(See also previous recent posts: “Where are the high-profile opinion-leaders for the Corona Anti-Panic Side?” (Feb. 20); “Wuhan-Corona vs. previous flu-waves: You’ve lived through these, unaware, many times;” and all posts on the Corona-Panic.)
All Life-Years Matter
Short Version / Summary of Content (800 words).
(Full version, 6100 words, follows.)
Moral Premise: All human time (“life-years”) has value.
Background: To the extent the “Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic” debate on the 2020-21 Wuhan-Coronavirus consists of rational argument (a big qualification), the Pro-Panic side’s Achilles Heel is how easy it is to demonstrate the following Thesis: FAR more life-years are lost to the effects of the Panic and Response than to the Virus, and it’s not even close.
Problem: The concepts of “life-years” (against “lives”), and “lost life-years,” “life-years lost to the effects of the Corona-Panic and Lockdowns,” and “life-year-equivalents lost” to the same, are either not understood, or not believed, or not appreciated, by many on the Pro-Panic side. The argument, when made directly, is often less-than-compelling to Pro-Panic and Neutrals. Why?
Understanding the Pro-Panic Side: I propose two types of core member of the Pro-Panic side: The “ceteris paribus carefree Anti-Covid Crusader” and the “Terror-Virus Fanatic.” The two have different psychological approaches to the Corona Question and self-justifications for why they support the Panic. Understanding the different types of Pro-Panic partisan help us understand the difficulty in persuading people of the above (on lost-life-years). Some on the Pro-Panic side are theoretically persuadable if the idea that pursuing a Pro-Panic policy line can be “cost-free” were to be broken.
With the understanding that any argument at all is pearls-before-swine before many of the more extreme Pro-Panic partisans, but also understanding that some can be persuaded, the “lost life-years” concept could be demonstrated with data, quantified rather than relying too much on intangibles and abstractions. Doing so may help anchor the argument and allow moderates on the Pro-Panic side to think again before more damage is done.
Proposal: The dataset “Unemployment” can be used. How many jobs were lost due to the Panic, Shutdowns, Lockdowns, CoronaPanic-Recession? How many aggregate life-years does this represent? For work-life and income and social standing and social/career advancement terms, these are “lost” years. “Aggregate life-years lost to unemployment” is quantifiable and also comparable to the same calculation for “Covid” deaths. We can also roughly quantify Covid-deaths in life-years-lost terms in the same way, given that we know the age-condition profile for Corona-Deaths, to create and apples-to-apples comparison.
Discussion: The Wuhan-Corona “flu”-wave is surprisingly mild when measured in aggregate-lost-life-years, though this argument itself is often unpersuasive to emotionally committed Pro-Panickers.
On the other hand, life-years lost (and to-be-lost) to the Corona-Panic and Response often come in ways neither immediately intuitive nor ‘sexy.’ There are several categories of losses, including public health, economic, social, and fertility (the latter alone potentially swamping losses to Wuhan-Corona in lost-life-years terms and even in absolute terms).
Slightly or moderately worse health outcomes at population-scale over a period of years will, it looks certain, easily swamp ‘Covid.’ They will also be invisible. Other effects are real and important to social, political, and (dare we say) civilizational health, but can hard to calculate and so simply get dismissed. Things like frayed relationships, weakened broad social ties, delayed relationship-formation, loss of opportunities for normal life-enhancing experiences, disrupted or distorted socialization and education of children, proliferating psychological problems, worsened working-life experience for young adults, and much more.
There are some natural objections to using unemployment life-years to compare with Corona-Deaths’ social impact, we can firmly and uncontroversially calculate unemployment, which anchors the analysis and signposts the way towards some of the other losses.
Data: Employment ‘Hard’ Losses: CoronaPanic-induced unemployment, which is ongoing at severe-recession levels, swamps the effects of the Virus in terms of aggregate lost-life-years. We now have one year of data, so a Lockdown-Recession and major unemployment is not prospective or hypothetical, as it was one year ago at the cusp of the Panic. It is now observed-data. We can also calculate the ongoing aggregate-lost-worklife-years and compare them to Covid-Deaths’ aggregate lost-life-years.
Data: Employment ‘Soft‘ Losses: The ‘hard’ number of jobs lost is, in some ways, of limited value. There are also work-life ‘soft’ losses relating to lowered quality of work, and what one is able to both give and get from it, due to the shutdowns, disruptions, work-from-home regime, and general Panic atmosphere. Lowered interaction with dedicated workspaces, (theoretically) lower productivity by many, much lower (and less meaningful) contact with colleagues and other potential contacts and new professional contacts, all are theoretically quantifiable in terms of “lost-life-year-equivalents.”
Results: On “hard losses”: At least 13 million life-years have been lost, as of this writing, to Corona-Unemployment, which is several times higher than the total number of life-years lost to the Virus (2.5 to 5 million). In the latter case many of the lost life-years are to those in seriously bad health condition, e.g. dementia or late-stage cancer, so a fairer comparison would require the calculated Virus Loss to take a deflating multiplier of some kind.
Results: On “soft losses”: Adding in the effects of worsened work experiences, etc. (as proposed above), Panic Losses probably double.
This puts direct Employment-related losses from the Corona-Panic, in life-years-lost terms, at around 10x the losses from the Virus, and that is (1) before any kind of quality-of-life multiplier is applied, and (2) before longer-term second-order effects of unemployment are considered. As the recession continues and unnecessary joblessness from the effects of the Corona-Panic continues, even as the virus fades away, the ratio will also continue to increase. When all is said and done, the ratio could be 50x more employment-related lost-life-years and lost-life-year-equivalents, again before second-order effects such as slightly worse health outcomes at population scale from income losses.
Implication: The employment “life-year losses” is real and important but also demonstrative of how the Panic affects everything. Lost life-years already logged and those impending. The ratio, once one starts making similar estimates for other losses, turns out to be so lopsided that the question is not which is worse, Virus or Response (“the disease or the medicine”), but rather how many orders-of-magnitude worse the Panic will end up being than the Virus. 100x? 1000x? More?
Prediction: The Corona-Religion which burst on the scene one year ago may roll on a while longer, but real damage has been caused, and by metaphor this fiasco is an undersea earthquake of great power, which causes a tidal wave to form beneath the surface, at first only observable as a minor ripple.
Follow-on effects of the Corona-Panic in coming years, unforeseen by the Pro-Panic side’s cheerleaders in their fervor, could be a big deal. Why would the millions of core-working-age people, the primary victims of the CoronaPanic, do nothing? (A future essay will be a continuation of this thought, on the subject of “Corona and Regime Stability”).
(End of Summary / End of Short Version.)
(Below, start of Full Version.)
“All Life-Years Matter“
An appeal to the Pro-Panic side.
If all human life is valuable, then all human time is valuable.
What is life? Our lives are the sum of our time, the opportunities we have and what we do with them. Life is valuable because it is limited, which means our time has value in a way indistinguishable from life itself. Part of maturing into adulthood is the process of coming to realize this truth: Time is valuable, your time is limited, do not waste it.
Such talk dances closely around the core Anti-Panic position on the Coronavirus Question. (Sometimes called “Team Reality;” with the Pro-Panic side sometimes called “Team Apocalypse.”) The Anti-Panic position is simple and forcefully life-affirming but sometimes not enunciated clearly. The Anti-Panic position if also often strawmanned by the gargantuan monster that is the international Pro-Panic coalition and its petty juntas in power, in government after government, since the Panic began its breakthrough now one year ago.
I believe I can further winnow down or distill the Anti-Panic position into a single slogan of some three-and-a-half-words. The slogan is, as you may have seen already:
ALL LIFE-YEARS MATTER.
Many will immediately understand what I mean by “All Life-Years Matter” (and what the slogan is based on). A google search tells me no one has ever used this phrase despite how obvious it seems in retrospect, tying one of the biggest slogans (or counter-slogans) of 2020 in with the contemporaneous Corona-Panic. That no one has ever apparently coined this phrase shows just how little the concept “life-years” has occurred in the Corona-Discourse. As long as Hail To You exists in the Internet sands, let the slogan “all life-years matter” stand. A 21-character accusation against the Pro-Panic side for the disaster that was the Corona-Panic.
The problem with the bitter-ender Corona-Panickers is this: They have mentally maneuvered themselves into a dark, dark place, namely into a belief that only some life-years really matter. Their world has collapsed into a bizarre kind of obsessive virus-suppression game. I know it makes them feel good, many of them, to be in this thing, but that’s no excuse.
To become obsessed with one virus at the exclusion of all else can only seem irrational, . Or maybe even a sign of a society or civilization with a death-wish. How else would we interpret this kind of behavior from a great distance of time or space, if observed in an uncontacted group on a South Seas island ? (They wouldn’t know what viruses are, but you get the point.)
I note how little attention this topic has gotten, as the Pro-Panic coalition has shut down any discussion of this uncomfortable matter, presumably because they are worried they would lose, by knockout, if the discussion is even allowed. As late as April 3, 2020, Reuters published a surprisingly quaint “investigation” which hits on key Anti-Panic points on how disastrous Lockdowns can be, implicitly warning that far more lives (or life-years, in the terminology of this essay) can easily be lost to an extended Panic/Lockdown. The title the Reuters editors gave the April 3, 2020, report: “Researchers warn the COVID-19 lockdown will take its own toll on health.”
A lot changed in the meantime in Corona-Discourse. If you can remember early April 2020, you’ll remember that Pro-Panic forces had not yet decisively won the war, even if they’d won the battle and gotten many to cave in to their extreme demands; some at the time were pushing for a full-on reopening for Easter; others would eventually come to say, in April, that all restrictions had to be lifted by May 1. But as April proceeded, these voices were increasingly silenced by the weight of the Pro-Panic behemoth and the religious cult it was rapidly erecting around itself.
I therefore wonder if our friends on the Pro-Panic side, by the latter months of 2020, and in the present, still understood that there are real, non-trivial costs to Pro-Panic policy, and that at least hypothetically these costs could outweigh, even vastly outweigh, the impact of one flu-virus?
As I write, I worry I am doing it merely academically. The question is not an academic one, though, and the damage continues. It’s unclear how much longer it could drag on.
After the triumph of the Pro-Panic side and the ascension of CoronaPanic-juntas across the Western world starting in March 2020, the disruptions began. The Corona-disruptions continue very much, in many places, into 2021. Some Pro-Panic fanatics are now insisting (or making demands tantamount to insisting) on keeping the disruptions going through all of 2021 and into 2022. Their demand is to keep feeding the Corona-Moloch. Their demand is to satisfy the evil demands of their Corona-god.
(The logic of the religion being, like all human-sacrifice cults, that sacrificing human beings to the Corona-Moloch may seem evil to you, bigoted outside observer, but it’s a LOT better than the alternative of not placating the angry gods. Have you ever seen Corona-Moloch really angry? Thought so.)
Before proceeding to show how the Panic has cost far more life-years than the Virus, and pursue one avenue of evidence (unemployment), I think it’s important to face, head on, the uncomfortable question, Do the Corona-Panickers and Lockdown-pushers not recognize/understand/agree that “all life-years matter”? What are they thinking?
Does the Pro-Panic Side Agree that “All Life-Years Matter”?
To answer the question of whether the Corona-Panickers and Lockdown-supporters “agree” with the premise that all life-years matter, I feel it necessary to take something of a detour into the psychology of the true-believers over there on the Pro-Panic side. I see two main types active over there which are relevant here. I call one the “Ceteris Paribus Carefree Covid-Fighter” and the second the “Terror-Virus Fanatic.”
1.) The Ceteris Paribus Carefree Covid-Fighter. These are people with a realistic view of the virus’ threat who reject the implied idea that anchors much of the Corona-Panic, i.e. that “Covid” is Ebola, BUT they concurrently believe (at least implicitly) that all else in complex-reality is, or can be, somehow held equal (ceteris paribus) with no, or extremely minimal, or no long-term, collateral damage of any consequence.
With no consequences of importance, why not “Fight Covid”? Those who say ‘No,’ who don’t want to Fight Covid despite the trivial costs of some minor inconveniences, must be immoral, or lazy, or unpatriotic, or in some cases some kind of weird conspiracy-theorists or dupes thereof (poor souls sucked into dark, the-virus-is-a-hoax rabbitholes!)
These are not pig-picture thinkers. They are not necessarily deranged or malicious people, and their fatal flaw is failing to think in big-picture terms, but normally the job of doing that is not up to them. They find themselves in support of the throwing of all possible resources to stop this one moderately bad flu virus which they keep hearing about (another big motivation is to placate their more extreme comrades of the second type).
The problem is, of course, that ceteris paribus (all else held equal) is a conceit for which we classically used a Latin phrase (more often today back-translated into English) specifically because it’s not realistic! Even if useful in the hypothetical and intellectual exercise, “magic-wand it” into reality at your own risk.
2.) The Terror-Virus Fanatic. These are people who DO understand that there is collateral damage from the Panic itself and from a sledgehammer-type-approach Corona-Response (or even a gentle Corona-Response), BUT they are also under the impression that Wuhan-Corona is “Ebola.” They are therefore trapped in a bad-thinking box.
The terror-virus will kill millions indiscriminately, just like they’ve seen in all those movies, unless Lockdowns and other measures save the day. All measures are justified to stop the terror-virus!
These are those who heard of visions of the Apocalypse foretold, and became believers. They were the key group on which the “Corona-Cult,” Covid-Religion, was based. As time rolled on and the apocalypse showed signs of washing out, they had a strong emotional commitment to whatever narrative could keep the faith alive, to which they had become emotionally addicted as with any classic mind-control cult, and the list of things like Long Covid, “you can get reinfected multiple times,” Covid causes Kawasaki Disease, new variants, and much else, is long.
When a Terror-Virus Fanatic hears someone say Wuhan-Corona is a moderately severe flu-virus within the normal historical range which poses some risk to some elderly and infirm but no one else, the person saying it is flat-out not believed. Heresy. In the Pro-Panic media environment and discourse, they seldom hear this view anyway.
Yes, here in the second type we find the more hardcore zealots, true-believers, orthodoxy-insisters, heresy-haters, and Forever-War-Against-Covid-addicts operating under t heir religious imperative.
The Terror-Virus Fanatic type was of course much more common in the early stages, including among people who really should have known better. They dove in, head first. A lot of people were just very wrong. Most can be forgiven for getting it wrong early on, but very many soon got stuck within the trappings of the Cult (and, remember, no one realizes he is entering ac cult, rather thinking he is meeting a great group of friends who share bonding experiences and have access to a hidden truth).
Many, especially low-info people, still believe the assumptions behind the Terror-Virus Fanatic type outright; many others still believe it emotionally, the latter including, I believe, the core constituency still driving the Panic after all this time.
Type 1.) Does NOT believe/understand/appreciate collateral damage, implicitly believes the Covid Fight is waged under ceteris paribus conditions and therefore anything goes to “Fight Covid” even if it’s true that it’s “not that bad.”
Type 2.) DOES believe/understand/appreciate collateral damage, but is also a WuhanCorona-as-Apocalyptic-Terror-Virus believer; the latter easily trumps the former.
Both types are riding the waves of a religious energy, which keeps them loyal and on-message, suspicious of heretics and evildoers over here on the Anti-Panic side. The second type is really the core of the cult, but the cult is much bigger than the individuals of this second type alone (Corona-Gestalt.)
Both of these mainstays of the Pro-Panic side are irrational, at least from our perspective (though a tangential discussion would be how all New Religions have some logic to them, with cultural, political, socioeconomic rationales converging). Both are demonstrably wrong on the arguments, and, looked at for what they are in the light of day, they look rather ridiculous. It’s hard to judge which type is more irrational.
(Also tangential: Around the true-believers, lots of opportunists came to attach themselves. Some of the Corona-Opportunists had an equally silly belief of the “Step 1: Promote PANIC, Step 2: ?, Step 3: Profit!” model.)
In any case, this was to demonstrate that some on the Pro-Panic side do understand the life-years concept, and the Corona-Panic’s collateral-damage losses, as meaningful. But those who do understand/agree/appreciate that “all life-years matter” and remain on the Pro-Panic side are blocked by a religious belief centering around quasi-worship (negative-worship) of a “Terror-Virus god,” with the religious menagerie of saints, prophets, angels, visions, special religious garb, and other religious strands tossed in to fill out the whole.
I still believe it is possible to convince fence-sitters (Corona-Neutrals) and wavering members of the core Pro-Panic coalition, especially some of the moderates of the first type (people under the often-innocent mistaken assumption that the Corona-Response is in a ceteris paribus world). There are all kinds of ways that the Corona-Panic and its shutdowns, lockdowns, rules, disruptions, and culture-distortion effects can be shown to have cost life-years. The informational-apparatuses of Western societies have failed totally in not raising this issue in any serious way.
I have written about this before but next I’ll write about four categories of how the Panic and Lockdowns costs life-years, before expanding on the “Economic lost life-years” category via unemployment data.
Okay, on with it.
The Corona-Panic’s Cost in Life-Years
“All life-Years Matter” as a slogan alludes to four types of effects, as I see it, things generally overlooked by the Pro-Panic side.
(1) Worse Health Outcomes. Lost-life-years to early death, both near-term and medium-term and long-term. This refers to people who end up (ironically) in worse health and/or early death due to the effects of Panic/Lockdown or to the follow-on effects of Panic-Lockdown (economic recession, to name a big one). Near-term are the deaths attributable to the Panic already logged — the classic example are the spike in heart-attack deaths by those terrified to visit a hospital at Peak-Panic, but there are a lost of other types here.
In the rest of the 2020s there may be millions of deaths to some degree earlier than needed due to the social and economic disruptions of 2020-21. I know this is hard for the variety of Panicker I have above labeled the Ceteris Paribus type, but recessions kill. Loss of income kills. Loss of hope kills.
It’s not a mass-death-at-once scenario but a slow burn, much like that which in the 2000s and 2010s succeeded in lowering White life-expectancy in the USA in the 2010s, a phenomenon Steve Sailer labeled the “White Death.” If one understand what the White Death was, one can understand what the medium- and possibly long-term effects of the Corona-Panic will be. (But just as the White Death was quasi-“covered up,” there will be no drumbeat of attention to moderately worse health outcomes between now and 2029, say, as a a result of the disruptions of 2020-21.)
Consider the person who lost his job skipping a medical checkup or not seeing medical care for pain, then ending up dead. To take one example of many on the medium- and long-term early deaths that will result from the Corona-Panic (one commonly given on the Anti-Panic side): Every 100 skipped cancer screenings represents ‘x’ early death before (say) 2035 that needn’t have been, at a media loss of life-years ‘y.’ Why are these lost life-years worth less than those from Wuhan-Corona?
(2) Economic lost life-years: Financial hit, career hit, small-business hit. The heavy blow of the shutdowns, lockdowns, and other disruptions to economic life is real. We can quantify job losses and aggregate unemployment burden. I will come back to this shortly below.
(3) Social development and advancement. The heavy blow of the shutdowns, lockdowns, and other disruptions to social life, basic civic freedoms, social advancement, personal growth, happiness, new friendships, romantic relationships: All have been subject to distortion or disruption for one year and running.
To the extent that hundreds of millions have pressed “pause” on what could have been, to at least some degree, everyone’s a victim here. Every single one of us, being mortal, has limited time in this life-cycle to make a meaningful and fulfilling life, and this time matters.
Pick the best year of your life. Maybe it was when you were 21. What if a Virus-Panic ‘cancelled’ your entire age-21 year? This is reality for many; there are millions who would’ve been living their best year, but instead it was “cancelled,” or at least majorly disrupted.
Pick the year you met your significant other, or the mother/father of your children (if you have any), and then imagine that year was Virus-Panicked out of existence, and no one met new people. You’d have never met your wife/husband/girlfriend/fiancé/etc.; there are millions for whom this was true in 2020-21. “Hey, they can just look for a relationship/wife/husband/etc. after the Terror-Virus passes and is finally slain by Our Frontline Heroes.” Okay, but you’ve just conceded that the entire year+ was lost to them. It was a lost life-year in regards to relationship-formation. For many, the only practicable way to try to try to meet new people would be online, which presents a variety of problems, but is in line with the Corona-Religion as Digital-Age Cult thesis I’ve argued for.
(4) Lost life-years of babies never-born. This follows from (2) and (3), the economic and social disruptions which especially fall onto prime-age people trying to make transitions or make starts, either economic or social. Family formation is a transition, from single life to married, or at least stable-pair-bonded, life. The decision to have a child also requires, for many, the sense of stability you only get from steady employment and optimistic social-cultural conditions, the latter already a serious problem for Western Mankind in recent decades, and the former showing signs of wobbling as well, pre-CoronaPanic.
Early data now looks set to confirm our fears, the warning many of us of the Anti-Panic side made back in March/April/May 2020:
There are likely to be millions fewer babies born in the West in the early 2020s than should have been. The fertility hit from the Corona-Panic is still an untold story, not least because it’s subject to a nine-month-delay.
The drop could be 5% to 20%, depending on the place. If a long Lockdown-induced recession is upon us, there is every reason to believe the birth-dearth will continue to some degree, and recall t hat Western fertility was already below replacement everywhere, in many places closer to 1.0 than 2.0 babies per woman.
Every one of these lost births, if not recovered by a future baby boom, represents a full loss of a life’s-worth of life-years. If a million fewer babies are born than would have been, and if the life-expectancy at birth is eighty, that is 80 million lost life-years. Life-years lost this way alone (babies never born) could easily exceed life-years lost to Wuhan-Corona by a factor of 50x, or 100x, or more, depending in part on how long the fertility hit lasts.
The Panic as a social force causes real damage to real people.
The damage is widespread and (much) greater than Wuhan-Corona as a virus. The damage caused by the Panic is also diffuse and sometimes subtle such that it is hard to drumbeat in the way that the Pro-Panic side drumbeats its Big, Scary, Out-of-Context Numbers.
A demonstrative exercise on how the lost-life-years thing works with a simple, tangible, data-driven example: Unemployment. Then discussion on how to quantify the data in terms of life-years, life-years-lost, and life-year-equivalents-lost and objections to this framework. Then comparison between the Unemployment losses and the Covid losses. On unemployment alone (hardly the only effect), we see it’s not even close: The Panic was/is much worse than the Virus.
Something we can firmly quantify are job losses. Here is the graph from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The entire USA and much of the world depends on the health of the US private sector (as does the US ‘government sector’ and the US military). So here it is:
Total US private-sector employment (non-farm, non-government) was:
- Jan. 2020: 130m
- Apr. 2020: 108m
The April jobs report was the low-point of the CoronaPanic Shutdown Shock. The Panic strangled the life out of 17% of all private-sector jobs.
“Deal with it. There’s a virus, idiots. The jobs will be back.”
The recovery seemed, at first, to come fast and strong: Eight million net jobs gained back by June. But then gains became much slower. Real economic damage had been done…just as the Anti-Panic side had warned. Then the jobs-recovery stopped entirely.
- Sept 2020: 120m
- Oct 2020: 121m
- Nov 2020: 121m
- Dec 2020: 121m
- Jan 2021: 121m
- (Update for Feb. 2021 to be released March 5.)
Still painting with the broad-stroke brush, we see nine million net private-sector jobs have been lost. There has been no movement in six months.
Also remember that the USA operates (for some reason) under a policy whereby it must always have a growing population, topped-up by the heroic millions of undocumented persons and the diversity-visa enrichers and the children of both. It means the USA adds something like 175,000 new net working-age people,via immigration and population momentum, per month. (White non-Hispanics in the USA, for our part, are now in the sixth year of shrinking population, with steady contraction ahead unless fertility shoots up significantly.)
To match the Feb. 2020 private-sector employment situation, there would need to be 132m jobs today. Instead we have 121m jobs, with no sign of movement. That means 11m people frozen out of opportunity, with some millions more of the long-term disengaged, society-dropouts, NEETs, sundry other victims of social-malaise (I’m looking at you, opioids) who are out of the workforce but should be in it. The latter number (the “disengaged”) is harder to calculate. I plan to return to the topic in the follow-up to this essay.
It could be that for every 100 people who should be filling private-sector job-slots, only 80 to 90 are actually doing so, leaving an effective disengagement rate as high as 1/6th after (because of) the Corona-Panic.
Remembering that all our time is valuable, that “all life-years matter,” the lost time for these millions, to unemployment, to life-disruption and delay and deferred dreams of all kinds, to despair — we should also consider that it is not only the unemployed who have suffered real work-related losses.
The discussion so far in this essay is driven by the quantifiable, the ‘hard’ numbers of employment data. I can already hear two kinds of objection: One from the Pro-Panic side, one from the Anti-Panic side.
The Pro-Panic side will say “Unemployment is not as bad as mass death!” — this falls into the Terror-Virus Fanatic’s fallacy (see above). Some more moderate people on the Pro-Panic side will more calmly say, “Unemployment is not morally comparable to death, because death is the end, but you can always get another job.” This itself is a moral argument — “Death is the end” is an implicit moral position that most people throughout most of human history would not have agreed with. For the concise argument on social and economic disruptions “costing” life-years, see above “Social development and advancement.”
The Anti-Panic objection is that a dry look at numbers fails to adequately capture the spirit of how bad the Panic has been. the Anti-Panic objection goes on that a year of this bizarre witchcraft-panic has caused much bigger losses than shown by unemployment alone, as bad as the job losses are.
I agree with that objection, but when one makes that the lead element of argument, one is immediately in a weaker position for being unable to argue from evidence or data, except perhaps for some kind of inevitably unsatisfying survey data about job satisfaction.
But the subject of intangible losses should not be neglected, and before comparing the losses from the Panic/Lockdown to the losses from the Virus, a word on the “soft losses” which may even exceed the “hard losses” of unemployment.
Hard Losses and Soft Losses
For most of 2020, the number of people participating in usual, meaningful, empowering, gainful social-economic-cultural life was at an all-time low. This was true regardless of whether a person was on the books of someone’s payroll, doing some kind of “job” in some kind of circumstances, or not. In fact, the phrasing “usual social-economic-cultural life” short sells what I mean because we might just as well call it the ongoing work of upholding the banners of civilization.
Corona-Disruptions to the ongoing work of civilization (and, yes, I think we can and should go that far) is a big, big topic. I am going to return to this to in the second part, follow-up, to this essay in early March, with something I am going to call “The Corona-Panic and Regime Stability” or similar, using some of the same datasets I’ve used here but towards a different type of analysis.)
Keeping it on the topic of “jobs”: It ought not be controversial to anyone to say that one’s “job,” or “career,” serves an important social role. it’s more than taking a salary, of course. It consists of socializing with colleagues, being around them, around the workspace, around mentors and bosses (the good as well as the bad and the ugly). This is, can be, should be, empowering, opportunity-enabling, and at the least experience-building. (One’s workspace not as a “work-station 34598a” soundproof-walled-off from but next to an identical work-station 34598b, next to…etc., everyone anonymous and isolated. That is the stuff of horror or dystopian literature.)
That working-life is an important part of one’s identity is also why most retired people maintain, or even expand, their “work-like” commitments, as to civic groups, church groups, or the like, rather than become full-time couch potatoes the day after retirement.
Now, as for remote-work, a very common feature of the Corona-Panic across the rich world. Almost all of us have done work of some kind, at some time, with some kind of team that includes one or more persons physically present and one or more physically remote. My experience is, while the remote-work team member might contribute something of some value in some kind of GDP sense, or towards some other goal, no relationship building occurs. One is unlikely to even remember the remote-work coworker’s name in time, much less anything else relevant about them. In some cases, you literally never even learn their names. These kinds of coworkers may as well be AI bots and not humans, from the perspective of social bonding and all that flows from it.
And, yes, the Corona-Panic of course turned this up to max. A lot of the people who were still employed ended up locked away in a metaphorical box somewhere — their homes, whatever their living arrangement, became their ‘work’-box. They became forced into awkward “Zoom” interactions, many now literally never seeing their coworkers except through electronic intermediation. Very few jobs escaped some kind of disruption from Corona-Religion rituals. This represents a soft form of lost life-years, which is something the kind of Pro-Panicker who makes impassioned please to “Wear your mask” doesn’t seem to comprehend. The masks represent and perpetuate the Panic; the Panic as a social-force costs real in life-years terms.
“All life-years matter,” including one in which normal professional-growth is stunted, either through termination (hard losses), through a freeze on jobs/hiring, through the Corona-Remote-Work experience, the “soft losses” effects potentially even outweigh the “hard losses” of termination and the like.
Another sort of “soft loss” is anyone who was planning a transition. Anyone who, as of early 2020, was on the job market, including those who held jobs but were dissatisfied with them and wanted to move into a better position or a different type of job altogether. When the Panic hit, these ambitions were dropped and people clung tight to what they had. This is also a form of lost time, quantifiable in aggregate as lost life-years. How is it not? The person who wanted a change in 2019 and into early 2020 might try again in mid-2021. But even this ambition for change might see the person forced into ridiculous and unsatisfying remote-work, frustrating the whole point.
We can wonder at what share of employed people had their work-lives disrupted in ways I’ve tried to sketch out here and to what extent they did. I think it may be half of those employed. Without necessarily any major income losses, they were still pushed over into some kind of “Zoom”-based ersatz work. (Note on income losses: This is not necessarily a ‘money’ question, for the same applies to non-paid or intern-type employment; money isn’t the supreme goal at all stages of all people’s lives. Filling some kind of social role or making some kind of progress, though, generally is.)
I’ll now synthesize the Unemployment Hard Losses (firmly quantifiable) and Unemployment Soft Losses (‘ballpark’ estimate) and compare them to the dreaded Covid-Deaths, measuring it all in the unit of lost-life-years.
Corona-Unemployment vs. Covid-Deaths
- CoronaPanic-induced Unemployment: I calculate, using BLS data, 13 million person-working-years lost, so far (March 2020 to February 2021), to unemployment. I calculate this by pegging Feb 2020’s 130m to have risen to 131.75m absent any Corona-Recession. I subtracted actual employment each month and divided the sum by 12 to generate this lost-life-year aggregate.
With each passing month at the current rate, another 800,000 life-year-equivalents are lost to unemployment, “hard losses.” Hitting working-age people.
There also also effective losses to people who still remained employed, “Soft Losses.” Were I more ambitious, I might try to quantify these in a more rigorous way, but I am sure others have tried and will be trying, even if the Pro-Panic side’s domination of discourse does not allow such things much light of day. The losses are to worsened work experience, frayed connections, diminished ability to collaborate and meet new people (workplace connections), weakening of work friendships under the Panic regime, lack of ability to engage with the workplace or grow professionally.
Again these things mainly hit the young and up-and-coming, with established people less likely to care and it being irrelevant to retired people or those who do not work (e.g., “stay-at-home moms”).
Soft Losses: If 40m or 60m or 80m private-sector workers who held jobs (plus, presumably, millions of government workers) have had a year’s-worth of work-experience that was 15%, 25%, 35% worse than it would have been absent a Corona-Panic disruption, we can say this represents 10m to 30m worklife-year-equivalents lost.
Working life is more than about being on a payroll or drawing a salary or steady hourly pay for some task. It is about connections, opportunity, friendship, face-to-face interaction, and sense of identity. “Lowered quality work experience is not as bad a full-unemployment,” you say, but it still represents real losses for real people in the real world, and aggregated as a whole represents a social hit. In other words, some people in a given month of working under these conditions might achieve about 65% of what they would achieve in normal times (even if they enjoy working at ‘home’ and not having to commute, etc.), across the broad spread of the set of interactions and experiences that constitute “work.” These are at least hypothetically quantifiable losses.
The sum of the “hard” and “soft” work losses due to the Corona-Panic are:
13m (unemployment, direct) + ca. 17m? (undermined/disrupted/dissatisfying/lower-productivity work experience) = circa 30m worklife-year-equivalents lost.
How does this compare to the Wuhan-Corona flu-deaths?
- Corona Flu Wave (“Covid”) Deaths: US losses probably amount to 2.5 million to 5 million person-years lost (circa <5% of the loss predicted by the Pro-Panic side’s modellers at Peak-Panic, March/April 2020). Hitting mainly retired-age people.
I derive this by taking low and high bounds for likely remaining life-years for those said to have died of “Covid.” There is great downward pressure from many angles from all we know about the deaths. High share of deaths in nursing homes; average age-and-condition profile is old and otherwise less-healthy-than-normal; many of the reported deaths clearly died of some other cause but were incidentally positive at death.
Using the “500,000” attributed Corona-Deaths figure current as of late February 2021, I see three sorts of Covid deaths from which we can estimate the life-years-lost number:
- “Those who would have died anyway at the same time.” If 30% of the attributed deaths were to deathbed patients (e.g., late-stage cancer patients) or people who died of some other specific cause but who had gotten a positive test-result within 30 days of death, then we have 150,000 of the deaths which give us ~0 life-years lost to the virus. They were “dying anyway;” maybe some, or many, of this category died a few days or weeks or even months earlier than they would have, but the aggregate lost-life-years in this category is measurable in the low tens of thousands.
- “The Sick and Infirm.” If 40% of the attributed deaths were to already sick or weak people who were not necessarily imminently dying but who certainly had limited time left, the kind of person who, if you’d heard of their death you’d be sad to unsurprised, e.g. the nursing home patients, we may be talking about 3 lost life-years for these people, often of particularly low quality. This is 200,000 people @ 3 lost life-years = 600,000 lost life-years.
- “The Not-so-Sick and Not-so-Infirm.” Let’s assume the remaining 30% of attributed Covid-Deaths were people who could have lived almost as long as their actuarial-table life-expectancy suggests, absent Wuhan-Corona. Given that we know the average ages of the deaths, and the typical pre-existing conditions of the deaths, we are probably dealing with around 12 life-years as a mean for this group. (Only the very rare individual who truly died “of” Wuhan-Corona had decades of expected-life left.) This is 150,000 people @ 12 lost life-years = 1,800,000 lost life-years.
- Summing up the three groups: 2,400,000 aggregate lost-life-years to the Virus.
- If we are generous and give the Pro-Panic side all the benefit of the doubt, we could perhaps double the Virus losses in life-year terms to 5 million. But there’s very little other room to maneuver given the age-condition profile of the attributed deaths and given the reasonable scope of the “deaths with the virus but not from the virus” problem.
- (As I have pointed out many times, these Covid-losses are an extremely miniscule share of total, society-wide aggregate-expected-life-years. The total for the USA is around 15-20 billion, higher if you also add in expected births in the next few years and those prospective babies’ expected life-years. Wuhan-Corona deaths, for all the hysteria and hype, represent a loss of around 0.01%-0.03% of society-wide aggregate-expected-life-years. This is the equivalent to you losing 60 to 90 minutes, in your 365-day year, to a sickness.)
- Corona-Panic employment hit, direct effect: 13m lost life-years, steadily rising;
- Corona-Panic employment hit, loss of work-quality, etc.: 10m to 30m lost life-year-equivalents.
- Corona-Virus deaths: 2.5m to 5m life-years
- Panic-to-Virus loss ratio: At least 5-to-1, potentially as high already as 20-to-1. Rising as the recession goes on.
Caveat: “All life-years matter,” yes, but there is also such thing as Quality-Life-Years, and a large portion of the 2,400,000 or so person-years lost to the Corona Flu Wave to the end of February 2021 are to people in seriously poor health (as discussed above), constant pain, or, say, debilitating conditions like dementia, or late-stage cancer. In the Corona-Unemployment category, such cases are minimal. A fair comparison would require applying some kind of downward-multiplier on the Corona Deaths number to more accurately estimate the relative social impact. The ratio, which may already be 20-to-1, may be doubled if applying a quality-life-years modifier.
Caveat: Eventually the Wuhan-Corona flu-virus pandemic ends, especially once spring comes back. But unemployment could linger for years. The final count on this ratio could be that CoronaPanic-induced Unemployment effect exceeds Corona Flu Wave Deaths by 30-to-1, even 40-to-1, and again something like doubling under a quality-life-years modifier.
Recall also that this is far from the only form of loss, measurable in lost life-years (or lost life-year-equivalents); unemployment and work-related losses are just one, and contribute to some second-order effects such as worse health outcomes over the coming years, and potential recession suicides, as well as potential connection to the murder spike of 2020, and much more.
They say (implicitly): “Lost life-years to this one flu-virus matter!”
We say: “All Life-Years Matter.”
Which is the more defensible position in front of God? Which is the more defensible position in front of the stern eyes of History? As those yet unborn look back upon the Virus Panic of 2021-21 in decades, even centuries from now?
Closing Thoughts, and a Step into Bolder Territory
There are effects of the Corona-Panic most people scarcely understand and have never thought about because they do not think in terms of giant systems. Lost life-years from unemployment have an outward spiral effect on things like disrupted career trajectories, despair, stunted opportunities for family formation, and more.
If adding these things up, including the Lockdown- and Panic-induced deaths (which signs point to exceeding genuine virus deaths in many places), the damage done by the Panic looks to be easily hundreds of times worse, and I believe the final toll could be thousands of times worse.
Digging into the social impact of the Corona-Panic, it is actually so alarming that I am led into bolder:
The whole thing has been a giant social experiment; the gargantuan monster that is the international Pro-Panic side’s Corona-Response may be hurting (if I may be so bold) civilizational health — ironically, in the name of health. I ask: Is the Corona-Panic itself destructive enough to be a serious threat to regime-stability in those countries which embraced Lockdownism and Self-Imposed Recession?
I am reminded of the proposition that the core-age male “employment-population ratio” is a very important social-health indicator, and here we see the same story. I present a Bureau of Labor Statistics chart again:
This next one goes back to the late 1970s and is limited to males age 25 to 54:
There are several stories in these employment-population ratio datasets. For Corona-Panic Studies purposes, though, the long story short is 1930s-level sudden unemployment for core-working-age males during the Peak-Panic period and severe-recession levels thereafter.
But the Corona-Panic’s place in our broader civilizational narrative is too tempting, and this essay has covered far too much ground to continue it here. I’ll turn up the heat a notch and turn to this “civilizational analysis” in the next post.
(To be continued…)
Thanks for another interesting and useful post, Mr. Hail. I am also glad you deal with American numbers in this one, just because I’m an American reader, and I’d guess most of your readers are American. It’s not that I don’t understand the point of showing Swedish, Swiss, Belarusian, etc. data too for comparison’s sake, as you’ve done before.
As you explain all the portions of lives that are lost, it just confirms for me, and readers can see that, no, there are things that simply can’t be quantified very well. The best one can do is to get a lower bound in lost life-years for lots of these factors, and you’ve done that. Even with the lower bound, based on unemployment only, we see that on this most obvious basis, assuming one is rational vs. hysterical, this PanicFest has been a losing move.
We could run into guys that love those spreadsheets that may be able to give more complete data, such as with your quality-of-life factors. (This may be you in the future, of course.) Even then, gross assumptions must be made. Then there are factors that one just can’t really put ANY numbers to:
How does it hurt civilization and individual’s lives when elementary school children can’t see their friends in person for a year, they sit in plexiglass cages for 6 hours a day at school, can’t even play tag at recess WITH their masks on due to 6 ft. distancing requirements? How about airline passengers who, in addition to suffering the indignities of the TSA illegal searches/feel-ups, must now keep face diapers over their noses and mouths from the time setting foot in the origin terminal to going out the door at the destination* under threat of FEDERAL LAW now? That’s a New Miserable Experience for ya’. Oh, and little babies and toddlers may have seen people with face masks on anytime outside their home for all their lives that they can remember. Will they have dreams later on in life where they showed up at work without that face diaper on and were embarrassed (for me it was the pants usually)? Will they be able to understand facial expressions of others like normal people?
That miserableness aside, yeah, even for the numbers you have, they prove right away that All Life-Years Matter. Nice one, Mr. Hail!
* That could be from 3 hours to near a full day for a long international trip.
Peak Stupidity wrote:
As I wrote this essay, I kept trying to think like our tragically misguided friends on the Pro-Panic side. “What would they say?” As I am not only outside the cult but a strong critic of the cult, it’s not always easy to understand in-cult thinking. But I think they’d say this to the problem you raise:
“Children can just make up for lost time later, after the prophesied Re-Opening happens, after the evil-monster-terror-virus is slain by our efforts.” A more primordial expression of the cult’s thinking here is: “We need sacrifice some lives to appease the angry Corona-Moloch. Don’t make him mad!”
I am of course a quantification-loving type but fully realize that most are not. The best we can do is to tell the Pro-Panic person who believes/argues that children and others can make up for lost time is: Imagine one of their own best years of your own life, think about some firm examples of what made that year good for you — through personal growth, relationships, successes, newfound happiness, or whatever. Then imagine it was all shut down because people panicked over a flu virus. Everything you experienced that year? Poof. Gone. That’s what the Corona-Panic has done, and continues to do, to tens of millions, and even after it’s over that’s what it will do to many more, with opportunities stunted by the losses.
Also embedded in the “people can just make up for lost time later” argument is the very core idea here of the “Life-Years Lost” metric in one of its forms. Might we dare go so far as to say that inside most Pro-Panic partisans is an Anti-Panic partisan?
The non-fanatic “carefree Anti-Covid Crusaders” will often tell you that, “yes, this is all worth it.” They are not big-picture thinkers, as you wrote, so they believe the “Terror-Virus Fanatics” when they are told first “coupla’ weeks, we’re just gonna flatten the curve”, then “till the end of ’20, we promise”. “once everyone’s gotten a coupla’ shots”, and on and on.
You can try to convince them that this PanicFest is not a cost-free effort. I would also ask questions to the reasonable pro-Panic types like “What’s the end game?”, “When do the masks come off and when can all businesses re-open – give me a date.”, and “what about when the next virus comes? Are we gonna have to do this again?” (For me, because it’s a big pet peeve, “Is this gonna be like putting the flags at half-mast for every half-a**ed politician? Why not just get shorter flag poles and save some trouble?”)
However, I don’t think I’m going to like the answers. Remember the world before 9/11 and the TSA and Motherland Security? Many people don’t, and many don’t try to. Remember when a war had a start and a truce or surrender at the end? Many don’t, and many don’t try to. If this mandatory masking and at-whim closing and restricting business practices go on for another 1/2 year to a year, they will just be a part of life. I HATE all of it, but most American are worthless sheep, it seems…
Good points all around;
Response comment below on some new relevant developments on the Corona-Endgame question you raise.
BTW, in answer to your last question,I sure hope so. I appreciate your effort to come up with the best emotional-based arguments to convince these people too. Thanks for what you do, Mr. Hail.
Peak Stupidity wrote:
What made sense about using Sweden in epidemiological analysis (as the control/natural-experiment) does not make sense in analyzing the social and economic hit from the Corona-Panic. (Swedish job losses, it turns out, have been minimal, but that’s not a direction I think it’s useful to go here.)
After the smoke clears we have two conclusions, both of which were coolly predicted by the Anti-Panic side:
 WuhanCorona as a flu-virus matches peak flu-waves of living memory which come one-to-two times per decade (this was already roughly seeable in mid-to-late-April 2020 when the Swedish epidemic-curves curve peaked, by which time all else could be roughly extrapolated; it has been demonstrable on final/observed data for months now). General lesson: Whatever a given place’s flu-peak is, WuhanCorona will roughly re-attain it.
 There are real, major negative consequences to wild social experiments like lockdowns, which, especially if quantified in “lost life-years,” exceed virus-losses by many times (hundreds, maybe thousands of times).
I spent a long time convinced that if  was true (i.e., that there is no unusual threat here beyond that which you’ve lived through multiple times without even knowing it) and  would be obvious. But I think even  gets too little publicity.
There are bigger questions that flow from , “civilizational” in scope, which I intend to publish on in coming days.
It’s hard to make predictions Mr. Hail, so – whether in the end, corona-panic is factor 50 worse than Corona or even 100 or even more than that – is hard to tell.
The social state has its shock absorbers and for the time being in central Europe they work. How long that will be – I dunno.
If I got this right you say that a year without work is a lost year – well, lots of people would agree, but others wouldn’t.
The lost births question might not have such a strong effect on the consciousness of the masses, because (excuse me for being very simple-minded here) lost births can’t be seen (they are as of now mostly real as an imagination (= in the minds of the masses: They are unreal…)).
Another thing might be at play here, an anthropological constant, documented since biblical times: People suffer from losses much more than gains delight them.
If you combine this last point of mine with two more of the important European aspects, you are, I’d hold, at the core of the European CO-19 panic at least.
These two are: 1) Societies are getting older and older. This tendency sheds daily more light on the losses at the end of life because these become more important every day simply through the growing number of old persons.
And: 2) The West is economically in decline. People feel that and tend to simply give in (regress, instead of progress in a competition, which gets harder and harder, especially since Asia is not only catching up now but is on its way to overtake the West).
Definitely you are right that “lost births cannot be seen,” which is a hard problem to solve. (See “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen,” the influential economics essay by Frederic Bastiat from ca. 1850.)
This “problem of the unseen” is a large part of the reason why the Pro-Panic position appeals to many of the type I have here called the “Ceteris Paribus Carefree Covid-Fighter.”
They just don’t see the social-economic-political-cultural damage, sometimes because it doesn’t (seem to) affect them directly, but more fundamentally because so much of it is hidden, is not seen and often not seeable.
This is why serious people are supposed to be in charge of public policy, a safeguard against madness; this is the origin of this present attempt to show some of the damage.
Frederic Bastiat’s essay “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen” I’ll look up, thanks*****. Erich From walked on this path of insight too, pointing out that our age is not least imbalanced because of the dominance of the optical media. Essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger about the intellectual quality of TV: Zero. – Just a cotton-wool ball on your eyes (and your imagination – that’s maybe the most important cultural cost of TV etc.).
One big esthetic advantage of the novel (and the photography and the painting) is, that it purges the reader from these kinds of optically induced numbness.
****** this is also a problem of – the secularised mind. It is glued to reality. Pragmatism can be quite misleading at times. That is one of Heidegger’s (and Hegel’s**** and Goethe’s …) big points. Ernst Bloch too: That what is (=what is in front of our eyes, what can be seen) – lacks (or: hides) an essential existential quality. That of the Not Yet (the potentiality of – the world).
“The secularised mind…glued to reality” as a reservoir of potential social-problems. I like the phrasing/idea.
One way to interpret that is reality may not be what it seems; or, put another way, ‘Reality’ may not always be ‘reality.’ The problem of pseudo-realities, e.g. in our time via flashy technology (capital-R Reality) vs. lived-experience (reality).
Sometimes it helps to keep principles that work even in an (seeming/supposed) emergency.
Dieter Kief wrote:
Ironically, both things which are made worse by the effects of the Corona-Panic / Corona-Response.
Hi, Hail, thoughts on offices & work life.
Summer 2019, or thereabout, you said to me, in another venue not here, something bout how curious it was the role of office message apps and email and things displacing face-to-face communication. Even by people collaborating on same projects who need regular communication to do their tasks, talking directly often minimized, even avoided, could sometimes even go the day with almost no meaningful on-task spoken interaction.
A child’s question but not so much: Why do people go into offices if they don’t even interact? Why do offices exist? This question went from laughed at in 2019 to common sense mainstream opinion in 2020.
Yeah. Some of these things are not sudden discontinuities but a build up of pressures. The Covid Revolution carried people directions they already wanted to go, or already were going, or already had gone, with appearances to the contrary kept up for tradition sake, until, come to revolution, all the deadwood is swept away. Woosh! Right? The direction may not be a good one, but it did have momentum.
The idea of sudden lost life years in 2020 and now 2021 to Covid shutdowns and work-at-home, by same token they were losing a lot of office “life years” throughout the 2010s, right?
Even if not by that name, UBI is now mainstream in a way it was not pre-CoronaPanic. “Laughed at” in the 2010s (creeping into public consciousness by 2019), suddenly mainstream in 2020/21, with broad consensus. Of course people think they want free money, large checks sent to all, tantamount to UBI. Why not? Partly I believe this is Anti-Panic feeling finding an outlet.
I also notice that a powerful anti-UBI argument is the uncomfortable question of “Why are we here?” (= to do nothing, take “free money,” and be quiet?) and that this overlaps with the Corona Anti-Panic position (with the Pro-Panic position tending towards “We are here to do nothing except ‘not die’…” and to believe in the Virus-Religion).
The problem with revolution? True social revolutions always always always go…too far.
There are office types who kept jobs but now for 12 months rarely or never set foot in any office with other people. It goes on. Some places claiming they’ll do some kind of crackpot “work at home forever” arrangement. I personally know a few people happy with this because reasons. But I agree big picture there are major losses from this, really bigger than imagined by the dice-rollers behind the endless virus fighting.
If “work at home forever, never have any need for any office” is now a thing, doesn’t that mean, necessarily mean, a turbocharging of outsourcing and gig-economy “jobs”? No comparative advantage to you being on hand if someone in Fiji can do the same job 100%-remote; no more need by employer to provide you tools to do the job including work space, you do it yourself with your resources and we pay you as needed, when needed. And don’t say nuthin’, ‘cuz there’s a ew virus. You monster, you were thinking of complaining, werent ya?
“Dear Applicant, Due to the ongoing public health emergency of COVID-23 we have decided to cease hiring on-site staff in 2023 or 2024 out of an abundance of caution and have instead reached a virus-friendly remote-work staffing solution with our partners in Bangladesh. Stay healthy and stay safe! Best of luck. And do remember to get your five-part COVID-23 vaccine! Signed, HR Dept, Acme Corp, Anytown USA.”
“Dear Applicant, …”
Agreed on the undermining of the implicit bargain between employer and employee. There are reasons why different members of the Pro-Panic Coalition fell where they which are rooted in rational decision-making, even if the Panic write-large has always been irrational at core.
On a side note, any idea who exactly made the George Floyd killing video viral?
Danielle Frazier filmed it and posted on her Facebook page, but how did this video become viral?
This post originally included a discussion of the George Floyd Protests/Riots which were clearly caused by the Corona-Panic, but given the long length I’ve moved it to Part 2, to be published this weekend or so.
There are three possible answers to your question: one very-short-term, one medium-term, one long-term. The medium-term answer to “why the video went viral” and the protests/riots occurred is clearly the Corona-Panic itself. The George Floyd protests would never have happened without the Corona-Panic and lockdowns of the preceding three months.
There have been black riots all the time. Now the George Floyd-Riots (=GF-R) are special, But except for that? They were anti-Trump riots. And – anti-reality riots.
The main reason for the GF-R I could think of is, that they happened on the basis that the black reality is insufficient and that the reasons for this black societal reality (as pointed out correctly by Steve Sailer) are taboo at the same time. Catch-22.
It looks for me from the outside as if it would be easier for US society at large to accept the riots (and the black murder rate, cf. iSteve/ Taki’s Mag of today) than it would be to acknowledge the fact that on the basis of current politics in the US, there is no way to a sound solution of the problem of the blacks.
A Twitter commenter, Rob, writes:
Given the ongoing political purges at Twitter (including the banning of purely Corona Anti-Panic commentators), if I hope my response to survive I’d better copy it here:
Comment from karenovirus via LockdownScpetics:
Response-comment from Ed Phillips via LockdownSceptics:
Peak Stupidity wrote above:
Two interesting headlines today relevant to that:
Texas and Mississippi announce they are seceding from the Pro-Panic regime, ending all Corona-Restrictions; no more mask mandates, no more arbitrary business restrictions. (Texas’ to end March 10, a clean 51 weeks of Corona-Disruptions.)
If the Anti-Panic side has a banner, add two more stars to it along with Florida and South Dakota (how many others are fully outside the Panic regime?).
Following this news, the CDC, probably worried about this “secession” threat, has for the first time announced that if you’ve gotten the vaccine you shall be allowed to meet indoors. As some predicted, the vaccine emerges as a religious icon, a cleansing item within the cult. So that may right now stand as a tentative answer to the “Give me an end-date” question, and from on-high, the Virus Priests themselves.
Thanks for that news. It’s good to hear.
Some Pro-Panic blowhards are vowing to boycott businesses which allow in The Maskless after the state order expires.
But once state power shifts it’s hard to see how virus-masks last long. Can a business impose and enforce its own mask policy?
In Japan, mask-wearing has become a habit.
I just had another “Sir? Sir? Sir?!” incident, this time at the grocery. The employees just ignore my not wearing a mask coming in the door about 75% of the time. This guy didn’t and got a little frantic. I just kept on walking and didn’t look back … No problem.
“I may be hard of hearing, but I don’t have the ‘Rona!”
You can’t seriously believe this is going away because a handful of States have rescinded their mandates?
You may want to see this (sorry if URL code doesn’t work):
He asks what would be a rational response to COVID? (time spent on counter measures and lost to disruptions)….. Why doesn’t it scale linearly, so if a virus is 2x worse why the response is 1000x stronger?
Good link. Here is the thought-experiment as he presents it:
The problem is, to the vast majority of the public, years of life and human suffering ONLY matter if the media decides that they are ‘a thing’. With the Left basically controlling all of the major institutions of the country, we can’t have a reasonable discussion. That’s why my prediction remains that this ends in blood.
Jehu, good to see you. The concept of the “Media-Filtered Reality” applies, which I believe is a key to understanding both Covid as social phenomenon and much else in our time.
I am grateful for having found this covid sceptic site. There seem to be so few. Off-Guardian is the one I usually go to (it was from them that I found out about this one).
I have only skimmed over some of your articles, but it seems to me there is a gap in your commentary – although it has been touched on briefly in the comments. I’m talking about what seems to me to be the entire movement of the mainstream media onto its “Left foot”.
Since I have always considered myself to be on the Left, it confused me when the Left seemed to charge straight into the covid narrative with no hesitation. But on digging a little here, I have found there has been a few basic presuppositions that have grounded this Left support for covid.
First, there has been talk of “the Big One”. This refers to some viral catastrophe that has supposedly become increasingly unavoidable under capitalism. The “argument” goes that covid must be real because “something like this was bound to happen sooner or later”.
Second, following on from the first, is that covid has become a “trigger for revolution”. And anyone who doubts the covid story must be a capitalist apologist. It has been truly insufferable how many Left sites seem to think that all they have to do is to draw a connection between scepticism and the Right to demolish such scepticism.
But this leads to some embarrassing developments. There is the need to present the lockdowns, restrictions etc. as something foisted on the rulers by the people. UK PM Boris Johnson very cunningly presented himself as someone reluctant to impose lockdown even after he had made a deal with American company OMD to promote the lockdown. The World Socialist Website even went so far as to claim that it was wildcat strikes across Europe that forced the various governments to impose lockdown – a truly idiotic idea considering that the UK miners’ strike of the 80s lasted a year and achieved nothing.
Meanwhile the Left sites take a strange schizophrenic attitude towards covid – claiming on the one hand that the death figures are played down (?!) whilst on the other, totally ignoring covid altogether.
And then I stumbled on one Left site, Bylinetimes, who laid out the full mythology of covid: the “No Alternative” neoliberalism initially championed by Thatcher and Reagan has now been ditched for a new “No Alterative” i.e. the fight against covid. This stirring development has been created through a gradual “conquering” of the various Western governments by all those protest movements over the decades (Occupy, Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter etc.) These movements have somehow managed to force a moment of Scrooge like repentance on the rulers who now bend to “our will”!
Yes, it’s deeply silly stuff. But this is what passes for received wisdom in the Left. Actually, I don’t think it can be dismissed as simply silly. I think it is a deliberately incubated manoeuvre that has been in the pipeline for a while. Hence my description of an establishment move onto “the Left foot”.
George, thanks for the comment. Your line of inquiry is important though not something I have often focused on directly. There is a clear political layer to this, which I have elsewhere called the “Corona-Coup-d’Etat.” (At the same time, it would be wrong to dismiss the whole thing as political.)
I am far from alone in believing an important reason why the US Left embraced “Covid” as a disaster-narrative and demanded war-like mobilization and endless lockdowns and all of it, was to defeat Trump. This became a tacit party-line by late March and April 2020. It rippled outward towards the USA’s “satellites,” foremost of which was the UK (due to shared language at the least) and I am sure influenced decisions there.
There were also right-wing governments and politicians equally enthusiastic in pulling the ‘Panic’ and ‘Lockdown’ triggers, even into 2021. And of course social-democratic standard-bearer Sweden of course never did any crazy Corona-Lockdowns at all. In all cases, we can say that the political forces which pushed Lockdowns benefitted from them locally, and therefore they have every reason to silence discussion of the effects.
I think both the “structural” reasons you identify are correct: The green-ecological strand of Western politics, now well established, has a catastrophist wing and while it doesn’t map out perfectly to the Covid Crisis as it developed, it’s close enough in spirit to be an inspiration. Plus the temptation to social revolution and remaking the world (as in a great ‘reset,’ if you will) is traditionally associated with the Left..
As for popular mobilization against Capitalist Greedy Establishment (etc.) forces, a self-defining narrative-strand of much of the Left: The Internet and computing technology are a weapon-of-mass-destruction inserted into that conventional-weapons war. The Left were put in the awkward position of the proverbial generals who have prepared very well “for the last war;” with the addition of the “WMDs” into the political sphere, things can go terribly wrong — and did. As someone put it well: “Social media was the real contagion.”
Since it turned out that Bangladeshis in GB are 60% more vulnerable to CO-19 than the natives, this was a factor too: CO-19 as understood by the left as a threat to open borders (= their One World utopia).
Same thing in Germany, where a minor public turmoil took place when AfD “right-winger” Beatrix von Storch made public that German intensive care patients are a whopping 50%+ migrants (and even more in the group of those in a “critical” condition).
First reaction: A call for the secret service to take care of Beatrix von Storch and her party (in the meantime realized…). And: Neglect – she is lying throughout!
Two days later: Robert Koch Institute’s big man Professor Lothar Wieler admits that yes, von Storch’s numbers are correct, but that that indicates nothing at all but a bad practice of the German social workers who have obviously done no great job in delivering the necessary information…because there are not enough social workers: a big governmental failure altogether, according to Professor Wieler (btw. – incredible nonsense, all that).
So – since everybody in Germany knew what was going on in the intensive care units, it became even more important that all the native Germans intensified their discipline in the Lockdown – to protect the open borders policy of the Government (most likely the single most important political goal – only comparable to the fight against – climate change).
And it made even more sense, that on the left, georgemci, the voices calling for “Zero Covid” became louder – not only to protect the most vulnerable – migrants – but also to demask the antihuman character of The Deadly System (Giorgio Agamben) of capitalism. The Zero Covid movement is clearly on the left in Germany – and for good reasons.
Update: US Bureau of Labor Statistics released February 2021 employment numbers today:
No change in the employment-population ratio. Males Age 20+ now stuck for five months at or near 65.5% (Oct 2020 to Feb 2021), which is lower than the worst of the 2008-09 recession.
Total private-sector employment is up to 121.6 million but to match Pre-Panic needs ca. 132m.
Oh, and Federal Govt employees:
2.863m in Feb 2020
2.865m in Feb 2021
Peak Stupidity on “All Lives Matter”
Tom Woods’ latest, a “speakeasy talk” in California against lockdowns, worth listening:
0:00-2:50 Set up and intro recorded later
2:50-6:50 Woods’ intro to his talk at the event
6:45-(to end) Main talk
“COVID and the Two Americas” (download link).
“This topic is the most important one of our lifetimes!” — Tom Woods
1) Uhh – the applause was not strong at all when he spoke about dying maybe one and a half years earlier without perfect protection against CO-19. – – – People shy away from such alternatives or choices. A blind spot. (I pointed that out in another context in spring – with ho-hum results too from non-panics.)
2) Tom Woods’s separation of scientific and existential questions is simple and correct (= really good).
Right too: That secularized people tend to approach science with existential hopes (thrivings/longings). A mismatch set up for – may I put it this way: A mismatch set up for second best results (in a best-case scenario)…
The basic line: Myths (=religion) take in loss. The modern mindset is set out to win (at all costs…). Not least because science has no answer for existential questions.
If anyone is interested, this refers to the section of the talk between 27:10 and 30:40.
ML wrote, above:
I’m trying to think about how the Corona-Panic as social phenomenon “ends” (under the assumption that it has to “end” some time), how the Corona-Cult breaks apart and fades and loses its dominant position even if not disappearing. (I do expect some form of the Pro-Panic coalition agitating about the latest virus may last many years, now that they’ve got a taste of this, as others point out, many became emotionally addicted to the whole thing.)
For the past year, the Pro-Panic side has had legally enforceable laws/”mandates” behind it, in a word, state-backing (by the new corona-‘juntas’). Even in cases the laws were not vigorously enforced, the announcement of such laws alone if a major deterrent to social defections to the Anti-Panic side or open acts of resistance.
What happens when the laws/mandates/orders are lifted? The Virus-Cult still exists, the Pro-Panic coalition still exists, the virus demagogues still exist, but all of a sudden there could be a sudden breakthrough for an Anti-Panic social movement. The mask-taboo broken, the “demonstration effect” can trigger mass resistance from our side, which previously seemed weak but was always strong but disoriented, on its back foot. All it can take is a trigger. Will states lifting “mask mandates” be the trigger? If not, what else could be?
I think our difference here is that you have focused mostly, if not solely, on the social phenomenon, which of course you admit right there, while I’ve gone deeper into the demagoguery of it — a trail that very quickly leads to, and dead-ends at, Bill Gates.
These days I am fond of simply stating that Bill Gates is Big Pharma. He is plugged into so many vectors of the industry (and far beyond), his influence so vast and total, that there’s no need to multiply entities and speak of “Pharma” apart from Gates’ own agenda. The two are identical. The WHO alone is a massive Trojan Horse accepted by governments which Washington only dreams of infiltrating.
There was a lot of things that came together at once in the COVID phenomenon, as I’m sure you’ve considered as well — maximum growth, peak population, energy depletion, a Big Tech singularity expressing itself in medicine, surveillance, censorship, obsession with energy and “transhumanism”, “wokeness” as peak political correctness, media militancy, the general neurotic denialism inherent to the worldview of equality, and the narcissism of the modern consuming unit, from septuagenarian technocrat elites to hood-rats on Twitter.
So, it isn’t just the biggest and stupidest example of bandwagon effect in all of history. It really is an attempt at a great reset, as they were kind enough to announce on day one. And that means some rescinded mask mandates and any kind of social cascade probably won’t be enough to make a dent in the new dispensation. They have already used force and they will again. There is too much money at stake, too much psychological investment in the lie, to let it go. People in denial are more vicious than someone backed into a corner — the latter will lash out; the former will punish.
Expecting people invested in this lie to get over it is almost like saying: I expect social media and all the vicious people on it to disappear at some point. I guess if the energy is cut off, that will indeed happen; but it isn’t something to count on.
You’re also assuming mandates and the like will be lifted in all but the current handful of States. I don’t believe they will; neither does Anglin. We haven’t been wrong so far! Nothing about this situation indicates that those behind it, and those in charge locally, have any interest in turning back the clock. That isn’t what people in control tend to do.
My point is that it is not only or even primarily a psychological phenomenon. Thus, we can’t expect a countervailing trend to be the end of it. This is not a moribund phenomenon; it is a new one, drawing on all the strands of modernity at once. Corona-panic as such may not be the name in a couple years’ time, but the policies, habits, and effects spawned by it will be with us for as long as we live, as you acknowledge.
Will states lifting “mask mandates” be the trigger? If not, what else could be?
If it were to happen, it could trickle down from the media — these are the masters of blackwhite, after all, so some blogger at NYT could decide to write about masking being reminiscent of colonialism or whatever permutation of the dogma, and off it will go through the ranks of morons. Or you could turn on CNN tomorrow and find those creepy queers just pretending it never happened. Nothing should surprise us now.
Great comment, ML.
I agree with all of what you’ve said, basically, or at least find nothing to disagree with. You’re right that as I have approached the puzzle I’ve emphasized different things. I have written cumulative tens of thousands of words in different venues against the Corona-Panic over the past year, and have tended to avoid political analysis and the Great Reset topic — I don’t know that I can offer any new insight on it.
The problem with broaching some of those topics is people hear something you say, think “conspiracy theory,” and the Pavolv Bell mechanism kicks in.
Granted this is true, with many people, for any Anti-Panic argument at all, even the lowest-hanging-fruit ones (which is a telltale sign of a religious phenomenon, no debate allowed).
With some lines of argument and inquiry it is even more blatant and leaves a Neutral or Pro-Panic observer with the damaging imagery of the Anti-Panic side as being mainly crazy, conspiracy-theory, tin-foil-hat people at the core, and their dupes around them, with auxiliary wings of narcissistic, selfish, and misanthropic people who want people to die of the Terror-Virus. Something like that.
As to Conspiracy Theories. I quote Tom Woods in his recent lockdown-breaking talk in California [section starting at 30:40]:
It’s a good distillation of the two arguments. Why was there this bizarre Virus Revolution, Virus-Cult, Corona-Panic, call it what you will. In simplest terms: “Stupid or Evil?”
In any kind of ultra-simplified reality like that, the ‘answer’ usually “both.” Stupid and evil. In that context I say that stupid is the easier battle-front to attack on, the softer target so to speak. (Harder questions are the old: “Who? When? How? Why?” Each of which has thousands, even tens of thousands, of words of potential for whoever writes the proverbial Authoritative History of the Corona-Panic.)
I’d also rather go with stupid when it comes to the stupid-or-evil? question.
The stupid part I’d like to look at: It’s oftentimes a rather elaborate form of stupidity. The one that is – educated, but – – not in a good way.
Steve Sailer points out often times how the lack of “experience” (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Rogan) in modern societies weakens modern man’s ability to judge. – It is easier, that is Sailer’s often brought forward example pro Darwin, to understand that IQ is something in part biological if you know about breeding animals. For those without this kind of empirical knowledge, it is easier to neglect science – or to obfuscate it.
Lao Tzu found that being educated is something tricky because it distracts you from experience – I think, that that is an observation that is close to Steve Sailer’s thoughts about the loss of experience as a turbo-charger for scientific misconceptions and/or bad science. The result of that: People believe in impossible things, as Malcolm Kendrick puts it:
Reality vs. Pseudo-Reality.
Expanded thoughts below.
By the way — thank you for all your work on this. Matters would be that much darker without you.
The Alarmist writes:
PeterIke on “Intentional Evil” vs. “Unintentional Stupidity”:
(via Peak Stupidity)
This is also, in part, functionally a response to ML’s comment above.
Noticed today that Pat Buchanan has turned to Corona-demagoguery on the topic of US-Mexico border migrants.
I’ve never said anything really derogatory about Pat Buchanan. In his day he was a true Conservative. (Imagine if he had won the GOP nomination in ’92 or ’96.) Right now, his thought patterns are stuck in 1980-90s mode. Sure, we can just vote our way out of this, organize our party over the next 10 years (while 10 million new D-voters come in, LEGALLY) get the right guys on the Ways and Means Committee, get this unConstitutional stuff overturned in the Appellate court of the 4th circuit in .. whatever… Pat it doesn’t work that way anymore!
The guy is 10 to 40 years behind in understanding how things work in this country. The Establishment has all the power, and we are not in it.
That said, I only saw 2 lines in Mr. Buchanan’s latest column that referred to the pandemic. One was in a quote from a border area congressman and the other was a quick sop to the black “community” with the pandemic giving them the “heaviest collective hit”. (Really, Pat, do any black people read your column? OK, the one guy, Thomas Sowell.) Buchanan does not sound like a real Panicker to me, Mr. Hail. He just put in those 2 lines to show the left that he is all bipartisan and sh*t. (No, they don’t like him anyway.) This was his March 9th column.
This is the wording I found troubling:
Once “Covid” as an issue reached a certain level, it became too tempting to ‘demagogue’ on it. Lots of people came to see reason to continue the Panic to advance their pet issues. The problem is, Demagoguing on the Virus-Panic itself reinforces the Virus-Panic. Dilemma.
Not that right-wing immigration-restriction rhetoric has been a driving force (except in part in the very earliest weeks). But the Buchanan line — “national survival crisis“! — does remind me of the dilemma.
Trump was guilty of this. Constantly attacking China over how bad the virus is, basically replacing the old trade-war and IP-theft rhetoric he used in the late 2010s with Virus-rhetoric. “Covid” never actually was that bad, but Trump’s own anti-China tough-guy talk boxed himself in. Was Trump’s biggest failure that he didn’t come out swinging as an Anti-Panic hardliner?
I missed that part, Mr. Hail. Yes, I would call that demagoguery. If Mr. Buchanan had brought up lots of more points that VDare (especially writer Brenda Walker, as I recall) has been pointing out for 2 decades, about diseases we haven’t seen in 40-60 years (TB being one) re-appearing in the country after coming in from the south, that’d have been better.
I haven’t seen much else by Pat Buchanan on the ‘Rona, so I guess he is making this point just to turn things around on the D’s. I realize this Panic/Anti-panic divide doesn’t fall along political lines for average people, but at the government/presidential election level it did – witness Steve Sailer’s posts from Nov or so on how Pfizer deliberately extended their otherwise already successful trials of their vaccine till after the election. Now, Mr. Sailer is fixated way too much on vaccines-NOW! IMO, but he had some very important posts on this.
“Demagoguing on the Virus-Panic itself reinforces the Virus-Panic.” I do agree with that. I guess what he’s doing in his columns is pure politics.
RE Dieter Kief, above:
Reality vs. Pseudo-Reality. There is a risk of going off into deep philosophy here; to try to keep it grounded:
We can make a list of things that detach lived-experience from perceived-reality — some economic-based, some social, some technological, some even ideological. In fact, ALL ideologies do this. The 1980s movie “They Live” is a great metaphor for it. But of course there was no pre-existing “Corona Ideology” or “Lockdown Ideology” (nor even one fully formed yet one year ago, as early March became mid-March 2020, even if one was evolving fast, coming on fast by that time).
The Educated-Theoretical vs. Lived-Empirical “Knowledge Gap” may explain why some very smart and educated people were at-risk for falling into the Corona-Panic trap, and some are still stuck in the trap today. I am thinking of many of them now as I write this, people I know personally and also semi-public personalities whose commentary I have followed.
If this were the dominant factor, you’d have think we might have had major Flu Panics before. I think it’s fair to say the Education-vs.-Experience problem was already strongly in place in 2009, in the post-industrial West, when the Influenza-A-H1N1 pandemic happened. But of course there were no lockdowns or major Virus-Panic in 2009, and by the early 2010s most people forgot there was any “pandemic” the year before at all, and had to be reminded (Christmas 2010: “Do you remember that thing about a so-called Swine Flu back in 2009?” “Uhh, well, I think so…”)
People have made this point repeatedly but when I think about the CoronaPanic-as-social-phenomenon, I can’t escape coming back to it: The Internet + fast-computing turbo-charged our collective risk of falling into various kinds of Pseudo-Realities.
In 2009 the Internet Era as we now understand it had not yet truly begun, or was still too weak, to have pushed even most people with pre-existing risk towards falling into a long Flu-Virus-Panic to have achieved it . (It seems like a science-fiction “stock” story: Humans create a technological marvel, which eventually turns into their enemy or is used against them.)
Mr. Hail, I agree about the internet (and TV): It sucks people into their own minds and makes them thus more narcissistic (=self-centered, lonesome, too) and – less experienced. Since they don’t get this (smart people too) they are establishing a cult that spreads weakness and fear and makes people more vulnerable throughout. CO-19 is the most important one of their collective sanctuaries. The screen in front of their eyes is the new “tabernacle of the central mystery” (novelist Eckhard Henscheid) of our age.
See here – that seems related:
The empty Religion of Instagram – How Did Influencers Become Our New Moral Authorities? Many millennials who have turned their backs on religious tradition because it isn’t sufficiently diverse or inclusive have found alternative scripture online. Our new belief system is a blend of left-wing political orthodoxy, intersectional feminism, self-optimization, therapy, wellness, astrology and Dolly Parton.
By Leigh Stein
Ms. Stein is the author of the novel “Self Care,” a satire of the wellness industry and influencer culture.
Fat people are overwhelmingly in intensive care beds in the US, the CDC found in a study
These screens and the lockdown and laziness add all up quite nicely and put the bodies at rest, which then get ill. People feel that something is not right and – that’ just how wonderful everything works: They are told right away on these magic screens right in front of their fat selves, to paraphrase a women’s lib book of the eighties, that yes: There is a reason to worry. – Voilà: The perfect feedback loop in the virtual sphere.
A thought I have published quite a few times with rather poor results: The screen is counterproductive when it comes to analyzing or (even properly understanding) muddy parts of reality. Tom Wolfe did elaborate in Back to Blood on this via an example of how a scene on local TV in Miami disconnects people from and confuses them about what actually happened (see George Floyd story too). –
– But as I said: Nobody cares much about Tom Wolfe’s perfect example of how misleading TV scenes can be for the public – not least because they are so deceptively close to reality (and experience), while in reality, they are artifacts. A distinction that is very important me thinks but at the same time poorly understood and – widely underrated.
(I end up in even deeper philosophical waters once again: It has become more difficult to escape Plato’s cave of illusion than it was in the days of old – due to progress (and as I said: I agree here with what you remarked above, Mr. Hail: Not least due to technical progress in the sphere of electronic data transfer…vulgo: The internet…which intensifies the longing to live your personal fantasies more (and evermore) intensly – by making these phantasies real via speed – – – – and by turning them into a new form of hyper-individuality)).
Excellent points and I agree with them.
I began to write a reply on the topic of Millennials, but I realize there is enough to say on the topic to justify a new post rather a long, deep-thread comment (I hope to publish it in the coming week).
Scott Atlas is back:
At risk?! Try GONE, Scott. We have to take it back.
That’d mean taking the institutions back. That’d mean burning them down first. It’s the only way to be sure …
I could go line-by-line in Atlas’ essay (actually a transcript of a speech): “This one, he believes; this one is boilerplate, he’s saying it it because he has a reputation to protect.”
So it is with the Anti-Panic side. To offer Anti-Panic arguments, you have to almost preemptively apologize and lay a little rhetorical wreath at the Panic altar. In other words, Dr Atlas forces himself to concede a lot of the Panic’s premises (which he doesn’t believe) in order to feel safe making his arguments. Call it Overton Window Insurance.
Still the speech/essay is much better than almost anything I’ve seen from any US federal government adviser in 12+ months.
LEADING PRO-PANIC TERROR-VIRUS FANATIC DISCREDITED
Leading Pro-Panic Corona-Propagandist Eric “Fingle-Dingle,” who demands the masses stay loyal to the Panic, who demands steady or increased sacrifices to the CoronaPanic-god, who demands public places in the USA stay closed, including schools, for as long as possible, it’s now been revealed last year secretly shipped off his own children to in-person schools in Austria. While warning in the most extreme terms of imminent mass-death if schools opened in-person in the USA.
Doctor Dingle-Fingle was influential in several US states’ decisions to keep schools closed or heavily restricted, and contributes to the Pro-Panic stranglehold also on colleges, many of which have apparently ‘canceled’ the traditional March “Spring Break” week, presumably under penalty of expulsion if a student is discovered to have traveled.
Fingle-Dingle continues to agitate for schools to remain closed to this day; he and the rest of the Pro-Panic leaders have already taken away entirely or majorly disrupted 1/4 of the 2019-20 school year and in many places 3/4 of the 2020-21 school year (so far), millions of children will hardly know any 2020-21 school year at all. (What of the upcoming 2021-22 school year? We’ll have to wait for Doctor Dingle’s prophesying in August or so, in consultation with the other Pro-Panic soothsayers.)
Fingle-Dingle (real name: Feigl-Dingle; a human who identifies as a male but given that evidence on the question is inconclusive should probably be treated as gender-neutered for inclusion’s sake) was always one of the most deranged Corona-Fanatics of all, his propaganda stretching the limits of plausibility (“beyond parody,” as it were), yet he became a thought-leader and opinion-leader on the Pro-Panic side.
What does this mean within the framework of Terror-Virus-Fanatic and Carefree-Covid-Fighter as the two archetypes on the Pro-Panic side? Mad Doctor Feigl-Dingle is a nutritionist and Biden Team guy but who has claimed to be a virus expert. His passing himself off as an Epidemeologist (when he is qualified as a nutritionist) is itself a warning-sign of a possible con-artist at work.
Fingle-Ding clearly reinforced the Terror-Virus-Fanatic node of the Panic Coalition while also contributing to the general religious swirl of it all, keeping the rubes in awe with latest revelations from the heavens, or the tea leaves, or whatever he uses. But of course man who truly believed the Terror-Virus-Fanatic doctrines which Feigl-Ding has consistently and histrionically preached for over a year should not be secretly shipping his own children off to in-person education, right?
He essentially emerged as a priest, soothsayer, a prophet, a shaman of the Covid-Religion. Yet here we see him revealed as a con-artist, a liar, a hardline-vegetarian anti-meat crusader revealed to eat large portions of steak twice a day. At the very top of a lot of these kinds of doomsday cults there end up being con-artists. Is there some reason besides self-promotion that Dr Dingle-Fingle has done what he’s done?
I basically replied here:
Sorry for barrage. It’s hard to find time to sit down and hack something out in a focused way, alas.
“The problem with broaching some of those topics is people hear something you say, think “conspiracy theory,” and the Pavolv Bell mechanism kicks in.”
Yep. They found a rhetorical kill-shot with “conspiracy theorist”. It’s proved even better than “Nazi”.
Re: “Stupid or evil?”
As far as Gates, just evil, if we’re going to use such terms. We would wade into his personal psychology, which I don’t believe is that complex. He’s well-known as an autocrat among those who have worked with him. He’s obviously trying to carry on and bring to a grand conclusion his father’s work, so there’s filial piety. And, of course, a man with power always enjoys power, even secretly.
There’s really too much going on. What about that Laura M. Glass and her school project that recommended lockdowns and social distancing as a “pandemic response” back in 2014? All these bizarre eggheads and their “systems analysis” — this was a huge part of what fed into it.
As far as the sociology of Panic believers, nothing tops what you’ve done here. You’re also a highly satisfying English stylist, if I may add.
A comment at Unz that was just rate-limited (Unz singled me out early on as a denier):
“How coronamania happened:
– The Gates agenda
– The effect of the total medical “ecosystem” exploring one of the few remaining profitable niches
– The effect of social media on creating the illusion of pandemic and enforcing moralism about it
– The effect of the research “ecosystem” creating a problem that didn’t exist because they were trained and paid to speculate on such problems
Against this – which is hard but not impossible to map – it’s easy to understand why people would prefer just to believe it’s a real thing, and that China “did it”. Very few will want to zoom out and try to grasp the magnitude of what is actually going on here.”
Obviously there’s overlap in those, and the common vector is always Gates.
Mr. Lentini, I noted Mr. Unz’s article up there. That’s just more of what I wrote about on Peak Stupidity in Where have you gone, Ronald Unzio, …. Ron Unz will never admit he’s been wrong on anything. He’s been right on a lot, but this PanicFest is all around him, yet he doubles down on that “Fort Detrickk! Fort Detrick!” thing. It’s based on circumstantial evidence, but even if it were true, this PanicFest with the stripping of rights and liberties, is much more important than the virus itself and where it came from.
Ron Unz doesn’t get out much. To me, that’s the best explanation of his missing the biggest story in a long while going on right around him.
A little hypothesis on why the brilliant Ron Unz got mentally mired in the Panic:
Hypothesis: Ron Unz would have turned Anti-Panic quickly had the whole thing started anywhere but China.
Unz has expressed a lot of admiration for China, which, afaik, he has never been to. I’ve been there, most recently in fact in Dec. 2019, just before the first reports Apocalypse Virus Discovered in Chinese Interior came out. There are things to admire. There is much NOT to admire.
I interpret the China/CCP-cheerleading by Unz and people like him to be a postmodern Western political cargo cult.
I hadn’t known you had been to China, Mr. Hail. That was fortuitous, as I guess you missed all the “fun”. I have been there 11 times, as I’ve written Mr. Unz when he pushes his all his pro-China comments and posts. No, he has not been there, as he was corresponding with me in the comments then, when I asked (before I got dubbed a “random rightwing ranter”, haha).
In fact, I suggested to Mr. Unz that he go there sometime in mid-’19 or so, well before the COVID. I wrote to the effect of “hey, you’ve got the money. Get a visa, take a month or more, and go see for yourself.”. I’m not sure I suggested it, but bringing a long a Chinese speaker would have been a great help in real information gathering. Well, he didn’t take my advice, and now it’d be a real hassle for him to go. It may not get easier for a long time, the way things are going with political relations, not just the Kung Flu panic.
You are likely right with that reason for Mr. Unz wanting to side with the panickers. Additionally he is against all things American, not just the government and some of the people, as I am. He likes China, and thinks they do everything right. They cleaned up their COVID mess, as far as he knows… If he can blame it on this conspiracy of those Deep State rogue folks, then that makes American look bad and the Chinese not look bad (as in, it wasn’t from bats, and it didn’t get out of that new lab in Wuhan). If the Americans are going to look bad, and the Chinese good, then it’d be better for that cause if this disease is like the Black Plague 2.0, with millions and millions (said in a Johnny Carson imitating Carl Sagan voice) dead.
Ron Unz thinks he likes China.
A PRC version of Unz would end up in prison for writing/publishing wrongthink.
China also bullies neighbors in ways Unz would protest if the US regime did the same.
Gonna be honest – I mistook Unz’s position as “China did it to us”, not “American neocons did it to China”. This undoubtedly makes me look dumb, but, in my defense, I have never completed an entire essay of his, because a) I’m not a numbers guy and b) the premise is usually off-base in such an obvious way that it almost looks intentional, as if he sat back and said, “Well Ron, this conclusion would be too dangerous; let’s shift the frame a little over there, just to fuck with our readers.”
Fortunately for my credibility, which doesn’t matter anyhow, the “American neocons did it to China” hypothesis is equally, if not more absurd than “China did it to us”.
He’s a hero for hosting real free speech, even though he curtailed my comments – probably for the best, to keep being honest – but he’s also a boomer egghead, which makes him prone to both fear of death and an extreme intellectual defense of something transparently stupid.
“I interpret the China/CCP-cheerleading by Unz and people like him to be a postmodern Western political cargo cult.”
It’s always the lonely math guys. This is not complicated. Over there on the far side of the egghead curve, a place where things are designed more “intelligently” is paradise; and if in paradise people wear masks, then masks must be intelligent; and if something went wrong in paradise, it must have originated outside of paradise.
Greetings again, Marshall Lentini — I agree with your points. What you write is suggestive of just how interesting the Corona-Panic is. There is more to it than “did China ‘do it’ or not” or “do masks work” or other flashpoint questions. It’s a question of technology ‘backfiring,’ and mixed up with elite agendas.
I’m interested in the idea that the Corona-Panic was a disaster waiting to happen, given levels of technology achieved by maybe circa 2010. Internet/heavy-computing-power and to the ability to mobilize resources to do mass-testing and all, all of it turned our theoretical civilizational strengths into major weaknesses; with inferior technology the entire Corona wave would have passed almost unremarked upon, few noticing or caring, very few remembering in a year, no recession, no ongoing disruptions, no cratering birthrates, no burning of social capital.
In retrospect, maybe the surprise is that something like this (in simple terms, the drawn-out delusion of a pandemic) took so long to happen.
As you yourself were able to see through it all from early on as your earlier comments at the Unz Review and here show, I wonder about a corollary point: If there were people with “pre-existing immunity” to the Corona-Panic, what was it that gave them this “immunity”? Now past the 12-month park of the breakthrough of the Panic, we have a long perspective on the matter. What do you think?
I’ll tell you what will give you immunity to the Corona-Panic, Mr. Hail. Not watching TV for 20 years will! When you see those idiotic blabbering talking heads acting, or actually being, all concerned about this and that, giving out “important” advice left and right, you just see how silly the whole thing is after all those years of being away.
Regarding your last reply to me about Ron Unz, that was my thumbs-up. I agree completely. You’d think he’d know this…
I think untangling why person x went along with the Panic and person y did not, is mostly a matter of personal history, beyond usual factors like age, sex, religion, income, etc. I mean you never know who is capable of critical thinking or just happened to see through the hoax; the boomer grandmother might surprise you by being staunchly Anti-Panic, while the tough guy in his 30’s says shit like “in these COVID times” and “be safe”. Ultimately the herd animal, the more easily suggestible, will always be in the majority, and that’s why the hoax was allowed to happen.
Part of a comment over at Unz: “In addition, we used to talk all the time about the psychological effect of massive suggestive forces. Go into any classroom and start talking about the possibility of food poisoning in the cafeteria and you’ll get a sizeable percentage of the class feeling nauseous. The entire universe of opinion influencers told the world population that it was suffering from a very infectious disease and issued detailed descriptions of its symptoms. I know from my associations that this suggestive effect was powerful. It most likely led to many deaths among the vulnerable.”
“I’m interested in the idea that the Corona-Panic was a disaster waiting to happen, given levels of technology achieved by maybe circa 2010.”
Law of the instrument, brochacho. The machine compels its own conclusion. All the more when a super-wealthy genius is there to guide it.
I’m sorry to say I predicted this, but I speculated a few years ago about there arising some consortium of elites who would decide on a course of action for the global economy after peak growth, which I guess we passed a while back. Obviously, I reasoned, this would come out of Davos, but I didn’t do any digging and so I didn’t discover the medical angle, Bill Gates or anything, which was all happening in plain sight, as we now see.
The options were full speed ahead Harding-style tragedy of the global commons, or someone or some group starting to envision a post-growth civilization and think of ways to push us toward it before we got pulled by some domino effect of resource collapse. One must admit, indeed, that the medical angle solved the collective action problem itself — Gates’ agenda got everyone cooperating with, or at least obeying, the litany of bizarre rituals his acolytes came up with.
Of course as Anglin notes, the Gates agenda and vision are doomed to fail, and it will eventually come to a Harding-style tragedy of the commons, because Gates and the whole ecosystem of those in support of technocracy start from false premises with which I know you to be familiar — blank slatism, the corrigibility of human affairs, and so on. The problem with trying to solve the progress trap of civilization is that there was never any incontestable proof that it could be solved or corrected, nor can there be; so Gates, nefarious and quixotic super-villain though he be, may live to see his project crash and burn on the skids of human intransigence.
Coming back to this comment, let me substantiate how I “called it” in 2018, in a review of Heilbronner’s An Inquiry Into The Human Prospect —
Writing was on the walls. It’s our fault for not spotting the “healthcare” angle and Gates standing there in his gorilla suit. Not that anything could have been done to avoid it!
Good to hear from you, Marshall Lentini.
My reply below.
Martin Kulldorff has recently taken to commenting on Swedish politics.
He is, in fact, a world-leading epidemiologist (Harvard) and in Corona-Panic terms he is an Anti-Panic public figure (since mid-2020, some months late to the game but a welcome addition, Kulldorff began arguing the exact same things Knut Wittkowski had in April 2020 when the latter was declared persona-non-grata and banned everywhere except LinkedIn). He is co-head of the Anti-Panic “Great Barrington Declaration” (in which tens of thousands of health experts have signed, demanding a no-compromise end to the Panic and end to all virus disruptions and rules).
He is a Swede by origin, but has seldom commented on Sweden because he does not live there and to the extent he is a public figure now, it’s in the USA. His comments on Swedish politics are also not “about” Swedish politics itself but about what the Panic is or can be, the political side to the Corona-Panic-Question.
Kulldorff says the right-wing opposition party in Sweden is agitating for lockdowns, with some success in galvinizing people on the domestic Pro-Panic side there, but the center-left government continues to refuse lockdowns or any similar disruptions, business closures, or anything like that. (Kulldorff seems to be a center-left supporter but has seldom commented on politics of any kind, US or any other.)
Kulldorff says the left-wing Greens are now demanding all the (tame) Covid restrictions and guidelines be removed entirely ASAP and the full glory of spring 2021 enjoyed, the book closed forever on the Corona-Panic. Mapping political-ideology onto Pro- vs. Anti-Panic in the USA, this is a really strange alternate-reality.
The center-left Sweden government has heroically resisted Lockdown for the entire duration of the Corona-Panic, yielding relatively minimal job losses, limited social disruption, a mild(er) economic hit (than the lockdown regimes imposed on themselves; with neighbors all in recession, Sweden, as a heavy trading country with so much of its GDP tied up with foreign trade, was bound to go into recession too), and deaths in Sweden’s elderly-and-weakest population cohort higher than usual but consistent with a severe flu wave of the kind seen about twice a decade.
Why is the right-wing opposition in Sweden embracing Pro-Panic rhetoric? Kulldorff says they are trying to score political points by hyping Covid. This is one of the central evils of the entire Corona-Panic, of course. He tacitly attacks thereby the US-Left, but would never say so directly, recognizing who controls discourse.
The lesson is, embracing the Pro-Panic mindset in such an extreme way need not be a tool by the “Left” against the “Right;” it can be anybody vs. anybody, depending on how the cards fall. It appears to me the same in Germany — the lockdowns were led by the centrist CDU, not from pressure from the left-wing parties; and just as many of the lockdown’s loudest advocates are from the right side of the CDU not its left side. (However, the AfD right-wing opposition in Germany’s case was the only hardline and consistent Anti-Panic voice there.) (Germany had two important regional elections this weekend and the AfD lost seats in both, with voters shifting not to Pro-Lockdown parties but to the even more Anti-Lockdown “Freie Wähler” grouping. Or so I interpret the results.)
The idea that the Right would demand Corona-Lockdowns, as Kulldroff says is happening in Sweden, is disorienting in that it is the opposite of the March 2020 to November 2020 experience in the USA, when “Covid” was the political bludgeon-of-choice much of the time by Left against Right (or Trump specifically). The way the Panics work, it could well have been the opposite.
The lesson is: Demagoguing on a flu virus is not only dangerous, destructive, disgraceful and dishonorable (it is those things), it’s also to a great extent arbitrary. Anybody can put on the demagogue’s cap and try to rile people up.
One sign of strong leadership is a steady hand, which includes refusing to indulge in such panicky behavior and refusing the devil’s temptation of demagoguing for personal gain at major social cost. Incidentally, that was the topic of my very first full post here “Against the Corona-Panic” back in early April 2020 and even more the second post, “Honor the Truth, be Steadfast, Defend the Nation” — Say ‘No’ to jockeying for political advantage on the coattails of Corona Hysteria. (The first-ever major attack on the Corona-Panic I wrote was in late March 2020, published at Peak Stupidity.)
Pretty much the only leader who proved himself to be a genuine leader by resisting the Panic was Lukashenko.
“The lesson is: Demagoguing on a flu virus is not only dangerous, destructive, disgraceful and dishonorable (it is those things), it’s also to a great extent arbitrary. Anybody can put on the demagogue’s cap and try to rile people up.”
Well, there’s a lot of money going around. Lukashenko isn’t receiving European dole, thus no lockdown; Janez Janša’s Slovenia is receiving it, therefore nearly a year of lockdown and nothing to show for it, obviously.
Anglin just wrote a good piece about this: https://dailystormer.su/the-lockdown-the-vaccine-and-the-corruption-endemic-in-modern-democracy/
The final numbers for US vehicle accident deaths in 2020 came out a few weeks ago:
In a classic case of an unforeseen negative effect, Road deaths were way up, despite total road-miles driven being way down.
The act of driving a car got much more dangerous in 2020 than it had been in a generation or so as measured by deaths, counter-intuitive but observed fact. It counts as a genuine surprise to the expectations many had in March 2020, when the lockdown-button was first pressed by the ascendant Pro-Panic forces. I don’t think even the most outspoken Anti-Panic partisans of March 2020 predicted thousands more car deaths associated with the remote-work/shutdown/lockdown/endless-disruptions regime.
2019: 39,107 car crash deaths
2020: 42,060 ” ” (+3000)
2019: 4.6 trillion miles driven?
2020: 3.9 ” ”
IMPLIED LIFETIME CHANCE OF DYING IN A CAR ACCIDENT
(chance of death byroad accident, if you drive or are driven 15,000 miles/year for 70 years):
Lesson: When you buy into a wild social experiment, caveat emptor.
We can assume the average “extra car death” was much younger and healthier than the average Covid-death. The extra car deaths had lives too, families, goals, contributions to make within their world whatever it was. Generally decades of productive life ahead of them.
In life-years-lost terms, these 3000 extra road deaths in 2020 could be as high as 10% the attributed Covid-deaths.
Extra vehicle deaths are equal to 0.8% of the attributed-“Covid-deaths” in crude body-counting terms (attributed Covid deaths @ 360,000 to Dec 31 2020, including deaths from the virus, deaths of other causes but with the virus). But because the typical extra vehicle death in 2020 may have 10x or 12x the expected-life-years as the typical attributed Covid-death, we get 8-10% (0.8% x10 or x12).
That is in extra car accidents alone, a minor and kind of ‘fluke’ side-effect of the lockdowns. There are other, major losses that swamp this, and the total Lockdown-Induced Life-Years Lost total is by some counts going to be in the “thousands of times greater” range…
[Re: “Swedish right-wing parties want lockdown” allegation]
Does Kuldorff blog anymore? When he says the right wing parties are pro panic; I wonder if that includes the “”far right” parties AfS (patterned on the AfD) and the Sweden Democrats?
It sounds like the Sweden Democrats [SD] (who hold 18% of seats and are in opposition) have, in fact, been the main ones on the offensive in trying to push a Pro-Panic line in Sweden.
The center-right Moderate Party (who hold 20% of seats and also are in opposition) has joined in with them at times. Of course their mutual target is the Social Democratic-led government which they hope to unseat in 2022.
To their (partial-)credit, SD were anti-Lockdown when it mattered most, i.e. the early weeks of the Panic in March/April 2020 when policy-response lines got locked-in in many places. But eventually they called the government’s stay-open, no-lockdown policy a “massacre,” and have continued with talk like that since.
I can only conclude that indulging in Virus-Panic-Demagoguery is a political-oppositionist’s siren’s song, too tempting for parties in opposition to avoid. (A little harmless demagoguery might be okay, but what if the movement takes over the state? That’s what happened most places.)
SD was polling consistently above 25% before the Corona-Panic began (Sept 2019 to early March 2020) but after the Panic began dropped to consistently under 20% (starting in late March 2020). Another case of a Corona-Political-Realignment.
So far, SD’s calls for a lockdown have not worked in getting them back up above 25%. They seem stuck and seem unlikely to get in a governing coalition after a fresh election.
I can only interpret the decision at SD leadership to start calling for Virus-Lockdowns a gambit to try to get more votes from outside their traditional base, enough to enter government, as support for a governing coalition in 2022.
Electorally, it makes sense. There is a Pro-Panic constituency in Sweden even if disempowered. But it hasn’t worked.
The nimbler AfS as fas as I can tell has never indulged in the full-on Pro-Panic position, and always opposed Lockdowns as crazy and ridiculous. Mostly they haven’t made an issue of it, have kept message-discipline on core issues but signaled Anti-Panic positions.
AfS Party Treasurer Per Sefastsson (b.1986), back in early April 2020 at the very crest of the Corona-Panic breakthrough, planted the Anti-Panic flag in the the ground:
And AfS Party leader Gustav Kasselstrand (b.1987) has said he opposes lockdowns or any kinds of tight restrictions but has also not made an issue of it. Late last year he embraced a Pro-Panic position domestic position by saying the government should hold back on full re-openings and not allow mass gatherings of 10,000+ people (as in concerts) to take place again in Spring 2021, as planned.
AfS party figure Jeff Ahl (b.1987), formerly a sitting parliament member of the Sweden Democrats (defected to form AfS in 2018), has been a consistent critic of the Panic.
Sweden has a moderately Pro-Panic SD and a pretty firmly Anti-Panic AfS.
An interesting analysis of how Europe’s populist-right political parties chose to demagogue on the Corona-Panic or not, is here:
Capitalising on a crisis? Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on populist parties in western Europe (by Brett Meyer, March 16, 2021)
Reactions were all over the place. The SD, to their credit, rejected the Pro-Panic position when it mattered most.
Some of the Southern European parties were more Pro-Panic from the start, but so was Geert Wilders’ party in Netherlands (Wilders himself later shifted to a hardline Anti-Panicker, the leading voice of the Anti-Lockdown movement; they have an election as I write this and Wilders’ PVV party may do very well, if the Dutch are as Anti-Panic as their reputation has it).
Germany’s AfD have almost entirely consistently been Anti-Panic, the only party in the Bundestag to oppose the bizarre and dictatorship-like changes to the German constitution last year which allowed the government the legal authority to run a perpetual Virus Emergency complete with arbitrary shutdowns any time for any reason.
“I can only conclude that indulging in Virus-Panic-Demagoguery is a political-oppositionist’s siren’s song, too tempting for parties in opposition to avoid.”
Not just politicians in opposition….
RE: Rev Wrong: Ypur name is deceiving for in this case you’re Right! The temptation applies to all politicians.
Thanks Mr. Hail. Disappointing news about the SD. Up until Coronadoom they were fighting the good fight on the one issue that truly matters in Sweden.
Comments below on the Netherlands election as referendum on the Corona-Panic.
Related on SD vs. AfD in Sweden (tangential from above): Given Sweden Democrats’ embrace of Lockdownism, I wonder if that boosts AfS chances of gaining seats in 2022?
From what I heard, at the last election in Sept. 2018, the full weight of the state tilted against the AfS in a way that clearly suppressed their vote.
The system of voting involves picking up ballots of the various parties and casting it in secret. Many or most polling stations set up the other parties’ ballots on a common table near the door but the AfS ballots on a far-off table. To cast a vote for AfS, you need to first pick up the ballot paper, meaning you have to do a long walk of shame to pick up the AfS paper on the far-off table, making it obvious who was voting for AfS. Naturally most did not want to do this and instead voted SD because at least their ballot was on the common table.
After this and other tricks, the AfS finally received only 0.3% of the voter and therefore took no seats. Their vote-total has to be viewed as primarily their core activist base of a few thousand people, plus something that must be 1/5th or even as low as 1/10th of those who might otherwise have voted for them in a level-playing-field situation.
Even in most favorable conditions, AfS would not have made it above the 4%-hurdle in 2018 (3.99% and under take no seats under their rules). But given how young the AfS leadership is and their demonstrated energy and their moral-consistency (refusal to ‘virus-demagogue’), one wishes them well.
“I can only conclude that indulging in Virus-Panic-Demagoguery is a political-oppositionist’s siren’s song, too tempting for parties in opposition to avoid.”
Not true for Switzerland. Just elaborated on this here – but lost the comment, unfortunately.
“The idea that the Right would demand Corona-Lockdowns, as Kulldroff says is happening in Sweden, is disorienting in that it is the opposite of the March 2020 to November 2020 experience in the USA”
I think there’s a simple explanation. The European Left opposes lockdowns (those that do) because lockdowns mean closed borders, and open borders is the Ultimate Sacrament for the Euro Left. Nothing shall stop the unimpeded travel of third-world riff-raff into Europe. Covid is bad, but slowing down our diversity suicide is much, much worse!
Similarly, the Right saw lockdowns as a chance — finally! — to stop or at least slow the immigrant invasions. It makes perfect sense to take advantage of the situation.
Note that in America, it was Trump on the right who wanted travel restrictions and the Left that screamed racism. Even now, with dementia Joe, they keep talking about Covid restrictions but the border gets thrown wide open. The Left would have nothing if they didn’t have hypocrisy.
The general model you give fits if applied to January, February, and much of March 2020, for sure. Did it still hold by mid-year 2020? Does it hold today in March 2021?
In Sweden’s case in particular, the Sweden Democrats (a softline-ethnonationalist party) supported the No-Lockdown policy in those early months, which in the “Lockdown as proxy for immigration-restriction” model would not happen.
In Germany’s case, the European country’s political scene of which I am most familiar and generally follow most closely (being able to read German), the most immigration-restrictionist party also happens to be the most anti-Lockdown party (and the only consistently Corona Anti-Panic party in general of the major parties).
Terror-Virus-Fanatics’ dreams die hard; spotted this Google search-suggestion (based on what others are commonly searching):
What is wrong with people?
On the 2021 Netherlands Election as a semi-referendum on the Corona-Panic:
In recent comments I talked about European electoral politics and the Corona-Panic, especially in Sweden.
The Dutch general election this week was the first big European election since the Corona-Panic began. Though there were some regional votes (including last week in Germany).
The Dutch election has given us some mixed results on the new meta-division of Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic. There are two clear coalitions, Pro-Panic and Anti-Panic, but also a large third group, Neutrals (neither committed to Pro-Panic or Anti-Panic but influenced by political conditions either way). How strong is the Pro-Panic side?
The so-called far-right parties took an (estimated, as of this writing) 29 of 150 seats (19%), which is a strong result; the “fringe-right” ending up with around one-fifth of seats means it’s by definition not a “fringe” anything.
I’d interpret the “far-right,” quasi-ethnonationalist parties’ strong showing as a sign they attracted Anti-Panic votes. People committed to the Anti-Panic side who otherwise would have drifted almost entirely into more regime-adjacent parties instead stuck their necks out for one of the Anti-Lockdown “far-right” parties despite the (predictable) major campaign against them.
So this is a good sign for the strength of Anti-Panic public feeling, the ballot box confirming the Anti-Lockdown protests that have been occurring across the Netherlands (and have been suppressed by force).
The most Anti-Lockdown party of the right-wing parties looks to be FvD, which took 8 seats (5%). FvD has been subjected to concerted campaign accusing them of Anti-Semitism, a “dog-whistle” in Western politics in our time which probably suppressed their vote enough to cost a few seats.
Geert Wilders’ party (PVV) did not badly with 17 or 18 seats, a loss of -2 or -3 since last time but much better than might have been, as in 2019 he lost popularity and polls began suggesting a wipe-out pushing them down to <10 seats. At peak Corona-Panic in spring 2020, PVV suffered another loss of support (suggesting PVV would likely take <15 seats) but eventually recovered. I'd like to imagine Wilders' (eventual) embrace of Corona Anti-Panic politics saved him.
The other “far-right” party of note was the new JA21, exceeding expectations to take 4 seats (2.5%) on a pretty hard-line immigration-restriction platform and Anti-Lockdown platform.
Unfortunately for our hopes that the Panic might soon be dismantled now that Spring 2021 is upon us:
The biggest winners are the government-leading VVD (nominally center-right but really centrist; leans Anti-EU) and a Pro-Panic party called D66(center-left; “social liberal;” Pro-EU).
The VDD has led the government for the past ten years under Mark Rutte, including therefore during the Unprecedented Historic Virus Catastrophe(“tm”).The VDD was therefore the option of familiarity. This kept a lot of Pro-Panic voters loyal to them and shifted some centrists to them who might otherwise may have strayed, because one big lesson of the Corona-Panic is that in a (perceived) crisis, people rally to the flag. VDD set to 35 seats (23%), +2 over last election.
VDD originally led a semi-Anti-Panic approach in spring 2020 and thereby gained some praise from Anti-Panic observers near and far. Though of course Rutte and co. never had the courage to embrace the Swedish Model fully. Finally pressure from the Pro-Panic side was too much. The election approaching, they shifted to the Pro-Panic side, embracing the mask-cult, imposing lockdowns and a blanket-curfew of 9pm (not unlike martial-law), and generally indulging in the emotionalized Panic. (As we see, it seems to have paid off at the ballot box, though certainly has caused very much unnecessary damage.)
The VDD’s biggest governing partner was a party called D66, of the center-left, led by a white-Dutch woman with a left-wing Palestinian activist husband. The D66 party became vocal supporters of Lockdowns, took a lot of new votes and are projected to have 24 to 26 seats (16%-17%), +5 to +7 over last election.
The success of D66 in March 2021 suggests I interpret as the same reason VDD did well, people in the center still psychologically off-kilter from the effects of the Corona-Panic giving their votes to a party in government much as people react to their country being at war. The relatively stronger success of D66 suggests that the Pro-Panic coalition in Netherlands leans ‘Left,’ but also leans ‘establishment.’
(From what I read, D66 at first was moderately Anti-Panic and called for a limited government response, but then shifted to Pro-Panic and now is pretty firmly Pro-Panic.)
The Socialist Party and the Green-Left party, standard-bearer left-wing parties of the usual European sort, and afaict both Pro-Panic, did terribly, from a combined 28 seats (19%) to probably 16 seats (10.5%).
When the smoke clears, the new parliament will almost certainly re-nominate Mark Rutte, prime minister since 2010. Rutte was, I recall, a basically Anti-Panic figure in the early months, but then became a Lockdowner. He’ll almost certainly be supported by the Pro-Panic D66 party again.
The VDD-D66 alliance, which will presumably continue, will now have a stronger D66 element than before. But to govern they still need support of at least two other parties. Since 2017 they’ve governed in coalition with two smaller right-leaning parties, but they may choose to eject them and rearrange the coalition, or just continue as before.
In final analysis for Corona-Panic Politics:
It doesn’t seem likely that the Netherlands will be among the first-movers in any general move to dismantle/disempower Europe’s ongoing Corona-Panic nightmare. This is because the Pro-Lockdown D66 party is now more-or-less “in the catbird seat” there, and because the VDD around Mark Rutte shows no willingness to stand against the winds of the socio-cultural Corona-Panic juggernaut, for even if it tried and its now-empowered partner D66 refuses, the government would collapse.
(And with the big German Bundestag election coming, now just six months away, one might expect a vested interest in keeping up the Panic from Germany till then; and then soon thereafter it’s 2021-22 flu season again!)
It now shows
Ja21 will get only 3 😦 , half as many as “Party for Animals” (6 seats)!
and D66 only 23. 🙂
Although the results are more-or-less known now, it seems the final certified Netherlands election results are to be announced March 26.
A new party called BIJ1, a far-left” party devoted to “Black-Dutch interests” per wikipedia, got in with a seat, has cleared to 0.67% threshold to get a seat (results now look like it took 0.8%).
BIJ1 co-leader Sandra Salome, October 2020:
One of the new BiJ1 party’s main Corona-Demands, as of late 2020, was transitioning the Dutch election to a mass mail-in ballot affair (USA Trump-vs-Biden style), to Fight Covid, of course.
(Some of their other core policies: Defund the Dutch military and transitioning the defunded military “into an unarmed civil aid organization.” Support loosening refugee policy to allow more people in. Support a vigorous and expanded prosecution of people they claim promote racism and sexism.)
On the relative strengths of the Corona Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic sides, by country:
A recent poll in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK asks:
“To what extent, if at all, would you support or oppose restricting travel abroad only to those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus?”
This poll I think allow us to get the outlines of the strengths of the Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic sides in these four countries as they exist now. Especially because vaccine-passports are still something new and without a strong consensus, there is less pressure to conform to a perceived dominant Pro-Panic line as you might get in other polls.
Corona-Panic split, circa March 1, 2021
I hope this poll is inaccurate at least for Britain. If accurate, it’s is just embarrassing for them. Reports out of Australia suggest they have lost a sense of dignity down there, too, terrified of a flu virus, willing to shut everything down for years if necessary, going back into Lockdown-mania when just one case shows up.
Why might the UK might be so much deeper in the Pro-Panic swamp?
Does the panic-virus spread faster in English than other languages, via role of US media as global agenda-setter? Maybe the UK’s disgraceful poll result (with a sample of random voters conducted online March 1) reflects a Panic-directed consensus already and a lot of the “Support” are signaling they are obedient to the Corona-Panic, are not dangerous Covid-Deniers, do not want to be stigmatized, but does not reflect an actual situation so radically different from its European continental neighbors.
There is not much difference between Germany, France, and Italy in the outlines of these coalitions. All the splits are in approximately equal camps but with the core Pro-Panic side slightly ahead, and Neutrals intimidated and kept in line by each of those governments adopting Pro-Panic policy-lines. Germany and France’s have a harder ‘core’ to their Anti-Panic coalitions, i.e. more “strongly opposed” than just “opposed.” (That is true in neither Italy nor Britain in this poll.)
Another question in this poll (below) suggests France has the strongest Anti-Panic side of the four countries. Majorities in each of Germany, Italy, and Britain said they are willing “to carry a ‘vaccine passport’ with you to demonstrate you have been vaccinated, in all circumstances,” but one 31% in France said so.
54 weeks ago, just before the big breakthrough of the Corona-Panic, most talk in Western media was something like: “Western people are different from East Asians, especially Chinese. They will never accept enormous losses of civil liberties or surrenders to government control.”
But here have majorities in three of the biggest Western countries declaring they will carry a vaccination card with them forever if the government tells them to, with the implication that they can/will be denied entry to restaurants or other places without one.
And what else goes on the ‘card’ in the coming years?
(All poll questions can be ‘interrogated,’ and even this one may be biased against international travel. In an all-population sample, most people aren’t international travelers. The question then leaves a “Yes in All Circumstances” — a shocking reversal for traditional civil liberties and the open-society tradition with troubling implications — or “No, not at all.” I don’t think, therefore, that this is the best proxy to tease out the Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic sizes.)
Mr. Hail, if you haven’t already, and you have the time, could you tell us what you think of Dr. Ryan Cole’s talk here on the big Vitamin D factor and the Kung Flu?:
Here is the 28 minute video on youtube.
You know what, since this might embed OK here, it is the video below, if you see anything. I want to put this up on Peak Stupidity, but I’d like to hear what you think first, and maybe you have already discussed what Dr. Cole talks about.
Dr Ryan Cole says: “We have an international Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic [including] 82-88% of nursing home patients.”
Dr Ryan Cole also says:
– Almost everyone in the winter months at northern latitudes, in much of the United States and Europe, is in or at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. (But humans are able to store Vitamin D like camels store water; at northern latitudes, there is a yearly process of storing Vitamin D in summer to use in winter. But even this requires people in good midday sunlight a certain amount of time of the year, easier with longer days.)
– The more overweight you are, the worse your system is at absorbing Vitamin D (among many other problems).
– The more globally ‘southern’ your racial ancestry, the harder it is to absorb Vitamin D.
Low-sunlight Winter + Subsaharan-African ancestry (or to a lesser extent other dark-skinned climes) + Obesity + Diet = A perfect storm for exacerbating the risk of a Vitamin-D-deficiency-driven worse-than-necessary flu wave.
Add to the above equation: “+ Lockdowns and social disruptions that put people indoors much more + Masks (blocking yet more sunlight)” and we see on the Vitamin D front, the usual Corona-Response, both individuals’ choices and government mandates, were the opposite of helpful.
Dieter Kief has written elsewhere here that some of the new wind in the sails of the domestic Corona-Cult in Germany is that it has now more fully merged with the Pro-Immigration top-line political consensus (recall the “Refugees Welcome” 2015-16 quasi-regime policy out of Berlin, a kind of moral imperative to help Mid East or Africans). “Covid” strangely has seemed to hit many of the “migrant” groups much more than Germans/Europeans, especially controlled for age, which meant that over enough time it seems inevitable the two would merge.
We have had enough evidence to make an educated guess that Vitamin D deficiency (see again the list of warning signs) was the reason why so many of the non-nursing-home “Covid” hospitalizations in Sweden were African immigrants. The Swedish Health Ministry revealed this, about this time in April 2020.
For those who don’t want to think about Sweden and prefer the USA, just look at any state releases racial data on their “Covid” deaths. Those with cold winters have significantly higher Black mortality per capita.
A little water in Dr. Ryan Cole’s vitamin-D-wine:
Then there is “Trick or Treatment” by Edzart Ernst and Simon Singh about the merits and pitfalls of alternative medicine – they looked at a lot of Vitamin-D studies and meta-studies and did find not much evidence that it’d help much.
For those who know commenter utu: He too wrote quite a few comments over at Unz’ magazine saying he’d doubt that Vitamin-D supplementation would help much – and not only in the case of covid – at least not for those with good body-mass indexes who do work out outside at least three times a week.
This is not to say that Vitamin-D-deficiancy does not work as an indicator for a rather bad shape a person might be in (this might also be true in the case of the strong overrepresentation of obese people in intensive care and ventilator beds the CDC found amongst CO-19 patients in the US).
I remember having read a report recently about people who are over 100 years old in Japan – they don’t suffer much from CO-19 and – they do have very good Vitamin D-levels (better than almost everybody in the west at much lower age levels). They do have very good body-mass indexes too though – and low levels of overall inflammation.
We have a set of observations to explain:
Observation 1.) Corona patients across North/Central Europe and the USA — from outside nursing homes / healthcare system — are disproportionately immigrants, especially Africans.
Observation 2.) There is a generally mild impact of the virus (directly) on Africans in Africa.
What are the best alternative explanations if not the Vitamin-D-deficiency theory? It matches with all we know about geography and race and health. That doesn’t mean it is the causal factor, it’s true, but it does align so it’s worth at least attention.
One alt explanation I can see people offering is many more Blacks have been exposed to the virus than Whites and that may explain some/all of the ‘gap.’ The biggest-ever antibody study, conducted in mid-2020 and released in early 2021, suggests 10-25% of all US Blacks had Covid-antibodies already by ca. May 1, 2020, vs. <5% of Whites.
(The actual number “exposed to the virus” is certainly higher because only a portion reliably produce measurable antibodies after x time, adding to that the question of pre-existing immunity, these percentages should be taken with caution for making sweeping conclusions, but the Black vs. White gap is a strong finding and the upper-end of the White confidence-interval is lower than the lower-bound of the Black one. In other words, we are as confident of this finding as any finding in such things.)
Thanks, Mr. Hail, and Mr. Kief too, for the info.
Just anecdotally, back when the government schools were in complete “what to do? what to do?” mode in late March and April of last year, were were out at the park in the sunshine a lot – 2 hour recesses from my homeschooling were the norm. I imagine that was pretty good for us, in addition to the lowered stress levels due to not being freakin’ hysterical.
OTOH, at the time, the wife’s state of freak-out was stressful. She got better (said in the manner of the Witch-accuser played by John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “She turned me into a newt!” “A newt?” [5 seconds of silence] “I got better …”)
The milk has been fortified with Vitamin D since before I was a kid. Do kids drink as much milk anymore? I don’t think they do. Of course, kids haven’t had any problem with the Kung Flu anyway. For adults, as Dieter noted, maybe supplements somehow don’t do the same for our bodies as getting it through our skin and the sunshine does.
That’s a good point about the Africans – in Africa vs. in Europe. (WTF they are doing there to begin with is another story – send them back! COVID-19! COVID-19! Save the Africans!)
News about CO-19 in Sweden – – some numbers even – and they sure look interesting – incredible almost
For a year now we were spoon-fed just how bad Sweden did compare to their Scandinavian neighbors – and now it looks as if Sweden did just about like Finland and – even better than Denmark. – What the heck!
Caveat: I don’t know the twitterer, but – I saw his tweet retweeted by Ivor Cummins, if I remember right, so…
Mr. Hail, I can barely see my writing here (my browser), but let me see if can at least inform you that Steve Sailer linked to a post of yours with data on black (at least) demograpphics. That’s in his latest Takimag column
I also see there was a discussion in the Sailer comment section on the old 1980-to-2013 US fertility rate by race chart, at https://hailtoyou.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/total-fertility-rates-by-race-in-the-usa-1980-2013/.
(Surprisingly or not, this kind of graph did not really exist at all in one place for easy reference; I had to dig through lots of individual files which provide the info in print form to make the graph form.)
A reply here to Almost Missouri and Sailer’s comments and the White-Black population ratio in the USA:
Reblogged this on Muunyayo .
Hail, are you able to uncover US mortality figures by age for years 2019 and 2020?
I originally wrote a long Part II but never posted it.
The topic was “the Corona-Panic and Regime Stability in the West.” It was largely written in March 2021.
By April, signs were that the Pro-Panic side was finally losing its grip after 13+ terrible and broadly destructive months. Important signals were coming out of the Pro-Panic regime by April 2021, and in a sustained way by May 2021, to the effect that the Pro-Panic regime was deciding to end it, doing the right thing that which they should have done from the start. This continued in June and most of July, until a sudden shift in late July of unclear origin. Like flipping a switch, all the Panic rhetoric came back. Someone up there decided it was too lucrative to give up on.
In August 2021 they dug back in, not apparently even caring to even loosely justify themselves this time, and really embracing delusion hard and fast. In some places which had been Corona-Panic-loyalist strongholds in 2020, and wherever there is some kind of quasi-“federal” layer, including airports, it’s back to Permanent Pandemic, Virus-Cult, Public-Health Dictatorship.
Thee is a big difference between 2021 and 2020, though, which is that far more people think it’s all political now.
The lesson of 2020 is that there was a worrying pandemic, but not of any flu virus. It was a Panic Contagion. It had zapped into everyone’s homes, screens, and even pockets now (probably the key to the 2020-22[?] Panic Pandemic over a moderately bad flu virus). Even those who lived in free and semi-free states were still subject to inevitable distortions spilling over from the closed states, and the trends and precedents elsewhere affect the trends of the whole.
These insights hardly require any genius-level of IQ to see, and as things played out it seemed more often the left-side of the IQ bell curve got it much more right (by instinct in many cases) than the right side of the bell curve. I have wondered from the start: Do the Pro-Panic fanatics and opinion-leaders who are on the right-most one-fifth or so of the IQ bell curve, from which the leadership class is drawn, really not see this? Surely they do see it and are going in this crazy direction for other reasons? So eventually they have to end it, right? It got me thinking about what this says about regime stability, for there are clearly people, a majority it seems, in our elite willing to do damage to their own nations/peoples/cultures/economies—up to a point (surely?). This raises worrying questions about regime stability.
With the Afghanistan debacle and humiliation over the past four weeks, I also sense the digging in to Pro-Panic position is like a political-cultural rain dance by the Blue Team loyalists to make all the bad stuff go away. Word today is that that the PLA Navy is planning to cruise through US territorial waters as a way to protest against US Navy passages through the South China Sea, which would be still another humiliation, but the escape valve for these things is to set up those disloyal to the Corona-Panic as disloyal enemies of the state.
People have pointed out that Biden and co. sound angrier at people who decline flu-virus vaccines than at the Taliban, which is one of those lightning, a-little-too-cute insights but which you immediately realize is true.
Hey Mr. Hail, good to hear from you again!
There are some simple facts still driving this thing in Switzerland and in Germany.
May I note that in Switzerland, the hospitals do actually have a number of CO-19 cases – concerning especially non-vaccinated immigrants (most of them Swiss citizens) who were on holiday in former Yugoslavia and other southern countries where there are at some places still high in infection rates, no social distancing etc. This obviously caused a number of illnesses – some of them severe – just like last year around the same time. A few schools did send some classes home to isolate for two weeks. Switzerland has a vaccination rate in the low fifties. Denmark did open completely this week(73% vaccinated). GB (vacc. rate 65% has done so and Sweden (vacc. rate 57%) too. The Netherlands is on the rather liberal side too. In Germany restaurants, etc. are open for those vaccinated or recovered or tested negative within the last 48 hours. Since the vaccines do not work flawlessly, as some had hoped for, the idea, that the state and his bright squadron in the labs would solve this case, unfortunately, brings with it rather harsh disappointments. – Not least for the rather brainy folks out there.
2) This is a major force behind the panic, that can be seen here and there.I want to point out, that the not really flawless process of the mass vaccinations brings with it a) a serious amount of distrust in the elites (and science, and progress…), and b) might confuse some in the elites as well, because they know from the data, who are driving this thing foremost: Not them, in good health and able to social distance, etc. – but the downtrodden and the poor (the fat and/or ill and the unvaccinated (= in the US the blacks, not least). Almost all patients in intensive care in Switzerland and in Germany right now are not vaccinated – lots of them immigrants. –
3) Since the elite members figure, that they live but once and since they are very much on the woke ticket, this causes an awful lot of cognitive dissonances and distortion-loops (censorship for example). – I think of Jimi Hendrix’s version of the US national anthem in Woodstock as a pars pro toto for – – – the regressive West – minus Texas and Florida and South-Dakota, etc. in the US and the European states I have mentioned above: GB, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland. Switzerland I know from up close. Australia and New Zealand being something special altogether.
In Switzerland, there is no panic at all and no censorship either. Everybody can make up and speak their mind.
Btw. – Sweden seems to have done economically well too, compared to other countries in Europe since springtime last year.
To me is a basic principle of centuries of Western thought that people should be able to make their own decisions on their own lives, things which affect them, and exist in a society with clear limits on government power. A lot of the Corona-Panic’s distortions to culture, social life, politics and government-power, all seem to be major reverses to centuries of our tradition.
One should be able to choose what precautions against a flu virus one wants to take, and to be coerced to take a treatment one does not want or need (for the young/healthy) is \a very negative sign. The enforcement is also highly problematic. The principle of accepting a “vaccine passport” system to enter a cafe or any other business like that, is alarming on principle. From my perspective it also is a negative step in the Panic itself, because it clearly reinforces the Panic. Anything that reinforces the Panic should probably be opposed.
One of the early Anti-Panic leaders was Dr Wodarg of the SPD in Germany. He saw immediately in February and early March what he thought was going to be mega-scale repeat of the 2009 H1N1 flu panic which caused some countries to bring in mass vaccination campaigns. The 2009 vaccinations caused many more negative side effects than benefits to the population, were supposedly linked to brain damage in some dozens per million of children while maybe preventing a few deaths from H1N1 at most. The vaccines of 2009 were, if that finding was correct, a net negative, and all unnecessary because H1N1 was not very dangerous–though ironically it did kill more children than Wuhan-Corona 2020-21 has killed.
This has been true from the start. A big US study ending in May 2021 and published last week suggests the group with most natural Covid infections was Hispanics, perhaps reaching 40% by spring 2021.
There is a lot we don’t know about the vaccine. Some are saying there is now clear evidence for the vaccine while protecting the vulnerable (and unnecessary for the majority) may also make one more likely to spread the virus, which was one of the unexpected results.
See the blogger Karl Denninger’s work:
https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=243495 (“From JAMA: Proof They’re AT BEST Worthless,” Sept. 6, 2021)
https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=243546 (“I Hate Being Right,” Sept. 11, 2021)
John Ioannidis about the ongoing war between authoritative public health concepts and – the proper science of CO-19 –
Thanks, Mr. Kief; a reply below.
RE: John Ioannidis article (“How the Pandemic Is Changing the Norms of Science,” Sept. 8, 2021, Tablet Magazine)
One thing I notice in Corona-commentary: Since March 2020, no one has gone from Anti-Panic to Pro-Panic. Some have gone from Pro-Panic to Anti-Panic, but NONE have gone the other way. I cannot think of even one example. Are there any?
This tells us is the facts were probably against the Panic all along. Any other explanation for this one-way movement relies on conspiracy-theory- or religion-type thinking.
Even with a lot of “goalpost shifting,” the Anti-Panic side still comes out getting steady stream of defectors and almost none the other way. How do our Pro-Panic friends explain this? Probably they ignore it, and the lower-level ones are not even aware of it.
The one-way movement from Neutral to Anti-Panic and from Pro-Panic to Anti-Panic, is still small overall, and the consensus of polite opinion is still somehow today that there was an unprecedented major crisis, which was, frankly speaking, just never true, not even at the start, and definitely not now for sure.
Age-adjusted, I think the evidence points to Wuhan-Corona (“Covid”) being a once-a-decade flu wave at most, maybe twice-a-decade. I have published on this here. Some of the data is subjectto major distortions, but cutting through it, that is the picture we are left with. That is the simplest summary of “Covid”/”Corona” that I can give, a severe flu wave we see about one or two seasons per decade.
Panicking, locking down, etc., kind of entering the plot of a poorly-made disaster movie, over a flu virus of the same strength which your own body and your community has seen around ten seasons in the past fifty years, is irrational and crazy.
But what’s crazy about it, in part, is the iron consensus, and Ioannidis alludes to this in part (if I am not reading too much into him):
Of these one million academic-credentialed authors, how many were willing to say “No” in as strong a way as needed, given the data? How many embraced the Panic? In March 2020, there were articles coming out with titles like “Panic is Good” by credentialed experts. Many of these same people condemned non-lockdowners as mass-murderers and predicted millions of deaths which of course never happened.
I don’t know how else to say this except to say it: we are left with the picture of a mass delusion at high levels. It’s part of what’s fascinating about the whole thing. So many smart, reasonable, and good people (choose whatever you want those words to mean) got it so wrong and then deeply emotionally committed to their wrong position, giving us The Science vs. science. Or as Ioannidis puts it: “Disinteredness suffered greatly.”
Steve Sailer in the 2010s sometimes commented on the decline of the word “disinterested” in English. Most people today misuse the word, making it now more like a synonym of “uninterested” except to mid-high and highbrow audiences like those who might read Ioannidis article. Sailer suggested the steady loss of the word says something about the loss of the concept in our society. In other words, as so often Sailer was right, and right before others, for Ioannidis is almost paraphrasing him here in saying our society lost its ties to the disinterested scientific tradition. Ironically, Sailer himself got the whole thing, Corona/Covid, very wrong, and I see there is a big consensus that he did among his regular commenters. On Sailer’s long embrace of the Pro-Panic side and his reluctance even now to come over to the Anti-Panic side, one commenter recently wrote: “It’s the biggest miss of your life, so maybe just drop it.”
Ioannidis, one of the earliest high-profile Anti-Panic figures, was (of course) right about “Covid” from the start. But even he was never of the kind of hardline Anti-Panic stalwart who should have controlled policy from the start. This is a way of saying he is good at politics, and indeed he has mostly not been purged/banned. Even here in this Sept 8th 2021 article he has some lines suggesting he is bowing to consensus rather than attacking the core beliefs of the Pro-Panic side. Even the title of the article is really tame (“How the Pandemic Is Changing the Norms of Science”), but usually these are chosen by editors and not writers.
Here Ioannidis touches on how the Panic started and who the Panic-pushers were:
As someone said: the real contagion was social media.
In mass-panics there is a lot of blame to go around. People had all kinds of motivations, and Ioannidis leans on saying it was all a mass delusion and classic group hysteria, which I think is fair.
The Pro-Panic side was (and is) really a coalition of interests. It was a genuinely new political split in the West (and the non-West mostly just copied the West, mostly totally uncritically), requiring a set of terms we don’t even have in our political-vocabulary but for which I find Pro-Panic and Anti-Panic to be useful descriptors (along with a third category of Neutrals).
Moe of John Ioannidis – a rather data-rich talk he gave in Salzburg and a long interview he gave to the rather dissident, a bit right-leaning private Austrian TV-Station Servus TV, owned by Red-Bull owner and billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz. In his Salzburg Talk, he puts some emphasis on the fact, that the number of deaths in the West might have been lower than estimated whereas, in the Third World, it might be the other way round –
Oh – the ghost in the machine –
– maybe this link to John Ioannidis Salzburg talk works
His interview can be found on Servus TV – John Ioannidis – the menu allows to see (and hear) the English version)
I see this on the original: “Video unavailable / Playback on other websites has been disabled by the video owner. / Watch on YouTube.” I can view it on Youtube when I clicked it. Of course there is a bright blue banner saying “Get the latest information from the WHO about coronavirus.”
The date of the talk is June 26, 2021.
We had 100% of the knowledge in hand we needed by late June 2020, one year earlier, to dismantle the entire Corona-Panic, if we were honest.
Will people like Ioannidis still be giving these kinds of talks in June 2022?
Well designed and informative Swiss CO-19-website (in English too):
The Sunday Times: No vaccine passport in the UK – Government changes its strategy – there’d be now a higher risk to catch Covid for those vaccinated than for those without a vaccination
This is an example of why, IMO, a hardline Anti-Panic position on “Covid” was the correct “response” (or non-response) from the start.
You can let people flop around looking for solutions to a 50x or 100x-inflated problem amid a Pro-Panic consensus (“Panic is Good! it’s a pandemic! Are you crazy? We have to SAVE people!”) , but in that environment you’ll probably do more harm than good. You’ll have to keep flipping and flopping on policies and party-lines, and dealing with self-created problems and managing a near-hysteria consensus.
Still – or: Finally? – Are people in hospitals with covid or because they are suffering from covid?
40+ % of kids in hospitals might well be covid-patients that are there for the treatment of other illnesses in the first place.
This is exactly the kind of point the Anti-Panic side was making from the start. And it is not just kids.
I have some recent Corona-Commentary at Peak Stupidity which I’ll link to here and briefly comment on:
(Note: the way to read comment threads at Peak Stupidity is to start at the bottom and work your way up.)
— “Season 3 Kung Flu Stupidity bracket: Australia v Denmark“: A good main entry and 18 comments as of this writing, 4 by me, mainly on the subject of Denmark and why it has defected to the Anti-Panic side and has totally refused to backslide even when the agenda-setting USA decided to ratchet up the Panic again starting about late July 2021.
Also one comment there on the scene, now-common in places, of someone riding a bicycle or motorbike WITHOUT a helmet but WITH a full mask. And on the strange-but-true fact that helmet wearing, especially mandated helmet wearing, winds up with higher relative and even absolute injury rates on bicycles, as analogy to the mask mandates and the wacko Corona-Panic “sledgehammer approach” the Pro-Panic side has embraced from the start.
— A comment on now-deceased comedian Norm MacDonald, MacDonald’s position on the Corona-Panic, and a personalized version of “We all die, we all necessarily have limited time; are major disruptions lasting months and years worth it”? (ctrl-f for “Norm”).
— “To the 3rd World – Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu!“: The original is not a post on the Corona-Panic itself, but I made a long comment (I hope a draft for a future post) on the subject of “The Corona-Panic as mega-scale example of anarcho-tyranny.” Scroll down to the bottom and read comments in that order to follow this and its responses by other commenters.
— “How to succeed in Marketing without really trying….” Some good material here but my comment was on ex-USGov official and now-eccentric dissident commentator Paul Craig Roberts flipping from a hardline Pro-Panic stance in spring-summer 2020 to a hardline Anti-Panic stance (perhaps harder line even than my own).
— On Ron Unz’s excellent moves towards the Anti-Panic side, at least one full year overdue; including my comment on Unz’s turn towards the light, which begins “A surprisingly good comment from Ron Unz.”
(Ron Unz on the road to redeeming himself after a huge “missed call” in 2020; his stance satirized by commenter Mr. Anon as the first line of a 9000-word Unz column in 2025: “I never paid much attention to the Corona Virus, busy as I was at the time with various software projects, but I am surprised to find out that……………”.)
— On Ann Coulter vs. Steve Sailer vs. COVID PANIC of 2020-’22. In response to someone saying Ann Coulter was on the Pro-Panic side. She is firmly Anti-Panic but deemphasizes it in columns for some reason.
— “The start of the generation-long American war in Afghanistan“: Not CoronaPanic-related but includes my comment on the Afghanistan debacle.
Afghanistan distracted almost the US news cycle for more than two full weeks in August 2021 despite the regime’s efforts to keep Pro-Panic forces mobilized…for (reasons). But after Labor Day weekend 2021 (Sept. 3-6), with the start of the fresh news cycle after Labor Day and the receding of the Kabul debacle, the Corona-Panic was again driving things, now shifted towards the Vaccine Mandates (the Biden speech arbitrarily mandating companies to mandate vaccines came down Sept 9.)
Dr. Anthony James “Tony” Hall, of Canada (born 1951, an accomplished professor who taught from the 1980s to 2010s, mostly at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta), recently wrote this:
(from article: “Herd Stupidity,” Global Research [Canada], Sept. 2, 2021)
Good to see you back.
you wrote on the Netherlands election earlier this year. Do you or anyone have thoughts on the German election?
The election in Germany is mostly panic-driven – and the panic is twofold: CO-19 and climate change. Plus: You can feel the exhaustion, that is looming over Europe. A point that is hard to grasp but in the old Western Europe – the core of the EU, it is something you can feel and smell. Douglas Murray noticed (and wrote) that too in The Strange Death of Europe.
The five worries that bother us: Wokeism, the climate-church, unrestricted immigration, censorship, and a public sector that is growing out of proportion (public broadcast and radio costing 8 billion euros/year, for example – 30 000 people working now for this Behemoth). Plus a 900 million Euro government program to strengthen democracy…Universities leaning more and more towards the government…
These things are getting a bit out of hand at the moment. The election might change this tendency a little bit. But whether it will, it is still too early to tell; – much it will not do, that seems to be for sure already.
RE: Hermod and Dieter Kief:
On the German election:
Recall this, derived from an opinion poll (see a comment above):
Six months later, which way has the Corona political split changed? I don’t know. I am sure there is some good proxy data out there.
The vote next Sunday we can be more sure of now:
Votes for parties of the Left (SPD+Green+Linke): 35-40%
Non-voters AND minor protest parties: 30-35%
Parties of the Right (CDU+CSU+FDP+AfD): 30-35%
This is of course NOT at all a precise alignment. It’s interesting, anyway, that the percentages are so similar. All the polls now suggest the SPD-led three-party coalition of the Left will exceed the four parties of the Right by a margin almost exactly the same as the Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic margin found in that spring 2021 poll.
But the Pro-Panic side’s relative continuing strength cannot be key to winning the election for the Left, because the CDU was doing very well during the height of the Corona-Panic and until summer 2021. Something happened starting in late July that shifted centrist voters away from the CDU and towards the SPD. A low-profile bald man and Social Democratic functionary will lead the Federal Republic of Germany’s semi-sovereign regime.
Fair or not, the CDU’s decline aligns exactly chronologically with the freak-event floods that killed 200 people in mid-July. A lot of people angrily criticized the CDU over this and the whole thing fit like hand in glove into the environmentalist movement’s preexisting line. (See Dieter Kief’s comment on Climate Change Panic.)
As for the Corona-Panic itself, if the Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic split from March still holds, the CDU may have believed it stood to lose more Pro-Panic voters than it could gain Anti-Panic voters, for two reasons.
(1) There were were committed Pro-Panickers than Anti-Panickers. This was a complex and international phenomenon which this small website alone (Hail To You) has had tens of thousands of words in main entries and comments on since April 2020. How it happened and so on.
(2) The CDU assessed that committed Anti-Panic voters were largely “locked in” for the AfD and for a few minor protest parties. The non-partisan and hardline-Anti-Panic Querdenker movement, which at one time stormed the Bundestag to protest the ongoing illegal moves by the government to extend Pro-Panic emergency government diktats indefinitely, is not a coherent voting force, and will scatter its votes mainly towards minor parties.
One surprise in 2021 is that minor parties could take over 10% of all votes cast, even though the voters know well they’ll get no seats. These include some hardline Anti-Panic Corona protest parties. A hardline Anti-Panicker could hardly stomach voting for any of the big parties (except AfD), all of whom stomped over their constitution.
Marshall Lentini wrote yesterday:
Excellent point. I have sometimes thought the same, there were precedents for this clearly visible in retrospect, but I still would never have guessed at it if told back in 2018 or 2019 that this was coming in exactly the way it did come in early 2020 (and continuing).
As usual, there was even a Simpsons episode (2010) which predicted it. Not because the Simpsons has some mystical power of prediction, but because it had very smart writers (often from Harvard) whose fingers were on the pulse of something and could get away with it through the partial cover of parody.
The AfD is partly at least pro-vaccine – so the very panicky hardcore anti-CO-19-panickers are against the AfD. The small party votes (Die Basis, ÖdP, Die Partei, Workers Party, Animal Protection Party…) will – as Mr. Hail pointed out above – all be lost due to German law.
Yeah, the flood in the Ahrtal and in North-Rhine Westfalia came just in time for these elections. The rather weak CDU chancellor candidate is actually Prime Minister in Northrhine Westfalia (15 million inhabitants) while the SPD has the Prime Minister in neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate (where more people died from the flood). But this Governor is Malu Dreyer, a severely ill woman (suffering from multiple sclerosis). She has travelled through the hard-hit regions weeping and visibly suffering herself – people seem to like that. And: She said – day in day out: See: climate change – that’s what it does: It kills people! – While CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet reacted a bit more pragmatic and in one moment was even caught laughing in the background somewhere but nevertheless: On Camera! – and well: For him, this catastrophe was a net loss of voters as Mr. Hail point s out above – whereas for Malu Dreyer and the SPD is was a sure win from the beginning. – This had .n.o.t.h.i.n.g. to do with differences between the CDU and the SPD in their political decisions with regard to the flood, I want to emphasize.
Btw.: Spring was cold this year in Germany and the summer too. – This went mostly unnoticed by the firm believers in the gospel of the climate church – those include almost all mainstream media people in Germany).
Three main CO-19-panic-enforcers in Germany according to a concise article by Dr. Gunter Frank, author of the book Der Staatsvirus (The State’s Virus) about CO-19 and politics. Today, he publishes a look back on the German corona crisis and names these three main factors for the corona-panic in Germany:
1) Wrong incentives for hospitals to bill CO-19 treatment – a huge factor to overemphasize the real danger and thus make easy money via paperwork, accompanied by impressive real-world “emergency-theater” in the hospitals.
2) Yes, migrants were indeed way overrepresented in intensive care – a taboo which had to be hidden at almost any cost because immigration is looked upon as the foremost escape-lane out of the German and the European crisis.
3) The absolutely flawed way in which the actual numbers of CO-19 patients were communicated: At no point was it made clear, that on average, a mere 2% of all hospital patients were diagnosed with CO-19*****. A close look at the hospital numbers (including intensive care beds) shows, that there never was a shortage of beds and/or intensive care beds. – That’s clear since April 2020 when the Leibniz Institute presented this number as a result of a big study it had conducted: 2%. Not more than 2% of hospital beds had been occupied by CO-19 patients. No shortage of hospital beds at all in Germany – ever. But this study was mainly overlooked. – By Gunter Frank too, as he writes today with a sigh…
Here is the link to Dr. Gunter Frank’s article:
The president of the German family doctors said last week, Germany should end all CO-19- restrictions from now on.
It feels like the per-capita number of Anti-Panic experts from Germany—and kindred countries of the Germanic-Protestant core of broadly NW-Europe—is higher than from almost anywhere else, and has been from the start. (Politicians, no. Experts, yes.)
RE: Germany election comments earlier and re: Dieter Kief’s comment
The results in Germany are surprisingly close.
Both the semi-anti-system parties Linke and AfD lost ground. I think there was pressure against them specifically due to to the Corona-Panic’s effect of shifting marginal voters around and partly some Anti-Panic (and maybe some Pro-Panic) protest parties coming up, with the minor parties now taking around 9% of the vote, up from 5%.
In 2017, Linke+AfD took 23% of seats combined of the Bundestag, the latest projection in the overnight hours German time shows them taking 17%.
Still, neither of the natural coalitions — neither CDU+CSU+FDP nor SPD+Greens — have enough for a majority. Even the broader SPD+Greens+Linke does not have a majority, which was expected. This may be the biggest surprise of the election.
CDU+CSU+FDP+AfD looks to have a narrow majority. This would be the obvious government in most countries, but the regime (permanent state) in Germany would absolutely never allow this. It is not even discussed.
(Since everyone knows the regime would never allow AfD government participation, it is a form of mass-scale domestic election meddling and always depresses the AfD vote, given other options are available, especially now FDP. The first step in an AfD breakthrough past this cordon-sanitaire would have to be an AfD-led government in one of the eastern states. The AfD vote was very strong in its strongholds there this time, apparently some of its best-ever results in Saxony and Thuringia.)
[EDIT: See comment below for %-of-vote and seat breakdown in simple terms.]
The German election ended as I expected – not whit a bang, but a whimper. The whimper being: everything will mostly go on as it did before.
The prevented bang is, that there is no chancellor Annalena Baerbock (or Robert Habeck) from the Green party.
Baerbock won the Green party vote against the much better politician Robert Habeck riding mostly on the women’s strength (and charm!) wave – she is nice looking and tasteful. She has good moves – she played soccer for a while and did take part in trampoline competitions for years – her bodily presence is in TV and while speaking publicly is – technically, so to speak – way above average).
She is an utterly blue-eyed (and self-centered) and extremely talkative woman in her forties. She looked a while like the sure next chancellor, but despite her perfect media appearance and her support from all kinds of media old and new, she – thank god (and thanks to the work of bloggers (the software-engineer Hadmut Danisch (!), Achse des Guten, and the liberal-conservative site Tichy’s Einblick and Jouwatch (and hundreds of others, smaller ones), she destroyed herself and so the Green (ca. 15%) party did end up way behind the Christan 24%) and the Social Democrats 25%), who will now both try to build a coalition – but not with one another, what they had been doing before.
The AfD remained stable, even though the party lost a bit of its support in the Covid-crisis, which strengthened the Freie Wähler and the new Party Die Basis and a few others of the small-party vote (ca. 9% all of the small parties combined).
The AfD was not totally anti-CO-19-vaccination, and not totally anti-masking but clearly anti Vaccine passport, and that in the end was not clear enough. Especially for the panicking (!) anti-vaxxers, who claimed that the vaccine would be a deadly weapon, created by the Davos crowd (Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates…) to eradicate the white race etc. …. and who founded Die Basis, which got but a meager two percent of the vote. The (a little bit) realistic Freie wähler party got 7,5 % in Bavaria, which hurt Markus Söder’s CSU quite a bit, but was not enough, to jump over the 5% hurdle, which means: Frei Wähler and Die Basis will not be in the parliament.
As best as I can tell, the final seat-count puts CDU+CSU+FDP+AfD in the majority by a few seats, at a combined four-party 371 seats of 735 total seats (50.5%).
The real ‘bang’ would be the head of the CDU announcing the formation of such a government.
It would be an ideologically coherent pairing, rather than this silly thing about forcing the non-ideologically-coherent FDP and Greens to work together to either put the SPDer or the CDUer in the chancellor seat. It doesn’t make much sense on its face.
If there is any prospective role by the AfD at national level, it feels like the German regime would treat it like a violent coup d’etat; I could foresee AfD party leaders put before courts on some dubious charges immediately, the party itself banned for being “unconstitutional.”
Of course, if any CDU head even tried this maneuver, it would not need go that far because half of his own party (CDU people) would probably defect immediately and form an Anti-Right CDU, immediately strategically vote for the SPD.
Germany Bundestag 2021 voting, Summary
Of all adult citizens:
27.5% voted CDU+CSU+FDP
35.5% voted CDU+CSU+FDP+AfD
31% voted SPD+Greens
35% voted SPD+Greens+Linke
6.5% voted for minor parties who knew well they were not going to get seat.**
23.0%: Did note vote
Actual projected SEATS in the new Bundestag
The CDU+CSU+FDP: 39% of seats
on Right flank, AfD at 11.5% of seats
Total of Right: 50.5%
SPD+Greens: 44% of seats
on Left flank, Linke at 5.5% of seats
Total of Left: 49.5%
Because of the German regime’s now-six-year-running ban on any working with the AfD, they are now talking about a non-ideologically-coherent coalition involving the freemarket-libertarian-conservative FDP and left-wing, pro-Migrant, pro-environmentalist Greens working together, “crowning” either SPD or CDU the chancellor of a shaky coalition.
The SPD chancellor-candidate is much more popular so I would assume it has to be him. It’s unclear how much any of this matters. SPD+Greens+FDP vs. CDU+Greens+FDP. Both will be weak by merit of being ideologically incoherent and always at risk of fracturing.
A similar scenario happened at this time in 2017. Angela ‘Madman’ Merkel, some 18 months after the Migrant Crisis (which she, basically,singlehandedly created), sought a CDU+CSU+FDP+Greens government after another unclear election result. The FDP refused at the last minute, in part (iirc) over the CDU caving into Greens’ desire for more refugees, among other disputes.
After the FDP pullout, talk turned to another election for some time in early 2018; but to save Germany from this, they created another dreary CDU+SPD government of the political Center.
CDU+CSU+SPD may be an equal possibility again this time. (Interestingly, CDU+SPD alone, without Bavaria’s CSU, will NOT work; CDU+SPD alone falls just under a majority.
If so, it makes German politics quite boring. “Not a bang, but a whimper.”
(** – The minor parties, which 6.5% of all German citizens voted for, are mostly of the Right. The largest minor party, FW, mentioned above by Dieter Kief, is probably somewhere near the AfD in ideology but without the fanatical opposition of the German deep state and media and academic and churches and everything else. Some FWers hoped they could get a shock entry into the Bundestag by breaching 5%; instead took 2.4% of votes cast and get no seats whatsoever.)
Mr. Hail wrote about the German election: “The real ‘bang’ would be the head of the CDU announcing the formation of such a government.” = Christian Democrats with the Lib-Dems and the conservative AfD.
Subjunctive irrealis. – In other words: Won’t happen. No such bang will be heard. Not now. – In some years – who knows. But now: No. I know; – and everybody else around here knows it too. Adolf Hitler’s spell is still too present. So – the Climate-Cult is merging with the Covid-Cult and the Cancel-culture and feminist/wokeist .F.e.e.l.s. o.v.e.r A.r.g.u.m.e.n.t.s cult – thus lifting Germany up to new proto-religious heights.
(All this is interesting indeed, I have to admit).
I recall the Landtag of Thuringia case, early 2020, in which exactly this kind of scenario (AfD helping form a government) — something NEVER supposed to happen — somehow happened. By accident, or negligence by the provincials out there, or something, but it happened.
The AfD elected the head of the state government (minister-president), an FDP man.
German politics went crazy for a week or so. There was no bigger story in the world. Berlin intervened and appeared to overturn the election. Major domestic “election meddling.” It was a bad look for the CDU. Then Corona swamped everything, politically, a few weeks later.
The “Landtag of Thuringia case”, Mr. Hail, is interesting because realizing the (deceptively obfuscated) mostly un-intentioned (!) cooperation of the Christian Democrats with the center Lib-Dems and the conservative AfD turned out to prove that this cooperation was unreal – it formally lasted for a few spooky days but practically never – not in .o.n.e. moment did it take any actions whatsoever. – The first government in German history without a single minister, it consisted only of the Lib-Dems’ Minister-President Thomas Kemmerich, who – overnight, declared, that he, as the only member of his government, did not want to be part of it either. – A Groucho Marx in politics moment of a really otherworldly comical quality and as such – an incredibly rare – öh: Happening… – indeed – – out there on the political stage deep down in the Thuringian province.
Well soon enough it turned out, that that was it – a government bordering on the outer fringes of our conceptions of the world, together with the string theory and the worldly implications of the Becker-transformation and other such far-out concepts which hint 1) at the universality of the category of the unsatisfiability – rebus sic stantibus…and/or hint 2) at the un-complementarity of our thoughts (concepts) here and everyday humble ordinary life there – – – Item – – : – – – You Can’t Always “Git” (M. Jagger) What You Want – – –
I’m a little uncertain as to where I might land on the Anti-Panic, Pro-Panic spectrum, but I suppose that probably doesn’t matter. I also wonder whether the choice of delineating this spectrum along an axis of ‘panic’ may introduce inherent bias into the analysis. After all, it is possible for someone to advocate for the most stringent of anti-covid measures without anything resembling the emotional response of panic. From the perspective of that person, their approach could be simply based upon the knowledge and priorities they are working with.
I am sensitive to the losses incurred by lockdowns, particularly when it comes to the mental health of young people, and that of the elderly. These are probably impossible to quantify in a way that can be directly compared to the losses incurred from covid itself, so my personal evaluation of the situation is less amenable to quantification.
The employment years lost is not compelling to me, personally. I appreciate the attempt to preempt arguments against that approach, but my objection is much simpler, and I think mine might be the most common objection you would find out there in the real world. I think people simply ask themselves:
“Would I rather be dead, or unemployed for a year or two?”
No contortion can change the fact that most people will opt for the latter, rather than the former.
Sanely, in my opinion.
It is also incorrect to count employment years lost indiscriminately. After all, not everyone who lost their job due to the pandemic would qualify that time as entirely lost. Most people do not live to work for money, and losing gainful employment is often a trade off: finances and a structured sense of routine are lost, but other things are gained. This fact pretty much destroys the assertion that employment years lost is effectively quantifiable in a way that can be compared to anything else.
For some people, the loss of employment will be, on balance, overwhelmingly negative and approach the point where the person assesses it honestly as time almost entirely lost, with very few redeeming aspects. In some extreme cases, some sad individuals will have tied their identities so completely to their livelihood, that the loss of it will be experienced as loss of life. One could argue that if those individuals utterly failed to make some lemonade out of the lemons they were dealt, that is also a personal failing… On the other hand, others would assess the time of unemployment as a net positive upon honest introspection, perhaps because they used the time to enrich themselves spiritually, to reconnect with their emotions, to reconnect with nature, to take a pause from the ‘rat race’, or to change directions in life in a way only possible when there is enough time to reassess things, and a motivation to apply efforts differently. Even the process of learning to live with less can be very fulfilling. The OP makes mention of one’s best year… although I don’t think a life lived honestly can state which year was best until the life is over, I will say that many people who gave up their homes and lived out of vans or RV’s initially to save on rent, now consider that year to be their best year. The sense of freedom can be exhilarating.
So we see a double problem: the employment years lost are –to an unknowable degree– not entirely lost and sometimes are a net benefit, AND most people intuitively sense that life itself is more valuable than employment time lost when they contemplate it as a personal choice.
Where the equation becomes trickier is when a person measures THEIR employment years lost against the value of somebody ELSE’s life. This, of course, is what is happening in the minds of most people who favor allowing covid to run freely through the population. Cognitive biases of all sorts make this approach seem very rational to those who adopt it. For one, humans easily assume that unfamiliar bad things happen to other people, not to them. It is wishful thinking, simply put, and all sorts of tantalizing arguments can be collected to support it. Some examples: “I have an immune system”, “I take care of myself and eat right”, “I’m young”, “Jesus will protect me”. Other arguments don’t even rely directly on their own sense of peril or lack thereof, but on a conspiracy-theory oriented assertion that the virus is in fact secondary to the desire of elites for us to live in fear, “therefore I will refuse to do what they recommend”.
But to return to the laudable attempt towards objectivity in the OP, I think I can offer an approach that does not require quantification. It is the notion of the social contract. The social contract is important because without it, society disintegrates. Pandemics raise very concrete applications of this assertion. If in a pandemic, I don’t believe my neighbors will value my life by seeking to minimise transmission, I have a direct motivation to engage in anti-social behavior myself, ranging from wishing to live isolated from other humans, all the way to commensurately reducing any care I might take in safeguarding the lives of others in all domains.
Simply put, the clear benefits of living in society can be muddied to the point of effectively being nullified, if there is the sense that a large portion of the community places two to three years of pretense of normalcy over the actual survival of another sizable portion of the community. Think of the permanent damage done to the millions of people who lost loved ones, and blame it on the fact that some people thought wearing a mask was too inconvenient, or that getting a vaccine was going to modify their DNA. Will that society function as well as it did prior to the pandemic? Or will there be more suicides, more murders, less regard for the safety and well-being of others… more anti-social behavior in general?
Personally, I find the most rational approach to be one where authorities measure their response to the virus so as to keep health infrastructure from being overloaded. If that means mandating vaccines that have been approved by the relevant health agencies around the world, so be it. If that means mandating mask wearing, so be it. And depending on the stage of the pandemic, even carefully tailored lockdowns have their place in the toolkit. These measures not only give us control over the course of the pandemic: they also allow for a relative return to normalcy. Businesses can reopen when protocols exist for workers and customers to feel relatively protected. People can be treated at hospitals for illnesses and emergencies other than covid19, when hospitals are not overrun with covid cases. Etc…
I am also in favor of penalties for people who deliberately disregard these mandates without good reason. Such penalties are justified insofar as punishment in society is literally founded upon the notion that significant disregard for the interests of others must come at a cost, lest the social contract be weakened.
At the end of the day, pandemics aren’t walks in the park. When they strike, they bring misery and inconvenience to the sick and the healthy. Those who wish to disagree with society’s natural impulse to preserve itself can opt out of the social contract and live as hermits: I take no pleasure in saying that. Rather I’m facing the simple reality that pandemics suck, and not just for the sick. Not just for (we hope) the other guy. We will all have stories of loss of one kind or another by the time this is said and done. But our sense of togetherness need not be diminished. Our social contract can remain strong. I think that’s a worthy goal to aspire to through out this ordeal.
That is near the essence of the Pro-Panic position. You whittled it down well.
It is terror over a flu virus which poses no threat to them; irrational, dangerous, and, as it has played out, tragically precedent-making, given authorities continued re-lockdowns and continued waves of unnecessary and harmful disruptions.
The funny thing, considering the Pro-Panic side’s often-histrionic kind of talk, is that we know there is statistically zero threat to anyone of working age who is not in abysmal health to begin with (say, with advanced cancer). Statistically zero, as in considerably less threat than the risk implied by regular use of an automobile. Not many people panic about getting into a car, but most people should do that before they even think about panicking over a flu virus of this kind.
The Pro-Panic side’s rank-and-file are often well-meaning but are majorly misinformed; some of them stay loyal to the Panic in part by a kind of giant peer pressure mechanism and the continuing efforts by the fanatics on their side. Some don’t even seem to care at all that there is no unusual threat here. People jump on board social movements (which Corona clearly was/is) for all sorts of reasons, and there is good reason to challenge premises in some cases.
The precedent here is also truly depressing, even dystopian: Flash forward to this day in 2026. Someone claims a “new flu virus, never seen before!!!” is out there. We are now to impose major disruptions on all life rather than letting this supposedly “new flu virus” pass. Better a huge mountain of wasted years — millions, hundreds of millions, or more –than even ONE extra flu death, right? Hmm. Is this rational?
At what point is the thinking simply slide into being a religious imperative? (See “Is ‘Corona’ a literal and non-metaphorical religious cult? An anthropological study” [May 2020].)
A man who thinks this way — all potential risk must be crushed at any cost — is one rather unworthy of the title “free man.” I would go further and say it is fundamentally offensive to the Western spirit back several millennia.
This all sounds like so much attacking one another, though, so the safer ground of analysis is in aggregates and measured in life-years.
See also comments above on the surprising number of deaths apparently induced by the Lockdowns and the Panic atmosphere.
High Jared –
This reads for me like the core of your argument:
“Personally, I find the most rational approach to be one where authorities measure their response to the virus so as to keep health infrastructure from being overloaded. If that means mandating vaccines that have been approved by the relevant health agencies around the world, so be it. If that means mandating mask-wearing, so be it. And depending on the stage of the pandemic, even carefully tailored lockdowns have their place in the toolkit.”
If I look at Sweden – yep: Switzerland and Sweden as two non-panic countries that used vaccines but did both not mandate them. Both societies did social distancing, people washed their hands more carefully and more often, opened up windows that would otherwise have been closed; installed special measures to protect those most vulnerable – in care homes for the elderly, etc. (here Switzerland did a better job than Sweden). – But Sweden especially used masks very reluctant – to this day. Switzerland gave in to mandating masks in more cases after the – unexpected – second wave did hit the hospitals in winter 2020/2021.
I’ve linked Anders Tegnell’s actual analysis of the CO-19-situation in his interview with unherd.tv. here – that says how the Swedish model might find a way to live with CO-19 without panic and (hard) lockdowns.
Guest piece in PEAK STUPIDITY:
Mr. Hail on the 2020 Arizona Election Audit
TUCKER CARLSON ON THE “CORONA CULT” (new post).
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