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George Leef is correct: People should indeed be seething mad over covid. Two slices:

When a few people dared to question the need for or legality of the COVID policies, officials replied that they were only doing what “the science” said was the right response, usually followed by the insinuation that doubters were dangerous, retrograde people who didn’t care about putting lives at risk. Even infectious disease experts who disagreed that there was any scientific justification for the panoply of rules were ridiculed, smeared, and “deplatformed.” The last time there was such a concerted attack on freedom of speech in the US was during World War I, when the Wilson Administration pulled out all the stops in an effort to silence critics of the war.

The COVID response led to a huge contraction of liberty. But officials and their many allies scoffed: “So what? Foolish people shouldn’t be allowed to make up their own minds when experts know what’s best.”

But now, despite efforts to suppress it, information has leaked out, showing that the COVID policies were a great mistake, imposed by arrogant officials who were not following science, but rather were following their own authoritarian instincts. They were not telling people the truth about COVID, but lying to justify their assertion of power. They weren’t doing what was in the public interest, but rather what was in the interest of certain pressure groups.


Another medical expert who has sought to enlighten the public on the appalling behavior of government officials during COVID is Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins. He points out in this article that:

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weaponized research itself by putting out its own flawed studies in its own non-peer-reviewed medical journal, MMWR. In the final analysis, public health officials actively propagated misinformation that ruined lives and forever damaged public trust in the medical profession.

Indeed, we shouldn’t trust the medical profession, nor the “public servants” who shoved their knee-jerk authoritarian “solutions” to COVID down our throats, nor the journalists who were accomplices in the disaster.

Margery Smelkinson and Leslie Bienen, writing in the Wall Street Journal, report on covidocrats’ continuing irrationality. A slice:

Mr. Biden’s proclamation never made sense. By October 2021 it was clear that the shots don’t stop viral spread. Foreigners are no more infectious than citizens and green-card holders, who weren’t subject to the mandate and have faced no Covid travel restrictions since June. The policy also hampers tourism, which was down 35% in 2022 compared with 2019. In Europe, which lifted restrictions last year, the decline was only 21%.

Jeffrey Anderson, writing at City Journal, decries “the mask of ignorance.” A slice:

Specifically, Cochrane found, “Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza-like illness (ILI)/COVID-19 like illness”—or “to the outcome of laboratory-confirmed influenza/SARS-CoV-2”—“compared to not wearing masks.” Moreover, “The use of a N95/P2 respirators compared to medical/surgical masks probably makes little or no difference for the outcome . . . of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection.” Each of these claims was made with “moderate certainty,” the second highest of four certainty classifications. (“Moderate certainty” means that “the true effect is likely to be close to the estimate of the effect.”)

The mask advocates’ grasping-at-straws response to this review has been that Cochrane doesn’t know what it’s doing (despite its “worldwide” reputation for providing “the highest standard” of medical research). Or they say that Cochrane produced a fine study, but people didn’t read it correctly. Or randomized controlled trials aren’t to be trusted when it comes to masks (RCTs are universally considered the gold standard in medical research). Or we need more and better RCTs on masks, though 16 have already been conducted on surgical or cloth masks, none of which has provided compelling evidence that they work.

The mask advocates’ refusal to recognize that medical science does not support their steadfast belief is truly remarkable. Clearly, something more is going on here than a genuine debate about which health-care measures work.

Part of it, perhaps, is that progressives don’t like it when they can’t control something. Masks let them feel as if they can control the virus—and other people, to boot, the next best thing to controlling the virus.

There’s also the matter of identity. For some, a mask conveys quasi-religious symbolism—we believe in Health—and serves as a sort of spiritual symbol, a totem. No one wants to be told that their totem is powerless.

Evidence suggesting masks’ ineffectiveness has remained relatively constant over time. In addition to the individual RCTs conducted across the years, which I discussed in detail in a 2021 City Journal essay reviewing the evidence, Cochrane published a review on November 20, 2020, that closely resembles its January 2023 review. Cochrane’s earlier review found that wearing a mask “probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of laboratory-confirmed influenza . . . compared to not wearing” a mask, and that using an N95 “compared to” a surgical mask “probably makes little or no difference for the . . . outcome of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection.” In fact, the 2023 review repeats all of this language verbatim.

Telegraph columnist Madeline Grant is rightly dismayed that “nobody wants to confront the truth about lockdown. A slice:

It shattered our pretence of rationality, too, as we retreated into superstition. True, this often had a modern, scientific basis, but many of the rituals, from masks outside to almost liturgical sanitation of hands, had as much effect on transmission as spells invoking the protection of imps would have done. Yet still they were followed, with a panicked presumption that a) they would work and b) that, by doing them, one would somehow be shown as a “good person”. The scientific method mutated into “The Science” (TM) which stood as pagan totem: its name chanted in invocation, its sacrifices mandatory.

Many of the same logical fallacies remain in rude health. Even now, pro-lockdowners ignore the example of Sweden because its experience of Covid doesn’t fit their mantra – “we had no choice”. Justifications (but not opinions) have shifted with the evidence. When Sweden appeared to be doing badly, it was “because it failed to lock down”. Now the data have moved in Sweden’s favour, it’s because “Sweden had an unofficial lockdown all along”. The Telegraph’s Lockdown Files exposed the self-fulfilling logic behind many decisions. Coercion became its own justification, as when Matt Hancock feared cutting isolation times would dilute the message and “imply we’ve been wrong”. Whether you agree with lockdown or not, this is an appalling way to govern.

Many economic commentators proved remarkably slow to grasp what commonsense onlookers had been saying all along; that spraying money around is bound to lead to inflationary disaster. With a few notable exceptions, such as the Sunday Telegraph’s Liam Halligan and Kate Andrews of the Spectator, most reached the Economist’s view in December 2020: “A surge in inflation looks unlikely.” There were probably face-saving reasons at play here, as well as ignorance. Having argued for “generous” support schemes, some in the economic establishment perhaps had too much skin in the game to take a truly impartial view.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Two lockdown facts:
1. Lockdowns happened because the laptop class thought it could isolate itself from society without facing economic harm.

2. Lockdowns failed because societies are deeply unequal and needed the essential working class to keep society going.

[DBx: I’ll add a third fact – one that I know Jay agrees with. It’s this: Lockdowns failed also because modern society is both too spontaneous and too complex not to be terribly disrupted by such a ham-fisted intervention.]

Barry Brownstein counsels the embrace of liberalism.

Cato’s Chris Edwards reports that spending by the U.S. government has risen by a whopping 40 percent since 2019.

Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph Sternberg writes that “banks aren’t busting the economy, politics is busting banks.” A slice:

This is indicative of a deeper economic dysfunction born of the combination of extended periods of unusually low interest rates, costly bank regulations that stifle business lending and still don’t avert panics, the tax and red-tape burdens on the productive private economy, terrible energy policies and so much more.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Judy Shelton busts some prevalent myths about inflation. Here’s her conclusion:

In other words, when capital is allocated through meaningful price signals that reward long-term investment in productive economic opportunities, people become gainfully employed and real growth leads to greater prosperity.

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