Control and intelligence

A few years back, while I was working for a large IT outsourcing company, I told to my boss that “there are two ways to handle security: intelligence and control.” He started laughing. At first I was puzzled, then I realized that he misunderstood me. A few days prior, we had another conversation about intelligence.

My team shared the floor with the desktop support team which represents the bottom rang of the IT support hierarchy. We knew the people well, because it was easier for them to walk over the floor with questions than reassigning support tickets. Then a usual reorganization came and the company dismantled the team. Some were laid off, some reassigned to other teams. The two least capable guys on the team were assigned to the security team. I expressed my frustration to my boss, explaining to him why is this so depressingly logical. The company’s approach to security was access control. Dumb people excel at enforcing simple rules. They are consistent and reliable. Knowing their limitations, they are also loyal and obedient. They are not very effective, but you can’t have it all. My boss was amused by my fuming over the stupidity of making truly dumb people responsible for something as important as security.
He was laughing because he thought I was getting back to that subject. I wasn’t. I had a practical problem where I had to make a choice between control and intelligence dealing with a problem.

The word intelligence has two meanings: cognitive ability and the gathering of sensitive information.
You can either set up strict controls, or a system of monitoring. Controls limit functionality, intelligence require more effort and responsibility. In short: controls do not require intelligence, intelligence does.

How does this apply to our present predicament with the covid-19 virus?
We are doing the dumb things again: control instead of intelligence. Lock-downs, controls and the strict enforcement of stupid rules. Instead of:

  • Testing EVERYBODY for the virus and doing serology tests to identify everybody with antibodies.
  • Using the police to identify infection sources instead of policing isolation and social distancing compliance.
  • Controlling access to testing and medical supplies (masks) instead of inviting the market in to satisfy the needs at whatever cost.
  • Handing out cash instead of allowing people to go back to work.
  • Shamelessly manipulating information instead of acknowledging our limitations in gathering intelligent information.

Let’s stop at this last point to take a closer look.
There are several sites reporting on the situation. Each has various graphs. None of those graphs reports the numbers about seasonal influenza. Or the number of tests performed in absolute and in population percentage numbers. The confirmed cases should also be related to the number of performed tests.
I could not find a place with information on serology tests that would report the immunity level of populations. We have no idea what percentage of the population have immunity, what percentage contacted the virus and never experienced symptoms. What the Diamond Princess experience showed is that 83% will not even get infected, and 50% of those who do, will not display any symptoms. The graphs shown to us are grossly misleading. There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. If active influenza cases were shown with a cumulative count of influenza deaths, the covid-19 cases would not be visible on the graphs.
As of 2020/03/23, the number of covid-19 deaths in the US represent less than 1% of the deaths of the seasonal influenza deaths in the 2017-2018 flu season. DESPITE the wide availability of vaccination for the later.

I have to stop again to make absolutely clear what I am NOT saying:

  • I am not saying that the problem is not real
  • I am not saying that it was planned or created on purpose
  • I am not saying that we should not take it seriously
  • I am not saying that we should not be careful

What I AM SAYING is that

  • The dangers presented by this pandemic are grossly overstated
  • They are shamelessly exploited
  • Heavily politicised, and
  • Grossly mismanaged.

The concern is real, the ‘crisis’, just like ‘climate crisis’, is entirely manufactured.

The “never let a good crisis go to waste” crowd is working busily on scaring the world witless to advance their agendas. Apparently, Greta and the climate crisis did not scare us to relinquish enough control over our own lives to the powers above us. It is funny to see how similar the tactics are. The same language, the same tone, the same virtue signaling, the same threats and emotional blackmails.

The messages from the authorities are increasingly threatening. In Prague, you can not leave your home without a face mask. In Montreal gatherings of two or more people are prohibited. In Quebec, now, two is a crowd. In Vancouver, they are closing the parks, because of all those bastards who went for a walk when the sun came out. “The time for asking nicely is coming to an end” says the mayor.

A friend posted a link to a Yuval Noah Harari article. His agenda is naked:

“Humanity needs to make a choice. Will we travel down the route of disunity, or will we adopt the path of global solidarity? If we choose disunity, this will not only prolong the crisis, but will probably result in even worse catastrophes in the future. If we choose global solidarity, it will be a victory not only against the corona virus, but against all future epidemics and crises that might assail humankind in the 21st century.”

If only we had a central authority to ship the medical supplies where they are needed, we would not have the problem! Because it worked so amazingly in Communist Russia.
It would be a fair guess to think that Naomi Klein is already working a sequel to “This changes everything” to argue for the necessity of communism under the benevolent rule of a world government.

Do I need to mention that the democrats and the MSM wants to ride this crisis to hound Trump out of office? I can’t wait to see the first article to suggest that this crisis makes stricter gun controls necessary. Everybody is exploiting the ‘crisis’, and it seems that everybody in power seek to prolong the suffering for as long as possible.

A friend said “We all sense this [my] frustration. But no one seems to know what is right”
I would like to submit to you that I do.
The first thing we need to understand is that everything has a price. There are no free lunches. The buck we spend on ‘A’ cannot be spent on ‘B’. We have to make choices. What is more costly to society? One person dead or 30 financially ruined? One dying from the corona virus, or 20 dying from influenza?
(This last one is not exactly a rhetorical question. The Canadian dead-toll from covid-19 today is 25. The seasonal influenza mortality rate must be over 500.)
We can either send our policemen to give out fines, or to track down the possibly infected. We can either forgo billions in lost tax revenue, or spend a few million to expedite the creating of the ICU beds we need.
The damage to the economy is already running in the Billions. As Conrad Black pointed out in the National Post: “The hysteria was excessive and we must not, in our zeal to “flatten the curve” and suppress the corona virus, amputate our economic limbs”

So what can we do? Problem identification and a search for solutions.

  • Identify all that are infected and segregate them. Not just the ones showing symptoms, but everybody infected.
  • Spend all the effort necessary to track down all possible infection sources. Leave the rest of society alone!
  • Trust the wisdom of people’s survival instinct. Let them self segregate according to their own best judgement.
  • Isolate the high-risk groups such as nursing home residents.
  • Treat the creation of new hospital beds as a national emergency.
    China was able to build a new hospital in 10 days. What prevents the US and Canada from creating a few more hospital beds?
  • In Canada, rethink the Canadian sacred cow, the single payer health care system. Since the government is obviously incapable of providing us with the service we are paying them to provide us with, why shouldn’t we allow private hospitals to help them out?
  • Monitor the status of herd immunity at least with representative samples.
  • Throw whatever resources we can at the search for a cure.

Control is much easier. Control gives you power. It wins the battle over intelligence most of the time. Control is always the favored tool of politics.

Control, on the other hand, never works for long. If our choice is not intelligence, we will eventually have to face the harshness of reality.

Just for your reference, try to draw on this picture the pyramid of covid-19

One reply

  1. Jiri Novy says:
    Hi Zork,

    Very interesting post. Yes, government and politicians will always favour control over intelligence and common sense. You say that you don’t think that this Covid-19 pandemic was planned or created on purpose. Personally I am not sure. On the contrary, it looks very suspicious. Just judging the whole situation makes me think that something is very wrong. I just hope that this whole mess wasn’t intentional.

    Jiri.

     

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