Glancing at some of the comments around the ‘net about this “sealed indictment” thing, it seems that yes — God help us all — I do have to explain something about the differences between “normal,” “annual,” “happened once,” and “happened in 2006.” I know y’all get this, Eight Regular Readers, but for the peanut gallery:
As you’ve probably long suspected, most historians, like Liberal Arts professors generally, are all but innumerate — if your typical historian needs to count past ten, he needs to pull off a sock. Still, one of the first things you learn in grad school is “never trust a number,” and, following hard on that, “never ever extrapolate a historical trend from a number.” Numbers are, and always should be, only part of an argument.
Which is obvious when you think about it. Here are two indisputably true facts about World War II:
- Germany fought a lot more battles in 1941 than in 1940; and
- In both years, Germany won way more battles than it lost.
From this, should we conclude that 1942 was a banner year for the Wehrmacht, and Germany won the war soon after? No? Then why on earth should we conclude that, because there were a lot more sealed indictments in 2017 than in 2006, Soros et al are about to be hung for treason?
Never extrapolate when facts are available. Alas, sealed indictments are, in fact, sealed, so we can’t know for certain what’s in them (let’s assume “sealed” in this case means “sealed tight, like Obama’s college transcripts” and not “sealed like US covert personnel’s identities when it’s politically convenient for Democrats to unmask them”). What is discoverable, however, is the number of sealed indictments each year. The .pdf from whence the 2006 numbers came has a whole section on their research methodology — there’s a search tool called PACER where you can look this kind of thing up. And hey, look at that, PACER stands for “Public Access to Electronic Court Records.” You need an account to log in, but surely there’s some freedom-loving, pizza-hating barrister out there who’d be willing to do a half-hour’s pro bono research….?
But since 1,077 and 9,274 are the numbers we have, let’s roll with them. 9274 minus 1077 is 8197 and that sure looks like a lot, BUT: Numbers without context are meaningless. I can think of a whole bunch of non-treasonously pizzariffic reasons the number of sealed indictments jumped by 8,200 in 11 years, starting with population size (298 million to 325 million) and working out from there.
So, too, with the seemingly dramatic jump from “4,188, sealed indictments as of 11/22” to “9,274, sealed indictments as of 12/22.” I’m willing to bet there’s a thousandfold increase in most American households’ Christmas-related expenses between 11/22 and 12/22. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, people are trying to cram work in at the end of the year to pump up their annual numbers? Maybe for bonus purposes? I dunno if lawyering works like that, especially lawyering for FedGov, but that’s the kind of thing our hypothetical freedom-loving, pizza-hating barrister could clue us in on in about five minutes.
See what I mean? I get it, y’all, I really do — Hillary in prison orange and Soros deported into the waiting arms of a Hungarian firing squad is one of my wet dreams, too. But it ain’t gonna happen, and this kind of loony wishcasting is why Our Thing still turns off the normals. Yes, we’re winning, and Lord willing we will keep winning, but let us not fall victim to the kind of power-worship Orwell warned us about 70 years ago:
Power worship blurs political judgement because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible. If the Japanese have conquered south Asia, then they will keep south Asia for ever, if the Germans have captured Tobruk, they will infallibly capture Cairo; if the Russians are in Berlin, it will not be long before they are in London: and so on. This habit of mind leads also to the belief that things will happen more quickly, completely, and catastrophically than they ever do in practice. The rise and fall of empires, the disappearance of cultures and religions, are expected to happen with earthquake suddenness, and processes which have barely started are talked about as though they were already at an end. [James] Burnham’s writings are full of apocalyptic visions. Nations, governments, classes and social systems are constantly described as expanding, contracting, decaying, dissolving, toppling, crashing, crumbling, crystallising, and, in general, behaving in an unstable and melodramatic way. The slowness of historical change, the fact that any epoch always contains a great deal of the last epoch, is never sufficiently allowed for. Such a manner of thinking is bound to lead to mistaken prophecies, because, even when it gauges the direction of events rightly, it will miscalculate their tempo. Within the space of five years Burnham foretold the domination of Russia by Germany and of Germany by Russia. In each case he was obeying the same instinct: the instinct to bow down before the conqueror of the moment, to accept the existing trend as irreversible.