What Firefighting Taught Me About COVID

 

Once, I was an IC4 (Incident Commander (4).  Well, as a mere title and qualification, that was one I held until leaving my seasonal work with the Bureau of Land Management, and I suppose it is valid even now, nearly 20 years later.  But I was an acting Incident Commander (4) for about 16 hours in 2005, as a 23-year-old newlywed in my 5th year of wildland firefighting.  That was never intended as a career, and I certainly never treated it as a career.  But I figured out a few things pretty early on.  There is a good amount of downtime in wildland firefighting, a job that depends on the weather, but always keeps you hanging around (and paid) just in case you’re needed.  A lot of that time is spent doing odd jobs, which is great for a Montana kid who is fairly well-rounded; we put up fencing, we framed buildings and hung drywall, we did forest-thinning projects.  Sometimes we just drove around “keeping an eye on things.”

In my second year, I was on a truck with a friend who was an economics and mathematics double-major in college (he earned his Ph.D. in economics and is now an econ professor); I had bounced around a bit too much, having a partial pre-med degree, a partial engineering degree, all rounded out with a few years of intensive history and literature (emphasizing Russian history) to earn a bachelor’s of science in the vaguely named “liberal studies.”  From an engineering school.  That year, the friend and I spent a good deal of time discussing each others’ areas of study.  He worked on reading my copy of The Gulag Archipelago while I worked on reading his copy of Human Action, and we spent hours discussing these topics.  We also spent a lot of time joking.  With a sense of humor that resonated with some, but which tended to go over like a lead balloon among some of the more serious career bureaucrats (as you can imagine from the two mentioned books, we both tended pretty strongly libertarian).

Over the course of one fire, which we put out and had to camp on for a few days (to ensure that it did not start back up again due to smoldering embers), we decided to create a “top ten list,” which consisted mostly of inside-jokes from our fire crew.  We got a little carried away, and the final version was a top 100 list, which we typed up, printed, laminated, and taped to the fire station bathroom walls.  And then we both got fired.

Well, we didn’t get fired.  But the station manager certainly tried.  He was a very small man in his late 40’s or maybe early 50’s, single.  I won’t go into much more detail except to say that he was what I would describe as a seasoned bureaucrat.  His name is Bob.  He possessed an ego that was built through years of justifying his own existence by inflating his own importance and that of his agency, as seems to be the primary function of well-seasoned bureaucrats.  He may not have been humorless, but he did not share my humor, and anything that verged on self-deprecation was not merely un-funny, it was insulting and deeply offensive.  The top 100 list had been written not by insiders – career firefighters – but by outsiders who happened to temporarily reside on the inside and therefore enjoyed all of the same knowledge and understanding of the way this agency operated, without carrying any of the fidelity and emotional/egotistical attachment to the agency itself.  It was, to put it mildly, self-deprecating.  It was also somewhat biting in its sarcasm.  While the vast majority of these 100 jokes were purely inside jokes, plays on our various names or silly things that we had done for the past few years (one joke referenced an elaborate insect fighting arena that several of us had painstakingly constructed over the course of several hours of down-time, another joke referenced the common and traditional time-waster of hacky sack, beloved by wildland firefighters, I assume globally), there were quite a few jokes that took on the nature of a more biting social commentary.

All were observations, however.  The length of one’s lunch break seemed to increase exponentially with GS level, for instance.  The department tended to spend money much as one would expect, it being “other people’s money,” so to speak.  We would roll 5 trucks to a single-tree fire in order to log 24 hours of hazard pay for all involved.  Helicopter fire-spotting routes sometimes tended to follow elk trails, with all on board hoping to draw a tag for the areas being scouted.  Crews would sleep on fires without ever building camp, in order to claim an additional 8 consecutive hours.  And, as often happens in bureaucracies, advancement had far more to do with time-served and qualifications technically obtained; at most levels, it is not a meritocracy.

We were not fired, though, because we were federal employees who had not engaged in any sort of behavior that would enable this man to fire us, though he tried his absolute hardest to find something, anything, over the course of the rest of that summer, and into the off-season.  He called me in January after I had filed my automatic rehire paperwork, asking why I had lied on the application.  I pointed out that I had not lied on the application; he had misunderstood the form in question, perhaps in his zeal to submit a rejection.  I kept that job for three additional years, finally leaving to attend law school … some would say foolishly; but even having learned to game the system, and even had I been able to make a decent (possibly better) living of it, I am no bureaucrat.

Just before leaving, I made national news.  I had become an IC4 in the same way I had not gotten fired: by understanding how a bureaucracy works, and by taking advantage of those very things we were mocking in our top 100 list, while productively utilizing that aforementioned downtime.  The agency regularly offered courses, many of which were prerequisites for further courses, and all of which resulted in various qualifications being given.  While most people viewed these courses with a sense of dread, and therefore avoided them, I did the exact opposite.  They were an opportunity to fill days and even weeks, and however boring (or sometimes even difficult) they might be, there was a payoff.  I was sent on assignment (firefighters are often sent to other states at various times because of the seasonality of fires, which would be burning in Arizona while snow was still falling in Montana) to different states and offices, and would sign up for every class I could find.  I ended up being certified in a fairly ridiculous number of things, for a non-career firefighter; structure triage, class-b chainsaw, urban interface, helicopter crewman, etc… etc… etc…   I ended up becoming an Incident Commander 4 (the lowest level, for the smallest fires).

Which resulted in my rolling up to a fire early one morning in an engine – the first to arrive, and therefore assigned as incident commander.  I walked the fire, directing crews to do various things, dig line here and there, saw down trees, put out hot spots, until the fire was pretty much contained.  Toward the end of the afternoon, I radioed the chief of a crew that was working down in a little coulee on the edge of the fire to ask how their progress was going.  He said that it was starting to get a little hot, and he could use a few bucket drops from the helicopter.  So I radioed the helicopter, whose crew chief said no.  He didn’t outright refuse, but he told me that they are a national helicopter crew, not our local helitack, and that they were supposed to be reserved for complex fires, not local ones.  He wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, he said, and it was of absolute importance that he get back to the station so that he could be available for those far more important, far more serious matters for which his crew is specially intended.  I said I just needed a couple of buckets to put out this hot spot and then he could go.  He persisted; it would take too long… this is not a complex fire, and we have no need for a national helitack crew … we did have a need, of course, but we lacked the proper designation.  The man on the ground observes the need – the guy in the long yellow shirt, green pants, and filthy red cap, dripping sweat while holding a pulaski and a radio, telling me that things are getting a bit hot down here – he observed the need.  The man with the papers in one hand and a pencil in the other – having attained such lofty heights through sheer longevity and maybe a little sweet talk … well, he is the organizer.  He is the planner, and he is the self-described expert.  And he says that a national helicopter doesn’t belong on a local fire.  The crew chief appealed to that authority, and the national helicopter left.

Winds tend to change at dusk.  The helicopter returned at dawn.  To a national fire.  When I left a few days later, no longer an IC4, I left a fire that was now staffed by a national team.  A team of experts.  The sorts of people who only come out to a complex fire that has long since merged with several smaller spot fires after that evening wind blew up our coulee and jumped the next.  I drove away and stopped at the top of a hill that gave me a fantastic view of a massive plume that looked like those clouds down in White Sands, New Mexico.

I went home and packed my bags for law school, my outsider-on-the-inside view of bureaucracy feeling like a living, growing organism that might lay still until its next inevitable though unsolicited feeding.  I put my red-card, that somewhat comical memento that was filled with never again to be used qualifications into my wallet.  And once it went national, they renamed my fire.

* * * * *

There is no problem so big that the government cannot step in and make it worse.

I may have studied Russian history and read dozens upon dozens of books that explored communism, fascism, and totalitarianism in its various forms, but I did not start using that phrase until years of working with governments in the United States.  In 2020 and 2021, I have used it so regularly that it rolls off the tongue as naturally as “good morning,” or “very nice to meet you.”  In March of 2020, a doctor friend said to me “This isn’t what it is being made out to be, but I can guarantee you it will be among the most talked about events of our lifetimes,” and she was right.  Histories will be written, and the honest ones will all be titled with some variation on the above truth.  In March, when I was talking with my doctor friend, I held to a view of the United States that proved to be less reliable than I assumed.  Noting the extreme reactions that politicians and the media were having to numbers that were being projected by individuals whose history of prognostication consisted almost entirely of wildly exaggerated doomsday scenarios (be it aids, mad cow disease, the swine flu, etc…) followed by calls for draconian government interventions to control human behavior, in conjunction with a seemingly brand-new push toward testing the healthy under the assumption that they simply may not know they’re sick, I posed a hypothetical, which at the time seemed ridiculous.

Imagine, I suggested, what would happen if we tested everyone for the common cold (whether coronavirus or rhinovirus and via the PCR method which magnifies viral particles that may or may not be a cause of illness), whether they were sick or not.  If positive, and the person subsequently dies (or if the person tests positive at death, because we are testing everyone under this scenario), we refer to it as a death by cold.  We regularly publish numbers of positive tests, numbers of deaths, and this dominates our news cycle 24/7.  I was not suggesting that CV19 is equivalent to the common cold.  I was merely asking this as a hypothetical question – if we did this for known illnesses, be it the cold or the flu, what would that look like?  I asked this question before any states had even engaged in the never before thought possible action of locking down entire societies and quarantining the healthy.

What I envisioned was, in a lot of ways, what we actually saw in response to COVID-19.  But I never could have imagined the sheer destruction that has resulted.  This is because, as an attorney, I assumed that governors would be barred from assuming dictatorial powers, as our “state of emergency” statutes clearly do not allow for these long-term (or even permanent?) emergencies, nor does our constitution allow for utter disregard of individual liberties and separation of powers.  As an American, and particularly as a Westerner, I believed that the public would simply never put up with anything lasting more than a week or two at most.  I believed, along with Neil Furguson, that “it simply wasn’t possible.”  But then it was.  And I was wrong.  I had envisioned the making of a mountain from a molehill; I had envisioned sensationalization and the stoking of fear; I had envisioned the displacement of ordinary risks in favor of a laser-like focus on one single risk, which, just as the PCR test magnifies the virus itself, resulted in an insanely disproportionate view of this particular problem; but what I never envisioned was the voluntary relinquishment of our individual rights and self-governance and the handing over of the entirety of our lives to Bob.

What should (hopefully very soon) go down as the worst manmade global catastrophe in human history is something that has resulted from the empowerment of bureaucrats.  We have many examples of the disasters that have resulted from communist rule, or the tyranny that results from despotic rule, and we have just passed the one-year mark of what may be a years-long example of the disaster that results from bureaucratic rule.

I will borrow from Ludwig Von Mises, and his book that seemed to read less like an economic primer and more like an explanatory text to accompany my time with the Bureau of Land Management, as he discusses the problem of the bureaucrat:

In this field [public administration] the discretion of the officeholders and their subaltern aids is not restricted by considerations of profit and loss.  If their supreme boss – no matter whether he is the sovereign people or a sovereign despot- were to leave them a free hand, he would renounce his own supremacy in their favor.  These officers would become irresponsible agents, and their power would supersede that of the people or the despot.  They would do what pleased them, not what their bosses wanted them to do.  pg.310, Human Action.

Mises very succinctly describes a problem that is caused by the simple temptations of human nature; but what does it mean when an agent does what pleases him?  If he is an expert in the field of epidemiology, shouldn’t we expect him to simply be guided by “the science,” and to use his knowledge for the betterment of mankind?

In that passage, Mises is discussing the role of the bureaucrat, he is not attempting to fully explore the problems that might arise within a bureaucratic technocracy; as such, he accurately describes the removal of limitations that might otherwise act as a check on the manager – these limitations being the preferences of the shareholders or sovereign people, who will be considering a great many things outside and beyond this particular manager’s expertise.  He goes on to say that this reality therefore requires very strict rules and limitations on power, so that the manager is both constrained and held accountable.  I would add that the bureaucrat, with his extremely limited focus, is only valuable if he makes up one very small part of what I might describe as the overall decision-making.  The “bosses” (in this case, we are talking about the accumulated knowledge of an entire population, including preferences, values, and needs) may very well choose make this particular issue (the expertise of the bureaucrat) subservient to other considerations that make up their broader happiness.  Consider this passage, from the same book:

The mathematical economist, blinded by the prepossession that economics must be construed according to the pattern of Newtonian mechanics and is open to treatment by mathematical methods, misconstrues entirely the subject matter of his investigations.  He no longer deals with human action but with a soulless mechanism mysteriously actuated by forces not open to further analysis.  In the imaginary construction of the evenly rotating economy there is, of course, no room for the entrepreneurial function.  Thus the mathematical economist eliminates the entrepreneur from his thought. pg. 704, Human Action

When classical liberal economists talk about “emergent order,” they are referring to a phenomenon that occurs as a result of accumulated wisdom, information gained through individual pursuit of individual interests, which wholly unintentionally but nevertheless powerfully makes its way into the public sphere (e.g. prices that are established through consumer demand), allowing for the efficient allocation of resources without any one person ever analyzing what those resources are and where they might best be used.  Taking some liberty with Mises and his above quote, I would analogize this with the tendency of any bureaucratic “expert” to consider only his limited field at the exclusion of all else – leaving aside entirely the possibility that this might render the epidemiologist disastrously incorrect even within his own field, as he incorrectly assumes that a virus might act upon a homogeneous society filled with people who are all alike, and who all behave the same.

If we consider this “expert” as one voice among the great many voices from which wisdom accumulates, he is a valuable resource.  If, on the other hand, we create an artificial vacuum for this expert to operate in, but then implement his proclamations on the general public, outside that vacuum, the conditions under which his expert determinations would be true are rendered nonexistent, and we are left with expenditures at best, and coercion at worst, which have very real impacts upon the whole society, but not the impacts that would come anywhere close to solving the problems our expert has set out to solve.  Sometimes, quite the opposite.

What we have done with this current manmade global catastrophe has been far, far worse.  Mises discusses bureaucrats as essentially an extension of the manager, which exists in the private market as well.  What he is not discussing is the monster that results from the marriage of those two passages that are hundreds of pages apart in his book:  a technocracy, and the expert bureaucrat.   All of these points to another problem-within-a-problem: not only does the elevation of “the expert” fail to inform our decision-making as a whole, but promoting one expert view among a field of competing views also serves to diminish the possibility of finding truth within that field, even if we are realistic about the limited practical value of the truth in question.  The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

I became an IC4 because I was clever enough to take advantage of the bureaucracy.  On a tiny scale, I created an example of one enormous problem with bureaucratic advancement – and that little organism of doubt has been fed through additional years of experience with bureaucrats in the highest levels of management.  Advancement very often happens on paper.  It does not depend on actual experience, nor does it depend on any actual record of success, value-added, profits, or losses.  In the private market, one constraint that is placed on managers is the reality that failure is not without consequence.  A bureaucrat may be much like a manager, with the important difference being that his path to “success” is destined to be much different, and may not be reflective in any way on his abilities.  The very concerns that limit the value of a bureaucrat within a society also act to greatly limit the value of an individual within a bureaucracy.

Russia, Italy, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Germany, et. al., both historically and today, are all great examples of why communism and fascism do not work.  They are all examples of why totalitarianism creates misery, quite apart from the economic devastation.  2020 has given us, on a far grander scale, an extremely expensive and destructive example of why technocracy cannot and will not ever work.  The very existence of the self-interested technocrat tends to stifle debate and scientific advancement, diminishing by far his expertise.  In other words, the renunciation of our supremacy in favor of his destroys both our liberty and the conditions that would allow his field to develop experts in the first place.  In the end, we lose both freedom and knowledge.

Anthony Fauci recently issued a proclamation, that we might be permitted a return almost to normal, with conditions and permitted we submit ourselves in obedience to his authority … by next Mother’s Day.

That is, unless we declare ourselves to be, once again, a sovereign people.

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  1. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Ricochet Staff,

    I’m working hard to try to get a kitchen pass for an important mandatory weekly staff meeting of the guys who work down the hill at the hardware store.  I’m also extremely busy trying to determine which bar meeting facility the session will be held at this week. 

    I have started this guy’s post, and realized that it is one of those rare tomes that will require my complete attention, during a peak mental performance period.

    Just make sure it’s still there tomorrow.  This Hammer guy sounds like a combination of Captain Louis Renault, Dr. Bastiat,  She, John H., Sawatdeeka, Einstein, H.L. Mencken, and some others who would be embarrassed if I honored them by mentioning them (they know who I mean). Like, this could be the start of another beautiful friendship.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Ricochet Staff,

    I’m working hard to try to get a kitchen pass for an important mandatory weekly staff meeting of the guys who work down the hill at the hardware store. I’m also extremely busy trying to determine which bar meeting facility the session will be held at this week.

    I have started this guy’s post, and realized that it is one of those rare tomes that will require my complete attention, during a peak mental performance period.

    Just make sure it’s still there tomorrow. This Hammer guy sounds like a combination of Captain Louis Renault, Dr. Bastiat, She, John H., Sawatdeeka, Einstein, H.L. Mencken, and some others who would be embarrassed if I honored them by mentioning them (they know who I mean). Like, this could be the start of another beautiful friendship.

    Ryan has been teased a time or two by … umm … some knucklehead, but he is an excellent writer.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    VL;RIA.

    Very Long, Read It Anyway.

    Very good!

    • #3
  4. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I’m about half way through but dinner is calling me.

    I am simply adding my chorus to those who want this kept on the Up and Up so it willmake the main page.

    I also have a total interest in the in’s and out’s of fire fighting. As well as  the fighting with the bureuacracies.

    We started to do so well, here in Northern Calif in terms of seeing fires being put out. One of the first things Gavin Newsom  did as governor, and one of the few good things he did, was that he no longer required a fire on a windy day to consume a full 200 acres before any copters or planes could be sent forth to fight it. I never even knew the old policy was to let a fire get that big before attempting to put it out, as that seemed to be totally stupid policy.

    However now, Newsom has been fighting his budgetary fires, so he has pulled back on funding for local fire districts. (And I hesitate to ask those in the know if this means we are left with fewer personnel or aircraft for the fire fighting – plus I think the answer would be scary.)

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M):

    In that passage, Mises is discussing the role of the bureaucrat, he is not attempting to fully explore the problems that might arise within a bureaucratic technocracy; as such, he accurately describes the removal of limitations that might otherwise act as a check on the manager – these limitations being the preferences of the shareholders or sovereign people, who will be considering a great many things outside and beyond this particular manager’s expertise. 

    Yes, but this was what the progressives such as Woodrow Wilson intended to do: Remove the limitations that might otherwise act as a check.  They assumed that the expert/bureaurcrat/manager, once you removed the limitations of democratic political control, would then be free to do what was best. What they didn’t assume was that the expert/bureaucrat/managers, as individuals and as a class, would put their own interests foremost, and that those interests might conflict with the interests of those who are ruled by them.

    The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

    You might be surprised at the extent to which that is changing among the more recent products of our medical educational system.

     

     

    • #5
  6. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

    You might be surprised at the extent to which that is changing among the more recent products of our medical educational system.

    I went into a doctor’s visit with my wife a while back.  They made us wear surgical masks, but sitting alone with her in the room, I had mine off.  When the doctor walked in, she was angry.  She said that if I removed the mask for even a moment, they would need to sanitize the whole room and close it down for two hours, then talked about how some elderly person with a compromised immune system could come in after me and die as a result of my negligence…   then she removed my wife’s mask for a few minutes to look at her jaw.

    I didn’t argue with the lady, because it wasn’t the time or the place, but my wife has switched doctors.  There are good doctors and there are bad ones.  The good ones learn, and they learn continually.  They diagnose based on experience.  The bad ones do little more than look things up and then follow whatever instruction is listed.  I’ve encountered both kinds.  

    What this doctor said about masks was absolutely ludicrous.  For a dozen different reasons, even if I accepted pro-mask arguments without question, her statements made no sense.  It showed that she had put virtually no thought into what she was now rigidly enforcing.  Ironically, my wife was there for bells palsy, and the doctor outright dismissed the idea of physical therapy.  It may help, she said, and it may not, but she is not going to recommend something that hasn’t been thoroughly studied and shown to work.  I made a face at her, but I guess it was hidden under my mask.

    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years.  Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful.  I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons.  But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

    You might be surprised at the extent to which that is changing among the more recent products of our medical educational system.

    I went into a doctor’s visit with my wife a while back. They made us wear surgical masks, but sitting alone with her in the room, I had mine off. When the doctor walked in, she was angry. She said that if I removed the mask for even a moment, they would need to sanitize the whole room and close it down for two hours, then talked about how some elderly person with a compromised immune system could come in after me and die as a result of my negligence… then she removed my wife’s mask for a few minutes to look at her jaw.

    I didn’t argue with the lady, because it wasn’t the time or the place, but my wife has switched doctors. There are good doctors and there are bad ones. The good ones learn, and they learn continually. They diagnose based on experience. The bad ones do little more than look things up and then follow whatever instruction is listed. I’ve encountered both kinds.

    What this doctor said about masks was absolutely ludicrous. For a dozen different reasons, even if I accepted pro-mask arguments without question, her statements made no sense. It showed that she had put virtually no thought into what she was now rigidly enforcing. Ironically, my wife was there for bells palsy, and the doctor outright dismissed the idea of physical therapy. It may help, she said, and it may not, but she is not going to recommend something that hasn’t been thoroughly studied and shown to work. I made a face at her, but I guess it was hidden under my mask.

    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years. Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful. I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons. But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    That is exactly the sort of thing I meant. 

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

    You might be surprised at the extent to which that is changing among the more recent products of our medical educational system.

    I went into a doctor’s visit with my wife a while back. They made us wear surgical masks, but sitting alone with her in the room, I had mine off. When the doctor walked in, she was angry. She said that if I removed the mask for even a moment, they would need to sanitize the whole room and close it down for two hours, then talked about how some elderly person with a compromised immune system could come in after me and die as a result of my negligence… then she removed my wife’s mask for a few minutes to look at her jaw.

    I didn’t argue with the lady, because it wasn’t the time or the place, but my wife has switched doctors. There are good doctors and there are bad ones. The good ones learn, and they learn continually. They diagnose based on experience. The bad ones do little more than look things up and then follow whatever instruction is listed. I’ve encountered both kinds.

    What this doctor said about masks was absolutely ludicrous. For a dozen different reasons, even if I accepted pro-mask arguments without question, her statements made no sense. It showed that she had put virtually no thought into what she was now rigidly enforcing. Ironically, my wife was there for bells palsy, and the doctor outright dismissed the idea of physical therapy. It may help, she said, and it may not, but she is not going to recommend something that hasn’t been thoroughly studied and shown to work. I made a face at her, but I guess it was hidden under my mask.

    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years. Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful. I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons. But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    Instead of making an unseen face under your mask, maybe you could have pointed at it…

    • #8
  9. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years. Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful. I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons. But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    Instead of making an unseen face under your mask, maybe you could have pointed at it…

    It didn’t seem like the sort of conversation that would resonate.  I did have a more lengthy conversation (very early on) with my own doctor, who is also a friend (totally unrelated to being my doctor).  I asked if she honestly believed that masks were effective.  She said that she didn’t see how they could hurt … and she said that she has treated covid patients at the hospital, and she thinks that we need to “do something.”  I asked if doing something was still worthwhile if it had serious costs and no benefit, and she didn’t really have an answer to that.  I pointed out to her that a medical philosophy that was based on “well, this seems like it would work,” would be extremely primitive and likely counterproductive.  How many examples of this do we have in medieval medicine?  During the black plague, the city of Paris (I believe) rightly supposed that the virus might be carried by animals, so it exterminated cats and dogs.  It was carried by rats, which thrived with these predators eradicated, and the cure was far worse than the disease.  Most medical advancement occurs when someone comes along and goes against the conventional wisdom to discover something new, or to follow a seemingly counterintuitive line of reasoning. 

    This is hardly something that doesn’t occur today…   think about cholesterol.  Previously assumed that if you eat cholesterol, you will clog your arteries and have heart problems.  Seems right (kind of like the way it seems like wearing a mask would naturally stop a virus from escaping your mouth and filling a room), but that assumption isn’t really true, as genetics plays a much larger role than butter.  But governments are virtually incapable of responding to new information, once they get the propaganda machine rolling and are invested in whatever assumption they’ve made.  This is why so many of the CDC’s recommendations have been outright ridiculous…  eggs will kill you, dairy will kill you, everyone eat carbs …  wait, carbs will kill you.  Now red meat, now fats, whatever else.  The one thing they are wholly immune to is the sort of humility it takes to practice good medicine and regularly question your assumptions.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years. Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful. I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons. But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    Instead of making an unseen face under your mask, maybe you could have pointed at it…

    It didn’t seem like the sort of conversation that would resonate. I did have a more lengthy conversation (very early on) with my own doctor, who is also a friend (totally unrelated to being my doctor). I asked if she honestly believed that masks were effective. She said that she didn’t see how they could hurt … and she said that she has treated covid patients at the hospital, and she thinks that we need to “do something.” I asked if doing something was still worthwhile if it had serious costs and no benefit, and she didn’t really have an answer to that. I pointed out to her that a medical philosophy that was based on “well, this seems like it would work,” would be extremely primitive and likely counterproductive. How many examples of this do we have in medieval medicine? During the black plague, the city of Paris (I believe) rightly supposed that the virus might be carried by animals, so it exterminated cats and dogs. It was carried by rats, which thrived with these predators eradicated, and the cure was far worse than the disease. Most medical advancement occurs when someone comes along and goes against the conventional wisdom to discover something new, or to follow a seemingly counterintuitive line of reasoning.

    This is hardly something that doesn’t occur today… think about cholesterol. Previously assumed that if you eat cholesterol, you will clog your arteries and have heart problems. Seems right (kind of like the way it seems like wearing a mask would naturally stop a virus from escaping your mouth and filling a room), but that assumption isn’t really true, as genetics plays a much larger role than butter. But governments are virtually incapable of responding to new information, once they get the propaganda machine rolling and are invested in whatever assumption they’ve made. This is why so many of the CDC’s recommendations have been outright ridiculous… eggs will kill you, dairy will kill you, everyone eat carbs … wait, carbs will kill you. Now red meat, now fats, whatever else. The one thing they are wholly immune to is the sort of humility it takes to practice good medicine and regularly question your assumptions.

    Keep in mind that you might be find yourself doing the same thing she does when she says she won’t recommend physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy. There are no CDC studies saying it works, so she won’t recommend it. There are hardly any studies showing that masks work, either. If you throw out all the studies and pseudo-studies about mask mandates, you are left with very, very few about the efficacy of masks, themselves. And although there is some evidence that they help, it’s rather thin gruel.  But you have a reason why you think physical therapy might help with Bell’s Palsy, or at least wouldn’t hurt to try, and she has reasons why masks might help with lessening viral loads.  But really solid studies showing the efficacy of either? Not so much. 

    Of course a difference is that you aren’t asking for a physical therapy mandate.

    BTW, I had Bell’s Palsy two years ago, and wondered the same.  I didn’t do any regular exercises. Maybe I should have, but lately I can hardly tell I ever had it, at least when I’m wide awake. But a year ago at this time I could still notice some effect.  I was recently trying out my new 360-degree action camera with my bicycle and was surprised to see the distortion in my face when I was huffing and puffing up a hill. I’m not a very symmetrical guy to start with, but I thought at first the Bell’s Palsy had affected me more than I had known.  Then I realized it was the usual distortion of having a camera with a very wide-angle lens just inches from one side of my face.

    • #10
  11. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment)

    Keep in mind that you might be find yourself doing the same thing she does when she says she won’t recommend physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy. There are no CDC studies saying it works, so she won’t recommend it. There are hardly any studies showing that masks work, either. If you throw out all the studies and pseudo-studies about mask mandates, you are left with very, very few about the efficacy of masks, themselves. And although there is some evidence that they help, it’s rather thin gruel. But you have a reason why you think physical therapy might help with Bell’s Palsy, or at least wouldn’t hurt to try, and she has reasons why masks might help with lessening viral loads. But really solid studies showing the efficacy of either? Not so much.

    Of course a difference is that you aren’t asking for a physical therapy mandate.

    BTW, I had Bell’s Palsy two years ago, and wondered the same. I didn’t do any regular exercises. Maybe I should have, but lately I can hardly tell I ever had it, at least when I’m wide awake. But a year ago at this time I could still notice some effect. I was recently trying out my new 360-degree action camera with my bicycle and was surprised to see the distortion in my face when I was huffing and puffing up a hill. I’m not a very symmetrical guy to start with, but I thought at first the Bell’s Palsy had affected me more than I had known. Then I realized it was the usual distortion of having a camera with a very wide-angle lens just inches from one side of my face.

    Exactly as you say. For my wife, the possibility that it might help was worth it. But that was her choice, it was voluntary, and it was not imposed on anyone else.  As I mentioned in my post, individual action is how we gain knowledge. The problem is when some want to experiment with collective action. That should never be tolerated, because even if it “works,” it is not worth the cost.

    • #11
  12. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    I agree that the medical profession as a whole seems to have gone very far downhill – but consider what has happened over the past 20 or 30 years.  Excessive regulation, monopolization of services (usually by major hospitals), the bureaucratization of medicine has been amazingly thorough, and the results have been awful.  I obviously don’t believe that this insane covid response could have happened in any other era of American history, for political reasons.  But you are absolutely right to suggest (excuse me for planting these words in your mouth) that it could not happen under previous generations of doctors, either.

    Bravo.  Bravo.  Bravissimo.  I am ashamed at how my previously-honorable profession has become a tool of totalitarianism in enforcing Wu-flu orthodoxy.

    Bravo.

    • #12
  13. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Keep in mind that you might be find yourself doing the same thing she does when she says she won’t recommend physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy. There are no CDC studies saying it works, so she won’t recommend it.

    This is an interesting point that comes up all the time.  Organized Medicine has, in my lifetime, adopted the standard of “Evidence Based Medicine”.  This requires that any putative treatment be subjected to multiple demanding studies that prove, with greater than 95% certainty, that said treatment is safe and effective, etc etc.

    On the surface this seems only logical.  But it’s a scam, for three reasons that I discuss with patients regularly.

    First, if a putative treatment is only shown to be 90% likely to be safe and effective, it is rejected.  So, if we use 50/50 as our standard, 90% of safe and effective therapies will be rejected.

    Second, and common in my line of work, many safe therapies are effective to an individual, but may not prove helpful to a study cohort, which is analogous to a population.  I often use a tiny dose of active thyroid hormone, T3 (not T4, Synthroid, which is a pre-hormone) for my patients who have a plateau while on medically supervised weight loss.  Large studies show this is not effective for a cohort, so it is rejected by Organized Medicine.  But for an individual who, in the course of weight loss, has experienced the physiologic response to starvation of turning off the deiodinase enzyme that activates T4 into T3, adding a little T3–just 5 micrograms a day (micrograms, not milligrams!)–can get weight loss to resume, despite what the professors tell us. And weight loss is good for obese people.

    Third, a study only applies to a population like the cohort which was studied.  A recent study of hypothyroidism in infertility concluded that correcting subclinical hypothyroidism was ineffective in preventing miscarriage.  But the study was done in China on a cohort whose average age was 26 and average BMI was about 20.  Young slender Chinese women may have very different thyroid metabolism than obese 40 year old American women.  Such a study is irrelevant outside of China.

    If your Doc refuses to prescribe an innocuous therapy which you request, like physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy, ask, is it possible that ANYONE can be helped by this innocuous therapy?  If so, how do you that I am not that person?  You don’t know that, so why not give it a try?

    The more experienced the Doc, the more likely this logic will be effective. Gray haired Docs know that studies and statistics apply to populations, not to individuals. Gray haired Docs generally know that their job is to treat the individual in front of them.

    My hair has been gray (and scant) for 25 years.

    • #13
  14. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

     

    This is an interesting point that comes up all the time. Organized Medicine has, in my lifetime, adopted the standard of “Evidence Based Medicine”. This requires that any putative treatment be subjected to multiple demanding studies that prove, with greater than 95% certainty, that said treatment is safe and effective, etc etc.

    On the surface this seems only logical. But it’s a scam, for three reasons that I discuss with patients regularly.

    First, if a putative treatment is only shown to be 90% likely to be safe and effective, it is rejected. So, if we use 50/50 as our standard, 90% of safe and effective therapies will be rejected.

    Second, and common in my line of work, many safe therapies are effective to an individual, but may not prove helpful to a study cohort, which is analogous to a population. I often use a tiny dose of active thyroid hormone, T3 (not T4, Synthroid, which is a pre-hormone) for my patients who have a plateau while on medically supervised weight loss. Large studies show this is not effective for a cohort, so it is rejected by Organized Medicine. But for an individual who, in the course of weight loss, has experienced the physiologic response to starvation of turning off the deiodinase enzyme that activates T4 into T3, adding a little T3–just 5 micrograms a day (micrograms, not milligrams!)–can get weight loss to resume, despite what the professors tell us. And weight loss is good for obese people.

    Third, a study only applies to a population like the cohort which was studied. A recent study of hypothyroidism in infertility concluded that correcting subclinical hypothyroidism was ineffective in preventing miscarriage. But the study was done in China on a cohort whose average age was 26 and average BMI was about 20. Young slender Chinese women may have very different thyroid metabolism than obese 40 year old American women. Such a study is irrelevant outside of China.

    If your Doc refuses to prescribe an innocuous therapy which you request, like physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy, ask, is it possible that ANYONE can be helped by this innocuous therapy? If so, how do you that I am not that person? You don’t know that, so why not give it a try?

    The more experienced the Doc, the more likely this logic will be effective. Gray haired Docs know that studies and statistics apply to populations, not to individuals. Gray haired Docs generally know that their job is to treat the individual in front of them.

    My hair has been gray (and scant) for 25 years.

    She ended up insisting that the referral be made. Which mattered little, as we paid cash. Her bells palsy is gone. Is it because of the therapy? No idea, but it helped her to know she was doing everything she could.  

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    This is an interesting point that comes up all the time.  Organized Medicine has, in my lifetime, adopted the standard of “Evidence Based Medicine”.  This requires that any putative treatment be subjected to multiple demanding studies that prove, with greater than 95% certainty, that said treatment is safe and effective, etc etc.

    On the surface this seems only logical.  But it’s a scam, for three reasons that I discuss with patients regularly.

    First, if a putative treatment is only shown to be 90% likely to be safe and effective, it is rejected.  So, if we use 50/50 as our standard, 90% of safe and effective therapies will be rejected.

    I take xeljanz for my ulcerative colitis, which I’m told by my gastroenterologist AND my MD brother is only useful in 40% or less of patients who try it.  I got pretty lucky, as I’ve had bad reactions to other courses including – most recently – azathioprene.  But how is it that it got approved for use, if far less than 95% of patients benefit from it?

    • #15
  16. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    Keep in mind that you might be find yourself doing the same thing she does when she says she won’t recommend physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy. There are no CDC studies saying it works, so she won’t recommend it. There are hardly any studies showing that masks work, either. If you throw out all the studies and pseudo-studies about mask mandates, you are left with very, very few about the efficacy of masks, themselves. And although there is some evidence that they help, it’s rather thin gruel. 

    I know this isn’t your main point, but I want to add that there is evidence about masks that pre-dates covid, almost all negative. One major study was conducted recently, which shows no benefit, and has therefore been swept under the rug.

    The evidence really does show that masks, while undeniably tyrannical, are largely ineffective for any purpose other than propaganda and social control.

    And the studies cited by proponents? As Dr. Robert says, studies are only as valuable as their constraints. Perfectly-fitted n95 masks affixed to dummies can show the distance that droplets travel, yes… And it doesn’t take much critical thinking to understand why such a study is useless. And models that project efficacy can only be run with data input, which requires assumptions (any guesses what these assumptions end up being?). This sort of circular reasoning is now passing as “science,” to the great shame of all involved.

    And again- I might question the sound reasoning of any individual who still chooses this intervention, but that’s not what we are dealing with.  I have a hard time believing that so many doctors, and even incompetent bureaucrats, could be quite so foolish… Which leads me to suspect that the “social control” aspect is deemed to be worth this noble lie.

    As Mises says, they will pursue their own aims and interests, no longer subservient to ours, we the once-sovereign public, their “bosses.”

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    I know this isn’t your main point, but I want to add that there is evidence about masks that pre-dates covid, almost all negative. One major study was conducted recently, which shows no benefit, and has therefore been swept under the rug.

    I was referring to studies that specifically related the wearing of masks to the incidence of covid-19, which of course could not pre-date covid-19.

     

    • #17
  18. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    I know this isn’t your main point, but I want to add that there is evidence about masks that pre-dates covid, almost all negative. One major study was conducted recently, which shows no benefit, and has therefore been swept under the rug.

    I was referring to studies that specifically related the wearing of masks to the incidence of covid-19, which of course could not pre-date covid-19.

    True. The major Danish study is the only one I know of, and it was rejected by several publications – purely for political reasons – before finally being published (with the required caveat that, in spite of it’s findings, people really ought to continue wearing masks).  There is ample evidence that they make virtually no difference to outcomes, but that is the only large-scale clinical study that I’m aware of. There may be one other, but I cannot name it. There have been zero such studies conducted that have found efficacy.

     

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    True. The major Danish study is the only one I know of, and it was rejected by several publications – purely for political reasons – before finally being published (with the required caveat that, in spite of it’s findings, people really ought to continue wearing masks).  There is ample evidence that they make virtually no difference to outcomes, but that is the only large-scale clinical study that I’m aware of. There may be one other, but I cannot name it. There have been zero such studies conducted that have found efficacy.

    The one I was thinking of did find some efficacy, though it was not spectacular efficacy. It was conducted in one of the asian countries.  It was an observational study in which observers recorded whether people wore masks or not.  I don’t think it could be classified as a large-scale study. 

    • #19
  20. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    True. The major Danish study is the only one I know of, and it was rejected by several publications – purely for political reasons – before finally being published (with the required caveat that, in spite of it’s findings, people really ought to continue wearing masks). There is ample evidence that they make virtually no difference to outcomes, but that is the only large-scale clinical study that I’m aware of. There may be one other, but I cannot name it. There have been zero such studies conducted that have found efficacy.

    The one I was thinking of did find some efficacy, though it was not spectacular efficacy. It was conducted in one of the asian countries. It was an observational study in which observers recorded whether people wore masks or not. I don’t think it could be classified as a large-scale study.

    Not a clinically designed study, as was the Danish one. The problem with those sorts of studies is that they rely on honest and accurate reporting after the fact. If we’re going with simple observation, I think the most obvious indication of the uselessness of masking is the absolute lack of correlation between differences in masking levels and covid outcomes pretty much anywhere.

    If an intervention was effective, that would be immediately apparent.  And again, we’re talking about government coersion. We have to have standards that go way, way beyond “well, it looks like this could possibly have some minimal impact… Maybe.”

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    The problem with those sorts of studies is that they rely on honest and accurate reporting after the fact

    This one didn’t rely on that. 

    • #21
  22. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    This is an interesting point that comes up all the time. Organized Medicine has, in my lifetime, adopted the standard of “Evidence Based Medicine”. This requires that any putative treatment be subjected to multiple demanding studies that prove, with greater than 95% certainty, that said treatment is safe and effective, etc etc.

    On the surface this seems only logical. But it’s a scam, for three reasons that I discuss with patients regularly.

    First, if a putative treatment is only shown to be 90% likely to be safe and effective, it is rejected. So, if we use 50/50 as our standard, 90% of safe and effective therapies will be rejected.

    I take xeljanz for my ulcerative colitis, which I’m told by my gastroenterologist AND my MD brother is only useful in 40% or less of patients who try it. I got pretty lucky, as I’ve had bad reactions to other courses including – most recently – azathioprene. But how is it that it got approved for use, if far less than 95% of patients benefit from it?

    Not the same thing.

    The statisticians taught me, in college, in medical school, in my residency and in my fellowship, that a “significant difference” is one that has less than a 5% chance of having arisen by chance.  So a treatment that is only useful for a small subgroup of patients, perhaps an unpredictable small subgroup, can still be judged valid if it did not arise by chance.  The formerly-august but now woke New England Journal of Medicine was a piece two or three years ago lamenting that the 5% threshold is allegedly too loose, that a stricter threshold, say 1%, should be employed.

    In so many matters, our leaders are out to kill us.

    • #22
  23. TJSnapp, Multi Pass holder Member
    TJSnapp, Multi Pass holder
    @Kaladin

    I have perused, skimmed and in some cases outright read all published mask studies referenced by the CDC in their recommendation releases.  I have also read as many other relevant studies as I could find which are not referenced by the CDC (the Danish study strangely isn’t included…).  As The Reticulator says, there is some small evidence suggesting masks are slightly effective, but “thin gruel” indeed.  

    There is also a lot of evidence in many of the same studies that there is no such thing as asymptomatic spread.  In fact if you dig in you realize that the justification for the existence of asymptomatic spread is simply that it must exist because most people are wearing masks but Covid is still spreading!  Quick, healthy people mask up, you’re killing the elderly!

    The same studies also suggest there is an approaching zero percent chance of reinfection.  In the largest Asian case study of more than 10,000,000 people there were less than 100 cases of supposed reinfection, and the researchers concluded that those were likely test errors.

    These are two of the largest justifications given for continuing mask usage and other disease mitigation tactics.  Both are non issues at best and malicious fabrications if you’re wearing tinfoil.

    • #23
  24. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Keep in mind that you might be find yourself doing the same thing she does when she says she won’t recommend physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy. There are no CDC studies saying it works, so she won’t recommend it.

    This is an interesting point that comes up all the time. Organized Medicine has, in my lifetime, adopted the standard of “Evidence Based Medicine”. This requires that any putative treatment be subjected to multiple demanding studies that prove, with greater than 95% certainty, that said treatment is safe and effective, etc etc.

    On the surface this seems only logical. But it’s a scam, for three reasons that I discuss with patients regularly.

    First, if a putative treatment is only shown to be 90% likely to be safe and effective, it is rejected. So, if we use 50/50 as our standard, 90% of safe and effective therapies will be rejected.

    Second, and common in my line of work, many safe therapies are effective to an individual, but may not prove helpful to a study cohort, which is analogous to a population.  […]

    Third, a study only applies to a population like the cohort which was studied. […]

    If your Doc refuses to prescribe an innocuous therapy which you request, like physical therapy for Bell’s Palsy, ask, is it possible that ANYONE can be helped by this innocuous therapy? If so, how do you that I am not that person? You don’t know that, so why not give it a try?

    The more experienced the Doc, the more likely this logic will be effective. Gray haired Docs know that studies and statistics apply to populations, not to individuals. Gray haired Docs generally know that their job is to treat the individual in front of them.

    My hair has been gray (and scant) for 25 years.

    In March, 2020 a gray-haired doctor named Anthony Fauci agreed with you:

    [Chris] Stigall asked: “If you’re a doctor listening to me right now and a patient with coronavirus feels like they want to try that [hydroxychloroquine], and you’re their doctor, you’re not Anthony Fauci the guy running the coronavirus task force, would you say ‘alright, we’ll give it a whirl?’ ”

    Fauci responded: “Yeah, of course, particularly if people have no other option. These drugs are approved drugs for other reasons. They’re anti-malaria drugs, and they’re drugs against certain autoimmune diseases like lupus. Physicians throughout the country can prescribe that in an off-label way. Which means they can write it for something it was not approved for.”https://www.worldtribune.com/unreported-fauci-would-prescribe-chloroquine-to-coronavirus-patients/

    The conservative media may have oversold these comments:  after all, Fauci is merely saying hydroxychloroquine can be useful as a placebo.

    So I tried to find out the liberal media’s take.  Answer:  there wasn’t one. They suppressed the incident altogether.

     

     

    • #24
  25. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Several parts of this post and comments lead me back to considerations incorporated and elaborated in the Chesterton viewpoints on communitarianism, distributism, and subsidiarity. That which we are losing by federalizing medical and health doctrine and practice has happened as well in public education and is now making its way into legal doctrine, practice, and enforcement. Just think of how much direction or influence coming from CDC, Department of Education, and Department of Justice is wrong and not acceptable to locals. It’s happening in other fields as well.  

    • #25
  26. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M):

    In that passage, Mises is discussing the role of the bureaucrat, he is not attempting to fully explore the problems that might arise within a bureaucratic technocracy; as such, he accurately describes the removal of limitations that might otherwise act as a check on the manager – these limitations being the preferences of the shareholders or sovereign people, who will be considering a great many things outside and beyond this particular manager’s expertise.

    Yes, but this was what the progressives such as Woodrow Wilson intended to do: Remove the limitations that might otherwise act as a check. They assumed that the expert/bureaurcrat/manager, once you removed the limitations of democratic political control, would then be free to do what was best. What they didn’t assume was that the expert/bureaucrat/managers, as individuals and as a class, would put their own interests foremost, and that those interests might conflict with the interests of those who are ruled by them.

    The CDC may claim authority by virtue of its platform, but rarely is the advice of the CDC the same advice you would receive in a visit with your individual physician, far less does it reflect the actual behavior of that physician.

    You might be surprised at the extent to which that is changing among the more recent products of our medical educational system.

     

    One of  the most worrisome aspect of the CDC is how it sent out special advisories to physicians to let them know there were too many risks associated with the actual COVID remedies for those to be used.

    When a doctor like Simone Gold insisted to her co-workers that her patients were thriving under HCQ, she was then reported to administration. they let her know she could continue to treat her patients with HCQ and lose her job,  or follow the CDC guidelines.

    She choose to treat her patients, since hers were beating back the infection while all the other doctors at her hospital were losing theirs.

    She was indeed fired, but then she became an integral part of the Frontline Doctors of America.

    Another doctor who has been outspoken about how the “health experts” in the USA tried to badmouth any and all of a group of remedies, has appeared before Congress to explain how therapies exist and need to be encouraged by our “experts” and agency health officials.  That man is Dr Peter McCullough of TX. He states that 80% of the lives that were lost to COVID would most likely have survived the infection if the wide range of therapies he has used were employed.

    One website with a decent interview of Dr Peter is here: https://leohohmann.com/2021/04/30/highly-cited-covid-doctor-comes-to-stunning-conclusion-govt-scrubbing-unprecedented-numbers-of-injection-related-deaths/

    It is necessary to scroll down for a half page or so to see the video.

     

     

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    One of  the most worrisome aspect of the CDC is how it sent out special advisories to physicians to let them know there were too many risks associated with the actual COVID remedies for those to be used.

    When a doctor like Simone Gold insisted to her co-workers that her patients were thriving under HCQ, she was then reported to administration. they let her know she could continue to treat her patients with HCQ and lose her job,  or follow the CDC guidelines.

    Yup. If there is any credibility to the claims about HCQ’s efficacy, it’s thanks to the CDC.

    • #27
  28. Hammer, The (Ryan M) Member
    Hammer, The (Ryan M)
    @RyanM

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    One of the most worrisome aspect of the CDC is how it sent out special advisories to physicians to let them know there were too many risks associated with the actual COVID remedies for those to be used.

    When a doctor like Simone Gold insisted to her co-workers that her patients were thriving under HCQ, she was then reported to administration. they let her know she could continue to treat her patients with HCQ and lose her job, or follow the CDC guidelines.

    Yup. If there is any credibility to the claims about HCQ’s efficacy, it’s thanks to the CDC.

    The hesitance to use any preventative or curative measures is somewhat discouraging – ivermectin being another, or even vitamin C and D.  I suspect that these are actively suppressed because they undermine the more authoritarian measures (lockdowns, masks, restrictions, etc…).  Again, I don’t think it is a conspiracy, I just think it is a mindset.  Much like saying that restrictions cannot be eased due to vaccines (even though that is exactly what they said they would do when they justified these restrictions to begin with) because they think that unvaccinated people will stop following restrictions as well (which, of course, it is their absolute right to do so).  I think what has really happened is that – as per my post – these bureaucrats and politicians have created a position, which was shockingly accepted widely by the public, wherein they have almost full control over human behavior, and they are extremely reluctant to give that up.

    In March of last year, what did we constantly hear?  Well, this is not like the flu because there are no vaccines and no treatments.  So now we have both vaccines and treatments, but the goalposts have shifted dramatically.  There is no justification for any of these infringements on liberty, or anything beyond simple recommendations (as with the flu… stay home if you are sick, wear a mask if that makes you comfortable, wash your hands, get exercise, take vitamins, etc… etc…), but the health-department dream has come true and more because of covid, and as with FDR’s “temporary wartime measures” that are still with us, we see that liberty, once relinquished, is virtually never voluntarily restored.

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    The hesitance to use any preventative or curative measures is somewhat discouraging – ivermectin being another, or even vitamin C and D.  I suspect that these are actively suppressed because they undermine the more authoritarian measures (lockdowns, masks, restrictions, etc…).  Again, I don’t think it is a conspiracy, I just think it is a mindset.  Much like saying that restrictions cannot be eased due to vaccines (even though that is exactly what they said they would do when they justified these restrictions to begin with) because they think that unvaccinated people will stop following restrictions as well (which, of course, it is their absolute right to do so).  I think what has really happened is that – as per my post – these bureaucrats and politicians have created a position, which was shockingly accepted widely by the public, wherein they have almost full control over human behavior, and they are extremely reluctant to give that up.

    Certainly there is some of that kind of power grab going on. Far too much of it.  But I hadn’t heard of anyone badmouthing Vitamin D. Have you really heard that? Vitamin D is needed to keep your immune system in good shape. Downplaying its role would not be following the science, to coin a phrase. The vaccines won’t do much good for a person who doesn’t have a functioning immune system.

    • #29
  30. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Hammer, The (Ryan M) (View Comment):
    True. The major Danish study is the only one I know of, and it was rejected by several publications – purely for political reasons – before finally being published SNIP There is ample evidence that they make virtually no difference to outcomes, but that is the only large-scale clinical study SNIP . There may be one other, but I cannot name it. There have been zero such studies conducted that have found efficacy.

    The one I was thinking of did find some efficacy, but not spectacular efficacy. It was conducted in one of the asian countries. It was an observational study in which observers recorded whether people wore masks or not.SNIP

    Not a clinically designed study, as was the Danish one. The problem with those sorts of studies is that they rely on honest and accurate reporting after the fact. If we’re going with simple observation, I think the most obvious indication of the uselessness of masking is the absolute lack of correlation between differences in masking levels and covid outcomes pretty much anywhere.

    If an intervention was effective, that would be immediately apparent. And again, we’re talking about government coersion.SNIP

    MIT people recently concluded a study that examined the situation with the non- maskers.

    “Many of the users (on edit: of personal research and examining data bases) believe that the most important metrics are missing from government-released data.”

    “One user wrote: ‘Coding data is a big deal—and those definitions should be offered transparently by every state. Without a national guideline—we are left with this mess’.”

    “The lack of transparency within these data collection systems—which many of these users infer as a lack of honesty—erodes these users’ trust within both government institutions and the datasets they release.”

    “In fact, there are multiple threads every week where users debate how representative the data are of the population SNIP .”

    “These groups argue that the conflation of asymptomatic and symptomatic cases therefore makes it difficult for anyone to actually determine the severity of the pandemic.”

    “For these anti-mask users, their approach to the pandemic is grounded in more scientific rigor, not less.”

    “We argue that anti-maskers’ deep story draws from similar wells of resentment, but adds a particular emphasis on the usurpation of scientific knowledge by a paternalistic, condescending elite that expects intellectual subservience rather than critical thinking from the public.”

    “Arguing anti-maskers need more scientific literacy is to characterize their approach as uninformed & inexplicably extreme. This study shows the opposite: they are deeply invested in forms of critique & knowledge production they recognize as markers of scientific expertise”

    And yet in the conclusion they lament “the skeptical impulse that the ‘science simply isn’t settled,’ prompting people to simply ‘think for themselves” to horrifying ends.”

    They then compare it to the January 6 Capitol riot.

    Bizarre and fascinating document.

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.07993.pdf

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