tagged that tweet and said the higher models already factored in social distancing. I have not heard yet, but maybe both Buck and Brit are soon going to burned at the stake for the heresy of questioning the “High Priests.”
The current highest of the high priests is the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). They bill themselves as an independent global research center based at the University of Washington. One must question what deems them to be independent. Independent from what or whom? There predictions (models) have had wild fluctuations. More importantly, they refuse to release their assumptions for their analysis. Why should they have to; they are high priests.
We have had a running battle about Global Warming (Climate Change) in our country. If you dare to question the current thinking, you are called a heretic. “Don’t you understand that 97% of the high priests agree,” Even if you have a PhD in climatology you are scorned if you question what the high priests say about climate change.
Three years back, I found this guy who publishes a blog called the Manhattan Contrarian. Along with Victor Davis Hanson he is the smartest guy I read. The Contrarian has an undergraduate degree in math from Dartmouth, He understands all these charts and graphs the high priests develop to tell us we will either be burning in hell or under water soon. He has written over 30 detailed, but understandable, articles on climate change debunking the high priests. I am shocked he has not been burned yet or certainly arrested.
A wise man I know has said that if you don’t believe in religion, you are not devoid of religion, you just adopt another religion. Instead of having a rabbi, priest or minister you have someone else. Too often that someone else these days are scientists who have become the high priests of the people who have deserted organized religion. You cannot question the high priests.
I was brought up as a Jew. We were taught to question our God. That means question your rabbi. I am here to tell you to question the high priests; they are often wrong. Such is life.