Friends don't let friends stay in something as stupid as the EU - Credit, public domain

The above is the title of a Reuters article about a current “study” produced by —

The Centre for European Reform, which describes itself as “pro-European but not uncritical”

That is, theoretically willing to criticize the EU, although not necessarily doing so in any given month. There; unbiased!

The methodology was to create a computer model to show how human development should have unfolded, compare it to this faulty thing we call reality, and ascribe all the differential to a decision the authors want changed; to-wit, the Brexit referendum.

Other notorious examples of this same methodology include:

  1. Comparing the population of Iraq with what the computer said it should be, and calling the difference the “true” casualty rate of the US military intervention (ignoring the US military’s obsessive tendency to study the consequences of its own operations).
  2. Comparing the number of recent deaths in Puerto Rico with what the computer said it should be, and calling the difference the “true” mortality rate from Hurricane Maria (and, notably, the inadequacy of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, every natural disaster being a chance to skewer the government for not achieving total prevention, while ignoring the island’s hidebound kleptocracy, its electricity monopoly, and the mayor’s and governor’s zeal to throw up roadblocks to aid from the US). President Trump famously tweeted B.S. on these claims, leading to a piss fight in which he was portrayed as another predictably anti-science Republican.
  3. And, of course, the entire cataclysmic irreversible crisis of man-made global warming or cooling depends on computer models of what climate will be — there still being no control Earth without human beings to which we can compare our Earth to measure the human influence — and despite the models’ inability to match what current climate is.

The public has no appetite to peer behind news reports assigning Your State a letter grade or an efficiency index on being a “good place” for oldsters/women/cross-dressers, to see what the criteria were. There is even less appetite to peer into the computer model to see what assumptions were designed into it to subtly bias it toward the authors’ preconceived notions. If you did peer into it and found biases, there would be no appetite at all for open debate on them.

It is much simpler to conclude that we now have a solid cost figure for the Brexit decision. Better yet, you can state this cost figure, with a footnote to the Reuters article, and that will make your work science-with-citation, immediately suitable for inclusion at Wikipedia, and no one will quibble that an agency that is “pro-European” but theoretically open-minded owns all the details.

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