Great response, and thank you.
I think that the author’s overall goal of making people analyze a situation based on facts and math instead of political inclination is noble. However, the author’s math for measuring the likelihood of sociopolitical events happening is quite flawed.
It’s not conceptually flawed, it’s just not particularly detailed, because the data pool is small. I go into some possibilities for a more detailed analysis in another comment thread, here:
The way I did it is not great.
If we do this with rain events, we don’t just use one rain gauge. We use a wide array of rain data across a geographic…
I would like to see the analysis done for every country on the global map today, to see what the comps actually look like.
And it’s also important to understand that it’s not predictive.
Going back to the meteorology analogy, anyone stating that a 100 year flood was (or wasn’t) going to happen tomorrow based on 100 year isohyetal maps would be a fool. Or a year from now, or ten, or 78.7, because weather is a very complex system. That’s why we have weather forecasters, who aren’t looking at the annual statistics, they’re looking at observations of the weather today, and using an entirely different set of math to forecast what it will do tomorrow. This is what risk management professionals do — forecast based on context clues. Without an approach like that, we can’t predict. My back of the envelope approach does us no good at predicting how likely it might be tomorrow, or next year, or when Trump wins (or loses) the 2020 election after two more years of handwaving freakoutery. The overall point of this article was to bring people’s attention to the verifiable fact that these things do happen, and sooner or later (hopefully much later) it’s going to happen here again.
I didn’t even get into the weeds about what to do if you’re stuck in New Orleans during Katrina, or LA during the Rodney King riots, or Pittsburgh during the Whiskey Rebellion, or Wounded Knee. Any honest analysis would not only deal with nationwide events, but local ones, and might ameliorate the nationwide events some as well. The Civil War wasn’t a big deal to anyone in Maine, for instance. So there’s quite a bit of extra math we can throw at the thing. And then there’s the ROI issue — spending a year’s salary on any disaster preparedness plan is probably a very poor choice because of the opportunity cost.
I loved your analogy to poker. It’s deeply instructive. Life is not like a cash game, it’s like a tournament, because nobody wants to get eliminated. If a Vegas poker tournament offered its players the option of buying an “elimination insurance token,” which gave each player one free buy-in after elimination, I dare say almost every player would buy it unless the cost of the token was outrageous. That’s not a perfect analogy to prepping, but it’s honestly not too bad, conceptually speaking, and it brings in your ROI point again.
I’ve got a bit of a “rebuttal” to a recent article on Townhall.com that references this, and I briefly go into some of the limitations of the analysis in it. Might throw it up towards the end of the week.
Good response, sir.