You Can’t Trust the Experts: COVID-19, Part I

“The most vaccine-hesitant group of all? PhDs”

Just in case you weren’t already aware: You can’t trust the experts when it comes to COVID.

Here‘s a helpful rundown (apologies for the crassness and vulgarity). And Locklin doesn’t even mention that “Pfizer crossed its published benchmark before Election Day, but didn’t want to have to announce its results, so it shut down its lab work on [its COVID-19 vaccine].” Nor does he fully dive into the media’s role in everything (nor the geopolitical angle).

“[S]ubmission works in stages. If you submit to this small thing, what next will you submit to?” Don’t submit to faceless institutions which have not earned your trust. Submit to God and in “secular” matters think for yourself.

Related. Related.


Drowned in a Sea of Irrelevance

Pin on Red Root ideas

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Neil Postman

No doubt, our world increasingly resembles Orwell’s dystopian vision rather than Huxley’s. (For instance, here‘s Twitter Minitrue Global Public Policy team doublethinkingly saying they strongly condemn Internet shutdowns and have also recently suspended a number of accounts in the same tweet.)

But the advantage still probably goes to Huxley. Even in the Current Year, the truth still remains fairly unconcealed—because it does not need to be concealed, because hardly anyone wants to discover (read: unconceal) it, because doing so means wading through a sea of irrelevance to something not just unfashionable but blasphemous.

Much easier, then, simply to drown in our regularly scheduled programming. Certainly it is quite enjoyable—but then again, so was soma.

We Can Have Flying Cars

Flying cars: how close are we? | Living

Why don’t we have flying cars yet? That’s J. Storrs Hall’s question. We can learn a lot by thinking about this question, and its answer.

[T]he barriers to flying cars are not technological or economic—they are cultural and political. To explain the flying car gap is to explain the Great Stagnation itself.

We live in the tomorrow that yesterday’s Progressives dreamed of—and built. The New Deal, the Great Society, the Sexual Revolution, desegregation, mass immigration, trillions of dollars to eradicate poverty. And yet what we see around us is Stagnation, not Progress. Trillions of dollars, several social revolutions—and no significant improvement in educational outcomes, health care outcomes (yes, the US has lots of public health care), poverty rates, etc. (And I haven’t even mentioned COVID relief.)

It almost makes you wonder whether even more government intrusion is going to help. And but so—back to flying cars and the future that was taken from us:

[W]e ought to have nuclear-powered everything. Nuclear homes with local, compact reactors—they don’t need to be on the grid. Nuclear cars, whether flying or ground. Even nuclear batteries—I was shocked to learn that certain designs of nuclear batteries were actually manufactured decades ago and used safely in implantable pacemakers.

A world with widespread flying cars, nuclear batteries, and all the rest is a world without real poverty. And the technology for flying cars and nuclear batteries is already in place. So why don’t we have them yet?

[E]ven if you had built a flying car and were ready to take to the air, you’d be shot down by the FAA, the mayor, the news media, the insurance company, and your neighbors. An even greater regulatory burden applies to nuclear power.

Why no flying cars yet? As it turns out, when the government gets involved in an industry, prices in that industry tend to go up—and innovation tends to go down. (Every wonder why education and health care costs have skyrocketed in recent decades? Because the government is heavily involved in education and health care. Meanwhile, TV costs have gone down.) Thus, government investment intrusion has gutted flying cars, and nuclear energy:

What’s the result? No eradication of poverty, no flying cars, marginally fewer scientists and engineers (and musicians, and poets, and …), but many more lawyers:

What’s the cost of all those lawyers? Here’s Hall:

[T]he U.S. tort system consumes about two percent of GDP, on average. … [T]he long-run compound-interest effect on the economy as a whole is startling: without it our economy today would be twice the size it actually is. This is the closest we can come to measuring the effect of taking more than a million of the country’s most talented and motivated people and put[ting] them to work making arguments and filing briefs against each other so their efforts mostly cancel out, instead of inventing, developing, and manufacturing things which could have made life better.

And it’s not just lawyers; countless other young talented people have been diverted “from productive pursuits to expensive virtue signaling.” In 2021, the number of Americans who are actually making things is dwarfed by the number of Americans whose jobs (and very lives) are fundamentally parasitic. And so we don’t have Progress of any kind—just Stagnation.

We could have had flying cars. Instead, we have failing cities. We could have eliminated poverty. Instead, we’ve doubled it. (Same with crime.) We could have doubled the economy. We could have eliminated cancer (and maybe even aging itself). Instead…

If you care about the poor, or the working class, or children, or the elderly, or the sick, or whomever—and I do—understand that Big Government has continually failed them immensely and that more Big Government will fail them even harder. (And no, I’m not shilling for the GOP; the GOP establishment likes Big Government almost as much as the Dem establishment does.) Understand that a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, etc. would not actually solve anything—just as the original New Deal and Medicare for 44 Million haven’t actually solved anything. Understand that all your favorite activist movements industries have actually made things worse for most Americans in need, by turning a society of creators into a society of leeches.

What Americans need is: healthy communities, healthy churches, healthy families, and healthy innovation. Big Government gets in the way of all those things. So Big Government has to go.

But ultimately what has to go is “diversity,” “inclusion,” “equity,” and all the other deceitful words in the English language. Ultimately the root problem is not Big Government—some countries with relatively big governments do just fine—but the false religion of Progressivism in all its many guises.

We can have healthy families, healthy communities, flying cars, and nuclear batteries. Or “Progress.” But not both.

The Path Forward

Where wooden churches are 800-900 years old and survived the plague -  Deseret News

As a physician, I interacted with insurance companies on behalf of patients and learned a great deal about how the system worked. But my views completely changed when my wife and I attended a church where the members declined traditional insurance and assumed this function as a group. With a few thousand members across dozens of churches, this brotherhood had been successfully filling this role for decades. When a need arose, a minister would discreetly describe that there had been a car accident or serious illness. He would name the deficit involved, and the members would contribute. I was skeptical at first; but after watching the brotherhood sacrificially meet need after need over four years, I was deeply impressed—melted would be a better word.

Finny Kuruvilla, King Jesus Claims His Church

The path forward is not, fundamentally, more government provision (or regulation) of health care. (In fact, the path forward is not more health care at all.) The path forward is communities strong enough to meet their members’ needs.

Two thousand years ago, Christian communities were strong enough to meet their members’ needs: “Members of the early church held goods in common, selling possessions as there were needs. The church organized its own system for caring for widows and providing for its poor.” In fact, early Christian communities did more to help the non-Christian poor in their midst than any other community ever had.

That path forward is clear. How many churches will take it?

$50,000 Checks

In total, the federal government has pumped $4.8 trillion into the economy over the past 11 months. … Adjusted for inflation, we have spent 20 percent more than the U.S. spent on World War II…. [I]magine instead what the U.S. would have looked like had the government just divided that $4.8 trillion among U.S. households. … [A]sk yourself whether we would have been better off had the government simply cut households $50,000 checks. If you’re not boiling mad right now, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. … So why is it, then, that the federal government seems never to consider the option of replacing government assistance programs with direct payments? In the Covid crisis, and in the broader war against poverty, this would have solved a vexing problem as efficiently as possible. And therein lies the rub. Politicians aren’t all that concerned with solving problems efficiently. They seem always to prefer expanding the power they wield…. Politicians make grandiose claims about their various and sundry programs because those claims resonate with the people who receive government largesse. Not surprisingly, those claims resonate even more with the entrenched, ever-growing federal bureaucracy. But in the end, people receive pennies on the dollar compared to what they could have received had we decided just to write a check.

James R. Harrigan and Antony Davies, “Politicians Turn Problems Into Power”

False Devils

New York restaurant with a sign in the shop window 'No Booze Sold Here  Booze Hounds Please Stay Out'

Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice. The Moslems say, “There is no God but God.” The English Moslems, the abstainers, have to learn to remember also that there is no Satan but Satan.

GK Chesterton

The Puritanical agitators of Chesterton’s day—who, though they too were toxic cultists, stood head and shoulders above contemporary “social justice warriors”—decried capitalism and alcohol. But the Puritanical agitators of our day have a somewhat different list of bogeymen, headed up by the various now-all-too-familiar -ism’s: “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” and so on.

And so our agitators call many things that are good satanic (or “problematic”), and many things that are satanic good. They forget—if they ever knew—that there is no Satan but Satan. (As do most of their “conservative” opponents, who are much more worried about “socialism” than about spiritual corruption.)

There is something fundamentally wrong, but if we do not begin at the beginning, with God as God and Satan as Satan, with good as good and evil as evil, we will never solve even our secular problems. Our problems remain unsolved because we worship false gods—”Diversity,” “Equity,” “Inclusion” —and fear false devils—”capitalism”; “socialism”; straight white men.

There Is Something Fundamentally Wrong


There is something fundamentally wrong and broken with our current society and system of government that is not “government” per se. The libertarian analysis of “this is what you get when any state is in charge” is not correct, it’s what you get when *our* state is in charge. I think it would be more productive to identify what, in particular, is so deeply sick with our particular state, then to merely say “it’s the government” and just leave it at that.

Handle, Comment on “The vaccine, the market, and government”

We assume that crime, broken families, and other social problems are inevitable—or the fault of too much (or too little) government. But countries like South Korea have solved many of our “inevitable” social problems, and not because South Korea is a libertarian country—and not because South Korea is a socialist country.

The point is not that South Korea is perfect. (Far from it.) The point is: There is something fundamentally wrong and broken with our current society. “Conservatives” who think the fundamental problem is “too much government” don’t get it. Leftists who think the fundamental problem is “too little government” also don’t get it. Because the fundamental problem is deeper than the government’s size—even though the government is often overly intrusive and wildly inefficient.

What then is the fundamental problem? That is the million-trillion-dollar question. Almost everyone in a position of power and influence is lying about it, because literally all of them are incentivized to do so.

And that means we must resist their easy answers. Think, McFly, think! And not just about the fundamental political problem—over which we have little to no control—but about the fundamental problems in your life and mine.

Civilised Man Is Fundamentally an Heir

Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilised man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices. Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalisation.

“Cardinal Sarah says world blighted by Europe’s sickness”

These Old Hands Can’t Dig up That Rose-bush

Image result for booker t. washington

I was born in the South, a slave, and I love the South. … We are not foreigners nor aliens. You understand us and we understand you…. We went into slavery pagans; we came out of slavery with the Bible and Sunday-school literature in our hands. … Some days ago I was in the city of Richmond, and I heard a story concerning an old black man there. He was living in the same home where his mistress lived during slavery, and she had planted with her own hands a rose-bush in the yard. A new tenant took possession, and the new mistress said to this old colored man, “Dig up that rose-bush.” The old man hesitated, and with a tear in his eye, shook his head and went behind the house. Again the lady came out and said, “Dig up that rose-bush,” and he came up to her, touched his hat and made a polite bow and said, “Miss, I likes you, I want to obey you, but, Missus, you don’t understand; these old hands can’t dig up that rose-bush; that rose-bush was planted fifty years ago by my old Missus, and these hands can’t dig it up; you must excuse me, Missus.” The feeling of sympathy, the feeling of friendship between the black people and the white people in the Southland was planted here years ago by our forefathers. We who are following in their footsteps, black men and white men, must not dig up that old rose-bush. We must nurture it with our tears and with our love and with our sympathy, and as we do it we will have the blessing of Almighty God.

Booker T. Washington, “The Religious Development of the Negro”

A Toxic Religious Cult

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Eric Voegelin

[L]iberalism, socialism, communism, scientism, progressivism, identity politics, globalism, and all the rest—this Hydra’s head of modernist projects, however ostensibly secular, is united by … features that are irreducibly theological… [M]odernity is also an Oedipal phenomenon…. [T]he Gnostic lives in what Voegelin calls a “dream world.” … Nothing that happens is taken to falsify his beliefs, because any bad effects are interpreted as merely further manifestations of the evil forces, rather than reflecting any defect in the Gnostic’s belief system. … [T]he Gnostic posits a final victory of the “pure” over the evil forces that govern everyday reality.… As Voegelin famously put it, modern forms of Gnosticism “immanentize the eschaton”—that is to say, they relocate the final victory of the righteous in this world rather than the next, and look forward to a heaven on earth. … [C]onsider Marxism from the point of view of Voegelin’s analysis. Here the all-pervasive and near omnipotent evil that the Gnostic sees in the world becomes capitalism and the bourgeois power that it sustains. This power is taken to permeate every aspect of life…. Everyday moral assumptions are mere ideologies that mask the interests of bourgeois power, religion is a mere opiate to reconcile the oppressed to that power, and so on. … Critical Race Theory (CRT) is in exactly the same mold. … For CRT, the all-pervasive and near omnipotent source of evil in the world is the “racist power” of “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” and indeed “whiteness” itself. This racism is “systemic” in a Foucauldian sense—it percolates down, in capillary fashion, into every nook and cranny of society and the unconscious assumptions of every citizen. It is especially manifest in all “inequities,” which result from the “implicit biases” lurking even in people who think of themselves as free of racism. And it is to be found even in the most seemingly innocuous of offenses, which are in reality “micro-aggressions.” Even self-consciously “anti-racist” CRT adepts themselves are not free of racism, but must constantly engage in a Maoist-style self-critical struggle to root out and confess ever deeper and unexamined racist assumptions. … Other forms of woke Gnosticism have their own bogeymen—”patriarchy,” “heteronormativity,” etc.—which, like “whiteness,” are abstractions spoken of as if they were concrete demonic powers. … The gnosis that purportedly reveals all of this suffocating oppression is to be found in the writings of gurus like Kendi and DiAngelo, whose main difference from the likes of Marcion and Mani is the size of their royalty checks. … It is no accident that CRT adepts think of themselves as “woke.” For it is not rational argumentation that compels them but a kind of conversion experience, and Kendi, DiAngelo, et al. are essentially Gnostic preachers rather than philosophers or social scientists. … With wokeness suddenly flooding universities, high schools, the medical profession, the military, business, and seemingly everywhere else, we are seeing something comparable to the Arian crisis of the 4th century or the Albigensian crisis of the 13th century—the alarmingly rapid spread of a toxic religious cult that threatens the general sociopolitical order no less than it does the Church. As in these earlier crises, there are many Christians, already heterodox anyway, who are happy to cave in to the madness.

Edward Feser, “The Gnostic heresy’s political successors”