You’ve heard of Schrodinger’s Cat? It’s a classic thought experiment illustrating the role of odds and observers in quantum physics, which one could summarize as suggesting that a cat with a fifty-fifty chance of surviving a trick box is simultaneously dead and alive until the person conducting the experiment looks inside.
Over the past three years, we’ve entered a world in which truth truly is up in the air, and the Schrodinger’s Cat of the situation is President Donald Trump. On issues up and down the list, there is no objective truth in the way information is presented… only the question of whether some possibility harms or helps the president.
For example: If an economy-destroying pandemic is bad for Trump’s reelection, that is either good or bad, and every angle of the story must be interpreted in that way. Viewed objectively, the “cat” of the story could be alive or dead, good or bad, but the decisive factor is which one the observer wants it to be. Thus, for the anti-Trump observer, if hydroxychloroquine is a potential treatment for COVID-19 and the president mentions the possibility, then Trump must be dangerously proclaiming false hope for political purposes, and hydrochloroquine must in fact be harmful. Even the testimony of a top epidemiologist, Harvey Risch, will not change that narrative:
As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.
I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.
Or what about Russiagate? Over years of extended investigation, from the public perspective, President Trump could have been guilty or innocent of “colluding with the Russians.” Yet, the anti-Trump observers just knew the cat was dead. “Listen to the silence,” they repeated frequently. “Government agencies and the news media wouldn’t be behaving the way they are if the cat were alive, and they’ve got their ears to the box.” Well, as Mollie Hemingway notes, the secret evidence that those privileged folks had is now coming out, and it’s proving they lied, which is why we don’t hear about it much anymore:
The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election privately admitted in newly released notes that a major New York Times article was riddled with lies, falsehoods, and “misleading and inaccurate” information. The February 2017 story was penned by three reporters who would win Pulitzers for their reporting on Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia.
The FBI’s public posture and leaks at the time supported the now-discredited conspiracy theory that led to the formation of a special counsel probe to investigate the Trump campaign and undermine his administration.
Oh, Mollie, there is no such thing as “discredited” attack stories on President Trump. Any story that allows those who hate him to continue to do so, and to argue for his removal (one way or another ), must remain a live possibility. If the cat can be either alive or dead until we look, then the moment we get hints that our preferred possibility is not real, we need only not look.
Of course, in reality, that isn’t an option. We have to look. We have to know whether a particular treatment for COVID-19 can save lives and help us get back to normal, productive life. We have to know whether powerful government agencies have been abusing their power for political purposes (most likely at the encouragement of President Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama).
Even at the risk of keeping President Trump’s political career alive for another term, we have to know, not the least because we have to know whether we can trust the people we rely on for information.