Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The profoundly disturbing side of the Covid crisis

My long-term rational optimism was seriously challenged this morning after reading two essays. The issue that will likely haunt us and our economy for years to come is the inordinate expansion and intrusion of government into our daily lives and into the conduct of our private business affairs. Once politicians discover they have powers that were heretofore virtually unthinkable, they are very unlikely to relinquish those powers unless and until the population mounts a vociferous resistance—which so far is barely audible.

Scott Atlas: The Last Word


I have been shocked at the enormous power of the government, to unilaterally decree, to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movement, mandate behavior, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any end and little accountability.

I remain surprised at the acceptance by the American people of draconian rules, restrictions, and unprecedented mandates, even those that are arbitrary, destructive, and wholly unscientific.

The United States is on the precipice of losing its cherished freedoms, with censorship and cancellation of all those who bring views forward that differ from the “accepted mainstream."

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds


Masks Are Just Part of the Socialists' Uniform – J.B. Shurk

The Centers for Disease Control released another study showing no statistically significant decrease in "daily case" or "death growth" rates from COVID-19 in areas with mask mandates. This comes after a similar CDC study in October indicated that mask mandates do not appear to have slowed or stopped the spread of the coronavirus at all. Still, the CDC continues to recommend that all Americans wear masks, except in certain private settings when individuals are fully vaccinated, unless the goalpost-shifting Dr. Fauci gets his way.

Mask mandates are also an illustration of the sharp philosophical divide straining Americans into two camps guided by conflicting worldviews. In the one are true democrats who believe that all legitimate government power is derived from individual consent, and in the other are true socialists who sanctify the exercise of government power in pursuit of collectivist goals at the expense of individual liberty.

Alexis de Tocqueville contrasted these worldviews aptly: "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom; socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

... mask mandates have become nothing more than dress code loyalty oaths to the same state and local governments that have claimed for themselves the extraconstitutional powers to restrict free speech, religious liberty, personal commerce, and voluntary movement beyond the home in the name of a virus. They represent Americans' symbolic acquiescence to government's mass lockdowns and economic shutdowns and their tacit acceptance that government's unconstitutional power grabs are somehow legitimate.

Finally: “Masks have been transformed from tools that are moderately useful in the right circumstances to magical totems. The sort of thing that a . . . neanderthal might employ against disease.” - Glenn Reynolds


Rob said...

Empires fall from within. The US and the West by extension has been rotten with mass delusion for at least two decades. Empires last on average 250 years. Biden the puppet is a classic end of empire "leader". Scott, just look at what Democrats like Pelosi have done to ruin your state of California and are now doing on a national level. Orwellian indeed.

Flying Robot said...

Ataraxia said...

I'm worried too Scott.

I mean, how can individuals and small businesses make confident plans if they can be shut down or told to stay home on any given day? Seems a recipe for disaster for the lot of people and businesses that so not have big resources and deep pockets.

HDX said...

I stopped reading the posts from your friend Brian Westbury (First Trust) because the man was obsessed with covid hysteria. Two or three times a week for months and months, the guy posted a covid death update.
As an economist, he didn't talk about the financial incentives for hospitals to report anything and everything as a covid death. This fraud got so bad that one hospital in Florida said a young man who was decapitated in a motorcycle crash was a covid case. There is no polite way to say *bullsh!t*.

Authorities have used covid hysteria, which they created, for profit. Some profited in cash, some profited in power/influence, some collected both.

*The economic lockdown is a war crime*. I don't expect media outlets to come around to this for many more months, but eventually they will.

The USA has had many pandemics, and we survived all of them without a lock down -- and the evidence is overwhelming that this lockdown, besides being illegal, was ineffective. Places with severe illegal government overreach had the same, and in some cases worse, outcomes as those that adhered to historical health practices (no lock down.

Media outlets like to go on and on about covid deaths, which again are on par with a bad flu year. The illegal lock down has done many many times more damage:

They don't talk about family businesses that survived generations only to be destroyed by corrupt bureaucrats drooling with power.

They don't talk about the children who will grow up in poverty because the family business closed, and fast food / coffee houses don't pay anything close to the same wages.

They don't talk about millions dead because hospitals were prohibited from cancer screenings and basic preventative medicine.

They don't talk about suicides, drug addictions, and alcoholism.

They don't talk about domestic abuse cases going exponential.

Sorry Scott, but you are wrong to be talking about an economic recovery. The country needs to talk about the millions of deaths caused by government employees corrupt and rabid with power. The lock down is a war crime, and the guilty must be punished -- and we can't move forward until that is recognized.

Millions of Americans will be living with the consequences of the lock down (not the pandemic) for the rest of their lives.

Benjamin Cole said...

9/11 spawned the 9/11 industry. Government expansion, but never retraction.

COVID-19 has spawned the COVID-19 industry.

randy said...

HDX you are a scary man (or woman). Your insight might be right in direction. One can hope the speed and depth may be less dramatic.

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

In my view this is a highly key observation. Much of the madness and power of the political class is driven by the awful invention of social and digital media. Those are the mobs whose zeitgeist is easily manipulated. It is highly impolitic to say - but there was some wisdom to governance being restricted to the landed gentry. At least they had something to lose.

ItsMeKT said...

I'm with ya! I hope and.pray we see people responsible brought to light and held accountable, but, sadly, I've not much trust that will happen. The gaslighting right now is off the charts.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
randy said...

Flying Robot - I read the Nature article. Thanks for sharing. I'll note the comments above - and in the nature article - are slightly different. The article is promoting that masks are effective enough to be useful in the crisis. Sure seems reasonable. The comments above are arguing that politicians, people that think government should and can be trusted to take care of you, and virtue signaling people have exceeded reasonable disruption of lives. Worse, seem intent on exaggerating the forward risk to continue having an excuse to control lives. Sure seems reasonable.

From the article:

"There’s a lot more we would like to know, But given that it is such a simple, low-cost intervention with potentially such a large impact, who would not want to use it?"

There you go. Masks are virtual signaling. Nowhere does the article address that humans are social creatures and this is unnatural. Some children may have long lasting psychological risks from being taught to be afraid all the time. And no recognition that we live our lives with all kinds of risks. With vaccinations and herd immunity, mask mandates need to end.

Flying Robot said...

Randy, I pretty much question every conclusion you all come to on this topic, but that's ok, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. I just thought the data was good to put out there.