Dumb and Dumber Energy Advice from NYT

news-these-days
Benjamin Zycher at Real Clear Markets takes the NYT to task for its stupid article about fossil fuel infrastructure, awarding it The Dumbest New York Times Op-Ed of 2021.  Of course there are many months left for NYT to publish even worse inanities this year.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds. I have reorganized the content to juxtapose the wild claims with sober facts.

Lisa Benson cartoon

Summer still is weeks away, but already we have a winner in the fierce competition for the coveted title of “Dumbest New York Times opinion column of 2021.” The envelope please… and the winner is “Why Charles Koch Wins When Our Energy System Breaks Down,” by someone named Christopher Leonard. One really does have to read this column to grasp — actually, to marvel at — the inanity of Leonard’s argument, which can be summarized as follows.

Claim:
Our fossil-fuel infrastructure — pipelines in particular, and refineries as well — is “increasingly unreliable” and “dominated by a very small group of very profitable companies.”

Fact:  
Leonard does not tell us what he means in his assertion that U.S. pipelines are “increasingly unreliable” — it is easy to infer that he has no idea — but if we define “reliability” as the annual number of adverse pipeline incidents, there has been no trend since 2002, even as pipeline mileage increased almost 63 percent between 2004 and 2019.

Claim:
The Colonial Pipeline shut down in 2016, and again this month due to a cyberattack, but the five companies that own Colonial “profit handsomely off its operations and earn outsize profits in the face of the bottlenecks and supply squeezes caused by shutdowns.”

Fact:  
That is absurd: The pipeline generates revenue only when it is moving product; if it is not operational it is not generating revenue.

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Claim:
The 2016 shutdown “didn’t seem to hurt the owners’ earnings” in that afterward “Colonial boosted its annual dividends — at least in part because of the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts.”  The growth in Colonial’s investments in updating and protecting the pipeline have been “modest, while dividend payments have risen sharply.”

Fact:  
Apart from Leonard’s confusion about whether it is due to the 2016 shutdown or to the 2017 tax cut, he apparently has no concept of the factors addressed by corporate managers as they determine the appropriate dividend. In particular, a dividend change is driven by the evaluation of the after-tax return to shareholders from retaining more financial capital within the firm compared with that from distributing more to the shareholders. An increase in the dividend suggests that the latter has increased relative to the former, presumably in this case because of the nuances of the 2017 tax bill. Were the Kochs responsible for that?

Claim:
Charles Koch “has profited for years off similar energy bottlenecks in the upper Midwest” because of such infrastructure investments as the Pine Bend refinery, which “owes its profitability to its location in the middle of a broken fuel market.” Koch “buys cheap crude” in a market “oversupplied” with Canadian crude oil, after which “Koch then sells its finished fuel into an undersupplied gasoline market in the upper Midwest.”

Fact:  
And about that “oversupplied” (whatever that means) midwestern market for Canadian crude oil: The midwestern refinery market would be far less “oversupplied” had the Keystone XL pipeline been approved at long last, delivering heavy Canadian crude oil to the Gulf coast refineries designed to refine it. Did Charles Koch urge the Biden administration to reject the pipeline? Has Leonard criticized that decision? I can find no record of any such stance on his part.

And then there is Leonard’s assertion that the gasoline market in the upper Midwest is “undersupplied” (whatever that means). The Energy Information Administration divides the U.S. gasoline market into five regions (“PADDs”). As of May 24, Gulf Coast gasoline prices were the lowest, followed by the Midwest, and then (in ascending order) the East Coast, the Rocky Mountain states, and the West Coast, the last of which had the highest prices even excluding California. What is Leonard talking about?

Claim:
Regulatory hurdles have paved the way for these profits for decades.” “The Clean Air Act… made it nearly impossible for competitors to open a refinery near Pine  Bend” to increase competitive pressures.

Fact:  

The comedy highlight of Leonard’s column is the assertion that it is the Clean Air Act, regulatory obstacles to new pipeline investment, and general “regulatory stasis and dysfunction” that have yielded the “outsize profits” enjoyed by the Kochs. Leonard seems actually to believe this: “Just by letting the broken market limp along, Koch Industries reaps extraordinary profits from a broken system.” So the Kochs are vastly more powerful than anyone could imagine, responsible for the regulatory morass, for the ideological leftist political opposition to fossil infrastructure, for NIMBYism, and for allowing the “broken market” to “limp along.” Just as the pipeline owners win whether the pipelines are operating or not, Leonard clearly believes that they earn “outsize profits” whether the regulatory environment is light or dysfunctional. Who knew?

Claim: 
Regulatory fights benefit big refiners that can afford expensive legal experts and lobbyists: “Koch benefits from regulatory stasis and dysfunction.”

Fact:  

The utter stupidity of Leonard’s argument is illustrated by his assertion toward the end of the column that “new wind farms or solar installations could open up a whole new energy market.” Somehow, I was led to believe that Leonard’s argument was about pipelines and refineries and gasoline prices, and the ability of the Kochs to earn large profits no matter what. But no: An endorsement of unconventional electricity, expensive and environmentally destructive, just had to be shoehorned in as an exercise in virtue-signaling par excellence despite the reality that it has nothing to do with Leonard’s silly central argument. Or does he want to argue that more wind farms will reduce gasoline prices in the Midwest?

Conclusion

And so we arrive at the larger reality illustrated by the Leonard column. Misguided, illogical, and at odds with the facts, it is of a piece with the broad opposition of the environmental left to energy infrastructure generally, and pipeline investments in particular. Utter incoherence is the inevitable result of that ideological opposition to fossil fuels, one impervious to facts and analytic rigor, and dependent upon arguments fundamentally inconsistent. That opposition is anti-human at its core because it implies opposition to investment in human capital — education, training, health care, etc. — and the improved human well being that has the effect of increasing the demand for energy and its infrastructure. Forget the Kochs; they are a bogeyman and red herring the mere mention of which is intended to elicit a Pavlovian reaction from the enlightened invitees to the right cocktail parties.

The real bogeymen are the New York Times opinion editors who found such drivel fit to print, a measure of the intellectual depths to which they have sunk.

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See Also Shellenberger to NYT: Isn’t a correction merited?

Why Marxism Always Fails

Jordan Peterson delves into the reasons why Marxist ideology fails both in theory and in practice.  For those like me who prefer to read a text, I have made a transcript of Peterson’s talk, with some light editing to transpose a verbal presentation into a written one.  My bolds are added.  H/T Chiefio.

Jordan Peterson’s critique of the Communist Manifesto

Since we are talking about Marxism, I tried to reread the Communist Manifesto. The first time I read it I was 18 years old, more than 40 years ago. When you read something, you you don’t just follow the words and follow the meaning, but you take apart the sentences. And you ask yourself:

At this level of phrase and at the level of sentence and at the level of paragraph, is this true?
Are there counter arguments that can be put forward that are credible?
Is this solid thinking?

And I have to tell you, and I’m not trying to be flippant here, that I have rarely read a tract that made as many errors per sentence, conceptual errors per sentence as the communist manifesto.

It was quite miraculous to re-read it and it was interesting to think about it psychologically as well.

Because I’ve read student papers that were of the same ilk in some sense. Although I’m not suggesting that they were of the same level of glittering literary brilliance and polemic quality. And I also understand that the communist manifesto was a call for revolution and not a standard logical argument.

But that notwithstanding, I have some things to say about the authors psychologically. The first thing is that it doesn’t seem to me that either Marx or Engels grappled with this particular fundamental truth: which is that almost all ideas are wrong. And it doesn’t matter if they’re your ideas or someone else’s ideas, they’re probably wrong. And even if they strike you with the force of brilliance, your job is to assume first of all that they’re probably wrong and then to assault them with everything you have in your arsenal and see if they can survive.

It struck me about the communist manifesto that it was akin to something Jung said about typical thinking, meaning the thinking of people who weren’t trained to think. He said that when the typical thinker has a thought, it appears to them like an object might appear in a room. The thought appears and then they just accept it.

They don’t go the second step which is to think about the thinking, and that’s the real essence of critical thinking. So that’s why you try to teach people in university to read a text and to think about it critically; not to destroy the utility of the text but to separate the wheat from the chaff.

And so when again reading the communist manifesto I tried to separate the wheat from the chaff. And I’m afraid I found, some wheat yes but mostly chaff. And I’m going to explain why in relatively short order. I’m going to outline 10 of the fundamental axioms of the communist manifesto. So these are truths that are basically held as self-evident by the authors. And they’re truths that are presented in some sense as unquestioned. I’m going to question them and tell you why I think they’re unreliable.

Now we should remember that this tract was actually written 170 years ago. That’s a long time ago and we have learned a fair bit since then about human nature, about society, about politics and economics. There’s lots of mysteries left to be solved but we are slightly wiser I presume. So you can forgive the authors to some degree for what they didn’t know. But that doesn’t matter given that the essence of this doctrine is still held as sacrosanct by a large proportion of academics.

The problems start with this one: History is to be viewed primarily as an economic class struggle.  Let’s think about that for a minute. First of all there is the proposition that history is primarily to be viewed through an economic lens, which I think is debatable because there are many other motivations than economics that drive human beings. Those have to be taken into account especially that drive people other than economic competition, like economic cooperation for example. So that’s a problem.

An additional problem is that it’s actually not nearly a pessimistic enough description of the actual situation. To give the devil his due: It is absolutely true that one of the driving forces of history is hierarchical struggle. But it’s deeper than history, it’s biology itself, because organisms of all sorts organize themselves into hierarchies. And one of the problems with hierarchies is that they tend to arrange themselves into a winner-take-all situation.

Of course Marx believed that in a capitalist society capital would accumulate in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and that actually is in keeping with the nature of hierarchical organizations. So there’s accuracy in the accusation being an eternal form of motivation for struggle. But it’s an underestimation of the seriousness of the problem because it is attributed to the structure of human societies rather than the deeper reality of the existence of hierarchical structures per se.

Since hierarchies characterize the animal kingdom to a large degree, they are clearly not only human constructions. And the evidence for hierarchical competition among human beings goes back at least to the paleolithic times.  So the next problem is: This ancient problem of hierarchical structure is clearly not attributable to capitalism because it existed long in human history before capitalism existed. and then it predated human history itself. So why would you necessarily at least implicitly link the class struggle with capitalism given that it’s a far deeper problem?

You’ve need to understand that this is a deeper problem for people on the left not just for people on the right. It is the case that hierarchical structures dispossess those people who are at the bottom, as it does those animals who are at the bottom in their kingdom. That is a fundamental existential problem.

But the other thing that Marx didn’t seem to take into account is that there there are far more reasons that human beings struggle than their economic class struggle, even if you build the hierarchical idea into that. In a more comprehensive way of thinking about it, human beings
struggle with themselves with the malevolence that’s inside themselves, with the evil that they’re capable of doing, with the spiritual and psychological warfare that goes on within them.

And we’re also actually always at odds with nature and this never seems to show up in Marx, and it doesn’t show up in Marxism in general. It’s as if nature doesn’t exist. As far as I’m concerned the primary conflict that human beings engage in is this struggle for life in a cruel and harsh natural world. But that doesn’t exist in the Marxist domain. If human beings have a problem it’s because there’s a class struggle that’s essentially economic. It’s like no human beings have problems because we come into the life starving and lonesome and we have to solve that problem continually. And we make our social arrangements at least in part to ameliorate that.

So there’s also very little understanding in the communist manifesto that any of the hierarchical organizations that human beings have put together might have a positive element. And that’s an absolute catastrophe because hierarchical structures are actually necessary to solve complicated social problems. We have to organize ourselves in some manner and (again giving the devil his due) it is the case that hierarchies dispossess people and that’s a big problem. That’s the fundamental problem of inequality. But it’s also the case that hierarchies happen to be a very efficient way of distributing resources.

And it’s finally the case that human hierarchies are not fundamentally predicated on power. I would say that biological and anthropological data on that are crystal clear. You don’t rise to a position of authority that’s reliable in a human society primarily by exploiting other people. It’s a very unstable means of obtaining power, even though people go about it that way might laugh at the thought.

Another problem that comes up is that Marx also assumes that you can think about history as a binary class struggle with clear divisions between say the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. That’s actually a problem because it’s not so easy to make a firm division between who is exploiter and who is exploitee. Because it’s not obvious, for example, in the case of small shareholders, whether or not they happen to be part of the oppressed or part of the oppressor.

This actually turned out to be a big problem in the Russian revolution, a tremendously big problem because it turned out that you could fragment people into multiple identities. That’s a fairly easy thing to do, and you could usually find some aspect by which they were part of the oppressor class; it might have been a consequence of their education or because of the wealth that they strived to accumulate during their life. Or it might be the fact that they had parents or grandparents who are educated or rich or that they’re a member of the priesthood or that they were socialists, and so on.

Anyways the listing of how it was possible for you to be bourgeois instead of proletariat grew immensely and that was one of the reasons that the red terror claimed all the victims that it did. So that was a huge problem, probably most exemplified by the demolition of the kulaks, who were basically peasant farmers although effective ones in the soviet union. They had managed to raise themselves out of serfdom over a period of about 40 years and to gather some some degree of material security about them. And about 1.8 million of them were exiled, about 400 000 were killed and the net consequence of that was the removal of their private property because of their bourgeois status. There was also the death of six million Ukrainians in the famines of the 1930s showing that the binary class struggle idea led to bad outcomes for many people.

It’s also a very bad idea in another way, and this is a real sleight of hand that Marx pulls off. You have a binary class division–proletariat and bourgeoisie–and you have an implicit idea that all of the good is on the side of the proletariat and all of the evil is on the side of the bourgeoisie. That’s classic group identity thinking and one of the reasons i don’t like identity politics. Because once you divide people into groups and pit them against one another, it’s very easy to assume that all the evil in the world can be attributed to one group–the hypothetical oppressors–and all the good to the other. Well that’s naive beyond comprehension because it’s absolutely foolish to make the presumption that you can identify someone’s moral worth with their economic standing. So that actually turned out to be a real problem as well.

Marx also came up with this idea which is a crazy idea, using the technical term crazy as far as i can tell, and that’s the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat. I really stumbled over that. Okay so what’s the problem? Well the problem is the capitalists own everything— they own all the means of production and they’re oppressing everyone, that means all the workers. And there’s going to be a race to the bottom of wages for the workers as the capitalists strive to extract more and more value from the labor of the proletariat by competing with other capitalists to drive wages downward. By the way, that didn’t happen partly because wage earners can become scarce and that actually drives their market value upward.

But the fact that that you assume a priori that all the evil can be attributed to the capitalists and the bourgeoisie and that all the good could be attributed to the proletariat meant that you could hypothesize that a dictatorship of the proletariat could come about, and that was the first stage in the communist revolution. And remember this is a call for revolution, and not just revolution, but bloody violent revolution and the overthrow of all existing social structures.

So you see the problem is because all the evil isn’t divided so easily up into oppressor and oppressed you can not establish a pure dictator of the proletariat (to the degree that you can do that which you actually can’t because it’s technically impossible, and an absurd project not least because of the centralization problem.) I mean you have to imagine that you can take away all the property of the capitalists and you can replace the capitalist class with a minority of proletariats. How they’re going to be chosen isn’t exactly clear in the communist manifesto nor is it clear how none of the people who are from the proletariat class are going to be corrupted by that sudden access to power despite their being good by definition.

So then you have the good people who are running the world and you also have them centralized so that they can make decisions which are insanely complicated to make; in fact impossibly complicated to make and so that’s a failure conceptually on both dimensions.

Because firstly all the proletariat aren’t going to be good and then you put those people in the same position as the evil capitalists. Marxists certainly believe that social pressure is one of the determining factors of human character. So why then wouldn’t you assume that the proletariat would immediately become as or more corrupt than the capitalists? Which is of course exactly what happened every time this experiment was run.

And then the next problem comes when you take some system as complicated as as a capitalist free market society and centralize that putting decision-making power in the hands of a few people, without specifying the mechanisms by which you’re going to choose them. What makes you think they’re going to have the wisdom or the ability to do what the capitalists were doing unless you assume as Marx did that all of the evil was with the capitalists and all the good was with the proletariats.

And that nothing that capitalists did constituted valid labor which is another thing that marx assumed. Which is palpably absurd unless you are thinking of people like a dissolute aristocrat from 1830 or earlier and you run a feudal estate and all you do is spend your time gambling and chasing prostitutes.  Well then your labor value is zero.

But if you’re running a business and it’s a successful business first of all because you’re not a bloody fool who exploits your workers. Because even if you’re greedy as Sin, you’re not going to extract the maximum amount of labor out of them by doing that. And the notion that you’re adding no productive value as a manager rather than a capitalist is absolutely absurd. All it shows is that you either know nothing whatsoever about how an actual business works or you refuse to know anything about how an actual business works. So that’s also a big problem.

The next problem is the criticism of profit. Well what’s wrong with profit? The problem with profit was that profit was theft from the Marxist perspective. You know profit well can be theft because crooked people can run companies and so sometimes profit is theft. That certainly doesn’t mean that it’s always threat theft, because in part at least if the capitalist is adding value to the corporation then there’s some utility and some fairness in him or her extracting the value of their abstract labor–their thought, their work, their ability to manage the company and to engage in proper competition and product development and efficiency and the proper treatment of the workers. If they can do all of that and then can create a profit, well then they have a little bit of security for times that aren’t so good. And that seems absolutely bloody necessary as far as I’m concerned.

Then the next thing is how can you grow if you don’t have a profit and if you have an enterprise that’s valuable and worthwhile? Some enterprises are valuable and worthwhile then it seems to me that a little bit of profit to help you grow seems to be the right approach. So then the other issue with profit, and you know this if you’ve ever run a business, is it’s really useful constraint. You know it’s not enough to have a good idea, not a good enough to have a good sales and marketing plan and then to implement that and all of, even though that’s bloody difficult in itself. Even with a good idea and plan, it’s not easy to find customers and satisfy them. And so profit constitutes a limitation on what it is that you might reasonably attempt. It provides a good constraint on wasted labor.

Most of the things that I’ve done in my life even psychologically were efforts designed to help people’s psychological health. I tried to run on a for-profit basis and the reason for that, apart from the fact that I’m not averse to making a profit, was partly so my enterprises can grow but was also so that there were forms of stupidity that I couldn’t engage in because I would be punished by the market enough to eradicate the enterprise.

The next issue is a weird one. So Marx and Engels also assume that this dictatorship of the proletariat which involves absurd centralization, the overwhelming probability of corruption, and the impossible task as the proletariat now try to rationally compute the manner in which an entire market economy could run. Which cannot be done because it’s far too complicated for anybody to think through.

The next theory is that somehow the proletariat dictatorship would become magically hyper productive and there’s actually no theory at all about how that’s going to happen. And so i had to infer that the theory seems to be that once you eradicate the bourgeoisie because they’re evil and you get rid of their private property, and you eradicate the profit motive, then all of a sudden magically the small percentage of the proletariat who now run the society determine how they can make their enterprises productive enough so they become hyper productive now.

And they need to become hyper productive for the last error to be logically coherent in relationship to the Marxist theory which is that at some point  the dictatorship of the proletariat will become so hyper productive that there’ll be enough material goods for everyone across all dimensions. And when that happens then people will spontaneously engage in meaningful creative labor from which they had been alienated in the capitalist horror show. And the utopia will be magically ushered in.

But there’s no indication about how that hyper productivity is going to come about and there’s no understanding that the utopia isn’t going to suit everyone because there are great differences between people. And some people are going to find what they want in love, and some are going to find it in social being, and some are going to find it in conflict and competition, and some are going to find it in creativity as Marx pointed out. But the notion that that that will necessarily be the end goal for the utopian state is preposterous.

And then there’s the Dostoyevsky observation, which is one not to be taken lightly. What sort of shallow conception of people do you have that makes you think that if you gave people enough bread and cake, and nothing else to do except busy themselves with the continued continuity of the species that they would all of a sudden become peaceful and heavenly? Dostoyevsky’s idea was that we were built for trouble, and if we were ever handed everything we needed on a silver platter the first thing we would do is engage in some form of creative destruction just so something unexpected could happen; just so we could have the adventure of our lives. I think there’s something honest and true in that.

Then there’s the last error, although by no means was this all of them, and this is one of the strangest parts of the communist manifesto. Marx and Engels admit repeatedly in the communist manifesto that there has never been a system of production in the history of the world that was as effective at producing material commodities in excess than capitalism. That’s extensively documented in the communist manifesto.

So if your proposition is to get as much material security for everyone as as possible as fast as we can, and capitalism already seems to be doing that at a rate unparalleled in human history, wouldn’t the logical thing be just to let the damn system play itself out? Unless you’re assuming that the evil capitalists are just going to take all of the flat screen televisions and put them in one big room and not let anyone else have one. The logical assumption is that you’re already on a road that’s supposed to produce the needed material productivity.

So that’s ten reasons as far as I can tell that what I saw in the communist manifesto is seriously flawed in virtually every way it could possibly be wrong. And also it is evidence that Marx was the kind of narcissistic thinker who could think he was he was very intelligent person, and so was Engels. He thought that what he thought was correct, but he never went to the second stage, which is to ponder:  How could all of this go terribly wrong?

And if you’re a thinker, especially a sociological thinker and on the broad scale a social scientist for example. One of your moral obligations is to consider seriously how you might be wrong about one of your fundamental axioms or two or three or ten of them. As a consequence you have the moral obligation to walk through the damn system and question: What if I’m completely wrong here,and things invert and go exactly the opposite way?

For the life of me, I just can’t understand how anybody could come up with an idea like the dictatorship of the proletariat, especially after advocating its implementation by violent means which is a direct part of the communist manifesto. How could they call for that if they knew anything about human beings and the proclivity for malevolence that’s part and parcel of the individual human being. How could they not know that it could only lead to a special form of hell, which is precisely what did happen.

I’m going to close with a bit of evidence that Marx also thought that what would happen inevitably as a consequence of capitalism is that rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer so there would be inequality. Firstly, we do not know how to set up a human system of economics without inequality. No one has ever managed it, including the communists, and the form of inequality changed and it’s not obvious by any stretch of imagination that the free market economies of the west have more inequality than the less free economies in the rest of the world.

And the one thing you can say about capitalism is that although it produces inequality, which it absolutely does, it also produces wealth while all the other systems just produce inequality. So here’s here’s a few stats. From 1800 to 2017 in free market societies income growth adjusted for inflation grew by 40 times by for production workers and 16 times for unskilled labor. GDP rose by a factor of about 0.5 from 180 a.d. to 1800 a.d. So the increase was almost flat for 1600 years, and then all of a sudden in the last 217 years there’s been this unbelievably upward movement of wealth.

And it doesn’t only characterize the tiny percentage of people at the top who admittedly do have most of the wealth. The question is not only what’s the inequality, but also what’s happening to the absolutely poor at the bottom? And the answer to that is they’re getting richer faster now than they ever have in the history of the world. And we’re eradicating poverty in countries that have adopted moderate free market policies at a rate that’s unparalleled.

For example one of the U.N. Millennial goals was to reduce the the rate of absolute poverty in the world by 50% between 2000 and 2015. And they defined that as $1.90 a day; pretty low you know but you have to start somewhere. We hit that at 2012, three years ahead of schedule. Well, you might be cynical about that and say that it’s an arbitrary number, but the curves are exactly the same $3.80 cents a day and $7.60 a day. Not as many people have hit that but the rate of increase towards that is the same. The bloody U.N. thinks that we’ll be out of poverty defined by a dollar ninety a day by the year 2030. The progress is unparalleled because as rich are getting richer the poor are getting richer too.

Under capitalism, the poor are not getting poorer, but getting richer by a large margin. For example, in Africa the child mortality rate is now the same as the child mortality rate was in Europe in 1952.  That happened within the span of one lifetime. So if you’re for the poor, if you’re actually concerned that the poorest people in the world rise above their starvation levels, then all the evidence suggests that the best way to do that is to implement something approximating a free marke economy.

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Footnote:  Why Marxism is Incompatible with Democracy

The Marxist endgame and democracy’s end

The most basic thing one needs to know about a democratic regime, then, is this: You need to have at least two legitimate political parties for democracy to work. By a legitimate political party, I mean one that is recognized by its rivals as having a right to rule if it wins an election. For example, a liberal party may grant legitimacy to a conservative party (even though they don’t like them much), and in return this conservative party may grant legitimacy to a liberal party (even though they don’t like them much). Indeed, this is the way most modern democratic nations have been governed.

But legitimacy is one of those traditional political concepts that Marxist criticism is now on the verge of destroying.

From the Marxist point of view, our inherited concept of legitimacy is nothing more than an instrument the ruling classes use to perpetuate injustice and oppression. The word legitimacy takes on its true meaning only with reference to the oppressed classes or groups that the Marxist sees as the sole legitimate rulers of the nation. In other words, Marxist political theory confers legitimacy on only one political party—the party of the oppressed, whose aim is the revolutionary reconstitution of society. And this means that the Marxist political framework cannot co-exist with democratic government. Indeed, the entire purpose of democratic government, with its plurality of legitimate parties, is to avoid the violent reconstitution of society that Marxist political theory regards as the only reasonable aim of politics.

Simply put, the Marxist framework and democratic political theory are opposed to one another in principle.

See also Soviet Jokes About Living Under Oppression

Examples:

An old woman asks her granddaughter: “Granddaughter, please explain Communism to me. How will people live under it? They probably teach you all about it in school.”
“Of course they do, Granny. When we reach Communism, the shops will be full–there’ll be butter, and meat, and sausage. You’ll be able to go and buy anything you want…”
“Ah!” exclaimed the old woman joyfully. “Just like it was under the Tsar!”

Q: What’s the difference between a capitalist fairy tale and a Marxist fairy tale?
A: A capitalist fairy tale begins, “Once upon a time, there was….”. A Marxist fairy tale begins, “Some day, there will be….”

A Soviet history professor addressed his university students: “Regarding the final exam, I have good news and bad news. The good news: All the questions are the same as last year. The bad news: Some of the answers are different.”

Zombie Melting Glacier Hype (again)

2035807-robert-frost-quote-some-say-the-world-will-end-in-fire-some-say-inAs we’ve seen many times before, this week Climate Crisis Central put out a scary story about glaciers melting, and captive news outlets dutifully amplified the narrative.  For example, from my news aggregator:

Global satellite data shows how much every glacier on Earth is melting Metro.co.uk

Researchers claim glacier melting has accelerated all around the world Slashgear

Our disappearing glaciers / World will lose 10% of glacier ice even if it hits climate targets The Guardian

A Massive Study of Nearly Every Glacier on Earth Just Revealed a Devastating Trend ScienceAlert

Glacier melt is speeding up, raising seas – study RTE

Global glacier melt is speeding up Swiss Info

Study of nearly every glacier on Earth shows ice loss is speeding up Live Science

Climate change: Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the twenty-first century(Nature) Nature Asia

Glacier melt is speeding up, raising seas: global study France 24

Expert reaction to study looking at global glacier mass loss in the 21st century Science Media Centre

Global glacier retreat has accelerated ETH Zurich

Glacier retreat leading to ‘humanitarian crisis’, says top scientist The Independent

World’s Glaciers Melting Faster Than Ever, With Alaska’s Rate Among ‘Highest on the Planet’ NBC Connecticut

Etc., Etc., Etc.

Yes glaciers individually and seasonally advance and retreat over time, and many people depend on the meltwater to survive. The hype is deceptive in several aspects. Typically, present glacier extents are put into hysterical rather than historical context. Also, the amounts of ice lost are never referenced to the total existing ice mass observed over time. Finally, the attribution of local temperature trends to fossil fuels emissions is presumed without evidence of causation. Some examples of sound scientific analyses provide an antidote to the glaciermania.

Alpine Glaciers Wax and Wane, Don’t Panic

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Prof. em. Christian Schlüchter is a geologist and has studied the glaciers of the Alps in great detail. He reports the findings of very old timber in and below glaciers and what those trees taught him about the glacial epochs of the Alps.  One of the most intuitive finds of Schlüchter’s is this huge tree trunk, found at a glacier tongue (see the most beautiful glacier snout behind!).

schluechterbaum

This place nowadays is clearly above the limit of vegetation and still there is this tree which attracted Schlüchter’s curiosity and fuelled his research: How old is it? Where and under what conditions has it grown and why is it here.

The key message from his slides is that all of these records were left in times when the alpine glacier extent was smaller than in 2005.

Warm periods: more life

The timberline was at least 300 meters higher which indicates a minimum of 1.8° C higher temperatures. An example of this gives Hannibal, who managed to cross the Alps with elephants because the higher regions were much less covered by ice than in recent centuries.

Warm periods: more civilization

As his summary, Schlüchter gave the following facts:

  • More than 50% of the last 11000 years alpine glaciers were smaller than 2005
  • This fact he baptized, “dominance of the Hannibalistic world”
  • Alpine glaciers have shown huge dynamics
  • Events of glacier growth were fast and short
  • The little ice age (from the end of the medieval warm period to about 1850) was the longest glacier extension since the last ice age 12000 years ago
  • Every warming followed an accelerated glacier growth

And more recent news Alpine glaciers are not going away:  Alps Winter Warming “Not Significant”…”Astonishing Contrast Between Official Measurements And Public Opinion”

Austrian researcher skeptic Günther Aigner examined 12 mountains stations across the Alps, spanning Switzerland, Germany and Austria, in order to find out how winter temperatures have developed over the past 50 years.  The temperature data from 12 mountain stations in the European Alps show no winter warming in over 30 years, contradicting alarmist claims.

For more on presentations at the 2019 Munich Climate Realism conference that was interrupted by Antifa thugs see post Munich Climate Conference 2019

Alaska Great for Picking Cherries

Alaska 2019 and 2020

Background from 2017 post Glaciermania

The Weather Network (who do a decent job on local weather forecasting) are currently raving about Glaciers:

You know climate change is getting serious when rivers are resorting to piracy.

Canadian geomorphologist Dr. Daniel Shugar and his team headed to the Yukon last year to study changes in the flow of the Slims River, only to find out the river was gone.

The Slims, which was fed by the Kaskawulsh glacier, has become the victim of the first case of what’s known as river piracy in modern recorded history.

The team’s investigation soon turned up the culprit – the retreat of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, which has been retreating thanks to more than a century of climate warming.

What Actually Happened

web_0416-nw-na-climatemap

For context and scientific perspective we can turn to papers like this one:  Contemporary Glacier Processes and Global Change: Recent Observations from Kaskawulsh Glacier and the Donjek Range, St. Elias Mountains 

One of the most iconic and best studied outlet glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains, Kaskawulsh Glacier was the focus of much glaciological research during the Icefield Ranges Research Project between the 1960s and early 1970s  and contemporary studies suggest that the glacier is temperate throughout. The current area of Kaskawulsh Glacier is ~1095 km2. Ice thicknesses range from 539 m near the topographic divide with the upper Hubbard Glacier and ~500 m at the confluence of the north and central arms at ~1750 m asl to 778 m at ~1600 m asl. The equilibrium line altitude is estimated from 2007 late summer satellite imagery as 1958 m asl, and it appears to have changed little since the 1970s.

The size of Kaskawulsh Glacier has varied considerably through time, with radiocarbon dating suggesting that it expanded by tens of kilometres into the Shakwak Valley (currently occupied by Kluane Lake) ~30 kya during the Wisconsinan Glaciation. In the historical past, Borns and Goldthwait (1966) mapped three sets of Little Ice Age moraines in the glacier forefield on the basis of distinctive variations in vegetation cover, morphology, and the ages of trees and shrubs.

Kaskawulsh Glacier was advancing by the early 1500s and reached its maximum recent position by approximately AD 1680. A recent study based on tree-ring dates suggests that the Slims River lobe reached its greatest Little Ice Age extent in the mid-1750s, whereas the Kaskawulsh River lobe reached its maximum extent around 1717. However, it appears that the glacier did not start retreating from this position until the early to middle 1800s. The recent discovery of a Geological Survey of Canada map of the glacier terminus from 1900 to 1904 indicates that the glacier was still in a forward position at that time, suggesting that most of the terminus retreat occurred in the 20th century.

Recent studies conducted by researchers at the University of Alaska and the University of Ottawa indicate that ice losses from Kaskawulsh Glacier have continued through the latter half of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century, although evidence for any recent acceleration in loss rates is equivocal.

Of the 19 glacierized regions of the world outside of the ice sheets, the region including the St. Elias Mountains made the second highest glaciological contribution to global sea level during the period 1961 – 2000. Only Arctic Canada is expected to exceed this region in sea-level contribution over the 21st century.

The St. Elias Mountains exhibit high interannual variability in ice mass change, which is due in part to the abundance of surge-type and tidewater glaciers in different stages of their respective cycles. Ice dynamics can be a confounding influence when attempting to isolate the effects of climate as an external driver of glacier change. 

About the Two Gorilla Glaciers

World Land Ice Mass

A webpage What is the global volume of land ice and how is it changing? at Antarctic Glaciers.org provides some basic statistics for perspective on land ice.  They provide this table:

World ice table AG org

Notice what they’ve done with this graphic.  A different measure of ice volume hides the proportion of ice melt, covering up how myopic and lop-sided is the alarmist case.  Let’s look at the same table revised with comparable metrics.

World ice table in Gt

 

Now the realities are obvious  99% of the world land ice is on top of Antarctica (88%) and Greenland (11%).  All the fuss in the media above concerns fluctuations in less than 1% of glacier mass.  Secondly, the bottom line is should present melt rates continue ( a big if ) the world would lose 3% of land ice in 1000 years.  Note also the wide range of estimates of the smallest category of glaciers, and also the uncertain reported volume change for East Antarctica.  Note that the melt rates are for 2012 to 2016, leaving out lower previous rates and periods when ice mass gained.

Add to this a recent analysis NASA Surface Station Data Show East Antarctica NOT WARMING Past 4 Decades…Cooling Trend.  

See also Blinded by Antarctica Reports

As for Greenland ice sheet, read the recent research at post  Oh No! Greenland Melts in Virtual Reality “Experiments”.  Excerpts below:

The scare du jour is about Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and how it will melt out and flood us all.  It’s declared that GIS has passed its tipping point, and we are doomed.  Typical is the Phys.org hysteria: Sea level rise quickens as Greenland ice sheet sheds record amount:  “Greenland’s massive ice sheet saw a record net loss of 532 billion tonnes last year, raising red flags about accelerating sea level rise, according to new findings.”

gis-smb-2017-to-2020

Panic is warranted only if you treat this as proof of an alarmist narrative and ignore the facts and context in which natural variation occurs. For starters, consider the last four years of GIS fluctuations reported by DMI and summarized in the eight graphs above.  Note the noisy blue lines showing how the surface mass balance (SMB) changes its daily weight by 8 or 10 gigatonnes (Gt) around the baseline mean from 1981 to 2010.  Note also the summer decrease between May and August each year before recovering to match or exceed the mean.

The other four graphs show the accumulation of SMB for each of the last four years including 2020.  Tipping Point?  Note that in both 2017 and 2018, SMB ended about 500 Gt higher than the year began, and way higher than 2012, which added nothing.  Then came 2019 dropping below the mean, but still above 2012.  Lastly, this year is matching the 30-year average.  Note also that the charts do not integrate from previous years; i.e. each year starts at zero and shows the accumulation only for that year.  Thus the gains from 2017 and 2018 do not result in 2019 starting the year up 1000 Gt, but from zero.

Summary

So it is a familiar story. A complex naturally fluctuating situation, in this case glaciers, is abused by activists to claim support for their agenda. I have a lot of respect for glaciologists; it is a deep, complex subject, and the field work is incredibly challenging. And since “glacial” describes any process where any movement is imperceptible, I can understand their excitement over something happening all of a sudden.

But I do not applaud those pandering to the global warming/climate change crowd. They seem not to realize they debase their own field of study by making exaggerated claims and by “jumping the shark.”

Meanwhile real scientists are doing the heavy lifting and showing restraint and wisdom about the limitations of their knowledge.

kyvp5x

 

 

2021 Class Warfare: The Elite vs. The Middle

Aristotle Middle Class Edward Ring explains in his essay at American Greatness Why America’s Elites Want to End the Middle Class.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Feudalism is a viable alternative to tolerating a middle class, especially lucrative to the multinational corporations and globalist billionaires that hide this agenda behind a moral masquerade.

It doesn’t require a conspiracy theorist to suggest these wholesale shifts in American culture are not happening by accident. Nor are they solely the result of nefarious intent, at least not among everyone occupying the highest rungs of power and influence in America. What motivates members of the American elite, billionaires and corporate boards alike, to approve of these radical changes?

Unsustainable Prosperity for Me, But Not for Thee?

One answer comes down to this: They believe the lifestyle of the American middle class is not sustainable, because the planet does not have the carrying capacity to extend an American level of consumption to everyone in the world. By dividing and confusing the American people, while wielding the moral bludgeons of saving the planet and eliminating racism, policies can be implemented that will break the American middle class and habituate them to expect less.

In the name of saving the planet, for example, new suburbs will become almost impossible to construct. Single-family detached homes with yards will be stigmatized as both unsustainable and racist, and to mitigate these evils, subsidized apartments will replace homes, with rent subsidized occupants. As America’s population grows via mass immigration, the footprint of cities will remain fixed. The politically engineered housing shortage will force increasing numbers of Americans into subsidized housing.

All of this is already happening, but it’s just getting started.
Similar cramdowns will occur with respect to all social amenities that consume resources.

Land is just the primary example, but water, energy, and transportation will all be affected. This new political economy will also depopulate rural areas—through corporate consolidation of farmland as regulations and resource costs drive small operations under and through punitive regulations and insurance burdens driving people out of the “urban-wildland interface.” Outside of major cities, for the most part, the only people left will be extremely wealthy landowners and corporate employees.

Joel Kotkin, who has studied and written about demographics and migrations for years, recently authored The Coming of Neo Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. Of all the shorthand descriptions for the political economy that is coming, feudalism may be the best fit. As Kotkin puts it:

The new class structure resembles that of Medieval times. At the apex of the new order are two classes―a reborn clerical elite, the clerisy, which dominates the upper part of the professional ranks, universities, media and culture, and a new aristocracy led by tech oligarchs with unprecedented wealth and growing control of information. These two classes correspond to the old French First and Second Estates.

Below these two classes lies what was once called the Third Estate. This includes the yeomanry, which is made up largely of small businesspeople, minor property owners, skilled workers and private-sector-oriented professionals. Ascendant for much of modern history, this class is in decline while those below them, the new Serfs, grow in numbers―a vast, expanding property-less population.

Both Kotkin and Hanson assert that the trend towards feudalism can be reversed if people understand what is occurring and react effectively. To that end, it is necessary to understand that behind the obvious benefit these new rules have in service of the elites and their interests, there is a moral pretext. How solid is that pretext, that America’s middle class is not sustainable?

It All Comes Down to Energy

Energy is the prerequisite for economic growth. If you have abundant energy, you can have abundant water, transportation, communications, light, heat, mechanized agriculture, refrigerated medicines; everything. And the cold fact confronting America’s elites is this: For everyone on earth to consume half as much energy as Americans consume, total energy production worldwide would have to more than double.

Can America’s middle class sustain its current lifestyle while consuming half as much energy as it does today? Or is it feasible for energy production in the world not merely to double, but quadruple? And if that can be done, is it possible without paying too high a price in terms of environmental impact? And if it cannot be done, can the American experience, which is to enjoy a lifestyle many times greater than that enjoyed by most of the rest of the people on earth, be justified? And if so, why?

These are tough questions. Unequivocal, simple answers to these questions do not exist. But the conventional answer that motivates America’s elites must nonetheless be challenged, because until it is, they will cloak their consolidation of power and their elimination of America’s middle class in the moral imperatives of saving the planet and eliminating racism.

It may seem illogical to suppose the “systemic racism” canard is more easily disposed of, but that’s only because racism, by design, is the ongoing obsession in American media and politics. Despite this well-engineered obsession, resolute opposition to “anti-racist” racism is growing because it is an obvious lie. Racism, from all sources, still exists. But systemic racism against nonwhites, from every angle you look at it in modern American society, simply does not exist. Politicians, journalists, and academics need to find the courage to explain the facts and turn the tide. It can be done.

Saving the planet, on the other hand, is a moral imperative with ongoing urgency.

This urgency may be divided into two broad categories. The first is the traditional concerns of environmentalists, to preserve wildlife and wilderness, and reduce or eliminate sources of pollution. While environmentalists, especially in the United States, often go way too far in addressing these traditional concerns, these are genuine moral imperatives that must be balanced against the economic needs of civilization. This is an important but manageable debate.

The second, new concern of environmentalists, however, is the “climate emergency.” Grossly overblown, hyped for reasons that are transparently opportunistic, fraught with potential for tyranny and punitively expensive, the “climate emergency,” more than anything else, is the moral justification for destroying the American middle class.

In the name of saving the climate, federal and certain state authorities are restricting fossil fuel development, despite the fact that fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—still produce 85 percent of worldwide energy, with nuclear and hydropower making up another 11 percent. If energy production is going to double, which at a minimum it must, how on earth will that be accomplished without fossil fuel? It is impossible.

And the planners who are suppressing fossil fuel development worldwide know it. By creating shortages and raising prices for everything, they intend to reduce median rates of consumption in America to a fraction of what it is today, and render a middle-class lifestyle completely out of reach to the average American.

In doing so, they’ll amass even more wealth for themselves.

The Better Way Forward

There is another path. By focusing on the most likely predictions instead of the most catastrophic, nations can focus on climate resiliency—something which is a good idea anyway—while continuing to develop clean fossil fuel and also continuing to develop leapfrog technologies such as nuclear fusion. The environmental benefit of this approach is tangible and profound: with energy comes prosperity, with prosperity comes lower birthrates. With energy, inviting urban centers are possible, and urbanization takes pressure off wilderness. In both cases, with abundant energy, people voluntarily choose to limit their family size and move to cities.

A moral case for fossil fuels can outweigh the supposedly moral case against fossil fuel. Americans have to be willing to fight that fight, along with every other tyrannical edict attendant to the “climate emergency,” starting with the restrictions on urban expansion and single-family homes.

With adherence to the principles and culture that made America great—competition, private ownership, rule of law, minimizing corruption, and rewarding innovation—America’s middle class can survive and grow. But feudalism is a viable alternative, especially lucrative to the multinational corporations and globalist billionaires who will never call it by that name, hiding instead behind a moral masquerade.

Background from Joel Kotkin Modern Politics Seen as Classes Power Game

See also Unmasking Biden’s Climate Shakedown

gv020921dapr20210209064505

 

Revolution: Sentiment Now Overrules Sense

election-meddling-meghan-markle-all-but-endorses-joe-biden-crossing-political-line-that-is-off

Dominic Green describes the sociopolitical coup in his Spectator article Meghan ’n’ Joe’s empire of the sentiments.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Biden dispenses serotonin the way Barack Obama dispensed drone strikes

If your facts don’t care about my feelings, then my feelings aren’t obliged to care about your facts. The facts in Joe Biden’s energetic, inspiring and exhilarating address to the nation last night were frequently as unsteady as the speaker. But the feelings that Biden expressed were, unlike the previous president who must not be named, unimpeachable.

He knows how it feels, he said with that now-customary surge of anger, as if he’s not fully in control of his frontal cortex. And we know how it feels when someone says they know how we feel. Consider everything fixed: COVID, racism, opioids, deficits, the collapse of the schools, the children at the border. The Therapeute-in-Chief is here, dispensing serotonin the way Barack Obama dispensed drone strikes.

It doesn’t matter whether Biden means what he says, any more that it matters whether Meghan Markle told the truth when she implied that her son was denied a prince’s title because he might have dark skin. It’s the feelings that matter: feelings of security, empathy and contentment, and especially the feeling that Nietzsche correctly foresaw as the root feeling of modern life, resentment.

quote-resentment-is-like-drinking-poison-and-then-hoping-it-will-kill-your-enemies-nelson-mandela-38-6-0685

The result is the rule of sentiment over thought and symbols over reality. The Biden administration didn’t invent the moral and humanitarian disaster at the southern border. But it has produced a new crisis by altering the laws to satisfy sentiment.

It feels cruel to return unaccompanied minors, as the Trump administration did, and to hold them in prison-like conditions, as both the Obama and Trump administrations did. But the fact is, Biden’s policies have fostered a greater cruelty.

Biden has created new incentives for human trafficking and the worse kinds of child exploitation.

The result is a surge in border crossings that even a professional euphemist like secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calls ‘overwhelming’, and the spectacle of would-be illegal immigrants kneeling at the border while wearing t-shirts reading ‘Biden let us in’.

kid-migrants-913x479-1

This is what Biden gets for taking a knee as a craven genuflection to BLM. This is what he gets for accusing Donald Trump of being a racist and sadist for caging unaccompanied minors — even though Biden was vice president when the cages were built, and even though Biden now presides over a greater influx. And this is what we get: a theater of the sentiments, in which the actors and audience are so jaded that their senses and check books can only be stimulated by that reliable and obscene soap-opera trick, putting children’s lives in the balance.

Asked if the word ‘crisis’ applied, the President’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, refuses to call it anything at all — because she would feel bad, and we would feel bad, and Biden would look bad, if we called it for what it is. It is easier for the administration to resent the Mexican children for putting us in this moral bind, and resent the Republicans, who aren’t short of their own resentments when it comes to immigration, for making hay with it.

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The fact is that this is a crisis. It reflects the corrupt failure of Washington DC and the cold self-interest of corporations who want cheap labor, unions who don’t want it, and, in the middle, the upper-middle-class donors who dislike foreigners who don’t speak English, but need them to bus their tables, do their lawns and wipe their children’s backsides.

Given the complexities of the facts and the appeal of a flight into sentiment, it’s no wonder that this week the administration and media did direct us to pity the children. Meghan and Harry, that is.

Jennifer Psaki commends Meghan and Harry for the ‘courage’ it took to sit down with Oprah and make unsubstantiated allegations against his family. Their kind of fact-light, sentiment-heavy self-promotion and self-therapy was, Psaki told us, one of the areas that Biden is ‘committed to in the future’.

alg031221dapr20210312044519

Biden’s increasingly vague routines of empathy are the symbolic face and velvet glove of a bureaucracy of the sentiments whose offices run from government to the media.

Biden is very old. After him, the gloves will be off and the face will be hardened with more than Botox. We’ll get this decayed form of democracy good and hard, and we’ll be told it should feel good. And that’s a fact.

sentiments over sense

See also Head, Heart and Science

How to Know a Liberal from a Leftist by Asking

Denis Prager explores how to query a friend, relative or colleague to see if they are open to discussion, or locked into a fixed ideology.  His article is Questions to Determine Whether a Friend or Relative Is a Liberal or a Leftist.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

The great tragedy of our time is that liberals vote left.

Virtually every value liberals have held for a century is now held by conservatives and scorned by leftists. Therefore, America, in serious jeopardy of being lost, will be saved when people convince the liberals in their life that the left, not the conservative, is their enemy.

This process begins by establishing whether a friend or relative is a liberal or a leftist. If it turns out that he or she is a liberal, it is worth engaging in respectful dialogue on the issues of the day. If the friend or relative is a leftist, you can probably only talk about innocuous subjects such as the weather (though not about global warming) or sports (though not about players taking a knee during the national anthem). If you talk about the great issues of the day with a left-wing friend or relative, that could be the last time you talk to each other. He or she is likely to unfriend you not only on social media but also in life. Leftists generally do not dialogue; they dismiss.

Here are questions you might want to pose to friends/relatives to determine—as much for them as for you—whether they are liberal or left.

Race
  • Many universities now have all-black dormitories, and some have all-black graduation exercises. Do you support these developments?
  • The University of California has declared this statement racist: “There is only one race—the human race.” Do you agree with the University of California, or do you agree with the statement?
  • Is the goal of being “colorblind”—doing one’s best to ignore a person’s color and concentrating only on the person’s character and personality—a noble goal or a racist one?
  • Do you believe the color of a person’s skin tells you anything of importance about that person?
  • Do you agree that all white Americans are racist?
  • If your answer is yes, would you tell the millions of blacks in Africa and the Caribbean who wish to emigrate to America that they would be making a poor decision? If not, why not?
  • Is it possible for a black person to be a racist?
  • Is it racist to claim that Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the greatest music ever composed?
  • Is the national anthem racist?
  • If your answer is yes, what would you like to put in its place?
  • The English department at the University of Pennsylvania removed its painting of William Shakespeare because he was a white European male. Do you agree with that decision?

America
  • Do you agree with The New York Times’ “1619 Project” that America was not founded in 1776 but in 1619 with the first arrival of black slaves in North America, and that the Revolutionary War was fought in order to preserve slavery?
  • Should statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln be taken down?
  • Has the United States, overall, made the world a better place?
  • Would America be better, worse, or the same as now if all Americans dropped their religion and became secular?
  • Has capitalism been a net-plus for America and the world?
  • Everyone would like to improve America. Some would like to, in their words, “fundamentally transform” it. Would you?
  • Could a good person have voted for Donald Trump in 2020?
  • Do you believe that CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the rest of the mainstream media are biased toward the left or try to present the news as accurately as possible?
  • Should America have full control over its borders to prevent illegal immigration?
  • There are between 11 and 30 million people in America who entered the country illegally. Should they all be put on a path to citizenship?
  • Should those who enter America illegally be called “undocumented immigrants” or “illegal immigrants”?
  • Do you believe police departments should be defunded, or at least have their budgets severely cut?
  • Should the government provide vouchers to enable parents to choose what school their child attends?
  • Which school do you believe is more likely to be attacked by a gunman: one that has a sign in front that reads, “Gun-Free Zone” or one that reads, “This School Has Armed Personnel”?

Men and Women
  • Should it be legal for a teenage girl to have her breasts surgically removed because she identifies as a male—or should there be a minimum age of 18 or 21?
  • Schoolteachers have been told to stop calling students “boys and girls” because a student might not identify as either male or female. Do you agree with this policy?
  • Should biological males who identify as females be allowed to compete against biological females in sports?
  • Is the statement, “Men give birth” science-based?
  • Do you agree with the practice of inviting a drag queen into public libraries and elementary school classrooms to conduct a “Drag Queen Story Hour”?

    Speech
  • Do you believe that free speech allows for hate speech, or should hate speech be banned?
  • If you believe hate speech should be banned, who do you believe should determine what is hate speech?

You might want to send these questions to the people in your life whose views are to the left of your own.

At best, you (and they) will realize that you have more in common than either of you previously thought. At the very least, their answers will bring you both clarity. And at worst, they will explain why there is a rift between you—and why you might want to restrict communication to weather, sports, recipes, and warm memories.

Path Out of Covid Nightmare

WSJ posted an interview with Dr. Makary at a post The Perpetual Covid Crisis.  Some comments in italics wtih my bolds.

The lockdown lobby persists despite the vaccine rollout.

 

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/embed/wall-street-journal/wsj-opinion-path-covid-nightmare-204330227.html

Vaccination rates in Texas and other states have been increasing while hospitalizations are plunging. About one in five adults in Texas has received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Most are seniors and people with health conditions who are at highest risk of severe illness. Hospitalizations in Texas have fallen more than 60% since a mid-January peak.

Politicians created a box canyon with lockdowns last spring that were originally intended to “flatten the curve.” But then every time governors loosened restrictions and cases ticked up, Democrats would demand lockdowns. Not that lockdowns (or mask mandates) much helped California or New York, which experienced bigger surges this winter than Florida did with neither.

Background from Previous Post  Immunity by Easter?

Could it be that doors and societies will open and life be reborn as early as Easter 2021?  That depends upon lockdown politicians and scientists who advise them.  One such is Dr. Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, chief medical adviser to Sesame Care, and author of “The Price We Pay.”.  His article at Wall Street Journal is We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Covid cases have dropped 77% in six weeks. Experts should level with the public about the good news.

Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing.

Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.

Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008—90 years later—to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.

In my own conversations with medical experts, I have noticed that they too often dismiss natural immunity, arguing that we don’t have data. The data certainly doesn’t fit the classic randomized-controlled-trial model of the old-guard medical establishment. There’s no control group. But the observational data is compelling.

I have argued for months that we could save more American lives if those with prior Covid-19 infection forgo vaccines until all vulnerable seniors get their first dose. Several studies demonstrate that natural immunity should protect those who had Covid-19 until more vaccines are available. Half my friends in the medical community told me: Good idea. The other half said there isn’t enough data on natural immunity, despite the fact that reinfections have occurred in less than 1% of people—and when they do occur, the cases are mild.

But the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.

My prediction that Covid-19 will be mostly gone by April is based on laboratory data, mathematical data, published literature and conversations with experts. But it’s also based on direct observation of how hard testing has been to get, especially for the poor. If you live in a wealthy community where worried people are vigilant about getting tested, you might think that most infections are captured by testing. But if you have seen the many barriers to testing for low-income Americans, you might think that very few infections have been captured at testing centers. Keep in mind that most infections are asymptomatic, which still triggers natural immunity.

Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.

Herd immunity has been well-documented in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where researchers in the Lancet reported the prevalence of prior Covid-19 infection to be 76%, resulting in a significant slowing of the infection. Doctors are watching a new strain that threatens to evade prior immunity. But countries where new variants have emerged, such as the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, are also seeing significant declines in daily new cases. The risk of new variants mutating around the prior vaccinated or natural immunity should be a reminder that Covid-19 will persist for decades after the pandemic is over. It should also instill a sense of urgency to develop, authorize and administer a vaccine targeted to new variants.

Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.

Don’t Fence Me In!

Why Team Left Cheats More than Team Right

One of the few pleasures remaining during pandemania involves sports competitions where rules are followed and enforced by unbiased officials, so that teams or individuals win or lose based solely on the merit of their performances.  Elsewhere with identity politics and political correctness, it is a different story.  People on the right perceive accurately that their opponents on the left are not bound by the rules, and break them readily in order to win.

Brent E. Hamachek explains in his blog post Why They Cheat-a look at the behavioral differences between Team Right and Team Left.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

America is divided into two political teams; Team Right and Team Left. As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris assume office, many Team Right members are still trying to come to terms with the results of the 2020 election. They feel certain that Team Left cheated in a variety of ways in order to produce enough votes to secure victory.

Setting aside the MSM’s agreed-upon talking points of “baseless accusations” of election fraud and their “despite there being no evidence to support such claims” mantra, we now know that there was significant evidence of election tampering. That is actually a “fact” about which I’ve previously written. It is also, at this point, irrelevant. Joe Biden is in office. Focusing on 2020 election cheating is fine for investigators in various states if they so choose (there will be no federal investigation), but it is not helpful for ordinary citizens who would like to reverse trends.

The more helpful issue to explore in order to make a difference going forward is in answering this question: Why do Team Left members seem to be more willing to cheat than do Team Right members?

This is a question, I believe, that we can answer without needing any sort of physical proof. We can prove it solely through the use of our reason and with a clear understanding of the ethical structure, and attendant influences on behavior, of modern-day Team Left members (many of whom were election officials and vote counters).

When the typical person says they are “ethical,” they really mean that in their mind the things they do are the right things to do. This suggests a sort of self-legislating capability on the part of each person to know right from wrong. An idea like this can be found in the work of famous philosophers ranging from Immanuel Kant, to Karl Marx, to many others. They argue that each person is capable of such self-legislating and engage in the process constantly.

Very few people realize that there are actual ethical systems that have been “constructed” to help direct us on the path to making consistent and appropriate decisions as to how to act and behave in any given situation. We have the above-referenced Kant’s categorical imperative (if what I’m thinking of doing now were a rule that everyone had to follow, would it be workable for society?). We have Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism (pure cost-benefit analysis) or John Stuart Mill’s more refined and kinder version, which calls for for cost-benefit analysis with an allowance for the subjective nature of “higher” human values.

There are a number of ways to view the development and deployment of moral and ethical behavior, but the typical person knows little, if any, of this. Yet they will tell you that they are ethical, and others are not. By what standard? How do they know? This logical dilemma, by the way, exists in people whether they were supporters of Donald Trump or Joe Biden; whether they are members of Team Right or Team Left. There is absolutely no difference in that respect. There is a difference we will get to eventually, but it does not involve ethics.

Hobbes was right!

It is my opinion, based upon many years of studying political philosophy, working in a large corporate environment, working with and running privately owned businesses, and doing political advising and writing, that the greatest of all the political philosophers, the one who got the most important thing right, was Englishman Thomas Hobbes. Born in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada, it is said that his mother went into premature labor upon seeing the ships off the English coast, thereby birthing poor Thomas out of fear.

Hobbes spent the rest of his life focusing on the fearful nature of humans, among other things.

He is the father of social contract theory, which describes man’s compact to enter into civil society as a way to control his more primitive impulses. He is famous for his line about man’s life in the state of nature, before the social contract, which he describes as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes suggested that, owing to their nature, men are unable to be left to govern themselves without stern direction. His diagnosis of us as people? Fearful and self-destructive. His prescription? A strong sovereign.

Hobbes is also the father of the idea of moral relativism. His contention is that, for the typical human, their calculation of whether or not something is “right or wrong” is nothing more than a reduction to looking at things that please them and things that offend them. They maximize the one and avoid the other. In that process, they create their own morality, or set of ethics, that is based solely upon their own desires and aversions.

My own fifty-eight years of study and empirical observations have led me to conclude that this theory of human behavior and ethical development most accurately describes the greatest number of people Assuming a human population existing under a bell curve, Hobbes’s ethical construct describes the greatest number of people gathered around the mean.

At this point you might think I’m suggesting that Biden supporters, Team Left members, are moral relativists and Trump supporters, Team Right members, are not. That somehow I believe we are inherently better creatures than are they. You’d be wrong. I am not. I believe that most people are moral relativists in general, and even that people who attempt to operate under a more disciplined structure of ethics, including the Christian ethic, can become moral relativists at the very moment that they find themselves placed most at risk.

Survival is in our nature. When it is in jeopardy, even the most truly righteous can attempt to hedge their ethical bets.

Since I am concluding that there is no fundamental difference in ethics between the typical Trump or the typical Biden supporter, why go through all the trouble to share this background on ethics? After all, the purpose is to demonstrate how we can prove that Team Left members are more likely to cheat. I walked through the ethical piece because people typically consider cheating to be “unethical.” Yet it happens, and it happens more by their team than by ours.

To understand why, I believe we need to look beyond ethics and consider Tom Hanks, World War II, and the ancient Stoics.

Duty as a differentiator

Love or hate his personal life and politics, Tom Hanks makes spectacular movies and is especially good in war roles. A few months back, I had a chance to watch him in the Apple Television release of Greyhound. It is a story based on the U.S. Navy convoys that brought supplies and armaments across the Atlantic during World War II. It is not a long film, but it is nonstop action packed. For ninety minutes, there is nothing but German U-boat peril. American sailors show incredible courage, some losing their lives, others saving lives, up against challenging odds.
What happens to make men so courageous in one moment and so devoid of any kind of ethical or moral compass in the next? I think the answer lies in the notion of duty. Those men on the ship with Tom Hanks in that movie were driven in those moments by a higher calling. They had a sense of duty. Some, when they returned home, for whatever reason might have lost their way; found themselves left with no higher calling. Absent duty, they were left with only their own personal moral and ethical framework in which to operate. Given moral relativism, they became able to justify almost any behavior.

This notion of duty is a very Stoic concept. Stoicism, which dates back to Ancient Greece, emphasizes duty and the importance of virtue. There were four attributes of virtue: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Doing one’s duty was central to the Stoics. Duty manifested itself in more than just following orders; it meant adhering to the four key elements of virtue and to keeping in sync with all of nature.

One does not have to buy into all of Stoic philosophy to grasp the importance of duty. It is with duty that we can begin to answer our question: How can we know that Team Left members will cheat?

The answer lies in the absence of a sense of duty to something outside themselves. The typical contemporary Team Left member does not have any external force that commands him or her to “behave better.”

Again, operating under the bell curve, the mainstream Trump supporter tries to follow either the voice of God, the call of patriotism, or both. Both are external to themselves. Both set standards for behavior that transcend their own personal calculations of convenience. Both provide fairly clear direction, either through Scripture or the Constitution. Both rest like weights upon their shoulders, burdening them with a non-ignorable sense of obligation.

It doesn’t mean they won’t fail. It doesn’t mean they will not behave badly. It simply means they have a better chance of making a better choice than does a person who is not encumbered by any sense of duty other than to themselves. Duty is typically viewed as a call to act. It can just as easily be seen as the antithesis to action, which means it can inhibit. I must because it’s my duty. I must not because it betrays my duty.

Common responses I have received from Team Left members over the years when I ask them about feeling a sense of duty include:

• I have a duty to those around me.

• I have a duty to those less fortunate than myself.

• I have a duty to humanity.

The shared characteristic of each of those “duties” is that although they sound as if they reside “outside” the individual, they are wholly subjective with regard to their definition. Each individual person gets to define their “duty to others” however they see fit. There is no separate standard. For those focused on a Christian duty, there is the reasonable clarity of the Bible. For those who pledge allegiance to the United States of America, there is our Constitution bolstered by the original Declaration of Independence.

For those, however, who say that they simply have a duty to help “others,” the others can be whomever they so choose, and need whatever kind of help it is the helper decides they should provide.

Machiavelli provides the final element

To succinctly summarize my thoughts to this point, it is my personal belief that the members of Team Right are not inherently any more ethical than are their counterparts on Team Left. When it comes right down to it, individual to individual, most people are basic moral relativists as identified and defined by Hobbes, and given no other considerations, most people conduct themselves under an ethical code that is simply one of convenience.

The difference between the two is that those who answer to a calling of duty that is outside themselves and more objective than subjective in nature can have their individual passions held in check. It gives their better angels a chance to be heard and followed.

Machiavelli’s statement about ends and means explains why the modern-day Team Left member, almost always a Democrat, is so willing to cheat. Existing as a typical moral relativist where little to nothing is malum in se, and being for the most part unconstrained by a sense of duty other than that which they conveniently self-define, any sort of activity is permissible so long as they end up getting what they want. They give cover to this behavior by saying their actions are necessary to “help others.” As has been shown, that statement can mean whatever they want it to mean.

By our nature as humans, we are flawed and sinful creatures. That goes for Trump supporters as well as those who lined up behind Joe Biden. The difference is that for those of us who truly have a good old-fashioned love for God, country, or both, we have a voice outside ourselves warning us to control our nature. It asks us to heed a higher calling. It limits us in a way that is beneficial to maintaining an ordered, predictable, and just society.

Those who operate without that sense of duty are left to do whatever their free will wishes, unbound by any real constraints. They can justify their actions through the simple pleasure they feel or the pain they avoid. Their ends always can justify their means.  That is why they cheat. That is how we can use our reason to know they cheat.

Postscript:  Dennis Prager sees the left/right distinction in terms of focus on politics vs. persons.

That’s a major difference between the right and the left, concerning the way each seeks to improve society. Conservatives believe that the way to a better society is almost always through the moral improvement of the individual by each person doing battle with his or her own weaknesses, and flaws. It is true that in violent and evil society such as fascist Communist or Islam is tyrannies, the individual must be preoccupied with battling outside forces. Almost everywhere else, though, certainly in a free and decent country such as America, the greatest Battle of the individual must be with inner forces, that is with his or her moral failings.

The left on the other hand, believes that the way to a better society is almost always through doing battle with society’s moral failings. Thus, in America, the left concentrates its efforts on combating sexism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and the many other evils that the left believes permeate American society.

One important consequence of this left right distinction is that those on the left are far more preoccupied with politics than those on the Right. Since the left is so much more interested in fixing society than in fixing the individual, politics inevitably becomes the vehicle for societal improvement. That’s why whenever the term activist is used, we almost always assume that the term refers to someone on the left.

See also: Left and Right on Climate (and so much else)

See also: Climate Science, Ethics and Religion

 

 

 

Preview Senate Briefing on Election Wrongdoing

As the cartoon suggests, the media is covering up rather than reporting the election issues.  Yesterday in a zoom conference state senators from the battlegrounds got a briefing on wrongdoing spoiling the 2020 Presidential election.  The materials may provide a preview of what will be publicly aired on January 6, 2021, when US Representatives and Senators challenge the electors from those states.  The full documentation is available at:

Evidence of voter, ballot, and election irregularities and lawlessness in the presidential election of November 3, 2020

Synopsis

The 2020 election witnessed an unprecedented and coordinated effort through public-private partnerships to improperly and unlawfully influence the election for Mr. Biden by:

1) creating a two-tiered election system in which state and local officials targeted Biden constituencies to turn out the vote while targeting Trump constituencies to depress the vote;

2) using private funds to pay election judges and officials who managed the way ballots were received, accepted, cured, and counted;

3) having private interests dictate or encourage local election officials to violate state laws protecting the integrity of the ballot;

4) consolidating counting centers to justify the delivery of hundreds of thousands of ballots to one location, removing Republicans from their lawful right to view the receipt, handling, and counting of ballots in the consolidated counting centers;

5) initiating scores of lawsuits as early as March of 2020 to undermine ballot integrity measures;

6) accepting and receiving more than $400 million from private interests to dictate terms in which the election would be managed in Democrat strongholds;

7) allowing private interests to gain special access and use of sensitive citizen information maintained by government;

8) benefiting from Big Tech monies and censorship of information;

9) training left-leaning poll workers in Democrat strongholds on how to commit fraud;

10) fighting transparency by resisting legitimate requests to audit and review ballots, ballot envelopes, and computer logs;

11) threatening legislators with criminal investigation and prosecution if they disagreed with blue state executive officials on the election result;

12) locking Republican legislators out of the state capitol to prevent them from meeting and challenging election certification; and

13) engaging in illegal ballot harvesting.

This conduct resulted in an election in which the American people cannot have faith, which violates state law and which should not be certified.

Below are several thousand pages of evidence and hours of video explaining this evidence for your review.

The Case for Ivermectin Covid Regimen

Physicians in many parts of the world needing inexpensive, effective Covid treatments have turned to Ivermectin with encouraging success.  This news is largely ignored, but is now being compiled and promoted by frontline medical caregivers.

Dominican Republic One Example of Ivermectin Results

For example, consider the experience of Dominican Republic, a nation whose primary industry of tourism has been decimated by the pandemic.  At newspaper Dominican Today Doctor explains 99.3% of COVID-19 patients treated with Ivermectin recovered in five days.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

After eight months of active clinical observation and attending about 7 thousand patients of Covid-19 in three medical centers located in Puerto Plata, La Romana, and Punta Cana, Dr. José Natalio Redondo revealed that 99.3% of the symptomatic patients who received care in his emergency services, including the use of Ivermectin, managed to recover in the first five days of recorded symptoms.

The renowned cardiologist and health manager affirmed that Ivermectin’s use against the symptoms of Covid-19 is practically generalized in the country and attributed to this factor, among others, the fact that the risk of dying from this disease in the Dominican Republic is significantly lower than in the United States.

He added that “in a therapeutic format duly tested over the years, infections have always been cured faster and leave fewer sequelae if antimicrobial treatment is applied as early as possible since this allows the use of lower doses of the selected drugs. This has been one of the dogmas that remain in our daily medical practice.”

The key is early treatment.

“From the beginning, our team of medical specialists, who were at the forefront of the battle, led by our emergency physicians, intensivists and internists, raised the need to see this disease in a different way than that proposed by international health organizations, says Dr. Redondo in his report.

And he adds that the Group’s experts proposed the urgency of reorienting the management protocols towards earlier and more timely stages. “We realized that the war was being lost because of the obsession of large groups, agencies, and companies linked to research and production of drugs, to focus their interest almost exclusively on the management of critical patients.

“Our results were immediate; the use of Ivermectin, together with Azithromycin and Zinc (plus the usual vitamins that tend to increase the immune response of individuals) produced an impressive variation in the course of the disease; it was demonstrated that 99.3% of the patients recovered quickly when the treatment was started in the first five days of proven symptoms, with an average of 3.5 days, and a fall of more than 50% in the rate and duration of hospitalizations, and reducing from 9 to 1 the mortality rate, when the treatment was started on time.”

The Global Review of Ivermectin Protocol Studies

The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) provides historical and global perspective on this treatment protocol Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19 Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Recommended Protocol

Despite the growing list of failed therapeutics in COVID-19, the FLCCC recently discovered that ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine, has highly potent real-world, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. This conclusion is based on the increasing study results reporting effectiveness, not only within in-vitro and animal models, but also in numerous clinical trials from centers and countries around the world. Repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes have now been reported when ivermectin is used not only as a prophylactic agent but also in mild, moderate, and even severe disease states from multiple, large, randomized and observational controlled trials. Further, data showing impacts on population wide health outcomes have resulted from multiple large “natural experiments” that appear to have occurred when various regional health ministries and governmental authorities within South American countries initiated “ivermectin distribution” campaigns to their citizen populations in the hopes the drug would prove effective. The tight, reproducible, temporally associated decreases in case counts and case fatality rates in each of those regions compared to nearby regions without such campaigns, suggest that ivermectin is proving to be a global solution to the pandemic. This is now further evidenced by the recent incorporation of ivermectin as a prophylaxis and treatment agent for COVID19 in the national treatment guidelines of Egypt as well as the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India, populated by 210 million people.

[The article provides a comprehensive review of the available efficacy data as of November 8, 2020, taken from in-vitro, animal, clinical, and real-world studies all showing the above impacts of ivermectin in COVID-19.]

The FLCCC recommendation is based on the following set of conclusions derived from the existing data, which will be comprehensively reviewed below:

1) Since 2012, multiple in-vitro studies have demonstrated that Ivermectin inhibits the replication of many viruses, including influenza, Zika, Dengue and others (19–27).

2) Ivermectin inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication, leading to absence of nearly all viral material by 48h in infected cell cultures (28).

3) Ivermectin has potent anti-inflammatory properties with in-vitro data demonstrating profound inhibition of both cytokine production and transcription of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), the most potent mediator of inflammation (29–31).

4) Ivermectin significantly diminishes viral load and protects against organ damage in multiple animal models when infected with SARS-CoV-2 or similar coronaviruses (32, 33).

5) Ivermectin prevents transmission and development of COVID-19 disease in those exposed to infected patient (34–36,54).

6) Ivermectin hastens recovery and prevents deterioration in patients with mild to moderate disease treated early after symptoms (37–42,54).

7) Ivermectin hastens recovery and avoidance of ICU admission and death in hospitalized patients (40,43,45,54,63,67).

8) Ivermectin reduces mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19 (43,45,54).

9) Ivermectin leads to striking reductions in case-fatality rates in regions with widespread use (46-48).

10) The safety, availability, and cost of ivermectin is nearly unparalleled given its near nil drug interactions along with only mild and rare side effects observed in almost 40 years of use and billions of doses administered (49).

11) The World Health Organization has long included ivermectin on its “List of Essential Medicines” (50).

Ivermectin in Post-COVID-19 Syndrome

Increasing reports of persistent, vexing, and even disabling symptoms after recovery from acute COVID-19 have been reported and which many have termed the condition as “long Covid” and patients as “long haulers”, estimated to occur in approximately 10% of cases (77–79). Generally considered as a post-viral syndrome consisting of a chronic and sometimes disabling constellation of symptoms which include, in order, fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pains and chest pain. Many patients describe their most disabling symptom as impaired memory and concentration, often with extreme fatigue, described as “brain fog”, and are highly suggestive of the condition myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition well-reported to begin after viral infections, in particular with Epstein-Barr virus. Although no specific treatments have been identified for long COVID, a recent manuscript by Aguirre-Chang et al from the National University of San Marcos in Peru reported on the experience with ivermectin in such patients (80). They treated 33 patients who were between 4 and 12 weeks from the onset of symptoms with escalating doses of ivermectin; 0.2mg/kg for 2 days if mild, 0.4mg/kg for 2 days if moderate, with doses extended if symptoms persisted. They found that in 87.9% of the patients, resolution of all symptoms was observed after two doses with an additional 7% reporting complete resolution after additional doses. Their experience suggests the need for controlled studies to better test efficacy in this vexing syndrome.

In summary, based on the existing and cumulative body of evidence, we recommend the use of ivermectin in both prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19. In the presence of a global COVID-19 surge, the widespread use of this safe, inexpensive, and effective intervention could lead to a drastic reduction in transmission rates as well as the morbidity and mortality in mild, moderate, and even severe disease phases.