Category Archives: Coronavirus

No, freedom isn’t “selfish”

First it was “staying home saves lives.” Then, it was masks. Now it’s the Covid vaccines. Over and over, we’re told we need to obey public health bureaucrats without question for the good of other people. Conversely, to disobey their “guidance” and exercise our inalienable right to liberty is “selfish.”

Charles Barkley, who is often refreshingly independent-minded, is the latest to parrot this mantra.

Memories are short these days. In early 2020, the use of tents for hospital overflow was breathlessly reported as if it were unprecedented, when tents had been put up for precisely the same reason just two years before, during a heavy flu season.

In April 2020, no one remembered this. Instead, it was, “OMG, tents!”

It’s much the same story with lockdowns, masks, and the vaccines. Every one of these was first presented to the public as protecting oneself. Then, when significant people resisted, the narrative changed to “you’re doing it for others.” Forget two years, most of the public didn’t remember the previous narrative two days later.

It’s like a nightmare.

At the center of the “freedom is selfish” allegation is a misunderstanding, deliberate or not, of liberty and legitimate power. The right to liberty, like the rights to life, acquiring possessions, and pursuing happiness, all rest upon an understanding of what legitimate powers one person can exercise over another. And those powers are very few.

The right to life isn’t the right not to die under any circumstances. When someone drowns to death or gets struck by lightning, we don’t say his right to life was violated. No, the right to life is specifically the right to not be killed by another person other than in self-defense.

The right to life is rooted in the proposition that no one person has any legitimate power to deliberately deprive another of life. The right to liberty similarly rests upon the proposition no one has any legitimate power to deprive another of liberty.

If no individual has these powers, then they cannot delegate them to a government. I didn’t just make that up; it is a bedrock concept in the essay Thomas Jefferson said represented “the general principles of liberty and the rights of man, in nature and in society” generally approved by the citizens of both his state of Virginia and the United States generally.

“Inalienable” means cannot be taken away, not even by majority vote. That’s the reason for all the so-called “checks and balances” in our system. It’s the reason we have Bills of Rights in our federal and state constitutions. All these protections are there to ensure democratically elected officials don’t violate these inalienable rights, regardless of what majorities think or want.

Politicians, bureaucrats, and the useful midwits who blindly follow them will be quick to point out that “with rights come responsibilities.” That’s true. But the corresponding responsibility to a right is not to immediately surrender the right. That would be absurd. No, the corresponding responsibility to the right to liberty, for example, is to respect the right to liberty of others.

In other words, you can choose to take a vaccine or not to take it, and live with the consequences, as long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others to make the same decision for themselves. This is the very essence of “a free country.”

“But there are limits to liberty,” say the statists. That’s also true, but those limits are very narrow. “No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him,” said Jefferson in an 1816 letter. Similarly, he said the government should “restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free” in his first inaugural.

The government and its minions weren’t completely unaware of this concept. That’s what made Covid-19 oh-so convenient. With just a small false equivalency, it seemed to check all the boxes necessary to restrain liberty on a massive scale.

First, we were told the disease was much deadlier than it turned out to be. Even then, the sensible approach would have been for people with symptoms to stay home. That’s why it had to spread asymptomatically, an article of faith among the Covid Cult that the evidence shows is virtually unfounded.

A December 2020 study found that even for people living in the same household, the “secondary attack rate” (rate at which an infected member of the household transmits to another member) was .7% for asymptomatic cases, as opposed to 18% for symptomatic cases.

.7%. In case you’re having trouble reading, that’s less than 1%. And this is for people living in the same household. How much smaller would the risk be for mere passersby on the street or even fellow diners in the same indoor restaurant?

Yet, without significant asymptomatic spread, there was no need for lockdowns or mask mandates. That’s why minions of the regime go on talking about asymptomatic spread as if it were a fact when the most rigorous studies say it’s miniscule, if it occurs at all.

The “studies” offered to refute this usually assume that because a large percentage of people in a defined group tested positive and are asymptomatic, that asymptomatic people must be spreading it, which clearly does not follow for a highly virulent pathogen.

But let’s say that asymptomatic spread is significant, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Does that give anyone the power to forcibly confine others to their homes or force them to wear masks? No.

The limit on the right to liberty is the prohibition on aggression or injury, both of which mean deliberate harm. That you may pose a risk to others does not equate to aggression. Society is impossible without accepting the risks posed by others. There are too many. They are all preventable to some extent with sufficient oppression, but then you no longer have a society at all, much less a free one.

Everyone has the right to stay home themselves to avoid the risk of viruses. But to claim a right to confine everyone else to their homes until that risk disappears is the truly selfish position, not to mention insane.

The same reasoning applies to the vaccines. There is a good amount of gaslighting regarding their effectiveness in preventing transmission of the disease, even after the CDC Director herself said they don’t. But whether they prevent infection and transmission or merely lessen the severity of the symptoms, there is no case for vaccine mandates.

If they prevent infection and transmission, then those who choose to be vaccinated are safe from those who don’t. If they merely lessen the symptoms, but don’t prevent transmission, as the CDC Director said, then declining the vaccine harms no one but oneself.

If they don’t do either, as increasing anecdotal and some clinical evidence suggests, then there isn’t much reason for anyone to take them at all, much less mandate them.

No one honest with himself can possibly believe governments and the media are being honest about Covid-19. But even holding their statements in the most charitable light possible does not justify any of the measures we’ve endured over the past 19 months. And none of it would be possible without support from at least a significant minority of the people.

All those not only tacitly accepting but championing the governments’ closing businesses, locking people in their homes, mandating masks, or forcibly requiring anyone to take a drug, no matter how effective, all for the purpose of marginally reducing risk to themselves from a virus with a 99.5% survival rate, is monstrously selfish. Shame on them.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Why Do Americans Believe the Same Government That Failed Colossally in Afghanistan Is Competent at Fighting Covid-19?

The memes say it all. But if you want more “official” confirmation, a recent poll found that only 35% of Americans believe the 20-year war in Afghanistan was worth fighting. It’s hard to believe the number is even that high.

It’s not just that the very same Islamic fundamentalist group Washington went to war with twenty years ago is now running the country. The war also failed to reduce terrorism. Major terrorist attacks in the U.S. were at their highest post-2001 when the war on terror was at its height and dropped to virtually zero during the cease fire with the Taliban negotiated by former President Trump.

Just like Washington’s wars on drugs, the war on terrorism gave us a lot more of what it was at war with. This shouldn’t be a surprise. The government fails at every major initiative it undertakes. This is the organization that managed to interrupt a 200-year trend of falling poverty rates just a few decades after declaring war on poverty in the 1960s.

But Afghanistan was especially jolting. Not many people look at the incriminating data on the war on poverty, but everyone saw the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul. In the ensuing days, reality began to sink in. The U.S. had wasted 20 years, trillions of dollars, thousands of U.S. military lives, and hundreds of thousands of lives overall, for nothing.

All. For. Nothing.

Yet, as shocking as that reality is to most Americans, they still somehow believe this same government, the one that ran that 20-year debacle, suddenly becomes highly competent when fighting an airborne respiratory virus.

Washington’s War on Covid has been no more successful than its war against the Taliban. The proof isn’t hard to find. This article collated 35 studies showing the enormously destructive Covid “lockdowns” had no effect on slowing the spread or reducing hospitalizations or deaths from Covid-19.

The best studies – the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) – suggest that masks aren’t particularly effective, either. But the federal and state governments continue to mandate them.

Then, there are the vaccines. The goalposts for evaluating them have moved significantly over the course of this year. We were originally told the vaccines would provide long-lasting immunity from the SARS-COV-2 virus. Now, we’re told the vaccines will merely lessen the severity of symptoms. The CDC director confirmed this months ago and the latest data seem to indicate that vaccination rates are not affecting the spread of Covid-19.

There is some evidence the vaccines are preventing hospitalization and death from Covid-19, but the latest study from the UK indicates fully vaccinated people made up 64% of all Covid deaths since February 2021. When you count partially vaccinated people, that number rises to 70%.

Even if vaccines are preventing hospitalizations or deaths those who choose to remain unvaccinated do not pose an increased risk to others if the vaccines aren’t preventing spread of the virus. But governments are still mandating the vaccines, just as they continued to mandate indoor smoking bans after the evidence was in that doing so didn’t improve health outcomes.

Unfortunately, there is long precedent for Americans continuing to have faith in disastrous government interventions even well after they are obvious failures. Americans still believed the New Deal was helping even after the stock market crashed a second time and unemployment started to rise again in 1937. They still believed it after FDR’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, told the House Ways and Means Committee in 1939,

“We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work…I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

They still believe it to this day no matter how many times it is debunked.

There was enormous hope in 1974 that faith in government was finally broken after President Nixon resigned in disgrace, especially among members of the new Libertarian Party. But Americans went on believing.

Keynesian economics was pronounced dead for a few years after stagflation in the 1970s – considered impossible in the Keynesian framework – but it quickly resurrected to dominate fiscal and monetary policy without a peep from the public.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared, “the era of big government is over.” But today it is bigger and more destructive than ever. Yet, no one in his right mind would say the war on drugs has been a success. Nor can it be argued the Department of Education has done anything but massive harm.

We have a whole generation of college graduates living in their parents’ basements, working low-paying and part time jobs, and trying to pay off massive student loans after being incentivized by easy money and government guaranteed loans to pursue college degrees with no ROI. Meanwhile, there is a crisis-level shortage of skilled tradespeople who could be on a path to upper middle-class incomes had they not been conned into college.

The harm done to young people in general pales in comparison to what the government has done to the African American community. What two hundred years of slavery and another one hundred years of institutional discrimination couldn’t do, the government accomplished in just fifty years “trying to help.”

Devastation is the only word appropriate to describe the African American community in 2021. And anyone familiar with the work of Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams knows this is not something intrinsic to their race or culture. The government did that to them and it doesn’t intend to stop.

The Afghanistan War debacle was shocking to most Americans, but it was really just one more in a long line of government failures, not all of which made such compelling TV. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of the American public not only complies with but zealously defends Covid-19 policies that will look no better than Afghanistan in the rearview mirror.

What will it take to break this religious faith in government?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Why is freedom always the problem?

Publication1 croppedOne year after Americans were ordered to close down society for “two weeks to flatten the curve,” Bloomberg columnist Andreas Kluth warned, “We Must Start Planning for a Permanent Pandemic.” Because new variants of SARS-COV-2 are impervious to existing vaccines, says Kluth, and pharmaceutical companies will never be able to develop new vaccines fast enough to keep up, we will never be able to get “back to normal.”

“Get back to normal” means recovering the relative liberty we had in our already overregulated, pre-Covid lives. This is just the latest in a long series of crises that always seem to lead our wise rulers to the same conclusion: we just cannot afford freedom anymore.

Covid-19 certainly wasn’t the beginning. Americans were told “the world changed” after 9/11/2001. Basic pillars of the American system, like the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, were too antiquated to deal with the “new threat of terrorism.” Warrantless surveillance of our phone, e-mail, and financial records and physical searches of our persons without probable cause of a crime became the norm. A few principled civil libertarians dissented, but the public largely complied without protest. “Keep us safe,” they told the government, no matter the cost in dollars or liberty.

Perhaps seeing how willingly the public rolled over for the political right during the “war on terror,” authoritarians on the left turbocharged their own war on “climate change.” Previously interested in merely significantly raising taxes and heavily regulating industry, they now wish to ban all sorts of things, including air travel, driving a car, and even eating meat.

Since Covid-19, however, even the freedom to assemble and see each other’s faces may be permanently banned to help the government “keep us safe.”

Assaulting our liberty isn’t the only characteristic these crisis narratives have in common. They share at least two others: dire predictions that turn out to be false and proposed solutions that turn out to be ineffective.

George W. Bush warned Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” capable of hitting New York City within 45 minutes. He created the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA to prevent, among other things, a “mushroom cloud” over a major American city.

Twenty years later, we know there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the terrorist threat was grossly exaggerated, and the TSA has still never caught a terrorist, not even the two mental midgets who tried to set off explosives concealed in their shoes and underwear, respectively.

The only effective deterrent of terrorism so far has been the relatively calmer foreign policy during the four years of the Trump administration, during which regime change operations ceased and major terrorist attacks in the United States virtually disappeared.

Predictions of environmental catastrophe have similarly proven false. Younger people may not remember that in the early 1970s, long before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born, environmentalists were predicting worldwide disasters that subsequently failed to materialize. In 1989, the Associated Press reported, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” The same official predicted the Earth’s temperature would rise 1 to 7 degrees in the next 30 years.

Ocasio-Cortez is famous for predicting in 2019, “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” But Al Gore had warned in 2006 that “unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” So, isn’t it too late anyway?

As with the war on terrorism, the war on climate change asks us to give up our freedom for solutions that don’t work. Assuming climate change proponents have diagnosed the problem correctly and haven’t exaggerated the threat – huge assumptions by themselves – implementing their proposed solution won’t solve the problem, even by their own standards.

Its proponents know this. The U.S. has already led the world in reducing carbon emissions without the draconian provisions of the Green New Deal. If you listen to them carefully, the Green New Deal’s proponents propose the U.S. give up what freedom and prosperity remain to them merely as an example to developing nations, whom they assume will forego the benefits of industrialization already enjoyed by developed countries because of the shining example of an America in chains and brought to its economic knees to “save the earth.”

Fat chance, that.

The latest remake of this horror movie is Covid-19. While undeniably a serious pathogen that has likely killed more people than even the worst flu epidemics of the past several decades (although this is hard to confirm since public health officials changed the methodology for determining a virus-caused death), the government and its minions have still managed to grossly exaggerate this threat.

Gone is any sense of proportion when discussing Covid-19. Yes, it is certainly possible to spread the virus after one has been vaccinated or acquired natural immunity. But how likely is it? Is it any more likely than spreading other pathogens after immunity?

If not, then why are we treating people with immunity differently than we have during more dangerous pandemics in the past? Similarly, it is likely possible for asymptomatic people to spread the virus – a key pillar of the lockdown argument – but again, how likely is it?

The theory Covid-19 could be spread by asymptomatic people was originally based on the case of a single woman who supposedly infected four other people while experiencing no symptoms. Anthony Fauci said this case “lays the question to rest.”

The only problem was no one had asked the woman in question if she had symptoms at the time. When it turned out she did, the study on her was retracted. A subsequent study “did not link any COVID-19 cases to asymptomatic carriers,” and yet another after that concluded transmission of the disease by asymptomatic carriers “is not a major driver of spread.” Yet, policies based on this falsehood, like lockdowns and forcing asymptomatic people to wear masks, remain in place.

Most importantly, none of the government-mandated Covid-19 mitigation policies work. No retrospective review conducted with any semblance of the scientific method has found a relationship between lockdowns, mask mandates, or social distancing and the spread of Covid-19. In fact, the most recent study suggests lockdowns may have increased Covid-19 infections, in addition to all the non-Covid excess deaths they caused.

Over and over, authoritarians overhype crises to scare the living daylights out of the public and propose solutions that have two things in common: they demand more of our freedom and they don’t work. It’s always all pain and no gain. One wonders how many repetitions of this crisis drill it will take before the citizens of the so-called “land of the free” finally think to ask:

Why is freedom always the problem?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Every year will be 2020 if Americans don’t resist Covid-19 measures now


cuomo whitmerIf you wonder how state governors and so-called “public health” bureaucrats can continue to impose lockdowns even though the evidence is overwhelming they don’t work, just consider smoking bans.

Governments around the U.S. and the world began imposing them at the beginning of this century, claiming second hand smoke (aka “passive smoking”) caused lung cancer, heart disease, and a number of other serious diseases.

Now, even if that were true, it would still be the right of private property owners to decide whether to allow smoking on their premises or not. But it wasn’t true.

It’s been seven years since a large study showed no correlation between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Heart disease has not decreased as the banners promised, either. Yet, the bans remain in place.

The TSA will celebrate its 20th birthday next year. It has never caught a terrorist and still consistently fails to detect 95% or more of the dangerous items carried through security on its own tests. It, too, will never go away.

If Americans don’t resist them, business closures, travel bans, contact tracing and the rest of Covid-related government insanity will be here to stay. Any who don’t believe that should ask themselves why Erie County is renovating a historic building into a “Covid-19 response hub.” Not even a government would be so obtuse as to make a long-term capital investment like this to address a problem that will be over in a few months.

All of history shows governments don’t give up power unless they are forced to do so. As a new year dawns, Americans are faced with a clear choice: resist now or spend the rest of their lives reliving 2020 over and over again.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Another day, another Covid “news” article where the reporter questions nothing

poloncarz

Another day, another article in the Buffalo News where the so-called journalist questions nothing, is curious about nothing, and acts literally as a propagandist for the politician.

If “gatherings” are to blame for higher deaths, then why are over half the deaths in nursing homes, which are completely locked down, including not even allowing the residents to congregate with each other? Why are New York State’s hospitalizations and deaths so much worse than Florida’s, which has no restrictions, no capacity limits on restaurants or bars, and no enforced masked mandates?

By the way, what is the total for deaths from all causes in December 2020, December 2019, and December 2018? Are total deaths really higher? By how much? Are deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions all lower by close to exactly the number of Covid deaths, as a study found for the U.S.  between March and September?

And how many deaths does the wise county executive estimate have been caused by Covid lockdowns? Will no one ever ask this question? Because that number is not zero. It was uncontroversial a year ago to say every one percent increase in unemployment nationwide causes 30,000 deaths. So how many Erie County deaths have been caused by the unemployment resulting from lockdowns?

These are questions I thought of in seconds as I read the article, but apparently never occurred to the so-called journalist. It’s almost as if she thinks her job is just to write down what the government tells her and repeat it to the population without question.

If that’s the case, why have journalists?

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

What will our Ozymandias say to the future?

ozymandias-percy-shelley-with-poem-34054575160_c4cc6a68e0_bI’ve often wondered what historians of the future will think about us and our demise while sifting through the rubble of our civilization. There are many volumes on the reasons for the fall of Rome. We know what happened to the Spanish, French and British Empires. The Mayan collapse is still somewhat mysterious, although there are theories.

But when it comes to us, this mighty civilization that rose out of the Age of Reason and accomplished wonders in 400 years that eclipsed those of the previous 4,000, what will they conclude?

That, ironically, after surviving the bubonic plague, cholera, several world wars, and many natural disasters, we were finally done in by mass hysteria over a virus that, compared to the great epidemics of history, was rather unremarkable.

And round the decay of our colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands will stretch far away.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.