My podcast, LocoFoco, is on a hiatus. Personal issues have come up, the death of my younger sister not least of all. But I have continued to produce Paul Jacob’s This Week in Common Sense, which in one sense is easy: Paul is quite the talker, and every weekend he recaps what he wrote during the week at ThisIsCommonSense.org. Last weekend I contributed a bit more banter and argument than usual, going on several tears myself:

The audio version of the podcast is hosted on SoundCloud, and can be grabbed via the major podcatchers, and some minor ones.

And Paul’s current podcast is worth a listen, too:

The video version will be available in a few hours on YouTube.

But I’m wondering: which alternative to YouTube should I prioritize, and get Paul to use as well? I have tried Brighteon, but it is suppressed on Facebook and even on Facebook Messenger (yes, the company will not allow you to even share the URL with a few friends). Bitchute takes forever for me to upload and get a video published. Odysee/LIBRY seems to be the current favorite alt-Yt video program, but I am dubious.

I am thinking of going Gab Pro and investing in Andrew Torba’s new Gab TV project. What do you think?

twv

So many things seemed off from the beginning of the COVID biz.

The panic itself smacked of unreason. Indeed, it turned out to be easy to induce panic in the world population — over something that was not catastrophic. Like a very bad flu, it takes out the weakest. This was known from the get-go, with the afflicted cruise ship. Mainly, it was only the old folks and those with “co-morbidities” who died. The rest weathered the storm of the contagion remarkably well.

Many got sick and got over it. I did, in February 2020.

But natural experiments like the cruise ship were quickly forgotten, and hysterical hyping of the possible dangers took hold of the popular imagination. But perhaps it was who got sick that made the difference. Remember Tom Hanks? We started freaking out when our beloved celebrities took sick!

And I immediately began to suspect a weird class element here. Had the contagion stayed to the very old and the immune-compromised, would we have freaked? I began to wonder whether it was pressure, initially, from the rich, that turned the tide: they could die too.

But they didn’t. It was mainly the old. All along.

Now, this week, one octogenarian in Australia dies and the totalitarian rulers there hammer the lockdown regime again, under a “No regrets” policy. What a framing! As if one cannot regret all the damage one does when one takes away freedoms!!!

Some day the sheep of the field may rise up against their overlords and burn them at the stake, or behead them on guillotines. I wonder: “no regrets” then?

What I take away from this is “no freedom.” The masses fear freedom.

People do not valorize freedom much at all if they let it be taken away for so insignificant of reasons. It is always the case that people die. There are many, many causes of death, including the lockdowns themselves. But I go further: Your lack of immunity to a disease does not obligate me. You have to convince me to change my ways to protect you. You have to inspire me, get me to aspire to do what you think is “the right thing.” To accomplish this in a free society you would ask nicely. You would use reason. You would debate the epidemiology and the virology and you would be very concerned about the origin of the disease, to make sure it was not some form of biological warfare to change our policies in a way an enemy, say, might want them changed. Now that we have good reason to believe that the virus was cooked up in a lab (or two), and was released (by accident? on purpose?) and the release covered up, and by an enemy of the United States no less — well, that should give people pause.

But no. Bleating sheep don’t contemplate the malign agendas of shepherds.

I ranted about the misuse of the Precautionary Principle over a year ago. My point was that it is almost always used by one type of person for one effect. In the case of this Current Contagion, Precautionary Principle abusers looked at the relevant scenarios as leading to only ONE KIND of “mitigation effort”: lockdowns, mandatory mask-wearing, and the rush to produce “vaccines” that had been under-tested. Since my rant of March 2020, I keep coming back to my focus on biological warfare. I argued we should emphasize the possibility out of precaution for how power-seeking, illiberal politicians might use panic to secure for them the privilege and power and who-knows-what-else such folks lust for. Oh, and Money. Lots of money for well-connected pharmaceutical companies.

For MASS DEATH wasn’t the most likely result of the contagion. In our servile society, MASS LIBERTICIDE was the most likely. And it came to pass. For the people have been primed by the ideologies of socialism and progressivism and even “conservatism”: some people at risk obligates everyone to give up liberty. That is the key notion of the sentimentalist socialism we all grew up with.

It is the Weaker Brethren doctrine applied to government policy and political ideology. I always thought that it was a bad argument from a Christian point of view, about Christian liberty and the eating of meat offered to idols. (Paul said to “take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak,” thus enjoining the free Christian to curb his liberty so not to offend weak folk who cannot handle liberty.) This is the basic idea at the root of much late-stage churning state nonsense today, only translated from Christian worship and custom to the duties imposed by the State.

For the weak’s sake, we must disable the strong.

Thus the whining envy of socialists and progressives about what the rich spend their money on, or what the healthy do to survive and thrive. Why, the rich should give up all that they have and send it to the poor! Why, the healthy must mask up and stop working so they do not spread their cooties to others, who might infect the weak!

It is all the same sort of thing. Of course there are risks to sociality. Diseases of all sorts can wreak havoc. But the idea that especially in times of crisis our behavior must be regulated by the State, regulating even innocent sociality as a threat? That is a confidence game, a trick. For the servility and fragility of the mass man is now well known, and our enemies know it too.

Our enemies in China.

Our enemies in our own government.

Our enemies among our neighbors who would mob against us and, in high moral dudgeon, destroy us. Just to feel . . . powerful. Even if the whole response is a sign of powerlessness of the poltroon and the puny.

Of course, courage is always something a person could develop. The weak could bear the responsibility for their weakness as do the strong. Going into a disease, we all know that we could die of it — indeed, we all know that one day we will die. Man is mortal. We can be considerate of each other in the face of our mortality, but that does not play in just one direction, just as the Precautionary Principle does not play in the direction of one policy. The weak should understand their claims on others are few. And acknowledge that the strong have their rights as well. No one has a right to life that is open-ended. Under an ill-defined right to life, any obligation can be contemplated and pushed and, since all obligations are backed by force, in the governmental realm, our rights to life could shackle us all forever. But the argument for liberty has always been strong, and, in the end, it serves the weak, too. Their liberty to stay at home is the same as the strong’s liberty to stay at home. But liberty implies the opposite choice. The liberty to seek society must always be defended. And should people want to practically amend the terms of sociality, this has to be done voluntarily, not through state mandate.

twv

The embargo, according to Florida’s senior senator to the United States.

Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, explains the United States’ embargo on Cuba in a clear and enlightening way. I am as old as the Cuban regime, and I have never heard it explained like this. I am impressed:

This clip is from Fox News on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cF4zxFsBd48.

These United States have endured three reboots.

The first (and fledgling) republican federation rebooted under the Constitution of 1787.

The second republic rebooted to a nation-state with the Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-65.

The nationalist republic rebooted to neo-empire in a series of ratcheting acts (Spanish-American War; Progressive advancement of the administrative state; World War I; Great Depression and the New Deal; World War II) finalizing with the formation of the national security state.

So now we are due for another such restarting, grand revision, and we are about on schedule. You can smell it in the air. And see its necessity on a variety of spreadsheets, not all of them financial — but the debt hangeth like a Damoclean blade strung up on the slenderest of threads, over our heads. Some reset, great or evil or heroic or messy, is coming, perhaps soon.

What’ll it be?

Democrats say Republicans are fascists, Republicans say Democrats are commies: so the safe bet is technocratic totalitarianism, with commie and fascist elements.

Could be something else though. But anything else will take bloodshed, which I doubt Americans really have much stomach for. They’d rather stay home and be stamped by the Mark of the Beast — for COVID.

twv

I believe I am transgender, but I keep feeling doubts. I think a lot of people would be surprised, I never always knew I was transgender (mtf) like some transwomen. How do I get over my doubts?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . . 

Without knowing your age, and without hearing you express your reasons for belief as well as for doubt, no one on Quora would be able to give a good answer.

But a word of caution: your feelings of sexual desire and sexual identity are not primarily a social concern, or something that other people can determine for you, or even should influence your ruminations much. My advice to young people on most matters is the same: be true to your experience and to yourself as you make the decisions that create (or remake) yourself. Growing up is a matter of discovery, mostly. Before you obsess about any category you may or may not fit into, or the approbation or disapprobation of any clicque or tribe, make sure you are not defining who you are and what you feel and how you think mainly to meet others’ expectations of identity, their interpretations of their experiences, or their commitments to any trendy ideology.

Seek truth. Attempt always to learn. Try to attain some mastery of some endeavor. Be responsible.

twv

Some plays are daring but pay off.

Say you want to remove a sitting president, but your repeated efforts fail. And then it looks like you cannot even beat him at the ballot box — your favored stooges are unpopular. With actual voters.

So you attempt major electoral fraud, focusing on swing states, under cover of a pandemic released from a lab your side “just happened” to fund. This amounts to a coup, sure. Whatchagonnado? Well, when the president resists, you call his efforts a coup.

Long shot, right?

Not if you can get the bulk of the media to repeat the message, relentlessly framing the issue always narrowly — as a coup by the defender rather than a coup by you, the offense.

Helping to keep this going? The very notion that “conspiracies” are non-existent and only believed by nuts.

Only “conspiracy theorists” are stupid enough, you see, to believe that complicated machinations can be kept secret. When the folks floating the conspiracy conjecture return volley, and state obvious truths such as that most of the facts have already been revealed, you just laugh and deny the facticity in some cases, deny the relevance in others, and call those who dare break ranks anti-social.

This works for inattentive people who want to believe that their side, at the very least — and, generally, “the government” — is good. 

It also works for sophisticates, who want to believe that all major social processes are Invisible Hand processes, not Hidden Hand processes. They’ve been trained. Even #libertarians fall for this.

Especially libertarian intellectuals! It is very hard to be a libertarian, since libertarians oppose so much of what modern states do, and how half the population lives. Intellectuals yearn to be treated with respect. One way to do this is grant to statists their good intentions. But these libertarians forget that this grant is best seen as merely a dialectical convention, or a show of manners. And thus they pretend that the state really isn’t that bad, and its participants just misinformed. Nonsense, of course.

But the nonsense is truly believed by most libertarians, and they usually side with statist intellectuals against the Conspiracy Theorists, whom they lampoon as boobs and worse.

Which is one reason libertarians have been treated so gingerly treated by the Deep State establishment, despite libertarians’ obvious ideological menace.

Libertarians have served as a loyal opposition to the Deep State, not a disloyal opposition. For their key role in the success of the Deep State psy-op that has been running for 60 years or more, they have been granted a special dispensation.

But things are changing. As soon as the beltway libertarians open up their eyes and see actual conspiracies when in play, libertarians will be quickly Brennaned. “Even libertarians” are a threat, and Brennan has shown us the next level of play.

Meanwhile, the reflexive disbelief and mockery of conspiracy theories by libertarians helps actual, existing conspiracies (of whatever nature, whether grand or petit, meticulous-and-cosmic or improvised-and-local) carry on.

This attitude by libertarian intellectuals may be one of the chief reasons why libertarianism has scant practical effect.

It is kind of amazing to watch, as they witlessly refuse to see what should be obvious to any smart person: just as altruism will be the favored public ideology of committed egoists, scorn for conspiracy theories will be one cultural meme that actual conspirators will most actively support — if behind the scenes.

Of course the epistemic problems are just as obvious. Which puts us in a trap. But we should be able to think our way out of such traps. We should be able to entertain a conspiracy conjecture without the now de rigueur freak out, look at the evidence, and draw conclusions. The number of grand hoaxes now coming to light is perhaps daunting — 1,2,3,4: an election, a pandemic, a half-assed foreign policy, a UFO cover-up and its half-assessed disclosure — but smart people should be able to handle them without feeling anxiety.

Buck up, smarties.

twv

The odd thing about this m&m meme (post) is that the statement is completely inapposite.

The subject in question is allegedly whether women are overly sexualized “in media.” And we are given a funny m&m ad.

It is a candy being sexualized, not a woman.

Sure, it is a candy being sexualized to look like a woman dressing/acting “sexy” (sexily) — but it is still understood as a candy.

No one denies that some women (or most women some of the time) try to look sexy using the cultural norms we are used to. That is not the claim under consideration, here, though, is it? @fricknook’s m&m post doesn’t prove any point worth making.

Are women overly sexualized “in media”? Or, do women better succeed in media when they sexualize themselves? (Better question, eh?) Ask Ana Kasparian. (See for yourself.)

But candies being sexualized in a feminine as opposed to masculine way is mainly just comic. It proves nothing about “too much.”

twv

If libertarians had their way, would they pay entry level unskilled workers much less than today’s prevailing minimum wage?

 . . . as answered on Quora. . . .

If libertarians “had their way,” they wouldn’t allow you or anyone else to prohibit any adult from accepting a job from anyone else at any rate of remuneration mutually agreed upon. Further, libertarians would prevent you from bullying or threatening employers from offering lawful jobs at any rate to any adult.

“They pay” is a weasel phrase. Most libertarians are like most people, and do not hire anyone for wage contract work. They are themselves wage contractors, or else professional service contractors, or artisans who make things and sell them. When we discuss economic policy, we should not use weaselly phraseology. It is not a question of policy makers “would pay” anyone, it’s a question of allowing wage contracts to form or not.

The questions in policy pertain to when and why and on what terms the state and political actors employ threat of force to interfere in free contract of whom. Libertarians want merely to defend freedom of contract. Of everybody.

Libertarians would allow people to be paid what they are worth as determined by bids, asks and deals on the labor market. More people would be working. More people would indeed be working at lower wages. And thus more people would be rising in rates of remuneration as they develop more skills on the job. This scandalizes the easily scandalized, but people with some common sense should be able to see the relevant factors involved.

twv

Is Ludwig von Mises relevant to economists?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

He was relevant to many economists in his day, and at least two of his contributions to economics — his business cycle theory and his economic calculation argument about socialism — were well respected beyond even his circle of seminar attendees, which included Fritz Machlup, Gottfried Haberler, and F. A. Hayek. Among his admirers were Lionel Robbins.

For some reason he was never given much credit for clearly spelling out an ordinalist approach to marginal utility before big names like Hicks and Allen. I have read histories of marginal utility theory that ball up the Austrian School understanding of marginal utility, from which Mises emerged and to which he contributed. So the whole approach is definitely not well understood outside the actual Misesian readership.

Several economists of high fame, today — Nobel Laureates James Buchanan and Vernon Smith, prominent among them — wrote about and praised Mises’ contributions.

Mises engaged in a kind of formal theory that deprecated mathematical exposition, so his method ran counter to much of Anglo-American economics from World War II onward, and (rightly or wrongly) he would have regarded the bulk of the statistical work of contemporary economics as “history.” That being said, there is a whole school devoted to his general approach, and only ideologues of state-worship and scientism dismiss him out of anything other than ignorance. Still, let us be frank, most economists have never heard of him, much less studied The Theory of Money and Credit or Human Action.

twv

A frequent objection to UFOs as presented in anecdote, rumor, lore and scientific data is that they behave elusively, and that such evasive behavior contra-indicates intelligence. “Why don’t the ETs just contact the authorities?” This very common challenge reveals more about the assumptions of the objector than provides evidence for precluding the existence of UFOs.

1. They may not be extraterrestrials as commonly understood — that is, from “other planets.” The ET Hypothesis is only one explanation among many for the phenomena. I lean to some form of “inter-dimensional” presence.

2. If the UFOs are directed by time travelers (which is one form of inter-dimensional), evasion might be completely explicable: to avoid time paradoxes.

3. If the UFOs are directed by crypto-terrestrials, the operators may resist being discovered forfear of destruction — if they are hiding out in the oceans, lithosphere, Antarctica, or the Moon, for instance. They would be vulnerable, so evasive behavior would be utterly explicable.

4. If the UFOs are directed by beings who have a long history with our species, our knowledge of this history might ruin their experiments on us or manipulations of us.

5. If the UFOs are run by super-advanced species (as the ET hypothesis almost necessitates) their interest in collaborative interaction could be very low, since we would not be anything like our equals. I do not try to interact with local ant colonies or bother to treat the ants (or any wild species) as my equals. The very assumption is absurdly hubristic.

6. We should not rule out angels and demons here, or some near-equivalent. A history of religion suggests we might be thankful that they usually sport an elusive, as opposed to publicly interactive, form of sociality.

The objection to evasive behavior also assumes that ETs have not contacted the authorities. Why would we think the authorities not also take an elusive approach?

In fine, I find this common objection to UFOs to be kind of witless.

twv