Mass Murder Cover Up

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

A storm covers the skies of New York as a scandal has broken surrounding its Governor. Charges have come forth asserting a cover-up of the number of deaths occurring in New York nursing homes that were hidden from the public. That may be true, but that is not the real cover-up. There is another group of people whose hands are drenched in blood and we could have seen this coming.

There are two ways to stifle a free press. There is the way tyrants have done it like Erdogan in Turkey or Chavez in Venezuela. They gradually restrict the rights of a free press until the rights were obliterated. Then there is what has happened in the United States where the press has become overwhelmingly ideologically aligned with a political viewpoint such that they self-stifle their own rights.

What went on in New York was not unknown; rather it was just not convenient to the narrative necessary to destroy the political fortunes of Donald Trump. Anything that conflicted with that narrative was buried — even if that cost thousands of senior citizens their lives.

On April 25, 2020, Michael Goodwin of the New York Post disclosed the truth about what took place. Yes, he is a columnist for the very same paper that five months later broke the story regarding the financial mishaps of Hunter Biden, the son of Donald Trump’s opponent. That story was spiked by mass media and Big Tech hoping to vanquish that evil man in the White House.

Goodwin’s column (his second on the subject) clearly placed blame for the tragedy at the hands of the Governor’s March 25th memo regarding how to handle nursing home patients. “This directive is being issued to clarify expectations for nursing homes receiving residents returning from hospitalization and for nursing homes accepting new patients.” In “an urgent need to expand hospital capacity,” Cuomo dictated that all residents be returned to nursing homes. This ordered propelled the explosion of deaths in the homes. Goodwin went on to cover the disaster in multiple columns and point the finger directly at Cuomo. His protestations fell on the deaf ears of fellow journalists.

The same hearing-impaired journalists went on to lionize Cuomo for his leadership on the COVID issue. His daily press briefings became catnip for them as they praised Cuomo and demonized that dunderhead in the White House. Then-candidate Biden chimed in on numerous occasions praising Cuomo for his leadership while his errant policy piled up bodies in funeral homes.

The guy in the WH pointed out that he sent a hospital ship to New York City and built a makeshift hospital facility at the Javits Center that went barely used while shipping the elderly back to nursing homes to die in mass numbers. Cuomo held more news conferences and the Trump-hating press cooed. By the time Cuomo reversed his disastrous decision, the bodies had been stacked to the sky. But he was oh so brilliant.

So brilliant he received a special Emmy award. It should have been for performance in a drama series because his musings were near-complete fiction and, as it turns out, a lie.

It was predictable that a press that has abandoned any hint of independence would lead to a story like this where mass death would be hidden from the public in the name of their righteous cause.

Who needs Pravda when the entire press is Pravda?

This is not the only story our once free press buried to conquer the evil Orange Man. A group of political hacks claiming to be Republicans formed The Lincoln Project. Their biggest claim to fame is engineering massive defeats for Republican candidates and they too hated that villain in the White House.

The Lincoln Project soaked $90 million out of people telling them that they would turn Republicans against Trump. Three things happened. The first was a higher percentage of Republicans voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016. They also lined their own pockets to the extent of $50 million or more.

The third and the bigger story was they hid another scandal. The kowtowing press helped to cover up that one of the leaders of the group was harassing young males. John Weaver harassed at least 21 men. This was known within the Lincoln Project since at least June and once again the press was willing to sacrifice another group of people as long as Trump was under attack. The issue has come forward now that the Left-wing media no longer needs the Lincoln Project to destroy Trump. How many young men could have been saved if the press was doing its job?

The Weaver affair pales in comparison to what happened in New York. In New York, the horrible policy was ignored with the cost of thousands of lives. The only reason it is being focused on now is because of the fact an official working for Cuomo admitted they lied about the numbers. They lied about the numbers because they feared their negligence would have made the Trump Administration look good. The people of New York don’t care why they lied, they just care about their dead family members.

Cuomo has blood on his hands, and it has been known for 10 months if you cared to really look. The press has known for 10 months and ignored it and blood also is on their hands. Their ideological bent is responsible and until our press assumes once again its rightful position of protecting free speech and an evenhanded position more tragedies like this will be left uncovered.

*****
This article first appeared February 21, 2021 in the Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Will France Save Us Again?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

After saving us in the Revolutionary War, will it save us from wokeness?

France deserves our gratitude, at least from those of us who believe that America is worth saving in spite of its imperfections.

First, France helped us in winning the Revolutionary War. That would be the war that is claimed by today’s poorly educated racial revolutionaries to have been started for the expressed purpose of continuing slavery.

Now French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that American wokeness is a threat to the classical liberal foundation of France. By extension, then, it’s also a threat to the United States, because America has the same liberal foundation.

We should thank him for the warning, although it might be too late for the U.S.

Specifically, Macron was referring to the illiberal virus masquerading as social justice and racial equality that has emanated from American universities and spread throughout American government, media, public schools, and corporations. He and his ministers don’t want it to spread to France.

This follows Macron’s criticism in October of “certain social-science theories entirely imported from the United States.”

France’s Minister for Higher Education Frédérique Vidal was more direct when she recently pledged to conduct an investigation into academics who look “at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide.” She was referring to academics seeing all social issues through the prism of race, which is a foundational tenet of American wokeness.

Another foundational tenet is that the way to address the legacy of past prejudices against non-whites is to replace the former prejudices with new prejudices against whites. This is similar to the psychological condition of abused children becoming abusive parents.

Such pathological thinking is reinforced by the removal of science from the social sciences and the removal of impartiality from history, in a process that began decades ago as political correctness and has since morphed into cancel culture and speech codes.

As a result, races that used to be stereotyped negatively are now stereotyped positively, and vice versa. Non-whites now get a positive spin while whites get a negative one.

Forgotten in this wild swing of the pendulum is the fact that many white ethnocultural groups had also been stereotyped negatively in American history and treated accordingly. For example, the founding white Anglo-Saxon Protestants didn’t look kindly on the Irish in the 19th century, on southern Europeans in the 20th century, on Catholics (papists) in general, and on Jews in general.

On a personal note, as this Italian writer knows, Italians were known as swarts or worse and seen as a half-step up from blacks. Some were even lynched.

For sure, my Italian grandparents who emigrated as poor and poorly educated peasants from Italy in the early 20th century were not responsible for slavery or Jim Crow.

That responsibility lies with Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but even that is an unfair generalization. Puritans of New England, along with the admirers of Cromwell known as Roundheads, tended to be anti-slavery.  Conversely, Southern Cavaliers and admirers of Charles I tended to be pro-slavery.

In spite of such historic facts and important distinctions between the many white ethnocultural groups, all whites are now stereotyped as homogenous and equally responsible for the nation’s original sins.  They’re all tarred as racist and privileged. At the same time, those wielding the tar brushes can’t figure out why this has triggered resentment and a political backlash.

Naturally, progressives among the brush wielders deny their role in causing the social pathologies in so-called minority communities, especially African-American communities. Due to their condescending and paternalistic belief that blacks couldn’t make it without the help of whites like them, they put blacks on the new plantation of welfare dependency, which made men unnecessary in the financial support of children and caused the incidence of families headed by single moms to more than double in short order.

The condescension and paternalism continue today with racial quotas masquerading as diversity and inclusion, with the push to do away with test scores that have a disparate impact on certain races, with formulaic “news” stories that incessantly point out how these same races don’t fare well and need special help because they can’t help themselves, and most noticeably, with advertisers who make sure that the same races are represented in commercials and ads way out of proportion to their population, either because of racial pandering by the advertisers or out of fear of being labeled as racially insensitive by interest groups.

No wonder the French are afraid of importing such racial pandering and divisiveness.

France’s fear is heightened by its problems with the assimilation of Muslim immigrants, especially those from its former colonial outposts. 

The fear isn’t due to racism towards Muslims but to the fact that a large number of them are Islamic fundamentalists who don’t hold Western values about equality, democracy, and women’s rights.

Macron and his education minister have warned that the fundamentalists and their leftist enablers are trying to distract the public from the facts with diatribes about colonialism.

On a related note, the newly published book, Prey:  Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Harper, 322 pages) details the dire facts about the treatment of women by fundamentalist immigrants in France, Germany, and Sweden.

The author is a Somalian immigrant with firsthand experience on the subject. Unlike whites in the West who commit cultural suicide by making excuses for aberrant behavior and sanitizing statistics of incriminating evidence, Ali includes pages of statistics on the staggering increase in rapes and other violence towards women at the hands of migrants from societies marked by polygamy, patriarchy, and illiberalism.

She goes on to lambast politicians and authorities for being quick to document discrimination against the migrants and other minorities but reticent to document their violence against women and other crimes, for fear of being called racist. She has special scorn for feminists who vilify white men while excusing immigrant men of crimes against women because they believe the perpetrators to be “victims of racism and colonialism.”

The worst case of sexual assault by migrants happened on Dec. 31, 2015, when 661 women claimed to have been assaulted in downtown Cologne by hundreds of men, most of whom were asylum-seekers of Arab and North African origin. Only three of the alleged perpetrators were convicted.

It’s understandable that Macron doesn’t want to import American wokeness on top of France’s existing racial troubles.  The question is, will Americans heed his warning?

Probably not. After all, the U.S. didn’t learn from the French experience in Indochina and the Middle East. Ignoring the warning signs of history, it went ahead and lost lives and treasure in both locales, just as the French did.

Minimum Wages Had a Eugenic Intent

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

All this talk of a $15 national minimum wage prompted me to revisit the standard textbook on economics of the US Progressive Era. Principles of Economics, by Frank W. Taussig (1917) is a pretty interesting book overall and it does hold up in general as an elucidation of then-existing knowledge and pedagogy.

There is one section, however, where the author really goes off the rails. He is discussing labor policy and a “compulsory minimum wage rate.” There was no such national law at the time (that didn’t arrive until 1933) but Professor Taussig made the case for one.

For him, this was not about lifting up the poor or increasing wages for everyone. He saw it as a tool for including and excluding workers based on whether and to what extent the people in question should even be part of the labor pool.

As he plainly says, the purpose of the law is to “regulate the plane of competition” so that “one could undersell the others by cutting below the established rate.” Workers whose productivity fell below the minimum would simply be excluded from the workforce: “It would be impossible to compel employers to pay the minimum to those whose services were not worth it.”

To him, this is a feature, not a bug.

Why would anyone want such exclusion? Here is where Taussig gets brutal. Some people are simply unemployable, he says, for example “those who are helpless from cases irremediable” due to “old age, infirmity, disabling accident” and also those suffering from “congenital feebleness of body and charters, alcoholism, dissolute living…irretrievable criminals and tramps.”

This class, he opines, “must be stamped out” and should not “be allowed to breed.” Ideally, he says, we should “proceed to chloroform them once for all” but that might have a bad look. Instead, “at least they can be segregated, shut up in refuges and asylums, and prevented from propagating their kind.”

What does this have to do with minimum wages? They are one tool to use to achieve that goal. However, in order to enforce this, “the power of laws must be very strong indeed, and very rigidly exercised, to order to prevent the making of bargains which are welcome to both bargainers.”

Pretty chilling? Indeed. Welcome to the world of Progressive-Era economics as informed by eugenic concerns in which the law is deployed for purposes of stamping out undesirables. Taussig’s view was not considered scandalous because it was fully mainstream opinion at the time. As grim and immoral as his aspirations, at least he gets the economics right: the minimum wage does indeed lock people without privilege out of the labor force.

He was hardly alone in this view, which is why no one of that generation found it particularly shocking.

Princeton University’s Royal Meeker, Woodrow Wilson’s commissioner of labor, held the same position. “It is much better to enact a minimum-wage law even if it deprives these unfortunates of work,” Meeker argued in 1910. “Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth more of their kind.”

Henry Rogers Seager of Columbia University, and president of the American Association of Labor Legislation, laid it all out in “The Theory of the Minimum Wage” as published in the American Labor Legislation Review in 1913: “The operation of the minimum wage requirement would merely extend the definition of defectives to embrace all individuals, who even after having received special training, remain incapable of adequate self-support.”

“If we are to maintain a race that is to be made up of capable, efficient and independent individuals and family groups,” Seager continued, “we must courageously cut off lines of heredity that have been proved to be undesirable by isolation or sterilization.”

Fabian socialist Sidney Webb summed up the consensus of the time in his 1912 article “The Economic Theory of the Minimum Wage:” “Legal Minimum Wage positively increases the productivity of the nation’s industry, by ensuring that the surplus of unemployed workmen shall be exclusively the least efficient workmen; or, to put it in another way, by ensuring that all the situations shall be filled by the most efficient operatives who are available.”

And so on it goes. The whole generation was frank about their intentions: the point of the minimum wage law was to reserve jobs in society only for those who are deemed worthy of civic inclusion. The wage rate was to be used as a test. If your earning power falls below a specified floor, this must be because you are unfit. At that point, the mandatory minimum had eugenic intent. Its purpose was to “stamp out” those who couldn’t make the cut.

For more on this, have a look at Thomas Leonard’s eye-opening account Illiberal Reformers.

You could of course say that none of this matters. That generation was filled with moral monsters who believed that culling the population of non-normative people was a function of the state. These days, however, the purpose of the minimum wage is to uplift everyone. The problem with this excuse is that the previous generation at least had the economics correct. Price control on wages creates serious market dislocations.

Let’s say that instead of a $15 an hour minimum, Congress pushed a $15 maximum wage/salary. The rich would simply stop working, while everyone else would likely lose professional aspiration. This is not complicated to understand. So too with a wage floor: it cuts the poor out of the market just as the eugenicists said it would.

*****

This article was first published on February 15, 2021, and was reproduced with permission from the American Institute of Economic Research, AIER

Married Americans Are Different

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Polling shows a strong relationship between marriage status and political outlook.

As political scientists, pundits, and historians try to make sense of the November 2020 election, a marriage divide in the electorate has emerged. Married Americans were appreciably more likely to vote for Trump than those who were either unmarried and cohabiting or single. As reported last week in TAC, Peyton Roth and W. Bradford Wilcox recently found that marriage was one of the strongest predictors of Republican voting in 2020. But such a discovery does not mean that married Americans are solely extreme Trump supporters, are ideologically monolithic, or have negative Trumpian views about the nation’s future whatsoever.

Specifically, Roth and Wilcox found that “states with a higher share of married adults cast a greater share of their vote for President Trump in 2020 compared to states with a lower share of married adults.” This trend is confirmed in new national data from over 1,400 Americans surveyed in the Los Angeles Times/Reality Check Insights poll (LAT/RCI), which also uncovered a divide in Trump support based on marital status. A support rate not matched by other groups, 45 percent of married Americans voted for Donald Trump. For those who are unmarried and living with a partner, only 20 percent voted for Trump, and just 18 percent of single Americans voted for Trump. Without question, there was a strong relationship between marriage and voting in 2020.

However, the LAT/RCI poll provides more detail as to how marriage appears to impact political outlook. For instance, Americans were asked, regardless of how they voted, if they believed that the new Biden administration will govern for all Americans. While just over half (53 percent) of those who are married think that President Biden will govern for all, the figure jumps to 73 percent for single Americans and 63 percent for unmarried, cohabiting partners. Marriage has clearly influenced views about polarization and partisanship.

When ideology is considered, the new data demonstrate that married Americans are not a monolithic conservative bloc. About a third (32 percent) of married Americans identify as conservative, while almost a quarter (23 percent) identify as liberal, with the plurality (45 percent) moderate or leaners. This is a slight lean to the right, but hardly a lopsided distribution of Americans. Single Americans lean to the left, but this is also not extreme. Only 16 percent of singles are conservative and 32 percent are liberal, but the majority (52 percent) are in the middle. Those who are unmarried but living with a partner look similar to singles, with close to two-fifths on the left (38 percent) and a tenth identifying as conservative (10 percent). But the bulk are again in the middle (52 percent). None of these groups is ideologically homogeneous, or dominated by one side or the other.

Marriage affects other views about American society in very positive ways. Consider “the American Dream”: 87 percent of married Americans believe that they are either living (46 percent) or are on the way to achieving the American Dream (41 percent). These numbers are appreciably higher than their unmarried counterparts. Just 24 percent of singles say they are living the American Dream, and only 19 percent of unmarried, partnered Americans think that they are living the American Dream. Even including respondents who describe themselves as on the way to achieving the American Dream, the numbers are still notably lower for unmarried Americans. Additionally and unsurprisingly, 81 percent of married Americans believe that having a good family life is an essential component of the American Dream compared to 67 percent of single Americans.

One surprising finding in the data is that married Americans are far less concerned with the politics of their neighbors, which seems to cut against the idea that Americans sort into like-minded communities. When asked if it was essential to the community they would most like to live in whether most members shared their political views, just 8 percent of married Americans answered in the affirmative. In contrast, 17 percent of single Americans stated it was essential to be around others who share their views. The figure is essentially the same for unmarried cohabiting couples as well. There are real differences in tolerance of others cut along marriage lines, and marriage appears to have a potent connection to openness toward others.

Finally, while the marriage difference was strong in terms of Trump support, the effect on attitudes toward compromise with others was minor. When respondents were asked if compromise is possible in politics, two-thirds of married Americans (65 percent) said they believe it is, compared to 72 percent of single Americans and 71 percent of the unmarried, living with a partner. These are not huge differences and suggest that while vote choices were different, pragmatism is extremely important to married couples. After all, they should already understand the importance of give and take.

In short, marriage is generally a higher priority for people with a more conservative worldview. Married Americans were appreciably more likely to vote for Donald Trump in 2020 compared to single Americans, but married Americans are not a single bloc of conservatives. Before they attack the institution of marriage or vilify married couples for being supporters of the GOP, progressives should note that the married are open to compromise and are generally very optimistic about the country’s future. If the Biden administration and liberals in power want to truly unify the nation, they must understand the views of married Americans and work with them to implement family-friendly policy.

*****

Samuel J. Abrams is professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

This article first appeared in The American Conservative on February 16, 2021 and is reproduced with permission.

Protecting Women

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The cascades of high-mindedness keep rolling over us from the new kids in Washington. Backed by the sycophants who used to be our proud journalists, we hear how civility is once again reigning over our nation’s capital as the autocratic lecher has finally departed after four years of pain and suffering. All of that rang false with one disgusting act by our new autocrat.

Somewhere in the 468 executive orders (I lost count as our new President mutters something behind his mask despite no one being within ten feet of him), there was one signed that tells you how pathetic our new leadership is as it is driven totally by identity politics. In doing so, most of our citizens were tossed over the side for an obscure group. We are made to believe half the country is of like attributes to the obscure group.

President Biden signed another one of his many diktats (who is the autocrat here?) that attacked women. This is not some obscure issue. There has been a defining dispute at the collegiate level of women’s sports as the enforcement of Title IX rules has elevated the quest for equality in sports. This fight goes back five decades. Some Men’s team sports (which appear in the Olympics) have been canceled to accommodate equal opportunity for women.

That was all tossed aside by Biden in the name of gender equality. Or is that equity? It gets so confusing when you are dividing everyone by subclass and raising the value of one characteristic over another to the detriment of supporters from a non-preferred class.

“Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” requires an application of last year’s Supreme Court ruling Bostock v. Clayton County, which mandated that LGBTQ people are protected from sex discrimination in the workplace.

I was among the minority of Republicans who endorsed the Bostock ruling. In my column, I stated that it was despite the fact there was a fear that liberals were going to extend aspects of the ruling to other areas. That did not take long. The workplace is not the same as participating in sports. It does not and should not carry over. Workplace means workplace. Somehow transgenders have reached the pinnacle of the liberal’s sub-classes such that it became imperative to crush the entirety of women’s sports on their behalf.

The man President Biden picked to run the Education Department, Miguel Cardona, spewed the current mantra at a recent Senate hearing. He stated, “I think that it is critically important that education systems and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular activities.”

The party of science once again proves that they only heed science when it is convenient for the political argument they create. Everyone knows that males after puberty develop in a certain manner that makes them bigger and stronger than females. Thus, these individuals who transgender from male to female have a distinct physical advantage over their female competitors in sports.

Take women’s softball at the college level, of which I have been a loyal and longtime fan. It is a great sport which men do not play. The women are extremely skilled at this sport and they don’t get compared to men. Women’s college basketball used to be atrocious. The players have vastly improved, but the best player on the women’s college team would not even ride the bench on her school’s men’s team. The men are bigger, faster, and stronger. But transgenders should be able to compete with women?

A case in point is in track and field with transgender males competing against females and cruising by them in the races. A (not so) small fact has defined the atrociousness of this idea. The best woman sprinter in the world can be bested by 30 male high school runners in America. So much for equality.

The hypocrisy runs deepest with the so-called women’s rights groups. The litany of groups remains silent on this issue. The websites for the annual Women’s March have chapters that operate throughout the year but ignore this issue. They will march for unfettered abortions up to and at the time of birth, but protecting young women from being overwhelmed by male bodies in the sports they have chosen to compete? There is not a hint of disgust.

I remember back 40 years ago when we would make jokes about the East Germans sending women literally reconfigured by steroids and other drugs to compete in the Olympics against our women athletes. It now seems as if our government has endorsed that position wholesale.

Transgenders have the right to be treated equally in the workplace. That was ruled by our Supreme Court. That does not mean they should have the right to do whatever they want. Science says they remain in male bodies making their competition in women’s sports totally out of order. Only blind ideologues would accept the Executive Order put in place by a thoughtless president.

When will the women of America stand up for what is right and good for their daughters? PC culture can be defeated if a mass movement evolves. They cannot come after everybody. It is time to draw a line. This line is indelible.

*****

This article first ran on February 14, 2021, in Flash Report, and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

Stop School Shootings Like We Stopped School Fires – From The Inside

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Saturday, Dec. 1, 2020, marked the 62th anniversary of the 2nd worst school fire in US history – the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School fire in Chicago killing 92 children and three nuns.    The worst school fire was in Collinwood, Ohio on March 4, 1908, killing 172 students, two teachers, and one rescuer.  Decades later, deadly school fires are truly a thing of the past, they are a distant memory and no longer a concern.

Today, however, we have a daily and very real fear of school shootings. How have deadly school fires been cut to zero nationwide, while school shootings are still a horrific reality? The answer lies within the walls of the schools.

As exhibited above, it took 50 years after the Collinwood fire for the US to wake up to school fire danger. After the 1908 disaster in Ohio, a new, brick “fireproof” school was built near the old one. Some fire codes were updated and improved locally, but only after the 1958 Chicago fire was their motivation to mandate nationwide change. Within one year of the Queen of Angels school tragedy, 16,500 schools were upgraded to what is now the current code.

Today, our schools are safe from fire disaster due to five basic concepts:

  1. Fireproof construction – inside, outside, and all conceivable materials and furnishings are non-combustible.
  2. Smart fire detection and alarm systems that communicate directly to fire departments.
  3. Accessible fire extinguishers in all areas (the burned area of the Chicago school only had four, each mounted out of reach, 7 feet off the floor) and advanced fire suppression systems
  4. Preparedness and training (fire drills, etc.)
  5. Automatic fire sprinkler systems

Despite virtually all children in the US being educated in fireproof schools and there being no recent deaths from school fires, we continue to have mandated fire drills, inspections, upgrades, precautions, and updated fire codes – and all with better and fully equipped fire departments mere blocks and minutes away.  Why, when our schools simply cannot burn?

In an editorial entitled “11 Minutes” columnist Patrick Bobko states that it took 11 minutes – 11 minutes during which most of the killing was done – from the initial call for help for true first responders to arrive at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida and to enter the building.  Arriving too late to stop the worst of the carnage, he alludes to a solution:

People believe in the Second Amendment because they don’t want the safety and security of their friends and families to depend upon the bravery of others. They are not willing to put the lives of those dear to them, or their own, at risk because the armed person the government assigned to protect them is cowering behind his patrol car.

Returning to our “solved” problem of school fires, let’s imagine that chemistry teacher Mr. Jones performs an experiment he’s done hundreds of times, today before a full classroom of 7th graders. Only this time, something goes wrong:  Poof, and in an instant, the countertop in front of the class is ablaze. In Ohio in 1908, or in Chicago in 1958, Mr. Jones would have had a huge and perhaps fatal problem. Surrounded with flammable materials (including the countertop) the flames would have quickly consumed the oxygen in the room and formed a deadly atmosphere for everyone therein. But in the modern chemistry lab of today, the countertop is fireproof and a fire extinguisher is immediately at hand, charged with the specific chemicals to fight the type of fire most likely in a chemistry lab. Were the fire to escalate, a schoolwide alarm would automatically sound and simultaneously notify the fire department, students would use their cell phones to alert their parents, and sprinklers would automatically activate. Either way, the fire would be quickly extinguished, the room aired out, the class would resume. It should be noted that all actions and/or precautions to fight the fire have taken place within the walls of the school. The successful outcome was the result of civilian actions and reactions, again within the walls of the school.

Contrast the above with the recent rash of school shootings. Like combatting fire,  the solution lies within the school walls – and that these shooters can be stopped – and stopped much sooner. The solution is to arm teachers.  Not just any teacher – but certain teachers. Which ones? I propose those elected by their peers as trusted and wise individuals. Once elected, those teachers would be asked to volunteer to be trained and licensed to carry concealed. If any would decline, once again the teachers would vote, and continue to do so until there are enough to provide sufficient coverage.

Recent school shooters always gravitate to schools that post “Gun-Free Zone” signs – signs that may as well state “School Shooters Welcome! You will face no opposition from this gallery of students and teachers.” Absurd as it sounds, that is exactly what has already happened more than a dozen times.  Until help arrives (think “11 Minutes”) nearly every shot fired has resulted in another fatality.

Yes, I know – I have been challenged by a retired Ph.D. educator and former school board member with this question: “What if an armed teacher goes berserk?” My response was, “You mean that teacher who has been alone with our children for hours on end, week after week, month after month, year after year – you mean THAT teacher? That teacher who, between today and the last time you checked, could have stockpiled more ammo and weaponry in their classroom closet than the Las Vegas shooter used to kill 59? THAT teacher?”

He has yet to get back to me.

Shooters are getting smarter – and deadlier. I listened to a news interview with horror as one surviving girl in Florida described how, hearing gunfire and following the rules for lockdown, the classroom door was locked and the students assembled against the wall where the door was located, out of sight of the shooter. The shooter came to their door, broke the window, and unable to reach the lock then extended his arm inside and (without seeing what he was shooting) turned the gun in the direction of the students and fired. The shots hit her girlfriend next to her, killing her. A fellow student, the gunman was familiar with the rules and knew exactly where his targets would be hiding.

That old saying, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” holds true. Yet some label all guns and/or the people that own them as evil. In the column mentioned above, Patrick Bobko states:

See, the thing that’s hardest to communicate to “gun control” advocates is that all the people who own firearms aren’t caricatured “gun nuts” who drink Wild Turkey out of the bottle. They aren’t “survivalists” stockpiling ammunition and canned tuna living in cabins in the woods. Their convictions don’t spring from some sort of strange gun fetish or allegiance to an anachronistic ideology birthed in a less civilized time. They are not morally flawed because they have an “assault rifle” in their gun safe. They are instead people who, in moments of heart-pounding necessity, believe they would stand their ground during those eleven minutes. A considerable portion of the American public is armed for no other reason than it aspires to be brave in the darkest of moments when them [sic] and theirs are threatened. They want to be able to defend their loved ones and themselves for those eleven minutes when nobody else will – or can.

Ask yourself this question: Would your preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college student be better protected by a somewhat-timid but trained and licensed armed teacher – or face alone the likes of Dylan Klebold, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, Nikolas Cruz or others? Would or could the death toll at Virginia Tech have been 2 instead of 32? At Sandy Hook – 7 instead of 27? At Parkland – 1 instead of 17? We will never know until we move the solution inside like we did with school fires – and respond at 1 minute instead of 11.

*****

Karl William Jenkins resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Catastrophic Impact of Covid Forced Societal Lockdowns

Estimated Reading Time: 20 minutes

The present Covid-inspired forced lockdowns on business and school closures are and have been counterproductive, not sustainable and are, quite frankly, meritless and unscientific. They have been disastrous and just plain wrong! There has been no good reason for this. These unparalleled public health actions have been enacted for a virus with an infection mortality rate (IFR) roughly similar (or likely lower once all infection data are collected) to seasonal influenza. Stanford’s John P.A. Ioannidis identified 36 studies (43 estimates) along with an additional 7 preliminary national estimates (50 pieces of data) and concluded that among people <70 years old across the world, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.57% with a median of 0.05% across the different global locations (with a corrected median of 0.04%). Let me write this again, 0.05%. Can one even imagine the implementation of such draconian regulations for the annual flu? Of course not! Not satisfied with the current and well-documented failures of lockdowns, our leaders are inexplicably doubling and tripling down and introducing or even hardening punitive lockdowns and constraints. They are locking us down ‘harder.’ Indeed, an illustration of the spurious need for these ill-informed actions is that they are being done in the face of clear scientific evidence showing that during strict prior societal lockdowns, school lockdowns, mask mandates, and additional societal restrictions, the number of positive cases went up! No one can point to any instance where lockdowns have worked in this Covid pandemic.

It is also noteworthy that these irrational and unreasonable restrictive actions are not limited to any one jurisdiction such as the US, but shockingly have occurred across the globe. It is stupefying as to why governments, whose primary roles are to protect their citizens, are taking these punitive actions despite the compelling evidence that these policies are misdirected and very harmful; causing palpable harm to human welfare on so many levels. It’s tantamount to insanity what governments have done to their populations and largely based on no scientific basis. None! In this, we have lost our civil liberties and essential rights, all based on spurious ‘science’ or worse, opinion, and this erosion of fundamental freedoms and democracy is being championed by government leaders who are disregarding the Constitutional (USA) and Charter (Canada) limits to their right to make and enact policy. These unconstitutional and unprecedented restrictions have taken a staggering toll on our health and well-being and also target the very precepts of democracy; particularly given the fact that this viral pandemic is no different in overall impact on society than any previous pandemics. There is simply no defensible rationale to treat this pandemic any differently.

There is absolutely no reason to lock down, constrain and harm ordinarily healthy, well, and younger or middle-aged members of the population irreparably; the very people who will be expected to help extricate us from this factitious nightmare and to help us survive the damages caused by possibly the greatest self-inflicted public health fiasco ever promulgated on societies. There is no reason to continue this illogical policy that is doing far greater harm than good. Never in human history have we done this and employed such overtly oppressive restrictions with no basis. A fundamental tenet of public health medicine is that those with actual disease or who are at great risk of contracting disease are quarantined, not people with low disease risk; not the well! This seems to have been ignored by an embarrassingly large number of health experts upon whom our politicians rely for advice. Rather we should be using a more ‘targeted’ (population-specific age and risk) approach in relation to the implementation of public health measures as opposed to the inelegant and shotgun tactics being forced upon us now. Optimally, the key elements for modern public health include refraining from causing societal disruption (or at most, minimally) and to ensure freedom is maintained in the advent of pathogen emergence while concurrently protecting overall health and well-being. We also understand that at the outset of the pandemic there was little to no reliable information regarding SARS CoV-2. Indeed, initial case fatality rate (CFR) reports were staggeringly high and so it made sense, earlier, to impose strict lockdowns and other measures until such a time as the danger passed or we understood more clearly the nature of this virus, the data, and how it might be managed. But why would we continue this way and for so long once the factual characteristics of this virus became evident and as alluded to above, we finally realized that its infection fatality rate (IFR) which is a more accurate and realistic reflection of mortality than CFR, was really no worse than annual influenza? Governments and medical experts continuing to cite CFR are deeply deceitful and erroneous and meant to scare populations with an exaggerated risk of death. The prevailing opinion of our experts and politicians seems to be to “stop Covid at all costs.” If so, this is a highly destructive, illogical, and unsound policy and flies in the face of all accepted concepts related to modern public health medicine. Unfortunately, it seems that our political leadership is still bound to following the now debunked and discredited models of pandemic progression, the most injurious and impactful model having been released upon the world in the form of the Imperial College Ferguson model that was based on untested fictional projections and assumptions that have been flat wrong. These models used inaccurate input and were fatally flawed.

How Did We Get Here?

Let us start with a core position that just because there is an emergency situation, if we cannot stop it, this does not provide a rationale for instituting strategies that have no effect or are even worse. We have to fight the concept that if there’s truly nothing we can do to alter the course of a situation (e.g., disease), we still have to do something even if it’s ineffective! Moreover, we do not implement a public health policy that is catastrophic and not working, and then continue its implementation knowing it is disastrous. Let us also start with the basic fact that the government bureaucrats and their medical experts deceived the public by failing to explain in the beginning that everyone is not at equal risk of severe outcome if infected. This is a key Covid omission and this omission has been used tacitly and wordlessly to drive hysteria and fear. Indeed, the public still does not understand this critically important distinction. The vast majority of people are at little if any risk of severe illness and yet these very people are needlessly cowering in fear because of misinformation and, sadly, disinformation. Yet, lockdowns did nothing to change the trajectory of this pandemic, anywhere! Indeed, it’s highly probable that if lockdowns did anything at all to change the course of the pandemic, they extended our time of suffering.

What are The Effects of Lockdowns on the General Population?

On the basis of actuarial and real-time data we know that there are tremendous harms caused by these unprecedented lockdowns and school closures. These strategies have devastated the most vulnerable among us – the poor – who are now worse off. It has hit the African-American, Latino, and South Asian communities devastatingly. Lockdowns and especially the extended ones have been deeply destructive. There is absolutely no reason to even quarantine those up to 70 years old. Readily accessible data show there is near 100% probability of survival from Covid for those 70 and under. This is why the young and healthiest among us should be ‘allowed’ to become infected naturally, and spread the virus among themselves. This is not heresy. It is classic biology and modern public health medicine! And yes, we are referring to ‘herd immunity,’ the latter condition which for reasons that are beyond logic is being touted as a dangerous policy despite the fact that herd immunity has protected us from millions of viruses for tens of thousands of years. Those in the low to no risk categories must live reasonably normal lives with sensible common-sense precautions (while doubling and tripling down with strong protections of the high-risk persons and vulnerable elderly), and they can become a case ‘naturally’ as they are at almost zero risk of subsequent illness or death. This approach could have helped bring the pandemic to an end much more rapidly as noted above, and we also hold that the immunity developed from a natural infection is likely much more robust and stable than anything that could be developed from a vaccine. In following this optimal approach, we will actually protect the highest at risk amongst us.

Where has Common Sense and True Scientific Thought Gone?

There appears to be a surfeit of panic but a paucity of logic and common sense when it comes to advising our politicians and the public in relation to the pandemic. We hear often misleading information from hundreds of individuals who either hold themselves out as being infallible medical experts or are crowned as such by mainstream media. And we are bombarded relentlessly with their ill-informed, often illogical, and unempirical advice on a 24/7 basis. Much of the advice can only be described as being intellectually dishonest, absurd, untethered from reality and devoid of common sense. They exhibit a kind of academic sloppiness and cognitive dissonance that ignores key data or facts, while driving a sense of hopelessness and helplessness among the public. These ‘experts’ seem unable to read the science or simply do not understand the data, or seem blinded by it. They and our government leaders talk about “following the science” but do not appear to understand the science enough in order to apply the knowledge towards the decision-making process (if there are processes, that is; most political mandates appear random at best and capricious at worst). These experts have lost all credibility. And all this despite the fact that our bureaucrats now have had at their disposal nearly one year of data and experience to inform their decision-making and despite this they continue to listen to the nonsensical advice they receive from people who are not actually experts. Consequently, we are now faced with a self-created medical and societal disaster with losses that might never be reversed.

Sadly, when faced with rational arguments that run counter to the near religiously held beliefs, which hold that lockdowns save lives, bureaucrats and medical experts act as ideological enforcers. They attack anyone who disagrees with them and even use the media as their attack dogs once their fiats are questioned. Even more egregious are the often successful actions aimed at destroying the reputations of anyone holding diverse views related to the Covid pandemic. There is also no interest or debate on the crushing harms on societies caused by decrees made by ideologues. The everyday clinicians and nurses at the forefront of the battle are our real heroes and we must never forget and confuse these Praetorian vanguards with the unempirical and often reckless ‘medical experts.’ We hold that the very essence of science and logical thought includes the ability and in fact the responsibility to challenge (reasonably) currently held dogmas; a philosophy that appears to be anathema to our leaders and their advisors.

Current Data Concerning Lockdown Effects

Let us start with the staggering statement by Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, who has openly cautioned that global lockdown measures will result in the killing of more people than Covid itself. A recent Lancet study reported that government strategies to deal with Covid such as lockdowns, physical distancing, and school closures are worsening child malnutrition globally, whereby “strained health systems and interruptions in humanitarian response are eroding access to essential and often life-saving nutrition services.”

What is the actual study-level/report evidence in terms of lockdowns? We present 31 high-quality sources of evidence below for consideration that run the gamut of technical reports to scientific manuscripts (including several under peer-review, but which we have subjected to rigorous review ourselves). We set the table with this, for the evidence emphatically questions the merits of lockdowns, and shows that lockdowns have been an abject failure, do not work to prevent viral spread and in fact cause great harm. This proof includes: evidence from Northern Jutland in Denmark, country level analysis by Chaudhry, evidence from Germany on lockdown validity, UK research evidence, Flaxman research on the European experience, evidence originating from Israel, further European lockdown evidence, Western European evidence published by Meunier, European evidence from ColomboNorthern Ireland and Great British evidence published by Rice, additional Israeli data by Shlomai, evidence from Cohen and Lipsitch, Altman’s research on the negative effectsDjaparidze’s research on SARS-CoV-2 waves across Europe, Bjørnskov’s research on the economics of lockdowns, Atkeson’s global research on nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), Belarusian evidence, British evidence from Forbes on spread from children to adults, Nell’s PANDATA analysis of intercountry mortality and lockdowns, principal component analysis by De Larochelambert, McCann’s research on states with lowest Covid restrictions, Taiwanese research, Levitt’s research, New Zealand’s research, Bhalla’s Covid research on India and the IMF, nonpharmaceutical lockdown interventions (NPIs) research by Ioannidis, effects of lockdowns by Herby, and lockdown groupthink by Joffe. The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) further outlines prominent public health leaders and agencies’ positions on societal lockdowns, all questioning and arguing against the effectiveness of lockdowns.

A recent pivotal study from Stanford University looking at stay-at-home and business closure lockdown effects on the spread of Covid by Bendavid, Bhattacharya, and Ioannidis examined restrictive versus less restrictive Covid policies in 10 nations (8 countries with harsh lockdowns versus two with light public health restrictions). They concluded that there was no clear benefit of lockdown restrictions on case growth in any of the 10 nations.

Key seminal evidence arguing against lockdowns and societal restrictions emerged from a recent quasi-natural experiment (case-controlled experimental data) that emerged in the Northern Jutland region in Denmark. Seven of the 11 municipalities (similar and comparable) in the region went into extreme lockdown that involved a travel ban across municipal borders, closing schools, the hospitality sector and other settings and venues (in early November 2020) while the four remaining municipalities employed the usual restrictions of the rest of the nation (moderate). Researchers reported that reductions in infection had occurred prior to the lockdowns and also decreased in the four municipalities without lockdowns. Conclusion: surveillance and voluntary compliance make lockdowns essentially meaningless.

Moreover, in a similarly comprehensive analysis of global statistics regarding Covid, carried out by Chaudhry and company involved assessment of the top 50 countries (ranked as having the most cases of Covid) and concluded that “rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and widespread testing were not associated with Covid mortality per million people.” Conclusion: there is no evidence that the restrictive government actions saved lives.

A very recent publication by Duke, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins researchers reported that there could be approximately one million excess deaths over the next two decades in the US due to lockdowns. These researchers employed time series analyses to examine the historical relation between unemployment, life expectancy, and mortality rates. They report in their analysis that the shocks to unemployment are then followed by significant rises (statistically) in mortality rates and reductions in life expectancy. Alarmingly, they approximate that the size of the Covid-19-related unemployment to fall between 2 and 5 times larger than the typical unemployment shock, and this is due to (associated with) race/gender. There is a projected 3.0% rise in the mortality rate and a 0.5% reduction in life expectancy over the next 10 to 15 years for the overall American population and due to the lockdowns. This impact they reported will be disproportionate for minorities e.g. African-Americans and also for women in the short term, and with more severe consequences for white males over the longer term. This will result in an approximate 1 million additional deaths during the next 15 years due to the consequences of lockdown policies. The researchers wrote that the deaths caused by the economic and societal deterioration due to lockdowns may “far exceed those immediately related to the acute Covid-19 critical illness…the recession caused by the pandemic can jeopardize population health for the next two decades.”

Overall, the research evidence alluded to here (including a lucid summary by Ethan Yang of the AIER) suggests that lockdowns and school closures do not lead to lower mortality or case numbers and have not worked as intended. It is clear that lockdowns have not slowed or stopped the spread of Covid. Often, effects are artifactual and superfluous as declines were taking place even before lockdowns came into effect. In fact, in Europe, it was shown that in most cases, mortality rates were already 50% lower than peak rates by the time lockdowns were instituted, thus making claims that lockdowns were effective in reducing mortality spurious at best. Of course, this also means that the presumptive positive effects of lockdowns were and have been exaggerated grossly. Evidence shows that nations and settings that apply less stringent social distancing measures and lockdowns experience the same evolution (e.g. deaths per million) of the epidemic as those that apply far more stringent regulations.

What does this all mean?

As a consequence of their (hopefully) well-intended actions, our governments along with their medical experts have created a disaster for people. It means that the public’s trust has been severely eroded. Lockdowns are not an acceptable long-term strategy, have failed and have severely impacted populations socially, economically, psychologically, and health wise! Future generations would be crippled by these actions. The policies have been poorly thought out and are economically unsustainable and there is a massive cost to it as it is highly destructive. Our children and younger people are going to be shouldered with the indirect but very real harms and costs of lockdowns for a generation to come at least.

What are the real impacts on populations from these disastrous restrictive policies? Well, the poorer among us have been at increased risk from deaths of despair (e.g. suicides, opioid-related overdoses, murder/manslaughter, severe child abuse etc.). Politicians, media, and irrational medical experts must stop lying to the public by only telling stories of the suffering from Covid while ignoring the catastrophic harms caused by their decree actions. Lives are being ruined and lost and businesses are being destroyed forever. Lower-income Americans, Canadians, and other global citizens are much more likely to be compelled to work in unsafe conditions. These are employees with the least bargaining power, tending to be minority, female, and hourly paid employees. Moreover, Covid has revealed itself as a disease of disparity and poverty. This means that black and minority communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic itself and they take a double hit, being additionally and disproportionately ravaged by the effects of the restrictive policies.

Why would we impose more catastrophic restrictive policies when they have not worked? We even have government leaders now enacting harder and even more draconian lockdowns after admitting that the prior ones have failed. These are the very experts and leaders making societal policies and demands without them having to experience the effects of their policies. There is absolutely no good justification for what was done and continues to be done to societies, when we know of the very low risk of severe illness from Covid for vast portions of societies! We do not need to destroy our societies, the lives of our people, our economies, or our school systems to handle Covid. We cannot stop Covid at all costs!

How is Population Health and Well-being in the US Affected by Current Public Health Measures?

Businesses have closed and many are never to return, jobs have been lost, and lives ruined and more of this is on the way; meanwhile, we have seen an increase in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, dependency, suicidal ideation, financial ruin, and deaths of despair across societies due to the lockdowns. For example, preventive healthcare has been delayed. Life-saving surgeries and tests/biopsies were stopped across the US. All types of deaths escalated and loss of life years increased across the last year. Chemotherapy and hip replacements for Americans were sidelined along with vaccines for vaccine-preventable illness in children (approximately 50%). Thousands may have died who might have otherwise survived an injury or heart ailment or even acute stroke but did not seek clinical or hospital help out of fear of contracting Covid.

Specifically, and based on CDC reporting (and generalizable to global nations), during the month of June in the US, approximately 25% (1 in 4) Americans aged 18-24 considered suicide not due to Covid, but due to the lockdowns and the loss of freedom and control in their lives and lost jobs etc. There were over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in May 2020 in the US, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. In late June 2020, 40% of US adults reported that they were having very difficult times with mental health or substance abuse and linked to the lockdowns. Approximately 11% of adults reported thoughts of suicide in 2020 compared to approximately 4% in 2018. During April to October 2020, emergency room visits linked to mental health for children aged 5-11 increased near 25% and increased 31% for those aged 12-17 years old as compared to 2019. During June 2020, 13% of survey respondents said that they had begun or substantially increased substance use as a means to cope day-to-day with the pandemic and lockdowns. Over 40 states reported rises in opioid-related deaths. Roughly 7 in 10 Gen-Z adults (18-23) reported depressive symptoms from August 4 to 26. There is a projected decrease in life expectancy by near 6 million years of life in US children due to the US primary school closure. These are some of the real harms in the US and we have not even discussed the devastation falling upon other nations. From June to August 2020, homicides increased over 50% and aggravated assaults increased 14% compared to the same period in 2019. Diagnosis for breast cancer declined 52% in 2020 compared to 2018. Pancreatic cancer diagnosis declined 25% in 2020 compared to 2018. The diagnosis for 6 leading cancers e.g. breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, gastric, and esophageal declined 47% in 2020 compared to 2018. From March 25 and April 10 in the US, “nearly one-third of adults (31.0 percent) reported that their families could not pay the rent, mortgage, or utility bills, were food insecure, or went without medical care because of the cost.”

Sadly, the very elderly we seek to protect the most are being decimated by the lockdowns and restrictions imposed at the nursing/long-term/assisted-living/care homes they reside in. Just look at the death and disaster New York has endured under Governor Andrew Cuomo with the nursing home deaths and the Department of Health (DOH) Covid reporting. The Attorney General Letitia James deserves credit for her bravery, for it brings to light not only a very dark day in New York’s history with Covid but that of the US on the whole given that New York and the accrued deaths make up such a large proportion of all deaths in the US and nursing homes from Covid-19. Deaths as per James may be at least 50% higher than was reported by Cuomo. Cuomo’s policy to send hospitalized Covid patients back to the nursing homes was catastrophic and caused many deaths. Gut wrenchingly, across the US nursing homes, reports are showing that the restrictions from visitations and normal routines for our seniors in these settings have accelerated the aging process, with many reports of increased falls (often with fatal outcomes) due to declining strength and loss of ability to adequately ambulate. Dementia is escalating as the rhyme and rhythm of daily life is lost for our precious elderly in these nursing homes, long-term care (LTC), and assisted-living homes (AL) and there is a sense of hopelessness and depression with the isolation from restricting the irreplaceable interaction with loved ones.

The truth also is that many children – and particularly those less advantaged – get their main needs met at school, including nutrition, eye tests and glasses, and hearing tests. Importantly, schools often function as a protective system or watchguard for children who are sexually or physically abused and the visibility of it declines with school closures. Due to the lockdowns and the lost jobs, adult parents are very angry and bitter, and the stress and pressure in the home escalates due to lost jobs/income and loss of independence and control over their lives as well as the dysfunctional remote schooling that they often cannot optimally help with. Some tragically are reacting by lashing out at each other and their children. There are even reports that children are being taken to the ER with parents stating that they think they may have killed their child who is unresponsive. In fact, since the Covid lockdowns were initiated in Great Britain as an example, it has been reported that incidence of abusive head trauma in children has risen by almost 1,500%!

In addition, the widespread mass testing of asymptomatic persons in a society is very harmful to public health. The key metric is not the number of new active cases (i.e. positive PCR test results) being reported and misrepresented by the vocal experts and media, but rather what are the hospitalizations that result, the ICU bed use, the ventilation use, and the deaths. We only become concerned with a new ‘case’ if the person becomes ill. If you are a case but do not get ill or at very low risk of getting ill, what does it matter if the high risk and elderly are already properly secured? It is also remarkable that while hospitals had nearly 10-11 months to prepare for the putative second wave of Covid, why do these healthcare institutions claim to be unprepared? Are the lockdowns and the resulting loss of businesses, jobs, homes, lives, and anguish that result, really due to government’s failures? And what are the reasons for the mass hysteria when most data show that whether prepared or not, most hospitals are not experiencing any more strain on their capacity than seen in most normal flu seasons? Why the misleading information to the public? This makes absolutely no sense.

Are we anywhere ahead today? In no way and we are much worse off today. So why not allow people to make common sense decisions, take precautions, and go on with their daily lives? We know that children 0-10 years or so have a near zero risk of death from Covid (with a very small risk of spreading Covid in schools, spreading to adults, or taking it home). We know that persons 0-19 years have an approximate 99.997 percent likelihood of survival, those 20-49 have roughly a 99.98 percent probability of survival, and those 50-69/70 years an approximate 99.5 percent risk of survival. But this ‘good news’ data is never reported by the media and “experts.” Covid is less deadly for young people/children than the annual flu and more deadly for older people than the flu. We must not downplay this virus and it is different to the flu and can be catastrophic for the elderly. However, the vast majority of people (reasonably healthy persons) do not have any substantial risk of dying from Covid. The risk of severe illness and death under 70 years or so is vanishingly small. We do not lock a nation down for such a low death rate for persons under 70 years of age, especially if they are reasonably healthy people. We target the at-risk and allow the rest of society to function with reasonable precautions and we move to safely reopen society and schools immediately. Moreover, and this cannot be overstated, there are available early treatments for Covid that would reduce hospitalization and death by at least 60-80% as we will discuss below.

Early Multidrug Therapy for Covid Reduces Hospitalization and Death

We must take common-sense mitigation precautions as we go on with life. This does not mean we stop life altogether! This does not mean we destroy the society to stop each case of Covid! We must let people get back to normal life. In fact, the most important information that is being withheld, bizarrely, from the US population is that there are safe and effective treatments for Covid! And most importantly we now know how to treat Covid much more successfully than at the outset of the pandemic. This therapeutic nihilism is very troubling given there are therapeutics that while each on their own could not be considered as being a ‘silver bullet,’ they can be used on a multidrug basis or as a ‘cocktail’ approach akin to treatment of AIDS and so many other diseases! This includes responding proactively to higher-risk populations (in private homes or in nursing homes) who test positive for SARS CoV-2 or have symptoms consistent with Covid by intervening much earlier (even offering early outpatient sequenced/combined drug treatment to prevent decline to severe illness while the illness is still self-limiting with mild flu-like illness). Early home treatment (championed by research clinicians such as McCullough, Risch, Zelenko, and Kory) ideally on the first day (including but not limited to anti-infectives such as doxycycline, ivermectin, favipiravir, and hydroxychloroquine, corticosteroids, and anti-platelet drugs that are safe, cheap, and effective) that is sequenced and via a multi-drug approach, have been shown to convincingly reduce hospitalization by 85% and death by 50%.

The key is starting treatment very early (outpatient/ambulatory) in the disease sequelae (ideally on the 1st day of symptoms emergence to within the first 5 days) before the person/resident has worsened. This early treatment approach holds tremendous utility for high-risk elderly residents in our nursing homes and long-term care/assisted-living facilities, including within their private homes, who are often told to ‘wait-and-see’ and all the while they worsen and survival becomes more problematic. We are talking about using drugs that are used in-hospital but we argue must be started much earlier in high-risk persons. This demands that governments and healthcare systems/medical establishments paralyzed with nihilism step back and allow frontline doctors the clinical decision-making and discretion as before in how they treat their Covid-19 high-risk patients. From where we started 9 to 11 months ago in the US (and Canada, Britain, and other nations), between the therapeutics and an early outpatient treatment approach, this is very good news! We must also not discount the potential damage to normally healthy immune systems that have not been locked down like this before but which otherwise could be expected to fight infection effectively in younger individuals at the least. We have to be concerned about the immune systems of our children that are normally healthy and functional and we have no idea how their immune systems will function into the future given these far-reaching restrictions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, given the cogent argument by Dr. Scott Atlas on the failure of lockdowns and school closures globally and the totality of the evidence presented above and AIER’s troubling compilation of the crushing harms of lockdowns, it is way past time to end the lockdowns and get life back to normal for everyone but the higher-risk among us. It is time we target efforts to where they are beneficial. Such targeted measures geared to specific populations can protect the most vulnerable from Covid, while not adversely impacting those not at risk. Why? Because we know better who is at risk and should take sensible and reasonable steps to protect them. Alarmingly, President Biden has already stated that there is nothing that can be done to stop the trajectory of the pandemic, yet fails to recognize that across the US, cases are already falling markedly, even going as far to warn of more deaths. More incredulous is that those in charge and particularly the ‘medical experts’ continue to fail to admit they were very very wrong. They were all wrong in what they advocated and implemented and are trying now to lay the blame on those of us who looked at the data and science and reflected and weighed the benefits as well as harms of the policies. They are blaming those of us who opposed lockdowns and school closures. They are using the tact that since you opposed these illogical and unreasonable restrictions and mandates, then it caused the failures, thus pretending and not admitting that their policies are indeed the reason for the catastrophic societal failures. Not our opposition and arguments against the specious and unsound policies.

It is very evident to populations that lockdown policies have been extraordinarily harmful. It is way past time to end these lockdowns, these school closures, and these unscientific mask mandates (see State-by-State listing) as they have a very limited benefit but more importantly are causing serious harm with long-term consequences, and especially among those least able to withstand them! Indeed, the Federalist published a very comprehensive description showing how masks do nothing to stop Covid spread. There is no justifiable reason for this and government leaders must stop this now given the severe and long-term implications! Donald A. Henderson, who helped eradicate smallpox, gave us a road map that we have failed to follow here, when he wrote about the 1957-58 Asian Flu pandemic and stated “The pandemic was such a rapidly spreading disease that it became quickly apparent to U.S. health officials that efforts to stop or slow its spread were futile. Thus, no efforts were made to quarantine individuals or groups, and a deliberate decision was made not to cancel or postpone large meetings such as conferences, church gatherings, or athletic events for the purpose of reducing transmission. No attempt was made to limit travel or to otherwise screen travelers. Emphasis was placed on providing medical care to those who were afflicted and on sustaining the continued functioning of community and health services.”

Dr. Henderson along with Dr. Thomas Inglesby also wrote, “Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.” Overall, they messaged that several options exist for governments of free societies to use to mitigate the spread of pathogens (traditional public health responses which are less intrusive and disturbing) but closing down the society or parts of it is not one of them. These experts never championed or endorsed lockdowns as a strategy when confronting epidemics or pandemics for they knew and articulated the devastation that would fall upon societies that were in many instances potentially irrecoverable.

As Dr. Martin Kulldorff explains, it is critical that the bureaucrats, the public health system, and medical experts listen to the public who are the ones actually living and experiencing the public health consequences of their forced lockdown and other actions. Social isolation due to the lockdowns has devastating effects and cannot be disregarded and government bureaucrats must recognize that shutting down a society leads to suicidal thoughts and behaviour and excess deaths (deaths of despair to name one). I end by perhaps the most cogent phrase by experts (The Great Barrington Declaration): “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone.”

1Dr. Paul Alexander (University of Oxford, University of Toronto, McMaster University-Assistant Professor, Health Research Methods (HEI))

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This article was originally published by the American Institute of Economic Research on January 30, 2021, and is reproduced with permission.

Imprimis: Orwell’s 1984 and Today

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College reception in Rogers, Arkansas, on November 17, 2020. The content is from the December 2020 edition of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis.

On September 17, Constitution Day, I chaired a panel organized by the White House. It was an extraordinary thing. The panel’s purpose was to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth. It took place in the National Archives—we were sitting in front of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—a very beautiful place. When we were done, President Trump came and gave a speech about the beauty of the American Founding and the importance of teaching American history to the preservation of freedom.

This remarkable event reminded me of an essay by a teacher of mine, Harry Jaffa, called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” Its point was that a certain kind of scholarship is needed to support the principles of a nation such as ours. America is the most deliberate nation in history—it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray. I was reminded of that essay because this event was the greatest exhibition in my experience of the combination of the scholarship and the politics of freedom.

The panel was part of an initiative of President Trump, mostly ignored by the media, to counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project promotes the teaching that slavery, not freedom, is the defining fact of American history. President Trump’s 1776 Commission aims to restore truth and honesty to the teaching of American history. It is an initiative we must work tirelessly to carry on, regardless of whether we have a president in the White House who is on our side in the fight.

We must carry on the fight because our country is at stake. Indeed, in a larger sense, civilization itself is at stake, because the forces arrayed against the scholarship and the politics of freedom today have more radical aims than just destroying America.

I taught a course this fall semester on totalitarian novels. We read four of them: George Orwell’s 1984, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.

The totalitarian novel is a relatively new genre. In fact, the word “totalitarian” did not exist before the 20th century. The older word for the worst possible form of government is “tyranny”—a word Aristotle defined as the rule of one person, or of a small group of people, in their own interests and according to their will. Totalitarianism was unknown to Aristotle, because it is a form of government that only became possible after the emergence of modern science and technology.

The old word “science” comes from a Latin word meaning “to know.” The new word “technology” comes from a Greek word meaning “to make.” The transition from traditional to modern science means that we are not so much seeking to know when we study nature as seeking to make things—and ultimately, to remake nature itself. That spirit of remaking nature—including human nature—greatly emboldens both human beings and governments. Imbued with that spirit, and employing the tools of modern science, totalitarianism is a form of government that reaches farther than tyranny and attempts to control the totality of things.

In the beginning of his history of the Persian War, Herodotus recounts that in Persia it was considered illegal even to think about something that was illegal to do—in other words, the law sought to control people’s thoughts. Herodotus makes plain that the Persians were not able to do this. We today are able to get closer through the use of modern technology. In Orwell’s 1984, there are telescreens everywhere, as well as hidden cameras and microphones. Nearly everything you do is watched and heard. It even emerges that the watchers have become expert at reading people’s faces. The organization that oversees all this is called the Thought Police.

If it sounds far-fetched, look at China today: there are cameras everywhere watching the people, and everything they do on the Internet is monitored. Algorithms are run and experiments are underway to assign each individual a social score. If you don’t act or think in the politically correct way, things happen to you—you lose the ability to travel, for instance, or you lose your job. It’s a very comprehensive system. And by the way, you can also look at how big tech companies here in the U.S. are tracking people’s movements and activities to the extent that they are often able to know in advance what people will be doing. Even more alarming, these companies are increasingly able and willing to use the information they compile to manipulate people’s thoughts and decisions…..

Continue reading at Imprimis: Orwell’s 1984 and Today

*****

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

A Feel Good Story to End a Challenging Year

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The year 2020 most people would love to erase from the calendar. A worldwide pandemic caused shutdowns and premature deaths. Then there was our year-long contentious national election. Let’s end the year with a story that will bring a smile to your face and possibly a tear to your eye. While it recently came to my attention, it is not new so you may have heard the story. Regardless, it is well worth reading as we launch ourselves into a much brighter 2021.

It is about a poor Mexican American kid who grew up in a Southern California household with 14 family members. He struggled in school and had meager success learning English. He left formal education in the fourth grade and went to work at odd jobs and on farms for years. Then he had a chance to get a job that was a step up.

His wife had to fill out the application because of his weak English skills. He got a janitorial position and a big pay boost to $4 per hour (this was back in 1970s). His grandfather understood something I taught my children as young adults. No matter what job you are doing be the best at it. Be proud of the job you do. His grandfather told him “make sure that floor shines. And let them know a Montañez mopped it”.

Richard set off to become the best janitor the company ever had. When he wasn’t mopping and cleaning, he started to learn about the international company for which he worked. He learned about all the company’s products, how they manufactured and marketed them and other aspects of the company. He badgered salespeople to tag along and watch them sell.

A sales slump hit the company a decade after he started there. The world-famous CEO called on all 300,000 employees to “Act like an owner.” He empowered them and Richard took that to heart.

While riding along with a salesperson, Richard noticed there was a shortcoming with one of the major products of the company. It has some varieties, but none that really appealed to the burgeoning Hispanic population. While visiting a store in a Latino neighborhood, this product was placed next to Mexican spices on the rack, but none of those spices were used. He thought Mexicans like spicy and there were no spicy or hot options.

He went home with some of the product from the plant and started testing. He started putting a homemade chili powder on the product. He gave samples to friends and family who found it be a winner. The product was ready to present. Richard just had to get the nerve to make the call.

When he was ready, he called the CEO’s office.

“Mr. Enrico’s office, who is this?”

“Richard Montañez, In California.”

“You’re the VP overseeing California?

“No, I work at the Rancho Cucamonga plant.”

“Oh, so you’re the VP of ops?”

“No, I work inside the plant.”

“You’re the manager?”

“No, I’m the janitor.”

Mr. Enrico took the call. He loved the initiative. He instructed Richard to prepare a presentation and set a meeting two weeks hence when Enrico was planning a visit to the plant. Richard went about studying marketing.Then the day for the meeting came.

The janitor walked into the room with the head honcho together with his support team. After taking a deep breath he started telling the people what he had learned about the company and what he had been working on. He presented the bags with his product inside that he had sealed with a clothing iron and hand decorated with a logo on each.

When he finished his presentation the room fell silent. After a few moments the great Roger Enrico looked at him and said “Put that mop away, you are coming with us.”

From that meeting Frito-Lay birthed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It became one of the company’s most successful product launches. It became a cultural sensation.

*****

This article is reproduced by permission of the author. It first appeared in Flash Report December 30, 2020.

Fifty-Five Years of Denial about Black Lives

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was right in 1965 about the black underclass but continues to be ignored or maligned.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was “woke” about the injustices suffered by African Americans before most of today’s “wokes” were born. He was also right about the root cause of the permanency of the black underclass.

Strangely, however, instead of being remembered for his insights and caring, Moynihan has been maligned by the American intelligentsia through the years and is largely unknown by the new generation of social-justice activists and by the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 1965, Moynihan was a sociologist for the U.S. Department of Labor. He would later become a U.S. Senator. He published a scholarly paper in March of that year for the DOL, a report that contained an N-word in its title, which turns off prospective readers but was the official government terminology of the day: “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”

Moynihan should be a hero to today’s wokes. With sensitivity, compassion and honesty, he explained that slavery in the U.S. had been especially vile, because, unlike slavery in Brazil and elsewhere, slaves were seen by slaveowners as chattel and not as humans, a belief that resulted in male and female slaves not being allowed to marry, in slaves being separated from their families and sold, and in the establishment of a matriarchal subculture.

Later, during Jim Crow, black men who attempted to protect their families were humiliated or worse. And later still, welfare made black men unnecessary in providing for their families. These developments further entrenched the matriarchal culture and led black men to find counterproductive and self-defeating ways of expressing their masculinity.

Of course, as Moynihan went on to explain, blacks also faced poverty, discrimination, bad schools, and biased law enforcement. So did certain immigrant groups, but not to the same extent as blacks. With the advent of civil rights and voting rights, many blacks did overcome these barriers and rise to the middle-class, but to a lesser degree than disadvantaged immigrants.

Immigrants and poor whites in general had an advantage that blacks didn’t have: a much higher incidence of two-parent families. To that point, Moynihan wrote this:

As a direct result of this high rate of divorce, separation, and desertion, a very large percent of Negro families are headed by females. While the percentage of such families among whites has been dropping since 1940, it has been rising among Negroes.

The percent of nonwhite [black] families headed by a female is more than double the percent for whites. Fatherless nonwhite families increased by a sixth between 1950 and 1960, but held constant for white families.

It has been estimated that only a minority of Negro children reach the age of 18 having lived all their lives with both of their parents.

On a related note, Moynihan provided the following statistics on the welfare program known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children:

The AFDC program, deriving from the long-established Mothers’ Aid programs, was established in 1935 principally to care for widows and orphans, although the legislation covered all children in homes deprived of parental support because one or both of their parents are absent or incapacitated.

In the beginning, the number of AFDC families in which the father was absent because of desertion was less than a third of the total. Today it is two thirds. HEW estimates “that between two thirds and three fourths of the 50 percent increase from 1948 to 1955 in the number of absent father families receiving ADC may be explained by an increase in broken homes in the population.”

A 1960 study of Aid to Dependent Children in Cook County, Ill. stated:

“The ‘typical’ ADC mother in Cook County was married and had children by her husband, who deserted; his whereabouts are unknown, and he does not contribute to the support of his children. She is not free to remarry and has had an illegitimate child since her husband left. (Almost 90 percent of the ADC families are Negro.)”

These excerpts are but a tiny fraction of the sobering statistics in the Moynihan report.

The key message of the report was that the trend of broken black families was going in the wrong direction and would result in a permanent underclass and increased social pathologies, which would not be overcome by civil rights (or by diversity and inclusion today). Indeed, since the report, the percent of one-parent black families has more than doubled, with a corresponding rise in pathologies, especially and most horrendously, the shootings of teens by other teens. This mirrors what Moynihan predicted, as follows:

The family structure of lower-class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is approaching complete breakdown.

There is considerable evidence that the Negro community is in fact dividing between a stable middle class group that is steadily growing stronger and more successful, and an increasingly disorganized and disadvantaged lower class group. There are indications, for example, that the middle class Negro family puts a higher premium on family stability and the conserving of family resources than does the white middle class family.

What Moynihan didn’t foresee was that the percent of one-parent white families would also more than double over the upcoming decades, due to changing mores, women entering the workforce, and the feminist movement – a trend that also has resulted in entrenched social pathologies.

Today, tellingly, certain Asian races in America have the highest percent of traditional families and the highest income and educational achievement.

Many middle- and working-class communities have become Potemkin villages, whether white or black. From the outside they look like communities of yesteryear, with nice ranch homes, lawns, and tree-lined streets. But the facades hide a divorce rate of 50%, substance abuse, and despondent, angry children – and in some cities, gangs of teens who sell drugs and prey on their neighbors, which in turn results in a larger police presence and the increased likelihood of misunderstandings or worse between cops and citizens.

The suburb of Ferguson outside of my hometown of St. Louis is a case in point. From the outside, the homes are nicer than the homes in my boyhood working-class neighborhood, but the worst thing my friends and I did as kids in the old hood was soap windows or ring doorbells and run. We didn’t steal from a neighborhood store, or walk the streets in the middle of the night, or fear the cops, who were part of the community and known by name.

Anyway, given that Moynihan has been proven prophetic, why is his report maligned or ignored today? Three reasons:

First, the report used the N-word, which at best is now seen as anachronistic, and at worst, is a trigger for accusations of racism or calls for cancelling.

Second, overly-sensitive feminists misinterpret Moynihan as having advocated for a patriarchal society, because of his concern over fathers being displaced from family life.

Third, his reference to illegitimacy is incorrectly seen as passing moral judgment, when in fact, he did no such thing but simply used statistics that were available at the time and were rough proxies for fatherless families. He knew that unmarried parents were not necessarily irresponsible parents or single parents.

I’ll close on a personal note and retell an anecdote that I’ve written about elsewhere.

At about the same time as the Moynihan report, I was a teen working as the only white on an otherwise all-black clubhouse staff at an exclusive St. Louis country club, where Italians and Jews weren’t welcome as members. St. Louis was the city known for the infamous Dredd Scott case, the infamous Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex, racial tensions and riots, and white flight to the suburbs. Now the city has just a fraction of its former population and one of the highest crime rates in the nation.

Waiters at the clubhouse restaurant were former waiters on Pullman train cars and were solidly in the middle-class. They were the epitome of good manners, personal grooming, and classy dress The same for clubhouse manager Bill Williams, who wore tailored suits and cufflinks, which were two articles of attire that my dad didn’t own.

For extra money on my off-hours, I would wash and wax their big Buicks and Pontiacs, which, unlike our family car, didn’t have rusted-out floorboards, through which the pavement could be seen flying by. Neighbors marveled at the cars and marveled even more when Bill Williams came for a visit.

At the lower end of the class spectrum were the cooks, dishwasher and janitors. A former prize fighter, the dishwasher had a long scar on his face and a violent temper, especially when drunk.

One of my jobs was cleaning the employee restroom in the basement of the clubhouse. After I had finished the chore one morning, the dishwasher walked into the restroom, peed on the floor, and said, “Clean it up whitey.” A young and muscular coworker, who happened to walk by at that moment, threw the dishwasher against the wall and said, “You clean it up, you black motherf _ _ _ _r.” Not wanting trouble, I said, “That’s okay. I’ll get it.”

Despite these class and behavioral differences, and despite the discrimination my coworkers faced in St. Louis, almost all of them were married and took pride in being good family men. They would invite me to their family picnics in Forest Park, where they would cook the best barbecued ribs in the world. Other than skin color and cuisine, the picnics were just like the picnics of Italian families.

Sadly, as Moynihan had warned, much of this family foundation subsequently crumbled, not only for many blacks but also for many whites. Sadder still, wokes don’t know this history and are unaware of the dreadful socioeconomic consequences of fatherless families.

The Moynihan report should be required reading in colleges, but that’s a pipe dream.