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Gilbert Berdine explores the process of classifying Covid-19 deaths (with special emphasis on the United States). A slice:

Figure 1 illustrates the death count from Covid-19. These data are based on death certificates. If the death certificate includes Covid-19, then the death is included whether or not Covid-19 was the primary or even contributing cause of death. The problems with these data are uncertainties about how many deaths are merely associated with Covid-19 rather than caused by Covid-19.

These uncertainties are not helped by the fact that many of these patients are cared for at university medical centers, the death certificates are often filled out by resident physicians in training, and these resident physicians receive no formal training on how to fill out the certificates. These uncertainties are not helped by the fact that the hospital receives a bonus payment for patients who have the ICD-10 diagnostic code for Covid which is included in the problem list for every patient with a positive PCR test. Therefore, a financial incentive exists to perform PCR testing on every patient and label every patient with a positive PCR test as having Covid-19.

Joe Soucheray writes wisely and with appropriate feeling on Covid and the deranged, tyrannical response to it. (HT Mark Perry) A slice:

A word keeps coming up from the authorities who are trying to guide us, presumably in our own self-interest. They appear to be disabusing us of the idea of risk. They are already telling us that even in the event of all of us getting a vaccine, don’t let your guard down. Even if hospital admissions thankfully decline, we are told to not let up. OK. But how long will this press on? The prospect of “prepare for another surge” could become the boilerplate mantra of our lives.

Risk is fundamental to the human condition. We cannot be made free of risk, nor should a government entity believe that such an impossible task is their mandate. Such a mandate opens the door to, in the future, there being other unknown manipulations of our behavior. If we are told by the government not to sing or talk loudly at our own family table, it is not necessarily far-fetched to imagine the unimaginable.

(I do, however, differ from Mr. Souchery on one matter. He writes that he and his family obeyed Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s order to limit the size of family gatherings and to refrain from singing while together from now until at least December 18th. How sad. I would never obey any such order. Indeed, I would go out of my way to violate it. No one has a right to tell me how many people I can have under my roof, and what I may and may not allow them peacefully to do while there. And no one has a right to issue such tyrannical commands to you, to Mr. Souchery, or to anyone else.)

Brian Doherty rightly applauds bourgeois libertarianism. A slice:

What makes civilization work is people roughly hewing to “live and let live” principles. Fortunately, most of us do so even when we are not governed in a libertarian manner. Most people, most of the time, simply want to live in their justly owned space, work for a living, engage in mutually beneficial commerce, and thus contribute to the web of peaceful interactions that makes our lives rich in every sense.

Civilization collapses, on the other hand, when people relentlessly seek state (or state-like) solutions to their grievances—particularly when they act in ways that threaten their fellow citizens’ liberty to live, think, express themselves, work, save, and do business in peace. Such violations of peaceful people’s lives are not justified even if what you are protesting against are indeed evils that ought to be halted.

The Value is In the Ideas.”

George Will hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will correctly interpret the U.S. Constitution in a way that makes criminal justice more just.

Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley document the changing cost of an American Thanksgiving dinner.

Juliette Sellgren’s podcast with Robby Soave on college radicals is superb.