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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘covid deaths’

A Pandemic of Fear – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2021

Someone recently asked me about the origins of my love of individual liberty and how I came to embrace the non-aggression axiom at the heart of libertarian philosophy. I initially responded that after college, I followed Mark Twain’s advice never to let my schooling interfere with my education…

So, in the spirit of being the why (and hopefully wise) guy, I have just a few questions I would like to pose to the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers before I dutifully line up to take the shots. If they can answer these fully to my satisfaction, my consent to get the shots will be informed and voluntary; if not, my submission will only occur because legal mandates will make it impossible to enjoy life on acceptable terms.

Here is my list:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/no_author/a-pandemic-of-fear/

By Steve Berger

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance” Franklin Delano Roosevelt Inaugural Address

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

We have now clocked 14 months and counting since the “temporary emergency” (two words that send chills up any libertarian spine) lockdown orders to prevent our nation’s hospitals from being unduly stressed by the Covid 19 virus. Without denying Covid’s transmissibility or infectiousness, especially for the elderly and at risk individuals with one or more co-morbidities, I think we can all agree that we have careened from fear to fear over this period of time. Fear over hospitalizations gave way to fear over the infamous death counts displayed 24/7 by mainstream media. As death rates subsided last summer, fear of death gave way to fear over cases accompanied by an almost manic counting of tests administered. And, finally, the obsession with test and case counts has been displaced by how many have gotten their Covid shots. Fear, as FDR intoned in his famous inaugural address, is often unreasoning and unjustified. It elevates the flight or fight syndrome, causes the suspension of disbelief and leads to emotional, panic-driven decisions. At each of these four stages of Covid engendered fear, one could have raised objective counters to the prevailing narrative. To wit, very few hospitals were overcrowded. Most Covid deaths, by the CDC’s own admission are with Covid not from Covid with the latter constituting 6% of the total reported.  The case counts were likely drastically overinflated as a result of faulty and overly sensitive testing methodologies.  And the vaccines may not be a magical cure all preventing transmission or infection, but, if safe and effective, may minimize adverse symptoms should one contract Covid. Big pharma is already mentioning the need for annual booster shots.

Raising any of these counterpoints to the prevailing narrative is unlikely to be countered by rational, calm debate, but most assuredly will get one tagged as being a Trumpian anti-vaxxer, classic ad hominem attacks hardly deserving response. But, to set the record straight, this writer is neither a Trumpian nor an anti-vaxxer. Over time my philosophic journey has evolved from an initial belief that government was a necessary evil to thinking that is mainly evil. Few politicians are for me exemplars of moral courage or intellectual honesty. President Kennedy is one exception in my lifetime as his moral courage to avert nuclear war and dismantle the national security state very well may have cost him his life at the hands of political enemies. Before Kennedy, I have to retreat to Grover Cleveland, who had the courage time after time to uphold the Constitution, earning him the sobriquet of Mr. Veto for his repeated nays to Congressional attempts to create powers not enumerated. And saying that I am anti-vaxxer is a pejorative slight implying that I substitute superstition for medicine and science when in fact, like many, I am trying to make my own informed decision about my own health and treatment or prophylactic options.

Someone recently asked me about the origins of my love of individual liberty and how I came to embrace the non-aggression axiom at the heart of libertarian philosophy. I initially responded that after college, I followed Mark Twain’s advice never to let my schooling interfere with my education so I embarked on my own course of self-education, devouring all the classics by Rand, Rothbard, Hayek, Block, Hoppe, von Mises as well as political philosophers diametrically opposed to their love of liberty and individual responsibility. But, upon further reflection, I realized that my libertarian roots may have been present as a toddler. One of my earliest memories is my parents growing frustrated with my endless use of the word why! I guess I simply never liked being told what to do or what to think, and I think this skeptical predisposition to question authority was the fertile soil for building my set of political and moral beliefs.

So, in the spirit of being the why (and hopefully wise) guy, I have just a few questions I would like to pose to the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers before I dutifully line up to take the shots. If they can answer these fully to my satisfaction, my consent to get the shots will be informed and voluntary; if not, my submission will only occur because legal mandates will make it impossible to enjoy life on acceptable terms.

Here is my list:

  1. Why is the partnership of government and 4 major vaccine manufacturers exempt from the usual harms of crony capitalism present in other industries where government and big business are allied? Bailouts and subsidies in other industries create moral hazard, socialize risk, and tend to result in high prices and/or poor product quality as the removal of market-based penalties for failure is weakened. Where many glorify Operation Warp Speed and are eager to announce Mission Accomplished much as Bush the younger did in the early days of the forever Iraq war, I have a gnawing sense of discomfort that a product is being rushed to market without full and extensive testing. The government can posture as savior. The vaccine manufacturers, who are granted legal immunity under their private/public partnership and have been provided enormous subsidies to develop the vaccines, have a pure profit opportunity with legally constrained limits on loss or reprisal. This is not meant to ascribe improper motives to either government or corporate entities as the efforts to abate the pandemic may indeed be totally humanitarian. But, zero liability and skewed risk/reward structures create incentives which leave me uneasy.
  2. Are the vaccines safe and effective? If so, why are many government officials still recommending that the vaccinated wear mask(s), socially distance and otherwise put their lives on hold? Does not this public messaging do more to undercut the incentive to get a vaccine than any anti-vaxxer could create?
  3. If the vaccines are so effective, how do you account for the occurrence from December 14, 2020 through last Friday of almost 120,000 adverse events in the US reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) including over 3500 deaths?
  4. While these may statistically indeed be a small percentage of total vaccines administered to date, is it likely that the systematic underreporting to you under VAERS is on the order of just one to ten percent of all adverse events? If that is so, then do you consider the likely true number of adverse vaccine events of 1.2 to 12 million to be material?
  5. And, for certain segments of the population (namely anyone under the age of 30) for whom the odds of contracting Covid and/or debilitating symptoms may be close to zero, how do you justify taking an injection which is admittedly still experimental? Is this risk/reward logical?
  6. If the “vaccines” are so desirable, why have you resorted to classic propaganda techniques (including frequent public servant announcements, photo ops of athletes, politicians and movie stars getting their shots, nonstop social messaging) to encourage their acceptance? Do you think the average citizen is too infantile to provide informed consent?
  7. Why are you threatening the use of vaccine passports and a legal nether world of the unvaccinated to coerce getting the shots? Do you think the average citizen is too infantile to provide informed consent?
  8. Do you think that employers and colleges mandating these vaccines at your behest is consonant with the key elements of the Nuremberg Code and its strictures regarding the scope of and moral underpinnings of medical experimentation?
  9. Why have dissenting views by other scientists and/or vaccine safety organizations been greeted with silence and/or censorship?

I look forward to receiving complete answers to my list of questions. In the meantime, I fully recognize and respect the decision of any individual who chooses to mask up, isolate from society and get vaccinated. It is your right and prerogative. Your body is your choice. I do not respect or recognize your ability to mandate that my individual health decisions are subject to your dictates, which, by and large, I find inhuman, inhumane and unconstitutional. I search in vain for a pandemic exception to the Bill of Rights, which were adopted with a devastating smallpox scourge in the founders’ rear view mirror. To compel that I abide by your dictates so that we can all get back a way of life that was unnaturally and unconstitutionally obliterated strikes me as morally obtuse.

Steve Berger is a board member of the Mises Institute.

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Covid Deaths Mount in France and the Czech Republic as Lockdowns Fail | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2020

In France, for instance, one now “need[s] a certificate to move around,” yet in spite of long maintaining some of the continent’s most stringent lockdown and social distancing measures, total deaths per million are rapidly accelerating, to the point that France is likely to soon join other countries with harsh lockdowns in having among the worst rates of deaths per million in the world.

https://mises.org/wire/covid-deaths-mount-france-and-czech-republic-lockdowns-fail?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=97356c6ca6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_10_02_06_25_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-97356c6ca6-228343965

Ryan McMaken

Lockdowns are back on in Europe and are making a quick comeback in the US as well. Spain, the UK, Belgium, and France are back in full lockdown mode, although a multitude of restrictions on movement within each country remained in place even when full lockdowns were ended over the summer. 

In France, for instance, one now “need[s] a certificate to move around,” yet in spite of long maintaining some of the continent’s most stringent lockdown and social distancing measures, total deaths per million are rapidly accelerating, to the point that France is likely to soon join other countries with harsh lockdowns in having among the worst rates of deaths per million in the world. Moreover, eastern Europe, which was once lauded for locking down strictly and early, is quickly finding that lockdowns aren’t likely to suppress total deaths there, either. The Czech Republic is seeing some of the worst growth in covid deaths worldwide, while the rest of the region is seeing similar growth, albeit to a less dramatic extent (so far).

clobalcovid1.png

cov
Sources: Worldometer and Ourworldindata.org.

This is not what was sold to the public. Rather, politicians and their allies in the “public health” bureaucracies insisted that lockdowns would substantially reduce total deaths in countries that imposed them. Countries that failed to lock down would, on the other hand, experience runaway contagion with total Covid deaths per million orders of magnitude higher than those seen in countries that didn’t lock down.

That’s not what happened.

ee1.png

ee
Cumulative deaths per million on the fifteenth of each month. Source: Worldometer.

Sweden, for instance, has long been denounced by politicians and media pundits for failing to embrace the methods of the French and the Spaniards.  Many of these nations (i.e., Spain and the UK) have long had total Covid death per million well in excess of the Swedes. And now, other nations are surging (i.e., France and Czechia and the Netherlands) and will all likely soon be much higher than Swedish levels. (It might also be noted that Spain, the UK, France, Czechia, and Italy are now all seeing growth in Covid deaths at rates above that reported by the United States.)

Lockdowns Save Lives? 

Of course, some supporters of lockdowns are likely to continue insisting that lockdowns clearly work to suppress total deaths because a handful of small countries near Sweden (i.e., Norway, Denmark, and Finland) have reported relatively few covid deaths. While this certainly may indicate there are factors at work in these countries that help keep covid mortality numbers lower, the fact remains that experience shows countries like Norway, Denmark, and Finland are outliers when compared to most of western Europe.

[Read More: “The Evidence Keeps Piling up: Lockdowns Don’t Work“]

This isn’t exactly shocking. As early as July, studies were already beginning to show that lockdowns didn’t actually suppress total mortality. This one in The Lancet, for example, concludes,

government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.

And in 2006, an extensive study in Biosecurity and Bioterrorism reported: “There are no historical observations or scientific studies that support the confinement by quarantine of groups of possibly infected people for extended periods” to slow the spread of influenza. No evidence has been offered for why this might be true of flu, but not true of Covid. Moreover, in a recent report from JPMorgan, Marko Kolanovic concluded that “re-opening did not change the course of the pandemic” and that “While we often hear that lockdowns are driven by scientific models, and that there is an exact relationship between the level of economic activity and the spread of [the] virus—this is not supported by the data.” Overall, evidence backing the lockdown theory has simply failed to materialize

Where’s the Evidence?

Indeed, as Swedish authorities have long claimed, the experience points toward an outcome in which most countries will end up with similar total deaths per million regardless of lockdown policy.1 This looks more likely by the day. As noted by Dr. Gilbert Berdine here at mises.org, “The data suggest that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from covid-19. At best, lockdowns have deferred death for a short time, but they cannot possibly be continued for the long term.” This, of course, is why even the WHO does not recommend lockdowns except as a very short term and ad hoc measure. The side effects of the lockdowns themselves are too dangerous.

[Read More: “Even WHO Officials Now Admit Lockdowns Are Extreme Policies with Disastrous Results“]

We already know that isolation, unemployment, and other social ills caused by lockdowns affect both physical and mental health. But we also know that lockdowns lead to deaths from untreated medical conditions. Moreover, government health experts in many cases have callously cut off the elderly from all their social and family support. The Associated Press estimates that for “every two COVID-19 victims in long-term care, there is another who died prematurely of other causes.” Many of these deaths are brought on by neglect and isolation caused by state-mandated lockdown policies.

Examining Excess Mortality 

But where would we find evidence of these deaths in the aggregate? Unfortunately, regimes spend very little time counting them. Rather, regimes often only record events in ways that help the regime. While they are careful to count as many covid cases and deaths as possible in big bright numbers reported daily by government officials, deaths caused by lockdowns are generally ignored.

Eventually, the only way to guess the impact of these other deaths will be through the “excess mortality” data. Excess mortality—using a definition now generally used in the media and by government officials—occurs when total mortality during a time period exceeds the average mortality experienced over the past five years.

Some initial reports have suggested that covid deaths comprise only around 70 percent of excess deaths (see here and here). Naturally, lockdown advocates claim that this shows covid deaths are being undercounted, and that covid deaths should be assumed to account for virtually all excess deaths. This is only conjecture.

In any case, we find, not surprisingly, that excess mortality in Sweden has been lower this year compared to many other western European countries with harsh lockdowns. For example, through October the average number of deaths for 2015–19 in Sweden was 72,972. In 2020, the total deaths for the same period was 76,375. That’s an increase of 4.6 percent.

Likewise, in France, 2020’s total excess mortality is up 6.4 percent. It’s up 12.7 percent in England and Wales, up 16 percent in Italy, and up 17 percent in Spain.

excess.png

exc

How much of this excess mortality in lockdown countries is attributable to the lockdowns themselves? For now that’s still unknown. But, as Dr. Berdine writes:

It seems likely that one will not have to even compare economic deprivation with loss of life, as the final death toll following authoritarian lockdowns will most likely exceed the deaths from letting people choose how to manage their own risk. After taking the unprecedented economic depression into account, history will likely judge these lockdowns to be the greatest policy error of this generation.

  • 1. In making comparative analysis, we should not expect exactly the same outcomes across national lines, of course. The number of covid deaths will be affected by the overall age of the population, obesity rates, and the relative health levels in each country. The impact of some factors, however, has been greatly exagerrated. For example, data has been inconclusive in regard to the effects of population density. Some have claimed that voluntary social distancing has been greater in Sweden than in mandatory-lockdown countries, thus explaining the difference in covid deaths. This contention is not supported by what measures we have of social distancing.

Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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COVID is safer than schools and school buses. “As shown, deaths in young people (from babies to college students) are almost non-existent” (CDC below).

Posted by M. C. on September 29, 2020

About half of world’s teens experience peer violence in and around school, UNICEF says

 

Trends in School-Associated Violent Deaths—1992-2016

trends in SAVD 1992 - 2016

 

Violent Deaths at School

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=49

From July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, there were a total of 38 student, staff, and other nonstudent school-associated violent deaths in the United States, which included 30 homicides, 7 suicides, and 1 legal intervention death.1

 

Deaths and injuries in school bus-related crashes, United States, 2007-2018

 

Deaths
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Total 152 118 130 123 131 130 120 115 125 96 117
Occupant of other vehicle 104 91 84 86 87 92 77 87 85 71 81
Pedestrian 21 21 26 21 27 22 28 11 20 10 22
School bus passenger 15 3 10 4 8 6 7 5 9 4 9
School bus driver 4 2 6 7 6 5 4 8 5 8 3
Pedalcyclist 8 1 3 4 3 3 4 4 4 2 2
Other non-occupants 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 1 0

 

Here’s the coronavirus mortality data by age group:

As shown, deaths in young people (from babies to college students) are almost non-existent. The first age group to provide a substantial contribution to the death toll is 45-54 years, who contribute nearly 5% of all coronavirus deaths. More than 80% of deaths occur in people aged 65 and over. That increases to over 92% if the 55-64 age group is included.

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Home school is good but for not for the reason you are told.

I tried to post this information on FB. Got put on the naughty step.

 

 

 

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