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Some Covid Links

Jeffrey Tucker rightly bemoans the new feudalism that is among the results of the deranged overreaction to Covid-19. A slice:

The politicians and intellectuals who put this new feudalism in place tossed out all normal concerns over freedom, justice, equality, democracy, and universal dignity in favor of the creation of a strict caste system. So much for Locke, Jefferson, Acton, and Rawls. The medical technocracy cared only about conducting an unprecedented experiment in managing the social order as if it consisted entirely of lab rats.

(DBx: I say again: If humanity ever escapes the consequences of its current derangement, the hysterical overreaction to Covid-19 will come to be ranked among the gravest mistakes ever committed on a mass scale – and our species has committed many mistakes. The persecutors of Salem’s witches will, by comparison, seem reasonable.)

Alan Reynolds writes wisely about Covid realty. A slice:

When TV and newspaper reports (1) harp on recent cases without mentioning tests, and (2) describe fairly small local increases in hospitalizations as national and huge. or (3) talk only about adding-up all cumulative deaths since January rather than the reasonably low level of recent deaths, they are doing a really disgraceful job.

Sheldon Richman shares the recipe for causing public panic:

1. Disseminate worst-case scenarios, taking care to ignore the dubious assumptions that go into modeling while vilifying anyone, no matter how well-qualified, who refuses to ignore them.

2. Emphasize the (alleged) benefits of a draconian government response, taking care to ignore the costs while vilifying anyone, no matter how well-qualified, who refuses to ignore them.

3. Repeat as necessary, preferably often.

Art Carden has assembled an excellent pandemic reading list. A slice:

Roger Koppl, Expert Failure. I caught a bit of flak after coming to Rand Paul’s defense after he somewhat clumsily said, “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best.” More than one person pointed out that in invoking Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, and William Easterly I was appealing to (wait for it) experts to make my case.

That misunderstands what Smith, Hayek, Easterly, Thomas Sowell, and so many others mean when they criticize overreliance on experts. That’s where Roger Koppl comes in, noting (as Smith, Hayek, Sowell, and others do) that expertise in one area doesn’t mean expertise in another–and even within people’s fields of expertise, they are human beings who respond to incentives. About an hour into AIER’s Summit with Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Stefan Baral that led, ultimately, to the Great Barrington Declaration, Jay Bhattacharya pointed out that science per se cannot evaluate all the relevant political and economic trade-offs and say “Do this.” The reason, I think, is fundamentally Hayekian: individuals’ “knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place” cannot confront the expert as data.

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, John Berlau and Seth Carter report on how Dodd-Frank impairs the fight against Covid-19. (Remember: The persons to whom pro-lockdowners wish to give more authoritarian power are the very sort of irresponsible, ignorant, grandstanding, and myopic politicians who wrote and enacted Dodd-Frank.)

Members of the Editorial Board of Wall Street Journal continue to write sanely, sensibly, and far more informatively than most other media about Covid-19. A slice:

This is why the epidemiologists who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, which has been signed by tens of thousands of doctors and scientists, advise a focus on protecting the elderly. They also warn that government lockdowns lead to worsening heart-disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and more mental illness.

Nearly a third of the so-called excess deaths in the U.S. this year have been attributed to causes other than Covid, including cardiovascular disease and uncontrolled diabetes. Covid has accounted for less than 10% of deaths among those over 65 this year, and a much smaller share among younger people.

In the comments section yesterday at Marginal Revolution David Henderson’s identity was faked. The fake “David Henderson” would never be as gracious, open-minded, and honest as is the real David Henderson.