Year-End Update (a little early)

A. First of all, gratitude to all the readers of this blog. Not sure why the beloved 100 readers (on a very good day) come back for more, but thanks. Just know that you’re only encouraging me.

The writing here has come out even more unfocused than my original intent, which was pretty broad. “Culture. Religion. Politics. Science. Philosophy.  Music. Art.” was the original charter 11 years ago. We do do that here, but also a lot of Home Improvement Projects and blithering about the books I intend to write. Which brings us to:

B: The ‘I should write a book about that’ books I’ve worked on here on the blog, ones where I might be qualified to have an opinion, are:

  • A book on the origins of the Catholic schools here in America, and how they have arrived at their current sorry (with very few exceptions) state
  • A more general book about the origins of schooling in America, circa roughly 1700 – 1940. An expose of the clowns and poseurs involved, and the paper-thin fantasy world that constitutes the foundation of all modern ‘scientific’ education.
  • The How to Think About Science book.

Starting with the last one first: as the Crazy Years progress, it’s painfully clear that ignorance of how science works is so far downstream from the real problems as to be all but irrelevant. The best case scenario, where someone reads my book, reexamines his world view, and changes how he thinks about things – sigh. Not happening in the real world.

And it’s not even the rejection of logic, which you have to have at least some grasp of in order to begin to understand how science works. Underlying both logic and the science is the notion that the world makes sense. That the world IS. Our well-schooled contemporaries specifically reject the very idea of shared objective reality in favor of a world willed into being by their own narcissistic selves. That any such world is definitionally inconsistent, and conflicts necessarily with anyone else’s similarly constructed world is not a problem for the dedicated narcissist. That they hold both to the sacredness of people’s self-constructed reality AND bow and scrap before the altar of social and political conformity isn’t a problem – they never expected the world to make sense. It’s Will all the way down.

When my teeth are set on edge by patently anti-science claims of ‘settled science’ and ‘scientific consensus’ or people doing as they are told claiming they are ‘following the science’ which they haven’t read and wouldn’t understand if they did, I imagined the problem was the general lack of scientific literacy, and thought I might be able to help a little by writing a book about basic science.

Silly me.

Therefore, I’ve reconsidered the point of this proposed book, why I would write it and who it is for. I’m reading Kreeft’s Socratic Logic now, and perhaps will write this book as a sort of follow-on with a focus on the specific application of Aristotelian logic used by modern science, insofar as it has any legitimate claim to our acceptance of its conclusions.

So, basically, a high-school level book. (Kreeft’s book is also supposed to be a high school level book, but it’s pretty tough. He, an expert, isn’t leaving much out, and there’s just a lot of logic that’s not obvious or simple. Good, but tough.)

Time frame: Once we’re moved and settled.

The other two books I get bugged by my kids to complete. They’ve heard some of the points I make about schooling from the cradle, and have found them to be true in the world. They’d like there to be a book (or two) summarizing these things. These works have been in the works for years now. It is time.

Time frame: Once we’re moved and settled. I’ve recommenced reading source materials. as evidenced by the last post.

#magnus pyke from Old School Science Fiction

C. Then there are the fun books I’m supposedly writing. Well, I set a goal for this past June for the first of several speculative fiction books I hope to write, and got thousands and thousands of words into them…

But I didn’t finish. May 2021 was when the insanity finally began to get me down. It started taking work to just get on with it, whatever ‘it’ happened to be at the moment. As it became clear I wasn’t going to get any of the spec fic done by June, I got distracted by a musical composition. Why? I have no idea. Writing music and writing stories really are very similar: you get an idea, you pound it into some sort of shape, you write the next part and the next part and so on, sometimes skipping ahead to more fun/clearer ideas, and then backtracking to write the connecting scenes. Then read it out loud/play or sing it, rewrite as needed, then get other people to read/listen, and take their feedback…

And I’ve gotten maybe 5 minutes of a 6-part Gloria written, with a minute or so more to write, plus outlines/sections for a Kyrie and Agnus, and a idea or two for the Sanctus. Haven’t even thought about a Credo yet.

Why I found it possible to write music and not possible to write fiction is anybody’s guess.

Time frame: I’ll keep working on the Mass while we pack up and prep the house; the books I’ll take up again once we’re moved and settled.

D. We gotta get out of this place. We had the house tented a month ago; getting quotes for painters. Spoke with the Pods people, looking to start loading out in January.

Yesterday, picked up 10 bags of ready mix; today used 8 of them to put in what I intend to be the last segment of the vast, endless front yard home improvement brick project. Scaled it well down from the original plans – no grotto, less fancy brickwork. Sigh. Need it simply not to look ugly and unfinished. So, simple wall topped by some redwood lattice.

Aaaaand – a million other things need to be done. Not to mention the final pack what’s left up and get out of Dodge push in a couple months. Then finding a new place to live….

E. In a somewhat round-about way, I’m looking for a job, specifically, seeing if a new Chesterton Academy that is to open near where I’d like to live might hire me to corrupt the minds of our youth, after the fashion of Socrates and Aristotle. And quote a lot of Chesterton. It would be nice to teach, and have a little income.

F. All in all, I’m very grateful, and have gotten past letting myself get too down about the current insanity. For the most part. I used to pray in thanksgiving for getting to live in a land of plenty in a time of peace. Now? I pray that God will remember His promise of mercy, and, for the sake of His Name, for the sake of the Blood shed by His Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, He will not judge us as our sins deserve, but rather forgive us yet again. That He will send Mary, who crushes the head of the serpent, Joseph, the terror of demons, and Michael the Archangel to lead the heavenly host down to cast Satan and his minion out of our lives, our nation, and our world, bind them and cast them back into Hell where they belong. Then, that He may grant us the strength to endure whatever we must and the grace to die to ourselves and live only for His Will.

Otherwise, who can stand?

Have a happy and holy Thanksgiving!

An Intrusion of Cockroaches

(Note: not judging people who have been forced, on pain of the loss of their jobs, to get the jab themselves. Rather, asking: where is the line? What will our betters have to demand of us to make us say ‘No.’? We all had better figure that out, and soon! And then say no and take the consequences. There is no elegant and peaceful out.)

There is nothing so horrible, brutal, and cruel that most people will not go along with it, so long as they think their peers are going along with it.

For centuries, at sites all around the Mediterranean, it was customary for infants and children to be sacrificed to the gods. One does not read of the Punic mothers of the infants ‘passed through fire’ to Moloch fighting to the death on the steps of the local tophet trying to save their babies. Instead, one reads of drums being pounded and priest shouting to drown out the screams of the infants being burned alive, lest their fathers go soft and regret their decision.

The parents, being good, loyal citizens and pious worshippers of the gods, did their duty. Life was cheap, even or perhaps especially the lives of helpless babies. Phoenician society – their families, friends, and neighbors – supported them in their decision. There are too many things so much more important than the lives of babies. Think what will happen to us all if the gods are not appeased? You want all that evil to befall us, simply because you are too soft to do the right thing? How selfish!

I hear an echo of this sense of duty in a story told about the Hatfields and McCoys: a son, having been shot and mortally wounded in a retaliation raid on the other family, was carried, screaming in agony, past his mother. She says: “Shut up, and die like a man.” – which he did. Obedient to the last. Motherly love.

Or the story told about how the Nazis “recruited” female prison camp guards. They would round up likely women – farm girls, shopkeepers, the sort of people the Third Reich could spare a few of – and, in large groups, place a Jewish woman in front of them. The candidates were then instructed to strike the Jew as hard as they could. Typically, something like 95 out of 100 would promptly do it. Four would need some cheering on, but would do it eventually. Only about 1 out of 100 would refuse – and get put in the same cattle cars to the same final destination as the Jews.

Women, supposedly the tender sex, would comply with orders to behave bestially toward another helpless woman. The about 3 to 5 out of every 100 who were already sociopaths (those are the numbers ‘experts’ throw around for the incidences of sociopathy) would find their true calling. The rest simply made accommodations in their hearts and minds, noting, first, that the state, the Fatherland, was telling them to do this, and they had been trained from the cradle in good Prussian-style schools that their entire worth lay in their service to the state; second, they did not want to endure the scorn of their betters and peers; and finally, that they didn’t want to die just yet. I think, given the innumerable examples from history, that that last cause is overrated. Fear of being ostracized in enough to turn most people into animals.

It is prudent to boil the frog slowly. The people in charge of the staffing the prison camps were perhaps in a hurry. They weren’t exactly trying to toss frogs into boiling water – they could rely on the decades of schooling by which the prison guard candidates had been softened up. Therefore, they could settle for a 99% success rate, and simple dispose of the occasional unsuccessful candidate.

The one thing they could not allow was for those who refused to comply to live. They must be isolated, at least, lest they, themselves, form a alternate community where not obeying the state is supported.

We, to our credit, needed more care: it took all of 19 months to move from ‘flatten the curve’ to ‘show your papers if you want to work or buy.’ To the cheering of throngs. 19 whole months. And, to our credit, there are still a significant number who have not yielded. But it’s terrifying how many reject plain English and move directly to the Just So stories:

Plain English: the ‘vaccines’ don’t work. They don’t keep you from catching, spreading, or dying from the disease. Therefore, because they don’t work, everybody must be forced to get them.

Just So story: but, but – jumble of words and terms very few who use them can explain or understand! Herd Immunity! Reduced risk! Asymptomatic transfer! Variants! If ALL these things, and a dozen more, are *exactly* as they are said to be, then, maybe – recall this is all theory, there is no history or evidence behind any of it – it would ‘reduce overall risk’ (something nobody using the term understands!) if *everybody* got the jab – that doesn’t work.

Clarity versus noise.

Now days, it seems maybe something like 80%? 85%? of us can be counted on to do exactly as we’re told, and to perform 2-minute hates on command against those who don’t. As anyone who has tried to reason with Normie knows, the reasoning that underlies this behavior is the language of compliance, not of evidence. *What* we are to comply with is not important, merely that we comply. They use the language of authority, which is the antithesis of the language of evidence and science.

The open question here: how much of that 80% is made up of true believers? How many have just slapped the Jewess because the price of not slapping her is too high, but don’t really believe she and her kind are responsible for the growing failure of the war effort? How many have, or soon will, offer up their own children to Moloch, because failure to do so puts you on team Emmanuel Goldstein, cast out of the company of the *good* people, and gets the two-minute hate directed at them – and what is the life of a child compared to that?

Freaky Saturday Update: The Weather

Everyone is gone except for my mother-in-law, the cat, and me, the spouse and Caboose are out performing various duties and acts of mercy. Mother-in-law is ensconced in her recliner, the cat asleep on her lap. I’m running a old John Wayne movie marathon for her – True Grit just came up – over YouTube. Thus, I am free to ponder this period between storms.

Right now, it’s puffy clouds and a light breeze. Over the last couple days, it rained an inch here – don’t laugh, that’s a pretty good storm by NoCal standards. Approaching from the north east, due in this part of California starting around 7 this evening as it works its way down the coast from Oregon and Washington, is an ‘atmospheric river‘ storm, or a ‘pineapple express‘. We are told to expect 3 to 5 inches of rain overnight, across Sunday, and into Monday.

By Bay Area standards, that’s a LOT of rain. We usually have a season total rainfall through October of about an inch – this one storm is supposed to be several times that. Our ‘drought’ – a couple of below average rainfall years, such as we have had EVERY FEW YEARS THROUGHOUT THE RECORDED HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA was due to global warming climate change, our betters assure us. I’m sure this unusually large, but by no means unprecedented, storm ‘ending’ the ‘drought’ will also be caused by global warming climate change. There’s nothing that thing can’t do!

Weather.com’s dramatic illustration.

More seriously, because of decades of mismanagement, we have had a lot of wildfires over the last couple years. A whole bunch of rain all at once is going to cause mudslides. This could get ugly.

California gets about 75% of its rainfall over December, January, and February. If this storm comes through as advertised, we’ll have 1/3 of our seasonal average before the rainy season really gets going. Could be interesting.

And there’s always the possibility of an ARkstorm. We’re high enough up that flooding would not be an immediate problem. It’s just the utter destruction of California’s entire drinking water infrastructure and a good chunk of the power grid, while major parts of the highway system are under water, that could be – inconvenient.

Many other distracting thing are happening at the moment. Further details as events warrant.

The Big Picture

Ed Feser, a very smart man and excellent writer, wrote a piece a couple days ago titled Covid-19 vaccination is not the hill to die on. As usual, it’s all very well thought out and clearly presented, what I’ve come to expect from Dr. Feser. My objections to it have little to do with the points he’s making, but rather from the big picture he assumes, a big picture I utterly reject.

Here’s the Big Picture based in reality: We have repeatedly forgotten. We have used the Memory Hole, and then rewritten what just happened. We suppress the cognitive dissonance with one Just So story after another. Our situation under the endless lockups and mandates, the maskings and travel restrictions, the wanton destruction of a million small businesses, the enforcement of compliance by a million Karens backed by medical, media, and government hacks and sociopaths, is not an environment within which doing as we are told and making seeming rational concessions is going to result in anything positive.

Our situation most closely parallels an abusive boyfriend/enabling girlfriend relationship. We, the abused public, are supposed to believe that it’s our fault, if only we would do exactly what he says, then he’d stop hitting us. And when we bring up his lies, we only get hit some more, so we’d rather believe that his lies are out fault, too, than confront him and get hurt some more. And only people who don’t understand us keep saying it’s his fault, that we have to stop listening to him! No! He’s a good boyfriend! Things will be fine once we learn to do as we’re told!

Dr. Feser chooses to largely ignore this history of lies and manipulation, or pretend they didn’t happen, or were somehow not the official positions, so that he can coolly argue from philosophical principles. Those principles, and his logic, are impeccable. But they are an irrelevant diversion. Implicit is the assumption that, if we just go along with the experimental drug jab, that, somehow, our violent boyfriend will finally calm down and things will be OK. If you keep in mind what has actually happened rather than swallowing the latest Just So story, the questions become: why not this hill? What would the right hill look like? In reality, we KNOW it’s not going to stop on its own, because it hasn’t yet for reasons that change after the fact, over and over. If not now, when?

Spelling it out, since many seem to have forgotten:

A. From the very first, from February and March of 2020 on, everything presented through the press about the SARS-2 outbreak was distorted, if not out and out lies. Every factor that could be used to terrify people was amplified; every factor that mitigated against panic was ignored or lied about. Examples:

  • The experience of Wuhan, where about 1,000 had died as of March, was always presented as if the population of dead people was effectively random, as if anyone could catch SARS-2, suffer severe sudden respiratory distress, and drop dead on the street. In reality, all but a very few of the dead were elderly sickly people. Healthy people were at very slight risk, just as they are now.
  • We all heard about Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who, according to the story, tried to warn everybody about SARS-2 in December 2019, then, contracted the disease and died in February – but not before posting a selfie with him on a respirator.* That he was one of very few people, as in single digits, who, in a city of millions, had not been sickly, elderly, or, usually, both before catching the bug was not emphasized.
  • We heard all about the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and the 14 people who, over the months following, died. We didn’t hear about the several thousand people on the ship – most people! – who didn’t even catch the virus, despite near-ideal conditions for spreading it: packed together, nowhere else to go, sharing facilities, breathing the same air. It was not emphasized that all 14 people who died were elderly passengers, that no member of the crew died. What the Diamond Princess demonstrated: that elderly sickly people are at some risk, but that the risk to younger, healthier people is effectively zero.
  • We did not hear about the USS Theodore Roosevelt 24×7, where out of 5,000 crew, only 3 got seriously ill and only one died – and he had underlying heart conditions. Why the one and not the other? We heard only horror stories where everyone was assumed to be at mortal risk; we did not hear about stories where no one reasonably healthy was at much risk at all.

B. Once the Coof spread to Italy, people totally freaked out, again assuming the Coof was something that could kill anybody. The average age of the Italian victims was 81 years old. Almost all the deaths took place in nursing homes – where old, sickly people go to die – or in hospitals – where the seriously sick people are. Nowhere was the overall poor state of Italian healthcare discussed, nor the standard practice under Italian nationalized medicine of rationing by age: old people go to the end of the line in virtually all cases. Once again, the data screams that younger people were at minimal risk.

By the time Covid had spread throughout Europe, the numbers from Wuhan, the Diamond Princess, Iran, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and Italy were readily available to healthcare people and governments. Any cool heads looking at those numbers (and there were thousands of us!) saw the obvious screaming from the numbers: This disease it not a meaningful threat to reasonably healthy people. Old, sick people are at risk. All the numbers that have come out since have confirmed this. Yet, rather than taking rational steps to protect the vulnerable, an entire mythology was created, under which millions of Americans would die if extreme steps to isolate the healthy from each other were not taken.

What this graph shows: People over 75, who have a high overall risk of dying, also have a high overall risk of dying if they catch COVID; that, conversely, if you are under 50, your risk from COVID is, effectively, zero – COVID adds nothing to your overall background risk. (REMINDER: everyone eventually dies of something. Risk is never zero until you are dead.) Also note that this is ‘deaths involving’ and therefore overstates COVID’s lethality. Graphs from anywhere in the world from every stage of the ‘pandemic’ show the same outcomes.

C. The whole idea of lockdowns was sold as ‘flattening the curve’. This is a slightly technical concept: the theory is that, by slowing the spread of a highly contagious disease, we can keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. In other words, millions would die who would have lived if only they had received proper medical care. Note and do not forget this: All the huge projected death numbers used to justify the lockups are based on two assumptions: that Covid was going to inevitably spread like wildfire, and that – IMPORTANT! DON’T FORGET – that Covid is imminently treatable, so that proper treatment circa 2020 would prevent millions of deaths. Thus, lockups would save lives by making sure proper medical treatment was available to those who did contract the virus.

Flattening the curve was said to be important because the *models* show that *most* of the *projected* deaths result, not from simply contracting the disease, but from patients not being treated due to the healthcare system getting overwhelmed. This is important not to forget: the models projected that so many people would get sick and require hospitalization that there would not be enough healthcare capacity to take care of them, that the death toll would rise out of control – the ‘people dying in the streets’ scenario – unless we ‘flattened the curve’. At no point in this argument is there a reduction in people who would die regardless of hospitalization – in a rare nod to reality, the models all assumed there’s a baseline number of people who are going to die no matter what ‘we’ do, it’s only excess deaths caused by lack of hospital capacity that lockdowns to ‘flatten the curve’ address.

DO NOT FORGET THIS! Lockups were justified to flatten the curve. The theory under which this was done does not support or even suggest the idea that lockups would somehow reduce overall deaths except insofar as those deaths resulted from hospitals being overwhelmed.

So, follow the logic: the curve – technically, the area under the curve – represents the number of people who will die no matter what ‘we’ do. “Flattening the curve” means taking steps to prolong the outbreak, so that the number of people who get sick and die at any one time never gets too high for the healthcare system to handle. 15 days is what the models suggest as the ‘right’ amount of time to lockup everybody. After that, lockups merely prolong the outbreak without saving any lives. That’s what the argument, as bodied forth in the models, says.

What happened instead:

  • Lockups were announced across the nation starting in March of 2020.
  • They quickly became indefinite, in direct contradiction to the theory under which they were imposed.
  • At no point anywhere in the nation were any healthcare systems under any real threat of being overwhelmed. The closest was New York, where a navy hospital ship and a National Guard field hospital were deployed, only to never admit a single patient, and, after a few weeks, to be quietly taken down & withdrawn. Side note: and you never heard about this, right?
  • By the end of April, 2020, Covid deaths had fallen to very low levels – but the lockups were not lifted. Never was an objective threshold announced that would trigger the end of the lockups, because no such threshold existed.
  • Locally (Bay Area, CA) the rules for lockdowns were as follows: churches were specifically closed; homeless encampments (of which we have many) were specifically exempted. Because?
  • In April, just as the death numbers were collapsing (just as Spring broke out across the country, and as was widely predicted by those of us who correctly viewed the Coof as another seasonal virus), states around the nation announced a switch to mail-in ballots. On what basis was the now-fading virus assumed to be a threat 7 months out, the kind of threat lockups would prevent?

In sum: lockups – specifically, the lockup of healthy people showing no symptoms of Covid – were imposed under one theory, a theory under which lockups of longer than 15 days were not helpful. Then, somehow, the reasoning changed, or rather, fear led people to accept the extension of the lockups without any logical explanation. Despite the collapse of Covid deaths at the end of April 2020, state governments committed themselves to keeping the Coof lockups in place through elections, by switching to mail in ballots, for which there was no other excuse. REMEMBER THIS.

D. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. From Day 1, the reported numbers around this panic have been nonsense. The media went with whatever sounded scariest, without any regard to what the numbers mean. A partial list:

  • What is a COVID death? Is is counted the same in Wuhan in January as in New York in March or California in 2021? By even talking of death totals across states and across time, let alone talking about cumulative worldwide totals, we are assuming that always and everywhere a COVID death means the same thing. Is this true? In Wuhan and China in general, it seems a Covid death is one where sudden acute respiratory distress resulted in death. That’s certainly what Dr. Wenliang meant by it – that was what he was raising the alarm about back in December of 2019. In the US, since about April of 2020, what the CDC lists is deaths ‘involving’ Covid, which, according to their methodology, is any death where the death certificate lists Covid in either part A – the sequence of events that lead to death – or part B – any contributing factors. Until October of 2020, a diagnosis of Covid was encouraged if the victim showed any 2 symptoms even without a positive test (after October, a positive test was required.) The only two symptoms where Covid differs from the flu are: loss of taste & smell, and sudden acute respiratory distress. Thus, someone in a nursing home, who has a 6-7 month median life expectancy once they are rolled in past the front door, who had a fever and a cough, or had aches and trouble breathing, was to have Covid listed at least in part B regardless of all underlying conditions and without a positive test result. Over half, and perhaps as high as 2/3, of all deaths ‘involving’ Covid have been among nursing home patients; 2/3 have been among elderly people. DON’T FORGET: about 60% of the time (the other 40% are dementia patients, who take longer to die) gramma or dad are in the home because they are dying of something. Having Covid show up as ‘involved’ in their deaths is not what a sane person means by ‘Covid killed them’. Yet these deaths ‘involving’ Covid are routinely reported as Covid deaths, AND rolled in with the deaths in China and the rest of the world as if the numbers represent the same thing.
  • The CFR, or Case Fatality Rate, is still reported as ‘your chances of dying if you get Covid. No. That’s would be the IFR – the Infection Fatality Rate. For an infection that causes NO or MINOR symptoms 98%+ of the time, the difference between the two numbers is likely to be extreme. Here’s why: if I have no symptoms, I’m a lot less likely to seek medical care, get tested, and become a ‘case’. Early on, before the terror set in, somebody with no symptoms was not getting tested; it was very likely somebody with minor symptoms was not getting tested. It’s a guess, but I’d guess that cases are outnumbered by infections by a wide margin: many millions of Americans and people worldwide have been infected, had no or minor symptoms (and acquired a high level of immunity!) but never became cases, because what sort of rabbit goes to the doctor for a cough and a low fever? One that goes away in a day or two and is treatable with Tylenol? Very sick people are thus overrepresented in case numbers, meaning the case fatality rate significantly overstates lethality.
  • Put the two together: deaths ‘involving’ Covid divided by ‘cases’ = CFR. Deaths ‘involving’ seriously overstate what a normal sane person means by ‘died from’; cases understate infections. Getting all basic math here: the CFR thus overstates risk. That’s how people have come to think they have a 1.7% (the current number off the CDC website) of dying if they get the Coof.
  • As of last week, about 435 Americans under 18 have had their deaths attributed to Covid – had deaths ‘involving’ Covid. There are between 70 and 75 million such kids in America. Vastly more have died of pneumonia than have had their deaths attributed to Covid. Is this information, available right off the CDC website, widely known? Why not? Why are we even talking about giving an experimental drug to kids who are at microscopic risk?

Note: these are the official numbers readily available from the CDC or John Hopkins. If you look at the numbers reported through the press (and then referenced by political hacks), it gets much worse. One recent example: Apoorva Mandavelli is an award-winning science reporter. She recently reported:

  • Over 900,000 kids had been hospitalized since Covid broke out. Correction: actual number was over 63,000. Ms. Mandavelli was off by a factor of 15.
  • Sweden and Denmark had started offering single doses of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ to children. Correction: Sweden and Denmark had halted the use of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ for children.
  • The FDA is meeting next week to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech ‘vaccine’ for children. Correction: this issue will be discussed next month.

Note what’s going on here, and in similar ways in a limitless number of other examples: Basic information that 5 minutes of googling around could get good, properly sourced confirmation for is instead reported without sources on Page 1 and then ‘corrected’ on some back page. The errors only go in one direction:

  • 900,000 versus 63,000. Where did the 900,000 number come from? People should get fired over this level of incompetence, instead of receiving ‘science’ ‘journalism’ awards. (Also note no context is provided – that 63,000 number over 19 months is completely mundane, the sad but simple reality that a certain number of kids end up in the hospital every year.)
  • The Swedish and Danish governments published some announcement about their policies regarding use of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ for children – right? Otherwise, where did this ‘information’ come from? How could an award winning ‘journalist’ get something so basic so wrong?
  • Again, the FDA scheduling a discussion of using the Pfizer/BioNTech ‘vaccine’ on children has to have come from some official notice somewhere, almost certainly available online. How could an award winning ‘journalist’ get something so basic so wrong?

In all three cases, the ‘errors’ favor panic: huge numbers of children are being hospitalized! Sweden and Denmark are jabbing children! The FDA is rushing a meeting to approve jabbing children! OH NO!!!! I have yet to see an error made in the other direction.

E. Following ‘the Science’. Let’s say I was telling you about a baseball game I saw where the home team was down 19 runs in the bottom of the 9th, when 20 consecutive batters hit home runs on 20 consecutive pitches to pull out the victory. Or that I’m a lawyer who came across a case in the morning, had it heard at noon, appealed, and had the appeals court rule in the afternoon, appealed again and was heard by the Supreme Court that evening. Do those scenarios sound plausible? The more you know about baseball and our legal system, the less plausible they seem, if utterly ridiculous implausibility can be called less plausible.

So, to pick one example: within days of the beginning of masking mandates, we were being told that 70 studies had confirmed that masking slows the spread of Covid. Now, those of us familiar with how real science works saw immediately that the very idea that 70 studies could be conceived of, spelled out in sufficient detail to perform, funded, and executed, then undergo the criticism and review essential to science, all within a few months or weeks, AND that all 70 of those studies reached the same conclusion, is every bit as unlikely as 20 consecutive home runs in the bottom of the 9th or getting the Supreme Court to hear your case on the same day you first filed it. In other words, completely laughable.

Yet, in this and in all other cases involving Covid, raising any question about any study or report presented as ‘the science’ immediately got one labelled a crack pot, a denier, and, ultimately, a *terrorist*!

We few who are scientifically literate, who know that only con men and frauds tell you to ‘follow the science’ without having reviewed and understood the evidence first, have been protesting in vain since Day 1 of this preposterous panic. No, the ‘science’ has not shown:

  • That Covid is particularly deadly to the vast bulk of people. Rather, it is a threat to shorten the lives of those already dying of something else – people in nursing homes, for the leading example. Otherwise, to everyone else, it is not even as deadly as the common flu.
  • That lockups, masking, social distancing, and travel restrictions of healthy people, and the destruction of millions of small businesses, are somehow necessary to prevent millions of deaths.
  • That asymptomatic people are a significant disease vector. This is a *theory* for which there is precious little *evidence*, yet all lockups, masks, social distancing, travel restrictions of healthy people are based on it.
  • That ‘vaccinating’ children protects anybody. Kids are at effectively zero risk (as close to zero as bitter reality allows) so the jab doesn’t protect them, and since asymptomatic transfer has not been shown to be a serious problem, all we are doing by giving kids the jab is allowing old people to imagine they are safer while putting kids at risk of side effects.
  • That the lingering effects of Covid are any worse than the lingering effects of pneumonia.

And so on. The absolute horrific face of satanic anti-science: attempting to use government force to silence critics. No, no, a thousand times no! Criticism is not optional in science! Any claim must, as in MUST, have the evidence supporting it presented to the scrutiny of adversarial critics, and answer their objections. Then, and only then, is any claim considered to have been supported by science – and even then, such claims are conditional and tentative. That’s how science works. The very idea of authority apart from evidence, of ‘scientific consensus’, is a certain sign con men and frauds are at work. ‘Expertise’ counts for exactly nothing – evidence is everything.

F. Just So stories. At every point, in the unlikely event anyone even notices that the story has changed and that our leaders have contradicted themselves, out roll the Just So stories to explain away the contradiction so that we can continue to panic. It has become an art form – raise the obvious contradiction inescapably embedded in the various panic claims, and no intelligence is spared in coming up with an story that explains the contradiction away. A few examples:

  • When Fauci at first said masks for the general public were not a good idea, and then changed to saying that masks were absolutely necessary, he told the following Just So story – he had to lie to us the first time for our own good, so that medical professionals could get all the masks they needed, and only when supplies for the medical profession were secured, did he dare tell everybody to mask up. DO NOT FORGET THIS. Fauci has stated as a principle that he will lie to us for our own good. AND because we little people are not allowed to question the claims of our self-appointed betters, our own good is exactly and only what Fauci says it is. If he feels it is for our own good that we stay panicked, then he will – by his own admission – lie his ass off to keep us panicked. These are the people we are trusting for information, indeed, we are officially ‘terrorists’ if we fail to trust them!
  • That asymptomatic people are a serious threat to spread Covid. On the off chance that we notice that there’s no good evidence this is true, we are told the Just So story that it might be true, there are anecdotes, and thus we need to act as if it is true, otherwise we are putting everybody at risk. Thus, the need for those restricting our rights to provide the evidence is reversed: they can restrict our rights unless we provide evidence that they shouldn’t – and they are the sole judges of all evidence. We’re simply ‘terrorists’ if we don’t go along.
  • That the same measures that have utterly failed to end the ‘pandemic’ have somehow ended the flu. Flu deaths have all but disappeared worldwide since March, 2020. The obvious explanation: since the flu and Covid have almost exactly the same symptoms, flu deaths have been misattributed to Covid. The Just So story: the same masks, socials distancing and lockups that have failed to stop one airborne respiratory virus – Covid – have miraculously stopped another airborne respiratory virus of the same size that uses exactly the same vectors. 20 homers in the bottom of the 9th!
  • That the claim that Covid can be successfully treated REQUIRED by the flatten the curve argument doesn’t disprove the complete lack of any good treatments that is the sole justification for the rushed approval of the ‘vaccines’ and the subsequent mandates. If I can’t be saved from Covid by routine medical care, then ‘flattening the curve’ doesn’t work; if routine medical care can save me, then vaccines are not needed. I can just hear the Just So stories being generated to explain this away. Reality: we were being told whatever story was believed to trigger enough panic so that we would comply with restrictions of our rights. When lockups were being justified, one set of stories; now that vaccines are being mandated, another set of stories.

There is plenty more to be said, but I’m stopping here for now. Bottom line: REMEMBER. REFUSE TO MEMORY HOLE INCONVENIENT TRUTHS. We have been lied to over and over again. We have been manipulated and abused. Notice that I didn’t even discuss here whether the experimental drugs being mandated are safe and effective. I merely point out that the people who insist that we get them in order to travel, to socialize, to buy and sell, to live a life not as a cockroach ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIED TO US OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Therefore, for me, this ‘vaccine’ mandate is the hill to die on, as is this latest masking command. I will not comply. Dr. Feser’s logic is impeccable; his implied premises – that we are dealing with sane people with good intentions – is, frankly, crazy. We are not dealing with people of good intent. We are the abused girlfriend. Nothing we do is going to appease our crazy, abusive boyfriend. He has no intention of reforming. He like things just they way they are, where he gets to bully and belittle and gaslight us. If you disagree, please state the objective, measurable events (that make any objective sense) that would cause our leaders to announce an end to the Covid panic. Well? I’ll wait.

* In a fashion that could not have been any more striking or convenient, the heroic young doctor with the pregnant wife stands up to the Communist government, gets censured and threatened for spreading panic, then becomes one of the very few healthy people who dies of Covid – but only after posting pictures of himself in a lovely state-of-the-art hospital room wearing a respirator. Please note: in reality, Wuhan is a third world hell-hole, slums and tenements and poverty everywhere, where the likelihood of any sickly elderly commoners getting admitted to anything like the room in the doctor’s selfie is zero. But it makes for good propaganda.

Corrections & Context

From Clarissa’s Blog this morning:

Clarissa’s comments are, as usual, worth the read.

One quibble: this situation, where wild claims that support a particular program are published on the front page in large type, while the retractions, if any, show up in small print on page 27, has not been going on merely since 2016, but has been the standard practice over my lifetime. I’ll grant that it seems to have gotten worse and more dramatic, in the sense that the false claims in need of retraction are more perniciously and dramatically wrong.

Sagan, my favorite expertologist, as in an expert in expertise, famously predicted that any US bombings in the oilfields along the Kuwait/Iraq border would cause drastic, all but irreparable ecological damage, and produced diagrams showing the noxious cloud being dispersed by winds that don’t exist (the path he described was opposite the prevailing winds in the area) toward areas away from the desert where they could do damage. Note that Sagan was a run of the mill college astronomy professor, with no more expertise in ecology or meteorology or the chemistry of oil fires than anybody else could be expected to have – but he was, by almost all accounts, and expert! Not only did the failure of any of his predictions fail to damage his reputation, he went on to make all kinds of ominous predictions completely outside his area of expertise – climate change, nuclear winter – that have proven false or at least highly questionable. Yet he is still called a ‘great scientist’ in all the best circles.

Anybody remember any retractions or corrections? Me, neither.

And so on and so forth. Over my lifetime, every politician who has failed to obsequiously fall in line with current dogmas has been ‘literally Hitler’, and proclaimed dead certain to provoke – pick one or more – nuclear war, economic collapse, a return to the Dark Ages, enslavement of women, blacks, gays, etc. When none of this comes to pass – and note, not that bad things don’t happen, just that the predicted bad things don’t happen – there is zero accountability. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect kicks in with a vengeance, and the experts’ general expertise as anointed expertologists remains undimmed. Our compliance is demanded.

So, above: the claim was made, somehow, that 900,000+ kids have been hospitalized since the pandemic began. Where did that number come from? No explanation – it just sprang up from nowhere, I guess. I laugh a bitter laugh to even point this out: wouldn’t an investigative journalist feel compelled to find out?

The ‘real’ number is ‘over’ 63,000. Well? Is that bad? Good? How would you even tell? Let’s do a little math and use a little common sense. 63,000 divided by 18 gives us, roughly, the monthly average hospitalization of children = 3,500. Multiply that by 12, gives us an approximate yearly number. There are about 70-75 million kids in America – let’s us 70.

42,000 / 70 million = 0.06%. So an American kid, all things being equal, stands a 6-in-10,000 chance per year of being hospitalized since the ‘pandemic’ began ‘raging’.

But things are never equal. Using common sense, a rational person might notice that there is a small number of very sick kids in America – cancer, serious birth defects, serious asthma or allergies, and so on. These kids, who make up a small fraction of all kids, make up a large fraction of kids being hospitalized. My own experience: we have 5 kids, one of whom had serious asthma and was hospitalized 3 times before his teens. The other 4, not once. So it’s not like the ‘risk’ of hospitalization is uniform – some kids are much more likely to get hospitalized than others. Inquiring minds want to know: is it the same subset of sickly kids accounting for the usual percentage of hospitalizations, or are different kids getting hospitalized?

More important: is 63,000 a lot? Who knows? Also, to hospitalize or not is a decision – have the decision criteria and tendencies changed over time? How? Again, an investigative journalist might be assumed to feel compelled to find out…. I slay me.

The other retractions are more run of the mill, things anyone with internet access could check – if they wanted to. That these sorts of trivial facts are routinely misreported simply means nobody want to get them right.

At what point do we decide a certain witness is a pathological liar? I reached that point with the media in about 1985. This is not some sort of ‘fake news’ thing – it’s simply a natural immunity to the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

A key point about 1984 is that the memory hole *worked* – your average Winston Smith would simply forget. It’s long past time to remember.

Some Quotations

I’ll post something cheery, or at least less dreary, later.

Apropos of nothing, three from Meerloo:

“The Pavlovian strategy in public relations has people conditioned more and more to ask themselves, “What do other people think?” As a result, a common delusion is created: people are incited to think what other people think, and thus public opinion may mushroom out into a mass prejudice.”

“Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds and can no longer expand, delusion may follow. Whenever ideas are compartmentalized, behind and between curtains, the process of continual alert confrontation of facts and reality is hampered. The system freezes, becomes rigid, and dies of delusion.”

“The totalitarians have followed this rule. They know they can condition their political victims most quickly if they are kept in isolation. In the totalitarian technique of thought control, the same isolation applied to the individual is applied also to the groups of people. This is the reason the civilian populations of the totalitarian countries are not permitted to travel freely and are kept away from mental and political contamination. It is the reason, to, for the solitary confinement cell and the prison camp.”

Joost A.M. Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing

(Again, this is a book mentioned by Severian. The books he recommends are good reads in these interesting times.)

Then some Solzhenitsyn

And as for him who lacks the courage to defend even his own soul: Let him not brag of his progressive views, boast of his status as an academician or a recognized artist, a distinguished citizen or general. Let him say to himself plainly: I am cattle, I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill.

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, “Live Not by Lies.”

When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

What would things been like [in Russia] if during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there, paling with terror at every bang on the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people?

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

I keep saying: we’re not quite there yet. But when we are, will I recognize the moment we passed from Clown World into Mao World? Will I ambush people who come for me and mine?

Simply saying ‘no’ to everything – the ‘news’, the Covidiocy, the Karens, the whole stinking lot – is, for now, the first and main thing any sane man must do.

No reason for this meme, just like it. From John C. Wright’s blog.

Education History Book Review: Shield’s Making and Unmaking of a Dullard

Thomas Shields (1862-1921), a priest and doctor of psychology at Catholic University of America, wrote his Making and Unmaking of a Dullard in 1909. Although written in the form of a dialogue taking place at weekly dinner parties over the course of months, it is universally considered his autobiography. As a dialogue, it is a resounding failure: no one besides the author comes off any deeper than a cardboard cutout, nor contributes much of anything except leading questions that simply interrupt the flow of Shields’s story.

Archive.org is wonderful

This book reinforces an impression long held: the central figures in American education history are, almost without exception, unimaginative mediocrities. Horace Mann or William Torey Harris would, I imagine, bore one to tears ov er a beer, if they every did something so common; Shields comes off as precisely the sort of academic Silence Dogood or Mark Twain would have a field day with. The one exception, whose native brilliance sometimes shines through his prose, is, alas, a force for evil. John Dewey is a sharp dude, and a horror. Other intelligent men, like Brownson and Hecker, merely wrote about education without being crowned as ‘educationists’. And they have their own issues.

Back to Shields. Here is the list of participants in the dialogue, with as much as I can glean about their personalities and roles:

  • Mr. O’Brien – the host?
  • Mrs. O’Brien – The O’Briens make obvious statements or ask obvious questions
  • Miss Russell/Miss Ruth – model teacher in the Lee School; “eminently qualified to enlighten us on the characteristic features of the modem school- room.” She provides the latest news on education trends.
  • Judge Russell – her father? A judge, who also had a horrible experience in school but overcame it to become a judge. A gruff, elderly voice. O’Brien announces at the beginning that Judge Russell will need to keep the peace between the next two characters.
  • Dr. Studevan – Shields
  • Professor Shannon – Shields’s adversary, I guess. He provides the current wisdom, and reads articles from magazines. Maybe the Simplicio of the scene?

Bottom line: except for the O’Briens, each of these characters delivers a brief monologue or two early in the festivities, makes a few remarks, then, essentially, disappears half-way through. I never once wondered what the Judge or Shannon was going to say about anything – they, and all the characters, are, effectively, furniture.

One fascinating thing: complaints made about the schools in 1909 sound oddly modern. For example, Shannon quotes at length from G. Stanley Hall: *

“Many of the boys, especially in the upper classes of the high schools, are so out-numbered that they are practically in a girls’ school, taught by women at just that age when vigorous male control and example are more needed than at any other time of life. The natural exuberance of the boy is often toned down, but if he is to be well virified later, ought he not in the middle teens, and later, to be so boisterous at times as to be rather unfit for constant companionship with girls ? Is there not something wrong with the high school boy who can truly be called a perfect gentleman, or whose conduct and character conform to the ideals of the average unmarried female teacher? Boys need a different discipline, moral regimen, atmosphere, and method of work. Under female influence certainly — as, alas, too often under that of the male teacher — form now always tends to take precedence over content. The boy revolts at much method with meager matter, craves utility and application. Too often, when the very germs of his manhood are burgeoning, all these instincts are denied, and he is compelled to learn the stated lessons which every one else in the country is learning at his age, to work all day with girls.”

“the February number of Munsey’s

I think this is meant to be a dig at Shields, as he was (I think – have to look through the notes) a major proponent of women teachers, which would mesh with the weird otherwise content-free adversarial relationship between Shannon and Shields. Also, it’s worth remembering that American ‘educationists’ had only recently managed to sell the idea of high school for everyone. 15 or 20 years earlier, few would be talking about high school age boys not getting enough exposure to manly-men in school, because teen age boys weren’t in school for the most part.

Back to Shields. His laboriously-told story is that, at the age of 9, his teacher judged him unfit for any academic pursuits, labeled him ‘Studevan’s omadhaun’ (an Irish term meaning fool) and sent him home to work on the farm. Shields’s says that he had learned how to read and perform the multiplication tables, but had merely been advanced too far – he couldn’t quite manage the 3rd Reader, had been humiliated and terrified into a silence he could not overcome. Thus, from age 9 to 16, interrupted briefly at age 13 by another failed attempt at school, he stayed home and worked on the farm. He forgot almost all the math and reading he had learned, and accepted the judgement of his teacher and family: he was simply a dullard, incapable of any intellectual achievement.

As he entered his 16th year, a slowly-developing sense that he wasn’t so dumb after all accelerated. Farm work left a lot of time for thought, and he tried to figure out the various measures used on the farm, and the working of the farm equipment. Finally, he became obsessed with building a stump-puller based on his understanding of how levers and pulleys worked, secretly modified an abandoned machine to that end, snuck it out to the fields when his family was at Mass – and yanked up some stumps.

Now convinced that he could at least become a mechanic, he began to pursue knowledge, recovering his ability to read, and, I suppose, the rest is history. At least, this is where the story ends.

Early in the story, the interlocutors discuss how the dullard – by which they seem to mean any child uninterested or incapable of doing as they are told – is the bane of all teachers. Miss Russell and Professor Shannon read or recite statistics and stories illustrating the appalling frequency of dullards – half of NYC kids, for example, were, in modern terms, not performing to grade level. Shannon generously points out that a huge percentage of those kids are immigrant children trying to learn English at the same time they are trying to keep up in school, but allows that, even so, there a lot of idiots out there.

Finally, the create something of a taxonomy of dullards. They identify 7 ways a kid can become an idiot:

  • heredity,
  • disease,
  • environment,
  • malnutrition,
  • defective senses,
  • fright,
  • alternating phases of physical and mental development

I don’t know anyone who would argue that the first 6 causes are not real, and, in the story, no one disputes them. Note here that Shields creates a single class – dullards – into which he puts all kids who are not cooperative or responsive in school. The nearsighted and hard of hearing are classed with the bored and violent, and the truly mentally deficient, and so on. But Shields is not interested in the first 6 causes because they do not apply to him, and so they are not developed at all. Instead, we focus on his pet theory: that kids alternate phases of physical and mental development, and that trying to get a kid to learn when he’s in a phase of physical development is futile and injurious. Pardon the long quotation, part of which I’ve already quoted in my earlier preliminary review – here is Shields explanation of his theory:

“A full explanation of this physiological phenomenon, Judge, would involve a treatise on the physiology of the nervous system, but stripped of technicalities the important facts in the case are these. All vital functions are controlled by nerve currents. The quality and quantity of every secretion, as well as body temperature, respiration, and the circulation of the blood, depend upon appropriate nerve currents. And not only this, but the nutrition and growth of every organ and gland, of every cell in the body, are dependent upon the same source. A broken bone, for instance, if it be deprived of its proper nerve supply, will never heal.

“On the other hand, the process of mental development, as indeed all the phenomena of consciousness, rest upon high tension nerve currents in the cerebral cortex. Now, it frequently happens that a boy or girl grows very rapidly for a few years, during which period the physical organism makes such demands upon the nerve energy that the cortical tension is lowered and there is not sufficient nerve energy left to carry on the work of rapid mental development.

“We all know how injurious it is, for example, to indulge in mental work immediately after eating a hearty meal. When food enters the stomach it originates nerve impulses that draw the blood away from the brain for use in the processes of digestion. If brain activity be indulged in at this time, the blood is withdrawn from the viscera and forced into the brain under an increased pressure to furnish the required nerve energy and thus the digestive process is delayed and sometimes the digestive apparatus itself is injured.

“Now, we have a similar conflict going on between mental and physical development. It seldom happens that during childhood and youth the balance is preserved between the growth and development of the body and the growth and development of the mental processes. The extent to which this balance is disturbed and the length of time that each phase continues varies within wide limits.”

“If you exclude the children who have become dullards through any one of the six causes just enumerated, and arrange the children in any third or fourth grade room in accordance with their physical development, you will find them fairly well classified inversely as their mental capacity, that is, the brightest children will be the smallest and the largest children will be the dullest. Here and there puzzling exceptions to this rule will be found, but these are not sufficient to obscure the general truth.

“The eagerness and ambition of the smaller children, coupled with their quickness of movement, indicate high cortical tension. If these children are constantly over stimulated, as frequently happens, their physical development may be retarded for some years. In extreme cases they are to be found among those children whom over-fond mothers are in the habit of regarding as too bright or too good for this world. Less aggravated cases not infrequently result in permanent invalidism. This is particularly true of girls when the period of over stimulation is carried beyond the twelfth or the fourteenth year. If these precocious little ones escape disease and death from over stimulation they will finally reach a time in which the balance swings in the opposite direction and physical development, so long retarded, sets in with unusual rapidity. The ensuing mental phase is characterized by lack of energy which to the uninstructed is pure laziness.

“If the pupils are at this time entrusted to incompetent teachers the discouragement into which they fall is likely to degenerate into permanent dullness from which they make no further effort to escape. And thus it happens that precocious children are seldom heard from in after life. I am quite convinced, however, that when the precociousness is not due to inherited or acquired disease this result may be prevented by competent teachers. But in the present condition of our schools the chances of permanent success are much better where the physical development of the child is in the ascendant during the early years of school life. Here the danger to health from over stimulation is avoided and when at last the processes of physical development begin to slow up, if the discouragement is not too deep, mental life may awaken to a new vigor.

“Either extreme, however, is difficult to manage and may prove dangerous in the hands of incompetent or careless teachers. A balance between the two processes of development is the safest and may be considered the condition of typical children. The development of these children should accordingly determine the work of the grade and their condition should form the ideal towards which the teacher should constantly strive to lead the developmental processes in the atypical children.”

CHAPTER V – Alternating Phases of Physical and Mental Development

Recall that Shields is a professor of psychology at Catholic University of America, under Fr. Edward Pace, founder of the Psychology department at that school, and a student of Wilhelm Wundt. To quote Wikipedia:

A survey published in American Psychologist in 1991 ranked Wundt’s reputation as first for “all-time eminence” based on ratings provided by 29 American historians of psychology. William James and Sigmund Freud were ranked a distant second and third.[6]

So the ‘scientific’ stylings of Shields are by no means some outlier – he’s but one step removed from the greatest psychologist of his age. It would be straightforward, if a bit time-consuming and tedious, to, you know, *test* those theories of his, after the manner of actual scientists, plenty of whom were contemporaneously extant. But psychologists prefer insight, after the manner of Hegel and Marx – you just *know* what’s what, because you’ve thought about it at and you’re just so smart and enlightened. Rather than examining those perplexing outliers – guys like me, who have always been among the largest and quickest children in any classroom I’ve ever been in – indeed, rather than setting up any sort of systematic approach to examining his assumptions, Shields just runs with it. He concludes – and keep in mind, he is among the most influential ‘educationists’ in American history – teachers need to retard the progress of – dumb down – the smart kids in order to save them from the all but inevitable sickness, death, or at least invalidism, that will inevitably result from letting them study what they want.

The key aspects here:

  • Highly trained teachers are essential
  • Constant monitoring of students is essential
  • Any error in technique can have devastating consequences
  • Graded classrooms are essential
  • The average student’s learning capacity (within a graded classroom) is the standard to which all students will be held.
  • Exceeding that standard is as bad or worse than falling beneath it
  • All of the above are Science!(tm)

How about, just for kicks, another set of conclusions from the same data Shields presents?

  • Schooling from age 9 to 16 is unnecessary – Shields got none, and he became an elite professor at an elite university
  • Better to grow up on a farm and do useful work than go to school.
  • If you skip 7 years of schooling, you can catch up in a matter of months.

Shields does have Shannon Simplicio point much of this out, only so that he can mock him and (very unconvincingly) shoot it down.

It is from men like Shields and thinking like this that modern schooling has been built.

Next up: F. V. N. Painter’s Luther on education; including a historical introduction, and a translation of the reformer’s two most important educational treatises (1889). About half-way through. All I can say: if you want to understand why Catholics wanted nothing to do with public schools, Mr. Painter will explain it to you.

* Hall is another 19th – early 20th century psychologist, the usual mixture of eugenics fanatic and ‘educationist’. Then as now, psychology, perhaps even more than other academic fields, attracts nuts and mediocrities who, enabled by education and certification, are then hellbent on telling saner, happier people how to live.

How Panic Kills

  1. Misdiagnoses, or You Find What You’re Looking For

Say, way back in 2019, somebody shows up in the ER having trouble breathing. In those dark times, the staff would start checking through a list of possible causes – in some order: asthma, allergies, pneumonia, heart attack, overexertion, and, no doubt, a dozen other things. In many cases, getting the diagnosis right is time-critical; in the best of times, getting it right and getting it right quickly is difficult.

Now fast forward to 2021. Guy shows up in ER with exactly the symptom described above. What happens? A COVID test, or perhaps a diagnosis without the test. If, as often happens, there are a number of causes for a particular symptom – I have asthma AND a cold AND (possibly asymptomatic) COVID – how much longer, if ever, before anything other than COVID is diagnosed?

Now multiply this across all medical care: you have the entire medical world whipped into a frenzy over COVID, such that it is very unlikely that anyone who presents with any symptom attributable to the Coof is not immediately tested, diagnosed, or both. Such a person is then above all treated as a disease vector and deprived of human contact and comfort, and only later, if ever, correctly diagnosed

Real numbers of people are going to have proper treatment delayed or skipped in favor of treating the virus – and die as a result. Anecdotes to this effect are numerous.

I say: it is Pollyanna-ish to imagine a very real number of deaths have not resulted from precisely the situation described above.

2. Removal of Oversight in Care Facilities.

I’ve written about this at length, most recently here. Summary: The old sick people who who make up the bulk of people incarcerated in care facilities are usually no fun to care for. As they decline toward their deaths, they require more and more – and more and more unpleasant – care. Further, while many who work in nursing homes are doubtless saints, that sort of work is going to attract a certain number of emotionally sick people, people who get off on lording it over helpless people, up to and including out and out sociopaths.

Back again to 2019. The constant trickle of visitors to nursing homes helped ensure some modicum of care was provided. Visitors notice messes that need cleaning up, unpleasant smells, inmates who have soiled themselves, etc. Good nursing homes are often described as ‘those where you don’t smell urine when you walk in” – and this state is largely due to the hell visitors raise when they do smell it. Yet somebody, usually a minimum or near minimum wage worker, is required to clean up the urine, the feces, the bedding and clothes and, indeed, the patient.

About 100 times a day.

This sort of work is no fun, and, I’m sure, gets less fun over time. Yet, if you are trying to provide a decent last few months and dignified death, it’s work that must be done. Visitors ensure it happens regularly.

Now terrify this minimum wage staff with the thought (unfounded, if they are otherwise healthy) that they are likely to catch and die from COVID if they interact with the patients. Then ban all visitors. What do you imagine is going to happen to the level of care? Even the people who are doing an honest job are going to be severely hampered by fear, and those who figure no one cares, especially if they never find out, if granny lives another few months, are just gets it over with now, are unchecked. Infections, dehydration, bedsores, hunger, filth – these are last straws that can kill old, sick people before their time. These are what happens when all civilian oversight is removed.

3. Stress.

I have not looked at the numbers for a while now – it is not good for my health to dwell very long on the CDC website – but, last I checked:

  • Suicides – up
  • murders – up
  • fatal overdoses – up
  • accidental deaths – up

Violence in general is up. Whipping a couple hundred million people into a state of irrational panic and fear is going to have consequences.

Education Reading Update

I’m constructively working through my anxiety by reading. So far, got 3-4 books off John C Wright’s Essential SciFi Library list read or reading, and a good start on my collection of Thomas Shields and Edward Pace writings. Reviewed Shields’ First Book here. Am halfway through his Making and Unmaking of a Dullard, an autobiography of sorts, framed as a Platonic dialogue. Think Symposium, but with early 20th century Progressives instead of Alcibiades and Socrates. In other words, much less fun.

Also, found The Catholic Educational Review, VOLUME XI January- May 1916 on Arhive.org. This is a periodical founded by Pace & Shields which ran for decades. Sigh. I’m going to slog through at least this volume, just to get a feel for it. Finally, have a dead tree copy of Shields’ The Philosophy of Education (1917) in the stacks here, got to fish it out and read it next. Then, I must return to Burn’s The Catholic School System in the United States, which I never finished reviewing. Burns got his PhD from Catholic University in 1906 under Shields and Pace, wrote the definitive history of American Catholic schools, and went on to be president of Notre Dame.

Shields, Pace, and Burns are the big dogs when it comes to Catholic education in America. Until they came along, parochial schooling and Catholic colleges were a bit of a free-for-all. For better and worse, they put some order onto Catholic schooling.

All three appear to me to be American Catholic Millennialists, believing that by application of scientific psychology to Catholic education, America can lead the Church to a perfect, or at least a better without limit, world. They are the foremost representatives of Americanism after the manner of Hecker and Brownson. It is fascinating that Pace and Shields were responsible for the article in the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia discussing the heresy of Americanism, where the pope’s and many Americans’ concerns that the American Church was being lead into Modernism by its some of its leadership were dismissed as a mere baseless misunderstanding.

Right.

The optimism and faith in progress of these men is all but unbelievable. They are just sure that, by applying modern scientific thinking to education, they can create perfect little American Catholics, who are of course without question the model for Catholics world-wide. Their late 19th century psychology and ideas about science are not an advance on phrenology. Seriously. We’ll get to that in a moment.

A couple notes:

The Catholic Educational Review, VOLUME XI January- May 1916

– A large portion of this volume is devoted to an attack on the Carnegie Foundation’s views of education, as expressed in a recent report the Foundation had issued. The gloves are totally off. I have no real understanding of what the issues are, but I can guess. I’ll write this up when I’m done reading it.

– This raises the endless issue: now, I’ll need to find and read that Carnegie report, right? Sheesh. Everything I read points to multiple other sources that seem essential.

Making and Unmaking of a Dullard

– This dialogue seems to be little more than a gripe session about the interlocutors’ childhoods, in order to provide Shields with the opportunity of expostulating on his frankly silly psychological theories.

– Shields lists 7 ways a dullard, or idiot, or atypical child can be created, but focuses on one, the one to which he attributes his own difficulties in school: Alternating Phases of Development. Here’s how Shields puts it, in answer to the Judge’s request for an explanation:

“A full explanation of this physiological phenomenon, Judge, would involve a treatise on the physiology of the nervous system, but stripped of technicalities the important facts in the case are these. All vital functions are controlled by nerve currents….

“On the other hand, the process of mental development, as indeed all the phenomena of consciousness, rest upon high tension nerve currents in the cerebral cortex. Now, it frequently happens that a boy or girl grows very rapidly for a few years, during which period the physical organism makes such demands upon the nerve energy that the cortical tension is lowered and there is not sufficient nerve energy left to carry on the work of rapid mental development.

“We all know how injurious it is, for example, to indulge in mental work immediately after eating a hearty meal. When food enters the stomach it originates nerve impulses that draw the blood away from the brain for use in the processes of digestion. If brain activity be indulged in at this time, the blood is withdrawn from the viscera and forced into the brain under an increased pressure to furnish the required nerve energy and thus the digestive process is delayed and sometimes the digestive apparatus itself is injured.

“Now, we have a similar conflict going on between mental and physical development. It seldom happens that during childhood and youth the balance is preserved between the growth and development of the body and the growth and development of the mental processes. The extent to which this balance is disturbed and the length of time that each phase continues varies within wide limits.”

“If you exclude the children who have become dullards through any one of the six causes just enumerated, and arrange the children in any third or fourth grade room in accordance with their physical development, you will find them fairly well classified inversely as their mental capacity, that is, the brightest children will be the smallest and the largest children will be the dullest. Here and there puzzling exceptions to this rule will be found, but these are not sufficient to obscure the general truth.

“The eagerness and ambition of the smaller children, coupled with their quickness of movement, indicate high cortical tension. If these children are constantly over stimulated, as frequently happens, their physical development may be retarded for some years. In extreme cases they are to be found among those children whom over-fond mothers are in the habit of regarding as too bright or too good for this world. Less aggravated cases not infrequently result in permanent invalidism. This is particularly true of girls when the period of over stimulation is carried beyond the twelfth or the fourteenth year. If these precocious little ones escape disease and death from over stimulation they will finally reach a time in which the balance swings in the opposite direction and physical development, so long retarded, sets in with unusual rapidity. The ensuing mental phase is characterized by lack of energy which to the uninstructed is pure laziness.

CH V, Alternating Phases of Development

So, quick children need to be slowed down by the expert educationist, so as not to overdo their nerve energy or their cortical tension and thus damage their minds and become invalids. You can see the beginnings of No Child Left Behind here: the solution is to dumb down the bright kids – for their own good – and make sure the slower kids get to catch up. All very scientifiliciously described.

That a kid might grow and learn well if encouraged to follow his own interests is not to be considered. Instead, the bright child is to be frustrated in his desire for learning, on the basis of a half-backed theory that is buzzword-compliant, circa 1910, but has little else to recommend it. As Lewis (I think) put it: say you are going to experiment on children, and everybody is up in arms. But say you’re putting them in an experimental school, and all is good.

– Again, Shields has his interlocutors refer to or quote from contemporary sources that I’ll have to at least look up.

Got a lot more reading to do. Further bulletins are events warrant.

Logic and Just So Stories

The current panic is being fanned with a combination of logic fails and just so stories. Given two or more possible explanations, the most obvious and Occam’s Razor compliant one is dismissed or ignored in favor of another whose only real recommendation is that it keeps the panic going. The number of Just So stories, evidence-free speculations that then become enshrined unchallengeable TRVTH any questioning of which is ‘misinformation’ and brands anyone who talks about it officially as a ‘terrorist,’ grows daily.

Let’s hit a few low points:

  1. Near-Zero Flu cases since March, 2020.

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: Flu infections are being either misdiagnosed as COVID cases, or the patient has both COVID and the flu, and the flu is never tested for. Logic: since in almost all cases, symptomatic COVID has identical symptoms to the common flu – aches, fever, congestion, headache – someone presenting with those symptoms is very likely to get diagnosed with the Coof. In the current panicked circus atmosphere, a doctor is not likely to start with a flu test, and is unlikely to follow up a COVID diagnosis with a flu test. The unique COVID symptoms – sudden acute respiratory distress and loss of taste and smell – seem to appear in only a fairly small percentage of cases.

The Just So Story: Steps taken to stop COVID – masks, lockups, social distancing – are nearly 100% effective against the flu, even if demonstrably ineffective against COVID, such that the flu has been eliminated while COVID still ‘rages’. Logic: somehow, masks, lockups, etc., are very effective against one of two airborne respiratory viruses of exactly the same size and with exactly the same vectors, but utterly ineffective against the other. Further, the unmasked scofflaws have been spared the flu despite being assumed to be a reservoir from which the Coof has continued to spread.

Note: the CDC recently issued guidelines recommending that patients be tested for the flu even if they test positive for COVID, recognizing that a positive COVID test result doesn’t mean the observed symptoms are caused by COVID, which very often has no symptoms at all. It is logical to conclude that the CDC recommendation means flu testing werrte not being done – otherwise, why recommend it?

2. We’ve Been Masking Up for Over a Year, yet the ‘Pandemic’ is Still ‘Raging’

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: Since we’ve been masking up for over a year now, and yet the ‘pandemic’ is still with us, the simplest conclusion to draw is: masks are ineffective against COVID. Logic: All the pre-COVID studies, from 1918 until 2020, that showed that masks are not effective against airborne reparatory viruses, and current experiences, are most simply and logically explained by accepting the findings of these earlier studies. Masks are pointless, from a public health perspective. Fauci was telling the truth when he said people should not mask up.

The Just So Story: Sure, masks didn’t and don’t stop the virus, but things would have been so much worse had we all not masked up! Logic: There is precisely as much direct evidence for this Just So story – zero – as there is for the opposite theory: that not masking up would have made thing no worse and possibly better. Since masking has a cost – there is no free lunch – and is an imposition on people minding their own business, it is incumbent upon those making the claim and imposition to produce convincing evidence that masks work – and there is none. (No, the mere existence of ’70 studies’ doesn’t count as evidence, especially when contradicted by scores of studies done before 2020. Evidence would be a marked reduction in deaths, say, where masks are used, measured in a scientifically valid manner.) The tendency of frightened people to readily accept that which increases their fear and reject that which mitigates it is sufficient explanation for the near-religious belief that masks help against a virus that nonetheless continues to spread despite widespread masking.

Note: Reality rarely conforms to what is discovered in lab studies and predicted by nice theories. We require masks, the story goes, because COVID virions are deadly! If masks work, they are trapping those deadly COVID virions. These virions are then rubbed up against your face wherever the mask touches you, and get all over your hands every time you handle the mask, and get all over whatever surfaces they come in contact with. Therefore, if we believe that masks ‘work’ and are therefore full of deadly COVID virions, the protocol would be: scrub down and glove up before putting on, taking off, or touching the mask; scrub your face and anywhere else the mask touched, dispose of any used masks as the hazardous material they are by definition, and never, ever stuff one in your pocket, throw one in the trash, or toss one in the car. Also, masks should be changed every hour or so, hands gloved, scrubbed up, while touching nothing, then scrub up again afterwards, and put everything that came in contact with the mask – gloves, cleaning materials – in hazardous disposal. No one does this because no one truly believes masks work, that COVID is dangerous, or both. They believe it is important to conform.

3. We Must Get Vaccinated AND Keep Locked Up and Masked Up

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: If any of these measures, singly or in any combination, worked as any sane person understands ‘working’, the ‘pandemic’ would have ended long ago. A ‘vaccine’ that doesn’t keep you from getting sick and doesn’t keep you from spreading the virus simply doesn’t work. Therefore, the vaccine – and the lockups and masks – simply don’t work if the ‘pandemic’ is still ‘raging.’ Logic: If we are to introduce the concept of risk reduction, then we must consider ALL risks, not just risks specific to COVID. When we do that, we discover that vaccines, even if they are considered completely safe and completely effective, reduce overall risk for people under 50 by all but immeasurable tiny amounts. For children, it is utterly ridiculous – kids under 18 are at microscopic risk from COVID (about 400 total attributed deaths over 18 months on a population of 65 million kids. And those attributions are highly questionable) that any risk whatsoever from the vaccine – and no drug is ‘completely safe’, aspirin has killed people – is unacceptable. Hey, teacher – leaves those kids alone! If old people want the vaccine, sure, feel free. Making people take the jab if they don’t want to is outrageous, given the tiny reduction in overall risk.

The Just So Story: If everybody gets vaccinated, we reduce the overall risk from COVID by a significant amount. Sure, vaccinated individuals will still get get sick and even die, and still spread the disease, but by reducing the frequency and severity of infections, we improve the overall situation. Refusing to get vaccinated isn’t just putting yourself at risk, but putting the entire population at risk. Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated is a threat to this overall strategy, and must be ostracized, kept out of restaurants and bars, and will be labeled a ‘terrorist’ so as to be designated for further steps as needed, up to an including incarceration in a quarantine camp. Individual rights mean nothing in the face of the existential threat of COVID. Note here the casual totalitarianism of these claims – one is labeled a terrorist if one questions any part of this imminently questionable Just So Story. Yet – NONE of the underlying assertions is supported by EVIDENCE. Is asymptomatic transfer a serious problem? There is no evidence it is, and plenty of evidence it isn’t. Meaning: if I’m not sick, I pose no material risk to anyone else, even if I’m a ‘case’ of COVID. Therefore, if I simply stay away from people when I’m sick, I provide as much protection to everyone else as if I were vaccinated, even assuming in the face of all evidence, that the vaccines are both effective and harmless. (To be clear: what the evidence so far suggests is: these experimental drugs are somewhat effective for some limited time, and are mostly safe, for most people, at least over the short haul. They’re hardly a silver bullet.)

Note: The underlying ‘problem’ here for the pro-mandatory-vax crowd is the lack of dead bodies. Seriously, if people were in fact dropping like flies, such that everybody knew multiple otherwise healthy people who had died of COVID, then you’d have very little trouble selling people on all kinds of steps to prevent it. But they’re not. I am one of millions of people who personally know NOT A SINLGE person who has died of COVID. I know 1 person – an 87 year old friend from church – who was hospitalized, and she recovered in a couple days. The fact is, almost nobody knows any otherwise healthy people who have thus died. if they know anyone, it’s almost certainly someone who was elderly, sickly, or, most commonly, both. I have friends who have hardly stepped out of their home for 18 months because 3 elderly, sickly relatives of theirs, who could have dropped dead at any moment without surprising anyone, COVID or not, had deaths, as the CDC puts it, ‘involving’ COVID. These poor souls are incapable of admitting the obvious: COVID, if it did anything at all, merely accelerated the deaths of their relatives, and not by much. They weren’t living another decade no matter what, and most likely not another year. Harsh, but true. By now, for me personally, dozens of friends, family members, and acquaintances have had COVID. Every single one has completely recovered. Given that just under 1 out of 100 Americans dies every year, this is actually a little surprising. But there it is.

BUT – everyone has also been subjected to endless news stories about tragic deaths. There are always going to be tragic deaths. The only real question is: are there more tragic deaths than usual? The answer, looking at the numbers, is no, there are not. It’s called ‘life’ and life isn’t fair or kind.