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Saturday, September 4, 2021


 Stuart Hall made a famous argument that public and institutional response to mugging was a "moral panic." So called "muggings" were increasing at a slower rate than in the years immediately before, so the response had to be disproportionate to the problem, hence a panic.

 Yet Waddington points out this is a fallacy. Even though the rate of increase was slowing, this increase came on the heels of a substantial increase and thus led to a higher overall rate in ultimate terms. 

For example, if I gain weight at 10% a year, and then slow my weight gain to 5%, I am still getting fatter. Maybe I hit the point of obesity after a year of only gaining 5%. You could argue that my overweight panic should have started earlier, maybe, but you can't point to the 5% rate as being an improvement over 10%. It's simply things getting worse, but at a slower rate.  It's also 5% of a higher overall number, so it is more in quantitative terms. So 5% of current weight in 8 lbs. 15 years ago it would have been 5 lbs.   

I just think people are bad at thinking.  I was discussing this last night with some friends, who were trying to figure out why conservatives are bad at thinking. Well, I think we are bad at thinking too, just not in ways obvious to ourselves.  

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