Yesterday was an interesting day. I presented a very straightforward map from Weather Underground showing that there were no sustained surface winds higher than 33 MPH at Irene’s US landfall.
Hundreds of people went nuts, because the map disagreed with their need to blindly trust authority. They accused me of lying (did I make the map?) They accused Weather Underground of bogus maps (Jeff Masters the denier.) They came up with every reason to not believe the Emperor was NOAAked.
Incidents like this help me to understand the roots of historical disastrous human behaviour. Many people will blindly trust authority – rather than thinking for themselves or believing what they see with their own eyes.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.
Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on.
The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!