Merrick Garland, Institutional Racism, and Implicit Bias

“I think it is plain to me that there is discrimination and widespread disparate treatment of communities of color and other ethnic minorities in this country,” Merrick Garland said during his confirmation hearing at the Senate, after being asked by Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, to define systemic racism. “They have a disproportionately lower employment, disproportionately lower home ownership rates, disproportionately lower ability to accumulate wealth,” he explained.

Judge Merrick Garland as his Senate confirmation hearing

Garland is making an ideological argument, not an empirical one. Disparate racial outcomes is not systemic racism. This is a fallacious conclusion and it is very troubling to see a man who will be attorney general of the United States answer the question this way. Systemic racism is a feature of a system with laws and policies in place that systematically oppress members of one group while systemically privileging members of another group on the basis of racial designation. This system was dismantled when I was only two years ago, a very long time ago.

Senator Kennedy of Louisiana questions Biden nominee Garland

Kennedy later asked, “If you say an institution is systemically racist, how do you know what you know? Do you measure it by disparate impact, controlling for other factors? Or do you just look at the numbers and say the system must be racist?”

This is the right question to ask (Kennedy is a smart fellow) and it exposed the core flaw in the systemic racism argument. Those claiming that systemic racism is an enduring problem of United States society are falsely conflating racism with demographic differences between races. Demographic differences described in racial terms is not racism.

Racism is a discredited theory or practice and relations based on and justified by that theory positing that the human population can be meaningfully divided into groups that can in turn be hierarchically arranged and differentiated by degrees and quality of cognitive ability, behavioral proclivity, and moral integrity. Systemic racism would be the character of a system where racism was manifest in formal system, indicating law and policy, in which members of one or more groups suffer systematic oppression while members of one or more other groups enjoy systematic privileges on the basis on racial categories. This is different from but often informs race prejudice and discrimination, only the latter an actionable offense.

After acknowledging that he answered what he thought was a different question, Garland answered Kennedy’s follow up this way: “The authority the Justice Department has to investigate institutions is to look for patterns or practices of unconstitutional conduct and if we find a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct, I would describe that as institutional racism within that institution.”

This is heartening. This is a different understanding of racism than that held by the antiracists. Antiracists (critical race theory types) define racism on the face of it as demographic differences between racial groups. In doing so, by making the statistical fact of group differences a matter of racism by definition, they skirt the necessary work of demonstrating causal explanation for these differences, differences explicable by reference to other causes—which is why they don’t want to put themselves in the position of having to show that the evidence does not support their claims.

However, Garland should clarify that what he is talking about is institutional or organizational discrimination on the basis of race. He is right that it is is one of the obligations of the Justice Department to investigate institutions or organizations to look for patterns or practices of unconstitutional conduct. Crucially, patterns are not enough, as these may have many causes. Instead, patterns alert officials to look for and identify practices that may run afoul of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. One cannot assume racism is the cause of the patterns detected. Racism has to be positively demonstrated empirically. If racism can be demonstrated in practices, then the Justice Department has a case.

Kennedy also asked Garland to explain from his standpoint the difference between people who are racist, on the one hand, and institutional racism, on the other, as well as the “concept of implicit bias.”

“Implicit bias just means that every human being has biases. That’s part of what it means to be a human being,” Garland said. “And the point of examining our implicit biases is to bring our conscious mind up to our unconscious mind and to know when we’re behaving in a stereotyped way. Everybody has stereotypes. It’s not possible to go through life without working through stereotypes. And implicit biases are the ones that we don’t recognize our behavior.” Garland then said, “That doesn’t make you racist, no.” He’s right. It doesn’t.

The media is keen on contrasting Garland from William Barr, who correctly resisted the demand that government acknowledge the existence of systemic racism in law enforcement in the United States. He admitted, as anybody should, that there is racism in the United States, but repeatedly refused to agree with others that the police as an institution practice systemically racism. The paradigm of systemic racism in law enforcement is racial disparities in lethal civilian-officer encounters. Extensive empirical research over several decades fails to demonstrate that racism explains those disparities. If facts matter, the systematic racism argument is over.

Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, criticized Kennedy for asking the question, describing it as a “waste of time.” He suggested that Kennedy’s questions were racially motivated. “I found it unfortunate that he would focus on something not relevant to whether or not that Judge Garland is competent, and qualified to serve as attorney general, honor the Constitution and represent the people of the United States. And for him to take the time to use their line of questioning was a waste of time. We need to move forward as a nation.” He added, “Senator Kennedy knows all too well the paralyzing effects of systemic racism has had on the south, in Louisiana and on this country.”

The question was not only relevant but, in the context of what has been occurring over the last several years, with Black Lives Matter and the specter of reparations, also obligatory for any politician who takes his charge seriously. How Garland answered this question bears directly on whether he is competent and qualified to serve as the attorney general of the United States. The name of the body he will lead contains the word “justice” in it. He and that body are obliged to honor the Constitution and represent the people of the United States.

Lived Experience and the Politics of Emotional Blackmail

Sometimes the desire to manufacture perceptions fails spectacularly.

Consider the antics of—sorry, I can’t resist—Alexandria Ocasio-Smollett. Of course, I mean Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka Sandy Ocasio, the congresswoman from New York’s 14th district.

In a February 1 90-minute Instagram Live video that Washington Post columnist Robin Givhan tells her readers “revealed our collective trauma,” the congresswoman describes her experience on 1/6 when, to paraphrase Ilhan Omar’s remark about the 9/11 attack on New York City, some people something.

(The date 1/6, when protestors entered the Capitol building, is the new 9/11. Pelosi is seeking to establish a 9/11-style commission to study the matter. The label “domestic terrorist” to describe the protestors is being widely socialized by the establishment media and Democratic Party figures.)

Ocasio-Cortez was not in the Capitol building at the time. She was in the Cannon House Office Building some ways away. There were no rioters at the Cannon. Nonetheless, the congresswoman tells a story about how an unknown man—a Capitol Police officer—knocked on her door and entered her office.

Of course, the congresswoman could have thought that rioters were in the Cannon building. It was a confusing situation. But she could only have thought this for a short while, as she was quickly apprised of the situation by that same Capitol Police officer, and nearly a month passed between that day and the day of her notorious livestream.

Ocasio-Cortez’s story is more than a telling from the standpoint of what a subject believed at one point in time. The personal is the political. The case makes me wonder: is there such a thing as lying in a post-truth world? Does personal standpoint stamp narratives with truth?

After all, in identity politics and its attendant postmodernist epistemology (or anti-epistemology, as it were), trauma and subjectivity, the “truth of experience,” is what matters, not objective facts. According to the ethics of the “lived experience,” we’re supposed to “believe her.” It’s what the placards instruct. Acknowledge the trauma of the “survivor.” Who are we to say Ocasio’s truth isn’t true? It’s her truth, not ours.

But if this is true, then why believe anybody? Can there be any basis for asserting a shared reality? What is the method by which a common existence could be known?

Not that there’s no sanity on the far left side of things. Postcolonialist feminist philosopher Sandra Harding says an objective reality can be known. She writes, in an essay I assign my research methods students, “Beyond the Neutrality Ideal,” “No critics of racism, imperialism, male supremacy, or the class system think that the evidence and arguments they present leave their claims valid only ‘from their perspective.’”

But Ocasio doesn’t operate on Harding’s level where regret can be expressed (see “Newton’s rape manual”). Ocasio is an organic manifestation of a popular post-truth condition.

All Ocasio had to do was tell the truth about her experience on January 6, the truth known to her as she live-streamed her account. In doing so she did not need to hide her feelings.

She could have said that she did not know at the time, especially since she was in a separate building, what was happening and appreciated very much the Capitol Police officer stopping by to check on her. She could then have mentioned that she enjoyed a cup of coffee with a colleague down the hall immediately afterwards. She could have said, just so there was no misunderstanding, that there were no rioters outside her door, which she would have emphasized was a door in a separate building, that she was safe, but of course empathized with what others in the Capitol went through, an ordeal investigators are sorting out.

Instead, timed for an impeachment based on absence and ignorance of facts (the Senate trial began on a week later and resulted in another acquittal of Donald Trump), Ocasio made the Capitol riot all about her, presenting herself as a victim to her throng of adoring fans (and others among her 12.5 million followers on Twitter and nearly 9 million on Instagram)—all for maximum propaganda effect.

When it was obvious that she could not be an actual victim of 1/6, she “contextualized” matters by telling the audience that she was at one point a victim. She then used this claim to berate those who dared to criticize her.

“The reason I say this and the reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize,” she said with wet eyes. “These are the same tactics of abusers. And, um, I’m a survivor of sexual assault.”

These are the tactics of an emotional blackmailer. It’s not a technique just anyone can use.

Nobody doubts the congresswoman’s savvy as a demagogue. In the livestream, she unfolded a story she knew was false, brazenly changing it as she told it, seemingly hearing the lies as she told them in her baby voice, while leaving the desired impression, namely that her fear, manufactured or real, is the truth of her experience.

There were men yelling and pounding on her door trying to kill her. Okay, one man. Okay, a Capitol police officer checking on her safety. But she didn’t like the way he looked at her (“ACAB”!). And Ted Cruz is trying to have her killed. She actually tweeted that—unfiltered by Jack Dorsey. (Remember Jon Lovitz’s SNL character the Pathological Liar? That.)

Now she is beseeching her Twitter army to demand the platform take down the tweets of those who exposed her Smollett.

As Jack Posobiec of One America News noted on Steve Bannon’s War Room, everybody remembers that one girl in high school who makes everything about her. The drama queen. The actress. Like Jussie Smollett.

Ocasio-Cortez is Hillary Clinton “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia. Maybe Hillary was telling the truth. After all, it was her experience (#Ibelieveher). The trauma tells the truth.

These aren’t big mouths in high school. They’re big time influencers in the national arena.

I was wise to Ocasio-Cortez a long time ago. This is from my blog June 2019 and there’s more where that came from. Her followers exist in a religious-like space and state and she is their idol, their totem, their cult leader.

I am told that the congresswoman’s past stint as a bartender makes a claim on working class bona fides. But her brand of woke leftism does not represent working people. It can’t. Woke politics is the ideology of relatively affluent members of the academic and professional-managerial strata and their offspring.

Ocasio-Cortez is a creation of the Justice Democrats, a group organized by the once-populist Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sander insiders Saikat Chakrabarti and Jack Exley, Cenk Uyger of The Young Turks, and Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, key social influencers for enlisting young Americans in the progressive establishment, who self-identify as “democratic socialists.” (This was crowd that Jimmy Dore had to get away from because they are so subservient to state corporate power. I have watched Dore’s awakening in real time. He still has sleepies in his eyes, but he’s drinking the coffee. He now calls Ocasio-Cortez a coward, a gaslight, and a liar.)

Self-described democratic socialists are the faux-left. You may know them by their jargon. If you hear “crypto” (as in “cryptofascist”) to refer to a critic, or if there is expressed a fetish for some DSA sanctioned drama queen, or if some old sellout in mittens at Biden’s inauguration is the bomb and memed incessantly or, alternatively, if his grumpy chic is an expression of white privilege, then you know you have a faux-leftist in your midst. A piss-poor understanding of science and deep contempt for such core liberal values as equality of opportunity and free speech are also dead giveaways.

This crowd thinks puffed up antifascist rhetoric is a proper substitute for working class politics. They believe they constitute the left end of what they perceive to be a popular front against a rising tide of rightwing reaction that mostly exists in their imagination. At best, they’re wannabes.

The Noisy and Destructive Children of Herbert Marcuse

Matt Taibbi has an interesting piece on Substack concerning Herbert Marcuse and the notion of “repressive tolerance.” Tabbi’s piece can be found here: Marcuse-Anon: Cult of the Pseudo-Intellectual. I wrote about Marcuse on the pages of Project Censored back in the summer of 2018 in defending a free and open Internet (the canceling of Alex Jones was the impetus of my essay). I want to follow up on my thoughts in light of the consternation on the left over Taibbi’s essay. I will not engage Tabbi’s essay, as you can read it for yourself, and Tabbi can defend himself well enough. I will be setting forth my own interpretation of Marcuse’s arguments.

Image result for Herbert Marcuse hi def
Herbert Marcuse, guru of the New Left

Reading Marcuse crucially depends on how one defines tolerance. Understanding the piece also depends on understanding Marcuse’s deep roots in a particular reading for Freud, an analysis of which I will leave to one side except to note that Marcuse reads Freud as believing that our animal instincts require repression, “progressive and liberating repression,” and the necessity of alienation as “the constant and essential element of identity,” not in the way Marx saw it as a condition and state to overcome (see also Eros and Civilization). Remember, in “The Future of an Illusion,” Freud argues that, while he did not believe in God, God would never go way because the ordinary man needs a father, and that religion serves the Hobbesean function of keeping man in line. 

There was a missing paragraph in Marcuse’s original essay that tells us what Marcuse understands tolerance to mean, and it is what I understand the word to mean, i.e., to allow ideas to be expressed without constraint and punishment. I tolerate Nazis marching down the street with their placards and chants. I tolerate conservatives gathering in Washington DC to rally against the 2020 election. I tolerate student groups bringing to campus speakers expressing ideas with which I disagree. But, for woke progressives, allowing these is repressive tolerance to be countered by progressive repression because such repression is liberating. To be sure, this depends on your politics and identity, but, for Marcuse, this is a settled matter. This is where critical theory and postmodernism meet—the rejection of the grand narrative that liberalism has value (with Marcuse finessing it by distinguishing “authentic liberalism,” where, for postmodernists, the authentic is “lived experience”). 

The missing paragraph: “Withdrawal of tolerance from regressive movements before they can become active; intolerance even toward thought, opinion, and word, and finally, intolerance in the opposite direction, that is, toward the self-styled conservatives, to the political Right—these anti-democratic notions respond to the actual development of the democratic society which has destroyed the basis for universal tolerance. [This is the spirit of antifascism and antiracism, deeply illiberal standpoints.] The conditions under which tolerance can again become a liberating and humanizing force have still to be created. When tolerance mainly serves the protection and preservation of a repressive society, when it serves to neutralize opposition and to render men immune against other and better forms of life, then tolerance has been perverted. And when this perversion starts in the mind of the individual, in his consciousness, his needs, when heteronomous interests occupy him before he can experience his servitude, then the efforts to counteract his dehumanization must begin at the place of entrance, there where the false consciousness takes form (or rather: is systematically formed)—it must begin with stopping the words and images which feed this consciousness.” Stopping the words and images which feed this consciousness.” 

How shall we do this without controlling the means of communication and the production of knowledge? One is Gramsci’s long march through the institutions, which has only provided the content corporate power adapts to fracture the working class (see this summer). The other is using the corporate machinery to cancel and censor. That these developments are interconnected should not escape anyone. 

But Marcuse wants to make sure the reader fully understands him. For if you were wondering whether he is really advocating censorship, he wants to make sure you know that, indeed, he is, and, worse, he is advocating canceling voices before they have a chance to be censored, or precensorship, a type of popular prior restraint (deplatforming, etc.): “To be sure, this is censorship, even precensorship, but openly directed against the more or less hidden censorship that permeates the free media.” What is this “hidden censorship”? That’s the whole point of the essay: the power of the capitalist class to control discourse (see One Dimensional Man). The progressive left must censor and precensor: “Where the false consciousness has become prevalent in national and popular behavior, it translates itself almost immediately into practice: the safe distance between ideology and reality, repressive thought and repressive action, between the word of destruction and the deed of destruction is dangerously shortened.” Speech is violence. Silence is violence. It all follows. 

Shall we spend more than a second pondering why this paragraph went missing? Perhaps to ponder why those paragraphs that remain are not obvious enough?

The woke left today takes the central point of Herbert Marcuse’s essay to its logical conclusion, justifying street level violence to silence speech and assembly they believe retards the progress of “social justice,” seeing liberal values as right-wing tools, as well as leveraging the private corporate machinery to censor speech. Canceling, censoring, deplatforming, disrupting, doxing, labeling, mobbing, struggle sessions—the neo-Maoists (and that’s what they are) regard these interventions as politically necessary and ethically reasonable on the grounds that certain forms of speech are harmful and oppressive and, furthermore, that there is no right to racist and offensive speech.

Extending Marcuse’s argument, they flip the goals of “freeing language from the tyranny of the Orwellian syntax and logic [and] developing the concepts that comprehend reality” into Newspeak and postmodernist anti-epistemology themselves. This is why the woke left is so censorious, illiberal, and authoritarian. This is consequence of connecting power and knowledge in the realm of culture rather that organized class struggle and the generation of class consciousness, which the practices of identiarianism and progressive repression. This is the core flaw of Frankfurt School-style neo-Marxism. Moving the rhetoric from the means of production to the means of consumption (which Baudrillard later picks up) and the alleged pathology of Western civilization (the Culture Industry and the evils of the liberal bourgeois order) sets neo-Marxism up for its integration with postmodernism, postcolonialism, and thirdworldism. This is why the New Left and woke progressivism parallel Maoist cultural revolution. Listen to the arguments of his disciple Angela Davis.

Marcuse is hardly subtle when understood in the corpus of his thought, which incorporates not only elements of Freudian thought but also Heideggerian notions. In the essay, Marcuse argues for “liberating tolerance” from the liberal values of equality and neutrality, condemning “what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance” of a diversity of opinion as a framework “serving the cause of oppression.” He proposes a “discriminating tolerance,” which “would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movement which promote,” for example, “discriminating on the grounds of race and religion.” To be sure, we should not allow discrimination those grounds, but to stop speech and assembly? If this were the case, then we would have to withdraw tolerance for those seeking reparations for slavery, the bill now being dropped in Congress to study the matter. As much as this bill must be opposed and defeated, to censor those calling for it would be profoundly authoritarian.

We see Marcuse’s inspiration in practice today on college campuses where students organize to disrupt speakers and events. Marcuse argues for a dialectic that differentiates truth from falsehood (of course. we have that already, it’s enshrined in liberal, secular values of an open society, which Karl Marx himself defended), then suppresses the latter for the sake of emancipation from the administered, effectively totalitarian world of monopoly capitalism. To be sure, I share this goal, but this is an argument over means. And the means we are arguing for have promoted not liberation from oppression, but the socialization of the goals of woke leftists who desire an administered, effectively totalitarian world of monopoly capitalism.

The only tolerable tolerance for Marcuse is one that works towards liberation as Marcuse understands it, freedom from repression as he sees it, and that work should exclude or restrict repressive speech. He sees liberalism as tolerance “extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery.” He is arguing that only “in a society where real equality has been achieved, can the freedom (of opinion, of assembly, of speech) becomes an instrument for absolving servitude.” 

“As long as these conditions do not prevail,” he writes, “the conditions of tolerance are ‘loaded’: they are determined and defined by the institutionalized inequality (which is certainly compatible with constitutional equality), i.e., by the class structure of society.” His use of the word “compatible” parenthetically, in the corpus of his work, means that the liberal principles of equality before the law and equality of opportunity are used to further and legitimize capitalist exploitation. “In such a society, tolerance is de facto limited on the dual ground of legalized violence or suppression (police, armed forces, guards of all sorts) and of the privileged position held by the predominant interests and their ‘connections’.” Here he is calling for violence ad suppression by those who stand outside the legal and privileged order of things. Why should state and corporate authority be the only powers that can repress people? They represent regressive repression. The left represents progressive repression. 

Take a look at what Marcuse himself said reflecting on his original essay (his 1968 postscript): “I suggested in ‘Repressive Tolerance’ the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed. Tolerance would be restricted with respect to movements of a demonstrably aggressive or destructive character (destructive of the prospects for peace, justice, and freedom for all). Such discrimination would also be applied to movements opposing the extension of social legislation to the poor, weak, disabled. As against the virulent denunciations that such a policy would do away with the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for ‘the other side’, I maintain that there are issues where either there is no ‘other side’ in any more than a formalistic sense, or where ‘the other side’ is demonstrably ‘regressive’ and impedes possible improvement of the human condition. To tolerate propaganda for inhumanity vitiates the goals not only of liberalism but of every progressive political philosophy.” Then there is this more than suggestive line: “If the choice were between genuine democracy and dictatorship, democracy would certainly be preferable. But democracy does not prevail.”

He closes with: “Part of this struggle is the fight against an ideology of tolerance which, in reality, favors and fortifies the conservation of the status quo of inequality and discrimination. For this struggle, I proposed the practice of discriminating tolerance. To be sure, this practice already presupposes the radical goal which it seeks to achieve. I committed this petitio principii in order to combat the pernicious ideology that tolerance is already institutionalized in this society. The tolerance which is the life element, the token of a free society, will never be the gift of the powers that be; it can, under the prevailing conditions of tyranny by the majority, only be won in the sustained effort of radical minorities, willing to break this tyranny and to work for the emergence of a free and sovereign majority—minorities intolerant, militantly intolerant and disobedient to the rules of behavior which tolerate destruction and suppression.” Antifa, Black Lives Matter, cancel culture. These are Marcuse’s children.

Where Are We on this COVID-19 Deal?

There are today 27.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. The vast majority of these cases were/are asymptomatic or exhibit/ed mild symptoms. For a conservative estimate of the actual number of cases multiply 27.7 million by a factor of 10 (I pointed this out back in March and my conservative estimate has been held up by science). Since most cases are asymptomatic or mild, excusing the OCD crowd who gets tested for the same reason they open envelops to make sure they put the letters inside (thankfully a minority), most infected people don’t get tested. A factor of 10 means that 277 million Americans have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. That’s 83.9% of the US population, a percentage that greatly exceeds herd immunity (although move-the-goalposts Fauci may eventually articulate a threshold exceeding 100).

This explains why the number of cases is falling like a rock. On January 9 there were nearly 300 thousand new cases. Yesterday fewer than 100 thousand. The number is roughly where we were the day the day of the Biden miracle.

The deception involves more than falsely crediting the vaccine with saving us (the revised history you soon will see). When they tell you that the vaccine results in infections without significant symptoms, remember that the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself results in infections without significant symptoms. Moreover, they aren’t performing antibody tests on the millions being vaccinated. They don’t know if those who are being vaccinated have already been inoculated by the virus itself. If those who already had the virus don’t get COVID-19 symptoms, is that because of the vaccine? Or is it because more than 80 percent of the population has already been inoculated naturally? The answer to that question is pretty obvious.

There’s more. The case fatality rate (CFR) is up to 1.75 deaths per 100 (it was down around 16.5 per 100). As the number of cases plummets, expect that number to go up (relativity but also because death spikes lag case spikes). But, again, for a conservative estimate, enter a factor of 10. The infection fatality rate is probably around 0.175. In other words, the virus is survived by nearly 99.9% of persons who contract it. But this deceptive, too, since the median age of those who die from the virus is well over 80 years of age and/or those who have comorbidities, such a obesity.

It is a fact that it is extremely rare for healthy people and children rarely die from the virus. So why were children thrown out of school, their parents out of work, small businesses bankrupted, and everybody forced to wear masks? Why are the places where young people congregate—daycares, schools (they didn’t all close), grocery stores, and so on—not major sites of disease and death? Because they get the virus, bring it home to their parents, and nobody gets sick. They get inoculated. Without vaccines. The way it has worked since time immemorial.

Moreover, in the face of those (intentionally) terrifying numbers, there is still great confusion over the different between dying FROM the virus versus dying WITH the virus. If a person dies from a heart attack with a rhinovirus, a cold virus for those who don’t know what that is, the death is not recorded as a rhinovirus death. Lots of people for decades have died with colds. I doubt very few of the death certificates are stated with “rhinovirus.” (Are there any?) If, on the other hand, a person dies from a heart attack with a coronavirus, also a cold virus (most of us have had this family of viruses before), the death is recorded as a coronavirus death.

That death count they show you approaching 500,000? Scary but deceptive. According to the CDC, in only around 6% of coronavirus-associated deaths was the virus the only cause. And we aren’t talking about insignificant conditions and diseases. What about deaths above normal? Right. What about all those people who couldn’t get to a hospital for other disease detection and treatment? The drug overdoses? The suicides? We’ll be sorting all this out for a long time.

Now, connect the dots. A person 83 years old with stage four cancer, immune system shot by chemotherapy, contracts the virus and dies. That person’s odds of surviving the year were remote *without* the virus. In another year, influenza may have been the tipping point. It may have been this year, but they aren’t testing for influenza, which explains why there are so few cases of influenza this year, a finding that cannot be explained by social isolation and masks since these practices did not stop coronavirus from infecting more than 80 percent of the US population. It’s not like the influenza family and the coronavirus family made a pact and influenza took the year off. Only two years ago influenza killed some 80,000 people. And influenza is much more lethal across the life span, not just the elderly and infirm (note: healthy elderly people rarely die from coronavirus).

The scientists know all this. They aren’t stupid. All the information is public. You can check out everything I said. I’m not wrong. I just have some skills as a scientists and no investment in moral panic or a crisis going to waste.

A true skeptic wonders what has really been going on over the last year. One way of figuring out things like this, since smoking guns are so rarely recovered, is to ask oneself what was accomplished that those in power wanted to accomplish. Oh my God. Mission accomplished. Motive, means, intent, and effect. Not much left to infer, really.

All this is punctuated by how convenient the BLM uprising proved to be. How the coronavirus also made a pact with Antifa and BLM not to interfere with their protests. Now I am being silly. The rioters were mostly healthy, young people. Bandits don’t wear masks for their health. Well, there’s something. Thanks, guys, for the herd immunity.

Whiteness in Music Theory. Yeah, It’s a Thing

“Whiteness in music theory.” Yeah, that’s a thing. Everything must be racialized in the error …er… era of critical race theory. If it is white, condemn it and excoriate anybody who digs it or defends it. White is bad. Is blackness in music theory a thing? We hear about “black music.” It this to be exalted and its producers celebrated? What if it sucks?

“[R]ace is an electric wire in American society [you think?] and a traditional defense of untrammeled speech on campus competes with a newer view that speech itself can constitute violence.” The idea that speech can constitute violence is an obvious confusion of things. Speech is the expression of thoughts and feelings by producing sounds with your vocal cords and mouth parts. When not using violence as a metaphor, such as “this argument does violence to the very concept of free speech,” an example of violence is punching somebody in the face. That may convey meaning, but it is not speech. Maybe if one yells really loudly it will hurt someone’s ears. I don’t think we allow that, do we? (We shouldn’t.) At the same time, silence is violence.

“‘I’m educated in the tradition that says the best response to bad speech is more speech,’ said Professor Edward Klorman of McGill University. ‘But sometimes the traditional idea of free speech comes into conflict with safety and inclusivity.’” If what somebody says makes you feel unsafe, there is an easy solution to the problem: stop listening to the person. Want to feel included? Tolerate the speech of those with whom you disagree. There is something to say for working on yourself if you are so triggered by people expressing thoughts and feelings you don’t like.

“Did [Schenker’s] theoretical brilliance counter the weight of disreputable rages?” Does it fucking matter? As for Schenker himself, Professor Ewell argues that his racism informed his music theories: “As with the inequality of races, Schenker believed in the inequality of tones.” (I hope these weren’t the blue notes.) How do you counter this? Eric Wen describes Schenker’s music as “colorblind.” Unless you suffer from chromesthesia, isn’t that always the case?

How about we reject the utter stupidity of all this altogether? I suppose then we wouldn’t be very inclusive would we?

What We Do in Criminology

One of the two areas of expertise in my degree (sociology) is criminology. That is the main expertise I bring to bear on my teaching at the university where I am tenured. As you might imagine, quite a few psychology majors enroll in criminology. When it comes to producing a term paper, I often find myself having to explain the differences between criminal psychology, especially neuropsychology (brain science), and sociology.

I have a degree in psychology (bachelors) and have studied criminal psychology. Questions about brains and personality disorders are fascinating ones. My mother is a clinical psychologist and we have terrific conversations, but I am not leaning on her to make any claim to expertise! I would never say that biology and genetics aren’t relevant in some way. They just aren’t the questions that criminologists generally pursue—unless we are being critical of them while circumscribing our field of inquiry.

Criminology is a subfield of sociology, and sociology is a science, but it is not biology (nor is biology physics, and so on). The concepts of sociology are abstractions derived from qualitatively different domain of emergent reality than that of terrain of brain science (except the sociological production of knowledge about brain science, of course). While an argument can be made that psychology is closer to biology because they both potentially concern the nervous system, for sociologists, biology takes the practitioner far afield of his expertise with respect to evaluating student work. Put another way, although I am a Darwinian and knowledgeable about biology and physical anthropology (this was my minor), and write about the subjects on my blog, I am most qualified to evaluate student work and review work by my colleagues in the field of sociology. Criminology is properly a disciplinary-based course; in this regard, I stay in my lane.

That certainly narrows the range of topics students can write about in criminology, which I explain to them when we begin the proposal process for the term paper. One of the confusions that happens at that point is, given that the self is a fascinating subject (after all, it is persons who commit crime), why would I be cutting off topics concerning persons. This question assumes that the self or the person is only or mainly a biological phenomenon. That assumption is wrong.

Self is in fact largely a sociological phenomenon. However much our biology influences us (and surely it does), we are also products of socialization. We know from experience that children who are ill-socialized, or who do not have the same advantages as other children, suffer difficulties across the life-course. We aren’t born with a language. We acquire one. We aren’t born with a religion. We acquire one. And so forth and so on.

I ask this question of my students who raise concerns over the appearance that I am dismissing biological and genetic factors in explaining human behavior: I am sure you would agree that the 15-point difference between black and white IQ is due to social factors and not biological ones. We may hedge and say mostly social factors. We may even say that social factors play some role. My point is still made. They do play a role. Or consider the fact that black men are more than six times more likely to murder than white men. The answer to that question surely must lie in sociology and not biology, no? Maybe it’s culture. Maybe economics. Maybe neighborhood and family structure. Likely all these and more. Is it because there are biological races with different cognitive capacities and criminal tendencies? Western society has been down that road before. It does not end well. It is also not supported by any evidence I am aware of.

I hope they see the problem. But in case they don’t, I have a bonus example. Whereas a brain tumor may (partly) explain why Charles Whitman stabbed to death his mother and then climbed to the top of the clock tower at the University of Texas and shot to death 14 people and wounded another 31, it gets us nowhere near explaining why the rate of murder in the United States is so much higher than it is in other advanced industrialized democracies. Most murderers don’t have brain tumors. Or brain lesions. Or personality disorders. Most criminals are biologically the same and you and I.

As sociologists, the core of criminologists do is explain social facts. We study aggregates and patterns. We also study people. When we study people, the gold standard is within-subject change across the life-course in light of a myriad of variables. Labor force attachment. Income and occupation. Educational attainment. Neighborhood conditions. Martial status. Substance use. Law abidingness. Trauma. Perhaps some of the variables we will look at involve the nervous system and personality disorders. But most of the variables will concern social structures, forces, relations, interactions, and experiences. Yet, even those variables concerning the attributes of attitudes, feelings, and opinions are viewed in the light of the social context. We will even avoid chalking up unexplained variance (our error terms) to “human nature.”

So, one may very well study the self as emergent from and in the context of sociologically interesting processes, as do the labeling theorists and social learning theorists we study in criminology. While a criminologist may touch on biological/genetic factors here and there, the main focus is on sociological factors—class, culture, politics, racism, sexism, etc. These are social and historical questions. We are qualified to value student papers working from these bases.

I understand why people are interested in questions perhaps better addressed in the field of criminal psychology. I find those interesting questions, too. The depraved serial killer with an irresistible impulse to remove his victims’ eyes and replace them with dolls’ eyes is indeed titillating. In the hands of a good director, this might result in a very scary horror film. “Stop me before I kill again!” True crime stories have a long record of success. It’s just not what we do in criminology.

“Dear Hitler…” or Joe Biden is the Neville Chamberlain of Our Time

Except that Biden is arguably worse that Chamberlain. Maybe a lot worse.

Speaking of Xi Jinping, the leader of the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party, the party that organizes the totalitarian bureaucratic collectivism that enslaves the Chinese people and is striving to bring down the West (with a lot of western elites serving as colonial collaborators), Biden admits: “he doesn’t have a democratic—small-“d”—bone in his body.” Biden prefaces that admission with “I don’t mean this as a criticism.”

I want readers of this blog to think long and hard about what Biden is saying. Internalize it. Think about what Xi and the CCP has done and is doing to the West. Think about what Xi is doing to his own people. Xi is perpetrating genocide against the Uyghur people. Xi is a genocidal authoritarian. Sound familiar? But Biden doesn’t mean that as a criticism.

Joe Biden would be the Neville Chamberlain of our time except that, in Biden’s case, he is arguably the most significant Western actor in the making possible the fusion of Chinese industrial might with Western capitalism and the rise of Xi. He is like Chamberlain having 25 hours of private meetings with Hitler over the course of several years, with these years embedded in many more years of raising Nazi Germany to the level of a world power that threatens democracy globally.

Biden said he has probably spent more time with Xi than any other national leader has

Why, if you go through your house, do you see Chinese technology everywhere? Where did the capital-intensive high-wage manufacturing jobs Americans used to perform go? They’re in the slave labor camps of China. Who made that possible? Joe Biden and people like him.

Workers of America, you have been betrayed. And one of the chief betrayers is now your president. If you voted for him, this is what you voted for.

Global Neo-Feudalism: Backwards to the Future

Kroger to launch pilot for entirely self-checkout store.

At some point, capitalism isn’t possible. Think about it. Capitalist production generates surplus value—the difference between what capitalists pay workers and the value workers generate with their labor—realized in the market as profit (this is capitalist accumulation—it’s what drives the circuit). That means, capitalism depends on workers earning wages in order to spend money buying things workers make.

But, soon, there will be no workers. That is what automation and robotization (and artificial intelligence) brings. That means no realization of value as profit. Do you not see the paradox yet? There is no value because there are no workers earning wages in order to buy products made by…machines. Do you see it now? Karl Marx was right.

This is why the transnational project is to convert capitalism into global neofeudalism. The elite want to protect their privilege, but they cannot do it under capitalism. So, they are adapting the Chinese Community Party model of industrial plantations. This is why they have no respect for liberal freedoms such as free speech, assembly, etc. Those freedoms were part of the old liberal capitalist order. The new world order is an authoritarian one where democracy is replaced by technocracy. The “experts” (the new priesthood) will tell your what to do and how to live. The citizen becomes the subject again—like it was under feudalism. The worker becomes a serf.

This is the Great Reset the Party of Davos has promised you. This is what the Democrats bring to the table (you cannot support this party for this reason). This is global corporatism. And under this social logic, you will be a debt-encumbered slave in a global hierarchy without nation-states, i.e. without democratic-republican government. And you will be happy without freedom because all your basic but trivial needs will met and the ethic of equity will absolve you of your sins.

Just remember that the single largest occupation for men is the transportation sector. Self-driving cars will put them out to pasture. Critical Race Theory won’t be of much use to them. The vast majority of them are white.

“A New Kind of American Radicalism”: The Campaign to Portray Ordinary America as Deviant and Dangerous

On September 29, 2020, on this blog, I wrote, “We should be terrified for our republic. We are seeing a color revolution unfolding before our very eyes. This time in the premier First World country. The strategy corporate elite fractions use in the Third World to install governments conducive to their interests is being deployed in America thanks to neoconservatives, progressives, and the Democratic Party.” I reflect on that successful color revolution in this essay, but, perhaps more importantly, I assess potential dangers facing Americans in its aftermath. For those who believe they won on November 3 aren’t satisfied with merely turning Trump out of office. The tens of millions who put Trump in office, and who showed up in even greater numbers to keep him in office, remain. And Trump, or somebody like him, could return. These are problems for elite ambition.

The Color Revolution

According to Revolver News, a color revolution “refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be ‘authoritarian’ and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.”

Part of this strategy is using mass protests to lure the target government into deploying the state apparatus to suppress the protests, coercive action that is then exploited to validate claims that the target government is authoritarian and therefore illegitimate. Crucially, propagandists spin the use of force in a particular direction leveraging an assumed moral understanding. Trump’s use of the National Guard during the riots of 2020, including in Washington DC, marked his authoritarianism, for example, whereas the thousands of troops in Washington DC today are there to “defend democracy” from authoritarianism.

As analysts over at Revolver News have pointed out, the same people running many of the color revolutions overseas have been using the same playbook to overturn the 2016 election. The project to remove Trump from office didn’t begin several months ago. It began years ago when it became clear that the self-aggrandizing businessman from Queens would occupy the White House. We saw elements of this lengthy color revolution in the protests that appeared and reappeared at various points during his presidency. The Pussyhats in 2017, for example. The most notable example, of course, the resurgent Black Lives Matter, joined by Antifa, in 2020. The protests and riots were augmented by manufactured scandals. The deep state’s Russian collusion hoax. An impeachment over a phone call to the Ukrainian president.

In that September 29 blog, I told readers about the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), one of the entities carrying out the color revolution. TIP was one of many collectives determined to see Biden assume the Office of President, thereby putting the corporatist-globalist powers back in the driver’s seat. Publications such as The National Pulse and Revolver News have been eager to tell you about many others and I urge you to avail yourself of their work. However, establishment media, dedicated to the aims of the color revolution, was reluctant to cover any of this in the midst of the contest. At least not in a way that would alert the public to it. But it was only a matter of time before the legacy media would cover it. Elites are prone to brag about their achievements. They like to let people know how clever they are. They like to see credit given where credit is due.

Time Magazine couldn’t wait until the upcoming (this Thursday) impeachment trial was concluded (in the likely second acquittal of Trump). Arguably the premier news and opinion magazine in America published last week a lengthy article, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign the Saved the 2020 Election,” that admits the color revolution elites carried out against Trump. Incredibly, the author of the article, Molly Ball, confesses: “Trump was right. There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs.”

Note the use of the word “conspiracy” in the article. Ball just comes right out and says it, her position and status protecting her from being lumped with Alex Jones and the rest of the canceled conspiratorial wingnuts. Ball is on the right side (i.e. the left side), so it’s okay.

“Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans,” Ball details the cabal. “The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–-inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–-in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.” The pact was little noticed because the establishment media avoided tossing it into the echo machine. Ball is now inviting the public to marvel at it.

Ball wants her readers to know the machinations were bigger than they could have imagined. “The handshake between business and labor,” she writes, “was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–-an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.”

That spin, a “vast” and “extraordinary shadow effort” mounted to “protect” democracy, marks the piece throughout—but though it attempts to wrap itself in virtue, to make the conspiracy out to be a noble one, the article tries too hard and gives away the game. Ball wanted so badly for Trump to be tossed out of office that the truth, namely that Biden didn’t win fair and square (this is why it’s such a big deal that Republicans say Biden won fair and square), pokes though the rhetoric. Ball’s skill as a propaganda isn’t sophisticated enough to hide her sympathies. Frankly, it kind of feels like she isn’t really trying to hide it at all.

Ball carefully documents the “vast” and “extraordinary shadow effort” that “touched every aspect of the election.” She tells her readers what I told readers of Freedom and Reason months ago: “They [those who orchestrated Biden’s victory] got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.”

Giddily, Ball invites Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program, to tell her readers just what the elite pulled off. “The untold story of the election,” Eisen says, “is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation.” (For more on Eisen, read this article from Revolver News.)

Like Ball, Eisen codes the conspiracy (again, Ball’s words, not mine) in the rhetoric of democratic integrity. However, the tactics Ball identifies and Eisen takes credit for each has an obvious dark side: Changing voting procedures via executive power is illegal in light of the United States Constitution which, in guaranteeing citizens of every state a republican form of government, locates the power to determine election processes in the fifty legislatures that comprise the nation. Voting by mail was a balloting harvesting scheme designed to bypass the layers of security that guarantee that the person casting the vote is actually the person that vote purports to represent. Social media censorship marginalized, punished, and silenced those who warned Americans about the conspiracy that Time now confirms. Ensuring that Trump could not overturn the result was in truth a concerted effort to thwart democratic challenges to certifications of elections where widespread evidence of illegalities, irregularities, and fraud called into question their legitimacy. In the end, a riot at the Capitol stopped the planned challenges to state certifications and Biden was installed as president.

Ball’s words betray her throughout the article. She tells us what the conspiracy was really about, writing that “Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election.” Their own campaign. Of course, not to spoil the election, but to fight back against a massive campaign to remove Trump from office, a campaign that he and those around him could see—as any of us prepared to believe our own eyes could see. Or our own ears! Biden bragged about having “the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of politics.” That was no stutter. It was an admission. His mind slipping, he slipped and let known the backroom backslapping. In the end, Ball is telling us, the campaign that sought to remove Trump and install Biden as president was much better organized that Trump’s efforts to fight for his tens of millions of supporters.

The title of Ball’s article needs only one word changed to accurately reflect the evidence she presents: “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign that Stole the 2020 Election.” I am unsure that the establishment felt it is safe yet to report on the color revolution that removed Trump from office, but Ball couldn’t help herself. And many of the coup leaders were eager to respond to her phone calls and emails. Soon enough, they will all be on the Sunday morning shows gloating. An anti-democratic elite is running the country against the interests of the American people. It had to crush Trump’s America First movement because Trump stood in the way of the managed decline of the American republic. The corporatists and globalists want the people to know they cannot resist transnationalization. They want you to know that you are serfs, not citizens.

The Deviant and Dangerous American

“Get in line” is the message elites are broadcasting. And the elite are now preparing the national security apparatus to focus on the 75 million patriots who voted America First in case they won’t. Academia is already stepping up to the plate to help the establishment translate conservative and rightwing politics into the language of domestic terrorism. Soon, the Confederal battle flag and Thin Blue Line won’t be the only flag that marks you as problematic. Representing the push are academics like Robert Pape, University of Chicago political scientist, and Keven Ruby, Senior research associate of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats. In “The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists,” published in The Atlantic, they analyze nearly two hundred people arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot and discover “a new kind of American radicalism.” The article, cloaked in scholarly authority, is a clinic in propaganda.

Pape and Ruby are the scholarly type who, from his prison cell under the Fascist rule of Mussolini, social theorist Antonio Gramsci characterized as organic intellectuals. They tell their audience that “a closer look at the people suspected of taking part in the Capitol riot suggests a different and potentially far more dangerous problem: a new kind of violent mass movement in which more ‘normal’ Trump supporters—middle-class and, in many cases, middle-aged people without obvious ties to the far right—joined with extremists in an attempt to overturn a presidential election.” A new kind of violent mass movement. Scary words. But one must suspect even the “normal” in these new times. The normal is the deviant in our postmodern world.

Many progressives have convinced themselves that installing Joe Biden as president is the equivalent of defeating Fascism in Europe. You hear in their rhetoric such absurd notions as the Democrats have won a civil war (ponder the irony of that). All this reconciliation talk is as if it were Trump and his supporters who caused the chaos over the last four years. Remember, the core idea of Antifa (which the president tells us is indeed only an idea) is that the mere appearance of conservatives in public is sufficient to justify defending the community from fascists.

The left is ludicrously expressing a desire to “denazify” America by canceling conservatives. In ominous tones, the frightened sheep are told that conservatives (i.e. fascists) have infiltrated the flock. “They are hidden among us disguised behind regular jobs,” Mystery writer Don Winslow warns us. They are our children’s teachers. They work at malls and in doctor’s offices. Their white hoods and white robes and brown shirts can be seen through the lens of antifascism and antiracism. Winslow calls on progressives to form a citizen army, a network of harassers and spies—woke scolds and busybodies—who should report to authorities what their neighbors, colleagues, teachers are up to, what they say on social media, in classrooms, in bars. American needs a new generation Stasi who will deliver up to the government comrades, family, and friends. A million Chicken Littles. See something, say something.

Putting to one side the 75 million Trump voters who have done nothing but maybe put up a yard sign and shared campaign literature (if they were brave enough to risk career and reputation), is it not possible that many, maybe even most of those who were in the Capitol that day (and who were not Antifa or BLM) were carrying their protest over the 2020 election inside the building—the people’s building—in order to be heard by their public servants? Could it be that they were not trying to “overturn a presidential election” by force but rather change through persuasion the minds of those who haven’t considered the facts? Is it not possible that they were there not to overturn the election (which had not actually yet occurred at that point), but to explain why they were not prepared to concede in the face of widespread illegalities, irregularities, and fraud in the 2020 election?

Have my readers watched videos of what transpired on January 6 at the Capitol? I have. They are plentiful. There are people on video acting violently or destructively. We now know that the violence, exaggerated or not, was planned in advance (Trump did not incite a riot). At the same time, the video shows, on some sides of the building, Capitol police inviting in people, even forming ranks to make entry orderly and safe. Pape and Ruby find that only one-tenth of Capitol arrestees could be classified as supporters of gangs, militias, or militia-like groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. Ninety percent of arrestees had no apparent affiliation with any known militant organization. In other words, those were ordinary Americans milling about in the Capitol that day. Yet Pape and Ruby reach a bizarrely different conclusion: its ordinary Americans who represent the greatest threat to the republic.

That Americans wearing Trump gear and flying the US flag were arrested in the Capitol is hardly evidence of guilt of violent or destructive behavior. Nor do their arrests signal insurrectionist motives. They were where they weren’t supposed to be—this much is true. The charges, “entering a restricted building” and “disorderly conduct,” aren’t particularly egregious offenses. The concrete barricades, chainlink fences, and razor wire, and the thousands of soldiers that now make the Capitol look like the Green Zone in Iraq, had not yet been deployed. Perhaps those who entered the building didn’t know they were supposed to be in a building their taxes pay for, a building in which public servants pass laws that affect their families and communities. One might excuse such ignorance given what they were taught in their civics classes or hear from politicians everyday. They certainly couldn’t have missed the way authorities allowed leftwing protestors to get away with almost anything. They must have heard Kamala Harris tell Stephen Colbert that protests not only wouldn’t stop but shouldn’t stop.

But, again, it’s not those who entered the Capitol building that Pape and Ruby are after. The Atlantic piece runs with the worst assumptions about the totality of Trump supporters: “To understand the events of January 6 and devise solutions to prevent their recurrence, Americans need a fine-grained comprehension of who attacked the Capitol. Understanding the ideology and beliefs of those who commit political violence is important, but so is knowing what kind of people they are and what their lives are like.” What kind of people are they? What are their lives like?

Pape and Ruby are warning you not about insurrectionists, but about small businessmen and women and conservative working class people fed up with corporate governance and technocracy, who have suffered the most from the pandemic lockdowns, and who are moved to protest these affronts to their liberty and to democracy in their Capitol in the spirit of patriotic duty. (It is telling that in their research, the researchers found a majority of those arrested hailing from blue or blue-leaning counties.) For Pape and Ruby, society must find a “solution” to this problem—the solution of the politically interested ordinary American. We might call this the problem of the anti-idiot, idiot here used in its original meaning in the context of Ancient Greek politics.

To be sure, we mustn’t downplay the violence that occurred on January 6. I have condemned it on this blog. As I reported, a police officer died from his injuries, a veteran was shot to death, and a woman was trampled. These deaths are tragic. (So are the dozens of deaths caused by Black Lives Matters protests.) However, for the most part, and we must tell the truth about this, the scene that day is comparable to the way public employee union members, upset over Republican legislation undermining collective bargaining, took over the Wisconsin state capitol building in 2011 (see “The Relative Ethics of Occupying Capitol Buildings”). And not just for a few hours. For days. The vast majority of those who entered the Wisconsin capitol building were peaceful. They were angry. I know a lot of people who were there. Several days found me marching around the building. I was angry, too. I’m a union man. Those who entered the structure were good people who wanted to make their voices heard. Marching around and around the building didn’t seem to make the point, so some of them went inside. I didn’t. But I wasn’t particularly upset that others did.

Those were peaceful protestors who entered Michigan statehouse in Lansing in late April, 2020, too. Remember how the media made a calamity over the fact that some of them came armed? (Hardly surprising. It’s Michigan.) Those protestors were angry over Governor Gretchen Whitmer extending her stay-at-home mandate (while her husband went fishing) and they wanted to make their voices heard by the lawmakers who were debating the matter. It didn’t seem Whitmer was listening or cared about what she was doing to their livelihoods.

The way in which the Michigan protestors were depicted in media stories and by progressives in my social circles foreshadowed the way the Capitol trespassers would be depicted several months later. In light of the leftwing protests across the country but a month later, it illustrated perhaps better than anything could the double standard that plagues our nation. Indeed, the scene in Lansing was not unlike the scene in Sacramento of two dozen armed black radicals occupying the state Capitol of California on May 2, 1967, an action now revered by antiracist activists as spreading to the inadequacies of Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactics of nonviolent resistance (see Bad Comparisons and the Call for Racially Differentiated Law Enforcement).

If the double standard is still not clear, recall the more than 300 protesters arrested at the protests over Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings at the Capitol. The mob that descended on the US Senate building on Thursday, October 4, 2018 while lawmakers reviewed the FBI’s report on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was angry. Why wasn’t that frightening? After US Capitol Police barricaded the front of the Capitol, protesters gathered in the Hart Senate Building atrium. More were arrested at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. What triggered such a calamity? According to CNN, “Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation that Kavanaugh sexually and physically assaulted her while they were both at a party during their high school years more than three decades ago.” In high school. More than three decades ago. The protests didn’t end on that day. Two days later, as the mob pounded on its doors, US Capitol Police arrested 164 people at the Supreme Court.

By publishing the Pape and Ruby article, The Atlantic is creating the impression of middle-aged, middle class Americans, hundreds of thousands who peaceably assembled at the Capitol, millions who voted for Trump, joining forces with a handful of right-wing and left-wing extremists who were behaving in a violent and destructive fashion.

One finds a similar, more popular track in the pages of Salon. Lucian Truscott makes it explicit: Republicans are no longer a political party. They’re a mob. Truscott, a writer of fiction like Don Winslow, pursues the same angle as Winslow: “If the people you saw on your television in the violent mob outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 seemed familiar, that’s because they were. You have seen them before—at Donald Trump’s political rallies, standing in line behind you at the supermarket, driving the car in front of you at the drive-thru, in the pickup line at your kid’s school. If you don’t believe me, Google some videos taken that day. Look at their faces. They’re from every walk of life: middle, lower and upper class, construction workers, shop owners, stockbrokers, husbands, wives, students, off-duty cops and soldiers, accountants, actors, writers, teachers, online media stars, even one recently elected state representative.” He also notes their race. They are white.

This is a campaign of delegitimation. Legacy media like The Atlantic are the propaganda arm of the globalist establishment. They disseminate propaganda developed by organic intellectuals working at our leading universities and think tanks. Their design for the future is clear: stop the nationalist-populist movement that stands in the way of completing the project to effectively institute a one world legal and political system that entrenches the transnational corporate order, what some are describing as the global neo-feudalist order. The plans of the World Economic Forum, the Party of Davos, are not supposed; they are openly proclaimed on its website. This is the “Great Reset.” You will have nothing and you will be happy about it.

The campaign to punish and silence those who continue to pursue election fraud is, like the campaign to portray the tens of millions of Trump supporters as domestic terrorists, a frightening indicator of where we are in this phase of late capitalism. As CNN is reporting, “Voting technology company Smartmatic files $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell over ‘disinformation campaign’.” If this lawsuit is allowed to go forward, it means that private corporations will be able to engage in fraud without consequence by intimidating and bankrupting fact-finders and whistleblowers. This is particularly dangerous because elections are a public matter. We should never allow private power to dictate the terms and conduct of our democracy. The New York Times: “Lawsuits Take the Lead in Fight Against Disinformation.” USA Today: “Fake news victims are using lawsuits to shut down the lies. Can courts cure this plague?” Words have consequences, Lou Dobbs.

Fact-finding and whistleblowing are of the utmost importance to a healthy democracy. But those who tell the truth are ridiculed and maligned. Consider the case of Peter Navarro. Navarro holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at the University of California-Irvine. Author of numerous books, including his China trilogy: The Coming China Wars (2006), Death By China (2011), and Crouching Tiger (2015), he served as Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at the White House during the Trump Administration. His analysis of the 2020 election should be the expert arguments and evidence Trump’s defense team brings to trial—that and Molly Ball’s Time piece (which should be given to every Senator on opening day). If that happens, America will have a chance to learn what tens of millions of people already know, that Trump’s claims surrounding the events of 2020 are not “unfounded.” Yet the Washington Post declares the Navarro reports to be “perhaps the most embarrassing produced by a White House staffer.” Translation: don’t bother looking at them.

Another angle of projecting disrepute upon conservatives is coming with the expected push for mandatory vaccination for children for COVID-19. Authorities and experts with close ties to the pharmaceutical giants are already telling us that herd immunity depends on inoculating children. Many conservatives, working from the principle of personal sovereignty, capable of understanding the risks involved in vaccination programs, and correctly grasping that the virus poses so little risk to children that vaccination is unnecessary, will refuse the vaccine. They may be forced to appeal to religious exemptions since the Nuremberg Code doesn’t appear to carry any force under corporate state rule. The technocrats will paint such refusal as yet another threat to the health and safety of the republic from a “new kind of violent radical,” i.e. the ordinary citizen, the backwards and stupid American who has no right to participate in her democracy. Elites will use the perception to destroy exemptions, and then the public will face a barrage of vaccinations. Just don’t virtue signal with vaccine passports on social media. Apparently there are scammers out there.

Obvious Lies and the Deep Truth

These are the tactics used to marginalize Americans living between the coasts, to politically delegitimize them by portraying their patriotism, religious faith, skepticism, and traditional beliefs as threats to the social order of things, an order defined by woke corporate elites and serving their political and material interests. The deplorables must be marginalized to prevent nationalistic and populist sentiment from derailing the transnationalization project, even if it means subverting the Constitution and upending American culture.

Even while she tells a powerful truth, a truth that supports Trump’s complaints, Molly Ball can’t help but repeat lies about January 6. “Trump addressed the crowd that afternoon, peddling the lie that lawmakers or Vice President Mike Pence could reject states’ electoral votes,” she writes. That is not what was asked of Pence. “[Trump] told them to go to the Capitol and ‘fight like hell.’” It’s as if she has never been to a football gate. The president told the thousands assembled to “peacefully and patriotically” go to the Capitol and make their voices heard. “Fight like hell” is a rallying cry. “Then [Trump] returned to the White House as they sacked the building. As lawmakers fled for their lives and his own supporters were shot and trampled, Trump praised the rioters as ‘very special.’” Trump did not praise the rioters (just as he did not praise white nationalists and white supremacists after Charlottesville). He praised the thousands of peaceful protestors who came to Washington DC to make their voices heard. That’s what democracy looks like.

Here’s what democracy doesn’t look like: the elite conspiracy Ball documents and details in her article. Color revolutions are not democratic. A color revolution is a strategy to thwart democracy. It is antidemocratic. Ball writes, “Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed.” No, the will of the plutocracy prevailed. The people lost 2020. And they may well lose their country on account of it.

Ball concludes her piece with this: “it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.” Despite the many lies, in the end, Ball once more could not help but tell the deeper truth: Elites put on an election.

* * *

Remember in 2020 when Chuck Schumer, standing in front of the Supreme Court building, said that Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, “won’t know what hit” them if they voted to uphold abortion restrictions? He said this, too: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”

Schumer wasn’t exactly calling on people to “peacefully and patriotically” let the Supreme Court know how they feel. Phrases like “won’t know what hit them,” “unleashed the whirlwind,” and “pay the price” don’t sound like calls for peaceful protest.

So over-the-top were Schumer’s words, Chief Justice Roberts rebuked the senator. “Statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.” Dangerous, huh? Roberts then said, “All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Why didn’t Roberts livestream his tears? Probably because he didn’t cry about it. He also didn’t livestream any tears in 2017 when a mob pounded on the doors of the Supreme Court angry over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Perhaps Roberts is no drama queen.

Imagine if somebody who said the things Schumer about Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said became the Majority Leader in the United States Senate.

On the Ethics of Compulsory Vaccination

If I have a deep puncture wound, I will get a tetanus booster. If I am bitten by a rabid bat, I will get a rabies shot. Others may get any vaccinations they wish. That includes my own children. I make criticisms of vaccines, of course; I am a rational person who is capable of reading scientific research, and there are many problems with vaccines. Moreover, I am critical of the pharmaceutical industry in the same way I am critical of the fossil fuel industry or any other industry. I am not a religious person; I do not have faith in these institutions. The burden rests on them to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of their products. But I am not principally opposed to vaccination.

In other words, I am not anti-vaccination or an “anti-vaxxer,” as vaccine skeptics are called. Of course, MedicalNewsToday would like people to think of vaccine skeptics as such. “‘Anti-vaxxer’ refers to people who disagree with the use of vaccines for a variety of reasons,” the website asserts. “For example, some view vaccines as an infringement on their human rights.” To be sure, vaccination per se is not an infringement on human rights. Indeed, if a vaccine is acceptably safe and effective, it is arguably a violation of human rights to deny them to people who want or need them. Where vaccination runs afoul of human rights is when it is compulsory or mandatory. So it depends.

The problem with mandatory vaccination is in the act of compelling people against their will to be vaccinated. Following the Nuremberg Code, I include in my understanding of involuntary participation in vaccination programs any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion. This covers making government benefits or employment in the public or private sector depend on vaccination. These are forms of coercion. I am well aware that there are ethicists who object to my appealing to the Nuremberg code to oppose mandatory vaccination. It’s not that I ignorant of or don’t understand their arguments. It’s that I disagree with their conclusion that compulsory vaccination is compatible with Nuremberg.

The error these ethicists make is in their understanding or depiction of the character of scientific research. The objection that vaccination is not medical research is an absurd denial of the obvious: vaccination, along with every other medical intervention, is and always will be ongoing medical experimentation. Science is never settled. Most vaccines are perpetually in development. Vaccines always carry health risks, potentially serious ones. The benefit and efficacy of most vaccines is and will remain highly variable. This is true for coronavirus and influenza vaccines. Nuremberg requires that, in medical research, the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. Every person has a right to refuse to participate in ongoing medical research.

Nuremberg is based on the principle of personal sovereignty—the right of the person to determine what will happen to his or her body. Consider compulsory sterilization, a historic practice especially appropriate to this discussion because compulsory vaccination was used as the justification for compulsory sterilization in the Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell (1927). The decision, authored by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., upheld a state statute permitting compulsory sterilization of the “unfit” “for the protection and health of the state.” Holmes writes: “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.”

The principle that the state can do what it will to individuals for the state’s sake is a dangerous notion. The principle could be used to force abortions (there are too many people, or people of a particular kind)—or prevent them (there are not enough people, or people of a particular kind). As free persons, we do not live for the state. We don’t even live for other people. A dozen individuals die everyday in the United States, some of them children, for lack of a healthy kidney, yet we do not conduct lotteries to identify citizens who two healthy functioning kidneys and remove one of them. It does not matter how relatively painless or safe the procedure is.

If a person wishes to be vaccinated, then they can have some peace of mind that they will be protected from infection or disease. But they may not wish that I be vaccinated. Or, rather, they may wish it, but they mustn’t be permitted to compel it. The objection that there are some who cannot be vaccinated and thus need me to protect them only takes us back to the child dying of a dysfunctional or diseased kidney. Tragic as this may be, the state may not use my body to affect the child’s fate. You may tax me to pay for dialysis or a new kidney. You may not remove a kidney from my body against my will.

When objections to compulsory vaccination are covered in the media, one often sees accompanying the stories images such as the one I share below. But those signs are accurate. Vaccines can cause injury and death. Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe (of course a lot of things are and we do them anyway). Compulsory vaccination does violate bodily autonomy. One sees in the opposition to public statements of fact that the anti-vaxxer smear is not a label assigned to people who call for the abolition of vaccines, but a term delegitimizing any person who is skeptical of the claims made by governments, physicians, and pharmaceutical corporations or who asserts personal sovereignty as protection from compulsory vaccination. But, as my own example shows, vaccine skepticism and appeal to human rights is not an anti-vax position.

How anti-vaccine activists are using COVID-19 to boost their movement |  Spectrum | Autism Research News

Almost two decades ago, Wired Magazine published an article by Elliot Borin titled “Forced Vaccines Haunt Gulf Vets.” It led off with this sentence: “Rule No. 1 in the Nuremberg Code for conducting medical experiments: Get the subjects’ consent. But many Gold War soldiers were told, not asked, to take non-FDA-approved drugs—and now suffer from a host of health problems.” The qualifier, “non-FDA-approved” is unnecessary. The FDA is a regulatory body established by progressive policymakers who assumed to legitimacy of corporate governance. The FDA is the paradigm of regulatory capture. Whether the FDA approves or doesn’t approve a drug has no bearing on the ethics of compelling persons to participate in medical research. Besides, it’s not as if the FDA hasn’t disapproved medicines it previously approved.