The good news is that Wen, to her credit, appears to have learned something throughout the tragedy of the Covid pandemic, as have so many others.
The tragedy is that for so long she overlooked tradeoffs and used her platform to advocate coercive policies that deprived individuals of the ability to choose, a tragedy that is compounded by the fact that Wen now finds herself a target of cancellation for advocating a more sensible approach.
It’s an ironic twist considering that only a year ago Wen herself was a proponent of confining unvaccinated people to their homes, and not one we should celebrate.
But hopefully it can be a learning experience for Wen and others, who now recognize the danger in turning what should be individual decisions over to bureaucrats and political tribes.
But her columns in recent months have sung a new Covid tune, encouraging governments to drop mask mandates and embrace “individual responsibility.” This is what some of us have argued all along. But no political epiphany goes unpunished. And now more than 600 activists are demanding that the American Public Health Association cancel her as a panelist at a conference this autumn.
The subject of her panel: “Harassment, bullying and death threats: Staying the course while under attack.” She is supposed to give advice to fellow public-health officials about how to brave a backlash to their overreaching policies. Now she’s under attack for walking back support for the left’s overreaching policies.
Her opponents accuse her of promoting “unscientific, unsafe, ableist, fatphobic, and unethical practices.” They take issue with a column in which she argued that large events such as Washington’s Gridiron Club dinner in April should go on despite the contagion risk. “This is our new normal—one that’s based on individuals being thoughtful about their own risks and the risks they pose to others,” she wrote.
Dr. Wen’s positions “assumed a capacity for personal responsibility that was not available to vast swaths of the population,” Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation epidemiologist David Swedler told Inside Higher Ed. He captures the mindset of the public-health ruling class: People are too stupid or selfish to be allowed to make their own choices.
The ban on Djokovic is a project of Joe Biden, who declares that all non-citizens traveling to the United States must be vaccinated. Djokovic rejects vaccination based on “the freedom to decide what you put into your body.” Biden denies that freedom and claims his policy offers “science-based public health measures,” but Djokovic has to wonder.
He did get Covid, and that grants a certain immunity, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. On the other hand, fully vaccinated Fauci and fully vaccinated Joe Biden both got Covid, which is not the best support for the claim of science. As embattled Americans might recall, Biden called Covid “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Lockdowns do not save lives
Lockdowns are catastrophic
Lockdowns are unscientific
Lockdowns cost human lives
Lockdowns cause suffering
Lockdowns cause suicides
Lockdowns harm children
Lockdowns cause mass global poverty, starvation & deaths
Lockdowns are crimes against humanity
Under the headline “Income Equality, Not Inequality, Is the Problem,” Phil Gramm and John Early write in the Wall Street Journal that “[t]hose in the middle work much harder, but don’t earn much more, than those at the bottom.” A slice:
On these pages, we have debunked the myth that income inequality is extreme and growing on a secular basis by showing that the Census Bureau measure of income fails to include two-thirds of all federal, state and local transfer payments as income to the recipients and fails to treat taxes paid as income lost to the taxpayer. The Census Bureau measure overstates current income inequality between the highest and lowest 20% of earners by more than 300% and claims that income inequality has risen by 21% since 1967, when in fact it has fallen by 3%.
Our most significant finding from correcting the census income calculations wasn’t the overstated inequality between top and bottom earners. It was the extraordinary equality of income among the bottom 60% of American households, regardless of employment status. In 2017, among working-age households, the bottom 20% earned only $6,941 on average, and only 36% were employed. But after transfer payments and taxes, those households had an average income of $48,806. The average working-age household in the second quintile earned $31,811 and 85% of them were employed. But after transfers and taxes, they had income of $50,492, a mere 3.5% more than the bottom quintile. The middle quintile earned $66,453 and 92% were employed. But after taxes and transfers, they kept only $61,350—just 26% more than the bottom quintile.
What this bill reveals is that the heart of the antitrust crusade by Klobuchar and other neo-Brandeisians is not actually about consumer protection or small businesses. They seek to use antitrust and the force of the government to protect the companies and industries they prefer.
The JCPA pits digital platforms like Facebook and Google against “traditional” media services such as newspapers. To “help” these traditional media companies against the supposedly big, bad tech companies, the JCPA mandates that platforms pay news publishers to link to their articles, creates an artificial limit discouraging news platforms from expanding their newsrooms’ reach to reap the law’s benefits, and creates an eight-year safe harbor from existing antitrust laws including allowing news companies to collude with one another. In short, this proposal empowers the government to help out its favored, eligible news services while also attacking today’s successful tech companies. The real losers, however, are the American people.
But the potential damage that laws like the JCPA could do is not purely theoretical. We can look at the consequences Australia has faced in light of a similar law. Like the JCPA, Australia’s Media Bargaining Code was portrayed as protecting journalism from its loss to social media. Its actual results remain murky at best, and the way it’s designed favors certain media players like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Increasingly, it has been revealed that proposals like the JCPA are less about helping local news and more about crony capitalism.
Today’s journalists face many serious challenges, including the pressure to conform rather than innovate and improve. But the JCPA would further fail today’s independent journalists, decrease the amount of information available, and raise costs for consumers, small outlets, and online platforms.