Numbers vs. Reality

There is no truth in numbers. Numbers are facts. Truth is not about facts. Proof of what I mean by this may be found in a brief examination of a headline making the rounds of the global progressive propaganda wing (i.e., news media) today, as in this example from the BBC: “Coronavirus: Covid-19 death toll hits 500,000 worldwide.”

What is your reaction to the figure in that headline? Whatever it is, it is certain that your response is not conditioned by the number itself, since a number — be it five, five hundred thousand, or five zillion — means almost nothing outside of some intellectual context or comparative framework. The mass media, serving a particular political agenda (some variant of communist totalitarianism), is careful to frame the number in an anti-intellectual, purely rhetorical context based on childish implications of “bigness,” which they achieve by deliberately and consistently presenting such figures in utter isolation from other relevant facts that would be necessary to properly contextualize them.

For example — and let us leave aside for now the whole vexed and vexing question of how government experts are choosing to classify deaths as “caused by” Covid-19 — consider this: This coronavirus pandemic was officially declared such on March 20th, more than three months ago. Of course, the word “pandemic” is merely an official label, and we all know that the virus was spreading through highly populated areas of East Asia (including my neighborhood), and likely large swaths of Europe and North America, for at least two or three months before that official declaration was made. In other words, we are looking at an illness that has been making the rounds, worldwide, for minimally five months, as of this writing. And during those five (or more) months, the official death tally has reached 500,000 globally.

What does that number mean? That is to say, what is the truth associated with that mere numerical fact? If you take the media’s emotional tone at face value, unquestioningly, then you might think the truth is that the world population is being mowed down by this disease at unprecedented and, as the alarmists are so often wont to say, “catastrophic” levels. 

On the other hand, let us make a little comparison. On average, 150,000 people die each day on this planet. Each day. That would make about 22,500,000 in five months. Twenty-two million five hundred thousand deaths in a normal five-month period, compared to five hundred thousand deaths attributed to coronavirus during the same period. That means this coronavirus outbreak, if we accept the government tallies of deaths caused by the virus at face value, has accounted for about one forty-fifth (1/45) of the normal death total for a similar period of time in any normal year.

To give that a little more perspective, let us grant that Covid-19 has caused the deaths of about 3,333 humans each day for the past five months — 500,000 divided by 150 days. Using the daily averages publicly available on the internet (i.e., readily accessible to any journalist or government expert who wished to provide relevant context), that would make this coronavirus outbreak only the thirteenth biggest daily killer over these past five months, behind liver disease (10th — 3,624 deaths per day), road injuries (11th — 3,406), and kidney disease (12th — 3,370). And of course those 10th to 12th causes reap those numbers of souls not merely during this brief five-month period, but regularly, year after year.

For a little further context, while Covid-19 has killed 3,333 per day over this short stretch of time, the biggest daily killers absolutely dwarf that number: cardiovascular diseases (48,742 deaths per day) and cancers (26,181). 

If this virus, which will likely reach its peak and then become a greatly diminished threat over the course of a year or two, is, according to supposed scientific experts, “catastrophic,” “apocalyptic,” and a “worst nightmare” (Dr. Fauci’s nonsensical expression), then what human language is left to describe diseases that kill almost fifteen and eight times as many people each day, respectively — and that continue to do so at similar rates (relative to world population) for generations?

Numbers are facts. Facts are not truths, in the strictest sense. Truths are contextual understandings, in the light of which we may develop rational interpretations of mere facts. Now you have some context about the media’s “big numbers” facts. Use it the next time you hear someone talking about how the world will never be the same after this outbreak, or how life and the economy may never recover from this virus. No, the world will never be the same, and life and the economy may never recover, from the worldwide totalitarian response to this outbreak, a response that may be seen as entirely superfluous and unjustified, when viewed in context, which is to say in the light of truth.

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