Category Archives: Argument

NEW COLUMN: Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2

America, Argument, COVID-19, Etiquette, IMMIGRATION, Private Property

NEW COLUMN IS “Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2.” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

An excerpt:

The managerial elites find themselves in a pickle. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious event. Members of a serious society treat it as such; they look out for one another—and they don’t flee into conspiracy and denial in order to cope with the incongruity of it all.

Alas, courtesy of its globalist elites, America is no longer a society; much less a serious one. In the absence of solidarity between citizens, social capital—”goodwill, fellowship, sympathy”—is scarce. Hence the struggle to mount a coherent response to the pandemic.

Centrally Planned Diversity Begets Disunity

Coherence is certainly not a thing immigration policy has supplied. If anything, policy makers have cheapened citizenship.

The populations from which chosen, future citizens are drawn come to America not in search of constitution and community. Rather, the corporate state’s preferred immigrants bring their own community with them and hyphenate its members.

On arrival, immigrants are encouraged to cling to a militant distinctiveness. The only tacit agreement shared by a majority of Americans, native and newcomer, is that America’s exceptionalism obligates it to both control the world through military and moral crusades and welcome it to America.

The extent to which Americans have, nevertheless, managed to galvanize logistically against COVID-19 is a testament to just how energetic a people we are.

Still, the credentialed, cognitive elites who’ve turned the country into this multicultural, money-focused, built-on-sand Tower of Babel, now find that many Americans—united by commerce, not creed—don’t want to go the extra mile for the strangers who make up their country.

Contrast the U.S., vis-à-vis COVID, with a more homogeneous nation like Japan (or Singapore, or Taiwan or South Korea).

Thirteen minutes and 35 seconds into this interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum quizzes him about Japan.

The country, 127-million strong, has had only 846 COVID deaths, and has, according to Ms. MacCallum, not implemented the social mitigation strategies seen in the U.S. and Europe.

Adjusted for population size, this is as though the U.S had suffered only 2,198 COVID deaths! For Japan to “live up” to America’s COVID cull-rate, 38,484 Japanese would have to have perished from the coronavirus.

Other than that its people sport a culture of fastidious cleanliness and have long-since adopted the etiquette of masking—you and I sense what else is afoot in Japan.

So does Dr. Fauci. Certain counties, conceded the good doctor, have “different sizes and different borders, and different infusions from outside.”

Differently put, Japan is almost completely homogeneous, with little immigration, and, consequently, a strong sense of unity. Citizens are more inclined to pull together in common purpose when there is a fellow feeling to bind them.

“The measures that most successfully contain the virus … all depend on how engaged and invested the population is,” explains Ed Young, a science reporter. All the testing, tracing and isolating are for naught if there is an “antagonistic relationship” with and between the people involved in the effort.

And America, it’s fair to say, is no longer a people in any meaningful way; it is a Walmart with missiles, where the fusillades we direct at one another. …

… READ THE REST… NEW COLUMN IS “Private Property And COVID: Choice, Not Force, Part 2.” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

 

How Far Are We From Herd Immunity To COVID? Very Far.

Argument, COVID-19, Healthcare, Logic

There seems to be a simple—as in elegant—way of getting some perspective on COVID-19 and herd immunity, which is defined as,

A situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. Even individuals not vaccinated (such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community. Also known as herd immunity.

According to WorldOMeter, the United States has 1,546,420 Coronavirus Cases.

As has been pointed out here, America’s case count is scandalously inaccurate. By the Economist’s telling,

Throughout April the number of daily tests has averaged around 150,000, with the share of positive tests staying around 20%. That suggests America is testing only people who are probably infected (in Taiwan, for instance, one in every 132 tests is positive), which in turn suggests that many mild or asymptomatic cases are going undetected. America may have 15 to 20 times more actual infected people than confirmed cases.

1.5 million times 20 makes 30 million infected.

At best, approximately 30 million individuals in the US have some immunity to COVID-19.

The 30 million number is predicated on these two assumptions:

1. That the infected number includes the dead and the recovered. This seems reasonable.

2. That the Economist’s multiplier above is correct. That likelihood is good, too.

Thirty million people with immunity is less than 10 percent of the U.S. population. For there to be population-level immunity to COVID, “at least 70 percent of the population needs to be immune.”

We are still very far from achieving herd immunity.

 

Nate Silver’s Pandemic Observations As ‘Sharp’ As His Prediction About Trump’s Election

Argument, COVID-19, Intelligence, Republicans, Science, THE ELITES

Nate Silver, a statistician, is a mediocre mind.

In this “glorious commonwealth of morons”—H. L. Mencken’s description, not mine—there are many minds even more mediocre than Silver’s, who hype and highlight his banal observations. In the context of the coronavirus, I imagine this is motivated by their own pandemic politics.

But first, to Mr. Silver’s political prognostications during Donald Trump’s election campaign. As  chronicled in my June 29 book, The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed:

… whether they’re missing the Trump phenom or the casus belli for war in Iraq—America’s deeply stupid, self-anointed cognoscenti recognize truth only once card-carrying members arrive at it independently, grasp and broadcast it, sometimes years too late. Not so the marginalized writers of America. Not in 2012, but in 2002 did we pinpoint the wrongness of the Iraq War. And not in 2016, but on July 19, 2015—when this chronicle began—did some of us, not fortuitously, finger Trump as “a candidate to ‘kick the crap out of all the politicians’” and “send the system’s sycophants scattering.” (August 14, 2015). His appeal, as this writer has contended since late in 2015, transcended left and right, at the time.

Conversely, vaunted statistician Nate Silver ‘calculated that Trump’s support was “about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.”

No wonder Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University properly downgraded wonder boy Silver’s intellectual prowess. His prose, ventured Cowen, was a sprawl that “evinces a greater affiliation to rigor with data analysis than to rigor with philosophy of science or, for that matter, rigor with rhetoric,” wrote the good teacher, adding that to him, the Silver columns are “tweener” pieces, “too superficial for smart and informed readers, yet on topics which are too abstruse for the more casual readers.”

(MORE in “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed”.)

Now, Nate, that national treasure, is back. This time, he is constructing a straw argument on Fox News, to say nothing of wading into coronavirus politics. I thought he was an objective numbers man?

Nate states the obvious, saying that, “By focusing on coronavirus case counts, the media … makes the numbers look superficially worse … [since]… increases in testing [are what] have led to more cases being diagnosed.”

D’oh! And so obviously true. Does Nate really need to state the obvious? I guess so. (Meanwhile, Silver calls out others for their “boringly conventional positions in … political punditry.”)

The more fundamental point is this: Certainly in the U.S, the coronavirus case count is less significant than the death count: rates and absolute numbers. (Which is why, presumably, Ron Unz highlighted mortality in “The Government Employee Who May Have Saved a Million American Lives.“)

America’s case count, moreover, is scandalously inaccurate. According to the Economist:

Throughout April the number of daily tests has averaged around 150,000, with the share of positive tests staying around 20%. That suggests America is testing only people who are probably infected (in Taiwan, for instance, one in every 132 tests is positive), which in turn suggests that many mild or asymptomatic cases are going undetected. America may have 15 to 20 times more actual infected people than confirmed cases.

That more people are infected is a double-edged sword: More people infected means more people infecting other, but also, we hope, more population-level immunity.

A much more meaningful and reliable number is mortality, death rates and absolute numbers. Right now, the latter stands at 80,037. RIP.

@ The Unz Review.

Told You So About Testing: Now, Italian Experts Are Getting Testy, Too

Argument, Critique, Europe, Healthcare, Intelligence, Reason

Today, April 17, Dr. Anthony Fauci finally explained what I EXPLAINED on April 9, a week ago, in the column, “Kung Flu Is A Killer, All Right, But So Are The Bureaucrats“:

“… COVID testing [is not] an amulet against the dreaded disease. It isn’t. All testing does is give an individual a snapshot in time of his COVID status. As soon as he drives out of the testing facility, a COVID-free person could become infected. Unless they engage in prevention, a single testing in time doesn’t in any way give individuals a clean bill of health.
Prevention protects people.”

Testing is, however—at this stage of spread—helpful in giving medical researchers a grip on the symptomless-sick phenomenon, as well as an idea of how the disease is disseminated and distributed in the population.

Test and keep testing large enough representative samples, and you’ll get good prevalence data.

Maybe Anthony Fauci got a whiff of what his Italian colleagues in Lombardy were saying, for they preceded his belated, simple, overdue insight about the limits of testing:

“… some doctors at the Italian epicentre of the health crisis doubt that testing is their way out of confinement.”

It is a nonsense,” Milan’s Polytechnic Institute professor Davide Manca said. “Conceptually, I am sceptical.”

The reason for Manca’s scepticism is plain to see in the math.

Milan’s Lombardy region has 10 million people and 11,142 officially registered COVID-19 deaths.
The economically strong area, the size of Belgium, has been under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns since early March.

Yet Lombardy has been conducting just 6,500 tests daily over the past 10 days.

Manca estimates it would take more than five years for everyone in Lombardy to get tested just once.
And you need people tested every 15 days for it to have any meaning,” Manca said in a phone interview. [My point here exactly.]”

“Even if you raise that number 10 times, that would still take 200 days for one test. That’s six or seven months.”

“Manca said he still did not understand how the end of confinement would work.”

“Herd immunity is very difficult to achieve with COVID,” the professor said.

“You need 90-95 percent (of the population) to have COVID for immunity. That number is too high to reach.”

More candidly, in Italy, they are not talking dishonestly about “opening up the country.” They are talking about “coexisting with the coronavirus.”

Well, yours truly beat the good doctors to it on April 9, with “Kung Flu Is A Killer, All Right, But So Are The Bureaucrats.

However, these medical heroes were busy saving lives. Bless them.

* Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP