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The Statistic Fallacy

There are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.


Statistics are used as a propaganda tool to ensure your behavior is under someone's control. One of the most prominent forms of propaganda is statistics propaganda. Statistics propaganda is the act of misleading, framing, or presenting statistics to emphasize certain aspects of the data while downplaying or ignoring others, leading to a distorted interpretation of the findings to get people to submit to their will.


In college, I took a statistics class where the Professor presented the power of statistics on the first day. He had the class use information from that day's news to determine the probability of a bomb being on an aircraft they would be traveling on. Given recent world events, the class discovered it was a reasonably high percentage. Then the Professor said, “This is how I know I’m safe every time I fly!” He paused. Finally, the hand in the back of the room was raised, and the question the Professor was waiting for was asked, “Professor, how do you know you’re safe based on that statistic?” The Professor smiled thoughtfully and replied, “Because the probability of two bombs being on an aircraft is near zero. So, I always carry a bomb with me."


Today, I saw my cartologist, and he told me I had a one in five chance of having a heart attack. I told him that was great news because two of my neighbors just had heart attacks, so it’s not me. The list of misusing statistics goes on and on. If you watch the news on the next political election, each side uses statistical propaganda to make their candidate look better than the other candidates. When one candidate claims they reduced the deficit by 15.7% in 2023, that is a true statement. However, in 2011, the U.S. national debt was approximately $14.8 trillion, and by September 2021, the U.S. national debt had surpassed $28.7 trillion. It’s currently on track to reach $40 trillion by 2027.


No matter the statistics, one true thing is that those in power will do whatever it takes to stay in power; those not in power will do whatever it takes to get into power. Politicians know that people feel resentment when comparing themselves to others who have what they desire. Politicians know how to use statistical propaganda to push the contrast between the two competing groups of people to cause strife. The forever glaring example is the 1935 Social Security Program, which is now scheduled to “be reduced in 2037 when the trust fund reserves are projected to become exhausted. At that point, Social Security checks will be reduced by 35% of the promised benefit”. Neither side did anything during their entire term and only talked about it during election time to cause strife. Who are the two groups the politicians are contrasting? Those still paying SS Tax and hate it, and those collecting SS checks who depend on it. Statistically speaking, 0% of their campaign promises have improved my quality of life.


As we navigate this turbulent landscape, one statistic remains immutable: a 100% mortality rate for those who vote against the opposition. Make sure you make the right choice.


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