Happy Fourth of July

Myths about “systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” and “white privilege” get blown completely to pieces in this latest article by Paul Craig Roberts, easily one of the boldest authors in the online world, who always tries to write the truth as he sees it.

Philosophically, we now clearly inhabit a world that is not just post-truth, but one in which truth and lies are systematically inverted. Every day I give thanks that I no longer work for any academic institution, and never again will.

A TRUTHFUL JULY 4 MESSAGE

Happy Fourth of July!

Oh. IPE stands for Institute for Political Economy, Roberts’s own self-funded organization.

Posted in Culture, Media, Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thomas Sowell Revisited: Constrained versus Unconstrained Visions

Back in 1987, Thomas Sowell published a book that merited far more attention than it received: A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York: William Morrow & Co.). A revised edition was published in 2007.

I believed, back when I first read the book in either 1990 or 1991, that Sowell had hit on something of major importance–possibly one of the few dichotomies worth taking seriously. This was his distinction between “constrained” and “unconstrained” visions. Here is the difference:

For amelioration of … the human condition, the constrained vision relies on certain social processes such as moral traditions, the marketplace, or families.

By contrast:

When Rousseau said that “man is born free” but “is everywhere in chains” he expressed the essence of the unconstrained vision, in which the fundamental problem is not nature but institutions.

This offers a philosophically important insight into why some societal arrangements succeed, at least somewhat, while others fail miserably.

All we have to do is add an element of realism: nature, including human nature, is such that certain beliefs, certain practices, certain sets of arrangements–in a word, certain systems–accord with its principles, while others either ignore those principles or openly flout them. Doing the latter is akin, in some respects, to banging your head against a brick wall. It’s going to hurt, but it’s not going to affect the wall.

According to Dr. Sowell, the left-liberal welfare state has failed miserably. It has failed blacks especially even if it was aimed at them primarily. 

What he advises: if you disagree, just look at the data, which he draws from civilizations and communities worldwide. He shows that there are cases of groups who have succeeded spectacularly despite blatant discrimination by the powers-that-be. In the case of American blacks, we saw economic improvement through the 1940s and 1950s, despite the legacy of Jim Crow.

According to Dr. Sowell, these improvements continued through the 1960s and 1970s, reflecting this earlier momentum, not civil rights legislation.

But then, several decades of genuine progress began to slow, halt, and actually reverse itself. American blacks began, if anything, to slip backwards educationally and culturally, despite affirmative action.

Dr. Sowell blames the increasing grip of the unconstrained vision of the left-liberal mindset, the chief legacy of which was the welfare state. Eventually, as the lack of continued progress became noticeable, a victim mindset developed and grew.

Previous to this era, blacks had suffered discrimination but their families tended to stay together and their neighborhoods did not suffer from the rampant crime that came to afflict them later. This was not due to anything white people were doing. It was due to the moral and educational breakdown that always accompanies an unconstrained vision. When the political class and its servants make the assumption that institutions, or “systemic racism,” are at fault, they set about to change those institutions, or change the entire system–not the beliefs and practices that accord with what healthy communities need. With moral breakdown comes familial breakdown, out-of-wedlock births, etc. And when welfare-state policies tie payments directly to paternal absenteeism as well as number of children, perverse incentives set in and multiply.

In the same fashion, if government pays people to stay and home and not work, most will stay at home and not work. (This isn’t rocket science.)

Not to mention what was happening in higher education. For the past 40 years blacks have been incentivized into increasing resentment against whites–indeed, against anyone, white, Asian, etc., who has accomplished something with his life. This is part of the victim mindset. Lack of a stable family structure, moreover, is always associated with a rising temptation to criminal activity, especially if there are no male role models with sound values.

As Dr. Sowell observes, this is not just America. Distinct patterns are observed in societies all over the world–meaning that they reflect discoverable realities of the human condition, and nature herself. For example, when official policy favors one group at the expense of another for a long enough period of time, inflicting actual harm on members of the disfavored group, the result is divisions that eventually threaten to explode.

What makes the constrained vision the more valid one is that the world we inhabit does in fact impose constraints on what is socially, politically, and economically possible. The fact that we must produce the means of our sustenance and that we respond to incentives is a place to begin. I would add that human beings cannot simply exist, whatever their station in life, without a sense that there is some purpose for their doing so, and that grounding this purpose in transient historical, cultural, or economic factors is insufficient. Real conservatism recognizes that this purpose must be grounded in a transcendent reality and that reality’s God.

The danger the West now faces–all races–is that insane efforts by the far left to maintain an unconstrained vision, we’ve literally thrown facts, truth, and logic out the window in favor of fantasies like “systemic racism” and “white privilege,” or “gender” fluidity. The far left believes it can “cancel” history by taking down historical monuments deemed “racist.”

I will end this note with the observation that we are approaching what may be the most dangerous epoch in all of U.S. history, even more dangerous than the period that led up to the War Between the States. The danger is that regardless of who wins Election 2020, the other side is going to cry foul and claim the election was stolen. Some are already laying the groundwork for an allegation of this kind if Donald Trump should be reelected.

This is the snowballing of Sowell’s unconstrained vision, which proceeded from the welfare state and affirmative action up through political correctness, ending up with present-day “cancel culture” in which radical-left groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter are resorting to vandalism and open violence to exact their will, often aided and abetted by Democrats in city governments while mainstream Republicans cower in fear, doing nothing. Police, under withering attack since George Floyd’s death, seem on the verge of abdicating, in large cities at least.

Is it possible to restore a constrained vision? Yes, but more and more of us are concluding that with higher education having collapsed, mainstream culture having collapsed, and much of mainstream political economy now servicing the enemies of such principles, the only way to do it will be from the outside, on the margins, eventually working back in and rebuilding institutions once the wrecking ball now swinging has finished its destructive course wreaking havoc.

One can only hope that a philosopher can play a role starting this rebuilding.

Listen to Dr. Sowell discuss his views in this video.

Posted in Books, Culture, Higher Education Generally, Political Economy, Political Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The World Through the Eyes of a Globalist”

Hello, readers. This is an experiment. I’ve never done this before on here. Below is a link to a very unusual piece. The Facebook censors have banned the site it appears on as violating their “community standards,” so I cannot link directly to it there, only here.

As for the piece itself — “The World Through the Eyes of a Globalist” — that, too, is an experiment, one of those ideas I just woke up with one morning and ran with, as much to find out what it did once it took on a life of its own (as such pieces sometimes do).

It may frighten you. You may wish to quarrel with it. Or dismiss it, claiming too much of it is unsourced or unreferenced. That is your privilege.

But if you often feel like you’ve entered a real world Twilight Zone, in 2020, you just might like this. You might find it eye-opening.

What, precisely, is a “globalist”? No spoilers. If you’re unsure, you’ll just have to click the link.

What the piece does is make some predictions you might find it worth your while to take a look at and consider carefully … so should you decide the threat is serious, you can begin taking appropriate actions to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets.

While I never set out to be a prophet, my track record isn’t all that bad. I was one of the people saying during the first half of 2008 that we were in trouble, that we were heading for the worst economy since the Great Depression. I received some strange looks. But not after October of that year. But that’s not the prediction I stand by.

As I’ve often said, I predicted back in the early 1990s that if political correctness, then limited pretty much to universities and a few elite opinion centers, wasn’t opposed, it would expand its reach until it dominated every institution in the country, and you dare not oppose its claims about such things as “systemic racism” if you want to keep your job.

Now, as Paul Craig Roberts just put it, America is being cancelled. Identity Politics controls academia, and because most who tried to warn about it have retired or vacated the premises, it is only going to get worse.

Some might wonder, Does this have something to do with philosophy?

That would be a Yes.

The dominant culture has basically canceled truth. That ought to be of philosophical interest! What does it mean, after all, to “cancel truth”? Well, we don’t mean that truth is literally canceled. It’s still there, whether persons or cultures acknowledge it or not. You can’t simply wish it away. But institutions both can and do suppress statements of it, like never before … on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, anyway.

As Roberts also observes in that same column, we are not allowed to cite the report showing that George Floyd did not die because of Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck (even I fell for that one, in a piece not yet published). The evidence does not support a charge of murder any more than it supports the claim, however politically correct, that Floyd died because of his race at the hands of a white man.

That has not stopped the entire mass culture from placing Floyd on a pedestal to “systemic racism” and basically intimidating authorities into allowing the mass destruction of historical monuments. It has not stopped the mass destruction by looters of a lot of small businesses that managed to survive the COVID-19 lockdowns … based on something with a mortality rate of probably less than 1 percent outside of vulnerable populations.

We now live in a truth-free civilization. You cannot tell the truth, lest it offend or “microaggress” against someone. In universities, you take your career in your hands just by offering up the biological basis for saying there are two and only two sexes. Ask Bret Weinstein.

The sad thing is, none of these people have no idea who they might actually be working for. Those V.I.. Lenin once called useful idiots never do.

And who might they be working for?

Maybe this piece puts its finger on the truth. Maybe it’s just dystopian science fiction. Existing within that ambiguity, I’d say it is very much in tune with our times … now that we’ve all entered a real world Twilight Zone.

So here it is:  The World Through the Eyes of a Globalist.

Posted in Coronavirus, Media, Science and Technology, Where is Civilization Going? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Case for Collapse Studies

Universities have courses and sometimes entire departments devoted to cultural studies, race / ethnicity studies of one form or another, and gender studies. Why not a course, or even a department, devoted to collapse studies. Such a course or department would be exceptionally relevant these days.

What would such a course or department do?

For starters, it would challenge the onward-and-upward-forever view that began with the Enlightenment. Nothing new in that. Collapse studies would just take an idea that’s been “in the air” for some time now and make it clearer and sharper. It would note that civilizations, like people, have lifespans: birth, periods of growth and maturity, followed by increasing infirmity and decline and demise, whether through conquest, implosion, or some combination of the two.

Such a course or department would survey from various perspectives the great theorists of the rise, trajectory, and decline of civilizations. These include Spengler and Toynbee, Quigley on occasion, and above all, Sir John Bagot Glubb who is surely the least well-known name on that list who deserves to be known, if only because his ideas are far easier to digest.

Among living authors, a collapse studies course would need to include Dmitry Orlov and The Saker (whom I am sure has a good reason for using that pseudonym).

I’ve discussed Glubb’s views here, here, and here. Other worthwhile discussion can be found here. (Read Glubb’s original essay here.)

According to Glubb, civilizations go through the following somewhat overlapping stages:

  • Breakout and Age of Pioneers.
  • Age of Conquest
  • Age of Commerce
  • Age of Affluence
  • Age of Intellect
  • Age of Decadence

In the first stage, an originally seemingly unremarkable society takes off like a rocket, perhaps empowered by an idea such as liberty: its Age of Pioneers. It expands rapidly, and heaven help anyone or any culture that gets in the way (ask Native Americans): its Age of Conquest. Within a few generations, it spans a continent. Trade routes are laid down, a single administrative system is in place, a single language spoken, a single currency used: its Age of Commerce. During this period, and even before, it draws people from around the world. All who were there or who come proudly identify with the civilization, or their newly adopted home, and seek to further their role in it.

But then, Glubb observes, things slowly begin to go wrong. During the Age of Commerce, fortunes begin to be made. Money starts to become a fascination and an end in itself. Gradually, founding principles and the public good are forgotten: the Age of Affluence. This does little damage at first and might even be thought to be doing great good, for those fortunes are used to endow universities, build private research centers, further public education, and fund a variety of other programs deemed significant by founders and recipients. Media of various sorts take root and distribute information with increasing efficiency as technology improves. A middle class grows out of the myriad opportunities economic freedom makes possible.

But then, the chattering begins: an Age of Intellect. A professional intellectual class develops and discourses about problems of less and less importance to the whole. They lose sight of the fact that endless discussion does not lead civilizations, leadership does, and that “analysis paralysis” can cripple leadership.

Far worse is that some professional intellectuals, ensconced in academic safe havens, further theories and ideologies spun out of their imaginations and secular value systems having little or nothing to do with the realities of the civilization otherwise all around them. Their theories send them in search of imagined problems rather than guiding them toward solutions of existing ones. Such people may gain a following that tries to implement their ideas, however. Naturally, their efforts fail, often doing a lot of damage in the process. These efforts take on lives of their own and may feather the financial nests of growing institutions filling up with career bureaucrats.

The intellectuals have forgotten — or are extremely dubious about — the fundamentals that built the civilization. Quarreling and quibbling endlessly, pessimism and cynicism set in. They may start to question the idea of truth itself. They may confuse valid criticism with censorship. They may grow paranoid and confuse the weaponization of language in the service of narratives and agendas with their own strange idea that narratives and agendas are all that we have. Truth itself becomes a tool of authority, or dominant institutions, or of a dominant group.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

When we start to see more and more of the following, An Age of Decadence has set in:

  • Deepening pessimism among intellectuals.
  • A weakening of religion / religious institutions.
  • Materialism and the loss of a moral compass, especially in centers of political and economic influence.
  • Replacement of statesmen by celebrities (actors and actresses, sports heroes, entertainers).
  • Hedonism and frivolity among the masses: an “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” sensibility.
  • Influxes of new immigrants who, unlike their predecessors who contributed to the building of the society, refuse to assimilate and instead establish colonies, especially in cities. They retain their own language and culture rather than adopting the dominant one.
  • Increasingly radical forms of feminism emerge: women move into professions previously led by men, who are slowly emasculated.
  • An increasing willingness of the many to live at the expense of a bloated, bureaucratic state.
  • An unhealthy obsession with sex — in all forms and varieties.

Did the U.S. enter its Age of Decadence long ago? You tell me. Ours probably also includes the following:

  • Irrational warmongering and military posturing, as efforts to control the flows of money and resources grow ever more desperate.
  • Irrational monetary policy characterized by financialization instead of production (offshored to third world countries), and by borrowing against the future resulting in escalating debt in all sectors.
  • A widening gulf between rich and poor, with visible redistribution of wealth upward and into the hands of a corrupt, parasitic elite. One hears more and more about “haves” versus “have nots.”
  • The middle class created during the Ages of Affluence and Intellect is now visibly struggling with downward mobility. With productive work being outsourced or replaced by technology, many must go into debt to sustain the lifestyles they are accustomed to.
  • One sees extravagant displays of wealth by the “haves.”
  • Literacy and educational levels decline; students know more about pop culture icons and celebrities than they do the important figures in their society’s history.
  • One hears increasing cynicism about “the system”; more and more people are resigned and “turn inward” to cultivate their own private gardens, as it were. Indifference to the fate of the whole becomes manifest and spreads.
  • An emotional coldness characterizes more and more human interactions especially (but not limited to) the workplace, as more and more people grow indifferent to the fate of others.
  • Mere pessimism turns nihilist; health problems including mental illness rise, as does the suicide rate.

An Age of Decadence always precedes collapse. Around 15 years ago, Dmitry Orlov, author of Reinventing Collapse (2008) and other books, offered his Five Stages of Collapse thesis (updated recently): his five stages are:

  • Financial collapse, during which faith in “business as usual” is lost.
  • Commercial collapse, during which faith in the idea that “the market will provide” is lost.
  • Political collapse, during which faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
  • Social collapse, during which faith that “your own will take care of you” is lost.
  • Cultural collapse, during which faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

I am not sure Orlov thought these would necessarily happen in this order. All seem to me to overlap with others. I am unsure why he does not mention education, which began to collapse long ago. He observes that commercial collapse must occur when more and more people are dead broke, especially in a market-driven society where your value as a person is determined by what’s in your pocket, bank account, investments, etc. That said, there are still plenty of people who believe the financial system will offer them huge profits if they can just make the right investments, or that the government will bail them out when all else fails.

Another author / blogger worth studying is Charles Hugh Smith, who doesn’t lay out a set of general stages or steps but rather just emphasizes, in great detail, how the various interactions between irrational financialization and borrowing, easy credit, the longstanding blowing of asset bubbles, increasing fragility, how the system generates increasing self-deception about its ability to face and solve its problems, and how all this sets up a domino effect so that disruption and dysfunction spread from system to system.

Works worth studying in any comprehensive course in collapse studies would have to include Joseph A. Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies (1990) and Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed (2004). The former envisions collapse as a systemically forced reduction in complexity resulting from citizens’ refusal to participate in institutions they no longer see as beneficial. They stop cooperating en masse, and this renders those systems dysfunctional. They adjust down to greater simplicity.

Diamond believes societies collapse when their expansion, coupled with poor political choices, gradually undermines features of their environment on which they depend for their survival, e.g., crucial natural resources.

There are doubtless others I’ve not thought of — the subject grades into criticisms that global capitalism as it presently exists isn’t sustainable and must evolve into something less colonial, less elitist, and more humane, or it will invite increasing waves of revolt of the sort that began with movements like Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring — although arguably, moneyed interests have never had more wealth and power than they do at present and will likely respond to waves of revolt with increasingly totalitarian measures.

Is collapse inevitable? Glubb’s outline certainly suggests so. And according to Orlov, U.S. collapse is not only unavoidable but proceeding apace.

No one should miss, finally, The Saker’s timely examination of current events beginning with the murder-by-cop of George Floyd, who has now been turned from a human being killed by a psychopathic cop into a cultural and racial icon. The Saker exposes the myths that have taken root around Identity Politics which have contributed massively to the collapse of higher education. Around 30 years ago, I began investigating and then criticizing affirmative action programs and the radical feminists who had already become their primary beneficiaries. While doing so badly damaged my academic career, such as it was, I was not chased from my classroom by an angry mob, nor did I receive death threats. I doubt I would get off so easy in today’s far more hostile environment, or that I could hold black and white students to the same standards, on the same schedule, given an event like the George Floyd murder. (This.)

Collapse studies will emphasize, finally, that collapse is not a singular event or even a set of events although it will include such. It is a process. Analysis in terms of steps or stages surely suggests this. Thinking of collapse as a sudden, catastrophic event is Hollywood stuff. Such events occur, but they rarely bring down entire civilizations. Rome did not collapse in a day even when it was sacked, any more than (as the adage goes) it was built in a day.

Collapse being a process, we can look at the states of affairs listed above and answer for ourselves whether the U.S. — and much of Europe, for that matter — are collapsing.

This being a philosophy blog, does this have something to do with philosophy?

I think so. Kant and Hegel began to turn philosophers’ attention to history, and theorizing collapse surely follows in those footsteps even if not in a way they could have foreseen. Others, such as Condorcet and Comte theorized stages through which Western civilization has passed.

Does history have a goal? Comte thought so: culminating in his Third Stage, and idea I believe is now solidly refuted. It does not seem to have occurred to him that a civilization having achieved its Third Stage of “positive science” could gradually go into a tailspin.

Does history unwind in a linear fashion, or does it move in cycles. What evidence we have seems to favor a cyclical theory, even if ours has achieved technological heights no one in earlier cycles could have imagined, and even if a Christian worldview is superimposed over the worldly evidence, so that history ends with Christ’s return.

Is collapse, in that case, a necessary fate of civilizations built by fallible, mortal men — just like physical death in this world is our inevitable fate as persons?

I don’t know.

I’ve envisioned transcending Comte’s Stages theory further, so that if civilization is going into a tailspin during its Fourth Stage, a Fifth Stage may be possible to turn things around if the right people in the right institutions create the right technologies at the right time, and if their actions are replicated elsewhere in a growing network across the globe.

But there are no guarantees that this will happen. All we can do is put our ideas out there. The future will determine not whether or not collapse is inevitable but whether we avoided collapse in our particular case. At the moment, the prognosis is not looking good.

(Image courtesy of collapseofindustrialcivilization.com)

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Posted in Academia, Culture, Higher Education Generally, Where is Civilization Going? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

More Censorship On Social Media. This Time, it’s Facebook

This morning, a missive from Ron Unz, editor and publisher of alternative media site The Unz Review, appeared in my inbox. He was reporting that everything from his site had been removed from Facebook. Its page on the social media leviathan was gone.

The link in Ron’s email goes here.

I tried to post it to Facebook, to see what would happen. It would not post. The message I received contains that now-infamous phrase, “violates our community standards.”

Mr. Unz’s thought crime appears to have been his willingness not just to entertain but to write about coronavirus / COVID-19 “conspiracy theories” (e.g., this, which he references).

Facebook (also Google and Twitter) have periodically announced plans to crack down on such notions as can be found on sites such as Ron Unz’s, and elsewhere. (Example; although the focus there is on a supposed connection between COVID-19 symptoms and the 5G rollout, I suppose that as people are more and more protesting the lockdowns and matters come to a head, Big Tech will lead the open season on any unwanted ideas about the coronavirus, its origins, whether its spread is covering up something else, etc.)

So far, Zuckerberg and Co. have left my material alone. My post outlining my reasons for thinking we are seeing the effects of a broader agenda behind the draconian reaction to this coronavirus was still there as of noon today.

But for how long? And at what point will links to such articles simply not post, or be deleted, possibly earning users 30 days of time in “Facebook Jail” as it’s informally called.

A dear friend of mine with a few controversial ideas (it was her whose writing I actually quoted the other day!) was inexplicably gone from Facebook as of this morning! I do not think she would have deleted her account voluntarily. Maybe she is in “Facebook Jail.” I dunno….

How long will any of us who write about, or entertain, ideas that dissent from dominant narratives, be able to continue posting on Facebook or other platforms not our own?

Very likely I will be ratcheting up my use of this site, which will mean: more content here! Less visibility, for sure, but down the road, who knows … ?

Because although I’ve posted regularly on Facebook for over 11 years now, if I find myself being censored I will not be sticking around there.

Obviously, we are about more than philosophy here. (Sadly, most of what goes on in academic philosophy is about as interesting as drying paint.)

Posted in Culture, Media, Political Economy, Where is Civilization Going? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Censorship at YouTube … Again

I just learned this morning that the video content I linked to at the beginning of “Coronavirus / COVID-19” has been removed by YouTube for “violating community standards.” Which means that my readers will not be able to access that material and get the essential background.

YouTube is, of course, owned by Google.

This is a dramatic and near-immediate confirmation of one of the points I made late in my article, which is that if the Internet started out as our era’s Gutenberg Press, those days are gone. Those with money and power are cracking down more and more on the free flow of information online. Ever more videos are being removed from YouTube, sometimes with channels being canceled as well if they dispense information which Big Tech has collectively decided falls outside the boundaries of acceptable discourse.

I don’t need to list the instances of this new form of censorship sometimes called deplatforming. We all know about them.

The days of the Web as the go-to place for truthful information will soon be gone if truth-tellers cannot create their own platforms and upload their content there, or else find platforms not owned by persons or organizations who engage in censorship. I’ve changed the link, but until this information is in a safer place, this is a quick-fix at best.

I am aware of those arguments that start with the premise that these are private companies (Google, Facebook, and all the rest) and can allow on their site, or deplatform, anyone they want.

I also believe that Big Tech’s billions in financial resources / revenue gives them not just an “unfair” advantage but a level of potential control over information in cyberspace that is socially and educationally extremely undesirable.

Which is why I’ve become an advocate of reclassifying the Big Tech firms as public utilities and being done with it.

And if it comes to that, for the federal government to take the steps necessary to break up these leviathan corporations. That, I’m also aware, is not a perfect solution because the federal government is hardly a neutral party in this sphere! Just a buffer in what is becoming an ongoing power struggle!

What we need: independent platforms in cyberspace!

Most of us who do research and dispense our findings on blogs simply do not have the necessary tech skills, or the time it would take to acquire them. The search should be on for those who do.

Posted in Coronavirus, Media, Political Economy, Where is Civilization Going? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Coronavirus / COVID-19: What Is Really Going On? And Why?

Before reading this post, I recommend watching this (concluded here). No, I insist that you watch it. Make the time. What appears below will make far more sense if you do.

I’ll wait.

Okay, have you watched Dr. Erickson’s videos?

Not the most entertaining stuff, I grant. But extremely important as a starting point for what may be the big question of 2020: what is really going on with this pandemic? 

A disclaimer: I’m a trained philosopher (especially of physical science, but also of political economy).

I’m not a doctor or an epidemiologist or a virologist or an immunologist.

But I did go through a two-year masters program in health promotion and education back in the late 1990’s. During that period I took two courses in epidemiology: the study of diseases, their effects, and how they propagate through populations. I picked up phrases like morbidity rate and mortality rate. And although I’d have to do a little homework now after all these years, I could describe for you the difference between, e.g., case-control and cohort study designs.

In the above briefing, California doctors Dan Erickson and a colleague explain, clearly, based on data, not speculation or ideological tomfoolery, why locking down most of the world’s economy in response to the China coronavirus was not necessary!

Unlike myself, they are medical doctors. They are not academics or members of any privileged group. They see patients every day. Their boots are on the ground. They’ve been collecting data from scratch since this started, both on COVID-19 itself and in comparison to the morbidity and mortality rates of other viruses including the common flu. They’ve talked to people and built an extensive correspondence.

They make a compelling case, based on science, that it makes sense, during an actual pandemic, to quarantine the sick.

Not lock healthy people in their homes and forcibly shutter their businesses or places of work.

COVID-19’s actual morbidity and mortality rates do not support the idea that the lock downs we have seen were justified. The original predictions of millions of cases of COVID-19 were not accurate.  Those numbers have not materialized. That is, and I’ll come back to this point momentarily, to the extent we can determine what the actual numbers really are.

Dr. Erickson also notes secondary effects, not of the coronavirus itself but of the shuttering of the economy on millions of people: new cases of spousal abuse, child abuse, substance abuse, suicide — on the part of those locked indoors against their will, who may have lost their sole means of keeping the lights on and putting food on their tables.

They are frustrated, angry, or just depressed. These are normal human reactions of people suddenly rendered powerless!

I don’t support this lock down because I don’t want support for measures with those kinds of results on my conscience!

Moreover, there appears to be no statistically significant differences in morbidity rates between those places that have been locked down versus those which have not (e.g., Sweden).

There are still other health effects, via economic effects that will hurt public health down the road. People who need medical procedures or treatments unrelated to COVID-19 can’t get them because of the resources set aside for COVID-19 patients who aren’t there.

A friend of mine who lives in Ohio wrote this (I’ve paragraphed what she wrote and done some very light editing):

I think that asking people to check with their local hospital workers will do more to wake up the sheep than anything else. Here is my story.

I am a breast cancer survivor. I am overdue for my yearly mammogram.

I tried to schedule one with my hospital’s imaging center. They refuse to book you until July.

Why?

Because Ohio hospitals are effectively shut down. All resources are supposed to go towards clearing hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

That means that if I have breast cancer (again), it will go untreated until after July.

Similarly, if you need to have a gallbladder removed, because of painful gallstones, you are out of luck. No elective surgery is being performed.

Guess what?

My county has had seven deaths attributed to COVID-19. Ohio has had 711 deaths. That means that there are a lot of empty hospital beds in Ohio.

Think about this: how many people will now die because they are not allowed to get treatment?

Folks: the lock downs are not about saving lives!!!!

Another agenda is at work.

Please check with your friends that work in a hospital. Nurses and doctors are getting laid off as a cost cutting measure.

Why?

Since 50% of a hospitals revenue comes from elective surgeries and procedures like mammograms; they are losing money.

Hospitals, like many other businesses, are being bankrupted by lock downs.

That is a much greater threat to everyone’s lives than COVID-19!

This is insane!

If you live in a small town, and get COVID-19 next year, you might not have a hospital available for you!

Please stop being sheep! Use your brains! Stop believing everything you are told! Be observant! Pay attention! Ask questions! Talk to the people at your area hospitals to see if your situation is the same as in Ohio.

Get that?

Do we need coronavirus testing? Yes, absolutely. Do we need to lock healthy people indoors? Emphatically no.

How many people reading this have fallen for the 24/7 corporate media scare tactics about a coronavirus that actual raw data shows to be only marginally more dangerous than the seasonal flu (as shown by data these guys, actual doctors, have collected). And about which lies are being told: everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and dies has their cause of death listed as COVID-19 even if their cause of death was something else. In many cases, their immune systems or respiratory systems were compromised by something else, e.g., they were smokers or diabetics (go back and review the videos for detailed discussion of this point).

Major hospitals and clinics are now furloughing doctors and staff, and blaming the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not enough work to do? Mayo Clinic appears not to have admitted enough people actually suffering from COVID-19!

We are seeing the same phenomenon elsewhere, where overly dramatic predictions of hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases have not materialized. 

Not only that, hospitals are actually receiving more money if they report the patients they have as testing positive for COVID-19 and being on ventilators!

In other words, given such perverse incentives, there isn’t the slightest reason to believe the official COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rate numbers. Some of the numbers may approximate reality, in some places. In others….  Well, who knows?!

Dr. Anthony Fauci, invariably looming like a shadow behind Donald Trump as he does briefings, does not see or treat patients. He is an academic: a glorified bureaucrat, in other words, and definitely one of the privileged elite. He has been accused of sabotaging the medical research careers of others in order to advance his own agendas. 

Bill Gates, of the billionaire class, who could also be called Mr. Vaccine, has never seen a patient at all. He’s not a real scientist, much less an epidemiologist or a virologist or immunologist. Yet he’s pouring billions into Big Pharma for work towards a vaccine. And his track record of associations make him as suspicious a character in this drama as anyone we’re likely to run across.

What can you do to reduce your risks of getting sick from this or any other virus strain? Use Primary Prevention! Building up your immune system is a large part of Primary Prevention.

If this crisis does demonstrate anything, it is the utter dysfunction of a health care system and health “education” system which is about money rather than about health education … which does not stress Primary Prevention because Primary Prevention will not line the pockets and bank accounts of Big Pharma.

Over the past century we have seen a massive shift from acute conditions that are either cured or the patient is dead, to chronic conditions “managed” for profit. People with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than they would be if the causes of those conditions were actually treated instead of “managed” with Big Pharma’s drugs.

Central point: if you believe shutting down most of the economy was justified, you have been lied to, and you have believed the lies! 

Are we interested in helping people, or are we just to go on hating Donald Trump? It is indeed time to open the economy!

Unless we have an alternative to a money political economy, i.e., a political economy where common people need money to survive.

So what is really going on?

I have some ideas. Here is where some readers will sheer off. They’ll call what follows an “unfounded conspiracy theory.” For all I know, what follows next will hurt my blog’s credibility. I’m willing to take that risk.

So what’s going on?

First, a history lesson.  I regret that it must be a lengthy one.

Over the past 25 years, the Internet proved to be the great democratizer of information — for a time.

You could research any topic you wanted. You could begin to contribute, as alternative news media outlets appeared.

New writers (myself included) had been shut out of big corporate media because we didn’t honor the right ideologies or bow to the favored idols.

In 1998 we learned from Drudge, not the Clinton News Network (CNN), about Bill’s office trysts with Monica. A few years later we learned of alternatives to the official conspiracy theory of 9/11, and could watch replays of the video of the newscaster reporting the fall of WTC-7 before it happenedOops!

By the early 2000’s anyone with minimal tech skills could put up a blog, if not a website.

Alternative views of history surfaced on the Web. A lot of suppressed information appeared, on every subject, but what we were able to learn of the real economy and its history were the most important. We learned of the shady origins of the Federal Reserve System.

Alternative health information became available. Anyone with a functioning brain grew suspicious of multi-billion dollar drug corporations whom, collectively, we began to call Big Pharma.

New political movements rose (e.g., Tea Party groups, Independence groups). All facilitated by this disruptive new technology, which had escaped control by corporate media elites. Sites like Infowars gained followings comparable to those of massive corporate outlets like CNN.

This became very dangerous to the plans for the world that had been in place for close to 70 years.

In particular, alternative views of globalization had appeared and thrown cold water on official dogmas about so-called free trade, immigration, and prosperity everywhere globalism touched.

Much of this information blurred the distinction between “right” and “left.”

I found myself increasingly in the weird position of being essentially a creature of the “right” when it came to cultural and many educational issues, while increasingly siding with the “left” when it came to political economy and issues of the loci of global power and its operations.

What I’d figured out: globalists couldn’t care less about ideological distinctions, though they were willing to use them to advance their goals for the world.

Alternative media unveiled wealth and power growing more consolidated and concentrated, a world where so-called free trade had hollowed out America’s manufacturing base while building up former backwaters like China, whose government never renounced Communism. The Chinese Communist Party allows corporations but keeps them on a very short leash. China itself is a controlled society, courtesy of its infamous social credit system.

We, in the West, weren’t supposed to ask what sense it made to speak of free trade with a Communist dictatorship.

Political economy (as opposed to “political science” and “economics”) had made a comeback. More people started taking their cues from the Michael Hudsons of the economics world, not the Milton Friedmans. Political economy sees “economics” as no more uncontaminated by politics than anything else in the modern world.

The long and the short of it: a crisis of knowledge and truth developed. What had them? Arrogant, moneyed urbanites with an elite mindset who identified with authority? The so-called “experts” (who, among other things, had failed to predict the Meltdown of 2007-09)? The people whose official narratives often had more holes than Swiss cheese, and seemingly deliberately did not mention what did not fit their narratives?

All of this ties into the difference between Third and Fourth Stage thinking I develop elsewhere on this blog (see also here).

Anti-elitism — populism if you prefer — sometimes (predictably) manifested itself as “left-wing” and sometimes as “right-wing.” Its “left-wing” guise appeared in struggling Greece as the Syriza Party (2014-15). The Syrizas were bullied and neutered by the EU financial elites after driving out the Party’s finance minister, firebrand Yanis Varoufakis, to whom I owe the phrase Deep Establishment.  (Worth noting: as an opponent of populism as I am using the term, Varoufakis would not endorse the overall theme I am developing here!)

A year or so later, Brexit rose in the U.K. and passed overwhelmingly in early 2016. Brexit was portrayed as a creature of the “right.” Other “populists” had won or were winning on “neo-nationalist” agendas: Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, and obviously Donald Trump in the U.S.

Attempts by academics and elite-controlled corporate media to portray these men as fascists were falling on mostly deaf ears.

Since then, we’ve seen India’s Narendra Modi rise to dominance on a pro-Hindu platform, and the election of Jaro Bolsanaro in Brazil following an assassination attempt by a leftist.

Last year saw the Yellow Vests insurgency in France.

And now it’s Boris Johnson, in the U.K., also winning a democratic election hands down.

Large movements — masses of unwashed commoners — peons, confound it! — reject globalism and its various agendas and ruses.

Much of their information comes from the World Wide Web, and they use social media and instant messaging systems to communicate events around the world in real time.

When cops anywhere acting on the authority of the local branch of the global corporate state brutalize protesters, the entire world finds out about it in a matter of minutes!

Many people are not sold on what the Deep Establishment says about man-made global warming. Not when a snotty, sneering 16-year-old Generation Z kid, obviously not a scientist, is trotted out by UN types and given a seat at the table as if she were some kind of expert.

I don’t know many people (outside academia and corporate media) who fell for the Greta Thunberg circus act.

Frankly, that one had me scratching my head.

Did the power elites really think we, the unwashed, were that stupid?

Taking down Trump was one of their highest priorities. The pre-election attempt to brand his supports as “baskets of deplorables” backfired badly. The attempt to portray online populism as “Russian propaganda” didn’t work, although technology leviathans like Google fell for it, retooled their algorithms, and that badly hurt truth-telling sites. Arguably, the technology world has come ever closer to entering a new Gilded Age ever since. But it did not hurt Trump.

Then came Russiagate itself, which bombed spectacularly. There was no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with or received help from Moscow. (Russian-American author Dmitry Orlov observed on occasion how Russia collectively saw the whole thing as akin to nighttime entertainment.)

Then came Ukraine-gate. Democrats played the impeachment card.

Another magnificent flop.

And speaking of Democrats, they now seem poised to nominate for the presidency a guy whose antics with women and underaged girls are — shall we say — colorful, and who, when speaking, frequently lapses into episodes of word salad: an early sign of dementia.

Democratic Party owned elites wanted nothing to do with Bernie Sanders, another of those “left” populists.

Other candidates (except, perhaps, for Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard) were walking, talking train wrecks.

Were the globalists becoming desperate?

Enter the coronavirus! Enter COVID-19!

Pow!

I don’t know that it was manmade, an intended bioweapon. I don’t know that it wasn’t. Due to this being a complex and unwieldy post already, I chose not to go there. All I know is that it’s been awfully convenient for those not about to let a good crisis go to waste.

The Chinese knew about it possibly as early as last October. They tried to cover it up! Doctors who tried to warn people “disappeared.”

There was no effort to shut down air traffic coming out of China until it was too late!

The globalists needed this thing to get out! Otherwise it wouldn’t serve its purpose: to provide a reason to lock down as many Western economies and try to force us unwashed peons into dependence on our betters!

For the coronavirus really can make you sick. If your system is compromised by something else (e.g., you are a smoker, or have diabetes), the combined effects can kill you.

Especially if you’re over 60.

You can be infected without knowing it (be asymptomatic), and transmit it to others.

Egads!

Trump expressed hope that people who tested negative for the virus would be able to go back to work soon.

He was accused of caring more about the economy than people’s lives.

It’s a tactic that works!

This crisis and how Trump handles it will now likely define his presidency. Not Russiagate, not Ukraine-gate. Corporate media will see to that.

The Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury Dept., and the U.S. Congress have acted. I’ve elsewhere mentioned the drop in interest rates and the return to QE.

A separate outside motivation for the use of this pandemic might be the need by the elites to bring down an economy that has generated unsustainable levels of debt wherever you look: the national debt, student loan debt and other personal consumer debt, corporate debt, and federal liabilities such as social security and Medicare which aren’t included in the national debt. These debts will not be repaid, because they are not repayable.

People locked into debt can be easily transformed into totally dependent techno-feudal serfs in a manufactured depression. Unless there is a debt jubilee.

Which, as of right now, I am predicting will not happen. The elites have no plans to relinquish control.

As everybody reading this probably knows, Congress just passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill — the largest such measure in U.S. history.

One of the consequences of that bill will be millions of out-of-work Americans receiving $1,200 checks courtesy of Uncle Sam. It is happening as I write.

The arrival, unannounced, of Universal Basic Income?

I hate to say it, but $1,200 won’t pay rent and utilities for a month in a decent apartment in a decent part of town in a town or city of any size these days. For a family of four, $1,200 won’t last two weeks.

So what happens? Congress authorizes another $1.2 trillion in another month or so? (More relief is coming down the pike since I wrote the first version of these words at the start of this month.)

Be all this as it may, a novel coronavirus, which is sometimes asymptomatic and can be spread silently through freely acting populations, is a perfect means to scare that population out of its wits, so that they comply with authority.

The sort of population who will then follow their leaders toward a world government that will service global corporations, which has been the globalist goal for well over a century.

“Economic integration” was going strong until its actual goals were exposed — on the Internet.

Has COVID-19 not been the most convenient thing to come down the pike in an eon?! Possibly ever?!

Globalism, understood as the ideology of the possibility and desirability of world government, is not a conspiracy theory. Its architects haven’t been hiding. There is an abundance of public statements like this one:

“We shall have world government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether world government will be achieved by conquest or consent.”

–James Paul Warburg, before the US Senate, Feb. 17, 1950

Now they can maneuver to recover from the Trump 2016 election setback (and Brexit and Orbán and the others) and get the world back on track, prepared, as David Rockefeller Sr. was once quoted as saying, “to march towards a world government.”

Fabian Society globalist and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the U.K. is openly pushing for world government as the solution to the coronavirus.

“Temporary,” of course. I have Nebraska oceanfront property for sale to anyone who swallows that one.

The stepchild of Agenda 21, UN sustainable development goals for 2030 await.

It might not take that long!

Now in case anyone missed it, I’ve not said the Wuhan coronavirus is anything to play with. Again: I’ve written elsewhere of what you can do to reduce your risk of getting it. The key is Primary Prevention, which no one is talking about because it offers a path to resilience and self-sufficiency, and less dependence on the ridiculously overpriced health care system, not to mention government itself.

A thinking, health-conscious population won’t be drawn into the draconian measures we’ve seen.

Nor, however, will it need to spend huge amounts of money on doctors, hospitals, insurance policies … or Big Pharma’s legal drugs.

Does that nail it?

The globalists never wanted a population capable of critical thinking on a large scale. This is why we have public schools, which as everyone reading this knows are indoctrination and regimentation centers. The globalists want us at the beck and call of “our” governments, not looking at the men behind the curtain, and they’ve figured out that when ordinary economic incentives don’t work, scare tactics will.

The people I’ve seen where I live, all wearing face masks, in long lines, socially distanced, waiting to get into banks, grocery stores, drug stores, other operations deemed by “their” governments as “essential,” look to be displaying the right level of low-grade fear.

People seem willing to put down their superficial pretenses to independence and follow their leaders in the various cities of the world.

COVID-19 will run its course, as did SARS and H1N1. As does the common flu, every flu season.

The damage, it should be clear by now, will not be to our health.

My understanding is that regarding these lock downs, the natives are getting restless. Things might be coming to a head soon, as one side continues with the scare tactics while the other side just wants to get back to work because they have bills to pay.

What may become the question of this new and so far very strange decade: in a political-economic and very connected or networked technological environment of 25 years standing in which they have been gradually losing it, along with their credibility, how far are globalist elites in central banks, high finance, and in other global corporations willing to go to maintain power? 

 

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Posted in Coronavirus, Political Economy, Science and Technology, Where is Civilization Going? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Primary Prevention and the Three Levels of Health Care

In light of what may well be remembered as the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020, I am setting aside other projects and turning more attention to issues of public health education — and, hopefully, philosophy’s relevance to public health. Although it’s not noted anywhere in my credits, I earned a public health degree back in the late ‘90s — specifically, a degree in Health Promotion and Education. I mention this only to establish credibility for what follows. Disillusioned with academia even then, I was thinking of a second career that didn’t happen. But with a few blog posts, maybe it’s not too late!

My two biggest takeaways from that two-year course of study were: (1) the importance of the idea of systems as fundamental to our understanding not just of health but of reality generally; and (2) something more health specific: what the folks at Carolina called the Three Levels of Prevention.

Later, it struck me that the phrase Three Levels of Prevention was a misnomer. Once you got above the first level, it was too late to prevent illness or worse. Then one day I hit upon the correct phrase: the Three Levels of Health Care.

Those wishing to take a major deep dive into systems theory as a foundation for health promotion should go here — to the refereed journal article Dr. Ureda and I were able (after a long struggle with the data-drivenness academic box) to have published. It’s not essential for what follows, though, and I link to it only for completeness’ sake.

We turning, then, to the Three Levels of Health Care:

Primary Prevention, Secondary Treatment, and Tertiary Care.

Each one sketched in a couple of sentences:

Primary Prevention is everything you can (and should) do to avoid getting sick, injured, etc. Like the phrase says, it is preventive, not curative.

Secondary Treatment is what the doctor does (one hopes!) when you’re sick and want to get well!

Tertiary Care is what facilities (e.g., rehabilitation clinics, and many nursing homes) do for those whose lives have been permanently disrupted by strokes, severe heart attacks, injuries, and sometimes chronic conditions. If you’re in a position of needing Tertiary Care, you’re only likely to improve marginally if at all.

Best to avoid ever getting in that position if possible. Practicing Primary Prevention can help, including avoiding personal bankruptcy or bankrupting your loved ones.

So what is Primary Prevention? As just said, and now we expand:

It is everything you can do to avoid getting sick. (If by some chance you want this in systems language, it is everything you can do to make your body systems, especially your immune system, stronger, more resilient, and therefore more able to repel or parry or neutralize invasions by outside agents — such as coronaviruses!)

Primary Prevention therefore includes eating nutritious food, obviously. Nutritious food includes plenty of colored vegetables. It includes plenty of fresh fruit. It includes nuts. It includes eggs. We won’t get into the full chemistry of the justification for these (unless someone comments and asks for supporting links). These claims are common enough. But what isn’t as common is putting them inside a larger frame of reference.

To practice Primary Prevention, there are things you should eat or drink only in moderation at best, and a few things you should avoid putting in your body at all costs.

Drink coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all (and these are things you can live without). For what it’s worth, I’m one of those people who loves his early morning coffee, but I limit myself to no more than two cups. (Well, sometimes it’s two and a half cups — but that’s all!).

For meat-eaters, white meat is healthier than red meat, which your digestive system has to work harder to break down. My nod to vegetarians: you can also survive without eating meat.

Here are the things best avoided or kept to a bare minimum: white sugar (except perhaps cane sugar), white bread, and foods made with large amounts of flour or filled with preservatives, soft drinks. Especially avoid Light (or Lite) soft drinks! And any of the many variations on that theme promoters use to lure your attention. Avoid fried foods as well. (But they taste so good, some readers will be thinking right about now. I get it. Good taste is hard to resist. They’re that way on purpose, filled with mildly addictive flavor enhancers designed to keep you coming back for more. Never forget that food corporations are not in the health business, they are in the money business.)

You may have to search far and wide for healthy food and healthy beverages. But that’s today’s marketplace.

To practice Primary Prevention, learn to read food labels. Avoid sucralose and other artificial sweeteners. Avoid frozen foods the labels for which (by law) list chemical ingredients whose names you’ll probably have trouble pronouncing. I’ve found that a good layperson’s guide to what not to purchase in stores is that if you can’t pronounce, much less identify, the ingredients in some food product, it’s probably best to leave it on the shelf.

And perhaps most importantly of all, if you want to practice Primary Prevention — do not smoke cigarettes!

I think I decided back when I was a little kid that I’d never let myself be tempted by the smoking lure, no matter what.

We had a neighbor who we watched die from lung cancer. I was maybe 5 years old. It was both my first encounter with human mortality, and with the realization that if you want to live a long and healthy life, there are certain things you just plain should not do.

And you know what? I’ve never been tempted to smoke. Not once. Not in the slightest.

You know what else? I disagree with those who say that secondhand smoke isn’t real, and isn’t a public health threat.  Therefore if local governments wish to force restaurants and bars to ban indoor smoking, I have no problem with that!

Primary Prevention is about more than eating and not smoking, of course. It includes getting exercise and training for such, if necessary. It includes managing and if possible, reducing your stress with prayer, meditation, and so on. It includes getting enough uninterrupted sleep. It includes cultivating a mindset of calm: as the Stoics would say, distinguishing what we can control from what we cannot control and focusing our minds accordingly.

Christians say God is ultimately in control. Okay, but maybe He doesn’t want us to stay in our comfort zones. (I’ve noticed: many Christians often say God is in control as a kind of mantra, designed for comfort instead of being part of an action plan. In which case, even if true it doesn’t get you anywhere.)

The Coronavirus Crisis of 2020 has added to the list of do’s and don’ts of Primary Prevention.

Do: wash your hands frequently. Wash your dishes and counters carefully. The virus can’t live for long on surfaces, but it can live long enough. Wash your clothes — daily, if possible. As for face masks, I’m unsure if they really protect you from getting an airborne virus, but they will discourage you from putting your fingers and hands near your mouth or on the covered portions of your face.

Don’t: touch objects in public (e.g., handrails) if you can avoid it. Don’t touch or mingle with strangers in public places.

Social distancing has become another mantra that wasn’t even in our vocabulary a month ago. The idea is fundamentally sound, however. The problem with this virus is its long incubation period. I don’t think anyone knows for sure how long it can gestate in your system before you show any symptoms. Most say two to 14 days, but some say longer. Some people appear to test positive for the virus, which means they can transmit it to others, but never manifest any symptoms at all.

Our systems are often quite different from one another.

As I noted last week, many of the public precautions being urged or taken (e.g., letting people into grocery stores only a few at a time) are sensible.

And by the way, in last week’s wide-ranging discussion I observed that certain populations are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others. The elderly especially, but all those with immune systems partly compromised by chronic conditions, and those with respiratory problems. The coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, after all — a reason most sufferers complain of shortness of breath and sometimes of continued breathing problems after other symptoms have gone away.

I never meant to suggest that if you’re not in one of those populations you can’t get Covid-19. You can. So take precautions.

And if you’ve tested positive, or think you have it based on known common symptoms, do the right thing and self-quarantine after contacting a doctor for advice.

My main purpose here has been to discuss Primary Prevention, place it in context, and perhaps knock open some doors that may lead to a solution to the health care crisis in the U.S. which, again, goes beyond this particular crisis. Even if the coronavirus were to vanish into thin air, the wide range of chronic conditions managed for Big Pharma’s profits, the high cost of health care and health insurance more broadly, and in general, the realization that encouraging a healthy population is not in the interests of this society’s moneyed elites, would not go away.

Therefore I have my doubts that Primary Prevention will ever be taught as part of any public school curriculum. Nor will you see it discussed in corporate-controlled media outlets.

Unless, of course, there are vast changes in the dominant priorities in our present-day political economy, which prioritizes money and profit above all else.

You might encounter Primary Prevention for the first time in public health graduate programs administered by those damned economic lefties, on the Internet if you know where to look, and on private (nonmonetized) blogs like this one.

Be all this as it may, I think we’ve made a pretty solid case that Primary Prevention is worth learning about and worth practicing. After all, whether it is taught in schools or not, whether it’s promoted on any large scale or not, it’s one of those things you can learn on your own. You can decide, here and now, to take charge of your education for Primary Prevention, and choose to practice Primary Prevention. You can take control of your own health, that is. If you don’t,  you’re only asking for a mountain of grief, possibly long-term, but possibly immediately — especially these days!

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What the Coronavirus Scare Says About Us

Stu Redman: What about the folks I came in with?
Dr. Dietz:  From Arnette? All dead. Which is why we can’t affor—
Stu Redman:  What did you do? What did you people do?
                                                —The Stand (1994)

 

Amanda Dunfrey:  You don’t have much faith in humanity, do you?
Dan Miller: None whatsoever.
Amanda: I can’t accept that! People are basically good, decent. My God, David, we’re a civilized society!
David Drayton: Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 9-1-1. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the s*** out of them? No more rules!
Ollie:  You scare people badly enough, you can get ‘em to do anything. They’ll turn to whoever promises a solution.
                                                —The Mist (2007)

 

[Note: submitted to NewsWithViews.com the evening of March 18, but in light of time-sensitivity and ongoing events, I decided not to wait to post a version of this here. I’ve also created a new category: Coronavirus, as there will likely be follow-ups to this post.]

I’ll start by saying that the media-inflamed hysteria over Covid-19 worries me a lot more than the virus.

Markets have tanked worldwide; the Dow has lost almost a third of its value since the start of this month, including its biggest point drop in history: 2,997 on March 16.

Panic buying has set in. Political leaders have declared states of emergency. Businesses, school districts, churches, government agencies have closed and may remain shuttered for weeks. Conferences and even major sports events have been canceled.

Frankly, the bubble on Wall Street would have popped sooner or later, but never mind that now.

Does anything justify the borderline-insanity surrounding this coronavirus?

The vast majority of people who test positive for it seem to be recovering with no ill effects, although a few are complaining of loss of lung capacity. When symptomatic, the virus attacks the respiratory system.

Yes, there have been a few thousand deaths. It’s been observed, though, that more people die of the flu or complications from the flu each year. Far more people died from the H1N1 virus during the Obama presidency. There were warnings, but not a mass panic.

Coronavirus testing has sometimes been spotty, meaning that more people have it than we know about, and the actual mortality rate is therefore lower than the official number. Public officials are worried about these “stealth spreaders.”

The greatest dangers from Covid-19 are to the elderly and to people with respiratory and immune systems already compromised by chronic conditions. Those people should take it very seriously.

But when all is said and done, this is clearly not the genetically engineered superflu which accidentally gets loose and wipes out most of the world in Stephen King’s The Stand, though there’s an worthwhile point to be made about that kind of scenario I’ll come back to at the end.

There are numerous coronaviruses. They live in animals. The official narrative is that this one jumped from bat meat to human consumers in a crowded and probably unsanitary Wuhan, China marketplace.

Yes, that can happen. It’s not impossible.

The other narrative — the one mainstream Western media wants you to dismiss as a “conspiracy theory” — is that this coronavirus (like others for which patents can be found online) was manufactured and got loose, whether by accident or by design.

Wuhan, as many reading probably know, sports a Pathogen Level 4 microbiology laboratory able to produce and study coronaviruses. It’s called the National Biosafety Laboratory and is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Do you believe that Wuhan’s being ground zero for the appearance of this coronavirus is a mere coincidence?

Molecular biologist and ecologist James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge:

“I’ve analyzed the entire genome sequence of this virus and compared it to the entire genome sequences of all the other coronaviruses that we have data for, and this weird element that doesn’t belong there; I’ve found that it actually did match a vector technology that was published in 1998 in the proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

“This vector technology is a mechanism by which molecular biologists insert new genes into viruses and bacteria….

“Now it’s really unusual to find a vector technology sequence in a virus that’s circulating in humans, and so naturally, one thing we can say, I think for certain, is that this particular virus has a laboratory origin….”

Other reports are circulating suggesting that components of the virus are related to HIV and could not have formed naturally. This would explain why people with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.

So if this coronavirus is artificial, what was its purpose? Is it a bioweapon?

I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does for sure, either — except for those directly involved in its production.

To use against the Chinese people? This abhorrent idea has been kicked around, and one has to wonder who in his right mind would do something so reckless.

There are sociopathic mercenaries and terrorists who would do it.

The globalist Deep Establishment would surely not target its own intended global manufacturing base, though.

Or would it — if its minions knew the global economy was on a very weak and precarious footing, exemplified by the bubble on Wall Street?

And if its minions knew that Covid-19 was only life-threatening to “useless eaters” and that the bulk of those infected would recover.

And if the globalists also knew they were failing to contain the rising “populism” out here in the world’s hinterlands. “Populism” is the word pundits use for mass resistance to open borders, “free trade,” and the merging of everything and everyone into a single extended shopping mall of mass consumption and disposability — with masses of consumers buying on credit and going into debt.

Efforts to brand leaders such as Trump, Orbán, Kaczynski, Bolsanaro, etc., as incipient fascists haven’t worked outside the echo chambers of punditry and academia, after all.

Given all this, the globalists might just decide to throw a time bomb right into the middle of it all.

Enter this coronavirus, stage left.

They simultaneously pull their money out of the system while fomenting a global panic through their controlled media corporations. The latter blame the coronavirus.

Do I know all this? No, of course not. But it fits globalist psychology (or psychopathology).

Let’s not forget: these sociopaths are masters of misdirection.

What do we know?

While common people were watching their portfolios plunge, panic-buying, and even getting into fights over dwindling supplies of toilet paper:

On March 13, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates practically to zero and initiated a new round of QE.

Translation: the big banks were bailed out again. To the tune of around $5 trillion.

Small investors, meanwhile, have been hit hard. As I noted, the Dow dropped 2,997 on March 16. That’s its biggest numerical drop ever.

Talk of a massive recession is now everywhere. Naturally, Covid-19 is being blamed, not the actions of the financial elites who dominate Wall Street.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been named a likely casualty, given the awkwardness of his initial response to the appearance of the virus in the U.S.

Meanwhile, authorities are laying in place means of tracking the movements of those quarantined because they’ve tested positive for Covid-19. Many are all for this.

A vaccine is in the works. Naturally, no one will know what is really in it.

In times of induced panic, people indeed lay down what few freedoms they actually possess before the feet of those who promise a solution.

Our financial elites are bailed out to the tune of trillions, and President Trump suggests handing $1K to each American household of peons.

“If you give us more power and you give it freely, we’ll take care of you. A little, anyway.”

What do we really learn from this “pandemic”?

Besides, that is, the obvious lessons about how easy it is to lead the masses by their noses through fear, and how easily politicians get in line in the face of total media saturation and potential shaming.

The “pandemic” has exposed, for all with eyes to see if they dare to look, the dark side of globalization.

Economists have noted how the lockdown in China has threatened global supply lines of goods ranging from food to new technology to crucial medications. Supply lines on which Americans have become dependent.

It seems worth asking, how did we get into this pattern of dependency in the first place?

It happened because corporations try to make as much money as possible by locating in places with the lowest labor costs, while economists shrug off disruptive consequences as “externalities.”

And because most people weren’t paying attention.

The idea of economic integration isn’t new. It goes back at least to post-war Europe, and further. The idea was that if nations encouraged mutual dependencies leading to a common market they would be less likely to fight one another. This seemed to make sense, and for a while, it seemed to work.

There are dangers of economic integration, however, especially if you are not in the class of moneyed elites. I don’t think most Europeans were counting on the financial-elite dominated political union they have now. Nor were they counting on being colonized by Muslims who would refuse to assimilate and start to destroy European cultures.

On our side of the Atlantic, what came to pass was corporations chasing the cheapest labor they can find while opening borders to immigrants from everywhere and driving down wages at home.

All the while a punditry in semisecret organizations like the Trilateral Commission works out an ideological rationale and promises of a coming Utopia.

The ideology was neoliberalism, the basic premises of which were: privatize everything in sight; value is limited to monetary and exchange value. The Utopia long ago turned dystopian, again if you are outside the one or two percent that has reaped the lion’s share of the profits, generally from investment — “money making money” — as opposed to real productive work meeting people’s needs.

America began to gut its manufacturing base back in the 1980s, as corporations pursued profit and shareholder interest only. During the 1990s with NAFTA, GATT II, and beyond and into the 2000s, this only got worse.

China, meanwhile, was forcibly turned from a mostly agrarian country into an industrial nation in less than two generations. Now it is the second largest economy in the world. No one may ever know the extent to which ordinary Chinese people suffered because of top-down decisions made by what is still a de jure Communist government. (We know that Mao’s “cultural revolution” murdered tens of millions. China is now a technocratically controlled society.)

While this may fill the local Walmart with cheaply produced mass consumer goods, it increases the overall fragility of economies everywhere (I am using the term fragility in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s sense). No national government or population can control what goes on halfway around the world, or even validate that what they are being told is the truth.

Today, America has millions of people whose service sector jobs fail to pay living wages, and whose standard of living has dropped. They are up to their eyeballs in debt. Most could not come up with $500 in an emergency situation without borrowing. Those working cannot afford decent health care because their wages have stagnated relative to a rising cost of living which seems endemic to advanced “capitalist” political economies. These are the reasons we have crises in all those areas whether we like to talk about them or not.

Obamacare wasn’t the solution to the health care crisis because Obamacare wasn’t really about health care. It was about how health care was to be paid for. There wasn’t a word in Obamacare about, for example, Primary Prevention.

Primary Prevention consists of all those things you can and should do to avoid getting sick: nutritional education and healthy eating; exercising regularly; practicing basic cleanliness; not smoking; avoiding sugar and excessive caffeine and alcohol; managing your stress through prayer and meditation; etc.

In the case of the coronavirus, you can greatly reduce your risk through frequently washing your hands, not touching your face and mouth especially if you’ve touched objects in public such as handrails, and avoiding proximity with strangers. Many of the precautions being urged are sensible.

Education for Primary Prevention would enable a people to avoid risky behaviors of all kinds, and if it began when they were children, avoidance would be automatic, not directed by authorities. It would be common horse sense.

But Primary Prevention is not profitable to those who make money by managing chronic conditions, e.g., with drugs. A healthy population doesn’t need to spend money on doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance premiums, etc.

Oops!

It leads, moreover, to personal resilience and self- and familial reliance. This does not serve the purposes of globalists who want dependent populations, which has included destroying the family unit. Even this hasn’t been enough. As amoral sociopaths, they may be willing to pull out all stops to throttle their opponents.

Up to and including dynamiting economies and impoverishing entire populations.

This “pandemic” will run its course, just as did bird flu, swine flu, West Nile, SARS, and H1N1, having turned out to be much milder than its political-economic effects.

The latter are guaranteed to leave us worse off.

Especially if they destroy Trump’s reelection chances and put borderline-senile Joe Biden in the White House, ensuring us, in a couple of years, a presidency-by-committee led by whoever his VP turns out to be. (Hillary Clinton?)

Especially if we are all faced with new vaccines and encircling “health” regulations that have nothing to do with Primary Prevention but will soon be conditions of employment, travel, etc.

Trump will be gone. But the problems that got him elected will still be around, in spades.

And full-throttle globalism will be right back on track!

My final reflection:

I opened with a pair of movie quotes reflective of aspects of sinful human nature.

Something almost no one talks about is relevant here: small but well-heeled folks in the scientific-military complex who will continue to play God with the sort of biogenetic engineering that probably created this coronavirus.

Viruses, too, can be patented and sold for profit.

Given the law of averages, it may be just a matter of time till one of these lunatics comes up with something truly lethal, with an extremely high or almost universal mortality rate — akin to the superflu in The Stand.

And carelessly lets it escape its test tube cage.

Then we’ll know what a real pandemic, a real existential threat to humanity, looks like!

——————

Steven Yates’s next book What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory has been accepted for publication by Wipf and Stock. Buy his Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons For the Decline of the American Republic here.

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I. The Origins of Liberalism.

(Author’s note: beginning a deeper read.)

Liberalism, using that term in its classical sense, assumes that most adults are autonomous and rational individuals, or that autonomy and rationality is their ideal state. The term originated from the Latin liber, meaning free.

Freeing the intellect.

The Gutenberg Press (1445) made it possible for the first time for individuals to read the Bible for themselves, and not depend on an intermediary such as a priest. This seemed reasonable to more and more people, and during the 1500s, the Protestant Reformation ensued.

With the authority of the Roman Catholic Church substantially weakened, the intellectual ground where liberalism would appear grew fertile.

Arguably, the liberal mindset began with René Descartes (1596 – 1650). With the Cartesian method of doubt, the philosopher’s abstract intellect razed all its (?) former beliefs to the ground. Ideas were suspended or set aside or seen as provisionally false if there was even the slightest possibility they could be false.

The purpose of this exercise: to find a proposition immune to doubt. Something that would be known for certainty.

The philosopher could then build anew on this foundation.

Descartes believed he found the right foundation. Cogito, ergo sum (“I think; therefore, I am,” although Descartes never penned those exact words).

The abstract intellect could then decide that only propositions that were rationally provable or able to be grounded on this solid bedrock of formal reason (logic, mathematics, physics) were admissible as knowledge.

Thus arose classical rationalism, and Western philosophy’s turn from the metaphysics and philosophical theology that had dominated for centuries to the epistemology that would dominate until the 1800s.

To the former, the existence of God was a given. Divine perfection underwrote logic as well as morality.

To the latter, God’s existence was as subject to logical proof as anything else.

Logic was suddenly epistemically prior to God. Few at the time noticed the door this opened first to skepticism and then to agnosticism and atheism.

Or, eventually, to large scale indifference to the matter.

As the scientific revolution progressed, experimental testing replaced pure Cartesian reason. The sense was growing that outside science was nothing but superstition and the stuff of poetry.

The Enlightenment and the Coming of Modernity.

Thus proceeded the Enlightenment: doubt tradition; doubt authority — especially ecclesiastical authority. All rested on unprovable and untestable assumptions. Use your individual mind. Rest your judgments on reason, replicated evidence in the emerging sciences (William Whewell would coin the term scientist in the 1830s, thus replacing natural philosopher), or on the concrete lessons of life.

Thus by the mid-1800s, what Auguste Comte would call First Stage thinking, based exclusively on faith in theistic pronouncements by ecclesiastical authorities, was mostly dead outside enclaves of believers who were being marginalized.

Second Stage thinking, dominated by abstract philosophical systems and theological proofs, was being replaced in the intellectual, cultural, and commercial centers by the emerging Third Stage of civilization. Its guiding forces were science, technology, commerce, public education, and a firm belief in human progress: all products of the later Enlightenment which gave the credit to the secularized reason of the freed, autonomous human intellect.

The result we call modernity: a state of affairs which looks to the above for both its rational and its moral consensus. Defenders of modernity point to the actual progress being made in every area, and standards of living being increased everywhere modernity penetrated.

Human beings as creatures of reason were free, within an expanding community of other free human beings.

Man could reshape the world in his image, as Utopian writers like Sir Francis Bacon had imagined long before in works like The New Atlantis (orig. 1626) which contained the germ of the modern research university.

The Third Stage consensus about what kind of world this is and how we fit into it was not limited by belief in, e.g., gods. It did not look to churches or monarchs or philosophical or theological systems. Its humanism saw us as becoming more and more akin to gods (an idea Comte actually promoted: a religion of humanity).

Political Consequences.

Before 1800, this had had political consequences. Political Cartesians, if you will, placed public institutions under the cold microscope of Reason, razing to the ground those that failed to measure up to the new standard. French revolutionaries got rid of their monarchy. Jacobinism developed around the idea that human beings freed from tradition and from a monarchy could organize and decide for themselves rationally what institutions best served human needs.

The result, as we know from history, was a bloodbath, and arguably the first modern empire, when Napoleon came to power in 1799.

A far more modest Jacobinism would begin to take root across the English Channel in the 1800s. It called itself utilitarianism, primarily a moral philosophy which understood the good as happiness. It meant by happiness pleasure and the absence of pain. Individuals and institutions should promote the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number. Autonomous individuals should be free to pursue happiness in their own ways, so long as they caused no harm to others. John Stuart Mill gave us the most significant and comprehensive expressions of these ideas in his essays On Liberty (1859) and Utilitarianism (1863).

Modernity and Capitalism.

Adam Smith had penned The Wealth of Nations (1776) — although Smith considered himself a moral philosopher, having earlier written his foundational work The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) underlying Wealth. The moral foundation Smith had takenfor granted would be set aside as unimportant except to philosophical idlers. Capitalism, its name still uncoined (Karl Marx would do that also in the 1800s), slowly became conscious of itself as the industrial revolution took on a life of its own and became modernity’s centerpiece.

Capitalism’s defenders would learn to argue that “market forces” left to themselves would determine production and distribution of goods and services, and prices and wages. Capitalists would debate among themselves how much regulation of commercial activity was necessary, with some holding that a completely free marketplace would be a self-regulating system needing no outside regulation whatsoever (Adam Smith would not have agreed).

Hence the emergence of classical liberalism as a fairly comprehensive and dominant public philosophy. Its major defenders were Third Stage thinkers by default. They looked to empirical science as the key to truth about the world. Speculating about a world beyond this one was, again, idle. Third Stage thinkers trusted results, not theory. They believed that science, technology, commerce, and education would bring about morally better humans.

Not all defenders of economic liberty were secularists. Frederic Bastiat, author of The Law (1849) was not. Others, such as Max Weber, sought to employ the Protestant mindset in the service of enterprise (cf. his The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, orig. 1905), a work to which we shall refer again.

But Third Stage secular thought was rapidly pushing aside Second Stage theism offstage, as it were — and philosophy itself. Both were being “privatized.”

The twentieth century had arrived. The abstract intellect of Descartes — which became John Locke’s tabula rasa and Immanuel Kant’s rational will — became the homo economicus or utility maximizer or “sovereign consumer” of Third Stage “economic science.”

What could go wrong? 

(To be continued. Stay tuned to this frequency.)

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