Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on July 8, 2022

in Current Affairs, FDA, Regulation, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley ably exposes the incompetence of Fauci as she also defends the strategy proposed by Scott Atlas and the authors of the great Great Barrington Declaration. A slice:

The Great Barrington strategy of “focused protection” helped minimize the pandemic’s collateral damage until vaccines became available. The Biden administration then undertook a strategy of herd immunity via vaccination. But when this strategy failed, it doubled down with vaccine mandates.

From the outset of the pandemic, the mainstream medical establishment and government bureaucracy were aligned behind a lockdown-at-all-costs strategy. The Trump White House tapped Scott Atlas, a Hoover Institution fellow and radiologist, for a contrarian perspective. Dr. Atlas endorsed the elements of the Great Barrington strategy. The House report criticizes him for a memo in which he argued that “stopping all cases is not necessary, nor is it possible. It instills irrational fear into the public. Non-prioritized testing is jeopardizing critical resources for truly critical testing and is creating problematic delays in test results for the most important populations.”

He was right on every point.

Laura Rosen Cohen applauds the courage of those who dissented from the mainstream covid hysteria. A slice:

Alex Washburne, a Montana-based mathematical biologist and statistician who has published in ecology, evolution, epidemiology and finance, tried to sound the alarm bell on the massive collateral damage of lockdowns very early on. His background in finance and economics led him to believe that “the COVID response was greatly imbalanced and risked causing harm in the service of public health.”

Politically independent, but greatly concerned about conservation, climate change and social liberties, he says it was the Covid response that made him realize the limits of left-liberalism. Nobody would publish him. He became a scientific outcast and learned a number of life lessons from the treatment he received from the scientific community and what he saw as public health policy disasters.

“Covid showed me ways in which socioscientific inefficiencies…can lead to an insular expert class that mismanages critical risks our society faces and, without checks and balances, they can weaponize their myopic expertise (e.g. epidemiology) to mislead society and cause harm…”

As a result of the backlash he faced, Washburne eventually left academia and founded Agora, a new scientific startup and incubator ‘safe space’ for scientists of different backgrounds and divergent political views to collaborate.

“Woman, 19, died in agony from cancer after pleading to see her doctor in person for more than a YEAR about a painful lump on her back – as family say GPs ‘used Covid as an excuse to see fewer people'” – so reports the Daily Mail. (DBx: But, covidians will insist, the all-important fact, the truly wonderful fact, is that this young woman didn’t suffer and die from covid – which, of course, is what matters above all.)

The straw man – 21 months after he was declared to be extinct – continues to terrorize China.

The editors of The Telegraph are wise about living with covid. Here’s their conclusion:

Certainly, the latest wave has put more people in hospital; but the real damage to “our NHS” has been caused by the lockdown measures and the backlog they caused. We do not need anything like that again.

Newman Nahas is largely correct when he tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Let’s be clear. Covidians never gave a damn about granny. They used her as a pretext to urge for policies they thought could keep THEM safe.

Reacting to a photo of ink pens classified as “clean” or “dirty,” Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Every single one of these transparently useless gestures in covid theater served to undermine public trust in public health. It is public health that is responsible for the sorry state it finds itself in, unfortunately to the detriment of the public’s health.

Jeffrey Singer applauds the FDA’s decision to allow pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid.

Peter Earle weighs in on Biden’s absurd recent tweets ‘ordering’ gasoline-station owners to lower their prices.

My GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein explores the connection between classical liberalism and democracy. A slice:

The mythologized democracy, Hayek suggested, in the 20th century especially, projects a fantasy of consensus—as in the small band of our ancestors of our Paleolithic past, when there were just 40 of us in a small band. This is in our genes still, and in our instincts. We decided by consensus in the small band.

Modern collectivist politics plays upon these Paleolithic instincts by projecting the nation as a band. On this fantasy, there is no reason to limit or check the actions of the band as a whole. Its consensus knows what is good for the band and faithfully advances that good.

If we are the government, by democracy, why would we want to put limits and checks on ourselves when striving to advance our own common interest?

Tocqueville foresaw the emergence of a quasi-religion of collectivist politics perfumed by democratic mythology. Big collectivist government now fully replaces God as a source of meaning and validation. The nightmare that he warned us of is a continuation of the displacement of God and religion by temporal powers.

Hayek, too, thought along these lines, and saw that this unlimited democracy came from thinking about the government as us.

The problem in all of this is that the nation is not a small simple band of 40 people. In the modern complex world, government lacks knowledge, benevolence, competence. Interpretations are not shared, and accountability is slight. Government lacks correction mechanisms. It never admits its mistakes. It breeds an administrative state, the permanent bureaucracy, the deep state, you might say, and it breeds self-serving ideologies. The administrative state is staffed mainly by people who support the [political] parties most eager for governmentalization. They push incessantly for governmentalization.

Boris Johnson leaves behind a bigger, bloated state.

Reason‘s Eric Boehm reports that the FDA “finally admits that it caused the baby formula shortage.”

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino, now with National Review, is always worth reading.

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