The Man Behind the Curtain
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” thundered the Great and Powerful Oz. What a wonderful scene from the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. Everyone who sees that movie understands instinctively and immediately that the presentation of smoke, lightning, and sound was a fraud exposed.
To avoid fraud, who can we rely upon? How do we do judge? A roofer comes to fix your roof – how do you gauge his reliability? A doctor recommends a surgery – is it really necessary? You are thinking about investing in a company and read its financial statements – are they accurate?
Shortcuts for exhaustive investigations of our own are accreditation agencies that vouch for the integrity of their members. The local Chamber of Commerce, the state medical board, and the national institute of certified accountants are each organizations that lend their reputations to their colleagues. We rely on their vetting processes as substitutes for our own judgment.
Eazy-peezy, lemon-breezy. So easy, in fact, that we’ve come to rely on them too much. As a matter of fact, we rely on them so much that we’ll actually violate our own judgment in favor of theirs. For instance, some suspect that certain vaccines are dangerous if administered to young children and yet it is not uncommon to hear them say, “But, the doctors say it’s okay. Who am I to argue?”
That has morphed into folks relying on the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control in order to assess the dangers and response to the COVID virus. From them we’re told of massive risks, warned of millions of deaths, scared of overwhelming hospitals, and told that our children and our neighbors are likely to infect us. We don’t actually experience it, but we’re constantly being warned.
“Who am I to argue?”
In another movie, the 1933 Duck Soup, Chico Marx pointed out this kind of fallacy in an exchange with actress Margaret Dumont:
Dumont: Your Excellency, I though you left.
Marx: Oh no. I no leave.
Dumont: But I saw you with my own eyes.
Marx: Well, who ya gonna believe – me or your own eyes?
We are so confident in Twitter, Facebook, CNN, W.H.O., and the C.D.C that we no longer have confidence in our own eyes. Anyone who dissents from the scary COVID narrative is censored by Google, mainstream media, and newspapers – censorship that we can see with our own eyes! – and yet the vast majority continues with the party line.
Now, I’m not saying, “Follow your heart.” The Bible warns that the heart is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). It also says only fools trust their hearts (Pro 28:26). But Proverbs talks extensively about wisdom and about learning all sides of a matter. It pleads to seek God’s face, learn, and apply what’s learned. We could do with a lot more of that and a lot less of “In Fauci we trust.”
Also, I am not arguing against accreditation. We should assess expert opinions on all sides of a matter in order to make proper judgments. But please, folks, exercise at least some of your own judgment. There are many in these days saying that unless we’re trained epidemiologists, we shouldn’t be reading statistics and medical studies about COVID and its treatment. These same people suggest that we must defer to education experts about how to civilize our children. And on and on.
My point is just this:
We are allowed to dissent from the “experts,” especially when in our own judgment, the experts are visibly and demonstrably wrong.
And we don’t need permission from the man behind the curtain.