Printed version can be read on lewrockwell.com
Congress, under Pelosi, has passed a sweeping gay/lesbian/transgender rights bill. Gay/transgender rights…not INDIVIDUAL rights.
Ain’t Communism hilarious? Unlimited (as opposed to equal) rights for gay people…yet these very same gay people will enjoy NO right to own a gun…to speak freely on social media… to keep most of their income…to walk outdoors without a mask EVER again…to buy fossil fuels…to operate a small business during a government declared crisis…Sure, you have a right to compel others to accept your sexuality. And no rights of any other kind. These nasty sociopaths like Pelosi care nothing for rights; only power. Gay people are pawns in their never-ending chess game. Sick.
Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason
A mixed economy is rule by pressure groups. It is an amoral, institutionalized civil war of special interests and lobbies, all fighting to seize a momentary control of the legislative machinery, to extort some special privilege at one another’s expense by an act of government—i.e., by force. In the absence of individual rights, in the absence of any moral or legal principles, a mixed economy’s only hope to preserve its precarious semblance of order, to restrain the savage, desperately rapacious groups it itself has created, and to prevent the legalized plunder from running over into plain, unlegalized looting of all by all—is compromise; compromise on everything and in every realm—material, spiritual, intellectual—so that no group would step over the line by demanding too much and topple the whole rotted structure. If the game is to continue, nothing can be permitted to remain firm, solid, absolute, untouchable; everything (and everyone) has to be fluid, flexible, indeterminate, approximate. By what standard are anyone’s actions to be guided? By the expediency of any immediate moment.
The only danger, to a mixed economy, is any not-to-be-compromised value, virtue, or idea. The only threat is any uncompromising person, group, or movement. The only enemy is integrity.
There can be no compromise between freedom and government controls; to accept “just a few controls” is to surrender the principle of inalienable individual rights and to substitute for it the principle of the government’s unlimited, arbitrary power, thus delivering oneself into gradual enslavement. As an example of this process, observe the present domestic policy of the United States.
You have seen, within the span of the last few years, that controls breed more controls, and that the proliferation of controls breeds the proliferation of pressure groups. Today, you see political manipulators setting up new conflicts, such as ethnic minorities against the majority, the young against the old, the old against the middle, women against men, even welfare-recipients against the self-supporting. Openly and cynically, these new groups clamor for “a bigger slice of the pie” (which you have to bake).
In a controlled (or mixed) economy, a legislator’s job consists in sacrificing some men to others. No matter what choice he makes, no choice of this kind can be morally justified (and never has been). Proceeding from an immoral base, no decision of his can be honest or dishonest, just or unjust—these concepts are inapplicable. He becomes, therefore, an easy target for the promptings of any pressure group, any lobbyist, any influence-peddler, any manipulator—he has no standards by which to judge or to resist them. You do not know what hidden powers drive him or what he is doing. Neither does he.
Despite all of the craziness that is going on out there, many pundits are trying to convince us that life will soon “return to normal” and that great days are just around the corner. They are telling us this despite the fact that the state of Texas has been in a state of collapse this week, the real economy continues to implode, the unemployment numbers are going up, civil unrest continues to rage in our streets on a nightly basis, and our entire planet continues to become even more unstable. Those that believe that happy days are here again have a fundamental misunderstanding of the times in which we live. This isn’t a period of time when America is going to “build back better”. Rather, this is a time when America is going to go even deeper into “the perfect storm”.
One of the reasons why so many on the left are feeling optimistic right now is because the COVID pandemic appears to be subsiding…
According to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the US is seeing a 29% decline in new Covid-19 cases compared to this time last week, the steepest one-week decline the US has seen during the pandemic.
Improvements have been made; in a White House briefing Friday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the US continues to see a five-week decline, with the seven-day average of cases declining 69% since peaking on January 11.
We are being told that if the numbers continue to plummet like this, soon there won’t be a need for masks, social distancing and other restrictive measures any longer.
In fact, James Hamblin says that there is a possibility that “pre-pandemic life will return even before summer is upon us”…
If all of this holds true, it would mean that many aspects of pre-pandemic life will return even before summer is upon us. Because case numbers guide local policies, much of the country could soon have reason to lift many or even most restrictions on distancing, gathering, and masking. Pre-pandemic norms could return to schools, churches, and restaurants. Sports, theater, and cultural events could resume. People could travel and dance indoors and hug grandparents, their own or others’. In most of the U.S., the summer could feel … “normal.”
But is this pandemic really over, or is it just transitioning into a new chapter?
According to the Daily Mail, the number of confirmed cases of “Super COVID” in the United States is now doubling every 10 days…
There are now more than 1,600 cases of the UK’s B117 ‘super covid’ variant in the US, according to a DailyMail.com analysis. Cases are doubling approximately every 10 days, according to a recent Scripps Research Institute study.
‘Super covid’ cases have exploded in two states that took opposite approaches to the pandemic: California, which has been under some of the nation’s strictest lockdowns, and Florida which has never had a mask mandate.
Cases of the 70 percent more infectious variant have exploded to 433 in Florida, in less than one month since the first case was discovered there.
Of course many experts are far more concerned about the new COVID variants that have emerged in Brazil and South Africa. Both of those variants have now made it to the U.S., and we already know that the current vaccines don’t work very well against the South African variant.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to crumble right in front of our eyes.
On Thursday, we learned that another 861,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week…
Last week’s initial jobless claims soared to 861,000, despite more states and cities lifting restrictive business measures amid a decline in the number of coronavirus cases. Economists had predicted around 773,000 first-time claims for the week ended Feb. 13. Data for the previous week was revised up to 848,000 from 793,000.
Unemployment claims have been at catastrophic levels for nearly a year, and now they are starting to surge higher once again.
We also just learned that a whopping 92 percent of all restaurants in New York City “could not afford to pay their rent in December”…
A new report from the NYC Hospitality Alliance shows the extreme financial problems restaurants in New York City are facing, as 92% of the city’s restaurants could not afford to pay their rent in December.
The number has steadily worsened throughout the pandemic, from 80% of restaurants in June 2020 not being able to pay rent.
That isn’t what a “recession” looks like.
The truth is that we are in an economic depression, and there is no end in sight.
At the same time, communities all over the U.S. continue to be plagued by civil unrest and crime.
In cities such as Seattle, violent protests and riots have essentially become a nightly occurrence at this point. But most of the violence that we are witnessing is old-fashioned crime. One study found that murder rates in major U.S. cities were up by an average of 30 percent last year, and the chaos has continued into 2021. If you want to see an example of the lawlessness that is prevailing in our urban areas right now, just watch this video.
On top of everything else, our entire planet continues to behave in very unusual ways.
For instance, on Friday morning there was a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in Oklahoma…
A 4.2-magnitude earthquake shook Oklahoma and Kansas Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.
The 4.3-mile deep quake hit near Manchester, Oklahoma, at 7:56 a.m. CST, according to the USGS. Manchester is in northern Oklahoma near the state’s border with Kansas.
It is not normal to see earthquakes of that size in the middle of the country, but of course we are moving into times when all of the old rules will no longer apply.
Earlier this month, I wrote an article about how volcanoes all along the Ring of Fire have been “starting to pop off like firecrackers”. I believe that we have entered a time when we will see natural disasters become increasingly frequent and increasingly powerful, and despite all of our advanced technology we are exceedingly vulnerable.
Just look at what just took place in Texas. A single wave of cold weather plunged the state into a nightmare scenario.
If cold weather can cause this much chaos in Texas, what would a much more severe long-term emergency mean for our entire nation?
The events of the past week should be a wake up call for all of us, because the road ahead is certainly not going to get any easier.
Everything the Democrat Party does should be seen not from an economic or a political perspective, but one of sin and suffering — the suffering it imposes on us to expiate our imagery sins.
It came to me in a flash of insight when I heard of a now-disgraced bureaucrat (“an undersecretary of climate change” in Massachusetts) who told a gathering of his colleagues that to fight melting ice caps and rising sea levels they would have to “break the will” of ordinary Americans, by “turning the screws” — raising energy costs so high that they would have to “stop emitting.” Admirable candor from a functionary of the state with the soul of a Medieval torturer.
But it goes beyond the need to make us obey. Progressives believe Americans must be made to atone for our sins (environmental, racial, economic and national) with higher taxes and energy costs, a lower standard of living, crime, open borders, racial humiliation and national dissolution.
It’s not a power-grab as much as an attempt to force a sort of secular Calvinism on the nation.
Global Warming – Our sins here include the internal combustion engine and reliance on fossil fuel, leading to CO2 emissions said to cause depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.
Democrats demand that we expiate these sins through higher energy costs, homes that are cold in the winter and hot in the summer, gas so expensive that we’ll be forced to walk or bicycle instead of driving. If you offered AOC and the other Green New Dealers an energy source that was clean, cheap and abundant, they’d reject it out of hand because there’s no suffering involved.
Open borders – According to their holy writ, we must pay for the sins of colonialism, exploitation of the Third World, using an unfair share of the earth’s resources and treating “migrants” cruelly. Our suffering includes being forced to take in hordes of poor, uneducated, unskilled invaders, including a significant criminal element (through lack of border enforcement and amnesties), which in turn will raise the costs of education, health care, criminal justice and welfare. But this is only right. If Hondurans are mired in poverty, it’s because we’ve exploited them, the left tells us.
Racial equity – To counter the sin of white supremacy, Caucasians must be made to suffer with reparations, riots, indoctrination of their children and public confessions of guilt. In some places, public schools are imposing a curriculum that forces students and parents to admit that their whiteness is a crime against the rest of humanity. If this seems like an updated version of Maoist self-criticism sessions, that’s because it is.
Gun confiscation – Gun owners (all 72 million in the United States), manufacturers and the NRA are said to be responsible for crime and mass shootings by clinging to the outmoded idea of a 2nd. Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The sins of bitter-clingers must be expiated by taking away their means to self-defense and shaming them – making them understand that every time a whack job shoots up a school, theater, nightclub or concert they are to blame.
The Lockdown Culture – The sin is not “listening to the scientists” (which ones?) as Clueless Joe would have it – and not taking the pandemic seriously at the outset, unlike the Red Chinese. The suffering is destroying businesses on a whim (more than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently), eliminating shopping and entertainment and forcing us to go through the silly rituals of social distancing and face masks (which the Great Fauci assured us were unnecessary in March). Biden – who promised us the pain of a “dark winter” — has made face masks the symbol of his administration, going so far as to tell us that donning a mask is our patriotic duty – unless you’re Nancy Pelosi getting your hair done at a pricey San Francisco salon or Gavin Newsom dining with lobbyists at a swank eatery.
Socialism – What a wonderful way to spread the misery as widely as possible. Greedy capitalists are responsible for the plight of the masses, through unequal distribution of wealth. This must be rectified through income leveling, confiscation by taxation, in the name of fairness which (because competition is eliminated) results in a lower standard of living for just about everyone.
Given a choice between prosperity and what they call fairness, the Sanders and AOCs of the world – who are now driving the Democrat Party – will choose “fairness” every time, even if Venezuela and the rationing of toilet paper lie at the end of the road.
Biden is the perfect Great Leader for the grin-and-bear-it Democrats – dour, obsessive, guilt-mongering, insistent that we sinners bend to his will. Open borders, racial guilt, gun confiscation and a Green New Deal are pillars of his administration.
At the bottom of the sin and suffering paradigm is hatred – hatred of capitalism, hatred of Middle America and (at least subconsciously) hatred of the human race.
Besides sin and suffering, there’s also masochism. (Ayn Rand called it “the sanction of the victim.”) Roughly half the population was complicit in putting Torquemada – progressivism’s grand inquisitor – in the White House cum torture chamber.
Now, if he can only remember where he put his thumbscrews.
Don Feder, frontpagemagazine
There is a sense in the air that the pandemic is winding down, and the toxic culture of division, fear, and hatred along with it. Cases are down dramatically. Deaths too. Hospitalizations are no longer irregular. Restrictions are being repealed. You can follow all the action daily at the CDC’s new and unusually competent landing page on the virus (it only took them a year to build this).
Despite all the talk of a new normal and infinite mandates, there is hope that it could all unwind quickly, pushed by force of public impatience and frustration with restrictions, and a political scramble to avoid responsibility by running away from all that they did for the last year.
The list of signs and symbols could be made very long. .
The politicians who overreached are suddenly being held accountable, with both Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom on the hotseat. Calls for governors and mayors to resign consume state and local news. There is clearly major political tumult building.
The Great Barrington Declaration scientists can hardly keep up with the requests for respectful interviews, now that it is becoming clear that they were right all along.
The experience in open states like Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, and so on, makes it impossible to ignore the grim truth that the lockdowns achieved nothing for public health but did harm health, businesses, liberties, law, and civilized life.
The push to open economies, by the same people who locked down the economies, such as Boris Johnson in the UK, is an implicit repudiation of the nonsensical ZeroCovid movement. Everyone seems now to agree with what AIER has been saying for a year: humanity must deal intelligently with pathogens and stop pretending that political forces can control them.
AIER visiting senior fellow Naomi Wolf had a hit just last evening on the Tucker Carlson show, and they spoke as allies in the reopening efforts after years of ideological sparring. There is growing weariness of Anthony Fauci’s daily word salads that have massively mixed up the public health messaging for a full year, to the point that Meghan McCain has called for his firing.
A year ago, Slate was making sense until the virus became political and they joined the lockdown mob. Now the publication is back to making sense again, with this excellent piece. British medical journal The Lancet is publishing excellent short pieces on the cost of lockdowns, including this riveting letter from Martin Kulldorff. .
A prestigious European journal of public health has published a blistering attack on the very idea that a power government should ever be trusted with virus mitigation. .
The people who have committed their careers and lives to this pandemic and the policies surrounding it might soon need to find a new raison d’etre. Then the clean up begins – how did this happen, who did it, how to make sure it never happens again – and does not end perhaps for decades.
It’s been fascinating to see the early drafts on the reasons why. There will be some perfunctory efforts to credit lockdowns, masks, human separation, and closures for somehow making the virus go away. The trouble is that there is no evidence of this. There is evidence for many other explanations having to do with herd immunity and “seasonality” (another way of saying the pathogen comes and then goes) and possibly more precision in testing.
For example, this new article by the very sensible Jennifer Beam Dowd of Oxford names many factors (while downplaying the role of vaccines) but says of masks and so on that it is “challenging to identify their specific effects, and cases are dropping in almost all states even with a wide range of policies.”
The reckoning will be taking place for months if not years. In the end people will be left wondering why we took such extreme measures that wrecked so many lives when the endemic equilibrium comes in time regardless of all these measures. We tried a crazy experiment in social and economic control and we are left with scant evidence that it made much difference on the virus but vast evidence that they demoralized and ruined life for billions of people.
What about the opening? There will continue to be those who will cower in fear, still dealing with the deep psychological trauma that comes from watching TV journalists scream panic for the better part of a year. But there will be an emerging majority that will be more than willing to go back to real life.
My go-to book on the pandemic and the response has been Albert Camus’s remarkable novel The Plague. He wrote it as partially autobiographical about his own quarantine. It was published in 1947. It still stands as a brilliant account of the sociology and psychology of fear during pandemic and lockdown.
As we approach the end of the novel, the plague begins to lift, not because of anything that the townspeople did or because of the restrictions on their lives. It lifts because the virus ran its pandemic course. What’s striking is how quickly the dawn of normalcy happens, followed by a new appreciation for life, fun, revelry, and exuberance.
As people begin to see the end, Camus records the fictional scene.
No doubt the plague was not yet ended—a fact of which they were to be reminded; still, in imagination they could already hear, weeks in advance, trains whistling on their way to an outside world that had no limit, and steamers hooting as they put out from the harbor across shining seas. Next day these fancies would have passed and qualms of doubt returned. But for the moment the whole town was on the move, quitting the dark, lugubrious confines where it had struck its roots of stone, and setting forth at last, like a shipload of survivors, toward a land of promise….
In streets and squares people were dancing. Within twenty-four hours the motor traffic had doubled and the ever more numerous cars were held up at every turn by merry-making crowds. Every church bell was in full peal throughout the afternoon, and the bells filled the blue and gold sky with their reverberations. Indeed, in all the churches thanksgiving services were being held. But at the same time the places of entertainment were packed, and the cafés, caring nothing for the morrow, were producing their last bottles of liquor. A noisy concourse surged round every bar, including loving couples who fondled each other without a thought for appearances. All were laughing or shouting. The reserves of emotion pent up during those many months when for everybody the flame of life burned low were being recklessly squandered to celebrate this, the red-letter day of their survival. Tomorrow real life would begin again, with its restrictions. But for the moment people in very different walks of life were rubbing shoulders, fraternizing. The leveling-out that death’s imminence had failed in practice to accomplish was realized at last, for a few gay hours, in the rapture of escape.
And so on goes the opening, slowly at first, then quickly, then all at once. The decisive turn is when the public returns to thinking rationally, refuses to be locked up anymore, and decides to trust themselves and the medical profession rather than the powerful elites who only pretend to manage disease. The trauma lasts, of course, but the healing also begins.
Last April, in a more naive time, I truly did imagine that these lockdowns and restrictions could not last. I had underestimated both the public panic and the government’s willingness to double- and triple-down on unworkable policies. .
I also overestimated what I had previously imagined to be a widespread commitment to liberty and property that would have inspired some public revolt early on. So here we are a full year later, with the reports of lockdown carnage pouring in by the day and hour. It’s a gigantic mess, to be sure, but the end does seem to be in view, and thank goodness for that. Let the blowback begin.
Jeffrey Tucker, American Institute for Economic Research
Lawrence M. Vance, FEE
Paul Craig Roberts