…. is from Alyssa’s Ahlghen’s article “ Panic, power and the pandemic “: We have lost our minds. We have said goodbye to any semblance of rationality or assessment of data and said hello to illogical alarmism.
A logical coronavirus “policy” when it comes to the public is quite simple. If you’re at risk, stay home and be safe. If you’re concerned, stay home and be safe. Take measures you believe are necessary to reduce the spread of the virus. As for everyone else, live your life. The health of an individual and the decisions surrounding it lies with the individual. As human beings, we have incredibly powerful amygdalae, the part of the brain that makes you feel fear. We are intuitive in doing what is best for our health and the health of our loved ones. The government doesn’t have an amygdala. The government has one thing — a desire for power.
Here’s the dirty, little secret: politicians know this. Within a span of months, 15 prominent Democrats were caught violating their own COVID policies. Getting haircuts, going on vacations, not wearing masks, participating in gatherings, eating indoors — all things you and I cannot do but our bureaucratic elite can. Politicians are allowed to make their own risk assessment but believe the people are too inept to do the same. The constant hypocrisy and illogical flexes of power have been taunting us as people’s livelihoods are being mercilessly destroyed.
As a Johns Hopkins scientist who has conducted more than 100 clinical studies and reviewed thousands more from the scientific community at large, I can assure you that the agency’s review can be done within 24 to 48 hours without cutting any corners.
One of the paradoxes of the current lockdowns/restrictions that have been imposed by the State is that they make it much harder for private firms and individuals to plan ahead, particularly when the rules are nonsensical and change regularly. (Examples being how in the UK you can have a drink in a bar in certain places but you have to have it with a “substantial meal” , but the definition of latter is left unclear).
Critics of open societies and classical liberal conceptions of how things should be will argue that said classical liberals don’t fully appreciate the need for planning. Sometimes the phenomenon of the market is characterised as anarchic, and in need of planning and control. Markets are messy, so this argument goes, and wasteful and chaotic. So much neater to run things centrally. Now the arguments used to debunk this – such as from the Austrian school – are fairly well known and should be familiar to many of the readers of this blog (such as how no central planner, even aided by modern IT, can possibly know the vast array of tastes, desires and resources to make an extended market order actually work, etc).
The need to plan ahead is in fact a central fact of life in a free society. We do it all the time. (Every day I jot down my work tasks for the day, for example.) The key is that these plans are those of free individuals acting on their judgement, and not because of some central, coercive authority standing over them.
When the State expands above a certain minimum level, this private planning becomes more, not less, difficult. It is in fact a classic rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s nonsensical “you did not build that” speech of a few years ago. People can and do build a great deal, provided the rules are clear and enforced. All too often, the State does a crummy job in defending legitimate boundaries, and as we see now, does a great deal of damage.
There is a debate raging between the usual suspects as to whether the larger fires in California are the inevitable result of manmade climate change or whether they are the result of poor forest management practices. For this post I actually am not going to weigh in right on this , except to say that long-time readers will know I am skeptical of most claims that tie tail-of-the-distribution events to manmade CO2 and I find it hard to correlate large fire loss years with actual temperature / drought data for the same year.
‘We could open up again and forget the whole thing’ Epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski on the deadly consequences of lockdown Governments around the world say they are following ‘The Science’ with their draconian measures to stem the spread of the virus.
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost;
For want of a horse, a rider was lost;
For want of a rider, a message was lost;
For want of a message, a battle was lost;
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Wikipedia says that proverb is many centuries old. It’s usually repeated as a cautionary tale. Do all your tasks well, keep everything clean and neat and well-maintained, don’t get sloppy, or bad things will happen. But it can also be read another way: a little problem that no one noticed, that very few people even could have noticed, leads to a big problem for everyone.
There are a lot of jobs that have been deemed “essential” in the current situation, and a lot more that have been deemed “non-essential.” Some of those non-essential jobs are in factories, which are shut down and not making more stuff. Any stuff we’re using from those factories is coming from inventory.
It turns out that, on a long enough timescale, almost every legal job that touches “stuff” is essential, and that timescale is not as long as some politicians seem to think. Most of the jobs that touch money are essential, too, because stuff doesn’t move without matching moves of money. Most of the rest are essential as well, if only for the mental health of the workers in the first two categories. People are people, not molding machines.
[The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights gets it wrong on school discipline.] The Washington Times published an op-ed of mine today that addresses the shortcomings of the latest report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. It begins this way: Shoddy work is not uncommon for government commissions.
There has been a lot of talk about “common sense” gun laws and “reasonable restrictions” on the 2nd Amendment. I wrote the following to summarize my thoughts on that.
The full text of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution reads as follows:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
To anyone but a lawyer or a political agenda, it’s pretty straightforward. However, very few, even among diehard arms rights supporters would claim that it’s truly unlimited: that literally everybody with a body temperature somewhere near 98.6 degrees Farenheight (say within about 20 degrees) must be permitted to own, possess, carry, and use any kind of weapon they can get their hands on. The controversy is generally over just what constitutes a “reasonable restriction” particularly since there is no allowance in…
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Every year the Brady Campaign to steal our Freedom (okay, they call themselves the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but I call them as I see them) comes up with a “scorecard” of how well various states conform to their proposed “common sense gun laws.” The claim is that we need these “reasonable restrictions” in order to reduce crime and violence.
Well, some years ago I took the time to gather up the numbers on violent crime for the various States and their Brady Scores. Plug them into a spreadsheet and chart the results:
Notice something here? There’s no discernible trend of reduced violent crime with greater implementation of the Brady Campaign’s “wish list” either overall or for most of the individual violent crimes. While I originally did this some years ago the overall results have not noticeably changed.
The Brady Campaign keeps talking about “common sense gun regulation.”…
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