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Martin Kulldorff tweets:

The witch hunt against @DrAseemMalhotra is anti-science. Assessing risks and benefits is important for all vaccines and a pro-vaccine position. I trust @RCPhysicians supports that.

(DBx: It’s simultaneously saddening and maddening that so many people irrationally leap to the conclusion that a person is irrationally “anti-vax” if that person (1) notes that all vaccines – like nearly all actions in life – have costs and benefits, risks and rewards, and hence open discussion of these risks and rewards is not only acceptable but healthy; (2) thereby recognizes that a particular vaccine might reasonably be judged by some persons to have risks for those persons higher than the rewards; and (3) especially if (as is the case with covid vaccines) the vaccine does little or nothing to prevent the vaccinated from spreading the disease – and those who have recovered from covid have substantial natural immunity – conclude that there is no case for mandating vaccination.)

Aaron Kheriaty reports on his ordeal with University of California covidians. A slice:

I contracted the virus in July 2020, and despite my efforts to self-isolate, passed it to my wife and five children. Living and breathing COVID for a year, I eagerly awaited a safe and effective vaccine for those that were still not immune to this virus. I happily served on the Orange County COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, and I advocated in the Los Angeles Times that the elderly and sick be prioritized for vaccination, and that the poor, disabled, and underserved be given ready access to vaccines.

I had worked every day for over a year to develop and advance the university’s and state’s pandemic mitigation measures. But as the prevailing COVID policies unfolded, I became increasingly concerned, and eventually disillusioned. Our one-size-fits-all coercive mandates failed to take account of individualized risks and benefits, particularly age-stratified risks, which are central to the practice of good medicine. We ignored foundational principles of public health, like transparency and the health of the entire population. With little resistance we abandoned foundational ethical principles.

Among the most glaring failures of our response to COVID was the refusal to acknowledge the natural immunity of COVID-recovered patients in our mitigation strategies, herd-immunity estimates, and vaccine-rollout plans. The CDC estimated that by May 2021, more than 120 million Americans (36 percent) had been infected with COVID. Following the Delta-variant wave later that year, many epidemiologists estimated the number was close to half of all Americans. By the end of the Omicron wave in early 2022, that number was north of 70 percent. The good news — almost never mentioned — was that those with previous infection had more durable and longer-lasting immunity than the vaccinated. Yet the focus remained exclusively on vaccines.

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

Brendan O’Neill ponders the political left’s hysterical fear of Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter. Two slices (emphasis added):

So he’s done it. The richest man in the world and self-styled ‘free-speech absolutist’ has taken over Twitter. The bête noire of illiberal liberals has got his hands on social media. Cue meltdown. Listening to the woke set you’d be forgiven for thinking that the gates of hell had been flung open and every manner of evil and blasphemy will now pour forth. Twitter could become a ‘soap box for hate speech’, fretted one media outlet yesterday. It really is extraordinary how much some people fear freedom.


The most striking thing about Musk and Twitter is the demented reaction to it. Musk himself is not going to singlehandedly restore the hard fought-for liberty to utter. It will take more than online ventures by a contrarian billionaire to turn back the tide of censorship, cancellation and social shaming for wrongthink that have become such a key and horrid feature of Anglo-American political life. Musk’s plan for Twitter is sensible, not revolutionary. It is ‘important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence’, he said in his note of reassurance to advertisers yesterday. That town square should not be a ‘hellscape’, he said, where ‘anything can be said with no consequences’. A town square, you say? With people talking? Fetch my smelling salts.

Who could possibly be affronted by such a polite, classical-liberal vision? And yet affronted people are. Loads of them. Hysterically so. Their dread of Twitter without moderation is intense. ‘Twitter without content moderation… means lies and disinformation will overwhelm the truth’, says that New Republic piece. We’ve come a long way since John Milton’s 1644 cry against the censorship of the press: ‘Let Truth and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worst in a free and open encounter?’ Today’s woke set did. In their eyes truth will always be bettered by bullshit in an open clash. If only they knew how much this told us about the corrosion of their own faith in humankind, about the decay of their trust in ordinary people and our capacity for reason and goodness, I think they’d stop saying it.

For months now, the prospect of a little more leeway to say what you want online has been driving the woke elites to the cliff edge of sanity. ‘I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter’, said Max Boot of the Washington Post. Shorter version: I am frightened of freedom. Jeff Jarvis of the City University of New York went full Godwin’s Law. ‘Today on Twitter’, he said back when it first seemed that Musk would get it, ‘feels like the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany’. In short, the Nazis are coming. Stop with this ahistorical drivel, please. Do these people know anything about the past? Do they know that fascism was — how can I put this — not very liberal? The Nazis burned books, banned art, banned political parties, tightly controlled every means of mass communication. The fashionable new notion that freedom allows fasicsm to flourish really needs to be confronted. It is the destruction of freedom that allows fascism to flourish.

Also reporting on the left’s unhinged reaction to Musk’s purchase of Twitter is the Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board. Two slices:

On the left, the reaction has been like something out of the Book of Revelation. “The sun is dark,” tweeted a journalism professor. A writer at the Verge argued: “It turns out that most people do not want to participate in horrible unmoderated internet spaces full of s— racists.” The left dominates American media, but it sounds horrified that Mr. Musk might be politically ecumenical.


Give Mr. Musk credit for working to find a free-market fix to complaints about the narrowing of online speech permitted by the tech platforms. Some Republicans are so fed up they think the government is a solution. Sen. Josh Hawley once proposed making big internet sites get a certificate from the Federal Trade Commission, proving their moderation policies are unbiased, whatever that might mean to the bureaucratic enforcers.

Good work too by the Delaware Chancery Court, which didn’t let Mr. Musk wriggle out of the deal when he had second thoughts. There’s a reason that Delaware is America’s corporate capital. Mr. Musk overpaid for Twitter in the end, its debt load is considerable, and in the past decade it posted eight years of losses. That debt is another reason to think Mr. Musk will be responsive to what users actually want.

Juliette Sellgren talks with Michael Cannon about Medicare.

The views on affirmative action of David Bernstein, my GMU colleague over in the Antonin Scalia School of Law, are profiled in today’s Wall Street Journal. Two slices:

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider on Monday whether racial preferences in college admissions are illegal. David Bernstein argues they’re irrational.

The argument at the high court is that Harvard and the University of North Carolina unlawfully discriminate against Asian-Americans to hold down their numbers and ensure a diverse student body. But what does it mean to say “Asians” are overrepresented on campus? Presumably elite colleges don’t have hordes of applications from America’s roughly 27,000 Mongolians. “Imagine you are a child of Hmong refugees,” says Mr. Bernstein, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, referring to an ethnic group from Southwest China and Southeast Asia. You might hope the admissions officers see you as contributing to diversity. “They say, ‘Oh, no, no, you’re Asian.’ But this Asian thing is purely a statistical construct.”

Mr. Bernstein, 55, is the author of a recent book, “Classified,” that traces the haphazard codification of the federal government’s racial labels. “We created these classifications in 1977 in a very different America, right, that was primarily black-white,” he says. “Now we have all these other groups, and we have much more division within the groups, and we’ve barely changed them at all.”


As for the white classification, it covers Cajuns, Quebecois, indigenous northern Scandinavians, Greeks, Arabs, Iranians, and most Jews, not to mention people who see themselves as simply American but whose parents or grandparents identified as minorities. A push for a multiracial category faded as the census began to let people check multiple boxes in 2000.

Things could have been different, which is a theme of Mr. Bernstein’s book. The government in the 1970s might have thought the term Hispanic too broad for rooting out discrimination. Today about a third of U.S. Hispanics accept terms such as mixed race or mestizo, and the feds might have created a category like that.

George Will predicts, quite reasonably, that regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in its upcoming affirmative-action cases, colleges and universities in America will continue their racist ways. A slice:

Nineteen years ago, the court said: “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.” Actually, preferences will flourish forever unless the court undoes the damage it did in 2003 by saying, in effect, that the Constitution guarantees equal protection of the laws only until a university claims “educational benefits” from ignoring the guarantee, at the expense of some disfavored minority. Today’s multibillion-dollar “diversity industry” of consultants and academic bureaucrats is part of the damage.

The diversity rationale for racial discrimination in admissions — in 1978 the court cheerfully anticipated a “robust exchange of ideas” — is mocked by campuses that offer racially segregated dormitories, graduation ceremonies, etc. And by the survey of Harvard’s class of 2025 showing that 72.4 percent are predominantly liberal, and 8.6 percent are very or somewhat conservative. And by the fact that since the court embraced the “diversity” rationale for racial discrimination, universities have become markedly more intellectually monochrome and intolerant.