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Some Covid Links

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Here’s Ilya Somin on yesterday’s temporary stay, issued by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, against enforcement of Biden’s abominable vaccine mandate [2]. A slice:

I said previously [3] that, while I think the vaccination mandate has significant legal vulnerabilities and might set a dangerous precedent if upheld, I also don’t really know how courts will react to the legal arguments against it. We still don’t know the answer to that question with anything like certainty. But the Fifth Circuit’s statement that “the petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate” is at least a sign that the judges think there is a serious case to be made against the mandate. They clearly do not believe the case is a slam dunk for the federal government.

Jeffrey Tucker ponders Biden’s abominable vaccine mandate [4]. Here’s his conclusion:

Famed quarterback Aaron Rodgers explained [5] as much when he pushed back against the mob that denounced him for declining to get vaccinated. He had previously said that he was immunized – an excellent word choice to describe the reality of natural immunity. After further refusing the shot, the mob became angrier, demanding that he be immediately fired.

The Aaron Rodgers controversy is a microcosm of a larger public health mess that has encouraged stigmatization, segregation, spying, and generalized brutality that is dividing companies, communities, and friends, spreading mistrust and anger without precedent in our lifetimes. A more incompetent conduct of public health is hard to imagine.

The Institute of Economic Affairs’s Christopher Snowdon, writing for the Telegraph, decries the failure to hold ‘Covid pessimists’ to account for their consistent errors and reckless peddling of panic-porn [6]. Two slices:

After predicting that 100,000 Covid cases a day were “almost inevitable” if the Government went ahead with “freedom day” in England, Professor Neil Ferguson later admitted that he had got it wrong [7], but his words were telling. “I’m quite happy to be wrong if it’s wrong in the right direction,” he said.

He must be a happy man because he and his fellow modellers could hardly have been more wrong this year. Time and again, they produce a range of scenarios with such broad margins of error that almost any outcome short of the dead rising from their graves seems to be covered. And yet they still manage to be wrong – and always wrong in the same direction. Always too pessimistic.

…..

There was no apology because there was no threat of comeuppance. The people who falsely claimed that herd immunity had been reached last summer became laughing stocks, but those who have been consistently “wrong in the right direction” (i.e. pro-lockdown) have lost no status whatsoever. The Today programme still has them on speed dial.

It is not as if pessimism comes without consequences. Ferguson’s prediction led Keir Starmer to oppose the lifting of restrictions in July. So-called Independent Sage called for the reintroduction of Step 2 of the roadmap (no meeting indoors). Thankfully, the Government ignored these demands, but what if it hadn’t? It would have cost the economy billions and ruined what was left of the summer.

With the same people now lobbying to ruin the winter [8], let’s keep their track record in mind. The “direction” in which they erred isn’t important. What matters is that they were wrong.

Barry Brownstein encourages us to resist tyranny [9]. Here’s his opening:

Social psychologist Roy Baumeister begins his book Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty [10], with a proposition that will be counterintuitive to many: “Evil usually enters the world unrecognized by the people who open the door and let it in. Most people who perpetrate evil do not see what they are doing as evil.”

Dismissing evildoers as “insane” is an attempt to absolve both them and you of responsibility. Baumeister observes, “People do become extremely upset and abandon self-control, with violent results, but this is not insanity.” If only “insane” people commit “evil” acts, you might reason there is no need to strengthen spiritual and moral muscles. You might skip the reflection, study, and practice that builds spiritual and moral strength.

Abbas Panjwani exposes the media’s continuing context-free – and, hence, highly misleading – panic-porn ‘reporting’ on Covid [11].

Sophia Yan reports on China’s dystopian ‘zero-Covid’ tyranny [12]. (This straw man is quite persistent and muscular.) A slice:

With the Shanghai Disney shutdown, a woman who had visited last Saturday was alerted by her hometown authorities that she was the close contact of a confirmed case.

By then she was on a train home, but was immediately transferred to a hospital at the next stop where she later tested positive on Sunday, prompting Chinese authorities to unleash stringent measures.

Other visitors who had also already left the park were ordered to self-quarantine at home and arrange for tests.

A few days earlier, authorities stopped two high-speed trains travelling to Beijing, because a single passenger on each was considered a close contact of a confirmed case.

All 350 train travellers were shuttled into centralised quarantine, even though none were confirmed to be at risk or positive.

In Inner Mongolia, 2,000 tourists were also recently locked up in 14-day quarantine after a handful of cases.

Local officials have gone so far as to chain people into their homes during lockdowns and anyone found to be non-compliant have been arrested and thrown in detention.

Pharmacies are also required to report individuals coming into buy over-the-counter cold and flu medicines as those symptoms could potentially indicate coronavirus; those failing to do so have been shut down.

Jay Bhattacharya decries [13] Covidocratic tyranny in Santa Monica [14].

Pascal Bruckner worries about one of the many possible, and awful, consequences of what I call “Long Lockdown. [15]” Two slices:

It’s not clear, in other words, that everyone will experience the return to normal as a liberation. The pandemic caused us to worry, but it also delivered us for a while from a still-greater worry: the anxiety of freedom. To parody Pascal, who explained that the misfortune of humanity consisted in the inability to sit quietly in one’s room, alone, we might say that the misfortune of humanity after Covid will perhaps be to be shut up in one’s room—and like it.

…..

We will perhaps find that Covid has given birth to a new anthropological type: the curled-up and hyper-connected human being with no further need of others or of reality. We might then interpret the famous verse of Rimbaud, “real life is absent,” in the following way: “real life is the absence of life.” For all those who still promote the spirit of exploration and a taste for connection with others, this would be a double catastrophe: to the deaths from the virus we would add, as a kind of expiation, the penitence of shrinkage.