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Posts Tagged ‘Great Barrington Declaration’

TGIF: Safety Can Be Hazardous to Our Health | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on August 27, 2021

Consider the “precautionary principle,” the admonition that nothing should be allowed unless it’s proven to be totally safe. Now think of where mankind would be today had our ancestors had adopted this principle. The human race would be considerably smaller. Has it ever occurred to its advocates that the precautionary principle cannot even pass its own test?

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-safety-hazardous-to-health/

by Sheldon Richman

Kudos to Glenn Greenwald, a rare leftist voice of sanity on so many issues, for opening his recent article this way:

In virtually every realm of public policy, Americans embrace policies which they know will kill people, sometimes large numbers of people. They do so not because they are psychopaths but because they are rational: they assess that those deaths that will inevitably result from the policies they support are worth it in exchange for the benefits those policies provide. This rational cost-benefit analysis, even when not expressed in such explicit or crude terms, is foundational to public policy debates — except when it comes to COVID, where it has been bizarrely declared off-limits.

He goes on to write that the “quickest and most guaranteed way to save hundreds of thousands of lives with policy changes would be to ban the use of automobiles, or severely restrict their usage to those authorized by the state on the ground of essential need (e.g., ambulances or food-delivery vehicles), or at least lower the nationwide speed limit to 25 mph.” (Watch the video version.)

But no one advocates any of those restrictions, and anyone who did would be dismissed as a fringe character. But why, considering how many lives would surely be saved (1.3 million worldwide)? It’s not because opponents don’t care about human life; it’s because people understand that the costs in so many ways would be far worse the benefits:

It is because we employ a rational framework of cost-benefit analysis, whereby, when making public policy choices, we do not examine only one side of the ledger (number of people who will die if cars are permitted) but also consider the immense costs generated by policies that would prevent those deaths (massive limits on our ability to travel, vastly increased times to get from one place to another, restrictions on what we can experience in our lives, enormous financial costs from returning to the pre-automobile days). So foundational is the use of this cost-benefit analysis that it is embraced and touted by everyone from right-wing economists to the left-wing European environmental policy group CIVITAS….

Exactly so. Once you put safety not just first but above everything else you’re able to come up with the most insane proposals for reshaping society. Heaven help us from those who are concerned only about safety.

Risk is integral to life, social life included. As Thomas Sowell puts it, there are no solutions, only trade-offs–you can’t do only one thing. So each of us does cost-benefit analyses all the time in everyday life. As individuals we could be completely protected from other people simply by living as hermits. But few choose to do so for entirely understandable reasons. Instead we live among others, taking reasonable precautions. Indeed, some of the most admired places to live are the most densely populated places on earth. We accept the costs because the benefits dwarf them–so much so that we don’t normally have to explain it to other people.

But some people forget to apply this common sense in particular matters. Greenwald’s target is draconian COVID-19 policy: “It is now extremely common in Western democracies for large factions of citizens to demand that any measures undertaken to prevent COVID deaths are vital, regardless of the costs imposed by those policies.” Yet, he continues, “It is impossible to overstate the costs imposed on children of all ages from the sustained, enduring and severe disruptions to their lives justified in the name of COVID.

“However, “The latest CDC data reveals that the grand total of children under 18 who have died in the U.S. from COVID since the start of the pandemic sixteen months ago is 361 — in a country of 330 million people, including 74.2 million people under 18.”

Children, of course, are not the only ones who have suffered from lockdowns and lesser restrictions on their activities.

Unfortunately, opponents of these blunt-instrument, liberty-violating approaches, such as the authors and signers of the Great Barrington Declaration, are smeared, if not as uncaring sociopaths, then as blind ideologues or sell-outs.

Greenwald also properly see a class conflict in how the COVID policy has affected people:

The richer you are, the less likely you are to be affected by these harms from COVID restrictions. Wealth allows people to leave their homes, hire private tutors, temporarily live in the countryside or mountains, or enjoy outdoor space at home. It is the poor and the economically deprived who bear the worst of these deprivations, which — along with not having children at all — may be one reason they are assigned little to no weight in mainstream discourse.

He emphasizes that “this is not an argument in favor of or against any particular policy undertaken in the name of fighting COVID. What it is, instead, is an attempt to highlight the pervasive and deeply misguided refusal to assign any costs to the harms caused by anti-COVID policies themselves.”

Consider the “precautionary principle,” the admonition that nothing should be allowed unless it’s proven to be totally safe. Now think of where mankind would be today had our ancestors had adopted this principle. The human race would be considerably smaller. Has it ever occurred to its advocates that the precautionary principle cannot even pass its own test?

COVID is only the latest example of how the obsession with safety can be hazardous to our health. It is by no means the only one. The other most prominent case relates to fossil fuels and climate change. As I discussed recently, if the economic way of thinking–that is, the cost-benefit trade-off approach–informed the discussion of the environment and our place in it, that discussion would look very different. Why? Because people would realize that the elimination or radical reduction of fossil-fuel use worldwide literally would shorten billions of lives, and make the rest of them miserable. Even a small benefit from oil, gas, and coal would outweigh that cost. But in fact the benefits are immense.

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The Present Libertarian Priority – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 28, 2021

This ambivalence, and this stupidity, by libertarians, is contributing to the destruction of society. That’s right. Supporting face masks, the Covid-19 vaccine, and any of the other things I mentioned above is contributing to the destruction of society. The present libertarian priority is the condemnation and elimination of these things, not just because they are unnecessary, but because they are destroying society.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/04/laurence-m-vance/the-present-libertarian-priority/

By Laurence M. Vance

“The idea behind advocating for libertarianism is to introduce a more civil society, not the destruction of society.” ~ Robert Wenzel

I have previously written about libertarian priorities. There I began:

The libertarian goal is ultimately a free society where the non-aggression principle is the foundational principle and individual liberty, laissez-faire, and property rights reign supreme. Standing in the way of that goal is the state. And if that weren’t already a formidable enough obstacle, the state is also actively seeking to increase and expand its power and its interventions into the economy and society.

Under the guise of the Covid-19 “pandemic,” government at all levels is succeeding to increase and expand its power and its interventions into the economy and society as never before.

Yet, some libertarians not only still don’t get it, they are aiding and abetting the state in its destruction of society as a result of their ambivalence or their stupidity.

Libertarians generally recognize that there are core priorities that take precedence over most other issues. Here are ten of them:

  • The drug war
  • Foreign wars
  • The U.S. empire of troops and bases
  • The warfare state
  • The welfare state
  • The national security state
  • The size and scope of government
  • Government control of education
  • Government wealth confiscation
  • Government income redistribution

Eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and privatizing local garbage collection take a back seat to these much more damaging things.

Because of the events of the past year, in addition to the above core priorities there is one issue that libertarians must make their priority for its duration: the bogus government Covid-19 “pandemic” and draconian government response to it. The libertarian priority at the present time should be the condemnation and elimination of:

  • Lockdowns
  • Curfews
  • Face masks
  • The Covid-19 vaccine
  • Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations to attend school, travel, or go to work
  • Social distancing
  • Capacity limits in stores, restaurants, churches, theaters, arenas, and stadiums
  • Quarantines
  • Plastic shields in front of all cash registers
  • Contract tracing
  • CDC recommendations and guidelines relating to Covid-19
  • Covid-19 testing
  • Vaccine passports
  • Travel restrictions
  • The closure of, and restrictions on, “unessential businesses”
  • Government and corporate propaganda in support of these things
  • Censorship of opposition to these things

It doesn’t matter if it is private entities that are promoting and practicing these things. They should still be opposed root and branch. Business that are requiring masks, limiting the number of people in their stores, and making announcements about maintaining social distancing are generally only doing so because they are following government mandates and/or CDC propaganda about “the virus.” They wouldn’t even be thinking about these things were it not for the government’s draconian response to the “pandemic.”

But as I said, some libertarians (generally self-proclaimed left-libertarians) still don’t get it.

One libertarian asks: “What does it mean to be libertarian now? I would say that the purer forms of libertarianism are evolving: from a set of policy stances on political questions to a series of projects for building entire new political worlds.” After praising “the importance of Operation Warp Speed in getting the U.S. out of the pandemic” and dismissing the Great Barrington Declaration as “fatally flawed,” he says that “much of the intellectual effort in libertarian circles is concentrated in two ideas in particular: charter cities and cryptocurrency.” I don’t know what libertarian circles he is running in, but the intellectual effort of its members is being wasted while society is crumbling around us.

Another libertarian, even while criticizing Democrats and liberals for panicking over the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Texas, spouts a bunch of Covid-19 nonsense that could have come from the CDC:

Masks have been an important tool in slowing the course of the pandemic. There’s a strong case to be made that the unvaccinated should still wear them when they gather in large numbers in indoor spaces.

Fully vaccinated people are essentially immune from serious disease or death, and according to the latest data, they are very unlikely to carry or transmit COVID-19 at all. The message to the unvaccinated should be: Go get vaccinated. The message to the vaccinated should be: Rejoice! You can go back to normal life.

If we don’t want pandemic restrictions to become the new airport security, there needs to be pushback: Get vaccinated, and then get back to normal.

This ambivalence, and this stupidity, by libertarians, is contributing to the destruction of society. That’s right. Supporting face masks, the Covid-19 vaccine, and any of the other things I mentioned above is contributing to the destruction of society. The present libertarian priority is the condemnation and elimination of these things, not just because they are unnecessary, but because they are destroying society.

The best places to find the valuable information you need about the bogus government Covid-19 “pandemic” and the draconian government response to it are LewRockwell.com, Lifefacts by LifeSiteNews, the daily Tom Woods e-mail, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), TargetLiberty, and my Covid-19 insanity page. There are other places, of course, and I apologize in advance for omitting to mention them, but these places will give you more than you can possibly use to combat the lies, nonsense, and propaganda about all things relating to Covid-19—even when uttered by libertarians.

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

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Sweden Has Had Schools Open, Over One Million Kids & No Deaths – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2021

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2021/01/08/study-sweden-has-schools-open-millions-of-kids-no-masks-no-lockdown-no-deaths/

In Brief

  • The Facts:A letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine outlines how despite no lockdowns, school closings, or mask mandates no school children have died from Covid-19, and 1 in 130,000 have been admitted to the ICU.
  • Reflect On:How dangerous is Covid for children? Is it less dangerous than the flu? Does the data justify lockdown measures and school closing? All of this is discussed within the article.

What Happened:  A letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that “Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”

Sweden was one of the few countries that decided to keep schools open. The study points out that the number of deaths from any cause among the 1,951,905 children in Sweden (as of December 31, 2019) who were 1 to 16 years of age was 65 during the pre-Covid-19 period of November 2019 through February of 2020 was 65, and 69 during 4 months of exposure to Covid-19 between March and June of 2020. The data shows that there was no significant difference here.

When it comes to teachers, the study showed that  “fewer than 10 preschool teachers and 20 schoolteachers in Sweden received intensive care for Covid-19 up until June 30, 2020 (20 per 103,596 schoolteachers, which is equal to 19 per 100,000). As compared with other occupations (excluding health care workers), this corresponded to sex- and age-adjusted relative risks of 1.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49 to 2.49) among preschool teachers and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.28 to 0.68) among schoolteachers (see the Supplementary Appendix).

In a Karolinska Institute press release, lead author and pediatrician Jonas Ludvigsson, MD, PhD, indicated he was hopeful about the results. “It is very gratifying that serious COVID-19, defined here as needing treatment in an intensive care unit, is so rare among children despite schools being open during the pandemic,” he said.

“The next step will be to follow up the children who were treated in an intensive care unit for COVID-19 to see if they have recovered fully. My gut feeling is that children who have been seriously ill because of MIS-C seem to recover fully eventually.”

The point is, children are not being admitted to the ICU in Sweden for C0vid-19, and children are not dying from Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 among children seems to be rare, and also has a 100 percent recovery rate. Given the fact that many infections are also asymptomatic, it really has no impact on their life. So, while we continue to hear that cases are soaring, it’s important to ask if this is really a big deal? And why is it that other viruses prior to this one that infect hundreds of millions and kill tens of millions a year were not subjected to the same scrutiny? Is it because authorities are worried that children will be a vector of transmission? Do asymptomatic people spread Covid?

This data also echoes what many doctors and scientists have been expressing regarding the severity of the virus, not just for children but for everybody. For example, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently appeared on a JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Network conversation alongside Mark Lipsitch, DPhil and Dr. Howard Bauchner, who interviews leading researchers and thinkers in health care about their JAMA articles.

During the conversation, Dr. Bhattacharya said that the survival rate from COVID-19, based on approximately 50 studies that’ve been published providing seroprevalence data, for people over 70 years of age is 95 percent. For people under the age of 70, the survival rate of COVID-19 is 99.95 percent. He went on to state that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19 for children, and that we’ve (America) had more flu deaths in children this year than Covid deaths.

Bhattacharya is one of the initiators of The Great Barrington Declaration. The declaration has an impressive list of renowned scientists who have come on board as co-signers, and has now been signed by more than 50,000 doctors and scientists. It’s an initiative that strongly opposes lockdown measures.

Why This Is Important: This information is important because lockdown measures, according to many, aren’t really doing anything to stop the spread of the virus and may be delaying “herd immunity.” Furthermore we are taking all of these measures based on case counts, and a virus that has an extremely low mortality rate. Respiratory viruses prior to Covid already infected hundreds of millions and killed tens of millions a year. What’s even more concerning is the fact that medical professionals and scientists who share information that opposes the measures being taken by multiple governments are being subjected to extreme amounts of censorship. Scientific discussion is being shut down and we are seeing one opinion and side receive all of the attention.

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How Pope Francis Gets “the Common Good” Wrong | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2020

In what became known as the Great Barrington Declaration, reputable infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists explained that the death toll caused by the lockdowns will far surpass anything precipitated by covid. 

https://mises.org/wire/how-pope-francis-gets-common-good-wrong

Alice Salles

In a New York Times op-ed full of musings on how to “build a better, different, human future,” Pope Francis praised world governments for putting “the well-being of their people first” while ridiculing critics of the covid-19 lockdowns.

Juxtaposed with Francis’s condemnation of skeptics in the prestigious newspaper, Tom Woods’s antilockdown “Covid Cult” speech was deleted by YouTube two days prior. That video, which had already gone viral, addressed the “common good” argument that the pope would make.

Considering how wrong both the legacy and new media have been on covid and the lockdowns from the start, it’s no wonder that platforms such as YouTube have a personal beef with Woods or his sober message calling out the pseudoscience that’s been used to destroy people’s lives and livelihoods. 

With the support of the Times and other establishment outlets, Francis urged readers to consider the “common good” as a demand for sacrifice. Covid, a flu-like respiratory illness that impacts only a tiny fraction of the population and usually not fatally, is the perfect excuse for mass sacrifice.

Francis wrote that governments are “acting decisively to protect health and to save lives” by “imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.” But if you were to base your understanding of what lockdowns have accomplished on what Francis had to say alone, you would think we were living, or dying, in 1347 under the Black Death.

“Governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths” caused a great deal of pain, the supreme pontiff wrote.

While the jury is still out on what should even be considered a covid death, there is, indeed, enough evidence to suggest that the “strict measures to contain the outbreak” that he praised simply have not worked.

The Wrong Approach

During his speech, Woods argued that the response to covid was and remains completely disproportionate, especially as we become more aware of how the virus operates. He also chronicled how the nearly universal lockdowns caused more pain and suffering than the disease itself.

“There are other concerns in the world other than covid,” Woods said, a fact completely ignored by Francis in his op-ed.

Woods further argued that countries like Spain and Italy, which “locked down [early] and hard” saw no benefit from doing so. Countries like Sweden, which never locked down, saw a fraction of the deaths that the “listen to the science” crowd estimated while seeing no lockdown-related suffering and excess deaths.

As a matter of fact, even medical researchers think that lockdowns were a mistake.

In what became known as the Great Barrington Declaration, reputable infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists explained that the death toll caused by the lockdowns will far surpass anything precipitated by covid. 

Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health—leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.

Allowing iron-fisted shutdowns to remain in place, the group of scientists added, “will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

Despite their warnings, which first appeared online on October 4, 2020, Francis did not hesitate to mock critics of lockdowns for their alleged overreliance on “personal freedom” to justify their opinion. They are going against the common good, the pontiff wrote, and they are serving “idols.”

After governments imposed “responsible” lockdowns, Francis argued, “some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions—as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”

They are wrong, he jabbed.

Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.

Then why isn’t he?

The Seen and the Unseen

In his now famous “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen” essay, French liberal school economist Claude-Frederic Bastiat wrote that when it comes to the economy, an act or law brought about by the government “gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects.”

Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause—it is seen. The others unfold in succession—they are not seen.

What many lockdown critics have consistently argued is that it is the effect that isn’t immediately seen that would be more costly to society than covid itself. It is exactly that concern that has driven the medical professionals associated with the Barrington Declaration to speak up, as well as countless working-class Americans and Europeans who found no other way to vent their frustration but to take it to the streets, as highlighted by Woods:

In Italy and the United Kingdom, at least some people are fighting back. The last lockdown took everything they had.

One video, which has gone viral, shows an Italian woman crying that she has lost everything, and has nothing to feed her child. I guess she better listen to the science right?

Yet to Francis, the common good dictates we lock down the globe, jeopardizing the future of the young, the livelihood of the working class, and condemning countless kids to a life of mental distress

If the concern for “the least fortunate” is what drives Francis, pursuing a strawman on the New York Times isn’t how he wins.

If he is honest in calling for more solidarity in the age of covid, he should begin by being charitable with those praying for an end to the lockdowns. As countless people suffer both physical and emotional pain over the draconian restrictions on basic freedoms, the number of lives lost due to what Woods calls the “covid cult” will only rise. Author:

Alice Salles

Alice Salles was born and raised in Brazil but has lived in America for over ten years. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband Nick Hankoff and their three children.  

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