The word “statistics” was a coinage of German and Italian enthusiasts for state action in the early eighteenth century…..
It became a sort of insanity….[tourists]…Samuel Johnson…. By the 1850’s the conservative critics of capitalism, such as Charles Dickens, were becoming very cross about statistics….
Counting can surely be a nitwit’s, or the Devil’s, tool. Among the more unnerving exhibits in the extermination camp at Auschwitz are the books in which Hitler’s willing executioners kept records on every person they killed.
The formal and mathematical theory of statistics was largely invented in the 1880’s by eugenicists (those clever racists at the origin of so much in the social sciences) and pefected in the twentieth century by agronomists (…Iowa State…). The newly mathematised statistics became a fetish in the wannabe sciences. During the 1920’s…sociology…quantification was a way of claiming status, as it became also in economics…(political economy), and in psychology, fresh[ly] separated from philosophy. In the 1920’s and 1930’s…social anthropologists…counted coconuts.