Urban Progressive Privilege: My Scientific Research Project

Title: Analyzing the Propensity of Modern Feminists, Progressives and the Media to Overstate Accrued Virtue.

Aim of the Experiment: The aim of the experiment is to test whether there is any activity approved of by “Big Left” that a woman can do, that will not be turned into a example of supreme personal moral virtue.

Hypothesis: It is predicted that, provided the activity is one promoted by “Big Left”, that there is no activity a woman can carry out that will not be referred to as “Brave”, “Courageous”, “Fierce” or other such superlatives.

Background Theory: It is believed that the rhetorical “Bar” for an action to be considered an act of personal moral courage, when the action is:

  • Congruent with the values of modern political and social “progressives”, and
  • Performed by a woman

…has dropped to the point of nearly being indistinguishable from any normal activity.

Methodology: The research team:

  1. Observed an extensive list of actions
  2. We specifically looked for examples of morally unremarkable, mundane, even counterproductive activities not being referred to in morally superlative terms
  3. We documented the results.

Results: We found no examples.

Discussion of Results: In comment section

Conclusion: There is literally nothing a woman can do (provided it’s congruent with the values of Big Left) too unremarkable, mundane or even destructive that won’t be called ‘Brave’.

Left on The Table

The National Education Association – the organization that actually does ruthlessly wield the money and influence Big Left attributes to the NRA – is tripling down on “social and economic justice” and Critical Race Theory.

You can read the article (about the NEA’s attempts to silence opposition and extend the social justice curricula) at your leisure.

My big question is one that we really need voters to be asking Republican candidates, especially in Minnesota. School choice, we’re seeing, is a winning issue; we see this in the “Tea Party”-like uprisings of parents all over the country against CRT.

And yet – will Minnesota Republican candidates ever come into the city to try to make their cases to charter school parents – overwhelmingly black, Latino, Asian or immigrant? The Democrats and the Teachers Union, pardon the redundancy – and even some of their proxy warriors want to kill charter schools and all meaningful school choice.

And yet you can count on zero fingers the number of GOP gubernatorial, Senate or Consitutitonal Office candidates who’ve even shown up to try to contest the battlefield.

Why does the Minnesota GOP need to be, and stay, so stupid?

Hastily Made Portland Tourism Ad?

So is this a tourism ad, or a cry for help?

Odd tourism ad, doncha think? Usually you get a picture of nature, or a soaring skyline, or beatiful people enjoying dazzling nightlife. But not this time.

So what does a tourist do in Portland? Apparently you can cross a bunch of bridges. That might have some allure. I have it on good authority that Portland has a number of restaurants, but it’s difficult to tell what the bill of fare might be from this brown paper ad. It’s possible the restaurants in Portland feature word salad. “We’re a place of dualities that are never polarities.” What does that even mean? Does it mean this?

Portland crowd-control police unit resigns en masse after team member  criminally charged - East Idaho News

That might be the dazzling nightlife? After all, things are going well:

Every member of a police crowd-control unit in the US city of Portland has resigned after one of its officers was indicted on an assault charge.

The charge stemmed from violent anti-racism protests that rocked the city, in the state of Oregon, last year.

Prosecutors allege the officer used “excessive and unlawful use of force” against a protester in August 2020.

But Portland’s police union described the decision to prosecute the officer as “politically driven”.

The reporting here is from the BBC. Looks like they didn’t get the “mostly peaceful” memo. 

All The News That Is Fit To Bash Into Today’s Narrative

Warning up front: It’ll be an investment of time. Over two hours, to be exact.

It’s Jordan Peterson, interviewing former NYTimes editor Bari Weiss, who famously resitned from the paper, roasting it all the way for its obseisance, not to “journalism”, but to the feelings and politicized motivation of a small, “woke” faction of the staff.

It’ll be worth the investment:

If we can’t trust our institutions – law enforcement and the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the media – to act fairly and dispassionately – then the Republica has a huge problem.

Also: the Republic has a huge problem.

A Little Hope

This video’s been making the rounds. I’ve had at least a half dozen people refer it to me. It’s Brad Taylor, speaking last week at the Rosemount School Board, on how his education has already been given over to indoctrination:

I give speaker points: the kid is excellent.

All you folks moving to the third-tier burbs looking to escape the lunacy? The lunacy is following you. Running away ain’t gonna work. You’re going to have to stand and fight.

And a few thousand more like Mr. Taylor and his like (I’m looking at you, Kyle Kashuv, wherever yo88u are) it may be a fair fight.

As re getting him on the NARN? My people are already calling his people.

New Wrinkle

When last we met Rashad Turner, he was the firebrand leader of the Saint Paul chapter of BLM.

What a difference a couple years can make:

It would seem Turner started having misgivings about BLM for some of the same reasons I did – the organization joined with the Teachers union to piddle on the charter schools that are the lifeboats for so many kids, disproportionally minority, in the city.

He’s appearing at an event tomorrow evening at Willy McCoy’s in, I believe, Champlin, along with Kendall Qualls, the former CD3 candidate who’s been running “TakeChargeMN” – the group that produced Turner’s video, and which is aiming to evangelize the black community on the things that used to make it strong; family, faith, and an actual education.

I’m looking forward to it.

Bagman’s Groove

Value propositions:

The Ukrainian energy company that was paying President Biden’s son Hunter $1 million a year cut his monthly compensation in half two months after his father ceased to be vice president.

From May 2014, Burisma Holdings Ltd. was paying Hunter $83,333 a month to sit on its board, invoices on his abandoned laptop show.

But in an email on March 19, 2017, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi asked Hunter to sign a new director’s agreement and informed him “the only thing that was amended is the compensation rate.”

The board member’s access to the White House had been amended a bit, too, and it’s difficult to imagine Hunter’s, ahem, skill set was particularly valuable to a Ukranian energy company when his dad was a private citizen. There’s more:

Documents on the laptop also show that Hunter invited [Burisma executive Vadym] Pozharskyi to meet then-vice president Biden at a dinner in Washington DC in April, 2015.

That would be the laptop that dare not speak its name about seven months ago. While we’re not sure what was on the menu at that dinner, there were just desserts:

In December 2015, Biden flew to Kiev and strong-armed the Ukrainian government into firing its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time, including seizing four large houses and a Rolls-Royce Phantom belonging to the company’s owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

And there was more:

Three months later, Shokin was forced out of office, and nine months later, all legal proceedings against Burisma were dropped. Joe Biden has said in the past that Shokin wasn’t doing enough to crack down on corruption and that the push had nothing to do with Hunter’s position.

And the future Leader of the Free World said this:

In a 2018 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, VPBiden bragged that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine unless Shokin was sacked.

“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” he said.

Correlation is not causation, but son of a bitch, it sure has an aroma.

Of Dictators And Religions

It was interesting, a few years back, watching the retrospectives of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a sjhort one:

It’s as fun to watch now as it was otherworldly and unbelievable back then: after decades of complete control, a government official’s inadvertent slip causes and uproar; another official’s resigned ad-libbed decision opens a single gate; from there, the entire Eastern Bloc, the Communist world that all the experts reminded us was here “forever”” disappeared inside a couple years.

I thought about that last week, as CDC director Rochelle Walensky abruptly changed course on masks. One week after President Harris was “inadvertently” photographed trying to french-kiss her husband through paper masks on an airport tarmac in front of a random mob of press cameras, one week after “President” Biden did a press conference wearing a mask standing 20 feet from other people, the CDC flipped.

And people started ditching the masks. Major retailers jumped off the Karen Train, joining vast swathes of the country that have changed course, to protecting the vulnerable.

And just like that night at the Bornholmer Straße gate over the Berlin Wall, many – but not all – people ditched the masks. Roughly 10% of the entire population of East Germany roamed the streets of West Berlin, at one point that glorious night, tasting and smelling and buying freedom.

The Communists spent a few years trying to put that genie back in the bottle, and failed. Their distant cousins here are trying to do the same thing.

Promptly, Big Karen – a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Left – leapt into action.

Some cities, and other subsidiaries of Big Left, clung to the ban. Given that the ongoing mask mandate had nothing to do with science – the CDC said so – the only logical conclusion is that “Masking Up” is a statement of faith, almost a religious exercise in self-abasement and rule following.

And Big Left, being the Curia of this particular church, is all about keeping people following rules.

And that explains a lot about Karen, whoever he or she is; they seem to be people whose connection to logic, fact, even “science”, involves logrolling others into following the rules they’ve mastered. It’s the ugly side of the Scandinavian culture to which so much of Minnesota traces its roots – the flip side of close-knit communitarianism is passive-aggressive rule-lawyering.

And that passive-aggression seems to have worked. A casual count of people at newly-mask-free Target in Shoreview yesterday showed about 80% of customers, and probably more among employees, still wearing masks. We know that at least half of those people, likely more, are vaccinated, so the exercise is more or less pointless.

It’s been 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell. There are still people who pine for the days when the Stasi and ZOMO kept things nice and tidy and in order.

And watching some of the urban social media groups, plenty of little Karens are already feeling pretty bereft.

Try Some, Buy Some

Every desktop should have a link to The Devil’s Dictionary, the masterwork of Ambrose Bierce, who had his primary success in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Bierce’s cynical lexicography still rings true, a full century after he wandered into Mexico to meet his Maker circa 1914. To use one example, Bierce defines “adherent” as follows:

ADHERENT, n. A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

All politicians are on the lookout for adherents, especially a guy like Gavin Newsom, the upmarket Jacob Frey who is (a) governor of California and (b) facing a recall. Newsom is a man in a hurry, so he’s looking to get some adherents in bulk:

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks on Monday to hasten California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

You might wonder where the money came from, but never mind that, because ol’ Gavin’s not done — he’s also rent seeking, er, offering rent assistance: 

Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind, along with as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills, proposals that were supported by legislative leaders on Monday.

This is hilariously corrupt but hey, who doesn’t love a stimmy? And since California is famously a one-party state, no one is gonna stop Newsom from buying his way out of a recall. Recall elections in Minnesota are essentially impossible, so Tim Walz doesn’t need to do this sort of thing, but there’s little doubt he’d pull the same stunt were it required. I think it’s safe to assume all Dem officeholders who find themselves in trouble will make it rain next year.  

Firing Across Big Karen’s Bow

I’ve had Covid. It was a symptomatic case, although very manageably so.

As such – as we have established in this space, with information from the National Institutes of Health – I have an enhanced degree of, if not complete immunity, at least enhanced, probably highly-enhanced, resistance to Covid.

WIth that being said, I also got vaccinated. The wisdom or lack thereof, or that action’s adherence to your particular version of libertarian conservative, is not up for discussion, and won’t be discussed in this space. I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because I figured it was the minimum expenditure of effort – one shot and round of side effects rather than two – needed to get at least some of the less-irrational Karens, especially business and institutional Karens, to shut the hell up in the coming months. Given that I also have some degree of natural immunity and likely resistance, the J&J vaccine also provides the results I want; since the evidence shows I’m unlikely to get infected at all, preventing infections – the supposed upside of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – is irrelvant to me. Preventing such an infection from killing me or putting me in a hospital, should the current understanding of science turn up flawed, is my only real goal.

Again – the fact that I got a vaccination isn’t up for discussion.

Evading Karen

What is up for discussion is this: Governor Klink has set the state’s restrictions to end on July 1. May it please the crown, thanks. Sarcasm intended. We’ll be caught up with Wisconsin – in seven weeks. Probably.

That’s right – it’ll be mandatory to wear a mask on June 30, but perfectly safe on July 1. Science!

But let’s ignore that, also. We’ve talked about that in this space for over a year, now.

Given that I, like most Minnesotans, have some combination of natural immunity, vaccination or both, masks are completely pointless.

Completely. Pointless.

And yet there is a lineup of stores – big box and ma and pa – promising to continue requiring masks after July 1.

And I want to make sure that I don’t patronize them after July 1. At all.

But how to tell which business is which?

The first step I’ve seen is this crowd-sourced map.

It’s being provisioned by people on both sides of the argument, of course – and some of the “reviews” would be comical if you didn’t realize these people have the same right to vote that you do.

What’s needed next is some way of searching for businesses that, shall we say, match your preference, so you can find ’em on the go.

Duty

I’ve got a lot of Catholic friends who are also conservatives.

I keep asking them – “when is your bureaucracy going to start enforcing the church’s supposed beliefs, like publicly supporting the right to life, or at least not being pro-infanticide, on “Catholic” politicians?

“We will. We will”.

But they don’t. Never.

But is the specter of Joe Biden, a publicly practicing Catholic, being called “the most faithful President in recent history” (by a chattering class that generally regards Christianity as a den of know-nothjing ignorance) and a representative face for Christianity and Catholicism in public, finally goading the Bishops into action?

Maybe, but don’t bet your mortgage payment on it:

But we now hear from a few murmuring bishops that the Church must address Biden’s unworthy reception of Communion. “US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion,” reads a recent AP headline. Nothing concrete, however, is likely to come from these complaints. The U.S. bishops, as a whole, lack the will to withhold Communion from Biden, even though canon law says that they not only have the right but the duty to do so. Canon 915 “obliges the minister of Holy Communion to refuse the Sacrament” to those in “manifest grave sin.” If Biden’s direct facilitation of the killing of unborn children doesn’t fall into that category, what does?

Not being Catholic, I’m not hip to the vagaries of intra-curial politics, but the American bishops strike this Orthodox Presbyterian as not a whole lot more concerned about such things than the ELCA.

Degüello, Metaphorically Speaking

Question: Why did President Harris go so long on gun control at Biden’s “bedtime chat” the toher night?

Answer: Because Big Left may not get another chance at it, at least not via due process of law.

Americans are ditching gun control:

The number of Americans supporting enacting new gun laws over protecting gun rights fell from 57 percent to 50 percent, a seven-point drop from when the poll was last conducted in 2018. The number of Americans favoring gun rights jumped from 34 to 43 percent, a nine-point jump. The difference between the two positions narrowed by 16 points overall.

The sharpest decline in support for new gun-control measures came among 18 to 29-year-olds and Hispanics. Both groups saw a 20 percent drop. Rural Americans and strong conservatives saw a 17-point drop.

The downturn in gun-control support comes even after multiple high-profile mass shootings in Colorado, Indiana, and Georgia. The ABC/Washington Post poll is the second in as many weeks to show support for gun control waning. A Pew Research poll released on April 21 found the same seven-point drop in support for stricter gun laws.

The polling trend lends support to the idea new gun owners are beginning to change their attitudes on guns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun makers and dealers, estimated there were 8.4 million new gun owners in 2020. Since gun owners tend to oppose new gun-control measures at a higher rate than non-gun owners, the drop in polling support for new gun laws may be a result of those new gun owners changing their minds.

There’s a strong case to be made that gun rights are winning the culture war – we’ve talked about it before – and this stiudy is some fairly solid evidence toward the thesis.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the problem: when we’re on defense, gun owners and gun rights supporters are second to none. If every conservative constituency in the US were as diligent at organizing and wielding power as shooters, Congress would look like the North Dakota legislature – there wouldn’t be enough elected Democrats to staff their committee assignments. When there’s a threat, we turn out like an onslaught of biblical wrath.

But when times are good?

Most especially when Republicans – who are reliably pro-gun, and the few exceptions prove the rule – control Congress and our legislatures, we go back to “real life”. Which befits us, as (mostly) conservatives; we don’t want politics to be our daily grind. We have real lives.

But with the SCOTUS on the brink of taking on a case that could impose strict scrutiny on state gun control laws, we, the good guys, need to resolve to fight this thing through to its bitter conclusion, just as our grandparents and great-grandparents did in 1945 – until the war is over for good. Until there’s no doubt.

Until gun control is as dead as the slavery in which is was born.

No quarter. No compromise.

UPDATE: Well, that went to hell quickly.

The Case We’ve Been Waiting For?

News came out yesterday.

WIth a win for the NYSRPA would – presumably if incorporated – require “strict scrutiny” of gun laws compliance with the Second Amendment. Literally, they could not infringe the right of the people to keep and carry firearms, provided they aren’t otherwise disqualified from doing so.

The left is getting the vapors.

And while Roberts conservative credentials have proven to be less than stellar, it’s worth remembering he voted with the majority on Heller and MacDonald.

Expect Big Left to mount the mother of all full-court presses.

Citizens United big?

I’d wager a shiny new quarter on it.

Much more on this on Monday’s episode of the “MN Gun Report” podcast (which, as noted about ten words ago, comes out on Monday).

Better

A friend of the blog emails:

The supposedly pro-renter, pro-density council member, Mitra Jalali, has voted against the development on Lexington. It’s a development that would replace a vacant lot rather than tearing down houses that single families could buy. It also was a development that was not asking for any subsidies.h
Apparently, the city council thinks they can make Alatus (the developer) do it better or find someone who can do it better. Do what better is unclear. Of course, with Jalali’s push to enforce rent control, get rid of background checks, and reduce landlords ability to evict problem tenants, who will build anything here?
Well, there probably is some developer who funded Jalali’s campaign who “can do better.” But, we’ll see how much that type of donation costs us taxpayers when Alatus sues the city for this questionable decision. 

Ignorance?

Malfeasance?

When you’re dealing with a movement whose unstated motto is “our ends justify our means”, that has single-party absolute power over all the knobs and levers of government, ignorance, the answer is “irrelevant”.

Grab Your Popcorn

I’ve got a few friends who could qualify as “transgender”. I’ve always done my best to treat them with compassion and respect, the way we’re supposed to treat human beings.

That part is not open for debate.

But there are a few points open for legitimate debate – and the reason we know this is that the trans “movement” – I’ll just call it Big Trans from now on – works so very hard to suppress that debate. In my forays into looking into how Big Trans behaves on social media, I’ve found no group able to mobilize so much frothing ire so fast – not union goons, not Big Karen, nobody. Their “allies” certainly pull their weight in trying to shut down the conversation as well.

Now, there’s a backlash – some parents of putatively trans children are pushing back against the logrolling disguised as “support” that their children, often deeply vulnerable, receive

This piece – first of a four-part investigation – is very long, and so far utterly worth a read.

All In This Together. Yuuup.

Vice President – and let’s be honest, future President, most likely after January 2023, so she has the statutory opportunity to “serve” two full terms of her own – Harris, expressing her deep empathy for working parents with kids at home:

If homeschooling, charter school and private school activists don’t start using this in their ads, they have only themselves to blame.

Logic

No less an authority than Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream informs me that public schools are hotbeds of systemic racism.

No less an authority than President Trump informed me that racism is evil.

Plainly, then, the conclusion must be obvious: public schools are evil.

Minnesota spends more than $13 Billion per year promoting evil.

We should stop doing that. 

We should close all public schools at once.

Parents who care about education and who can afford to send their children to private school, will.

Parents who care about education but who can’t afford to send their children to private school, will home school.

Parents who care about education but who can’t afford to send their children to private school nor to home school them will be out of luck and their children will grow up ignorant and poor like their parents who probably were Trump voters anyway, so they deserve it.

Teachers, administrators, support staff laid off when the schools close, should learn to code.

Joe Doakes

The thing about calling racism “structural” is you gotta get rid of the “structure” to fix it.

Like Charlie Brown Lining Up For A Kick

I’ve been citing Turkish-via-UNC/Chapel Hill sociologist Zeynep Tufekci’s work on bringing actual scientific thought to the response to Covid almost as long as there’s been a pandemic.

There is literally zero evidence that Tufekci’s latest article in the Atlantic, 5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating, is aimed at the Walz administration and the MDH. But as Texas re-opens, Florida’s approach is largely vindicated, the wheels come off the California and New York approaches, and vaccines start to dribble out to the population, the thought of copying a link to the piece to the Governor is tempting.

As Walz (and his apparent public health mentor, Fauci) keep warning of more and more armageddons two weeks away, Tufekci takes us back to another pandemic, and its denouement

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration. Church bells rang across the nation, and factories blew their whistles. “Polio routed!” newspaper headlines exclaimed. “An historic victory,” “monumental,” “sensational,” newscasters declared. People erupted with joy across the United States. Some danced in the streets; others wept. Kids were sent home from school to celebrate.

One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation—especially after a brutal pandemic year. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the steady drumbeat of good news about the vaccines has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism.

The problem is not that the good news isn’t being reported, or that we should throw caution to the wind just yet. It’s that neither the reporting nor the public-health messaging has reflected the truly amazing reality of these vaccines. There is nothing wrong with realism and caution, but effective communication requires a sense of proportion—distinguishing between due alarm and alarmism; warranted, measured caution and doombait; worst-case scenarios and claims of impending catastrophe. We need to be able to celebrate profoundly positive news while noting the work that still lies ahead. However, instead of balanced optimism since the launch of the vaccines, the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants, subjected to misleading debates about the inferiority of certain vaccines, and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do, while media outlets wonder whether the pandemic will ever end.

Remember last year? When some public health authorities were treating Covid like World War 2, with massive sacrifices, a potential (and, a year later, realized) horrific cost, and a goal for us all to pull toward – victory?

That went by the boards. Pushing to get back to normal – a “normal” that for the vast majority of Americans was as good as it’d been in a loooong time, last February – got replaced by telling people to hunker down for, well, the War on Terror. An endless, endemic, dreary plod.

Which has had terrible effects – skyrocketing addiction and suicide, rampant crime, and crushing depression among school-age kids and adults. The pandemic has brought out the best in some Americans – and forced the rest into the most dehumanizing humdrum imaginable to a First Worlder.

So it’s worth looking at the five mistakes Tufekci notes that we just keep failing, and perhaps stop doing them.

They are:

Risk Compensation – the notion that if you make people safer, they’ll just abuse that safety. The theory that if you put a seatbelt in a car, people will take that additional margin of safety and use it to drive faster and more recklessly.

It appeals to the “expert class”‘s paternalism – why become an expert if you can’t warn people “you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing”? As Tufekci puts it:

[Risk Compensation is] contrarian and clever, and fits the “here’s something surprising we smart folks thought about” mold that appeals to, well, people who think of themselves as smart. Unsurprisingly, such fears have greeted efforts to persuade the public to adopt almost every advance in safety, including seat belts, helmets, and condoms.

But time and again, the numbers tell a different story: Even if safety improvements cause a few people to behave recklessly, the benefits overwhelm the ill effects. In any case, most people are already interested in staying safe from a dangerous pathogen. Further, even at the beginning of the pandemic, sociological theory predicted that wearing masks would be associated with increased adherence to other precautionary measures—people interested in staying safe are interested in staying safe—and empirical research quickly confirmed exactly that. Unfortunately, though, the theory of risk compensation—and its implicit assumptions—continue to haunt our approach, in part because there hasn’t been a reckoning with the initial missteps.

Minnesota government’s paternalistic streak is gonna be a hard thing to overcome on this front.

Rules Over Mechanisms – This one is squarely on Walz and his regime. His focus on all the things we need to do to move his array of knobs and levers, like a Skinnerian behavioral experiment, tying actions to rewards – economic and personal freedom – was classic Minnesota passive-aggression. Even moreso, the state’s refusal to share the code for the model that predicted 20,000 dead at best, and a better figure of 70,000 fatalities by July, on the grounds that people might just find different results – which was the moment this state’s effort lost all pretense of scientific legitimacy.

I said, early on – why not give people and businesses good information, and let them do what needed to be done, with just the minimal enforcement for flagrant-to-depraved behavior? It is, after all, what they did in states that battled the pandemic successfully – Florida, Texas, and the Dakotas (who, notwithstanding a surge of cases and fatalities in the fall, are in much better economic shape than Minnesota.

Even Wisconsin – where the governor’s emergency powers were tossed out by courts in short order, and which had to rely on people knowing how to protect themselves, and so told them how to do just that – is doing better by every measure that wasn’t worse before the pandemic.

Scolding and Shaming – What goverment’s approach has lacked in scientific rigor, it’s made up for in empowering the simultaneously least stable and most petty-authoritarian among us to find their inner Dwight Schrute. Tufekci:

How dare you go to the beach? newspapers have scolded us for months, despite lacking evidence that this posed any significant threat to public health. It wasn’t just talk: Many cities closed parks and outdoor recreational spaces, even as they kept open indoor dining and gyms. Just this month, UC Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst both banned students from taking even solitary walks outdoors.

The first time I had some plush-bottom Karen scold me about putting my bag on the conveyor at the checkout at Target in Shoreview “before the cashier sanitized it” (after she’d spent five minutes arguing over a coupon), I realized there might be a scientific basis for this. Humans are adapted to be on the lookout for crises – the saber tooth tiger is still just outside the campfire’s light, and that neighboring tribe is eyeing all those berries that are starting to come in, in all of our inner psyches. And it’s been so long since we’ve had a genuine existential crisis – World War 2, the Depression – that all that evolutionary energy’s gotta go somewhere.

Combined with the other four things we’ve gotten wrong, it’s probably understandable that “Big Karen’s” energy is so misplaced.

I said “understandable”. Not OK.

Ignoring Collateral Harm – It’s been plain from the beginning – the people urging us to lock down hard and stay locked down to “eliminate the virus” are the ones with academic/public sector/large-corporate jobs that let ’em work from home indefinitely (well, so far).

We’ve been talking about many of the collateral harms – endemic depression, skyrocketing suicide, a generation of kids who are floundering emotionally and parents who are completely adrift trying to figure out what to do about it, suicide, stress and its many ailments, and skyrocketing crime, especially among bored and aimless youth on whom the suspension of most of regular life falls the hardest.

We’ve been talking about many of the collateral harms – endemic depression, skyrocketing suicide, a generation of kids who are floundering emotionally and parents who are completely adrift trying to figure out what to do about it, suicide, stress and its many ailments, and skyrocketing crime, especially among bored and aimless youth on whom the suspension of most of regular life falls the hardest.

But wait, we’re not done yet:

When we set perfection as the only option, it can cause people who fall short of that standard in one small, particular way to decide that they’ve already failed, and might as well give up entirely. Most people who have attempted a diet or a new exercise regimen are familiar with this psychological state. The better approach is encouraging risk reduction and layered mitigation—emphasizing that every little bit helps—while also recognizing that a risk-free life is neither possible nor desirable.

Socializing is not a luxury—kids need to play with one another, and adults need to interact. Your kids can play together outdoors, and outdoor time is the best chance to catch up with your neighbors is not just a sensible message; it’s a way to decrease transmission risks. 

You’d never know this listening to NPR, to say nothing of “Karen”.

Misplaced Balance Between Knowledge And Action – Or “perfect is the enemy of good enough”.

In this case, “perfection” – knowledge – was hampered not merely by the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know (and, last January, weren’t allowed to find out behind China’s bamboo curtain), but that the academic, journalistic, and real worlds have such very different, often mutuall unintelligible means of communicating:

…sometimes, the way that academics communicate clashed with how the public constructs knowledge. In academia, publishing is the coin of the realm, and it is often done through rejecting the null hypothesis—meaning that many papers do not seek to prove something conclusively, but instead, to reject the possibility that a variable has no relationship with the effect they are measuring (beyond chance). If that sounds convoluted, it is—there are historical reasons for this methodology and big arguments within academia about its merits, but for the moment, this remains standard practice.

At crucial points during the pandemic, though, this resulted in mistranslations and fueled misunderstandings, which were further muddled by differing stances toward prior scientific knowledge and theory. Yes, we faced a novel coronavirus, but we should have started by assuming that we could make some reasonable projections from prior knowledge, while looking out for anything that might prove different. That prior experience should have made us mindful of seasonality, the key role of overdispersion, and aerosol transmission. A keen eye for what was different from the past would have alerted us earlier to the importance of presymptomatic transmission.

The whole thing is worth a read.

For Me But Not For Ye Yadda Yadda Bla Bla

California teachers union official who’s spent months claiming that schools are unsafe…

…you already know where this is going, don’t you? Yet another Democrat official demanding compliance from the proles, while seizing special treatment for them and theirs. Right?

Right. And you know he’s a Democrat, because, well, he’s white, and elected, and in Berkeley, and I’ll just defer to the physical description:

“White man with dreads”. Only Urban Progressive Privilege conveys that level of immunity to charges of “cultural appropriation”.

Anyway – Meyer was caught on tape by “reopening” activists dropping his kids off at a private pre-school. I’ve added emphasis:

“Meet Matt Meyer. White man with dreads and president of the local teachers’ union,” the group wrote in a tweet on Saturday along with video footage of Meyer. “He’s been saying it is unsafe for *your kid* to be back at school, all the while dropping his kid off at private school.”

Meyer told Fox News in a statement that the video, which blurred out his child’s face, was “very inappropriate” and an intrusion of his child’s privacy. He added that there were “no public options for kids her age.”

Right – because of him, his union, and the state government over which both have inordinate control.

The Democrats are going to need another Republican to go to Cancun, and stat.