Progressivism Destroys Intellectual Honesty

I. Introduction

The 1619 Project, which originated in the New York Times, is the most outrageous fraud on this nation in 100 years. It is nothing more than a race hustler’s post-modernist rewrite of American history, explicitly intended to stir racial resentment in this nation for political ends. That is evil.

II. Wilentz honestly challenges the 1619 Project’s accuracy.

According to Wilentz, the 1619 Project promotes “a narrow, highly ideological view of the American past, according to which white supremacy has been the nation’s core principle and chief mission ever since its founding.” He explains more in a recent article, The 1619 Project and Living in Truth:

III. Wilentz destroys his article’s integrity with his obsessive need to lob entirely false and dishonest attacks against conservatives who have made the same arguments he is making.

IV. As a general matter, Wilentz is either fatally naïve, completely blind, or dishonestly partisan when it comes to the left’s role in creating an intellectual mindset supporting and promoting the utterly fallacious, but very damaging, 1619 Project.

V. The Times’s response to the five historians’ letter is a perfect distillation of the historic dishonesty and modern political activism behind the 1619 Project and American leftism in general.

VI. In the end, when given a choice between wisdom and blind partisanship—the red pill or the blue—Wilentz chose the blue pill and the consolation of aligning himself with a political movement that exists to destroy America — and which ironically enough, also means destroying much of Wilentz’s life’s work.

Source: Bookworm Room

Book Review: Lifespan

[epistemic status: non-expert review of a book on a highly technical subject, sorry. If you are involved in biochemistry or anti-aging, feel free to correct my mistakes]

David Sinclair – Harvard professor, celebrity biologist, and author of Lifespan – thinks solving aging will be easy. “Aging is going to be remarkably easy to tackle. Easier than cancer” are his exact words, which is maybe less encouraging than he thinks.

There are lots of ways that solving aging could be hard. What if humans worked like cars? To restore an old car, you need to fiddle with hundreds of little parts, individually fixing everything from engine parts to chipping paint. Fixing humans to such a standard would be way beyond current technology.

Or what if the DNA damage theory of aging was true? This says that as cells divide (or experience normal wear and tear) they don’t copy their DNA exactly correctly. As you grow older, more and more errors creep in, and your cells become worse and worse at their jobs. If this were true, there’s not much to do either: you’d have to correct the DNA in every cell in the body (using what template? even if you’d saved a copy of your DNA from childhood, how do you get it into all 30 trillion cells?) This is another nonstarter.

Sinclair’s own theory offers a simpler option. He starts with a puzzling observation: babies are very young [citation needed]. If a 70 year old man marries a 40 year old woman and has a baby, that baby will start off at zero years old, just like everyone else. Even more interesting, if you clone a 70 year old man, the clone start at zero years old.

(there were originally some rumors that cloned animals aged faster, but those haven’t been borne out)

This challenges the DNA theory of aging. A 70 year old’s skin cells have undergone seventy years of DNA damage, and sure enough the 70-year-old has weak, wrinkled skin. But if you transfer the skin cell DNA to an egg, inseminate the egg, and turn it into a baby, that baby is just as young as all the other babies. So DNA damage can’t be the whole story.

Source: Book Review: Lifespan

Much Good Economics Is Little More Than Debunking Man-In-the-Street Fallacies

A meme going around states that some number of Nobel laureate economists assert that Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan will improve the lot of everyone. Here’s a thought about why the most brilliant economists might not have gotten that right.

(Don Boudreaux)

In my most-recent column for AIER, I distinguish one kind of economists from a second kind. The first, as did Adam Smith, spend much of their time debunking fallacies embraced by the man-in-the-street; the second specialize in spinning intricate theoretical justifications to support man-in-the-street superstitions.

….

Economic reality being complicated, it’s nearly always true that a set of conditions can be imagined under which outcomes that are highly improbable in reality can be shown to be possible. Conditions can be described under which, in reality, it’s possible for protective tariffs or export subsidies to result in greater prosperity in the home country. Yet such conditions are wholly implausible.

Possibility, be aware, is a very weak standard. Almost every outcome that is possible – such as you surviving a fall off of a skyscraper because you luckily land in a huge drift of freshly fallen snow – will never occur. And so just because some outcome is possible doesn’t mean that it’s plausible. Furthermore, just because some outcome is plausible doesn’t mean that it’s probable.

….

Every undergraduate econ major learns by her junior year how to draw a graph depicting a minimum wage having only positive, and no negative, effects on low-skilled workers. And if well-taught, this econ major also learns that the conditions under which such a graph describes reality are highly implausible. But no matter. Because the public’s desire to believe in the goodness of minimum wages is so intense, the supply is ample of anti-Smithian economists willing to satisfy this desire – willing to assure the man-in-the-street that his utter ignorance of economics is, in fact, economic brilliance.

Source: Much Good Economics Is Little More Than Debunking Man-In-the-Street Fallacies

For Your Consideration

As we close out 2021, you can find some interesting (and brief) essays about current events at Bari Weiss’s Common Sense. And whether or not I agreed with them in full, they were worth reading. A few excerpts:

….

From Ayaan Hirsi Ali on liberalism:

Since I left the world I was born into—the world of Somalia, the world of Islam, and all of the strictures that society and religion put on me as a woman—I have always identified as a liberal. I mean that in the most capacious sense of the world: a belief in the rule of law; in individual liberty; in equality between men and women; in due process; and in, yes, a belief that some cultures—namely, liberal and democratic ones—are better than others.

Lately, I worry that liberalism is insufficient. Or to put it another way: that the weak version of liberalism we see across the West cannot compete with muscular ideologies, like Islamism and populism rising on the right and the left across Europe and here in America.

A value-neutral liberalism that insists that all cultures and choices are equally good is liberalism in name only. For liberalism to win, it needs to stand up to its enemies yet again.

Source: For Your Consideration

WELL, GOOD: Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID P…

Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID Patients.

Source: WELL, GOOD: Trump Was Right: UV Light ‘Disinfectant’ Injected Into the Body Shows Promise in COVID P…

Not “drinking bleach”.

Also…

CNN’s Don Lemon Rails Against Misinformation About Covid – By Omitting Key Part of Trump Quote. “However, the clip was selectively shortened to exclude the full quote, which showed that Trump, contrary to popular misconception, did not tell people to inject themselves with bleach in response to Covid.”

The ‘Experts’ Are Wrong: The American Health-Care System Is World-Beating

Our system needs many fixes, but when it matters most, there’s no better place to get sick.

The most tedious allegation that critics of the U.S. health-care system make is that we spend exorbitantly for poorer results compared with socialized systems in other rich countries. It underpins the Democrats’ ongoing mission to expand Medicare and levy price controls on prescription drugs.

But these critics distort the truth. If a person is going to get sick — and we all are at some point — there’s no better place to do so than the United States.

….

Government-run systems simply guarantee equal access to long waits for care.

Take Canada, where I grew up. Patients face a median wait of nearly six months between getting a general practitioner’s referral and receiving treatment from a specialist. While the average emergency-room wait time in the United States is about 40 minutes, ER wait times in Nova Scotia averaged two and a half hours this summer — the highest they’d been in four years.

….

Detractors of the U.S. health system also tend to ignore evidence that mitigates the United States’ poor performance on some health metrics.

For instance, the United States ranks last among the Commonwealth Fund’s eleven rich countries in life expectancy. But the unpleasant truth is that Americans kill each other at a rate seven times higher than in other high-income countries. And no health-care system in the world can revive the dead.

It’s not just homicides. We’re twice as obese as other rich countries. We die in car crashes and from drug overdoses at nearly four times the rate of such peer nations as Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

There’s also wide regional variation in health outcomes throughout the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “the life expectancy of Minnesota, a state comparable in size and demographics to Sweden or Denmark, has more similar population health outcomes to these countries than Minnesota has in comparison to Mississippi.”

Then there’s infant mortality, where the United States routinely ranks lower than our peers. Yet countries report births differently around the globe. France counts only the babies born after the 22-week mark, while Poland imposes a one-pound, two-ounce threshold.

In contrast, the United States reports every live birth. And our doctors work to save more premature babies than in any other developed nation. Thanks to superior care and medical technology here in the States, most of those preterm babies survive. And the Herculean effort we undertake to rescue babies that other rich countries don’t even count as live births skews our infant mortality rate higher.

Source: The ‘Experts’ Are Wrong: The American Health-Care System Is World-Beating

The left’s ‘crossing state lines’ canard

T.R. Clancy:

It seems the Left cares about borders after all, depending on the border and who crossed it.

Consider Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial and how the continuing progressive slanders about white supremacism and murder always include the unspeakable fact that he crossed the state line with a rifle.

Rittenhouse didn’t cross the state line with a rifle. And if he had, it wouldn’t have been illegal.

….

Now consider that last week, ten FBI agents with a battering ram showed up before dawn to handcuff the underwear-clad Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and search his house and cell phone, after having done the same to his fellow journalists. The pretext was a search for Ashley Biden’s diary, but the FBI already knew O’Keefe didn’t have it or have anything to do with its disappearance. Besides, since when does a petty-larceny case local police would manage with a stolen-property report rate a federal investigation?

….

Just before the Project Veritas operation, Attorney General Merrick Garland sicced his FBI on uppity parents who dared to question the hive-mind wisdom of school boards. In what has now been exposed as the product of collusion between the White House and the progressive National School Boards Association, the NSBA sent a letter to Biden claiming the nationwide upsurge in angry parents showing up at school-board meetings made the parents domestic terrorists, requiring an aggressive Security State to stop them.

….

All this makes it no surprise that an obstreperous Rep. Jerry Nadler would immediately claim the Rittenhouse verdict “justifies federal review by DOJ.” This wasn’t just Jerry being spontaneous. The Biden administration always intended to use the DOJ to destroy Rittenhouse on the slimmest pretext if the mob didn’t get its way. Between a brave American jury and a raging mob, the jury cannot be allowed to win. And we can never forget that, like the Pinkertons’ unblinking eye, the Left never sleeps.

Source: The left’s ‘crossing state lines’ canard