What insights might Corona-Panic Studies get from Belarus?
Compared to Belarus, even Sweden looked like it might be overreacting.
Here is a graphical representation I’ve put together of total all-cause mortality in Belarus over the past forty years. I think the patterns speak for themselves but some commentary is included below anyway:
Belarus’ Anti-Lockdown Regime
At a time many were embracing delusion, panic, and group-think, at a time millions began indoctrinating themselves into the Virus Cult, Belarus stayed totally open. It kept its sports leagues open, playing without missing a match, spectators and all. Nothing was closed. No masks. Nothing. This is how a visitor described it in late May:
[S]chools remain open, as do cafés, restaurants, bars, shopping malls and most outdoor events. Indeed, many thousands of people lined the streets for the annual Victory Day parade on May 9th. Belarus has struck a refreshing balance: one which has not led to a population in fear of one another.
Just like a normal flu wave. People would have had little idea anything was “going on,” if they relied entirely on lived experience. Now that the flu wave is over, none outside certain specialized occupations would have ever noticed it had ever happened, exactly as it would have been in any of our countries if this the exact same flu wave had spread in 1990, 2000, or even 2010.
The president of Belarus was defiant and stood with both feet in the anti-Panic camp in a way that was much less possible in the West. (Belarus might have a state-run media, while we have a media-run state.)
As the LockdownSkeptics corrspondent wrote in late May:
The country often referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe suddenly has more individual freedoms than virtually anywhere
I want to highlight an excellent talk by Tom Woods on Covid-ism and the Lockdown psychology. It is the kind of impassioned call to snap out of delusion, which, if more in public life had had the courage to make in March/April, we’d never have gotten into this.
Here is the Youtube upload of his talk (also audio link; mp3-download available):
This is worth listening to. It may also work on neutrals and softliners the pro-Panic side (but not the hardliners). I wouldn’t sell it to them in these terms, but the talk is Corona-Cult Detox, or probably better stated, deprogramming.
Woods makes forceful and passionate points about costs that are overlooked/ignored, including about Covid-ism vs. the purpose of human life. Presented effectively and efficiently. This talk by Woods is probably more effective than anything I’ve written, especially for those who prefer the spoken word over the written. He streamlines a lot into this talk.
One thing about Coronavirus media coverage is, has always been, and remains: “Don’t trust the media.” Their reporting has been histrionic from the start, and really equivalent of “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” The Panic Pandemic may not be entirely a creation of the media, but the media was the fanners-of-the-flame-in-chief.
“How many people have gotten the virus?” is a very important question but one on which the media had always obfuscated or given bad info, confusing confirmed cases with actual cases. This itself is of the central swindles of the entire Panic.
Needless to say, as we of the anti-Panic side have said all along, the actual number of those exposed to the virus is much higher than the “confirmed cases” reported. It’s a respiratory virus. It spreads between people in close contact. Get over it.
The swindle is this: Getting people to think of ‘Corona’ as a rare and terrifying killer-virus itself reinforces the Panic. Common things are not terrifying. Ironically, then, it is this deflation of the virus total that has been one way they were able to heat up the Panic and perpetuate it.
The answer to the question of “How many have gotten the Virus” is “many tens of millions,” and has been for a long time now.
Somebody ranting about an imminent virus apocalypse sounds less scary (more pathetic) if you know that tens of millions have gotten said virus and recovered. We need not heed his dark visions of doom the next time:
Major US antibody study finds tens of millions of Americans have gotten the virus, easily recovered
Thanks to a large-scale antibody study in the US, we can finally provide fairly firm data on how many people really got the virus in the US on a nationwide basis.
In early October, a study began to be picked up in the press. The study itself was published in late September and was based on fieldwork done in July. (Why it took so long to get this very important study done is anyone’s guess. We had major studies like this out of Europe and elsewhere already by May.)
The one-line summary of the study: 33 million residents of the US had been exposed to the Wuhan-Coronavirus by late June 2020. That is based not on the “rolling big Scary Number counts” on CNN. It’s based a large, random-sample antibody study.
(The paper: “Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a large nationwide sample of patients on dialysis in the USA: a cross-sectional study,” by Shuchi Anand, Maria Montez-Rath, Jialin Han, Julie Bozeman, Russell Kerschmann, Paul Beyer, et al; published September 25, 2020 in The Lancet; see pdf.)
The exact figure they calculated was 9.3% (confidence range: 8.8%–9.9%) of Americans had antibodies against this strain of coronavirus in the first two weeks of July 2020. Antibodies take some time to develop after the virus enters your system, usually around one week and sometimes two weeks. Given that testing was done for almost all in the sample between July 1 and July 15, this 9.3% estimate for US nationwide exposure reflects a nationwide virus penetration level as of late June.
There was major regional variation, with New York State the highest at 33.6%, an important point to keep in mind on any discussion on herd immunity (below).
What kind of error rates are there in the test used? I’m not sure, but there are people exposed to the virus who ‘recover’ (if they were ever sick) but do not develop antibodies. To account for the non-antibody people who did in fact have the virus pass through their systems, the number can be somewhat rounded up by several tenths of a point.
By mid-October (this writing), given that respiratory viruses will always spread, it may be up to 20% by now (=67.5 million US residents exposed to the virus).
A team at Northwestern University found 20% for Chicago, speaking to the Chicago Tribune October 9 but probably reflecting testing from September, suggesting to me a virus penetration of 20% in Chicago by sometime before September 1. As the rest of the country catches up, 20% nationwide is likely, by mid-October.
(Recall that up to 90 in 100 people never have any symptoms at all, some have mild symptoms [including President Trump] and only 1 in 100 has severe symptoms.)
There are three important questions worth asking:
(1) If we are at 20% today, how much more is left to go? What is the exact herd immunity threshold for this virus?
(2) What does the revelation of 9.3% antibody presence as of late June suggest about the true death toll (i.e., untangling “deaths with” vs. “deaths from”)?
(3) Lockdown-induced deaths. If we can calculate a “deaths with” number, how does it compare to total excess mortality in 2020? If excess deaths are more than true virus deaths, the remainder must be accounted for. They were caused by the endless disruptions, stress, and dislocations of the Lockdown and the Panic itself, including Lockdown-induced deaths of despair.
A character study ofRobin DiAngelo, the woman behind “White Fragility,” is in order.
What follows is an investigation into DiAngelo’s family origin, childhood and adolescence, Lost Years, personality, some on career and education and relationships but with a personal focus. Novel sources and hard-to-find information extensively used.
White Fragility followed a traceable path, a path which we have referred to as The Pipeline, in which ideas born or nurtured on the fringes academia, so radical or bizarre they are laughed-off at the time (if indeed any mainstream person even becomes aware of them at this stage) in time penetrate to the “mainstream.” To use a more well-known term, this is the process by which the Overton Window shifts (is shifted). A close look at the way The Pipeline works gives great lessons on how politics and discourse work in the US and the West generally.
What about the ‘people’ behind the ‘Pipeline’? Ideas travel through The Pipeline. The term ‘Pipeline’ is intended to convey that a lot of ground is covered. White Fragility doctrine wasn’t imposed on America by some edict by Robin DiAngelo out of the blue in mid-2020. As such the process cannot really be reduced to (blamed on) the actions of single actors along the way. All the same, individuals do fill certain roles at different stages of The Pipeline and it would help to understand these people. Who fills these roles? Who are these people? What motivates them?
Who is this woman? What lessons might a close look at her background yield as to how/why she ended up devoting her life to the promotion of an aggressive strain of ethnomasochism with religious-cult tendencies? In other words, Who (or ‘what’) radicalized Robin DiAngelo?
An inquiry into the birth and rise of WHITE FRAGILITYalong the Academia-to-Mainstream ‘Pipeline’
An in-depth tracing of the origins and rise of the term/idea/slogan “White Fragility” from deep obscurity in fringe-academia (2006/2011) to its steady rise on the left-wing talking circuit (2010s) to its sudden breakthrough into mainstream discourse (June 2020). A study of this process yields insights into the way the academia-to-mainstream “idea pipeline” works. Forward-jumps and upward inflection points for White Fragility are, in almost every case, associated with political violence and peaks of racial-political agitation. The surprisingly tight correlation is suggestive of High-Low Coalition Against the Middle theory of US politics.
By E.H. Hail
(See also companion post at “Who Radicalized Robin DiAngelo?“, a biographical exploration of the coiner of the term White Fragility and a search for her motivations.)
This article is really about the academia-to-mainstream pipeline of ideas and how it works. It is inspired by the sudden cultural phenomenon of “White Fragility,” which I capitalize herein to refer to it as an idea rather than as the thing itself, i.e. when I say “the rise of White Fragility” I mean the rise of the idea/term and not the thing itself, i.e. not an increase in Whites displaying fragility.
The article is organized into sections to tell the story, the biography of an idea.
It opens with background and theory. Next it follows the ascent-arc for White Fragility theory, roughly chronologically and identifies key inflection points when interest shot up and stayed high. This is done using a data-driven approach to trace the course of White Fragility. The goal is to answer the questions of ‘when’ and ‘how’ White Fragility was able to break through, with also one section on ‘where’ and some indication also of ‘who’ played key roles along the way. Case-study examples of uses in the wild during its ascent cycle fill in a human side, supplementing the data-driven narrative, largely from Google Trends. The end of the article consists of remarks on the relevance of the findings for present-day cultural and political analysis.
Each section is internally linked here for easier navigation and reference:
Introductory: “White Fragility” breaks through; things to note on the phenomenon;
On the Academia-to-Reality Pipeline, of which White Fragility turns out to be a striking example. Discussion of remarks by John Ellis on the general process; discussion of Christopher Caldwell’s work as applicable here;
Important events between 2012 and 2014 in the White Fragility cycle: The Racism Moral-Panics of the Obama era and the Black Lives Matter movement; the first-ever small, non-sustained breakout of the term “white fragility” (Nov. 2014, same week as Ferguson Riots);
March/April 2015: White Fragility’s first breakout, associated with ongoing disturbances in Ferguson and fresh Black Lives Matter riots in Baltimore;
[Introductory] White Fragility theory bursts forth onto the mainstream scene; things to note on the phenomenon
If you were in the US in June 2020, or observing events in the US, you very likely heard the term “White Fragility.” Seemingly dropped out of nowhere onto the body politic, all of a sudden it was everywhere.
Here is its course from 2011 to June 2020:
The discoverer of this important new doctrine was suddenly famous:
The breakout of the term/idea White Fragility was dramatic enough to be worthy of close study.