They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes. Thanks to Internet video streaming you can create a facsimile of that experience by watching whole TV series in a few day’s time that you once watched over a period of years. It won’t exactly be your life that flashes before your eyes, but it was your life that the show’s original broadcast punctuated.Continue reading “Binge-watching TV Series”
Before Covid-19 came along, it was never fashionable to accuse unvaccinated people of causing disease or social injustice. Sure, there were pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers who occasionally argued over esoteric subjects, such as whether the measles vaccine could be linked to autism or other side effects, but most people were reluctant to blame the unvaccinated for particular outbreaks.
There were practical reasons for this reluctance. It is standard practice with infectious disease to try to identify patient zero, but the best efforts to do so are fraught with uncertainty and the benefits of knowing patient zero (after the fact) don’t change what has already occurred. Hence, the moral default is simply to assume that infection is like an act of God.
Not so with Covid. Now it is fashionable to name the unvaccinated as the cause of various social problems. Even our president does it. The essay deflates three such claims.
Because the concept of externalities came up in a recent Forum post I thought it might be useful to explore it. What I learned turned out to be fascinating.
To an economist, “an externality is a cost or benefit for a third party who did not agree to it” (Wikipedia). Most of us can easily think of examples; air pollution and public education come to mind.Continue reading “Thinking about Externalities”
It’s official. The U.S. is now the U.S.S.R.
We can trace the beginning of Leviathan’s slide into totalitarianism back to 9/11 and the order to begin searching the public at airports. Today our president expands upon that intrusion by using Covid-19 as an excuse for federal involvement in the daily lives of all Americans.
Stumble Joe is a creature without shame. I see him as the most anti-American president of my lifetime.
I posted this video and approve of the message.
This story is topical, concerning a recent brouhaha over an ivermectin report, but I’ve chosen to mention it for the Law Of Rationalist Irony: “the smugger you feel about having caught a bias in someone else, the more likely you are falling victim to that bias right now, in whatever way would be most embarrassing.”
It is hard to know what to say about the substance of this article. The details both fascinate and jar, as when passing a gruesome car wreck on the highway. Still, some lessons stand out:
- Not all cultures deserve respect or obedience.
- It is false charity to help others in ways they will not help themselves. Put another way, people must work for the benefits they want.
- You can’t change the world by not changing it; this might be called the Fallacy of the Prime Directive, otherwise known as _cultural relativism_.
In Afghanistan the Taliban are a modern phenomenon, not an ancient one. They have power and resources, including public relations and media. The question is whether they have the sophistication to create a modern, liberal state, or even want to.
One of the more distressing consequences of the push for universal Covid-19 vaccination is the emergence of in-group/out-group thinking. The vaccinated became the cool people (in-group) and the unvaccinated became the uncool people (out-group). This is distressing because witch hunts, systemic prejudice and totalitarianism all begin with similar thought processes.Continue reading “Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital”
The nursery rhyme, This is the House that Jack Built, captures a common — yet ultimately frivolous — way of understanding the world.Continue reading “The Doctrine of Connection”