Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.
Desperate to stop awareness of the problem of illegal immigration, the power elite continue the moral panic about white supremacy, an nearly nonexistent phenomenon in modern democratic societies. One voice of reason with whom they are particularly obsessed is popular Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson. The Daily Beast is reporting that the Anti-Defamation League is once again calling for Carlson’s firing for going “all-in” on the “racist” “Great Replacement” theory. I blogged about this back in April when the ADL was calling for Carlson’s head (see The “Great Replacement” as Antiracist Propaganda). In that post I told readers about the underlying premise underpinning smears of racism and white nationalism: “Those who promote mass immigration and multiculturalism make culture about race in order to marginalize and silence those who favor rational immigration policies, as well as assimilation and integration.”
Carlson doesn’t care what color people are. This isn’t a white nationalist argument. Tucker is concerned about the racist motive behind the push for mass immigration, which is to reduce the number of those of European ancestry. Tucker is not inferring goal from policy. It’s not an interpretation. In the video I shared, you will hear Biden himself say it. Biden is celebrating the prospect of “Caucasians”—this is the racist term Biden uses—becoming an “absolute minority” in the United States. Biden is saying that fewer white people is a good thing. That would be like leaders in Japan inviting in large numbers of people from the Third World because there are too many Japanese in Japan. What’s wrong with the Japanese? What’s wrong with Americans? Imagine saying that there are too many “Negroes” in the United States so we need more European migrants. Sounds racist. The so-called antiracists are advancing a racist project, and if those who are the target of the project complain, then they are the racists. Whites are supposed to agree that they’re the problem and participate in the project to shrink their proportion United States. Carlson isn’t wrong—this is eugenics.
As many readers of Freedom and Reason know, I have been a college teacher for more than a quarter of a century. I teach critical race theory in my law and society classes. CRT is one of the major perspectives in legal studies. I agree that it is important students learn about it—in college. Mostly so they can crush it in debate. It is a deeply flawed standpoint. For this reason, CRT should not be taught in k-12 (Are Teachers Really all in on Critical Race Theory?Maegan Vazquez Defends Racially Divisive Curriculum). Immature minds (and a lot of mature minds, as well) have trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality. As rebellious as some children are, many more of them will believe what their teachers tell them.
In this post, I will explain what critical race theory is and identify its outstanding errors. I will show that it is fraught with major logical problems, manufactures false abstractions, presents with a quasi-religious character, and ultimately constitutes a racist standpoint. Critical race theory is ideology. Its goal is to keep alive race antagonism in post-racist society. If CRT has its way with America much longer, we won’t live in a post-racist society anymore. The corporate class and technocratic apparatus have embraced the standpoint because it is functional to these ends: the imperative of reproducing the political and ideological division necessary for disorganizing the proletariat and perpetuating bourgeois hegemony.
“When I was in graduate school, I was seduced by Critical Race Theory, or CRT. CRT incorporates into its analysis of law critical theory, a set of ideas drawn from the social sciences, especially anthropology and sociology, and the humanities, in particular art and literary criticism. Critical theory is a product of the cultural turn in Marxist thought by [German] scholars associated with the Frankfurt School. However, critical theory was warped by the [French] postmodern turn in the academy, that is the social constructionism of structuralist and post-structuralist thinking devolving to a radical relativism denying the existence of a single reality. Postmodernism functions as a carnival mirror, warping Marxist insight by reducing ontology to the supposed collective consciousness or should-be consciousness of social position (actually the multiplicity of social positions intersecting in a person), thus rejecting the premise of a universal reality and fracturing the truth with the blunt ideology of epistemic relativism. At the same time, postmodernism asserts that knowledge exists in a matrix of power that allows some knowledge forms to dominate others. Thus the claim to a universal method of interpretation, i.e. science, is a reflection of the power asymmetries. Science [in this view] is dominant ideology. Truth claims can therefore have no real external verification for there is no common method with which to evaluate them—except the claim that all knowledge and thus our lives represent a projection of position and power.”
The outlines of what would become critical race theory could be detected in the mid-1970s in the writings of Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founder of intersectional feminism, as well as those by Derrick Bell, Patricia Williams, and other, mostly Afrocentric, legal scholars. The original goal was to identify structures that might explain why black Americans as-a-group continue to trail white Americans as-a-group in every significant social category of life chances. The explanation avoids attributing these problems to black folk (apart from the collaborators among them), placing the burden of racial inequality squarely on the shoulders of all white Americans, even the children, despite the fact that most whites do not control the forces that generate inequality generally (i.e., the capitalist economy) and no living American had a thing to do with slavery.
A major influence on this early work was critical legal studies (CLS), a leftwing legal movement emerging from legal realism, a tradition that criticized legal formalism and leaned on social science for argument and evidence. CLS was given voice by such legal scholars as Morton Horwitz, Duncan Kennedy, Karl Klare, and Roberto Unger. Kennedy and Klare write in a 1984 Yale Law Journal article that critical legal studies is “concerned with the relationship of legal scholarship and practice to the struggle to create a more humane, egalitarian, and democratic society.” It has been claimed, for example by Alan Hunt, writing in the pages of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, that CLS is “the first movement in legal theory and legal scholarship in the United States to have espoused a committed Left political stance and perspective.” This is not true, however, as German exiles Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer had developed a Marxist critique of the law decades earlier, an important fact to note since CRT adapts CLS to generate an approach that is distinctly contrary to Marxian thought, contradicting assertions made by both conservatives and progressives that CRT is neo-Marxist. (For a good review of CLS, see Jonathan Turley’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to CLS, Unger, and Deep Thought,” published in a 1987 issue of the Northwestern University Law Review.)
By the end of the 1980s, after a decade of stewing in a pot of critical legal studies, postmodernism, and other ingredients, CRT coalesced into a movement that teaches that the system of justice that grew out of European-style jurisprudence—civil rights, due process, individual responsibility, legal innocence, rational adjudication of facts, the state’s burden—amounts to a “perpetrator’s perspective.” The perpetrator’s perspective reflects the ideology of white supremacy, an oppressive force disguised by a rhetoric of neutrality, or “colorblindness.” For this standpoint, the ethic of equal treatment is a stealth method for reproducing social inequality and perpetuating the racial status quo. Liberal notions of the law are racist because liberalism is a European ideology and thus a reflection of white culture, which is racist (for a counterpoint, see The Myth of White Culture). Justice rooted in racism is no justice at all; a system designed to secure a racist order is incapable of rooting out racism. So critical race theorists advocate displacing the perpetrator’s perspective with the “victim’s perspective,” an “antiracist” standpoint that represents racial disparities as prima facia evidence of systemic racism, that is a truth that need no adjudication. The system is responsible, and since this is true, any apparent progress within its parameters is merely a reconfiguring of things to preserve and deepen the system. This assumes that, objectively, all blacks have the same interests. They either identify with the struggle or they are traitors to it—or, charitably, they need to be made aware. Thus, those who speak for the black community do so by presumptive virtue of possessing awareness and the correct interpretation of things.
You might, as I do (see, e.g., Truth in the Face of the 1619 Project: The United States and the West Did Not Establish Slavery—They Abolished It), object that the United States abolished the slave trade, fought a war to end slavery, and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law that ended legal discrimination against black people in public facilities and businesses of accommodation. You might furthermore point out that it was from the West that sentiments of equality, liberty, and rights spread across the world. The Enlightenment liberated humans from slavery the world over. From the CRT standpoint, none of that history matters in the final analysis. If over time there appears to be no evidence of white supremacy, it is only an appearance; in reality, white elites, aided by black collaborators, have plowed racism more deeply into social order. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Recenter history on the black experience, mark the start from 1619, and the “truth” follows: American history is a story about the oppression of blacks for the benefit of the white race. The systemis racist sui generis. It follows that antiracism requires dismantling the system.
From the standpoint of science, the claim that racism is the cause of racial disparities requires evidence in support of the thesis. Antiracists remind us that modern methods of fact analysis are problematic on account of their origins in European civilization. Science is white supremacist. But antiracists still nonetheless feel the need to skirt empirical tests by redefining racial disparities, or more precisely inequities, as racism per se, misusing demographic differences to establish an apparent fact, the effect of which raises all blacks to the status of victims in need of restoration—and all whites as those party responsible for this state of affairs. This is the essence of social justice. CRT has other, more crude tricks. For example, if one argues that racial disparities have other causes, then that person is working from the perpetrator’s perspective and is, by definition, a racist. However vulgar, this trick has cowed a lot of people. But, as we can see in school board meetings and in state legislatures across the country, people (not a few of whom are black) have grown tired of being bullied.
Antiracist politics ask the public to disbelieve what it sees. Apologists for CRT say that it is an academic theory only taught in some law programs around the United States; it has nothing to do with what those parents are objecting to at their school board meetings (State Media Defends Critical Theory). The dishonesty of this argument is part of the character of the new racism that seeks to establish an entirely new subjectivity about race relations. The reality is that antiracism curriculum in public schools, diversity, equity, and inclusion training, workshops on microaggressions, and the like are based on the logic of CRT (see, e.g., The Origins and Purpose of Racial Diversity Training Programs). When CRT apologists tell you that what really lies behind the critique of CRT is a racist desire to prevent the teaching of “real history,” they are asking you to forget that our public schools have been teaching “real history” for decades. I’m 59 years old, grew up in the US South, and my history classes in the 1970s were frank accounts of history (see Lies Your Teachers Tell You). Nothing that was known was hidden from us. And what students didn’t learn in school they learned almost every day on TV, which, if not exactly an accurate accounting of history, was nonetheless a history that pushed what would become the CRT line. It’s as if 1977 ABC television miniseries Roots, a celebrated miniseries that won nine Emmy awards, as well as Golden Globe and Peabody awards, its finale remaining the second-most watched in US television history, never happened.
I call the phenomenon of strategic forgetting the “Zinn effect,” after radical historian Howard Zinn. It works like this: Write a book claiming to tell the real history and, if enough authorities get behind it, it becomes possible to make a proportion of the population, especially those who work from perceived grievances, believe they were denied the truth of the past. Alex Haley worked in this tradition, even taking time to reconstruct a genealogy to distort history (his first book The Autobiography of Malcolm X was likewise a confabulation). As for Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, widely used in high school social studies curriculum, Stanford University School of Education Professor Sam Wineburg, one of the world’s premier researchers in the field of history education, puts it succinctly when he observes that Zinn’s crusade was built on “secondary sources of questionable provenance, omission of exculpatory evidence, leading questions and shaky connections between evidence and conclusions.” Zinn’s reclamation of our history is something akin to Charles Dawson’s Piltdown Man. Thus, one of the ways propaganda works is by making people forget what they already knew (see Orwell) or treat historical events and trends of which they are personally ignorant as something nobody knows. The propagandists tell them that a manufactured history is full of things elites don’t want them to know. The objective is to make the target of the propaganda feel historically and socially significant by being in the know and by serving justice as a change agent. The young person searching for meaning and purpose in life gets to have her civil rights moment. The strategy works all the better thanks to the rampant narcism that characterizes late capitalism (see Curtis Adam’s 2002 BBC series The Century of the Self).
Princeton’s Sean Wilentz succinctly captures the problem in a new critique of Nikole Hannah-Jones and Jake Silverstein’s 1619 Project with The New York Times Magazine. “By the time I had finished the entire thing,” he writes of of the 1619 Project initial offering, “the shape and purport of the project as shaped by its editors were clear. (If every essay did not espouse the same framework, all could be assimilated to it.) Instead of trying to instruct the public about the significance of the year 1619, and hence of the foundational importance of slavery and racism to American history, the project promoted a narrow, highly ideological view of the American past, according to which white supremacy has been the nation’s core principle and chief mission ever since its founding. Everything, supposedly, that has happened since to make the United States a distinctive country is rooted in slavery and the subsequent debasement of Blacks. America has not really struggled over the meaning of its egalitarian founding principles: those principles were false from the start, hollow sentiments meant to cloak the nation’s reliance on and commitment to the subjugation of Black people – principles claimed and vindicated, to the extent they have been, by Black Americans struggling pretty much on their own. And now, thanks to The 1619 Project, that suppressed history would at last, for the first time, come to light, with the esteemed imprimatur of the New York Times.” Elsewhere he describes the writing as “historical gibberish.” “The 1619 Project’s claims were based not on historical sources,” Wilentz writes, “but on imputation and inventive mindreading.”
There are several flaws with CRT that should have fated it to obscurity long ago. And it would have if not for corporate state power exploiting the widespread problem of irrationalism in American society, a society unique in its degree of religiosity. One such flaw is the self-sealing character of the system. Antiracism cannot be wrong because it assumes as evidence the conclusion it asserts. One is either inside the charmed circle (and knows the formulas and slogans) or one is an apostate, heretic, of infidel, depending on whether he escaped the loop, denies the loop, or was never in the loop. It is a tribal philosophy. A related flaw is its Manichaeism, or black and white thinking. As Ibram X Kendi tells it, either you’re a racist or you’re an antiracist. Also, he tells us that past discrimination warrants present discrimination. Kendi argues that determining an individual’s fate on the basis of skin color is just and right because determining an individual’s fate on the basis of skin color is unjust and wrong. That’s what reparations is all about. It rests on the premise of blood guilt, that children of today, though they did nothing wrong, must pay for what their ancestors did (see For the Good of Your Soul: Tribal Stigma and the God of Reparations).
CRT’s idealism leads advocates to falsely attribute to all white people a racial privilege. A privilege is ordinarily defined as an exclusive or special right or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. If, as a white man, it can be guaranteed to me a public restaurant free of the presence of black people, then I enjoy an exclusive right. Special rights on the grounds of race were abolished more than a century ago, but CRT needs a problem in order to pursue its “solution,” which is seeking unjust reward on a racial basis, so its advocate redefine terms to manufacture the appearance of a cause that rationalizes the goal. This is how the rhetoric moved from that of “institutional racism” to “systemic racism” after the United States dismantled racist institutions more than half a century ago (an act carried out by white people). It’s a move not unlike shifting the God concept from an entity who walks upon the earth to one that moves in mysterious ways. It is the act of forever perfecting the nonfalsifiable proposition. This move makes critical race theory akin to religious ideology. This quasi-religious character is covered by a veneer of science (which is an admission of sorts) rooted in common fallacies. CRT treats individuals, materially concrete entities, flesh-and-blood human beings, members of the same species, as personifications of racial categories, as projections of ideas, an act of reification, i.e., making an idea out to be a real thing, while treating group-level disparities, i.e., statistical abstractions, as the actual circumstances of concrete persons. CRT thus commits two fallacies: (1) the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, i.e., treating abstractions as if they are real things, and (2) the ecological fallacy, i.e., drawing conclusions about individuals from group-level statistics. (See The Problem of Critical Race Theory in Epidemiology: An Illustration.)
But critical race theory is something else, too. The logic of racism operates in the same way. For the white supremacist, all black individuals are personifications of the black race. For example, since blacks are much more likely to be involved in violent criminal offending (and not because police are more likely to enforce the law with respect to black offenders), it must be in the nature of blacks to be violent criminal offenders. The white supremacist thus judges each and every black person based on a perception he has about blacks as a group. Stereotyping is the common word for something approximating the ecological fallacy. The fact is that most blacks don’t engage in violent criminal actions, so the attribution of crime to black individuals is an error. Moreover, most whites don’t engage in oppressive action directed against black people. Nor are they engaged in exploiting black labor for personal gain. Most whites are, therefore, not racist. But, like white supremacy, critical race theory is.
So that we move on the ground of fact, for the record, the hospitalization rate from or with COVID-19 is between 1-5 percent depending on state and region. This includes incidental positive tests. For example, if you go to the hospital for a colonoscopy and test positive for COVID-19, now you are an official COVID-19 hospitalization case. This means that the actual risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19 is smaller than the official statistics suggest. As part of its strategy of fear porn, the corporate state propaganda system manufactures the illusion of significant hospitalizations rates from COVID-19. As readers of my blog know, for the vast majority of people, SARS-CoV-2 is asymptomatic or presents with very mild symptoms. Of course, you cannot sustain a moral panic with the facts. So the corporate media misleads its audience.
With that in mind, recall that, earlier this year, a study by the Brookings Institute, asking a representative samples of Democrats and Republicans to estimate COVID-19 hospitalizations, found that Democrats are remarkably ignorant about the facts. More than quarter (25.6 percent) of Republicans articulated the accurate statistic (which indicates that the propaganda affected them to some extent, as well), whereas fewer than one-in-ten (only 9.8 percent) of Democrats did. Astonishingly, 41 percent of Democrats believed that half or more of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 would be hospitalized. For Democrats, more than a third believe that one out of every two infections results in hospitalization. Taken together, well more than two-thirds of Democrats believed hospitalizations per infection were 20 percent or more. These are wildly inaccurate estimates. Frankly, it’s comical it’s so bad.
Progressives are always bashing conservatives for being backward ignorant rubes. Based on his loathing of those he assumes are unvaccinated, Kimmel said the other day that he wants to deny the vaccine hesitant medical treatment (Biden’s Biofascist Regime). (I bet he wouldn’t say that about fat people, whose risk of serious complications from COVID-19 is much greater than the general population. Or black people, who are much less likely to seek the shot.) But the Brookings Institute study finds that it’s conservatives who have a superior grasp of the risks of COVID-19. And not by a little bit. So who are the backward ignorant rubes in all this? Answer: the people who can’t wait to vaccinate their children against a virus the risk of which for children in effectively infinitesimal. Influenza poses a much greater risk to children than SARS-CoV-2. Progressive parents obviously pose a risk, as well.
The ignorance is explicable and the explanation is instructive: get your ass away from these dumb asses. Rank-and-file progressives are among the most gullible people on the face of the planet. They have a tortured relationship to reason and science, which is to say they eschew one and clumsily parrot the rhetoric of the other—all the while professing to know more that everybody else. Progressives are prepared to believe so-called authorities in their tribe. And they are too stuck up to doubt themselves. Subjected to fear porn, they will panic. It’s why they wouldn’t leave their homes to go vote in 2020 and Democrat and RINO officials had to manipulate the election system to get Biden across the wire.
As I wrote in that April blog, “Given the nonstop fear campaign by mainstream media, with a viewership drastically skewed towards Democrats, the fact that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to be outside the propaganda bubble contributes to a more accurate grasp of the relative risks of this virus.” (For More on the Remarkable Ignorance of Progressive Democrats click the embedded link.)
“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age.” —Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (1845)
Ask yourself: How did Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory become dominant ideas? I hear these are Marxist ideas. Conservatives and progressives alike tell me this. Does anybody believe we live in a socialist society? If you do, then you believe a lie. It’s a lie that is easily exposed. The working class neither owns nor controls the means of production. If you therefore think that by pushing such programs as BLM and CRT you are effecting radical change, you need to educate yourself. The truth is that we live under the hegemony of state monopoly capitalism. The perfection of that hegemony lies in wrapping up those who are inclined to care about justice.
Corporations steer history via the social logic of capitalist accumulation and control over politics and ideas. They control the administrative state. They control the regulatory apparatus. They control the culture industry. They control the academy. It is self-evident that the so-called radical movements of our epoch, once they appear, for example, as antiracist programming in our dominant institutions, are not radical at all, but are indoctrination programs designed to bend alien reason to the dominant narrative, to the ruling ideas of the epoch, and to bring into the fold those for whom capitalist accumulation represents the most exploitative force in history. That’s why workers are forced to say things they don’t believe—things they know aren’t true. That’s why they are forced to do things that violate their autonomy and those of their comrades. This is why too many reflex in the direction of obedience. The process already got to them.
Over decades, Capitalist planners brilliantly established a faux-left politics to divert the people from the path to class consciousness. That’s why the so-called neo-Marxism of today eschews class analysis. Except to accuse the working class of white supremacy, it leaves class outside the parameters of its “critique.” Class isn’t part of its “problematic.” Conservative thinkers believe that Marxism is dissimulated as trickery. But, really, it just isn’t there. The faux-left embraces false consciousness as its politics. It gets the power dynamic backwards. It stands the world on its head. It’s Hegelian. The educator needs educating.
“The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think.” When are you going to become consciousness? When are you going to think? How will you accomplished these feats? Through faith in the establishment?
As I do on a routine basis, I have been going through the COVID-19 statistics over at the Centers of Disease Control. It’s harder to be afraid when you look at facts. Fear is contagious and it feeds on ignorance and the unknown. So I inoculate myself from fear with facts. I relay these facts to you because, maybe, it will help relieve some of the fear you are experiencing.
A quick comparison point before I move on. The Shanghai (1957-1958) and Hong Kong (1968-1969) flu seasons killed 0.06% and 0.04% of the United States population respectively. COVID-19 2019-2020 season killed 0.09% of the US population. COVID-19 had a lower morality rate on a comparative basis than either Shanghai (the H2N2 strain) or Hong Kong (H3N2) flu.
Okay. Today, I have found something interesting. As you know, influenza kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. In some years, influenza has killed more than one hundred thousand people. The Shanghai and Hong Kong flu seasons reached those levels of lethality. So far, among the 652,871 deaths officially associated with COVID-19 recorded by the CDC, nearly half (47%) of them were also associated with influenza and pneumonia.
Now, a reasonable person looks at that statistic showing that almost have of COVID-29 death cases were also influenza and pneumonia cases and wonders what killed these people exactly. Was it COVID-19 that killed them? Or was it influenza and pneumonia? A competent news reporter would ask somebody in authority about this. I haven’t heard this question asked. Can we expect to find on another or forthcoming CDC page those deaths among deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia? I believe you will search in vain for this page. If I missed it and you have those data please share them.
Of the 306,957 deaths from COVID-19 and influenza and pneumonia recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, 203,397 were 65 years old or older. That’s 66 percent of the total. We know that influenza and pneumonia are one of the primary killers of the elderly. Does COVID-19 push influenza and pneumonia out of its way to take credit for killing an elderly person? Or does the CDC give COVID-19 the credit? How these deaths are listed is at least in partly subjective. We know that subjectivity is shaped by social forces of various sorts. Is there an agenda at work here?
Of the 1,565 COVID-19 deaths among those <1-24 years of age, 585 were associated with influenza and pneumonia. That’s well more than a third of deaths among those aged <1-24. What killed these young Americans? COVID-19 or influenza and pneumonia? If it was influenza and pneumonia, then this is one of the worst flu seasons on record (for all age categories). But the CDC says that flu activity in 2020-2021 was “unusually low.” Is concealing pediatric flu deaths part of the campaign to push the mRNA vaccine on our youth? After all, there has never been a widespread push to mandate the flu vaccine for young people despite deaths occurring in that population every year. Could large deaths tolls from influenza and pneumonia carry such a campaign? Or are we used to influenza deaths and therefore unafraid?
It all feels deliberate. According to the CDC, “The low level of flu activity during this past season contributed to dramatically fewer flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths compared with previous flu seasons.” Yet, according to its own data, 306,957 deaths associated with COVID-19 were also associated with influenza and pneumonia. The CDC statement can only seem true if it effectively conceals influenza and pneumonia deaths from the record by exclusively counting them as COVID-19 deaths. But then why list them in other sources?
We know morality among children is worse from the flu than COVID-19. The CDC reports: “For pediatric deaths, CDC received one report of a pediatric flu death in a child during the 2020–2021 flu season.” Did you catch that? One report. That’s astonishing. The numbers usually range from dozens to hundreds. Does this mean that there was only one pediatric death from influenza and pneumonia that did not have associated with it a COVID-19 diagnosis?
The flu is very destructive to human cells. Children rarely contract the flu and remain symptom free. But children with SARS-CoV-2 are either asymptomatic or experience only mild cold-like symptoms. Indeed, coronavirus, like adenoviruses and rhinoviruses, are among the cold viruses that circulate the planet every year. Most of my readers have had coronavirus infections. And more than one. Children get half a dozen or more colds annually. A child dying with both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza and pneumonia is more likely to die from which of these?
For the record, of the 652,871 deaths associated with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, seven-tenths of one percent were <1-17 years of age. More than eighty percent were 65 years of age or older.
Keep in mind that, despite the numerous mutations, the authorities have decided to report on the COVID-19 pandemic as one continuous affair. This yields higher death counts (imagine racking up influenza and pneumonia deaths in this fashion). This flies in the face of the previous practice of reporting virus numbers in terms of seasons.
More than 90 percent of COVID-19 deaths were associated with significant comorbidities. If we look at deaths for ages <1-14 in 2019-2020, the CDC records 134 cases, or three-one-hundredths of the total death count in that frame (3,358,814 deaths from all causes). If we add the next category, bringing it <1-24, we account for less than two-tenths of the total death count. Again, most of these cases are associated with significant comorbidities.
Like other viruses, COVID-19 discriminates. Those who are old with compromised immune systems and those with preexisting conditions who contract SARS-CoV-2 are at special risk from the virus. The vaccine may afford some protection from disease (but not much from infection and transmission). For most of the rest, this virus is unremarkable. Evidence indicates that the vaccine is more dangerous for young men than the virus.
It appears that influenza and pneumonia deaths are buried in the data to make COVID-19 appear more dangerous for young people than it is. We know that the government is mandating vaccines and eager to vaccinate children. That’s millions of shots at twenty dollars an injection. Some have described this strategy as the “noble lie.” It’s not. It is a strategy to funnel money to pharmaceutical corporations. The bottom line for corporate America is not children. The food production system told us that a long time ago. The bottom line is profit.
In a recent scientific study, Israeli researchers compare over 16,000 patients who were previously infected but never vaccinated against another 16,000 who had not been infected but were vaccinated. The study controls for age, gender, health, and time of infection and vaccination. Researchers find that the vaccinated group without prior infection was at much greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than those who had been infected but not vaccinated. What is the risk? There is a 13-fold higher risk of infection with the vaccine compared to reinfection among unvaccinated. The study was conducted during the period when Delta was the prevailing strain.
Why isn’t this the lead story? Why when Fauci was asked about this all he could do is stutter? Why, in the light of the facts, would we suggest teenage boys get vaccinated when their risk of heart disease is six times greater with the vaccine than with natural infection, when natural infection will given them power and lasting protection against reinfection? You know the answer, right? It has a name: corporate profit.
Biden’s Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday defended the administration’s new Covid vaccine requirements, calling them “an appropriate legal measure” that fit in with traditional safety requirements in schools and workplaces. I discuss this tradition in my essay The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes. For more than a century, the United States has used Jacobson to justify law and policy undermining bodily autonomy, including the forced sterilization of American citizens deemed “unfit” to have children. That doesn’t make it “appropriate” any more than the history of racial segregation justifies new rules separating people on the basis of skin color. The United States has a history of establishing and entrenching rules that are profoundly unethical and unjust from a principled standpoint. It’s from that standpoint that we judge their appropriateness not tradition.
The first principle of bioethics is respect for bodily autonomy. To be free, individuals must possess their bodies. To put this another way, when others possess your body, they possess you. In this situation, whatever the creature comforts, you are not free. Maybe that’s okay with you. But it’s not okay with me. But is it okay for you? For years, to the applause of progressives, I have warned audiences about the tyranny of state control over the reproductive capacity of women (see, e.g., Liberty is America’s raison d’être. Preserving Reproductive Freedom for the Sake of the Republic). Yet, progressives, apoplectic over the Texas abortion law, are celebrating Biden’s federal vaccine mandate. At least they aren’t complaining about it. One might have hoped that opposition to the Texas law would have been based on principle. But contempt for democracy and liberty on the left side of the political aisle is truly appalling. Double consciousness notwithstanding, the left have told us with no ambiguity: “We are an unprincipled lot.”
For the record, I operate on principle. I oppose Biden’s mandate on the same grounds that I oppose the Texas law. Both unjustly trespass upon the terrain of bodily autonomy. Of course, Biden’s mandate affects far more people—tens of millions more. It affects not only consenting adults of both sexes, but children who cannot consent to a medical intervention they do not need and that may harm them (see “COVID-19 is Worse than the Flu”—For Whom?). This makes Biden’s mandate a more pressing concern. Moreover, for those who work from principle, it is ready leverage to lift from the backs of girls and women abortions restrictions. In either case, life and liberty seem not to really matter to conservatives or progressives. The partisan desire to control others is what is at work here. The pro-life crowd will wave around an image of an aborted fetus. The pro-vaccination crowd shares a meme about a COVID-19 patient. But neither image nor meme change the principle in question: a person must be decide for her or himself what happens to her or his body.
In “The Perils of Scientific Obedience: Bioethics under the Spectre of Biofascism,” published in 2009 in Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare (Routledge), Stuart Murray warns us about the increasing “biologization” of bodies and political identities. The trend threatens to bring an end to the rational, autonomous subject. Since his essay was published more than a decade ago, scholars have identified a phenomenon associated with biologization, the neurotic and limiting culture of “safetyism” (see the work of Jonathan Haidt). Safetyism enables biofascism. Both flow from fear and authoritarian desire. (See Living at the Borderline—You are Free to Repeat After Me.)
In his essay, Stuart argues for “the relevance of Milgram’s insights in the context of modern Western healthcare, claiming that the rhetoric of healthcare demands a perilous obedience to scientific authority. This argument extends beyond medicine’s proverbial paternalism; indeed, the rhetoric of healthcare has become internalized as a worldview, and has come to authorize and regulate a limited set of normative terms—a language—in and through which individuals relate to the social world, to themselves, to their bodies, and even to their own genetic material. In other words, healthcare discourses extend seamlessly beyond the medical sphere to touch every aspect of human life and death, increasingly underpinning modern subjectivity and identity—effectively spelling the end of the rational, autonomous subject in the traditional sense of the term.” (See Intelligent, well-meaning, young people are willing to call white black and “You Have No Other Choice, You Must Go On.”)
CNN reports that “Business Roundtable welcomes the Biden Administration’s continued vigilance in the fight against Covid.” Its CEO, Joshua Bolten, who served as chief of staff to George W. Bush, a president who himself presided over a vast expansion of the national security state, a move conveyed as vigilance in the fight against terrorism, said in a statement, “America’s business leaders know how critical vaccination and testing are in defeating the pandemic.” The National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce said they, too, will encourage their members to follow the new rule. The ruling class approves.
What is Biden actually proposing? Biden has issued an expansive rules mandate, a directive cloaked in the name of protecting employee safety but designed to further the transformation of citizens in a federal republic into serfs beholden to corporate power. Biden’s rules mandate all employers with more than one hundred workers require vaccination or routine testing. This affects eighty million Americans. Workers at health facilities receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid will also have to be vaccinated, a rule covering another seventeen million people. Additionally, the mandate requires vaccination for employees of the executive branch and federal contractors. Here, there is no option for routine testing (not that routine testing is an acceptable alternative). Workers will have to be vaccinated or face discipline and likely termination.
All-in-all, Biden’s mandate compels some one hundred million workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination—this despite growing evidence that the technology neither confers adequate and durable immunity nor prevents serious illness and hospitalization (albeit there is efficacy here). There are, moreover, safety concerns (side effects include anaphylaxis, Bell’s palsy, cardiac and thrombotic conditions, Graves’ disease, Guillain Barre syndrome, and menstrual cycle disruptions). As if this were not troubling enough, the vaccines may be exacerbating the pandemic or could potentially do so.
Robert Malone and Peter Navarro discuss these points in an essay critical of the mandatory vaccine push and come to a frightening conclusion. “The clear historical tendency for viruses crossing over from one species to another is to evolve in a way that makes them both more infectious and less pathogenic over time,” they write. “However, a universal vaccination policy deployed in the middle of a pandemic can turn this normal Darwinian taming process into a dangerous vaccine arms race.” They explain: “The more people you vaccinate, the greater the number of vaccine-resistant mutations you are likely to get, the less durable the vaccines will become, ever more powerful vaccines will have to be developed, and individuals will be exposed to more and more risk.” While these problems may be irrelevant to the ethic of autonomy, where a free individual determines for himself what happens to his body independent of abstract considerations, it raises another ethical issue: compelling individuals to participate in a corporate project that may worsen the situation for their fellow citizens. (See The Official Vaccine Narrative Completely Falls Apart; A Pandemic of the Vaccinated; Are We Forgetting Darwin?; Profits Before People: Civilians Denied Cheap and Effective Therapeutics.)
Add this term to your dictionary: biofascism. Biofascism is where the corporate state controls a population using the technocratic machinery of public health. Biofascism is marked by an obsession with health and hygiene. It divides populations into the clean and the unclean, the fit and the unfit. It coerces individuals into accepting official health guidelines and medical screening and treatment. (The targets are still arbitrary. Will biofascism crush the fat acceptance movement? That depends on whether there is a pharmaceutical intervention. Like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, diet and exercise don’t generate billions for the medical industry.) The obsession over healthcare manipulates a large segment of the population to accept the ideology justifying involuntary medical intervention. This ideology amounts to a New Fascism. (See Totalitarian Monopoly Capitalism: Fascism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. See also Torches of Freedom, Vaccine Cards, and Our Civilian Lives.)
In a biofascist regime, the extended state apparatus, which includes business firms—indeed, the regime is directed by corporate power—gate-keeps and surveils individuals using ID tags of various sorts, the inconvenience of which will soon see their mass importation into the body. Some tags confer privileges; those who present them have access to resources and spaces denied to those who either have the wrong tag or cannot produce one. Vaccine passports are just one of many instantiations of biofascism (see The Immorality of Vaccine Passports and the Demands of Nuremberg). As most of you remember, employees of some businesses are shockingly eager to have microchips implanted in their bodies. There are people who still think that microchipping is a “conspiracy theory.” It’s not. Three years ago employees at the Wisconsin company Three Square Market were implanted with a RFID chip to use to access doors, login to computers, etc. The trend is spreading globally. The technology is easily repurposed to store medical records.
The biofascist attitude is characteristic of totalitarian regimes. German national socialism is the most well-known example. An early step in Hitler’s consolidation of power involved the support of doctors, scientists, and professional societies, such as the progressive German Medical Association (GMA), to legitimize the practice of classifying populations in terms of fitness. There are those who will push back and say that the Nazis coerced doctors and scientists to participate in the project. But this is not true. In 2012, the GMA admitted that “the initiative for the most serious human rights violations did not originate from the political authorities at the time, but rather from the physicians themselves.” In the end, Germans were tagged with numbers tattooed on their arms that corresponded to variables on computer cards cataloged by the IBM punched card system (IBM did not have RFID technology back then). As these tags were easily concealed, business firms and government agents required external stigmata. The yellow Star of David marked the Jew. A pink triangle marked the homosexual.
It is vital to the defense of democracy to correctly ascertain the political-ideological character that animates biofascism. There is an extensive history of this character. I cannot do this history justice in a short essay, But I need to get out there a few basic facts about our own experience with biofascism as Americans. I emphasize that my argument is not reductio ad Hitlerum. I am not making an analogy. What I am reporting is actual history.
German doctors and scientists were impressed with the US eugenics programs progressive physicians, scientists, and reformers pushed in America to weed out the defective and diseased. (See Edwin Black’s War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create A Master Race. Black is also author of IBM and the Holocaust snd the Nazi Nexus). The Nazis passed the Nuremberg law which segregated the population. The Party used the military and the police to enforce the rule. Business owners were eager to carry out the measure. Imagine a world where opportunities for employment, entertainment, etc., are based on official and verifiable health status (throw in the file criminal records and all the rest of it). That’s what it was like in Nazi Germany, a nation that took medical tyranny to its logical conclusion. The United States of America under Biden is well down this road.
There is indeed a long history in our own country of biofascism. Germany’s Nuremberg law was based on the California sterilization law. California was not the only American state to have a eugenics program. The practice of eugenics was funded nationwide by progressive philanthropic organizations Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Supreme Court, led by the Oliver Wendell Holmes (a majoritarian who also ruled in favor of the suppression of free speech) upheld hygiene laws (using Jacobson). Progressive administrators, legislators, and policymakers relied on experts (academics, doctors, scientists) for guidance. Selected elites were elevated in standing. Corporate state power determined their selection, as well as who could publish and speak. (Sound familiar?) Government offices established regulatory bodies (the FDA, the USDA, the CDC), wielding administrative law and agency authority to shield and legitimize the medical-industrial complex—all this under the guise of protecting the public, our schools and workplaces. We’re talking about the United States, don’t forget. The fetish for technocracy is characteristic of an authoritarian personality, and the United States had no shortage of such personalities, a type produced not only by disordered character but by the subjectivity generated by state corporatism and technocratic imperative.
In 1996, Daniel Goldhagen published Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Goldhagen argues in this book that the Nazi Party depended on the willing participation of rank-and-file Germans for success. The popular attitude that animated them grew out of medieval religious attitudes that had, over centuries, taken the form of secular attitudes. Goldhagen was inspired to study the German ideology because an earlier book, by Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men, used the Milgram experiment on obedience to explain police operations, and explanation that fueled the banality of evil thesis advanced by Hannah Arendt. Goldhagen disagreed. Although this was a piece of it, it was not enough to be a cog in the bureaucratic machinery. Those who carried out the desires of the German ruling class were “ordinary members of extraordinary political culture.”
On freedom and reason I have written about scientism and explained how it differs from science. Science is comprised of rigorous methods of producing knowledge that proceeds objectively in the context of free and open inquiry. Scientism, in contrast, is an ideology that pulls about itself scientific jargon to conceal its quasi-religious spirit. When progressives tell us to just “follow the science,” (the crude version: “Don’t even think about it, bro”) this is a call to faith. Scientism does not permit criticism of its “findings,” its producers relying on state power and corporate governance to establish their conclusions as official truth. We see this in the manufacture of COVID-19 policy and the cult of personality surrounding Dr. Anthony Fauci. We see it in social media platforms censoring and deplatforming those skeptical of corporate power and product. We also see it in the elevation of critical race theory. Indeed, the New Fascism is like the old fascism in more ways than biologism. Its segregationist desire is apparent in more than hysteria over hygiene.
Corporations were eager to impose hygiene rules in Nazi Germany, so it is not surprising the business associations in the United States are chomping last the bit to impose Biden’s mandates. Private power understands that managing large populations requires deep control over civilians, which includes commanding their bodies. Besides, bossing around workers is fun. It’s not all about money. There are people in this world who are aroused by lording power over others, and they’re disproportionately located in positions of privilege (that’s part of why they are in positions of privilege).
Recall from my last blog post (The Delta Crest and the Campaign to Dull Our Empathy) Jimmy Kimmel saying unvaccinated people shouldn’t be given hospital beds. I told you that Kimmel not the only one. Here’s another one. Prominent shock jock Howard Stern sends a message to those who choose not to be vaccinated that goes something like “Fuck their freedom. I want the freedom to live.”
Stern makes a bizarre argument representative of rank-and-file progressive sentiment. It’s the epitome of narcissist attitude. “Fuck other people’s freedom. I only care about my freedom.” We knew Stern was a self-centered prick. It’s a tick of the cultural manager. But here’s the truly bizarre piece. Presumably Stern is vaccinated. Stern doesn’t believe vaccines will save his life unless everybody else is vaccinated. This type of magical thinking is characteristic of the left. You see, for example, in the claim that responsibility for black suffering rides on the genes of white people. Wokeism is a religion.
Suppose vaccines save lives in the abstract. We live in the concrete world. We know that vaccines don’t save the lives of everybody who gets COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people are contracting COVID and not only winding up in the hospital but also winding up dead. They are spreading the virus to others. How does an abstraction save Stern’s life? He could be out taking pictures, encounter a vaccinated person with COVID-19, contract COVID-19, wind up in the hospital and die.
This problem is rampant on the left. Stern has confused the abstract with the real. Somebody needs to tell the man that he can never be sure he won’t get COVID-19. Suppose the vaccine makes it less likely that Stern will be hospitalized and die. Then it’s a good thing Stern is vaccinated. His chances of getting sick and dying depend on his level of protection against COVID-19 afforded to him by the vaccine he took (good luck with that). But, again, it’s magical thinking for Stern to believe that others being vaccinated is what will afford him the freedom to live. Either the vaccine protects him or it doesn’t.
Stern is not only self-centered. He is also a cruel person. This, too, reflects the rank-and-file progressive attitude. It’s why the corporate media can’t conceal schadenfreude in reporting stories about “anti-vaxers” dying COVID-19, accounts made even more sublime when the dying man (almost invariably obese and middle aged) Winston-like confesses his sins from his death bed. Like Kimmel, Stern believes the unvaccinated should be denied medical treatment. “You had the cure and you wouldn’t take it.”
The vaccine is not a cure. There is no cure for COVID-19. There is only immunity, and the vaccine doesn’t guarantee that. Indeed, the statistics suggest one should be skeptical of the power of the vaccine. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who get this virus survive it. They never wind up in the hospital. And the immunity they acquire is much more powerful and durable. But to call for not treat those struggling to breathe? That’s sadism (another marker of the fascist mentality). Kimmel and Stern’s attitudes are those of the authoritarian: irrational thinking, scapegoating, seeing human beings from other tribes as diseased and threatening, wanting to see them subject to state coercion or a miserable death. This is the subjectivity that produces popular support for Biden’s biofascist policies.
Murthy told Meetthe Press that Biden’s mandate was neither illegal nor unusual. “What we cannot allow is for this pandemic to turn us on each other,” he said. “Our enemy is the virus; it is not one another.” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson followed Murthy and told the host that, while he “appreciated” the surgeon general’s remarks on fighting the virus through increased vaccination, the administration’s vaccine requirement is “an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority.” The legal and unusual tradition notwithstanding, and recognizing war and other catastrophic events, Hutchison is correct. “It divides our partnership between the federal government and the states,” the governor said. He then demolished Murthy’s attempt to find common ground: “it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake.”
Hutchison could have put this in much more strident terms. I have been on this earth for fifty-nine years and, while I knew it was possible, I never expected to see this level of overt tyranny in my own country during a pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is dangerous for those with compromised immune systems and certain comorbidities. But for the vast majority of people, this virus is asymptomatic or produces mild cold and flu symptoms. As for children, influenza is far more serious than SARS-CoV-2. There is no calamity justifying such extraordinary measures as a mandatory vaccination program. We are in the midst of a pandemic. But we are also in the midst of a New Fascism. And the latter is a far more dangerous development, one that has been in development for decades. I thought elites would keep finessing it. Keep it low key. You know, in light of American resistance to measures designed to undermine liberty and democracy. But elites have moved straight to the iron fist. And many Americans appear to have lost confidence in themselves. Safetyism has undermined the American spirit. The American republic is in deep trouble. Autonomy is in peril.
Where, you might ask, are the labor unions on this? You’d think they were out front in defending the autonomy of their members. Better think again. The National Nurses Union is applauding Biden’s mandate. The American Federation of Teachers stands alongside them. “Safety and health have been our north star since the beginning of the pandemic,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten, her majoritarianism in full expression: AFT’s support for mandates “creates great cheer among two-thirds of our people.” The AFL-CIO is praising mandates, issuing a statement, “The resurgence of COVID-19 requires swift and immediate action, and we commend President Biden for taking additional steps to help put an end to this crisis. Everyone should be vaccinated.” The unions are hitched to the Democratic Party jackass. Union leaders are tight with the progressives. They are the progressives. Who will defend the working class? The Democratic Party is the party, and progressives are the operatives and devotees of the corporate state. You can’t count on them. Our future lies with populist-nationalist and libertarian movements. There is spirit of freedom and skepticism continue to live.
But, really, you don’t need to know epidemiology to figure out what’s going on. As soon as I learned that most people who get this virus have mild cold symptoms or are asymptomatic, I knew that the case numbers underrepresented the true number of infections (On the Pains of Testing and Contact Tracing. It’s Worse than Folly). Many of those infected are simply not going to get tested if they don’t know they are infected or if they believe the media that this virus is on the scale of ebola and all they have are cold symptoms. (Remember, polls show that 40 percent of Democrats believe that catching the virus guarantees hospitalization, when the fact is that only a small proportion of cases require hospitalization. See “Whatever that number is”: Vaccine Hesitancy, Common Sense, and Stigmatizing Christians.) Even flu-like symptoms, which I experienced in March 2020, don’t always move a person to get tested. I considered it, but felt too bad to do anything about it (and there was another concern I will note in a moment). I did what I always do: sweat it out.
If you apply the metrics the CDC uses to estimate influenza cases, which likely undercounts coronavirus cases, since influenza is less contagious, half the population has been infected at this point (“COVID-19 is Worse than the Flu”—For Whom?). Many of these individuals got vaccinated (they should have been tested for antibodies—and I don’t buy this nonsense about “super-immunity”). As I have argued, herd immunity towards the known mutants is likely the reason cases dropped dramatically beginning in early January 2021. With the introduction of the vaccines, case numbers soared. Part of this is thanks to mutants that can get around the vaccine. It is also possible that the vaccine is driving mutation.
As Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA technology, has told us, we cannot vaccinate our way out of the pandemic. We’re going to need therapeutics, and that means standing up to resistance put up by the medical industry to public access to cheap pharmaceuticals, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. We need to stand up to the corporate state and its technocratic corps and demand healthcare that puts people before profits. (See Profits Before People: Civilians Denied Cheap and Effective Therapeutics.)
Despite the vaccine setback, I had hope that the latest wave was cresting based on the trend line as we were reestablishing herd immunity. But the number of cases reported today set a new record for daily cases. I don’t mean to depress you. I mean to keep you informed. Trump should have insisted on therapeutics more strongly than he did and not rushed the vaccine. He opened the door to this mess. Biden is worthless. Fauci should be removed and investigated. Public policy in this area has been a disaster.
When everything is said and done, I wonder what percentage of COVID-19 patients ventilators killed? What percentage of the 600-plus-thousand people. Remember when something like 9 of every 10 persons on a ventilator died? When I was considering whether to seek medical attention for my illness in March 2020, which was severe (and I have a history of pneumonia), I shuttered at the thought of being hospitalized, What would they do to me? The medical industry is the third leading case of death in the United States. As it turned out, my experience was typical of my experiences with flu-like illness. I was tired for some weeks after the symptoms passed (which was three days of high fever and profuse sweating). But I have suffered no long-term effects, except for rediscovering the necessity of being skeptical of the claims made by authorities and experts. After all, they’re only people.
Jimmy Kimmel says unvaccinated people shouldn’t be given hospital beds. He’s not the only one. More and more, we are seeing a desire that those who have opted for not taking the shots suffer terrible consequences. What about obese people? If it wasn’t for obesity far fewer people would be seeking hospitalization. Most people who are obese choose to be obese. Diet and exercise works. If you are fat, losing weight will sharply reduce your chance of serious complications from SARS-CoV-2. Why is the media neglecting this issue? However, nobody should be turned away from medical treatment. Doctors can recommend vaccination for the old and unhealthy, just as they can recommend diet and exercise. They cannot refuse treatment for people who need it.
“The country that was once predicted to be the first to vaccinate its entire population had the highest per-capita caseload of anywhere.” That country is Israel. See Bloomberg’s scary headline: “Israel’s Covid Surge Shows the World What’s Coming Next.” The situation points to something that we ignore at our peril, that any government would mandate a vaccine that doesn’t work should signal stupidity. But governments aren’t that stupid. It’s an agenda. By allowing the hosts of mutants to interact with others, a leaky vaccine that lessens symptoms short-circuits natural selection and prolongs the pandemic. (See my Are We Forgetting Darwin?)
From a humanitarian standpoint, the mass vaccine program is a disaster. In the United States, the delta mutation may be cresting. If so, this indicates that herd immunity is growing again through infection with this variant. But the vaccine can’t stop the mutants. Infection produces twenty times the antibodies produced by vaccination and antibodies produced by actual exposure to the virus have a better memory. At some point, the 99.9+% of those who will suffer at most a flu-like illness from the virus are going to have get one or more of these mutants. It’s the same process populations had to go through with adenoviruses and rhinoviruses. And humans still need lots of exposure to these cold viruses to develop the immunity that will protect them in their latter years. We should not be where we are. We are not here because of the unvaccinated. Scientists needs to bury their hubris and let evolution do its work.
CNN carried the headline: “‘Completely incorrect’: Dr. Fauci pushes back on DeSantis’ vaccine claim.” But Governor Ron DeSantis is right. If you are in a high risk category and you believe the vaccine can help prevent serious illness, then consider taking it. But the risks from the vaccine may outweigh the risks of the virus to a healthy person. Also, as trends in cases suggest, mass vaccination is prolonging the pandemic (see A Pandemic of the Vaccinated). The effort to portray the unvaccinated as the problem is one of the more despicable mass propaganda campaigns of the last several decades. Authorities have moved from humans-as-disease-vectors to a specific group of humans are-the-disease. The idea that it’s only the unvaccinated who can contract and spread the viruses is a big lie. We know that the vaccinated carry and transmit the virus to others. This fact makes the propaganda all the more obvious. Yet people keep falling for it. Scientific literacy is not in good shape.
People are also falling for the big lie about ivermectin. The Ohio judge who ordered a hospital to administer ivermectin to a COVID-19 patient has changed his mind. (Somebody got to him.) “Judges aren’t doctors,” the judge said in overturning his own ruling They don’t have to be. It’s not like doctors know everything anyway. Through medical error, over-treatment and under-treatment, doctors and medical staff kill people everyday, hundreds of thousands every year. No industry is responsible for more death and injury than the medical-industrial complex. Do they save lives? Sure. But they also kill. Besides, wasn’t it judges who said people could be compelled to be inoculated with the small pox vaccine, a ruling that other judges ran with, including judges today that are allowing mandates for mRNA gene therapy? (See The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes.) Judges can’t compel doctors to stop denying patients access to a drug the efficacy and safety for which is backed up by dozens of studies?
Have you heard about the Rolling Stone magazine story about Oklahoma hospitals being so swamped by ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims were turned away? Turns out that it wasn’t true (see National Review’s“Like a Rolling Stone” for details). Rolling Stone did not issue a correction or retraction, however, but an “update.” Clever. (It this really why Matt Taibbi left the magazine?) The ivermectin panic is a straightforward case of propaganda and confirmation bias. It started as a local story with one source. Because the corporate news media wants stories that show ivermectin in a bad light (the scientific research indicates that it is effective in preventing and treating COVID-19 and that is bad for the pharmaceutical companies that advertise with corporate media—for details see my See Profits Before People: Civilians Denied Cheap and Effective Therapeutics—and because elites want to make people in the heartland look like ignoramuses who foul everything up, they picked up the disinformation and ran with it without bothering to confirm the facts. The usual suspects like Rachael Maddow and Joy Reid took the bait big time. Only one of the hospitals this doctor worked for (he has privileges at more than one) reported cases of ivermectin problems and—I will use quotes here because this is the spokesperson’s characterization of the supposed tsunami of ivermectin overdoses—these amounted to a “handful” of cases. There is zero evidence that this had anything to do with bed shortages in Oklahoma hospitals.
This story is an example of corporate propaganda that began with the planting of disinformation that could not in the end withstand factchecking. But that doesn’t mean it won’t prove successful in the end. Many people heard it, believed it, and won’t bother to find out whether it is true. It fits the narrative and that is too often all that matters. These are the sort of people who dishonestly characterize ivermectin as “horse dewormer” or ignorantly believe that’s what it is. It’s not. Ivermectin is listed on the WHO’s 2019 Model List of Essential Medicines under the category anti-infective medication. Then there are those outlets (CNN is exemplary) that, in supposedly clarifying the story, turn it into an attack on those who debunked the story.
Such stories are hard to get rid of once they have been planted. Remember needles and razorblades in apples? Or Richard Gere and gerbiling (there’s no evidence gerbiling is even a sexual practice—although one can imagine some cosmopolitan type doing it because he thinks it is thanks to an urban legend)? I have no doubt that there were parents back then rationalizing the fact that, while there was no evidence that Halloween apples contained needles or razorblades, it was best to throw out the candy. When people are frightened, they imagine incredible things. Stories of poison-laced Halloween candy were more frequent, for example, in the context of the Tylenol scare. Richard Gere’s gerbiling was a product of jealousy over the tendency of wives and girlfriends to dwell on his good looks.
Sociology is not merely concerned with external social forces and relations but also with the mental life of its subject matter, which necessarily includes people. At least it should. I have always found sociological work that excludes or minimizes concrete individuals and human agency as incomplete at best.
Lately, I have been writing more about matters of psychiatry and social psychology. Although I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from a major state university, critics may claim I am unqualified to speak on this topic. In addition to several years conducting program evaluation for an alcohol and treatment facility, in which, despite not being qualified to evaluate clients, I was nonetheless exposed to psychiatric categories, cases, and industry-wide aggregate statistical patterns, I also have a masters degree and a PhD in sociology.
There is a robust social psychology in my chosen discipline. George Herbert Mead, a principal founder of the perspective Herbert Blumer tagged “symbolic interactionism,” describes his own views as “social behaviorism.” Erving Goffman writes powerfully on mental life, as you will see below, as does Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann (social constructionism). Howard Becker and his cohort pioneered labeling theory. There is also a robust tradition in sociology of critical examination of the institution and practice of medicine. This essay is an instantiation of that tradition.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a condition where persons obsess over perceived defects in their appearance. A woman with an emaciated body sees a fat person in the mirror. Another woman wishes to be an alien because the human form is ordinary. She want to become a “beautiful monster,” as the woman in the above video who appears to be wearing a mask describes herself. A man might see an arm that shouldn’t be there, so he removes it with a power tool. Another will crush his legs beneath concrete slabs so doctors will amputate them. The transabled person, if you will accept that construct for a moment, is a person who feels trapped or feels like an imposter in his own body. It’s the wrong body and he seeks to transform it into the right body, to become that which he feels is in him. His disability is by choice. Another man finds his genitals alien to him. I am describing actual cases.
The person suffering from BDD may desire to surgically alter her appearance in ways that are disfiguring to those who do not suffer from this disorder—and even to herself, if and when she realizes what she has done. In a bid to specify BDD in light of these cases, which are growing in frequency, a newer label has emerged, namely Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID). This named disorder appears around 2013. BIID is diagnosed when a person has a pathologically strong desire to remove an appendage or substantially alter his body. It is a species of BDD.
Some doctors believe persons who want to transform their bodies in disfiguring ways should be allow to do so. Such surgery is already occurring in the United States. Align Surgical Associates Inc., a medical firm based in San Francisco, endorsed by, among others, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Aesthetic Society, will perform a surgical procedure known as “nullification” on those who wish “to enjoy a relatively smooth genital area,” a “mostly unbroken transition from the abdomen down.” The firm offers this procedure for those who wish to “enjoy a body that looks closer on the outside to the way they feel on the inside.” Some people wish to have no genitals and Align Surgical Associates Inc. will make that happen. For a fee, of course. (The firm’s website has a gallery, if you are interested.)
I did not label the practice of complete removal of genitalia “nullification.” This is the term Align Surgical Associates Inc. use in marketing their services. It’s an industry term. In a world increasingly conveyed in Orwellian Newspeak, nullification is a straightforward way to describe a procedure that erases the genitals. To nullify is to make of no use or value, to cancel out, to invalidate. The difference between invalid and invalid is only a matter of pronunciation.
At this point, I want to emphasize two things. First, just as we have sympathy for those stricken with cancer or other serious physical afflictions, we must also have sympathy for those who suffer from mental afflictions, who feel trapped in the wrong body or find normal appendages alien or repulsive. The agony of such obsessive and self-destructive thoughts is nothing we would wish on others or should make light of. In the effort to destigmatize mental illness (without excusing the harm such illnesses may cause), we must treat such conditions seriously and in a manner that future generations won’t look back on in horror at the harm the doctor wrought. Psychosurgical interventions, such as the lobotomy, serve as poignant reminders of the excesses of surgical intervention in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Second, there are cases where a person has a defect, disfigurement, or a feature that does not conform with social expectations and wishes to change her or his appearance to experience greater inclusion in society. Sociologist Erving Goffman wrote about this in his landmark work Stigma, published in 1963. Goffman defines stigma as an “attribute that is deeply discrediting” (see this essay for a useful summary of his ideas and their elaboration in the literature). Plastic surgeons play an important role in helping persons suffering from physical stigma achieve a more socially inclusive appearance. The desire to erase or minimize physical stigma with surgical intervention is not BDD, but rather an effort to normalize a person.
One response to the desire to alter one’s body to align with social expectation is to demand that society reform its expectations—as if these expectations are arbitrary or chosen. Fat shaming is to be met with body positivity or children should be presumed genderless, to take two examples. The lethality of obesity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the wrongheadedness of the fat acceptance movement. However, social expectations roots, at least in part, in natural history and serve necessary functions for, among other things, the successful propagation of the species. Gender cannot be entirely disentangled from sex for this reason: humans don’t always get the sex of their desire right, but, if gender aligns, they get it right enough to produce offspring. We are startled by the woman’s appearance in the video because we have brains that evolved to detect faces that are within a normal range of appearance. Fetishes aside, faces lying outside that range create anxiety because they signal danger, deformity, or disease. Our brains tells us that she is a monster.
We can see that the woman in the video has disfigured herself. One is lying to if he says he believes she hasn’t. Or, again, maybe that person has a fetish for beautiful monsters. Perhaps, at first, she could not see what she and her doctors had done. In her mind, she was becoming what she feels on the inside. She thought she had cheeks like a hamster, she tells us in the video; she wanted bigger cheek bones. The process unfolded for her in much the same way it did for Michael Jackson. Was it Jackson’s goal to resemble a white-faced version of the Red Skill from Marvel Comics? At some point, people who do this to themselves must realize they have altered their face beyond the normal. The woman in the video certainly does. She realized this because of the societal reaction she provokes, especially from children who have not yet learned the practice of civil inattention. Rationalizing perhaps, she now describes herself as a monster, but a beautiful one. In the few short minutes we see her, it appears that a cluster B personality disorder accompanies her BDD.
I need to say more about stigma to get to the heart of the problem I see with surgical intervention to treat the various forms of body and identity dysmorphia. One day, I was picking up my son from school. All the parents were waiting outside, as they always do. There was a man on crutches who was missing a leg. He was unfamiliar to those assembled. At least I had never seen him before. Maybe a visiting uncle? A war veteran ready to face the world? Those who knew the man could see them engaged in civil inattention, i.e., the habitual disregard for abnormality. The adults behind the man, when they thought nobody could see them, stared at the empty space where a leg should be.
Of course, the man knew he had a leg missing. He also knew those engaged in civil inattention were acknowledging that fact by not acknowledging it. The thing with civil inattention is that its occurrence is quite conspicuous to those who are its subject. They shoulder the burden of knowing they are different, that everybody knows they are different, but that people are ignoring the difference because they believe regarding the difference would cause the person embarrassment or pain. It’s an act of reflexive empathy. Mature civil inattention can be so complete that the person doing the disregarding is not even aware that he is doing it. It is automatic.
My mind was working in that particular sociological way as I stood there observing the scene. I knew I was about to experience a Goffmanian moment. I wondered how many other parents knew what was about to happen. Soon, the bell would ring, the kids would burst from the school doors, and they would all see the man with the missing leg. Soon enough, the bell rang and the children burst from the doors, chockfull of the energy tedium accumulates. The limb difference immediately disrupted the expected social flow. The children’s gait quickly reduced to a slow walk. Mesmerized, they all looked at the empty space their parents had pretended not to notice. It was all the children could focus on. Of course it was. It was if time had slowed down.
I watched, one by one, as parents scolded their children, in that silent way, with a firm squeeze of the arm, and sometimes a hush when the child asked what they did wrong. I imagined the talk on the way home. Not hard to imagine. The children were made to feel bad over something they had no control over. Their animality worked as it should. But it is precisely our animality that requires suppression in human society. They were punished for being what nature made them, disciplined with an eye towards reflexively burying that nature beneath on overbearing ego.
How far should we take denial of abnormality? Perhaps you remember a recent controversy concerning Warner Bros’ remake of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Anne Hathaway’s character’s hands depict an abnormality or deformity (or difference, to be politically correct) called ectrodactyly, commonly known as “split hand.” Advocates from the disability community, self-appointed spokespersons the social problems literature sometimes refers to as “moral entrepreneurs,” complained that the depiction is insensitive and even harmful, as it associates disability with disgust, evil, fear, loathing, monstrosity, etc. Warner Bros apologized for any offense caused.
The complaint is problematic for a couple of reasons. I have already at least implied much of this. It is not the portrayal of limb difference that causes anxiety or instills fear in children, reactions that may take extreme forms, for example apotemnophobia or dysmorphophobia (pathological fear or loathing of missing limbs or deformities respectively). Even a slight deviation from the normal can produce anxiety in many children. At least it will draw their attention. As people with strabismus (crossed eyes) or ptosis (drooping eyelid) will tell you, slight misalignment of an eye or a squinty eye will almost invariable cause children to ask, “What’s wrong with your eye?” Especially if their parents aren’t around. As a child, I suffered from apotemnophobia, a malady that my parents quickly corrected in a series of dinners with a lovely young friend of theirs missing her arm at the elbow. At first, I didn’t want to come out of my bedroom. Soon she once driving me to the movies in her VW. I marveled at her ability to shift gears.
Children only learn civil disobedience—the ability to disregard deviation or disturbance—over time. Moreover, extreme reactions towards difference are not always marked by fear and loathing. In some children and adults, limb difference may generate attraction, for example, in apotemnophilia, a fetish for amputees. And, of course, in a properly ordered personality, empathy is the common response, which reflect one’s horror at the thought of this being their own circumstance. The point is that it’s not the reaction that is social, but rather the non-reaction. The initial reaction is natural. The animal brain, an evolved organ, assumes normality. We inherited facial recognition wetware from our ancestors. It’s primordial. If a face is not quite right, it will produce anxiety or fascination. Phobias and fetishes are rooted in recognition of physical or behavioral deviation from the norm. Differences may produce anxiety or empathy, but they are inevitably experienced.
Second, monsters of all sorts, vampires, witches, etc., are the sublimations of behavioral and physical abnormalities in people. The real world is the concrete substance of folktales and myths, horror stories. It is the source of Zemeckis’ vision of the Grand Witch. This has been a feature of human society since the dawn of civilization—and likely long before then. Fear management and negotiation of difference may be functional. If a witch in the Warner Bros movies should not be so depicted because that is offensive to some in the disability community (and we cannot assume the moral entrepreneurs speak for the community—or that there even is a community), then there are great many movies that should not have been made or should not be made in the future. But if there are useful functions associated with literature and art made around difference, should we avoid it for the sake of those who are offended?
Which brings us to the heart of the problem. What we see in the cases of surgical treatments of BDD and BIID is changing the appearance of a person not to erase or minimize an objective appearance others find startling or revolting, but changing appearances others regard as normal into something they will find startling or revolting. The person seeking surgery in this case falsely perceives a defect or deformity, and in changing that feature, produces one.
In the video, the interviewers refer to what doctors did to this woman (will they do more?) as “treatments.” The doctors are making money by disfiguring her. The more people doctors can convince to accept as treatment for psychiatric disorders the surgical altering of the body to align with delusion, the more money these doctors can make cutting on people. The woman reports that none of the medical staff who have treated her have ever told her that she has gone too far. Look at her. Those who are supposed to care for her enabled her transformation into “beautiful monster.” The interviewers rationalize the situation saying that appearance is “subjective” and that the surgeon who believes she has been “over-treated” (even he can’t get away from the Newspeak) is expressing an opinion that apparently has no greater weight than the opinion of the victim of the medical-industrial complex.
This is a psychiatric disorder. As Thomas Szasz taught us, the mind is not something that can be defective or diseased. The notion of mental illness is a metaphor. But that doesn’t change much practically. The mind lives in the brain and the brain can be damaged, defective, or diseased, and such conditions can result in disordered thoughts and distorted perceptions. In BDD, there is a disruption in the normal process of transduction of environmental stimuli. The brain has difficulty accurately mapping the body and processing visual information. Those suffering from BDD have difficulty processing other faces, which confirms their perception that there is something wrong with their bodies. They see neutral faces as angry and judgmental faces. This suggests that something is going on in the regions of brain that process body language and facial expression, chief semiotic indicators of attitude and intent.
There is still a great deal we do not know about the pathophysiology of BDD, but “clues to its possible neurobiological substrates and abnormalities in information processing are starting to emerge,” writes Jamie Feusner and associates in “The Pathophysiology of Body Dysmorphic Disorder,” published in Body Image (2008). Here’s part of the abstract:
“This article reviews findings from genetic, brain lesion, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and psychopharmacological studies that have allowed us to develop a tentative model of the functional neuroanatomy of BDD. There is likely a complex interplay of dysfunctions in several brain networks underlying the pathophysiology of BDD. A combination of dysfunctions in frontal-subcortical circuits, temporal, parietal, and limbic structures, and possibly involving hemispheric imbalances in information processing, may produce both the characteristic symptoms and neurocognitive deficits seen in BDD. An improved understanding of the pathophysiology of BDD will be crucial to guide the development of better treatments.”
When the medical industry develops those better treatments, how will society rationalize the legacy of the beautiful monsters who paid for the palatial estates of ambitious and enterprising plastic surgeons? Will we be allowed to tell the truth about it? Will we be allowed to use that truth to prevent the creation of future monsters?
I have seen this meme now several times. Pay attention to language. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus, not a bacteria. Bacteria are much bigger than viruses (by at least a factor of ten). Viruses range in size from 0.02 to 0.25 micron diameter. Bacteria are also much less likely to be aerosolized than viruses. They are heavier and fall downward at a faster rate. This is why surgeons use face mask, so that bacteria do not fall from their noses and mouths and contaminate surfaces (or are less likely to do so). Aerosolized viruses are not in the form of respiratory droplets that masks are designed to stop. That’s why that other meme showing the man pissing on another man’s leg is so absurd. Aerosolized particles are nothing like urine. Viruses easily go through and around the sides of masks. Wearing a mask to stop a virus is like trying to keep out mosquitos with a chainlink fence.
Because viruses are so small, they remain in the air for days. Inside. Not outside, where sunlight kills them. Inside, where the experts told everybody to go. Viruses accumulate inside. So when you’re at the grocery store with your mask on, and there have been people in the store with COVID-19, you are walking through aerosolized virus, suspended for an even longer time thanks to constant airflow. Your mask does not protect you.
Watching lectures by industrial hygienists on the efficacy of masks vis-a-vis viruses (for example, see above), it becomes obvious that the obsession with masks amounts to a ritual act in the worship of the corporate state. Masks are like hijabs. Both function to avoid offending powerful entities that limit freedom for the sake of glorifying control. The only things wearing them will protect you from are shame and discipline.
There are some other useful conclusions to draw from what industrial hygienists are teaching us. First, most people have been exposed to this virus repeatedly but not everybody who is exposed gets sick. Why? It is likely that, since most of us have had coronavirus infections throughout our lives, we already enjoy some immunity from it. As I have explained on Freedom and Reason, coronaviruses are among the several viruses that causes the common cold (rhinoviruses and adenoviruses are other common cold pathogens). This means the R0 associated with SARS-CoV-2 is low compared to, say, the R0 with measles. I am not choosing the most extreme R0 to make the comparison. Anthony Fauci is the man who argues that SARS-CoV-2 is so contagious that we need to reach the same vaccine coverage as measles (around 95 percent) to reach herd immunity. SARS-CoV-2 is more in the R0 range of the flu. That means that, if these vaccines work, a big if, we surpassed herd immunity by virtue of the numbers vaccinated so far, approaching 55 percent for fully vaccination, with more than 60 percent having received at least one shot, which expects tell us has a significant degree of efficacy. But the vaccines are leaky, which means that they don’t prevent infection. The likely reason why we are back where we were during the peak (see chart below) is leaky vaccines that keep the vaccinated healthy enough to get out in the world and spread the virus and, moreover, keep the more sickening strains from being victims of natural selection.
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According to the CDC, during the 2018–2019 season, 136 deaths in children with laboratory–confirmed influenza virus infection were reported in the United States. The CDC notes that influenza-associated pediatric deaths are likely under-reported as not all children whose death was related to an influenza virus infection may have been tested for influenza. Using several sources of data, the CDC estimates that there were approximately 480 deaths associated with influenza in children during 2018–2019. For the 2017-2018 flu season, 186 pediatric deaths were reported, which was the highest number since the 2009-2010 season, where 348 pediatric deaths were reported. The CDC does not estimate numbers for these other seasons in the report, but if they look anything like the estimates for the 2018-2019 season, then the numbers of pediatric deaths in any of them greatly exceed pediatric deaths from COVID-19.
COVID-19 involves vastly higher rates of testing, so the need to estimate is not as pressing. As of August 26, 4.8 million children had tested positive for COVID-19. To date, taking the greatest range of ages that could conceivably be classified as children (0-18), there have been 470 pediatric deaths during the pandemic. Keep in mind that this is over an eighteen-month time span, a much greater timeframe than any flu season (ask yourself why they are doing a continuous run of disease and death with COVID-19 and not breaking it up into seasons like influenza, which is also a continual thing). This means fewer pediatric deaths over a longer period of time from COVID-19 compared to influenza. The pediatric case-fatality rate for children is 0.00979. The infection fatality rate is considerably less than this. And they want to mandate masks and vaccines. We locked down schools for this.
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According to the CDC, the average number of serious health conditions, or comorbidities, associated with COVID-19 deaths is four? as I have reported before, according to the CDC, only five percent of those who have COVID-19 listed on their death certificate died of COVID exclusively. This is why it is important to eat right and exercise. Obesity is a real killer. But should we mandate it?
I got push back for this. A pregnancy is not contagious. This, of course, misses the point. The principle in question is bodily autonomy (libertarian concern) over against harm to others (communitarian concern), not whether pregnancy is contagious. If one is going to argue that the state can violate a person’s bodily autonomy for the sake of other people on a medical matter, then the argument about abortion is lost. The fetus is alive. It is a human by virtue of its genetics. Abortion kills a human. Therefore, the woman’s body can be controlled for the sake of the fetus.
That’s the wrong argument. Totalitarianism flows from the abandonment of the principle of bodily autonomy. It makes people pawns of technocratic goals, of public health authorities (who, quite clearly, are not oracles). This isn’t at all like a man who intentionally harms others. Imagine the state commandeering our bodies to support the lives of those with diseased kidneys. It’s not my fault somebody’s kidneys are diseased. They can’t have one of mine. Indeed, the case against abortion is much stronger than the case for vaccines because vaccines are imposed on healthy people who may not get infected (and may be injured by the vaccine), whereas an abortion is almost guaranteed to kill a human being (there have been a tiny percentage of fetuses that survived an attempted abortion). And hundreds die every year waiting for a kidney, while most people have two functioning ones. Isn’t society killing people with kidney disease by failing to use other people’s kidneys to save them?
COVID-19 is not the only contagion. There are a myriad of pathogens transmissible through human contact. If that’s the principle, then we should mandate vaccines for each and every vaccine produced by Big Pharma—and administer all available antivirals for those who testing positive. HPV for men. Who cares if they don’t have a uterus. His body must be clean for others. Etcetera. It won’t do to say that COVID-19 is more serious than all those other pathogens—as a factual matter, it’s not. In fact, if you are not obese, then you will are almost certain to survive COVID-19. So why don’t we regulate civilian food intake? Why don’t we poke people with sticks until they get off the couch? No, we instead recommend people diet and exercise and get a vaccine. If they don’t to do these things, that’s on them.
Even if one wanted the argument to be about contagion, it is clear at this point that there is COVID-19 vaccine in existence or in the conceivable future that prevents infection and transmission—or even sickness and death—from SARS-CoV-2. It’s like influenza, rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, etc. (all potentially lethal, by the way). Look at the trend lines in the above chart. The vaccine not only isn’t working, but it’s increased use is associated with a rise in cases. Are the causally related? Could be. There’s a compelling argument about that. However, we are now back where we were when COVID-19 was at its worst, and it’s not because people aren’t getting vaccinated.
The communitarian argument crashes not only on the rocks of bodily autonomy, but upon the spiked protein of a leaky vaccine. What the vaccine does do is make people who are infected less sick. If a person wanted to reduce his personal risk of getting sick, he’d think about the vaccine and weight the risks. Same with going on a diet and exercising. But that’s up to the individual.
It has pointed out to me as if I didn’t know that the Supreme Court has long held that the state has the power to compel vaccination. See my essay The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes, where I analyze the Supreme Court decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 US 11 (1905), the decision that upheld state government’s power to compel smallpox vaccination, ruling that, under certain circumstances, citizens are subject to the police power of the state on matters of public health. Despite the very narrow constraints the decision placed on state power, the Supreme Court has since interpreted state power to compel vaccination—and other things, including forced sterilization—broadly.
As I wrote in that essay, “Every third person died from smallpox, and the rate was even greater for babies. Survivors were often blind and scarred for life. The modern smallpox vaccine, developed in the nineteenth century, is a live virus preparation of the vaccinia virus, which is safe and cross-protective for cowpox, monkeypox, and smallpox (variola). The smallpox vaccine is effective in preventing infection in 95 percent of those vaccinated. Get back to me when SARS-CoV-2 becomes that lethal and there is a vaccine that successful.”