It has been interesting over the last month to watch the curious saga of Scott Adams on Twitter. He has gone from being a bog standard normie to very nearly crossing the bridge to covid enlightenment, only to draw back from the brink and instead go full on Branch Covidian. Of course, to save face for how he and others have been so wrong so often while a bunch of anonymous right wingers on social media have been right, Scott has taken to portraying himself as merely "doubting the doubters," casting their correct predictions as mere luck, a case of the crowd occasionally getting something right entirely by accident.
Underlying all of this is Scott's abiding faith in "experts," and his corresponding incredulousness that non-experts, social media anons and the like, could have been right when the experts were wrong. It must be a fluke. Those who don't think so are just engaging in confirmation bias, just"coping" (with what, being right when the experts were wrong?). Surely their rightness isn't because they had access to better information or had better instincts than the experts, that's impossible! All of this is even more ironic because Scott's whole brand as expressed in his books and in his Dilbert comic strip is that those in positions of authority rarely know what is going on and the little guy drones in the trenches are the ones who really make things work.
What this unmasks, I suspect, is ultimately that he is a product of his generation and cannot escape its assumptions, even when he tries to. The intellectual underpinnings for Boomers were formed when most of America's institutions still actually worked as advertised. Their generation is used to assuming that things like government agencies and large corporations fundamentally operate for the good of those who they supposedly serve. This creates a normalcy bias that leads to undue trust being granted to them. Boomers have a great deal of difficulty coming to grips with the increasing institutional decay and dysfunctionality that characterises modern America.
Trust in experts is a classic midwit tell. The midwit - who knows just enough to grasp the problem but not enough to figure out who can actually solve it - blindly follows supposed experts because they are experts, even when they are obviously and repeatedly wrong. The problem with all of this is that when you’re in a late stage demographic-structural collapse phase such as we are, “experts” aren’t selected on the basis of merit, but from a combination of Regime compatibility and personal pliability. This dovetails with the fact that most experts are only very narrowly such, have great difficulty seeing outside their narrow little boxes, and are often selectively promoted over and against other people with the same knowledge base, but who are ideologically less amenable.
Further, since ideological compliance is a key factor, even those who are not really experts in a true sense of the term are promoted as being such. For example, we often hear the argument that you should trust the covid vaccines as safe and effective because “doctors and nurses tell us they are.” However, very few doctors and practically no nurses actually know very much about vaccine manufacturing and clinical trialing and are simply repeating what they’ve been told to say by their bosses. As a result, this sort of “expert” is often wrong when it really counts, as has been consistently the case throughout the whole response to covid. Since the beginning of the pandemic:
We were told that masking doesn’t stop viral spread (which is true), then that masking is vitally important and worth arresting people for who are alone on beaches, then back to masks not really doing much again - none of this on the basis of “science” but politics.
We were told that the vaccines were safe, only to find tens of thousands of people dying and tens of thousands more developing lifelong debilitating side effects, even in people for whom the risk factors due to covid were quite minimal.
We were told that vaccines were safe for children under 18, but then started seeing children under 18 dying or developing weird heart and neurological conditions after vaccinations in their cohort started.
We were told that ivermectin was “horse paste” and dangerous to humans despite thousands of prescriptions for it written every year, and whole countries stopping covid in its tracks by using this drug.
We were told that the vaccines provided better immunity than simply getting the disease and getting over it, which is scientifically spurious.
We were told that vaccinated people couldn’t spread the disease, only to find out that not only can they spread it as much as the unvaxxed and carried similar viral loads, but that the highly infectious new Omicron strain appears to selectively evade the vaccines and infect vaccinated people preferentially.
We were told for over a year that linking lifestyle comorbidities like obesity and diabetes to susceptibility to covid was “fat shaming” and morally unacceptable, only for “health experts” to now admit that these factors do play a major role in the disease’s severity.
We were shown skyhigh death tolls for covid, only for “experts” to now begin acknowledging that there has been a good deal of overcounting and shady accounting that has gone into those numbers.
And I could go on. These are all things that “weird rando anons” on Twitter were getting right well before the experts were dragged kicking and screaming to them.
Now, if you’re an experts troooster, it comes as a shock to see the experts get shown up by a bunch of social media anons. Scott initially looked like he was going to understand what was really going on, but then his boomer instincts kicked in. Despite his attempts to argue that this was all just happenstance and that a few anons were “winging it” and managed to “get lucky” with a couple of predictions, what actually happened was that a bunch of anons have been consistently right about nearly everything since March 2020 while the experts were more wrong than not.
This doesn’t happen because you’re “winging it.” It happens because, in aggregate, you know more and have better instincts and data interpretation capabilities than the “experts.” Scott’s response, in fact, demonstrates that if there is any confirmation bias involved in all of this, it is on his part. For folks like him, “anon” equals “some loser living in his mom’s basement,” thus giving them a pretended justification dismiss it whenever these anons are correct about something. In truth, though, these “anons” on Twitter are often highly knowledgeable and accomplished professionals in fields relevant to the discussion who just don’t want to get canceled for dissenting against America’s increasingly soviet intellectual climate.
Midwits typically view “official experts” as the ultimate arbiters of truth (even in situations where you’d think they should know better). When they see those experts be wrong so often while heretics from the priesthood are consistently right, it’s hard for them to deal with rationally. This is what we’re seeing with Scott and other expert trooosters. A lot of folks in this country are invested in “experts and vaccines will provide us with salvation from covid,” and this has, along with Woke progressivism more generally, essentially become a religious phenomenon for them.
“Experts” have become the new priesthood, handing down new revelation from on high. Dissenters become the new heretics, who must be punished. Vaccination has become the new baptism into the body of the Right Thinking. Even among many professing Christians, trust in Fauci and the medical experts has become the new salvation, coordinating perfectly with the increasing role of Woke progressivism (of which Branch Covidianism is an important part) as a bona fide replacement for traditional religion in that “God shaped vacuum” left by the rejection of abiding faith in Jesus Christ.
As it turns out, you may think you have a secular country, but there is always going to be that religious impulse that rears its head and will be directed toward something. As lame of a religion as it may be, Branch Covidianism seems to be our society’s “second religiousness,” a return to religiosity (though often differing from a society’s original religion) that occurs in a civilisation’s twilight hours as articulated by Oswald Spengler. Scott, along with millions of others, are in the middle of a Branch Covidian religious revival and like most people who “get right with the Lord,” they’re going to be very zealous to spread the good word for a while to come.
Many people are hopeful that with Omicron being so transmissible yet so mild, it will basically do what the vaccines can’t, which is to provide lasting, broad-based immunity against all of the variants that have been seen so far. This, of course, would be very bad news for The Powers That Be since they’re heavily invested in using covid to continue their centralisation of power and wealth into their own hands. A mild variant that goes endemic and gives everyone immunity? That could end the whole “covid emergency” and remove the justification for vaccines, lockdowns, vaxxpasses, and all the rest. But don’t expect Covidian true believers to take this affront to their religion lying down.