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Some Covid Links

Here’s the abstract of a paper, forthcoming in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, by Samuel Director and Christopher Freiman:

In response to the spread of COVID-19, governments across the world have, with very few exceptions, enacted sweeping restrictive lockdown policies that impede citizens’ freedom to move, work, and assemble. This paper critically responds to the central arguments for restrictive lockdown legislation. We build our critique on the following assumption: public policy that enjoys virtually unanimous support worldwide should be justified by uncontroversial moral principles. We argue that that the virtually unanimous support in favor of restrictive lockdowns is not adequately justified by the arguments given in favor of them. Importantly, this is not to say that states ought not impose restrictive lockdown measures, but rather that the extent of the acceptance of these measures is not proportionate to the strength of the arguments for lockdowns. We begin by exploring the case for restrictive lockdowns. We first argue that several of the principles that are used to justify the lockdowns yield unexpectedly revisionary implications for other political problems that many would be unwilling to accept. We then outline what we consider the strongest argument for a lockdown—namely, that its net welfare benefits are great enough to defeat the moral presumption against restricting citizens’ civil liberties to move, work, and assemble. However, we give a number of reasons for doubting that the lockdown’s net welfare benefits are, in fact, sufficiently high to defeat the presumption against it.

I learned of this Director-Freiman paper from Noah Carl, who writes about it:

For example, they entertain economist Bryan Caplan’s argument that the reduction in quality of life alone may have offset any lives saved by lockdowns. (Though of course, there’s not much evidence that lockdowns have saved lives in most of the countries where they’ve been tried.)

Jacob Sullum warns that the Biden administrations efforts to turn the CDC’s director into, as Sullum describes it, “the nation’s COVID-19 dictator” threaten to “undermine federalism, the rule of law, and the separation of powers.” A slice:

“It’s massive federal overreaching,” says Hans Bader, a former senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who also has worked in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. “The federal government essentially wants to dictate systemic changes to states’ school policies because of speculation [about] how those policies may affect disabled students in particular school districts.”

Also from Jacob Sullum is this report on how the New York Times doesn’t understand the very evidence – here, on masking in schools – about which it reports. A slice:

The U.K. is by no means unique in eschewing “universal masking” in schools. As David Zweig notes New York magazine, “many of America’s peer nations around the world—including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy—have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms” without experiencing more school-related COVID-19 outbreaks than the U.S. has seen.

Australian Joel Bowman – fortunately not now a prisoner in that dystopia – writes of his native country. A slice:

Wasn’t Australia “leading the world” in the fight against COVID-19? Didn’t their (admittedly simplistic) “go hard; go early” mantra stave off the virus for the past year, potentially saving thousands (why not millions?) of lives as the rest of the world perished in a fiery inferno?

In a word: no.

As usual, the papers got the story horse-about-cart. While the credulous statist sycophants in the MSM were slobbering over Australia’s draconian curtailments of human rights throughout most of 2020, the once-proud nation was busily surrendering liberties, riding roughshod over the rule of law, trashing individual rights and trampling virtually any freedom worthy of the name.

For shame!

Like the dupe at a poker table, who tips her hand early and eagerly, Australia squandered her geographical dumb luck and, instead of conducting an open, honest, adult conversation about how to best maintain a balance of civil liberties and reasonable, common-sense approaches to “living with the virus,” instead forfeited all her hard-won liberties pursuing a non-starter “zero-COVID” fantasy, virtually ensuring exactly the kind of Huxleyan dystopic nightmare currently visited upon the helplessly disarmed population.

Here’s yet further evidence that Australia is in the grips of Covid Derangement Syndrome.

Phil Magness’s reaction to this New York Times report is understandably this: “New Zealand goes full police state.” Here’s the opening paragraph of the NYT report:

The police in New Zealand are establishing checkpoints south of Auckland, the country’s largest city, to prevent people from moving illegally between regions with different levels of virus restrictions.

Robert Taylor, writing in the Telegraph, decries the Covidocracy’s “freakish impositions.” A slice:

Not one of these measures helps our children learn, grow or develop. Not one supports our children’s future. Each of them is damaging to learning. Normal schooling? You’re having a laugh.

We’re now so accustomed to these freakish impositions, all of which were unthinkable in just February last year, that we forget to ask what it’s all for. Perhaps because there’s no answer.

It’s certainly not for the children, for whom Covid-19 presents little serious threat to life. This is a point so crucial that it is worth constantly repeating – the children are not being forced to do this for their own safety.

Covid is also, thanks to vaccines, of little threat to teachers. A recent Public Health England study shows that 93 per cent of teachers and other school staff have received a vaccine. You can be sure that the other 7 per cent have balanced the risk. Meanwhile, the average age of a teacher is 39. The average age of someone dying with Covid is more than 80.

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Quoting this report on frightening symptoms of Covid Derangement Syndrome afflicting Duke University, Phil Magness notes:

“All but eight of these individuals were vaccinated, and the vast majority of them are asymptomatic. A small number have minor, cold- and flu-like symptoms, and none have been hospitalized, according to the university.”

In other words, most of them wouldn’t even realize they had covid but for an increasingly pointless testing regime.

Jay Bhattacharya on Twitter:

A reporter asked me about COVID parties for children.

My reply:

They are unethical. Instead, I favor normal life for children. The alternative (lockdown, fear, restrictions), leads to shorter, poorer, and unhealthier lives for kids, which is also unethical.