Forget School Choice, Education Microgrants Are Microsocialism

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Not all education choice initiatives are created equal.

West Virginia’s near-universal Hope Scholarship, for example, empowers families to choose the learning environment that’s the best fit for their children — without costing taxpayers more. Microgrants do exactly the opposite.

The Hope Scholarship is an education savings account, or ESA, that families can use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online learning, educational services and therapies, and more. The ESA provides students leaving the public system or entering kindergarten or first grade with nearly 100% of existing state-level K-12 funding. That’s about $4,300 per pupil, and in West Virginia, where the average private school tuition is about $4,750, it goes a long way. In contrast, Idaho’s microgrant program, Empowering Parents, gives only $1,000 toward various educational expenses (excluding private school tuition) yet still costs taxpayers more money. That’s because there’s a catch: Idaho’s microgrants are primarily for children who stay in public schools.

That’s a common problem with microgrant programs. At the margin, West Virginia helps a child’s family afford a better option; Idaho does not.

The larger economic problem is that microgrants are microsocialism. Rather than redirecting funds from the existing K-12 education budget, as ESAs do, microgrants generally require new money. That means taxpayers fork over additional money the state distributes to somebody else. That’s why the Left does not see microgrants as a threat to the status quo. If the point is merely a larger handout, the Left loves it. But the point should be that every family finds the educational environment that’s best for their child. By that standard, microgrants are counterproductive.

Not only are microgrants bad policy, but they’re also a bad education reform strategy.

When presented with two proposals, one more robust and one more modest, legislators tend to opt for the more modest proposal. This way, they can have their cake and eat it, too, getting credit for at least doing something while blocking the more expansive reform.

Aware of this dynamic, proponents of microgrants portray them as a form of “school choice.” Legislators then think they can placate school choice proponents by enacting microgrants while reassuring choice opponents that they blocked more robust policies, such as ESAs. In this sense, microgrants are entirely parasitic on efforts to enact broad education choice policies. This is why proponents of microgrants work almost exclusively in red states, where the prospects of enacting choice policies are the best they’ve ever been. Microgrant proponents count on education choice coalitions to do the hard work of moving the Overton Window, then slip in and pass their own modest proposal at the expense of true school choice proposals…..


Continue reading this article at The Washington Examiner.

A Short List of the Accomplishments of President Donald Trump

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

President Trump, love him or hate him, has been a consequential President and got a lot of good things done. Here is our list:

Judges: He has redone the courts, appointing a record number of strict constructionist judges.

Significant tax cuts and deregulation which led to, pre-Covid, the lowest unemployment in 50 years.

Rebuilt the U.S. military.

Most pro-life President ever.

Supported education choice.

Standing with Israel. He moved the Embassy to Israel’s capital and recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Established the Abraham accords with historical peace agreements between Israel and now five-Muslim Arab countries, with more coming.

Built a border wall with Mexico to keep out illegals trying to enter the U.S.

Supported religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world.

Withdrew from the unfair Paris climate accord.

Establish America as energy independent and an exporter of oil and gas.

Defeated ISIS.

Got NATO nations to pay more of the costs of joint defense.

Protected federal property during the riots of 2020.

Criminal Justice Reform – the First Step Act.

Withdrew from the badly flawed Iran Nuclear deal and eliminated the lead terrorist in the Iranian military.

Rebuilt trade agreements so America is treated fairly.

Protecting freedom of speech and protection against false accusations on college campuses.

Send real weapons to Ukraine and Taiwan.

Operation Warp Speed developed a Covid vaccine as promised before the end of 2020.

Reforming the V.A.

Reducing prescription drug prices.

Standing up to Russia and China.

And this is just a partial list. Public policy wise, he will go down as one of the most consequential Presidents of the last century!

Gary Polland is founder and editor of Texas Conservative Review. He is also host of a new internet TV political talk show, Tell It Like it IsThis article first appeared in Texas Conservative Review on December 22, 2020 and is reproduced with permission.  You can find the TV show by going to YouTube, and put in the search bar,Tell it like it is Gary Polland“.

Biden’s Plans to Restrict Second Amendment Rights

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Biden/Harris campaign has posted The Biden Plan To End Our Gun Violence Epidemic  on their campaign website.  To spare you the discomfort of having to read through their proposal to regulate the Second Amendment out of existence, the following are some key features.

  • Banning the manufacture and sale of so-called “high-capacity” magazines and “assault weapons,” identified by cosmetic and functional features. The Biden euphemism for these is “weapons of war.”  Candidate Biden also wants them regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) like full-auto firearms, short barrel rifles and sound suppressors.  Existing owners will have the “choice” of registering their “evil black rifles” as NFA firearms or surrendering them to the government.
  • Restricting firearm purchases to one-per-month and outlawing the private transfer of firearms. Online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits and gun parts would also be prohibited.  So would the possession of so-called “ghost guns” that can be assembled from kits, parts or 3D printing.  There would also be a federal requirement to report a lost or stolen firearm and punishment for not “safely” storing your firearm or preventing access by a minor.
  • Expanding prohibited possessors to include those convicted of certain misdemeanors and those adjudicated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as unable to manage their affairs (like paying bills or writing checks) for mental reasons. They also propose the rapid identification of those who become prohibited possessors, for whatever reason, for swift confiscation of their firearms.
  • Extending the time limit that a NICS background check must be completed. Also, requiring local law enforcement to be notified when someone fails a background check.  Statistically, there is over a 99% chance that a failed NICS check is a false positive.  Under a President Biden, several hundred thousand law-abiding gun owners could experience an oh-dark-thirty SWAT raid simply because of a computer mismatch.
  • Incentivizing the state level passage of Red Flag laws that allow for firearms confiscations without due process. “Incentivizing” is political-speak for dangling the promise of federal funds to states to compel them to pass legislation.
  • Incentivizing states to establish a system to “license” firearms owners. Unelected bureaucrats would decide whether or not you would be allowed to exercise your Right to Keep and Bear Arms. They also want to treat “gun violence” as a public health epidemic.  It won’t be long before the dots are connected to prohibit firearms ownership as a medical preventative.
  • Repeal of the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” that protects firearms manufacturers from civil liability for criminal misuse of a firearm.
  • A whole lot more, such as empowering the U.S. Justice Department to enforce all these laws.
  • Remember in November!  How do you want your future as a gun owner to look?  Not voting is a decision to surrender your rights.

This article is reproduced by permission granted by the Arizona Citizens Defense League.


The ACDL is the foremost Arizona organization protecting your Second Amendment rights, helping Arizona achieve the number one position in gun rights by Guns & Ammo magazine.

Make The Recorder’s Office Boring Again

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

You likely hadn’t heard of the Recorder’s Office until a few years ago. The Office oversees our elections, voter registrations, and traditional recording functions (such as titles and liens). It’s a bean-counting and administrative Office.

It used to be boring. In recent years the Office has frequently been in the news, our elections have become controversial and the race for Maricopa County Recorder (yes, it’s an elected position) has become correspondingly expensive.

That’s not a good thing. The Recorder should be like the referee in the football game. If you’re talking about the referee, it’s because the referee did something wrong, or somehow inserted himself into the game in an inappropriate manner.

Current Recorder Democrat Adrian Fontes took office in January 2017. Since then he has been the referee we’ve talked about too much because he is incompetent, unfair, unlawful, and uncivil. Here are some examples:

We can do better. When my team takes the Recorder’s Office, we promise a bipartisan oversight board that will ensure that elections and voter registration don’t favor one political party. We promise that all changes to election administration will be made at least 30 days prior to the election, will be in writing, and will be accompanied with detailed legal authority. We promise that our top positions will be staffed by competent managers, administrators, and elections professions, NOT political hacks and friends. We will promise to treat all County residents like valued customers.

In doing so, we will make the Office fair and competent, and then, hopefully, it can recede into the political background once more. If this sounds appealing to you, please visit my website at and please vote “Richer For Recorder” to help us Make The Recorder’s Office Boring Again.

Stephen Richer is an attorney, businessman, and the Republican nominee for Maricopa County Recorder. He and his wife (who met while both in law school at The University of Chicago) live at the base of South Mountain in Phoenix. Learn more about Stephen at his website

Profound Leftism and Indoctrination In Our Universities: Is There a Solution?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s become almost trite in our day to point out that colleges and universities are disproportionately left wing. Does anyone dispute it anymore? Universities are grossly intolerant of conservative viewpoints and Phoenix gets really hot in the summer.

But that is precisely the danger. We’ve become so accustomed to knowing that faculty are radically unrepresentative of the people at large, it no longer surprises us when we hear stories or read details confirming it. Sometimes we find it funny, on par with the satire of a witty Vonnegut or Kafka novel, mocking or laughing off some of the more rank absurdities of the university system. But it’s deadly serious. These same administrators and faculty members are propagandizing the next generation. We see the fruit of it now.

According to a Gallup poll in 2019, 37% of Americans identify as conservative, 35% of Americans identify as moderate and 24% of Americans identify as liberal. Ideologically, America remains a center-right nation. When it comes to party affiliation, the Democrats fare a little better. In another Gallup poll the same year, 47% of Americans identify politically with the Democratic party and 42% of Americans identify politically with the Republican party.

What about college professors? A recent study by Mitchell Langbert and Sean Stevens showed that college professors are 95 times more likely to donate to Democrats than to Republicans. The same study also explored party affiliation. Among the faculty at Harvard University, there are 88 registered Democrats for every registered Republican. At Georgetown the ratio is 75:1. At Princeton the ratio is 40:1. The more elite the school, the more unrepresentative is the faculty but even at smaller colleges and regional universities, the ratio is extremely lopsided.

Nor is this the only study confirming extreme partisan bias. A study in 2016 examined the nation’s top 40 colleges and universities, focusing on five fields: economics, history, journalism, law and psychology. The study found a ratio of 11.5 Democrats for every Republican. History was the worst, with a ratio of 33.5 Democrats for every Republican. Another study by Mitchell Langbert in 2018 examined 51 of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. At 39 percent of these colleges, the faculty had zero Republicans. Zero. The vast majority of the remainder had so few Republicans that it made virtually no dent at all in the university’s intellectual life.

Academia has leaned Left for many decades, since at least the end of World War II. Yet the problem has greatly intensified over the last quarter century. Survey data revealed that in 1969 about 27 percent of American professors described themselves as at least moderately conservative. By 1999 that number had plunged to 12 percent and by all indications, today it lies somewhere in the low single digits. The number of faculty who identified as Left (at the expense of moderate or conservative) grew proportionally. As late as 1984, only about 39 percent of American professors, on average, described themselves as Left. By 1999 that number had soared to 72 percent. The biggest shift, then, occurred around the early to the mid-‘90s, so that today it is simply a given – of course university faculty are left wing. We forget that not too long ago, faculty were not so homogeneous. We forget that universities used to be a place of discourse, debate, and disagreement between scholars of diverse ideological perspectives. Today, ideological consensus is the rule and the consensus goes one direction.

Barring fundamental changes in the university system, this trend will only worsen. Langbert’s 2018 study found that among younger, tenure-track professors, the ratio of Democrat to Republican is almost 13:1. It is worst of all in the humanities (English, literature, philosophy, history, anthropology, art, etc.). Among tenure-track professors in the humanities, there are 32 Democrats for every Republican. Think about that: only three percent affiliate with a party supported by forty-two percent of the American people. Those same professors, on receiving tenure, will train graduate students to become a new wave of PhDs, more prone to groupthink than even the last and will monopolize the search committees that hire new faculty.

What have we created?

Colleges and universities are becoming full-fledged indoctrination centers. Some have already reached that dreaded point; others are fast approaching it. Sadly, that is not hyperbole. Even STEM fields are giving way to this trend. Why have we allowed this? Why are we subsidizing this? Why are we sending highly impressionable young adults to institutions that are overtly, systemically and unapologetically hostile to ideas and values (moderate or conservative) cherished by upwards of 70 percent of the American population?

What do we do? The answer is complicated. But obviously something must be done. We can begin by urging our state legislatures to grow a backbone: demand that they hold taxpayer-funded universities accountable and refuse to subsidize them if the extreme ideological biases continue. Additionally, alumni must be encouraged to withhold donations to endowments, i.e., defund, to affect change in the profound ideologic imbalance endemic in higher education today.

This needs to be a priority. Liberty itself is at stake. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, called knowledge “the soul of a republic.” If that is the case, we’re in deep trouble.

Critical Race Theory Critiqued

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

“When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.” Thomas Sowell

Critical Theory is an umbrella term designating innumerable modes of revolutionary inquiry. The theories originated in the Frankfurt School and in Post-modernism. These may include critical race theory, critical psychiatry, critical literary theory, etc. The list proliferates. What they all have in common is the assumption that all theories or statements under a capitalist order need to be deconstructed. This, they argue, is because all such theories veil their true oppressive impact on the social order. Critical theory seeks to reveal the true consequences of theory when applied in real life.

For example, if you say “People should be judged by their character and not by the color of their skin,” you are expressing white supremacy ideology and white privilege. Why? Because such views make preferential hiring or entry into colleges appear discriminatory instead of understanding the handicaps for people of color generated by “systemic racism”. Privilege reversal is the only true way to level the playing field. “Hard work” and “Promptness” (that is, time itself) express whiteness which CRT inevitably expands beyond even skin color. So “whiteness” morphs into a set of qualities allegedly found among whites thus giving them more privilege and as such is to be condemned. Critical Language Theory assaults proper English as bolstering white privilege. I think you get it.

The theory is seductive because it purports to go beneath surface appearances and reveal the true expression of theory in life. The existence of inequalities is the data they use to fill their categories. Impressionable young intellectuals easily get high on a sense of having a superior and deeper understanding of the world. It provides them with a new vocabulary and a sense of moral virtue on the grounds they stand with the have-nots against the haves.

Critical Theory, besides other problems, fails on its own terms. It never analyzes the consequences of the application of itself as a practice when applied in society. In short, it masks its own meaning which is supposed to only be revealed in societal consequences. When we apply critical theory to itself, the “deeper truths” revealed are the revival of racism, the negation of individualism, the exacerbation of divisions, the introduction of cancel culture, the assault on the past, the invalidation of property, the intoxication with utopia and a host of other societal ills for which we now have plenty of data.

The following video does an excellent job of examining Trump’s recent cancellation of Critical Race Theory programs currently financed by your taxes through the Office of Management and Budget. Our President struck a great blow for liberty that will have huge implications for the training of those in the Administrative State. It is a long, past-due, swamp draining measure.

Marvin A. Treiger, PhD was formerly the Youth Chairman of the Communist Party of Southern California, a member of the Maoist Revolutionary Union and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the 1960s. He converted to conservatism and Americanism in the aftermath of 9/11 while in a solitary three-month retreat. He resumed activism when Barack Obama became the Presidential nominee in 2008. Dr. Treiger is a retired Psychotherapist.

The Golden Rule of Gun Handling: What Beginners and Experts Need to Know and Do

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Keep your finger off the trigger till the sights are on the target.
This precept we must emphasize as well as we are able.
If you think that we are kidding, or we just need you to bark at,
A leg shot isn’t funny on the operating table.” *

Like many things that sound simple, the “Golden Rule of Gun Handling” – keeping your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target – is more complicated than it sounds. It is easy to put your finger on the trigger inadvertently. Keeping your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target is hard and requires your conscious effort.

Any visit to a public shooting range will reveal numerous gun owners who have their fingers on the triggers when they are not shooting. They know the Golden Rule. They can recite the Golden Rule – while simultaneously and unconsciously having their fingers on the triggers. When you show them photos of themselves with their fingers on the triggers, they all say the same thing: “I had no idea!” The challenge for all of us is to become conscious of where the trigger finger is at all times. A yoga instructor calls this “mindfulness”.

The first part is (relatively) easy: putting your finger on the trigger when actually firing a shot. After you fire the shot, though, it gets tricky. As soon as the shooting stops and the sights come down off the target – even by an inch – your finger must go straight alongside the frame of the pistol.

Here’s how to train yourself to do it right, every time. It is called the “Up-Down Drill”. First, unload your pistol. (Step One: Remove the magazine. Step Two: Remove the round from the chamber. Don’t reverse these steps or an unexpected loud noise and possible injury or death could happen!) Second, unload your pistol again – that is, unload your pistol again. Really!

OK, now find a Safe Direction** in your house. Start with your pistol in “Ready” position (see photos) with your finger off the trigger. Raise it up and align the sights with the target. (Tape a target onto your Safe Direction.) When the sights come onto the target, put your finger on the trigger. Now lower the gun back down to Ready position. The instant the sights come off the target your finger comes off the trigger.

Do that 1000 times. Seriously. 1000 times. Break it into ten sets of 100. After 1000 repetitions, it should be difficult – hopefully, impossible – to do it wrong.

One last thing: The Golden Rule (finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target) applies whether or not your gun is loaded. It is considered a terrible faux pas to say those awful words “It’s OK; it’s not loaded.” Those are the words of a fool. Resolve never to say them. It does not matter if the gun is loaded or unloaded; it is never OK to break The Golden Rule.

Go ye forth now, and be a practitioner and an apostle of the Golden Rule of Gun Handling.

*Jeff Cooper (1920-2006) was the founder of The American Pistol Institute (“Gunsite”) and is acknowledged as “The Father of Modern Pistolcraft.”

**A Safe Direction is something that (1) stops bullets and (2) won’t be a big problem to fix or replace if you shoot it. Unless they are made of brick or block, the walls in your house won’t stop bullets – anybody or anything on the other side will get shot. Your mattress won’t stop bullets. Your refrigerator will stop bullets, but is expensive to replace. Consider filling a banker’s box or two with old books/magazines/newspapers or sandbags (bags and sand sold separately at Home Depot). Bucket or jugs filled with water will stop bullets, but then you risk soaking your carpet.

Photos by Andrew Siminski

Black Lives Matter Accused of Cultural Appropriation

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The three Black women who founded Black Lives Matter have been accused of cultural appropriation by Professor E.Z. Pickens of Whatsamatter U near Boinksville, Pennsylvania.

Professor Pickens pointed out that the founders of BLM have claimed to be trained Marxists.

Professor Pickens explained that Karl Marx was German and Dutch, ethnically Jewish from a line of rabbis, the son of a Jewish couple that had converted to Christianity. He was a White European atheist, a racist and an anti-Semite. In short, a big White mess.

In addition, he pointed out that Marx was heavily influenced by the philosopher Hegel, who likewise was a White German. Additionally, Marx was informed by the socialist tradition that included French philosophers Saint Simon and Charles Fourier.

He also noted that Marx likely would not have succeeded in publishing his many works without the financial support of Fredrich Engels, a German industrialist. George Soros was not available then.

“Marx was the product of the certain strand of the European Enlightenment,” said Professor Pickens. “His views have roots in France and Germany, and he was published in the U.S by Horace Greeley. It was an all-White male project.”

Two of his daughters died in suicide pacts with their husbands. Hairy Karl must have been a suboptimal father.

Pickens also pointed out that Marx was a big hairy, binary revolutionary who treated his wife quite shabbily; even knocking up the maid much like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Why modern-day feminists would embrace the ideas of a male chauvinist who exploited women like Marx is beyond belief. He was almost as bad as Bill Clinton.”

Pickens, who holds the Chair in Ethnic Studies and Furniture Design, pointed out further violations. First, it is not appropriate for females to use male ideas. “You cannot really understand male thinking if you are female. It is pure and simple sexual appropriation.”

Secondly, “Black Americans have no right to appropriate the ideas of White Europeans for their own purposes.”

“Black Lives Matter is exclusively about the downside of the Black experience in America and ignores any comparative benefits or improvement. It has nothing to do with European male ideas,” he stated. “You’ve got to stay focused on contemporary misery. Either you take a knee for that or you will get a knee in the groin.”

“You simply can’t go around using the cultural and intellectual traditions of other people, especially if you are not the same color or sex.”

Pickens, who is African American himself, is renowned for the small research he has published on pygmies, concluding that “reliance on the ideas of White males does not fit with the Black experience. The modern Black family since the Great Society programs of the 1960s is largely matriarchal.”

“The last thing the movement needs is for a bunch of Black feminists to inject male ideas and promote the ideas of the White European oppressors.”

To date, Black Lives Matter has not commented on the matter.

An Ape Comments on the Divisiveness of Multiculturalism

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Decades ago, multiculturalism sounded like a good idea. Its premise was that the arts, literature, history, culture and education in general were too Euro-centric and white and should be broadened to include other races, peoples and cultures.

This good idea has morphed into the exceedingly bad and divisive practice of pointing out all of the injustices committed by white Europeans and their American descendants while ignoring the equal or worse injustices committed by other peoples. At the same time, the accomplishments of the other peoples have been highlighted while those of whites have been downplayed.

Take Native Americans. It’s undeniable that they have suffered from imperialism and genocide at the hands of whites. Only a closeminded ignoramus would not want this history included in a history of the USA.

But it’s also undeniable that many if not most Indian tribes, in a manifestation of their warrior culture, took slaves and engaged in some of the worst atrocities imaginable. Only an ideologue with a political agenda would want to hide that history.

Perhaps it’s understandable that Native Americans living in poverty on reservations and getting their healthcare from the incompetent Indian Health Services would feel that the telling of the dark side of their history would be like blaming the victims; and as such, they would want to stop the telling of that history in academia and elsewhere, claiming that it is hurtful and racist.

But that argument could also be made by whites who have been victims in history and had nothing to do with the evils of slavery, Jim Crow, colonialism, imperialism, Nazism, and Communism – and who are so poor, disadvantaged and powerless that it is absurd to claim that they are privileged and have somehow benefited from the subjugation of others.

It’s equally absurd to lay the entire blame for the horrible socioeconomic conditions in various countries on colonialism and imperialism, or again, to portray the citizens of those countries as being free of any responsibility for their own racism and injustices.

Take India, the maternal home of vice president candidate Kamala Harris, whose mother came from an upper caste known for its embrace of education, traditional families, industriousness and personal discipline. In other words, Kamala’s mother was from privilege, and by extension, so was Kamala.

Other privileged Indian castes with the same embrace of education, traditional families, education, industriousness and personal discipline have been the primary source of Indian immigrants to the USA, which probably explains why they rank the highest in household income. They’ve left behind one of the poorest, most polluted, and most racist and class-conscious nations in the world – a culture that existed before the arrival of English colonists.

Some Indians bring the class-consciousnesses with them to the USA, just as all immigrants bring negatives and positives of their culture with them. Case in point: One time, a CEO asked me to coach an Indian divisional president about his aloofness and air of superiority with his staff. I saw the behavior firsthand when we went to dinner at an Indian restaurant, where he treated the Indian staff like servants, snapping his fingers and not saying please or thank you.

This isn’t to suggest that he was representative of most Indians, but it is to state the obvious, or what would be obvious if multiculturalism curricula taught the good and bad of all races and ethnic groups – or more importantly, taught that all humans are imperfect by nature and are molded by upbringing, culture and class, in good and bad ways.

In my case, I share about 98% of my genes with apes and about 8% of those with extinct Neanderthals. And being of Italian ancestry, there’s no telling what races mixed their chromosomes in producing my ancestors, in view of the fact that horny Greeks, Persians, Africans, Jews, Germans and others tromped through the Italian peninsula for millennia.

If the multiculturalists insist on typecasting me, I wish they’d be accurate and describe me as an ape with a smattering of Neanderthal genes and mix of chromosomes from various races.

Save Yourself: Stop Believing in Lockdown

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Storied minds have argued that a failure to critically examine our beliefs makes us culpable for adverse outcomes. Beliefs lead to actions, which impact other people.

As Voltaire wrote during the Enlightenment — when society still had time away from the screen to reflect on philosophy, morality, and fundamental truth — “those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

This has never been more true than in the age of social media, when information and opinions constantly bombard us from all sides, isolating us from our own thoughts and values. We have a moral duty to critically examine our beliefs — especially our belief in “lockdown,” the most oppressive and universally destructive public policy implemented in our lifetimes.

Is it the least-restrictive means available to minimize casualties in this pandemic?

Our belief in it was formed when we felt legitimate fear — this can lead to irrationality — so we really cannot answer this question in good conscience unless and until we take the time to conduct a proper, honest examination with the benefit of hindsight.

Any number of atrocities can occur when human beings act on unfounded, unexamined beliefs.

Consider the example of the shipowner in William Kingdon Clifford’s 1876 essay, “The Ethics of Belief.” Troubled by the condition of his aging ship, which others have suggested is not well-built and is in need of repairs, he eventually pacifies himself with these comforting thoughts: “She had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come home from this trip also.” The shipowner develops a sincere conviction that she will not sink, and acts on his belief.

“He watched [the ship’s] departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those men. It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in nowise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him. He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts.”

The shipowner’s belief was built on sand — he knew he had questions to answer, but instead he took the comfortable path, and other people had to pay with their lives for it. While it may appear that he personally got off easy, his reputation, confidence and conscience surely suffered.

People who harbor false beliefs and ignore warning signs routinely end up grievously harmed: consider the investors in Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos scam, or Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, or the parents of Larry Nassar’s little-girl gymnasts. These examples prove just how easily the trust and credulity of very intelligent people is easily exploited. It happens like magic, in broad daylight — millions are lost or gained, irreparable actions are taken — with the victim all the while believing he or she is choosing to participate in a beneficial relationship or situation.

The passengers trusted the shipowner. The investors trusted the entrepreneurs. The parents trusted the doctor. Should WE be trusting the government?

Perhaps, instead of taking the easy path of blind faith, we should challenge our government’s assertions about COVID-19 and how to deal with it. After all, governments have already admitted to manipulating us in writing:

Perceived threat: A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; it could be that they are reassured by the low death rate in their demographic group . . . The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging.

I respectfully submit to you: anyone willing to adopt this shady tactic is not worthy of your blind trust. Governments know that emotional people are easy to manipulate. As Robert Greene wrote in the authoritative tome on human nature, “You like to imagine yourself in control of your fate, consciously planning the course of your life…[b]ut you are largely unaware of how deeply your emotions dominate you. They make you veer toward ideas that soothe your ego. They make you look for evidence that confirms what you already want to believe…”

Logically, terrified people want to believe in the existence of a sturdy lifeline. They like that lifeline even more if grasping onto it makes them “good people,” and turns those who prefer to swim with the tide into “killers.” Knowing what it knows about human nature, we can be certain our government knew that proposing lockdown to us at this particular moment was pretty much guaranteed to succeed.

It would be wise to take the government to task now that we’ve calmed down. What have they asked us to believe, why have they asked us to believe it, and what are the grounds for doubt?

Belief #1: “Lockdown saves lives.”

Blind faith in lockdown rapidly took hold in March 2020 like a fire in a haystack. The spark that ignited it was terror, lit by the media’s sensationalist reporting of the “disaster” in Northern Italy, shortly followed by the doomsday predictions from fancy-sounding (“Imperial College! London!”) modelers. Those same modelers offered a lifeline: — lockdown, the long awaited real-life opportunity to test a pet theory. Too bad we never stopped to question their credibility (“they sound so fancy!”) and motives (“we’ve been waiting for this moment!”) before taking any action — particularly drastic, life-altering action.

“Every man who has accepted the statement from somebody else, without himself testing and verifying it, is out of court; his word is worth nothing at all. Two serious questions must be asked in regard to him who first made it: was he mistaken in thinking that he knew about this matter, or was he lying?” ~ William Kingdon Clifford

A second, even bigger credibility issue is found when we consider the first lesson we ever learned about “lockdown.” That lesson came from China. None of us — or even our parents — had ever heard of a population-wide quarantine until the Chinese government planted the idea with a highly-publicized “lockdown” of its own.

This normalized the concept, preparing our minds to accept it as a scientifically-supported measure to manage infectious diseases. Then, after bombarding us with images of its citizens’ sacrifices, China predictably declared, “It worked! We defeated the virus! Disease is gone!”

The lifeline. The island of escape. Thank you, China — because of you, we will not die.

Little did we know that decades of public health work unequivocally established the opposite: “There is no basis [in science] for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals.”

From the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention:

“It is hard to imagine that measures like those within the category of social distancing would not have some positive impact by reducing transmission of a human respiratory infection spreading from human to human via droplets and indirect contact. However, the evidence base supporting each individual measure is often weak.

From the United States Center for Disease Control’s 2007 Interim Pandemic Planning Guidelines (p.25):

“[M]athematical models that explored potential source mitigation strategies that make use of . . . infection control and social distancing measures for use in an influenza outbreak identified critical time thresholds for success. . . the effectiveness of pandemic mitigation strategies will erode rapidly as the cumulative illness rate prior to implementation climbs above 1 percent of the population in an affected area.”

Even the Washington Post, in late January 2020, published an article soundly condemning the Chinese lockdown:

“This is just mind-boggling: This is the mother of all quarantines. I could never have imagined it.” ~ Howard Markel, University of Michigan medical historian

“The truth is those kinds of lockdowns are very rare and never effective . . . They’re doing it because people who are in political leadership always think that if you do something dramatic and visible that you’ll gain popular support. They couldn’t have any sound public health advice.” ~ Lawrence O. Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University

We can now confirm the accuracy of these statements with live data from our lockdown experiment. We even have the scientific gold standard — a control group — Sweden. Swedish mortality data proves that not only does lockdown not “save lives,” it leads to increased mortality. Sweden has far less “excess” (above-average) all-cause mortality in 2020 than heavily locked-down areas such as New Jersey, Michigan, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the U.K. Sweden’s all-cause mortality this year is similar to that of its Scandinavian neighbors: they each have moderate excess mortality, in line with historical averages.

Sweden also proves that COVID’s true mortality impact — when additional lives are not lost due to terrifying propaganda and draconian government actions leading to fear, despair, and the destruction of medical and social systems — is that of a severe flu. For weeks 1–32 of 2018, Sweden had 56,770 deaths. For the same weeks of 2020, it has 59,346 deaths — a difference of 2,576 or ~4%, and going down from there since mortality is now running below average.

In short, many of the weakest citizens in Sweden sadly died a few months early. While all lost time is regrettable, it is unlikely that any dying 86-year-old, in order to extend his own life by 5–9 months (the average remaining life expectancy of 70% of Swedish COVID deaths), would propose that a 30-year-old father be sentenced to lose his business and hang himself.

Yet that’s exactly what happened in countries that did lock down. The elderly we were supposed to be “saving” didn’t get to speak on the matter— instead, they got COVID secretly sent straight into their places of residence, like a fox to the henhouse. According to the government officials who issued these orders and their ideologically-aligned media, Sweden is the bad guy. We accept this perverse, overtly-biased claim and resulting atrocity only because we firmly believe in the effectiveness of lockdowns. Otherwise, we would be rioting in the streets, recognizing that the same people who created the problem sold us the remedy. Their remedy.

“We all suffer severely from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to, and the evil born when one such belief is entertained is great and wide.” ~ William Kingdon Clifford

Belief #2: It is imperative FOR EVERYONE to avoid COVID-19 infection.

Some people, particularly the very elderly with serious comorbidities, should indeed try to avoid infection. But for the millions of people at low risk, COVID should be treated the same as the flu. They should circulate normally, serving humanity by exposing themselves to the virus without hysteria, as the Swedes did. This will minimize overall mortality by reducing the duration of the epidemic, freeing the high-risk elderly from confinement earlier, and avoiding all of the lockdown deaths and other traumas. It is a scientific fact that every epidemic ends at the threshold of “herd immunity” — not before.

The alternative we have chosen — an epidemic identical in size, but longer in duration, with people at statistically zero risk hiding inside their homes getting more stressed, fatter, and sicker — is utter madness. The most tragic part is Imperial explained this to us on March 16, and posted it online for everyone to see:

“Once interventions are relaxed . . . infections begin to rise, resulting in a predicted peak epidemic later in the year. The more successful a strategy is at temporary suppression, the larger the later epidemic is predicted to be in the absence of vaccination, due to lesser build-up of herd immunity.”

While Imperial designed lockdown as an ICU-capacity management strategy, it apparently did not foresee the difficulty in persuading people terrified by lockdown to go right back out and live two weeks later. “All clear! We have thousands of ICU beds staffed and ready for you! Good luck!”

Good luck indeed.

Thankfully, now we know that COVID is much less deadly than Imperial, WHO, and mainstream media led us to believe. Most of us know no one who has died — only .05% of the population has, after all. We do indeed have the all-clear, and we should feel perfectly fine conducting ourselves exactly like a Swede — and thanking others for doing just that, instead of bullying them with life-defeating, authoritarian mandates.

Belief #3: If she doesn’t wear a mask, I won’t be safe.

See above. If she acquires the infection and recovers, you will be safer than you were before. Unless you are routinely pounced on by sneezing strangers, you can wear your own mask and maintain your distance. You don’t need any help from anyone else. Established science says that masks and distancing don’t work, anyway — COVID-19 spontaneously shows up on naval ships 49 days into isolation, and similar viruses have appeared during the 17th week of perfect Antarctic quarantines. But at least you will feel like you’re doing something.

Belief #4: If I was wrong about lockdown, that makes me gullible and unintelligent.

No, it makes you human. To err is human. Admitting this is noble and altruistic, while persisting on course despite red flags is pathological and damaging. We should all aspire to be like Socrates, who understood his human fallibilities: “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.”

There is no shame in falling for such a sophisticated propaganda scheme. Most people did. A few shining stars have since emerged to admit their mistake, quietly adopting the Swedish approach. You would be wise to join them, avoiding the fate of Don Quixote:

“As long as he fought imaginary giants, Don Quixote was just play-acting. However once he actually kills someone, he will cling to his fantasies for all he is worth, because only they give meaning to his tragic misdeed. Paradoxically, the more sacrifices we make for an imaginary story, the more tenaciously we hold on to it, because we desperately want to give meaning to those sacrifices and to the suffering we have caused.” ~ Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow

Belief #5: COVID-19 is much more dangerous than the flu.

Nope. As stated above, in terms of mortality impact, Sweden already proved that COVID-19 is indeed similar to the flu. The diseases are similar in other respects — both can have long-term health effects, both kill random outliers (the flu even kills young teachers), and both can cause hospitals to overflow, as influenza did as recently as two years ago. They have similar survival rates: ~997 out of 1,000 for COVID, ~999 out of 1,000 for flu. Over fifty percent of Americans don’t even get the flu shot, yet we have destroyed the planet to “stop” COVID-19.

Why did it happen? Because the media chose to depict this virus as Black Plague — and we believed it. Now that we know that the media can do this, we can understand why the U.K. Prime Minister — and others in his position — was afraid of its powers. He reportedly imposed lockdown because he was threatened as follows: “If he didn’t lock down, journalists will ask him on national television to accept responsibility and apologise to the families of those who have died as a result of Covid-19, because the rhetoric would have been that it was his fault for not locking down.” In other words, the media had a three-step plan: (1) convince us that politicians have the power to stop death, (2) put the politicians in the position of needing to do what the media suggests will “save our lives,” (3) watch as we drive ourselves over a cliff.

The media cannot do this without our participation. We can stop them immediately by refusing to believe their superstitious, pseudo-scientific proposition that this is the only disease in history that needed a politician-imposed lockdown to abate. They cannot trick us into burning down our own houses once we simply stop believing that politicians have the power to stop death. Standing firmly on this foundation of scientific truth, we will finally be at peace, realizing that COVID-19, like every disease in history, will infect a certain number of people, kill a minute percentage of them, and then move along, lockdown or no lockdown.

We really must stop believing otherwise. Our credulity is destroying us. So long as we do believe the myth, we are avoiding the responsibility to manage this virus the way intelligent societies always have, by permitting medical professionals to treat sick people as individuals, one ailment at a time. One cannot merely unleash a total state on the whole of society–even on nearly the entire planet–in a futile effort to scare the virus into going away.

That’s completely mystical thinking that unleashes the very catastrophe that smallpox eradicator Donald A. Henderson predicted in his 2006 plea never to lock down.

“The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.” ~ William Kingdon Clifford

Continue reading at AIER…


This column from American Institute for Economic Research is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the views of The Prickly Pear or of our sponsors.