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Brownstone Institute

The Choice Is Liberty or Lockdown

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BY JEFFREY A. TUCKER

Two years after the first edition, the second edition of Liberty or Lockdown is now in print, just as the US president announced the end of the pandemic. The emergency declaration that excused the mass violation of human rights is still in effect.

The significance of the timing of the first edition of this book is obvious to anyone who has lived through our strange times: September 2020. That was six months following the lockdown of most of the world during which places where people might “congregate” were shut by governments.

The reason was to avoid, mitigate, eliminate maybe, or otherwise diminish the disease impact of the virus that caused Covid. This was before the vaccine came out, before the Great Barrington Declaration, and before data on excess deaths the world over showed vast carnage from these policy decisions.

The state was unleashed on the population as never before, in the name of science. There are no words to describe my outrage then and now.

The onset of lockdowns put me to work trying to understand the thinking, a process which took me back through the history of pandemics, the relationship between infectious disease and freedom, and the origin of lockdown ideology in 2005.

The times during which this book was written were beyond strange. People went full medieval in every way in which that term can be understood. There was public flogging in the form of masking and the abolition of fun, feudalistic segregation and disease shaming, the practical end of most medical care unless it was for Covid, the scapegoating of non-compliers, the neglect and abuse of children, and a turn to other pre-modern forms. All of this became worse once the non-sterilizing vaccines appeared on the market that many if not most people were forced to accept at pains of losing their jobs.

Writing now in September of 2022, I cannot even imagine going through the pain of putting this research together again. I’m very pleased it was done then because now this book survives as a marker that there was dissent, if nothing else. I’ve added no new essays though I’ve written hundreds since then. The second edition should really stand as is.

This was also a period of time – still is today – when vast numbers of people feel betrayed by technology, media, politicians, and even their one-time intellectual heroes. It is a time of grave destruction with still-broken supply chains, roaring inflation, mass cultural demoralization, labor market confusions, shattered lives of young and old, and terrible uncertainty about the future.

When I put this book to bed in 2020, I had hoped we were near the end of this disaster. How wrong I was! Let us hope, too, that it is a period of rebuilding, however quietly it is taking place.

Starting Brownstone Institute is part of that for me. So many others have joined. Today we published articles from all over the world since so many around the world have shared in this suffering. What will it take to emerge from the other side?

From my point of view, it is not complicated. We need a renewed appreciation of human liberty and rights. That’s it. That is the whole prescription. It does not sound hard but apparently it is. This task will likely consume the rest of our lives.

Jeffrey Tucker

September 2022

Introduction to the Portuguese Edition (2021)

As I write, and much to my astonishment and sadness, the world is still in chains. These chains have been created by governments. They bind their citizens’ choices and actions in the name of virus control. I had expected the folly of lockdowns to end within weeks after their imposition, once the data were in on the demographics of severe outcomes. But through a terrible combination of factors – government and public ignorance and fear, media frenzy, big tech censorship, the outsized voice of fake lockdown science, and an unwillingness on the part of the lockdown industry to admit error – they continued for a full year and continue today.

On the day I’m writing, Paris and Berlin are once again under lockdown, Sao Paulo is being brutalized, and ever larger parts of Eastern and Western Europe are experimenting with a third round of failure. Anthony Fauci in the US is all over the media essentially denying that human immunity exists in any meaningful sense, kids are still being kept out of school, businesses are being forced to engage in preposterous rituals just to survive, most members of the ruling class parade in masks in a theatrical affectation that they are following the science, and a weary people are massively divided between those who want to believe the authorities and those who have lost all credulity in public health.

Our communities are shattered, our houses of worship in diaspora, our spirits crushed, and our expectations for the good life in tatters.

Also pouring in are the devastating data on the consequences of lockdown. The economic costs are stupefying, beyond anything we imagined we would ever see. The cultural costs are too, with arts and music devastated, along with the industries that support them. The most interesting and possibly counterintuitive costs are related to public health itself: the missed cancer screenings, the missed appointments, the prevalence of suicide ideation, the record drug overdoses, the alcoholism, the mental and emotional despair. As for settled matters of human rights – the freedom to speak, travel, worship, learn, trade – they are suddenly all in question.

It’s true that parts of the world are entirely open, and thank goodness for them. These places are experiencing no worse outcomes, and often much better outcomes, from the severe aspects of this disease than those who are still experimenting with rolling lockdowns. More evidence pours in by the day: this is a normal virus, with natural immunity, with distinct characteristics that should be mitigated by medical professionals one person at a time – not managed by politicians and their advisors with agendas that have nothing to do with public health.

I’ve been involved in the debate over the government’s role in disease control for at least 15 years. Until last year, the consensus of the experts was that governments have a very limited role, simply because of the capacity of pathogens to outsmart even the best intentions of the powerful and their plans. In the golden age of public health in the 20th century, such brutal methods as public quarantines, shutdowns, mandatory masks, closures, travel restrictions, and universal stay-at-home orders were specifically ruled out as counterproductive, overly disruptive, and futile for achieving the task of minimizing damage from new pathogens. The powers to do all this have been there for the better part of 15 years or possibly for longer but they were not deployed for good reasons.

For reasons that will become increasingly clear over time, 2020 became the year of the great experiment. Suddenly, “nonpharmaceutical interventions” would replace our laws, our settled traditions of liberty, and love of peace and prosperity, and even the ideals of the Enlightenment itself. We put fear above rationality, division above community, power above rights, wild experiments above settled science, and the intellectual pretensions of a tiny ruling class above the interests of the social order.

It was all so shocking and inexplicable that most of the world’s population sat through month after month in a state of confused delirium, attached to screens with pundits preaching to us daily that all of this was necessary and good. And yet, we all recall now that humanity has always lived amidst pathogens new and old. We dealt with them and cobbled together an implicit social contract around infectious disease: we agreed nonetheless to build civilization and experience social progress, treating sickness and death as something to mitigate within the context of human rights. For the first time ever, we tried a global lockdown as scripted by scientific elites.

But now writing one year later, I’m pleased to say that the days of shock and awe are over, gradually being replaced by disillusionment with the ruling class and incredulity toward those who did this to us. There is no power on earth strong enough or rich enough to suppress truth. Truth exists within the realm of ideas, and that is a realm of infinite reproducibility, malleability, and portability, subject only to the willingness of the curious and courageous to tell that truth in every possible way to as many people as possible in every venue available. This is how truth wins, reaching one mind at a time.

We’ve all been tested during this last year. What are our intellectual commitments? Do we really believe them or have we adopted them for career reasons? What are the pressures to which we will succumb in order to relinquish our principles for prestige? How much are we willing to give up in order to fight for a cause larger than ourselves? I’ve been surrounded by heroes this year who have inspired me – God bless them – and others who were unwilling to step up when their voices were most needed, much to my sadness.

That aside, let’s all admit something: part of each of us has been broken by these lockdowns. No one wants to live in a world in which our essential rights and liberties can be granted or taken away based on the judgment calls of a handful of scientists who have no regard for our traditions of law. That’s called tyranny. We now know how terrible it is. And how futile. How demoralizing. How utterly ghastly and unconscionable.

I somehow always come around to silver linings, not only because it is my personality but also because they always exist. The silver lining is that much of the world has lived through the apotheosis of statism, that ugly ideology that posits that force is a better way to organize the world than choice. We dabbled in it as societies for the better part of 100 years and then suddenly in one year we went full on, just as a test. That test completely failed. We know it first hand. As I write, I’m confident that we’ve seen the worst of it.

Now is our chance – right now – to choose another path. We don’t need to work out every detail. We don’t need an alternative plan. And it’s not just about getting a new set of political leaders. What we need is a different philosophy. I humbly suggest that the philosophy that built modern civilization – that which we once called liberalism – will do just fine as a base line. Let us believe it, rally around it, institutionalize it, protect it, and fight for it. In doing so, we are not just working in our own self-interest but also in the common good of all.

Never lockdowns. Never again.

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker, Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute, is an economist and author. He has written 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He writes a daily column on economics at The Epoch Times, and speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Brownstone Institute

Three Medical Policies that Need Immediate Changing

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Pierre KoryPIERRE KORY

You can’t make this up: The same cast of characters who erred so badly on COVID-19 want a do-over. A head-turning essay in The Atlanticwent so far as to plead for “pandemic amnesty.” For many in the medical community who have been derided by the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci and his fanatics, these words ring hollow. Talk, as they say, is cheap, especially with the benefit of hindsight. Before a COVID-19 mulligan can be considered, here are three policies that must change.

First, “vaccine or bust” proponents must admit their approach overpromised and underdelivered. President Biden has repeatedly declared COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” despite the science indicating otherwise. His claim that the vaccinated “do not spread the disease to anyone else” was rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact. Simply lowering the goalposts about less severe symptoms is insufficient. This is not what we were promised.

Making matters worse was the weaponization of this misinformation to influence public policy. It wasn’t just a smug Rachel Maddow telling her audience in March 2021 that the “virus stops with every vaccinated person.” This so-called science was used to pit Americans against one another, keep children out of school and force personnel out of critically important positions in the military, schools and first responders. Last fall, 5% of unvaccinated adults reported leaving their jobs.

I should know. I’ve been on the receiving end of threats to my livelihood.

This brings us to point two: The new California law empowering the punishment of doctors deemed guilty of spreading “misinformation” must be repealed before it can inflict further damage. Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Assembly Bill 2098 enables the state to strip the medical licenses of professionals who veer from the preferred political party line.

It’s a disturbing trend taking hold across the country. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently voted to remove Dr. Peter McCullough, one of the nation’s leading cardiologists, from his certifications in cardiovascular disease. Mr. McCullough’s sin had nothing to do with his performance in caring for patients, but rather with questioning the necessity of the COVID-19 vaccine for younger populations. With their far-reaching certification authority, the ABIM has the power to make any doctor’s life a living hell. Mr. McCullough’s fate now hangs in the balance until his Nov. 18 appeal date. This dangerous precedent must be nipped in the bud in the nation’s most populous state (governed by an oft-mentioned future presidential candidate) before it can take hold elsewhere.

Third, the District of Columbia must scrap its vaccine mandate for children in schools once and for all. Last week’s vote to delay compliance until January 3, 2023, is not enough. DC is one of the only school districts in the country with this type of requirement, going further than their counterparts in New York City or Los Angeles.

Last month, nearly half (44.7%) of DC school students fell short of COVID-19 compliance, according to Axios. In a city where 60% of the school-age population is Black, this mandate is not only unnecessary but is perpetuating further inequity. The pandemic has already taken an incredible toll on our children’s education, with math and reading scores falling to astonishing new lows. It is beyond misguided to bar children from attending school unless they receive a vaccine for an illness that poses a far smaller hazard to their health than the soaring crime rates in our cities.

From masks to breakthrough cases to alternative treatments, the so-called experts have amassed a track record of incorrect judgments that make political pollsters look good by comparison. Even in the fog of a once-in-a-century pandemic, these decisions were not just borne of inexpert and incorrect scientific knowledge but rather driven by a rush to push a medical agenda.

Our organization, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) practices what we preach. As data evolved over time, we updated our recommendations and approaches accordingly. It wasn’t luck. We were following the science. Sadly, government agencies stuck with their unceasing policy recommendations that were increasingly divorced from the science.

One thing most people can agree on: COVID-19 won’t be the last public health emergency. There are already concerning headlines about an early spike of RSV impacting children. The leaders of captured health agencies must learn from their mistake of allowing the pharmaceutical industry unimpeded control of pandemic health policy. Americans are incredibly forgiving people willing to show grace, but step one in that process is a willingness for those in charge to admit their mistakes.

Republished from Washington Times

Author

  • Pierre Kory

    Pierre Kory is a Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist, Teacher/Researcher. He is also the President and Chief Medical Officer of the non-profit organization Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance whose mission is to develop the most effective, evidence/expertise-based COVID-19 treatment protocols.

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Brownstone Institute

Sam Bankman-Fried and the Pandemic Industrial Complex

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Michael SengerMICHAEL SENGER

The collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried and his fraudulent cryptocurrency empire at FTX is news at its most entertaining. Who doesn’t love the story of a big shot billionaire revealed to be an outright fraud? It’s black-and-white. FTX owes billions in debt and doesn’t actually own a dime of the assets it claimed. Game over.

At first blush, the story seems simple. A con man cynically convinced a bunch of gullible financiers that he was an eccentric young visionary and a really great guy, and he ran off with the dough.

But take a closer look at the mainstream coverage, and you’ll realize there’s far more to this story than a classic financial fraud. In fact, the puff pieces from mainstream outlets about SBF and the causes he was funding—most notably, the pandemic planning industry—even after his empire was revealed to be an outright fraud, are the clearest instance we’ve seen of the modern political machine in all its cynicism.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post ran articles portraying SBF as a more-or-less honest businessman with a big heart who got tangled up in a bad situation. This is, of course, wildly inaccurate. From the very beginning, SBF had no intention of engaging in honest business. He never owned a dime of the assets he said he did. And in an incredible interview with Vox, he essentially admitted that there were never any good intentions behind his “philanthropic” contributions.

SBF-tweets

But it’s the Washington Post article titled “Before FTX collapse, founder poured millions into pandemic prevention” that’s most astonishing. As Jeffrey Tucker has documented, the Washington Post gushes over the tens of millions of dollars that SBF had donated to the pet left-wing cause of “pandemic prevention:”

FTX-backed projects ranged from $12 million to champion a California ballot initiative to strengthen public health programs and detect emerging virus threats (amid lackluster support, the measure was punted to 2024), to investing more than $11 million on the unsuccessful congressional primary campaign of an Oregon biosecurity expert, and even a $150,000 grant to help Moncef Slaoui, scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine accelerator, write his memoir.

…Ok. But all that money was stolen.

Leaders of the FTX Future Fund, a spinoff foundation that committed more than $25 million to preventing bio-risks, resigned in an open letter last Thursday, acknowledging that some donations from the organization are on hold.

…Ok. But everything we did over the last three years for purposes of “preventing bio-risks” was an abject failure, leading—as was entirely predicted—to countless thousands of deaths due to delayed medical operations, a mental health crisis, drug overdoses, an economic recession, global famine, and hundreds of thousands of excess deaths among young people who were at little to no risk from the virus.

The FTX Future Fund’s commitments included $10 million to HelixNano, a biotech start-up seeking to develop a next-generation coronavirus vaccine; $250,000 to a University of Ottawa scientist researching how to eradicate viruses from plastic surfaces; and $175,000 to support a recent law school graduate’s job at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Overall, the Future Fund was a force for good,” said Tom Inglesby, who leads the Johns Hopkins center, lamenting the fund’s collapse. “The work they were doing was really trying to get people to think long-term … to build pandemic preparedness, to diminish the risks of biological threats.”

SBF even played both sides, contributing millions for coverage of the Covid “lab leak theory.”

The Bankman-Frieds’ family foundation in February also committed $5 million to ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, to support reporting focused on pandemic preparedness and biosecurity, including one-third of the grant delivered upfront. The funding has subsidized several staff and articles — including a high-profile story with Vanity Fair about the possibility that covid leaked from a Chinese laboratory, which frustrated some of the Bankman-Frieds’ pandemic advisers who pointed to criticism of its translations of Mandarin Chinese.

This is, of course, in keeping with a years-long pattern of glowing press on the 30-year-old “crypto king”—whom Forbes had estimated to have a net worth over $15 billion—from the same business journalism outlets that were supposed to be holding him accountable.

We’ve been told not to question which policies billionaires choose to support, because it’s their money. But none of it was his money. It was all stolen.

We’ve been told it doesn’t matter whether the policies the billionaires supported actually worked, because their intentions were good. But here, SBF’s intentions had never been good. He donated the money solely for the purpose of glowing press to further his fraud.

We’ve been told the glowing press for billionaires who support these policies is justified, because the policies help the world. But these pandemics policies never helped the world. They created a man-made human and economic catastrophe, set back human rights by decades and decimated America’s global credibility.

From the earning of the money, to the donating of the money, to the positive press coverage, to the policies the process funded, at no point was there any good intent or positive outcome to any of it. The entire operation was pure, unadulterated evil.

This is the modern political machine in all its stark, inhuman nihilism. Once the machine is fed its priority, whether through fear, fraud, or outright corruption, then all its cogs snap into place—from the politicians and officials to the billionaires and journalists—and the only wrong a person can do is to oppose its priorities. The intent never mattered. The legality never mattered. The truth never mattered. The data never mattered. The results never mattered.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Michael Senger

    Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. He has been researching the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the world’s response to COVID-19 since March 2020 and previously authored China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign and The Masked Ball of Cowardice in Tablet Magazine. You can follow his work on Substack

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