The Schaffer Effect

"I just learned something from Lewis Schaffer". Said no-one, ever.

Then 'praps I can start a trend?

Our Lewis is a gent of pensionable age who somehow got a gig on Headliners. A late night hour reviewing tomorrow's English papers on a recent entrant on to the country's rolling news menu.

Admittedly, it is the best of the genre. Determined, as it is, to hand comment only to comedians, instead of uber partisan wonks and party grifters.

Then there's his other appearances on said channel. Including on hands down the best live show from any news station, Free Speech Nation with Andrew Doyle.

I say comedian, but New York-raised Lewis in-person specifically says he is "not a comic". To the now regular, resigned bemusement of co-panelists. His schtick being much the committed conspiracist contrarian. Inclined to go off on random tangents with neither meaning nor punchline reached.

One 2014 review found, "he's not averse to heading down a comedy dead end and lingering there". Another, 2010, "swings unpredictably between hilarious and humdrum". More recent reviews suggest, he might have "finally got his act together".

Therein lies the occasional gem:

Ferguson (Neil) Effect

Forename suffixed in parentheses possibly to distinguish this from an American downward spiral. Where police mistrust leads to reducing policing, in turn causing higher crime and ever greater anti-police hostility.

In this case, Lewis namedrops the infamous London-based epidemiologist. Whose wildly inflated modelling of potential covid death numbers appears the swaying factor for UK lockdown start, length and severity. The man, lest we forget, disgraced as Professor Pantsdown. Wilfully flouting the bubble rules he so loudly advocated.

And all despite prepared policy apparently being for what Sweden ultimately thought they copied. To much better overall health and wealth outcomes.

[I blog this on the day a major report found that UK lockdown policy likely saved the equivalent of a typical day's deaths, ~1,700. Statistically insignificant although tragic for those so cruelly robbed. Yet already dwarfed by morbidities arising from delayed treatment for all other illness (such as at least a quarter-million "missing" cancer patients). Not to mention the chasm in economic wellbeing suffered by the UK cf the Swedes when staying relatively 'open'. Here's contemporaneous headline exasperation of professional polemicist, Peter Hitchens; 'Why do, even now, so few accept that lockdown was like burning down your home to destroy a wasp's nest?']

Downing Street's outrageous, over-stepping, Orwellian-sounding unit, the Counter Disinformation Policy Forum, would no doubt now likely be shutting me down.

Lewis describes this Effect as when;

'the most expert person in the room is the most wrong'.

The point being, not all expertise is created equal.

The topic may well be considered broadly as one sphere, yet might you be advised to go a tad more granular? After all; Would A Chippie Trust A Brickie?

I can't tell you the number of times in Board forums I myself have seen attendees fawn over the opinion of one of their cohort. Who, with a decision not fully within but glancing their arena, is 180° out yet goes unchallenged.

I'm reminded of coming across this disease as far back as cubrep. Where a counter of beans clearly was against a certain course of action. Their argument being simply; 'you can't do it for tax reasons'. Which was utter rubbish.

To spot it is to begin to counter it.

Go Lewis.

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