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Brownstone Institute

The Insufferable Arrogance of the Constantly Wrong

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17 minute read

The media, and the people who work in and around it, the Blue Checks™ of Twitter, have upped the ante over the past few years regarding how far they are willing to go to enforce various preferred narratives.

Pick any major story of the past three years—e.g. Lab Leak, Jussie Smollett, Russiagate, Ukrainian Biolabs, Ivermectin, Hospitalizations From COVID v. With Covid, January 6th, ‘Transitory’ Inflation, and of course Hunter’s Laptop—and you will find absolutely hysterical narrative pushing up front followed by retractions, corrections, and outright denials as reality became undeniable.

In the meanwhile, our civilization was ripped apart, our citizens were gaslit and impoverished, and in countries across the Western world, innocent people were removed from polite society, branded as lepers, and fired from their jobs.

Why? Because there is one story that just won’t die and for which no corrections have been issued—the shibboleth that vaccination can prevent infection, transmission, and help “end” COVID.

While there is never an excuse for hateful rhetoric towards, and intervention in, the personal medical choices of law-abiding Americans, perhaps one could have, kinda sorta, understood the campaign if the new vaccines had provided long-lasting immunity and prevented community transmission. They do not.

Early on we were told: “Nine out of ten [vaccinated] people won’t get sick” (Columbia University feat. Run-DMC, February 12th, 2021, no this is not a joke); “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don`t get sick” (Dr. Rochelle Walensky, March 29th, 2021); “When people are vaccinated, they can feel safe that they are not going to get infected” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, May 17th, 2021).

And by mid-summer, 2021, we were still being told that unequivocally, these vaccines were a resounding success worthy of uncritical support. On July 27th in Scientific American, Dr. Eric Topol wrote, “Vaccination is the closest thing to a sure thing we have in this pandemic.” Not to be outdone, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIAID told CBS on August 1st, that the unvaccinated were responsible for “propagating this outbreak.”

But on July 29th, 2021, the Washington Post reported a scoop that the CDC was privately acknowledging that the vaccinated could spread COVID as easily as the unvaccinated. Occasionally, they are forced to report inconvenient facts. And August 5th, CDC Director Walensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that, “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”

While there is a mountain of medical literature available demonstrating quite clearly the failure of these vaccines to prevent infection and transmission, the August 5th declaration from the CDC Director should have made clear that being vaccinated is contributing in no way to the safety of others, nor to the eradication of this virus.

In fact, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz was even caught on tape in September of last year explaining that the use of the Israeli Green Pass wasn’t intended to make a difference epidemiologically, but because it would help convince people to get vaccinated. And even vaccine poobah Bill Gates admitted in a late 2021 interview, that, “We got vaccines to help you with your health, but they only slightly reduce the transmissions.”

So there should be no question that continuing to suggest in any way that these shots are a panacea, and that those who refused to get them were plague spreaders, should have been thoroughly trashed by Fall 2021.

Nonetheless, on September 24th President Joe Biden coined his now famous phrase “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” To our north, Prime Minister Trudeau called the unvaccinated science deniers, misogynists, and racists, and asked rhetorically whether Canadians should “tolerate” them.

And during the first week of January 2022, while kicking the unvaccinated out of French daily life and public spaces, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted the measures to “piss off” his unvaccinated citizens. With world leaders speaking this way, it’s no wonder so many Blue Check™ elites took up the banner!

Prominent media figures like Amy Siskind, Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten, and more have come out of the woodwork in recent months to share with us their enthusiasm for medical discrimination. Noted neurotic Howard Stern is all in on forced vaccination due to what must be his own debilitating fear of his mortality. Bill Kristol says the unvaccinated have “blood on their hands.”

David Frum, heir to Maimonides, writes, “Let the hospitals quietly triage emergency care to serve the unvaccinated last.” Charles M. Blow was “furious” at the unvaccinated. CNN contributor Dr. Leana Wen suggested that the unvaccinated should not be allowed to leave their homes. The Ragin’ Cajun even wants to punch the unvaccinated in the face!

All of the above links/stories were posted after Dr. Walensky’s unequivocal announcement that the vaccines do not prevent transmission.

And all of the self-satisfied segregationists are supported in their vitriol by the Blue Checks™ of the Medical Establishment, like Dr. Paul Klotman, President and Executive Dean of the Baylor School of Medicine, who said on camera back in January that he isn’t polite to friends and family who aren’t vaccinated. “Keep them away. I don’t do it respectfully, I tell them to stay away, and teach them a lesson.” Less vitriolic but equally problematic, the WHO’s COVID-19 “technical lead” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove continued to push the lie that vaccination can prevent outbreaks as recently as January 26th, 2022. She is, as well, a Blue Check™. And yes, Dr. Anthony Fauci is still at it, even as of April 14th, 2022, telling MSNBC that harsh Chinese lockdowns could be used to get the population vaccinated so that “When you open up, you won’t have a surge of infections.”

The examples are legion. Blue Checks, Medical Blue Checks, Times Columnists, Radio Jocks, Presidents, and Prime Ministers have all espoused misinformation and/or hate speech regarding vaccination status. But they are all given intellectual cover by the official reporting of the fourth estate. Even in the face of all the evidence that there is no epidemiological basis for discrimination, our intellectual betters in the legacy media press onward the canard.

On August 26th, the Toronto Star ran an article entitled, “When it comes to empathy for the unvaccinated, many of us aren’t feeling it.” Then, on December 22nd, published an explainer which stated that two doses won’t stop you from spreading COVID-19. Comme ci, comme ca.

Back in February, MSNBC political contributor Matthew Dowd shared his insight that the unvaccinated do not believe in the United States Constitution, because if they did, they would get vaccinated for “We The People.” For the common good.

An examination of the New York Times reveals three articles written this year which overtly continue supporting the idea that the vaccines prevent transmission. First, on January 29th in a piece entitled, “As Covid Shots For Kids Stall, Appeals Are Aimed At Wary Parents,” the author cites “public health officials” who say that to aid in “containing” the pandemic, kids must also be vaccinated. (It is worth mentioning that the current vaccines and boosters being distributed were designed in February 2020 to provide an immune response to a version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein circulating prior to that, not entirely similar to what is circulating now.)

Then February 23rd, in a hit piece on the Surgeon General of Florida Dr. Joe Ladapo, the Times writes, “When public health officials across the country were urging vaccines as a way to end the pandemic, Dr. Ladapo was raising warning flags about possible side effects and cautioning that even vaccinated people could spread the virus.”

So, Dr. Ladapo was correct?

Finally, in a piece about Novak Djokovic published March 3rd, they write, “Djokovic was the only player ranked in the top 100 in Australia who had not received a Covid-19 vaccination, which experts have long said will not eradicate the virus unless most of the population receives one.”

They do not address the question of how a vaccine which does not prevent transmission can eradicate a virus. And they won’t. As Israeli Health Minister Horowitz candidly admitted, none of this is about epidemiology.

And even when mainstream media tacitly acknowledges the failures of the vaccines to prevent transmission, they skillfully elide the significance of this fact in order to allow them to continue to scapegoat the unvaccinated. In a dazzling display of sophistry, Time Magazine moved the Overton window in this January 12th, 2022 piece, “These Charts Show That COVID-19 Is Still A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.”

The author states that due to the rapidly narrowing gap between cases in the vaccinated and unvaccinated, some readers might think that the phrase “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is no longer justifiable. But with the grace of a ballerina, Time goes on to tell us that because the vaccines are still showing efficacy against severe illness, the phrase is still kosher. If an unvaccinated person gets sicker than his vaccinated neighbor who contracted COVID at a fully vaccinated wedding, that unvaccinated person is still the problem!

New York Magazine isn’t lacking in similar gymnastics. On February 16th of this year, Matt Stieb published a piece entitled, “Is Kyrie Irving Going to Get Away With It?” Irving is the Brooklyn Nets player who famously chose not to be vaccinated, and has become a fetish object for the Covidian Left. Stieb acknowledges that Irving’s vaccinated teammates were getting COVID at such high rates that it forced Nets management to allow Irving back to play in away games but still calls the New York City ban on unvaccinated athletes “a rare public health mandate with real teeth.”

Just seven days later on February 23rd, Will Leitch, in the same publication, sighs, “Unfortunately, It’s Time to Let Kyrie Irving Play in New York.” He outlines all the reasons why epidemiologically it makes no sense to prevent athletes like Irving and Novak Djokovic from participating, but says, “It would feel like they got away with all their bullshit.” And also, they are “annoying.”

And this barely concealed hatred for the unvaccinated from media and government and Big Tech—even in the rare moments when writers such as Leitch acknowledge the failure of the vaccines to prevent transmission—has real consequences. People have lost their jobs. People have been arrested for trying to go to a movie theater.

Families got kicked out of restaurants, and patrons either cheered or remained indifferent, which is worse. A teenage boy at an uber-progressive and expensive Chicago prep school committed suicide after being bullied over an incorrect rumor he was unvaccinated. The stench of bad journalism rots people’s basic decency.

A January Rasmussen poll found that, “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democratic voters would favor a government policy requiring that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine…Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine…”

As well as, “Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.” Unfortunately, these disturbing results are politically lopsided, but it’s no surprise when you consider who the readers of most legacy media platforms are.

The saddest thing is that these media outlets and their flag bearers really think their readers are all morons. The New York Times believes that, in the midst of the Omicron wave as boosted person after boosted person was getting COVID, they could tell you these particular vaccines are still the way to eradicate this thing, and expect you to deny reality and nod your head.

It calls to mind the quote attributed to Solzhenitsyn (or Elena Gorokhova), “The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.”

We have ceded the better angels of our common cerebrum to people who may not have our best interests at heart, and a sycophantic laptop class who gleefully endorses their diktats and “fact-checks.” Collectively: Sophistry Inc.

Their behavior, endorsed by every single entity which holds power in our society, is destroying us, and has already poisoned us such that there may be no antidote. Yes, first they came for the unvaccinated, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come for you next.

Author

  • Clayton Fox was a 2020 Tablet Magazine Fellow. He has been published at Tablet, Real Clear Investigations, Los Angeles Magazine, and JancisRobinson.com.

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Brownstone Institute

Vaccines Will Not and Cannot Make this Virus Endemic

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President Joe Biden’s repeated COVID-19 diagnosis is the latest data point showing our government’s “vaccine only” approach needs an immediate course correction. If four doses of a vaccine cannot protect the leader of the free world from infection, it is time to consider other tactics.

These measures should include generic medicines that have been dismissed by the mainstream medical community and media.

While Americans across the ideological spectrum wish the president recovery, we must take this moment to acknowledge that a strategy blindly focused on vaccinations is not getting the job done.

Don’t take my word for it. Use Biden’s own standard for success. Exactly one year before testing positive, the President declared, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” Back then, the seven-day average of new cases in the United States was around 50,000. Today, that number is estimated to be between 300,000-500,000 when considering ubiquitous and uncounted home testing, despite two-thirds of the population considered “fully vaccinated” by the CDC.

Yet the push for vaccines from the administration has continued unabated. Following Biden’s diagnosis, the White House tried to take a political victory lap. In their first press briefing following news of the diagnosis, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stressed the president’s vaccination status as, “what’s most important here.”

As a lifelong Democrat and medical doctor who has helped more than 700 patients recover from COVID-19 and its complications, I have seen the effectiveness of other treatment options with my own eyes. Take for instance, fluvoxamine, an inexpensive generic medicine typically associated with depression treatment. It costs $4 per pill, is readily available at pharmacies, and has demonstrated an effectiveness combating COVID-19 in large, randomized, controlled trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet.

Yet two years after this data appeared, fluvoxamine is still getting the cold shoulder from the medical gatekeepers. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health do not recommend its use against COVID-19.

Furthermore, medical professionals who deviate from the party line are callously dismissed by mainstream media outlets such as NPR, as “fringe medical doctors, natural healers and internet personalities ready to push unproven cures for COVID.”

Science and medicine are always changing for the better. Consider the incredible shifts in the landscape that occurred between the current president contracting the novel coronavirus and his predecessor. In October 2020, there were limited options available for President Donald Trump. Less than two years later, a nearly 80-year-old president was presumed to be on a path toward recovery on the day of his diagnosis.

Progress is a wonderful thing, but it’s only possible with an attitude of open-mindedness that challenges the status quo. Doctors and innovators should be incentivized to pursue and explore new and different approaches. Instead, we are being forced to adopt a group think or risk suffering the wrath of the establishment, or worse, loss of livelihood.

The powerful American Board of Internal Medicine, a sprawling organization with certification authority, has been issuing threatening letters to board-certified physicians with exemplary careers, accusing them of “misinformation” when their public assessments of the efficacy of generic, repurposed therapies contradict those of federal health agencies.

To be sure, demonstrably false “misinformation” can be dangerous, and a topic worthy of discussion. But with overwhelming evidence to support the statements in question, advocating different courses of action toward COVID-19 is far from misinformation. In fact, the suggestion from the White House that the vaccine lessened Biden’s symptoms more closely meets the standard for misinformation since it is an impossible standard to prove.

Of all people, Biden should be open to new ideas. He was elected with a clear mandate to implement a fresh approach toward the pandemic. Two summers ago, he castigated his predecessor, saying, “the president still does not have a plan.” He went on to say, “More than 170,000 Americans have died — by far the worst performance of any nation on Earth.”

Today, that number has — sadly — topped 1 million. Many more lives have been lost on this president’s watch than the last one. These are sobering statistics. Biden has fallen short of promise to “shut down” the virus.

It’s clear COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. How we address it is up to us. Now is the time for a change in approach. Let’s hope our elected leaders and medical professionals take heed.

Author

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

Musk Declines to Save Twitter from Itself

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From the Brownstone Institute

The question is finally settled: Elon Musk has declined to buy Twitter. His initial offer of $44 billion was contingent on truth and transparency of the company’s corporate filings.

It’s no different from the contract you put on a house: the inspections still remain. If the foundation is cracked – or, worse, if the owners block the inspectors from even looking into the question – the deal is off.

The letter from Musk’s attorney makes it absolutely and painfully clear that Twitter did not cooperate.

“Twitter has not provided information that Mr. Musk has requested for nearly two months notwithstanding his repeated, detailed clarifications intended to simplify Twitter’s identification, collection, and disclosure of the most relevant information sought in Mr. Musk’s original requests.”

There are many issues here but the central one concerns the mDAU or monetizable daily active users. They claim 217 million, nearly half of whom log on daily, and only 5% of whom are bots. To manage them, Twitter has 7,500 employees who earn an average salary of $121,000 per year.

Honestly, if you claim to have a magic machine that displays random thoughts from anyone that somehow converts people’s passing attention into profit – and employ that many people at such high salaries who make it all happen – you had better be sure that you can generate credible numbers to prove it.

Twitter never did.

Maybe the foundation is cracked or maybe it is not. But when the owners don’t let you verify, there is a reason to walk away.

It would be nice to know Musk’s real thoughts. I suspect that Elon looked more closely at this vaunted ruling-class time waster and found vast puffery, low profitability, wildly inflated numbers concerning usage, and a vicious and expensive staff that hates his guts, while opposing free speech and the values of most regular American people.

Why would he bother?

It’s all strange timing for the company suddenly to announce massive cuts in its payroll, starting with the team dedicated to job recruitment. That would appear to mean the HR staff, which is undoubtedly huge, but a net drain on any company seeking profitability. Maybe this move was made in response to Musk — let’s clean house before the new owner takes over — or maybe it was made necessary by poor financials.

In either case, Musk might have come to believe that the entire company is a dog he doesn’t want to adopt.

Meanwhile, Twitter seems to have settled a lawsuit with Alex Berenson, an early Covid-policy critic who was later banned for posting…facts. The terms of the settlement are secret but they did result in his reinstatement. The same day, however, Twitter went on an aggressive purge of other accounts that dared to post basic facts particularly about covid and vaccine effectiveness.

Again, why would Musk even bother? There are plenty of other projects out there that merit his attention that could actually make money. Plus, he will be spared the ultimate annoyance of dealing with thousands of entitled and overpaid staffers who have drunk deeply from the woke ideological wells of poststructuralist Ivy-League theorizing.

He might dream of firing 90 percent of them — I dream the same — but what does that achieve?

What is the future of this company and others like them that have lived off enthusiasm, cheap credit, and their influencer status, while obscuring the underlying data that matters most? We know that Facebook, YouTube, and many others have already been caught making wild exaggerations about their mDAUs. It makes sense that Twitter is guilty of the same.

What does this mean for the company? We are seeing the unfolding of a very strange inflationary recession that combines low unemployment, declining purchasing power, falling demand for goods and services, low investor confidence, plus a growing financial squeeze that is raising serious questions about whether the basic economic model of high-profile companies like Twitter is sustainable.

George Gilder has foreseen the end of Google, one company the name of which he deploys as a stand-in for a slew of high fliers that dominate Big Tech today. Precisely how they would bite the dust has always been a question. It would be the height of irony to see them all die the death from the very forces that gave them such high profitability in 2020 and 2021: the pandemic response that conscripted their user base from the real world into the laptop life.

And with that comes a more fundamental question: just how vulnerable is this overclass to being euthanized by economic fundamentals?

For example, with the managerial class trying to get everyone back at the office, the overclass of lazy and overpaid staffers is resisting with all the ferocity one would expect from such an entitled proletariat. They simply won’t come back. They prefer the pajama life. It’s more comfortable. It’s also safer because by not showing up to the office, one can more easily hide from managerial oversight.

Right now office occupancy in major cities is at a mere 45% of what it was before the pandemic response. To be sure, many of these people have tried coming back. They fight the traffic. They ride the dangerous subways. They pay a high price for gas. Then they pay to park. Then eat bad food for lunch. And what do they do at the office? The same exact thing they would otherwise be doing at home. They Slack back and forth to other employees.

Doesn’t matter if the interlocutor is 5 feet away or 500 miles away. It’s all the same anyway.

The main reason for coming back to the office is to socialize with fellow employees. But that’s not actually doing work, is it? So that’s a problem. The great myth that having everyone hang out together in fishbowl rooms is going to lead to some kind of synergistic brainstorming has been exposed as another lie promoted by bogus management books one picks up in the airport.

Therefore, employees are coming up with any excuse to stay away. The best one — “I’ve been exposed to Covid so I’m in quarantine” — is getting stale. The high price of gasoline might be next on the list. Regardless, getting people back to the office seems ill-fated, which raises serious questions about what happens to these skyscrapers designed for a pre-2020 world?

We talk these days a lot about the labor shortage and the low unemployment rate. Can we get a bit of honesty here? The shortages are for jobs that many people don’t want. They are in the service industries, hospitality, the physical world, the work that actually requires work and real skills. When you are waving a fancy degree and believe that six figures is your birthright, you won’t take these jobs. That’s why there’s a shortage of workers.

In other words, we need people to fix cars, deliver goods from ports to stores, flip the rooms in hotels, make the omelets, and put up drywall in new houses. Those require skills and actually moving one’s body, which is anathema to the under-40 demographic that studied anthropology and the history of social oppression of everyone during the four-year, debt-financed vacation we call college.

Where there is a surplus is in the puffed-up sector of bullcorn jobs that require about 20 total minutes of engaged time per day. Those are the jobs that everyone wants, but how sustainable are they really during an inflationary recession?

Elon seems to get this. His companies do real things, not fake things. He probably intuits that most of these companies need massive restructuring, both in personnel and in world outlook.

A prediction: there are hard times ahead for the corporate laptoppers as these companies are forced either to become profitable or go bankrupt. And this will lead to a massive crisis and demoralization of an entire generation that has been taught that anyone with the right credentials and connections can get rich forever without doing a lick of real work.

Decades of debt financing have created a spoiled overclass in America that has been taught to hate capitalism and also believe they and their friends can forever earn a high-income stream off the fruits of that system. There could be a rude awakening and it could come sooner rather than later. They wanted a great reset and they are going to get it good and hard.

Now Twitter faces a serious problem. Who is the next buyer and why would this party be any less scrupulous? Also maybe investors should also be a bit more critically minded too.

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. 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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