The number of viruses in you, or any other perfectly healthy human, at this moment outnumber your own cells by a factor of 100, as virologist Dr. John Mokili points out: “In the human holobiont, the 10^13 human cells are outnumbered 10-fold by bacteria and 100-fold by viruses.” Is the world really turning upside down over a virus?
We live in the age of the Internet. That means with a few clicks, viewpoints that used to take hours of library work can be found in seconds.
Before the corona bans were put into place, there was vociferous opposition from all manner of perspectives as to why those bans were an awful idea.
Despite extensive datasets against lockdowns already existing, within weeks, the wrongheadedness of the lockdowns were being further demonstrated using the American datasets.
Belying the easy access to information, the useful demonstration of why the lockdowns were not effective was being censored from the internet. Introducing a new disappointing low in internet censorship, Medium quickly took down the above-linked piece by the pseudonymous Professor Hinkley. Its tech brethren from YouTube to Amazon, Google to Duck Duck Go followed suit censoring Covid-19 debate.
Dozens of others have recounted the same experience with their Covid research, some using publicly available data to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the lockdown and calling for more effective policies.
Among those dozens who made good faith efforts to perform research, provide data, and contribute to the discussion through sharing their informed perspectives were:
The New England Journal of Medicine ran a piece March 26, 2020 by Dr. Anthony Fauci, two weeks after the earliest lockdowns and before some lockdowns had been implemented, that claimed in its third paragraph a much lower death rate than was being reported: “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%)…”
The CDC itself has now demonstrated the death rate to be much lower than is being reported in the media, yet some states are increasing restrictions while others drag their feet in loosening them.
Large swaths of the media including Matt Drudge, CNN, the New York Times, and sadly a contributing editor at the Spectator report grossly inaccurate death rates of 5.9%, using weasel words to get away with continuing to use that scary number.
1 in 20 are not dying of Covid.
Some of these people may claim good intentions. Those who seek to control are aided by those who Mises in his 1947 essay “Planned Chaos,” described as “useful innocents,” who help them do their mischief, or “useful idiots,” as some call them. The time for permissible naïveté in aid of tyrants has passed.
There’s an important detail about people who seek to control you. They don’t care about the data. It is the desire for control that is primary. They will literally say anything that they think will earn your submission.
There’s also an important detail about people who seek to make their decisions based on emotion. They are dedicated to speaking about feelings. Very few conversations with such people will enter into the realm of evidence and reason.
Those few conversations that do, are not likely to be the conversations that the emotional person is emotionally charged on. That would include virtually any remotely political conversation of our day. The range of those conversations is surprisingly vast: from the wearing of face masks to the policing of speech, down to the very detail of what pronoun is acceptable to use with another. No one should be surprised if the political comes to encompass ALL human interaction.
For more than a century, groups advocating for the violent overthrow of a system of private property have encouraged the use of both agitation and propaganda. Going back to Lenin’s “Where to Begin,” lying to people and agitating them has been described as “the chief and permanent task” of a communist.
Though propaganda and agitation are words we are today comfortable around as the new normal, both words represent a great evil that are effectively an attack on the notion of sincerity. Attacks on sincerity undermine all human interaction.
For at least five generations those groups have called for the infiltration of civil society, referring to it by the 1960s as “the long march through the institutions.” Church, state, media, business, academia, charity, and civil society alike are today filled with leadership opposing property rights, opposing the individual, demanding submission to the collective.
Does a single institution remain that will look at the individual as the fundamental building block to society and to demand his protection at all cost? By the Ides of March 2020, it was evident that even the church would play no such role.
The family is a front that has yet to fall. Siblings have always quarreled, familial relations have always known bitter-sweet periods, generation gaps happen, but there remains a special familial connection. At the core of the question of debilitating the institution of family is “How can husband and wife be divided from each other?”
For at least three generations, those groups have said they will come for the family, seeking to weaponize half the population through the feminist movement with statements such as “There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution.” Politicizing daily life is “political therapy” as opposed to “personal therapy.” Women should be encouraged to reduce their sense of introspection, or “self-blame.” There are also timeless, slogans of deceit such as “the personal is political,” or “the private is political.”
The personal is decidedly not political. The two words are practically antonyms.
Conflation of antonyms is an attack on reason. Conflating antonyms in dismissal of reasonable logic to the contrary requires insincerity. Cynicism is the willing disposal of sincerity in one’s interactions. The word cynicism is often used, seldom defined, and vitally important. Cynical actors claim that logic is a tool of the patriarchy and a symbol of western oppression, so not even logic is safe in conversation with the indoctrinated.
“Self-blame,” is a conveniently negative sounding and over-reaching term that includes introspection. People work their entire lives to be as insightful about themselves and others as possible. Introspection is one of the pillars of wisdom. To deny introspection is debilitating to the individual. Anyone who calls for people to deny themselves introspection debilitates those who would follow that advice. This is understandable coming from any person who does not recognize individuals as sovereign, and instead sees only collectives.
Collectivism calls on the individual to be a cog in a machine. At its militant edge, an edge that has become increasingly apparent since the Ides of March 2020, these theories seek to turn the individual and all the potential of that person’s life into a mere weapon for a specious cause.
Having an agitated person, willing to fill their own head with propaganda, and committed to never blaming themselves is a recipe for individual failure. However, it is incredibly useful to the organizer seeking to weaponize a person. Rather than the empowerment claimed by Marxist movements, many have willingly ascribed to an ideology that seeks to disempower and weaponize the individual.
Joseph Campbell, a closeted right-leaning intellectual of his day, surrounding by leftists, during the interwar period described that in the realm of politics, one can expect divisiveness and distraction, as is the fundamental nature of politics.
Far more meaningful discussion can take place in the realm of values, where there is considerable overlap and greater importance.
In a present-day example: Two people, who CNN would describe as having drastically different world-views because of their voting pattern once every four years are likely to identify that they share quite similar world-views if they can discuss their core values. Seldom is there divisiveness in such a discussion, especially if the two participants are committed to understanding and respecting one another. That recognition of the other as an individual is fundamental to love and at the roots of the Western notion of individualism.
This level of communication, however, does not serve the purpose of the divisive collectivists. As Thomas Luongo points out. “They want us yelling at each other, not talking to each other.” A society made in their image would have husband and wife shouting slogans mindlessly past one another.
Data is said to be everything in our era of powerful data mining. We are said to be in a world-shaping Big Data Revolution, a claim that is no more accurate than the notion that the econometric revolution, or the statistical revolution would change the world. These tools all continue to be used for good and bad with no inherent net benefit in either direction.
A tyrant seeking to be more of a tyrant, will do the same with econometrics or algorithms or artificial intelligence or statistical modeling. A sycophant seeking to empower the tyrant, will behave no differently with such tools. A gadfly seeking to light brushfires in the minds of men, will behave no differently with or without these tools. A free man seeking to live a free life, will behave no differently with or without these tools.
Realizing the futility of learning another tool to advocate for freedom in a world where the most basic tools get the job done, it can be no surprise that those who advocate for freedom are less likely to trouble themselves with econometrics, statistical models, or algorithms. The modelers and technologists are largely leftists and seeking to shift the narrative through their specious tools that make for useful headlines. The useful tools to the free man are reason and evidence, stubbornness, disobedience to authority, avoidance of needless conflict, tending toward the voluntary in interactions with another, and a willingness to physically defend one’s boundaries.
Can you fault a person for not wanting to learn econometrics when he has not yet mastered the philosophy to live a good life, and to think clearly on topics of epistemology and praxeology, skills which will provide far more value?
In this era of big data that has been cited, data is only useful because it allows control over the individual. Suddenly those desiring leverage over your personal decisions have it. This was once considered blackmail to use information from one’s personal life in order to influence behavior. Beyond this, data is generally not useful.
It is a lie that data is the oil of our era. Only through the normalization of the immorality of blackmail and manipulation is such a statement even capable of being entertained. It is mostly just bluster from the tech sector, often called “big data,” and the intelligence apparatus (both governmental and quasi-governmental) seeking to bolster their budgets and their perceived importance.
The reason data is generally not useful comes down to more of the same. Those who want to make decisions based in emotion don’t care about data. Those who wish to control you, also don’t care about data.
All the data needed to have a reasonable conversation about the appropriate way to proceed had been known by the Ides of March 2020. The people who wanted to make decisions based in emotion showed little interest in such a conversation. The people who wanted to control others also showed little interest in such a conversation.
Nothing has changed since the Ides of March 2020, other than we now have data sets for the American population, though those datasets provide virtually no new useful data. This data was not needed. This harmful experimentation was needless.
Ten years from now (as in the case of MERS today), we will have no more useful data about COVID-19. Twenty years from now (as in the case of SARS today), we will have no more useful data about COVID-19. Small groups of people will continue to have debates using that data, coming to barely useful conclusion. Vast groups of people will selectively use data to come to the emotional outcomes they desire. Others will selectively use data with an attempt to control others. “Not enough data” will not be the missing portion of this equation. Long before America’s lockdown, sufficient data had been collected. That did not stop the nonsensical lockdowns from taking place. They were not supported by data then, and they are not supported by data now.
A vital question for the individual, at a moment like this, is if there is power in the hands of those who would be emotional and those who would control. Can they hold sway over your life?
To spend your days in the data, debating those lacking good faith, merely distracts from the most important: caring for you and your loved ones, protecting yourself from the emotionally triggered and the power hungry, and nurturing yourself and the remnant around you.
Allan Stevo [send him mail] writes about international politics and culture from a free market perspective at 52 Weeks in Slovakia (www.52inSk.com). He is the author of How to Win America, The Bitcoin Manifesto, and numerous other books.