Jeffrey A. Tucker

A Nation of Non-Compliers

Written by Jeffrey A. Tucker |
Saturday, January 13, 2024
The people who threw themselves into Covid controls as the greatest years of their lives are still at it. Hardly a day goes by when there is not a freshly written hit piece on the resistance and efforts to trash those with enough sagacity to see through all the baloney. Far from being rewarded, those who protested and opposed are still living under a cloud that comes with being an enemy of the state. We all know that it is not just about these dumb stickers and these virus controls. There is more going on. 

The train wasn’t scheduled for another 20 minutes, so I had a chance to contemplate the official sign on the door of the huge elevator leading to the platform. It said that only four people are allowed in because we must all practice social distancing. There was a helpful map of the interior of the elevator with stick figures telling people exactly where to stand.
Yes, these stickers are still everywhere. I recall when they first went up, sometime in April 2020. They seemed oddly uniform and appeared even permanent. At the time I thought, oh, this is a huge error because within a few weeks, the error of the whole of this idiocy is going to be known by all. Sadly, my worst fears came true: it was designed to be a permanent feature of our lives.
Same with the strange arrows on the ground telling us which way to walk. They are still everywhere, stuck on the floor, an integral part of the linoleum. If you walk this way, you will infect people, which is why you have to walk that way, which is safe. As for masks, the mandates keep popping up in strange places and strange ways. My inbox fills with pleas for how people can fight this stuff.
The essential message of all these edicts: you are pathogenic, a carrier, poisonous, dangerous, and so is everyone else. Every human person is a disease vector. While it’s fine you are out and about, you must always create a little isolation zone around you such that you have no contact with other human beings.
It’s so odd that no dystopian book or novel ever imagined a plot centered on such a stupid and evil concept. Not even in 1984 or The Hunger Games, or The Matrix or Equilibrium, or Brave New World or Anthem, was it ever imagined that a government would institute a rule that all people in public spaces must stand six feet away in all directions from any other person.
That some government would insist on this was too crazy for even the darkest imaginings of the most pessimistic prognosticator. That 200 governments in the world, at roughly the same time, would go there was unimaginable.
And yet here we are, years after the supposed emergency, and while governments are not enforcing it, for the most part, many are still pushing the practice as the ideal form of human engagement.
Except that we are not doing it. In this train station, no one paid any attention to any of the signage. The exhortations were entirely ignored, even by those who are still masked up (and, one presumes, boosted seven times).
When the moment arrived for people to get into the elevator, a crowd began to pour in, quickly beyond four, then eight, then 12. I stood there shoulder to shoulder with fully 25 other people in one elevator with a sign that demanded only four people get in at any one time.
I sort of wanted to ask the crowd if they saw the sign and what did they think. But that would have been absurd, because, actually, no one even cares.
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Frankenstein Was the Foreshadowing

Written by Jeffrey A. Tucker |
Friday, September 16, 2022
Today we live amidst new creations that we know from experience turned very different from how they are envisioned: lockdowns, closures, masks, distancing, capacity limits, vaccines, vaccine mandates, and a host of other preposterous things and practices (plexiglass anyone?) that came to mark our time, all promoted as the approved science by major media. 

Two years before lockdowns, the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein, about which a wonderful movie was released on the author’s life and thought. At the same time, there was a book and an exhibit at the Morgan Library, and growing controversies about the personal and political ethos that a generation of radicals meant to their times and bequeathed to ours.
This is the book that never stops giving, but there is more going on. The anniversary two years ago seems now like a foreshadowing of what happens when science goes wrong. She knew it back then: the grave dangers of intellectual pretense (thus anticipating F.A. Hayek) and the unanticipated social consequences of what Thomas Sowell would later call the unconstrained vision.
The monster created in the fictional laboratory — readers are always surprised that he is a sympathetic character, only lacking in all moral sense, like perhaps many we know too well now — anticipates the unfolding of politico-technological history as it developed from the late 19th century through the 20th. This came to be perfected in 2020 when the innovations we rely on – social media, Big Data, personal tracking, wide availability of medical services, even vaccines – came back to destroy other features of life we value, like liberty, privacy, property, and even faith.
The long fascination with Shelley’s work is related to her intellectual pedigree. She was, after all, the daughter of one of two of the mightiest minds of the 18th century, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, thinkers who took the Enlightenment project into new frontiers of human liberation. Mary herself ran off with and eventually married the troubled but erudite Percy Shelley, found herself embroiled in an awkward relationship with Lord Byron, and experienced the terrible tragedy of losing three children while experiencing both cruel shunning and great acclaim.
Her thinking and her life were the product of late Enlightenment thought, infused by both its best (Humean) aspects and its worst (Rousseauian) excesses. Her lasting contribution was as a corrective, affirming the freedom to create as the driving force of progress, while warning against the wrong means and the wrong motivations that could turn that freedom to despotism. Indeed, some scholars observe that her politics late in life were more Burkean than Godwinian.
Her enduring contribution is her 1818 book, which created two enduring archetypes, the mad scientist and the monster he creates, and still taps into cultural anxiety concerning the intentions vs. the reality of scientific creation. There is a good reason for this anxiety, as our times show us.
She wrote during a period — it was a glorious one — when the intellectual class had a justified expectation that dramatic changes were coming to civilization. Medical science was improving. Disease would be controlled. Populations were on the move from the country to the city. The steamship was vastly increasing the pace of travel and making international trade more resource-efficient.
She was surrounded by the early evidence of invention. The beautiful movie about her life recreates the ethos, the confidence in the future of freedom, the sense that something marvelous was coming. She attends a kind of magic show with Percy at which a showman and scientist uses electricity to cause a dead frog to move its legs, which suggests to her the possibility of giving life to the dead.
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Get the Courts Out of Science

Written by Jeffrey A. Tucker |
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
The very existence of this [OSHA vaccine mandates] case in the Supreme Court reveals that something is fundamentally broken about our presumptions about the relationship between the individual and the state. It must be fixed. It won’t finally be fixed by a court but rather a dramatic cultural change that embraces certain fundamental propositions about liberty itself. 

This morning I listened to the oral arguments in the case of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates as enforced by OSHA. It was a demoralizing experience.
I heard some crazy things, such as a claim that “750 million” Americans just got Covid yesterday, and that 100,000 kids with Covid are in the hospital, many on ventilators. The correct number is 3,300 with positive tests, but not necessarily suffering from Covid. I further heard strong claims that the vaccines block disease spread, despite every bit of evidence to the contrary.
It was my first time hearing oral arguments in the Supreme Court. I might have thought that facts on the ground would actually matter to people who are holding the fate of human liberty in their hands. I might have thought that they would be getting their information from somewhere other than their political intuition, mixed with wildly inaccurate claims from bloggers and media pundits.
I was wrong. And that is deeply alarming. Or maybe it is a wake up call to us all. We have learned today that these people are no smarter than our neighbors, no more qualified to address complicated questions than our friends, and arguably far less informed than the Twittersphere about basic issues of Covid and public health.
The backdrop of today’s arguments is that 74% of Americans of all ages have had at least one shot. Meanwhile, case numbers are up 500% in many places, and 721,000 new cases have been logged throughout the country, and that’s obviously a large underestimate because it does not count at-home tests which are selling out in stores around the country.
The extremely obvious point—the most basic observation one can make about this data—is that the vaccinations are not controlling the spread. This has been granted already by the CDC and every other authority.
No matter what people say in retrospect, I seriously doubt that anyone would have predicted a future in which the pandemic highs would be reached following mass vaccination. It’s not only true in the US but also all over the world. However much they help with mitigating severe outcomes of the disease, at least for a time, they have not been successful in stopping the spread of the virus. They will not end the pandemic.
And yet, so far as I can understand this, that is the whole point of the vaccine mandate. It is to protect workers from getting Covid. There is no zero evidence that this is possible with mass mandates in the workforce. People can get and are getting Covid anywhere and everywhere, among which surely means the workplace too. The vaccine is not stopping that. What will bring this pandemic to an end will not be the vaccines but the adaptation of human immune systems, exposed and then developing resilience.
Apparently there was not one mention of natural immunity during the oral arguments, which is truly astounding. From what I could hear, there was a strangely truncated environment in which no one was willing to say certain obvious truths, almost as if a pre-set orthodoxy had been defined at the outset. There were certain givens that simply were not questioned; namely that this is a disease without precedent, that the state can stop it, that vaccines are the best ticket we have, that the unvaccinated have absolutely no good reason to remain that way.
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Fauci’s War on Science: The Smoking Gun

Written by Jeffrey A. Tucker |
Monday, January 17, 2022
What historian Phil Magness has discovered, with newly unearthed emails, comes not as a shock to any of us but it is satisfying to see the confirmation of what we suspected. It seemed at the time that the effort to attack and destroy both the GBD [Great Barrington Declaration] and its authors was coordinated from the top. Here at last is the proof that our intuition was not crazy. 

Those weeks following the release of the Great Barrington Declaration did feel odd.
On the good side, medical doctors, scientists, public health workers, and citizens all over the world were thrilled that three top scholars in fields of public health and epidemiology had spoken out against lockdowns and for a reasoned approach to Covid. They eagerly signed the document.
Yes, there were some attempts to sabotage it too, with fake names and so on, which should have been a clue about what was coming. The fakes were deleted in days and new methods of confirming signatures were deployed.
The document, on the one hand, said nothing controversial. The right way to deal with this pandemic, it said, was to focus on those who could face severe outcomes from disease – a very plain point and nothing new. There was nothing to be gained by locking down the whole of society because of a pathogen with such a huge differential in its demographic impact.
The virus would have to become endemic in any case (including the realization of “herd immunity,” which is not a “strategy” but a descriptive term widely accepted in epidemiology) and certainly would not be stopped by destroying peoples’ lives and liberties.
The hope of the Declaration was simply that journalists would pay attention to a different point of view and a debate would begin on the unprecedented experiment in lockdowns. Perhaps science could prevail, even in this climate.
On the bad side, and at the very same time, following the release, the attacks began pouring in, and they were brutal, structured to destroy. The three main signers – Sunetra Gupta (Oxford), Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), and Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford) – made the statement as a matter of principle. It was also born of frustration with the prevailing narrative.
Mostly this declaration was intended as an educational effort. But the authors were being called vicious names and treated like heretics that should be burned. There certainly was no civil debate; quite the contrary.
It was all quite shocking given that the Declaration was a statement concerning what almost everyone in these professional circles believed earlier in the year. They were merely stating the consensus based on science and experience. Nothing more. Even on March 2, 2020, 850 scientists signed a letter to the White House warning against lockdowns, closures, and travel restrictions. It was sponsored by Yale University. Today it reads nearly like a first draft of the Great Barrington Declaration. Indeed on that same day, Fauci wrote to a Washington Post reporter: “The epidemic will gradually decline and stop on its own without a vaccine.”
But following the March 13-16, 2020 lockdowns, the orthodoxy had evidently changed. And suddenly. The signers of the GBD had declined to change with it. Thus did they endure astonishingly brutal smears. What felt odd at the time was the sheer intensity of the attacks, as well as their dogmatism and ferocity. These attacks also had a strong political flavor that had little regard for science.
Already by the summer, it was very clear that the lockdowns had not achieved what they were supposed to achieve. Two weeks had stretched into many months, and the data on cases and deaths were uncorrelated with the “mitigation measures” that had been imposed on the country and the world. Meanwhile, millions had missed cancer screenings, schools and churches had been shut, public health was in a state of crisis, and small businesses and communities were fighting to stay alive.
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