Lies, Damned Lies, and Noah Smith's Misuse of Statistics
Marxcissist morons love manipulating and reframing the data to "prove" that you're just imagining the elephant in the room.
Let’s say there’s an elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, so they try to pretend it’s not there. The elephant doesn’t want to be ignored, so it begins lashing out at them. It stomps one person with its feet, smacks another with its trunk, and gores a third with its tusks.
Some people exchange terrified glances, but say nothing. A man and a woman begin nervously whispering to each other and plotting their escape to safety. A rich white woman, wearing an N-95 mask and a Ukraine-flag button, overhears them and starts recording their conversation on her phone, in order to expose their anti-elephant prejudice later on social media. As the elephant tramples on yet another victim, another man shouts, “We’ve got to do something about this elephant!”
Hearing this, Noah Smith opens the closet door slightly and peers outside. Seeing that the elephant is on the opposite side of the room, he opens the door a little wider and says, “I have a chart here that shows that dogs are more likely to be in this room than an elephant. I don’t see any dogs in this room, so it is extremely unlikely that there really is an elephant. It is far likelier that you are just imagining it.
“Moreover, even if there were to be an elephant in this room, I have another chart that shows that you are statistically more likely to die in a house fire than you are to die from an elephant attack. Are any of you presently concerned about dying in a house fire? No? Then it would be foolish of you to worry about dying from an elephant attack. You should take some Lexapro to deal with your irrational anxiety.
“Look, I am educated and credentialed, much more educated and credentialed than any of you, you ignorant peasants. As an expert in all things, I can say, with complete statistical certainty, that there are no elephants in this room, and even if an elephant is in this room, it is a good thing, since elephants are safe.”
Noah Smith Is a Marxcissist Propagandist
To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and Noah Smith’s misuse of statistics.
In his substack note about interracial violence, Smith implies the following:
That white people are safer around black people in America than South Koreans are around each other; and
That whites commit more racial violence against blacks than blacks commit against whites.
Both claims are patently absurd. Noah Smith knows this, which is why he doesn’t come right out and clearly state his claims: instead, he deceptively reframes the data to imply what he wants you to believe. This is pure propaganda that is so dishonest it would impress even Joseph Goebbels.
Whom does Smith include in the class of “White American?” Bubba living in an all-white trailer park in Appalachia? Dorothy’s Uncle Henry and Aunty Em living on a farm in Kansas, hundreds of miles from the housing projects in Kansas City?
And how does Smith arrive at his conclusion that blacks are twice as likely to be killed by whites than vice versa? How is this even possible, when blacks kill many more whites than whites kill blacks?
Let’s return to the example of an elephant in the room, rampaging and killing people, despite their best efforts to ignore it. Suppose someone grabs a rifle and shoots the elephant dead, but not before it kills half the people. Smith would argue that in that room, elephants have a higher likelihood of getting killed by humans than vice versa. After all, 100% of the elephants in the room were killed by humans, but only 50% of the humans were killed by elephants. Wala! It’s magic with statistics, boys and girls! Knowing that, you should feel completely safe being in a room with an angry elephant! After all, you’re twice the threat to him that he is to you, according to statisticians like Noah Smith!
Hey, did you hear the one about the statistician that drowned in a river that was only four feet deep — on average?
Despite what the corporate-controlled mainstream media and Marxcissist morons like Noah Smith tell you, America’s problem of criminal violence is disproportionately caused by young black men. Full stop.
Blacks, who are only 13% of the American population, commit over 50% of the murders and an even higher percentage of the robberies and rapes. Blacks commit nine times more violent crime against whites than whites commit against blacks. Yet to hear President Brandon or the mainstream media tell it, you would think it was the other way around.
I am not happy to report these numbers. I wish the average black neighborhood was just as safe as the average white neighborhoods, but it is not. I wish the black crime rate was as just low as the white crime rate, but it is not. I wish we could ignore race entirely when discussing criminal violence in America.1 But we can’t. And wishing harder ain’t gonna change that reality.
Black criminal violence is the elephant in the room right now. People — most of them black, but many thousands of them white and Asian and Hispanic — are getting killed and living in fear and having their communities destroyed because of it. Noah Smith wants you to think it’s all in your head, that you’re wrong for perceiving reality the way you do.
Hey,, do you really think that American blacks commit less criminal violence against American whites, than South Koreans commit against each other? Really? Do you really believe that? If so, why don't you put your money where your mouth is? Why don't you move into the middle of Section 8 Housing on Chicago's South Side? You would still be wrong about interracial violence, but at least then we could believe that you are sincere. As it is, there are three types of liars: liars, damned liars, and Noah Smith.
A Ghost in the Machine is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.